Knitting, outdoors

Meet Tucker

This is Tucker. He is my new woodland buddy. He makes me smile. And laugh. A lot!

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As you can see, he’s an adorable and thoroughly cheeky little squirrel with the sleekest fur and bushiest tail imaginable.

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For a while now, I’ve been wondering who has been taking bites out of my decorative corn (left over from Fall)… Turns out it’s Tucker! (And I think we can all tell which flavor he likes best!)

Tucker likes to run up onto the back deck, under the kitchen window and grab a mouthful of dried corn kernels. Then he runs back across the deck, climbs up onto the railing, and perches there to enjoy his snack!

I happened to see him through the kitchen window, doing this over and over early one morning as I was making coffee. Now we meet up for coffee & corn breaks most early mornings and late afternoons.

I haven’t yet figured out whether he’s told all his friends & relations about the free handouts on my back deck, or whether he’s keeping it all to himself… 😉

Here’s a quick peak at what’s currently on my needles…

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Another baby blanket. This one is a sample in a smaller size as I would like to offer a couple of different size options in the pattern.

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And this is a new pattern I’m working on for a Spring/Summer weight shawl!

What’s been making you smile/laugh lately? And what’s on your needles/hooks/wheel/loom? I’d love to hear all about it!

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, Stash

In Progress 

I’ve been working away and making good progress with my yarn stash organizing and cataloging! It feels good to see my Yarn Stash Notebook filling up with yarn samples and data, and to see my Yarn Stash becoming more orderly, accessible, and therefore useable!

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Progress on the Yarn Stash Notebook!

I do take frequent breaks to do some actual knitting though! 😉

Right now, I’m loving knitting the sample for my newest design (coming soon!!)! 🙂

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Lacy, stripy chevrons…!

The yarn I’m using is Knit Circus Greatest of Ease in “Over The Rainbow Speckles,” and Expression Fiber Arts Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in “Pistachio.”

I’m also really enjoying my “just for fun” knit…

The very start of my Leaves of Grass shawl!

The pattern is “Leaves of Grass” by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed)…

Feeling like I need to switch to a longer cable soon…!

The yarn I’m using is Madelinetosh Pashmina in “Thoreau.” It’s super soft and squishy and feels lovely in my hands as I knit. I can’t wait to snuggle up in this shawl on those cool Autumn evenings (they are still a long ways off, so I have plenty of time to finish!) 🙂

This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a circular shawl, and I’m finding that I’m really taken with the ease and simplicity of the Pi Shawl construction! At the beginning of this project, the one piece that I had absolutely no idea how to do was the circular cast on. This tutorial by Knit Picks was super helpful, and I quickly discovered that it’s not as hard as it looks! 🙂

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Working on Leaves of Grass with grass for company! 😉

Something I’m really enjoying with this knit is the excitement whenever I finish one chart and move on to the next! It’s fascinating to see how the different motifs fit together, play on each other, and seem to grow together! (This effect with the stitch patterns will be easier to see after blocking!)

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Leaves of Grass shawl.

Now that I’m on the second-to-last chart and have completed the last increase round, I have a total of nearly 600 stitches on my needles! Even though each round now takes a while to complete, I’m still excited and enjoying working this shawl! I can’t wait to see it finished! (And I’m sure I’ll be knitting another circular shawl before long!) 😉

And last but not least, I’m trying out something new – knitting with beads!

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Practice Swatch: Arrowhead lace with beads.

This is just a little practice test swatch I’m working with some leftovers of a gorgeous alpaca yarn and some seed beads I have on hand. It took me awhile to decide where to place the beads with this Arrowhead Lace stitch pattern, and I’m still not quite sure I’m happy with the result. I think I’ll knit on it a little more and then block it and see what I think then. 🙂

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts too! 🙂 Where would you place the beads in this stitch pattern? Have you ever used beads in your knitting before? If so, what do you think of the technique? Do you like the effect?

I’d also love to hear about whether you’ve knitted or considered knitting a circular shawl before! If you’ve made one before, did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?

As always, best wishes to each of you, and happy knitting!

~Sarah

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Knitting, shawls

Summer Shawl Knitting…

One sure sign of a truly deep love of knitting is a knitter who keeps on knitting despite the Summer heat! 😉

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Knitting the Kathryn Scarf on my back deck!

What to knit in said Summer heat?

My favorite go to is lace! In the Summer, I knit lots and lots of lace! Though I don’t personally limit myself to only working with yarns that are cotton/linen blends in Summer, I do enjoy them, and they’re a great option for cooler Summer knitting and knitwear. 🙂

Shawls are a really useful (and beautiful) garment to create when you’re knitting lace. They can be very light and airy, making the perfect light layer to grab and wrap around your shoulders as the sun goes down on a breezy Summer evening! I find them very entertaining to work, as well as super portable for travel knitting!

Here are a few favorite Summery projects of the past that I would knit again in a heartbeat!

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Flambe

This is the first shawl I ever knit – the one that got me hooked on shawl knitting in fact! It’s the Flambe One Skein Shawl, by Michelle Miller of Fickleknitter. I bought the kit for this shawl in order to participate in a knit-a-long (KAL) that Michelle was hosting. It was SO much fun! A KAL is a great way to connect with people who like a lot of the same things you do, and also provides amazing support and encouragement! (Especially when you’re new to shawl knitting!) 😉 This shawl has a lot of happy memories for me!  Flambe makes a fabulous Summer knit because it’s complicated enough to keep your mind busy, but not too complicated for travel knitting, and it only requires one skein of sock yarn! It’s also perfect for Summer wear as it’s small – just enough to cover your shoulders if the air conditioning gets to be a bit much or there’s a chilly breeze at night. 🙂

 

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Lace Leaf Shawl

This one is the Lace Leaf Shawl, designed by Mary Henderson. It’s a lovely leaf pattern, easy to memorize; and you can customize the size of your shawl by knitting more or fewer repeats! The yarn is a fingering weight merino/silk blend called “Row of Tulips” by Expression Fiber Arts. It was an absolute dream to knit with!

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Obi Shawl

Another Fickleknitter design by Michelle Miller, The Obi Shawl is one of my all-time favorite shawls to knit. In fact, I’ve already made two of them! One I gave away, and the other gets a lot of wear as a favorite go-to layer that I turn to constantly! The yarn is amazing – a merino/cashmere/silk blend called Serenity Silk Single by Zen Yarn Garden, it’s also one of my favorite yarns to work with! The color shown here is called “Dragonfruit!”

I might also finally allow myself to knit a shawl or two from my current list of shawl-crushes…!

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A Hap for Harriet: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.
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Fantoosh!: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.

I’m totally in love with both of these shawls designed by Kate Davies: A Hap for Harriet, and Fantoosh! They are both simple, but elegant, and the yarns used for the samples look absolutely scrumptious! I particularly love the coziness and generous size of Fantoosh!, and the delicate simplicity of A Hap for Harriet. If you’re drooling over these like I am, be sure to check out Kate’s shop – she has kits for sale containing: yarn, pattern, and project bag!

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Rock Island: Designed by Jared Flood.

I’m also loving Rock Island, by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I find the mix of openwork lace and simple garter stitch captivating! Brooklyn Tweed Vale is a lovely lace weight wool; although for Summer, I think this shawl would also be great in a cotton or linen blend such as Purl Soho’s Linen Quill (wool/alpaca/linen) or Juniper Moon Farm’s Zooey DK (cotton/linen/flax).

While we’re talking about Summer shawl knitting…

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Leaves of Grass: Designed by Jared Flood.

…knitting a circular shawl has been on my bucket list for a good long time now, and I’m feeling the urge to buckle down and just do it! I’ve been eying this one – Leaves of Grass, (another Jared Flood design) as a potentially great Summer knit…hmmm…need to go check my stash and see if I have enough fingering weight yarn… 🙂

Do you knit in the Summer time? If so, what Summer knitting project(s) are you currently working on? Do you have a favorite Summer knitting style or project? I’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

~Happy Knitting!

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Family, Knitting

In Progress

I’ve always been the sort of knitter who prefers to focus on one project, watch it grow, customize it along the way, block it with a flourish, and then move on to the next project.

But I have not been true to form lately. Before I’ve finished one project, I’m starting another, and then another…

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A pile of works in progress!

I don’t think I can honestly claim to be a one-project-at-a-time knitter any more because I currently have:
… four shawls,

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Lacey Leaf Shawl
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Echo Flowers Shawl
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Serape Shawl
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Willow Shawl, worked in brioche stitch

… one pair of socks…

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Daisy Field Socks
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The second Daisy Field sock making some progress

… and a baby blanket on the needles…

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Simple garter stitch baby blanket with picot edging

With a baby sweater just about ready to be blocked!

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Yarn for baby sweater – Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Celedon and Fallen Cloud
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Baby Wrap Cardigan in progress!
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Just need to sew on the ties & block!

Waiting in the wings are: several pairs of mitts for friends , various baby items for my newest niece or nephew on the way, and two toy rabbits!

All in all, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and quite behind with my knitting. As much as I hate to do it, I think it may be time to work on bringing my knitting expectations back into line with reality again… 😉

What does your To-Knit list look like? Are you a knitter who enjoys working multiple projects at a time, or do you prefer to focus on one thing at a time?

Knitting

So Much to Knit, so Little Time…

I don’t know about you, but I can always find more projects that I want to knit much faster than I can actually knit them!

Here are a few recent finds that I’m adding to my queue…

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The Undergrowth Hat by Mandy Powers. I just love the colorwork – and the colors used! Any contrasting colors would work great, but that teal is breathtaking! And the pattern is free!

 

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The Glacier Gloves by Julia Mueller have such intricate cabling. I can’t wait to give them a try!

 

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And The Gamayun Bird Shawl by Natalia Sha is truly spectacular! The feathers look so real!  And I love the rainbow colors, they make me feel happy!

 

I have recently become obsessed with Reindeer!

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Amelie-Claire’s Christmas Reindeer is beyond adorable! It’s based on the pattern for Murray The Reindeer by Dawn Toussaint. A “Murray” would make a great Christmas gift for my niece next year…

 

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And I know several people on my Christmas 2015 Gifting List who will be getting this awesome Moose Fair Isle Hat; the pattern is by ResQCrafts! That’s right! It’s never too early to start planning for next year…

What projects are you looking forward to in 2015?

 

Family, Knitting, Weather

Snow!

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First snow of the season! And before Thanksgiving too!

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I started for work VERY early, wanting to be on time regardless of lovely white flakes swirling through the air…

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I finally made it! In one piece (despite several scares) and on time! Perfect day to wrap up in warm woollies to keep the chill away…

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The shawl is the Flambé One Skein Shawl (pattern by Michell Miller of Fickle Knitter), and the hat (above) is my Hounds Tooth Hat.

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The pretty view from from my office window…

Now the hubby and I are off to be with family!

Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful and joy filled Thanksgiving!

 

Blocking, Knitting

Finishing!

I’ve mentioned before that blocking is not my favorite part of knitting…

…but it is an important part of finishing! It’s been said that blocking is to knitting like ironing is to sewing, and I firmly believe that to be true!

In order for your knitting to look its best, a good blocking is an absolute necessity.

So I recently scrubbed my bathtub good and clean and blocked a couple of large shawls that I had finished knitting a while ago but hadn’t forced myself to block yet!

Alpaca shawl going in for a soak!
Alpaca shawl going in for a soak!

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Wool/silk blend shawl going in for a soak!
Wool/silk blend shawl going in for a soak!

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It was totally worth it because the stitches evened out and opened up, allowing the stitch patterns to be fully seen and appreciated!

Alpaca shawl drying on my living room floor
Alpaca shawl drying on my living room floor
Wool/silk blend shawl drying on my living room floor
Wool/silk blend shawl drying on my living room floor

I always dread blocking, but I’m always so glad that I made myself do it after I’m done!

How do you feel/what do you think about blocking? Do you always do it? Never do it? Sometimes do it? Love it? Strongly dislike it?

 

 

Health, Knitting

Great Intentions

When I was preparing for sinus surgery a few weeks ago, I thought, “Great! I’ll have lots of time for knitting during the weeks that the doctor told me I have to stay in and rest while I recover, right?!”

Wrong.

I have learned five things about knitting and recovering from surgery:

1) They put this gel stuff in your eyes to protect the corneas from scratches. I’m extremely grateful for this as I prefer that my corneas remain scratch-free! However, I learned that one should not expect to read or knit for several days after as the gel also makes it difficult to focus the eyes and it takes awhile for the gel to wear off.

2) Surgery has the general effect of leaving one deeply exhausted and in need of large quantities of sleep. Also, one gets tired very easily, needing to go back to sleep rather frequently. This depressing lack of energy leaves one with very little knitting time.

3) Effective pain medications intensify both of the above, and are a temporary necessity of life.

4) Patience is definitely a virtue, and I’m now looking forward to being recovered from surgery so I can get back to my knitting! Flexibility is also a virtue and sometimes we need to adjust our intentions/expectations to deal with reality. 🙂

5) I’m very grateful for Ravelry and Pinterest where I can appreciate the knitting of others while I’m practicing being patient and flexible! Here are a few finds that have been making me smile:

Gorgeous baby booties, pattern by Saartje de Bruijn available on Ravelry; these particular booties knitted by Leah. These are definitely going in my queue!

Saartje's Bootees
Saartje’s Bootees

 

This adorable knitted lamb is too cute for words! The pattern is adapted from “Tiger with Dress” by Barbara Prime; knitted by fuzzymitten on Ravelry.

Wooly Lamb
Wooly Lamb

 

These Baby Bunny Booties made me squeal with delight when I saw them! They are definitely going into my queue in preparation for future nieces and nephews! Pattern by Sylvia Leake on Ravelry.

Bunny Baby Booties
Baby Bunny Booties

 

How clever! Baby Mitts with no thumbs to worry about! These are definitely going into my queue! Designed by Susan B. Anderson, you can find them on Ravelry here, and the free pattern at spudandchloe.com (just scroll down the page a bit to find the Baby Mitts pattern).

Baby Mitts
Baby Mitts

 

Love this gorgeous Leafy Baby Sweater by Renata Brenner! The lacey leaf stitch pattern is stunning!

Leafy Baby Sweater
Leafy Baby Sweater

 

I’ve recently become obsessed with hand knit washcloths, and these Vintage Hankie Washcloths by Julie Tarsha are too cute for words! I know just the friend to make them for!

Vintage Hanky Washcloth
Vintage Hankie Washcloth

 

I’ve never made a Tea Cozy before. Stinkymum on Ravelry has provided fabulous instructions on how to make a Proper English Tea Cozy! I definitely think its time I gave it whirl!

Proper English Tea Cozy
Proper English Tea Cozy

 

And someday (when I have all my energy back, of course!) I’m totally going to make the gorgeous Rona Lace Shawl by Anna Marie Jensen… I’ve never made a round shawl like this before and I’d love to learn how!

Rona Lace Shawl
Rona Lace Shawl

 

What’s been making you smile lately? Please share in the comments, we’d love to see!