It’s been quiet on the blog, but I’ve been doing things, namely putting colors together.



I received the next order of wool, and got to work dying that to begin spinning it up for the shop. Gearing up for the Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival in April, if you’re in the Boston area, I’d love to meet you!


And the more challenging, I’ve been swatching for a sweater. It is SO NOT EASY!! So many options, so hard to pick one, so hard to know what is going to go together. The new fair isle book has been very helpful indeed.


I’m debating between the greens at the top, the red at the bottom, or some combination… Decisions decisions.




My knitting bag didn’t open once since last Monday, which is knit night. The reason for this is that I finished the sweater, and don’t have anything else started. I tend to knit one thing at a time, for a few reasons, mostly having to do with being neurotic. This is fine when you have a bag of patterns and yarns that go with them. I have a pretty easy time casting on a pre-determined number of stitches and just following directions. Somewhere along the way, I got bored, or cocky, or something, and decided, to heck with directions, I know how to measure and multiply, I can make that. And I’ve found that to be true. I can design something that fits. Sometimes I’m re-inventing the wheel, which I totally get, but in my head, it somehow makes sense. However, measuring, gauge swatch, multiply? It can take me weeks to do this simple task. So in the general tally, buying patterns, 1; Kate, 0.

I’ve been wanting to cast on for a while. The problem of taking measurements and multiply has been increased exponentially by the choice of both pattern and colors. It’s paralyzed me for months. It’s totally the fault of my arch-enemy inertia. A body at rest remains at rest, a body in motion remains at rest… A body in bed stays there, a body on the couch stays there, a body trolling for patterns and ideas continues to troll, a body who waits too long to decide what’s for dinner orders out… The activation energy to get the pattern books out, chart out the patterns, pick colors, and THEN measure and do math? Very high. Plus, as exibited above, it makes an enormous mess.

As the Jam Experiment clearly predicts, the plethora of books, patterns, and choice of over 20 Jaimeson and Smith Shetland has only made it harder. I don’t really think I have a procrastination problem, but an inertia problem. This is probably the same semantics dance as the difference between a reason and an excuse*. Nevertheless. So I decided the right order of operations was to pick the pattern (as in the fair isle pattern charted out on graph paper) then play with colors and figure those out, then measure, multiply or find the shape I want in another pattern and adjust the gauge. I’m 100% through finding the patterns charted out on graph paper, and about 80% through finding the colors. I have an idea of what shape I want, namely something very similar to this gem found by the great Kate Davies. A cardigan (I think the next few will be cardigans…) with grey ribbing and edges, and some mashup of the below for the colors.


With any luck I’ll have something a little neater to show for myself soon.

*I think a reason and an excuse are exactly the same thing. The difference is your intention. If you’re explaining why you were late, and not expecting to be let off the hook for it, it’s your reason. Otherwise it’s an excuse.



A few months ago I wrote about the shocking discovery that I really like simple sweaters. I vowed to use this knowledge to knit myself a simple sweater instead of looking for a pattern to satisfy my craze for fair isle, cables, bobbles, things. I cast on for the body and just went ahead without a clear plan for the rest. While knitting the body, I thought I’d do a simple raglan – no – a raglan with buttons on the seams – no – a set-in sleeve with buttons on the shoulder seam… I ended up convincing myself that to keep it simple and did a raglan with a simple braid on each raglan seam, which I continued through the neck hem.


Before it was blocked I was sure it was all getting ripped out and the swatch had lied and it was going to be too small. But after a wash and lay flat, I think it really fits pretty well. I ended up taking off the bottom ribbing, adding about 2″ of length, and reattaching the ribbing. (I hate knitting ribbing. I will Kitchener on a whole ribbing rather than knit it again.) I’m not sure why but I tend to have a hard time measuring both my length from waist to armhole, and the sweaters. Because I can measure them both, the numbers can match, and I’ll put it on to find it too short.


The Yarn is from 13 mile farm, and it’s my second sweater from that yarn. I bought it in Bozeman, MT on vacation the past two years and I still love love love it. Very warm, really nice to knit with, makes a very even fabric, and is predator-friendly to boot. If you can get your hands on some, don’t pass it by. I’ve been taking the inspiration behind this sweater to heart – that simple can be complex and vice versa, that simple doesn’t mean boring, and to really enjoy what you’re doing without complicating it. Hopefully it will remind me of that when I’m wearing it.


And now, I’m dying to pull out the fingering weight shetland and do something FUN!!

What to do…


So ended my Christmas Vacation. That there is the plain pullover getting its ribbing reattached after getting its body lengthened, with the help of a glass of homemade mead.


Sweater is blocking and I think I’m at least happy if not thrilled with it. But it’s fine. That emptied the project bag and so I got out the big bag in preparation of figuring out how to empty it.

It has recently slowly been creeping up on me that I have an acceptance problem. Often I’m upset with someone or something, and it occurs to me that what I am often upset about is not whatever it is, but that is isn’t bending to my idea of what the thing or person should be or be doing. I’m in reality upset that things aren’t as I expected them to be. And this is indeed sad, but does not require things or people to change, but rather often my expectations. I need to accept reality. I’d spend a lot less time banging against things if I accepted that it’s a wall and go find the door instead of looking for a sledgehammer.

Now, to apply this new knowledge. Here is some things I’ve noticed to be true. I have a lot of sweaters. I have sweaters that are good for work, good for hanging around the house, and good for going around town. Over the break it became clear that I have two sweaters for going out for nice dinner or holidays. And I have several shirts that are in need of shrugs or nicer, trendier, fancier sweaters. Despite frequently looking at my full closet and drawers, I’m constantly at a loss to put things together in the right way for the occasion. Yet when I look for sweaters to buy or make, I tend towards what I have rather than what I need.

Tonight, looking for another project, I spent a while here:

There is the entire contents of the bag. So lets talk about my reality vs. what is actually in the bag…
1. The bag of scraps? Very large. Probably 15% of the bag is the bag of scraps. These are really hard for me to use. Maybe everyone gets potholders next Christmas?
2. The bag that I thought was full of lopi scraps for a stripey sweater? Maybe stripey mittens… if I’m lucky.
3. I have a lot of Jamieson and Smith – YEAH!
4. I have a lot more satekili than I thought – YEAH!
5. The few random skeins leftover from other sweaters still doesn’t add up to anything useful…

Perhaps a larger stash is more useful than I thought… With reality in mind, I’ll have to ponder how to empty this bag. There have got to be some shrugs and party sweaters in there somewhere!


I don’t like resolutions. I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because everyone makes the same ones and that’s really boring and hard to believe that this year is going to be the year that everyone drops 20 pounds. Also, I tend to set ridiculous goals and then am astonished that I cannot do everything. I cannot knit everything I’d like to while spinning everything I’d like to, run, ride and workout, bake all our bread, keep the house clean, read… you get the gist. The idea behind resolutions, though I think is good. It is a new year, in with the new out with the old. It is a fresh start. So is every day though. So while I have some other things I’ll be working on, here is one thing I’ve noticed. I have a lot of things queued to knit. I have a lot of ideas, in my head, on Ravelry, on Pinterest. I have a lot of books I’d like to read. I find these things while perusing the internet… interminably. I get a lot of ideas that way, but at some point, really, you need to step away from the computer (or now the iPhone… wonderful, distracting machine) and actually knit, or read, or play with the cat, or whatever. If I spent half the time doing that I spend farting around, oh the things I’d get done.


I used to have a goal of reading a book a month. I’d like to re-institute this. I learn an awful lot from books. I like to learn things. So I plan on reading through this pile and continuing to add to it.


And I have an awful lot of yarn and wool in the house. Not, compared to most, I believe, but if the bag is full, then there’s too much. There is also a house to be bought, and a budget to be tried out. And so there will this year be a renewed effort to empty the bag – which will be impossible… see the above photo.
This is the grand total of my vacation spinning. I was doing other fun things and am glad for it, so the moral of the story is not productivity. The moral of the story is that it must go in ‘the bag’ which is, as mentioned, full. And there is another pound to be spun from Turtle the Jacob Sheep, and then 7 pounds of Romney, plus some other stuff hanging around. And so I’m not going to make any impossible goals of knitting everything, or 12 sweaters. But if I can keep plugging away at the bag that would be great.

Happy New Year!

A Little Pride and Prejudice


It has become my tradition for the past 3 years to watch the BBC 6 hour “Pride and Prejudice” which I normally watch in one embarrassingly long sitting. This vacation has been pretty busy as vacations go for us, which has made it seem very long. Which is the best sort of vacation. So I’ve been sneaking in an hour here or there of my movie and knitting. And this being the last true night of vacation, since tomorrow night is as school night, I’m going to finish the last two hours and my sweater, hopefully. The sweater turned out to be fine. I might need to add an inch or so of length to the body but it doesn’t require a full re-knitting of the body, which was what I was dreading and expecting. So Yeah me!


This is the plain sweater I had planned and in the end I just had to add something. So along the raglan seams, I added a braid to each. So hopefully there’ll be something to show for myself soon on that front.

I’m still deciding if I want to make any resolutions. I normally shun resolutions. But maybe some vague re-evaluations might not be so pointless? Anyways, off to finish my movie.