Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming…

Ah, so I can unveil the secret project.
A few weeks ago, someone indispensable and terribly important to our family got news that she had cancer. I know this is very common and everyone knows someone, but I cannot even explain the feeling of being hit by a bus. Quickly, as much as was possible was taken out, and the recovery from that process began with lots of quality knitting time in the hospital keeping company, and plans for chemo began.

Now to say I am medically useless is actually an understatement. I actually will pass out at the slightest tube, blood, incision, or just the smell of hospitals. This makes me negatively helpful when I have to be peeled off the floor. I did my best and actually got over the tubes and hospital smell, as long as I didn’t have to see where anything goes in or out. But, really, besides the doctors, who do as much as they can, none of us can do anything really to make it better. We can’t make tumors go away, stay away, or make things less scary. Luckily the statistics are in our favor, and since I believe in science and statistics and good hard numbers, that has to make me feel better.

So, I did the only thing a knitter can do. I can at least keep you warm and pretty. The blood, tubes, and actual physical real healing stuff, nope, sorry, useless. But, warm, that I can do. So I stole some yarn that was supposed to go into the shop, wound it into balls, downloaded a pattern (daybreak, but without the stripes, since it was striping already. I love the shape of it) and just started knitting.

Handspun Wrap

I used a sneaky trick I saw somewhere about putting plastic under the blocking item to make it dry faster. Worked AWESOME. I usually am waiting for things to dry forever because whatever is underneath, usually a towel, is also wet from the wet wool. This one dried very quickly.

Handspun Wrap

The yarn is my own handspun, polworth/silk. Size 7 needles with DK yarn for a warm but light fabric, the drape is fantastic, thanks silk!

Handspun Wrap

And most importantly, warm. Since that is what I do.

There’s an App for that

Someday, I swear, I will learn. Recipes are there for a reason. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. yada yada. From this you can infer (and if you can’t, don’t worry, I’ll just tell you) that all that progress? Yes. It is no more. I spent Halloween handing out candy alternately with ripping back that sweater upon admitting that the neck hole is way big and it is all wrong. And I discovered, if I’d just spent 15 minutes googling for such a thing, that for a top down raglan sweater pattern? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Duh. So $0.99 later and 10 minutes of measuring and plugging in numbers and neckline preferences, yeah. A recipe to follow. I swear, I’m not as dumb as I look.

I am now just about back to where I was when I admitted finally that I was being dumb, and so instead of showing you photos that look exactly like the last ones, although this time of a properly proportioned sweater top, I will instead show you photo of YARN!!

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Ohh, pretty colors. Shiny silk. Handspun yarn. Lots of it.

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All available at the shop – go get them before they go home and make someone else happy!

Fits and Starts

Where I’ve been:

A Polish wedding. Holy Wodka. Seriously, the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Got to see and party with family I haven’t seen in a while, family I’ve never seen, had fantastic food I haven’t had in forever, and be more hungover than I’ve ever been. Fantastic. Highly recommended.

Wodka

Na zdrowie to Alicja and Aaron.

Snausage

Also, been spinning up a storm. Here’s the latest, to enter the shop sometime this weekend. Seriously excited about this update, the purple/red is so deep and complex, I really want to steal that one. And the softer blue/green/purple is the new Polworth/Silk – I am madly in love with this one.

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And, I’m playing the “pick a color – any color” game, hopefully transforming the bedroom this weekend from bright dark blue to soothing, clean crisp white. How there are so many “whites” blows my mind.

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And, in knitting, the yarn-bag emptying scrap yarn blanket is working out beautifully. Seriously boring knitting, but the yarn has to go somewhere, and it’s actually turning out pretty cool, so that’s something. Once this is done, I’ll have to get rid of a few other skeins I don’t know what to do with. I don’t know how this escaped my notice, but I am a dyer, so some of the un-inspiring skeins, I can change their color. Seriously don’t know how I didn’t think of this before now, but there you go. I’ll keep you posted on any exciting transformations.

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FINALLY

OMG. What’s that creeping around the garden?

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Oh, wait, that’s me. In my new sweater… The one that took since February to finish…

knitting, handknitting, sweater, larch, cardigan

I was checking out my ravelry page last week and saw the last sweater was the Simpleton. And I thought to myself, “self, better go update that with the latest project” and then I said “SELF!! THAT IS THE LATEST PROJECT!! What have you been doing with yourself?!!” And then I spent some time reminding my Self that I have bought a house, moved, bought and started dying 40 lbs of wool, spinning that wool up for the shop yada yada. So I cut Self a break.

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However, I did have to admit that I had half a measly sleeve left, so this weekend I buckled down, finished it, sewed it together, and went out creeping around the garden so you all could see.

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Also, sitting on the stairs. Because that’s what I do in my new house.

The Pattern is Larch, and I’ve been eyeing it for a while now. I had some alpaca from New Hampshire Sheep and Wool that needed knitting, and I went at it… In February. Now in fairness, I did do all the things I told Self I was doing, so that did contribute to it taking an embarrassingly long 7 months to finish. However the other main contributors were the yarn, which was slippery and the needles which were too (dumb dumb. Wooden needles for alpaca, Kate!!). And the interminable collar. Now I have to say that I’m annoyed that I like the collar best of all the things I’ve tried for collars. It is however VERY SLOW knitting… ribbing with knit and purl twisted stitches. It makes a great collar. It takes forever. Especially when the yarn is slippy and you’re ready to throw it at the wall. So mainly a yarn choice issue. I love the finished sweater, but this one was definitely a product knit, not a process knit.

So I then emptied the yarn bag on the floor, making a giant mess and once again confirming that half of it is scraps and things that I don’t know what to do with. So I grabbed the bag of scraps and ran to knit night, where I formed a plan for a blanket which will eat those scraps and leave me with breathing room in the bag. Which I suspect I will need, as I’m heading to Rhinebeck next month. And that may require a little room in the bag for some new yarn…

Colors

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

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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!

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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.

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