Sunday, January 31, 2016

A New Church Home?

I know I said I would share photo of my finished Lilic Cardigan, and it will come, I promise. But first, a step on my journey.

This weekend was my first weekend seeking for a new church. I talked with several friends, and had several offers for me to accompany them to their churches. But I had the feeling I was being called to the Catholic Church. In a way, it is like completing a journey. I started many years ago in a little Wesleyan Methodist church, progressing to Methodist/United Methodist for many years from upper elementary through college. After several more years I attended Catholic Mass with friends many times, I even occasionally played guitar at Saturday Mass. I considered making the change permanent, but thought it was too big a leap. Then I discovered the Episcopal church. It felt like home. It was my church home for more than 30 years.

But in recent years, it felt like it was changing in ways I was uncomfortable with. The three legs the church was supposed to be balanced on seemed to be more like it was teetering on one leg. The scriptural teaching and traditions seemed lacking.

So, when I attended one of the nearby Catholic churches Saturday I was pleasantly wrapped in a sense of worship. The homily was not a talk about the beliefs of the priest, but was based on the scriptures. He touched on the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel readings, tying them all together in a Bible based message. I felt closer to Christ than I had for a long time at my old church. I was moved to tears. I felt that I had worshipped. I will give it a few weeks to be sure, but I may be done looking.

And if you are only here for the sweater, here it is, buttons and all. I think I like it. The Lilac Cardigan, just waiting to be gifted and worn.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

All Over But the Blocking

The Lilac Cardigan will soon be ready to go to live with the Purple Princess.

With the pieces all knit last week it was just a matter of sewing up. And I may have mentioned that I hate sewing up modified drop sleeves. Before that could be done, the shoulders needed to be seamed closed. Here is one sewn, one waiting.

With the shoulders done came the fussy part with the sleeves. I am never quite sure of the best way to work them.

After pinning them around the shoulders, I decided the best thing to do was to sew up the sleeve to the orange markers. Then I could sew the rest of the sleeve into bottom of the arm and continue around the arm. And then repeat on the other side.

As easy as pie.

All remaining in the picture above is the neckband and buttons. Those are now done. But the picture of the finished sweater will wait till my next post.

That way I know someone will read my next post.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A New Sweater? Quick!

I am frantically trying to finish up some of my projects.  The baby sweater must be finished very soon, and I would like to get a good whack done on my Navy Encore Tweed Vest. Why, you ask?  Good Question.
I slipped in to the rabbit hole again and am getting ready to start another sweater.  Hey, one of my goals was to knit at least one or maybe two sweaters for me this year.  So, I am following through on that.  But the rabbit hole was one I didn't see coming.
I love reading posts from several blogs.  One of the ones that has been re-activated recently is Mason-Dixon Knitting.  The blog is managed by two ladies, one from Manhattan, and one from Nashville who blog back and forth.  They have also written some knitting books together, including a new adult coloring book, with knitting based pictures!
This past week, one of the posts on the blog was about beating boredom by "Banging Out a Sweater."  The idea was to knit, a loose gauge, Icelandic yoke sweater.  The suggested sweater was Stopover, and is pictured at the link to the blog posting.  Since it was a pullover, I have to say, I was resisting quite nicely.  The next day however, an alternative sweater was listed, for cardigan lovers. Or the idea of how to "cardiganize"the pullover.  I was smitten by the Freyja.  It is a bit tighter gauge, but equally lovely.  (That link will take you to the Ravelry page for the free pattern.)
I even went so far as to order "yarn" called for.
Why the quotation marks?  Because the yarn called for is unspun Icelandic wool.  It is more like a loose pencil roving, very delicate, but strong when knit, due the the long staple of the yarn.  So basically knitting with a strand of fluff.
The other thing is that the yarn was ordered from Reykjavik Iceland,with 6 to 12 day shipping.  Even with the humungous shipping charges, it was cheaper than ordering it from a local online store. Besides, there is something kind of neat about knitting an Icelandic sweater with Icelandic wool.  I will miss the February 1st start date, but that is ok.
And did I mention the sweater is steeked?  That means when I get done knitting it in the round, I cut it up the front to make it a cardigan.  Then the hard part, crocheting around the edges.
And since I have no pictures in this post, just links.  Here is a photo of my pensive Leo, basking in the sun.
Nice kitty.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Active Little Farmer

I am remembering why children are for the young. This little guy is non-stop action. Grandparents need to be able to leave and rest.
He can empty a toy box in no time. Much faster than I can fill it back up.
Any break is only long enough to see if kitty will let him pet her.
Usually the answer is no.
Hoo hum. I think my bed is calling me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


This is an old snow picture, from 2009. But you get the idea. This weather has been up and down, warm and cold. Not a decent snowfall yet.

There have been other changes in my life too. After a run of 27 years attending my local church, I decided it was time for a change. The reasons are too varied and too many to discuss here. You are invited to e-mail or message me if you want particulars. Basically I was finding myself at odds with the national, diocesan and local levels of the church. And I was being fed spiritually in places other than my church. The time has come to move on, move forward.

This also involves a change of venue for Knit Nite as well. The new location will be announced as soon as plans are set.

Normally I hate change. But at times it's necessary. And hey, I think a quiz on Facebook said that my word of the year is Change. I guess so.

Wish me luck.

Monday, January 25, 2016

One Down, One to Go

The first sleeve is finished for the Lilac Cardigan intended for the Purple Princess. The second is on the needles and increases are in progress.

Then of course comes sewing up. And I hate sewing up modified drop sleeves. But, I do want to finish this so.....


Sunday, January 24, 2016

From the Bottom of the Basket

I reached down into the bottom of my knitting basket for this one. I had set it aside because, while it was easy and brainless work, I needed to keep track of the number of stitches. Counting this many stitches is not easy at Knit Nite. Too much talking going on.

I counted off 100 stitches, then another group of twenty, setting them off with my trusty stitch markers. From there it was much easier to keep track of the remaining stitches until I reached the magic number of 144 stitches.

This will be the center square of the baby hap shawl. Now I need to decrease each row until I get down to two stitches. Then I start the lace rows, knit around the outside of the square. The feather and fan rows will be in multiple colors, with an emphasis on purple.

But until then, it's brainless knitting again.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Reading Roundup

While the deep (and not so deep) South and Eastern Seaboard are staggering under a real snowstorm this weekend, here in Michigan we are snow covered and sunny. A gorgeous day, all in all.

I believe I mentioned on an earlier post how I had started a reading journal this year, to track my reading, as well as to record books I want to read in the future. (It is the January 14 post, if you are interested, called Knitting and Reading, link in the sidebar.)

I am making pretty good progress on my To Be Read List. I have managed to finish the last two Miss Marple books. And I was very glad to see that Agatha Christie did not kill her off. It must have been Miss Christie's on demise that caused Miss Marples death.

I am continuing my mystery streak with book three in the Lady Darby mysteries, "A Grave Matter." And, I have returned to the book that I lost and ended up paying the library replacement costs. No, it didn't turn up. I ended up buying it on Kindle. That book is "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stephanie Schiff. I usually buy books for my Nook and Kindle apps that are discounted. I really hated paying twice for this one.

I also opened Spoon River Anthology again. I like it, but never stuck to it last time I started to read it. It is one book that may be easier to follow in a paper form rather than an e- book. Only because I kept wanted to leaf back to poems about people I had already read. Maybe I can finish it this time, even if it is on Nook. I still do most of my reading on the apps, so I can knit.

I think I may like this journaling my reading. It makes me more accountable.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Kitty Kisses, Kitty Sneezes

Not a lot of knitting done today, although some progress has been done on the Lilac Cardigan. The first sleeve is almost finished. And I have been dabbling with some of my other knitting projects of course.

My biggest obstacle is shown above. Lewie loves to lay on my shoulder when I knit or play on my tablet. It is not a problem for a few minutes, but he doesn't stay up there. He slides. Just far enough that he gets in the way of knitting or reading as shown in the picture

I could put up with it, but he apparently has allergies. And sneezes. Usually while on my shoulder.


But he is a purring machine. That gives him a lot of leeway.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Stop the Insanity

Once again we see panic all over the news. Another Snowmedegon is descending upon the East coast and the South. Now granted, that area doesn't do snow well. An inch of snow already this afternoon had commuters in a deadlock going home in Washington DC. Relax people! Where you live, it will all be melted in a couple days. Stay home and knit. Or something. It's the weekend, just hunker down and enjoy yourself. (Ok, in their defense, Washington DC is projected to get between one to two feet.)

I think the weather reports and storm warnings have gotten a bit ridiculous recently. Before this weekend's south and east disaster-in-the-making crept into my awareness, I saw a weather advisory for northern Michigan, in the Petoskey and Emmet County area a couple days ago. But it was a warning for 1-3 inches! Really? In Northwest Michigan? That is just normal winter weather for Michigan. And when they build this normal weather as a huge storm, you tend to treat it as crying wolf when a real storm comes. I wish they would save the advisories for the truly bad weather, not normal seasonal weather.

Ok, rant over. So for putting up with my raving lunacy, I will treat you to Little Farmer with his "buddy" Snowflake. He loves the kitty. Snowflake does not reciprocate the feeling.

Nice kitty.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Last Look

I shared a couple photos yesterday of my Gertrude modeling my Stonehenge Hitchhiker that was finished yesterday. At Knit Night this evening I had the opportunity to have pictures taken while I modeled it.

I really love the drape of this. And it has plenty of warmth for me. Wool will do that. I especially like the crescent or boomerang shaping of the Hitchhicker too.

It goes well with my gray and silver hair too. Ha!

The more I look at this, the more I think I will be making another before long. Or at least sometime this year, after catching up on some of my other projects..

Monday, January 18, 2016

Another Project Off The Needles

The Stonehenge Hitchhicker is done. I really like it. I may try it out for a while to be sure, but I think the reddish metallic rayon may become one of these, with the additions of eyelet rows.

First, after finishing the seven pattern rows, I had to play a game of yarn chicken.

As you can see above, I didn't have much left for casting off.

But I made it. Just a few inches lefty or weaving in.

It looks pretty good on Gertrude too. (I may need to replace the old girl this year, she has developed a definite lean.). Front...

...and back.

The pattern is Hitchiker and I purchased it as part of a four pattern set. The yarn is two skeins of Stonehenge Mills, natural colored, mill ends. It was purchased several years ago from their stall at the Charlevoix Fiber Show. And, as you can see, I knit until the yarn ran out.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Technology, Isn't It Great?

I discovered my technical problems and finally have them resolved. I had downloaded a news reader. When signing in, it asked for my e-mail address and password. Well, silly me, I thought it wanted the password I had established for that program previously. It kept rejecting it so it wanted me to set a new one. Unfortunately it was my e-mail password that got changed. That meant my google apps weren't talking to my tablet and vice-versa. I think everything is updated and functioning now.

Which means I have pictures available now.

The back section went much quicker after I ended with the lace.

I have the left front well on its way, then the right front and sleeves, seaming and neck. I may have it finished before she gets to size 12 months.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Knowledgeable Knitters Know

Yes, they all know that exciting feeling when a bottom up, one piece sweater finally reaches the underarm divide. This time is even better, because now I am done with the lace and can do straight, easy peasy stockinette stitch.

Doing knitting happy dance.

Reached armhole divide,

Now cruising on to the end.

I have a very nice picture of the Lilac Cardigan, showing that I have reached the arm/back separation. However, the Internet is feeling groggy and my photos won't sync up. I'm not even sure if I can post this. So imagine if you will, an expanse of lilac lace, with the center section continued a couple inches farther, in stockinette. Pictures will follow when the Internet feels better.

I can almost see the end in sight. I may have to scour around in the button tin soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading and Knitting

With all the knitting going on here, you would think that is all I have been doing in my spare time. But that isn't so. I have been doing a fair amount of reading too. And even discovered podcasts!

One of my fiber friends posted something on Facebook around the first of the year with a link to a blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy. It was a list of books. I can't remember if they were must reads, or favorite reads or what. I went to the link and was fascinated by the website. As a result, I signed up for the newsletter and am following the blog. And I started a reading journal. In addition to the knitting, I am tracking my reading.

It is very interesting. I am on the verge of finishing my journey through the Mrs. Marple novels on my Nook and Kindle apps. Just one more after the one I'm on now. I am on the third book in another historical mystery series, the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber, and recently read another e-book in the Hildegarde Withers mystery series. I picked that one based on an old movie I had seen based on the book: The Penguin Pool Mystery. And I have already found another series I want to read, the Maisie Dobbs series.

You would think that would cut back on my knitting time, but actually not. That is why I love e-books. I can prop up my tablet and read merrily along while knitting up a storm.

If you love to read, and write, I do recommend e-books as well as keeping a reading journal. I even broke down and bought a copy for my kindle app of that stupid book I lost back in December. And no, the original book still hasn't turned up.

Oh yes, I started another slipper yesterday, and am over half way through the first one, thanks to reading and knitting.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Zillionaire Fever

The news has been abuzz all week or more with the latest gianormous lottery jackpot. It may be fun to dream, but a billion and a half? What would that do to a person or family? I cannot even think of it.

Of course, I don't have to think of it, seeing as how I didn't buy any tickets. And if I were, I think I would buy for the Michigan lottery, not Power Ball. The Power Ball odds are now so bad, that no one has won (possibly with the exception of tonight) since they rigged the odds to make bigger jackpots in November. Or in other words, they made it harder to win.

So instead, I will dwell on Grammy time with my handsome Little Farmer.

But just in case, I did remind both sons that their cousin is a financial and investment advisor.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reading Your Knitting

I find that is is a very useful thing to be able to read your knitting.

That fact has come back to me as I return to the Lilac Cardigan. Since I knit while watching tv, I don't always catch a misstep on the purl return row. But I do try to pay attention on the pattern rows. And I have gotten pretty good at reading the pattern to tell when I am off a stitch or two.

Now that I can see how the pattern stitches stack up, I find, if necessary, I can drop down a couple rows and correct the missing yarn overs. And occasionally even finagle my way through a "sl, k2 tog, psso" that is in the wrong place or incomplete. But only if absolutely necessary.

But bear in mind, I know my limits. As darkness falls, I still need to have sense enough to put this down I favor of a garter stitch shawl, or a stockinette vest. Fewer unplanned "design elements" that way.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Socks Class

I have been reviewing my new (free!) Craftsy class on socks. It has three pairs as a knit along with a pink haired Lucy Neatby hosting and instructing. So of course, I ended up swatching and casting on. I haven't actually measured and swatched socks in a long rime, so I thought this would be a good time, as I try to follow the instructions for the first sock pattern, Smocked Guernsey Socks. There will be two new patterns the first of February and March. So I need to get cracking on these. No pictures yet.

On the Stonehenge Hitchhicker front, I have finished the first yarn cake and have done a good chunk on the second one. Even on the needles it is looking pretty good.

And extremely warm.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mystery Project Finished

There are times when a good quick project is just the thing you need.

I shared some cryptic pictures previously. And now the project is finished. That link will take you the Ravelry page for the project.

Just to prolong the agony for those who don't click the link, here is another hint.

If that doesn't help, how about this one?

They look like little bags, don't they?

But here they are after seaming and trying on.

They are stretchy, comfy, and warm Mary Jane style slippers for me. The pattern is Pocketbook Slippers, and are a free pattern on Ravelry. I didn't want anything too warm, so a single strand of worsted is perfect for me, as opposed to the ones that were part of my Christmas knitting. I figure these are so compact I can tuck them into my purse or tote to have handy when I want to take my winter boots. I can see having a couple pairs of these to keep handy.

I need to see what else I can find in the stash for a pair. They took less than half a skein for the pair.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Oops, I Started Something New

I turned around, and there was some yarn from the stash on my lap. (Small dog for scale.)

Next thing I knew, there was something new on my needles.

I will let you puzzle over just what it is. But it is over half done in this picture. And I need to make another.

More on it next time.