Mom asked for a scarf with a hood in "winter white". If my mom asks for something knitted, she gets it. I was nearly finished sewing the pompoms onto my fantastically gorgeous yet-to-be-blogged Advent Mystery KAL shawl and in need of a fresh project (I ...
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"mostly, I knit" - 5 new articles

  1. happiness
  2. Instagram is full of KNITTING!!
  3. I didn't need it, but...
  4. quick, cute, conflicted
  5. Reunited and it feels so gooooood!
  6. More Recent Articles


Mom asked for a scarf with a hood in "winter white". If my mom asks for something knitted, she gets it. I was nearly finished sewing the pompoms onto my fantastically gorgeous yet-to-be-blogged Advent Mystery KAL shawl and in need of a fresh project (I think Mom can sense these things), so I spent a happy half hour with Ravelry's supercharged pattern search and decided to knit this one by Lisa Ellis. It calls for worsted weight wool. Since I have an embarrassingly large stash, you might expect that I have plenty of worsted weight yarn to choose from...but you would be wrong. I have very little worsted weight yarn and none in superwash, which is a requirement for my itch-sensitive family. However, I do have enough fingering weight yarn for several knitting lifetimes. Fingering weight held double nearly always makes a good substitute for worsted if at least one of the strands is Wollmeise, so--phew!--I didn't have to break my six-day streak of not buying yarn.

This is where it gets fun. I thought I might get bored knitting the whole thing out of plain old white (the creamy white of undyed wool), but I didn't want to stray too far from Mom's request, either. I decided to combine one strand of Wollmeise Twin in Natur with one strand of a fabulous new yarn in my collection, Peepaloo Fields Standard Sock in the splashy speckled colorway Tough Cookie. I love this colorway! I couldn't imagine how I would use it, never having used a yarn dyed quite this way, with the random non-repeated splashes of color on a mostly plain ground, but I bought it anyway. It was just too cool.

This is how it looks:

I love the subtle random specks and chunks of color, and I love this squishy half-cable stitch pattern. I haven't used it before. I'll probably use it again. I'm knitting with size US8 needles as recommended in the pattern, but expect it would make an equally lovely fabric on size US9...but believe it or not I don't have any 9s (I probably have 100 sets of needles, so I don't know how this has happened). I usually go down by one or two needle sizes, so perhaps this designer is a loose knitter like I am.

And a closeup:
Love, love, love. It's hard to stop knitting because I want to see what the yarn will do next! 

I've been sitting by the Wintermas tree knitting this lovely thing (for my darling mom) while watching holiday movies. And there's snow outside. And my son will be home soon. Doesn't get much better.


Instagram is full of KNITTING!!

A few years ago, a dear but distant friend of mine (we'll call her B) stopped using Facebook. This made me sad. I love Facebook because it keeps me in touch with friends like B. It keeps them an active part of my life, even when they're far away. With all its well-documented flaws, Facebook is great for that (it's great for other things, too, and I am strongly pro-Facebook, but that's another post). 

When she stopped using Facebook, B told me she was using Instagram and loving it. That sounded interesting, so I created an account, uploaded a profile pic, and started looking around. But I just didn't understand. You couldn't upload from a computer! You had to upload from a phone! I love taking photos, but I use a camera, not a phone, and I use Photoshop to process my photos. The unprocessed images from my low-IQ pseudo-smartphone weren't anything I wanted to share. How were those IG people posting such gorgeous pictures? How was one supposed to get the photos from the good camera to the desktop to the phone? I found some apps that would do the job, but it all seemed so complicated. And I didn't get the whole Instagram thing. I'd been photosharing on Flickr for years, and Flickr was quietly dying (well, Yahoo was killing it, but the end result was the same). How was Instagram different?

Of course, Instagram is different. Sometime last spring I got interested again. I finally got a real smartphone with a (sort of) decent camera and actual memory, so I could install a photo editor to edit my phone pics and Dropbox to move the pics around. Perfect! (Full disclosure: I got the new phone a year ago last spring. It took me a whole year to feel comfortable with it, stop playing Bubble Witch, and start exploring the World of Things One Can Do With a Decent Smartphone. I've never seen myself as one to lag behind, but yeah, I lagged.) 

I still didn't get the IG thing, but I started posting occasionally. I followed people I knew, and then some people I didn't know, and then more and more of the people related to the people I was already following (and I hardly knew who any of them really were because most of them have different usernames on different platforms and the profile pics are tiny and I can't keep them straight, but I've started keeping a cheat sheet so that's getting better)...and all of a sudden I found myself immersed in Instagram World. Specifically, Knitting Instagram World. And what a world it is! I thought Ravelry was the only way to interact with Knitting World. Now I get it. Instagram and I are going to be very happy together. Thank you, B!

Except, of course, I'm about five years late to the party and no doubt the platform is about to fade into obscurity to be replaced by some hot new thing that I won't hear about for another three years. But that's okay. Knitting will endure.


I didn't need it, but...

Madagascan Sunset Moth
I broke my nearly four-month-long yarn fast for these beauties.

The yarn is Mithril from the Verdant Gryphon. It's a lovely laceweight merino, plied tightly enough to have some body but not so tightly that it loses its softness. One of my favorite yarns.

The color is Madagascan Sunset Moth. I already had one skein of it in my stash, so when I saw these skeins pop up at a discount, I grabbed them. Well, no, that's not true. I didn't want to break my streak of not-buying yarn, so I thought about it for over a week before finally deciding to which point there were only two skeins remaining of the original three. So I guess I only needed two.

Madagascan Sunset Moth
This is my existing skein of the same color in the same base. Looks a little different, doesn't it? It isn't unusual for hand-dyed yarns to vary from batch to batch, but this is a big difference. It probably reflects the change in ownership and management at the Verdant Gryphon.

I don't mind, really; I'll just treat them as two different colors. They're all gorgeous.

Madagascan Sunset Moth

I also have Madagascan Sunset Moth from VG on Traveller, a DK weight base. Looks like a cross between the the first two. I'd like to use this in a textured stitch pattern for the yoke on a solid color (maybe gray?) stockinette stitch cardigan. I just have to choose the solid color, buy it, design the sweater, and knit it. I'm sure I'll get to it one of these days.

Madagascan Sunset Moth

Here's a real Madagascan Sunset Moth, in case you were wondering.

quick, cute, conflicted

C's Tee
This is the last thing I finished before my Summer of Not Knitting: a sweet little top for my small friend Cecilia, who loves wearing handknits made especially for her.

The pattern is Alice Tee by Helen Rose, and the yarn is (of course) Wollmeise Pure in the mindblowing Rittersporn (Delphinium) colorway. I'd heard people rave about this color but hadn't seen it in person until I got this skein. The camera does not do it justice. It seems to glow with its own purple-y inner light.

It was a quick knit and a well-written pattern (although of course I made some modifications, because patterns are made to be ignored adapted).*

Cute, isn't it? Except I hated it. I hated it and I was on a deadline: Cecilia's new sibling was due within days, and I needed to get a package posted off to England for them.

But even after blocking, this piece curled and curled, at the hem and even at the sleeve cuffs. (Look at those tiny sleeves! There isn't enough cuff to curl! But they were curling.) Curliest damned stockinette stitch I have ever encountered.

glowing with its own
purple-y inner light
yep, the sleeves are still curling it's gorgeous!

I knew it needed a good steaming and possibly some bias tape sewn in, but my itis-y elbow precluded precision hand-sewing and it was HOT for ironing. Who wants to wield steam when it's 90+ degrees? (I've mentioned our record-breaking Long Hot Summer in a previous post, but I'll say it again: it was a scarily persistent hot, dry summer and I found it difficult to bear.)

So I tossed it aside for more than a month...and I felt anxious every time I looked at it. Then I covered it up so I couldn't see it, which helped.

I didn't get to finish steaming 
Finally, on one of the hotter days of this hot summer (did I mention it was hot?), I broke down and fired up the iron, then started steaming those damned curly edges. It was immensely satisfying to watch them submit. I went over the hem two or three times, then started on the sleeves...and suddenly noticed a distinct lack of steam. No steam, no pleasant whooshing noise, no evocative hot-iron smell, and very little heat. I touched the sole plate and did not get burned (please don't try this at home). The heat of the day must have been too much for it. My iron had expired.

But it was enough. C's curly tee was redeemed! I loved it again and I loved the whole world with it (besides, I'd been wanting a new iron). I slapped it on a hanger and ventured out into the glaring sunshine of climate apocalypse to take a few photos.

Cecilia loves it.

*For Knitters Only: I changed the increases to be more noticeable (more decorative) in the yoke section and less noticeable in the body (going down either side of the lace "placket"). I can't remember the actual increases I used, though, and sadly I did not make notes at the time.

Reunited and it feels so gooooood!

My knitting and I are back together and everything is gonna be all right! It was a long hot summer here in Rochester, and without my sweet stitches to hold it all together, I felt every record-setting minute of it.

My elbow is still not 100%, so I'm trying to limit the knitting to every other day...but I am knitting and life is good. I feel almost like myself again. I don't know if it was the not-knitting or the bizarre weather, but this summer flirted with the surreal and I am glad to see it gone. Funny how a couple of sticks and a 100-gram ball of wool can keep you grounded.

ginormous laceweight cardigan = many teeny stitches
I've been grounded under considerably more than 100 grams of wool with my current project, though, which hasn't been entirely pleasant given the crazy temperatures. (90 degrees in September? In Rochester? Crazy.) Finally, I'm making some real progress on the Ginormous Cardigan on Teeny Needles.

You may remember me enthusing about this piece last June when I brought it out of hibernation. The poor thing had to be set aside for yet another couple of months because of my elbow, but now it's back in hand and taking shape. Since I took this pic, I've finished the back, joined the shoulders, and started the left sleeve. I may actually finish it one day!

I have five skeins in this colorway and no two of them match, so I've been changing skeins at random intervals throughout. I like the distressed effect.

Knitting optimist that I am, I'm already looking forward to wearing it this fall. Think good thoughts for my elbow so I can keep on knitting!

Edited to add: Gave myself an earworm with that title. Regretting it.

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