a girl and her boy

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Tag Archives: lace

Progress has been Achieved!

The cowl is done! Now for the bands around the armholes and blocking. It fits perfectly and looks great. And it is oh-so-warm!

Next up for non-sock project (NSP) is the lace watch cap in Knit Picks Elegance in Raisin with the scarf to follow. The two sock projects are slowly but surely getting there.


Weekend Warriors

Little Abby

Little Abby

I’m so exhausted: the last three days have been busier than the last two weeks combined. It all started the day of my reception when I found out that my cousin Tracy’s baby was being baptized. I immediately went out and purchased yarn for a little cardigan that you’ve seen posts on the last few days. That little cardigan kicked my butt. It took so much longer than I ever expected. Saturday night I was up until 2 am trying to finish that thing. I got one button band done and decided to finish the rest on the hour and more car ride to Western Maine only to realize the next day that I picked up way too many stitches. The poor sweater was crinkled and bunched from it. I showed it to my cousin and let her know I’d fix it and mail it. At least she saw that I indeed had something for little Abigail. Tracy wasn’t worried. As a matter of fact, she loves the cardigan and can’t wait until I mail it out.

Allan enjoying the get-together, and the sun.

Allan enjoying the get-together, and the sun.

Spending time with my maternal extended family was cathartic. I distanced myself from them around 2003 when I began acknowledging the full extent of my childhood experiences and the truth of my parents’ actions because my only interactions with them to that point were through my parents – either going with them to visit or hearing about them from my parents. My need to heal emotionally led me to pull away from my family, and even some friends, to what felt like a safe, secluded space. And now, five years later, married, happier than I’ve ever been in my life, I was able to reconnect with them. And it was wonderful beyond measure.

My parents were unable to attend the baptism and following barbecue, which allowed me to interact with my family for the first time in my life without them. And further, I’m an adult with an adult perspective. I was able to fully be myself around my family because I tend to limit my emotional and verbal responses when my parents are around because of the pain and memories their presence evokes. For the first time since I was a child, I have an extended family.

We left western Maine mid-afternoon and promptly got lost in a very similar manner to Amy’s experience in the same region. It took us nearly two and a half hours to return from Andover. By the time we drove into the dooryard, I was tired, hungry and cranky. So, of course, we immediately left again to visit Allan’s parents in Vassalboro, another 35 minute drive away. It was worth it, though, as I had a long and leisurely swim in my MIL’s heated therapy pool (pool house built off the main house). It was a dream.

We got back from Sunday’s adventures around 11 pm. Monday’s adventures began at 10 am when we left to visit Grammie in Camden, about an hour and a half away. Earlier in our adventures, Allan’s only pair of sandals blew out and so we had to try and find another pair. We scoured three stores in Augusta only to find cheap, uncomfortable, and limited selections of sandals for far more than we would consider paying. This made us really cranky and made the additional car time a real joy.

We ended up arriving in Camden about 2 hours later than we estimated because of our delayed morning start (groggy) and searching for sandals.

Allan and his Grammie

Allan and his Grammie

From there our adventures started looking up. We went into Camden in search of lunch, intending on eating at this new wine bar, but they were closed. So, on our way to check out other place to eat, we ended up stopping into Sage as they just opened a shop in downtown Camden, and I fell in love. If I could live anywhere I wanted, I’d live in a coastal town similar to the Rockland/Rockport/Camden area. After ogling the spices and wine, we sallied forth and found a shoe shop where Allan finally found a pair of sandals that were comfortable, well made, and reasonably priced! Hallelujah! From there, we sought out a Japanese restaurant, but come to find out, they, too, were not open on Monday. We ended up eating at this great little Thai place. The food was to die for.

thai food - yum!

thai food - yum!

Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca Wool

After lunch, I brought Allan and Grammie to Unique One Sweater and Yarn where we were mesmerized and tantalized by the gorgeous stock. I walked out with three balls of Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca wool to make a Reversible Cable and Lace scarf. See, I told you I’m getting better, and braver! Two lace projects lined up!

Frog Tree Fingering Alpaca Wool

The adventures didn’t end there. We stopped by a market, grabbed stuff for kabobs, and went back to the cottage. We drank wine (Gnarly Head Cab), at cheese and crackers (rice crackers with a light honey glaze and blue cheese), and talked about old times. It was a great night.

And now, here I am, Tuesday, exhausted. Any wonder why? 🙂

Cardigan Progress

(Don’t forget to scroll down for the contest!)

I’m getting there. I have to sit down and crank out the stiches today, but I can certainly get it done. This little cardigan is taking longer than I expected but not as long as I feared.

I’ve had to make some changes along the way, no major ones, but ones I wouldn’t have been brave enough to make even 8 months ago. It’s amazing how the learning curve works in knitting: fearing a process, getting through it, and then realizing it wasn’t so bad and that it allows you to do so many more things than you thought possible.

That’s one of the great things about this cardigan: I’m realizing how much I’ve grown as a knitter and how fearless and competent I’m becoming. I feel like I can go off the beaten path and solve my own problems now. A year ago I would have set the project aside worried that I’d make a terrible mess of it. Now, I know that it will be wonderful. Isn’t this great? I love knitting confidence!

(Don’t forget to scroll down for the contest!)

Holy Progress, Batman!

I cast on for Abby’s cardi last night and am making major progress. I’m loving this cardi! I’m keeping this pattern around for future projects for sure.

One thing I failed to take into consideration until after I got past the lace-bit is that I’m knitting with a cotton-blend and not wool as the pattern calls for. I nearly panicked, but then remembered the vast and wonderful resources available through Ravelry. Within two minutes I had my problem resolved!

What I did is instead of ripping out my work and starting over, I simply switched over to US size 4 needles after the lace which was done in US size 6. The fabric is more firmly knit which will decrease the cotton-droop. Speaking of the cotton, I’m really enjoying working with the Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. When I began knitting “real” projects and made the commitment to only knit with good yarns, I mentally crossed Lion Brand, and most stuff found at chain craft stores, off the list. Out of the feeling of urgency I went to Michaels and purchased the Cotton-Ease. And well, I actually like it, so far. We’ll see if this holds true after washing and blocking the sweater.

Further, this sweater represents my first successful lace knitting! My previous attempts were during the days of twisting my purl stitches and not doing yarn overs correctly. I now feel brave enough to tackle a few lace projects that I’ve attempted but put aside in the last few years.

Specifically, about four years ago I attempted the Lace Watch Cap and Scarf designed by Karen Braun found in Handspun Handknit Caps, Socks, Mittens & Gloves. I tried and tried for months to get it to come out right. Now I understand that it was simply because of the twisted purls and incorrect YOs. I pulled the book out, read the pattern over, and I now know that I am ready to revisit this project.

In celebration, I took some of the wedding gift money, with Allan’s permission of course, and ordered some yarn to knit it with. I ordered Elegance Yarn in Raisin. I can’t wait to cast on for this again!

But, this project will have to wait as I have a backlog of projects. Let’s list it to see how deep it is (as of now, I’m not sure until I write it down…).

These are all things that are on the needles or need some finishing:

  1. Abby’s cardigan
  2. Abby’s socks (will cast on after cardi)
  3. Abby’s hat (will cast on after cardi)
  4. Ken’s Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern
  5. Cabled Cowl-Neck Vest
  6. Grammie’s Cowl (needs to be frogged and reknit with more stitches)
  7. Oak Ribbed Sock (set aside to make Ken’s socks)
  8. Justin’s scarf and hat set

Okay, not too bad. Now for the things that I purchased yarn for that I either started or put off:

  1. Sheldon the Turtle for Justin
  2. Lacy Shrug (had intended it for my wedding… oh well)
  3. and probably others…

And now for the yarn that I’ve purchased with intentions of using hopefully before this coming spring:

  1. Opal sock yarn (for me)
  2. Austermann sock yarn (for Allan)
  3. Knit Picks Palette for Allan-socks
  4. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Allan-socks
  5. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Jen-socks
  6. plus other things I can’t think of because they’re buried so deep in the stash…

I have a lot of knitting to do this fall and winter! Yay! I’m going to create a page on my blog to keep this list and update it.

So, I’m off to knit!

First Day of My (New) Knitting Life.

Michele changed my life. I walked into Fiberphilia with my lacy shrug in tow hoping to make progress on it after months of struggling with this project. I ripped out the previous work, untangled the mess of bamboo spaghetti, wound it up, and proceeded to knit the three inches of 1×1 ribbing. I get to the part where I am supposed to increase from 45 to 55 stitches in the last row of ribbing and I ask Michelle for suggestions on how to do this. “Knit the front and the back of a stitch,” she said. She suggested other methods as well, but said this would be the best for this particular project. I went back to the knitting room to work on it while she rang up the customer at the counter and then she joined me in the knitting room. She took one look at my project and said, “you’re twisting your stitches.” This, my friends, is the moment my knitting life changed.

You see, my grandmother taught me to knit when I was six years old in Byron, Maine. I’ve been doing nothing but acrylic garter stitch monstrosities up until six years ago when I finally taught myself, using the power of the internet, the purl stitch. Come to find out I taught myself the purl stitch incorrectly.

Instead of going down into the stitch and laying the yarn over the top to carry through, I come around the bottom of the needle and wrap it. I’ve been twisting my purls all these years. My life is changed! I pulled out some spare needles and spare wool and knit six rows in proper purl and it looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before coming off my needles. It was simply beautiful.

My transformation didn’t end there. I also decided that today would be the day I learn to carry the strand properly. All these years I carried it in my right hand pinched under my pinky and I’d pick it up with my forefinger and thumb when I wanted to move it over a stitch. I’d drop it and pick it up between each stitch; definitely not the most economical motion. Bravely, I learned how to not only knit, but purl, using the continental method of holding the yarn. I spent an hour at Fiberphilia practicing the continental method of holding the yarn and purling correctly. I felt like I was learning how to knit for the very first time. And my friends, I was.

I am a brand new knitter! Today is the first day of the rest of my knitting life!