26 March 2017

The Big Reveal

Earlier in the week, I mentioned waiting for Saturday to take some good photos of a finished project, since it was supposed to be a sunny, bright day.  It was a bright sunny day.  And I did remember that I'd wanted to take a picture ... at about 8:00 p.m.

Oh well.

So rather than wait any longer, you're getting the photo I took on the bed in the guest bedroom earlier today - since the bedspread is white, I knew it would at least show up well!

At long last, the Park Slope Blackbird is finished, blocked, repaired, and ready to be worn!

Hopefully, some day I will be able to get a better picture, so you can see the colors that run through the yarn - green, lighter green, black, and then every once in a while, a speck of turquoise.

When I finished knitting it, I laid it out to see how it looked - nor perfect, but not bad.  And the little bit of yarn above is what I had left in in the skein.

Then when I blocked it, I noticed a large hole, where a stitch had dropped - ugh!  (In the photo, it's in the right side, in the border.)  I decided that once it was dry and blocked, I'd see what I could do.  I couldn't quite figure out what to do, so I improvised and just mended it.  I feel it's not really noticeable in the end, and as long as I don't care, I'm happy with it.

Project:  Park Slope Blackbird (so named because I started it when we were visiting my niece, her husband, and their little girl, who live in the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn ... of course they do, right?) (Rav link)
Pattern:  Multnomah, by Kate Ray (a free pattern)
Needles:  Size US3
Yarn:  Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes, in the Blackbird Batik colorway
Modifications:  None
Notes:  Well, you have heard the saga of how this was WIP for years, because I'd messed up the border.  Once I decided I was determined to finish it, I still couldn't get the border to work.  After several attempts to figure things out, I finally went to the designer's website and read through the pattern line by line for the border, and figured it out - it was punctuation that was the problem!  I'd printed the pattern a while back, and a change had been made, but not noted as errata.  So the copy I had read for the beginning of the 3rd row:  K2T three times, yo, k1 six times, etc.  What it *now* says is:  K2T three times, (yo, k1) six times, etc.  Well, that makes a HUGE difference!  I sent a note to the designer, and she said since it was a matter of punctuation, she didn't mark it as errata.  So if you had this pattern from a while back, print out the one currently on Ravelry, or you'll be as confused/frustrated as I was!

Having said all of that, I just love this shawl, and can even see making this pattern again down the road.  Now that it's straight to me, it's really an easy, pretty knit, especially if you don't usually knit lace.

Of course, my assistant felt the need to "style" the photoshoot ...

Sigh.  It took about 20 minutes until Jack decided to just hang with Jetsam, instead of "helping" me.

I feel like in this photo, Jetsam is the one sighing ... :-)

Right now, I'm working on the first sleeve of the previously mentioned Custom Fit sweater, and I've started another pair of socks.

The yarn is Ty Dy, which I've never heard of or tried before.  The color changes seem kinda weird so far.  And the part that looks tan in this photo is actually more of a medium brown.  I have no idea what these might even start to look like as I keep knitting - I'll keep you posted!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend - I plan to do the same, trust me. :-)

21 March 2017

The One Where I Ask Myself: WHO AM I?????

I think in my last post, I mentioned something about how I was getting so much knitting done, that I almost didn't recognize myself.  Well, over the past couple of days, I've realized that the question is completely legitimate, because ... well, you'll see.

First of all, my promised FO #2 will not be in this post.  I would like to see if I could get a really nice photo of it, and according to the weather report, this coming Saturday is supposed to be warm (maybe even 70 degrees F) and sunny.  So I decided to wait a few more days to see if I can use that to photographic advantage.

On to the Tales of the Strange.

Since I learned to knit, my eyes have always been bigger -  and more ambitious - than my stomach, to use a common expression not at all related to knitting.  I've always had numerous things I've been knitting, have wanted to knit, or have started to knit, but have languished for various reasons.  And since I am somewhat slow, even things I finished took a while.

Apparently when we took our New England vacation in September 2016, and I zipped through sock #1 of a pair, something in me clicked.  I still had approximately 2000 things I wanted to knit, and however many were in progress, but I started working seriously on two things at a time - usually a fairly simple one, and then something requiring a bit more attention.  Which is how I managed to knit as many hats and shawlettes for Christmas gifts as I did.

With the success of that, I've tried to keep two things actively going, one always being socks (so I can work towards my goal of 12 pairs for the year).  Recently, I was working on socks, and decided that I would pull out my long-neglected Park Slope Blackbird (aka Multnomah Shawl).  I would rip out two rows of the messed up border at a time, and then try to "get" the instructions for the border, or if that wasn't working, just finish it without the border.  And that is how FO #2 was accomplished (now you know what it is)!

Then I decided, well, what else was sitting around?  If I was in the mood to even check, I wanted to keep that momentum, so I pulled out another project that had been abandoned after I made a major mistake.  I had taken a class at Loop  (a long time ago) to make a Custom Fit sweater, when Amy Herzog's method was first introduced.  I was zipping along, and had finished the back piece pretty quickly:

 (This is more of the true color of the sweater-in-progress than the picture below.)
Then I started on the front, and was moving along (the picture below is the front piece laid on top of the back to get an idea of measurement):

So I was pretty pleased with myself.  Until I realized that I had way too many stitches for where I was in the pattern!  And 27 rows beyond where I should have decreased.  Sigh.  So I slowly pulled out to the point where I should have decreased, and then put it away.

This past Sunday afternoon, I decided to pull it out and see if I could remember where I was, based on notes I'd taken.  Of course, the notes made no sense.  I managed to figure out where I *think* I'd been, having done some but not all decreases.  So I figured that I would finish the decreases as well as I could, knit to the measure indicated before decreasing for the neckline, and see how it looked.  If it looked correct, I'd continue; if not, I'd rip out the whole thing and start again.  I worked on that last night and in a surprising turn of events, the first option seems/seemed to have worked.  WHAAAAATT???  So I put it away while I was still feeling good about it, and will work on it while also working on my next pair of socks.

The fact that I had so much of it already knit made me just really want to try and "fix" it and get going again.  So far, so good, but this is a whole 'nother thing for me.  I have often stopped working on something for even the simplest of reasons, and eventually gone back to it and just trashed it.  My Custom Fit sweater is the second project in a row that I have been determined to really try and figure out and finish.  I don't exactly why this is a new thing with me - maybe because of my new two-project practice, maybe because I'm really really trying to only knit from my stash, or maybe just because I want to commit to clearing things out one way or another.

It's a good feeling, but I have to wonder - WHO AM I?????

18 March 2017

An FO and Trying to Be OK

Today I have one of two recent FOs to show you (I know - TWO!  It's like I've become this person who actually finishes knitting projects, go figure!).  This is my third pair of socks for 2017, so I'm right on schedule to have 12 pairs finished by the end of the year.  As I think I mentioned before though, if I had "officially" signed up to do this in the Ravelry group, I'd probably be in the middle of the first pair of the year ...

Project:  Texture Blue Socks
Pattern:  Hermione's Everyday Socks (a free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn:  Black Bunny Fibers Canadian Luxury Sock, in the Unity colorway
Needles:  Size 1US
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I know this is a popular pattern on Ravelry, and I've seen so many pairs that friends have made that are amazing.  But for whatever reason, I didn't enjoy knitting this pattern.  It's not difficult, and once you get started, it's easy enough to memorize, but it just didn't "click" for me.  Then there is the yarn - I've had this yarn in my stash since 2007, when Carol (Ms. Black Bunny herself) dyed this colorway to sell, using the proceeds to support the initial run of Barack Obama for President.  It's a lovely shade of blue, a little heavier than the usual sock/fingering yarn, and they will be warm, since they are 50% alpaca, 30% mohair, 10% silk, and 10% merino.  It's really lovely and soft.

I wonder though if it was the combo of pattern and yarn that didn't thrill me.  Though I love the color, I think I've knit so many variegated/striped socks recently, that a solid color seemed less than exciting; I don't know.  I may try the pattern again down the road with another yarn, and see if I enjoy it more.  Overall, I'm happy with these - they just didn't get me as thrilled as I was expecting to be.  

Here's a better photo that shows the texture of the finished knit:

In any event, they are now tucked away with my others in my 2017 Box o' Socks.

Other than that, I'm having one of those days when I am feeling like any second I'll burst into tears, even though I have no idea why.  Granted, some things I've done today have not worked out, but none were big things that should put me over the edge.  And I've been making an extra special effort to do things I enjoy, but they don't seem to make much of a difference.  I hate when this happens, and I know it will pass - maybe even by this evening, who knows.  

On the plus side, I have a barley-feta casserole cooking in the crockpot, so The Tim will get a break from fixing dinners, like he has been doing while my ankle has been non-functioning.   And I just a little while ago took some Irish Soda Bread out of the oven to cool.  (I was all set to make it yesterday, but was missing an essential ingredient that the market around the corner didn't  have, and the other places that would have it were not nearby.  So I had to wait to get it today.)  Never fear though, we marked the day yesterday with Guinness and Irish cheese. :-)

So truly all is well, and I'm hoping to feel more together soon.  I can deal much more easily with a bad day when I've been having a hard time than when it just shows up, like today.  And the kitties are all fine, sitting here with me and occasionally sitting *right* in front of the TV so they can follow the ball in the NCAA games - they have sudden bursts of fandom, apparently ... ;-)

Anyway, that's all for now.  Hope all of you are having a good and cozy day.  I'll be back with FO #2 sooner rather than later, so stay tuned!

17 March 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today I share with you one of my favorite Irish blessings.  Have a wonderful day, and raise a glass to those you love!

May those who love us, love us;
And for those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limping!

Kilkenny Castle

14 March 2017

Birthday and Brackets!

Today is this little girl's 61st birthday:

And Cream Puff the stuffed dog, shown here, is still with her and as loved as ever.

Yep, it's my birthday - YAYYYYYYY!!!!!  I am having a lovely day at home with The Tim and the kitties, just relaxing and being cozy.  We had planned an outing for today, but the snowstorm took care of that.  Which is fine, because I like snow.  However, it has turned to ice rain now, which I do NOT like in any shape or form.  Even when I am getting around fine otherwise, I don't do well on ice, so getting to and from work tomorrow should be challenging - even if it is just getting off the street to get a cab!

But like Miss Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow and enjoy the day as I have been doing already.  I love birthdays.  For one thing, having a birthday is always preferable to the alternative, if you ask me!  And I love cake - on my own birthday, I don't even have to be the one to bake it.  As a matter of fact, as I am typing this, The Tim is downstairs putting the finishing touches on my cake.

So no matter what is or is not going on with you, tonight drink a toast (alcoholic or not) to the fact that we are all still here!


Are you a fan of March Madness, the college basketball frenzy?  I'll admit that I don't pay really close attention, or watch every game, but I do like to see who is playing and decide who I'd like to win.  So I always print the bracket and keep track what way.  This year, Villanova University is the top seed, and they are of course local.  From all reports, the kids and the coach are nice, decent people so I hope they do well.  Plus it's always fun to have a horse in the race so to speak.

However, there are other versions of March Madness floating around that I also enjoy, most notably Fug Madness.  I love the ridiculousness of it, and the commentary by the Fug Girls.  Play along if you like, it is stupidly fun.

And then, a friend directed me to the brackets set up for March Mayhem by the ladies at Mason-Dixon Knitting - I love it!  Not just the fun aspect of the brackets, but the chance to check out some patterns I may not have otherwise ever seen.  (Not that I need any more things in my Ravelry queue, but what are you gonna do?)

A friend who lives in Pittsburgh even posted a picture of the brackets set up by a local classical music station for listeners to compare and vote on.  What a fun idea!

I love that different groups are making brackets for their own interests.  Though March Madness is a true, intensive competition, the others are just for fun.  And I think the world can use as much fun as it can find these days, don't you!