Still knitting, just…barely.

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Today is one of two days of “Fall Break” that I’ll get this semester, and while I have PLENTY of work that I’m behind on and need to catch up on, I figured I’d take this opportunity to put together a blog post about the knitting I’ve managed to do so far. Which…isn’t a lot. This semester is breaking me. Which has meant both that I *need* to be knitting, because that’s a critical part of my self-regulation/self-care practice, but also that I haven’t had the time or attention necessary to do very much of it given the state that my current projects have been in.

Case in point, Vita de Vie, which as you can see from the photo at the top of this post is now at the point where I need to do a LOT of seaming. This requires a level of attention from me that the knitting doesn’t, really, and so it’s hard to sneak into my day. It’s not especially portable, either – not something I can shove in my backpack and work on during spare moments while my students do in-class activities. It’s also less of a calming activity for me; when I’m feeling really anxious, what my hands want is pretty much just straight stockinette.

Working on the second half of Vita de Vie
(Vita de Vie worked nicely as a “straight stockinette” project for awhile, and even the lace is quite straightforward once you get through the first row.)

My intention, at the beginning of the semester, was to use socks as the “pretty much just straight stockinette and also portable” project I carried with me, but my problem is that the sock that’s currently on the needles needs to match its partner, and I used a less-familiar-to-me heel turn for the partner, so I need to find time when I can actually focus on what I’m doing to complete the heel before I can get back to a more mindless knit. Hence using a little bit of time yesterday to wind up a skein of Gauge Dyeworks yarn for a Musselburgh Hat:

Beginning of a Musselburgh hat in Gauge Dyeworks "White Light"

I have my friend Cara to blame for this. She’s been knitting Musselburgh Hats in Gauge Dyeworks yarn for awhile now, and that’s what prompted me to check out the site and order the only colorway that was available at the time I checked: White Light, which I think is going to look great in a hat!

Beginning of a Musselburgh hat in Gauge Dyeworks "White Light"

I ordered a skein of the “Shawl” style, which is dyed so that the stretches of color get longer and longer, for even stripes in a triangle shawl. So far, it’s working nicely at the top of the Musselburgh Hat, too, and I’m curious to see what will happen once I stop increasing. I’m assuming the stripes will just get wider and wider, which will make for a very interesting hat, given that Musselburgh is reversible: I could either wear it with the skinny stripes out, or the wider stripes out. We’ll see. I was also able to snag a skein of the most recent run of the “Colorwheel” colorway that Cara used in her most recent hat, so once that arrives I’ll be able to knit a second colorful stripy hat and maybe that will help keep me sane through the rest of this miserable semester.

As for other future projects, I’ve also been thinking about what would be most useful for my wardrobe, especially now that I’m shifting towards wearing more handmade skirts and dresses. And one thing that’s kept popping into my head is that I could really use more light grey pieces, especially to pair with my black ikat dress and the black/white/grey speckled Cleo skirt, but with other things, too. I’ve been tempted to try to find a nice grey speckle yarn to make another (more cropped) Gridlines sweater, or to get another bundle of Beaverslide Sport/Sock in light grey to make a THIRD Vita de Vie, and who knows, maybe I will someday. But I also want to focus on knitting with what I already have – it’s one thing to buy a single skein for a hat here or there, but I’ve got several…SEVERAL…sweaters-worth of yarn in my craft closet and I should put it to use. So I did a bit of digging and guess what? I have close to 2 full skeins of Cascade Eco Wool in a light grey!

Future Farmhouse Cardigan?

Obviously Cascade Eco Wool is too bulky for either of the pullovers I mentioned earlier, but what I do know is that it will work perfectly for a Farmhouse Cardigan – I know it didn’t take 2 full skeins when I made mine in the Aporto colorway. And a light grey “workhorse” cardigan would be very useful to me! So, who knows when I’ll find time to cast on, but at least the pattern itself is familiar and not super complicated. On that note, I’m noticing that I’m feeling drawn towards reknitting familiar patterns recently. Partly, this is just how I roll with clothing: once I find something that works for me, I try to get it in as many good colors as I can! I’ve been doing the same thing with sewing, too: 5 Cleo Skirts and 3 Demeter Dresses so far. Partly, it’s probably because I’m not constantly seeing new, tempting projects on Ravelry anymore, having not used the site since March. Familiar, predictable projects are good, especially when everything else in life is feeling so very overwhelming.

Yet another Demeter Dress

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So far, it’s been two weeks of teaching every day in a mask and worrying that I’m being exposed to COVID by my students, who are all lovely people but who are not amazing at wearing their masks properly, and worrying that I’m going to bring it home to my kid, who starts school later this week and thus might have her own exposure vectors to worry about. I’m *exhausted*. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have the challenge of teaching back-to-back, and though I at least get a lunch break on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I also have the challenge of trying to teach simultaneously in person and over Zoom (with horrendous campus wi-fi) to the students who still haven’t made it here from overseas due to travel challenges. Fridays are pretty straightforward, at least – just one short class to teach, though Fridays are going to get complicated soon with the start of violin lessons for my daughter and orchestra rehearsals for me. I’ve never been quite so excited about a three-day weekend early in the semester as I was this time around.

New dress! Another Demeter Dress, this time in ikat.

I’ve been sewing on this new Demeter dress in bits and pieces over the last few weeks, but I finally got to finish it today, and I think I’ll wear it to campus tomorrow! It looks nice with a grey cardigan, but I think it’ll actually look nice with just about ANY of my bright colored cardigans – that’s a nice thing about black! The fabric is an ikat that I got from fabric.com and I really really like it; I think I prefer sewing with yarn-dyed fabrics like ikats and the kaleidoscope fabrics I’ve used for my Cleo skirts, ones that don’t have a right or wrong side.

Awkwardly trying to show that I've knit half of Vita de Vie

The other project I’ve been working on is my Vita de Vie. I actually got a decent amount of knitting done on it on the first couple days of classes, because in our first-year classes (of which I’m teaching 3; my fourth class is my upper-level class on cognition and writing), we always do a 30 minute writing activity on the first day of class, so I keep myself busy and quiet by having knitting with me. I’ve now finished the right side, and have moved on to starting the left side:

Onto the second half of Vita de Vie

I have no idea what to expect from this week. We’ll get just a taste of what our schedule is like with our daughter in school, though she doesn’t start until Thursday. I have so many worries about in-person school for kids like mine who are under 12 and thus an entirely unvaccinated population. I can only hope that the precautions her school is taking are sufficient. (I don’t actually think they are, but they’re better than what many schools are doing. My university’s precautions are also insufficient. It all just sucks.) And hope that I can somehow make it all the way through the next 14 weeks given how exhausted I already am. But I will say that wearing my handmade clothes, which I’ve done every single on-campus day so far this semester, brings me a burst of joy, and I’ll take joy wherever I can get it right now.

New mask, new skirt, new semester

Woman wearing glasses and a striped cloth mask, holding a lacy knitting project that is still on the needles and looking pensive.
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I started knitting the Vita de Vie (my second!) that I got yarn for on my birthday (which was back in April but what is time anymore, anyway?). This sweater’s gonna match at least TWO of my Cleo Skirts: the magenta/purple/orange plaid one, and this new one, in purple/blue/pink stripes (hey, I just realized it’s kind of like a bi pride skirt!), which I finished sewing yesterday while desperately trying to distract myself from feelings of impending doom: 

New Cleo Skirt and matching mask
(Awkward pose brought to you by attempting to use the self-timer and get both mask and skirt in the frame. Sometime I’ll try to get a better photo of the skirt, but trust me, it looks like the other Cleo Skirts I’ve made from the Andover Kaleidoscope fabric, just striped instead of plaid.)

As you can see, I now have yet another skirt + matching masks set. I’ve been making modified versions of the masks using the pattern that Marcy Harriell shared on YouTube (original mask video & adding a filter-pocket video); instead of shrinking the pattern by folding height out, I made the masks with full size pieces, but added a (not especially well done, but whatever) box pleat on either side so that it hugs my face better and gives me space to talk. Here’s a video of me talking in (and about) the first one I made:

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be teaching in person in these masks. I’ve got back-to-back 75 minute classes, and am not at all sure how I’ll manage without eating or drinking during them. Don’t get me wrong, though – if I’m going to be forced to teach in person in small rooms with no windows, no distancing and no regular surveillance testing (as is true here), then I *want* us all to be masked, even though we’re also vaccinated, because my kid is too young to be vaccinated and I don’t want to bring a breakthrough infection home to her. (I still know hardly anything about what HER school situation is going to be!) I’m going to mask any time I’m indoors with other people until she’s vaccinated. 

But teaching in a mask is going to suck for me, for a bunch of reasons: I’m chronically hypoglycemic, so I typically lightly snack while I’m teaching, but I can’t do that in a mask, which means tomorrow I’ll need to make it from just before 10:25am until just after 1:05pm without eating. Add in the fact that I have auditory processing challenges that make it difficult for me to understand masked speakers – I can do it, but it’s *exhausting*. And on the exhaustion front, ever since the pneumonia of late 2019, I get very tired after talking for an extended period even without a mask, but it’s much worse in one. So…yeah. It’s going to be hard. 

This is now the 4th semester in a row where I can honestly say, “I’ve never been THIS exhausted at the start of a semester before.” First there was Spring ‘20, when I still hadn’t fully recovered from pneumonia. Then Fall ‘20, which I think we all thought was as bad as it could get. And yet Spring ‘21, coming on the heels of an exhausting Fall and an insurrection and so many other things, was actually worse. And now we’re here, and I’m just not sure how many “hardest semester evers” *in a row* I can actually take. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, I’m in an incredibly fortunate position compared to so many – I’ve been able to work remotely for the past 18 months, I don’t live in a place governed by people determined to prevent public health measures from being taken, and I’m fully vaccinated (though it’s also true that if I were to get seriously ill from a breakthrough infection, people would say, “well, she DID have cormorbidities.”). But even still, I am broken. I think most parents, at least of kids under 12, are. (This is a really good piece about that.) We’ve basically been abandoned by society.

And it would be one thing if the risk I’m being forced to take were a necessary one, if my job was one that absolutely had to be done in person. But it isn’t. Last year showed us that. I’m actually REALLY GOOD at teaching online, and I worked really hard to develop really great online classes for my students last year, and now all of that work is just being thrown away, disregarded, disrespected. Instead, I’m being required to risk my health and my kid’s health by returning to in-person teaching in the middle of a Delta surge to provide what will be a worse learning experience for my students. Not because I’m not going to try to make it good! I’m going to do the best I can, because I love my students. I’m a really good in-person teacher too, but I don’t know what kind of in-person teacher I’ll be when everyone’s in a mask, especially I’m burnt out and exhausted and worried about bringing Delta home to my kid. One of my most central pedagogical goals as a teacher is to ensure that I don’t ever snuff out the spark that students bring to the classroom, and in fact, help them get it burning brighter, but I feel like my own spark has been snuffed out (I’ll note that my use of the passive voice to obscure the identity of the snuffer-outers is deliberate). I hope I can get it burning again.

I feel like all of this stress is just making me a worse person – a worse friend, a worse parent, a worse spouse, a worse sister, a worse aunt (I completely neglected my niece’s birthday this past weekend because I was so consumed by stress, and I feel terrible about it). I feel like I don’t have anything left to give, and I’m just so angry about so many things. What’s going to be left of me on the other side of all this? Is there an “other side”?

Not the most chipper post, I know. I do love my new skirt, and Vita de Vie is gonna be great, too. Whatever’s left of me will at least have a pretty spiffy wardrobe of handmade clothing from these incredibly stressful times, I guess?

Bressay is finished!

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It’s stupendously hot and humid right now, so definitely NOT shetland wool sweater weather, but I’m just so, so delighted with how this sweater turned out!

Pattern: Bressay, by Marie Wallin, from her book “Shetland”
Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, in a kit purchased from The Woolly Thistle
Needles: size 2 and size 3 circulars
Time to knit: about 3 months

Bressay is finished!

This was by far the most challenging colorwork I’ve ever done, in part due to the tiny gauge (this is also the finest-gauge sweater I’ve ever knit) and in part due to how complex the chart repeats were, and how similar some of the colors are. But it’s just so, so pretty. There’s no way I could’ve chosen a color palette that works as beautifully as this one does – Marie Wallin has an incredible eye for color.

Showing off the short-rows I added to raise the back neck.

The one thing I didn’t like about the pattern was that it had absolutely no shaping to raise the back neck. So once I finished the colorwork, I just did my own thing, adding around an inch of additional length to the back neck with short rows before a final decrease round into the ribbing. I’m really pleased with how it turned out! It sits on my shoulders perfectly.

Bressay is finished!

It’s really amazing how warm this sweater is, given how light it is. I’m going to love wearing this when it gets to be cooler. One thing I’m a little uncertain about is what I’ll wear it WITH. While these particular shorts are still relatively comfortable, I’m finding that after a rough recovery from pneumonia followed by more than a year of pandemic life, which has exacerbated some of my pre-existing issues with chronic pain…well, the rest of my jeans just aren’t comfortable at all. Some of that is weight-related (I’m just a bit thicker around the middle), and some of it is nerve pain-related, but basically, I haven’t wanted to wear anything “hard-waisted”. That’s been pretty easy to achieve when all of my social interactions are over Zoom – if I need long pants, I just wear soft-waisted yoga pants! But since I’m being forced back into the classroom in just a couple of weeks, I don’t think the yoga pant look is going to fly.

I do have all of the skirts I’ve made, though I’m pretty sure only one would look good with this sweater (the dot chambray one). And I’m noticing that the high-waist nature of those skirts is pushing me towards either more cropped sweaters or open cardigans, because if a pullover gets too long, it starts to look kinda weird with the fullness of the skirt. But this pullover has a loose enough fit, and it’s not especially long. I’ve also tried this on (before blocking) over the linen dress I made, and I think it kinda works? But pants would be really nice, if I had some with softer waists. And I do have patterns for that kind of pants – I’ve got the patterns for both the Free Range Slacks and the Arenite Pants. I’m just really intimidated by the idea of sewing pants, where it seems like fitting is going to be much more challenging than it is with a skirt or dress. And on that front, I’m hoping to sew a couple more skirts and at least one more dress before Fall semester starts, so that even if I am lacking in the soft-waisted pants department, I’ll have enough skirts and dresses to get me through teaching 5 days a week. I suppose I technically already do, since I have 4 skirts and 2 dresses, but I do like variety!

Yesterday, my university FINALLY announced that they would be requiring everyone to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, which makes me a little less nervous about being packed into a tiny classroom with a bunch of college students during the Delta surge when my kid (whose school situation I STILL don’t know) is too young to be vaccinated. But I do need to figure out what masks are going to work for me for teaching back-to-back classes, and if what works are the cloth ones I’ve made for myself (either with a filter in the pocket, or over a surgical mask, perhaps?) then I need to make some more of them. I made a bunch more of my daughter’s preferred filter-pocket style masks yesterday so that she is well-stocked for school (assuming that she IS in person, she’s going to be masking herself no matter what policies are in place; if she’s not, then I don’t know how I keep my job). This whole not knowing thing is just killing me, and I want to strangle anyone who says that we’re in a “better place” this fall than we were last fall. Parents of kids under 12 *certainly* aren’t. But I don’t think any of us have recovered from the exhaustion and burnout of the past year.

Of course, I also need to set up all of the materials for my classes, and trying to put together a syllabus and schedule when everything feels as uncertain as it currently does is just incredibly challenging. These next couple of weeks are going to be tough, and Fall semester will be, too. I need to figure out what kinds of knitting and sewing projects will help me stay calm and regulated, and what sorts of projects are best saved for a time when the demands on me are not as intense. The hard part is that I don’t know if such a time will ever come. Will I ever be able to fix the messed-up brioche on my Water Bearer cardigan, or is that project just doomed to linger forever waiting for life to settle down enough? Maybe it would be easier if I just ripped the whole thing out and started over? Or would I just mess it up again? I do think socks are going to be a good portable project for me, but as for sweaters…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bressay is finished!

But anyway, I do have one more pretty sweater in my wardrobe this week than I had last week, and that’s something.

Almost.

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I’m almost finished with Bressay. Once I got to the final bit of the colorwork, I ended up needing to kind of do my own thing, because the pattern didn’t include any short rows to raise the back neck, and from experience, I know that simply won’t work. I *hate* the feeling of a neckline that’s too high in front and/or too low in back! It’s just an absolute sensory nightmare for me. (Plus, I don’t think it looks good.) So, short rows it is.

Adding short rows to Bressay.

I hope the amount of short-rows I’ve done works out; it’s just kind of hard to tell when trying on a bottom-up sweater, because the yoke tends to curl and flare out a bit whether it’s on an extra long cable or on waste yarn, but I *think* it’s going to work once I do the ribbing. I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to do a single layer of ribbing as called for in the pattern, or whether I’ll create a doubled/folded ribbed neckline. I do love those ever so much, but it might be a little “heavy” looking for a sweater as delicate as Bressay.

But even once I finish the ribbing, there’s still going to be plenty to do – there are a TON of ends!

SO MANY ENDS.

I know there are clever ways of spit splicing two colors together so that you avoid having ends to weave in when doing this kind of colorwork, but for me, those ways really interrupt the flow of the knitting, and while I’m not exactly looking forward to the marathon of end-weaving I have ahead of me, I’d rather have a smooth-flowing knitting experience and then a smooth-flowing end-weaving experience. Basically, flow is what I crave right now.

Because the other sort of “almost” that’s consuming me is that in just about 3 weeks, I’ll be back in the classroom again. I still know literally nothing about what my daughter’s school is going to be like – I don’t even know with certainty whether she’ll be back in person full time, and if she is, I don’t know when her bus will come or what days her before-school orchestra will be or any of a million other things that are actually pretty damned important for me to know if I’m going to be able to figure out how to make life work once I’m teaching in person again. And for that matter, I don’t know for my own classes whether all of my students will actually be physically on campus, or if some of them will be stuck out of the country, which makes course planning quite difficult. But I *have* to plan in this information vacuum, because once the semester starts, I’m not going to have time. I had to commit to a frankly miserable teaching schedule this year because I didn’t know, earlier this year when I had to commit to my Fall ’21 classes, whether I could actually be available in the morning, given that I didn’t know what my daughter’s school would be doing. I still don’t, though now that I know my spouse can work from home two days a week, it turns out I could’ve made mornings work. Instead, I’m teaching in the middle of the day, every single day, instead of my strongly preferred heavy teaching days alternating with empty prep days. And I just…don’t have any idea what to expect.

I don’t cope well when I don’t know what to expect. It’s hard to cope with uncertainty. This has always been true for me. And it’s true for everyone, to some degree, but it’s pretty extreme for me. And yet that’s exactly what these last 20+ months have demanded from us, nonstop, especially for those of us who are parents of younger kids. I’ve worked hard to become more flexible, more able to go with the flow and roll with the punches and so on, than I was as a kid, and I’m glad for the work Past Me did on that front because it’s been vital during this pandemic. But the problem right now is that I feel like I’ve used up whatever coping skills have been getting me through so far. It feels like I’ve been pacing myself through a marathon (I used to be a good marathoner, so this is an informed analogy!), and made it through 26.2 miles to what I thought was the finish line, and instead, everyone is saying, “haha, dumbass, this is actually a 100 miler! And you’d better not slow down!” And that’s less about the intensity of the work that’s been demanded from me (and every other person who teaches), though that’s certainly part of it, and more about the coping skills that have been required. Every day I have to function without information needed to plan exacts a price from me, that’s the only way I can describe it. And I worry a bit about what this means for me, and people wired like me (because I know these are traits common amongst the neurodivergent) as the future becomes less and less predictable. I mean, in truth, the future is always unknown and always has been, but think of how often we’ve had to use the word “unprecedented” in the last few years. These are hard times for people wired like me, so be gentle.

Knitting is definitely one of the tools I use to cope. It keeps my hands busy, which calms me, and it gives me a task that IS mostly predictable, even if projects don’t always turn out the way I’d hoped. (But of course, even knitting has in some ways been a source of pain rather than comfort during this pandemic; I’m still relearning how to be a knitter without Ravelry.) Now that I’m not going to be working from home, I need to figure out good ways of having portable knitting projects again. That was part of the impetus (along with my new boots!) for getting back into sock knitting earlier this summer. Here’s the sock I finished most recently:

Currently partnerless sock.

It might be a little hard to tell in that photo that the fit isn’t super great, but what is obvious in that photo is just how high my arches/instep are. And what I’m finding is that the garter rib pattern kind of pulls over the instep in this sock, which were knit toe-up using a “Padded Sweet Tomato Heel”:

Currently partnerless sock.

It’s not actually uncomfortable once the sock is on, but I do think that as much as I enjoy the process of creating a Padded Sweet Tomato Heel, it doesn’t work well for my foot; I need more of the added height that a standard heel flap provides, I think. It’s a little funny to realize this after knitting just one sock, because it means that unless I want to rip this sock out or have mismatched socks, I’m going to need to knit another sock that I know isn’t the best fit for my foot. But it’ll still fit me and it’ll give my hands something to do. And then the next sock can be a heel flap sock; perhaps I’ll look into how one creates a heel flap from the toe-up, but more likely, I’ll just go back to my old familiar cuff-down heel flap sock pattern. Because familiar is what I need most right now.

“Late Bloomer” sweater is FINISHED!

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Here’s the project that produced the ends I showed in my last post (and there were many, many more where those came from!). My “Late Bloomer” sweater, so named because it was inspired by the “Late Bloomer” mittens pattern from the “Intricate” issue of Making Magazine.

Pattern: I made it up! I basically used the “SM” size numbers from the “Strange Brew” book as a guide/sanity check, and I distributed bobbles semi-randomly. I followed the instructions for embroidery from the “Late Bloomer” mittens pattern.
Yarn: Some old Rowan tweed yarn from my stash (I can’t find a yarn label so I don’t know what it was called!) paired with Knitpicks Aloft in “Tarragon”
Needles: Size 6

"Late Bloomer" sweater is complete!

I couldn’t be any more thrilled with how it turned out! I started out with my beloved folded 1×1 rib neckline, and then I began the bobbling. I was a bit anxious, because I created the bobbles that are at the center of each flower without knowing exactly how the spacing would end up looking once I embroidered around them, but I think it looks fantastic. I especially love that I added flower clusters at the wrists and around the split bottom hem, at the hips.

"Late Bloomer" sweater is finished!
Flowery wrists!
"Late Bloomer" sweater - hip detail
Flowery hips!

The sweater is exactly what I dreamed of when I first saw those mittens on the cover of Making Magazine! I was hoping to have the flowers feel more closely packed together at the top of the yoke, and then more spread out, almost like they were falling, as you move down the sweater, and I think I managed to pull that off!

"Late Bloomer" sweater is finished!

I knew it would be a labor of love, and it was…every single one of those flowers took somewhere between 2-5 minutes to embroider and weave in ends, and there are a LOT of flowers. I actually haven’t counted! I love the way the mohair catches the sunlight…

"Late Bloomer" sweater is finished!

It’s obviously WAY too warm to wear a mohair-based sweater right now, but it is going to be an absolutely glorious addition to my cold-weather wardrobe! For now, enjoy the look of “sweater plus shorts” :)

"Late Bloomer" sweater is finished!

Hooray for a beautiful new sweater!

One sleepy kitten: complete! (plus other stuff)

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I finished the first of the Sleepy Kittens! Embroidering on a 3-dimensional handknit object whose backside is not accessible is something I find to be very tricky, so it took a few tries to get the face looking decent. Here’s a closeup:

Finished Sleepy Kitten

I think Sleepy Kitten is quite cute in his striped pajamas, and I love his little tail!

Sleepy Kitten tail

My daughter is quite happy with him, and very eager for me to finish his sibling. We’re also working on plans to turn a sheet of foam that she has into a bed for them. I’ll make sure to share once it’s all finished!

I’ve also reached a “try-on-able” point in the Bressay sweater, and much to my relief, the fit seems to be PERFECT so far!

Bressay Progress!

Especially since the abysmal fit of my Bleideag sweater (which I still need to rip back and fix), I’m nervous when I can’t easily try on a sweater as I go; I’m definitely on team “Top Down” when possible these days. And with the number of stitches involved in this fine-gauge sweater, I would be heartbroken if I had to rip it out and reknit it. But it seems like I won’t!

Bressay Progress

I’m looking forward to finishing this center motif; the orangey red just isn’t my favorite color (though it looks good mixed with the rest in this sweater) and the motif in between the bands of orangey red was quite tricky due to how similar the colors were. I have a feeling that I will be modifying the sweater slightly to create a higher neckline in the back with extra short rows (I pretty much always have to do this with yoke patterns), but hopefully it will be fairly smooth sailing through to the finish.

Speaking of finishing…I did actually work on one of those older projects that needed attention, and something is now blocking out on our deck. I’ll give you a hint…

The final ends of a certain sweater project...

I’ll show off the project these ends came from in my next post!

I still knit, of course!

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I promised in my last post about sewing that I’d give the things currently on my knitting needles a post of their own, and here it is! The biggest project that I’m currently working on is Bressay, which is hands-down the most complicated colorwork I’ve ever done. There are SO many stitches now that the sleeves have been joined at the yoke, and as I’ve now learned from painful experience, it’s terribly easy to get off by one stitch and then you either have to unpick most of a round or you have to drop down and fix as you go around the next round, and either way, that’s tedious and frustrating. So after the second of those mistakes, I decided I should stop trying to use my brain and let stitch markers help me out!

Bressay progress

The current pattern repeat I’m working on is a 22 stitch repeat, so my markers are 22 stitches apart, and I check that I’ve done each repeat correctly before slipping the marker and starting the next one. So far, so good!

Bressay Progress

As for other projects: I mentioned a few posts ago that I was thinking of turning the Hyrrokkin yarn into an Ishbel shawl, and that’s what I’m doing!

Ishbel progress

It’s been so long since I’ve knit a shawl that I’d kind of forgotten how tedious the rows can get once the shawl gets bigger – and since Ishbel is a shawl that’s extra wide (relative to its depth), the rows are already pretty darned long! But I will persevere, and eventually I’ll have a lovely neutral grey shawl to wear!

Ishbel progress

And I already shared a little bit of this last project in my post about the dress – I’m working on a Sleepy Kitten set, and yesterday, I finished the body!

Sleepy Kitten Progress

I put in a layer of poly pellets (leftover from when I made my daughter her weighted kitty) along with some stuffing, and it feels really delightful perched in my hands or on my shoulder. The headlessness cracks me up!

Sleepy kitten progress

In addition to these projects, I’m hoping to get to work finishing up/fixing older projects that need it. So far, my list includes:

  1. Finishing the embroidered flowers on my green yoked sweater
  2. Ripping out and reknitting the sleeves on my kangaroo-pocketed pullover
  3. Ripping out and reknitting the body on my Bleideag pullover
  4. Ripping back to fix the messed-up brioche on my Water Bearer cardigan, then finishing the cardigan

I’m not sure what order I’ll tackle those in, but that’s going to be MORE than enough to keep me busy, especially as I ramp up my efforts towards preparing for fall semester. We’ll see what I can manage!

Sleepy Kitten Progress

Headless Sleepy Kitten says “bye!”

I made…another dress!

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I’ve made it to the part of the summer where my kid has camp every day at the science center (where they have very good masking and safety policies, which I keep reminding myself) and my spouse is working on campus while she’s at camp, which means that every day, for about 7 straight hours, I have the house TO MYSELF! It is gloriously quiet, and such a relief to let go of the stress I was feeling about keeping my kid from interrupting my spouse once Zoom school wasn’t keeping her busy. And it’s just really great to be able to exist in my house without a constant audience – if I want to take a break from working (on class prep, and on the final edits for a paper that’s going to be published soon) and go sew, I can just go sew, you know?

Demeter Dress!

So now I have a new dress! It’s another Demeter Dress, this time in a very “me” color of Alison Glass’s “Mariner Cloth”, which has a delightful nubbly texture – the stripes are actually a thick bundle of lighter colored threads that are woven into the cloth at regular intervals, and I *love* running my fingers over them!

Demeter Dress - darts.

Because of the nubbly texture of the fabric, I wasn’t sure it would make a very good bias facing, so I used a regular cotton fabric for that in a color that almost matches the light stripes. I think it looks pretty cool, even though nobody’s going to see it unless I show it to them!

Demeter Dress - bias binding

I’ve also been trying to spend part of the day listening to podcasts and knitting, because that’s a really important way for me to “recharge” and given the level of burnout I’m experiencing from the past 16+ months, I definitely need to recharge. Here’s (part of) what I accomplished while listening to Ezra Klein’s interview with Eve Ewing (it was a great interview – highly recommend!):

Future Sleepy Kitten

What you’re seeing are the legs and arms of a future Sleepy Kitten, which is a pattern my daughter fell in love with when she saw it in Making magazine. I’m using the called-for yarn, Barrett Wool Company’s Wisconsin Woolen Spun Worsted, because I wanted to try it (I’m all about finding new great woolen-spun yarns!) and I liked the idea of supporting a business that is local to my family, if not to me specifically. I got it in kit form last year and am finally getting around to knitting it. The yarn (much like the pattern) is *delightful*!

I’ve got a couple other projects on the needles, but I’ll give those their own post sometime. I’m trying to find a balance between the prep work that I know I need to do and the resting and recharging that I also desperately need to do, and it’s hard. Especially since the prep work all has to take place in what is effectively an information vacuum – I know I’m going to be required to teach in person, but I don’t actually know if the international students who typically make up the majority of my classes will be able to be here in person, so I might be teaching in person to like, 3 students while the others are all Zooming in or participating asynchronously and basically I have to prep for every possibility, which is…not great. And I’m doing it without ANY knowledge of what my kid’s school/bus schedule is going to look like. This is the second summer in a row of trying to plan for fall in the absence of information and that kind of planning is really, brutally difficult and stressful for me. I’m someone who really likes when I know what to expect, where, if I’m really honest, by “really likes” I actually mean “only functions well” and that’s just…not in the cards. (It never was, truly, but at least it FELT like it was.)

But hey, I sewed another dress! And that means that since the start of COVID, I have sewn myself one jumper (the York Pinafore), 4 Cleo Skirts, and 2 Demeter Dresses – I have enough handsewn garments to make through an entire week without repeats! Wearing things that I’ve made makes me feel good, and that used to be something I could only do during the colder months with my handknits, but now that I’m learning to sew, I can get that good feeling year-round!

I made a dress!

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In my efforts to “level up” my sewing skills, I decided that I wanted to try to make a simple dress. I picked Anna Allen’s “Demeter Dress” pattern because it seemed like a nice, simple dress; it’s intended to fit loose and the skirt part was basically identical in construction to the Cleo skirts I’ve been making. The top does have darts, though, which are something I’ve never sewn before. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and I think I did an ok job?

I made a dress!

I intended this dress to be a kind of “wearable muslin”; I didn’t have any other ideas about what to do with this giant piece of undyed linen-cotton blend (I *think* it’s Essex?) that’s been hanging out in my closets for a really long time, so I figured I’d use it to see whether I like this sort of loose-fitting dress before I try to make any more of them in different fabrics.

I made a dress!

And the answer to whether I like this style of dress is…maybe? It’s definitely oversized (and that’s even AFTER going down at least one pattern size from what my measurements would suggest) but that makes it easy to get on and off even without any zippers or buttons. And it’s cozy, even if it’s somewhat like wearing a big linen tent. I like that it doesn’t pinch or rub anywhere and I can move really freely in it.

I made a dress!

What I’m definitely less sure about is whether I can pull off this undyed linen color. I’m so pale, and I feel like this color kind of washes me out?

I made a dress!

I do like it paired with the teal cardigan, though, so maybe it’s a good neutral color to keep for pairing with colorful cardis? Or should I think about dyeing it? I’d have to decide on a color, if I did that, and given the colors I wear most often, I think a light turquoise blue or a purple would slot nicely into my wardrobe. But I know pretty much nothing about dyeing fabric, so that’s something I would want to learn more about first anyway.

I made a dress!

Pretty stoked that I was able to make a dress, even if it is a dead simple one. I’ve got a couple other big fabric pieces that I’m considering dressifying, one in a stripey turquoise color and the other in a kind of wild geometric print in bright blues, pinks, purples, and reds. So we’ll see if I end up making a couple more Demeter Dresses! And from the leftovers of this undyed linen-cotton (it was a huge, wide piece), I also cut out the pieces to make a pair of Papercut Patterns’ Palisade Shorts. I’m super intimidated by how many pieces there are with those snazzy-looking pockets, but I want to improve my sewing skills and I want to make stretchy-waisted bottoms for myself, so I’ll be brave and give them a try!

Almost done with sleeve number one!

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In my last post I mentioned that I was having gauge issues with the sleeve for my Bressay sweater. I decided to try going up to a size 2.5 (instead of a 2) and that seemed to do the trick – my gauge now matches what I was getting on the body!

Bressay progress.

I also added an extra round to the increase repeats; instead of doing the increases every, say, 6 rounds, I did them every 7, and so on, and this seems to have done the trick for adding length! I’m almost to the end of the colorwork for the sleeve, and then it’ll be time for sleeve number two! Which will hopefully be a breeze, now that I’ve figure out how to make my gauge, etc work and have made these notes here on my blog to remind myself what I did.

I’m glad I never stopped writing in my knitting blog; having these sorts of notes to myself about my projects is so helpful! I never fully shifted away from blogging when it came to tracking my projects on Ravelry, and that has turned out to be a real blessing now that I can no longer use Ravelry. It’s not that I haven’t lost important information, etc…I have, but I feel terrible for the affected folks who used Ravelry as their ONLY place for documenting their projects! What I miss the most is the ability to see how different yarns knit up, or to see what particular patterns look like on bodies that are most like mine, or to see the kinds of modifications that other people had made to various patterns. What have other people knit with this Hyrrokkin yarn that came in my Ysolda care package? I don’t have a great way to find out anymore.

Hyrrokkin, wound into a ball.

I also need to figure out what to do about my OWN patterns that are still listed for sale via Ravelry. It’s not like I sell very many copies of them…I make zero efforts to market them these days, so I don’t even really expect to. But I do occasionally sell a pattern or two, which means I end up having an invoice through Ravelry that I have to pay, and the only way to pay it is to log in via the new site, which hurts me. I did it once already, and I don’t want to have to do it again. Does anyone have advice about how I could remove my patterns with the least amount of time spent on the site itself? And if I did want to keep them available for purchase, what would be a good alternative site? I see a lot of people using Payhip, but I know nothing about it. I do have most of them listed on Lovecrafts, so maybe that’s enough; perhaps I could get some help removing my patterns from Ravelry but linking to them on Lovecrafts (and/or Payhip, if I ever set that up) for those who still want to purchase them? (That feels slightly subversive, using Ravelry’s database to link out to external sites for purchasing, but why exactly should I care about that when they don’t care to make their website usable by people like me?)

Hyrrokkin, wound into a ball

Back to the Hyrrokkin yarn – at 600 meters, the ball took quite a while to wind by hand, but it has a very pleasing heft to it. And while I can’t easily see what others have knit from this yarn, my plan is to knit an Ishbel shawl. I think a nice light grey shawl will be a very good addition to my wardrobe!

Speaking of my wardrobe, I’m hoping to do some more sewing this summer, too. I’m already getting a LOT of wear from my Cleo skirts; a skirt + tank top is a great combo when the weather is hot like it’s been recently! My next sewing project is going to be a Demeter Dress (the sleeveless view). I’m basically trying to gradually “level up” my sewing skills; now that I can make skirts, I’m going to try this fairly basic dress (which will involve the new skill of sewing darts, plus most of the skills from the Cleo pattern and the bias-binding skills from the York Pinafore). Then I’m going to try shorts, on my way to pants and overalls. We’ll see how I do!

Bressay progress, and other thoughts

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I’ve made it through the pre-yoke colorwork on the body of Bressay, and it’s GORGEOUS! This is probably the most challenging colorwork I’ve ever done, because of how similar so many of the colors are, but the end result is just so beautiful. I’m excited to get to the colorwork at the top of the first sleeve!

Bressay Progress

I took these photos this weekend, so am actually quite a bit further along on the sleeve, except…I’m noticing that my gauge on the sleeve is quite a bit tighter, both in terms of stitch gauge and row gauge, than it is on the body. And this is a problem, because I’ve now reached the point where I’m supposed to start the colorwork, but the sleeve is significantly shorter than it needs to be. I’ve measured the colorwork band and added it to the length of my sleeve, and it’s coming up at least an inch shorter than the pattern calls for, which is itself a bit shorter than I need because I have disproportionately long arms. Should’ve been paying more attention, and definitely need to think about increasing the number of rounds between increases when I try again on the sleeve so that I can get the length right!

One part of the problem though, I think, is that I’m using a size 2 Chiaogoo stainless steel circular (I got myself a couple more sub-size 3 needles from them; my Tulip bamboo interchangeables only go down to size 3). It seems I knit tighter on the steel needles than on bamboo ones. So I’m debating whether it makes sense to try the size 2.5 stainless steel circular, or go back to the wooden size 2 circular I used for the body (which might be a little too short for comfortable magic looping; I’m also nervous about breaking that needle like I broke the size 1 needle). Or should I just jump all the way up to the Tulip size 3, on the basis of small-circumference knitting generally being tighter than large-circumference knitting? The beginning of a sleeve is small enough to serve as a “swatch”, so I’m going to pick one of these options and start the second sleeve and see if it works; if not, I’ll rip back early and try again, and I just won’t touch the first sleeve for reknitting until I’ve figured out what works on the second one.

The "care package" bag from Ysolda's shop

On a completely different note, I mentioned in an earlier post that I had ordered one of the small, personalized “care packages” that Ysolda made available in her shop as a way to say goodbye before the shop closed. It arrived at the end of last week, and I thought I’d share what came in it. The bag is really pretty, and a nice size, too! Inside it were 4 skeins of yarn, a sweet personalized postcard, and a needle size gauge.

Lichen yarn from the Ysolda care package

Three of the skeins were Lichen, an Ysolda exclusive yarn spun by Hillesvåg; I’ve written before about how much I love the yarns from this Norwegian company! The colors are very “me”, too: bright acid green and a nice neutral light grey. Ysolda sent along a code for a free copy of Stac Shoaigh as a suggestion for what to knit with the bright green Lichen; another pattern I’m considering making with it is Estimar. I’m just not sure which I’d get more wear out of, honestly; I already have a Willow cowl in a bright green (though it’s much more of a yellow-leaning green) and an Icarus shawl in a slightly darker and slightly yellower-leaning green, so I’m not sure which would get more wear. I typically wear cowls more, mostly due to ease and not needing to fuss with them throughout the day, but I do think that Stac Shoaigh is really lovely, so that’s probably what I’m going to do. And then with whatever leftovers there are (because with Stac Shoaigh at least, there would be some), I could do some sort of colorwork with the grey + green, perhaps!

One skein from the Ysolda care package

The fourth skein was another Ysolda exclusive yarn (it made me very happy that my care package was all yarns that I would have no other way of getting than through Ysolda!): Hyrrokkin, a fingering weight yarn from Polwarth, BFL, and Zwartbles fiber. It’s an undyed natural grey (I *love* these greys!) and 150g, a little over 600yards. I’m debating what the best use for this would be. I’m tempted to stick with the Ysolda-theme and knit another Ishbel (I’ve knit one for my grandma, years ago, but never one for me); I have enough to knit the second-largest size, I think? Another possibility that my mind jumps to is Frida, which is a pattern I already own; I bought it back when it came out because I was just fascinated with the loop stitch and wanted to know how it was done. But I do wonder if Frida’s better-suited for a woolen-spun yarn (like the BT Loft yarn it was designed for); the Hyrrokkin is clearly worsted-spun. This is the sort of question I would have tried to answer for myself by looking through finished projects on Ravelry, but I still haven’t gone back to the site since the end of March. But no matter what, I’m pretty sure this yarn is going to become a nice neutral grey shawl. It’d be really interesting if I ended up with two new shawls from this package after not knitting shawls for such a long time!

Fox needle gauge

The final item in the bag was a needle gauge in the shape of a fox. I love foxes, so I was delighted! I do already have a couple needle gauges (one plastic one that came with the Tulip interchangeable set, and a wooden one from Katrinkles that dates back to my earliest days of using Etsy), so I may end up giving this one to my daughter. We’ll see.

So anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment: plotting future shawls and trying to figure out next steps on Bressay.

Things *WE* knit together: an alpaca!

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The alpaca is finished! It turned out so adorable! It’s going to be a gift for my daughter’s amazing 3rd grade teacher (who loves alpacas).

Project Details:
Pattern: Alpaca, from Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Blue Sky Organic Cotton in “Bone” (for Alpaca) and Cascade Tangier in “Geometric” (for blanket), both left over from this babyStripes!
Needles: size 6 dpns for Alpaca, and size 7 dpns for blanket

Alpaca face!
Alpaca-face! This was my first time using safety eyes, and also my first time attempting to embroider facial features on a handknit toy; I think it looks sufficiently alpaca-like, right?

This was an incredibly fun project to make with my daughter. I won’t say that knitting cotton at a tight gauge was especially fun, but the pattern itself was very well-written and the details are just so perfect. I *love* the “curls” at the top of the head!

Proud little knitter!

My daughter knit the blanket for the alpaca, and to do so, she learned how to do i-cord, kfb, ssk, and k2tog – so much learned from one little blanket! And she also started to learn how to read knitting patterns, putting herself on a path to being a more independent knitter.

Alpaca!

I think I might have enough of these leftovers remaining to knit a second one for my daughter. And this definitely won’t be my last Susan B. Anderson toy – I’ve got a kit to knit some sleepy kittens, too!

Scatterbrained summer (so far)

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My mind is all over the place now that the semester is done. I’m still doing some work (trying to coordinate workshop and panel submissions for the two standing groups I’m part of at 4Cs, the big conference in writing professor world, and prepping a couple of workshops that I’m going to be running over the summer, including one on Monday) but it’s not all-consuming the way I was before the semester ended. The end result of a bit of “time off” after more than a year of teaching online during a pandemic without any childcare is that my creative brain feels like a squirrel on speed – just bouncing around from project idea to project idea, feeling very scatterbrained.

Some of this, too, is a kind of disorientation borne of the loss of a major piece of my knitting world. I have not used Ravelry since the end of March. That is, except to log in once, a few days ago, to pay the miniscule fee I owed on patterns I’d sold in the last month; perhaps one of these days I should pull my patterns from Ravelry, and figure out another way to host them – Payhip, maybe? I’m not sure whether I will ever dip my toes back into the “being a designer” waters again, and I’m hesitant to set anything up if all it’s going to do is host patterns I wrote nearly a decade ago. I dunno.

So far, I’m finding that what I miss most about Ravelry is the way I used it to self-soothe; that is, I would often open up my Ravelry friends activity list or my list of favorites and click around when I was feeling overwhelmed and just wanted to look at pretty things. The other thing I miss is the ability to easily see what other people’s versions of projects looked like. Some of that, I can do on Instagram instead; I’m learning how to follow hashtags and things like that. It’s just…weird, to still be knitting, still be connected to all of these knitters on the internet, but to be cut off from the site that was, for a very long time, and still is for many people, the heart of that online community.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that not having Ravelry has made me a bit more thoughtful about how to make best use of my yarn stash. I had a tendency to queue any pattern I saw there if it seemed remotely interesting to me, whether or not I owned the pattern or any appropriate yarn, and this sometimes pushed me to want to buy yarn for new projects even though I have a pretty significant stash already. But now that I don’t have access to that, I’m looking through my actual stash, as well as my knitting books and the PDFs of patterns that I have, and making lists for what I can do with what I have. It’s not that I couldn’t have done this when I was using Ravelry; I absolutely could’ve been more diligent. And Instagram can certainly push in the same direction, in terms of shiny new projects. But I am feeling less tied into that “shiny new project” thing, and I do think that’s from being cut off from Ravelry (and also from the designers who only publish things via Ravelry).

Anyway, those are my scattered thoughts on what a couple months without Ravelry have been like for me. How about some knitting? In the photo at the top of this post, you can see that I finished my newest Musselburgh hat. And also, that my hair has gotten quite long, though thank goodness, I finally have a haircut scheduled a week from today – no more COVID hair!

Musselburgh hat!

The Musselburgh hat reminds me of something else I’m feeling a bit wistful about: Ysolda’s closing her online shop. I’ve been a customer for quite a long time, as it was my favorite place to get yarns that were not easily available to me as an American knitter, and I have knit quite a few of her designs. I even had my post about my Joy mitts shared on her blog. I’m excited for whatever is next for Ysolda and her family, but I am going to miss that shop. (And I did, in fact, order one of the “care packages” that were offered to newsletter subscribers when the shop-closure was announced, so will have a mystery package arriving at some point in the nearish future. I know I just said I’m trying to use what I have, but I also wanted to “say goodbye” to the shop that opened my world to smaller European brands like Hillesvåg, Rauma, Einrúm, and De Rerum Natura.)

Alpaca-in-progress

Another project I’ve cast on for recently is an alpaca! My daughter wanted to make her 3rd grade teacher a “thank you” present for the incredible job she’s done as a remote teacher this year, and her teacher LOVES alpacas. I remembered having seen an alpaca pattern from Susan B. Anderson, so I bought that pattern, and am knitting the alpaca from leftover cotton yarn, and am teaching my daughter how to do i-cord and increases and decreases so that she can follow the pattern and make the blanket that goes with the alpaca out of leftover silk yarn (both yarns are leftovers from the non-wool babyStripes! that I knit for my dear wool-allergic friend’s baby):

She’s learning how to knit i-cord!

So far, I’m really enjoying knitting this alpaca! My daughter is incredibly fond of Susan B. Anderson’s patterns, having seen them in the Making magazine issues we’ve read together, and I actually have a couple of kits from her Barrett Wool Company yarn – a Sven and Solveig kit and a “Sleepy Kittens” kit, the latter of which I got with the intention of making them for my cat-obsessed daughter and then just…haven’t yet. But perhaps toys will become a new type of project for me; I’ve recently fallen in love with the Frog & Cast “Frog & Toad” pattern (and actually have sock yarn from way back when in colors that are reasonably appropriate!) and with FROM CINTHIA’s suite of animals (pretty sure I could also cobble together colors for some of these with existing sock yarn leftovers), and I’m less put-off than I expected to be by the fiddliness.

The last project I’ll share here is the Bressay sweater, which has reached a very exciting milestone: I’m now to the colorwork portion of the body!

Bressay colorwork

Bressay has colorwork that starts on the body (and on the sleeves) before the yoke is joined, which is different from any other yoked sweater I’ve made. It’s really fun to see the pattern starting to emerge! And I’m marveling at how Marie Wallin can create such gorgeous patterns using colors that are so similar to each other – you’d almost expect it to look like mud but instead it’s just subtle and beautiful.

Bressay colorwork

That actually reminds me of another thing that has me feeling sad and wistful; I first learned of Marie Wallin and her gorgeous Fair Isle designs from the Fruity Knitting podcast, and am now grieving the loss of Fruity Knitting’s Andrew, who reminded me so much of my own spouse Andrew, especially in the geeky delight he took in the details of history and technology. It’s just heartbreaking to see such a lovely human being taken out by cancer, but I’m really grateful for all of the joy that he and Andrea brought me through their show, and I hope that Andrea and her daughter Madeleine (whose own Bressay-in-progress is what originally prompted me to get a kit) are able to find joy for themselves as they move forward without him.

Well, I said this would be a scatterbrained post and so it is, but that’s just how things are right now. How are you all doing, dear readers?

Another skirt, and more knitting

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I did end up sewing a fourth Cleo skirt in the dot chambray, without any lining, at the end of last week, and it turned out great! I’m glad to now have a fairly “neutral” Cleo that I can wear with just about any top; my others demand a bit more color-coordination, but not this one!

Finished Cleo Skirt, the fourth!

I’ve also got a few knitting projects to share. First off, I ended up replacing my broken Knitters Pride Dreamz circular needle with a Chiaogoo Red Lace circular. So far, I’m really loving it – I don’t seem to be reacting to the surgical grade stainless steel (hopefully that stays true!) and the cable is amazing; when they say it doesn’t have “memory” they really mean it! Anyway, this means I finished my Zauberball Crazy socks:

Finished socks in Zauberball Crazy

I’d forgotten how hard it is to take photos of your own feet! This is the only in-focus one I got when I tried to take photos of them last week, but at least you can see the “Padded Sweet Tomato” heel. These are just plain vanilla toe-up stockinette socks with a 1×1 rib cuff, but it was fun to get back to sock knitting with magic loop.

I cast on for another pair of socks pretty much as soon as I finished the first pair. I’m now past the heel on the first sock:

Sock in progress.

For these, I cast on 32 stitches (16 per needle) at the toe rather than 40, and I’m doing a 2×2 garter rib over the central 22 stitches just to add a little bit of interest. I’m excited to wear these with my new Duckfeet Odense boots; part of what nudged me away from sock knitting before (other than constantly breaking and/or losing my wooden dpns) was that my old boots were taller, which meant they worked better with the knee-high Smartwool socks that I had than with the mid-calf handknit socks I had been knitting (not that I couldn’t’ve knit knee-highs, I suppose!). But my old Merrell boots bit the dust this past winter after a 12 year run, so now I’m back to lower boots that are more compatible with showing off the tops of handknit socks. These duck-egg blue ones will look nice with a LOT of my outfits.

This past weekend, my in-laws visited – we hadn’t seen them since early summer of 2019! I’ve been using our guest room as my office this entire year, so I had to do a fair amount of cleaning to turn it back into a guest room temporarily, and in the process, I found the leftover yarn from my Honeydew sweater, which I had apparently shoved in the drawer where we keep spare bedding for guests, I’m guessing as a way to keep it away from the cats. Anyhow, with my newfound magic loop skills and ~350 yards of icy blue BFL and mohair-silk, I thought I’d cast on for a project that could be TRULY mindless for knitting while my in-laws were here: a Musselburgh hat!

Musselburgh hat in progress!

I ended up with a migraine for most of their visit, which meant that having a really dead-simple knitting project, one that I could even knit in the dark, was especially useful. I’m still feeling a bit “off” today; hopefully tomorrow I’ll be back to feeling ok.

Musselburgh in progress

This hat is going to be deliciously soft and WARM! It’ll be perfect for walking in from the parking lot to my office next year, something I’ve not done since pneumonia struck me in the Fall of 2019; the pandemic hit before I’d regained enough strength to actually DO that walk. But it’s a long walk (it’s about a kilometer) and when it’s cold, I’m going to LOVE having a nice soft warm hat to keep my ears from freezing.

Now that my in-laws have left, and once I get through this “postdrome” period, I’ll probably return to the “bigger” projects that I have on the needles; Bressay is just about at the point where the colorwork starts, which is very exciting, and I can also keep working on the raglan decreases on the fronts and back of M’s Elle Melle. But for now, I’m probably going to finish the Musselburgh hat next, because plain stockinette in the round is exactly what my brain can handle at the moment.

Musselburgh hat in progress

Happy June, everyone! And Happy Pride!