inching closer

Posted on 51 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

david has been doing a spring cleanup in the yard for the last few afternoons and it’s amazing how much better everything looks . . . i thought it looked fine before (he spent a LOT of time on it already in the fall), but now that he’s working on it, i can see the difference.

all sorts of new growth was revealed once the remaining dried leaves and debris were swept away. the lady’s mantle above is growing and flaring its pretty fans and flamenco skirts to great advantage

the daffodils are still shut up tight but ready to break into smiles any day now. they must be frustrated—it gets somewhat warm in the middle of each day for a short time, but the night and morning temps are still dipping into the low 30s.

meanwhile, i think i spied my bleeding heart plant up out of bed and unfolding it’s tiny arms (sometimes i can’t tell them apart from the columbine when they’re little)

honestly, it seems too cold for all this but there you have it.

i really hoped i’d have my boxleaf wrap done this morning, so it could be soaking while i write this post. but i’m just a little shy of that goal; it’s not quite there (i get distracted from the work at hand sometimes, what can i say?).

as soon as i’m done writing i’ll knit the last two repeats and block it later today. i can’t wait to show you how different this piece will look once it’s blocked.
i’ll miss this thing—since i started the second half, the wrap has been long enough to keep my legs warm in the evening while i knit. i guess i’ll have to figure out something else . . .

actually my gray sweater is getting big enough now to provide a little warmth while i work on it. i just love that crazy knit/purl pattern—it makes me think munkey puzzle.

yesterday in classes i reached the underarm and knit the divider row for the armhole/shoulder shaping—one goal reached anyway. the top part will go quickly, then there will be the sleeves to knit, which always seem to take longer than i thought. i’m pausing to think about what i want to do with the shoulder area. i know i planned some kind of cable or other panel to run alongside the armhole, but i can’t for the life of me remember what, heh. three years ago, when i started it, i wasn’t taking notes as completely as i do now—i’m sure i thought i’d finish it in a month or so and didn’t need them, haha.

the cable i’m using at the side seam is a little wide for the shoulder area (at least, in my size), but i might use it anyway, because it will look great in bigger sizes. either that, or a condensed version of the same thing, like a single wave cable instead of the double. this is what i need to decide over the next two days or so, while i finish a couple of other things.

like these socks

the hoarforst yarn is picking up more of a blue tinge in the morning light than it actually has in person; click the name to see a better representation.
i’ll tell you what—these socks really go much more quickly than i would have dreamed before i started them. i honestly thought they’d sorta be a drag with all that patterning, but NOT.

i’m always so surprised by how many inches i can finish in just a couple of hours work. as you can see, i’ve got them heeled and am more than halfway down the foot already. one more evening’s work and i think we’ll be ready for photos. i thought about releasing the pattern with just one sock done but they’re so cute together, i decided to wait (just a couple more days, i promise!).

i’ve got all sorts of other stuff going on behind the scenes, too—it’s a madhouse around here. progress on my tartan sweater pattern is going really well. i have to come up with another name—much as i love the simplicity of tartan, it’s taken. right now, i’m calling it highlander, but i might dig deeper for a good scottish word.

now that that pattern is in healthy shape, i’m looking at working on the next one

this was my rhinebeck sweater in 2007 (click for more pictures), knit up in briar rose grandma’s blessing with made-to-match buttons from moving mud (if you’ve never considered this option, i encourage you to do so; i sent sarina a swatch when i first got my sweater started and she whipped up some absolutely perfect buttons).

i intended to get this pattern written up a long time ago. better late than never, right? it needs a few tweaks—the row gauge of the finished and washed sweater is a little looser than my washed swatches led me to design with, so i want to pinch out a little in the length everywhere.

that’s an interesting thing about working with a stitch pattern that has some garter in it (like my new gray sweater)—you can make and wash swatches til the cows come home, but you can’t really imitate with exactitude the effect of the finished sweater weight on the fabric. i’ll probably have to knit another one of these in the new proportions, which i don’t mind a bit; i love this sweater and it’s a good weight for fall and spring. i’d be happy to have one that fits me the way i originally intended (even though no one else will notice the difference, probably . . .).

so that’s one new project i’m thinking about. and then i have this gorgeous skein of alpaca laceweight (the blue on the left) from kristine at a verb for keeping warm

in the chance of rain colorway, it is screaming “soft spring day” all over the place and causing a regular ruckus in my stash. i think it’s the perfect yarn to knit with in april. i have an edging i’ve been keeping my eye on for a delicate yarn and i think this might be my chance to use it—i just need to decide on a field stitch to go with it. i’ve got a whole sky/cloud thing going on with this yarn that i can’t avoid and my idea is almost solidified.

then there’s another sweater that’s on my mind (don’t laugh; i’ve been bottling up my sweater thing for a very long time). i have this batch of briar rose glory days BFL (same yarn i used for the tarten sweater)

which chris custom dyed as a gift for my birthday last year. it’s about time i used it, eh? so i tried it out in a stitch pattern i’ve been lusting to use, but at the same time, saving for the perfect project

it’s an elegant lace and cable motif (not too crazy) with long, curvy lines that i think will be trés flattering. and i think all it needs is a nice rib in all the right trim places to make it a standout sweater. this one is a few days from going on the needles because i’m making myself wait until the boxleaf is blocked, the socks are done, and the cashmere scarf has a few more repeats before i start knitting. just sayin’.

and with that, i think it’s time to soldier on. time’s a-wastin’.

what happened to being caught up??

Posted on 22 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

it’s back to cold weather for us this past week; but even with temps in the 20s and 30s, i’m stalking the daffodils—looks like they could burst open the moment it gets warmer than 32 degrees. this patch is just across the yard from my office window and i look for it eagerly every year. david is so thoughtful to plant bulbs and flowers where i can see them when they bloom.

a heap of spare compost got left by the garage last fall when a sudden snowstorm caught us unawares (david had been using it to spread over the garden beds). somehow, a bunch of tulips bulbs ended up in it (now, i wonder what furry little meddler could have done that??). now the compost pile has a carpet of tulips coming up on it, which means we probably won’t be able to move it back where it belongs til much later in the spring.

the tulips are coming up thick and fast in other parts of the yard as well—much thicker than last year. which makes me think it’s not just the compost that’s helping them along. i wouldn’t know if this is a cyclic or weather-related thing, or if it’s due to slightly different treatment. last year david read that after dying back, tulip bulbs left in the ground love to be kept very dry. so he was careful not to water them after they bloomed, and we didn’t have an excessively rainy summer. maybe it worked—they are literally tripping all over each other for space.

i feel so discombobulated today—i have a million ideas in my head and a long list of actual organizational tasks i need to get done. how does my workload transform itself from even-keel to out-of-control in just a few days? it’s not like i was sitting on my laurels, not working all week . . . but i was mainly working at the computer and not knitting too much; that’s how i got behind on knitting, anyway.

so i’m hoping to do a lot of knitting this weekend to get some of the projects under control.

the boxleaf wrap is growing—i started the second half and everything went swimmingly with the join. i’d love to finish this piece off so i can block it on monday or tuesday. look at that fiber glow—the josephine yarn from briar rose really has beautiful, rich color depth and nice sheen.

hahaha, it really looks a bit forlorn and ragged right now—it’s going to be completely transformed when it’s blocked—can’t wait.

speaking of blocking, have you seen jocelyn’s maplewing, which she finished the other day? you should take a look at her blog photos—it’s stunning in the cream sweet lace yarn she used, from the sweet sheep wool shoppe (ooh, and i see michelle is having a sale til march 31 . . .).

i started the second rimefrost sock

i would love to get this second one done in time for the pattern release (hopefully the middle of next week), but i’m not sure i can. i sorta started too many socks last month and full pairs are in short supply right now (ooops). i’ll just keep working at it for late-night knitting and see what happens.
meanwhile, gail is working away on hers and we’re both lovin’ the fearles fibers tight twist yarn (gail is new to FF, but i think she’s about to become a big fan, hehehe).

i also started my fernfrost cashmere scarf but it’s so pathetically small that i’m ashamed to show it to you. that’s the second thing i’d like to make gains on this weekend.

i do have some selfish knitting planned for the weekend as well; my third goal is to get my gray sweater knit to the underarms at least. i am determined to get that sweater done this spring—it’s just the weight i like to wear in april and may (looks heavy but it’s fingering weight). i even have a carrot which i’ll tell you about later to keep me incentivised (seriously, that is a word they used to use at the consulting firm i worked for some years ago, hahaha . . . i don’t miss that place at all.).

the first bricker sock is off the needles and is awaiting its mate—it might be a few days before i even start that one. david is already eyeing it and drooling a little without realizing it, ahem.

now, here’s something that doesn’t require me to do anything but rave about it . . .

i got a special package from romi in the mail today with two of her new pin designs. the penannular pin above is actually one that i’ve had my eye on ever since i first saw it; i just think it’s such a clever design and i adore spirals. i think there is a scarf on the needles that needs that pin, in fact . . .

and i love this one from her elements collection too—a copper swirl with a beautiful pin through it—like a little poof of wind (or magic). and it totally appeals to my geeky math side as well (hey, math and magic go together . . ).

you can find these and many other gorgeous pin designs at romi’s website (don’t get lost!).

i really need to do some cooking this weekend too—i bought ingredients yesterday to make baked ziti that won’t keep long, and it’s the perfect weather to make a warm, comfort-food meal like that (AND it’ll use up some of the tomatoes i have in the freezer—i love how we’re still eating from the garden right now). so before i even start knitting today, i want to get the sauce going.

and i’d love to make a big pot of vegetable soup, maybe tomorrow—i’ve gotten sort-of addicted to soup for lunch and snacking this winter. if i make big batches and keep them in the fridge, i can grab a little bowl of it any time during the day, all week long—it’s just the kind of thing i crave and it’s so easy to fix (and i’m so lazy about fixing lunch).

i have new knitting projects planned but i think i’ll save that for another day—it kinda leaves me with a head buzz when i talk about them and right now, i need to work through my list.

there they are

Posted on 40 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

and out of nowhere, too (just to make a liar out of me, i guess).
wow, and the weather here? positively balmy—it’s been in the high 60s and 70s the last couple of days.

it’s been hard to resist taking a day off to play outdoors, but i was determined this week to work on a sweater pattern. everything was aligned just so for me to do it, and now i have. it won’t be ready for publishing for a while yet, but it’s off to tana, the tech editor, which is the first step. after that, we’ll test it in a few sizes to make sure everything works. we even took some photos of it today to celebrate.

tomorrow we can play—maybe go for a long bike ride (if it doesn’t rain). a cool wind is blowing in now along with some clouds, but hopefully that won’t amount to much.

i’m so excited—chris and i got accepted to be vendors at sock summit and we’ll be sharing a booth. i’m going to make a big push over the summer to have some great new stuff to release at the show, including the sweater designs i’ve knit with her yarns over the last year or so.

meanwhile, i’m working away on a few lace and sock projects and i even got some more work done on that gray sweater i showed you the other day

doesn’t it look bigger? (it’s ok if you don’t think so; i’m mostly trying to stay psyched here).

i’ve also been swatching for the fernfrost scarf for deb’s fearless fibers lace club

and i think i have something picked out. the swatch is small but soon you’ll see more of it in the scarf, which i plan to cast on fro tonight. can i just say how good it is to be working with deb’s cashmere yarn again? mmm, it’s as soft as a breeze.

i’m almost done with david’s bricker sock, too. this is a terribly fun and fast pattern—totally perfect for TV watching and commuting.

of course, getting completely distracted by that one means i now have three half-finished pair of socks—dangerous territory. i think i’ll start catching up with the mates to those; i’m not crazy about having unfinished sock pairs lying about.

time to pay attention tonight on another project

the boxleaf wrap is actually growing very quickly, even though i haven’t posted pictures very often. i’m almost done with the first half

which i should be able to finish that off this evening. i’ll probably pick up the provisional cast-on and start the second half, just so that part will be done.

so, that’s it i think for today. how about one last shot of something springy . . . coming soon.


Posted on 28 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

the white crocuses have opened—i think just in time to celebrate a finished rimefrost sock

i wish we had purple and lavender ones coming in but i don’t see any of those yet. the darker flowers seem to come later, according to last year’s photo archives. anyway, even though the sock motif is frosty, it also looks flowery

it was hard to get a really good angle on the motif, since i was taking the pictures myself, but it’s very sculptural and has lots of depth. i’ve been choosing lately to stop my lace patterning a little further from the toe because i find that more comfortable inside my shoes, but you could certainly extend the pattern as far as you like.

i finished up the coral gables scarf last night and stretched it out to block after my morning class today. the scarf is a little larger than most of the other little nothings—about 11 inches wide by 48 inches long—so it can be worn as standalone spring outerwear.

the yarn bloomed just the right amount during the soaking and became just a tad plumper. this is the beautiful prime merino lace from heather at shivaya naturals in a stunning turquoise colorway she calls ocean.

it strikes just the right tropical note for those of us who are looking for a diversion from winter grays. the pattern was created for the shivaya lace club’s april shipment, so it will be released in a couple of weeks when the club packages have gone out.

now that this scarf is finished, i’ve started swatching for the next one—another light, lacy piece in cashmere for deb’s fearless fibers lace club; something to complete the frost series.

i think i found just the right stitch pattern for the fern frost i’m hoping to recreate with this luscious cashmere laceweight (not yet available on deb’s site, but coming soon. she does have the sportweight cashmere there, though).

while browsing photos of all the little nothings the other day, i realized that i’ve never done one in a true green color—amazing. green is a color i am constantly drawn to in all its forms and i have to actively detour away from it sometimes, remembering that other colors do exist. but i really think a green little nothing is in order. i’m still going over the possibilities in my stash, but so far, i’ve sort-of latched onto this one

as ideal—at least for the moment. it’s shivaya cashmere laceweight, colorway seagrass, which has nice, crisp, cool green tones. i sorta wih i had chosen this for the coral gables scarf, actually—the motif would look like new pea vines in this green. maybe i’ll be able to find another motif for the pea vines . . .

for the first time in months i’m sort-of on top of my workload—that is, my pattern writing has caught up with my knitting, more or less. yes, it’s a slippery slope to say that i’m caught up, and it will only last a few minutes—nevertheless, i’m feelin’ the freedom in it (very dangerous . . . can’t you just see a bout of overcommitment coming on? stayed tuned for a blubbering meltdown . . .).

so i’m thinking that this coming week i’ll work on the pattern for the tartan sweater i knit back in september (can’t believe it’s been that long already). it’s a challenging project for me, which is why i’ve balked avoided the job waited—i needed courage time and quiet to completely focus on the sizing aspect of the pattern.

while i do have a few socks on the needles to finish up, i decided this morning to resuscitate a rather ancient WIP (ok, maybe it’s a UFO at this point) to work on in classes today.

i started this sweater about three years ago with every intention of finishing it up quickly. heh. i dunno what it was with this project; every time i revisited it over the last couple fo years i had a hard time getting into it. the dark, slightly-fuzzy yarn (now discontinued) makes it hard to see the stitches, so working on it at night is nearly impossible for me. and daylight knitting time is pretty scarce around here, thus progress has been nil. but . . it’s too far along to bag it now; i can’t bear to rip it out, either.

so i decided that, even if i only work on it during class hours once a week when the light is good, it’d be more knitting than i’ve accomplished by keeping it in a bag near my knitting chair. and i’ve managed to stick to my spinning projects in much the same manner, so hopefully, i’ll be successful with my newest strategy for it.

just today i put a couple of inches on it—so far, so good. may the force be with me.