happy halloween

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

it wouldn’t be a knitspot halloween without the annual viewing of bret’s house—i know you’ve been waiting for it. we’ve been watching it evolve since october 1st. from a distance you can see that there is a lot going on, so let’s draw a little closer to view the details . . .

i just love those burlap-swathed skeletons with hats on, hahaha!

new this year is the skull inside a bottle—bret is happy to add water for showy smoke effects while you wait

back again is the underground stowage, complete with pig-headed person. sadly, someone stole the bearded figure’s head sometime last week.

up on the porch a vignette of witches and other goblins preside over the ordered chaos

and from the trees a host of friendly ghosts is carried by the wind.

wherever you are, i hope you are enjoying a fun-filled night with an extra hour of sleep as a final treat!

hayrick sock

Posted on 29 CommentsPosted in patterns

another easy-to-knit sock with a handsome texture that belies the simplicity of its pattern. a near-cabled look is achieved with absolutely no crossing of stitches; the bit of openwork that accents the motif would never be construed as “lace”, yet it results in a pleasingly breathable fabric, same as the frilly stuff. a completely portable project to knit in time for holiday gifting, this sock is a real man-pleaser (but oh-so-pretty in pink—just sayin’).

shown here: size large in mackintosh skye sock, colorway, safari.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

liz at mackintosh yarns, enthusiastically provided the yarn for this sock project and wants to share her terrific selection of yarns and fibers with all of us. thank you liz!

gail is on a test-knitting tear with her second pair of knitspot socks in a row; you can get a glimpse of her very-different take on them in her october 19th post. while you’re there, take a sec to wish her a happy BD (it was yesterday but birthdays last all week, right?

ok, let’s look some more at david modeling in his new socks.

seems like just yesterday . . .

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in designing, projects

seems like no time has passed since i wrote about last weekend’s knitting and it’s already time to talk about the this weekend’s knitting.

the house is a little brighter every day as the shade trees surrounding it are stripped of leaves by the bushel—as fast as david sweeps them up, another carpet of them is laid down in a rain of gold, orange, and red.

a little accent of green in my knitting is a cheerful contrast—i’m closing in on finishing the sprössling sweater and getting excited about the seaming. the second sleeve is well-advanced

and yesterday, my buttons arrived from moving mud. i dunno how they do it, but my buttons always show up in the mailbox just when i’m getting to the finish (i get a big kick out of the symbiosis at work there).

ok, are you ready to see their tiny creations??

sarina, john, and scout always come up with exactly what’s needed. i purposely chose the flat button style because they are seed shaped. i send a swatch (this time, since the buttonholes will be tiny, i added a couple to the swatch to be sure to get the right size button) and a little note about the idea of the sweater (i spouted off about plants sprouting and such) and they just do their thing. they took the greens from the yarn and swirled them with an earthy brown and a touch of sky blue—it’s a garden world inside button, just in time for winter.

i adore them. i can’t wait to sew them on.

i have about one evening’s worth left to do on the sleeve and then i’ll be done with the knitting. i need an hour or two to block the pieces, then a few hours to sew everything together and add the button and neck bands. hopefully by monday, i’ll be done.

i’d love to work on it tonight, but beckie and i are going shopping. after our makeovers last month we decided we need bra fittings next, hahaha. and maybe some shoes.

she was here last night working on her sweater and again, i forgot to take a photo. but the body is done now and she’s ready to begin the sleeves. we’re really enjoying our thursday night knitting thing—we get to eat a nice supper together with david and then we knit for a few hours (he makes coffee for us; isn’t that sweet?). it’s a good habit that i’m glad we started.

beckie is always curious about what’s happening with my workroom project, so we usually get david to give us a tour while she’s here. this week he’s got the doors hung and all the trim finished and waxed, including this adorable built in dresser, original to the tiny, under-the-stairs closet

which had stuck drawers that are now gliding in and out like new. another little hidey hole for storage that i didn’t know we had. i am really happy with the finishes on the wood—the limewax allows the grain and some color to show through without being dark—between the rubbed plaster and the light trim, these workrooms will glow with natural light all year long. in the absence of skylights, it’s the next best thing.

while beckie was working on her sweater, i started (and restarted) the hat to go with my mink scarf.

it’s going to be a poofy hat with a fitted cable rib brim—i guess like a beret. i worked out all the cabling and increasing/decreasing yesterday on paper, but the when i cast on, i didn’t like the way the first part was knitting up—not lush enough to match the top part of the hat. so i ripped back and restarted the ribbing at a larger scale.

the mink/cashmere yarn is so tolerant of ripping back—i can hardly believe something that feels so delicate is actually so resilient. i’m incredibly impressed with its performance in this regard. my scarf is growing too

honestly—and truly, i’m not trying to taunt—it is to die for.
i am so glad i started this project. i’ve been working on it as late-night knitting in lieu of a sock and it’s so soothing and peaceful to make—exactly what i need at the end of the day. well, except for one thing . . . i stay up later and later every night to do “just one more row”.
heh; gotta get on top of that.

i’m naming this set ghirlande, which is the italian word for garlands.
it’s luxuriously wide (about ten or eleven inches?) and i plan to knit it to a length of 54 inches or so—big enough to wrap twice or wear as a little indoor wrap. and all of that from just two skeins, maybe a little less. i’ll never get over how much yarn there is in one two-ounce skein of this stuff.

ok, enough with the mink—too much makes me breathless and dizzy, you know?

i worked just a little on my henley sleeve—my goal the other night was to get it on the needles so it would be ready to pick up any time i wanted to work on it. and i accomplished that, at least. here and there over the weekend i’ll get this sleeve knit and blocked to evaluate what i’m working with.
i have to say once again how perfect i think the classic superwash merino sport is for this kind of top—it’s so soft and flexible and comfortable as cotton. the top will be fitted enough to support such a soft yarn and tolerate a bit of fabric relaxation (a lot like the green cardi). once i can get the sizing right, this will be a piece i’ll wear often.

in the evening, while i work on these two sweaters, i’m listening to the new E.L. Doctorow book, homer and langley—a novel based on the true story of new york city’s notorious collyer brothers and the incredible world they created inside their brownstone home.

i haven’t read doctorow is a number of years and i’m very much touched by humanity in voice of homer, the brother telling the story, enhanced in no small part by the reader, arthur morey (one of my favorites).

well, i have one more work item to take care of today and that is to release the hayrick sock pattern. we got some really nice photos yesterday among the leaves. i need to add it to the store and to ravelry and write a little release for it. doesn’t it look nice?

after that, i’m off to knit for a bit and get ready for a shopping trip. happy friday, happy weekend, happy knititng!


Posted on 39 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, projects

we’re living in a fishbowl of vibrant colors this month—the foliage is putting out the best display i’ve seen since we moved to ohio.

we’re lucky to live in a home surrounded by a grove of very tall, old oaks, interspersed with maples. i’m struck with awe when each new day brings a different slant of light or new depth of color-in-wetness.

sunday morning was a sunny one and i woke up to the light pouring sideways through the oak leaves. i jumped out of bed and grabbed the camera to take some photos of the neighborhood.

out in the back yard, the first pair of winter cardinals was playing on the fence

(the boy one is trying to get the girl one to come over, but she’s not having any of it)
while the coffee perked, i set to work tackling the last basket of tomatoes david picked from the dying plants before pulling them out

after sorting them, i put a sheet in the oven to dry and the remaining green ones

i washed, dried, and placed between layers of newspaper on the old pool table to ripen. maybe we’ll bring them to my mom’s in a few weeks when we go for thanksgiving, for one last garden tomato sauce.

the vegetable garden is all but done now

david pulled up all the plants except the greens at the back (which continue to give and give, bless them) and some herbs and celery at the front. he spread a layer of dark composted earth over the top of the spoiled straw-and-newspaper mulch and will till everything under come spring.

i don’t know what that baby slug is going to eat now, but it doesn’t have much time left to get big (and honestly, i’ve no idea how fast they grow; i don’t think i want to know . . .)

today it’s wet and rainy; the colors are deeper and more immediate

days like this are often great for getting pictures of hard-to-photograph colors, so i dragged my knits outside for a little photo shoot

here, finally is a good depiction of my current project in great northern yarns mink/cashmere, colorway radiant purple. BTW, craig now has all of his colors back in stock.
yes, i’ll wait while you go look . . .

this is the truest representation of the purple yarn i have and it’s showing up really well on my monitor.

i dunno if you can see it in the photo, but my favorite part of this purple is its slight haze of chocolatey brown which gathers in the folds of the fabric.

i’m completely in love with it.

i picked this cable pattern for its soft, curvy plumpness. the yarn is wonderful for cabling because it’s so light and relaxed—it’s not at all hard on the hands, even when crossing four over six. it looks just the way i hope it would—soft, feminine and utterly touchable. i’m thinking a hat with some slouch to it will complement the scarf beautifully, while being light enough to hold itself up where it belongs (i have to be careful about slouchy hats because they tend to fall right off my nutkin head).

i finished up my green sleeve on monday evening, and last night when i went to debby’s to knit, i started the second one

this is the last piece i need—i’m actually gonna miss this knit when it’s done; i’ve enjoyed it immensely (maybe because it went to rhinebeck with me?). i have a semblance of a pattern written, but i’m waiting to see how it fits before i commit to the numbers. i really think it’s going to be fine—everything is measuring up great against my predicted size. it just remains to be seen whether i like it once it’s on. it’s sounds funny, but even a sweater that has all the right measurements can need some tweaking once i do a full fitting; since each yarn makes a unique fabric, i don’t have the opportunity to make that final assessment of its “feel-good” qualities til i can put it on my body.

it’s exciting to anticipate how it will turn out and sometimes, a little nerve-wracking (oh, i love living dangerously). i feel pretty confident that this one will be what i want, but i’ve been surprised before.

on the other hand, there is the blue henley i started the other day

(again, i finally got a decent shot of the dusk colorway, which often wants to show up as a reddish-purple instead of the denim-y blue it really is).

i started the front the other night and i love the fabric. this is knitting notions superwash sport and i’m diggin’ its cotton-y soft hand—it’s knitting up into a wonderfully comfy henley fabric.

i’ve knitted to the waist and now i’m a little nervous about the sweater width. it’s a cable rib and i calculated the cast-on number according to the gauge in my washed swatch (a method which usually serves me well). the problem, i think, is me—i don’t trust myself, hahaha. the cables and rib pull the fabric in a LOT; my swatch grew about 25 percent in width, unstretched, after soaking and drying. the fabric, though cabled, is very soft and flexible (because it also has openwork and the yarn is relaxed). i do not want this sweater to be baggy; i want it to be sexy, so i chose a size that’s pretty close to my body size.

what concerns me, is that over the larger pieces, the cabling seems to provide more tensile strength than the swatch did (i.e., less stretch), which may make it feel too clingy. it’s just a theory, but i will always look for a reason to worry anxiously over things. it could also stretch a ton after being worn and washed a bit and i wouldn’t want it to hang badly then . . .

just in case, i’m going to put aside the front and start a sleeve. i can finish the sleeve up quickly, wash it, and block it out to see how the fabric changes. i can even sew the seam and wear it around the house for a while to make sure i like how it feels. i should’ve done that to begin with, but i thought it would be smarter to knit the front.
i should not think about what’s smart—i should just do it, heh.

i’ll be mulling all of the options over this afternoon when i get back to the project. but i also want very badly to finish my sprössling sweater . . . will i be able to split my time or will i be all driven and do one or the other? i dunno—i might be leaning toward driven today . . .

while i was taking photos of the leaves over the last few days, i started collection lichen pictures too—we have an amazing variety of lichen throughout the yard; it’s one of my favorite things to look at and something i haven’t written about yet. but i’m preparing . . . i have a yarn that i’m dreaming on to go with it

i am chomping at the bit to cast on with my precious cash/silk handspun, but haven’t yet perfected a design for it. i’m working on it though—this will be my treat to knit in between making christmas knitgoodies . . .