Preview of Things to Come

Autumn is teasing me right now.  As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows, Autumn is my favorite season.  I know people get tired of all of us lovers of this season going on about it.  So sorry, but that’s not likely to change any time soon.

Autumn is teasing me by acting as if she had decided to come early this year.  The temperatures have dropped a bit just after a week of sweltering weather.  In the early mornings and in the evening there is a slight nip in the air.  I’ve gone from needing iced tea to my much preferred hot tea as my comfort drink of choice and very likely I will be lighting up a campfire in the next day or two.  An evening campfire is one of my all time favorite things to do and I am fortunate enough to have a spot for it just out back.

But I have grown wise to Autumn’s whimsical ways.  She has fooled me before.  Shown up for a week or two, prompting me to happily break out my flannel shirts and cozy socks and start planning some really nice recipes fitting for that season.  And then, like the flirt she is, she disappears and it’s back to heat and humidity.

But having learned that this is a somewhat regular occurrence I’ve decided to treat this week (if the forecast holds true) as the movie preview just whetting my appetite for the actual release date.  I AM sipping my freshly made cup of Earl Grey right now.  I am NOT unpacking the flannels and socks just yet.  I MAY start a list of eventual cool weather meals to make when Autumn arrives in earnest.  It will come.  It will come.  I just keep saying that to myself.

I have some previews of my own to share.  I’ll start with my HO (Half Finished Object) that I am making good progress on.  I recently cast on a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks and have been working faithfully away at them.  I am knitting with Hiya Hiya 9 inch circular needles.  This past spring I learned the magic loop method and I did successfully complete a pair of Mercury Socks with this method, but I am not as crazy about this as many others are.  Dealing with a long cable is just too fiddly for me.  So I purchased two pair of the 9 inch circulars to see how I felt about this approach and it gave me a chance to try out the Hiya Hiya brand for the first time, which I’m really enjoying.  I’m knitting them in tandem, do the cuff on one, then the cuff on the other.  Do the leg on one, then the leg on the other.  This is how I avoid the dreaded “Second Sock Syndrome” that plagues many knitters.  I am very close to completing the leg on the second sock and THEN I will have to begin the heel.  <Insert Scared Face here>.  Since I am a very new sock knitter this is the part that intimidates me most.  Every other step to sock knitting is relaxing and enjoyable.  But I tell myself:

Rosie

And, I actually know that I can. I have books, YouTube videos, and sock knitting friends who will cheer me on through the process.  I just have to kick past my own internal resistance and just start.  Since I’m way behind on my goal of having several hand knit pairs of socks by the time cool weather hits, it’s time to put on my big girl panties and push through.

Here is my progress so far:

Hermione

I already have several skeins of really beautiful sock yarn waiting in the wings for the next pair.  I’m thinking of using the Coven by Voolenvine Yarns that I purchased a few months ago. (See Yarn Buying: Bloodsport)

Coven

I may even do another pair of Hermione just to build my confidence.  It really is a great pattern and having a few pairs in various colorways would suit me just fine.

Next up is a project I started just this morning.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine gifted me a lovely skein of Noro yarn.  To be honest, I often stall on starting projects with especially nice yarns I’ve received since I really want to find a pattern that will do them justice.

But this one had sat for a while and I really felt it was time to begin something with it.  Since it is a single skein of just over 100 grams I had to choose a smaller project.  I already have some yarn set aside to make some fingerless gloves with.  It doesn’t really seem suitable for socks, so I decided to find a nice basic scarf pattern and chose the Bunter Hund it will feature the colors already present nicely I think.  I will most likely have to adjust to make a shorter length since I only have one skein, but I think, once finished it will look nice tucked around my favorite denim jacket.

Here’s the progress from this morning:

BunterHundonNoro

 

So in keeping with my theme of previews, if my socks are the “feel good, comfort” movie and the Noro project is the “fun, colorful” movie then next is the Epic preview.

This is a project that is going to take some time, hence Epic.  I have decided to make a Geek-A-Long Blanket based on squares from Lattes and Llamas. These are the squares I have made so far:

If I do the full 52 squares I only have 49 more to go.

To all my readers may YOUR season and projects of choice give you immense pleasure.  I’d love to see some pics of the things you are working on or thoughts on your favorite seasons.

Peace,

Jamye

Finding Peace

Today I want to revisit just why I call my blog Knitting in the Apocalypse.  In my very first ever post Knitting In the Apocalypse I discussed this in detail.  But I want to touch on it again briefly.  I find knitting and other artistic and creative expressions to be not only satisfying for their own sakes, but they are also very important to me as acts of self-care and healthy outlets when I am facing stresses or challenges.  The things that we all face personally are challenging to us.  These are the “small a” apocalypses, only because they impact fewer people.

But there are the larger events, the “big A” apocalypses. These are the ones that happen on a larger, sometimes global scale.

In spite of the name of this blog, I like to keep this a safe space, it is more about what I do to stay in a good, happy, and centered place and less about what issues are causing me concern.  Yes, there are large issues at play.  Yes, I feel strongly about them.  Yes, I do take action as I’m able that reflect my convictions and values.  But in the current climate I feel there is enough screaming going on, so on this blog, I just want to talk about yarn, knitting, chickens and all the good and happy things.  I want there be a place, however briefly, of calm in this spot on the web.

flower

I cannot, however, fail to acknowledge the big A events without seeming apathetic. This is not a word that describes me.

This week, like most people, I have been following the developments related to North Korea.  No matter where you fall on the Left-Right political spectrum the potential for dangerous, even disastrous outcomes here is something that will concern most reasonable people.  Hard on its heels were the events in Charlottetown ,VA.

Before I continue on about the things I am doing, the projects I have finished or begun, and share with you the pictures of my newest hand-dyed yarns I would like to say this:

Every now and then turn off the news and spend time on the things that keep you in that good place.  There are few things most of us can do that will impact the unfolding events.  However, we can build into ourselves strength and resiliency so that we can face and affect how our circle of friends and family, our communities, and cultures continue to grow and move forward.

As for me, I will make more time for making, even if the housework waits another day.  I will sit by the campfire and leave my phone inside.  I will go out and laugh at the antics of my chickens. I will read stories to my grandson.  I will discuss storyline scenarios with my son. I will talk to my daughter and share her excitement about her upcoming wedding.

I encourage you to do the same.  Need some alone time to meditate?  Need to just go out with friends and just have fun?  Need to plant something? Make something? Get lost in a book or entertaining movie?  Do it.  You will come back better able to face whatever things you still need to face.  Build your own peace and strength. It will serve you well to have it in good supply.

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Ok, now, enough with Apocalypse portion of this blog, on to the Knitting portion.

This week I have an FO!  For those unfamiliar with knitting (and other crafty) lingo that stands for Finished Object.  I have completed the Hitchhiker Shawl I have been making for a friend.  I still have have to weave in the ends, but there are only two, so not too painful.  I was able to use  some lovely Malabrigo Rios that I picked up at a recent sale.  It is a tonal green with subtle touches of light browns and yellows and it is just beautiful.  I had originally started it as a Christmas gift but there are a couple of problems.

One, I am not good at all about waiting to give a gift once it is completed.  I get so excited to give it I rarely wait for the event it for which it was intended.

Two, I like Christmas just fine, but Autumn (!) is my favorite time of year and since most of the things I make are hand knitted items made of wool, well, they make great Celebrate Autumn gifts.  In this way the recipient can enjoy them as soon as the weather reaches appropriate temperatures.

I have a good amount of leftover yarn and I am most likely going to knit some fingerless gloves from it.

I am still working on the pair of  Hermione’s Everyday Socks that I began this past week, but I had to pull them out and begin again.  As I was working on the cuff of the first sock it seemed a bit too big for me.  I had cast on the required number according to the pattern, but I felt they needed to be smaller.  As I looked through the pattern I didn’t see what number of stitches I could decrease and still maintain the pattern.  But serendipitously I was watching an older episode of Inside Number 23, “Orange on the Brain (39) to be exact, and she mentioned she was working on this same pattern.  Just like me she mentioned she needed to decrease the size and as she discussed how she was adjusting it I learned that sets of 4 were how I could decrease on this pattern.  So I am going to reduce my cast on stitches and begin again.

The bright side is not only do I now know this information and have added it to the printed pattern for future reference, but I’m getting quite good at the German Twisted Cast on method since I’ve had to practice is quite a bit during this process.

It seems very fitting that I am currently reading the Harry Potter series for the very first time (I know, I know. lame!).  So it seems especially enjoyable to work on a pattern related to the characters I’m reading about.

As I have made a habit of in the last few posts I will leave you with these shots of my most recent skeins of yarn coming out of my kitchen.

and my first attempt at repeating a colorway and the only one posted today with a name:

darkandtwisty
Dark and Twisty Road

Peace,

Jamye

Flirtatious

In one of my early posts One for the Road I talked about how I like to have around three projects on my needles at a time.  I like to have projects going that help advance my skill set and proficiency.  I also like to have projects that I don’t really have to think too hard about and can relax while watching a movie or having a conversation without having to worry too much about keeping focused attention on my work.

So for the most part, I am not a monogamous knitter.  Recently, however as some projects were completed and others were “frogged” without casting on new ones, I have dwindled down to a single shawl project that I’m working on as a Christmas present.  I’m not saying for whom. Spoilers.

I really hadn’t realized I had gotten to this state.  Life has been very, VERY hectic lately.  I’m slowly turning my property into a homestead.  I have chickens, vegetable and herb garden and plans to expand.

My beloved younger daughter is getting married next month and guess who is baking the cakes (plural) for it.  Yep.  Scary.

I wrangle 2 boys and a pit/lab mix 3 days a week.  Adorable, fun, exhausting.

I could go on, but I think you grasp the idea.

Because of all the busyness my mind is in constant “what’s next?” mode and the time and mental energy to sit and consider what else I wanted to be working on was just not there.  But pendulums swing.

pendulum

Now I’ve gone from being monogamous to downright flirtatious.  I would use the word Harlot (nods to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee ) but that’s taken.

I am very, very close to finishing the shawl so it was pretty urgent that I start deciding what else needs to be cast on.

First of all, I picked up the project bag to a pair of socks that had languished and after considering for a bit, I chose to start fresh and frog the project back.  I still want to continue on my journey toward confident and skilled sock knitter so I took the same yarn and cast on Hermione’s Everyday Socks,  still being as busy as I was before I am still working on the cuff of the first sock, but, it’s a start.

Secondly, I spend 3 days a week with the aforementioned boys and dog.  I am not really willing to take any knitting projects with me because if young mister or the pup got ahold of it, there would be tears.  Mostly mine.  But to not have ANY projects to work on while I am there is not to my liking. So I decided to dust off my crochet hook and do some stash busting by starting a simple granny stripe blanket to take with me.  I am far less concerned about having to pull back a bit on a crochet project than I would be to try and repair tangles or damage on a knitted project.  I’m still working on the foundation row for this since I decided to learn how to do the Foundation Single Crochet Stitch to begin it.

I should have this ready to travel in the next day or two.

I also received the gift of some nice hemp yarn.

IMG_0551

I’ve wanted to try out this fiber for some time now, so I was delighted with the gift.  Because it is a stiffer texture than the fibers I usually work with I’m leaning toward a nice farmer’s market type shopping bag. It is a little less than 200 yards so it would have to be a medium sized bag.  I’m still perusing Ravelry and Pinterest trying to decide on a pattern.  Suggestions?

Finally, this seems to be the month for reviving old skills. As I mentioned, my daughter is getting married next month.  I have found the perfect cross stitch pattern that I would like to make for the event.  I feel safe posting about this here.  She is a busy working woman, preparing for a wedding and NOT a knitter, so my secret should be safe.  However, I will save the details and the photo of the completed project until after it has been given to the new couple, just to be on the safe side.  This would be the ONE time she decided she needed to read Mom’s blog.

So, the current tally is:

2 knitting projects on the needles

1 pending project

1 crochet project

and a cross stitch project.

I think that pendulum may have swung just a bit too far.

Before I go, let me just share a few of the new colorways that have been coming out of my kitchen:

This party’s just getting started.

Cheers,

Jamye

The Need for Knit

When I started this blog last February my first post was a fairly detailed explanation of just why I call this blog  Knitting In the Apocalypse.  Please feel free to go back and read that first post.  But, put briefly, the premise is this:  We all face crises in our lifetime.  Those that are capital Apocalypse, the things that affect many people on a large scale and the lowercase apocalypse, the things that are mainly our own personal wrestlings.  I, like many people, find solace and therapeutic value in working with my hands.

In my recent interview with Maggie Menzel: Knitwear Designer she mentioned this very thing.  She said that she was often most productive in her knitting during times of great stress, that the very act of picking up her needles caused her heart rate to slow and her tensions begin to ease. There’s even a podcast on YouTube called Stress Knits for the same reason.  It’s a common theme.

There have been a lot of changes for me in recent years.  Moving from Asia back to America, working in fairly stressful jobs, and simply the ups and downs and frustrations of normal life.  Like Maggie, I find myself reaching my needles more often during those times of high stress.  Each and every time I do, especially during those times, it is as if I discover its benefits all over again.  I will reach the end of a day, I will find a comfortable spot, pick up one of my projects and as soon as yarn flows over my fingers and the fabric grows and moves across the needles I think to myself,  as if for the first time, “I really LOVE this!”.  It’s like magic.

Right now, there’s a feeling of lowercase apocalypse happening.  There’s nothing dire happening.  Everyone’s healthy and projects and goals I have are inching forward, often more slowly than I’d like, but forward is forward.  In fact, if there was something even smaller than a lowercase version of this, that’s where I’d be.  The only things I have to stress me are that my garden needs weeding very badly,  my chicken coop is still not built, and some unexpected car repairs came up.  Annoying to be sure, but really, really small in the grand scheme of things.

So I was a little taken aback with how stressed I was feeling.  My logic and intellect recognized the “ordinariness” of these things, but my nerves just plain didn’t care.  But then it slowly dawned on me, in dealing with all these things the amount of time I was actually spending with my knitting had decreased pretty drastically.  I am rarely without a project bag close to hand to be sure, but I just hadn’t been able to reach for it as often.

The epiphany happened during one of the times I actually did get to sit for a bit with the Taina shawl I Tainahave been working on.  As I began knitting and I had that “I REALLY love this!!” moment, as I always do, I suddenly realized just how little time I had been spending doing this.   Like anyone who requires medication to manage mental or physical health issues, I saw at once that I had gone off my meds.  I’m thinking my family realized it before I did :).  But once I did catch sight of it, I knew I needed to get back on track.

This was really good news.  It meant I had an easy, tried and true solution AND it meant some of my languishing projects were going to get the love they needed.

I currently have 3 projects on the needles.  Besides the Taina shawl I am working on my Vanilla Latte socks and a double knit square for a blanket I am making.

I would have to say that currently Taina is my favorite.  Other than having to watch carefully on the rows that create the eyelet patterns it is simple garter stitch and very relaxing to knit.  It is definitely a good go-to when you want something to help you just recenter yourself and breathe.

As I mentioned in One for the Road I like to have things that challenge me in my knitting skills.  While knitting the Vanilla Latte’ sock I have been learning to Fish Lips Kiss Heel.  This has definitely been a challenge, but I think that once I get the hang of it, it will be one of my favorite heels.  In fact, once this pair is completed I plan to make several more pairs using it to become confident in it before learning a new heel technique.  Perhaps I will try the Strong Heel since Maggie was such a fan of it.

In terms of progress I am about to close the toe on the first sock and preparing to start the heel on the second.  Since I am very close to finishing my shawl, I think this pair will get the attention it’s been lacking and will be completed very soon.

Finally, I’m working on a double knit square.  Here is where I have to be mysterious and covert.  This is for a blanket I am intending to give as a gift for someone who may or may secretnot read this post.  So I must deprive you of the details for today.  But once this blanket is finished, which will be quite awhile I’m afraid, I will post pictures and tell you about the fun and trials and travails of creating it.  I am so, so close to the end of this particular square, but I made some mistakes in the last row I completed and had to put it down and take a break before I went back to it with fresh energy to see if I can deal with them.  Because there is a knit stitch and a purl stitch for each stitch it takes a good long time to do make things in this style.  I am literally 3 rows away from completion of this square so I am dreading the thought of not being able to repair it.  I may have to call in extra help on this one.  But I have every reason to hope it can be rescued and I can look forward to beginning the next one.

Breathing and Knitting.  Knitting and Breathing.

My apocalypses shrink in size if I remember to make time for these things.

I REALLY love that.

Peace,

Jamye

P.S. Finished Object!!

tainaclosetaina

 

 

 

One for the Road

I’m not that monogamous.  But only when it comes to books and knitting, my husband doesn’t have a thing to worry about.couple

Many knitters refer to themselves as being Monogamous–sticking to one project until its completion or

NOT Monogamous–having a variety of project on the needles at the same time.

I fall firmly in the second camp when it comes to this. Continue reading “One for the Road”

For the Journey

 

Toward the end of every year I genuinely look forward to writing up a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m odd like that. I’m ok with being odd like that.  I think I enjoy it for a couple of reasons:

1) I LOVE learning new things. There is always some new art or skill I want to learn and the list is a promise to myself that this year I will be learning something that I have been itching to try.

2) Also, my resolutions list has a bucket list quality to it, since I include things like the tattoo that I want to add or the trip I want to take. Again, something I really want to do.  So, even though my list may or may not include the ever-present “lose 10 pounds” or “organize the garage” they are deposited in with a plethora of things that delight my soul so they don’t seem as daunting or dreadful. Continue reading “For the Journey”