Slow Knitting

Hello Everyone!

First I feel like I have to tell you.  I love knitting.  It makes me happy.  It takes all my stress away.  No matter how crazy my day was, I come home and start knitting and everything is better and right with the world.

With that said, I feel like I really haven’t gotten much knitting done this fall at all.  Its just been crazy.  Many nights I have come home form work or from working out and have really not had much energy for anything else so my knitting as suffered and progressed slowly.  I am sure you have all been there.

Well, in September, when I went to Michigan, I started the Laurel Socks in Toe-Up Socks for Everybody by Wendy D. Johnson and finished them just before Halloween.  I am now knitting the Fractal Danger shawl by Martina Behm. This is a fabulous shawl, crescent shape with a great geometric pattern.  It is also easy enough to get me back in the swing of things and motivate me.  I am about half way though.    What am I knitting it with you ask?  I dug out some yarn from my trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool a few years ago. Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering.  Don’t ask what the colorway is.  It is a long story, I know what the yarn is but not the colorway. I even looked on their website neighborhoodfiberco.com and it wasn’t on there so I think it is discontinued.  But my yarn is orange.  A bright beautiful hand dyed orange.  I think it will bring a fantastic pop of color to any outfit.

Ok, well as with all Sunday’s and weekends all good things must come to an end. I have some chicken stew in the slow cooker for my lunches this week that I need to check on.  The hubs went to get wings and watch sports with his buddy so I am left to forage for my own dinner.  And I’m getting kind of hungry so I am going go do that now.

I will talk to you all soon and I hope in the crazy holiday’s we are walking into you get to set aside some time to knit for yourselves.

I will take to you soon and happy knitting.

-Alexis

BBQ’s and Knitting

Hello Everyone!  Well, I am taking some downtime uploading some Jimmy Buffett on my iPod (yes, I still use an iPod for music, not my phone) for a BBQ we are having today.  While I had my computer open, I thought I would blog.  It is the middle of August and nearing the end of what has turned out to be a very busy and social summer.  There was one week, not to long ago that I had something going on after work every night of the week including Saturday.  The average time I got home was 9 pm.  I didn’t even knit those nights, by the time I got home, I only had enough energy and brain capacity to lift the wine glass to my mouth while I watched House Hunters.  (I love that show)

Fortunately I was able to finish my Sunnyside Market Tote before then. I haven’t used it yet but I will let you know when I do.  It so pretty and colorful but I can’t tell you the last time I went to a Farmers Market.  I don’t know when or for what, but I am sure I will find a use for it.

Sunny side Market Tote
Sunny side Market Tote

 

Unfortunately during this busy summer, I have had kind of slow progress on my Rocky Coast Cardigan by Hannah Fettig,  I started this in July and I want to wear it on my vacation to Michigan this September, I will be in Northern Michigan by the lake so I think I will need a sweater.  I am leaving in 3 weeks and I am almost done with the 1st sleeve.  So one more sleeve after this on and the collar.  I have been wanted to knit this sweater since I heard about it when the book it is in Coastal Knits, by Hannah Fettig & Alana Dakos came out. I tried once before but apparently didn’t buy the correct yarn.  So this time made sure to do so. I am using Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targee Worsted in the colorway Strawberry Fields Forever that I purchased last year at Rhinebeck.  I got this yarn specifically for this sweater.  Other than the fact that I have knit with Blue Moon before and I LOVE LOVE LOVE their yarn, I love it came in one of these long loose loops, not a skein so I got to ball all 600 yards of each “loop” into one gigantic ball.  I loved the giant ball. Right now I am on giant ball #2 that still doesn’t even fit into my yarn bowl.

That's a big ball of yarn.

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I think if I buckle down I can get that sweater done before I leave.  Wish me luck.

Ok, must go shower and get the food out for the bbq.  Bob is grilling burgers, I made my Crab and Spinach dip, Buffalo Chicken Roll-ups and Candy Crack.  Our guest are also bringing food so I can kiss my diet goodbye today.

I will talk to you all soon!  Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Summer Knitting

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far.  We have had quite a heat wave.  High 90’s with over 90% humidity.  Give me 90 degrees an up any day but not the humidity.  I hate humidity.  You just feel sticky, dirty and miserable.

While we have been in this heat wave I have been happily sitting in the AC and knitting the Picabeau Shawl by Jennifer Dassau.  I really like this shawl but I’m not sure if I am reading the pattern correctly or not. For the first part of the shawl (the increases) you are supposed to work a 16 row repeat 8 time until you have 133 stitches. Well, after my 8th pattern repeat, I only had like 70 or so stitches.  I have read and re-read the pattern and am pretty sure I am doing it right and have plenty of yarn so I just continued on the first part of the shawl, I lost count of pattern repeats after 10 but the other night, I got my 133 stitches and began the second, part, the decrease part. It is coming right along but I am sorry to say I haven’t knit all weekend. I have been quite social out and about both Friday and Saturday evenings. Hopefully I can get some knitting done tonight.  One good thing, with my extra pattern repeats, the shawl will be a lot longer, I really like long shawls as I wear them around my neck like a scarf.  I am knitting the Picabeau Shawl out of GnomeAcres Hand Dyed Fingering Sock yarn in the colorway Hermione.  Its a natural colored yard with reds, pinks and browns.  The shawl really is coming out very pretty, color and pattern wise.  this is a great couch knit and perfect for binge watching when it is too hot to go outside. While I am not sure if I read the pattern right or what, I would knit this again.

I think I owe you pictures from my last post, so here they are, pictures of my Rosebud Socks and my Mindless TV Afghan.

Rosebud Socks
Rosebud Socks
Mindless Knitting TV Afghan
Mindless Knitting TV Afghan

I have also been gardening this summer, I planted my garden in early may so I think I may have planted it a bit too late, all my plants look very healthy but no blossoms or fruit/veggies yet. I even put some fertilizer spikes in but maybe when the weather starts to cool in the fall  I will get something. If not, oh well, I will just have plant earlier next year but I didn’t even get my garden built until May this year.

Well, that is all I have for today, I will be back later with more summer knitting fun.  I hope you are all staying out of the heat and finding some good summer knitting projects to work on as well. If you want to share what you are working on in the heat or the AC, go ahead and let me know in the comments.

Talk to you soon and happy knitting.

-Alexis

Socks and Shawls

Hello There!

Well, here we are in the middle of Spring and you wouldn’t even know it. It is cloudy and in the 60’s here in OKC, and I was speaking to my MIL this afternoon and it is SNOWING at here house in Michigan. SNOWING in MAY!!!!  Lets hope we get some sunshine soon.

In knitting news, a little over a week ago I finished the Pogona shawl by Steven West.  I love his designs, not only does he have a great eye for color and design, his designs, especially his shawls have amazing and interesting geometric design yet still have beautiful drape.  I must say however, I am a little disappointed in this shawl.  I should have known I wouldn’t like as it only needed 380 yards of fingering.  I like my shawls big and long, so I can wrap them around my neck like a scarf. While this shawl is big deep wise, judging from the wingspan and a quick try-on before I blocked it really will not wrap around my neck very well.  Its blocking now so maybe it will be better blocking.  I am a bit disappointed. I loved the design and the yarn color. The yarn I used was Sun Valley Fibers in Ring of Fire, a bright fiery red colorway.  Red is my favorite color and I would love to wear it.  I also love Sun Valley Fibers, the yarn is always so soft and the colors are rich and beautiful.  When this shawl is done blocking I will try it on and see, maybe I can wear it someway.  I love the color.

Last Monday I came home from a long Mother’s Day weekend in Las Vegas to visit my Mom.  We had such a fun time shopping, eating and just hanging out and enjoying each others company.  It is hard being away from my Mom and love going to visit her.  It was also nice to be home for a few days. Its so funny about going to visit you hometown, you see so much has changed, but if you really look, it really hasn’t changed much at all and it still your town.

For my trip I cast on a sock at the airport while waiting to board my plane.  I cast on the Rosebud Socks by Wendy B. Johnson from her book Toe-Up Socks for Every Body.  I am now knitting my way through this book.  The pattern on these socks are cute little rose buds and I honestly think I chose the perfect yarn for these socks. I am knitting these with Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet Handprinted in the colorway Christmas Cactus, deep reds and greens, like a rose bush with the transition from the colors is a dark purple.  The yarn is not self striping or pooling so it is a very colorful sock.  I am almost done with the first sock.  It might be a good thing this sock is coming along so quick, I might still need them this season. I love knitting socks, they are perfect for traveling because they are so small you can fit them in your purse and just set it on you lap the minute you sit down on the plane.  Yes, I have been known to cable during take-off.  And if you are at home, it is great couch knitting, even the socks with patterns, the patten is usually small and easily memorized so you can still watch your favorite shows and knit without looking down from the tv.

That is all I have for today.  I hope you are all enjoying whatever weather you are having and that we get some great spring weather soon.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Rhinebeck Memories

Hello Everyone!

It has been exactly one week since Rhinebeck and I have been recovering, re-living all the wonderful memories and enjoying my new yarn ever since.

Rhinebeck was INCREDIBLE!!!!  I loved every second and it was everything I thought and heard it would be and more.

My Rhinebeck journey started at 3:30 a.m. Central Time on Friday morning as I rose to make my way to the airport to catch my 6:30 flight to St. Louis and then it was off to Newark!  Upon arrival in Newark, I’m not gonna lie, I was giving myself a pep-talk. I was about to drive my rental car through the unfamiliar and busy city of Newark, I was a little scared.  Of course my GPS had other plans, before I knew it I was driving over the George Washington Bridge and into The Bronx.  I have always wanted to go to NYC but this was not how I wanted to do it and not a time to look around at the skyscrapers.  I was SCARED!!!  But I did good.  Honestly, once I was over the bridge, traffic was fine.  The traffic in The Bronx wasn’t that bad and once I got out of the city it was like I was a million miles away, surrounded by golden trees.

Ok, skip to that evening in Kingston, NY at the Indie Untangled Trunk Show.  Wow!  There was a line to get in!  It was amazing, all the vendors were independent dyers and spinners.  In fact, I think I will devote a whole other blog post just to the Indie Untangled show so stay tuned.  There is just to much to say.

Greetings from #rhinebeck2015

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If you have never been to Rhinebeck, you need to go!  Book your hotel now because they book up fast and go!  If you have been to Rhinebeck, then you know everything I am about say. Rhinebeck, is like Comic Con for knitters.  Everyone is wearing their Rhinebeck sweaters and other hand knits. Myself, in addition to my Gnarled Oak Cardigan, was also wearing my Maine Morning Mitts and my Greenery Beret in the morning to beat the morning chill.  I have also never see so many crowds in my life.  If you are not into crowds, go to Rhinebeck on Sunday.  So many wonderful vendors, including of course, Miss Babs, Liza Souza and Bijou Basin Ranch but others that I just discovered, including Sweiters Fiber Mill, I swear I have purchased from them before. SinsAndNeedles89/Primrose Pottery, ( I got a beautiful hand dyed skein of sock yarn and a hand sewn project bag.  She dyes and sews everything herself and also makes and handpaints yarn bowls with TV and movie characters)  I also purchased some worsted weight yarn from Buckwheat Bridge Angoras who grow and make the yarn on their farm in the Hudson Valley using solar and wind energy.  I got a skein of fingering yarn in Angora and Romney from Gravers Dream and some soft colorful yarn from The Periwinkle Sheep. I love the colors on this yarn, Bold grays and greens.  Not sure yet what I will do with it, the color way is called “Grass in a Crack in the Sidewalk.”

I got so much yarn, I had to ship some home, most of the yarn was for me yes, but some I did get for Christmas knitting.  I honestly can’t wait to cast on my Rhinebeck yarn.  I had a wonderful time.  The food was great (Artichokes French are everything they say they are) I bought a bottle of wine from the Finger Lakes region I have yet to open.  I made some great new friends and even met some old friends up there and we walked around and explored Rhinebeck further.  She just lives in the city and comes every year so she gave me some tips to remember for next time.  Like Sunday’s are much quieter.

My haul from the day. Not too bad.#rhinebeck2015

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The town of Rhinebeck is also so cute.  I left the fair at about 3 on Saturday and spent the rest of the evening walking around Market Street in Rhinebeck and had a lovely dinner at a restaurant called The Local.  I thought about the Terrapin but The Local got great reviews from locals I talked to.

I left the fair on Sunday after giving half my haul to the UPS tent that was set up with nothing but wonderful memories of my weekend. I will definitely go again.

If you went to Rhinebeck let me know what you thought? Did you buy a ton of yarn?  Have you never been but want to go?  Let me know!

Talk to you all again soon.

-Alexis

Voila!

Hello Everyone!

My goodness it is HOT outside.  Now I grew up in Las Vegas and pride myself on being used to 110+ heat in the summer.  But it is barely 100 degrees here in Oklahoma City and I am dying.  Its the humidity.  I just feel like everything is sticking to me and I am dripping sweat just thinking about going outside.  If you haven’t experienced dry heat, yes, it is MUCH better than humidity. I would much rather be in an oven than a sauna any day.

Now for knitting.  I have cranked up the AC and am cranking away at my Rhinebeck Sweater.  The Gnarled Oak Cardigan.  I finished the second sleeve last night and connected the sleeves to the body and am just about to start on the yoke.  The sleeves were very easy to attach.  You know how sometimes in sweater patterns when you attach sleeves it can be really confusing?  Maybe thats just me.  Well, since this sweater is worked from the bottom up, you just pick up the body that has been set aside, knit the body to the where the sleeves go, take the  sleeve stitches that are on the stitch holder and knit them on to to the the body with the needles that are holding the body.  Voila! the sleeves are on.  There are still 16 stitches on the underarms of the sleeves and the underarms of the body that are being held with waist yarn that I will graft together later.  I will let you know how that works out. Grafting and Kitchener stitch are not my strong suits.

Ok, that is all I have for today.  I will leave you all to your Sunday afternoon.  I will be back next week.

Happy Knitting!

-Alexis

Road Trip Knitting

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a fun and safe 4th of July.  I did.  On Friday, the Hubs and I drove to Dodge City, Kansas.  We had never been and thought it would be fun.  I was a great drive up there but honestly, other than the museum and Dairy Queen, there was not much else to see.  Oh well, we love to road trip and have these little adventures.  Also on the way, somewhere outside Seiling, OK there was this huge sunflower farm. It was so pretty, on the way home I made hub pull over so I could take pictures. Nice huh.

Sunflower Farm, OK

I also got some great road trip knitting done. As I usually always do for road trips, I grabbed some scrap balls and knit hexi-puffs for my Beekeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.  I want to make this blanket about throw size. Something warm snuggly for the couch. My goal is 500 hexi-puffs.  I have around 200 right now and have been working on it for a few years.  They are fun and fast to knit and it will be neat to see all the colors and patterns that come together from all my scrap yarn. I can still remember for most of these scrap balls what I originally made with them. Mostly socks, but several shawls, sweaters and baby things for friends.  Below are the hexi-puffs I was able to knit this weekend.

Road trip Hexi-Puffs

When I started on the Beekeepers Quilt, I knew it would be a continual work in progress as I collected leftover sock yarn from projects and knit the hexi-puffs in between projects and whenever else I could.  It really has been quite fun. I have my hexi-puff project bag that I keep all my scrap balls in and tool kit with size 3 needles, stitch markers and scissors.  Whenever we go on road trips I always randomly grab 3 scarab balls my tool kit and a small project bag.  Then I have something to work on the car that isn’t too big and doesn’t require me to read a pattern.  Reading in a car doesn’t always agree with me.  I also try to knit a few in between projects and when I am teaching, although when I teach I am usually to busy helping my student so do any knitting of my own.  But like I said before, this project is a continual work in progress and it is neat to see all the colors and patterns that are coming out of all of the scrap yarn I have so far knit up into the hexi-puffs.

Well, that is all for today. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and any road trips and/or road trip knitting that comes your way this summer.

-Alexis

Totally Going to Match Fall

Hello Everyone!

How is everyone on this beautiful June day?  I believe it is the first day of summer if I am not mistaken.

I have finished the Bavarian Cable Socks, they came out very nice if I do say so myself.

Bavarian Cable Socks
Bavarian Cable Socks

One thing I will tell you about them, that you can’t really tell unless you look very closely at them is that there are mistakes.  There are the “bumps” I told you about earlier that happened when I was working on them on an airplane and oops, turbulence over Kansas.  But there are others, where I knit where I should have purled and purled where I should have knit. And cabled where I didn’t need to cable and vice versa.  Oh well.  That folks is knitting. We as knitters all encounter that and it is at those times where we must decide if it is worth it to us to stop and fix the mistake or to just keep going and live with it.  Anything ever done my hand is never going to turn out 100 percent perfect, and that is OK.  I knit for me.  I don’t knit for anybody else so for me, its ok if not every project I do is perfect.

That is also what I tell my students, especially the beginners.  Knitting is hard at the beginning and I can see in their eyes that they immediately want to turn out a perfect piece and I tell them that its ok if they don’t.  I always teach them how to identify mistakes, (they usually see them right away anyway) and how to fix them and tell that I myself after knitting for 14 years still make those same mistakes.  It happens, but not to get down on themselves when it does.

Of course, after 14 years, I have learned to identify and fix mistakes and most of the time, I do go back and fix them so I am pretty proud of myself for my mostly flawless work but you must always remember, it is ok to have one or two flubs in your work.  That is what make us human.

So, what I am working on next now that my Bavarian Cable socks are done?  Last night I wound the yarn for and cast on my Rhinebeck Sweater!!!  I am knitting the Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos and as featured in her collaborative book with Hannah Fettig Coastal Knits.  This is a beautifully simple cardigan with a lovely lace and cable detail around the yoke.  I even bought oak branch buttons.  I love this cardigan for Rhinebeck because it is so simple, yet has that lovely detail around the yoke.  I know I can get this done in time for Rhinebeck and not stress about it being perfect, because it is Rhinebeck after all, it must be perfect.  The yarn I chose for this is perfect as well, I think the colors are perfect for fall as they beautifully mimic autumnal colors and trees.  I am using Malabrigo Arroyo in the Piedras Colorway.  It is so many colors of blues and greens and oranges and reds. I think I will totally match fall in is sweater.

The sweater is knit from the bottom up and I am about 3 rows in.  I have 4 months to go so I think I am on track, but I better get back to knitting anyway just in case.

I will talk to you all soon.

-Alexis

Welcome to Summer

Well Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a nice week and welcome to Summer!  The rain has moved out and the heat has moved in.  I am very much enjoying the sunshine, I get to run after work, it is getting hot and not sure how I will do as it get hotter and the distances on my training schedule get longer but I will tough it out I suppose. Stay hydrated and be careful.  I am not a morning person, so you probably will not see me out before the sun comes up.  It will be an evening thing for me.

When I am not running outside in the heat, I am very much enjoying the AC and ceiling fans and ice cold water while I knit. I am still working on my Bavarian Cable socks.  I turned the heel the other night and am about a chart repeat or two to the cuff ribbing of the first sock.  All depending on the length I want.

Now that it is June I have an exciting announcement.  This October, for the very first time, I am going to Rhinebeck!  I am SOOOOO Excited!  I have never been before and always wanted to go. I am saving up yarn money and have my Rhinebeck sweater all picked out. I just need to buy the yarn.  I was busy yesterday and my LYS is closed on Sunday’s so I will get the yarn next week and let you know what the sweater is when I cast on.  OHHH I am so excited!!!!!  Are any of you going?  Let me know, I would love to meet you.  Only 4 short months away.

That is all I have for you today.  I will talk to you all again next week and please do let me know if you are going to Rhinebeck.

Happy Knitting,

Alexis

Special Project and Almost Summer

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a good last week and stayed safe in the weather.  It is typical spring here in Oklahoma which makes for some exciting weather watching.

I know you have all waited long enough. My special project is ready to be unveiled. ::Drumroll:: I taught a summer scarf workshop at one of the libraries I teach at.  It was just a simple summer scarf that I had learned long ago and I taught it to my students.  It is so easy. You cast on an odd number of stitches. K1, *YO, K2TOG* and there you go.  A scarf.  and some knitting lingo for all my non-knitting readers.  The yarn I used in the picture below is Ella Rae, Lace Merino Worsted in the color 10.  But I just recommend my student use any worsted they liked and size 9 to 10.5 needles.   Of course any weight yarn and size needles would work just as well.

Summer Scarf on Chair

My Feathernest Raglan is also finished blocking and it Fits! I am so happy that it fits! It now resting comfortably in my sweater trunk.

I am still working on my Marin Shawl by Ysolda Teague.  It’s almost like popcorn knitting.  I keep on wanting to get a bit further, I am right in the center now working on the short rows and it is coming along nicely.

I am also blocking my Willington Simple Raglan shawl.  I will take a picture when it dries. I am excited to get to wear it.  However, with summer fast approaching, I am not so sure when that will be.

As summer is almost here, and when the rain and tornadoes stay away, I have been running.  And what do I listen to while I run you may ask?  Well, I listen to knitting podcasts of course.  Listening to music just throws me off my pace and knitting podcasts are the perfect distraction from the cramps in my feet and legs and the heat and that fact that sometimes running, although I like it, it just hard. Right now I am listening to The Commuter Knitter Podcast.  I just started listening to her and I love it.  I am very behind though, the episodes I downloaded started in January of this year.  I will need to catch up, which is what is so great about listening to podcasts while running, it is great podcast catchup time.  Other podcasts I listen to are Knitmore Girls, Stash and Burn, CogKNITive, Down Cellar Studios, and Yarnings.  I love all these podcasts as I like the personalities of each individual podcaster, its like I’m with running with a friend while we talk about knitting.  Anyone else have any other good podcast recommendations?

Oh, and one more thing before I go, last week I was alerted to this fact by one of my wonderful Twitter followers that I had a typo in my blog link when I shared it.  I am very sorry to all of you who were not able to access my post last week because of it.  But, you can always subscribe to my blog and have it conveniently delivered to your inbox whenever I post. That way you won’t have to worry about my pesky typos, of which I am known for.

Thank you again for stopping by and reading and on that note, I will be on vacation next week so I won’t be posting but stay tuned for the week after when I talk about my vacation knitting and all the other fun stuff I did.

Talk to you all soon and happy knitting!

-Alexis