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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Study in Contrasts

Thursday (January 4) for the Northeast meant a blizzard. For me, it was a beautiful (if chilly) day in Florida.

Friday amidst forecasts of record low temperatures, I headed back to Connecticut for a week of teaching ~ reconnecting with my students, co-workers, friends and of course Thing #1 and Tucker.

During our descent into NY, we experienced significant turbulence.  When we landed a much deserved round of applause went up by the passengers.

As we were preparing to leave, the man next to me said, "During the turbulence, I was looking any/everywhere for something to hold on to. There you were knitting away. I fly often, maybe I should take up knitting!" I replied, "Yes, you should, it has a great calming affect. Although, in all honesty, if you looked closely, you would have seen white knuckles gripping the knitting needles."

While in Connecticut, I enjoyed wearing my hand-knit winter woollies. Each day meant a new ensemble ~ right down to my hand-knit socks. From top to bottom: Rock the Pompom Hat in The Periwinkle Sheep Merino Aran (Aran: 100% Superwash Merino, 180 yards). Infinite Cabled Cowl in Lobster Pot Cashmere (Worsted: 100% Cashmere, 100 yards). Customfit Pullover in Rowan Lima (Worsted: 84% Alpaca, 8% Merino, 8% Nylon, 120 yards). 2 @ time Toe Up Socks ~ Magic Loop (a soon to be published pattern) in Zen Serenity 20 (Fingering: 70% Merino, 20% Cashmere goat, 10% Nylon, 400 yards).

I got to catch up with Tucker who kept me warm while watching movies with Thing #1.

 and he kept me company at the table while I enjoyed my morning coffee and the snowy view. I think he is giving me the "hairy eyeball". He might have wanted a cup of tea.

Now, ten days later, I'm back in Florida enjoying the beautiful, temperate climate.

Apart from the severe contrast in temperatures, I noticed a major contrast in lifestyles. No real surprise there. While living in Westport, I am working at Westport Yarns, teaching, and designing. I am the "city" that never sleeps. I thought nothing of setting up a (visiting) schedule for myself where on some days I ate three meals at the shop. It was not a big departure from how I schedule my normal routine.

Then we come to Florida, to a period of time where I have minimal commitments. I found that I was sleeping, breathing, knitting (more) and even exercising. I didn't even mind normal mundane household chores.

My goal is to figure out some middle ground between the two ways of life. We will see how I fare. It is a challenge. Harry, on the other hand, has it all figured out. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cast on, Cast Off

Such is the nature of our craft ~ and life. Beginnings and Endings. Very philosophical don't you think? I figured any post at the beginning of the new year should be somewhat philosophical. That may be the extent of my musing, we'll see.

There are many reasons that I (we) cast on...

Gift knitting, this is a baby gift, The Taylor Blanket in Berroco Pima 100 (Worsted: 100% Pima, 219 yards).

And a sweater for my Mom in Juniper Moon Farm Neve (Worsted: 100% Cotton, 222 yards). This started out as DROPS 112.  However, given that it's a collaboration with my mother and for my mother AND that I get my design/never leave well enough alone genes from her.... it is evolving into its own unique design. The sweater is black, so not much to show yet.

For fun, I cast on for Mirror by Yumiko Alexander. I've been intrigued by her designs for a while. Luckily the shop here in Florida, Knit or Knot Yarns, carries DanDoh Cotton Fine (Fingering: 100% Cotton Tape/paper, 435 yards). I am knitting it in exactly the color/yarn the pattern is pictured in. I can count on one hand the number of times I have done that, Riverbend being the first.

Last month I cast off on another Rock the Pompom Hat  in Periwinkle Sheep Merino Aran (Aran: 100% Superwash Merino, 180 yards) with a FELL pompom. LOVE IT. Given the temperatures in New England, I will be wearing this home for my visit later this week.

I knit up Frieze for an upcoming class at Knit or Knot Yarns.

My "purse" project was the Bias 'Before & After' Scarf in Koigu Lace Merino (Lace: 100% Merino, 292 yards). This fit in my purse perfectly, nice and small.

I collect random leftovers of yarn that (I think) work together, and knit up Margaret's Funnel Cowl (shop pattern from Westport Yarns).

The pattern encourages creativity and I enjoyed knitting it.

Lastly, I'm toying with some design ideas for Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles (Fingering: 100% Merino, 400 yards).

Harry has been by my side every stitch of the way ~ or on my lap if he feels I need a break from knitting.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Friezing in Florida

Mosaic knitting is one of my favorite color-work techniques. This eye-catching shawl/scarf looks more complicated than it is.  
© maliha

The Frieze Shawl by Lisa Hannes is pure knitting fun. Per the designer, “It is an elongated, asymmetrical triangle shawl with a curved top edge. You’ll start knitting with just a few stitches at one tip, then work your way across to the opposite edge creating the triangular shape by increasing/decreasing at the edges. It is finished with an i-cord bind-off.” 

It's knit up on larger needles, US #8-10 (depending on your yarn). The pattern requires 200 yards of worsted/aran weight yarn in two colors with good contrast. It can be a solid and a variegated or two solids. Either way, it is really striking.

I've knit the pattern three times, once for a sample for Westport Yarns (and a class). Yarn: Blue Sky Fibers Extra and Artyarns Big Merino Cloud

Next I knit one for myself in Noro Silk Garden and Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Worsted.

I just finished my third Frieze Shawl for an upcoming class at Knit or Knot Yarns in Jupiter, Florida. For this shawl I used Noro Taiyo Aran and Berroco Comfort Solids & Heathers. Given the climate, I chose non-wool yarns. 
As you can see, I am partial to variegated yarns as contrast to the solid color. Yarns with long color repeats (like Noro) knit up with in stripes of color. The first shawl I knit had a randomly variegated yarn which results in random color shifts. The shawl could easily be knit with two solids for dramatic effect. Click here to view a knitter on Ravelry who chose two solids.

If you're in the Jupiter area and not freezing elsewhere, join me for the Frieze Shawl class at Knit or Knot. For more information, call the shop at 561-746-1005 or email them at knitorknotyarns@gmail.com.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pantone Color of 2018 is.....


Pantone has declared the Color of the Year 2018 to be Ultra Violet.

I became aware of the power of the Pantone Color of the year in 2012 when it was Tangerine Tango. We couldn't keep orange in the shop all that year. It was "tangerine tango this" and "tangerine tango that".

Since then I have watched the parade of colors go by, just shaking my head in disbelief. They almost had it in 2014 with Radiant Orchard, but that is not "my" purple.

As I took my walk this morning the Ultra Violet Flowers bloomed a little brighter. 

I am so excited at the possibilities. Purple housewares, purple clothes, and of course...

the yarn!

It's a beautiful thing. I need only look to my closet to be "in style". 

Let the purple reign begin!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Road Trip ~ Day 3 & 4

On our third day, we drove through South Carolina and landed in Jacksonville, Florida. Harry loved the scenic pond area with Turtles and Egrets.

As promised, we found a yarn store near our hotel. (Or did we find a hotel near a yarn store?)

A Stitch in time, Jacksonville, FL

It was a lovely store that reminded me (in layout) of Hook'n Needle in Westport, CT (years ago). They had knitting, crochet, and needlepoint. I had a lovely chat with the owner, Susan.

I enjoyed wandering in and out of all the rooms and finding all sorts of yarny treasures. In the end, I bought a skein of Blue Herons Cotton Rayon Seed (Worsted: 68% Rayon, 32% Cotton, 475 yards).

The BEST THING about our stay in Jacksonville was our dinner at Clark's Fish Camp . Per an article online, Clark's is "rumored to be one of the largest privately owned collections of taxidermy in the country, Clark's menagerie of preserved animals includes lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, giraffes, deer, bobcats, and a flock of birds that gaze eerily at guests in the bar area and dining rooms."

Once you get over the disturbing side of taxidermy, it was wild, literally.

To top it off, they had a live Alligator, named Lily, swimming around a tank. 

When in Rome (so to speak)... we tried fried gator tails, hush puppies, and shrimp with grit cakes. While I'm glad we tried the gator tails, I can't say I'd order them again. No, they did not taste like chicken ~ more gamey. We loved the shrimp with grit cakes!

Harry was really confused.

On Thursday, we drove to Jupiter. Harry took up his position in the back.

And made himself at home in our winter home.

Monday, December 4, 2017

While the cat's away

Thanks to Trammi for taking notes for me. The blog is in her "voice". Where I've added my 2 cents, I've changed the text italics. 😉

I finally finished something! Hooray! Beth was kind enough to “weave in the ends.” Nothing beats someone helping you feel more accomplished than you really are! ;-) Pattern: French Cowl  Anny Blatt Absolu (DK: 100% Angora, 137 yards).

I am starting On the C Train (hat pattern) using the Malabrigo Worsted Merino Yarn (Aran: 100% Merino, 218 yards) in red mahogany.

Trammi texted me later with finished photos of the hat. 

She wrote that she can wear it eight ways! She can wear with any three of the poms slouchy or cuffed. She can also turn it inside out and wear it slouchy or cuffed. Talk about versatile!

Eileen definitely enjoyed the croissants from Isabelle et Vincent—she told us she will go ANYWHERE for good food and anything cheap. She got the plastic “lace” tablecloth (which was perfect for Danni’s celebration) at such a store (one we have never heard of and I can’t remember the name). She's wearing (my) ASAP Infinity Wrap knit with Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Brush and Plymouth Yarn Gina Chunky held together. 


She was working on the StevenBe Gaga Shroud in Miss Babs Yowza (Worsted: 100% Merino, 560 yards).

Calann had to unravel her hat because it was too big. She kept saying to herself that it was "too big," but kept knitting. Whenever you find yourself questioning your knitting, stop and assess. That nagging voice has a habit of being right. At least she’s smiling rather than crying as she unraveled. Just a fact of life and knitting that sometimes you have to start over again.Yarn: Azteca Milrayes (Aran: 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 197 yards).

My group celebrated Danni's new partnership with Beth at Westport Yarns. Danni has her hands full with us, but I am sure she can handle it all.

Harry does not like the surf!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Road Trip ~ Day 2

Harry was ready for the day's travel.

 Is it a bracelet? Is it a ruler? It is both, it's a wrist ruler. It's what all the best dressed knitting nerds are wearing.  Can't find a tape measure? Look to your wrist.

 After knitting 11" on my Making Waves Poncho  in Anzula For Better or Worsted (Worsted: 100% Merino, 200 yards), I decided to work on something else.

To keep it interesting, I timed myself knitting my Flap Happy Two during yesterday’s travels. I know what you're thinking, no one knows how to have a good time like I do.

360 miles and 4 hours later the hat was done. No, we did not drive 90 miles an hour, I used a stop watch. Yarn: Katia Azteca Milrayes (Aran: 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 197 yards). All day I was trying to think of what this color (#704) reminded me of, 

when it finally hit me - snow cones!


 Later on Harry took up his position in the back, looking out the window.

We drove through 3 states: Virginia, North Carolina, finally stopping in South Carolina. At the end of the day, we were treated to seeing someone wearing fuzzy monster slippers at a Wendy's. I couldn't help but think that they match the hat I knit.😜