Sunday, April 27, 2014

Monogamy Has It's Benefits

The downside of monogamous knitting is that it doesn't supply you with much variety for knitting. All I have is ANOTHER photo of my "28's Cousin, 53" shawlette. At least this photo captures the lush color of the yarn

The upside of monogamous knitting is that you finish a project in a reasonable amount of time. The 1x1 ribbing at the bottom (top in the photo) will be finished soon. I'm on row 7 out of 10! I want to point out that each row has more than 500 stitches!

My stitching activities have been more focused on embroidery. As miserable, cold and rainy weather persists here, I find myself fantasizing about spring:

These are about the only flowers blooming now!

I don't generally dread Sunday evenings, but I have a ton of meetings and paperwork scheduled for next week, so I'm feeling a bit of trepidation about the coming week. Still, it was a nice weekend. Dinner with my parents on Friday; vewing an exhibit on surreal art at a local museum; and going out drawing this afternoon. Now I'm off to get some cooking done for the week.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Yarn Store Art

I finally finished this sketch of the the new yarn store, Looped Yarn Works, in Washington, D.C.
Isn't this an adorable store? It's on a second story on busy Connecticut Avenue, the perfect respite spot in a busy city. And the staff is super welcoming. I heard them tell shoppers over and over that they are invited to come knit at the store even if they're not shopping!

I guess I should draw the LYS here that has a coffee shop.  But can I go there without buying any yarn???

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Slow But Steady

I'm still plugging away at my "28's Cousin, 53" shawlette. The early morning light doesn't show off the sunny yellowness of this yarn, but it was the best I can do.
Going back to school after break yesterday was tough. I thought the 8th-graders would be relaxed and happy for at least a day. I thought wrong! They were wound up and restless. I'm hopeful that today they will be back in the swing of things.
The shawlette is quite mindless, so I'm planning to go home, make dinner, and sit down with the shawlette for a few episodes of "Call the Midwife."
Go on and see what others are working on with Tami Amis.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Yes, There Was Yarn

There's a new yarn shop in the District of Columbia, so I had to check it out. Looped, at 1732 Connecticut Ave. NW, is just a few blocks from Dupont Circle. It is very very sweet and cozy. There is a fireplace and lots of space for knitting. I picked up the two skeins of Quince & Co. Chickadee there. Those skeins are destined to become a Gladys Hat.

I picked up the other skeins at Fibre Space in historic Alexandria, Virginia. I've been to Fibre Space before, and was excited to return. It is a large shop with a truly "gourmet" selection of yarns. This yarn was dyed by Neighborhood Fiber Co., which is based in nearby Baltimore. The colors are just exquisite and the yarn is squishy. I see scarves or mitts or hats as their futures. The green will definitely be a present for my sister-in-law Mary. I stayed with her, my brother and their daughter, Rebecca this past week.

We ended up in Alexandria on Saturday because my other niece, Jennifer, was visiting the area. She's studying economics at Davidson College. She's on the left below, with my daughter, Rachel. Mary and I spent the afternoon hanging out with them, which was really fun.

Unfortunately, Rebecca (below, left) only stayed for lunch before heading home with her dad. Rebecca has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a disorder of the circulation system that causes fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and a laundry list of other symptoms. It is so great to see her smiling here, because she is in pain/discomfort a lot of the time. She keeps her spirits high and hopeful, which is so inspiring.
The best part of my trip was spending so much time with my family. I hate that we are so far apart!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Springtime Stitching

I have had quite a bit of crafting time here in Washington. I've added rows to my shawl, but it doesn't look too much different from the last post. Long rows of garter and stockinette build slowly. However, my embroidery project is coming along nicely.

I do get out to my favorite spots, but spending time with family is what this trip about. Besides, I really need to relax as much as anything, so I am quite happy with my crafty week here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP: On The Road

I started the "28's Cousin 53" yesterday on my trip from Madison to Washington, D.C. You don't start with a little tab, so, as you can see, it doesn't look like much yet.
I love, love, love the yarn. I bought it years ago at the Madison Knitting Guild's Knit-In, and have been waiting for the right pattern to come along. I bought it fro a local dyer, htNevele, who I haven't seen around for ages. The good news is that she has a Etsy Shop. I highly encourage you to visit. Her yarn is beautiful

It's a beautiful if chilly day here in Washington so I took a glorious walk to my favorite bookstore in the whole world, Politics and Prose. I feel obligated to help keep this indie bookseller going (it's a heavy load, but I persevere) so I was happy to find that I book I've been waiting come out in paper is on sale.
Yes, I know. Art geek stuff. What can I say?

It is so nice to be here with my brother, sister-in-law and niece, and, of course, my daughter. I'm thinking I'll take everyone out for dinner tonight. There is an awesome pizza place in their neighborhood.

Don't forget to check out other WIPs with Tami Amis.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Is The Time for Stitching

This weekend, a powerful desire to embroider something totally free-form hit me. Next stop: Goodwill. If I'm going to be daring, I have to feel like I'm not ruining a perfectly good shirt!

Next stop: Picking colors -- the most fun of all. A few months ago, I ordered a whole bunch of embroidery floss from Sublime Stitching. I wound up a bunch of it this morning:
Are these colors not luscious? See why I could not resist?

I've long been an admirer of Jenny Hart, who founded Sublime Stitching in 2001. I discovered one of her books, Embroidered Effects, in San Francisco a few years ago, and she inspired me to pick up the hoop and floss after a gap of a couple of decades. She pioneered a style of designs that are inspired by tattoo art. She has brought embroidery into the world of fine art, with her works appearing in Vogue, Rolling Stone, Juxtapoz and many others. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has even acquired one of her works!

In addition to being a successful artist, she possesses mad marketing skills. Her beautiful flosses have the most inspiring and adorable names and slogans. To wit: A pink called Honeysuckle has the slogan of "Flowers droop and sigh ..." A light green called Sprout carries the slogan of "Hello, world! I'm thirsty." A baby blue called Blue Fondant is paired with "Can you really eat this part?" One more: A yellow called Solar Flare says "I got sunny style."

So here is where my new adventure begins:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

You Gotta Love Ravelry!

 In a couple of days, I'll be heading off to Washington, D.C. Both my brother (and his family) and my daughter live there so it's a family trip rather than a tourism venture. Between the flights and hanging around with family, I expect to have lots of knitting time.

I don't think I'm the only knitter geeky enough to waste spend hours planning my travel knitting. I have a pair of Hermoine's Everyday Socks that is about 10% done, so I'm taking that project. But it doesn't feel like enough for a full week! So, I'm also taking supplies for 28's Cousin, 53 (pictured above). It's one of those amazingly easy patterns that gives you a fabulous result.

I was about to swift up a ball of brightly colored variagated yarn, when something made me pause and look through Ravelry. It quickly became obvious to me that I would hate this shawl in the yarn I'd chosen.

So, I'm heading back down to the basement for another stash dive.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Another Rescue

So my first rescue -- the toe-up sock -- isn't going so well. Instead, I'm working at this one:

I must have started these baby socks 5 or more years ago. I have no idea where the pattern came from, but I'm pretty sure the yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. It's kind of a strange stitch pattern and it hurts my hands if I work on it for too long. Still, I SO want to finish something!

I haven't been knitting much this past week because I've put in some long days at work. A student's father died unexpectedly, so I went to the funeral that evening. And I was talked into being on the advisory panel that is helping to pick a new principal for next year. I'm actually very nervous about this. I don't want everyone to hate me if we end up with a poor choice! I have to keep reminding myself that the superintendent will make the decision.

This afternoon marks the beginning of spring break and I am sitting in my back yard to blog, even though it isn't really warm enough. Being outside is just too awesome to pass up!

I'll leave you with some signs of spring in my own back yard:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Signs of Spring

On my walk today, I spied the first crocuses of the year:

Finally all the snow has melted and spring has come to southern Wisconsin. I've been longing for spring, as you can see from my latest beading project:

It is freeform fringe over a basic peyote-stitch band. I love making these. There is something very zen about the process.

This nice weather inspires me to clean, which my house definitely needs! Not to mention my car.  I broke my leg last April, so there was no spring or summer cleaning. I have my work cut out for me now.

Friday, April 4, 2014

FO Friday: A Simple Cowl

It's another Present Cowl.

I think I'm done with this pattern for awhile. It can't be beat for showing off a beautiful worsted yarn. And speaking of yarn, I have no idea what this is -- but I love it!

I have a quiet weekend ahead of me, so I'm hoping to make some progress on the toe-up sock. It was nice to learn from the comments that I'm not the only one who just doesn't get toe-up. It's too bad because I love Wendy Johnson sock patterns. But there are plenty of awesome cuff-down patterns, too.

Keith just got home with a very woozy cat. Weeko has major dental problems. She's so skittish and hard to handle that they really drugged her up at the vet. She looks, well, drunk. But it's more sad than funny. The poor baby is going to need major dental surgery, so we're lucky to live a mile from the UW Veterinary School -- where Seth will be a student in the fall!

We hope they can get her in soon. She is in so much pain that she's barely eating or drinking and she's losing weight. If I'm not worried about my children, then it's the cats!

Don't forget to check in with Tami Amis for more FOs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Old and New

It feels like a slog, but I am forcing myself to work on my troubled toe-up sock. My accomplishment so far this week was to get it back onto some needles (after frogging much of it).

I took a good look at sock No. 1 and realized that it has some pretty sloppy work, especially around the short rows because I can't really master picking up wraps. So, I've decided I'll keep this pair for me. I just don't think they are gift quality. And I'm not sure I'll ever try toe-up again!

Spring has still not arrived here. It's been cold and windy and gray. Perhaps that is why I felt compelled to cast on a new project in pink:

It's the Downtown Cowl, free on Ravelry, by Christy Becker. It is designed for variegated wool (to avoid pooling), but I scrolled through the projects on Rav and it looks good in one color, too. I have the urge for a spring/summer cowl, and this seems to fit the bill.

Check out other Works In Progress with Tami Amis here.