#54. Summer Yarns

20200308_194853On my “bucket list” was to try some summer yarns, ie. not wool.  This beautiful linen/hemp/silk blend was irresistible to me.  Beautiful colors with a sheen from the silk.  So I bought some to make a cap sleeve top.

But it is indeed rough on my skin.  I’m developing a sore spot from abrasion on my right ring finger. 😢 Maybe if I was a Continental knitter this wouldn’t have happened.  I don’t plan to give up on this yarn.  I love the colors and sheen too much.  I already have another pattern picked out.😁  And I’ll keep working on my Continental knitting!!

#53. Charting

IMG_20200301_161950_hdrPatterns are great but I find that a row by row chart is MUCH more helpful.  Telling me to repeat rows A-D five times is nice but a chart that tells me how many stitches to increase/decrease in each section (sleeves, back, sleeves) is much clearer and helps me make sure that I have the correct number of stitches.  Plus it helps me visualize what is going on, where the increases/decreases are.

I have been spoiled.  I usually knit projects as part of a class or with a friend.  Usually one of my friends creates a chart to track the number of stitches in each section and/or row.  Then gives me a copy of her chart.  This time I’m on my own so I had to create the chart.

I would normally generate it on an excel spreadsheet but we don’t have a printer with us here in Florida.  So I bought a cheap composition book and created a chart.  Much better than counting how many times I’ve repeated a set of rows.  I really appreciate that the pattern I used for my advent sweater came with this type of row by row count chart for each size.  This pattern obviously didn’t.  But on the other hand, I guess it was good for my visualization to generate a chart for the size I am knitting.

Maybe some day I’ll find an easy way to generate row by row charts, but for now it’s pencil and paper (or maybe excel😁).

#52 More Cute Markers

20200302_200623As stated many times….I love markers!!!  Here are some ridiculously cute increase/decrease markers.  The little sweaters are M1R and M1L.  It’s kind of hard to see because I added a drawing to the back to show if the running yarn goes front to back or back to front.  Kinda wish I hadn’t added the drawing.

These cute markers are available on etsy at knit bits boutique.  Warning, it ships from Canada which isn’t bad per se but it means there is no tracking info on the shipping.

#51. New Toy – Yarn Spinner/Butler/Unwinder

20200229_16030720200229_152610I absolutely love knitting toys (tools).  I confess that this purchase is due to an article that popped up in my news feed.(😣  So guilty.)  The knitting article talked about yarn twist while knitting.  So it recommended using a yarn “fill in the blank”.  Seems there is no consensus on what this tool is called.

It is apparently particularly good for yarn on cones.  My next sweater will be made from yarn on cones so I planned to buy it once I got back to Ohio.  But I felt I was getting twist in my yarn as I started to knit with my new Daisy yarn for my “Florida” top.  So I ordered one.  They are pretty cheap.  $10 if I could have waited a month, $15 for one in 2 days.  With corona virus disrupting everything from overseas, I went with the more expensive one; plus I could use it now.  So I’m not wasting a lot of money if it turns out I don’t like it.

The negative is that it pulls from the outside (which is why it helps prevent twists) so I can’t use my beloved yarn socks.  The article warned that I may need to add some slip resistant material to the bottom to help prevent tipping it over while pulling off yarn.  Right now I’m using a wooden serving tray to hold all my knitting stuff next to the couch I sit on so it’s very secure standing in the corner.  Will have to see if modifications are needed once I get to my home knitting nook.

#50. First Sweater of 2020

IMG_20200220_140706_350I have deemed 2020 to be the year of the sweater for me. I’ve only made three sweaters so far in my knitting career.  The first one was a simple tunic of worsted weight for me.  Then I made two more sweaters but made them for my daughter Sara.  Even though she lives in Charleston, SC, it gets cool enough in the winter months that she can wear a sweater.  I decided I needed to make some for me.  It would help me understand fit better if I actually wore some sweaters I knitted.

I kicked off the year with an “advent calendar” kit.  While technically I started it back in Dec 2019, I only knit about 20 rows so that I could start it with my knitting friend Kim.  I put mine aside as I had a pair of Christmas socks I was hoping to finish by Christmas.  That didn’t happen but I did get them done in time to be put away with the Christmas clothes for next year.

So once we got to Florida I focused on the advent sweater, a simple tunic of fingering weight yarns.  I’m happy to say it’s done and I am tickled with it.  The sleeves are a bit too blousy but not bad.  I had to rip out the I-cord bind-off of the body.  Blocking might have fixed the curling but I wasn’t sure.  I’m happy with the ribbed edging and simple bind-off which blocked well.  While we were told to knit one ball after another, I learned that I should have used half balls for the yoke as the yoke is too much of the same color instead of the thinner stripes of the body.  I’ve used leftover scraps of body yarn and double knitted rows to bring some of the body colors up to the yoke.  Plus I’m making a cowl out of the 3+balls that I didn’t use for the sweater to bring some color to the neck.I

So 2020 is off to a good start.  I was afraid a sweater would take me three months so I only planned 4 for the year.  This one took me 2 months.  So I’m hopeful that I will complete all 4 I have planned.  Now to put the next one, Shellseeker, on needles.

#49 Finding New LYSs

IMG_2651Is there anything more fun than visiting new yarn stores???  I personally detest shopping for clothes, shoes, etc.  But shopping for yarn… what’s not to like!!  There is no trying on and having to look at those extra pounds.

So I am thankful that despite southern Florida’s heat, there is a yarn store in Naples, Castle Creek Fiber Studio, and a yarn store in Fort Meyer, Hooked On Ewe.  The Naples store is a 25 minute drive; the Fort Meyer store is a 45 minute drive.  I go weekly to the knit night the Naples store.   I don’t expect to visit the Fort Meyer store often since it’s pretty far away.  I met a Cincinnati knitting friend who is snowbirding in Fort Meyer there before grabbing lunch.

I did see a yarn that I now feel I really need to get. 😆  So in 3 weeks when we take our Cincinnati friends that are spending Feb with us back to the Punta Gorda airport, I’m going to make Tom stop so I can buy the yarn to make a summer top.  Gee, one more project to add to my 2021 project plan.😜. My friend is already making the top on display so I feel like I have someone that might help me with questions.

South Florida has turned out to be good for this northern knitter.  I’m enjoying the opportunities these LYSs are providing.

#48 Naples Florida Social Knitting

One of the things I really was concerned about snowbirding in Florida was missing my knitting friends back in Cincinnati.  I love getting together with them every week.  We share pattern ideas, favorite podcasts, fun tools, yarn info, etc.

While I do miss them (thankful for our Facebook group page so I can continue to interact with them), I’m happy to say I have found two groups that I’m participating in here in Naples, Fl.  One group meets every other Tuesday literally across the street.  This group is crocheters so it doesn’t provide pattern or tool sharing that I like but they are certainly friendly and welcoming so it’s an enjoyable evening.  I found them through a Ravelry suggestion to find them on Meetup.  There are about 8 ladies every week.  They are all locals so I’m a bit of the odd man out as a snowbird but they have been accepting.

I am also attending a weekly open knitting session at the yarn shop in Naples, Castle Creek Fiber Studio.  They have two sessions a weekly, one every Wednesday morning and one every Thursday evening.  The Wednesday morning session is too big for me.  There must have been 40 women there!!!  Even last Thursday evening’s group was about 15 so getting a bit large.  These groups are much more filled with snowbirds and are all knitters.  Again they have been welcoming and I enjoy learning from others about various knitting topics such as knitting “conventions”, tools, and techniques.

The net for me is that I’m willing, and even looking forward to, snowbirding again next winter.  I had thought I might fly home the end of January if I was miserable in Naples.  January came and went with me staying in Florida.  I will be glad to reunite with my Cincinnati friends come mid-March but at least I’m not literally counting down the days like I did last year in Miami.