2022 YOP: Wk of Feb 13-19; Stephen West Shawl FO and Accepting Change

Spiraling Cables Shawl Finished

This shawl is indeed luscious. I sure hope I get some cool weather in Ohio in April so that I can enjoy wearing it. (We are breaking records for heat here in Florida). I did use the contrast color for the border and I held it double (just for the border). Then I did an i-cord bindoff instead of the bindoff called for in the pattern. Can’t see it well in the picture – it’s at the top. My knitting friends did not like the pattern bindoff. Since the rest of the edges are i-cord it makes sense to me that the border edge is i-cord.

Baby Blanket

The baby blanket actually got a little love this past week as I needed some “brain dead” knitting for my “social” knitting sessions. I saved my “brain dead” socks to take on the ferry. The blanket should get a lot more attention this coming week since my shawl is done. Sadly at 200 stitches per row it’s going to take a long time to complete this blanket. Unlike the mismatch of yarn weights I used for the Stephen West shawl, the mismatched weight of yarns for the blanket (the white stripes are thinner yarn than the colored stripes) seems to add to the puckering. Since it’s acrylic I don’t expect it to block out. Oh well, it’s a baby blanket.

Starry Night Socks

The Starry Night socks did get a lot of knitting on them during the ferry ride to and from Key West Friday. I’m still on the foot so there really isn’t much point to taking a new picture. I am doing 2×2 ribbing on the sole side for the final 2″ before starting the heel so the sock will fit tightly across the arch of my foot. I hope to have them finished by next week’s update. I need to get them done to keep up my goal of a pair of socks per month. The Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea was amazingly calm so the ferry ride to and from Key West as smooth as silk. Thank goodness since I get motion sickness easily. We enjoyed walking through the downtown shops, visiting Ernest Hemingway’s home and writing studio and having a wonderful lunch along the beach.

“To Everything There Is A Season”

Sadly one of my Cincinnati knitting friends called to discuss the state of our weekly knitting group. We were only a group of 5 knitters but we have struggled to meet even after Covid restrictions were lifted. I knew the day would come but I am still saddened. I really enjoyed the company of these women. Lives have changed and weekly Saturday sessions are no longer working. I have contributed to the problem by snowbirding for 4 months. Even our bigger group of knitters that would meet monthly is no longer working well as jobs have changed. So the weekly small group is likely to disband and we will try a weekend day for the larger group in the hope we can get together at least once a month. My monthly “knit at a brewery” group has also struggled to restart post Covid. Less reasons to stay living in Ohio?? I’ll be checking out knit nights at some of the area yarn shops. I am thankful that my nearest LYS hosts “knit nights” although I’m still waiting until I can attend without wearing a mask.

I WON!!

In my search for knitting podcasts to watch, I recently found MC Knitting Adventures. They were celebrating reaching 1K subscribers and had a giveaway. Well, I entered…….. and I won!! A super cute project bag with a matching circular needle holder (I love this style) and some fun stitch markers. I can’t believe how lucky I am!! You can tell they are Canadian. They actually pronounced my last name correctly which NEVER happens in the US. (It’s French. You don’t pronounce the s’s!!! Blame my husband. I’m actually of Irish descent – hence the name Maureen. I actually kept my maiden name, Higgins, until I had kids. I still use Higgins for dinner reservations. 🙂 )

KAL Help Please

OK, I could use some advice on a) finding KALs, and b) tracking what KALs you are participating in. I’ve started adding the names of KALs to a section of my monthly knitting planner to help me remember what KALs are going on that month. (I need a much bigger computer screen so I can see ALL the stuff on my monthly knitting planner and still be able to read it!!!) I can carryover the KAL to the next month if it lasts longer than a month. KALs are still a work in progress for me as I’m much more interested in completing my planned projects for the year than I am knitting a KAL project. Hence KALs that require a specific yarn or pattern are unlikely to work for me. I do better with a theme like knit socks, or use stash yarns, etc.

That’s it for this week. Hope you had a great week too.

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fiber activities, then update your blog each week. Plans can be calendar year (like mine) or mid-year start (like many). Following the plan is optional and creates some of the fun of posts. YOP is in it’s 11th year. It’s my second in the group.

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Wk of 12/5-11: Christmas Sock FO!! Snowbird Knitting

CHRISTMAS SOCKS

I did finish my Say Yes to Pie Christmas socks!! I’ll get to wear them to the knitting groups this week. I soaked them in a lanolin wool wash and they are a little nicer to wear but I still don’t like them. I will also try liquid fabric softener. The pattern is great; the yarn, Mary Maxim Festive Feet, not so much. The remainder of the yarn will be used to make Christmas ornaments/garlands, not socks!!

CHRISTMAS ANKLETS

HELDIG TANK

With the Christmas yarn socks done, I am now focused on my Heldig tank top. It’s an easy knit since it’s almost all stockinette. Not much happening on the body so I have about 80 more rows until I have to start working on shaping rows. The unevenness of the gauge shows I’m new to knitting Continental but I’m hoping it will even out during blocking. I’m reminded that if I’m going to have multiple projects on needles, I need to make sure I do a little knitting on each project every day (unless it’s a vanilla sock). After focusing the past week on getting the Christmas sock done, I’ve lost my mojo on knitting the Half Fisherman Rib for the side panel detail. It looked wonky so I pulled out the stitches and put in regular ribbing. At least a lesson learned.

HELDIG TANK TOP #2

NEW SOCK WIP

Since I finished a pair of socks that means a new pair goes on needles. I cast on my favorite brain dead yarn, Berroco Fixation, for a vanilla sock. I plan on seeing if I can knit while taking my walks. The elastic DK yarn is good for knitting without having to look at every stitch.

WALKING (?) SOCKS

SNOWBIRD KNITTING

I joined a new small group of knitters on Tuesday in a nearby town. Their were 5 of us but all are capable knitters. The other 4 all live in Florida year round so I’m hopeful the group will continue and be something I can join each winter. They are knitting the Spiraling Cables Triangle by Stephen West. I do like the pattern but I have other projects I want to work on now. At a minimum I need to wait till I go back to Cincinnati at Christmas so that I can bring back the contrast yarn for the shawl. The yarn my daughter just gave me for Christmas would be perfect for the main color and I do have a beautiful yarn in Cincinnati to pair it with. A podcast I like, Frivolous and Frugal, is doing a cast-on Zoom on New Years Day that would be fun to join. I’m liking the idea of having a New Years Day cast-on. Using yarn gifted from my daughter would make it extra special.

On Wednesdays, a knitting/crochet group meets at the condo complex. The leader is a very proficient knitter but the others are more social knitters/crocheters that only make blankets. I enjoy all types of knitters so I’m thankful to have both groups to share my knitting passion with while in Florida.

CHRISTMAS COOKIES

I hadn’t planned to make Christmas cookies this year as they certainly aren’t on my diet. But the condo complex is having a cookie exchange so I thought it would be fun to participate. I figure cookies can be frozen and then doled out over the next few months. I’ll be baking up 5 dozen double chocolate biscotti today. Additionally my daughter-in-law loved the gluten free shortbreads my husband made so he wants to make more and send them to her. I’ve invited a Florida friend, who just lost her husband suddenly in Oct, to come over for cookie taste testing. She also has to avoid gluten so I’m hoping she will enjoy the shortbreads.

Hope everyone has a great week enjoying the holidays.

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fiber activities, then update your blog each week. Plans can be calendar year (like mine) or mid-year start (like many). Following the plan is optional and creates some of the fun of posts. YOP is in it’s 11th year. It’s my second in the group.

YOP – Week of June 14 – 20

I did not get nearly as much knitting done this week as usual. It has been cherry and black raspberry picking time at our house. We got a good crop of cherries this year so I’ve been picking and pitting most everyday this past week. Monday hubby and I will make sour cherry preserves with our harvest. My son has also requested a cherry pie. My husband is an excellent pie baker. My husband makes homemade chambord with the black raspberries although I’d prefer preserves or pie.

Fresh Picked Sour Cherries

Sunday is Father’s Day here in the US and it was our first family gathering since Christmas ’19. It was so nice to spend some time with my husband’s brother and his wife plus some nieces and their hubbies. Plus 2 of our sons.

Sock Knitting – 9″ Circulars

I’m so tickled with the yarn I’m using for my Size 0 – 9″ circular experiment. I just love the vibrant colors. I’m using a pink variegated mini to put a small stripe at the toe and then will use it at the heel and the cuff. I will also be trying an afterthought heel which will be a new technique for me. I did not make much progress on my Size 4 – 9″ circular Fixation socks since they are intended for the flight next week.

Deep Dyed Yarn Socks

Attempt #2 at “German” Hat

I have started a second attempt to copy the hat given to my friend by her cousins in Germany. I think the yarn is not as bulky as her cousins used. It was some acrylic/wool blend that I had leftover from a sweater. I’ve finished the headband portion. Now I’m working on the cable band that gets sewn onto the headband before picking up stitches to make the crown. I’ve already realized that her cousins used slip stitches for the contrast color but oh well. I think this is as close as I’m going to come. I still can’t figure out what stitches they did along the edges of the cable. Again I think it’s some type of slip stitches. When I get this one done I’m going to have to declare close enough. There are too many other things I want to knit beside copying this hat pattern.

Recreating Hat Pattern

Getting Back to “Normal” – Social Knitting

I got to have 2 social knitting sessions this week!! My usual weekly group of knitters has been getting together on Saturdays since May. This week I also got together with a broader group on Friday. That will probably turn into a monthly. It is so nice to share tips and tricks from good podcasts to watch, to how to make an afterthought heel, to getting to use my friend’s really good ball winder to get some skeins ready for projects I’ll be starting in mid-July. I wish the monthly group that would meet at an area microbrewery would restart but I’m not sure they will. I may just have to get together with my friend that was one of the leaders on our own each month. I think I can be talked into that. 🙂

Futball

I really really like soccer!! So much so that my kids and hubby gave me season tickets to our local Major League Soccer team for 2020. We all know how that turned out. So I was able to roll them over into season tickets for this year. I finally got to go to my first game as now there are no restrictions on attendance. It was so fun even though the team lost (we are in last place). It’s a brand new stadium. I go by myself as my hubby’s health issues make it impossible for him to attend. But the people sitting by me were so friendly that it was enjoyable. I appreciate their kindness.

Gorgeous Night for Soccer

17 Year Cicada Update

I’m happy to report that we are definitely past the peak. It’s almost like a light stitch being turned off. One day they are everywhere and noisy, the next day it just tons of dead bugs and quiet. I so enjoyed getting to hear the birds singing again! The cidadas aren’t completely gone but they are no longer a nuisance. I don’t expect to be living here when they return in 17 years. Heck, I’ll be lucky if I’m still living on this side of the grass in 17 years.

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fiber activities, then update your blog every week. Plans can be calendar year (like mine) or mid-year start (like many). Following the plan is optional and creates some of the fun of posts. YOP is in it’s 10th year although I’m in my first in the group.

Week 9: New Knitting “Toy” and Project Updates

FO??? – Sample Knit Sock

I finished my sample knit sock. Knitting a sample knit wasn’t on my original plan but I was happy to accept the opportunity. I finished the sock in one week which is a first for me. I was monogamous as I wanted to return the sock as soon as possible even though I had till the end of March as my deadline. It was just a plain vanilla pattern so it was easy to knit. But it means I should be able to knit a pair of socks in two weeks instead of the usual month it takes me to get a pair done. Usually I’m also knitting a sweater at the same time I’m knitting the socks so that I can have some variety in my knitting. I’m hoping I’ll get another opportunity to knit more sample socks.

Sample Knit – A Girl And Her Wool

I’m back to knitting on my daughter’s Bisquit top. I weighed how many grams of yarn it takes to make one row (1.5g) to make sure I know how many rows I can make with the yarn I have left. I would prefer to reduce the number of stockinette rows if I need to instead of the bottom lace. I did cast on another pair of Fixation yarn socks. These are not on my 2021 plan but are just to have a small project that I can easily carry with me.

Bisquit Top

New Project Tote – Clear

I’ve written before how I like to use clear bags for my “projects in waiting” and accessory bags. So I was thinking that I might enjoy having a clear tote to carry around my WIP project(s) and accessory bags when I get together for “knit sessions”. My WIPs are kept in cute fabric project bags. I often carry a sock project and a sweater project when I get together with other knitters so that I can switch projects if I develop a problem or need a simpler project while talking. I have been using quilted totes which I like very much but does lead to “digging around” to find my accessory bag, sock ruler, etc. I’m hoping the clear tote makes it easier to find the item I’m looking for. The clear tote was not expensive so if I don’t end up liking it I didn’t waste much money. Plus I could use it for attending professional sports matches. I have a season ticket to our MLS (soccer) team and clear totes are requested for security reasons.

Clear Knitting Tote

It was cloudy and cool here in SW Florida today so I got to wear my new “non” shellseeker sweater this evening. I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities to wear it once we get back to Cincinnati in a few weeks. I’m anxious to get back to Cincinnati so I can sign up for the Covid vaccine. I am so looking forward to getting together again with my knitting friends at our local coffee shop once we all have our vaccines.

That’s it for this week. Probably going to be a broken record each week as I focus on getting my daughter’s top finished.

This is a year of projects (YOP) update. YOP is a Ravelry Group – make a plan for the year ahead for all your fiber activities, then update your blog every week. Plans can be calendar year (like mine) or mid-year start (like many). Following the plan is optional and creates some of the fun of posts. YOP is in it’s 10th year although I’m in my first in the group.

#72 In Person Knitting!!

Well my knitting group finally bit the bullet and met in person after not seeing each other physically for the past 6 months! A LYS offered reserving their very large table area that normally seats 16+ knitters to be reserved for no more than 6 people. So the 5 of us were able to reserve it for our group. While we didn’t hug or even squish each others projects, it was nice to be able to see how beautiful everyone’s project is. The colors and details just don’t come through accurately on the computer.

We showed our appreciation by buying yarn and I bought the Cocoknits Sweater Workshop book and worksheets. I’m a visual learner so creating stitch charts is best for me. The LYS offered 20% off on books so is it my fault I couldn’t resist?? I’m looking forward to reading about the method and then applying it to the various sweater projects in my queue. Of course this week I’ve added 2 more sweaters to my queue for 2021. One will use yarn from my stash but after not finding summer weight yarn I wanted at the LYS, I ordered closeout yarn from WEBS when I came home. I mean really, no one is expected to resist a sweater quantity of yarn for $60 right!?

We capped off the afternoon with a two block walk down the town’s main street to visit a coffee shop for a latte treat. While not sunny, it was warm enough to sit outside so we could maintain safe socializing. Here in Cincinnati it is just about peak autumn leaves color. So a beautiful day both visually and emotionally.

PROJECT UPDATE

Finally!!! I finished the third pair of socks and mailed them off to Boston Friday. I included a note encouraging the recipients to let me know how then fit if they hope to receive a second pair. 🙂

I got a little knitting done on my daughter’s Christmas socks and I finished the sleeves on my Amrum sleeves. I even modified the sleeve a little by adding some of the front pattern to the end of the sleeve. I’m much happier with the sleeves since I tried it on repeatedly to confirm the fit. The sleeves on my sweater I made last winter are WAY too baggy as well as too long. I really should rip them out and reknit them. Being SHORT, I need to accept that patterns are going to have sleeves that are too long and I must plan on fewer rows and quicker decreases than the pattern calls for. I’m confident I can get both the Christmas socks and the sweater done by Thanksgiving. I only need a few more inches on the body of the sweater!! I’m already looking forward to casting on the next sweater!

#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.

#40 Yellow Springs Wool Gathering

20190922_08414720190923_130201I attended my first Yellow Springs Wool Gathering with some knitting friends Saturday.  There were 6 of us that made the 1 hr trip.  It was two huge tents filled with booths.  Some were yarn shops that brought their wears.  Some were indie yarn dyers.  Some were indie yarn spinners.

I was on a quest to find Christmasy yarn for a pair of socks.  Sadly no one had any although two yarn dyers said they would soon.  I got the business card from one, Redbird Yarn Studio, so that I can order her Christmas yarn once she makes it.  Her colors are so vibrant!!  I couldn’t resist her fall Harvest skein.  Her skeins make self striping socks.  I’m already making a fall striped sock but it’s acrylic and nylon.  I’m looking forward to making a pair with the Redbird wool and nylon yarn.

I was also looking for some cute yarn bobbins.  Colleen taught us a way to make yarn bobbins for our argyl socks but a) I still need a way to distinguish between the two bobbins of main color and b) the bobbins seem to pull out if I drop them off my lap/table.  I wanted to try to see if yarn bobbins would help keep the yarn short.  I didn’t find much on etsy or yarn websites like webs or knitpicks.  I was tickled to find cute sheep bobbins in different colors at one booth.  Teresa, Ruth, and I bought different colors so we could exchange.

So my first wool gathering was a success.  I found beautiful yarn for a pair of socks as well as a contact to get vibrant colored Christmas sock yarn.  And I got some reasonable priced and cute yarn bobbins.  It was fun to go with a group.  Not sure I feel it’s a “have to go” trip but I would go next year as part of a group.  I’m probably less excited because of the big yarn show that will be in Columbus for Vogue Live Knitting the first weekend in November.  That’s a “once in a life time” event in Ohio so next year the Wool Gathering will be the only yarn event.

 

 

#35. Weekly Knitting Friends

Maybe it’s a summer thing as roughly this time last year I wrote about being thankful for my LYS supporting a “knitting community”.  In addition I’m extremely thankful for the group of friends I’ve made that meet weekly.  We meet at the LYS on “odd” Fridays when the LYS hosts an open knitting session.  Then we meet at a local coffee shop that has graciously allowed us to be in their “spare” room on “even” Fridays.

Thus we get together weekly to knit and share.  It’s through this group that we decided to create a knitting plan for the year to help guide our projects rather than bounce from the latest idea to the next.  This helps my need for control. And helps guide yarn purchases.  We encourage each other as we try new patterns and techniques.  We even have plans to have mini-KALs if 2 or more want to knit the same thing.

We plan the occasional trip such as our girls weekend last December and our trip to the Knitters Pride warehouse sale.  We are already planning a trip to the Young’s Dairy Farm Wool Gathering in September.  I never took “girls” trips before meeting this group.

This group is a big reason that I struggle with living in Florida for months.  I will miss the friendship of our weekly sessions.  I appreciate that groups like this can be “time sensitive”.  Retirement might bring changes.  Employment is definitely bringing change for one.  Hopefully she will be able to join us during school breaks (we may have to throw in a Monday session for some holidays).

Last week we had the sad occasion to attend the viewing of a knitters husband who had died in an accident.  I know she was surprised but pleased to have her knitting friends recognize her grief.

Living means change so I know to appreciate this group for all the richness it has now.  I don’t know what the future will bring but I certainly can be thankful for what this group means time now.

#33. Warehouse Sale Road Trip

Four of us from my weekly knitting group got up super early, 5 AM, to drive to Columbus for Knit Picks warehouse sale.  We had early bird tickets so we got to go in at 8 AM.  Thank goodness we did!!  The best kits were gone by the time the general public got in at 9 am.  We also got a wonderful early bird goodie bag that contained needles that we had planned to buy for $10!!

Turns out the sale is not necessarily a yearly event.  It has been several years since the last one.  I will be better prepared with planned projects and desired yarn if I go again.  I already have too many projects with its yarn in my queue so I didn’t really plan to buy much.  But the prices were indeed amazing so I wish I had planned definitely.

Of course we had a nice brunch together before heading back home.  I had never done road trips with anyone but my husband before finding this knitting group.  Hopefully even as our lives change, we will find time for each other.  I certainly would never have made this trip for the sale if it wasn’t for the four of us going together.