NaKniSweMo Day 12 (And Snow)

12 days in  and I’m making better progress than I imagined I imagined I would.  I’m almost done with the body of the sweater.  I’m facing a yarn shortage predicament and trying to figure out how to proceed.  While I’m stewing over that, I’ve started on a sleeve.  Stephen West designed this sweater to be a mishmash stash bust, and it has been for me, and I love how the colors are coming together.  I think colorwise, the sleeves represent the hardest decision.

The sweater currently stands at over 46,000 stitches, approximately 77% of the sweater being complete.  My estimation is that each sleeves is around six thousand stitches, so hitting the 50K mark should be a piece of cake.

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In the meantime, this is what Colorado looked like on Saturday:

 

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And this is what it looked like this morning:

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It’s sweater weather.  Brr.

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Hibernating

This morning there was snow.  Yup.  A layer of bright white snow to mock the recently delightful temperatures.  I spent Saturday lounging on a deck outdoors, sipping a beer and knitting away – WITHOUT a jacket.  And this morning I’m back to needing boots.  My mind and body are in turmoil.  There are spurts of energy as the sun comes out and I want to get a million things completed.  Then I look outside and just want to curl up in my blankets with hot tea again.

I started something new, just to break up the monotony. This is for Ellette. The problem lies in the guilt I feel when I grab a pre-existing project.  Ellette looks at me with a scowl and says “You’re not working on my sweater!” I think I’ve gotten past the worst of this one though.  The pattern is Get Off My Cloud, by Kate Davies.  One of the reasons I was drawn to it was the adorable puffy sleeves.  I failed to remember that puffy sleeves mean loads of extra stitches, and the last few rounds were intense.  Not only was my mind going numb, but my wrists were starting to hurt from pushing the large quantity of loops around the needles.

 

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This morning, however, I managed to separate the sleeves from the body.  It should be smooth sailing from here on out.

I just want something to be finished right now, and preferably something simple and without difficulty.  I could use some instant gratification. And no more snow.  I could really do without that again.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Last night, after my lyra class and the long commute home, with a friend chatting away on the couch and my muscles sore as can be, I had the strongest urge to knit – just pick up a project and knit.  But it wasn’t like I could pick up just any project, because there was some intense need for the project, which was, at that point, unknown.  I spent a while pulling out my project bags, peeking inside, spreading them out and showing them off, and then quietly stuffing them into the bag again, because for some reason they didn’t seem to satisfy the need.

This has happened before, usually those rare moments when I’m struck with an odd sense of boredom, and I spend some time roaming around looking for something to do that satisfies the intense need for a specific type of productivity.  Sometimes it’s cleaning, sometimes it’s walking and last night it was a specific kind of fiber project.

And then I landed on it.  Yesterday was the first day it was really above freezing in a long time.  The sun was shining and you could hear the pitter patter of melting icicles throughout the neighborhood.  Everything felt like it was waking up, and I couldn’t find the project that reflected what I was feeling, until I pulled out the Follow Your Arrow that I had made when the sense of winter gloom was looming overhead.

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I ended up staying up too late working on it, and I’m eager to get back to it tonight.  This colorway inspires me to be cheerful and bright.

Back then, I had named the project “Over the Rainbow” – and seems to have been entirely appropriate.  I’ve got my rainbow.

Winter Won’t Beat Me

The polar vortex lingers.  It’s cold, constantly, to the point where I don’t care how high my gas bill spikes, I just want to feel my fingertips again!  It’s been kind of miserable, and I can feel my emotions going downhill.  I don’t want to be in Chicago right now, I don’t want to put on fifteen layers before heading outside, and I wouldn’t mind not needing four comforters on my bed.

I cast on the Follow Your Arrow Shawl, Version 2.0 – Operation Over the Rainbow.  So far, just looking at it lifts my spirits.

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Until you know…you notice an error in your lace portion and have to rip out the second clue.

Explore Chicago: Hanging Out With Lorna’s Laces

I didn’t realize this could be an Explore Chicago post until I came face to face with that word at the top my screen that demands “Title.”  I thought about it – how do I sum about my awesome weekend in a few short words that makes you want to continue reading?  What did I really do and what do I want to share with you?  This weekend was actually a large exploration of Chicago, from it’s quaint and quirky neighborhoods to the suburbs and a vast exploration of the public transit system into the Loop, it was strange and colorful and chilly and wonderfully inspiring.  Honestly – a little terrifyingly inspiring, as strange as the concept may seem.  To sum up what I mean – I have been face to face with some amazing, beautiful, creative, and ambitious people doing fantastic things.  And I’m faced with the ability to be a part of it – and it blows my mind.  I feel like I’m standing on the edge of everything I have want to do and all that is required is to take that one last leap of faith, and to be perfectly clear – it scares the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of me.

But, I digress.

Saturday saw a most wonderful opportunity realized.  I teamed up with the gals from Windy Knitty and we went to the dye studio of Lorna’s Laces – a most lovely, colorful, wacky little yarn dyer that is based in Ravenswood, a neighborhood here in Chicago.  Take a look at that website – go on, I can wait.  Pretty stunning, yes?  The color combinations, the quality, and if only you could feel the amazing cloud-like substance the yarn actually is – you would be head over heels and “accidentally” swiping your credit card (I may or may not speak from experience).

The coolest part, besides seeing the hole in the wall where the magic happens and standing inside hallways of beautiful, colorful, tempting skeins of super soft merino…I got to dye my own yarn.

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We started with a base.  I had a skein of superwash merino fingering weight, as did a majority of the others there.  This was her famous Solemate – ideal for sock yarn because of the 15% nylon and 30% Outlast.  It is deliciously soft and has a lovely sheen to it.

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We then picked out colors and watched Beth mix the pigments.

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She took a skein of the same base yarn and showed us what each of the colors was going to look like.  Once the 8 colors were ready, she let us have our fun.  There were 3 of us working on the tables at once, laughing our butts off as we spilled dyed across the table, played around with colors, and explored the studio.

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Seriously….color explosion everywhere.  I couldn’t help myself.

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And then we found this – a table of mill ends and one-of-a-kind skeins.  All of the samples they work with while they are trying to come up with new colorways – sitting right here on the table at ridiculously cheap prices.  I couldn’t resist.  I really couldn’t.  I keep wandering to the table, digging through the pile and finding all of these amazing little treasures.  I came away with a bag full of colorful pretties, and I have plans.

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In contract to the hanging skeins pictured above, our trial skeins hung in a row drying, but were no where near as stunning.  Granted, we all adored each others handiwork because it was a lovely surprise when they were finished.  We weren’t quite sure how everything was going to turn out, and each skein was beautiful.

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This is my Solemate.  It seems to reflect the icy chill of winter that is settling over us, with that lovely splash of color and beauty that you happen upon on those cold days.

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And then I couldn’t help myself, so I bought another base – this time a Superwash Worsted, and had another go; this time inspired by the autumn colors on the table.

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I can’t believe how lovely they turned out, and now I am racking my brain to think of suitable projects, because at this rate, my stash has an awful lot of souvenir, one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime finds that I really, simply, should not keep stuffed in plastic baggies inside of drawers.  They are meant to be admired.

Giving In

Startitis has been strong over the past couple weeks.  Holiday knitting is interesting, and I have been telling myself over and over that it needs to be done, it helps stash bust, and it’s better than knitting just for me.  Only two more months until the holidays are over.  However, one of those months is NaKniSweMo, which ties into my holiday knitting, but because I love a challenge is going to be challenging and thus, time consuming.  It doesn’t help that designers and publishers are having sales, I’m finding all sorts of really cool things I want to make, and inspiration is bombarding me from every angle.  There’s only so much a girl can resist!

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Last night, I worked a little bit on holiday projects (the red bowl shaped thing on the left) and then couldn’t resist casting on a Esjan, because it just looks so cozy in the photographs and it is starting to get chilly out, almost freezing even, and it uses worsted weight, which takes up a lot of room in my stash so I need to get rid of it quick, and it’s knit on fat needles and I hear it goes by quickly and…and…

The best way to get rid of temptation is to give in to it.

In Which Something Is Finally Finished

The chaos of my knitting temperament of late means that a lot of things are on the needles – and none of them have appeared to be making their way off.  This was leading me dangerously close to a fiber snap in which some piece of innocent knitting was going to be thrown across the room, stamped on, maybe turned into a cat bed for a while, and then stuffed in a bag.  However, last night I made a great push to complete the project closest to completion, which has thankfully restored my desire to trudge forward.

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And behold, draped around the neck of my besmircking youngling, the completed purple sparkly scarf-turned-inifinity-cowl for Ellette.  She loves it, which is good, because if she didn’t I may have just strangled myself with it.

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The yarn is Polaris from Rozetti yarns.  It had the sequins stranded into the yarn directly, which made for easy knitting and adds the fun sparkly bit.  Honestly, though, I thought I would be in love with this yarn because on the shelf it was enchanting.  Knitting it up, however, was a bit of a pain.  The yarn is underplied and splitty and the sequins occassionally did not want to slide through the stitches easily.  I tried to make an invisible seam but the sequins kept getting in the way and puckering the yarn.  I finally ditched that effort in favor of a quick crocheted seam.

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The stitch pattern is a simple seafoam pattern, which if you do a Ravelry search there are dozens of examples.  I believe this is the one that gave me the inspiration though.

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I don’t really have anything else close to completion at the moment, so it’s back to trudging for me.

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