My New Favorite Thing

It probably won’t be my favorite thing for long–I am a fickle knitter–but for now, this is The Thing.

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It began here…

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8 ounces of Wensleydale via Spunky Club, sometime late in 2012. The colorway is Not So Seaworthy. Following the usual course, I spun mine into singles, which then marinated in the stash a while:

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But then I decided just what I wanted to make. The pattern is called Roberta’s Wrap. It’s pretty much just a big rectangle with armholes. No shaping. No real thought involved.

I was pretty convinced that there was no way it was going to work.

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But it works just fine. I might even make another! And if you’ve long considered making a garment of some sort, but have shied away from the complexity, I’d recommend this highly as a place to begin to get past your fears.

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Happy Weekend, Friends!

Posted in Club!, Fin!, Knitting, Knitting with Handspun, Singles, Spinning, Spunky Eclectic, Vest, Wensleydale | 1 Comment

Interlude: Hint of Mint

Taking another break from the Bin Spins, I snagged this out of the stash:

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That’s 5 ounces of Merino, maybe some silk and some sparkle from Loop! in the colorway Hint of Mint.

I didn’t have an easy time with the center-pull bump, so I rewound the whole thing into a big ol’ ball of wool and had at it.

Here’s what I ended up with:

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226 yards of worsted weight… and I’m not sure. I have a feeling that this is one of those yarns that I’m displeased with in the skein but can turn into a Very Nice Thing if only I can find the right project.

My current plans lean toward spinning its sister bump (technically not its sister at all, but I’m coming to think of it that way) the same way, and maybe finding a solid color and making all three into a sort of stripey scarf of some kind.

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That’s So Spring, also from Loop!

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For now, I have to admit, it’s growing on me.

Posted in Handspun Done, Merino, Spinning | Leave a comment

Random Thoughts From (the First) 21 Days of Yoga

Excuse me while I set my knitting down for just a second. Let’s talk yoga for a minute.

For about the past 20-some years, a bit more really, I’ve had an off-and-on yoga practice. Mostly off. And when on, it was still sporadic. Once or twice–maybe three times–a week at most. But I’ve always wanted to make it more of a regular thing. I just could never get over the motivational bump to really get it going.

Enter the Most Wicked Winter Ever.

OK, not really. But for me, yes. Usually, I’m a fan of winter. I like to play in the snow. I like to ski. And I like it when winter behaves like winter. Most years, I get irritated when people start complaining in January about the snow. As though it doesn’t always snow in January. And so on. But this year, the snow (80-plus inches for us!) plus the bitter cold even got to me eventually. You know why? Because it screwed up my regular exercise habit. That habit is walking, and for about 2 years, I’ve made a regular practice of it. At least five days every week, to be specific. But with ankle-twisting ice, knee-deep sidewalks and cold bitter enough to cut through every pair of long johns I own, this winter I had to come up with an alternative.

My first attempt involved silly dance aerobics. Which was fine, but… meh. Not really my thing. A bit poundy. A bit hurty. A bit too … energetic.

But then I was browsing the Yoga Journal site, looking for inspiration, and I came across the 21-Day Yoga Challenge. I got the DVDs and got to it. Yesterday was Day 21. Yes. Yay with me? I did yoga every day for 21 days.

So, here are some of my random, beginner-mind thoughts from my (first) 21 days of yoga:

1. Any Time Is Enough Time

In the past, part of the problem with getting a daily practice off the ground has been my assumptions about time involvement. Before I started this series, I thought yoga would mean a 45- to 60-minute commitment. And that’s why I didn’t do it every day. Or even every week. This group of practices ranges from 15 minutes on up to 45. And while I struggled with that part of my mind that wants to overachieve, I had to acknowledge that 15 minutes of yoga is still yoga.

2. About That Overachieving…

Yeah, as a former runner and continuing Doer of All the Things, setting the bar too high has been an ongoing problem for me. But this time around, taking into account the lingering back issues and so on, I knew that I needed to take a gentle approach. And that means not trying to go as far as possible in every asana. I even picked up — gasp! — a couple of blocks so I can modify poses when I need to. (I don’t believe in buying a strap, though. I just use my unused bathrobe belt.) If yoga is about working with your body in the moment you’re in, then that means accepting your limitations and working within them. This time around, I feel like I’m finally getting that right. My progress, so far, is incredibly incremental, but that doesn’t make it anything other than progress, does it?

3. Take What You Need

The 21-Day Challenge prescribes a practice for each day of the week. And in my first week, I followed the prescription to the letter. But then something happened. A couple days into the second week, I woke up with a pinched nerve right in the middle of my back. Uh-oh. At first, I thought maybe I should put the yoga on pause and rest. But then I realized, maybe yoga could help me work through this. So instead of putting the whole program on hold, I just replaced the prescribed practices for a couple of days. Instead of doing a more challenging sequence, I tried one day of restorative poses, and then the next day I concentrated on forward bending, then followed up with restorative poses again. And the pinchy-ness dissipated. I was fine again! I kept at the easier practices for a couple more days just to be sure, and then went back to the program. Voila!

Now that I’m three weeks in, I’m not stopping. I’m moving the goalposts forward. Why? Because if 21 days can teach me so much about not-pushing and meeting my own needs, what might I learn in, say, 50 days? 99 days? 365 days?

Friends, it’s got me hooked, and it’s the best kind of hooked ever.

Til tomorrow, then, happy wool-sniffing!

 

Posted in Body Love, Move!, Stretch..., Yoga365 | 1 Comment

Spinning and Knitting and Spinning and Knitting and Spinning and Spinning and Spinning and Knitting

This is how weekend nights usually go for me…

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The faces may change, but the process is the same. Only thing missing from these pictures is the beer…

Posted in Hey There Saturday Night!, In the Works, Knitting, Spinning, Vinyl | 2 Comments

Witness the Beginning of an Addiction

You wouldn’t think it could become such a thing. I mean, I really only started knitting these because I wanted to try something different. And also because the winter was so very cold, I needed some encouragement to do my daily stretchings.

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I started with 8 ounces of Polwarth, the October 2012 Club colorway, Trickster, from Southern Cross Fibre:

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And I spun it into a nice, fluffy n-ply.

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And then it sat around for a while. But then, like I said, the winter got bitter. I couldn’t do my daily walkings like usual. And I needed something. So I decided to get a yoga practice rolling again.

But when the house is cold, the idea of getting down onto the floor is about the last thing on my mind. I needed help.

Enter the idea of yoga socks… warm ones. Warm ones that double as legwarmers.

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I sort of followed the Sausalito Stirrup Socks pattern. Only, knitting flat and seaming seamed ridiculous. So I adapted the pattern to knit in the round. I mean, really, when you can avoid seaming, you should avoid seaming.

Finishing, even without seaming, was daunting for me, only because I’d never single-crocheted an edge in my life, and that’s what you do to clean up the heel opening.

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See? It’s not perfect, but I’d say it’s not too bad for a first-timer either. I didn’t even have to rip it out and start again. Shocking, that.

Right as I finished them up, the weather finally turned. And I thought, once again, I’ve finished a project just in time to not need it.

But then the weather turned again. The house was cold. It was time for yoga practice, and I slid these lovelies on. And pretty much didn’t take them off again for three days. OK, maybe I took them off again, but I put them back on every chance I get.

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So, now I have cast a new eye upon my rather ample stash of fiber, and wools that didn’t used to have a purpose other than to wait until they decided what they wanted to become have suddenly become future legwarmers and stirrup socks.

And now I want to make ALL THE THINGS!!!

Posted in Club!, Fin!, Handspun Socks, Knitting, Knitting with Handspun, Legwarmies, Polwarth, Southern Cross Fibre, Spinning | 2 Comments

Even Glacial Progress Eventually Comes to a Finish

What began as 24 ounces of Targhee in the Spunky Eclectic spinalong colorway Glacial…

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Was spun into some thousand-plus yards of worsted weight 3-ply…

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And knit…and knit…and knit…and knit…

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Into a Wood Hollow Vest.

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Almost everything about it makes me cheerful. There are only two things about this vest that are letting me down. First, as the pieces were blocking before I knit the front and back together, husband saw it and said, and I quote, “Kind of looks like a granny sweater.”

No, the daggers shooting from out of my eyeballs didn’t lead to murder charges. It might have been a near thing though.

The second disappointment, which might be tied with the first, is that I feel like it’s just maybe a teensy bit too big. I should have knit it a size smaller. I opted for a bit of ease, and in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. It would be more flattering if it was just a tad more fitted.

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But still.

I took wool and spun it in what seemed an endless bout of spinning. And as if that weren’t crazy enough, I then knit it in what seemed an endless bout of knitting.

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And it is a very fine thing, indeed.

Posted in Fin!, Knitting, Knitting with Handspun, Spinning, Spunky Eclectic, Targhee, Vest | 2 Comments

Just-in-Time Mittens

Kids are destined to lose their stuff. Mittens. Hats. Scarves. It doesn’t matter if you buy it for cheap at the store or you painstakingly make it by hand. It’s gonna get lost.

Accepting that fact is the only way to knit for a kid with sanity.

Which is why I’m perfectly fine with it if one–or both–of these mittens gets lost:

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The Little Bird had been wearing a pair of store-bought cheapies, but, of course, she lost them one day. At first I thought, meh…no big deal. The real cold weather’s gotta be past by now. But the next morning dawned more frozen than frozen, and I didn’t have too much more to knit on these mittens, so I wrapped them up right quick, and she slid them on for a photo shoot about 5 minutes before busstop time.

They began as this handspun BFL:

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It can be challenging to decide what to do with these thick-thin yarns. But Little Bird laid claim to this stuff, and she needed mittens.

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So I grabbed a handy mitten pattern (I used the mitten pattern in the Chunky Winter Set in the Knitter’s Book of Yarn, probably because it was written for thick-thin yarn) and set to it.

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I think she likes them.

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Posted in BFL, Fin!, Knitting, Knitting with Handspun, Mitts, Singles, Spinning | Leave a comment