23 January 2017

nordic wind shawl :: completed

coming into the new year i had an overall plan, but wasn't sure exactly what it is that i'd start knitting first.  that decision just kind of happened.

my original idea was to use my homespun with some yarn that i had purchased.  once i worked up a sample though, i wasn't happy with the result.  i purposely made my handspan a bit rustic, but i didn't like the result for this specific pattern.  i was rather disappointed and walked away from the project for a couple days, probably to try and convince myself otherwise.  that didn't happen.  so, i pulled out some letti lopi from my stash and held it double with the special yarn i had purchased with this specific pattern in mind.

this 'special yarn' that i'm  referring to is from sheep that graze the grounds of hammershus on the baltic island of bornholm.  now, if you are familiar with some history, you'll remember that princess leonora christina of denmark was imprisoned there with her husband in 1660. she had committed no crime but was imprisoned simply because of her husband's shady dealings.  they attempted an escape in 1661 with leonora climbing 70 feet down from her window in the tower but was later apprehended.  her story is really quite a remarkable one but leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth regarding her husband.   i've read her memoirs that she wrote while imprisoned a second time in the blue tower(again, because of her husband) and she is incredibly  loyal to him.  he ended up escaping, collected their children and left the country leaving leonora to fend for herself.  she was finally released when she was 63 years old and had been held in the blue tower for over 20 years.

i'm quite happy with this shawl and am loving the burnt orange that i added to it.  i haven't been able to put it to use as of yet though simply because our weather here has been more springlike with temperatures in the 60s.  

once again, i'm not sure what i'll get into next on my list.  a couple of weeks ago i realized that i have not one pullover sweater to be had.  plenty of cardigans, but no pullovers.  that may have to be remedied rather soon.

29 December 2016

2017 knitting goals

having nearly closed out 2016, i've been looking forward to 2017 and what it all has to offer.  knitting-wise, i hope it's productive.

a few months ago i came across this picture (top) on pinterest and i immediately fell in love with the whole dang outfit.  how comfy does that look?  i saved it, went back to admire it a few times and, at some point, thought to myself, "i could make that".  that simple...just going to make it.

i've scoured ravelry and have come up with, what i think, is a close match to the sweater.  the yarn is purchased (and feels heavenly) and swatch made.  the skirt will be a wool or wool blend and will be very simple to make; the hat i have some possible candidates.  that scarf?  i think it's the cocoon stitch  and i have yet to master it (p5tog?  sure...).  i haven't completely given up, but i'm secretly hoping that i'm wrong on the stitch because i don't know if i want to spend any quality time doing it.  we'll see.....   i haven't even started to search around for a glove pattern, but i'm not too concerned about it.

the second picture is for the bare branches cardigan.  the lovely pia showed hers off during one of her lovely kammebornia podcast, and i was smitten.  it stuck with me for quite a while, so i decided that it was a must-have as well.

finally, there is the nordic wind shawl (bottom picture) that will be made using some very special yarn along with my own hand-spun.  i love history and the yarn i'll be using is steeped in it which will make it all the more special.

there are a few more things that i may sneak in here or there knit-wise, but these are the main projects.  obviously the whole outfit will take some time, but the other two should go along rather quickly.  i haven't decided what i'll cast on first, but once i do, i'll update things here.

wishing you a safe journey into 2017!
14 December 2016

knits of 2016

late last year i set myself some goals dealing with various parts of my life.  some i have been successful at, others i'm still working at.  one of the goals i did nail was to make 5 knitted items for myself, and i'm pretty darn proud of myself for that.

many years ago i taught myself to knit using a coats & clark cd.  i was still very much into quilting at the time so i didn't stick with my knitting.  about 1.5 years ago, i picked back up the needles and have been slowly learning new techniques.  knitting has led to spinning....and then weaving.  it's been rather an interesting ride but one that i'm totally onboard with.

my first knit of the year was finished sometime in january (top picture) and so happened to be my first sweater.  i am a very visual learner, so i made this sweater following a crafty class and it really helped me grasp the procedure much better.  it's made with some knit picks yarn that i got for christmas last year.  it's far from perfect, but i still wear it around the house and it has served it's purpose.

second knit was blom shawl  from the dear melody.  the yarn used was quince & co.  tern in the syrah color way which reminds me of elderberry juice for some reason.  loved making it and it was a very well written pattern.  unfortunately i have yet to block it.

the third knit of the year was my yoga shawl.  love, love, love this thing!  i started working on it in june and finished it sometime in september.  i used brooklyn tweed loft in the soot color way.  another well written pattern, and did i mention that i love this shawl?  i have yet to get the buttons on it though simply because i couldn't find just the right ones, but i'm still looking!

a simple cowl was my third knit from a free pattern in a webs catalog.  i already had the yarn (which the name totally escapes me) and it is incredibly soft, however i don't wear it that much.  i don't know if i'm a cowl person or not...we'll see.

finally, the last knit was the georgetown cardigan from the book 'home and away'.  some really lovely knits in this book and i have definite plans on knitting a few more things from it.  i used quince & co. yarn once again, in the chamomile color way.  love this color...reminds me of apple tree leaves in the fall (a greenish yellow).  this sweater is warm.  i finished it in less than a month's time simply because i was on vacation and all i wanted to do was knit.

next year, i've already had some knitting ideas popping into my head and am working out the logistics of it.  i'm really excited about how it's all taking shape.  i still have a long way to go with my skills, but i definitely have seen improvement  in my finished products.  in a couple of weeks i hope to have a plan nailed down.
03 December 2016

all is calm

i think i say this every year so why mess with tradition-how did this year go so fast?  2016 has been a doozy of a year.  instead of dwelling on where the time went though, i've decided to look ahead with hope and anticipation.

last december i had set myself some lofty goals to accomplish for 2016 and, surprisingly enough, i was able to accomplish a few of those even amongst the craziness.  i'll share some of those before the end of the month, but my mind is already formulating a plan for next year and i'm excited about what is popping up.  one of the goals is to blow the cobwebs from this lonely and quiet little blog.  the past year i've found myself browsing through some of my old photos (from when i would pick up my camera more than once a month!) and i miss that part of my life a lot.

in the meantime, i hope you are enjoying this beautiful season of the year.  i got all of my christmas shopping done in october and my work schedule is back to where it should be, so i'm really loving this quiet calm.  may you find yourself some of it as well.
02 November 2016


it's hard to believe that it's been over 40 years since i've been to this place.  in my mind's eye i can still see the house, feeling the fear and seeing her walk out onto the porch.  now that i've been back, i can't seem to get her out of my thoughts and am longing to go back.

growing up in the country with no close neighbors had it's perks as well as it's downfalls.  when you did get a chance to go somewhere, it was a big deal.  when i was around 6 or 7, i remember going to camp with friends of my parents, their 5 girls and my older brother and sister.  going to camp was a big deal.  my parents didn't go with us too often, and i spent my time tagging along with all of the older kids, spending hours swimming in the creek, making every meal over a fire and wandering through the woods.  it was glorious and i have some really good memories from those times.  but then there is the memory of meeting beulah for the first time....

camp was set on a very narrow dirt road surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods.  there were no houses that we passed when we walked the 2 miles down to the creek to swim, or when we would walk the 'circle' in the middle of the night (approximately 5-7 miles), sometimes stopping to jump in the creek to cool off, so that left me to assume that we were all alone.  i found out differently when one morning the group of us were asked to head over to beulah's house for something.  if the pack was moving, so was i, and i followed in line through the thick woods, staying out of the way  and listening close to all conversations since i had no a clue of who beulah was.  when the word "witch" was mentioned, that got my attention pretty quickly.

a child's imagination can conjure up all sorts of things, but i think that it's pretty safe to say that when  the word "witch" is mentioned, it's not a pleasant feeling that you are left with (think hansel and gretel), especially at such a young age.   feeling that there was safety in numbers and not wanting to walk the whole way back to camp myself, i continued on with the group.  after all, it's not every day one gets to see a real live witch.

when i stepped out of the woods into the clearing, there was the house.  "holy crap" pretty much summed up my thoughts.  they weren't kidding, were they?  this woman was actually a witch!  i mean, look at the house!  it had all of the makings of a witch's house to my 6 year old mind.  it was big, old and dark looking.  i was doomed.  this was the end of the line for me.  i was so scared, but onward i walked because my curiosity was getting the best of me.  i was at the end of the pack so i figured that i had a good chance at getting away.

as we neared the steps, the door opened, and out she stepped.  a real. live. witch.  it's a wonder i didn't lose all bodily functions at that point.  she was dressed all in black and her white hair  was pulled back into a bun.  yep.  that's a witch in my book.  i have no recollection of what words were exchanged between her and the other kids because i was too scared.  at some point i did move....right onto the porch and into her house (probably under a spell).  it was a small kitchen that i stood in, with a big old cast iron cook stove.  i also remember her offering us something to eat which i wanted nothing to do with.  no siree.  i was smarter than that.  and, i lived to tell about it.

last week, i asked my dad to show me the way back up to camp and to beulah's house.  i had thought of her throughout the years and wanted to see the house again,  just to see it through an adult's eyes.  sadly, the camp had fallen into ruin and is not much more than just a shell.  we continued down the narrow road a bit and my dad told me to pull over.  all i saw was woods with a small clearing heading up through the woods.  we would have to walk from there.  a little over 1/4 mile into the walk, we both were starting to wonder if beulah's house had succumb to time and the elements but we continued on, hopeful.  almost 1/2 mile from the road, i spotted it through the trees.  oh my gosh.  i was 6 again, only this time i wasn't afraid.  the house looks exactly as i remember it, still standing so sturdy and solid all these years later.

beulah lived and died here.  she didn't drive and very rarely did she leave the farm.  she is buried beside her parents about two miles away in a small cemetery.  obviously, she was not a witch either.  from the stories i've heard since my first encounter, she was a very sweet woman.  i wish i would have known her....i think we would have been good friends.
05 August 2016

summer wanes

this summer has been a full one.  there have been weddings, graduations and anniversaries to celebrate.  and then there has been the heat and humidity.  all but 4 days of july were in the 90's and humidity that hit you like a brick wall. august has only been slightly better. not! fun! i'm pretty sure that we own the electric company, lock/stock/barrel at this point.

then there was the on-going (or what seems to be) fight with technology.  i've had problems with the main computer that i use-the one that i have all of my software and files on.  finally, it just decided to die at a ripe old age of 3 years.   lost of ton of pictures (no, i didn't have them backed up) and other things, but weathered it like a solider, i believe, and went and bought a mac.  i am now microsoft free, and i am now backing up my photos once again.  lesson learned on many accounts.

i'm ready for fall.  anyone else with me?
03 June 2016

and then, summer

the first part of may left little to be desired weather-wise; we had cold, dark, grey and even some wet snow.  then, just like that, the sun came out and the temps rose, and kept doing so.  we've hit 90 degrees a few times and the humidity is through the roof.  welcome summer.  long sleeve shirts and jackets got traded for t-shirts and shorts and there was the usual rush to your local nursery for flowers to plant.  thoughts went to ice cream, river swimming and lightening bugs (saw our first ones this week!). there were birthdays to celebrate, fresh strawberries to enjoy and bikes to ride. the rain has since returned, but the humidity has decided to hang around.  makes for a very damp, stuffy feeling;  pretty much typical summer weather for these parts.

 me?  i'm just moseying on along, with knitting needles in hand watching british tv and sipping hot tea (watching the british makes me want to do that).  "what?  it's 94 degrees and 90% humidity out there?  yeah, whatever.  put on the tea kettle, please.  and while you're at it, turn up the a.c."