Color Affection

And here it is!

 

Project Details:

Pattern: Color Affection, by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Swan's Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering; colors are Garnet, Natural, and Oatmeal
Needles: 3.5 mm circulars (ChiaoGoo)
Started: February 27, 2014
Finished: November 16, 2014
For: Me!

What I Learned: Garter stitch is boring, but it certainly does make a nice squishy fabric. I really love this and will wear it a lot. Those last few thousand stitches made me want to poke my eyes out with sharp knitting needles, but it is very pretty done. I might even be convinced to make another one.

And just because I can:

 

Now I need to finish this:

IMG_6231

This is John's Old Friend Peace Fleece sweater. I have it done “except” for the second sleeve, which you see started right there. This is terrific television knitting: nice boring stocking stitch, just like I like it.

And for the record, that is another 1440 meters of yarn out of the stash. I have a little of each of the colors left, perhaps enough for a pair of mitts at some point, but I'm calling it gone.

 

Done Done Done

I couldn’t wait for this thing to dry to post a photo. I’ll get a model shot and do the whole “Finished Project” thing when it’s off the blocking board, but Color Affection couldn’t wait for the glamour shot.

IMG_6216

I think it actually looks like some kind of mutant nautilus thing. Mutant Nautilus, that’s a good name for it. The shape is sort of weird, I know. That big C curve on the left is exacerbated (helped??) by the way the yarns twist around each other in the three-color section. It makes that top edge sort of tight, pulling it into a big curve. I rather like it. I tried it on of course before I washed it, and that curve makes it snuggle up around the neck very nicely.

More details later when it’s dry.

Please Send Whiskey!

And the bind off begins. It's close to 600 stitches. For those of you who are actually knitters, I'm using a stretchy “lace” bind off, as follows:
Knit 2, *Insert left hand needle into the front of the 2 stitches on the right hand stitches. Knit these two stitches together through the back loop. Knit 1, knit 2 together through the back loop.* Repeat between the ** until all stitches are bound off.
Close to the finish line!

 

Public Service Announcement

This was a conversation over coffee at my house this morning:

Me (reading email): “I got an email from Peace Fleece that ALL of their yarn is 20% off through the weekend!”

John: “And just how much Peace Fleece do you already have in the stash?”

Me (fires up the database, sorts the yarn by manufacturer): “Um, I have enough different colors for six Peace Fleece sweaters. Seven, if you count the one in the knitting bag that I haven’t finished.”

John: “20% off is a great deal. But it’s 100% off if you don’t buy something you don’t need.”

Me (silent for a few minutes): “Point taken.”

Those of you who are NOT on the Cold Sheep–not buying any yarn plan might want to head over to Peace Fleece and get some of your own.

Want to see what six sweaters worth of Peace Fleece looks like? I thought so.

And the close up shot:

Yes, I tore apart the stash to pull those all out. I’m thinking it’s going to be easier to go buy a new yarn box than to try to get those all back into the correct numbered box.

And as long as I’m at it, here’s the seventh color. This is John’s sweater, or what will be a sweater once I’ve finished the sleeves.

No more Peace Fleece for me. Though it is one of my favorite yarns. I guess I just need to knit faster.

 

Souvenirs

I know you guys don’t care so much about the travel photos as you do about the potential for yarn shopping in my travels.

I am here to swear that I stayed on that Cold Sheep the whole time. On Monday, I’ll have gone EIGHT MONTHS without any yarn buying. That’s some kind of crazy record. I knit so freaking slowly that I haven’t made much of a dent in the stash in that time, so I probably should just continue on.

So what did I buy in France? Not much, as it turns out. We were attempting to travel light and didn’t have a lot of room for stuff. I didn’t look up one yarn shop while I was there.

I did buy pencils. Here they are.

FullSizeRender-1

IMG_1754-2

 

From the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, I especially like the ones with the sparkly things on the ends where the eraser should be.

I know you are all just thrilled.

528

Color Affection is becoming the bane of my existence. Don’t get me wrong, this is going to be a shawl I will love once it is done. But I’ve been plotting ever more interesting ways to destroy it for the past few weeks. I was even a teeny bit joyful when Will the cat tried to make a bed out of it earlier today.

Here’s where I am.

FullSizeRender

I’m finally on the border. At least while I was doing those three-color stripes I had the fleeting second of “interesting” when I did the short row turning bit on every row.

“Oh, look! The short row sections are getting longer!”

Now I’m just knitting the red border, in boring red garter stitch. It’s a very pretty red. But I currently have 528 stitches on the needles, and a couple of repeats of the four row pattern to go. And every repeat adds another 10 stitches to that total. I thought seriously about stopping and just binding off now, but this is going to be huge, and that puny one inch border stripe will look stupid.

I just checked. As of right now, there are 12,600 Color Affections listed on Ravelry. Only 9345 of those have been finished. The rest are “in progress” (a euphemism for “I’m bored out of my mind here”), “hibernating” (a euphemism for “I hate this but can’t bring myself to frog it”), or “frogged”. Those last brave souls were at least honest in their boredom.

I have a couple other three-color combos in my stash that would make nice Color Affections. If any of you see any hint that I am rummaging through the yarn boxes to put together another one, please come over here and give me a nice head slap.

I’m thinking a TV marathon. Anybody have any good suggestions for mindless TV shows? If so, let me know.

And no, I haven’t forgotten that after I knit another eleventy billion stitches, I’ll have to bind the whole thing off.

Please send whisky.

* In case you are wondering about France, and don’t follow me on Facebook, we had a terrific time. John is blogging it so I’ll let him do that. Here is his first post.

Bon Voyage!

IMG_0420-2

Sweetpea has her passport ready and so do I! We leave in a couple of hours for our great adventure. We’re spending a little more than half of the two weeks on the Normandy and Brittany coasts, then several days in Paris before we come back home.

And as always, the house and vast yarn stash are well guarded by a crack team of house sitters, led by Lewey the Fearless Wonder Corgi, so don’t even think of showing up to sniff around the wool.

Depending on wireless access, I’ll post along the way!

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho—

It's off to France we go!

We leave tomorrow for a two week trip. I'll try to stay out of the yarn shops while I'm there, I hit the 200 days without yarn buying last week and don't want to blow it.

I'm off to pack the knitting! I'll update when I can!

 

Happy Birthday To Me!

 

 

Pretty, eh?

It's another Golding Ring Spindle to join my little spindle flock, just in time for my birthday this weekend. I have had a bit of a tough week or two at work, so coming home tonight to find this little bit of loveliness was very sweet. The fiber is a braid of very Pepto Pink wool from Barrister Lane Fiber, just labeled as 100% wool.

Here's one more, just because I can:

 

Ten On Tuesday, the Cars Edition

I don’t usually do the Ten on Tuesday post, mostly because by the time I get around to it, it’s already Friday and I’ve missed it. I couldn’t resist this one though. Carole wants us to list ten cars that we’ve owned. I won’t get to ten, only because I haven’t had that many!

I’m going to do this in reverse chronologic order. And the current ones are the only ones I have photos of.

IMG_1993

0403081431

10. This is technically John’s car, though my name is on the registration too, so it counts. It’s a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. It is dog-approved.

9. My ride.

IMG_3004

10419423_10154520782505235_4877791111937713763_n

That last one is the current license plate! This is a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle. Yes, I drive a ’98. It won’t quit, so I keep driving it. As it gets more dinged up, I just get more hippie stickers to cover the bumps and bruises.

8. An ancient Volvo sedan that was mostly John’s car, but I owned half of it. He got it used and drove it until it was almost dead.

7. Early 90’s Subaru Legacy wagon. It replaced–

6. Another Subaru wagon. This was about a 1982 model. I drove it until it dropped dead one day in the parking lot at work. It was towed in, they gave me $150 in trade in, mostly because the tires were still good.

5. Let’s see. Brief co-ownership of a Toyota Celica in the early 80’s. We only had it a couple of years, it was pretty but didn’t handle Montana winters very well.

4. Another VW Beetle, co-owned with my then-spouse. It was a 74 Love Bug, in a color that we lovingly called eagle-shit green. This one got rode hard, and finally totaled in a crash.

 

That’s it. That’s pretty pitiful. I can’t even get to ten, and most of those technically belonged/belong to spouses. I drove two Subarus into the ground, and I’m working on that VW. I’m thinking my next car might be another Subaru.

Stuff That Makes Me Happy

photo-3

It’s Game Day! Lewey is ready!

_MG_6183

That one is just because Lewey really makes me happy!

pencil sharpener

I have a new pencil sharpener in my office at work! It’s bright red. That makes me happy, too.

_MG_6195

My sister-in-law was here to visit. We went to see Mt. St. Helens. I’m really really happy it didn’t blow up while we were there.

photo-5

There’s been some cooking around here. We had about a million tomatoes that all went ripe at once, so I made tomato sauce to freeze. This will make me very happy in a month or two when all we have is canned tomatoes.

photo-4

Dinner last night made us both very happy. Lamb chops, potato tortilla from CSA potatoes, and CSA veggie ratatouille. Oh yeah, and wine. Happy, happy, happy.

180 days

To those of you who snickered when I said I wasn’t buying any yarn for a while, this makes me deliriously happy.

Last but not least, knitting. I got tired of all the red knitting around here. This is in honor of Start Something Sunday.

_MG_6209

Yes, I know I still haven’t finished the last pair of socks. I might just start two or three more pairs, too, just because it makes me happy.

 

Red!

We've been on vacation this week! We rented a house in Seabrook on the Washington coast, and the kids and grandkids joined us here for a week of last-of-the-summer fun. They're all here till Saturday, though I have to work this weekend so I'm headed home tomorrow.

We've had good food, lots of fun and games, and beach fun. Lewey just loves beach fun. He also loves sleeping.

And of course there has been knitting.

Everything I brought with me seems to be red.

What all is in that pile?

There is a pair of socks.

That is the sweater I started a few weeks ago. I'd be farther along if I hadn't screwed up and had to rip back about 3 inches.

There is Color Affection!

Last but not least, some spinning. This is a wool-silk blend that I have been working on forever. I think there were about 8 ounces of this in batt form, I have a few ounces left to spin.

I head home tomorrow, then “get” to spend the weekend working in the hospital. But it's my last few hospital shifts for the near future, I'll be 100% clinic based from now on, which is a good change for me.

I'm off to do some of that knitting!

 

Onion Soup

Well, we really didn’t have onion soup for dinner. I finished my dye project that I mentioned in the last post. Here’s the finished yarn:

_MG_6138-2

This started as “commercial” natural colored yarn, from my Nature’s Cauldron natural dye CSA. The wool is 100% merino, grown at Mary Vega’s Ranch in California, and milled at Yolo Wool Mill. In all there are 600 yards of sport weight wool. I put “commercial” in quotes, since although this is mill spun yarn, it’s not exactly a big commercial yarn business.

That color is pretty true to real life. Want to know how I did that? I didn’t get any photos during the dye process, since it was just a big mess of boiling onion skins.

I’ve been saving yellow onion skins for over a year. We use a lot of onions in cooking. Every time I would get out an onion to chop, I pulled off the papery yellow skin and put it in a bowl. When the bowl got full, I started putting it in a big bag that I kept in the garage. Last weekend I finally used them. I shoved them all down into my huge stockpot that I use for dyeing, and covered with water. Then I brought it to a simmer and cooked it for a little over 2 hours. I let it sit for about another hour with the burner off, then pulled out the onion skins and strained the liquid.

Then in went the wool. I prepped this the weekend before, using an alum mordant to help the dye stick. The yarn went into the dye pot, brought to a slow simmer, and again left to simmer for a couple of hours, then I let it cool right in the dye pot. Rinse, dry, and there you go. Bob’s your uncle, I have this gorgeous pumpkin pie colored yarn that I never would have expected from a bag of onion skins. And it is surely one of a kind. I’ve seen photos of the results that people get from onion skins, and it’s anything from a much paler yellow to a deep bronze.

Here’s another one of my do-it-yourself projects. I didn’t dye this myself, but I did spin it.

_MG_6137

The fiber was from Cupcake Fiber Company, it’s a superwash merino/nylon blend, about 6 ounces worth of fiber. This was spun up on my Marie wheel, it’s a 2-ply yarn, mostly a sport weight. There are about 460 yards there.

And just because I haven’t shown a picture of the wheel lately, here she is in my little spinning corner.

_MG_6139

We’re off to the farmers’ market! Have a great Sunday!

Verrrryyy Interesting!

This new sweater has a very interesting construction. So far it doesn’t look much like a sweater.

Here’s a photo:

yoke

It’s just a big rectangle so far. Here’s another photo to show you how it’s put together.

yoke1

That faint line down the middle shows where the original cast on starts. The stitches on the needles are the back and sleeves, just started. The top of the photo is the ribbing at the back and sides of the neck.

So you cast on along that line using a provisional cast on, then knit the right neckband and upper yoke, then put those stitches on a holder. Then you undo the provisional cast on and knit the other half of the neckband in the other direction. At some point you get to add in the front sections, though I can’t see it just yet. This is one of those patterns where you just have to have faith that it’s going to turn into a sweater someday.

I’m also doing some dyeing this weekend for the first time in a long time. No photos yet, but yesterday I prepped some yarn with an alum mordant. The dye pot is full of onion skins that I have saved up for months. The yarn is about to go in. I’ll show photos when it’s out and dry!