The adrenaline rush of knitting

Ok, once you stop laughing, hear me out. Although knitting is associated with calmness, meditative repetition, low blood pressure (then why am I on medication???) blah, blah, blah, it can also give you a rush. Sometimes it’s like mountain climbers pushing for the summit, the thrill of making it up there. But without that subsequent realization of  f$&@, I have get back down alive. (Although the thought of seaming or weaving in ends does elicit the same reaction in some people.) Plus I get to feel pumped in the comfort of my warm house, probably on my couch with a glass of wine and not clinging to a crumbling glacier in a snowstorm. Really, who is crazy here?
Anyway, I’m talking about knitting something that comes out EXACTLY as you envisioned it. This is the case with my last three projects. My hand-dyed sweater that I showed in the previous post, my just finished hap and a baby blanket. Two of these projects were finished in record time because I just couldn’t put them down (the baby blanket not so much, but I rallied at the end).
Here is my hap, folded in half and keeping me toasty warm.
I spun all the yarn for this, in about a week. The gradient border is mostly some Shetland yarn from southern Ontario, Hopeful Shetlands, the moorit middle is British Shetland I bought from the Fibre Garden, the darker midsection is some US Romney I spun up about 3 years ago, and the deep chocolate brown is some unidentified wool I bought in Almonte from Fortune Hill Farm. The pattern is Gudrun’s Hansel (and I knit it in about 4 days!) And it turned out exactly how I planned and even blocked out perfectly. I was a bit meh about all that brown at first, feeling very 70’s, was worried I might be tempted to go out and get new appliances in Avocado and add a burnt orange shag rug, but I controlled myself, and I quite like the natural shading.
I used almost all my yarn. I weighed the moorit that I used for the centre because I knew I wouldn’t have enough. At a bit less than the halfway mark, I switched to the romney, and then ended with the rest of the moorit. This is what I had left at the end of the centre square:
This just goes to show you that a digital kitchen scale is your friend (while a bathroom scale is NOT). Get one for knitting, if you don’t have one already (throw the bathroom one out). Here it is in all its brown squarish glory:
I should have added more stitches when picking up for the lace border since that yarn was a bit thinner than the rest but blocking fixed that. Remember, blocking can fix just about anything, well maybe not a broken washing machine or marriage, but pretty well anything else.
This project and my sweater were especially thrilling to finish. I was just so darned happy with the result, hence my little (compared to the above-mentioned mountain climbers, but what do they know) shot of adrenaline.
And it is not just about making things for myself, I do get a thrill from making things for others. (Hopefully they will be just as thrilled to receive it, otherwise you might see me on season 2 of Making a Murderer, just saying). So speaking of making things for others (no worries, lucky recipient, haha), although it was a slog, so many steps… I’m very happy with the result. Another Sleepy Monkey Blanket, (notice my hap photobombing):
I sewed on a flannel backing (enough knitting already!) I used Cascade Cherub (machine washable and dryable – acrylic/nylon – I know, stop gagging). Not sure how it will hold up, it seems rather loosely spun. Fingers crossed. I knit it in the round, sewed it 3 times on each side of the steek and cut it! And it’s fine! I made one a couple of years ago for my daughter in Berroco Comfort DK (also acrylic/nylon – stop gagging) and it has held up just fine. I only knit in machine washable/dryable yarns for babies, unless I know the mother is as anal retentive as I am, because I KNOW it will end up in the washing machine and the dryer along with all the other puked upon blankets and jammies.
Kathryn was also pretty relieved to finish this project, more relief than adrenaline, I think. It is Solaris, made mostly with our Riverside Studio merino fingering singles.
It was a long and not terribly exciting knit, she tells me, but I think it turned out quite beautifully!
I am working on Secret Garden, in one of our new colours, Wicked (which I have utterly failed to capture here). I really like the pattern, but am adding an i-cord-like border along the garter edge. Looks much neater and won’t over stretch.
It was quite an ordeal getting this yarn into cakes (Merino/cashmere/nylon sock, BTW). They were oversized leftover skeins with knots and I managed to make this unholy mess of it (maybe that was my inner-kitten coming out):
Well that’s it for now, it’s my shift to shovel snow. I’ll leave you with Frankie looking like a sugar donut. He quite likes cold weather and snow, if only I could teach him to shovel…

Lack of focus

Well, no surprise there. I know I have to finish some baby items, within a month. So what do I do? Knit a sweater for myself and start a hap blanket (for myself). This is not nearly as selfish as it sounds. Really. The sweater is totally justifiable. We (Riverside Studio) have a new yarn, a DK weight, 100% superwash Merino. Yum. So I had to dye some up and knit something. First up was a cowl:IMG_1240a

But I needed more! So I dyed up enough yarn (more than enough it turns out) for a sweater. For me, MOI, nobody else! One of my favourite colourways is Sundown, a blue and orange mix. I knit this in nine days, which includes the day I dyed it. Ha, stick that in your pipe and smoke it! (what does that even mean?) Warning, picture heavy:

IMG_1286aIMG_1288aIMG_1278a This last pic is not some smug selfie but to show you how freakingly matchy my earrings are, which I bought, I believe, in 1990? Sometimes fate takes a long time. The pattern is a Vogue Knitting one, #02 Bateau neck (always with the poetic names for their patterns). Vogue lost me for a few years, crazy expensive novelty yarn, over the top designs – wait, I don’t think six different stitch patterns in one sweater are enough, so let’s also make it in 100% Vicuña at $200 a skein! But lately I’ve been liking their patterns (still full of mistakes). I added quite a bit of length to both the body and the sleeves. No crop tops for this middle-aged survivor of the 1980’s!

But back to our yarn… This is a 4-ply yarn, squishy and bouncy with fantastic stitch definition. It didn’t grow too much, but I did wash and dry it mid-way through the back just to make sure. I always do that with superwash yarn since swatches are known to be evil little liars.

Next up is Darsham, a Rowan pattern (love their stuff lately too). I dyed this in our colourway Pond and am using our new 8-ply sock yarn. Another bouncy yarn, just a joy to knit.IMG_1296aI love the clever use of cables and this yarn is great with cables. Next up will be a sweater in some BFL sport weight that we are thinking of carrying. I dyed some up in Goldenrod.IMG_1303a

It is not quite as bright yellow as this appears, I’m having camera “challenges”. But nothing wrong with bright yellow.

My other distraction was spinning. A friend asked for some pointers, so I thought I had better spin a bit before offering up any wisdom on the subject. And then I got sucked down that black hole. I had some Shetland roving sitting around for a couple of years now and decided to make Hansel, a Shetland hap shawl/lap blanket (for MOI, since if I gave to somebody else, who might throw it in the washer, I might have to kill them). I spun it up as a gradient, then spun some other Moorit (brown) Shetland I had, but had to also use some Romney I had already spun (3 years ago?) and some deep dark delicious brown roving, mysteriously called 100% wool, to make sure I had enough (yay fibre stash!).IMG_1289a I am really loving it, even though I realize it might end up looking like a hippy-tastic 1970’s rustic shawl/blanket. I’ll take my chances and start wearing Berkinstocks if it does. I have one more brown rainbow repeat to knit. Woot!

I have not forgotten the babies. One already born (almost finished the blankie) and one on the way. I have finished one little sweater, with another in the works, and a blankie. IMG_1293a

Kathryn has also been trying out new colours. Fantastic colours! Hard to photograph colours.

The reds on both ends are actually the same colour, just different lighting. See what I mean? Anyways, the colours are complex and scrumptious, and there will be more.

Well, I will leave you with some cuteness, as always. Shelma, our ward for 3 months, who I couldn’t find and after panicking a bit, discovered her in a carry-on bag. Small dogs, you never know where they will turn up.IMG_1649a

While Frankie observed from our psychedelic Giant Tiger (if you are from the Outaouais you’ll know what I mean) cheapo fleece blanket protecting the daybed, thinking, small dogs, you never know where they’ll turn up.IMG_1648a