Friday, April 21, 2017

To the beach... or UVA

We've been experiencing unseasonably sunny days and warm temperatures lately.  Normally, April is a month of rain showers with the temperature spiking crazily up and down, but this April has been sunny and the temperature has frequently been hitting the upper 80's.  It's making me crave the beach.  In fact, I'd sell my own children to be at the beach right now.  Luckily for my kiddos, Knit Picks is making it easier for me to at least pretend I'm at the beach.

gradient sock yarn being knit into a triangular shawl.
Knit Picks Stroll Gradient yarn.

Last week, while I was working those crazy hours, a box from Knit Picks showed up on my doorstep and guess what was inside - two skeins of Stroll Gradient.  What does yarn have to do with pretending to be at the beach?  The colorways are Sea You Later and Lifeguard.  Unless they have colorways named Sunburn and Shark (which they don't,) it doesn't get much beachier than that!

I'm knitting a.... well, I'm not even sure what I'm knitting.  The finished piece will be some form of shawl or scarf in a triangular shape. The original plan was to knit a long triangle shape until I'd used up half the yarn then start decreasing.  But I may never do the decreasing.  Instead of making a looong, shallow triangular shawl with the point in the center, I may just make it an even longer triangle with one narrow end and one wide end.  It's a work in progress.

While the design may be a work in progress, knitting with Stroll Gradient is definitely not work!  I've knit with other forms of Knit Pick's Stroll before.  Knit Picks offers practically a full catalog's worth of varieties of Stroll.  There's regular, flat colored sock yarn, there's Tonal, Hand Painted, Glimmer, Tweed and probably a few others I'm forgetting.  But for reasons unknown to me, Stroll Gradient is the softest.  It has the same fiber content as the other yarns so maybe I'm just imagining it being softer.  Maybe it's the beachy themed colors I chose.  Maybe it's that the yarn came in ready-to-knit cakes and I didn't have to pause to wind the skeins.  Whatever the cause, I swear, this yarn is softer than the others and I am having SO much fun knitting with it, even if it looks like I'm knitting a UVA scarf instead of a beach themed masterpiece.



(This post contains affiliate links.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy Belated Easter

Happy belated Easter!

Evil Easter Bunny plant
Is that not the most horrifying Easter decoration you've ever seen?  Well, maybe not THE most, but it definitely ranks up there.

Whether you pray to the church or Cadbury, I hope your Easter was enjoyable.  Mine was.... wonderful and as terrifying as that bunny plant.  Easter Sunday marked the end of working ten straight days of 10 to 14 hour shifts.  After not working all winter, the week was an interesting experiment in sleep deprivation & burn out.  By Friday I was struggling to do the simplest tasks, things like counting to ten and remembering to take the top off the pen before I tried to write and yet, I could still do the complicated things without much trouble. By Saturday, I was starting to turn mean and by Easter Sunday, I was oddly okay.  Although I was working on only about four hours sleep, I was much more energized and I felt like I was thinking much clearer.  Pretty amazing what a handful of jellybeans can do for your attitude!

Working that many hours, absolutely no knitting got done all week. Even my Knit Picks order sat unopened on my desk for four days before I had a chance to open it.  I can't wait to show you what it contained.  It's rainy and gross and dark and dreary in the house today but hopefully the sun will shine once again tomorrow and I can get some decent photos.  I bought a bunch of Stroll Gradient and it definitely deserves sunshine.

And now, I'm going to go catch up on my knitting.  Catch up on my knitting and binge watch Shetland on Netflix.  Have you seen Shetland?  If not, you must!  It's a crime/detective show that takes place in the Shetland Islands.  I have to admit, I end up paying more attention to the knitting than I do the storylines but.... the scenery is perfect to knit to!



(This post contains affiliate links.)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Makers' Monday - Gifts for Mom

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives.

The plan was for this post to be about handmade giftables for moms who knit.  Hand lotions, cute stitch markers, project bags, knitting jewelry, notepads with sheep on them.... things like that.  That was the plan.  But the first thing I searched for was handmade soaps on Etsy and well, we now have an entire blog post on handmade soap.  Soaps that any knitting mom should love.

decorative soaps from Tularoo Soaps for Mothers Day.  Mother's Day gift ideas
Knitted Soap from Tularoo Soaps

What knitter wouldn't want these adorable knitted soaps from Tularoo Soaps?  The shop offers these mini bars in sets of various sizes as well as full sized bars.  And even if you're some kind of knitting weirdo who doesn't want knitted soap, you should still take a look at the shop.  The artistry of their soaps is amazing and they offer great customer service.

Another shop with fantastic customer service is Sweet Sheep Body Shop.

Sheep Shaped Soap from Sweet Sheep Body Shop

I've purchased solid lotions from the Sweet Sheep Body Shop numerous times and have loved every single scent I've received.  The lotion absorbs into my skin quickly and leaves just a tiny hint of scent on my hands.  I don't know how they do it but my hands will smell slightly like the lotion but the scent is never transfered on to my cookies. (I really hate it when lotion makes my cookies taste funny.)  Until I started researching items for this post, I didn't even realize the shop sold soap.  Look!  It's sheep soap!  Sheep shaped soap made from goats milk.  Every knitter should have some sheep shaped soap!

But what if Mom is some kind of weird non-knitting soap lover?

gifts for Mother's Day
Vanilla-Coconut Soap from Rustic Edge Soaps

How about this vanilla-coconut goatsmilk soap from Rustic Edge Soaps?  I'm not typically very girly so I'm fascinated with the color of this soap, plus I love the idea of the vanilla and coconut scent. I'm also in love with the shop's header.  It's goats.  Y'all know how much I love goats.

hand made luxury cocoa butter & goatsmilk soap for Mother's Day
Luxury Soap from Crickett Soaps

Or, how about this soap from Crickett Soaps.  This soap is made with shea and cocoa butter and the swirls of color remind me of a hand painted yarn flat.  Knitters gotta love soap that looks like a yarn flat!

gift ideas for Mom; handmade soap with holistic healing properties
Rose and Clay soap from Sage Sweetgrass Soaps

Or how about this moisturizing rose and clay soap that promises to help with shaving issues from Sage Sweetgrass Soaps.  Not only is this soap moisturizing and helps fight those pesky shaving bumps, but it also offers holistic healing properties.

spa bath gift set; great Mother's Day gift idea
Spa Gift Set from Little Flower Soap Co.

Or how about this gift set from Little Flower Soap Co. that contains soap, lip balm and a mini bath salt?  I like how the Little Flower Soap Co. has their listing set up so that you can choose both the soap's scent and the lip balm's flavor.

choose your own scent soap, lotion & body polish gift set for Mom
Lotion Spa Set from Wild Botanicals

How could you resist an almond scented lotion gift set?  Don't like almond? That's okay because you get to choose the scent of both the lotion and soap included in this spa set from Wild Botanicals.  The set contains soap, lotion and a whipped body polish.

healing balm for dry skin, chapped lips, minor cuts & burns and eczema
Organic Healing Salve from LBApothecary

And look - something besides soap!  Last but not least, I know I could use this organic healing salve from LBApothecary.  This healing balm protects against dry skin and chapped lips and helps heal minor cuts, burns and sores as well as eczema.  I would love to receive a tin of this healing salve for Mother's Day.  This salve would be a tremendous help to me at work since the air is so dry, constantly handling money sucks the moisture out of my hands (not to mention the frequent hand washing,) and I constantly give myself paper cuts.  Someone, please forward this post to my kids!

Friday, April 14, 2017

World's Most Boring Blog Post

This blog post may truly qualify for the world's most boring post.  Most boring ever.

I've been working a lot of hours this week and haven't been able to get much knitting in, nor photos taken.  My mitered square blanket stats are currently:

Total squares needed:  384

Total squares knit:  240

Total squares remaining:  144

The weird thing about it is, even while I'm bitching and moaning about how long it's taking me to complete this blanket and how badly I want it to be finished, all I can think about is knitting another one using Knit Pick's new Stroll Gradient.  I'm also slightly obsessed with the idea of buying all the blues and knitting another Find Your Fade, but that's an idea for another day.

And for a bit of color...

Eiffel tower in spring; eiffel tower surrounded by tulips and spring flowers.
Paris in the spring, courtesy of rareinterloart.co.uk

Okay, so that's not my actual view walking into work each day, but it's close.



(This post contains affiliate links.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top 5 Reasons To Go Yarn Shopping

Top 5 Reasons to Yarn Shop:


1.  The sun is shining.

2.  Your spouse is going out of town and will be blissfully unaware that UPS will be leaving eight crates of yarn on your porch.

3.  Your oldest child is turns six and you realize that in the blink of an eye, they'll be grown up and having their own babies.  You suddenly feel the need to stock up on baby yarns.

4.  A new yarn catalog arrives in your mailbox.

5.  It's a Wednesday.



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Makers' Monday - Shawls for Mom

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives.

It's hard to believe but Mother's Day is only about four weeks away.  Do you knit for Mom?  I never knit a shawl for my mom but I wish I had.  I think she would have liked to receive, and would happily have worn, any of the following.  Perhaps in honor of Mother's Day & remembrance of my own mom, I should knit myself a shawl.  (Or maybe even six!)

knitted shawl, garter stitch, stockinette; beginner knitting scarf
Magic Spring Shawl courtesy of Katerina Bobkova

I will definitely knit myself this Magic Spring Shawl sometime soon.  It reminds me of a smaller & simpler version of a Find Your Fade and I think we all know by now how much I loved knitting that.  The Magic Spring Shawl is a free (gotta love that!) Ravelry pattern designed by Katerina Bobkova of Cathy-Cathy Designs.

Or perhaps you'd like a hint of lace.

easy beginner lace shawl designed by Leah Michelle Designs
Simple Spring Shawl courtesy of Michelle Krause

The Simple Spring Shawl has just a tiny bit of lace to break up the garter stitch monotony.  Designed by Michelle Krause of Leah Michelle Designs, this would be a great beginner's lace project or movie knitting for more advanced knitters.  The lace appears to be fairly simple & easily memorized.  You won't have to play yarn chicken when knitting the Simple Spring Shawl.  Just weigh your yarn before you start, then knit until you've used up half, then begin the decreases.  Simple!

Woodland Spring Shawl
courtesy of Christina Wall

Or how about knitting a Woodland Spring Shawl?  Designed by Christina Wall of A Knitter's Life, this triangular shawl appears to be about half garter stitch and half lace.  I really like knitting this style of shawl.  You start off with simple garter and you can make lots of progress quickly.  About the time you start to think you'll go mad from garter stitch, the lace begins and holds your attention to the very end.

crescent shaped shawl with an all over lace pattern; knitting, hand knit
Primula Spring Shawl courtesy of Linda Choo

Or how about this beauty designed by Linda Choo for Garden Canadensis?  The Primula Spring Shawl is crescent shaped with an all-over lace pattern.  The size of this shawl can easily be adjusted by knitting more border repeats.  And while we're talking about the border, those pesky border nupps can easily be replaced with beads.  (Y'all know how I feel about knitting nupps!)

hand knit lace shaw for spring and summer.  Lace stole
Spring Flowers & Butterflies Shawl,
courtesy of Katherine Bryant

This one has the dreaded nupps too but once again, they could easily be replaced with beads.  And we'll forgive Spring Flowers & Butterflies Shawl for those nupps because look what else it has - Lilies of the Valley!   I LOVE Lilies of the Valley.  They happen to be my birth month flower plus they remind me of my mom.  She had acres of them growing in the yard. (Okay, "acres" is a slight exageration, but she had a lot.)  The house always smelled of Lilly of the Valley in the spring.  Even more exciting than the Lilies of the Valley, Katherine Bryant, the designer, is offering the pattern for free on Ravelry!  And, Ms. Bryant is kind enough to tell us in advance how many beads we'll be needing.  This pattern is definitely going near the top of my Ravelry que.

And last but not least, I wanted to mention the Sundae Summer shawl.  I wasn't able to obtain permission to use a photo but I thought it was worth mentioning.  It's a free Ravelry pattern, it appears to be extremely simple and quick to knit and you could make the pattern your own by changing up the weight and/or fiber content of the yarn.  The pattern is so simple, with the right yarn, you could probably wait until Saturday afternoon to start knitting and still have it finished by Mother's Day morning.

Will you be knitting for Mother's Day?  Feel free to share pattern suggestions in the Comments below.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Never ending

The mitered squares knit with sock yarn blanket....

hand knit mitered square blanket knit with sock yarn

A never ending project.

The finished blanket will contain 384 squares.  228 have been knit.  156 more to go.

And to be a masochist about it....  Each square contains 511 stitches times 156 squares equals 79,716 stitches left to knit, for a grand total of 196,224 stitches.  Plus a border.

Never. Ever. Ending.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Just Knit It

After finishing up the Pittura cowl last week, I needed a new simple project to knit on while reading or when I come home stupid-tired from work in the wee hours of the morning.  Although I'm usually completely brain dead and half falling asleep driving home, I'm always slightly wired too.  Thirty minutes of very mindless knitting and a boring book help me calm down & get to sleep though.

Just knit it - a simple shawl or scarf to knit in garter stitch
Just Knit It

So....  I picked Just Knit It.  It's perfect. It's a garter stitch shawlette (I'll wear it more like a scarf) with increases at each end on each row.  All those increases means it quickly grows much wider (or longer) than it does in depth.  Once again, I'm using some Louisa Harding Pittura that I picked up at The Knitting B in Richmond. (No link - sadly their website seems to be down.)

So far, I've only knit on Just Knit It during a couple of email reading sessions. I wasn't too sure about my yarn choice at first but the more I knit, the more I like it.  I'm also loving the way it coordinates with my planner's cover.

Did you notice what's missing from today's post?  I normally talk about what I'm reading on Wednesdays but I'm a little embarrassed about this week's list.  Nineteen Eight Four has been relegated to my post-work, 'boring' reading and I've been devouring one smutty romance after another.  And they're just too trashy to name.  I miss hooking up with other knitters & readers on the Wednesday Yarn Along but I sure am glad I don't feel like I 'have' to go public with this week's book choices.

*Edited to say that I'm excited to have found another blogger to link up with on Wednesdays.  Join me over at As Kat Knits.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Makers' Monday - Bridal Gloves

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists and creatives.

In keeping with the wedding theme, I thought I'd share a few patterns for lacy bridal gloves. Now don't get me wrong, all of these gloves could be worn anytime or place, but knit with white yarn, they scream wedding.

crocheted wedding gloves designed by Nez Jewelry on Ravelry
Fingerless Crochet Lacy Wedding Gloves courtesy of Nez Jewelry

This first pair are actually crocheted. As much as I dislike crocheting (mostly because crochet gives me Horrible carpal tunnel issues not to mention, I'm rather talentless) these were just too pretty not to include.  So, for the folks who can crochet.... The Fingerless Crochet Lacy Wedding Gloves were designed by Nez Jewelry and can be found on Ravelry.

lacy hand knitted wedding gloves
Filigree Mitts courtesy of Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer

Or maybe you're planning a winter wedding.  I think these Filigree Mitts are stunning.

winter wedding gloves fingerless mitts or glove pattern
Filigree Mitts detail

Just look at the detail!  Another thing I really like about this design from Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer of Heartstrings Fiber Arts is that its Ravelry page offers a free link to the pattern's front page.  You are able to see gauge, needle & yarn requirements/recommendations before purchasing the pattern.  That's sweet!

Or perhaps your wedding is next weekend and you need something a little quicker to knit...

Lacy Hearts Wedding Gloves courtesy of Ellen Rich

 How about these Lacy Hearts Wedding Gloves from Ellen Rich of Knitters' Haven?  These would be super cute for Valentines Day as well as for a wedding.

knitting pattern for beaded lacy gloves, bridal gloves
Eryn Lasgalen Glovelettes courtesy of Maria Hytti

And last but not least, how about this beaded design?  Not only is the pattern for these Eryn Lasgalen Glovelettes free, but the pattern's Ravelry page shows them knit up in several different colors. I just love how different the glovelettes look in different colors.  The red ones are edgy & remind me of my punk rock days, while the blue are delicate & of course, the white scream wedding.  Oops. I got so caught up remembering my punk rock youth, I almost forgot to mention the designer.  Eryn Lasgalen Glovelettes by Marie Hytti of Cozy Cabin Designs.

And I have to mention.... The whole time I've been typing this, I keep picturing the lacy hearts on socks. You know those brides on TV shows who wear their fancy wedding gown with their grubby Converse sneakers? Well, I've never seen a bride do that in real life, but if I ever do, I'm going to knit them lacy heart socks to wear with their Converse.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March Knitting Roundup

I can't believe today marks the end of March.  Where did the month go?  Let's make me feel productive and take a look at what came off the knitting needles this month?

hand knit striped and asymmetrical scarf for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Wedge Scarf

The Wedge, knit using short rows with Palette from Knit Picks in the colorways, Garnet Heather, Spearmint, Sweet Potato, Indigo Heather & White & a US 2 needle.

Pony tail hat, bun hat available for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Ponytail Hat

A ponytail hat, knit with Paton's Kroy Socks FX in Cameo. I'm pretty pleased with the way this turned out considering I didn't have a pattern & just made it up on the fly without too much thought. The ponytail/bun hats I'd seen either had elastic sewn into the knitting at the ponytail hole or they had nothing to help the ponytail hole be/remain stretchy.  My idea of adding a little ribbing around the hole seems to work well.

striped knitted cowl hand knit with Louisa Harding Pittura
Pittura Cowl

A striped cowl knit on US3 needles with Louisa Harding Pittura and bit of unlabeled, stashed sock wool.  The pink stripes are purled for texture but if I was going to knit this over again with that pink yarn, I'd probably just knit them. The pink was a slightly different weight and the purled stitches seem a bit too loose. I really like the understated brightness (does that even make sense?) of this cowl.  It was supposed to be a 2016 Christmas gift but.....


Find Your Fade oversized shawl knit with Knit Picks Hawthorne
Find Your Fade

Find Your Fade.  This really may be my all time ever favorite knitting pattern.  I knit it with Knit Pick's Hawthorne in St. John, Laurelhurst, Rose City, Vancouver, Poseidon, and Serpent.  The shawl is huge and perfect for cuddling up in.  And when I say huge, I mean HUGE!  As wide and tall as I am, when I  stand up and drape it across my shoulders, the ends touch the tops of my feet.  There's a good reason all the decent photos of the shawl you see on Ravelry show a person holding it with their arms spread out wide.

hand knit cabled beanie for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Fangorn Mock Cable Hat

The Fangorn Hat.  I loved this colorway so much I ordered more yarn so I can knit matching mittens. The yarn is incredibly soft and the hat practically knit itself.

That's all the FO's for March.  I did knit a few rows on my Honycomb sweater and I've knit 15 to 20 more squares on my mitered squares blanket but I'm no where near close to finishing either project.

So, how about you? Did you have a productive March?


(This post contains affiliate links.)




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mosaic Tile

The theme park opened this weekend and all I can say is Wow!  I spent most of last week preparing for the opening. We cleaned, moved offices and furniture, and took a thousand trips to the dump.  I was already bruised and sore on opening day.  And opening day was, well, let's just say it was one of those days where you want to cry in the car then drink an entire bottle of bourbon by yourself.  I knew opening weekend would be rough.  The new employees don't know what to do and the returning employees can't remember what to do and there's always some kind of computer/back office issues that pop up.  But, good grief! I guess it felt like the seventh level of Hell because it was my first opening weekend as a supervisor and having everyone looking to me to 'fix it.'  What ever.  I survived.  I'm bruised, beaten and exhausted, but I survived.

The point of me telling you my opening day sob story is that being back at work means my blog time is severely limited.  Please know that I appreciate all the comments and that I do read them. I just won't always have time to respond to them.  Honestly, it's more like I don't have the coordination.  I've been reading your comments as I take the long walk from the car to my office area.  I can read and walk at the same time, (Sort of. I will admit - I have walked into a bush a time or two,) but I just don't have the coordination to walk and type at the same time.

Work was so crazy, I forgot I'd ordered yarn. Wow! That's crazy!

soft superwash merino and silk blend yarn in green, blue and white. Gorgeous yarn
Mosaic Tile, Expression Fiber Arts

How gorgeous is that?  And how on earth did I forget I'd ordered it?

Mosaic Tile yarn from Expression fiber arts
Mosaic Tile

The yarn is Mosaic Tile from Expression Fiber Arts and I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful. It's a superwash merino/silk blend and I'm just completely and totally head over heels in love with it.  I'm torn between immediately casting on with it or putting it under glass atop a pedestal. It's my all time favorite colors and I can't even describe how soft and pettable it is.  I can not wait to knit with it.... and  yet.... I'm sort of afraid to touch it.

I also can't decide what to knit. It deserves something special but I'm pretty low-key and don't wear 'fancy.'  I'm also thinking it might like to be beaded.  But would beads distract from it's beauty?  Would they be too much?  What do you think?  I'd love to hear your pattern suggestions.

Last but not least, I'd like to take a moment to thank Ginny at Small Things for hosting her Wednesday Yarn Along for so long.  I'm sad to see the feature end but I certainly understand her decision to stop hosting it. As for Ginny's timing, she couldn't have planned it better because I haven't read a single page all week!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Makers' Monday - Wedding Shawls

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives. 

It's that time of year when the postman seems to constantly deliver wedding invitations. While my kids don't seem to be the slightest bit interested in getting married, or even dating seriously for that matter, their friends are starting to take the walk down the aisle.  And it's got me thinking about how proud I'd be to have my daughter or, even though she'd never be good enough for my son, a daughter-in-law make that walk wearing a shawl or veil that I had knit.  So naturally I took a look around Ravelry and here's what I found.

In no particular order...


hand knit lace wedding veil or shawl pattern
Le Bon Mariage courtesy of Tiziana Sammuri
Le Bon Mariage, designed by Tiziana Sammuri.  Gorgeous, right?  And it looks doable.  The pattern is in both text and chart format & Ravelry gives it an "average" difficulty rating.

Or how about 

large lace wedding shawl or veil, hand knitting pattern
Monica's Shawl courtesy of Meeli Vent
Monica's Shawl?  This shawl was designed by Meeli Vent for a 2012 KAL.  To knit this beautiful shawl, you'll need to go to Meeli's blog and download each KAL clue separately but it will be worth it as the pattern is free.

Next up is the Snow Queen Pi Shawl.


Snow Queen Pi Shawl courtesy of Bad Cat Designs

This beauty was designed by Andrea Jurgrau of Bad Cat Designs.  You'll need to check out the pattern's Ravelry page to see all the details.  It's stunning and being a Pi shawl, it's probably not horrendously difficult to knit.  One of the things I like about this shawl is how different it looks in different colors of yarn.  Knit in white it's definitely Snow Queen-y or wedding-y but the Ravelry page shows one knit in aqua that reminds me of a starfish or sea anemone.  I think this pattern could be extremely versatile.

Or perhaps something at an even finer gauge.

Cecilia courtesy of Rita Maassen

For this gorgeous shawl, you really need to check out it's Ravelry page to see all the detail.  "Cecilia" was designed by Rita Maassen and is knit with cobweb.  I love how the border is worked in a different direction from the body.  I'd have to make one slight change to this pattern if I was to knit it myself though.  Y'all know how I feel about knitting nupps.  Or is it knupps? I see it spelt both ways.  Either way you spell it, I'd have to replace them with beads.

Or maybe you're looking for something a little fancier and with a bit of history behind it.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-princess-shawl The princess shawl, a hand knit wedding veil shawl
The Princess Shawl courtesy of Sharon Miller, Heirloom Knitting
This heirloom shawl is a thing of beauty. The Princess Shawl can be found in the Etsy shop, Heirloom Knitting, or on Ravelry.  The pattern is so large it comes in e-book form and calls for gossamer or cobweb yarn. This one is probably way beyond my skill level but it's fun to dream about knitting it for my daughter to wear one day. 

And last but definitely not least,


floor length hand knit lace wedding veil
Shetland Stars courtesy of A Passion for Lace
This shawl/veil/piece of art makes me want to get married all over again.  This gorgeous shawl leaves me a bit speechless. Blocked, it's six feet square and knit with cobweb or gossamer.  SIX feet square!  I'm still just speechless.  It's truly a floor length veil.  Just look at it!  See?  I'm so amazed, I almost forgot to name it and give credit to the designer.  This beauty is the Shetland Stars Square Shawl from A Passion for Lace.  I think it's pretty obvious Sarah won't be getting married in this veil but maybe if I started today, just maybe I could finish in time for a great, great granddaughter to proudly take the walk in it.

So what do you think? Are you knitting or have or will you knit a wedding shawl or veil?  Please share your experience in the comments.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Photo Friday

Photo Friday... sort of like Wordless Wednesday.

scarp  yarn mitered square blanket, hand knit. https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Mitered Squares Blanket

Between struggling with the decision of what to knit next and my over-flowing containers of scrap yarn, I decided to pull out the mitered square blanket.  I hadn't touched it in ages yet I was so close to finishing it.  Or so I thought.

mitered square afghan knit with scrap sock yarn
Can you identify any of the yarns?

I should never have picked it back up because I immediately decided it needed to be at least four squares wider and three longer.  I'm no longer 'so close' to finishing it.

And for the record, it's physically impossible for me to be wordless.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Knitting with books

There's nothing like a rushed blog photo to show you how desperately you need to put down the knitting & pick up the cleaning supplies.

Mock cabled hat knit with Fangorn from Marigold Fibers.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Fangorn Hat

I just dusted two days ago and already every surface in the house is covered in a fine layer of pollen.  Welcome to spring!

The hat is also covered in dog hair.  Seconds before snapping the photo, I accidently dropped the hat onto the dog bed.  The Great Pyrenees' dog bed.  Do you have any idea how badly a Great Pyrenees sheds this time of year? It's a wonder he's not bald. He just walks around the house, dropping clumps of hair in his wake.  I thought I'd gotten all the dog hair off the hat, but obviously not.  The camera does an excellent job of pointing out stray hairs as well as pollen dust.

Sadly, the pollen and dog hair situation is only going to get worse.  The park opens this weekend and I'm working just about every day this week getting things prepared for the big opening day.  There won't be much time for cleaning. Or knitting.  Or reading. Yikes!

As for my knitting and reading, I'm still slugging my way through Nineteen Eighty Four & I finished the Fangorn hat yesterday.  Since completing Fangorn, I haven't picked up anything else.  I know! It's been over 12 hours since I held my knitting needles.  Yikes! I just can't decide what to knit next. I have 1,000 UFO projects I should work on and another 1,000 I want to work on.  I haven't wound the yarn for any of the projects I want to do.  So, I sit here with the guilt of knowing I should work on the UFO's battling the lack of motivation to clean off the area around my swift so that it has room to spin.

My reading situation isn't much better.  I'm enjoying the horror of Nineteen Eighty Four but it's just not one of those 'can't put it down' books. And for some strange reason, I don't want to read it just before bed (which is a big part of my normal reading time.)  Apparently genetically engineered killer ants didn't affect my sleep but I'm afraid Nineteen Eighty Four will.  And just like my knitting, I have 1,000 books I want to read but I'm unable to choose which one to start next.

Maybe it's a good thing I'm going back to work.  At least then, I'll have an excuse for not knitting or reading.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Makers' Monday

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives. 

St. Patrick's Day has come and gone and despite Stella dumping a boat load of snow on the East Coast recently, it's spring time.  Let's talk Easter.  


While I love receiving a basket from The Bunny, I was never that into decorating for Easter.  The decorations tend to be a little too pastel for my taste but a few years ago, I discovered knitting for Easter.  Easter provides a whole new reason to knit!  

I knit baskets full of these Easter eggs a few years ago.  I should knit more of them because mine are sort of weird & not very Eastery. I used left over sock yarn scraps which tend to be dark colors.  My kids tease me about my basket of goth Easter eggs.

A free knitting pattern for knitted Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs, courtesy of Linda Dawkins, naturalsuburbia.com

The pattern comes from Linda Dawkins at Natural Suburbia.  She offers it for free on Ravelry and as I recall, it was a very simple pattern to follow.  You could easily knit yourself a basketful during your next Netflix binge.

Or what about knitting this little duckling?

hand knitted duck plushy to help celebrate Easter
Easter Duckling, courtesy of Morgunova Olga

Is he not the cutest, most adorable, fluffy little thing?  The pattern for this Easter Duckling comes from Morgunova Olga on Ravelry.  Do you think my adult children are too old for an Easter duckling? I really feel the need to knit this little guy.

And you can't have Easter without a bunny.

Knitted stuffed bunny rabbit with removable clothes. Just in time for Easter
Boy Bunny, courtesy of Julie Williams, Little Cotton Rabbits

Or two.

knitted stuffed girl bunny rabbit with removable clothing to knit for Easter
Bunny Girl in a Dotty Dress, courtesy of Little Cotton Rabbits

You'll need to invest a little more time in knitting these boy and girl bunnies.  The patterns are a little more involved and there's lots of little pieces to knit then stitch together, but look how cute they are! I think any time spent knitting these would be well worth it.  I specially love that the rabbits' clothes are removable and can be changed based on the season.  Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits even offers extra clothing options here, because you know, a girl Must have more than one outfit!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Kiss me, I'm Irish

Okay, I'm only a tiny bit Irish. Two of my Scottish relatives were sent to Ireland as young lads to learn the linen trade. They grew up, got married to nice Irish girls & not long before the American Revolution broke out they came to America to set up their own linen shop.  But according one of their journal entries, they got weirded out by the "trouble with the British" and returned to Ireland.  Once the war was over, they came back to America, settled down in Williamsburg, reopened their shop and eventually passed a tiny bit of Irish DNA down to me.  So, I may not be very Irish, but I'm Irish enough to claim it today.  So,

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

But let's talk yarn.  

Last month, in one of my Makers' Monday posts, I'd shown some yarn from Marigold Fibers.  

When I was searching for yarns to use in that post, Fangorn was the first yarn I chose.  I fell in love with the fluctuations in its color and immediately included it in the Makers' Monday post.


St. Patrick's Day green yarn
Fangorn from Marigold Fibers

But after selecting the other yarns for that Makers' Monday post, I wasn't as head over heels in love with Fangorn anymore.  It had lost a little of its charm because it was darker and not as bright, or bluish/aqua, or happy 'Spring is almost here!' green as the others.  And I felt a little guilty about not loving it enough.  So I ordered some.

green yarn from Marigold Fibers
Fangorn

The yarn arrived much quicker than expected. (Thank you, Marigold Fibers!) In real life the yarn was the pretty green in the shop's photo but... It was still dark. It didn't shout, "Spring is almost here!"  The skein sat on my desk, giving me a massive guilt trip while I knit with other yarns.


And then a funny thing happened.  Jade stitch markers from Lavender Hill Knits showed up in my mailbox.  The stitch markers coordiante so well with the Fangorn yarn, I couldn't wait to begin knitting with it.

knitting a hat with Fangorn from Marigold Fibers. Hat will be for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Soon to be a hat

But the yarn... Oh. My. Gosh! It may not shout Spring! but who cares?  It's perfect! It's gorgeous! It's incredibly soft and feels so good in my hand. It coordinates perfectly with my new stitch markers (which didn't show up in the photo. Doh!) and...

great customer service from Marigold Fibers
Yes! String ties

It had one of THE best customer service things a yarn dyer/maker can provide in my opinion - non-matching, string ties.  They were SO simple to remove.  It drives me nuts when yarn creators tie their hanks with matching yarn.  

So, to make a long story a little bit longer, I really, really like this yarn. There's even a good chance I'm going to order more so I can knit myself mittens to go with the hat. 

And did you see that Admiral blue?  Good grief! My bank account's in trouble now.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Find Your Fade

If you've ever held a pair of knitting needles in your hands, you've probably heard of the Find Your Fade shawl.  Everyone is knitting the pattern and for good reason.  It's a super simple knit, the pattern is easily memorized, the knitting is constantly changing so you never get bored and the color options are endless.  I don't remember ever enjoying a project more & the 2581 other folks on Ravelry who've knitted a Find Your Fade can't be wrong.

Knit a Find Your Fade using Hawthorne fingering weight wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

Thanks to ice storm Stella (Everyone else on the east coast got snow but we got nothing but freezing rain.) I finished my Find Your Fade yesterday afternoon and had it blocking by supper time.  It's huge!  HUGE!  My dining room table seats 10 comfortably and the shawl is as wide as the table & it's hanging way off both ends.  WAY off the ends!

I ran into a slight snag near the end.  I ran out of yarn.  The pattern calls for seven colors & I only used six.  I used the green/brown skein twice.  I thought it would be okay.  From looking at the schematic on the pattern, it looked like the stripes start small, get bigger, then shrink back down again.  But they don't.  Shrink that is. It's an optical allusion.

Anyway, I ran out of yarn.  I was only short three garter ridge rows & the yarn fumes got to me and made me forget that technically, I was knitting an elongated mitered square triangle.  The yarn fume brain caused me to overlook the mechanics of a mitered angle.  I was just thinking that the end would be blunt and not pointy.  I could easily live with a blunt ended triangle.  After all, it's only short three garter ridges.  How blunt could it be?

Oops

Not blunt at all.  The pointed triangle tip is still pointy because not completing all the rows on a mitered angle doesn't cause blunt ends.  It causes a weird jag at the mitered angle.  Dammit.

But it's okay.  I'm calling it a design element.

Other than that one little 'design element' the shawl turned out fantastic.  I can't even put into words how happy I am with the way the colors merged together. I used Knit Pick's Hawthorne and look how great the colors blend.  I started with St. Johns, the brown, then added Laurelhurst, a green/brown.

A Find Your Fade shawl hand knit with Hawthorne wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

After the Laurelhurst, I added Rose City. It doesn't show up in the photo but the Rose City has hints of gold in it which match the golden brown in the Laurelhurst.

Knitted Find Your Fade shawl
Knit Picks Hawthorne

After the Rose City, I used Vancouver.

shawl knit with Hawthorne wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

Vancouver blended into Poseidon.

Find Your Fade shawl knit with Knit Picks Hawthorne
Find Your Fade

After Poseidon, I used the remainder of the Laurelhurst.  This is where I ran into trouble.  I didn't have enough Laurelhurst to complete what should have been the sixth color's stripe so I added in the final color, Serpent, early.

Find Your Fade shawl knit with Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn
Knit Picks Hawthorne

And since I started using Serpent early, I didn't have enough to complete the shawl.  Thus, my 'design element.'

I'm a lot less worried about the design element than I am about what color combination to use for the next one.  I don't remember ever casting off a project and immediately wanting to cast on another.  But Find Your Fade.... this pattern is addictive!

By the way, it is Wednesday and I'm supposed to be talking about what I'm reading while I knit. I'm still reading Nineteen Eighty Four.  I'm enjoying reading it much more than I did back in high school but it's still not exactly a 'can't put it down' type of book. I may be reading it for a while.

Join me over at Ginny's place, Small Things to see what others are knitting and reading this week.


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