Knitting and (K)Netflix?

It might be a holiday here in the U.S., and the husband is off, but I don’t think today will be so different. I have some work to do, because there are no weekends or holidays in publishing, but not as much as usual.

My fun craft-related news is I finished my Rayna shawl, using the luscious 50/50 SW merino/silk yarn, in the Tide Pools colorway, from Blue Barn Fibers.

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A couple of days ago, I started a new project. It’s the Changing Staircases shawl, using a nice 75/25 SW merino/mulberry silk yarn from The Wicked Knittah.

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So, knitting and k(Netflix) later? I’ve been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I suggested adult beverages and a Jurassic Park marathon, but I’m seeing no signs of interest from the husband, so probably just me and the dogs hanging out as usual.

Mozzie tried to take on a cottonmouth a couple of days ago, and my heart is still pounding about that. Yesterday, they found a mouse in the kitchen and tag-teamed it, finally earning their fancy raw food and homemade treats.  They can take on all the mice they want, but I prefer they stay far, far away from snakes!

Monday Knitting

My edit for this week isn’t arriving until tomorrow, so as long as I keep an eye on email, I can spend today playing with yarn. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Yesterday, I finished the Close To You shawl, using Dream Smooshy With Cashmere (colorway Burr), and I love it. With the center in front, and the ends wrapped around the neck and draped over the front of my shoulders, it’s going to look great with a blue or rust-colored shirt. I have it on the blocking board now, but it didn’t need much beyond smoothing and defining the points a little.

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Close-up when it was in progress

 

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On the blocking board

Last night, I started the Reyna shawl, using a spectacular 50/50 SW merino/silk yarn in a colorway called “Tide Pools” from Blue Barn Fiber.

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It’s so soft and luxurious, and the color is stunning. Even better, the customer service from Holly was exceptional. She offers custom dyes on a wide range of bases, and she helped me choose the right base for what I wanted to do. I will absolutely buy more yarn from her in the future.

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As you can see, I’ve barely started the shawl. None of the stitches is especially difficult, but the switching from the garter to mesh sections every so often will keep it from being boring, while still being semi-mindless enough (as long as you keep count of those stitches!) to do while watching TV or keeping an eye on the work email account.

How’s your Monday?

I Have No Idea What’s Going On Over There Anymore

My gorgeous new yarn from Blue Barn Fiber is sitting in my mailbox, waiting for me to rescue it and ooh and aah over its glorious yarny-silky goodness, but I’m trapped in the house.

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Seriously, just look at that. It’s called Tide Pools, and I ordered it on a 50/50 SW merino and silk base.

But I can’t get near it because, as I figured, the Redneck Kid-Farm Rodeo is in full force out in their front yard. Last I counted, there were 8-10 kids from toddler to teen running about out there. I know they don’t all live there. It’s a 2-bedroom house, and my best guess is two of the older boys actually live there.

I have no idea who the rest of these assorted rugrats are. Cousins? Friends? Paying daycare customers? I don’t think they’re other random neighborhood kids, because I can’t think of any white kids on this street.

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As I reported in This Post (which contains photographic evidence of excessive kid-quota), there was one primary thing that might just put me over the edge. And (shudder) it appears to have happened.

What I wrote: “I’m really, really glad they don’t appear to have a dog, though. A dog running around out there would not be appreciated by my dogs–or by me.”

And…guess what. Yep. Dog. It looks–from my spying-spot in the dining room–like a little tan chihuahua. But it could be a puppy of something else short-haired that will be larger when it matures. I don’t know yet. So far, it’s been out on a leash, but I’m not optimistic it will stay that way. I picture it wriggling under my fence and getting eaten by the the Poodledactyl and Sir Mozzie the Swift.

For now, observation continues. They do seem to go a lot of places, and should the vehicles be gone when I check, I’ll need to make a dash for the mailbox. This is seriously impeding my usual practice of Immediate Gratification. Waiting sucks. But people suck more.

UPDATED: At latest count, four boys playing basketball. Three toddlers in a wading pool. One young boy going back and forth between the groups. Two teen-type girls watching the toddlers. AND…the dog. Looks like a chihuahua or maybe a chi-dachshund mix because it has a long back. If it’s not a puppy, it appears young. They keep putting it in the pool with the toddlers. It keeps jumping out. And, you guessed it…it’s no longer on a leash.

It’s gonna be a looooooong summer, folks.

Summer Knitting, Having a Blast…

I’ve been a terribly negligent blogger lately! Life has been a little crazy, with eye and dental appointments, guests, outings…and an upcoming series of dental appointments that will take most of the summer to complete.

But I have been knitting! Time to catch you up on what I’ve done and what’s on the needles now.

I’ve finally completed the Holden shawl, using Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in “mermaid shoes,” which I got from The Salty Sheep Yarn Shop. I love this. It’s so soft and light! Check out the slideshow for all four gorgeous images!

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This is how I’ll probably wear it, though.

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Currently on the needles is the Close to You shawl, again using the Dream Smooshy With Cashmere, this time in the Burr colorway. I’m hoping this one is a little smaller and maybe can even be worn in the summer in the south.

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I still have two cakes of amazing yarn from The Wicked Knittah in “cottage shed,” and lots of patterns piled up, and I still want to learn cables. But I’d probably cable in a heavier yarn, and I’m really enjoying the indulgence of the luxury yarns right now.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer knitting projects!

WIP Weekend

I know it’s Mother’s Day weekend here in the U.S., but that’s never been a “holiday” to me, despite Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, being an ancestral cousin. My mom passed away on May 14, 1984, the day after Mother’s Day…which happened to be my first. My son was only seven weeks old. We spent that day, her last Mother’s Day, apart, as she was in the hospital over an hour away awaiting surgery she did not survive.

Okay, enough of the sad memories. That’s why the “holiday” is low-key here. I don’t care if The Boy remembers it or not. Tom brought shrimp and scallops from the local seafood market, and that will be dinner tomorrow. Easy-peasy, and I adore fresh scallops.

This week, I finished and blocked my first knitted shawl, and I’m pretty happy with it. It’s the On The Wings of a Prayer shawl, using Knit Picks Chroma in Drawing Room. It’s a bit warm for my climate, but I have a home picked out for it.

I’ve been working on a new shawl in sock-weight yarn, Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in Mermaid Shoes. I love this yarn so much! It’s soft and works up beautifully. I’m making this Holden shawl with a slightly larger needle to improve the drape and to make the lacy parts–when I get to them–lacier. I’m still on the body of the shawl, but I’m loving the yarn and the gorgeous colorway.

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Five-inch ruler for scale.

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Though I have two more balls of Dream Smooshy With Cashmere in different colorway, Burr, I couldn’t resist another yarn I saw on Facebook. I saw it several days ago, almost bought it, somehow resisted (this is unusual behavior for sure), but after a few days, I was still thinking about it, so I ordered two hanks (to be rolled into cakes for me) from The Wicked Knittah.

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It’s an 80/10/10 superwash merino/cashmere/nylon sock weight, and I love the colors. It’s called Cottage Shed, and it reminds me of the verdigris on a copper pot, or weathering on a tin roof of a rustic garden shed. Can’t wait to get it!

I finished a first round edit on the upcoming Mafia Prince by Bella J. yesterday–and you should totally check out book 1 in her Royal Mafia series, Mafia Princess–so I have time to hang with the Direwolves, watch Stitchers on Amazon (only one season left to go, boooo!) and knit.

If you “do” Mother’s Day, hope you have a great one! Wishing a very happy, peaceful, love-filled day to my big sister, Linda, who stepped in when we lost our mom and served as a surrogate mother and grandmother to me and the little one when we needed her most. Love you, Sister!

One Off The Needles, New One On

I’ve been a terrible blogger, not posting in so long. In my defense, I had what was (for me) a very hectic, draining week, but I’ll try to do better.

For now, the news is I finally finished the On The Wings of a Prayer shawl, using Knit Picks Chroma superwash in “drawing room.”

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The colors are actually softer than in the photo. I needed a flash in the dim room where it’s blocking.

Next up is a lighter shawl, the Holden shawl by Mindy Wilkes, a paid pattern on Ravelry. I am using Dream In Color Smooshy With Cashmere, in “mermaid shoes,” which is so soft and beautiful I can hardly stand it. I’ll be making it in the medium size.

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Barely started, but every project starts somewhere. I had to learn to pick up and knit on vertical and cast-on edges for this one, but the rest will be similar to the stockingette sections of the last shawl, and the fan and feather edging will be like scarves I’ve done.

Shopping Splurge

Conversation this morning…

Tom: So, do you want to do something today?

Me: (purses lips and gives side-eye) When would have been the right time to ask this question?

Because as a dedicated hermit, if I am venturing into the Out, I like to know in advance. Surprise excursions do not make me happy. A better approach is to suggest something to me at least the day before. “Hey, I was thinking we should (go over to check out Washington) (take the dogs to Flanner’s Beach) (go do lunch on the waterside deck at Persimmons) tomorrow.” This usually works better on me.

But today, I had an agenda.

Me: Well, I was thinking I wouldn’t mind going to Swansboro.

Tom: (registers slight surprise that I suggested anything at all, much less something he didn’t mind doing) Okay.

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We’re in New Bern, NC, and the town’s only LYS (Local Yarn Shop) closed last year, before I discovered knitting. We have a Michael’s and now a Hobby Lobby, and I’ve bought a crap-ton of “big box store” yarn over the years. As a lifelong crocheter, those projects work up so fast and use more yarn, leading to more big projects like blankets and afghans, meaning really nice yarn with exotic fibers or hand-dyed yarn are cost-prohibitive. Knitting is slower (for me), more intricate, smaller projects, and a nice ball of yarn can last me a couple of weeks instead of half a day.

So off we went, heading for, naturally, The Salty Sheep Yarn Shop. Sad that the nearest LYS is nearly an hour away, but it’s a nice little coastal town and lots of great shops and restaurants along the water, so a great day trip.

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I really should’ve asked names, because the woman in the shop (I assume the owner) was super friendly and helpful. I looked at some of her WIPs, bought the stitch markers she recommended, and began looking at the displays of completed projects. I found a shawl I liked that appeared to be something I could do. She told me it’s the Holden Shawl on Ravelry. It’s a paid pattern, but I used my phone and bought it right away.

Which led to the yarn. So. Much. Beautiful. Yarn! I could literally spend a thousand dollars without breaking a sweat, but confined myself to two twists each of two colors of Dream Smooshy with Cashmere (70% superwash merino wool, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon). I got “Mermaid Shoes” and “Burr.” Mermaid Shoes is my always favorite purple/green/blue combo, and Burr is a more beachy blue/brown theme.

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Imagine my delight when I learned a good LYS will wind the twists into cakes for free. Love those special little touches that equal outstanding service. Takes some of the sting out of paying $32 for a 4-ounce twist of yarn.

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We walked through the waterfront downtown, in and out of shops, then had a nice lunch at the Saltwater Grill, sitting on the screened deck overlooking the water. Conch fritters and a tangy potato salad hit the spot!

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Not a bad lunchtime view.

Before we could leave, though, I had to return to Silver Line.

Silver-Line-Jewelry

It was the first shop I popped into on the way to The Salty Sheep, and the second I stepped in, I was drawn to a jewelry display at the back of the room. Sterling settings with bright sky blue stones swirled through with white. I’d never seen anything like it before, like the perfect summer sky at the beach with some high, wispy clouds.

Hmm. One has a nice Celtic band.

Hmm. It also happens to fit my right ring finger perfectly.

Inquired about the price. Cried a little inside.

It turns out the stone is called Larimar, which comes from Larissa (daughter of the guy who discovered it in the 1970s) and Mar, which is Spanish for sea. It’s found only in one very specific area in the Caribbean, and how much of it there actually is remains unknown. But I reallllllllly liked it.

Went about my shopping day, but couldn’t stop thinking about that ring.

Realized tomorrow is pay day, so screw it. MINE.

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And now I’m home, and these two missed me. Apparently.

Checked in on work, so now I can get back to the shawl-in-progress using Knit Picks Chroma (in “drawing room”) that I’ve been working on. Because the sooner I finish it, the sooner I can play with my beeeeeeee-youuuuuu-teeeeee-ful new cashmere blend.