Saturday, December 7, 2013

The stockings will be hung by the chimney with care

I am knee-deep (pun intended) in sock knitting right now.  I have confidence that I will be finished all pairs by the intended gifting date, and for once, Himself will not be getting shafted on socks:

I did these sleep socks for Himself first, which means that for the first time in memory, he will get two complete socks, not one finished sock and one still on the needles, in the gift bag.  The yarn is Viking of Norway Raggan, and while the colorway is similar to one I have made for him before, these socks are much thicker and fluffier, and they knit up in about a week, which was amazing.  Looing at the photo, though, from the ankle down they do not match.  I did not notice this when I was working on the socks.  Now, if I thought these socks were ever going to be worn out of the house, I might be bothered enough to do something about it.  But they will never be worn in public, because they are "too flashy," so I'm not saying a word about the mismatch of patterning.  I would probably not fix a pair of my own socks, which are always worn out of the house, if a similar problem occurred, because recently I've realized people take a quick look at your hand-knit socks, which are almost always covered by shoes or boots, and move on with their day.  Look at me, getting all Zen in my old age.

I have also started work on socks for my goddaughter E:

This is another purchase from the Fiber Festival, from Enchanted Knoll Farm.  The colors in this yarn just called out to me, and I couldn't leave it in the booth.  It's more than I normally spend on sock yarn for someone who's feet are still growing, but I'm knitting them in a modified ladies' size, so I think they'll fit her a little bit longer.  The colors are just fabulous - well blended and sharp, and the same old-same old classic sock pattern is not seeming at all boring while looking at this.

I am about done with socks these days, though.  Even new patterns aren't all that appealing.  If only they weren't so quick and easy, or if cardigans knit up as fast as the socks do.....

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No closer to finishing the Christmas gifts

I have been plugging along on all my holiday crafting projects.  Unfortunately, those projects have mostly been for me.

Here's a couple of shots of the sweater I am knitting for myself, using the Tucker's Woods Mocha's Worsted I bought at the Fiber Festival:

This is a better color representation than that blue shade that showed up when I photographed the skeins on my counter before dawn.  I photographed these shots before dawn, too, but smartened up and used a white dish towel as a back drop.  This is also my very first attempt at knitting cables.  I have no idea what I was afraid of for so long.

So in my spare time (ha ha ha) I serve as the president of the board of trustees for our local food pantry, and I also volunteer there a lot.  There are people who volunteer there more than me (retirees who are available weekdays, whereas I am expected to show up at my office to earn my check - so unfair) and one of them mentioned she needed a hat.  With ear flaps.  And a pom pom.  In red.  Ok, then!  I could use a break from knitting socks:

Look ma, more cables!

It took me about 8 days to do this hat - the pattern is from Classic Elite Yarns and is called Lavish Flap Hat.  It is lavish, I suppose, because it supposed to be knit with cashmere.  I chose Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, which is a superwash marino and much more practical, in my mind.  The pattern also does not feature a pom pom, which was my own (easy) addition, to meet the requirements given by the recipient.  A tip - when trimming the pom pom, do it over the trash, not sitting on your couch or you will then have to get your vacuum out to get all the little bits of yarn that will go everywhere.  File that under "things I have learned the hard way."

It was a fun break from socks, which is pretty much what I will be working on exclusively right now until early January.  I decided to interrupt the Christmas knitting because she needs the hat now, not January.  Also, she sits on the board with me, so I have a feeling she'll wear it during board meetings.  She's that sort of fun person.

I also made a couple of Christmas dish cloths for our kitchen:

These were a simple stockinet stitch done with Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn, and took about an hour apiece.  I expect they won't make it much past the holiday season but given I paid about $1.49 for the skein and got two dish cloths out of it, I can't be too upset if they end up in the garage rag pile in January.  At that price, I should think about doing the dish cloths for the house on a regular basis, because that's cheaper than what I can buy at Target.  (Sure, in all my spare time!) Unless they only last a month.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Knit to Flatter

Last Saturday afternoon I took a class with Amy Herzog, knitting author and all around genius.  I never understood the concept behind "girl crush" until I spent four hours with a woman who completely changed the way I will look at clothes, and shopping, forever.  Seriously, she's so good, she should be teaching self-esteem classes to teenage girls.  I hate to shop, but now I'm kind of looking forward to it after taking this knitting class, she's just that good.

Amy's the author of a book called Knit to Flatter, and her premise is if something doesn't look good, it's the clothing's fault, not your body's fault.  She demonstrated this by changing up the outfit she was wearing by rolling her cuffs, buttoning her cardigan, and slipping out of her shoes.  The transformation was amazing - and not in a good way, but she knew that.  Her explanation that sweater patterns are designed for "Miss Average," was like a lightbulb moment - of course a sweater pattern based only on bust size is not going to flatter everyone, because the difference in all your other measurements affects the fit.

Amy taught us how to take all our measurements - distances between waist & hip, shoulder to waist, multiple hip circumferences, and nearly a dozen others - and then use those measurements to adapt patterns to fit us to create the most flattering sweater possible.  After all, who wants to spend all those hours knitting a pullover to discover upon completion that it makes you look dumpy and misshapen?

I currently have two separate cardigans on the needles - my birthday project from last year, and another one I couldn't resist starting with some of the yarn I bought at the Fiber Festival - but I have put her book on my Christmas wish list and plan to make one of her patterns as soon as I finish these two sweaters.

If your local yarn shop ever offers a class with her, go - eat Ramen, sell your children, sell (gasp!) some of your stash, but go - it is an amazing experience and you will leave with an unbelievable number of practical tips for knitting yourself something perfect and flattering.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How many days until Christmas?

My fall has been crazy between work & volunteer obligations, and I've been very lax about documenting what I am working on, besides Halloween decorations.  But no more!  Here's what I've been up to lately:

My fall edition of Love of Knitting magazine had this beautiful Falling leaves hat pattern, made out of Berocco Boboli, which I just happened to have four skeins of sitting in my stash.  Fate! I used one for the hat, which knit up in about 4 days, and then decided to modify the pattern to make a matching scarf, which I haven't photographed yet.  It needs to be blocked, and probably never will be.  Just after finishing the scarf, I wandered into my favorite local yarn shop and discovered they were carrying Boboli Lace in virtually the same colorway, so of course I needed to make matching gloves......  This ate up about a month of prime holiday knitting time.  Which I feel a little bad about, but then I note that it will be a wonderful set to keep someone warm, and this is New England so this project was necessary.  Totally.

Way back in June we were in NY for my cousin's youngest son's christening, and my other cousin's husband asked if I would knit him a hat.  He has always wanted a hand-knit hat, you see.  He rides the Long Island Railroad every day to work in the city, and apparently there are several women on the train who knit (hello sisters!) and he asked one of them who was working on a hat if he could buy it from her.  She kindly explained to him that most knitters are working on something for a particular someone and suggested he find someone he knew who was a knitter and ask for a hat.  My mistake was working on a pair of socks in front of him, although I don't think it's much of a secret in the family that I knit, as I have knit his sister-in-law three baby blankets in recent years.  Anyway, he wanted a black hat.  Snore.  So I found this cute pattern by Jennifer Burt called Changing Seasons Men's Hat, and knit it with that.  It only took a couple of days.  The photo makes it look grey, but it is most definitely black.

In addition to the knitting, I have just finished an 8-week class for 4-harness weaving.  I liked the weaving, and my classmates and teacher, but oh boy, do I hate warping that type of loom.  Our first project was a sampler, using scrap yarn for the weft, to try out different patters:

I am not crazy about some of those colors, but it was a practice piece, so you don't want to spend a lot of money on yarn when you're just starting out.  I didn't have too much of a problem following all of the different treadlings to make the patterns, so I probably could have used more of a coordinated color scheme, except that it would have been against our teacher's directions.

Our next project was called a Rose Path Sampler.  For this I chose a rayon-cotton blend warp, in three separate colors, and a contrasting weft to make the patterns stand out:

I love the colors, and a lot of the patterns, but the blocks of pattern are not all the same size and the asymmetry of it bothers me a bit.  I had thought about turning it into a gift scarf, or maybe two, but the end piece, which is all one pattern, is not long enough and I can't do much fringe for either end of the scarf.  I guess that means I'm a pretty efficient weaver with not a lot of waste, which is the silver lining here.

  There are about 40 days until Christmas, and the project list for gifts isn't getting any smaller.  I think I will get over my dismay about the asymmetry on that woven scarf rather quickly as the calendar counts down.....

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Fiber Festival

So, this year I journeyed out to the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA for the 4th annual Fiber Festival of New England, which happened the first weekend in November.  I went with a knitter friend who is a festival veteran, and therefore my guru - seriously, she pre-screened the vendors & had a list of places to stop; had a project list for "must haves" and "would be nice" for yarn, drove, and brought water for both of us.  I put on clean clothes.  If I ever have to go into battle, I am totally putting her in charge of operational supply lines.  She has four kids, though - and she still has time to knit like crazy.  We should bow down to her incredible time management and innate organizational skills, I think.

There were over 200 vendors.  Most of them selling yarn.  Much of which I bought.  (But we'll get to that in a minute.)  There were also vendors selling animals, like alpacas:

Photo courtesy of my friend Dorothy

Look how cute! They were kind of expensive, though:

Photo courtesy of my friend Dorothy

My friend and I got momentarily silly, deciding that if I bought them, we could stick them in the back of her mini van.  I am particularly enamored of alpacas, not because I think it's the fiber equivalent of farm-to-table (hoof-to-garment?) but because my husband thinks they are a pyramid scheme.  He makes a strong case that people raise alpacas to sell them to other people who will raise sell to other people.  "Where does it end?" he always asks.  Anyway, I went home and told him we could have been the proud owners of two new female alpacas, and he started in with the pyramid scheme theory again.

"A lot of people knit with alpaca," I argued.

"How much alpaca yarn do you have in your stash?" he asked.

"Um, none....but I have an unusually small stash for a knitter, given that I only have stuff in one cabinet and one short rolling cart in the family room."  J's eyebrows went back into his hairline at this point, which is even more impressive than it sounds given he's nearly bald.

"Pyramid scheme," he announced. 

I was going to buy some alpaca yarn to knit him a pair of socks, but got distracted by all the choices and forgot about it before leaving.  Also, he doesn't know what it feels like, so I could buy some crap yarn at a commercial big-box store in beige or brown, knit him some socks and tell him it's alpaca.  But I won't, because I have plenty of good stuff on hand.

The Alpaca Pyramid Scheme conversation served as a nice distraction for the bag full of yarn (mostly sock yarn) that I brought home from the festival.  Seriously, I pretty much spent the year's budget for fiber in 4 hours.  My friend was no help, because after offering to fold down her car seats for the alpacas, she kept telling me sock yarn does not count towards stash.  I took her pronouncements as gospel, because I bought 12 skeins of sock yarn.  But oh, the colors!  And I'm supporting local small businesses!  Right?  RIGHT? 

I also bought yarn to make myself a sweater.  Because I've been so successful with sweater knitting - I've almost finished exactly one, and it needs to be ripped back because my stitch pickup was wrong for the hem and the sweater hangs crooked.

It's a lovely teal color, which doesn't really show since I photographed this before sunrise on my very blue kitchen counter using artificial light.  I'll try to get a good shot of the finished garment, sometime in 2021 when it's done.

I understand that it's a slippery slope with yarn, that your stash starts off small and continues to grow until you're stuffing it in random closets and hiding it from your spouse.  My spouse cares deeply about animal pyramid schemes (not really) and not at all about the yarn.  (He likes to tell me that it's more productive than a crack addiction, and certainly more socially acceptable.)  I have made a pact with myself to use up my stash and not buy anything new until at least June of 2014.  Except the yarn for a baby sweater for our neighbors.  And some for a hat for J for Christmas.  And.....

Since I am semi-restricted from shopping, expect to see lots of sock project photos going forward.  And maybe I can knit J a hat with an alpaca on it.  And a pyramid.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Halloween redux

Halloween is one of those holidays that I utterly, totally adore, and make the biggest, grandest plans for crafting and decorating each year.  Which almost always comes back to bite me in the backside.

On my knitter's loom, a Halloween throw started at the beginning of October:

Yes, I know Halloween is over.  I never ever finish anything on time for Halloween.  Except this year, I did.  I made curtains out of this fabric, to hang in the kitchen & laundry room:

I saw the fabric and had to have it - I am not usually such an impulse buyer, but it reminded me of something from Dexter.  I had no real plan in place for how to use it, but then sitting down to eat dinner one night and looking up at the windows, I decided the fabric would be perfect for curtains.  I merely created a rod pocket, and cut them to width before putting them up.  I didn't create a hem of any sort, mostly because I was in a rush and because the fabric was difficult to work with on my particular sewing machine.  I also don't plan on washing them, as they generally will only stay up for about a month each year.  And I didn't actually get around to photographing them on the rod before I packed stuff up for the season.  The piece above is leftover yardage that I am thinking about turning into end table covers for my sun porch.  But it gives you an idea.

I added to the decorations again this year (of course) and am pretty pleased with how they came out:

Dining room table

Fireplace with skulls

You can sort of see the bloody curtains on the windows at the end

Nobody plays that piano anyway

Martha Stewart would be proud

I am particularly pleased with how the shelf above the porch door turned out in the photo above - most of those items were on sale, between 40 - 60% off, two weeks before the holiday, allowing me to do my two favorite things - get a good deal, and buy stuff for Halloween.  It's not the clearest of photos for showing the detail, but it gives an idea of what I put up.

My new goal is to finish the Halloween throw by Thanksgiving.  Because then I will need to start working on Christmas weaving.  No rest for the weary wicked. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We interrupt the yarn lovefest for.....wood

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that we have wood birdhouses on plant hangers spread throughout our back gardens.  I finished a couple more a few weeks ago:

J was also persuaded to paint up one that was shaped to look like an aircraft carrier:

He painted the planes to be representative of colors used on WWII era planes (apparently he was quite a model plane builder back in his younger years) but what I want to call attention to is the way he painted the bottom of the birdhouse:

He painted it to look like the ship is plowing through the water, complete with whitecaps and color shading.  I had no idea I was married to the Bob Villa of prefabricated bird house painting.

Monday, August 12, 2013

(Wo)man cannot live by knitting socks alone

In addition to all those socks I've been churning out, I have also been working on a summer shrug, which comes from the summer 2013 edition of Love of Knitting.  The official pattern name is "Little Black Shrug" but I had a violet colored yarn (originally purchased to make the Opening Night sweater I started in February, but it was the wrong weight) so that's what I'm using.

 The yarn is Berroco Comfort solid.  I love the draping and the eyelet pattern.  I ripped it out once due to some stitches that went awry (and since I'm starting with the back, there's no fudging the pattern on an area that exposed) so instead of doing the 2-inch ribbing for the bottom as picked-up stitches when the back was complete, I cast on with those and then switched to a larger sized needle to continue.  I really don't like picking up stitches.  I also really don't like knitting with heavy wool in really hot weather, because I've set that Opening Night project aside for many weeks now.  I do need to get back to it, winter is coming.

Currently on the loom - a scarf:

I had purchased the tweed yarn to be part of the new! and improved! plan to weave a blanket out of that enormous amount of burgundy-red yarn I have (you might remember my disastrous first attempt, which I wrote about here) but it just didn't work, so I decided to turn it into a scarf.  There is no intended recipient for this scarf, but it's always good to have something on hand.  It's also a fast project.  I hope.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Squirrels gather nuts, I make socks

My preparation for colder weather continues as I am on a sock-knitting binge.  I finished those Halloween socks in 13 days, and they came out great:

I was so pleased with them I decided to make myself another pair:

.....which took me 14 days this time.  The yarn is Araucania Ranco Multy, and the photo above does not do the beautiful color blend justice.  It is a random variegated yarn, which meant that I didn't need to unwind any of the skein to start the second sock.  It is the little things in life that are so thrilling to me.  Or I'm easily amused.  Probably both.  They are a lovely neutral color that will look great with everything.  I could almost say I'm looking forward to cooler weather.  Almost.  Notice I did not say, "winter."  I will never look forward to winter weather.

I have also started a new project with leftover sock yarn called The Beekeeper's Quilt. I must have seen this pattern for the first time on Ravelry, (although for a long time I thought I might have seen in in a past issue of Love of Knitting) and I have been dreaming of it for quite some time now.  I finally broke down and bought it, and I've knit up the first few half-dozen of what the designer calls "hexipuffs" for this quilt. 

It will probably take me more than a year to make enough (a 3' x 4' quilt calls for more than 300 of them) but I knit up a half dozen in 2 days, while simultaneously finishing a pair of socks, returning to a pair of fingerless gloves for my best friend I had stashed, working on a shrug, and, you know, working full time.  The pattern is cute and quick and not at all expensive, so buy it if you're interested, or you have a lot of bits 'n bobs of yarn gathering dust in your yarn storage area, because you cannot ever.toss.yarn.away.  Perfect use for it!

From the commuter knitting bag - fingerless gloves for my good friend Aideen:

I started these back in June and then completely lost interest.  However, it is now August, and the start of Christmas Knitting Season, so I needed to get cracking.  I've made great progress these past two weeks - it took about a week per glove, and they are now DONE.  The pattern is the same Woven Fingerless glove pattern used for the ones I did for myself last fall:

Aideen is an usher, and has complained that her fingers are cold during the early December performances of The Nutcracker.  So these will be an early Christmas gift, since she starts that ushering job the day after Thanksgiving.  The gloves are solid black with a hint of sparkle in them - perfect for an usher.  And for Aideen, who likes shiny things.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It has to get cold again eventually, right?

It feels like all my projects are moving forward in slow motion lately, probably due to the amount of time I am spending on the garden. And the heat!  Third heat wave of the summer, second of July.  It has been amazingly, uncomfortably hot.  I have finished up a few knitting projects, though. 

First, the shawl from March, finished Sunday night:

It came out great.  It looked very crooked on the loom but when I took it off it relaxed and the rows are straight, which is a relief.  It was also a relief not to have to look at it sitting on the loom every night after 4 months.  I figured out a new way to knot the end threads which makes a much nicer fringe and I'm happy with how it came out.  It's long enough to wrap completely around me and throw over a shoulder, which is convenient.  It also means I can use it as a table runner.  I was joking about that originally and I am slightly amused that it is actually long enough.  I know that there is a way to plan out a project with measurements, warping, etc., but I just eyeball it, warp the loom and go.  Maybe some day I'll plan out a project fully.  Of course, I've always said, "Maybe some day I'll block my finished knitting," and it hasn't happened in 17 years, so there you go. 

I also finished the scarf version of the Socrates gloves:

I ended up using 3 skeins for the scarf, and knitting the first four rows of the rib pattern over and over again to make the scarf.  I am pretty sick of this pattern right now, so even though I have 3 skeins of the yarn left and vague plans to make a matching hat, I have stashed that yarn for the time being.

Also on the needles - socks for Halloween:

I started these socks on July 5 and will probably have them finished by this Friday, which is two weeks and a new record.  Because I am using the Classic Socks pattern (again) I have discovered that I can actually read my Kindle while knitting at the same time.  As much as I like patterned socks, being able to multi task is amazing.  (Also a little startling to some of my fellow commuters, who have commented on the knitting-and-reading thing.)  It has been long enough between pairs of socks that I am very excited to be working on them, and plan to start a second pair for myself right after I finish this one.  I almost don't even need the pattern anymore, I've done this pattern so often. I should be thinking about Christmas gifts (and I am) but I decided to focus on myself for a couple of projects since I don't usually start in on the holiday gifts until August.

I am undecided about what to start next on the loom - part of me wants to do a couple of scarves, for gifts, and part of me wants to take another crack at making a blanket because winter is coming.  The irony is that I was finally motivated to finish the shawl because I was tired of looking at it, and now the loom has been empty for almost 48 hours and it's driving me crazy.  I know a scarf or two would be a fast turn around project which might be fun (and would give me more items for these blog posts), but then I think about how cold it was this winter, and all the yarn a blanket project would use up, and I'm tempted.  Such decisions.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Nothing says summer like.....gloves

This morning I finished my Socrates gloves.  You may remember the first photo:

Now there are two.  They don't match at all, in terms of the fingers lining up when you put the pair together, because I knit them to fit specific hands since I could try them on as I was working.  This has made me wonder whether or not my hands are different sizes.  It will not be something I lose any sleep over.  I am going to take the rib pattern and modify it to make a scarf and possibly a hat as I have 6 skeins left from the 8 skeins I purchased.  I tend to need scarves before I need hats, so I'm starting with that but I have my fingers crossed that I can do both with the remaining skeins. Each skein is about 77 yards long, so the scarf won't be very long but it's not a wool base so I'm likely only to be using the set in early fall and early spring.

Currently on the needles - fingerless gloves for my friend A, who does a lot of theater ushering in the winter (when the theaters have their busy season) who told me last Christmas that her hands are often cold as she takes tickets.  Ushers dress all in black, so I am knitting Woven Fingerless Gloves using some sparkly black yarn called Vanna's Glamour - its yarn from a collection by Vanna White, the hostess from "Wheel of Fortune."  I've spent more time than I should thinking about whether she's hands on with the yarn selection, or color dyeing, or thread counts.  It seems strange to me that she'd be a television personality with her own line of yarn, but if I were famous I certainly wouldn't be designing clothes, because I'm just about the least-fashionable person you will ever meet.  So I suppose a line of affordable yarns would appeal to me.  Anyway, this was the pair I knit for myself:

I can't get a good shot of the patterning with this yarn because it's so dark.  A will really like these, particularly because there's a shot of sparkle running through the yarn, and she loves shiny things. Sort of like Dory from "Finding Nemo."

And I'm still working on that Opening Night cardigan, still knitting the first 65' x 12" trim piece.  It's now about 15" long.  I might be done by fall.....of 2015.  Still love the yarn though, and not the slightest bit sorry about how much money I spent on it.  The cardigan will be beautiful and very warm once it's done.  If it's done.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer vegetable knitting

I'm still at it with the vegetables:

These were all completed this week.  I am totally going for the easy start-to-finish projects right now, because that winter sweater that I can't wait to wear is taking forever.  Also, we do a ton of vegetable gardening in the summer, so it's fitting.  My husband has suggested that I should knit one of everything that we grow.  I might tackle tomatoes or pumpkins next.  I got most of the yarn on sale, which is good, but there's quite a bit of it in the bin.

I keep looking at these pieces thinking what a great gift they would make for toddlers.  It might be the only time it's acceptable to tell a small child to play with their food.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

On a roll

I have been on quite a knitting kick the last two weeks.  I finished the Midsummer Night shawl I mentioned in the last post on Sunday morning, but it was too cold to to wear it out to dinner for our anniversary that evening.  No matter, warmer days are coming and I'm sure I'll be able to use it soon.  As soon as I took that off the needles, I cast on my first glove:

The pattern is called Socrates and it comes from One Skein Sock Yarn Wonders.  The yarn is called Bonsai, by Berrocco - I bought 8 skeins of it, unsure how much of it I would need for a scarf and gloves.  Because it's a different weight that the sock yarn recommended by the pattern (it's thicker - a nylon/bamboo blend) I am using much less that I would have imagined and one skein does one glove.  I have started to think about a hat to go with the scarf and gloves.  As soon as I finish the other glove.  I had to modify the fingers from the pattern as well - I knit them originally following the pattern and they made me look like I had Muppet hands, so I ripped them back and decreased the stitches so they fit my hands better.

Yesterday I was back to focusing on knitted vegetables, so I made myself and eggplant (or aubergine, as the Brittish pattern writer calls them):

I was pleased with how it came out.  I decided I was going to work on something else after I finished that, so I whipped up another pea in a pod:

We will have to make do with knitted vegetables until the real ones are ready. 

In the didn't-really-make-it-myself category, I've been working on painting some unfinished bird houses we picked up at Michael's on sale for the yard:

We have a bunch of hanging plant stands scattered through the back gardens, so every couple of years we paint new ones, spray them with a sealant, and hang them outside.  Much easier than running out to water hanging plants.  We have enough trouble watering the flowers out front.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What else I'm working on

For my birthday, my favorite local yarn shop sent me an email coupon for 15% of my total project - yarn and needles.  In my mind, that's practically free.  I had been intrigued by a pattern I saw in the winter 2012 edition of Love of Knitting called Opening Night.  Instead of the recommended yarn, I splurged and bought 14 skeins of Manos del Urugay Wool Classica in this lovely purple colorway:

You knit the sweater in pieces, then stitch together.  I have successfully finished the back and two front pieces; now I am working on the upper trim.  Sadly, both the upper and the lower trim are 12" wide and about 65" long, so that part is not going so fast.  Also, it's a winter sweater and we're headed into summer, so while I am still excited about how it's coming out, I've lost focus.

Fortunately, the summer issue arrived on Wednesday, and in it was an article about a Summer Night Shawl calling for Metallic Rayon yarn from Blue Heron yarns.  I was delighted to see this, because I remembered that I had seen 3 skeins of it (and they are large skeins - 550 yards) in a slightly different colorway at Windsor Button in downtown Boston.  It is an expensive yarn - it retails for $46 a skein - but the pattern calls for only one skein.  Plus, Windsor Button was going out of business (sadly, they've lost their lease) so all the yarns were discounted.  I went online.....and discovered I had missed their final day by about five days.  I looked online but couldn't really justify spending the money plus the shipping to order it online since my local yarn shops don't carry it.

I decided to see if I had a substitution in my stash on Friday morning.  And discovered that I had splurged on all three of the skeins from Windsor Button at some point before they closed.  I clearly need more sleep if I can't remember a purchase like that.  I determined that I could use the other two skeins to make a summer sweater pattern I had recently downloaded, and that the shawl was a go.  I'm about 90 rows in of 145:

It is an incredibly easy pattern:  cast on three stitches, turn.  Next row, knit one, yarn over, knit to the end.  Repeat 143 more times, adding the yarn over as the second stitch on each row.

I am hoping to finish it by our anniversary this weekend so I can wear it out to dinner.  I am thinking that's a bit of a stretch, but it will be finished in time for me to enjoy this summer.  It might be a little fancy to wear to the movies, but I'll get over it.