Thursday, January 30, 2014

At Rest

I have been taking some time away from the blog to be with family as we laid Paul's dad to rest this week.  His passing came after nearly 5 years of living with ALS.  It is comforting to know he is no longer suffering from the symptoms of the disease.

I plan to return to this space soon and wish you all well in the meantime.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Middlemoon Creekwalk

Winter display outside of 3 Kittens Needle Arts
Hooray for more bearable winter temperatures in my part of the world!  After this past week's extreme sub-zero temperatures and even lower wind chills, this weekend's temps around freezing felt amazing.  Judging by the number of other people that were also out and about running errands, walking dogs and socializing, everyone was getting pretty tired of hunkering down!

Love Verdant Tea's tasting room
 In addition to all of those things I mentioned above, I also fit in a spontaneous winter activity.  Thanks to a heads up from Missy, I heard about Middlemoon's Creekwalk in time to catch it this year.  The people from Middlemoon take it upon themselves to install lit ice sculptures along a walking path that connects a popular Minneapolis lake with Minnehaha Creek.  I headed there after dark on Saturday with camera in hand to capture a few of the lanterns.

It was a fun addition to my weekend.  Even though the temps were much warmer than earlier in the week, my little luminary adventure still turned me into Red-Nosed Trinity.

I hope your weekend involved a little time outside, too.  The fresh air and big sky is rejuvenating!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tchazo's Cowl

Remember how I said I was going to knit Tchazo a cowl since he has floppy, almost furless ears and it gets insanely cold here?   He took to his coat and shoes just fine and the same held true for his cowl.  He doesn't mind it at all!

I used some stash yarn that was leftover from other projects.  He got a fancy merino wool cowl made out of kettle dyed wools.  Only the best for this old guy :)

I picked a stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  I think I used Three-and-One Tweed.  I modified it to work in the round and, in his collar area, increased it to a 4 and 1 pattern to give him a little extra ease there.

It has been working really good for him and totally makes me smile.  He looks part little old granny, part big bad wolf and part little red riding hood when he is decked out in all of his outerwear.  We aren't the only ones that find it amusing as we have had quite a few people comment on it when we walk him in the neighborhood.  Everyone seems amazed that he isn't putting up a fuss about it.  I think he is happy to have the extra warmth!

This got done just in time, too.  The weather during the earlier part of this week was record breaking.  It was bitterly cold with windchills at negative 40-50 F.  The actual temps were below zero for multiple days in a row.  So yeah, my dog wears a cowl now.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eco Wool Sweetheart Pullover

Before the calendar switched over, I got a little fire in me to finish up some lingering projects.  Like the Sweetheart Pullover, which I started in January 2013.  Its done!

When I saw the pattern in the Fall 2012 Interweave magazine, I was pretty confident this would be a good way to use up some Eco Wool I have had in my stash for a long time.   And, I think it worked out well for the pattern.  The folded picot edges were one of the details that attracted me to the pattern.

The shaping in the pattern yields a weird little pointy area on the sides at the bottom edge, but I am ok with that.

The one thing about this sweater that I am having a hard time accepting is the bulk of fabric at the underarm area.  Eco Wool is a bulky yarn and this pattern is very fitted, included in the armpit.  It feels like my armpit has a snuggie when I wear it and it is a bit bothersome.  I am not sure if I will get used to it or if that will be an aspect that keeps me from wearing this sweater.

I realized in completing this project, that I have been knitting a lot of seamless sweaters.  This was a pieced sweater and I can really tell the difference in terms of structure.  This feels like a sweater than can take a good amount of wear and tear and still hold its shape well.  Hmm, I may have to keep that in mind when weighing the pros and cons of seamless vs pieced sweaters in the future.  I will say, my seaming skills got a little better with this project, but I don't find seaming to be very fun.

This was a rather quick knit that took a year for me to make because I set it down for long spans of time.  I wanted to comment on how I felt about knitting the cables, but truth my told, that was the first part I knit and I don't even remember knitting it!

I imagine if I can get over the armpit oddness and get used to the feel of a fitted bulky sweater, this will be a warm sweater.

Thank to Paul for all of the pictures in this post.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

On the first of every year it has become tradition for me to host a Crafternoon brunch at my house.  Some of my nearest and dearest crafty friends brave the cold weather and come over toting project bags and a potluck contribution.  We eat, we drink tea, we craft, we laugh and we start the year off by doing many of the things we want to nurture throughout the coming year.  I love this tradition.

This year Missy and I used the occasion to cast on for a sweater knitalong we are doing together.  We toasted the occasion by clinking needles and swatches together and then casting on for Strokkur.  I haven't done much in the way of stranded colorwork so I am looking forward to increasing my knitting skills.  We are both using a shockingly blaze orange accent color in the sweater yolk so it will be exciting to see how these turn out!

Thanks for taking this picture, Jessica!

Good riddance, 2013!  Welcome, 2014!
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