Knitting for wellness

Rift has been in my hands often in the past couple of weeks. I think I expected to have made a little more progress at this point, somehow forgetting that I have a full-time job, two kids, a husband, and an active social life as well. In my brain I sometimes live in a knitting paradise where I’m able to gather with a group of friends and knit to my heart’s content for hours of the day. Sounds like I need a knitting retreat.rift-2

In the meantime…I’ll knit when I can and treasure the balance it brings to my sanity when it happens. Maybe some of you feel this way. I get positively frazzled if I don’t get to knit at all during a day. It feels like someone poured boiling hot water over my brain and agitated it until it felted. My expectations for being able to knit for hours of the day have long ago waned, but I must put yarn to needles at some point during the day to really feel like I’m engaging in good self-care. I carry a project (or sometimes two) everywhere. I knit at work during meetings and that actually gets me more total knitting time during the week than I usually get on the weekends.

Oh, right. The sweater. Rift is lovely so far. It’s not a brain teaser as it’s mostly stockinette, but it’s like pulling out a book you’ve read time and time again and still love. I am loving the Shelter (color=Faded Quilt) so far. I decided I would have to add some length to the body and I fretted over having enough yarn, so I called Knit Purl where I purchased it and they luckily still had a few of the dye lot. By the way, if you are a new subscriber and join their mailing list you get 15% off your next purchase. That’s a great thing when buying a sweater’s worth of yarn! The single extra ball is on it’s way and I can continue with a more relaxed outlook. riftI think the ribbing took me about two weeks all by itself because I was finishing Z’s Bitty Breezy and only working on this at home at night between kid bedtime and my not-long-after crash. The tiny teal flecks in the tweed are my favorite.

Now I have to get to work and go knit in a meeting. Hurrah for a gentle start to the day.

Whatcha swatchin’

I wasn’t feeling inspired by many men’s knits recently. I knit Matt a sweater every year (sometimes two) but this year I wasn’t feeling the sweater mojo when it came to a guy sweater till about a week and a half ago. I love my LYS and the knitters that often frequent it. One of these knitters is a college senior named Levi, whose fingers fly and conquer Kaffe Fassett intarsia blankets and deliciously cabled sweaters like they’re no big deal. We have a similar love of Brooklyn Tweed patterns and recently I saw him knitting a Rift. I feel in love with that pattern instantly and went home excited to tell Matt that I was ready to knit for him again.

whelter-3I decided it was time to try Shelter. It comes in so many amazing colors. Matt and I settled on this gorgeous Faded Quilt, a grey-blue with little teal flecks. So far I have been pleasantly surprised.swatch

While I had heard that Shelter is more delicate, it’s not like it falls apart while you are knitting it. If you pull on it to break a strand it breaks easily, but I had no issues while knitting my swatches. It felt fluffy and bouncy while knitting the swatches. Before washing my swatches it seemed like I was going to have to go down two needle sizes to a US 5 to make gauge, but somehow after washing and letting them dry unpinned the size US 6 swatch came out perfectly. I will be casting on very soon, but I can’t forget about Z’s “wing sweater” because we talk about it often.

Bright Bitty Breezy

Last weekend I was hanging out in my latest Breezy, hiding behind “the wings” and being playful at the dinner table. Zooey commented that she would like a “wing sweater” and of course I had to jump at the chance to make her one. breezShe said she wanted purple so I pulled out some Regia in this vivid Violett color. I love this color and have 920 yards. I thought it would be perfect and luckily, so did she. I originally got this on vacation in Kansas City and thought back then (a couple of years ago) that it would be lovely for a little dress or something for Z.

I’m making the 4T size. She was so excited and cooperative that I was able to take measurements on the spot! I will add a little length (an inch or two) to the body, and maybe a half inch to an inch to the sleeves. Otherwise the 4T size should be just perfect. I can’t wait to give Zooey her “wings.”

More stockinette socks? Surely not.

matt socksOh yeah. I cast on some good ol’ plain stockinette socks for Matt recently. It was around December 22nd because these accompanied me to a 10 AM showing of Star Wars on Christmas Eve as my movie theater knit. Matt had already seen Star Wars, but was ecstatic to go again and luckily the 10 AM show wasn’t one with a long line.

This yarn is some Schachenmayr Regia Strata Color in Kiwi that I received as a present a few months ago from Carina. I gave Matt the choice of several sock yarns and this is the one he chose. Good choice, I think.

There isn’t much to say about these socks so far. I start his with 16 stitches on each needle (32 per toe) to begin with and increase to 72 stitches. That seems to be the magic number for him in most sock yarns.

I have been consuming TONS of media in the forms of movies, TV, and books since being on holiday from work for a bit. It’s over, but while I was working on these and other projects I’ve been reading Purity by Jonathan Franzen (not finished–no spoilers please), The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Christmas present from Matt that I loved), and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy to prep for the fourth book with that character that I’m patiently waiting to get from my library. As for movies, I watched The Martian and the new Star Wars, as well as Loopers and enjoyed them all.  In the world of television, I just devoured The Great British Baking Show season that is available on Netflix and couldn’t stop. What are you watching and reading these days?

Waning fall nights

I finished my Summer Night colorway socks, designed by Arne and Carlos. In my excitement over their beauty and my love of the yarn, I almost immediately had to cast on the Fall Night colorway of their Regia line. It seems appropriate timing, given we are just at the very end of fall. fall nightadore this yarn. This is approximately two day’s knitting time with sole focus when I could, because I was so eager to see a complete repeat. It may be cheating a bit because the yarn is doing all of the work, but I find self striping yarns to be magical, especially these crazy Fair Isle lookalikes. My excitement is nearly doubled knowing that these will wear and wear and wear. I have some Regia socks I made back in probably 2007 or 2008 that are just beginning to thin on the ball of the foot. I wear them at least once a week or more (depending on laundry speed) in cold weather because I often save my softest and most lovely merinos for when I won’t be on my feet wearing them out all day. I wash them and dry them with abandon. I have another pair that I’ve had nearly as long that gets the same treatment. That kind of durability is incredible for a hand knit that gets squashed and bears a heavy load all day long. Hurrah for hard wearing sock yarn!

The third edition of Arne and Carlos Regia yarns is out or coming soon. I’m pumped. How the hell am I ever going to knit through all my sock yarn?!

Just the highlights

This is an eye popping bright highlighter yellow color in person. I don’t know if my camera can’t quite handle it, or I can’t make my editing software express it, but this picture doesn’t do it justice. grahamImagine the brightest highlighter you’ve used and then you have it. On Friday while home with a sick kiddo I decided I needed to cast on a new hat that very minute and it should be in this Manos Maxima Highlighter (2060) I had in my stash. I love this yarn. It’s not practical for everything since it’s a single ply, but it’s buttery soft. I recommend a blunter needle to accompany it for knitting.

A quick Ravelry search brought me to a hat I’d had in my favorites already, Graham. This is a free pattern, so I don’t mind sharing more specific edits. I cast on 96 sts as the pattern calls for, but that seemed too large, so I ripped and went with 92 sts and increased by 4 when I got to the broken rib texture.

So far it’s been a lovely knit and I will surely be easily spotted in a crowd.

A half mile of purple deliciousness

keaton blockingRemember this old thing? I’ve been steadily working on a Keaton pullover since the end of September and I finished another big chunk: the front! This seems like it’s taking forever, but I am putting it down on a regular basis to work on smaller, more instantly gratifying things. Last week I was somewhere around the waist decreases and I decided to give it some major love. We’ve been monogamous for about a week now and things are progressing more swiftly.

I decided to go ahead and block these pieces so they would be as finished as possible, and just to make sure everything would be at the correct measurement. I was a good little knitter and did wet block my swatch before casting this on, but doubts can still creep in when one is whiling away in single ply fingering weight (about 800 meters in) and it’s not looking quite as large as it’s supposed to. Everything blocked out beautifully, so I confidently cast on the sleeves. I will have a little time off next week and maybe I can turn this into a finished object if I’m really lucky and dedicated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!