Casting on for all the things


Yes, I have one more new thing on the needles. The shawl is still happening, and so are the handspun colorwork mittens, but this project is important too, and had to jump the queue.

Also, the sweater is officially blocking (a full blocking, not the steam blocking I considered doing), and I’m nervous about it ruining the perfect fit but hopeful that all will be well.

What I Have to Show for Today

Spoiler alert: it’s not very much.

I woke up sick this morning. I didn’t know I was sick when I first got up – I thought I was just having extra trouble waking because I was tired. But two things happened almost immediately that alerted my groggy brain to the fact that I was indeed sick: I couldn’t knit and I couldn’t manage to drink my coffee. Ugh! I always know I’m sick when I don’t have the strength or energy or presence of mind to knit. To find myself unable to drink coffee, too, well that’s just adding insult to injury!

At any rate, I went back to bed and slept half the day away, which is not really the way I prefer to spend a Friday (my day off), but it was all I could do. When I got up midday, my husband made me his specialty, Toads in the Hole (fried eggs in the middle of fried toast), which is what I always want when I’m sick. It really does help. By late afternoon, I was feeling a little less punky, and managed to start doing some of the things that had to be done.

Now the end of the day is here, and I seem to have little to show for it (can you tell I’m a very impatient patient?). But I did do this:

ends! woven in!

ends! woven in!

I had been dragging my feet all week about finishing up my sweater. I just haven’t had a lot of knitting time, and what little I did have, I wanted to spend actually knitting not weaving in ends. I did get most of the weaving done a couple of days ago, but there was still the niggling matter of grafting the underarms. That’s what I did today. And then I wove in the ends for the arms and the underarms, and now, at last, I am really, truly done with the sweater. Well, except for the blocking.

sweater innards

sweater innards

I love the inside of the sweater almost as much as the outside.

So, that’s what I got done, knitwise, today. And I wound the yarn for the rest of my shawl, so there’s that.

How to Grow a Shawl, in 3 Easy Steps

1 – Get obsessed.

knitting during kids' piano lessons

knitting during kids’ piano lessons

2 – Get very obsessed.


3 – Just get really, really super-obsessed.


And then it just grows!

2 more oz. ready to be wound

2 more oz. ready to be wound and knit

Sometimes I Have to Rip

For those of you who don’t knit, we call this “frogging,” because you have to rip it, rip it. We knitters are hilarious, wouldn’t you agree? When the situation is less extreme, and doesn’t require actually ripping back, then all we have to do is tink, which is “knit” spelled backwards. To tink back a little bit hurts the heart less than frogging, I can assure you. But there are times when the ripping is unavoidable.

After knitting merrily along on my handspun colorwork mittens, and getting roughly halfway done with the first one, I had to come to grips with a reality I had been trying my best to deny: my colorwork was puckering, an indicator that my tension was off, despite my best efforts.

I let the mitten sit for a couple of days, then I took a deep breath, and then I ripped:

handspun mitten cuff

handspun mitten cuff

It’s emotionally difficult to rip. Knitters, am I overstating things? Those stitches represent time and energy, so it feels like a loss to undo it all. That’s why it’s so hard to do sometimes, even when you can tell you have made a mistake in your knitting. This ability to rip back, though, is a benefit of knitting that we don’t always have in life: the clean slate, the chance to get things just right. I’ll take it! So now I’m ready to try again. As I pay renewed attention to my colorwork tension, I am happy to hear any tips you might have!

Hunkering Down

My denial about the polar vortex is officially over.


mid-November, really?

The little red exclamation point is letting me know that we might get 4 inches of snow tonight and the wind chill might drop below zero.

So basically, if you need me this winter, I’m going to be right here:


Not a bad way to spend the winter, amiright?

Big plans for a Saturday night

It has been a long, long day of work today, but at 10:00pm, I am finally done. Now I have a date with this guy:


(And also with James Spader) (The Blacklist)

I think I am about 3-5 rounds from being done (I’ve been winging the yoke, so it’s hard to say for sure).

I think I can be a monogamous knitter for that long.

Friday Round-up: Works-in Progress

I will not deny that I have a little attention deficit issue going on right now. I have three compelling projects, and it’s difficult to decide which one to attend to most.

Option 1: finish the sweater

Reis Yoke

Reis Yoke

(I am very, very close to done)

Option 2: keep working on the shawl

Pi Shawl

Handspun Pi Shawl

(it has now reached the unidentifiable blob stage)

Option 3: finish this test-knit, which I cast on last night:

handspun colorwork mitten

handspun colorwork mitten

(can I just say how much I absolutely adore this pattern? It is everything I expect from Kirsten, who always creates beautiful designs written with clear, straightforward directions.)

Option 4: keep bouncing between all three projects, while my brain, head, and heart all hum with happiness.

(I’m sure you can guess which option I’m choosing.)

Sometimes I Swatch

I am so delighted to have the chance to test knit Kirsten’s newest mitten design, to be released next month. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw her picture of it on Instagram, and I immediately went stash diving to see if I might have the necessary yarns. I showed you yesterday what I came up with: a combination of Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool (worsted) and my own handspun.

I’ve knit with Stonehedge a lot. A lot. A LOT. A LOT, I TELL YOU. And I have found that it can handle a wide range of needle sizes – I’ve knit with it on size 2 needles as well as on size 8. So I often skip the swatching for a new project, because I have a pretty good idea of my gauge on various needle sizes. But this project involves colorwork, and my tension with colorwork is still evolving, so I want to make sure I get this right.

mitten swatch

mitten swatch

I sometimes forget that my tension with stranded knitting is a bit tighter than my tension with plain knitting, so I’m really glad I took  I experimented with needle size. Verdict: I’ll do the plain portion on size 2 needles and the colorwork on size 3. All systems are go, and I’m ready to cast on tonight!

The Day Ends as it Began

a lapful of happiness

There were other things I’d planned to show you and talk about today, but my technical difficulties persist. So instead, a shot of my nighttime routine. As you can see, it’s quite similar to my morning routine – just subtract reading (and quiet) and add TV (I’m currently obsessed with The Blacklist). It’s a happy, gentle way to end a busy day. (Well, okay, The Blacklist really is quite heart-pounding and not really a “gentle” way to end the day.) (But I love it!)

Mornings Are My Favorite

Even on Mondays.

all my favorite things at once

all my favorite things at once

I get up early so I can do all the things I love:

  • read (this morning I was old-schooling it with a printed magazine – my favorite, and the only one I get in print anymore The Week)
  • do a crossword puzzle on my NYT Crossword app (not shown here but represented by my crossword jammies #nerd)
  • drink coffee
  • hang out with the cats
  • knit (to state the perfectly obvious)

Not shown: spinning (very brief hiatus right now, while I knit All The Things and also figure out what goes on the wheel next), Spanish practice (on my Duolingo app), and prayer. Also not shown is what comes next: all the chaos of getting kids ready for school, getting myself ready for work, and tending to our menagerie. But I find if I can get even a few minutes of time at the beginning of the day to start with all the things that make me feel centered, grounded, and content, then the crush of everything that comes next is a little less daunting. My only regret is that, while I can read and knit at the same time, and read and drink coffee at the same time, I cannot drink coffee without putting my knitting down (and vice versa).

I hope your Monday morning includes some of the things that give you joy!