30 January 2012

Hip to be Square

Ok, this may be the last time you hear from me for days and days (I know, promises, promises) so I thought I'd show you my finished center square before I go pick up 700+ stitches for the lace border.  I do love Madelinetosh Prairie lace weight in garter ~ it makes such a warm, squishy fabric that's hard to stop fondling.  I even made my husband grab a handful and give it a good squeeze so he could feel it.  My increase sides each measure about 23 1/2" and my decrease sides measure 25", this despite the fact that I made a good effort of never having any unsupported weight hanging from my needles on the downside and distorting/stretching my stitches.  I'm sure I'll get it to even out in the blocking process, but it is definitely a poser why the same number of rows on each side of center would have that much of a size discrepancy.  Hmmmmm ~ I've got lots and lots of time to try and figure it out in the next couple hours while I'm getting all those hundreds of new stitches on the needles for my first lace chart....and a color change!    ~ Melissa

29 January 2012

Geometry and knitting

I had a Spirograph when I was a kid that I would spend hours with making all these intricate symmetrical designs.  I think that's what I love about lace.  What do you see when you look at designs by Herbert Niebling?  I see such beauty in the minute detailed repetitive order of everything that his brilliant mind came up with.  And I see the same beauty in even the simplest symmetry, like my cake of Madelinetosh 'cove' caving into itself as more and more of it disappears into my Bridgewater.

I so love every part of knitting ~ from planning to completion ~ but especially the transformation of your fiber as you select it, wind it, knit it and block it, and all the different forms it takes during each step of the creative process.  I might be a faster knitter if I wasn't so darn distracted with every little thing that happens along the way!

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite part of a project?  Is it the planning?  Is it casting on that first stitch?  Or maybe wearing your finished piece?  What a wonderful craft we all are lucky enough to have discovered and come to love.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend and I can't wait to see the first finished Bridgewater!  I'm feeling like it's only a matter of days before there's a FO posted.....and I'm anxiously awaiting it!

~ Melissa

Melissa's 'progress' ? ? ?

97 stitches of garter this row
97 stitches of garter
I knit 2 together
then knit to the end
96 rows of garter to go.......

96 stitches of garter this row
96 stitches of garter
I knit 2 together
then knit to the end
95 rows of garter to go........

heavy sigh.......

26 January 2012

Winter Lace

The sun shined in the windows this morning,made me want to update my journey~ I seem to say this at each section "man this is a lot of knitting,it's going to take forever" I almost have one side completed. I'm so loving this shawl.


22 January 2012

When your OCD gets OCD...

...it's time to put the knitting down.  Stayed up past midnight to watch 'Funny People' with Adam Sandler (great movie) ~ 179 stitches on the needles.  Stopping upwards of 14 times every row to go back and make sure.....really sure.....that I did that k2tog at the beginning is really not very productive.  It's time for bed!   ~ Melissa

21 January 2012

It's A Square!

Well, just finished the center square moments ago.  I took a photo with my cellphone, but it isn't uploading correctly so this post will be sans picture.

I am a little frustrated that my decrease half seems to be knit in a larger gauge than the increase half.  I toyed with tearing it out and redoing it, but I am convinced that it is a result not so much of my knitting but rather a result of the weight of the shawl and the constant turning round and round row to row that makes the gauge seem wonky.  I have a feeling that once the edgings are added and it is blocked that it won't be an issue, so I have decided to leave it as is.

Hope all is well with all of you!



205 stitches on the needles.

maybe in another 3 weeks i'll have all the decreases done!

19 January 2012

Sugar, Spice and Puppy Dogs

Day 3 of our huge snowstorm has turned into an ice storm.  Another day home from work and getting ready to hunker down and hope we don't lose power.  We got up long before dawn to watch the news so I decided to bake while the electricity is still on.  My grandma used to make the best homemade cake donuts and lacking her pastry skills, I made an old favorite from my childhood.  I don't know where my mom got this recipe but I'll share it since it's really easy and fast.
Buttons and Bowknots
2c baking mix (such as Bisquick)
2T sugar
1t nutmeg
1/8t cinnamon
2/3c milk
1 egg

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add milk and then egg.  Knead dough (add more baking mix if too sticky) and roll out 1/2" thick on lightly floured surface.  With donut cutter, cut circles and holes.  Twist each circle into a 'figure 8' and place with holes on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on baking rack.

Melt 1/4c butter and dip cooled pastries into butter and then a mixture of cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.  Eat with a warm mug of hot cocoa. 

Now, it's off to make another pot of coffee and watch Dozer play outside.  He loves all this snow ~ his favorite thing is waiting down in the backyard for Jason to throw snowballs at him from the deck so he can try to catch them in midair.  It's hilarious.  Hope everyone stays safe and warm today!  ~ Melissa

17 January 2012

Dear Kelli ~

Thanks for my very first teakettle (and yes, that's Churchmouse Yarn and Tea tea for those of you with really good eyes!)....

and also for my very first (and greatest ever!) tea cozy.  I'm enjoying a cup with a big spoon of some local wildflower honey while I sit and knit the rest of the day away.  You're awesome ;)      ~ Melissa

she also knit me the breadbasket liner that everything is sitting on ~ it's good to have friends ;)

Snow Day

Home from work (with permission) ~ love when it's the bosses idea and not just mine.  It's a wintry, whitewashed, peacefully quiet world today....and it's the calm before tomorrow's storm!!!

It's still coming down pretty hard, too.  Crazy beautiful.    ~ Melissa

16 January 2012

....and they told 2 friends

and so on and so on .....

More visitors in the apple tree today.  I can't tear myself away from the kitchen between watching the snow fall and waiting to see what new hungry bird drops down to devour the very last 2 apples still on the branches.  I have to take pictures through the window from inside since I realized yesterday that stealth is not one of my strong points.  I tried to go out onto our deck more than once but couldn't get more than a step or two before every bird on the block took to flight.  As you can guess, I'm not getting much knitting done :)    ~ Melissa

15 January 2012

Winter Visitors

Rare Seattle snow this weekend brought some interesting critters to our neighborhood ~ I think they must love frozen apples!

Time to get the bird book out ~ I know the big guy is a woodpecker of some sort but the beauty in the bottom picture is a mystery!   ~ Melissa

Building a Bridgewater

At last, I'm finished with the Bridgewater square!  I feel like throwing a party or something!  The first half went very quickly, and the second half took twice as long.  I was sustained with healthy doses of Ginger Zinger, and it was a happy, happy knit.  I was able to use my Brittany straights throughout, which is a rare thing for me.  I'm quite taken with them, and they're a joy to knit with.  So light!  So smooth!  (except for the one that has bite marks on it from a certain little someone.) 

Naturally, I ran out of yarn on my first skein with 50 rows to go.  The new yarn isn't quite the same color, but I'm trying to live with it.  I have a backup plan to dye the lighter portion with chamomile tea, but I'm saving that for another day.  Although, I really hope that it won't come to that!  Any advice would be appreciated.

I've decided to go down a needle size for the lace section, but I'm taking a little break first to finish up some other projects, read a book, rest my hands, etc.  Hope you are all enjoying this as much as I am!

Happy Knitting!

14 January 2012

a downslope in an uphill battle...

The uphill battle is that I'm still laboring away on the garter square of my Bridgewater, but I am officially done with increases and onto the decreasing.  For some illogical reason, I feel like this second half is going to take less than the 2 weeks it took to do the first half since I'm sure I'll somehow gain momentum with the rows getting shorter and shorter and shorter.  I know, it makes no sense, but it's a good mind frame, right?  In the meantime, here's a picture of my work in progress, which I'm sure would make a good base for a gorgeous Bridgewater Triangular Shawl.....hmmmmmm.    ~ Melissa

10 January 2012

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Blog...

Why hello everyone!  Yes, I am here, plugging along.

You know, last summer, my 15 year old son needed a new phone.  I did not need a new phone.  He ended up getting a smart phone, and somewhow, so did I.  A week later my husband got one.  An amazing little tool it is too.  Funny thing though, I now spend almost no time at all on the actual computer.  I read all my blogs and email on my phone.  It is fantastic as a gizmo for gathering information but it is very very lousy for the sharing of said information.  It is impossible to type more than a note on the thing, hence my absence from this blog.  (Rather scary to wistfully look back on typing a full length email or blog post in much the same way that I wistfully view the passing of the handwritten letter.)

Anyway, had I been present and actively blogging, I would have told you all about my excitement over the starting of the Bridgewater KAL and my purchasing of the exact yarn in the exact same color as the original pattern calls for while on a fabulous trip over to Churchmouse with a group of the most hilarious women ever.  I can drink all the fattening mochas I want when out with the knitwits because I work every calorie and more off laughing.

And I would have then told you about the Robin's Egg Blue yarn I found at Serial Knitters which I fell in love with (Isager as Kelli's is) but that they didn't have it in the wool, only in the alpaca and so I bought that and pulled my hair out trying to decide which yarn to use.

And then I would have told you about how I really wasn't in love with either choice, mostly because I rarely find myself wanting to wear gossamer weight shawls anymore, I prefer them to have a bit more weight and substance.

And then I would have told you about the lot of Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the color "Well Water" that I found and was perfect for me for this KAL.  Angels singing in the background when I found it, the works...

And I would have told you about the pattern Flurry which has been on my list and would be perfect in the original Silky Alpaca yarn I had purchased at Churchmouse, doubled.  And I would have told you about my mad dash trying to find the receipt for the Isager Alpaca so I could return it (No luck yet, it must've gone out with the Christmas trash.)

And I would have told you aout how careful I was to cast-on New Year's Eve in pattern just to check gauge and to pointedly make my family watch me tear the whole gauge swatch out lest I be accused of jumping the gun on the KAL.

But I haven't been present and actively blogging.

I HAVE been actively knitting;  a sweater, Aeneas;  a scarf, Japanese Feather;  a poncho (yes, a poncho)Easy Folded Poncho; a fox stole, Mr. Fox; and of course Bridgewater.

And today I even dug out my really really crappy digital camera and took an even crappier picture of the work in progress.  I am on the downhill side of the center square, probably around row 212 or so.  The yarn is so much prettier than in the picture.  It is a clear icy blue that reminds me of the sound of a mountain stream just beginning to thaw, and have thus named this shawl "Just Before the Thaw."

Actually, my abysmal photography skills were the only thing about this KAL to which I was not looking forward.  I can learn to knit or I can learn to be a photographer.  And if I have to pick, well then...

A hearty thank you to the Girls for hosting this KAL.  I am already wondering what their next selection will be???  I also find it a bit unnerving that while my hands are physically knitting my current projects, my mind is racing ahead selecting and casting away future knits.  Precious little "joy in the moment" knitting for this knitter.  Curses on thee, Ravelry and all your tempatations!

And how goes it with you???

08 January 2012

oh, yeah, i'm supposed to write in this bloggy thing, aren't i?

so... progress has been slow. i had almost 100 stitches on the needles when, oops, the needle came out.

it was late at night and all attempts to salvage the stitches were just making it worse, so a little time out was called for.

today i decided to rip back to just below the booboo. i'm not smart enough to use lifelines (i like to knit dangerously), but at least i was smart enough to pick up the row of stitches below the whoops before i started ripping back.

it worked perfectly, and now i'm back on track to start the never ending garter stitches again.

seriously, what was i smoking when i said yes?

oh - and i'm using JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 i have on a cone as it was the only lace yarn i had enough yardage of. :)

~ jeff in pennsylvania 

07 January 2012


Even though I'm slowly trudging along on the garter section (130 stitches on the needles and still increasing....slow slow slow):
my Bridgewater is evolving from my first vision, and then my second grand plan, to now my third and I think final idea.  I'm still going with the 2 color version I recently came up with:
That's Madelinetosh 'Cove' for my garter section on the left and 'French Grey' on the right for the lace.  I think I may have mentioned somewhere that this 'grey' that I got from Knit Purl in Portland is most definitely a pretty shade of brown.  I was worried that this one skein was not going to be enough for the entire lace section so I ordered another skein from Jimmy Bean and what do you know, the 'French Grey' that came is absolutely a shade of grey.  And instead of freaking out that the 2 batches of madtosh are not even remotely similar in color, I'm so excited!  I've decided that the brown (grey) will be the largest first section of lace and then I'm going to use the grey (grey) for the final lace chart.  I see both colors in the multi-colored 'cove' so the major difference in dyes is a wonderful misfortune I do believe. 
Now if only I could get to the lace sections.......sigh (happy sigh but sigh all the same!).  ~ Melissa

Are we there yet?

Nope not yet... not even half. To down size the needle for the lace section? I may add the gold sequence yarn? Lifeline? Will be testing to see what I want.

I'm loving this shawl, can't wait for this part.

Hope you are all well.