Today I finished this capelet, designed by Barbara Benson.
It was a breeze to knit up. I enjoyed working a combination of mosaic and lace stitches. My colors are deep green and bold rust. I’m glad that I was finally able to use the Knit Picks Gloss yarn that I purchased nearly ten years ago. It had been in a shrug, which didn’t look good on me and felt scratchy on my neck. Since this capelet stands away from the neck, scratchiness isn’t a problem.
Sorry about the shadow on the photograph above.
Now that I have it on, I have to admit it is not the most useful article of clothing that I ever knit. But it’s fine for sedentary activities when reaching your arms up is not required. And it’s not as warm as a shawl. (Yeah, the back of my neck is exposed.)
I can’t help but like it, because it’s pretty and graceful.
This pattern is available on Ravelry. I rate it a five for quality of design and clarity of instructions.
While it was a struggle to pull my eyes away from yesterday’s news feed, I got a surprising amount of work done. We even managed to take down and store the Christmas tree.
My new approach to watercolor painting adopted on Jan 1st has me excited about the potential. This time I chose to apply a quinacridone red wash. After it dried, I added a miniature landscape of snow-covered mountains at dawn.
This took me very little time to complete and I enjoyed every brush stroke.
Moving on to sewing, I got another block design worked up on the Animal Friends project. Here is a little pet condo in bright colors and fun geometric shapes.
That brings my completed block count on the project to twelve. I’m half-way there!
And finally, I found a use for some old yarn from a knitted item that I frogged almost ten years ago. It is a KnitPicks yarn called Gloss – a very soft blend of wool and silk in a dark green color. I bought three balls of a complimentary color to make this charming capelet.
My usual practice on New Year’s Day is to clean out my clothes closet, eliminating all those items I no longer wear and taking stock of any needs for replacements. But this year? Staying at home 90% of the time? Who needs new clothes! I fell into a consistent pattern of wearing jeans or stretch pants and cotton knit shirts.
So today, I will ignore my closet and instead look back at the work emerging from my studio. In glancing at my 2020 posts, I realize how much my work has changed since I started this blog in 2019. What comes to the front are the forays into making art quilts and painting with watercolors. But I’ll start with my first love –
While this year was not a high point in creative design, my output was strong. I completed 3 hats, 4 pair of socks, a toddler sweater, a dress, a top down cardigan, a serape and a water bottle holder. My most complex object was the Weaver’s Square vest made for my daughter.
Technically, I did design this garment. But the fair isle pattern on the vest’s back was adapted from one I saw on Knit/Lab’s website. I don’t take credit for that part. The vest turned out pretty great and she loved it. Here are a few photos of some other knits I made this year:
I finished the year with two UFO’s – a pair of men’s socks and a pair of gloves.
Last year I was focused on learning to sketch. But this year, I was determined to start painting. To that end, I joined the local art association and signed up for some on-line classes. Anyone who has tried to paint with watercolor will freely admit that the medium has its own set of challenges. I spent the year more disheartened than encouraged. In July I followed the daily challenge on World Watercolor Month, organized by Charlie O-Shields of Doodlewash. That’s when I started to see some improvement. I began by painting copies of other people’s photographs. Eventually I was able to paint from my own photographs, from life, and from my imagination. Here are a few favorites.
Confession: I learned how to quilt only for the purpose of realizing my fiber ideas. So there are a lot of technical areas of quilting that I choose not to pursue. While my favorite thing to do with fabric is to paint on it, I am willing to piece fabric into a quilt top when my inspiration seems to require it. I use commercially printed fabric as well as hand painted fabric for these pieces. During the past year I learned how to mount small art quilts onto stretched canvas. This allows me to present them as works of art suitable for hanging.
At the beginning of 2021, I find myself with a number of unfinished objects. I also have more ideas than I have energy to pursue.
So perhaps my goal for the new year needs to be a narrowing of ambition. The hardest part is deciding what to leave behind. I love it all.
First of all, I want to say that the Christmas To-Do list posted on the wall was a big hit with family members who visited us this year.
Of the twenty items on the list, all but four were completed – with great enthusiasm, for the most part. We made a few changes: no one was interested in making wreaths, but the fly fishermen among us wanted to tie some flies. So there was that substitution. And since the cars took up the whole driveway, we played sports in the backyard. Many times. The weather was remarkably warm and sunny, hence No Fire in the Fireplace.
I received two fibery gifts. The first was a pair of sock yarns, originating in Wisconsin.
I have worked with Ewetopia sock yarn once before and found it very pleasant – it is round, tightly twisted and produces a sturdy fabric. The swatch of the dark plum gave a deep tonal, slightly shaded fabric. The yellow green color, named Caterpillar, gave a stripey fabric characterized by short repeats.
My second gift was a handful of woven linen swatches, made decades ago by my son in law’s grandmother.
After studying them for a while, I was able to work out which direction were warps and which were wefts. Some of these brocades must have been devilishly difficult to construct. I want to preserve them, but I also want to use them in some way. At the moment, I am considering working the swatches into a stretched canvas piece.
It was a busy and tiring week at chez LauraKate. While I intend to write about my body of work made in 2020, that discourse must wait for tomorrow. Today will be dedicated to tidying the craft room, folding the laundry and roasting a chicken.
It seems that I located the biggest Post-It note in the world on which to write this to-do list. Please notice the first word for each item on the list. My English teacher would describe these as verbs. Some call them action words. The emphasis is on action – All are things that require active engagement by the doers. I am expecting at least four of those folks to help me check off the items on this list.
I haven’t blogged this past week because I’ve been very busy with Christmas preparations. That includes Christmas knitting. I finished up the arm warmers for daughter – no picture here, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. The half-finished sock you see is intended for my son-in-law. Hey, I’ve got at least four more days to finish this one and knit another. It’s still possible to finish them by Christmas morning.
Here’s my wish for you at holiday time: May you enjoy celebrating with loved ones, or at least in proximity to loved ones. And may your celebrations bring peace and love to warm your heart.
Here before you is the glove I cast on a little over a week ago. I had expected to make faster progress. It was my travel project for a recent car trip to Ohio. My biggest roadblock was light. When I had time to knit, I found myself in locations with poor lighting. I had underestimated how the lack of contrast in value between the solid yarn and the variegated yarn would slow me down. So that’s my big excuse.
Another problem arose because I wasn’t working from a pattern or chart. This proved troublesome on the thumb gussett increases. Fortunately, here the lack of value contrast turned out to be my friend. Inconsistencies in the stitchwork are not obvious to the casual viewer.
Now that the palm section is done, I will drop the blue yarn and complete the fingers using the variegated. That means one less element to deal with. Perhaps my knitting will go more swiftly.
……using this Tunis breed hand painted yarn, I am now keen to make matching gloves. The bright green sock yarn that I paired it with for the hat is almost gone. So I will need another coordinating yarn if I want to add colorwork to the gloves.
After a lengthy rummage to the back of my yarn closet, I came up with some two-ply wool in a pleasing shade of teal. This yarn is Palette, from Knitpicks. Almost a full skein, it has been languishing in the back of the stash for at least seven years. How fortunate that the color goes so well with the multi-hued Tunis.
You see that a cuff is underway. I made an I-cord about 7 inches long, joined its ends and picked up stitches all along. The 2 x 2 rib will give enough stretch. Now I must decide on the stitch pattern for the palm.
I plan to use a basic glove pattern similar to this one.
Instead of regular stripes, I will go with a mosaic, or slip stitch, pattern. I have a hankering to try this one, designed by Naomi at String Geekery. It is called Sea.
Well, it started out as a bad knitting week. The hat that I cast on the prior week was progressing. But it seemed to be pretty small for an adult hat. After I knit a few inches of the 1 x 1 ribbing, I took a quick measurement. My measurement suggested that it was indeed too small. So I started again, but knit the next larger size. In the bigger size, the ribbing took forever to knit. I rejoiced when I got to the crown. The colorwork was quite fun and I worked quickly to the bind off.
Immediately after I took it off the needle I knew I was in trouble. It was so big! There’s no way that this hat would stay put on my head. Even after washing and drying (I tossed it in a warm dryer to try to shrink it a little,) it was huge.
There ensued a few days of low spirits. (The news cycle, of course, made me feel even worse.) Eventually I stopped moping and tried to solve my problem. My first thought was to cut off the ribbing, pick up the stitches, knitting several together, and work down to the edge. But then I decided to fold the brim in half, folding to the inside and whip stitch it in place. That’s a little better. What if I added a hat band with less stretch in a slightly smaller diameter………..
I found a coordinating color yarn in my stash and cut six lengths. These were crocheted into a chain about 21 inches long. Stretching the chain slightly, I sewed it around the upper part of the ribbing, where a hat band is generally located.
Bingo! Problem solved.
And I have enough variegated yarn left to knit a pair of gloves.
I am in need of easy knitting – especially for evening TV watching. Here is my latest cast-on.
The multi-color yarn was purchased at the Madison Northside Farmer’s Market. It is made from Tunis wool, spun and hand-dyed by the lady who raises the sheep. The light green is a Cloud-born fingering weight. (Former Craftsy yarn line.)
If my feet look relaxed in the photo, it’s because these socks were a delight to knit.
The long sections of leg and foot never got boring. How could they, with the ever-changing panorama of colors unfolding. The yarn was excellent – no splitting, no knots. This is one of the yarns I purchased at North Wind shop in Spooner, WI.
It was the ball on the left, Berroco Sox – a nice blend of wool and nylon.
I chose to knit a 3 by 1 rib pattern again. This time I continued with the rib after I finished the heel shaping. It circles the foot, which makes the socks hug it nicely. For the shaping, I used Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern, available on Ravelry.