More than a Mile of Wool

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Life is full of surprises. I know this. Yet, that simple fact never ceases to surprise me.

Back in November, it looked like Minnesota was in for a winter of epic proportions. We’d already logged a record subfreezing streak and more than one heavy snowfall. It looked like we were in for the sort of winter that’s, in fact, been playing out in other parts of the U.S. (Apologies to those who are living it.)

In response, I did what any good knitter does: started a project of equally epic proportions. I gathered up a couple thousand yards of beautiful hand-dyed Aran weight wool and set about creating a blanket that would keep me warm during the knitting — and serve as a lesson in perseverance.

Enter the knitting surprise to match the unexpected mild weather. I flew through the 1.57 miles of wool  in half the time I expected. (And, yes, I did the math. I’m crazy that way.) While I’m just now getting around to blogging the blanket, it was done and blocked before the end of January.

Kex6Pattern: Kex Blanket by Stephen West
Yarn: TFA Green Label (Sand, Brick, Tartan & Robin’s Egg Grey)

Kex2Between watching the yarn color changes play out and the rhythmic-but-not-dull pattern, I loved everything about making this blanket. And I love the FO.

Sure, it’s still mid-February and I know that winter is hardly a done deal. (What would Minnesota be without a March blizzard?) But I’m not worried. I have a fantastic queen-sized blanket to pull me through it.

Creeds on the Winter Solstice

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As the teen sleeps in on this dark solstice morning, I’ve been catching up on podcasts. On Being’s “Conversation in Music with Carrie Newcomer” really resonated — the minute the episode ended, I tuned in to the unedited version. And I’m already planing to give it a re-listen today as holiday preparations continue.

Life has been, well, messy of late. Too many days and weeks of the sort that leave you drained of energy and spirit. Rest assured, the knitting hasn’t stopped even though the blog went on a long hiatus. But the performance of “I Believe” and Krista and Carrie’s reflections on the “so very holy” details of life left me wanting to start a conversation with my blog and Facebook friends.

If you were to write a creed of the earthy details you hold to be true, what would it include? Here are my shared favorites from Newcomer’s song (video below if you want to give it a listen):

  • I believe in socks and gloves knit out of soft, gray wool.
  • I believe a summer tomato is a cause to rejoice.
  • I believe in the kindness of strangers and the comfort of old friends.

Here are a few musings from me:

  • I believe in the steadying feel of wool winding through my fingers and the metal clinking of needles matching my breathing.
  • I believe my pets are Wim Wenders angels that more than earn their keep.
  • I believe in the sacrament of good chocolate melting on my tongue.

What do you celebrate as “so very holy” in your world?

Friday Finds: The Unexpected Effects of Knitting

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As knitters, we know that our time with yarn and needles = relaxation. No need for a study to tell us that. (Come on. Even my pets have deduced that knitting chills me out and improves my mood.) But if the muggles want to study the connection, who am I to object?

Turns out, they discovered something kind of awesome: Knitting can actually change your genes.
 

Knit on, my friends, in good health and with a clear conscience! And if you’re so inspired, knit a neuron or two.

Finishing Frenzy

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I’ve been busy knitting up a storm for the past two months, but not good about finishing and even worse about blogging. Gigantic work deadline got in the way. But now that the beta version of the site has finally launched, it’s time to get back to business.

Saturday, I went a little crazy. I started by weaving in the ends of five dishcloths and one dishtowel that I knit in a stash- and stress-busting frenzy that started mid-September. That led to weaving in more ends (a shawl and two cowls). Then adding the thumbs on a pair of fingerless mitts that had been languishing for more than a month. I finished the finishing by ripping back and re-knitting the toes on too-big socks. Here’s the pile I ended up with; now for the blocking…

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And since I’m in catch-up mode, here are a pair of socks I finished in August and gifted to my mother.

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Pattern: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Yarn: Crazy Zauberball (Spring Is Here)

And here is a baby hat that got the quickest of photoshoots before going into the gift bag.

Pattern: Dinofied Wee Balaclava by by mama cerise
Yarn: Cascade 200 (Lichen) & Ella Rae Classic (Yellow-Lime Heather)

Time for a break…aka, more knitting! 😉

FO: Malabrigo Mizzle

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Do you ever just have to knit a particular color? For whatever unknown reason, I was craving blue. And this lovely Malabrigo with bits of purple and green in my stash answered the siren call. And how.

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Pattern: Mizzle by Patricia Martin
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (Indiecita)

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The first part of this free (!) pattern went so fast. And then came the, shall we say “just slow down and breathe,”  decorative ribbing. But that deep border is what drew me to the Mizzle, so slow down and keep knitting I did.

For those keeping count, this is #8 of my “12 Shawls in 2012” personal challenge. Good thing it’s knitting season, ’cause I’ve got some catching up to do!

Life Part 2: Where We’re Headed

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By this time next week, we’ll be on the road. Destination? Well, here’s a photographic hint.

Mosquito repellent and a book of dog sweater patterns…. Yep, Minnesota! After 3+ years in Albuquerque, we’re headed home. This time, though, the “little CRV that could” will have three pet carriers. May the travel gods of animal spirits smile (or at least not frown) on us.

It’s been a spring of tough decisions (and, as you may have noticed, miles and miles of comfort garter stitching). Thing is, despite a good job (the one that brought us to NM) and some of the best friends Izzy and I could ever hope to make, we belong in Minnesota. (I’ll spare the laundry list of family/personal reasons.) By April, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

We’re excited, not to mention relieved happy that our well-loved home in Linden Hills awaits us. A nice reminder that sometimes the universe has a good reason for dropping obstacles (bad real estate markets, property management struggles) on our path — and that even without those obstacles, the path is always winding.