Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stitching Away the Winter

Today the sky is blue and temps are predicted to reach 70 degrees. These are mighty warm February days in Nebraska. Currently, I am ignoring the icon on my phone that predicts snow on Friday. This winter Lincoln has been the edge of most storms. A little snow would bring welcome moisture and melt quickly. In the meantime, I am stitching away the brown landscape.

I have more than my usual number of projects in process. Perhaps this warmish brown winter combined with the unsettled time in which we live has something to do with the fits and starts in my projects. Most evenings I work on blocks for little J's Christmas quilt before I pick up my knitting. This is the third incarnation of this quilt so once I cut the white fabric and gathered Christmas prints on hand, the prep is easy. Most of the patterns are together in a file folder. When I finish one block, I prep the next. The variety carries me along. I am finding the embroidery quite peaceful.

I finally finished the green, and I do mean green, socks. The yarn has a lovely hand but the colors were prettier in the skein. Now when I am tempted to buy a skein of yarn, I search Ravelry for projects in the same color way. To date I've saved my stash from six new skeins of yarn. I'm sure the colors are beautiful to someone and that is wonderful. I plan one more tweak on the heel flap in another pair but otherwise I've developed a good recipe for a well fitting sock. Travel knitting here I come. We stayed home during the winter but this spring we are so looking forward to visiting our children.

In other winter stitching, I hit a snag in the length of the raglan line on the Travel Cardigan. Since I'm getting the correct gauges in both stitches and rows, I must have misread the pattern. I ripped out the same eight rows three times. Finally I put the stitches on waste yarn, tried the sweater on, and measured it against another hand knit raglan sweater that fits and planned the rest of the increases. I hope I am back on track as I'd love to wear it traveling. The shells in the dish in the sweater photo came from Todd's Point on Long Island Sound and I look forward to walking that trail and beach with my daughter and her family. A bassoon playing grandson in Fort Worth, Texas also calls to us.

Wherever you are, I hope you are finding peace in these last few winter days.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Now It Is February

Some early afternoons when the sun is shining, I take up my knitting and sit in my Great Grandmother's chair in front of a tall window with a southern exposure. While the sun warms my back, I watch the light play with color and shades in the yarn. Light also highlights shadows among the texture. Fifteen or twenty minutes is a nice break in the day.  

I finished the hat and mitten sets for my grandsons and sent them off in a Valentine's Day package. Although I have two other projects on the needles, I returned to these socks. Vanilla socks are comfort knitting.

I bought the skein because I thought the colors were so pretty together. I am not as pleased with the colors as they display in the fabric. Still, the yarn has a lovely hand and who am I to argue with green socks in January. My goal is to create a snug ribbed vanilla sock pattern for my narrow foot. The customary sixty-four stitches in many patterns is too wide while the smaller size of fifty-six stitches is too small. I am knitting a version of a broken rib stitch on a circumference of sixty stitches. The repeat goes like this. Row One: Knit 4, Purl 2. Row Two: Knit. I may try a slightly shorter heel flap on the second sock to see if it fits better.    

I'm reading Upstream, a book of essays by the well known poet, Mary Oliver. She writes prose with a marvelous elegance of language and reverence for natural world. Upstream collects a few new essays with those previously published. Even though I have read many of these pieces, I find something new on each page. Light shines from her writing as well as the cover art.

Now it is February and the quality of natural light begins to shift. Dawn and dusk change while the cycle of seasons remains constant. As we turn toward Spring, I mean to savor the last orange and lavender streaks of winter sunsets.