Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Coast’

Duo of Finished Objects

August 5, 2018

I try not to set too many knitting goals for myself, but sometimes a knitter has to do what she has to do. And I must admit that I’m quite pleased to have achieved my vacation knitting goal of completing two projects.

Since they had a true deadline — birthdays are exact dates after all — the Monkey Socks were my top priority. A couple of people have asked about the significance of the name. The simple truth is that it’s the name of the pattern by Cookie, available on Ravelry and on Knitty.

On the 26th and final repeat of the 11 row pattern, I finally committed it to memory. A relatively quick toe shaping and seaming and then into a pot of sudsy water.

They dried quickly in the sunshine and were tucked away for the birthday girl.

Yarn is Flying Finn Yarns one-of-a-kind (OOAK) that I bought at J.P. Knit & Stitch’s reopening a few months ago. I just love the subtle color variations.

At that point there was no way to avoid the Sunshine Coast sweater anymore. As I explained earlier, I had a bit of an emotional hurdle to overcome on that one. But finish I did, and I’m delighted to report that I’m delighted with the final product.

On the ferry back to the mainland, I started my next project, a Baby Vertebrae frontless cardigan for a friend’s baby-to-be, who’s expected to make an appearance in early September.

baby-vertebrae-ferry

Since I’ve now got only one WIP, I feel free to cast on something else. I’ve got time, right? Unlike birthdays, baby due dates aren’t exact — until they become birthdays, of course!

 

 

 

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Life Lessons from a Sweater

July 28, 2018

Like many knitters, I’m usually always working on more than one project at a time. Recently, however, I’ve been playing favorites, spending much more time with a pair of socks than with the Sunshine Coast sweater. Sure, I can blame it on a deadline. The Monkey Socks (pattern on Ravelry and Knitty) are a birthday gift for a special friend.

But there was something else keeping me from finishing the Sunshine Coast sweater: fear. That’s probably too strong a word. How about dread?

It had to be something emotional that was keeping me from finishing because I love everything about the project. The bright apple green cotton yarn is a perfect match for this casual summer sweater.

Green Sunshine Coast sweater knitting at beach

The pattern is simple yet detailed, with lovely eyelets interspersed at the neckline and sides and subtle bands along the body.

Detail of eyelet holes along neckline of sweater

After casting off the body (more than two months ago!) and before picking up the stitches to knit the sleeves, I held it up and realized that it was too short — at least, too short for my liking. Here it is just before bind off when I tried to gauge length with circular needle still attached.

Sunshine-coast-body

I picked back the bound-off stitches and knit for a few more inches, increasing as the pattern directed. And that’s where my brain kicked in. When I finally bound off the body, it looked too wide, too boxy, and that triggered my body self-image “baggage,” that inner voice that says “that’s too boxy; it’ll make you look fat.”

I expect we all have an inner voice telling us who we are or how we should be, a voice that really isn’t our friend. I try not to listen, but boy, it can be persistent sometimes.

Now I know I’m not fat, but I used to be — at least, I was heavier and fatter than I wanted to be. But that was decades ago — like three decades ago. But that self-image and those feelings linger and, apparently, are still pretty powerful.

But I’m happy to report that my rational brain was helped along by a good dose of reality from my dear, wise daughter Hannah, who responded to my “this may be too boxy” concern on Instagram with “Mom, you think everything is too boxy. I’m sure it’s beautiful and perfect.”

 

She was right.

MAH-sunshine-Coast

 

 

 

 

 

Fiddly Sticks

June 9, 2018

I’m a big fan and regular user of double-pointed needles (DPNs), especially for socks because then I don’t need stitch markers, but I completely understand how daunting they can appear to knitters and non-knitters alike.

“Fiddly” is the word I use when explaining DPN use to my knitting students. To be sure I’m using it correctly, I looked up the definition: “complicated or detailed and awkward to do or use.” Or, as the good folks at Merriam Webster say, ” requiring an annoying amount of close attention.” Annoying. That sounds about right.

(As an aside, if you’re on Twitter, you really must follow Merriam Webster. You’ll learn and you’ll laugh — and really, couldn’t we all benefit from more of that?!)

At last week’s Knit 101 class, Lisa learned to pick up and knit sleeve stitches using DPNs. And, true to the definition, she found it (annoyingly) fiddly.

“Aaargh, I can’t do this,” she exclaimed after her first stitch. Her first stitch!

DPN-first-try

I encouraged her to breathe and try another stitch, reminding her that she was only knitting with two needles. The other two needles, dangling nearby and holding 2/3 of her stitches, were just hanging out, waiting until she finished with the stitches she was working.

As you can see, she got the hang of it pretty quickly and finished wee sleeve #1.

Baby-sweater-sleeve

Since baby’s arms are so short, a short sleeve was in order. Wish I could remember the yarn she’s using. Isn’t it fun? I’ll look it up and will update soon.

In other DPN news, I’ve started the sleeves on the Sunshine Coast sweater. Now that the warm weather has finally arrived here in the Boston area, it’s time to get this finished.

Sunshine-coast-sleeve

More Sunshine than I Thought

May 18, 2018

As I’ve mentioned a few times, progress on the Sunshine Coast sweater has been slow although it’s been moving a bit faster now that I’ve got the pattern memorized. There are 12 stitch markers, which was a bit daunting at first. I think part of why it feels so slow-going is the way it “sits” on the needles. This is my usual view.

Sunshine-coast-plane

That’s a heck of a lot of stockinette stitch. But now I realize that the subtle details that first drew me to the pattern are what make it interesting to create: The occasional eyelets that run down each side and the five that sit just below the neck edge. And the gently tapered side panel that adds a bit of visual interest.

Sunshine-coast-side

Since I hadn’t measured the length since I separated the sleeve stitches from the body, I hung it up to get a good view. I’m delighted to report that I’ve only got a couple more inches to go.

Sunshine-coast-body

Of course, I’ll then have to pick up the armhole stitches and make the sleeves — two of them! But at only about 1/4 of the stitches as the body, they should practically knit themselves. Right?

 

 

Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

May 8, 2018

I’m regularly surprised by how long it’s been since we moved from the Washington, DC, area. I know, I know, “surprising” probably isn’t the right word if I keep doing it, but really — 21 years?!

We’ve been fortunate to maintain friendships by visiting once a year or so and seeing friends whose travels take them to the Boston area. And then there’s our wonderful family — my brother Chris, sister-in-law Karen, their two teen daughters and pre-teen son. The best fringe benefit of my eight-month interim management gig at a DC-area organization last year was my weekly visits to their home. Plus the rates and amenities were unbeatable!

Patrick and I flew down early Friday morning after snagging same-day tickets (released online at 6:30am) to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Like all great museums, there’s no way to experience it in a day (even an entire day) and you could return again and again and come away with new knowledge and inspiration. And probably sore feet, which you could rest alongside the water at the entrance.

NMAAHC

While on a morning walk through our old neighborhood, I was lucky enough to bump into an old long-time friend and former co-worker. Since he was heading out to walk his dog, we walked together back to Chris and Karen’s, sharing news of spouses, children, his brand new grandchild, professional endeavors, with only a bit of shared dismay at the state of what passes for political “leadership” today.

KMB

Patrick and I won the aunt-uncle lottery (albeit with no competition) and took the kiddos on a field trip to National Harbor for a few hours on Sunday. Nothing educational; just walking about. Since we’re not their parents, we said “yes” to nearly everything they expressed interest in. There’s a candy store? Let’s get a bag or maybe a chocolate covered Oreo. Ice cream? Absolutely. Nail polish that changes color in the sunshine? Who would be without it?!

There’s a fair bit of public art — statues, like this one of Henry Ford, which A. enjoyed mimicking.

Natharbor5

The little kids’ play area included less historic, if slightly more creepy, sculptures.

Natharbor

A giant sculpture of a giant, The Awakening, had been moved from its original site along the Potomac in D.C. to a human-made beach at National Harbor, where its various parts are explored by young and old alike.

Natharbor2

Four times around on the giant Ferris wheel gave plenty of opportunity to watch planes heading toward the nearby airport, gaze down at the marina and shops, speculate that it’d be a great place for an action movie scene, and wonder if you could survive a jump into the harbor from this height.

Natharbor-wheel

Natharbor3Natharbor4.JPG

Some day I hope to be able to take a selfie with Patrick in which we don’t look dopey, but for now, what you see is what we get.

The Sunshine Coast sweater got a bit bigger on the two flights, but you can’t really tell from this picture. Interspersed among the inches of stockinette stitch there are some lovely, subtle details. You’ll have to trust me on that for now.

Sunshine-coast-plane

Another highlight of the weekend was my visit to Fibre Space, a wonderful LYS that’s only a few blocks from Chris and Karen’s house. Stay tuned for that post later this week.

Bursting Out All Over

May 3, 2018

Spring has been a long time coming here in Greater Boston with last month’s temperature averaging a cool 55F (13C). If yesterday’s weather is any gauge, we’ve had the shortest spring on record and have jumped right into summer — sunny, dry, breezy, and a hot 88F (31C). I figure we’ve earned it and have vowed not to complain regardless of how much I’m sweating.

Mom and I took advantage of the day with a visit to the Arnold Arboretum, an urban treasure in her Boston neighborhood. We parked on the street and climbed the path past a Revolutionary War burying ground. As you’d expect in an arboretum, all the trees are labeled so you needn’t keep saying, “I wonder what kind that is.”

AGH-arboretum

We discovered that we were in the honey locust collection although there were other trees nearby — some buckeyes and some other specimens that I promptly forgot!

Agh-arboretum2

The “summit” of Peters Hill includes many granite slabs that serve as welcome resting spots from which to marvel at the Boston skyline.

Arboretum-boston

Since she’d closed the window shades before heading out, Mom’s apartment was refreshingly cool. She’s started a new knitting project, a garter stitch scarf (or maybe it’ll be a neck warmer) made from some luscious Malabrigo Rios that she got at the grand re-opening of JP Knit & Stitch.  If you’re visiting Boston and looking for a LYS, it’s a definite must-visit.

Malabrigo-rios-garter-stitch

I’m still alternating between the Sunshine Coast sweater (photo soon) and the yoga socks. On a work conference call earlier this week, I worked a few rounds in between comments and note taking. Ah, the benefits of being a freelancer!

Yoga-sock-laptop

Some Things are Never Finished

March 24, 2018

When my children were very young, I didn’t knit much. I thought I didn’t have enough time, which is bizarre because there’s the same amount of time in Every. Single. Day. If I’d been honest with myself, I would have realized that it wasn’t a matter of time; it was my perception of time and my very real reality of seemingly all-consuming busyness.

My mind was shifted by a single comment from a wise neighbor to whom I’d shared the desire to knit but didn’t have time: “When you’re raising a family, running a home, and working at your job, you might find that it’d be nice to actually finish something.”

How very true. So much of daily life is repetitive or ongoing — cook a meal, wash the dishes, wait a few hours, and do it again. Wake up, rally the troops, get everyone out the door (fed, dressed, and as put together as possible), then do it in reverse in each evening. And again. And again. For years, decades even.

One of the joys of knitting is finishing. In fact, I consider finishing the primary goal of a new knitter’s first project. That’s why I recommend a dishcloth as a first project and definitely not a scarf, which can take an eternity.

With that thought, I’m pleased to report that Sock #1 is finished.

Sock1-done-roving

Since I’d not been happy with the bumpiness of my previous sock toe grafting, I paid extra attention to my Kitchener stitching. This is an improvement over my earlier toes.

Sock-toe-kitchener

Part of my desire to finish the sock was my seemingly slow progress on the Sunshine Coast sweater. The slower pace isn’t surprising since it’s now up to about 250 stitches per round.

Sunshine

On the home front, dear Michael is home for a week’s break. Since he arrived at midnight and will likely sleep a solid 12 hours, I won’t see him until this afternoon, after Knit 101 class and the Boston March for Our Lives.

Being a parent or a child is a role (not really an “activity”) that doesn’t feel like it’s ever finished — at least, if you’re as lucky as I am, not for many, many decades.

WIP Wednesday: Socks and Sunshine

March 21, 2018

Having lived most of my life in New England, I’m accustomed to cold, snowy winters. I generally try to avoid the broadcast and social media hoopla that surrounds storm predictions and round-the-clock coverage during the actual “weather events.”

My attitude generally is “It’s winter. What do you expect?” Does it really matter whether the wind gusts that knocked out the power were 40 or 75 miles per hour? The difference between six and 12 or even 22 inches is significant from a shoveling perspective, but really it’s just a hell of a lot of shoveling.

Like probably everyone else in New England (and probably most people from here to Washington, DC), I’m ready for today’s storm to winter’s last gasp — especially since Spring began yesterday!

Enough about the weather. Here’s what’s on my needles these days. The toe of Sock #1 is nearly finished (Done Roving “Frolicking Feet”). I’m going to modify — or at least pay closer attention to — my Kitchener stitch grafting of the toe in an attempt to avoid the bumpiness of my previous sock toes.

Sock-toe-shaping

I can’t decide how I feel about the Sunshine Coast sweater yet. We’re still getting to know each other. (Perhaps it’s mutual.) Progress is slow and feels a bit painstaking. I find myself looking at the pattern several times during each pattern round. Hoping that changes over the next couple of inches.

Sunshine-coast-yoke

I love the bright Spring green yarn.

How Can I Swatch with This?

March 14, 2018

I’m not a regular swatch knitter, partly because I generally make things where fit isn’t quite as important (like socks or shawls or baby knits). Indeed, dear friend and Fearless Knitter Cathie — who’s been swatch-free for about 50 years — and I regularly share messages about our swatch aversion.

But since I’ve decided to knit a sweater for myself (two rare occurrences), a swatch was in order. After all, if I’m going to spend hours on something that I intend to wear, I want it to fit. What knitter among us hasn’t finished a project, tried it on, discovered it doesn’t fit properly, and then stuffed it tucked it away in the back of a cupboard?

I started with size 5 (3.75mm) and knit a square, then switched to a size 4 (3.5mm) and knit some more. After washing and drying the swatch, I measured.

Swatch

The size 4 needles had yielded the 5 stitches per inch that I was looking for, which would have been terrific if the pattern actually called for 5 stitches per inch. Thinking I was all ready to cast on, I reread the pattern and discovered that the correct gauge is 4 stitches per inch.

That might not seem like a big difference, but over 200ish stitches, that’s more than two inches difference — the difference between a lovely summer sweater that fits and one that is banished to a dark drawer for eternity.

So, with Cathie’s shocked voice in my ear from 3,000 miles away, I pulled out what I thought were size 6 (4mm) needles and started another swatch. Here’s where things got a bit wonky. The size 6 swatch looked and measured the same as the size 5.

Since I’d been using a circular needle that wasn’t labeled and which I’d assumed was a size 6 since that’s what the needle gauge told me, I decided to check the gauge itself. I pulled out a size 6 needle from my interchangeable needle kit and double checked the size on my trust KnitPicks needle gauge, and then, because I’m someone who likes to verify results, I checked the needle size using a different gauge.

Needle-gauge

Who knew that a needle gauge could be miscalibrated? The size 6 needle from my interchangeable kit was too big for the size 6 hole on the KnitPicks gauge but fit smoothly through the Susan Bates gauge.

Now that I’ve got THAT figured out, it’s time to cast on the Sunshine Coast.

How do you feel about swatches?

 

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