Friday, February 24, 2017

Knitting: Germinate shawl.

One of my favorite bloggers used to be Amanda of Hey Porkchop. (I say "used to be" because she stopped blogging for a while, but she has started up again this year! In that hiatus, I started following her Instagram. I don't have Instagram but still keep an eye on a few of my favorite accounts over there.) I loved her knitting and quilting projects: the colors and yarns she picked, the cozy and autumn feel of her aesthetic, etc. She made me want to be a sock knitter before I even knitted my first pair. But my favorite project was her Germinate shawl. It was so gorgeous! At that point, I'd only been knitting less than two years and I couldn't even imagine getting to where that shawl was within my skill level.

But here it is, my own Germinate shawl! For the last couple of years, I'd planned on knitting this pattern at some point, but I really didn't intend on stealing Amanda's color scheme so shamelessly. :) At a visit to a yarn shop, I just happened to buy three skeins of sportweight yarn in these colors, planning on using them for different projects. When I bought them, the lady mentioned that they looked nice together, but I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until sometime last year that I realized they were the same colors as Amanda's shawl, and that if I bought one more skein of purple, I'd have enough to knit one for myself. (I contacted the shop and they just happened to have one more skein of purple in the dye lot I needed. Obviously this was meant to be, ha.)

Though I used two different brands, all of the yarn is 100% American raised Rambouillet wool. The purple and orange are Swans Island All American Collection Sport in the Crocus and Flame colorways. The gray is Equity Sport from Sincere Sheep (which is naturally dyed) in the colorway Winter's Night. I really like Rambouillet fiber in general, and both of these yarns have a natural, semi-woolen feel. They aren't overly processed...I did often have to pull out prickly bits of VM from the Swans Island yarn, and the Sincere Sheep yarn had some little nubby pieces too.

The pattern itself is very well written and thorough, down to the stitch counts listed. But I haven't knitted a lot of lace before, and this lace was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever worked on. Because of printer issues, I couldn't print the charts, only the written instructions, and I had to be completely focused on keeping my place. No movie watching while working on the lace sections! For some reason, my brain wasn't finding this lace to be very intuitive, but I can't really complain because I love the end result.

Using these colors, which I love separately but wouldn't normally choose to use together, was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I'm so happy with this shawl! It doesn't quite have the light, drapey, elegant feel of most of the Germinate shawls out there because of my yarn choices. (The picot bind off, for example, is a little bulky, especially because I didn't block out each point. I don't have enough pins or patience for that!) But I like that it's rustic and wooly...that's more my style anyway. :) The fact that it's made from all American, hand dyed yarn is even better! It feels satisfying to finally have the ability to knit something that, for such a long time, felt too difficult for me to attempt.

Project page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yarn Along

Reading: A Pocket Full of Rye, by Agatha Christie. This is one that I've never read before or seen a TV adaptation of, so the mystery is all new to me and I'm really liking it. British mysteries are my ultimate comfort entertainment, whether in book or movie form. :)

Knitting: Now that I finished my two bigger projects (sweater and shawl), I've been working on my sock yarn scrap blanket again. It's been almost two years since I started it, and I want to reach 100 squares before next month. Then I'll get some good pictures of my progress so far.

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}

Friday, February 17, 2017


The longer you go without writing a blog post, the harder it is to write one, apparently! There has been knitting, and there have been things I want to talk about, but I always find an excuse. I haven't made enough progress on this project, the lighting is too bad for photos, I'm not really enjoying what I'm reading at the moment, etc. But two weeks without a post is too long, so please excuse the not-great photos and the rambling nature of this one. :)

I feel like I've been knitting the same projects since the beginning of the year. It's the same thing I did last year: after months of craft fair and Christmas knitting, I'm so excited to make something for myself that I go overboard and start too much, and then those projects linger for a little too long. I did finish my Marion cardigan, but I'm waiting for the buttons I ordered. I found those two vintage navy buttons in my stash and got obsessed with the thought of using them for the sweater. I'm usually not picky about buttons, but I really wanted these. I needed five and only had two, so I searched online until I found some on eBay. I'm waiting for them to arrive now, and hoping that they will be the correct size. Then I'll be able to get pictures of the finished sweater!

I'm still knitting on my Germinate shawl. I've enjoyed knitting this shawl, and I think I'll love the end result, but the lace sections make my brain hurt. They're not that difficult, but for some reason they don't feel intuitive at all and there are so many repeats, and repeats within repeats. I couldn't print the charts so I'm having to use the written instructions and it's mind-boggling. I can't listen to conversation or watch TV while working on it. Yesterday I knocked out several rows of the last section, until I made the same mistake twice and had to redo almost an entire row. (Frogging lace is not my favorite. After that I decided to put it aside for the rest of the day.) I'm hoping to finish it in the next few days.

(And in the midst of all that, I cast on a new pair of socks with some lovely yarn that Monica kindly sent me. I need some mindless knitting!)

I'm reading Cold Comfort Farm, a book that I've owned for a while, and I'm not enjoying it very much. It's supposed to be a hilarious parody, but I'm not really seeing that. It's such a short book that I would feel bad about not finishing it, so I'm trying to push through. I've also started reading more of the Sherlock Holmes stories, just one or two a week, and of course I'm enjoying those.

Kenny and I have started watching Doc Martin recently. It started with getting drawn into random episodes on PBS, but now we've started at the beginning, getting the series through Netflix. I'm a huge fan of British TV anyway, and even better if the story features a town full of kooky characters. :) I'd heard of the show before but wasn't really interested because I thought it was a medical show. But other than the main character being a doctor, there isn't much of that, and it's so funny!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What I Read: January

After being in a reading slump for most of December, I was glad to start off this year with a pretty good stack of books. Thanks to a long weekend being stuck in the house (due to a bad cold plus 8 inches of snow), I managed to get a lot of reading done! As always, click on the title for my Goodreads review.

Something New, by Lucy Knisley. I read one of this author's earlier books last year and was a little disappointed with it. But the whole idea of a graphic novel memoir intrigued me enough to try another of her books. This one is about the author and her fiancé planning their wedding. Overall I really enjoyed it. The illustration style was very cute, and my only real complaint was that the author comes across as a bit annoying at times.

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan. The second book in the Percy Jackson series, which I started back in November. This one was fun and enjoyable, but not as good as the first!

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Just like her first book, this one was light and quick, with some of the essays being funnier than others.

The Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The beginning was very promising, and there were some really lovely, creative, charming parts. But it felt tedious. I think I'm getting pickier about middle grade books, which makes me sad!

Unmentionable, by Therese Oneill. You know those things that you always wonder about in BBC period dramas, things that either don't seem historically accurate or are never even mentioned? This book promises to answer those questions, and I guess it does to a degree. But the interesting information is buried under too much sarcasm and too many jokes. So even though I found out some new information, this one wasn't what I expected.

Miss Jane, by Brad Watson. I picked up this book solely because of the cover and the title, because they reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. :) I really loved the first half, but things kept going downhill for most of the characters in the second half. The writing is really beautiful, and I felt compelled to keep reading throughout the entire book. But the story was sad and focused so much on loneliness that it was difficult to feel satisfied by the time it was over.

The Shepherd's Life, by James Rebanks. I've been wanting to read this one for a long time now! I enjoyed it a lot, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The author's attitude grated on my nerves a lot, and the book felt disjointed and choppy at times. But sometimes the writing and imagery was beautiful, and if you're at all interested in sheep, I feel like you'd enjoy this book.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Yarn Along

Reading: The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This is a middle grade novel about a young girl and her brother who leave their abusive mother to go stay in the English countryside during the Blitz. I'm enjoying it so far...there's a bit of a different twist to it than the usual evacuee story.

Knitting: My Marion cardigan. I needed a navy cropped cardigan to wear over dresses, so that's what I'm knitting. I'm almost through with the body, so it's finally starting to look like a sweater! :) Then I'll just have the sleeves and button band/neckband left.

{Yarn Along is a weekly link up hosted by Ginny where you can share what you've been knitting and reading.}