11 September 2014

Daybreak Shawl

I don't think I ever mentioned this project here on the blog, but I recently finished my Daybreak Shawl. This was such a quick, fun knit and a great way to use up fingering weight scraps. It also makes a gorgeous final product.

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The pattern was Daybreak by Stephen West. Every pattern I've ever knit by him as been well-written and free of errors. I did have a brief issue with understanding a part of the pattern, but that was just me not double-checking my work. It was fun and easy to get into a rhythm with.

My mother also helped a bit on this one because she was low on projects to work on at the time, so that makes it even more special!

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The yarn was some left over Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Venetian and Stargazing colorways. As always, I frequently wondered why I knit with anything other than Madelinetosh, there is nothing I don't love about their yarns. Perfection!

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Also, I think I deserve some applause here, because I actually pulled out all the stops and blocked this shawl right after binding off. I suffered through it, painstakingly pinned it down, and Kitty napped on it while it dried. A good time was had by all and ultimately I was glad I did it!

09 September 2014

Vacations and inspiration.

I had a wonderful trip to Western Massachusetts last week. It was just what I needed to clear my head and reset after a stressful academic challenge. Although I love the climate and outdoors offerings of North Carolina, I really find myself missing the culture and pace of life in New England.

After a blissful direct flight (isn't that the best?), my mother and I headed off to Webs for yarn shopping. I really wanted to purchase some yarn for some special projects and no other place has that kind of selection.

First I bought some nice gray wool for a sweater that I am knitting for my boyfriend, I have to admit that I am a little nervous about the dreaded sweater curse, but there is nothing better than pouring yourself into a project for a loved one. The sweater is Guston, published by Brooklyn Tweed and I decided that the texture of Rowan Pure Wool would complement it well.

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I also found some super soft and pretty Grignasco Springfield Vintage on sale, a perfect match for Asimina's new pattern, Kusafiri. I'm so excited to be working on one of her patterns because I adore her sense of style.

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..My family and I also went to the little town of Harrisville, New Hampshire to visit Harrisville Designs, one of the few remaining woolen mills left in the US. I was disappointed that the mill itself was not open for visitors; however, the beauty of the setting and their fantastic store made it worth the drive. 

..I spent some time with my brother, an apprentice woodworker, on designing a drop spindle prototype. I'm amazed at how talented (and modest) he is, it was so much fun watching him transform a small block of wood into something functional and beautiful. You can see an example of some of his recent furniture work on my mother's Flickr.

It was a fun trip, but now it's back to work! I hope you are all well and that your weeks are full of creative energy!

29 August 2014

Narragansett

I'm currently on my way to Massachusetts for a much needed vacation. I plan on getting some relaxing knitting and spinning finished, visiting my alma mater, going hiking, spending time with my family, and making my yearly pilgrimage to Webs!

I recently finished my Narragansett sweater, it was a very quick knit and super relaxing. Only halfway into this knit, I found myself thinking about which yarn I would knit it in next. I think this will be a repeat project for me, it was simply that nice.

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The pattern is Narragansett by Thea Colman. It is knit top down and features gentle cables from the neckline all the way down the sleeves, as well as down the waist (I decided not to knit that particular detail). The pattern is well-written and straight-forward, just how I prefer them. This is such a pretty design, I'm surprised it hasn't been more popular. 

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The yarn I used has a special story. It was some antique yarn that my mother discovered recently back home in Kansas. The old, decaying labels provided enough information to know that the yarn had originally come from Massachusetts and that it is 100% wool. My mother knew that I would appreciate this and gave me some in black, light blue, and dark blue. In all, probably enough yarn to make six sweaters in my size! 

It was a little scratchier than I generally prefer, but very warm and certainly precious. 


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Have you ever been gifted yarn with a special story?

25 August 2014

Life becomes crazy

Whew, it's been a crazy last few days! It has definitely been one of those periods of time where it feels like every moment has been filled and the days are whirling together into an unintelligible mess.

It was super tough, but I passed my preliminary exam and now officially get to call myself a PhD candidate! Thank you so much for all the well-wishes. I definitely have a lot of people in my life to thank for reaching this little milestone.

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Finally, I am able to return my attentions to what I really, truly enjoy doing, being in lab doing experiments. My workspace has been so lonely!

Kitty has been doing well, despite the fact that she is now on a diet on veterinarian's orders. Maybe that's why she starts daydreaming of escape in the middle of grooming...hmmm.

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I've been knitting, spinning, weaving, and painting as well. I have had so many exciting creative opportunities and challenges lately as well. I promise to report on those in the near future!

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Do you have some exciting new ways in which you are challenging yourself creatively?