This past weekend…

…I bought three quarts of beautiful, sweet, local strawberries at the farmer’s market.

There’s only one left…

They even smell ripe and sweet!

…because the rest got made into THE MOST AMAZING strawberry streusel pie EVER.

And that pie got itself all ‘et up before any pic could ever be taken.

Awesome.

* * * * * * * * * *

…I worked on my newest knitting project, Jared Flood’s Chinook.

I do love me some colorwork.

Three colors of my delicious Malabrigo Finito make for dreamy soft and pretty mitts.

Such a pretty little pattern.

So far, I dig ‘um. But…it is Malabrigo…and Jared Flood…so, really, no surprise there.

* * * * * * * * * *

…I realized that someone will turn two years old in a month!

OMG, Simon is two!

Seriously! Two years! Where did they go?!?

I remember Tilly’s baby contest and her birth like it was yesterday. I remember falling in love with the cutest little puff of fluff I’d ever held in the palm of my hand.

Remember when….awwww….

And now he’s two and 15 pounds of grown-up kitty and just as sweet and wonderful as ever.

My handsome boy will be two! Maybe he’ll want some strawberry pie to celebrate….humm…

Keeping On

Official Gypsy-doodle diagnosis: Stage 3 Lymphoma. Multiple peripheral nodes effected.

Treatment: 20 mg of prednisone twice daily.

Prognosis: Six months.

:::sigh:::

In happier news, I finished a pair of happy socks.

“Bright Sunshiney Socks”

They’re my Fiber Optic BFL handspun, with Spud & Chloe Fine for the cuffs, toes and heels, using my Plain Jane recipe.

Big ‘ole Simon photobomb in this one…he’s so high maintenance…

It took me a whole year to knit these socks. Seriously! A whole year for a pair of stockinette socks! In my defense, it’s been a hell of a year…

By contrast, it only took me two months to knit a fair isle baby blanket in the round in fingering weight on US 2 needles…

Inside out, setting the bright sunshiney steeks, getting ready for the big cut!

…and now it just needs to be steeked! I’m itching to cut this thing apart…just a little more crocheting to go…

Returning from the Depths

Oh, hello there! Yes, I think I remember this place….it’s my blog, right?

I’ve been under water for a while and seem to have misplaced a month of my  life. Huh. Weird how that happens. Extra Work I Do After Actual Work is over, thankfully, and I’m hoping to return to regularly scheduled programming for a little while…at least until Annual Busy Time starts beating up on me again.

While I wasn’t here, I was using the various fiber arts to maintain my sanity. I did some colorwork.

Mitts for me!

It drove me a little bug-nutty, but I really wanted to wear these new mitts that match my big, gray, military-style wool half-trench winter coat.

I kind of love them. A lot. I love them so much, they’re getting pilly already.

Organic wool makes me happy.

The pattern is Vanamo (Rav link), and the yarn is that Sanguine Gryphon Free Range I showed off a month ago. I did change the cuffs and the tops, and made braids that point in opposite directions. I had to block the crap out of these because the first was notably smaller than the second. Humm…was someone a little stressed out at the start of this project? Possibly….

I also finished spinning that bright orange BFL top from Fiber Optic, and then I two-plied it.

Bright Sunshiney Day

It’s not my finest, evenest spin ever. Not by a long shot. But I’m proud, nonetheless, because I actually achieved a sportweight on Evelyn. Which rocks because I have a hell of a time spinning anything that’s not lace or fingering on her. I rule.

Evelyn and I cranked out another four ounces of two-ply sportweight right after, this time a superwash BFL from Southern Cross in the “Sturt” colorway.

Really dig how the colors worked out here.

Also not the most even yarn I’ve ever spun, but I’m still pleased…especially because Evelyn decided to start kicking her drive band every three minutes while I was working on the ply here. It’s the first argument Evelyn and I have ever had, and it was quite frustrating.

Very earthy…I likes it.

We’ve since worked it out, thankfully, and this yarn will end up being socks.

Oh, and I spun up some Spunky Eclectic corriedale on Evelyn, too.

Spunky corriedale in “Twenty-Ten”

I’ve since plied these singles and set the twist on the yarn. Both the Spunky and the Southern Cross were part of my random prize from the 4! Ounce! Challene! As you can see, Operation Stash Containment continues.

I’ve been working away at my Military Cardigan…

The color in this pic is way, way off. This is way more of an orange-red and way less of a pink-red.

…but I’ve kind of petered out a bit on the collar and placket. I’ll pick it back up soon, though. It’s a really cute sweater.

Finally, I whipped up a little hat!

So soft and lovely

The pattern is Brattleboro, the yarn is Malabrigo Worsted, and the hat is for a collection that Tracy is hosting for Children with Hair Loss in honor of her 30th birthday. Not only is Tracy cutting off and donating her gorgeous hair, she’s asked us to not get her gifts and to instead knit hats or make a donation to the charity. How could I not??

Like I said, fiber arts helped maintain my sanity…it’s amazing how much better my head feels when my hands are busy, busy, busy.

Wanted: Knitting Reality Coach, or Why Intarsia in the Round is a Good and Bad Thing

Here’s what I think I need: I need a dedicated person to follow me around while I’m knitting and tell me when I’m about to make a decision that will make my life more difficult than it really needs to be.

A knitting reality coach.

Or fairy god-knitter.

Or just a sassy knitting friend—you know,  in the same vein as the infamous Sassy Gay Friend—who’ll be right beside me to pipe up with a “What are you doing?! What, what, what are you DOING?!?” and give my buddy Delusion a kick in the ass every time I make a knitting decision that will lead to sighing, eye-rolling and just general frustration with myself.

This nightmare comes to mind. As does my latest decision…

How angsty could one little squirrel be?

…the Squirrel Sampler Mittens.

The pattern is beyond adorable, from the picot hem to the whimsical little fair isle squirrel. And it’s not terribly difficult, either…unless, of course, you’re me. And you decide to knit them in three colors. And only have that third color on the palms.

Yeah.

That does, in fact, put us into intarsia territory. Intarsia in the round. On US 1 needles. This is not smart.

It is cute, which is good…

All intarsia-crazy up in here…

…but not smart, which is not so good.

The worst part about the whole situation was how utterly clueless I was going in. It didn’t dawn on me until I had attached the orange and knit through the first round that this was going to be far more complicated than originally anticipated. I had a total oh-crap-the-yarn-is-not-going-to-be-where-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be-how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-this-ridiculousness-work moment. There may have been some swearing and some fiddling around before I figured out how I would make this work.

Evenually, I caught my stride and it started moving along. But it was precarious for a while. And while I’ve been careful to keep my floats nice and long, there are some tension issues that I really can’t wait to block out.

So, I’ve finished the first outer shell, cast on the second and started the lining on the first—and thank goodness for the lining, because the insides are not pretty. For the lining, I’m using this rich green now-discontinued Fiddlesticks Zephyr laceweight merino/tussah in the “Basil” colorway.

Pretty green lining…to hide all the ugly floats and weaves inside

I like the contrast quite a bit. They’re going to be beautiful mittens when they’re totally done, but really what, what, what was I doing? Oh well, another knitting lesson learned.

I must also take a moment to gush about this yarn: Spud & Chloe Fine. It’s delightful. If you’re looking for a fabulous, solid-color yarn for Fair Isle, or just a nice staple yarn, this totally fits the bill. It’s not horribly expensive, the colorways are saturated and vibrant and the silk content gives it a fantastic hand with just a little bit of sparkle. It’s a tremendous yarn. Go get some.