I Wouldn’t Recommend This

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Don’t do what I did and take a picture of all your works-in-progress for your blog:

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It will make you immediately freeze up and not know what to do with yourself.  Last post, I was in a quandary about starting new projects or working on something already started.  So, I came to a happy medium and did both.

I took out my Halona shawl (the green one in the picture above) and continued work on that.  I started it April 10, 2015 and then put it down when I got to a hard part.  Mind you, this shawl is mostly garter stitch and there are exactly 3 “hard” rows in it.  It’s just that the first hard row had a million stitches in it.

Once I got a few rows done on that, I started The Pocket Hat (magenta project above) because it was so darn cute and who doesn’t need a pocket on their hat???? That cruised along nicely – just the pocket left to do and hopefully I will offer this as a class this summer.

Then I started the Lotno shawl (light pink project above) because it looked fairly easy and something that I could take in the car pretty easily (along with my socks). Also a potential summer class.

Now, all those other ones in the first picture????  I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of needing to work on all of them immediately and at the same time.  I started them all because I loved them and then they got pushed aside for all the other things I love.

And here is what happens when you just keep starting all the things and don’t finish any of the things:

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I’m still using my dishcloth-turned-teapot-cozy because I haven’t finished the Sleeping Owl Tea Cosy yet.  Want to know why?  Because the knitting part is done. Now it is sewing up and sewing on the duplicate stitches and that takes some attention and thought and apparently I don’t have any of that right now.

In the meantime, it was a little rainy this week, so the Doodlebugs and I did some crafting.  Many, many pages of watercolor painting (using brushes, fingers and q-tips) which I forgot to take a picture of and then we did some glue, tissue paper, crayon and sticker stuff:

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And in other news, I made a turkey:

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We got this free at Easter because we spent too much at Shop-Rite.  I am mostly showing it to you to tell you that this 14-pound turkey takes 4 hours to roast in a regular oven, but I figured out how to use our convection roast setting on our oven (with the temperature probe) and it took exactly one hour and 45 minutes.  Crazypants.  You put the turkey in the oven without preheating it (more crazypants) and then the oven shuts off when the probe senses it has reached the pre-set temperature.   I completely doubted that it was really done and had to double-check with the other thermometer.  And a 14-pound turkey for two people equals one turkey dinner, 8 turkey sandwiches and 8 servings of turkey tetrazzini, in case you were wondering.

Happy Weekending to you.  I’m off to prepare for my Langfield Hat and Diane Shawl classes this weekend.  Then I am going to look at all my projects again and figure out what to do next. (the tea cosy….)

Catching Up

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Things are yet again busy around here, and I haven’t posted for almost two weeks, so here is your catch-up post….

Last weekend, we had a great ending class to the Fish Lips Kiss Heel and by the end of class, everyone had a heel!

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The next day, Paul and I went to the annual spring meeting of the Buick Club. (It really has another, official name, which Paul very patiently explained to me recently, but I already forgot.  But it’s understandable because there was some sort of name change at some point and all the t-shirts say one thing, but the official name is another thing, so I just call it the Buick Club.)  I worked on my sock while we were there:

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And we made our annual post-meeting trip to Red Rooster:

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Then at home I finished my sock and now there is a pair!

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The one on the left is the second one, which had not been blocked yet.  It looks as if the colors in the right sock bled a little when I blocked it because the color is definitely different.  And they look like they aren’t the same size, but the one on the left will grow a little when it block it.  I hope.  To be honest, I forgot to write down the number of stitches I increased to in the toe of the first sock and when I did the second one, the first sock was on display in the shop so I couldn’t count them.  So hopefully I measured correctly on my template, and knitted with the same gauge.  And for you eagle eyes, yes I will weave in those ends someday.

In other knitting news…. I started the Sleeping Owl Tea Cozy:

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I am making a modification to this.  The pattern calls for flat two-color knitting which means two ends to weave in for every row with white stitches.  See how many rows there are (that is on the front and the back)?  Since I absolutely dislike weaving in ends, especially a lot of them, I decided to use this as an opportunity to practice and then teach duplicate stitches.  This means putting in those white stitches after it’s knitted, on top of the gray stitches, and you can use one continuous strand of yarn.  Stay tuned.  Hopefully my modification works.  And hopefully it will be a good class to teach!

I also started my not-so-super-secret knitting project for the someone I know going to college this fall.  I don’t know if he reads this, so it might not be a secret.  But, for those of you in-the-know, please don’t tell just in case:

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This is the #07 Striped Blanket from KnitSimple magazine.  It is currently on hold though because I need to add gray next and that is on order.

And finally, there were these:

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These were the Cocktails for Two knit-a-long socks that I started over two years ago (January 31, 2014).  They were hard.  At the hard parts I would put them down for a while to give my brain a rest.  Then, when I picked them back up, it would take me 10 years to figure out where I was and how the heck to do it.  So, I would put them down again.  At some point, I went to try them on and realized I had totally picked the wrong size to knit and they were too small.  So, I put them down again.  I would look at them every so often and wonder if I should rip them out and start the size that would fit me.  Because they really are cool looking.  And I really love the yarn, Madelinetosh sock.  Then I would decide to think about it later because the thought of doing all that really hard work again was daunting and not very appealing.  Well, the other day I thought about it again….

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…. and I thought that there was no way I was going to knit that pattern again and I love the yarn so much so I will just make another, easier pair of socks with it.  Someday.

And now I am in a what-can-I-start-next-because-I-want-to-start-all-the-things-but-maybe-I-should-finish-some-things-first kind of mood.  So I haven’t knitted anything for two days.  Who can relate?

A Yarn Emergency

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You can put this on this list of “Crazy Things Knitters Do That No One Else But Other Knitters (and Paul) Understand”….

Paul and I were out early on Sunday morning, running errands and having breakfast at Panera.  As we were eating, we were discussing what we were going to do with the day ahead of us, both assuming we’d be going home to do house-y or garage-y things.  Then Paul said what he really wanted to do was get an ice cream at Martha’s in Lake George.  I jumped at the suggestion, especially because I will do practically anything to get out of vacuuming. (I had been putting it off for an obscene amount of time.  Just be glad you didn’t come over.)

However, there was one problem.  I had left the house without any knitting.  This constituted a true yarn emergency because who wants to ride in the car for a whole hour (each way) and not be able to do any knitting?  I couldn’t stand the thought.  I actually would truly rather buy new yarn and new needles (of which I have many, many, many, many, kinds at home already) than go for that trip without it.  And we happened to be right near a store that sells yarn and needles.  It was not my tried and true local yarn shop (The Spinning Room!), and didn’t have my favoritest of yarns, but that was ok.  It really was an emergency.  Seriously.  Did I mention how I would not have been able to stand the ride without knitting?  And let me tell you this:  Paul did not even blink at the idea/suggestion.  He knows.  He sort of just sighed and said, “Let’s go then.”

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And we were off!  I happily started a new pair of socks with my new surprisingly-nice-to-knit-with yarn by Deborah Norville (who happens to also be the new host of Knit and Crochet Now on PBS, a show I like).

We stopped at Martha’s Dandee Crème first:

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Not only did we get a great ice cream cone, but I got the best t-shirt ever.  Except Paul said that I should add “and Knit” on the bottom of it.  We decided it would be best to drive right by the tempting outlet stores and then we went for a nice, long walk along the lake and in the town of Lake George.  Nice and quiet with no tourists!

What a great day, and look how much I got done on a sock!….

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(Love those striping purples!)

And today I vacuumed AND mopped the floors.  See what a little down time (and knitting time) does to the cleaning mojo?

P.S. Paul mentioned that this is the third time this season we have gotten ice cream and my seasonal tally is not on the blog yet.  I took it down, thinking that we wouldn’t have as much ice cream this year since we are trying to eat healthier (ha!), and now I can’t remember how to re-put it up.  I’ll work on that since apparently I was a tiny bit wrong in my thinking.

Should We Talk About the Weather?

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Let’s just talk about the crappy weather one last time and not talk about it again until there is something nice and pretty and beautiful and spring-like to talk about.

There was a little snow here on Saturday…

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Which actually was a tiny bit pretty.  It looked pretty against the maple tree buds, which I then felt a little sorry for.  I hope they are ok.

Then this happened on Sunday and Monday:

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You may have noticed the snow plow Jeep in the top picture.  It sits there still.  The motor froze because it was so cold and because it was sitting outside because it was not supposed to snow anymore.  So Paul had to trudge to the shed and find a shovel instead.

And all this snow made it much more difficult for me to work on my 10,000 steps in the doodlebugs backyard:

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While they made snow angels:

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Let’s hope that’s it.  Seriously, spring.  Let’s go.

In the meantime, Paul and I tried to celebrate one of our favorite spring things, the opening of Jumpin’ Jacks Drive-In:

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In the cold and the rain.  But it was yummy, so it was worth it. (That’s my pistachio soft serve on the left.  YUM.  I love pistachio.)

In knitting news, I had several classes last weekend, including the TWF(Three Way Fun) Cowl class, where they all got a good start on these fun, quick cowls:

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And we had the first session of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel class, where everyone got to feel slightly uncomfortable while someone else traced their bare or sock-clad foot:

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But it was a necessary first step to make these socks that will fit their feet perfectly!  Stay tuned for their progress after the second class….

And I started this cute Milo vest on Sunday:

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….and finished it on Monday.  Full disclosure, it’s the newborn size so it’s really tiny and took less than 137 yards, which is one ball of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Tonals yarn, which I love, Love, LOVE!!!

Ok.  Do you think that cabbage patch doll picture is a little creepy to model a human sweater?  I kinda do, but they really are about the size of a newborn, so…..  So here is a normal picture:

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So adorable.  Fun, easy pattern.  This will be a class at The Spinning Room in May!

That’s it.  That’s all the snow talk for this year.  But there will be tons more knitting talk.  I’m still working on my cotton cardi.  Just giving my hands a rest.  And I’ve got a must-knit-by-September project for someone-who-won’t-be-named-but-is-going-to-a really-excellent-college-so-excellent-in-fact-that-it-is-an-ivy-league-college-in-the-fall that needs to be started.

This is What I Get

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To the park with the doodlebugs on a beautiful but crisp spring day!

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Lots of running around and rolling down hills.

Come home and see this in my reflection in the microwave:

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Why didn’t they tell me???  This is what I get for hanging out with 4-year-olds.

(Nevermind, “Why didn’t I weave in the end?”  I’ll tell you why: Because it was supposed to be on the inside and no one was supposed to see it.  There is another one tucked into the folded up brim.)

Okay, and by the way, isn’t that a great hat??  I love it.

They redeemed themselves by helping me make a pie and some cookies for their grandma:

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And they were nice enough to give us some yummy treats:IMG_6935

I guess they are ok after all.  And I will educate them about weaving in ends and looking out for their Auntie Liz wearing her hats inside out.

Oh, and this happened near us:

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Hooray for saving an old barn!

The Time. It Flies. Things Happen.

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Things are crazy again and time is flying by, but things have happened so I want to tell you about them, but it will have to be in a list with pictures…….

1) I taught the third full class of the Wheaten wrap and everyone got a good start!

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2) I took a drop spindle spinning class at The Spinning Room.

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It was great and I learned a lot!

3) Wait, let’s back up a minute….. I TOOK A CLASS!  I didn’t TEACH a class.  I TOOK a class.  I don’t get to do that very often.  It was great.

4) I finished Paul’s vest!

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Almost.  If you look closely, at the top of the zipper, you will see some yarn ends sticking out.  Those are the ends of where I cut up the front of the vest.  I just need to hand sew grosgrain ribbon along each side of the zipper to hide those ends and give it a nice, finished look.  (I say” just” as if it were something small, minor, taking little time….)  But it looks great and it fits him great and he likes it!

5) A sign of spring!
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6) Another sign of spring!

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Ok, so you can’t really see it in this picture – which is a pretty picture of the sunset – but there is a BLUEBIRD in that little maple tree in our front yard!  A BLUEBIRD!  I was so happy to see it.  I just think they are such a pretty bird with pretty blue feathers and a white/rosy tummy.  We had many in our yard when we lived in Vermont and I hadn’t seen any since we’ve lived here (8 years).  Although, Paul says he’s seen one before….

7) And another sign of spring!

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Buds on the lilac bush at the doodlebugs house.

7) And another!

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Mmmmmm.

8) And lastly, I started a spring/summer short sleeved sweater.  It’s not the one I thought I’d do.

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It’s off to a good start – I love, Love, LOVE top down sweaters.  No seaming!

A Hat Three Times

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I think I already told you I found this GREAT hat to knit and have a class.  The Langfield hat by Martina Behm.  I love her patterns.  It’s very cool because it has a multidirectional look to it, and it is not knit in the round like a traditional hat.  Something new and interesting as far as hat knitting goes.

So I made one (Hat #1)!

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However….

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It was pretty small.  Looks like cat ears, no?  I was so afraid I would run out of yarn that I started the second section too soon and pretended that I really wasn’t stretching the first section too much to get it to fit around my head.  But I was.  Delusions of knitting.

So this happened…

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Ripped it out to make that triangle bigger like it should have been in the first place.  But then I decided, since I knew how to knit the hat now, I should really make it in a yarn that The Spinning Room carries, to have it as a class sample.

So I left that one up there as is, and made this one (Hat #2) with Noro Silk Garden:

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So pretty and fits so much better. I’d show you it on the Styrofoam head, but I lent it to someone.  Trust me, it’s bigger and is SO comfortable!

Then I re-knit the other one and finished that last night (Hat #1 knit again, so Hat #3):

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It is not that bright. It is a tonal navy color.  Love this pattern.  And now that I’ve knit it three times, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to teach it in a class.  (Scheduled for April 30 & May7 at The Spinning Room!)

And speaking of classes, I finished my Diane shawl and I absolutely love, Love, LOVE it!

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L O V E ! (Class scheduled for May 1 at The Spinning Room!)

On to the search for a spring/summer cotton-or-lightweight-yarn top/cardi/tee pattern.  I’m thinking of doing Berry Creek.

(HAPPY FRIDAY!!)

Pompom-a-looza

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This past Sunday was the second and final session of the Baa-ble hat classes.  It was learning-about-decreases day and pompom day.  This is how the day went:

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So fast!

But first, to prepare for class, I told myself I should practice how to make a pompom since I hadn’t done it in so long.  Mind you, the last time I did it, I figured it out in seconds and had the pompom made in minutes.  That is how great these Clover pompom makers are (Clover Large Pom Pom Maker).  So fast and so easy!!  But I’m a weirdo and so crazy afraid that I’ll mess up teaching it, I had to practice.   Sure enough,  I totally screwed it up!  You may not know anything about these pompom makers but here is what I did at first:

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And here is what is supposed to really happen, after I looked up a YouTube video (and didn’t look at the back of the package):

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I totally missed wrapping the yarn around the second green thing. Blergh.  Funny what happens when you overthink something.  And that was about an hour before class, so you can imagine how I was when I did it wrong the first time.

Class #1 had some great hats and pompoms!:

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Some had already finished and some were even on their second hat!  And some ate the cookies I made.

Class #2 also had some great hats and pompoms!:

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Again, some were finished and on their second hat.  I guess that shows the class (and really, the pattern) was a success!  There is a list of hopefuls for another session.  If you are interested, call The Spinning Room and put your name on the list.  When there are enough on the list, I’ll schedule another.

By the end of both classes I had everyone excited about a pompom wreath project for next holiday season!  Like this one.

I made another batch of cookies today to send to our friend Ray (of Ray and Rob, whom we go drag racing with) who is having a tough time recovering from back surgery.  These are his favorite (chocolate with white chips).

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Then I got totally distracted by this:

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Langfield is an awesome hat pattern with a funky construction and the knitting goes in all different directions.  I thought it would be great for a class and just couldn’t help myself.  My yarn has more subtle color (tonal) changes than the pattern pic, and I’ll likely make a second one with a gradient striping yarn.  I’m still working on my Diane shawl.  And I haven’t forgotten about sewing the zipper on the vest.  It stares at me every time I walk into my office.  Knitting for classes is taking precedent for now.  Sorry Paul.  You will get it.

Also, just finished listening to Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me?  Fun and funny and more.  I like her.

Steeking the fear right out of me.

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Ok. So, where we last left things was that I was going to attempt the steeking of Paul’s Perun vest when I was freshly awoke today.  I woke up at 4am because the wind was trying to blow the house down, so I figured I needed to get up to make sure I could hold the house together if it started falling apart.  Seeing as how I was wide awake, I did a few hours of my proofreading work.  For some reason that seemed ok to do at 4am but steeking was not ok to do at 4am.  I waited until 8am.  Not freshly awoke but not a zombie yet from being awake at 4am.

To refresh your memory, here is the before:

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(By the way, that collar will be folded over and stitched down.  It is not some weirdo cardigan/turtleneck styling option.)

I busted out my hardly ever used sewing machine and found out that it actually still works and I didn’t even need to oil it or anything.  Not that I have any oil or that I would know where to put the oil.

First I made two rows of stitching, one on either side of the area that I needed to cut.  I happened to have a walking foot from my quilting days, so that made things go much more smoothly.  The first time I did it (yes, the first time, as opposed to the next time….) I did it with the right side facing, trying to follow a column of purl bumps:

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When I was done and not terribly happy with the not-so-straightness of it.  I realized this:

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The “wrong” side has nice straight columns between the stitches, to follow with the sewing machine.  Out came the first set of stitches.  On to much straighter stitching:

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That was done and it was time. Ugh.  Time to cut right up the middle of all that painstaking knitting I did for hours and hours and if I messed it up it would all unravel and Paul would have no vest to wear.  With that in mind, I invited Paul to watch (and take pictures):

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(As I started cutting, he was remarking that my hands were shaking, which gave me all kinds of confidence.)

But then….

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It was done.  And I was trying not to worry about those frayed, cut yarn ends.

Now it looks like a vest:

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And now that it’s done, I’m glad and it wasn’t terrible and now there just isn’t a darn thing I can do but keep moving forward because I can’t un-steek it.

On to zipper installation.  Here is where things went all kinds of more wrong.  I changed to my zipper foot and well…it just…sort of…well, sucked.  Because it was no longer the walking foot, which you use with thicker fabric so things don’t stretch and get skewed, things stretched and got skewed and even though at the outset the zipper was the right length, it ended up 5 inches too short and the fabric got all rippley and wavy.

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Oh man, that just really was awful.  As I undid the stitching (which is much harder to do with a zipper), I came to the realization that I will have to sew this by hand.  Blech.  Then I started worrying that all that sewing and undoing was making the cut part get too frayed and that hand sewing it will make it even worse.  So, now that my fear of steeking is conquered, I have a fear of hand sewing a zipper.  After that, I decided I had enough for the day (at 10am) and put it down.  As long as I don’t obsess too much about those frayed ends, I will attempt some hand sewing, maybe tomorrow, when I am yet again freshly awoke.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I finally found a shawl pattern that I am excited to knit and to teach!

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This pattern is Diane by Romi HillI. Love. It. Already.  It’s got a really cool construction which will make for a fun class for people to learn some new things.  And it is pretty.

And here are some non-dishcloth-background pictures of the Song of the Sea cowl.

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The top picture is the more accurate color.

And finally, a book recommendation.  I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  Sad, but really really good.

That is all for today.  I’m going to knit.

A lovely tea, two lovely cowls, and a scaredy-cat.

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This was an excellent way to spend last Sunday afternoon:

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The Spinning Room had it’s third annual tea party to celebrate the wonderfulness of Downton Abbey.  We are all sad that it is ending.  Yummy treats, catching up with knitting friends I haven’t seen for a while, meeting some new people and knitting.  A really nice afternoon.

So the project up there in the top picture is the Song of the Sea cowl which I finished last night:

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I love it.  Although I do not love the red and white dishcloth background.  Easy pattern with such a pretty effect.  Class coming up on April 9 if you are interested!

I also made the Three Way Fun cowl:

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I started this at 5pm on Saturday and finished it Sunday morning at 10am.  Definitely fun, and quick, and pretty cool because you can choose several different looks to knit it in.  Also a class, coming up on April 3 if you are interested!

Also working on finding a shawl project to knit for an upcoming class. I’m having so much trouble finding one that I will love to knit and that others will love to have as a class.  I have had several false starts.  And by that I mean I have bought several patterns and haven’t started knitting them because the construction was not what I thought it would be, or it was just too difficult for a class, or it had a good stretch of purled garter stitch.  Who wants to do a purled garter stitch lace pattern?  Not me, really, even though it is pretty.  So, I’m not going to knit something that I’m not going to like knitting, only to then try and convince someone else that they really want to knit it!  So the search goes on….

And then there is this:

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That is the first picture in the sequence of pictures to show you how I am going to go about steeking Paul’s vest.  That is the only picture there is.  Today is the day that I say screw-your-unreasonable-fear-of-doing-this-simply-because-you’ve-never-done-it-and-don’t-want-to-ruin-it-so-stop-being-a-scaredy-cat and TRY.  Although.  It is now 3:15pm and I’ve had a busy day and I’m a little tired.  I wouldn’t want to make a mistake because I was tired.  Maybe I should wait until Friday.  I can do it first thing in the morning when I am freshly awoke.  I’m not making excuses, just being sensible.