Emily M. DeArdo

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Yarn Along No. 69

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

It's going to be 50 degrees today! As opposed to last week, when I was dwelling in Hoth! Oh, Ohio weather....(Next week? Looks like it's back to Hoth...) 

Anyway, time for a yarn along!

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Still working on the shawl. It's coming. I actually had to frog quite a bit of it last week but I managed to save it, and now I'm sort of frogging-shy. :) Does that make sense? (Frogging is where you rip out stuff you knitted.) But I'm planning on diving back in today.

In the mean time, I've been working on this scarf, for an ebook customer who won this scarf as part of my release week** events! Isn't it pretty? 

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This week I finished Pachinko, which was one of my Christmas books. The book revolves around four generations of a Korean family that moves to Japan--the book starts in the 1930s and goes until 1990 or thereabouts. I enjoyed it--mostly--but if you're not familiar with Korean culture, you might need to Google a lot of references, especially early on. 

**Speaking of the book (my book, that is!): If you haven't ordered it, you can do it right here. It's $9.50, but if you're a site subscriber, you have a code for 15% off! You can read all about the book here, but a few notes: isn't not something you have to read straight through. You can jump around to the sections you want to read. It has several new pieces that I didn't feature in the original blog series, and it's illustrated! (Not lavishly. But there are pictures.) I'll be writing another post that goes into more detail soon. 

(Note: There is WAYYY more than 80 pages of content. It's almost 200 pages! So I need to correct that!)

Yarn Along No. 68: Knitting to keep warm!

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo11 Comments
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I don't live in Ohio anymore. I live on the planet Hoth. :-P As I write this, it is -1 for the real, actual temperature. It feels like -16. Yeah. No thank you.  


(And yes, this is an old graphic, but I thought it was worth sharing because it amuses me.) 

So I am knitting to keep warm! And then reading, under mounds of blankets, also to keep warm. A good set of conditions for a Yarn Along. 

First up: some completed/almost completed scarves from Barton Cottage Crafts:

"Marianne" scarf 

"Marianne" scarf 

"Brianna" scarf 

"Brianna" scarf 

My big personal project is the drachenfels shawl. I am really liking working this pattern. It's not hard, once you get used to it, because the pattern doesn't appreciably change over the extent of the shawl. 

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I'm using Quince and Co. Chickadee in iceland, bird's egg, and fjord. The needles I'm using are Knit Picks harmony interchangeables. 

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Above, you can see how far I've gotten. Ignore the wobbly end bits that need woven in and tightened up! For the first part of the shawl, you do many repeats with color one (Iceland) and do a few rows of color two (bird's egg). I'm almost done with this first section. Then we get into using all three colors! Exciting. I won't exactly be sad to see the Iceland go. 

The book is one of many I'm currently reading. One of my goals for the year is to have a simplified, comfortable, cozy house, and Emily Ley's A Simplified Life is helping me do that. All the sticky notes are pages that have lists or ideas I want to accomplish/incorporate. I did a huge closet clean out last year and book purge, so that's really helpful, but if there's anything else I want to get rid of, this is the time! 

What are you knitting/ reading? 

******

Site notes: Catholic 101 is now available, and it's also listed on Goodreads! So you can leave a review if you've read it! If you haven't read it, you can pick up your copy here. Blog subscribers get 15% off! 

 

 

Yarn Along 67: Looking Ahead

yarn along, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

So, I'm looking ahead today to 2018 project (wow, 2018 is SO WEIRD TO WRITE)! There are a few on the horizon that I'm excited to share with you. 

First up is the Drachenfels shawl. This is a BIG project. However, it's all garter stitch work, so it won't be as hard as it could be! But it still involves colorwork (my first time doing colorwork), and some new stitches. I'm hoping to get some help from the knitters in my family when they're here at Christmas!

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For my colors, I'm using Christmas yarn--yes, yarn that I haven't gotten yet, but I know I'm getting because I had to pick the colors! I'm using Quince and Co's chickadee in Fjord, Iceland, and Bird's Egg, so it's definitely a cool-toned shawl. I wear so much blue that it just made sense. 

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The next project is this scarf from Quince and Co.--Dahlia. I have the pattern and the yarn, I just haven't cast on yet. I'm using Frabjous Fiber's Mad Hatter Speckled Yarn in Victorian China. The colorway is just gorgeous and I had to have it--and then I had to find a use for it. :) 

And finally, speaking of must-have yarn, I'm going to be using my Williamsburg yarn to create this cowl.  Special yarn like my Williamsburg yarn requires a special project! 

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So there you have it--the Project List for 2018 (thus far), in addition to any Barton Cottage Crafts creations I create! I'm excited to start!

 

Need a last minute gift? Catholic 101 is easy to give as a gift! Just click the present icon at checkout in the email field, and voila! Shopping is done. Also remember that blog subscribers have a 15% code to use! 

Yarn Along No. 66: SCARF FOR SALE!

books, Barton Cottage Crafts, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

Today's a bit different: I have a scarf for sale!

This is a beautiful basketweave scarf in the "Lady Sibyl" Barton Cottage Crafts colorway. Much like Sibyl Crawley, it's sweet, but also somewhat unexpected with the edition of deep blues and teals that run throughout the pattern. 

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The teals and blues that run through it remind me of Sibyl's famous harem pants: 

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The colors run from deep ocean blue, turquoise, a light slate blue-gray, pinks, and lavender purples. It's a beautiful scarf in a great colorway, and would make a perfect Christmas present!

The scarf is $35 with FREE U.S. shipping. It's 40x6", and made of 70% superwash wool and 30% nylon. I send it priority mail so it'll arrive quickly! And it's all wrapped and ready to go. I have one scarf available

So if you'd like to purchase it, leave a comment, and we'll work out the details! It's really beautiful. 

Now, for this week's project: 

I finished the shawl!

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Holy cow, I love this guy. It's so warm and pretty!

And I'm working on this scarf: 

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I LOVE this colorway. This is "lupine", or as I call it, the "Marianne Dashwood", because, like Marianne, it's full of rich, strong colors with a strong romantic streak (check out that deep pink!). She's gorgeous. 

I'm reading The Miraculous Medal, which I got at our parish used book sale for ONE DOLLAR. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, and here it is! Yay!

 

Yarn Along No. 65

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

This is a little different. :) I'm working on a new project! Rejoice! (I still have basketweave scarves being worked on, too, though. So if you've ordered one, don't despair. The knitting machine works overtime around here.) 

One of my Christmas gifts is yarn for a big shawl pattern. But before I begin that pattern, I needed to learn different ways of increasing. So, my lovely friend Sarah taught me two ways to increase stitches, and now I feel like an expert! 

I made this project to help get the technique in my head. 

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This is the Urban Wrap shawl. It's knit on size 15 Caspian circulars, and the yarn is Sugar Bush Yarns' Canoe in the Whitewater colorway. I love the tweedy goodness of this yarn, and it's very soft and warm, which is great for this shawl. 

Check out that tweedy goodness!

Check out that tweedy goodness!

 

The original pattern called for this to be done in Stockinette stitch, however, since my big shawl is in garter stitch, I made this all garter stitch, too. But I love this pattern so much that I think I will make another and add it to the Barton Cottage Crafts inventory! So keep an eye out, if you want a shawl. 

The book I'm reading is A Gentleman in Moscow, which I finally got ahold of. I'm liking it so far. Russian history has always been something I've enjoyed, so this book taps that niche in my reading list quite nicely. 

Various and Sundry:

My piece on living a painless life was picked up by ForEveryMom.com! I'm so honored to be featured there. You can read it here

Don't forget to pick up your copy of Catholic 101! It has great tips for Advent and Christmastime inside, plus the St. Andrew Christmas novena! If you're a subscriber, you can still use your offer code until the end of the year to save 15%. If you're not a subscriber, subscribe to get the code! You can buy Catholic 101 here. (Don't forget that you can also give it as a gift!) 

 

Yarn Along No. 64

knitting, yarn along, booksEmily DeArdoComment

It's back! Whew!

Knitting definitely took a back seat during the frenetic pre-release period of Catholic 101. (Which you can purchase right here!)  But now that it's out in the world, I've got a bunch of orders to work on, starting with this little guy: 

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This is the Sugar Cookie Colorway, called "Lady Sibyl" in Barton Cottage Crafts parlance, because it mirrors a lot of the colors and personality of the youngest Downton Abbey sister, Sibyl Branson. And this is  tied with Lady Mary ("Red Velvet" colorway) as my top seller, so the Crawley sisters are dominating the BCC world these days. 

The book is Be The Gift, a photography book based on Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way. I really adore this little, pretty devotional, especially as we head into the holidays. Ann gives concrete ways to bless people's lives that don't involve a lot of time or talent expenditure--just a little bit of heart. 

And if you'd like a Basketweave scarf of your own, I'm currently taking orders! I have a pile of scarves to knit right now, so any orders will be ready late December/January, at this point (I think). I work on projects in the order I receive them, so first come, first served. So if you'd like a scarf, just drop me a comment and I'll email you back and we'll talk! The scarves are $35 each, about 40x6", and you get to pick your colorway. Just let me know! 

 

Yarn Along No. 63

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

Anddd we continue the knitting! Since I'm working on getting the ebook ready for publication (you can pre-order here!), I'm keeping the blogging to a minimum and devoting all my energies to editing, and knitting, because I have commissions!

 

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So here we have a commission: this is the Lady Sibyl (after the youngest Crawley girl on Downton Abbey). The book was pretty good. Adriana T. can be hit or miss, and I'd wondered about this when it first came out. It's got a bunch of side plots/characters that the book doesn't need, but the core story is good. 

 

Yarn Along No. 62

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I'm SO GLAD that I'll be having a new, fun, just for me project starting soon! But in the meantime, here are two recent Barton Cottage Crafts finished products for your perusal. :) 

First up, the Fanny Price. I chose this color way (called "Surf's Up") because of Fanny's brother's enlistment in the Navy, as well as Fanny being from Portsmouth, a naval port in England. 

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And here's the Brianna Randall, based on the Outlander character who wore a Day-Glo colored dress to the moon launch party in Drums of Autumn. I think she'd love these colors!

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Right now I'm reading The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker, which I checked out of the library along with several other novel, so I'm looking forward to reading them!

 

(Speaking of reading: Don't forget that my ebook, Catholic 101, is available to pre-order!

Yarn Along No. 61: Barton Cottage Crafts and Linen

yarn along, books, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

 

Barton Cottage Crafts is what I call my nascent scarf business. It's named after the Dashwood ladies' house in Sense and Sensibility, which is also what I call my own little house, and I think it has a nice ring to it, right? So this week I'm showing you what I'm working on there, as well as linen piece progress.

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This is the Anne Shirley scarf, done in an autumnal colorway to channel Anne's love of October. 

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This is the Lady Edith, done in blues and greens, and named after Downton Abbey's Lady Edith Crawley, who looked quiet lovely in these shades (even if she wasn't my favorite character. :-P) 

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This one is in progress, and it's the Brianna Randall, named after the Outlander character. I chose to name this bright colorway after Brianna because of the Day-Glo colored dress she wears to the moon landing party in Drums of Autumn

All of these scarves have been commissioned, but I'm hoping eventually to knit up enough stock to have an Etsy shop for them. If you want one, just drop me a line and we can talk! 

For my own personal knitting, we've got the linen kerchiefs going on.  There's the supermoon one, in purple linen (Venice colorway): 

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And the sans kerchief, in the Truffle colorway (these are both Quince and Co.'s sparrow yarn). 

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The Supermoon has a textured pattern, so each row is different; you work in sets of seven rows at a time. The sans is just stockinette stitch, so it's a lot easier! It's also the project I brought on vacation because I thought it would be nice and relaxing to do, which it was, for the most part, but linen can be a pain when you're purling, especially in the beginning. Gah! 

When I have commissions, I work on my own pieces on the weekends only, usually Sundays, because I want people to get their pretty scarves as soon as possible! So I've been going back and forth between the two linen projects. No rush on those, especially on Supermoon, since it's a bit more complicated than anything I've done before. 

 

 

Yarn Along No. 60: Yarn in Colonial Williamsburg

yarn along, history, knittingEmily DeArdo1 Comment
Freshly dyed yarn in the weaver's shop at Colonial Williamsburg

Freshly dyed yarn in the weaver's shop at Colonial Williamsburg

This is an extra special yarn along, because today we're not talking about knitting, we're talking all about yarn! We're taking a field trip to CW and the Weaver's! 

A few months before I visited CW, I heard that it was possible to buy yarn that was completely handmade by the artisans at Williamsburg, using 18th century methods. Of course, this piqued my interest! I knew that I was going to want some of this special yarn. 

The yarn at CW starts with the wool, of course. The wool comes from their herd of Leicester Longwool sheep. 

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Leicester Longwools were developed in the mid-18th century by Robert Bakewell of Leicester, England. The breed became popular throughout the British empire; George Washington purchased Leicester Longwools for his flock at Mount Vernon. 

According to the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeder's Association, "The fleece of the Leicester Longwool is prized by hand spinners and crafters for its curl, soft handle, and lustrous beauty... The wool dyes exceptionally well, maintaining the purity of color; the natural luster still shines through. This premium wool is very versatile, working well for combing for worsted products, carding for woolen products, and felting projects. " 

The sheep are very rare these days, and CW plays a big role in keeping the breed alive. 

So, we have this gorgeous wool, which looks like this, in its raw state: 

Check out that curl! 

Check out that curl! 

The wool is incredibly soft, even in this "raw" state, and really pretty. At least, these pieces are!

The sheep shearing is done by other people. Before it reaches the weavers, the wool also has to be skirted (taking out pieces that are too short or too matted to use), and scoured (cleaned). 

After the wool is clean and dry, it's ready to card. 

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Here you can see a few things--raw wool, that needs picked over (in the crock), wool that's been cleaned, but needs carded (back basket), carded wool that's being spun (on the spinning wheel), and finished thread/yarn on a bobbin (in the yellow basket, foreground). The bobbin will go into a shuttle, to be used in weaving, as seen below. 

The weaver is holding the shuttle in her left hand; here, she's weaving linen cloth. 

The weaver is holding the shuttle in her left hand; here, she's weaving linen cloth. 

After the wool is spun, either with a drop spindle or on a spinning wheel, and the appropriate thickness reached (I'm simplifying, massively, for our purposes), it's time to dye!

At CW, there's an entire book about how to dye with their natural dyes. Since the colors are all natural, it's really hard to reproduce exactly the same colors. In fact, it's probably impossible. So when I went to buy my yarn, I chose two skeins that were close--but they're not identical. 

You can see, even dyed in the same vat, they're different--but close enough! The differences really drive home the hand-dyed nature of it, for me. 

You can see, even dyed in the same vat, they're different--but close enough! The differences really drive home the hand-dyed nature of it, for me. 

Here's what the CW website says about 18th century dyeing: 

Nature provided the colors used in dyeing textiles in the 18th century. Today, Colonial Williamsburg’s weavers use the same 18th-century recipes for dyes – all safe enough to drink. An insect called the cochineal from South America makes the color red. 70,000 cochineal are needed to make a pound of red dye that can turn everything from leather to makeup and frosting red – including paint and textiles. Brown comes from walnuts, blue from indigo from South Carolina, Spain, or South America. Purple comes from the Spanish log wood tree, and turmeric from India gives yellow its hue. Orange comes from the root of the madder plant.
Wool is the easiest fabric to dye; cotton is more difficult, and linen is the most difficult of all – the dye tends to sit on the linen, in a sense, not in it. Dyeing was often done on plantations, using different colors of clothing to identify slaves from the same plantation – colorful and expressive folk art came from this practice as slaves used the rich colors to express individuality. (For the rest of the article, click here.) 

As you can see, the weavers at CW get incredible colors from their natural dyes! They were really beautiful, even more so in person. 

I hope this post gives you a taste at how difficult it is to make yarn, especially if you're doing it completely by hand!  I'm so glad I was able to purchase some of it! 

If you go to CW and are looking for yarn, I found it for sale in the Prentis store and at the Milliner's. Be warned: It's going to cost you more than the $10 skein at Jo-Ann's! But I hope after reading this you'll see why, and appreciate the artistry that goes into handcrafting yarn. 

Some articles, if you want more: 

"Everything you've been dyeing to know about 18th century weaving", Making History Now

"Weaver", history.org

"Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing" Colonial Williamsburg Journal

Hamrick, Max. Organic Fiber Dyeing: The Colonial Williamsburg Method. AQS Publishing. 

Creative Burst

behind the scenes, Catholic 101, current projects, knitting, writingEmily DeArdo1 Comment

The last week has been so exciting! I've been making progress on some big goals, including one thing I never thought I'd do, so I thought I'd share this with you today. 

First, as I said last week, I've got a cover for my ebook!

This was a big hurdle for me, because graphic design is elusive in my world. But I'm really pleased with how this came out. I took the photo during my last trip to D.C., when I visited the Franciscan monastery

Now I have to finish writing and editing a few pieces, then it gets sent to a few beta readers for testing, so to speak--and then it's almost ready for the rest of you! If you use an e-reader, what format do you use the most? Kindle? iBooks? Doesn't matter? Let me know!

The ebook is based on my Catholic 101 series, but there are also brand-new pieces, to make it worth your while. I'm hoping to have it on offer later in the fall! 

The second big thing--I've decided to start selling some of my knitted pieces. 

 

Whenever I post photos of my variegated basketweave scarves, people always say how much they love them. And that got me thinking--would people buy them? Turns out, YES. I have three orders already! I'm really excited about this. 

I'm not planning on making this a huge thing, but I'm excited to be offering these scarves, and some other projects, in various styles and colorways. Right now I'm posting most of the information about them on Instagram and Facebook. So keep your eyes out--I might also cross-post some things here, too, when the pieces are available. Right now I'm sort of behind the gun because I had to order yarn for the projects, but soon I will have some available! 

And in between all this, I'm still working on proposals for my memoir. Whew! There's a lot going on. But I'm using pockets of time to work on these things in a somewhat organized fashion. For example, the yarn for the next project isn't here yet, so I can use today to write and work on the proposal and the ebook. (And give my shoulder muscles a break--knitting so much really does cause them to work!) 

Thanks for all your kind comments and support with my projects! I really appreciate it and I can't wait to share these with you in the near future. 

 

Saturday Miscellany

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Jeopardy, knitting, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Normally, as you know, I don't do a blog post on Saturdays, but I had a stomach bug on Friday, which derailed my plans to do one then, so, here we are: Saturday! (Stomach's fine now.)

First, the winner of the Cultivate Book: Cristina! Yay! I'll get this book out to you in the next week!

Second: Next week marks a year since my appearance on Jeopardy!, which you can read all about here. The Tour de France, people! :-P (If you don't get that, read the posts....or try to find my episode online. I wish Jeopardy re-runs ran around here....)

Third: Take a look at this!

 

I'm kind of a fan. Do you like it? Let me know! I took the photo at the Franciscans of the Holy Land Monastery in D.C. a few years ago and I thought it was a good choice for the cover. 

And finally, in the knitting area: here's the second Christmas gift in progress. 

Yes, it's the same pattern as the first scarf. But man, I love this yarn too! This is called Sugar Cookie--same yarn as the last one, too. 

So, that's my miscellany for this Saturday! Hope you have a great weekend! 

Yarn Along No. 60

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdoComment

I'm working on a few projects at a time here, which I've never done before, so it's interesting. I've decided that, while I'm making Christmas gifts, "my" knitting (i.e., projects for me) will be done on Sundays/holidays, while the Christmas gifts get first priority. This has worked out pretty well so far, because I'm almost done with the first Christmas scarf. 

The Supermoon Kerchief is coming along nicely, though. I figure I'm about to the halfway point. 

The second Christmas scarf is the same pattern, just a different colorway. And after that, I have a dilemma. I have an idea for a gift, but I've never done the pattern before. It's really simple--just stockinette stitch with slipped stitches at the beginning of each row (A slipped stitch means you just move it from needle to needle, without actually knitting it). But I'm loathe to dive into a gift knit without having tested the pattern first, so to speak, by making one for me. Dilemma time. It's big--the same size as the Supermoon Kerchief--but it's easy, so I figure once I start it, it won't take long. Right now I'm planning the "test knit" to be my vacation project. 

Quince and Co. Sparrow yarn in Truffle, for the "test knit". 

Quince and Co. Sparrow yarn in Truffle, for the "test knit". 

As far as books, you can see them above: Mansfield Park, as part of the great Jane Re-Read, and then The Vengeance of Mothers, the sequel to One Thousand White Women. This book isn't actually out yet--I won an advance reader copy in a Goodreads Giveaway. Love me some free books. :) So that one came in the mail on Monday, and I've started reading it. I read One Thousand White Women awhile ago, so that's made the beginning of this book so of difficult, as I try (in vain) to remember what happened in that one. (I'll have a better review of this one once I'm done with it.) 

So that's the state of the yarn the day after Independence Day. 

 

 

Yarn Along No. 59 (We're back!)

knittingEmily DeArdo2 Comments
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After a crazy long hiatus, we're back to the yarn! 

So, above you see some gorgeous Sparrow yarn in Truffle from Quince and Co. Seriously, isn't it gorgeous? I'm using this to test drive a pattern I want to make for a Christmas gift. Before I make a gift for someone, I make a prototype for me, to make sure I can actually do the pattern (ha!) and make any notes. I don't mind messing up so much on things for me--but I obviously do for gifts for others.  

The yarn came like this....

So I got out my swift and wound it up. 

I ordered more yarn for a Christmas project for my mom, and I have three skeins that need wound today, so it's just all yarn all the time over here. I know it's early to be thinking about Christmas gifts, but when you have to make them, it is not early at all! 

More yarn wound and ready to be made into a Christmas gift!

More yarn wound and ready to be made into a Christmas gift!

As for current projects, I'm still working on the Supermoon Kerchief (also using Sparrow yarn, but this time in the Venice colorway). I'm on the second skein now (out of three), so I'm approaching the halfway mark. I really love working with this pattern and this yarn. Since this is a "for me" thing, I might have to put it aside to start some Christmas gifts. 

 

 

Yarn Along No. 58 and a Medical Update (Oh, joy!)

books, health, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo1 Comment

The kerchief continues! The nice thing is that I'm finally getting used to working with linen, and I really like it. I think this is going to be a great finished product. I also have the blocking mats and pins that I'll need to finish this project, even though that's a ways off in the future--I wanted to be prepared! I've never blocked anything before, but fortunately Hannah has some great advice on finishing linen pieces.   

So here's this week's progress. I'm getting near the end of the first ball of yarn, and there are three, total, for this project. So even though it doesn't seem like it, I am making progress! 

 

 

Ravelry notes here. (The pictures here are where you can really see the progress.) The book is Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. I've heard good things about it, but I've never read it--so I decided to fix that! I'm enjoying it so far. 

So, on to the Medical Update. 

As you may remember, I've been having some skin cancer issues. I actually really hate it call it that because it's so not cancer, in my book. I mean, it's stuff we're removing with local anesthesia and it's so easy. It's not cancer, to me. But technically, it is. So, I suppose for our purposes I'll be technically correct. 

(And no, this isn't because I'm fair, and I just didn't wear sunscreen. I've had some people react like that when they see the scar on my forehead from my last Mohs surgery. I then have to tell them that, no, it's not because I was negligent. Anyway, all those details are in the link in the above paragraph.)

So! There are four spots that we wanted to deal with--three on my head, and one on my chest. The three on my head and divided into two areas--one on my forehead, and two on my scalp. The forehead, chest, and first scalp one have been dealt with. But the last one is on the back of my scalp, it's rather large, and my dermatologist wanted a plastic surgeon to "close" it. 

I met with the plastic surgeon yesterday. He is very nice, very smart, and my kind of doctor. The easiest thing to do would be to do a skin graft, like the one I have on my right arm. But that also means that you have a bald spot on your head. So we're not doing that option. We're doing something called a scalp rotation flap, which basically means we're going to move part of my scalp to cover the surgical site, so that I have hair there! I'm not really sure of all the ins and outs of the procedure, technically, and I'm sure you don't want to know. :-P The end result is much more cosmetically pleasing, and, honestly, for me, it's probably easier. Skin grafts involve taking skin from other places on my body, and that means you have two surgical sites you have to deal with. That's not fun. So I support the doctor's plan. 

Because of my medical history, this is going to be done at a local hospital (the same one where I had my cochlear implant surgery, so I'm familiar with them, and they have records about me already!). That way, my surgeon can either discharge me the same day, or, if he needs to, he can keep me overnight. I like this plan a lot, because I want to make sure that any issues are dealt with appropriately, and in a real hospital setting (as opposed to an outpatient surgical center), my people have all the things they need to take care of me, should the need arise. I like that. It makes me happier. 

The process is in two parts: my dermatologist will remove the actual cancer, and my plastic surgeon will close/reconstruct it. Thus, the two of them have to coordinate their schedules to make sure we can do this in a timely manner--meaning, in May, and in a way that doesn't leave me with an open spot on my head for days on end while we wait for a surgical slot to open up. So by the end of this week, I should have dates and times and all that good stuff. 

Being me is never boring. 

 

Yarn Along No. 57: Continuing the Kerchief

yarn along, knitting, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Continuing with the kerchief. I'm really enjoying this project, which is good, because I can't rush through it--the variation in the pattern with every row means I can only do about 3-4 rows before I stop. I really don't want to mess this guy up! 

You can see--sort of--the texture that's going on here. It'll be more evident after it's blocked, I think, but that's a long, long way in the future! 

 

 

The book this week is sort of unorthodox. :) But I love to actually read cookbooks. I have a few where I only make two or so recipes from them, but I keep them because I just love to read the stories and recipes. Yes, I'm weird. 

Anyway, my friend Mary got me The Cardamon Trail for my birthday--the author, Chetna Makan, was a contestant on The Great British Bake Off, and she got to the semi-finals (I think) in her season. She's from India and moved to the UK about ten years ago, so all her "bakes" (as they call the items the contestants make on the show) featured unusual flavor combinations that called to mind her Indian background and heritage. And man, they all looked yummy! So Mary gifted me Chetna's first cookbook and it's SO gorgeous. I can't wait to dive into it! 

Ravelry notes for my project are here

 

 

Yarn Along No. 56: New project!

books, yarn along, knittingEmily DeArdoComment

It seems like a pattern--every time I do a new project, I have to start it three times. And the third time, it holds. 

Such was the case with my newest project, the Supermoon Kerchief. And let me tell you, ripping it all out twice was really, really irritating! But I think I have success! 

 

This project is knit with linen yarn,  and it's almost a lace pattern--the varying stitch pattern gives some really nice texture (which makes sense, since the book the pattern is from is called Texture.) This is the first project I'll have to block, so I'm also sort of nervous about that, but I'll worry about that later! 

I'm using Quince and Co. Sparrow yarn in Venice, and Knitpicks circular needles, size 4. Ravelry notes here

Since it's Passiontide, I'm trying to be more overtly religious in my reading. So these two are on the pile for this week: Anima Christi, and Death on a Friday Afternoon. 

 

Yarn Along 55: When Following the Pattern Goes Awry

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo7 Comments

When you're knitting, usually, if you follow the pattern, you'll get something like the picture in the book. 

Unless the pattern is really, really off, as such was the case with this week's project. 

After I finished my scarf, I was just totally in love with knitting. I began to plan and plot for my next several projects, one of them being this envelope bag from the Chicks With Sticks Guide to Knitting

I followed the pattern precisely. I got the types of yarn indicated. I used the right size needles--which meant I had to get them, because I didn't have size 15s, but hey, I needed them for the next project too. 

And it turned out...oddly. 

It's supposed to be tiny. Like, glasses size case tiny. This is NOT tiny. It's like 13 inches! Now, I didn't felt it--because apparently you're only supposed to felt with 100% wool, and that's not what this wool was. (That wasn't specified in the instructions, either. Grrr.)  Ravelry notes here. 

However, even though it's enormous, I did like knitting this, and I liked whipstitching the edges of the bag, because one of my hangups had been "sewing and knitting? Whaaa?" Now I see how it works. 

I'm using the bag to hold my knitting notions: extra tapestry needles, my tape measure, needle gauge, stuff like that. I will sew a button on this guy at some point. And I do love the colors I chose. 

My work in progress is this guy: a basic washcloth. But different! 

I know--books, not magazines--but I love the dark yarn against the pale cover!

I know--books, not magazines--but I love the dark yarn against the pale cover!

 

It's done with a cotton/linen yarn. The next "real" project in my queue is a linen kerchief, and knitting with linen yarn is really different. (I did a few rows of the kerchief pattern with the linen yarn--Quince Sparrow, Venice colorway.) So I decided, before I go to work on the "real" project, let's use this linen/cotton blend and make up a washcloth, to get a feel for linen, even in a blend. 

Linen tends to really slip off needles, I learned (quickly!). But the stitch definition is amazing. You can't really see here, but even in a blend, the linen makes a difference.  It's going to be great in the kerchief project, which is all about texture.  

(Colorway for washcloth is Planetarium, Knitpick's Cotlin.)

As for real books, I have Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss to read next. 

 

 

Yarn Along No. 54: A completed project!

yarn along, knitting, booksEmily DeArdo2 Comments

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Ta-da! It's finished! Yay!!!!!! I'm so proud of this project and I have to say I love how it all came together. I'm definitely going to do this project again, probably for a Christmas gift, and I already have the colorway picked out. (Same yarn as this project but more winter pastel-ish.) You can follow the progress on Ravelry and see my very few notes, if you're so inclined. 

As for books, I'm re-reading An Echo In the Bone, and I finished Jo's Boys over the weekend. Since I finished My Life In Middlemarch this week, I so want to read more Eliot novels, namely Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss. But alas, I have to wait until Sunday to see if I can scope them out at a local bookstore. 

(Yes, on Sundays, you're allowed to take a day off from your Lenten penance. I will not go crazy, however. I will see if I can find one of these novels. :D )

Yarn Along No. 53: Ash Wednesday knits!

books, knitting, yarn alongEmily DeArdo3 Comments

Happy (?) Ash Wednesday! Did you get your ashes today? Or are you going to? 

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I am at 60%!!! Yay!!!!! This weekend I put on season one of Outlander and just went to town, doing so many rows. I'm really in the groove right now with this guy and I'm loving all the color changes. 

Here's a slightly better view of the colors and a sense of the length--it's 30 inches right now. I'm excited because I see a beautiful blue colorway coming up and y'all know how I love blue!

The book is Jo's Boys, the last of the Little Women books. I'm also reading A Piece of the World and God or Nothing for various book clubs, as well as My Life In Middlemarch and Kim. Oh, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes. 

Whew! That's a lot of books. 

What are you reading this week?