To Call a Fig a Fig

Two nights ago while waiting for a swatch to dry so I could start a new project, I thought I’d be responsible and whip up a quick hat for which I’d wound yarn before our Yellowstone vacation. Responsible because the yarn was wound and I knew it’d be a quick knit. I got going on the ribbing and then had some… ahem… issues with putting it down.

img_2292-1Having been on a real colorwork kick lately, knitting up the Passerine Hat would be a great choice. I’d gotten the pattern & yarn right away when the pattern was first published for some very sentimental reasons (which I’ll share when it’s finished) and I knew it would be just a treat of a project. Plus, with the feel of colorwork already in my hands, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, yesterday I was knitting away, completely addicted to seeing the pattern take shape and before I knew it I was through the colorwork and beginning the crown shaping.

img_2294As my bedtime crept closer and I got more tired, I started looking more and more at my little birds. The tension in the colorwork wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It looked fine, really, and I knew it would wear just fine, but the more crown shaping I did the more I knew I was not going to be satisfied. This treat was going to be imperfect unless I took drastic measures.

As knitters, I think we’ve all been in the spot where we have a choice to make about a project. Maybe the sizing of a sweater is a little off, maybe some stitches are twisted way back in the pattern, or maybe your colorwork isn’t quite perfect. The hardest choices are the ones that don’t have an obvious answer. Yes, I could leave this hat with the little imperfect birds. I’m really not a total perfectionist and I could probably live with it. Besides, no one would know except me that they were a little off.

Alas, just before bed I decided I couldn’t ignore the tension issues and I simply had to call this fig a fig. And thus, I awoke this morning to this…

img_2295With fresh eyes and a good night’s sleep under my belt, I’m ready to have another go at this little treat of a hat and to make it the little beauty that I know I can knit it into, the adorable hat that it is meant to be. Sure, it would have been nice to have done a more perfect job the first time. Yes, it’s a little frustrating to go back and re-do basically an entire hat. But if there’s one thing I’m certain in this craft, it’s that knitting in real life is rarely perfect and sometimes it requires a second go. That’s a fact with which, my friends, I am at total peace. And on that note, here I go again!

Perspectives

For better or for worse, the holidays always give us a renewed perspective. In my case, because my birthday lands right smack dab between Christmas and New Year’s the long hard look at where and who I am could be and historically has been substantial. Over the last couple of years my birthday has had some drama — from a refrigerator dying to my husband having a dental emergency — and there have just been a couple that have been kind of bummers which can really be hard this time of year. My husband always tries to do it up right though and this year he managed to swing two days off in a row to take our little family up to Door County, one of my favorite local getaway spots.

My husband snapped this photo which pretty much summed up our favorite park when we arrived…

There was a storm moving in that was about to drop about a foot of snow on us and the big water told the story well.

img_1794Luckily, we came bundled.

img_1784And despite the strong, frigid wind, we couldn’t help but take a nice long hike along the water’s edge.

Thankfully we all stayed mostly dry…

img_1797And enjoyed the powerful display in awe.

img_1788Even Moose enjoyed the scenery and thankfully grasped that swimming was not a good idea.

After this it was off to an Irish pub for some lunch and then a trip to Spin, a fantastic little yarn shop that just happened to be a block away. There my hubby picked a skein of yarn for a basic hat & I was spoiled with these beauties…

img_1820From left to right, some Madelinetosh Pashmina in Byzantine & some Tosh DK in Cloud and Leopard. They are destined to be another pair of Snowfling Mittens for me. I made a pair a couple years ago and wear them constantly except for the times when my daughter steals them, so a second pair will be much lauded.

Then after a trip to the Door County Maritime Museum, the snow came…

In a wonderful development, my hubby got me a travel bag for my spinning wheel for Christmas and at his encouragement I’d packed up my wheel and brought it along. And I spun away in our cozy hotel room while the snow fell…

img_1806I made it through almost 2oz of this Three Waters Farm Merino/Superwash Merino/Silk blend in the Broken Pavement colorway. I was completely oblivious to how much I would love having my wheel along. I’m so glad my husband was not — this was such a treat!

The following day, with a lot of roads still inundated with a foot of snow, we took the main highway back down to Green Bay where we hiked the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary until we ran out of energy…

img_1805-1OK, that’s not exactly true. This photo was in total jest — we stopped when we got hungry and luckily it was just in time for lunch at the Titletown Brewing Company where they rounded out my delicious meal with an amazing brownie sundae concoction…

img_1798I shared with everyone, in case you were wondering, because I’m nice like that.

The roads were mostly clear and we were able to make a quick stop at Yarns by Design where I grabbed some Eco Wool for an upcoming sweater project. I was even able to knit on my Nordic Wind shawl the rest of the way home…

img_1803And I finished that night at home. What a perfect end to a wonderful couple of days!

The fact that these two days were particularly wonderful for me, that I was fortunate enough to spend them with the people (and canine) that I hold most dear in my heart is not lost on me one bit. That there was yarn & fiber involved make it even better, of course. Having had some less than perfect birthdays, this definitely stands out as especially precious & memorable. The cold hard truth, though, is that while in my mind it will stand out as a truly marvelous birthday and I’ll remember all the special things that we did, I know deep down that I’ll see it this way simply because I spent these days thankful. I didn’t focus on the freezing spray at the lake or the fact that we got a little stuck in the snow leaving dinner or that the hiking was kind of slippery. Instead, I was just thankful to be with my kids who are growing into incredible people, to be in one of my favorites places, to have eaten delicious food, and spun on my beautiful spinning wheel. I was thankful for my husband who is always thoughtful and is there to remind me that with proper planning adventures can be had even in weather that isn’t perfect.

As I begin another trip around the sun and break open the 2016 calendars, sure I want to stay on my current health kick and lose those last 5lbs. Of course, I want to keep exploring and growing in our homeschool. Absolutely, I want to spend all the time that I can with my family. Um, duh, I sure do want to spin more than ever and knit up a storm. Most of all though, there’s one simple thing I want to wear in my heart and on my sleeve:

Gratitude.

I welcome 2016 & my 36th trip around the sun with a heart that is swollen with thankfulness and a commitment to see the world through it.

img_1777

How will you choose to see your 2016?

In Review: Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits + *GIVEAWAY*

As a resident of Wisconsin where winters are often bitterly cold, super bulky accessories are a must have. Whether you have to brave the cold or you’re huddled inside, there really isn’t anything better than the smooshy, uber-warmth of a giant scarf and big thick hat to keep you warm. If you’re like me and you love a great super bulky knit — both for the warmth and instant gratification — Jen Geigley‘s new book is for you.

Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits contains 12 beautiful bulky knits. From sweaters…

debut 2

undone 2To scarves…

retrograde and floorTo cowls and even a little hoodie-scarf…

valhalla and minnie

This book really has it all.

Setting this collection apart from others, there are designs for the whole family here including a hat & cowl specifically sized for children. With the exception of the sweaters (which include sizing all the way up to 3X), these pieces are appropriate for ladies and gentlemen alike making them absolutely perfect for outfitting your whole gang. What’s more, they’re designed to be simple, easy knitting — knits that you can whip up in a day or two without a lot of fuss. Who can argue with that?!

Last weekend, I thought I’d take the book out for a little test drive…

weekendArmed with a few skeins of Madelinetosh ASAP in the Steam Age colorway, I printed out the patterns I wanted to knit up. I love how neatly the individual patterns printed — just one sheet that folded at the middle, I could easily tuck the pattern in my project bag for on-the-go knitting. I found the patterns to be exactly as promised — simple, well-written, and fun to knit. I’d call that true weekend knitting!

I started with Retrograde, a super long reversible scarf that has a wider section in the middle that acts kind of like a cowl for extra coziness. It’s a genius design, trust me.

IMG_0756-0If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen a lot of gushing about this yarn-pattern pairing over the weekend. The twin rib stitch pattern creates the smooshiest, softest, just prettiest scarf ever. As you probably know, ‘super bulky’ is kind of a wide-ranging category, it’s worth mentioning that my yarn was not quite as super bulky as the recommended yarn. Since it’s a scarf and fit isn’t an issue, I focused on knitting the prettiest fabric I could and that ended up being a bit tighter than the recommended gauge.

retrograde detIt turned out pretty freaking fantastic. Usually scarf knitting is pretty much my the bane of my existence, but not this one. I loved every stitch.

And when I finished. I had just enough yarn that I thought I should go ahead an make a matching hat. Who doesn’t love a matching hat, right?!

sliverThis is Sliver — a very basic hat, save for the lone drop-stitch detail that looks…

bundledSo rad when being worn! (I swear I was smiling in this photo.)

In the book, this hat is styled in a slightly larger, slouch-style…

Img_0692_small2

But again I had to make some minor adjustments for gauge because of my yarn. For this one, I doubled up and held 2strands of ASAP together and knit for a snugger fit. I love that it still has a gorgeous modern style and it’s wonderfully warm.

All in all…

IMG_0802I am going to be one happy, snug, cozy, warm lady this winter…

retrograde + sliverThanks to my beautiful new accessories.

Now, I promised a giveaway, didn’t I?

I’m so happy to share that the author has very generously offered to giveaway a hard copy of her new book to one luck winner here on the blog.

To enter:

1. Hop over here & browse through the patterns in this fabulous book.

2. In the comments below share which pattern is your favorite.

That’s it!

One entry per person, please.

Entries will be accepted Wednesday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 27th at midnight CST.

I hope you love this collection as much as I do — I can’t wait to see *your* Weekend knits!

For those who just can’t wait, you can purchase a hard copy of the book + a free PDF on Jen’s website here. You can also purchase individual patterns + the PDF ebook on Ravelry here. It’s also available on Amazon here, should that be your preference.

In addition, I encourage you to show Jen some love by following her on Instagram and Facebook.

Many thanks to Jen Geigley for use of her photos, for asking me to review this book, and for sponsoring the giveaway!