November WIPs and Digital Detox

Settling in for the coziest week of the year.

The past few days on the farm have been very cozy. Temperatures have dropped and daily fires have been keeping us warm. The path to the barn is littered with still-colorful leaves and the sheep are burying their woolly heads in the hay feeders, searching for the best morsels of clover and grass.

It is finally time to revel in wool!! During small breaks throughout my day, I’m working on the Windsor Warmer by Cecily Glowik MacDonald from the Interweave book New England Knits.

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It’s a scarf. A rectangle-shaped scarf.

I usually have strong feelings about knitting rectangles. As in, I don’t do it. Because rectangles are so. boring. They’re depressingly the same from beginning to end and they are so rectangular. Ugh. I’m bored just thinking about it.

This pattern, however, is knit from side to side. It’s still a rectangle, but I’ll be knitting less than 50 rows, start to finish and that seems somehow more achievable. I can say this confidently now because the 240+ stitch cast-on happened a few days ago (with the help of some rum) and has been wiped from my memory.

The scarf is all lace, and the thought of 240+ stitch rows of lace did cause mild panic. I mentally gathered all of my most functional stitch markers and prepared for some fiddly knitting. However – Madam Glowik MacDonald is a benevolent genius, and the pattern includes columns of ribbing in between each lace repeat. Built in stitch markers!

IMGP3011It has been a good long while since I’ve knit any serious lace and I am already looking forward to blocking the finished scarf. The anticipated satisfaction is enough to keep my motivation high! Also, the yarn is glorious…far more complex than you can see in the photos (hey, Red, what you gotta be like that??). This is my second project using Flock Fibre, which is dyed in Canada by lovely women, and I am looking forward to having an excuse to purchase more. The colorway is Geranium Kisser, which I am told is a reference to another lovely Canadian, Anne of Green Gables.

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My second project is quite a bit more local. Though Bill has sheared our sheep for the past four years, I haven’t yet made him anything with our own wool. His favorite pair of socks are handspun from a down wool roving, so I promised him another pair before winter really took hold. He was noncommittal when I asked what color he’d like…he’s really so agreeable on sock colors. I asked him to close his eyes, clear his head, and tell me about some of his favorite things. Immediately, he decided his socks should be orange and brown like our bedroom.

I dyed 6 ounces of Southdown roving from our sheep, and spun it into a traditional three-ply a few months ago. I’m knitting a toe-up sock with the standard Bizarro Bill Feet Modifications, and have just finished the heel on the second sock (which is four stitches smaller than the first sock, and yet still a bigger sock…spinning consistency? meh).

They are going quite quickly as the yarn is pretty thick. My standard Bill sock is 68-72 stitches, but these are 52. Also, handspun. Also, orange and brown. Also, MY OWN SHEEP!

My last knitting WIP is a raglan sweater for coziness. The pattern is Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond, and I’ve knit it before. I enjoy the construction and clear directions. The gray yarn has been reclaimed from a wonky sweater I never wore, and I think it’s Dream in Color…worsted weight?? The accent stripes are three Muppet colorways from Another Crafty Girl on her Merino Worsted base – #1 Fan, BWACK!, and Boomerang Fish. I love Sarah’s yarn and I race through the gray so I can knit another stripe with her gorgeous colors.

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Finally, I have delightful spinning on the wheel. I finished this 2 oz of Tuesdays at Three on Finn from Three Waters Farm a few weeks ago, and I’m nearly done with the last 2 oz. The fiber really wants to be spun thinly, but I don’t mind. I’ll chain-ply this second half as well, and hopefully have matching socks.

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I should make a ton of progress on all these projects over the next week, as it is our annual Digital Detox week. Each year, during the week of Thanksgiving, Bill and I turn off all our electronic devices and disconnect from media, social networks, and advertising. The quiet and slow-pace that results really complements a holiday focused on gratitude, and encourages us to be mindful about all the gifts and good things in our lives. It also serves as a vacation of sorts. The farm severely limits our ability to travel, so disconnecting from the noise of daily life provides needed respite. I always feel restored and energized after our unplugged week.

I am preparing a blog post to self-publish while we’re offline though, because technology can be pretty cool. I find, though, that I often need to remind myself that all these digital wonders are tools to help me accomplish goals, they are not a force to guide or control my life. Giving them up for a week helps me keep technology from asserting undue influence over my daily routine.

So, for the next week I’ll be quietly manipulating wool, cooking cozy meals, and staring pensively into the wood stove. It’s my favorite way to usher in winter.

Author: JoAnnaSpring

Knitter. Spinner. Farmer. Obsessed with wool.

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