on the needles

It's been ages since I've posted about things in progress - be that in life or in knitting! And since there's no time like the present, as they say, I'll jump right in ...as they also say. (My, my, am I getting clich√©? Wait, don't answer that.)

For starters, I've got a couple performances coming up. I didn't want to get back to work so soon after our trip to Norway, but there are times when you just have to take the gigs that are offered. I was asked to play for a musical at a festival this week, so I've had some long, rather intense, afternoon rehearsals in preparation for Saturday night's performance. The next day, Sunday, I'm supposed to play for an informal voice recital, but the singer is having vocal issues so no one is sure if it's even going to happen. Either way, I have to be prepared. Then the next weekend I'm playing for another informal voice recital, and though the repertoire is rather difficult, we've been working on it off and on for several months, so I just have to make sure I keep everything in shape.

Still, it's really hard getting anything done with my kids around and not in school. I didn't schedule a whole lot for the summer because I like to keep things low-key and relaxed, the flip side being that we sometimes get bored. Yes, I know that boredom is important, perhaps even crucial, for getting those creative juices flowing, but those moments in the meantime can be hard to take. I find myself staring into space and questioning my life choices while they get bored and read Calvin and Hobbes out loud to each other. Maybe we're still just trying to find our groove.

I have found time to knit, and even a bit of time to sew. The latter is much more difficult, which frustrates me, but it's because I need chunks of uninterrupted time, and that is hard to come by. Still, I managed to make this:

It's a Stowe Bag, pattern from Grainline Studio/Fringe Association, using fabric I got at Blue Bar Quilts (it's a new shop and it's fabulous!). I couldn't resist the sweater print, and I couldn't resist embellishing it a little, too:

I was on a deadline with this one because I gave it to a friend who is about to leave for a year of sabbatical with her husband. They're going to England and New Zealand for him to do research, and she gets to go along and explore. It's hard not to be just a little envious. I do love to travel. Anyway, she's an enthusiastic knitter, and I didn't want to give her something that would just take up extra room, so I thought a small project bag would be appropriate. 

I've got a couple issues with the pattern, but clearly that hasn't stopped me from making them, since this is my fourth or fifth one.

As far as knitting goes, I just have a few iPhone snapshots of current projects. First up is the Ancyra cowl from the current issue of Knitty. It's a fun and easy knit, and it's been with me to Boston and Norway and back. I expect I'll finish it soon.

I have cardigans a plenty, but I lack basic pullovers. About a month ago I started Lila Top Down from Madder Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Huge (I want to make just about everything in that book!) using some Swans Island yarn I bought on sale on my birthday last year. The fit is perfect. I'm skipping the short-rows for that hi-lo hem, just for personal preference. 

With that sweater, I'd inadvertently begun participating in the Summer of Basics MAL with Fringe Association, but I doubt I'll stick to making three basic items. I'm already planning (and changing my mind about) gift knitting for fall and the holidays, I'm going to a baby shower next month and I'm trying to decide what to make for that, and then this morning I cast on for a hat. It's a test knit for Thea, but I don't think it's revealing too much to show you the 100+ stitches I cast on in the heat of the day, especially since after knitting an inch or so I realized the ribbing was going to be too loose and I frogged the whole thing and started over.


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