It has been since I last bought yarn!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Busy Season

It seems like all months could count as our "busy season" this year- and our approach into December (how is it December?!) has been no different.  Apologies for the brief interlude.  There was a very brief down time before we got busy again and thankfully I managed to crank out the last of the 12 hats for the year.

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Pattern: Cabled Teddy Hat by Marinda Lariz
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby in Solids & Marls in 30044 "Flannel"
Needles: US 6
Notes: The hospital will cut off pom poms and any accessories... including adorable ears... so I couldn't make them.  I've made this pattern so much- it always... ALWAYS, looks smashing.

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I did run out of yarn for the very last one- and had to join in some extra grey yarn that is obviously not a match, but honestly this slight imperfection bothers me less than I thought it would... so yay!

I also managed to cast on another pair of the Sydanmaa mittens because I decided I really liked them and I wanted a pair.  It's so weird to make MYSELF something, but here we are and I'm enjoying it!  (Also yay- QUICK!)

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AND, I picked up some lovely alpaca/silk blend and I'm planning to cast on a simple pair of arm warmers for my little sis.  I'm not going to commit it for Christmas.  (I would like them to be for that... but I'm not going to add that kind of pressure to my life right now.)

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I love the look of freshly wound "yarn cakes" because they represent what can be, and the glorious knitting time I can have.  All of this is alpaca/silk- and it is just so lovely and soft to knit with.

So what's been taking up my time?  For one thing... the tree.  When we set up the tree this year it wouldn't light.  It was a pre-lit tree and despite my best efforts I couldn't figure out what had happened.  It became obvious the only answer was to pull off the pre-lit lights, and re-light the tree in a manner so that I could (hopefully) plug in and go next year.  I didn't really realize how many lights were going on the tree, until I really took stock of the situation- after I nearly got to the top AND THEY ALL WENT OUT.

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I was despondant.  I thought I have maybe over-loaded the circuit?  This was DAY THREE of lighting it and I was so done.  I very nearly pulled off the lights and began again when my Father in Law intervened and calculated the wattage for me and said I should be totally fine.  THANK GOODNESS.  I managed to find the strand that shorted out- set back to work, split up the strands more... and finally- FINALLY got the tree done.  (1,360 lights- it is likely visable from space!)

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Now to find a way to keep the cats from wrecking it....

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Aside from the fact that it took me, in total, FIVE DAYS to decorate our Christmas tree this year, we have started "party season".

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Look how dapper he looks!  This year we were invited to the Candy Cane Gala- which conviently had a "Star Wars" theme.  All 3 of us were pretty excited.  It's basically a family friendly BLACK TIE event with all kinds of activities.  I even pet a snake!  (I AM SHOCKED at myself!)

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Then last night was another Christmas party for husband's company and next week two more parties.  I'm hoping in the quiet moments (when I am not obsessing about Christmas shopping) I will be able to fit in a few stitches here and there and continue having some progress to show for.

Hoping to be back a little more often with more stuff to show you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mad About Mittens

As promised, I got my butt in gear this week and got the final pair of mittens out the door.  Let's cut to the chase....

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Pattern: All the Water by Kerstin Kapur
Yarn: Illimani Yarn Silky Baby Llama in 9208 "beige"
Needles: US 5
Notes: This is a great pattern and it looks lovely.  My one gripe is the cuff.  I feel like the cuff, which is 1x1 rib, is underwhelming for an otherwhise lovely mitten.  If I do it again, (and I likely will) I'll probably try to figure out a nicer looking cuff.

Let's look a little closer at the cable shall we?

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This completes the quartet of mittens I had scheduled myself to knit for the teachers/helpers in Parker's classroom this Christmas.  

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Technically my Christmas knitting is done... I say technically because I'm thinking about adding another project... more on that in a bit.

The other thing I want to finish before the end of November is my charity hats for Rockyview Hospital.  I'm close.  I'm working on hat 11 right now and will likely (hopefully) have enough for one more.

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All of these pretty little cabled grey hats are perfect warm additions for winter babies.  It will be good to get them done and really clear off that slate to begin something anew. 

What will that be exactly?  As I mentioned above I'm toying with an idea of adding another project to the list.  My sister bought a super snazzy fall cape (as we all did... haha) this fall and said she wished she had legwarmers... but for her arms.  Leg warmers for your ARMS you say?.... ask and you shall hopefully receive.  I'm thinking cables and grey.... but I haven't gone down the Ravelry pattern hole yet.  I'm also feeling pretty partial to those Sydanmaa mittens and might make MYSELF (for me!!!!!) a pair.  And then... maybe a poor neglected sweater I started LAST FALL and then got sidetracked there for a year.  Maybe, just maybe I'll begin again on that.

Can you tell it's getting cold?  I'm all about mittens and sweaters and anything that keeps one warm- so it must be prime knitting season!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hello From The Other Side

Well I'm officially in the place I wanted to be... on the other side of the busy things that were taking me away from my knitting.  Halloween is in the books.  A fancy dinner party with neighbors is in the books and my house was NEVER more clean than it was on that day.  Mother in Law's birthday is celebrated and Parker's birthday is over.  And while I enjoyed all of these things and being apart of all of these things, I am revelling in all the things that DON'T need to be done now and enjoying the quiet before the envitable Christmas storm.

Parker's birthday party in particular was particularly knitting-time consuming... as I needed to put a lot of things together when his prying eyes weren't looking.  His party was Lego Star Wars theme and Parker's mama got crafty!

Whether it was pool noodle light sabers we used to fight Storm Trooper balloons....

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Or personally molded chocolates for loot bags and cupcakes...

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Or the "dark and the light" side cupcakes that we served our guests....

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Or just the general decor and food prep.... (also.... this is NOT my house...)

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I. WAS. BUSY.  (and so was my amazing family on BOTH sides who worked their butts off to help us)

I think Parker liked his party.  (He's five... he's not effusive with praise.)  He has that pool noodle light saber sleep in his room with him at night.  (Even though he has THREE actual Star Wars light sabers...)

Sadly- knitting progress is on the light side.  (I'm hoping to change that for the rest of this month in particular.)  It's there, but it's small.  Hey look I finished another hat!

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AND- I got the mittens off the blockers this am... which means I need to cast on another pair the minute this blog post is complete.

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Pattern: Sydanmaa Mittens by Hanna Levaniemi
Yarn: Illimani Yarn Silky Baby Llama in 9208 (beige)
Needles: US 4
Notes: Not only is this yarn buttery in texture, but it's warm.  SO WARM.  I loved this pattern so much (and it's quite simple) that I'm going to make another pair for me... because PRETTY!

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At one point the ball of yarn was in my lap and I was like "why is my lap so warm in this particular spot?" and realized it was where the yarn was sitting.  Hoping they are liked by the teacher!

Okay... I'm going to go and sit and knit for a bit.  It's going to be AWESOME.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Howling

Why am I howling?  Because I am happy!  (Does one howl because they are happy?  I don't know.)  But AWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I've got finished items for you to see today!

Firstly the Baby Heart Blanket is DONE-ZO.  I actually realized after I posted the last blog post that not only was the blanket done-zo but that I photographed and just completely forgotten to blog it.  So- consider it BLOGGED.

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Pattern: Baby Heart Blanket by Deborah O'Leary
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in "100 White" and "Pastel Pink" (I didn't keep track of the grey- it's acrylic... it's ok to judge me.)
Needles: US 9
Notes: I changed up the pattern and used the sections but did my own take on it.  I also added in an extra 2 rows of grey (as suggested to me by the pattern author) in each "grey" section in order to add some length to the pattern.  That worked out quite nicely.

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I still have a lot of leftovers in this year.  (GAH at one point I had 2 LBS of acrylic yarn... now I think I only have half of these 2 balls left.)  I'm sort of intrigued with the idea of using that yarn to continue iterations of the same pattern- until it's gone.  But not now.  I need an baby blanket/acrylic break so maybe in the new year I'll pull it back out and squeak out two more blankets.

As if that wasn't exciting enough I also finished my red and black mittens!

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Pattern: Keisarinna by Tiina Kuu
Yarn: Wollmeise Pure 100% Superwash in "vamp" and the Black I didn't record- sorry.
Needles: Cuffs = 2.50mm and Hands = 2.75 mm
Notes: I didn't change anything about the pattern and knit it as is.  I can't say much except that it was easy and lovely and knit up faster than I thought it would.  A great and very pretty pattern.  I will gripe slightly that the Wollmeise is quite runny in it's initial bath and I had to do a black color as the accent so it didn't show the color transfer as much.  I love wollmeise but this does bug me... a lot.

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Such a lovely mitten.

As if TWO finished items weren't enough- I'm well into a THIRD project.  (Spoiler Alert- More mittens!)

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When one has knit as many stranded mittens as I have, you forget how fastly a mitten in ONE color on much larger needles can go.  I'm loving this mitten... even when I had to rip out the last 24 rows when I discovered a mistake.  (We're back to where we were before in this picture- but without errors.  CAN YOU SPOT IT?

BUT... all of that is NOT likely the reason you came here today... because it's Halloween and we always do some pretty sweet Halloween Costumes... and so... without further ado....

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SOLO FAMILY PHOTO!  (Kylo Ren (from New Star Wars) and his parents (spoiler alert!); Han and Leia.)

My mom out-did herself on the Kylo costume.  She adapted a pattern from a HOODIE and came up with this sweet replica for Parker.  You can't tell from Parker's face, (Kylo is a bad guy and one must make "bad guy" faces obviously), but he LOVES this costume.  (He hasn't actually seen the new Star Wars movie but was INSISTANT that he wanted to be Kylo Ren for Halloween.)  Mom is also responsible for the pretty sweet Han details on the costume- so THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER MOM- we LOVE THEM!

And, lastly... our pumpkins.... because I like themes.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  (and yay worrying about costume details is over with for another year!)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In The Thick of It

We are deep in the thick of the "busy season" so this is going to be a somewhat light on content post.

Halloween approaches- and while most of the costume stuff is coming together, Duane's boot/spats continue to confound me and my brain can barely spare the time to obsess on other important details.  As I have every year, I will post pics of us when we're done and I'm certain you will approve (if I can ever eek out the stupid boots) of what we are doing.

The week after Halloween we are a host family for our community progressive dinner.  We live at the base of a reasonably afluent community and suddenly my house looks like a hovel in my eyes and we've shifted our focus to spit shining every surface over the next week and a half in order to get the place up to standards.  Thankfully the steep participation price also comes with a stipend to hire a caterer, so at least I'm not on the hook for cooking and frantically cleaning.

The week after THAT is Parker's birthday party and I've started really digging in and trying to get those details sorted.  It's going to be Lego Star Wars themed (my kid is obsessed) and while I've got a reasonable plan in my eyes coming together I still need to figure out a cake (cupcake?) design and some food ideas, as well as another kid entertainment activity.  My greatest fear is having a room with 11 five year olds and not enough to entertain them.   *screams in horror*

I will secretly admit that there's a huge part of me that's counting down until all of this is over and I can put my brain to more mundane activities... like knitting.  The week after Parker's birthday I'm taking off.  LIKE OFF.  NO COMMITMENTS.  None.  I will stay home.  I will drink tea.  I will KNIT dammit.

Not to say that there isn't something to show for, despite all the other distractions- it's just not as much as I would like.  Yesterday I designated Parker's day at school to be set aside for getting some closure on my knitting.  And thankfully I got pretty close to where I wanted to be.

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The good news is that I'm confident now that I'm NOT going to run out of yarn.  SO WHEW... I have enough.  And even better news is that I have ONE THUMB to go.  I'm hoping in the next 2 days I can add these to the completion list and at least get this project out of my head and squared away.  I'm really looking forward to knitting the simpler mittens and getting those off the needles quickly.

End of the year goals are starting to look pretty clear- 2 pairs of simple cable mittens and to finish up all of my charity hats.  Anything else I complete on top of that would be considered gravy.  :-)

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Also- as a complete and total aside- today is International Black Cat day.  Did you know that due to stupid out of date superstitions, black cats are less likely to be adopted simply because they're black?  My vet told me after I adopted my black cat to make sure to keep him inside around Halloween because there are awful weirdos out there that do things to Black cats around Halloween.  WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE!?  I just want to be the one to say it- I LOVE MY BLACK CAT.

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LOOK AT THIS FACE...

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We are lucky to have Shadow in our life and we love him to teeny tiny pieces.  Please PLEASE PLLLLEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEE if you're looking to adopt a furry family member don't discount adorable black kittens or adorable grown up black cats.  They aren't unlucky.  They are wonderful family pets and our family wouldn't be complete without ours.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Grind

It's so weird to confess this in the fall, when the weather is perfect knitting inspiration, but my knitting mojo has hit a wall.  I just don't wanna.  And so progress is moving at a snail's pace.  This happens every now and again- I just lose interest, or get so busy doing other things I get out of the habit of knitting and when I do have the time, I just can't bring myself to dig in.  And so here we are- I'm in the middle of pulling together (awesome!) Halloween costumes

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(Do not be fooled by this photo- my mother did the lions share of sewing this year... she deserves "working hard" credit!)

and planning Parker's (also awesome!) birthday in Novemember and my brain is saying "NOPE" to knitting.

I have made some mitten progress, which I guess does count for something...

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The good news is that I'm worried that I'm going to run out of yarn.  And while this is actually bad news for ME- it's good news for blog fodder because when I'm faced with somewhat sketchy yardage I tend to dig in and knit so I don't have to wait too terribly long to find out how doomed I am.  This is either going to be one of those photo finishes where there is actually very little in the way of leftovers or a blog post with a lot of wailing while I lament what I'm going to do because there isn't enough.  (oh please knitting gods... let there be enough...)

If I can get the mittens done I can start on some easier mittens for the 2 aides in Parker's class.  (I have decided that teachers get faire isle mittens, aides get cable-y mittens...)  I actually think those might get the 'ole brain back in it when it comes to finding my mojo so let's hope I can start working on those soon.

I've also managed to squeak out another hat to add to the totals so I suppose this loss of knitting mojo hasn't been a total productivity failure.

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In the meantime- while I sort of just survive October/early November- I give you a pic of a recent purchase I made that simply MUST BE OWNED BY ME.

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Kitties and Yarn.  It is like the designer of these socks said "I'm going to mass produce socks with one person in mind and one person only... NENNIE KNITS".  And viola... they made these socks.  I mean come on- the next best thing to making socks is socks with YARN AND KITTIES on them.  I will wear them proudly.  (And also out of necessity because if this lost mojo situation continues there won't be many socks I've made to actually wear.)

So there's where I'm at today.  Kind of bouncing around to a bunch of different things and places.  If you think of it- send me a little mitten mojo that I have enough yarn?  That would really help keep propelling the progress forward.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Just an Update

As predicted, October has begun in a frenzy that has sadly detracted from the knitting time.  It blows my mind that I regularly have 2 full days without a kid around and I'm still too busy to sit down and knit.  I'm looking at YOU November and I'm thinking it's going to be a very "progress-y" month!

All of that said, it doesn't mean there hasn't been some strides made here.  Just the other night I cast off the second Baby Heart Blanket.

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As you recall, I have silly rules about considering a project "done" so even though this for all intense purposes looks complete it has not been blocked and therefore I cannot count it as done.  That reminds me... MIL- can I borrow your blocking board at the Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday?  Like the last one, this blanket turned out lovely.  I still have likely TWO more acrylic blankets worth of yarn out of those enormous balls but I've decided to shelve it for a while and maybe after Christmas whittle the rest away.  I can't decide if I'll continue using this pattern and try different iterations on it or if I'll go in a compeltely different direction.  SO MANY CHOICES!

I've also been working on the hats and have 1.5 since the last time I updated you on those.  I would really like to have 12 hats before the end of the year so that is going to be one of my goals- 6.5 left to go!

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AND, a recent "grown ups only" trip back to Saskatchewan meant that I got to pull the travel sock out and knit a few rows on it.  And, it looks like a leg is being born!

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Sadly I haven't touched the mittens since the last blog post (!!) so I need to spend some time and dive back into that project.  Christmas approaches and suddenly I'm feeling the slightest twinge of nerves about having enough time to complete 4 pairs of mittens... one more on the completed pile would make me feel a lot better.

And that's where I'm at so far this month.  Halloween costumes have already begun to distract and I need to plan a birthday party for my soon-to-be FIVE year old (!!!!!!).  Hoping in and amongst all that chaos I can still get a few more things off the needles and in the finished pile.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Can of Worms

Well... as promised in my last blog post I immediately set to ripping back the mitten to the cuff to go up a needle size.  It suddenly became apparent I had opened a big can of worms...

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The intense color of the red yarn was rubbing off on the white yarn.  I had previously taken two strands of the yarn and rubbed them together and WASHED them together to see if the colors would run but I guess my sample size wasn't large enough.  I should know better.  The red yarn is leftover Wollmeise and as much as I love the stuff, I know it isn't super colorfast.  The intense coloring often has color bleeding- which... doesn't look great on a mitten.

And so... I decided to rip all the way back to the picot cuff and try again with a black accent color, where color-fastness isn't as big of a deal.

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I realized while knitting this that it has an after-thought thumb... which I usually hate.  However this pattern has built in a gusset (which is definately a much better idea) so I've decided to "stay the course" and see how I like the afterthought with a gusset.  Will this be my new "go to" method?

I also managed to squeak out another section on the acrylic blanket which is turning out pretty cute.  I'm going to do another pink heart section next.

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So, despite the set back here, I think we can agree fall is beginning to look up... or in this case... productive.