It has been since I last bought yarn!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

May the Force Be With Me - Mystery Revealed!

Welp- the Stampede entries are officially in and I can finally reveal what I entered as my project this year.



Pattern: Star Wars Mittens by ME (Jennifer Johnson)  I used various previously charted items in order to create most of the items you see.  Yoda, 3P0 and "Star Wars" are my own charting adventures.
Death Star
Darth Vader (I couldn't get the site to work so hopefully the Pinterest link will suffice)
AT/AT Walker
Storm Trooper
Boba Fett
Millenium Falcon
X Wing Fighter
Inside Mitten Stars (Another Pinterest pattern)
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina in 1404 (Black) 1914 (Gray)
Needles: ACK- it appears I didn't write this down!  I think US 1 (1.25 mm)
Size: Men's size
Notes: OMG so many.

1) I've already been asked if I will release the pattern on Ravelry and my response is two fold.  a) I'm not sure what the legality of using charts that others have prepared and written is.  I obviously wouln't be able to sell the pattern (much of it isn't my own work and I don't own the rights to Lucas Films items) but I'm not sure I can even release it as my own pattern without upsetting the people who worked at charting out this stuff.  b) I've tried creating my own electronic chart files and guys, I just really REALLY suck at it.  These are all drawn out on my own and shaded in, in pencil.  The pattern makes sense to me, but I'm not sure it makes sense to others.

2) You'll notice, obviously, that the outside mittens are different.  There's a "DARK SIDE" and a "REBEL" side.

Dark Side ("Bad guys")


Rebel Side ("Good guys")


I also did two different light sabres on the thumbs so that the recipient can do thumb lightsaber battles!  (That was MiL's idea!)

To be honest, I'm not sure who exactly judges the Stampede entries.  And, more than likely, details like a "dark side" and "rebel" side and deulling lightsabers are likley going to be lost on the judges, unless they have a general understanding of Star Wars.  But, I'm hoping that whether they win or lose they will generate some crowd excitement from Star Wars fans taking in the exhibits.  (Unfortunately "Most nerdy" is still not a category at Stampede...)

3) I must thank my Brother in Law profusely for offering help and opinions on what I included on the mitten.  Brother in Law (BiL) is NOT a knitter nor is he a super crafty guy.  He very patiently offerred opinons on various charts and locations of where items were on the mittens and offered thoughtful opinions and insights.  We exchanged numerous text messages for a month and he at least seemed excited about the project.  Anyways- thanks Nathan... you were a BIG help.

4) Yeah- I really do like Star Wars.  Why, oh why, oh why do you ask? 

So now all the mysteries have been revealed and we wait to find out until next week how I "fared".  

I hope she's doesn't mind- but I also wanted to show off MiL's Stampede entry this year... it is beautiful and deserves a little showing off....


Admittedly my pictures don't do this thing justice (apologies)- but take it from me, it is beautiful and soft and I suspect it's going to do very well.  (Pattern is "Trifle Shawl" by Megan Goodacre and Yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in colorway 114 "Macaw")  Interesting note- this is the yarn that I gifted her for Christmas this year!

I won't get to see how either of us do at Stampede this year until later in the week, so I'll just hope for good things.  If you see our stuff there feel free to shout and exclaim "HEY- I sort of know that person!"  ;-)

****** GOOD NEWS- there is actually more to share but this is already quite long.  Charity blankets and progress on the Purple blanket are moving in the right direction.  I will share more when there is time!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where I'm At Now

When last you left me, I was in a heap in a corner, weeping over the sheer stupidity of screwing up so badly on the purple blanket.  I put it in time out and I walked away.  I did the only thing I could think of when knitting made me so angry.  I knit something else.  I knit something else I really like knitting.  I cast on a pair of mittens.


They are actually going quite well.

The thumb has an after thought thumb, which I hate, so I have added my own little pattern for a gusset in order to be sure there's a better thumb spot.  I have it in my head that I will gift Parker's teachers every year with a pair of hand knit mittens so I'm preparing a stash so that I don't panic every December for the next 14 years.

After I had cast on the mitten I got an email from my MiL.  MiL knows me well enough to know I couldn't just leave the error...


Why yes.... I'm extremely lucky to have her aren't I?  I felt badly handing it off to her but I knew if I didn't I would likely not touch this again.  And so I did- and she told me to look it at like old time's sake when she used to fix my knitting all the time.

I got this back on Sunday, and true to her word she had pulled out the ends and ripped the whole thing back for me.  (Insert angels singing here)  Each color block was neatly rolled into balls and she left a few rows for me to rip back so that I could get it back on the needles.  This was EXTEMELY kind of her to do that for me.

My intention today is to get it back on the needles and repositioned to knit.  Maybe even knit a few rows TODAY and get the trajectory of this thing back on track.  The problem is that I'm really enjoying the mitten knitting and I only want to work on that.  Also, there are 3 charity blankets enroute to me at the moment that are also going to take up my time.  I'm seriously questioning if I can get this blanket done in time for July 15 (Baby's due date).  It feels mean to the mom to hope that it's late.... but I'm hoping this kid hangs out in there for a while longer.

I take the mystery project in tomorrow- and soon there will be pictures and all will be revealed.  Aren't you excited?!

In the mean time let's enjoy some photos of my backyard and all the gardening that has been happening around here!

Stay tuned- it's about to get interesting on the needles.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Apocolypse Now

I don't even know where to begin.

I picked up the purple stripey blanket a couple of days ago and I made progress.  I just said "this needs to be done" and so I knit like a fiend and I nearly doubled my progress in a matter of days.



This week...


Impressive non?

In fact I was burning through this blanket so quickly that I told myself that if I had 30 inches of blanket knit by June 18 I'd even make it a last minute entry in the Stampede.  (Which in itself was a ridiculous goal- but I've never really been known for my knitting sanity now have I?)

Do you notice anything different in those photos back there?


Tonight at knitting I was quietly knitting away on my project when a lovely member of my group wanted to get a closer look.  When she did she asked an honestly simple question "how did you get that stitch?"  When I went to answer her, I got a sick feeling in my stomach.  The pattern requires you to wrap the yarn 3 times around the needle on the white garter rows in order to stretch over the band of color.



Nearly TEN inches of progress knit entirely wrong.

(The above picture shows the backwards view of the situation.  To get an idea of how much I have to rip out- I'd have to start at the 12" mark and rip out all of that.)


RIGHT PATTERN (with wrapped stitches)

$&*@(+# WRONG PATTERN (with slipped stitches)


(%(*@&^% !O#$(#((!*&*&#$)#*&^%&@:":#$?>#$@)$#$?><>>"}{}{$@$!!!!!!!

I have been merely slipping the stitch the entire time I have been patting myself on the back for being a fast and brilliant knitter.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do now.  I could rip out all of that painstaking work, hours of my precious time gone.  BUT- that in itself would be an enormous pain in the ass because, trying to be good about not leaving myself too many ends to weave in - I HAVE ALREADY WOVEN IN THE ENDS.

*sobs hysterically*

The kind knitters of my group have consoled me and told me it's not that noticeable.  And truthfully it's not half bad- except this gift was intended for another knitter.  SOMEONE who would actually probably notice that "hey- this is different".  And while she isn't likely the kind of person who would look at the error and throw it back in my face and call our friendship off- I just can't give it to her.  I just can't.

Before you try to tell me I can and it's not that noticeable... I. JUST. CAN'T.  Don't try to tell me I can.  I know me well enough to know.  I CANNOT DO IT.  (I suffer from too much pride, too much perfectionism and too much anal rententive-ness... I am who I am.)

So that leaves me with a huge dilema because I honestly don't know what to do.  Here are the options:

1) Knit the same amount of the wrong pattern as the right pattern, then switch back to the right pattern so that the "wrong slipped stitch" pattern is in the middle of the blanket and the blanket has a little bit of symmetry.  (Truthfully I actually prefer the look of the WRONG pattern to the right one... but that doesn't really help me out of my jam all that much.)

2) Finish knitting this as it is, don't rip anything back and gift it to a non-knitter who wouldn't really notice that I'm a moron.

3) Painstakingly un-weave all those ends and rip back the 10 inches and start again, following the pattern correctly this time.  (You should know that even considering this option makes me want to cry my eyes out and develop a drinking problem...)

4) New Yarn- new project and knit fast.  (Oh yeah... did I mention baby is due July 15?)

5) Give up knitting and find a new hobby that will not always break my heart and crush my soul like this.

As of this writing I don't have a plan.  I'm still in shock that I've done this.  I'm in shock that I could have let something like this happen.  I just can't believe I did this.

And I just can't see my way to a solution right now.  The blanket has to go into time out - in a nice dark hole so that it can sit and think about what it's done and how poorly it's behaved.  A year of time out is probably not enough.  FOREVER, at this point, is not enough time away to look at this blanket with a clear head.

And that's where I'm leaving you today- because I honestly don't know where to go from here.

I hear crocheting is nice........

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fresh off the Needles

Well, slowly... so slowly... I'm feeling the urge to knit a little more.  Why, even last night I picked up that poor neglected blanket with the purple stripes and I knit a few rows on it.  And well, I even want to knit a few more today!

The motivation is back likely because I cleaned up a few loose ends.  I finished the adorable Cable booties.


Pattern: Cable Cuff Booties by Caroline Brooke
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash 006 (discontinued)
Needles: US 5
Notes: OH MY GOD these are cute.  CUTE. CUTE. CUTE. CUTE.  STINKIN' CUTE.  And the pattern is well written.  I'm going to knit these again.  I highly recommend you try them out too.  Did I mention cute?


The booties were knit to match the little cable hat I knit a few weeks ago.  I'll be giving these to a very pregnant mom in our preschool group this week at Parker's year end concert.  (YEAR END!?  Where did the time go?!)  There are 2 more moms that will be due in the fall so I need to decide if I'm going to give them the same set or make more theme-y ones.  (Pumpkin and Santa Hat potentially?)

I also received 2 charity blankets to add my section to.  The rules were to cable them- so I did some lovely 6 and 9 stitch plaits.

Here's "Cable Guy":



And here's "Cable Girl":



There's a few more charity blankets coming my way this summer so hopefully I can take a good swipe at that acrylic stash and get it down to a smaller amount.

And lastly- just because I like to brag when I'm crafty in other areas of my life- check out these super cute cupcakes I made for Parker's preschool picnic today.


(It's a Gruffalo!  A Gruffalo... why didn't you know?  His eyes are orange, his tongue is black and he has purple prickles all over his back....)  {if you have a toddler no explanation is required.}

Big reveal on the Stampede mittens are coming soon- stay patient.  Once they've gone in I'll show them off to you proudly!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Same Tune for June

GAH.  I need inspiration!  STAT.

Progress and (desire to make progress) here are very very low.  I'm not sure what's gotten into me but I just feel a general ennui about everything.

The good news is that the mittens are done and finished mere HOURS before they were supposed to be unwrapped as a birthday gift for my husband.  (Which I guess means I failed at getting them done for May 31- and instead had them done for June 2.)  Just a few more days and I'll be able to do the big reveal here but they look awesome.  Do they look "grand champion" awesome- I'm less convinced, but I'm happy with how they look and more importantly husband seemed impressed too.

My little distraction progress is a distraction that goes slow.


All the knitting parts are done, I just need to weave in the ends and sew up some seams. (Can I just say how utterly genius these are?  The designer did a great job.  I'll link it up when I have a finished photo for all of you.)  My short term goal is to finish these THIS weekend.  No more excuses.  FINISH these dammit.  (Getting annoyed with myself here.)

Other than that there's the blanket which- gah... I just can't right now.  I'm obviously not going to finish it for the Stampede this year, which is fine, I'll just enter one item.  BUT, I still need to finish it.  There's part of me that wants to knit something else entirely for the person it's intended for, but I'm trying to convince myself that it's nice and I should just power thru to a finish.

There are also some charity blankets that are here and going to be coming in steadily for the next little while- so it's time to get some of that acrylic out of the stash!

So, because this is light on interesting pictures- I thought I'd share some pics of my flowers in the yard this year, because I'm so SO excited for the buds to open and get flowers.  I've been watching my delphinum so closely and every day it gets closer and closer to opening up.  (I had no idea what color it was going to be, it wasn't labeled, and I so hoped it would be purple.  The good news is I think it IS puple... or at least the buds are looking that way.)


AND my peonies are ready to provide a bumper crop of blossoms!  (Last year I got ONE flower and was so bummed.  This year we're going to do much better!)


This shot is for Robin- a friend in my knitting group, who asked us to plant a flower (petunia?  I'm so terrible at flower names... I apologize) she provided in her mom's memory.  I was more than happy to oblige. (and it goes with my purple/yellow theme that I picked for my yard this year.)


So there you have it- that's what happening around here right now.  Finished photos will hopefully be here soon and we can get back to business as usual around here.  :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May-kin' It Work

When we last left this blog my mojo was waivering... the warm weather proving to be a huge distraction and my desire to get anything done less than "keen".  Whelp- the weather continues to be not hideous and so, alas, my progress is a little less than exciting.  I don't have much to tell you.

My May plan was to get the mystery project done by May 31.  I'm still tracking positively on that front.  Both mittens are complete except for thumbs, so this week I need to work on the thumbs.  OH?  Did I mention that I hate thumb knitting?  Mitten knitting is A OK.... thumb knitting is yuck.  I hate the fiddly little fingers.  That's probably why you'll never see me knit gloves, so many agonizing fingers.


As much as I love these mittens and they're turning out pretty awesome- I'm worried that aren't "super stars" and they aren't "contenders".  So the real question is do I try to whip something up in the very small mean time or just enter what I have for this year and regroup for next year?  Please don't get me wrong- these look great, but I'm not sure they're show stoppers.  I need a good show stopping inspiration!  (Although MiL did find what will likely be my project for next year, so thanks to her!)

The  blanket is at a stand still.  I have hardly touched it.  It was going to be my second entry and I suppose now that the mittens are nearly done I could refocus on this and grind it out.  But UGH- I'm just not feeling it right now.  I need to finish it by mid July as the baby is due then,so I might need to have a sign up sheet for people to come by and just kick me in the pants to keep me working on it.

I did also start a new little project for an expecting mom at Parker's school.  She's adding a little boy to her brood of little girls, so I thought I'd make her a hat and some booties.  The booties are just getting started but the hat is already done and OH it's cute!


Pattern: Cabled Teddy Hat by Marinda Lariz (newborn size)
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued- but YAY stash yarn!)
Needle: US 6
Notes: I really REALLY appreciate the thought the pattern designer put into the decreases at the top.  It was clever and smart and makes the hat look more polished.  I will likely knit this hat a million other times- and potentially for the new babies next year.  (It's a little early to commit to that project right now...)

Next up are a matching set of booties- which are equally as adorable as this hat.  I need to finish this little present by June 18, as that's the last day of Parker's school for the year.  (*insert shocked expression here*)

I will hopefully be back soon to tell you I finished those mittens on time and that there's all kinds of new and exciting stuff in the hopper coming!  Stick with me, these lapses in mojo rarely last long- and I still manage to grind a few things out in the mean time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Missing Mojo Part 15,984

Spring is sprung...
The grass is ris'...

Oops.  May 13 and this is my first May post!  Sorry guys!

This seems to happen around the same time every year.  Spring comes and around and shines it's lovely sunshine rays down and my brain goes "I cannot. knit. another. stitch."  This inconviently happens, it seems, everytime I have actual knitting deadlines to meet or when I'm in thick of a project and it starts to lose some of it's "hey this is new and fun and challenging and exciting and woo!" shine.

Gentle reader, I have to admit, there have been several days in the last 2 weeks when I haven't even touched my knitting.  *gasp* *clutches pearls in terror*  I've been distracted getting my backyard bloomin' (and spending too much time covering it up every night because it keeps getting too cold! grrrr) and cleaning up my house to really sit down and focus on knitting.

That's not to say that there hasn't been any progress, it's just, not the usual "look how productive I've been" pace you've become use to from me.

The mystery mittens are shaping up well (and even fit the right sized hands!) and I'm on track, (if I get my mojo back) to finish them for the end of June.


Got any ideas on what theme I went with this year?  Here's another spoiler shot....


Sadly my husband, who's June birthday these were intended for, accidently ruined himself on the surprise when he was syncing up my iphone and saw pictures.  I'm disappointed that my attempt to go covert was ruined but I'm hoping that maybe he'll try to stay away from all of the surprises and still have something unexpected to look forward to for his birthday.  *ahem* HINT *ahem*

The blanket pace is looking rather bleak....


So you have reference for it- here's a pic of what it looked like the last time I posted a blog post...


YIKES.  Not much.  I need to finish the mittens and kick into high gear on this project.  The one small kudos I can give myself is that I have stayed on top of the end weaving in and it won't be horribly overwhelming when I do finish this project.

I'll try to be better.  I'll try to ramp up the progress here and make this an interesting blog again- but until then you'll have to endure my little lapse of ennui until I can really start grinding out stitches again.  Until then- happy SPRING and enjoy the sun, I know I have!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

In the Thick Of It

And now, it's that time in the projects where you're just in the thick of it, chipping away at your project row by row.  There isn't much to say when you're in the thick of it, you're just busy knitting.  You're not at the start anymore, but you're not where near the end either and and so I'll let do the pictures do the talking for me.

On the blanket, the first color pattern is down.


Purple is my favorite color so I'm so glad the general consensus on this was to do it in purples.  It looks cute and girly but it's also a refreshing change from pastel pink.  I've made a rule that I must weave in the ends after each 4 stripes of color, otherwise I'm going to be crying at the end with the amound of ends to weave in.  (There will be many)  The pattern is quite simple and this should knit up reasonably fast.  (And so far, it has proven to be excellent playoff knitting because I'm paying a lot more attention to the game than the actual knitting.  GO FLAMES.)

My mystery project is also trucking along in it's "meaty" stage.


I guess I can reveal that it's another set of mittens since that is fairly obvious now.  I'll try to keep the pictures vague but OH MAN I'm excited about seeing it take shape.  I keep worrying about the placement of the thumb and the length of the hand, but I've already told myself I'm well enough ahead on this project that ripping it back will not be the end of the world.  (BUT OH MY would it ever suck.)

So there you have it- there isn't much to say since there's a lot more to do.  My May goal is to finish the mittens and get well into the blanket.  Let's see what happens.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

So Much Happening!

Gah!  I don't even know where to begin- but there is a LOT going on, on the needles over here.

Firstly- I present to you... THE LAST HAT.


That brings the grand total to 18 hats for charity this year!  And I'm glad this project finished when it did because I JUST started to think to myself, "I'm sort of sick of hats..." This is a lovely colorful bunch that will keep 18 babies heads' warm.

Not a bad little stash buster- this is all I had left- which I couldn't get another hat out of.  (I tried!)

Charity work is far from over because... OMG the worsted weight acrylic stash is out of hand!

More WCOBB blanket sign ups for me!  Speaking of WCOBB- I got 2 blanket sections done this month.

Plum Pudding:


Star Wars:

It's not a secret that I LOVE Star Wars so when that blanket came up I HAD to be apart of it.  I had so much fun knitting (and designing) my section...


I'm inspired to possibly start another one.  OR, even go further and design a whole blanket in that theme.  (I have so many ideas!!)  Either way it was fun and it got the creative juices flowing.

Thankfully the creative juices began flowing just in time for me to cast on the mystery Stampede project!


I've already ripped it back 20 rows and had to get going again.  The good news is now I'm in a  bit of a "zone" and I've devoted some time to get it going.  I do have a bit of a concern that I will need to test this weekend on someone- but I need to get further before I can test my concern out.  (I'm already mentally preparing to rip out more rows... *sigh*)

NOTE TO SELF- next project design should not be a secret from the person who's body you could easily use to measure things on.

AND- because I'm an over achiever (and out of mindless projects) I procured the yarn for the baby blankets and cast it on.

As you can see, PURPLE was the big winner in my little poll.

This project is one of those "looks harder than it is" deal-ios and will be great for TV (and playoff {GO FLAMES}) knitting.