It has been since I last bought yarn!

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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Flashes of Fall

Well... it's coming fast and furious now...

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FALL IS HERE.  Whether we got ripped off on summer or not.  (*sigh*)  And oddly enough, even though we've settled into a more familiar routine, knitting hasn't picked up like I had hoped.

Progress on the blanket is coming, slowly but surely...

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And I cast on new mitten and have jumped well into it already.

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Although, I already have concerns that I've knit it too small.**  I guess I'll be creepily staring at teacher hands next Kindergarten drop off trying to determine whether or not I need to rip it out.  (Helpfully, Parker's Kindergarten teacher is quite tiny, so hoping she has matching hands!)

I'm also slightly nervous that I won't have enough yarn to complete these... so it's going to be a harrowing experience.

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That's really all I have to show for the last ten days... minimal progress at best.  I'm not sure why I'm so slow on the uptake here but I've found my evenings busy and when they aren't packed with something to do or some place to attend I'm tired and calling it an early night.  Booo.  WAKE UP THERE IS KNITTING TO BE HAD.

Complicating the process further is that the Halloween crafting, (which usually involves sewing) has begun in earnest, cramping much needed knitting time.

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While I rely on my mother fairly heavily for her sewing skills to get me through the trickier parts, I want to at least take some of the burden off of her and do some of the simpler things to lighten her load... which means hauling out the sewing machine and doing more cursing than I'm proud of under my breath.  There will be trips to Fabricland in my future!!

Tonight I have a ticket to see the Yarn Harlot at Pudding yarn which should be fun and yield some knitting/listening time to help with progress.  That will hopefully put me firmly back in the "MUST KNIT ALL THE TIME" camp and finished items will start cranking out more frequently.

** by the time I finished writing this blog post I had already decided to rip out to the cuff on the mitten and go up a needle size for the hand.  A baggier hand is better than a too tight one.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Frenzied Fall

Listen, I'm loathe to call it fall outside until I see actual evidence of leaves changing colors and falling off trees... but um... it's happening here.  (Barely "summer" and Calgary gets one of the fastest onsets of fall... *sigh*.)

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(STOP!  TOO SOON!  TOO SOON!)

In the last two nights I've snuggled into my cozy pants with a warm cup of tea, curled into the couch and finally gotten back into the rhythem of knitting again.  This September has had a whole bunch of BIG firsts that I've been distracted for and preparing for and we're finally settling into our new routine.

Firsts you say?  Two family members in our house had their FIRST birthdays and are officially not longer considered "kittens".

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The sheer hatred for the hats in these photos make me laugh and laugh

Also a BIG first... someone had his first day of Kindergarten.

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Kindergarten is Tuesday and Thursdays FULL days with some Friday mornings.  (yay!  FOUND KNITTING TIME!) Tuesday was overwhelming but he handled it well.  Thursday we had a few tears at drop off but I picked up the happiest, most excited kid AFTER school and I was so glad that he was loving it.  Hoping we can keep that level of happiness up and sustained for the whole year!

Since I could finally relax that he's feeling relaxed, I was also able to get back at the knitting.

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2 hats were added to the pile and are looking much more like they're supposed to.

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I also cast on and began knitting another acrylic blanket because I need to whittle that stash away.

AND... now that school is actually started and we've counted 2 teachers and 2 aides in Parker's class... I need to start getting "my mitten on" if I don't want Christmas to be a disasterous stress situation.  I have a pattern picked up out and the color scheme ready... I'll likely cast it on next week!

I've also decided that during Parker's music classes this year I will take my sock to knit.  (Mom's sit outside- and do not get to participate now.)  So hopefully the little travel sock will see faster progress than it usually does.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Summer's End

In a shocking twist... summer is ending.  DIDN'T IT JUST START?  And yet, here we are, exactly a week away from my baby (MY BABY!!!) starting kindergarten and me wondering how summer went by so quickly.  At least I have a lot to show for this summer's knitting. (Thanks crappy weather!)  So let's dive in- there's lot to see this week!

Firstly- the blankets are blocked... so let's show 'em off because I can finally count them as done!

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Pattern: Baby Heart Blanket by Deborah O'Leary
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in "white" and "pastel pink" and Patons North American Solids in "pale grey mix".
Needles: US 8
Notes: It's a really great pattern that could be adapted a number of ways.  My only complaint is that this was maybe just a bit shorter than I wanted it.  The designer helpfully emailed me on Ravelry and told me that I could extend the grey sections which was a great idea.

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It's really quite pretty and the pattern is very well written.  I'm not sure what to do with this right now, if I'll donate it to charity or keep it in my stock pile for the surprise babies that pop up from time to time.  (It happens!)  Either way it's a great stash buster and I still have a lot of acrylic stash to bust.

As if that wasn't enough great news... I have blanket #2 off the needles too... another stash buster! (SO MUCH ACRYLIC IN THE STASH!)

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Pattern: Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot
Yarn: Red Heart Baby Steps in "baby pink" and "white" and purple and Teal of dubious origin
Needles: US 9
Notes: Another great pattern and bonus, it knits fast.  I added additional stitches (153 cast on) and knit the first and last 4 rows in garter stitch to prevent curling.

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I really love how this turned out.  I only used what I had lying around and wow... is it cute.  I'm not sure I can part with this one for charity either.  (What is wrong with me?!)  I'll let these sit around for awhile and see how I feel after a bit of time and more acrylic blankets have passed.

Yes.  More acrylic blankets.  I've hardly dented the stash....

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I have no idea why or how the stash got so big- but it's big and I want it gone.  So more acylic projects will be in our future.  (But lets admit it, if we can get past the acrylic-ness of the projects... these blankets look lovely!)

I finally, (FINALLY) got around to knitting some hats last week as I need to get 12 done.  I've decided to knit the adorable Cabled Teddy Hat pattern minus the ears, since the hospital's weirdo rules mean they would cut the ears off anyways.  (I guess not everyone sews in loose pieces within an inch of their life and baby's best interest should be at heart so I will comply.)

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It's been awhile since I knit these so my sizing is a little off- but I think I know what I'm doing now so going forward there will be more consistent sizing in these things.  Maybe I'll knit one or two more this week.  (I've fallen asleep both nights after putting Parker to bed so maybe I need to stay up a little bit first!)

And lastly, as mentioned in my last post there was still more travel to be had, and I did just that by hopping on a plane for a childless weekend in New Haven/New York with my husband.  I packed along a sock with me to knit.  (I intended to knit a pattern but it became clear that it needs to be just a plain Jane sock... so I had to rip out a bit.)  I didn't make as much progress as I had intended... but a start is a start and there will still be some more travel this fall, so we'll see how this begins to take shape.

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Also...

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THIS HAPPENED and I was so excited about it that it was hard to concentrate on anything else, even knitting.  (IT. WAS. AMAZING. and EVERYTHING that people are so excited about.)

So there we have it- everything I did this summer and not really a specific plan for fall but there will be knitting, so don't you worry!  Blog posts should be more frequent and hopefully progress will also pick up as my child goes back to school.  (!!!!)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Vacation Sun Fun!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back!  We were down in Coronado/San Diego for a few days there basking in the California sun.  (SUN!  GLORIOUS SUN!  Sun has apparently foresaken Calgary...)  Sitting on the beach, watching the boys dig holes I got to pull out my knitting and work on the vacation sock.

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(What a view!)

Like all vacations, this baby is also FINISHED.

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Pattern: Hermoine's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder
Yarn: Koigu Painters Palette Premium Merino (KPPM) in "P444194"
Needles: US 1
Notes:  I've had this yarn in the stash FOREVER and it feels like I "did it right" by knitting it in this pattern.  The pattern seems to evenly varigate the color changes beautifully and overall I'm really pleased with the way this turned out.  Also- guys?  The eye of the partridge heel looks so great on these!

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These socks are well travelled... showing up in Maui, Jasper, Coronach (Sask), Yorkton (Sask) and finally Coronado & San Diego.  The travel isn't over, just these socks... so I'll need to fire up a new travel sock to throw on the needles to take with me on my next adventure.

It wasn't all sock knitting on this holiday... there was a lot of other activity to be had.  I got very creative in the sand this time...

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We fit in a lot of swimming.  (My kid is swimming/jumping/playing in the pool without water wings now!  I'm so proud of him!)

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And we had all kinds of wild adventures in Legoland!

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Vacation was a blast and a great chance to relax and get away.  BUT, it's also good to be home and to take stock on what needs to be worked on this fall.  I'm not sure what I'm going to knit next... but don't worry I'm sure the needles won't be empty for long.  Any guesses on what I start next?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lazy Summer

Where'd you go?  I just slipped into a bit of oblivion this last week or two.. transitioning to the slower pace summer affords.  That's not to say things haven't been happening... it's just that I've been a bit lazy to address it.  Blogging seems less of a priority when the sun is shining and there's adventure to be had.

We've had a weird summer for us in Calgary so far.  Rain.  So much rain.  Sunny mornings with storms rolling in in the afternoon.  It's unusual.  We usually get 3 or 4 good thunder storms in a summer span.  This July we've had one nearly every day.  It puts a damper on enjoying the summer but I suppose as a knitter it also means I'm indoors more to get some knitting done.

The second scrappy blanket is coming along quickly.

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I have two more sections to knit and then it will be done and then I'll block both blankets and put them in the finished pile.  I hope to have this blanket finished by the end of this week.  Neither of these two acrylic blankets I've knit have really dented the stash like I had hoped.  SO, I guess I'll keep knitting more.  It gives me a chance to knit the simple stuff and I must admit I'm sort of enjoying the ease of simple this summer.

Another quick trip to Saskatchewan, this time child-free, meant that I got to work on my travelling sock again and I've now reached the point where the end should come quickly...

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I love having a quick sock on the go to grab, and as our summer vacation approaches I'm wondering if I should include another one or if I should finally get around to committing some time to the hats, which I have been conviently forgetting about.  

August posting will likely be sporadic.  There's a lot going on and at one point we'll be away for a bit.  Do not fret my lovely pets if you don't hear much from me... I'll be back in September with much to say and new projects to cast on and hopefully with some finished photos of stuff to show!  I'm NOT participating in the Ravellenic games this year.  I can't find myself mustering enough enthusiasm for the Olympics to even think about knitting on a deadline so I will cheer for those who are knitting from the sidelines.  (Go team Canada!)  For now I'm just going to let myself indulge in the laziness of summer and see what I can come up with.  (The weatherman is also promising less rain in August and so I'm hoping to capitalize more evenings OUTSIDE and less inside knitting.)

Hope your summers are feeling as lazy as mine is....

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

YA - HOO

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(My biggest fan.  Who insisted we see the knitting FIRST... before the rides!)

I'd say it was a successful run at Stampede this year!  I placed first in both my categories and 3rd place overall for knitting!  I'm very pleased with my results this year and the feedback I got was wholly positive.  

(Yes I am also competitve and I'm already planning and plotting on how to finally get my grubby little hands on a 1st place overall finish.)

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By the way, the 1st place overall winner was a STUNNER this year.  I don't know who you are... but lady that was a well deserved win!

(Must. learn. to. knit. shawls.)

We didn't plan it this way, but we ended up on Stampede grounds on the only day it wasn't a rainy mess.  (10 days of Stampede and it rained every day... but not on the afternoon/evening we were there.)  Once we had our fill of rides we spent some time in the agriculture tent... checking out the animals, including the sheep.  Here's me with the wool...

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Here's how I really feel when I see wool.... (CRAZY PANTS!)

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(Husband actually told me to "look less crazed" after we saw this one... but I feel this one really expresses how I feel when it comes to wool.)

Since the weather has been really crap, (SO. MUCH. RAIN.), I've actually burned through a lot of knitting progress... I even finished the one acrylic blanket I cast on.

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(4 yr old toes photobomb)

(I don't technically consider it "DONE" because it isn't blocked.  It sure looks done doesn't it?  Just trust me, in my my little world of rules and order it needs a wash before I can move it over to the "finished" pile.)

There's a lot of acrylic in the "get out" pile... so I immediately cast on another blanket and well, progress is moving at a clip on that one too.

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I'm sort of not-so-secretly falling in love with this one.  It is simple.  SO SIMPLE.  (Pattern is Chevron Baby Blanket)  And the colors I have seem to just go together cutely and I might not be able to part with it for charity.  (Truthfully I might not be able to part with the other one either.)  So often my ego pushes me to "knit to impress" with challenging patterns.  But, the truth is, with the right colors, even the most simply knit blankets look beautiful.  (And I'll admit it fun.  It's fun to see progress go SO fast.)  I'm sure at some point my brain is going to say "alright... CHALLENGE ME LADY" but right now, I'm enjoying the break with simple projects I can get off the needles quickly.

I was going to knit hats too... wasn't I?  Except I haven't.  I've been too obsessed with these blankets!  I've decided just to indulge the beast until it gets tired of large squares. The travel sock also saw a little work on it recently as well... but I'll save that update for another time as this post it getting long.

I suppose rainy summers are great for blog posts... because there's a lot to talk about this time!  Cross your fingers this rainy system moves somewhere else and we can get out in the sun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Summer....

Firstly- (belated) HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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Can I just say how bloody nice it is to knit without a deadline looming?  Everything I touch just feels so glorious and exciting because there isn't that lingering "DO IT BY THE TIME OR ELSE" feeling.

I cast on a blanket.  I wanted mindless knitting and to "get some acrylic out the door"... and lo progress is going at a great clip.

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Progress is going at a decent clip thanks in part to some patient knitters in my group who worked through a massive knot in the big white ball of yarn.  (We missed you Robyn!)

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(Happiness is a knitter who looks at you, sees you with a giant knot, and says "let me do that for you Jen".... and then spends the next 2 hours doing it!  She's not online but thanks Rosalind (and Sylvia and Rhonda too!)

I do have some size concerns with this blanket- mostly that's it's going to be shorter, not a longer size that I prefer.  But if, (and likely when) I knit this again I'm going to go up possibly 2 needle sizes to get a bigger size out of it.  It's an easy knit and I'm sure I can donate it to a charity.

A quick trip out to Jasper to celebrate Canada day weekend (I cannot recommend a visit enough- so beautiful!), meant that I squeeze in some car knitting on the holiday sock that's been mostly neglected since Maui.

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Also meant we got some lovely photos of not knitting.

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In case you're wondering- we are waiting to hear the results my Stampede entries garnered this year.   I thought those socks were "entry worthy" too so I have two things to look for in the showcase.

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And that's where we're at- summer has been slow to get warm outside (COME ON SUN!) but on the upside there's a lot of knitting happening here.  Hope your summer's are starting off as relaxing as mine!