It has been since I last bought yarn!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sneak Preview

This is just a quick update- progress continues at a hurried pace on the blanket.  When you're on a fairly tight deadline- it's hard to get anything else in... including blogging.  But.... on the upside- PROGRESS!

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Cross your fingers that this will be off the needles on Saturday.

I'll update you more then but just know there will be more to say in February as I have a HUGE "to do" list for that month's goals!


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rainbow Knitting Continues

Welp- that was quick... blanket 1 was off the needles on Jan 16 and I need to jump and move quickly if I'm going to get blanket #2 going and done for Jan 31.  Here's a sneak peak on what I'm doing for #2....

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Can you guess is yet?  Haha.  There is more than enough colors left, so I'm not worried about running out of yarn.  I bought some black this time to have a more consistent color theme throughout and we'll see how #2 turns out!

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Wanna see #1?

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Pretty colorful.  It's not ready for it's glamor shots yet.  I need to weave in ends and block it a little, try to even it out.  I now know what it would look like to graduate the colors like that.  It's um... bright.  It looks cool  but I will admit I'm not wildly in love with it- so to WCOBB it will be donated!

I've decided that the rules to knitting 2 blankets this month does not include finishing- because GAH- that acrylic is going to take forever to block and GAH... that'll just be too much.  I joined the "February is for Finishing" knit-a-long in a Ravelry group and will make finishing the blankets as part of that priority.  (I've also signed up my second set of Polaris mittens and the preschool socks for the finishing in Feb.)

I know that in January I usually do a great big stash analysis and WHOO BOY- I still want to do it- but right now frantic blanket knitting is the priority so there hasn't been time to really get into the cabinet and photograph what's in there.  (There is so. much.)  BUT, in a fit of organization, I did organize my knitting notions that I keep upstairs to have access at any time.

I store my knitting stuff in this little pencil case the lovely Knitting Water (Hi Anne!) gifted to me one Christmas many many moons ago.  (Pre-babies!)

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I love it.  It's not too big, it has just the right number of side pockets and (bonus) it's pink and Hello Kitty!

Here's the content all dumped out....

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YIKES!  Chaos!  Let's organize shall we?

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So- what exactly is in here?

Well for one thing, the next time I see a row counter, ANY counter, I am just going to walk away because GOOD LORD that is a lot of row counters in the right corner there.  And sadly, that's not all of them, there are probably like 3 or 4 other ones kicking around in various project bags that require my attention.

Also holy smokes do I not need any more stitch markers.  I had no idea there were that many in there!!  Truthfully I use my donuts and rainbow yarn balls almost exclusively as they're a little more whimsical but the other ones do tend to serve purposes from time to time.

Apparently my next greatest need as a knitter is lip balm?  HUH?  I hate HATE chapped lips.  But I think 3 is probably a little excessive don't you think?  Haha.  It's a good thing I cleaned this thing out!

The rest of the stuff is used every so often, and probably good to be in there.  I like those cable needles-  in my opinion a shorter cable needle is better and I like that it varies in sizes.  Crochet (ew!) hooks are also a necessary evil, especially now since I've mostly made my peace with crochet.  My poor little tape measure has been around for a long long time and it's starting to show it's age.  (It also happens to be an often used "toy" my son favors.)

So tell me- am I missing anything in my little notions kit?  What do you keep fairly close at hand?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rainbow Fun

As you've seen here on the blog, I belong to the WCOBB (Western Canadian Odball Baby Blanket) society- where we knit a 6" section in scrap acrylic yarn that is donated to the Foothills NICU ward.  I've been involved for awhile now and it's a brilliant way to bust stash out of your acrylic bin of shame.  (Which 'fess up... we ALL have!)  Sometimes the blanket has a theme, or an outlined instruction or color pattern and other times it's just a free for all.

The further I've been involved on the blankets the more I've learned that I like the theme, or instruction blankets, as, in my mind, they tend to look a little more cohesive.  You can't always guarentee that the next knitter is going to follow the instructions though, and every once in awhile you get a blanket that looks a little... um... off? 

A popular "instructional" blanket to sign up for is one that incorporates mosaic patterns- which always really pop.  I've, for a long time, had in my head an idea for a mosaic blanket that incorporates Rainbow colors in the traditional "Roy. G. Biv" order.  And, well, as you recall, I bought a "schwack" load of rainbow acrylic on boxing day.  (Much to the shock of well, everyone.)  I just decided to indulge my curiosity.

First I needed to swatch out a few ideas.

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I realized then that I had a bunch or leftover acrylic in the exact same brand, so I could swatch AND get a gauge swatch- so I switched to green and yellow.


I knit a lot of swatches, but I kept coming back to liking the "Swirly" pattern.


And so, satisfied that I had a decent plan, I cast on and was immediately transfixed.  To be honest I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the blanket.  If I love love LOVE it- I'll probably keep it and gift it to someone who would prefer the "upkeep" of acrylic over the "upkeep" of wool.  If I don't love love it, I'll probably donate it to the WCOBB group.


I already know that I'm going to have leftovers.  Like, a lot of leftovers.  So there's going to be another rainbow blanket after this one.  I haven't decided it's direction yet- but needless to say I'm having fun with all of this color.  My little goal would be too try and eek out 2 rainbow blankets this month.

What a great way to make up for the lack of color in January than to knit with Rainbows!  (Even if it IS acrylic.)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Knitting Auld Lang Syne


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Should auld knitting projects be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
In some cases they should be forgot,
And others are fun to find.

For Auld knitting projects my dear,
The knit and purl!
We'll take a final shop my dear
For this, your knitting girl.

Ack!  I really wanted to get more than one ore blog post out before the New Year, but here we are, Dec 31st and I'm just squeaking out a final entry.  There's a bit left to tell you about this year and so I thought I'd cram it into a jumble of a post.

Firstly- the bunnies Christmas sweaters are done and OH MAN are they cute.



Pattern: Dress: Seasonal Dresses Pattern & Sweater: Nordic Style Sweater by Julie Williams.
Yarn: Mission Hills 136 Merino Superwash
Needles: 2.75 mm
Notes: I cannot stress to you enough how well Julie Williams writes patterns.  SHE IS AWESOME.  Her patterns are so thorough and so detailed it's impossible to screw it up.  If you ever want to cut our teeth on a little knitted toy, I cannot stress enough how great these patterns are.  THEY. ARE. AWESOME.

Confession- as I was weaving in a bazillion ends on these lovely little outfits I broke some personal rules.


I was painstakingly weaving each end beautifully in and then I realized... THE BUNNIES DON'T CARE if it's perfect and so, dear gentle reader who has come to expect much more from me, I knotted a lot of ends, tucked them less than perfectly in, put these sweaters on and called it a day.

I DON'T EVEN FEEL BADLY ABOUT IT.*

I also managed to squeak out my last outstanding section on the charity blankets- and got it out the door.

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I love the look of the scrappy striped blankets and I hope to do a few more of these this year.

There were a couple of knitterly treasures under the tree this year, a much needed new swift, a Pudding gift card and the husband was brave and gave me a "Qiviut" shopping spree.  (Although he made me promise not to make a sweater.  {don't get it?  Just take a peek at those prices and you'll get it then...})

And- as it's now a TIME HONORED tradition... MiL and I hit the yarn sales on Boxing Day.  I basically shocked everyone, (but not more than I shocked myself) and came home with a bag full of acrylic.  WHAT?!?!??

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For a long time now I've had an idea for a charity blanket in rainbow colors.  And I don't know why, but I've decided that I'm just going to do it.  January is cold, and tends to be colorless and I can't think of a better way than to knit brightly.  And so, that is what I'm planning to do.  January is going to be for rainbow knitting- I'm thinking I should be able to squeak 1, maybe 2 blankets out of this shameful stash acquisition and donate it away.  (Likely to WCOBBS)  A 6" section on a charity blanket usually takes me no more than about 2 days to knit, so I figure I can quickly knit 2 of these blankets.  Think I can do it!?

I also hit a surprise yarn sale shopping for MiL's gift this year and managed to score some more Berrocco Ultra Alpaca fine (40% off!!) which will make a yummy pair of socks or mittens at some point.

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So there you have it- knitwise how I've finished my year.  I managed to knit my giant ball of hats and I managed to get some stash out the door.  Sadly I've also opened the door to a lot more stash, so it will be more knitting that out this year.  It was a good year for me- and I look forward to 2015 and the hopes that it's going to be even more productive.  (And if these recent yarn purchases are any indication, it's also going to be a year that's BRIGHTLY colored.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS- wishing you the best in 2015.  Let's see what projects I can squeak out!

*Okay maybe a little...**

**It's totally eating away at me.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Warm Hearted

WHEW- Christmas is MADNESS!  MADNESS I say!  And while my "party season" will be winding up today- I thought I'd try and sneak out a post and let you know that the Warm Hearted mittens are finito!

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Pattern: Warm Hearted Mittens by Rose Hiver (FREE PATTERN!)
Yarn: Red: Little Knits Sockulent in colorway 11 Navy: Lang Yarns Bebe in Navy Blue (OMG this yarn has been in my stash FOREVER.)
Needles: US 2
Notes: You'll note FOUR successful attempts at a Latvian braid!  

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This is the first mitten I've ever knit that was just a breeze.  No stops and starts- just straight forward knitting and perfection.  Warm hearted left ME warm hearted and it was a great pattern to knit.  I'm going to be  Rose Hiver knitting junky I think!

The pattern is just lovely and I'm so pleased that they knit quickly and beautifully.

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These were finished on Sunday and a quick block later they were ready for Miss Esther.  Unfortunately she wasn't in class when I planned to gift them to her, so I'm hoping that the school will be able to forward them on to her.  I will miss her.

Also- in the mind set of being warm hearted, I have completed my most recent sections of the Butterflies charity blanket for WCOBB.  They're bright and colorful, and sadly STILL haven't eaten up all the extra spare green and yellow acrylic yarn I've got in my stash!

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And NOW- now I can indulge in a little frivolous knitting..... what to knit now?!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Start Celebrating

Shoot!  I wanted to get one more post out in November and here it is Dec 1 and I'm just getting to it now.  Oh well- on the upside I have much progress to share.

Firstly- let us celebrate the END OF THE POLARIS MITTEN DISASTER!  (Or at least, near the end, as I technically have to knit the smaller mitten too- but I can at least GIVE this pair to it's intended recipient.)

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Pattern: Polaris by Rebecca Blair
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine  (so soft!) in colorway 1285 and Little Knits Sockulent in colorway 1
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Notes: My issues with these have been well documented on this blog, this is ENTIRELY my issue and not the fault of the pattern.  I didn't do the extra  folded over inside area that the mitten calls for, and I probably regret that, given that despite powerful blocking the cuffs still don't lie perfectly flat.

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I will be honest- there's 2 errors.  1 is on the thumb and essentially invisible, so it won't eat at me but if you look closely at the cuffs, you'll see I got a bit hasty on my fourth go at it, and I skipped knitting 2 rows.  (At the very bottom- you'll see it.)  I am letting it go, (as much as I am able to),  but man I'm just so relieved I got these done.

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Going up a needle size improved the sizing, but I knit these tight.  I relied heavily on the blocking to add some additional space in the mitten and I think, thankfully, that worked out pretty well.  All I need to do now is wrap these puppies and give them to one of Parker's teachers for Christmas.

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I'm was so relieved that I immediately cast on the next mitten I wanted to knit.  Meet Warm Hearted by Rose Hiver.  (free pattern!)

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The pattern is perfectly named for it's intended recipient, and unlike Polaris, these have actually been a breeze to knit so far.  In fact, I'm well into mitten #2 already.  (That's a good thing- I need to gift these on Dec 11!!!!)  I'm really glad this has been relatively pain free as Polaris nearly put me off mittens for good!

Since Warm Hearted is going SO well, there's this stupid voice in the back of my head that says "why don't you just knit a plain pair of mittens for Parker's music teacher too? "  But, I'm hoping I'll regain my senses and stop listening to the voices in my head and instead pay attention to the more rational side of me that says "QUIT WHILE YOU ARE AHEAD!"

And I suppose we can also celebrate that I've made as much progress as I have on my plain Jane self striping socks- because it means my son has been content to play and let me knit in his class.  (Now if only I could leave... baby steps!)

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I'm going to try and squeeze as much progress as I can in the next few weeks, and I'll do my best to blog the progress, but now starts our Christmas season, which is insanely hectic at the best of times.  At least I don't have any Dec 24/25 deadlines this year!  Let's celebrate the progress I've made and be excited to know that there's more to come!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Just a Bunch of Stuff to Share

Well- after being paralyzed with fear to knit anything I seem to have moved past my overwhelmed state and have cast on a few things.  YAY!

Firstly- the Polaris mittens are off the needles.  RELIEF.  Well at least the first set it off- I still need to knit a 2nd one for the other pair, but I've decided to rest that until I get a few other things out of the way first.  They are currently blocking and will hopefully be "glam photo ready" soon.  I do have a concern that they are rather tight, especially the thumb and I regret not going an even higher needle size up.  But let's all cross our fingers that the wet block will stretch them out a bit.

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(I'm serious- CROSS YOUR FINGERS.  Do it now please!)  You'll note I've crafted myself some creative mitten blockers thanks to this little handy tutorial on the interwebs.  (Apologies to a not often used Sesame Street placemat.)  The good news it that I've had time to creepily stare at Parker's teachers hands and I think they are small enough to still fit.

*sigh* I've had enough time to creepily stare at Miss Jen's hands because we've had a small set back in our preschool attendance and now I attend preschool full time.  In an effort to try and keep me as removed from the classroom as possible, while still providing support to my anxious little one, I knit off in a corner for some parts of the class when he's comfortable enough to let me away from his side.  It requires simple knitting, and so I brought a self striping sock to work on.  I'm looking on the bright side and saying "well at least I'm working something out of my stash!"  It's funny to see the other children react and I have fielded a lot of questions about "what are you doing?" from a curious group of 3 year olds.


Since Polaris is finished I also wanted to knit another one of the grown ups in the classroom a small present and so I cast on the "Warm Hearted" mitten pattern from Knitty.  Perfectly titled for the person I plan on giving them too.  (She is a teacher aide assigned to work with a developmentally delayed child, but she has made every effort to try and comfort and settle my little guy too, and he really feels safe and comfortable with her.  I'm devastated because I just found out that her little guy is moving and she will not longer be in the classroom after December.)


I really wish my classmates from my "20 Tips and Tricks" class at Vogue Knitting could see that picture above because they'd see that I do, in fact, know how to a Latvian Braid- as I was unsuccessful doing it in the classroom.  These are looking sharp and I can't wait to see them as they come together.

Because this block has also become a platform for me to show off other crafty things I have accomplished recently, I want to brag and show you what else I made last week....

I am now in posession of a 3 year old (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?) and to celebrate we had to, (HAD TO) have a Bob the Builder birthday cake.  My friend tipped me off to cake pan rentals in the city (BRILLIANT!) and I was able to "fake it" enough to come up with an awesome cake.  I am insanely proud of myself for this!

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Back to knitting and enjoying my (fleeting) nap times!

Friday, November 7, 2014

And So I Made Monkey Slippers

A few days ago my sister posted this on my Facebook wall...

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She was mostly kidding.

The thing is, she's sort of needed a little cheering up and I thought to myself, well... THIS is something I can do!  And so... quietly, I found a pattern (same pattern author) for grown up monkey sock slippers and a few days these were staring at me...


Pattern: Sock Monkey Slippers by Janet Jameson
Yarns: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice solids in "taupe", "cranberry" and "linen" (ACRYLIC!  EEK!)
Needles: US 10.5
Notes: What a highly satisfying, quick pattern.  It's well written and yields adorable results.  I WILL make these again.  Heck- I might even make the booties too!  So cute!

        

I thought the element of surprise would be best, so today while my sister was at work I snuck in and delivered the slippers and left them for her to find.  (Yes mom, I also took out Etta (her dog) for a pee.)  I was on a phone call when my sis got these- but this post popped up on her Facebook page quite quickly...


And then through out the night I got updates on what her new cozy friends were doing...



This was a quick and easy project and TOTALLY worth it for putting the smile on my sister's face.  I'm so glad I decided to whip up a pair and surprise her.  My sister has always been sweet to appreciate the knitted items I've made for her (here and the weird one here, and oh yah the cute one here too!) and this was no exception.  I love knitting for her because she loves the things I make her.  It's a win win!

And so- if she asks... I'm most likely going to knit it!

(Best not ask about the mittens right now, they are still in time out- THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DID!)