It has been since I last bought yarn!

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!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Let Summer Begin

Let's cut to the chase today... guess what is off the needles in just the nick of time?!

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Pattern: Papilio Mittens by JennyPenny (great name!)
Yarn: Pink- Schachenmayr Regia Trendpoint 6618 in "pink lady" and White- Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in "white"
Needles: US 2
Notes: This pattern has an after-thought thumb, which I don't like the feel of... so I charted out my own thumb and began knitting it at row 26.  Here's a rough sketch of the chart if you'd like to add it to the pattern.

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I had a very enthusiastic mitten model to work with this time... (except his focus wasn't on showcasing the mitten...)

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They are quite lovely.  I was especially pleased with how the yarn softened up after it's blocking bath.

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The SECOND these were blocking and I was officially free to work on something else, I cast on a baby blanket.  (Pattern is Baby Heart Blanket by Deborah O'Leary)  I had been just itching to knit something simple and quick and this fits that bill.

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I have a boat load of acrylic yarn sitting in my stash right now.  I bought giant Lion Brand "Pound of Love" yarn balls when I had planned to knit baby blankets for my cousin... however the contrast wasn't sharp enough and so it's just sitting there... collecting dust.

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I haven't decided if I'll keep this for a potential mama down the line or donate it to Oddball Baby Blankets.  This is a very simple pattern that shouldn't take me a long time to knit and I will certainly have enough yarn to knit more than one blanket out of it.  So who knows, maybe one for me and one for charity.  We'll see where the path leads me.

I also decided to get the random Christmas stocking I started working on to show someone else how to knit a stocking on back in December finished.

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Pattern: Christmas Stocking by Stephanie Taylor
Yarn: Patons Canadiana North America Solids Red 10707 in "Cardinal" and Green 10708 in "Leap Frog"
Needles: US 7
Notes: I knit color blocks of 12 instead of 10 that is called for in the pattern.  I actually have enough of this to knit a second stocking... so maybe I will and the kitties can each have their own stocking at Christmas.  It was a quick and very simple knit.  Also, as far as acrylic yarns go- this Patons stuff is actually pretty nice to knit with.  I'd buy it again!

In general that's the goal this summer- to chip away at the acrylic, using simple projects and charity blankets, to get the acrylic down to small size and pick up with the wool in the fall.  Let's see where it goes!  In the mean time, I feel like this pic of my son's last night of soccer (last week) sums up how I'm feeling about knitting this summer.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me

I'm just going to admit it- I have a serious, SERIOUS case of "second mitten syndrome" and I just. don't. want. to. knit. it.  I just don't.  Given this serious case of ennui, the only thing I could think of doing to motivate myself accross the finish line was to enter it in the Stampede and force myself to get there.  So, feeling confident on a finish I hit "enter" and went ahead.

I was feeling pretty good the other night as I was knitting the last row of the thumb stitches before I take them off and go back to just knitting the hand.  I was getting closer to the finish line and then I could just be done and YAY...

I took off the thumb stitches and then it hit me.  Like a tonne of *BLEEP*ing bricks.  I have somehow done it again.  I don't even know how I did it.  I KNIT TWO BLOODY RIGHT HANDS.

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This has happened before.  WHICH IS WHY I THOUGHT I WAS BEING CAREFUL.  But... apparently not.  WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME BRAIN!?  I put my knitting down and away.  I keep telling myself just spend an hour ripping back to before the thumb and then picking it up and beginning again.  But my brain says "NO".  And I haven't gone back.  At least I haven't gone back yet.  I have a hard deadline for these now.  I have to go back, even though EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING SAYS "NOPE".

On the bright side, at least I didn't get all the way to the end of these before realizing the problem.  But still... *sigh*

Speaking of brighter sides.... I am now the mother of a PRESCHOOL GRADUATE.  I'm not entirely sure how the time whizzed by so quickly- but instead of wallowing in my great anguish... celebrate with me the fact that MY KID did it (WITH A SPEAKING PART IN THE CONCERT!)!

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So- that's where we're at today... hoping the weekend starts to look a little more positive for the mitten.

EDITED TO ADD- I just realized that the GIF I used to express NOPE had a big ole "F word" in it- I didn't notice it when I previewed it for my blog.  I AM SO SORRY... I try to keep this PG... my bad.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

.._. .. _. .. ... .... . _.. !!!

IT. IS. FINISHED!  (Like the catchy blog title?  It's MORSE CODE for "finished"!)

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Pattern: Cover Story by Mary Lawson (BUY the pattern... help a good cause!)
Yarn: 9 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in "silver"
Needles: US 5 for the body of the blanket and US 4 for the border
Notes: I really like the simple way this made a bobble- it makes more sense than a traditional bobble and requires less knitting and going back and forth.  I would really, REALLY highly suggest blocking out the middle section prior to picking up and knitting the border.  A blanket that isn't rolling is so much easier to work with.

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A note about the yarn.  I bought the Baby Cashmerino with some trepidation.  The reviews are reasonably positive on Ravelry but many many people complained about knots in the balls.  I hate that too.  Out of the 9 balls I knit with, 1 ball had a knot.  Overall I was really happy with the way the yarn knit up and I would totally buy it again.  It was extremely nice to work with and blocked BEAUTIFULLY.  I do have a ball's worth of leftovers... I see a baby hat with ears in it's future... for some future mom.

I was also a little nervous about picking up the border stitches since I don't always like the look of it on the wrong side....

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... but as you can see, it actually looks quite neat and cohesive.

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Overall I'm really pleased with this project and I'm glad I tackled it.  I'd highly recommend it for a sleek/modern looking baby blanket.

With the blanket completely done and off the needles, I'm free to pursue the mitten to see if I can make the Stampede deadline.

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(Oh you didn't think I was going to reveal all of it... did you?)  I think I can do it in time for Stampede... I just need to keep on it.  I still won't make the call until July 15... but that's 6 days from now and I can hopefully accomplish a lot of knitting in that time.

I'm looking forward to having the mittens off the needles too- and then I can settle into some less "do or die" knitting.  I'll start thinking about what I'd like to work on this summer... but it's so nice to have the whole summer stretch out ahead without much to really dig my heels in and work on.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Getting It Done

After last week's epic "HOLY CRAP MUST KNIT FASTER" panic attack... I did just that.  I knit fast.  And, the faster I knit, the more it became clear that I was going to run out of yarn.  At first I told myself I was just giving into the fear, and that I really did have enough... but the longer I worked on the border the more I realized I was, in fact, actually right and I needed more yarn.

I didn't panic.  I didn't buy that yarn all that long ago, so I mosied over to the yarn shop to buy another ball.  I distinctly remember having the conversation in the shop when I bought the yarn that there was enough yarn balls on the shelf if I needed another one I could pop in.  I even bought a "safety skein" to have in case I ran out.  Surely no one would buy the remaining yarn in the colorway in the month I was going to knit my project!!!  


So of course, my triumphant return turned sour when I rolled into the store and lo and behold... the colorway was gone.  The store owner kindly offered to reorder the colorway but we both knew the chances of getting a similar dye-lot was nil.  I thanked her, but I knew I was going to have to call around and see if someone else had the colorway in the same dyelot.

Long story short- no one in the city had it.  I started to look around online and that's when MiL suggested I look at "Passionknit" in Toronto as they a) sold things in CDN prices (yay!!!) and b) shipped to Calgary (also yay!!!).  Sure enough, a quick phone call and some OUTSTANDING customer service later... they confirmed the colorway and dyelot and we had it being shipped out to me on Monday.  (I ordered 2 balls even though I didn't think I need 2, just 1.  I just didn't want to run into the problem again.)  It's not here yet but that's okay because I knit to where I could.

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... which is apparently 3 borders.  The long borders nearly took an entire skein so I'm stopping here until the yarn shows up.  I'll be honest.  Just looking at the cast off on the side I can see I've pulled it too tightly (hmmm... stressed out much?) so I'm going to have to pull it out (ugh) and do it again more loosely.  (gross- I hate doing that)  But I'm at peace with this, mostly because I've gone as far as I can and I have to wait for the yarn to show up... which will be hopefully soon.  This will need another blocking but it's looking pretty good so I'll take comfort in that.

Waiting on the yarn also means getting to work on my other project without guilt!  So... the mitten has seen a little progress.  

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I'd sort of like to submit these to Stampede this year, but it would mean making a lot of progress by June 15.  SO... I'll make the call on June 15.  (I have to register by June 23 and submit by June 29... so June 15 gives me a decent idea if I can meet the deadline or not.)

I will admit my brain is already craving a break... just fun indulgent projects that have no timeline- but that seems to be a familiar June story for me.  I know the end is reasonably near on this stuff... I just need to put my head down and grind out the projects and we'll be done in no time.