It has been since I last bought yarn!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The One Where Hats are Addicting

So when we left last this blog, I vowed that I would knit 3 hats.  I knit those 3 up fairly quickly and viola- here they are.

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The problem is that I couldn't stop at 3.  I would pick up my shawl and basically hold it in my hand and then decide.... I'll knit a hat instead.  So that's how I ended up with 3 more hats...

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Baby hats for me are just one of those projects that are simple and mindless.  Am I tired?  Knit a hat.  Am I stressed?  Knit a hat.  Am I watching some TV that requires better attention (House of Cards)?  KNIT A HAT.  I'm oddly enjoying making my bits and bobs into hats and seeing what I can come up with.  I am starting to get down in the pile and wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon I have no yarn left.  Until then I've enjoyed the easy knitting... maybe it's because I'm planning to take a bite out of a heftier project soon-ish.

The shawl?  The shawl hasn't seen anything at all.  It sits in it's project bag hoping that I will find inspiration with it once again.  And so, with that in mind- I'm changing the March plan (mid March) to reflect that March is now all about knitting hats.

How many more can I squeeze out this month?  (Also- NO MORE HATS in April... back to work and Stampede thoughts...)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Little Bit of Bragging

TWO POSTS in one day!?  Normally I wouldn't post so frequently but I decided that this was "blog worthy" and I couldn't wait on it.

My MiL sent me a picture of the booklet for the Western Lifestyles Creative Arts and Crafts Competition for the Stampede this year.  (It's basically the entrance booklet- and I'm not sure why I didn't get one, but I digress...)

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Recognize the project on the FRONT FREAKIN' PAGE?!?

I. AM. FAMOUS.  (sort of)  If you go to the link (here) and open the book they credit me inside.

Either way I'm deeply flattered and feeling pretty legit at the moment.

Maui Break - Return of the Blog

I don't usually like to advertise, but that big old blog break was due to our annual Maui trip, which we returned from on Sunday.  I had intended to work on the shawl while I was there, but after a few rows in, I realized (rightfully so) that I wanted something less finicky for the ride down.  And, since it's sort of a tradition anyways- I grabbed some self striping sock yarn and readied myself for a new Maui sock.

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It's pretty isn't it?  These are the aptly named "Socks on a Plane" pattern and the name alone was reason enough for me to knit these!

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I cast on before I left and only allowed myself 6 rows to get started enough on the plane.  On the way down I made huge progress.  (Thank you Bob the Builder for entertaining my kid!)  I made less progress on the way back but did get as far as the heel flap.  I'm going to set these aside for a bit now, and save them for other trips I have coming up.

I did, in a weird state of hopefulness, actually bring my shawl too, but it didn't get any attention.  The shawl has had a few false starts since we last caught up.  I had made it about 40 rows in and then discovered a mistake.  Being a hypocritical idiot (more on that in a minute) I didn't have a life line and was forced to rip the entire thing out and begin again.  I'm back where I started (WITH a life line this time) and hope to devote much of my March to making progress on it.


Why am I hypocritical idiot?  MiL has also cast on a shawl, and both of us are cutting our teeth on these wispy little patterns.  When she was casting on and doing her research I kept telling her "make sure you do a life line" (life line = yarn holding a row of stitches so you only have to rip back so far if you do discover a mistake- I put it in every 15 rows or so...)  I'm not sure why I felt I needed to nag her on this, especially since she has more years of knitting under her belt and has successfully knit a shawl before, but I did.  (Sorry Phyllis!)  I'm even less sure why I didn't follow my own advice and put one in for me!  But alas- I was dumb and I learned my lesson the hard way when I ripped out all of that work.

Right before I left I also managed to add a little hat to the pile and it's really cute.

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Even though there are waaaaaay more ends to weave in, I'm actually quite enjoying this little stripey hat project I've committed myself too.  Which leads me to the March goal- knit 3 more hats and work on the shawl.  The hats need to be done but we'll just see how far I get on the shawl.  April will likely be for another baby due in July... but we'll talk about that later.

For now.... I leave you with a little Maui magic...

(I took this on my Iphone!  I have never seen a perfect rainbow arch like that.  It was beautiful!)





It was a great trip- but it's great to be home and get back into our regular swing of things.  (Which means more knitting!!)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

FINISHED

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am that I signed up for the February is for Finishing plan because guys- I AM DONE.  Repeat: I. AM. DONE. EVERYTHING.  I'm so stinkin' proud of myself for just gearing down and doing the 'un fun' task stuff because it means now my brain can focus on other things.  It's so hard to start something new when you feel like you really should be finishing something else.  Right now, I don't feel like that at all.  THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER.

Good thing I am done, a new wave of babies have been announced and I feel like for at least one of those blankets I really need to bring my A game.  (Mom-to-be is a knitter and well, I need to impress her, because I'm stupidly competitive like that....)

BUT enough about what could be- let's look at what IS.

First up- Polaris (Part 2) Mittens.  (Part 1 Here)


Pattern: Polaris Mittens by Rebecca Blair
Yarn: (teal) Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Fine Colorway 1285 and (white) Little Knits Sockulent Colorway 1
Needles: US 1
Notes: I must have been stressed right out when I knit these because they were TIGHT.  I wish the thumb had like 5 extra stitches as it was quite tight.  To say that I "blocked the heck out of these" is a total understatement.  I did everything I could to add in some give.  The good news is that my sister has super teeny tiny hands and they fit her perfectly- so YAY.  She gets a pair of mittens!  I also really REALLY liked that white yarn for mittens.  (Sockulent)  It knits up perfectly and goes great with so many things.  Eventually I might try to get my hands on more.


Why did I make these twice?  You can see my epic fail here- and that sort of brings you up to date.  I couldn't bring myself to rip back so much work, and so I just decided to knit a small pair, thanking the stars up in heaven that my sister has tiny hands and this wouldn't just go to waste!

    

Despite the agony I will admit- these ARE quite lovely.  AND- I finally have that Ultra Alpaca out of my stash.  (Making room in my stash always feels SO good.)

But, that is not all friends.  That is not all.

The Preschool socks are done too!


Pattern: Sock Recipe: A Good Plain Sock (from Knitting Rules) by Stephanie Pearl McPhee
Yarn: Regia Design Line Ombre Stripe Colorway 04480
Needles: US 1
Notes: I have knit this pattern so many times.  In my opinion it's still one of the best "sock recipes" around.


As usual, I went to great pains to line up the stripes to get it perfect.  (Which yes, means cutting up the yarn to get me there.)  I never regret that decision.  Although, I can't, for the life of me, explain why the toes don't match.  (That purple must have gone a little longer by accident?)  It's not enough of a flaw to make me twitchy, so I'm leaving it.  They look lovely don't they?


(It is also good news to note that I did NOT knit the remainder of these at preschool.  My son has been attending on his own since January.  I will not lie, we have good days and we have not so good days, but it is nice to have a little of that time back again.)

And so that's it.  This was an INSANELY productive month- which has now freed me to pursue other avenues.  I decided to try something I've been wanting to cut my teeth on for a while now...

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Meet my newest lace project- the Peacock's Feather.  I'm assured by lace knitters everywhere the first several rows of lace look like an ugly blob, so I am trying not to panic here.  I've had a bit of bumpy start but I think I'm just starting to get into this now.  We'll see how it looks in a bit I guess.

I haven't set a March plan yet- I'm still thinking on what I want to accomplish.  I like the short term goal set vs. the long term "all year" plan.  I just haven't decided WHAT March will be yet.  Stay tuned!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finishing Fanatic

Can I just say how good it feels to finish stuff!?  SO GOOD.  So very very good.

Rainbow Hugs and Kisses is the latest thing to get the "DONE" treatment.

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Pattern: Band #66 from the"Mosaic Knitting" by Barbara Walker
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable Brights in "Red Hot", "Orange Crush", "Sunny Day", "Kelly Green", "Royal Blue" and "Amethyst" and "Black"
Needle: US 9
Notes: This blanket is a little longer than I'd like, but I wanted to get a full 2 color repeat through out.  I'm also pleased with the 3 stitch border and will do that again for remaining blankets.

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(Just a look on the wrong side so you can see how nice and short the floats are.)

It's lovely isn't it?

The minute that the blanket made it's way to the blocking board I began progress on the mitten in earnest.  As I neared the end of the mitten I got really, REALLY nervous that I wasn't going to have enough yarn.  Running out of yarn before the project is finished is like one of my greatest nightmares.  In the past I've alleviated this panic by over-buying yarn.  But, now that I'm more focused on stash busting I do my best not to over- buy.... but it does lead to hairy moments where your brain says "it's not enough."

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I made it to the end of the mitten thankfully with a little bit of leftovers.  (Pictured above)  I then decided I would knit a little bit of the thumbs on each mitten at a time to see how far I could make the yarn last.  I am happy to report (and kill the suspense) that I HAD ENOUGH FOR BOTH THUMBS!  But it was a tight finish... this is all I had left!!

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WHEW!  The even better news is that I got right to weaving in the ends (oh my goodness do I hate weaving in ends!) on this and the mittens are currently blocking.  (A blog update soon- I promise!)

And so, with only 1 goal remaining I jumped right in and cast on sock #2.

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It's been a productive week!  I can't wait to show you what else I finish this month!

Monday, February 9, 2015

February IS For Finishing

I'm happy to report that the plan for February is going GREAT.  It's so awesome to have a goal and feel you're making progress.

Firstly- I have TWO charity hats knit with the scrap pile.  (As you can tell I seem to be going through a rainbow thing.)

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I actually really enjoyed this little project and thinking of new ways and color combo's to knit them.  (That being said I always start these hat projects GUNG HO- and then fizzle out mid way because I'm over it.)

I even got the ends woven in on both blankets and even blocked one!

Behold!  Rainbow Swirls!

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Pattern: Shadow Pattern #26 (Fig 119) from "Mosaic Knitting" Barbara Walker (this book is so awesome)
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable Brights in "Red Hot", "Orange Crush", "Sunny Day", "Kelly Green", "Royal Blue" and "Amethyst"
Needle: US 9.  I was able to knit this in 15 days thanks to the big needle size
Notes: I had always wondered what a rainbow blanket would like with the colors sort of melding into one another, (ie: red background with orange foreground, moving to an orange background with a yellow forground... etc.)  I'm not sure this pattern necessarily blends that idea all that well but it does look pretty cool.

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Cast on was 133 sttitches and I knit 6 rows on either end for a border.  (I wish I had done less stitches for an outside edge border (5) but it's too late now to change that.)  I will likely donate this to WCOBB but I'll wait until I have a few more blankets to send them.

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The biggest 'float' in this pattern was 3 slipped stitches, and I think it still looks pretty great.  I love that you can achieve such a colorful pattern without the finicky-ness of doing a faire isle.  I really don't give mosaic knitting enough credit.... maybe I need to be thinking about that as a potential Stampede entry one year.  Hmmmmmmmmm

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The other projects are also seeing some progress.  A trip to Lake Louise this weekend meant that I got a little quality sock time in and I'm nearly done sock #1.

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I've also been devoting some time to the mittens.

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I'm nervous about the mittens big time.  I'm worried I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish.  I would REALLY REEEEEALLY like to use up what I have and not buy more.  So, um, if you know anyone who's knit with this and has leftovers- I'd like to become their new best friend!  On the upside, the fear of running out has me frantically knitting these like a mad man!

As you can see I've kicked off a productive February and I'm hoping there will be more finished things to show you soon!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rainbow Finish Line

It is January 31 and I am happy to report that my goal for the month is complete!  The second rainbow blanket is off the needles now.  (Goal was off the needles, not ends woven in and blocking as you'll recall.)

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I knit 2 blankets this month!  Both were mosaic patterns and both were knit in worsted weight acrylic on US size 9 needles.


I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  But, despite my best efforts to use up all of the yarn- I still have leftovers.


Probably enough to do yet another blanket.  I'll get to it at some point, but probably not for a little while.

I guess that means it's time we look ahead to February.  And since I'm a big fan of alliteration, I immediately joined the "February is for Finishing" group over in Bubbo's Pants.  This is a group that I lurk in often on Ravelry.  (They are awesomely supportive of one another and usually pretty funny... they just seem like a nice bunch of people so I sort of hang out there, even if I don't participate all that often.)  I liked the idea of planning on working on finishing things so much that I decided to join.  Here's what I'd like to finish and for February:

1) Knit 2 hats for charity** (more on that below)

2) Finish the 2nd pair of Polaris mittens

3) Fully finish (ends/blocking) of Rainbow Swirls

4) Fully finish (ends/blocking) of Rainbow Hugs and Kisses

5) Finish the Preschool socks

I'm not going to lie.  It's a lot.  It's going to be a challenge.  BUT- I also know that I feel so much better when I don't have a bunch of things lying around on the needles- and so, I'm really hoping I can accomplish this!  Here's a shot of everything in the "finish pile".


Good lord, I've bitten off more than I can chew- haven't I?!

A quick aside about the hats... as usual I have a 2015 hat project planned out.  I have a lot of just scrap bits of sport weight yarn I want out of my stash.  And so I'm going to knit it in hats.  It probably means more ends to weave in than I'd like but.... oh well.


How many hats are in this bag?  I think there are 14.  (That's just an entirely random number because I'm not even sure I'm close on that.)

So there you have it- I've laid out my February goal and I'm ready to dive in.  (Hopefully it will mean several updates and finished things to look forward to in February!)

(To track my progress on my finishing you can just watch the "On the Needles" bar over on the right hand side.  I usually take the finished bars off after I've completed a project, but I'll keep them up for February.  100% will mean it is ends woven in, washed, blocked, FULLY, 100% done-zo.  {Except for hats... obviously- I only need to knit 2 in February.})

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?