It has been since I last bought yarn!

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.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MAY DAY! MAY DAY!

So last blog post I was lazily knitting along, bragging about how I could easily switch between projects and it was all super happy LALALALALALA... and I was going to finish everything in good time and MAY IS AWESOME!

Well... SOMEONE had the audacity to be born TWO WEEKS EARLY... and SOMEONE has me like this:

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I was sliding into a rainy long weekend, with an enormous Lego kit for the kid to work on and hours of knitting time before me.

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This took my kid a day.  There are 1005 pieces and he's FOUR- he built 95% of this himself.  
(mom brag... it's my blog, I'm allowed!)

Husband raised the hackles early on Friday afternoon with this text: "Bre is 38 weeks BTW..."  And that got me thinking.  So, after bragging about my 2 project system I switched to working on the blanket only.

I knit.  And knit.  And knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit....

And Sunday I was nearing the finish line, but also feeling general "blah" over knitting the blanket and I was just about to reward myself with some mitten knitting when I get this text.  "Bree had her baby yesterday, girl... that's all I know."

And then....


So, I plugged back in, sat back down and grinded out the blanket and got it cast off and the ends sewn in.

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The next part (which is going to be TEDIOUS), is to pick up and knit the borders on each side.  See those little morse stitches?  Instead of evenly dispersing them throughout- they are every stitch.  It's going to take awhile.  But first, the blanket needs to be blocked, because picking those stitches up with it rolling like that is going to be miserable if it's not lying flat.

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So, while it's blocking... I did cast on the mitten....

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This is cast on #2, I decided that cast on #1 was going to too big.  I'm already worrying that cast on #2 is also too big... but I'll make that call a little further into the cuff.  Picot always looks enormous and then it pulls in considerably once you start working in pattern.

I'm hoping soon that I'm going to be as chill as this guy...

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... but we're not there yet.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May There Be Music!

Well, as planned... I finished the music mittens and I'm quite pleased with how they look!

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Pattern: Everything above the Latvian Braid: For the Love of Music by AvaAdore
               Everything Latvian Braid and below: ME
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina 1404 (black) and Koigu Premium Merino (KPM) 00 00 (natural)
Needles: Cuff is US 2 (2.75 mm) and Hand is US 2.5 (3.00 mm)
Notes: Pretty straight forward pattern.  I decided to modify the cuff to make the mittens more personal for the recipient.  So... if you ever wanted "Baa Baa black sheep have you any wool" charted out- here it is.

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I'm hoping Miss Patti likes them.  They look quite lovely and I'm so pleased with how they turned out.

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I'm actually pretty pleased in general with the knitting right now.  Meeting mini goals and switching in between projects is working out quite well.  It keeps my brain engaged and prevents me from the "BLAH" I sometimes I feel when I'm working on one project religiously.  I usually set a row I can knit to on the mittens and then I switch and complete one ball on the blanket before going back to a new row goal on the mittens.

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Here we are, nearly done ball 4 and I'm feeling quite good with where I'm at on this blanket.  This part knits up fast.  I'm at 21" and I think I'm going to go to about 32" before I stop. (or maybe 34"... I haven't decided.)  The harder part is coming.  Once this part is off the needles, I need to weave in the ends and lightly block it.  THEN I need to pick up and knit a border on each side.  The border is going to be challenging and is going to be a lot more knitting.  (Instead of doing a morse code stitch row every 6 rows, I'll be doing them every row and in every stitch... a lot more work!)

And so... because I know that the borders are going to get tedious, I've decided to add another mitten project to the mix to help me get past the tedium and keep it interesting.

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This project is ready to go once I finish the current ball of yarn.  (It's a mystery for now.... but I love the colors!)  I wanted to gift mittens to teachers next year for kindergarten (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and it's best to get a jump on that now.  (I will reserve my "HOLYCRAPMYKIDISGOINGTOKINDERGARTEN" freak out until summer is ending.)

I'm recognizing that I'm likely not going to have the blanket done when the baby it's intended for shows up, but I'm hoping to stick pretty closely to an "end of June" timeline.

Oooo... unrelated to knitting, but if you could send me some "NO FROST" mojo.... I got my flowers in for the spring and they look so pretty!  (Having a little boy means having flowers in pots and not beds to give them a fighting chace!)

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May Project Slay

Oh MAN- the progress train continues it's steady path towards a finish line!  The lovely thing about working on two projects at a time is that you can "switch up" when things start to feel a little less interesting.  It has the added bonus of keeping things interesting and avoiding that "meh" feeling you get when you've been working on something for a while.

The mittens are moving along beautifully...

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My concerns about the hand being too long were unfounded and in general I'm quite pleased with these.  NOTE TO SELF... US 3 knits up a nice mitten size and you don't run into that "it might be too small" or "I need to block the ever loving s$@*! out of this" thoughts.  I'm hoping to get this off the needles by Friday.  And then- THUMBS.  Oh god do I hate knitting thumbs.

Mittens are addicting- and I'm already thinking I might cast on another pair once these are done. It will give me another project to work on to keep it interesting when I need a break on the blanket. Parker will have several teachers in his class next year and getting a jump on that NOW isn't the worst idea....

Thankfully I have the blanket to move along to as well.  I'm loving this Morse pattern!  (Pattern is HERE (click link).  I highly recommend trying it out.  It's simple and easy and the proceeds of the pattern go to a really good cause- so I'm not telling you how it's done.  You need to buy it and help out her cause!)  I'm already 10 inches into this and I'm quite enjoying the knit.  It's relatively easy and it looks sharp!

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I was apprehensive about the yarn, as the reviews were mixed on Ravelry.  Many argued the yarn pilled and split and had knots, but so far I've been quite satisfied with it.  It is incredibly soft and, so far, a pleasure to work with.  I'm glad I took the risk, I have not been disappointed.  If it holds up at the finish line I would consider it again for another blanket- it's that nice to knit with.  (I'm guessing it's the teeny bit of cashmere in in that makes it so delightful.)

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So far progress in May has been moving at a great clip.  Likely when I get to the border area on the Morse blanket it's going to go considerably more slow- the morse stitch is right up against each other and it won't be as quick to knit that part.  BUT- it will look nice and I'll hopefully have something else to help keep it from getting monotonous.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Heyday

Hey!  It's May!  AND... to usher in a new month, we have NEW! THINGS! TO! TALK! ABOUT!

One of those things are moving along at a good click so we should probably talk about it!  Parker has been in a music program with a phenomenal teacher since he was 12 months old.  He loves Miss Patti, I love Miss Patti, everyone loves Miss Patti.  And, because of that, we've done her music class one day a week for the last 3 years.  Sadly, this is our last semester with Miss Patti and I'm crushed.  I really like Miss Patti!  So, of course, because she's been such a part of our lives for the last 3 years, I thought it would be nice to make her a pair of music mittens.

I had originally wanted to design a pair, but time was less supportive of that idea, and I decided to MODIFY an exsisting pattern to make it a little more personal.  The earliest "favorite song" Parker had in his music class was "Baa Baa Black Sheep".  Before he was really even talking he'd request, (DEMAND) to be sung "Baa Baa", "Baa Baa".  We'd walk into Miss Patti's class, look her dead in the eyes and say "BAA BAA"- as if to say "we better be singing that song lady!"  And Miss Patti would totally oblige Parker.

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And so- I modified the pattern to have a cuff with the music to Baa Baa Black Sheep.

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It required a little graphing, and perfecting, but I think it turned out pretty great.  Now, I'm well into mitten one and hope to have it off the needles and #2 cast on this week.  (Dream big!)  I'm mildly concerned about length with this mitten (length of the hand) so we'll see how we end up.

Miss Patty's mittens need to be done by early June when it's our last class- so I'm hoping to have them well ahead of that in mid May.

Next up on the needles, freshly cast on is the baby blanket for the baby due in early June.  Since it's for a colleague in his office, husband helped pick out the pattern, and of course, he picked out something more complicated.

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It's "Morse Stitch", a unique way of creating a bobble.  So far the pattern is quite interesting and I think it's going to knit up lovely.

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I even bought yarn (GASP) for this yarn because I wanted the right "color" and softness.  And so, Debbie Bliss "Baby Cashmerino" joined my collection and so far I quite like knitting with it!

Once the first section of the blanket is done (and it looks like after some serious blocking), you pick up and knit a hefty border.  I'm a little nervous about that, but I've been finding that getting out of my comfort zone has worked out great this year so far, so I'm hoping to continue on the momentum of it.

And that, lovely reader, is what you're going to be seeing and hearing a lot of in May.  Back to knitting!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Heating Up

Things have been heating up over here as I've managed to finally get those Love & Liquor socks off the needles!  

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Pattern: Love and Liquor by General Hogbuffer
Yarn: *swoon* Rhorspatz & WOLLMEISE "pure" 100% Merino Superwash in "VAMP".  (I'm not going to even attempt to link it- it's too hard to get!)
Needles: US 1
Notes: I didn't knit these on 2 circulars as suggested in the pattern, instead I used 5 DPNs.  This pattern was EXTREMELY... extremely well written and really holds your hand through the various steps.  It looks (and sounds!) challenging but once you get into the meat of the pattern it's actually not too hard.

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It's been a long time where I've just been WOWED by my knitting.  But I am proud of myself for these.  I need to show you the back of the heel.  The heel construction is VERY different on this and you actually kitchner stitch the seam together before picking up and knitting the leg.  LOOK at this kitchner stitching.... IT IS ART!

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I really enjoyed knitting these, even though I entered with a considerable amount of trepidation, I am glad I sunk my teeth into it.  Also I really enjoyed new techniques and the unsual construction of this sock.  In general, I am VERY happy with these and it reminds me that taking on a challenge is often worth it in the end!

Finishing these has forced me to get serious about the next two deadlines.  I need to fire on all cylinders here and get two projects done by the end of June.  (which EEK- isn't that far away!)

I want to knit a pair of music mittens for Parker's music teacher.  I had originally wanted to design the pattern but reality set in and I realized I just didn't have the time to devote to a design.  That's not to say I could just leave "well enough" alone though.... I am in modify mode on a lovely pattern.

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I've also finalized my blanket plan for the next baby due in June.  (It never ends.)  And I'm excited to get into that pattern also- although it will require a yarn purchase, so we'll discuss it at a later date.

Here we go- knitting progress is heating up again!

Monday, April 11, 2016

2 Socks, No Pairs

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Well, on the upside I have completed TWO socks, just not a pair.  On the downside I'm not going to have two PAIRS done by Friday.  (original goal)  They DO look smashing though, don't they?

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I've decided to put those lovely Hermoine socks away for a bit and save them for when my next travel dates occur.  They're the perfect kind of travel knitting, easy to set down and pick up again.

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I decided Love and Liquor needed to be done (they are so beautiful!) but I sort of kept procrastinating casting on the toe.  Not to worry, I finally did, and now I can jump right into the second sock and hopefully (maybe) have that set finished by Friday.  (dream big!)  I did, as predicted in my last blog post, rip out the kitchner and I'm so very glad I did.  I did a much better job this time and these really do look quite awesome.

L&L has been a great project for me, as it's forced me to try (or in some cases retry) a bunch of techniques I don't normally get to work on.  I always enjoy (but also find frustrating sometimes) new techniques and this project is rife with them.  Whether it's toe-up (Judy's Magic Cast On!), a very different heel decrease, kitchner stitch and Elizabeth's Zimmerman's sewn bind off, I'm really stetching outside my knitting box and it feels good.

I will admit that progress has been lighter than hoped because I opened up my coloring book and got sucked into that again.

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I've completed two pages since I've been home from Maui and I'm working on #3, and I'm quite enamored with it.  (I realize I spent my last blog lamenting my lack of knitting time so one would wonder why I'm choosing to use the spare time to color, and GAH- I don't know.  I am a walking contradiction.)

Hopefully this week I'll finish page #3 and then I can dive nose first back into the knitting.  Likely a pair of pretty mittens will be "on deck" along with a blanket, so stay tuned... progress should keep moving along.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring Vacation

The indecision on socks should have been a give away, but our annual sojurn out to Maui to get some much needed Vitamin D just finished up and hence my little absence.  Fear not!  Actual knitting was done on the vacation, and thankfully NOT because the weather was crap.  (It wasn't.  I can't remember a time with better weather!)

I packed ambitiously on this trip.  In fact, other years I have taken knitting and not even knit a stitch.  I took not 1, but TWO socks to work on and both saw progress!  It helps that I also packed along my Mother in Law and she's a good knitting influence on me.  We made sure to always knit with a view...

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But let's talk about WHAT I knit... shall we?

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Love and Liquor is a bit of a brain bender, (especially for me, a devoted TOP DOWN sock knitter)-but it's looking more and more like the pattern.  (Although I'm going to rip out the kitchner and attempt again... I'm not happy.)  This sock is going to be a show stopper.  Also- bonus?  WOLLMEISE!

Hermoine's socks are also looking well progressed- although I'm currently living the fear of running out of yarn.  Damn you delightful but short in yardage Koigu!

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Unlike where I usually lament the over-ambition in my packing, I'm actually glad I brought two projects.  Mostly because for some reason I can't stay up past 9:00 pm in Maui out of pure exhaustion.  And, the ability to work on something very easy was mostly appreciated in those "late night" knitting sessions.  As noted, Love and Liquor is going to look amazing but it requires my focus and attention and when I need easy I can switch up to the Hermoine's socks, which looks great but is also much more "traditional easy sock".

Honestly... it's just fun to work on something that isn't an enormous blanket! (Although that has to kick in again soon as another baby is due in June.)

I'm surprised I made as much progress as I did, to be honest, but it does help that my child is more able to entertain himself (thank you STEVE JOBS) and let mommy enjoy a little airplane knitting time.  But I'm also surprised I got as much in when we were so busy!

Constructing sand castles...

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Digging enomouse holes (my kid LOVES the beach)...

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"Surfing"...

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Deep sea diving on a submarine...

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Climbing volcanoes...

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Or just "chillaxing"...

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We had an amazing vacation- and I'm so glad we got to go.  (Especially since it meant I also got to knit some smaller things for a bit!)  I'm going to try and knock both of these projects out by mid April (ambitious much?) and I'm sure we'll talk "next projects" soon!