It has been since I last bought yarn!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Now What?

Well now that the Stampede projects are out of my hands... now what?

First I had to catch up on some charity obligations that I didn't want to get behind.  I knit sections for the "pie" blankets for the WCOBB charity group.

Key Lime Pie


Lemon Meringue Pie

Then I decided I needed to get 2 more hats out the door and off the big ball.  (I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to get even more than my original guess of 18 hats out of this!)

And now I'm free to knit what I want.  So what do I want to knit?  Well... I have a bunch of sock yarn leftovers that need to get busted out of my stash.  MiL has been working on these projects and her stuff looks AWESOME- so I've been inspired to do something with this little pile.

I also really want to dig waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back into my lost projects pile and re-attempt the shawl again.  Remember the Shawl of GIANT FAIL?  (I can't even find a blog link for it... so just trust me- I started and failed miserably at a shawl and I want to restart again.)

I also want to give my little boy bunny a girlfriend.  He looks lonely on the shelf.

I'm aiming for nice and simple this summer.  Probably a few more hats too, just lots of easy projects to have on the go that don't require a lot of brain power.  Hopefully it'll keep the blog interesting too.  So stay tuned.... hopefully the finished project pile will start getting a little fuller!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Glamorous Mystery Part 2

That was kind of mean telling you about the baby blanket but saving the reveal of the REAL mystery for today.  (Sorry... one has to keep you interested somehow- right?)  Well... WAIT NOT LONGER- behold, my Misery Mystery Mittens!


Pattern: Calgary Mittens by ME (Jennifer Johnson).  (HOLY CRAP I DESIGNED THIS!)
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina in 1912 & 1401
Needles: US 1 - my guage on stranded knitting continues to improve!
Notes: Oh god this ended up being so much more work than I thought it would be!

AND NOW- the story can be told.

To date, this was one of the most difficult things I've ever knit.  The knitting itself, once I got into it, wasn't a problem, but the planning and planning and PLANNING of this pattern took MONTHS in advance.  I agonized over design elements and agonized over what should and should be there.  I harassed family members to regularly vote on what they liked and didn't like.  Family members who I'm sure thought it regularly, but never said it out loud, "You're over-thinking this too much!"

So much graph papers with doodles and false starts and trying out ideas.


YEAH.  That's a lot!  I sketched and erased and tried to come up with ideas that would cohesively blend together.  Every design, every detail on that mitten was created by me.  And I tried to be really thoughtful about what went on there representing my city.

On the cuff- the criss cross pattern is meant to look like the Peace Bridge in Calgary.

Peace Bridge


After the flood last year I was so impressed by the way complete strangers helped one another out- I was always smitten with the idea of boys and girls holding hands, representing the strong sense of community this city clearly has.


On the hand I chose icons that are so well known in this city... the Calgary tower, the mountains so close to us and of course- the stetson we all don 10 days out of the year while we celebrate Stampede.  That pretty much sums up Calgary to me.  My original design has also included the city's name


but as you'll remember- the mitten was too long and I had to rip it out.  (*sobs again*)

On the inside of the hand, a maple leaf for Canada and thumb elements of a rearing horse (taken from the City of Calgary's logo) and on the inside a wild rose design for Alberta.  (pictured in the collection below)


I started and stopped this project so often there's part of me that still feels this lingering concern that I didn't finish it even though it's already handed in.  

Untitled Untitled Untitled       
IMG_2974 IMG_2973 IMG_2971 IMG_2982 IMG_2984 Untitled

This post is picture heavy because I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud of what I did.  Will I design mittens again?  Maybe, although right now my brain needs a break and my hands just want to knit simple things.  But for now, we wait- we sit back and wait to see what the judges think.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Glamorous Mystery Part 1

It's glamour photo time because I have FINALLY- FINALLY finished my projects and they are ready for me to take in to submit to Stampede today.  This post will be done in 2 stages because there's a lot to say, (specifically about the mittens) so come back tomorrow for reveal #2.

First off- the Sleepy Baby Blanket is finished.


Pattern: Lullabye Blanket (Ravelry Link) by Jennifer Lori
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zara colorway 1396 (Off White)
Needles: US 6
Notes: The only thing I did differently than the pattern was drop the number of feather and fan repeats, because I didn't want it to be too enormous.  In this case, it was the right call- blanket measures 45 inches across.  Any bigger and I think it would be too big.


This blanket included a lot of firsts for me.  My first circular cast on took a few tries but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.  It's kind of amazing to me that you start with so few stitches and end with so many.  You start with 20, and end close to 700!!  I also wet blocked this blanket for the first time, at the suggestion of MiL, and I might be a wet block convert forever.  In the past I've pinned my projects to my specifications and soaked it through like crazy with a sprayer.  The relative ease of simply laying out my wet blanket and pinning it down was SO MUCH simpler, that I think I'm going to do it that way from now on!



This blanket is really lovely.  I'm so pleased with the way it looks and I hope that I will eventually find a loving home for it.  (My friend agreed that the blue and white mosaic blanket suited her little man more and was happy to have it.)

I especially love the lightly scalloped edges on the outside, just such a simple effect but just finished this off so beautifully for me.


Also- this yarn?  This yarn is pure AWESOME to knit with.  It has that delightful spongy quality that jumps around the needles.  Life is too short to knit with crappy yarn, and I'm so happy I just said "screw up" and ponied up on the price.

I'm really, REALLY happy with the way this finished up.  It's relatively simple to knit, but took some endurance.  More and more I'm realizing I'm mostly happy with simpler projects, they finish so beautifully you just sit back and go "YEAH- I AM good!"

Stay tuned for tomorrow's Mystery reveal!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


This will be a rather quick post today, as I find myself with little time but to knit as quickly as I can.

With great guidance from my MiL, we blocked my Sleepy Baby blanket today.  I can't believe how much easier it was to wet block this project instead of my regular dry block.  Wet blocking- you may have a new convert!


The mittens continue on rather frantic pace.  There are 9 more days until I have to finish them.  I need to be finished these by Sunday in order to block them in enough time.


I'm less thrilled with my final results on this than I hoped.  I dropped 13 stitches, which meant losing an aspect of the pattern I thought really "tied it together".  These are still nice, but I'm less enthused about them.

Guys- I cannot. wait. until I can just knit some mindless stuff again.  I really look forward to mindless knitting!!!

OK- that sound you hear is the whip cracking- BACK TO THE GRIND!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Well, good news first.  After my last post the "urge" hit me and I began working on my mystery project in earnest and really started making progress.

It was all going so well that yesterday I decided to just go ahead and enter it for the Stampede.  (I also entered the Sleepy Baby blanket so my friend will have to wait for after Stampede if she wants it!)  I kept my schedule open and just kept furiously knitting and knitting and knitting on it.  My goal was to finish the first mitt by Thursday and I was WELL on track of this.
And then, last night, I realized something.  This mitten is ENORMOUS.  E.N.O.R.M.O.U.S.  Here's what I have:


I'm at least 10 rows out before I even START decreasing.  They're just too damn long.

At first I thought, Ok, I'll just take out one of those cuff patterns and viola- issue resolved.  Except after thinking about it that wasn't going to be the answer either.  I need to shorten the hand part, (I really don't mind longer cuffs on my mittens) around the thumb hole, shortening the cuff will still result in an equally long mitten.


After sleeping on it- I think I've resolved what to do.  It means taking out a section of the pattern (about 13 rows) and moving forward.  It's SO. Painful to think about what I have to do, because it means a tremendous amount of ripping out work.  But, I'm going to rip it back to the cuff and start again.  *cries*

I literally just stopped this blog post and did it now.  See?



How many false starts have I had with this project?  What's the definition of insanity again?  Doing the same thing over and over and garnering the same (wrong) results?  I feel like I'm toeing the line of insanity here.  WHY are my Stampede projects so painful?  Last year's project was equally emotionally painful and I felt like I was going mildly insane too.  I guess the big question now- is it even worth it?

(Let's not talk about gauge ok?  NO.  I didn't knit a gauge swatch.  Mostly because I knit my sister's mittens with THE SAME YARN and essentially tailored the pattern to the exact size.  I have NO. IDEA. where the failure is here.... but OMG I'm so miserable about it!)

And so the goal now is have this mitten done by Friday night.  Cross your fingers.  *goes back to crying.*