Not All the Socks

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re going to make a goal, it should involve something you like doing. Of all the goals I set in 2016, this is the only one I managed to achieve. But I crushed it.

 

The remainder of 2016 is going to involve reading (I picked up the biography that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the Hamilton musical because I’m obsessed), mitten knitting, and the madness that is Christmas. Thankfully, we’ve been gone and back for my family Christmas (a wonderful time even though family members were dropping like flies with one illness or another) and that leaves Jesse’s family celebration and our own little family. Can I say creating the “we don’t go anywhere Christmas day” tradition was the greatest thing I’ve ever done? Seriously. I either make crock-pot steel cut oats or french toast casserole for breakfast (yay for meals you can make the night before) and then we get to spend all day in our jammies, playing with toys, listening to favorite Christmas playlists, watching movies, and being lazy. It’s delicious.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the day?

*With the crazed time of year, I wanted to give you all the heads up that my plan is to be MIA from now until mid-January. I’m hoping to maybe get a post about my word for the year and some goal planning up on January 1 (because if I don’t I’m afraid someone with take away my blogger card), but my first priority is to enjoy this time (and then the next couple of weeks of catch up) without too many outside obligations. Which is basically my long winded way of saying, no need to worry if I’m missing for a few weeks, I’m just loving the season with my family.

Wishing you a happy everything!!!

Still Standing, But Barely

paul simon

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This week has been an absolute whirlwind of awesome.

On Wednesday, my parents came into town so we could go to dinner and see Paul Simon. Such a great show. On Thursday, my parents stayed in town to watch the kids while Jesse and I went to Country Fest (hence the pigtails and cowboy hat). Neal McCoy, Randy Houser (I hadn’t heard of him before), and Dierks Bentley (swoon) played excellent shows. Friday I hung out with my parents until it was time for them to head home and then I stayed up way, way, way too late to finish a special pair of socks for a special lady’s graduation party (in purple because it is both her high school and future college color). Saturday we celebrated Abram’s birthday with the four of us before heading to before mentioned graduation party. Sunday morning we had bagels, donuts, and cake with family for Father’s Day and the two birthdays we had this week.

Today, I am doing nothing. Except working on my Desert Vista Dyeworks sock club socks because I’m way behind schedule and have very limited time to get them done. Especially if I’m going to finish Violet’s fluffy unicorn socks before her birthday in July. (All socks, all the time)

If you want details on the purple pair of socks you can find them here. And I ordered the cute care instruction tags (the instructions are on the back) from here.

What’s new in your corner of the world?

2016 Knits (So Far)

I think I can well and truly say that I found my hobby.

I joined the Desert Vista Dyeworks Unofficial Sock club this year. Basically, you knit one pair of socks using DVD each month and earn discounts on DVD yarn, other yarn-y notions, and if knit one pair each month for 12 months, you get a free skein of special yarn. I really, really wanted to knit a lot of socks this year so I thought I’d try it.

DVD socks

January | February | March

For March, I decided to share the sock love and offered Jesse a pair.  He picked out the colorway called Slinky. We had a good laugh once I started knitting it up. Everything in our house seems to be gray, blue, orange, and yellow lately.

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I’ve also managed to finish two cowls and a pair of socks.  The cowl I’m wearing was knit using the Purl Bee Big Herringbone Cowl pattern. I used two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Alpine Pearl that I purchased at The Yarnery when I was visiting the Twin Cities (that place is packed with lots of good yarn – I love to visit).  My bind off isn’t great – and it rolls a little at the edge – once it’s wrapped around my neck, you can’t even tell.  And I love how the variagated yarn looks with the herringbone pattern.

The other cowl was one I finished in about four hours of knitting time.  I had just finished my March DVD socks and was staring at my stash trying to figure out what to do next when I spotted these two skeins of gorgeous Tanis Fiber Arts Gray Label in Margarita.  I wound them, cast on 135 stitches in the round, and just used a simple seed stitch (alternating skeins) until I was out of yarn and then bound off.  I love how it turned out.  And it’s perfect for the spring season.

The other random pair of socks were supposed to be a present, but they didn’t get done in time so I added them to my own sock drawer. I used Simply Sock Yarn Company’s Poste Yarn in Christmas Island. I purchased a couple of skeins of Poste and I’m not 100% on how I feel about it. Do you have a favorite sock yarn?

So that’s my quarterly yarny review (brought to you in large part to the first 4 seasons of Breaking Bad).  I have a couple more projects I’ve wound and I’m impatiently waiting  for April 1 to start so I can cast on my DVD socks.

Finished Object: Limepop Sweater

I love how this turned out.  It’s blue so he can wear it to school.  It’s simple but not just straight stockinette.  It fits him perfectly (almost too perfectly) and is done just in time for a week of cool temperatures.

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I liked the yarn (I used Spud & Chloe Sweater in Moonlight) though if I had to do it over again, I think I’d go with a wool instead of a wool and cotton blend.  I really am not a fan of knitting with cotton or how cotton looks knit up but I didn’t know that back when I bought the yarn for this sweater (about two years ago).

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The button came out of my stash but it’s from Wooly Moss Roots which has some great wooden buttons.  It is a bit thick which I’m not crazy about, but it’s the one I have that fits through the button hole.

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Knitterly Entertainment: The current seasons of Scandal, Nashville, and Once Upon a Time, the first season of Masters of Sex, and listening to Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and This American Life Podcasts (thanks for the NPR suggestion, Marian.)

The Nice World We Live In

 

Just a happy little story from my world today:

My mom has a friend she’s known since high school.  I don’t think we’ve even seen each other since I was little, little (like under 10) but we are friends on ravelry because needlework people are a nice bunch.

When she posted a picture of a Pete the Cat she had crocheted, I asked her if I could twist her arm into making one for Abram because I have no idea how to crochet (and I need another hobby like a hole in the head) but Pete the Cat is his absolute FAVORITE.  She obliged.

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And included this adorable hat for Violet.  (She spent all night last night “sassy catwalking” – her words, not mine – with it.  Why don’t they listen to our requests to stop growing up so quickly?!?!)  I need to find the pattern she used because I’m soooo making one for me.

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It was such a wonderful, happy package that I had to get out my good camera and get pictures to share with her.  And then with you.

This yarny world is awesome.

Finished Object: Henslowe Shawl

This was my first completed attempt at lacework.  My first two were a Henslowe (in a gorgeous cream color using the same yarn) and the Follow Your Arrow 2 KAL.  They both ended up in piles of yarn and tears.  And then when I was cleaning out my craft room, I found those jumbled tangles and just tossed them in the trash.  Expensive yarn be damned, I just couldn’t handle looking at them anymore.  Sometimes you just have to admit that sunk costs don’t count and move on.  But I LOVED the Henslowe pattern and wanted to give it another try.  So when I stumbled on this gorgeous green/grey Quince & Co I decided to give it a go.
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I don’t want to give the impression that this is a difficult pattern.  It’s not.  At all.  In fact, I think it’s the perfect pattern for a beginner who wants to start doing lacework.  I just learn things that involve fine motor skills very very very slowly. This time around I learned how to use a lifeline (thank you, Stefanie) and I picked it up when I was calm and put it down when I was getting sick of it and it seemed to go much more smoothly.  It also took me about four months to complete because I put it down at one point and didn’t pick it up again for weeks.  (Knitting has been a good teacher of life lessons – don’t do important or intricate things when frazzled.)

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I used Quince & Co Piper in San Angelo.  I made a few modifications to the lace pattern instead of just adding another repeat and I’m not sure if I love it as much I would have had I added some more repeats instead. You can read my project notes on ravelry here.

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All and all it’s not perfect, but for my first lacework project, I’m very pleased.  I have another lace project picked out that has me very excited but it’s a bit more complicated and is using charts.  The yarn for it is GORGEOUS so I’m hoping to do it justice.

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Tuesday Things

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My favorite set of sock needles snapped (which is what happens when you sit on them, bend them, and then bend them back a few too many times) so I’m waiting for a new set to arrive and while I wait I’m keeping busy knitting up a sweater for me and a shawl that I had shoved away because I was annoyed with it.  I’m no longer annoyed and in fact have modified it some and really like how it’s turning out.

Because I’ve been trying not to watch hours upon hours of television each day (don’t ask me how that’s going) I decided to start watching knitting podcasts because that’s completely different and I’m absolutely loving them.  I’m slightly tempted to try one myself.  Maybe.  If I don’t get completely weirded out by the idea of me talking in a room by myself to the computer.

Anyway, for those of you knitters out there…I thought I’d share some of my favorites.  If you have one not on my list, I hope you’ll share it.

Junkyarn

A Homespun House

Of Course She Knits

Milkshed

Diary of a Yarn Snob

And despite my plan to give up the television, I’ve been watching two shows.  (I blame my friend, Kristi.) Orphan Black and Ray Donovan.  I’m only three episodes into the first season of Orphan Black because it’s ridiculously intense and I can’t watch more than one at a time.  I started the second season of Ray Donovan but I’m not feeling it as much as I was in season one.  I think the whole bad guy with the heart of gold thing just isn’t holding up for me.

I’ve also been doing some reading, not as much as I should, but I can’t knit and read at the same time.  I should probably just do a separate post but I’ll mention a couple of them.  I finally read another off my list of books to read in 2014.  I really wanted to like “I am Malala” because I think she as a person is amazing, but I really had a hard time with the book.  It seemed disjointed and was hard for me to follow.  Of the others, the two I five-starred are “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Ender’s Game”.  Sci-fi/fantasy was NOT my thing when I was younger (and I’m still kind of “eh” about it all) but I really did enjoy this one.  “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is about mental illness and the timing of when I finished sucked and it just hit me kind of hard.  I think I need some light reading now so I ordered “Prep” by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I enjoyed her “American Wife” and my friend told me she had read Prep and enjoyed it, so that’s next on my list.  Any good (light) books you can recommend?

And in garden experiment news:  I ended up with five radishes and one full grown green bean (I have lots of baby beans so hopefully they grow up) and a ridiculous amount of weeds.  We didn’t stake things out so I didn’t even touch the garden for about three weeks because I didn’t want to pull anything that might be a plant and now the weeds are crazed. And I accidentally weeded out my onions because they got added in willy-nilly so I didn’t know what they were until it was too late.   Eh, the radishes and green bean tasted delicious, so I’m calling it a win.  And we’ll do better next year.

So that’s us.  Happy Tuesday!

Fluted Cowl (Take Two)

When you are planning your first trip to Disney World as an adult and have no idea where to begin – you call in an expert.  Some people call a travel agent.  I called my friend, Kristi.  She basically walked me through everything, answered all my questions, and never made me feel like an idiot.  Not even when I texted her from Magic Kingdom and said, “This place is amazing.  Even the bathrooms are THEMED.”

When a person spends so much time helping you and you think you’ll never be able to repay them but then they try and (jokingly) steal the cowl you made for a mutual friend, lightbulbs go off.

And you tell them to pick a color.  And order yarn that very same day.  And cast on the minute it arrives.

 

Because you are getting to thank someone for their amazing skills and knowledge with your own set of skills and knowledge.

And that feels really, really good.

Pattern is Purl Bee’s Fluted Cowl knit in Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino colorway Timeless Navy

A(n Accidentally Twisted) Cowl

I’d been looking for an excuse to knit with some Quince & Co for awhile so when I stumbled on a yarn/pattern kit at my favorite yarn store, I picked it up with a family member’s birthday in mind.  I’m a sucker for a good kit and I loved the neutrals with pops of color and the way one section leads into another.
It wasn’t until I got the pattern home that I realized I was going to be knitting in a tube and grafting the two ends together.  All 196 stitches of them.  In the round.  Considering I’d only ever used the kitchener stitch three times before, I was more than a little nervous.  And with good reason.  When I was finally finished grafting the two ends together, I realized I’d twisted my cowl.  Luckily, I like the unintentional design element and hope the recipient will as well.  

The pattern was well written and easy to follow.  It was also a great way to force myself to learn kitchener.  As for the yarn, I can’t speak highly enough for Quince & Co. It had a great weight, feels amazing, and knit up beautifully.

Knitting is forcing me to let go of my perfectionism.  (Or maybe that’s old age).

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I sat down yesterday to edit, upload, and order my pictures for the month of January.  I even did the layouts for the family yearbook.  Since I’ve been terrible about keeping up with it, I did January of 2014 as well.  This should come as no surprise, but it’s easier when I bite it off in chunks.  (I have to thank my friend Dani for the month by month suggestion.  She’s kind of a genius.)
I have four projects on the needles right now.  I frogged & restarted the Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl a couple of times with a couple of different yarns until I realized that metal needles just weren’t working.  So I purchased Knit Picks interchangeable needles.  Whoever said the right tools make all the difference wasn’t lying.  The wooden needle has made it much easier and I’m almost finished with Clue 1.  I wish I would have bought a set of interchangeable earlier.  I have so many circulars, this would have been a more economical option by far (learn from my mistakes). I’m also working on a shawl in the Henslowe pattern.  Originally it was going to be for Violet’s First Eucharist but the yarn is a little too creamy.  The pattern is gorgeous and the shawl is turning out beautifully so I’ll have to find something to wear with it.  I’ve also got a striped cowl and some socks.  I always used to be a serial monogamist when it came to knitting, but I’m liking the variation in projects.
I’m looking through these daily pictures and chuckling – they are by no means great photographs, largely unedited, and a complete hodge podge but they are definitely what life looks like here – unmade beds and all.
My new planner arrived about a half hour before I was to leave for a First Eucharist parent’s meeting yesterday.  Because I knew I wouldn’t tear myself away, I left it on the table for when I got back and  then spent the meeting trying really hard to focus on what Father was saying and not how I was going to organize it all.  But I was so excited when I could finally get home and start sticker-ing.  
My nerdy-ness knows no bounds.

A Finished Object


I knit this scarf for a good friend.  I can’t even tell you when we became friends.  I just know that over the last five years we’ve shared volunteer commitments, play dates, set backs and celebrations.  I admire her.  She makes me laugh.  She’s genuine and genuinely good people.  So when she jokingly mentioned she wanted me to knit her a cowl, I thought it would make a good Christmas gift.

Well, it’s after Christmas and not nearly as perfect as I’d like it to be, but overall I’m pleased with it.  I used the Purl Bee’s Fluted Cowl pattern and knit it up with Plymouth Yarn Haciendo. The colorway is merlot but appears to be out of stock (or discontinued?). I had a hard time capturing the color on camera.  It’s a bit deeper and richer in person. I liked the thick and thin as it added an element of interest, but if I knit it up again, I’d like to try Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino.
Next on the needles is a special project for a special little lady in my life.  I’m just hoping that I’ve given myself enough time to hit my deadline.

Overdone

I am horrible patient. My doctor gives me permission to be out of my boot and in practical shoes for two hours a day and I decide that must equal a pretty pair of sandals for date night and too much barefoot traipsing about the house. I’ve paid for it this weekend and had to take pain medicine for the first time in weeks. I hate it but I’ll be putting on the boot and behaving myself.

The sweater I’ve been working on for my mom is done minus the blocking and I’ve started a scarf I’ve worked on at least 50 different times and ripped out an equal number. It had me slipping the first stitch purl wise with yarn in front and the edge just wasn’t looking like the twisted chain I was expecting. Finally I started flipping through some of my books and realized that I was holding the yarn all wrong for the first purl stitch of my needle. Problem solved – my edge looks like it should – however, I have about two year’s worth of knitting that’s been wrong. I love this hobby because when I figure something out I get the thrill of learning something new, but I’ve also never done anything that can make me feel stupid. My friend Laurie said it perfectly: It’s one of those things you can be good at but never really master.

Life has been quiet and sweet and good but I could definitely use some Netflix recommendations. I struggling to find things to watch and have begun re-watching some old favorites. I absolutely love North and South (the BBC version). Richard Armitage makes me absolutely swoon.

Things to Knit

I have another week where I’m not supposed to put any weight on my foot. I ignored the doctor’s directions over the weekend while my family was in town only to realize that maybe those extra years of schooling have given them some knowledge I should be heeding. So I’m elevating and icing and putting no weight on it at all (Megs, be proud of me) despite the fact that my house is a mess (stupid Easter basket grass goes everywhere!!) and I’m going a little crazy because I feel completely useless.

To help with the crazies, I’ve been working on my mom’s sweater. And working on it, and working on it, and working on it. This collar is taking forever and I haven’t even started the sleeves yet. I love how it’s turning out but any long project like this has me dreaming up other things to knit.

Books and knitting patterns – there will never be enough time to enjoy all the ones I like.

Who’s The Boss

I quit knitting for awhile. Every time I sat down to work on Jesse’s sweater, I was miserable. It wasn’t coming along well and I couldn’t just set it aside. I’m a checklist knitter. I start a project, finish it, start another. And because I didn’t want to finish my project, and I couldn’t start another until I finished it, I just couldn’t knit. Until I decided two things 1) I’m just going to frog the thing anyway so it’s not really a knitting project anymore and even if I wasn’t going to rip it out, 2) I’m the boss of me. If I want to have two knitting projects going at a time, I certainly can quickly followed by a “So there, knitting police in my head!!” (I’m mature like that.)

Here’s what I learned during my interlude from knitting:

1 – I have too many hobbies. Once my main hobby (knitting) wasn’t appealing, I had to choose between scrapbooking, blogging, embroidering, sewing, and reading all as back ups. Not to mention the hobby of just gazing lovingly at pinterest. Most of the time I just watched TV.

2 – Even when I’m not knitting, I really like thinking about knitting. I spend hours browsing yarns at purl, finding patterns on ravelry, and adding to my knitting pins.

3 – Knitting is a beautiful companion to Prozac. My mood since I’ve started working on this afghan is unbelievably better than it’s been in weeks. Knitting is restful but it’s also productive. Pretty awesome.

4 – And of course, that I’m the boss of me. I’m probably pretty late to the game on this lesson. Maybe not. Maybe a lot of us are arbitrary rule followers. While I know it sounds like a toddler throwing a tantrum, I’m really not. I’m not advocating going out and breaking societal norms willy-nilly or even saying that rules are a bad thing. I’m saying I’ve imposed a lot of ridiculous little rules (like I can’t be working on two knitting projects at the same time) that are just ridiculous little rules. I’ve spent a whole chunk of my life worrying about what I should be doing and what people would think if I did (insert some innocuous activity here) and if so-and-so thought I was “good”. I need to stop that.

Being the boss of me means I get to live a life aligned with my own values, filled with the people who matter most to me, and saved by grace.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

P.S.

I’m reading Stiff by Mary Roach right now and while some of the discussion has me a little squeamish, a good portion has me laughing out loud. And it’s fascinating – even if it is a little macabre. Highly recommend.