January Thaw

imageOnly in Wisconsin is there a 45 minute + wait for the car wash when the temperature gets up to 28 F!

Which means this is officially a January warm up.  Just in time to show off some of my new knits

First up is the Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  I cast this on right around Christmas.  It actually started out as a kit for another shawl, but I didn’t like the way the pattern and yarn were behaving.

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The pennies are a sorting project Lily was doing. I just thought it was kind of pretty.

The main body of the shawl is knit in Knit One Crochet Too Douceur et Soie and Elfin Tweed.  I absentmindedly kept knitting in garter stitch far enough into the body of the shawl that I decided to call it a design element and move on.  I kind of like how squishy the garter stitch makes it.  As I approached the border I was a little afraid I was going to run out of the Elfin Tweed (probably because of the garter stitch) so I switched out to JoJoland Melody keeping one strand of the Douceur et Soie with it.  I love how the JoJoland changes colors along the edge.

The other knit I have to show off is the Hitch Pullover.

To be fair, I knitted this over the summer and even sewed it together but just couldn’t get the ends woven in and the buttons sewn on before finding something else more interesting to work on.  I think it was really the button issue that was stopping me.  I wasn’t sure which buttons I really wanted.  So I pulled it out and started weaving in ends during one of the last Packer games.  Before the game was finished, the ends were woven in.  I decided I really kind of like it without the buttons.

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Out take #39

 

Ask the Wee Ones:  (the part of the blog where you get to ask questions of my children and they’ll answer you.)

Q:  Lily, when did you start knitting and why?

A:  I starting knitting at about 1st grade.  I decided to knit because Momma knitted.  Right after I learned to knit, Momma and some of her friends decided to teach a knitting class at the school.  I’ve knit a bunch of cowls, 2 hats, and a scarf for an American Girl Doll.

Send me any questions you have for Addie or Lily and we’ll answer them on the blog.  Lily would like you to know that while Addie doesn’t knit, as an eleven year old she does have very definite ideas on most things.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

creativeI’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately.  It might be the super fun adult coloring books that all the cool kids are doing right now, but it makes me think, “when’s the last time you did something truly creative?”  “When’s the last time you thought waaaay outside the box or just daydreamed about what you would like to see happen?”

I was at a presentation a couple of months back and the presenter made the statement

Planning requires Imagination.

Whoa.  Planning is all black and white, and dare I say, boring?  It’s “you must do this and you must do that.”  Or is it?

Because planning feels better than flying by the seat of my pants and feeling like you’re always chasing your tail.  So I am planning on letting my creativity out of the box this year.  I’m going to read more of what make me happy (not just what the book club is reading).  I’m going to play with color – coloring with the kids in their more grown up coloring books, coloring while I’m on the phone, playing in color with my knitting.  I’m going to make an effort to get back to knitting with my Thursday night knitting group.  It’s the group that is the most comfortable for me.  I’m going to be more intentional about playing with creativity.

And… I’m planning on knitting a scarf or a shawl every month.  I’ve created a bundle on my Ravelry Favorites called Italy.  Because, well, I’m going to Italy in November and I might just need a new wardrobe of scarves to wear when I travel.

I’m also planning on having a bit of fun with the blog.  Lily has agreed to help author a section called “Ask the Wee Ones.”  Readers could ask questions of a knitting 9 year old and a non-knitting 11 year old.  I think it could be interesting.  I’m debating about starting a group on Ravelry for the blog so that all the questions are in one spot, we can do Knit-a-longs together or just talk about general chit chatty stuff.  Your thoughts?

Who Woulda Thunk?

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Here it is, the Eve of the Eve of Christmas and the Christmas Knitting is all done.  Well, sort of.  I do have to help Lily finish her knitted gift for her Daddy (we’re calling it the Elf Sleeping Bag).  But that should be finished up tonight.

I need to get some items in the mail yet, but I’m feeling pretty good about this whole Christmas thing.

Now I’m wondering what project should I cast on for next?

A.  Should I be responsible and finish up the Doodler?

B.  Should I be responsible and finish up some of the WIPs I have laying around?

C.  Should I be semi-responsible and start the sweater for the nephew who’s birthday is in February?

D.  Should I just cast on something frivolous and fun?

E.  All of the above.

 

You can vote in the comments!

 

Taking the Crazy Train

Hop aboard, Folks!  We’re taking the Crazy Train to Christmas Town!

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This is the train that makes you think that you can totally finish 1 sock, one pair of toddler socks, a blanket size scarf, AND a cowl in the two weeks before Christmas.  But wait, there’s more, because some of these items need to be shipped to Chicago.  And, oh yeah, we’re celebrating my family’s Christmas on the 20th.

Then there’s this cute little baby sweater that just needs the ends woven in and buttons sewn on by Friday.  We’re having dinner with the new parents and I’d like to give them their present sometime before the child’s 3rd birthday.

Oh, I’ve totally got this Christmas thing under control.

If you need me, I’ll be the one in the corner mumbling to myself, “just one more row before bed.”

Knitters Math

Confession Time:

Math was not my favorite subject in school.  In fact, I pretty much hated it until I reached algebra.  Thanks to some great teachers (Mr. Boettcher being the best of the best), algebra just made sense to me.  It was math in puzzle format and just made sense to my brain.

Since I’m confessing, I will tell you that I still can’t do math in front of people.  It brings me right back to 3rd and 4th grade timed math tests.

So when someone asked me how to determine how much yarn was left in a partial skein, it made sense to me that I would use algebra.  By the look on the faces of the two smart women who were talking to me, I lost them at the word “Algebra.”

So here’s how I figure out how much yardage is remaining in a partial skein.  Hold onto your handknit socks, because we’re about to do a puzzle.

You will need:

A scale

The yarn tag or information off of Ravelry or Yarndex about the yardage in the original skein.

The leftover skein of yarn

Paper and pencil

Calculator if you’d like

yarn on scale

First, you’re going to weigh your remaining yarn.  A kitchen scale will work.  My scale weighs in grams, so I converted it to ounces using an online converter.  (Just google “convert grams to ounces”)

My Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Worsted weighed 3.36 oz.

The original skein weighed 3.5 oz and was 195 yds.

Now the puzzle part.

Divide the original yardage by the original ounces.

195/3.5

That gives you the number of yards per ounce.  (55.7)

Then, multiple that number by the weight of the yarn you have remaining.  In our case this is 55.7 x 3.36

Our answer is:  187.2 yards

knitters math

Is that clear as mud?

By the way, the pretty yarn up there on the scale?  That’s the yarn I dyed during the yarn dyeing party at Three Irish Girls.  I promise I’ll tell you more about that soon.

Make a List and Get Over It

imageMy internal voice has been rather whiney lately.  To be honest, September has completely kicked my you know what.  It’s always a busy month and this year seems busier than normal.  The best way to stop the whiney voice is to make a list and start working.

  1. I finished another Ponchini that just needs to be washed, blocked and seamed.
  2. I made yet another cowl out of some Sublime merino, cashmere, silk and leftover Three Irish Girls.  The cowl is destined for a silent auction for my Rotary Club.
  3. Speaking of cowls, I have some stashed away already for Christmas presents.  It feels really good every time I tuck one away.
  4. I won a dyeing party at Three Irish Girls here in Superior!  The party is for myself and three friends to dye either scarves or yarn.  We’ve got a date scheduled and I’ll be sure to blog the experience.
  5. Stockinette in the round has been my friend.  Normally I would say this is boring knitting, but right now it’s very comforting to just pick something up and not worry about finding my place in a pattern.
  6. My socks for Addie have stalled out now that we’re not going to soccer games twice a week.  I got quite a bit of knitting done in the 2 months that the girls were in soccer!  The Regia Ombre that I’m using was perfect for seeing progress from game to game.
  7. Lily is very interested in starting a mother-daughter knitting podcast with me.  We’re working out the details and timing might be tough as she’s only 9 years old and is in bed when I do the majority of my knitting and blogging.  But since she is a 35 year old in the very petite body of a 9 year old, I think we’ll do just fine.  And I’m pretty sure her matter of fact style will crack you up.  Some of the segments we’re thinking of include:
    1. What we’re knitting
    2. What we’re reading
    3. In our world (what’s happening at our house or in our lives)
    4. Our favorite things
  8. What would you like to hear us talk about?
Lydia Cowl in progress.

Lydia Cowl in progress.

 

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So I sort of won Stash Dash.  I say sort of because I finished over 4,000 yds of knitting.  Which is more than enough to qualify for the 3K.  However, since I was up knitting until midnight on the day of the finish, I did not post everything to Ravelry.  Which means that in the eyes of the Stash Dash Commissioner, it wasn’t really finished.

I’m really ok with this.  I don’t need any prizes.  All I need is the satisfaction of getting things cleared off the needles (and your comments telling me how cool everything is).

Hygge Baby Cardigan – 294 yds – DONE
Hygge baby

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1680 yds DONE Solaris

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds DONE  – this is the most current photo I have of it.  I’ll post more once  it’s been bathed and is photo ready.  stashdash2015-2

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds

BLT Scarf – 346 yds – DONE

Lydia Cowl – 200 yds – DONE Lydia Cowl

Lydia Cowl Longer & Better – 380 yds – DONE – again, photos of this to come as I get it bathed and beautiful. 

Ponchini – 330 yds – DONE  ponchini

The grand total planned yardage = 10,150
Finished yardage = 4350

 

Whew!  That’s a lot of knitting.  Now, had I actually stuck to the plan I think I could have made it to the 5K goal.  The problem was I kept getting distracted by new and shiny projects.  While knitting is knitting, knitting 380 yds on a sweater to finish it would give me better meterage than knitting a brand new project.  Oh well.  Que sera sera and all that.

Now I’m feeling a bit of a let down after the rush to get projects finished.  I’m debating about finding another KAL to work on or just doing my own thing for a bit.  I’ll keep you updated on what I decide.

In the meantime, I found out that both my girls like wearing tube socks (ick!) so I might have to make some.

 

The Glitterati

image I’m a big believer in continuing ed for knitters.  You take a class and you get so much more than just the skills to make a particular project.

  • Tips and tricks for better knitting/finishing/etc.
  • Inspiration
  • Comraderie with other knitters
  • And sometimes, just a good old fashioned wake up call.

I had the pleasure of taking 2 classes from Stephen West and Steven Be this last weekend.  Yep, it was fabulous.  Yep, it was extremely high energy.  Yep, I was wiped out at the end of the weekend and just wanted to curl up in a ball without anyone throwing anything neon or glittery at me.  (And that’s ok because that’s just how I roll – as an outward extrovert, I need alone time to process.)

BUT….

And it’s a big BUT.

I came away with a ton of inspiration.  Like, it’s ok to use color.

Let that one sink in folks.  Because here in the Midwest, we tend to use a lot of greys and blacks.

  • Color makes our eyes pop.
  • Color gives us (yep, you guessed it) Color in our cheeks.
  • And lets face it, color is just fun.

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So I started a project that I am stunned that I love.

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It’s a Ponchini by StevenBe out of Be Sweet Bamboo and lace weight Noro.

And I bought yarn for a yet to be determined Stephen West pattern.  In colors that would normally be “too bright” for me.  Somehow, surrounded by neon and glitter in the classroom, this didn’t seem so bright at the time.  But they’re beautiful and they remind me of the Gulf of Mexico.

And I’ve decided that I kind of want to take Stephen West home and feed him pasta and chocolate chip cookies.  He’s just that NICE.  Seriously sweet and nice.  And talented to boot.

So my dear readers, don’t be afraid to take a class.  You might just come away with something that you forgot you knew!

A Cardigan Built for Two

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true.  I’m half crazy over the love of you……

…You’ll look sweet.

Cuddled up neat.

In a cardigan knit for two.

Really?  Those aren’t the original lyrics?

As you might remember, my girls have sort of a love hate relationship with my knitting.  They love receiving the knits, but hate the time I spend knitting.  When I brought my Solaris sweater out of hibernation to knit, I realized just how big the fronts are when they’re spread out.  I mentioned to Lily that this was a cardigan made for cuddling.  The fronts are large enough that I can spread them around the two of us.  All of a sudden, whenever there was a cool wind blowing, Lily asked me when the sweater would be finished.

Well stick a fork in it, because this sweater is DONE!

It’s actually been done for awhile now, but somehow summer arrived.  With summer came a visit from family, a play that Addie was in and a LOT of walking outside.  It just hasn’t been sweater weather.  So the sweater got blocked and put away until a cooler night.

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So I can either post this somewhat crummy iPhone photo of us snuggled up in the sweater, or I can wait until the weather cools down enough.

Pattern:  Solaris by Berroco Design Team

Yarn:  Rowan Lima

Modifications:  I used the Executive Knitter’s variation on this pattern.  Basically I did a border of k1 p1 then knit in stockinette instead of the pattern stitch throughout.

Yardage:  roughly 1680 as I wrote 14 skeins in my Ravelry Project page, and I think I used almost all of the skeins.

 

This, along with a Lydia Cowl that I finished on Sunday, brings me to my Stash Dash total of 2174 yds.  I think I’ll make it to the 3K finish line, but I’m not sure that I can eek out a 5K finish.  The summer has just been way too nice to not spend a lot of time outside enjoying it.

Synonymous in my World

I asked Adam which pattern he liked better, the chevrons or the stripes.  He looked at me blankly and replied, “those are synonymous in my world.”

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Hmmm… guess I’m on my own with this one.  I bought this Pepperberry Knits yarn at Yarnover in April.  The colorway is Beachcomber.  It’s 100% cashmere sport weight and it is super squishy and yummy.  The question I was asking Adam (to be fair I had visual aids) was which cowl I should knit from these options.

In the end, I decided to knit the 12th Man Cowl.

FYI:  If you’re planning on knitting this pattern, don’t wind your ball into a center pull ball.  You’ll do the same forehead smack I did last night.

You might ask, “Jess, is this on the plan you made for winning Stash Dash?”

The answer my friends, is a resounding no.  It’s not on the plan.  It’s 200 yds of indulgence knitting which will count towards Stash Dash but won’t get me to the finish line quickly the way a 1500 yd sweater does.  I have a craving for soft and squishy and simple right now.  Oh simple stockinette stitch, you make my heart sing.  At least right now you do.

Since we were talking about Stash Dash, here’s the run down on my project status.

The Plan:

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1560 yds  DONE

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds ONE SLEEVE AND COLLAR LEFT

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds ABOUT HALF DONE

The grand total yardage = 9190 yds.

Off Plan:

12th Man Cowl – 200 yds.

Sweet shawlette pattern gifted to me from the fabulous Diane – 330 yds

Edited to add:  Hygge Baby Sweater – 294 yds.

With a month and a half of Stash Dash left to go, I’d better get moving!