Love The One You’re With

I’ve got pretty yarn.

There, I’ve said it.  I’ve got pretty yarn in my house right now.  (In fact I have more than I should admit to having in public)

I’m willing to bet that you have pretty yarn too.  Maybe you’ve got a small stash of just a couple of skeins of sock yarn.  Or maybe you’re someone who has an entire room dedicated to your stash.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re like me and you pick up single skeins here and there because they’re “pretty.”

So, hypothetically speaking, if you were like me and had some skeins of self striping sock yarn languishing in your stash waiting for the right project, and maybe there just wasn’t quite enough yardage for a pair of socks…. well, this project might just be for you.  It’s the ZickZack scarf.

zickzack

So here’s what you do:  Love the yarn you’re with.

Dig into your stash.  Go into the deep dark recesses of your stash and find the yarn that you forgot you had.  Pick out two pretty/fun/interesting skeins of self striping sock yarn.  This is the important part folks – they DO NOT have to match.  Seriously, don’t match them up.  Trust me on this one even though it probably makes your skin crawl (It certainly makes mine!).

If you use a yarn that has long repeats of color, like Zauberball, it will have a very different effect than the short repeats that I have.  Either effect is just fine.

The advice I got from Barb at Fabric Works, was to pick one skein with warm colors and one skein with cool colors.  The colors will then contrast really nicely and you get great striping.

Then pick up your needles and cast on.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to knit for a few inches before you can really decide if you like the colors.  It takes a while to see the colors as a whole rather than just one or two colors popping out at you.  I even showed it to the pint sized fashion consultants (my girls) to see what they thought.  Both of them had a resounding, “Wow, that’s pretty!”

The cool part about this scarf is that every single one I have seen is different.  And they’re all pretty.

ZickZack Scarf

ZickZack Scarf

Three-peat

Count with me.  (It would really help if you could count in the voice of the Count from Sesame Street).  “Von…….  Twoooo…….. Tree……. Tree pairs of easy garter stitch slippers, Ha. ha. ha.”

2015-03-07 19.08.30

(You might notice that there is not much of a size difference between my 2 daughters feet and my own.)

Life’s Stash:

I made three pairs of the Simple Garter Stitch Slippers before calling it quits.  For those of you with a keen eye, you might notice that one of the pairs in the photo above do not quite match.  I ran out of the coveted teal yarn before the mid-way point on the 2nd slipper.  I grabbed a lighter blue instead.  Addie was very excited that she would have mis-matched slippers!  Mis-matched socks are the coolest thing right now.

I sort of have an inkling that I might make a few more pairs to have on hand as they are:

1.  Easy.

2.  Warm

3.  Addictive as all get out.

4.  Satisfying because they use up all sorts of odds and ends.

5.  Did I mention warm?

When the weather vacillates between -15 F and 46 F, warm is an important factor. While having wood floors is nice – certainly pretty and practical when you have a giant fluffy dog – they are not warm.

I keep finding fun combinations of leftover sock yarn that would make for fun slippers.  This really is addictive!

What I’m Knitting:

I started a Stockinette Haruni out of a Wonderland Yarns gradient kit.  It starts off as a springy green and moves toward teal.  I love gradients!  They make me almost as happy as warm slippers.  This yarn is incredibly soft and has great stitch definition.  Every time I walk into the yarn store I am tempted to buy another set of these gradient colors.

I’ve done another few rows on Addie’s hat.  I suspect I might finish this hat about the time that she will no longer need to wear a hat in the morning (which means I will finish it some time in May.)

What I’m Not Knitting:

I’ve made no progress on the sweater this week.  It’s sitting right where I left it, on the back of the couch, taunting me.

Knots & Tangles:

For some goofy reason I had the hardest time starting the Haruni.  It starts off with a small provisional cast on, then you pick up stitches and start knitting one row, purling another.  I think it was because of the garter stitch edging, but my brain just did not want to switch over to purling every other row.  I had to concentrate a bit to get past the first few rows, then I got it.  I’m embarrassed to say that I might have had to be in a quiet room to get past this part.  Now that I managed to get the flow of the shawl it’s going quite well.

Loose Ends:

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Although this is completely random and off-topic, if you ever find yourself in Menomonie, Wisconsin, you need to find Legacy Chocolates.  This little chocolate shop has been a favorite of our family’s since they opened sometime after I moved away from home (probably a really good thing for my waistline!)  I noticed that they serve things other than chocolate and coffee, although I’m really not sure why anyone would go there for anything else.

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As you can see, the truffles come highly recommended!

Brrr… Baby it’s Cold Outside

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Life’s Stash:

Winter still has the Big Blue House in its icy grip.

I had a serious case of Popsicle feet on Sunday afternoon.  I had pulled out some yarn from the stash and was starting the Stockinette Haruni.  I even had picked out beads for the edging with the help of my girls.  But my feet were cold and my usual slippers were just not doing the trick to warm them up.  That’s when I ran across THE slipper pattern.  It’s not fancy.  It’s certainly not pretty.  But it’s got a certain charm.   The Simple Garter Stitch Slippers are just that.  Simple. Garter Stitch.  But you do a sort of origami move, sew up a seam, and crochet across the top and around the edge.  Plus, it’s a great way to use up your leftover sock weight yarn AND you can make them as bright an garish as you would like.  Because really, they’re slippers and no one minds if you have ugly colored slippers.

2015-02-25 20.50.01

Generally, I hate finishing.  I dislike seaming and doing the edging and any sort of decorate fru fru finishing that needs to be done.  But there’s something about adding the crochet edging on these slippers that just satisfies me.  It’s like a piece of chocolate at the end of a great meal.

What I’m Knitting:

As soon as Lily saw the slippers, she wanted a pair.  So tonight while Addie was at a school event with Adam, Lily and I picked out yarn for a mini version of the slippers.  I let her paw through the stash and find some self striping sock yarn that she liked.  I’m looking forward to these being an incredibly fast knit.

I expect I’ll have others in the house asking to pick out their own yarn for slippers shortly.

In the meantime, I’ve also done a little work on the gray sweater and Addie’s hat.  I also finished up the itty bitty baby shoes.  All I need to do is photograph them, then box those up and send them on their merry way.

What I’m Not Knitting:

I’m making a good effort to knit at least a few rows on my most recent projects.  To be honest, typing the same old things under “What I’m Not Knitting” is getting well, old.  I don’t want you getting bored on me!

I did decide to wait on the Lettuce Pullover that I talked about last time.  Mostly because I’ve got that dry winter skin thing going and Malabrigo Lace sticks to my fingers.  Once it warms up a little it should be easier to knit with.

Loose Ends:

I have added a widget on the right hand side so that you can sign up to get alerts by email when I add a new post.  I’d love it if you gave it a try!

So tell me, what’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?  Are you as chilly as we are?

Thank you!

Stay On Baby Bootie

Stay On Baby Bootie

Life’s Stash:

Thank you for your comments!  I loved hearing from every one of you.  It was amazing to watch comments come in from people that I know, people that I haven’t met yet, and those that I haven’t heard from in a very long time.  All I can say is WOW.  Thank you.

Keep those comments coming please!

What I’m Knitting:

I’m still working on the Stay On Baby Booties in lime green for a family member.  I’m almost done with the 2nd bootie, now all I have to do is the dreaded I-cord tie.  I-cord isn’t difficult, it’s just booooring.  I might cheat on this one and do a long cast on, then cast off rather than making I-cord.

I’m also continuing to knit on the sock.  I’ve turned the heal and it’s zipping along the foot.  It’s mindless, comfort food knitting right now.

What I’m Not Knitting:

There’s been no real changes on this.  I do need to get back to my sweater.  I’ve been fantasizing about starting another sweater, so I know I had better buckle down and get this one done before I completely forget about it.

I also was thinking about how nice it would be to have a finished Lettuce Pullover in my wardrobe this winter.  Maybe I should pull that out of knitting hibernation and work on it a bit.  I’m embarrassed to say that this never made it into my Ravelry Project page. I know I took photos of it… hmmmm….

Happy Knitting to All and to All a Good Night

Happy Knitting to All and to All a Good Night

Part of me says that I should leave the Lettuce Pullover until May during the Stash Dash because it has such a big yardage.  Part of me says that’s stacking the deck.  And do I really want a sweater on my lap during May, June and July?

Regardless, I need to whittle down some of my unfinished projects.

But there are so many fun new knits to knit!

Loose Ends:

Speaking of, I just saw that Craftsy has some free patterns today.  One is the Stockinette Haruni which is a particular favorite and has been on my “Must Knit” list for some time.  You can sign up for their emails or find the pattern here.

After I finish the baby booties, I am going to toss the stash around to find 440 yds of sock weight yarn.  Correction, I know I have 440 yds, it’s finding the right 440 yd skein that I’m going to do.  Maybe this is the time that I hold true to my New Year’s Resolution and find a particularly special skein of yarn.

Awkward Silence

I like to call myself the Comic Relief.

Hi.

I like you.

I think you’re probably pretty funny.

Yes, I mean you.  The one that’s staring at this from the other side of their computer screen.  No, don’t take that literally, I don’t mean the back side of the computer.  I mean that you take the time to read what I write.

I think you’ve got a really good sense of humor.  You read what I write anyway and I think you keep coming back.  Which implies a certain sense of humor.

You’re still there, right?  I haven’t scared you off?

So this is awkward, but could you maybe please leave me a message and let me know you’re actually there?  Just go down to the bottom of this post (or any post) and click on the button that says “0 Comments.”  You might have to type in your name, but you could probably leave a fake name and I would never really know.  Unless your name is “Bob TheMinion,” then I’ll assume it’s my 8 year old leaving me a comment.  Leave whatever comment you want.  You don’t have to tell me that I’m funny or not funny.  Talk to me about knitting.

Tell me that you’re listening.

Ok, now that the awkwardness is over, I’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

What I’m Knitting

I finished the 2nd gray cowl last week and gave it to the recipient in time for a decent size snowstorm.  By decent, we got about 4 inches during the day and another dusting with blowing snow that night.  So not a huge storm by any stretch of the imagination but enough to make driving sort of crummy.

I cast on a sock during a road trip last weekend.  Socks really are the comfort food of knitting for me.  I hate to say it, but these are white and gray – with little flecks of color.  It’s sort of a vanilla sock pattern with a variation of my very own.  More about that later.

In direct contrast to the whole lot of gray that I have been knitting, I also cast on a pair of Stay On Baby Booties in lime green for a new baby on my husband’s side of the family.  These are my go to pattern for babies feet.  The pattern is in Knitting for Baby.  Lots of these little shoes have been made and they really do stay on baby’s feet.

What I’m Not Knitting

  • The sweater… for no real reason except I guess I want to knit on something that feels like progress is being made.
  • The hat for Addie…. again for no real reason.  I’d better pick it up again soon since it’s really almost done.

Knots & Tangles

Not knots or tangles this week.  But then again, there probably hasn’t been enough knitting to run into any problems.  I just finished up a big project at work, so hopefully I’ll have the bandwidth left at night to knit more.

Loose Ends

I had somewhat of a wild hair last week and started checking out knitting retreats and gatherings.  I haven’t been to any knitting classes in some time.  I looked into one in Madison, WI but decided that the cost of the hotel room I would need for 2 nights plus the registration fee made it more than I was willing to spend.  Then I remembered Yarnover.  Yarnover is hosted by the Minnesota Knitters Guild and is only about 45 minutes away from my in-laws house.  A day long class with Franklin Habit was open!  (I’ve met him before, but I go slightly fan girl in the presence of funny knitting bloggers)  Since the hubby works the weekend of Yarnover, I arranged to stay with my in-laws and have the kids hang out there for the day.  Problem solved!  Knitting enabled.  The list of vendors is pretty amazing, so I’ll have to save my pennies.

Now I should probably tell my husband about this plan…. Right?  I should tell him?

Black Hole of Knitting

Life’s Stash:

I’ve entered the black hole of all my knitting projects.  That point where you just keep knitting but it feels like you’re not getting anywhere.

All that knitting must be getting magically unknit while you’re not looking.  Like little elves come in during the night and just rip out a few rows.

This might be because I have too many projects on the needles.  It might be a symptom of many early bedtimes.  Then again, I’m not going to totally rule out the little elves.  I just wish they’d fold a load of laundry while they were in the house!!  Or maybe weave in a few ends.

What I’m Knitting:

A hat for Addie – more on that below.

A cowl – still the same cowl I was knitting before.  See?!  I told you there were elves afoot.  I do need to figure out the pattern for the second cowl I’m making.  It needs to be fairly tightly knit as I want it to be really warm for winter activities.

The sweater – yep still moving like a turtle on this one too.  I drug this all the way to the Twin Cities for a conference last week and didn’t touch it.  I might have over packed my knitting bag.  My co-workers joked that I packed like I was staying for an entire week rather than just 2 days and 1 night.

What I’m Not Knitting:

I started the Wheat scarf by Tin Can Knits several weeks ago and just haven’t knit much on it.  It’s a great pattern.  It’s billed as a beginners pattern and I think that’s accurate.  It’s far superior in interest to the garter knit scarves that I made when I was a beginner.  It’s one of those that I could knit while watching a movie and be just fine.

Knots & Tangles:

While this isn’t really a problem yet, it could be.  I started working on Addie’s hat with the intention of using 2 new skeins of stashed yarn.  I worked with the Trekking for awhile and decided that the second yarn I picked out was too close in color value to the Trekking.  Luckily I found a partially used skein in my stash.  This I think was some Pagewood Farms with some cashmere content (I think).  It’s deliciously soft.  Every 5th grade girl needs a super soft lined hat that makes her know that her momma loves her.  So while this yarn is also close in color value to the Trekking, it is really nice.  My concern is that I might just run out of the Pagewood Farms before the hat is finished.  I think I’d better start knitting really fast before I run out!

 

Loose Ends:

I am feeling a distinct lack of color in my knitting right now.  Two gray cowls, 1 gray sweater, 1 hat that isn’t gray but definitely has extremely muted tones.  I think I need to break out of this rut and get some color in my life!  I might just have to pull out one of the red sweaters that I put on hold two winters ago because I had too many red sweaters going at once….

In other news, I found the stash knit down that I was trying to find last time.  It’s call Stash Dash and is run by the Knit Girllls on Ravelry.  The idea is to knit the length of a 5K race with your knitting.  Finishing up UFOs counts, as does spinning.  The Dash starts in May and runs through the beginning of August.  I don’t typically watch the Knit Girllls videocast, (although looking at their Ravelry Group they’ve got good content and I might have to start watching) so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for the start date.

Who’s in?  Would you want to participate in Stash Dash with me?

 

Resolutions

Darkside Cowl

Life’s Stash:

Christmas and New Year’s have gone by in a whirl.  Now it’s on to new projects – both at the office and at home.  Right after Christmas I took some time and rearranged the toy/stash/computer room and rearranged a cabinet in the tv room.  Although most people wouldn’t know the difference to see it, I know it looks much better.  I took some toys and puzzles to school for the after school program and I threw A LOT away.

Next on my list of organizing is probably my stash.  For the most part, I like the system I have going.  However, I think it’s healthy that occasionally I visit with the yarn that I already have.  It keeps me from wanting newer, younger yarn.  It reminds me that I have some really amazing yarn in my stash already.

Which brings me to what I’m very loosely calling a resolution this year.  Typically I don’t do a New Year’s resolution as I generally am very bad at sticking to them.  I slip up, I get mad at myself for not having iron will, and then I throw the whole thing out the window.  I know – it’s stupid to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but that’s the way I’ve done it in the past.  So instead of a resolution, I’m calling it a theme for the year.  Drumroll please……….

“Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion.  Today is special.”

I tend to hoard and save and hold on to things because if the queen or the pope or that super special something comes up then I might just need that ball of yarn.  But guess what?  That most likely isn’t going to happen.  Instead, that super special ball of yarn will get moths.  Or not be a cool color anymore.  So instead I’m going to work hard on enjoying the beautiful yarn that I have.  I’m going to knit it now.  Or at least get started working through some of that amazing stash.  Because I know that I’m not enjoying that yarn when it’s sitting in a drawer.

What I’m Knitting:

I’ve got several projects on the needles right now.

  • Darkside Cowl in some lovely cashmere merino from Three Irish Girls.
  • Stashbuster Hat (from the deep dark stash) for Addie.
  • The shawl collar pullover in Yowza What a Skein

What I’m Not Knitting:

Sweet Baby Cap

  •  2 Sweet Baby Caps for 2 sweet little baby boys.  Both were done with scraps and some yarn from the deep dark stash.  Edited to add:  I am not knitting these only because they are already finished.  I think I need to add a section for finished projects.  :)

Knots & Tangles:

I have no knitting issues to report this time.  All of my knitting is behaving very well.

Loose Ends:

I’ve noticed that my Ravelry project list on the right hand side of this page was woefully out of date.  I’ve been working to photograph and update some of the projects.  No silly promises about a timeline for this, but I’m working on it.

 

Grinch-mas

Life’s Stash:

The holiday hustle and bustle is here with a vengeance this year!  I managed to catch the nastiest of colds right before Thanksgiving and it held on through last week, so I feel as though I lost a couple of weekends of preparation.  Luckily my husband ant the kids picked up some of the slack and I’ve let other things go (more on that below)  Most of the gifts are purchased though and my husband has done a lot of the wrapping.  Now it’s just sorting through what’s in my closet where I hide gifts and finishing up the last of what’s needed.

I’m also hoping to bake some more cookies this weekend.  Somehow I never feel like we have enough cookies!  I did an epic cookie baking weekend last weekend as a fundraiser for the school.  We baked 680 DOZEN cookies – sugar cookies, spritz, peanut butter blossoms, Russian tea cakes, and turtles.  Now I just need to make bourbon balls (a favorite of some of my co-workers) and krumkaka.

What I’m Knitting:

I’ve been doing a lot of crocheting lately.  I agreed to make 20 mug cozies for my oldest daughter’s class.  Every year the 5th Grade creates a business for the Christmas Concerts.  Their job is to create crafts, market the items and sell them during the concerts.

I’ve also been working on a reversible hat from Interweave Knits Gifts for the same daughter.  The Stashbuster Hat is worked from the top down, then you switch yarns and work a second hat from the brim up.  I found yarn in my stash (deep, deep in the stash) for this hat.

Just yesterday I decided to try to whip out a couple of boot toppers for gifts.  I know it’s crazy talk to start a project the weekend before Christmas and expect to get it done, but these really are fast knits.  I’m not going to stress too much about whether they get done or not.

What I’m Not Knitting:

Sometime around Thanksgiving I made the decision to not knit with a Christmas deadline in mind.  I realize that this doesn’t make sense because I just said I was knitting the hat and boot toppers (plural?).  However, the intent was to knit for pleasure, not stress out about a deadline.  I’ve been that person knitting frantically in a bar with family on Christmas Eve trying to get the present done before the next morning.  That’s not what I want this year.  I want to just enjoy the knitting this year.  The other motive behind this is to not knit for people who will not enjoy receiving the items.  If the recipient is not “Knit-worthy” then I’m not knitting for them this year.  I’m also not knitting for several people that are appreciative of my knitting just because my time is at a premium.  Sometimes it’s a matter of not enough time in the day.

I’m also not knitting a couple of projects that I had started earlier this month…. more on those a different day.  They just took a backseat to the mug cozies and now to the other items I’m knitting.

Knots & Tangles:

My knitting has been behaving very well recently.  I mostly was making up the patterns for the mug cozies, so while there was some ripping of patterns that didn’t work out, it wasn’t anything that was too traumatizing.  It was a really good way for me to learn some new crochet stitches on a small canvas.

Loose Ends:

Let me know what you think of this format.  My Boss is pushing me hard to start a podcast.  I’m contemplating starting a podcast.  If I can get all the details sorted out, then I may give it a try.  Several years back I bought a recorder and headset to record with.  Unfortunately the time to podcast was always slim to none in those days.  As it is, I tend to write the blog while the kids are playing in the background or late at night in between putting kids to bed and tucking them back in two times.  What I’m trying to say is that my house is not quiet or completely conducive to podcasting.  The timing is just something I’m going to figure out.  So tell me, would you listen to my very midwestern/up-nort accented voice talking about knitting?

Building a Cabin

I was reading a book for our book club last month that revolved around a community of women during the Civil War.  The women in this community were making quilts to send to the soldiers.  The beginning of each chapter had a description of a quilt.  I’ve always been fascinated by quilts, even though I don’t really sew.  As a kid I would pore over my grandma’s quilt books when I visited her.  She bought me graph paper and colored pencils for me to draw out my favorite patterns.  I spent hours coloring in quilts on that graph paper!

As I read the chapter on log cabin quilts, I started to think about all the sock yarn scraps and mini skeins that I have.

  • What would it look like if I started a log cabin blanket using sock yarn scraps?  I know that worsted weight would be faster, but I don’t have lots of odds and ends of superwash worsted laying around.
  • What would it look like?
  • Would I stick to a monochrome color pallate?  Probably not feasible with the wide variety of sock yarns I have.
  • Superwash?  Definitely.
  • How would I attach each rectangle and would I want to weave in all those ends?
  • How long would this epic sounding project take me?!
  • I love looking at all the ways you can put together a log cabin quilt.

I took out all my superwash sock yarn mini skeins and leftovers and sorted them into darks, lights and reds.  Red is a traditional color for the center of the square – it represents the hearth as the center of the home.  There is some neat history about the log cabin quilt here.

Still in the somewhat thinking about it stage, I drug out all my sock yarn mini skeins.  The reds went into one baggie to use for the centers.  The darks and lights went into gallon size bags.  I have one large ziplock bag of each.

This might be the crazy talking, but I’m going to do it.  (Did you really have any doubt?)

I will be making half the square with dark colors and half the square with light colors.  When the quilt is finished, I’ll match up the lights next to the lights and the dark side next to the darks.  This can either be arranged into diagonal stripes or crosses.

Whoosh!

My knitting has been in a bit of a funk lately.  Call it boredom, call it the ho hums, call it ennui.  (great word, ennui, even if I have a hard time pronouncing it!)  I just don’t see a pattern that is really firing me up.  My knitting is just “eh.”

I love the yarn I have in my stash.  I take it out (pet it a little) and look at it and troll the pattern search on Ravelry to find new patterns.  I have spent hours looking for that “just right” project.  I’m just not finding what I want.  Since I can’t even tell you what I want, it might be hard to find what it is that I want to knit.  Something simple, but not so simple that I will get bored 1/3 of the way through.  Something classy.  Something that ideally uses part of my crazy large stash of amazing yarn.

I took knitting on our trip to Florida with high hopes of knitting on the plane, in the conference, on the buses, and while waiting in line.  I did knit at the conference and on the plane, but I really didn’t get as much done as I would have hoped.  The extreme heat and humidity might have had something to do with this.  The general awesomeness of Disney World might have had something else to do with this.  For the most part our waiting in lines was minimized by some strategies I used and even if we did have a wait there were too many fun things to look at.  Most nights I was too tired to do more than one row on a shawl.

I need inspiration.  I need to fall in love with a pattern.  I need a pattern that brings the sparkle to my eye and makes me say, “ooooh!”  I need help.  What patterns are you in love with right now?  Leave me a comment – help a sista out!