Author Archive

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.

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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!

 

Where Did Who Go?

September snuck up on me. You know how some months seem to completely fly by as though you missed an entire week somehow? Well that’s how August felt. Like the very obscure line from Top Gun, “Where did he go?” “Where did who go?”  The month of August flew by like a fighter jet and September looks to be going just as fast.

I’ve been slowly working on my August Camp Loopy project, the Siren’s Hymn wrap. The challenge was to find a color that makes you happy and to knit something that takes 800 yds. I flew through Project 1 and 2 without a real problem, but Project 3 seems to be a struggle. Part of the problem is that I did more driving than passenger-ing in August. That seriously cuts down on my knitting time!

I realized I was down to the wire on this project with a week and a half to go in the month. I counted the number of sections I had done, then divided the remaining days by the number of sections I had left to do. I would have had to knit 16 sections per day. On a really good day, where I didn’t have to work or do much meal prep, I could do 9 sections. Um…. Houston, we have a problem.

As of August 31 when I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30pm, I had 72 rows to finish. The only thing keeping me motivated to finish this wrap is knowing how nice it will be to have on our trip in October. Whether wearing it as a scarf or wrapping it around my shoulders on the plane, I think it will be great for over air conditioned locations.

That means only 3 sections per day to get it done by October!

 

Bitten by my Knittin’

There are days when my knitting just doesn’t seem to cooperate, and then there are entire weeks where the knitting just doesn’t go as planned.

 

One of my favorite podcasts, the Knitmore Girls, does an entire segment every week about this.  They call it, When Knitting Attacks.  Well my knitting certainly attacked this week.

 

It started with weaving in the ends of Lily’s sock.  I’ve been carrying the sock around for awhile just waiting for a few minutes to weave in ends.  I finally was sitting on our new patio enjoying the evening (everyone else was gone for the night) and I took out the sock.  Although it was really nice to sit quietly for a bit, it was also strange and a little lonely.  I was weaving in the ends when I started getting texts.  In a stunning display of brilliance, I clipped one of the yarn ends.  Not the end that I had just weaved in and clipped, but an end that had not been woven in yet.  I suspect I’ll be reknitting that toe sometime soon.

Then, I started a new pair of socks for my hubby.  We picked out suitably manly yarn from my stash with contrasting colors for the heels and toes.  The main yarn is Socks that Rock in lightweight.  I measured his foot, packed the yarn and headed off to a convention six hours away.  The toe looked large.  Actually, when I laid it on my leg it seemed extremely large.  I kept going, measuring as I went.  After all, I didn’t have a size 13 foot to measure it against.  When I got home and compared it to the other pair of socks I have knit for him, I discovered it was, in fact, extremely large.  Then, I measured gauge.  Oh…. was I off.  I’ve ripped it out and gone down two needle sizes.

Just slightly larger than the pair of socks.

I’ve since ripped the second toe out and gone down one pattern size as well.  I’ve at least had the sense to be trying this one on my hubby as I go so that I don’t get too far before ripping it out again.

Finally, my Camp Loopy shawl.  Yep, that bit me too.

One of these rows….

One of these rows is not like the others.  One of these rows just doesn’t belong.  That lovely tan row near my needles was actually ripped out twice all ready because of counting mistakes.  I guess the third time really is the charm!

I do like the pattern, Sirens Hymn, but the going is definitely slow.  I love the colors individually and think it will look really nice with a shirt the color of the darker turquoise.  The tan is a little more subtle than what you see above.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have this done by August 31 in order to beat the Camp Loopy deadline.

But then again, why should I expect it to go any more smoothly from here?