Author Archive

Well Begun is Half Done

Mary Poppins: Our first game is called Well Begun is Half-Done.

Michael: I don’t like the sound of that.

Mary Poppins: Otherwise titled Let’s Tidy up the Nursery.

Michael: [to Jane] I told you she was tricky.

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have liked that game as a child either.  However I do buy into the well begun theory when it comes to work and conquoring challenges.  I did tell you we were going to win Stash Dash, right?  Don’t tell me there is no winning something that is a personal challenge against myself.  I’m determined to win.  I will win.  I will conquor the stash.  (Ask me some time about the guy who last said something could not be done.  Mwah ha ha!)

So back to the well begun theory.  The idea of Stash Dash as I understand it is to complete all those half done projects and knit some of the pretty yarn that you’ve been saving for…. well whatever it is that you’re saving it for.  You can start new projects out of stash yarn if you’d like.  But that’s where the well begun comes in.  Because if you want to win (I do) and you want to knit a crazy amount of yarn (I do) then it makes sense that you would start with a half done project, right?  I think Mary Poppins would think this makes excellent sense.

So here’s the plan as I see it.  You can follow along with pictures waaaay down on the right hand side as all most of these are in my Ravelry Project Pages.

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1560 yds

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds

The grand total yardage = 9190 yds.

Now I don’t think I can stretch to make a 10K, which would be 10,936 yds, so I’m going for a 5K.  That’s 5,468 yds of knitting.  Which means I would need to do the top 4 projects plus 1 more.  Once a project is finished, then all of the yardage in it counts.  If you spin the yarn, it counts.  If you spin the yarn, then knit a project with it, it counts twice.  Unfortunately this won’t work for me as I haven’t been spinning.  But for some of you it might work.

Stash Dash begins on May 22.  On your mark…… get set…….

What I’ve Been Knitting:

I’ve made some serious headway on the Hitch pullover.  I have finished the front and back and have started one sleeve.  The cables on the sleeve are slow going because I’m working off a pattern on my iPad.  The iPad gets used for more than just knitting (go figure) so it limits my time.

In other knitting news, I finished my Zick Zack!

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That little tiny ball of yarn is all that I had left when I finished.  It was a bit of a game of yarn chicken to see if I could cast off with the remaining yarn.

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I’m pretty thrilled with the way it turned out.  Thrilled enough that I started a second one out of JoJoland Melody and Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn.  This one has slower color repeats and is more harmonious in color – It will look like a completely different scarf!

Stash Enhancement

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Mini Skeins for a Shawlette

Shhhh…. don’t tell my husband.

I might have done a little stash enhancement this weekend.  You see, I was surrounded by beautiful yarn at Yarnover.  It practically sat up and begged me to take it all home.  I found some beautiful skeins from Knitting My Way Home.  I also watched a gorgeous skein and some mini skeins go home with the woman who got there right before me.  Ah well…. you snooze, you lose in the world of buying handspun yarn.  I made up for it in other ways though.  I also picked up two kits with mini skeins.  One for a shawlette and one for a chevron cowl.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for the mini skeins!

I went to Yarnover to take a Franklin Habit class.  The class was about learning to use the Schact Zoom Loom and sewing up the woven squares into a stole and knitting a lace edging.  John Mullarkey taught the morning portion which was all about the loom.  He was a very entertaining teacher and I would definitely take a class from him again.  He was patient with us as we learned to warp our tiny little looms.  Taking the itty bity little woven squares off the loom was very satisfying!

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The afternoon was the class with Franklin Habit.  Now this was the 2nd class I haven taken with Franklin, so I wasn’t surprised that he was much more quiet spoken than his blog might lead you to believe.  Delores even left us a little note!  Franklin’s teaching style is very structured – he leads you all the way through something before having you try it yourself.  What I appreciated most was his willingness to give me the next steps to move forward as he helped those who maybe weren’t moving as quickly.  I don’t think anyone felt rushed or held back by the group.

And he was very gracious about posing for a picture with me.  I promise I didn’t go all fan girly on him.

Loose Ends:

The Knit Girllls released more information about Stash Dash here.  It runs from May 22-Aug 14.  You can choose from knitting a 3K, a 5K or a 10K’s worth of yarn from stash.  UFO’s count, so go ahead and use this as a reason to finish a lot of those half done projects you’ve got hanging around.  (please don’t tell me I’m the only one)  I’ve also heard that as long as it’s in your stash, the yarn counts.  It doesn’t matter how long it’s been marinating in there.

I have enough started projects that I could almost do a 10K (10,936 yds of yarn).  However, I’m not really sure that’s realistic for me.  At least not without telling The Boss I am going on a 3 month vacation and hiring Merry Maids to vacuum under my feet as I knit and eat bon bons on the couch.  So I’m going to shoot for a 5K.  I’ll share my plan for how I’m going to cross the finish line next week.

Our training starts today!  Leave me a comment if you’re joining me on this trip to Crazy Town.

The Comic Relief

 

 

Lily just said, “You’re not funny, you’re Craaa-zy.”

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She might have a point.  I’m running down to the Twin Cities (2 1/2 hour drive) on Friday to go to an all day knitting class on Saturday.  Then, I’ll turn right around and come home Saturday night so that I can be up bright and early Sunday to work.  And I’m excited about it.

My job tonight will be picking out yarn to bring with me for the class.  I know, it’s a rough life.

 

What I’m Knitting:

The Zick Zack scarf continues to grow at a snails pace.  The balls of yarn are getting smaller and smaller so I know I’m making progress.  I keep picking them up and giving them a squish to see just how much longer this scarf will grow.

The gray sweater also is growing slowly.  We’ve had a cold snap here which has made me think that perhaps a wooly gray sweater is exactly what I want to be wearing in Duluth/Superior in April.

I also cast on an itty bitty baby sweater.  It’s Hyggy Baby from Loop.  I’m knitting it out of Malabrigo Rios in the lettuce colorway.  The Rios is superwash and just as soft and squishy as other Malabrigo yarns.  It’s making an amazingly soft sweater.  No one which flavor this baby will be, so the lettuce green is a nice gender neutral color.  I’m kind of hoping it will be a girl so that I can put some pretty pink buttons on the sweater.  But then again, wood buttons or blue would be striking too.  I sort of have a “thing” for this color green.

The parents do not live near us, so I’m looking forward to sending this one off.

 

What I’m Not Knitting:

After all my talk about beads and how pretty they are, I’ve set the Stockinette Haruni aside.  I look at it longingly every once in awhile, but there it sits.  I’m really trying to get the Zick Zack scarf finished.

 

Knots & Tangles:

I had a bit of a problem with the Hygge Baby right off the bat.  It was probably due to the fact that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the episode of Outlander that I was watching.  (Only Diana Gabaldon could make 1743 Scotland so darn appealing!)  Somehow I missed reading the K1 before every 3-in-3 stitch.  Luckily I caught the error right away and didn’t need to rip much out.  That really is the beauty of baby knits, if you make a mistake you’re not ripping out 500 stitches in a row.

 

Loose Ends:

I have heard that Stash Dash starts on May 25, however that is not confirmed.  Stash Dash is basically knitting a 5K’s worth of yarn (from stash) over the course of the summer.  I know that all those projects you have started but haven’t finished do count – in fact, their entire yardage counts.  So dig out those half finished blankets!  I don’t have much for rules yet, but will be looking into it.  Until then, who wants to play Stash Dash this summer with me?

Never Say Never

Life’s Stash

My thoughts on knitting with beads.

1.   Pretty.  Very pretty.

2.  I can’t travel with it.

3.  I have 2 children and a very large dog.  Having beads in the living room is too tempting for all of the parties involved.

4.  See #2.  If I can’t throw the knitting in my purse and walk out the door with it, it really isn’t working for my lifestyle.

5.  It’s slower than just knitting a pattern.

6.  But so pretty!

7.  Have I mentioned #3?  The dog is very very large.  She believes she is a family member and that her nose belongs everywhere that there might be danger hiding.  Yes, beads might be dangerous.  Just ask my German Shepherd.

8.  Can someone else just add the beads on afterward for me?  I just want to knit.

9.  Beads are seriously tempting.  Both for 8 year olds and adults.

So why on earth am I knitting my Haruni Shawl with beads?

What I’m Knitting

2015-04-06 19.18.06I seem to be knitting the Stockinette Haruni with beads.  It sort of just happened one night as I sat down to knit.  I just happened to have the beads that coordinated nicely with the yarn.  I also just happened to have the itty bitty crochet hook to put the beads on with.  It just all sort of came together that way.

It’s slow going, but I’m really enjoying the satisfaction of a beaded row.  I have to say that my whiney attitude towards beads was not entirely justified.  While knitting with beads while my children were tolders was flat out crazy, now that the girls are older its not so bad.  They actually have a sort of laissez faire attitude towards my knitting these days.  I’m not even entirely sure that they would notice it unless it were to jump out and bite them.

I’m also working on the Zick Zack scarf.  I put in a removable stitch marker so that I can see the progress I’m making.  It makes me feel like I’m actually getting somewhere with the Zick Zack.  The scarf is just over half my wing span.  It continues to get compliments when I’m out and about with it.

I kind of sort of just bought yarn for a second one.  I found myself in a yarn store over Easter break and I fell down the rabbit hole.  I had great intentions of “just looking” for new ideas and before I knew it I was sitting on the floor with a bunch of gradient sock yarns looking for some serious contrast.  I’m forcing myself to finish the first Zick Zack before starting a second.  It’s taking serious will power on my part.

2015-04-07 22.13.55And look!  I made progress on the sweater also!  This is a great break from beading and counting.  Because let’s face it, sometimes your brain is too tired for anything but stockinette (with a tiny amount of twisted rib thrown in)  Now that the weather is warmer and I’m working on some colorful projects, I don’t mind the dark gray color that much.  And compared to a scarf with fingering weight yarn, this feels like it is making some serious progress.

What are you working on this week?

Breath In, Breath Out

Breath in 1-2-3-4  Breath Out 1-2-3-4-5

Breath in 1-2-3-4
Breath Out 1-2-3-4-5

As I type this, the littlest one is doing some sort of April Fool’s day trick with my refrigerator.  My husband set it up for her, so I’m not too worried.  But it does make my control freak nature a little twitchy.

Breath in, breath out.

Life’s Stash

I feel like this time of year always goes into hyperdrive.  The next time I blink, it will be turning the calendar over into May.

Breath in, breath out.

What I’m Knitting

I’m still working on the Zick Zack scarf.  I am thrilled and amazed and fascinated by the way the stripes work out.  It’s so much fun to work on.  I hit the point where it felt like I wasn’t actually making progress on the scarf but instead was knitting the same row over and over again.  Sort of like being stuck in neutral but still revving the engine.  I put a locking stitch marker in one of the rows so that I could actually see the progress I made.  You know what?  I’m actually making progress!  The scarf really is growing.  Who knew!?

I also picked up the Stockinette Haruni again.  I pushed through another color repeat and got to the lace border.  Although the colors right now are not looking quite as gradient like as I was hoping, I think it will work out all right in the end.

Breath in, breath out.

I hope it will work out all right in the end.

I need sunlight to work on the Haruni, so I’ve been doing a row (or a partial row) in the morning when I get up with my first cup of coffee.  Even though the sun isn’t up quite yet, it’s still better than working on it with tired eyes.  In the evening I work on the Zick Zack scarf.  I also have been taking the Zick Zack scarf everywhere I go.  It’s starting to get quite a lot of attention.  I even sneak in a few rows during my weekly meeting with The Boss.  It’s okay, his mom is a knitter so he understands the compulsion.

What I’m Not Knitting

Oh the sweater and the socks and the blankies….. they’re all calling to me but I’m trying to finish the Zick Zack before I go back to these.  Or maybe finish 2 Zick Zacks as my brain keeps running through all the yarn I have in my stash.

Breath in, breath out.

Knots & Tangles

I think I might have an entire blog post about the blonde moments I had while knitting the Haruni.  Apparently counting to 289 has not been my strong suit lately.  Counting to 4 and 5 for the Zick Zack is enough.

Breath in, breath out.

Loose Ends

I’d like to send a shout out to all the lovely knitters in Arizona who are now reading the blog.  Thank you.

And thank you to everyone who takes the time to read and who signs up to get an email whenever a post goes live.  Thank you also for commenting, you humble me.

Zick Zack

Zick Zack

 

 

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.”

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(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.

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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?

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