PassOdoble is Fun to Say.

We’ve got a First Communion this weekend at our house.  Which means that I really should be deep cleaning my house.  There’s nothing like having 30 people arrive at your house to kick the spring cleaning into gear.  The problem is keeping the house clean with two little tornados running around – the concept of getting the clothes INTO the dirty clothes hamper seems to be one that we just can’t get.

Knitting however, shows progress.  You can see exactly what you’ve gotten done and (usually) it stays done.  There’s satisfaction in that.

I’ve been sneaking moments in the early morning and late evenings to work on my pasOdoble shawl.  It’s coming along beautifully.  I am supplementing the handspun with some mill spun yarns to get enough yardage – a Loopy Cake from the Loopy Ewe in yellow, Regia in the blue green, and Subui Staccato in the burgundy.  The beauty of this shawl is really in the curving ends, they circle back on themselves and are very eye catching.

 

PasOdoble

However, the knitting interest in this shawl is really the short rows.  It is keeping me going through what could be a very long project.  Although, I’ve got to admit that the gradient yarn keeps it interesting as well. I can’t wait to knit the next color and see what happens next!  Too bad my house cleaning can’t wait.

 

 

Four Things

1.  This pretty yarn is Calder from Abstract Fibers.  It’s on sale right now.  You’ll wait a few weeks for them to custom dye it for you, but oh you’ll be happy when it arrives.  It’s 886 yds in sport weight.  Anyone else feel like making a little girl’s sweater?

2.  Simple Things Shawl.

 A quick, simple shawlette in a springy color.  The yarn is Lisa Souza Hardtwist fingering weight in Aqua Fresca.  I started this in April when we still had 3 foot drifts of snow in our yard.  I’m happy to report that we just have little piles of snow left in the shadiest part of the yard.  The kids are finally running around today playing outside without coats.

3.  pasOdoble shawl

Lily helped me pick out this pattern for a 460 yd skein of handspun gradient yarn.  I’m not alternating colors, just letting the gradient yarn do it’s job.  I’m supplementing the handspun with three partial skeins of solid color.  You can see just the beginning of this shawl in the photo above.

4.  WordPress is really getting difficult for me to use.  For some reason the photo inserting has become extremely touchy.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it insists upon putting two photos together into one frame.  It’s impossible to insert photos from my iPad.  I can upload them, but not insert them.  Is this an issue for anyone else or is it strictly an AreaVoices issue?  Or is it a browser issue?  I might have to play with this a bit.

 

Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me?

Pretty Stripes

Why, oh why didn’t someone tell me how much fun self-striping socks are to make?  I’ve done lace socks, cabled socks, plain jane socks (although those bore me), ribbed socks, you get the idea.  I’ve even done socks with yarn that kind of sort of stripes if you squint at it just right.

All this time I’ve been hiding the three skeins of self striping yarn that I own in the bottom of my sock yarn drawer waiting for it to be something else entirely.  I can’t really tell you why as they’re all beautiful colors, I just didn’t think I liked them as socks.  A shawl, maybe.  Fingerless mitts, maybe.  Kind of like the kid who won’t try any green vegetables because they don’t think they’ll like them.

And then this post from the Yarn Harlot happened. And this one. http://www.yarnharlot.ca/2014/02/wham-bam-thank-you-maam/  A friend texted me to see if I could find that yarn in Superior, since she couldn’t find any
Little Women castlocally.  So I went on a yarn hunting expedition.  I didn’t find any of the Trekking XXL in colorway 550 that she was looking for.  But I found other colorways, beautiful, less rainbow-y colorways.  Not that there’s anything wrong with rainbow colored socks, it’s just not my style to wear that bright of socks.  See, they’re the green vegetable of my world (except I really like green vegetables).  So I bought one skein.  Just one.  Because I was afraid it would get buried in that same drawer.

And Little Women came along.

I spent much of the play backstage helping the lead actresses with their costume changes.  Since it was dimly lit and I needed to listen for cues, I needed something stupidly easy to knit.  Something so easy I could literally do it in the dark.  Enter the Vanilla Sock from the Knitmore Girls.  And lo and behold, a sock was born.  Then two.  In the two weeks that the play ran, I finished two socks.  This may be a personal record for me.  They were even sized larger (to fit a friend) than I normally would make for either the girls or myself.  And here I thought I was a slow sock knitter.

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Who Wudda Thunk?

Apparently, if left alone for a long period of time, the blog does not write itself.  Maybe if I sneak in very quietly, no one will notice that I haven’t posted in almost a month.  I’ve been knitting… really I have.  I’ve even thought about what I would write.  Somehow it’s the writing that has slowed me down.

So here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing.

I decided to finish some sweaters during the Olympics.  I’ve got more sweaters than I care to think about on the needles.  Two of these sweaters were in danger of being outgrown before they even got finished.  Those sweaters became top priority.

1.  The February Child Sweater*

All I had left to finish on this sweater were the sleeves.  Since this was for Addie, my oldest and fastest grower, I wanted to add some extra length to the sleeves.  I was a little nervous about running out of yarn so I didn’t add any length to the bottom of the sweater.  She can always wear it a little short.  The sleeves are 17″ long!  That’s a lot of sleeve for a nine year old.  I’m pretty sure she’s going to take after Daddy.  I aggressively blocked this so that the lace would open up and to hopefully add a bit of length to the body.  The sleeves also grew a bit in length, but that just gives her some room to grow.

Just for kicks I tried this sweater on.  It’s a little short in the sleeves and definitely short in the body, but boy is it scary to realize that my 9 year old daughter is soon going to be bigger than me.

 

2.  The Playful Stripes Sweater*

This sweater had just the yolk to finish – which is really the fun part after the slog of the stockinette.  The only downside is that there are a ton of ends to weave in on the yolk.  I chose to weave the ends in rather than carry the yarn up the side.  I thought it would be easier to pick up stitches for the button band if the ends were woven in.  I lightly steam blocked this for the photo, but need to go back and reblock it so that the hems will lay flat.  Lily has been wearing this sans buttons as we haven’t found any that we like.

This sweater wasn’t officially finished during the Olympics.  I finished it on February 28.  Not too shabby considering I also made some baby hats in that time.

 

*The blog is not playing nice today.  I am having trouble linking to my Ravelry project pages.  All I can tell you is that both sweaters are on www.ravelry.com and you can see more beautiful variations there.

It’s Like This

There’s knitting and then there’s extreme knitting.  Even in the depths of winter when you consider knitting something that will cover you head to toe, extreme knitting is still extreme.

This is what I call extreme knitting.  (Warning the You Tube video I linked to is about 6 1/2 minutes long)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVRfVEONxJQ&feature=watch-vrec

On a totally different path, I’m kind of amazed at the number of patterns on Ravelry for a Snuggy.  Kind of scared by that actually.

You can even crochet a matching snuggy for someone!  Yes, it’s cold here, but I see this and wonder what will our descendants think in 800 years when they dig up remnants of acrylic snuggys?  Yikes.

Tips to Survive a Polar Vortex

It seems as though the Midwest has been gripped in the icy jaws of a Polar Vortex all winter.  Even those of us who grew up in Wisconsin and spent all of our lives here have learned this new phrase.  Apparently a Polar Vortex is when the air is ripped from your lungs the second you walk outside because it is so cold.  People do not say hello to neighbors; they walk with their heads down leaning into the bitter wind.  Public schools will be holding classes well into June because we have cancelled school so many times this winter due to extreme cold.  There are even rumors that Hell has frozen over.  So here are some tips for surviving a Polar Vortex.

1.  Laugh when the weather man says we could break the record for the most consecutive days of low temps below zero.  (the record is 22 and we’re sitting at day 18).

2.  Wear all of your hand knits all at once.  It really doesn’t matter if your hat matches your scarf, mittens or wool socks.  Just wear them.

3.  Appreciate your stash.  After all, wool has insulation value and you are just doing your part to keep your home warm.

4.  Throw the children outside to play when it gets above zero.  They need to move and play and get some fresh air in their lungs.  For that matter, so do we so get outside and enjoy some of winter.  Go skiing, snowshoeing or just enjoy your back yard.  I visited www.bayfield.org/bayfield-activities/ice-caves/

5.  Knit like the wind.  After all, when you don’t want to be outside it’s a good way to fend off cabin fever.

It seems as though I am very hard on my handknit mittens.  I have three pairs of mittens and all have holes.  I fixed my flip top mittens but those are really best for spring and fall when it’s not so bitterly cold.  For the kind of weather we’ve been having you need mittens that can handle the cold and wind.  My lined Fiddlehead mittens fit the bill, but they’re definitely not rugged.  Plus, the inside is unravelling on me.  These have gotten serious wear and just wore out at the tips of the fingers.  I’ll fix them, just not today.

For serious Polar Vortex type winters, you need mittens that can handle ice, snow and wind.  Felted mittens fit that bill.

Felted mittens without the cuffs

 

Pattern:  Felted Mittens

 

Yarn:  Classic Elite Yarns Kumara (85%merino, 15% camel) for the mitten.  Knitting My Way Home handspun (merino/silk blend) for the cuff.

Modifications:  None.  I did a bit of research to make sure the Kumara would felt as camel does not felt.  The percentage of merino was high enough that these took 2 cycles through my friends top loading washing machine.  I love showing people the before and after photos of these  mittens.  Heck, I love everything about these mittens.  They keep my hands warm on even the coldest days and I don’t have any problems driving in them.

Photo bombed!

 

“It’s so fluffy!”

My new shawl has been taken from me.

I’d barely finished it when a certain little someone realized that it was soft and warm.  When the weather hovers at a high of -15 F, I can understand the appeal!  Anything you can do to stay warm in this weather is appreciated.

We’ve been hunkered down, waiting out the cold weather.  My vehicle did not start this morning, even with a jump, so we are definitely stuck here at home.  School has been cancelled the last two days, so yesterday the girls helped me with some work that I had brought home last week “just in case” school was called off.  They are excellent envelope stuffers!  Today I’m all out of work that I can do from home so I think we’re going to do a little baking and perhaps play a board game or two.  It’s a rough life!

As for the shawl, it’s a kit I picked up at my LYS.  It’s made from HPKY Rome yarn, which is incredibly strong and lofty.  The pattern is the Bias Shawl, which appears to be a pattern you can only get with the kit.  Not that it’s super complicated.  In fact, I bet you could figure it out yourself.

It’s a double blanket sort of day!

 

What about us?  Well, we’re going to snuggle up and do the best we can to combat cabin fever.  Perhaps a little later we can hook Fluffy Dog up to a harness and dogsled to the store for fresh vegetables.  Or maybe I’ll stick with calling hubby with a list to pick up on his way home.

My only advice for the rest of you who are stuck in the same deep freeze is this:

Knit fast, it’s cold out there!

Take a Deep Breath

You all know that I like lists.  Sometimes my lists have lists.  I especially like lists when my desk is full to overflowing, like it is now.  I’m pretty sure a small child could hide in the paper piles on my desk.

So here’s a list of what I’m making for Christmas presents this year:

  1. Wee-est One – Minion Hat
  2. Wee One Who’s Not so Wee any more might get a hat if I can finish it in time.  She picked out the yarn so it’s not such a super surprise.
  3. _______ is getting hand knit socks because I know she likes them.  I just have to finish the cuff on one.
  4. ________ might get a hat if I can finish it in time.  This will be out of Minion hat leftovers but will definitely not be a Minion hat.
  5. The Boss is definitely getting received a hat.  It’s Turn a Square by Jared Flood and my all time favorite hat pattern.  It’s knit in black because black is what he wears.  I think he likes it, but I definitely have to teach him how to wear it… he keeps turning up the ribbing and not pulling it down over his ears.
  6. I have a Big Lace Scarf for _________ and _________ in two different colors because we certainly wouldn’t want them looking like they were wearing the same thing!
  7. One of the teachers received a scarf.  Just a cabled scarf out of Malabrigo in a midnight blue.
  8. One large cowl going to _______.  Again this is out of Malabrigo in Jupiter from my stash.
  9. I’m trying to finish another cowl for ______ who has been my Go-To person this summer and fall.  She was the mother my kids needed while I was running around like a crazy person.  Luckily the second part of her gift is coming from the UK and will not be here until after New Year’s, so I arranged to give her gift then.

 

 

One in a Minion

There are a lot of presents I can’t show you.  However, there’s one that I can, as long as you don’t tell any 7 year olds about it.

It’s what all the well dressed Minions will be wearing this year.

I still have to crochet the goggles, but that shouldn’t take too long.  If you haven’t seen Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2, then you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about.  Run out, get the movie and when you’re done giggling hysterically over the antics of the Minions, then come back here.

This particular 7 year old has already decided that she is going to be a Minion for Halloween.  Next year.  And perhaps the year after that.  And maybe most weekends up until then.  Nothing makes this little girl giggle like the small yellow creatures that say, “ba-na-na.”  Case in point, she got some Minion stickers from her teacher as a reward and went around saying, “Momma, I’m one in a Minion!  Get it?”  I think it’s going to be a hit.

I very roughly followed the pattern from Hand Me Down Hobby.  I used Cascade 220 for its durability and it’s reasonable price.   I’ll have a lot of yarn left and I’m debating whether to make Minion slippers or just make some baby hats to donate after Christmas.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Big Blue House to you!

 

I hope you get to spend this holiday with those you love.  And I also hope you get to sneak in a little knitting time too!