There’s a lot to be said for multi-tasking.  Women are supposed to be Jedi Masters of this particular skill.  And of course it’s helpful to be able to accomplish more than one thing at a time. You get so much more done!  Except when you don’t.  I’ve begun to feel that in some areas of my life, multi-tasking has actually caused me to complete less of my to-do lists than ever before.  Because I do just a little bit of each thing, I don’t ever really complete any task in its entirety, leaving me feeling like I’m running in place all the time.  Which, personally, I think pretty much sucks. I want to be able to look back on this year and say to myself, Good job self!  You really did a lot of great stuff this year!, instead of wondering where all the time went and why I have nothing to show for it.

So lets start with the knitting.  I told you last time that I wanted to finish up some UFO’s and complete at least 14 new projects from stash/queue this year.  I finished my first project in four days!  And I credit all of that to monogamous knitting.  Well, that and the fact that kids’ socks in worsted wool are just about the fastest thing out there to knit.

rye socks2

  • Pattern: Rye by tincanknits  (Ravelry link here)
  • Yarn:  Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love  in “Espresso” & Elann Peruvian Highland Donegal (blue)
  • Needles:  Sizes 3 & 5 circulars for Magic Loop
  • Mods:  None

I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern!  It’s simple, easy to memorize, & quick, but isn’t boring.  I also love that I can use scraps of worsted wools in my stash to make a few more pairs of these for Knittymunchkin before next fall.  They are a bit big right now, but I’d rather have them be too big than too small. It’s cool enough here even in summer for thick socks sometimes.

And here we go with my second project of the year…..

ruffles caston

This is my cast on photo for Just Enough Ruffles by Laura Chau using Madelinetosh Worsted in “Foxglove”, a yarn I received in 2009 as part of the Magnolia Society when Madelinetosh was still a relative unknown.  In addition to working from stash this year, I’ve decided that this is also the year that I must.knit.all.the.pretties.  I always save the “good stuff” for someday in the future, when I really should be enjoying it now.  What good does it do sitting in a tub for the next 20 years anyway? So I plunged in and dug this out and I’m loving knitting it up.  Maybe that’s the key.  If you knit with yarn you love, you’ll more likely stick to a project until it’s finished instead of relegating it to the UFO pile.  Food for thought.

Next up, I dig through my UFO pile to find my first project for the year…

2014 began with a bang. 

Well, a shriek really.  Knittymunchkin climbed in bed with us around 5:15 AM this morning & proceeded to squirm around for a good half hour before telling me that he was thirsty & demanding I go get his water bottle from his room upstairs.  When I said, “Go get it yourself”, or perhaps something a little less polite or intelligible, he proceeded to shout at the top of his lungs thereby effectively ushering in 2014 just a little too early for all of us.

But I did allow myself the pleasure of casting on my first project of the year while indulging in some bad parenting & letting Knittymunchkin watch a movie as we waited for the sun to rise.  This will be a pair of Rye socks by tincanknits for Knittymunchkin made from stash yarn. For the offspring of a knitter, he is woefully light in the hand knit department.  And, it’s kinda cold here.

Image

This year I’m participating in a “14 in 2014″ challenge with the Ewe La La Swap Group on Ravelry. I’ll be attempting to complete 14 projects from stash and/or my Ravelry queue before the end of 2014.  As a side deal I’ll be attempting to complete 14 UFO’s alongside my 14 projects from stash/queue.  Because, yes Virginia, there IS a languishing UFO stash of at least 14 items (gasp!) lingering in my household at this very moment, thumbing their fibery unfinished noses at me.  Does that really surprise any of you who have been reading my nonsense for any length of time?

Anyway, there’s a lot I want to accomplish this year.  It’s too much to explain here (and probably too boring) but I will hopefully be checking in here a little more frequently with progress on whatever challenge I’m wrestling with at the moment.  I didn’t make any resolutions (I usually don’t). But, after all, it’s only the first day of the new year.  I’ve got to pace myself if I want to make it to the home stretch.

Here’s to a Happy New Year for each & every one of you!  I wish you nothing but the best!!

*************

P.S.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted here & I’ve noticed some good & bad WordPress changes.  The bad being that there are now occasional ads here after my posts.  Sorry about that.  I can’t do anything about it except cough up $30 to get the ad free upgrade. Which, when your salary is zero, just isn’t going to happen.  But just so you know, it wasn’t my idea to slap those ads up there. Thanks for your patience!

I’m going to reveal my age when I tell you that I remember a summer long ago when DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince ruled the airwaves with the hip hop classic “Parents Just Don’t Understand“.  This was long before iTunes & all the cool techy stuff kids have these days.  If we wanted to listen to a song over and over ad nauseum (as teenagers are wont to do) we had to keep our radio tuned, our tape deck loaded, & our fingers lightning fast in order to hit play/record at the perfect moment to capture our latest teen anthem.  R. Darling even remembers fishing in Alaska one summer & all he had to listen to was the Top 40 countdown he’d recorded off the radio (complete with DJ interludes) before heading out on the boat.  Ah, the mix tape days.

But the tables were turned last week when I caught a doozy of a cold and my 3.5 year old just didn’t get it.  I’m sorry but I do not want to sift through the questionable contents under the couch for your missing car parts or play “garbage truck” (which consists of running continuous loops through the divider between our kitchen & living room, shouting DUMP! every time you are dumping “garbage”).  Nor do I want to “play with you” when I am hacking up green junk from my lungs, coughing until my eyes bulge & generally feeling like refried plague.  Sometimes kids just don’t understand…..

When I’m feeling my worst I always turn to some kind of comfort knitting.  Yes, I’ll admit that I rather selfishly felt “good enough” to knit, but not good enough to play Knittymunchkin’s games (bad Mama!!).  I recently pulled out a project from last summer that has been hibernating for much too long: 64 Crayons (ravelry link) by Amy Swenson.  As per my usual MO, I started this in a fury of fanatical excitement, only to be distracted by something else (ooooh, shiny!).  But over the past year I’ve been slowly collecting more colors of Noro Kureyon for Knittymunchkin’s blanket & I figured it was high time I had something simple & soothing on the needles.

large noro strip 3a

The yardage on Noro Kureyon seems to vary greatly & I had a couple strips I’d made last summer that just needed another 20 rows of knitting or so.  I had a couple balls of Noro that I’d purchased online (and therefore hadn’t had the privilege to see in person) that were borderline ugly.  So I cut out the prettier colors & spliced them in to finish up the other strips I’d started last summer.  It was the perfect excuse to use my new nostepinne.

nostepinne

I’d been wanting one of these for a while & picked this one up for $10 at my LYS’ annual Stashbuster Sale in August.  It’s a lovely thing, but I didn’t know how to use it.  Good thing it’s not that summer I was talking about at the beginning of my post!  I just consulted the mighty intrawebs & behold, I made me a center pull ball old school style.  I’m certainly not winning any ball winding contests here, I’m slow as molasses & just as sloppy, but it works great for little odds & ends that are left over that you don’t want getting all tangled up.  I love it!  Maybe someday I’ll even let Knittymunchkin use it….

Are you there blog?  It’s me, Knittymuggins.

Did you think I’d fallen off the face of the earth?  It’s been a busy spring & summer, everything sort of a mingled blur of preschool events, playdates, appointments, and trying to fill up the long summer hours without the whole preschool routine to rely on.

But, as I stepped out of my car yesterday morning, I could smell it: overripe blackberries, crushed, damp, foliage, and just the hint of a chill.  The smell I long for every year that tells me Autumn is coming; the season I yearn for.  Cool mornings and afternoons of warm, honeyed sunshine replace the white hot glare of summer, everywhere there are pumpkins, and my mood turns to contemplation.  The perfect time to start visiting this space again and sharing all my projects and thoughts with all of you lovely readers.

And boy is there a lot of knitting to share!  I have been a veritable knitting machine over the last few months.  It’s satisfying and rewarding and altogether necessary to survive life with a three year old.  Anyone who tells you that the twos are “terrible” hasn’t lived through the threes yet!  At least not the way things are going in our household.  That’s not to say that Knittymunchkin isn’t an angel 99% of the time.  But that last 1% can really stick it to you when you least expect it.

But you wanted some pretty pictures, didn’t you?  I thought so.  Here’s some of my latest FO’s with the bare minimum of details (you can check out specifics on my Ravelry project page).

And believe it or not, there’s more FO’s that I just haven’t had the chance to photograph yet!  But I hope to share those soon.

Hope your summer has been wonderful and that you are as excited about this autumn as I am!  I’m happy to be back :)

February was very:

 

Toothy…..

 

Knittymunchkin's 1st Dentist Appointment!

Knittymunchkin’s 1st Dentist Appointment!


 

Valentiney…..

 

Hand Knit Valentines for Knittymunchkin's Prescchool Friends

Hand Knit Valentines for Knittymunchkin’s Prescchool Friends


 

  • Pattern: Little Hearts by Teresa Fox (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Random ancient Hot Pink wool from stash & Scraps of Valley Yarns Stockbridge in “Deep Red”
  • Needles: Size 9, 32″ circs for Magic Loop
  • Comments: These came out super cute!  I feel a little guilty because I had the fun of making them and Knittymunchkin really wasn’t that involved, but he had absolutely no interest in making valentines this year.  I had him stick stickers to the gift tags we attached and that was about all I could convince him to do.  I figure his class is getting pretty sick of my hand knits by now, but I did get a very sweet photo e-mail from one of his classmates’ moms telling me that her son had been hugging his heart all day.  Awww!  Gave the teacher the lone red heart and the kids all got dark pink.  I didn’t felt them because I didn’t have time, but maybe next time I’ll give it a try.

 

Swappy……

 

Back in September, I joined a swap group on Ravelry called Ewe LaLa Swap, mainly because the first swap they set up was one in which you swapped a handmade project bag and a ball of yarn and I was hoping to sort of force myself to learn to sew a project bag.  It didn’t come out too badly (I used this free pattern) and my partner seemed to really like it.

 

My First Handmade Project Bag

My First Handmade Project Bag


 
This year I did the January-February Box of Color Swap in which our partner picked a color theme and it was our job to make and send them items to fit this theme.  I amassed a big collection of stuff to send, which was really fun.  But the best part was making some handknits for my partner.  Her colors were a combination of red/orange/pink/ and a little dash of purple (here at design-seeds – which, by the way, is so much fun to browse!).  Of course I went a little heavy on the pink and purple!
 
Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express


 

  • Pattern: Hogwarts Express by Susan Ashcroft (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock  in “Blacklight”
  • Needles: Size 6 circ
  • Comments:  I love how this turned out!  One of the things I have always wanted to try, but have never gotten around to, is adding beads to my knitting.  It always seemed so intimidating, but I thought this would be the perfect way to try it out, as you only add beads to the “eyes” of the owls.  My swap partner loved all things owl, so this was the perfect choice.  It was a pretty speedy knit too, and I got to use some beautiful HK Artisan Sock from my stash.  The pattern was a little loosey-goosey for my taste and therefore a bit confusing for me at first, but I got it down eventually and this was a really pleasant knit.  I was actually tempted to make one for myself once I tried it on, but then reminded myself I don’t really “do” shawls (at least not yet) so it would just be silly to make one for myself.  The nice thing about swapping is getting to make things and then give them away!

 

I also made this for my swap partner:

 

Mosaic Pouch

Mosaic Pouch


 

  • Pattern: Mosaic Knitted Pouches by Kate Sharaf (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Noro Iro scraps in color #9 & random purple aran weight wool from stash
  • Needles: Size 7 & Size 9
  • Comments:  I am disgustingly pleased with myself for using random scrap stash yarn to make this.  It was a bit tedious to add the zipper and the lining and, in fact, getting up the resolve to do that portion of it took a lot longer than the actual knitting.  I had to seam one of the sides too and that kind of got me kerbobbled, until I actually did it.  And then I had to pat myself on the back for how easily I was able to match everything up.  Not too bad.  I hand sewed the lining and zipper in, figuring I could do a neater job by hand than with my machine.  I’m still a little zipper-phobic.  But it looked nice and it worked!  Bonus.  I almost (almost!) want to make some more of these….

 

Knit-Along-y:

 

Malabrigo Lace in "Continental"

Malabrigo Lace in “Continental”


 
On February 14th my friends Jess, Troy and I bravely began a laceweight sweater knitalong.  I’m knitting the Cloudette Cardigan with this lovely blue Malabrigo Laceweight that I have had in my stash for eons.  It’s actually going a lot faster than I’d expected, but I’ve had to put it down for a couple weeks because the purling is driving me bananas and I’ve been inadvertently pimped out to other knitting recipients by my Mom (more on that later).  I think I’m going to love this when I finally do finish it though!
 
And, as expected, March has come roaring in like the lion it’s supposed to be.  Meaning, I finally have an explanation for the bone-crushing weariness that has been plaguing me since November.  Yep.  I have a nasty little abscess hanging out next to my crown on tooth #30 and I gets to have me a big ole root canal on March 22.  Fun.  I hope this means I can expect March to go out like a lamb…..

The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy!


 
My darling Knittymunchkin turned three on Saturday, February 2nd.  Yes, THREE.  Whoa!  Where did that time go?  I asked him if he was excited to be three when I wished him happy birthday that morning.  He said no, because when he’s big I won’t be able to hug him anymore.  Aw.  Such sweetness!  We took him to the Children’s Museum in Everett and then had a small birthday celebration with Nana and Papa (R. Darling’s side of the family) afterwards.  They spoiled him rotten.  All day long I thought to myself how far he’d come.  From arriving 5 weeks early, to spending a month in ICU, to being so small we were afraid to pick him up.  And then how he got stronger and started to coo and smile, then walk, and now run and talk a nonstop streak of chattery all day long.  My life is blessed because of this child and I am so very grateful to be able to experience the joy of just knowing him.  I hear the threes will be even more of a challenge than the twos (though the twos were not bad at all!), but I’m excited to see what kind of adventures Knittymunchkin’s new year will bring.
 
Knittymunchkin absolutely adores kittens and keeps asking if we can get one.  I wish we could, but R. Darling is severely allergic, so that’s not a possibility.  Instead, I decided to knit him a hypoallergenic one for his birthday.  I’d been working on it in secret for a week or so when, one day, he climbed on my lap as I was clicking through Ravelry.  When he saw this pattern in my queue he shouted out, “Make that for me Mommy!”  I secretly smiled to myself, knowing it was already in the works.  At the time he said he’d name his kitty “Carly” (no idea where that came from!) but of course he now just calls it “kitty”.  Maybe one day he’ll get a little more creative with the creature names.
 
Kitty Kate

Kitty Kate


 

  • Pattern: Kate by Jess Hutchison (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Brites in “Limelight” & “Blue Mint” & Red Heart Soft Yarn Solids in “Tangerine”
  • Needles: Size 6 circs for Magic Loop
  • Comments:  This pattern has been in my queue since the dawn of time, and on my t0-knit-list way before Ravelry came along.  It was nice to have a good reason to knit and gift it.  Super cute, super easy, and a fun way to use up the acrylic I keep around for toys.  Knittymunchkin loved it and wouldn’t let it out of his hands long enough for me to photograph it.  I had to sneak it away while he napped one day.  I guess that means it’s a winner?

 
Happy Birthday Knittymunchkin!  I love you :)

I’ve been thinking about a few little home projects to do this year and while cruising the intrawebz I’ve noticed that I’ve been encountering lots of cool visual stuff on Pinterest and lots of talk about the site.  Usually I am a couple years behind the cool kids when it comes to tech stuff online like this.  It’s no different with Pinterest, since I’ve been hearing about it for a couple years now.  I don’t need a reason to up my online time (I’ve heard of those crazy Pinterest addictions that require full blown Pinterventions!), because I’m doing fine with less, but I have to admit a high level of curiosity.  I asked you all about Twitter and Facebook a few years back and I have to say…..meh. Nothing personal if you love these, they just aren’t for me.  I deleted my Twitter account after a month or so and rarely go to Facebook anymore.  But those of you who do the Pinterest thing – what do you think?  I’d love to hear the pros and cons if you want to share.  It seems like such a great source of inspiration for crafty peeps.
 
One of my goals for 2013 is to create a gift stash for myself that I can draw from if I want to give a hand knit to someone.  Maybe some of these will be actual gifts for occasions, maybe a lot of them will end up with charity groups, but either way I get to use up my stash and have the fun of knitting something that I know (hope) will get used and loved by someone.  My first finished project for 2013 is, incidentally, also my first hand knit for my gift stash.  Here it is!
 

Ciara's Cowl

Ciara’s Cowl


 

  • Pattern: Ciara’s Cowl by Ailsa Daly (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Trendsetter Yarns Tonalita in “Starry Night”
  • Needles: Size 4 circulars, Magic Loop
  • Comments:  This project may look lovely, but it was a miserable knit.  Originally intended as a Christmas gift for 2012, I had to put it aside in favor of something quicker because it was such a struggle to get through it.  The problem was not the pattern (which I do really like) but the yarn.  I’ve decided that I just don’t enjoy single ply yarns (at least the ones I’ve tried so far).  With all the p2togs in the pattern, I really had to keep close attention on my knitting so as not to split the yarn.  And any time I had to frog something it was a total bitch because the yarn was just so dang hairy.  Ugh.  This looks very unisex to me, as evidenced by R. Darling glancing over at my knitting now and then and commenting on how he liked the colors and the pattern.  Finding a guy who will wear a cowl is another matter entirely though.  This is now tucked away in my gift tub awaiting a good blocking, a “handmade with love” tag, and a special recipient.  It feels good to be prepared!

 
I’ve noticed a lot of little details out of date in the sidebars over there.  You know, that place you probably never look anyway, but which still bothers me by being inaccurate.  So there will be a few changes coming up over there in the next few weeks.  Look, or don’t look, whatever you like.  But I’ll feel better, in all my OCDness, knowing that everything is as it should be.

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