September 8, 2013
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.
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.
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….
August 26, 2013
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).
Bedotted for Knittymunchkin
Pint Sized Pines
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 :)
March 11, 2013
Posted by knittymuggins under FO's
, knit along
, Knitting Swaps & Exchanges
, Ravelry Groups
, Valentine's Day
February was very:
Knittymunchkin’s 1st Dentist Appointment!
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.
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
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
– which, by the way, is so much fun to browse!). Of course I went a little heavy on the pink and purple!
- 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:
- 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….
Malabrigo Lace in “Continental”
On February 14th my friends Jess
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…..
February 6, 2013
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.
- 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 :)
January 24, 2013
Posted by knittymuggins under Cowls
| Tags: Pinterest
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!
- 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.
January 19, 2013
Whew. I did a hella ton of Christmas knitting this year. Well, for the Queen of “I-Don’t-Knit-For-Christmas” anyway. I know it’s way past the fact now, but I haven’t shared any of those FO’s with you before now and I figure it would be nice to see some pretty knit pictures here on the blog, not just shots of my cutie son and my not-so-cutie face. Warning, this post is project heavy, but I’ll try to keep the details to a dull roar.
Every year my husband makes an agreement with his Dad that only the kids will receive gifts. And every year his Dad’s girlfriend still buys us stuff. Usually we don’t worry about it too much because we don’t see them until January or February anyway and then it’s not quite so awkward to receive without gifting in return. But this year we went to see them on December 22 and I wanted to be prepared. Currently we are also despairingly broke, so everyone got hand knits whether they wanted to or not. My friend Troy has this great attitude about his handknits. He figures that once they leave his hands he doesn’t need to be sentimentally attached to them anymore. If someone doesn’t appreciate it, gives it away, lets the dog sleep on it, or puts it in the dryer, he doesn’t get hurt. Once he gifts it he’s done with it emotionally. This year I strove to do the same. Because I used stash yarns that weren’t being used anyway, it didn’t really break my heart to think someone might toss this into the closet and forget about it. Realistically, it was doing the same thing here and there was just the smallest chance that my hand knit would end up with someone who would truly wear and enjoy it, whether or not it was the original recipient. That’s more of a chance than it would have hanging out here in one of my rubbermaid tubs. And besides, I got the fun of knitting it.
Without further ado….. Christmas Knitting Blitz 2012 Show And Tell begins!
The Boys (my Father-In-Law & Brother-In-Law) received simple, but not plain, hats in black. I really didn’t know what each of them would wear and figured it would be best to play it safe. I used black yarn that had been in my stash since dinosaurs roamed the earth: Valley Yarns Berkshire. This is a nice all purpose sort of yarn, a bit like Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride, but possibly softer. I don’t know how it will wear because it is pretty fuzzy, but hopefully it will last a while even if it pills. In retrospect, I wouldn’t choose a fuzzy yarn like this in the future for either of these patterns. The design elements were sort of lost in that alpaca halo and would have been more crisp and well-defined with a plied yarn of some type I’m guessing. Oh well. Lesson learned, stash busted. Moving on.
- Pattern: Berruti by Wendy Neal (Ravelry Link)
- Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire in Black
- Needle: Size 7 circ, worked with Magic Loop
- Comments: This is my second hat in this pattern and I still really like the way it looks, not to mention the fact that it’s a super quick knit without being stunningly boring. I knit this on a size 7 to stay true to the pattern, but I think in the future when I use this yarn I wouldn’t use anything smaller than a size 8 needle. It felt stiff and was a little hard to knit on needles that size. Still like the finished product though & expect it will be warm.
Man Thing Hat
- Pattern: Man Thing by Justyna Lorkowska (Ravelry Link)
- Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire in Black
- Needle: Size 7 circ for ribbing, Size 8 circ for body, worked with Magic Loop
- Comments: Really liked this pattern and thought it made a very handsome hat. Nice & stretchy, & perfect for the guys. The halo of the Berkshire didn’t swamp the design as much on this hat as it did on the Berruti, so pretty happy with how it turned out.
Another Stacked Eyelet Cowl
- Pattern: Stacked Eyelet Cowl by Ami Madison (Ravelry Link)
- Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in “Cream”
- Needle: Size 6 circ
- Comments: Second one of these for Christmas 2012. I love this pattern and simply adore this yarn. So sad they’ve discontinued it…. sniff sniff. I was worried about this one because the upper edge was curling inside out before blocking, but luckily that curl blocked right out and it looked great afterwards. Not as drapey as I would have liked, but still pretty in its own way.
Moko Moko Cowl
- Pattern: Moko-Moko Cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (Ravelry Link)
- Yarn: Valley Yarns Stockbridge in “Deep Red”
- Needle: Size 7 needles
- Comments: I loved this pattern the moment I saw it. And when I realized I had enough stash to knit it, I bought it. Love the pattern & love the result – definitely making one for me eventually. This yarn is pretty nice & works well for this design I think. My only issue was that, despite having 327 yds of worsted yarn (the pattern calls for 330 yds) I was only able to knit 6 full repeats of the pattern. That means I was 2 repeats short! It still works as a cowl, but won’t drape over the shoulders like it shows in the pattern photos. Not sure if the yarn was mismarked, or what happened, but that was kind of a bummer. I want one of these that’s a bit skinnier (and maybe longer) perhaps with some of the Bugga! I’ve been hoarding over the last couple years.
Deck The Balls
- Pattern: Deck The Balls by Kelly Jensen (Ravelry Link)
- Yarn: Assorted Sock Yarn Partials
- Needle: Size 2 needles, using Magic Loop
- Comments: So thrilled with how these turned out! They were fairly quick, though owing to the slightly different weights of the fingering yarns I was using, I had to modify things a little to get the decreases at the top to fall in the right place. But it really didn’t take long to rip back and finish again when I needed to do that. I see a whole pile of these in my Christmas 2013 knitting future. Fun!
Wow, that’s a lot of FOs to share! And guess what’s totally nuts….. I still have more to photograph and show you! Not from Christmas, just from this year’s stash knitting so far. It’s been kinda fun seeing what I can make with what I already have on hand.
What are you knitting this year so far?
January 3, 2013
Wow, a whole new year. And we are already three days into it?! If that’s any indication of how fast this year is going to go, I’d better buckle up and strap on my big girl boots for this crazy ride.
A New Year’s Kiss
I haven’t been one for New Year’s resolutions for quite some time now. I always save that kind of life-changing stuff for my birthday in September. But I do usually get sort of a contact high from all the brand spankin’ new resolutions other people are making and huff off those feel-good fumes for a while when the New Year starts. For some reason this year feels different. I don’t feel as optimistic as usual. Maybe it’s that “13″ hanging out at the end of the date getting me down with its ominous presence, or maybe I’m just worn out. We’ll go with worn out. Who wants to feel down on a year that’s barely started, just because there’s a 13 at the end?
I’ve been thinking a lot though, about what I’d like to do with this new year. And I’ve got some plans. Here’s a few (and you’ll just have to wait for the rest!):
- Knit from stash. I know I know. I say this EVERY year. But for some reason I feel abnormally committed this year. I knit a ton of Christmas gifts this year from stash and it felt good. I’ve got more than enough and there’s no money in the yarn budget to speak of for the upcoming year. So it’s time. I have a ticker down in my sidebar that will keep track for me how long it’s been since I purchased yarn. Specifically, I haven’t purchased anything since November 23, 2012. That doesn’t seem like long, but for me that’s EPIC. I am instantly deleting yarn ads I get via e-mail and avoiding all the yarn websites I usually stalk. I can’t purchase or lust for what I don’t even know exists!
- Challenge my knitting skills. This year I’d like this complacent knitter to learn a few new tricks. I want to tackle Brioche Stitch, Entrelac, and knit myself a sock using the Judy’s Magic Heel technique I learned at Sock Summit 2011. I’m sure there’s more, but those are just a couple to start with.
- Be more present. Some days I find myself so caught up in the everyday chores, childcare, and household management stuff that I forget to take a breath and stop to enjoy the special moments each day that would reveal themselves to me if I only took the time. I need to learn to recognize those moments for what they are and let the other stuff go so I can experience them fully. Easier said than done, but a worthy goal just the same. If you’ve got suggestions, I’ll take ‘em!
- Be a better person. There is always room for improvement :)
Hope your New Year is off to a fantastic & optimistic start! Wishing you all the best for 2013!