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 Happy Valentine’s Day bloggy peeps!

Of course it wouldn’t be a true holiday if I didn’t create some kind of fiendishly stressful deadline for myself by deciding I needed to make a gift for everyone in Knittymunchkin’s preschool class.  And never mind how, in the spirit of love and kindness, Knittymunchkin asked me to include everyone’s siblings as well.  How could I possibly shy away from showing him how much fun giving can be just ’cause I’d rather be doing something much more glamorous than crocheting 25 heart pockets out of dishcloth cotton?  Just kidding.  You know I totally love doing it. Why else would I suddenly be wondering what the hell I’m going to do with myself when he goes to kindergarten and I can’t possibly expect to actually make gifts for each kid for each and every holiday.  Heaven forbid I find an actual household chore to accomplish with my free time!

We filled these little heart pockets with a mini bag of m&m’s and a paper valentine that Knittymunchkin had picked out a couple weeks earlier.  Leave it to my son to eschew the Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, and even Phineas & Ferb valentines in favor of cute puppies and kitties.  But that’s Knittymunchkin for ya.  I actually think it’s pretty sweet.  And many of the parents thanked us after the school party for including the siblings in our gifting.  I don’t know about Knittymunchkin, but I felt pretty warm and fuzzy spreading the love around this Valentine’s Day.

Hope you and everyone you love is having a wonderful day today too!!

IMG_1741My garden doesn’t look like this (yet). But this explosion of spring-y goodness seems to be popping up like little floral treasure chests wherever I look around town. I’m so ready for it – the colors, the cheery flower faces peeping at me, a warm welcome back to my garden and the rich smell of wet soil being turned over.  Good thing  Loopy Academy (presented by The Loopy Ewe) is back in session with a bunch of new beginnings to look forward to! I’m ready to start my second semester as a freshman  and I think I have the perfect pattern picked out for the striping project challenge.  I’m planning on knitting a Duotone Cowl and though I’d originally intended to use Malabrigo Silky Merino for this project, I’m treating myself to a new (to me) luxurious yarn: Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag. I chose Creme Fraiche and Golden Butter for my contrasting colorways and the thought of them together brings a smile to my face, just like the sweet little Tete A Tete daffodils in the picture above.  I can’t wait for both to arrive at my house!

Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! I was here first.

What is it about the word “balls” that sends me into giggles like a silly little third grader? We use that word as knitters. Alot. You would think I’d be over it, but every once in a while it just gets me in the giggle trigger.

Have you heard of these yet? I’ve been seeing them around in the blogosphere and noticing knitalongs for projects utilizing them, as well as people selling them on etsy. As someone who finds themselves physically incapable of disposing of even the smallest shred of yarn, magic balls are incredibly appealing. Here’s a way to use up all those little wooly bits that are really too small to make much out of, yet have a way of sitting around indefinitely staring you in the face and reminding you you have WAY too much yarn.

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For an embarrassingly long time now (we’re talking years here, people!) I’ve had an afghan in my care that I received from a college friend. Her grandmother (I think) had knit it and it had been passed down to her now teenage daughter. They’d noticed it was starting to show some wear and asked me if I could repair/fix it for them. They weren’t sure if it was knitted (turns out it was) or crocheted and since I was the only person they knew who did either, they asked for my help. I was honored of course, but being the Queen of Procrastination that I am, I kept putting it aside. Early this year I decided it was high time I fixed it and sent it back. There are just too many of these unfinished things dragging me down and stressing me out with guilt. Anticipating a long extended repair effort, I was surprised and sheepish to discover that it took me only about an hour to fix the few small spots that needed work. Oy. But one of the things I’d hoped to do when I first received the blanket was to try to decipher the pattern so that if, in the future, one of the panels (it’s knitted in panels which are then crocheted togetther) disintegrated, I’d be able to replace it for them. Now that the repair job had gone so quickly, I felt obligated to put just a little extra time in to try to accomplish this. These are dear college friends, in case you haven’t figured it out :) The blanket owner is the daughter of my college boyfriend and my college roommate. How’s that for sounding awkward? Totally isn’t though. I even went to Maryland for their wedding many years ago!

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Enter magic balls. I wanted to try my hand at making one, and I needed yarn to experiment with for my reverse engineered blanket project, so it just seemed like it was meant to be. I used these instructions to make my first magic ball and spent a couple days working out the pattern for the blanket panel. After lots of trial and error, I came to realize that any knitwear designing dreams I might have harbored have absolutely no chance of realization since it’s obvious I’m not cut out for it. Two days to figure out a simple lace pattern? Yeah, no talent here. But yet, part of me is proud to say that I actually did it! And I’m happy with the results, so I see a blanket made of magic balls and this reverse engineered pattern in my near(ish) future.

The first strip is completed and it looks like this:

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All the blue shades remind me of mimeographs from when I was a kid (yes, I’m dating myself with that comment!) so that’s what I’m calling my nascent blanket. Can’t wait to make my next magic ball and next blanket strip! The yarn is already picked out and just waiting for me to get my yarn needle and winder out.

Something has come between us, my knitting and me. He’s adorable and hilarious, this interloper, but he is also demanding and ferocious and hard to deny. Thanks to a chance Christmas encounter with a cousin’s new Nintendo DS, Knittymunchin is now full blown obsessed with the electronic wonders of my iPad. Trouble is – my iPad has become indispensable to my knitting.  All my counters are there, without which I have no idea where I am on any given project (and you know how many of those there are!); not to mention the patterns I use in pdf form (who needs print these days?!) and swift access to Ravelry.  It’s a foregone conclusion that knitting has all but stalled here.

We’ve worked through all sorts of “solutions” to the problem. The clearest, most effective alternative has been to just leave the iPad off & have neither of us use it.  R. Darling thinks this is ridiculous and says that I am the adult and should therefore have unlimited access, while preventing use by the kiddo.  Ha.  Try telling that to a 5 year old! Especially one that will wheedle and cajole and persist until you consider giving in just to shut him up for two seconds. The current plan includes no iPad at all on school days and 30 tokens (1 token = 1 minute) allotted at the start of each day with potential to lose tokens for misbehavior or gain more tokens for good behavior.  We are on day 2 of this plan and so far it seems to be working, though we are still experiencing minor tantrums when the timer goes off and pleas of “I just want to do one more thing!”

Still, I feel denied. It seems like a necessary sacrifice at this point to keep a lid on the development of a tiny zombie in my living room staring at a video screen.  But I want my iPad. And I want my knitting.  Who sounds like a 5 year old now? So I’m kicking it old school. Magazine in hand, manual counter, and notepad, I do what I can.  I just started #24 Lacy Wrap from a 2011 issue of Knit Simple for R. Darling’s Grandma. It seems fitting that the stash yarn I’m using is from 2008, way before my iPad entered the scene.

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I suppose I shouldn’t be too critical.  The momentary video game obsession has allowed me to write this post after all…..

Nice to see you!  It’s been a long time.  Some of you may remember me. If I’m lucky, I haven’t met some of you yet & we’ll have lots of fun getting to know each other.  And if I’m super lucky, some of my old friends will come back to say hello!

I used to be a regular around here, and then Knittymunchkin arrived (nearly 5 years ago now!).  He is my dearest, darling, (not so baby) boy & along with R. Darling (my sweet husband) we make up Chez Funkytown. Which is kind of funny since none of us speak French.  But doesn’t “chez” sound ever so much more fancy than “casa”? I kind of like fancy.

A little bit about me……

I’m a 41 year old stay at home mama. I used to be a mad scientist (microbiologist) in a nice little lab where we tested food, water, & milk for bacterial pathogens. Sounds a lot more complicated than it really is.  In fact, there were WAY more shenanigans going on than you would expect from a roomful of science nerds.  But shhhh…. Don’t tell anyone or our reputation as a bunch of poindexter smarty pants scientists might be ruined forever.  It’ll be our little secret.

I’ve been knitting since January 2006 and blogging since October 2006.  And mostly I meant to only blog about my knitting, but before long my blog became a record of so much more as I got to know wonderful people across the web who were curious about other aspects of my life.  I was honored people thought I had something worth talking about besides my knitting projects! The last 5 years have been spotty as I stopped and started blogging so many times I lost count.  Knittymunchkin really requires so much of my attention. I never expected to be working harder at home than I ever did at a “regular” job, but surprise surprise, that’s exactly how it worked out. But he’s getting older.  In a few months he’ll be in Kindergarten (!) full days & life will be so very different.  I have a feeling I’ll NEED all of you much more when I’m rattling around in the house during the day by myself.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am going to love having some extra time to put into my house & my own projects, but I’m sure Knittymunchkin’s absence will affect me more than I can anticipate & it would be nice to have all of you to talk to if I get lonely.

So, hello again & hope to see more of you soon! Happy New Year to you!

Total Block Count: 24

 

Score: -4

 

Wow, things get kinda nuts when you have over two weeks of photos & posting to catch up on.  I bet you thought I fell off the wagon.  I don’t blame you.  Blogging & photographing pretty much fall to the bottom of my to-do list when there’s all kinds of pre-summer-end-of-school running around to deal with. It took me a couple days of looking back over my notes & examining which photos I’d taken already, not to mention adding new photos to the list, before I could post today.  Hopefully I won’t let it get this out of hand in the future, but I can’t guarantee I won’t.

I’ve added a new feature that I’m calling my overall “score”.  Ideally, my score should be zero or in the “+” range, indicating that I’m right on track (zero) or up a few squares (+).  Right now unfortunately, I’m in the negative range meaning I’m about 4 squares off course.  Not really a big deal, but it helps me keep track of how I’m doing overall during my year long project of knitting squares.

I’ve come to accept a certain level of dissatisfaction with the photos I take & present here.  Usually I am particularly picky about the photos I post and really strive for good quality photos with nice camera angles; even a little artsy at times.  However if I am to keep pace with the amount of photos I will need to share to document this project, I’ll just have to sacrifice a bit of quality for the expediency of using my iphone for photography. Sometimes you gotta know when to hold ‘em & when to fold ‘em….

In other exciting news, Camp Loopy starts on June 1st!  I’m pretty excited to be doing this for the first time & my knitting pal Knitting Up North is not only joining me, but is going to be “glamping” (glamour camping) in Glamper #1 along with me :)  My gorgeous yarn arrived from The Loopy Ewe a couple weeks ago. Check it out:

 

Dream In Color Smooshy in "Elfish Sweets"

Dream In Color Smooshy in “Elfish Sweets”

 

I fell in love with this colorway immediately. It’s even more lush & complex in person than it looks online and I can’t wait to knit with it.  I can’t find this color anywhere other than The Loopy Ewe & last time I checked they only had one skein left.  I’m SERIOUSLY tempted to buy the last one even though I don’t really need it for anything other than to squish in my greedy little fingers. Hopefully someone else has snatched it up so I don’t have to dither over whether I really want to add it to my ginormous stash mountain.  Stay tuned to see how it knits up….

Total Block Count: 9

 

Things have been pretty hectic here so it’s taken me a few days to get here to post.  I’ve been doing my knitting though & I’m proud to say I’m still on course for making one block a day.  Yay me!  I’m trying something new for days when I post more than one photo.  The images are smaller, but if you hover over them you can see the captions and if you click on them you’ll get to see a full size image.  I’ll still give a breakdown as to yarn details & dates etc. following further down below.  Probably not interesting for you, but it will be interesting for me and Knittymunchkin to someday come back and look at some of these details again :)  If you’re starting to wonder why you wasted the last minute or two you spent reading my nonsense, skip to the section below the solid line which I’m reserving for other knitting talk that might keep you a little more engaged.

 

Far Left Photo:

  • Date: May 9, 2014
  • Block #68
  • Yarn: Claudia Handpainted in “Carousel”

Comments:  This is such a happy bunch of colors!  Strangely, it reminds me a little of some yarn I dyed a few years back with Easter egg dyes.  Dyeing yarn is still somewhere in my future I hope.

 

Center Photo:

  • Date: May 10 – 11, 2014
  • Block #69
  • Yarn: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in “Coal Harbour”

Comments: This one I knitted over two days due to time constraints.  I’m guessing there will be more of these to come as life assumes its regular ebb and flow.  That’s o.k.  Though I’d ideally like to do one or more block a day, this is really about staying on pace over a year’s worth of working on the blanket.  I’m trying not to stress myself out over it!  “Trying” being the operative word…..

 

Far Right Photo:

  • Date: May 11, 2014
  • Block #71
  • Yarn: Yarn Love Juliet in “Sugared Grapefruit”

Comments: This is the first time I’ve knit with this yarn and it is so super soft and yummy!  There is something so luscious about this grapefruit shade too that just makes my mouth water.  The perfect thing to be knitting on Mother’s Day!  Some of you may have noticed that there is no Block #70 listed here.  No, that is not a mistake.  Sometimes I can’t find the perfect color for a specific block, so I move on until I can get a better overall picture of how the colors are blending in the blanket.  Never fear, Block #70 will still get its 15 minutes of fame!

 

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So, did any of you seriously doubt that I would cave and entangle myself in yet another knitting adventure that I probably won’t be able to keep up with?  Yes, you guessed it.  I signed up for Campy Loopy 2014 after all.  The first project is supposed to be inspired by a movie, book, or TV series that you especially love.  I chose Harry Potter (because I’m a magic nerd).  I’ll theoretically be knitting Shelves Upon Shelves in Dream In Color Smooshy in “Elfish Sweets”.  I chose this pattern because it’s been in my faves for a while and the designer has a lot of Harry Potter themed sock patterns.  This one isn’t strictly Harry Potter, but I imagine that the library at Hogwart’s has “shelves upon shelves” of magical texts.  When I found the yarn, the name was the clincher.  How could “Elfish Sweets” NOT sound like Harry Potter?  Anyway, I’m excited to be doing Camp Loopy for the first time and semi-confident that if I finish a couple things before June 1st I might actually be able to finish these socks in time for the first challenge.  Wish me luck!  Or send me some Felix Felicis if you’re so inclined….

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