3

All Sorts of Random

Oops I did it again,
I played with some yarn,
got lost in the game,
oh baby baby.

So far summer has been cr-a-a-zy with a capital cray cray. Karate, playdates, birthday parties, park ventures, bike riding, berry picking, canning, home maintenance and all sorts of other nonsense.  Rare is the day we aren’t rushing off to something.  And swimming hasn’t even started yet (that will be every day!).  While busy is nice in its own way, I find myself wishing for a quiet afternoon with an iced mocha and my knitting.  No need to answer a question every two seconds, deal with the inevitable: “I’m bored!”, force feed the kid, mediate wrestling matches between boy and dog, or worry about keeping everyone on track for work and bedtimes. A real lazy summer afternoon. Or morning.  I’d take a morning in a heartbeat. How come only kids get summer vacation?

Despite all that, I’m making some slow progress on Stash Dash. The hat pictured left and center is Ombre by ChemKnits. I had fun knitting this one, and working through all my “manly” colored worsted weight scraps. This one clocked in at 135 yds for Stash Dash. The red hat in the final picture is the Ribbed Watchman’s Hat by Channah Koppel. I knit one of these for R. Darling and it is his absolute favorite go-to hat.  He probably needs another one in black, come to think of it. This hat came in at 140.6 yds.  Both hats were knit for Recovery Cafe via a request from the Pacific Northwest Ravelers Group on Ravelry, so I get to mail them off in a couple months to a happy new home.

Current Stash Dash total: 275.6 yds (approximately 252 meters).

Pretty miserable, I’ll admit. I do have a couple big(gish) things nearing completion that will hopefully put me back on track to reach my 5K goal.  But since I’m an unofficial entry anyway, I’m not sweating it too hard.  Just focusing on knitting from stash and finishing some UFO’s will be a reward in itself.

And now for the previously advertised “All Sorts of Random” portion of today’s blogcast…..

I am currently reading “In The Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick, and in searching for images to put in the sidebar for my “Current Reads” widget, I noticed that it is coming out as a movie this year. With Chris Hemsworth no less. This book was published in 2000 and how is it that not only did I choose to read it this month (it’s been in my book stash for a long time), but someone else apparently chose to make it into a movie for release right around the same time?  Curious.  I am never timely with these things. But for once I’ll be in the know. I’m about halfway through the book at the moment and I honestly do not know how they will make any sort of movie out of this. It’s astonishingly depressing so far.  But maybe they’re counting on Chris Hemsworth in period whaling attire to uplift everyone’s spirits.  I’ll have to examine the trailers thoroughly and report back to you.

Guess what? I am in the process of opening an Etsy shop. But that’s all I’m going to say at the moment :) Don’t go looking for it in the middle of the night when you have come to the end of the intrawebs and exhausted youtube’s supply of cute kitty videos or something. You won’t find it. But trust me. When it’s up, you’ll be the first to know.

And now some WordPress questions worthy of a noob. What’s the deal with people following you who don’t seem to have anything in common with you in the slightest? I mean, it’s kind of flattering to see my number of followers slowly increasing, but I’m kind of curious why they’d bother to follow me. I’m not entertaining. I’m not rich, or cool, or famous, or interesting. Do they just hope I’ll follow them too? Really, if you know the answer, I’d love to hear it. And lastly, when I respond to your comment on my blog, do you get to see it?  Back in the “old” days of my blog I responded to each comment via e-mail, assuming people would not care to come back to the blog to see if I responded to them. But now that WordPress allows you to follow comments, I want to make sure that if I do respond here you get to see it. Please let me know! I want to make sure you know if I’m responding :)

Now back to our regularly scheduled summer programming…..

2

On The Down Low

Hey you. Yeah. You. C’mere.

I’ve got a secret.

Shhhhhhhh….. Keep it down. I don’t want that project in my knitting bag to hear this.

I’ve been sewing. Yeah. Sewing.

Worst of all? I’ve been enjoying it.

Knitting has been my addiction avoidance tool procrastination temptation true love for so long now, that I kind of forgot about my lifelong affair with fabric and sewing.  I’ve been sewing (not necessarily very well) for as long as I can remember, starting with stitching up my first lovey Sissy, when I was probably 6 or so. Good thing (hmmmm, the good part is questionable) there’s a pretty prolific stash of fabric in the garage and my husband bought me a super nice Pfaff a few years back. As per my usual MO when faced with a holiday or big time event, I decided it was absolutely necessary to engage in some kind of epic crafting bonanza. My good intentions usually stress me out in the end. But this time wasn’t so bad.

A couple years ago I was gifted an Ouch Pouch in a swap and I thought this would be a great gift to give the Moms from preschool as an end of the year thank you gift. The construction was simple and making 18 of them was great practice. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

ouch pouch photo

Now that summer is in full swing, I’m do my very dashiest to keep up with the rest (well actually, just my friend Knitting Up North) competing in Stash Dash 2015.  I’ve got yardage to report, but I need a few pics first so I’ll check back soon with those. Until then I’ll be singing, “….sunny day, everything’s A-ok, on my way to where the air is sweet….” 

Hope your days are sunny and sweet too!

 

5

Finishing Frenzy

School’s out for summer!

Well, almost.  Knittymunchkin has one more official day of preschool tomorrow (and then he’ll no longer be a preschooler! sniff. NO I’m NOT getting verklempt!).  But I’m all done with Freshman Year of Loopy Academy.  Woot!  I cut it close this time with getting everything finished up and photographed, but I did it.  Here are my last two projects for Freshman Year….

modest iphone3

For the “Slipped Stitches” project, I decided to knit the Modest Pullover by Ashley Rao (Interweave Knits, Winter 2015). Damn, this was a challenge for me!  It wasn’t the knitting that was the problem, it was the seaming.  I have always been intimidated by the thought of seaming a sweater.  I started my knitting “career” right around the time that knitters everywhere were going nuts over the idea of knitting seamless sweaters. So, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve only knit seamless until now.  This seemed like a great way to do a little of both and maybe ease myself into the idea of working something with seams. Ha ha ha.  I’m still laughing at myself over that one.  While I was working on this sweater, Knittymunchkin started up karate and the first two month’s life skill discussions were: “No struggle = No strength” & “Perserverence”.  You can bet I was listening closely while I read those pamphlets out loud to the kiddo.  In this case I have to thank Loopy Academy and their dangling carrot of “a special prize” for keeping me on task (What? A “special prize?” It’s like moths to a flame, baby). Without that deadline, you can bet this sucker would be stuffed in a big tote somewhere and forgotten for, oh, about 5 years at least. My average sweater completion time kinda blows.  But no, I persevered. And I knit those seams over, and over, and over, and over. Seriously.  I lost count how many times I ripped them out and started again.  But, the end result is not entirely amateurish.  I will still wear this and maybe (or maybe not) I’ll be inspired to knit another seamed or partially seamed sweater in the future.

My “Felted/Fulled” project went much more smoothly.  I made the Braided Cable Handle Tote by Amanda Silveira. Oh I see all my random worsted weight yarn being made into these.  Lots of fun to knit and really lovely once felted.   It felted so easily in my front loader I had to pinch myself; considered going out to buy a lottery ticket or something. I sewed in a fabric lining (somewhat successfully) and will be gifting this to my son’s preschool teacher as an end of the year gift.

felt bag2

And so…… Stash Dash 2015 has officially started!  I’ve already completed one item and have a couple more in the works. I’m also going through my Ravelry notebook and trying to sort out what’s actually finished and just needs to be officially “completed”.  It will be a lot easier to keep track of WIPs that need work that way. Right now it’s kind of a mess! But we’ll talk about that next time. Until then, I hope your summer is off to a great start!!

4

A Three Hour (LYS) Tour

Sunday, the last day of the LYS tour, dawned with appropriately sunny glory.  Perfect for a three hour (or so) tour. I know I am completely dating myself with that reference, but I couldn’t help thinking about “…The Professor and Maryanne…” going out for their three hour tour.  We only went to three shops and somehow it felt like a bit of a whirlwind to me, though a fun one.  How do people do the whole tour?! 5 days, 26 shops. Fun, but crazy exhausting.  You know you’re old when that much running around sounds like a lot of fuss instead of a great excuse for a party.  My friend Troy (pictured in front of NW Handspun Yarns on the far right) and I, with our monumental stashes, conferred ahead of time and decided that we would not buy anything unless it was supremely special or something needed for a project.  I’m proud to say we stuck to our guns and were pretty successful, not that I wasn’t tempted by all the Madelinetosh gleaming from the stacks.

First stop after a sensational breakfast at The Calico Cupboard was Wild Fibers in Mt. Vernon, where I was sorely tempted by the Trapper Cowl sample knit in buttery soft Manos del Uruguay Maxima.  Luckily, I couldn’t find any color combos that needed to jump into my greedy little fingers, but I’ll admit to some excessive fondling occurring while in the shop. Repeatedly.

After that we headed back north to NW Handspun Yarns where my steely resolve crumbled in the face of more Manos; bargain bin, silk blend, a good contrast color for some other yarn I’d been gifted. Realistically not good rationalizations, but perhaps I was feeling woozy from a lack of specialty coffee and the profusion of yarn fumes.  Did I need it? No.  Did I like it? Yes. No sense dwelling on it now. Time to put that yarn to work!

Our last stop was Apple Yarns, where we were greeted by a flurry of activity and friendly faces.  This is the shop I frequent most often and here, they actually know my name. On the other hand, they know Troy at all the yarn shops :)  I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t make the rounds (or chat much).  Too much temptation.  Plus, it’s been clearly proven that if you talk to me while I’m shopping, your interest in me will result in my feeling it necessary to spend money in your shop.  I’m a sucker I am. And a good one to boot! Anyway, I did pick up two bargain bin skeins of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Coral Rose for a future somethin’ somethin’. Best part? I had a gift certificate from last year’s Stash Buster Sale at the shop and I only spent a whopping 30 cents on my two brand spankin’ new skeins of awesome.  Not too shabby.

I’m too lazy to photograph the acquisitions; sorry but you’ve all seen yarn before.  The big news now is that Stash Dash 2015 starts tomorrow!  And unlike my friend Knitting Up North, I have not really sat down and laid a plan for my Dash success.  I assume I’ll be working toward a 5K (5,468 yds) though there is potential to push it to a 10K (10,936 yds) if I’m really motivated.  But with only 1.5 weeks of school left, I’m assuming knitting time will be greatly reduced as I adjust to the summer schedule and trying to find ways to fill our time.  Then again there are karate lessons and park visits which, so far, have resulted in extra knitting time. We shall see.  Stay tuned for some Stash Dash updates to come!

2

Drinkin’ The Kool-Aid

IMG_1907So my good friend at Knitting Up North has been talking about the Knit Girllls Stash Dash a bunch lately.  If you haven’t read her blog yet, go check it out. Seriously. Go now.  I’ll wait.  Are you back?

She never fails to make me laugh and constantly inspires me with all her awesome projects. I don’t listen to the Knit Girllls podcast like she does but I love the idea of the Stash Dash.  So I’m drinkin’ the kool-aid and joining in.  I’ll be an unofficial entry though.  It seems a little fakey fake to join the Ravelry group just for the Dash without really knowing what the podcast is about or even having plans to check it out (I’m not really a podcast kinda person). But it will be the perfect excuse to drag out some UFOs that need finishing and maybe clean the slate a bit while having a little fun and challenging myself.

I’m on my way to completing my Freshman year of Loopy Academy and though I thoroughly enjoyed my first Camp Loopy last summer, I think I need a break from “mandatory fun”.  You know, activities that are designed to be “fun” but really leave you sweaty and stressed and make you want to fake a violent illness so you can get out of them.  Management likes to call these “team building exercises.” Right.  Anyway that’s not totally fair since Camp Loopy and Loopy Academy have actually been really fun, but I’m a little burnt out on the structure and the fact that you have to buy new yarn for each project.  I’m ready to work on the stash and finishing some things. Hopefully that will mean I’ll be ready for my sophomore year of Loopy Academy when it starts in the fall. ‘Cause I’d really like to continue.

Oh crap.  I clicked over to The Loopy Ewe blog to copy some links for the stuff I just wrote and they have posted stuff for Camp Loopy – Safari Edition already.  How can I resist those adorable lions and giraffes in colored socks? Here, you try:

Print

Tell me that wasn’t just a little bit hard to resist…..

Right now though, I’m having fun combing Ravelry for all my old projects I’d like to finish and things I might like to knit from stash for the Stash Dash.  I’ll post soon with photos and progress reports.  Oh and that thing up at the top?  That’s my kick a$$ ceramic toadstool posing with a dishcloth I’m working on as a request from a fellow Raveler for the pattern I used in my very first knitting project. I’m actually more excited about the toadstool.  I’d love to have a little army of these in different sizes scattered throughout my front garden.  Awesome.  Makes me smile just thinking about it.  Hope your day is smiley too!

2

Swatcha Doin?

*The title for this post must be read in Isabella’s sing-song voice from Phineas & Ferb to achieve maximum effect (if you don’t have a 5 year old boy in the house at the moment, check out this link).*

Yep, you guessed it.  I’m swatchin’. Swatchin’, and dreamin’, and hopin’, and prayin’.  O.k., not really prayin’.  If all does not swatch well, there are always more fish in the yarn stash to choose from.

Yarn & Patterns from Left to Right:

  • Misti Alpaca Worsted in “Berry Melange” for Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (Knitbot)
  • Jakobsdals Bahamas in Red for the Conestoga Tunic by Heather Zoppetti (in Everyday Lace)
  • Laines du Nord Mulberry Silk in “Sky” for Green Apple Tank by Amy Palmer (in Knitscene, Summer 2015)

And there’s more in the works (it’s going to be a long summer of swim lessons & karate lessons!).

But what about you?  What new projects are you excited about as the days turn towards summer?

4

Make Socks Your Favorite

IMG_1861

Everyone has their favorite comfort knitting.  Something that you can pick up any time you want, take a few stitches, and know that it will relax you, fulfill the tactile desire for fiber, and be waiting for you whenever you are ready to pick it up again, with no knit shaming involved (Where you been, huh? How come you cast on something new? Don’t you love me anymore?).  For some people this might be a hat, for others socks, or shawls.  There are even “sweater people”, believe it or not.  Me, I’m a blanket person.  Don’t ask me why.  Maybe it’s because they are practical, one-size-fits-all, and typically mindless.  But seriously.  How many blankets does one household really need?!  I’ve made two for my son (who adores them but doesn’t use them) and have at least 2-3 more in progress. I bet you quilters feel my pain.

Time for a new favorite.

Did you now that April is Sock Knitting Month at Interweave? That got me thinking.  A good look at my stash would make you think I am planning on outfitting a small army of oompa loompas with self-striping socks someday in the future, with a few cabled ones thrown in for good measure. I thoroughly enjoy knitting socks, yet rarely do I sit down to do so. Somehow the gauge issue, rationing of yarn (if top down) and measuring gets me all kerbobbled and I think, “maybe another day.” Not comforting or relaxing at all.  But why shouldn’t it be?  Why should I knit fancy cabled laced and tasseled confections when I could knit plain vanilla and be (probably) just as happy?  Damn, I actually love vanilla! I could certainly use socks more frequently than another blanket. I’ve wanted to try knitting an afterthought heel for a while now, so I’m going to start with this pattern and see where it takes me. If I like it enough, who says I have to ever knit anything else?  I could just knit vanilla socks with afterthought heels until I run out of stash or my fingers fall off.  I don’t care if other sock knitters will think I’m lame.  Right? Right. That’s what I’m gonna keep telling myself.

Just like this clip from one of my all time favorite movies (Elf), I’m going to make socks my new favorite!