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Interested in Pinterestin’

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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Christmas Blitz 2012 Wrap-Up

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.

Berruti Hat

Berruti Hat

  • 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

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

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

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

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?

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Welcome 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

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!):
 

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!