1

Mojo-a-gogo 

From Left to Right: Tidbit, Leafy Newborn Beanie & Seventh

 

I’ve been busy. There’s some serious knitting mojo goin’ on up in here. Plus, I’ve been bustin’ me some stash! It’s all good at Chez Funkytown.

These little hats are for my friend at Knitting Up North.  Every spring she knits baby hats for a contest her local Optimist Club holds. I always like to donate a few.  It’s for a worthy cause, I get to help out a knitting pal, and it’s pretty much instant gratification. I’ve actually made 6 already, but have only photographed the 3 above. I mean, these fingers are too busy knittin’ to stop and take photos people! The deadline is April 15th – hint hint. Not only should you check out her blog for some awesome inspiration, I’m sure she’d love to receive a few extra hats to add to her total ;) Just sayin’. Oh and she’s also hosting a knit along beginning March 20th for the Jujika Cowl. I’m in!  If you’re on Ravelry (and you totally should be!) come join us at her group here.

I decided early on this year that I was going to try to keep myself to a strict set of rules for my knitting in 2016. Well, it’s really not a set of rules, more like one big rule.  I have a penchant for getting totally obsessed with any new pattern that comes across my radar, to the complete detriment of whatever else I may be working on.  I have sweaters that have taken me years to complete (if they’ve been completed at all) not because they were difficult, but because I lost momentum and then lost interest in going back to figure out where I’d left off.  I gots me some serious start-itis folks.

This year I plan to end my wayward habits by instituting “The Rule of Two.” The Rule of Two states that I may only have 2 significant projects on the needles at one time: a UFO/WIP that needs finishing and one new project. This rule will remain in place until I have finished all said UFOs/WIPs in which case I will cast on with complete abandon. Or something like that.  Anyway, The Rule of Two has served me well so far this year.  I finished an afghan I’ve had in the works for a year, finished Los Monos Locos socks (picture to come later), am nearly finished with a sweater for Uptown, and finished the Frisson I mentioned last time (pictures later of course). Now if only I could be this successful in reducing my winter’s worth of insulation that has been accumulating underneath all those warm bulky sweaters I’m not knitting/finishing!

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Ribbon Afghan

 

PATTERN:  Ribbon Afghan by Olivia Rainsford

YARN:  Acrylic in Black (Caron One Pound), White (Lion Brand Pound of Love) & Olive (Vintage Bernat)

YARDAGE:  1004 yds

CROCHETING DURATION:  May 16, 2015 – February 15, 2016

PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED:  Briefly, here.

RECIPIENT:  Donation to Warmth for Warriors (Ravelry group here)

DODGY BITS:  None

BLISS FACTOR:  8


This pattern was well written and fun to knit. Definitely pretty mindless & a great stashbuster.  Love that it’s only meant to be lap sized for veterans in wheelchairs to use.  I could see myself making another for sure! Bliss factor of 8 because, well, it’s acrylic (not that I’m a snob or anything, I just don’t love the stuff).

 

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2

The Waiting Place

Military Ribbon Afghan


Today I find myself in The Waiting Place; that pause between what has been and what is to come. Christmas overload has ended and the New Year is still patiently waiting its entry into the world. I reflect on what I have and have not done over the past 365 days and what I hope to make manifest with the birth of a new year. But there is a prevalent calm here in the waiting place.  I have the promise of something exciting to look forward to, yet no expectation that I must act upon that promise just yet.  I am waiting in pregnant stillness, like a runner at the starting line. Will this year’s race be for endurance or a flat-out sprint? I don’t know yet, only that I can and will run when it’s time.

While in the waiting place, I am keeping busy.  We are building legos and resting, taking things at our own pace.  I am resurrecting half-done projects (like the one above), hoping I can start the new year with a clean-ish slate. In a couple more days the time for action will arrive. I will make my lists, start my planning, and begin my journey down the road that will be 2016. Until then I wait. And that’s just fine with me.

 

1

I’ve Got Magic Balls

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.

2

Knit 365: A Daily Dose Of Stitch – Days 10 through 28

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….

0

Knit 365: A Daily Dose Of Stitch – Days 7 through 9

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….

2

Knit 365: A Daily Dose Of Stitch – Days 5 & 6

Total Block Count: 6

 

Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock in "Freya"

Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock in “Freya”

 

  • Day 5:  May 7, 2014
  • Block #66
  • Yarn: Three Irish Girls Springvale Sock  in “Freya”

Comments:  What a gorgeous color!  I knit this in a couple different sittings because things have been so hectic at home.  It’s nice to keep this at the table for those times when Knittymunchkin is playing with his food & generally stalling at the dinner table (he probably would never eat if he didn’t have to!).  One thing I’ve noticed about myself lately is that I can’t stand having idle hands when I’m waiting around for something or someone.

 

Block #67 - Mystery Yarn

Block #67 – Mystery Yarn

 

  • Day 6:  May 8, 2014
  • Block #67
  • Yarn:  Mystery Sock Yarn (Plymouth Happy Feet?)

Comments:  This yarn came from another knitter’s mini destash and arrived without any yarn info.  I think most people don’t care as much as I do about keeping track of what their minis are and where they come from.  For me, it’s kind of a fun way to record the project and it’s interesting to see when and how I received each mini.  This feels a lot to me like Plymouth Happy Feet, but you just never know.  This block was knit in the ideal setting of sitting in a coffee shop with my good friend Troy, chatting & relaxing.  The perfect knitting therapy!  However, I did manage to screw up this most simple of projects and had to basically knit the block twice.  So much for trying to choose something I could knit whilst talking at the same time. But I’m staying on schedule :)

 

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Last time I was discussing the black borders a bit and my friend Josiane left me a comment on the subject mentioning it would be interesting to see the effect when I share photos of the blanket itself, not just individual blocks.  I think this will be incredibly difficult to photograph when it’s finished since it’s going to be so huge, but I can share some photos along the way and do my best when it’s complete.  Here’s a photo of part of the strip I have in progress at the moment:

 

Sock Yarn Blanket - May 8, 2014

Sock Yarn Blanket – May 8, 2014

 

It’s looking like posting a photo every single day is going to be a bit difficult with all the other stuff going on in my life.  But every other day seems reasonable so far.  I’m enjoying sharing with you and the opportunity to put a little more time into my blog than I have been for the past couple years.  Plus, reflecting on the journey of adding a little knitting to each day is an interesting exercise in self-awareness.

As if I didn’t already have enough to do, and enough yarn in my stash, I’m seriously considering signing up for Camp Loopy 2014 this year.  I don’t know why I always thought this was a real life camp, but it’s not.  It’s virtual camp.  So that means I can totally go! I’m a little intimidated since this is my first time and many knitters are already seasoned campers, but it sounds like a good challenge and a fun time.  I planted the seed in Troy’s head so maybe I can cajole him into joining me (Jess, how bout you? C’mon….you know you want to!).  I’ll keep you posted; it’s coming up soon!

1

Knit 365: A Daily Dose Of Stitch – Days 3 & 4

Total Block Count: 4

 

Yesterday was hectic, so I’m playing catch up today….

 

Doodlebird Creations Swell Socks in Tiger Lily

Doodlebird Creations Swell Socks in Tiger Lily

 

  • Day 3: May 5, 2014
  • Block #64
  • Yarn: Doodlebird Creations Swell Socks in “Tiger Lily”

Comments: I timed myself knitting this one out of pure curiosity. It took me 40 minutes to knit one block. That sounds like just the right amount of time to be allotting myself daily for knitting therapy.  Of course, I should be using that time to fit in a workout & burn off some of that Easter candy I have been snarfing for the past few weeks, but that would just be annoying overachievement.

 

Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in "Sea Flower"

Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in “Sea Flower”

 

  • Day 3: May 6, 2014
  • Block #65
  • Yarn: Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock  in “Sea Flower”

Comments: I know a lot of people knitting this blanket just pick a mini at random from their bin & knit it in.  I’m too OCD for that.  I choose the placement very carefully for each color I have, aiming to fit in even the most discordant colors harmoniously.  It’s interesting how a colorway I’m not so sure about when twisted into a mini-skein, can transform into something surprisingly lovely once knit into a block.  There is something about the smaller scale of a mitered square that performs this little bit of magic when you are least expecting it.  It makes you feel as if anything is possible.

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My good friend Jess asked me after my last post to talk about the black knitted borders you can see in my photos.  I have seen a few blankets with these black borders on Ravelry, so I can’t take any credit for the idea.  But when I embarked on this particular knitting odyssey I knew that I wanted to make the extra effort to add these.  I love the stained glass effect it imparts and the way it harmonizes colors that might otherwise look strange next to each other. Most people who knit this blanket seem to knit each block individually for maximum portability or ease however, that means hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of blocks to sew together at the end.  Readers of this blog who have been with me for a while will note that I absolutely ABHOR finish work and often never actually get around to weaving in ends on projects I have knit, thus rendering them incomplete for years after the knitting has been officially finalized.  For someone as Type A as I can be, it’s mystifying that I repeatedly do this to myself. But knowing myself so well, I knew that I would never actually sew all those blocks together at the end, so I have chosen to knit the blocks together as I go.  A big bonus was learning to weave in ends as I knit (for continental knitters see here) which further reduces how much finish work I’ll have when I get to the end.  The only downside to doing it this way is that as the blanket gets larger (and larger & larger) it will become a lot harder to work on & will cease to be very portable.  I figure that’s the price I pay for not having to do finish work.  We’ll deal with that when we get there.

So far this venture has been an exercise in learning how to better use my iphone camera and photo editor, as well as transferring info between my various devices in order to publish a blog post.  I’m sure I’ll learn more as I continue to work on this and eventually (hopefully) it will be more of a streamlined process.  For now it’s a bit unwieldy and I can see that it’s going to be difficult to post every single day, but I’m game if you are :)