2

Summer Mom Fail

I had a plan.

My child was NOT going to sit around inside all day this summer, rotting his brain on TV and Minecraft. We were going to do a project every day, something that was fun, but also educational. He was going to read to me consistently and do his summer bridge workbook pages. We were going to have a great time together, spend lots of time outdoors, and he was going to love summertime with Mom.

Ha ha ha ho ho ho hee hee hee. Feel free to snort your beverage of choice through your nostrils at my cheerful optimism. Personally, I suggest something not carbonated.

I thought I was so prepared. I made a huge book with all sorts of activities I found on Pinterest. Beginning in May I spent hours looking for the best projects and purchased (little by little) a huge tub of supplies. I grew to love Pinterest (remember when I asked this? What was I thinking?!) with an all-consuming passion that still exists to this day. Ah, adorably naive pre-summer me! How sad that you disappeared so quickly after that last day of Kindergarten.

We are halfway through summer and I have nearly given up. The workbook pages get completed, but intermittently. Uptown has read only 9 books to me, and nearly every one involved crying, cajoling, frustration, and bad feelings all around. We have done maybe 5 of the projects I thought we’d do this summer and most of them were fairly spectacular fails. Whenever I bring up the “busy book” it is met with promising interest, only to fade into lackluster participation.

And I am failing at this Mom thing. I am exhausted, unsure how to engage my child because I am so wiped out, angry that he seems incapable of doing anything that doesn’t involve a screen and disconsolate I can’t make this summer thing work. Someone please tell me that it’s o.k.; that I will not have created a mouth-breather who still lives at home when he’s 32 (there’s one of those just a few doors down!) just because I couldn’t keep us on track this summer.

Sigh.

Meanwhile, very little knitting is getting done. But I did manage to finish one project and add a (insert sarcasm here —›) whopping 198 yds to my Stash Dash 2016 total.

Death Star 2

This is my second of these crazy pillows and it was made for a high school friend who had to have one after seeing the other one I made. If you want specific project details, you can check out my post for the previous pillow, which went to the son of a college friend (incidentally my ex-boyfriend who then married my college roommate, ha ha!).

So here’s the updated Stash Dash 2016 list (all Ravelry links):

The Joker & The Thief and the Embroidered Apron are still in rotation, but I broke The Rule of Two and added in a third project, the Summer 2016 KAL from JLFleckenstein. So far it’s a lot of fairly mindless garter stitch using yarn from my stash (counts for Stash Dash – yesssssss!!) which I really really need right now.

Alright troops. Break’s over.  Back to mom duty!

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4

Still Here, Still Weird

It’s been a while….cough.  I’ve been busy.  How have you been?

Reappearing here at the blog after an absence always feels a bit like running into an ex on the street or that friend you’ve been “meaning to call”, but haven’t.  Aw-k-waaarrrd. What do I say? Do you feel awkward too?  Are you mad at me for leaving without explanation?

Ha Ha! Just kidding!  I know there’s only maybe 4 people who read my nonsense anyway so I think it’s all good.  I have lots of stuff to talk about, but I’ve been so busy doin’ it all that I haven’t had time to sit down and write.

So I guess I’ll just jump in here since it’s the most recent project that I’ve finished and actually photographed.

Yes, that’s right.  I CROCHETED A DEATH STAR!  I’ll wait while the fanboys and girls calm down.  And…. wait for it…..I finished it on May the 4th!

As soon as I posted this on Facebook for friends and family to see, I received a desperate request from a high school friend who just HAD to have one for herself. I love making dreams come true!


 

PATTERN:  Death Star by Patricia Castillo

YARN:  Big Twist Yarns Value Solids in Medium Gray  & Valley Yarns Stockbridge in Light Gray

YARDAGE:  174.4 yds for main sphere & 13.1 yds for contrast details

CROCHETING DURATION:  April 8, 2016 – May 4, 2016

RECIPIENT:  A gift for a friend’s son

DODGY BITS:  Had to rework the Superlaser portion on my own, not because the pattern was badly written, just because I’m a barely competent crocheter & I couldn’t figure out how to follow the directions as they were written. I think it turned out fine the way I did it and with the contrasting details it wasn’t even obvious that I’d changed it.

BLISS FACTOR:  8


This pattern was well written and interesting to crochet. Bliss factor of 8 because, well, it’s acrylic (not that I’m a snob or anything, it’s just not my favorite) and it’s huge so it felt like I was going around and around and not making any progress.  Anything with details added after, at the creator’s discretion, drives me batty. Just tell me where to put the lines already! Don’t ask me to figure it out myself!  Hope the Star Wars fanboy who’s going to receive this will love it ♥

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!

IMG_2704

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).

 

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

Violet Valentine is Open for Business on Etsy!

Violet-Valentine-Etsy-Banner


Hooray!  I finally did it!

After talking about it for years, I have finally opened an Etsy shop.  You can find Violet Valentine here.

I am still working out the bugs, but I have many sets of handmade stitch markers listed, a few notion pouches, and a few knitting bags.  I hope to keep adding to the inventory as I make things. The focus will be mainly knitting and crocheting accessories for right now, but I expect to add some new types of items in the not-so-distant future, as well as destash some of my knitted items or crafting supplies.  So check back often!

As always, thanks SO very much to everyone who stops, visits, comments, or otherwise supports me, the blog, and all my endeavors!  You have no idea how much your support means to me and how instrumental you have all been in helping me realize some of my creative dreams.  Infinite thanks to each and every one of you!!


violet-valentine-etsy-avatar

5

Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted To Runs

Long color runs, that is.  Noro, to be specific.
 
I’m probably majorly dating myself by referencing this song, but I’m not ashamed to say that I totally dug it back in the day.    Just as I am digging Noro right now.
 
I wasn’t born a Noro lover.  At least not at first.  I thought the colors were always a bit wacky.  I mean, who really looks at a skein of yarn filled with lime green, turquoise and purple, and then says:  Wow, this could really use some peach!  You are either a color genius or higher than a kite if that combo immediately strikes you as gorgeous.  But somehow, that one color that just doesn’t seem to belong, almost always finds a way to work.  The other thing I didn’t love about Noro at first, was that it is positively infested with twigs and veg.  For such expensive stuff, you’d expect that your fiber wouldn’t come with extra hitchhikers you didn’t count on.  But after my first project with Noro Kureyon, I got over it.  You just pick it out and move on (or leave it if you prefer).  I expected that first hat to be scratchy and rough, but instead I was rewarded with a soft and totally non-scratchy fabric; completely unexpected considering the dead twig weight hitching a ride.  And the color transitions were fantastic.  I was hooked.
 
There are two things I still don’t love about Noro, but I forgive them because they are a small price to pay for the beauty of the finished objects and the thrill I get as each new color is unearthed from the skein.  The first would be the ungodly number of knots I find in every ball I’ve ever purchased.  Sometimes upwards of four knots in a 100g skein of sock yarn.  Ridiculous.  Not so bad if the colors are similar on either side of the knot.  In that case you do a quick spit splice (Noro splices beautifully!) and you’re off again.  But there have been times where the transition has been drastic and I’ve had to do some quick frogging and/or refiguring.  That always stinks.  The second thing I don’t love is the inconsistent thickness.    You can go from practically laceweight up to DK all within one ball of sock yarn.  It usually doesn’t affect the overall look of the project, but it still sort of bugs me.
 
But I’m addicted, well and truly.  Whenever I start a project with Noro I cannot stop myself from knitting color to color, feverishly, not wanting to stop until I see what the next transition will be.  It’s a blessing and a curse really.  A blessing for the joy and beauty I experience while knitting, but a curse because I cannot stop myself until the fever has burned through and the yarn is gone.  Take this for example:
 

 
It was supposed to be merely a pillow top.  But as I crocheted I wanted to keep going; no HAD to keep going.  I was completely and totally knitstoned. With twitchy fingers I scrabbled through all my leftover sock yarn partials and added them in.  More! I needed more!! Then I decided this needed to be a 40th birthday gift for my closest college friend and it would no longer be a pillow, but a blanket. Then I decided I wanted one.  And after that I decided there was at least one more person on my list who deserved one.  When that one’s finished I’m sure I will try to find another worthy recipient.  I pretty much want everyone to have one because I want to knit as many as humanly possible.  Sick I tell you.    
 
But what a ride it will be…..

14

We <3 Katamari!

katamari 1a

Hot off the hook!!  Do I smell a Katamari?

 

My co-worker Miami has this huge obsession with the Katamari Damacy video game (o.k., totally not his real name but if Frespañol was a language like Fritalian is, mi ami would mean my friend, which is a pretty good fake name for your buddy).  If you haven’t heard of this one yet, basically it’s a Japanese acid trip with a disturbingly electro pop soundtrack that worms its way into your brain like no other.  It’s probably delivering some kind of insidious subliminal messages directly to my cerebral cortex and some afternoon I’ll wake up from a trance wearing a Hello Kitty shirt with at least 84 stuffed animals attached to my purse by keychains.  Oh wait.  That was last Thursday.  Anyway, the whole point of the game is to roll your ball all over the planet, picking things up as you go and allowing your ball to get bigger and bigger until you can throw it into the stars to make a new planet to please your father The King.  Simple and somehow addictive, it’s developed a huge cult following all over the world.  So when Miami’s birthday came around, and I found the pattern for this Katamari toy, I knew I had to make him one.  Three shockingly tacky colors, 28 magnets, and a crapload of sewing later, Miami had his new toy.  And yes, those magnets work folks! 

 

katamari 2a

Don’t get me too close to your face or I’ll suck out your fillings!

 

PatternMagnetic Katamari Pattern

Yarn:  Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Solids in Tangerine; Caron Simply Soft Brites in Limelight & Blue Mint

Hooks:  Size E & Size G

Other stuff:  Magnets & Stuffing

Mods:  None

Comments:  A little sewing-intensive, but technically easy.  Miami seemed to love it ;)

 

And now, back to our regularly scheduled fall off of the workout wagon!  Also known as attempting to drag your sorry ass into the workout room when you’d rather sit on the couch knitting and stuffing your face with bon-bons.