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!

1

Stashes, Dashes & Knits

I’ve been trying to write this post for close to three weeks. A collision of home projects, end of the school year activities, a rapidly accelerating canning season, some secrety squirrel projects I’ll show you later, and just plain old exhaustion, have kept me from sitting down long enough to do anything but wolf down some food and go to sleep. Just ask my Fitbit. Except, how come I am walking close to 35 miles each week just doing regular stuff and I’m still at a distressingly sad level of fitness?! It’s just not fair.

Never mind. Summer is here!

Uptown is now a First Grader. What?!  When did that happen? Wasn’t it only just over 6 years ago that this happened? He’s thrilled to be done with school for a while. Me? I’m not so sure. Right now we are still in the honeymoon phase and there has been plenty to do. But I’m waiting for him to drop the “I’m bored!” bomb on me any day now. I think I’ve cleverly blast-proofed myself though with a thing I call “The Boredom Book.”  I’ll tell you all about that another time after we’ve caught up.

Last day of Kindergarten!

Just in time for the last day of school, I blocked Frisson (which I mentioned here) as an end of the year teacher’s gift for Uptown’s Kindergarten teacher. R. Darling was kind enough to take a few photos for me, along with a couple other projects that had been languishing, undocumented, in the closet for a while. I’m going to spare you the usual FO rigamarole this time around because I’m sure your eyes are already glazed over due to my self-important blabbing (and because I’m too lazy and just want to post this b*tch already!), but suffice it to say, this was a super fun knit.  I love how it turned out and I will surely be making another.  If you want more details on the specifics I’m skipping this time, feel free to check it out on my Ravelry project page here.

Frisson

The main reason I wanted to post today was to talk about Stash Dash 2016. You can check out the details at the Ravelry Group or at my friend Knitting Up North‘s blog here. I participated (rather poorly) last year and plan to participate (probably just as poorly) this year too.  According to the Knit Girllls, whose podcast I don’t listen to because I’m stubbornly avoiding the whole podcast thing (don’t ask me why), Stash Dash is: “….a virtual dash to use up stash and/or finish some WIPs. Crafts included in stash dash are knitting, spinning, crochet, tatting, and weaving.” So even though I participate unofficially, and craptastically, I still get some sh!t done and that’s always a good feeling.  Never mind that the only knitting I do lately is the 20-30 minutes I get during Uptown’s evening swim lessons. I mean, it could happen.

Swim Lessons

So here’s my Stash Dash 2016 list (in totally random order & all Ravelry links):

I just recently found out that I have a brand new niece arriving in early November, so I have a feeling the list will shift a little.  But in keeping with my Rule Of Two, I am currently focusing on only The Joker & The Thief and the Embroidered Apron.  To be honest though, it’s been damn hard not to cast on for some baby frivolity!

And as a special prize for your visit today, I’ll leave you with an earworm from the album that inspired the title for today’s post (yes it’s in my CD library, and yes I rock the crap out of it all the time!).

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).

 

5

Wired

So Stash Dash 2015 wrapped up on Friday. For some reason I was thinking I had until August 22nd, not that it would have made any difference in my totals.  If this would have been a real race, I would have tripped at the starting line and nursed my road rash until the first aid station, whereupon I would have probably called it quits and gone for margaritas. Not that I normally do that sort of thing, but I strangely admire people who can. Instead of knitting to the last minute I spent the entire week last week not knitting at all, but instead perfecting a new skill that I’ve become entirely (and dangerously) obsessed with: wire wrapping.

pumpkins colored 2

My poor husband. At least every 15 minutes I run over to him squealing like a an 11 year old girl at a Taylor Swift concert, “Look what I made!  Isn’t it cuuuuuuuute?”. I can’t help myself.  I am disgustingly pleased at the little stitch markers I am cranking out for my new Etsy shop (hopefully opening in a month or two after Knittymunchkin is fully immersed in all day kindergarten). I took a metalworking seminar a very long time ago and we touched briefly on wire working. At the time it wasn’t as appealing to me as the other techniques I was interested in learning, though once the acetylene torches came into play in the second half of the class, those low-tech pliers and wire were looking a lot more my speed. Frankly, the torches pretty much freaked me out.  I learned to do it, but I wasn’t comfortable. It’s kind of a buzzkill when they tell you the stuff will blow up the entire studio and vaporize you instantly if not used properly. So have fun with that kids! Interestingly, I noticed when I backtracked to the link above, that I mentioned making stuff for Etsy as far back as 2007! It feels pretty good to think that I’m finally (hopefully) heading there.

But back to Stash Dash…..

My unofficial total meterage for the event was: 1257.5 meters. I say “unofficial” because I finished a couple other projects during the competition that I never photographed or blogged about. But despite not making my goal, I am really grateful that Knitting Up North brought the event to my attention. It really forced me to focus on stash and though I went about it all the wrong way (not finishing old stuff, but starting new stuff), I still managed to use up some of my stash and worked extra hard to find projects that would utilize yarn I already had.  I also really focused on finishing what I’d started, rather than starting something new whenever I saw something shiny out of the corner of my eye. I have a feeling this could be the start of some new habits for me!

In the meantime…..

Look what I made? Isn’t it cuuuuuuuuute?

flat skulls 1

lime slices 2

 

2

Clumsy Gardener

 

ABOUT THE TITLE:  These were made for my Mom, who requested a pair of gloves to protect her hands from sun and scratches while gardening. As she has reached her 70’s, her skin has thinned and she is constantly cutting herself. Plus, she is a little bit clumsy sometimes!

PATTERN:  Don’t skid, honey! by Justyna Lorkowska (Lete’s Knits)

YARN:  Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids in “Softly Taupe” (Super Size )

YARDAGE:  0.58 skeins/116 yds (106.1 meters for Stash Dash 2015)

KNITTING DURATION:  June 23, 2015 – August 5, 2015

PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED:  Of course not!

RECIPIENT:  Mom

DODGY BITS:  Not really. Other than the fact that Mom, as per usual, has requested cotton or acrylic (something she can bleach the crap out of, i.e. abuse). And, as usual, I was miserable knitting this.

BLISS FACTOR:  8


This pattern was well written and fun to knit, though I would have preferred to knit it out of something soft and wooly and squishy instead of kitchen cotton on small needles. Seriously Mom? That’s the only reason I’m giving it a Bliss Factor of 8. It would probably earn a 10 if I could have knit it in something else. But all that really matters is if Mom likes and uses them.


Stash Dash Update: 1151.4 meters + 106.1 meters = 1257.5 meters

5

Bloomin’ Granny

granny 2

 

ABOUT THE TITLE:  The name of this project is an ode to the Beastie Boys’ “Boomin’ Granny”. Although, Grandma A– is more of a “Bloomin’ Granny” ♥

PATTERN:  #24 Lacy Wrap by Mari Lynn Patrick (Knit Simple Magazine, Holiday 2011)

YARN:  Laines du Nord Cashsilk, Color #676 – Berry

YARDAGE:  14.68 skeins/983.6 yds (899.4 meters for Stash Dash 2015)

KNITTING DURATION:  January 9, 2015 – June 28, 2015 (with a break between February & May)

PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED:  Here

RECIPIENT:  Grandma Funk

DODGY BITS:  There are errors in the chart that would make it difficult to knit if you were inexperienced (Knit “Simple”? Really?). If you are interested in reading detailed info on navigating these errors successfully (and you are a Ravelry member) feel free to check out my project here on Ravelry and/or message me. I’m glad to help!

BLISS FACTOR:  10


It seems I am averse to discussing my knitting projects during their construction phase, as I have only mentioned this project one time in the months I have been working on it. Perhaps that is a direct by-product of my knitting “method” which consists of obsession, acquisition, established relationship maintenance, boredom, distraction, and ultimate abandonment. Good thing my “method” doesn’t extend to relationships with people.

Or perhaps the guilt of abandonment and exposure of my character flaws deters me from discussing past knitting history. Either way, I am overhauling my ways and trying harder to stay focused on one project at a time. Which means you may be hearing more from me throughout a knitting project. Or not. We shall see.

So, a bit about this project……

I knit this as a gift for my husband’s grandmother A–. She is a wonderfully kind, strong, and loving lady who has fully adopted me as part of the family. We frequently talk on the phone about reading in bed and needing something to cover our shoulders. Though she is a knitter, she is strictly an acrylic blanket knitter (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and I thought it would be nice to make her something pretty that she could put around her shoulders instead of the small blanket she claims to use. Once, when she and Grandpa were on a stopover in town I took her into my LYS (Apple Yarns) and we looked at all the pretty things for a little while. She picked up some yarn in the same shade as the yarn I used for this project, saying how pretty it was. I can’t wear this color myself, but thought it would be a fantastic way to use this gorgeous yarn and gift it to someone truly deserving and special. My husband tells me that I will make her cry when she receives this. I kind of hope so. Not because I would want to make someone cry, but because he says she’ll cry since no one has ever made anything just for her. She is always making and doing for others instead, because that’s who she is. It will make me happy to let her know that I am always thinking of her and am grateful for the way she holds together her family.

This project was so much fun to knit!  In a sick way, I have come to enjoy short rows. You feel like your knitting is going so much more quickly, especially when working a lace chart, because you are only knitting partway across certain rows. And this yarn? Scrumptious.  I am so happy that I have more of it in my stash (it’s discontinued) in a color that does suit me.  I’m imagining a cuddly, warm winter/fall sweater the color of roasted coffee somewhere in my future. And maybe you’ll actually hear about it before I finish it. Maybe.


Stash Dash Update: 252 meters + 899.4 meters = 1151.4 meters