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 ♥

4

Let It Go

 

The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Colorado Hairstreak

I have not {gasp} seen Frozen. Yes, there might be a big rock somewhere that I just crawled out from underneath. Even so, I’ve heard the “Let It Go” song a lot of times.  I mean a lot. Usually belted out off-key by preschool girls twirling around in tutus. Ugh.

I mean the song, not the girls. The girls are totally adorable.

But even though I pretty much despise the song, the whole “Let It Go” refrain keeps bouncing around in my head every time I look at this yarn I pulled out of my stash the other day.

A few years ago I was all nerdy fan-girl wacked out over (the now defunct) The Sanguine Gryphon. The obsession was a little over the top to put it mildly.  I was constantly checking for updates, cruising Ravelry destashes for rare colors, and doing my best to bankrupt myself collecting every color I could get my grubby little paws on. If they’d stayed in business just a little longer, I’d probably have sold a kidney to keep the collection going. Can you spell hoarder? Yes, you can. It’s spelled K-n-i-t-t-y-m-u-g-g-i-n-s, thankyouverymuch.

My Sanguine Gryphon stash has long been classified CDH, i.e. “cold dead hands.” As in, you cannot even pry this from my cold dead hands. I will come back from the dead and school your butt if you even try. But the other day I was looking for some purple yarn to knit a gift for Uptown’s Kindergarten teacher and, shockingly, I decided to use a skein of my precious, limited edition, SG Bugga! When I pulled it out, I tried to look at it objectively (for once). It was a beautiful color, but it wasn’t a color that suited me all that well.  I didn’t buy it for a special project, and it had been sitting in my stash since 2011.  What was I waiting for?  The apocalypse?  I’m pretty sure none of the Four Horsemen need shawlettes or socks in lavender.  Neither was I going to need them after I died. So why not use it?  There really wasn’t a single reason I could think of for keeping it around.

So now my beloved SG Bugga! in Colorado Hairstreak, will become a Frisson for an end of the year teacher gift. I’m finally letting it go.

2

Cross-Stitches, Bitchez.

 

Stitchin’ It Up Right

 

Yeah, that’s right. I’m bi-craftual, yo. Actually, I’m multi-craftual if you want to know my dirty little secret. I like ’em all.

Before there was knitting, there was cross-stitching.  My aunt got me hooked in high school and I had one project or another in the hoop for many years after that. Something about the counting, the neat and tiny stitches, and the beautifully glossy flosses appealed to me from the start.  I know. I’m a weirdo. But then, wooly true love and pointy sticks came along and I dropped it quicker than bargain bin yarn in baby poop brown.

So what’s up with the cross-stitching? I needed a gift. And I needed the right gift.

Let me tell you a little story.

Once, I was in my 20’s working hard on my mad scientist street cred at WSU (I used to be a microbiologist at a university before having my son).  It was a good time; friends, lots of free time, making my own money, youth, all that fab stuff. Then I met the love of my life and I had to decide between a job and a life I loved and the man I adored.  Of course I chose love (wouldn’t you?!). So I had to say goodbye to that life and it was hard, but not as hard as I thought it might be.  They had a little party at my boss’ house to send me off and a surprising amount of folks showed up.  Many brought cards or a small gift, which truly surprised and touched me.  I hate being the center of attention and it was all a little uncomfortable, though undeniably thoughtful and sweet.

One of the post-docs I worked with frequently, let’s call her Maggie, brought me a little gift. And to this day, it remains the most perfect gift I’ve probably ever received. Not the best gift, or the one I loved most, but the most perfect gift.  I’ll explain.

Maggie and I worked together frequently as I mentioned.  Though we were friendly, I wouldn’t say we knew each other particularly well.  But we chit-chatted daily and shared a lot of lab equipment and reagents and buffers and stuff. One of the things we passed back and forth often was a timer.  A lot of the procedures we were running required varying amounts of time in various solutions or apparatuses, so careful timing was necessary to run an experiment well.  At least once a day I cursed at the timers in the lab.  These timers could only be set in increments of 1 minute.  Meaning, if you had a 45 minute experiment, you had to push the damn button 45 times to set the timer.  I’m getting pissed just writing about it. What kind of IDIOT makes a timer like that?!

When I opened Maggie’s little gift a huge smile broke across my face.  She had given me a timer that could be set manually to any increment of time I wanted at the mere touch of a couple buttons.  I was stunned. It was the perfect gift! It was personal, yet not extravagant or too unnecessarily intimate. It showed forethought and highlighted the fact that not only had Maggie been listening to the nonsense I spewed from day to day, she understood and sympathized. It wasn’t expensive, so I didn’t feel abysmally undeserving, but it was exactly what I wanted and needed. Truly a perfect gift.

And now I needed one too.

This little project will be a set of jar-toppers for gifting canned foods.  A mom friend I know from preschool (not too well, but well enough to meet for coffee now and then with a few other moms) just had a birthday on Monday and we have a group coffee date coming up next Tuesday. I wanted to bring something not too big or expensive, but still thoughtful, personal, and useful. We taught her how to can this summer and she gave canned items as gifts for Christmas this year.  Jar-toppers, I thought, would be something she could use. And she could keep them for herself is she liked them, or gift them away if she hated them. Win-win. As she’s a single mom with very little free time, instead of gifting the kit itself, I decided to stitch these up for her. They’ll be ready to use whenever she wants them.  I hope she’ll find these to be the perfect gift (not best, not most loved, but just right).

 

4

Happy Craftentine’s Day!


For those of you who celebrate – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope your day is filled with lovely things like chocolate and flowers (or wine and knitting, if that’s your thing). I would have loved a day like this one that I’d clean forgotten about, but instead we are recovering from colds and all spread around the house doing our own things.  Ah well.  Some other year perhaps.

This year Uptown and I made valentines for his Kindergarten classmates.  In previous years I slaved away hand making valentines for his co-op preschool friends and Uptown was rarely interested in deciding what they should look like, much less involved in making them (2013, 2014 – no post, but we made these2015).  To be fair, “slaving” is hardly what I did.  I loved his co-op and all the folks we knew there and it was truly a labor of love to make fun gifts for all the kiddos (and often their siblings too!).  This year he has been so excited by the whole Perler business going on in our house that I thought he’d like to make fuse bead valentines for his class.  So I hit Pinterest hard core and looked for the perfect idea. After some discussion we settled on this pattern and this tag. By using glow-in-the-dark beads we combined a tag he liked with a pattern I thought was cute and easy for him to do.

He was into it – at first. But once I had all the supplies assembled (a week and a half early mind you!) and he realized he was actually going to have to make them himself, the light went out.  A week and a half of grousing, bad attitudes (on both our parts), pestering, lecturing, and whining (on both our parts) ensued, during which time only two valentines were actually completed. And then, as happens to even the best prepared moms (a group in which I am never included), we were slammed with a doozy of a cold. Two days before the class party and still only two valentines were ready.

So we suffered through it.  I cajoled and extolled the virtues of starting a project on time so “these things won’t happen”, he leaked boogers and sneezed virus everywhere while plopping teeny tiny beads on a little pegboard with feverish fingers. I’m the worst mama in the world.  But I was going to make him keep his word (he’d promised!) and I was NOT going to do it for him. We survived – barely. The valentines were made. But Uptown had to miss the party due to his fever. Was it worth it? I don’t know. Will I do it again? Hell no.  Next year we’re going to ruin the planet and buy some of those insipid, cheesy, impersonal paper valentines and he can write his name on them and be done with it.

I’m out.

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

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!