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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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!).

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

6

All Sorts of Random

Oops I did it again,
I played with some yarn,
got lost in the game,
oh baby baby.

So far summer has been cr-a-a-zy with a capital cray cray. Karate, playdates, birthday parties, park ventures, bike riding, berry picking, canning, home maintenance and all sorts of other nonsense.  Rare is the day we aren’t rushing off to something.  And swimming hasn’t even started yet (that will be every day!).  While busy is nice in its own way, I find myself wishing for a quiet afternoon with an iced mocha and my knitting.  No need to answer a question every two seconds, deal with the inevitable: “I’m bored!”, force feed the kid, mediate wrestling matches between boy and dog, or worry about keeping everyone on track for work and bedtimes. A real lazy summer afternoon. Or morning.  I’d take a morning in a heartbeat. How come only kids get summer vacation?

Despite all that, I’m making some slow progress on Stash Dash. The hat pictured left and center is Ombre by ChemKnits. I had fun knitting this one, and working through all my “manly” colored worsted weight scraps. This one clocked in at 135 yds for Stash Dash. The red hat in the final picture is the Ribbed Watchman’s Hat by Channah Koppel. I knit one of these for R. Darling and it is his absolute favorite go-to hat.  He probably needs another one in black, come to think of it. This hat came in at 140.6 yds.  Both hats were knit for Recovery Cafe via a request from the Pacific Northwest Ravelers Group on Ravelry, so I get to mail them off in a couple months to a happy new home.

Current Stash Dash total: 275.6 yds (approximately 252 meters).

Pretty miserable, I’ll admit. I do have a couple big(gish) things nearing completion that will hopefully put me back on track to reach my 5K goal.  But since I’m an unofficial entry anyway, I’m not sweating it too hard.  Just focusing on knitting from stash and finishing some UFO’s will be a reward in itself.

And now for the previously advertised “All Sorts of Random” portion of today’s blogcast…..

I am currently reading “In The Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick, and in searching for images to put in the sidebar for my “Current Reads” widget, I noticed that it is coming out as a movie this year. With Chris Hemsworth no less. This book was published in 2000 and how is it that not only did I choose to read it this month (it’s been in my book stash for a long time), but someone else apparently chose to make it into a movie for release right around the same time?  Curious.  I am never timely with these things. But for once I’ll be in the know. I’m about halfway through the book at the moment and I honestly do not know how they will make any sort of movie out of this. It’s astonishingly depressing so far.  But maybe they’re counting on Chris Hemsworth in period whaling attire to uplift everyone’s spirits.  I’ll have to examine the trailers thoroughly and report back to you.

Guess what? I am in the process of opening an Etsy shop. But that’s all I’m going to say at the moment :) Don’t go looking for it in the middle of the night when you have come to the end of the intrawebs and exhausted youtube’s supply of cute kitty videos or something. You won’t find it. But trust me. When it’s up, you’ll be the first to know.

And now some WordPress questions worthy of a noob. What’s the deal with people following you who don’t seem to have anything in common with you in the slightest? I mean, it’s kind of flattering to see my number of followers slowly increasing, but I’m kind of curious why they’d bother to follow me. I’m not entertaining. I’m not rich, or cool, or famous, or interesting. Do they just hope I’ll follow them too? Really, if you know the answer, I’d love to hear it. And lastly, when I respond to your comment on my blog, do you get to see it?  Back in the “old” days of my blog I responded to each comment via e-mail, assuming people would not care to come back to the blog to see if I responded to them. But now that WordPress allows you to follow comments, I want to make sure that if I do respond here you get to see it. Please let me know! I want to make sure you know if I’m responding :)

Now back to our regularly scheduled summer programming…..

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!