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).

 

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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.

1

Advent-eriffic

Meet Jack.

He is our very new “watch elf” (no, not a “scout” elf, according to Knittymunchkin – because he’s “watching me!”).

His hobbies include:

Pilfering leftover Halloween candy at night when the humans are sleeping, napping under the Christmas tree and riding the T. rex. When he’s not riding the T. rex, he’s usually on the motorcycle, and once we caught him trying to cheat on his nightly trip to the North Pole by attempting to phone Santa instead (on a defunct cell phone). He’s keeping us VERY busy!

Advent is keeping me busy too.  Several years ago now I knit Smitten for Knittymunchkin (unblogged of course, because that’s how I roll apparently). We didn’t have a lot of Christmas traditions when I was a kid, but a few times I was gifted an advent calendar by a neighbor or relative.  I clearly remember the anticipation of opening each new window (never mind that chocolate was never involved, just a colored image on card stock) and the building excitement as I counted the days until Christmas. I wanted so much for my son to experience the magic that I had, and for us to build some of our own traditions.  The first year I was not quite prepared and the last few mittens were actually unfinished at the start of December.  My brilliant super knitty pal Troy, suggested I just hide them each day since I couldn’t have them all hanging on a string ready to go. Guess what?  A new tradition was born.  Now I hide them every day for Knittymunchkin in the month of December and I can say we have truly made an advent activity that is uniquely ours. I love it.

Though I am Pinterest late-comer, I have the site to thank for some of our cool new advent activities this year. When I started this tradition for my son, I told myself I didn’t want it to be all about receiving gifts or rotting our teeth out with candy.  Lucky for me, others share the same feelings (and their ideas for navigating it) on Pinterest.  For the first time this year I feel I’ve been fairly well prepared.

A few of the fun things we did this year:

  • Wrote a letter to Santa. There’s lots of great templates to be found.  I liked this one for this year. Uptown (formerly known as Knittymunchkin) was able to fill out some of his own answers and I filled in the more complicated phrases.  He thinks I need a pink teddy bear because “you’re the best mommy in the world.” Awww…..
  • Received a letter from Santa. O.k., not really an advent activity, but still a super exciting thing for a kid to receive.  All the details are here and it totally works!
  • We made Snowball Playdough. Simple, and a total hit! Find it here.
  • Melted Crayon Ornaments. We turned those crayons (above) into ornaments (below) and gifted them to friends. Find it here.  Just a couple notes….. Do NOT attempt this project if you only own a prehistoric hairdryer that is over 25 years old (like mine). You will be frustrated and probably burn your fingers attempting to melt those damn nubs of crayon.  At least I was.  All crayons are not melted alike. I noticed that off-brand crayons melted at a different rate from Crayola crayons and it was frustrating to not have all of them melting at once.  But this could also be my crappy ass hairdryer coming into play. Also, I had A TON of trouble getting the unmelted nubs of crayon out of the bulbs after we had the inside decorated to our satisfaction.  After many swear words and angry shaking of the ornaments (resulting in at least one casualty), I resorted to using the smallest possible bits of crayon & just melting them to extinction.  You really don’t need much to coat the inside of each ornament.  Much less than you would think. And it’s strangely satisfying to watch them melt into oblivion. Unless your fingers are on fire. I let Uptown pick the colors and I did the heating, so this might not be super appropriate for smaller kiddos, but he still seemed to enjoy it.  I’m sensing a bit of a color theme here….. He didn’t branch out too much with his choices. Maybe next time.

Hope you have enjoyed the weeks leading up to Christmas (or your festivity of choice) with your own fantastic, unique traditions!  I’d love to hear what you do with your families to prepare for the holidays :)

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

2

Drinkin’ The Kool-Aid

IMG_1907So my good friend at Knitting Up North has been talking about the Knit Girllls Stash Dash a bunch lately.  If you haven’t read her blog yet, go check it out. Seriously. Go now.  I’ll wait.  Are you back?

She never fails to make me laugh and constantly inspires me with all her awesome projects. I don’t listen to the Knit Girllls podcast like she does but I love the idea of the Stash Dash.  So I’m drinkin’ the kool-aid and joining in.  I’ll be an unofficial entry though.  It seems a little fakey fake to join the Ravelry group just for the Dash without really knowing what the podcast is about or even having plans to check it out (I’m not really a podcast kinda person). But it will be the perfect excuse to drag out some UFOs that need finishing and maybe clean the slate a bit while having a little fun and challenging myself.

I’m on my way to completing my Freshman year of Loopy Academy and though I thoroughly enjoyed my first Camp Loopy last summer, I think I need a break from “mandatory fun”.  You know, activities that are designed to be “fun” but really leave you sweaty and stressed and make you want to fake a violent illness so you can get out of them.  Management likes to call these “team building exercises.” Right.  Anyway that’s not totally fair since Camp Loopy and Loopy Academy have actually been really fun, but I’m a little burnt out on the structure and the fact that you have to buy new yarn for each project.  I’m ready to work on the stash and finishing some things. Hopefully that will mean I’ll be ready for my sophomore year of Loopy Academy when it starts in the fall. ‘Cause I’d really like to continue.

Oh crap.  I clicked over to The Loopy Ewe blog to copy some links for the stuff I just wrote and they have posted stuff for Camp Loopy – Safari Edition already.  How can I resist those adorable lions and giraffes in colored socks? Here, you try:

Print

Tell me that wasn’t just a little bit hard to resist…..

Right now though, I’m having fun combing Ravelry for all my old projects I’d like to finish and things I might like to knit from stash for the Stash Dash.  I’ll post soon with photos and progress reports.  Oh and that thing up at the top?  That’s my kick a$$ ceramic toadstool posing with a dishcloth I’m working on as a request from a fellow Raveler for the pattern I used in my very first knitting project. I’m actually more excited about the toadstool.  I’d love to have a little army of these in different sizes scattered throughout my front garden.  Awesome.  Makes me smile just thinking about it.  Hope your day is smiley too!

5

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Family1a

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  We hope you had a joyous holiday and are looking forward to a New Year filled with peace & love!

A little Christmas gift I thought I’d share with you…..

Tin Can Knits (Ravelry Designer link here) is gifting people with one free pattern from their collection until January 1st 2013.  Check out the details here!  I’ve been admiring their patterns for a little while now, so here’s the chance to tell all of you about it and get to try something new at the same time :)  The pattern I chose to download is Snowflake, so hopefully that will appear in 2013’s FO’s somewhere.  Thanks so very much Tin Can Knits, for sharing your lovely patterns with all of us!  And be sure to pass this on to your friends too for a little holiday/New Year goodness :)

Happy Knitting, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, & much love,

Knittymuggins

14

Learning Curve

We’ve been having a time of it here at Chez Funkytown.  Knittymunchkin has been going through an extremely exhausting fussy stage, complete with wailing, waking up several times a night (from dead sleep to frantic crying in 1.5 seconds flat), not napping, and crying & pulling while nursing.  The only thing that keeps him mildly content is for me to carry him around all day long.  Needless to say, my back hurts.  Though he’s taken quite nicely to the Baby Bjorn that he used to hate.  Bonus!
 

When he was born, we found out he had acid reflux, which can be really common for preemies.  We have been giving him medicine for it for a few months and he’s been doing so well (not spitting up & not grunting with discomfort while laying down) that we thought we’d try discontinuing the medicine.  He seemed to be doing really well for a day or two, other than the increase in fussing & the waking up at night. Silly me, I didn’t put two and two together until he started spitting up again the past couple days.  D’oh!  Maybe it’s because he still needs his medicine, dummy!  So we’ve started that again and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will bring him, and us, some relief.  Because this waking up every two hours all night long has got to stop.  I feel like spawn of the dead, all groggy and stuff all day long.  And knitting?  There’s been zip.zero.nada.
 

Sometimes this works too.....


 

I started doing some more extensive reading when he began having so much additional trouble sleeping recently.  It could also be a growth spurt or teething, but I don’t see any evidence of new tooth sprouts, so I don’t know about that.  I really think it’s the reflux coming back.  But I also found out that, apparently, I am a prime candidate for the SMITU award (Shittiest Mother In The Universe – smite you! – I just made that up), for even considering the notion of letting my child “cry it out” like I mentioned the other day.  Dr. Sears says so, so I guess it must be true.  I was just going by the books I’ve read up to this point which tell you you need to “train” your child to fall asleep on their own, otherwise they’ll never learn how.  But surprise surprise, Dr. Sears says you’ll just cause your child to cry more because you aren’t meeting their needs and when you do this you are cheaping out on creating a wonderful relationship with your baby.  Wow.  I really have a lot to learn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably never be a militant full-on attachment parenting advocate (people should do what’s right for them, without judgment), but I do think we’ve  benefited from a kinder, gentler, approach towards bedtime. Yes, he does still need to be rocked to sleep for the most part, but he falls asleep faster than he used to and cries less.  Plus, I think we’re bonding more.  I guess it really is a win-win.
 

Meats & Veg In One Big Pot!


 

Despite all this crazy mama drama, I have still managed to find time to try one new recipe (part of my Day Zero Project goals).  I apologize to all you vegetarians out there who will be offended by my pot roast photo up there.  I’m sorry, but I still do eat meat.  I’ve never been very good at cooking it because, frankly, when I lived alone I mostly ate chicken, veg, & pasta.  But I now live with a bona fide carnivore and meat is what’s for dinner.  It’s been dang hot here so I was looking for something to cook in the crock pot that wouldn’t heat up the house.  A friend of ours came over to meet Knittymunchkin for the first time and was talking about going home to cook a pot roast.  He made it sound so easy I thought, why not?  I hopped on the inrawebz and found a likely recipe here.  Following some of the advice of the reviewers I changed it up a little and settled in for a 10 hour wait.  It smelled great and looked good when we dished up.  The flavor however, was missing something.  It’s not like it was bad, it just wasn’t amazing.  R. Darling gave it an 8 and I gave it a 7 for the meat and an 8 for the veg.  As in, I would cook it again, but it sorely needs something.  Any of you lovely readers have a secrety squirrel ingredient you’d be willing to share for fantastic pot roast?  I thought the balsamic vinegar I added would do the trick but sadly, no.  Maybe I didn’t add enough.
 

Well, it’s all part of my learning curve. I’m still on the upward climb, but I will get there someday. I have to!