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!).

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).

 

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

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

Febru-Very

February was very:

 

Toothy…..

 

Knittymunchkin's 1st Dentist Appointment!

Knittymunchkin’s 1st Dentist Appointment!


 

Valentiney…..

 

Hand Knit Valentines for Knittymunchkin's Prescchool Friends

Hand Knit Valentines for Knittymunchkin’s Prescchool Friends


 

  • Pattern: Little Hearts by Teresa Fox (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Random ancient Hot Pink wool from stash & Scraps of Valley Yarns Stockbridge in “Deep Red”
  • Needles: Size 9, 32″ circs for Magic Loop
  • Comments: These came out super cute!  I feel a little guilty because I had the fun of making them and Knittymunchkin really wasn’t that involved, but he had absolutely no interest in making valentines this year.  I had him stick stickers to the gift tags we attached and that was about all I could convince him to do.  I figure his class is getting pretty sick of my hand knits by now, but I did get a very sweet photo e-mail from one of his classmates’ moms telling me that her son had been hugging his heart all day.  Awww!  Gave the teacher the lone red heart and the kids all got dark pink.  I didn’t felt them because I didn’t have time, but maybe next time I’ll give it a try.

 

Swappy……

 

Back in September, I joined a swap group on Ravelry called Ewe LaLa Swap, mainly because the first swap they set up was one in which you swapped a handmade project bag and a ball of yarn and I was hoping to sort of force myself to learn to sew a project bag.  It didn’t come out too badly (I used this free pattern) and my partner seemed to really like it.

 

My First Handmade Project Bag

My First Handmade Project Bag


 
This year I did the January-February Box of Color Swap in which our partner picked a color theme and it was our job to make and send them items to fit this theme.  I amassed a big collection of stuff to send, which was really fun.  But the best part was making some handknits for my partner.  Her colors were a combination of red/orange/pink/ and a little dash of purple (here at design-seeds – which, by the way, is so much fun to browse!).  Of course I went a little heavy on the pink and purple!
 
Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express


 

  • Pattern: Hogwarts Express by Susan Ashcroft (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock  in “Blacklight”
  • Needles: Size 6 circ
  • Comments:  I love how this turned out!  One of the things I have always wanted to try, but have never gotten around to, is adding beads to my knitting.  It always seemed so intimidating, but I thought this would be the perfect way to try it out, as you only add beads to the “eyes” of the owls.  My swap partner loved all things owl, so this was the perfect choice.  It was a pretty speedy knit too, and I got to use some beautiful HK Artisan Sock from my stash.  The pattern was a little loosey-goosey for my taste and therefore a bit confusing for me at first, but I got it down eventually and this was a really pleasant knit.  I was actually tempted to make one for myself once I tried it on, but then reminded myself I don’t really “do” shawls (at least not yet) so it would just be silly to make one for myself.  The nice thing about swapping is getting to make things and then give them away!

 

I also made this for my swap partner:

 

Mosaic Pouch

Mosaic Pouch


 

  • Pattern: Mosaic Knitted Pouches by Kate Sharaf (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Noro Iro scraps in color #9 & random purple aran weight wool from stash
  • Needles: Size 7 & Size 9
  • Comments:  I am disgustingly pleased with myself for using random scrap stash yarn to make this.  It was a bit tedious to add the zipper and the lining and, in fact, getting up the resolve to do that portion of it took a lot longer than the actual knitting.  I had to seam one of the sides too and that kind of got me kerbobbled, until I actually did it.  And then I had to pat myself on the back for how easily I was able to match everything up.  Not too bad.  I hand sewed the lining and zipper in, figuring I could do a neater job by hand than with my machine.  I’m still a little zipper-phobic.  But it looked nice and it worked!  Bonus.  I almost (almost!) want to make some more of these….

 

Knit-Along-y:

 

Malabrigo Lace in "Continental"

Malabrigo Lace in “Continental”


 
On February 14th my friends Jess, Troy and I bravely began a laceweight sweater knitalong.  I’m knitting the Cloudette Cardigan with this lovely blue Malabrigo Laceweight that I have had in my stash for eons.  It’s actually going a lot faster than I’d expected, but I’ve had to put it down for a couple weeks because the purling is driving me bananas and I’ve been inadvertently pimped out to other knitting recipients by my Mom (more on that later).  I think I’m going to love this when I finally do finish it though!
 
And, as expected, March has come roaring in like the lion it’s supposed to be.  Meaning, I finally have an explanation for the bone-crushing weariness that has been plaguing me since November.  Yep.  I have a nasty little abscess hanging out next to my crown on tooth #30 and I gets to have me a big ole root canal on March 22.  Fun.  I hope this means I can expect March to go out like a lamb…..

5

There’s Something About Minis Part Deux

After 4 months of swing shift, R. Darling’s schedule has changed to day shift again and we are all trying to adjust.  This means more family time (yay!) but less time for catching up with my own stuff (boo!).  Summer is always a tough time for me when it comes to blogging, and apparently springtime is not much different.  Though you will most likely be hearing less from me for a while, never fear.  I’ll still be slugging away behind the scenes.
 
A two week recap on the Thinning The Nest Project:
 
Week 18 (May 3, 2012):  Gave away another pyrex dish & lid to my Mom, using travel size contact solution, threw out some old face powder
 
Week 19 (May 10, 2012 – this week): Goodbye Gallon Size Bag O’ Corks!
 
Nothing crazy or life-altering here.  A while back the makers of the contact solution we buy (Clear Care) decided to add some extras to the big Costco sized box we buy every month.  One of those extras is a travel size bottle of solution.  Pretty cool if you are traveling a lot, but with a 2 year old and not much extra in the bank, we aren’t going anywhere any time soon (except for maybe crazy).  I decided to start using some of these before they either expire, or bust out the bottom of our “junk” drawer in the bathroom.  As for the face powder, I’ve had that stuff in my makeup case for going on 9 years now.  I guess because it was powder I just hung onto it, figuring I’d find a use for it someday.  I try it periodically and it never seems quite right.  So this time, instead of putting it back in the drawer, I just chucked it.  It kind of felt good!  And I’m pretty sure I won’t miss it. And the corks, you ask?  They came in a vase I bought at an antique shop (which, it turns out, was NOT an antique & was made in China; not that I really cared).  I wanted the vase for something else, so dumped out the corks and decided I could find a good use for them eventually.  Someone on the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry was looking for corks, so they’ve now been happily rehomed.
 

Knittymunchkin Loves Minis Too!


 
A while back I mentioned that I was a little excited about minis.  I also mentioned that if I started talking about my “tub o’ minis” and complaining that the lid wouldn’t shut, I might need you to stage an intervention.  Um.  Houston, we have a problem.  Wednesday this week I went to Target and bought myself a bigger tub for my minis.  Granted, we are nowhere near rubbermaid tote proportions, but the collection is growing at an astonishing rate.  And um, there might be more to this addiction….er….situation.  I started growing a little collection of orphan minis from the swaps I’ve been in.  Minis in dark, crazy, stripey, boyish colors that just didn’t belong in my girly Beekeeper’s Quilt.  What to do, what to do?  Well, what any nutjob like me would do: Start a Sock Yarn Blanket for my sweet baby boy!!  Gulp.  I need another years-long project like I need more yarn, but what can I say?  There’s something about minis……
 

The Beginning of The Madness!

5

Thinning The Nest: Thursday Number 11

Week 11:  Odds ‘n Ends, i.e. total lameness!

I’d love to be able to tell you that between this Thursday and last, I got my sh!t togetha and cleared all the clutter out of my entire house, knit 4 sweaters, 5 pairs of socks, and a dozen hats.  Or at least that I took a bad-ass vacation to the beach.  But alas, none of those things occurred.  The weather was beyond bleak.  Several days Knittymunchkin decided he needed to wear his “jammies” all day and while the rain pelted, the snow fell, and the wind buffeted, we cranked up the heat and watched just a little too much Sesame Street.  It was one of those weeks.  I felt about as forlorn inside as the weather was outside.  But I did manage to read and recycle two magazines, gift four Martha Stewart magazines to my friend John, and use up a laundry detergent sample that has been sitting in the laundry room exactly as long as we’ve had our washing machine (circa 2008 or 2009).  I also used up a deluxe sized sample of Philosophy Purity Made Simple that I received years ago (2007?) with a Sephora order.  I’ve been keeping this wash in my travel stuff for years now because it’s such a nice portable size, yet there is always enough for several days.  Well with my skin freaking out lately, I decided to try anything I had in my sample stash that might calm things down a little.  This seemed to do the trick, though Troy bought me some Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel that I positively adore, so it’s not so bad that I finally used up the Philosophy stuff.  I also pulled some yarn out of my stash to knit another square for my friend Kathy that I mentioned last time.  Not much to be said for this week, but I’m chipping away at things slowly.  Ever so slowly…..

It was a good mail week though!  I received back yarn from two different swaps and I can’t wait to add them to my Beekeeper’s Quilt.  It’s always nice when there’s something to look forward to in the mailbox.  Here’s a few of my favorites from the Sweet Georgia Swap in the Blankiemania Group on Ravelry.  I sure wish I could join Round 2!  These are just lovely….

Sweet Georgia Swap Round 1 - 2012