11

A Knitter in Crisis

On November 7, 2015 I uttered the words I thought I’d never say: “I think I need to stop knitting.” And I was dead serious.

Earlier that day I had picked up the sweater I finished this year for Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester 2: Slipped Stitches and was stunned to find a small moth hole in the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. Don’t believe the hype – they DO ABSOLUTELY eat new yarn.  I only wore this sweater for a few minutes to take photos. That was it.

Suck Factor: infinity.

As I looked at it I thought, well, maybe I could repair that small bit.  It was only a couple stitches, I caught them in time, and any knitter worth their salt should be able to fix something like that, right? Thinking I’d catch those motherf*&%^$ing moths while they were sleeping, I decided to soak the sweater first to drown any remaining munchy perpetrators. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Modest Sweater with more holes the size of reindeer. It’s probably good I gave it a bath and saw just how much damage was caused, or I might have tried to repair it first and realized later it was a lost cause. I wasted enough time knitting it, I didn’t want to waste any extra time repairing it.

After the sweater debacle in the morning, I was decidedly (and deservedly) down. What was the point of it all? Why should I continue to knit if this kind of thing is going to happen (it’s happened on a smaller scale before)? Why why why? What a waste of time and effort.  There were tears in my voice when I told my husband I should just quit knitting. He looked at me with as much sympathy as a non-knitter, non-hand-knit-wearer could muster and said, “But you love it.  It’s not about finishing things for you. It’s about the process.” Does this man know me or what? Everything he said rang true.

I haven’t given up on knitting, but I am taking a small break to regroup and fortify my spirit against the evil moth hordes. I am …gasp… crocheting with perle cotton and purchased acrylic (ick) for two projects. There are reasons for those things not entirely related to the wool hell I’ve been in, but there’s definitely a correlation. I’ve been burned.

But like a moth to a flame…. or more like a moth to wool….. I’m sure I’ll be back.

In the meantime, please answer me this: Why do you knit/crochet/create? I absolutely need to know the meaning of (knit)life!

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4

Fifty Shades of Lame

  • Working on a sweater (Artichoke French) until it’s 85% finished and then neglecting it for over a year…….. Lame.
  • Picking up that sweater and working on it, thinking to yourself, “Man, I am killing it! I’m totally going to finish this in a few hours”, only to find the decreases got effed up somewhere along the way and you have no idea when that happened……… Lamer.
  • Tinking back over two full skeins’ worth of yarn (because there are about 80 million markers so there’s no way you can just rip it all out at once) and still not finding where the mistake occurred…….. Lamest.
  • Realizing there is no candy or alcohol in the house and you are feeling crazy and desperate…… Totally lame.
  • Your child is sleeping and you can neither leave your sleeping child at home in order to procure candy and alcohol, nor justify waking him up to do so…..lame lame lame.
  • Starting a new pair of socks because you can’t stand the thought of tinking back more of that damn sweater……La-a-a-aaaaaaame.
  • Trying not to think about the fact that you may have to go all the way back to where the sleeve and body are joined before being able to fix this epic mistake…….

ALL sorts of lame.

5

Finishing Frenzy

School’s out for summer!

Well, almost.  Knittymunchkin has one more official day of preschool tomorrow (and then he’ll no longer be a preschooler! sniff. NO I’m NOT getting verklempt!).  But I’m all done with Freshman Year of Loopy Academy.  Woot!  I cut it close this time with getting everything finished up and photographed, but I did it.  Here are my last two projects for Freshman Year….

modest iphone3

For the “Slipped Stitches” project, I decided to knit the Modest Pullover by Ashley Rao (Interweave Knits, Winter 2015). Damn, this was a challenge for me!  It wasn’t the knitting that was the problem, it was the seaming.  I have always been intimidated by the thought of seaming a sweater.  I started my knitting “career” right around the time that knitters everywhere were going nuts over the idea of knitting seamless sweaters. So, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve only knit seamless until now.  This seemed like a great way to do a little of both and maybe ease myself into the idea of working something with seams. Ha ha ha.  I’m still laughing at myself over that one.  While I was working on this sweater, Knittymunchkin started up karate and the first two month’s life skill discussions were: “No struggle = No strength” & “Perserverence”.  You can bet I was listening closely while I read those pamphlets out loud to the kiddo.  In this case I have to thank Loopy Academy and their dangling carrot of “a special prize” for keeping me on task (What? A “special prize?” It’s like moths to a flame, baby). Without that deadline, you can bet this sucker would be stuffed in a big tote somewhere and forgotten for, oh, about 5 years at least. My average sweater completion time kinda blows.  But no, I persevered. And I knit those seams over, and over, and over, and over. Seriously.  I lost count how many times I ripped them out and started again.  But, the end result is not entirely amateurish.  I will still wear this and maybe (or maybe not) I’ll be inspired to knit another seamed or partially seamed sweater in the future.

My “Felted/Fulled” project went much more smoothly.  I made the Braided Cable Handle Tote by Amanda Silveira. Oh I see all my random worsted weight yarn being made into these.  Lots of fun to knit and really lovely once felted.   It felted so easily in my front loader I had to pinch myself; considered going out to buy a lottery ticket or something. I sewed in a fabric lining (somewhat successfully) and will be gifting this to my son’s preschool teacher as an end of the year gift.

felt bag2

And so…… Stash Dash 2015 has officially started!  I’ve already completed one item and have a couple more in the works. I’m also going through my Ravelry notebook and trying to sort out what’s actually finished and just needs to be officially “completed”.  It will be a lot easier to keep track of WIPs that need work that way. Right now it’s kind of a mess! But we’ll talk about that next time. Until then, I hope your summer is off to a great start!!

4

Happy Funksgiving!!

I hope everyone had a joyful, mouthwatering, laughter-filled, and truly wonderful Thanksgiving last Thursday!  I have so very much to be thankful for this year, and I did spend the day reflecting on how truly grateful I am for all that I have been given in this life.  Though there are days I feel worried about things, in my deepest heart I know I am one lucky girl to have all that I do!
 
For the first time this year we found ourselves traveling further than just across town to my Mother-In-Law’s as we usually do.  My Sister-In-Law hosted it this year and we bravely made our way into the heart of holiday traffic to spend a few hours with my husband’s side of the family.  It was difficult to leave my Mom to her own devices on Thanksgiving since I am her only close family left, and she had just recently been through surgery.  I felt guilty the entire day.  But we had arranged to have her over on Friday for our very own quiet celebration of Thanksgiving, a celebration I call “Funksgiving” (a play on our name), and that made me feel just slightly better about the way the chips had fallen.
 

Knittymunchkin loves Daddy’s old cars!


 
Funksgiving is not about getting dressed up, making uncomfortable small talk with people you don’t see often or know very well, or eating fancy foods that make all the guests ooh and ahh over the hostess’ cooking prowess.  It’s about comfort, calm, and a day spent in our own house relaxing and feeling thankful for all our blessings.  Funksgiving came about when my husband and I were first married and had to do the typical family negotiations involved around celebration of major holidays.  Which side of the family would get to spend which holidays with us?  Where would we go?  How could we avoid offending anyone?  My husband comes from a divided family.  His Dad pretty much gets the shaft and we rarely, if ever, see him around any holidays.  I think that’s because he is the easiest when it comes to these kinds of things.  He doesn’t make a fuss and prefers to take the pressure off of us by bowing out, rather than expecting us to have to choose between families.  So then it came down to my parents and my Mother-In-Law.  My parents chose Christmas Day (Christmas Eve has always been “ours” in our own home) and my Mother-In-Law chose Thanksgiving.  We hosted a couple Thanksgivings and Christmases in an attempt to include everyone, but it just didn’t seem to work out. Someone always seemed uncomfortable.   So then my Mother-In-Law started hosting Thanksgiving for that side of the family and my parents would go to a friend’s house to celebrate.  It felt strange not to see my folks at Thanksgiving. So we started inviting them to Funksgiving, which is traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to try to keep everyone happy.
 
However, this was not the only motivation for the creation of Funksgiving.  Probably the greatest reason was this: leftovers.  Going to others’ homes for the big Thanksgiving meal meant that there was a massive dearth of holiday deliciousness in our fridge during my husband’s favorite holiday of the entire year.  No turkey sandwiches, no leftover green bean casserole, no potatoes and gravy to munch on for days as you relive the glory of a comforting and filling Thanksgiving meal.  We love spending this day with our little family, feeling grateful, and having a quiet meal together in our own home.  It reminds us, for yet another day, of all that we have to be thankful for.
 
In the spirit of Funksgiving, and because I am still working on decluttering our home, I have a few things I’d like to offer up to all of you lovely readers who take the time to visit my humble blog and stop, for even a moment, to read my nonsense.  I will give these items away, for free, to whoever leaves the first comment requesting the item.  Just one item per person, if you please, and only US requests (I am unable to ship international right now due to lack of funds).  If there seems a huge amount of interest in one particular item, or a question about who commented first, then I will hold a drawing to decide who receives it.
 
First up, is a copy of “Expectant Little Knits”.  This is all maternity patterns for those of you who are expecting, will be expecting, or know someone who is expecting.  I received a free copy of this, and as Knittymunchkin will be our one and only, I have absolutely no use for this book.  I’d love for one of you to take it off my hands and enjoy it!
 

“Expectant Little Knits” – image courtesy of amazon.com


 
My next offering is something a little more near and dear to my heart.  After recently completing a sweater that I’ve not failed to wear at least once a week since its finish (I’ll show you soon), I realized I have some hand knits that really need a better home than I’ve been giving them.  First up is this one: 28thirty (ravelry link).  I have lots of memories of working on this sweater, but only one memory of actually wearing it (other than the photo shoot).  I was newly pregnant and wore it to one of my checkups.  The receptionist complimented my sweater and when I told her I’d knit it myself she was pleasingly congratulatory on my knitting skillz.  Made me feel awesome, especially since I was feeling a tad chubbity with Knittymunchkin blossoming in my belly, but not awesome enough to keep on wearing it.  No matter what I try, it never looks right on me. One funny note: the sleeves look like earthworms, and I’ve always thought of it as my earthworm sweater :) Anyway, I knit this as a size Small and if you’d like to see more details and/or pics, the link to my ravelry project is here and the link to my original post about it on the blog is here.  Any other questions, please feel free to e-mail me or comment here on the blog.  I have just one request regarding this giveaway.  Please, I beg of you, don’t ask for this sweater only to felt, frog, or cut it up!  I want it to be worn by someone.  It would break my heart to have all my hard work destroyed so easily :(  Thank you!
 
Claimed by lollyknits! Thank you!!
 

28thirty – front view


 
Hope each of you had a joyful Thanksgiving and a very Happy Funksgiving to you as well!

6

Snot Rocket

Yes, that’s right.  My precious angel has recently infected me with the crud and both our noses are dripping like your favorite ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day.  I guess we’ve been pretty lucky.  It’s April after all, and this is our first bout of the year. Of course Knittymunchkin is made of rubber and you can hardly tell that he probably feels terrible, between his cold and the last two teeth that are trying to push through.  If only I could be so cheerful.  I just want to lay in bed watching trashy movies and sleeping for, oh, the next week.  Not happening.
 
Anyway, it’s Thursday again.  I have missed the last two (three, if you count my pass week).  But just because I haven’t posted, doesn’t mean I haven’t been chipping away at my goals.  I think the exercise of trying to write about it once a week has done its work, without me actually having to go so far as to bore you with my tales of semi-reformed hoarderliness.  That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to write about it, I just may not wax as poetic about it as I have up to this point (you don’t get off that easy, puh-lease!).  The emotionally charged items I expect to give up now and then will still get their due, but things that go by the wayside more easily will hopefully receive a little more brevity on my part.
 
So.  The Update:
 
Week 13 (March 29, 2012):  Pass from Week 7’s massive offload
 
Week 14 (April 5, 2012):  Candle & Bath stuff brought out of stash & put to use, pre-pregnancy jeans with hole in goddess grotto (ha ha) thrown out, 30 minutes of declutter every Tuesday established
 
Week 15 (April 12, 2012): 10 balls of yarn sent out via RAK, almost 1 lb. of dishcloth cotton scraps sent out via RAK, stickers sent out via RAK, sweater pledged via RAK underway, book mailed out via Bookmooch
 
Week 16 (this week): Book to Bookmooch
 
I’ll admit it.  The jeans were a little hard to part with.  I loved the way they fit when I was skinny; key phrase: when I was skinny.  Realistically, as much as I would love to fit into them again, I never will.  It’s a sad day when you feel defeated by your waistline.  My brain raced with reasons to keep them: the hole’s not that big, you can hardly see it, you could wear them to garden, you might fit into them again someday, they’re so cuuuuuuuute.  I gulped and threw them in the trash.  Immediately I felt the irrational urge to fish them out.  Instead, I walked away and found something else to occupy my mind.  And then….  I totally forgot about them.  Huh.  So that’s how it’s supposed to work!
 
That same week I was reading an article in SHAPE magazine written by the experts who counsel the people on “Hoarders”.  There were lots of tips in there on how to cut down on your clutter and get more organized.  I was particularly struck by the one that said you should set aside thirty minutes on a specific day each week to de-clutter.  It sounded like a great idea.  Now that I have a lot less structure in my days, being that I report to Knittymunchkin instead of a 9-5 workplace, I find it a lot harder to focus and get things accomplished.  You’d think somehow it would be easier, with all that time in my day, but it really isn’t.  Time with a two year old vanishes faster than you can say “Elmo”.  So scheduling specific organization time seemed like a great idea.  I chose Tuesday evenings for my new plan and so far it has worked really well.  Thirty minutes is long enough to get something done, but not long enough to feel like you are chained to a specific task.  The first week I could actually see the top of part of my desk again after just one session.  I’d realistically like to do this more than once a week, but for right now one session is about all I can commit to.  Still, it helps!
 

Little Bubbles Baby Set - Yoke


 
I mentioned that in Week 15 I pledged a sweater via the Random Acts of Kindness Group on Ravelry.  Every month you can post a wishlist and this month I posted on my wishlist that I needed a knitting recipient.  I had two kits for the Little Bubbles Baby Set from KnitPicks, and I never got around to knitting them for Knittymunchkin.  Now that he’s too big for the biggest size, it’s kind of a lost cause to make it for him.  So someone answered my request and I’m knitting this for her 5 month old.  Hopefully, by the time I finish it it will be the perfect size for her :)  The colors I have aren’t sold anymore (or shown on the pattern page) but I love them.  Knitting this makes me wish I’d had more time to knit things for Knittymunchkin before he was born.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll save that second kit for the grandchild I may have one day.  I know that’s planning pretty far in advance, but it would be worth it to have it when the time is right.  Uh oh. Maybe I really haven’t made any progress!
 
Off to sniffle in bed with a book for a while.  Hope you are all staying healthy & happy!

10

Someone Has Been Knitting?

Wow, it’s been a while.  I suppose an explanation is in order.  You see, I’ve rather sadly become one of those bloggers that doesn’t blog regularly anymore :(  I see my stats dropping like the dirty bastard moths I am still swiping at now and again and though I feel deep sadness over that, I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t much I can do about it right now.  Time for blogging will come more regularly again (I hope!), but my focus is elsewhere for the time being.  Mostly on that little cherub napping in his room upstairs ;)
 
The silver lining to this is that I actually have knitting to show you!  Yes, I have actually been finishing things.  I’ve been subscribing to a new philosophy on knitting (and life in general) i.e., completing what I start and eliminating the baggage of everything else.  This is sort of new to me, and it’s actually been easier and more satisfying than I expected.  I think the first time I started and finished something this year and didn’t allow myself to start something else in the meantime, was just the boost I needed to break my habit.  Experiencing how good it feels to get that last stitch finished and take those photos so I can mark it “completed” in Ravelry has become downright addicting.
 
I know, I know.  Get to the pretty pictures already!  No one wants to hear you tooting your own horn.  So, I’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get down to it.  Just the nitty gritty deets for now and I’ll chit chat more next time.
 

Twisted


 

  • Pattern: Twisted by Galia Lael  (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 156 yds of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky in “Wild Violet”
  • Needles:  16 inch Size 9 & 10.5 bamboo circs
  • Mods:  None
  • Completed:  January 27, 2011

 
I made this for Amy as her Pay It Forward 2011 gifty.  This was such a quick and addicting knit!  Amy loves purple and she really likes hats, so this was a fun (and hopefully useful) thing to make for her.  I don’t have a lot of purple in my stash, but I did have this pretty yarn and it was just the right amount for this beret.  I was sweating having enough until the very last stitch, but squeaked by with just the right amount.  My first time blocking a hat on a dinner plate!
 

Multnomah


 

  • Pattern: Multnomah by Kate Elsa  (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 484 yds of Hill Country Yarns Superfine Supersock in “Blueberry Wine”
  • Needles:  24 inch size 3 addi lace turbos
  • Mods:  Knit extra lace repeats (19 total) to increase size of shawl
  • Completed:  March 23, 2011

 
A gift for Lisa, this was my second completed Pay It Forward gifty for the year.  Lisa is also a purple fan!  I thought the colors would be perfect for her and I really wanted to knit a shawl. I love knitting shawls, even if I don’t wear them :) It turned out as more of a shawlette, even though I did many more repeats of the feather and fan pattern than were called for in the original pattern. I think the yarn was closer to laceweight than fingering; more than I’d realized initially. But I’m still happy with how it turned out and Lisa tells me she really likes it too. Hooray! Blocked this with blocking wires. My very first time! They are amazing, let me tell ya…..
 

Undergrowth


 

  • Pattern: Undergrowth by Mandy Powers (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 101 yds of Frog Tree Alpaca Sport in “#23” (Red; MC) + 79 yds Knit Picks Andean Treasure in “Meringue Heather” (Cream; CC)
  • Needles:  16 inch size 4 bamboo circs & dpns
  • Mods:  None!
  • Completed:  April 29, 2011

 
This hat was for Jess (my 3rd Pay It Forward gifty for 2011).  Jess mentioned one of her favorite colors was red and that she really liked hats (but never seemed to get to make one for herself).  I saw this pattern and had to make one.  It worked out perfectly because I had just the right red in my stash already!  A while back Jess wrote a post about “Potato Chip Knitting”.  You know, the kind you can’t put down?  I’d never heard that before and thought it was super clever :)  My potato chip knitting just happens to be colorwork, so how fitting that she should be the recipient of this hat!  This pattern was fantastic.  The instructions were clear & concise, and the design was amazing.  I would make about a zillion more of these if I had that many heads to put them on :)  I seriously couldn’t put this down.  So, I’ll just put this out there: if you want one and don’t have the skillz, time, or desire to knit one, let me know!  If you got the yarn, I got the time ;)
 

The Kumfy Schluttli


 

  • Pattern: The Kumfy Schluttli by Meg Layaw (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  Approximately 232.5 yds of Dream In Color Classy in “Beach Fog”
  • Needles:  24 inch size 8 bamboo circs & dpns
  • Size:  3-9 months
  • Completed:  May 19, 2011

 
I made this little sweater for a Ravelry penpal who just had a little boy in March.  I was kind of pushing it size-wise perhaps, but was hoping it would still fit him for a little.  Jess will recognize this yarn since I received it in trade from her sometime last year :)  What a truly adorable sweater!  And what a truly sketchy pattern.  I was surprised at that, but was ultimately able to figure things out, having knit a fair number of raglans by now in my knitting “career”.  Personally, I prefer patterns that lay it all out for you, and don’t appreciate it when things seem vague or too “casual” in the instructions.  But that’s just me.  Anyway, I can see myself making a few more of these.  It was super quick and satisfying to knit, and only took 1 hank of yarn!
 
Whew!  I suppose if I didn’t store stuff up to post it would go a lot faster (it’s already taken me 2 days to finish this post).  Anyhoo, I’ve got 2 more FO’s waiting to be blocked and a half-finished Spectra (OMG. LOVE.) to show soon too.  Guess I’d better get a move on!
 
Knit happy, blogg peeps :)

11

The Mayor Of Cooville

The Mayor of Cooville spends all day in his pajamas.  He lives at home with his parents and doesn’t have a job.  The Mayor of Cooville has people who cater to his every whim.  He’s not afraid to cry when he’s upset or wants his way and he knows who is really in charge and how to stay that way.  The Mayor of Cooville loves milk.  It’s his favorite.  In fact, he loves it so much he eats milk at every meal.  The Mayor of Cooville knows how to pour on the charm.  His smile could stop you dead in your tracks.  He stays up late and gets up early, and knows the importance of a nap (or three) during the day.  The Mayor of Cooville doesn’t have  a driver’s license but he loves riding in the car and will fall fast asleep while traveling.  He has a lot of potential and learns fast.  But most of all, the Mayor of Cooville still lets his Mama dress him funny……
 

Knittymunchkin!


 
I actually finished these sweaters in late 2009, all but the buttons.  But without the buttons on, it seemed silly to post and then things just got effing crazy with Knittymunchkin’s arrival and so on.  These are still a little big for him but I did put the brown and blue one on him when we took him for a walk last weekend.  I felt vaguely smug when we ran into a couple from our childbirth class and they exclaimed, “What a cute sweater!”, not knowing I had made it myself.  Rodger proudly told them so and then I felt even a bit more smug at their astonishment.  I’m so vain about my craft it’s sad ;)  Anyhoo, the specifics….
 

Felix Sweater in Patons Classic Wool


 

  • Pattern: Felix’s Cardigan by Jacki Kelly (Ravelry link here, My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn: Approximately 0.87 balls (194 yds) Patons Classic Wool in “Wedgewood”
  • Needles:  Size 7 –  24 inch bamboo circs

 

Felix Sweater in Cascade Quatro


 

  • Pattern: Felix’s Cardigan by Jacki Kelly (Ravelry link here, My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn: 1 hank Cascade Quatro Color #9432
  • Needles:  Size 7 –  24 inch bamboo circs

 
What can I say?  I love this sweater so much I made three (third one still needs buttons; photos to come)!  It’s super quick, super easy, and super cute.  I love that I can make one with pretty much one ball of yarn too.  Perfect for those random single skeins you might have hanging out in your stash.  Finding the perfect buttons though?  That search might take you longer than it does to knit the sweater!
 
Now I’m off to check on the Mayor of Cooville.  He’s one demanding taskmaster!  But this Girl Friday sure does love him :)