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 ♥

Advertisements
6

The Things We Do For Love

Perler Beads!

 

My son has recently discovered Minecraft.  I’m ashamed to say that I do let him play it on my ipad from time to time.  His will be a tech savvy generation, no? But I seriously do not understand the draw. The graphics suck and it seems jerky and, yes I’m being judgy – pointless. Early on I tried to figure out how to play because he was so frustrated trying to figure out how to do things on his own and wanted help. I thought maybe I could assist.  Ha ha!  Silly Moo Moo (Uptown’s special name for me)! Did you really think you could understand?  Come on. But leave it to my kid to teach himself everything he wanted to know by watching Kids’ Youtube videos (good thing people like publishing tutorials).  How can you fault a kid who knows what he wants and then goes and finds the answers for himself? I almost feel like letting him play is teaching him something. Seriously, the kid is nearly 6 and he can do this?  Oy.

Unfortunately it’s become a HUGE obsession.  Rarely does a statement issue from his mouth that does not include something about Creepers, Steve, Redstone, Endermen, or what happens when lava meets water in Minecraft world. I feel he’s barely scratched the surface of what you can do with the game (which is fine with me) and already I feel my eyes glaze over when he starts Minecraft speaking.  But I have found a way to make the Minecraft obsession a little more productive and a little less boring for me. Enter Perler Beads.

During the holidays, one of Uptown’s advent gifts was a small Perler kit of a penguin. Immediately, he wanted to make more.  I don’t know what it is about junky plastic stuff, but kids just love it. But the awesome thing about this activity is the fact that he is working on fine motor control, distinguishing shades of color, and counting.  I’ve heard these can even improve hand-eye coordination. And guess what?  Pinterest and the interwebz are positively swarming with free Minecraft patterns.  Yesterday I set him up with a few (here) and he just kept wanting to make more and more.  Fantastic!  We can satisfy the love for Minecraft without even touching the iPad.

Of course today I find myself huddled over a giant vat of Perler Beads (22,000 to be exact) sorting, sorting, sorting.  Because apparently that’s how I roll.  Do not give me something that needs to be categorized or sorted out, or I will obsessively work like a little monkey until that sh*t is done. Ah, the things we do for love.

As for my socks, they are coming along nicely as well.  I treated myself to a new pair of needles with my Loopy Ewe end of the year credit and I’m so glad I did.  These are 40″ Chiaogoo Lace circulars, size 1.5 and they rock out with their socks out!  WAY better than the Knit Picks fixed Harmony circulars I was using prior.  The joins are super smooth and the cord has very little memory (unlike the Knit Picks Harmonys) which makes knitting magic loop so much more enjoyable. My knitting motto this year is: Socks for ’16 and I have a feeling these will get me there.

 

Los Monos Locos

11

It’s Me, Knittymuggins…..

Are you there blog?  It’s me, Knittymuggins.

Did you think I’d fallen off the face of the earth?  It’s been a busy spring & summer, everything sort of a mingled blur of preschool events, playdates, appointments, and trying to fill up the long summer hours without the whole preschool routine to rely on.

But, as I stepped out of my car yesterday morning, I could smell it: overripe blackberries, crushed, damp, foliage, and just the hint of a chill.  The smell I long for every year that tells me Autumn is coming; the season I yearn for.  Cool mornings and afternoons of warm, honeyed sunshine replace the white hot glare of summer, everywhere there are pumpkins, and my mood turns to contemplation.  The perfect time to start visiting this space again and sharing all my projects and thoughts with all of you lovely readers.

And boy is there a lot of knitting to share!  I have been a veritable knitting machine over the last few months.  It’s satisfying and rewarding and altogether necessary to survive life with a three year old.  Anyone who tells you that the twos are “terrible” hasn’t lived through the threes yet!  At least not the way things are going in our household.  That’s not to say that Knittymunchkin isn’t an angel 99% of the time.  But that last 1% can really stick it to you when you least expect it.

But you wanted some pretty pictures, didn’t you?  I thought so.  Here’s some of my latest FO’s with the bare minimum of details (you can check out specifics on my Ravelry project page).

And believe it or not, there’s more FO’s that I just haven’t had the chance to photograph yet!  But I hope to share those soon.

Hope your summer has been wonderful and that you are as excited about this autumn as I am!  I’m happy to be back :)

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…..

6

The Glee of Three

The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy!


 
My darling Knittymunchkin turned three on Saturday, February 2nd.  Yes, THREE.  Whoa!  Where did that time go?  I asked him if he was excited to be three when I wished him happy birthday that morning.  He said no, because when he’s big I won’t be able to hug him anymore.  Aw.  Such sweetness!  We took him to the Children’s Museum in Everett and then had a small birthday celebration with Nana and Papa (R. Darling’s side of the family) afterwards.  They spoiled him rotten.  All day long I thought to myself how far he’d come.  From arriving 5 weeks early, to spending a month in ICU, to being so small we were afraid to pick him up.  And then how he got stronger and started to coo and smile, then walk, and now run and talk a nonstop streak of chattery all day long.  My life is blessed because of this child and I am so very grateful to be able to experience the joy of just knowing him.  I hear the threes will be even more of a challenge than the twos (though the twos were not bad at all!), but I’m excited to see what kind of adventures Knittymunchkin’s new year will bring.
 
Knittymunchkin absolutely adores kittens and keeps asking if we can get one.  I wish we could, but R. Darling is severely allergic, so that’s not a possibility.  Instead, I decided to knit him a hypoallergenic one for his birthday.  I’d been working on it in secret for a week or so when, one day, he climbed on my lap as I was clicking through Ravelry.  When he saw this pattern in my queue he shouted out, “Make that for me Mommy!”  I secretly smiled to myself, knowing it was already in the works.  At the time he said he’d name his kitty “Carly” (no idea where that came from!) but of course he now just calls it “kitty”.  Maybe one day he’ll get a little more creative with the creature names.
 
Kitty Kate

Kitty Kate


 

  • Pattern: Kate by Jess Hutchison (Ravelry link)
  • Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Brites in “Limelight” & “Blue Mint” & Red Heart Soft Yarn Solids in “Tangerine”
  • Needles: Size 6 circs for Magic Loop
  • Comments:  This pattern has been in my queue since the dawn of time, and on my t0-knit-list way before Ravelry came along.  It was nice to have a good reason to knit and gift it.  Super cute, super easy, and a fun way to use up the acrylic I keep around for toys.  Knittymunchkin loved it and wouldn’t let it out of his hands long enough for me to photograph it.  I had to sneak it away while he napped one day.  I guess that means it’s a winner?

 
Happy Birthday Knittymunchkin!  I love you :)

4

Merry Chunkmas!

And Happy Winter Solstice too!

Today was always one of my Dad’s favorite days of the year.  Though the first official day of winter, my Dad made a point of focusing on the best part of this day, instead of the fact that there are several long months of cold ahead.  The Winter Solstice falls on the shortest day of the year and that means that from now on the days are getting longer.  Something special to hold onto when it seems like the dreary dark days of winter will never end.  I love that I have another occasion to remember my Dad and how special he was.  We always had Christmas together too, seeing as we were both complete and total Christmas freaks. I’ve been thinking about him now that it’s the holiday season and I miss him more than ever.

There’s been some intrawebs silence from me for a while because I have been on a freakishly frantic Christmas knitting blitz, the likes of which are rarely witnessed here at Chez Knittymuggins.  Many of you long time readers know that I don’t knit for Christmas.  After many failed attempts to engage my family members in the joy I feel gifting them handmade lovelies, I decided it wasn’t worth the trauma I was causing myself when my gifts were rejected.  But this year, with our budget in a state of crisis, I decided it was time to break out the needles.  I may not have cash, but I’ve got stash!

It actually started with preschool.  My son’s class has nine darling little kids in it (including Knittymunchkin) and I thought it would be sweet to gift them all something for Christmas.  Of course I decided this about 2 weeks before I had to have 9 things knit.  But such is the mania of Christmas knitting.  You figure you can rest on the 26th when all gifts have been delivered safely out of your hands.  I had originally planned to knit something for each of the mamas too, but that didn’t materialize when I realized it was about all I could do to knit for the kids & the teacher, and whatever else I had planned.  I chose the Monster Chunks pattern by Rebecca Danger & with a pile of brightly colored superwash wool gifted to me several years back by my sweet friend Kathy, I set to work.  What fun!  As I knit each little monster I tried to envision which child would like which combination best & each little creature took on its own personality.  I let Knittymunchkin pick out his favorite body (a red one) and then let him choose the color for the feet (purple).  I think he liked being involved in the creation process, though he was quite strenuously against gifting the rest to his preschool friends, saying “I no want to share with preschool friends!”  I used this opportunity to instruct him that Christmas is about giving & not getting, and then sneakily distributed these to his classmates in their cubbies so he wouldn’t have to deal with the sight of his little monsters being given away.  Counter productive?  Maybe.  But a meltdown was avoided and sometimes that matters just a little bit more.

Monster Chunks!

Monster Chunks!

I also knit a little something for his sweet preschool teacher.  The Stacked Eyelet Cowl is probably one of the fastest gifts I’ve ever knit (in fact, I made another for gift giving this year, but more on that later).  I knit it with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool which I’d bought at my LYS’ annual Stashbusting sale a couple years back.  It was my first time using this yarn and I really liked it, though I encountered at least 2 knots which never fails to disappoint me in a high end yarn.  I liked the yarn even more after blocking it, as it made the cowl drape quite nicely.  Interestingly, the silk in this doesn’t impart a sheen as I expected it would, it’s more tweedy like I imagine raw silk would be.  Also, I found it suprisingly itchy around my neck after a short amount of wear (but then again, my neck is a bit sensitive to wools).

Self Portrait!

Self Portrait!

Normally I have the unparalleled luxury of a personal photographer for my hand knits (thank you R. Darling!), so I have not perfected the blogger’s unique talent of photographing themselves successfully in a mirror.  As you can see, I need a lot more practice.  This is the result of at least 45 photos with closeups of my hair, my ear, or unrecognizable blue and red blobs.  Thank goodness for digital!

Hope your holiday knitting is going well too & your needles are ablaze with Christmas spirit!