4

Let It Go

 

The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! in Colorado Hairstreak

I have not {gasp} seen Frozen. Yes, there might be a big rock somewhere that I just crawled out from underneath. Even so, I’ve heard the “Let It Go” song a lot of times.  I mean a lot. Usually belted out off-key by preschool girls twirling around in tutus. Ugh.

I mean the song, not the girls. The girls are totally adorable.

But even though I pretty much despise the song, the whole “Let It Go” refrain keeps bouncing around in my head every time I look at this yarn I pulled out of my stash the other day.

A few years ago I was all nerdy fan-girl wacked out over (the now defunct) The Sanguine Gryphon. The obsession was a little over the top to put it mildly.  I was constantly checking for updates, cruising Ravelry destashes for rare colors, and doing my best to bankrupt myself collecting every color I could get my grubby little paws on. If they’d stayed in business just a little longer, I’d probably have sold a kidney to keep the collection going. Can you spell hoarder? Yes, you can. It’s spelled K-n-i-t-t-y-m-u-g-g-i-n-s, thankyouverymuch.

My Sanguine Gryphon stash has long been classified CDH, i.e. “cold dead hands.” As in, you cannot even pry this from my cold dead hands. I will come back from the dead and school your butt if you even try. But the other day I was looking for some purple yarn to knit a gift for Uptown’s Kindergarten teacher and, shockingly, I decided to use a skein of my precious, limited edition, SG Bugga! When I pulled it out, I tried to look at it objectively (for once). It was a beautiful color, but it wasn’t a color that suited me all that well.  I didn’t buy it for a special project, and it had been sitting in my stash since 2011.  What was I waiting for?  The apocalypse?  I’m pretty sure none of the Four Horsemen need shawlettes or socks in lavender.  Neither was I going to need them after I died. So why not use it?  There really wasn’t a single reason I could think of for keeping it around.

So now my beloved SG Bugga! in Colorado Hairstreak, will become a Frisson for an end of the year teacher gift. I’m finally letting it go.

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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!

0

Happy Maketober!

No, you didn’t miss this on the intrawebz. “Maketober” is not a thing.

Not unless you are me and you are freaking stoked that it’s October!

September was just a blur. Will it feel like this every year when school starts, or is it just because we are first-timers? After weeks of adjustment (on my part and Knittymunchkin’s) I feel like we are finally starting to hit a stride. Just don’t ask me where all the “extra” hours go that I’m supposed to have while he’s in school.  Because I really don’t know. The house isn’t any cleaner, I’m not any more rested, and there is actually little to no knitting being accomplished. The TV is never on, and the dog looks sufficiently un-walked. I just don’t know how moms with jobs do it.  I’m barely keeping up as it is. Then again, I’m writing this post instead of cleaning something……

Yesterday I walked the dog to the bus stop to pick up the kiddo. The warm autumn sun caressed me, the searing electricity of a summer sun having mellowed to the gentle gold of autumn sunshine; everywhere burnished honey. I savored the crunch of leaves underfoot, thinking of potato chips, and wondering how my son could imagine he heard a train in their rustling as he shuffled through them earlier that morning. I love this time of year. It inspires me, turns me inwards towards creativity, and unleashes a nesting instinct always simmering restlessly inside my soul. I want to make things! I want to change things! And that’s why I’ve decided to welcome October as Maketober here at the blog.

This month:

I will make a shawl with friends (Jess & Troy)!

Pattern & image source: Ravelry link

I will make myself healthier…. by continuing with our Back to Fit program (we are ending week 5 today).

I will make someone’s warmer….. by giving away the hats I knit for charity. The original requester has all the hats she needs, so I am left with a stack that do not have homes. My husband is in a unique position to distribute these for me and I plan to always have a few for him to take in his car with him when he goes to work (his idea – and a fantastic one!).

I will make myself breathe…. This is harder than it sounds for someone like me.

I will make my dream a reality…. It may not happen this month, but every small step I take towards opening my Etsy shop has a part in helping me achieve my goals.

I will make food…. I cook every day, but this month I will do the last (most likely) of my canning for the year. Pickled Beets are as precious as the crown jewels in our family.

What do you think?  Will you make-along with me this month?  I’d love the company whether you’re crafting or simply visiting & reading :)

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…..

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!!

3

Jogless Near Seattle

I love love love stripes!! Always have, even before they became a thing. And as soon as I made my first striped project in the round, I learned to knit jogless stripes. In fact, I’ve never knit anything striped without working jogless stripes. Yikes. The whole idea makes me break out in an itchy scratchy rash. Why? Why?! Why would anyone knit stripes with jogs? Especially if you can avoid it so easily? Ugh. My eyes bleed just imagining the epic fail. But even I, who am no stranger to knitting jogless stripes, just got schooled by a simple cowl (with a little help from Interweave Knits).

This is the method I have always used for knitting jogless stripes: knitting one round with the new color and then at the start of the second round, picking up the old color from the stitch below and knitting it together with the new color, creating an elongated stitch. This works fine for pretty much most things I’ve ever knit. However, while knitting my Duotone (above) which is knit at a loose-ish gauge on slightly larger needles to accentuate the drape of the yarn, I felt dissatisfied with my trusty technique. Not enough to really do anything about it (I’m kinda lazy that way) just vaguely critical of the way the stitches were lining up before and after each color change.

Then one evening, while waiting for my son to quit goofing around while taking care of business in his bathroom (seriously, the kid can make an epic journey out of potty time or toothbrushing; he’s the consummate dawdler) I picked up an old back issue of Interweave Knits and started thumbing through it. This is often the only way I can keep my head from exploding when he’s in there singing away, oblivious to the ginormous mommy volcano building pressure outside. And whaddya know, there’s a whole article about new ways to knit jogless stripes in the round (Interweave Knits, Volume 14, Number 2, Summer 2009. “Beyond The Basics, New Methods for Jogless Stripes in the Round”. Techknitter. Pg 28-30). I fully admit it. I skimmed. I didn’t really want to know why, just how. Bad Knittymuggins!! But it was enough to get me on my way, and now I know where to find it again when I finally decide I want to know why it works that way. Just kidding. You know I’ll never come back and read it when I could totally be knitting.

Anyway, I settled on a combination of my usual method above for the thin stripes, and the Stationary Slip-Stitch method for jogless stripes from the article for the wider stripes. It looked better and I was pleased with the change. And then I finished the cowl and the funny bit at the end of my graft was bugging me so I rearranged the cowl a little to make that annoying nubbin disappear inside the cowl. And guess what else ended up “hidden” inside the cowl at that point? The stupid jogless stripes I’d agonized over the whole time I was knitting. And do you know who is now the biggest dumba$$ in the universe? Yeah. That would be me.

But at least my neck will be cozy.

2

If You Can’t Knit ‘Em, Swatch ‘Em

I have always viewed swatching as a necessary, but unpleasant task; the boring opening act you have to suffer through before you get to the main attraction, the one you spent all that money on and have been dreaming about for months.  But I think I may have – wait for it – become a bit of a fan.  Yes, a swatchy groupie.

It all started with a fever. And not the kind of fever that just needs more cowbell. We’re talking, the kind that single-handedly immobilized the 2000 jigowatt energy of a 5 year old boy. When Knittymunchkin only wants to curl up in your lap and have you sing The Beatles’ “Blackbird” to him over and over, you know something’s up. The fact that he is sitting still for more than 5 seconds is worry enough. I didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until exactly one week later when I woke up with my head throbbing, a fever, and every single muscle in my body spasmodic with pain. Yes, even though we were both vaccinated, we had the flu. I mean the real deal.  After 2 weeks of sickness and self-imposed quarantine, a doctor’s appointment that resulted in no less than 4 prescriptions between the two of us, way way way too much tv (pretty sure Knittymunchkin’s brain will never recover — BAD MAMA!), I think we are finally on the upswing.

But back to the swatching. Over the years I have come to realize something about myself. I used to think that I just couldn’t sit still for long. Not short attention span issues, and not hyperactivity, just an inability to sit for longer than 5 minutes doing what I perceive to be “nothing”. No wonder I can never relax!! But over the last year or two I have started to think of this quirk more in terms of an intense dislike of idle hands. As long as my hands are busy, I am content to sit still and do “nothing”. While attending to a sick Knittymunchkin and during my own recuperation I have eased my idle hands syndrome with knitting. But, unable to concentrate on a complicated pattern I needed something simple. I worked on my Duotone a lot (in fact it’s just waiting to be grafted and it will be finished) but I wanted something even simpler. Something requiring no counting and no real concentration, just needles, yarn and busy hands. Behold the beauty (yes, I said beauty) of the swatch. Mindless knitting, incredible portability, and the added benefit of actually being useful! I’m hooked.

Swatching……. I never thought I’d say this, but I think I love you!

 

P.S. I’m kinda loving this new theme too.  It was about time for a change!