If you don’t give a hoot about my problems, and really? who could blame you! Please feel free to skip down to where you see #mybakersdozen – that’s were it gets good.
I have worried over this post, the first post in a long time, the way an old Italian grandmother worries over sauce. I have written, erased, edited, trimmed, fluffed and dismantled every word at least once without much success. It turns out that what I want to do is really quite simple, even if the circumstances that have gotten me here are not. So bear with me if you can and I’ll try not to ramble.
So here it goes.
This has been the hardest year of my life. I could talk about the struggles that my friends, family and myself have endured but it’s a long freaking list and really, you don’t need to know it all. The one main thing I will discuss is that Trevor and I had to let go of the dream of being parents.
My MS has gotten worse in the 32 months since my diagnosis and in November we were told I was losing functionality in my right leg – my good leg. While the chemotherapy seems to be keeping new lesions from forming, the 22 buddies I already have squatting in my brain and spine are pissy little buggers. We are currently working our way through a variety of immunosuppressant drugs to try to prevent any more loss of function in my leg (where the majority of my problems reside) but the more we go through the harsher they become.
The way my treatment is going there is no way I would have a successful after-pregnancy; most MS patients see a vast improvement when pregnant but once the baby comes, well, mama might be screwed with a 76% increase of having the worst exacerbation to date. To top off that crap pie I would also have to start my chemo within 24hrs of birth, and it was with this news that we decided that parenthood wasn’t going to happen.
Losing this hurts in a place I didn’t know was exsited until it was. It was that split second of understanding that life wasn’t going to go the way I wanted it to go that broke a little piece of me, that place that hurts now. Typically I can laugh off anything, I can shake off bad news with the vigor of a wet dog but this one, I just can’t. I knew I had to sit down and figure out how to live with the awful knowledge, how to get back to who I was.
I threw dozens of ideas out there; all the things that I found interesting and wanted to learn more about were fair game, but to be honest, most of them were rubbish. *and yes, I am an American using the word rubbish, but I have a degenerative neurological disorder, so get off my case! 😉 * There were so many half realized ideas, they all had some potential but none of them were working. I wanted to find something that gave me a feeling of purpose again, a feeling that I could use this otherwise wasted maternal instinct to, perhaps, better the world. It’s a lofty thought but hey, why not dream big? This was the realization of the #mybakersdozen
Here it is. Finally!
Once the little thought nugget of knitting for others for a year entered my mind it never left, it grew. I felt like it was an opportunity to make a small difference in the world, to cast little bits of light on others because isn’t that what all mothers do? Cast out the shadows and make you feel warm, safe and loved? That’s how my Mom has always made me feel, and while I will never get to do that for my own child, I might be able to do it for others.
Starting December 1st I will spend 13 months doing nothing but knitting for others.*I decided to go with 13 months because I lose so much time with the chemotherapy treatments and who doesn’t enjoy a little cushion?*
The rules I have set for myself are very simple
- I cannot knit for myself unless the project was started before 12/1/2017 because I need the bags and needles
- I will not buy any yarn*
*I will not be buying any yarn in 2017, but there is no way to keep yarn from coming into this house. Everyone who knows me buys me yarny things and I’m not going to discourage that. But fair warning, that yarn may be for someone else 🙂
So simple really, I want to see if I can bring a little light into the world. Spread a little love to find my way back to myself.
I want list is much bigger. I want to highlight knitters on Instagram who make me smile. I want to send gifts to people who inspire me, who help me not only find a creative outlet but also the thing that brings me peace. I want to highlight a charity each month and have projects that coincide – the problem with this is that once I started researching charities I found loads that I love and would want to share. I want to send handwritten letters and take the time to tell people how they make me feel, which is normally like being wrapped in a hand knit blanket…with handmade socks, tea, a roaring fire, classical music and my cat on my lap not being an a**hole.
There will be more posts, more updates and if this grows (like I’m dreaming it will) more and more love to share. I have only one expectation – that one person, yes one, will see/read/hear about this in the next 13 months and suddenly feel a little kinder, a little more like giving to others.
I am going to completely sidestep the fact that I have not blogged since May. I am not going to mention the ongoing guilt I have for not keeping up with this blog because there are, truly, so many things I want to write about. I am just going to bask in the glory that is October 18th – which is the day I finished my first pair of socks last year!
It’s hard to imagine that its been an entire year since that first pair of socks came sliding clumsily off my double pointed needles. I thought I would never finish that first pair, but as it turns out their completion started an obsession that has lead to 29 pairs of finished socks …. 29! Five for my husband, three for my Dad, four for friends and the rest reside in my sock drawer.
Double points, two circulars and magic loop. Patons, Lions Brand, Plymouth, Serenity, Regia and Trekking. Toe-up, Top-down and the ill-fated two-at-a-time …. Seems I’ve made a pretty good dent in my sock education. I’ve still yet to make a patterned sock but I seem no worse for wear on this – I love the ease of a simple stockinette sock. There is a mindless joy of looking down and realizing you’re creating something functional and that the knitting has calmed your mind to a pleasant zen-like state.
So please allow me to share with you a year of obsessive sock knitting and as always, I cannot wait till next years recap!
I want to leave you with this. Happiness, in part, is a full sock drawer!
I was worried I didn’t have much to blog about this month, until I looked at my Ravelry page and realized that I actually got a lot done! It’s amazing how you can forget something you put so much love into, but the stresses of life make those moments fleeting. Anywho, let’s get right down to all the goodies I got to make this month!
- Pattern: Honey Cowl (free on Ravelry!) by Antonia Shankland
- Yarn: Red Heart Unforgettable in Echo – Size 8US needles
- Verdict: This is the second time I’ve done this pattern because the results are just lovely – the yarn on the other hand was a trial. It is acrylic (sorry) with a soft single spin, which made the loose stitches rather difficult to work with. It turned out beautiful, softly muted pastel colors, but I don’t think I would recommend this yarn for this pattern.
Miss Patti’s Scarf
- Pattern: MissMarple Scarf by SusanneS-vV
- Yarn: Vanna’s Choice in Dusty Pink – Size 7US and 9US needles
- Verdict: The scarf is adorable and exactly what Patti wanted and needed (she can only tolerate acrylic yarn). I saw this design knitted by @lollyknitsdesigns on Instagram and it was gorgeous – check it out if you want to see what a different type of yarn can do for this pattern.
Socks! Socks! SOCKS!!
Oh Jeez …I made four pairs of socks this month!
- Patterns: In order from Top to Bottom: 1.Two at a Time (basically a combination of all the things I know about making socks), 2. AfterThought Heel, 3.Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks, 4. Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks with modifications.
- Yarn: In order from Top to Bottom: 1.Patons North America Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in Brown, Rose Marl. 2. Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett in Shadow Stripes 3. Patons North America Kroy Socks FX in Clover Colors. 4. Patons North America Kroy Socks Stripes in Rusty Stripes.
- Verdict: I HATE two at a time socks. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Regia sock yarn, this was my first time using it and it was like magic. Basically, I love socks 😉
THE Peruvian Central
- Pattern: Peruvian Central by Susan Ashcroft (Stitchnerd)
- Yarn: Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Pocion
- Verdict: LOVE! The pattern is really quite simple and adding the beads gave me even more time to enjoy the fantastic yarn because beads really slow me down.
- My Modifications:
The first placement of beads was on the RS only on the K1 between the yos.
On the WS (purling back row), I placed a bead on the stitch that was the double decrease. This way, it shows up on the RS. This was the only time I did this.
On the two edges, I began placing them on in the second RS row, once there was a knitted stitch that would be next to the yo. I continued to place them on the stitch next to the yo on each row.
7 pattern repeats = 378 beads
I bound off on the RS using the extra stretchy bind off.
A Day Off of Knitting
I’m not sure how to present this but I will give it my best shot. In one day off I made 2 ruffle scarves (*sigh*), a baby hat and a long bulky cowl. More info about projects if your interested HERE. This is me trying to get ready for selling season, it is June after all 😉
- Pattern: Crooked Paths by Melissa LaBarre
- Yarn: 1. Red Heart Soft Baby Steps in Elephant and 2. Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solids, Heathers & Twists in Dark Heather Gray
- Verdict: Since I made two back to back I am obviously a fan! I love this pattern, it knits up so quickly and is dramatic without being overly fussy. I see loads of these hats in my future… also my friends, family, and charity knitting future!
- Pattern: Reverie by Amy Swenson
- Yarn: Lion Brand Sock Yarn in Snow Cone
- Verdict: I like that the pattern was simple and very intuitive, it became a very mindless knit. I am thinking that the reason I don’t like the beret is the yarn. Lion Brand Sock-Ease has, well, too much ease. There is really no structure to this yarn and it is just so limp! The pattern is free, and if I make it again I will try a better structured yarn.
- Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn
- Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Autumn Red
- Verdict: (This is a free pattern so I’m not spoiling the secret sauce!) I did an extra repeat on Chart B which made this shawl a monster! That and the fact that acrylic yarn doesn’t like to block left me a little disappointed with the outcome which stinks because it is a beautiful pattern. Luckily my grandmother saw it, ripped it off my dummy and took it home. Word to the wise, if you can afford it use a real fiber!
Here are the things I am always making in bulk for the store or for charity. Basically, I have no idea how many of these things I have made! They are all over my house, just begging to be counted!
If you’ve made it to the end good for you! Thank you so much for looking at a months worth of work. Dear friends and neighbors, here is to hoping for more time to play with fiber, to read blogs and to enjoy each others company!
Holy cow. If ever there was a reason to blog more (and there are so many reasons) it is that this month in review post takes forever to do! The strangest thing about my lack of blogging is that I find myself thinking about what I would write about quite often, it just seems my follow through is lacking. So friends and neighbors, here is to a new month and a new shot at getting more written. Until we see how that goes I would love to share with you what I’ve been up to this past month.
- Pattern: Alano Dakos’ Oak Grove Mitts
- Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
- Verdict: Everything about this pattern is amazing. and the yarn…..oh the yarn!
- Pattern: Cafe Au Lait Mitts by Paula McKeever
- Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
- Verdict: I will make these mitts over and over and over again. There was enough yarn in the one skein of Malabrigo Arroyo to both sets of mitts – which makes me so happy. If you have a chance I give this pattern the MUST BUY seal of approval.
- Pattern: Free Rapunzel by Tiny Owl Knits
- Yarn: Lion Brand Hometown USA in New York White
- Verdict: Obviously the hat is adorable, but working with this thick yarn and size 13US needles about did my little arthritic hand in. I love the pattern – it was easy to follow and so much fun to do – but I just don’t see myself doing it again. Plus, the hat is for a very niche audience. I gave it to Gloria who loved it but can’t think of anyone else who would be worth the pain. 😉
- Pattern: Afterthought heel by Laura Linneman
- Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Neon Now in 3 Blue Yellow Green
- Verdict: I LOVE THESE SOCKS. I LOVE THIS YARN. I WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE IT IS MANDATORY TO HAVE A PAIR OF SOCKS LIKE THESE FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!! 🙂
- Pattern: Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks – at least a variation on the basic pattern.
- Yarn: Berraco Comfort Sock in Blue Grey
- Verdict: I’ve made loads of Vanilla Socks so obviously the pattern is a go to. The yarn, well….it’s acrylic and I didn’t like working with it as well as wool. I felt like it was sliding all over my needles and the shaping on the instep didn’t feel as solid. This being said the socks turned out great and the hubby likes them better than wool – so there you go.
- Pattern: Diamond NeckLace by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink
- Verdict: I love Susan Ashcroft and everything she does – this is no exception. This is going to be a perfect present for my Grandmother for Christmas. If you’re looking to try something in the round with some texture – this is an amazing pattern to try. The chart is very intuitive and easy to read and it knit up very quickly.
- Pattern: #21 Cable-Accent Fingerless Mitts by Lori Steinberg
- Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Sequins in Amaretto
- Verdict: I received the 60 More Quick Knits Sport Weight for a friend and realized, to my dismay, that the only sport weight I had was this Vanna’s Sequins that my Mom got for $0.97 at a Micheals sale. The yarn is actually not bad to work with if not for the sequins, but they grew on me. I also changed the pattern quite a bit to fit my needs (and common sense) and can’t wait to try this with a really crunchy wool.
- Pattern: Just a sock yarn beanie with a basic decrease.
- Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock Jacquards in Aqua Jacquard
- Verdict: Chemo caps take about 5 hours from start to finish, and a printed yarn makes that work look like it took four times as much effort. Patons has a sock yarn beanie pattern that is a good place to start if your interested and it is very easy to change pretty much everything once you get a feel for how it should be constructed.
- Pattern: Basket Weave and Ribs Cowl by My Noggin’ (that would be my brain)
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Wedgewood
- Verdict: Well, it came from my brain so I hope I’m happy with it! I have three skeins of this variegated yarn and needed something to break it up. The ribbing changes the texture enough so that the colors seem to pop – so for all three skeins I am going to try different variations on ribbing to see what I can get. The pattern used the entire 210 yards and it super warm.
YOU MADE IT TO THE END! THANK YOU!!!!
I have a lot of ongoing projects that I really, really want to talk about and I have a new passion that needs discussion. SPINNING! Here is to another month of trying to forget that I have too much to do and making time for the things I love. Cannot wait to catch up with all of you! And also, thanks for hanging in there 🙂
For someone who complains about having no time to knit, I sure get a lot of it done! There is this space of time, usually when I am at my mother and father-in-law’s house that things just seem to get done. Most of the Instagram pics I take are there, although my blanket tends to go where I go. If you are interested in seeing what I am doing in real time, I suggest Instagram – that seems the easiest way to keep up with knitting. Plus, there is always awesome eye candy there. 😉
Okay, so here we go.
- Pattern: All variations on The Knitmore Girl’s Vanilla Socks. (#sockswithsarah)
- Yarn: Opal Bicolor in 5503 (being discontinued), Patons Kroy FX in Cameo Colors, Patons Kroy Stripes in Blue Gray Marl.
- Verdict? : I love making socks, I just love it. These are my brainless knitting socks – I just cast on and go with it. Trevor finally got his first pair of socks and it chomping at the bit for a another pair – I am so happy to oblige!
- Pattern: AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman
- Yarn: Patons Kroy Stripes in Bramble Stripes
- Verdict? : I love how the afterthought heel looks, but making it was a little unnerving. I didn’t do a true afterthought heel (where you…shiver….cut your knitting) but rather where you place waste yarn and join. The second sock went much smoother that the first, by then I had figured out that I needed to pick up more stitches to avoid any unsightly holes. I am going to wear these socks as much as possible before I do another pair – they just don’t seem a sturdy as a gusset. But the pattern itself was written very well and it was fun to try something new.
- Pattern: 16 Sixteen Cable Hat by Circé Belles Boucles
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Plum Heather
- Verdict? : I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern. There are really only four cable rows (five if you do the slouchy, which I did) and the effect is so dramatic. I had purchased this pattern forever ago and *slouching with disgust* forgot about it. I was surfing patterns one night and was like “Why can’t I have money to buy this beautiful pattern! Blast!” – before I realized that I already owned the pattern. The hat took two days to make and as soon as I bound off I wanted to cast on again, and again, and again. Five stars to this pattern!
- Pattern: Love train by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids in Charcoal
- Verdict? : Since this is the third Susan Ashcroft pattern I’ve made in a month there is obviously not enough good things to say about her stuff. I got this ebook from a friend who wanted two of the four shawls made for her. (I promised I would not take photos of her finished objects as she is claiming she made them herself 😉 ). The yarn wasn’t great, but it was far from bad. All in all this shawl, which is going to be a very merry Christmas present for ______ cost about $5.00. It is nice and stretchy and the yarn is very soft, not to shabby!
- Pattern: Mikado Cowl by Susan Ashcroft (I am sensing a pattern here)(HA! PUN!)
- Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft in Seafoam
- Verdict?: LOVE! Just another Stitchnerd design that made me fingers sing. I actually made this in one day, I just kept thinking that I had to see it finished as soon as possible! I have already given this one to a friend and my Mom wants two more to give as Christmas presents. It’s a great deal – she buys the yarn and I get to knit the pattern and throw a card into her package.
- Pattern: Beekeeper’s Quilt by Stephanie Dosen
- Yarn: Oh so many….
- Verdict? : Needs its own blog post.
So there is March’s finished objects. There are always other things chilling on my needles that I haven’t shown yet, but hopefully I will be back soon. The most important thing about blogging/knitting/spinning is that you can’t allow it to make you feel guilty – it’s here to be enjoyed. Friends and neighbors, I am going to try to remember that blogging is fun again and I hope to see you again soon.
It’s been over a month since I last posted, hard to believe given that I used to be so devoted to keeping up with it. The thing is, when time is precious you begin to…covet it. When I’m not working, with family or friends I want to be knitting or spinning. It’s even stranger because as I am knitting I am actually thinking about writing about it. What to say, questions to ask, things to share – these things bubble in my mind and quickly as my needles navigate the fiber.
So in the interest of keeping up with the blog I am no longer going to pressure myself into doing it, I am going to let it be something that is enjoyable and not just another obligation. That being said, I cannot wait to share all the shenanigans that I’ve gotten into this past month. Hope your still reading friends and neighbors – and I hope it was worth the wait.
- Project: The Bend Hat – Event Charity/Single Skein in Ravellenic Games
- Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft – about 175 yards worth.
- Verdict?: I really like the pattern, but the ribbing was a bit big for my taste. I will definitely make this again – just shorten the brim by half.
- Pattern: Cross Timbers by Alexis Winslow
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Plum Heather and Dark Gray
- Verdict? : I really loved this for my first colorwork pattern. I did, however, block it till it screamed and it was still too tight. I used the largest amount of stitches called for, but if it doesn’t block for me (oh please let it block for me!) the I will know to add pattern repeats to make the circumference bigger. It still came out to 11” length wise so I don’t know if this is what’s suppose to happen or if I knitted too tightly – even though after watching I went up a needle size.
- Pattern: Rose Tyler’s Fingerless Mittens by Dana Berry
- Yarn: Zitron Trekking 6 fach 6 ply in 1806 Blue Grey
- Verdict? : I really enjoyed this pattern. The chart was well written and the mitts look just like the ones from Doctor Who (except not pink – Gloria would hate pink). When I make them again for myself, I am going to knit the back section instead of purling. I don’t think that it will change the integrity of the pattern and I hate purling in the round on such small needles.
- Pattern: Leave on the Line by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Casscade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in Fall (9801)
- Verdict? : I LOVE Susan Ashcroft! If I had the funds I would buy every pattern she has ever written and make them all at least four times. The idea of measuring your yarn for a pattern is freaking ingenious. You get the most out of your expensive skein of yarn. I cannot wait to give this to my Aunt Kathy!!
- Purl Ridge Cowl by Stephen West
- Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Midnight in Misty
- Verdict? : Great pattern – totally brainless and ends up looking far more intricate that it actually is. It is also a great stash-busting project and I will be making loads of these for the holidays.
So here is part one. There was a lot more knitting going on than I thought, so breaking it up seemed the best idea. I hope your still there friends and neighbors – I know I’ve been a crummy blogger but I am at least going to try to get caught up with your blogs. Missing your blogs is like missing a friend, it hurts and it’s super annoying!