Monthly Archives: January 2014

Knitting and Kindness


After my last gloomy-gus post it is time to get back to track with the positive things in life. Also, this is far less annoying!

Let’s start with the kindness!

My birthday is two days after Christmas, and thus I rarely ever give a crap about it. We’re so burnt out after December – and the three family birthdays that come before mine – that by the time the 27th rolls around I just don’t care anymore. I’m not looking for sympathy, I just really don’t give a hoot about my birthday.

But this year I got two very unexpected presents from blogging/knitting/kindred-spirit buddies! I was gifted with patterns from my Ravelry Wishlist!!!! TEEHEE! I won’t mention names because I know one for sure wouldn’t want me to mention it, but it was the best birthday ever. You guys know who you are and I am so thankful that you thought of me – and I cannot wait to buy yarn to make your patterns come to life. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Now to the knitting!

Despite being silly busy with work and family I am actually getting quite a bit of knitting done. Let’s see….where to start…

First pair of finished socks for 2014!

First pair of finished socks for 2014!

Thanks to Socks with Sarah (#sockswithsarah) and the Knitmore Girls Operation Sock Drawer (#operationsockdrawer) I’ve finished the first pair of socks for 2014! These are Patons Kroy 4-Ply Jacquard in Fiesta Jacquard. I was so inspired but the finished pair – and the fact that sock-rockets make my hands happy – that I’ve already started another pair. Also, for whatever reason, socks seem to tame my OCD addled Panic Monster. All in all socks are a clear win.

The next is the Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh – which is also a free pattern on Ravelry. It was a knit-along that I found on Instagram, and since it was in my queue I took it as a sign. I made it with Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda. I made the largest version of this cowl and it took a whopping 630 yards, but the finished project is so soft and so warm that it was work every single stitch. Honestly, I think I will be making  a lot of these for Christmas next year.

So Long!

So Long!

So I like a good collage, so sue me!

So I like a good collage, so sue me!

The last is actually pretty boring. I made a generic pattern for leg warms meant specifically for being worn over your pants in this frigid weather. Well, word of mouth spread and now I have an order for five pairs. They’re made with Red Heart Supersaver and take about 260 yards a pair.

Yea for knitting and reading subtitles!

Yea for knitting and reading subtitles!

30" of 1980's goodness! ;)

30″ of 1980’s goodness! 😉

I have so many things I want to get my hands on that it is killing me. For now I am going to work through some orders and plan for all the things I can do to get in trouble. I am curious though, what are you dying to get your hands on? Friends and neighbors I am just DYING to hear!!

 

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The Things We Do For Love


I have been avoiding blogging for about a week, a silly thing I know but the lingering feeling of being a sellout has kept me from my desire to write about knitting. Here’s the back story.

Since January 1st, it has become evident that my family is in the weeds. Money is tighter than ever and the time to step up and do what needs to get done has come. I’ve been working at both jobs, but I’ve also 1) laid flooring 2) spent an entire weekend (about 21 hours total) stripping wallpaper 3) shoveled snow and 4) walked dogs. Pretty much any task that can help us out financially I’ve attacked headfirst. There is no such thing as doing a job that is below you, I don’t think that exists. If you do a job well, then there is no such thing as a bad job.

Unless you sell out….which I have.

I have been working, for months, on a cabled hat pattern. This secret little project of mine was what I had hoped would put me on the knitting designer map, or at least the Ravelry map. I’ve made this hat so many times it is mind-blowing – thank goodness for Halos of Hope and other charity organizations that take knitted items. I wrote the pattern for every weight of yarn (except bulky), I had sizing for babies, toddlers, young adults, men and women. The idea was to create a variation on the same pattern that could be worn by every member of a family – be it blood relatives or the family we’ve created for ourselves. The cable pattern was noticeably the same, but as you got older, and the hats got bigger, the cable pattern would continue to grow and change slightly. Pretentiously, I was thinking of the movie The Fountain and how the tree continues to grow and change (ehh…admitting that makes me feel all James Fracno-y). Finally, about a week ago I was ready to write the pattern in PDF form to get it all ready to go on Ravelry – then I had lunch with a friend.

My Pretentious Tree of Life

My Pretentious Tree of Life – Photo Credit IMDB – The Fountain 

My friend, who luckily doesn’t read knitting blogs, is a very successful lawyer in her part of the world. In-between being as young and successful as she is she’s also found time to have three kids – all by the ripe old age of 31. We went to lunch to catch up ( she offered to buy, who says no to that?) and went on … a little incessantly …. about how great her life was going. I just wanted to add a little to the conversation, so I pulled my newly printed pattern out of my bag and showed her my pattern.

I was excited, besides the people I had photographed in the hats and my husband, no one had seen the pattern. I told her how I each variation was just the cables growing – from baby to adult the pattern grew in complexity while still obviously matching the one before. I pitched her my idea, and she went for it.

In less than 10 minutes I somehow had manage to sell her the patterns for $100.00, agreed to make her entire family their hats, agreed to never photograph my work and never make the pattern available to the public. She wanted this family of hats for her family, no one else’s. If I hadn’t just come off a weekend of mind-numbing, hand-breaking paper removal I would have thought twice – but that’s not what happened.

I keep telling myself that the pattern may have never sold and that a hundred dollars is better than nothing – not that I totally believe that. I’ve told myself that I have created something unique and wonderful for her family, but since she paid twelve-hundred dollars for a stroller I doubt that these hats will ever register for her family as “special”. I’ve been tip-toeing around it ever since I did it, but I feel like a sellout. There, I said it – I am a sellout. But one hundred dollars pays for four co-pays for my father-in-laws doctor visits – so it is time to suck it the f*#k up.

I wonder, is it more that my ego has taken a hit? Or is there some feeling of intellectual theft under duress? Maybe I am just blowing smoke – more than less likely that’s all there is. Either way friends and neighbors, if I designed one thing I am (hopefully) sure I can design another.

Everyone Needs Some Eye Candy


Max loves knitted socks.

Max loves knitted socks.

Guess who showed up to work two hours early by accident? This kid! I am going to try to cram in a post while I have some real downtime, it’s actually pretty darn exciting! Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff.

~ Socks with Sarah Progress #sockswithsarah ~

I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles, one for myself and one for my Dad. I am working on my socks everyday – even if it is just a row or two. I find that knitting socks is my knitting happy place at the moment. Is it bad I want to finish my Dad’s socks just so I can work on my socks exclusively? I’m gonna go with no, it’ll help me sleep better at night.

Both socks are a variation on the Knitmore Vanilla Sock pattern. My Dad’s socks are Patons Kroy in Flax and mine are Patons Kroy Jacquards in Fiesta Jacquard.

My Dad's First Sock.

My Dad’s First Sock.

 

~ A Very Berry Fascination ~

After my husband spied my newly organized stash, he asked me a simple question; “Why do you only make one thing in each color when you have multiple balls?”. After I quit giggling from the multiple balls comment I couldn’t come up with a good answer. Does “I am so sick of that color when I am finished that I just have to get another” work?

Well, no. It really doesn’t.

So I took on the challenge of taking two balls (teehee) of Red Heart Soft in Berry – which has a whopping 256 yards per ball – and decided I was going to knit through both. I started with the Twisted Toque from 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens. I liked the pattern; the errata was small, the hat was easy to make and virtually brainless, which is a plus these days. I will say that the length measurements given were a bit long though, so long that I ended up folding the brim just to make the hat work.

Another 4am FO.

Another 4am FO.

 

The second project was from the same book, kinda. The pattern was Mock Cable Wristers and I hated this pattern. There is a vividly fierce hatred of how this pattern was written – so I changed it. I elongated the cuffs so they were 4″ and more of a gauntlet style, I changed the position of the thumb. I changed the purl increases, I added a thumb, I added length to create fingerless mitts, I did Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-On and Bind-Off. Basically, I stripped the pattern to the bare bolts and started over.

11850923774_6846c9a4b3 11820613773_06aaa92d6a

 

This took a full ball and about 20 yards of the second – leaving me to figure out what to do with the remaining 236 yards. I decided I wanted a long cowl to go with the revamped mitts. I wrote the pattern (which I will be making available for FREE on Ravelry just as soon as I get it done). I took the basic concept of the faux cables and just fiddled with the stitches. I wanted them to pop out at you a bit, and I wanted the cowl to be nice and wide and a little less dense than the cable on the mitts.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

That took care of both balls (teehee). Now I am just so ready to get my finger on a new color that it is eating me alive!

Oh yeah – I finished the mitts from last week. Side note: that horrible join blocked out really nicely. I would have taken a picture but they were out the door and into someone else’s home very quickly.

That blocked out … seriously!

That blocked out … seriously!

So that’s it for me today friends and neighbors. I have week 2 of my 52 weeks of new experiences all ready to go – I just need to find the time to write it. Who knows, maybe I can show up to work early again and get it hammered out. Happy Thursday blogger buddies!

 

 

 

Week #1 of 52 Week Challenge & Some Finished Objects


First Glove….From a Chart!

First Glove….From a Chart!

Oh how my hubby had no idea what he was doing when he picked out his favorite pattern out of my newly acquired book. 60 Quick Knits was a Christmas present this year from my dad, his adorable opinion on knitting is that it all should be quick! I am actually really enjoying it so far, just remember to check Ravelry for errata – I have found a lot of entires that were just a little off. So this is the Cabled-Cuff Mitten Pattern, knitted with Patons Worsted Wool. So where did I learn something new this week? I learned (try not to gasp) how to read a chart!

~ You Couldn’t Read a Chart Before this Past Week? ~

Well, no. I have no problem following a chart in the round, at least in the past few months – but a chart knitted flat – akin to bamboo shards under my fingernails. I hated the idea that one symbol having two meanings, I just couldn’t understand why on earth they couldn’t just make a “knit as written” chart.

When they hubby pointed to the mittens that he liked the best, I saw that flat chart and cringed. I’m not gonna lie, the first 7 rounds were….difficult. I pushed through and by the end of the first repeat I finally understood the purpose. I was getting the hang of it after the second repeat and by the third I was gladly going left to right, right to left and realizing that there was a ligament reason for making a chart this way. Final thoughts – YEA FOR FINALLY BEING ABLE TO READ A CHART!

~ How About Some Finished Objects! ~

Christmas, birthdays, New Year’s …. blah blah blah…. has slowed my FO list down quite a bit. However, I still feel like sharing.

It may not be super interesting to look at, but this is a custom order for a new customer. Her sister-in-law went to school in Jamaica where her school colors where purple and gold. I took one of my stitch dictionaries and found a way to combine a standard rib with a zig-zag. I know that it would show better on smaller needles and s solid color, but it actually turned out really well. I added a slip-stitch border to keep the sides nice and clean and she was very pleased. *Dramatically wiping my brow!*

SInce WordPress isn’t letting me preview the post – and I cannot remember which order I put these in – please just roll with me.

  1. The three (rather boring/ rather repetitive) things I have been commissioned to do this week is  20 dishcloth – 10 Christmas Colors and 10 Pink (these are not done yet).
  2. Another Christmas Stocking – which is actually quite nice, but you’ve already seen a gazillion pictures of them. Sorry friends and neighbors.
  3. AND of course, a few ruffles. I have an order for 5 OSU Buckeye Ruffle Scarves – all done *insert deep sigh of relief*
Yea Cabes and Bobbles!

Yea Cables and Bobbles!

This is yet another concoction of the genius that is 60 Quick Knits – with some big changes on my part. The pattern is the Bobbles & Cables Cap by Suvi Simola and is a decent pattern. I changed the 1. The cast-on 2. The bobbles (which I made bigger) 3. The cable progression was continued another round 4. and I slightly felted the hat when I was finished (no pic of that yet…because I suck).

I made the hat larger and longer to felt the pattern because it does wonderful things to bobbles and finicky cables. It tightens everything up and gives is a delicious fit. I made the cap with Ella Rae Classic Superwash in Kiwi and chucked in into the dryer. The result? Pretty amazing – slight felting give the hat a denser feel and makes the bobbles seem more natural and less like a hanging hemorrhoid 😉

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

Okay friends and neighbors, that’s all for me today. I will be back with more on my sock stashing, thanks to Knitting Sarah and her #sockswithsarah year-long Sock KAL. I am working the instep on my fourth pair of socks – pretty epic! I need to finish those mittens (yea for reading charts!) and I’ve unearthed my Fiori Autunnali and my Jayashri Pullover. Until next time – remember, if the gimp can try it you can too! 🙂

Selfishly Knitting Socks with Knitting Sarah’s Year Long KAL


Oh socks….if only I could write an ode to just how much I have fallen in love with sock knitting. I’ve only knit three pairs in my knitting lifetime – all since October of last year. Still, there is something mesmerizing and just plain zen about knitting socks. I liked Knitting Sarah’s KAL idea so much I started last night!

They are almost perfect!

They are almost perfect! – Pardon my superhero PJs.

I finished my third pair of socks in a white heat around 4am. The pattern is a weird mishmash of all sorts of free patterns I have found online and Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s Book of Socks. They are almost perfect – they need to be about two rounds longer in the foot and four stitches shorter in the cuff and we’ll be good to go. I think that Patons sock yarn (this is Patons Jacquards in Aqua Jacquard) is a really nice yarn for the price as well. I love these socks….I want them to come out of the dryer before I go to work….here’s hoping.

And since I like to use photos to tell a story of knitting goodness – here is my pair of socks photogenic journey!

I feel a bit selfish knitting socks, because I am knitting socks for myself. I love my for my Etsy store and I love knitting for people – but sometimes working for hours and hours on something you hope someone will love can a little discouraging. When I am making socks I am tailoring them to fit me like a ….glove?…..sock glove?….I am knitting them to fit me. I don’t have to worry about the color, I picked the color – of course I love it! I don’t have to worry if there is a little snag because Max kneaded it – I can fix it and I am the only one wearing them. And of course the biggie….they’re mine 😉

Well, time for work friends and neighbors. Thank you so much for the KAL advice. Go see  Knitting Sarah’s KAL page, it is very low-key and such a wonderful idea. Cannot wait to get back to you with some finished goodies! HAPPY JANUARY 2nd!

Happy New Year & Hello 2014!


Howdy friends and neighbors, it seems a new year has begun and that means big plans to fill the next 365 days! Oh the plans I have, not resolutions so much as grand plans for all the things that I want to get into in the next 52 weeks. Let’s see the list shall we?

  • Find a year long KAL – any suggestions would be helpful by the way.
  • Join KALs to meet even more amazing online knitters
  • Finish a sweater
  • Finish that lace beaded lace shawl.
  • Find that perfect sock formula
  • Stash bust 50% of my stash
  • Actually spin things I want to share on the internet 😉
  • Try my hand at designing more intricate things 
  • Try weaving – it looks like fun!
  • Keep all my social media up to date. aka Ravelry, Twitter, Facebook,  Flickr (my personal favorite), Tumblr and Instagram
  • Be so much better about updating my Etsy store
  • BLOG MORE!

But here is the one I am really, really excited for….

~ 52 Weeks of New Experiences! ~

I never make New Year’s Resolutions – they usually lead to disappointment. But this year I want to try something new, I want to try 1 new thing a week (or a total of 52 new things in a year). This can be knitting related or anything else my mind dreams up. Life is too short to not keep learn and trying new things. I already know what I want to do for week 1, which is really exciting!, but I am going to have to keep reading blogs, books, magazines and anything I can get my hands on to keep expanding as a person.

This is going to be a very full year indeed. So now I beg for your input friends and neighbors – what knitting are you doing this coming year? Heard of any good KALs? Seen something that tickles your fancy? Please share! I am here and sooo ready to listen!