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.
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!
It has been a … less than stellar day, which means it is the perfect day to share something awesome.
A little while ago (during my B.A.D.D. period) I was at work when I received this picture from my Mom, Dad and husband….
No one would tell me what was sitting in my living room – or what was in the box. I thought that it was a book Trevor and I had been trying to sell. Finding the right seller for rare books can be difficult and tedious, and we have a doozey we found at a garage sale.
Of course I got mandated at work that night, and after 16 hours all I could do was come home and crash. To be honest, I forgot all about the box. I even forgot doing the horrible impersonation of Brad Pitt from the movie Seven when he yells “what’s in the box?” (spoiler: it was a head). The terrible impression made from hours 4 through 11 in my shift were soon forgotten after that the sucky-ness of work caught up with us and well … we all forgot.
Trevor had been twitchy all week and all I thought his second job was catching up with him. With his Dad being sick and working all the time of course he couldn’t remain the Zen Master of the Universe. It’s still strange that I thought that though – because the only other time if our eleven year relationship where I have seen him twitch like that is before he proposed.
So when I came home one night, this is what I found sitting in my living room … no longer in the box …
My first spinning wheel! The present, from my family, was a (very) early 30th birthday present. As it turns out, everyone was waiting to see my response to the gift – so much so that I spent two hours on the phone before I could even sit down and look at my new toy. The wheel is an Ashford Spinning Wheel Kiwi 2 and unfinished – which is perfect. Everything about it is perfect – except my spinning 😉
So friends and neighbors, who are also spinners, I am begging for any tips/tricks/advice on how to make the perfect yarn for my perfect family!
No pressure 😉
This is something new, trying to post a blog from my iPhone.
I would like to add a great big thank you to this post to my parents. They bought me a cell phone (a ridiculously nice cell phone) and put me on their because they wanted me to be able to call them from the hospital – where my father-in-law is currently residing. I never really got the whole cell phone thing, I can take it or leave it – but their generosity is unremitting.
So, I finished another pair of socks! Once again I’ve gone with Patons Kroy Sock Stripes , this time in Blue Striped Ragg. I love these socks, I mean I always love socks but these were just so much fun to watch knit up. Stripes are amazing, you think “one more color, one more color” and before you know it you have a sock! Same pattern (Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks) same technique (magic loop) same amazing outcome (socks). 🙂
Oh Sarah, the things you have helped me accomplish! Sarah, and her #sockswithsarah KAL has made me a sock making monster – it’s amazing!
Next up, a pair for the hubby. I am going to to a little more shaping in the calf section, but other than that I am keeping to the formula I have fallen in love with. After his pair is finished though, I think it is time to jump into the unknown waters of toe-up socks, two at a time socks or Spiceman Socks. Who knows!
Okay, this feels a little too weird as a writing platform. Till next time friends and neighbors!
So far the B.A.D.D doesn’t seem so bad….hardy-har-har. However this is going to be very short, as I hate discussing things I haven’t finished yet. It seems a little redundant, but I am trying to recover my blogging ability – I miss you guys when I’m not on the site.
1. Fiori Autunalli – It has been successfully frogged and is not sitting in time out until I can look at it without breaking a sweat.
2. Jayashiri Pullover – I have actually pulled this out of hibernation! I am slowly putting the mileage on it and all I need is another two inches to do the bust increases. Who knows? This very large (oh goodness it is soooo large) pullover may actually happen.
3. The Rose Tyler Doctor Who Fingerless Mittens – A FREE pattern on Ravelry, I thought that these would be perfect for my Doctor Who loving niece Gloria. I love this pattern, I love the mitts… I HATE purling in the round on size 1US needles! I am hoping to get them done before March. By the way, the picture is courtesy of ©Dana Berry because I want to do a blog post when they’re all finished!
So those are the big to-do’s on my knitting list. Of course there are also leg warmers, but for the life of me I cannot post another picture of leg warmers. So until next time, which I hope is soon, have a great hump day!
I joined the Ravellenic Games for the first time this year and I went all out for Team Sasquatch! My main event was Event Shawl, but I also signed up for Event Charity, Event Single Skein and Event Modular (which was a huge mistake but more on that another day).
My main event was to knit a shawl. Since my disgrace with the Fiori Autunalli by Rosemary Hill I have been downright scared of knitting lace. Did I mention the disgrace came from 1. Reading the wrong chart 2. knitting the wrong chart 3. switching rows while knitting the wrong chart and 4. frogging about 1,000 sts in tears at my LYS? Word to the wise friends and neighbors, don’t knit when you’re too tired to remember your middle name!
Anyway, here I am rambling again! I choose for my Games piece a shawl knitted in worsted, I felt like it was my knitting equivalent of a nightlight. So The Lonely Tree Shawl by Silvia Bolvia (which is not only amazing fun to knit but FREE on Ravelry) seemed like the perfect choice. I gathered up some Caron Simply Soft in Dark Sage from my yarn stash and was off!
I was going really slow until the leaves started to emerge, trying to remember that lace knitting is only as hard as I let it be in my head. Once I got to this point I felt kinda confident.
(Disclaimer: Some lace knitting really is freakishly difficult, my problem lies in my lack of confidence after mucking up the same pattern so many times.)
Before I knew it, it was time to bind the bad boy off. I felt bad for not picking a harder, more involved project at this point though. I know that point of the games is/was to challenge yourself, and I stand by my reasoning that I had to conquer my fear of lace – otherwise the Fiori is never going to get done.
But my shawl is done!
So there you have it friends and neighbors, the first leg of my Ravellenic journey came to an end. I’ve already given the shawl to a friend. I forgot to take a picture on the mannequin but I gotta tell you – giving away something that gave me a little confidence was pretty epic!
In an attempt to slowly get caught back up on blogging my posts may be short. I know, I know – you’re just dying for me to ramble on incessantly about how amazing and interesting my life is but please, don’t cry! 😉
Where to start? Hmm…at the beginning I suppose, catching up on three weeks of knitting. If I go by my Flickr timeline then I need to start with (one) of my new pairs of socks! Thanks to Operation Sock Drawer and especially Knitting with Sarah’s #sockswithsarah KAL my sock drawer is almost presentable! This pair was once again Magic Looped, which is now officially my favorite way in the world to make socks. I used Patons Kroy Sock Yarn in the color way Singin’ the Blues – which is a great name for a pair of socks! I’m also sticking with my version of the Knitmore Girl’s Vanilla Sock Pattern. I know it’s time to try something new, but until my hubby gets a pair of socks on his feet I’m sticking with the happy-go-lucky sock pattern that makes me so … so happy!
I am really getting the hang of this whole sock thing, so much so that this is my seventh pair since October. It used to be that turning the heel really slowed me down, but learning to knit backwards has saved my hands that awful back and forth motion. I used to cringe when I saw this on my needles….
Now I just go merrily along my way. Next pair? Well (spoiler) they’re already done! But that is for another day. Remember – I am trying to recover from my B.A.D.D so give me a little time. Until then friends and neighbors, I am going to be chillin’ in my Singin’ the Blues Socks!
Since my last post was very word heavy, lets make this one picture heavy shall we? I tried to take pictures of the progress of my Hogwarts Express Shawl by Susan Ashcroft. It was a lovely gift from a friend for my birthday – no worries if your reading this, I will keep your identity safe. 🙂 I used Malabrigo Sock Yarn (my first time working with Malabrigo – also a gift) in Cordovan. Any other information you would like to know about my project – or the minuscule tweaks I made with 440 yards of this luxurious yarn, click HERE. Otherwise, let me let the pictures talk for themselves.
Friends and neighbors, I love this shawl!!
Has there every been a time in your life that you really, truly wished there were hidden cameras recording the moment for posterity? Well on January 29th such a day happened to me at my new Local Yarn Store. I want to share with you the story as close to verbatim as I can, because the incredible oddness of it was blessedly unique.
~Setting the Stage~
I was sitting at a long table at the front of the shop. I had come in for a bar of Lo-lo to Go (which was 75% off) but remained lingering – throughly content to fondle the yarn and work on my pattern.
A woman comes in through the back entrance with a cake of (yummy) yarn in her hand. The weather is crummy, we are actually just a few hours from getting 10.5″ of more snow and she was obviously in a hurry. Here is the conversations that ensued.
- Woman: I would like to return this please. I don’t have the tags but I remember what it is and I should be in your system.
- Clerk: I am so sorry but we cannot accept returns on yarn that has been caked.
- Woman: ….
- Clerk: I wish that there was something I could do but there is no way to inventory it.
- Woman: ….
- Clerk: If you’d like I can suggest a pattern for you to…
- Woman: I only buy one project worth of yarn at a time and I decided not to do a project with sock yarn. I am going to use worsted yarn, so I cannot use this.
- Clerk: (makes desperate eye contact with yours truly) I am sure that we can modify the pattern you are doing so you can use sock yarn. Let me have a look, Rachel – what do you think.
- Me: I love modifying things!
I walk over to the checkout counter and the strap on my purse breaks, spilling the contents of my purse all over the floor. I laugh but the woman is looking at me strangely, strangely enough that it actually makes me nervous. The clerk is pulling up the pattern on Ravelry when the woman turns her full attention to me….
- Woman: What’s your name?
- Me: Rachel, what’s yo….(cut off)
- Woman: Do you have a stash?
- Me: Um, yes I d…(cut off)
- Woman: Do you knit with sock yarn?
- Me: Yes. (I have temporarily given up on more than one word answers)
- Woman: Do you like this yarn?
- Me: Yes, it’s lovel….(cut off)
- Woman: Do you have a project that could use this yarn to the best of it’s abilities?
- Me: Um…
- Woman: A pattern. Do you have one planned?
- Me: Yes.
- Woman: What is it?
- Me: The Hogwarts Express Shawl
- Woman: And who is it by?
- Me: Susan Ashcroft.
- Woman: When did you buy the pattern?
- Me: I didn’t. It was a gift for my birthday from a very dear f….(cut off).
- Woman: When was your birthday?
- Me: December 27th…? (at this point I wasn’t sure)
- Woman: Let me see your queue.
At this point the store clerk is staring at me with open mouth amazement. She hands me her iPad and I pull up my queue. There was the message from my gifter and the pattern.
- Woman: Here you are. (She’s handing me the freaking cake)
- Me: I cannot just take this, at least let me buy your worsted yarn (I didn’t have the money for this, but I was flummoxed and I did owe her one).
- Woman: Do I look poor to you?
- Me: Uhhh…No. (she didn’t – but then neither do I)
- Woman: I can afford my own yarn thank you. Here are the specifications on the yarn (she pulls a scrap of paper out of her purse). Just do me a favor.
- Me: Uhh….anything!
- Woman: Let this be your next finished project. Go home and cast it on, and use it. I hate languishing yarn.
- Me: Okay…
At this point she turns back to the befuddled store clerk and lists, which such precise clarity the yarn brand/weight/name/quantity that she needs. The clerk all but runs away to go get the items the woman asked for, leaving me alone with the woman. I was planning on thanking her again and giving her my Ravelry name so she could see the FO when she said….
- Woman: My daughter was on Xanax.
I am confused, then I realize that when my purse spilled open my own anti-anxiety medication bottle fell out of my purse – she must have seen it.
- Woman: She committed suicide several years ago when she quit taking her medicine. She lost her job and lost interest in everything she did – I didn’t notice.
- Me: I am so sorry….
- Woman: Can you do me one more favor?
- Me: Anything.
- Woman: Tell the people you love to pay attention if you cannot list, on the spot, something you are passionate about. To pay attention if you quit doing something you so obviously love. Tell them to pay attention.
- Me: I promise.
Friends and neighbors, thank you for letting me share this story.
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…
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.
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.
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!!
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.
~ 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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).
- Another Christmas Stocking – which is actually quite nice, but you’ve already seen a gazillion pictures of them. Sorry friends and neighbors.
- AND of course, a few ruffles. I have an order for 5 OSU Buckeye Ruffle Scarves – all done *insert deep sigh of relief*
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 😉
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! 🙂
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!
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!
My 29th birthday was actually December 27th, but I resisted the urge to post that day. We found out a friend has stage 4 cancer and I didn’t want it to be a whiny, self-indulgent post. Things have settled a bit and that means it is time to get back on the blogging horse. Let’s start with what I’ve finished since my last post, it’s my birthday (weekend) and I will post how I want to! 😉
~ Some Finished Objects ~
1) The first one is yet another Christmas Stocking. You’ve seen pictures of them in my last post so I won’t bore you again.
2) This is the Podcaster Cowl by Susan Ashcroft. I made it with Lions Brand Vanna’s Choice Worsted in Dusty Green. I LOVE this cowl! It has been a while since I’ve done a pattern that has a written, 24 row repeat (which I thought would be annoying but wasn’t at all) so I was a bit slow going at first – until I saw the first leaf come together. When that leaf popped out at me I was off, I couldn’t wait to get to the next leaf, before I knew it I’d been up for 22 hours and my cowl was done. All things considered I don’t look too scary in that picture. Also, this cowl in a worsted, slightly variegated Malabrigo would be breathtakingly beautiful!
3) Obviously, these are leg warmers ;). For whatever reason my Mom loves leg warmers and is demanding them in high quantities. She’s not making a (horrible) fashion statement, her legs just get really cold when she is driving our out in the weather. T
This is my own little tube design. The top is a 1by1 rib that goes over the knee and will stay there securely. I balloon out the calf section because she has big calves (a floor nurse for 30 years has given her very strong legs) and the ankle is a decreased section in 2by2 rib so it will fit securely across her ankle. The finished decisions are; thigh 16″, calf 20″, ankle 12.4″ and the total length is just over 20″. They are not pretty, but what the Mom wants…the Mom gets!
This is the really similar to the cabled hat I made for my first custom order – I just took out the cables I didn’t like and replaced them with new ones. As a result, the hat doesn’t have any weird bulges or gaps. Who wants that on their head? It’s made with Red Heart Soft Yarn in Aqua Verde. I did the pattern on 4.0mm and 4.5mm needles (US 6 and US 7) up to 6″ and then began the decrease. As you can see, it is really tight on my head – which means it’ll be perfect for someone with no hair. The color has a bit of a sheen to it and I really like the color …. all in all pretty happy with it.
~ My Sock in Progress ~
This is my own, weird sock formula – meaning I am stealing bits from all sorts of sock patterns until it fits me just right. Sometimes I feel like Goldie Locks trying to make a sock…. Anyway, the yarn is Patons Socks Yarn in Aqua Jacquard. My plan when I finished my “perfect” sock was to knit it in something a little more expensive, but I actually really like this yarn. I’ve been wearing (and washing) my first two pairs of socks all month-long and they look just like they did when they came off the needles – so why mess with something that works? Higher end sock yarn will come, but for now my Patons and I are very happy.
Also, for the first time in my entire knitting history, I am using magic loop – Huzzah! I went on YouTube and found a video I liked and off I went. I think the 40″ cord is a little fiddley (I found it sifting through my destroyed yarn stash after the pipe bursts, no idea what I had it for) but I am getting the hang of it. I am really looking forward to turning the instep, I just haven’t picked up those stitches since turning the heel. Also, with long, pointy needles I 1) don’t break them and 2) can knit backwards on the heel turn – something I’ve been dying to put into practice.
~ My Birthday ~
This post is getting pretty long, so thank you for hanging in there. I guess, from a knitting perspective, the best way to get what you want for your birthday is make a list. Non knitters have no clue what to get you, and how could they? So, to avoid getting two bags of yarn that someone got for $2.00 at a yard sale and thought it was priceless, make a list 😉
One more amazing thing friends and neighbors! I did get an AMAZING birthday present from a near and dear friend of mine that I am dying to brag about. May I present….MY NEW YARN PET!
Almost 1,000 words and time to sign off. Have a great rest of your weekend and I hope to see you all really, really soon!
Alrighty friends and neighbors, this is how I’m gonna try to put weeks of blogging into one post. First off, let’s get the bad news over with – bad news will be in red and good news will be in green (Christmas-y huh?). So, let’s begin.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
- Gloria, my amazing niece, is in the top 10% of students in the midwest and will be sitting for a ACTs in January – she’s in the seventh grade!!!! 🙂
- I broke my tailbone. BUT the snow has been beautiful!
- Trevor’s Dad has cancer. BUT the treatment is doable, and his crazy hair from the treatments makes him look like Bill Murray.
- My special stash was ruined when a pipe burst. BUT I still have loads of yarn to play with.
- I had to get a second job. BUT I was able to get a second job in this economy and at this time of year.
- Trevor and I shared our 11 year first date anniversary! 🙂
- Orders seem to be slowing down. BUT I had my first Etsy store sale.
- I’ve broken four pairs of needles. BUT I can rewrite patterns for straight needles, something I had never had to do before.
- 2014’s money may be worse than 2013’s. BUT I married Prince Charming and we can survive anything.
- I lost my LYS. BUT I have found a new yarn store. It’s a drive and I won’t be able to go often, but everyone that works there is lovely!
- I’ve been avoiding blogging because I don’t want to lose my online knitting community.
I guess it is silly not writing, but it feels like my projects (or my yarn) are really that special to blog about. Since the incident at the LYS my knitting mojo has been….none existent – I am constantly doubting my ability and my finished product. Again, silly. It is time to take a breath and move on. Get back to blogging and back to sharing with the amazing online knitting community. Who knows, I may even have a pattern to share soon!
I don’t know if this is everything, probably not but this is the best way to catch up with all the things I’ve been finishing. The scary part is that there are multiples of several of these project – I will spare you several duplicate photos and do one pic of each. I hope you enjoy.
I actually feel like I haven’t really knit that much in the last month, not until after I got a good look at the photos. I think for next year I am going to do the Knitmeter to see just how much damage I can really do. I think that is it for me today, I have bared my soul and now it’s time to get to knitting. I will be back, getting over this insecurity is something you just have to push through – no other way around. For anyone reading this, thank you for sticking with me, it means the world.
But since I don’t want to weigh 400 pounds I decided that rusty/pumpkin-y yarn was the way to go. This is another “original” design – a better way to phrase this is “stitch dictionary modification integrated with tried-and-true beanie bind-off”. However you take it, I like how it turned out.
The Vogue Stitchonaries have been a huge source on inspiration on making some things that are more mine, as in I didn’t download it off of Ravelry. Maybe this will be the start of something wonderful design wise, maybe not. Either way I am really happy with the outcome.
So you start with the fancy, schmancy stitch pattern – then figure out how to write it in the round. Not the most creative thing in the world but I have to start somewhere. For those that are interested this is a herringbone stitch with a ribbed section in-between, which I found to be super fun knitting wise.
Then you work the pattern till desired length, for me this is about 3 1/2 inches. it ensures that the ears will be covered and kept warm. Then work the beanie until it reaches desired length, again, for me this is about 6ish” or a total of 42 rounds. It may seem really anal to keep track of every round I do, but hey, you know I have OCD.
Then you do the tried and true 15 row decrease (I will include this at the bottom of the post). What do you get when you combine all these knitting ingredients: a hat. Moron 😉
The bummer is that these hats look way better on than they do on the poor Styrofoam head, it looks a bit silly on the head to be honest. They fit like a dream though, nice and snug around the ears and a little looser at the top of the hat without feeling slouchy. Oh! This is Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Rust – just in case you were curious.
** The Tried-and-True 15 Row Decrease **
- I start with 100 stitches on size 7US needles (and worsted weight yarn) because I like a dense, warm beanie.
- K8, K2tog
- K7, K2tog
- K6, K2tog
- K5, K2tog
- K4, K2tog
- K3, K2tog
- K2, K2tog
- K1, K2tog
Leaving a 20″ tail, sew live stitches in the round twice and remove from needles. Pull tight to keep the top of the hat from looking like a bellybutton and weave in your ends.
That’s all I have for today friends and neighbors, although if you have time I would like to know what you think of the hat. I figure with the vast amounts of smarts you possess you will come up with a way better way to do this.
- Written by: Rachel Folk (kinda)
- Editing and Written Pattern by: Trevor Folk
So I showed progress on this scarf…um…last week? Anyway, the more I worked on it the bigger it got. I know, I know – it’s supposed to get bigger but this scarf seemed to get wider as well.
This is how it started:
And THIS is how it ended:
By the time I bound off I didn’t know if it was 1) a scarf 2) a table runner or 3) a decorative couch cover. It was gorgeous by they way ( I used two strands of Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda) and I was really enjoying looking at it on the back of my couch.
Luckily my Mom fixed the situation by calling it a “drape” and took it quite literally off my hands. She had it in her car so fast I didn’t even get a picture of her wearing it. She has pure black hair (and since her hair color is real she has natural blue highlights) and it looked stunning on her – I should have gotten a picture dagnabbit!
I thought about seeing if I could actually sell a pattern, but since I can’t seem to work out the logistics of sizing I will share it for free. Knit at your will, sell the completed projects on Etsy – I don’t really care. I figure the pattern deserves to be out in the knitting universe.
** The Pattern **
- Needles: Size 15US (10mm) Straight Needles
- Yarn: 2 Packages of Caron Simply Soft in Pagoda (2 strands necessary if you are hoping to achieve thickness) – (why does everything knitting related sound so dirty?- TF)
Cast On 36 Stitches
Set Up: Knit Four (4) Rows Seed Stitch.
- Row 1: K1, P1, K1, P1. Knit to last Four (4) stitches. K1, P1, K1, P1
- Row 2 and all Even/Wrong Side Rows: P1, K1, P1, K1. Purl to last Four (4) stitches. P1, K1, P1, K1
- Row 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1; *K2, SSK, K2TOG, K4, (YO, K1)twice *; repeat from * to last Seven (7) stitches. K4, P1, K1, P1
- Row 13: REPEAT ROW ONE (1).
- Row 15, 17, 19, 21, 23: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1; *K3, YO, K1, YO, K4, SSK, K2TOG *; repeat from * to last Seven (7) stitches; K4, P1, K1, P1
- Row 24: REPEAT ROW TW0 (2)
Repeat rows 1-24 until desired length (Rachel went till she was almost out of yarn and cursing -TF). Do Four (4) rows of seed stitch and BO (bowl obstruction? -TF) loosely.
******** ******* ****** ***** **** *** ** *
So there you have it friends and neighbors, from my noggin to yours. I want to give a big round of applause for my husband who is putting up with me. (You’re welcome -TF). I also wanted to add that I am reading all of your wonderful posts but not commenting as much as I would like. No worries, Dragon Speak will be back eventually. I hope you like the pattern, it is the very least I can do to share because all of your blogs are making me a better knitter, spinner, crocheter and person.
Man that was cheesy – I’m out. 🙂 (Do people still say “I’m out?”. -TF)
It’s November 1st and I am already missing this photo contest! It was so much fun to watch what everyone was posting and have an excuse to over share on Instagram every day 😉
So let’s finish up the month in style – here we go!
Day 21 was FO. This was my first pair of handmade socks – which I am so in love with that I have casted on another pair!
Day 22 was SPOON. This was the first textured knitting I ever did (I can’t find the pattern on Ravelry, so if you do lemme know). It was pretty eye-opening to see that knits and purls could actually make things like a dishcloth interesting.
Day 23 was INK. This is my little table next to my knitting chair, and there is always an abundance of different colored ink to work through a project. Also, my iPod holder has a finger protector on it, which is kinda awesome.
Day 25 was PROJECT BAG. This is my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE knitting bag! Who doesn’t want to think about snow when they are lugging around their knitting?
**** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****
So there it is friends and neighbors, a full month of knitting themed pictures done! Now, what is going on in November? Any ideas about what will fill out this month? If you’ve heard anything through the blog-line let me know!
I want to apologize for my blogging neglect, I have a good reason I swear!
I was at my local hand doctor’s office last Friday, shooting the breeze with a nurse that used to work on my unit when I was introduced to a fellow….sufferer? No, that’s not right, a gal that has temporarily lost the functionality of her dominate hand. We got to talking and she was super bummed that she wasn’t going to get to do this years NaNoWriMo, something she has been looking forward to all year. Totally understanding how irritating it is to have your dreams shot to crap by a failing appendage, I loaned her Dragon Speak software to see if it would work for her.
So far things are going great on her end, she’s had a week to practice getting used to oral dictation and she is all ready to write. When she gets the money she’s going to buy her own spiffy version, but I told her not to rush (also to wait and get the $200.00 package because it is way better) and take her time.
The blog may be a bit sparse on written diatribes – I know, your all crying into your coffee right now – but there is still plenty of knitting to show off. I hope you won’t mind photo heavy posts – because I have loads to show off!
Friends and neighbors please bear (bare? I never remember) with me and I will keep you apprised of all the goofy, knitting shenanigans I can get into.
I was able to pick up my needles this week but quickly realized that I was going to have to find a sweet spot to appease both of my hands. This gave me the best excuse to cast on several projects, I mean, I have to keep my hands happy!
I have found that different types of needles, different needle sizes and different types of yarn are the best way to keep my hands from feeling any fatigue – also, I never get bored working on one project. Pretty awesome in my book, maybe this whole arthritis thing isn’t so bad after all! 😉 So here is my WIP run down:
Size 2US DPN – Sock Weight Yarn – Patons Jacquard & Stripe Socks #104
I casted on another pair of these immediately after I finished the first, I am only on the ribbing so no picture yet, but they are fantastic to knit and easy on both hands.
Size 4 Circular Needles – Lace Weight – Fiori Autunnali Shawl
This pattern is from the Craftsy Class New Directions in Lace. It is an incredible early Christmas present from my Mom – and there are beads! I am still a bit daunted by how much work it is going to take to finish this beast, but it’s just so pretty I don’t care. Romi Hill creates the most beautiful work and her class is so full of information I’m surprised it didn’t cost more. If you like lace, like learning, want to try something new and work with a stellar pattern – go sign up for this class.
This is where I am in the pattern:
Size 5US Circular Needles – DK Weight Yarn – Jayashri Sweater
This is the kalallnight that Stacy over at Musings and Motion and I are making. The pattern is available from Knit Picks and if you still feel the urge to join feel free! I have a feeling that Stacy will finish way before I do and I wouldn’t mind the company! Here is where I am so far:
Size 7US Circular and DPN – Worsted Weight – “Hat on the Brain”
I have gone on a mini design kick trying to make a bunch of different beanies. I am trying to have a very styled brim (usually combinations of stitch dictionaries) and working my way through a list of hat decreases. I just finished the one last night, the rusty orange beanie above ↑ so I will need to cast on another one today.
Size 8US Straight 7″ Needles – Worsted Weight – Looped Loop Cowl
Here is a super fun cowl by Kirsten Johnstone that I just had to cast on – despite the fact that straight needles make both my hands hurt and the pinkie on my right hand usually gets rubbed raw ( you know, since it just lays there and doesn’t move…man…that sounds super dirty ;)). Anyway, I had to give it a go and here is the progress:
Oh! For fun, here is Lucy Neatby showing the coolest provisional cast on I have ever done.
Size 15US Straight Needles – Two Strands DK Weight – Eyelet Scarf
This was another attempt to create something out of my own noggin….and some stitch dictionaries. I am trying to combine different variations on eyelet patterns so it looks swirled. I started it before I hurt my left hand so I can only work on it maybe 20 minutes a day. The color is beautiful though so I don’t mind looking at it everyday.
So that’s the low down on my WIPs for Wednesday. I hope you’ve enjoyed my ranting and hopefully I have given you an excellent excuse to cast on more projects – you must think of the health of your hands!
So friends and neighbors I am interested to hear, if you would like to share, how you combat both boredom and hand fatigue. I was once a fairly monogamous knitter (no more that three projects going at a time) so this is all new to me. Feel free to share – I love to listen!
I just finished my first pair of knitted socks.
I thought this would be a good way to come back to my blog, to show some massive progress has been made. It wasn’t made in the week (5 days – Trevor would have added this here so I am going to add it for him) I took off but in the past two years. Two years….that is still really hard for me to wrap my head around.
Two years ago, from April to October I 1) lost my grandfather 2) lost the idea of motherhood and 3) loss all functionality in my hand. I was down, I was so down I didn’t even realize it. I couldn’t write, drive, eat, lift, get my hair clean, put in my contacts or give the finger in traffic – and I was told it was never going to change.
I saw a knitting pattern by Tiny Owl Knits – the Orchids and Fairylight’s hat – and I knew I had to figure out how to knit that damn hat. It took three very long months of practicing calligraphy to learn to write again, another two months to figure out how to hold my needles (and write legibly and consistently). I found an amazing woman who showed me I didn’t really need more than seven working fingers to knit. She spent two days a week with me in the public library going over everything I thought I had already learned. She gave me swatch patterns to work on, made me write out my GG’s patterns then knit them. She built up my confidence far more than she built up the muscles in my hand.
A year later, I finished my hat. It took 4 months of monogamous knitting but I did it.
It’s been a week and I am ready to come back, my right hand is still a bit sore but my left is totally healed. I can look down at the stupid appendage, all swollen and purple, and feel nothing but grateful. My hand works as much as I need it to, and I will have to learn to treat it a bit better.
For now, it is 36º in the Buckeye State and I am curled up, wearing my new hand knit socks. And friends and neighbors….that’s pretty awesome :).