Progress Made (and a new WIP)

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Yesterday was quiet and cool, so I spent much of the day on the couch with my yarns. I managed to frog the striped hat from yesterday’s post, so it’s all ready for a redo. I’m waiting until after I open my birthday presents, though, just in case there’s a set of interchangeable 16″ needles in one of them. (*fingers crossed*) I also worked for a while on my Quadratic shawl, and I cannot wait until it’s done and I can wear it. IMG_4975After lunch, I pondered the many WIPs I have, and the projects I need to complete soon, and I decided I could cast on for just one more. It’s for someone I like (okay, all my knitting is for someone I like) plus it’s an unusual project for me. It’s called the Spring Lace Infinity Scarf and with any luck, it will end up looking like this.

Spring Lace Infinity Scarf by Linda Thach. copyright Purl Avenue

This is fingering weight yarn (i.e. very skinny, i.e. not bulky at all, which is what I normally use) and it’s a lace pattern. It will end up being open and delicate and lovely (I hope) but it will knit slowly and will take much time and attention to detail. I managed to get through the casting on of 360(!!!) stitches and knitting of five rows. This is what it looks like so far. IMG_4977So yeah, it will be slow going on this one, but I think it will be delightful. I’ll probably spend some time on this today … or maybe I’ll spend the morning reading my new book! IMG_4978

NOT my favorite WIP

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Dagnabbit. Another knitting failure. I refuse to blame it on not checking gauge, but it *is* my fault. So I got an order for these hats for Christmas presents, and I wanted to get an early start. Plus I love making hats so this is a fun project to have in my rotation. Unfortunately, when I went to cast on, I realized I didn’t have size 7 16″ circulars. I have 6 and 8, but no 7. I have size 7 in my interchangeables, but those tips with the 16″ cord are still a bit longer than 16″ and it’s more awkward than a true 16″. You can guess what I did. Yep. I thought, oh, I’ll just use the 8. They’re for slightly older boys so it’ll be okay if they’re bigger than the kid in the pattern’s picture. So I used the 8. Here’s where I am. IMG_4973It’s cute, I like the pattern, it’s knitting up quickly, blah blah blah. Whatever. Last night I tried it on my 11yo son. It’s too big. Not terrible, but loose. And it’s for a younger boy. And it’ll stretch a bit with use. So yeah. Too big. Sing along with me (to the tune of “Crying Time”. I hear Barbra in my head, but there are a lot of versions): “It’s frogging time again, you’re gonna leave me. I can see it by the way you lose your shape.”

My Favorite WIP

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There’s a lot going on in my life lately and I’ve been feeling a bit scattered, unable to focus too long on anything. Maybe that’s obvious, given that I keep starting new yarn projects without finishing the others. (Current WIP count = 9) Partly I’m feeling a lot of creative inspiration where I actually know what a yarn is supposed to be. That doesn’t happen often for me so I want to start them before I lose the inspiration. And partly I just need different kinds of projects for different moods and needs. I need waiting room knitting, TV knitting, football game knitting, and quiet time knitting. I’ve got them all covered now! Plus I’ve got three orders in my queue; one is started and the other two are next in line. Clearly, I’ve got enough knitting to keep me busy for a good long while.

But I’ve got a favorite right now. I know you’re not supposed to admit it, but I do. A few days ago I came across a post by yarnandpointysticks titled “The moment when something screams knit me” and the second project really did scream that to me. Look at this gorgeous shawl!

dokatron’s Quadratic on Ravelry. (Photo by Victoria Magnus)

This is the Quadratic published by David O’Kelly and Eden Cottage Yarns. It’s simple but striking. It’s also a lot of delightful squishy garter stitch, which I love, and just a tiny bit of stockinette to make the little stripes stand out. As soon as I saw it, my mind went to the two skeins of icy gray Quince & Co. yarn that I bought in DC this summer. A quick check in Ravelry told me it was a fingering weight, which is what the shawl requires. Plus, I only had *TWO* other fingering weight yarns in my entire stash, and they just happened to be colors that look gorgeous with the gray.IMG_4929Oh my, I just love those together. The only problem is that the shawl calls for 567 yards of the gray, and I only have 442. That didn’t stop me. I have a plan. I’m going to modify the pattern just a little bit. Instead of having all the larger sections be gray, I’m going to have one small one in the blue, and a larger one in the purple. I have no idea how much yardage those two sections will make up, so I’m really just crossing my fingers that this will work out favorably. If not, well, I’ll be begging for more of the gray yarn, I guess. I cast on the next day, and even though I’ve been working on projects for customers, I keep coming back to this one just a little at a time. IMG_4958I like it so much that I don’t think it will take me too long to finish. Check back for photos of the final product!

Newborn Owl Hats

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I can’t stop making these character hats! Can I just say how much I love the Repeat Crafter Me blog?? Sarah is the creator of the blog and it’s her basic owl pattern that I keep coming back to over and over. It’s just genius, how simply it’s designed and how she’s included variations for sizes from newborn to adult. I also love that she’s so generous to share the pattern with crafters like me. So here’s a big thank you to Sarah. She does a ton of fun, unusual projects, so be sure to check out her website.

Now, on to the hats! I got an order for two newborn hats, one in pink and one in gray. After a quick trip to Joann for some super soft gray baby yarn, I made two owl hats in one day. And I cannot tell you how much I love them. Why is it that things are so much cuter when they’re little? Check them out: IMG_2910 IMG_2912

And using the wine glass as a hat stand? Yeah, that was Repeat Crafter Me too. Genius, I’m telling you. If you’d like to see other things I’m making, or contact me about making something for you, you can find me on Facebook too.

Finally, here’s the guy who was trying to help me take pictures. He’s cute, but not terribly helpful. IMG_2909

Captain Jack Update: Pictures of a Puppy

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I’m in a bit of a funk this morning, so I’m going to look at cute puppy pictures and share some with you. Captain Jack is 7 months old now. He’s gained around 10 pounds since we got him from the shelter two months ago, which makes him about 52 pounds. He’s muscular and strong, with these broad shoulders and a thick neck, but he’s also got the sweetest face and disposition.

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

Balancing on boards from deck demolition

He loves to play in his pool, but since our yard is in a state of upheaval right now (deck demolition prior to patio construction. We are in mud pit phase) I haven’t been filling it lately. He doesn’t care. He’ll play with it empty too.

"You can't see me!"

“You can’t see me!”

"BOO!"

“BOO!”

And when it rains, he has his own pool!IMG_4755

Like most dogs, he loves his walks, but it took a while to build up his stamina. For a long time, he’d plop down in some shady grass and just look at me. We thought he’d end up being like Ferdinand the bull.

"Yeah, I'm happy here."

“Yeah, I’m happy here.”

Now he can go and go and go, and I come home from walks sweaty and tired and he’s like, OK! LET’S PLAY BALL NOW! But he can sleep with the best of them too, and he ends up in the funniest positions. IMG_4671 IMG_4674IMG_4704IMG_4892

Recently we discovered he has allergies, and he ended up with an ear infection that broke one of his ears. No, it wasn’t really broken, but it was floppy and flat.IMG_4795Oops, there’s my foot. Sorry about that. Anyway, the puppy was still cute but I like him better with matching ears. We got him started on allergy meds and ear drops, and the ear stayed floppy. I was afraid it was permanent. Then one morning I got up and bam! Perky-eared puppy! IMG_4901And we’re all still glad that even as he’s growing, he hasn’t lost our favorite pose: the full sprawl. IMG_4911He’s smart enough to learn quickly and wants to please us enough to obey our commands. We’ve had two training classes and he’s learned a lot already. The only thing keeping him from being the perfect dog is that he goes nuts when people come over. It doesn’t matter if he’s met them before or not. He gets all protective and barks and barks and barks. That part sucks, and I’m hoping we can get him through it so we can have people over more easily. He’s just darn cute and lovable, and brings a lot of joy to our house.

*Sighh* I feel better now. I’m going to take my puppy for a walk and enjoy the morning.

Progress on my Cowls

The problem with having a lot of WIPs is that it makes the FO posts fewer and far between. I have been knitting, I swear. I’ve been working on two of my cowls. See, I’m making progress on my Madelinetosh Honey CowlIMG_4922and my Silkindian Neck Thingie:IMG_4924Hopefully I’ll be able to finish one of them soon. The Honey Cowl is going much faster. The multicolored silk is lovely but also slightly thin and slippery. I’m not convinced it’s a true worsted, so really I’m just hoping the cowl will fit when it’s done. (No, I did not check my gauge. … I know. I might regret it.) I should have some good knitting time in the next couple of days: the daughter has a piano lesson today, and tomorrow she’ll be marching in the band at her first football game. If I have to sit through a football game, you can bet I’ll be taking some yarn with me!

Hello Hats

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Today is Tuesday. Right? I’m feeling confused, having come off this long weekend. It was productive for most of us. My husband worked on our patio project, and though we still have a ways to go, it’s encouraging to see it progress. For me, Labor Day weekend meant watching the US Open, which of course includes playing with yarn. I finished another Christmas present yesterday and I’m quite pleased with it.IMG_2896 IMG_2897 IMG_2903

I never thought I’d get into making these character hats. I thought they were fussy and fiddly and would require so much detail work that I’d hate it, but I’m having a blast with them. Sure, the finishing isn’t my favorite, but seeing it all together makes it worth it. Here’s hoping my niece still likes Hello Kitty by the time Christmas rolls around!

Once that was done, I needed another project. I’m going to visit a friend with a new baby this week, and for the baby shower I made a wee pointy elf hat. Since the baby has a big sister, I thought I’d take her a present, so last night I made another elf hat.

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I’m feeling pretty good about my Christmas knitting now, so I might even be able to take a break and work on some selfish knitting for a bit. It’s September…surely cooler weather is just around the corner…I need a new hat for myself, right? 

 

 

Knitting for the Holidays

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Okay, these people are freaking me out: “Only 16 Fridays until Christmas!!” Why? Why do we have to start that already? It’s still 90 degrees and sunny here, not even officially fall, and people are gunning for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas. Love to decorate and buy presents and receive presents and eat lots of yummy food. But I don’t want to think about it year-round. And I don’t want to feel the gift-knitting-anxiety so early in the year.

I like to knit gifts for my people. I have a lot of people. That means a lot of knitted gifts. And the last year or two, I waited too long and tried to knit too many things. By the end of December, I was frantic. My love of knitting dimmed slightly, and I knitted each one with less love and more panic. This year, I decided to work differently. I had a potential gift list written out by May, I ordered the yarn this summer, and I already have three gifts knitted. That’s great, right? Right! I’m excited!

But then I see those things on Facebook where people are counting down and it just doesn’t seem like enough time to take care of all the knitting left on my list. Add in all the selfish knitting I still want to do, and here comes the trembly fear in the pit of my stomach. I’ve started to crave lists. Lists of presents, lists of yarns, lists of selfish projects….

Yikes! I have now thrown myself into gift knitting, and I started another today as soon I finished one this morning. I’ve got two more in my mental queue and I have no desire to go back to my current WIPs. At least not until I’ve made a bigger dent in my gift list. So I’m not really alleviating my knitting-anxiety. It’s just moved up earlier in the year. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’ll be worth it once December rolls around. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here’s a peek at the gift I finished this morning. He’s a Simple Medium-Sized Bear from The Best Dressed Knitted Bear by Emma King and he used up one whole skein of Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Sienna. The pattern called for knitting each piece flat, but I did the body and head in the round to avoid seaming. When I do the pattern again, I think I’ll also do the arms and legs in the round. He’s a good-sized fellow, a full 16″ tall, and he’s soft and squishy. I think he might get a little shirt too. I really like this pattern and its simple charm. I just hope the little boy who gets him likes him too!IMG_4918

Knitting Fail

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Well, I screwed up. Not big time, but still enough to be annoying. One of my WIPs is in timeout while I think about what I did. This project was one where I knew what the yarn was going to be as soon as I got it home. It was a project I was anticipating. It’s a purse made out of alpaca, so I waiting to start it until a little closer to fall. It was my celebratory back to school knitting. It started out well enough, though since I was using such large needles (size 10) and one strand of yarn, the fabric felt a little…loose. IMG_4807

I kept knitting away, and soon I had two sides and the gusset, which grew into the handle (that wider section).IMG_4895

I didn’t worry about it until last night. I was waiting for the girl at flute lesson, knitting away on the handle section. It’s all garter stitch and it was so open and stretchy. The pattern calls for it to sewn around a ribbon for reinforcement, but it just didn’t seem right.IMG_4896

I went back and checked the pattern in the book: it called for Rowan Alpaca Chunky. and I was using Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. Should be the same, right? Wrong. Apparently the Rowan Chunky is a Super Bulky, and Cascade is just a bulky. Substituting the yarns but not the needle size meant the product was coming out much differently than the original. (YES, I KNOW! All you smug gauge-testers are laughing and shaking your head and saying, “I TOLD you so!” You did. I ignored you. Shut up.)

Once I figured that out last night, I stopped knitting. I don’t know what I want to do with it now. I still want to make the bag. I don’t really want to frog the two pieces that are already bound off. I don’t mind their size or level of openness, especially since this whole piece will be lined. It’s just the handle that’s bugging me, even though it’ll also be reinforced and shouldn’t stretch out with use. Do I frog the handle section? If so, what do I do instead? I have enough yarn to double-strand the handle. Or I could knit the handle with smaller needles to make it a closer knit. What would you do?

Make a new project, finish an old one

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Crafters have it bad. They’re always thinking of new things they want to make. They look at supplies and their brains light up with possibilities. It’s great to have all the ideas, but it does sometimes make it hard to get projects completed. I have seven WIPs but that doesn’t stop me from starting more. I’ve had some purple LaFurla yarn in my stash for months, but as soon as I got some purple Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande to go with it, I’ve been dying to make another furry cowl. It finally got to be too much and a couple of days ago I broke down and cast on. I finished it that day (I *never* finish projects in a day) and love it! The furry yarn was kind of a pain to knit with. It doesn’t like to knot when you finish it off, and heaven forbid you drop a stitch: I don’t know if you’d ever find it! It’s worth it, though.IMG_4865 IMG_4874 IMG_4875

I know, the last picture is terrible. I’m sorry. I wanted a photo showing how nicely it drapes, and a selfie with my phone was my option.

Once that was done, I was happy, and I could switch back to a WIP. I decided to finish the Chiefs fingerless gloves for my friend, since I knew one mitt would go quickly. And it did. I got it knit in the morning and wove in tails last night. They’re fun. I like the reversed colors, I think. Not what I had in mind, but it works.IMG_4879

Having finished two projects in as many days, I thought I deserved to start another one. So last night during the Emmys, I finally cast on for the Honey Cowl, the Madelinetosh pattern that keeps catching my eye on Ravelry and that I tried to cast on twice already. This time it worked, and I’m six rows in. And that Madelinetosh DK yarn is a delight to knit with too. Now let’s see how long it takes me to finish it!

 

 

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