Knitting from stash

This is a never-ending topic for many of us knitters, isn’t it? “My stash is out of control, I’m going to knit from stash this year, I need to knit down my stash!”And now I’ve said stash so many times it’s lost all meaning and is just a noise. Anyway, for no apparent reason, I’ve been knitting random skeins from stash lately. I pull out a skein that’s calling my name and just go with it. I think I needed some quicker projects to balance out all my fingering weight shawls, so I’ve been working on worsted weight cowls. This one is the Zig Zag Cowl by Imagined Landscapes Designs, which I purchased on Payhip but now I can’t easily find the link. (It’s on Rav too, if you’re so inclined.) I love how it flares out, widening at the bottom, because my neck is always cold. It was a treat to do some lace with bigger yarn and needles, and it knit up so quickly — just 24 hours! And then I got done and realized my yarn was actually DK weight! Oh well, close enough, right?

The yarn is Souvenir DK from Destination Yarn and was a free gift from the yarn store in Eureka Springs, but it’s still a skein out of my stash. Depending on how I like it as I wear it, I might knit another one in a solid yarn to show off the pattern better, and maybe I’ll actually use worsted weight yarn. As soon as this one was done, I pulled out a skein of La Bien Aimee merino and cast on for another cowl, plus I’ve got a worsted weight hat going. And even with all that, I managed to finish a pair of socks today!

This is the Laurell memorial colorway from Hue Loco, such a gorgeous colorway for fall. Even though these aren’t my colors at all, I think this is beautiful yarn and I loved knitting with it … but I’m glad I can go back to my purples and pinks now! First my goal is to finish a pair of gift socks. These are for a non-binary loved one, knit in F*ck Your Binary from Dye Mad Yarns. They have small feet so surely I can get a foot done by the end of the weekend, right? Somehow it’s just so satisfying to cross off one more project before the end of the month.

Happy Saturday, friends.

A little bit of FOMO

I did not go to Rhinebeck this year.

I mean, I’ve never been to Rhinebeck, so this year isn’t really any different. I’m still seeing all the photos on Instagram of cool people meeting other cool people and wearing awesome knitwear and generally having a fabulous time, and it’s convincing me that I’m missing out big time by not being there.

But! I DID go to Iowa! Sarah had free tickets to a musical, and she knows I love musicals, so I zipped up the highway on Friday morning to spend about 24 hours with her. The musical (The Band’s Visit) was NOT our jam and we would have left at intermission had there been one, but we still had fun. Saturday morning we had a mini-reunion of our Wisconsin group (very much missing Alissa!) for a couple of hours of knitting, plus donuts that we didn’t have to wait in a long line for. So I basically had my own low-stress mini Rhinebeck, and saved a shit ton of money in the process.

Take that, FOMO!

Happy Sunday, friends.

Wisconsin Adventure

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I had to share my adventure at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. Sarah mentioned ages ago that she and three of her friends had decided to go, and I decided to tag along. I drove the three hours to Sarah’s house the night before, and I got to enjoy her yarn room and ogle her library and pet her awesome dog. The next morning everyone convened at Sarah’s and we embarked on the five hours to Wisconsin, all in one minivan. I’d been nervous and anxious about spending a weekend with two people I’d never met and one I’d met just twice. Well. That went away immediately. Her friends are amazing and it felt comfortable and fun from the get-go. How often does that happen?? Not often, I tell you!

We’d rented a big house outside of Madison, and it was huge and gorgeous. We had a big stone fireplace outside, and a cornfield, and deer that visited in the morning. We stocked up on groceries, had takeout pizza one night and two of them cooked the second night, and we just … hung out. It was so good. We talked a lot and laughed a lot and there might have been some alcohol consumed, but there were also times when we could all just knit in silence and feel comfortable being together quietly. I know, it sounds weird and too good to be true. It was.

And the festival, OMG! I saw so many sheep and they just baa’ed and baa’ed and it was adorable! I watched a little bit of the sheep dog trials and got to pet one of the dogs! We saw so much gorgeous yarn that it was overwhelming at first, and then once you make your first purchase, the frenzy kicks in and boom, you’ve bought one of everything. We also made it to Madison and visited KnitCircus (more yarn, not that we needed it) and had a big lunch/dinner.

It was just the perfect getaway, and we’re all counting down the days until next year’s festival.

Have you been to any sheep & fiber festivals? Which ones are the best? (Besides Rhinebeck, obviously!)

FO Friday: Socks etc

Blogging is not where it’s at for me these days, it would appear! Still, I wanted to pop in and share my latest finished objects … socks. Simple knitting IS where it’s at, I guess, and socks are the top of the list for me. I’ve got two new pairs to add to my already-overflowing sock drawer.

I’d really like to cast on a new sweater but I don’t have a sweater quantity of anything right now. I’m pondering Joji’s easy bulky one, maybe with one of Woolfolk’s yarns. Wouldn’t that be so cozy? Until I get that yarn, though, I’m casting on some new socks asap. Would you believe I only have two WIPs right now? One is a cabled scarf, which I’m enjoying but scarves are long, and one is a Musselburgh hat, which is a crap ton of fingering-weight stockinette and I’m using a black tweedy yarn so it’s not the funnest thing to work on. I’m planning to cast on at least two new projects this weekend, maybe three!

We also finished a big home project. We had a house we’d been renting out and decided it was time to sell, so we spent the summer getting it cleaned up, painted inside and out, and doing odd jobs to fix little things. After one eight hour day of yard work last weekend, we declared it done and had the realtor come take photos this week. Can’t wait to get it sold!

It’s a little bittersweet, though: we bought this house when I was just 22, and we raised our kids in this house. Lots of great memories here. Crazy that we’ve owned this house for half my life! Still, it’s not the right place for us anymore and I’m ready to simplify.

Happy Friday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

Instead of knitting the second sock of the pair I started a couple of weeks ago, I decided I really needed to knit socks to match my new rainbow sweater, or at least pretty close.

The yarn is Mamma Mia! from Leon Alexander yarns and I added a solid purple for accents. Since it’s all stockinette, it’s a fast knit so the second one should be done soon!

Is there such a thing as too many handknit socks? Asking for a friend!

Sweater Sunday!

Oh sure, I could have saved this for next Friday, but I was too excited to share: I finished my rainbow sweater!! This is the Apogean sweater in Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the color Locura Fluo.

I’m so happy with how it turned out! The fit is perfect, I love the v-neck, and I love the wild and crazy colors! This is probably my best effort at sweater-knitting; it’s nice when you can see your experience making a difference. I really liked this pattern too. It was simple and easy to follow, and even though at first I wasn’t sure about how the neckline was done, now I think it’s fantastic. I do wish she’d given more guidance about how many stitches to pick up around the neckline instead of just “pick up the stitches around the neck and knit” but I’m gonna say I nailed it. I could definitely see myself making another version of this pattern.

Now I have a sweater, a scarf, and a cowl in this colorway, and I’ve got socks on my needles in a yarn that’s very close. But I have two skeins of this yarn left — what should I do with it?? Maybe a hat! And fingerless gloves!

Oh yeah, I also have something else new to share:

This is Bella. She’s a Dodge Challenger in a color called Hellraisin that’s prettier and more sparkly in person. She’s also zippy and super fun to drive, and has all kinds of modern features my older car didn’t have. I think this is what’s called making lemonade out of lemons.

Happy Sunday, friends.

Two steps forward, one step back

So you know by now that the renovation project at our house is done (hooray!) and the floors have been refinished (hooray!) and that’s two big stressful things that I can cross of my list of things causing me stress. Last weekend the husband and I took off for a three-day weekend at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to celebrate our anniversary, and wow did I need the getaway. The physical change was enormous — I felt so much lighter and relaxed. It really cemented a couple of things for me. One, that he and I need to get away more often, even if it’s just date nights most of the time with an overnight every so often.

And two, which is the bigger thing in my mind, is that I need to not be in charge of so much. We a big renovation project at our house, the floor project, getting our rental property ready to sell — and I was basically acting as the project manager for all of them, plus working. I’ll be the first to admit that this is mostly my fault. I tend to take control of things, to be in charge. That’s how it’s been for most of our married life, especially with two younger kids and when I wasn’t working. But now he and I are both working full time, we both have elements of our jobs that stress us out, and our kids are both adults now. I’m ready to let go, ready to let the husband step up, ready to let the boy step up. It’ll be a process, for sure, but even just talking to the husband about it was a big relief.

So, all good things, right? We stayed in a bed and breakfast where we could see deer right outside our room, plus white squirrels and hybrid gray and white squirrels. We did some shopping, ate some great food and some just okay food, took a hike around a lake, and just enjoyed each other’s company. It was a good way to celebrate 24 years married.

Coming home wasn’t too bad at first. I got back into the work routine, finished unpacking all the stuff from the floor project, had some good knitting time. I wasn’t as relaxed as during the trip but still wasn’t as stressed as before the trip. Then on Friday, this happened:

Yeah, that’s my car there, the Charger, my beloved Edward. He was parked on the street, minding his own business, when some idiot came blazing around the corner and plowed into him, then took off. I heard it but he was long gone by the time I made it outside. The impact pushed Edward into my husband’s car, which was parked on the street so the gutter guys could do their job. Thankfully, his car isn’t too badly damaged, since it’s only two years old. But Edward is crunched front and back, and he had to be towed to the body shop. I filed a police report but don’t expect any results from it, and I asked the neighbors if anyone had video footage, and no luck there. Basically, we’re screwed and our insurance will have to cover it, and we’ll pay the deductibles to get both cars repaired. ARGH. And given that Edward is almost ten years old, there is a good chance he will be totaled. Up side: yay, fun new car! Down side: I was hoping to wait until at least next spring to replace him, when it will be a little easier to fit a car payment into the budget. We are very lucky that it is manageable, and we’ll be fine; it’s just not what I had in mind. But that’s what they say, right? Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, or something like that.

I’ve had a couple of days to process it and I’m still annoyed but have come to terms with it, at least logistically. If he is totaled, I’m likely to have an emotional response, since I bought this car right around the time my dad died and I quit my job and my life was changing so much. I bought Edward by myself, negotiated and everything, and he was kind of a symbol of me choosing a different path for my life. Anyway. Still just a car and I’m grateful no one was hurt and that we have the means to replace him if needed.

I really hope your week has been less eventful than mine! Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: All the things

The upside to blogging so rarely is that by the time I have the motivation, I have plenty of things to share! I have so many finished things today, which is a relief after months of works in progress. Let’s start with the house: I’m calling it finished, even though we’re still waiting for the new gutter to be installed on the back of the house. It’s supposed to happen today and that’s close enough.

We got the downstairs floors and stairs refinished last week and they’re so gorgeous, better than I ever expected. I even bought new curtains for the music room to jazz up the “boring” gray walls, and new curtains and an area rug for the living room. This is the probably the fanciest we’ve ever been — I feel like we finally have a nice, grown-up house!

Yes, as many people have asked, it does make us think differently about the house. We’ve been saying for ages that we want to sell it and move on ASAP, but now that its potential is finally being realized, we’re starting to ponder. The house still has some issues we want to fix — upstairs bathroom renovation is a big one — and it has some issues we can’t easily/affordably fix — the downstairs bathroom is uncomfortably tiny, the street we’re on is noisy, the husband can’t build a workshop as big as he’d like. So we’re trying to figure things out. I’d like to figure it out soon, but I’m also a little more content staying here while we work on it.

I also have some finished knitting to share! My knitting time has slowly been coming back, thank goodness, though I’m still mostly focused on simple things like socks.

The completed pair used a skein of speckled purple from Mothy & the Squid and I LOVE her yarn. Wish she wasn’t overseas! The shawl is my Peacock’s Tail, a fun one-skein project that might have used a yarn from Blissful Knits. (Keeping track of yarns used is not a high priority at the moment, sorry.) The single sock was started last weekend as the husband and I took off for an anniversary weekend getaway (more on that another day). I got all but the toe done while we were gone, then it took me three more days to get around to the toe! I pulled a languishing skein of sock yarn from Colorful Eclectic Dyeworks from the stash for that one.

I’d really like to get back to my rainbow sweater project so that I have a new sweater to wear when fall arrives. Surely it won’t take too long to knit sleeves, right?

Happy Friday, friends!

What? A new project?

Knitting has not been my focus for the last month or so, sadly, but I did cast on a new shawl a couple of weeks ago. This is a one-skein project, not another huge lace project. I’d wound the yarn months ago, picked out a pattern and put it in a project bag along with the required needles. By the time I stumbled upon it recently, I no longer wanted to knit that pattern, so I had to pick a new one. I found Peacock’s Tail on Lovecrafts and it seems like the perfect fit for this yarn.

The lace pattern in the middle is hard to see but it should block out well. This is a fun pattern, with just the center section requiring brainpower, and even then it’s limited brainpower needed. I’m knitting the medium size of this shawl and crossing my fingers that it’s a wearable size.

So if I haven’t been knitting, what have I been doing? Yep, still packing and painting. Everything that can be boxed has been boxed, and many of them have been carried upstairs. Shelves have been removed from bookcases. Every large furniture item has been cleared off except the TV stand, because we’re still using the TV. We’ll move it all out to the portable storage container over the weekend and then Monday the crew arrives to refinish the floors, hooray! We’ll be staying in a nearby house we own — we’ve rented it out the last few years but are getting it ready to sell, so it’s empty and means we don’t have to pay to stay anywhere else, and there are no issues with having three dogs there. We’ll have a bed, a couch, and a kitchen table and chairs. No other furniture, no WiFi. No Wifi means I’ll be going into the office to work for four days, so that’ll be a big switch. I’m purposely not thinking about having to reverse this packing/moving process, except that I know we need to get the storage container empty over two days next weekend. Bah. And the husband wonders why we haven’t refinished the floors before now!

The silver lining is that this has forced me into getting a few more areas painted. I’ve now painted six rooms and a stairwell since we’ve been in this house, with just the craft room and a tiny bathroom left. We’re still thinking we might sell this house and move in the next year or so, so I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. After this house, I’d really like to get out of the “sweat equity” business and let other people do the hard work!

Oh yeah, and the back of the house is done! We’ve got a couple of guys outside doing some touch up and putting storm windows back up, and a couple others inside doing the interior trim on the new windows. With any luck, the paint crew will be done today. After that, we need a tiny bit of tile repaired in the kitchen and some debris cleaned up in the backyard, and then I think the project will be DONE and we can just enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Happy Thursday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday: Purple Edition

I might have only one pair of socks on my needles. I’m not sure, because it’s been a little busy and hectic around here, but this is the only one I’m working on anyway. I’ve got all my knitting stuff up in the craft room in preparation for our floors being refinished next week and apparently it’s out of sight, out of mind.

The purple flecked is from Mothy & the Squid and gosh I just love it. I used a bit of solid Cloudborn for a heel just for fun, and I’m doing my favorite modified Vanilla Latte pattern. This is just the best kind of sock knitting for me. But I still want to cast on more socks!

Since we had to pack up all the books and empty the first floor so the floors can be refinished, I decided that was a great time to paint the sitting room. It was the last room on the first floor to be repainted, since I did the others last summer during my painting spree, and the walls were in terrible shape, with lots of nail holes and cracks and tiny dents and dings. Despite protests from the kids, I painted it the same pale gray as the living room. I had two reasons, both very valid. One: I had plenty of the paint left over. Two: we might still sell this house, if we can find something we like better, so I’m sticking with neutral colors for now.

I’ve got some bold curtains picked out to help jazz up the room, and I’ll definitely share another photo once the floors are done and everything is in place. I feel like we’re finally being grownups, with intentionally chosen curtains and area rugs and stuff!

Happy Monday, friends.