November is zooming

Guys, this is a little crazy: the holidays are coming super fast. The end of the year is coming super fast. Why is November going so quickly? It’s the time of year when workplaces have holiday parties with white elephant gift exchanges. And since I’m a knitter, those gifts usually involve yarn. I’m thinking about a bottle of wine with a cabled wine bottle sweater. Is that a good gift?

I hope so, because I don’t have any other ideas! Okay, I take it back: my other idea is a Yip Yip but I didn’t think of that until I’d already started the wine bottle sweater. In the past, I’ve done a hat/mitts set and a crochet cactus, but those both sounded like too much work this year. Now, the real question is: what kind of wine should I put in the sweater?

Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: Socks!

Today is Veterans Day (THANK YOU, veterans!) and that is a bank holiday, so I have the day off and I’m so grateful for that. While I waited for clue two of my MKAL, I was able to finish a pair of purple shortie socks. Of course now we’ve hit the days with highs of like 37 and shortie socks don’t quite meet my needs, but heck, it’s Missouri. We might get a random warm day next week. I’m pretty sure this leftover ball of yarn was from New Garden Farm, a local indie dyer, but I can’t swear to it.

Yesterday was the launch event for the veterans group at work and my worries were all for naught! Everything went smoothly, all the people were friendly and delightful. Yes, I did bite into what I thought was a chocolate chip cookie only to discover it was raisin, but I recovered and went back for a peanut butter cookie instead. It’s just been such a rewarding feeling being part of such a cool project from almost the beginning, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Right, off to start clue two! Happy Friday, friends!

Ten years with yarn

Today is my yarniversary. Ten years ago today, I sat down with some pink Red Heart yarn (it’s all I could afford) and the Cool Girl’s Guide to Crochet, and taught myself how to crochet. Now I can’t imagine life without the fiber world.

2012 was a bad year. We lost beloved family members and I was in a job I hated. I’d already planned to quit my job when my dad died in April but losing him cemented the decision. It was the right move but I needed more than that, though I didn’t realize it at first. By November I was deep in depression but didn’t understand it, or didn’t want to admit it — I’m not sure which. I’d never dealt with it in myself before so I didn’t know what was “normal” grief and what was clinical depression. So I was fumbling along, looking for things to distract me and give me a little bit of pleasure, and along came yarn. (And therapy and meds, but that’s another story!)

Within a few months, crochet led to knitting and here I am. Knitting is such a big part of me now; it’s part of my identity that I carry with me everywhere. it’s given me joy and peace, color and creativity, friendship and love. It’s helped give me the confidence to embrace the weirdo that I am.

Every year I write a variation of this post. But I can’t help but appreciate the impact this “little hobby for old ladies” has had on me and my life. So let’s stay together, yarn — forever.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

FO: Crocodile Run Cowl

Next to hats, single skein cowls are one of my favorite things to knit. They’re such a good palate-cleanser and a great way to use up the fun single skeins that I tend to buy. And I love wearing cowls too — the back of my neck always gets cold in the winter! So when I was waiting for the MKAL pattern to drop, I pulled out a skein that was calling my name and cast on a Crocodile Run Cowl, which is free on Rav. Here’s an unblocked and blocked view:

It’s written for DK weight with simple lace. I loved knitting it and really wish I’d been smarter when I cast on and weighed how much each pattern repeat used. I’m pretty sure I ended up with enough yarn to do another repeat. So if you knit one, weigh your yarn after the ribbing and then again after you do the first repeat. That way you’ll be able to check before you start the second round of ribbing and use up as much yarn as you can! Oh, and my yarn is Old Rusted Chair Squish DK in Oil Slick, and I love it so much. It’s hard to see but there are little bits of turquoise and purple in there.

I might have a couple of finished socks by the end of the month too — I think I might need the mindless knitting for some stress relief! I’m helping out with a couple of extra projects at work, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means I have fewer days to get it all done. Plus we have the launch event this week for the veterans resource group I’m helping with, so I’ll be attending a lunch with a bunch of people I don’t know (and hopefully a few I do!). Plus I get to fly on the company plane later this month (not like a huge corporate jet, just a small plane) which is super super cool but also sort of scary because I have to find the hangar at 6:30 am and there are high odds of bigwigs also being present. Plus I have my first colonoscopy next week — I’m not really worried about it, but I’m also not looking forward to it and it’s another day of missed work when I have a lot on my list. ARGH.

So it’s going to be a slightly crazy month, but I think it’ll be manageable. Because do you want to hear something really crazy and scary? My mental health is … pretty good? Like, better than it’s been in a long time? I’m tapering off my antidepressants. I’ve been on a half-dose for a month and now I’m switching to every other day for a couple of weeks. For the first few days, every time I got frustrated or sad about something, I freaked out a little bit and worried I’d made a mistake, but I kept reminding myself that a bad hour or a bad day or even a bad couple of days doesn’t meant I’m not handling it — it just means I’m human. And each time, it’s passed. I’m still cautious, because I’ve been on them for about nine years, but I’ve felt really stable and overall happy the last several months. It’s amazing how much the new job helped. Being in a supportive environment where I feel appreciated and valued and I’m given the opportunity take ownership of projects has been huge. I guess I didn’t realize exactly how much my former job was messing with my head. I’ve also built up more strong friendships over the last year, which has also been enormously helpful. I mean, seriously, my knitting peeps are the best. So … yeah. Maybe it’s overly optimistic to go off the meds at the most stressful time of year when the outside world gets literally dark and cold. But what if it’s not? That’s what I’m holding onto right now.

Happy Monday, friends.

Finishing some things

I guess you’ll only see me when I’ve managed to finish something. At least that’s the current trend. There’s a group at work collecting winter gear for kids, and I’ve got four hats done and ready to donate. Okay, almost. They’ve been washed but there’s still a bit of stray dog hair, so I need to use the lint roller on them before bagging them up. It was fun to have an excuse to make some hats and it used up four skeins of acrylic from my stash.

Also, I don’t think I ever told you that I finished my yarn puzzle! This is the Skeins puzzle from Hedgehog Fibres and man it was a hard puzzle for me. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to want to put it together again, so I’m leaning toward sticking it in a frame and hanging it.

I’ve also finished a cowl but it’s got lace and it’s currently having a bath, so that’ll be another post when it’s ready for its glamour shots. My first mystery knitalong started on Friday, so that’ll be my main focus this month. It’s one clue a week and I’m really not sure I’ll be able to keep up with it, especially since I’ve also got two books I’ve got to read for different book clubs, plus I also have to keep up with my weekly shows. We started the new season of White Lotus, we’re watching the new Quantum Leap (and really enjoying it!), and now the new season of the Crown is starting – so basically at this point I need to hope the MKAL is good TV knitting!

Happy Sunday, friends.

Super Shawl Sunday

I have a finished object!! Just in time for the end of the month too! It used seven skeins of yarn from my stash and it is EXACTLY how I envisioned it in my wee brain:

This is my second Rock Candy Mountain shawl and it was just as fast and fun to knit as my first one. I picked out all the yarn in Wisconsin so I knew I’d have enough to knit it as written, and it’s enormous. I used size 6 needles on my first one and size 8s on this one (as the pattern recommended), and honestly if when I make another one, I think I might land in the middle with a 7.

I swear, I cannot recommend this pattern enough. I’m already thinking about how I could do one in fingering weight with all my sparkly purple yarns, with a simple neutral in between! If you’re interested, here are the yarns I used and how much of each one. You’d think all the purples would be the same yardage used but somehow that wasn’t the case.

Gray: Hook & Shuttle Salty Dog DK in We’re Not in Kansas Anymore – used 162 yards

Purple 1 (palest): Northern Bee Studio Sturdy Sport in Old Wisteria Tree – used 150 yards

Purple 2: Sun Valley Fibers Superwash DK in Leap of Faith – used 156 yards

Purple 3: Leading Men Fiber Arts Dramaturg DK in Achieve Grapeness (this one was the softest & squishiest!) – used 135 yards

Purple 4: Hook & Shuttle Salty Dog DK in Violet Beauregarde – used 152 yards

Purple 5: Hook & Shuttle Salty Dog DK in Dancing with the Devil – used 160 yards

Purple 6: Sun Valley Fibers Superwash DK in Plum Crazy – used 165 yards

Happy Sunday, friends, and for those of you in the States, have a safe and happy Halloween tomorrow!

Should I knit or should I frog?

I’ve recently been pondering options for my next sweater and decided I very much liked the navy blue with the pink/purple/indigo sparkly yarn. I found a pattern I quite like called The Librarian Vest (on Rav) and cast on for a swatch, as a proper knitter is supposed to. And it’s a good thing I did too because friends, I have doubts.

I still adore the sparkly yarn, so much so that I worry it is being too much overshadowed by the navy blue. Even though I don’t have pattern in mind for it, I wonder if perhaps I need to save the sparkly skeins for a shawl all by itself.

And the pattern. It’s lovely! I do really like it. But…would I wear it? I’ve never been much of a vest person. I don’t particularly like wearing button-up shirts; I’m always fidgeting with them and just don’t find wovens as comfortable as knits. Would the vest look cute over a long-sleeved tee? Possibly yes, so I will keep it in mind, but maybe not for this yarn combo?

Thankfully, I do have some knitting that I am sure about. A coworker is collecting winter gear for children and I asked if new handknit hats would be acceptable, and she said yes. Hooray, a good excuse to knit some hats and get some acrylic out of my stash! I’ve got one done and one on the needles.

We’re having unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend and I think we’re going to take advantage of it by going on a day trip tomorrow to a nearby college town which has a fabulous downtown area with yes, a yarn store! I hope you all have a lovely weekend too! Happy Saturday, friends.

WIP Wednesday: Socks & Puzzle

Yeah, balancing blogging with a busy full-time job is a little tricky. My brain is tired at night, plus I just want to spend my downtime knitting! I’ve been mostly working on bigger projects but I did manage to finish one sock. Sure, it’s a shortie sock but that’s something!

Can you believe I don’t have any purple shortie socks in my extensive handknit sock collection?? Obviously I need to remedy that ASAP.

Besides knitting, I’ve been trying to do more reading. I’m reading Jason Kander’s memoir for one book group and need to reread Haroun and the Sea of Stories for my other one. Plus I usually have a fluffy novel going too. And I’ve also been trying to work on my yarn puzzle!

This might be the hardest puzzle I’ve ever done. There is so much pink/peach/salmon/orange!! I really need to set up my Ott light to see the pieces better. Because apparently I have old eyes now.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

WIP Wednesday: Scrappy Blanket

Remember how I was going to start a new blanket, a scrappy fingering weight blanket? HAHAHA that didn’t last very long! I DID start it, cast on enough stitches to almost fill a 60″ cable (using knitted on cast on, for those following along) with a size 3 needle, and knit three rows. Maybe four? And I didn’t like it. It was too thin, too lightweight. I knew I’d want a blanket with a bit more density. So I frogged it and immediately started over with two strands held together. I used the same cast on (which wasn’t quite as loose and messy this time) with size 5 needles this time, and I’ve already made it through several very long rows.

It’s going to be as random as I can stand to make it. I started with two yarn balls of different sizes and will just add another color as one runs out. With luck, it will be marled in a fun and quirky way!

Happy Wednesday, friends.

FO: Autumn Falling Shawl

About a month ago, I received my Autumn mystery yarn box from Chestnut Hills Studio which included a skein of Pumpkin Patch fingering yarn dyed by Laughing Cats Fibers. It was so gorgeous and so perfect for the season that I cast on immediately, and after a couple of distractions, yesterday I blocked the finished shawl.

The pattern is Autumn Falling, which is free on Rav. I did at least three more pattern repeats than it called for, trying to use up as much of the yarn as possible and make it a wearable size. I think it’s perfect. I don’t like warm colors and I never wear orange but for whatever reason, I adore this yarn and this shawl. I might wear all black tomorrow just to be able to wear this!

Also I adore bank holidays especially when it means I get a day off. Happy Monday, friends.