Bittersweet Birthday Cowl

I have made some progress on my quest to knit all the things. Yes, I only have one FO, but I think that’s reasonable given my WIPs. One is a Sockhead hat, yes, a hat knit with sock yarn on tiny needles. It’s my brainless knitting so it doesn’t come out all the time. But I do love knitting on it. It’s so pretty and the yarn feels so nice. I have about two inches left before starting the decreases.

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I also worked on my KC Royals Crackerjack scarf, and I’m all caught up to last night’s game. We only have eight games left, which is 16 rows, and then I’ll graft the ends together and it will be done! And I’ll probably set it aside and not want to wear it right away because I’m tired of looking at it. I just should have made it last year, when we won the World Series. Oh well. Who knew, right?

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Here’s the FO, the Bittersweet Birthday Cowl. I worked on this during lunch at work and really enjoyed it. I modified the original long cowl to a short version, and I think it’s perfect. The lace pattern is beautiful. And this might be some of the most gorgeous Malabrigo I’ve used yet; it’s Rios in the Sabiduria colorway. The photos don’t even portray the color honestly. It’s deeper, darker, richer. Just gorgeous.

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It’s not blocked yet. It will look neater when it is.

I didn’t work on any of my other WIPs this week, and I might not get much done this week. I have a couple more chemo caps to make, special color requests, so those come first. But when they’re done, I might be casting on a new project. Check out The Secret Way of Patterns. It’s a beautiful buttoned cowl pattern, but the story touched me too: a young girl who wants to be a fashion designer, who lost her grandmother and now wants to support her grandma’s charity. Yep, I bought the pattern, and would have even if I hadn’t thought it lovely. But I do, and I’ll enjoy making it.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a nice thought from a movie we watched last night: “Have courage, and be kind.” Just about says it all, doesn’t it?

Knitting all the things

Ha, I finally finished that dumb ribbed beanie! I mean, the pattern was fine–I just messed up at first and then got tired of it. I tried to modify and guessed wrong and ended up with a hat that was too small and too short for the boy. Okay, fine. I frogged and started over. But 1 x 1 rib on size 3 needles with fingering weight yarn, even held double, takes a while to knit. It got rather tiresome, which is probably why I set it aside for a while. Then I got tired of seeing it so Sunday I decided it had to get done. I was at the decreases anyway, so I was thisclose to the end. Before too long I had a finished hat and the boy put it on and said…”It’s a little big.” Argh. Yes, he’s still alive, but only because I had witnesses. Anyway, it’s done, it’s close enough, and he can wear it or not, I don’t care much at this point.

After that I was free to cast on something new because I only had 4 WIPs. Of those, one is a blanket (hibernating WIP), one is a long seed stitch cowl (hibernating WIP) and one is my Royals baseball crackerjack scarf, which is by design a summer-long project. I needed more! First I started Here Be Water Dragons with Stitchjones Dyepot Superwash Merino. I’d actually started it a couple of days ago, but didn’t like the fabric with the suggested needles, so it got frogged and I’ll start over with size 9 needles. I love the colors in this yarn–they’re perfect for fall/Halloween knitting–but it’s not the softest. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wear it next to my skin.

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Then there’s Madelia. I started it last week and accidentally pulled the needle out of several stitches, and there were way too many k2tog and YOs to try to pick them up. No biggie, I wasn’t that far in. Plus I used the opportunity to switch from my Karbonz to bamboo needles. I adore my Karbonz; they’re usually my favorite needles. But they were too slippery for lace with this yarn: Berroco Fiora, which is 40% cotton and 30% rayon. After yesterday’s knitting session, I’m on to the fourth section and having a lovely time. It’s a really fun knit. I think I needed to add a more complicated pattern to the mix.

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I also cast on for the New Bittersweet Cowl. I’m calling in the Bittersweet Birthday Cowl because I’m using my birthday yarn, and because it was my 40th birthday, which is a little bittersweet. I’m modifying it to be a one-loop cowl because that’s all the yarn I have.

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And in that picture you can see my only FO for this post: the yarn bowl! It was actually made by the Knitting SIL for my birthday, and I added the black frog closure over the weekend. I LOVE it. It’s so pretty, and fits one wound skein perfectly.

 

I’m still working on my Sockhead hat and it’s knitting up beautifully, but it’s definitely too simple and mindless to be my at-home knitting.

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Finally, I have Silverleaf. I’m loving knitting with the Malabrigo Arroyo but I’m a little stuck in the garter repeats. I’m so eager to get to the leaf pattern! And eager to wear it, too, so I guess I better keep on knitting.

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Now I have this fun, varied collection of WIPs to choose from when I have some knitting time! I’m not sure I’ll even do much gift knitting this year: my knitting time is so diminished that I don’t know if I want to spend it making things for other people, unless I’m 100% sure they’ll love it, and use it. So far I don’t have anything like that in mind. Selfish knitting for the win! I’m sitting at 8 WIPs right now, and that’s a great number, don’t you think? Heck, I think I’ll add one more–I just remembered a birthday gift I need to knit. But it’ll be a small, quick knit, so that barely counts, right?

As if all of this wasn’t enough, I did some blocking over the weekend too, and now my Saroyan scarf and Fern Lace Cowl are ready to wear! The scarf is especially scrumptious and makes me long for a colder day.

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Yes, with all this crafty stuff going on, I’d say it was pretty darn close to an ideal weekend. I definitely felt like it recharged my creative battery–and that helps keep me sane and happy throughout the week. Now, let’s see how much I can actually get done on all these projects this week!

Is it safe yet?

Once again, I debated whether to post this. But like I do most of the time, I decided, why not? I’ve always been honest in this blog. Maybe too honest, I don’t know. But I know there are others of you who have felt this way. I know there are probably some who are currently feeling like this. So here goes. You know how when you start a new job, or maybe a new school, you kind of hold back a little? Maybe you don’t reveal all the crazy until you think it’s safe? I’ve been in the new job for almost three months, and I’m finally starting to feel safe. It helps that one of my bosses is a little wacky, so once I saw that, I knew she and I would get along great. I mean, she brought in a blow-up Ninja punching bag for my birthday! Perfect, right? The others aren’t wacky in the same way, but they seem to enjoy our wacky. I have to tease and joke and laugh at work; it’s nonnegotiable.

But the lab wasn’t all. I’ve mentioned before that there’s a knitting group there, and I’ve been going to the twice-weekly meetings pretty faithfully. It was nice to be around other knitters, even if most of them aren’t *quite* as crazy obsessed about knitting as I am. They’re fun ladies, and we chatted and laughed a lot. Slowly, I’ve been figuring out which of them are kindred spirits, and there are some I feel a stronger connection with than others. And then I found another knitter who IS crazy about knitting the same way I am, and we had a delightful lunch, and I hope for more. Then the other day, the knitting group had a gathering that was more…raucous than usual, more bawdy, more earthy. We laughed and laughed, and it was wonderful. And that meeting really helped me feel more at home here, made me see that there are people here who like similar things, who have a similar sense of humor, who have similar political leanings (that’s more inferred–I try to avoid talking about religion and politics with…almost everyone, really). I think I’ve found people who will accept and appreciate me the way I am, and I needed that. As much as I like my coworkers, sometimes I can’t help but feel separate from them at times–my knowledge base, skill sets, experiences, vocabulary are all so different from theirs. I’ve had to remind myself that just because I don’t always understand their language, it doesn’t mean I’m not equally smart in my own right. I mean, YEAH, of course I KNOW that, but it’s hard to remember when I’m in an environment that uses and values a different kind of intelligence. I’ve felt really dumb many times over the last couple of months. I’ve felt dumb and incompetent and like I’m failing everyone who’s counting on me.

BUT. I had my people. I had my knitting friends. I had the book group, which has been amazing too. I haven’t been in one before, so I haven’t sat and talked about a book for an hour since college, and that was many moons ago. And most of the knitting group is in the book group too (because knitters and readers are AWESOME) so I’ve seen them quite a bit. And I always left my time with them feeling energized and relieved; they’ve provided some of the happiest times there. They’ve cheered me on when I let myself vent a bit; they’ve helped me with no sign of irritation or annoyance. They’re just mostly NICE people. They’re GOOD people.

So those good times have pulled me through the bad ones, and now I’m finally starting to feel a tiny bit more comfortable in my role. There’s still a lot I don’t know, but I’m picking things up, and I’m getting to use my “real” skills of proofreading/editing more often. That’s the best part of the job.

This has been a hard transition for me, going from doing what I truly love every day (knitting, writing, blogging, editing) to an office job. And I don’t mean that to disparage the job at all. The company is amazing, the job is good, and it’s getting better. But it’s different. It’s a different life than I was leading, and I’ve had to readjust. There are things I miss about staying home. But there are things I like about working. So, it’s a tradeoff. I’m finding ways to balance work and home, home and knitting, all that stuff. Sigh. Life. It’s just hard sometimes, you know?

Thanks for listening, if you’ve made it this far. As a reward, here’s my latest FO, completed last night after the kids performed in the band at the Friday night football game.

It’s called Kilter and it was so easy and fun to knit. I used Berroco Vintage in Envy.

Until next time, happy knitting or working or whatever it is you do every day!

I’m so spoiled

I had such a nice birthday, with pizza and ice cream and chocolate cake, and I got such lovely yarny gifts this year! He picked out yarn by himself and did so well! That’s Malabrigo Rios.

Shorter DPNs for easier hat-making!

And a delightful book! I loved the first, and have already started reading this one!

I’ve got plenty of fun WIPs right now too. I started Silverleaf last week and I think it’s going to be gorgeous. I’m using Malabrigo Arroyo. I can only work on this when I can focus so I can keep track of all the repeats. 

Yesterday I started a Kilter hat with Berroco Vintage in Envy. This is my easy lunchtime knitting, at least until I reach the decreases. 

Finally, I finally have a Sockhead slouch hat on my needles! I know, it’s not much, but it’s a start. This will be another lunchtime/travel project. The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Black Velvet. So far this is a yummy knit!

Happy knitting, friends!

Random Photos from a Birthday Weekend

This weekend saw a bit of celebrating, since I seem to have a birthday coming up tomorrow. It’s a big one, too: 40. Really? 40? I don’t feel like I always imagined 40 feeling, but at the same time, I’m loving the freedom that comes with age. It really is true that you get more…confident, I guess. I care less what people think. I dye my hair purple and knit at football games and pretend to dab at assemblies to make my kids laugh, and I don’t really give a hoot what people think. So yeah, that part of 40 is awesome. We just won’t think about the not-awesome parts!🙂 Last night I had some family over and we had a marvelous time eating tacos and cupcakes, and maybe opening a few presents too. My family knows me well.

A gorgeous purple felted yarn bowl from my Knitting SIL, a set of 6″ DPNs, and two Wonder Women. Pretty fun! And look at this:

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My brother ordered this, because of course you’re never going to find my name on a Coke bottle otherwise. It’s pretty nifty.

I also celebrated by casting on three new projects, including the Manly Mitts in some Manos del Uruguay Maxima. These will stay at work for when my hands get cold. I absolutely love them. I mean, I’ve only got one done and there’s no second-glove-syndrome going on at all. They’re just so pretty and so soft and so squishy and snuggly.

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Now I’m going to finish this second mitt while I watch the US Open and maybe later this week I’ll have a chance to share my other new WIPs!

 

Silly Selfies and FOs

I have some FOs to share, and apparently I like to take silly photos of myself wearing them. Here’s the Cruella Cowl, a beauty in black and white. The pattern is Darn Knit Kinetic Cowl and it’s the fastest cowl I’ve ever made. img_7189In case you don’t recognize it, the yarn is my vacation Berroco Brio. img_7210

And then we have the Squarshy Hat, finished tonight, which I adore. I could have added another half-inch to the body, but it’s just fine as is.img_7208This is also vacation yarn, the Malabrigo Mecha.

Lastly, we have Fractal Danger, completed at last! But no silly selfies with this one, sorry. img_7184This was an interesting knit with unusual shaping, and was also my first experience with short rows. They’re not really my favorite. Kind of fiddly, turning so often and making sure your stitches stay on the needles and all that jazz. They slowed down my rhythm, and anything that does that is not my favorite. img_7211Still, I like this a lot, and I do think the shape makes it wonderfully wearable. I just need to get it blocked!img_7213

Next on my needles: Silverleaf with Malabrigo Arroyo! Can’t wait to get going on that one; I’ve been itching to knit it since it was released.

It’s been a while since I shared some puppy photos, hasn’t it? Grace is as much a love bug as ever, giving as many kisses as we’ll allow. img_7167

And Jack, silly cute Jack, he forgave me for boarding him after a day and went back to his charming self, always asking for belly rubs no matter where we’re sitting.img_7180

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Vacation Knitting

Whew. I’m home from a long weekend vacation and I’m pooped. I’m so glad I decided to take today off; I’ve got a quiet day home alone to catch up on puppy cuddles, laundry, and yarn stuff.

So first: the puppies. We had to board them while we were gone and we missed them terribly. I picked them up first thing this morning and Grace was super excited to see me, but my good pupper Jack didn’t want to come see me. He kept backing away and barking. The nice lady said it was because of the smells, but I think he was just too freaked out. Thankfully, when Grace ran over and jumped on me, Jack came to his senses and came to get his cuddles. We had a crazy hour or so once we got home but now they’re both exhausted and sleeping, one on the back of the couch behind me, one at my feet. Life is good: puppies are home.

Now, YARN!! I went to two yarn stores. The first, Knitorious, was fantastic: big, well-organized, great selection of brands and colors, friendly without being pushy or overbearing. The girl went in with me and even she was so caught up in the yarn-love that she bought herself a skein. What did I get? Let’s see:

img_7097Malabrigo Mechita in this beautiful rainbow color. I’m thinking Hitchhiker Beyond.

img_7096More Malabrigo, Mecha this time. Not sure, but maybe fingerless gloves to keep at work.

img_7164Brio!! I love this yarn and hadn’t seen this black and white version before. This is going to become a Darn Knit Kinetic Cowl for me!

img_7095This might be my favorite. Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Black Velvet. Sock Head hat, here I come!

The second yarn store I won’t name because it was not good. At all. Very small. It had a ton of empty shelves and the selection was really limited. The acrylic section was the biggest and was the only yarn with multiple color ways and multiple skeins of any color. The “good” yarns were maybe two or three different brands, which I wasn’t familiar with, but they were pretty enough. But there were just a few skeins of each, one of each colorway. I found one skein I liked but it wasn’t priced. Nothing was priced. There were no signs on the shelves. Finally I found price lists on the top of the shelving unit; my yarn wasn’t on there. I asked the woman working and she showed me the sheet. I looked again, and said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t see it on here.” My yarn wasn’t on there so she had to look up the price. Maybe it’s not a huge deal, but it is one of my pet peeves at yarn stores. I like to be able to see how much the yarn is without asking all the time. I like it when the skeins are priced but I get that takes a lot of time, so I’m okay with labels on shelves. But if you make it too hard for me to find the price, I’m going to give up because it’s awkward for me. Anyway, I won’t recommend that store and I wouldn’t go back. Here’s the one skein I bought, because purple.

img_7160It’s Black Bunny Fibers and it’s labeled Mayfair. The label says DK but it looks more like worsted to me. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be yet so I’m pondering.

I got plenty of knitting done too, thanks to a nice husband who did all the driving, and have three FOs to show you!

img_7154Fern Lace cowl with Nerd Girl Yarns Luscious. It’s a silk/merino blend and SO soft.

img_7157Pisky hat! Love this one. I bought Cascade 220 Superwash from the DK section at my LYS but Ravelry calls it a worsted. So I went down a needle size and it’s wearable, but a little bigger than I’d like. I’d love to make this pattern again with a true DK. It was so fun to knit and it’s so cute.

img_7156This one’s a donation for a silent auction. I’ve got matching fingerless gloves to pair it with. It’s a simple beanie recipe; you can see the Ravelry project page here.

So yeah, I had such a nice long weekend full of yarn and bookstores and fun things and family, and today I’m going to wind yarn and cast on new projects for the work days ahead of me. And cuddle with puppies.