Archive | February 2016

Oscar Night Hat

Last night was the Oscars, and of course I was there from the red carpet to the bitter bitter end. No, I’m not commenting on the winners. I really had no preferences. It was just bitter because by then I was so tired but didn’t want to miss any Chris Rock. The upside to a show five hours long (if you count the pre-show) is plenty of knitting time. Our warmer weather made me want a Spring-y project, so I pulled out some Lion Brand Cotton-ease and cast on for a lacy hat. IMG_5344The pattern is Lace Ribbon Slouch Hat and I’m really enjoying it. I love the zig-zag. I did switch the brim from garter stitch to ribbing, because I figure hats always need that stretch, especially one made with cotton. You’d think with that much time it would be done, but I did have to pay a little bit of attention to the lace at times, and I kept getting distracted by the show. Some parts I just had to watch. So I’ve got just one more pattern row and then the decreases. It’ll easily get done today, but not right away. I’m babysitting my newest nephew today for the first time, the one who’s cute but often cranky, and I’m really hoping he treats me well!

I also got my manuscript back from my second reader over the weekend, and she said she really enjoyed reading it. I’m choosing to believe her! But she also gave me some good feedback, so yesterday I dove back in and did a bit more revising. I’m so close to being done with this silly thing! But now I’m wondering if the beginning is too boring. I mean, if someone only asks for five pages, are mine good enough to make them want more? So I’m pondering that, trying to figure out if I can jazz up the first chapter. Still, my goal is to get it submitted to at least one agent by the end of March! yikes scary exciting am I ready for rejection?

Here’s what I found when I got up this morning. IMG_5343Yes, that’s a knife on my couch. Grace is a knife thief. Usually it’s butter knives, because she’s obsessed with butter, but we’ve gotten pretty good at keeping our sharp knives out of her reach. Last night we must have gotten lazy (I was watching the Oscars. I couldn’t leave to wash dishes. Seriously.) so sometime this morning she was probably thrilled to reach the chicken knife. She’s fine. She didn’t have it very long, and I know that because the handle hasn’t been chewed on. She’s grown up a lot but I guess she’ll never lose her love for knives.

Happy Monday, friends. Here’s hoping you don’t find any hidden knives in your house.

Don’t Save Your Yarn

The other day I read a blog post on Knitting the Stash that struck me, about knitting our prettiest yarn instead of “saving” it for the perfect pattern. I’m so guilty of that; are you? I have yarns I adore, and sometimes I pick them up, thinking “Oh, I want to use you!” but then I don’t. Because I don’t have the right pattern, because then the yarn will be gone. Well, you know what? That’s okay! Because there’s lots more yarn in the world, yarn that is just as pretty as, if not prettier than, my yarn. And if I don’t like the yarn in that particular pattern, I can frog it and knit it into something else! I don’t want to be a yarn hoarder. I want to be a knitter!

So with that in mind, yesterday I grabbed one of my most treasured skeins, Shepherd Worsted by Lorna’s Laces in the color Pacific Berries. I think I bought this with Mother’s Day yarn money last year, and it sat on the shelf waiting for inspiration to strike. The heck with that. I had a cowl pattern in my queue that I wanted to knit, called Boomerang by MollyGirl Yarn, and it called for worsted/aran weight. Boom, there’s my inspiration. I cast on the 85 stitches with size 9s, decided it would be too snug, frogged, and started over. IMG_5337We had a Captain American movie marathon last night and I got most of it done. This morning I finished the last four rows of ribbing and bound off. And now I have a gorgeous new cowl to wear! (As soon as I block it, that is.) So THANK YOU, Lissy, for giving me the kick in the pants I needed! The yarn was wonderful to knit with, I loved watching the colors emerge, and I know I’ll wear the heck out of this cowl. IMG_5340What about you? Do you hoard your favorite yarns? Do you save things that you should really just use and appreciate?

Craft Supplies

Not much knitting to report today, but I wanted to share my fun crafty purchases from the last two days. I had dinner with a friend last night and took advantage of the restaurant’s proximity to Joann. I *had* to: I had coupons! Of course I found stuff either on clearance or on sale, but still. I used one coupon for some size 9 16″ circs, since that was the only size I was lacking. The rest was too good a deal to pass up. Look at these fun booklets that were only $1.97 each! IMG_5335Buttons were 40% off, and I managed to restrain myself to just ONE button! (There was a woman in my way so I didn’t get to browse very well.) IMG_5336I also went through the button stash my mom gave me and there were some fun ones in there. These were my favorites. IMG_5334Today we took the boy out to a new (to us) art supply store downtown. He and my husband are both amazing artists; I’m a wannabe. I have no drawing/painting talent whatsoever, but I desperately want all the art supplies. I typically console myself with pens and notebooks and today was no exception. IMG_5327I have a problem. I freely admit it. It’s an addiction I have no desire to break.

Finished Marshmallow Fluff

Today is really a FO Friday: I have my finished Marshmallow Fluff cowl to share! The Yoda hat was done and in the mail by 1, so after that I had nothing to do but knit on the cowl, and I was binding off by dinner time.

The good: it was a great pattern for this yarn. The simple design makes the yarn the star, which was my intention. I love the fit, with it high enough to burrow my face into when the wind blows. It was an easy, fast knit.IMG_5312IMG_5318The bad: it itches!! I have sensitive skin, so really any wool around my neck isn’t great. I can tolerate some with less prickle, but this yarn, as gorgeous as it is, has more prickle than I’m comfortable with. But my brilliant Knitting SIL suggested lining it, and I love the cowl enough that I think it’s a fantastic idea. It will make it even cozier! I want to find some fuchsia fleece, I think.

The ugly: my attempt at Kitchener stitch to graft it together. Let me start by saying this was only my second attempt at Kitchener (but my first turned out A LOT better than this). Also, I didn’t try to alter the process for the purl stitches vs the slipped stitches. I went with purl all the way across. It looks great on the inside, but here’s the right side seam:IMG_5319The rows don’t match up! That bothers me a lot. My knitting SIL said Kitchener is always off by half a stitch, so maybe that’s part of it. I’m not expert enough with grafting to know how much is operator difficulty and how much is expected. Regardless, at this point I wish I  had just done the 3-needle bind off the way the pattern instructed, and the way Mulch and More Crafts did with the ridge on the inside. Lesson learned: sometimes the pattern designer really does know best!

Recap: I used Vice Yarns Well Hello Big Boy, which is listed as a super bulky, and I used the whole skein. I knit with size 15 needles. Many thanks to Sarah Kraly for the free pattern, and thanks to Jenna at HardKnitLife for the idea and for playing along…if she’s started knitting yet! 😉

If you’ve decided to make one, I’d love to see your photos and hear your experience with the bind off!

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Yoda Interrupts

No progress on my Marshmallow Fluff today, sadly. Yesterday was a busy day. I got to visit with my wee nephew, who is often crabby but awfully cute, and I got to visit my mother, who seemed delighted with her rainbow cowl and who also bought one of my other cowls. Then I got an order for a Yoda hat, this time for a 2-year-old. I’m selling these made to order now, and they’d like it quickly, so I needed to get to work. But I also had to drive the girl to flute lesson (45 minutes each way) and of course I had to watch American Idol last night. Here’s what I’ve got so far: IMG_5304I need to get busy. This needs to be shipped out today! So nope, I don’t get to play with the buttons my mom gave me yesterday. IMG_5305Don’t you just want to paw through all of those? I do! But it’ll wait. I’m off to knit Yoda and watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (That show is hilarious. If you like musicals and quirky humor, you need to be watching it. Seriously.)

And if you want to see some Marshmallow Fluff, check out Mulch and More Crafts. She’s going much faster with her cowl than I am, and it looks great!

Marshmallow Cowl Progress

The knit-along has begun!! I couldn’t wait until today so last night I assembled all my tools and prepared to cast on. IMG_5294I hit my first roadblock pretty quickly. I thought I remembered how to do a provisional cast on, but it was coming out wonky. So I pulled out my trusty cast on/bind off reference book and pretty soon I was back on track. I even learned a new way do it: crocheting around the knitting needle, so the stitches are ready to go. Before, I chained and then picked up stitches in the chains. The new way is a lot more efficient.

I confess, I did not read the pattern before selecting it. And when I saw that it was knit flat and seamed, I was disappointed. I LOVE knitting in the round. Not so fond of seaming. But, the pattern was chosen and announced, and I do love the look, so hey, I can seam once in a while.

So, stitches on the needle, time to knit. I hit my second roadblock in the second row of the pattern, when the instructions said to slip one purl wise. Okay, I understand that, except it didn’t specify whether to hold the yarn in front or back, and I’m a new enough knitter that I don’t know which is expected when it’s not specified. I picked to hold the yarn in front and knit away on my huge size 19 needles. I got maybe 10 rows in, and it was looking weird and nothing like the pictures in the pattern, and I was starting to freak out. Had I picked a terrible pattern? Was I a terrible knitter who shouldn’t be in charge of a KAL??

No, of course not. I am a good enough knitter now to step back and assess the situation. First of all, I wasn’t happy with the fabric created with the size 19 needles. Maybe my yarn wasn’t as bulky as the designer’s. I frogged and pulled out my size 15s and started over. It still looked weird. I frogged again and visited Youtube for videos on slipping stitches, and decided to hold the yarn in back. This time, I skipped the provisional cast on and just cast on normally, so I could get a sense of the pattern, and sure enough, the yarn is supposed to be held in back.IMG_5296See?? That’s how it’s supposed to look! I felt much better about myself and about the pattern. I frogged one more time, did the provisional cast on one more time, and started knitting, and this time my progress hasn’t been frogged. Just a note: I did add five stitches to my cast on to account for the smaller needles.IMG_5299Sorry, the lighting is weird in that one, isn’t it? You can see it’s zipping along, and I had to stop myself from doing too much last night, since I said I wouldn’t even cast on until today! Still, it won’t take long to knit up. And I decided I’m going to use Kitchener to graft it together. Partly because I want the practice, and partly because I’m not fond of the seam that the 3-needle bind off leaves. But that’s for another day.

What else have I been working on? I made a quick chunky hat (pattern: Hipster Slouchy Hat) and once I tried it on, I decided I needed to keep this one.IMG_5284

I’ve also been working on my gradient seed stitch cowl. There’s a very slight line where you can see I started knitting with my new purling method, but it doesn’t bother me a bit. This one’s going much more quickly than I remembered. IMG_5287Jack was my photography assistant. He’s very helpful.IMG_5286

There you have it, lots of knitting! Today I’m going to get as much done on my bulky cowl as possible, though I am visiting both my mother and my newest nephew, so I’m not sure how much progress I’ll make. I’ll be sure to share tomorrow!

And if you want to knit along with me and Jenna, the pattern is Marshmallow Fluff and we’re using the hashtag #MarshmallowKAL!

Bulky Cowl Knit-Along

Ugh with this day already! It’s 8:40 a.m. and here’s my morning so far: I get up with a stiff neck, make sure kids are awake, warm heating pad. Daughter texts: big project due today not done despite staying up most of the night because she had honor band commitments all weekend, what does she do?? I talk her off the ledge and ask husband to drive her to school so she can get there a few minutes early. I think it’s trash day so I ask son to take dumpsters to curb. He grunts and moans and stomps about. I realize it’s NOT really trash day. Apologize to son. I give son a hug goodbye and somehow manage to knock his glasses off and scratch his eye with my fingernails. He grunts and moans but is relatively receptive to my apologies. Daughter is ready to go, husband is on conference call and needs to check something on computer. I put on shoes and drive daughter to school in my pajamas. The only reason I don’t stop for donuts on the way home is BECAUSE I’m in my pajamas. But finally I was able to have tea, breakfast, and Tylenol, and now I’m catching my breath and enjoying my time with you.

Whew. I already feel better and ready to move on. Shall we? I have something fun to share: I’ve been chatting with Jenna at HardKnitLife and we’ve decided to do a mini Knit-Along! I have a special skein of super bulky yarn, and she has a skein of Malabrigo Rasta (yes, that’s pretty special too) and we’ve decided we’re going to do a cowl knit-along! The (free) pattern we’ve chosen is called Marshmallow Fluff by Sarah Kraly, and it’s wonderfully simple and wonderfully cozy. It should be a fast instant gratification project! Do you want to play along with us?

A fun fact I just discovered this morning: the pattern was written by someone from one of my LYSs, The Studio Knitting and Needlepoint! It may not be terribly cold around here right now, but Jenna and I are midwest girls and know that we could easily get another blast of winter before spring is here to stay. This will absolutely be for me to wear. Look at this gorgeous yarn, all wound and ready to go: IMG_5289This is Well Hello Big Boy by Vice Yarns. I’ll be using the recommended size 19 needles and will cast on tomorrow (Wednesday). It is knit flat and seamed, so skills needed are provisional cast on and either 3-needle bind off or Kitchener stitch to graft the ends together.

Check out my progress here, on Instagram or Twitter (where I’m also bonnyknits), or on Facebook (bonnyknitsforyou). We’ll be using the hashtag #MarshmallowKAL so be sure to tag your photos so we can see all the Fluffy goodness!

This is my first ever KAL so I’m trying to keep it simple and fun. I’d love to hear from any of you who want to knit with us!