Archive | July 2016

Reyna & Saroyan

Yesterday was a happy day:

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That’s my new dishwasher! When we bought this house, it came with an old dishwasher. It worked, mostly, but it also wasn’t installed correctly so when we opened it, it would rock forward. The silverware container was small, cramped, and partially broken. So we decided that part of my first paycheck would go toward a replacement. And it’s fantastic!

But I also finished my Reyna yesterday. After a morning of chores and errands, I picked it up after lunch and realized I was running pretty low on yarn. That meant I could only get five more rows in before binding off, and that went very quickly. Then Grace said she would try it on for me.

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She approved. It then went upstairs for washing and blocking. I blocked it a little aggressively, because it was a wee thing and I wanted it bigger. Can’t wait to unpin it later today and try it on. I really really enjoyed making this shawl. The pattern was fantastic, and it’s not often you come across a pattern that works so well with variegated yarn. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making another Reyna.

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While I was blocking, I figured I might as well go ahead and block the Secret Beach Scarf too. I’m a little embarrassed to share this photo because it’s such a crap blocking job. But it’s SO LONG, and I’d used up all my KnitPicks blockers and just couldn’t stand the idea of doing T-pins all down the length of this scarf. It’ll be fine. Right?

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So, big shawl done. Bulky cowl done the other day. You know what that means: time to cast on something new! After much (and I mean A LOT) perusing, I finally chose a pattern for my Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere. The winner was Saroyan.

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I feel like this is one of those super popular patterns that’s kind of required for knitters, much like the Hitchhiker, and I can see why. Isn’t it lovely? So much fun to knit, though part of that is the super-soft merino/cashmere yarn. I adore the leafy border. I have a playdate with my Knitting SIL this afternoon, and this is what I’m taking with me.

Enjoy the last bit of your weekend, friends! Monday will be here all too quickly.

Insta Cowl

Boy, this one went fast! I started it last night while I watched TV and was able to finish it today on my lunch break. I quite like it.

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It’s thick and cozy, and the Rasta is so soft.

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I had to try it on, but it’s so warm I could just keep it on for a minute.

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Pattern is Insta Cowl, yarn is Malabrigo Rasta. Now I’m off to wind yarn for my next project!

Waffles Hat

I finished a hat today! This has been my work lunchtime knitting and today was an extra-long lunchtime, so I was able to finish it up. I’m quite pleased with it.

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Pattern: Violet Waffles. This is my third one and I love the pattern. Yarn: KnitPicks Preciosa Tonal in Boysenberry. LOVE this yarn.

I also got some new yarn in the mail! That’s always a good day, right? ErikaShmerika shared a destash on Instagram and of course I couldn’t resist checking it out. Sigh. Her prices were ridiculously good. Like, I got Malabrigo Rasta for FIVE DOLLARS. Yes, it needs to be wound, but…FIVE DOLLARS!

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I also got some Araucania Coliumo. I haven’t knit with it before but it’s a bulky purple yarn. I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy with it.

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This is StitchJones Dyepot, worsted merino in a colorway called Conspiracy. The colors are AMAZING.

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Last but not least, I got another skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegria. It might be my new favorite yarn. I love the colors, love the feel, love how it knits up. Look at this! Isn’t it gorgeous??

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And that’s ALL. I’m not buying any more yarn for…at least another week or so.

Three Times a Cowl

Last weekend I cast on a couple of new projects. One of them was with my treasured Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Bulky.

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I wanted something simple to show off the yarn, something quick and easy that would be a good travel project for my lunchtime knitting at work. I chose The Simplest Cowl, all stockinette, cast on, and took it to work with me last week.

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It was definitely fast; I finished in just a couple of lunch breaks. But I didn’t like it. It was too wide and too short. I frogged and started over with 75 stitches, but then the yarn pooled (not sure if that’s the right word) in a weird way. The colors stacked instead of being more random. Frogged again and started with 85? 87? I’m not sure. Again, it went quickly and yesterday I finished it and bound off during lunch, and happily put it on.

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It was still too short. It curled so much that the curls were all you saw when I was wearing it. My one skein just didn’t go far enough to make the look I wanted from that pattern. Now, if it were any other yarn, I probably would have tossed it aside, listed it on Etsy and forgotten about it. But I love this yarn, plus it was a gift from my mom. It had to be something I loved, something I would wear. I frogged one more time and rewound it. I went through the cowls on Ravelry that others had made with this yarn, and found one that looked quite delightful called Squishy Soft Cowl. I found the right needles, double-checked the pattern, and headed out with the girl to see The Secret Life of Pets. This would be my first foray into movie theater knitting.

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And it went quite well, I must say! I got a good chunk done before the movie even started and was able to keep track of the simple pattern while still paying attention to the movie. It probably helped that the movie was a little silly and I didn’t have to work at all to keep up. I’m not sure I could knit that well during a movie aimed at actual grownups. Anyway, I got through 3/4 of the yarn and finished it last night and THIS TIME I’m happy with the end result.

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I chose the smallest version so it would be snug and tall, and it came out exactly right.

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Do you want to see my other current project too? It’s the Reyna shawl with my new blue/green Araucania Huasco. I think I love this as much as I love my rainbow. It seems to be such a good match of yarn and pattern, and the pattern is so fun. It’s just sections of garter and mesh alternated so that you never get tired of either one.

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I’m using my new Addi Turbo Lace needles and really like them. They’re lightweight, super smooth, and I love the pointy tips. I’ll be adding more of these to my wish list. I have about 40 rows left and then it’ll be done. But this isn’t a good lunch break project, so I’ll be casting on something new today to take to work this week. Maybe a hat this time!

Something else fun: I keep finding more knitters at work. The lab manager knits, and brought in a shawl she’s working on so I could help her with it. And we decided her 8yo daughter needed to learn to knit, so I brought in some 10″ size 11 needles and a skein of bulky acrylic in a pretty teal for her to try. Anything to create new knitters, right? The needles were metal ones I’d found secondhand for cheap, so I didn’t mind passing them on. As we sat in the break room knitting, we discovered another knitter as well as a crocheter. Just wait, I’ll bring all these yarn people together and create a big yarny community over there! *rubs hands together evilly* Bwahahaha!

Yarn Pics

Remember how my LYS is closing this summer? Well, it’s happening at the end of this month, and yesterday I realized I needed to get up there before all the really good stuff was gone. I’m glad I did because I got a few awesome treasures for an awesome price.

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Alegria by Manos del Uruguay. This is the yarn I used for my Peek-a-Boo Bay shawl (different colorway obviously) and I loved knitting with it. I’m tempted to make another one in just this yarn, skipping the stripes. This wasn’t a huge steal, just 25% off, so it was my biggest splurge.

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Araucania Huasco (fingering weight Merino) in Wine. This was 50% OFF!! I grabbed the last two skeins in Wine…

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and the last skein in green…

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and the last skein in this fun summery blue-green colorway. I’ve already decided this one will be my next cast-on. It’s going to be the Reyna shawl.

Finally, remember my Color Block Chalet Wrap? Well, it’s one of my favorite pieces, and the yarn was 35% off. They didn’t have enough that I could replicate it, but I think I’m going to do a half-size version, just cast on half as many stitches, and have a yummy color block scarf. That’ll take one skein of each color. Not sure what I’ll do with the rest, but I love this yarn so much I couldn’t leave it there.

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With my arms full of yarn, I passed by the needle section and realized they were on sale too. I’ve needed a size 4 16″ circ and it was 50% off so, plus I’ve heard so many good things about the Addi Turbos that I wanted to try them. They were only 35% off, so I only picked one size. It’ll be enough to get me hooked, I’m sure!

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish my Secret Beach scarf so I can cast on all the new projects!

A wee bit of purple

Where did my knitting time go?? I think my body is still adjusting to this new schedule, because by the time I’m home from work and done with dinner, I’m exhausted. I knit a few rows and my eyes are drooping, and I’m usually in bed with lights out by 10. I got so spoiled the last few years that my body is struggling with this new “wake up at 5:30 in the morning” thing. As a result, I have very little knitting to show off this week. I’ve been working on the Secret Beach Scarf and I made it through the second contrasting color and onto the third. And it’s my favorite: the purple!

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I’m on the homestretch now, just need to get the purple section to 18″ and then it’ll be DONE and I can cast on something new with no guilt.

I did get to meet the knitting group at work and they seem to be a lovely group of people, very welcoming and funny and irreverent, as the best people are. They meet twice a week over lunch break so I should start getting a little more knitting time. Yesterday I took lunch out onto the patio and had some solo knitting time. It was lovely to have that little respite in the middle of the day.

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The other thing I’ve been doing is reading. Lots of my favorite authors have new books out, and I’ve finished Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s to Us and Emily Giffin’s First Comes Love and I’m almost done with Allison Winn Scotch’s In Twenty Years. Coming up I have Sarah Pekkanen’s new book, but first I want to re-read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell before the first book club meeting. (Haha, I’ve never been in a book club before, so this will be interesting!)

The puppies are not a fan of my new schedule, and are so so excited to see me when I get home. My first job is always to sit down and cuddle with them for a while, otherwise they just follow me around and jump on me.

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That’s it, that’s my week. Hopefully next week I’ll have more knitting to include!

I’m back, with a Shawl!

Guys! I have missed this whole blogging world! I’ve missed writing and posting photos and reading all your blogs and commenting on them, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get caught up. But I’ll do my best.

For those who don’t know or have forgotten, I got a full-time job, and I started this past Tuesday. Each day I’d work, then come home and play with pups, catch up on my Wimbledon, do a bit of knitting and fall into bed by 10 each night. Adjusting to this new schedule is hard, but thankfully, I think the job is going to be great. I’m a senior administrative assistant at a medical research institute, and I’m supporting two labs. (I know, it probably sounds a little strange, because I have very little science experience. But I rock at office management. Plus I think science is pretty interesting, so it’ll be cool to see the super smart scientists at work.) Last week was all training, and now I have a 3″ binder full of materials I think I was supposed to learn. I mean, I learned a lot, but I guarantee that for 95% of those things, I’ll need help the first time I do them. And that’s okay, because the people there are awesome. Everyone expects us to ask for help, everyone is more than happy to answer questions or give tips. It’s fantastic. It’s a friendly, laid-back environment, and I *might* even be able to go back to my purple hair at some point, which would be awesome. Anyway, it was a good week and I think I made the right decision and I hope I figure out what I’m supposed to do when I show up on Monday.

I did manage to sneak in a bit of knitting here and there on breaks, and finished this pair of fingerless gloves. They’d been a lingering WIP for weeks, so I’m delighted to free up that project bag.

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At night, I worked on my Peek-a-Boo Bay Shawl, and bound off yesterday morning. Once again, I ran out of yarn way before the pattern said I should, but I didn’t swatch so I’m sure it’s my fault. It worked out fine anyway; I just did fewer repeats of the lace chart and ended up with a shawlette. I’d still like to do the full version at some point, just not right away. Because: it has a picot bind-off. Have you done that before? Yes? Then you know how tedious it can be. By the bind-off of any project, I’m ready to be DONE, and I want it to go FAST. Picot bind-offs on shawls do not go fast. At all. But they’re lovely and it really is a wonderful way to end this beautiful shawl.

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Here’s the blasted picot edging:

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More/better pics forthcoming, when I have the time and energy to do an outdoor photoshoot.

Already, my knitting philosophy is changing. The focus has swung away from making things for my Etsy shop and toward things for myself, and maybe a few gifts. Right now I’m in a “Finish all the WIPs” mode, and then I want to cast on a new hat and maybe a cowl. But I’m not really interested in making things for craft show inventory. Maybe it’ll adjust as I adjust to my new schedule, but for now I’m happy to be a  purely selfish knitter.

Oh, speaking of knitters: my new company supposedly has a knitting club! Someone mentioned it to me but I haven’t found the people yet. That will be on my To-Do list for next week. AND they have a book club that’s reading Eleanor & Park this month, so I know they’re good people. It’s funny: within a span of two weeks, I applied for over 15 jobs. This was the only one I heard from, and it just happened to be the one I thought was the biggest stretch. I didn’t meet all the preferred qualifications but I thought it was plausible, it sounded interesting, the company is well-known and highly respected, and I’d be doing something worthwhile. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes things work out exactly the way they’re supposed to.

This week, my goal is to finish my Secret Beach Scarf.

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Marcelle Wrap: Done

I finally finished the Marcelle Wrap yesterday! Bound off in the morning, wove in ends, and blocked it last night. It’s currently pinned out and drying.

IMG_6678Grace is included in this photo for scale. It came out rather large, which was a surprise since I couldn’t get a sense of size when it was all bunched up on the needles.

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I know I struggled a bit making this shawl, all faults of my own, but now that it’s done I’m delighted with it. It’s one of those projects where I can look back at it in pride that I was able to make something like this.

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The pattern is the Marcelle Wrap by Little Church Knits. It’s well-written, a good shawl for an advanced beginner like me. My only comment is to buy extra yarn! Yarn is KnitPicks Palette in Oyster Heather and Rainforest Heather. I ended up using approximately 2.5 balls of the main color and 1.5 of the contrast color. No idea what I’ll do with the leftover bits but right now I’m tired of the colors and they can just go to the back of the stash.

I also finished the hat I was test knitting, so it’s drying and then I’ll do photos etc. I really should be knitting all weekend, because my knitting time is about to get cut drastically:  my job search is over! I got an offer on Wednesday, accepted it Thursday morning, and I start this coming Tuesday. Yep, that’s extremely fast, faster than I originally wanted, but it couldn’t be helped. I’m going to be an administrative assistant at a medical research institute, and I’ll be supporting two new scientists. The first is moving his lab in on the 11th, and they wanted me to at least be partially trained before he arrived. The second arrives in early August, so I’ll get to ease in a bit before she arrives. I’m really excited but also terrified. Intellectually, I know I’ll be able to do the job just fine…but still, it’s new and different, and that’s always a little scary too. So you probably won’t hear from me quite as often, at least while I get settled in, but I’ll do my best.

For now, I must run and sweep the floors. We’re having a birthday party here today: my “baby” is 13 now! Yep, I have two teenagers in the house. Thank you, your sympathies are much appreciated.

U.S. friends, have a happy and safe Fourth of July!