Archive | January 2018

Wonder Woman Socks

I kind of found some more yarn recently. I was idly looking for self-striping sock monkey yarn, and Google very nicely took me to the website for Artistic Yarns by Abi, and I found lots and lots of really fun self-striping yarns. She does have a super cute sock monkey yarn, and I was all set to purchase some, but then I kept scrolling and found THIS: self-striping Wonder Woman yarn!!

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I was trying to be good so I didn’t let myself order two skeins, and of course I had to get Wonder Woman, so that sock monkey yarn will wait for another day. (Or not, since I found yarn to make my own sock monkey socks.) In any case, the yarn arrived yesterday and I was so happy with it. It came in a cute shipping bag, the yarn was packed in a skein-sized ziploc bag, and I even got the cutest bumblebee stitch marker as a gift!

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I pulled out my swift and got it wound so I could cast on immediately. I could already tell that the colors were perfect; I especially love the bit of stellina to give it sparkle.

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Sorry, just realized that photo isn’t very good. I’d take another…but I’ve already cast on! These are going to be simple vanilla socks for me so that the yarn can be the star of the show. Can’t wait to have more time for these!

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These might replace all four other socks I’ve got going right now as my favorite! Yes, four. I’m officially crazy, I think. Or a sock addict. Or both.

Not the Woolfest

Yesterday was the Winter Woolfest in Wamego, Kansas, and as of last week, I was planning to go. The husband and I were going to make a little daytrip out of it and hit some antique stores on the way. But then the weather got super cold and slightly unpredictable, and the people in my house had other things they wanted to do, and I decided I could skip the Woolfest this year. I didn’t really need more yarn, anyway.  So what did I do with my day instead? Can you guess?

Yep, I went to my LYS. Saturday came and I saw the photos of all the vendors on Instagram and all the pretty yarn and I felt a little sorry for myself. They had just added a lot of stuff to the clearance section, so I figured I could find a deal or two and satisfy my yarn craving. Well. Haha. That didn’t exactly happen. But man, I had a good time! I spent over an hour just walking the aisles, touching the yarn, admiring the yarn, imagining projects, pondering the possibilities, and trying to control my urge to BUY ALL THE YARN. I came away with two new Addi Turbo circs from the sale section, and a whole bunch of yarn.

I got two skeins of a silky sock yarn, Diversity by Plymouth Yarns. It’s an acrylic/polyester blend that feels completely different than wool and I think it’ll be great for warmer temperatures. I also gave in and bought another skein of Madelinetosh A.S.A.P. in Seaglass because I loved the first one so much. (You can see the Seaglass Cowl here.) These skeins went into my stash for future knitting. The rest of the yarn I got immediately went onto my needles.

Because I love the Seaglass color so much, I bought a skein of Tosh Sock so I can have socks to match the cowl. I started with a wide ribbed cuff while deciding on a pattern. Finally, this morning I chose the Marpleridge Sock from Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks book. I just haven’t gotten to the pattern part yet.

They’re not progressing quickly because of course I cast on other socks too. In the sale section I found some sparkly Stiletto sock yarn from Plymouth Yarns. I’ve used it before, in a different color, and think it’s so pretty. But they’re a little too itchy for me, so they went to the girl. Hence, these will also be socks for her. Just like the other pair, I’m using my favorite sock pattern, the Vanilla Latte socks. I’m sure she’ll be pleased.

Finally, my last new project was a bit of a splurge. I got it in my head that I wanted to make sock monkey socks; basically I just wanted to make socks inspired by the colors. It was super hard to find the right main color. It really should be a grayish-brown, or a brownish-gray, and ideally it should have some color variation and/or texture, like a heather or a marl, something like that. But I couldn’t find anything like that even at my huge LYS. The closest I could find was some Frolicking Feet in Raisin, a warm brown with subtle shade variations. I paired it with Cascade Heritage in Snow and White, and while it’s not exactly what I was picturing in my head, I think it’s close enough.

I’m using Hermione’s Everyday Socks for these, to give the body extra texture without making it too complicated. I’ll do a red heel, and a toe with both white and red. And the fun thing is that I’ll have plenty of red and white leftover to use for more socks, or as solids for when I want to do contrasting heel/toes with variegated or striped yarns.

Now I’ve got lots and lots of knitting to keep my busy during the next two days at home. We got fresh snow this morning and tomorrow’s a work holiday, so I’ll be found on the couch, snuggled up with a blanket, a dog or two, and some yarn.

Did any of you make it to the Woolfest? Was it wonderful?

madtosh miso shawl

Today I have another WIP to share, one that’s going more slowly because it’s more complex. This one started with the yarn, madelinetosh Euro Sock in the color Daenerys, which is a gorgeous super dark black/purple. It was a birthday gift from two lovely friends at work and I’ve been itching to knit with it for months.

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I wanted to make something that I could wear often and easily, and finally decided on a pattern called Miso. It’s a long, shallow triangle shawl, almost scarf-like, which is currently my favorite shawl shape. Beyond the shape, I liked that it was easily modified for the amount of yarn you have; you increase to half your yarn and then start decreasing. I also liked the zig-zag lace pattern, because I wanted something pretty and not too mindless. So far, it’s perfect.

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The yarn is delicious to knit with, as madtosh always is, and the pattern allows me to listen to TV while I knit, and look up occasionally. The pattern isn’t difficult, but certainly too long for me to memorize, so I have to keep track of where I am. It’s growing quickly and I’m already looking forward to wearing it. And the best part is that it will remind me of my friends every time I wear it!

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Today is a snow day, thanks to freezing rain/sleet/snow, so I’m eager to see how much progress I can make while knitting in front of a fire. I’m so grateful to have a job that doesn’t require my presence on days like this, and bosses who are happy to have me stay at home!

WIP Wednesday: Gryffindor Sock

I don’t often play this game, but it is Wednesday, and what I have to share is a WIP, so there you have it. I’m back to my socks, but they’re selfish socks now. I cast on with my Christmas sock yarn as soon as possible, my Biscotte Yarns Bis-sock in the Griffin colorway. 39317504321_b73f50127f_oI wanted the yarn to be the star of the show, so I’m doing a nice plain sock with a ribbed cuff and an Eye of Partridge heel. I actually cast on the day after Christmas but didn’t get too far before getting distracted by non-sock knitting. With lots of FOs behind me, this is my lunch break knitting at work now, and I’m loving it.img_5711(Obviously the color is better in the first photo. This is a hasty lunch break photo. I do the best I can!) I’m on the gusset of the first sock and looking forward to knitting the second sock too. The yarn is delightfully soft and silky, and you can’t go wrong with self-striping yarn. It’s my favorite thing ever. The girl was admiring these with a covetous tone in her voice, but she’ll have to wait for her own pair; these are mine! And now I want to do a pair of these in every House color. I could wear them according to my mood. So if you ever spot Slytherin colors in my socks, watch out!

Looking Toward the Empty Nest

The other day, I said something that felt extremely weird and kind of freaked me out. I was talking to someone at work about my kids, and I said “My son is 14, and my daughter is almost 18.” It was the first time I’d said it aloud that the girl is going to be 18 soon and the reality sort of smacked me in the face. I know I’m not the first to say how fast they grow up and all that, and it’s true, but it’s more than that. If nothing else, I don’t feel old enough to have an 18-year-old!

I don’t wish they were little again. I very much enjoy my kids as older people, and I think I’m a better mom to older kids than I was to toddlers and young kids. I do wish I’d had more patience when they were young. I wish I’d taken more videos of them. If I could travel through time and visit their younger selves for a short time, that would be delightful, but I don’t want to do it all again. I think it’s more that you get to this point as a parent and realize the biggest part of your job is almost done, and just when they get to be really cool, interesting people, they leave you.

Then you start to question yourself: did I do it right, or right enough at least? Did I give them a happy childhood, fond memories to look back on? Do they have the skills they need to become independent, responsible adults? Will they be okay on their own?

I feel confident that she does have the skills, and she will be okay. I’m excited to see where she lands next, and watch her do all the exciting college things. As another parent told me, this is what’s supposed to happen. It’s a good thing, a happy thing.

But we all know there’s a thread of sadness too. I enjoy her company very much, I enjoy us as a family very much, and to know that we’ll see her so much less is a hard pill to swallow, even as I tell myself that it’s a good thing. She wants to go out of state, so she might be four hours away, or she might be ten hours away. Wherever she goes, she’ll be able to come home for visits. And I want her to go out into the world, to have the courage to venture away from home and try new and exciting things. I’m the tiniest bit jealous of the adventure she’s embarking on.

I am so very happy for her. But I am a little sad for me. I will miss her, if for no other reason than she’s more chatty than the two men in the house and she keeps me company.

However, a little is okay. I feel more optimistic and excited than I feel sad. But I also I think I’ve been in denial so far this school year. I thought I’d be a mess, crying at every “last” event, but it hasn’t happened…yet. Maybe it’s because we haven’t had that many true “last” things yet; most of them will come this semester. Maybe we’ve been so caught up in all the day-to-day stuff, all the college application stuff, that I haven’t had time to consider what it all represents. But I feel it looming. The college acceptances are coming in, the choices are getting narrowed down, that big birthday is coming closer. An empty nest is not that far away. I have primarily been Mom for the last 18 years. Who will I be after that?

I confess, I have entertained thoughts of life after kids, and they’re not all bad. The husband and I have talked of traveling a bit more (especially if we can get one of those grown-up kids to dogsit for us). We’ve talked about moving to a house that’s not a fixer upper in an area that’s not determined based on the local schools. We’ve thought about what paths we might want our careers to go, once we’re not quite so constrained financially. So yeah, it’s a little exciting for us too, for me. That’s what I’ll try to focus on as we move into this last stretch of senior year.

I don’t usually do those “pick a word for the new year” challenges, but it seems pretty clear that this year’s word is “Bittersweet.”

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Striped Convertible Mitts

It’s no secret that I like knitting. I’m a process knitter, which means I knit because I like the process of knitting, not necessarily because I want the end result. So when a friend asked me if I’d make her some mittens, I agreed right away. I’d be knitting anyway, why not make something a friend would enjoy wearing?

It turns out she’d bought the kit for these Line by Line Mittens to Gloves from Knit Picks, complete with five colors of Knit Picks Swish, because she wanted to learn to knit. Then she tried, and discovered she didn’t love it, and it made her hands and elbows hurt. But she still had this kit sitting there, staring at her and mocking her. (I’m imagining that last bit; that’s what it would be doing to me, anyway.) And she still wanted the mitts. They didn’t look complicated to me, even though I’d have to learn how to do the convertible top. She insisted there was no hurry, but when I finished the husband’s socks (which were supposed to be Christmas gifts but oops were not) I was happy to do something new and different, and I cast on the first mitt over the weekend.

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They knit up quickly, though it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d forgotten the downside to stripes: ends. Lots and lots of ends to weave in. I texted her a progress photo after the first one was done, joking that I’d let her weave in the ends, and cast on for the second mitt.

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With the basic mitts done, it was time to figure out the convertible tops. I took a break long enough to weave in a crap-ton of ends (yes, she would have happily done it herself, but I needed the break, and it was satisfying to see the neat and tidy mitts). Then I counted down the rows to where I was supposed to pick up 24 stitches. But I’d never picked up stitches in the middle before; I’d always picked up from an edge. So that took a few tries before I found a method that worked and looked acceptable. Not sure if it’s the “right” way, but eh, who cares about that, right? Getting the stitches all set up for that convertible top was kind of a hassle, to be honest, but once I got the first couple of rows done, it was smooth sailing, and by the middle of the Golden Globes last night, I had a complete mitten!

I’ll do the last mitten top tonight so that I can give her the mittens tomorrow, and then I’ll give the pattern back and never knit it again. I didn’t really care for how it was written. The thumb gusset was set up on both sides of the beginning-of-round marker, so I was fiddling with color changes and increases within a few stitches. I prefer it when the gusset is closer to the middle of the round, especially if there are color changes. Still, these are awfully cute, and it does feel good to do something nice for someone else sometimes!

Purple Leather Pen Case

A while back, I read a blog post on the Well-Appointed Desk that featured a beautiful wooden letter box sold by Galen Leather. A few clicks later, I was drooling over all the gorgeous leather goods on their site. (You too can drool: find their site here!) Aside from the stellar letter box, they had leather pen cases in a wide variety of colors and sizes. When I saw the purple one, my admiration kicked into desperation, and since it was still before Christmas, I immediately sent the link to the husband as a gift demand suggestion. He soon replied that they’re based in Turkey, and there was a long lead-time for the case, so having it by Christmas wasn’t an option. Oh well, another occasion would present itself. I couldn’t be bereft, given all the lovely gifts that I received.

But then! HaHA! Husband confessed that he had fibbed slightly, and the case was available, and was supposed to have arrived before Christmas, but had been delayed. Yes, I had another present on the way, and after several long days of waiting, it finally arrived this week. And it was truly well worth the wait, friends. Just look.

fullsizeoutput_ed8First out of the bubble wrap was the sturdy cardboard box with the beautiful logo. I love that they included a ruler/bookmark.

fullsizeoutput_ed9I lifted the lid and immediately fell in love, the color was so gorgeous. Just look at that purple!! Again, I was impressed by the packaging: a heavy paper label circled the case.

fullsizeoutput_edaBefore sliding that off, though, I explored the other items in the box: an informational card with care and cleaning instructions, and my own little handmade Evil Eye charm! I haven’t decided if it’s going to become a stitch marker or a pendant. I love it.

fullsizeoutput_edbFinally I slid off the label, sniffed the yummy leather, and unzipped the smooth zipper. The interior is also a stunning purple, with purple elastic loops and a slot to slide in a notebook. My favorite purple pens immediately went inside.

Even though I had to wait a little while, I would definitely order from them again. Everything is extremely well-made, with incredible attention to detail. They created a wonderful experience from the very beginning, wowing me before I even got to the product. The case is gorgeous but also sturdy, and I know it will protect my pens well. I’m in love with this case, and it’ll be going everywhere with me.