Archive | March 2018

The Sweater, She is Done

I officially finished my second handknit sweater, and it turned out so much better than my first! (You can see my Harvest cardigan here) This one actually fits, and fits well! I adore it, and I know I’ll be wearing it a lot and making at least one more.


The pattern is Joji Locatelli’s Textured Pullover and I made the size large. I think it’s designed with enough positive ease that it fits just how I like it, not too tight and not too oversized. I liked knitting a pullover in the round, rather than a cardigan back and forth, so I see more pullovers in my future.


My gauge was just loose enough that I feel like I need to wear a layer underneath for modesty, but it’s fine because I can do a tank in warmer weather, or a long-sleeved tee when I need to bundle up, and the extra layer doesn’t affect the fit.


The stripes and texture were great, and really helped keep my interested throughout the project. I only lost steam at the second sleeve, which seems pretty good for me. So I’ve learned that when I make sweaters, I can’t just do miles of stockinette or it will take me years to finish.


The yarn is acrylic, Loops & Threads Value Pack from Michael’s. It’s nice and soft, but it does fuzz up quickly, so I’ll need to get a fabric shaver soon.


And now I think I have totally earned the right to buy a sweater quantity of good yarn, like Malabrigo!

Not My WIPs

We recently conquered our attic. The attic is finished, with two rooms up there. One is the girl’s bedroom, and the other had ended up as a storage room/dumping ground. It was a mess and a waste of space. The girl had mentioned wishing it could be a music room, so when the kids and I had a snow day a couple of weeks ago we decided to tackle it. She had important other stuff to do (scholarship apps and homework) so the boy and I started without her.


He packed up Legos and Star Wars toys while I bagged trash and carried a bunch of pieces of wood down three flights of stairs. Once his part was done, he helped me with some of the stuff going in the trash, and then I was on my own. I sorted, filed, tidied, and organized the space, and by the end of the day, the girl had her music room. She was delighted!


Anyway, amongst all of the assorted stuff the girl had discarded in that room, I found yarn! And needles! And…knitting?? Yep, back when she was still interested in knitting, she’d cast on five projects, and they’d all been discarded in various stages. I rescued everything yarn-related and relocated it to my craft room where I could keep it safe, and assessed the projects in front of me. One was a lace cowl with just a few rows, and she had no idea what pattern she’d used. That one got frogged and I’ll make something for her out of the yarn. One was a fingerless glove, and the rest were hats. I like knitting hats. I miss knitting hats. So the glove got set aside and the hats came downstairs and added to my own pile of WIPs. Last weekend when I needed a break from my own projects, I picked up and finished two of hers.

This one was a simple striped slouch hat in acrylic. It felt like Red Heart super saver, and if it hadn’t been so far along, I might have just frogged it. But I liked the colors and it was ready for decrease rounds, so I went with it, and it was done in about an hour.


I’m pretty sure this yarn is Manos del Uruguay Maxima; I love it. She didn’t know what pattern she’d started, and after the ribbed brim I saw two rows of stockinette, then one row of k2, p2. I could work with that. It ended up as a great beanie with a waffle pattern and if she doesn’t wear it, I might steal it.


This last hat WIP is a Sockhead, and it was maybe two inches into the 4″ brim, so I’ll save that for when I need truly mindless knitting, like concerts or movies, things like that. Obviously she’s in no rush for any of these! If you look closely, you can see where I picked up. She’s a very tight knitter, and I am not.

Have you ever finished projects for someone else?

Bye, FlexiFlips

I’m making progress on my FlexiFlip sock, but I can’t call it that anymore. I made it a little over halfway through the foot before giving up. I really wanted to make it through the whole sock, to give the needles a fair shot. They felt super awkward at first, then I kind of got used to them, then once I got past the heel and into the gusset/foot, it got awkward again. Well, more uncomfortable than awkward. Maybe I was doing something weird, but knitting with them made my hands feel tight and cramped, and it hurt to knit very long. I found that I was dreading knitting them just because of the needles, and that’s never okay. One should not dread her knitting! So the sock has been transferred to my favorite bamboo DPNs and I am much happier with it. Anyone want a set of size 1 FlexiFlips??


We had a day-trip on Monday, with about four hours in the car, and I made good progress on my Textured Pullover, even if I did get super bored of knitting it. I was smart and wove in all the other ends as I finished each section, so finishing will be quick. I did make a wee error, but I think it’ll be fine. As I read the pattern again for the second sleeve, I realized there were supposed to be decrease rounds all through the sleeve that I completely missed. So my sleeves won’t taper. Oh well. I’m totally okay with that.


Since taking this photo, I’ve made it over halfway through the second sleeve and just need to find the motivation to power through the rest. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! I just need a good movie marathon to distract me. How do you motivate yourself to finish a lingering WIP?

The best news of the week is that the girl is now all done with her auditions for college! Now we wait for two more result emails, and final talent scholarship offers (fingers crossed) and then it’ll be decision time. I think we’ll all be relieved when it’s all said and done and we can focus on moving forward.

Updates on…everything

I don’t have a FO to share today. I can share some progress on my sock, my FlexiFlip sock. It’s going well. I’m getting used to the needles and they’re not feeling as unwieldy as they did at first. They’re still not as fast as DPNs for me but I think I’ll get there pretty quick. I am loving this yarn. The colors are fun, and even though the color changes are different than I was expecting, I like it a lot. I mean, look how cool the heel turned out!


It’s smooth and slick, almost slippery, from the polyester, and maybe you’d think acrylic/poly sock yarn, what is she thinking? But no, seriously, it feels good, kind of cool (literally). It’s a nice switch from the wool/nylon yarn, though I’m sure that’ll always be my primary sock yarn blend. And it’ll make lovely spring/fall socks, I think. So yeah, these are zipping along.

My sweater, however, is not zipping along. I’ve got most of one sleeve done and I’m trying to work on it at night, but it’s boring and I keep having to adjust it as I go around the little sleeve and I’m ready for it to be done so I can wear it. We’re taking one more short road trip on Monday for the last music school audition, so I’ll take that and only that with me and force myself to work on it.

Edward went to the shop and spent a few days there getting a new front bumper and some new shields or something, and it went through my insurance so I only had to pay the deductible. We timed it out so that they could work on it while I was out of town with the girl last weekend, and then the husband and I carpooled on Monday, so I didn’t even have to pay for a rental car. So overall that whole experience was much better than I was expecting, and they did a fantastic job and even detailed him perfectly so that he looks almost brand-new and I love him.


Grace has adjusted wonderfully to her meds for Addison’s disease. I even gave her the injection myself last month! And we were able to lower her steroid dose so she’s not quite as thirsty and ravenous as she was at first. Her energy level is up and she’s very frisky and loves to play with Duncan again. She and Duncan are buddies; Jack kind of gets left out but also I think he feels threatened by Duncan at times. He’s usually pretty happy to hang out with his people while the other two go nuts.


Duncan hasn’t gone into any trouble lately (knock on wood) and keeping them in the kitchen when we’re gone seems to be working well. I don’t love it, but it’ll work until Duncan gets a little older and hopefully outgrows his destructive tendencies.


The girl has received acceptance letters from two of her four schools and I am delighted and super proud of her. We’re still waiting for a decision from one school and like I said, we have the last audition Monday, so we probably won’t have a final decision for another few weeks. We’re very lucky that she’s received automatic academic scholarship offers from all four schools, and a music scholarship from at least one, but even with those, and her college savings account, there’s still a lot of financial ground to make up. It’s scary, and it’s not even my college life! But we so want her to have a great experience, to have the education and flute professor and opportunities that she wants to have. I’m excited for everything that is ahead for her.

At the same time, though, we can’t just pay for it. It’s not feasible, and we can’t take on huge debt for it either. College is scary. If you have kids, start saving yesterday! But we’ll figure it out with a lot of little things. We’ll help a little. She’ll probably have to get a part-time job, a small student loan, and with luck, several of the private scholarships she’s applying for. I know it’ll work out, I really do. But I’m a mother, and a worrier, and those things together are rough when it’s time for college! Life is stressful in my house quite often these days, but there’s still a thread of excitement that comes out just when we need the encouragement.

Sorry this turned out so long; I didn’t mean to ramble. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your patience!

Addi FlexiFlips: First Attempt

I was super excited to find the Addi FlexiFlips on my road trip. I love knitting socks, and I prefer to use three 5″ DPNs, with a fourth as a working needle. I’ve tried 9″ circs and the tips are just too tiny to be comfortable to hold. I haven’t tried magic loop yet because it looks fiddly and weird and I resist trying strange new things. So these seemed like a great combination of DPNs and circs. As soon as I finished my current sock WIP, I grabbed the FlexiFlips and some sock yarn, and cast on.

Or rather, I tried to cast on. I got the needles on the first needle just fine. Then I split them evenly onto two needles. But then I couldn’t figure out how to join them like I would on DPNs. I fiddled for a little while before turning to the experts on YouTube. I found lots of videos on how to knit with them, but they all showed socks with several rows already started. I couldn’t find any that showed how to cast on and join in the round with these particular needles. But I’m not a quitter, so I knit the first row, slid two completed stitches to the next needle, and joined in the round that way. It was awkward, but I think it worked.

Once I got going, I realized it was going to take a bit to get used to them and to figure out how I wanted the needle not in use to behave. It took several rounds before I decided I liked to bunch the stitches onto the cable portion and bend the back needle so it was kind of out of the way. After that I was off and running!

One of the interesting features of these needles is that that have different tips. On each needle, one tip is more pointy and one is more blunt. That’s very versatile for different preferences…except it means I have to pause and make sure I’ve got the pointy tip each time I switch needles.

So far, these make for slower knitting than my DPNs. I can’t tell for sure yet, but I think my gauge will be a bit looser than with my DPNs, and I’ve got to be more careful about laddering, though I think that’s more about the learning curve and getting comfortable with the needles than with the needle design itself. I do like the metal, and it makes me want some Signature DPNs even more. And I like how they fit neatly in a project bag with no worries of stitches falling off! All in all, I wanted to love them, but I don’t. However, I like them enough that I’ll keep going with them through at least one sock and see if I’m comfortable with them after that.


Have you tried the FlexiFlips yet? What did you think?