Archive | April 2018

Girl Power Socks

It didn’t take me long to cast on some of my brand-new yarn from Knitting in the Heartland. I wound three skeins and cast on two yesterday. Two will be socks, and one I quickly set aside for lunch-break knitting this week. One will be a shawl but I haven’t decided on a pattern yet. And the last will be my new favorite socks, I’m pretty sure.

The Show Me Yarn booth was full of self-striping sock yarn, and they had wonderful samples out so you could see how they worked up. It was brilliant, because then I wanted all of them. One of them had a gray border on either end, and I knew instantly I needed to make socks like that, with gray cuff/heel/toes. I bought a skein of gray, but then decided it needed to go with the set of neon rainbow mini skeins for a fabulous striped shawl. (You can see them all in this post here.) However, luck was on my side because I had most of a skein of Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in Chrome, and it would be the perfect accent yarn for this skein of Girl Power!

img_0244

No big dilemma on pattern with these: they’d be my favorite Vanilla Latte socks, only this time I’d follow the pattern as written. I had to push myself through the gray cuff because I was so excited to get to the rainbow, but once I did? WHEEE! It started zooming along and I just wanted to keep knitting to see each color come up. I’ve got a good chunk of the leg done and I’m sure I’ll get down to the heel today because that’s all I want to knit right now.

fullsizeoutput_13f5

The yarn is fabulous, richly colored and soft, and I’m so glad I have three more skeins of their sock yarn in my stash!

IMG_6158

Knitting in the Heartland

This weekend is Knitting in the Heartland, a weekend-long conference that happens every other year and is put on by the Sunflower Knitters’ Guilt. They usually have a big-name keynote speaker who also gives classes. This year they have two big instructors, Edie Eckman and Franklin Habit, and Franklin was the Keynote speaker. I had so much fun the last time around that I signed up immediately, and last night the Knitting SIL and I joined my work knitting buddy and her friends for the Keynote. Franklin did not disappoint!

img_0232.jpg

His speech centered on five important women in his life, and the shawls he designed in their honor, and his speech was funny, often in very dry way, but also touching and thought-provoking. It made me think about the people who have inspired my creative life, and whether I can be that person for someone else. I really enjoyed listening to him, but I also loved just being in a big room full of knitters! You can’t go wrong with a room full of knitters, am I right? You look around and see all these gorgeous handknit items and there’s no wondering if they made it themselves: you know they did! And we could knit while he talked and nobody was judging us or thinking we were being disrespectful or not paying attention because they all KNOW. They know that we knitters are so clever that we can use our hands and our ears and our brains all at the same time. Whew. Yeah. Good times. And that was just the appetizer, because honestly, as much as I loved Franklin’s talk, the vendor fair was the main course for me.

I beelined for Show Me Yarns immediately. I’d seen a couple of special show-only items on Instagram that I really wanted, and I’m proud to say I was the first one to their booth, where I immediately snatched up a gorgeous matching set of project bag and sock yarn, made especially for KITH. This booth was my favorite two years ago, and my favorite this year too. They had the yarns I wanted the most, gorgeous colors and the self-striping sock yarn that is my obsession right now. And they’re such delightful women too, so funny and happy to joke around and have a great time with their customers. I was more than happy to give them the bulk of my yarn money last night. Their Etsy shop is on a break right now, but you should totally check back with them. I love them. That’s all.

img_0237

Then I grabbed more yarn, and basically didn’t stop for about an hour. It was terrible, or do I mean wonderful? Yeah. Both. Mostly wonderful. And I saw fun fun stuff. Nerd Girls Yarns was awesome, as always. Not just the yarns, but her displays too.

img_0235

Isn’t that Captain America shield so cool?? And the Wonder Woman shawl is the crochet version, which I hadn’t seen in person. I still like my knit version better, but the crochet version was beautiful too, very drapey.

img_0234

And I saw these sock hangers, which I thought were SO COOL!! I mean, look at them! You could totally hang your socks in your closet! If I didn’t have such a small closet, I would be all over this idea. As it is, my socks will have to stay in a drawer.

img_0233

Whew, it was such a fun night. I just get such a high from being around so many neat people who understand why knitting is so important, people who love it as much as I do.

What? You want to see the yarn? Well. Okay. I mean, I’m not going to do individual photos because that would be too many and too long and I’m almost embarrassed as it is to do a group shot of it all. But since you insist, here you go.

img_0240

I KNOW. It’s a lot. And it’s all seriously gorgeous. Most of it (top row) is from Show Me Yarns. The purple/gray and blue/purple are from Nerd Girl Yarns, and the orange/pink/green and purple project bag are from Supernatural Yarns.

And now I just want to wind yarn and knit all day long and all day tomorrow and all day for the rest of forever. That’s not unreasonable, is it?

Trying to Wrap it Up

My main knitting project lately has been a new shawl called the Mother Earth Wrap. It’s simple and gratifying, lots of squishy garter stitch and fun color changes. It’s been going to and from work, it’s been with me when I sit out on the deck with the dogs, and it’s been my after-dinner relaxation knitting.

img_0094.jpg

All of that knitting time means I’m making lots of progress! I’m on the next-to-last color now, and I’m hoping to finish within a week.

fullsizeoutput_1140

I wish I had saved the purples for last, so they’d be the biggest sections, but I’m loving this color combo anyway. The yarn is Perfection by Kraemer Yarns. Look for my review as soon as I’m done knitting this lovely piece!

Knitting in Fits and Spurts

I’m in my new role at work full-time now, acting just as a temporary back-up for my former teams for a little bit longer, so both the work and my brain have settled down a little bit. I’m not feeling scattered and overwhelmed like I was last week. But I am remembering the “fun” of a new job: that learning curve where you make normal mistakes which make you feel kind of dumb and incompetent for a while. I mean, yes, I know I’m not either of those things, and this job is a great fit for me and I’m loving it. I just like it better when I settle into a job and know what I’m doing. Anyway, less stress at work means my brain isn’t quite as tired at home, so I’ve actually been able to do some knitting! I’ve abandoned my sock monkey sock for now, probably because it’s brown and brown isn’t fun and colorful, and instead I cast on for my first Rose City Rollers.

fullsizeoutput_1144

The yarn is Indigo Boulevards 2-ply Sock, hand-dyed in Nebraska and purchased when the girl and I were there for a college visit. This is colorful and fun! And I couldn’t believe how quickly I got to the heel; I could get used to making short socks, I think.

My other little project is the girl’s Sockhead Hat. You might remember that this was one of her WIPs that I decided to finish. She’d gotten halfway through the ribbing when I started, and our gauge was crazy different. I tried to roll with it but couldn’t, so I frogged and started over.

RK5VcTHDRviK8XH4hfui1Q

I like it MUCH better now. This yarn is Malabrigo, I think. I love the colors. I’m just about ready to switch needles and start the stockinette body. This will be great travel knitting for all the end-of-year concerts. (And…graduation! Gasp!)

But the most fun thing that happened last week was unrelated to knitting. Lately the boy has been itching to learn guitar, and he’s more excited about it than I’ve ever seen him about anything. So we decided to give in and got him his first guitar, a gorgeous used Les Paul, and he’s in heaven.

rZmJO9RaQMKPGebTUczlpA

We’ll get him started with lessons ASAP, but he’s spent the last couple of days teaching himself chords and he’s doing really well, apart from the sore fingers. And thankfully he can plug headphones into the amp when I’m tired of listening to him practice!

And for now, it’s cold and snow outside (hooray for Spring?) which means it’s perfect weather for snuggling with pups, drinking tea, and knitting!

National Pet Day

Today is National Pet Day, and I have some of those! Three, to be exact, as most of you know. Jack, Grace, and Duncan are my best furry friends.

img_5605

They make life hectic and crazy. It’s hard to travel, they cost a lot of money, and they track a ton of dirt inside. I’ve given up on ever having clean floors for longer than an hour, and the dog hair on my couches is a permanent fixture.

img_5646

But they’re so happy to see me in the morning, and when I come home from work, they’re bouncing and barking with excitement. They cuddle with me on the couch when it’s cold, and they know when I’m upset and try to comfort me, Jack especially.

img_5660

Grace is the sweetest dog I’ve ever had, always giving kisses and wanting to lay in your lap, whether you want her there or not!

img_5928

And Duncan is like the clumsy little toddler brother, awkwardly getting his 90-pound body onto the couch and just flopping against you. He’s a jealous thing and demands attention with a paw, but he also gives the gentlest, tiniest kisses.

img_5691

There are so many times I’ve looked around at all the dogs surrounding me, and I just have to laugh. Yes, sometimes it’s a pain in the butt having three dogs. But most of the time, they’re three times the fun!

***If you’re looking for a new furry friend, please check your local animal shelters first! There are a lot of amazing animals there, and if you’re patient, you can usually find a specific breed!***

A little gift

My husband is very clever, and handy with tools. He recently made a little pen holder for my desk and today it was ready to be put in place.

Isn’t it cute? It’s so little and simple, but it has this subtle slant on the front. He even said he’d be willing to make more! This one originally had five holes, but then Duncan got a hold of it so one end had to be removed. Maybe my next one should actually have five holes!

New Purple Ink

So I was at my new job, talking with my new boss and taking notes with my beautiful purple Visconti Rembrandt fountain pen. In the middle of our conversation, she stopped with an excited, “Oh! I have to show you something!” She opens a drawer and pulls out a purple Parker fountain pen, I think an Urban. It was a gift, she said, and she could never get used to writing with it. She had trouble with ink splotches as she wrote. “But wait, look at this!” she said, and pulled out a bottle of fountain pen ink. A full, seemingly brand-new bottle of purple Pilot ink. I agreed it was lovely.

IMG_6281

“Here, take it, use it, ” she said. I protested but feebly; I did want the ink. She insisted she would never use it and of course I agreed to take it off her hands. It was as shame to let it live in a drawer and not be used an appreciated, right? Now I have two bottles of ink, both purple, and it was fun to get them both out and play around. I’m so happy that they’re slightly different shades of purple, and I actually like this new one a little better.

IMG_0019

I didn’t think I’d ever get into bottled ink for my fountain pens, but it is rather addictive. The pretty glass bottles, the beautiful colors…I think I have something else to collect, I’m afraid!