Archive | August 2018

Bijou Basin cowl

Have I shared my Bijou Basin project yet? I can’t remember, but I’ve made progress in any case so I’ll show that too. This is the pretty pretty yarn I started with:

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It’s Llahsa Wilderness by Bijou Spun for Bijou Basin Ranch. It’s 250 yards of yak and bamboo and super soft. It’s sport weight but for some reason I thought it was fingering weight, so I picked a pattern for fingering weight, the Lace Eyelet Cowl, and it’s working out just fine.

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I can’t wait to get it done and blocked; I think the lace is going to open up beautifully!

Waving the white flag

Can I whine just a little bit? You can skip this post if you like, it’s fine.

We had the A/C repairman out this week. Again. We might have been their best customer this year: I believe we saw them four times between May and now. We have two units, so it was two visits per unit, but still, I find that excessive, don’t you? And thanks to one of those visits, we had to replace a heat pump with a furnace and do some other expensive crap. It was great. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

It’s just been a stupid expensive year. We started off with some insulation to try to keep the winter temperature in the house above 62. My car needed body work, and then new brakes a couple of months later. The girl’s car needed some repair. We had our own A/C issues, plus a repair at our rental property. We had to redo two sets of wooden stairs outside once one rotted and broke, as well as redo the concrete work and build a new retaining wall. A dog got sick and along with vet bills, we added an expensive monthly medication to our vet expenses. We had to replace two tires on the husband’s car.

It just keeps coming and coming. We try to plan for projects that need to get done, but then something else falls apart and the other stuff never happens. I keep thinking things are looking up and we might get to turn this ship around, and then bam, something breaks and we have to pay for it. And this is all on top of all the senior year/off to college expenses.

I’m tired, friends. And just a little frazzled.

I know it will be okay, and we’ll muddle through just fine. I keep telling myself all the “cheer up” things I can think of, and in my head I know they’re true and sometimes they help. And yet, I worry, and it’s been hard at times to manage my depression/anxiety crap. It ebbs and flows, and I really do think I might be on the upswing, as long as I can keep the house from falling down around me!

Plus that’s what I have my knitting for, right? (Well, and meds too, thankfully.) My knitting has definitely been therapy for me the last several months and right now my Dotted Rays shawl is my favorite. It’s so soft and squishy and soothing, garter stitch over and over…

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When it’s done, it’s going to be the coziest shawl ever, I do believe. Yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20, which only seems appropriate. I need some zen in my life!

You know, every time I write posts like this, I worry that they’re too honest, that I’m sharing too much, and maybe I should just journal. But…whatever. It helps me to write them. And maybe it helps others to know they’re not alone, or to show those who haven’t experienced it that depression isn’t always a “cure it and it goes away” kind of thing. 

All the socks

I cast on a new sock yesterday, giving me a total of four sock projects. They’re all relatively plain socks in varying stages of completeness. Commitment issues maybe?

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Yarns: Knit Picks Stroll, Mountain Colors Twizzlefoot Sock, Ancient Arts Sock, Biscotte Yarns Bis-Sock.

I’m going to commit to the newest sock, which is that pretty blue/green second from the left. It’s a new yarn for me, Twizzlefoot Sock Yarn from Mountain Colors. It’s super squishy and fun, a slightly different texture than I’m used to. I’m not sure if these will be for me or the girl!

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Along with those four sock WIPs, I have three other WIPs on my needles: two shawls and a lace cowl. I think that might be more than enough for me. Now I need to buckle down and start finishing some things!

Shawl progress

I chose poorly. Not the yarn, not the pattern. Both are heavenly. But I’m trying to modify a 5-color shawl to 3 colors and it’s not going as well as I wanted. I’m talking about my Dotted Rays shawl with the gorgeous Zen Yarn Gardens Serenity 20.

Somehow I missed where the pattern suggested approximately 1400 yards for the Large size. I just saw the yardage for the Super Large and thought 1200 yards would be plenty for the Large. (Note to self: read patterns carefully!) So I knit with color A until I had about 40 grams left and did one wedge alternating colors A and B. I didn’t want too much of the cream at the expense of the green and purple, and since I was at wedge 10 of 15, I thought surely I’d have plenty of yarn. But those later wedges get BIG, guys. Long rows, even doing short rows. After one wedge of all green, I’m down to less than 40 grams, which makes me think there’s no way I can make it through the remaining four wedges with just a bit of green and one full skein of yarn left.

There are a lot of options. I could just end it when I run out of yarn, but I really really want the chevrons at the end. I could frog back to where I stopped alternating the cream and green, and add in the rest of the cream. But I’m not sure it’s worth having to frog and reknit. (It’s definitely not.) The best option in my mind is to add another color. Currently, it’s Speckle/Solid/Speckle, so I should be able to end with a coordinating solid purple and it will be perfect. I have a couple of choices in my stash (purple yarn? Of course I do!) but I’m going to wait until I get close to running out of the purple speckle to pick. It might depend on how much I need.

I don’t think I’m a “wing it” kind of knitter. I think I like having all the information to work with up front!

Vacation Yarn

It’s a thing, vacation yarn. Or souvenir yarn, some may call it. Though I tend to think of souvenir yarn as like one special skein, and I bought…more than that. We left town Thursday and I didn’t even get to a yarn store until Saturday, and by then I was getting a little anxious. Fortunately I found Spindles, Shuttles and Skeins in Boulder. It was a little tricky to find, since it was on the second floor of a strip mall, but it was a nice big roomy store with a good selection of yarns. Still, my favorite part of that store was their shop dog, Nula. She was a good dog.

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Sunday was our day to explore Denver and I went to Fancy Tiger Crafts and OMG it was a wonderful store! It had other crafty stuff besides yarn, like fabric and I don’t know what else because Yarn. I had plenty of fun there. And then our last day we made a special trip to The Loopy Ewe because no trip to that area is complete without a visit there. Plus it was their new location, which was better than the original if only because it was easier to find! I had even more fun there than at Fancy Tiger. Let’s see my haul, shall we?

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These were all the random single skeins that I couldn’t resist. I tried to only get yarns I couldn’t find back home, but that one multicolored skein of Manos on the far right was just impossible to resist. And that Anzula on the far left? It’s sparkly! Then there’s this:

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This will be a fade shawl, maybe another Stephen West pattern. It all started with that speckled yarn (second from left) and I built from there. These yarns came from all three stores, which pleases me. I’d still like to find a solid purple to go with it, but I think it would be good even without it.

Finally, here’s my favorite selection. A while back I read The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb and loved it SO MUCH. It’s a continuation of The Little Mermaid story, and the descriptions of the ocean water were so vivid and clear that I felt like I was right there, seeing it all with her. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to make an ocean shawl, using the colors she described. I found what I was looking for at the Loopy Ewe.

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*shivers* I love this so so much. I just need to pick a pattern. I think it needs to be a semi-circular shawl (maybe this Karakorum?) but I’m not sure if I should start with the deep water (the dark purple-blue) and work out to the seafoam, or the other way around. Originally I thought I’d have the seafoam be the outer edge, but then I found this awesome Degreenify pattern and I’m not sure. What should I do??

So yeah. Colorado was definitely a success for me. And I can’t afford to go back to visit the girl for several months!

Back to real life

Whew, it’s been a whirlwind this past week! I thought I’d have a post up a day or two ago, but there just hasn’t been the time or energy or brainpower. We had a wonderful trip. The girl is all settled in to her dorm room and is loving college life so far. We love her campus, the people seemed friendly and helpful, and we already know it’s a great program, so I’m feeling okay about leaving her there. It was sad that night when we left, but overall I’d say we’re handling it just fine. I don’t know, maybe it’ll get worse, but so far, I’m just happy she’s where she wants to be.

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We saw lots of gorgeous mountains, hiked in the Flatirons and in Rocky Mountain National Park, and spent a lot of time wishing we could move to Colorado. (Someday!) We hit bookstores and record stores galore. I found a place called The Chocolate Lab that had boozy butterbeer. (Too much actual beer. Gave to the husband and ordered a Dark Chocolate Elixir with Godiva liqueur instead. YUM.)

And yes, yarn stores! I visited three, only three, but I did some significant damage. No, that sounds too negative: I found a LOT of marvelous yarn. Too much to share in this post, to be honest, so that will be my next post. For now, I’ll share the progress I made on my newest project. It’s called the Michigan Avenue Wrap and I’m using three colors of Brown Sheep Stratosphere, their new superwash DK. The colors are gorgeous together and it’s growing quickly. I’m looking forward to having it for the cold fall temperatures.

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It’s a lovely, soothing mindless knit, which is really important right sometimes. But to be honest, I’m feeling less stressed now that we have the girl settled in at school. Yes, I miss her, but it’s not hanging over my head anymore, and we can all settle into the new routine.

Can’t wait to show you all my new yarns!!

And away she goes

Crap. It’s time. I mean, how exciting! We get to take our girl to college! 650 miles away! Right? Right. Sigh. Yeah. I really don’t know how to describe it. Of course I’m super excited for her, and it’s the right thing and I want her to go. But then there’s the whole “end of childhood” thing and not getting to see her all the time, and those parts aren’t the funnest. Parenting is weird, guys. And hard. But on the plus side, I get to visit the mountains, and that’s always a good thing.

We’re driving, so I’ll have lots of car knitting time, plus I’ll be going to The Loopy Ewe as well as other yarn stores, I’m sure. So I won’t be posting while I’m gone, but I’ll have plenty so share when I get back! Until then, I’ll share the beginning of my Zen Yarn Garden shawl.

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I chose Stephen West’s Dotted Rays – Speckled Fade. It seemed perfect for this yarn, and I’ve been wanting to knit a fade shawl. And so far OMG I LOVE IT. I love the pattern and I ADORE the yarn. It is the most decadent, splurge-y, luxurious yarn I think I’ve ever knit with. (Pretty sure that’s the cashmere talking.) This will be one of my car projects, along with a sock and a new garter stitch chevron wrap that I haven’t actually started yet. Maybe the knitting will be a good distraction.