Archive | September 2018

FO: Twizzlefoot Socks

This was a quick little pair of socks for me, because I was so eager to have them ready to wear! The Twizzlefoot is a new yarn for me, and when Stitchcraft Marketing asked if I’d like to review it, I jumped at the chance for two reasons. One: um, hello, I’m addicted to sock knitting and can’t get enough sock yarn! And two: the Twizzlefoot is from Mountain Colors, a yarn company based in Montana, and since the girl just moved to Colorado near the mountains, I thought these would make perfect socks for her.

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Except maybe not. Because I love them.

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I chose the Harmony Brook color, a beautiful dark blue-green with a bit of gray. It’s a hard color to describe, partly because it has a heathered look to it, with that subtle pale speckling. That heather effect is thanks to a strand of silk plied in with the wool and nylon! I think that 17% silk is what makes this yarn feel so darn good on my feet.

And I’ll be honest, I was surprised that they felt so good, because the yarn isn’t as smooth and silky soft as some sock yarn I’ve used. It’s 53% Superwash Merino and 17% Domestic Wool, and it feels like wool, with that fluffy texture that tells you it’ll be toasty warm. The problem is that sometimes my skin is sensitive to anything less than merino, and I was afraid I’d have that issue here. Thankfully, the blend seems to be well done, giving the sturdiness and warmth of wool, the softness of merino and silk, and the durability of nylon. These are going to be perfect cold weather socks.

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I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. It felt twisty and springy, and I’m sure there’s a technical term or reason for it, but I just liked the bounce it had. It slid smoothly along my needles with no splitting. I didn’t have to frog any of it, but I’m thinking it might not be the best for repeated frogging; I’m afraid the fibers might stick to each other. The yarn is hand-wash only. I washed these in cool water with Eucalan and there was definitely some dye bleeding, so I’d advise washing them separately. Overall, this was a fantastic yarn, and I was excited to check their retailer locater: one of my LYS carries their yarns!

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While the girl may not get this particular pair of socks, this yarn would be perfect for her out there in Colorado, making a warm, soft sock with an earthier look and feel. You can see all the colors, and explore Mountain Colors’ other yarns, on their site here.

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A very special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Mountain Colors, who generously sent me 1 skein of Twizzlefoot ($28) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Brighter days ahead

Can I tell you a secret? I’m almost afraid to write it in case I jinx myself but…guys, I feel optimistic, for the first time in a long time. We’ve had such a stressful year, mostly due to way too many big financial emergencies, and things were just getting stretched way too thin. I’m sure most of you have been there, or are there. It sucks a lot. But we made a plan to work forward, and we cut back our spending, which wasn’t fun, and suddenly I can see progress. I can see that our changes are working, are helping, and we might be close to pulling ourselves out of the pit of despair. We are still facing a big, expensive rehab project on the house, but if we can make it wait until early spring next year, it’ll be okay. I feel like we can handle it now. It helped a lot that I had a car repair done over the weekend that I’ve been putting off for months, afraid it would be super expensive, and it wasn’t that bad at all. That’s apparently been weighing on me more than I realized. It’s just been a really dark year in my head, so it’s lovely to feel even this small sliver of hope. (I’m knocking on all the wood that nothing else falls apart in my house or my car!)

Something that never fails to brighten my day is yarn. Last week I got these two beautiful skeins of Manos Del Uruguay in the mail. It’s their new Feliz yarn, a blend of merino and modal, and I can’t wait to find the perfect shawl pattern.

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Thank goodness for yarn and dogs!

 

Shawls and Socks

That’s all I’m making these days, shawls and socks! I’m not complaining, though. They’re both pretty fun projects. The boy’s marching band had a football game last night, so I had a couple of hours to work on his sock and I’m past the gusset and into the long foot portion. Before I go too much further I’ll have him slip it on and make sure the cuff and heel fit all right, and then I’ll measure his foot to see how long I need to knit the foot.

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This is a very mindless project, especially with the boring solid color yarn, but it pleases me to think of him wearing them and enjoying them.

My current shawl project is the Piece of Cake shawl with my Delicious Yarns. It’s going slowly, and I’m blaming the wrap & turn short rows. Those are not my favorite, you know. But the yarn is indeed delicious.

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The photo doesn’t do the colors justice. When it’s done, I’ll work hard to get the colors as true as I can, but this will have to suffice for now.

It has turned hot and muggy again, and the car is in the shop AGAIN, so I’m going to hide out in my dark cool living room and knit the day away as much as I can. Happy weekend, friends!

House Colors

This summer, I participated in a knit-along with Nerd Girl Yarns to make Hitchhikers. There would be prizes involved, some just for those who used NGY yarns. I love Hitchhikers and had the perfect yarn in my stash, so I cast on immediately and made my favorite Hitchhiker yet.

The KAL went for over a month, and I kept checking back after it was over to see if I’d one a prize. When the prizes were finally announced, I’d won a gift certificate for using NGY yarn!! That same night I was on Instagram and saw a post from NGY about some new ready-to-ship yarns, including a mini-skein set of Hogwarts House Colors. Well. That was clearly a sign. I immediately went to her website and got the last set on her Binary Sock yarn. And I love it!

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I knew right away that I wanted a striped cowl, with the purple “unity” color as the ribbed edges and a thin strip in between each color, and I had to cast on immediately. This might even replace my sock as my lunch break work knitting this week. It’ll be a fast project, for sure. And we’re getting cooler temperatures, so maybe I’ll even be able to wear it soon!

And in unrelated news, I decided I was ready to go back to my fun purple hair! Thanks to my fabulous hairdresser MIL, I got magical purple-blue hair yesterday and I love it!

A Year of Duncan

Today’s Duncan’s Gotcha Day! For whatever reason, last fall I decided we needed a third dog, and it was a challenge to find one to fit in with the two we already had. We had a boy and a girl, and I thought it would be better to have two girls and one boy. So we met a lot of girl dogs, and none of them were a good fit. Then one of the people at our Great Plains SPCA said we’d probably be better off with another boy dog; that two girl dogs typically don’t get along as well. With that, our search started fresh, and it wasn’t long before I spotted Duncan’s picture online. I went straight from work to meet him and loved him enough that I had the kids bring the dogs up and we all had a long meet and greet. The boy wasn’t convinced at first; he’d seen another one online that he liked the look of. But the rest of us talked him into it (or rather overruled him) and we took Duncan home!

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He’s definitely been the most challenging dog we’ve had. He destroyed more things than either of the others and we had to keep trying different solutions. Finally we got gates and the dogs stay in the kitchen when we’re not home. I don’t love it, but they’re together, it’s bigger than a crate, and he hasn’t chewed up anything since then. At night, he sleeps in the kitchen and the other two sleep in the living room, and everyone seems happy enough. I hope he’ll get to a point soon where we don’t have to lock him up, but I’m not sure I trust him just yet.

He went from 65 pounds to 100 pounds of muscle. He’s not fat, just very solid. He and Grace have a great time rough housing, and she’s totally the boss of him. He’s the most gentle of the three dogs with the sweetest little kisses, he’s a big cuddle bug that will sprawl on your lap like he only weighs 10 pounds, and he’s fantastic with the little kids in our family. He’s just pretty darn awesome. Even with the chaos and bills and dirt, I’ve only once questioned the decision to adopt Duncan, and that was shortly after we got him when he chewed up some of my books. But he’s growing into a great dog, and I’m pretty sure that even the husband is glad we have him!

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All of our dogs are rescue dogs, mixed breeds from local shelters, and they’re all fantastic dogs. Adopt, don’t shop!

 

Doing something different

Today was quite a day for me! A few months back I switched roles at work, into a spot on the communications team. Today, that job took me to an institute-wide scientific conference, where I was to take pictures of the talks and poster sessions and make a few social media posts. So basically, I listened to a bunch of science I didn’t understand, talked to people I barely knew (as well as some friends, of course), walked around like a member of the press with my camera, and even hosted a lunch-time round table on science communications. It was crazy! And also, surprisingly, super fun!

I was really kind of dreading it, mostly because I dread all unfamiliar things and I’m kind of an introvert and I didn’t know what to expect. But I work with a lot of cool people, and they made it all easy and fun, and I’m pretty pleased with myself because I think it went well. My favorite part was taking photos during the poster session–makes me think my instincts weren’t that far off when I thought I’d be a journalist twenty years ago! Plus, I even got a tiny bit of knitting in during some of the talks.

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And I’m really glad it went well because I go back tomorrow for day 2, and now I’m not dreading it!

Boy Socks

I have made lots of socks for myself, several pairs for the girl, a pair each for a couple of SILs, and a pair for the husband. Somehow the boy has never gotten a pair, maybe because he was still growing? Maybe because he’s a teenage boy and sometimes their feet are…well, I’m sorry but sometimes they are a little gross, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put good yarn on them. But he’s a good kid and I love him so I decided he needed a pair of socks.

He asked for a basic color, and I got him to agree on blue. But not a bright blue! And no stripes. No variegation. Just blue. I had resigned myself to pretty boring socks but then he agreed to a gray cuff and toe, so that’s something at least. It took me a while to get going but yesterday I needed a break from my huge endless Dotted Rays shawl so I picked it up and made it past the heel.

The yarn is Seven Sisters Arts Meridian Tangled Up in Blue and man, it’s a lovely yarn. It’s knitting up snug and dense and it feels soft in my hand but nice and durable in the sock. And the blue? I thought it would be boring but it’s gorgeous! I’m kind of glad that the boy asked for short socks–I’m hoping to get some shorties for me out of the skein too! He has long feet, though, so it may not happen.

Today I’ll go back to the Dotted Rays while I’m watching the US Open. I’m on wedge 13 of 15 but each wedge takes forever. I don’t mind the loooong rows if I have tennis to keep my brain busy! We had some family in town so the last couple of days have been a little chaotic and crazy at times, so I’m looking forward to a quiet, peaceful day at home today.