Archive | September 2018

I’m leaving…on a jet plane

I get to go visit the girl!! I haven’t seen her in seven weeks and that is a very long time, I believe. She’s having a marvelous time and we’re doing all right without her, but still, I am excited for the visit. I’ll get to see her in the marching band tomorrow (even if I do have to sit through a football game) and I’m staying through Tuesday so I can see her first band concerts too. She’s playing the flute in the symphonic band and the clarinet in the concert band, and it’s worth every penny to get to see all of that. Music is really important to me, and I love that she gets to create music that generates those feelings and emotions for lots of people.

Of course we’ll go visit the mountains once, and maybe I can hit a yarn store, and I’ll take her shopping and out to eat, and I’m sure we’ll just hang out a lot. She still doesn’t have a roommate which means I get to share her room while I’m there. Maybe I’ll even eat dorm food and relive my college days! I’m a little sad to be leaving my boys and my puppers for five days, but honestly, it won’t suck to be on my own for a while. She’ll be in classes on Monday and Tuesday, and people keep asking me what I’ll do. Um, if I get to hang out somewhere quiet and peaceful and knit and read and eat snacks all day, that seems pretty awesome to me, you know?

I have three projects packed, plus an extra skein of yarn just in case. One project is the second sock of this pair, and I’m halfway through the foot already. Pretty sure I’ll finish that within the first day or so.

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So I’ve got my mermaid shawl for my alone-time knitting, my Hogwarts stockinette cowl for game/concert/travel home knitting, and the yarn to start my second Ravenclaw sock if I need it. I probably won’t post while I’m gone, so check back next week to see how much progress I make!

Mermaid Shawl

I couldn’t wait any longer–I had to cast on for my mermaid shawl! This is the one inspired by a book which will use a whopping five skeins of yarn purchased at the Loopy Ewe. After pondering several patterns, I settled on the River of Time. I like the massive size, the suggestion of waves, and the mythological inspiration of the pattern. I decided I wanted the deepest purple as that small inner half-circle, so I wound that color first, then found the recommended needles. The pattern said I needed 36 stitch markers (eek!) so I pulled out all the cute little beaded ones I’ve made. Then I started reading.

The pattern starts at the outer edge. Not only did I have the wrong color wound, but I would also need to cast on 426 stitches! (EEK!!) That’s kind of a lot of stitches. I guess the silver lining is that the shawl will be getting smaller as I knit, making it appear to go faster…right? Here’s hoping.

I wound the color I’d chosen for the outer edge, a seafoam color called Ivy Snowbell, and started casting on. I put in a marker at every 50 stitches, which made it so much easier to keep track of how many stitches I had. As I knit the first row, I pulled those markers out and added in the markers specified in the pattern. I got about halfway through that first row and couldn’t help but admire how pretty it was with all the little beads dangling from the cord.

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But I also couldn’t help but feel how heavy the beads were making it. One or two of these beaded markers isn’t a big deal, but you get up to about 20 of them and you definitely feel it! I switched to plain plastic circle markers, which aren’t as pretty but also don’t add extra weight and stress to my hands and arms.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere and it’s as marvelous to knit with as you might imagine, so soft and warm. But since each row is so long, I’ve only managed to get about six or seven rows done. It’s not much but I can already see the scallops of the border. I’m so excited to knit this shawl! It might take me three months, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it!

Hitchhiker photos

I can’t believe I never shared any of the glamour shots of my Nerd Girl Yarns Hitchhiker! It’s such gorgeous yarn that I must rectify that immediately. Behold, this is Nerd Girl Yarns Mutiny in the color The Wise Build Bridges, inspired by Black Panther.

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I adore NGY yarns. The colors are beautiful, they’re inspired by and named for clever nerdy themes, and yarn itself is top-notch. Plus it’s made by a small indie dyer who’s a badass chick, so of course I love supporting her.

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The pattern is Hitchhiker Beyond by Martina Behm, and I like it better than the original, but that’s just me. This is what I knit for the NGY Hitchhiker KAL during July and August. It creates a longer, narrower shawl than the Hitchhiker, which I find easier to wear. And I also enjoy having the rows get shorter rather longer as I knit! Which Hitchhiker do you prefer?

 

 

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!