Archive | October 2019

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween! But my kids are older so I don’t have to go out in the cold to trick-or-treat, and I don’t have to answer the door over and over while listening to my dogs bark. As cute as my kids were when they were little, I confess I don’t miss the chaos of Halloween. Instead, I’ll leave my porch light off and just keep knitting like it’s a normal night. I’ve got another bottle sweater on my needles, but today I wanted to show off my latest FO, my Not So Lacy Lace Scarf.

fullsizeoutput_2412After blocking, it was 72″, and at first I was afraid that was too long, but now I think it’s perfect. Plenty of length to wrap around however you want!

fullsizeoutput_2417Sorry for the less than stellar photos; it’s been a little chilly and I’ve been too lazy to get outside for a proper photo shoot.

The yarn is Schachenmayr Fashion Soft Mix, a nylon/alpaca/wool mix and it’s super lightweight and soft and fluffy! It’s a gift, and I really hope they aren’t sensitive to alpaca or wool.  I haven’t made a scarf in a long time, and I was afraid it would drag on forever, but I finished this in a week! Once I memorized the 4-row repeat, it was fast and fun.

Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!

Sweater Weather

Yes, we all know it’s sweater weather, but the fun thing about being a knitter (okay, one of many) is that we can make sweaters for all sorts of things! People sweaters of course, but also dog sweaters, maybe cat sweaters, even chicken sweaters. And now…a bottle sweater!

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This was my first time doing cables. I’ve resisted them for years because you know, “cables are hard” and they’re fiddly and complicated. Well, guess what, they’re not hard or complicated. They are fiddly, but gosh darn it all to heck, I LOVE how they look! No wonder people persevere with cables; they look amazing. This is a gift for a coworker, but I might need to make one for myself just for a fun winter decoration.

The pattern is Wine Bottle Sweater and I found it easy to follow. Yarn is just acrylic from the stash. This was so fast to make; I think I got it done in one day.

Mermaid Sea Swell Shawl

Remember months ago I wanted to make a mermaid shawl with five skeins of yarn and I tried to make this lace shawl and it just didn’t work for me? I remembered that yarn today and I might have found the perfect pattern on Ravelry.

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This is the Sea Swell Shawl by Stephen West and it’s a gorgeous fade with five colors, which is exactly what I wanted, and it’s a semi-circular shape, which I wanted, and it even has a wave pattern, which I didn’t even KNOW I wanted! Plus after making my Dotted Rays, I’m excited to make another one of his patterns. That one was so fun and addictive, and so much squishy garter stitch. My only caveat is that for some reason I thought my mermaid shawl should have some delicate lace too. But mostly I think I can’t resist how perfect this is in every other way!

What color is your pompom?

Well, that sounds weirder than it did in my head. To follow up on yesterday’s hat debate, I ended up going with the two-color pompom. I was overthinking it to a great degree and finally had to realize that it would be cute no matter what color the pompom was. And it is!

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So that will go off to my work friend this week. I also finished the scarf for my other friend and it will be blocked today. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me today, but wanted to share my Spring Rain “progress”.

Spring Rain is a two-color shawl with alternating garter and lace sections. The lace sections are 22 rows, no repeating rows, and I had a little trouble keeping track of where I was at times, but I was doing all right. Maybe had to fudge a stitch here or there, but it all worked out. Then, disaster: the needle slipped out of about ten stitches! GASP! With some knitting, that’s not a big deal. But with lace, where you have yarnovers and SSKs and K2TOGs and SKPs…it’s bad. Very bad. I was in denial at first and thought I could fix it. I picked up what I thought were the stitches and kept knitting. The first lace row after that was off by two stitches, so I added two and kept going. The lace row after that, I was off by four. Yes, it was bad. No, I had not put in a lifeline. Apparently I live on the edge. By this point, I was 17 rows into the 22-row lace section. It was the last lace section of the shawl. I could have kept faking it, but I knew the lace wouldn’t look right, and since it was the outer edge, I didn’t want it to look wonky. I needed to frog.

My first step was to find a long circular needle in a smaller size, I think they were size 2, and thread it through the last row of garter stitch.

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I did that all the way across without any issues. See the two needles in there?

img_5801-1Then I pulled out the original circ and frogged all those rows of green lace. It was satisfying and sad at the same time. And this time, when I started with the lace again, did I start using a lifeline too??

No, I did not. But wait, hear me out! I did start putting in a stitch marker after each repeat in the lace rows, so when I lost track, it was easier to find my mistake(s). And since then it’s been going pretty well, though it’s been on the back burner while I focused on some gift knitting instead.

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I am glad I frogged, even if I did lose a good chunk of progress. I love this shawl and really want to it to be as close to perfect as I can get it. It’ll be done by St. Patrick’s Day at least!

P.S. I ended up giving Grace her monthly injection for her Addison’s disease a day early and it made a huge difference. She’s back to her bouncy obnoxious self, licking all the faces and roughhousing with Duncan. Fingers crossed it lasts!

I get knocked down, but I get up again

A couple of days ago the girl sent me a snapchat asking if I was okay, because I hadn’t blogged in like three weeks. I confess, I teared up a bit because it was really perceptive and sweet and I miss her. As I told her, the answer is yes. But also no. And all the gray area in between. One of our dogs, Grace, got really sick last weekend and she’s still not quite 100% so I’ve been worried about her, plus a little stressed about how much we spent on vet bills because of it. Work hasn’t been what I want it to be lately, and I’m at the point in my life where I think about things like what are my long-term goals, how can I have multiple, competing goals, how do I want to spend the rest of my working life, is it okay to do something that fulfills you even if it’s not “A CAREER”? And I haven’t found any answers yet. I’m knitting, but I haven’t felt the call to write about it lately. Every time I think about it, it seems like a lot of work, so I don’t bother. But, here I am, doing the thing, because maybe if I push myself a little bit, I can get back in the groove.

My most recent FO is a hat commission I just finished this morning. It’s not quite done because it needs a pompom, but I’m debating between pink, silver or both. What do you think? It’s for a 10yo girl, if that makes a difference.

img_5840I used Caron Simply Soft Party Sparkle. I do like their acrylics, and I do love some sparkle! The pattern is Zayo Bayo Hat, which says it was written for 4-7yo kids, so I bumped up the stitch count by a few stitches.

Over the last few weeks, I also finished the Cersei hat for my former boss’s birthday, and I cast on for a new cowl for myself and a scarf for a friend’s birthday coming up. Plus I’ve been working on my Spring Rain shawl and my Boxy (not that much on the Boxy, to be honest). Oh, and I cast on a new pair of socks for a nephew, but I haven’t gotten a photo of those yet.

The Spring Rain shawl has its own little story, so I’ll share that soon. It will be a tale of why one should use lifelines when knitting lace shawls!

Happy weekend, friends. Hope it’s a good one for you!

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Sock It To Me Monday

Today’s post is brought to you by Mildly Granola, who started the Sock it to Me Monday theme, and who introduced me to the Twizzler sock pattern! I completed the second Twizzler sock over the weekend, after struggling a bit with Second Sock Syndrome.

img_5745They have longer legs than usual, because I got carried away on the first sock and of course had to make them match. The feet are also a little too long, and honestly, I don’t even know if I did the toes the same. I stopped looking at the pattern ages ago, and by the time the toe of the second sock came around, I just did a barn toe and called it good. They look the same, though, don’t they? The yarn is from Mudpunch in a color called Peacock Notation, and it was great to knit with! Now let’s just hope they wash and wear well too.

This is so cool!

Yesterday the husband and I went downtown to a “vintage market” that’s kind of like an antique store only more hipster-ish. They’re only open the first weekend of every month, and we rarely find things we have to have, but yesterday was a good day. The husband found a big metal cabinet thing with drawers that will apparently be perfect for holding screws and nails and some such stuff in his workshop. And me? I found this treasure:

img_5738It’s handmade from oak and originally it was going to be for knitting needles but then the more I looked at it, the more I realized it needed to be for my pen stuff.

I think I want to get dark purple felt to line the drawers, and maybe someday the husband can use that workshop of his to make more dividers, and it could hold pens in a better way. But this works for now and I’m just tickled pink with it.

The only other thing I did yesterday was clean out my craft room. I’ve talked about our old house before, and how the old sleeping porch/addition is sagging dangerously and needs renovation desperately. We’ve been working with a contractor and an architect since March to draw up plans and get quotes, and we were going to expand the kitchen and get a laundry room and it was going to be Marvelous! Well. As I feared, our plans were a little a lot beyond our budget, and our dream kitchen is not an option. Knowing that, our goal now is to get the house in shape to sell in a couple of years. For now, we’ll remove the addition, rebuild a nice new deck, update the kitchen a little bit, and refinish the downstairs floors.

Having this be a smaller project means we should be able to redo the upstairs bathroom that’s a mishmash of cheap fixtures, and create something that’s appropriate for the house and aesthetically pleasing. It’s nowhere close to either of those now!

Sorry, getting off track here. Not adding on a laundry room means we need to find a home for the washer/dryer, and our choices are the basement (damp, spidery, rickety stairs, and more problematic, the husband’s current workshop) or the tiny, not-very-functional bedroom that the husband is currently using as an office. (I know, poor husband! He should fare better with our next house.) We agreed the office should become a nice laundry room with some additional storage, and that we could create a shared space from my craft room. It’s not ideal for either of us, but it’ll work for a couple of years.

SO! I needed to create some room for his stuff, and I did a much-needed purge. Gone are the scrapbooking supplies I haven’t used in almost ten years! Gone are scraps of ribbon and other little bits that I hoarded for “some project some day”! Gone are my fabric remnants that I bought to line purses I never made! I condensed my yarn stash and made room for my knitting books and bins of leftover yarn balls. All of that meant I have half a closet and an empty corner, ready to share! And honestly, I’m in love with how it looks.

img_5735It’s great progress, but it’s not quite enough space for his stuff. I have a bookcase that holds my knicknacks — my Wonder Woman collection, some family mementos, little gifts from my kids — and I think that stuff will have to be packed up for now to create more space. I do want him to feel like he has a little corner of his own in there, at least. So maybe that will be today’s project. Unless I decide I need to do some knitting!