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Two Finished Gifts

I feel like I’m running in place with my Christmas knitting. I finish projects but I still have ones waiting in the wings, so I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead. But still, I did finish two projects the other day, and that’s a relief. The first is the pair of Lightning McQueen mittens, the project where the first mitten came out too big and I had to frog it and reknit it. My second try was much more successful.

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Hooray, two matching mittens! These are actually a birthday gift that I’ll give today, so here’s hoping they actually fit the little boy they’re for. Pattern is World’s Simplest Mittens by Tin Can Knits.

My second FO is a pair of Christmas-gift socks, the Strutting Peacock socks that I’ve had on the needles since mid-November. (Feels like longer.) This wasn’t a fun knit for me. I don’t think I like the Knit Picks Chroma for socks, at least not for socks with twisted stitches. The colors are pretty, and the final socks do feel dense and warm, but the yarn sticks to itself a lot, making tinking and frogging difficult. I bought more colors in the big sale, so I’ll try another pair with a simpler pattern and see if I like it better.

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I do like the look of the pattern. It took a little while for me to memorize, but I was able to do the second sock mostly without the pattern. My only modification was to do a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down, to make for faster knitting. I think I’d like to try this pattern again with better yarn.

Last night was a band concert, the girl’s last District Band concert. She played beautifully, they sounded wonderful, and I had lots of knitting time. I chose the simplest of knitting so that I could watch her while I listened and knit, and made good progress on my Scrappy Cowl.

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This is a pretty fun project. I think I’m going to like this cowl a lot! But for now I’ve set it aside because I need to focus on more gift knitting. The boy has a girlfriend, and he would like me to make a cowl for the girlfriend. I like the boy, so I will do my best to complete that along with the other two gift projects on my list! Are you done with your gift knitting yet?

Thrift Store Treasures

Do you like thrift stores as much as I do? I forget to go very often, and I don’t find good stuff every time, but when I do? Man! It’s so much fun. Today was a GREAT day. I found two sturdy plastic bins for dog toys, a cheap blanket for the dogs to lay on, two sweaters, and two bags of assorted craft supplies. Those two bags are the best part, and that’s even after I set aside the old ugly spools of ribbon and small ball of scratchy acrylic yarn. Let’s start with the first bag, shall we? I grabbed it as soon as I saw the DPNs.

IMG_5342For $4.99, I got these treasures! YES! Those are indeed Addi Turbos! How about that?? The bamboo straights are a duplicate for me, but at that price, who cares?IMG_5343

Here’s the second bag. You can’t see the tag very well, but it was a whopping $3.99. And you can probably see why I snatched it up without even looking to see what else was in there!IMG_5340That’s right: another set of Addi Turbos!! Again, the size 9 bamboos are a duplicate, but the rest aren’t, and are great additions to my needle collection.IMG_5341

I’m pretty pleased with myself, guys. What’s the best thing you’ve found at a thrift store?

Knitting Gone Wrong

I found out recently that one of my nephews was in need of mittens. I’d made him a pair a couple of years ago, but somehow one got lost, and plus he’s grown since then. Aunt Knitter to the rescue! He has a winter birthday and a pair of mittens would be a lovely gift. He is currently infatuated with Lightning McQueen so that was my inspiration. I had just the right colors of Knit Picks Brava Worsted in my stash, I chose Tin Can Knits’ World’s Simplest Mittens, and cast on. How could I go wrong?? (*dun dun DUN* This is called foreshadowing.)

Wow, the first mitten went fast! Just a couple of hours over two nights and I had a finished mitt. I thought it looked kind of big, and the proportions seemed a little off, but the length measurement matched the pattern specifications, so off I went onto the second mitten.

From the start, I questioned myself. It said to cast on 28 stitches. That number seemed wrong. I didn’t remember casting on that number the first time. But oh well, I’m getting old, I’d slept since then, whatever. I kept going. This mitten went even faster than the first; I finished all but the thumb in one night. Woohoo! Yay me, right?

HAHA. No. I held the first mitten up to the second. The second mitten was MUCH smaller. Not really shorter, but the body was a lot narrower. I counted stitches and discovered I’d cast on 32 stitches the first time. No wonder 28 didn’t sound familiar! Somehow my eyes had landed on the stitch count for the child size in DK weight the first time, and the second time I actually did it correctly. Sigh. At least I have one mostly-finished mitten in the right size. I spent the rest of my knitting time last night frogging the first mitten so I could reuse the yarn. Waste not, want not, right? And I’m grateful that it’s small, so I have time to get it finished before the birthday party this weekend! #mustknitquickly

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This is the “bad” mitten

Have you ever had a disaster trying to make two things the same size?

Weekend Knitting, plus Yarn

Thanks to my girl and her band activities, I got to spend the entire day Saturday knitting. Well, at least as much as my hands could tolerate. I had to take breaks periodically, of course. But I was focused on one goal: finish this second sock, which is a Christmas gift. I got pretty close.

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Since then I’ve gotten farther, and I only have about an inch left before starting the toe. This one will be a FO before you know it!

Her competition was out of town, which meant a LYS stop for me. We went to True Blewe Yarns in Columbia, MO and I found lots of really pretty yarns. Lots of yarns I appreciated, several I picked up and carried around, but it was the strangest thing: most of them weren’t calling my name. I didn’t feel like buying yarn just to buy pretty yarn. (GASP! Am I feverish??) I want more sock yarn, but I want self-striping, and I want more colors, not just purple. I have quite a bit of purplish fingering weight, waiting to be made into shawls, so I didn’t really want to get more. I don’t know, I guess I just wasn’t really feeling it that day.

Okay, that’s not completely true, because you KNOW I didn’t walk out empty handed. I thought about the pieces I’ve wished I had to wear, and chose these accordingly.

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I’ve used the super bulky Spuntaneous and LOVE it, but hadn’t seen the worsted version before. I’ve wanted another neutral gray cowl, so I’ve got enough here to make a lovely long one to double.

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I don’t have a lot of blue clothes in my closet. I don’t like blue things in my house, really. So why have I been drawn to this vivid royal blue lately?? No idea, but I decided to give in. This one is already on the needles and on its way to becoming a Squishy Soft Cowl, like the dark green one I just made.

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I’ve bought this Wonder Woman yarn before. I made a gorgeous cowl, put it on Etsy as a showpiece, thinking it would never sell, and it sold! So I had to send it away, and that made me sad. Now I can make something for myself to keep.

I have one more new project on my needles. This is a Be Simple Variations with my new green Classic Elite Magnolia. I’m already loving it.

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Hope your weekend was as productive as mine!

 

It’s Easy Buying Green (Yarn)

The other day I had to leave work early for a doctor’s appointment. It took a while, so there wasn’t really time to go back to work afterward, so I got a bit of fun time. I went and visited my youngest nephew, who I don’t see enough. After that, I wanted to go to the yarn store, but I was going to be good and go get a passport photo taken, since Missouri doesn’t have the Real ID yet and we would need passports to fly starting in January. And in January and February, it’s time for music school auditions. At least three of the girl’s colleges are far enough away that we’ll have to fly. Thus, I needed to get this passport process started ASAP.

As I was driving away from the yarn store neighborhood, I was flipping through radio stations and landed on one I never listen to. It was news, which I never listen to on the radio. But as I listened, the story switched to one about the Real ID, and how Missouri had just gotten an extension through October. I didn’t have an urgent need for the passport photo after all!! If any of you are like me, you know exactly what I did: I turned the car around immediately and drove to the yarn store. It was a sign.

I came home with a single skein of green Plymouth Grande Glow Baby Alpaca, which immediately became a Squishy Soft Cowl within two days. It’s such a lovely pattern, simple and mindless yet not boring to knit or look at. It’s especially nice that you don’t have to keep track of the rounds; no stitch marker needed!

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I love this yarn so much, especially the little bit of sparkle woven through. I haven’t decided whether to keep this one or gift it.

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My other purchase that day was three balls of Classic Elite Yarns Magnolia, which is a luscious merino/silk blend, in this gorgeous green. (I know: green?? No purple? I can’t explain it. I was apparently in a green mood that day. Christmas spirit, maybe.)

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I think this needs to be a shawl/scarf type thing that I can wear during the holidays when I’m feeling festive. But I won’t add any red, because I don’t want it to be exclusively Christmas-y. I’m thinking I might choose the Be Simple Variation for this yarn.

Best thing about these yarns? They were both from the sale section! I walked away spending only $25, and that’s pretty darn good. It probably helps that Christmas is coming and I always hope for a bit of yarn.

This morning I’m home waiting for a couch delivery (more on that soon) so I’m going to take advantage of the time to pull out my yarn and needles! My tender finger is feeling better but I don’t want to rush it, so I’m going to save socks for the weekend and work on something else today. Maybe a Be Simple shawl??

Knitting Injury

Let’s start with the good news: the long holiday weekend gave me so much knitting time that I was able to complete two socks! It was very satisfying, as I’m sure you can imagine. One is a plain vanilla sock in KnitPicks’ Felici Spaceman, and the other is a Strutting Peacock in KnitPicks’ Chroma in Lakefront.img_5260-1img_5261-1Sadly, last night I noticed that the middle finger on my left hand was hurting, especially when I closed my fist. I picked up another sock project to see how I hold my fingers while I knit, and discovered that I keep that finger bent when I knit socks on little DPNs. So it would seem that I need to take a break from knitting. I’m hoping that if I rest it this week, I’ll be good to go on Saturday. We’ll be on a day-long road trip for the girl, for All-State Band Auditions, and I need to be able to knit that day, otherwise I might actually go crazy. For this week, then, my lunch break project is crochet, an Artfully Simple Angled Scarf in Zauberball. I chose it mostly so I could use my new Furls crochet hook.img_5262-1Give me some hope: who else has had minor knitting injuries that healed quickly?

 

 

Black Friday Fun

I spent too many years working retail to ever want to go to a big-box store or mall on Black Friday. Instead, we continue a tradition started by my husband and mother-in-law when I had to be at work, and we go to a small town with a charming downtown of little independent shops. We eat at the same cafe every year, where we’re waited on by the same sarcastic, funny waitress every year. We get a photo with Father Christmas and buy fudge at the corner ice cream parlor/sweet shop. And we walk around and admire neat things, and usually buy a few things.

I found a lot of fun sheep/yarn related things…actually, the husband pointed out a couple of them! The only one I actually bought was the sheep teabag holder, because how could I resist that?

Lucky me, I also found a store that sold crafts supplies like buttons, ribbon, wool, and yarn! There were some big brands, indie dyers, and an in-house yarn. This is what jumped into my arms, Malabrigo Rios in Aniversario (all that PINK!) and Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn.

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They’ll both probably have to wait until I’m done with my Christmas knitting. I’m not sure I’m going to finish all the socks I wanted to make, but I’m not giving up yet. I made good progress on my Strutting Peacock this weekend. I’m past the gusset and just zooming along on the foot right now.

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I did make a small modification, and I’m just doing stockinette on the foot instead of the zigzag pattern. It’ll be smoother in the shoe, nobody else sees that part, plus it’s a lot faster, so I know I’ll be able to get this pair done well before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I did spend part of the holiday weekend putting up some decorations. No tree yet, because I don’t have the energy and I have a crazy dog that I’m afraid will eat the tree. But I’ll get there. Until then, I have my favorite part: my Santa collection!

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Now, I just need to make sure I can keep Duncan away from it…

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To all my U.S. friends, I hope you’ve had a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend!