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!

Review: SmartStix DPNs

I have made no sweater swatch, nor have I made progress on my current WIPs. Instead, I spent yesterday making something new and completely different. But I finished it, so it’s still a win in my book. I had some SmartStix DPNs from Knitter’s Pride I wanted to try out, and one more hat to make for my donation box, so I selected the Gooseberry Hat and a skein of superwash sport yarn from my stash. I’ve used the SmartStix before for mittens, and I find them perfect for that. So easy to measure cuffs and body length as you go!

But I wanted to try them with a different project, and even though I don’t typically knit hats with DPNs, it seemed like a good option.

IMG_5640These are the 5″ length, in size 4, and I will say they were a tiny bit short for a hat, even this baby hat. At this point, these DPNs are only available in 5″ or 8″ lengths, so while the 5″ are perfect for mittens/gloves (and would be brilliant for socks!) for hats I’d definitely buy the 8″ length. I loved being able to measure my progress so easily. Plus, even though the needles are aluminum, they aren’t super slippery like others I’ve used. They seem to grip the yarn just enough so the needles don’t go slipping out or the stitches sliding off. They’re lightweight, and the markings are laser etched. I have three sizes of needles and have used them all multiple times, and the markings are still clear and easy to see.

I’m definitely not as fast on DPNs as I am with circs, but I made this quickly enough and didn’t have to worry about switching when I was ready to decrease. They do offer the SmartStix in fixed circs and interchangeables, and I might like to try the 16″ for hats. I definitely want to try the size 1 DPNs for socks! Have you ever tried the SmartStix?

Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Knitter’s Pride, who generously sent me three sizes of 5″ SmartStix DPNs (retail value $38) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

This is a big deal

I’m going to make a sweater! Whoa, right? No, I know, I’ve done this before. I’ve actually crocheted one sweater and knitted three. My first knitted sweater was a Harvest cardigan that came out HUGE but is super cozy to bum around in at home. My next two knitted sweaters were pullovers that actually fit the way I wanted. That cardigan I made with cotton; it was soft but still not a high-quality yarn. The pullovers were both made with acrylic yarn. I love them, but I decided that I’m ready for the big leagues now: I want to make a sweater out of GOOD yarn.

I’ve never bought a sweater quantity of good (i.e. non-acrylic) yarn before, instead choosing fun single skeins. So for my birthday earlier this month, I told the husband that I wanted a sweater quantity of yarn. He’s a smart man, so he gave me the money for it rather than trying to pick it out himself.

But what yarn? What pattern? What color? Well, the yarn itself wasn’t too hard: Malabrigo has been one of my very favorite yarns for years. For pattern, I wanted something interesting and pretty, a little more intricate than the basic pullovers I’ve made. It took a lot of browsing but I settled on Penny by tincanknits. And color? Well, at first I thought about a neutral. But then I thought, NAHHH! Let’s have fun!

img_5618This is six skeins of Malabrigo Arroyo in the glorious Fucsia, which might possibly be the most difficult color of yarn to photograph. Subtle, it is not! But it will make a gorgeous sweater and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing some swatching this weekend!

Color Me Happy

I have a new WIP! The reason why is a bit convoluted so bear with me. See, I agreed to test out some new circular needles, and I have one size. That’s actually how I ended up casting on the Spring Rain shawl, but then I realized that 24″ circs aren’t long enough for a shawl. I needed to put the shawl on a longer cord, but I needed to go to the LYS for that. Then when that was done, I needed a pattern for 24″ size 2.5 circs, and I thought a cowl would be perfect. I plugged all the necessary info in Ravelry and ended up choosing the Color Me Happy cowl.

Oh, what colors? No, not the pink and purple in the original, though I totally tried to find something similar in my stash. Instead, my stash threw out these three skeins and said they’d really like to work together.

6444a1bb-dd52-4c08-9fc0-a1375cfdc1e2Won’t that be lovely? I purchased the pattern and got all ready to cast on with my little 2.5 circs…only to see that that size was needed for one section if you were doing a straight bottom edge instead of the kerchief style! For everything else, it recommended a size 4.

Well, to heck with that, I say, and I’m just going to use these darn needles and it’s going to be just fine!

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Honestly, now that I’m this far into it, I think the size 4 would be too big and I wouldn’t like the loose drape anyway. Now I’m just eager to get to the point where I can join in the round and start zooming along!