Road Trip, Part 1

I have so much to share! I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-post story, because otherwise it would be TL;DR for all of you. This past weekend, the girl had an audition for the music school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, so she and I got to take a short road trip. The audition was Saturday, so we drove down Friday morning to give us plenty of time to explore Lincoln. We were most excited about bookstores, so our first stop was Bluestem Books, and it was our favorite! It was a beautiful shop with a big knitting section right in front:


There was also a charming children’s room with a big, squishy armchair, and a lovely literature section, with lots of collectible first editions. We both found a couple of books there. From there we went for lunch, and we were told to try Runza. I loved this table sign:


Sadly, they call it “hand-knit” when it’s really crochet, but it’s an awesome scarf and I love that they’re doing this! Our second bookstore experience was A Novel Idea, and it was a fun store too. It was more funky, had an eclectic selection, focused on reading copies more than collectible copies, but we still found books to buy. And two shop cats to pet! I also loved that they featured knitting/crafting books in their front window.


This was the awesome staircase between the basement and first floor. Wouldn’t you love to do this in your house? I would!


We had our first experience with room service (loved it!), ate a lot of junk food, and walked all over downtown Lincoln. The campus is right next to the downtown area, which is super convenient. We had a delicious meal at Vincenzo’s, a locally owned Italian restaurant, and made our way to Indigo Bridge Books. It’s an independent new bookstore, so it had a small selection of new books, as well as an attached coffee shop and other fun stuff (notebooks, pins, totes etc). I was very tempted by this bag.


We made sure to visit Hurt’s Donuts, open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It was sort of like a secret club, hidden inside a big building downtown. We had three people stop us as we left to find out where it was. They have so many wild and crazy donuts and we bought six and all six were delicious. Choosing just six was very hard. (FYI: Andes Mint, Dirt, Twix, Cookies & Cream, Cosmic Brownie, and Cookie Monster.)

Of course the real reason we were there was the university. It was cold and icy so it was hard to explore the campus too much.


But there were good informational sessions, and a pizza lunch where we got to sit with the flute professor and ask whatever we wanted. The audition went well, at least to my untrained ear, and the girl felt good about it, so now we just have to wait for some good news. And if it’s good news we get, the girl has her Cornhusker hat ready to go!


It was just a really fun trip, and I’m so glad I got to spend this time with her before she runs off and leaves me. Next time, I’ll tell you about all the yarny goodness, and believe me, there’s plenty of it!

This is not ideal

Well, crap. Edward is injured and needs some help. This has been looming for a while; his first injury occurred a few years ago, and things have been building since then. Now, don’t fret too much: Edward is my car. But I am fretting. Most importantly, I love my car and I want Edward to serve me well for at least another couple of years. But also, there’s just never a good time to spend money on car repairs. I think it’s time, though. The biggest one is likely to be the original. Someone who was not me was driving Edward and going too fast when he hit a stretch of unpaved road and the car bottomed out on a manhole, damaging some important metal body work on the bottom. Clearly that wasn’t urgent, because I’ve been driving like that since then.

But that incident also damaged the belly pan, or whatever that protective plastic layer is called, and it came loose once when it didn’t get fastened securely after an oil change. I went back, they refastened it, I went on my way. Then a few weeks ago, I pulled too far forward in a parking space and that pan caught on the concrete stopper thing. When I backed out, the pan came loose, and though I drove immediately to a car place, it was too damaged to save. (In my defense: I didn’t pull forward that far. It was like when you pull forward super slowly until you gently bump the thing. So, I mean, clearly there were already problems, right? Right.) Anyway, I knew I needed to get it replaced, but I put it off. Like you do.

Okay, right. No problem. I parked more carefully after that. Then last night, I took the mother and the boy to dinner, pulled slowly into a parking spot, heard something weird so I put it in reverse and bad things started happening. Apparently there was a bolt/screw thing sticking up out of the concrete stopper thing (don’t you like all my technical jargon?) which caught on the edge of the front bumper, and when I reversed, it started pulling the bumper loose from the car. GREAT. JUST GREAT.

Guys, I swear, I am not a bad driver. I have never had things like this happen before, and just keep happening. Anyway, this feels like a storm of all these little things swirling together to make for a sad little car. I did get the bumper mostly back on, but of course it’s not great. So I’m pretty sure my day off today will include a trip to the body shop to get an estimate of time and cost to get Edward put back together again. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t break the bank. I was hoping to leave him there and steal the girl’s car, because she and the husband are out of town for a music school audition. (They’re in Colorado. I’m totally jealous.) But she took the one car key with her. Of course. So I’ll figure out a plan B and it’ll be fine. It’s fine. It’s all fine.

*deep breath*

After all that, let’s finish with something happy, shall we? Here’s my new sock, started last night. It’s going to be a plain vanilla sock to let the yarn take center stage.


The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Sock in color Medusa. Love it!

Pretty in Pink: LAMY Al-Star Special Edition

Through all my years as a pen enthusiast, I always said I didn’t like the look of the LAMY Al-Star or Safari pens. Something about the clip put me off, despite how much I loved all of their bright colors. Then I wrote with one, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t love it. I love the triangle grip, I love the smoothness of the nib (my fave is the Medium), I love that the ink flows generously. They’re lightweight but a generous length, making it easy for me to write with one for prolonged periods. The ink cartridges are proprietary, which isn’t the best, but they’re big and last a long time, and you can choose from a variety of super fun colors.

Once I realized how much I enjoyed writing with one, of course my opinion of their appearance changed, and now I like the utilitarian look of the clip. In a short time, I managed to add four LAMYs to my collection, and I thought that would be enough for quite a while. Then I saw their 2018 Vibrant Pink special edition, and I was weak (Sorry, honey. Couldn’t resist!). Mine arrived yesterday and it’s stunning!


That’s a true representation of the color: it’s this gorgeous shiny metallic fuchsia, which might be close to overtaking purple as my favorite color.


Of course I had to get some of the matching Vibrant Pink ink cartridges too. I think I’ll need to order more right away!


The ink is just as pink and vibrant as the pen. Why would I put any other color in there?


I ordered mine from Goulet Pens and was delighted that they added a Tootsie Pop to my package; that’s a neat touch. But I’m pretty sure this pen is available at most of your favorite fine-pen sites too. Just don’t wait too long; I bet this one will be a hot seller!

FO Friday: Miso Shawl

Okay, maybe this is cheating, since I actually finished this one a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t shared it yet because it took me about that long to get it blocked and then take some halfway decent photos. But today is Friday, and this is a recently Finished Object. This is my Miso shawl!


Blocking is the key to this shawl. When I bound off, it was maybe 60 inches at most. I could wear it, but not comfortably; it kept slipping or coming undone. So I blocked this baby aggressively, pinning it out as far as the garter stitch would let me, and now it’s over six feet and I love the length!!

fullsizeoutput_f33I also love the colors. It’s very dark at first glance but then you look closer and see the hints of red and purple and blue. This is Madtosh Euro Sock in the color Daenerys.

fullsizeoutput_f31The lace pattern was easy to knit, but you do have to pay attention to where you are in the pattern. I set it down for a while and came back later, and at some point I messed up and it’s glaring if you’re looking for it. But oh well, I won’t wear it all open and spread out anyway. I’ll wear it more like a scarf, so I’ll be the only one to know how much I screwed up!


This was a fun knit and I’d definitely make another one. It will be perfect for spring…if spring ever comes!

WIP Wednesday: Sweater Progress

The sweater WIP is still going, and I’m enjoying it more than my first sweater experience. I love my Harvest cardigan, but so much stockinette is just not my favorite knitting. So this new one, the Textured Pullover, is a 10-row repeat that keeps me going with color changes and alternating stockinette rows with k1, p1 rows. I zipped right through the yoke, discovered my stitch counts were wrong because I’d put my BOR marker in the wrong place, frogged about 10 rows, knit them again, and was finally able to put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn.


Look at this pretty raglan sleeve detail!


I’m not convinced it’s coming out big enough to fit me, but if not, I’ve got a girl who might wear it.


Now I’ve just got about a foot of the body to knit, and it makes for perfect knitting while I watch the Olympics!

Rainbow Warrior, Part Two

Today was so sunny and bright that I braved the cold temperature to take some photos of recent projects, and I decided to add my Rainbow Warrior to the mix. I’d never taken any pictures in good lighting, and I was reminded of how gorgeous this shawl is. Stay tuned for pictures of new projects in the next couple of days!

A New…Sweater??

Well, apparently I’m crazier than I realized. After knitting my first sweater last year, I said I never wanted to do it again. Getting gauge, determining size, having enough yarn, miles of endless stockinette, the hassle of sleeves…why would I want to do that again?

I still don’t know the answer, but I now have a new sweater on my needles. I was browsing Ravelry the other day and was overwhelmed by the urge to make a pullover. I didn’t want to have to buy yarn for it, though, which limited my options. Since I never committed to being a sweater knitter, I don’t buy sweater quantities of anything. That made my decision easier, because all I had available was some value-pack acrylic from Joann. (I know, I know, I prefer natural fibers too! But this is pretty good acrylic, feels soft and not too plastic-y. And I’ll be able to machine wash and dry without worrying.) I had 2100 yards each of purple and gray, more than enough for a pullover. Once I put all the filters into Ravelry, I started browsing and the only one that caught my eye was this Textured Pullover by Joji Locatelli.

My gauge came out pretty darn close on the first try, close enough that I was willing to take the risk. I decided to do gray with purple stripes, and cast on over the weekend. It was exciting! My first pullover! The short rows, never my favorite, went smoothly and the yarn was pleasant to knit with. The textured pattern is perfect, because it’s not all stockinette so I’m not getting bored out of my mind. The stripes help a lot with that, too. For the last few days, I’ve thought about this project when I wasn’t knitting on it, and it’s the only thing I worked on at home. Last night I was so excited because I got to the point where I was ready to divide for the sleeves, and just to double-check, I counted my stitches. They’d all been right after each previous section, so I felt confident. Wrong. My stitch counts were all wonky.

I went back and re-read the pattern, looked at my sweater, and realized that my BOR marker wasn’t in the right place. Somehow, mine was between the back and the left sleeve, and it was supposed to be between the back and the right sleeve. Nope, I don’t know what I did wrong. And yep, it made a difference, because for the last 10 rows, I’d been increasing the sleeves when I was supposed to be increasing the front and back. ARGH. There was no way I was going to frog back farther than absolutely necessary, so I found a smaller needle and threaded it through the stitches of the row where I wanted to start over, and frogged back all 10 rows that I’d just knit. By then it was after 10 and I was tired and annoyed, so I set it aside. But all day today I’ve been thinking about it, waiting for when I can get home and get it all straightened out. I think this sweater is going to be finished a lot faster than my first sweater, and with any luck, it’ll fit better too. And if it’s happily ever after, then I’ll feel confident enough to buy a sweater quantity of GOOD yarn! (Malabrigo, here I come!)