Tag Archive | crafting

FO: Classic Beanie

This has been kind of a strange week. It’s been a good week at work – I’ve been productive, felt confident that what I’m doing is good, made good connections. But at home, Duncan has been limping for about a week now. He went to the vet on Tuesday, and the vet said the motion of his knee (both knees have been surgically repaired) looked good and his bloodwork came back perfect. She said to give him an anti-inflammatory twice a day for two weeks, cut back on food to get his weight down, and keep walks slow and calm. I gave him two walks after that, and both times it clearly aggravated his knee to where he could barely put any weight on it at all. Duncan’s not a complainer so he wasn’t whining, but it was obvious he was uncomfortable. I talked to the vet again yesterday, and she said there was a chance he’s tweaked something so we’ll skip walks for two weeks and give him a chance to rest and heal. I’m really hoping that helps.

I also finished another donation hat this week, the Classic Beanie by Woolly Wormhead. It’s a simple, free pattern and just what I was looking for, but when it was done, I was a little worried – it looked like I’d knit a hat for a conehead! Thank goodness for blocking.

And I found my way back to sock knitting this week too, after a long hiatus where socks just weren’t doing it for me. I was working on my turquoise shorties with my fancy Signature DPNs, and it was fine, but then a couple of days ago I pulled out a purple sock, a second sock on my Knitters Pride SmartStix, and it just felt so comforting! I think partly it’s color (PURPLE) and partly it’s how the yarn feels in my hand (wool/nylon vs cotton/nylon/acrylic). I can’t tell if the needles make a difference. I do feel like I grip the Signatures more tightly, but I need to test them on a wool sock yarn to make an accurate comparison.

I hope to finish the purple sock this weekend – along with some house cleaning. I’m looking forward to a house guest arriving next Friday and I want to make sure she doesn’t know how we actually live, haha! Having company is always a good incentive to clean house, isn’t it?

Happy Saturday, friends.

Local Yarn Store Day 2023

I wasn’t planning on celebrating this year. I have no need of new yarn (though that’s always true), and my favorite LYS is half an hour away, and I do love my lazy weekends at home. But then Trish at Yarn Social kept posting fun photos, and I had a wee bit of FOMO. Plus I hadn’t been there in ages, and the husband has been out of town for a few days so I had no one to tell me I shouldn’t go. (Not that he would say that anyway. But this is the story I’m telling myself.) And so, yesterday morning I found myself at the yarn store.

It was quite busy so the little shop was full and not easy to navigate at all times, but it was fun to be part of the mix. I spotted a couple of local knitters I follow on Instagram but was too shy to say hello. (I KNOW, I KNOW – knitters are typically lovely people and I should have just done it. Whatever.) Overall I feel like I restrained myself with what I purchased. I had the cutest little pink canvas project bag in my hands and managed to put it back by reminding myself of my collection of Joji bags.

I came home with two skeins of Malabrigo Ultimate Sock. Again and again, Malabrigo proves to be my favorite. Those colors, you know? And by buying two skeins, I also got a code for the special Casapinka yarn store day pattern, Kitation. I couldn’t resist casting on almost immediately. I also got two 50g skeins of Goosey Fibers in a lovely purple/black colorway just because, plus a little sheep pin and a teeny-tiny pocket knife! It opens and everything and you can use it to cut your yarn! Trish had hers on a chain around her neck but I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with mine.

I’m glad I went, and I’m glad I went early – by the time I was driving home, the traffic heading downtown for the NFL draft was building up. Because it was sunny and warm, I decided to stop at Home Depot for potting soil and a few new pots. Several of my plants had outgrown their pots but I was waiting for good weather to repot them outside. It really was a perfect day for it – sunny and 70. I repotted probably 10 plants and they look so much better in their roomier homes.

Then, since I was already grubby, I decided to give Jack a bath out on the deck with the hose. After that, because I am truly crazy, I gave Grace one too. She doesn’t enjoy the water but we got through it, and now both dogs are so soft and fluffy. I ran out of energy to bathe Duncan – he hates water more than the other two combined and I wasn’t ready for that tussle!

By then, it was mid-afternoon and I was pooped, so I spent the rest of the day with knitting and Bridgerton. Since almost everything I’m currently watching is something the husband and I watch together, I needed something new to watch while he was gone. It’s a frothy, addictive show, isn’t it? I’m enjoying it! Alas, the husband is due to come home this evening, so my Bridgerton watching will be limited to times he’s not around, because it’s definitely not something he would enjoy.

Yesterday was also Independent Bookstore Day, which I did not celebrate in person. I kind of celebrated, though, because my copy of the new Emily Henry book arrived, which I ordered from bookshop.org, a site that supports independent bookstore! Close enough for me.

Now, I’m off to enjoy my last few hours of solitude! Happy Sunday, friends.

WIP Wednesday

I’m so close to another FO! I finished knitting the body of my Curiosity Cowl last night while binge watching Ginny & Georgia (omg that show is like Gilmore Girls on drugs and so addictive). Now I’ve just got 32” of I-cord to knit for the drawstring.

I really don’t know how I feel about this cowl. I got super bored knitting it, and I think the bamboo yarn is going to be super floppy, and sometimes I like the sort of fish scales vibe it’s got going on and sometimes I don’t. I do love the idea of the drawstring though, so maybe that will be the thing that tips it over into cool.

Hope you’re all enjoying your WIPs today!

Checking in on goals

As we moved into February, I started thinking about the goals I made at the beginning of the year and evaluating how well I was doing with them. Progress was mixed. I wanted to knit at least five squares a week on my sock yarn blanket, and I went way over that – the blanket grew from 66 squares to 101! As expected, I did it more in sporadic large chunks rather than daily squares, so I’m glad I allowed for that flexibility.

I want to use more yarn from stash than I buy. This is more of a long-term goal, but I’m off to a good start. I haven’t bought any yarn this year (yet), and I’ve used six skeins from stash. And I finally got to the point in the Curiosity Cowl where you join to work in the round, so it should go pretty fast now. Once that’s done, that’s two more skeins out of my stash. I also recently pulled out a skein of acrylic to try making some dog bandanas. I like the length of the top one, but the neck is too small, so I need to rip out the ribbing and make it wider. The bottom one is a good size but seems a little short. (I know, in the pic it looks like undies, doesn’t it? haha!)

Finish my first colorwork project: well, this requires me to cast on my first colorwork project, and I had so many other WIPs that this one got postponed. But it’s in the queue and should be coming up soon!

Journal more regularly: haha, that didn’t happen. At all. Maybe I just like the idea of journaling more than the act of journaling these days. I was always more motivated to journal when I was struggling with something, or when I was in a rough place emotionally. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t feel the need for it. In any case, I feel zero guilt about not meeting this goal.

I had a couple of secondary goals, to walk the dog more and manage my spending. Duncan and I have been doing pretty well with our walks, except when it’s so cold that I can’t bring myself to go out. I’ve been trying to take him every day I don’t go into the office, and we’ve started going a little farther too. I think it’s been good for both of us. And I think I’m doing better with my discretionary spending too, even if it doesn’t feel like it because we renewed our symphony season tickets which are a little pricey but so worth it to me.

Oh and I read six books in January, so I’ve got a good start on my yearly goal of 50 books. That’s a higher goal than usual for me but I’d really like to clear out my TBR shelves a little more. My top two reads were The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (set in 1785, man buys an actual mermaid, drama ensues. I learned much about the courtesan industry of the time.) and The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey (slightly grumpy old woman makes new friends, reluctantly adopts a dog, her life changes for the better. It has some SAD moments in it, though, so fair warning.)

So I guess we’ll call January a success and I’ll just keep on keeping on. For my fellow goal-setters, I hope you’re pleased with how things are going, and let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves even if we don’t meet those goals. We are all WIPs, after all!

Happy Sunday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

Guys, I miss Sock it to me Monday. I miss knitting socks and seeing the socks other people are making (okay so I still get some of that) and just having the tiniest bit of something fun on Monday. SO! I will share the two socks on my needles that I have barely touched since casting them on at the beginning of the month.

On the left is a Wonder Woman sock. I still have several rows of stockinette to knit before I get to the WW stitch pattern, which is charted only and I’m not a fan of charts which is why I haven’t gotten very far on this sock. I think I’m going to do the leg yellow and the foot red. And the heel blue, of course. It might look weird but whatever.

The other sock is my paw print sock. Do those look like paw prints? I am not convinced and prefer my lace in shawls which is why I haven’t gotten very far on this sock.

But! I miss knitting socks so I’m going to get back to at least one of them … probably … as soon as I finish my Turtle Dove sweater.

Happy Monday, friends.

WIP Progress Update

The last two weeks have been all about the Australian Open, at least during my non-working hours. Tennis needs simple knitting so first I finished the garter stitch sections for my Scottish Highlands shawl (designer’s website), then I focused on my Turtle Dove II (free on Rav).

The shawl is ready for an intricate lace border now, in that pale cream color, and it’s charted and has multiple charts for each row, and that means I really need to focus when I work on that. But the Turtle Dove is ready for its split hem ribbing now!! I’ve even tried it on (which was an adventure because my needles weren’t quite long enough and stitches were falling off left and right) and confirmed the length is good. I have one more match left — the men’s final — and I’m hoping it lasts long enough that I at least get one side of ribbing completed. Must wind more yarn first, though!

As excited as I am for my sweater, I’m equally ready to get back to some of my other WIPs. Not just the lace for the shawl, but also my fun Curiosity Cowl (only found it on Rav). I’d made good progress before the tennis started, but I’m still not ready to join in the round. Once I do, it’s going to ZOOM. I also recently ordered a copy of 52 Weeks of Easy Knits and there are at least three patterns in there calling my name, but I’m resisting any and all cast-on urges until I complete another project or two.

I was quite proud of myself yesterday: the husband and I went out to a couple of bookstores and we were VERY CLOSE to my favorite LYS … and I DID NOT GO. I was very tempted, but not for any good reason — just because I knew there would be pretty yarn and I like pretty yarn. But I resisted, whew!

I’ve also decided I’m going to try a new strategy to control my yarn spending when we travel: like most knitters (I’m guessing), I have a queue of projects I would like to knit. I do not have the appropriate yarn for all of those projects. So I’m going to make a list of said projects that details the yarn requirements, and then when I’m out and about and happen to be in a yarn store where I want my arms to be full of yarn, I can at least buy intentionally for things I know I want to make. Yes, I will still buy yarn just because it’s pretty. But if I could end up with more yarn destined for projects and fewer single skeins of fancy fingering weight yarn, I think that would be a good thing. I think our first trip is in April, when we’ll go visit the girl, so I have time to get my list prepped.

Happy Sunday, friends.

Knitting from stash

This is a never-ending topic for many of us knitters, isn’t it? “My stash is out of control, I’m going to knit from stash this year, I need to knit down my stash!”And now I’ve said stash so many times it’s lost all meaning and is just a noise. Anyway, for no apparent reason, I’ve been knitting random skeins from stash lately. I pull out a skein that’s calling my name and just go with it. I think I needed some quicker projects to balance out all my fingering weight shawls, so I’ve been working on worsted weight cowls. This one is the Zig Zag Cowl by Imagined Landscapes Designs, which I purchased on Payhip but now I can’t easily find the link. (It’s on Rav too, if you’re so inclined.) I love how it flares out, widening at the bottom, because my neck is always cold. It was a treat to do some lace with bigger yarn and needles, and it knit up so quickly — just 24 hours! And then I got done and realized my yarn was actually DK weight! Oh well, close enough, right?

The yarn is Souvenir DK from Destination Yarn and was a free gift from the yarn store in Eureka Springs, but it’s still a skein out of my stash. Depending on how I like it as I wear it, I might knit another one in a solid yarn to show off the pattern better, and maybe I’ll actually use worsted weight yarn. As soon as this one was done, I pulled out a skein of La Bien Aimee merino and cast on for another cowl, plus I’ve got a worsted weight hat going. And even with all that, I managed to finish a pair of socks today!

This is the Laurell memorial colorway from Hue Loco, such a gorgeous colorway for fall. Even though these aren’t my colors at all, I think this is beautiful yarn and I loved knitting with it … but I’m glad I can go back to my purples and pinks now! First my goal is to finish a pair of gift socks. These are for a non-binary loved one, knit in F*ck Your Binary from Dye Mad Yarns. They have small feet so surely I can get a foot done by the end of the weekend, right? Somehow it’s just so satisfying to cross off one more project before the end of the month.

Happy Saturday, friends.

A little bit of FOMO

I did not go to Rhinebeck this year.

I mean, I’ve never been to Rhinebeck, so this year isn’t really any different. I’m still seeing all the photos on Instagram of cool people meeting other cool people and wearing awesome knitwear and generally having a fabulous time, and it’s convincing me that I’m missing out big time by not being there.

But! I DID go to Iowa! Sarah had free tickets to a musical, and she knows I love musicals, so I zipped up the highway on Friday morning to spend about 24 hours with her. The musical (The Band’s Visit) was NOT our jam and we would have left at intermission had there been one, but we still had fun. Saturday morning we had a mini-reunion of our Wisconsin group (very much missing Alissa!) for a couple of hours of knitting, plus donuts that we didn’t have to wait in a long line for. So I basically had my own low-stress mini Rhinebeck, and saved a shit ton of money in the process.

Take that, FOMO!

Happy Sunday, friends.

Wisconsin Adventure

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I had to share my adventure at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. Sarah mentioned ages ago that she and three of her friends had decided to go, and I decided to tag along. I drove the three hours to Sarah’s house the night before, and I got to enjoy her yarn room and ogle her library and pet her awesome dog. The next morning everyone convened at Sarah’s and we embarked on the five hours to Wisconsin, all in one minivan. I’d been nervous and anxious about spending a weekend with two people I’d never met and one I’d met just twice. Well. That went away immediately. Her friends are amazing and it felt comfortable and fun from the get-go. How often does that happen?? Not often, I tell you!

We’d rented a big house outside of Madison, and it was huge and gorgeous. We had a big stone fireplace outside, and a cornfield, and deer that visited in the morning. We stocked up on groceries, had takeout pizza one night and two of them cooked the second night, and we just … hung out. It was so good. We talked a lot and laughed a lot and there might have been some alcohol consumed, but there were also times when we could all just knit in silence and feel comfortable being together quietly. I know, it sounds weird and too good to be true. It was.

And the festival, OMG! I saw so many sheep and they just baa’ed and baa’ed and it was adorable! I watched a little bit of the sheep dog trials and got to pet one of the dogs! We saw so much gorgeous yarn that it was overwhelming at first, and then once you make your first purchase, the frenzy kicks in and boom, you’ve bought one of everything. We also made it to Madison and visited KnitCircus (more yarn, not that we needed it) and had a big lunch/dinner.

It was just the perfect getaway, and we’re all counting down the days until next year’s festival.

Have you been to any sheep & fiber festivals? Which ones are the best? (Besides Rhinebeck, obviously!)

FO Friday: Socks etc

Blogging is not where it’s at for me these days, it would appear! Still, I wanted to pop in and share my latest finished objects … socks. Simple knitting IS where it’s at, I guess, and socks are the top of the list for me. I’ve got two new pairs to add to my already-overflowing sock drawer.

I’d really like to cast on a new sweater but I don’t have a sweater quantity of anything right now. I’m pondering Joji’s easy bulky one, maybe with one of Woolfolk’s yarns. Wouldn’t that be so cozy? Until I get that yarn, though, I’m casting on some new socks asap. Would you believe I only have two WIPs right now? One is a cabled scarf, which I’m enjoying but scarves are long, and one is a Musselburgh hat, which is a crap ton of fingering-weight stockinette and I’m using a black tweedy yarn so it’s not the funnest thing to work on. I’m planning to cast on at least two new projects this weekend, maybe three!

We also finished a big home project. We had a house we’d been renting out and decided it was time to sell, so we spent the summer getting it cleaned up, painted inside and out, and doing odd jobs to fix little things. After one eight hour day of yard work last weekend, we declared it done and had the realtor come take photos this week. Can’t wait to get it sold!

It’s a little bittersweet, though: we bought this house when I was just 22, and we raised our kids in this house. Lots of great memories here. Crazy that we’ve owned this house for half my life! Still, it’s not the right place for us anymore and I’m ready to simplify.

Happy Friday, friends.