Tag Archive | knitting

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.

Sock It To Me Monday

Instead of knitting the second sock of the pair I started a couple of weeks ago, I decided I really needed to knit socks to match my new rainbow sweater, or at least pretty close.

The yarn is Mamma Mia! from Leon Alexander yarns and I added a solid purple for accents. Since it’s all stockinette, it’s a fast knit so the second one should be done soon!

Is there such a thing as too many handknit socks? Asking for a friend!

Sweater Sunday!

Oh sure, I could have saved this for next Friday, but I was too excited to share: I finished my rainbow sweater!! This is the Apogean sweater in Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the color Locura Fluo.

I’m so happy with how it turned out! The fit is perfect, I love the v-neck, and I love the wild and crazy colors! This is probably my best effort at sweater-knitting; it’s nice when you can see your experience making a difference. I really liked this pattern too. It was simple and easy to follow, and even though at first I wasn’t sure about how the neckline was done, now I think it’s fantastic. I do wish she’d given more guidance about how many stitches to pick up around the neckline instead of just “pick up the stitches around the neck and knit” but I’m gonna say I nailed it. I could definitely see myself making another version of this pattern.

Now I have a sweater, a scarf, and a cowl in this colorway, and I’ve got socks on my needles in a yarn that’s very close. But I have two skeins of this yarn left — what should I do with it?? Maybe a hat! And fingerless gloves!

Oh yeah, I also have something else new to share:

This is Bella. She’s a Dodge Challenger in a color called Hellraisin that’s prettier and more sparkly in person. She’s also zippy and super fun to drive, and has all kinds of modern features my older car didn’t have. I think this is what’s called making lemonade out of lemons.

Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: All the things

The upside to blogging so rarely is that by the time I have the motivation, I have plenty of things to share! I have so many finished things today, which is a relief after months of works in progress. Let’s start with the house: I’m calling it finished, even though we’re still waiting for the new gutter to be installed on the back of the house. It’s supposed to happen today and that’s close enough.

We got the downstairs floors and stairs refinished last week and they’re so gorgeous, better than I ever expected. I even bought new curtains for the music room to jazz up the “boring” gray walls, and new curtains and an area rug for the living room. This is the probably the fanciest we’ve ever been — I feel like we finally have a nice, grown-up house!

Yes, as many people have asked, it does make us think differently about the house. We’ve been saying for ages that we want to sell it and move on ASAP, but now that its potential is finally being realized, we’re starting to ponder. The house still has some issues we want to fix — upstairs bathroom renovation is a big one — and it has some issues we can’t easily/affordably fix — the downstairs bathroom is uncomfortably tiny, the street we’re on is noisy, the husband can’t build a workshop as big as he’d like. So we’re trying to figure things out. I’d like to figure it out soon, but I’m also a little more content staying here while we work on it.

I also have some finished knitting to share! My knitting time has slowly been coming back, thank goodness, though I’m still mostly focused on simple things like socks.

The completed pair used a skein of speckled purple from Mothy & the Squid and I LOVE her yarn. Wish she wasn’t overseas! The shawl is my Peacock’s Tail, a fun one-skein project that might have used a yarn from Blissful Knits. (Keeping track of yarns used is not a high priority at the moment, sorry.) The single sock was started last weekend as the husband and I took off for an anniversary weekend getaway (more on that another day). I got all but the toe done while we were gone, then it took me three more days to get around to the toe! I pulled a languishing skein of sock yarn from Colorful Eclectic Dyeworks from the stash for that one.

I’d really like to get back to my rainbow sweater project so that I have a new sweater to wear when fall arrives. Surely it won’t take too long to knit sleeves, right?

Happy Friday, friends!

What? A new project?

Knitting has not been my focus for the last month or so, sadly, but I did cast on a new shawl a couple of weeks ago. This is a one-skein project, not another huge lace project. I’d wound the yarn months ago, picked out a pattern and put it in a project bag along with the required needles. By the time I stumbled upon it recently, I no longer wanted to knit that pattern, so I had to pick a new one. I found Peacock’s Tail on Lovecrafts and it seems like the perfect fit for this yarn.

The lace pattern in the middle is hard to see but it should block out well. This is a fun pattern, with just the center section requiring brainpower, and even then it’s limited brainpower needed. I’m knitting the medium size of this shawl and crossing my fingers that it’s a wearable size.

So if I haven’t been knitting, what have I been doing? Yep, still packing and painting. Everything that can be boxed has been boxed, and many of them have been carried upstairs. Shelves have been removed from bookcases. Every large furniture item has been cleared off except the TV stand, because we’re still using the TV. We’ll move it all out to the portable storage container over the weekend and then Monday the crew arrives to refinish the floors, hooray! We’ll be staying in a nearby house we own — we’ve rented it out the last few years but are getting it ready to sell, so it’s empty and means we don’t have to pay to stay anywhere else, and there are no issues with having three dogs there. We’ll have a bed, a couch, and a kitchen table and chairs. No other furniture, no WiFi. No Wifi means I’ll be going into the office to work for four days, so that’ll be a big switch. I’m purposely not thinking about having to reverse this packing/moving process, except that I know we need to get the storage container empty over two days next weekend. Bah. And the husband wonders why we haven’t refinished the floors before now!

The silver lining is that this has forced me into getting a few more areas painted. I’ve now painted six rooms and a stairwell since we’ve been in this house, with just the craft room and a tiny bathroom left. We’re still thinking we might sell this house and move in the next year or so, so I’m feeling pretty good about my progress. After this house, I’d really like to get out of the “sweat equity” business and let other people do the hard work!

Oh yeah, and the back of the house is done! We’ve got a couple of guys outside doing some touch up and putting storm windows back up, and a couple others inside doing the interior trim on the new windows. With any luck, the paint crew will be done today. After that, we need a tiny bit of tile repaired in the kitchen and some debris cleaned up in the backyard, and then I think the project will be DONE and we can just enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Happy Thursday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday: Purple Edition

I might have only one pair of socks on my needles. I’m not sure, because it’s been a little busy and hectic around here, but this is the only one I’m working on anyway. I’ve got all my knitting stuff up in the craft room in preparation for our floors being refinished next week and apparently it’s out of sight, out of mind.

The purple flecked is from Mothy & the Squid and gosh I just love it. I used a bit of solid Cloudborn for a heel just for fun, and I’m doing my favorite modified Vanilla Latte pattern. This is just the best kind of sock knitting for me. But I still want to cast on more socks!

Since we had to pack up all the books and empty the first floor so the floors can be refinished, I decided that was a great time to paint the sitting room. It was the last room on the first floor to be repainted, since I did the others last summer during my painting spree, and the walls were in terrible shape, with lots of nail holes and cracks and tiny dents and dings. Despite protests from the kids, I painted it the same pale gray as the living room. I had two reasons, both very valid. One: I had plenty of the paint left over. Two: we might still sell this house, if we can find something we like better, so I’m sticking with neutral colors for now.

I’ve got some bold curtains picked out to help jazz up the room, and I’ll definitely share another photo once the floors are done and everything is in place. I feel like we’re finally being grownups, with intentionally chosen curtains and area rugs and stuff!

Happy Monday, friends.

Hello? *taps mic* Is this thing on?

It’s been a minute since I’ve been around these parts, hasn’t it? Not sure where my blogging mojo went — maybe I started wondering what the point of it is. I mean, I share my knitting on Instagram and with my knitting groups, is there a good reason to do this too? Anyone? Or maybe that’s my brain picking on me.

Overall I’ve been doing really well the last couple of months, as far as my emotional state goes anyway. I’ve felt a little lighter, happier, able to feel hopeful and optimistic. But the last few days have been rough. Our renovation crew has been back this week and I think I’d forgotten what the stress of that does — having guys in and out, dealing with Jack barking, making sure the husband and I are both happy with the work done, and then also dealing with work and family stuff. Adding to that is that we’ve decided to sell a house we’ve been renting for a few years, so we’ve been dealing with projects to get that property ready to sell. Oh yeah, and since that rental house is empty, we thought we’d use this time to get the floors refinished at our current house, since we can stay at the rental for a few days. No biggie … except for packing up and moving out everything on the first floor! Yesterday I got up to discover that Jack had started on yet another hot spot and that was just the straw that made my brain go kablooie.

So. Bah. Sorry, no shiny happy Bonny today, but I’ll share some good progress, how about that? Jack is fine. He got the fur trimmed and a dose of meds, plus some extra anti-itch meds for potential future use. The back of the house is done and ready for painters, who will come next week. The interior window trim will also be finished by the painters, so they can stain it the right color. The portable storage containers arrive Saturday so we can start loading up the furniture and boxes. The rental house is painted and has a cleaned-up lawn, and the contractor was supposed to be there this week to start the interior painting and odd jobs. With any luck, all the projects will be done and the rental house listed to sell within the next three weeks. I can make it three more weeks!

The funnest progress of all is my sweater project: I finished the body! Turns out fun yarn is the trick to enjoy doing miles of stockinette, at least for me. I’m delighted with the look and the fit and I hope I can speed through the sleeves. I’ll definitely have a new sweater to wear when fall comes around!

The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Alegria in Locura Fluo, and the pattern is Apogean. So far it’s very simple and easy to follow, just how I like it.

Happy Thursday, friends.

FO Friday: Kassiani Shawl

My latest finished object is my purple Kassiani shawl. This was a fast knit, despite its generous size– I cast on June 5 and bound off two days ago, so just about a month for a two-skein lace shawl. But this pattern was so fun, and even though it looks complicated, it’s not really a difficult lace. And it was just the kind of lace I’d been craving, so I found myself knitting on this whenever I had the brainpower to spare.

I used a skein of Lolodidit Everyday Sock in the color Prince, as well as a mystery skein of almost-matching yarn with a sparkle thread. They’re both a rich, deep purple with a hint of black, and it’s really hard to capture the sparkle in photos. But it’s there, I promise! I used the Lolo yarn for the first four sections (including that small cast on/set up section) and then with the big lace section I alternated the Lolo and the sparkle. When I got to the final lace chart, I switched to just the sparkle. Overall I think I used about 750 yards, give or take a bit.

Blocking is the real magic for shawls like this — that’s when they go from okay to magnificent. I’m really proud of this one and can’t wait to wear it out and about. Maybe this is a good reason to work from the office sometimes! This pattern is by Dee O’Keefe, who also designed the Dowland shawl I knit with my Bonny Lass yarn, and I loved knitting both of them. She’s got a few patterns on Create2Thrive but not all of them — most are on Ravelry — so I hope she starts selling in other places before I need to knit another big lace shawl!

Happy Friday, friends!

Sock It To Me Monday: FOs

I was a sock-knitting machine this weekend! The boy had a concert, we had a birthday party for the boy, plus we played a lot of Trivial Pursuit, so I had plenty of time for easy sock knitting, and as a result I was able to finish TWO pairs of socks! The purple pair are for the boy, and I used some of the leftovers for the toes on the shorties.

I took that first photo this morning, since that’s all I had done at the time. But today was Manic Monday at Wimbledon, and I spent much of the day watching all the tennis and by the end of it, I had knitted almost an entire shortie sock. Feels good to get two sock projects done. I think that brings me down to only four active WIPs but I’ve got two ready to cast on. But after spending several days knitting nothing but socks, I’m ready to get back to my purple lace shawl — I only have around 26 rows plus a bind off to do. Hope you all had a good and/or productive weekend too!

Happy Monday, friends.