Tag Archive | makers making

My Blogiversary

WordPress reminded me that yesterday was my blog anniversary: I started this blog FIVE years ago! I love my little blog, I love the blogosphere I’m a little part of, I love having this outlet for writing and sharing things. So much has changed since I started writing here.

Five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to a 14yo and a 10yo, now I work full-time and one kid is off at college and the other is about to start driving. Back then, I had ZERO dogs! Can you believe that? That part has definitely improved. In 2014, I had dark blonde hair and was just starting to explore the idea of purple hair, and now it’s been purple (for the third time) for seven months and I have no plans to ever stop.

Even my knitting life has changed. A few years ago, I sold all my fingering weight yarns, thinking I’d never want to knit with such tiny yarn and tiny needles. Oof. I regret that a little bit, now that I love knitting shawls and socks. I never thought I’d want to make socks; now I always have one on the needles.

But a lot is still the same: I knit as much as possible, all the time, everywhere. Knitting is my comfort, my stress relief, my happy place, my creative outlet. The knitting world is where I feel the most accepted, the most connected, the happiest, the most myself. And I still love color! The first project I shared was a rainbow hat (which I still have and love), and my most recent FO is a neon rainbow sock.

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Thanks for being here, friends! Here’s to another five years!

Emotional Support Cowl

My furry cowl is done and I just want to carry it around so I can pet it and rub it against my face whenever I feel anxious or stressed. That’s not weird, is it?

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I used all three skeins of Sirdar Alpine and it is long enough to double, barely. It is very snug around my neck, which means it’s extra cozy, I guess.

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I cast on 15 stitches and did stockinette stitch until I ran out of yarn. Though to be honest, I’m pretty sure it got switched with the second skein and the “knit” side became the purl side. Thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to tell, which is the one upside to knitting with yarn that’s very hard to read. I’m not sure I loved knitting with this yarn, but I bet I’ll love wearing it. I was right, though: I finished it just in time for spring, which officially starts tomorrow.

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My emotional support cowl will have to suffice when I’m not home with my pups!

 

Frog and start over

Recently I wrote about a project that was not behaving in an appropriate manner, the Heart Check cowl. There was an error in the written instructions and after knitting the first section twice, I realized I was now holding a grudge against the poor pattern and I didn’t want to knit it again. But I still wanted a cowl in the beautiful magenta Malabrigo, so I went browsing until I found a worthy candidate, the Waverly Weekend Cowl. It says it can be made in a weekend, and maybe it can, but certainly not in a weekend like mine with two family parties, including one at my house that required a bit of tidying up. (Okay. A lot. I have three dogs and I hate housework. And also, in the future, I either need to have leather couches or no dogs. And no dogs is not an option, so leather couches it will be. Vacuuming couches is a terrible thing to have to do.) Anyway! I have at least made some progress and it’s enough to know that the pattern appears to be error-free and I’m liking the lace.

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It’s also enough to know that this vivid pink yarn is next to impossible to photograph well. This was in my backyard, in the shade, late in the day when the sun was on the other side of the house. It’s usually my best light for photos. But this pink, wowzers!

The sixteen rounds on that cowl were pretty much the extent of my knitting for the weekend, but I also got to celebrate the girl’s 19th birthday with our family, plus the brother’s college graduation, plus I went to a local symphony concert with the girl Saturday night.

The dogs all partied pretty well. Jack got a sedative so he wouldn’t bark constantly, and each dog got their own empty peanut butter jar to lick clean. But after a couple of hours socializing, they were pooped and wanted to sack out on the couch. I have to say, I felt the same way! It was a good weekend, but exhausting and I feel like Monday came much too quickly. I need a spring break like my kids!

Furry Cowl

Remember the furry yarn I bought recently, the Sirdar Alpine? I was so eager to have a furry cowl that I cast on just a few days after I bought it, but I kept messing it up. Since I was going for a plain, simple cowl that I could double, I just cast on with straight needles and started going. Three skeins sounded like a lot, so the first time I cast on 25 stitches. Once I got mostly through the first skein, I realized it wouldn’t be long enough and I frogged it. Surely 20 would be good, right?

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This time I got through about a third of skein two before I decided I wasn’t getting the length I wanted. While I was rewinding it, I found out that this yarn will knot itself if given the opportunity! I had one spot in skein one and two spots in skein two where I finally had to cut the yarn to get rid of the tangle. So if you play with this yarn, and you have frog it, just be very careful! The third time, I went to Ravelry and found a few projects, and cast on 15 as someone else had. What do you know, third time’s the charm!

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This is one skein’s worth, and I now have the second skein added. One more skein and I can stitch the ends together and have the softest, furriest cowl ever…just in time for spring.

But here’s something non-knitting related: the girl is a flutist, as some of you may remember, and she got tickets to see James Galway for her birthday. I’m not a flutist but even I know who he is, so I got to go with her. The concert was SO good, just beautiful music. His wife, who’s also a flutist, joined him for the next-to-last piece. Then afterward, they were out in the lobby signing programs! So we got to meet James Galway!

Okay, so, he’s 80 and it was after 10 pm and he seemed really tired, so he was pretty much just signing programs. But his wife was chatty and charming, and he was happy to let me get a photo with them, and it was a really fun evening overall. How lucky I am that both my kids inherited my love of music!

Baby Girl Power Sock

Now that I’ve typed that out it looks weird because it’s not really for a baby. It’s just a shortie sock. But I like the sound of it! I finished the socks I’d been working on (I need to get good photos before I share them) so of course I had to cast on a new sock immediately, right? I visited my stash and grabbed the pretty half skein of Show Me Yarn in Girl Power. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so my goal is to get two complete shortie socks from it. I probably should could have weighed the yarn first and then again after the first sock but…well, I’m living on the edge with this project. And really, since I got two full socks out of the first half, I feel pretty confident.

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I’m adding gray cuffs and toes to hedge my bets, and I love how the stripes worked up after the heel on the first one! It’s a perfect continuation of the stripe pattern. Now I just hope I can get something equally delightful in the second sock. How many of you try to get a second pair of socks out of one skein of sock yarn?

Review: Manos del Uruguay Cabrito

You guys already know I love yarns from Manos del Uruguay, right? I haven’t been shy about it (you can see posts here and here though I’m sure there are others too). When they offered me a skein of their brand-new laceweight kid mohair blend, I didn’t even have to think about it. Honestly, it didn’t even matter what yarn they sent me; I’d have been happy to try it out. Since Cabrito is a laceweight that pairs well with others, I got to choose a skein of a second yarn too, and I picked Fino, a light fingering merino.

img_2499I forgot to take a nice photo of the skeins when they arrived because I was so excited to cast on. Look at those colors!! It was hard to choose, since the Cabrito comes in so many beautiful space-dyed colors. But I chose the Cabrito in Locuro Fluo (which is coincidentally also the same colorway as my Rainbow Shawl so clearly it’s my favorite) and the Fino in Peacock Plume. The Cabrito is about 230 yards and is 80% kid mohair, 20% polyamide. It’s as light as cotton candy and so flipping fuzzy that I was in heaven knitting it. I chose a simple scarf called Orbit so the yarn could be the star of the show.

I loved how the peacock Fino was a vibrant turquoise but the colors of the Cabrito still took center stage. The two yarns played really well together, though the few times I had to tink, the Cabrito stuck to itself a little bit. But overall it was a mindless treat to knit, feeling soft and warm in my hands during a cold winter.

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I ran out of Cabrito before the end of the pattern, but I was expecting that, and finished with an eyelet panel of just the Fino, and I’m happy with that. You can see my project page on Ravelry here.

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The finished shawl is as light as air and gorgeously colorful; it’s versatile enough to wear with so much of my wardrobe. Except…sigh. That soft fuzzy halo that made it so delightful to feel in my hands as I was knitting? Because parts of my skin are super sensitive, it itched my neck when I wore it against my skin. It wasn’t immediate and it wasn’t dramatic, but after I’d had it on for maybe 30 minutes, I could feel that subtle little itch and had to take it off. I know it wasn’t the Fino because I have another shawl in just Fino and don’t have any issues with it. So if you already know you’re sensitive, just plan to make something that you won’t wear right next to your skin. I’d love to use this in a sweater, because then I could just wear a shirt underneath like I do all my wool sweaters, and I’d be happy and toasty!

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Manos is still one of my favorite yarn companies, partly because of their lovely yarns but also because of all they do to make sure their yarn is Fair Trade Certified and to support the women artisans in Uruguay.

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Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me one skein of Cabrito and one skein of Fino (retail value: $50) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Bad knitting

All of my knitting is misbehaving lately! My sweater got put in time-out last week because I messed up the stripe pattern, and I needed a break before pulling out three rows of sleeve. (At least it’s only sleeve and not body.) Yesterday I wanted to work on something bright and interesting, so I pulled out my magenta Malabrigo Heart Check cowl. I merrily knit about ten rows before I realized I was omitting the knit rows between each pattern row. I was supposed to have little purl hearts, and I did not. I assumed it was because of my error and I ripped back and reknit the 14 rows of the pattern. Huh. Still no hearts.

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Look like hearts to you? Nope, me neither. Now, I’d read the comments and knew that there were two errors in the written instructions, but the designer said she’d corrected them, and my PDF said “corrected”. My error was in not double-checking that the errors were actually fixed. One row was correct, and one was not. If I were a chart knitter, I’d have been fine, because those were correct. Alas, I prefer written. So, now the pink cowl is in time-out while I decide how to proceed.

After that disappointment, I turned to my new fur yarn. There weren’t a lot of patterns for this yarn, and I just wanted something simple anyway. One person cast on 15 stitches for a two-skein cowl; since I have three skeins, I cast on 25.

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Nope. After one skein, I knew it wouldn’t be as long as I wanted. Cast on again with 20. Decided this morning, halfway through the second skein, that it still won’t be long enough to wear doubled and that’s the goal. Now the fur has been frogged and put in time-out. But I need a win so I’m circling back and I’m going to frog those sleeve rows and get at least one project back in rotation. I hope you all are having better luck with your yarn than I am right now!