Tag Archive | slouchy beanies

Vacation Knitting

Whew. I’m home from a long weekend vacation and I’m pooped. I’m so glad I decided to take today off; I’ve got a quiet day home alone to catch up on puppy cuddles, laundry, and yarn stuff.

So first: the puppies. We had to board them while we were gone and we missed them terribly. I picked them up first thing this morning and Grace was super excited to see me, but my good pupper Jack didn’t want to come see me. He kept backing away and barking. The nice lady said it was because of the smells, but I think he was just too freaked out. Thankfully, when Grace ran over and jumped on me, Jack came to his senses and came to get his cuddles. We had a crazy hour or so once we got home but now they’re both exhausted and sleeping, one on the back of the couch behind me, one at my feet. Life is good: puppies are home.

Now, YARN!! I went to two yarn stores. The first, Knitorious, was fantastic: big, well-organized, great selection of brands and colors, friendly without being pushy or overbearing. The girl went in with me and even she was so caught up in the yarn-love that she bought herself a skein. What did I get? Let’s see:

img_7097Malabrigo Mechita in this beautiful rainbow color. I’m thinking Hitchhiker Beyond.

img_7096More Malabrigo, Mecha this time. Not sure, but maybe fingerless gloves to keep at work.

img_7164Brio!! I love this yarn and hadn’t seen this black and white version before. This is going to become a Darn Knit Kinetic Cowl for me!

img_7095This might be my favorite. Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Black Velvet. Sock Head hat, here I come!

The second yarn store I won’t name because it was not good. At all. Very small. It had a ton of empty shelves and the selection was really limited. The acrylic section was the biggest and was the only yarn with multiple color ways and multiple skeins of any color. The “good” yarns were maybe two or three different brands, which I wasn’t familiar with, but they were pretty enough. But there were just a few skeins of each, one of each colorway. I found one skein I liked but it wasn’t priced. Nothing was priced. There were no signs on the shelves. Finally I found price lists on the top of the shelving unit; my yarn wasn’t on there. I asked the woman working and she showed me the sheet. I looked again, and said, “I’m sorry, I just don’t see it on here.” My yarn wasn’t on there so she had to look up the price. Maybe it’s not a huge deal, but it is one of my pet peeves at yarn stores. I like to be able to see how much the yarn is without asking all the time. I like it when the skeins are priced but I get that takes a lot of time, so I’m okay with labels on shelves. But if you make it too hard for me to find the price, I’m going to give up because it’s awkward for me. Anyway, I won’t recommend that store and I wouldn’t go back. Here’s the one skein I bought, because purple.

img_7160It’s Black Bunny Fibers and it’s labeled Mayfair. The label says DK but it looks more like worsted to me. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be yet so I’m pondering.

I got plenty of knitting done too, thanks to a nice husband who did all the driving, and have three FOs to show you!

img_7154Fern Lace cowl with Nerd Girl Yarns Luscious. It’s a silk/merino blend and SO soft.

img_7157Pisky hat! Love this one. I bought Cascade 220 Superwash from the DK section at my LYS but Ravelry calls it a worsted. So I went down a needle size and it’s wearable, but a little bigger than I’d like. I’d love to make this pattern again with a true DK. It was so fun to knit and it’s so cute.

img_7156This one’s a donation for a silent auction. I’ve got matching fingerless gloves to pair it with. It’s a simple beanie recipe; you can see the Ravelry project page here.

So yeah, I had such a nice long weekend full of yarn and bookstores and fun things and family, and today I’m going to wind yarn and cast on new projects for the work days ahead of me. And cuddle with puppies.

Isabella Lacy Beanie

Finally, the second pattern I test-knit has been released so I can share it with you! It’s called the Isabella Lacy Beanie by Ashlee Lackovic (smashleestitches on Ravelry, WordPress, Twitter etc) and I think it’s super cute. It’s got a garter stitch brim and a fun vertical lace stripe pattern.

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Once again my daughter was willing to be my  model, as long as she got to keep the hat when we were done! (Note: the hat had not been blocked at this point.)

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That was fine, because it came out too big for me. I got a bit carried away and knit it a little longer than I was supposed to, but it looks great on her.

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The pattern calls for two stands of fingering held together, and I’m still not crazy about the colors I chose, but it’s okay. If I make it again, and I probably will because it was a fun knit, I’d choose two colors closer together.

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So if you need a quick late-summer hat, check out the Ravelry page here.

Waffles Hat

I finished a hat today! This has been my work lunchtime knitting and today was an extra-long lunchtime, so I was able to finish it up. I’m quite pleased with it.

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Pattern: Violet Waffles. This is my third one and I love the pattern. Yarn: KnitPicks Preciosa Tonal in Boysenberry. LOVE this yarn.

I also got some new yarn in the mail! That’s always a good day, right? ErikaShmerika shared a destash on Instagram and of course I couldn’t resist checking it out. Sigh. Her prices were ridiculously good. Like, I got Malabrigo Rasta for FIVE DOLLARS. Yes, it needs to be wound, but…FIVE DOLLARS!

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I also got some Araucania Coliumo. I haven’t knit with it before but it’s a bulky purple yarn. I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy with it.

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This is StitchJones Dyepot, worsted merino in a colorway called Conspiracy. The colors are AMAZING.

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Last but not least, I got another skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegria. It might be my new favorite yarn. I love the colors, love the feel, love how it knits up. Look at this! Isn’t it gorgeous??

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And that’s ALL. I’m not buying any more yarn for…at least another week or so.

Good Wrap, Bad Hat, and Writing

We’ll call this Making Progress Monday. Look what I did yesterday!! IMG_5622I’ve got just a little bit left of that medium gray, and then it’s the last color and my Color Block Wrap will be done! It knits up so much faster than I expected, but it probably helps that I spent yesterday watching TV and knitting. I started Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary, and fell in and couldn’t stop. Total binge day. This was perfect knitting for it too, mindless enough that I could keep my eyes on the screen most of the time. I wish I could have watched the whole series but I have two episodes left and the hubby says I have to wait and watch them with him. Sigh. Fine. Whatever. Maybe I’ll finish it tonight.

And the wrap was actually the second thing I worked on yesterday. I started out making a hat with some purple wool, because I needed a break from all the gray and wanted some color. It was easy to make, knit up quickly, and I like how it looks here: IMG_5620But this morning I put it on a head to take photos for this post, and…well. I kind of hate it. IMG_5624It’s not the pattern’s fault at all. I love the zigzags and the way the decreases look, but it came out so much more slouchy than I expected.IMG_5625I’ve made hats with this much slouch and they’re fine, but it’s not what I wanted this time. I’ll try it on my own head to make sure, but I’m thinking this one will be frogged and redone with fewer stitches and/or smaller needles.

I made progress with the writing this weekend too, on Saturday while my family was off camping. I took a break from the memoir I’m querying and instead focused on my novel. It’s the first one I wrote, probably the closest to my heart, and all I have is a printout from an old computer. So I’m typing it up and revising heavily as I go, and I was on a roll on Saturday. I was deep in a writing trance and got over 6000 words done. Granted, it’s revision so maybe not as impressive as pouring out that many new words, but I’m delighted anyway. I’m over halfway through it, and once it’s all typed up, I’ll leave it alone for a while and let it simmer again. I recently read Stephen King’s On Writing, and that was one of the pieces of advice that really struck me. (Sidebar: I loved his book; it was interesting and honest and smart. I didn’t learn a whole lot I didn’t already know about writing, but it made me feel I was doing the right things, and most importantly, it made me want to WRITE.) Anyway! I know this novel will need another big revision. I already have thoughts of what I need to add/change etc on the next go-round, but I’ve learned from experience that it’ll go more smoothly if I come at it with fresh eyes. I’ve also learned that I enjoy the writing part much more than the querying agents part!

One last thought: there’s been lots of buzz around Instagram lately, lots of posts asking people to “turn on notifications” so their posts don’t get lost, lots of anger that Instagram is changing their algorithm. I love Instagram the way it is, but I’m not freaking out about it. If nothing else, I have to accept that it’s a free app, and it’s a business, and they have to do what they feel is right for their business. We let them know what our thoughts are on the change, and now it’s up to me to adapt or move on.

In the interest of adapting, today I went through the accounts I follow and unfollowed several of the celebrity accounts, the bigger accounts I can see elsewhere or just don’t enjoy that much. Now my Follow list is a carefully curated list of crafters/knitters/dyers/makers (and friends of course) so whatever photos show up in my feed, I’ll be happy.

I’m a small fish: I don’t have a lot of followers and I’m excited when I get 20 likes on a photo, so this algorithm change might kill what little feedback I do get. And if it does, well. That will suck. And I will either keep posting photos because it pleases me, or I won’t. I have a new Ello account (I’m bonnyknits there too) and I might start using that more than Instagram eventually. But I’m going to be patient and give Instagram a shot. And while I do, I’m going to be generous with my Likes and comments, especially with the smaller makers/crafters. I really do think it will be okay.

I’ll leave you with my buddy Jack. He was so happy the hubby took the kids camping this weekend because it meant he could sleep next to me as long as he wanted! IMG_5610Happy Monday, friends!

Two Hats Done, One Begun

As expected, the kids’ spring break has interrupted my knitting/writing/blogging processes, but at least there is a little bit of knitting going on. And today our calendar is empty so both children are still asleep at 9 a.m. and I am stealing the time to catch up with all of you. Of the four projects I started last weekend, two are now complete! First up is the Hot Pink Waffles. IMG_5594The pattern was written for DK, so I lowered the number of stitches to cast on with this worsted weight, but not enough. It’s a little looser than I would like, but it will do. It fits well enough on my noggin.IMG_5578The girl and I went to watch Room with my mom yesterday, and I got this hat up to the decreases while watching. It was a good movie, grim but moving, definitely wonderful performances. I still liked the book better.

I also finished the bulky ivory hat, and there’s more of a story to that one. There’s a book out called Weekend by Jen Geigley with fabulous bulky-weight patterns. I love them all. She had a sale on it recently so I splurged and bought the book, and decided the hat Sliver would be my first project. But I didn’t really like the dropped stitch “run” so I just omitted it. I had some super bulky yarn and the right size needles, and no, I didn’t test for gauge because it’s a HAT and it will fit someone and I almost always knit to gauge anyway.

Not this time. I cast for the size medium and knit away, and it looked small but I ignored it. When I picked it up yesterday to finish it, I decided to face the truth and put it on my head. It was definitely NOT a size adult medium. It was easily a child-size hat, but long. I thought about frogging and starting over with the XL, but realized I didn’t have enough yarn. So I frogged back about an inch of the body and finished off a cute little kid hat, and added a pompom because pompoms are adorable and I had exactly enough yarn left. IMG_5583Maybe I knit more tightly than Jen, maybe my “super bulky” yarn wasn’t as bulky as hers, I don’t know. But I still love the hat, and I still want to make an adult version at some point. But for now, I’m going through the book to decide which pattern I want to try next! Until I decide, I cast on for another lacy cotton slouch hat, this time in a peachy pink. IMG_5592Yesterday was National Puppy Day but I didn’t have the time to blog, so Grace and Jack will send you belated happy puppy wishes! IMG_5586IMG_5589

Memoir or Novel?

It’s voting day here in Missouri and you can bet I’ll be out there doing my part! I hope all my fellow voters today do the same. Now, maybe I should have a more patriotic project to show off today, but all I’ve got is the completed green hat. Good enough for March, I think. IMG_5509IMG_5510Pattern is Duality, yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Lettuce. I’ve got enough leftover of it and the teal that I really want to make a striped version now.

Confession time: I didn’t get my two queries done yesterday. Somehow I got stuck in a self-defeating mood, convinced that I’m wasting my time trying to sell this memoir that no one will want to read. And I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve written other stuff too. I’ve got two completed novels in my files. So I thought about how I never did anything with those, and how the one I’m currently revising is surely trite and common. Then I thought about how I’m still struggling to build my Etsy business, and my proofreading client base, and suddenly it hit me that I’m trying all these things and none of them are working out the way I want them to. And bam, before you know it, my head is in a not-so-good place.

Therefore, I spent much of the day outside with the puppies instead. It was a beautiful day, so I don’t consider it time wasted. I’ll consider it a mental health day.IMG_5507

I soaked up sunshine and puppy loving and the smell of spring flowers. I wrote in my journal, and I knit on my hat.

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And today is a better day. Nope, I’m not giving up yet! I may still be unconvinced about my memoir but I’m going to work on revising my synopsis and query letter and then contact more agents. But I’m also pondering the idea of fictionalizing it, if this doesn’t work out. There are a few benefits to that route: I get more flexibility and freedom in storytelling, there’s no legal/liability issue from using the real company’s name, fiction is simpler to query (no lengthy, complex proposals), more agents rep fiction than memoir, and fiction is more marketable. But my concern is whether I would lose the heart of the story by making it fiction. Maybe part of its appeal is that it’s honest and true, and if it were a novel, it wouldn’t be as relatable.

What do you think, readers out there? Do you like non-celebrity memoirs? Do you seek them out? What draws you to them?

Here’s Grace’s opinion. Make of it what you will. IMG_5506

Don’t forget to vote, whenever it’s your turn! Every single vote counts!

Duality Hat

As promised, I have knitting to show you after our long day yesterday. Both kids competed in the regional National History Day so we were there from 9 am to 5 pm. The girl is moving on to state and is quite happy, the boy is not moving on but doesn’t mind too much because it means he can stop working on it and stressing out about it! So yes, lots and lots of knitting time but it’s not the Because I Love You Wrap. I did start that shawl, and I’m loving my yarn choice so far. It’s going to be quite lovely. IMG_5412This was knit with size 6 needles, as the pattern recommends. But it was too loosey-goosey for me so I frogged that and started over with 5s, and I like it much better. I learned how to do picots and those are pretty darn nifty. But guys, there’s a trick in this pattern that I didn’t discover until I started knitting. When you start the first garter stitch stripe, you do the first three stitches in the other color and then pick up the stripe color. Well, that left a big stupid hole in my knitting! That irritated me so I frogged back (and frogging picots are interesting) to before the stripe. A bit of investigating showed another Raveler recommending the intarsia technique of twisting the yarns at that point. I’ve never done intarsia but I’ve carried yarns up the side of my knitting; is the twisting the same as that? I’ll do more investigating before going back to knitting this but I’d love any advice you have!

After that rough beginning on Friday, I knew it wasn’t a good travel knitting project, so instead I cast on Karin Michele’s newest pattern, the Duality hat. It’s a classic ribbed beanie but with broken rib for the body, and the decreases are written so well! I love how she managed to carry the broken rib pattern all the way up. Best of all, it’s free through March 7th, so move quick, knitters! I got it almost completely done at the competition, stopped only because I forgot to bring my DPNs with me, so the last six rounds were done at home. I love love love this hat. IMG_5435IMG_5434I used Malabrigo Rios (the recommended yarn) in color Teal Feather, and knit to 8.25″ before decreasing. I think it’s the perfect amount of slouch and I’ll definitely be knitting this pattern again.

Now we have a quiet Sunday at home and I feel brave enough to tackle my shawl again. Wish me luck with my yarn-twisting!