It has been since I last bought yarn!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Warm Distractions

OH yeah...HI!  I was so busy enjoying the nicest summer I can ever remember that I forgot about the blog.  The weather this summer has been dry and hot and just lovely.  With weather like this it's really hard to stay inside and sit still.  (And knit)

        

There is some knitting that has occurred, BUT, it's at a much slower pace than I had originally planned.

The blanket is moving along and looking quite lovely.

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I think that I've decided to do 3 more sections after this, there should be enough yarn.  It feels really good to get through the scraps and whittle away at the leftover pile.

Also seeing some progress, the second sock in the Maui socks!  A 5 hour (childless) flight to Cabos meant that I had a lot of knitting time to take advantage of!


It's nice to get something done on this vacation other than just burning to a crisp!  I'm hoping that I can finish these projects up by the end of this month so I can begin our fall with something a little more "fall-ish".  I'm thinking sweater .....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer of Simple

This will be just a short blog post today because I've kept the knitting really REALLY simple this summer.  It's a really nice change from the intensity and stress of my Stampede projects, so it's really a much needed change of pace.

I knit another hat for the collection, bringing the total to 14 hats.

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At this point I'm fairly certain I've got more than 18 hats in this ball.  This is what is left for the yarn after 14 hats.  Any guesses as to how many hats it has left in it?

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Because I'm weird and I like rules- I've decided that there must be two identical hats in the collection.  So, I've been trying to make sure each hat has a match.  This hat was supposed to be a match to the double moss stitch hat I knit, but it actually ended up being the wrong stitch pattern.  (I worked from memory, apparently wrong.)  Oh well- now I've got another one to make plus another double moss one!  (At least there's enough yarn.)

Also moving along rather simply and beautifully on my pink scrappy blanket and whittling away at the scrap pile.

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This is just so easy (besides the ends to weave in)- and it's fun to see the color progressions.  It's a 2 row pattern I'm not bored, I'm just really curious to see how it's going to look when it's all finished!

So far my "summer of simple" is going beautifully and I'm definately in a relaxed knitted state!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ribbon Roundup

Well- the ribbons are collected and Stampede is over for another year.

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I'm pleased with my placing this year.  2 first in categories and a second overall is nothing to be disappointed about.  But I am.  Please don't mistake this next part for my being ungrateful or being bitter at the winner (I am not)- but DAMMIT I want to win.  And so, because I'm really just a hyper competitive spirit disguised as your average every day mother, I'm already plotting, already researching and already trying to think what I can do to be first overall next year.  (So far I'm not getting very far... )  So, yes, brace yourself because I'm probably going to be obsessing for the next 11.5 months on what I'm going to do next year.  And after 7 (8?) years of blogging I think it's clear I'm FIRST OVERALL when it comes to obsessing over things.

While I plot my next big thing, I'm knitting little, simple things.

A child-less trip to Vail (for a wedding) over July 4 weekend meant that I brought the sock out of hiding and enjoyed having airplane time to knit.  This has got to be a record for the longest it's every taken me to finish a plain and simple sock!  (Started back in JANUARY!)

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I also eked out another charity hat because these babies aren't going to knit themselves!

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And, I finally got to cut my teeth on an easy project that would also address some of the sock yarn leftovers.  Mother in law encouraged me to just let the project flow and be organic and not worry so much about matchy-matchy stripes.  But on top of being obsessive, I'm also like things painfully symmetrical, so say hello to my newest little stash buster blanket....

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Just 2 rows to remember and fingering weight yarn make this is an ideal project to knit over the summer.  Light and easy- a well deserved break from the agony I experienced with the mittens.

So stay tuned to see what else I'm whipping up and adding to the "finished" pile.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Results Are In

For those of you who don't get the privilege to go to the Stampede grounds- I'm going to spoil you on the final results in the knitting.  If you don't want to know yet and want to be surprised.... skip this post until later.

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I had a very successful year this year!  2 red first place ribbons AND a second in section overall.

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The mittens, after all the agonizing, showed very well and were selected as "second in section"- which means CASH PRIZE!


The blanket also placed first in it's category and also had a lovely red ribbon on them as well.

It appears that I was not the only one who thought about Calgary themed mittens this year, as I had some competition....


My Mother in Law also did very well- with a red ribbon for her socks too!  My pic is really awful but her socks were really beautiful.


The overall section winner is the same person from last year who designed another really lovely sweater.  (Great job Tamara!)


Even my little man seemed impressed with mommy's work this year....


We had a great time at Stampede this year and it does feel that all the project agony I experienced was well worth it.  We've been busy taking in parties and playing Cowboy dress up, so knitting progress hasn't really happened around here- but once this week is over, things will go back to normal and I fully intend to knit up a storm sitting out on my deck.  :-)

HAPPY STAMPEDE EVERYONE!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Now What?

Well now that the Stampede projects are out of my hands... now what?

First I had to catch up on some charity obligations that I didn't want to get behind.  I knit sections for the "pie" blankets for the WCOBB charity group.

Key Lime Pie

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Lemon Meringue Pie



Then I decided I needed to get 2 more hats out the door and off the big ball.  (I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to get even more than my original guess of 18 hats out of this!)


And now I'm free to knit what I want.  So what do I want to knit?  Well... I have a bunch of sock yarn leftovers that need to get busted out of my stash.  MiL has been working on these projects and her stuff looks AWESOME- so I've been inspired to do something with this little pile.


I also really want to dig waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back into my lost projects pile and re-attempt the shawl again.  Remember the Shawl of GIANT FAIL?  (I can't even find a blog link for it... so just trust me- I started and failed miserably at a shawl and I want to restart again.)

I also want to give my little boy bunny a girlfriend.  He looks lonely on the shelf.

I'm aiming for nice and simple this summer.  Probably a few more hats too, just lots of easy projects to have on the go that don't require a lot of brain power.  Hopefully it'll keep the blog interesting too.  So stay tuned.... hopefully the finished project pile will start getting a little fuller!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Glamorous Mystery Part 2

That was kind of mean telling you about the baby blanket but saving the reveal of the REAL mystery for today.  (Sorry... one has to keep you interested somehow- right?)  Well... WAIT NOT LONGER- behold, my Misery Mystery Mittens!

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Pattern: Calgary Mittens by ME (Jennifer Johnson).  (HOLY CRAP I DESIGNED THIS!)
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina in 1912 & 1401
Needles: US 1 - my guage on stranded knitting continues to improve!
Notes: Oh god this ended up being so much more work than I thought it would be!

AND NOW- the story can be told.

To date, this was one of the most difficult things I've ever knit.  The knitting itself, once I got into it, wasn't a problem, but the planning and planning and PLANNING of this pattern took MONTHS in advance.  I agonized over design elements and agonized over what should and should be there.  I harassed family members to regularly vote on what they liked and didn't like.  Family members who I'm sure thought it regularly, but never said it out loud, "You're over-thinking this too much!"

So much graph papers with doodles and false starts and trying out ideas.

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YEAH.  That's a lot!  I sketched and erased and tried to come up with ideas that would cohesively blend together.  Every design, every detail on that mitten was created by me.  And I tried to be really thoughtful about what went on there representing my city.

On the cuff- the criss cross pattern is meant to look like the Peace Bridge in Calgary.

Peace Bridge

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After the flood last year I was so impressed by the way complete strangers helped one another out- I was always smitten with the idea of boys and girls holding hands, representing the strong sense of community this city clearly has.

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On the hand I chose icons that are so well known in this city... the Calgary tower, the mountains so close to us and of course- the stetson we all don 10 days out of the year while we celebrate Stampede.  That pretty much sums up Calgary to me.  My original design has also included the city's name

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but as you'll remember- the mitten was too long and I had to rip it out.  (*sobs again*)

On the inside of the hand, a maple leaf for Canada and thumb elements of a rearing horse (taken from the City of Calgary's logo) and on the inside a wild rose design for Alberta.  (pictured in the collection below)

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I started and stopped this project so often there's part of me that still feels this lingering concern that I didn't finish it even though it's already handed in.  

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This post is picture heavy because I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud of what I did.  Will I design mittens again?  Maybe, although right now my brain needs a break and my hands just want to knit simple things.  But for now, we wait- we sit back and wait to see what the judges think.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Glamorous Mystery Part 1

It's glamour photo time because I have FINALLY- FINALLY finished my projects and they are ready for me to take in to submit to Stampede today.  This post will be done in 2 stages because there's a lot to say, (specifically about the mittens) so come back tomorrow for reveal #2.

First off- the Sleepy Baby Blanket is finished.

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Pattern: Lullabye Blanket (Ravelry Link) by Jennifer Lori
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zara colorway 1396 (Off White)
Needles: US 6
Notes: The only thing I did differently than the pattern was drop the number of feather and fan repeats, because I didn't want it to be too enormous.  In this case, it was the right call- blanket measures 45 inches across.  Any bigger and I think it would be too big.

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This blanket included a lot of firsts for me.  My first circular cast on took a few tries but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.  It's kind of amazing to me that you start with so few stitches and end with so many.  You start with 20, and end close to 700!!  I also wet blocked this blanket for the first time, at the suggestion of MiL, and I might be a wet block convert forever.  In the past I've pinned my projects to my specifications and soaked it through like crazy with a sprayer.  The relative ease of simply laying out my wet blanket and pinning it down was SO MUCH simpler, that I think I'm going to do it that way from now on!

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This blanket is really lovely.  I'm so pleased with the way it looks and I hope that I will eventually find a loving home for it.  (My friend agreed that the blue and white mosaic blanket suited her little man more and was happy to have it.)

I especially love the lightly scalloped edges on the outside, just such a simple effect but just finished this off so beautifully for me.

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Also- this yarn?  This yarn is pure AWESOME to knit with.  It has that delightful spongy quality that jumps around the needles.  Life is too short to knit with crappy yarn, and I'm so happy I just said "screw up" and ponied up on the price.

I'm really, REALLY happy with the way this finished up.  It's relatively simple to knit, but took some endurance.  More and more I'm realizing I'm mostly happy with simpler projects, they finish so beautifully you just sit back and go "YEAH- I AM good!"

Stay tuned for tomorrow's Mystery reveal!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Quickie

This will be a rather quick post today, as I find myself with little time but to knit as quickly as I can.

With great guidance from my MiL, we blocked my Sleepy Baby blanket today.  I can't believe how much easier it was to wet block this project instead of my regular dry block.  Wet blocking- you may have a new convert!

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The mittens continue on rather frantic pace.  There are 9 more days until I have to finish them.  I need to be finished these by Sunday in order to block them in enough time.

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I'm less thrilled with my final results on this than I hoped.  I dropped 13 stitches, which meant losing an aspect of the pattern I thought really "tied it together".  These are still nice, but I'm less enthused about them.

Guys- I cannot. wait. until I can just knit some mindless stuff again.  I really look forward to mindless knitting!!!

OK- that sound you hear is the whip cracking- BACK TO THE GRIND!