It has been since I last bought yarn!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Checking In

As discussed in my last blog post- I had finally decided on some April goals to achieve.. let's check in... shall we?

1) Finish charting the pattern for my next Stampede Mystery Project by April 15

I AM SO CLOSE guys.  So close.  I should finish it today at Parker's nap time.  All that remains is to figure out how I'm going to do a small border on one part.  In the last 2 days things have really come together and I'm so excited to cast on.  Since this is a surprise for my husband, I can't knit on it while he's home, so I'll need to make the most out of preschool/naptimes.  BUT I'm on track to start this, well before I had started last year.  PROGRESS.  My goal is to start knitting on Friday, even if it's just a little bit done.

2) Select a pattern and buy the yarn for the next baby blanket

Funny story on this one.  I had selected a pattern and procured yarn and all was well and good and then we found out that baby is a GIRL and I decided everything I had selected was wrong.  I had originally selected "Jackson's Blanket" and bought the yarn to go with it....

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.... but it just doesn't feel "right" now.  And so I'm going in another direction with THIS pattern.  Right now I haven't bought the yarn because I can't decide whether to do in pinks or purples.  VOTE NOW... shades of PINK or shades of PURPLE?




So what am I going to do with the yarn I bought?  I had considered returning it but the truth is the color is a great "we're not finding out the gender" color and I'll likely want to knit that other blanket at some point for someone else.

3) Finish the Hats

Again I'm so close to this one.  I've added 2 more additions to the pile.

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I likely have 1 or maybe 2 more in the leftovers and then I'm done.  That little pile yielded a lot more hats than I thought it would!

Other than that I've had a couple of charity blankets show up that have also required a bit of attention- but let's save that for another day?

Hope you're April has been as productive as mine!  (So far...)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Distractions

It's official, I'm kind of sick of hats.  That hasn't stopped me, mind you, from knitting 2 more, but my heart just doesn't care anymore.

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Thankfully I'm nearing the end of my little flirtation with bits and bobs and so far I've knit past my estimate of 14 hats, bringing the total to 15. This is all that remains for hat yarn.

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Knowing that I was sick of hats I needed something else to "play with" when I'm not cranking out ideas for "ye olde Stampede entry"... which here's a little teeny hint:

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I needed something fun and distracting and frivolous... and I all of a sudden I KNEW what I needed to do.

SPRING OUTFITS FOR THE BUNNIES!

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OF COURSE!  These guys can't wear their red and white Christmas sweaters in APRIL?  What was I thinking?! 

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Dress Pattern:  Seasonal Dresses Pattern by Julie Williams
Yarn: Fingering Weight scraps
Needles: 2.75 mm
Notes: Julie Williams writes extremely well thought out and thorough patterns.  If you ever want to cut your teeth on anything she has written I would HIGHLY recommend it.  Her patterns are worth every penny you pay for them!  (The Bunnies- which were knit previously are linked here.)

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Sweater/Shorts Pattern: Textured Sweater Pattern by Julie Willams
Yarn: Fingering Weight Scraps
Needles: 2.75 mm
Notes: ADORABLE.  And I love, LOVE, LOVE that she leaves a little spot for the tail to poke through in the shorts.  Cute factor is off the charts!

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(Sheesh... these two can't keep their hands off each other!)

Little distractions are fun but I'm still focusing on the big ones too.  I haven't conquered much on my "to do" list for April (except knit hats).  I think I'm going to add "finish the hats" to the April list too.  I'm formulating an idea for the baby blanket for July and am hoping to pull the trigger on the yarn soon.  And the mystery project should get a bunch of undivided attention on Friday when I have a little more free time.

Much is percolating and happening over here- stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I N S P I R A T I O N

Being away from the blog for so long you'd probably expect me to say "HEY LOOK I STARTED SOMETHING NEW and I was so so so so so so so so so into my new project I didn't blog for a stretch there.  BUT THE GOOD NEWS is that I have a million progress photos to show you!"

In a way it's kind of true.

After getting my kudos there with the front page of the Western Arts entry pamphlet thingy, I really started wracking my brain about what I was going to enter for the Stampede this year.  I was just beginning to work on an idea when an EVEN BETTER IDEA struck.  And lordy if I can make it work, it's gonna be awesome-sauce with a side of awesome.  And so, because ideas need to be developed, every day at nap time I get out the pencils and graph paper and I am working like a fiend.  Unlike last year's project, much of what I wanted to do was easy to figure out or use existing charts online.  I'm down to a few piddly details.... which of course is just EATING AWAY AT MY SOUL.  It's always these teeny-tiny little things that don't work just right that DRIVE ME INSANE.  And here we are again.

Sadly- it'll be blog silence on a lot of this- with very few sneak peeks until I can enter my project and leave it in the hands of the judges.  Until then you're just stuck hearing about it.  On top of it being a Stampede entry surprise, it might also be a surprise for another family member, so work on this project will need to be stealthy.  My current goal is to have the pattern locked down and designed by April 15 so that I can cast on April 16.  I'd really like to not be knitting this hours before it needs to be entered in the Stampede this year.

Lest you think it's been all work and no fun around here I have managed to knit another 4 hats and get some sock progress in .  My little leftover pile is beginning to look smaller finally!

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And last weekend a quick trip out to Ottawa allowed me some knitting time and the travelling sock became, well, a sock (that needs a pair now).

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GIANT ASIDE... My kid LOVES Bob the Builder.  LOOOOOVES.  Like Bob is a religion at our house.  And so, when we realized there was a  Bob exhibit at the National Children's Museum in Ottawa and it was the last weekend (and you should know they stopped making Bob toys in 2005 so doing or seeing anything Bob related is SCARCE) we felt we had to GO.  And so, we did.  A quick in/out trip (where yes, there was knitting!) and my kid got to meet his hero.




He looks pretty happy, non?

Okay well that's all there is to report for this month.  I need to figure out a blanket to knit for a friend due in July- so my goals for April are fairly simple:

1) Finalize Stampede Pattern by April 15- Cast on!
2) Figure out Baby Blanket for baby in July and procure the yarn to knit it.
3) Keep knitting hats

I can't believe it's the end of March!  Where does the time go!?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The One Where Hats are Addicting

So when we left last this blog, I vowed that I would knit 3 hats.  I knit those 3 up fairly quickly and viola- here they are.

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The problem is that I couldn't stop at 3.  I would pick up my shawl and basically hold it in my hand and then decide.... I'll knit a hat instead.  So that's how I ended up with 3 more hats...

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Baby hats for me are just one of those projects that are simple and mindless.  Am I tired?  Knit a hat.  Am I stressed?  Knit a hat.  Am I watching some TV that requires better attention (House of Cards)?  KNIT A HAT.  I'm oddly enjoying making my bits and bobs into hats and seeing what I can come up with.  I am starting to get down in the pile and wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon I have no yarn left.  Until then I've enjoyed the easy knitting... maybe it's because I'm planning to take a bite out of a heftier project soon-ish.

The shawl?  The shawl hasn't seen anything at all.  It sits in it's project bag hoping that I will find inspiration with it once again.  And so, with that in mind- I'm changing the March plan (mid March) to reflect that March is now all about knitting hats.

How many more can I squeeze out this month?  (Also- NO MORE HATS in April... back to work and Stampede thoughts...)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Little Bit of Bragging

TWO POSTS in one day!?  Normally I wouldn't post so frequently but I decided that this was "blog worthy" and I couldn't wait on it.

My MiL sent me a picture of the booklet for the Western Lifestyles Creative Arts and Crafts Competition for the Stampede this year.  (It's basically the entrance booklet- and I'm not sure why I didn't get one, but I digress...)

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Recognize the project on the FRONT FREAKIN' PAGE?!?

I. AM. FAMOUS.  (sort of)  If you go to the link (here) and open the book they credit me inside.

Either way I'm deeply flattered and feeling pretty legit at the moment.

Maui Break - Return of the Blog

I don't usually like to advertise, but that big old blog break was due to our annual Maui trip, which we returned from on Sunday.  I had intended to work on the shawl while I was there, but after a few rows in, I realized (rightfully so) that I wanted something less finicky for the ride down.  And, since it's sort of a tradition anyways- I grabbed some self striping sock yarn and readied myself for a new Maui sock.

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It's pretty isn't it?  These are the aptly named "Socks on a Plane" pattern and the name alone was reason enough for me to knit these!

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I cast on before I left and only allowed myself 6 rows to get started enough on the plane.  On the way down I made huge progress.  (Thank you Bob the Builder for entertaining my kid!)  I made less progress on the way back but did get as far as the heel flap.  I'm going to set these aside for a bit now, and save them for other trips I have coming up.

I did, in a weird state of hopefulness, actually bring my shawl too, but it didn't get any attention.  The shawl has had a few false starts since we last caught up.  I had made it about 40 rows in and then discovered a mistake.  Being a hypocritical idiot (more on that in a minute) I didn't have a life line and was forced to rip the entire thing out and begin again.  I'm back where I started (WITH a life line this time) and hope to devote much of my March to making progress on it.


Why am I hypocritical idiot?  MiL has also cast on a shawl, and both of us are cutting our teeth on these wispy little patterns.  When she was casting on and doing her research I kept telling her "make sure you do a life line" (life line = yarn holding a row of stitches so you only have to rip back so far if you do discover a mistake- I put it in every 15 rows or so...)  I'm not sure why I felt I needed to nag her on this, especially since she has more years of knitting under her belt and has successfully knit a shawl before, but I did.  (Sorry Phyllis!)  I'm even less sure why I didn't follow my own advice and put one in for me!  But alas- I was dumb and I learned my lesson the hard way when I ripped out all of that work.

Right before I left I also managed to add a little hat to the pile and it's really cute.

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Even though there are waaaaaay more ends to weave in, I'm actually quite enjoying this little stripey hat project I've committed myself too.  Which leads me to the March goal- knit 3 more hats and work on the shawl.  The hats need to be done but we'll just see how far I get on the shawl.  April will likely be for another baby due in July... but we'll talk about that later.

For now.... I leave you with a little Maui magic...

(I took this on my Iphone!  I have never seen a perfect rainbow arch like that.  It was beautiful!)





It was a great trip- but it's great to be home and get back into our regular swing of things.  (Which means more knitting!!)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

FINISHED

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am that I signed up for the February is for Finishing plan because guys- I AM DONE.  Repeat: I. AM. DONE. EVERYTHING.  I'm so stinkin' proud of myself for just gearing down and doing the 'un fun' task stuff because it means now my brain can focus on other things.  It's so hard to start something new when you feel like you really should be finishing something else.  Right now, I don't feel like that at all.  THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER.

Good thing I am done, a new wave of babies have been announced and I feel like for at least one of those blankets I really need to bring my A game.  (Mom-to-be is a knitter and well, I need to impress her, because I'm stupidly competitive like that....)

BUT enough about what could be- let's look at what IS.

First up- Polaris (Part 2) Mittens.  (Part 1 Here)


Pattern: Polaris Mittens by Rebecca Blair
Yarn: (teal) Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Fine Colorway 1285 and (white) Little Knits Sockulent Colorway 1
Needles: US 1
Notes: I must have been stressed right out when I knit these because they were TIGHT.  I wish the thumb had like 5 extra stitches as it was quite tight.  To say that I "blocked the heck out of these" is a total understatement.  I did everything I could to add in some give.  The good news is that my sister has super teeny tiny hands and they fit her perfectly- so YAY.  She gets a pair of mittens!  I also really REALLY liked that white yarn for mittens.  (Sockulent)  It knits up perfectly and goes great with so many things.  Eventually I might try to get my hands on more.


Why did I make these twice?  You can see my epic fail here- and that sort of brings you up to date.  I couldn't bring myself to rip back so much work, and so I just decided to knit a small pair, thanking the stars up in heaven that my sister has tiny hands and this wouldn't just go to waste!

    

Despite the agony I will admit- these ARE quite lovely.  AND- I finally have that Ultra Alpaca out of my stash.  (Making room in my stash always feels SO good.)

But, that is not all friends.  That is not all.

The Preschool socks are done too!


Pattern: Sock Recipe: A Good Plain Sock (from Knitting Rules) by Stephanie Pearl McPhee
Yarn: Regia Design Line Ombre Stripe Colorway 04480
Needles: US 1
Notes: I have knit this pattern so many times.  In my opinion it's still one of the best "sock recipes" around.


As usual, I went to great pains to line up the stripes to get it perfect.  (Which yes, means cutting up the yarn to get me there.)  I never regret that decision.  Although, I can't, for the life of me, explain why the toes don't match.  (That purple must have gone a little longer by accident?)  It's not enough of a flaw to make me twitchy, so I'm leaving it.  They look lovely don't they?


(It is also good news to note that I did NOT knit the remainder of these at preschool.  My son has been attending on his own since January.  I will not lie, we have good days and we have not so good days, but it is nice to have a little of that time back again.)

And so that's it.  This was an INSANELY productive month- which has now freed me to pursue other avenues.  I decided to try something I've been wanting to cut my teeth on for a while now...

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Meet my newest lace project- the Peacock's Feather.  I'm assured by lace knitters everywhere the first several rows of lace look like an ugly blob, so I am trying not to panic here.  I've had a bit of bumpy start but I think I'm just starting to get into this now.  We'll see how it looks in a bit I guess.

I haven't set a March plan yet- I'm still thinking on what I want to accomplish.  I like the short term goal set vs. the long term "all year" plan.  I just haven't decided WHAT March will be yet.  Stay tuned!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finishing Fanatic

Can I just say how good it feels to finish stuff!?  SO GOOD.  So very very good.

Rainbow Hugs and Kisses is the latest thing to get the "DONE" treatment.

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Pattern: Band #66 from the"Mosaic Knitting" by Barbara Walker
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable Brights in "Red Hot", "Orange Crush", "Sunny Day", "Kelly Green", "Royal Blue" and "Amethyst" and "Black"
Needle: US 9
Notes: This blanket is a little longer than I'd like, but I wanted to get a full 2 color repeat through out.  I'm also pleased with the 3 stitch border and will do that again for remaining blankets.

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(Just a look on the wrong side so you can see how nice and short the floats are.)

It's lovely isn't it?

The minute that the blanket made it's way to the blocking board I began progress on the mitten in earnest.  As I neared the end of the mitten I got really, REALLY nervous that I wasn't going to have enough yarn.  Running out of yarn before the project is finished is like one of my greatest nightmares.  In the past I've alleviated this panic by over-buying yarn.  But, now that I'm more focused on stash busting I do my best not to over- buy.... but it does lead to hairy moments where your brain says "it's not enough."

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I made it to the end of the mitten thankfully with a little bit of leftovers.  (Pictured above)  I then decided I would knit a little bit of the thumbs on each mitten at a time to see how far I could make the yarn last.  I am happy to report (and kill the suspense) that I HAD ENOUGH FOR BOTH THUMBS!  But it was a tight finish... this is all I had left!!

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WHEW!  The even better news is that I got right to weaving in the ends (oh my goodness do I hate weaving in ends!) on this and the mittens are currently blocking.  (A blog update soon- I promise!)

And so, with only 1 goal remaining I jumped right in and cast on sock #2.

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It's been a productive week!  I can't wait to show you what else I finish this month!