It has been since I last bought yarn!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Little More Like It

We have managed to settle more into a fall routine around these parts and it means that knitting time is slowing making a comeback too.  I'm happy to report there is some progress on the projects!

I've got most of the cuff on a second mitten now and it means I'm well into these.  These must be off the needles and BLOCKED by the end of October (yay goals!)- and I think that will be a very reasonable little goal to achieve.


Also, seeing more progress, the sock is looking like an actual sock these days.  I'm telling myself that these will also need to be done by the end of October but blocking will be optional.


Looks like a sock right?

That's it?

Well kind of.  It's progress and it's certainly better than what's been happening lately, but here is where I also confess that I haven't been 100% to faithful to knitting lately.  There are some days and nights now where I don't even *GASP* knit.





I fell down the adult coloring rabbit hole and OH MAN, do I ever enjoy that to.

Adult coloring, for those who are wondering, is exactly what it sounds like- coloring pages for adults.  Smaller lines, more intricate details in order to add color to, usually done with pencil crayons.  I love looking at an overwhelming, slightly disordered colorless page and immediately coming up with color schemes and ways to color it in.  Now Parker and I color together, I in my book and he in his.  It's highly relaxing, the only downside is that it also means I choose what I'm going to do that night, and sometimes knitting doesn't win.

Not to worry, I have no plans in turning this into a "coloring blog" vs. knitting.  But if my progress is showing signs of slowing, it's likely because I'm distracted with coloring sometimes now too.  I've always been "bi-craftsual" and this one is looking like it's going to stick around for a bit right now.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I Should Blog...

... I've been saying this to myself for about 8 days now, but especially since Tuesday.  I should blog, but inevitably, I don't.  There has been knitting goings on here lately, it just seems like everytime I have a bit of spare time I find a way to fill it up, that does not involve blogging, and it seems like lately, also doesn't involve much knitting.

Let's talk about last Tuesday first.  This last Tuesday was AWESOME in ways I can't even tell you.  When I heard the Yarn Harlot was doing her "Knitting for Speed and Efficiency" all day class on Tuesday, I didn't even wait to ask for a sitter, I SIGNED UP.  And then, I got MiL to sign up and THEN I called my parents and begged profusely.  (Thankfully hanging out with my kid is their favorite so begging looked more like "can you watch..." "YES WE'LL TAKE PARKER!  WHEN CAN WE GET HIM?  NOW!????"  I'm lucky.  I won't deny this.)

Just hanging out making creepy smiles at knitting royalty... as one does...

I can't really recap the entire Harlot lesson but I'll likely go on at length as it was insanely informative.  The whole point of the speech is to look at how productivity in knitting has changed over the years (decreased) from our hyper productive ancestors.  We also looked at things like proper hand position, sitting position etc, that, done incorrectly, can lead to problems which can mean LESS knitting.  The Harlot showed us several different techniques, (I learned how to throw, since I am a "continental" knitter or "picker") including lever knitting.

And here's where I can get really honest.  I've got some bad knitting habits.  Habits I've known are "weird" for a while now.  My 2 worst habits are:

 1) I tension my yarn wrong.  Instead of just knitting onto the needle like most knitters, I pull my yarn once I transfer the stitch.  It's a weird little quirk that I learned likely developed in my early knitting career as I was afraid of having stitches fall off my needles, so I gave them more room on the needle, but I needed to compensate for the gap I create when I knit.

2) My hands don't like holding all the things- so I usually hold my needle stationary on my stomach or my pants so that I can just knit the stitches off.  (Oddly enough this is essentially lever knitting, just not in it's more "perfect" form.)

The Harlot had us do a "Stitches per minute" test at the beginning of the class.  And I posted a respectable 26 stitches per minute!  That then felt woefully indadequate once we watched professional "speed knitters" knit 150 sts per minute, but in the moment I was proud of myself.  That was about the last time I felt smart in the class.  (This by the way is not the fault of a poor teacher or anything else, it's just REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to change your knitting style after you've gotten into a groove like I have.)

I then started to correct some of my knitting habits; better posture, more relaxed hand position, different techniques like continental for knit stitch and the "english" (or throwing) for purl stitch, and most imporantly STOP my bad habit of yanking the yarn for every stitch.  And, well, see for your self, things got ugly.


My tension changed DRAMATICALLY.  The Harlot told us not to be too hard on ourselves as it usually takes 30 days of practicing good habits to get back to where we were before, and I'm telling you right now, those will be a hard 30 days.  I'm also, being 100% honest here, I am not even going to try and get to the right style for a while.  I have an aggressive "knitting schedule" that I am already behind on, and changing my style for 30 days isn't really going to play nicely into that.  I would like to set aside some time and attempt to at least work out bad habit #1 from my arsenal, but that likely won't be until the new year.

I cannot say enough good things about the class.  It was highly informative and I learned a TONNE.  It's probably the most imformative class I've ever taken, along with Cookie A's sock class from ages ago.  If you have the opportunity take this class- even if you change nothing, you'll have a blast and LEARN SO MUCH.  Thank you x a million to Sharon at Pudding Yarn for hosting the event and to Stephanie who challenged me to think outside the knitting box and try something different.

Of course, spending 6 hours in a yarn shop you cannot help yourself but buy something.  I bought this.  It's incredibly soft and lovely and OH I want to knit with it now.  But I won't.  Perhaps these will be for husband as he'd appreciate a little cashmere in his life.

Hello Cashmere my old friend...

The class was obviously the highlight of my last few days but I have managed to squeak a few rows out here and there on the various other projects I'd like to finish eventually.

1) The Mitten is looking more like a mitten (although I'm having concerns that the thumb stitch allotment might be too big- but I solidier on in denial like a good knitter does).


2) The Sock, is also looking like it might, someday, when it grows up, become a sock.


But, I will admit it's not much.  I'm trying to squeeze in some knitting time these days, even though it seems harder to do... even 1 row of stitches count as progress and I'll take it.  Hang in there with me ok?  Progress should be picking back up again around here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Whittling Away

Keen eyes will notice that I've updated the blog to reflect my rather large "to do" list --->.  As things get completed I'll cross them off and we can keep track as to where I am with staying on track.

Of course, I've already got an update for you!  My second baby hat and bootie set is done and ready for the momma at Parker's preschool.  (I am so happy to report that Preschool, so far, has gone very well for us this year and my little guy seems to be settling in much easier.)



Pattern: Cabled Teddy Hat by Marinda Lariz
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued)
Needle: US 6
Notes: I really love this hat pattern- it looks smashing and cute and knits up fast.  The ears are quite brilliant in the way they are knit and in general this is becoming my "go to" pattern for hat knitting for expecting mamas.


What I love about this hat is that is assembles quickly- and the ends aren't too cumbersome, even after adding in the ears.


Pattern: Cable Cuff Booties by Caroline Brook
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued)
Needle: US 5
Notes: These booties are smashing and cleverly created.  My only "issue" with the pattern is that it creates a million ends to weave in at the end.  Not the end of the world, but a little frustrating when you just want to be done them!


The finished product IS worth the pain, but don't be fooled... it is a PAIN.  (grrr)

This little set will be packaged up shortly and delivered soon as mom was saying "7 more weeks" yesterday, and I hope for her sake it's a little earlier than that!

Next up in the que is two items.  I'm going to cast on the second mitten and also get the sock more started.  (I need my portable project to have more "starter rows" going in order to make it more portable.)  My goal is to have the mitten finished in early October.  Let's see if I can make that happen!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let's Do This Fall!

There is a slight chill to the air and the kids are all headed back to school, (mine tomorrow), and all I can think of is starting and knitting 100 million projects to keep loved ones warm this winter!  I WANT TO KNIT ALL THE THINGS!  September is going to be BUSY.

But first, before I jump in on my INSANE "to do" list... the travelling sock came to completion on our summer holiday and you need to see 'em!


Pattern: Socks on a Plane by Laura Linneman
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in "Positively Pink" (discontinued)
Needles: US 1
Notes: I changed the pattern and knit these socks top down vs the written toe up.  (I've done toe up, I just don't like it.)  Also, I knit in an "eye of the partridge" heel, which man, I just love the look of that heel.  As always, I cute the yarn at the heel so that I could make the stripes line up nicely.  (I never regret that decision!)

Untitled Untitled

These socks went everywhere with me this year; Maui, Ottawa, Denmark, Kelowna and finished off in Osyoos.  I love the travel ease of a travelling sock.  It's all contained in one neat little Ziploc bag and I just grab it and dump it my carry on bag and I can knit on the go anywhere.

I guess that's why I've already got another traveller started...


Yup.  More self striping!  I"m going to knit these in "man size" and I'm going to use the "Globe Trotter" pattern.  (Well named for a sock that travels don't you think?)

We got home from vacation last night and I immediately, (once I had unpacked), jumped in on knitting the sweater because I thought about that sweater a LOT on vacation.  Remind me of this enthusiasm for this sweater when I envitably burn out on it and don't feel the love anymore ok?


So now that we have what I'm currently working on covered, we need to discuss what I want to knit this fall, and um, I've bitten off more than I can chew, I'm certain.

1) Baby Hat and Bootie Set (finish by end of Sept)

2) Second Pair of Mittens (finish by end of November)

3) Baby Hat and Bootie Set (finish by end of November)

4) Globe Trotter Socks (finish by Christmas)

5) Thick Pair of snuggly socks (knit in worsted or sport weight) (finish before New Years)

6) Surprise Large (mystery!) Knit for my sister (finish by Christmas)

All of these great ideas mean that the sweater is probably not going to get finished until we're in the New Year.  It does mean that this blog will be interesting for the cooler months as I work towards this little personal goal.  I'm excited, exhilarated and ready to DO THIS.  (Even if I might also be a touch crazy....)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Jump Start on Christmas

Welp... I've finished one of the 2 pairs of mittens I wanted to make for Christmas this year!  Say hello to ELLY....


Pattern: Elly Mittens by JennyPenny
Yarn: Grey: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina 1914, White: Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer "white", Red: Little Knits Sockulent #4 (This stuff is proving to be GREAT mitten yarn!)
Needles: US 1.5
Notes: I love the little "twinkle" that the glimmer adds to the mitten.  So cute.  The only thing I altered about this pattern was that I knit in a thumb gusset (and charted it out myself) so that there was a better feel to the thumb.  I have found I have never really been satisifed by the "after thought" thumb and decided, especially since it was a gift, that I wanted to have a nice, comfortable fit.  These are for one of Parker's preschool teachers for Christmas.

Untitled Untitled

Here's the chart for the gusset.  Red dots are "M1" (make 1 increases- I use left and right bar increases).  I started the gusset 8 rows after the last red row.


The pattern is the same on the outside and inside of the hand- it makes it an easy knit but I must admit I sort of like the palm to have something different.  Oh well... c'est la vie.

With Elly done and the weather being a little less "warm" these days I actually managed to decide on a sweater pattern to knit AND even cast it on.  This has an I cord cast on, which is a total pain to cast on with, but DAMN if doesn't make a nice clean cast on.  It's worth the pain... trust me.  This is 206 stitches ready to go...


I even knit the circular swatch as suggested, just to be sure my gauge will be spot on.  And, thankfully it looks like all signs point to "GET GOIN'".


I won't give it away on what the pattern is yet... all will be revealed in time, but I must admit I'm excited to get into this one.  This will be the first time I do steeks and well... there's going to be wine when it comes time to take the scissors to it!  (YES!  SCISSORS... TO CUT INTO YOUR KNITTING ON PURPOSE.... I practically faint at the thought.)

I also manged to do another charity blanket that was calling for "this and that" in the stash.  I think (hope) this will be the last of those blankets that show up for awhile.  I've knit a TONNE of them this summer and I need to get back to focusing on what I want to knit and accomplish.


Looking ahead to the fall I want to make up the sweater, another pair of mittens and two hat and bootie sets for expectant moms in Parker's preschool class.  This should be an interesting place to visit while I try and crank those out!  I hate to see summer go, but I must admit, as a knitter, a little part of me LOVES fall knitting.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Yay Summer

This is me right now "YAY SUMMER!"... but it also means knitting suffers at the hands of other more summery past times.  Which means, this blog sort of suffers on content while I'm busy soaking up enough vitamin D to get me through the rather long, cold Canadian winters.

*ugh* I just thought about winter... in August.  I have cursed us haven't I?

Now that I am no longer suffering at the hands of the Tickled Purple blanket I have managed to squeak out some progress on the projects that aren't completed here.

A quick trip to Kelowna for a wedding over the long weekend meant that the travelling sock progressed a little bit...


... that's probably a good thing since more sock yarn showed up last week- which I didn't really need.  But I have a Felici problem and there's no known cure for it.  (But at least one of these colorways will likely be perfect for travelling sock for next year.)


The mitten has also seen a lot more progress and I'm hoping that it will be finished before the end of this month.  (Especially since I have to knit another one yet to stay ahead of Christmas teacher knitting...)


And, as if that wasn't enough, I also started a Saskatchewan Roughrider themed blanket for WCOBB.  Because, you can apparently take the girl out of Saskatchewan but not the Saskatchewan out of the girl.


There's another charity blanket here now that is doing an excellent job eating up scraps of acrylic yarn and then there should be a break for a bit on those for now.

At some point I'd really like to knit another baby hat for a preschool mom (due in October) and would also like to figure out a sweater to knit for the fall- but who wants to look at sweaters when it's +30 out?  Not me.  So for now, I'm just going to try and squeeze some knitting in and amongst all this sunshine and desire to soak up the rays.

Hope your summers are going as well as mine... even if it means your knitting progress is suffering a little.  :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tickled Purple

It's done!  It's DONE!  IT. IS. SO. DONE!


Pattern: "#1 Tickled Pink" by Lisa Silverman found in 60 Quick Baby Blankets.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in 205, 803, 857, 871, and 880
Needles: US 7
Notes: There is apparently an error in the book for the pattern but I've knit patterns similar to this enough to be able to pick up the jist of the pattern really quickly and so I didn't notice the error.  (But, be warned if you're working from the book.)  The pattern is really quick and really easy as long as you're paying attention.  (AHEM, me.)


This blanket is lovely and squooshy and once washed, so soft.  I just hope the mom likes it as much as I do.


I really need to, again, THANK my mother in law repeatedly.  I wouldn't have been happy with how this blanket looked if I had just passed over the error and kept going.  It would have bothered me and motivation would be at an all time low to actually finish it.


By ripping back those stitches she SAVED this project and, in the process, also my sanity.  So- thank you Phyllis.... I owe you a BIG ONE.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Finishing Up Is Hard

Well, the ends are woven in and all that remains for me to do is to block the Tickled Purple blanket.  That also means a lovely "finished" photoshoot for this project is coming soon.  I have the blocking board but GAH the desire to actually block this project is SO LOW.  Someone come and make me block this thing! (At least the ends are all woven in... that's usually such a difficult hurdle for me to get past...)


I also got another charity blanket out the door- say hello to "fruit salad" and my section "banana".


Getting all this stuff done meant I could get back to work on the project I wanted to work on.... my mitten.  I'm always so jazzed to see it start coming together.  It's rather spiffy looking!!


So after I've said that I'm excited about the direction of the mitten I have to admit I'm bored and suffering from "second sock syndrome" only replace the word "sock" with "mitten".  I just don't want to cast on the 2nd one... I want to move on to more exciting things.... like this idea that I have for another pattern I'd design on my own.  GAH.  Finishing is hard y'all.

Once the mitten gets to a closer finished state I want to cast on another hat/bootie combo for the mom at preschool who's going to have her third little one in October.  I also really REALLY want to tackle my worsted weight stash situation and knit a sweater for myself this fall.  It'll mean digging into Ravelry and seeing what there is to knit.... I'm thinking cardigan but need to find the right one.

In the meantime.... there is summer to enjoy!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Whirlwind Catch-up

I just barely eked out that last blog post and my life hit "hyper drive".  The lazy/hazy days of summer are just a dream, this summer kicked offt with a gunshot!

Let's start with the biggest news of all- how I did in the Stampede this year.



First in my Category and another 2nd place finish overall.  On top of that I was chosen as the Gina Brown Memorial Needle Arts award, which according to my google fu means; "the Gina Brown Needle arts award is open to anyone entering the Open Section in the Knitting, Crocheting & tatting, Sewing or Stitchery Sections. The winner of this award is chosen by members of the Creative arts and Crafts community."  So um... WOW, did not see that coming and SO SO flattered.

I want to state adamently how pleased I am with this finish and this award and how truely flattered I am to be recognized.  I will admit that I'm already trying to think about what's going to put me over the top to get a First overall because I really REALLY want that ribbon in my collection now.

I was unable to go to the Stampede to see for myself (and all of the entries) until later in the week, so I was so greatful MiL was able to send me a quick text pic... which I got just as I was about to leave the country.

YUP- I had to get some stuff out of the way because we flew out on July 2 to DENMARK to go to a wedding.  Copenhagen was lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed our extremely quick (4 days) there.  On our last evening, late in the day I walked by a yarn shop by accident and was crushed that it was closed.  BUT on the upside to all of this, the travel sock got to see some action again.  (Transatlantic flights are excellent for progress making...)

Knowing that I had to go away for a few days I really felt the pressure to get my two charity blankets out the door BEFORE me so that I didn't hold anyone else up.  This is "Mother's Day" (knit in your mom's favorite color... so pink section for me) and "Raspberry Surprise" (knit in combinations of red/pink or white).

Getting those charity blankets out of the way, however, kept me from making more progress on the Tickled Purple blanket.  That was a shame because baby Claire had the AUDACITY to be early!  (GAH!)  And, while I just finally, FINALLY caught back up to where I had screwed up enormously LAST NIGHT, it's not going to be ready for a while yet.

(Deja vu anyone?  Believe me, this photo is new)

That leaves me with a tough choice to make because I don't really want to be too behind on baby gifts and there is only so much left in the "overflow" for blankets.  These are friends we socialize with regularly and would like to give them something a little extra special.  Husband thinks I could give them the "More Than I Can Chew" Blanket from many MANY moons ago.  In fact, (as I don't see a post about it) I think this blanket was before this blog even existed (2007!).  Here are some photos of it:



This blanket is lovely and I DO feel it hits that "special" note but I have one issue with it.  There's an error right smack in the middle.  I'll need to look at it again and see if it really bothers me enough to let it go or not.

And that brings you up to date on the knitting progress around here.  There is progress, I just haven't been around much to talk about it!  I'm hoping to finish the purple blanket and get back into the mittens- I really just want to work on those mittens for awhile.  So, hopefully that will be the story soon and we can ease into some simple, quick projects this summer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

May the Force Be With Me - Mystery Revealed!

Welp- the Stampede entries are officially in and I can finally reveal what I entered as my project this year.



Pattern: Star Wars Mittens by ME (Jennifer Johnson)  I used various previously charted items in order to create most of the items you see.  Yoda, 3P0 and "Star Wars" are my own charting adventures.
Death Star
Darth Vader (I couldn't get the site to work so hopefully the Pinterest link will suffice)
AT/AT Walker
Storm Trooper
Boba Fett
Millenium Falcon
X Wing Fighter
Inside Mitten Stars (Another Pinterest pattern)
Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Zarina in 1404 (Black) 1914 (Gray)
Needles: ACK- it appears I didn't write this down!  I think US 1 (1.25 mm)
Size: Men's size
Notes: OMG so many.

1) I've already been asked if I will release the pattern on Ravelry and my response is two fold.  a) I'm not sure what the legality of using charts that others have prepared and written is.  I obviously wouln't be able to sell the pattern (much of it isn't my own work and I don't own the rights to Lucas Films items) but I'm not sure I can even release it as my own pattern without upsetting the people who worked at charting out this stuff.  b) I've tried creating my own electronic chart files and guys, I just really REALLY suck at it.  These are all drawn out on my own and shaded in, in pencil.  The pattern makes sense to me, but I'm not sure it makes sense to others.

2) You'll notice, obviously, that the outside mittens are different.  There's a "DARK SIDE" and a "REBEL" side.

Dark Side ("Bad guys")


Rebel Side ("Good guys")


I also did two different light sabres on the thumbs so that the recipient can do thumb lightsaber battles!  (That was MiL's idea!)

To be honest, I'm not sure who exactly judges the Stampede entries.  And, more than likely, details like a "dark side" and "rebel" side and deulling lightsabers are likley going to be lost on the judges, unless they have a general understanding of Star Wars.  But, I'm hoping that whether they win or lose they will generate some crowd excitement from Star Wars fans taking in the exhibits.  (Unfortunately "Most nerdy" is still not a category at Stampede...)

3) I must thank my Brother in Law profusely for offering help and opinions on what I included on the mitten.  Brother in Law (BiL) is NOT a knitter nor is he a super crafty guy.  He very patiently offerred opinons on various charts and locations of where items were on the mittens and offered thoughtful opinions and insights.  We exchanged numerous text messages for a month and he at least seemed excited about the project.  Anyways- thanks Nathan... you were a BIG help.

4) Yeah- I really do like Star Wars.  Why, oh why, oh why do you ask? 

So now all the mysteries have been revealed and we wait to find out until next week how I "fared".  

I hope she's doesn't mind- but I also wanted to show off MiL's Stampede entry this year... it is beautiful and deserves a little showing off....


Admittedly my pictures don't do this thing justice (apologies)- but take it from me, it is beautiful and soft and I suspect it's going to do very well.  (Pattern is "Trifle Shawl" by Megan Goodacre and Yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in colorway 114 "Macaw")  Interesting note- this is the yarn that I gifted her for Christmas this year!

I won't get to see how either of us do at Stampede this year until later in the week, so I'll just hope for good things.  If you see our stuff there feel free to shout and exclaim "HEY- I sort of know that person!"  ;-)

****** GOOD NEWS- there is actually more to share but this is already quite long.  Charity blankets and progress on the Purple blanket are moving in the right direction.  I will share more when there is time!  Stay tuned!