It has been since I last bought yarn!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tickled Purple

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

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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.)

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

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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.

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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...)

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

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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!!

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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!

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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.

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I DID WELL!

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.

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(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:

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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.

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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
R2D2
Lightsaber
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")

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Rebel Side ("Good guys")

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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....

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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!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where I'm At Now

When last you left me, I was in a heap in a corner, weeping over the sheer stupidity of screwing up so badly on the purple blanket.  I put it in time out and I walked away.  I did the only thing I could think of when knitting made me so angry.  I knit something else.  I knit something else I really like knitting.  I cast on a pair of mittens.

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They are actually going quite well.


The thumb has an after thought thumb, which I hate, so I have added my own little pattern for a gusset in order to be sure there's a better thumb spot.  I have it in my head that I will gift Parker's teachers every year with a pair of hand knit mittens so I'm preparing a stash so that I don't panic every December for the next 14 years.

After I had cast on the mitten I got an email from my MiL.  MiL knows me well enough to know I couldn't just leave the error...

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Why yes.... I'm extremely lucky to have her aren't I?  I felt badly handing it off to her but I knew if I didn't I would likely not touch this again.  And so I did- and she told me to look it at like old time's sake when she used to fix my knitting all the time.

I got this back on Sunday, and true to her word she had pulled out the ends and ripped the whole thing back for me.  (Insert angels singing here)  Each color block was neatly rolled into balls and she left a few rows for me to rip back so that I could get it back on the needles.  This was EXTEMELY kind of her to do that for me.


My intention today is to get it back on the needles and repositioned to knit.  Maybe even knit a few rows TODAY and get the trajectory of this thing back on track.  The problem is that I'm really enjoying the mitten knitting and I only want to work on that.  Also, there are 3 charity blankets enroute to me at the moment that are also going to take up my time.  I'm seriously questioning if I can get this blanket done in time for July 15 (Baby's due date).  It feels mean to the mom to hope that it's late.... but I'm hoping this kid hangs out in there for a while longer.

I take the mystery project in tomorrow- and soon there will be pictures and all will be revealed.  Aren't you excited?!

In the mean time let's enjoy some photos of my backyard and all the gardening that has been happening around here!





Stay tuned- it's about to get interesting on the needles.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Apocolypse Now

I don't even know where to begin.

I picked up the purple stripey blanket a couple of days ago and I made progress.  I just said "this needs to be done" and so I knit like a fiend and I nearly doubled my progress in a matter of days.

Before....

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This week...

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Impressive non?

In fact I was burning through this blanket so quickly that I told myself that if I had 30 inches of blanket knit by June 18 I'd even make it a last minute entry in the Stampede.  (Which in itself was a ridiculous goal- but I've never really been known for my knitting sanity now have I?)

Do you notice anything different in those photos back there?

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Tonight at knitting I was quietly knitting away on my project when a lovely member of my group wanted to get a closer look.  When she did she asked an honestly simple question "how did you get that stitch?"  When I went to answer her, I got a sick feeling in my stomach.  The pattern requires you to wrap the yarn 3 times around the needle on the white garter rows in order to stretch over the band of color.

GUESS WHAT I DIDN'T BLOODY DO FOR THE ENTIRE TIME I GOT BACK TO KNITTING THIS BLANKET?!?

*@#&%^*#&%^@)#(%$#(@*$&^$!)(*$(#@*&^$!@*&%$_@!)#(*$&@#*&^@#%*&^@#(!!!!

Nearly TEN inches of progress knit entirely wrong.

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(The above picture shows the backwards view of the situation.  To get an idea of how much I have to rip out- I'd have to start at the 12" mark and rip out all of that.)

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RIGHT PATTERN (with wrapped stitches)


$&*@(+# WRONG PATTERN (with slipped stitches)

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(%(*@&^% !O#$(#((!*&*&#$)#*&^%&@:":#$?>#$@)$#$?><>>"}{}{$@$!!!!!!!

I have been merely slipping the stitch the entire time I have been patting myself on the back for being a fast and brilliant knitter.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do now.  I could rip out all of that painstaking work, hours of my precious time gone.  BUT- that in itself would be an enormous pain in the ass because, trying to be good about not leaving myself too many ends to weave in - I HAVE ALREADY WOVEN IN THE ENDS.


*sobs hysterically*

The kind knitters of my group have consoled me and told me it's not that noticeable.  And truthfully it's not half bad- except this gift was intended for another knitter.  SOMEONE who would actually probably notice that "hey- this is different".  And while she isn't likely the kind of person who would look at the error and throw it back in my face and call our friendship off- I just can't give it to her.  I just can't.

Before you try to tell me I can and it's not that noticeable... I. JUST. CAN'T.  Don't try to tell me I can.  I know me well enough to know.  I CANNOT DO IT.  (I suffer from too much pride, too much perfectionism and too much anal rententive-ness... I am who I am.)

So that leaves me with a huge dilema because I honestly don't know what to do.  Here are the options:

1) Knit the same amount of the wrong pattern as the right pattern, then switch back to the right pattern so that the "wrong slipped stitch" pattern is in the middle of the blanket and the blanket has a little bit of symmetry.  (Truthfully I actually prefer the look of the WRONG pattern to the right one... but that doesn't really help me out of my jam all that much.)

2) Finish knitting this as it is, don't rip anything back and gift it to a non-knitter who wouldn't really notice that I'm a moron.

3) Painstakingly un-weave all those ends and rip back the 10 inches and start again, following the pattern correctly this time.  (You should know that even considering this option makes me want to cry my eyes out and develop a drinking problem...)

4) New Yarn- new project and knit fast.  (Oh yeah... did I mention baby is due July 15?)

5) Give up knitting and find a new hobby that will not always break my heart and crush my soul like this.

As of this writing I don't have a plan.  I'm still in shock that I've done this.  I'm in shock that I could have let something like this happen.  I just can't believe I did this.

And I just can't see my way to a solution right now.  The blanket has to go into time out - in a nice dark hole so that it can sit and think about what it's done and how poorly it's behaved.  A year of time out is probably not enough.  FOREVER, at this point, is not enough time away to look at this blanket with a clear head.

And that's where I'm leaving you today- because I honestly don't know where to go from here.

I hear crocheting is nice........

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fresh off the Needles

Well, slowly... so slowly... I'm feeling the urge to knit a little more.  Why, even last night I picked up that poor neglected blanket with the purple stripes and I knit a few rows on it.  And well, I even want to knit a few more today!

The motivation is back likely because I cleaned up a few loose ends.  I finished the adorable Cable booties.

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Pattern: Cable Cuff Booties by Caroline Brooke
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash 006 (discontinued)
Needles: US 5
Notes: OH MY GOD these are cute.  CUTE. CUTE. CUTE. CUTE.  STINKIN' CUTE.  And the pattern is well written.  I'm going to knit these again.  I highly recommend you try them out too.  Did I mention cute?

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The booties were knit to match the little cable hat I knit a few weeks ago.  I'll be giving these to a very pregnant mom in our preschool group this week at Parker's year end concert.  (YEAR END!?  Where did the time go?!)  There are 2 more moms that will be due in the fall so I need to decide if I'm going to give them the same set or make more theme-y ones.  (Pumpkin and Santa Hat potentially?)

I also received 2 charity blankets to add my section to.  The rules were to cable them- so I did some lovely 6 and 9 stitch plaits.

Here's "Cable Guy":

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And here's "Cable Girl":

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There's a few more charity blankets coming my way this summer so hopefully I can take a good swipe at that acrylic stash and get it down to a smaller amount.

And lastly- just because I like to brag when I'm crafty in other areas of my life- check out these super cute cupcakes I made for Parker's preschool picnic today.

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(It's a Gruffalo!  A Gruffalo... why didn't you know?  His eyes are orange, his tongue is black and he has purple prickles all over his back....)  {if you have a toddler no explanation is required.}

Big reveal on the Stampede mittens are coming soon- stay patient.  Once they've gone in I'll show them off to you proudly!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Same Tune for June

GAH.  I need inspiration!  STAT.

Progress and (desire to make progress) here are very very low.  I'm not sure what's gotten into me but I just feel a general ennui about everything.

The good news is that the mittens are done and finished mere HOURS before they were supposed to be unwrapped as a birthday gift for my husband.  (Which I guess means I failed at getting them done for May 31- and instead had them done for June 2.)  Just a few more days and I'll be able to do the big reveal here but they look awesome.  Do they look "grand champion" awesome- I'm less convinced, but I'm happy with how they look and more importantly husband seemed impressed too.

My little distraction progress is a distraction that goes slow.

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All the knitting parts are done, I just need to weave in the ends and sew up some seams. (Can I just say how utterly genius these are?  The designer did a great job.  I'll link it up when I have a finished photo for all of you.)  My short term goal is to finish these THIS weekend.  No more excuses.  FINISH these dammit.  (Getting annoyed with myself here.)

Other than that there's the blanket which- gah... I just can't right now.  I'm obviously not going to finish it for the Stampede this year, which is fine, I'll just enter one item.  BUT, I still need to finish it.  There's part of me that wants to knit something else entirely for the person it's intended for, but I'm trying to convince myself that it's nice and I should just power thru to a finish.

There are also some charity blankets that are here and going to be coming in steadily for the next little while- so it's time to get some of that acrylic out of the stash!

So, because this is light on interesting pictures- I thought I'd share some pics of my flowers in the yard this year, because I'm so SO excited for the buds to open and get flowers.  I've been watching my delphinum so closely and every day it gets closer and closer to opening up.  (I had no idea what color it was going to be, it wasn't labeled, and I so hoped it would be purple.  The good news is I think it IS puple... or at least the buds are looking that way.)

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AND my peonies are ready to provide a bumper crop of blossoms!  (Last year I got ONE flower and was so bummed.  This year we're going to do much better!)

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This shot is for Robin- a friend in my knitting group, who asked us to plant a flower (petunia?  I'm so terrible at flower names... I apologize) she provided in her mom's memory.  I was more than happy to oblige. (and it goes with my purple/yellow theme that I picked for my yard this year.)

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So there you have it- that's what happening around here right now.  Finished photos will hopefully be here soon and we can get back to business as usual around here.  :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May-kin' It Work

When we last left this blog my mojo was waivering... the warm weather proving to be a huge distraction and my desire to get anything done less than "keen".  Whelp- the weather continues to be not hideous and so, alas, my progress is a little less than exciting.  I don't have much to tell you.

My May plan was to get the mystery project done by May 31.  I'm still tracking positively on that front.  Both mittens are complete except for thumbs, so this week I need to work on the thumbs.  OH?  Did I mention that I hate thumb knitting?  Mitten knitting is A OK.... thumb knitting is yuck.  I hate the fiddly little fingers.  That's probably why you'll never see me knit gloves, so many agonizing fingers.

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As much as I love these mittens and they're turning out pretty awesome- I'm worried that aren't "super stars" and they aren't "contenders".  So the real question is do I try to whip something up in the very small mean time or just enter what I have for this year and regroup for next year?  Please don't get me wrong- these look great, but I'm not sure they're show stoppers.  I need a good show stopping inspiration!  (Although MiL did find what will likely be my project for next year, so thanks to her!)

The  blanket is at a stand still.  I have hardly touched it.  It was going to be my second entry and I suppose now that the mittens are nearly done I could refocus on this and grind it out.  But UGH- I'm just not feeling it right now.  I need to finish it by mid July as the baby is due then,so I might need to have a sign up sheet for people to come by and just kick me in the pants to keep me working on it.

I did also start a new little project for an expecting mom at Parker's school.  She's adding a little boy to her brood of little girls, so I thought I'd make her a hat and some booties.  The booties are just getting started but the hat is already done and OH it's cute!

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Pattern: Cabled Teddy Hat by Marinda Lariz (newborn size)
Yarn: Mission Falls 136 Merino Superwash (discontinued- but YAY stash yarn!)
Needle: US 6
Notes: I really REALLY appreciate the thought the pattern designer put into the decreases at the top.  It was clever and smart and makes the hat look more polished.  I will likely knit this hat a million other times- and potentially for the new babies next year.  (It's a little early to commit to that project right now...)

Next up are a matching set of booties- which are equally as adorable as this hat.  I need to finish this little present by June 18, as that's the last day of Parker's school for the year.  (*insert shocked expression here*)

I will hopefully be back soon to tell you I finished those mittens on time and that there's all kinds of new and exciting stuff in the hopper coming!  Stick with me, these lapses in mojo rarely last long- and I still manage to grind a few things out in the mean time!