Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monkey Business

Could someone please come in and take over my every day life so I can find time to blog?  Thanks…

Seriously, I’ve had trouble getting my blogging mojo back ever since I made the trip to Indy in June.  Even when I think about stuff to write, I can’t seem to find either the time or the motivation to do anything about it.  Maybe it’s because I’m kind of at a standstill regarding being able to bring you any news on the previously hinted at design work I’ve been doing (my kingdom for a great local photographer and a model other than me).  It may also be due to the fact that the only thing I seem to be able to finish these days are these:

Prototype I

I’d had this on my list of things to knit for a while now.  The picture isn't actually the best one, it's the first one and I've modified the entire thing since this one.  It took me a while to get the ears looking like I want them.  I'll update the pics for this on my Ravelry project page eventually.  Once I completed one of these, it was so darned cute, I decided to knit several more and try to sell them (working on that down payment for a house*, you know).  I even opened an Etsy shop (which looks incredibly sad right now because I’ve had no time to promote it, dress it up, or put anything else there online to sell).  I figure I will go down to the local Starbucks and sit there with a monkey on my cup, hoping someone will want one – if I ever find the time, that is. 

And where exactly is the time going?  I have no blooming idea.  I’m not producing mass quantities of knitwear, so it’s not that.  I’m not reading vast amounts of books (been working on Catcher in the Rye for like, a year).  My house certainly isn’t anywhere near spotless, so I’ve not been lost in cleaning.  I think I’m in some sort of time warp.  Where is Dr. Who when you need him?

What will I accomplish today?  One blog post.  This one.  Ta-da!

*House?  What house?  We can’t find one.  Well, we found a floor plan we love but have no place to build it.  That fact may not change for a year.  I am officially stressed.  So I’ve decided to live in denial and just keep putting away our down payment as if we actually have a plan.  Works for me…

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I’ve discovered a new psychological disorder:  Knitting Attention Deficit Disorder.  I can’t seem to focus on any one thing long enough to make any progress.  It all started after I finished my Basket Weave Rib socks:

LOVE them!  They came out beautifully and they fit very well.  Plus, working with the Malabrigo Sock was a dream.  When the weather here turns from sauna to tolerable, I’ll be showing these puppies off.

Then, my knitting world all kinda fell apart.  The following all happened last night after 6 pm.

Remember the Endpaper Mitts I started (like, three times) a little while ago?  Well what was this yesterday (plus a few rows of actual colorwork):

Now looks like this:

Backwards?  Yes indeed.  I thought things were going well, but then I got turned around on the color work (again).  I tinked back a row, fixed what I thought was my only mistake, then a row later I realized that wasn’t the only mistake.   A rational person might have simply tinked back again and fixed things.  After all, it’s not like I was working with 200 stitches.  But I am not that rational person lately.  I guess I’ll be having a fourth go at these.  Eventually.  Color work, why do you look so beautiful and yet cause me such grief??  I need a support group. 

To make myself feel better, I cast on another pair of socks.  This time just a basic rib sock in the variegated colorway I’m in love with.  

But after a few rows, I felt something more challenging calling me.  In hindsight, this was a terrible mistake.

Remember that pink alpaca lace I did battle with (and lost) several months ago?  After nursing my battle wounds, I had bravely cast on the Summer Blooms Shawl (all 417 stitches – yes, that’s right – 417) back then and managed to do one row with beads without screwing it up. 

I had only done the one row because I was determined to take my time with it and do it right.  It got pushed to the back burner.

So I get the bright idea to pick it back up last night and managed to screw it up while simply purling across.  Wow.  I’m so “spe-shul”.  Being the mature adult that I am, I quickly stuffed it back into the bag from whence it came and pretended it never happened.  Lace shawl?  What lace shawl?

After briefly considering casting on the Endpaper Mitts again (a thought which I hastily disposed of), I thought, I know what I need.  I need a simple quick project so I can recoup my confidence as a knitter.  I wanted something I could use a regular old circular on, since I’ve been residing in DPN-land for quite a while and although I’ve made friends with them, I don’t want to spend every knitting moment with them.  I’ve had this skein of Cascade Yarns Eco Duo sitting around for a bit that keeps calling me because it is SOOO soft and squishy and I had a simple cowl pattern in my queue, so I started casting on for it, but quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to use a circular after all – I don’t have a 16 inch cable.  I pulled it out and tossed it back into one of the three knitting bags sitting on my loveseat in my living room. 

And then I pouted a while.  I’m not exaggerating.  Ask The Husband.

But I can only pout for so long, so after I couldn’t stand it any longer, I picked up my DPNs and the Eco Duo, cast the cowl on, and spent what was left of the evening working on it.  

Tom's Crossed Cowl

There are cables involved, which I love the look of even though I am not too fond of doing them, but it’s coming out okay so far.  I’ll probably finish it today if I get the chance to work on it any.  Unless my KADD kicks in…

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Out of Steam


I've sighed numerous times in the last hour. It's storming. Again. It's gray out. Again. Plus, we no longer have one of those doo-dads connected to our TV that protects it from lightning (as if) so I've unplugged the thing because we simply cannot afford a high dollar replacement right now. So...I sigh.

It's not like I don't have any knitting I could be doing. I am past the heel on my second Basket Weave Rib sock, but decided to pick this up instead today:

This is my attempt at Endpaper Mitts. My second, actually. The pattern calls for an Italian tubular cast on, which is not really difficult but I seem to be having problems with joining in the round whenever I use any cast on other than my usual knit cast on or my favorite, the cable cast on. I didn't like the space in my join so I pulled all that I'd done out and cast back on using the cable CO. Plus, I realized I had the main color and the contrasting color switched when I began to work the first chart for the color work. Then, part way through the mere 13 rows of ribbing I lost all motivation. Really, it's completely gone. Even while I type this blog post, I am doing so on my tablet (which I really don't enjoy) because I'm too unmotivated to get up off my backside and walk the 20 feet to my computer. The tablet was in reach. I haven't decided what I'll do when nature calls.

The reason we can't afford any high dollar replacement on anything right now is because we are working at padding a down payment toward building a home. This would normally be very exciting news, however the long story short about this is that our preferred builder is unwilling to let us have the existing lot space we'd need for our build but they can't give us an estimated time frame on when the other 250 (yes, that many) lots they are planning to develop (land which they already own) might be available. Nevermind that we are pre-approved and want to build one of the biggest homes they offer. They are about to become our former preferred builder. Add to this the gray skies and random menopausal hot flashes, and you've got a potential national news story on your hands.

Wait...knitting? Oh yeah, that.

I guess I'll get back to my mitts. Or my sock. Or maybe I'll cast on something new that seems interesting. Or maybe I'll just sit here and stare. Until nature calls.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Proud Parent And A Sock

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m writing in between coats of nail polish.  It was way past time to give myself another pedicure (I’m too cheap to pay for one).  I’ve not been super good at getting things done lately – I’m blaming the recent weather (notice how I always have an excuse – that takes real practice, you know).  It has rained for like, a year (or a week) and gray skies are my kryptonite.  Today might be better, as I saw some sun really trying to peek through the clouds this morning but since it hasn’t tried hard enough yet, this day may be another ugly display of uselessness.  I’d better hurry and write this before I fall out of my chair.

I know I said in my last entry that I’d be doing a post on some designing I’ve been messing with, but that’s not gonna happen today (see above paragraph), so if you’re looking for more than randomness here, you may want to stop reading now.  Please don’t really.  I’d be sad. 

First, I want to put in a shameless plug for my daughter’s blog.  My daughter is something of an extreme bargain hunter.  She once scored a pair of stylish boots for 4 (four) cents.  That’s not a typo – you can find a post about it on her blog here.  Her blog is called “Anything You Can Buy, I Can Buy Cheaper.”  I’m so proud of her, she’s only been blogging a little over a month now but she managed to get herself mentioned in a recent post on the Independent Fashion Blogger’s web site for a post she did on store credit cards.  So visit her blog and poke around some, would you? 

Second, I have sock.  Just one, but the other is started and these babies are just for me so I’m pretty excited about them:

Sarah Ronchetti’s BasketWeave Rib socks are such a great knit (and's a FREE download - thanks Sarah!!).  The pattern is interesting enough so I’m not bored but not so hard that I have to sit in a sensory deprived room in order to complete them properly plus I’m using Malabrigo Sock so life is good.  I was going to try the magic loop method to do the second sock to see if I liked it better than my dpns (can you believe I actually managed to begin liking dpns??) but to be honest, I couldn’t get my join in the round to work.  I am pretty sure a quarter of an inch space in the join isn’t going to look very good.  Since I’m such a patient person, I naturally tossed my long circular aside after two attempts at the join and picked my dpns back up.  Maybe I’ll try the magic loop method again sometime.  Or maybe I’m just saying that so you won’t realize I’m actually a real curmudgeon that gets set in my ways much too easily.

Third, I also started my first project using some colorwork!  I'm making Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts with some DROPS Alpaca I got on sale at my LYS a while ago.  I can be excited about this because so far, I'm doing really well.  Yes, those first two rows are looking good.  

Fourth, the twins are here!  Actually, they were born on June 24th but since I’m a slug lately, I’m just now managing to tell you. 

No, I didn't do those blankets.  They appear to be crocheted.
I am crochet-challenged...
Marley and Tripp are adorable and will require many more hand-knits down the road.  I figure at the rate these little ones grow, I’d better start on something now for their first day of kindergarten.   

Well, I’m sure that’s just about all the “edge-of-your-seat” excitement you can handle for one post and I know it is certainly all that I can handle, so I’ll be off.  I need to apply my top coat. 

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Monday, July 1, 2013

MISSING: The Month of June

It’s July 1st.  I don’t mind July.  It’s in the middle of summer, which is my favorite season of the year, so I’m good with it.  My only question is:  can someone tell me where June went?  Seriously, it’s like I dropped off the planet after June 7th and missed the entire rest of the month.  Well, at least two weeks of the month.  After the first week, I can only account for the third week.  The second and fourth week?  Yeah, I’m pretty fuzzy on exactly what happened to the time.  The only plausible excuse I have is that I spent the second week preparing for a road trip on the third week and spent the fourth week recovering from it all.  Clear as mud, right? 

So about that road trip…

I traveled to Indianapolis for a church conference.  This, in and of itself, (although it was pretty good) would not require a post on a knitting blog, although I did KIP at the conference.  See?

Basket Weave Rib Socks in Malabrigo Sock, Color: Eggplant

But stay with me; there are three totally cool things I can share here related to this trip.

First, I got to see my son and daughter-in-law (they live in Indy), and my mom, who converged on Indy from Ohio because she knew I was driving up.  My son had to work quite a bit, which is totally okay, as it gave us girls a chance to spend a little time running around.  More on that later, but one of the places we landed the day before the conference started was at a little restaurant in Zionsville, IN called Serenity.  It was a lovely place to have some very yummy food:

The item on the upper right of the plate was a delicious peach/white chocolate scone.  I could have eaten an entire plate of those.  If I worked at this place, I’d be huge.  Really, really huge.

Second cool thing about the trip was getting to see some friends at the conference that I hadn’t seen in a while – mostly ones I knew from when I lived in Ohio.  It is always nice to see some friendly faces who “knew me when” and love me anyways…

Dave & Linda!

(otherwise known as my brother from another mother that harasses me continually
and mercilessly even though I have three older brothers already and don't need the extra trouble)

There were more wonderful friends (Mike, Kenna, Scott, Billie, Jeanne, among others) but I didn't get a picture of all of them, or if I did get a picture, it includes me and since I decided while on my trip that my hair was a disaster, I shall not display the awfulness here and you can't make me.

And lastly, a very cool thing about this trip was that I did have some extra time to visit…

YARN STORES!  WOOT!  And here is a picture of my haul:

Yeah buddy!

I managed to visit three shops while in Indy.  The first was in Zionsville, the same town where I’d had the excellent lunch.  It was called The Village Yarn Shop and it was very cute.  Not huge, but the owner and/or manager was very nice and I found some Malabrigo worsted in some colors we haven’t had in my LYS, so I snapped up a sweater quantity in one and enough to do a hat in another. 

The second shop we visited was in an area in north Indy called Fishers.  The whole area is WAY upscale and the yarn shop, Knit Stop, was no exception.  The place was absolutely huge – like, three times the size of my LYS – and was filled with yarn.  In fact, it was a little overwhelming. 

Look at all those buttons...
And this is just one-third of the space they had with yarn

They had a TON of cashmere and cashmere blends, including one brand of pure cashmere that was priced at $81 for ONE skein (who ARE these people?).  They had a few brands that my LYS doesn’t carry, so I picked up a skein of Rowan Fine Art, some Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere (of course) sock yarn, a skein of Manos Serena because I liked the color (although I have no idea what I could possibly make with one skein), and two skeins of Terra by The Fibre Company.  I have to say, in spite of the vast quantity of yarn and the overload of cashmere, this shop has nothing on my LYS.  My LYS has Lady L.  There just is no substitute for her.  Actually, my favorite thing in this store was a sign that was hanging at the register:

Lady L. - we totally need one of these!

I sent this picture to The Husband while I was there and I’m not sure why, but he was not amused.  No sense of humor…

The third yarn shop we visited was in a little burb north of Indy called Broad Ripple and the shop is named accordingly:  Broad Ripple Knits.  This shop was in a converted older house and they had a nice selection of yarns – mostly stuff my LYS already carries.  The only bad thing was, this shop was quite small and there were some ladies there knitting at a table in one of the rooms.  That wouldn’t normally be a bad thing, but not only did NONE of the ladies at the table speak a word to me (this would NEVER happen at my LYS – everyone is smiled at and spoken to by whomever happens to be there), but the table was so big and the room so small, it was next to impossible to maneuver myself around in this room to even look at the yarn which is a shame because they did carry Madelinetosh and I might have purchased some if I’d been able to get in front of it to look at it.  All that said, the one great thing I found in this shop was some locally made yarn called Good for Ewe.  What the shop carried was several different colors of their Claddagh yarn that is a blend of Merino, baby llama, and…DONEGAL. 

I have been looking for a really nice Donegal tweed blend for a while and most of the ones I find are kinda scratchy.  While I understand that there is a time and a place for scratchy yarn, I have to confess that since I’ve knit with the yumminess of Malabrigo and other assorted soft and squishy yarns, I have a really hard time buying anything scratchy.  Well this stuff is SO not scratchy.  My only complaint might have been that most of the colors are less “grown up” than I’d have liked, but that didn’t keep me from buying a sweater’s worth of the purple and a couple of skeins each of green, gray, and white. 

My mom got in on the action and managed to find this:

It is Classic Elite Yarns Premier and it was 50% off (it’s a discontinued yarn).  My mom really liked the color and the price was right so I have four skeins of this (all they had left) to make something nice for her.  She thinks she might like a vest – maybe knit with some white.  So, while I found a pattern that is a possibility, I'm not in love with it, so I am still WIDE open to suggestions and ideas.  What do you think? 

Maybe I should design something myself.  Oh yeah!  That’s how I spent part of June – fiddling around with designing.  But that’s a topic for another post…

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