Friday, August 30, 2013

Time Stood Still

Okay, time didn’t really stand still, but it felt like it.  I decided before I began my Christmas knitting this year, I’d knit up a quick bulky cardi for myself that I’ve been planning to do since last winter.  I love the pattern:  Iced by Carol Feller.  I’ve done two of them before and given them as gifts.  The sweater is a simple knit and goes very quickly with bulky yarn.  I have had some Katia Peru* in my stash that I got a real deal on at the shop quite a while ago and I had earmarked some in green for my very own Iced. 

Even the sleeves knit up quickly on this thing but then I got to the part where I needed to knit on the collar and front garter-stitch panels.  The panels need to be knit to six inches wide.  I swear, I spent as much time knitting the front panels on this sweater as I did on all the rest of it.  You think, “Garter stitch…piece of cake.  I’ll have this done in no time.”  Maybe it was just the monotony of constant garter stitch that slowed me down, but it took me for-EVER.  I don’t remember the same problem with the two I did for gifting.  Hmmm…

The good news is, I finished the thing, even though I stayed up until midnight last night doing it.  It’s in the sink for a good soak at the moment so I can block it and finish the buttons in the next day or so.  The Katia Peru feels nice, but I did not notice when I bought it that it has some alpaca in it.  I like alpaca, but it sheds.  A lot.  I have several more skeins of this in some neutral colors that I’ll have to ponder what to use it for.  Any ideas? 

I have planned nearly all of my Christmas knitting already, and I’m proud to say that I am able to knit every single gift this year out of my stash.  Since The Husband and I are still packing away funds for our new home, I’m continuing my self-imposed yarn embargo.  Thankfully, my trips to the fiber festival in May and my yarn shop tour in Indianapolis last June have proven to be more than just boondoggles.  And I plan to have a lot less stress this year since I’m only knitting one sweater/top.  I certainly learned last year what ambition on steroids can do to you, and when it comes to Christmas knitting, time definitely does NOT stand still.  Have you started your Christmas knitting?

I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings after having started my job three weeks ago, so I’m sending off some things today to my sister-in-law for her to work her photography magic on.  When I get the photos back, I’ll have lots to share, including three patterns I’ve designed and will release over the next several weeks.  So exciting! 

Thanks for sticking with me through my blogging stutter over the last few weeks.  Now that I’ve got my groove back (if I ever really had a groove – I’m unconvinced), I hope to be posting regularly.


*Since Peru is super-bulky, I adjusted my needle size.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bad, Bad Blogger

Wow, is it really past the middle of August already??  I am sorry I’ve been a very bad and noticeably absent blogger for weeks now.  I’d like to say I have an excuse, and I do.  But it’s not a great one.  Not really.  But I’m hoping you’ll forgive me when I distract you by sharing three fantastic things that have happened over the last few weeks.


Fantastic thing #1:  The Husband and I finally managed to pay off our last credit card.  This is a HUGE deal for us because we’ve had a balance on this beast for the life of our nearly 14 year marriage.  It wasn’t because we kept spending all willy-nilly, either.  I mentioned before (I think) how we had endured three bouts of unemployment due to lay-offs over the first ten years of our marriage.  The Husband is diabetic (Type 1 since childhood) and insulin doesn’t grown on trees, you know.  When ya gotta have it, ya gotta have it.  So we got it.  But that made paying off the credit card challenging.  And yet…TA-DA!  That’s right:  balance = ZERO.  Woot!

Fantastic thing #2:  I finally picked up that job I’d been looking for!  I’m still trying to get back into the habit of being up and together and to work every morning, but I’m gonna love this job which is a gigantic step up from the last one I tried.  I’m sure you remember my traumatic experience with the last job that involved a potential HAZMAT suit and a poisoned rat, right?  Not this job.  In this job I’ll be doing actual office work.  No poisoned rats.  Although…while training in a different department last week, I did find this:

This is Ms. Jackie’s pet rat.  You can see he’s angelic (note the halo) and he has a purpose (holding the clip).  He’s also not hazardous to my health.  I’m grateful.  Oh, and Jackie rocks.  Seriously…

Fantastic thing #3:  WE FOUND A HOUSE!  Well, let me re-phrase.  We found a lot (on a lake, no less), and a plan for a house (that The Husband and I agreed on - miracle), aaaand it’s in our budget.  What?!  You heard me.  Great lot + great house plan + in budget = AWESOME!  In around six months, we should be in a brand new house!  

Our lake

Want to know the best part?  I’ll have a ROOM of my OWN for my yarn stuffs (breaks out in Ren & Stimpy’s “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” song while dancing a wee jig).

Life is good.

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BONUS:  Fantastic thing #4:  My subscription to Vogue Knitting that I thought had expired, actually hadn’t.  I got the latest VK today.  This definitely qualifies as a fantastic thing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Heat Wave

Happy August!  I'm sitting in the local Starbucks waiting until it's time to go get my hair cut.  I'm starting to look like a chia pet.  :o)

Since my blogging mojo hasn't really returned yet, I'm forcing myself to spend the next 30 minutes writing, and I have actually made some progress on some stuff.

First, I keep alluding to design work I'm doing.  If I were you, at this point with no proof, I'd stop believing me.  But I really have been busy at it.  I have one project completed and ready to be photographed.  If it hadn't been so bloody hot here lately - heat indexes in the triple digits - I'd have had the pics taken and the pattern released.  Last thing I want to even think about doing in this heat is putting on another layer of anything.  I'm hoping I can find some guts to just do it this weekend.

I have a second larger design project I've been working on for some time, and I'm not ready to share it yet, but I'm getting very close to finalizing the written pattern.  I had no idea how much tweaking and swatching and ripping out were involved in design work.  And then you have to write it all down so’s it makes sense to someone who doesn’t live in your brain.  Because I can only think about math and tech editing for so long at a time, I have been working on some other things I can share with you.

My Endpaper Mitts are coming along nicely now that I've gotten a little better at handling two strands of yarn.  I think these are going to be very cute and they are SO soft in the alpaca.

Remember the now infamous yarn with the colorway I love?  Well, I used it for my first go at the larger design project, which came out okay, but because I realize the colorway is not everyone's cup of tea, I knit the revised version out of something with a bit more appeal to the general knitting public.  But I did have some of the favorite colorway yarn left over.  Two balls, in fact.  So, I decided since it is sock yarn, I'd make a basic ribbed sock from what was left.  Unfortunately, once I'd gotten past the heel turn on the first sock, I became bored with it and thought that maybe I would wear the socks but maybe I wouldn't and hey, maybe I should knit something shawl/scarf-like instead (KADD, anyone?).  After looking through the patterns available online and not seeing anything for free* that struck me, I decided to cast on another Glam Shells Shawl.  I've done this one before in a different sock yarn, and I enjoyed making it immensely, so I took the second ball of what was left and started it.  I have not, however, pulled out the sock that's nearly done.  Now, I'm in a quandary.  Should I continue with the shawl, or with the socks?  What do you think?

Le Sock?  Or...

Le Shawl?

I've also continued to work on the kid’s sweater for charity, inspired by a fellow blogger, Una over at Great Balls of Wool, who seems to have magical ways of knitting vast quantities of knits for charity in record time.  I'm much slower, but am still excited, nonetheless, to be putting my knitting to good use.

What are you working on?

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*I was looking only at free patterns because we are still on a budget, trying to save up our down payment for the house that we haven't found yet and/or can't build yet.  I've even been avoiding my LYS so that I don't spend any money there which is great for my wallet, but not so great for my general welfare and happiness.  *sniff*