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FFN: Baby Items

This past weekend the Giant went to meet his newest nephew, bringing along the finished knitting items for the little guy.

First up: Matchy-match Hat, cardigan, and socks

The hat and socks were my own creations, the cardigan is a Newborn Vertebrae. All three were knit out of Malabrigo sock in the Candombe colorway.

I managed to knit a second hat as well. This might end up fitting him first since it is a bit smaller than the rest of the items. (He’s a preemie.)

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Knit out of leftovers of Knit Picks Felici Sock yarn in the Lighthouse colorway. I knit this on US size 3 needles.

Lastly for this visit I managed to finish a cardigan that was abandoned almost a year ago (a different nephew, who grew faster than I could knit.) Another Newborn Vertebrae. This time I used Knit Picks Felici sock in the Shamrock colorway.

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You may have already noticed the kitty feet in the upper left corner, this was actually the clearest shot of the cardigan I could get. For some reason, this yarn and this pattern were a magnet for this particular cat. I had to shoo him off it drying more than twice.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go with the Giant on the visit this weekend, however the bestie and I were able to have a bit of a girls weekend, including another glass blowing class. Photos are sparse, in part because we are getting to do more within the classes, and we were told we would continue to get to be more hands on as we progress. (We have four more classes left, so yay!)

I did manage to snap some photos of the bestie being badass and pulling/folding some glass for a paperweight.

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Suffice it to say glass blowing is fast becoming one of my favorite things.

 

Until next time.

FFN: Bittersweet

Like most knitters, I like to have a project to take with me when I travel. Such was the case this past February when The Giant and I made the trip to see my grandmother who was sick. The project for this trip was a pair of socks in the Felici colorway Time Traveler. I think I chose them because we would be traveling through multiple time zones on the trip and sometimes it is little things like that, which influence my choices.

The socks themselves were not overly special, they had an alternate color of cuff, heels and toes. The pattern was a very basic vanilla cuff down sock, with a fish lips kiss heel and a round toe. I remember grabbing the one pair of wooden sock needles I have, simply because I didn’t want to risk losing my project to TSA.

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My memories of that time period are very hazy, grief has a funny way of doing that I think. The socks were something to distract myself on the flight, although I remember telling The Giant that it was quite possible that this flight would be my last with my grandmother in the world. I knit as we drove from the airport north to her small town, arriving in the evening and seeing her on the bed in such a small and diminished state. I wanted nothing more than to pick her up and run away with her, find someway to make her whole again.  The socks stayed in the bag during that visit, although I did tell her about them. She was someone who was always supportive of my crafting. I know she often bragged to her friends that she had a granddaughter who spun her own yarn on a spinning wheel. She would ask me about it and the knitting every time we talked.

That night we said goodbye and The Giant and I headed for our place to stay. It was about an hour away and while it was dark, I can remember at least holding the yarn and the partially completed sock. My fingers running along the fabric I had created, as my mind struggled to come to terms with what was fast becoming reality.

We arrived at our quarters for the evening and I believe I knit a few more rounds on the sock, out of lack of anything else to do. Less than two hours after we had left her, I got the phone call that she had passed. In that moment it felt like my world shattered. I can’t say I remember too much after that, although the sock obviously got worked on. I finished the first one as we waited for our flight back home. I know I cast on the second one right after, and made a little progress. However, once we were in the air the socks got stored away and upon returning home they were put in a bag that was left within sight, but not touched.

They would gain a round or two every month or so, but for the most part the socks were tainted in my opinion. Last week however, I felt the urge to complete something, and those socks were the closest to being done. I grit my teeth and set to work. This past weekend I finally finished up the toe and as I grafted the toe I could help but think of the socks really are a pair of time travelers. Bittersweet Time Travelers.

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Road Trip

This past weekend The Giant and I decided to be spontaneous (or as spontaneous, as you can get for us) and packed ourselves into our car and headed out on an adventure. Inspired in part by the show Parks and Rec, as well as the fact that I will be turning 30 in September the two of us decided to be “young and wild.” Having gotten married while still in college. With student loans, between moves, working, school, health issues and everything else we never really take vacations.

So this past weekend we finally did, and man was it amazing!

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We headed down from Seattle, through central Washington and on to Eastern Oregon. Along the way we encountered snow most often, which was surprising. (Especially as we got further south.)

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Friday found us making our way to Nevada, where we encountered more snow, and tumbleweeds. It was a weird combo. By mid-afternoon we finally arrived in Las Vegas, which was interesting (neither of us had been before.) I convinced the Giant to stop by a Local Yarn Store, Mirage. It was awesome, I got a few different goodies that I will show at a later date. Unfortunately that stop also included a small tragedy, our keys got locked in the car!

Fortunately, the ladies at Mirage were fabulously understanding, and we only had to wait about an hour. Our next stop was the Hoover Dam. Due to the car lock out we ended up being too late for the Dam Tour, but the two of us still had a fabulous time exploring the area on our own.

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The biggest disappointment we faced, was the fact that there was a sign for possible goats, and neither one of us ever saw any. The Hoover Dam itself is dizzying in size and engineering marvel. Definitely made me appreciate how advanced we are in technology, compared to when it was created, and now.

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Our visit included, being in two places at once, as well as a very brave photo shoot for Horace. The wind was fairly strong and this is the one photo of him were I am not holding on to. You may be able to notice my hand to the side, The Giant and I were both terrified he would be blown away with a gust of wind.

After the Hoover Dam, we made our way back to the Las Vegas strip, where we decided to stay for one night. (I will say here, I am sure Vegas is great for some people, however it was definitely not for me. I enjoyed, seeing a water/light display show, and visiting the “famous” casinos to say see what they looked like, but aside from the people watching, I did not enjoy it.) I am aware there are a lot of other things to do besides the “traditional” strip activities and should we ever return to the area those would be the activities we would definitely focus on.

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We ended up staying at the Flamingo, which I can safely say I would not recommend. Long story short we ended up waking up pretty early Saturday morning and heading out towards the official reason for the trip. Next stop…The Grand Canyon.

Our trip was eventful, with a stop at a gas station that was adjacent to a gun range. I was a bit unnerved to hear rapid gunfire as we waited to fill up our tank. They also had some interesting decorative signs and photo-ops. It reminded me a little bit of the movie Paul.

As we drove along we also got to see two truck drivers with senses of humor. We made the assumption based on their loads. Plus the fact I gave them thumbs up and they laughed and responded like wise.

 

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The landscape is so different than anything I have experienced before, which meant I was content to just watch it go by, which probably helped because our directions were off by about two hours. (I included proof that knitting did happen on the trip, but far less than I had anticipated, hand issues prevented most of it.) Luckily we arrived at a decent time and were greeted with an amazing site when we arrived. Can you spot the Elk? Horace was very happy to be out of the car as well.

He even made a new friend. Blog, I would like to introduce you to our newest blog adventurer: Walter the mountain goat.

As for the Grand Canyon itself. I wish I could find the words to explain just how amazing it was. If you are a Parks and Rec fan, don’t worry the Giant said the bit about the faces (and Presidents.) I however did have the same feeling as April. I wanted to be annoyed, there were crowds of people, a lot of whom were self-centered, not paying attention to anything or anyone around them. They were rude, they were obnoxious, some cut in front of us, some shoved us aside, and some just plan acted like dumbasses. Despite them, despite the fact that it was fairly crowded in our viewing areas and it could be hard to wait for people to move so you could take your own shot. I could not be annoyed. The beauty of the place, the awe-inspiring wonder was too much. It overran the cynical and annoyed parts of my brain. The sheer endlessness of the Grand Canyon, made me feel so very small, but also amazingly peaceful. I could have spent days, or months there an not grown tired. i simply can’t express just how wonderful it really is. Trust me the photos do not do it enough justice.

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Tiptoeing Around the Tulips

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. While not one the largest holidays out there, it still carries significant enough weight to cause changes to your schedule. Growing up, Easter was often split between my father’s parents (who lived near us) and my grandmother (who lived a bit further, she’s the one that recently passed on.) For me it was the first big holiday without, and one that she very much enjoyed. Additionally my grandmother had a gigantic flower garden when I was growing up, I remember visits with her in spring and summer I could often her out her gardens (she had a veggie one as well.) I am not able to tell you what type of flowers she had in the big garden in the back, but I do remember the “family entrance”; (what is considered the less formal entryway, and the one we always went through) this is where she kept her flamingo flock and her tulips. She was very proud of those flowers, and while I am sure she never admitted it, they were probably her favorite. Fresh cut flowers on the table after Easter services are something I recall whenever I think of Spring and her.

Yesterday in a not planned way (except subconsciously, by me) The Giant, my Bestie and I drove to Mount Vernon, WA and looked at the tulips in bloom

First foremost, the colors of the flowers are some of the most vivid I have ever seen in my life. As in, take my breath away because of the colors, kind of thing.

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I mean…right?

We were fortunate enough to find a working farm that allowed us to walk around the fields as long as we stayed on the main trail from the tractor. Despite the mud and having to hop from one tread spot to another it was still pretty fun. I was the only one who missed and got my foot in the mud. In my defense, the Giant and my Bestie both have bigger feet and longer legs.

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I really love this photo above, because the colors overwhelmed my phone camera so much, it makes it look almost like it’s a painting instead.

As a seasonally allergy suffer, I ended up doing pretty well until we were down wind of all the flowers. Sneezing sucks by the way.IMG_20170416_200816_055 water

It was astounding at just how vivid the flowers were, and how a swath of them could make a different look, than what you see from a lone flower close up. The weather was cool, crisp and clean. We arrived before the majority of the crowd showed up, so the three of us were fortunate to get photos with few people in them.

I personally loved spotting the odd one out in the rows of colors. Although it did take me awhile to spot the first one. 39885120_Unknown water

The sky and the mountains decided to play a bit nice as well.

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It was such a peaceful and calm experience and something that I probably never even consider going to before. Yet, there I was on Easter Sunday looking at flowers and knowing that my grandmother would have been just as excited as I was. It makes my heart hurt to think she will not be able to visit us out here, that she will no longer get to participate in Church services, or even that this won’t be the hardest holiday to get through without her.

I can just see her smile when she looks on fields of random Daffodil.39884640_Unknown water

I’d like to think, a little bit of her lives on in my smile.

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FFN: Malabrigo Hat and Cardigan

While it’s not quite Friday, I do have a two finished objects to share, which is pretty exciting.

The first round of items created for the newest arrival to our extended family have been completed. Of course all fears I had of them being too small were completely null due to his very early arrival. However, as it tends to happen with the tiny humans, he will continue to grow and eventually fit the items. Side note on little one. He’s doing great, breathing fairly well on his own, mom and dad got to hold him and he’s eating, yay!

In terms of the FO’s I used the yarn from my first section of my find your fade shawl to created a little hat and the Vertebrae cardigan.

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The yarn is Malabrigo sock in the Candombe colorway (it’s showing up quite a bit brighter here than in person. That hat is a bit more true to color.)

Over all I am very pleased with how they turned out. I just hope mom, dad, and the tiny human like it as well.

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My first pair of Two-at-a-time socks are complete. The pair is for The Giant, and while I know that the time taken was probably very similar to the amount of time needed to knit socks one at a time, this was a fairly long process for me. I think having a month and a half off in the middle due to life stuff, probably didn’t help my perspective.

Regardless they are done, and I am very happy with the result.

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I went with the contrasting cuffs, heels, and toes in order to try to make the socks longer in the leg. This was accomplished, but I still have more than enough for a few squares for the sock blanket.

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I know the lighting isn’t fabulous, but it’s another cloudy and cool day out here (which I still love by the way.)

I am sure I will try the TAAT socks again, the fact that when I was done, I was done; helped out a lot. Hopefully next time the socks don’t take nearly 3 months.

 

Happy Friday.

The Knitting Hustle

For me when I learn there is an upcoming addition to our extended family (or friends) I tend to knit something for the impending tiny human. I learned back in the Autumn of 2016 that the Giant and I were getting another nibling (niece/nephew combined.) As a knitter, and a fan of knitting for the tiny humans, I decided to plan a few projects for the following June (this year.)

I had decided that it would be best to work on the projects a little at a time, since I had well over 8 months before the tiny human would enter the world. I started working on a blanket for the wee one fairly early, but as some of you may know, the far off date made it far easier to put that project down in favor of other things.

With the loss of my Grandmother, and various health issues of my own, knitting took a back seat for most of December through the end of February. I finally started picking up the needles again in March, but rather than push head long into the blanket, I decided to cast on five million socks (not quite, but feels pretty true.) Plus I started a Find Your Fade Shawl, which actually inspired me back into knitting more than a round or two here and there.

Knowing I had more than enough time to finish the blanket and a few little sweaters and a few hats, I was not too worried about abandoning the tiny human knits in favor of the siren’s call of other projects.

Friday that attitude concerning the blanket and all the other tiny human knits came to a screeching halt, as we were informed that the in-laws were experience premature labor complications. I was anxious, and hopeful, and terribly concerned for such an early arrival. By the evening of Friday the excellent staff at the hospital had been able to stop the labor process and I think the whole family sighed with relief. It was around that time I decided it might be a good idea to start working on projects for the tiny human, simply because of the scare.

The Giant and I ended up stopping by a local(ish) yarn shop and I picked up two skeins to start the cardigan I had planned. I happily trucked along with knitting fairly certain I would have more time.

Things were good up until Monday. As a surprise the baby decided it did not want to wait and so the in-laws had an emergency c-section and by mid afternoon the little guy had arrived, about 3 months too early. Thankfully mom and tiny human are doing well. The NICU  they are staying at is the best in the State.

After the fear and anxiety and joy of the whole ordeal was officially over (the pregnancy/labor part at least.) I suddenly realized I have a new nephew and no knitting finished for him yet. I gathered together all the projects/yarn and I am now planning on working on knitting-all-the-things for the newest member of the family.

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I guess it’s time to get my knitting hustle on.

A Little Tardy to the Fade Party

If you tend to stay up today on the most popular patterns within the knitting/Ravelry web space, no doubt you have started, WIP, or completed a Find Your Fade Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry.

I have finally joined the ranks of knitters from the last 2.5 months and cast on my own shawl. I am currently on my first color, but I’ve made it into the lace section!

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My biggest problem was choosing colors, and no it wasn’t that I had too many decisions it came down to a lack of options. I know what you are thinking (especially if you’ve seen my stash flashes on here.) However as someone who hasn’t been knitting much in the last while I discovered that most of partial skeins are either 1) far too scratchy for a piece worn near my neck. 2) not enough of the color to actually complete a section.

A large part of the charm of the FYF shawl is the color picking, between 3-10+ colors in one shawl. The idea of the shawl being a fade into colors that at least somewhat match (I know there are knitters out there who have decided to forgo this method and take the fade to mean the color blending sections, unfortunately I wasn’t really able to do that either.) Basically my problem was the color were close enough that they could be good together, or they could end up looking like the results when the cats eat too quickly.

Luckily with some stick-to-it-ness and a bit of hope I *think* I managed to find five colors that would work. Of course they all happened to be full balls, which if nothing else provides more options for The-Never-Ending-But-Probably-Would-If-I-Actually-Worked-On-It-More Sock Blanket. So at least at that’s a bit of a win.

 

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Please ignore the blanket in the background, I’m not feeling the greatest and that means I am kind of snuggled into bed. Also of note you can’t see them in the photo, but 2/3 cats are passed out on the bed-fairly close to one another which doesn’t happen too much around here.

Anyway, my colors from left to right (they are in reverse order here, so far right is my current/first color.)

1)Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in the Sugar Shack colorway

2)Knit Pick’s Gloss Fingering in the Burgundy colorway

3) Lorna’s Laces in the Zombie BBQ colorway

4)Knit Pick’s Gloss Fingering in the Jade colorway

5) Malabrigo Sock in the Candombe colorway.

 

How’s your crafty stuff going? Excited for the Vernal Equinox? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 years

Way back in 2012 I started this blog on a bit of a whim. As of late there hasn’t been much activity.

Grief is a funny thing that invades your life and can sometimes overwhelm it.

I wish I had some knitting to show you, but progress really hasn’t happened much. Spinning has taken even more of a hit and while I haven’t gone negative I haven’t touched my wheels in awhile.Even my podcast watching has fallen to the way side.

I know that usually this a time to reflect on how awesome the blogging has been (it has) and how much it means to me that you take a little time out of your day to read through my posts (it does.)

In the end I know you’ll understand that life throws us through some loops at times and while I hope to get my groove back, I know time is going to be the best weapon. So for today, I just want to say thank you for the past 5 years.

Good Grief

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of changes, significant moments and a whole lot of differences. Two weeks ago this coming Sunday my family lost our Matriarch. My grandmother died on Sunday February 5,2017. I can’t say that it has fully sunk in yet, I suppose grief takes awhile.

When The Giant and I took our first plane ride together (after almost 10 years together) I tried to focus on the reality we would be facing. It was our first return to the Midwest in almost 6 months (which may not seem like a lot, but for someone who is still adjusting to life in the PNW, this should have been a happy moment.)

Now I was informed of the declining health of my grandma, and I have seen people when they reach the end of their time. I can’t say I was ready for what happened, but the fact that the Hospice staff were so good to her, helped with some of the pain. The Giant and I managed to make it to see her around 7:30pm that day. I sat with her, got to hold her hand and tell her I loved her. The Giant and I said our goodbyes (for the evening we thought) and headed back to my hometown. It was about 30 minutes after we made it to our destination that I had received the phone call. The shock, despair and pain that comes with losing someone has settled around us in the last week and a half.

We were able to attend the services for her, as well as spend some limited time with extended family. Despite the pain and sorrow that enveloped us all I would like to think it was a celebration of her life. This women who defied the odds and raised six children on her own. Who took it upon herself to not only get a good education but instilled that idea in her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. We were able to acknowledge that she was so many things to so many people, but at the core she was a proud, brilliant, funny and compassionate woman who not only showed me what it meant to be an adult, but also how important it is to embrace the pain of life, to allow all that is bittersweet to wash over you and acknowledge that in the end you live on in others memories.

For my grandmother, for myself and for the simple reminder that things are a matter of perspective I got my first tattoo.

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She is on my left wrist, to remind me of her support in the fiber arts and who I am as a person. A flamingo as testament to her humor, her wit and the idea of going your own way. Lastly i drew the design to embrace her life as a teacher, an artist and a person who couldn’t be held back.

There is beauty in the good grief, of a life well lived. It honors the memories and moments that are interwoven in all that we do. In the end we may not know where we are headed, but our hearts live on in those we loved.

A Few New Tricks

I’ve been knitting for almost seven years now and in that time I have learned a variety of techniques, tried a variety of fibers and knit a variety of items. Somehow in that entire time I never tried knitting two at a time socks, nor have I tried magic looping. Well I suppose I should back up and say I hadn’t tried those two things, until now.

What started as a whim to see just how it worked I cast on a pair of socks for myself (I know shocking that does happen from time to time) and after getting through the cuffs individually, I slid that second sock on and was off to the races.

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Well it’s more like I am plodding along like a well-traveled farm horse, but you get the idea. This pair was put on hold while the bestie and I went to see the movie Split (James McAvoy was fantastic as the lead.) I am not one for scary movies (and luckily this one wasn’t really) and there are some serious issues with the portrayal of mental illness, but it was still an interesting movie.

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I knit on these socks for a good little while before heading out on a quick trip to one of the local yarn stores. The store was busy, and lots of pink yarn was still flying off the shelves, which made me smile.

The Giant in his gracious and wonderful ways came with me (he drives, I knit socks..it is a win win) and in the store he spotted what is pretty darn close to the perfect bag for me. (It’s missing hedgehogs)

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I don’t actually have a lot of knitting bags, correction I don’t have a lot of bags that were made specifically for knitting. I tend to move projects around if I am in need of a bag (which I am going to pretend accounts for all the various WIP’s floating around the apartment.) However this one was too good to pass up.

It also just so happened that I managed to snag two skeins of yarn for the Giant for socks, and since I was out and about, and the other socks were going so well. Another needle came home with us and I made a few attempts to get started on the new pair before our movie. It didn’t work too well, but as a side note The Founder is a really good movie (it does make you feel a little slimy afterwards, but Michael Keaton is great.) Sunday morning found me working my way through another set of sock cuffs. These are again in contrast color because 1)It’s a good way to use stash; 2) I rather enjoy the look of contrasting cuffs, heels and toes; 3) the Giant has big feet; 4) This usually leaves me enough leftover to add to the sock blanket.

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The yarn is Knitted Wit, Victory sock in the Velvet Elvis colorway.

Other than TAAT and magic loop these socks are knit the same as all the other socks for the giant (notes on my Ravelry page.)

One thing I have to keep reminding myself (as I knit and knit and knit with what feels like very little to actually show for the effort) that I am essentially knitting twice the amount (aka both socks at once,) so while I may have only gotten 30 rows of the leg, technically I’ve knit 60 rows…it may seem obvious, but did I mention the Giant has big feet?

Luckily there has only been one mistake with the yarn management and all that was required was to TINK back half a row of knitting. Not bad for a beginner, right?

 

Fresh From the Needles:Delayed Edition

Today’s FFN post is brought to you by the delay of uploading photos. We know that you may not have a choice in when we send your photos via email, but we are sure glad you have to wait on us. 

Happy Monday everyone. I know I know I am metaphorically dodging the soda cans and glares you are throwing my way. I can assure you I am not usually this jovial on Mondays, but after waiting three days for my photos to upload (aka from phone to email as is my usual method) I am just feeling a little bit of glee.

The fresh from the needles post is about a pair of socks for The Giant (see right there, the fact that socks for him are done is cause for celebration, because the dude has big feet.) The finished socks also gave me a much-needed to boost to try two different methods for sock knitting (but more about that in another post.)

The socks in question were cast on at the end of November (with the idea they would be finished by Christmas….that sound you may have heard just now is me laughing at myself.)

The main yarn was a first for me, Zauberball Crazy in some colorway I didn’t think to write down (oops.) The contrasting cuffs, heels, and toes were out of some basic black yarn I picked up at a big box store a while ago.

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Overall the socks weren’t anything too complicated, and the yarn was easier to work with than I anticipated. (A 2-ply versus a rounder 3-ply.) The only frustrating part for me was the fact that there didn’t seem to be any consistency (or anyway to find it) to the color sequences which meant that the socks are fraternal instead of identical (although let’s be honest how often do I actually match socks up?)

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However, they are done and I am happy. The Giant is too, (considering he chose the colors and they are for him I would hope he’s happy.)

I followed my vanilla sock recipe for them with the contrasting black as needed. Which means it’s time to cast on another pair (hint I have cast on two pairs since these were finished, and have a pair already pretty well started.)

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Happy Monday.

 

 

Wheel Wednesday-Five Months

It’s been five months since the Giant and I arrived in the PNW, it also marked the five month mark of having a spinning project on the wheel. I picked up a braid of Moonrover destash pretty quickly after we made the move and once I had my wheels back (along with the rest of our furniture) I started spinning and I am still working on the fiber.

Now this destash came with little info, aside from the fact that it was SW merino and Nylon and oh so pretty. Foolishly I didn’t think to weigh the braid before hand, but based on the research of others it would appear it’s about five ounces. Last night I decided to spin for a little while, and finally remembered to weigh the remaining fiber. Any guesses on how much is left?

If you said a little over half you would be right. (insert face palm here.) I suppose I could chalk it up to not feeling the greatest and therefore not spinning much, or I could even explain that it is a pretty thin spin and I am trying really hard not to over spin the singles…but the fact remains I have still spun under half of five ounces in five months.

The fact is it’s a whole lot of factors involved, but despite the amount left I decided it was time for some photos of the spin. (It helps that we had a fire in the fireplace, trying to get decent photos out here hasn’t been easy with all the grey skies and rain (not that I am complaining!)

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It’s difficult to see in this photo but there are actually a few shades of greens and blues in this braid.

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Luckily it is still an enjoyable spin…heck I suppose I could say I am just prolonging the fun. That sounds legit, right?

On track

So far the resolutions for this year are slowly but surely getting crossed off. I got my library card, and it is so decidedly PNW I just had to share.

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I should note I did get to choose from a few options, but I mean come on, who wouldn’t go with this one?

The Giant and I managed to check out the local library the other day and while we didn’t end up getting anything, it was still nice to explore a new part of the area.

Speaking of books, I have finished one already (although it was a hold over from 2016, but I am still totally counting it.) Currently my main focus is the David Eggers, The Circle. It’s been a bit difficult for me to get into it, although the whole 1984 vibe might have something to do with it.

Crafting has been happening at a pretty slow pace, I’ve not been feeling the greatest which has resulted in a lot more down time than I was hoping for. Luckily I still have some time before I need anything to be done.

Weather wise we are finally back to the classic PNW with cloudy skies, mild temps and rain. We had quite a cold snap (for out here) the last few weeks that wasn’t the greatest. Snow has been few and far between in our area, although a little further out (and up elevation wise) we still got to see some stuck to the ground.

The Giant and I have started playing Gin Rummy, which was another one on the resolution list. So far it’s been pretty fun (even though I’ve lost most games, which means I get to work on being better at losing (hint I still need work.))

How’s your crafting going? Do you have snow in your area?

 

 

2017 Goals

Whew, so long 2016, right? I know I am not the only happy to see the tail end of the year.

As for tradition I decided to combine my review of goals from 2016 and a listing of the ones for 2017. Ready?

From 2016

  1. Post more on the blog. As mentioned above there was a serious downturn in posting, to that end I am hoping to hit the post button at least a couple times a week. (status: achieved)
  2. Make/Finish a garment for me. I actually casted on for a Mama Vertabre back sometime in December (oops for not making a project page.) My goal is to finish it up before the end of the year. Seems easy enough. (status: achieved)
  3. Update Ravelry pages more. As mentioned above I am not the greatest at remember to start project pages or stash or really anything else. This year I want to try to get a better record going.(status: achieved)
  4. Knit from stash. This shouldn’t be too hard as my yarn budget has tanked thanks to the not working. The plus side is I will be using up all that wonderful yarn I bought and love(d) at one point or another.(status: achieved)
  5. Knit with my handspun. I have quite a bit of the wonderfully (and not so wonderfully) spun stuff sitting in a bin. I have the shawl that I am still working on, as well as the Giant’s mitts, but I want/need to use more.(status: achieved)
  6. Spin more. Along with the lack of posting, there has also been a dip in the amount of spinning I have been doing (which at least helps me out some when it comes to goal 5.)(status: achieved)
  7. Read 30 books. Just like my yarn and fiber stash, my book stash has quickly outpaced my reading habits. The number gives me a little less than 2 weeks to finish each book. Which should be more than enough time, even with the last few Game of Thrones books on the list.(status: not achieved. I’m not positive how many I finished, but I know it wasn’t the 30 goal.) 
  8. Long Range Planning Box. Just like previous years, the goal is to work on a variety of stuff throughout the year so when events or holidays pop up I can just pick one out and carry on. (status: achieved)
  9. Indulge my art. I love to draw/sketch but haven’t really done much in the last year, and it is time to remedy that. (status: achieved)
  10. Finish two cross-stitch patterns. Oh yeah, I do have that as a hobby as well. You may not remember because it’s been so long since I even considered picking it up. Although that didn’t stop me from buying patterns. Two seems reasonable considering how amazingly slow I am at it. (status: achieved)
  11. Air the stash. In connection with keeping Ravelry up to date, I do want to do my annual airing of the stash. This always serves to remind me of the yarns I have as well as give me some inspiration.(status: achieved)
  12. Charity knitting. I know that my local animal shelter is often looking for small blankets to keep in the kennels, as it gives the animals something soft and familiar when they are waiting. I know when we got Toby he had a sweet little blanket that made the trek with him and it seemed to help him out. (status: not achieved.)
  13. Knit socks. This is a goal I seem to have every year, but this time I am going to forget about throwing 12 skeins into paper bags and instead be more deliberate with my picks. (status: achieved)
  14. Learn how to sew a project bag for myself. The Giant and I have a sewing machine, but I will be honest I can’t really remember how the darn thing works. (status: not achieved)
  15. Declutter. We have a lot of extra stuff hanging around in our home and it’s time to take a hard look at it all. (status: achieved)
  16. Learn to accept the fact that my life has changed. This one will probably be the hardest to work through. Chronic illness defintely caused a lot of changes to not only my life, but also how I interact with the world. I know that a lot of times people go through a grieving period and I seem to be stuck in the denial stage still. (status: sort-of achieved)

For those of you keep score at home that means I managed a score of 12.5 out of a possible 16 (that half is for the sort of achieved goal.)

So with that success in mind I turn now towards the New Year and present you with a list of my goals for the 2017 year.

  1. Read 20 books. This feels attainable since it works out to be about a book every two weeks.
  2. Knit for the Long Range Planning box. This was helpful last year and so I want to continue the trend.
  3. Knit one garment for the Giant.
  4. Learn to play the game Gin Rummy. I just feel a desire to give it a try.
  5. Spin 2lbs of fiber. I think based on my habits and lack of predictability with my body that this is a worthy goal.
  6. Continue with my gratitude journal. I started this a few weeks ago and want to keep it going. Basically taking 5-15 minutes per day to think and write down things I am grateful for.
  7. Continue with the limits on caffiene. I have started cutting it out after a certain time and I want to continue that trend.
  8. Post on the blog at least 4 times a month. I know that it isn’t a lot in terms of posting, but I have been struggling with feelings of having nothing of value to say.
  9. Indulge in creative pursuits. This is open to interpretation.
  10. Visit a National Park. Should be easy based on our new location.
  11. Go out on “dates” with the Giant once a month. As a homebody and someone who isn’t always feeling up to going out, I really want to try to keep this habit up. The Giant has already expressed his approval of this idea.
  12. Try one new activity this year. Just one new thing to expand my horizons.
  13. Get a local library card. It may seem small, but it is still worthy.

All of the information I have read concerning goal setting seems to indicate that having attainable goals is a big key in having success. It’s so easy this time of year to try to make goals that are essentially changing who we are as a person in one years time. This list feels like a lot, but it also feels like it is actually attainable and at the end of the day I will take that option every time.

Happy New Year from the Giant, the Furbeasts and myself. How are your resolutions or goals coming along?

FFNF:Christmas

Here’s a riddle for you, dear reader. How many times does it take the Introverted Knitter to knit a @#$%ing toe for a sock? If you answered six times, you would be correct. Why did I rip and reknit a toe six times you ask? (Pretend you did ask.) Well you see it’s almost Christmas and I decided to make a pair of hand knit socks for my MIL. She has been the recipient of a few other pairs in the past, but it has been a few years since she got a pair.

Of course to get the Giant in on the action he got to help me pick the yarn. He decided on the Vesper Striping Sock Yarn in the I Heart Green colorway. Which seemed like a great idea.

  1. I like knitting socks
  2. His mom is knitworthy
  3. I had not had a chance to try the yarn before
  4. It was striped (I really enjoy the self striping/patterning yarn)
  5. It came in a colorway that she would enjoy.

So with yarn all wound up I was off to the races. The first sock went swimmingly. I only had to deal with the tiniest bit of fulling with a section of the yarn. I even managed to use my nifty sock ruler to get the right fit. Having completed the first sock, I showed it to the Giant for proper appreciation (he’s great at it, trust me there is something nice about having appreciation for the skill/time/labor put into anything.) As he admired it, I made the off-handed comment that the socks probably wouldn’t match, as I would have to cut out almost a full striping repeat to get back to the right color. The Giant, being The Giant, said it would be no problem to have them not match. So that is what I did. I went to cast on the second sock where I had left off and tried not to worry about the fact that they wouldn’t exactly match.

Of course as I am knitting I can’t help but look from one sock to the other. I noticed that the Fish Lips Kiss Heel that I had used for the first sock seemed to take up just about the perfect amount of yarn it would take to get me back to the right spot in the striping sequence. Naturally once I figured this out I had to rip the small amount of ribbing I had completed off the needle, wind off the yarn and start over at the same spot.

As I worked on the second sock I put in the remnants for the heel (completely missing the fact that I put them in the reverse order, but I digress) before zooming along for the foot. With the toe decreases impending I sat there smugly knitting away secure in the knowledge that these would be the best self striping socks ever (I know, I know, I was asking for what came next.

The first time I knit the toe I ended up doing the decreases the same way as I usually do them, but as I was getting ready to kitchner the toe I pulled out the first sock to examine it and discovered that I was about seven rows shorter on the second sock. I sat there for a few moments trying to think about what had happened, the only thing I can think is that I must have missed some alternate rows before the straight decreases. I decided that seven rows was just too much of a difference to not rip out and so that’s what I did.

I reknit the toe while we watched a movie, getting about 3/4 of the way through it before I realized once again I was off, although this time it was only about four rows. Okay, fine I can just pull back to the spot where I got off and restart. Figuring the problem was solved I once again started knitting the toe. Nope, this time I was even more off with about eight rows difference. Not willing to be bested by a sock I ripped back and began again, getting all the way to the end, even kitchnering the toes before I realized I was about three rows off. Now this wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I had left them that way. But, of course the toe finished on a new color and so it was glaringly obvious that they didn’t match. I tried to live with it, but realized that it was so close to being right that it would just bug me if I didn’t retry. So that is what I did. For the fifth time I ripped the toe back and carefully reknit the toe. I followed the decreases to the letter and at the end as I got to the final decreases I hit the right color at the right time and sewed them up.

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What you might not be able to tell in the photo above, the ^$@%ing things are off by one row! ONE ROW! Sigh. In an effort of reducing stress I have decided to let it go and just leave them be. I even wove in the ends to reduce my ability to retry. I am going to call them good, because I refuse to reknit a toe 7 times.

Specs on the Socks:
Yarn: Vesper Striping
Colorway: I Heart Green
Pattern: My own recipe plus the FLK heel
Needles: DPNs 2.25 (US 1)

If any of you are still crafting I wish you the best of luck and from the Giant, the cats and myself I wish you all a safe and Happy Holidays.

 

Leavenworth, WA

This past Saturday the Giant, the best friend, the bf’s mom and myself got up very early and headed into Seattle to get on a bus. Our destination was a small place called Leavenworth, WA. This former logging town has become a popular tourist town, thanks to the fact that the city’s town center is modeled after a Bavarian village.

The place includes a variety of tourist shops, restaurants and a lot of hotels. It appears most of the “regular” stores are in on the act with the local Starbucks decorated in the same fashion.

We walked around for the afternoon, battling crowds (my gosh so many people) and frigid temperatures to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. It was a fun but busy day.

My favorite part (and not just because it was warm) was getting to tour the Nutcracker museum. Yep, a museum just for nutcrackers. (I don’t know why I am actually surprised by this fact, there are museums for just about everything.) The museum occupies the mid floor of a building along the main street, maintaining a very inconspicuous front entrance.

I had a professor in college who was a pretty big fan of Nutcrackers, but beyond that I can’t say I’ve given much thought to them. However after the tour I am happy to report I have gained a healthy appreciation for the craftsmanship involved.

There were Nutcrackers from just about everywhere in the world, from whimsical to down right functional.

It was pretty interesting to see the antique pieces, (no photos were permitted of those 😦 ) and while I absolutely hate the idea behind them, the Ivory pieces were some of the most intricately and delicately carved pieces I saw.

 

There were a whole host of characters including:

A variety of gnomes, animals and wee little nutcrackers.

They had a pop-culture section including Star Wars, even one made from Legos.

 

I even spotted the Fab Four hiding out in the bottom of the right hand cabinet.

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The music theme continued with spottings of Elvis in various stages of his career.

I saw a variety of religious pieces including Popes, a monk, a nun and some First Nations pieces.

They had nutcrackers for a variety of professions. Which of course meant I found this one right away.

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(Bonus points to the Giant for knowing this was a castle style wheel.)

There was a glassblower, and a few series known as the ‘Chubby characters’

I got to see an infamous gangster.

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There were pirates and Arabian Knights

I managed to see some famous travelers.

There were nods to wars and service members (as well as World leaders, but these were also not allowed to be photographed.)

The Giant and I met a nutcracker that was almost as tall as him.

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We even managed to find the truly bizarre.

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Our trip concluded with lighting ceremony that transformed the little town into a festive Christmas lights extravaganza.

Despite the frigid temperatures and crowds it was a very fun way to spend the weekend before Christmas.

 

P.S. Today marks the Giant and my 7th wedding anniversary. It’s crazy to think it’s already been that long. I am seriously one lucky lady to be married to my best friend. Here’s to year 8!

Ira McKnitty-Pants and the Quest for More Sweaters

Hello I’m Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting to you on location at the home of the Introverted Knitter. It appears with Christmas right around the corner IK’s knitting has slowed enough that comparison’s to a sloth seem fast. However before the halt in knitting, this reporter was able to secure confirmation that two more sweaters made it off the needles. I am being told that the sweaters have not yet been sent out to their recipents, however this reporter believes this should happen any day now.

Despite the delays in shipping, I am also being told that the photos we’ve been able to get are shoddy at best. According to my sources I am being told the light has not been great, so we apologize in advance. It is of this reporter’s opinion that photo’s could have been secured much sooner, but when I brought this up to IK I was promptly informed that I could partake of one of her knitting needles and place it in an unmentionable location. It appears the lack of sleep overall may be getting to our knitter, or perhaps the simple fact of, and I am quoting here, “I don’t know when to buzz off” may have played a factor in her comments.

Nevertheless, here are the two sweaters in question.

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Sweater one is a modified baby sophisticate. I am told it was knit on Berroco Vintage DK and that the buttons were sewn on thanks to the Giant  (when pressed for more details, IK muttered something about stupid shaky hands, followed by some words this reporter is to dignified to repeat.)

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Our second sweater is a modified Flax sweater, omitting the garter panels across the sleeves, much like the pink and purple version for the older sister. This is also knit out of Berocco vintage, however this version is the worsted weight.

With not a lot more details to go on I have been informed that IK has not been feeling the greatest lately and as such knitting and all other fiber arts have been limited in their progress. I think I speak for everyone in saying I hope this soon changes and our dear IK can get back to her knitting self.

 

I’m Ira McKnitty-Pants coming to you from the home of the Introverted Knitter, wishing you all a relaxing and safe holiday season.

One more day, one more month

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am looking forward to seeing the back end of 2016.

To that end I have a countdown of crafty things to finish before the end of the year. I thought it would be fun to look back and see what’s still on the needles, wheels,and spindles. To see just what is coming up before the holidays are over, and what I am hoping to finish, frog, or keep working on for the New Year rolls in.

So first things first: Still on the Needles

-Sock yarn blanket- this is coming up on year two of knitty goodness, I have no real belief this will be finished any time soon, in part due to my lack of new yarns (I know I know I should joing a swap, but I have no good excuse here.)

-Botanical Baddie Shawl-

This was cast on back at the start of the crazy pack and move halfway across the country. I have made it to the black lace border, but stalled for some reason on the pattern’s lace (knitter error most likely.) I’ve frogged the lace border back and now have a mesh lace border I am slowly making my through (read not seeing much action over all.)

-Monster for our Lady Marja-

No photo of this one, because the little guy is buried at the moment. As far as I can remember he needed legs and arms and then he would be ready to send her way. As she was able to help me out during a rough patch I really do want to get this done before the end of the year and sent out. Time to go digging I guess.

-Big Blue Socks for Giant-

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There is a bit more progress than this photo shows, but I think I am only at the beginning of the heel for the first sock. I think these simply got shoved aside for something else and then I forgot about them. Oops. Time to pick them back up.

-Crazy Zocks for Ze Giant-

No photo for this one, I am using a plain black for cuff, heels, and toes. The main color is my first Crazy Zauberball yarn. Just as the pair above these are still on the leg, but they are the more recent cast on when it comes to socks.

-Sweater for W-

Alas no photo for this either. I am making a modified baby sophisticate for the littlest man in the family. I have made it past the shoulders and am on the body, but still have a good 5 inches before thinking of the sleeves and collar.

-Blanket for Chicken Wing-

This is a somewhat secret project, so photos might be scarce (let’s pretend that’s the reason for the others lacking photos as well, ok?) I am using a modified version of the Mason Dixion Log Cabin blanket. My color scheme is rainbow in soft jewel tones with a stain-glassed look. More on that later.

 

On to Fiber in the Mix

-Moonrover-

I have one wheel occupied with the absolutely gorgeous braid of Moonrover fiber I snagged in a destash earlier this fall. Progress has been slow. I am hoping to get the singles finished before Christmas, and plying that week…but we’ll see.

-BusyBee Fiber-

This involves two spindles at the moment. I had purchased a Russian spindle to try supported spindling again…I need to practice more. I am also working on this fiber with my new akerworks spindle, this is going much faster and smoother as long as I can keep the cats from thinking it is a cat toy.

-Our Lady Marja’s Batts-

This is on my tiny akerworks spindle I purchased. Due it’s size, the generosity of Ms. Marja, and wanting to savor each time I work on it, this is a slow project. I’m okay with that.

 

Almost Finished

-This is a sweater for J. I have finished the thing (finally) and woven in all five million ends, it just needs a bath and to be blocked before photos can happen. Which should be any day now…

Upcoming Projects

-I have a pair of socks for the Giant’s mom for the holidays coming up. He picked out the yarn and it is going to be on it’s way to me soon (along with some other goodies for me as well.)

-Fingerless mitts for the giant—He’s a giant, but gets chilly easily. After my failed attempt with bulky handspun I am going to opt for something easier to work with. Just have to find the right yarn in stash.

 

So there you have it. The list I hope to complete with the last month of a year I won’t be sorry to see end.

How about you? Any crafting on the horizion for you?

 

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