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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?

 

Fresh from the Furnace: Glassblowing

I wrote last week about our recent adventure into the exciting new world of glassblowing. This past Saturday, the Indoor Cat and I took a trip down to retrieve the finished pieces. Aside from the onslaught of rain the entire day, the journey was easy. Indoor Cat was smart and snapped some photos of all the finish pieces before they were packaged up. (Photo credits belong to her.)

As part of the class the four of us got decide if we wanted to make two smaller items or one larger item. Indoor Cat opted for the larger item, the bowl I discussed last time. As part of the process we got to choose colors for our pieces, and she decided to go with an autumnal pallette.

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Indoor Cat’s sister ended up making a paperweight and an ornament. The paperweight option included choosing a rounded top or a cube shape. She opted for the rounded top.

The ornament (on the left) actually looked brown before the glass melted (which may have caused a slight moment of doubt on her part.) Luckily the Freddy Kreuger inspired piece turned out the way she wanted. This was made from the actually blowing the glass, thereby creating a giant bubble

The paperweight has a smoky looking interior along with the bubbles. Fun fact the paperweights actually require a larger amount of energy than the other pieces.

The Giant’s chose two smaller items as well, a paperweight (cubed shape) and a suck bowl. (Aptly named because instead of blowing out you suck the air in.)

His bowl grew a bit too thing at the base and thus there is a small hole in the bottom. However he still very much enjoys it.

The paperweight was a bit uneven in terms of shape, but thanks to the handy work of one of the glassblowing experts the piece was able to be chipped (to remove the uneven bottom) and then “sanded” which involves a giant diamond grit wheel. Fun fact, the grinding on the glass is so fine that it will tilt slightly on even the most miniscule of uneven surfaces.

To round out the projects, my pieces involved an ornament and a suck bowl. They are essentially the inverse of each other and I couldn’t help but decide on them. Unfortunately at the time of our glass there wasn’t any purple and so I opted for a yellow and green for my ornament. When beginning I asked if it would be possible to do a swirl pattern, I was told the technique was pretty difficult to do, but that the awesome team would try to make it work. I think if I would have had more contrasting colors it would have been easier to see.

My bowl is actually made the same way as the Giant’s above (different colors) but thanks to my serious lack of lung capacity it ended up being signifcantly smaller and thicker. However mine doesn’t have a hole in the bottom.

The over all experience with the team was great. The finished objects make it that much sweeter.

 

FFNF:All Wound Up

Today in what’s fresh from the needles I would like to share the socks I finished for the Giant.

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Knit out of my first Socks that Rock skein they are an exclusive colorway for one of the local-ish yarn shops. Dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts to celebrate the shop’s one year anniversary, they caught the Giant’s eye on our first visit. Being a process knitter far more than a product knitter I was intrigued to try the yarn. Oh man is it every lovely. I can definitely see why people are fans.

Because the Giant is…a giant, I ended up using some basic black yarn for heels and toes to help stretch the yarn. Of course by the end of the second sock I realized I didn’t actually need to worry, there’s more than enough left, which means I finally have a new color to add to the sock blanket.

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Trying to take photos around the apartment can be tricky. Toby has developed an affinity for the camera. He is also in love with anything wooly smelling, which means when these get a proper bath there will be a purring ball of fluff to stand watch as they dry.

Funnily enough the color actually goes well with my hair, although I recently dyed it a darker purple, so it’s less that pink and more the deep blue purple you see above. The socks themselves are just the basic formula I use when making the Giant a pair, although I have gotten a bit better about toe caps I am still on the look out for a truly rounded version.

Luckily the Giant seems pleased.

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How’s your weekend looking?

1,250 Degrees Fahrenheit

Glass, when heated to that temperature will have the consistency of taffy and is in the prime state to be shaped into anything, from a paperweight to a large delicate bowl.

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As part of a very delayed birthday celebration the Giant, my bestie, her sister and myself all took a day trip to a small town in Washington State and participated in a glassblowing class. In a large open workshop along with four workers we got to try our hand at making a few different items. The entire process for our end was about two and half hours, although our pieces had to cool overnight (and thus wait for us to pick up this next week.)

This is the beginning process of a bowl I made. The colors on the table roughly correspond to the actual colors I will get in the end. This particular bowl involved not only blowing the glass out, but then I had to suck air in to create the hollow interior. (Fun fact my lungs are pretty weak when it comes to the process, but luckily the lighter touch is easier to work with for the most part. Woo?)

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This photo is the start of a large bowl. The process is similar to my little one above, but requires a lot more teamwork. Indoorcat’s sister is assisting with the blowing aspect as Indoorcat waits to make the next step. The shop teacher was explaining how the rolling of the the glass has to be done in a consistent way to prevent it from becoming lopsided. After the glass was blown out, the top needed to be shaped.

Before the teacher re-heated the glass and was able to make it fan out to create the bowl.

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The process overall was so interesting and I know I wasn’t alone in thinking it would be a fun thing to try again.

Hopefully I’ll remember to snap photos of the finish pieces.

 

So how did your weekend go?

 

Spontaneous

I am most definitely a planner. I like to have an idea of what is going to happen, how it is going to happen and when it is going to happen. As someone who deals with anxiety, it just helps to have that bit of control. However this often means that I can easily talk myself out of trying new things. This past weekend The Giant, who is as easy-going as a person can be, and I decided to try our hand at an adventure.

What started as a stop at a semi-local/somewhat big box type craft store morphed into a day trip that ended up with us a trying a new food joint (it was okay, nothing too exciting), visiting The Sound and getting to see a variety of different flora and fauna.

The day trip involved driving up to Everett, WA and one thing I can say for sure is that the PNW knows how to do Autumn. The drive was a gorgeous mix of colors and cool weather. There were a few moments of brief panic (on my end) when the Giant put me in charge of not only deciding lunch (I tend to be less adventurous when it comes to food) but also what we should see while out an about. I hadn’t had time to really plan anything (cue panic) and instead decided to be brave and just wing it.

During lunch I used my phone’s map to look at the surrounding area, The Giant noticed the large amount of blue (water) on the map and asked if we were near one of the numerous large lakes. When I clarified that it was in fact Puget Sound, he seemed excited. Which meant after lunch we headed to the first of two stops, Harborview Park.

The weather was perfect for a little peak around the area, which had some pretty astounding views. There were even seagull (a somewhat regular sight back in Chicago)

The park was basically green space that ended pretty abruptly with some train tracks before the beach/water. While the views were gorgeous I really wanted to find a beach where we could walk around more.

So another quick look at the map and we ended up going to Edgewater Beach. This was definitely more in line with what I had in mind.

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The land mass you see on the horizon is Hat Island. I have recently become a bit obsessed with the place, due in part to the fact that there are only about 41 full-time residents on the island. Although the number swells to about 600 during the summer season.

 

Edgewater beach is part of a restoration project in conjunction with the Port of Everett and has provided around 1,100 linear feet of beach that is accessible during all tide times.  It seemed to be a pretty good fishing spot for locals, we even saw a few clam diggers as well.

For this raised in the Midwest lady it was astounding to see how many shells were on the beach.

The purple ones were by far my favorite, but I was fascinated with the barnacle laden shells.

Unfortunately the closest we came to seeing a crab was the remanet of the outer shell (RIP Mr. Crab.) The water was clear and cold, and apparently I react like a cat when the waves come up on shore.

I even got to see a (dead) jelly fish. (Which as a side note, Jelly fish in general freak me out. This is for a number of reasons, but the big ones are: no brains, practically immortal, and composed mainly of water; so much in fact that they can evaporate if stuck on a beach.)

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It was so calming to be out there, a nice change from the hustle and sheer amount of people otherwise. I am very glad I was able to try out this spontaneous thing, although you won’t be able to convince me to do it all the time, it was definitely worth it.

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FFNF: Pinks and Purples

The sweater for the tiny human in my life is complete. It’s even been sent through the washer and dryer to test for durability.

Getting an accurate color photo is harder than expected out here. The one on the right shows the pink more accurately, the one on the left displays the purple better.

The pattern was a modified version of Tin Can Knits, Flax sweater. I omitted the garter stitch on the sleeves. I ended up knitting a combination of the XS and the size down from that. The tiny human in question is actually quite skinny, but pretty tall for her age. Fingers crossed it fits and she isn’t swimming in it.

The yarn was Berroco Vintage (worsted) in Aster and Blush.

I had two skeins of each, but didn’t use all of them.

The pattern was easy to follow and I definitely enjoyed how quickly the sweater knit up, I just have to hope it is what she wanted.

 

New and Different

Growing up I colored my hair almost every natural shade there was.I had always wanted to go purple or blue, but school regulations and job prospects meant that I was unable to. It’s been about six years since I last did any type of color.  This changed this weekend. On a slight whim and thanks to the encouragement of the Giant I finally made the plunge into purple hair.

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The pre-dye photo. My hair has darkened over the years and when we went about the dyeing I had to lighten it.

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It was weird seeing it so blonde again, the color was hard to capture, but suffice it to say it looked very early 2000’s.

The entire process was an interesting experiment in spousal trust. The Giant was willing to help with the entire thing, but was far more nervous than I. I kept reassuring him that worst case scenario I cut it off and regrow (over dyeing was the next step if it didn’t work out.)

Despite a few hiccups the process went really well. The results are a bit lighter than I was going for, but I absolutely love it.

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It only took 29 years to get it.

 

Hello, I am Ira McKnitty-Pants coming to you from the new(er) home of the Introverted Knitter. It’s October finally and the PNW is starting to show off in style. With the changing leaves and the cooler and rainy days beginning again, I sat down with IK to discuss just what all is happening in her little corner of the world.

Ira: “Hello, IK, thank you so much for sitting down and talking with me today. As you know readers of your blog are interested in knowing just what you have been up to as of late.”

IK: “Hello Ira, thank’s for having me. I know the blog’s been a little quiet lately, but rest assured crafting is happening.”

Ira: “Fabulous, now IK with the month of October finally here, have you decided to participate in any of the numerous crafting activities that are going on? I know Spinzilla kicked off yesterday, and Socktober is already swinging into high gear, have you signed up for either of those?

IK: “No Ira, unfortunately it just didn’t work out for me this year to officially do any of these things, however I did cast on a sock for The Giant on October 1st. Right now my crafting time is really spent working on numerous WIPs. I still have that shawl from the summer on the needles, and I have more than a few socks kicking around. I have been putting most of my focus on the pink and purple sweater for the holidays.”

Ira: “Oh, the sweater, that’s right. You are knitting this for a niece, is that correct? She even requested it, if I am remembering right.”

IK: “Yep, you are correct Ira, the sweater was a special request. I have managed to get through the first sleeve and just need to work on picking up for the other. It’s been a little bit of an annoying go, all that turning with DPNS and then straightening it out again. However, I am enjoying the way the sweater is going.”

Ira: “Fantastic. Now I am being told you actually brought a photo for us to share with the audience at home? Let’s put that up for them now.”

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IK: “As you can see in this photo, I hadn’t quite finished the sleeve at this point. Now that is done and I just need to pick up for the second sleeve. It should be easy going once I take the time to get back to it.”

Ira: “Brilliant. Now I know you are busy with all sorts of things, so we won’t take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you once again for sitting down to talk with us. I’m Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting to you from IK’s place in the PNW. On behalf of her and myself thanks for tuning in.”

FFN:Belated Celebrations

This past weekend was unofficially the weekend of belated celebrations for my birthday last week. Saturday saw The Giant, my best friend and myself heading out on a pretty interesting adventure to South Gig Harbor to attend the third annual Cider Swig festival. The event features roughly 80 different kinds of Cider (according to the website) and is kind of like a combination of a beer garden and wine tasting event. The cider’s are from local(ish) companies and featured a variety of different types and flavors. It was a fun, if slightly poorly coordinated event. Aside from a sunburn (despite sunblock), I had fun and the three of us got to try about 14 different ciders and one whiskey variation. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take any photos (bad blogger.)

The weekend celebration continued when the lovely and talented and amazing (did I mention lovely) Ms. Marja (yes that Marja) sent me a birthday gift. I was more than a little floored by her generosity before opening the package. Once opened, I may have developed a bit of Gollum level of attachment to the gifts. Guys, Marja not only sent me a lovely card, she sent me some of her highly coveted handspun (I know you are jealous, I would be too) but she sent me fiber rolags she had created. I will admit to making some excited noises when discovering all of it. I managed to snap this photo right after opening it.

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Which is good because the handspun now looks like this.

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I was just looking at it on Sunday and by last night I was binding off the hat. It’s slouchy and warm and lovely and I may have made the Giant model it to get a better idea of what it looks like on someone. It’s soft and colorful and all things wonderful about hand spun.

The pattern is a loose adoption of Tin Can Knits, Barley Hat. I took the general idea but didn’t switch needles (there wasn’t time.) Also I opted to do the panel in reverse stockinette (purled every row.) I ended up making it quite a bit longer than the pattern as well, but (and here’s the amazing part) I still have some of the yarn left over. I do not think it will be enough to make much of anything although I am eyeing it for potential pompom use for later.

The fiber has been tucked away for safe keeping from the cats, but I don’t anticipate it hanging in the stash for too long.

How’s your crafting going?

First day of Autumn

Happy first day of Autumn from the PNW.

It’s been quite a bit longer between posts than I expected. Unpacking is still happening…slowly. The majority of the boxes are out of here, we are still trying to find space for everything. One thing I forgot about when it comes to apartment living is the sheer lack of storage. I believe all of our boxes have at least been opened and viewed, which is great, however somewhere amongst the random remaining stuff is our television remote. I fully anticipate finding it in a box that has been labeled for a completely different area.

In other news, yesterday marked my birthday. I was rejected for a freelance job, but considering how most of my birthdays work out, this was a pretty good day.

Crafting wise things are slow. I still haven’t finished the shawl, it has about 1.5 repeats on the lace border before the ending lace chart. I can’t explain why I am taking so long on finishing it; the pattern is not difficult, I enjoy the way it looks and feels, and I think it will be pretty once it’s done.

The sock blanket has been getting love recently, but I haven’t bothered to take a photo lately. I’ve managed to make it as wide as I want, but now have to work my way up. Instead of the haphazard way of working on it, by which I add squares with no set method, I have had decided to try to work in rows. Of course doubling the width means I have about half the blanket that needs to be caught to the first side. So far it’s working out fairly well. I still have enough “scraps” that it shouldn’t be an issue, although I may have to look into a swap soon as the repeating is getting to be a bit much.

I’ve started the sweater of doom (aka pink and light purple) and am trucking along at a good pace. The body is almost done which is pretty fantastic, I am a little perturbed by the fact that I ended up needing to wind up the second skein(s) simply because I ran out of some during the ribbing along the bottom. Minor annoyance, but it meant that I didn’t get as far along as I wanted last night.

Spinning is kind of happening, the Russian spindle arrived the other week and I managed to grab some fiber and start with very little second guessing. You know, that feeling that you need to hoard the fiber until you are good enough, like a dragon and its gold. The spindle itself is good, if a little large (37cm/ 14 inches) and when I actually sit down to do the spinning I can get in a decent enough groove. The double treadle has some fiber started on it, but that too has stalled out.

Stalling out seems to be my M.O. lately. I guess my adjustment to out here is still a work in progress.

How have you been? Any new knitting projects for Autumn?

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