Monday, January 26, 2015

not much to report


Since it has been a while since I updated, I figured I might have some new project to report.  Alas not.  I'm having a really hard time getting things done lately, I'm not sure exactly why.  The last two weeks have found me with nearly uncompleted weekly to do lists.  Last week was an obvious one, my kids had two days off and my husband had a different day off.  So I only had two days in which I did not have other people distracting me.  (Clearly, I want to be distracted).
And my kids, well they just sucked the energy right out of me.  I don't even know why except that as nearly 12 year olds, they've reverted back to some of their toddler like ways--except this time around I can't put them down for naps (even when I know they are tired). It means that when my knitting time rolls around, Im just too tired.  Plus, they've started this thing they never did as little bitties and get out of bed like 10-15 times a night (usually between 9 and 11) and they neeeed something. It makes it really hard to knit, when you are constantly getting up and saying--go back to bed, stay there.
I did start a small project that I know would be done by now in the hands of a more dedicated knitter. It is a gift though, so I don't want to say too much about it.  It is from a book I managed to score for majorly cheap ($1 at the Friends of the Library Amigurumi Knits ). So basically now I want to knit a bunch of vegetables for all my friends.
Even this small project has me stalled.  Because seriously, how long should it take to knit something small like that?  I've been working for over a week--except not really because too many nights I just fall into this exhausted despair.
This week, I have set some craft goals though and will push through them by golly. I've got 3 pairs of pj pants up . (PJs are fast becoming a never ending project--I recently discovered one child claims that she doesn't have enough to go all week and she hates re-wearing) One pair is for me, and is cut out.  The other two need to get done--the fabric is washed.  (The fabric was clearanced out at Joann--so score!) and just need to get done.  As I have proved other times, none of these will take me longer than an hour.  I should just get them done.
Other goals--swatch for one project--maybe during the day so I have focus.  It doesn't matter which of the THREE things I want to make I swatch for--just SOMETHING. So that when my Amigurumi gift is done, I can get going on something else. And get whichever patter I pick read through, and set so it can be knit in between the "mom--what if no one else wears pajamas at pajama day!" crises that happen at 10pm, as I am TRYING to knit.

Monday, January 12, 2015

decisions


Last week despite the fact that I decided I detest doing a sewn bind off (but love the stretchy-ness of Jenny's Surprisingly stretchy bind off) I managed to finish the shorty socks. Again like her sister, she chose to have "fraternal twin" socks.
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Those are all my feet because I could not get her to try them on.  But they fit me, they will probably fit her. Hopefully their feet will stop growing soon and I can make them a whole week's worth of socks!
The yarn here is Regia Fluormania in the neon ocean colorway.  I used size 1.5 and just a basic toe up pattern.  
Of course guess what is on tap for this week?  More sewn bind off!  I decided to widen the cowl I finished in December and give it a sewn bind off to make it stretchier.  I'm almost done with the widening part.  I'm really dreading the bindoff.  
After that, well I'm kinda stuck.  I'm not sure what project to do next. It isn't that I don't have yarn.  Oh my I have yarn for two sweaters that I wanted to do.  That infamous Dollar and a half cardigan AND Indigo Cones.  Do you know what those two have in common?  I had trouble making my gauge swatches. In the dollar and a half, I had trouble FOLLOWING the stitch pattern.  That never ever happens to me. I think I even tried charting it to help. Hmmm maybe time to look at it again.  The Indigo cones one?  Gauge. I have the yarn it calls for (which hello both are linen!) and I can't get even close.  Well I did get close on the lace pattern, but on the broken rib, not even close. Hmmm maybe I should try THAT again.  Both would certainly make nice spring sweaters (roughly the timeline it would take me I think).  I also have this pair of socks I want to try.
Here's the thing, if I do the socks, I'll do them in my Mode sock and I'll probably have to do a swatch AND I'll have to decide  which size to make.  My foot is 8 inches around. the pattern is 7.5 and 8.5.  I mean you know if my gauge is off I could probably math it a bit. but I would HATE HATE HATE to make such pretty socks in such squishy yarn that are too big. (I HATE too big socks).
All of these are complex patterns that I'd have to focus on, and the reality of my life is that my knitting time is almost all in front of the tv. And done as a relaxation thing at night when I feel like I am just DONE.  So about the last thing I want is to have a scream in frustration about patterns I can't follow or gauge being off. I guess the other alternative is to have two projects going--a daytime project that I might be able to sneak in a few minutes on here and there and a night project that is zone out knitting.
So many decisions!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Post holidays



 This is the entry where I probably ought to list some resolutions, but.  Well, I'm sure some people say--I don't make resolutions, I just change when I want to.  What I say is this, I do make resolutions, but I usually don't really have them gel in my head until the middle of January.  The new year is often an introspective time, which is I guess why people resolve things, but I usually need to get back into my routine to fully develop my thoughts.  So far nothing is leaping out at me expect for trying to make some running goals happen.
But on to the good stuff, the holiday wrap up!.
This is where I would generally put any gift knitting I had done. The fact is though, that I did no gift knitting. None. I did knit on holiday though, and have nearly finished a pair of socks for my panda girl.
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Before we left for our post Christmas trip I had the first sock done.  Mostly because she wanted "short socks". Alrighty then.  Now I am ready to bind off the second sock (sorry the picture is from Saturday when I thought I might be writing this post.) I don't think I've even had time to get these on my ravelry page.  
And of course there was yarn as gifts for me!
My mother in law got me six skeins of a yarn she saw in a yarn shop that she liked. If it did not have mohair in it, I'd probably make her a scarf out of it.  I know the mohair would bother her though.  She also got my girls several pairs of socks (these bamboo socks they like, and some smart wool for puppy girl who loves it) and each of them a skein of sock yarn. And then my mom took me shopping at knit stop, which is really a nice shop even if it is pricey! I snagged this mini skein set, a swift and a pattern.
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This is sock/fingering weight and is all wool.  I was initially thinking socks, then bemoaned the lack of nylon, then thought gloves, then thought oh heck, I'll just look at it and pet it every day or something.  
I'm really excited about the swift.  I have had a ball winder for ages, and usually when a yarn is in a skein, I roll it into a ball then wind it on the ball winder (so I get a pretty cake), but often that's a huge exercise in frustration. I can't wait to set up my swift and try it out.  I haven't yet because winding yarn while everyone is home is like inviting disaster. Also inviting people to exclaim that they really need a new scarf or cowl or something. Also, I'd have to go through the stash and find something that needs winding. So maybe it will wait until I finish the socks AND fix the cowl.
After discussing the matter with several knitting friends, I've decided to add a few more rows and do a sewn bindoff to make that end more stretchy.  My friend who just happens to work at my local LYS (and has a blog she never updates...... HINT) suggested that, and I never would have considered it, but I think she's right and it will add to my liking for the project.  After that... I have no idea.  More socks maybe?  Another scarf? A sweater?  I'm cold so who even knows what sort of project will present itself.

Monday, December 15, 2014

baking

So last week--let's just say that perhaps maybe I neglected to put the things I was really going to do--actually needed to do on this list. Which made it very unfulfilling to spend a day doing them and having nothing to cross off. What am I talking about? Baking of course.
Last week I made, two batches of hard candy--one strawberry, one watermelon and a batch of marshmallows. The candy was supposed to be red and green. I made the strawberry first and colored it red. Then I made the watermelon and the flavor oil turned the candy pink! Which of course meant that my green turned it grayish brown. So lovely and so festive! I'm making two batches of spiced pecans today. So at the end of last week, my kitchen was full of this: DSCN4102
and this:
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And of course this morning, I'm doing the first batch of pecans (I need to buy pecans for the second batch --eeek) so this is making my house smell all good: DSCN4108
That's a long way of saying there were still items left on the list. Mostly dealing with wrapping presents--a task I despise. However, wrapping of the girls' presents must must must get done this week--this is the last week of school. I also broke out bigger tasks I want to accomplish this week, so my list for this week looks really really long.but it is so so satisfying to cross things off--so there is that.
Hopefully though, even if I don't get all the way through my list, I'll be ready for everyone to have their winter vacations and just chill in my messy messy house. And knit--oh yes knit. DSCN4107




Monday, December 08, 2014

cowl and sweaters

Last week I got EVERY SINGLE THING on my to do list done. That has not happened since I started keeping a weekly to do list 7 weeks ago. And it means that the secret Christmas jammies are done!! This week's list looks long, but I'm hoping I can knock it out too.

One thing that was not on my list this week, but needed to get done (and I should have written it on there) was to create a "ugly" Christmas "sweater" for both girls to wear to a Christmas party. After failing to find anything at Salvation army and refusing to spend $ (although I did buy puff paint for $10 so maybe I should rethink this next time) we decided to decorate some old sweatshirts that their grandma gave us for the occasion. What was really funny was in discussing the designs, it became clear neither girl understood what "ugly Christmas sweater" meant. So they both were dubious as my suggestions, and one of them kept begging to add black widow spiders. It went like this:
me: how about a big santa hat?
her: with a black widow spider on it?
me: um or maybe a Christmas tree?
her: decorated with black widow spiders?

In the end, no black widows, and not terribly ugly either: DSCN4044 DSCN4043

On to the knitting!:
I think I might have finished the cowl I was letting myself work on only for this week. I say think because I'm not sure I'm happy with it. DSCN4055

First, I'm not sure it is wide enough. I still have enough of both yarns to make a second one, but that seems a little odd to have two. Even odder to give the identical one away. And I'm not sure it is actually long enough either--this is it wrapped around me--just one wrap. (pre morning run, and so pre-shower/makeup sorry)

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So, I didn't tuck in the ends, in case I decide to rip it out and start over.
Pattern:Bloom Striped cowl
needles: US size 8
yarn: Misti alpaca baby me boo Autumn Aster and Malabrigo silky merino

Monday, December 01, 2014

Bloom Striped cowl

I finally finished the socks. I did neglect to get a picture of puppy girl wearing them, but she wore them for a day and a half before taking them off and shoving them behind the throw pillow on the couch. This is a normal repository of socks in my house and I am convinced that both girls consider this to be part of their hamper. I TRY to do the natural consequence thing and not wash things that aren't in the hamper, but honestly they either have too many socks or their tolerance for socks shoved behind cushions of the couch is higher than mine. Perhaps both.

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I decided to compromise and give myself a week, this week, to work on an alternate project before starting the second pair of socks. I mentioned a while ago that my LYS had a sale and when I went everyone was just gushing about the Bloom striped cowl. I bought two skeins to make it with and then laid out all my other purples to see if maybe one of them didn't go better. Then this weekend, I even dug out a burgundy and a baby blue. In the end I decided to go with not the silky wool I bought, but a darker purple. That um is called.... um.... I think I may have lost the ball band. Isn't that terrible? I do keep the ball bands--but I always get into trouble when the yarn comes in a skein and I decide I need to wind it RIGHT NOW!

I did a search of the yarn cabinet and did come up with the tag. The yarn is Malabrigo Silky merino. DSCN4031

And I quite like how it is turning out. DSCN4037

I will say this, whenever a pattern says cast on, I use a knitted cast on. I like it, I like how it looks. Sometimes I'll do a cable cast on--again easy peasy and looks nice. However, sometimes a pattern will specify and I truly try to believe that the pattern designer is not just a control freak who wants me use her favorite cast on and actually think there is a reason. So I use the cast on specified. That said--man I hate me some long tail cast on.

Monday, November 24, 2014

about the socks

You know what I am liking? The weekly progress pictures on the sock. Why? Because this week, I felt like I hardly knit at all. My arm has been hurting (which seems to be a combination of the ulnar nerve problem AND the tendonitis problem that I've had in the past. So my pinkie goes numb and my wrist hurts and my thumb feels weird.) Needless to say, it makes me not want to knit. I do think I have most of it figured out--I think the planks were aggravating my ulnar nerve and the brace I was wearing for that was making my wrist hurt. I'm switching from planks to boat pose, but I need to work up to a 30 second boat. I stopped planking a few days ago--stopped wearing my brace, and moved my pillows so I wasn't sleeping totally on my shoulder and I felt better so fast it wasn't even funny.

Are you curious about the steps? No? Well I'll tell you anyway. I still have my 10K streak going, but this week was HARD for that too. Wednesday I had to take my car in for service, AND I took a nap in the morning (it had been a rough rough night the night before). Then I didn't walk over to the school to get the girls (my daily walk!), so by 3:30 when we were all home I had 3000 steps. Usually I have 7000 by then. Let's just say I paced while dinner was cooking and barely made it. Yesterday was a similar thing--except we helped pack Thanksgiving baskets for the food pantry--and while it SEEMS like you'd be getting a lot of steps because you are walking along a line of food, picking up cans as you go, it turned out to only be 1500 steps for a 2 hour block. I probably have more to say bout what foods you should donate to food pantries based on this, and you can most likely find lots of articles that tell you the same thing, but I'm going to start with my big pet peeve: DON'T DONATE EXPIRED FOOD. And my "rule of thumb" If I won't eat it--I'm not donating it (exception: pumpkin pie filling stuff--I hate pumpkin, but some people love it--I haven't met anyone who likes canned potatoes though--if you do--give me a shout out). But on with the knitting!

socks

As you can see--I'm getting closer to the end. If all goes well I may even finish it thins week.

Also on my list this week were to darn my Harry Potter socks. These are my favorite of my hand knit socks, and they are old, and Opal no longer makes the Harry Potter colorways. (note to self--I should have bought more of this yarn when I had the chance). I was distressed last year to note that one of these socks was getting thin on the bottom, and sad to say, I've been putting off fixing them for far too long. Every day this fall I'd look at them on the dresser and think--You should fix those! So I put it on the list (that coincidentally sits next to where the socks were--duh) and actually did it.

darned

That's the Harry and Ron colorway BTW.

Also on the list--2 pairs of secret pjs (not done) and 2 pairs not secret PJs (done!). I am all set to get the secret ones done too--the problem is I got the elastic measured out for them on the weekend, so you can't really pull out the secret pairs while everyone is home. Joann's has flannel on super sale Wednesday and Friday this week, and I may pop over and pick up some more--for me. The girls are set I think after their Christmas pairs, but I would love another new pair.