Monday, December 05, 2016

crooked heel

Sometimes my knitting seems to be a metaphor for life. Take these socks that I'm knitting:

Sock progress

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The pattern was part of a Christmas present last year When my wonderful mother in law gifted me with SOCK CLUB!!! It is available for purchase now--it is L'abeille D'or Socks and the yarn--amazingly enough is also from that sock club. It is Modesock in a colorway that doesn't seem to be available anymore. I think it was called heirloom corn? I am too lazy to go get the wrapper.

Anyway, before I start the life metaphor, let me say this. I do love this yarn so so much, it is so squishy to work with. And I loved the sock club. I didn't anticipate that I'd actually use any of the patterns though because I have this love hate relationship with sock patterns. I love making socks. I especially love making toe up socks. But I have narrow feet and a loose knit and so I can never make a 64 stitch sock actually fit me. But I decided to give this a go because it came in a smaller size AND it was toe up.

So here is where I diverge. I have this way of knitting toe up socks on 3 dpn--you have equal numbers on two stitches and double that number on the third. Your start of a round is between the smaller needles. No stitch markers needed. YOu do need to remember if you are doing a pattern, which side you have designated as the "top" so that your pattern is actually on the top of your foot and make the heel on the OTHER side. So, when I started this pattern, I just kind of did that. Usually, I also do a version of a short-row heel that I learned from the fabulous Ann Budd in her article on toe up socks in Interweave knits sometime in 2007 (again--lazy). But this pattern called for a different heel and I thought--oh what the heck, I'll do that kind.

Well, this my friends is where I feel like my life and my socks are at the same place. I'm knitting along thinking I have things under control and then whammo I'm stuck.

In life--I'm just feeling stuck, I'm not really working in the field I trained for, not really doing a job with any upward mobility, really really wanting to do something information science related instead and not really sure what that looks like both locally and what I envision it being.

In knitting--well I understand sort of what the pattern is asking, but because I said "I don't need no stinking stitch markers" I keep feeling like the heel flap is... well crooked. I understand (I think) what the pattern is asking--I'm just not sure in this uncharted territory where to put it.

And in both--well I'm feeling so tired and busy that I'm not sure I have the energy to figure it out.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What I've been up to

Well this has quite the week.

I'm sure you've probably heard someone say this this week--or perhaps you said it yourself.

Monday the 7th--which feels like a REALLY long time ago, I went to a meeting/baby shower. It was to be a book shower, but you know--I can't resist knitting for a baby. So I threw in a sweater and a hat with my board book contribution.

Baby sweater and hat #gifts

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I had such fun knitting these. The hat is just a basic hat--figured up from the Handy book of patterns by Ann Budd and the sweater is a Kimono baby sweater from Mason Dixon knitting.

Then, I admit that the US election did not go exactly how I thought it would, and I'm realizing that I probably live in my own bubble which would seem weird given I live in an area where the democrats don't usually even run anyone. But there it is.

At any rate, I barely had time to process that when I got word that a former co-worker and knitting friend had passed away from complications of brain cancer. She was an extremely special person. Even saying that feels like an understatement. You know that one friend or relative you have who everyone turns to for advice and help and hugs? That friend or relative who you'll go months without seeing (except on facebook) and they'll ask after some concern you posted or talked about? Sally was that person and more. I feel like our community has a Sally shaped hole in it, and it will take a while to stitch up.

I confess, I started this sock simply so I'd have something to knit at the visitation. I do need some new socks though.

Tiny start to a #sock

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I wrote the above a few days ago, but didn't have time to finish, because the week suddenly got even longer. However, work progresses on the sock, but I'm starting to worry that it is turning out to be too big for my stupidly narrow feet. It's like al of a sudden I can't make socks that actually fit my feet. Because yes, I did finally finish the second baseball sock, but am too tired of that yarn to rip back the first too small sock and re-knit it. So basically I have one sock that fits. Well lesson learned, I'm going to knit another inch or two on the current sock and try it on (toe up for the win) and if my suspicions are correct I am ripping IMMEDIATELY.

Meanwhile, in an effort to DO something, anything really to mitigate the feeling of helplessness I feel, I decided that I could actually do something small for someone who is collecting all the smalls and turning them into a big. Carry the Future, which is a great non-profit organization attempting to provide baby carriers to refugees in Greece is having a blanket drive. They are asking for blanket donations, both twin sized and baby sized to help a group of refugees in Jordan stay warm this winter. Blankets I can do. Baby sized ones in particular. So I started this:

Just a little something I started today.

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It is entirely scraps from the PJ pants of the last few years. And it turns out I'm probably going to miss their November 30 deadline. BUT, I saw an article the other day that said an organization here in Michigan was looking for blanket donations too in order to assist refugees settled in Michigan. Evidently, if you come from a warmer climate Michigan winters (even the mild one we are currently experiencing) make you wish for many many blankets to snuggle under. In some ways that's even better. I'll get to give a happy baby sized blanket to someone who is just getting to America and let them know that not everyone hates them. Better yet, I think I probably have enough scraps to make a few more. And I get that same satisfaction I always get with the thrum and hum of the sewing machine.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween wrap up

I guess I want to start this with a disclaimer: I love Halloween and I love making costumes for my kids. I don't judge other people for not enjoying this. There are things other parents do that I just do not like, will never like and therefore, if I do them I do them halfheartedly. So, if you are reading this and thinking gah: I could/would never do that. Great--get on with your life! No judgement at all from me!

For us Halloween prep usually begins in August. In August I drag the girls to Joann and we spend a happy hour leafing through the pattern books and dreaming about what we want to be. I try to have a final idea/concept by labor day (when typically patterns go on sale for $1-$2) and I get started sewing by the end of September. One year I finished by October first, because I'd been laid off from my part-time job and found myself with gobs of time in September, but usually I'm done with costumes about a week before Halloween--give or take. Very rarely am I rushing around on Oct 30, trying to put finishing touches on something.

SO this year was different.

If you'll recall, I spent a lot of summer feeling very much off. And thus, things that had always given me joy seemed exhausting. I did take each child individually in August for the pattern book leafing, but it became one more exercise in frustration as each girl had a vision that they were not seeing in the pattern books. And I might add, a vision they could not articulate to me without me feeling very much like a failure.

Then at the last part of August I very suddenly (like within 10 days) came out of this fog and... well had a bunch to catch up on. There was back to school, and canning and my toe was still infected, and my work hosts these fundraisers three times a year and one of them lands in October, so I had planning. So yeah--I set a deadline of September 30 for the girl to finalize and articulate what they wanted. And I was kicking myself for missing my usual labor day sale.

But honestly, the girls were pretty solid in what they wanted: BB8 from start wars and a "unicorn in a onsie." I confess right there with you I had no idea how I was going to pull either off and furthermore, what a unicorn in a onsie would even look like. She helpfully drew a picture:

costume sketch

Yeah the picture didn't really help.

BUT, I did also get a description from this and believe it or not saw this exact thing at Target! I was so thrilled, I came home and told her and asked--would she rather I buy her that? The answer was a definitive no.

AS for BB8? She told me she wanted a dress with BB8 designs, and I created a whole pinterest board of BB8 ideas. And guess what--she liked NOTHING I pinned. She kept saying she wanted a teacup dress. I had no idea what that was. I had her look through the dresses part of the pattern books, and she kept asking me to make her prom dresses. I finally googled teacup dresses, and got an idea of silhouette.

We discussed materials for these costumes and finally, I had a plan. Of course it was October at this point.

And remember when I said my work has a fundraiser in October? Well I usually spend a chunk of time working on that because it was scheduled for the week of the 14-16. And at this point, it's early October and I have NOTHING.

Well, my MIL was headed out of town and before she left she dumped a bunch of Joann's coupons on me (see everyone was worried at this point) and Lo and behold, Joann's was having a blowout sale. Patterns were $1-$2 and fleece was $2.99 a yard. Plus there were coupons. Good coupons too.

So on Columbus day(!) I hiked my butt to Joann's and bought both patterns, and all the material for the unicorn. BB8 was still a problem though because the material I wanted was $24.99 a yard and I needed 2.25 yards. I'll just let that sink in.

Joann fabrics was having a sale! Any guesses what this becomes?

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So on October 15--the day after my part in the fundraiser was over--I started the unicorn costume.

Then, another Joann coupon hit me--20% off your entire purchase including sale items. I had just about decided that 20% off 24.99 was about the best I could do--but when I went in, the fabric was listed at 30% off! And it ended up ringing up lower (I asked before cutting)--something like $14/yard. So I bought it (even though I did have to let the checker know that it rang up wrong--the slip SAID one price and it rang up FULL price--and she was NOT happy with me).

Now, one of the reasons, I usually start so early is that because when you are winging it like I often am, and you aren't a good seamstress--things happen. And usually I need time to puzzle it out.

Not so much here. I needed to just get it done. And so the unicorn has the messiest zipper i have ever put in in my entire life. And if I had had time, I would have switched from the pink I bought to white, but I didn't have time. So I made it work.

Oh and then, The weekend after I started, I got word that my deadline had changed. No longer was Oct 31--A Monday the day costumes were needed. Nope--Friday the 28 was costume day at school. Eliminating 3 whole work days that were mostly WEEKEND days. Let me tell you--I should get an award fro restraint that I did not email the school in a FURY.

Thankfully, aside from the zipper, the main Unicorn costume (actually a cat or gorilla pattern) came together smoothly (as well it should I think this is the 9th time, I've made something from this basic pattern) and BB8's dress was a "learn to Sew EASY" pattern that because it was a knit, didn't have set in sleeves or gathered skirt.

I did finish the Unicorn costume, pretty much by Wednesday and Thursday, I just really focused on ONLY sewing and cut out and sewed on the BB8 symbols.

Just so you know, I did NOT go for cosplay style accuracy. I went for the least I could do to make the costume look like BB8.

This is not to say that this was all without drama. Do you remember I mentioned that the unicorn was modeled after something you could buy at Target? Well every popular girl in middle school announced that SHE was going to be a unicorn. Which made my unicorn girl flip out. She was worried that my version would not match up with theirs, that the mane I was planning wasn't fluffy or long enough. In fact at one point, I told her I wasn't working any more on it until she calmed down and stopped screaming at me, and started BB8.

I managed to entirely finish the BB8 dress and I did cheat a little on my--I'm not doing another thing on your costume, and cut out the pieces for the hood before she calmed down. You know what finally did it? On Monday they had pajama day and someone wore the unicorn suit as PJs (a boy) and suddenly she became convinced of the sheer epicness of her costume. Which meant that I was able to sew it all together (finally) and have her be excited about it.

How did they turn out? Fabulous. I took pictures on Friday before school and I'm hoping to get more tonight before they trick or treat (yes, they are 8th graders, yes, they are nearly 14 and YES they want to trick or treat). Because it is not my practice to put my girls' pictures out on the blog--I have covered their faces:



Compare the drawing to the actual Unicorn--Nailed it didn't I!

It was super fun, but I hope I never have to pull off costumes in less than two weeks ever again.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oh hey

So again, another month flew right past me.

I've sort of struggled with how to put into words how the last 5 months have been for me. But let me say this--I spent a good chunk of the summer not feeling like me.

Usually, I am good at rolling with the tempest that is a household with tween or teen girls. The moodiness, the insults, the criticism. I've learned I laugh weird, and I sound drunk when I get silly, and my teeth often have food in them. I've learned I have no clue what a squad is, or what goals they might have. I've been learning this for a while from my biggest critics--my daughters, and usually I can handle it. And by handle it, I mean keep it in check and not take it personally--but rather use it as social teaching (it is polite to softly tell someone that the poppyseed bagel they just ate is in their teeth--it is not ok to say, Mom you are so disgusting you have food in your teeth--for example). This summer though it all started to weigh very heavily on me. Suddenly I could do nothing right, knew nothing and basically was wrong always.

You know typical teen stuff

But it hit me, it hit me hard.

I cried a lot this summer.

And I fell out of doing the things I once loved for lack of energy, as I felt that every ounce of my energy was focused on being enough.

Because that's what I felt--I felt like I wasn't enough, in a lot of ways. And I didn't feel like I could ask for help. Because what could anyone say to me that my husband wasn't already saying? Why would I believe my friends if I couldn't believe my best/longest friend?

I'm not sure what happened that changed it, but here are some things that all happened about the same time:
I got an infection under my toenail and I started on an antibiotic (actually I ended up a month on different antibiotics, before having a surgical procedure that finally ended the infection.--But this all started to change after the first one)
We went on vacation and..
I had a total meltdown where I walked out on saying goodnight to my children and went downstairs to the family room and cried--and my husband went up and lectured the girls on how mean some of their comments had been

I'm not sure why, but after that vacation, I just felt more like me. Like I was back. Like I could weather the storms of teenagers. But it left me a little weak.

Much like skipping exercise (another thing that's been happening--see Toe infection surgery above) makes you feel weaker for a while, and makes it hard to build up stamina so this has made me struggle at things that used to come easier.

So why say all this now? Well, I guess it is so I can explain why daily life is keeping me so busy. Why I had my latest start on halloween costumes ever (I started SATURDAY--like as in OCT 15!!!), and why I don't have a ton of stuff to show you.

I'm better and I get stronger at the day to day stuff all the time, and I am certainly feeling more like my old self. I'm getting so the day to day stuff doesn't exhaust me, so hopefully it won't be another month before I check in again. But you come here for the knitting, and knitting happened!

Reknit of my bloom striped cowl. Finally finished something in time for it's appropriate season

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I re-knit my bloom striped cowl. I felt like my original one was way too short (as it only wrapped around once and even then felt like a turtleneck. So I ripped it and knit it longer. I love it and even though we are back to 70 degree weather, I did manage to wear it twice!

Sneak peek at the costume I've started:

Unicorn 🦄 tail #costumes2016

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A co-worker of mine is having a baby and I'm knitting a hat, kimono sweater and maybe booties. I need to finish this by November 7!

Just a little something that I'm knitting

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Monday, September 19, 2016

summer kicked my butt

"summer ran past me and kicked my butt on it's way out"

You know what? I started a blog entry 12 days ago and I never finished it and then oh man.

I never finished it because somehow I couldn't get pictures from my instagram to post here. Turns out that that was pretty much a mobile issue, and if I had just shoved everyone out of the way and used the desktop, I would be fine.

I almost don't want to talk about knitting because I've been knitting all summer long on a pair of socks and for some reason I flaked on numbers and the first sock:

First of the Ballgame/travel socks is done. A little snug.

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Doesn't quite fit. It's a little tight on the heel and ankle. So rather than rip it out, I just decided to make the second sock bigger and then rip. Well I made the second sock too big, but realized it early enough that I only had to rip out about 3 inches of knitting.

So yeah, not the highlight of my summer.

I did however, embark on a new thing for me. I got a pressure canner for Christmas, and after having gotten it checked at the extension service, I dived in and made canned beans!

I was told to Instagram my finished beans. Have heard 7 pings!

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I'm hoping they taste good.

I also did the peaches

Time to put fruit in jars

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I water bath canned them, in the pressure canner because I can do 10 pints instead of 3 at a time. I also picked tomatoes and canned those puppies.

I'm set to have a busy weekend #tomatoes #canning

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That took me 5 days. Seriously. But I tried both pressure canning and water canning and pressure canning sauce. We'll see how it goes.

I've been carting my sock to many many baseball games (minor league), and am close to done. I've also been working on a cowl that I ripped out ages ago. And planning some baby knitting that I should probably just start on. I will try try try not to be so long in updating again. As I should actually have things to show off soon. Things other than vacation:

Oh the mackinaw bridge!

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Quick note

ust a really quick note to say--I finished the Central Park Hoodie. And even though it is currently 85 degrees F outside right now, I made people model:

Central Park hoodie #finished

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Other people also wanted in on the action. Why yes, we do have AC.

#knitwear on a hot July day

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

June update

So so much has happened since I last posted so I'd better get right to it.

1) My mother in law: Better. She's home now after 3 weeks in the hospital and 2 weeks in a rehabilitation center/nursing home. Yesterday they gave her permission to walk without a walker or a cane, so progress continues!

2) Strawberry season: Underway! I have purchased 2 flats, then we went and picked yesterday and I picked 6 pounds--and I was trying to go light. Here is what I have made so far from all this strawberry goodness:
Jam of course. So far I have made 4 batches. I might be done. Last year I made 6 (plus 1 each of cherry, peach and peach vanilla) and I ended up with extras. I may make one more to be safe. Hey future me--5 might be the sweet spot!

Strawberry lemonade concentrate. I've made this the last few years. Ball's recipe. I find the squeezing of lemons to be the biggest pain in the butt, but worth it. I never get 7 pints out of it though. 5 full canned pints and about 3/4 of a pint that you need to use immediately. This year was no exception.

Strawberry Marshmallows! This was my first year making these and here's the verdict. They were delicious the first day. Then not so much. They got soggy REALLY fast. I can't decide if it was the advice to grease the pan with cooking spray (IF I make this again, I'll use butter) or the humidity. I still am toying with freezing the puree and making this in the winter.

Strawberry marshmallows #yum

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A fresh Strawberry pie! No verdict on this yet as I JUST finished it. This is my mother in law's recipe, as she is the one who usually makes it. She's better, but not THAt much better and I would have hated to say--ok, now that you are up and about could you make me a pie? Instead I said--I'll make the pie, where's your recipe. Since her eyes lit up at the mention of pie and she smiled big when she realized I'd make the pie I knew I'd made the right call. Then when I told her on the phone that it was dinner dessert she told me she couldn't wait--this from someone building their appetite back so good news all around.

3) Sweater knitting!

I've been plugging away (in 90 degree heat at a baseball game even) on the Central Park hoodie for my daughter. I am ready to pick up the ribbing stitches (minimum 300) and because that sounded so exciting, I decided to sew in the sleeves first. Picture? yep:


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Yes, it looks like it has 3 arms, because the sides aren't sewn in and so the sides look like arms. MUST MAKE MYSELF PICK UP STITCHES. The pattern claims 300 will do it for this size, but I made it a little long so the plan is to Pick up as many stitches as it takes to get through one side, try for the same number on the other and be sure it is divisible by 4--easy peasy! (eyeroll) Ask me in a week how that went.

4) Landscaping. We had this hairbrained idea to replace the backyard pond we ripped out a few years ago--ok a dozen years ago. I'm attempting to spend at least 30 minutes on pulling up rocks, and weed barrier fabric every day. Failed yesterday. Trying to get the kids to help is hard because they are more scattered than I am. Stay tuned though as I have been taking progress pictures.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Flat sweater

Usually I knit after my girls are tucked in bed and while I watch TV with my husband and unwind. It gets me roughly an hour sometimes less depending. It means projects go slow.

Rare is it that I knit during the day. Maybe I feel it is too decadent to sit in the middle of my (usually) messy house and take time for just me. I do knit when kids are home sick, while they sleep the fitful fevered sleep that only sick kids manage to pull off.

I also knit in public--ball games, waiting rooms. I never feel self-concious about it. In fact, I've never understood why I should. I mean I get that if I am in a meeting and presumably you are paying me to sit in that meeting and be bored out of my skull that I maybe should feel a tad bit self-conscious pulling out my knitting. But at a baseball game? (Now watch I'll be in one of those news clips where somebody throws an arm out in front of my face to stop a fly ball from hitting me and like that poor kid on his phone the internet will chastise me--we do usually sit behind the net though) No.

But lately, we've not been watching TV. Almost 2 weeks ago my MIL had an acute attack of pancreatitis and we've been hospital sitting ever since. She is getting better, but man your pancreas is like Bruce Banner--mild mannered until it gets angry and becomes HULK SMASH!!!

We've settled into a new routine now and so for the last week, I go in for a couple hours and sit and chat if she feels like it and don't if she doesn't and basically I am just THERE for whatever while my husband takes a break from his constant vigilance in this regard. This is why I married him BTW--He is totally the guy who drops everything to be at your bedside. And during this time, I knit.

Specifically, I've been working on the central park hoodie I started for my daughter. More specifically--the last sleeve. Now, when I started the sleeves, I was at book club and every single lady there told me that when they do sleeves, they do both at once so they turn out the same size. And honestly, I do worry about that. Mostly though I was worried about the increases being sort of even, and keeping track of where I was. So I made a chart:

Keeping track of the sleeves

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This has turned into a godsend, because I have carted this page with the sleeve back and forth in my purse to the hospital and I always know which row to increase on!

I've been there enough that today I took the other sleeve so I could get the sleeve caps even. (and we won't discuss how I dragged the whole sweater there, just in case I finished--I didn't).

So that's the story of how I managed to go from the last entry Where I only had part of the ribbing--to today when I only have the sleeve cap left to knit:

Flat sweater

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Discharge is soon, but rehab comes next and so I'm guessing we have lots more waiting. Of course we hit 80 degrees Tuesday and have had 80 degree days every day since. Still, nights can be chilly. Plus we still have several baseball games to shiver through.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lazy update

Progress continues on the cream sweater. In fact, I am so lazy I didn't want to set it all up for a photo shoot and instead, just sort of snapped it in it's natural habitat.


What you see there is a back, both fronts AND a sleeve. That sort of makes me feel like I am NEARLY done. But it also forgets finishing the other sleeve, sewing it all together, and adding a buttonband AND hood. Good thing it snowed yesterday! (Didn't stick but STILL).


Still so much sleeve to knit....

I have been taking this every where I go, and that usually is a bad thing when you have a sleeve (increase every X rows Y times!), so this time, I made a chart of which row numbers to increase on. And when I took it to the ball park for our first (really cold) game of the year I improvised.


I did end up with 3 too many stitches at the end, but in the interests of finishing, well I just bound off instead of trying to "fix" it.

The other project that is progressing is our caterpillar project. You do remember the caterpillars right? Well the cocoons have been in a tank in the garage over the winter. And last week I moved it outside in case sun was the deciding factor. No action yet, but I understand May is their month.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Cream central park Hoodie

So, I didn't mean to take more than a month to update. And to my credit I didn't just rest on the laurels of a finished sweater either. As I said--I was swatching and thinking about size for the next sweater.

In the end, I decided a 36" Central Paark Hoodie would fit nicely and started on it. To date, I have the back and one of the sides done. I'm at the point in the second side, where I need to set up the patterning. Just to give you and idea though:

Almost to the armhole! #sweater #knitting

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That's the first side, nearly at the armhole. Like I said, that side is done, and the second side is started (ribbing is finished).

My problem is...
This is where people usually interrupt me to nod knowingly and say--yep, summer is fast approaching. Which is not the issue at all. I mean we live in Michigan. And while not Upper Peninsula, still north enough that I'm sure we'll be wearing sweaters at most evening events until Mid July at least.

No, my problem is that I'd rather be knitting socks at the moment. You see I have 4 new (since I started the sweaters) skeins of sock yarn and two more coming (which is not my fault because I'm in a sock club so some yarn just comes to me! and the other is ModeKnit in Purple rain and did I mention that it is PURPLE? I mean, clearly this is not my fault). I think part of the reason for this is that we've reached the time of year when I am a little sick of my current socks AND I have a pile that need to be darned.

So maybe we are fast approaching another "summer of socks"? I don't know. I do think I'd like to try some new sock patterns this summer. I may need two pairs going at once, so I can have something complicated and something easy. I just need to finish this sweater.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

finished object alert

Finished Object alert Finished Object alert!

The other day I sewed in the last end and BAM there was a sweater

Bam! Sweater #finishedobject

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Yarn: Knit picks The Mighty Stitch in Gulfstream
needles: US 7
Pattern: Girl Friday

I made this for my daughter and she's roughly the same size as I am (she's taller and a bit lighter and wears about a size smaller than me) it does fit her, but I'm still hesitant to use her picture here on the blog. So I did the next best thing! I tried it on and Holey Moley guacamole it fits me.

Finished girl Friday sweater

Finished girl Friday sweater

Finished girl Friday sweater

I do think she will probably not wear it as much as *I* would like but that's ok (when she gets tired of it--it fits me!). I also think that the yarn is going to fuzz up . That sort of disappointed me because I would THINK that with a name like mighty stitch that's you'd get some good stitch definition. But alas, I'm guessing you'll get much fuzz and piling. That's based on how it knit and how it was when I handled it. It is soft though and the color will look fabulous on her!

And, I've already swatched for daughter #2's sweater. She wants a Central Park Hoodie only slightly longer than the pattern calls for (17 inch armpit to hem instead of 14 or 15 that her size calls for). I am hesitant to start with hers though. I made her a size 32 CPH out of the same yarn a few years ago (when I measured her chest at 25 and it fit her great up until this last fall). She's a 33 chest size now and I'm pretty close to guage. I know this sweater runs a bit small but I don't want to make it HUGE. I'm debating between the 36 and the 40. Probably I'll stick with the 36.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

bouts of mania

I keep having these bursts of...I don't know energy maybe... and it is making me feel like maybe my February blahs are full on bipolar. And then I just think nah, you saw the sun, you felt better and this is what better feels like.

So, I did this thing where I finished a sweater, and the person it is for tried it on and said the sleeves were too tight. And they are because I um, didn't so as much lace on them as I should, and the lace is stretchier than the stockinette. So I ripped out my beautiful seams (seriously, I got a compliment on the seams in the teachers lounge of the school I like working in the best) and knit a small panel and am sewing those in. So as they say--watch this space.

In the midst of my first bout of mania I had this idea. And I hate it when people say--I had this idea, but I can't really tell you about it but that's sort of what I'm gonna do. But I will say it is a gift idea for someone who isn't expecting a gift and probably could really use a pick me up. I wasn't sure I could pull it off but I mentioned it to my mom and my mom thought it was a great idea and well now I feel kind of stuck with it. Again, watch this space, because if it pans out I'll post it.

In the midst of my second bout of mania I decided to actually darn some of the socks that have been waiting since summer to be darned.

Darning egg? Stick? Rattle? @rachael.zarria

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

I would make a terrible 19th century gentle woman. My #darning is terrible

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

What actually got me going on that one was that my sock club package came with a mini nostepinne


and I had fun making mini cakes of yarn from my leftover sock yarn. And seriously, thats about all it will handle.


And what else would you do with a mini cake of sock yarn? Of course this pair probably should have been beyond mending but, cute little cake of sock yarn!

And my third burst of mania meant I went to a class today in spinning. Only not the fun kind of spinning, the biking kind of spinning.I haven't been able to run since October (due to an injury) and I have suspected that this is contributing to my feelings of blah. So, I thought I'd try some non impact type fitness classes. So far, I've done water zumba which made me feel uncoordinated and spinning which made me feel weak and old. But I may go back because according to my heart rate monitor I burned over 500 calories. I'll just have to see if I can move tomorrow.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Lost days

I'm not even sure what to say happened out there in the last waning days of the shortest month of the year. Something did though.

I could come up with a ton of excuses and some of them would be pretty entertaining, but instead let's focus on what did actually happen since Feb 15th when I last wrote.

First, things picked up at my "real" job. The one I have regular hours for. The one that means I help organize a major fundraiser (for the library) three times a year. So I marked the whole week off from the "freelance job and settled in to get some serious stuff done. Instead the world laughed at me and I spent that week in meetings at school (just normal parent ones not anything huge or individualized) and fighting with my printer at work over name tags for volunteers. I did not manage that whole week to do anything else on my list. I have no idea why. So no additional jammies got done.
I did however, manage to finish the sleeve pictured in the last entry and sew together the fronts to the backs before realizing that I was supposed to block it and THEN sew it. Oh well.

Somewhere in here, I did manage to block all the pieces of the sweater.

Then boy howdy. First, one thing you should probably realize about the part of Michigan I live in. We get snow, but not a LOT of snow. It is not uncommon for us to get 4-6 inches of snow for example, and not cancel everything. But, we do have 5 or 6 (I'm not clear because I have heard different things) snow days that will be "forgiven" by the state. So, in essence we can use up to that many days without going longer into the summer. This year we've had a very mild winter. There was a big snowfall at Christmas and not much of consequence since then. Our temps have been cold, but not "air hurts my face, my snot has frozen" cold.

Ok, so Feb 22 and 23 I was busy. I worked the freelance job, and my real job and got my hair cut and went to see a lecture (given by my husband). All the while the news was talking snowstorm. First it was minor, (1-3 inches) then major (8-12 inches) and then it seemed to change hourly--everyone agreed though it was going to start Wednesday. And then Tuesday we got a winter weather warning starting Wednesday at 11am. So when we got up on the 24th for school and there was not a flake in sight of course we didn't think school was canceled. But it was. And at almost exactly 11am it started to snow. and SNOW and SNOW. Eventually the rest of the week's school was canceled and we ended up with about 10 inches of wet heavy snow.

You would THINK that given this I'd have a finished object to show you. After all what was I doing besides sitting around and knitting?

I honestly have no idea.

I do know that somewhere in there I spent FOUR DAYS trying to pick up the stitches needed on mygirl Friday sweater for the collar and button band.

The instructions indicate that you should pick up the same amount of stitches on both sides of a marker you place, and end with an odd number. So I didn't even count (because um missed the part about even number I guess) and got 105 on one side and 126 on the other. Then I ripped. I did get the odd number I needed across the collar to get an odd number over all. Then I attempted to pick up exactly 105 stitches. Something on the order of 6 times.

When I finally managed it, I set the whole thing down for a day just to bask in the glory.

Then I started knitting the collar. I won't even tell you that I didn't quite understand the directions and had to rip out 2 inches of 1X1 knitting. Ok maybe I'll tell you that, but only because I can tell you that I did somehow manage to get to a point where I am now knitting the button bands.


You see in there was my birthday and also my second installment of a sock yarn and now I just want to knit socks! And wouldn't you if you spent your birthday money (in part) on these:
and then Your sock club yarn looked like this:

First rule of sock club is... Ooh pretty

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

Of course you would. But you'd keep on knitting the sweater like a good mom.

Sure you would.

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15

Ok, so every day entries are probably not for me. Once a week does actually work much better and I should remember that. I am tempted to blame it on work, but I think it is actually that I don't sit at a computer for hours on end at work, and can't just jot things down on my lunch. basically, when I get home I find that I am better off if I can be present.

At any rate, I was not overly successful in last week's to do list, but I did manage to get some things done.

Perhaps most exciting is that I took a deep breath and laid out and cut the minion PJs.

I knew it was going to be short and a close one, but it turned out ok! I even had to trim the legs a bit (an inch, but still!).


I also got the One direction Pjs made, even though they are still awaiting hemming and the final say on if the elastic is right (I finally got smart and wrote down the measurements....)

I still have more to make. This week I put the butterflies and the dots on my to do list.

perhaps the most exciting though, is that when I took all these pictures on Saturday I was super close to finishing the second sleeve! And now, I have a few more rows until I bind off. Actually I thought I was ready to bind off, but it appears, I forgot a decrease row or something, so I need to do maybe 3 rows (I need to compare sleeves) and then bind off.

Hopefully, I can get the sweater sewed together and get the collar going this week!

Sunday, February 07, 2016


Every Sunday I make a to do list for the week. On it I put all the "out of the ordinary" activities as well as things that need to get done sometime during the week. It sometimes depresses me how much is on there, because I know that the list represents extra stuff that gets added onto the already pretty full week. It does always give me great pleasure to cross things off.


Sometimes of course, I don't finish everything on the list. Sometimes it is because I can't, due to something beyond my control (Like the week I put "get girls set up with new dr" on the list and it ended up taking two weeks and 5 phone calls just to find out if they took our insurance.). Other times, I just run out of time (like last week's "get new drivers license" because I ran out of time until Friday and I don't know if you know this about Michigan, but it feels like no one actually works on Fridays making that a horrible day to try to accomplish anything).

Last week, I had a huge list and aside from not getting my license renewed, I only didn't do two other things! (A fact I find remarkable).

And it gives me hope for this week. I already have Monday through Wednesday pretty full and Friday is a day off school, and the list is probably just as long as last week.

On the list this week (aside from the boring): Make the One direction jammies and the minion jammies. And I'm off to a fairly good start, as I have the one Direction jammies cut out. I'm a little worried about the minions. I bought a piece of fabric that was just a little shorter than I usually buy. I'm hoping that I don't end up with high water pants, as I will try to shorten them in the cutting stage instead of the hemming stage. Sometimes when I worry about things, I put them off, as if somehow not trying is better than trying and failing.

I feel like I'm off to a great start, I have already done two things...

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Feb 6 sleeve

Today was all about housework and errands and the second sleeve.

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

Friday, February 05, 2016

Feb 5 picture post

Hoping to sort of catch up on all the stuff I neglected to do this week. So at lunch I did some knitting and finished the sleeve! And cast on for the second... (I find it better not to rest on your laurels). AND last night I got the penguin jammies hemmed. And so today I tool pictures AND downloaded them AND uploaded to flickr so I can share with you. Maybe.

(I very very much need to upgrade my browser. All kinds on stuff no longer works on it.)

So here is the lonely sleeve:

It looks so long and skinny. I think this weekend, I'll block the pieces I have so I can sew it up and see how it is looking size wise. Just in case I need to add a panel of something.

And then the two pairs of jammies that I have finished and have been worn

I think the scariest part of all of this--I'm pretty sure the polka dot ones would fit me. And maybe if she decides they are too short next winter--they will be mine.

Next up are the monkey jammies

My husband finds their lack of pants disturbing. Especially with the caption "monkey business." But I think they are adorable.

Honestly, the three pairs of jammies were on my "to do" list for the week, so I feel like I'm making steady progress as far as that goes. I guess I need to decide which pairs are next. I know Miss Polka dots would like her One Direction jammies, but since the fabric was kind of pricey I want to be sure she's happy with this pattern (as it is a different one--the one I always make for myself actually). I still have minions and butterflies too. Plus some to make for myself--as some of mine are looking worse for wear.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Feb 4 jammies

Just real quick because I was trying to finish the sleeve of the blue sweater instead of writing something. No pictures, same reason.

Sadly, sleeve isn't finished but last night I did finish the polka dot pjs and they got worn to bed! And tonight I told one girl that if she tried on the penguin jammies, I'd hem them and she could wear them tonight, so she took me up on that!

Tomorrow, I am hoping to have pictures and a finished sleeve.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Feb 3--monkey jammies

I should be sneaking in some knitting while I have a few moments because this has been just an incredibly busy week. One thing I am learning about myself is that I do much better at things when I can plan them. What that means is that it probably wasn't the brightest thing for me to undertake a job which tends to call me in at the last minute. Which happened Tuesday.

So Tuesday, when I came home I was exhausted (because the other thing is that a job like mine feels like your first day at work every day--you know how when you start a job and the first week is so exhausting and you've only just learned how to order paper clips?). I was so exhausted, I put on my jammies before my kids did. And I didn't sew, and I didn't even KNIT!

I did however, get irritated at the children fussing at me for daring to ask stupid questions like, "I'm getting takeout for us for dinner, where would you like me to get food from" and "what do you want from Subway?" while they did their math, and so escaped to the sewing room. And I sewed these together:

A photo posted by Jodie (@ja_gardner) on

I'm hoping to get some elastic measured and some PJs hemmed. But first, helping with said math homework!