One Month Gone

January is tricky. It seems to last forever, with its cold weather and 31 days. And yet, I’m surprised it’s already February. Tricky.

It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped by for an update and all the usual things are to blame. Lots of activities competing for time. Not feeling like writing. It’s not honoring my commitment to myself to blog weekly. All is not lost. It’s a new month (and a new week) so time to refocus.

Craftiness

I am usually a small project knitter, wanting to work on something for a week, finish it up, and move on. (It also makes it easier to bring a WIP with me everywhere when it fits in a small drawstring bag.) Unless I’m on a trip, I don’t tend to work on anything with more than one cake/ball or maybe two small cakes/balls. The last few weeks, though, I’ve only made significant progress on larger projects and I find myself looking to start projects with that same size and time commitment to finish.

Small Stuff

Lots of little project have been picked up, had a few rows or maybe an inch knit, and put aside again. I feel a bit of guilt over not making progress on the socks I began for my boss last summer and the vanilla socks that don’t even have a recipient in mind (but the next two pairs I’ll make after them do). The hat (bottom) is a new start for Lizzie in gifted baby alpaca and the cowl (top right) is a WIP I keep misplacing.

FO: Portage

Yes, Portage is finally done, nearly after a year after I cast on. I started with the Portage (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/portage-4) pattern but switched out the cables on the back for a simple knit/purl 3×3 rib which shifts every row. I’m not great with cables and wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to add the extra length the recipient requested.

I’ve been promised better photos of the sweater being worn but didn’t want to delay posting about the FO until I got them from her (ahem, RR).

FO: Bay’s Edge

I started this project because, well, I liked the pattern and the yarn combination. It sat for a bit, waiting for inspiration to strike. Apparently, the only inspiration I needed to work it was a recipient. Once I’ve had a chance to block this, it’ll be on its way to a high school friend of Matt’s who recently lost her husband to brain cancer.

I knit the pattern as written with the exception of some, uh, intentional design modifications. I’ll certainly be making more of these when I pick up another Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes gradient set (plus a coordinating neutral). Maybe at Maryland Sheep and Wool in May? (I’m actually in town this year for it! Third time in 11 years!)

Sick WIP

A cold has been my nemesis this week. It knocked me on my behind on Tuesday with fatigue and a very sore throat, disappeared for a bit, then knocked down again the last 24 hours with fatigue, sinus pressure, and a runny nose. When I’ve not been napping or playing connect-three games on my phone, I’ve been working on a blanket from my stash of Spud & Chloe Sweater. I’m making it up as a go and am not even sure how large it’ll get. It’ll be done when I run out of yarn. I have three skeins of the raspberry color, one of navy, and one white. I may take out the navy and replace it with white as it’s all very dark right now. May even break my yarn fast to get more of the white.

Healthy Habits

Several of my 20 for 2020 goals focused around adopting healthy habits. My big goal is to get to a healthy BMI by the end of the year, with small goals like “run a 5K” and “walk 20 minutes a day.” I had a solid week of keeping up with things – bringing healthier lunches to work, joining Orange Theory and going 3x that week, recommitting to counting WW points. Then, let’s be honest, I let things slide. Just wasn’t choosing to do the preparation needed to make healthy choices easier and went back to my stagnant, always-eating self. Being sick wasn’t made it easy but I could have focused on healthy food choices while letting my body rest.

Thankfully, all is not lost. I can (and will!) re-start tomorrow. My plan to meditate daily in February will slid to March (so daily yoga moves to April) and I’ll delay a plan start to 5K training until I’m done with the cold. But! I will prep healthy lunches and move as much as my body will let me.

House Projects

When we were thinking about the transition from summer through fall to winter, we had our usual conversations. Chance to make those meals with winter squash and long cooking times. Maybe pick out a house project or two for especially cold or snow days. Really, though, I never expected anything but the smallest of projects to get done.

Then last weekend happened. We went to Home Depot Friday night and picked out a new vanity, faucet, and fixtures. While I was at a friend’s house, Matt pulled out the old vanity and replaced the grout between our tile and tub – put in by an inept professional before we moved in – with caulk. By the time we went to bed that night, the vanity, sink, and faucet were in. The next day, we picked out new paint (Lunar Surface from Behr) and painted.

We still have work to do. Fix places where we didn’t apply enough paint, install the new mirror/medicine cabinet combo, towel bar, hand towel ring, and toilet paper holder. Soon, though, I’ll share before and after photos. You’ll have to imagine a small, half-done bathroom refresh.

What’s new with you all?

FO Friday: Twofer

I have two finished objects to share today which is pretty remarkable, given my inability to focus on projects lately.

Campside

The first FO is a large shawl I made for a coworker who wears lots of clothing on this color palette and loves scarves.

img_1043

The pattern is a free one, Campside by Alicia Plummer. It starts with a stockinette section that’s followed by four sets of eyelet sections, each with fewer stitches between the eyelets than the previous section. It ends with ribbing which I really like the look of on a simple shawl. I blocked it gently and it still wound up huge, 56″ across and 25″ tall. My poor coworker can get eaten by the thing!

img_1042

I could not get my phone to take a picture accurately of the color, which is a heathery purple with lots of red in it. Regardless, I really love how it turned out and will certainly be making something using this pattern again.

Vestigial

The second FO is a pair of socks in a pattern I’ve not used before, Vestigial by Beata Jezek. While it’s a simple enough pattern to memorize, I did mess up a few times. I did them toe-up with a short row heel as I didn’t want to have to do any complicated counting.

img_1044

As usual, these took a month to knit because I got bored after the first sock. Maybe I should have two pairs of socks in rotation?

I’ll be back on Sunday with a review of the week which will have some other knitting content.

Rainbow Days

Do you craft projects tend to grab onto a particular color palate and not let go? For me, lately, my colors have gone to rainbows.

It started when Neighborhood Fiber Company started offering their Marriage Equality colorway (for the third? fourth? time). I bought two kits of the gradient (DK and Sock), happy to both support the benefiting LGBTQA orgnization and have some of the wonderful, vibrant colors. I’ve now used them for a handful of projects – and still have a good 1/3 of the DK left!

(These photos are all of me wearing the items versus my usual slightly nicer shots but I’ve been feeling lazy.)

Everyday Shawl

(Rav project)

This was a really meditative knit. I worked on it during conference calls at work and occasionally at home in July. The recipient was complaining that she’s always cold – hopefully this has kept her warm!

Lizzie’s Rainbow Scarf

I really just sort of made this up as I went along, roughly following the Tale as Old as Time pattern. My project page for it (here) has all the details. Made using the NFC DK weight.

Rainbow Hat

I think I may be almost over my inability to do colorwork. This was made in DK and I just sort of made up the pattern (and the crown shaping, hence the wonkiness of it!).

Other Craftyness with Needles

I turned back to an old love this summer, after many years away: cross stitch.

I started back with when a friend was posting her embroidery in Instagram. My first pattern back was one I’d bought two years ago and never made. I manged to finish a bit over half of it before we were heading off to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I guessed that I would probably finish it while there so it wasn’t worth bringing with me. Of course, I forgot about it entirely until I was going through my pile (yeah, a pile) of cross stitch stuff in my office.

IMG_7143.jpg
(Pattern is Crafty Manifesto by Satsuma Street)

On the Teton/Yellowstone trip, I manged to finish another Satsuma Street pattern, Blue Village. I’d started it just before we left so it was maybe 90% complete on the trip.

IMG_7496.jpg
(Blue Village, when it was almost done being stitched)

When I finished with Blue Village, I was on my trip and still needed something to work on. I had managed to find two great kits at park gift shops – one of Grand Teton and another of Old Faithful. I decided to start on the later, as it was smaller in size and not completely filled in.

IMG_7978.jpg
(Yellowstone National Park kit finish)

I was loving the big projects, so I immediately (this was early July) started on the Lovely Little Washington, DC pattern from Satsuma Street. This is still a WIP but I haven’t touched it in a few weeks.


(Lovely Little Washington, DC)

My current big project is a surprise for my brother and sister-in-law so I’ll just post a link to it. (Click here.) It’s about 80% complete, I’d say.

Lastly, I do work on smaller things, mostly projects that take an evening or two to make. These are mostly combinations of patterns I find online and fonts from Sublime Stitchery or another book I have or got from the library. I have a another one I’ve made but it’s not family friendly (picture is here).

IMG_8143.jpg
(Made for a friend who is LGBTQ and, well, pretty awesome.)

IMG_8158.jpg
(Made for my husband’s coworker who is obsessed with squirrels as they don’t have them in his native Australia.)


(WIP: Will eventually have a bunch of different sized hearts on it. The unicorn thing is a needle minder and not part of the design.)


(This was my cross stitch project I threw together in England/Wales. I love the look of the pattern but not at all sure about my color choices. This will probably languish for awhile.)

DO you cross stitch? Any favorite patterns?

FO Friday: Sockalicious

I think I’ve mentioned that I got back into socks when we were in Germany. I’ll write more about that part of things in my posts about the trip, starting next week. But, I do want to share with you the three pairs I’ve finished lately.

German Monkeys

As you could guess, I made these while in Germany. More specifically, I made them from German sock yarn and needles bought while there. They were made in record time, just two weeks and I wasn’t even knitting on them that whole time. Of course, I was on vacation, away from the rigors of normal life and Lizzie keeping me from knitting…

(You can see all of the details here.)

(Finally Finished) Mercury Socks

These were the socks I last worked on…and didn’t finish. After I got back home, I had to get them finished. These will eventually get sent on to my cousin for her birthday. I’d point you to my Rav project page for these to get the details but I never wound up writing down the yarn I used so I’ll just link to the pattern page.

Lizzie’s Everyday Socks

I’ve never made Lizzie socks and she kept asking me to make her a pair when she saw me working on finishing up the ones for my cousin. I chose the Hermoine’s Everyday Socks pattern because it was easy but also would show off the tonal nature of the yarn I was using.

(You can see all of the details here.)

FO Friday: Coworker Knits

I’ve been making lots of knits for my coworkers since late last year. Here’s a quick round-up of the last few I completed. Doing these in reverse order of completion. Yet again, I neglected to take photos in daylight (and Matt was busy doing some work stuff), so you’ll have to excuse my selfies in my spare bedroom.

Mini Fiar

When I was coming back from Germany, I didn’t really want to start another pair of socks and had with me a skein of dark gray Miss Babs DK and three colors of a Neighborhood Fibre Company gradient kit. After lots of Ravelry searches that morning, I chose to make a mini version of Fiar, a pattern from Irishgirlieknits. Because I had, oh, 15 hours of travel between the subway, trains, and airplanes, I was able to finish it before we landed in DC. I’ve got a darker shade of the same color that may turn into the same thing to use up the gray leftovers.

Trillian (the red one)

This is my second Trillian, a very easy pattern with that little bit of lace to keep you entertained. I used Miss Babs Yowza that I’d picked up a few months ago and knew I wanted to do something special with. Due to the much thicker yarn, this is a bit wider and much, much longer than the original. (No photos of my wearing it turned out, so here’s a photo of the edging I may have to re-block to open it up better.)

Close to You

This was the perfect combination of a great free pattern (thanks to the designer, Justyna Lorkowska!) and some cheap yarn. I picked up five balls of each of two different colorways of Lousia Harding’s Cassia Prints at Tuesday Morning. It’s really quite soft and comes in fun colors. Of course, it’s available at TM means it’s probably discontinued and/or hard to come by. I knit this up really quickly back in August, mostly because how nice the yarn felt in my hands.

Summer Camp

I knew I wanted to make this shawl as soon as possible after the pattern popped up in my “Patterns You May Like” section on Ravelry (okay, it’s techincally “your pattern highlights”). Laura Aylor designed this fun pattern that I’m certainly to make again. I’m likely to knit this again.

FO Friday: Dishcloths Aplenty

Matt’s cousin got married a few weeks ago. Instead of the usual gift registry, the couple asked folks to make them things. I instantly thought of dishcloths. Everyone in his family loves using them and I have a giant amount of dishcloth cotton in my stash.

Thing is, I hate working with the stuff. Really hate it. It hurts my hands and sticks to my needles. And the dishcloths, meh, not too exciting. I have nice variegated colors which mean I’m limited to only textured patterns, even more boring.

But I love the couple, so I made them. A lovely set of 8 in shades of light blue. They were gorgeous. I forgot to take a photo of them but, trust me, they were lovely.

Then, for who knows what reason, I kept knitting them. The entire way back from Indiana (about 10 hours), then again once I got home for a good week. I wound up with a ton more – some to a family member, some to a coworker, and the ones shown here, not yet with a destination.

There wasn’t a lot of thought to these, in terms of what I was going to do. I start with however many stitches – 28 if I’m making a regular square vice a mitered one – then pick a pattern and knit is until I have a square. The miters are started with 3 stitches, knit until I feel like decreasing, then finished with 3 stitches.

There’s something really satisfying about these. They take only an hour or so, depending if I’m in the car on Lizzie Entertainment duty (lots of handing her books and snacks and answering “what’s that?”) or watching World Series baseball. I think they’ll be filling my “I have no idea what to knit next.” spot.