Thoughts about VKLive Classes!!

Thoughful Thursday

So I’m sure after my last post, you are wondering why I didn’t have as much time to shop and buy all the things (other than my stated plan). With the package we purchased included 3 classes and Mom and I wanted to take full advantage of the awesome ladies who were teaching all weekend.

First up when we got there on Friday, we took a Hand-Dyeing Class taught my Rhonda Fargnoli. She seemed very knowledgeable and very into the yarn business. She gave some great tips for where to buy her natural dyes, but I wish we were given more direct instructions on how to prepare and set up our own dyeing at home. Ce la vie.

We did have a good time dyeing our mini-skeins with a few different dyes. There were 5 different colors and one was indigo and one was cochineal. We spent the afternoon dipping and painting and pouring dye all over our mini skeins. Here is Mom at work.

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The room we were in at the Palmer House Hilton had some really, really yellow lighting.

We took them up to the room on styrofoam plates and laid them out to dry.

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When we got home, I rinsed them with some white vinegar and hung them up to dry over the sink.

Now, what to make??? I need a scale so I can know how much of each color I have…maybe I can make a magic ball with these for a big fun project?

The next class I took was Getting Your Lace On taught by the lovely Laura Nelkin. Let me start by saying that I have never knit one of Laura’s patterns. Each time that one of her designs have caught my eye, I go and look it up and notice how complicated it is. This is not a bad thing, but up until about 6 months ago, I stuck to simple knits. Nothing too complicated, nothing I have to count…then I did the Follow Your Arrow KAL (on my own time because KAL time restrictions seem to be terrible for me) and the whole “simple only knitting” flew right out the window.

Laura started off the class by sharing many of her samples with us. She passed around so many lovely things, talked about what Lace knitting actually is and isn’t, and had us cast on 10 stitches.

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And knit a few rows. We played around with some increases and had a very good discussion on what a “yarnover” actually is and should look like (I guess I had not been paying much attention to my knitting in the past). Fun fact: A yarn0ver should in fact be a piece of yarn over the needle, but the leg riding in front of the needle still needs to be the right leg! Amazing. Next time you do a yarnover, check it out.

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We then played around with some decreases. Her instructions were great. She talked about when designers would use each one and which ones were appropriate for double sided lace (eeeeek!). She was incredibly patient and kept us all interested.

We touched on how to read charts for one-sided lace, lace in the round, and two-sided lace. We even hit (quickly) on blocking. The whole 3 hours was jam-packed full of great information. It really made me think about my knitting and gave me the confidence to tackle a few of Laura’s (complicated) designs. She was gracious enough to even do a quick selfie with me after class!!

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Sorry that my quality isn’t great :( That’s what I get for using the iPhone I guess. I am definitely a Laura fan after such a great experience. I highly recommend you check out her blog and her new book, Knockout Knits, (which is full of info about the techniques used as well as the patterns).

Mom took a class from Amy Detjen about Two-Color Knitting during this time. I will have to get with her about what she thought. I took a class from Amy last year about Cables…also awesome :)

PS: I am wearing my Whispers top!

Our next class was in the afternoon. It was Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale. She is the author the books Entrelac and Entrelac 2. Another note about my experience with Entrelac, I had never done this either! Rosemary is a hoot and reminds me of my parents’ German neighbor who is very matter-of-fact. She had us jump right in to try our hand at Entrelac. Throughout the class, she offered great tips on how to pick up stitches and she showed off several of her beautiful designs. I was so busy knitting, I did not have time to take pictures of my progress. Here is my swatch.

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Overall, the classes were definitely worth the time and money we spent at Vogue Knitting Live. Both this year and last, have left me with a great experience. I will say that one thing I will do before taking classes at a big event like this is to do some research about the teacher before hand. Look them up on Ravelry and see what some of their work is like, maybe see if they have been talked about by other knitters who have taken classes from them.

Anyway, definitely something I would do again :) I need to get my needles going so I can cast on something new from Knockout Knits!!!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

 

 

The Technique to Curing the Fiber Event Hangover

technique tuesday

Yes, I am still alive! I’ve been reading all about people with the “Rhinebeck Hangover” and I think that this hungover feeling after attending a large fiber event is a real thing! I have finally (sort of) processed most of what I learned and saw at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago and I want to tell you all about it!

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The first step to wellness is often admitting you have a problem. I, Jenna, have a problem of wanting all the soft, shiny, squishy fiber I can get my hands on. This year’s haul, as opposed to last year’s haul is substantially less. A step in the right direction of creating a stash I want to knit all the things from.

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And here’s why.

I made a list of things I was looking for and I stuck to it (mostly).

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I did not get the yarn for both the sweaters I wanted and a hank of some Merino/Cashmere/Nylon sock yarn may have found its way home with me as well, but I did enjoy the marketplace without feeling overwhelmed.

This was because my mom and I took an initial lap around the two floors to see what all the vendors had and what we were interested in looking more closely at and potentially buying.

We were pulled in by the ladies in the PostStitch booth. Right as we walked up, they had us knit a row on their scarf. Then as we were chatting, the ladies, Amy and Megan shared they are a mother-daughter team that started this cute business. Mom and I could definitely relate. She is the one who got me interested in knitting and taught me how. Anyway, PostStitch is a monthly subscription that sends the recipient a box with the yarn, pattern, needles, and whatever notions would be needed to complete the project. What really drew me in was the LittleStitch project they are doing for this next month…I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say it is perfect for me being a new auntie :) They had us take a fun selfie in their booth.

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And they sent us on our way with a cute little knitted necklace kit with yarn, needles, and the pattern for Ambah O’Brien’s Petarli necklace.

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Then since it had been an incredibly long day by 7:30pm, we decided to hit the hay. I did do a quick lookover of the cards I collected from booths and make little notes on the marketplace map so I could go back the next day in between classes.

Having a game plan really helped me to make the most of my 45 minute shopping time before my afternoon class. I hit the Yarn Pop booth first for this darling project bag.

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I got the Large Clutch in the Natural Owl pattern. It’s now holding my Oatmeal Shawl. I wanted to thread the yarn through the holes, but since I had already started the colors I couldn’t thread them through. Oh well. This puppy is seeing some great action. I feel like it’s closer to being completed so I’m trying to work on it a little more.

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Next, I hit up the Delicious Yarns booth. I was intrigued by their Sprinkles yarn. They had several samples knit up to show of the “pops” of color would show up in a knitted fabric. I knew that I wanted this for my Featherweight Cardigan. I’m planning to join the CustomFit Featherweight KAL here shortly. So I bought about 1350 yards in the fingering weight of Sprinkles in the Grape colorway.

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Look how cute the tags are!! So clever :)

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Then, I lost my mom. She disappeared so I did a quick walk through of the floor I was on and then down to the third floor to look there. I called her a few times, but she didn’t hear it. So I made another walk through on the 4th floor and picked up some sock yarn from Sophie’s Toes Sock Yarn. I had been eyeing a skein of MCN (80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) in the Snowy Owl colorway. There was a sock sample knit up and it looked like newsprint. So I wanted it. It’s soooooo squishy and soft.

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I was initially thinking this would be socks, but I do have this pattern for a Snowy Woods Cowl by Michele Bernstein that this may work wonderful for. I will have to swatch a little and give it a try. Michele has some beautiful patterns and she talks about them on her blog here. Definitely a fun one to add to your blogroll.

Finally, I made it over to the Windy Knitty booth because Laura Nelkin was signing copies of her Knockout Knits book. Initially, this book was not on my radar. I had seen it pop up on some blogs and had really liked the Prolix Mitts pattern, but I hadn’t given it a whole lot more thought. Until my Saturday morning class was “Getting Your Lace On” taught by Laura herself! She was a fabulous teacher and had tons of samples knit from her patterns in the book. Seeing her beautiful designs in real life sold me and I knew I’d have to seek out the book. So I did :)

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I even got a fun picture for Instagram after class!

Eventually, in this short crazy 45 minute shopping adventure, I did find my mom and helped her to spend a little money too. Then we hurried off to our afternoon class on Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale.

I will have to do a separate post on our classes as it would make this beast entirely too long. We had a blast though on our trip! It’s always so fun to be around so many other people who love fiber as much as we do!!

Until next time.

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

WIPs & Plans

WIP Wednesday

Yay! A real WIP Wednesday post! I’m pretty proud of myself as I’ve whittled down my WIPs to just 10. I’ve been working pretty hard on my Whispers sweater (which I will wear to Vogue Knitting Live!) until I finished it. I will be sure to take pictures of me wearing this! I love it!!!

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My needles have been going so fast, they are smokin’!

I’ve been making some good progress on my Twist Vest. I’m hoping to knock it out so I can block it and weave in the ends before we leave on Friday morning.

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I need to do about 6 more inches on the collar portion. I’m hoping it will fit and be long enough when I finally cast off…my needles have been keeping it too tight for me to try on. Cross your fingers!! If not, I’ll just have to rip it out and try again :( That is one nice thing about knitting vs. other crafts where you don’t really need to cut anything and it’s all able to be undone.

My Technicolor Take 2 Socks haven’t seen much love since they were cursed for the Cardinals games. I guess now that they’ve lost and the Royals/Giants are facing off in the World Series, I can pull them back out. I am still really liking the yarn and pattern and my Karbonz!!

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I am questioning if they will be too big…I have skinny ankles but long feet so I traditionally make the bigger size. However, my 2 pairs of socks I have made for myself are both pretty slouchy. After reading so many blogs and posts about socks and Socktober, I am inspired to knit myself socks I will love. Ripping may commence if I can try these on :)

Not to worry. I have been doing a little unselfish knitting as well. In the name of a few gifts.

First up is my Flurfy Scarf for Jabes. It’s coming along. It takes a little brain power. I’m into the solid section of the 3rd of 4 colors.

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And the Array Cowl for Lyndsay. Taking a while since it has a bunch of slipped stitches. I know initially I was a little hesitant about the color combination, but I’m really liking it in the daylight. I’m not sure that the picture here does it justice.

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And the Skinty Stripe Scarf for Deana. Also taking a while since it is on US size 3 needles.

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On to the planning stage for my super fun trip!!!

Last year, when I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, I rode the Megabus early in the morning, spent about 3 hours in the giant marketplace, spent way too much money buying impulse yarn, took a class on cables from Amy Detjen, had delicious deep-dish pizza with my husband (who was an insane trooper through the whole experience), and took the Megabus back to Louisville that night. I spent roughly 24 hours on this trip and around 12 hours were spent on the Megabus.

I think this is the haul from last year. I tried to pull it all out of my yarn cabinet from memory. I’ve got a couple skeins of sock yarn, a few skeins of some bulky Malabrigo Rasta, some Shibui Cima for a scarf, and some Neighborhood Fiber Company to knit the Monomania sweater. I’m pretty sure I haven’t made anything from my haul last year. What a shame!! Pulling it all out makes me want to cast on something right away, but I’m trying to stay disciplined and finish up what I already have on the needles.

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When I received the email this year about year’s event, I knew I wanted to go back. I also knew that St. Louis had a train that went to Chicago which would be more enjoyable than a bus (public transit is a way better option for me than driving because I can knit on the way there and not worry about driving or paying an outrageous amount to park in Chicago). I also knew that I wanted my mom to go with me. Plus, I knew I wanted to stay overnight and not be rushed. And staying overnight gave us the opportunity to take more classes!!!

This year, I’m looking up patterns I want to buy yarn for and trying to make a list of some unique dyers and companies that I want to look for. Also going to keep on the look out for a few books. I just don’t want to come home with a bunch of random single skeins that I bought in the throws of “ooooooooh that’s so pretty and soft and squishy.” So I’ve made a few lists. I need to finalize these in the next day so I can go in with a solid plan.

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So the lists are coming together…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Nicole.

 

The Bottom of the Rabbit Hole

Monday Musings

Bet you didn’t know there was a bottom to rabbit holes. Usually when one ventures into one, there is nearly never a bottom. My particular rabbit hole is the one that had me “Knitting. All. The. Things.” I’m not saying I don’t want to keep knitting all the things, but I am realizing there is a limit. I only have so many sets of needles and so many hours in the day/night to knit. I do need to sleep and eat and work (occasionally) so I am still a kind person. I do suffer from “hangry-ness” on occasion. That feeling where you are so hungry, you are an unbearably angry person. Plus I am married and do need to pay some attention to my darling husband.

Realizing these limitations, I have decided to stop “queuing” things. At least until I get back from Vogue Knitting Live next weekend. I am in the process of looking through my library on Ravelry as well as my physical library and deciding what projects I want to cast on or at least acquire yarn for, comparing it against my queue. I know I shouldn’t be looking at all that with my numerous WIPs, but the trip is coming up and I can’t go into that Marketplace without a plan!!

Plus, I’ve wrapped up a few projects lately. I bet you’d just love to see them!!! Almost as much as I’d like to show them off :)

First up is that fun little shawl from the Mother Daughter Knit-along. Technically I finished casting off for this about a month ago, but I just pulled it off the blocking boards a few days ago and wove in the ends!!!!

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Next, I also made the pompoms to go on top of the little Reflector Hats I made for Will & Nora. It’s definitely getting cooler and I wanted to be able to give them so they can wear them!!

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I bought a pompom maker from Michael’s a few weeks ago. It’s the version made by Boye. So simple to use! I took two strands of the bulky yarn and wrapped them around and around. A little snipping and a little tying and VIOLA! PomPom!

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Finally. I’ve cast off.

It’s soaking.

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3 needle bind off for the tops of the shoulders.

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I have a whole cake of yarn left. And just a touch of the 2nd cake.

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I’ve just to to lay out my Whispers top and weave in the ends. Then I get to wear it!!!!!!

And go on adventures to Chicago. With my mom! For Yarn!!! And Patterns! And Needles!

I’ll try to get in a WIP Wednesday post and if I’m real good, I will have a few more things finished!!

Until then

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

It’s Quiet Here

Agreed. Things have been quiet here on the blogging front. Not to worry, I have been knitting. Mostly watching football or baseball or people at Oktoberfests, but knitting happens with those things.

I’m in a place with my projects where all I need to do is knit (or crochet on the egg). The nice thing is that I’ve been stitching with people. That always makes stitching more enjoyable.

Being around people who are knitting or aren’t just makes me think of all the possible things I could make. I think that’s one of the dangers of knitting. All I can think about is what else I could knit. Is that something that happens to other knitters or creators of any kind?

First off, I’ve been thinking about knitting something for someone very special. I have this beautiful skein of Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb in the Doubloon colorway that has been haunting me since I worked at McNeedles for a summer. I picked this up on a trip to St. Louis at Knitorious a few years ago (ironic that this is the store I have frequented since moving here).

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I think I want to knit the Sandpiper Scarf by Celeste Young in the Knits of a Feather book. I picked this up about year ago at Barnes and Noble. I do love feathers and this book has some really cool patterns. I just think the yarn and the pattern would work beautifully together for someone very special.

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about all the odds and ends that I have from past projects. I don’t throw any of them away. As I’ve been listening to and watching some knitting podcasts, people seem to be talking about making blankets with their leftovers. I do think the Bee Keeper’s Quilt is gorgeous, but the thought of knitting all those biddy hexipuffs and then putting them together is very, very off-putting.

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I recently came across this Ten Stitch Blanket pattern by Frankie Brown. I would love to start this with my bag of goodies. Only hesitation is tying up a pair of needles in this.

Finally, the last thought that has been swimming around in my brain is designing my own knitwear. I keep going around, maybe a shawl, or a vest, or a pair of mitts, or a cowl…I’ve been simply sketching things out in my journal and I still haven’t swatched anything yet. But I did have a minor stroke of brilliance (teehee) when I read about this giveaway over on Small Things. I entered and didn’t win, but I did go online and order me a Knit & Crochet Notebook by Mama’s Notebooks.

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I’m really excited to start developing my ideas using this cool notebook. I love that there is plenty of graph paper and room to really play here. I still think I will need to start with swatching, but having this new tool does inspire me to get going.

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I should get back to the knitting before I cast on that scarf…I have way too many WIPs floating around here to start something new.

Does the quiet get your brain going?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Truthfully, it’s not Tuesday

WIP Wednesday

What’s new. I’m a day late and a dollar short.

You know another cliche could apply here. The best laid plans of mice and men…

I could go on.

So let’s be real. I can’t really contain myself. I planned not to cast on anything new until I finished 4, yes FOUR projects on my WIP list, but I did. I cast on an Array Cowl for my (hopefully-future-sister-in-law) Lyndsay. I love the colors. And I couldn’t take my curse socks to the game last night and risk a loss! (I took them to 2 games before and the Cards lost both) So I spent last night at the game casting on the 320 stitches and get going on this awesome project.

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I’m using Malabrigo Rios in Teal Feather and Liquidambar. I was hoping the Liquidambar wouldn’t be too muted. I have a skein of Arco Iris on hand just in case I get a few more inches in and don’t like it.

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I’ve also been working on my (cursed) socks. If you remember, I started these on those tiny 9-inch US 0 needles. I really tried with those. Truly I did. But every time I would knit on them for longer than 5 minutes, my hands would ache! I initially thought it was the stitch pattern I was using, passing a yarn over over 2 stitches can cause a little stress on the hands doing the knitting.

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So I switched to some delicious Knitter’s Pride Karbonz DPNs. They are so smooth and wonderful it almost makes me forget how much I don’t love working on DPNs. I digress. The only problem is I like doing socks 2 at a time so I don’t get second sock syndrome and things end up being the same size like the length of the cuff or the heel or the toe or whatever. If I only work on 1 sock at a time, who can guarantee that they will be the same?? I may pick up another set of these, but they were a little pricey. I’ll knit a few more inches and see if I’m really, really in love with them enough to buy another set. Or maybe I can just do one sock at a time. It seems to work for the Yarn Harlot :)

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How cute is this project bag? I found it in my stash and thought it would be a fun new home for the cursed socks.

Also, I’m not really breaking the rules too bad in terms of starting a new project since I did finish something…what you ask???

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It’s Jordan’s scarf!! I finished it on Friday the 3rd…just 2 days late :) Sis is standing guard. I love the way this turned out! It’s definitely long enough to wrap around comfortably or double and pull the ends through. I am hoping that with a cold winter it will get a lot of wear. I still need to block it.

I also went by the library here and got a card. Something about fall makes me want to read too! I picked up Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips. I’m only a few pages in and enjoying it.

That’s really all that is being “actively” worked on. Mostly in the last few days. Except I worked on Whispers. And tonight is my class at Knitorious for the Catkin shawl. I did do an inch or so of the first chart, so that’s growing. Plus I need to finish up the Twist vest so I can wear it to Vogue Knitting Live!! That is only 15 days away!!!!!!!

I feel like I have knitting project attention deficit disorder. It doesn’t help that I am knee-deep in blog posts to catch up on reading and podcasts to catch up listening to! If I’m not careful, the sheer number can overwhelm me!! I do love knowing what is going on out there in the knitting world and it does keep me inspired to keep knitting.

Anyone else get a little behind/overwhelmed by all the wonderful blogs out there about knitting???

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Tami, Nicole, and Ginny.

 

WIPs on WIPs on WIPs…

WIP Wednesday

You guessed it! It’s WIP Wednesday. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to do this post because it’s my husband’s 30th birthday!! But I have been wanting to show what I’ve been working on.

First up:

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Since it is Jordan’s 30th birthday, I thought I would try to finish up this scarf for him. I started it back in the spring sometime. It’s made out of Mountain Colors Twizzle in the Harmony Softrock colorway. I’ve used up 1 skein and am a good ways into the second skein, which I bought simply for emergencies…emergency averted :) I’m using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s One Row Handspun Scarf pattern. I keep having him try it on so it’s long enough. I have about 9 more inches to go :)

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You may be asking yourself what this is and why this is the first time you are seeing it. Well, a few weeks ago I saw this pattern for a “fried egg” potholder. At the time, we were trying to buy rugs for our apartment which has all hardwood floors. Lightbulb! I could make a cool rug for the kitchen that looked like a giant fried egg! I used a full-size yellow bed sheet, then 1 queen-size white bed sheet. That wasn’t enough so I bought a king-size. I blew through that. Man, does crochet eat up some yarn! So I bought 2 more king-size bed sheets to cut into strips to finish this thing up. I totally love it and it is really squishy!

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This should look vaguely familiar. It should also look relatively stagnant. It’s the Whispers top I’ve been “working” on. We’ll say working is a loose term here. Mostly it gets shuttled from one place to another for me to knit a round or two on. The stockinette has become boring. But I want to finish it so I can wear it in Chicago at Vogue Knitting Live!

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This should also look vaguely familiar and also stagnant. It’s the back of the Twist Vest. I did a “provisional cast-off” to hold the stitches at the neck and I should be picking up around this to make the sides, armholes, and collar. Instead, it’s been languishing. I think it’s like the Whispers top in that I’m close to switching to another ball of yarn on both projects and I just haven’t picked them back up. I know there is such a thing as “Second Sock Syndrome”…is there a “Starting a Second Ball of Yarn Syndrome” as well???

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And there is this lovely, soft, fuzzy beauty. It’s the HPKY Bias Shawl I started knitting. I’m ignoring a portion of the pattern about only doing a certain number of rows alternating the 2 colors and I did more so I could use up more of the yarn and make a bigger shawl. I hope it is big enough to wrap around my shoulders. I will be sorely disappointed otherwise.

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Finally, here is my Catkin shawl. I’m at the place to start Chart 1 and I had to place markers to mark the quadrants and the chart repeats. I placed said markers only to encounter I have 4 stitches too many. Knowing that to solve this problem will require some brain power, it has been hibernating for about a week. I have been working on brainless things, like the scarf for my husband, instead of sitting down to do a little problem solving. I think I’m just going to “place” those extra stitches where I am supposed  to do increases on the first row instead of ripping back or doing any sort of decreases. I just need to determine the right place for those and do it.

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Finally, looking out over my landscape of WIPs, I’m feeling like I should be knitting instead of typing! I am also realizing that several of my projects are in a similar place…about halfway. I am not completely sure what my hesitation is. I do enjoy working on them, but I think I would enjoy them as finished pieces more than I like working on them. I also want to start a few new pieces and I’m going to Chicago for the Vogue Knitting show which is sure to be filled with inspiration. All I know is I better get knittin!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Tami & Nicole.
You should head over to their pages to see other blogs where people are participating in Tami’s WIP Wednesday & Nicole’s Keep Calm & Craft On.

 

Whatever, Whatever I Do What I Want.

Monday Musings

Since today is Monday, I thought I’d do a little post about some of the updates here on the blog and where I’d like to go with this in the future. I have a hard time setting firm dates since my working situation and personal inspiration tend to ebb and flow.

One of the first updates is a revamping of the title pictures. Initially they were hand-drawn. I had a very hard time photographing them without shadows. So I’m taking close-ups of some of my beautiful stash and putting the words I need on them using the Paint program. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning :)

Second update is the “Blogs I Read” page that I added to the Menu bar. I have noticed that some of my readers find me from other blogs, namely from comments I leave or that blog’s “blogs I read” little menu. I had a menu of some wordpress hosted blogs that were in my right sidebar, but that wasn’t nearly all the blogs I follow on Bloglovin. Plus, I wanted to return the favor of those who put my blog in their section. I went through my Bloglovin roll and posted links and little blurbs I found from the blogs about pages.

I know it looks like a lot and it is, but remember that not all blogs post everyday. Some only post weekly so it doesn’t completely overwhelm me. Also, some of the designers only post sporadically when they release a design or appear at events. I like to follow them because I get those updates when they happen. If you have a blog and would like to be added to the page, you can leave a comment on this post or on the “Blogs I Read” page in that comments section.

I also added an FO page. I will start adding to this page this week. I thought about doing a WIP page, but that takes a lot to update regularly. If you’d like to check up on my WIPs, you can head to my Ravelry projects page.

Next update involves really being inspired to design something. I’ve been waffling back and forth in my brain about actually starting a design. Here are my hang-ups:
1. I just started really seriously getting in to more complicated knitting about a year ago. My experience with really paying attention to patterns is still new. I keep reading blog and forum posts about keeping the language in the patterns universal and clear so that any knitter can read and understand it. I’m not sure if I’ve knit enough patterns to have this come across in my writing!
2. I hate swatching. And to really see how the yarn will behave for my design, I should swatch. I love to just cast on for a project and go. This does backfire occasionally when I’m a few inches into a project and totally hate the fabric or how it’s knitting up. Then I realize I could have avoided this by simply swatching beforehand.
3. I am just not quite sure where to start. As I type this, I’m realizing I should start with a swatch. So that reason is officially not valid. :)

I think putting some aspects of a design on this blog may help to build my confidence and keep me motivated. In fact, reading all the blogs on knitting and life has been what inspired me to think about designing something myself. I’m thinking a shawl or cowl using these yarns:

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It’s Madeline Tosh Tosh DK in Briar (purple), Saffron (copper), and Parchment (creamy grayish). I know that’s a lot of colors and yummy-ness and yards. But they have been haunting my thoughts!

Speaking of thought-haunting, I’ve been thinking about knitting ALL THE TIME! I know I keep saying this, but it really is the season. And my yarn cabinet is definitely an enabler. Not to mention I did just hop on the podcast bus. So its all I can think about.

Anyway, I’ll give a better update of my projects on WIP Wednesday.

What about you? Have any inspiration updates??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughful Thursday

I don’t know if its the time of year or the place I am in my life, but I’ve been feeling pretty thoughtful lately. Mostly about my own personal situation, but there has been a good deal of thinking about knitting. In fact, Angela over at KnitLuck started her own video blog last week and ran Episode 2 this week. If you’ve got about 20 minutes (or even if you don’t) I would drop in over there and watch her video. It’s a great opportunity to “visit” with a fellow knitter and do a little mindless knitting in the process. I found it incredibly honest and endearing. But, it also got me thinking about my own knitting identity.

In this second episode, she talks about being an Obsessed Knitter. Angela describes her signs that she (or someone else) is an Obsessed Knitter. Here is what I gathered:
1. Finding social comfort in being around other knitters, even more so than being around other people
2. While watching TV or movies, taking notes on the knitted garments and searching for them online
3. Always knitting
4. Planning your life around knitting, like housekeeping, storage, and shops to visit while on trips or vacation
5. Seeking people out in public who are wearing knit garments and talking with them
6. Feeling naked if you don’t have knitting with you
7. Writing about knitting

These are her criteria beyond just having lots of yarn, needles, projects, and books about knitting or fiber. As I listened to her and knitted, I was compelled to also stop and write down notes and my thoughts on her theory of being an obsessed knitter.

1. Since moving to 2 different cities in the last 2 years, the first people I have sought out socially have been knitting groups through Ravelry and Meetup.com.
2. I don’t necessarily take notes on TV knits, but when I am out shopping or just looking, I am usually drawn to knit items. I have taken photos of scarves and sweaters in stores to determine their construction. I might have even counted the stitches of the “cast-on” edge. I won’t buy knits in the stores if I determine that I can make it.
3. I am always knitting. I don’t just sit and not knit.
4. I do plan my life (somewhat) around knitting. I have a knitting group I meet with on Thursday nights and therefore will not make any other plans for that night. I do have designated storage in my home for my hobby. I create the Knit Nest whenever I settle to really work in my home. I also do look up shops before trips to determine if they will be open and how close they are to where I am going so I can pop in for a visit. And this year, I am taking a trip to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago. A trip just for knitting.
5. I will stop people in public if it looks like they are wearing something hand knit and ask them about it.
6. There is always some project traveling with me in my purse. If that’s not enough, I do stow my Never Ending 1st Project in my car for red-lights, trains, and the occasional draw bridge (when I lived in Louisiana).
7. I do write about knitting. I have a whole blog devoted to it. I even use a fair amount of my journal to write about knitting.

This brings me to an understanding about myself, that yes, I am an Obsessed Knitter, but what is my knitting identity beyond being Obsessed?

I think part of my knitting identity is about creating things from scratch. Pia at Noget Uldent just wrote a guest post over at Not Your Average Zoe called Ad fontes. This literally means “back to the fountain” or “back to the source.” Pia talks about being someone who finds value in creating things from scratch and in her post, invites the reader to think about their next step back to the source in all their endeavors. Creating from scratch is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. Taking simple ingredients and turning them into something delicious is so enticing to me. I think this is also the pull of knitting. Taking simple string and sticks and creating garments. Soft, warm, beautiful garments.

So I’m an Obsessed Knitter who enjoys creating things from scratch.

I will continue to stew on this in my brain to determine the other factors of my personal knitting identity, but I think this scratch thing is significant.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Happy Thursday :)

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Every day is a winding road…

I know lately all we’ve been seeing here are Confessions, WIPs, and Stash Dives. I realize I haven’t posted a Technique Tuesday in a good while. Partially because I haven’t had any cool techniques I’ve wanted to talk about or that I felt I could demonstrate.

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So for today, as I am running out of wound yarn for my Twist Vest, I thought I would show you how I wind more yarn using an umbrella swift & ball winder.

Step 1: Remove adorable Sis from your work space.

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Even if she protests.

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But for real, you need to gather a few items first like your yarn, ball winder, swift, and some scissors. Be sure you have a table that is not too thick so you can easily clamp the pieces onto it.

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Step 2: Clamp your swift and ball winder to the table.

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I usually have the swift around the corner from the ball winder. I like to have about 2 feet in between the swift & winder.

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I like the keep the winder about 18 inches from the corner of the table to give me enough room between the swift when it is opened up and the leading arm into the ball winder.

Step 3: Prepare your yarn.

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I like to open up the hank and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises like lots of little ties with tricky knots. Also, I like to keep the ties in place until I have the loop on the swift. This helps keep it all together until you are ready to wind and prevents any stray loops from getting wrapped up in the base of the swift or from getting tangled up with other loops.

Step 4: Place your yarn on the swift & open it.

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I like to have the swift slightly opened when I drape the loop of yarn over it. I keep a decent amount of tension on the loop so it doesn’t slip down too low. Try to keep your loop near the center of the swift where the sticks cross over each other.

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While maintaining tension on your loop of yarn, “open” up the umbrella by pushing up. I like to push up on the bottom part of the umbrella and then raise up the little piece that keeps it open to the right width. I don’t open it too much so that the yarn is super stretched out. I leave just a touch of slack in the loop so that the umbrella will spin freely.

Step 4: Find the ties and eliminate (!) them.

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I like to find the knots in the ties and pull them out. Usually, ones like this with 4 strands leading into it will contain your ends of the loop. I have seen hanks that only have ties with 2 ends leading in that contain the ends.

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I usually try to untie the knots. These were pretty tight so I simply snipped them off. I pulled out the little tie part and found the ends.

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I continued around the loop and found another tie. It only had 2 strands leading in. I snipped this one and removed it. I try to make sure that my loop is lying flat and the strand as it unwinds will not have to go inside and outside the loop. I work my way around the loop ensuring there are no twists and the strand is coming from the outside of the loop.

Step 5: Thread through the leading arm of the ball winder and secure on the bobbin.

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I usually rest my elbow on the table and put a light amount of tension on the strand as it is coming off the swift and onto the ball winder.

Step 6: Wind!!

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I always turn the handle away from me. I’m not sure why. When I worked at McNeedles a few summers ago, I was taught that way and have never had any troubles when I turn the handle away from my body. Throughout the process, I keep light tension on the yarn and turn the handle at a steady rate.

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If you turn the handle at an unsteady rate, you can get loops that form waaaaaay below the bottom of the ball and that will give you weird-o loops when you remove it from the winder. Those can get tangled with your working yarn when you are knitting. If I notice these when I’m winding, I usually pull back to where they were formed and rewind the yarn.

I tried to shoot a video of this. It’s not awesome but it can show you how I try to keep a steady pace when turning the handle and tension on the yarn between the swift and winder. Just follow this link. (The noise from the leaf blower outside and the ball winder are a little loud :D)

Yarn Winding Video

Here is the Twist Vest so far that I needed to wind more yarn for. I’m loving the way the Inca Gold is knitting up. It’s sooooo springy!!!!

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Hope this was helpful!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna