These are my confessions…

MONDAY musing 2

So I’ve been reading Brandy’s blog, Stitched Up in Toronto and she started this fun link up about knitting confessions. I thought since it’s Monday, I’d join in! From Brandy’s post:

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Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.”

Here we go!

I don’t block my finished projects. With the exception of the Gefn fingerless mitts (after I read this post by the YarnHarlot and felt inspired)

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I sent as a gift and my Citron shawl (which is a little small for my broad shoulders).

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This is insane. Especially now that I’m undertaking my first garment that is supposed to fit me, my Whispers sweater. I even knit a gauge swatch because the yarn was not what the pattern called for and I ended up going down a needle size, but I didn’t block the swatch, I just went with it.

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I’ve got 74 projects on my Ravelry page, and I know I’ve done a few more that I didn’t document and I don’t block. I find it tedious. I don’t feel like I have a place to properly soak the objects. I don’t even know how to pin out lace, nor do I have the proper things for that like wire & pins. I have some basic mats that I bought to just pseudo-pin the Citron shawl on it (with safety pins!). I know that it is fantastic for the wool or fiber just to clean it up and give it back its bounce. Or even to even out the stitches. Or any of the numerous benefits of blocking a finished object.

All of the projects in my possession (I could find since the move) that I’ve knit.

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All the ones I didn’t block :)

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If you want some more reasons to actually block, just read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s post I referenced earlier. Or all the other knitting blogs and such out there.

In fairness, I am planning to block the lace Follow Your Arrow Shawl so that the lace will show.

Maybe this could serve as a confession & a resolution. I really think I could benefit from taking up blocking :)

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Itching Fingers to CAST ON!!!!

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Do you have those days where you just want to cast on something new? Ok, how about a week? Yes? That’s where I am. My fingers are literally itching to start knitting something new. Since I finished my baby blanket and the Follow Your Arrow shawl, I can’t stop combing Ravelry.

So far, I’ve whipped up 2 hats. One for my niece Nora and one for my nephew Will. I saw this yarn at Hearthstone Knits here in St. Louis. It’s Schachenmayr Lumio. So cool that it has a reflector strand running through it and the yarn is so bright and fun!!!

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I cast on 36 stitches on size US 13, did a little 2×2 ribbing with an improvised pattern. I like the swirl in the pink and I was going for zigzags in the blue.

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They just need a few finishing touches, like ends woven in and a pompom on top!

Whispers is coming along. S.L.O.W.L.Y. I guess that’s what happens when you are working with sock weight yarn on size US 6 needles…250 stitches. Stockinette. For 7 inches. It’s a fantastic mindless knit.

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Did I mention my fingers were itching?? And Ravelry is tempting me? So are all the other blogs I read…

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And then there is the WIP trunk…

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I did work on Jordan’s Cozy Warm Man scarf some that has been hibernating for a while. I really love the Mountain Colors.

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Maybe if I just cast on the Technicolor Socks I frogged a while ago from the needles I wasn’t in love with…I did get a fun new pattern to try them with called the Show-Off Stranded Socks. I’m trying them on the size US 0 needles that are only 9 inches in diameter for the Technicolor Socks Take 2.

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And I love this Marigold Slouch pattern. I really want to start it…I already have the yarn and the pattern is free. Maybe if I just wind it up into a ball, I can start that too?

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Also, I realized this is a WIP Wednesday post and it’s Thursday…whoooooops :)

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. Linking up with Tami at Tami’s Ami’s & Nicole at Frontier Dreams!

Follow Your Arrow to the Driving Range!

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Happy Free-For-All Friday!!!! I feel like this week has flown by. Here in St. Louis, there was a terrible tragedy on Saturday when a young man lost his life. The rest of the week has been utter chaos. I’m hoping things will settle down here soon.

I bet you are wondering what the title is about…if you’ve been keeping up, you know I’ve been recently working away at my Follow Your Arrow Cowl…a Mystery Knit-A-Long from Ysolda Teague that I started in February…well…

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I FINISHED IT!!! Yahoo!!!! I really, really, really need to block it, but here we go.

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I love the edging. I love the color. I just love it.

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I’m hoping with a good block this 100% Merino Ella Rae with grow a little. The shawl is a little small for me. I’m going to blame it on me being tall. With volleyball shoulders. Yes, that’s why :)

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About the driving range…last weekend, I went “golfing” with my husband, his brother and his girlfriend (you follow?). I mostly drove the cart and knit, but I did get to hit a few balls. Man! It was fun. And frustrating since I didn’t know what I was doing. So, Tuesday, Jordan and I went to the driving range to work on my swing…We hit for about an hour. I left a little frustrated that I wasn’t just killing it.

So I went back. By myself. On Wednesday. I got the Medium bucket of 70 balls. And went to work. I was improving, but still, quite a few swing and misses…

So I went back. By myself. Today. I got the Large bucket of  100 balls. Much better…much much better. I missed less, I hit the ball straighter, and I can say that I’m hooked.

Anybody else do something once and get hooked? I guess knitting has been the same. A few stitches, a trip to the yarn store and BAM! Here we are 5 years later, juggling 3 different active WIPs and itching to cast on more :)

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Ode to August

This is a rare post. I actually wrote it last night while trying to fall asleep. I don’t normally plan any sort of post ahead. Usually I sit down to write and just bang one of these out :) So here is what I wrote last night and I don’t think I’m going to really edit it, but we shall see.

MONDAY musing 2

I don’t know what it is about August that makes it feel like change is good. It’s like you are deeply ready for some sort of change, whether its a season or going back to school or a scenery or job or whatever. August just feels right for change. Almost more so than New Years. In August, its still warm and the days are long. It feels like you’ve got so much time. Time to make changes in the day light. I’m feeling it. In everything.

Maybe it’s because I am so used to a new beginning with school as a former teacher or with volleyball season as a former coach. And I’m missing those changes. This is the second year in the last 22 years I’m not going back to school either as a student or a teacher and it’s the first year in the last 14 years I’m not a part of a volleyball program. Woah! Time sure does fly.

As if I didn’t have enough change a month ago, leaving Louisville for St. Louis, but that change felt good and necessary. We are near family that we get to spend time with quite frequently like a fish fry of the tasty guys we caught on a trip to a trip to golf and Fast Eddie’s. August change is different.

I feel a change in my knitting. I finally cast on and knit a few inches of a garment! The first one I am making to fit me. Check it out, it’s the Whispers top.

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I also have been trying in earnest to whittle down my WIP pile even though my hands are literally itching to start some socks. And I have tons of yarn I could use :)

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I even blocked my last FO for goodness sake!

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Maybe it’s August, maybe I’m maturing (haha) or maybe I’m just more inspired by all the other knitters and crocheters I come across whether it’s perusing Ravelry or catching up on my blog feed or meeting some wonderful women at the St. Louis Knitters Guild. My confidence has grown immensely with all the kind, thoughtful, encouraging, helpful, words I’ve received here on the blog and in person. I feel like I can tackle these bigger projects.

It’s funny how people so many miles apart from different family lives and normals and situations and generations are all brought together through the fiber arts (knitting/crocheting/spinning/dyeing/weaving/felting/tatting/what-have-you-yarn-craft). I love it and I’m so happy to be a part of this community.

Wow, I’m getting cheesy these last 2 posts. I need to work on that! Maybe that’s a side effect of August too. All the change helps you to feel grateful for everything you are a part of. Anyway, a little deeper than expected, but definitely on my mind as I am not entering the classroom for a second August in a row.

Anyone else feel a good wind of change in August or is it just me?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Take Time to Knit :)

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After racking my brain for a suitable Technique Tuesday, I decided to revisit a post I made very early in this blog. It was this post about knitting faster and potentially learning to continental knit. It was during my first few posts and I ran it at the same time as the 5th Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes ( totally cool, fun project that I’m so glad I participated in). Long post short, I was thinking about learning to knit continental so that I could knit faster. I received from sage advice from Kaiya at Winterlime Knits and that was to simply spend time knitting instead of browsing Ravelry & blogs wishing I could knit faster so I could cast on all the beautiful projects I was seeing.

I think it’s the best advice I’ve received ever when it comes to knitting. Anytime I think I want to cast on something more or want to learn something new or wish I had more handknit things, I remember to just sit down and spend time knitting :)

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Since doing this, I have finished a couple of awesome projects and made some progress on others like my Follow Your Arrow shawl that is holding onto my size 6 32″ for dear life :)

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Just wanted to share a short post and some encouraging words that have done me good :)

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Blankets & Mitts & Swaps, OH MY :)

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Yes, it’s a Free-For-All Friday and I’ve got a few fun things to post…Maybe something along Sillylittlelady’s post from today: FFFO* Friday :) I’ve been keeping up with her journey on her gorgeous orange sweater and it’s a beautiful finished project. While browsing my bloglovin feed this morning, I came across several FO Friday posts and I’m feeling inspired…

You guessed it (if you read Wednesday’s post) I finished up the Midsummer Baby Blanket for my soon-to-arrive niece!!!! Check it out!!

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I love the colors.

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I love the texture.

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I’ve even weaved in all the ends.

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Now I just need to block this. It’s cotton and little out of whack. I’m hoping a good blocking will even it all out.

I also managed to finish up my Yarn Bliss Super Secret Swap project. It was a pair of the Gefn Mitts by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich. I had the pattern in a Knitscene Accessories 2014 magazine. I actually bought this magazine at Sophie’s a while back to knit this shawl in a gray and yellow. Mayhaps I can start that soon…Anyway, back to the awesome swap project and package I sent:

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The mitts in the blocking bath:

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Here they are, well at least one of them on my hand since I had to model and take pictures.

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I loved that I didn’t need to knit separate mitts for the right and left hands, I just knit the same one twice.

And finally the whole package I sent:

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My swap partner Heather loves greens and blues hence the Manos Lace I thought she may be able to do the Dreambird shawl she’s been wanting to do. She likes caramel in her coffee so I included some for her. And some stitch markers. Who doesn’t need those :)

What have you finished lately? Would you want to be involved in a yarn swap?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

Cool WIPs :)

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Exciting things are happening in my little knitting world. Last night, I ventured out to a knitting Meetup group here in St. Louis. I had a nice time and was able to try out one of the local breweries here called Urban Chesnut. Tasty beer, good food, and great company to knit with. You’ll never believe that I’ve finished 2 projects this week and I’ll post about them on Friday. You can probably guess which ones since they will not be talked about on this WIP post.

Being super pumped about finishing a few things, I did go through my WIP chest and pull out a couple of things to get going on. First up, I picked up my friend’s very late birthday present the Flurfy Scarf.

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I tried to do a few more rows while at the knit night, but I have to constantly look down to make sure I’m knitting into the right loop with all the k2tog, yarn over 2 times, and ssks. It’s a little more than half way done.

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I also busted the Mother Daughter KAL back out. I was craving a little stockinette :) Just did a few more rows.

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I really, really need to pull out my Whispers top. It’s part of the Nice & Knit Summer Sweater KAL…I don’t know if I qualify since I’ve only knit the gauge swatch…But with one of my recent FOs, I now have an open cable big enough to use to cast on this sweater. I need to reevaluate my swatch and make sure it will be ok to cast on…even though we all know that gauge swatches lie!!

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Linking up with Tami & Nicole.

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v’s & bumps,
Jenna

Hip, Hip-Hop, Hip-hopa-blog-omus?

MONDAY musing 2

It’s another musing Monday. During the midst of the move at the beginning of the month, I was nominated by Bonnie at Windy Wonderings for a blog hop about the creative process. So here goes :)

What am I working on?
Currently, I’m finishing up my Midsummer Baby Blanket. I’ve got 3 rows of the main color to work and then it’s just the weaving in of the ends and the blocking.

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Also, my WIP trunk is holding onto several scarves and shawls for myself and my friends. Those items either missed the deadline or didn’t have one. A majority of those items were cast on in between projects with deadlines as I was searching for inspiration.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Um, it’s made my me? I’m not a writer or a designer so I don’t really have an answer to this question. I like to think that my blog is my little creative outlet. I try to include a good amount of pictures in my posts. I also try to be realistic about what sort of projects I can accomplish. I even throw in a good bit about being Jenna and living life beyond my needles :) I’m not so sure that that separates me from other knit-bloggers, in fact, it may just link us all together a bit more. I find that I enjoy reading about people’s lives with a little knitting, sewing, crocheting, spinning, whatever fiber craft mixed in.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I knit because I can’t draw and I can’t sit still without something in my hands. It also helps me to be social since I can knit and still talk with other people. Other activities like games on my phone and browsing blogs or Ravelry aren’t really suitable to do when you are trying to interact with others.

I write about my life because I like to. I find being a little personal on my blog has allowed me to connect with others who blog. It helps me to feel more human on such a big, technological platform. Plus who doesn’t love seeing a cute picture of my kitties?

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How does my writing/creating process work?
Usually when I’m searching for something to knit, I start with Ravelry or at my Local Yarn Store. I’ve been trying to look into my own stash of patterns and yarn before going out to spend more money. My blog has helped in some ways because my weekend posts are “stash dive” posts to highlight yarn I already have. In fact, my latest project (which is a secret I can reveal on Friday) came from my stash: yarn & pattern! Definitely a perk for seeing my stash in my cabinet.

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As far as my writing process? I usually sit down to write with a few ideas floating around in my head. I tend to wing it a bit and take pictures of what I need. Sometimes, I’ve got ideas ahead of time and take pictures as things are happening then write about them later. That’s way more rare than sometimes.

That was fun :) I wanted to hear from some of the bloggers I enjoy reading. Here are my nominations:

Heather at Nearly There

Brandy at Stitched Up Toronto

Sally at SoKnitSome

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

A Stash Dive on a Steamy Saturday

What a glorious Saturday!!! It’s definitely very warm outside, but the sun is shining and I couldn’t ask for more. Growing up in South Louisiana, I know heat & humidity. Bring it on, St. Louis :)

Today is a stash dive day! But before we get to that, let me tell you just a little about our morning adventure. My sister-in-law, Deana and the kiddos, Will & Nora, picked up Jordan and I this morning to go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. It was huge and buzzing and full of delicious fresh produce. If you find yourself in St. Louis, Missouri, I recommend a trip.

We bought a huge watermelon, peaches, cucumbers to pickle, tomatoes, mangoes, green beans and even some fresh baked bread. The place was so busy and my hands were so full I wasn’t able to snap any photos of the market. But here’s our giant melon!

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On to the stash diving! Today is sort of a cheater day as this is also a highlight of my most recent stash enhancement. Yes, that means that I did break the diet, but it is for a good cause. I was supporting my favorite LYS McNeedles on my  most recent trip to Louisiana. They did just add on to their shop and it is summer so yarn is not flying off the shelves as quickly as it normally does in the colder times. Plus it’s pretty.

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See!? It’s Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in Columbina. I’ve used this before in my Color Affection Shawl, but this is a new (to me) fun colorway. Pam says it reminds her of Funfetti Cake. I couldn’t agree more.

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Now the question arises, what should this become??
1. maybe some socks? Like moonrivercottager’s Painter’s Palate socks
2. or perhaps a shawl like tracieknits’ Kvothe scarf…I love the dropped stitch design…
3. Or Newdknit’s Fairy Bread Cowl…I even already have this pattern in my queue and it could look super cool in the dotty colors.
4. mayhaps it could be a part of another design by Veera Valimaki (Color Affection) like the Happy Street pattern?

I just have about 4 more projects to finish before I can cast on something new…at least finishing four projects would make me feel better about casting on something new. We shall see. I’m going to continue to try to just pick up the computer 1 time a day to read blogs, play on pinterest, and make a blog post. So far this week it has helped me to knock out my secret project for my swap partner! It is blocking now! I’ll try to send it out Monday so I can post about it next week and share the fun with you guys :)

Until then, what would you do with one lovely skein of Alegria??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Fish Lips & New WIPs

I keep running through my brain what I am going to post about. I even am finding myself wishing I had written sooner, but I can’t go back in time and fill in my posts. I want this to be a nice, neat little thing, and like most other things, I get distracted and can’t keep the ball in the air. Ah well.

So for today, as it IS Wednesday, how about an update on my WIPs? Sounds fantastic!!

The Midsummer Baby Blanket is almost finished and my niece should be here in about 3 weeks!!

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In fact, I’ve only got about 7 more of the last color to go, but I had to put it down.

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Because it’s almost August 1!!! And I have to send my yarn bliss swap package by then! I’ve been knitting furiously on a project for this since I realized last week that it was just around the corner…Here is a sneak peek. I promise as soon as I send the package I’ll post about what I made & what I sent…I just don’t want to ruin the surprise and I know all of you yarn-lovers out there can appreciate some reverse stockinette & Madeline Tosh Merino Light!

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I don’t want to post any more about the project in case my swap partner is tuning in to these posts!!

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But I am working on these non-stop and I’m really loving the yarn…oh Madeline Tosh why are you so amazing??

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I haven’t touched my other WIPs in the wings for a while now. They are just quietly waiting in my newly dubbed WIP trunk.

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Yes, even the Mother-Daughter Knitalong is in the trunk.

Good news, I did get to visit my mother and father and brother and his girlfriend last week! We took a spontaneous trip to Louisiana. I was able to stop by my favorite shop, McNeedles. You should check out Maria’s blog post about their new construction here. And if you are ever in the area, you must stop by!!

We were also able to go fishing last Friday down in the Gulf. Jordan and my parents and I had a wonderful time! We even beat out most of the rain and were able to catch some fish. I did catch the biggest, a Jack Crevalle that we threw back. Such a fun fight and I didn’t break the rod as the fish led me round and round the boat.

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Mom, Jordan, Dad & I with just some of the fish we caught.

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Ellie had to jump in this one too!

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All the fish we caught: some speckled trout and my dad landed a big Redfish.

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What a great trip!!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. Linking up with Tami & Nicole.