Always Wear Sunscreen

At this point in my life, I would say that I’ve had a fair amount of experiences. I’m in my late twenties. I’ve been to college, I’ve taught middle school math, I’ve coached volleyball, I’m married, I am a cat mom…I’d like to think I’m an adult. I’d like to think I’ve learned some valuable lessons and obtained some valuable skills.

However, I have not mastered applying, wearing, reapplying sunscreen. I’d say that as I’ve aged and seen the effects of skin cancer on some of my family and friends I have made adjustments to my skin care routine. I wear sunscreen on my face everyday, whether I leave the house or not, whether I go into the sun or not, whether it’s cloudy or rainy or I’m driving or walking or buying groceries. When I go into the sun on beach days or lake days or pool days, I put on sunscreen, usually somewhere around SPF 50. I try to reapply every couple hours…

I played in a sand volleyball tournament on Saturday. You know I said I was playing a lot of volleyball…I could probably play 7 nights a week here! But I’m usually around 3, maybe 4…so I played in this tournament. I wore a tank top. I put on sunscreen before I went out. I even reapplied. Just one of those skills I don’t have. I’m not sure if I worked hard at it, I would even be successful.

For instance: When we were on the beach for my bachelorette party the week before my wedding, I made the same valiant attempts only to have a sun burn outlining the shape of my hand on one of my arms.

Just not one of those life skills I’ve mastered. Even with practice :/

But I can say I will keep practicing. Just like I practice my knitting. I’m no master knitter, but I can say I’ve improved! I’ve been working hard trying to finish up the Linier Top…

IMG_1758

it’s got some ideas percolating in my brain about modifying the elongated stitches to create a top I get to keep 🙂 We shall see. I have to finish this one first! I’m hoping I won’t run out of yarn!

IMG_1759

What about you? Any life skills you think you should have mastered and haven’t quite managed? Is there hope for my sunscreen journey??


Jenna

Back to the WIPs

I feel like a broken record saying I’m sorry for being away and I’ve missed this space and catching up with everyone and seeing all the progress of everyone’s projects. I have been knitting and reading and cooking. But you know how when you’ve spent time away and the longer it goes on the harder it is to jump back in? That was a long rhetorical question…but it’s where I am.

I have been knitting. Like on this beautiful Linier Top out of the Firefly.

IMG_1751

It’s so pretty and soft and drapey. I know it will be just beautiful.

IMG_1752

There is also this darling Aviatrix hat I’m making out of leftover Liberty Wool Light from this baby blanket. I just need to pick up the stitches on the other ear flab and find a button and it will be done!

IMG_1750

Mostly, I’ve been missing this outlet and this connection. I feel so out of touch with the knitting world! I don’t know what anyone is knitting this week and it’s a little sad 😦 I just don’t know if I’ll really be getting back into my normal routine, but I’d like to give it a good try. My bloglovin’ feed is so long and it feels overwhelming when I click on posts and realize I’ve got 350+ posts to catch up on and then I feel rushed and I don’t comment. Sounds like lots of self-inflicted trouble!

In the madness I also missed my blog anniversary! I’m so excited I’ve hit the one year mark. I feel like I’ve grown a bit as a knitter, definitely taking on bigger, more complicated projects but also just appreciating the easier projects. Not to mention the awesome community of people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know!!

Anyway, it feels good to be back 🙂

Jenna

Ugly Knitting

So I missed last week’s Love Your Blog prompt over on A Playful Day. Last Monday was about Beginnings. Oh my goodness have I read some wonderful posts about all sorts of beginnings. (pop over to the link and check it out!!) People have talked about the start of their crafting journey or blog or even the start of a project. I told you about my start to blogging 2 weeks ago here and about the start of my knitting journey here. So maybe it’s ok that I missed last week? Even if it’s not, I’m cutting myself the slack to do so. This is my outlet, my creative space to share and it’s ok to fall off sometimes 🙂

A Playful Day

This week’s prompt is “Ugly”

I am hesitant to hit publish here. I really try to put my best foot forward here in this space, but I feel like being authentic and honest is just as important as showing the beautiful and the pleasant. So here goes…

Kate of A Playful Day writes about the ugly side of blogging here. I must say that when I first saw the prompt, my thoughts went to ugly knitting projects, not the ugly feelings that sometimes arise in the process of writing and reading blogs. On an ugly note, my personal new year’s goal/resolution/change this year was to stop being so judgmental.

At the start of 2015, I found myself in not the most positive place. I was really harboring some very jealous and mean thoughts about things, people, places that I did not even know were effecting me. I would see someone on the street and find my brain thinking rude thoughts about their appearance or actions. That just weighed me down. I found myself being put into an awful mood just because of what I was perceiving about other people. So I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year to stop.

Stop being so judgmental of everyone around me. I don’t know their story. I don’t know what sorts of challenges or blessings they’ve received. My assumptions about things were just bringing me down, so I should just STOP!

And, for the most part, I have. I still find myself looking at things and people, but instead of wondering why they thought that would be a good choice to leave the house in, I wonder what sort of troubles or triumphs they’ve had. Maybe they have saved up to buy those 6-inch heels and were super excited to wear them or maybe they haven’t done laundry because they can’t pay to use a laundromat. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Look for the good and the positive and the beauty in ALL people and things and places.

That even includes “ugly” knitting projects.

IMG_0974

As a knitter, I know what kind of time goes into projects, and the money and the effort and the LOVE it takes to create something, especially for someone else. This new leaf of non-negative judgment has made its way into my thoughts even about knitting projects. I can look at projects and instead of thinking, “wow, I’d never make that,” I can notice the love and care and effort and time that goes into each stitch and I genuinely hope that the recipient of the project will love it. I can also realize that my taste in projects is not for everyone either.

That’s what makes this wonderful community so wonderful. Everyone finds different things beautiful or interesting and the crafting community respects and appreciates it.

What are your thoughts on the “ugly” side of crafting?

Jenna

**the picture is of a mitten I started using colors I normally wouldn’t use together to try and understand a new technique. I really did not like the way they were coming out**

100 Reasons to Love the Blog

Don’t worry, the list isn’t that long 🙂 but if you really do want 100 reasons to love the blog, how about clicking back through the 100 posts I’ve written! That’s right! What a fun, exciting accomplishment and coming at such a good time.

A Playful Day

Kate at A Playful Day has taken on the challenge of #aninspired2015 and this month she’s helping us to “Fall Back in Love with Your Blog.” You can read more about the idea linked here. As the first week’s prompt, we are supposed to take a look at community and interactions. She doesn’t specify which community and who to interact with, so we will see where this goes.

I’ve talked previously about all the changes that have happened in my life over the last 18 months. I left a job, got married, moved to Louisville, got new jobs, left new jobs, moved to St. Louis, had a new baby niece…I’m sure there are other things, but that’s the bare bones of it. When things started changing for me, I was really struggling. People, titles, places were all different. In some instances the feeling of a fresh, new start was overwhelmingly welcome and a the same time, incredibly terrifying.

About 9 months into our marriage and a new city and new jobs, I was starting to really, REALLY wish for the familiar. I was struggling to be my best self and my best friend and husband noticed. I felt so guilty for falling into this funk and pulling him down too. In a moment of genius, he suggested I start a blog.

I had tried blogging before. Once about cooking, once about my life, once about lists I made. I didn’t think this time would be different. He said I should blog about something I was really interested in. I thought, “I tried that before and it got me no where.” He pointed out that what I was interested in was what I was spending most, if not all, of my free time doing: knitting.

So true. Since we moved, I found such comfort in knitting and creating with my hands. It was something I felt I could still do and be good at even if I didn’t have a teaching job or even if I wasn’t in the best shape. There was rarely a day I did not knit or think about knitting or browse Ravelry. I had been seeking out groups to knit with in the city and frequenting my LYS just to sit on the couch with the ladies who worked there so I wouldn’t be home knitting alone.

I jumped in. I started this blog and found kindred spirits. People who loved to knit. People who didn’t go a day without at least some sort of fiber passing through their hands or their minds. I have felt encouraged and accepted and maybe even loved. I know I keep this space pretty positive and feeling such a positive response to my words and projects and even mistakes makes me so grateful I started this journey.

Ok, it’s getting long and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I read tons of blogs and feel so inspired and such a feeling of belonging to this fiber world that I can’t even explain it!

Maybe I’ll save that for next Monday’s prompt.

If you’ve got a moment or a thousand, pop over to A Playful Day’s post today, The Blog Is NOT Dead and explore the link up she’s got going on. I know I will.

What about you? How do you feel about the community and interactions you have here in the online fiber world?

Jenna

 

A Journey in Socks

Let me start by saying that I knit on more than just this sock over the course of last week while I was visiting my awesome friend, Brenna, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was inspired by several posts I’ve seen lately where people post their sock progress on a plane or other trip. So here we go!

sockjourney1

I started my journey in Salt Lake’s airport.

sockjourney2

An hour later, I landed in Las Vegas for a 2 hour layover. I didn’t have the pattern with me and was “winging” it. I didn’t like the way the garter stitch sections were turning out so I ripped back to the ribbing before the next flight.

sockjourney3

I took this last photo about 20 minutes before we landed in St. Louis. I knew I wouldn’t be patient or aware enough to take one when we touched down.

I bought this yarn on my first day in Salt Lake at a cute little shop called Kamille’s in Gardner Village. I wish I had a taken a picture of the quaint cabin that housed some beautiful yarns, but if you click the name it will take you to their website.

I’m using some Mountain Colors Crazyfoot in the Springtime colorway on US 1s (2.25mm) and it’s the Bootstrap Sock pattern by Lara Neel from Sock Architecture! My project page.

Even though I have enough knitting to keep my busy for months, I just had to have some small amount brainless knitting 🙂 Who can resist socks in this super springy base??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Lots of Random Things All At Once!

Monday Musings

I wanted to put a “w” on the beginning of once…I just felt like it would be fun to say that way, but then you guys might really think I’m a little more nutty than usual.

First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone who has been commenting on here the past month or so. I love reading your kind, thoughtful words. The excitement you feel over one of my projects or the advice you offer to the questions I ponder is so refreshing and helpful! I’ve been a little short on time to write responses to each comment, but I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to drop me a note 🙂

Especially all the comments from my Must. Have. Coffee. post last week talking about which domains you use to host your blog. Thank you!! Now, to do the research…I’d like to make the switch by April/May 🙂 That will be my 1 year blogiversary!

Next, I’d like to share a moment of great thanks to the world outside. It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit here today and sunny. I’m not the only one enjoying to open windows and birds chirping.

IMG_1684

Brother has claimed the high spot and Sis was left with the lower one. They seem perfectly content and have been napping for at least a few hours. What a life the kitties live!!

I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my neighbor, Lauren, who has shared this lovely stack with me.

IMG_1681

I love to cook. That’s an understatement…when I’m not knitting, I’m cooking and vice versa. I love getting into the kitchen and whipping up something crazy complicated like homemade ravioli from scratch with marinara that simmers for hours to something super simple like a saute’d chicken breast on top of a salad. I love to make savory dishes because of all the crazy flavor combinations you can create and I feel like it’s a bit more forgiving than baking. I’m an ok baker. I like to do it, but I feel like I have to be much more precise in measurements and cooking time…and if I want to substitute something? Forget it.

I think the other thing I love about cooking is that I equate cooking for someone as a way to show love, caring, thankfulness. Its not just about creating something to nourish the body, but also to nourish the soul.

Anyway, Lauren shared this glorious stack of magazines with me. Now I just need to pull out my scissors and pull out the recipes I’d like to try…otherwise I’ll end up with this stack somewhere in my house, adding to the clutter.

IMG_1685

Speaking of clutter, this is my mass of “hibernating” works in progress. Every time I see it, I want to pick up one of the bags and get working, but then I get distracted by one of the last few things I’ve cast on…

IMG_1682

Like my Cerise!

IMG_1683

I’m loving the way it is working up. Hunter Hammersen is a genius!! Things are a little tricky around the curling edge with yarn-overs and a few double-wrapped stitches. I understand why they are built in there, to give the piece a loose enough edge that it will curl and lie in a nice way, but it makes the pattern a little less intuitive. Initially, I really, really struggled to see the pattern and understand how the stitches would stack up on top of each other. With the yarn-overs, its a bit deceptive on the chart as to which stitches will sit on top of which stitches. Once I get going, I’m alright, but I do have to refer to the chart when I approach the curling edge.

I think that’s all I’ve got today. I want to take a walk to the grocery and pick up a thing or two. Normally I would drive, it’s about 2 miles away, but the weather is just tooooooooo beautiful. Wishing you all a happy Monday and a beautiful start to your week!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

 

Must. Have. Coffee!!

Monday Musings

It’s Monday and I’m already exhausted! I substituted for a 3rd grade class today, a bunch of 8 & 9 year-olds who have way more energy than I do! It was actually pretty good because I’ve subbed for this teacher a few times and know the kids pretty well. Just a long day of school, when I’ve been enjoying so many to myself, spending 8 hours away is a challenge! I guess I should start gearing up since I am job hunting for teaching positions! I could really, really use a nice strong cup of coffee to keep knitting & to make it through my volleyball games tonight!

I’ve also had a wonderful moment of startitis…

You remember the yarn for the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli?

IMG_1652

Well…I couldn’t resist! I wound it all up on Thursday or Friday and I just couldn’t wait any more! It fits perfectly on some US 2.5, 3.0mm Addi Sock Rockets and I’ve been clicking away! It’s taking way longer than something similar in a DK or worsted weight would, but I’m ok with that. Rav link

IMG_1673

Recently KnittingSarah  finished up her version of the cowl and posted about it here. She really has a way with words and this post was just the “gentle shove” I needed to get started on mine! KnittingSarah says that wearing her cowl is like wearing “soft, super warm heaven clouds.” How could I not want one??

Now I just need spring to hold off until I’m done 😉 Yeah right!! Bring on the sun!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. I’ve been doing some research on various blogs/web hosting things (squarespace, wordpress, etc) and I’m curious what you guys use? If you are on your own website (no blogger, wordpress, blogspot in your web address) which one do you use and do you like it? Is it easy to use? I’m a total novice when it comes to coding and web design and I usually have to look everything up and open multiple windows and click back and forth until I can get something “done.”

monday, Monday, MONDAY!!

Monday Musings

Yep, you guessed it! It’s Monday and I just wanted to stop by and say hello. We’ve gotten a good amount of snow over the last few days. Maybe about 4-6 inches. No worries though, the city was prepared and the roads were clear! We had a few slippery moments when driving home from my brother-in-law’s house yesterday morning, but we made it all the same.

There is something about this cold weather that just makes me want to curl up with lots of coffee and knit. Sometimes, I will read blogs or watch tv or catch up on audio or video podcasts while I knit. Especially since the things I’m knitting are pretty simple as of right now. I do have one challenging piece to work on.

IMG_1658

It’s my Catkin Shawl I started back in September for a knit-along at Knitorious. I love the yarn. It’s Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the Fig (brownish/purplish) & Thyme (minty green) colorways. I was a little hesitant to use a single ply yarn because they tend not to wear as well for me. I love the stitch definition I’m getting but in the past with singles I find they pill quite a bit. But I couldn’t resist these colors! And it’s been just fantastic to work with 🙂

IMG_1657

I also love the pattern. I love that it is showcasing my yarn so well and I’m enjoying the construction. It’s going to end up being a giant square shape with the “opening” cutting through one of the corners. I think it will be super wearable. I just have to get knitting on it!

You’re probably thinking, Jenna, why don’t you just knock it out if you think you’ll love the end product so much? Well, remember that part about not knitting on it with visual distractions? How am I supposed to catch up on my tv shows or blogs or video podcasts if I’m too busy watching the chart and my knitting? I bet I could do it. I don’t even watch that much tv, just a few episodes of Intervention, First 48, and random weight-loss transformation shows. It’s not like its episodes that are linked up to tell a story each week like a Homeland or Walking Dead or The Good Wife. I watch documentary types. I find them fascinating.

And I’m distracted by my other knits…

Turia

IMG_1659

Technicolor Socks: I bought a scale and started turning my heel!!

IMG_1664

Skinty Stripe Scarf

IMG_1661

I really want to start this Curl, Cerise in some Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Glitter Sock in a OOAK Jewel colorway.

IMG_1655

And that cozy looking 3 Color Cashmere Cowl in my Smooshy & Paradigm.

As I sit here and gaze at my yarn cabinet, I’m getting more ideas!

IMG_1660

And there’s one more shelf below that with 3 sweater quantities on it :/ So much to knit and yet Ravelry still tempts me to buy patterns and indulge in new yarn! I’m a bit weak willed when it comes to this it seems.

Oh well, I guess there are worse things to spend my time and money on.

Are you tempted by any patterns or yarns right now?

Until we speak again (hopefully soon!).

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Staring at the Screen

That’s what I find myself doing these days when I sit down to write a post. I don’t want to force this, but lately I’m not feeling like I have much to share. I have found having a blog this past 9 months to be very helpful in connecting me with other knitters. I like to think that someone out there is reading along and if they are sharing a similar experience maybe they find support while tackling some fiddly bit in a pattern or maybe just a laugh at my nutty reasoning.

I find that being away from this has resulted in me creeping back into my shell a bit. I had made a fine place in that shell when I moved the first time to Louisville and reaching out here has meant the world to me. I’d like to come back here and continue sharing what my needles click away on. I did just finish catching up on my super back logged blog roll!!

So without further ado, enter a few day late, dollar short-style Monday Musings (Yes, I’m aware it’s Tuesday).

Monday Musings

I’ve been knitting furiously on several WIPs that are holding on to needles I want to liberate. Selfishly, I started my first Curl, Caesious, using the needles I bought/set-aside/picked-out for my Turia sweater and has thus prevented me from starting said sweater. This could be good since I have a few things I would really love to complete before starting a sweater project.

But I’m super excited to start Turia! It’s been in my queue and on my knitting must-knit list for at least 4 years now. I first eyed it in McNeedles when I was working there in the summer of 2011. They had a shop sample, but I was still not a super serious knitter (read as willing to spend $$ on a sweater quantity of yarn) so I lusted after it. I picked out the yarn almost weekly and before I moved to Memphis to take a job teaching, I did buy the pattern booklet for Turia.

IMG_1556

I didn’t buy the yarn. Even though I could have gotten a nice discount buying it while I worked at the shop. Like a woman-obsessed-but-in-denial, I would check every yarn shop I entered from that point forward to see if they had enough of the Berroco Linsey. I resisted, insisting that amount of money was not meant to be a sweater.

Then I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago in 2013. Reasonable amounts of money to spend on yarn was suddenly put in perspective…and as luck would have it:

Early last year while visiting McNeedles, they had a giant sale and the yarn, Berroco’s Linsey was marked down and screaming at me to just go on a buy it already!! So I did and I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to cast on.

I thought I would have managed it by now and even wound it all up back in November.

All that stands between me and knitting this sweater is less than 20 grams of Lorna’s Laces Sport being knit into my Caesious…let’s see if I can’t get this beast tackled and unleash the sweater!!!!

caesious yarn2

Maybe Wednesday. Wednesday seems like a good day to start new things 🙂

Until then,

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Effort Part 1…

Monday Musings

As mentioned on last Friday’s post, I have not been able to really sit down and connect here since the previous week. I think partly because I was busy subbing for a few days and I was also busy getting my cover letter and resume together. With many of the private schools here expecting contracts to be returned this month, several openings have been popping up. Since I hadn’t even looked at my resume or cover letter since we moved to St. Louis in July, I thought I should shore it up before I sent it out. Needless to say, preparing to seriously start my job search (again!) definitely took over much of my free time.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been knitting. In fact, I’ve taken what little time to myself I’ve had this week and spent it knitting, not blogging or reading blogs or perusing Ravelry, just knitting. I even picked up Audible again to listen to some real books while I knit…if you consider Game of Thrones a real book 🙂 I’m counting it since it is a published piece that’s been edited unlike so many of the wonderful blogs I read and podcasts I listen to.

Mostly I’ve been knitting on my first Curl, Caesious, that I’d like to have finished by February 15th when the next KAL is supposed to launch in Hunter Hammersen’s Violently Domestic Ravelry group.

caesious3

I’ve started the second ball of yarn. I was knitting on this between classes while I was subbing and ran out so I had to hand wind the ball. It’s not perfect, but it serves it’s purpose. It’s Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the Montrose coloway. The pictures are a little dark.

caesious yarn

The second thing I really have been working on is the Man Scarf for my friend Sam. He’s coming to visit next weekend and wouldn’t it just be lovely if I were finished by then???

sams man scarf4

On a side note, I ordered and received a kitchen scale so I could weigh my yarn and make my life glamorous like all the other famous knitters out there. As a test and since I’m not quite ready to tackle the Technicolor Socks (snoozing since before Christmas) I decided I’d weigh the yarn for Sam’s scarf to determine if I’d have enough for the length I wanted. Mostly I was concerned about the Ultra Alpaca Fine I have in brown since I only had 433 yards and I have 3 skeins of the Claudia Hand Paint totaling 525 yards. I weighed the ball I had left of the brown and had 1.75 ounces or EXACTLY half of the ball left. I held up the scarf next to my husband’s completed one and realized I’m not even to the halfway point so there’s no way I’d have enough to finish the scarf 😦

sams man scarf3

I did marinate on this information for about 5 days. I went through the thought of ripping out what I’d already completed so I could make it skinnier and therefore get more length out of the scarf using the yarn I had, but Sam wanted his scarf wider than Jordan’s and Sam is taller than Jordan so I couldn’t sacrifice the length…obviously I only had one choice!! A trip to Knitorious and I only walked out with the yarn I needed.

Yes, I’ll take a pat on the back for that one! Wish me great knitting speed 🙂

Until next time!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps!

Jenna