Get it Together Aunt Jenna!

I feel like I kept saying this to myself all week last week. A little perspective here: I’m 28, married for almost 2 years, I am generally responsible for myself and my two cats and occasionally my husband…yes, I did teach 5th grade for two years, I substitute taught kids as young as 3rd grade, I’ve coached volleyball for 10 years…

However, I do not have children myself. My two spoiled rotten kitties are a bit needy at times, but they are pretty self-sufficient. This last week, I cared for my 3 yearold nephew and 4 yearold niece…breakfast, lunch, dinner, bathtime, bedtime…it was up to me.

I have a new appreciation for parents. I have never been more exhausted before in my whole life, this includes 4 years of college volleyball (hello preseason with 3-a-day practices), student teaching while still running spring volleyball practices and coaching a club team, teaching school while also coaching club volleyball and school softball and planning a wedding…those things were hard, I had moments where I thought I would just quit, sit down in the dirt and quit, but I didn’t. I knew that all of those things had an ending. I knew I would make it if I just kept plugging away.

All of this to say that being a pseudo-parent for a week was much more exhausting. Not just physically (waking up at 6am to small people in my face, picking children up and down, cooking, cleaning, bathtime, bedtime), but mentally and emotionally. I had no idea how tough it is to mentally do battle with yourself over what a 3 and 4 yearold may or may not understand, how tough it is emotionally to not have an adult conversation with anyone for 6-10 hours in a day…

So to all the parents out there, especially the ones who do it on their own, thank you and I owe you mad respect.

All of this to say that even though I finally posted 2 posts in a week before Friday, I missed my Freshly Finished Friday post! I realized it at 8:45am Friday morning when I was hauling the two kids to Sky Zone (trampoline park) to jump at Toddler Time (it was raining so no outside/pool time). I was running through my mental list, trying to determine what I was forgetting when I realized I left you guys hanging. 😦

Anyway, I have been knitting, but not on any of the WIPs I’ve mentioned before. I started a pair of worsted weight tube socks for my 4 yearold niece. On Sunday of last week, she noticed I was knitting myself a pair of socks (these Bootstrap socks) and asked if I would make her a pair. Of course I said yes, when I finish these…I think I even have the perfect yarn. (It’s supposed to Zebra stripe with the teal as the background and orange as the stripey bits)

IMG_1686

Well, what do you know when I had them over to my house on that Tuesday for a bit, she beelined for my stash cabinet and was immediately struck by this:

IMG_1797

It’s Cascade Yarns Pacific in the color 517 (Circus). I grabbed some US 4 DPNs and told her I would start them soon.

IMG_1796

When we arrived back at their house for the evening, she may or may not have demanded that I start them immediately and then asked me every 10 minutes if they were finished and while simultaneously requesting they go all the way up to her knees.

IMG_1795

For the rest of the week, any time I was sitting anywhere she requested I work on her sock.Β As of Sunday night this week (6/21) I have finished one sock and started the next. (link to Rav page here)

IMG_1794

It’s a good thing these are worsted weight πŸ™‚

Linking up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm & Craft On.

Anything been slowing your knitting roll?

❀
Jenna

Advertisements

Getting There

So we knit and knit and knit, but sometimes the things stay on the needles! I can’t understand why even after all the stitches (I think) I put onto these lovely Technicolor Socks, I still feel like I’m a few rows from actually starting the toe decreases on the right sock!! I think the left sock is ready.

 

IMG_1780

Maybe I’ll blame it on my long toes. Or on the US 0 needles.

Maybe I shouldn’t blame them at all. It’s so nice to have a mindless knitting project to cart around in my purse that’s not huge (here’s looking at you Turia)

IMG_1775

or doesn’t need a book to travel with it (Bootstrap Socks that are ready for the heel)

IMG_1773

or doesn’t need to be really looked at every stitch (Curl #2 Cerise)

IMG_1770

or isn’t turning out like I think I want (Colour Change Scarf)

IMG_1779

or isn’t a general pain in the bum (Skinty Stripe Scarf)Β with a kitty supervisor

IMG_1777

or doesn’t need a chart, pencil, row counter and complete silence (Catkin Shawl)…

IMG_1774

That’s all the current WIPs and most of them are not travel worthy…maybe I should just finish these socks and turn the heel on the Bootstrap Socks so I can have more things to travel with and some empty needles?

Or the alternative…

I could start something new! Maybe keep it in line with my Love Your Library Challenge and work on a Curl or another pair of socks from Sock Architecture? I could go and check out all the lovelies at Keep Calm & Craft On for inspiration…

What would you do in this situation, keep your nose down and finish or venture into the stash for something fresh and new?

❀
Jenna

Things I “Dislike”

I read this quote last week on a blog post by Karen on Pumpkin Sunrise. (You should definitely check out her site. Karen is someone to relate to and always seems to have the most thoughtful, beautiful posts.)

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you. Β  Β  Β -Lao Tzu

Talk about perfect timing! This came right after my post last week about happiness. It really made me think about how I do think about happiness. Couple this with all the kind, thoughtful comments from you guys and I was feeling incredibly encouraged. Such a fantastic reminder to “rejoice in the way things are.”

This helped me reflect on another aspect of happiness, “dislike.”

I was in bed last night and thinking about things. My brain was just buzzing and I couldn’t fall asleep until I thought a few things through. I pulled out my journal and jotted down this:

“Things I dislike? –retrain the brain/feelings to try new thinks”

Seems a little silly, but I thought I’d try. I think disliking most things is all about the way we think about them. What if, instead of completing a chore like sweeping and vacuuming with an attitude of dread, I undertook the chore as something good, productive, dare I say-fun? That will be my experiment for the coming month: retraining my brain to think about things I initially dislike and thinking about them in a new way or “new thinks.”

Your waiting for when this comes to knitting.

Well, you remember those socks I started a while ago, like a long while ago, the Technicolor Socks?

IMG_1725

They are still kicking around in my WIP pile, but they aren’t that far from being done. Why are they stalling? I don’t like knitting heels and picking up gusset stitches. You are thinking, “why didn’t you just throw in a ripcord and do an afterthought heel?” or “It’s not that bad” or “what in the world are you talking about?”

IMG_1726

I don’t love this part of the knitting and I think this would be a great way to try out my new way of thinking πŸ™‚ I will keep you posted on how this goes.

I’ve also got these Bootstrap Socks (at least one) that is dangerously close to the heel here, but it’s going to be a different heel experience thanks to Lara Neel & Sock Architecture (some Love Your Library progress!).

IMG_1723

I’ll let you know if this changes the way I feel about heels too.

IMG_1724

I love that little blip of pink! So Spring-y πŸ™‚

Linking up with:
Emily for Love Your Library
Nicole for Keep Calm & Craft On

❀
Jenna

Terribly Troublesome Tuesday

My day began pretty early for a day off. Our sectional we ordered the weekend after Thanksgiving was delivered this morning at 7:00AM. I got the call yesterday that they would be here between 7-10AM, and I figured we probably see them somewhere around 10 or 11. WRONG!! At 6:40 I got a call from the delivery guys saying they were 20 minutes away. My husband and I sprung into the action, moving our futon to another room so we would have space. I even vacuumed πŸ™‚

couch close up

 

It looks fantastic!! Except…

couch far out

They couldn’t get the end-piece which is a chaise (sp?) up the stairs and around the corner 😦 So we are going to have to pay a “re-stocking” fee but they will at least exchange it for a different piece that will fit. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long to get that one in, but who knows since we wanted a custom fabric that would hold up to the cats.

On a happier note, I did celebrate my birthday on Sunday, January 11. I had a wonderful time in Memphis, spending it with my husband and some friends. And what’s a birthday without a little funfetti cake?

birthday cake

I also wanted to give you guys a little update on the charity hats I knit. They needed buttons for the band. I found these cute little yellow flowers at Michael’s and sewed them on during the drive to Memphis.

charity hats with buttons

 

Last thought for today is about the Love Your Library challenge going on with Emily at Snapdragon Crafts. I’ve been gearing up to tackle Curls by Hunter Hammersen for this challenge. I was trying to wait until the 15th when the start of her KAL in the Violently Domestic group, then I checked in over there yesterday and it’s already started!! Ah well. Plus they are also doing an informal KAL in the Prairie Girls Knit & Spin group too! I wound the yarn, I’ve got the needles (I think) picked out and I just need to start!!

caesious 1

Then, I was looking around on boards and going with the theme of a KAL and using my library, I found the First Quarter KAL over in the Laura Nelkin group. I was really excited about Laura’s designs after I took her class at Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago this year. I bought her book, Knockout Knits and she signed it πŸ™‚ So I’ll be starting the Prolix Mitts in some lovely Noro Silk Garden Lite I found in Β my stash.

prolix mitts 1

Last but certainly not least going with the theme, once again πŸ™‚ is to fit my Squishy Socks in with a heel from Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture. My husband got me this book for Christmas and every time I pick it up just to browse, I’m intrigued and inspired by all the great info Lara has in the book. I’m not sure which heel I will use yet, but I’m almost to that point so I guess I need to decide!! Plus this can count towards Operation Sock Drawer hosted by the Knitmore Girls & inspired by Susan B. Anderson’s sock drawer picture.

sock architecture1

 

Anyway, all in all, not a bad Tuesday, just one with some fun challenges at an early hour. The best part? There is plenty of room on this couch for me, the kitties and the knitting πŸ™‚

If you’d like to learn more about the Love Your Library challenge, (<– click the link) head over to Snapdragon Crafts and read about what Emily has been up to πŸ™‚

Until next time,

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!

IMG_1491

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.

IMG_1499

And here’s why.

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

IMG_1501

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 πŸ™‚ They had us take a fun selfie in their booth.

poststitch selfie

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.

IMG_1497

 

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.

IMG_1495

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.

IMG_1496

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.

IMG_1493

Look how cute the tags are!! So clever πŸ™‚

IMG_1494

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.

IMG_1492

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 πŸ™‚

IMG_1498

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

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.

IMG_0832

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.

IMG_1387

Even if she protests.

IMG_1386

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.

IMG_1389

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

IMG_1390

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

IMG_1391

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.

IMG_1393

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.

IMG_1394

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.

IMG_1395

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.

IMG_1396

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.

IMG_1397

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.

IMG_1398

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.

IMG_1399

IMG_1400

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!!

IMG_1401

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.

IMG_1402

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!!!!

IMG_1406

Hope this was helpful!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Take Time to Knit :)

IMG_0832

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 KnitsΒ 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 πŸ™‚

IMG_1257

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 πŸ™‚

IMG_1256

Just wanted to share a short post and some encouraging words that have done me good πŸ™‚

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna