7:00pm…

And I’m ready for bed! How is it so? I’m months from 30, I don’t have any children of my own to wear me out…but I do spend my days with almost 100 students entering and exiting my classroom throughout the day. I’ve been working hard to plan and be prepared for my classes…but some days are better than others. I think that’s just the nature of working with students! They are the variable and so much depends on them…if they are having a good day, what time it is, how close are we to lunch or snack or the end of the day, what happened in the class before, what’s happening after school…if the calculator looks like a cell phone 🙂

All of these are distractions and factor into how things go each day in my classroom. I can only try to be constant myself, being prepared and happy to see them. I was reminded today how much I do love my kiddos…I’ve only known them for about a month, maybe 7 weeks…so almost 2, but I think we are starting to understand each other. It’s hard to remember that I have to get to know these people at a new place…they don’t know me and I don’t know them from a prior life, we have to find our groove…I think we are on our way. This doesn’t make any of this less hard.

It doesn’t change the fact that I’m seriously considering hitting publish and then going to bed.

My knitting has been pretty monogamous…just the baby blanket. Like I said before, Baby Joe is here and the weather is starting to change…I need to get this thing off the needles! I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow in the daylight and upload it…maybe Instagram. It’s coming along. I find comfort in the stockinette and the springy yarn. It’s nice to turn my brain off for a while but keep my hands productive.

Just a thought 🙂


Jenna

I Knit Because…

I love it! It’s simple really. I love making with my hands. That’s what knitting is to me, creating with my hands…I know, there are sticks and string and a few “fancy” movements, but its something I make. With my hands.

Got it?

I would hope so. So that brings me to the blog. I enjoy writing here because I like sharing what I’m working on. I like connecting with other knitters. This is a nice, clean place. I don’t share the hard things going on in life, just what I make with my hands.

So I’ve been away. Life is hard. It’s hard to balance the things I want to do, the things I need to do, the things I’m doing…Relatively speaking, my life is wonderful. I am happy, I have the most wonderful partner, all the people I love are healthy…life is just hard in the way of making choices and prioritizing for the future. This should be read as, “this girl has to spend time working on job applications, cover letters, resumes, philosophies of teaching, laundry, general cleaning, working, etc. when she’d like to be knitting.”

I know the future will hold time for knitting, but I’m trying to sneak in as much as I can while I do other things. So my space here has been quiet. And I’m probably 1000 entries behind on my blog roll…I don’t think I’ll have the time, eye sight, or brain space to go all the way back.

Not to fret or worry. Just knit.

Just thought I’d say hello and I will be back. With pictures 🙂

Until then…


Jenna

 

#MarshmallowFluffKAL

What is better on a super cold day than all the woolly goodness you can manage snuggled up around your neck??

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Shame to say that as a knitter, I have plenty of cozy neck wear…however, nothing that I would count as “Marshmallow Fluff-like Clouds” of wool. This had to be remedied immediately!

Enter Bonny at bonnyknits.com…with the wonderful idea to do a Mini Knit-Along 🙂

Here’s her post about it: Bulky Cowl Knit-Along

We’ve decided on the Marshmallow Fluff pattern by Sarah Kraly. It’s a super cute free pattern on Ravelry. It’s cast on using a provisional cast-on, knit flat, then seamed using a 3-needle bind off. Sounds like a great way to practice some useful skills I don’t use as often as I would like…plus I think I’d like to Kitchener the piece together…I’m imagining it as one giant toe of the sock!

I’m trying to decided between 2 skeins of Malabrigo Rasta I picked up at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago in 2013…that was a crazy, 1-day adventure that included riding the Mega-Bus at all hours of the night and day, trekking through Chicago from Union Station to Millennium Park and back…stopping to buy yarn & take a class…Deep Dish Pizza at Giordano’s and finally another trip and daylight savings time to arrive back in Louisville, Kentucky at maybe 4:00am???? Truly a 24 hour adventure that my wonderful husband accompanied me on…and with a fantastic haul of yarny treasures.

Back to the Rasta…I’ve got a skein of Natural…

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And a skein of Leguna Negra…

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What do you think? Maybe a little of both??

Anyway…I do hope you’ll join in the fun! You can keep up with our progress right here on the blog or at Bonny’s blog (here) or on our Instagram accounts (@hardknitlife & @bonnyknitsforyou)…if you’d like to play along, be sure to tag your post with #MarshmallowKAL or #MarshmallowFluffKAL


Jenna

Days of Doubt

Let me start first with a little knitting…

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The blanket is passing the halfway point…I’m not sure how many more stripes I’ll put on.

And I started an Antler Toque for a friend’s dad who was recently diagnosed with Lymph node cancer and has started chemo. He’s nervous to lose his hair and I though a hat made out of some soft Inca Gold would be a cozy gift.

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The cables are fun…just crossing 2 stitches by 2 stitches and great practice for cabling without a cable needle…I used this tutorial on Ysolda’s blog. Easier with pointy needles for sure 🙂

When I knit, my brain seems to slip into a meditative state…rolling thoughts over, good or bad and here is where I’ve landed lately.

Funny how these days of doubt come in waves. I’ve wrestled a bit with actually writing about something beyond just knitting. And this is the internet. Do I really want to go there?

Maybe I’ll just dip my toe a bit. Doubt. Something I think everyone wrestles with. I think it’s part of being human. Lives ebb and flow as does happiness, productivity, and doubt. I like to think of these things all as different colored liquids in a big jar…being sloshed around and as one rises the others may fall a bit. For instance when happiness and productivity wane, doubt has a tendency to bubble up to the top.

When it bubbles too high and the thoughts reach the conscious part of my brain and leak from my lips, it’s devastating. No one wants to hear that little mean voice I hear about how I can’t do one thing or I’m not good enough to do another. Part of the process of pushing the doubt back to the bottom is acknowledging it. Then I have to form a plan of action to really sink it back down. Remind myself that I can do something when I put the work in…tackling the task.

At least that’s what I tell myself. I think in the last couple of years, even when I make a plan and start to work the plan, I lose the oomph to finish and the doubt returns more quickly and with even more of a punch…”see, you can’t do this.”

So here is where I rest. On the cusp of formulating a plan to tackle a thought of “I’m not good enough” and “I can’t do this” and “I’m not supposed to be this.” The plan is going to involve some accountability and effort…and not just half way. That’s scary. Putting all of it into it and what if…what if it doesn’t work out? Then here we are again with a little more of a sting…

I think this is part of being human. Thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think, how you deal…


Jenna

When did Wednesday get here??

Thoughful Thursday

Really? I am really, really struggling with trying to remember what day it is…and I’m getting inspired by all the awesome posts I’ve been reading and the weather is cold. Like real cold. It’s 50 degrees Fahrenheit here with 20 mph winds…a perfect opportunity to wrap up in my knits.

Also it’s Thursday. I didn’t even know it was Wednesday and now it’s Thursday?? I know that it’s been pretty quiet here. I was traveling. My husband and I went down to Louisiana for a wedding between two of our college friends. Then, while we were down there, we stopped over and spent some time with my parents and my brother and my darling new baby niece 🙂 Did I mention she is the cutest??

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Anyway, it’s been quiet because when I post, I sit down and do it on the day I’m going to post. Sometimes I make notes ahead of time about what I think I want to talk about, but usually I just wing it. I know some very organized bloggers out there take the time to set up posts to publish when they are out of town. I am not quite there yet.

Truthfully, I have missed posting, but I have also missed reading posts from others. When we got back in town Tuesday, I did spend some time trying to catch up on posts and podcasts. I still have a ton to read and I spent a good amount of time yesterday doing the same. I don’t generally like to sit down and post unless I’m caught up on all my reading, but if I don’t go ahead and post I’m afraid it won’t happen for a few more days, and I got this awesome package in the mail that I just HAVE to talk about. So I made some popcorn and poured a coke over some ice just to get my brain going.

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You know how something happens in your life, and you, being a knitter, feel the urge to knit something for the happening, and you search all over Ravelry to find the perfect pattern and you scour your stash and you (slightly) obsess over the whole process until you have something on the needles? Yes? Well that happens to me quite often. I feel like all sorts of life events call for special hand-knits, hand knits, handknits? I don’t know, I like the hyphen. My most recent life event was the birth of my first niece.

When I learned I would be an aunt, I searched for the perfect pattern and yarn to make the best blanket for her. That’s my normal, go-to baby project for people I really like who are procreating and give me lots of notice 🙂 Otherwise, they get hats. So for Payton, I knit this slipped stitch baby blanket in mercerized cotton. I know I’ve blogged a good deal about it.

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I absolutely love the way it turned out. And to make life even better? Payton uses it all the time! How do I know? I get pictures of her and I see it in the background or wrapped around her or underneath her…it’s being used. My brother even called to ask how to wash the thing. That’s a positive sign 🙂

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After she was born, I went to see her and hand deliver the blanket. That’s when it hit me. My normal, go-to baby gift just wasn’t going to be enough for me. She’s so adorable and deserves all the hand-knits I can whip up before she outgrows the small amount of yarn it would take to knit said hand-knits in a reasonable amount of time. This is when the Ravelry scouring search of suitable baby knits commenced. I was thinking socks and a hat…that just didn’t seem like enough.

So I’m going to gift those to our neighbors who also happen to have a darling 3 month old baby girl who hasn’t received any of my hand-knit love 🙂 I have been toying around with the idea for a sweater for a while. When I was on my Ravelry hunt, I came across Ysolda Teague’s pattern Wee Envelope.

I didn’t purchase it right away, but the little things has been marinating in my mind for a while. I thought about finding yarn for it while I was at VKL, but decided to wait and buy from a local shop so if I got stuck with the pattern, I could go in for help. I even talked to my mom about the pattern and how we both wanted to knit sweaters for Payton…see what new babies do???

Enter fate.

On the Friday night of VKL, my mom and I were taking our laps in the Marketplace. Our brains were swimming with all the lovely colors, soft skeins, and gorgeous finished projects that adorned all the booths. Then we stumbled upon PostStitch. My mom was the one who truly reeled us in. She wanted to knit a row on their scarf.

The lovely ladies, Amy & Megan, are a mother-daughter team who came up with a great idea to deliver knitting projects with all the fixin’s right to your front door. We all got to talking and Megan showed me the LittleStitch kit for this month.

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It is the Wee Envelope pattern, knit in some super squishy Aspen by Luna Grey Fiber Arts. Included? The most adorable and ironic buttons.

Cherries. Ironic? It is my maiden name, and sweet baby niece, Payton Elizabeth Cherry.

It couldn’t have been more perfect. It was my only purchase Friday night because I couldn’t pass it up. To celebrate, Mom and I took a fun selfie in their booth.

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And it was on my doorstep when we got home from the airport on Tuesday. Just in time for NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater in a Month).

I think I need to wind some yarn and get going 🙂

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Until then,

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

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

 

 

 

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