The One with the Coffee

Hi!! & Happy New Year!

I only made it to 9:30 last night. I’m not even sorry. I think part of this new year needs to be about taking care of myself and getting sleep was a good way to start it off. Nevertheless, I’m still drinking coffee and it’s noon here. I’ve had a relatively uneventful day so far…slept til 7:30 am, did some budget stuff with my husband, seasoned up some homemade breakfast sausage in the spirit of Whole30, ate some breakfast, updated my stash on Ravelry with pictures, started some laundry…I’m looking into my living room and my cats are snuggled up on the couch and I’m contemplating taking down my Christmas tree. I thought about going up to school today to get some work done before we start back officially on Wednesday, but I think I’ll save that for tomorrow. At some point though I do need to leave the house and get some coffee filters otherwise I’m going to be extra sad tomorrow morning.

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Enough of that, I thought I’d hop on here and share a little bit of the knitting with you. I really, really want to be knitting at this moment, but instead I’m writing. And that’s ok. I am hoping in the new year to make a commitment to come back to this space. It is mostly for me to sit down and write and reflect. I’m also hoping this will keep me focused on the beautiful projects ahead.

First up, I finished my friend Charryse’s Copycat CC Beanie out of some alpaca…I’m trying to decide on a pompon…please cast your vote!

I’m also decreasing for the toes on Jordan’s socks. Well at least for one toe. If I can just get them done, I’ll feel accomplished πŸ™‚

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And this blanket is coming along. It’s so beautiful. Its the Hexagonal Hoodie but I’m using much smaller yarn and needles…speaking of yarn, I’m nearing the end of the ball of the multi-color Ambiente and I went on the hunt for another ball…bad news though since Myer’s House didn’t have any more in that color so I bought some pink instead…it’s just a skinnier sock yarn so I’m hoping it will all work out all right. I’m sure it will. It’s a baby blanket for crying out loud!

If I can just get those two projects complete, I can sit down to work on my West Coast Cardigan. I think I’ve had enough time away from it that I’m ready to knock it out. The last time I knit on it, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed at the process…there is chart reading and keeping up with the colors in both hands…its not the mindless knit of stockinette circles like the socks or the baby blanket. It requires my attention. And I like that it does because I know I will love wearing it. I just need to get going on the darn thing. But I also want to get rid of the stockinette circles first.

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And then I have my Agamenticus Cowl that I’m working on. I had to put it down during the road trip home from Thanksgiving in Little Rock because it was getting dark and I lost my place in the pattern. I’m sure it would only take me a moment to figure out where I am, but the other two projects are taking precedence over knits for myself.

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I also need to block some things. But I don’t really feel like it. Maybe I’ll wait til the blanket is done and then do a big ole block. That sounds like fun!

And I’ve been staring at my stash, especially since I seem to keep adding yarn to it. I realized that I’ve got a good amount of money tied up in yarn. It would serve me well to get knitting on this stuff…perhaps this year will be the year of STASH knitting. I mean I’ve uploaded the whole thing into Ravelry here. It already prompts me with pattern/yarn pairings. I’ve got sweaters worth of yarn, blankets worth, shawls worth, hats worth, socks worth…all that I carefully chose either in a quick impulse or after an hour perusing a store…its like it goes into my cabinet and then I see the next beautiful skein and I forget I’ve already got plenty of beautiful skeins…

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Don’t get me started either on the finished projects I’ve uncovered in my closet that I want to rip out…like this Whispers sweater and this Curl…

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The Whispers top just isn’t practical for me. I need sleeves! And the way this garment is constructed it won’t support sleeves…I even have an entire skein plus a little left over…there is no reason this yarn can’t be born again into something else.

And this Curl is just a little small…I have another skein to add on to it, I just need to unpick the bind-off row and add this other skein on, then it will be ready to go.

Anyway, just some rambling thoughts! I hope that if you are reading this you have a wonderful new year ahead of you filled with all the things you enjoy doing. At least that’s what I’m hoping for here!

❀
Jenna

Hello Today!!

Here I am, back at this. I’ve been wanting to write but I wasn’t sure what to say. Perhaps I’ll start with everything that has been going on this holiday. We had a half day for our last day of school on Wednesday, the 20th. It was a pretty good day. I ate a lot of junk food and subsisted on spicy pretzels and chocolate chip cookies until dinner that night.

That evening my mom and my brother and his wife and daughter all arrived at my place for the holiday. Thankfully I got the house mostly cleaned up. It was fun having them in town for the holiday. It was my brother’s family’s first trip to St. Louis and it was a cold one! We went to the zoo and ate lots of yummy food. In fact, there has been so much yummy food that I’m pretty sure it is going to take another Whole 30 for me to feel right again.

We had a great time. It was so nice to be away from school. I’m sort of dreading going back at the moment, but maybe by next week I’ll be ready πŸ™‚ I’ve got some work to do and so maybe I’ll go up there tomorrow after I take my father-in-law to the airport. Its been a busy full holiday and I’m almost ready for some slow, alone time. Jordan is working again so my days have been quiet.

I’ve been trying to get as much knitting as possible done, but it is slow going. I’m not sure why. I want to work on everything, but gifts for other people have taken over…even though I only want to work on my sweater…I feel like I should knock out the other little things for everyone else then I can work on the sweater, guilt-free…except that I keep thinking of stuff to knit for everyone else!

First up, I’m still trying to finish Jordan’s socks…I think I’m at the toe of at least one, maybe both. That means I need to pay attention and just get them finished. They are just some basic socks I knit on a US size 0 in some Opal sock yarn. It’s a nice tight gauge. I’m hoping they will wear nicely.

I’ve also got this crazy Copycat CC beanie going on for a friend, Charryse. She went on a trip to Portland, Oregon and visited a yarn store. She picked out a few skeins of yarn as a gift. Each time she comes over she inevitably picks up one of the skeins and comments on how soft and beautiful it is. I thought it needed to become something for her. Hence the cast on for the CC beanie…I knit the thing initially on a US size 6 without the doubled brim…knit the whole thing, tried it on and felt like the cast on edge was too tight and in general too small…so I ripped it back, did the double brim and on the US size 7 like the pattern calls for and I’m knitting right along. I’m on the first purl section after folding over the brim.

I also knit my brother one of the very PDX hats while he was here…I spent some serious time on it while waiting in Urgent Care with my husband on Christmas Eve to be seen for a case of strep throat. I knit it in some Berroco Vintage…it should wear nicely. He seemed happy with it.

I haven’t knit on anything else…I did wash some yarn and it was a mess. Its the yarn for my Turia sweater. It was living in a bag that one of my cats thought was doubling as a litter box and so it needed to be washed. The linen is extra soft now, but I am finding that I have no desire to knit the thing now. Maybe inspiration will strike soon.

I was comforted after my last post to get such nice notes from folks who read this little corner of the internet. πŸ™‚ You guys really are so sweet and supportive. Thank you for your kind words. I really enjoy being able to connect on here with you guys. So thank you.

I’m going to go and work on my knitting. But it does feel good to stop in.

❀
Jenna

Here

So it’s Saturday. Things have settled down. The school decided to part ways with my partner teacher and quickly hired a substitute teacher as a full time replacement. I’m glad for the closure even if its not what I wanted…I know that something good has to come of this even if I can’t see it now. My partner has been hired to teach special education in another district. I’m happy to hear she is back in the classroom…she helps kids be better people!

I’m heart broken over the whole situation. I feel like I step onto an island every day at my job. I’m really focusing on why I’m there…not for me but for the kids I serve. I just have to keep that in my focus. Not the craziness. Keep trying to be my best for all my kids.

I am trying to keep knitting…been working on socks for Jordan. They are fantastic…moving slowly on US 0s…but they will be a firm sock and hopefully more comfortable to wear.

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And a hat for my nephew that he requested…he drew me a picture of what he wanted and everything! I made it using the very pdx hat pattern since it has a double brim. With Will living in Omaha and it being obnoxiously cold there, I thought I would make the hat as warm as I could…come to think of it I’m wondering if I should have made the whole thing doubled…oh well. We shall see. I’m hoping it is what he asked for.

I’m also clicking along on this baby blanket for a little one who is supposed to arrive in January…it’s such a chill project…just knitting around and around with a few strategically placed increases. I love the colors I chose too πŸ™‚

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Also I started a couple of things for myself…first this giant sweater “West Coast Cardigan” out of some sheepy Briggs and Little Country Roving. I’ve separated for the sleeves and need to get going on the body. I’ve put it on hold to finish the hat for Will and socks for Jordan and the baby blanket, but it is beautiful!

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And this cowl from Maine Knits called the Agamenticus Cowl out of some special yarn I picked up during Summer’s Last Blast Yarn Crawl in St. Louis…it’s Knitorious’ own yarn…a fingering weight yarn 540 yd, “Rare undyed colors…sumptuous pure Merino softness…30 years of dedication to super fine genetics: we are Genopalette. From our farm along the Missouri River, many thanks for joining us on our luxury fiber adventure.” I’m holding the yarn double and knitting on a size 7…it is going to be lovely.

I’ve been hesitant to write…not quite knowing what to say. I wanted to talk about my knitting and my life a bit. I know things aren’t what they used to be on here. I don’t visit as much or as regularly. This space was so crucial for me when I began and now I feel like it’s a luxury to even have the time to visit. I’m grateful it is here and that someone some where is reading this.

Until I write again,

❀
Jenna

A Day to Knit

I am so grateful today is Saturday. This was such a long, short week. Our school was on a “mini spring break” last Friday and Monday and the two four-day weeks have been tortuously long. I would rather have the whole five days or no days…this partial week stuff is exhausting! It takes the kids an extra day to get focused and before you know it the week is over…throw in a few field trips and schedule changes and a mass that runs long and a partner teacher who is out and you have a crazy “short” week.

Enough of that. I’ve been knitting a little bit each evening despite lacking the brain space for it. I thought if I could just knit 1 or 2 rows, maybe my brain would relax. It did, at least while I was knitting…then I would head to bed and school dreams would happen. Those are terrible because there is no way to end them or control them. And they haunt me for the next day…

As for the knitting, I’ve been working on my Decemberist shawl by Melanie Berg. It’s so luscious. I love it! I finished the lace chart and decided to add another couple of rows since I had the yarn and I love a big shawl…I just wanted to extend the chart another couple rows…which was a little more challenging than I thought it would be. These designers work hard and I think it is definitely worth the money paid for the pattern πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’m sure you’d love a look at the shawl.

Everything was going just wonderful until last night when I had a few too many beers and thought I’d try to knit…then I got off somewhere, decreasing when I shouldn’t have. I’ve located the hot spot of error, marked it with a shiny stitch marker and am going back to fix it…just a little tinking.

I’m hoping to have this thing off the needles today! I’m going to meet up with my friend Korey to knit for a while and I can’t wait! I’m going to pack more projects than I can ever really knit and there may even be a trip to Knitorious if we are lucky…

I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday…I’m hoping mine will be just what I need!

Onward

Remember when I said I’d be back?

Months ago?

It feels like eons.

I feel like these last 5 months have moved at light-speed and at a snail’s pace. I look up and weeks have flown by. Then I get back to my classroom on a Tuesday at 11:53 and my day has moved maybe a centimeter.

I spent time this weekend standing by one of my best friend’s while she married her new best friend. That’s the way it is supposed to go. This is the second time in the last 4 months that this has happened. Once to a friend in November, and now only a short 72 hours ago to another. My group of friends from college (6 of us), the ones you can drop off and pick up with in an instant, are moving through this transition. I started the ball rolling in 2013 when my husband and I made it official…another friend the following year, then a break…these next three are all happening in less than a year’s time.

With each one I’m so excited and happy that they are starting the next chapter of their lives with the people who are now their biggest support and best friend. But I’m also a little sad that our group is changing…my Β marriage didn’t seem like such a big change…my husband had been around since 6 months after I met these girls…it just feels like the end of an era.

But for the best. I know we all have to grow up. And it may be the best thing in the entire world to see the people you love the most the happiest they’ve ever been…at least since I’ve known them.

Being around them reminds me of what friendship is supposed to feel like. It also reminds me of how rare it is to find these types of friends in life…I’m also faced with the challenge of trying to cultivate friendships with new people…people who are geographically close to me…so I don’t become a hermit who lives their life on the phone or through tests or the internet…but with real people. In real life. At real coffee dates or knitting dates or volleyball games or on patios or at secret family dinners…

Just thoughts. Maybe being 30 has lead to some insights and good changes beyond feeling like my body is aging and my clock is ticking and time is just marching on. Where does it leave me? How do I keep time?

How do I make the most of my time here?

Sounds like a new challenge and a new thing to focus on…besides all the amazing people I need to befriend and the new people that I need to let in…stop holding at an arms length for fear of being hurt or being found out or disappointing…hoping that when they do know me they are happy they know me, and I them. These moments of being vulnerable and wanting to connect. Not letting them pass me by but taking advantage and trying my best.

Woah! Sappy and cliche.

Maybe tomorrow I can share some knitting…I won’t ask you to hold your breath but maybe you should just go to instagram… @hardknitlife

Saturday Already?

I don’t know how I got here when I was just here a week ago…the days seem to fly by in hyper speed! This week was tough. My students took the ITBS test last week and finished up the last day of testing on Monday. Then the schedule and such was supposed to go back to normal…except throw in a Liturgy schedule Tuesday for all school Mass, then activity schedule for electives on Wednesday, and then Mass ran late on Thursday…Friday was the first “normal” day we’ve had! The last two weeks have been crazy and the kids were definitely feeling it by Friday. As were the teachers. Normally, we need to stay on campus until 3:30, but Friday afternoon our principal was walking down the halls at 3:15 telling us to leave! Go home! Rest!

So I did. I’ll have to go back up there on Sunday to grade the tests I gave Friday and get everything set for the week. You know the old adage…”Failure to plan is a plan for failure.” Never were truer words said, especially for a teacher.

Enough of that. Let me tell you about my knitting. I bound off the Autumnal Equinox Blanket! I just need to soak it and let it dry and take some pictures. All the ends are woven in!

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I also finished up my Strie socks…those toe up ones! The ones that I knit the heels on at least 3 times…the ones that were my first experiment in the toe-up department…the ones that I’ve been carting around in my purse for probably a year…

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Just in time for cooler weather! Growing that sock drawer!

I’ve also been trying to put in some serious work on Baby Joe’s Striped Blanket. Did I mention that beautiful boy is here? And he’s home and growing…already a pound heavier than his birth weight! Full head of hair…I’ll have to get a good picture of him πŸ™‚

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Anyway, I’ve finished two of the triangles of the blanket and picked up stitches for the third triangle. I’m minorly worried about having enough of the gray yarn…I have this tiny bit left after the first two sections and I’ve got one more ball for the rest of the blanket. I should be ok since I’m not planning to use the gray in the border. We shall see. I am still loving the Cascade 220 Superwash…so springy!

That’s all I’m working on…I’ve got a few other things I’m trying to resist, like my Bootstrap socks and Nora’s Harvest Cardigan…I think I’ll tackle her sweater when I’ve finished Baby Joe’s Blanket.

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Hopefully I’ll see you guys again this week!
❀
Jenna

Saturday…After Friday.

So Friday, my school was empty of children. We headed over to a local Catholic high school for a day of Professional Development. The school brought in Kim Bearden from the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. She was inspiring. Refreshing. Beautiful. She spoke to us for about 5 hours and I left feeling renewed in my classroom commitment. But I also looked around the tables at the event more than once and wondered if anyone else was drinking the KoolAid. I’m not so sure. Maybe that makes me a little naive…I would like to think it makes me hopeful. Hopeful that I can make a difference and change a few things, especially with my 8th graders.

During the 5 hours we were sitting and listening, there really wasn’t much to take notes on. Don’t get me wrong, Kim had some really wonderful ideas and engaging stories. She spoke to my heart, but not in the way were I needed to take notes. So I knit on some socks. I took 2 pairs because I thought I could work on those very inconspicuously with my hands near table height. I did not need my principal or anyone else thinking I was distracted. The irony is that by keeping my hands busy I can listen more intently. I will admit that when people are speaking I can spend time doodling and totally get lost in my own head. But if I’m knitting, I can just keep my hands busy, a productive fidget, while my mind stays with the presentation.

I worked on my First Crazy Toe-Up Socks…I’m near the end here…I’ve got maybe another inch of ribbing then a stretchy cast off. Just in time for fall to arrive. I’m hoping the weather will change soon and I can wear them!!

I also got in some rows on my Bootstrap socks. If you remember, I was ready to start the heel on my second sock. So Thursday night I sat down with the intention of getting the heel worked and the gusset stitches picked up so I would have some stockinette for Friday. I stared at the cuff. I counted the stitches 4 times. Yes, I had cast on 64 stitches. I re-read the directions. I only have placed one marker…I was supposed to place two. The two garter stripes should have fit onto 1 half of the stitches with 2 stitches on each side…I hadn’t done that. So I ripped back to the ribbing. And began again. I got in about 2 inches yesterday during the conference. I forgot how much I loved knitting on little DPNs.

In other news, I am dying to cast on about 87 other things. But I’m holding off because the baby blanket knitting needs to happen…I’ve got two blankets to knit for December…a friend is having twins. And then another friend is having a boy in January and another friend is having a boy in February…I’m sure by the time I finish all of these someone else will be pregnant too πŸ™‚ More baby blankets…all the time!!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. The Strange Folk Festival is happening this weekend in St. Louis. I’m hoping to make it over there on Sunday…only time will tell if I break the yarn diet.

❀
Jenna

Away…

So I’ve been busy…I feel like every time I go away and come back, that’s what I say. But it’s true. I’ve been back in the swing of teaching. Only this time, I’m immensely more busy. I wouldn’t quite say overwhelmed, but I may only be a few straws away from breaking the camel’s back.

I’m prepping 3 1/2 math classes and 2 religion classes each day. I teach in a Catholic school and if you remember, I’m a new Catholic. Like this past Easter, new Catholic. And I’m supposed to be teaching an Old Testament class to 6th graders with the fluffiest book known to all of Catholic education and a Church History class to some very disillusioned 8th graders…you know, the ones who have already decided this class should be a blow-off class and they are just going to talk through the class. It doesn’t seem to matter what approach I take, I always have students just talking through the class.

So I rearranged their seats. They are unhappy. Fun fact, in my classroom, I let students choose their seats. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to be able to sit next to a friend if they want. But this group. 8th graders. All they do is talk. For instance, a student was reading aloud from the textbook last week and another couple of young men decided that they should speak out at this time. One gentleman decided to “moan” while another said in a high-pitched voice, “Daddy harder!” I immediately shut it down but I couldn’t quite pin down who said what. Thus I couldn’t write the demerit…even though I’m fairly positive that I know who the culprits are. No worries, we have new seats. These gentlemen are separated.

I go back and forth with this class curriculum-wise. The textbook series we are using is complete fluff. The text spends about 6 paragraphs on the first 100 years of the Church…you know, death of Jesus, Pentecost, St. Peter & St. Paul. I was really trying to give students more, but my delivery may be a bit off. Couple that with the fact that students just want this to be a “free” period and its the perfect storm…25 & 26 8th graders all crammed into my room for 45-50 minutes 4 days a week…

All of this to say that my knitting time and documenting it has been tough. I’m still working on baby blankets. The Autumnal Equinox Blanket is pretty much done…just doing the attached i-cord edging…I had a minor scare where I ran out of yarn because I didn’t weigh the skein…I just kept knitting πŸ™‚ Thankfully, my mom came to the rescue and found a ball of yarn at her local Michael’s and sent it my way.

I’ve also been working on Baby Joe’s striped blanket…He’s arrived already! And I’m only on the 2nd triangle! Life is hard sometimes. If this is all it’s going to throw at me, I’m grateful.

Anyway, hopefully I can keep up πŸ™‚ If I can’t, you’ll know why.

It did feel so good to stop in here and take a little of my load off.

❀
Jenna

No Socks!

What is a girl to do when her hand knit sock drawer is empty?? And it’s 25 degrees Fahrenheit? And her toes are cold?

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Well, she has to wash her socks! I only have 4 pairs, and 3 pairs are every day pairs…one is Β a pair of house socks.

In a 2 bedroom, one bathroom flat, sometimes the sink is not the best place for these things…so I use a mixing bowl. I fill it with some Eucalan and warm water.

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I throw in the pair of socks, one by one…first up are my Squishy Socks out of some Regia 6 ply followed by my Technicolor SocksΒ in Pagewood Farms Denali Sock.

And my ???? socks I can’t find that I made a project page on Rav…I don’t even know what the yarn is…they were the first real pair of socks I made after my House Socks made from Jarbo Yarns Raggi.

Next up I just need to roll them out and lay flat to dry…only 24 hours between me and toasty toes!!

How do you block/wash your knits?

❀
Jenna

Birthday Adventures…

Yes, I had a birthday. Almost a month ago! Time was getting away from me and I was trying to get back to posting…it was January 11. I had a wonderful Monday that week…turning 29 and all. Then I traveled to Memphis the following weekend to see some friends, spend time with my Mom, and check out a yarn store I’ve been dying to see!!

First up, let me just say that my weekend was fabulous! I miss my friends in Memphis so much and I miss my mom even more! It was so great to spend time with them…I am a little disappointed to say that I don’t think we snapped one picture of the group!

Enough of that…I know you’re really here for the yarn store part πŸ™‚ About a year before I moved to Louisville (maybe 2012-ish) I learned there was a yarn store down in Oxford, Mississippi…steps from the Ole Miss campus. I put it on my radar and thought, I should try to get down there before I move…fast-forward to 2016 and the thousands (ok, maybe only like 20 or so) of trips I’ve made back to Memphis and I still hadn’t made the time to check out the shop.

So on Saturday, January 16, after a lovely, leisurely morning with lots of coffee and lots of catching up, I loaded up my Mom in the car and we zipped down the Oxford. It didn’t take us long before we were cruising around the town, amazed by how big the Ole Miss campus is (I went to a college with roughly 2000 other students…) and we were met by the little shop, tucked up in front of a strip mall, next to a Pizza Hut. I neglected to take a picture of the shop, but when I tell you it was an unexpected gem…just imagine it πŸ™‚

Or you can visit them here, on the web. I was delighted, enchanted, inspired when I walked in…filled with beautiful yarns, carefully curated for the knitter in a warmer climate…not to mention being a flagship store for Quince & Co…my first time seeing them in real life…and I couldn’t decide what to make! So I walked out of the yarn shop…without YARN!!! I was/am trying to stay faithful to the Chevron Baby Blanket

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and the Hammerhavn Sock Test Knit

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I know. But I did buy myself a little birthday gift.

It’s a Curly Girl Mug. I love the saying about the cowboy boots…I’m going to have to pull mine out more often. I used to wear mine all the time, then I just stopped.

It was a fun weekend and I’m super happy I was able to visit a shop I’d never been too…

They even offer free shipping! When I’m ready for my Quince & Co project, I know who I’ll be calling! I’ve been staying monogamous with the blanket and the socks…

I guess working on two projects at once isn’t monogamous…but it feels that way since I’m not putting any rows on the other 5 WIPs I’ve got on the needles for me…

That baby is coming! A month away! And the Test knit deadline is right around then too! I’d better get back to it!

❀
Jenna