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.

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

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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!

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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

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Ode to August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I even blocked my last FO for goodness sake!

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

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

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

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

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Blankets & Mitts & Swaps, OH MY :)

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

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

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I love the colors.

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I love the texture.

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I’ve even weaved in all the ends.

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

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

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The mitts in the blocking bath:

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

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

And finally the whole package I sent:

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

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

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

Hello & Happy Saturday!!

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All from St. Louis of course. This has been my first move as a married person and it has certainly been different from any other move I have ever done. My very first move away from my parents’ home where I was for 18 years was to college in Memphis, Tennessee. I loaded up all my clothes, shoes, and linens into my mom’s car for the 6 hour journey. When we arrived, we went and bought anything else I could possibly need moving into a relatively furnished dorm room.

I moved in and out of college housing for the next 6 years, getting a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Then I finally moved into a condo with one of my best friends. That was a challenge because it was my first real place with stairs (I’d avoided them throughout college because I didn’t want to trudge up and down them everyday). My parents, brother, and boyfriend (now husband) really made that move possible. I was lucky enough to stay put there for 2 years while teaching school. Then there was the quick move to Louisville which involved renting a shipping crate, packing it jam full of everything I had acquired and having it hauled by a trucking company, delayed for a week, and finally unloaded by my husband and me into our SECOND floor apartment just a month before our wedding 1,000 miles away.

Thankfully, we made it to this move, with another 2 year lease (yay! no packing for at least that long) with the help of my father-in-law. He’s moved a time or two and was able to really help us pack our truck chock full. We made it the 240 miles with only a broken shelf, 2 broken glasses, a broken plate, and a broken hurricane lamp. Much better success. My only complaint? Yes, we are on the SECOND floor again, with daily stairs 🙂 Ah well, I guess it is better to be making the noise than hearing the noise. And the stairs are in our unit so hopefully my cats can get some exercise and stop being the fattest ones around.

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All of this being said, it is really wonderful to wake up in a new place that already feels like home AND be inspired to write a post. It could have something to do with the Monster cup of coffee I poured myself.

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I have been struggling with time and ideas since we arrived, couple that with our week of no internet and you’ve got a girl who hasn’t been posting and over 200 posts to read in her bloglovin feed!!

You guessed it, it is STASH DIVE SATURDAY!! Since my stash is happily on display in the other room, it was so easy to just swoop in and pick out a skein to highlight. Here is the photo process of deciding.

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Hmmmmm, maybe something on the top shelf?

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No, no. How about the DK/Sport weight shelf?

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Oooooh yes, How about green? I love green.

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And it’s Smooshy!!!!

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It’s Dream in Color’s Smooshy with Cashmere. This may be my only yarn I have with Cashmere…so it must be made into something special. I want it to be something that will be close to my skin since it is so soft. I also love this color, Emerald Darkness, and really want it to be visible. So probably not socks since I don’t have any clear shoes…Maybe a shawl or scarf or cowl? But the catch is that I only have 1 skein…
Ideas:
1. How about this Nautilina Scarf by Sybil R on Ravelry? The colors look fun, and I’m sure I could pair this with another gorgeous yarn from my stash or perhaps break the diet?? Her pattern is available free on her blog, Knitting and so on.
2. Mayhaps The Age of Brass And Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn on Ravelry? Plus there are some very lovely yarns on the Orange Flower Yarn website that would be amazing in this pattern. Oh the temptation…
3. Maybe I should stop adding patterns to my queue and just look through that? Or the books I have here at home, but where is the fun in that adventure?? Maybe the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Welted Fingerless Gloves (here on Ravelry). These have been in my queue forever and I may even have the pattern somewhere…I bet the softness would be so nice on my hands.
4. Or perhaps Jared Flood‘s Ptarmigan cowl (here on Ravelry). I bet the lace in the round would be beautiful in the green I have. And another doozie that has been in my queue for far too long.

The hard part about looking at all of these beautiful patterns is that I really should not start anything new. I’ve been working almost exclusively on the Midsummer Baby Blanket for my soon-to-be-here niece. I’m literally 4 rows away from starting the 4th color. It’s a little bulky to travel with since I have a big bag full of yarn. I don’t want to leave any of it behind because I’m paranoid that I will run out of a yarn I need RIGHT THEN! Here is the progress.

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I’ve also been working on the Mother-Daughter Knit-along which is the Putney Shawl in my Kentucky Festival purchase 🙂 I love that this project is still very portable and very brainless. And Sis likes it. Here is the progress.

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If you had the Smooshy in your possession, what would you make it?

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

The Blogs & The Frog(ged Projects)

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You know that feeling when there is something you are supposed to do hidden in the back of your mind that you can’t quite grasp? Yep, that’s me trying to remember if I had posted or not in the last couple days…I was like, yes, I know there is something I’ve been wanting to do, but I just couldn’t quite grab hold of it. So here we are, and it’s Friday.

Never fear, just because I haven’t posted in a hot minute (that’s Memphis terms for a little while) doesn’t mean I haven’t had ideas brewing about what to post on this glorious FREE-FOR-ALL FRIDAY! Where shall I begin? I’ll start with the most interesting part of the title, the Frog 🙂

On my last WIP Wednesday post, that was actually an early Thursday morning post, I showed you guys my crazy flower cowl that I didn’t love.

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Then I sat on the plane and frogged the whole thing, rewound it into 2 separate balls and thus ended up here:

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During the second flight from Chicago to Denver (2.5 hours) I worked without halt on the little shawl thing, but I didn’t quite finish it. I made it to here:

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I’m working on the decreases now. For some reason I couldn’t quite bring myself to pick it back up since I’ve been on the ground and the flight home had a different project in hand to work on. And since I’ve been back home, I’ve been combing through my WIP hoard again. I have kept going back to my darling Technicolor Toes socks.

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Remember how I told you the Addi Lace points reeked like old brass? And every time I used them, my hands reeked too?? Well I tried to work on them. I really did. I even looked for some DPNs in my needle stash to use to finish them, but I think they are engaged otherwise with the bunny…So I frogged them. I pulled them off those stinky needles and rewound the single yarn cake into two balls by hand (Sorry Sherry).

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I also may have picked up some tiny size 0, 9-inch circulars to cast these on again. The owner, Noel of Sophie’s Fine Yarn Shoppe here in Louisville said she does her socks this way and I love doing hats without having to worry about Magic Loop or DPNs or switching needles in any sort of way…I haven’t done this yet since I’m trying to exercise some self control and finish at least one thing on the needles before adding back to the WIP hoard again. Aaaah, such is life I suppose.

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I’ve also been reading a ton of blogs lately…**CAUTION: the next pictures have almost nothing to do with the written words**

I recently read a blog post that I really enjoyed. The horrible part is that I can’t remember where I read it. I’ve been trying to read and keep up with so many blogs since I started blogging that it’s a little overwhelming. I enjoy reading everyone’s blogs, but I feel like there are just so many I can’t read them all or remember them all. Such is life.

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Anyway, the post I read had to do with why the author blogged. She said originally she started out blogging for herself, talking about what she wanted to talk about. Somewhere along the way, it turned into a chore that she didn’t enjoy. She said she felt like she was posting for her audience and not for herself anymore.

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Reading about this blogger’s experience made me a little sad. I realize how easy it is to slip into a routine and how easy it would be to start posting for someone other than yourself while blogging. It’s a fine line to determine what you want to write and share and what you think someone will want to read and find interesting. I find myself wrestling with this even as I post now.

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This takes me back to why I wanted to start a blog in the first place. I wanted to connect with people over a craft I love. I think I’m doing that. Like I said, getting into blogging has led me to read some great blogs and to virtually meet some cool people.

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Moving on…I HAD NO IDEA HOW HUGE THE FIBER ARTS BLOG WORLD REALLY IS!!!! I knew people were out there, blogging, knitting, crocheting, spinning, designing and what have you, but wow! I probably follow close to 50 blogs on my Bloglovin feed, and not all of these blogs update that often. However, if I go to my feed right now, I’ve got 36 unread posts to look through and I read some yesterday!! This world is huge! I love that I can read about so many different fiber artists all over the world.

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I will say that reading all of these blogs has inspired me to take on new projects. This is dangerous since I am in the double digits (still) of Works in Progress (WIPs). It has also inspired me to get knitting on these projects since I want to post about them 🙂

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I know this is a word-heavy post and I did try to keep you entertained with my darling Brother & Sissy & a few baby alpacas, but it’s on my brain.

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Everything happens so fast!

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Since I dove into the knitting blogosphere a few weeks ago when my husband suggested I start a blog, I have been greedily reading and following (yay Bloglovin!!) every blog about yarn, knitting, crocheting, fiber, alpacas, sheep, etc. If it has anything at all to do with yarn in any of it’s stages, I may have clicked on it! First off, this world of online fiber art is HUGE! Second, everyone out there it seems knits or crochets or spins or dyes or fibers 🙂 SUPER FAST!! I took a look at my projects and my knitting style and realized that if I’m going to make it in this crazy world, I’m going to have to gain a little speed when it comes to knitting. I can’t just press on the gas and go faster when it comes to knitting. I like to think I can knit pretty fast, but I do knit English-style, meaning I throw the yarn with my right hand. It seems to me that learning to knit continental could increase my speed.

Let me start off by saying that during a summer break in college my mom did (try) teach me how to crochet. I liked the repetitive motion of it and the fact that it involved yarn. This was before either of us discovered knitting and the LYS. But I really, really, REALLY struggled 1. figuring out which stitch/hole/bump to put the hook through and 2. keeping tension with my left hand.

You see, me and my left hand are not exactly friends. It does have a few redeeming qualities like wearing my wedding ring, holding the left needle during knitting and typing on the keyboard. Other than that, we struggle to be on the same page. I blame my left hand on the fact that I cannot play on anything besides Easy when it comes to Rock Band and have called playing the drums for all time!

That brings me to my struggle with continental knitting. I have tried it a few times. In fact, I was relatively successful using both hands in a stranded colorwork cowl, Carolyn Kern’s Equilibrium Cowl.

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It did require me to hold one color in my right and one in my left. I felt better after getting going on that for a while, but it’s not my style of choice. Now I need to continue practicing and get my left hand in check. I’ve got several projects going right now and at least one of them should be good practice for continental knitting.

I found this awesome video that helped me get the motion of purling, now to practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuRLFl36tDY

So my question is which style do you prefer to use? English? Continental? Did learning one or the other come easier to you? Any helpful hints to make Continental more comfortable?

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna