Freshly Finished Friday #13

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Welcome to a link-up party for your Friday Finished Object posts! In an effort to connect everyone who creates and blogs about it here on the web, I thought providing a place to link up and share your freshly finished creations would be a great way to see what everyone is working on. Please feel free to share ANY of your finished crafty pursuits from knitting and crocheting to sewing and scrapbooking.

I’ve got a finish from last week.

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It’s the Never-Ending First Project! Except it’s finished :/ I guess I should change the name…I used some lovely brown Art Yarns Vineyard. I cast on a ton of stitches on a US 8 and knit 4, purled 4 for 4 rows then switched it to make a “basketweave” sort of pattern. I love it and I know it will be perfectly cozy when the weather changes back to cold next fall. It’s not the best photo (I used it last week) but it’s real dark here and I want to be on time. Maybe I’ll swap it out later tomorrow.

To join in the fun, click the link up below to see all the others participating in a Freshly Finished Friday! It will take you away from this page, but don’t worry, you will always be able to find your way back. It’s especially helpful if the linked up blog has a link back here. Please add your specific blog post link and remember to link back here in your blog so we can all be connected 🙂

 

I do hope you’ll join us or at least click on the little blue box and see what everyone else has been finishing 🙂

Jenna

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Freshly Finished Friday #12

FFF Button2

Welcome to a link-up party for your Friday Finished Object posts! In an effort to connect everyone who creates and blogs about it here on the web, I thought providing a place to link up and share your freshly finished creations would be a great way to see what everyone is working on. Please feel free to share ANY of your finished crafty pursuits from knitting and crocheting to sewing and scrapbooking.

Technically I haven’t finished any knitting this week, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. That original project, the Never-Ending First Project scarf has some real, real long rows…but…

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This part of our living room is “finished!” We received the other piece of our sectional and man is our couch huge!! So cozy and perfect for lounging and knitting.

To join in the fun, click the link up below to see all the others participating in a Freshly Finished Friday! It will take you away from this page, but don’t worry, you will always be able to find your way back. It’s especially helpful if the linked up blog has a link back here. Please add your specific blog post link and remember to link back here in your blog so we can all be connected 🙂

 

Jenna

Side Effects of Happiness

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When I think of being happy, I think of my husband, comfortable pj pants, warm wool socks, a large cup of coffee, my cabinet of yarn, my healthy family, my sweet kitties, sumo caterpillars…what about you?

On to the “side effects” part…I am one who will read all the inserts of medicines AFTER I’ve taken them. Usually those inserts will include a pretty descriptive list of side effects like nausea & drowsiness all the way up to do not operate heavy machinery & may cause stomach bleeding. After I read the info, I find myself overthinking all of these possible side effects, wondering if I’m really nauseous or if I’m making myself that way with all the worrying. Are you this way? The mind is a mighty powerful thing.

But side effects of Happiness? Wow. Could it be general feelings of love, comfort, safety, contentment, bliss? Those sound pretty positive, but what about those other side effects? The ones that leave you feeling not-so-happy.

When I find myself in a happy state, I often find myself overly aware of the side effects. Like wondering if I deserve to be so happy, wondering when all this wonderful will end, wondering when things are supposed to be hard, wondering why everyone else seems unhappy, or wondering if I’m really happy.

Sounds like sabotage.

This happens with anything in my life, most recently this blog. I have really, really enjoyed writing this blog, meeting others through the blog, and having a little motivation to start and finish projects. It’s been great! But I do look around at other blogs and think, I wish my blog was this great. I do a little clicking, a little research, and I start wondering if I’m good enough, if I deserve even what I have, when things will end, and on and on. I want to make improvements, but where to start?

I don’t want to completely imitate other great blogs, but I want to be just as inspiring to others as those wonderful blogs I read are to me! I guess this whole post is just a little introspection, airing out a few doubts, putting my thoughts out there. Maybe this is a good way to reach someone. 🙂

Now, onto what you really came here for, a little bit of knitting progress!

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Spring cleaning kicked in & I took some time to reorganize my yarn cabinet and put in some new acquisitions into Ravelry. Plus I took some time to really weigh some partial skeins and put that info into Rav as well. It felt great to get this beast a little more organized, plus it was SOOOOO nice to just fondle all the yarn. I totally pulled everything out.

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While I was going through bags of yarn scraps, I found all these stitch markers!!!! I guess I can’t justify buying any more of those.

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I also came across this lovely project…you remember the Never-Ending First Project. I’m going to put a few rows on that bad boy and see where it takes me. I’ve got 2.5 balls of yarn (Artful Yarns Vineyard, 55/45 wool/acrylic in color 7908) involved so far and 1.5 to go.

Finally, I know this is a wee bit long, but I can’t leave out linking up with these lovelies!
Tammy for her Stitch Along Wednesday
Ginny for Yarn Along
Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On
Beth for Whatcha Workin’ On Wednesday

Jenna

Wrapping It Up

Or at least I’ve really been trying to!! Jeez! I’ve been on a crazy bender trying to wrap up as many projects on my needles as possible and I finally caught up reading my backlogged blogroll. I didn’t realize how much I missed while entertaining family. No worries, I’m all caught up and so excited to read all the wonderful posts people have been writing.

I’ve read lots of posts where people are like me, feeling the urge to finish up their projects in preparation of the new year and new projects. I’ve made a good effort, and I’ve waited a few days since the first to really sink my teeth into those new projects.

I thought as a good way to stay accountable and fight the urge to cast everything on I could share a few more of the things I’m trying to finish or frog…

I’ve got 2 pairs of socks going. One I’ve been knitting on for a few days (Squishy Socks) and one I’ve put into hibernation until I can weigh the yarns (Technicolor Socks).

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I’ve also got 3 scarves/wraps going. The first is a lace pattern (Jabes’ Flurfy Scarf) in some Silky Alpaca Lace. The second is a diagonal sparsely striped one (Skinty Stripe Scarf) also in Silky Alpaca Lace. Last is the Never Ending First Project with some Artful Yarns Vineyard.

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There is also the Catkin Shawl I started in some tasty MadTosh Light during a KAL at Knitorious. I love this thing and I am excited to have it finished (eventually) but the rows are getting longer and it takes a good deal of attention. Translation: Not suitable for TV watching or conversation knitting and is thus limited in the time I choose to work on it.

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Last project on the needles is that crazy Copper Twist Vest I started so I would have another garment to wear to Vogue Knitting Live back in October. I’m using Inca Gold by Berroco. I started this in a frenzy and it went pretty quickly. I was having some reservations when I picked up the fronts/neck and it looked small. On a great suggestion by a reader, I put the thing on waste yarn and tried it on. Just as I suspected, it’s smaller than I would have liked. I think it could grow a little with blocking but I did not knit a swatch and wash it to find out. Bad knitter. So I’m considering frogging it.

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Or I could finish it and gift it. This is something I think is right up my mother-in-law’s alley style-wise and I think she would like it. I don’t know.

Hopefully I can wrap up some of these by this next week and then I’ll share all the things I want to start 🙂

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

The project goes on forever and the knitting never ends…

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Today is my first WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday! Since this is a new blog, I thought I’d start at the beginning of my knitting journey. I started at McNeedles in Lacombe, Louisiana (you can visit them virtually here) during the Christmas holidays with my mom. The walls in the cute little shotgun house turned yarn shop are covered in yarn, needles, and finished projects. After some talk with the kind staff and offhand calculations, I walked out with 4 balls of Artful Yarns Vineyard in a gorgeous brown and some size 9 needles. I think my mom helped me cast on about 20 stitches. She used a slingshot style cast-on. I took those off and cast-on again so I could say, “I did this myself!”

I certainly struggled with holding the yarn but got the hang of it. I ended up knitting about 4 or 5 inches. I didn’t like the way it was working up, so I yanked it all out and tried again. I think I cast on and pulled out at least 3 more times before I started my official second project, setting this yarn aside for.ev.er.

I guess my first finished project would be this gorgeous blanket for my niece, Nora. I really had to focus to get it finished. I wish I had a picture of the blanket by itself, but who can fault the most adorable little lady for being a part of it too?
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Pattern:Pattern 309 My Family Green, Blue, and White Baby Blanket
Yarn: MY Family in Green, Yellow, & Orange
Ravelry Link: Nora’s Blanket

After finishing her sweet blanket, I switched back to the scarf and eventually settled on a long, long, long cast-on and knit in a basketweave pattern. Sometimes I get to work on it 🙂 Since prepping for this blog and post, I did dig it out and have it in my car to knit on while I’m at redlights or waiting in lines. Maybe we’ll see some real progress on this bad boy soon!

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Pattern: Personal Pattern
Yarn: Artful Yarns Vineyard in Brown 7908
Ravelry Link: Never Ending First Project

On a more exciting note, my current WIP is Purl Soho’s Colour Change Scarf for my friend Jabes’ birthday. I’m using Silky Alpaca Lace by Classic Elite Yarns on Size 7 needles. I also altered the pattern by only using 4 colors and using them to create a more total gradient effect. I started with carrying 2 strands of white for 12 inches, then a white and multi green for 6 inches, solid multi green for another 12 inches, multi green and solid green for 6 inches, solid green for 12 inches, solid green and blue-green multi for 6 inches, and ending with 12 inches of the blue-green multi. The lace pattern is easy to memorize and the project is coming along!

I rewound the balls of yarn so I could pull from the center and the outside, or maybe I just really, really like using my ball winder?
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I’ve got the first section of white done and the first 2 color section. Just started the solid multi green section on Monday evening while watching the St. Louis Cards play the Braves.
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A close up look at the lace pattern. 
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Another close up but at the white/green multi section. This will certainly need some blocking so the lace will lie flatter. The alpaca is making it spring up. 
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I’m also linked in to Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday. I love that she hosts such a neat forum for everyone to share their projects in progress.

I think the most dangerous type of WIP is the mental one; you know, all the projects you have going in your brain for all the stash yarn and yarn lining the shelves of your LYS. I think my next cast-on for a friend’s birthday gift is going to be the Wine Country Cowl in Aria I bought on a trip to San Francisco’s ImagiKnit. At least I’ve already got the yarn in my stash.

These balls look a little messy. I may have yet another excuse to break out the ball winder!
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I’ve also got another friend who’s birthday is the same day (May 31) and I’m thinking the Karma Scarf by Loop Knits, but I still need yarn. I’ve come across a wonderful LYS here in Louisville, Sophie’s Fine Yarn Shoppe. They’ve been incredibly welcoming and should have just the yarn I need. I may need to dedicate a future post or two to all the great LYS’s I’ve had the honor of visiting.

I certainly have other WIPs going. Sometimes, I am easily distracted by beautiful new yarn or patterns and tend to cast on without an end date in sight. You can check out my other WIPs on my ravelry page. Hopefully I can locate and pick up those projects again soon. It seems my other “deadline” knitting  projects are taking precedence.

What WIPs are you working on, physically & mentally? I’d love to know!

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v’s & bumps

Jenna

Hi there! Nice to see you!!

MONDAY musing 2

I’m off on a new adventure. A blogging adventure about knitting. I’ve tried blogging a time or two before, but just lacked the dedication and voice (I think) to really make it something worthwhile. This time, it will be different.

Let’s start at the beginning. My name is Jenna and I’m maybe a little lost. When I got married this past summer and moved my life to Louisville, Kentucky, I was grateful for a change in name, location, scenery, career, and marital status. This change gave me the opportunity to try something new. I was teaching middle school math prior to the move and living the single life in Memphis, Tennessee with my two adoring kitties.

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Here is Sister
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And the two of them staring wistfully out the window at my old place.
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Finding a new teaching job in the market here was next to impossible, but I did find a volleyball coaching position and some part-time work at a national coffee chain. It’s been a fun way to try something new and a reflective experience on my prior career choice. This brings me to the blog.

After about a year here in Kentucky and another move on the horizon, my husband, Jordan and I have been talking extensively about career choices for both of us. I’m not completely sure I want to get back into teaching. I have truly enjoyed my time after work not having to do “homework.” My dream job would be to own a yarn store, but without a good chunk of some financial start-up, that’s not happening anytime soon. Next best thing, spend time posting my thoughts about all things knitting here. Jordan actually thought this would be a great project for me. He claims I have something to say and others might want to listen. The best part about this is that he named the blog. I love a good pun and the other day when I was complaining about so many projects, not enough time, he made the joke that I had a hard knit life.

I think the best way to start this thing off on a good foot is to talk about knitting and why I love it so. I started knitting as a creative outlet. I’ve always tried to express my ideas through some outlet, but really struggled to get my thoughts across clearly. I felt like since I couldn’t really draw, my ideas were lost in my brain. I tried sewing in middle school and enjoyed it. The equipment was too bulky to really be practical and I struggled with the discipline of really sitting down and cutting straight lines. I also tried painting pottery in college. That turned out pretty good, but there are only so many coffee mugs, bowls, and plates you can really have. I think it also helped that I stuck to bright colors and simple patterns.

This is my owl kitchen utensil holder before it was fired.

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Here is is after it was glazed, fired, and put to good use.

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My mom introduced me to knitting right after I finished my undergrad degree. She had just started knitting after taking a class at McNeedles because she wanted to learn how to make fun baby hats for when she (eventually) had grandchildren. I would stare at her hands for hours while she knit away, but I resisted learning for about 6 months until I had a break from graduate school. During Christmas break in 2009, my mom took me to McNeedles and I was hooked.

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I love my LYS so much that I asked if I could get ready for my wedding day there. The wonderful owner agreed let us take over the shop as we all dressed and took pictures.

I even knit a little on my big day. That’s my Color Affection I’m working on (rav link here).

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Can you remember the first time you walked into a yarn store? Shelves 8-feet-tall and brimming with yarn of all colors and composition just waiting to be touched and made into something.

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Oh! The possibilities are endless! I was immediately lost among the fiber and emerged a few hours later at my mom’s urging with enough brown worsted weight and some size 9 needles to make my first scarf.

Ironically, my first scarf is still unfinished, (here’s my ravelry link) but that has not stopped me from stockpiling a stash for the end of the world and tackling projects for myself and people I love.

Have you stopped to ask yourself why you knit? Think about it, what drew you in? How did you get started? I’d love to know!!

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V’s & Bump’s

Jenna