Lots of Random Things All At Once!

Monday Musings

I wanted to put a “w” on the beginning of once…I just felt like it would be fun to say that way, but then you guys might really think I’m a little more nutty than usual.

First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone who has been commenting on here the past month or so. I love reading your kind, thoughtful words. The excitement you feel over one of my projects or the advice you offer to the questions I ponder is so refreshing and helpful! I’ve been a little short on time to write responses to each comment, but I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to drop me a note 🙂

Especially all the comments from my Must. Have. Coffee. post last week talking about which domains you use to host your blog. Thank you!! Now, to do the research…I’d like to make the switch by April/May 🙂 That will be my 1 year blogiversary!

Next, I’d like to share a moment of great thanks to the world outside. It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit here today and sunny. I’m not the only one enjoying to open windows and birds chirping.

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Brother has claimed the high spot and Sis was left with the lower one. They seem perfectly content and have been napping for at least a few hours. What a life the kitties live!!

I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my neighbor, Lauren, who has shared this lovely stack with me.

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I love to cook. That’s an understatement…when I’m not knitting, I’m cooking and vice versa. I love getting into the kitchen and whipping up something crazy complicated like homemade ravioli from scratch with marinara that simmers for hours to something super simple like a saute’d chicken breast on top of a salad. I love to make savory dishes because of all the crazy flavor combinations you can create and I feel like it’s a bit more forgiving than baking. I’m an ok baker. I like to do it, but I feel like I have to be much more precise in measurements and cooking time…and if I want to substitute something? Forget it.

I think the other thing I love about cooking is that I equate cooking for someone as a way to show love, caring, thankfulness. Its not just about creating something to nourish the body, but also to nourish the soul.

Anyway, Lauren shared this glorious stack of magazines with me. Now I just need to pull out my scissors and pull out the recipes I’d like to try…otherwise I’ll end up with this stack somewhere in my house, adding to the clutter.

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Speaking of clutter, this is my mass of “hibernating” works in progress. Every time I see it, I want to pick up one of the bags and get working, but then I get distracted by one of the last few things I’ve cast on…

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Like my Cerise!

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I’m loving the way it is working up. Hunter Hammersen is a genius!! Things are a little tricky around the curling edge with yarn-overs and a few double-wrapped stitches. I understand why they are built in there, to give the piece a loose enough edge that it will curl and lie in a nice way, but it makes the pattern a little less intuitive. Initially, I really, really struggled to see the pattern and understand how the stitches would stack up on top of each other. With the yarn-overs, its a bit deceptive on the chart as to which stitches will sit on top of which stitches. Once I get going, I’m alright, but I do have to refer to the chart when I approach the curling edge.

I think that’s all I’ve got today. I want to take a walk to the grocery and pick up a thing or two. Normally I would drive, it’s about 2 miles away, but the weather is just tooooooooo beautiful. Wishing you all a happy Monday and a beautiful start to your week!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

 

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Hip, Hip-Hop, Hip-hopa-blog-omus?

MONDAY musing 2

It’s another musing Monday. During the midst of the move at the beginning of the month, I was nominated by Bonnie at Windy Wonderings for a blog hop about the creative process. So here goes 🙂

What am I working on?
Currently, I’m finishing up my Midsummer Baby Blanket. I’ve got 3 rows of the main color to work and then it’s just the weaving in of the ends and the blocking.

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Also, my WIP trunk is holding onto several scarves and shawls for myself and my friends. Those items either missed the deadline or didn’t have one. A majority of those items were cast on in between projects with deadlines as I was searching for inspiration.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Um, it’s made my me? I’m not a writer or a designer so I don’t really have an answer to this question. I like to think that my blog is my little creative outlet. I try to include a good amount of pictures in my posts. I also try to be realistic about what sort of projects I can accomplish. I even throw in a good bit about being Jenna and living life beyond my needles 🙂 I’m not so sure that that separates me from other knit-bloggers, in fact, it may just link us all together a bit more. I find that I enjoy reading about people’s lives with a little knitting, sewing, crocheting, spinning, whatever fiber craft mixed in.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I knit because I can’t draw and I can’t sit still without something in my hands. It also helps me to be social since I can knit and still talk with other people. Other activities like games on my phone and browsing blogs or Ravelry aren’t really suitable to do when you are trying to interact with others.

I write about my life because I like to. I find being a little personal on my blog has allowed me to connect with others who blog. It helps me to feel more human on such a big, technological platform. Plus who doesn’t love seeing a cute picture of my kitties?

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How does my writing/creating process work?
Usually when I’m searching for something to knit, I start with Ravelry or at my Local Yarn Store. I’ve been trying to look into my own stash of patterns and yarn before going out to spend more money. My blog has helped in some ways because my weekend posts are “stash dive” posts to highlight yarn I already have. In fact, my latest project (which is a secret I can reveal on Friday) came from my stash: yarn & pattern! Definitely a perk for seeing my stash in my cabinet.

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As far as my writing process? I usually sit down to write with a few ideas floating around in my head. I tend to wing it a bit and take pictures of what I need. Sometimes, I’ve got ideas ahead of time and take pictures as things are happening then write about them later. That’s way more rare than sometimes.

That was fun 🙂 I wanted to hear from some of the bloggers I enjoy reading. Here are my nominations:

Heather at Nearly There

Brandy at Stitched Up Toronto

Sally at SoKnitSome

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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

A Finished Object & Feline Friday

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I sat down yesterday to write a Thirsty Thursday post and I kept being distracted by my 2 darling kitties. Plus I was really struggling to write something I would enjoy and think that others would want to read. I’m trying hard to toe the line between what I want to write about and still thinking (a little) about what you guys want to read about. I keep thinking back to that one post about the knitter who didn’t want to blog anymore because she wasn’t writing for herself.

Instead, I thought I’d just skip to Friday. Usually it’s a Free-For-All Friday. I guess this one will be that way, but I wanted to cram in a few of the other things I like that start with F.

First off, let’s explore the Finished Object part of the title. Yes, you read that right! I did in fact finish something on my needles. Yes, it was the Giant Flower Cowl turned Shawl. 

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I just made up the pattern as I went along. Simple garter stitch with a yarn-over at the beginning of each right side row. Sis being a good model.

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She wasn’t too sure what was going on and it may be a little warm for this giant wooly shawl.

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Here are some close-ups of the super fun flowers.

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And the edging.

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And a fun shot of the whole thing laid out.

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It does make me feel good that I finished something, but I am still carrying 11 WIPs. I just realized earlier this week that my niece is on her way and will be here mid-August, so that baby blanket needs to get finished! I’ve been working exclusively on that for at least the last 5 days. I’ve transitioned into the 3rd color and I’m loving it! Here’s a sneak peek!!

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Onto the Feline part of the post. My darling kitties will turn 5 this October! I can’t believe they’ve been keeping me company for so long. They are some great companions. As we prepare to move to St. Louis, it has me feeling reflective. I am amazed at how much my kitties make a house feel like a home. I just wanted to share a few pictures of my darlings because I just love them so much!

Here they are just exploring some newly uncovered floor. They get along so well.

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So weird but they love to rub their faces on the corners of walls and cabinets.

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Just a little Sis.

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Except that she is super fat. She needs more exercise. Good thing our new place will have stairs and hopefully the two of them can run up and down to get fit!

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Here’s Brother AKA Big Man.

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Any time I sit down, he climbs into my lap.

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They really are the best.

Have you finished anything lately? Do you have some wonderful companions like Sis and Brother?

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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.

Here is Brother
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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