Effort Part 1…

Monday Musings

As mentioned on last Friday’s post, I have not been able to really sit down and connect here since the previous week. I think partly because I was busy subbing for a few days and I was also busy getting my cover letter and resume together. With many of the private schools here expecting contracts to be returned this month, several openings have been popping up. Since I hadn’t even looked at my resume or cover letter since we moved to St. Louis in July, I thought I should shore it up before I sent it out. Needless to say, preparing to seriously start my job search (again!) definitely took over much of my free time.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been knitting. In fact, I’ve taken what little time to myself I’ve had this week and spent it knitting, not blogging or reading blogs or perusing Ravelry, just knitting. I even picked up Audible again to listen to some real books while I knit…if you consider Game of Thrones a real book πŸ™‚ I’m counting it since it is a published piece that’s been edited unlike so many of the wonderful blogs I read and podcasts I listen to.

Mostly I’ve been knitting on my first Curl, Caesious, that I’d like to have finished by February 15th when the next KAL is supposed to launch in Hunter Hammersen’s Violently Domestic Ravelry group.

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I’ve started the second ball of yarn. I was knitting on this between classes while I was subbing and ran out so I had to hand wind the ball. It’s not perfect, but it serves it’s purpose. It’s Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the Montrose coloway. The pictures are a little dark.

caesious yarn

The second thing I really have been working on is the Man Scarf for my friend Sam. He’s coming to visit next weekend and wouldn’t it just be lovely if I were finished by then???

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On a side note, I ordered and received a kitchen scale so I could weigh my yarn and make my life glamorous like all the other famous knitters out there. As a test and since I’m not quite ready to tackle the Technicolor Socks (snoozing since before Christmas) I decided I’d weigh the yarn for Sam’s scarf to determine if I’d have enough for the length I wanted. Mostly I was concerned about the Ultra Alpaca Fine I have in brown since I only had 433 yards and I have 3 skeins of the Claudia Hand Paint totaling 525 yards. I weighed the ball I had left of the brown and had 1.75 ounces or EXACTLY half of the ball left. I held up the scarf next to my husband’s completed one and realized I’m not even to the halfway point so there’s no way I’d have enough to finish the scarf 😦

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I did marinate on this information for about 5 days. I went through the thought of ripping out what I’d already completed so I could make it skinnier and therefore get more length out of the scarf using the yarn I had, but Sam wanted his scarf wider than Jordan’s and Sam is taller than Jordan so I couldn’t sacrifice the length…obviously I only had one choice!! A trip to Knitorious and I only walked out with the yarn I needed.

Yes, I’ll take a pat on the back for that one! Wish me great knitting speed πŸ™‚

Until next time!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps!

Jenna

The Crafty Gene

Monday Musings

So I have this theory about being crafty & creative. The first part of the theory is that ANYONE can create something if only they will try. A moment of preaching: I do not buy for one second that someone is not creative or cannot create something. Yes, it may be difficult for some to get started, but if one is willing to give it a try, one will create something. Even creating something that is a copy of something else is creating! Heck, that’s what so much of crafting is like sewing/knitting/crocheting/quilting from a pattern or modeling a scrapbook page after a design or photo. What one creates does not necessarily have to be completely original and unique from one’s own mind.

The second part of the theory is when one is surrounded by others who craft and create it is infinitely more inspiring/fun/influential/probable one will also craft and create. Seeing how much those around you enjoy creating sets the stage for one to want to join in the fun. Also having those around to teach makes it easier to jump into the crafting.

As to the first part of my theory, I will say that I do have trouble getting started on things at times. I have experienced being “blocked” in creative endeavors and even supremely unhappy with my efforts to create. It’s part of the process. I think being stuck and making things that didn’t turn out like I envisioned helped me to be ok with the projects that take unexpected turns and end in different places than anticipated.

Onto the second part of my theory, I have been incredibly blessed to have my grandmother and mom who are both very adept at creating with their hands, and specifically fiber/fabric.

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My grandmother is darling. She is 89 and still quilts and sews daily. Some of my earliest tries at sewing were because of her. She signed me up for my first sewing class when I was maybe 10 or 12. I remember making a lunchbag and an “outfit” consisting of a pair of shorts and a tube top with ribbon straps. I’ve made several pillows and blankets in her sewing room over the years. She even still quilts for me. For our wedding in 2013, she made Jordan and I this beautiful quilt.

wedding quilt

And last year when she and my mom came to visit, we found this neat quilt shop in Lexington, Kentucky that had a Zombie quilt kit. I immediately fell in love with it. I thought it was quirky and fun. I’m not a particular fan of zombies, but this piece was just sooooo fun. So we acquired the quilt and I planned to head down and visit my grandmother to help put it together. She said she’d just start cutting things out and laying them out. Before I managed to make it to North Louisiana, she had the piece complete.

zombie quilt 1zombie quilt 2

My mom is another crafty lady. Before I was even born, my mom used to create some really incredible cross-stitch projects. I know I referenced this in on of my first posts here. She sewed countless matching outfits for my brother and I and even our costumes until we were too cool to wear them. After a car accident in 2009, she took up knitting after seeing some darling baby hats. She says she wanted to make a collection of them for her future grandchildren.

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Payton’s Turkey Hat & Happy New Year Crown
There is also a pumpkin hat, a Christmas Tree hat and I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a Mardi Gras hat, Valentine’s hat, Easter hat, 4th of July hat, Birthday hat…

Mom taught me to knit. I know that had to take some patience. I remember being very, very frustrated with the long tail cast-on, but I’m so grateful that she stuck with me through it. When I finished the cast-on, I was so happy to realize that was only necessary to start a project. After that, I was off with lots of help to knit and purl and reminders to not pull too tight and to relax.

I’m not sure I would be knitting as much as I am without either of these lovely ladies in my life. I’ve got some fun projects to share with you guys, but I think I’ll wait ’til Wednesday. Until then!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

The Mad Rush

holiday cheer

Hi there, broken record here…you know, the one that seems to keep saying the same thing over and over again? Yep, that’s me. I am still here. My life has been a little hectic with the holidays. We were hosts to my in-laws for the last week. It was great πŸ™‚ I had a blast cooking for everyone, there was an epic game of dominoes (that is still unfinished!), and so much wonderful time spent with family.

But onto the knitting.

I don’t know what it is about the new year, but I’ve been feeling the desire to clear up my needles. I have so many things I want to start knitting, but it is hard for me to pull out the ball winder and swift to start some new project when I see the pile of WIPs both in real life and on my Rav page.

In good news, I did finish up the Settler Shawl in my Two Grey Dogs yarn. It is luscious! Only slight frustration I had was that I ran out of yarn during the last pattern repeat! Good news? I only had about 2 more rows of garter stitch and the bind off to complete when I scoured my bag-o-ends. I found some shiny, happy pima cotton in the perfect yellow from a wrap I knit myself a couple years ago.

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Maybe the cotton will give the edge of the shawl a little weight. I guess it will all come out in the wash.

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I also dug out this little bunny that has been hibernating for entirely too long. I finished it up. And it’s super cute!

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Only complaint? I chose to do this in a cotton-acrylic blend, it’s worsted weight and I was knitting on US size 3 needles for a super tight fabric so the stuffing wouldn’t show through. It was a bit torturous on my hands but thankfully I didn’t have much left. And the yarn used for the rainbow “socks” was a wool blend and was nice and springy.

I’m surveying what I’ve got left and seeing what I can finish by Friday so I can start a sweater for me in the new year πŸ™‚

Does the rapid approach of the new year make you want to finish all the things??

knit-side-and-purl-side

 

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Giving Thanks

Monday Musings

The previous stretch of Blog Silence brought to you by the Season of Thanksgiving!

I had at least one small intention to post last Wednesday before the holiday here in America but that quickly fell apart as my day slipped away. I was thawing a turkey, making cornbread for the cornbread dressing, and being generally lazy πŸ™‚ Thursday turned out to be wonderful! I didn’t burn or dry out the turkey and it was my first one! My husband and I stayed in St. Louis and spent time with his brothers and his mom. It was just so nice to be around family. I enjoyed it so much that even though my husband had to work, I spent time with everyone anyway.

I have always been one to enjoy my family. My parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and now nieces and nephews, and in-laws are all fantastic people! Since I was a kid, my favorite part about any holiday was getting to see everyone and spend time together. We traveled a lot when I was a kid because my parents do not live near their parents or brothers and sisters. We would load up the car and go πŸ™‚ I can probably count on one hand the number of times we stayed put for a holiday!

This holiday was different because I did not have to travel any great distance but was still able to spend it with some pretty great people! It certainly made me miss spending time with my parents and brother and grands and aunts and uncles and cousins, but this was a great holiday πŸ™‚

On to the yarn.

So here in the US there is usually a huge shopping day following Thanksgiving on Thursday. It’s Black Friday and all the businesses here go nuts. It’s gotten so bad that some businesses are opening on Thanksgiving day, calling employees in from time with family just to make a buck. I was an employee who worked last year on Thanksgiving. Every time a customer would come in, I would have to fight the urge to berate them for leaving time with their family to come have a cup of coffee. Maybe because that is where I wanted to be?? So before you spend your money at a business open on a holiday, think of the employees. By supporting those businesses on those days, you are saying it is more important to spend money on that day than to spend time with your family.

Oh that was a fun tangent. I was supposed to tell you in there that I went over to Knitorious Friday and bought yarn. Then I went to Hearthstone Knits on Saturday and bought yarn.

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Really, the yarn.

You’ll be happy to know that I have pretty much finished up the adorable pink Wee Envelope sweater for Payton.

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It’s been blocked. I’ve woven in the ends.

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The only thing missing are the cute buttons! I can’t quite bring myself to sew them on! Ridiculous! And I have so much extra yarn…those might need to be socks for her. DK socks go so fast!

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I pretty much considered the thing finished because I bought more yarn to make her another sweater. This time maybe a cardigan. I’m thinking the Baby SophisticateΒ by Linden DownΒ in some fluffy Plymouth Encore Dynamo. It’s an Aran weight 75/25 Acrylic Wool Blend and I’ve got 400 yds. I saw the cutest sample cardi knit up in it at the shop and had to make one for little bit.

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I just love the colors. They are so subtle.

It has been super cold here. Like real, real cold. My niece and nephew have already worn their fluff hats in the snow. I noticed that their dad could use a cozy hat, too. So what did I do? Cast one on. I wanted to make him something that he could wear to work. So I chose….

black!

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I know, I must be nuts. I keep wondering that myself. I try to just get in a rhythm where I don’t have to look down and see what stitch is next. It’s the Jacques Cousteau hat. I modified it just a touch so that the brim could be worn double for extra warmth. I even reversed the ribbing and started knitting the other way so the brim rib and the hat rib would line up. I know, nutty.

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Last but not least in terms of active, fun things I’m working on…the Settler Shawl in my Two Grey Dogs yarn. (that link takes you to their etsy shop where they are having a Cyber Monday sale…)

I love it.

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It makes me so happy. Whenever I want to drop kick the black hat, I just set it down and pick this up. I’m loving the crescent shape!!

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I think that is all for now. I’ll stop in Wednesday with some fun thoughts. This is truly the season of giving and people have been very generous in both words and patterns πŸ™‚

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Brain Block

Yep, I’m a little stopped up in my thoughts for posting. I have noticed that I’ve been a bit bouncy in terms of my ideas and projects and goals that I talk about here on the blog. I have found that I bring up things and talk about wanting to do things, then I don’t follow through! Yikes! Not fun. And a little disappointing.

Just a moment though, because I do (sometimes) come back to them. For instance, the Whispers top.

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It was supposed to be a part of the Nice & Knit Summer Sweater Knit Along. By the time I really got knitting on the thing, summer was over. I finished it well after the KAL concluded…so late in fact I was able to use it in the Commuter Knitter Finish Along for this year. If you haven’t wandered over to listen to NDJen04 (on Ravelry) on her podcast, you are missing out! Check her out on iTunes if you are looking for some fun knitting related listening.

I don’t know where I was going there. See what I mean? I’m all over the place.

So I think I need to work on holding myself accountable for all the awesome things I want to start and participate in!!

For instance, I’ve got 3 things I’d like to tackle before the end of the year. Maybe if I tell you about them, you can help hold me accountable. Perhaps I should make a weekly thing to check in. So those things that I want to do.

1. Rikke Hat— I finally caught up with all the blogs I read. While doing so, I came across several posts referencing this post by Anke at Our Little Piece of Heaven. She has a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. Anke is requesting a few hats knit for her friend to brighten her day. I have the perfect skein of Malabrigo Rios in the Arco Iris colorway and I love the Rikke pattern. The slouch is perfect and so cozy.

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2. Wee Envelope— As I mentioned in my last post, I received my LittleStitch box from PostStitch to make a Wee Envelope for my niece Payton. I went into this in good detail last week.

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3. Turia Sweater/Featherweight Sweater— I want to knit the Turia because it’s been languishing in my stash for some time. It was also the first sweater I saw that I really, really wanted to make. It is in battle with the Featherweight sweater because I did just buy yarn for this at Vogue Knitting Live and Amy Herzog of CustomFit and Hannah Fetig of KnitBot (the designer) are running a KAL on Ravelry. Do you see my dilemma??

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These three things sound doable, but this brings me to my hesitancy to even talk about them much less cast them on. I already have like 10 things on the needles! I don’t like having all these WIPs out there. Languishing. Feeling unloved. Being stagnant.

I look back at my WIPs and I remember loving all those things at some point. I ask myself why I put them down. Then I look at the next thing and think, yep, this is why I put that down, so I could start this! And I want those WIPs to be finished so they can go to their recipients or I can wear them!!

So this is where your thoughts come in. What would you do–finish up the WIPs or just go ahead and cast on the new stuff??

I’m sure I’ll make a decision by Wednesday, but I would love your input!!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

The Bottom of the Rabbit Hole

Monday Musings

Bet you didn’t know there was a bottom to rabbit holes. Usually when one ventures into one, there is nearly never a bottom. My particular rabbit hole is the one that had me “Knitting. All. The. Things.” I’m not saying I don’t want to keep knitting all the things, but I am realizing there is a limit. I only have so many sets of needles and so many hours in the day/night to knit. I do need to sleep and eat and work (occasionally) so I am still a kind person. I do suffer from “hangry-ness” on occasion. That feeling where you are so hungry, you are an unbearably angry person. Plus I am married and do need to pay some attention to my darling husband.

Realizing these limitations, I have decided to stop “queuing” things. At least until I get back from Vogue Knitting Live next weekend. I am in the process of looking through my library on Ravelry as well as my physical library and deciding what projects I want to cast on or at least acquire yarn for, comparing it against my queue. I know I shouldn’t be looking at all that with my numerous WIPs, but the trip is coming up and I can’t go into that Marketplace without a plan!!

Plus, I’ve wrapped up a few projects lately. I bet you’d just love to see them!!! Almost as much as I’d like to show them off πŸ™‚

First up is that fun little shawl from the Mother Daughter Knit-along. Technically I finished casting off for this about a month ago, but I just pulled it off the blocking boards a few days ago and wove in the ends!!!!

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Next, I also made the pompoms to go on top of the little Reflector Hats I made for Will & Nora. It’s definitely getting cooler and I wanted to be able to give them so they can wear them!!

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I bought a pompom maker from Michael’s a few weeks ago. It’s the version made by Boye. So simple to use! I took two strands of the bulky yarn and wrapped them around and around. A little snipping and a little tying and VIOLA! PomPom!

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Finally. I’ve cast off.

It’s soaking.

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3 needle bind off for the tops of the shoulders.

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I have a whole cake of yarn left. And just a touch of the 2nd cake.

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I’ve just to to lay out my Whispers top and weave in the ends. Then I get to wear it!!!!!!

And go on adventures to Chicago. With my mom! For Yarn!!! And Patterns! And Needles!

I’ll try to get in a WIP Wednesday post and if I’m real good, I will have a few more things finished!!

Until then

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

I Must Confess

That my loneliness
Is killing me noooooowwww
Don’t you know I still believe
That you will be here
And give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time

Britney Spears is timeless, right? This brings me to my topic today, another Knitting Confession πŸ™‚

knittingconfessions

Like most things in the world, knitting has a set of rules and conventions. Sometimes, we knitters break them. This is my knitting confession.

Gauge swatch? What gauge swatch…That’s right. I don’t knit them. I’ve knit one gauge swatch in all my knitting adventures. It was the little guy for the Whispers top.

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I didn’t even block it. But I knit it. Since I was creating a project that was supposed to fit me.

Otherwise, I just cast on and go. It has bitten me in the buns a few times which had me ripping out and restarting my project a time or two. Most recently, that was the Midsummer Baby Blanket. I cast on and started that project 3 separate times with differing needles and a different number of cast on stitches until I finally found one I liked for the width and the stitch definition. Maybe I did a little extra knitting, but I truly didn’t mind.

I think the part of me that doesn’t knit gauge swatch is the forest type of person. You know what I mean? There are tree people and forest people, meaning people who live in the details and people who see the whole picture. I have a hard time seeing all the little details, but I can see how the big thing is going to turn out and fit together. The gauge swatch seems like such a tiny detail that is too minute for the big picture.

I will say that knitting the swatch for the sweater was valuable. I knit one swatch on size 7 needles and didn’t like the fabric. So I knit another on size 6 needles. I measured that and noted that I would need more stitches to get the measurements for the top, so I went up a size on the pattern.

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It is coming along…I’m about to start a little shaping πŸ™‚

Do you knit gauge swatches or just wing it?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Brandy at Stitched Up in Toronto.