The Hard Knit Life

The Hard Part:

So I’ve been waiting to write. It’s harder to come back the further you get from the last post…funny though, because I keep working on projects or come across an Instagram post full of inspiration or catch little windows of time to listen to a podcast and I think about how I want to be writing on the blog and connecting will all the wonderful people I worked so hard to connect with over the last 18 months.

I’m going to take about 4 lines here and just acknowledge my excuses: I’ve been working too many hours, I haven’t had time to blog, when I have time I just want to sit and knit, I am trying to spend more time with my husband, I’m trying to spend less time in front of a screen…yada yada yada.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, even here 🙂 So enough with those, lets just move forward.

The Knit Part:

I spent the time from finishing the Skinty Stripe Scarf until shortly after my birthday only working on selfish knitting. Yes, you read that right, the Skinty Stripe Scarf is done! It’s living life in a happy new home. My sister-in-law loves it! And it is just her style.

When I was able to free myself from one of my oldest WIPs, I thought I’d take the time to try and finish up my other WIPs which all happen to be on the needles for me. I finished up My Autumn Shawl (Passe-Partout) out of Manos Silk Blend. The stitch definition on this single ply yarn is dreamy. I can’t wait to wear it!


I say finished, but I really mean I finished the knitting. Not the end weaving or the blocking.

I put in a bunch of rows on my Foggy Sunset (Daybreak) shawl. I’m about 3 more stripes away from starting the border. But it will have to wait. Sorry for the serious needle squenching.

I volunteered to test knit a pair of socks (Hammerhavn) designed by Pia Juulsen. She used to blog at nogetuldent.dk and now she’s on her own site, P. S. Juulsen. She’s a new mom. a loving wife and a knitter extraordinaire! I’m not sure how much I can say about the socks so I’ll just show you a minor tidbit. I’m using some Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Tangerine colorway…this photo is a bid washed out…the orange is brighter, almost a peachy orange.


The Life Part:

You guessed it, I’m still working at the law firm. However, we are approaching hiring season within a lot of the private schools and my Tennessee teaching license will be expiring in August so I have a little bit to do on that front if I ever want to get back into the classroom.

And I do. I just need to put on my big girl panties and get going! I’ve always thought of myself as a taskmaster…in that I like to get things done. I make lists and find immense pleasure in being able to cross things off the list. Ironically, I’ve also got a pretty hefty dose of self-doubt & avoidance mixed in…meaning if I don’t really think I can accomplish something, instead of trying & failing (a very healthy way to learn!) I avoid the task, keep it of the list…keep it hidden.

I recently received some very heartfelt advice from a friend’s mom. She told me to put those things on the list and just do them. I know I’ve heard this from all of the people I love for the last few years, but maybe it was just the right timing.

Here’s to being back and off to a great start this new year!!

Can’t wait to catch up and reconnect! I’ll be perusing the blogosphere to catch up, but if you’d like to connect please leave a comment, even if it’s just a link to your space so I can know what’s going on with you!


Jenna

Weekly WIP #4

Yep, I’ve been missing you guys!! I journeyed to Louisiana for a quick Thanksgiving weekend. Jordan and I had the most wonderful time. I was able to spend time with my adorable niece Payton and of course her parents, my Brother & Rachel, and my Mom.


She’s the cutest!! Still has those gorgeous blue eyes…one of the blessings my brother inherited 🙂

So I’ve been clicking away on an oldie-but-goodie that has been languishing on my needles for far too long, The Skinty Stripe Scarf.


I was supposed to finish this a while ago…I talked about it when I first started my blog even! There was UFO Wars that was supposed to motivate me. However, nothing has inspired me as much as finishing all other projects for people other than myself EXCEPT for this one thing!

That’s why this week I’m exclusively focusing on this scarf. Giving it a good effort, undivided attention, resisting the urge to cast on a second sock to the Bootstrap Socks or to cast on a hat for Payton using this Squirrel Chart or even just putting any sort of row on any of my WIPs…

Linking with Nicole at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm & Craft On.


Jenna

Open Your Ears!

Each time I’ve climbed into my car alone to go all around town, I’ve turned on some of my backlogged episodes of The Knitmore Girls. They’ve kept me quite entertained lately. I’m inspired to knit (sweaters thanks to Jasmin and socks thanks to GiGi), participate in Stash Dash (with the Knit Girllls, I have declared for a 5K), start a small collection of kids’ knits, undertake my own CustomFit Featherweight (I’ve got the yarn), and just be knitting more all the time!!!

IMG_1493
S
ee! I told you I had the yarn for the Featherweight 🙂

Let me say that I was on episode 328…about 9 episodes behind, not counting the interviews. It has been so so so wonderful just to hear the chatter and feel inspired. I love listening to Jasmin & GiGi talk. They are a mother-daughter pair and they talk about all the knitting all the time 🙂 Plus, talking about Jasmin’s daughter Genevieve. It reminds me so much of how my mom and I talk about knitting. We don’t have nearly the pedigree of knitting years that these two have, but we are a little obsessed (slightly) with knitting and yarn. We don’t spin (yet), but we are definitely excited about knitting.

The other part of this that I really enjoy about listening to this podcast is that I listen when I can’t knit. Mostly this happens when I’m driving since that would not be irresponsible (knitting & driving at the same time) or when I’m doing chores or cooking. It’s like knitting with my brain.

I’m particularly inspired by (and slightly envious of) all of Jasmin’s sweater knitting. I keep finding myself browsing Ravelry for sweater patterns, especially baby/little kid sweaters I want to knit for my cute niece Payton. Not that Payton would really even wear them right now because a) she’s growing like a weed and b) it’s averaging like 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Louisiana right now. No one is wearing wool down there right now unless they have their A/C cranked all the way up. But still, I am inspired.

I want to knit a Gramps cardigan by TinCanKnits for Payton. It would be a wonderful little sweater to knit and a great way to sample the pattern in a small way before knitting myself one because I want one…

But alas, I’ve got other things to finish or possibly frog. First up, I’m trying to knock out these two:

IMG_1774 IMG_1777
T
he first is the lovely Catkin Shawl and the second is the Skinty Stripe Scarf.

I’m participating in a UFO Wars competition with a local knitting group (Gateway Knitters) where you declare war on projects that were started before January 1, 2015 and are still unfinished. I had 4 in my projects as of the start May 2 and to be finished by September 5. The other 2 projects are:

IMG_1779 IMG_1789
T
he Colour Change Scarf and the FINISHED Technicolor Socks (victory #1). So a win is finishing those socks. And the Colour Change Scarf. Meh. Each time I pull it out and look at it, I’m less and less pleased with it.

  • Pros:
    • I love the colors
    • I love the lace
  • Cons:
    • I don’t like the colors together
    • I don’t like knitting it

So I think I’ll frog and find another use for the yarn. What do you think?

Linking up with these lovelies:
Keep Calm & Craft On
Yarn Along
Whatcha’ Workin’ On
Stitch Along Wednesday


Jenna

Getting There

So we knit and knit and knit, but sometimes the things stay on the needles! I can’t understand why even after all the stitches (I think) I put onto these lovely Technicolor Socks, I still feel like I’m a few rows from actually starting the toe decreases on the right sock!! I think the left sock is ready.

 

IMG_1780

Maybe I’ll blame it on my long toes. Or on the US 0 needles.

Maybe I shouldn’t blame them at all. It’s so nice to have a mindless knitting project to cart around in my purse that’s not huge (here’s looking at you Turia)

IMG_1775

or doesn’t need a book to travel with it (Bootstrap Socks that are ready for the heel)

IMG_1773

or doesn’t need to be really looked at every stitch (Curl #2 Cerise)

IMG_1770

or isn’t turning out like I think I want (Colour Change Scarf)

IMG_1779

or isn’t a general pain in the bum (Skinty Stripe Scarf) with a kitty supervisor

IMG_1777

or doesn’t need a chart, pencil, row counter and complete silence (Catkin Shawl)…

IMG_1774

That’s all the current WIPs and most of them are not travel worthy…maybe I should just finish these socks and turn the heel on the Bootstrap Socks so I can have more things to travel with and some empty needles?

Or the alternative…

I could start something new! Maybe keep it in line with my Love Your Library Challenge and work on a Curl or another pair of socks from Sock Architecture? I could go and check out all the lovelies at Keep Calm & Craft On for inspiration…

What would you do in this situation, keep your nose down and finish or venture into the stash for something fresh and new?


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).

IMG_1630

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.

IMG_1636

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.

IMG_1634

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.

IMG_1637

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 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Still Knitting…

holiday cheer

I know it has been a day or two, maybe a week. I went on an epic journey, consisting of a drive lasting a total of 28 hours and taking approximately 3 days. My amazing grandmother, Freddie, joined me for a good portion of the adventure to go see my brother, Jacob (adorable baby niece Payton’s dad) graduate from college! So so so proud!!

IMG_1609

Jacob & Freddie 🙂

IMG_1621

Jacob and the most beautiful little lady in the world 🙂

It was so nice to be with family so close to the holidays. Sadly, I won’t be making that trip again for the holiday, but we will be celebrating here in St. Louis.

Don’t worry, I’ve been knitting and finishing things!!

First up, my mom sewed the buttons on that darling sweater. I asked her to help me since they are placed a little close to the mouth of the baby wearing it and I wasn’t going to be the reason for my dear niece to eat a cherry button.

 

buttons on sweater

It’s officially finished and it fits!!

paytons sweater fits

Second up, I finished the Black Hat turned Balaclava

IMG_1627

Only I’m not sure the recipient would use it. Bah!

I also finished up the Tweedy Honeycomb Toque for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, Shayna. I know I was uncertain about it as it was coming along, but I LOVE IT!!!

tweedy honeycomb toque

The pompom just makes it! It’s definitely loosening up…I was very concerned initially because my floats were a wee bit tight.

I’ve put a few things in hibernation.

Array Cowl

IMG_1625

Skinty Stripe Scarf

IMG_1624

Technicolor Socks

IMG_1626

Never fear, I am still working on my #MEalong (from A Playful Day) Settler Shawl by Libby from Truly Myrtle…Woah! Talk about link-tastic 🙂 I wanted to participate in the #Grinchalong with the Knitmore Girls, but I was also technically knitting gift :(, but they may or may not have necessarily been for Christmas. Oh well, missed that boat.

IMG_1629

Anyway, I’m absolutely loving the way this thing is working up! I just got to the cool border stitches and I just feel so cool knitting it! And the colors. And the yarn. And. And. And!

IMG_1628

It’s for me. 🙂

I will try to keep this little corner updated, but I’m not making any promises. With short day light and lots of family time, I will probably spend more time unplugged than usual 🙂

Until next time! Happy Knitting!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps, (or knits & purls)

Jenna

 

I Swear I Swore Off Gift Knitting…

holiday cheer

How come even when I have this whole idea about gift knitting that has been in place for several knitting years I have somehow managed to rack up at least 4 gifts I want to finish in the next few weeks????

After my first Christmas as a knitter and the crazy notion that I could knit everyone something then, and failing miserably at that challenge…so much so that 5 years later, I STILL have yarn and projects queued up from that holiday, I made the pledge that I would not knit for the holidays. Instead, knitworthy folks would receive birthday presents. Even those time lines would stretch out, I would present people with their gifts days, weeks, and months late.

So instead of following my own rule of no holiday knitting, I have been  swept up in the gift knitting that seem to be sweeping blogs and podcasts and all the knitting groups I knit with. And let’s face it, every time I come across a pattern I think would be perfect for someone, I queue it and if I’m feeling particularly weak, I pull yarn out of my stash to cast on…and if I don’t have the yarn, I go to the store. I know.

It’s a good thing I’m not on a yarn diet. And I’m relatively weak willed when it comes to yarn and knitting and gifts for people who I think would love them.

So let this serve as a reality check. I CAN’T CAST ANYTHING ELSE ON!!! At least until I finish something. Anything. Let’s check in. Here are the gifts I began…

A hat for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend. We were talking over Thanksgiving while I was knitting on the next project and I offered to knit up something he had in mind. After a little pattern searching I came across the Tweedy Honeycomb Toque by Kent Turman. It’s free on Rav and I figured I could tweak it by adding an additional color into the “comb” part.

IMG_1577

 

I’m using some Berroco Vintage Chunky and I’m stranding the colors behind…only problem is that its a little tight and the second color is really, really popping forward. I was hoping it would have fallen back more. And I probably should have made a better effort to keep my floats loose. I’ve already ripped once, I may have to do it again…here’s a link to my Rav page.

Next up the the black hat for my other brother-in-law I told you guys about last week, the Jacques Cousteau Hat. Well, I did a little ripping there and rethinking. While I don’t want to change the rib or the hat decreases, I wanted the piece to be more versatile. Enter this version of a Balaclava by Jacki Kelly and I tweaked my original.

IMG_1580

It’s ready for the bind off for the eye slit. This thing is not too far from being finished. I’m using Universal Yarn’s Deluxe DK Superwash in Ebony. It’s not as pure a black as I’ve seen, but the details do disappear when in the wrong light.

I’ve also got two other projects that I started a while ago and want to finish those up. Like the Array Cowl I started. I ran into a road block with this project. It was about a week ago. And I was knitting away and I kept hearing a creaking sound. I check the joins in my interchangable needles, everything was still screwed in tight. Then, “pop” the cable popped out of the join. I need to send them in 😦

IMG_1581

So I bought some more needles and got it switched over. Its just a little tedious with all the slipped stitches but it is nice and mindless and I love the colors!

Another project that I’ve had on the needles for far too long is a scarf for my sister-in-law.

IMG_1576

This was featured in a few early blog posts as the Skinty Stripe Scarf. It’s Purl Soho’s Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf. I saw this featured on their blog and new it would be perfect for my sister-in-law. Only hang up? It’s laceweight yarn on US Size 3 needles.

But I did finish up some baby socks to go with Payton’s Wee Envelope Sweater. I knit these in one day!!

IMG_1586

That hasn’t totally stopped me from working on things for myself…like my Settler Shawl

IMG_1584

And there is the predicament of these socks. I’ll tell you about later this week…

And I may be pondering casting on a Rikke hat for myself out of some lovely Malabrigo Rios and my Turia Sweater…I even wound the yarn because I have zero self-control. I can at least take a little comfort in at least not casting on yet. That’s not to say that I don’t have needles and patterns at the ready.

Don’t worry, I’m not just thinking about me for future knits, I have yarn to make Payton another sweater and my other niece Nora has requested a scarf in her “colors.” How can I say no?

Plus I’m thinking about frogging a few things.

Bah! Humbug!

(not really, I love the holidays!!)

What about you? Have you given in to the gift knitting bug??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna