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 🙂 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 🙂

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

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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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂

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 Sophisticate by Linden Down 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 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Hand Knit Love

Payton in Stocking Cap

How can one be so concerned at the ripe old age of 3 months?? Especially when your head is so toasty warm? I’m not sure 🙂 but I do know that this baby girl is loving my hand knits and will continue to receive them until she is old enough to object…and even then I’m not making any promises. Plus babies are so stinkin’ cute in Stocking Caps…it’s my new favorite!

Speaking of baby knits, how about that darling Wee Envelope I’ve been knitting away on?

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The Luna Grey Aspen Sport has such a nice squish factor. It’s 100% Superwash Merino and has a nice, tight twist to it. I’m not usually one to love knitting pink for baby girls, but this is such a lovely shade called Primrose. And the darn thing is literally flying off my needles even though it is on US 4s!! Just another 2 inches or so on the body and I’m done! Just have to sew on buttons, block, and weave in the ends 🙂

I’ve also been a bit pre-occupied by the Two Grey Dogs Schnauzer Snuggle that I wanted to design a crescent shaped shawl with, but was thoroughly, mentally blocked on. I’ve been lusting after the Truly Myrtle Settler Shawl since she released the design on her blog back in August. After my miserable fail at the designing process on Friday, I was “flipping” through my queue’d shawls and ran across the Settler Shawl and a light bulb went off. It was the crescent shape I desired for a shawl and the details were sleek enough to look good in the slightly variegated Orange at Sea colorway I wanted to use.

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So I did the only reasonable thing I could do besides go insane…

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I cast on!!

 

I am LOVING the way this is knitting up so far! The shawl is growing nicely into a long, thin crescent shape and the yarn has such a nice spring with the Merino content while the silk content is giving it a nice sheen and I’m hoping for a good amount of drape. I’m a little nervous about blocking it…I don’t want to lose the squish in the garter stitch but I think the lace-y, openwork border will need a good wet block to show up. We shall see.

I know I have other things I should/could be working on, but my beautiful stash display is tempting me! So much so that I may be ready for my first, actual, long-sleeved, yoked sweater!

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Meet Turia. I talked about her back when I first started the blog and really addressed my own form of Sweater-phobia! I’m no longer feeling the apprehension and impending doom when I think about starting a sweater to fit me. It may have to do with the fact that my Whispers top fits me.

I’ve got the yarn for her. I’ve got the pattern. And I’ve got the needles. Now, I even have the courage to wind her up and cast her on. Wish me luck!! I’d like to wait until I at least finish up the Wee Envelope before I wind this yarn…we shall see!

Until we meet again 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. Sorry the photos are a bit dark…it is getting dark here so much earlier AND it was rainy and dreary all day 😦

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Free-for-all

You remember this book from childhood right? From very early on, we are taught to take notice of the visual world around us. Humans are quite the visual species. In fact, I’m sure there is some crazy statistic I could insert here to make it seem like people are heavily influenced by the things they see. Instead, I’m just going to rely on your brains to either confirm or deny this.

Regardless, I’m visual. I look around in my real world and my online world for information. I could just be driving to the grocery store or cruising around Ravelry for the next thing(s) I’d like to knit. What appeals to me? What stands out? Interesting things. I like to see things that are out of the ordinary.

I like geometric shapes. I see them in stitches, especially the repeating shapes in fences or floors or leaves or flowers or bedspreads. I am often struck by super rich colors. Blues that you can fall into or golden yellows that make you feel warm.

Since immersing myself in the knitting world in May, I find that I’m looking at the everyday world searching for knits. I want to see knitting patterns in a trellis design or colors in the produce section at the grocery store. I may be obsessed.

But I am also not an original. Some many knitters and designers are out there translating the everyday into knits. I so admire this! I queue patterns often because of their beautiful geometric or natural designs that I feel like I’ve seen in the world recently. Pair that with the picture of the sample knit in some saturated color and I’m plopping that into my Ravelry purchase basket faster than the sun can set this winter! Sometimes, I feel like these designers are living my life and seeing what I’m seeing and making them into beautiful knit wear.

For instance the beautiful Onward Shawl by Shannon Cook of the VeryShannon blog is something I’m super drawn to. I love the geometric arrow shapes and feel like I’ve seen that recently on a trip (somewhere but I can’t remember where). Maybe they are just around me like on my knitting bag.

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And the Ambrosia Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston. The gorgeous traveling stitches in the yoke of this remind me of my old bedspread. Plus one of the samples is knit in this gorgeous golden yellow. Can you feel the warmth??

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Not to mention the Clinquant by Lisa Mutch of Northboundknitting. It’s like concrete on a well-loved playground where kids drag their dirty feet through the mud before running over to play four square.

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What did I tell ya, texture, texture & color, and color…get me everytime!!

I didn’t realize how tough it is represent the world in knitwear until I tried to do it myself. I’ve got a few ideas bouncing around in my brain, ready to show up in yarn.

So I pulled out some yarn, a notebook, needles, stitch markers, old notes I’d made and cast on. I knit a few inches. It’s not what I’m thinking it should be. Rip. I cast on again. This time with a garter tab. Potential…but it’s growing too slow and too pointy. I don’t want pointy. Rip. At this point I chickened out.

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I flew to Ravelry. I searched shawls I have in my library. Nothing to help there. I searched shawls in the pattern search. Free. Crescent. Not that circular…I find a few helpful ideas, like a set-up row (doh!) and then I start to question.

Where does my idea begin and another person’s end? If I use a general shawl recipe for the garter/stockinette body, can I claim it as my own work if I mix up the border? How will I make the border design grow proportionally to the increases in the crescent? Should I start this from the top or the bottom?

If I start from the top, how will I know how many stitches I need to start my patterned portion? Wait, didn’t I read something somewhere about Pi increases? Crap. And if I start from the bottom, do I really want to cast on ALL those stitches?

Long story short, designers: you amaze me! How do you combat this in your brain? Is this a fear thing? Am I just afraid to cast-on and go for it?

Maybe. Probably. I don’t want it to be wrong. And by wrong, I mean I want it to look like what I think it should look like in my head.

Here is the problem with that: there are times, in my knitting life and my real life, where I am following the directions for something and thinking, “no way is this going to turn out like the picture!! how is this part going to do that?? maybe I should just toss this or rip this and start over…” But usually something inside my brain also fights back and says, “NO! JUST KEEP GOING!!!”

And usually, it turns out just as the chef or designer or Siri intended it to. I just have to trust and keep going.

Is that how this designing process is going to work?

I am going to put my money on NO since I’m the one calling the shots. I guess we shall see.

Until then, my Two Grey Dogs Schnauzer Snuggle awaits.

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knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna