The Wool Keeps Me Warm

WIP Wednesday The end of a beautiful year is upon us. In 2014, I had some wonderful adventures. I started a blog! I didn’t realize how awesome it would be to dive into the knitting blogosphere! I’ve read some awesome blogs (hop over to my Blogs I Read page for more…in fact I have a few to add) and had the opportunity to connect with some great people through the internet. I’ve been inspired to tackle all the knits. I’ve been encouraged when things aren’t quite going the way I want. And I’ve felt a huge sense of belonging to such a fantastic group of people. I knit my first garment(s)! Earlier this year, I blindly knit a top as a shop sample for McNeedles. I followed the directions and knit stockinette for miles. My only complaint? I couldn’t try it on because it was the smallest size! skinny lady After I finished that bad boy up, I came across several posts on blogs talking about a “Summer Sweater Knit-Along.” I had to play along! I bought yarn, swatched, and then it hibernated. I was inundated with trying to finish baby blankets and didn’t even cast on the crazy “summer sweater” until August? Not to mention I didn’t finish those million rounds of stockinette until October. But I love my Whispers top and look forward to wearing it more in the spring! IMG_1511 I moved to an awesome city!Β St. Louis has been magnificent! We are closer to family and have gotten to go to some awesome Cardinals baseball games and drink some of the tastiest beer. I was blessed with a new niece! Payton in Stocking Cap My brother graduated college! IMG_1605 And I’ve knitted my fingers off! I think I’ve finished like 35 projects this year! I’ve managed to whittle down my current WIPs to 8 and I’m nearly done with the Array Cowl. array I can say that I’m incredibly grateful for such an awesome year and I’m definitely looking forward to the new year! I’ve got some fun new things I want to talk about in the upcoming year and maybe a few changes to the look of the blog. So Happy New Year to you and yours!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking with Tammy for her Stitch Along Wednesday & Ginny for Yarn Along & Nicole for Keep Calm Craft On.

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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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 blogΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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 😦

Thoughts about VKLive Classes!!

Thoughful Thursday

So I’m sure after my last post, you are wondering why I didn’t have as much time to shop and buy all the things (other than my stated plan). With the package we purchased included 3 classes and Mom and I wanted to take full advantage of the awesome ladies who were teaching all weekend.

First up when we got there on Friday, we took a Hand-Dyeing Class taught my Rhonda Fargnoli. She seemed very knowledgeable and very into the yarn business. She gave some great tips for where to buy her natural dyes, but I wish we were given more direct instructions on how to prepare and set up our own dyeing at home. Ce la vie.

We did have a good time dyeing our mini-skeins with a few different dyes. There were 5 different colors and one was indigo and one was cochineal. We spent the afternoon dipping and painting and pouring dye all over our mini skeins. Here is Mom at work.

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The room we were in at the Palmer House Hilton had some really, really yellow lighting.

We took them up to the room on styrofoam plates and laid them out to dry.

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When we got home, I rinsed them with some white vinegar and hung them up to dry over the sink.

Now, what to make??? I need a scale so I can know how much of each color I have…maybe I can make a magic ball with these for a big fun project?

The next class I took was Getting Your Lace On taught by the lovely Laura Nelkin. Let me start by saying that I have never knit one of Laura’s patterns. Each time that one of her designs have caught my eye, I go and look it up and notice how complicated it is. This is not a bad thing, but up until about 6 months ago, I stuck to simple knits. Nothing too complicated, nothing I have to count…then I did the Follow Your Arrow KAL (on my own time because KAL time restrictions seem to be terrible for me) and the whole “simple only knitting” flew right out the window.

Laura started off the class by sharing many of her samples with us. She passed around so many lovely things, talked about what Lace knitting actually is and isn’t, and had us cast on 10 stitches.

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And knit a few rows. We played around with some increases and had a very good discussion on what a “yarnover” actually is and should look like (I guess I had not been paying much attention to my knitting in the past). Fun fact: A yarn0ver should in fact be a piece of yarn over the needle, but the leg riding in front of the needle still needs to be the right leg! Amazing. Next time you do a yarnover, check it out.

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We then played around with some decreases. Her instructions were great. She talked about when designers would use each one and which ones were appropriate for double sided lace (eeeeek!). She was incredibly patient and kept us all interested.

We touched on how to read charts for one-sided lace, lace in the round, and two-sided lace. We even hit (quickly) on blocking. The whole 3 hours was jam-packed full of great information. It really made me think about my knitting and gave me the confidence to tackle a few of Laura’s (complicated) designs. She was gracious enough to even do a quick selfie with me after class!!

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Sorry that my quality isn’t great 😦 That’s what I get for using the iPhone I guess. I am definitely a Laura fan after such a great experience. I highly recommend you check out her blog and her new book, Knockout Knits,Β (which is full of info about the techniques used as well as the patterns).

Mom took a class from Amy Detjen about Two-Color Knitting during this time. I will have to get with her about what she thought. I took a class from Amy last year about Cables…also awesome πŸ™‚

PS: I am wearing my Whispers top!

Our next class was in the afternoon. It was Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale. She is the author the books Entrelac and Entrelac 2. Another note about my experience with Entrelac, I had never done this either! Rosemary is a hoot and reminds me of my parents’ German neighbor who is very matter-of-fact. She had us jump right in to try our hand at Entrelac. Throughout the class, she offered great tips on how to pick up stitches and she showed off several of her beautiful designs. I was so busy knitting, I did not have time to take pictures of my progress. Here is my swatch.

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Overall, the classes were definitely worth the time and money we spent at Vogue Knitting Live. Both this year and last, have left me with a great experience. I will say that one thing I will do before taking classes at a big event like this is to do some research about the teacher before hand. Look them up on Ravelry and see what some of their work is like, maybe see if they have been talked about by other knitters who have taken classes from them.

Anyway, definitely something I would do again πŸ™‚ I need to get my needles going so I can cast on something new from Knockout Knits!!!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

 

 

 

WIPs & Plans

WIP Wednesday

Yay! A real WIP Wednesday post! I’m pretty proud of myself as I’ve whittled down my WIPs to just 10. I’ve been working pretty hard on my Whispers sweater (which I will wear to Vogue Knitting Live!) until I finished it. I will be sure to take pictures of me wearing this! I love it!!!

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My needles have been going so fast, they are smokin’!

I’ve been making some good progress on my Twist Vest. I’m hoping to knock it out so I can block it and weave in the ends before we leave on Friday morning.

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I need to do about 6 more inches on the collar portion. I’m hoping it will fit and be long enough when I finally cast off…my needles have been keeping it too tight for me to try on. Cross your fingers!! If not, I’ll just have to rip it out and try again 😦 That is one nice thing about knitting vs. other crafts where you don’t really need to cut anything and it’s all able to be undone.

My Technicolor Take 2 Socks haven’t seen much love since they were cursed for the Cardinals games. I guess now that they’ve lost and the Royals/Giants are facing off in the World Series, I can pull them back out. I am still really liking the yarn and pattern and my Karbonz!!

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I am questioning if they will be too big…I have skinny ankles but long feet so I traditionally make the bigger size. However, my 2 pairs of socks I have made for myself are both pretty slouchy. After reading so many blogs and posts about socks and Socktober, I am inspired to knit myself socks I will love. Ripping may commence if I can try these on πŸ™‚

Not to worry. I have been doing a little unselfish knitting as well. In the name of a few gifts.

First up is my Flurfy Scarf for Jabes. It’s coming along. It takes a little brain power. I’m into the solid section of the 3rd of 4 colors.

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And the Array Cowl for Lyndsay. Taking a while since it has a bunch of slipped stitches. I know initially I was a little hesitant about the color combination, but I’m really liking it in the daylight. I’m not sure that the picture here does it justice.

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And the Skinty Stripe Scarf for Deana. Also taking a while since it is on US size 3 needles.

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On to the planning stage for my super fun trip!!!

Last year, when I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago, I rode the Megabus early in the morning, spent about 3 hours in the giant marketplace, spent way too much money buying impulse yarn, took a class on cables from Amy Detjen, had delicious deep-dish pizza with my husband (who was an insane trooper through the whole experience), and took the Megabus back to Louisville that night. I spent roughly 24 hours on this trip and around 12 hours were spent on the Megabus.

I think this is the haul from last year. I tried to pull it all out of my yarn cabinet from memory. I’ve got a couple skeins of sock yarn, a few skeins of some bulky Malabrigo Rasta, some Shibui Cima for a scarf, and some Neighborhood Fiber Company to knit the Monomania sweater. I’m pretty sure I haven’t made anything from my haul last year. What a shame!! Pulling it all out makes me want to cast on something right away, but I’m trying to stay disciplined and finish up what I already have on the needles.

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When I received the email this year about year’s event, I knew I wanted to go back. I also knew that St. Louis had a train that went to Chicago which would be more enjoyable than a bus (public transit is a way better option for me than driving because I can knit on the way there and not worry about driving or paying an outrageous amount to park in Chicago). I also knew that I wanted my mom to go with me. Plus, I knew I wanted to stay overnight and not be rushed. And staying overnight gave us the opportunity to take more classes!!!

This year, I’m looking up patterns I want to buy yarn for and trying to make a list of some unique dyers and companies that I want to look for. Also going to keep on the look out for a few books. I just don’t want to come home with a bunch of random single skeins that I bought in the throws of “ooooooooh that’s so pretty and soft and squishy.” So I’ve made a few lists. I need to finalize these in the next day so I can go in with a solid plan.

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So the lists are coming together…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Nicole.

 

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

 

WIPs on WIPs on WIPs…

WIP Wednesday

You guessed it! It’s WIP Wednesday. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to do this post because it’s my husband’s 30th birthday!! But I have been wanting to show what I’ve been working on.

First up:

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Since it is Jordan’s 30th birthday, I thought I would try to finish up this scarf for him. I started it back in the spring sometime. It’s made out of Mountain Colors Twizzle in the Harmony Softrock colorway. I’ve used up 1 skein and am a good ways into the second skein, which I bought simply for emergencies…emergency averted πŸ™‚ I’m using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s One Row Handspun Scarf pattern. I keep having him try it on so it’s long enough. I have about 9 more inches to go πŸ™‚

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You may be asking yourself what this is and why this is the first time you are seeing it. Well, a few weeks ago I saw this pattern for a “fried egg” potholder. At the time, we were trying to buy rugs for our apartment which has all hardwood floors. Lightbulb! I could make a cool rug for the kitchen that looked like a giant fried egg! I used a full-size yellow bed sheet, then 1 queen-size white bed sheet. That wasn’t enough so I bought a king-size. I blew through that. Man, does crochet eat up some yarn! So I bought 2 more king-size bed sheets to cut into strips to finish this thing up. I totally love it and it is really squishy!

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This should look vaguely familiar. It should also look relatively stagnant. It’s the Whispers top I’ve been “working” on. We’ll say working is a loose term here. Mostly it gets shuttled from one place to another for me to knit a round or two on. The stockinette has become boring. But I want to finish it so I can wear it in Chicago at Vogue Knitting Live!

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This should also look vaguely familiar and also stagnant. It’s the back of the Twist Vest. I did a “provisional cast-off” to hold the stitches at the neck and I should be picking up around this to make the sides, armholes, and collar. Instead, it’s been languishing. I think it’s like the Whispers top in that I’m close to switching to another ball of yarn on both projects and I just haven’t picked them back up. I know there is such a thing as “Second Sock Syndrome”…is there a “Starting a Second Ball of Yarn Syndrome” as well???

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And there is this lovely, soft, fuzzy beauty. It’s the HPKY Bias Shawl I started knitting. I’m ignoring a portion of the pattern about only doing a certain number of rows alternating the 2 colors and I did more so I could use up more of the yarn and make a bigger shawl. I hope it is big enough to wrap around my shoulders. I will be sorely disappointed otherwise.

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Finally, here is my Catkin shawl. I’m at the place to start Chart 1 and I had to place markers to mark the quadrants and the chart repeats. I placed said markers only to encounter I have 4 stitches too many. Knowing that to solve this problem will require some brain power, it has been hibernating for about a week. I have been working on brainless things, like the scarf for my husband, instead of sitting down to do a little problem solving. I think I’m just going to “place” those extra stitches where I am supposed Β to do increases on the first row instead of ripping back or doing any sort of decreases. I just need to determine the right place for those and do it.

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Finally, looking out over my landscape of WIPs, I’m feeling like I should be knitting instead of typing! I am also realizing that several of my projects are in a similar place…about halfway. I am not completely sure what my hesitation is. I do enjoy working on them, but I think I would enjoy them as finished pieces more than I like working on them. I also want to start a few new pieces and I’m going to Chicago for the Vogue Knitting show which is sure to be filled with inspiration. All I know is I better get knittin!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Tami & Nicole.
You should head over to their pages to see other blogs where people are participating in Tami’s WIP Wednesday & Nicole’s Keep Calm & Craft On.

 

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™‚

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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?

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Brandy at Stitched Up in Toronto.