It’s Already January

Monday Musings

I have no idea where the time went. I feel like I was just having a swim at the neighborhood pool and that has been almost 4 months ago! Like I said last post, I’ve been zooming around the knitting blogosphere and I have been inundated with posts of reflection on last year and posts of hope for the year to come. I’ve also said in a previous post, back in the fall, that my time of renewal seems to happen in the fall. I guess being a student for so many years and then a teacher really did make August feel like the start of a new journey every time.

You should also know that I’ve read more goals and resolution type posts than I can count. It’s got me thinking. I’m not usually one for resolutions because I tend to only last about a week. But I am also usually very affected by the world around me.

Yes, I meant to say affected. I am a people pleaser by nature and can often find myself moved by the words, thoughts, and actions of other people. Not to say I am a doormat or a sponge, but I tend to be very empathetic to people and their life stories and situations. All of this self-diagnosis to tell you that You, the blogging community, has spoken and I have been swayed into thinking about some resolutions or goals or inspirations or what-have-you for 2015.

First, you may have already noticed, but I’m going to be changing things around here some on the blog. By reading so many wonderful sites and really starting to find my voice here, I find that I want my page to be a bit more reflective of me and a little less generic. In the last two months, I have really started to analyze the way I present my thoughts here. Initially when I started this journey, I wasn’t quite sure where to start and so I set up some general daily guidelines to help get me going. I’ve fallen away from these somewhat, but I think for the better. I still get into the WIP Wednesday posts, but that’s about it. I’m trying to be more authentic.

In the complete and utter opposite direction is the next change I’d like to implement here. From perusing so many sites, I have noticed a lack of a Friday Finished Objects link up. I think this is due to my own narrow scope of the blogs I follow coupled with my newness to the community. I then came across this post by Tammy on her blog. She writes:
“So, when Tami (of Tami’s Amis) stopped posting WIP Wednesday and FO Friday in September, many of us were at a loss.  So I figured I’d do a link party and then Chrisknits also was doing one (and I found another one)…and we decided to split it…I’d do Wednesday and she’d do Fridays…well there has not been much interest….I did get in touch with Tami and tell her we were doing them and she said she didn’t know when she would ever get back to them and kind of gave her blessing…”

The FO Friday post has been discontinued and I volunteered to host a link up party here. In the interest of keeping it fun and fitting in with my style, I’ve given it a new little title: Fresh Off The Needles. I’m working on a cute little graphic/header and the first one should go live on Friday, January 9th.

I was really hoping to figure out a way to post the links with thumbnails directly into the post, but the widget isn’t supported on my free wordpress site. Maybe upgrading to a paid for web name is in my future, but we shall see. I hope you will join us with whatever projects are Fresh Off The Needles and over at Life and Yarn or Yarn and Life for Tammy’s Stitch-Along Wednesday posts.

Next challenge is to partake in the Love Your Library Challenge hosted by Emily at Snapdragon Crafts. This year, I’d like to make just as much of an effort to knit the patterns I already have with the yarn I already have…it’s a stash extravaganza. I also like the idea of focusing on one book or collection of books. I’m planning to tackle Hunter Hammersen’s Curls (there’s a KAL in Hunter’s group and Susie of the Prairie Girls and Sarah of In A Sknit are knitting their way through the book too!).

First up, Caesious in some lovely Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the Montrose colorway.

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Ok and my last yarn-y, new year thing: KNIT. FROM. STASH. EXCLUSIVELY. (unless people start having babies and I don’t have the right yarn to make their bundle of joy something perfectly snuggly). Had to build in that little disclaimer 🙂

So, here is to changes in the new year and going on an epic yarn diet!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

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A Stash Dive on a Steamy Saturday

What a glorious Saturday!!! It’s definitely very warm outside, but the sun is shining and I couldn’t ask for more. Growing up in South Louisiana, I know heat & humidity. Bring it on, St. Louis 🙂

Today is a stash dive day! But before we get to that, let me tell you just a little about our morning adventure. My sister-in-law, Deana and the kiddos, Will & Nora, picked up Jordan and I this morning to go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. It was huge and buzzing and full of delicious fresh produce. If you find yourself in St. Louis, Missouri, I recommend a trip.

We bought a huge watermelon, peaches, cucumbers to pickle, tomatoes, mangoes, green beans and even some fresh baked bread. The place was so busy and my hands were so full I wasn’t able to snap any photos of the market. But here’s our giant melon!

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On to the stash diving! Today is sort of a cheater day as this is also a highlight of my most recent stash enhancement. Yes, that means that I did break the diet, but it is for a good cause. I was supporting my favorite LYS McNeedles on my  most recent trip to Louisiana. They did just add on to their shop and it is summer so yarn is not flying off the shelves as quickly as it normally does in the colder times. Plus it’s pretty.

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See!? It’s Alegria by Manos del Uruguay in Columbina. I’ve used this before in my Color Affection Shawl, but this is a new (to me) fun colorway. Pam says it reminds her of Funfetti Cake. I couldn’t agree more.

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Now the question arises, what should this become??
1. maybe some socks? Like moonrivercottager’s Painter’s Palate socks
2. or perhaps a shawl like tracieknits’ Kvothe scarf…I love the dropped stitch design…
3. Or Newdknit’s Fairy Bread Cowl…I even already have this pattern in my queue and it could look super cool in the dotty colors.
4. mayhaps it could be a part of another design by Veera Valimaki (Color Affection) like the Happy Street pattern?

I just have about 4 more projects to finish before I can cast on something new…at least finishing four projects would make me feel better about casting on something new. We shall see. I’m going to continue to try to just pick up the computer 1 time a day to read blogs, play on pinterest, and make a blog post. So far this week it has helped me to knock out my secret project for my swap partner! It is blocking now! I’ll try to send it out Monday so I can post about it next week and share the fun with you guys 🙂

Until then, what would you do with one lovely skein of Alegria??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Fish Lips & New WIPs

I keep running through my brain what I am going to post about. I even am finding myself wishing I had written sooner, but I can’t go back in time and fill in my posts. I want this to be a nice, neat little thing, and like most other things, I get distracted and can’t keep the ball in the air. Ah well.

So for today, as it IS Wednesday, how about an update on my WIPs? Sounds fantastic!!

The Midsummer Baby Blanket is almost finished and my niece should be here in about 3 weeks!!

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In fact, I’ve only got about 7 more of the last color to go, but I had to put it down.

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Because it’s almost August 1!!! And I have to send my yarn bliss swap package by then! I’ve been knitting furiously on a project for this since I realized last week that it was just around the corner…Here is a sneak peek. I promise as soon as I send the package I’ll post about what I made & what I sent…I just don’t want to ruin the surprise and I know all of you yarn-lovers out there can appreciate some reverse stockinette & Madeline Tosh Merino Light!

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I don’t want to post any more about the project in case my swap partner is tuning in to these posts!!

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But I am working on these non-stop and I’m really loving the yarn…oh Madeline Tosh why are you so amazing??

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I haven’t touched my other WIPs in the wings for a while now. They are just quietly waiting in my newly dubbed WIP trunk.

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Yes, even the Mother-Daughter Knitalong is in the trunk.

Good news, I did get to visit my mother and father and brother and his girlfriend last week! We took a spontaneous trip to Louisiana. I was able to stop by my favorite shop, McNeedles. You should check out Maria’s blog post about their new construction here. And if you are ever in the area, you must stop by!!

We were also able to go fishing last Friday down in the Gulf. Jordan and my parents and I had a wonderful time! We even beat out most of the rain and were able to catch some fish. I did catch the biggest, a Jack Crevalle that we threw back. Such a fun fight and I didn’t break the rod as the fish led me round and round the boat.

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Mom, Jordan, Dad & I with just some of the fish we caught.

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Ellie had to jump in this one too!

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All the fish we caught: some speckled trout and my dad landed a big Redfish.

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What a great trip!!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. Linking up with Tami & Nicole.

10 days & counting…

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Since I’ve bought any yarn!!! My wallet, husband, and the movers are very grateful that the diet is going so well. It certainly helped that I’ve been working a ton & we went out of town this past weekend to St. Louis & Omaha. Yes, that was a combined 11 hour trip, 1 way!! We must be nuts or really love our family.

It does make it tough though since I was traveling and my favorite type of tourism is yarn tourism. Luckily, we were pretty busy and unable to visit ANY shops to buy yarn or even look at any yarn or even drive by any yarn or even look-up any yarn shops. I was not a good yarn tourist. Ah well, it is all for the sake of the diet.

In other news, I have been updating my stash so I can at least visit it virtually. What has made this easiest is the app for iPhone called Yarma.

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It’s a camera app that links directly to your Ravelry stash or project page. It is amazingly easy to use and it makes adding pictures to WIPs or stash items super simple. For instance, say you just came home with this beauty.

malabrigo worsted mariposa

It’s Malabrigo. Worsted. In Mariposa. It’s got some great shades of a minty green, smokey grays, and punches of bright yellow. You love it. You want to stroke it. You want to hold it. You want to admire all the colors. You want to dream about all the things it could become. You even plug it into Ravelry to see what others have done with it. Your queue grows by 3 to 10 new projects that could be this skein.

Maybe Danskknit’s RUST.

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And maybe you could pair it with another yarn…that may or may not be in your stash already 🙂

This is all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t cast on right away? What if you get distracted by your current knitting? Or another friend tells you they are pregnant and you MUST cast on something for their darling bundle of joy? WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU HEAVEN-FORBID, FORGET ABOUT THIS JEWEL?? (Can I get an audible gasp from the audience?)

Well, Ravelry’s stash tool is awesome. You can document what you have hidden or not around your house in terms of yarn. It even goes as far as to make suggestions for potential projects you look up with yarn suggestions from your stash you’ve logged. Now, if I could just get Ravelry to knit my projects for me….KIDDING!! I do love the actual process of creating 🙂

Back to Yarma and why it rocks. So you’ve found a darling skein to add to your stash or cast-on waiting list and you don’t want it to sink to the bottom of your stash without some sort of documentation. First, you need to take a moment and enter the yarn stats into Ravelry. So you set up your skein in a great solid background with natural light and you pull out your iPhone and snap away.

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You can adjust the filter if you want. Maybe one of the cleverly named filters can give you truer colors.

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You just click Upload. Then you can scroll through your stash to link this photo to it.

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Then visit this gem on your Ravelry page like mine right here.

You can even use the Yarma app to take pictures of projects that are either in progress or finished and link them to your project on the website. Like I did for this awesome Earflap Hat.

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You just click the upload button and choose the project. Super simple. Oh, and the most awesome part? IT’S FREE!!!

Do you catalog your stash in some way? Just curious…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Trying to Control the Hoard

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I mean stash…I’ve been reading a few posts about going on a diet…of the yarn buying kind. I’m sure my husband, my wallet, and my movers (we are headed to St. Louis at the end of the month!!) would appreciate a little break from yarn buying. So for today’s Technique Tuesday, I’m going to explore a technique to help me not buy more yarn.

I’m going to browse my stash online or in person every time I feel the pull of the LYS. This would require that I update my stash a little on Ravelry. I have a few skeins I haven’t put into there yet from recent trips and yarn store adventures. I think by checking out my stash whenever I find a new pattern to knit or I just get a hankering to knit something, I can quell my desire to run out for something new.

I think to make this most effective, I need some pretty and accessible yarn storage. It needs to be something that I can look through to see my yarn. I also need to be able to feel it. This is what I’ve got right now:

This one is all my projects in progress with a few new skeins thrown in.IMG_1135

This is some of my purchases in the last year or so.
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This is my some of my original stash. I bought this chest originally to house my stash. I have slowly outgrown my cute chest.
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I know that someone out there has to have some gorgeous yarn storage. I don’t just want bins or boxes, so I went online to find some inspiration. Maybe something like this I found on the Loopy Ewe:
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Or this I found on a post at Rosepath:
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I think my cats would have a field day with this, but like the post  says, “it doubles as wall art!” As does this one from Knits for Life:
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In our new place I’m banking on a closet for my yarn, so maybe something more like this that I found at Trials & Pixelations:
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I like all of these storage ideas because you can really see what you have AND you can feel the yarn! Softness & squishibility are characteristics I definitely take into consideration whenever buying yarn.

However, creating gorgeous storage is going to have to wait because we are moving to St. Louis at the end of the month!! We just got approved for our new place and we are so excited for a change! I love moving into a place and making it my own.

What does your stash storage look like? Do you wish your stash storage was better in any way??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna