I’m sitting here tonight thinking on the knitting I haven’t gotten to yet this week, and wondering just how much progress I can make on my sock before I need to write up and publish my blog. Maeve chooses this moment to take advantage of my open lap and hops in for a snuggle. Maeve loves snuggles. Briannag has been bugging from the couch for snuggles every time I cursed the book quiz I need to finish before the regularly scheduled class time next week.

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The current amount of progress….this is just a sock to be, the cuteness is below;-)

It has been a week of ups and downs, the ups were not always enough to compensate the downs, but only if I dwell on each day separately. I do not have class so early next Wednesday that I need to change my sleep schedule from overnights to days; however, we also miss out on a review, and the instructor is providing a book based exam. I have cursed anything book based in the entire class. It’s often confusing at best. However, I’m focusing more on the ups, and listening to Bon Jovi’s song “Have a Nice Day” as I contemplate my week.

The biggest up was dinner with my oldest niece at Bob Evans-nothing fancy, but she’d never been there. Part of our goal is to go places she’s never been. We’re considering finding the best burger served at each place we dine at and are keeping a commemorative journal of our dinners. She even told me she wants to be a food critic when she grows up, amongst her twelve other jobs she may or may not be able to accomplish via freelance work. It was a great dinner. (Phones were not present at this event, except to make a quick note to pick up a journal, which we did). Photos were not taken either.

In the meantime, how far do you think I can get? I promise to get photos too.

001Scamp’s immediate nosedive into the knitting bag…

Now, I retrieved my knitting bag from its home in the chair, where it is tied shut to keep curious kittens out of it. This is a requirement, as you’ll notice Scamp immediately made a nose-dive into the bag when I set it on the edge of the couch and placed my pillow in its proper back-supporting position.

Once I snapped the photograph and shooed Scamp out of the knitting bag, I began cursing at the sixteen dropped stitches I needed to pick up. Diligently, and patiently, I slipped them back on the needle one at a time. I resisted the urge to overwork the knitting using two needles. Some days, I feel I’ve become quite good at returning stitches to their rightful needles so that I may continue my work.

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Putzer inspecting the sock

005     Squib not letting Putzer hog the sock to himself

Then I set about the business of knitting, and does long fibrous strands moving across needles create an interesting diversion for the most discernible curious creature. The couch suddenly became full of furry felines, wondering if mom would let them play with some of the yarn she only gets out on those special days.

011I do mean full; Zeus takes up nearly half the couch on his own

Then I continued to knit and purl and created uneven eyelets to connect the two socks, and decreased the one extra stitch I’d managed to pick up, likely before I dropped the sixteen cream colored stitches. The extra stitch was on the black yarn side of things.  However, I knit away, and while I hoped to get two inches of progress in, I think I got closer to one and a half. I didn’t measure before I started though, so I can’t be certain. We can only guess if I have room for before and after shots, or if you are so inclined to check last weeks blog. In the meantime, while I won’t be finishing this sock in the next week, I will be diligently continuing to knit it.

012Briannag, or Miss Whiny about attention, boycotting the knitting. It takes up too many of mom’s hands…

I’m hoping it provides some sanity in the cursing of the book exam. Its said to be open book, but I have experience with this book, open book is as much of a curse as closed book with poor wording. Alas, I have made progress with the sock, and I had a great time at dinner with my niece. Those will be my focal points this week. After all, once you get past the periscope, its all simply perspective. For the rest of it, I’ll enjoy a glass of wine and take the semi-immortal Bon Jovi words of the world getting in my face to heart and say “Have a nice day!” I sometimes wonder if they substitute other words for nice.

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Briannag joining the party after she smells the wine mom poured…

Where have I gone? What have I been doing? I admit it, the knitting has suffered a small hiatus. I think I’ve averaged four rows a week out of sheer gumption. So, what has kept me from knitting beyond a new job and a schedule change? A quilted bookwrap I’ve been sewing by hand…

The bookwrap has gone everywhere with me this spring and summer and visited the ball parks, the new job, the short but frequent breaks…you name it, I’ve taken it, except out to dinner. Because, like knitting, sewing and food do not get along. Now to explain a little more about this bookwrap, because no one wants to just hear a simple description of black and white text info. I will include pictures below.

I saw this pattern in a magazine, and I thought it was neat. But I thought the hexagon too simple and I’d promised a friend a hand-made item this year. And well, I’m looking into making quilts for my nieces. I decided I would see how much work this would really take. I requested her favorite color-purple, and she liked octopi…let the adventure begin.

I began to cut and shape and draw the octopus after studying those with top-hats and a monocle. My friend has always enjoyed quirky creations. I began to cut fabric and sandwich layers and decided on a quilting pattern. I began deciding on a wave pattern, since the character was on octopus and the background was a purple batik with bright blues and yellows and pinks running through it. It almost reminds me of the deep ocean where this octopus would likely dwell.

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It took a little time to quilt, and I didn’t have to baste much, if any, as the finished quilt was 17”x9”. The project traveled well with a small circular frame in which the waves began to look like octopus arms, and so, I essentially quilted an octopus on this quilt, who was tipping his hat, and reading a book. It felt appropriate.

Once I finished the quilting, I cut out and pressed under the seems of the octopus, and I proceeded to applique him using a whip stitch. It was a first attempt, and I was jumping in both feet first. Later, when I researched sewing the binding, I realized I could have made a blind stitchch work. I considered a ladder stitch, which I often use for closing pillows and blankets, but I went with the whip stitch. We’ll say it looks like his tentacles for the most part. 001

Now, I have an octopus sewn on, with facial characteristics, tipping his hat–though my niece, Jessica outspokenly states he should be wearing the hat. There is no room for said octopus to wear the hat, but she’s 13, and that’s her only complaint. The octopus is also reading a bright turquoise book with yellow flannel pages. I’m happy with it, though its not total greatness, the recipient shall enjoy it….Now I just have to get it to her before she encounters these pictures on the internet;-)

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I am still knitting and will have to keep at this sock. I am one-third of the way done with the first leg and suspect if I devote a little time to this sock each day off, it will progress once again. I’ll take sewing/quilting to work as its easier to accomplish on short breaks and some of my other quilting projects have to stay secret. I may write down my musings and translate them to blog fodder later, after Christmas;-). Scamp will still help me some. She has throughout this process, but I photographed the quilted book wrap at the park today where I held my birthday party.

Actually, I lost: Here’s the take from last week, Friday evening, I think…

The struggle is real…. See, I still have six more rows of forty stitches…. They’re almost done. I want them done on time(they will be), but I may run out of yarn in the meantime. At least on this roll…. I have some left from the other roll, and I will have to decide the best way to attach it(and hope it looks reasonable, but I think it’s gonna be close).

Back to the present…

It was close…so close, I technically lost. Luckily I did have some on the other roll and the blend doesn’t look too bad…I don’t think Lizzie noticed. She was mostly happy with the result and the warming birthday gift–though next time, I’ll have to make them bigger and let her hand them down to a mini-me. In the meantime, she’s got warm legs and a new purse and I’ve cast on the second sock….

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Cast on of new, but familiar purple socks….This is keeping my sanity hanging by a….nah….probably not after this week…

Yes, my purple socks are no longer suffering from second sock syndrome. I almost cast on the cowl I could use some days this February, but it’s been an exhausting week and I wanted something familiar. In addition, it was about time. Besides, I may be moving on to a hat this week for a friend, if she remembers the yarn. I’m half tempted to go pick out yarn for her and just make it. We’ll see what happens.

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Squib, snuggling a favorite sweater that I hope will one day match the Terpander socks I don’t have an updated photo of….

As for the pretty pink Terpander socks, I sought out advice on http://www.knittingparadise.com and was told my ladders(once I got a good enough photo of them) looked just fine. I’ve yet to start the second heel as it’s been a busy and stressful week. I’ve made it through three exams in two days and somehow still found energy to write this blog tonight….

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Current progress on the second sock…

I probably just need sleep, but there was Valentine’s day this week and my dear James treated me to dinner, and(I forgot to get the photo), not one book, but two–he really does know the way to my heart and keeping me up past my bedtime. And yes, it is the signed, hardcover first edition of Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb and it’s just as gripping as the others in the series. I love this series.

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Because if I took J.D. Robb to class, I wouldn’t get any studying done, at least, not until I finished the book. I might not even leave when class was done…

In the meantime, I’d better keep up on next week’s homework, and hope the article I have to choose from some specific type of journal with a specific type of format….but clear as mud to me is finally a correct one and I can get the summary done. Perhaps we should just have to read academic journals and keep a record of summaries of one of their articles as they are published–sounds like a better exercise than finding articles on any topic you want, only to repeatedly hear, “Not that one.” Alas, such are the woes of an undergrad…back to knitting and reading, right after I accomplish some more homework so I don’t have to do it all on Sunday.

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How the fairies hid my place markers from me…they don’t have to work very hard at this, you see….

“And, why did she take photos of the place markers?” Why, yes. Yes I did. The fairies finally returned them.

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For now, they’re safely tucked into the pocket of my knitting bag. I wonder how long that will last….

Arrrgggghhh! Ladders!

February 10, 2017

That’s right, you heard me, ladders have formed in this sock….and I’m at a loss. I’m working on the “Terpander” pattern in Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class book and I began the first heel this weekend. As I finished it, I realized the weight of the socks had caused ladders to form. I was warned, but not told how to correct them. I even went to Silver’s Sock Knitting tutorial and looked them up. Nothing about ladders there either. I thought I’d mostly gotten beyond ladders. But since you are only knitting on one side at a time, it’s difficult to prevent the ladders.

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Not that I wish to show you my ladders, but I’ll get a better pic of them later, so you can see that I’m certainly not perfect. Luckily, these are for my feet, but this Smooshy yarn deserves better.

So, Now I’m left wondering one of two things: Should I try to re-knit the heel or should I simply forge on and hope for the best when I join the two rounds? Choices, choices. Perhaps I’ll ask at knitting paradise. There are many sock knitters there. Someone may have some good ideas.

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1 heel finished, forgive the terrible photos…I’ll try to re-take and edit, once I finish some studying tonight.

In addition, I’m working to keep off the naughty bench this week. My youngest niece’s birthday is this upcoming Thursday and her gift isn’t done. I thought I had two more rounds left, but it turns out I have three. So I knit like a madwoman before classes today–then I committed a cardinal sin. I put the knitting down mid-row. (Gasp). More wine, anyone?

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These are the re-knit item…with two full more rounds and six rows of knit 5, purl 5…because some rules are really meant to be broken….I really am getting there…just hope I get there in time;-).

I messed up and I think it’s best to rip out this row and re-knit it. Plus, class was starting and I needed to pay attention and write. It gets rather difficult to write notes and knit at the same time…. I probably shouldn’t admit how I know that… but you guys can imagine with me, right.

Well, I should get back to studying for my exams. It feels as if that’s all I’ve been doing this week and Putzer seconds, but I have attempted progress on a quilt…after studying…in which I should know better. Those darned rules about knitting or sewing(even on a machine) while tired, are rules for a reason, and this time it wasn’t to break them (in which I thought I performed far better than last time). Alas, my latest dilemma is recorded on a new blog(when I should have been studying, but really needed a break). It’s called Quilting Journeys and is over here at Quilting Journeys..

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Can you believe this is backwards…and technically sideways as well…the purple goes inside on the triangles and the green print goes outside and down the middle…(never sew tired is not a rule that’s meant to be broken).

Enjoy the view while you can. We’ll see where these journeys take us. In the meantime, let’s hope my studying journeys take me to an A on the exams (All three of them, over two days–my instructors have found the key to true evil).

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Murder Mystery Quilt January Block 1 done: From Tiny Seeds.

However, evil instructors aside…I managed to finish my Murder Mystery Block #1 for a Mystery quilt combined with a murder mystery I signed up for.  I wish I would have gone a little darker on the center portion ( did have a darker green), but I’m working with it and hoping it comes out well. Now, to get back to studying…and work on the February blocks when I’m not exhausted from the books I have to explore.

…or never found in the first place…. It sounds as if it may be time to organize things… but if you know me, you know how lofty a goal that really is…especially in the craft room. I can see it now…(p.s. no photos of the unorganized craft room, sorry).

I go to put away the beige linen I was going to make a pantsuit with, and find the ribbon I was going to edge it with or the pattern… and I’m off. Or, maybe I get that put away, and find another fabric I had plans for, only the one that matches it is on the scrapbook desk, which I mean to clean off…so I take off another fabric or two and find that one, and now I have another project to start…or, more likely, I find a card I was going to finish for a friend who likely needs it, and I start getting out my scrapbook stuff…I have an open surface nearby, right? No, uh…perhaps I should clean some more. Nah, I’ll just move this stuff and work on this card….(and they tell me I don’t have ADD.)  When it comes to organizing, I don’t know what else to call it.

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Literally current progress on my my current project…circular needles have a mind of their own.

However, I can remember a lot of numbers, add them up quickly and do odd math problems(at least multiplication in my head). My job requires it, as well as remember most of about a zillion rules a night(three nights a week.) Note to self, it is not a good idea to study statistics while dealing Poker. There is no brain break in that set up. Poker is a lot of rules, and a lot of statistics happening right in front of you. Statistics is still in the easy part, and my brain was still fried. The Nature of Language book is going with me to work now, trust me on this.

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I don’t normally stop mid-row(ever!), but those blasted fairies are holding my place markers hostage. Ideas, anyone?

So, what did I lose and how did I lose it, (and we’re hopefully not talking about my marbles-I simply quit trying to replace them)?  First, it was the place markers I need to knit the heels of my two at a time toe-up really pretty Smooshy and cushy bright pink yarn. I had them. I set them somewhere I’d remember them, or put them back where I found them. They have successfully disappeared again. The fairies aren’t willing to make a trade, apparently either. I think they’re onto or don’t understand what I mean when I suggest I can offer them shiny jump rings for ring toss. Or they took those long before they stole away with my place markers…so the socks are in limbo.

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Projects half done….okay, mostly done….I admit, I ran out of pink yarn(and it’s acrylic so I refused to buy more…now I need to figure out the collar).  Pattern here on ABC Knitting Patterns. I did not love knitting these…and the pattern on the arm is a bit confusing. But they look nice, if you don’t run out of yarn.

Then I was planning to start this cowl I designed. It’s going to be so pretty…and once my youngest niece’s birthday gift is done, I can…except I’ve lost the size 8 set of knitting needles I wish to design it on. I’m thinking of buying a circular set….I may have to look up some pattern suggestions for knitting this on circulars though. I thought I’d found them when I uncovered a PHD (project half done) in the chair and realized, much like my cleaning above, I should just sew the snaps on these and sew up the seams and gift these dresses already. But I pulled the needles out, and realized they’re another set of size 4 needles. Does anyone remember what I used the size 8’s on last? I still have no idea where they made off to.

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The other current project, that I don’t dare stop mid-row…I need to have this one done soon…these are on ravelry.com and quite fun to knit as well. I did make an adjustment, as I dislike K1, P1…so I made the cuffs K5, P5 to keep elasticity and create a neat effect going into the horseshoe.

I’d say that’s all, but I’m likely forgetting something (like which pattern I last used the size 8 needles on). In the meantime, I’m going to pour a glass of wine, do some homework and get back to knitting the birthday gift. I’m also giving myself a break, as it’s been a tough week here with a funeral for my dear James’ dad. I didn’t know him as well, but I certainly grieved for the loss of a bond that meant the world to dear James. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but Bill Sr. still passed over far quicker than any of us could imagine. I did get some decent knitting time in this week, as well as somewhat caught up on homework.

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The close-up view of some of the horse-shoe pattern. I’ll get better photos of it next week, as there’s another section I wish to show off.

I almost forgot about poor Briannag. The night we came home from the funeral and family gathering, we found she had a puffy ear. It was hard to tell at first, as her ear is normally half folded in one way or another, but she got a visit to the vet where he called it a hematoma and ordered surgery. She came through fine, but they’re keeping her one more night to save us the clean up…(for which I’m kind of thankful). She will be home bright and early in the morning. There will be extra Kong treats in the morning.

Briannag is our brindle Pittie who loves to inspect my yarn, model my socks and dearly hopes I’m knitting something for her. She’s not the most careful with soft toys, especially when little brother Zeus(the brown boxer) helps her with them.

Fortunately for myself, tips were good last week (dear James usually makes a little more, working full time and overseeing our skills) and our taxes have been filed, because pricey vet bills aren’t always easy to cover.  In the meantime, if anyone is in cahoots with my fairies, please let them know I’d like the place markers back…I only need a few of them. Thanks. Or I may just have to go search out the jump rings and the jewelry supplies and hope I don’t make my own too heavy…I’m beginning to see a theme here;-). More wine, friends, or tea if you prefer?

Too Many Knots…

January 27, 2017

Or…the dawning of the age of …homework and study…

Sorry, unless you really play with homework and study, it doesn’t match the correct term, but it is my life right now, mostly.

Amidst however many projects I listed last week, and likely one or two more added this week, as well as a consideration for one to be frogged, as there is likely a halfway point in the yarn….I started some legwarmers. I should keep them on the down low, but I’m hoping the recipient isn’t following….I’ll be watching closely to see if she likes this on facebook. Mom thought she;d love them when she saw the yarn and beginning pattern work. I hope we’re right. I almost asked her outright, but decided to remain covert for now. Her birthday comes sooner than I like. Okay, okay, back to the projects. Let me show you what I’m about to frog…

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I’ll show you the full thing before I frog it….but it needs to be a scarf or mitts…that work with the colorway of the yarn….this is almost halfway and the yarn reverses.

I’ve come to a realization, that frogging is a part of knitting…and since I taught my eleven year old little that seam-ripping has to happen in sewing, fit thrown throughout and all; I’ve decided I’ve done enough frogging to accept it as part of knitting. If I don’t love it, or it isn’t gifted, I’m frogging it.

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Shh…don’t tell…though it’s hard to see the pattern, isn’t it?

On the quilt side…I’ve checked my mailbox everyday, and now pink thread has arrived. So, the applique quilt I forgot to mention last week is not getting done. I could sew green, but I’m not in the mood for green. It’s January, for a couple more days, I need pink on purple or blue….or whatever color that bird will be.

 

However, I received the rest of the instructions for the mystery quilt, and decided what will become of it…It involves a chair and to an extent, my nieces…that story belongs in a quilt blog I’m kicking around, as soon as I finish studying Abnormal Psychology….which isn’t happening until May 4th or 5th, I believe. Yes, yes, I know…I asked for this…but at least I’m not giving speeches about blind dates…though it sounded fun.

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Can’t be compared to a blind date much, except they’re a bit tough to navigate and require concentration…

Ah, blind dates, allow me to explain; My dear nephew, David is taking college courses in high school-the lucky duck. So, I bought his mom a gift card to a famous coffee shop, well, dear James did on Thanksgiving, and Momma Michelle thanked me for it today, as she’d used it almost exactly as I hoped. I hoped she would take one of her kids out for coffee and use it for connection. She had the best time taking David out for coffee and hearing about how he described a blind date. Since he’d never been on a blind date, he took blind literally. I’ll let you use your imagination here. (I’m not even sure he knew how good he was, as he also told us the best one was the first one, who pulled teddy bear.)

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The cat’s idea that I should be petting her, instead of studying….Abnormal Psych terms, here I come…

So, I’m guilty…I had an exam today and got nothing knit, except the gift part, which needs to get done quick, but it a relatively simple pattern…if only the yarn would quit knotting. You heard me, this darned yarn is still knotting. I knit fourteen rows, perhaps I’ve gotten a little further, but not more than twenty…likely not more than sixteen, and I have a knot to sort out, after it’s been wound. It was an easy knot to sort out, but I’m not happy with this yarn at all. I will not knit with it again, even if the recipient falls in love with these darned things. May these skeins be used up soon;-).

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The offending project…May the 4th be with me, either way…

P.S. One should not watch the World Poker Tour while studying Abnormal Psychology, especially when they’re down to three players. (That’s almost when it gets good;-)).

Too Many Rules…

January 19, 2017

…or too many patterns. Nah, there’s no such thing as too many patterns.

I may have broken my own rule. After all, rules were made to be broken, right? Fortunately, I haven’t broken the rule irreparably…or have I? I have two supposed “adult” rules, and I’ve broken both of them in the past few weeks. I blame James for one. I only have myself and clever marketing for the second…I believe. Besides, blame doesn’t un-break the rules, or get things done. Please allow me to explain.

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Cabled Headband…which is the inspiration for only half of these weeks works in progress…

Rule #1: Do not begin three more projects before finishing the first project. This usually translates to one project on the needles and one project on the sewing table at a time…usually. Lately, the socks I’ve been knitting have been complicated. I only knit them on Sunday mornings when I have spare time. I’m making good progress, but I decided to knit some mittens as a travel project and a gift. They didn’t work out so well, so I ended up frogging them. Then dear James bought me a “project” for Christmas. Once I replaced the hat/mitten/scarf yarn with yarn I could and would knit with, I went in search of patterns.

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(The finished cabled headband…really, I meant to smile, but I hate taking selfies…;-).)

Yes, you heard me right, I spent a few hours on ravelry.com…who doesnt’. I finally found a cabled headband http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-headband-26 pattern I liked and was hoping to find a matching cowl. I didn’t. I found similar ones, but I found none that work with me, so I’m left to making it up as I go along.

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The current cowl I’m currently working on…I’m hoping it will work with me…but only two more repeats.)

I was scared of the making of it. I really was, but it can’t be that hard, right? You heard me…and yes, we all know I should know better. Thankfully(so far), I do not know better. Instead, I came across that knitting journal I bought sometime last year and told you I’d tell you what I thought of it. What did I think? I didn’t think much of it until I started trying to work out this beast. This cowl shall remain nick-named the beast until it is finished. This week, I have two attempts and almost a graph/chart or pattern worked out. I want to leave options semi-open to make it your own. I like making something my own when possible.

Not near as easy as I thought it would be to write the pattern, I hope it’s more fun to knit…it shouldn’t be as hard as it looks. It was harder figuring out how to set it up…I think.

So, what did I do? It’s pretty simple, in theory, and hopefully in knitting. Explaining it visually or on paper is another matter. Part of me wants to say just do it, and you may have to, if you wish to make this cowl. I don’t think I’m doing the impossible, but we all know knitting can become mind-boggling at times. *If you do try to knit up this pattern as shown here, please give me credit for it…If you find any mistakes you cannot work through, or we cannot work through together, please message me. We’ll work something out. (It is knit in the round, please take that into consideration as you knit the cowl).

So, how does creating a new cowl break my rules….I already have another cowl on the needles, with a pair of socks and one sock beginning to think it’s suffering from second sock syndrome. Something needs to get knit, but I wish to test this pattern. In addition, I’m thinking about a shawl and I can’t find my size 8 dpns to knit the cowl up with, so I may end up doing this pattern on size 7s. Choices, choices…. Patterns, patterns….(And don’t ask me about the quilts).

Waiting on instructions on the quilt on the right, and may need to scale back projects some soon…or at least make a rule to do my homework first….

Yes, that is plural. I have Jessica’s No-longer Secret fantasy quilt to finish tweaking, I have just subscribed to a murder mystery quilt… a charity quilt waiting for Sunday afternoon(my morning), and  I have begun a mystery quilt for my quilt guild that will become a chair warmer/quilt for my nieces to sleep under at my home, it may be time for a second blog. In the meantime, I have to go clarify questions about the fabric and get the photos of my current works…since I have broken my own rules about the number of projects I can juggle.

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Squib, helping me with my homework…so much for planning;-)

As for rule #2…I no longer feel like discussing it. Actually, it’s “Nothing comes into my home that doesn’t have a home, but that requires some more shelves. I’m not sure how the projects fit…but the sewing table feels crowded right now. Can I have some more wine, please?

Keeping it simple really is an art form. I’ve never been good at this, and this week, perhaps you’ll see why, just not in photos…perhaps in the lack thereof…(I kid, of course…I still have pets…).

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Putzer, reminding me I wouldn’t need a cabled headband if I stayed home and gave him his two-handed, full-body massage.

I’ve started a new semester and meandered into slightly new areas of knitting…it seems I’m going to be knitting legwarmers soon…explanation to come, I promise. So, I told you all about the yarn issues and I haven’t touched that blasted cowl since…though I had a slight brainstorm on making the fifteen to sixteen stitch manageable, in that I reduce one of the knit stitches. I’m not sure if I wish to keep knitting, it or if I already frogged it for the needles. I think I frogged it, which works for me too…though I might be able to get leg warmers out of this yarn.

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I still have one skein, should I try it?

Allow me to explain, I was invited to go shoe-shopping with my nieces this evening….after resolving a mis-text about tying shoes (rather than trying them on), I was able to meet with my (ex, I guess)-sister-in-law and nieces to go shoe shopping. The youngest, who had the shoe-tying issue, wanted to shop. The oldest, knew which boots she wanted and which leg warmers looked coolest with them. When the cashier told us they were “buy one, get one50% off, ” I said I might have to have her wait and split the bill. However, we were at a lower end store, and my feet require “good” shoes, i.e. Naturalizer, usually. Turns out, it was the acrylic leg warmers that were on sale.

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Excuse the pet-hair covered fleece, it’s her current security blanket when mom isn’t here….we’ll find out if she tries to steal the leg-warmer yarn when I get it…

Of course, thinking of the cabled headband I was still finishing, and the cabled cowl I’m borrowing from two or three designs to complete soon, I spoke up: “You know, you could talk to your aunt about leg warmers,” and I pointed out to Jessica, (the eldest), that she stays away from all things yarn because she’s allergic to wool…lower end shop (Payless–for you Americans), the leg warmers were acrylic. Lizzie, the younger-stepped right up and said, “Purple. And Pink.” I think I know what that kid is getting for her birthday in February, and began plotting my ravelry search for patterns.

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“Cuz we know what always happens next…” (Trick Pony song…”Just What I Need,”)…in the meantime, this simple cabled headband pattern is knitting up really well…. I actually want to block it. I can’t wait to see the next parts of it.

After another hint or two, and a fiver ($5.00) slid to the niece who walked out with not one, but two sets of leg-warmers, she hinted that she wanted a pink-and-white candy cane stripe. I Since she may be allergic to wool, I have to knit with sock-monkey yarn. I was already kicking around buying some Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky yarn. For the youngest, I may have a use for the millefiori yarn, since she has no issues with wool…speaking of the youngest, I may have to get a photo of her feet in the new socks soon. I may start carrying the camera and spare batteries wherever I go.

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Terpander socks…I’m onto a new repeat, but I haven’t made much more progress this week…I’ve been focusing on cables and a mystery quilt(more about that next week…).

As you can guess, we have no photos of the ideas and no one wants to see the math I’m thinking of to knit this spelled out on paper, if you do, just write out your own calculations and report back on how thrilling they are, please…for the sake of those of us who don’t love math. Speaking of which, I should be doing statistics. But as I contemplated my Ravelry search, I said, you know, I just need a gauge swatch and a circumference, right? Hang onto your hats, ladies and gentleman, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

 

To Frog or Not To Frog…

January 5, 2017

What a silly question! Of course I’m frogging…and likely frogging some more, UGH.

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Not a love match…if anyone wishes, I have a spare skein I’d pop in the mail….

Allow me to explain, and pour the wine. I think we’ll need it;-). So, my dear James bought me sock yarn and a project yarn as a stocking stuffer. I’ve used the sock yarn before and have loved it, and am saving it for another pair of socks to come. However, the project yarn is a nice description of the yarn. He bought me this: Millefiori that I mentioned last week. I knit ten rounds to find three yarn barfs and two knots. Since I simply started knitting, I still have a skein to work with, but at the second knot and third yarn barf, I was quite frustrated. Then the cowl I was trying to knit had an issue of switching from a fifteen stitch repeat to a sixteen stitch repeat….I was done at that point…I will turn this yarn into something really simple down the road…I had to frog. I even frogged the entire thing today.

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My new pick of yarn…working on a simple cabled headband here….using a pattern found on ravelry.

I exchanged the other two skeins of yarn at the yarn shop for three skeins of Liberty Wool worsted weight yarn that includes alpaca wool. I also liked the color way being a bit more muted. It’s still pink and purple but these colors lend themselves to the gray side of the scale, instead of the brights side of the scale. I like them. I hope dear James approves, as I felt terrible actually exchanging a gift. I’m going to have to use lists or train him how to buy yarn….or we may just have to go with one of the Boyd’s bears he likes to get me holding a darned gift card, which will allow me to purchase pattern books I desire as well. This will require planning.

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The mittens are simply leaving much to be desired…perhaps its the knitter, but I’d rather be cabling than knitting words and weird “star” and “earth” patterns, I think…

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I really have no idea what I’m knitting…back to cables, where I know when I’ve screwed up, even if it is five to ten rounds later;-)…they’re still easier.

However, I’m also considering frogging the mittens I’ve been working on forever. The fit isn’t great. They’re not me. They might be Lizzie, but you can’t read the words. Besides, I bought the yarn to make something for my dad. I think they’re getting frogged as dear James bought me mitten yarn, and while I exchanged it, the Liberty wool I bought is much softer and so far, easier to work with…see what I’ve started. This one is just a headband, but I’m planning to work out a matching cowl, and then some gloves or mitts that fit;-), and are me…

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The Terpander socks from Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd, I’m loving these little beasts, even if I’m not loving one long circular needle.

Now, for the piece d’ resistance. The terpander socks have met the top of the chart…or the second half of the repeat is finished. I think I will be knitting a heel in about ten more rounds….there seems to be a theme of ten rounds running through my knitting, but I’m fresh out of tequila I’m afraid…However, I’m very excited to get to the heel of these socks. It’s new, I’ve never knit a toe-up heel before and I’m dreadfully curious to do so. I may be visiting Silver at http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/ very soon. I owe her much of my sock-knitting education not mastered by trial-and-error, or how to fix a problem after you’ve made it. Sometimes it pays to get help ahead of time.

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The back of the socks…soon they’ll look like the front as well…but I have to get the heel knit first…

However, I had to frog a row on one of the terpander socks this week, as I realized when I got back to sock “A” (I think), that I had continued the yarn all the way across instead of picking up, but with knitting a toe and 45 or so rounds of chart, one row of joined socks, caught early, is doing pretty good. I’ve even gotten almost good enough at this repeat to handle it with dear James in the room. (It does help if I make sure he has a kindle or some sort of entertainment as I knit this, however.) In the meantime, look at these beauties;-)…

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It is neat to try them on as I go, but my nephew was so much better at photographing his feet at four than I will ever be…

 

There is knitting, too, I promise….

Allow me to pour us a beverage and explain. I’m having wine, what will you have?

After my nap, I sewed and then sewed some more, then I ripped out some stitches of misplaced hexies, and went back to sewing them in the right place…darned hexies. I was also sent home disgustingly early on Christmas Eve which left my bank account weeping a bit more than expected this year. The snow arrived early this year, which is better than late, when you are not driving home in it too early on Friday night as well….Alas, let’s get back to the sewing I went right back to with the extra time I now had on my hands. I still had tweaks to sew, hexies to place and part of a border to attach….as well as a letter to type and print which would be delivered explaining the quilt top.

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Jamie…wondering what he might do with a planetarium (it’s science, he’ll be fine…).

Where’s the super-secret quilt top? What a great question, I’ll get right on that. About 4AM Christmas morning, I put the quilt top in a huge box with some batting choices, the letter and a small, wrapped package of chocolate and popcorn. The child shouldn’t walk away empty handed,after all. As my dear niece, Jessica, worked to undo all my pretty 4AM wrapping, she guessed there was a dress in the box. Unless it was a ball gown replica (one I’d shown her back in October), it wouldn’t have needed such a large box. It was a good guess on her part, and perhaps success on my part. (I have sewn her dresses before, mostly when she was younger). Once she got the box opened and began to lift the quilt out, I had my sister in law step in and assist with the unveiling and handed Jessica my camera. Forgive the photo, I often forget to direct when I’m not behind the camera. Besides, most of my subjects are cats, dogs, and yarn…they have ears only for food, and the yarn, doesn’t listen at all, much like the cats.

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The reveal….there’s more to go….but here’s what I’ve been working on forever….or the last three years…if that isn’t loving someone more, I don’t know what is;-).

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That being said, the quilt top is still a wee bit unfinished and my dear Dad was the first to point out the holes left in the quilt top. (I wanted to shout, “You should have seen them yesterday!” I didn’t, I was good.) He suggested the holes were arm-holes…you see them…clever, but not quite. I’m quite aware I have more work to do. But once it was unveiled, and I returned to work Monday to double my normal hours this week, including an extra Tuesday, I decided it was now okay to take a slight break from the quilt top. Besides, there is still more to update.

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Said quilt top…Spindly legs, and all…spindly term courtesy of Jessica…

I also presented the cable socks to Lizzie(the younger niece), that I’d been working on for much of fall semester. I promised feet photos and forgot them. I’m torn between you have to wait until my pair is done or I’ll have her pose her feet next time…then we have to figure out the best way to photograph someone else’s feet….

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Future footwork…(it’s not as if I have three or more of these irons in the fire;-))…

I also meant to unveil mittens to my dad. They did not get finished, not even the first one. Hence why I was on the naughty bench all week, in addition to the quilt top–’When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” –Mae West.

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Where the mitts are this week….(they didn’t fit…). I’m glad I got the “alternate” gift…perhaps one day, I or Lizzie will love them;-)….

Luckily, I’d received a generous surprise gift card and snuck off the the J-store (Jo-Ann Fabrics) to purchase some last minute gifts….(yes, I know better). While dear James’ journal came in before the big day, he still appreciated the simple hard-cover journal of a similar size I procured for him which may travel better.

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The journals….his is much better–the leather one on the right, but mine travels easier….

Then I presented my dad with his “alternative” gift, a simple Star Wars calendar. I proceeded to test his reaction to the wool I was using by thrusting the entire skein into his hand. If it made him itch, I’d have a positive and he could wash the itch off quickly. I showed him the right mitt and had him try it on. Turns out, it’s better suited for my hand than his, which I feared. He was not fully aware of the mittens, so this gift was not an entire bust, thankfully. I might be able to get off the naughty bench for this year. I’ll be sure to join you ladies (and perhaps some gentlemen) right back there next year!

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Bubble gum filled Naughty socks….the Nice sock was hidden in the bottom of the snowman….

Now that the big reveals are done and my nephew enjoyed his bubblegum filled socks… presented naughty one first (because the kids really are a chip off the old aunt block….don’t tell them I admitted to anything near old, but the block is old!), I’ve considered reflecting on the past year, but with all the deaths of legends, whether the returned home as the K theory in Men In Black suggests or they are simply gone, we’re begging for a kindler, gentler 2017, and thinking of sending 2016 off with a big bang…or one heck of a salute. It won’t matter to me, unless the big bang is in the gaming hell where I will hopefully be dealing a Carnival game rather than Black Jack.

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My happy break from work(except when I’m talking knitting with a Georgian(U.S.) knitter working on a Detroit Lions cowl before a tournament she attends once a year;-). (Squee moment from work).

Enough about work…there’s a reason Londoners, or Englishmen, in historical novels call it a gaming hell, and I’m not really done being naughty, and therefore am absolutely not prepared for reflection…February will be cold enough for that…. Plus, I’ve picked up some “shelved” projects and had others thrust upon me or requested.

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The other side of the socks….I still love this color.

Dear James had to fill my stocking after all, and when he got home from his last minute traditional shopping trip to my local yarn store, he reminded me that I’m expensive and told me he got me a new project…well, the yarn for it anyways….

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Dear James told me I didn’t have a matching scarf, hat and mittens…half acrylic…Now I’m left searching for a matching pattern….any suggestions?

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Reveal of the second sock for the kid willing to wear my Naughty or Nice stocking hat…;-)

No, I didn’t throw a huge fit on the naughty bench, not yet anyway. I actually enjoyed my knitting/quilting time there… Allow me to explain.

There is this beast of a quilt…it’s semi-secret and only twin size, but it’s an original design that’s mostly hand-sewn and three years in the works. Since three years is long enough and there will be a great reveal next week, I haven’t knit but two rows this week, and I had to rip one of them out…two steps forward, one step back, right?

So, I’ve spent all of my spare time sewing this quilt and creating the border and getting the quilt top in place…And I need more hexies! And I need another hexy! And I need another inch or two here. I’ve discovered I’m a creative designer with tons of love and a boyfriend who scales back my eye for color, thank goodness. I must give him credit in the letter I’m yet to write and print off…because I’m also all about tough quilt love. I promise. If it is to become a dog bed, it will be returned. If it is found on the floor, it gets one opportunity to be picked up or it will be returned. I can find another tweak it needs(as it still needs some tweaking) and store it in my closet or hang it on a wall.

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Lizzie’s “Masterpiece” #1…Yes, she worked on two of them…

Don’t get me wrong. It’s meant to be used and loved, but with respect–and more than one would give a blanket. It’s also under contract, as I have to show it at shows and retreats. But the top is nearly done and my fingers might be a touch sore, though I sewed my own leather thimble and discovered I love this thing. I decided I’m gifting it as is for Christmas and allowing the recipient some say in the batting and backing, as well as the quilting. I’m certain  (and hopeful) that she will be quite surprised.

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If you look closely, you can make out Stars…the top row says “made of”

I also plan to finish the damn mittens that I’m still halfway through the one hand of…(I really expected to achieve full Wonder Woman status this week and get to halfway through the second mitten). But I only received a $25.00 gift card to the J-store  (Jo-ann Fabrics, for those not in the know)….that helped obtain some Christmas gifts at the last minute(both on sale as well).

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The finished gingerbread square created by Jessica and myself…such a cute courtyard for the love kisses(they were the last two, and I left them for my niece).

But I also had to test my wonder woman status this week and work on Gingerbread houses with my sister-in-law, nieces, and Little: Mariah. It was a good night, and I kept my youngest niece overnight and then made Magic Bars and No-bake cookies with Lizzie–which leads to nap time.

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The other side of the mittens that did not knit themselves this week…

My brain hasn’t registered my schedule much of this week, I was up at 8AM on Wednesday and 6:45 AM on Thursday. AGGHHHH! I’m normally not up before noon, and noon is early. I still work overnights. I’ve worked through most of it, but I needed a nap (which I don’t normally do) mid-day to work around getting up over five hours early, perhaps six full hours early. I don’t even have class this week. Alas, it’s not helping the knitting and I’m not going to knit as much when I’m ready to fall asleep…. I can sew better tired, so long as I’m not on the machine, and double checking my work.

There may be some more knitting tonight…I’ve accomplished two more rows for a total of three this week, however…I still have hexies to create and stitch in, as well as a border to assemble…and now real life must intervene and call me back to work for the weekend….alas….wish me luck. Next week, there will be a reveal…

 

Mitten Continuance

December 16, 2016

What can I say….the big gifting day is ten days away…I’m almost half done with the first mitten. Hear me out….classes are done, grades are in–they’re respectable, but not my best work…well, except for the developmental psychology class. That was good work, or a 4.0. The rest, I received an A- in, or 3.7. I was surprised by one of the A-’s as I expected a B at highest, but our last quiz replaced a bad grade on a damned literary map (that likely doesn’t belong in a college classroom), so I consider that A- almost a bonus. But I got used to the 4.0 average I was working my butt off for in school, so forgive me if this feels a bit deflated. Alas, I must respect that it is still decent progress.

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Squib, cuddling while I knit…at least he doesn’t grade my knitting….just the yarn quality, sometimes

Moving on, I’m busting my butt on the semi-secret fantasy quilt. I’ve sewn in most of my free time and have over half of the border done as well as the cornerstones. I’m making progress…but I feel like it’s never enough. I’m hoping to get this top done before the 25th. I did catch a break today as my sister-in-law and I had gingerbread house-making planned, but she wasn’t ready as I headed off to learn my final grade in my frustrating class(see above, I hope that rant is over).dscn1630

Side 1 of the mitten…I think this is the bottom side, since it’s for the right hand…

I came home and sewed some clouds and worked out where the fabrics need to go to make more clouds. Then I considered the flowers….I need more flowers….I always need more of one or the other, but I made good progress and just have to keep working. I also snuck in a row or two on the mittens while I got some laundry done this evening. However, I also have to cook this week(projects or not….if I wanna eat, I gotta cook-drat).

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Side 2 of the mitten….It’s coming along, but I better return to knitting. I’m hoping it turns out better than it looks on the needles, but I think it will be fun in the end.

Then, as I watched the first half of the season finale of Project Runway, I finished dinner and knit the next row…which got me close to half way done with the chart. Since I have the cuff knit, I might be over halfway done, but I also have to knit a thumb in there…That could get interesting.

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Maeve, snuggling on mom while I knit… right on the yarn and covering the pattern…she’s a pro at interrupting the knitting process….

Now, allow me to tell you about my “Oh, crap!” moment. I’m not sure if it was yesterday as I snuck in some evening knitting time, but it must have been, because I barely arrived at class on time this morning(class was meeting early due to the final exam schedule). I started the left mitten, I’ve knit everything for the left mitten…do you catch my drift…then I looked at the chart pattern and realized I was knitting the chart for the right mitten! “You’ve got to be kidding me,” is likely the nice version of what I was thinking.

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Squibby doesn’t get the ‘What was I thinking?’ thing….he just tests it and sees what happens….I need to be more like Squibby…

Instead of continuing to swear about my luck, I calmly turned the pattern over, saw where I should be. Then I looked at the first page, and saw my salvation: Right mitten: Work same as left mitten. Thank goodness! I may have done a little jig in my chair…minding the knitting needles (and any other pins and needles) of course. I hesitate to celebrate further this week as I hope to make much more progress before I feel comfortable with the gifting.