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.

dscn1671

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.

dscn1676

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;-).

dscn1670

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.

dscn1664

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….

dscn1681

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.

dscn1683

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.

dscn1686

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!

dscn1669

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.

dscn1678

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.

dscn1679

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….

dscn1680

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?

dscn1670

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

Advertisements

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.

dscn1636

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.

dscn1641

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).

dscn1639

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.

dscn1642

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…

 

Wondering…With Pride

May 13, 2016

Where to begin: with the Pride Moment: Grades are in…dun, dun, dun…This girl got a 4.0, in all of her classes. That’s not all. I worked for it. I worked part-time. I picked up a second job. I attended a quilt retreat, and knit a sock and most of another. Now, I only took 9 credits or ¾ time for the academic world. (But I couldn’t have done it all if I’d done any of it full-time. But raise a glass (mine was Chianti) to the smart girl who won’t shut up about her knitting.

DSCN0638

Scamp, helping Mama knit her sock…or distracting me for attention…

Now we get into the wondering part. As I knit the second sock of this set, I wondered about the sock. Will it be long enough? Will it fit? I’m not used to knitting on this small of a needle. I’m using ones instead of twos. I have seventy-six stitches though…I should be okay. I even have a photo of the first sock on my foot…it looks fine. (You’ll just have to take my word for it;-)…till next week, hopefully). Or search through my late February, early March blogs…

DSCN0668

Current progress on the socks made of Christmas Yarn….

Then I got out the pattern to make sure I was done with the cable repeats…it looks as though I am. It’s even close in length to the other…see? And I read on, and I have notes to decrease two stitches twice in the next four rows. What? Why? I’ll have to review each of my blogs and see if I mentioned the decreases. I hope I did. Perhaps I was aiming to get at a smaller number to decrease for math reasons. Remind me to answer this mystery for you next week, won’t you?

DSCN0393

Previously, when these two socks were near the same completion rate…

The other half of the wondering equation involves the gray sock. I looked at it last week and re-tried it on, or perhaps it was after I tried it on James’ big foot. Set down the beverage while I defend myself. His feet are still bigger than mine–there’s more of him to balance.  Okay, I’ll let you have another sip for a moment. I tried the sock on me, and it was too loose. I knew this was happening. I’ve been warned, but I’m going to forge on anyways. I don’t think I can get more yarn in these colorways, and I don’t think there’s going to be enough for three socks, especially if one of them is too big. I’ll have to hope for the best. But you’ll get to see where I went from this:

DSCN0384

Briannag helping me model the slouchy sock. (And it was slouchy…see all that extra room?)
To this:

DSCN0651

Pretty close to where I unraveled it to…it was almost therapeutic, as I knew I would knit something better with it. Same pattern, just a better fit.

It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Though there was much winding of wonky yarn. Now, there will simply be more knitting, with hopefully a simpler pattern to travel with me for between class and work or days there’s nothing else to do. They do creep up in June, well, a couple of them. I’m doing my best to fill them with visits to aunts and a couple of birthday parties and some quilting and knitting. I’m never not busy for long…and then I let myself get lost in silly games that make me say bad words. I’ll stick to the knitting for that, as I have something to show for it in the end. P.S. I shouldn’t mention this now, but I’m finishing these socks. I got this yarn this Christmas, this may be the fastest I’ve knit a pair of socks in some time;-). Until next week–Happy Knitting, my friends, and may your yarn be knot free and your knitting tink free.

Are My Socks Too Small?

January 15, 2016

Confession time: I switched needle sizes…quite by accident. However, I’m a bit concerned that seventy-six stitches of simple, elastically ribbed cable knit socks will not be enough. I attempted to try the socks on my left foot, and dropped a stitch as the needles tried to stretch over my ankle/heel area. I thought of a photo, but I couldn’t see anything good coming of this. You may have to rely on your imagination for this.

001

Squib helping me knit…with the smaller needles…

I will admit, I’ve made good progress on this sock. I will likely know shortly if this sock is really too tight. I’ve made some minor adjustments to fit my wider foot, but I’m not sure if it will be enough. Then I’m faced with the knitter’s dilemma…do I rip out the sock and re-knit it to make it the right size? Or, do I make the second sock the same, gift them to my niece with some minion stuff for her birthday and buy another large skein of the dark purple painted yarn to knit another pair?

001

Squib getting cozy as I finished up the cable-work repeat this evening…

It sounds a little on the devious side, but I will tell dear James what happened, and he will get a good laugh if I end up knitting two pair of these socks…or perhaps I’ll pick the pattern he suggested next with the size 2 needles instead of size 1. In the meantime, I’ll be buying some new yarn to add to the stash this week(for socks in my colors one day, that match another sweater and shirt…perchance to dream) and I will likely be buying some yellow sock yarn to work with the blue I have, hoping the blue is enough or I can find more of the same dye lot…to make my niece a minion hat for her birthday. I think she will enjoy this.

002

Current progress on the smaller sock…

I bought it this evening, planning to make this for her. You can find the pattern here:

http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/knitting/accessory/minion-beanie-hat/167185?_ct=cucruh-xecu-sedjydkyjo-emd-sbysa&_ctp=1,PID%3A167185

I chose this pattern for the ear flaps. It looks like I will be learning to crochet in the near future…or I will email this eye pattern to my sister-in-law and ask for her help in completing this hat. I did see a pair of fingerless gloves, and might try to make her a set, but I haven’t decided, and with studies I do not know if there will be time for it as well, or if that will become part of next year’s Christmas gifts.

That shall be all for this week. Please forgive the choppiness of this post, if you notice it. I am running on nights of up to four hours sleep for over half of this week, due to starting classes way too early in the afternoon…However, my shift has been switched to a bit earlier, so I hope getting to class will get easier in the near future…003 Current progress-side view on the sock, perhaps I can make them work on my feet after all…

…perhaps it’s the energy of expectations for a new year; perhaps it’s all that time spent inside drinking hot tea to soothe your cranky throat. Oh, heck with it, by the time I get to writing down the blog, I’m on to the wine. This is especially true if I’m taking on all that I can handle and more.

I’m going back to school, hopefully for an accounting degree-but that’s another story. I’ve started a new, slightly complicated knitting project, and I still have to sew down the underbelly of a mama horse. The horse will come, and is much easier than it sounds, but it’s not crossed off so it’s still on the list of things I haven’t done today. Part of me wants to be done.

002

Knit 1, Purl 1 rib stitch…I forgot to complain about this. The longest consistent stitch in this pattern is knit 5. Focus, focus, focus…(what a girl gets for desiring a challenge…) Knot socks by Nancy Bush in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd

I’ve started studying for classes and hope some of the classes go better than the books promise. I’ve become quite the book critic since I’ve returned to college. I have a How to Study class I have to take due to extenuating circumstances and misunderstandings. It’s partly my own fault, but I don’t like one of the books and feel as if I needed this as well as “How to apply for Scholarships” as an English requirement in my junior year of high school. Alas, that could be another blog, but I should get back to studying before I attempt any more.

001

The purple yarn, that is one or two shades above black…it is knitting up pretty, but I need new glasses soon…

Allow me to segue to the knitting we came here to discuss. I got this pretty purple and brown and blue yarn that is one shade above black from Dear James for Christmas. One day, I will train him to buy the yarn I want. I do not want to take all the mystery out of it and make him a list, however. I told the shop owner I trust him. I foolishly thought he was paying attention as he wandered through the shop asking questions about sweater yarn while I was shopping the sock yarn. I also suggested it should match one of my sweaters/shirts I wear often. (I’d better pay more attention to what I wear between Thanksgiving and Christmas next year.) I’ve offered to teach this man to knit many times this Christmas season (fortunately, he hasn’t taken me up on it yet).

So, I got out the beautiful, purple(not black) yarn, and began to pick out a pattern for it. I was hoping for openwork, but couldn’t find the right one for this yarn, and decided on cabling. Perhaps if I make a pair of socks it has to be really cold to wear, he’ll consider buying me pastels next year. A girl can dream, right?

001

(*Ack..horrid photo)…In Dear James’ defense, he did try to match a turtleneck I wear frequently.

Right, got it. Make the list or give him a sweater to take with him, maybe even the outfit. Better yet, my new year’s pay is in next week, I’m making a stop at the yarn shop. Okay, that’s settled. So, we’re down to a couple of patterns and I choose the one I think is prettier. I’ve found a wee problem with the pretty patterns. There’s nothing vanilla about them and classes start Tuesday for me.

003

7 inches…to be or not to be…enough…here goes hours of knitting time;-)

I’ve made good progress and have knit a repeat each night this week, before I go back to school and studies take over my nights. I didn’t even stop for photos until I got to the heel flap. Yes, I made it to the heel flap. I work the next two nights and will focus on the sewing as it’s far easier to walk away from at work. I may get some more knit Sunday or Monday night, but I hope I haven’t hit a major snafu. When I got to the heel flap, the pattern tells me I should be at 8 ½ inches. I’m at 7 inches. I’m hoping my 76 stitches are enough to go around my foot when I’m done with this sock.

006

Vanilla Latte socks that would be easy to knit between classes;-)

Part of me wants to check the gauge and is debating starting over(I’d only be ripping out a few thousand stitches and finding bigger needles). Part of me wants to cast on the black yarn (okay, you can laugh at me now) for a pair of Vanilla Latte socks I can do from memory to create a second pair of work socks big enough for comfort and gift the ruffled black-hearted socks to my niece for band concerts. Part of me wonders if I’ve totally gone bonkers. Then I reach for my wine and decide to figure it out later. Though I’ve noted the vanilla latte socks just might travel well for in-between class in case I’m ever caught up on my school work…or my brain refuses to function in a studying capacity.

Also, I did receive the knitter’s graph paper journal from: http://www.fringesupplyco.com/product/knitters-graph-paper-journal (where I purchased it) or the designer’s website: http://rowanmorrison.com/products/knitters-graph-paper-journal

I’m slightly disappointed that it is soft cover, but it is a good cardstock soft cover. I’d like a hard cover option, as I’m not gentle on many things. I like the information presented, especially as I sometimes have to educate a non-knitter on knitting information. I believe I like the paper, but I have not put it to the test yet as I have an idea for a design, but it is still percolating, and I didn’t want to rip out my pretty(not black) Christmas stocking yarn three or four times as I tried to make open work butterflies work on socks. I may sneak it in my bag with some colored pencils and doodle one day when my brain refuses to accept any further knowledge. I will keep you updated.

To Peek Or Not to Peek…

December 25, 2015

…just might be the question of the night;-)

The Christmas gifts are mostly wrapped and done. I have one more to finish and wrap, but it involves paint and shellac(the spray kind), and it will be done in time. I may have to thank my brother and sister-in-law for moving our Christmas family gathering this year. I had less craziness involved in completing the gifts. I’m much happier with them when I can look at it and say, “This is closer to what I wanted.” I really wanted perfection, but that would require months, not weeks….

Phone Photos-Quilt 003

The Christmas tree is getting full of gifts…there’s a couple more to go under it, and perhaps next week I can show you my creations.

Alas, they are getting done and mostly wrapped, and the gift pile beneath my tree is growing. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit some of these gifts beneath it until I get to deliver them. Then the directing may begin. Though it would be fun to see this gift I can’t fully explain opened both ways. I may just let the teen figure it out for himself. He’ll have his own ideas anyways.

Phone Photos-Quilt 006

Scamp is convinced these are her toys…

And the nieces are set up to be opened how they wish. Now, if I could just find the treats meant to go with them. I have the candy canes, but I got some other items and am not sure where I put them…I may have another search on my hands. In the meantime, this is a knitting blog…

Phone Photos-Quilt 003

Scamp likes to play with the ribbon before she peeks…

But my needles are all naked right now, and I want to cast on and start a new black (shh…don’t tell dear James) sock that fits better, and I might still tonight. But then I have to get some knitting graph paper and design an arm sock set for a friend of a friend. This could get interesting. I was impressed my knitting journeys took me to fair isle. I didn’t expect them to take me to custom arm sock design. This could get interesting. Now to figure out which journal I need. I promise, you will hear about whether I like it or not. I picked out this one:  http://www.fringesupplyco.com/product/knitters-graph-paper-journal

I hope I didn’t ruin a Christmas gift, but I suspect he bought me yarn and he said something was a set and I could get the rest of it after Christmas…it’s curious, because he tells me it’s not needles. I know where it is, I could check the packages. It’s tempting, but I won’t. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being naughty, I just learned many years ago that I don’t like ruining the surprise.

Phone Photos-Quilt 010

Scamp and Squib Inspecting the gifts, and their box…

When I was ten, (please forgive me if I’ve told this story before), my little brother woke me quietly at 2AM. We snuck down the stairs, and peeked at the Christmas gifts, which were only covered with a blanket. My brother woke me to help because I had a knack for putting things back exactly the way they were. So, we peeked, and I found mine and looked. It was fun, and made a great story about what I did on Christmas vacation. And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that meddling teacher, Mr. Sauve(Saw-vey, not shampoo). He kept our essays, and returned them to our parents at conferences in February.

Phone Photos-Quilt 010

Squib is pro-peeking…

I was mad at him for a month. We didn’t get into too much trouble, but our cover was blown, because it made a better story than I watched tv, fought with my brothers and waited for school to start back up where the rules were consistent and we frequently busy, except when I finished my classwork before everyone else, except for writing. I would have written all day if they’d let me. Alas, the stocking soon took over for my favorite tradition, and I remember having to “act surprised” at my gifts, though I already knew what they were. After that, I decided just to wait and see what the gifts were. That way, I wouldn’t get anymore essays returned to my parents that I didn’t ever want them to see or know about. (Though it does make for a fun story now. At least I think so).

 

This week, I’ve been nearly as exhausted as last week. I still got knitting done, and I made a 2+ hour drive to take my Aunt Maryal to visit my Aunt Jane. It was a perfect day to wake early and drive to get some heart-warming dinner at Bob Evans. We had a good visit and got to chat and catch up. Since I don’t spend many day-time hours awake, I enjoyed the evening visit.

001

Squib, helping me knit…

Now, about the knitting…I did get some done, and with fewer errors than last week, thankfully. I was much more careful about knitting when tired. I can work on the quilt or the jeans when tired. I finally got around to starting to update my jeans in the hopes of keeping them around longer…and a floral patch deserves some embroidery, right? Only, I’m not a huge fan of embroidery. I suspect crochet vines and flowers would be faster, but I do not know how to crochet. Instead, I’m embroidering. I will simply make some time for it each night, and listen to Dear James pout that his fix wasn’t good enough. I suppose I should tell him I’ve been planning this embroidery the whole time.

012

Now, I just have to match some of my shirts;-). Or embroider some shirts to match. This may take some time. I’m not starting an embroidery blog, however. I still have cooking and quilting to focus on. In the meantime, as I do find time for knitting, I ponder the next color I will choose as soon as I begin searching out my next skeins of yarn. I have a favorite shirt in gray and purple paisley on black. I do enjoy this shirt and I thought it would be nice to have more socks that match my shirts. I may be buying some lavender and grey heather style socks soon. I like these colors and I think they’d be nice to knit up. I also think they’d match another favorite sweater.

010

Putzer, demanding his massage as I knit…

I’m knitting Lizzie’s socks as I ponder the colors of the next pair, and as I reach the 7” point, it occurs to me that if I’d followed directions, I’d be halfway done with this sock. Honestly, though, they are going together quite well…and I need to determine which pattern to knit these new socks in. These are the thoughts that go through my mind, when I’m not cursing the pattern or ripping out stitches.

006

Current Progress on this sock…(almost half-way done with this one…)

It has been a week for ripping out stitches(one of the reasons for the smaller amount of errors). If I catch the errors in that row, I frog (rip-it, rip-it, rip-it…yes, knitters are often punny), back to the errors and re-knit. If I do not catch the errors in that row, there is no true idea of how many rows I screwed up, and I call them angel kisses. Who doesn’t like angel kisses?

002

Maeve, snuggling while I knit…

In the midst of frogging, and a relatively busy social calendar, I decided I also need another project on the needles. There are two reasons for this. I wish to have another Christmas gift knit by Christmas, and I decided it would be great to have something relatively easy or mindless on the needles that only requires me to knit and purl. So, I’m breaking the rules, as my nephew is sixteen and has just begun driving. He didn’t want me to knit him anything. However, a car evens the playing field, with some minor issues…

004

My new yarn…nothing drool worthy, but still better than Red Heart…(see what I mean about mindless;-)? Leave it to me…)