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…

 

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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.

…Famous last words…Sure, I can get a pair of stranded color-work mittens done by Christmas. Mittens are easier than socks, right? Granted, I did realize I did not have enough time to knit another pair of socks for Christmas…but mittens, why not.

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Mittens are easy, right?

So, I thought when I saw the cute, sweet stranded color-work pattern with a chart. I can do this. Mittens knit up faster than socks, right? Of course they do. I’ll have some time once I finish my classes, right? I can get them done by Christmas, no problem…says every crafter with good intentions each year…Do we ever really learn?

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Apparently, I do not learn well…at least when it comes to crafting…

I still have a semi-secret quilt top to sew, work and now these darned mittens. The designer is likely very creative, I got them here at Ravelry.com. They’re cute. And I’m finally using the recycled denim yarn that only took me eleven hours or so to untangle as I wound it. I’m glad I took the eleven hours, though I could have been working on a paper during that time.

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Squib, checking my inventory…

Alas, I have one more paper to go, and it’s a reasonably easy revision. But how does a modern woman interpret Medea? (Yes, I’m open to suggestions; I’ll figure out how to give credit later). In the meantime, I’ve been working on them and knitting up little black starbursts in the cloud colored denim before class at school and during extracurricular lectures. I made some progress, but if you know me, you know charts are not my strength…especially when I’m in company.

The lecture was on Neil Gaiman by Dr. Joseph Sommers: “It’s Neil Gaiman’s World, I Just Work In It.” I feel I must confess that I have never read Neil Gaiman(gasp!)–it’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but it hasn’t come up in my repertoire of historical romance and mystery/suspense. I think I need to remedy this…Do you think that will keep Santa from dropping coal in my stocking?

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Scamp, arranging her book nest…

I enjoyed the lecture, as did Dear James-who got to go with me and we made a short evening of it, because I had an exam today. It’s done. I now have to decide if I wish to sell this text book on Amazon. But that has nothing to do with mittens. In my defense, I was finishing the cuff of the mitten at the lecture. Now, I’ve attached color two and am working stranded color-work, that has some sort of design to it, I’m sure. “The left mitten features half of the proverb, with a floral Gotland motif, and the right mitten features the second half of the proverb with an abstract star motif, “The left mitten features half of the proverb, with a floral Gotland motif, and the right mitten features the second half of the proverb with an abstract star motif.” (Bujold).

It shall be interesting…I’m no longer sure if it’s faster than cabling…. We’ll save the “What was I thinking?” part for next week, as you may hear about these….

Oh, dear…then I read the note about using a larger needle size for those with larger hands…tune in next week to hear about the fix…(Or ripping and tearing I have no time for…perhaps I’ll buy the man a Neil Gaiman book, I hope tips are good, so if you go gamble, remember your dealer has to purchase gifts too).

Must Knit Faster

December 1, 2016

The third of four socks is done, but I chose not to cast on the fourth sock. I think I will take a break from the purple for two reasons…1) I wish for a simpler pattern and 2) I need to get a gift done. I should be careful about this, as it is a Christmas gift, but I don’t have to say who the recipient is and I’m not sure they’ll guess…I hope.

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Zeus, snuggling me while I knit…

Stop me now ladies and gentlemen…we all know these are famous last words. But They’ll still be a mystery while I’m knitting them up and I likely won’t photograph them completed until both are done…P.S. I’m still not sure I can get them done in time. We’ll find out.

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Side project…I finished half a repeat and have begun the increase for the gusset.

I cast them on last week once I cast off the purple socks. I’m wishing I’d left them on the size 2 needles, but then I’d be casting on another sock before Christmas. Time does not allow. In fact…I need this gift to be done before Christmas. Hint it’s not socks; still it is knit in the round. I’ve got another inch to go on this first knit 2, purl 2 rib…I want it done. I also have to get a good amount of sewing in.

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Shh…the sewing I was talking about…yes, it’s bright.

In addition, I’m still writing another paper this weekend and revising one, perhaps two. The second revision will depend on a Monday afternoon meeting. In the meantime, wish me speedy luck with recycled denim on aluminum needles. I’m really wondering if I would be further ahead to cut this off and re-cast on the size 2 needles. Oh, the conundrums.