Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Knitting Hiatus

Every so often it just happens, I loose my desire to knit. {GASP!} It’s shocking, but true. I still have my blue sweater and colorwork purse WIPs which have had very little progress over the last few months. I would blame it on the weather, but I can’t do that, it’d be a lie. You’d think all of these crazy snowstorms we’ve been having in Connecticut would actually motivate me to knit!

Truth is I am currently distracted and very anxious about an upcoming change – more on that once all is said and done. I usually turn to knitting to deal with my stress, but I cannot seem to focus on it. I am jittery and twitching, so my hands can’t work a stitch and my mind cannot concentrate on a pattern – not even the stockinette of the blue sweater! I haven’t been going regularly to my knit night either, so that’s not helping matters. Hopefully that all changes soon…

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Vogue Knitting Live 2015

Last week we took a family vacation to New York City, we even took the dog with us! Poor Rooney! He comes from the deserts of California, the sights and sounds of the Big City were too much for him. Add to that the icy cold weather that barely made it up to 30F and you have a pretty miserable little terrier. He was trembling so much, that the sweater I made for him wasn’t enough to keep him warm. Atone point I actually took off my handknitted intarsia cowl made of alpaca/wool/cashmere and put it around him – I guess I am more of a dog lover than fiber fanatic.

The week was calm and relaxing, just us enjoying the fact that nobody was sick anymore and exploring the city. At the end of the week, I needed a fiber fix and knew that Vogue Knitting Live was happening that weekend, so I made a last minute decision to get tickets and see what it was all about.

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Fresh Off The Needles: Beaded Selbu

On the train ride into New York City on Monday, I was weaving in the ends to my latest finished project: Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon Osborn
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I held the yarn double, because the printed label was misleading. It claimed to be fingering weight, but when I put it in on Ravelry it came up as lace weight. It probably would’ve looked better if I had used the tan color as MC and the dark brown as the CC, but I had two skeins of the dark brown and didn’t want to risk running out of the tan yarn.

I added a beads to give it a little pop, but I didn’t want to make it too much of a contrast so these muted pink beads that I had in my beads stash were a great fit. At the beginning of my project I had enough beads for all the rows with the two little petals, unfortunately I dropped the box that had all my beads when getting out of the car. I was able to recover most of them, but I wasn’t able to add any to the last full row before the decreases.
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Which is such a shame! I was really pleased with how this knitted up and the floats on the back are pretty even. If I had not lost so many beads I probably would’ve entered this hat in a craft fair competition. But there was also a dropped stitch at the end so it probably wouldn’t win anything. :-(
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I don’t strive for perfection, so those little flaws don’t bother me. It’s a great fit and really warm – which is coming in really handy this week since the weather here has been below 40° F.

What project have you finished to keep you warm this winter?

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Another LYS Bites the Dust

I am sorry to say that my old Local Yarn Shop in Southern California, Colors91711, is closing its doors on January 11, 2015. Colors was a great place for any fiber loving person to go, I know because not only did I shop there but because I also worked there.

This little shop was owned by two great ladies and managed by a self proclaimed yarn goddess (appropriately named, you can follow her on Twitter @SchmevelynWees). The fiber friendly environment that was nurtured by these women created a local yarnie community that is so hard to come by and impossible to replicate. The first time visitor was welcomed as warmly as the regular customer.

Colors was the first place where I felt confident and empowered by my knitting abilities. Before I started working there I was unsure of my skills always talking myself down as an adventurous beginner, willing to try any new technique but not really proficient in any. I used to think that everyone else was a more advanced knitter than I was, but I soon realized that I had a lot of knowledge that I could share too. Truth is there will always be someone more advanced than you, but to others you might be that someone. I still remember the day in which I kept a customer from bursting into tears simply by suggesting that she put a marker between every pattern repeat so that she could keep track of her progress more easily. It was pure joy to see the “AH HA!” moment she had when this one little tip made her knitting experience enjoyable once again. It was one for me as well, because it taught me that I could help others just by sharing my love of the craft. I love those moments!

Colors91711 was undoubtably a huge stepping stone in my knitting journey and I am saddened that they are ending theirs. All I can say is thank you for everyone that I met while there and I wish all of the yarnie community there happy knitting!

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New Year’s Knitting Resolutions for 2015

I love New Year’s, it is one of my favorite holidays by far.  I definitely look at with lots of optimism for the opportunities that are yet to come!  Even if I don’t get around to actually completing my resolutions, I do like to write them down to try and accomplish something.

So first, a review of my New Year’s Knitting Resolutions for 2014:

  1. Make a baby blanket for my little boy – Done and done!! It took quite some time to find a pattern that I was happy with, and it was a crochet pattern rather than a knitted one, but I love how the 1UP blanket came out.
  2. Continue to maintain this blog – It was certainly more dificult to maintain while being sleep deprived and encountering all of the challenges of being a new mom, but I think I managed pretty well.  According to the WordPress stats I didn’t surpass the previous year’s numbers, nor did I slack off, so I kept the status quo.  Not better, not worse, so I think that is an accomplished resolution.
  3. Make a pattern which requires steeking – This resolution had the best of intentions, but sadly it did not come to be.  I had the pattern and the yarn all set and ready to go.  Unfortunately, after I bought the right amount of yardage I put the skeins’ information onto my Ravelry page and turns out that it was actually thinner yarn than what the label described.  I had my doubts at the time of purchase, but risked it anyways.  Another time….
  4. Design my own pattern – So many ideas floating through my head and yet I can’t transfer them down onto paper.  Or I start second guessing my abilities, comparing them to those of professional designers.  This resolution has yet to happen…
  5. Enter a knitted item at a craft show competition – This one was half done.  I did enter into a craft show, on-line I was registered so technically it might be considered completed.  Except for the fact that I didn’t take my shawl in to be judged, so it was never displayed at the craft show.
  6. Read my knitting books – the only books I managed to read from cover to cover this past year were baby books, with very few words and lots of fun bright pictures.  This resolution did not happen at all.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my successes and attempts of 2014.  And I even went back further and completed one of my 2013 resolutions because I finished the two projects that I had hibernating for more than 4 years.  So long as it gets done it’s all good.

Now onto 2015 and all of the possibilities it holds!

  1. Make Christmas Stockings – I have been wanting to do this for years, even before we started our little family.  We do have Christmas Stockings, I got them at the Dollar Store while my husband was still in grad school.  They sufficed in adding a little holiday decor and I guess that’s one of the reason why I didn’t really dedicate myself to them.  Another reason was the way I used to panic about finishing Christmas gifts in time – I’m SO over that now, so it’s no longer a valid excuse.  Besides we only have three stockings (yep, the dog had one), but now we are a family of four so we each need our own.  The plan is to do one each season: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  If all goes accordingly we will have a very festive mantel (figuratively speaking, since our apartment doesn’t have a chimney).
  2. Nurture a  love for knitting onto my students – Back in the fall I taught five new moms how to knit and they all seem to enjoy it!  In fact, we’ve decided to get together twice a month for a little knitting circle.  I hope to see them progress beyond the garter and stockinette stitches by the end of the year.
  3. Enter an item in a craft show – OK, so I messed up last year.  Now I know better.  I will either try the Durham Fair again or go for The Big E competition…. or maybe BOTH! Now, that’d be something.
  4. Expand on my other crafts – Last year I ventured out onto new crafts.  I tried canning and (less successfully) container gardening.  I enjoyed it and the products were quite yummy – apple sauce for baby and mojito for mommy!  I might have to shift gears a little on my container gardening; I’ll focus mainly on herbs and flowers, since my attempts at beans and carrots were less than spectacular.  If I can resurrect my calla lily and mint plants I’ll be happy.  And if my dwarf lemon tree bears more than two new fruits I’ll be tipsy ecstatic!  Most likely, I won’t be able to do any canning with just mints and lemons, so I’ll rely on local farms for the products to do my canning.  My husband and I like the CSA that we got this winter, but it proved to be a bit much for just us, so maybe we’ll split a share with friends.  Or I’ll just have to do some pick-your-own and try new jams and jellies and such.

I feel like I should stop here.  I am inclined to add one or two more resolutions, but chances are that if I do they won’t be completed.  Instead I’ll just leave it open ended to complete any other resolutions of years pasts.  A lot of them (like design a pattern and read my books) have been on my lists for multiple years, so if I get to them – great! If not, no biggie.

Here is to a great 2015 to all of us, may it be filled with lots of soft yarn and fewer dropped stitches! Do you have any resolutions?

Happy Knitting everyone!

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 860 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Fresh Off The Needles: Baby Hat

I just finished a little baby hat for my husband’s coworker.  It turned out great! Except for one itty bitty little detail… it’s too small!!  We were going to give it to them at the office holiday party yesterday, but when I looked at Baby D’s head, I could tell it wasn’t going to fit him.  So the present stayed in the car all nicely wrapped.  It will be ready for the next baby that is born and now I have to find another pattern for Baby D.  Not that I mind, it was so great to have an instant satisfaction project considering all my other WIPs are ones I have been working on for months!  Here is how the hat came out:

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attern: Baby's Cabled Milk Silk Cap Designer: Susan Boye Source: Luxury Yarns One Skein Wonders Yarn: 127 Print by Filatura Di Crosa

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Container Gardening Fail, Canning Success

It finally started to snow here in Connecticut and I thought now would be the right time to see what progress my carrots made in their container. As you can see from the photos below, the answer is zilch.

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I didn’t have much luck with container gardening, except for some herbs and my little lemon tree. Just enough to grab a bottle of Dominican rum and make myself a delicious mojito. Not very cost effective, to tell you the truth, but I am still determined to make this work. I am going to clear out the dirt from my containers and when Spring comes I am going to try again. I just have to pick the right crop to plant.

Thankfully, my husband and I joined a CSA from a local farm and got a TON of winter vegetables. Comparing the carrots from the farm to the ones in my container gardening, is just pathetic and completely unfair. But essentially, that is my goal. I didn’t start out as a great knitter, I am not going to start out as a great gardener. So I get a learning curve for a few planting seasons, right?

What I am doing pretty well is canning. My husband gave me a canning book for my birthday and so I took the farm carrots and made them into Asian pickled carrots. They also became: carrot ginger soup, baby food, carrot cake, and part of a delicious vegetable ragu. I can’t wait to try some recipes with whatever vegetables we get in December!

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Fresh Off the Needles and Hook!

My baby turned one at the beginning of the month and I finished his crochet baby blanket on his birthday!  After a few attempts I figured out how to properly do the Crochet Intarsia that I had mentioned a few weeks back and here is the final result:

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I couldn’t be happier with how it looks!  I had to do some modifications to the chart, because it appeared to be off-centered so I shifted it a little so there are 8 stitches on both side of the widest part of the mushroom.  Then I sat back to admire my work and noticed that the eyes were also off-center. I thought I had miscounted, but when I looked back at the chart I saw that it was indeed uneven, with ten stitches on one side and eight on the other.  So I fixed that too. In the end, it was a little annoying to keep balancing things out but well worth it!

Another project that I have completed this month is one that has been hibernating in my craft closet since 2010! It is a beautiful tunic in which I had the body, one sleeve, and most of the second sleeve already done. I think I got stuck with the second sleeve when the directions told me to “reverse knit” the decreases. I didn’t know what that meant at the time and so I hid it; out of sight out of mind! I am so relieved, not only that I finished it, but that it fits me pretty well too. Let’s face it, a person’s body can change a LOT in 1,460+ days, especially after a pregnancy.

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Both of these pictures are before blocking, once that’s done it can only get better. Currently I am still working on the blue sweater, I have one sleeve done, I just need to keep adding length to the stockinette body and start the second sleeve so that this project doesn’t end up hibernating for four years too. besides that, I have some colorwork projects going on and I plan to cast on a baby sweater to steek. Yep, that’s happening. No more just talking and dreading it, I’m gonna put my yarn where my mouth is! Wish me luck!

 

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Paying it forward

Earlier this week I taught three women how to knit!  It was very gratifying to pass on this skill.  I used the pattern “Easy Fingerless Mitts” by Roxanne Richardson that is a free download on Ravelry.  It is a great beginner project because it shows the knit and purl stitch and because you have to do two of them you get to repeat the cast on and cast off for more practice.  I have never thought that a scarf is a good first project to learn.  True, you get a better handle of the stitches by repeating it, but beginners either get bored with it because of the length or get discouraged because it looks so uneven with the inevitable dropped and/or added stitches.  So that is why I liked this pattern.

Here is the progress that my students made and the sample that I made with some left over gray Madeline Tosh.  The first two, had already knitted in the past, they just needed a better understanding of how to do it and a quick pattern to see some progress.  My friend with the white yarn had never knitted before and had a difficult time at first.  I told her it was partially because the turquoise yarn she had originally chosen was too close in color to the blue metal needles she had bought, which made it harder for her to see her stitches.  So I gave her some bulky white yarn from my stash and size 13 wooden needles so she could see things better and that helped her a lot!  She was so excited she actually texted me at around midnight last night to show me that she had used up all of the white yarn.  That is so satisfying to see someone feel accomplished! I hope they embrace this craft with as much love as I have.

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