Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Fresh off the Needles: Mystic Fish Hat

It’s been really hard to knit this summer without any air conditioning in the house.  So I haven’t made too much progress over the last few months.  I’m hoping to get more done (I’m almost done with my blue sweater!) as the weather cool.   However, I did manage to finish a quick fish hat (from 2008) to wear to the aquarium next time I take my son.  I am loving how it looks and can’t wait to debut it!




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Fairy Garden Fair Competition

Okay, so I’m trying out a new craft (shocked? You really shouldn’t be…) to submit into a local fair competition.  I’m working on my own Fairy Garden!  I’ve gathered my supplies from our yard and my craft closet, all that’s left is to buy the fairy figurine to go on it. I’m thinking either one that is stepping into the fairy ring or one that’s on top of some mushrooms that looks like she’s afraid to jump. And possibly one hanging from another “window” on the vase.  Inside the vase I’m going to have a light so that it shines through the windows.

But before I  do I would like some feedback on what I have so far.  So anyone with a fairy obsession let me know what you think.  Should I add an animal? Or flowers? Or mushrooms? Or a sign that says “faries welcome”? Or should I take out the rocks? Or the trees? Or the ladder?




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105 Cubic Feet

That is the space of my new craft closet in our sunroom.  I am excited to get that up in working order – Pinterest has shown me so many wonderful possibilities!  I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off the look that I have pinned like this one from Craft Storage Ideas (how perfect is that little set up?!?) but I am going to try.

Essentially that is the space I have, but a lot of it is height.  So I am going to have to find a way to arrange it in an inspiring and functional manner.


Lots of potential for crafty organization

 Besides my vast knitting stash and library, I’ve also acquired a sewing machine and table.  I haven’t even dipped my toe in that pool yet, because the machine is still in it’s box and the table is buried under moving boxes in the garage.  The challenge will be once I learn how to use it, is how to do I use it?  For my knitting I know what yarns I want to use on my next projects and which are just perfectly preserved for petting and which are just left overs for a provisional cast on.  I know what my tendencies are for that hobby, I don’t know how I will embrace sewing.

The next dilemma is the actual storage solutions.  I found an old library card catalog and a small drawer cabinet at a yard sale a few weekends ago.  I don’t know how I’ll use them, but I know they have a very specific purpose just waiting to be utilized in my future craft closet.  I have the shoe organizer that when I set it up in Virginia made me feel like I had my own personal little LYS – I should put that back to use.  I have the two bookcases that I used at our old apartment before moving here, which wasn’t very organized but it contained a lot of my supplies.  I know I want to get a peg board, because that seems like it would be useful.  I’m not sure about a chalk board, I feel like a cork board would be more practical for how I function.  And I should get a bookshelf for all my books and magazines and loose patterns.

Holy crap, there is a lot to get excited and/or overwhelmed about with all the necessities and possibilities of this space.  I am going to try and stay excited about this place, putting the rest of the house in order is overwhelming, but this is going to become my 105 Cubic Feet of Crafty Bliss.

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Off Topic: Peeling Wallpaper, Painting, Pulling Carpets and Putting Down Bamboo

It’s been a busy week here at the Ugly Duckling Ranch, but that’s to be expected with the kind of transformation we’re making here.

My war with wallpaper continues. In my excitement to start Operation Beautiful Swan, I made the rookie mistake of peeling a little bit here, a little bit there, a little bit in that corner, a little bit back at the beginning. It’s like when you’re in between manicures and you’re chipping away at your nail polish. You notice a little bit of the nail showing in one finger and then the cuticle is more noticeable on the other hand, and before you know it the beautiful manicure you had gotten over the weekend has been damaged in every single one of your fingers. And it just looks messy. That’s the status of my house right now. All the walls that have wallpaper on it have a little bit of it ripped up and it looks really messy.

I had finished removing the wallpaper border that was in the Master bedroom a while ago and decided to focus my efforts on the dining room next. But I called for reinforcements and was happy when a friend of mine came through with her promise to come and help. When you ask for a guy friend to help you move, you offer beer and a pizza. When you ask a girl friend to help you remove wallpaper, you offer a homemade tempura dinner. My hubby, prepared a wonderful meal to get us energized and my friend stayed until image



There is still wallpaper to remove in the dining room, but relative to the kitchen, it’s not much since it only has three walls, three doorways, a window and the wallpaper is all above theimage


rail. I had hoped to get it painted before our bamboo floors get installed tomorrow, because I don’t care much about dripping paint on this hideously filthy carpet, but that’s just not going to happen. Hopefully, it will be done by the end of the month, but if you’ve read some of my previous posts you know me and deadlines don’t mix very well.

What did get painted was the master bedroom aimage

nd bath!

We painted Soybean’s room ourselves and all I can say is that the couple that paints a room together … …. … is lucky to come out alive! Seriously, I am NOT a happy painter. For whatever reason, I become a Type A personality when painting, I can see all the brushstrokes, all the heavy globs dripping down, all the white marks that weren’t properly blended, all the spots on the ceiling, and many imaginary iimage


Props to my hubby for dealing with this unexpected side of me and coming through with his promise to have our bedroom professionally painted. Since it’s summer the painter we hired could only come on a rainy day since all of his current projects are outdoors, lucky for us, it rained four days after we reached this arrangement. Yay for rainy days! And a bigger YAY for hiring professional painters!

Once the room was painted and the smell of it aired out, I turned my attention to the closet. The same filthy carpet was in there covering the floor of my closet – the beautiful hardwood that runs down the hallway and the two smaller bedrooms. Sadly, that wood is not in my bedroom, that will have to be another day’s work of installation. So while Soybean took his morning nap I got busy pulling up the carpet, nails and staples. For that I needed some specialty tools including: a doohickey, a thingamabob, and a whatchamacallit image

The doohickey was to pry the staples from the floor, the thinkamabob was to actually pull it out, and the whatchamacallit was to pull up the nailed down trim. Pretty soon my closet had it’s beautiful floor and fresh coat of paint, all that is left to do is fill it up!

Now it’s late and I too excited about the prospect of having new floors in my living, dining and sun rooms! I cannot wait to be rid of all this carpet for good and actually start getting settled in our home. But before anything happens I have to navigate through breakfast tomorrow morning with a train table in front of the stove.

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I’M BACK! Back in a knitting groove!

Yes, I am back! The reason for my absence? We’ve moved … again. But this time, we’ve moved in-state, to our very own home!! That is the change that I hinted at in my last post, we’re homeowners now and things couldn’t be better, or scarier, or busier.

There was a lot of nerves and anxiety and excitement until the end of the winter when we finally put pen to paper and closed the deal on our new home. We are thrilled and there has been a lot happening as we transform our ugly duckling house into our beautiful swan home. The master bath got gutted, carpet was pulled, plants were trimmed, walls were painted, and a war between myself and 1970s wallpaper is in full swing. This means that my little blog here will expand a little bit more as well, as I hope to share with you some of the transformations (we attempt) to make our home.

Despite all of that I managed to get some knitting done. I finished knitting the colorwork purse and started the second sleeve of the blue sweater! I decided that I was going to keep those two WIPs out so when I needed a break from the stress of buying a house I would have one of those projects available to work on. Despite my jitters and twitches, this helped me complete the purse. Look at how beautifully it came out:




Now, obviously I haven’t had a chance to block it or line it yet, but once I clear a few boxes and have some visable floor space, I’ll block it out. As for the lining of the purse, I plan to do it with my brand spanking new sewing machine! YEAH!! Because if anyone else needs another hobby, it’s me.

I received it in the mail a few weeks ago and it is still in its box. I still have no idea how to work it, I haven’t been properly taught to use one since 8th grade Home Economics when I made lopsided shorts. The plan is to sign up for a 101 class at JoAnn’s, have a little one-on-one time with a friend from my knit group, and maybe get a Craftsy Class too. But I do plan to be a little less selft-taught and a little bit more instructed with sewing than I was with knitting. I feel like I will need more guidance with a sewing machine than I did with the needles and hook. We shall see…

So lots more to come here at Procrastaknit. Maybe I’ll become more Procrastasew, or ProcrastaDIY Home Improvement Weekend Warrior! HA! We’ll see what happens.

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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

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.


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. 😦



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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