Browsing Tag

knitting blog

Ten MORE Knitting Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

ten-more-knitting-lessons-i-learned-this-year

Oh knitters. I hate to say it, but the year is winding down. I am glancing at my calendar (with tremendous angst) and realizing just how close we are to the end of December. Maybe, for you, 2016 was your best year ever. Or maybe it was your worst. Either way, I am guessing knitting got you through it.

Knitting got me through my year too. That and Reed, who you know I love.

I have knit so much this year (yet it felt like not nearly enough) that I can hardly remember what I worked up in those early months, seemingly eons ago. It’s so hard to keep it all straight! When I review my bucket list for the year, I actually did pretty darn good. I didn’t check absolutely everything off, but I did get to most things.

High five.

(Yes, I know that was dorky. And I don’t care.)

Despite my many years as a knitter, I am still learning to be a better and perhaps more daring knitter all the time. Although I refuse to try steeking.

Even I have my limits.

Sorry.

As with last year, most of my lessons learned came to me from my mistakes, which were numerous despite my best efforts to the contrary. It’s always the easy things that prove hard. And the hard things that reveal themselves to be even harder.

That’s why we have determination.

So, what did I learn this year? Well…

All the Grey

I knit with too much grey! All the things! Grey! And not in the 50 Shades of Grey-sense either. Nothing nearly that exciting.

Ten (more) knitting lessons I learned the hard way this year. Of course.

I designed two grey ponchos and one grey shawl. This is on top of knitting a third (HUGE) grey poncho and working up Reed’s first sweater, which of course inadvertently has a grey base.

Fresh on top of my two grey hat designs from last year, I feel like I am swimming in grey. Obviously I love to wear grey.

Who doesn’t?

It’s so versatile.

Now that winter has arrived and my grey outfits blur into the ominous clouded sky, it all feels a bit drab.

I hereby pledge to take a break from grey yarn in 2017. Color, here I come!

Goodbye, Lace Weight

I have sworn off super fine lace weight yarn. Even if it is cheap and astoundingly pretty in that jewel-toned sort of way that always hooks me. It’s just not worth it. I find it painfully slow to knit with, easy to snag, and stressful to wear.

Maybe some future Me without a young child and in possession of more free time will better enjoy the bliss of working with yarn possibly spun by a (giant) spider, but this Me says NO THANKS.

And pass the wine.

Knitted Toys, No More

Knitted toys?!?! Never again! (Okay, maybe.) I thought Reed’s Easter bunny was going to be a slam dunk. One night of knitting and I would have a marvelous handmade gift to augment his consumer-based, sugar-laden basket. Super Mom!

Uh, no.

Dozens of hours and lots of tears later, Spearmint was born. The good news is Reed still loves his dear bunny and was just toting him around the house yesterday. He has already placed MANY more requests for a plethora of additional hand knit toys, to which I have replied Mama is already busy knitting you a sweater.

Sometimes moms just have to change the subject.

Metal Needles (Almost) All the Way

After breaking two sets of wooden sock needles this year, I switched to metal needles only. They break less and work up yarn faster. I used to think my stitches always slipped off and hated metal needles resolutely.

No more.

My mind has opened. Time is money.

Hold your stitches tight and knit like there’s no tomorrow.

(I received this set for my birthday and have been quite happy!)

The Blocking Kerfuddle

Sometimes blocking works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

It all depends.

And here’s the crappy bit: you just have to try to find out.

Crappier still: if it doesn’t work, there’s no going back.

You’re just screwed.

You can’t unblock it (but you can reknit it, although who wants to do that…). I found I don’t like to block stitches with a lot of texture like the honeycomb stitch unless I am prepared for my knit to flatten out significantly.

And not in a tummy tuck sort of way.

On the other hand, I’ve knit some big screw ups this year that rolled and folded in all the wrong places (designing has it’s limitations!), and was rescued after an unplanned soak in the tub.

(Although as a general rule, I do prefer to block most things and always wet block my swatches.)

Hang in There for The Long Haul

Occasionally projects take six months to finish. That’s okay. My Waterlily was on the needles FOREVER, but I did eventually finish it. Knitting with linen wasn’t my favorite, but washing linen in the machine without much stress IS divine…so I might just knit with linen again after all.

Nothing is ever certain.

Waterlily also taught me that seemingly scary things like Latvian braids are possible. Yes, I fretted and worked myself into a frenzy, painstakingly studying the directions not unlike Matt Damon in Mars, determined to survive and someday return to Planet Earth Yarn.

It was serious.

But, I did it. Without screwing up.

Which means I earned extra chocolate that day.

Sometimes Scissors ARE Required

Cutting knitting with scissors isn’t (always) as bad as it sounds. Even if you think you’re about to have a stroke. Yes, it means you probably screwed up in the first place (uh, hello…always!).

Thankfully some mistakes are easier to fix than others. Try it sometime.

Sleep Deprivation and Knitting Don’t Always Mix

Designing a pattern when you have a newborn and are seriously sleep deprived (and possibly EVERYTHING deprived) may not work out and will likely only lead to crazy patterns you’ll just have to rewrite later. Be advised!

Sleep first. Design later.

Also, invest in a tech editor.

Colorwork is Actually Kind of Cool

Now, I might be speaking a little prematurely on this one given Reed’s sweater is still on the needles, but (so far) colorwork actually isn’t that bad. In fact, I might just like it.

Even though it takes me forever.

And I’m probably doing it all wrong.

AND, blocking might not resolve as many issues as I hope it will.

Still, I like it.

Now I just need to buy more yarn so I have some color options to work with for future projects. I tend to purchase my yarn monochromatically. It’s a whole new Knitting World out there!

Knitting Adds Up

If you knit a lot, you actually get a lot of knitting done.

(This includes socks.)

All these years of being Knit Obsessed means I now have enough knitted items to wear something handmade each day. Some of my Not Quite design attempts look too goofy to gift, but I really should give more finished knits and samples away. I’m starting to run into a hand knit storage issue, and my teeny tiny closet (that I share with Reed) isn’t exactly helping.

(Dear Santa, please bring me MY OWN ROOM for Christmas. Virginia Woolf was really on to something…)

In case you missed them and could use a little extra chuckle in your life today, my top ten list from last year is here.

Knit on. Knit ever. Just knit.

 

On the Precipice of Something

Have you ever come to a place in your life where you pause and realize you are on a precipice? All you have to do is leap, although where you will land is unknown. Uncharted. Maybe it will be greatness.  Perhaps it will be an utter and total flop. There is no choice but to jump and see what comes.

Or, if you don’t launch up into the air, you will never find out.

That is how I have been feeling lately, at least in terms of the knitting in my life. It’s been simmering on the side now for so many years. Don’t get me wrong, it will continue to proceed at a snails pace for quite some time into the future, as far as I can tell. I am doubly certain my knitting foibles will continue–the pattern designs that don’t always manifest on the first (or third) attempt, the dropped stitches that unravel faster than the stock market, the finished objects that take four months to knit and still don’t quite fit right.

It’s all part of it.

My knitting atmosphere just feels so super charged right now. Little ionic particles of wool (and perhaps alpaca blends) sparking and shimmering all about. I am so excited about the cowl design I have been working on. I was tempted to stay up to all hours last night to finish the final rounds, but I knew I would regret the sleeplessness in the morning.

I have also recently discovered Craftsy, which makes me super excited in a way not dissimilar from being provided with a plump slice of moist chocolate cake. There’s is whole new realm of online knitting resources and choices beyond my dearest Ravelry, I have been discovering. I loved Craftsy so much that I became an affiliate*, but more on that soon. (I will be sure to make a Big Announcement in the near future with all the deats.) In the meantime, I am itching to cast on my new Architexture Scarf Kit*. I ended up with the lavender heather colorway, which feels absolutely perfect for a spring knit.

Architexture scarf kit from Craftsy

At the same time, I aspire to make progress on my Bucket List by finally and formally taking an online colorwork class, which is a step above and beyond my typical method of stabbing-and-poking at random You Tube videos. I can’t decide between two colorwork classes: one offered with Melissa Leapman* or another one taught by Anne Berk*. Argh. Decisions. Decisions. Have you taken one of those classes? Advise me!

When it comes to knitting, I have always leaned toward the determined end of the spectrum, especially since Reed was born. I felt a responsibility to make it work, and I have (mostly) enjoyed the weight that has brought to my life (in a non-caloric kind of way). But lately, that I feel Even More Determined. Maybe it’s fleeting. Maybe I will regret it someday. All the energy I put into something that was just a phase in my life and an immeasurable blip in the cosmic realm of the ever-expanding (shrinking?) universe. Time petered away on a mere hobby out of control that could have been applied elsewhere with more successful results.

Who knows. I don’t. And I try not to doubt.

In the meantime, here I am. On my precipice. Ready to jump. I can only hope there is a big pile of fluffy wool at the bottom to cushion the landing, should the fall be a long one.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and reading All the Bright Places.

 

Knit Early and Often

Things that make me grouchy:

  1. Not being able to knit every day.
  2. Not being able to walk or exercise every non-working day.  (I just spontaneously bought this GoKnit pouch to finally try walking and knitting socks. I believe this might fall under the category of two birds with one stone. Or, a future broken ankle. Remains to be seen.)
  3. Not enough knitting time every day (yes, this is different than #!).
  4. Lamenting that I don’t have more time to knit, wondering how I can swindle more time to knit, and feeling hopeless that there is no possible way I can come up with more time to knit (also different than #1 and #2).
  5. A lack of a second pair of hands (so I can knit two projects at once).
  6. Lace that unravels explosively just when you are almost finished knitting a long and complicated lace section (I promise to tell you all about this soon). It’s tragically amazing how quickly the light at the end of the tunnel can extinguish into a bleak, miasma of tangled yarn.
  7. Spending eight months working on a top and then the final two weeks fretting that it looks too long (or too…something).
  8. Five active knitting projects on the needles (or close to the needles), all of which are in various stages of incomplete and not quite right. My only upcoming hope for minor knitting success: toddler socks. One must find redemption wherever one can. Even if it is knitting a dish cloth. Or stockinette hat. There is no such thing as a knitting project that is too easy, as long as it is finished.
  9. Insufficient levels of sleep, chocolate, and quiet time, which often lead to failure to correctly read a pattern such at K1, P3 can easily become P1, K3 for 30 rows until you (uh humI) have realized your (my) fatal error.
  10. Not being able to knit every day (yes, this is the SAME as #1 but was worth repeating, in my opinion)

Can you tell I am trying to figure out how to rework my life to wiggle in more time for knitting? So far, it’s looking bleak.

I know self-driving cars are quite controversial, but I really do hope they figure them out soon in a super safe and affordable sort of way. That would add a minimum of six hours of knitting time to my life. Now, that is something I could get behind.

DSC_0032

On the upside (because I am forever the optimist):

The swatch is for my Rosemont Carigan office knit-a-long is complete. My coworker has a head start and is already approaching the arms! Eep! I swore to myself that I had to first finish my Waterlily Tee (this weekend ???) before I can cast on another top. I loved working with Quince & Co. Lark during swatching. So squishy! I am really looking forward to this project. I have already decided that I want to use Lark to knit a second (and properly sized Kitty’s Chemise).

DSC_0036

In the mean time, off I go to prioritize my knitting projects. Time to make some lists. Just soon as I can find my sparkly pink gel pen. Because what knitter doesn’t feel inspired by a sparkly pink gel pen?

Exactly.

DSC_0041

I am proudly joining Ginny’s Yarn Along. Reading Where Did You Go, Bernadette: A Novel (which I absolutely can’t put down…even at 3:00 a.m.)

Knit Your Way Around the World

Knit your way around the world!

It looks like a bomb went off, but we are home, complete with dirty laundry exploding from every which way, suitcases tossed aside precisely where they don’t belong, and and a fridge that offers only mustard, almond butter, and stale sour cream. The return landing may not be pretty, but it was worth the pain.Knit your way around the world!In cased you missed it, we road tripped down to Monterey, California, visiting the aquarium (twice!) and enjoying the perfect beach weather. It was a LONG drive with two adults, one toddler, an elderly dog, a tricycle, and a scooter crammed into one dirty Subaru with a reasonable amount of luggage.

Like any obsessively addicted knitter, advanced research led me to Monarch Knitting, which happens to be a flagship store for the Quince & Co. yarn. It’s part of my plan for the year to knit up a bunch of patterns from Hannah Fettig’s cruelly brilliant  Home & Away: Knits for Everyday Adventures. Somehow I swindled a coworker into promising to knit the Rosemont Cardigan with me.

Miracles. They do exist.

I called ahead to make sure Monarch Knitting wouldn’t freakishly be closed for some sort of renovation and resolved to stop in to select my Rosemont yarn and touch Quince & Co. wool for the first time ever in Real Life (so far, I’ve only worked with their linen).  Knit your way around the world!I wasn’t sure when exactly I would be able to jaunt into Monarch Knitting, so I lugged my copy of  Home & Away with me everywhere we went in my backpack.

Some random beach? It came along.

Aquarium Day Two? Yep.

Better to heft the extra weight than risk arrival at the target LYS without the pattern. I believe that would have fallen under the category of Knitting Blasphemy.  Knit your way around the world!Ultimately, I did make it into Monarch Knitting and selected my Quince & Co. Lark colorway (Wasabi!) in under ten minutes (it was one of the handful of colorways they had with the required ten skeins in stock), along with a spontaneous acquisition of two skeins of new-to-me Woolfolk’s Sno in White/Silver. This yarn is 100% merino wool and is so stinking soft that it just blows my (over-caffeinated) mind. All I want to do lock myself in a (well lit) closet and knit myself some kind shawl/stole/wrappy thing that I snuggle in all day, every day. I am basically going to pet this yarn incessantly until I can finish some projects and allow myself to cast on.

Pet. Pet. Pet. Woolfolk Sno yarn.

Along the way, I did accomplish a respectable amount of car knitting, making progress on my man socks and Valentine’s mittens. There was an unmentionable incident involving a pot hole and an airborne double pointed needle that is now forever lost in the slot between the passenger seat and center console. On the upside, at least it didn’t poke out my eye.

Right?

Right.Woolfolk Sno yarn. So soft! All this travel knitting really got me thinking: wouldn’t it be amazing to knit your way around the world? To venture off here and there (Italy! New Zealand! Borneo!) and whip up this and that along the way. Discover yourself. Discover the world. Pack some yarn from home (just in case) and find some new yarn along the way.

When Elizabeth Gilbert did her whole Eat, Pray, Love bit, she really missed out by not including a section on stopping over somewhere and learning to knit. She could have done the knit journey first and fixed her life right then and there–no Italy, India, or Bali needed (although you might as well visit those places, too…since your suitcase is already packed and no one is expecting you home anytime soon).

Given the three-year-old in my life, I imagine it will be a while before I knit myself around the world. In reality, it is just as difficult to knit while traveling as it is to knit at home. Stolen moments here and there when everyone is sleeping or cleverly strapped into a five-point harness system.

In the meantime, the dream lives on. Maybe you’ll join me.

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along. I just finished reading You Should Have Known and really enjoyed it in a real page-turner way. Now I need a new book.

I Actually Knit A Latvian Braid Without Screwing Up

I actually knit a Latvian Braid without screwing up. And you can too. Trust me.

How’s that for giving away the punch line in the title? I figure, might as well cut to the chase.

Waterlily finally resurfaced after a long siesta, cast aside for holiday knits and pattern development. I am not sure what inspired me to drag this poor babe out. I was itching to make a random scarf, but I told myself I had to finish old projects before I could go careening off into New-Knit land.

Self-discipline sucks.

I had left the project with the body of (twisted) stockinette complete, ready to divide for the back and front. I knew what was coming. I had been dreading this step since the first stitch. The way you dread a dentist appointment when you know you have news of a cavity coming your way.

There was no getting around it.

The Latvian Braid.

My first.

I will say this: once I finally worked up the guts to read the instructions, look at the illustrative diorama, and just think a bit, all was well. I didn’t even have to bust out You Tube. It was easy.

I actually didn’t screw the darn thing up.

As far as I know anyway.

(I am sure my email account is about to get flooded with sage commentary from knitters more talented than I who have glanced at my photo and can just tell that my Latvian Braid doesn’t look quite right.)

Well, it’s good enough for me. Nothing exploded. Nothing tangled (too much, anyway). Nobody died. No tears. No cussing.

A miracle.A Latvian Braid.

I do think the Latvian Braid looks remarkably similar (identical!) to the stitch I used in my Samoa and Best Hat Ever patterns. I know I am biased, but I strongly favor my own technique. It requires only a single strand of yarn (not two) and generally goes much quicker. I think my Latvian Braid looks a little skimpy because of the fiber (linen) and doesn’t have the benefit of blooming like the Madelinetosh DK used for my two hat designs. The pattern called for a Latvian Braid on two rows (wrong and right sides…I am not quite sure why…). My own technique just requires ONE row of tricky stitching. Better all around.

Waterlily is currently progressing at the speed of a snail with an injured foot. It too me the better part of three hours to knit five rows last night, including the Latvian Braid. I worked the first two rows of the lace pattern VERY CAREFULLY, cautious to count and set stitch markers pretty much everywhere. The third lace row got me…I won’t bore you, only to say the designer’s math was absolutely perfect after all, I am not wiser than she, and tinking back an entire row of lace takes a Really Long Time.

We will see what tonight brings.

 

 

 

 

How To Attack Your Knitting With Scissors. And Live.

Step by step guide to cutting off cast-on edge with scissors. And surviving.

So.

I can’t say that I have ever before likened myself to a brain surgeon. Or a heart surgeon. Or any kind of skilled miracle worker of the life-saving variety.

I am just not brain surgeon-smart. Or talented. (Don’t get me wrong, I know I am awesome. I knit, for goodness sake.)

But this week. I rose to new heights. Life-saving heights. It was almost as if I went to med school. Even though I didn’t.

I have been working on a new cowl. I swatched the thing first, even though it is atypical for me to be a by-the-book knitter. The swatch came out pretty dang fabulous, and I was basically doing my post-touchdown celebration dance in my head before I scored the goal (or cast on for that matter).

Because I never get ahead of myself or anything. And, yes, now I am mixing a medical analogy with a football analogy.

Bear with me.

Eventually I did cast on. But here’s the thing: I didn’t knit exactly what I swatched. I adjusted it. Just a bit. A few rows of stockinette between the garter edge and my first stitch pattern. I thought it needed more of a, uhm, transition.

Whoops.

The good news: my garter edge did not roll. This was my goal. Nothing irks me more in knitting than a rolling edge. Touchdown dance still on track.

Nothing can ever be so easy.

The bad news: now my cowl was folding where I added the extra rows of stockinette. I was having such a jolly time knitting along, practicing my Heisman trophy speech, that I didn’t even really notice until I was 100 meters in…Close to half way.

Time out. Lay on the field and cry. Roll into a little ball. Medic!

I knew one thing: I wasn’t going back. I had this feeling there was a way to simply undue the knitting from the cast-on edge. Fix it later. I had come so far.  I couldn’t stomach the idea of frogging the thing, fatal fold and all.

Sadly unraveling a cast on edge isn’t quite as simple as unraveling a cast off edge. The stitches lock, and you have to unpick each one.

There is not enough wine in the world to get you through that one. Unless you are more patient than I. Even so. Avoid at all costs.

Thankfully there is an alternative solution. A relatively easy and painless one, all things considered. It was scary, and it did involve cutting my knitting with scissors. (Did I mention I was knitting with a cashmere blend?) A first for me. But I did it. And I lived. If you are reading this, you can do it to.

Step 1. Lifeline.

Run a lifeline through the row of stitches you want to start at. I used a circular needle several sizes smaller than the needle I was knitting with. You could also use a piece of scrap yarn and a big needle.

Step by step guide to cutting off the cast on end of your project.

Step 2. Pray (I mean, cut).

Pray to your god(s). Cross fingers. Salt over shoulder. Take Xanax. Summon courage.

Start cutting.

Just be sure not to cut any of the stitches on your lifeline. Aim for the row below. Although here I cut two rows below because of the pattern transition, and it worked just fine.

Step by step guide to cutting cast on edge of knitting with scissors. And surviving.

Step 3. Tidy.

After cutting, you end up with lots of messy yarn bits. If you have a regular house keeper (who is someone other than you), things are looking good. Otherwise, you have to grab all those little suckers and clean up the row of live stitches left on your lifeline.

Step by step guide to cutting the cast on edge of knitting with scissors. And living to tell the tale.

Step 4: Knit on.

You should now have a clean row of live stitches. Notice there is also a new live tale on the far right. Reattach yarn, switch back to your regular needles, and you are good to go. Reknit your new cast on edge as desired.

Step by step guide to cutting your cast on edge with scissors. And living to tell the tale.

This now completes this Public Service Announcement.

Blueberry Waffle Socks (Pair No. 3)

 

 

I have been knitting so many itty bitty sock stitches of late that I think I have officially lost my mind. As in, I drove away from the grocery store in the middle of a full blown mother-toddler meltdown (it was ugly) with my wallet flying!!!! off the top of my car*.

I am frazzled. Frayed. Nearing the end of my holiday knitting marathon.

I may make it over the finish line. Barely. But it won’t be pretty.

This will be me: wavering to the finish line, like a drunk zombie, foaming at the mouth, stumbling those final steps, before I crumble to the ground and clutch my knees in relief/agony/insanity.

Or, you’ll have to drag me out of a muddy ditch along the final mile, clutching my needles, wrapped in yarn, mumbling gibberish.

It could happen.

In the meantime, there is this: NEVER AGAIN.

No more holiday knits using sock weight yarn. And definitely no lace weight. I made that mistake once before. The recipient received her Christmas gift for Valentine’s Day that year.

Hey, it happens.
Free Blueberry Waffle sock pattern. Perfect beginner (or expert) sock knit!

On the bright side…

Blueberry Waffle socks (Pair No. 3) are officially off the needles. Ends woven. Gift wrap awaiting. Destined for my mother. I can only hope they fit.

This is the third time I have used this free pattern (which has it’s own hashtag on Instagram no less). The pattern works for me. I have it memorized and know what to expect, at least when I knit with Madelinetosh Sock. I used the Thyme colorway, ordered online. For me, it was on the boring side of what I usually get from a Madelinetosh colorway…very subtle variation.

Free Blueberry Waffle sock pattern. Perfect beginner (or expert) sock knit!

The first sock of Blueberry Waffle No. 4 is also complete (destined for my aunt), but a mate is still needed. This means I have two days to knit a sock.

Heaven help me..

 

*I didn’t notice until much later when I couldn’t find it anywhere…then remembered. A good citizen returned it to the post office the next day…joys of small town living!

 

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams. Reading nothing. Just knitting.

My 2016 Knitting Bucket List of Must-Knits!

My 2016 knitting bucket list

As I wrap up my final stitches on my holiday knits, I promise myself I will never knit socks for Christmas gifts again amidst a barrage of under-breath-muttered profanity, tense neck muscles, and dark thoughts, calmly allow my mind to wander to the future with poise and patience not unlike a Buddhist monk. My next knitting chapter. The 2016 chapter. AKA the chapter where everything goes perfectly, not a stitch is dropped, nothing is frogged, and finished knits fly off my needles like chocolate flies into my mouth.

It will be perfect.

(Queue angels harking, thank you very much.)

Oh, and yarn companies will discover how fabulous I am and suddenly started sending me unsolicited, free yarn of the to-die-for variety. It will start appearing in droves in my post office box. We will have to build a climate-controlled addition to our house just to store it all.

Hey, a girl can hope.

In all seriousness, this is my 2016 Knitting Bucket List:

Finish What I Started in 2015

This includes the mate for my too-small blueberry waffle socks (pair Number Two), finishing my Waterlily Tee, and knitting the final installment from my 2015 Must-Knit list before moths eat the yarn I purchased especially for the project.

True, this will probably take me through the end of March. Apparently I am going nowhere in a hurry.

Ponchos

I must have been abducted by aliens and then returned to Earth in an altered state because I suddenly want a poncho. And not because they are seriously everywhere. That’s just a coincidence. I think.

I even tried one on at Target a couple months back but it was HUGE despite being (mis)labeled as a size small. So yes, suddenly I feel inspired to walk around in a knitted sack. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the cause (one of my more active boards, no less).  My only strife will be to decide WHICH ONE to knit!!! I also see some design work in the future for ponchos. I aspire to come up with a pattern that works for petite frames (and others) so I can ware a (soft, fluffy, sexy) sack but not a sheet.

Tunics

Related to my new wardrobe inclinations for pieces that are comfy, tunic patterns have also been catching my eye of late. Like a sweater. But longer. More stitches, yes. But…you can wear them with leggings, which have an elastic waist and thus do not complain when you ate too many chocolate brownies paired with too much Merlot. I have been pinning all lots of tunics to my Sweaters and Tops board.

Knit a Second Kitty’s Chemise (In the Correct Size)

I really liked the pattern for my Kitty’s Chemise. It used worsted weight yarn and thus knit up quick. Mine came out too small (unless I loose ten pounds, but…cough cough…let’s be honest: that’s not happening. Why diet and exercise when I can just knit a new one in the proper size?

Colorwork

This is a big one. I haven’t done any colorwork. None. At least none that I can remember. It’s time to put on my big girl knitting needles and Be Brave. I can do it.

A Toddler Sweater

I figure if I felt like Mom-of-the-Year for knitting Reed toddler socks, I will surely feel like Mom-of-the-Universe if I manage to knit him a toddler sweater. Basically I want to knit him one of every sweater in the Knittin Little Winter Collection. But I will probably pick just one. Although I might Be Brave and combine the project with my colorwork aspirations: colorwork toddler sweater. Ta-da!

Although this will inevitably lead to even more foul language when I botch the whole thing, failing on two counts. In the meantime, I will try to avoid self-deprecating thoughts and hope for the best. Stay positive, right?

Knit Everything in Home & Away

I promise to prattle on about this more another day.

But.

I want to knit pretty much every pattern in Hannah Fettig’s  Home & Away: Knits for Everyday Adventures. Every. Stinking. Pattern.

home & away

For me, this is an ambitious list. REALLY AMBITIOUS. Especially on top of all the design work I aspire to complete. Not to mention all of the projects I will end up knitting that aren’t even on my list (yet!). I know they are out there.

Better to be ambitious and fall short then aimless and…well…aimless. Yes, my year will likely be filled with profanity, tears, and too much wine as a result. There’s worse things (sheep plague, moths, actual illness, poverty…).

I think I will be okay.

What’s on your knitting bucket list for the New Year?

On Winter

I know winter isn’t technically here yet (really?!?), but it feels like it is here. I can tell when it is time to get up at 7:00 because the light finally starts peaking through the curtains. Just barely. Mornings feel slower, unless it’s a school/work day. There’s just no hurry to get up and go outside. All that California drought weather the past two winters had me so spoiled. Now, like normal, it rains for days. On these dark, short days, the time just….well, it just goes.

I don’t think Reed even stepped so much as a toe outside from for three solid days. Too wet. Too cold. Ick.

Instead, we pass our time playing Play-Doh next to the tree, building with Legos, doing puzzles, making art projects (and associated messes) of all kinds, and reading. Always reading. Plus a few cartoons sprinkled in the mix. And yes, I knit.

DSC_0070

I have been fortunate to sneak in knitting time whenever possible. Reed has been skipping naps more often, shifting my knitting time from mid-afternoon when he used to nap to night time, after an early bed time.

I managed to knit a solid six inches on my second holiday stocking while he was awake the other day. It was a miracle. Thank goodness for bulky yarn. I adorned the top of the first stocking with a bit of impromptu gold-threaded embroidery and quickly decided I will stick with knitting, thank you very much. I didn’t feel too bad about it though. Holiday stockings are as forgiving a project as a knitting endeavor could ever be. At least that is what I tell myself.

DSC_0071

With all the cold weather, Reed has been tolerating his knitted hat more and more. I think it is getting a bit small. His brain seems to be growing, as evidenced by the litany of questions that he continuously flings my way. Where does the sun go in the winter? Can we make cookies? What is ice?

To be honest, I think I mind winter less as a mother than I did before having a child. Even though I still mutter profanity every time I dash outside to care for the chickens, change a load of laundry, or some other such outdoor chore (I just can’t help it), I don’t mind being cooped up with my child. We have fun. Time flies. At least on most days.

I know brighter skies will be here soon enough, (I reserve the right to have a different opinion on this matter in late March when it is still raining!).

This does not, however, stop from my habit of Googling daily highs in warmer climates. Just in case. (Today in Palm Springs, 70 F. San Diego 62F. Hilo, Hawaii 74 F. In case you were wondering.)

DSC_0040

In the meantime, I am preparing to make (and give away!!!) holiday cookies for the first time ever. I won’t disclose here the inordinate amount of time I spent on Amazon selecting cookie cutters and coordinating sprinkles. Now all that’s left is researching recipes for soft-not-crispy gingerbread and sugar cookie dough. Perhaps icing as well. Why not? When we’re done with the cookies, I know Reed will have hours of fun rolling and cutting Play-Dough cookies, too.

Who wouldn’t.

A Knitter’s Pledge

Knitters, if you haven’t had a chance to check out Monday’s post on tips to spruce up your knitting blog, please be sure to check it out. There’s a little something in there for everyone!


I never made a formal list (or spreadsheet, like some people do), but this was my original in-my-head knitting list for holiday gifting:

Oh, and I was going to finish one new design and start another. And I wasn’t going to start until November. Of 2015 (not 2014).

Plus I was planning to sleep.

I think the yarn fumes got to me. Or someone has been slipping a little something funny into my wine every evening. I wouldn’t rule it out.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I was going to turn this great big pile of sock yarn (Madelinetosh Sock in various colorways, by the way) into actual socks. And then some.

Hello insane asylum?

DSC_0062

 

 

So far, I have knit one sock that was too small, one pair of toddler socks, two pairs of mittens (one bright pink and one utterly undyed after the shock of the pink pair…), and one holiday stocking.

That’s it.

I am short seven pairs of socks, some toddler socks, two stockings, a couple of cowls, and a bunch of design work.

Here’s thing: I give up. Waving the white flag (hand-knit scarf).

I am going to finish the pair of socks below for my mom and a second pair for my aunt. I think that is doable by Christmas. Neither needs to be shipped. The other five pairs can wait until various birthdays toward the beginning of the year, which is much more reasonable anyway. My whole sock obsession hit hard and, honestly, got a little out of hand.

 

DSC_0058

I am not going to feel bad about it either. I have already finished a (relative) ton of knitting. I have been enthusiastically knitting my little heart out whenever I can, in fact. This is, after all, a knitter’s duty. That unofficial oath we all take every time we buy new knitting needles (you didn’t notice the fine print on the back of the package either?).

Thou shall knit thou’s heart out and make gifts for friends and family each holiday season.

And birthdays.

And basically anything that could be considered a Special Occasion.

Failing to do so will result in an infestation of moths.

I have met my pledge. And then some. Instead of fretting on everything I haven’t knit, I am going to marvel in everything I have finished, pour a glass of wine, and knit a little bit slower.

 

Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams. Reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest.

%d bloggers like this: