One FO and New Yarn

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working mostly on the American Flag Afghan. I’ve gotten to the blue part – am probably about half way through the flag. Problem is . . . I’ve got so many projects I want to work on — am getting easily distracted.

For instance, I took a short break and made this headband . . .

Head band

The pattern is in “HeadBand Love 2”. I downloaded this collection from the Knit Picks site. The headband is so cute, and I have high hopes for making a few more for Christmas gifts this year. I did however have some real problems with the pattern. I was able to make it work, but it wasn’t easy! Maybe it was me?

In other news, I received my free yarn from the Loopy Ewe for completing Camp Loopy 2013 successfully. There were three color ways to choose from, and I chose this pretty yarn “Blue Skies Over Colorado.” Need to think about what this will become. Something special I’m sure! It’s lace weight, which is something I haven’t really knit with that much.

Camp Loopy Yarn

I have picked out a Christmas stocking pattern to make for my niece. I hope to get started on that soon. Will post a picture . . . cute snowman! I think I have enough stash yarn to make it work!

Speaking of stash . . . I’ve had to restart my yarn diet. I made another Knit Picks order for some more of their wonderful Billow. I ordered three color ways of billow (three skeins each) but realized for the blanket I want to make (one giant cozy granny square), I’ll need more. So I ordered three more skeins of each color. Not entirely sure this will be enough, but we’ll see.

I also placed an order with Brooklyn Tweeds for the following lovelies . . .

Brooklyn Tweed

I plan to make some mittens for Anna and her roommate. Sort of UT colors . . . but not quite as bright. Parents Weekend is this coming weekend, so they won’t be ready by then. But maybe by the time the weather starts to really cool down.

A week from today I head to the TKGA Knit & Crochet show. Can’t wait!! I did my “homework” for the Knitting 911 class – fixing mistakes. Have to bring two swatches (one garter, one stockinette) – still on the needles. Two full days of knitting!! And of course the market – at which I will fall off the yarn diet wagon once again I’m sure. No need to even try to kid myself about this.

As for reading . . . not much done this week. Maybe next!

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Yarn Diet and a Conference

I can’t put it off any longer. The size of my stash keeps growing, and I’m starting to get comments about it from my family. MORE YARN?? they ask when another order arrives at our door. Even I have started to think it might be getting out of hand. So a yarn diet is in order.

In preparation, I made a nice big order from Knit Picks. There are some projects I have in mind that I did need specific yarn for, and I want to be prepared.

stash

My goal is to start small – six months. That may give me some time to make a dent in my stash. Of course, I’m not the worlds fastest knitter!! I will still have some new yarn coming into my life. I have two more months in the Mad About Tosh Club (Twisted Knitter) and three months of SweetGeorgia Yarns sock yarn club. All paid for already. The biggest test will be when I go to the TKGA conference in October – I know I’ll have to cave and buy some yarn there. But that’s a real special occacion!

The TKGA Fall Conference is in Concord, NC this year – about two and half hours away. I was able to work out two days off from work to go, and am so looking forward to it. I’ll leave on a Wednesday (Oct 2nd) and have two full days of classes on Oct 3 and 4. I’m taking classes on Continental Knitting, Double Knitting, Fixing Mistakes and making cable stitches without a cable needle. Of course, there will be a market and I’m looking forward to that too. I have my hotel room all booked – having a nice hotel room all to myself will also be a treat!

Wednesday that week the classes are devoted to working on the TKGA Masters Program. I still plan to do that, but don’t feel I’m far enough along to make going to the class worth it. Maybe next year. Of course, who knows where the conference will be then. I’m just really psyched about this. I’ll try to take a lot of pictures. It’s going to be amazing to spend two full days hanging and visiting with other knitters. I do need knitting friends.

Although my main project these days is the American Flag Afghan (such slow going. Just started the fifth stripe today) — I did start a little sock project to carry along with me. I dug through the stash to find some really “fall-ish” yarn and found just what I was looking for – although I took the ball band off it at some point and I have no idea what it is!! But I love it, and the sock has a nice squishy quality to it. Here it is posing with my new Della Q small project bag…

Sock

Still reading “Trans Sister Radio” but have also started reading “Vegan Before Six” by Mark Bittman.

Finished the Folded

And here it is . . .

Finished FOlded

I finished on Sunday September 1st at around 3:30pm. It’s a bit big on me – but that will make it nice and cozy for the fall and winter. And there is a lesson on gauge in there somewhere.

I made two major modifications. One is the “Fold” row – on that row I gathered the stitches rather than folding. I was trying to knit fast and the fold wasn’t working out for me. So I gathered and think it looks very nice that way. Very similar to the fold. The second modification was the neckline. I did not follow the instructions for shaping the yoke. I did a K2P2 rib that mirrors the cuffs and hem. The neck opening is pretty wide – should have decreased a bit more perhaps before doing the rib. But, overall I’m very pleased.

So now onto the American Flag afghan for my son. 3 1/2 stripes down. I lost about an hour of crocheting time on Monday night – the hook I was using literally disappeared. Finally found it! Phew!! Will post an updated picture soon.

As for reading, I picked up “Trans Sister Radio” by Chris Bohjalian (I hope I spelled his name right!) while I was in Vermont. He’s a Vermont writer. It’s pretty good. I’ve also been listening to the old CBS Radio Mystery Theater stories at night – streaming from the internet. I used to listen to these on my battery powered AM/FM radio when I was in high school. Fun stories. Very nostalgic.

Where has summer gone?

My goodness it has been a LONG time since my last post. I thought I’d be getting back on track after I posted in early July, but I guess not!

I’m still trucking along with Camp Loopy. I did project #2 with time to spare. Not in love with it, but I think it’s because the yarn wasn’t right for the project, so it’s not really “drapey”. This picture is before blocking:

hitch Hiker2

After I finished that, I knit up two quick hats for my daughter’s best friends to take to college. The first was an “Owl” hat (pattern on Ravelry) that is just too cute. And, it’s a perfect fit for the recipient in size and style. She is just too cute!!

Owl

The second was the “Flower Bud Beanie” – also on Ravelry. This one I did in a deep red. It’s so cute. I chose red because she is going to Cornell this fall and thought it would be fitting. It looks super cute on her and she told me she LOVES it!!

flower bud

At some point this summer, I finished up the coasters I made for my daughter’s new apartment. I may have posted a picture earlier, but here they are again anyway . . .

UT Coasters

We moved her in a couple of weeks ago now, and they are prominently displayed on the coffee table!!

So now I’m working on (and have been for all of August) my Camp Loopy #3 project. It had to be at least 800 yards. Mine is not done yet, but is close 900 already. I knew it would be bigger. I challenged myself to knit “Folded” a beautiful sweater pattern. Using Dream in Color Smooshy in Happy Forest. I knew it would be tough to finish in one month – particularly a month that included moving my daughter back to Tennessee and school starting. It’s not looking good. Although I have joined the sleeves to the body, and am decreasing like crazy – just not sure it will be done by Saturday night. Here ‘s a picture from a couple of days ago . .

Folded

It will be done soon and will look lovely, but I’m skeptical about finishing in time for the Camp Loopy deadline. We’ll see. I do have a weekend ALL TO MYSELF coming up – but have other house projects I need to work on as well.

One cute FO I did while on vacation (and needing a break from the sweater) was to knit this little goody that came in a Camp Loopy order when I reached a certain purchase level. It only took a couple hours to knit – and I gave it to Anna who is using it in her new bedroom.

Loopy ewe wrap

These would be great little gifts to give at the holidays, right?

Well, I’m promising myself I will write again soon. I want to post a bit more about my Folded – and one vexing issue I came across last night!

Also, I think I have a yarn diet coming up. My stash is huge!! My husband and son have started teasing me about it!! One of my weekend projects is to set up a “craft area” in our guest room. And to update my Ravelry stash. I’m weak when it comes to beautiful yarns – aren’t we all??

Long Time, No Post

Oh, it’s been a long, long time since I last posted! Not really sure why. Just plain busy I guess! I did start a new job on June 1st, and the kids are both on summer break. So lots going on in general.

I do have a couple of brand new finished objects to show off. This summer, as if I don’t have enough to knit already, I am participating in Camp Loopy for the first time! My June project is the Oaklet Shawl. For some reason, the lacey parts don’t look that lacey – maybe I needed a larger needle. But it is LOVELY. It’s knit with Dream in Color Everlasting Sock Yarn in the color Wineberry.

Oaklet

It’s tucked away for now. Not sure if I will wear it, or give it as a gift. For the 2nd project, I’m knitting the Hitch Hiker scarf. I’m using Madelinetosh Tosh DK – which may be a bit “heavy” for this pattern as it calls for fingering weight (I think). I was going to knit the Mara shawl, but then decided to do something with a different shape. Very nice knitting yarn and pattern. I love a pattern that I can memorize quickly – and the Hitch Hiker provides that. I do have to keep track of what row I’m on – but other than that, I can just knit knit knit. It’s fun. The colorway is Black Velvet.

Hitch Hiker

And, recently, I finished the Baby Argyle sweater for my friend’s baby. He loved it when I gave it to him. He knows I’m a knitter, and I think it meant a lot to him that I made this little sweater:

Baby Argyle

The cuteness factor is off the charts!!

As for reading, I’m into “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini. The “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” were amazing books. And so far, this one doesn’t disappoint. I just read about a study that shows avid reading can help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s. Good news. Also said other intellectual pursuits like theather have the same results. Interesting.

Hope everyone had a great July 4th.

An FO!

Last weekend I focused on one thing: finishing up the Saroyan scarf for my director. I finished the knitting late Friday night (actually Saturday morning!) and then wove in the ends and blocked it the next day. The first thing I did before blocking was to stretch it out on the floor of my bedroom to get a good look at the whole thing. And sure enough:

Scotch with Scarf

So it’s now “Pre-loved”. He scrunched it up for comfort, but thankfully did not use his claws! So here it is post-blocking. My fears about it being too short were all for naught. I stretched quite a bit during the soak and when I laid it out to dry. It doesn’t have a “stretched out” look either. Looks just right.

MR scarf done

Very pleased. Not sure when I’ll be giving it to her yet, but it’s ready whenever. So I started on the Argyle Vest that I’m making for a co-worker whose wife is due in July. The pattern is from “60 More Quick Baby Knits”. I’m using Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. This little number is so cute, and so far it’s going well. Here’s an update from after I finished knitting last night:

vest 2

Too cute.

Have not worked on the Flag Blanket for my son since last week. I have one stripe done. I had to order a bunch more yarn (see last post!) and it is now on its way to me. Here’s my progress so far. Really want to knock out the baby vest before doing too much more on this blanket.

flag blanket `

When he sees me working on something else he asks ” Aren’t you supposed to be working on my blanket?!” Hopefully he’ll have it by the time the weather turns chilly again!

Long car trip coming up — going to pick up my daughter after her first year in college! Need to figure out what knitting or crocheting to bring. Can’t be anything fussy. Maybe I’ll end up working on the flag blanket this week after all!!

Better Late?

Late again this week for Yarn Along!

I accepted a new position on Monday. Will still be at my current employer (a prestigious University in the southeast) but moving to a new department effective June 1st. Exciting. But I’ll miss my current co-workers who have become very good friends.

I finished up my sample Dishie cloth.

wash cloth

It looks lop-sided and like a bit of a hot mess. But I like it. I’m going to run it through the washer and dryer this weekend and see how it fares. I’ve started a hand-towel sized project in the light yellow. Will be my take along project, so not sure how much work will get done on it in the near future.

Working hard on the Saroyan scarf for my boss. With real focus, I could finish in two days – but surely will this weekend. Then onto the baby vest. I’m trying to prioritize – but I get side-tracked. And my son wants me to work on nothing but his blanket. Which in terms of size and time may end up being a real bear! I have no where near enough yarn for this blanket. Knit Picks will love me. They should rename the company after me at this point with all the $$ I’ve spent there recently! I’m sure they’d beg to differ!! 😉

Also big shout out for great customer services at The Loopy Ewe! They rock! I purchased my yarn for the Saroyan from them a few months back. I was going to order another skein, but they were out of stock. I contacted them about it, and they responded promptly with an offer to do a special order! Great service if you ask me. Looking forward to Camp Loopy this summer – just because I need another project or two to distract me from what I’m already working on!

I started reading “Her Fearful Symmetry” by Audrey Niffenegger (who wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife – which I LOVED). It’s holding my attention, which says a lot these days. So far, so good!

Portable Pattern Love

If you’ve read recent posts what follows goes totally against what I’ve been trying to accomplish — finishing projects already on the needles. Recently I ordered the Dish Towel Kit on Knit Picks. The yarn is Dishie (cotton) and I chose the “soft” colors: brown, off-white, yellow, pink, light green — plus I added a brighter peachy color called “conch”. After one evening of knitting, I think I can safely say that this is now my go to “take along” project. The pattern is so pretty and sooo easy to memorize. Instead of a dish towel, I decided to do a smaller sample version – and am making a facecloth out of the conch (with a brown stripe) for myself. Love the color, love the pattern, love love love. Showed my husband this morning (after he commented on the box of dishie yarn on the floor of our bedroom) and HE loved it. I think these towels will be great Christmas gifts this year. Have not worked with cotton in quite awhile. It doesn’t stretch – and so it feels a bit odd at first – hard to get used to. But the results are great. Dishie is machine washable and dryable – bonus!!

Don’t have a great photo yet, but will soon!

I also recently purchased (through Knit Picks – am on a Knit Picks obsession right now) a pattern for a blanket made of Wool of the Andes Worsted in the Victorian color way. This is for my niece. Have not started it yet. It’s a bit of a fussy pattern, and I’m just not up for it yet. Maybe once fall rolls around. Who knows. It will be lovely. My son wants his blanket too. After much deliberation, we settled on an American flag. It meant buying a bit more yarn in navy blue (I’m on a yarn diet now – probably didn’t mention that!). I found a free pattern online that looks like something I can handle and will start on that soon. It’s a crochet pattern so it will be quick, I hope, and will use my newly improved skills. I have the white and red. It was originally going to be red, white and black for the Carolina Hurricanes. Then I mentioned I could do an Italian flag – and then he asked for the American flag! So there we are. A bit less painful than the process with my daughter’s blanket to say the least!

Plus my daughter is now into giraffes. And continuing with the Knit Picks theme, I purchased a pattern and yarn for Mango the Giraffe. I picked out different colors, but he is the cutest thing. I showed her the pattern and she loves it! I hope to have that done by the time she heads back to school in the fall!

You can probably see now why a yarn diet is in order! My husband has made note of all the boxes piling up in the guest room and garage!! He buys a lot of wine though – but I do help drink that! He doesn’t help much in the stash reduction area – but he is supportive and always likes whatever I make!

Have a great knitting weekend!! Looking forward to working with some bright springy beautiful colors!

Yarn Along April 17th

My step sister had her beautiful baby on the 11th! She is so cute! I know they’re exhausted, but have been posting pictures on facebook periodically. I can’t wait to meet her!

I am trying to be a bit more organized and less impulsive about my knitting. Impulsive — read casting on too many new projects. I am trying to focus on getting things done! I’ve been working on the Saroyan scarf for my boss. Am using Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino in worsted weight. It’s glorious!! You know how great a really nice yarn feels to work with?? Your fingers are just so happy as the yarn slips through your fingers. This is a wonderful yarn to work with, and the colors are beautiful. This picture really doesn’t do the color justice but here it is as of Sunday morning:

saroyan green 2

And a close up of one of the border leaves:

saroyan leaf up close

I was worried that it wasn’t going to end up being long enough. Am almost through the first skein, and it measures about 26″. I only have two skeins. It won’t be long enough to really wrap around your neck, but should be plenty long enough to drape over your shoulders and tie a single knot in the front. I tried to order more – but the store I ordered from is OUT. And I did a search on Google and couldn’t find any anywhere else!! But, deep breath, it’s okay. It’s going to work out!

As for reading, I’ve been in a strange mood. I read “American Psycho” over my spring break. So disturbing. It really affected my mood a couple times. But I wanted to see how it ended. I do confess to skimming quite a bit. I hear there’s a movie – but I think I’ll pass. Anyway, I’ve started re-reading IT by Stephen King. That book is scary!! I read it years ago. I remember going to see the movie and coming out of the theater, and there was someone dressed in a clown suit. Almost passed out! That is one scary clown.

Discipline

After taking a look at my project list on Ravelry, I decided I must begin to show some restraint on new projects. I love having several going, but at this point I have too many that have been languishing on the needles far too long. So I’m trying to be disciplined and finish up some of these projects. Gift knitting first:

Scarf for retiring director
Vest for Co-Worker baby
Scarf for Dad
Scarf for Step Mom

The scarves for my boss and step-mother are fairly new. But since they have been started and are for gifts, they are at the top of the list. The vest for the co-worker’s baby has not been started yet, but given time constraints, I’m going to start it soon!

I sure don’t want to take the fun out of knitting, but I do want to get these items finished!! There’s also my Color Affection and Effortless Cardigan and a couple pairs of socks. . .

So “discipline” is my new mantra and am trying to put it into practice in my knitting life and with regard to other things such as exercise and reading. I’ve been bouncing from book to book. I need to settle in and actually finish some!!