Monday, April 29, 2013

4KCBWDay 5, 6 & 7

I had technical difficulties over the weekend, so I have to make up for lost time.  Here's Day 5: something different.

It's time to knit,
Don't have a fit.
I really need to do it,
So just let me sit.

That is for my kids, who always want me to play with them, rather than knit.  I usually try to wait until they're in bed or busy doing something else before I pick up my needles.

Day 6: Something to covet

What I've been coveting lately (or really, just wanting - the Sunday School teacher lessons about not coveting run rampant in my head) are these:

It's the Dreamz Interchangeable Deluxe Needle Set.  I love wooden needles, and I have one set of interchangeables that are nickel plated.  They're nice, but I find that I lean toward wooden ones more if I have a choice.

Day 7: Looking Forward

I had planned on doing some selfish knitting this year, and I still plan on it.  When this week rolls around next year, I hope to have several sweaters for myself made.  I'd like to make it through Christmas this year, and not keel over from lack of time.  I hope to get several other items crafted as well.

How about you?  What are your plans for the coming year?

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Today is about color.  So, the first item on the list is my favorite colors for knitted or crocheted items.  I guess this depends on who the items are for.  I prefer basics for my son, dark colors for my hubby, bright girly colors for my daughter, and neutrals for myself.  At least, this is what I tend to lean towards when planning projects.  I like patterns for myself that are softer or neutral in color, which fits, since I wear mostly blacks and greys.  I do occasionally throw in a bright color, but at least 50% of my closet is black.  It never fails.  When I shop, I generally look for neutral colors: black, grey, white, cream.

My stash is extremely varied these days: it actually leans more towards winter shades, as almost everyone in my immediate family is a winter, with the possible exception of my daughter.  I think she's a little too young to have a season.  But not for much longer.  I find a lot of bright jewel-tones in my stash.  Here's an example:

Little Man's Birthday Sweater

My first attempt at Gemini
My Miss Babs Test Knit Yarn


This is a sample of what I have.  I have been given yarn that is bright as well; one year for Christmas my brother and sister-in-law gave me some gold and some dark pink yarn.  I've picked up a couple of skeins of sock yarn - mostly in dark jewel tones or neutrals (like black).  These are for me.  If the project is for someone else, I usually try to find something that reminds me of that person.  Like this project for Christmas:

This yarn actually has too much yellow for me personally (I'm not a yellow/orange kind of person), but for the intended recipient, it's perfect.  I do use colors I like for others' projects, even if I wouldn't necessarily wear it myself.  I could possibly wear these socks, as they would be socks, but I don't know that I would pick this for myself.

As this relates to my house, the house of the Monkey, color can be a challenge.  Sometimes a color and a pattern clash.  Take that lovely MadelineTosh sock yarn above: the yarn is loud.  It has a voice of its own.  To put too much of a pattern in it would be an atrocity, and the yarn would tell you.  So would everyone else.  Color is definitely my challenge: sometimes I look for only shades of grey.  I get caught up in the lovely subtleties of neutrals.  I have branched out in recent months, and surprisingly, I like it.  Colorwork is one of my challenges too - I attempted twice to knit some colorwork gloves, and my tension is way too tight.  I think it has to do with my stress level.  In any case, maybe if I can get to it this year, I'll attempt some more colorwork.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I'm really tired today - I didn't sleep well last night, woke up with a headache, and it's just all gone downhill.  The best thing about today was at lunch, when I cleaned out the car, went to a yarn shop, got lunch, and found my keys.  I apparently dropped them Monday at work in the parking lot, and had to use Hubby's for the past couple of days.  I figured they'd turn up; I didn't realize I had dropped them until this afternoon.  Good thing I asked.  So, today is day 3 in the Blog Week, and I'm supposed to make an infographic.

Here it is.  This is an estimate of the number of projects I have that I want to accomplish.  This was easy and not extremely accurate, but you can see the large part of my crafting is to be knitting, followed by crochet...this is just the proportions in estimate.  Simple enough - the hardest thing was saving it as the right type of file.  All I had to do was open the right program - Paint - and save it.  Duh.  I told you I was tired.

I'm still slowly working on the sock and the test knit.  The sock is going to stay I think.  The longer I work on it, the more I like it.  So, the pattern stays.  How's your week looking?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4KCBWDay2: A Mascot Project

So, here it is: day two.  I’m supposed to think or research a pattern that embodies this house – my house.  My house of monkeys.  I have a house full of monkeys, in case you didn’t know it.  

This is a tough one, as I don’t know that I could pick just one.  I love the Perry pattern – I have to make one of those, but will probably wind up making 3-4: one for each person in the family.  

I continuously find patterns that I love, but always have to alter to fit or it’s perfect except for one thing, like it’s a sweater knit in pieces and I want it in the round.  I always change some aspect of the pattern.  A perfect example: Skelf.  It is a terrific pattern, but mine doesn’t fit quite right.  I’m going to reknit it, probably this summer, and hopefully it will fit.  

The Owls pattern is another example: great pattern and I love it, but not big enough.  So, I have to resize it. 

Gemini?  I have to rethink it, because I’m using 100% merino, rather than a linen blend.  I have made a few things by the pattern, but not many. 

Even the latest FO, Koguchi (yes, I finished it this morning) got altered.  When I looked at the sample, it had 2 repeats of chart #4.  So, I added 2 repeats of chart #4.  I just barely made it, but I made it.  I guess this speaks to the creative side of the monkey in me. 

There are certain aspects of patterns that do attract me: classic lines and timeless pieces.  Something that you could wear today, or in 30 years from now.  Something that you can pass on, and not trendy.  I love long sleeves and short sleeves, and wear a lot of ¾ length sleeves as well, although they sort of fade in and out of fashion.  I love accessories, as they knit up quickly and you can change them often.  I have to admit, things that remind me of my childhood, or anyone’s childhood for that matter, I love. 

Currently, I’m wrapped up in trying to get not only things for others, but things for myself done.  It’s less the challenge of the actual pattern for me, and always the challenge of time.  Right now, I’m concerned about getting this test knit done, which is a great challenge – I’m following the pattern exactly.  That for me is definitely a challenge.  Then, I need to get working on some socks and other presents for Christmas, and a baby blanket for a friend at work.  No, she has no idea it’s coming, and I want it to stay that way.  I love being able to give to others, and right now, I am trying to give as much as I can.  It’s exhausting, and that in and of itself is a challenge, as I have to carefully balance the giving to others with giving to my family.  I never want to be one of those who will give the shirt off their back to a stranger, but won’t give to their own children.  Much more in the days ahead – hope you’re having fun with this week!

Monday, April 22, 2013


I’m supposed to choose which house to belong to – so here I go.  We have 4 choices: bee, manatee, monkey, and peacock.  

So, I’ll don my sorting hat (the only knitted hat I have) and see to what house I belong.  Based on the characteristics provided, broad as they are, I’d say I’m a Monkey.  No, really – the house of the Monkey.  I pick this one for multiple reasons.  First, I love to try new things.  Something interesting always catches my eye, and I love learning something new.  Second, according to the Chinese Zodiac, I was born in the year of the Monkey.  I found this here, which is more descriptive than I usually find:


Occupying the 9th position on the Chinese Zodiac, the Monkey possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Even though their intentions are always good, this desire to be a prankster has a tendency to create ill will and hurt feelings.

Although they are inherently intellectual and creative, Monkeys at times have trouble exhibiting these qualities. When that happens, they appear to others to be confused. But nothing could be further from the truth as Monkeys thrive on being challenged. Monkeys prefer urban life to rural, and their favorite pastime is people-watching.


Believing that being sick is a waste of a valuable day, Monkeys very rarely feel ill. Their constantly active lifestyles are likely what helps Monkeys remain in good health. When Monkeys do become ill, such feelings are generally the result of feeling nervous.


When it comes to work, Monkeys can do just about anything. They adapt well to changing environments and they’re very intelligent. They work quickly, but they’ll frequently charge double for their services. Good career fields for Monkeys are accounting and banking. Other good careers for Monkeys include: scientist, engineer, stock market trader, air traffic controller, dealer, film director, jeweler and sales representative.


When it comes to relationships, Monkeys aren’t quick to settle down. In fact, they generally are promiscuous; a tendency that probably has to do with the fact that Monkeys are easily bored. Monkeys will end this type of behavior once they pair up with the perfect partner. In fact, more often than not, they’ll commit to that person in every way for life.

Monkeys and the 5 elements

Metal Monkey – Years 1920 and 1980
Metal Monkeys are determined and ambitious individuals and as a result, they’re often successful. Although they’re considered warm-hearted and very likeable, their preference in life is to be alone. Metal Monkeys are loyal to both their employers and their partners.

It’s funny that I am a Metal Monkey – because our license plate says “METLHED.”  We’re huge heavy metal music fans at our house, and that’s just funny.  The only things that don’t hold true to me is the “more urban than rural” – can I have farm please? – and the promiscuity issue.  I never really have been, although, to be fair, I never had that many “boyfriends” either.  I dated, usually different guys, never really taking any of them seriously…okay, so maybe that part isn’t that far off.  I am easily bored, and I do rarely feel ill.  Nerves have a lot to do with me feeling sick most of the time.  This is also humorous to me because of the career aspect.  Apparently, accounting is a good field for a monkey.  So is engineering, which my dad always said I should do.  Sales are not really my strong point, but in owning my own business, I’m getting better.  I do have a problem with staying on one project, which is why this year I’m trying to finish UFOs and WIPs.  The difference I think is how long they’ve been sitting.  WIPs are recent, while UFOs are older.  How old…depends on you.  For me, it can’t go back any more than 9 years, and I don’t think I have anything older than 3.  I have the materials to make things from about 8 years ago, but I never started them, so they don’t count.  If you don’t cast on, they don’t count.  In my defense, I started with what I could get at big box stores, and since then, have worked up to lovely yarns that are natural and don’t squeak.  I don’t generally have a problem with squeaky yarn, but I know others that have.  Yet I digress.  Again.  I chose the Monkey because I always find myself creating something and rarely working a pattern as written.  I make it mine in some form or fashion.  I try to learn something new, even if it’s just reading a pattern correctly.  A new stitch is nice, or a new technique.  There’s always something to learn, and I usually try something because I like the way it looks, and it inevitably teaches me something.  So, how about you?  If you had to pick one of the four houses, which one would it be?  

In knitting news, I'm trying to finish up my Koguchi Wrap from 2 years ago (one of those WIP/UFOs that are lying around) and I'm close to finishing.  I have one more repeat of the 4th lace chart on the last side, and the bind off.  It's 12 rows and a bind off.  I hope to finish it by the weekend.  I'm also chugging along on the test knit (maybe a teaser picture soon - is that the prankster side of the Monkey showing itself?) and I haven't worked any on the Christmas sock I showed before.  I wasn't too sure about it, but after a couple of people telling me they really liked it, I'm going to keep going and see how it turns out.  If I don't care for it by the time I hit the heel flap, I'm frog it and start over.  I think it's okay, but I was hoping the pattern to be more prominent and the yarn to be a little quieter.  Again, we'll see how it looks when I get down to the heel flap.  It's hard to tell sometimes.  

I'm also slowly but surely making progress around the house.  I bought paint yesterday for Little Man's and Princess' rooms, but there's a lot to do before painting.  Her room still has to be cleared out, although the ceiling has to be finished first, and his room definitely has to be cleaned.  There's a lot going on, and little by little, we're moving forward.  It's spring now, and the days are nicer and a little longer, and we all have a little more energy.  How about you?  Are you starting any spring cleaning or major projects?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tomorrow and beyond

It's Sunday, and tomorrow starts another week.

Have you seen this?  It's the 4th Annual blog week.  Come join the fun!  I decided to join in - there's a topic for each day, and a wild card, so if you can't or don't want to do one of the topics, you can substitute.  It sounds like fun - don't you think?  Eskimimi Makes is sponsoring it, or heading it up, and it's just for fun.

I really want to get crafting full-time, but there's just not enough hours in the day.  I run through cycles, and I know that, but right now, it's one of those times when I want to do nothing but craft.  I've even had some inspiration for Christmas in July at The Whole Nine Yarns.  Believe it or not, I managed to pull out 4 ideas for it.  I guess that shows me that if I think long enough about anything, I can create something.

I'm thinking about the ultimate knitting bag and accessory pouches.  I saw great knitting bags at Stitches, and there is some great fabric at Sew Main Street.  I need to work on some dimensions, and then the yardage and trim.  Then, I'm heading over to Sew Main Street, and getting it.  Hopefully, I can clear off the table enough to cut out the bag(s) and sew them up.  Just one more thing to do...more for blog week tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trying to Finish

Ever have too many distractions to finish anything?  Yeah, I'm there.  It seems like the harder I try to finish something, the harder the forces of knitting/sewing/crafting/life work against me.  This year, I was going to complete a whole bunch of UFOs and WIPs, and clear out some room for new stuff.  So far, I'm not doing too hot.  I still have a nice list of things waiting, but on the bright side, my Summer Sweater Knit-a-thon (or Knit-a-long if you join me) is now in full swing.

Check it out!  My own button for you!  Sorry I don't have a form to keep track, but just leave a comment if you're going to join me.  I know it's early - spring is barely here, and I'm already on to summer.  I was going to start on May 1, but eh, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.  I'm impressed with myself - creating that button.  Okay, hopefully, you'll see several sweaters here, from now until September 30, being finished.  Here's my line-up:

Test knit for Special Designer



Playful Stripes

This is a lot - I know that.  I also have a birthday sweater and 2 Christmas sweaters to knit.  Little by little, including the socks, it will all get done.  Maybe not by September 30, but it will all get done.  I just have to finish something.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


It's cloudy and overcast today...and I'm tired.  Market at Stitches South was great - hubby bought me more yarn!  One is a cone of lace weight and one is a skein of sock yarn (for him).  It was really great to go back and really look at what was there.  I'm sure some of the classes were awesome, and maybe in the next year or so I can take some.  SAFF is the next big thing on my radar.  We've already planned to go to that.  Hubby is actually interested in a lot of this stuff - he's not just being nice.  I swatched last night for my test knit, but I can't seem to measure it correctly.  I already started on the actual pattern.  I keep measuring my swatch, which I did wash and block prior to measuring and starting the cardigan.  Miss Babs is wonderful.  The yarn is soft and the color is fantastic.  I can see why people love her yarn.

Now, I'm sleepy and am going to take a nap.  That's what rainy afternoons are good for - that or knitting.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Stitches, part 1 and fun surprises

First of all, oh my goodness - Stitches is great.  I loved every second of the 60 minutes or so I was there today.  I saw several people that I know, and I fully anticipate seeing them tomorrow when I go back.  Yes, I'm going back into the brier patch with my husband.  He's a love, and it's cool that he wants to go with me.  It's not just to go with me, which that's part of it, but he's also actually interested in some of the dyeing processes.  Anyway, I found what I was looking for my test knit:

This is a GORGEOUS shade of green - a true emerald color from Miss Babs.  If you're not familiar with her, like I wasn't until today, go check out her website.  Seriously - I'll wait.  Back?  Great.  She is a wonderful dyer and has the most beautiful colors.  This green is the exact shade I had in mind when I was thinking of doing this test knit in green.  So perfect, I couldn't resist.  It completely blew my budget in fact.  Oh well - I will have to knit what I have for the time being, and not spend any more until next month.  Hopefully.  In case you're wondering how bad the price is, or how badly I blew the budget, I will say that was ALL that I bought, and it was 4 skeins, and it's 560 yards per skein.  Here's a comparison for you:

On the left, Miss Babs.  On the right, Vintage.  So, 560 yards versus 220.  It's a huge difference.  In other news, I got my sporran from my swap partner on Ravelry.  It was fantastic:

There were two lovely bags (the red one and the black one), 3 patterns all with the theme of dragonflies, dark chocolate caramels and a dark chocolate bar, dark chocolate cherry tea and a tea diffuser, bamboo roving (how fun!) some notecards, a mug cozy and washcloth/pad for a tea pot, a pair of fingerless mitts, dragonfly stitch markers, blue scissors, a skein of Malabrigo and Metalico.  I think that's everything - it was all wrapped in lovely paper, which I'm saving and I'm sure you'll see in some craft project sometime later.

Another update for you:

This is the sock in Hermione's Everyday Sock pattern.  I love the yarn colors, but I don't know that the pattern is working.  Any thoughts?  Now I'm off to try my tea and knit my swatch.  Let me know what you're working on!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stormy Weather

I'm currently sitting on my sofa, watching the dark clouds on the T.V. and listening to the thunder outside.  We're under a Tornado Watch and Warning - I never could get the two straight, but since both cover us, I'm not too worried about it.  It's kind of funny: I spent most of my childhood in Oklahoma, and they have tornadoes all the time.  From May to November, it's tornado season there.  I can remember the "duck and cover" position frequently at school, and faithfully participating in the drills.  Eventually in high school, when I moved back to Georgia, I quit getting in that position.  I figured that if the tornado was going to suck me up, I'd rather it not be bum first.  It looks like our satellite is having difficulties picking up a signal, so as soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going back to my sock.  I've thought about getting my wheel out and oiling her up and starting to spin, but I think I'm too lazy for that tonight.

I've finished the cuff on this one, and I started working the pattern.  I know - I should be thinking of that test knit, as it has a deadline.  I am, but to be honest, I'm hoping to score something fabulous at Stitches tomorrow.  I have a few places I want to hit, and I hope I can make all of them in an hour.  I feel like I'm going to run a marathon tomorrow, and I'm really excited.  And now it's raining.  I think it's time for the sock now.  And the Weather Channel.  Hope you stay safe and dry.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One of those days...

My children are currently chattering in their rooms, instead of going to sleep.  I find it harder and harder to accept the learning curve at a new position.  I take on way too much, adding to my stress level because, sure, adding one more project to an already overloaded schedule makes perfect sense.  This is my life.

Remember this?

Blech on multiple levels (I'm currently going through an I-hate-my-body phase at the moment.  I find this happens from time to time when you have to put on 3 shirts in the morning to find one that fits.) but nonetheless, it didn't fit right.  Too big in some places, too small in others, too short, and all around just not a good fit.  So, it has now become this:

It's not as bright as the flash makes it seem, but there it is.  We'll try it again later.  I also know my monogamy wouldn't last with projects.

Obviously, this is a pair of socks.  I had actually planned a different pattern for this skein, but it kept resisting in my head, so I went with the voices.  Yes, sometimes I have those.  Since sock yarn doesn't count toward stash acquisition, do socks count toward project counts?  Also, since it's for Christmas, that means it REALLY doesn't count, right?

Two more exciting updates: I'm headed to Stitches South on Friday, and I get to test knit a super secret design by a really cool designer.  When I get started on it, I may give a little glimpse at least to the color of the project.  I'm vacillating between purple, grey, or green.  I think I'll have to check out one other place before I make a decision.  It may be Saturday before I can pick one, simply for time.  I found a lovely grey today, but I'm thinking purple or green would be lovely.

Have you been to Stitches?  I'm just headed to the market at my lunch.  I currently work about 5-10 minutes away, and with the entrance fee of only $10, I really can't resist.  I'm going to take some cash, head out, and hope for the best.  Who knows what I'll score?  I'll definitely stop by The Whole Nine Yarns booth, as I can't help myself saying hi to people I know.

I've been a little melancholy lately, as it's hard adjusting to a new place, with new people.  I never had a problem with change before, and other than this is not exactly the change I was hoping for, I was optimistic about this one.  I think most of it is the learning curve - I expect someone to review what I do before it's finalized, and that doesn't happen here.  So, I only find errors in retrospect, when they are on display for everyone to see.  I don't have a problem owning my mistakes, but I'd rather not do it in a public forum.  And be criticized and judged by everyone.  It's like a public hanging from the Old West - they march you up on the gallows, read the charges against you, let people pelt you with rotten fruit/vegetables/whatever's on hand, then put the rope around your neck and let you drop.  There is no sympathy, no empathy, no "just so you know for next time", nothing.  Usually, I'm not that thin-skinned, but here, it's just harder.  I don't know if it's because I'm old, because this is still not really what I want to do, because this is not where I want to be, because I'm trying to overcome too much at once, or what.  All I know is that although my burden is lighter (noticeably so), I still have a lot of tension in my back causing severe pain and I feel like crying.  I'm sure in a couple of months it'll all go away (or most of it, as I learn which end is up) and life will be fine.  In the meantime, I'm burying myself in some self-pity and yarn.  I find the two complement each other nicely.

I think I may have over-planned Christmas in my head.  I'm having visions of grandeur, since I'm about 8 months out.  I'm imagining a bunch of handmade gifts under the tree: gifts for family and friends, several handmade items for the kids, and it being a smaller, sweeter Christmas.  Here's my list of items to make: 13 pairs of socks (2 for children), 2 sets of Ysolda Teague's animals: Otto, Elijah, and Sophie, 2 quilts, 2 child-sized sweaters, and homemade stockings (in real stockings or cloth gift bags this year - nothing from the dollar store).  Does this sound too ambitious?  Maybe not, until you include the test knit I'm doing, the sweaters for myself I want to get done this summer, and the numerous other projects yet to be determined that I'd like to complete.  I think I need to simplify - don't you?  Either that, or clone myself.  Of course, learning how to knit while I'm asleep might be a more achievable goal.  Again, more melancholy feelings: if I didn't have to work, I could be at home, working on other things.  *Sigh*.  It's just one of those days.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


I'm trying to clean out my UFO's - so far, I finished my Cloudy Day.  I haven't taken any pictures because, quite frankly, I'm tired.

Now, I'm on to my Koguchi shawl.  I've also been thinking about Christmas.  I know - it's 10 months away, give or take a few weeks, and I want to knit presents.  I want to knit a lot of presents.  My main present this year: socks.  I've picked out patterns for just about everyone, and I started collecting the yarn.  I have 4 out of 10.  Not a bad start.  So, here's a list of the ones I've picked out so far:

Earl Grey

Java Socks


Hermione's Everyday Socks

Vanilla Latte

Socks on a Plane

I found a new shipment of Madelinetosh sock at The Whole Nine Yarns last night, and so 2 skeins are for the socks.  I found another skein of sock yarn that was a perfect color for one other person, so it came home with me too.  I have to go stash diving and find some sock yarn purchased years ago for another pair.  That should keep me busy for a while.  This month, I'm trying to clean out some WIP, and then I'm going to start a summer sweater knit-a-long (if you'd like to join me, drop me a line!) in May.  I figure if I go from May 1st to September 30, I should not only get some socks knocked out, but a few sweaters as well.  At least I hope so.  There are 3 sweaters for the kids to make, and some toys too.  I'd like a mostly handmade Christmas this year.  We'll see how that goes.