Monday, May 23, 2016

Back to the beginning

I'm back at the beginning of the sweater.  I had left about 3 rows intact, only to find it got twisted.  So, out it went and I started ALL OVER again.  Seriously.  However, the bottom now does not roll.

This picture from MARCH shows about where I am now.  If I work really hard, I might get this done in about 4-6 more weeks.  Ugh.  But I do enjoy the plain knitting.  It's wonderfully cathartic to me.  It seems that when I have something like this, life starts to get crazy, driving me to knit more.  It works.  When I pick a complicated project, life still gets crazy, and then the knitting drives me crazy, and it's a bad spiral.

I have been looking at shawls, which is odd, since most of the ones I have made are much shorter than I'd like them to be, and so I don't wear them as much as I would like.  I keep looking though.  I guess I think that it's the patterns that I choose, or the yarns.  Oh, and I still have to finish Iced.  I should seriously finish it, and I will, as soon as I finish this sweater.  I think.  Maybe.  Okay, once I feel like knitting on large needles, I will.  And I just might tonight.  What are you knitting?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Forward and backward

I took some pictures, but not quite like what I had hoped.  I honestly forgot to take pictures until I had already started taking out the sleeve.

It fits, but it's too short, the bottom rolls, the neckline is too wide and gaps, and the sleeves are a bit snug.  It sounds like there's so many problems, but the exciting thing is that it fits in the right places.  You have no idea how exciting that is.  I do know that I could just take out the sleeves, undo the neck, and fix that, and then pick out the bottom and add some length.  Instead, I took the longer route.  I undid basically the whole thing.  I left 2 rows on the bottom.  I know, it sounds insane.  And I know it's the harder road.  However, I enjoyed the knitting.  I enjoyed the endless miles of stockinette.  It was great mindless knitting.  It was terrific for watching TV and watching the kids outside.  So, I did it.

I finished the Multnomah shawl.

I haven't blocked it yet, because I'm having issues with it.  All the shawls I make turn out too short.  I keep hoping they will be longer, and I keep hoping in vain.  Maybe the next one I make I need to make out of bulky yarn and double it.  Or maybe it's the patterns I'm using.  Do you have a suggestion?

Friday, May 13, 2016

All excited

I live in a small rural town these days, and there's not much here, especially when it comes to food.  Those of you who know me, know I love good food.  We have exactly 2 Mexican restaurants and 4 Asian restaurants in our town.  Two of those Asian restaurants are "Chinese", one is "Japanese" and one just claims to be Asian.  I use quotes because they are American versions of ethnic food.  So, I have been on a search for ethnic recipes.  I found a knish recipe and made up my own filling.  It's not too bad.  I think the filling still needs some work though.

It's almost summer, and that means sweet tea.  We have some mint plants, and if you want them to be healthy, you have to pull some mint leaves off every now and again.  What to do with them?  Brew them with your tea!  I started cold brewing some iced tea with mint leaves, and then adding a simple syrup for a sweetener.  It's wonderful!  I'm going to attempt some other tea with spearmint and chocolate mint!

I am sure this keeps growing, as the ball of yarn does get smaller, but it feels like it takes forever.  I know a lot of that is the length of the rows currently.  The pattern (found here) says to do 10 repeats.  I still had a good chunk of yarn left, and I don't want that much leftover.  So I'm currently working on repeat #11.  I think I can get at least one or two, possibly 3, more repeats, and still have enough to bind off.  I am attempting to finish things that I have already started.  I still have to start a birthday sweater but I'm lazy this year.

I have found that if I get up earlier and get moving, not only can I get more accomplished in the day, but I have more energy.  I guess it's that whole principle of "an object in motion stays in motion" in play.

Summer is just around the corner!  As a matter of fact, today is the last day for the kiddos' school.  Then it's summer vacation time.  Oh summer - the plans I have for you.  How are your plans going?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Almost all better

I am almost over my cold.  That's good.  The shawl is not moving as quickly as I'd like, which is bad, and I'm also about to embark on a new project.

I received a lovely skein of MadelineTosh sock in Wilted Rose for my birthday, and since I am still recuperating, I think I need a little "me" knitting.

To be honest, I have knit more for myself this year than ever.  I have also broken more needles than ever this year.  I don't know that it's a coincidence or just a bit of bad luck.  It doesn't happen on every project, and it's not only on the projects that are for me.  I think it's more just about time I broke a couple of needles.  I think I'm up to 3 or 4 now in the past 10 months.  I have another birthday sweater to knit as well, and I have more than enough yarn for it, but no pattern.  I think I may wing it.

My apologies for the terrible pictures - I was lazy and didn't want to go outside (flaring of allergies with the remnants of a cold don't mix well). Indoor lighting isn't as good as outdoor.

In other news, I have at least one new project to start this summer.  Jolie posted something about Amish puzzle balls, and since I have a toddler who loves to be kept busy, I think it will work well.  I can add it into a busy box for the fall while the older two children do schoolwork.  It's going to be a busy summer.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Then it hit me

I finished the sweater, I washed it, and blocked it.  I even wore it.  I discovered something - it's shorter than I want, and the modification I did to the neckline stretches it out even more which is a problem since I don't want to wear a tank under it.  It does fit, which is lovely.  I just need it to be longer and I need the bottom to not curl.  Neither of these things will be corrected by hanging it, so it looks like I have to undo most of it and re-knit it.  And that is rather discouraging.  I would have taken pictures, but as I finished the sweater, I started getting sick.  Not horribly so, as a matter of fact, I thought it was just a sinus thing.  And then it hit me.  It's worse than a sinus thing.  I can handle those - I have them often.  This is a cold, and quite frankly, I don't get those often.  When I do, they manage to hit me a bit harder than expected (probably because I expect them to be a sinus issue and it's worse than that so I don't prep enough).  In any case, I'm about halfway done - I have gotten over the sneezy, nose drippy part, and am on to the "I can't breathe out of my nose" part.  So I should be about halfway done.  I think.  It has definitely slowed me down and I haven't taken pictures yet of the sweater that must be redone.  Once I am better, I will take pictures, frog back, and start again.  On the bright side, I still had 3 skeins left (note to self - trust your gut and when you have 3 skeins left know you didn't knit enough) so I can add length to the body easily.

I still wanted something to do with my hands, so I picked a shawl back up.  Shawls are terrific summer knitting (I would say spring, but that only lasts about a month here before the heat hits and it turns into summer).  The other item on my knit list is socks, which are another great summer knitting item.

I had to rip back on the shawl, as I had a stitch that wasn't caught properly, and I tried to drop down, but it just wasn't working for me.  Hopefully, I can knit on this while I recuperate and then when I get ready, I can charge forward with the sweater again.  

It's no fun being sick on Mother's Day, but if you are, here's to being able to stay in bed, watch great movies, and knit.  That's what my day has been.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Digging in the Garden

I promised pictures of the sweater, so here is where it stands:

I'm not sure if it's because I'm watching Game of Thrones while knitting, or if I just can't count, but I'm having the worst time with the second sleeve.  I had a hard time with the first one, and I thought it was because it was the first sleeve.  Maybe it's because I'm a little cocky where knitting this is concerned, and I'm not paying attention like I should.  In any case, I keep having to re-knit rows.

I finished this embroidery piece as well:

It's for a friend from half a lifetime ago, and I can't remember if she wanted it in a throw pillow or just framed.  What would you do?  I plan on sending it to her as soon as it's finished, as a surprise, so I'd rather not ask her.  I think it turned out well though.

We started a garden last month, and I had to wait on the seeds to sprout before planting them.  But here's a look:

Some of the seeds sprouted before the others (top and middle pictures) and so I moved them to slightly larger pots.  The bottom is a store-bought chocolate mint plant on the right (who knew such a thing existed?!) and some moonflowers that were started from seeds.  I hope to transplant all the larger plants to the garden patch this week.  Speaking of the garden patch:

Our garden currently consists of 3 strawberry plants and purple basil.  We get visitors in the morning - sweet little bunnies that like to nibble on the fruits.  That's okay though - we still get most of what is produced.  What are you spending your time doing these days?  Any ideas about the Tigger?

Monday, May 02, 2016

What a difference

This morning has been rather productive, all things considered.  My crafting life has been less so over the past couple of weeks.  I focused on reading, rather than crafting, in an effort to make progress toward my GoodReads goal of 20 books this year.  I failed.  I started 2 more books, but didn't finish any.  I tried, I really did.

This sweater is closer to being completed than in this picture:

I have finished the front and back, and one sleeve.  It would have two sleeves, but the first one was a bit small.  I followed the directions exactly as written, and there was zero ease.  As in "it pulled the neckline of the sweater" no ease.  So, when I started the second sleeve, I added two stitches, and it is amazing what a difference 2 little stitches can make.  It went from "suction cup" tight to "comfortably close."  This is a lesson for not just knitting, but life as well.  It may not seem like much, but a small step or two can make a big difference.  Just one choice can start you down a path of big changes.  

This still sits in a holding pattern.  As I started outlining the letters, the curved portions of the letters were looking a bit thin,  So, I started filling them in.  This takes more time.  I hope to show you a more complete Tigger by the end of the week.  I am learning to stop quitting things.  I have to be mindful about working on something, and I think that's everyone.  Some people just have it down as more of a routine.  I'm still working on that.  What's new for you?