Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Livin' On A Prayer

Woo hoo!

Well... they aren't sheep, which would definitely keep in the theme of this blog, but they'll have to do:

Yes, people, it's true.  I'm finally halfway there.  The prayer will be needed to finish this monster.  I told hub I'm sick of knitting this sucker.  He said he's surprised it took me so long to get sick of it.  It's all downhill from here.  Here is the pic I promised.  It's sort of hard to take it myself and show how big this is so far, but at least you can see the pattern:

This afghan already comes highly recommended by my dog, who seems to spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to successfully lay on it without getting kicked off the couch.


After my last post talking about the (assumed) wonderful German person who is reading this blog, I discovered there are (assumed wonderful) readers from two new countries.  Go figure!
Accueil to the French reader.  I love crepes.добро пожаловать to the Russian reader.  I love vodka.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Update

Wie Gehts?

I was checking out my blogger stats and saw that someone in Germany is reading this.  Pretty cool!  (Especially since I thought I only had two readers, one of which I'm married to and the other one of my good friends.)  Willkommen!  When I was in high school I took German.  Fast forward to many, many years later and the only German I remember is, "it is cold outside".  And now that we're getting into warmer weather, that's not going to do me any good...

Blanket Progress

I'm on the fifth skein!  I hope to have a pic for you all (Hubby, F & my German reader) tomorrow.  I think after blocking, it's going to be the perfect size.  That's the good news.  The bad news is apparently I started new skeins a couple of times in the wrong spot (middle) instead of the end of a row.  The owner at the LYS said it could unravel because I didn't start the new skein on an end.  WHAT?  I asked if I should tink back to where I added the new skein and she said no.  If I have to weave in *and knot* the ends of the middle skein, damn it, I will.  I'm going to have to do some research on this.  Especially since my yarn is machine washable and I'm sure they will be popping it into the washer from time to time.  I don't think they'd appreciate opening the washer to a mess of yarn.  And I wouldn't appreciate hearing that they did after all the time this sucker is taking.

Why I Like Machine Washable Yarn

Speaking of machine washable yarn, the main reason (besides pure laziness) is I had a bad experience with a scarf I made once.  I chose this fantastic yarn that was hand wash.  I decided on a pattern than was a little more complicated than normal.  The end result was beautiful.  The recipient, before wearing it even once, put it in the washing machine rather than hand washing it.  It shrunk and fuzzed up and I had to make another scarf with machine washable yarn.  What a waste of money and time - especially when it didn't even get to be worn once.  Now I shoot for machine washable only, because people are going to forget to hand wash these handmade, *precious* items and I'm going to get pissed if it gets ruined.  This helps both parties, as far as I'm concerned.  Lesson learned.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Project Update

Afghan Progress

Well, I'm into my fourth skein of yarn, which is why you aren't seeing my progress photo yet; you will when I'm finally done with the fifth skein!  I'm finding the pattern easily memorized, however the bigger it gets the more cumbersome it is switching it around so I can add a row every time.  I have to say, it looks pretty good so far!

Odds & Ends

All of that stuff (baby blanket, afghan square, etc.) that I have completed except for weaving in the ends?  I still haven't done it.  I don't know what it is with me and the ends, but geesh.  I need to get my butt in gear. 

Austin LYS

We were gone last weekend to Texas for a wedding.  One thing I like to do sometimes when we travel is to check out the LYS in the area.  We recently went to Austin, and I discovered Hill Country Weavers.  In a word:  Wow.  It was absolutely fantastic.  Now I love my LYS at home, but it's quite tiny.  This place was at least 4-5 times bigger and had tons of yarn.  I was smart (even though now I'm kicking myself) and stopped by on the way to the airport.  This meant I had a limited amount of time available to look at yarn - about 10 minutes.  I didn't even make it into some of the rooms.  I walked in and asked where their machine washable stuff was and was directed to some of the softest cotton yarn I'd ever felt.  Between the softness, the quantity, and color choices, I was in a daze.  It took all my time to choose which color I should pick (especially since I didn't have a pattern in mind), but I knew I wanted to make some sort of sleeveless summer sweater.  I have to wait until the freakin' afghan is done, though, to begin.  I bought several skeins of two different yarns:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Insane In The Membrane

The day before yesterday I finished (well, other than blocking) the baby blanket. As I said, I will take a pic once the blocking is complete.  Yesterday I did one square for a charity afghan.  Today?  I started on my first afghan.  We are going to a wedding this weekend and I decided for the wedding gift I would make an afghan.  I think this is the definition of insanity.  I mean, come on.  I just finished that dang baby blanket, and it is smaller than what this afghan is going to be!

So much knitting.  My  hands actually hurt a little bit. I've never knit through a skein of yarn in one day before.  I'm 1/9th of the way through this sucker, and I doubt I'm going to knit this much on it in a day again, so who knows how long it's going to take to complete this.  I will say it's a cute pattern.  I'll take a pic when I'm 50% through.

Afghan Block

I still need to block it, but yesterday I knitted a square that will be used in an afghan that will be given to Mazy's husband from her friends from the bc site.  It went very quickly.  I really like this checkers afghan squares pattern.  It's super easy.  Clearly I need to work on my project photos, but you get the idea of what it looks like here:

Monday, April 15, 2013


Well, mostly done.

I finished the "8 hour" baby blanket today.  I still need to block it and weave in the ends, but I'm done with the knitting on it.  I even added an extra strip than what was called for in the pattern.  I think it looks nice, and I hope the person I give it to likes it :)  Pictures to come!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Like Grandma Used To Make

Before I started the blanket, I decided to knit a dish towel.  Yeah, I know.  Why?

  1. We have friends that have a new-ish kitchen and the cotton yarn I had happened to perfectly match their kitchen colors.  
  2. I've never knitted a towel before, so why not?  
  3. People aren't going to need scarves for a while.
  4. I was putting off starting the blanket, plain and simple
I checked around on Ravelry for towel patterns and decided on the leftover dishtowel.  Just like the ones Grandma used to make!  And really, those goofy looking things are practical.  It was a lot of fun to knit, and it's actually super cute.  I decided I want to knit one for myself now, too.  I ended up having enough yarn left over from the two skeins I started with so I also ended up knitting the basket rib dishcloth.  I finally wove in the ends (not sure why I take so long doing that since it takes less than 3 minutes to actually do).  Also, the dishtowel was the first time I had to both create a button hole and sew a button on my one of my knitted projects so I actually learned something just knitting a dish towel.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yarn And Sangria

I'm a bit late in posting this, but Tuesday I went to my LYS and basically stayed there for 4 hours.  At first it was just the owner and I, then a visiting Grandma joined us, then a teacher, then a dude.  This yarn store is teeny tiny, so we were pretty much at full capacity (with enough room to spread out appropriately) with five people at the table, and these people were interesting characters.  It was a fun time for an unemployed, bored wife.  At 4:00 they declared "It's 5:00 somewhere!" and broke out the sangria.  How could I refuse?  These people are right up my alley!

I started on the "eight hour" baby blanket (quotes definitely necessary - I got maybe 1/8th of it done in 4 hours!).  I made a few mistakes - I'm not used to knitting and talking/drinking, I guess.  My friend used to come over and we would knit, watch tv, eat & drink, but it's been quite a while -- I need more practice.  I'm looking forward to spending more afternoons at the store, as well as enjoying more sangria.  Cheers!   Below is the baby blanket I'm working on...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Like Yarn. Also, The Sun Is Hot.

One of my projects to keep myself busy since being laid off was logging all the yarn I had in my spare bedroom, and the yarn I brought home from work.  Any reasonable person would assume I'd have a few skeins at work, and keep the rest of it at home.  Well.  I worked just a few blocks from the Lion Brand store, and I am lazy with carrying stuff home.  When we went to clean out my space at work the yarn I had in my desk drawers (plural) filled a garbage bag to the top.  I also had a smallish container that was filled, as well.  

Logging everything into ravelry takes pretty much forever.  You need to take pics of the yarn and enter all the info for every different type of yarn.  I had over 70 different types (not skeins) of yarn that I organized (some were already in ravelry and some weren't).  That was a lot.  Any reasonable person would assume that since I have all this yarn I won't be buying any more yarn any time soon.  Especially now that I'm unemployed.  Well.  Clearly you didn't read my last post about finding a new yarn shop.

There is just something about yarn.  The various textures and colors - I love 'em all.  And I love the potential I see in it.  I'm also a big fan of all the implements used in knitting.  I have several sets of needles, project bags, stitch markers, and various other dodads that I've deemed important to have in my collection.  The hilarious thing (to me and maybe not to my husband) is that I still only consider myself barely past beginner level.  This is mostly because I will go through streaks with my knitting.  And mostly because I hate gauge, so I rarely make anything non-scarfy.  I was shocked when the 'newbie' knitter I met today said she was on her third project and it was a sweater.  A SWEATER?!  I looked at her like she had just turned water into wine.  I've made two sweaters (both for a baby) and one ended up super small - maybe a preemie could wear it for a few hours - and one ended up big enough for a two year old.  See?  I hate gauge.  The good thing is now I have a new friend, the store owner, who is determined to teach me gauge.

New Friend after I told her about the skull cap incident, as well as the sweater incidents, "You know why gauge is important, right?"

Me, "Absolutely.  I just hate doing it because it takes me forever to actually get the right gauge a lot of times."

New Friend, "Eh, you don't need to do that Four Inch Swatch crap. That's a waste of time."

That got me hook, line, and sinker.  See:  I am lazy.  And I fully expect my yarn stash to continue to grow.  I'm going to try to use an old yarn for every new one I buy, though.  [I'm saying that because I'm 90% sure hubby is reading this; we'll see what actually happens.  Love ya, hubs!]


There's a new local yarn store in town. Or at least new to me.  And it just might be the thing I'm looking for.

Background:  This week is my first week unemployed.  I have a lot of free time.  A lot.  What do I do with it?  Well, up until now I've been doing some light knitting, cleaning, and watching some of the worst movies ever on Showtime/HBO.  For example, yesterday I stumbled across "Rock of Ages" about halfway through.  Soon after I started watching, Alec Baldwin (in a longish wig) and Russell Brand started singing, as a love song, the old hit "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore".  To each other.  I knew then that this movie had nowhere to go but up.  Neither of those actors can sing worth crap.  That still didn't stop me from watching the rest of it.  Sadly.  OK, back to the knitting story...

So today I went to lunch with another friend who doesn't have a job, and we stopped at the new knitting store afterward.  It was super tiny, but felt just right.  There were two women there working on projects (one the owner, one a customer she taught to knit).  I told her about the layoff and having all this extra time now with nothing to do, and she basically demanded I go there and knit with them from now on.  I'm already planning on going tomorrow.  It's a nice walk from my place, they were both very nice, and she offers wine later in the day.  That's 3 for 3.  I'm very excited.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Knit With Love

I think homemade gifts are sometimes the best ones.  The fact that people put their time and skills into making someone for you? That is special.

I was lucky enough to know an amazing woman, via the wonderful wide, wide, world of web, for a year.  I met her in some bad circumstances (a cancer chat), and found her to be one of the most positive people I'd ever met.  She never diminished my feelings even though I was lucky enough to be diagnosed early and she was Stage IV.  She had battled cancer for years, but from what I saw this past year and what everyone who ever met her in the chat or in person said, she was always an upbeat, positive, loving woman.  She always had a laugh.  Always.

The chat does a secret santa and last December was my first time participating.  I was extremely happy to see I got Mazy's name in the exchange.  I knew right away I wanted to make something for her.  I also knew that I didn't have enough time to knit a blanket (apparently that takes me multiple years...), but I could at least knit a scarf.  I loved knitting the Chunky Alpaca Scarf below for her.  When it came time to open the gifts, she said the scarf was in her favorite color (I had no idea) and she loved it.  I told her to please think of us all giving her a hug whenever she wore it.

Mazy passed away last night after a long battle.  She will be so missed.