Knitables · Patterns · Randomly on a...

A Little Pick-Me-Up

I’m officially a full-time freelance writer! The last time I wrote I was uncertain about my future, but there’s no more uncertainty! I am very happy about the decision that was made at the end of the month and all is well! I have plenty of opportunities, Critical Sheep is working hard and it’s all great! It’s FUNEmployment. I wish I had made this decision years ago! I feel like making the decision to work for yourself takes a lot of guts, and it’s probably better that I didn’t do it until now; I lacked the gumption to do it all until freedom was thrust upon me.

I’m writing this on my brand new MacBook! The 2007 Black Macbook has finally bit it and we made the decision to add yet another laptop to the house. I think that brings us up to 6 or 7 computers. We’re nerds, what more could you ask for?

I’m really loving the whole sleeping until I want to thing of being my own boss. My hours are whenever I want them to be. And I can be as creative as I want in the hours when creativity is the most effective for me. I, being my own boss, set the dress code too: No Pants Tuesdays are awesome!

I’m also getting a ton of knitting done. I’ve created a bunch of dice bags to sell on the Critical Sheep Etsy page and I’m working on a sample for both three skeins of D4 and 14 Tribbles. AND I’m working on a sample for Cream City for a class I’m teaching.


So for now, because it’s gloomy and cloudy and dark today and I can’t get a good picture of anything to save my life, here’s an in-progress shot of my knitting. Color is Chameleon, but came out exactly like Lifespring, so there’s that.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

 

Knitables · Patterns · Stashbust 2014

Catching Up

Another month- not a whole lot of knitting to account for.

I’ve been working on some different things. Mostly for other people but I’m finally getting into the knitting for myself.

I’ve finally found the time to start working on a commission I got two weeks ago from one of the amazing ladies at the store. She’s working on a Latte baby jacket, but because of a shoulder injury, can’t knit with the large needles and yarn so she asked me to finish the button band for her. I agreed, and work and life have finally slowed down enough to allow me the time to do it.

I’ve started a Gemini pullover out of The Fiber Company Acadia. It’s a really sweet tank with lace on both shoulders and one side, so it can be worn with the lace to the front or the back. It’s knitting up so fast and I can’t wait to wear it. I got six skeins of the Acadia in the hopes to make a different sweater, but landed on this one, knowing I could make the body a little longer if I wanted to, or I can lengthen the sleeves a bit. We’ll see. So far it just looks like a large mass of teal yarn.

I took a skein of self-striping yarn to Stitch n Pitch this past week and started some fingerless mitts. I got the skein from Jenny after she discovered five knots in the fiber. She emailed the dyer who promptly told her to throw the skein away and wait for the next one to come in the mail. She offered it to me and I gladly took it! The only problem is the colors bleed quite a bit so I’m worried when the time comes to wash the mitts. They might bleed all over the place, but a color catcher should fix that right up. The yarn is Desert Vista in colorway Dia de los Muertos. Even though there’s pink, I don’t mind it. The colors are vibrant and exuberant and will brighten up my fall wardrobe nicely.

Oh and I got a bobble head. Isn’t he cute?!

Things are still plugging away on the lap blanket for a special someone. I won’t go into details since I’m not sure if she reads this blog. All I will say is the Tosh chunky is done and I’m onto the Mission Falls Merino which is accenting the tosh really well.

I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning lately and it’s included consolidating and organizing my stash. I’ve managed to make some good headway into my stashbusting endeavor, so my minor purchases of the Acadia and the Michigan yarns haven’t impacted my stash all that much. I came to realize that I haven’t purchased anything more than 20 skeins all year. It’s been 6 months and I’ve only purchased six skeins of Acadia, five of Shepherds wool and a couple skeins of Tosh sport and some Malabrigo Rios. I’ve been doing really well!

Once the lap blanket for someone is done, I’m planning on starting a stash-throw, which will include a lot of wools that I haven’t managed to find a home for but will be able to ferret away into a striped blanket for the back of my couch. This will take me a while, but I know I’m going to love it.

I also want to start an OWLS sweater out of my stashed Cascade Eco. I have two skeins of beautiful blue yarn that have been a blanket already but I tore it out in favor of something else. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the sweater will turn into.

Another thing? I’ve put blogging on my schedule. No more of this once a month crap.

Knitables · Patterns · Randomly on a...

Four Years

Happy Birthday Blog,

Four years ago today I was sitting in my Blogging class with my newfound friends Anthony and Alicia and we started you. I was nervous. I knew I liked to write and I knew I liked to knit, but I never thought it would still be in action four years later.

It was a little rough at the beginning. The pictures were lax. They weren’t the best quality. I suppose they still aren’t. I’m working on that. I swear.

When we first started, I was not the knitter I am today. I knit chunky yarn. I knit scarves. I knit acrylic.

I had so much more time on my hands than I do now. I had drafts scheduled with you for weeks in advance. Now it’s a miracle if I blog twice a month.

Still. Today marks a huge deal for me.

You, Dear Blog, are my greatest achievement. You keep the spirit of my teacher, Leslie, alive. Her loss was traumatic to me and I miss her terribly, but I know she’s looking down on me with pride knowing her teaching and hard work has gone so far.

You help me reach out to become a better knitter. I get to experiment and share those experiences with you and the people who read you. I get to say I’m not a sock knitter with a picture of a knit sock. I get to share my love and passion for the two things I love most in this world and I’m so good at doing it. And that’s all through you.

I longed to make you the next Yarn Harlot. It’s OK that you’re not. I don’t have nearly as much laundry as Stephanie does. And that’s OK with me.

Life is not the same with you in my life. I take pictures of my knitting simply so I can share the experience with you and your readers. I wrote about having sock yarn in the stash simply because I knew it would prompt me to knit with it. I start projects knowing I’ll be held accountable for the project if I write about it.

You and me, blog. We’ve been through a lot. I’ve started other blogs but you were always the first. And you’ll always be mine.

Thank you, blog. This one’s for you.

 

CrossFit Games Knitalong · Knitables · Patterns

In Preparation

I started knitting a pair of gorgeous socks about six months ago.

The plan was that they’d be for me. I bought size 1 needles from knitpicks, had the yarn (ToshSock in Lapis, for anyone who cares) ready and cast on the toe and knit merrily along until I reached the heel, which was going to be an afterthought. I knit in the contrasting color and finished the rest of the sock’s body. I picked up the stitches for the heel and knit that. I kitchenered the heel together. I put the sock on.

It was too big.

And not an “it’ll shrink to fit” kind of too big but a too big that prompts boyfriend to slip it on his foot and not want to take it off because it fits him perfectly.

I was pissed. I knit these socks for ME! This yarn was expensive and I vowed to not knit socks for Boyfriend. Especially since these socks were made before the 1-year mark and thusly, would enact the curse I knew wouldn’t affect him because he loved me more than my neuroses over knitting, but still. I had standards to uphold.

The sock and its yarn went into the stash to be on time out until about a week ago when I dragged the gorgeous skein from the bin and decided I would finish the socks because why not? I couldn’t let Second Sock Syndrome take its affect for so long. That and I wanted to cast on a pair for myself so I had to make sure there was enough yarn for two pairs in this stash of 1.5 skeins.

So I had boyfriend try the sock on only to realize that it’s probably a bit too short. I ripped back the ribbing and knit in more stockinette before starting the ribbing, which I made twice as long as I usually make it and I even did a 2×2 ribbing, which I only reserve for my hats.

It took three days of knitting on-and-off during the nights to finish the sock. I took a picture and sent it to boyfriend.

His first words? “There’s a hole. Right in the middle.”

He was joking of course, because he knew the hole was for the heel and I hadn’t woven in the ends. But I still called him a jerk.

I started knitting the second sock so as to avoid a perpetual Second Sock Syndrome and I have gotten through two increases on the toe. My hope is that tomorrow I’ll be well on my way to a finished toe and/or body of the sock. I want these babies done before fall so he can have super-warm socks to wear when we go to a football game this winter.

Remember when I wasn’t a sock knitter?

I’m also working on an intarsia sweater… the one from Fall’s Interweave Knits, the Plowman Cardigan. Although I’m not totally sure I can actually call it the same thing because I’ve changed so much.

For one, I’m not knitting it in pieces. I think sweaters knit in pieces are stupid, so I don’t like to do it that way.

Two, I’m knitting it on size 6 needles and the stitch count is different. I had already cast on a cobblestone and been merrily knitting away with that when I petered out and decided I didn’t want to knit it anymore and put it away. I ripped back to the beginning of the stockinette and picked up all the stitches before doing a lot of calculating to make sure I could do it all correctly and I started knitting.

It’s been on hold for a while now as I can’t knit it at work because it’s not all yarn from work, and the intarsia means I have four balls of blue lying around the two skeins of grey I’m holding together. In other words, it’s a mess every time I knit.  I’m hoping to have it done by the time it really gets cold out, but you never know. It could be the sweater that never dies.

Finally, I ripped out the CF Games knitalong cowl. I realized I’d never wear it, so I tore it out and will do another project in the same timeframe in the near future. Probably only one color, though.

I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend and Labor Day. I’ll be working the whole weekend other than Monday where I will likely either be playing DnD with friends or knitting. I knit during DnD so I guess that shouldn’t be an “or” statement. Have a great weekend!

Knitables · Patterns · Randomly on a...

The Mittens Don’t Match

So it’s been pretty ridiculously crazy lately at work and with the holiday so I’m happy to be back to normal this week. Here’s a few random things for you to enjoy today.

Chevry was finished on December 30, blocked on the 31st and worn to the Boyfriends’ family Christmas on the First. It was admired by many, stolen by his Aunt Heidi and I grew even more in love with it as it kept me nice and warm for the next few days at work. It has had many photographs taken of it but none that are worth showing to anyone as the colors suck and didn’t show up in my little apartment that apparently doesn’t get enough light when the sunlight is covered in frozen ice/snow.

I won tickets to the first Playoff Game of the season at Lambeau Field through work last Friday. Boyfriend and I drove to Green Bay and enjoyed the game along with 71,000 other people. We gave the Minnesota Vikings a sound butt-kicking and it was a great night with Boyfriend, his sister and brother in-law.

I needed mittens and a hat for the game so I bought three skeins of Rowan Drift while at work on Saturday with the sole purpose of knitting a pair of mittens and a hat by the 7 p.m. game. Then work got crazy and I finished only one mitten by 4 p.m.. I knit like a crazy person and wound up with two differently sized mittens when all was said and done. They kept me plenty warm so I didn’t mind that they were two sizes, but I ripped them out when getting to work on Sunday. They’re now still in the ball and one mitten has a cuff. I have other priorities to get to. Boyfriend was the only one who had any cold-ness as his shoes, made of mesh on the top, let in too much cold so he had some hotties in his shoes. I was fine in similar shoes because I was wearing knit socks. Because I’m clever.

I’m knitting socks. I’m almost done with one (just the heel to do) and will be starting the second promptly to avoid second sock syndrome. I’m trying not to draw too much attention to them as they’re an anomaly for me to be knitting. My toes have been exceptionally cold lately with this cold snap and the fact that I keep my apartment cold so I want some socks to bum around in. They’re knit with MadelineTosh Tosh Sock in the color Lapis. They’re beautiful and I almost am sad that I decided to knit socks with them.

I have the yarn to knit Boyfriend a hat in a month. He needs socks, too. Especially if he’s going to the Boundary Waters in the spring and it’s going to be awfully cold. His boot socks did nothing for him at the game, so I think knit socks will suit much better.

Boyfriend is currently plagued with that stupid cold that everyone and their brother has. He’s stuffy and feeling generally crappy though still upwardly mobile so I’ll be shoving mug after mug of tea and soup at him whenever he comes over.

I guess that’s it from me this week… I’m so dull. I’ve been working like crazy, going to CrossFit, knitting when I have a spare moment and then working some more. I guess one of these days you’ll get a proper post out of me.

Knitables · Patterns

Don’t Mind Me

I’ve been out of range of the blog for a very good reason:

My hands have been on a pair of needles almost every minute they’re not eating, drinking coffee, sleeping or wandering around town in the rain.

It’s been five days since I was last at work and I’m having a tough time adjusting to the whole ‘sitting at the desk in the mildly dark lighting trying to organize the 80 million things I have to get done.

[may it be known that it took me two days to write this post.]

I’m writing emails, email writing (get the difference?) proofing emails, filling out requests for barcodes and proofing site creative along with the 10 million other things. My knitting sits next to me, spilling out of the bag, staring at me. Judging me. Whimpering at me to be knit.

So. Seattle. It rained a lot. We left a snowstorm and came to a fresh mist of rain that kept the ground wet for the entire visit to the city.

I knit Brother’s Huskies hat on the plane(s). I previously had finished the fair isle so I felt confident leaving the cream color at home and just finishing with the purple. I did finish with about 10 minutes left and pulled out the Chevry shawl but found that the yarn was tangled into a mess that rivaled some of my most serious yarn barfs so I put it back and sulked for the last 20,000 feet of the flight.  I realized I left my darning needles at home so I would need to make a purchase upon getting to the yarn shop.

I’m quite proud of my knitting prowess, and was very nervous to give it to him.

 

I have a tendency to get extremely flustered when flying and when people ask me where to go when I possibly know less than the person asking about that city, I get frustrated and snap every so often. Mom would ask where we’re supposed to go (as if I’m supposed to remember from a year ago) and Boyfriend bounced ideas off me and I clenched my jaw and walked a few steps ahead of them to avoid freaking the frak out at them(even though I did anyway). Boyfriend, in all his amazing intuition, found the rental car place, we got a car and Siri brought us to the hotel.

By 3 p.m. we were in the hotel room (sans view, even though we asked for one) chilling out for a bit before we decided to go venturing out. Mom chilled out at the hotel while boyfriend and I went to a yarn shop near Pike Place Market. The yarn shop (So Much Yarn, in case anyone wants to know.) was little and the owner/woman working there were sweet. They immediately asked to look at my hat, asked if it was a certain kind of yarn and was baffled when I told her it was MadelinTosh. It’s like she didn’t believe me. She then spent the better part of 20 minutes showing me the most expensive yarns in the place. I found the sale yarn (it’s a sixth sense, I swear) and got three skeins of Prism Symphony in a Marina blue and a sea green.

Of which there is no image. I didn’t get home until 10 p.m. last night and yarn was last on my mind.

The green was an impulse buy as there was only one skein and it’s 120 yards but it was too gorgeous to pass up. I got two skeins of the blue with the intent of making myself some flip-top mittens. I also got some size 6 circular needles from Knitter’s Pride. They’re purple. That’s all I really cared about. I forgot the darning needle and boyfriend created a notification for when we got to the next place.

Upon returning to the hotel at one point during this day, I noticed that there isn’t a 13th floor in this building. The elevator just whizzes past 13 on its way to 14 and there’s no button.

But seriously. Those people on the 14th floor KNOW what floor they’re really on.

We met Brother for dinner right down the street from the hotel and about a 10 minute walk for us from the yarn shop. We drank, had a great meal and drank some more while Brother got to know Boyfriend and we all caught up with everything going on that side of the US.

Saturday we slept in late and got to Emerald City CrossFit for our WOD. If you want to read more, head over to KnitEatLift.

We headed back to the hotel, cleaned up and set out for the Monorail, which took us to the Space Needle

Better than the crappy free photo they took of us before we got on the elevator.

Then went to Pike Place Market where I found some raw honey and dark chocolate covered bing cherries.

We then went back to the hotel and made the attempt to go to the Freemont Troll and the yarn shop out there, but it turned out to be too dark too soon (4 p.m.. Seriously) so we put the troll off for Sunday but still went to The Fiber Gallery where I hit the motherload.

Upon entering the shop, I instantly made a beeline to the notions rack and picked up a packet of soak in Aquae (I figured unscented would leave me with a wet-dog smelling hat, so Aquae seemed masculine enough) and a set of darning needles. Then came the real shopping:

I got two skeins of Sincere Sheep for a second Chevry. These skeins, while pricey, have 330 yards of DK weight yarn and look at the colors!!! I’m not sure if there’s going to be enough yardage for it, but I can fib it a bit as the B color uses significantly less yardage than the A color. I’ll figure it out.

I also got two skeins of some gorgeous Malabrigo Rios without a plan to knit anything with them but because they’re so gorgeous I couldn’t help myself. I finally got one skein of blue Malabrigo Worsted for a blue beanie for boyfriend(It’s a web-developer thing). He liked this color best after going through all the colors in the shop to find the perfect blue for his hat. He won’t be getting it for a while as I have stuff to knit for myself first, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate it when it’s actually finished. It’ll be the first thing I knit for him and, not to worry, it’ll be at least February before I knit it up.

Sorry, no images of this stuff either. Again. 10 p.m. and sleepy.

Bag stuffed and belly empty, we went back to the hotel and had a delicious dinner at the restaurant at the base of the hotel (no room service, so annoying).

I don’t know what that dressing was, but it made me so happy!

Sunday was a fun day indeed. Mom, Boyfriend and I went to the cafe across the street (same one we went to two years ago… killer pastries) and went to a Green Bay Packers bar for the game (10 a.m. game. oy to the vey). I knit the Chevry for the entire game and made good progress on it. No pictures, though… sorry.

After the game, Mom and brother went shopping and boyfriend and I went to a brewery tour.

The blurriness has nothing to do with the beer… Seriously.

It cost $1 and you got 5 samples of their brew AND got to keep the glass. Red Hook is nationally-distributed and did I mention it’s pretty delicious?

I knit whenever in the car and we took the scenic route back to the hotel. We had Potbelly for dinner and didn’t see Mom until the next morning.

Did I mention Seattle at night is really pretty? The Space Needle features a green top and a lighted tree from the spire as it does every year. It’s pretty cool.

Christmas Eve was interesting. All three of us didn’t want to do anything so we bummed around. I realized I had effed up Chevry and couldn’t figure out how, but, after taking the entire shawl off the needles and ripping out five rows, putting all the stitches on the needle, I figured out my idiot problem of knitting too much.  I fixed the issue and kept merrily knitting along.

See that? Blue on bottom and orange on top. NOT SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE THAT!

Mom, Boyfriend and I went for a walk to the market and saw the fattest pigeon ever.

They got sweatshirts and we all got lunch at a cute little cafe. After we cleaned up and went to Christmas Eve services where I belted out Silent Night via candlelight and we both got to pull out our German. It was a very nice service and maybe next year we’ll get to see the live-nativity thing everyone keeps talking about.

After services, we drove back to the hotel to find that EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED. Seriously. The entire city had shut down in observation of the holiday. We were starving and didn’t even care what food was available. Pizza places were closed, the restaurant downstairs was closed, and everything seemed dark. We went for a walk in the hopes we’d find something and, miracle of miracles, we found a Subway. Dinner was had and it was all well and good.

The next morning, Christmas, was a slow one. We got lucky and had breakfast served to us through the hotel (as everything was still going to be closed) and went to Brother’s for an extremely paleo dinner and presents and hanging out. Brother got me a Paleo slow cooker book and I gave him his hat and the Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story and a bunch of other little tidbits from A Christmas Story. He gave Boyfriend a couple large bottles of beer. We watched A Christmas Story (sensing a theme here?), ate a delicious dinner and then watched Ted and Kung Fu Panda (We’re nothing if not immature at times). I knit for the entire day. We left shortly before too-late and went to bed early knowing it was going to be an early morning.

Mom’s birthday(HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY!) was a day of travel. We packed, I in a frenzy as always, and we made it to the airport, sat in the ever-growing security line that was about 800 people long and made me want to have a panic attack in the hopes it would let me through security faster. The flight was cramped and we watched The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King as soon as we hit 20,000 feet. I knit and knit and knit. I finished the fifth and final chevron and started the last rows before the border only to find out it’s a 24-row border. Ever-growing.

I used the flash to blow out the colors a bit. It’s now getting so big that the bag can’t really hold it. 24 more rows to go!

So.
Many.
Stitches.

We unpacked, started laundry and went upstairs to finish watching LOTR. I knit some more. I finished the four rows before changing colors and put it away. Today I sit at my desk, Chevry staring at me.

I can’t wait to knit you tonight.

Did I mention all the ends to be woven in?

My hope is to finish this thing by the end of the weekend(I do realize it’s Thursday and I work a lot over the next three days) because I want to wear it. Now.

Knitables · Patterns · Randomly on a... · Spinnables

Must Knit All the Things!

It’s been a stressful week at Chez Amanda so I’ve been knitting a lot. I’ve also been drinking a lot of (STRONG) coffee so I’m running at a mile a minute.

I knit to the middle of the foot on the stocking before I got bored with it. It’s on the floor in my apartment waiting to inspire me to finish it.

I finished the seed stitch cowl and bound off with a super-stretchy bind off late last night, which is the reason there are no images to be found of it yet. I’ll weave in the ends and take another photo when it’s fully done tonight.

I wound the skein of Merino Tencel I made a WHILE ago and stuck a knitpicks interchangeable size 7 needle in there to make another cowl/neck thing.

Realized I didn’t want to knit any cowls on Ravelry so I’m creating a neckerchief-thing that starts with casting on 300 stitches and decreasing from there.

No, I’m not crazy. Just highly motivated.

And I need this to be done by Monday, so I’m hoping to knit very quickly. This yarn is so soft and shiny and I lurve it more than any of my other handspun. It’s also very evenly spun, too. And it’s 3-ply. And did I mention I lurve it? I’ll post pictures of that, tomorrow once I start knitting on it.

I have every intention of casting on some flip-top mittens in a gorgeous teal color with size 2 needles.

I should probably also be working on the hat for a Christmas present. I planned on being up to the chart by the time I left for Seattle, but it looks like I’ll be knitting the whole thing on the plane. This isn’t a problem for me, but I’d much rather be knitting Chevry. The plane ride home will be dedicated to that as I’m determined to finish it by the end of the year.

For anyone who reads KnitEatLift, the ankle is doing better. I’m off to visit the good Chiropractor tonight to get a quick adjustment and then it’s home for knitting and cooking burgers. Blah, I know, but they’re good with a honey mustard dressing and some broccoli slaw on the side. I’m salivating at the very thought.