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Bye Bye 2017!

I’ve written this post in my head about 6 times before finally sitting down and working on it.

2017 was fantastic: I started a new job, we bought a house, we adopted kittens and I got lots of knitting done! Let’s talk about the knitting, because this is after all the knitting blog.

Stats: I finished 17 projects in 2017. Seems fitting. I knit about 8,870 yards of yarn for those projects. So let’s talk monthly. It seems to work best since I blogged like three times this year.

January:  Lush: Madelinetosh Sport

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February: Find Your Fade: Critical Sheep D10 Worsted

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March: Hemlock Ring Blanket: Cascade Eco Wool

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Shapely Boyfriend Sweater: Sheepish Yarn Co Merino Worsted

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April: Garter Ear Flap Hat: Kenneth: Big Bad Wool Weepaca

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May: 1999: Malabrigo Rios

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June: NOTHING. I think I was just working on too many large things.

July: Hudson Shawl: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok

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August: Camilla Kid: Quince & Co Osprey

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Garter Ear Flap Hat: Hannah: Critical Sheep D10 Worsted

September: Biased Blanket: Big Bad Wool Yeti

World’s Simplest Mittens: Manos del Uruguay Maxima

October: Mom’s Socks: Lorna’s Laces Sport

Dovetail Shawl: Critical Sheep D4 Fingering

 

November: Sampleri

December: Super Bulky Grandpa Sweater: Malabrigo Rasta

Birkilauf: Istex LettLopi

No Mess Beanie: Madelinetosh Twist Light (It’s done, I just haven’t taken ANY pictures of it since finishing it. And I’ve worn it literally every day since I finished it.

 

It’s been a great start to the beginning of the year- I’m getting back on track with my diet, and I’m looking forward to finishing all the beautiful projects I have on the needles. I cast on a hat on Christmas eve and I’ve been working on a Rosemont sweater out of Lopi since just before the end of the year. It’s stunning and I love it so much right now. I can’t wait to share the progress photos and talk about my first Hannah Fettig sweater out of three currently on the needles that I hope to finish this year.

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Note to Self:

  1. Super Bulky sweaters do not travel well…
  2. Kittens LOOOOVE Superbulky yarn…or yarn in general…or hair… basically if it looks like string they want to play with it
  3. Kittens do not love it when you knit because it means you’re not cuddling them
  4. Knitting only happens when you actually knit on the thing… knitting fairies do not exist.
  5. Sleep is important… especially when it comes to being able to finish your knitting without mistakes.
  6. Scratch that. Sleep is very important. That is all.
  7. When a kitten starts howling in the foyer, they’re going to throw up all over your hardwood floors
  8. When a kitten throws up on the hardwood floors, it means you need to quarantine the other kitten from checking on first kitten to make sure his sister is ok
  9. Can you tell I’ve got kittens at home? Meet Neo and Trinity: We adopted them two weeks ago
  10. I went to Joann Fabrics yesterday for a yard of upholstery fabric and spent an hour waiting for it to be cut
  11. I now have to go back to Joann Fabrics to get buttons for the super bulky sweater from #1
  12. Photograph your knitting more…The below was taken before Halloween…

That’s all for now. I’m sorry it’s taken forever for this post to appear. I have been trying to do basically everything under the sun and blogging time hasn’t been in the forefront of my mind. However, a new item has made its way into my planner to post a couple times per week. Once about the knitting and once about the weight loss journey (at a plateau, thanks for asking).

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Making Changes

Hi!

I am so excited to write today’s post because it includes some more before and afters and knitting!

A year or so ago I knit a sweater called OWLS by Kate Davies. I made it out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in this gorgeous heathered blue and I cranked it out so quickly that I even surprised myself. I was in love with this sweater and couldn’t believe that I was so lucky to have been able to knit this thing and it fit well. I was at my heaviest at around 270 pounds. I thought it fit well and was pretty darn good looking on me with a 44″ bust. I wore it a couple more times but our winter was very mild and I didn’t wear my knit sweaters much at all during the season. They were put in the cedar chest for the summer and I only recently pulled it out to wash them up and get all my sweaters ready for the winter and fall. Perfect timing, because the last couple weeks have really started veering toward fall and I’m loving wearing the knits every day!

So. This past week I wore my OWLS for the first time all season and I enjoyed how warm I was and how drapey and luscious the fabric was. The only problem was that the buttons wouldn’t stay closed because they had no pull on them from my body being in the way. The sweater was almost sloppy how large it was compared to my new frame. I found myself falling even more in love with this sweater, especially at the prospect that it was a little too big. I spent the entire bus ride home debating if I could install a zipper instead to give myself a little more of a form-fitting sweater.

I went to Joann Fabrics and poured through their selection of zippers, matching my sweater up with a beautiful charcoal colored zipper of the perfect length. For a mere $5 I had the tools in hand to change my sweater forever.

I went home and waited for husband to come home. I spent some time ripping out the button bands and cutting the buttons off so I could continue ripping. When it was done, the edge laid so nicely and I knew this would work. I found my sewing supplies and pinned the zipper in place before hand-sewing the zipper down through the selvage edge I had created with the knitted button band. This proved to be much easier than I anticipated and, though I could have simply zipped up and down with my sewing machine, I found the gratification much higher with the hand-sewing.

Husband came home shortly after I finished the first zipper and was pinning in the other half. He said it looked really good and I got even more excited to try it on when it was done. See, I had no idea if this would work- I wasn’t sure if I’d lost enough inches for this sweater to fit properly when I was done sewing in this 28″ zipper, but I had to try something. I kept sewing and eventually finished. I took a deep breath and tried on the sweater, getting the zipper up with absolutely no trouble. I was so happy that I practically threw my phone at my husband and made him take photos in the middle of my dimly lit living room.

So here’s a before and after. I am still not quite to 50 pounds (muscle soreness from Monday night’s 9/11 hero WOD has me stuck at one pound shy of 50), but I feel amazing whenever I put this sweater on. I noticed how much lighter it was without the extra weight of the button bands, and the neckline fits like it’s supposed to.

It’s been two days since the hero workout and my hamstrings do not want to work and neither do my arms for that matter. I’m not wearing any knits today but I’m hopeful that in a couple weeks I’ll be able to wear my sweaters every day and be cozy warm all the time.

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Just 10 Minutes

I only have a few minutes to post an update, but I want to keep to my word that I will write more often. So here’s a few random notes as we come to the end of the week.

  1. I haven’t knit since Monday night and I finally get to tonight, while teaching a class. The 1999 sweater is in desperate need of a set of sleeves, so I think I’ll get that finished up tonight.
  2. I’ve lost a few more pounds over the last three days; I am officially UNDER the weight restriction for my trampoline and camp chairs. I may have done a happy dance while in the bathroom today.
  3. I enjoyed breakfast probably more than I should have this morning- the Intermittent fast I decided to do last night was really difficult and I was very hungry this morning.
  4. Parking in Milwaukee is very expensive as of late- I have to pay for parking each day I work (Which is 5 days per week) so my bank account is a little surprised, at least until my first paycheck comes in.
  5. I have run out of size 8 needles; I have to pick up a new set tonight before work so I can actually finish the sweater. I can’t figure out where they keep going, but I apparently don’t use 8s as much anymore.
  6. I dropped my phone, face-down, in the bathroom the other day. Luckily, only the shield I have on my phone was cracked and not the phone itself. I stupidly forgot to save said shield and subsequently had to buy a new one. This one is black matte instead of silver, so it looks like I got a new phone, except the leather case is still pretty gross-looking.
  7. I’m looking forward to the day when I can see my husband during daylight hours.

That’s all for today. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I actually have the whole weekend off, so I’m very excited for sleep and working on freelance stuff and then doing a lot of nothing.

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Sampling Samples

It’s been a long couple of months since the last time I updated anything regarding this blog and it’s been a couple of months since the last time I had a finished project! I have been insanely polyamorous with regard to my knitting and can’t seem to dedicate myself to finish a project as long as the heat is as bad as it has been here in Wisconsin.

However, I am a teacher and need to make samples to show off and sell my classes this season so I have forced myself to buckle down and work on knitting only these samples until things are done and ready to show off…even if it is hotter the the devil out there. I’ll be safely chilly here in the Shaw with my strawberry lemonade and my Air Conditioner.

First things first: Hitchhiker shawl by Martina Behm. 

I’m knitting this beauty out of some worsted weight yarn. This class came along as a whim because I was actively knitting (and totally obsessed with) knitting the shawl so I chose to put it to some good use.

Working at a yarn store is awesome, but it’s also insanely hard: I want to buy one of everything. Literally everything. Especially since the shop carries my favorite yarn in the entire ‘verse: Malabrigo Rios. It’s a workhorse yarn that doesn’t pill or bleed, holds its shape really well and doesn’t wear out over wearing through the entire season. This year, Malabrigo launched their “Anniversario” colorway; a beautiful kettledye in honor of their 10-year anniversary. We got tons of it and, there were two skeins leftover with two different dye lots. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw them myself:Rios 1

Well… that’s some quality control issues going on there…

I bought the skeins anyway, knowing that I could just alternate rows on this shawl and end up with something gorgeous. The wonderful thing about Rios and Malabrigo as a whole, is their yarns have a tendency to blend gorgeously. I have frequently thought that colors would be completely disparate only to find out it blends so beautifully and looks like one skein. I looked at these two skeins and saw similarities in the vibrant pinks and the blues, but that’s pretty much where the comparison stopped. I kept knitting on though, and pulling the strands up along the side where the increases sat made things nice and smooth on the edging.

Rios 2The original pattern calls for a skein of Woolmeise, a fingering weight, but I thought I’d give it a shot knowing my shawl would basically be the same length, if lesser on the teeth. I got 36 teeth with 440 yards of Malabrigo and just barely won the yarn chicken. Ends need to be woven in and the shawl needs a good blocking but it’s beautiful and I can’t wait for the weather to get cool again.

Next up: Gramps Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

I love teaching these versatile classes: Students will be able to pick a size between newborn to 4XL (I call this size redwood tree). For the sample, I chose to knit a 2-4 and I picked a gorgeous combination of lime green and charcoal grey from Rowan’s Purewool Worsted Superwash line.

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I wanted something bright and cheerful but also fit for a boy: I see a ton of sweaters that are adorable for little girls but I love knitting for little boys. I cast on this project a few days ago while the Husband and I were re-watching Kingsmen: an amazing movie I highly recommend (not family friendly, though)! Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp is hilarious. I kept knitting through the next movie and, by the time the night was over, I had increased all the stitches for the raglan and I was finally to the underarms. I took a couple days off from knitting it so I could finish the Hitchhiker, so now I’m back to it with a fervor. I love little man cardigans so they look like grandpas or they look like they have little smoking jackets on. Husband calls them “Baby Hef” jackets.

Next: Follow Your Arrow KAL Shawl by Ysolda Teague

I don’t have many pictures of this at all because I messed up and had to rip back so Its kind of on time out for the time being. This sample is already made for the store so I was able to make it out of whatever yarn I wanted, but I just wanted to make sure I had an idea of what I was teaching the students. This shawl is a really cool option for someone who wants an extremely individual shawl from everyone else since there’s 32 different options for your shawl to look like. I started with clue 1B and went on to 2B. I started on 3B only to find out that my stitch counts were off, which is such a bummer and I had to rip out the short rows so things would match up again. grr. I started this shawl on the 4th of July while we were at the parade and I decided to take a cute photo before we left for the day.

Follow 1The yarn I’m using is Shelridge Farms Soft Touch heather fingering weight. I have a 3+ pound cone of this sand colorway. This is the same yarn I used for my Bridesmaids shawls and I’m currently working on a Flax Light from Tin Can Knits out of that same blue. I’m mildly obsessed with this yarn- if only it weren’t so expensive to get from Canada. Worth it, though. I tell ya.

Finally: Critical Sheep samples! 

I haven’t really talked too much about the work I’ve been doing with Critical Sheep but I’m going to be a vendor for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year in just a mere 2 months! In preparation, I have dyed almost 45 skeins and I have been knitting away on samples; most notably, I’ve finished three little samples: two hats and a crochet swatch.

From Left to Right: Bloodraven, Phantasm and Flutter. The hats can be made with just one skein of D4 Fingering and the little swatch used a mere schnibble of yarn.

I love writing out my final projects: It really puts into perspective all that I’ve done over the last months. Here’s hoping for even more productivity this month! And hopefully some more writing mojo!

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Mondays are Terrible

I have the hardest time getting up in the morning. It’s always been like this- I’ve never had an easy time getting up at 7 a.m. with an alarm or…at all. 7 a.m. is just too damn early.

Today was a tough day to leave the house and go to work. It’s gorgeous outside; the sun was shining right away and there’s just the hint of a breeze to bring in a little bit of coolness to an otherwise warm apartment. The sun blazes in the afternoon and heats the apartment like an oven. Have I mentioned that I like it cold? The windows were all open and we put a fan in the window last night. Anything to get the blankets used. Husband thinks I’m weird, but I have to have a blanket on me, even if it’s just covering my butt and nothing else, I have to have something on me.

It’s been a long while since I posted last- I’m having a really rough time in my professional life and I feel very out of luck when it comes to finding a good job where the people I work with respect me and don’t treat me like crap. Now I’m about to rant. I won’t rant. I promise. Bottom line is I think, if things go the way I think they’re going to go, it might be time I step out of the professional world and go to work for myself. Lindee Brauer would be proud.

On the knitting front? Lots going on! I’ve been knitting samples for my classes at Cream City Yarn. I finished an entrelac wrap, which was such an undertaking and took me forever to finish. I powered through on a drive up to Minnesota for the Family Easter weekend, and managed to finish it a few weekends later when I spent 10 hours over two days knitting non-stop. I may or may not have had a cramp after that.

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Three skeins Cascade Tangier, size 9 needles, lots of patience.

I’m also working on a Clockwork shawl by Stephen West for another class at Cream City Yarn. This one is fun- it’s a lot of stitches and a lot of paying attention to where I need to increase, but otherwise I picked really pretty colors and it’s lovely.

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One skein each Tosh Sock in Big Sur and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in the beige color way, name of which eludes me right now.

I’m still working on the Bifrost scarf. You’ll recognize this from my wedding photos as it’s the project I had going twenty minutes before tying the knot (six months ago)! I’m almost done with it and can’t wait to wear it soon! I’m planning on grafting it so it’s a cowl, not a scarf. Scarves never stay up for me so I’m going to have to bite the bullet. There are two mistakes in this scarf, but I really don’t care.

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I’m working, very slowly, on a pair of Turkish Bedsocks out of my own D4 Fingering yarn. This is color way Tradewinds and it’s knitting up beautifully. I am only through half of one right now but I can’t wait to have them both finished!

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What’s up with Critical Sheep? LOTS! I’ve been posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Ello (still not sure how I feel about this network) daily with funny quips and pictures of the yarn colors. I’m running out of funnies, but I can’t wait to sit down with a pen and paper and create many more! I’m also working on creating a kit out of D4 Fingering for a beautiful rainbow cowl. I’m brainstorming the pattern and need to get supplies ready before creating a test knit but that’ll be in the shop within the next two months. It’ll be a lot of winding of mini-skeins, now called Tribbles, but in the meantime you can still get skeins on my Etsy shop!

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite posts for Monday. It sums up the feelings I have for the day pretty well.

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A Tale of Slippers

If you live in  Wisconsin or the midwest or anywhere with…weather, you’ll know just how cold it’s been lately. It’s so cold that your hands are always chilly, the hairs in your nose freeze from the moment you stand outside and hair has a special static going on with it.

My feet have been cold constantly since this snap occurred a couple weeks ago. They were especially cold the other day and I didn’t feel like knitting my sweater again. So I decided to look for clogs or slippers that were a.) Free or in my library and b.) cute and easy. I decided to give the French Press Slippers a try…again. I’ve made these three times now and have hated them every single time so I’m done with them.

Time 1: Finished them pretty quickly out of purple Cascade 220 and 220 Tweeds, sew them up and put them in the top-loading washing machine three times to felt them. Upon being fully felted, the slippers would have fit Sasquatch. They were thrown away immediately after many grumblings and Mom laughing in fits of hysterics over how large they were.

Time 2: I made lime green slippers thinking they would be so freaking adorable. I hand-felted them which was such a bad idea. After three hours of flapping the yarn around in the water, beating the crap out of it and finally wasting $3 to put it in the washer with a couple dirty towels, they didn’t look anything like slippers but more like open wine bottle cozies. They went in the garbage.

Time 3: I gambled again and started these slippers again with 2 strands instead of 3 and I did them exactly like the pattern called for. I seamed them up and put them in the washer for two full loads of wash, then threw them in the dryer until they were dry, got them wet and then put them through the dryer again. The felted bits were VERY felted, but there were pills EVERYWHERE and they fit me really loosely… They fit husband though… Because that’s just my luck. They went into a box and will go to my friend if she wants them but I won’t be heartbroken if it goes in the garbage.

So French Press Slippers: YOU WIN. I’m done ruining more yarn for you to just end up in the garbage. I am moving on. I’m breaking up with you and your stupid adorable face. I hate how cute you are in other people’s project pages; it’s like you’re mocking me in all your cuteness and it makes me feel inept and like a terrible knitter.

I’ve moved onto a cute pair of slippers that are a turkish bedsock style. I’m also making these out of handspun Ashland Bay Merino in a inky black with shocks of blue, red and purple, so I’m much happier now that I have a pair of slippers that will actually fit when I’m done knitting.