Christmas

December 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Jam Labels

Well, we got through Christmas for another year. Hooray! And relatively unscathed, too. These are a some labels that I spent an hour whipping up for a couple of jars of gifted preserves.

2011_12_25_4.jpg

We spent Christmas Eve hanging out at my aunt and uncle’s country place, hot tubbing, learning to play dice, and watching the horses. I want to photograph them every time I’m there, they’re critters that I don’t get to be around that often, and they’re gorgeous and huge and full of personality. I went out in the morning with the last of a roll of Impossible Project Color Shade First Flush polaroid film. It took a full 24 hours for it to develop enough to make out the horses, and even so, it’s incredibly smokey and different from what I’d expected. But that’s the thrill of it. These shots feel so wintry, too. I wonder if they will develop even more over the next day or two?

Merry

I almost forgot to make a Christmas card this year, but was threatened with buying a box of them to get them out, and I just couldn’t be okay with that, so I managed this. I’m satisfied. Hopefully the recipients were as well.

This has really been an incredible year, full of opportunities and big changes. I’ve been looking back quite a bit over the last few weeks at what I’ve learned and created, and I’m so excited to see what the next year has to offer. Merry everything, ya’ll.

A Little Bit Of Building

May 9th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Our first 4 asparagus

Dude, I am so off the ball lately. The Summer Knitcircus came out last week, and while it nearly killed me, I’m still proud of it. I think it looks good, and it has some great patterns and interviews. It’s time for me to decompress, switch gears from knitting under a quilt to reading on the porch.

Once I make it past this marathon. Yeah, it’s been kicking my ass. I knew it would be a huge time commitment, and that it would be hard. And. Yeah. Those things. And more. I’m ready to be on the other side of it, to not have my weekends be chewed up by training, at least for a few weeks. I ran for 4 hours yesterday. 21 miles. it’s building me up though. I’ve been talking a lot about running lately, and getting inside my head, figuring out what my mantra is, and my motivation. Figuring out what pain is, and how to manage it. It’s amazing how different a full marathon is from a half marathon. Not to undermine 13.1 miles, that’s still a huge accomplishment. But that’s physical. This is mental. It’s scary and crazy and overwhelming and calming. And I haven’t even gotten my 26.2 yet. But I will. In three weeks. Up until last week I was scared. I’m not anymore. I’ve put my work in, and it’s going to hurt. Period. What is there to be afraid of?

Building a bench

So, another kind of building. I’ve been wanting a backyard bench for over a year. I wanted to build it last spring, but you know, things took over, as they are wont to do. And it’s not like we have time for ANYTHING right now, but we decided to tackle adding a third garden bed this spring. Since we had to get wood, we added the bench to the project as well.

There was cutting, and some cursing, and a bunch of “distressing” the wood, but Nate built it, with a tiny bit of help from me, and I love it! And there was enough wood to make a second, smaller bench too. We’re going to distress them some more, legitimately, let them weather a bit, and then whitewash them.

Yarn Balls and Mummy Wreaths

December 14th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

Yarn Balls

I thought maybe having all of this extra time would mean that I would be right on my A game of networking and running the social media game, but it seems as though being unemployed has not made me any more present within the social mediasphere than I was when I was working full time and trying to upload to flickr and tumblr and blog. I’ve been trying to tweet a bit more, and it’s been fun getting a little more comfortable in that arena, but I still seem to keep the same internet-hours as before. So I guess that’s my comfort zone, and I’m okay with that.

Mummy Wreath

I’ve been seeing these things all over the place lately, so I have to make myself a couple of wreaths. I’ve been a little bit obsessed with little yarn balls lately, they popped up in my Christmas card, which I’ll show you pretty soon, and they make a grand appearance here, too. Plus twigs, inspired by this, which was brought to my attention via Blair, and of course her own Wreath of Avoidance. I’m glad I could find a couple of cute twigs under the snow in my backyard. I’d love to make one all covered in buttons, too. I made these things on Sunday as the snow and cold crusted the whole world shut tight. It was fun to break out the glue gun after such a long time, and it feels good to have a couple of cute new holiday decorations that only cost me ten bucks for the wreath forms.

I knew this yarn would be good for something

December 9th, 2010 § 12 comments § permalink

Garter Yoke Cardi

So remember that heinously too-large orange sweater that I made? Of course you do. Well, I exchanged it with a friend who loves it, for some more yarn. I had such a hard time breaking up with the color, that I asked for the same yarn (Peace Fleece), and I made a sweater that fits me! Hooray! I feel like it’s been 8 months coming, which, I guess it has, since I started that first one last spring, even though this one only took me 6 weeks from start to finish. I’m so happy to finally have my orange sweater.

It’s the Garter Yoke Cardigan. Knit in one piece, top down, just how I like it. I only tried it on in the process once, but felt pretty confident that it would fit me since the last sweater I made from her fit just right. I modified the pattern, as I am wont to do, by shaping the sleeves per the Tea Leaves pattern, and making them extra long with nine inches of rib at the ends. It’s pretty darn warm, a little scratchy, but so far, no big deal.

Garter Yoke Cardi

Garter Yoke Cardi

And those buttons. I was knitting over Thanksgiving weekend with my family, mentioned something about putting a button on something, and my mom suggested that I could look through her button stash. !!! She doesn’t sew much anymore, and doesn’t knit, but she sure does collect beautiful things, and her button stash was seriously awesome. There were just enough of these vintage metal rosette buttons, and while normally I don’t think I would choose them, I thought they would go so well with this sweater. And I adore them. So there’s a little bit of vintagey mom-love in this thing.

I’ve become a sweater addict, I think. Next up, I’m thinking White Russian.

Giftlet

September 15th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Table of Contents

We’ve released the first ever special issue of Knitcircus today, full of gifts just early enough to start thinking about Christmas, but without the pressure of REALLY thinking about Christmas, if you know what I mean. There are some cute patterns for small projects, and a whole slew of yarn, book and product reviews, including an editor’s picks article. I’ll be using that altoids tin for my stitch markers as soon as I can eat those altoids. And take it from me, there’s some yummy yarn eye candy to look at, too. So check it out!

I don't usually get excited about washcloths, but I think I need to make this

I’m not usually a big washcloth person, nor a fan of cotton yarn, but this organic cotton is pretty lovely, and I think I might need to make a few quick washcloths this fall. I mean, what knitter doesn’t have a couple cute handknit washcloths in their bathroom, or bathrooms of friends? I feel like I’m doing a disservice to the knitting community having not knit a washcloth since I was 10.

Yarrrrrn!

The other great thing is that with the “Giftlet” issue, you can purchase the whole pattern collection as usual, or just individual patterns if you see some little project that you like. So, I hope you like this issue, I had a blast designing it! Happy knitting!

Warm Gray

May 11th, 2010 § 18 comments § permalink

Warm Gray (by pricklypearbloom)

Second sweater, finished. I started the tea leaves sweater right away after finishing my last sweater, hoping that I’d be able to wear it before it got too warm for sweaters. And I had some hiccups with yarn supply in the middle that lengthened the process by probably a month, but the weather has been cooperating with me for the past few days and it’s been cool and sweater worthy. I even had to wear one sleeve while I was knitting on the other sleeve outside on a chilly morning as I waited in line for tickets to the Great Taste of the Midwest. And even though I’m ready for summer, I’m kind of glad for the chill, because I really love wearing this sweater. It’s already starting to fuzz a little bit because I’ve worn it for the past three days straight.

Tea Leaves (by pricklypearbloom)

It’s knit in Debbie Bliss Fez, which I cannot be more in love with. It was a joy to knit with and is a joy to wear so far, super soft and comfy without being too heavy. The only modifications that I made to the pattern were in the sleeve cuffs and the button band. I chose HUGE! buttons for it, so I made the button band 12 rows including the bind off row to accommodate the larger size button, and did 6 stitch button holes rather than the double yarn overs. I like a ribbed cuff and longer sleeves that can stretch over my hands a bit (like fingerless mitts!) so I did a 2 by 2 rib instead of garter on the cuff, and I really love it.

This sweater is classy and comfy, and was really remarkably easy to knit. All that stockinette was soul soothing and mindless and awesome.

I knew that would happen

April 6th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

Body (by pricklypearbloom)

So you know how I was waiting on the rest of my yarn to come in to finish that grey sweater? Well, I kept waiting and waiting, and apparently it was backordered, and it kept not coming in. I went by the store to grab something else and the lady working seemed awfully confused and made a note to have the manager call me with an update, whom I then didn’t hear anything from for a week. So I decided I was tired of waiting, and that I’d order it online. Regretfully, since I really quite like this yarn store. But I wanted to finish this sweater!

Of course only TWO HOURS after placing my order online, the yarn store called to say that it was finally on its way and that they were so very sorry and that they’d give me a discount on the order. I knew that would happen. Isn’t that what always happens? As soon as you go a different direction your original plan works out, with a bonus, even.

And of course I want that discount, and don’t have any hard feelings for my yarn store, and wouldn’t you know? Yarnmarket.com is so very nice and canceled my order when I asked with absolutely no fuss. I’ve ordered from them before, and I surely will again. But I’m just as glad to be able to support my yarn store. And discounted yarn is awfully nice.

So hopefully soon, this sweater will have arms!

The Snow is Gone, but Knitting remains

March 19th, 2010 § 7 comments § permalink

They're coming (by pricklypearbloom)

I had such a lovely Sunday last weekend, after a number of days in a funk. We went to the CSA open house briefly, to get a little information on some meat shares, and we met some friends there and went to the Chazen Museum of Art together to see an exhibit of mechanical sculptures. Since it was such nice weather, we decided to walk instead of drive, and it was totally the right decision. Then on the walk back we stopped for an early dinner. I think it was just the right combination of things to make me feel better, and I was so grateful for it.

I’ve been knitting along on the tea leaves sweater. I wondered if I would get bored with all of the stockinette, but I’ve found it pretty easy to keep moving, especially since it’s almost impossible to screw it up and get discouraged. So mindless knitting = good for me, apparently. I bought all of the skeins that the yarn store had in this yarn and had them order more, but now I have knit all the yarn that I have and am waiting for the rest to come in. So I am stalled. And impatient.

In the meantime, I started another mindless-knitting-big-ol’-sweater in the orange yarn that I originally bought for tea leaves and then decided was wrong for tea leaves. It’s peace fleece, and I’m not sure I love knitting with it. It’s stickier than most of the yarns I usually knit with, and has quite a bit of plant matter spun into it. But it seems that the fabric is a little softer than the individual yarn, and I plan to block it with a bit of hair conditioner per the suggestion of the yarn store lady who said it softens it up a bit more.

But when my gray yarn comes in it’s full steam ahead! Cause it’s getting warm in these parts. Which is a good thing! But I want to wear this sweater!

It’s funny, I’ve been plowing through these gigantic knitting projects, while the little ones like fingerless mitts and skinny scarves have been sitting unfinished. This is such a change for me!

We’ve had a friend in town this week, and every day has felt like Friday. I’m so glad it actually IS Friday today.

Olympic Knitting

February 24th, 2010 § 61 comments § permalink

February Lady Sweater (by pricklypearbloom)

Dude, I made a sweater. I! I Have Knit! A Sweater! *gestures emphatically*

No, seriously. I know people make sweaters all the time, but I used to be that girl who gaped at those people knitting sweaters and said, “I’m amazed that you can do that. I can never make a sweater.” I’m a small knitting girl. Well, I guess I should say, up until now I’ve been a small knitting girl. Mittens and hats and little scarves-skinny or short, never long and wide. One skein projects. Quick knitting fixes. Immediate gratification. And even these small projects would take me quite a long time, because I’d knit on them every so often and do other things in the meantime. I never thought I could tackle a sweater. A multiple skein, large scale project.

Flared (by pricklypearbloom)

But I did. I don’t know what inspired me to want to do this, but I committed to the February Lady Sweater. And people, I think this was a kind of challenging first sweater pattern. At least, for someone who has never knit lace. Or buttonholes. Or tried to divide 38 eyelet increased into 207 stitches. I mean, now that I’m at the end of it, I’d say the difficulty of it was only 5 or 6 out of 10. I think I chose it not only because it’s super cute, but because a ton of people have knit it and I felt like there would be lots of resource for me to glean from if I had trouble. But all that lace? Holy canoli.

I feel like my trials and tribulations in the process were many, but I learned a ton in the knitting of this pretty lady. I knit the yoke in a few weeks in October, and then got totally stuck at the transition to the lace, for reasons that I’ve mentioned before, and let it sit for a few months. I picked it back up in January and broke through the wall and knit the first lace that I’ve ever knit. And lace isn’t really that hard, it’s just hard to make a mistake in and go back. Threading lifelines every so often was key for me. There’s still a mistake in it that I opted to embrace rather than go back 20 rows and fix, and oh well, it’s handmade, right? The lace totally kept it interesting, I will say that. It’s knit in Berrocco Ultra Alpaca, which I really loved working with. It’s got a little bit of a gray heather to it, which I think makes the blue-green color not so overwhelming. I was a little worried after reading that it grows alot after it’s knit, but it worked to my advantage, because I like a bit of a longer sweater, and it stretched nicely when I blocked it.

Buttons (by pricklypearbloom)

My original goal was to finish this by the end of February, since it’s the February Lady Sweater. When I started it last year I felt like that was a reasonable goal, but when I picked it back up in January, I wasn’t so sure and I just hoped I’d finish it before it got too warm to wear it. When I finished the body during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, though, I started to think maybe I could make it. I figured I could get alot of knitting done while sort of watching skiing and snowboarding and curling, so I set a new goal to finish those sleeves by the end of the closing ceremonies. And when I got that first sleeve done a week after I started it I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I cast on the second sleeve on Saturday morning and had myself a little big ol’ knitting marathon this weekend and finished it on Sunday night.

I totally knocked that finish date goal out of the house. And I love this sweater.

On Hitting a Snag

January 12th, 2010 § 11 comments § permalink

I'm back in with knitting (by pricklypearbloom)

I started my first sweater a few months ago, the February Lady. I went gangbusters on the yoke, and then my cats, who love wool, seek it out like missiles, caught a couple of nasty snags in it, and I hit a wall. Sometimes this happens to me, kind of like when you go to the grocery store when you’re hungry and you just can’t make a decision to save your life. I couldn’t decide whether to rip back to the snag, which I hate doing, hate hate hate losing ground even when it’s necessary for the process, or to try to fix it, which seemed daunting and maybe not even possible. I think that air of possible impossibility was the petrifying factor, actually. If I failed, I’d HAVE to rip back, and I really really didn’t want to, not on a big project like this. On mittens, ripping back doesn’t seem so monumental as it does on a sweater that takes hours and hours and hours, if you’re me. Plus I was at a stage in the construction where there’s a whole lot of math involved to put a certain number of eyelets into a certain number of stitches, that doesn’t divide evenly. And that was pretty daunting as well.

Sweater! (by pricklypearbloom)

So I let it sit. And sit. And sit and sit and sit. For three months. And then the other day I was invited out to knit at Lakeside Fibers with a couple of gals, and something happened inside me, and before I went I sat and fixed those snags. And I went to knit with friends and conquered that math, while kind of making it up as I went along. I took it off the needles to try it on and I’ve never done this before, I don’t know if it really fits me or not, but it’s stretchy and I’m going to just trust the pattern and not risk making it too big. I’m past those couple of big obstacles and into the lace and it’s not as hard and I thought and I’m running with this sweater again.

I am hoping to maybe finish it before it gets too warm to wear it. That might be too much to ask, but it’s lace to the end now and then the arms and I feel like maybe I can do it, if the cats don’t get to it in the meantime. And let’s just say I’m being Very Paranoid about it and Very Compulsive about putting it away.

Wish me luck.

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