Year of Projects: Week 26

I came. I saw. I used stash yarn.

I think I’m approaching that time of year when everything starts to blend in together and one day becomes the next with no real delineation yet you still mark the passage of time in days, weeks, months. This is what Deep Winter does to me. Today is February 14th, Valentine’s Day. But that’s not a thing we ascribe to at my house. I don’t miss the opportunity to tell my friends and family I love them as often as possible. I did do some acts of service to show my love today. I deep cleaned the bathrooms upstairs and dusted the ceiling fans and some other cleaning tasks. Just before dinner I made some cookies with the kids. But I also took a bit of time to myself and applied some face masks.

Look at me, bringing sexy back.

This week I finished at least 2 hats and 2 shawls. I took the pictures for the hat pattern, I have in progress shawl pictures. Things are coming together!

I guess this is my half-year post. But in true fashion to myself- I have prepared nothing. And I have started a 2nd half list for next week, kinda. I crossed out half of the items on the sheet, so it is time for me to re-evaluate my goals and come up with some new goals. All of this week’s projects were stash yarn! So, I’m at 17/100 for calendar year 2021! We are halfway through February and I haven’t purchased yarn yet- I was able to resist temptation when I was at the yarn store picking up a bunch of metal 16″ circulars. It was time to replace some of my bamboo circulars, I got a splinter a while back. It was unpleasant.

I finished opening all of my AT Haynes House Love Lines Advent mini-skeins! I finally got my size 3/3.25mm 16″ circular needle for my “Right Round” Scarf. The circular is proving quicker already! I’ve decided to modify my striping sequence to account for two sections of most colors- except the 1st and 14th: They get one sequence of 40 rows. When I’m done, I’m going to jump into a STASH mini version. Stay tuned. There will be a post (Monday or Tuesday) where I recap my instagram feed from the last fortnight. I will talk about my Right Round Scarf Project a little more too!

Book Hangovers and Snowy Days

At least my Magic Sea Captain Watch Cap kept me warm!! (Cowl is the Honey Cowl) Both in Malabrigo Twist in the Cookie Colorway.

Last year I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and I instantly wanted to devour EVERYTHING I could find by the author. But for some silly reason, I decided to hold off on reading another one of her books. Mostly because I don’t want to put them down and I get sad when it’s time to say goodbye to the characters. My library has Purple Hibiscus as an ebook. Needless to say I started it Monday morning and finished it Tuesday afternoon. I read and knit, I read and made dinner, I read and brushed my teeth. You get the point. Every spare second I could spend reading that book, I did. Finishing the book threw me into a bit of a book hangover. I was starting to think I wasn’t capable of devouring a book in 36 hours (or less) anymore.

Last night, about 6:30 pm, it started to snow. By 10 pm there was about an inch and a half. At 7 am, the snow had stopped and we had about 3-4 inches. School is currently virtual, so this wasn’t a wrench into our day. Don’t feel sorry for my kids, they had 2 snow days last week. Since it’s so cold, it will stay through the weekend too.

After the kids finished up school, we headed outside. I was just out there to supervise, I was not interested in getting wet and snowy today. I finished up all my portable knitting projects. I didn’t want to cast-on anything just yet. BUT I did have a book to start! Bundled up and out the door we went. I started Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I’m only 3 chapters in. I didn’t want to put the book down to write this blog. But I didn’t want to have another day pass without getting a post written.

It’s a bit of a challenge to turn pages in mittens, but I succeeded without removing them.

Year of Projects: Week 25

A week of HATS.

I continued the hat momentum this week. I only finished 2, but on the 1st I started a fingering weight project using my Love Lines Advent Yarn Box from AT Haynes House Yarns. I am at an impasse with the needles, I’m working on it with the DPNs but circulars would be better with the loose stitches.

I have 3 accessory patterns to put out (possibly by the end of the month if I get busy). Two are super-easy knit hats (they are so similar that I may combine them), which I just need to verify the dimensions of the largest size. The other is a fun, easy asymmetrical crochet shawl for 3 weights, where I need to figure out the finished sizes for the DK and Worsted version. Oh, and make a video pattern recording; I’m extra.

This brings my total of Stash Yarn used for the year to 13/100. Not counting unfinished projects.

Hopefully next week will have some progress on my YOP list. Many of the line items I haven’t even started on, and were project ideas that have been put on the back burner because of new and exciting stuff I want to do. Or maybe I’ll just re-write my and say “to heck with old ideas, BRING ON THE NEW STUFF”.

Lesson Learned

Pointy Sticks!!

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I don’t have a needle I need for a project. Yes, I may have a needle in that size, but I don’t have EVERY size/length circular combination (I have interchangeable needles, but the smallest tips are a 5). Particularly in sizes smaller than 8. I started a new scarf with my AT Haynes House Yarns Love Lines Advent earlier this week. I found that a size 3 would be PERFECT for the drape I’m looking for. The problem? The scarf I envisioned is constructed as a tube. In size 3/3.25mm I have 24″ circulars, DPNs, and maybe a set of straights (which I never bothered to look for). I tried SO many times to make the 24″ circulars work. It was a complete act of futility. Too big for the project, too small for magic loop.

I’ve been working with my DPNs, which work. But the gauge is a bit loose, therefore its a bit slower on the DPN than it would be on circulars. Brilliant idea: I needed to order smaller pom-poms so I figured that I would just tack on the size 3 16″ circular needles onto my Amazon order.

NOPE!!! I got some short size 1s instead. Sticking a sticker on the packaging of what you WANT it to be doesn’t make it that item. I won’t be returning the wrong item (but I did give the seller a 1-Star review). It is a size needle I wanted to add to my collection, it is NOT the needle I currently need (or ordered). However, LESSON LEARNED. Don’t order needles from Amazon!! Last night, I put in a Curbside Pick-up order from my LYS. I know when I pick-up my item it will be CORRECT. In the future, I’ll just do what I should have done in the first place, SUPPORT MY LOCAL YARN STORE (a small/local/woman owned business). I have no excuse. They are a mile away. Getting the wrong item negates the convenience of not needing to leave the house.

#YarniaPix2021 Recap

I decided to participate in a January Photo Challenge, which tagged #YarniaPix2021, on Instagram starting the first of the month. It really inspired me to wear my FOs! On Instagram, I listed the pattern, designer, yarn and colorway where applicable there too.
In case you don’t use Instagram, I’ve made a gallery of most of what has been posted 17-31 of this month (1-16 are at the end of THIS post). I feel good that I stuck with it. I want to do it again next year, maybe you’ll join me! I’ve fallen in love with my finished items all over again! I tend to wear the same hat/cowl/old fuzzy fingerless mitts to most of my outdoor workouts, so I don’t really bother retaking those pictures, I just wear something else that day too!

As a side note: I don’t really use filters. Mostly just if color correction of my yarn is needed. I try and find the best natural light, and if I waited until 10 pm to snap the picture, I break out the ring light and hope for the best! Sometimes I wear make-up, sometimes I don’t. Even if I’m not leaving the house, I got dressed 30/31 days. I barely made a dent in showcasing my yarny wearables.

Year of Projects: Week 24

Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

No lie, last week WIPED ME OUT. Publishing and promoting my Merry Un-Birthday Hat was most of my week. I had been working on Merry Un-Birthday since JULY of 2020, I’m so happy that its been released into the wild. This also makes 17 YOP items completed since August!

Get the pattern FREE (rav link) until 11:59 EST on February 11th 2021 (using the code MerryUnbirthday on Ravelry)!! Just a small way I can help you celebrate your Un-Birthday!! There are video hyperlinks in the pattern, also a blog post with the links (here). And my very own YouTube channel, with videos of my hands and me saying “SO” A LOT. “So” is my filler word (as opposed to UMMM). Video creation and editing is something I DO NOT excel at; editing my tubular cast-on video was frustrating and tedious. But the original is over 16 minutes long with 11 of those minutes being even more repetitive and tedious than the editing. Through trial and error I was able to cut it down to just over 5!

In other exciting developments, I am starting the year with some destash projects (besides my long-brim Merry Un-Birthday Hat). My goal of using 100 balls of Stash Yarn for 2021 requires me to use 8.33 balls of yarn each month. I used 7 in January, slightly short of my goal, BUT I finished a shawl this morning that used 2. I’m at 9/100 for the year. I haven’t counted yarn from the pom-poms my daughter made this year, without weighing the finished pom-poms, I’m going to guess she used another 2-3 balls. I had a truly productive year last year, and I hope this year is much the same.

Yesterday I took a much needed day to do NOTHING except lounge around and knit/crochet. It snowed, so my plan of getting the rest of my daughter’s Girl Scout Cookies delivered didn’t happen. This LAZY day did afford me the opportunity to finish 2 hats.

Magic Sea Captain Watch Cap. Zissou inspired.

Those hats are for a friend (and her toddler), the yarn I used (Premier Chunky) is somewhat bulkier than the StyleCraft Chunky I had based all my numbers off of. The external measurements are a bit larger, the interior measurements a touch smaller, and the stretch slightly diminished. HOWEVER, the recipients have head sizes on the the small end of the sizing range, so this is inconsequential. The hats will be EXTRA WARM for winter walks and general chilly weather cavorting. I’ll be adding faux-fur pom-poms once I get the hats washed. I also plan on making ANOTHER iteration of this hat in a yarns-held-double stash-busting possible fade style. I like super quick knits, and my community has people in need of cold weather gear EVERY year. Cold weather closets exist in most every school, please consider reaching out to your district’s community liaison, social worker, or school nurse to donate warm items to vulnerable members of your community.

Sneak Peak! The colors look nothing like this….

In other news, I finished a crochet project!! I’ve made so few fingering weight crochet items, that this one is a big deal to me. I got myself a new Furls Odyssey Hook in a D(3.25 mm) recently, and wanted to make something really special. Enter STASH: The main body is Livin Vivid Yarn in the MCN fingering base colorway: Trance. Its a Merino, Cashmere, Nylon blend. Its really soft with a slight halo. My contrast is MadelineTosh Tosh Sock in Lepidoptra. Its a merino yarn with a PHENOMENAL stitch definition. The pattern is really simple, I’ll be adding to my free website patterns this month. I’ll be blocking this beauty once my new drying rack shows up.

A closer representation of the colors.
Oh, I finished these too.

Oh, and I finished these socks too. Not a YOP project, but a stash-busting project! They are warm and thick, perfect for around the house. Or inside your slightly too big winter boots. I don’t have a pattern for them, yet.

Ok. That’s it. I think that’s all the creating I did last week. That really was quite a lot. Until next time!

Merry Un-Birthday Video Links

Version C of Merry Un-Birthday: WITH POM POM!!

At long last, Merry Un-Birthday is ready! This pattern works with ANY two sock/fingering weight yarns held together.

You can get the pattern on Ravelry Here!

Use the code MerryUnbirthday to get it Free Until 02/11/2021

My new light box made it possible to get some great pictures of the finished project!! Having the kids engaged in virtual learning gives me fewer hours during the week to do what I want to do; this just means I need to work more efficiently.

But I digress. I taped a few YouTube videos for a couple of the techniques in the pattern. I know that everyone learns differently, which is why I included written and picture directions in the pattern and made these videos. The videos are NOT the pattern; they are simply a how-to work some of the techniques (a tutorial).

Tubular Cast-On with Waste Yarn Part 1
Tubular Cast-on with Waste Yarn Part 2 (the cutting off of waste yarn)
Video of the PU1L, S1, SSK and K2tog steps
How to Purl 2 Stitches Together: P2tog

Year Of Projects: Week 23

Feeling Unaccomplished.

Thing have been feeling chaotic at our house. Nothing has changed, except I’m feeling overwhelmed by the day to day stuff. This may be because we’ve been having a cold, dreary snap in the weather making it more difficult to WANT to be outside.

Texture Close-up! Before adding the giant pom-pom

I had hoped to have my Merry Unbirthday Hat released late last week, this however, was not to be. I have a few technique videos shot, and just need to post them to YouTube after a small edit to the longest one. I need to set-up my lightbox and take pictures of the 2 versions I have. I made a 3rd, for a friend’s November birthday. I’ve been trying to get this hat ready for release since AUGUST- the pattern has been written the whole time. Just needed pictures. I can ALMOST cross this off my YOP list!

But now, instead of talking about what I didn’t get accomplished, I will talk about something I DID accomplish. Its not a YOP project, but it IS a finishing WIN. I finished my daughter’s sweater dress! She wore it the other day and let me take a few pictures in front of a massive pile of Girl Scout cookies that need to be delivered. I have all the notes and will make it a free pattern on my site sometime this year (so to give me some time to actually do it). I will include notes for upsizing or downsizing, but I’m not REALLY that interested in grading it outside of the size I made.

The Sweater Dress.
(she asked me to crop out her face: Internet safety)

Now, I’m off to make some video edits and take a few pictures in my new lightbox. I REALLY want to get that pattern up so I can cross it off my to-do list!

Snarlyghaster

Snarlyghaster: Merry Unbirthday version.

Not to be confused with Snallygaster.

In the past year, I have been knitting a lot of projects with 2 yarns held together. With this comes the expected tangles and unwinding and knotted yarn barf messes. On some occasions, I have been working with the yarn from BOTH ends of the ball. Sweet mother of yarn! The epic tangles I’ve managed is almost enough to make me wind 2 balls of equal weights instead of working from both ends.

Snarlyghaster: Sandal Socks Version.

Almost…

Revolution 40

Yesterday was a great day! Not only was it my birthday, but America gave me a REALLY great gift! We watched the inauguration with our daughter (a first grader), our son (pre-K) was completely not interested in the proceedings.

We made a cake on the 19th, the Chocolate Cake from the Snoop Dogg cookbook. I decided to make a 9×13 single layer cake, since I didn’t want icing. We made some slightly sweetened whipped cream to go on top. It was awesome! My spouse got me awesome gifts! My gift card to Sephora, a necklace (emblazoned with my nickname from my besties), and a portable light box! Which was a complete surprise! I tried to rig something together from poster board and portable lights, but it was not as successful as I would have hoped.

How my current crochet shawl design project looks when shot in my new light box!

I also received my first trophy this week! I really have awesome friends. I love her, she reminds me that I am killin’ it on the daily (even if I feel like an imposter some days).

She sits on a shelf above my desk.

I finished my daughter’s sweater dress yesterday!! She tried it on, but I haven’t got a picture yet. I have a few more lines to add to the pattern, and I’m going to put it out in one size (the size I knit) for free. The notes will have how to make it a regular sweater length (requires less yarn!). I also tacked the neckline down because she said it came up too high. The ruffled bottom edge has a rolled edge. This would look really good in a solid or a planned stripe- not everyone has the aesthetic of my little one.

Yesterday I also started the waste yarn tubular cast-on for the Merry Unbirthday Hat videos. I shot the videos for the pick-up and the cuts this morning before the kids got up. I finished them literally a minute before their alarms went off! What timing. They are impossibly loud, who knew that little kids were such a distracting cacophony of sound?!?!?! (As I type this my son is falsetto sing-humming jingle bells in the other room, and half scream/playing with legos). I need to do some basic edits to fast-forward through the boring middle bit on the pick-ups, but other than that, I think they are ok! I am going to shoot the pattern stitch tonight after they go to bed, I hope. My video set-up is awful, and its pretty difficult to keep my hands centered in the right spot without a lot of strain. Another thing I need to work on for 2021!! Shooting a good video is more difficult than you would think. Mine are middling at best, sorry.

A snapshot of when I took my knitting for a walk today. We knit for about 2.5 miles.

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