Thursday, April 28, 2016

constant struggle with leftovers

We all have them.

The extra skein you bought just in case the sweater ate yarn. The 40 grams left from the socks you just finished because you have tiny feet and never use the whole ball. The piles and piles of little bits you save just in case you decide to go all Alice Starmore and make an epic fair isle sweater using 50 different colors in perfect harmony. Your favorite yarn comes in 200 yard balls but that hat only took 120, even with cables.

Leftovers. Rarely appealing in any sense of the word. Except Chinese takeout, but whatever.

I'm primarily a sock knitter so the bulk of my oddballs are fingering weight. I've always enjoyed using them in stripy socks as I saw fit and when the Beekeeper's Quilt came out I squeed a little bit.

I started making hexipuffs for that quilt in 2011. I finally stitched some together for this chair cushiony thing in 2014. I am still making hexipuffs. I have huge apothecary jars full of them. I just made another 20 this week. I'm just about hexipuffed out. Plus, each hexipuff only uses about 3 grams, takes 45 minutes a piece and oh my god just thinking that is enough to make me stabby after awhile. And then you have to sew them together. No small feat.

"Make minis and do swaps!" they say. Um. Have you ever priced that shit? No thanks. Totally not practical or logical for me to do. If that is your cup o'tea then drink on, sista! And then I just get MORE leftovers calling themselves minis.

I make a lot of stripy socks still. They are not always the prettiest, but I feel this innate frugal bliss when I finish a pair. Here are some recent projects:

This pair used up some self striping and a weird variegated. I still didn't use up all the yarn!

This is what the yarn looked like before:

And here is another pair I finished the other day. I actually really really love them more than I should. These would be the equivalent of Chinese food- as mentioned above. But we must stop mentioning it because now I need an eggroll. I also need an eggroll after our friend drives by in his biofuel van. True story.

I would share the before photos but I was really lazy and didn't take a pic of the variegated before I used it and just swiped the dyer's photo for my Ravelry project page.

Dreams of using fresh, whole unmolested skeins for completely pure monoyarn socks are dancing in my head. But the guilt of those leftovers is gnawing on my brain.

To ease the burden, I busted these out and those other hexipuffs (always with the hexipuffs) and the basket is significantly lighter but OMG. I need a fresh start.

What do you guys do with your leftovers? Is it morally corrupt to throw them away? Ha- I need to wear the scarlet A for that a million times over. Should I suck it up as a side effect of my chronic knitting?


Knitting EDC

Oh hell, that's pretty dorky. I didn't go all prepper on you guys. EDC (every day carry) is a popular thing to do if you are a guy (usually) and want to show off your fancy flashlight and pocket knife. Or if you are a hipster and have an overpriced journal and cool pen.

I have all of these things except a little flashlight and I think I want one. But anyway...

THIS is my knitting EDC. And since I carry my knitting everywhere, I mean everywhere, I thought I would share what I always have on my person. Yeah, I just wrote those words.

The bag is from Knit Picks. It is the 'tool pouch' and I think it is the best notions bag ever. I like the size and that it is clear. So when my scissors are missing, I know. I mean, I have this spidey-sense when my scissors are missing anyway but visual confirmation is important.

The needle tube is the Clover Chibi darning needle set. It has picked up a few straggling orphan needles.

The scissors are the very bestest scissors ever. Mark gave them to me early in our marriage and I use them everyday. I think they were from Walmart, although I could be wrong!

A small nail file. Broken fingernails destroy yarn. And my favorite wooden sock needles sometimes need a bit of smoothing.

A small tin of stitch markers and progress keepers. I like the snagless rings the best!

Washi tape. I don't know. I use it, but not every day. It might get jettisoned.

Tape measure. God help you if you break my tape measure. It is second only to the scissors. Don't ever touch it or move it or look at it funny. I will cut you. But not with my stork scissors because they are for yarn only!

A little gold crochet hookie thing. Yeah, that may go out the airlock with the washi tape. I don't use it very much. Maybe I should have cleaned this out before taking a photo?

Sakura Micron pen. That snuck in as well. It is nice to write with but I think it was thrown in to keep a certain little person from sneaking off with it.

Mechanical pencil (bright green) hand-turned by Mark. I love it. It is starting to behave like a teenager though so yeah... tough times.

Hand turned fountain pen- once again, Mark's work. I love this pen. Currently, I have Pilot Iroshizuku ink in Shin-kai. I think I get street cred for that.

A cheap bird notebook and green post-its. I use the notebook for design ideas and the post-its for everything else. I love post-its. So much so that I recite Michelle's glue monologue from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion way more frequently than I should. Ordinarily when you make glue, first you need to thermo set your resin.... I could go on, and I usually do!

That's it! And I will let you borrow anything if you need it but I will watch you like a hawk if you borrow the scissors or tape measure. I think I've mentioned that before.

What is in your notions bag?

I just re-watched this. Lisa Kudrow is brilliant.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wildes Meer

Drive by posting here.

I finished this little beauty the other day. The pattern is Wildes Meer by Voolenvine (have you watched Kristin's Yarngasm podcast? What am I thinking? Of course, you have...)

I used Wollmeise Lacegarn in Madame Souris which is fairly deep stash from 2013. It was nice but adding beads was a pain. The yarn has a billion small plies and the crochet hook practically shredded them so I used the flosser technique so save my sanity- sorta...

So the pattern was great. Not only well written and a beautiful finished object, but the actual pattern had amazing graphics and the layout was fantastic. I am looking forward to more of Kristin's work in the future. And I will most likely make another Wildes Meer soon!

I have another shawl blocking as I type, so maybe (HAHAHAHA) I'll post it when it is dry and ready for it's close up!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Intentional Knitting

I'm just going to breeze past the space between posts. Sound good to you? Plus, nobody wants to read a bunch of excuses and drama and I honestly don't want to type it all out. Win-win!

Tosh Merino Light in Tart from Loveknitting
Look at this yarn!

I've been wanting this exact skein for YEARS. Madelinetosh Merino Light in Tart- isn't she lovely?

I finally caved when my favorite new online shop started carrying it. I ordered two skeins but one sold out from under me so all I have is this single precious bit. One is enough. Well, not really because I could fill a tub with this and still not have enough- but one is a great start. I will be making an Ishbel (the 7th!), my favorite shawlette pattern ever designed by the lovely Ysolda Teague.

I'm also going to breeze past my love affair with Ysolda. Love her.

So what's the deal with this one skein? Why is it so awesome? I have tons of other red yarn. I even have two different colorways of this yarn base that sit patiently in a drawer (Spectrum and Plaid Blanket, in case you really needed to know!)

Well, the whole purpose of this post is to talk about knitting with intention. For years I have made hat after hat, sock after sock, sweaters that kinda fit but not really, mittens with a slightly off color scheme. Basically, just knitting for the sake of knitting. To keep my hands and mind busy while life does it's thing around me.

Yeah, it is therapeutic. Eventually the hats get passed out among friends. Socks wear out. Sweaters get donated. Another set of mitts gets shoved into the drawer near the front door. Something just doesn't sit right with me though. I will scroll through my pages on Ravelry and have absolutely no memory of making certain projects. This is HOURS of my life that pass without me noticing.  And the money spent of the yarn- yeah, that's another thing to breeze past!

Sure, endless hours dinking around on your phone or playing video games is fruitless (not picking on anyone- I do these things too!) I would much rather have a finished product to show for my hobby. So yeah, I do this thing. It is useful, exercises my brain, is fun, and is cheaper than drugs (and golf!) What's my problem?

I think I am finally to the point where knitting isn't an overwhelming obsession. In fact, it makes me feel guilty and sad. I neglect other things while I sit and knit something that isn't really necessary. Nobody is going to go cold waiting for me to finish up that scarf right away. I have no desire to knit for charity. Maybe that sounds mean, but honestly think about it- they would rather have the money instead.

And sad- yeah, I get sad. It reminds me of my LYS closing. Not having those few hours a week to myself. Friends lost in the drama of it all.  My grandma dying. My mom and Mark getting really sick, overwhelming anxiety and depression- it all got tied up in yarn. Knitting used to be my comfort and now it reminds me of loss and heartache. And then the weeks that followed I binged on yarn left and right because retail therapy reared it's ugly head and the only thing I enjoy shelling out money for is yarn.

Yarn, yarn, yarn.

Oh look, I suppose I did want to mention drama.

This week I have been focusing more on what I am making and not just keeping my hands busy. I went a few days without knitting (GASP!!) I chose a yarn to play with because the color made me smile. I ignored the old skein that has been neglected since 2008- again. I have no obligations. I have no deadlines. I DON'T HAVE TO KNIT. I have no pressure, imaginary or real, making me do it- so I'm not gonna!

I actually enjoy cleaning my house. I love having things tidy (oh, Marie Kondo, I love you almost as much as Ysolda!) I used to enjoy cooking. Carcassonne, Catan, Fluxx and Munchkin have taken over our house. I wrote a blog post! And maybe I will try this exercising thing that people keep talking about?

Back to that skein of Tart- why mention it? Because I actually have a project in mind to match an outfit I already have. It won't sit idly by waiting to be made into something I won't wear.

It is the embodiment of intention for me. And it feels good.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Little Engineer That Could!

No school today so we brought out Ngaio's new toy to play with! 

Mark found a video about Goldie Blox- engineering toys for designed for girls. I know, I know! All the anti-girlie pink Lego movement should have taught us a lesson but these are different. And I'm leaving it at that because I don't really want to debate!


We've been interested in buying one for months and saw one at Target last week. On sale. How can you not try it?

It only took her about 30 minutes to build it several times and then she started using the pieces to build her own contraptions. 

We started with the dunk tank set. Any relatives out there wanting to get her a present (hint, hint!) don't worry about doubling up because the pieces can combine to make bigger and better projects.

Back to building!


Friday, September 13, 2013

a precious gift

The first egg! I hope of many, but I'm not thinking about that now. I'm enjoying this sweet bliss for what it is.
I love how the curious most-likely culprit photo-bombed the moment. It is very fitting to her personality.

I had been planning on making this 'first egg' post my next post for weeks now- and it took longer for our girls to grow up than I'd hoped. I see the folly of my ways now. Since Ngaio's 'being' I've tried not to rush to the next fun phase of life or development. I've tried to savor every second while I could.

And yes, chickens are not my children- but I feel that I missed out on so much because all I could focus on was this pinnacle. I wish I could say it was a let-down... but I danced a little bit! And gave Polka Dot a nice snuggle. And wiped away a tear.

Yes, chickens are not my children- but I love them so and I will enjoy their moments (from now on) with the same slow paced anticipation I practice with Ngaio. I think I'll plan a little celebration for us and the chickens after school!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another one!

Another post and another Ishbel!

I believe this is my 5th Ishbel shawlette I've made. The pattern is like mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. It just feels so right down deep in my soul.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Over 12,000 of these suckers have been made (Ravelry numbers alone!) and I know I'm not the only one who has made more than one! The entire time I was knitting I was planning what color the next shawl would be. Seriously- it's my knitting crack!
I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in Byrne. I got it at The Stitching Post here in town and I know for a fact she has more! And other colors as well. I decided on the large stockinette portion and the smaller lace. It worked out really well because I only had 14 grams of yarn left so I might not have gotten any more full repeats. I'm kinda chicken that way. I started with my Knitpicks nickel plated interchangables in 5's and then did the bind off with an Addi Turbo size 8. I really don't like the Addi needles anymore. They are very blunt. But it was handy. And it was expensive. So they all get used. I just bitch about them a ton.

Right after I took this photo I went inside and wound some handspun into a ball. This one, in fact!

It is Two if by Hand Rambouillet in 'Bumbershoot' that I spun as a single ply lace. It's not my best work. I'm striping it with a natural colored single ply that I got to sample for the shop. I'm using them in a stripy shawl and they are playing together nicely! The sample skein is turning out awesome and I'm thinking it will be a good addition to the Younger Yarn family someday. I'll let you know more about that later though!

I'm staying monogamous- sorta. I still have that sweater on the needles from last week- and it even has a few more inches added to it. But let's face it- it's freaking way too hot to have a sweater on your lap. I only ever knit the bastards during summer, it seems.

So that's about it! I'll end with some awesome things. And a not awesome one.

Not: Ngaio's fish died and she is taking it really hard.

Ngaio and Mark dug holes together for the fence. It was cute. She's not quite 'Winchester brothers' great at digging holes, but she really had fun with her neon green shovel tonight!

I found a pattern to make a hat for an old friend. She asked me if I could FOREVER ago and I put it off. I showed it to her today and she was really excited. It will feel good to knit for someone who really appreciates it!

Two teenage boys played tag with their dad at the park. And screamed and giggled. It was awesome. And I'm sure it made the dad's day/month/year to play with his not-so-little boys again. They just grow up too fast!

I made chocolate chip cookies and rhubarb bars today. YAY!

OH! And I made this hat but it doesn't fit my big ass head. Does it need to come live with you?

Leave a comment if you would like it!