Thursday, January 01, 2015

Knitting is My Life

Happy New Year! Our first day of the year has been great and I hope yours has too.

Yesterday I said I would share some of my resolutions with you. Here they are:

  1. Drink 4 jars of water every day
  2. Get into a workout routine
  3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day
  4. Make 2 sweaters that I have been planning and designing for YEARS.
  5. Knit a project in brioche stitch
  6. Knit a project in linen stitch
  7. Learn more ways to increase/decrease
I have more goals/resolutions for the year, but these are the ones I want to share. I suspect the water goal is going to be on my list every year. The more water I drink in a day, the better I feel. And the more fruits and veggies I eat, the less often I get sick. Not to mention, they don't have preservatives or gluten in them. Preservatives and gluten give me a lot of problems that I would rather not have to deal with. I had to last summer and it was UNPLEASANT to say the least.

I used to have knitting goals every year and after a while, I quit doing that. It can get hard trying to find new techniques to learn every year. The reason I started doing that was because I was one of those knitters who would look at a pattern and say “Oh, I can't do that. I don't know HOW to do that”. It finally occurred to me that it was ridiculous, so I started learning how to do everything. To be honest, I wasn't born to be helpless, indecisive, or say can't. I blame my mother for my attitude and my paternal grandmother for my desire for perfection. All of my aunts were enablers. None of those women ever told me I couldn't do something, they told me I could. See what I am saying? I didn't stand a chance. Knitting is my life. I have worked to make it my life. Originally it wasn't with intent, but then I became intentional about it. This year I decided to put all my goals in writing so I can keep track of my progress. There are DEFINITELY other goals on my personal list that I'm not posting here. Last year was my best year ever on Etsy, and I hope to make this year even better.

And now I am off to knit!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Here it is the LAST day of the year. Well, lets be real, the last NIGHT of the year. I was going to get this post done earlier in the day, but I got distracted with stuff that seemed a lot like work. Filling the garbage up, doing laundry, making party food. I have three girls who are so full of home made caramel apple dip that I hope they don't get sick.

Tomorrow I am going to post about my New Years resolutions for 2015. Today, I am going to update you on my yarn project. The peach yarn came out great. I wondered if it had enough color to affect the color I was trying to dye. It turns out that it is pale enough that it doesn't really have much effect. I dyed it blue, and it came out a nice shade of blue. I took notes just like I do when I am developing a new color. Now I have to decide what I am going to make with it.

I had been going to make a Kate Davies pattern, but when I went to Ravelry to look at the pattern, it used worsted weight yarn. It is Blaithin and I love it. I'll have to dye some yarn for it some day. For now, I am looking for something new. I really fell in love with the idea of a yoked cardigan, so I am hunting for one I can do in fingering weight. I might even have a pattern in one of my books.

Hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bring Out the Dye Pots

I decided back in November that during Christmas break, I was going to have to get some stuff done that I just didn't seem to have time for during the last couple months. One of those things was dyeing some tees I had bought for myself this fall. I couldn't find any in colors I liked earlier in the fall, so I am finally dyeing some of them. Last year I started dyeing leggings to wear in the winter with skirts. It is a far different process than when I dye my yarn.


So far, I have always like how the colors have come out in clothes I have dyed.

Yesterday I decided I should start dragging out that dreadful peach colored yarn. So today I am going to get a couple balls out and wrap them on my warping board. I may even get one dyed today to see what it looks like. Overdyeing is kind of a science experiment. I'll just have to see what effect the peach color has on some other colors. Maybe I will find something just right for a sweater or Pi shawl. Here is the offending color:


I have at least 10 more just like it. My ravelry stash says I have over 2700 yards of the stuff. I can't believe it could have possibly taken that much to make a size 3 or 4 sweater and dress. It would probably make 2 sweaters for me. I will probably dye it into a couple of colors. The yarn is Knit Picks Palette which is a great jumper yarn. It is fingering weight and sticky. It is not next to the skin soft, but the project I bought it for was not mean to be next to the skin. I honestly really like this yarn. It isn't Jamieson & Smith, but it works.

The other day, I finished a project that was a gift for a friend. I decided I could get out another languishing projects. They are pair of socks from September 2013. That was over a year ago. It might have even been August. I can't remember, to be honest. I am working both socks at once, one from each end of the ball of yarn. One is just about to the heel, the other was in the middle of the ribbing at the top. When I started looking at that one, it just didn't make any sense. I couldn't figure out what I was doing with it. I clearly wasn't following the chart. In fact, I had changed what I was doing with the top ribbing half way through what I had (about 8 rows). Neither part matched the chart. I do remember that I misunderstood the chart when I started the first sock. I ripped the whole thing out and started it over. One of the socks will have the correct ribbing at the top and I doubt anyone will ever notice.



I seriously thought about frogging the whole project this year. The pattern is Crescendo and I think they will look amazing when I finish them.So, I will stick with them and have something lovely to  show off in a month or so.

Right now I am resisting the urge to cast on something New Year's morning. Nope, I am going to finish my current projects first. Yes I am. I'll just keep telling myself that...




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Snow Kitties

The day after a big snowstorm is always a perfect day for sledding, providing it hasn't rained on top of the snow and then promptly frozen. That kind of situation is dangerous. My brother cut his lip sledding on THAT kind of day when we were kids. Today was one of the perfect for sledding kind. So this afternoon after church, we all hiked up the hill and rode down the north side. Even the cats got in on the act:


GreyPaw is a silly, fun loving little cat. She likes to play in water, so it is not surprising she likes playing in the snow so much. She is Knitter #3's cat and their personalities are a perfect match. My cat, Airy, is a boy and hates to cuddle. I kept telling Knitter #2 to hurry up and get this picture:



He almost got run over by the sled and was in a mood for the rest the time we were out there.

I am back to working on my current sweater project. I've had it with no good light for knitting pictures, so today I took some out on the deck. First the sweater:


It is Lillian Fay by Ellen Mason. I've wanted to make this sweater for quite a while and am so happy with the way it is going. It is definitely a fun knit. Next up:



Estonian Lace Wrist Warmers by Evelyn Clark. This pattern has been around for a while and is a freebie. It is another one I have wanted to make for a long time. I want to stress that these are not mitts, but wrist warmers. I thought about turning them into mitts, but decided to just go with the pattern. It won't kill me to try out something new. Following the pattern and wrist warmers could both be considered something new for me.

I am really enjoying my winter break and hope you are enjoying yours too!






Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stash and Snow Sheep

As the year winds down around here, I've been looking at my stash and wanting to get some old projects done. There is a sweater I have had the yarn for far longer than any of my students have been alive. My oldest students are 6. That particular sweater is next in line to be started. I have some other yarn that I bought without a pattern in mind, but there is enough for a sweater. Ravelry just makes it harder to decided what to make, so I decided to just go through some of my books and find something there.

I have finished a lot of projects this year and am feeling good about it. I don't like having lots of projects laying around languishing and not ever getting finished. This year I was successful with getting some done and deciding there were others that I just wasn't interested in anymore. I've also weeded out my queue on Ravelry and have started knitting things from my list that I really, really want to have. The sweater I mentioned above has been there since 2007 and I STILL want to knit it. Our tastes can come and go, but sometimes a pattern just keeps calling to you.

My stash has vast quantities of some yarns I bought to do sweater and dress combos for my kids some years ago. And I never got to the projects. These things happen, we all know that. But now I have probably 1500 yards (maybe more) of peach colored fingering weight yarn. I don't care for the color, personally. But Knitter #3 would have looked great in it back in the day. I am thinking that what I should do is unwind the balls, tie them in hanks, and dye a darker color for a cardigan for me. Pale colors don't get along well with me. I look good in some of them, but I spill EVERYTHING done the front of me and on the cuffs of my sleeves. My clothes need to be darker than coffee stains. Maybe it could become a delightful dark red.

But in other news, it is snowing RIGHT NOW! I love snow when I have no place to be, no worrying about when a school bus will show up with my little knitters safe and sound. Or worrying about my husband and his truck getting home fine. I am loving it. I can sit next to the fire in our living room and knit away while the snow covers my sheep. They are so cute with a coat of snow on their fluffy backs.


Aren't they just adorable? Ok, I am biased towards loving them. This is our ram and his two slightly older uncles who are wethers. That means they have been castrated and can not make lambs. They are also not prone to being hormonal in the fall and early winter. Our ram, Ragnar, is on the far right. My sheep are all shetlands and are just as short as they look in the picture. When they've been sheared, you can see just how small they are, which is not a whole lot bigger than our Border Collie, Maggie.


Some Cozy Projects

This was meant to be posted before Christmas, but I didn't get it ready in time.

Well, it is sure nice to have my computer back! I've actually had it back for a week, but it takes a while to get all the stuff back on it. One of the important ones for me is the program I use to work on my pictures, because I have pictures to show. I also had the flu. Yuck. Anyway, my laptop had to have a new hard drive. One of the nice things is that now my printer actually works wirelessly and it never would before. It is like having something all new. All the outdated programs are gone, gone, gone. Along with all the information that I actually need. However, I did get it all backed up, so I have been adding stuff back to the computer over the past week. Along with wrapping presents, working, being sick, and etc.

There are some long finished projects I want to show off here. Some of them have been finished since August or September. Lets start with the scarves:




This first scarf is called Kary's Chevron Scarf and is archived. The original website is gone, I believe and you follow a link on the Ravelry page to find it. I don't know why I blocked this scarf, because the pattern makes the fabric fold in on itself and no amount of blocking seems to cause it to stop. I have a couple of them now and I have just accepted they will fold in and be a skinny scarf. I do like the way all the colors came together in this one. This picture was before I blocked it, but it looks pretty much the same.

This is the Celo scarf from one of my summer knitalongs:




I love this scarf and the way it came out after I blocked it. It is silk and wool which equals deliciously soft. It is my new favorite scarf. I need to get some pictures of it since I blocked it. The light around here has not been cooperating. We have sun when I have to do other things like music lessons and Christmas dinner. It is a fact of life this time of year. Take pictures while the sun shines.

Next up are my Sword of Gryffindor Mitts:


These aren't truly finished yet because I haven't put the buttons on yet. I think they will be super awesome when I get that done. My plan is to use a dozen (6 per mitt) of semi matching buttons from my Grandma's button collection.

Hope everyone out there had a wonderful holiday!





Friday, December 05, 2014

Back

It's been a while.  I started working every day in September and that was a serious adjustment. I hadn't worked 5 days a week since long before this blog existed. I think the adjustment is over, so maybe I can get back to regular stuff. Like blogging, working out, making a weekly menu, and even playing my banjo.

I have been knitting and hope to show some pictures here soon. My laptop is having issues. It is currently at friends house to see if it is the hard drive going out. I am betting that is what it is. So it might need a new one. My laptop isn't very old, so I hope it is an easy fix. Anyway, no pics for now. My tablet is older than the laptop and the camera no longer works. I may be in serious trouble soon. Hope I don't find myself down to only my smart phone. I seriously doubt hubby wants to share his laptop with me!

How about my hair? It keeps getting longer and I am now in winter care mode. I've been using sweet almond oil and coconut oil every week. My ends have been loving the coconut oil. It keeps them from getting too dried out from all the dry indoor air. The plus is that my hair smells like coconut. If I could use it on my skin, I would. Then all of me could smell that good.

My goals for the year? How have they gone? Lets see.

1. Knit more with my own yarn.

This has been a success. I've knit a bunch of stuff with my yarn this year and am currently knitting a sweater.

2. Knit at least 6 big projects with yarn I already have.

Not so successful. But I have finished up a lot of projects this year and that has been a goal for a long time.

3. Work out regularly.

Also not a success. Ever since I nearly died, I have a hard time keeping with a workout schedule. The experience changed me and I think it is some kind of mental thing. I took such good care of myself and I almost died. What I should really be thinking is I LIVED because I took such good care of myself.

4. Drink 4 jars of water a day.

It is hard to drink that quantity of water. I've worked at it all year. I do have to say, I feel GREAT when I get most of it in.

The year isn't over, so maybe I can turn no. 3 and 4 into sucess. I am feeling motivated lately, and that always helps.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Hair Update

I haven't posted anything about my hair in a while. It has been driving me nuts. For a while now, I've been dealing with scalp itchiness that seems to be from buildup. Washing with shampoo helps that, so I have been making sure to do that once a week. Problem solved. BUT. It has created a whole new problem. My hair is constantly falling out of updos and braids. When I shampoo, I use conditioner and my hair is now very slippy. Buns that used to hold like iron in my Jeterforks or my own hair sticks now will not hold. I think I liked it better a few years ago when I was doing the Water Only (WO) method and my head was kind of greasy and sometimes flaky. I didn't need anything to keep my hair in place. Right now, the only thing that is dependable is spin pins.



Yesterday I wore a head scarf so I wouldn't have to deal with my hair. I put my hair in a ponytail, stuck on my sock bun ring (homemade from old socks), wrapped my hair around it, and used a spin pin to keep the ends in. Even with my hair under a scarf or 3, I still want it to stay where I put it. The scarves above are the ones I used. I wish I had thought of getting pictures before we went shopping. By the time we got home it was slipping and I had to redo it and add a headband to keep the white cotton pashmina in place. I'd forgotten how beastly those things can be.

Today I wore my hair in a braided bun where I wrapped the braids around my hair sticks and that seemed to work well. However, I am rethinking my hair care routine since I can't seem to keep it up anymore.

What is your summer hair care routine?