Wednesday, July 08, 2015

A Summer Clear Out!

Summer arrived and is flying by. How have you been spending yours? Me? I've been doing a whole house clean out.

I started with the kitchen which really still needs work. I had to clear out all the piles of paper that had stacked up throughout the school year. And I had to admit that the fruit stand living on our table is just not ever going to work. That thing attracts clutter like nobody's business. Our table has now stayed clean for over a month. I moved on to the living room which was not in terrible shape, so it was pretty easy to straighten out. Now I am on the master bedroom. It is the catch all of the house. Like a tornado exploded. That room is definitely going to take a while. I have the rest of the summer, so I feel optimistic that I can make it happen. Mostly I need to throw a lot of stuff away. And put stuff away. We have a rocking chair in there that collects things. When I forget to put the laundry away, I just set it on the chair. If I forget to put some books away before Brent goes to bed? Yup.

Today I was putting things away and realized I didn't have room in my drawer for long sleeve tops. So I went through it. I got real about some shirts I haven't worn in a while and now I have plenty of room in that drawer. It always feels good to just get rid of a bunch of clothes you never wear. Well, I do anyway.

I have been knitting. And I have been trying to do the year of making. But I found pretty quickly that posting pictures every single day was not going to work for me. I don't want to post pictures of the socks I am knitting every day. BORING. So I quit trying to post every day and just post when I have something worth showing. I am doing all the posting on Instagram.

Here is my Hansel for Hapalong:


I was so excited when I got to start adding colors. All that gray was getting boring. I am not sure about the two shades of purple, but I grabbed them out of my stash rather than dyeing my own like I did with the gray.

Working out of the stash might be my thing the rest of the year. I started a Pi shawl with purple BFL that I dyed for myself a couple years ago:



The ball I started with is leftover from a scarf last summer. It feels good to be using up leftovers and stash. I have wanted to make EZ's Pi shawl for a long time. Last winter I decided I would start it in July, just like it is in Knitters Almanac. I've always wanted to make something out of that book in the month that Elizabeth Zimmerman put it in. Just because it seemed like fun. So I am.
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Friday, May 01, 2015

Year of Making

I saw a hash tag on Instagram last week that got me fascinated. Year of making. I googled it and read about it. And decided that it was something I really want to do. So this is my first year of making post. A nearly finished sock: 



This is also my first post done entirely from my phone. I've been trying to figure out how to do this for a while now. I am excited to have finally figured it all out. And without the help of a child. 

Speaking of the little knitters, Knitter #2 is turning 12 soon. I can not believe it has been that many years since I  became a mom. Or that I've been married for 13 years. Anyway, back to the birthday. She wants a blue cake with blue frosting. Tomorrow I will be attempting it. I bought more blue food coloring this week. I am interested to see how much it takes to make a whole cake blue. 

I hope to finish my Ravello sweater this weekend and start concentrating more on my Hapalong shawl. I am halfway down the second sleeve. I'll be done with the stripes soon. I bet if I weren't typing up this post, I'd finish tonight. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Knitting and Stuff...

It's been busy the past few weeks. I have an almost finished sweater.

 I am working on the second sleeve now.

The Hapalong started a couple weeks ago and I have been working a little bit on it. 


And I finished up the socks I was working on in the last post and am now working on new ones in one of the new self striping yarns I have in the shop.The green ones had been waiting to be kitchenered for a long, long time. Here are my new socks:

One thing that has really been a problem is my ankle. I had some issues with it before I tried to run a couple miles non stop for my first run of the season about 2 months ago. Like having a hard time walking when I first get up in the morning. Not feeling like I can jump or exercise for fear of making it worse is just annoying me. All year (since September) at work, I have felt like I can't jump when we do warm-up songs with the kids before we do group work. And little kid songs always have jumping in them. Jumping is fun when you are 4! I've decided I've had it with all this crap. I'm doing calf exercises to hopefully help and will start running again soon. I ordered new running shoes tonight after doing as much research as I could on what kind of shoe I should get. It even involved me running the length of our porch barefoot so I could figure out how I push off and what part of my foot lands first when I run. And I downloaded the C25K app to my phone. Baby steps.

When I look back at my issues with my foot/leg/ankle, I think I may have been having problems a lot longer than I initially thought. Years probably. I think it might go back at least as far as when I decided to do my workouts barefoot. I have a collection of Kathy Smith videos and dvds that I like to use. Maybe it is just one of those things that was going to happen because of the way my body is put together. Some of the stuff I read on figuring out what kind of shoes to get was very interesting. Especially the stuff on how your foot pronates when you run. One particular tip I read was to get out your everyday work shoes and put them on a flat surface and see what the heel wear is like. I did it with several shoes and they all showed that I underpronate. Probably part of the reason I'm having troubles. And I think my father did, too. I remember what the heels of his boots used to look like. Just like mine.

I will give a really quick explanation about pronation. If you do it normally, you push off with your toes. Presumably all of them. Your foot lands at the outside of the heel and rolls to the middle in normal pronation. If you over pronate, your foot rolls too far and you push off from the big toe and its neighbor. It can cause problems. If you underpronate, your foot doesn't roll enough and you push off from the smaller toes. Causing problems potentially. This is a very unscientific explanation that leaves out a lot. I am not about to try to give it a really good explanation because no one is going to be coming here of all places to read about it.

Life would be so much easier if your body would just work right because you want it too! At least my ankle doesn't affect my knitting...


Monday, April 06, 2015

Dyeing for Hapalong

Over the weekend I dug into my yarn boxes and came up with a bunch possibilities for my Hansel hap shawl. I found yarn bagged up with patterns for sweaters in size 12 months. The pattern said it was for Knitter #3. She is now 9 years old and in the third grade. That yarn has been languishing in that bag for nearly 10 years. I did not realize I had actually been accumulating stash for that long. In my mind, I only started 3 years ago. But I had a lot of yarn when I joined Ravelry something like 8 years ago. I have been married almost 13 years (next month) and I didn't start accumulating stash until after we got married. Anyway, I found some yarn to use and I feel really good about finding a project to use that yarn with. A double win.

Here is what I did with the yarn I found:



I unwound several balls, tied them in hanks and dyed them. When I started the dye process I really wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it turned out perfect. I love the color. I can't wait to start the Hapalong on Friday. I haven't dyed the contrast colors for the border yet, but I have some time before I will need them.

One of my requirements I put on myself to do the Hapalong was to finish my socks and my Ravello sweater. The socks have been coming along:



The heels are done and am knitting right on down the foot on both socks. They might really be done by Friday. My sweater probably won't be done, but you never know.



Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Hot and Cold

I made a decision on my socks the other night. I decided to abandon the heel pattern and just knit my favorite slip stitch heel and a plain foot. All of the sudden I can't quit knitting on them. Happiness reigns once again in Knittingland. Just take a gander at these heel flaps:

One of them I am going to rip back a couple rows because I actually made it a couple of rows too long. My next sock will be a nice, plain sock that I have no doubt that I will love knitting. Maybe by next winter I will have a pair for every single cold day of the week. And they are all cold in Idaho.
I've been trying to decide what kind of yarn to use for the Hapalong. It seems like I used to have a lot of plain colored Knit Picks Palette that I could dye for the project. I really should pull out my yarn tubs and dig through them for yarn. Who knows what kind of treasure I might find. Every time I pull them out, I find something I have forgotten about.

Last week was spring break here. It was so nice to have a lazy non-demanding week. I am really looking forward to summer. I have big knitting plans for the summer. I want to make EZ's Pi shawl in July. How I came about that particular time for knitting it, I don't know. And I have two sweaters that I started planning at least 5 years ago and bought yarn for at that time. I want to actually make them this year. In my mind, I will get up early and enjoy a cup of coffee out on the back deck in my favorite chair while knitting on whatever my current favorite project is. In reality, I will probably have to spend that time in the garden so I don't have to get heat stroke and a sunburn working in the garden. It gets really hot here in the summer and really cold in the winter. However, I am going to indulge in dreams for a few weeks.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Knitting into Spring

My Ravello has had some hiccups. When I tried it on, it just seemed too big. When I took it off, I laid it out on my bed and measured it and measured myself. The Ravello is supposed to have 3 inches of ease, and mine was going to have 6 inches. TOO much. My chest is 38” and the sweater was 22” across, making it 44” all the way around. I checked my gauge and sure enough, it was off by about half a stitch per inch. That can add up to a lot of extra sweater. So I ripped the whole thing out and started over with the next size down. When I ripped it, there was 7” of sweater from the underarm down. Now I have around 4”. If I were making a sweater for working around home, I would have just kept on going. But this sweater is going to be for wearing in public at my other job and I try not to look like a slob there. Anyway, this is what it looks like today:



I want to finish it in time to do the Hapalong with the KnitBritish group on Ravelry. But I also want to finish the socks I have been making for a really long forever:


This pattern, Crescendo, is not hard but I have a hard time getting into it. I think that my reality with socks is that I prefer simple patterns. Plain socks or ribbed socks that just show off the color of the yarn really well. Lace patterns for the most part to excite me when I am knitting socks. Not to say I don't love the look, because I do. I have a pair of Monkey Socks on the needles from way back when the pattern first came out. I loved the look, but I couldn't get into knitting them. Someday I will want the yarn for something and rip the half a sock out. I'm a knitter who loves making socks but only has a couple pair to wear because I can't knit them fast enough. Unless they are stockinette or ribbed socks. I don't know what to do with these. Struggle through, or rip?

Spring has really, really arrived here. My husband is at the very moment I am writing this, mowing our yard for the second time this year. We don't generally mow our yard until mid-April. It is so weird to have so much warm weather. Hopefully it doesn't mean a long, hot, dry, fire-filled summer. Anyway, here is some treasure I found this morning:


Our chickens are now laying eggs nearly every day. After a long winter without eggs, it is fantastic. I can't stand to eat grocery store eggs. Tomorrow morning I am having scrambled eggs for breakfast!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Love Your Knitting

I have come to a new conclusion about my knitting. I should only knit things that I absolutely love. About 2 weeks ago, I decided to start a sweater that I've been wanting to make for 6 months. I had been thinking I would make it after finishing another sweater I have on the needles, but I decided I wanted to do it so bad that I just needed to do it. It is made with sock yarn and I have plenty of that in stash, and had already decided with 3 balls to use for it. They were originally meant to be a Stephen West shawl, but I frogged it last year because I knew that if I finished it, I'd never wear it. Anyway, it is Ravello by Isabell Kraemer. Here it is in progress:


It was going to be my take-along knitting. It ended up being too fun for just take-along knitting. Ravello has turned out to be can't-put-it-down-knitting. I think ALL my knitting ought to be this way.

At the beginning of the month, I decided it was warm enough to start running again. So Maggie and I headed out for our first run of the year one afternoon. I thought it was so great that I managed to run the first mile and a half without stopping. In fact, I was really patting myself on the back for it. For several hours. But my heel and ankle just kept hurting more and more. Until I could barely walk. I went hunting on the internet (better than going to the doctor, right?) and found that I probably had irritated my Achilles tendon. Since then, I think it probably affected another tendon down there, too. They are fine unless I step wrong. I have had to face the fact that I can not treat my body like I am 16 anymore. Now I am trying out walking for exercise. I may try running a month or two when I've had a chance to strengthen my achilles tendon and calf muscles. If I do, it will be with a couch 2 5k program.

Today, Maggie and I went for a walk:


I wore these lace up boots to keep my ankle happy.



I found these tiny little wildflowers blooming.



This is a really cool looking old fence post we found in the fence line. I wish I had a whole fence made out of tree branches.  I especially love the woven ones that you see in medieval period shows.

Enjoy your day!