Monday, April 2, 2018

Podcasters are Enablers!

Ok, my favorite thing about knitting and knitters being online these days is the way they share what they're doing.  What they're knitting or crocheting, trinkets they buy, etc.  But in the past couple weeks I've been enabled too much by the podcasters I follow.  I've acquired 2 wax melt warmers to replace the 1 I have had for years.  I got a ton of different wax melts to try out.  I bought yarn from ICE Yarns in Turkey for a few summer projects and a fancier sweater for me.  I ordered a book from B&N that was recommended on a crochet podcast.  And I got some sparkly cotton yarn on a sweet deal from Premier Yarns.  So, let's just say I have too much yarn and not enough time, but at least I have some fresh scents to work around and a book of patterns to inspire me if I get bored.  Oh, I almost forgot the new high capacity ball winder I got so that my yarn cakes aren't wonky when I go over 4 ounces of acrylic.

Last week I cast on my Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Matcha for The East One by Joji Locatelli.  The other main project is the Sockhead Hat with the Graffiti Blast yarn.  My crochet project is the Peaceful Easy blanket. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

There's Not Enough Time!

There's not enough time!  It's something I say to my boyfriend at least a few times a day.  Before it was that there wasn't enough time to sleep or be cozy.  Since I've gotten back to my yarny crafts, it's been about not having enough time to knit or crochet. 

Right now I'm working on the heel on the Bumblebee sock.  I decided to use black yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners called Licorice I think.  The ballband only has numbers on it.  It's their Signature 4-ply.  I decided to just bite the bullet and do the heel before I finish the foot of the sock on the 9" circular.  I want to make sure the heel is actually 2", which is what I estimate it to be.  I'm not sure if I will ever do afterthought heels again.  They seem to be a pain in the ass.  I enjoy being able to just knit an easy sock tube, but doing the heels seems like an unnecessary burden.  Maybe it's just because I've never knit socks for Dan before and I'm not 100% sure they will fit.  Maybe a second pair, where I'm more confident that I'm knitting the right size, will be easier. 

My other major project this week has been the crocheted afghan, Peaceful Easy Blanket.  I decided to just do random stripes with the yarn as I get sick of looking at the same color.  I found the pink Ombre yarn at Joann's the other day, so right now that's the color I'm working on.  The blanket is going to be plenty long enough but I'm not sure it's going to be wide enough, so I might need to add some thick border crochet to make it a foot or so wider.  I have Caron One Pound in white that I can use for that.

Speaking of buying yarn, I got an unexpected chunk of change this week, so on my day off from work I went to a different Walmart and bought all the Bernat Pop! and Mandala yarns that I didn't already have.  So I have one cake of each color I could find.  I also got a pack of Boye Ergonomic crochet hooks so that I know I now have every size in an ergo handle.  The pack was under $25 for all 12 sizes, when I have paid $6.99-$8.99 for each one that I got in the past.  I also went to Joann's and got that skein of Ombre and 4 pounds of Caron yarn - 2 in a bright turquoise and 2 in white.  I also got 3 project bags with knit & crochet sayings on them.  Those were on clearance.  There were good coupons so that didn't put in as much of a dent in my wallet as usual.  I think the pounds of yarn came in under $5.50 each.  I walked out of Michaels without buying anything, since I'd been there a few days ago and got a few cupcakes and a yarn container, nothing else was jumping out at me. 

Now, in case you were concerned about all the acrylic cheap yarn I'm buying, don't fret.  I haven't given up on the wool yarns in my stash.  I'm just afraid to wash them, so it's not really my go-to.  I got rubber tiles to block on, and a couple pack of Dritz T-pins. I've been stalling on blocking the Scania shawl I made for J.  So yesterday I filled a bucket with water and soaked the shawl.  I immediately remembered that god-awful wet wool smell that I haven't smelled since I stopped felting about 13 years ago.  I set out the flooring tiles and pinned out the shawl and set a fan on the floor to increase airflow.  Then waited.  And waited.  And waited.  By the time I woke up this morning, I checked and it was nearly dry.  I think I'll wait until I get home from work tonight to unpin it. 

I finished knitting the final body part of J's monster momma.  I stitched up the pockets, now I just need to stuff & sew on the arms & legs and send it off with the shawl for J, and the socks for C. 

My 15 year old daughter has decided to knit, so we Skyped the other night while we tried to get her cast on for a scarf out of Mandala yarn.  We spent an hour, she didn't get the 40 stitches cast on.  Hopefully once we're cast on, the knitting can start and some muscle memory can start taking over.  I'm knitting a scarf out of the same yarn/colorway and needle size along with her.  It's Mandala Gnome yarn - a bright rainbow.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Moving Forward

So, today I accomplished next to nothing, but I did spend a lot of interrupted periods working on a new afghan that I'm crocheting.  The pattern is based on The Peaceful Easy Blanket by Susan E. Kennedy.  I'm starting with Red Heart Supersaver Ombre Sea Coral.  I started with the foundation chain that the pattern calls for.  But after 15 rows, I got sick of working with the same color.  I changed to the colorway Scuba.  I will do 2 repeats of each of the 5 color stripes. 

I washed my swatch for The Easy One that I knit yesterday with the US4 needles.  But my boyfriend took it out of the washer and set it on top of the dryer instead of running it with the reset of the laundry or smoothing it out as it would be for blocking, so I had to toss it back into the laundry with another load tonight.  I also made a swatch of the same yarn with US3 needles to see which I want to use for the project.  It's crazy how soft the fabric gets when it's washed.  It also gets fuzzy, which I'm not overly thrilled about.  But by tomorrow I should know which needles I need to use for my Easy One project. 

My daughter got to go to Walmart today to pick up a learn to knit kit and yarn to start knitting.  She received the monster knitting books I ordered her from Amazon.  The store she went to today didn't have size 5 dpns, and I know the circular needles are terrible there, so I was back on Amazon to order her a small circular and a set of dpns for when she's ready to try knitting monsters.  She really liked the Mandala yarn better than the Bernat POP! I suggested, so we compromised and she got the Mandala to knit a scarf, and the POP! for her monsters. 

As far as her momma monster that I'm knitting, I got both arms done and one leg I finished ... I just have 1 leg to go, then stitching the face on, stitching up the pockets, stuffing and assembling.  Then I get to do it all again, twice, for the baby monsters. Sigh. 

The Bumblebee socks are on hold because, like a moron, I took out the waste yarn and put the stitches for the heel on a small circ but haven't wound off heel yarn from the ball yet.  The Hermione sock is still ready to go thru the gusset decreases, which I don't feel like concentrating on them right now.  The US 2 needle arrived today for the Sockhead hats I want to make from the hand-dyed yarn I got from Etsy.  That is a nice easy project to take with me - a majority of the knitting is mindless.  And fast, because the needles are so small, it goes quickly with minimal motion.  But I'm trying to stick to the monster project and the crochet afghan for now.  Better to stick to 2 projects and get something accomplished. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Whenever I say I'm not going to buy more yarn, I inevitably fail at that lofty goal.  Last night I realized I was about 40 yards short of what I needed for my Easy One sweater in fingering weight.  And I know I'm gonna want it a little longer than the pattern calls for.  So I had to hop online to order more Stroll Tonal in Matcha for that sweater.  And of course I didn't want to pay for shipping, so I shopped around and added 2 project bags and 3 other skeins of Stroll to my cart before I checked out.  I went with a handpaint called Big Top, and tonals called High Tea and Mocha.  I swatched the Matcha on my ChiaoGoo US 4's but haven't laundered it yet.  My US 2 & 3 ChiaoGoo's should arrive tomorrow, so I'll be able to swatch the Matcha on the US 3's and cast on one of the Sockhead Hat's for my kids on the US 2. 

But that order wasn't enough to keep me from stopping back at Walmart tonight to check out the selection of Bernat POP! and Lion Brand Mandala.  Unfortunately, the POP! was the more expensive yarn, but I love how it was working up on Jo's monster, so I picked up ... eek... 5 more cakes.  The Mandala is a finer yarn, not what I was looking for to make monsters out of, so I only got 1 cake of that.  Then I turned around and saw the Red Heart Ombres and couldn't help myself from adding one of each color to my basket.  I was disappointed that they were out of pink or yellows, but I got peach, blue, turquoise, green, and purple. 

Now I can't decide which yarn to use for my Attic24 Granny Stripe blanket.  I was going to use the POP! but I sort of want to keep that for making the monsters until I finish that project.  The Mandala I only have 3 cakes of, and they aren't complimentary colors, so that's out.  That leaves the Ombres.  I have 5 skeins total, and I'm not sure how much yarn an afghan like that will take.  I want it to be maybe a twin sized afghan, enough to cover up with to sleep, not just a throw or lapghan.  But before I start that project, I wanted to work on Jo's monster.  I finished the first leg of the mom and started the first arm.  I'm not a fan of knitting a small number of stitches in the round for 30 rounds, that's for sure.  Tomorrow I'm going to have to go get stuffing.  I was planning to send the pieces to her and have her get stuffing to do it herself, but I am afraid it won't get done, and all the parts needed to be stuffed before they can be sewn on, which means a lot more than just stuffing the body and whip stitching it closed. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Podcast Episode 2 - March 16, 2018

Episode 2

FO - Sockhead Hat for Me!

YAY!  I finished this fine gauge hat in about 72 hours.  I just couldn't put it down because I wanted to wear it so bad.  I cast on with ChiaoGoo 16-inch size US 2.5 needles, and boy did that give me a pretty loose gauge.  I'm too tired to measure right now, but I'm not sure if I just knit it too loose, used too large of a needle, or this yarn is just thinner than I was expecting.  I'm now wondering if I need to rethink my plans for knitting the Easy One on the recommended size 4 needles with fingering yarn, because I certainly don't want a sweater to be see-through like this hat is under lights.  My yarn for the Easy One should be here tomorrow from Knitpicks.  I bought the cheapest Stroll Tonal they had, which was part of the green sale, Matcha.  My ChiaoGoo 32- and 16-inch circs came in the mail this week too.  So I was ready to get to work on that next week, but now I might need to invest serious time into swatching and laundering tests before I actually get going.  I don't need another sweater I can't wear. 

Before I get to the Easy One, I'm going to finish Jo's monsters.  At least the first monster's limbs.  I've never gotten that far before, so it will be a milestone if it actually has arms & legs.  I have the first pocket knit on but not sewn down on the sides yet.  I haven't decided if I'm going to stuff them or send them unstuffed and let her assemble.  I ordered her copies of Rebecca Danger's books, The Big Book of Knitted Monsters and 50 Yards of Fun.  Jo needs to learn to knit before she tries to make the monsters, but she's not really grasping that concept just now.  It's hard for me to try to teach her when she doesn't have access to the internet to watch how-to videos and can only skype with me when her father can set it up for her. 

I spent today knitting and listening to podcasts about knitting.  In addition to The Grocery Girls, The Yarn Hoarder Podcast, Cozy Up with the Stitchin Sisters, Joji and Ladywing Designs, I've begun watching The Sockmatician and Smells Like Yarn.  Ross from Smells Like Yarn actually did a live knit night video tonight that was kinda fun.  I'd seen the Grocery Girls try to do a live podcast one day and had a lot of trouble with it, but couldn't see the comments while watching from my phone, so when Ross went live, I pulled out my laptop so I could see everything. 

One thing that sorta irritated me was when the dishcloths got into the conversation and he had a touch of attitude about Amber (The Yarn Hoarder) making dish cloths.  No, dish cloths are not new.  That isn't the point of Amber talking about them.  She's just doing a personal challenge that her viewers wanted to participate in and they joined in and are knitting dish cloths along with her.  And I think it's cool whenever people are encouraging each other to knit/crochet more, use their stashes, make gifts for their family/friends, etc.  Keep it positive.  A lot of people are going to end the year with 52 dishcloths and a sense of accomplishment and maybe a smaller stash.  Unless they're like me, using it as an excuse to grow the stash.

The Craftsy folks put out their new KAL for Off Our Needles and it's a cotton t-shirt.  Yuck.  After the shawl pattern nightmare, I would have expected them to come up with something a little more universally appealing.  But when you have your KAL hosts both saying they had to hack the pattern to make it to their liking, I'm feeling justified in skipping it altogether.  Plus, the coupon for 50% off still leaves it at $42 with tax & shipping for an XL size.  So, yeah, I'm glad I found Ravelry and when I want to do another knitalong I will probably go with one from the groups I join instead of the commercial ones I started out with.  Craftsy has been downhill after Zadie, which I really enjoyed. 

I'm thinking I might do another podcast tomorrow, or later today actually, since it's 2am already.  I want to show off my finished hat.  Or I might just take some pictures of it in daylight to post and then take a nap.  I have to work 6am-2pm and deal with the truck delivery.  That means I get to scan the boxes and totes as they come off the truck and go into our stock room.  I loved doing it the first time because I'm kinda a natural at it and that impressed the guys I work with and the delivery driver who is a little crazy.  Saturday I have to work 9-5, and then I'm off again on Sunday, so knitting & Nascar are on the agenda.  I think Dan is going to have to get a TV antenna for the living room so that I can watch the races down there and he can watch the tv in the bedroom, because he hates motor sports.  His college roommate liked to make sound effects while watching the races, and he's still traumatized 20 years later. 

Please leave comments if you've found me, and let me know what you're thinking.  I'm starving for feedback.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Knit Monsters

My older daughter has been asking me for knit monsters for about 2 years.  It's the 3 monster set from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters - Leila, Lydia & Lucas.  I've knit them a couple times, or parts of them, anyway.  I never seem to finish them.  This time I've decided I will start & finish the set.  So far, the body of the mommy monster is knit, with 1 of the 2 pockets knit up.  Tomorrow I will knit the other pocket and the arms or legs.  My thumb is sore from working the worsted weight on short-tip size 5 circular interchangeable needles from Knitpicks.  I still need to knit 2 baby monsters, and all the limbs for the 3 monsters.  This is my worsted gauge project for the foreseeable future.

The Chiaogoo 16-inch size 2.5 and 4 needles arrived today.  I left work for lunch so I could open them and cast on the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure.  I'm using my Beyond the Clouds yarn from SheepyFibres, Etc on Etsy.  This hat will be mine... I can't get over the amazing yarn - Grey with a variegated rainbow every so often.  This will probably take up my sock-gauge knitting time for the next week or so until it's done. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

First Episode of my Podcast

Well, today I took a leap and recorded my first podcast episode.  I hope you'll take the time to watch it.  Comment.  Help me make the next episode better.  I did it without notes, so editing it took time to put in the titles to fill in stuff I'd forgotten or gotten wrong on the fly.  I especially want to thank Zakiya over at Ladywing Crafts Podcast for encouraging me to just do it.

I did cast on for the monster again with the Bernat Pop yarn when I found my short tip size 5 needles and a short cable from my Knitpicks interchangeables.  Wish me luck!

As soon as I was done editing, my yarn from SheepyFibersEtc on Etsy was delivered.  I am dying to cast on the Sockhead Hats for myself & my daughters, but the US 2.5 needles won't be here till tomorrow.  Sad Trombone to that.  The yarns are fabulous.  Here are the pics, although I don't have good lighting so they're way better in person....
Beyond The Clouds
Graffiti Blast

Unicorn Party

Monday, March 5, 2018

Finally - FO's

I'm so glad that I'm able to say that my Easy Bulky One is the sweater I'm actually wearing today.  I finished it with 2 properly sized sleeves, but never got around to blocking it.  I couldn't resist wearing it today.  The jury is out on the Baby Alpaca/Merino/Nylon yarn... it's not as cozy as I was expecting, as far as softness goes.  But it's nice & airy and not making me overheated.  I'm glad it's done and not staring at me anymore, waiting for the ends to be woven in.  I fell asleep at 6pm last night after watching the Nascar race and slept until Midnight, then was up & working on my Hermione sock until I just couldn't take it anymore, then I decided to weave in the ends on the Easy Bulky One so I could consider it a full FO. 

I also finished the Scania shawl I knit for my older daughter, J.  I need to block the cables, but I'm considering it finished anyway.  The pattern was poorly written, so I'm surprised that Craftsy chose it for their Off Our Needles knitalong.  I had to make index cards with the pattern written out because of the way it was written.  And when I got to the end, I was scratching my head because the pattern made no sense at all.  It turned out that there were errors that had been corrected after I'd purchased the kit, and I had to look up the pattern again online to get clarification on how to finish the darn thing.  I will NOT be making the Scania shawl again, even though I have 2 more kits worth of yarn I purchased to make matching shawls for myself and my younger daughter. 

Another FO is the pair of Blueberry Waffle socks I made with Knitpicks Felici worsted yarn in Hopscotch.  These will go to my younger daughter, C.  She likes mismatched socks, so I went with mismatched stripes on the foot where I ran out of yarn from the first ball and had to start into a 2nd ball. 

In the acquisition list, I purchased a yarnball hand winder, which is really  just a tapered plastic rod with a hole in it to hold the yarn tail.  There are times when I don't feel like winding a cake on my regular ballwinder, and just want to wind a center pull ball from the comfort of my bed or passenger seat in the car, and I'm hoping this doohickey will do the trick.  I used a coupon at Michaels, so if it doesn't work, it's $5.99 down the drain, but I think it will work for my intended purpose.  I also bought 3 new balls of Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn in Playtime, Psychedelic, and Azalea to make more dishcloths for the Yarn Hoarder KAL.  At Joann's I got a Clover Amour crochet hook in size E, and 2 sets of size 1 dpns for socks. 

J decided she wants to learn to crochet so she can make these little crochet amigurumi octopus guys she saw on the Mohu blog.  I needed a smaller crochet hook so that I could try to figure out the pattern and teach her.  She thinks that she just does each step one time and makes the project... We discussed practicing the chain before she tries to crochet into a circle, let alone slip stitch or decrease.

D's socks got ripped back to the beginning of the heel flap and I decided to do an afterthought heel instead.  I put in waste yarn and kept on knitting those.  My Hermione sock #1 is at the heel flap.  My Sour Watermelon sock is still mid-FishKissLipsHeel on sock #1.  I'm having to watch the video of the Twin Stitch at the end of every row, so it's a tedious process at this point.  I'm just excited to be down to just socks at this point.  I'm not sure which shawl I will do next, or if I will do a Boxy in fingering weight with one of the shawl kits - most likely the purples which can become a fade.  Or if I want to use them for one of the CozyUp shawls.  I love watching their podcast.  I also watch The Yarn Hoarder, and LadyBirdDesigns... if you haven't watched them, you should check them out.  Very inspiring. 

I would love to hear from you or be your friend on Ravelry!  myShannanigans