Saturday, September 7, 2013

thirty-four

Five weeks.

It's really been five weeks.

Well, it's not that I've been lazy. As it turns out, selling a house, packing that  house, and getting everything moved 1,000 miles south is kind of a big task. If you were wondering if we have a lot of stuff, it turns out we do. We had to move approximately 5,440 pounds of stuff. I guess "move" is actually kind of a stretch. We had a moving company do it for us. In any event, it was still a big deal.

James and I are still in the process of selling our house; the settlement closes in a little over a week. Once more, selling your house is a big deal. We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we would sprint towards it... if we were the sprinting type.

We have a house in Lake Mary, Florida now... and I really love it. It's a bit bigger than the house we had in Pittsburgh, and there's a great backyard for the dog. He's still getting used to all the different noises we have down here, so he's been barking quite a bit lately. Last night, there was some sort of animal hissing and yowling in the dark, and the dog and I were both afraid. It could have been a raccoon, a possum, or maybe a really sad cat, but we didn't want to find out. There's certainly a lot of wildlife here in the sunshine state.

It's certainly been an exciting couple of weeks for me down here. Dad and I drove down to Florida on Sunday, August 25. On Monday, August 26, before I had even logged 24 hours in my new state, I was in a car accident. Luckily, I'm not really injured. I have a minor neck sprain, and I'll be going for a follow-up appointment at the PT in a couple weeks. How did it happen? Well, I was stopped at traffic signal, and the light was red. Once the light turned green, the driver behind me drove right into my rear bumper. I don't think they were paying attention. To anything. I was warned about the roads down here; I just didn't think someone would be a bad driver around me so quickly. Sheesh.

Now, about the knitting... There was a two-week period where I didn't knit a single stitch, which also contributed to my absence here, and also my general anxiety level. That dark time is behind me now. Thank goodness. I'm almost done with two different projects now!

I've been working on my third pair of socks. It turns out that I really love knitting socks! The pattern is called (Are you even ready for this?!) Hermione's Everyday Socks. HERMIONE! Did I tell you I live right by Hogwarts now?? I'm using Dream in Color Smooshy, one of my favorite sock yarns, in a nice mustard yellow-ish hue. Here's my project page. Don't they look a little vintage? And I really love a contrasting toe, don't you?


Also, I've been working on another shawl by Veera Välimäki (shocking), who I love. It's called Bolt, and it's part of a Brooklyn Tweed collection that was released earlier this year. The pattern was actually a birthday gift, from my great friend Yvonne. I'm knitting this shawl in two different colors of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (even more shocking), Ink and Tern. I've reached the last part of the shawl, where I knit garter forever, but it's been total TV knitting the whole way. Veera's pattern's are never that complicated, but the results are always amazing! I think this is the fourth shawl of hers that I've knit. I really love her patterns. Raveled here.


That's all I have for now, but I feel better finally getting back here. I'll be in California next week, so I may not be back before the middle of the month, but you can be sure I'll have a few project finished by then!

Now I have to figure out what to do with all my coats...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

thirty-three

It's all happening!

Well, kind of...

It will all happen, but at least it's started happening.

We are moving to Orlando, Florida! (which, by the way, is the BIG news)

We really love Orlando, and have family there as well. Also, we love Disney World. And Universal. And anything touristy about the area. It's going to be awesome!

So... A few weeks ago (although it feels like forever now), James was presented with a job offer from his company. The offer was great, but would require us to relocate. And this is not a "make the commute shorter" kind of relocation, it's a big one. After discussing it at length for a few days, he decided to take the job.

The following Monday was the most anxious I've ever been, that I can remember. We had decided that James was taking the job, but I still had to talk to my boss. I told him the whole story, and that this was simply an offer we couldn't refuse. I really didn't want to leave my job, and so I asked if there was any possible way I could keep my position and work remote. He agreed (almost immediately), and put the wheels in motion to get this transfer approved. Three weeks later, it's now 100% official, and I'm so excited! I really love my job, and I would have been so sad to leave the position, and the wonderful team.

So now we have one thing left to do... Sell the house. Our house has been on the market for three weeks exactly, we've had 8 or 9 showings, and our open house went very well. So far, we have a lot of interest, but no offers. My cousin told me that it takes (on average) 62 days to sell a house, but I hope it happens a little faster. We are priced to sell, and the fact that we've seen so much interest so fast (at least for our area) is encouraging.

James leaves for Orlando in 10 days, and he'll stay with his sister while I stay in Pittsburgh and try to sell our house. Once the house is sold, I'll pack up the U-Haul with my Dad (and the dog), and we'll drive down to Orlando to meet James. There's still a long road ahead of us, and I'm not looking forward to being apart, but we decided that this option is best.

So, that brings me to my next question... Does anyone have any LYS recommendations for Orlando? I've found a few websites, but it's always better to hear from a shopper, I think. I may be moving to Florida, but I'm still going to knit. And knit. And knit.

Speaking of knitting, there hasn't been much on my needles lately. I guess this whole moving and packing and selling the house thing has slowed me down. That being said, I may lay a little low for a while, but I'll knit when I can (as I always have). I am working on a test knit, but I can't really mention that here... yet.

PS - Has anyone grabbed a copy of the Interweave Harry Potter Knits Magazine yet? I have a copy on hold at Natural Stitches, which I'll pick up this weekend. I'm so excited!

Friday, July 12, 2013

thirty-two

So, what's it been, nearly a month?

Sheesh.

I've been feeling that I need to put some words down here lately, but I just haven't gotten to it. Life is getting a bit exciting. The truth is, there's a lot going on around here. Seriously, big stuff. Sadly, I'm not really able to release any news at the moment. It should be soon. Any day now, really.

I just wanted to get something down, so I could tell myself I did it. Even though it's a total almost post.

I've been knitting quite a bit lately, but I'm not sure if I'm going to make my Stash Dash Goal of 4,375 yards knit by August 5. The challenge started on May 24, and I've finished 9 projects to date, with a total yardage of 2,350. Things are looking bleak, as I enter the final weeks of the challenge. However, it's an informal KAL, and so I won't let myself feel bad for not making it (if I don't). Here's my list of projects (with links to the project pages)...

4.  Kiwi Hat

I'm currently working on the tenth project, another pair of socks. This is my second official pair, and I'm really loving it! I'm using the same exact pattern as before, but knitting one size smaller because my yarn is a bit heavier and the needles are 0.5 mm larger. Any tips for picking up stitches after the heel? I had a few inconsistencies with this last time, but I'm hoping to correct them with this new pair. We'll see...

So, I'm sorry I don't have too much to say. I know it's been a while. I'm hoping to share some big news with you all soon.

PS - I think I found the pattern for my first sweater!

Monday, June 17, 2013

thirty-one

I DID IT!

I knit socks.

Like, real socks!

Two of them!

This was my very first pair of socks with sock yarn and itty-bitty needles. I'm very happy with the result! I used a simple Vanilla Sock pattern by Elizabeth Suarez, and Cascade Heritage Sock in the charcoal colorway. Also, I was knitting on Addi Turbo Sock Rockets (2.25 MM) which I loved... Loved. I chose this pattern because there is ribbing down the sides of the leg and foot, which helps for a snug fit. You know, since I didn't swatch... Sue me.


Anyhow, here's the project page, and that's that really.

Just a quick note about my knitting milestone.



Smile.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

thirty

It's nice to be home again.

I was in North Carolina for work this week, and I had a great time. Well, I had a great time working. Also, I had boiled peanuts! They were... interesting. Boiled peanuts are the state snack food of South Carolina, but we found them in Raleigh. I guess I'll try anything once. Also, there was some extreme weather and hot sticky days, so I'm glad to be home where it's sunny outside and 75 degrees today.

I'm still working on my second sock, but I should be done sometime this weekend. I only have about 30 rounds of the foot left, and then the toe! This was going to be my airplane knitting, but I had other things on my mind...

On June 1, Natural Stitches (which y'all know as my FAVORITE LYS) started their second annual summer bingo. Everyone gets a bingo card that's filled not with numbers, but with different knitting challenges. Last summer, I didn't get a bingo, but that's already changed this year! This morning, I became the first bingo winner this year! As an added prize, they gave me a skein of Zen Yarn Garden's Serenity Worsted in the Bronze Age colorway. The yarn is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend aaaaand it's divine.

While I was at NS this morning, I decided to take the plunge. Well, sort of. I've been going back and forth in my head for a few months about a certain knitting challenge I've yet to tackle. Today, I got one step closer... I bought yarn for my very first sweater. Ever. Like ever ever.

2200 Yards of Yarn!
I bought a little more yarn than I thought I would need, because this is my first sweater ever, but I'm not worried about ending up with a little extra. I picked up 10 hanks of Cascade 220 in Greystone Heather. I really enjoy 220, and it's a great (and economic, *ahem*) yarn for a first sweater, I think. Now, I haven't set a starting date, and it may take some time for me to actually swatch and prepare, so don't panic if you don't see this yarn again until September. After all, summer is just beginning.

Also, I'm still working on my Stash Dash goal of knitting 4,375 yards by August 5. Things are going slow, but who knows when I may decide to knit 20 hats. So far, I'm at 775 yards, but when the socks are finished, that'll be an additional 400 yards towards my goal.

So, that's all I have for the moment, but you can expect a total CAPS LOCK MOMENT when this second sock is off my needles.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 31, 2013

twenty-nine

I am 31 today.

So, even though it's only been a few days since my last post, I thought I'd throw a few words out. Just because it's my birthday.

So far, 31 feels just as good as 30 did (yesterday). Ten years ago, there was a bit more excitement surrounding my birthday... There was also a bit more alcohol... While 21 may have been more obvious excitement, my enthusiasm still hasn't wavered. This year, I'm just excited about different things. My grandmother (or "Nan" as she's known around here) flew out here on Monday, and she's staying at my family's house (just down the road) for a few weeks. Growing up, I spent many weekends with my Nan, and we always had the best time. She's warm and kind, and a little wild. Also, she can crochet like the wind! These days we have just as much fun as we did then... We just sit down more.

Tonight we're going for dinner at a little Italian restaurant that my family has loved for the past 20 years; Vincent's. They've catered many parties for my family, and my father used to fly 2500 miles smelling like an entire field of garlic, so I could enjoy my favorite sausage and cheese bread when I lived in California. It's no surprise that I'm pretty serious about food. Mmmm....

What am I knitting on my birthday, you ask? Well, I'm working on my first second sock (that's right, the SECOND SOCK!) since the first first one is done, except for the kitchener. I've only grafted a few times before, and I'm still a little iffy, so I may ask for a little help at Natural Stitches tomorrow. As it turns out, I'm really loving sock knitting! My favorite part is the portability, and the different pattern components. Once you're bored with one section, you're on to the next! Here's a quick pic of my progress on sock two.


Speaking of socks, I'm using the Addi Turbo Sock Rockets to magic-loop this pair. If you haven't tried these needles yet, I would totally recommend it. So much so, that I wrote a review for the latest Natural Stitches Newsletter, which came out today! Check it out!

Okay, before I finish I do have something to confess... Last time I posted, I mentioned a new hat that was on my needles. Well, said hat is no longer on my needles. As it turns out, I wasn't compatible with the yarn. He just wasn't that into me. After a good bit of work, and a quick shot of bourbon, I frogged the entire hat the other day. This yarn just wasn't for me. Needless to say, I'll be looking for a good home for this yarn, as we are really not doing well together.

It's like Taylor Swift says...

PS - Check out the blue wallpaper in that video!


Monday, May 27, 2013

twenty-eight

It's almost my birthday!

And speaking of holidays, it's also Madelinetosh May! Since I can never pass up a celebration, I had to knit with some Madelinetosh yarn (as if I ever really need an excuse). I decided on a hat that I've had queued for quite a while, Windschief by Stephen West. The pattern is actually for a hat or cowl, so you can have a set if you'd like. There's some twisted stitches, and a asymmetrical motif, which is no surprise considering the source. I used a hank of tosh DK in the gilded colorway. I know it doesn't really need to be said (but that's never stopped me before), but madelinetosh is the cat's pajamas. Here's a pic of James modeling the hat, and the other details are raveled here.

handsome devil
I'm also working on another hat, and my first sock! Golden Autumn is the hat that I'm knitting out of Rowan Felted Tweed DK, another pattern I've had for a while. Also, this is a rare case because I'm knitting the item in the yarn that the pattern actually suggests! I feel like such a good boy. We'll get to that once I'm done (it's still in the early stages).

Progress on the sock is going well. I've made my way to the foot! If you're keeping track, that means I've made it through the ribbing, leg, heel turn, and gusset! I'm trying to keep copious notes, so when I knit the mate, all I'll have to do is keep a row count. The pattern (right here if you're curious) is quite basic, because I didn't want to bite off more than I can chew. My goal is to have this sock finished by the end of the week, and cast on the partner next weekend. I've got more details on my ravelry project page, and I'll be working on this sock for a while today.


So, you guys know that I get a little stashy sometimes, and this next challenge is no exception. I'm participating in Stash Dash 2013, a yearly event hosted by Leslie and Laura of The Knit Girllls. The goal is to knit from stash for 73 days (05/24-08/05) and get through 4,375 yards of yarn. Any item you finish during this time can be counted. So far, I'm at 200 yards... Once I finish both of the projects I've got going right now, though, I'll be at around 1,000 yards. As long as I knit 60 yards each day (on average), I'll make it. This is a lofty goal, but I've never been afraid of a challenge...

Oh yeah, speaking of my birthday, I'm going to be 31 on Friday! That's right, 31 on the 31st. If James is reading this, I'd like a Natural Stitches gift card for my birthday... Just give them a call... (412) 441-4410, they can keep it at the store for me. Have I mentioned how much I love this store?

Yes, I think I have.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

twenty-seven

Mississippi.

Oxford, Mississippi.

Population 18,916

This past weekend I was in Mississippi. My little sister graduated from Ole Miss, so we drove (yes, seriously) from Pittsburgh in a big van to see her. We didn't really need a van for the three of us; it's more for all the goodies that have accumulated in my sister's apartment for the last three years. My sister isn't moving home just yet, but a good deal of her crap stuff is. Mississippi was wonderful, and it was the first time I've ever been there. Of course, I had a sweet tea with every meal. Also, with every meal, there was slaw, beans, some kind of sauce. The weekend was wonderful, and the graduation ceremony was lovely. I'm so proud of my littlest sister.

Before I left for Ole Miss, I had just finished test knitting a hat pattern for my friend Megan (aka JustRunKnit on Ravelry) of the Stockinette Zombies, but the pattern hadn't been released. The hat pattern, Weather the Weather, is available now on Ravelry, and it's free! Isn't that fun?! All you need is one hank of worsted and you're good to go. I knit my hat with Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool, since I had a hank in the stash. I love the hat, but the next time I knit this pattern, I'll be using a variegated yarn, as there's a bunch of garter (which you know I love) in the pattern. There's a few more details on my project page, if you'd like.


While I was in the car (for a while) I was working on my Happy Street shawl, and I managed to get a few stripes done. Since we've been home, I've almost finished the shawl. Well, I knit the last few rows yesterday, and now I have a 546-stitch bind off staring me in the face. Wow. 546 stitches. Eek. Last night, I opted for margaritas instead of the bind off, and I think tonight might be just the same. This feels like a Sunday morning task to me... Perhaps with a movie. Steel Magnolias?? Of course! I should have guessed. Pink is my signature color.


This picture is the best I could do for now, since it's all scrunched up on the needle. Hopefully this will be blocking sometime early next week, but we'll have to wait and see. Oh yeah, after the bind off, there's just about a bazillion ends to weave in. That's okay, though, because I'm really excited about the FO.

In other exciting knitting news, I've cast on a sock! Not just any sock, my first sock with sock yarn and itty-bitty needles! I've made a few socks before, but they were made with big chunky yarn on US 10 needles, and just to learn basic sock construction. This time it's for real! Now, I don't know how successful I'll be, as I've only just finished the ribbing of sock one, but I'm staying optimistic. I feel like the time for socks has finally arrived. I'm not expecting progress to be especially quick on this, and if you're curious about it, you can check my project page. Wish me luck!

Until next time!

Friday, May 3, 2013

twenty-six

I do love garter stitch.

It's reversible. It's easy. It blocks beautifully.

Knitting back and forth in garter stitch is, for me, just like meditation... If I'd ever taken the time to try meditation. Knit, knit, knit... Turn, knit some more. When I'm knitting garter stitch, my mind wanders, and I think that's what I like the most about it. I love those moments when my head is clear, and my thoughts are quiet. It seems that as I get older, my mind has less and less time to wander. I suppose that with age comes wisdom, but I never feel that wise. Just old. It's not that I have a ton of worries, I just have a ton of thoughts. There's work, house, dog, and all the little lists in between. Then there's lists within the lists. There is a chance that I'm being a stitch dramatic, but my brain is the only frame of reference I have on the subject.

So, back to the knitting. I went to Natural Stitches last weekend without a single project on the needles, but I knew I was going to start something while I was there. And not just trouble! I brought some stash yarns and pattern ideas, my notions bag and a couple needles, so I was ready for anything. I decided on a shawl (shocking, I'm sure) in sock yarn, and I only needed to buy one more hank.

I started working on a new pattern by Veera Välimäki called Happy Street. As is usually the case with her shawls, there's lots of garter stitch and some short row shaping. I'm using two colorways (curry & gun metal) of Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock that I picked up at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival this year. The third is Dream in Color Smooshy in the navy zeal colorway, which I picked up at NS last weekend. The pattern is totally intuitive and working on it is a dream. Sadly, I haven't had much time to work on it this week. I do have plans for lots of knitting this weekend, though. There's some progress pictures and all the fun details on my ravelry project page.

Speaking of lots of knitting, James and I are going on a road trip to Mississippi next weekend. My baby sister is graduating, so we're driving down to Oxford for the occasion. My dad rented a house for the weekend and we're going to be there celebrating my sister from dawn 'til dusk. This trip is going to be amazing! Also, the weekend will be sandwiched in between two extra-super-long car trips, on which I plan to knit until I can't see. To make packing easier and more efficient, I need to make some decisions about what I may want to knit. I'm open to suggestion, as I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. As long as I have the yarn in my stash, I'm good to go. As far as packing constraints go, I'm forcing myself to only take what I can fit in my new favorite knitting bag, that you can see below.

Have I mentioned how much I love this place?
Hopefully, by the next time I post, I'll have knit all the things on my trip, and then I'll be able to show them off!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

twenty-five

I'm home... again.

I'm back from my second work trip since the beginning of this month, but I'm not complaining at all. I love visiting our other offices and having the opportunity to work face-to-face with colleagues that are usually just on the phone.

I was in North Carolina for work this week, and I got home on Friday afternoon. As it turns out, I didn't really get much knitting time, since the flight is less than an hour. It was a wonderful trip, though. For your benefit, I won't get into any boring details, but let me just say, it was a great week to be at work. Great job, great people, great time. Okay, that's enough shop talk.

Now for the knitting...

I'm working on an infinity scarf for my youngest sister, Jennifer. I was wearing this one over the holidays, and she really loved it. Well, you know me... any excuse to get some madelinetosh and I'm on board. I started the Summer Wind Scarf just before I went to North Carolina, and I've almost reached the halfway point. I chose this pattern because my sister lives in Mississippi, and it's HOT down there. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, and is a little bit lacy. She'll be wearing it more for color than warmth. I totally LOVE the color, and it's something I'd never use for myself. This colorway is a mix of coral and pink called "espadrilles," and it's fabulous. The details are on my ravelry project page, and here's a picture showing my progress so far.


Is anyone else planning on going to the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival? It's the weekend of May 18-19, and it seems like a good time. Waynesburg is a little over an hour away, but I've taken much longer trips for yarn. I've never been to this festival before, but I think I might go, and even bring James! I was planning on going last year, but it just didn't happen. There is one major difference between the last two festivals and this one that will really help me sell this to my husband... beer. Also, there's going to be livestock! It's looking like we'll go, but I haven't confirmed it for sure. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

twenty-four

This morning, the house smells like chocolate.

I love it.

Earlier today, I was busy making brownies. Now the brownies are on the counter cooling, but they won't be ready to eat until tomorrow at the earliest. Not only is this an exercise in will power, but it's totally part of the brownie ritual in our house. When I make brownies, they need to cool to room temperature after they come out of the oven, then they get refrigerated overnight before I cut them. This makes for a nice clean edge, and a much tidier brownie. Thanks, Ina. You're a diva.

I know it's been a few weeks since my last post, but I didn't have too much knitting to show until today. I was in Arizona (for business) last week, so I didn't get much knitting done (with the exception of my mile-high knitting). This past week at work has been a bit busy, and also, I've been totally exhausted. Not sure why, maybe I'm just a little dramatic. Probably. Maybe...

In any event, I have finished a couple items in the past few days. The Piewhacket Shawl was what I knit during my cross-country flights on my Arizona trip. It's a shawl done entirely in garter (I know, I know, when's the last time I knit a shawl that wasn't completely garter??) with lots of short rows, which I really love. The short rows are used to create three triangles, that are then bordered by a little more garter stitch. I used one of my favorite yarns for this shawl, Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in the Peashoot colorway. Sweet Georgia really has the most amazing colorways. You should go check them out. Sadly, I don't have any left in my stash... at the moment. This shawl won't be blocked for a while, as I'm going out of town (again) next week. Here's a quick (unblocked, unwoven, and quite sassy) photo of the shawl, and the project details are raveled here. I'll post a photo on the project page once it's blocked, because the shape is really going to change once I get it pinned out. My goal is to make the triangles a bit pointier with blocking, so we'll see...


Also, I finished a hat for James. It was a quick knit (as most hats are) that started with ribbing and ended with broken ribbing; the pattern is "Graham." I used Berroco Vintage, which I think is a great, affordable wool/acrylic blend. James may or may not be crocheting an afghan out of Vintage in the near (or not so near) future. The hat is green, as are most items that I knit for James, but it's a really great shade. The colorway is "Fennel," if you're wondering. My husband was gracious enough to model the hat for about 18 seconds while I scrambled to snap a picture last night. If you'd like the details and pattern info, it's over on my public project page.


That's all I have for now, but hopefully it won't be so long before I post again. On Monday, I'm headed to North Carolina (for work again) for a week, which is where the brownies will be as well. I'm planning on bringing brownies into the office, but there's always a chance (slim as it may be) that they'll never leave my hotel room. Here's hoping I have enough will power to share them...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

twenty-three

I'm going to wear shorts this week!

Well, at least I'll wear them tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I'm flying to Phoenix for work. Work will be awesome, but also... It's going to be around 90 degrees every day! I'm excited for THAT! Especially since we just got more snow a few days ago (even if it is all gone now). Essentially, I feel like I'm going to visit the summer for a week. No, I won't be wearing shorts to work (I do work in an office, folks), but I'll be wearing them at night! If that isn't good enough, I'm going to In-N-Out Burger! Full disclosure, the Double-Double isn't the healthiest lunch you can have... Even fuller disclosure, I'm eating it anyway! I'll be back in Pittsburgh next weekend, and hopefully super tan.

Also, I know it's been a while since my last post, but I've been knitting and knitting, and now I'm finished. Well, I'm finished with this project. I knit a Stripe Study out of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, and this yarn is really becoming one of my faves! Honestly, I'm going have to start calling it my "stosh" if I keep buying TML every time I enter a yarn store. Not that I'm complaining...
 

The pattern was fantastic and totally easy to memorize  I really enjoy that in a pattern. I could pick it up and put it down and pick it back up again without even wondering about the next row. It's that simple. I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off at the end, because this baby is going to grow when blocked. Now, I'm not 100% done, because I still have to weave in the ends and block the thing, but I'm getting up in 12 hours for a flight, so I'm calling this one done for now. Below is a quick photo I snapped in between loads of laundry, and the Ravelry project page has all my details right here.


Now, I'm in a pickle... I'm leaving tomorrow and I have no idea what I'm going to knit! I have 9 hours of airplane time, so you better believe I'll get some knitting done. What that will be, I have no idea. So, pleasantries aside, I gotta move it friends. Yarn to wind, needles to pack, etc.

Oh yes, I hope you have a lovely Easter.

Eat some ham for me.

Or not... if you don't like ham.

In that case, eat a peep or two for me.

Or not... if marshmallows ain't yo thang.

So in that case, have some chocolate for me.

Or not... if you don't like chocolate.

Now, if you don't like chocolate, I'm not sure what to say...

Call your physician.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

twenty-two

Two months, two yarn festivals.

Yeah, I didn't mind that at all.

Yesterday was the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival! I went last year, and had a wonderful time. I bought seven hanks of yarn and vowed to use them all before the 2013 festival. I used four of them to make this Noro Scarf. The remaining three lovelies were used for this hat and this hat.

I only took a small bag, since Stitches West was just a month ago. I did some damage there, and I only posted a small portion of the haul from that trip here on the blog. Seriously, you have no idea. I was really excited about seeing all the indie dyers and especially excited for a few vendors in particular, more on that in a moment...

This year, I ended up with six hanks of beautiful yarn. Since I always immediately reach for the blues, I didn't let myself get any blue yarn yesterday. I need to start to knitting outside my color comfort zone a bit more... I've stashed them on Ravelry, and here's a quick shot below. I picked up three hanks of Zoe Sock from Shalimar Yarns, a hank of Superwash Merino Worsted from Unplanned Peacock Studios (the variegated yarn - top right), my very first hank of Fibernymph Dye Works Bona Fide DK in Golden Brown, and a hank of Ball and Skein Providence in Goldenrod.


And speaking of Fibernymph Dye Works, I got to meet Lisa, the owner (and host of the 90% Knitting video podcast)! She was fabulous and just so sweet. Her colors are so beautiful! Lisa lives right here in Pittsburgh, and it was so nice to finally have the opportunity to squish and squeeze her yarns. As if that wasn't exciting enough, when I got to her booth, I ran into Emily, host of the Whatcha Swatchin' video podcast, and we got to chat for a minute or two. Although, I can't imagine how weird it was for her. She was just standing there shopping politely, and I was like, "OH WOW! I feel like I know you, even though we've never met!" Emily was super fun, just like she is on her podcast, and we talked about her upcoming wedding and our dogs, of course. Here's a picture of Lisa and I (and my first hank of FDW) at the festival yesterday.


I finished my hat last night after I got back from the festival, and decided to take 18 hours without having anything on the needles. I really like the hat, and I'm happy it only took one ball of yarn. Now I still have one left for another hat. Here's a quick shot of the new hat, taken by James, photographer extraordinaire. And here's the project page with all the knitty gritty details.


I also stopped at Natural Stitches, since I hadn't been there in months! I know I've mentioned them before, but it really is the best LYS around. Seriously. What a fun place. Seriously. I would live there. Seriously.

Seriously.

So, after yesterday's yarn crawl and finishing the Bartek hat, I needed to cast on a new project. Seriously, I needed to. I've started a new shawl by Veera Välimäki called Stripe Study. It's an asymmetrical triangular shawl in garter stitch. I'm using two different colorways of madelinetosh tosh merino light (because it's fabulous!), French grey and stove pipe. This one may take a little time, but I'm determined to have only one project on the needles at a time... Probably. I mean, I'll try. Here's the project page, and a quick shot below.


That's all for now.

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Seriously.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

twenty-one

"This guy needs to cool it with the shawls for a moment."

Well, some people might think that, but I don't. I like knitting shawls, and I like wearing them as well. Also, I love scarves. And hats. I guess it's a good thing I love to knit.

Anyways, speaking of shawls, I did finish one a while back, and finally get it on the blocking mats. Now it's all dry and lovely. I knit a Tricot Grande Vitesse and I'm not sure who this will go to just yet. It's not for me, and that's fine. I don't wear too much teal. Or any. This was knit from Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Pacific colorway. Here's a blocking pic, so you can see the shape, although the color is a bit dark. It was wet. Raveled here.


This pattern was designed by Susan Ashcroft and it was great for knit night and traveling. It's not too complicated, and I didn't have to worry about wasting any yarn. I weighed the yarn ball a few times before I boarded the plane to California, so I'd know how many rows I had until the bind off. I love a pattern that doesn't have much waste. It's so satisfying. Geez, I'm getting old. Just listen to me...

I also finished another shawl, since my last post. I've knit this shawl before (and I wrote about it, too) and it's a great pattern called 22.5 Degrees by Martina Behm. Martina is one of my favorite designers, as many of her designs feature garter stitch. I love garter because it's great for those amazing variegated yarns that I always love. Here's the Ravelry project page. For this shawl, I used madelinetosh tosh merino light, one of my very favorite yarns. It's a lovely single-ply superwash merino fingering weight yarn, with a generous 420 for under $20. This colorway was called "volga" and it's a great blue, with some light spots and some turquoise spots here and there. It almost looks purple-ish in the right light. Modeled below, by my handsome husband, and raveled here.


The last project I finished (just yesterday) was another Purl Ridge Scarf, this time for James (last time it was for me). This is a Stephen West pattern, and it's free. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted in the Wallaby colorway. I love the drape of this yarn so much, I didn't even bother to block it. The scarf is gray (like most items I knit for us) and he'll be able to wear it for the cool mornings on his way into work. Since Shine is a cotton/modal blend, he won't get overheated, like he would with a wool scarf. And speaking of overheated, here he is turning it up and serving y'all some serious model realness in his new scarf...

America's Next Top Knitwear Model
That's all my knitting for now, and the next post will probably come some time after the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, which is only SIX DAYS AWAY!! I'm still deciding on my budget, but you can bet it will be significantly less than the Stitches West budget. Yowza.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

twenty

It has been a busy couple weeks.

I've been to the west coast and back, and my trip was fantastic!

Last Tuesday, James and I flew out to California for a "long weekend." It was a Tuesday through Monday trip; that's a long weekend, right? Anyway, our long weekend was riddled with needles and yarn, hooks and patterns, and books and knitting at every turn!

On the flight out, I finished a shawl that I had mentioned starting last time I posted. I don't have pictures yet, and I still need to block, so that doesn't really count today. Next time... However, after I finished that I made a few little Mug Hugs. This pattern was great for worsted scraps. Since I didn't really want to start a big project right before Stitches (even though I did... read on), I made a few of these on the second leg of our flight. Seriously quick knitting, and it's good for the environment, too! Raveled here and here.


We arrived in California and had dinner at my Grandma's house the next night with my Aunt and Cousin. Dinner was amazing, homemade French Dip Sandwiches!! My Grandma (or Nan, in my world) had mentioned to me that she had some of my Great Great Aunt Elsie's knitting supplies, as she had recently passed away. She called me a few weeks before we flew out and asked if I wanted her to hold them out there for me, or just donate them. Well, I'm sure you can guess what I said. "HOLD THEM RIGHT THERE, NAN!" Aunt Elsie was seriously crafty. She was a very skilled knitter, and she also loved needlepoint, crochet, and many other hand crafts. She even helped my Nan knit her very first sweater! Nan had quite a few goodies for me (and even a full set of crochet hooks in my Great Grandmother's old case for James) when we arrived. Here's a few pics.

There were needles galore. I especially love the giant bamboo needles and crochet hooks.


There were many different pattern booklets, the oldest dating back to 1945!! I haven't looked at them page by page yet, but I'm setting aside most of the weekend to pour over the collection.


There was a group of Workbasket Magazines from 1979-1980, and the cover models were enough to make me holler. Their shoulder pads weren't bad, either. I just love these vintage publications!


It was really amazing to see all this stuff, and just to hold the same needles that she held so many years ago. I'm not a great historian, or all about genealogy, but I do love using the same crafting tools that my relatives once used. This was the second time I've received "heirloom" knitting supplies, and I can't express how much it means. It feels quite special, really.

As we still had a few days before Stitches, mom took us to her LYS. A Yarn Less Raveled in Danville, CA is a fabulous store. We met the owner, Mindy, and she was so welcoming. You could tell the yarn selection was carefully chosen, and there were a few items I'd never actually held in my hands before. I bought some madelinetosh (shocking, I know) and decided to cast on a hat that night. I thought, "I can finish this in two days..." Under normal circumstances, that wouldn't be a lofty goal. You know how you get all busy on vacation, though?? Below is the Antler hat I finished on Saturday, out of tosh vintage in the grasshopper colorway. It's nice and bright, and I've already worn it a few times! Details are on my project page.


On Friday, with an unfinished hat in tow, we went to Stitches West in Santa Clara. It was overwhelming, in every sense of the word. There were so many vendors, so much yarn, so many different products, and tons of people. I'm painting this picture for you to try and explain why I only snapped a few photos during the entire event. I was just stunned. In a good way, though. James took a break about and hour after we arrived, as he had scheduled a tour of the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, a mere 7 miles away. This gave him a good three-hour break, as he doesn't get as much joy out of staring at yarn as I do. Everybody wins.

Here's some amazing fair isle hats I spotted, at the Nelkin Designs booth. I love fair isle.


There were so many vendors that I loved, but I wanted to at least mention a few here. I met Karida Collins, owner of Neighborhood Fiber Company out of Baltimore, and she was a delight. Her yarns are just beautiful; you should have seen all the amazing colorways! I was quite impressed and am now regretting that I only grabbed a single hank of her yarn. The folks at Cephalopod Yarns were quite fun and exciting, and their yarns are scrumptious. I've been eyeing them up for a while, but never got to squish the yarn for myself... Until Friday. Also, I stopped by Miss Babs first thing, and that turned out to be the best move of the day. She had a line two booths back for most of the day!

Here's a quick shot of a few of the treats I picked up. From left to right, I got Miss Babs Cosmic Sock in the Mending Fences colorway, Neighborhood Fiber Company's Rustic Fingering in the Logan Circle colorway, and Cephalopod Traveller in the Goodnight, KY colorway. There's also some Tosh Vintage in Betty Draper's Blues and Pashmina in Charcoal from WEBS. I couldn't help myself. I will always need more madelinetosh. Peeking out from behind the yarn is Malabrigo Book 4, a great book with some patterns I will be knitting very soon.


California was wonderful, but any trip to see my mother never feels long enough. We always have the best time.

So, as of this week, my yarn stash has doubled to 28 yarns. I'm totally okay with that. However, the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival is only 16 days away, so I'd better jump on those needles. Well, not jump, but at least pick them up. And knit. A bunch. Not a problem.

Oh yeah, I started another shawl, but we'll talk about that next time... Promise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

nineteen

I'll be on a plane to California in exactly seven days.

And I will get to see my mother for the first time in five months.

This is some serious excitement, friends.

Among all this anticipation, I still managed to finish the Antelope Hat... and start and finish another hat as well. We'll get there, though. So, the Antelope Hat was really fun, and the pattern was well-written and straight forward. The only slightly fiddly part was the crown decreases at the end. I learned something new with this pattern... I learned that I'm not a fan of working yarn overs on double pointed needles. At least I know now. In any event, it's done and I blocked it over a balloon to let the eyelet pattern open up and guarantee sufficient slouchy-ness. I also used waste yarn (basted in a running stitch, and then cinched) along the ribbing to keep it nice and stretchy. I found this little tip in the finishing notes of the Brambles pattern I knit a while back. It really helped! Details are here on Ravelry.


Since I decided it'd be nice to finish more than one item this week, I knit another hat. This hat, named for a fabulous Broadway tune, is called For Good. If you haven't heard the song, go here immediately before reading the rest of this post. The pattern was designed by Megan Williams, one half of the hosts of a super fun knitting videocast, the Stockinette Zombies. Megan and Amy are a straight out of an owl's beak (A HOOT), check it out! Back to the hat... the pattern was designed in remembrance of Megan's sister Melissa, who passed away in 2007. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern are donated to the National Women's Health Network, in Melissa's name. It's great cause to support, and you get a fabulous pattern to knit as well.


I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Prussian Heather, and it's definitely one of my favorite (super-affordable) yarns. PS - Does "Prussian Heather" remind you of "Prussian Blue" and then remind you of Bob Ross? That's what my little brain did just now. It's a nice, rich blue with some lovely flecks of black and white. Sadly (kinda), I don't have anymore of this yarn in my stash. Looks like some more tweed might be in my future...

I really loved knitting this pattern. It's not complicated, but the finished product is quite impressive. The fit is great, probably since I knit the large, and I will be wearing this tonight. Even if I'm just on my couch. Now, I didn't really care for the crown decreases of the Antelope Hat, but this hat was the exact opposite. The crown decreases (pictured below) were my favorite part of this hat. Kudos to Megan, because this pattern stays interesting until the end, and (in my humble-ish... okay, maybe not that humble... opinion, ahem) looks great! This will definitely be knit again, because it'll make a great gift. And I'm keeping this one. And I'm telling you... It's not going... anywhere. Raveled here.


Oh yes, if you're keeping track, my yarn stash is down to 14 yarns. OKAY?! I'm pretty excited about that.

Also, I started a shawl yesterday, but we'll talk more about that next time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

eighteen

I've been working hard lately.

On and off the needles.

I'm still going strong with my stash-busting... This week, I finished a Boneyard Shawl, which is yet another (FREE!) pattern by Stephen West. It's a triangular shawl, full of meditative knitting and a few purl ridges thrown in for good measure. I knit this out of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Kindling colorway. It's a few different browns, really. Stroll is a good yarn at a great price, in my opinion. I've been working quite a few mindless patterns lately and I don't mind one bit. It's been a welcome contrast to the craziness at the office. Shudder. Here's a different angle on the shawl (since it's still drying) as well as the Ravelry project page.


Just the other day, I started a hat (and PS... I have no idea who this hat is for) using two different sock weight yarns. I think they just about equal a worsted weight when I'm holding them together. I'm not worried if the gauge isn't exact since (a) it's a hat and (b) I don't know who it's for just yet. The two yarns I'm using are Shibui Sock (superwash merino) in white and Knit Picks Gloss (merino/silk blend) in Bordeaux. It's not a total equal pairing, but this is what comes of aggressive stash-busting. This project was a two-for-one! The pattern is Antelope (why, I have no clue) by Kelly McClure of bohoknits. It's a slouchy hat with some eyelet detailing and a few purl ridges. Apparently, I can't get enough of purl ridges these days... Oh yeah, this is a free pattern as well! Anyhow, the progress (although there hasn't been that much) is shown below, but I suspect this hat won't really come to life until it's been blocked over a balloon. Raveled here.


That's all that's on my needles at the moment.

One more thing... The third season of Downton Abbey was just released on DVD last week, so of course I bought it and James and I devoured the remaining four-ish episodes that have yet to air in the US.

Let.
Me.
Tell.
You.
What.

I love this show, even if it makes me emotional. The third season was such a whirlwind and I can't even talk about yet, because I don't want to give anything away to those that haven't seen it. I guess this is another talk for another time. Well, to sum it up... It's fabulous. Watch it. You might as well go out and buy seasons one and two and start from the beginning, while you're at it. Trust me, you'll love it. Two words. Maggie Smith.

PS. I get to buy yarn in 17 days!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

seventeen

I don't know about you, but I'm really feeling like a champ.

This week I started (and finished! Oh yes!) two different knitting projects.

Last time I posted, I had yarn picked out, but no project to go with it. Well, I ended up making a Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West. This was a good mindless project, and I actually got a lot done during knitting group. Sometimes, when I go to knitting group, I'm more chatty than knitty. However, with this project I was able to be both. I'm not like some of those awesome knitters who can knit and read at the same time (yet, ahem), but I'm now able to focus on a conversation while knitting. It used to be that I'd only catch every fourth or fifth word. "Salsa." "Ribs." "Hospital." "Marvelous." Okay, back to the main road folks. Anywho, I used almost all of the three skeins of tweed for this scarf, and didn't make many personal modifications to the pattern. If you like to see this project on ravelry, click this link please. Here's a pic below that shows the texture of the scarf, and it's the best I have right now. Once it's dry, I'll probably instagram or tweet a pic or two because I'll need to wear it. Did you know we got a few more inches of snow??


Well, I ended up finishing another Stephen West project just yesterday. The Drawbridge Cowl was a super easy knit, for reals. With the exception of the cast on, bind off, and 4 other rows, this thing is entirely stockinette in the round. Hello there, easy peasy... This was the first time that I've used a provisional cast on and it really wasn't that bad. A provisional cast on is when you cast on without an edge, so you have live stitches to pick up later. It was a little scary, but once I got into the knitting, not bad at all. I have an amazing book called Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor and it's proven (time and time again) to be a wonderful resource.

Okay, I'm really all over the map today. For the cowl, I used (from my stash, folks) Knit Picks Shine Worsted. KP Shine is a combination of Cotton and Modal (which Knit Picks calls beech wood and google calls rayon) and it was not bad to work with, for a cotton-based yarn. Cotton-based yarns aren't my favorite, as they don't usually have the spring that a natural wool has. That being said, I enjoyed this cotton yarn more than any others I've tried. If you'd like the deets, here's my Drawbridge project page on ravelry. I have 4 more balls of it in my stash in a nice grey color (I think it's "wallaby") and I wouldn't be surprised if they turn into a Purl Ridge Scarf for James...

Here's a couple pics of the cowl; one a little boring, and one where James was channeling Hodel (or maybe Chava) from Fiddler.


Oy vey.

I think it's been a post or two since I've updated you on it, but in case you were wondering... I only have 18 YARNS IN MY STASH!! I can't believe it's under 20. My original goal was to get the stash under 30 by the end of February and I have really surprised myself. I think the blog is keeping me honest and motivated, so that's a plus. Although, come the end of February, we'll probably be looking at a post (or two, eek!) that says "look at all the yarn I just got at Stitches West!"

Okay, I'm going to stop typing now. I think I've just disturbed someone during their first mid-morning nap.


Sorry, Ringo.

Monday, January 21, 2013

sixteen

My mother is always right.

On Saturday, I knit a hat, among other things. It just sort of happened. Now, don't go thinking I'm a hero. It was bulky yarn on US 10 needles and entirely in ribbing, but it did help with my stash down (25!). However, my excitement with finishing an entire project in a matter of hours was short-lived. Let me tell you why, folks. My mother told me when I was a little kid that I had a big head. I had a strange surplus of self-confidence when I was a kid and I think she was just trying to bring me back down to earth. Sadly, she's had my number all along. The name of this pattern... "Gargantuan Melon." As if that's not bad enough, the thing fits me perfectly. Well, she was right again. Ten points for mom.

Raveled here.


In other knitting news, I'm finally done with my Windward, and I think it's going to be great. The shaping of this scarf is like nothing else I've ever seen. It took me quite a while to pin out, but that's okay. I'm not worried. I love the process. Here's a little pic below (that really isn't that great, but I block knitwear in the guest room, so there) and it's raveled right over here. It's a little crazy, but so am I. Okay, maybe I'm a tad bit more than a little crazy.


I'm not sure what my next project will be, but I'm feeling something cowl-ish, or scarf-ish, so we'll see. Whatever the project might be, I've already chosen the yarn from my stash. After two big projects with sock yarn, I really need to knit something in a worsted weight. I have 3 little skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Garnet Heather and that's what I'll be knitting. It's a warm, rustic red. I've used this yarn before, and it's a delight. So, here's a shot of the yarn below, and by the time I post again it should be an FO. I mean, honestly, it's only 330 yards. How long could anything take, really?


Oh yes, and ONE MONTH from today, I'll be at STITCHES WEST! Ergo... One month from today will be the first time I'll be shopping for yarn in a very long time. Since November 10, 2012, to be quite exact. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

fifteen

I do love a good road trip.

Especially when it means I get to knit... a bunch.

We went to the other side of the state this past weekend to visit my husband's family. James is from a teeny little hamlet of a town called Tower City, PA. The population (I'm pretty sure) is still less than 2000 folks, and there isn't a traffic signal in sight. He grew up with his entire family within walking distance of his house, and most of them have remained there. I've been to Tower City many times before, and we've always had a great time.

The drive is about 5 hours each way and I checked out the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audio book to keep things magical. I love Harry Potter. Probably too much. I wish I was a wizard. At the very least, I'd like to be able to knit like Molly Weasley. She's fierce.


The jewel of Tower City, the gem of Tower City, the apple of Tower City's eye is a little restaurant that we always visit... Nino's. Now, I've had my share of pizza growing up. To be quite plain, I've probably had your share of pizza as well. Ahem. Like Joey Tribbiani, I LOVE pizza and sandwiches. My appetite is probably my most masculine feature (he sheepishly admits with a mouthful of cheese). Well, Nino's has the best pizza I've ever had outside of New York. It's not fancy, it's not expensive, and it's the best pizza (and sandwich) I've ever had. James introduced me to the Chicken Finger Sub many years ago, and I'm certain I haven't thanked him enough. Such a simple concept (chicken, lettuce, tomato), but at Nino's it's all in the execution. The bread and pizza dough are made fresh in-house daily, as is the sauce and everything else there. If you ever find yourself in Schuylkill County, PA you would do well to remember Nino's New York Style Pizza.

As if by divine intervention, we arrived home today right after I knit the last stitch of the last row of my 22.5 Degrees shawl. All that was left was the bind-off. After a wishy-washy exchange with myself (inside my head, for the most part) I decided to bind-off tonight and be done with it. This was the first time that I've ever use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and it was fantastic. Usually on a shawl bind off, I go up a needle size or two, but I didn't have to with this technique. That was convenient, as I didn't really feel like digging through my needles. I washed and blocked it, and now all I have to do is wait for it to dry. Ungh. I love the shape of this piece, and I can't wait to wear it. Hurry up and dry already!


In other news, I have a little stash enhancement to share... I know I've been making proclamations about not buying any yarn until a certain west coast fiber extravaganza, and you'll be happy to know that I'm still a man of my word. Leslie and Laura, the hosts of a fabulous knitting video cast, The Knit Girllls, were having a contest in December 2012 (Deep Stash Dive December) and my entry was the Fitful Head hat. When the prizes were drawn, my name came up!! Hooray!! I won a skein of Friday Studios Self Striping Sock Yarn (all the way from Sweden, y'all!) in the Monday Base (75% Wool/25% Nylon) in the colorway "Under the Sea." Have I mentioned that my favorite Disney movie of all time is The Little Mermaid?? It was fate. Kismet, really. Here's a quick pic so you can see the blues, teals, purples and pinks of this amazing yarn.


That's really all I have for now. Well, I did watch the Golden Globes (LOVED IT!) and was not surprised at all when Anne Hathaway took home the award for Actress in a Supporting Role for Les Miserables. Not. Surprised. At. All.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

fourteen

What are you knitting?

While I was at knitting group tonight, I started thinking about knitting in public.

I'm no stranger to knitting in public. In fact, there's not many places that I haven't (or wouldn't) knit. I don't knit at the office, I don't knit at the movies (yet), and I don't knit in traffic (I don't think it will ever come to this). I do knit in airports and on airplanes, at coffee shops, by the pool, and certainly when I'm in any sort of waiting room. I have been approached many times about my knitting, and it's always been a pleasant experience. Those who know me personally will already know that I have no problem (at all) talking about myself... Hence this blog. So it's no surprise that, when asked about my knitting, I open up as easily as a pleated plastic bag.


When I knit on airplanes, I'm almost always in the company of another knitter (or crocheter, or hooker, ahem) whether they're seated near me or not. I've even had certain projects identified by the pattern and designer. As in, "Are you knitting the Noro scarf?" or "Is that a hitchhiker?" On one notably pleasant flight, one of the flight attendants was a fellow knitter and she stopped by several times over the course of a flight from Florida to Pennsylvania, just to check up on my progress. I admittedly love to knit, but on these occasions it's felt especially good to be a knitter.


I have found the knitting community to be warm, welcoming, and instantly comfortable; much like your favorite winter scarf, or a handmade afghan that's been handed down from generation to generation. Any time I stop into a local yarn shop**, the employees and patrons alike are always happy to talk to another yarn enthusiast.

That's all for today, really. After reading this, I guess I was feeling a bit smooshy today. Eh, it was probably the weather...

Oh wait, maybe that's not really all. Here's a quick WIP update... My 22.5 Degrees shawl (designed by Martina Behm) is coming along nicely. James and I have 10 hours of car time coming up this weekend, so hopefully I'll get that finished. Well, maybe. I've also just reached the halfway point on the Windward scarf (designed by Heidi Kirrmaier) and I'm really loving this pattern, as well as the colors. Can I be honest? I was originally going to use Bordeaux for the color block, but instead used Coast Grey. Because my husband said so. It was his idea, y'all... And I like it better... He knows me so well.



**Speaking of local yarn shops, here in Pittsburgh my very favorite shop is Natural Stitches. And... they have a blog, too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

thirteen

Okay... Back to reality... For now.

The holidays were wonderful, and still not completely over for us. I know that the calendar says Christmas has passed, but we are going to see some relatives in a couple weeks so we're prolonging the magic. Well... except we'll be taking the Christmas decorations down. If the decorations stay up too long after New Year's I get a bit twitchy. And cranky.

In all honesty, I haven't knit a single stitch in 3 days. James' sister and her husband, along with our niece and nephew were at our house for an extended weekend. They just left this morning and are now back in Florida. Boo. We had a great time with lots of shopping, cooking, laughing and a couple movies. We always have the best time together. Speaking of the cooking, James and Kristy (his sister) made a few recipes from the new Ina Garten cookbook, Foolproof - Recipes You Can Trust. They surprised us with Amelia's Jambalaya and Straw & Hay with Gorgonzola. Mmm... Gorgonzola. Sadly, I don't have any pictures (gobble gobble), but they both looked amazing and tasted even better! If you're a Barefoot Contessa fan, and you haven't yet, grab this book. It's wonderful. Before our guests arrived, I baked the Chocolate Chunk Blondies from the same recipe collection. I did make a small adjustment, though. My nephew has a nut allergy, so instead of walnuts I used (drum roll, please) more chocolate. Sue me.

 
Today I thought to myself, "It's a new year... I should start a new project." My lovely mother gifted me a few patterns on ravelry for Christmas and it just so happens that my friends Aimee and Darren of the Knitting in Circles Podcast are hosting a Gifted Pattern KAL (Knit-A-Long) in their ravelry group. I've started the Windward Scarf by Heidi Kirrmaier and I'm enjoying the pattern so far. It's an asymmetrical scarf that uses a combination of simple stitch patterns and unique construction, that I think I'll enjoy. And let me just say, this pattern is very well-written. I love it when patterns are easy to read. I'm using two different colors of Knit Picks Gloss since I happened to have them on hand. As you may have heard, I'm still trying to stash down before I head to Stitches West next month. Here's my public project page, and a quick pick of the small amount of progress I've made so far...


Oh yes, and as of today, my yarn stash on ravelry is down to 26!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
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