What’s a Girl to do?

What’s a girl to do when the dress she finds for graduation doesn’t quite meet the dress code of the Catholic school she attends?  #catholicschoolproblem

Mom the knitter swoops in to the rescue!

It is school policy that shoulders need to be covered for school events and Masses.  Since the dress almost but doesn’t quite cover her shoulders, we needed a little something.  Graduation was June 5… which can mean very hot or quite cool in this neck of the woods.  We are never quite sure what Mother Nature will bring, but since this child tends to run on the warm side, we figured we would err on the side of warm weather.  After all, we didn’t want her overheated as she sang the psalm!

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There were a couple of other requirements from Mom and daughter:

  1.  A little lace would be nice, but not completely necessary.
  2. Since I had the correct color of red worsted weight in my stash, I would prefer a pattern in worsted.  The plus to this is that it would go very quickly.
  3. It needed to be approved by the graduate.
  4. It should be found in Ravelry for free or in one of my many knitting books.  After a lengthy and involved Ravelry search in consultation with the soon to be graduate, I found the Evening Shrug pattern.

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It is knit in two pieces and kitchenered down the center. The sleeves are meant to be longer, but we really only wanted something that barely covered her shoulders.  My concern was whether she would be able to get it on and off if it didn’t have long enough arms.  Would there be enough stretch that she could get it on without dislocating her arms?

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The verdict is yes!  We did a lot of trying on as we went.  I added just a tiny bit of width to the garment and gave it a nice gentle block to make sure the lace sleeves popped.  And since several people commented on her sweater, the graduate was very pleased with how it turned out.

I am thinking I might do another one of these in white as it would be so versatile!  One of the wonderful things about my girls getting older is all three of us would be able to wear these.  But first, I have class samples to finish!  Hopefully now that summer is really here (at least the calendar says it’s June) I can buckle down and get some serious knitting done.  One of my favorite parts of summer is throwing something on the grill for dinner (=very few dishes to wash), sitting by a campfire or just sitting outdoors in the evening, and knitting.  Speaking of, I think I’m off to do just that now!

More of a Stash Stroll than a Dash

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I’m not fast enough to qualify for a dash.  I’ll give you the two minute update of what I’ve been working on:

I am about 6 buttons away from finishing the Hygge Baby sweater.  That’s the one I’m making out of Lettuce green Malabrigo Rios.  It’s under 400 yds of knitting, so I’m certainly not going to win anything with just this.  However, every yard counts so I’m just plugging away at it.  Plus, babies have a habit of continuing to grow regardless of the knitter’s schedule.  So it must get done and mailed off to the new little one.

I’m also working on the 1st arm (pictured above) of the Hitch Pullover.  I forgot how much fun cables can be!

We can’t forget the few rows I’ve put on the 2nd Zick Zack scarf.

 

Stash Enhancement

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Mini Skeins for a Shawlette

Shhhh…. don’t tell my husband.

I might have done a little stash enhancement this weekend.  You see, I was surrounded by beautiful yarn at Yarnover.  It practically sat up and begged me to take it all home.  I found some beautiful skeins from Knitting My Way Home.  I also watched a gorgeous skein and some mini skeins go home with the woman who got there right before me.  Ah well…. you snooze, you lose in the world of buying handspun yarn.  I made up for it in other ways though.  I also picked up two kits with mini skeins.  One for a shawlette and one for a chevron cowl.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for the mini skeins!

I went to Yarnover to take a Franklin Habit class.  The class was about learning to use the Schact Zoom Loom and sewing up the woven squares into a stole and knitting a lace edging.  John Mullarkey taught the morning portion which was all about the loom.  He was a very entertaining teacher and I would definitely take a class from him again.  He was patient with us as we learned to warp our tiny little looms.  Taking the itty bity little woven squares off the loom was very satisfying!

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The afternoon was the class with Franklin Habit.  Now this was the 2nd class I haven taken with Franklin, so I wasn’t surprised that he was much more quiet spoken than his blog might lead you to believe.  Delores even left us a little note!  Franklin’s teaching style is very structured – he leads you all the way through something before having you try it yourself.  What I appreciated most was his willingness to give me the next steps to move forward as he helped those who maybe weren’t moving as quickly.  I don’t think anyone felt rushed or held back by the group.

And he was very gracious about posing for a picture with me.  I promise I didn’t go all fan girly on him.

Loose Ends:

The Knit Girllls released more information about Stash Dash here.  It runs from May 22-Aug 14.  You can choose from knitting a 3K, a 5K or a 10K’s worth of yarn from stash.  UFO’s count, so go ahead and use this as a reason to finish a lot of those half done projects you’ve got hanging around.  (please don’t tell me I’m the only one)  I’ve also heard that as long as it’s in your stash, the yarn counts.  It doesn’t matter how long it’s been marinating in there.

I have enough started projects that I could almost do a 10K (10,936 yds of yarn).  However, I’m not really sure that’s realistic for me.  At least not without telling The Boss I am going on a 3 month vacation and hiring Merry Maids to vacuum under my feet as I knit and eat bon bons on the couch.  So I’m going to shoot for a 5K.  I’ll share my plan for how I’m going to cross the finish line next week.

Our training starts today!  Leave me a comment if you’re joining me on this trip to Crazy Town.

There’s a Whole Lot of Pink Here

There seems to be an awful lot of pink around The Big Blue House lately.  I made a pink hat for Lily.  One of Addie’s friends at school just had a baby girl born at their house.  One of my husband’s cousins is having a girl.  And a charity asked if I wouldn’t mind making a hat for a baby that is associated with their organization.  So I’m breaking out the girly stash yarn (and some new yarn) to make up a batch of pink hats.

Lily wasn’t the most willing model for these shots.  I know she loves her hat since she wears it everywhere she goes.  She’s still at the age where almost anything that Mommy makes for her is cool.  She just doesn’t want her picture taken.  I tried to get some outside shots, but the days are definitely getting shorter and it was dark before we could get any pictures tonight.

Photographing a moving target is harder than it looks!

The Details:

Pattern:  Wisteria Waves Silk Merino Beanie from 101 Luxury One Skein Wonders.

Yarn:  Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino in Cosmos

Modifications:  I thought the hat needed something a little more.  I was going to make a long floppy tail on top, but my husband suggested knitting a leaf.  I whipped out some green worsted weight from my stash and knit up a leaf.  Otherwise the patten was knit as written.  After I blocked the hat, it came out quite a bit larger than I wanted.  It sort of flopped onto Lily’s head.  I’m sure it would have fit a large adult head.  I threw the hat into the dryer for a few minutes and it came out perfectly.

I did learn a little tip from a podcast I was listening to.  The hat had 4 lace rows interspersed with plain knit rows.  I took 4 index cards and wrote out one line of the lace pattern on each card.  That way I didn’t have to carry the book around with me and I could just flip a card over when I was done.  I didn’t worry about loosing my place!  I tend to watch tv while I’m knitting, so loosing my place is pretty common even on simple repeat rows.  Now as long as I don’t loose the cards…

Cranky Lily

Lily decided to be camera shy.

Bonus Recipe:

Northwoods Fajitas

Grilled venison tenderloin, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, sliced

1 clove minced garlic

wild rice, prepared

tortilla shells

shredded cheese

salsa

This is what we had for dinner tonight.  I would have taken a picture for the blog, but there wasn’t anything left!  Everyone devoured the food. It was a great way to use up the leftover venison and wild rice that was in our fridge.

I sauteed the onions, green pepper and garlic in a pan on top of the stove.  As the onions were getting caramelized, I added the venison to heat through.  Serve on tortillas with wild rice, cheese and salsa inside the shell.

Something Got Done Around Here

I seem to be collecting photographs of finished items but just not blogging about them.  Mostly because they just don’t seem to fit any one post particularly well.  Plus, when my home life gets busy, my blogging takes a bit of a back seat.  Suffice it to say that life seems to have sped up to hurricane force now that the girls are in school.  We’ve got piano lesson one night a week, a garage sale to get ready for (yep, it’s round 2 for the summer since the last one was a dud) and a house that seems to dirty itself.  Seriously, do the dirty socks grow on my living room floor???  Why is it that we have an automatic dish washer and an automatic laundry washer, but not an automatic putter-awayer of any sort?  I know my trials and tribulations are no different than any other working parent.  And I also know that I am lucky to have a husband who helps out.  So why is it completely overwhelming at times?

Enough whining.  Here’s a bit of a random assortment of finished items.

Cruiser Mittens

1.  Cruiser Mittens.  Made from Misti Alpaca Sport weight and Rowan Kidsilk Haze held together on size 3 needles.  I do these on 9″ circular needles because I don’t like switching needles all the time, that’s just how I roll.  The combination of alpaca and Kidsilk Haze is wonderfully soft.  The photo is of the unblocked mittens, I wasn’t in a rush to block them because they’re  a Christmas present.  As I was working on these I realized that with just a simple heel added in, the pattern would make amazing socks.  I even have more Misti Alpaca to do this with.   Hee hee.

Lined Mittens

2.  Basic Lined Mitten.  Made with Malabrigo Twist on the outside and Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Light for the lining.  These are the mittens I made for a friend in trade for doing some minor body work on my car.  He’s been hinting that he’d like a matching hat for Christmas.  I finished the mittens right after the Finish-a-long challenge ended so I couldn’t count them in my total.

Sweet Norwegian Cap

3.  Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap (not the original pattern, but there’s a link to the English version and sweet photos) out of leftover sock yarn.  You might notice this is the same yarn that made a pair of socks last year for my sister and the troll vest.  I bought this yarn at a fiber festival and promptly lost the sellers tag.  I wish I knew where I bought the yarn because it is lovely stuff.  It also seems to be a bit of a never ending skein since I still have a tiny bit left.

Now, I’m off to indulge in a bit of startitis.

Stitches Day 2

Day 2 of Stitches started off with amazing Italian leftovers from Rosebud.  Yum!  I think garlic may still be oozing from my pores from this experience.  I drove over to the convention center for my Stashology Class.  I was supposed to have brought stash yarn, but I had forgotten that bag at home.  I grabbed some random skeins that I had brought with me; a bit of the leftover yarn from the mittens I was working on, sock yarn and some new yarn that I had just bought at the market.  (Have I mentioned that the market was amazing?  Because it was.)  Christine Blysma started off the class by saying that we were going to leave all our preconceived notions about knitting and combining yarns at home.  Boy was she right!  We started making a mini skein of yarn by combining about 10 different strands.  We wrapped them around our arms and then cut them off.  Christine had us share yarn and add in surprising colors, including using some novelty yarn that people had.  I’m not going to completely ruin the surprise of the class, but suffice it to say that this was not the easiest exercise.  You really have to let go and let the yarn decide what’s going to happen next.

I admit to being a huge yarn snob, so I didn’t expect to use any novelty yarn.  Now, I don’t think I’ll be going out to buy any fun fur or railroad yarn any time soon, but I did kind of enjoy using the ribbon yarn.  In fact, I could even see a place for the eyelash yarn on occasion.  I tend toward the subdued and plain, so this is a very very big step for me.  In fact, you might just want to double check that you’re reading the right blog.  Because, well, using novelty yarn and combining colors was just plain fun.  I kind of felt like I had cut loose and that there were no rules.

Christine showed us some very classy pieces that she had knit, all using fun novelty yarns in combination with beautiful fibers.  The little pop of color that railroad yarn can add to a fine merino can really make a big impact.  Check out Chris’ patterns on Patternfish.com for some ideas of what I’m talking about.  I bought 2 of her patterns and plan on buying the Omega Wrap pattern as well.

Chris completely blew my mind at one point.  As we were passing around one of her jackets, one of the other students asked if she fastened her buttons onto the garment with pipe cleaners.  Yep!  She has found that by using a pipe cleaner with a shank button, it holds the button on more securely.  Huh.  Who woulda thunk?

So what did I do with all this new found knowledge and lack of knitting inhibition?  Well… you’ll just have to wait until I can put the buttons on it to find out.  All I’ll say for now is that it’s not on my Ravelry Progress Bars and it’s not helping any of those things get finished over on the right hand side.

Flashing the Stash

My friend Knittymuggins and I are working on a trade.  We’re each clearing out a little of our stash and possibly trading with each other for some new yarn.  I took some pictures this morning of the skeins I am clearing out.  If Knittymuggins doesn’t want them, then this yarn is going to be quickly made into socks… or maybe used as prizes in our Finish-a-Long.  It’s all really good yarn, I just don’t love it as much as I used to. 

Speaking of the Finish-a-Long, we are just a week away from the finish date.  I know a lot of you are doing better than I am.  I’ve heard of people finishing projects that have been sitting since the 1980’s.  One person has finished 10 items so far!  That’s amazing!  I’m still working on my socks and mittens.  Although I don’t think I’ll have time to finish the wrap I started 3 years ago, I do want to still get it done before Stitches. 

Now, a little flash of my stash…

Hazel Knits, Artisan Sock in It’s a Wrap.  This is an exclusive sock club colorway. 

Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock in Rainbow. I bought this forever ago, probably right after I knit my first pair of socks. I always thought this would make great socks for the kids.  Or fun legwarmers.

ON Line Supersocke 100.  I think this came from a swap package.  I’ve never really known what to do with it as I never really dug the colors all that much.  Which is a bit strange since I love pink and green together.  I think I just have trouble knitting with something that is multicolored.  I tend towards the tonal colorways. 

Hello Yarn sock yarn in Fruit Bowl.  I’ve always wanted some Hello Yarn sock yarn but never seem to be online when she has inventory available.  This was the only skein left in her inventory and although it’s not really my style, I snatched it up.  Now I don’t know what to do with it.