Thursday, January 18, 2018

Three on Thursday

Do you ever have those knitting projects that last a life time?  Like, practically an entire, actual life time?  I'm not talking UFOs that are piled up in the corner that, if you're honest with yourself, you have no intention of finishing.  I'm talking about projects that remain on your to-do list day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Well, it's Three on Thursday and I realized, I have three of those life time projects on my list.  Let's review -


1.  First up, and youngest of the bunch, is my Honeycomb sweater.  I started knitting it on January 14, 2017.  Almost exactly one year ago.  That's really not that bad, except that it has remained on my to-do list for an entire year.  That and the fact that I've gained some weight and the sweater probably won't fit now.  (Insert pouty face here.)  I need to pull it out of my knitting bag and verify the sweater's smallness, but...  I'm thinking I'm going to cut the ribbing and arm holes off and sew it into a pillow cover.  Presto-magic!  One life time project done.

Is it bad that I almost hope the sweater is too small just so I can easily wipe if off the to-do list?


2.  Next up is a pair of socks.  According to my notes, I finished knitting them on August 16, 2016.  But they remain in my knitting bag waiting for the toes to be kitchnered.    And yes, that's August of 2016.  Not 2017.  2016.  I have been lugging those poor socks around for over a  year and a half.  I need to do something about that.


3.  And last, a striped cowl.  According to my notes, I started it on February 17, 2015.  As far as I can tell, I've never even mentioned it here on the blog.  It's knit in ever-growing stripes with left over bits of Prime Alpaca Peruvian Tweed from Woven Gems and a skein of some kind of red sock yarn.  It's such a simple knitting project and that alpaca is incredibly soft and enjoyable to knit with.  How on earth did it manage to spend two years on the bottom of my knitting bag?  Good grief!

Hopefully by January 31, 2018 (it's sad that I need to specify the year!) all three of those projects will have a big check mark in the Done column.

Join me over at Carole Knits for today's Three on Thursday link-up.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Cabin

I've got log cabins on the brain these days.

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/log-cabin-kal
Log Cabin Shawl

It doesn't look like much in the photo, but my log cabin shawl is growing much faster than I anticipated it to.  I only knit on it at night when I'm watching TV. 

Yikes.  Perhaps I watch too much TV.

I'm knitting the log cabin with two strands lace weight yarn held together.  I'm using five skeins of  Knit Picks' Gloss Lace, one skein of Shadow and a partial skein of Alpaca Cloud that I found deep in the stash pile.  I'm also cheating a little bit and using my interchangeable needles and as I finish a section, I'm leaving the cables in so that when I circle back around, the stitches are still live and I don't have to pick up quite so many.  It's a big time saver but having all those cables hanging off it is making the project look like a scary freak show.  And the yarn is constantly wrapping around the cords' end caps so I'm really not sure if I'm saving time or not.

You'll find yarn color details.... on my Ravelry page if you're interested.

A romantic murder mystery.

Besides knitting a log cabin shawl, I've been reading The Cabin by Natasha Preston.  I finished it last night and although it was one of those 'the teens have to solve the murder because the police can't' stories that drive me crazy, I enjoyed the book all the way to the end. 

To see what others are knitting and reading, join me over at As Kat Knits for today's #unraveled link-up.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hitchhiking

Boy! Time flies when you're hitchhiking.

Hitchhiker scarf knit with Three Waters Farm yarn.
Hitchhiker

According to my notes, I started this Hitchhiker on November 16th and I finished it January 12th.  That's almost two months of knitting, although it feels like closer to two weeks.

Knit a Hitchhiker shawlette with wool from Three Waters Farm
Maybela's Promise, Three Waters Farm

I'm SO thankful that Knitting Sarah blogged about knitting her Hitchhiker scarf.  The moment I saw it, I knew I HAD to knit one for myself.  I instantly fell head over heels in love with the yarn and the way it striped on Sarah's Hitchhiker.  I ordered the yarn before I even finished reading her review of it. 

The colors in Three Waters Farm, Maybela's Promise yarn stripe but don't pool.
Stripes, not pools.

See how the yarn stripes but never pools?  I just love it!  The yarn itself was great to knit with too.  Although I was using super sharp, pointy metal needles (they were my only US 3's available at the time) I never had trouble with the yarn splitting.  The few times I forgot to decrease for the 'teeth' and had to rip out a a row or twenty, the yarn behaved perfectly.  It ripped without snagging and knit back up without that weird, wrinkled look you get sometimes.  I just can't say enough good things about this yarn from Three Waters Farm.

To see what others are crafting today, join me over at Frontier Dreams for today's #Craftingon link-up.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Makers' Monday

Welcome to another episode of Makers' Monday.  I've been doing all kinds of 'making' this week, but I have been absolutely horrible about photographing any of my creations.

In celebration of January being National Soup Month, I've been cooking up batch after batch of soup in my Instant Pot.  Man, am I glad I splurged and bought myself one.  Do you have one?  Honestly, I don't know why I bought it.  I had no idea what it did or why I needed one, I'd just seen an ad for it, probably on Facebook or someone's blog and I suddenly HAD to have one.

LOVE my 6qt. Instant Pot Duo

Anyway, I bought one and have been 110% in love with it since the day I opened it.  I got it back in September and with the exception of holiday gatherings, I can count the number of times we've eaten out on one hand since bringing the Instant Pot home.  Now, instead of doing that "Darn! It's 6 p.m. and I forgot to thaw anything for dinner. Let's go out to eat" thing, I simply toss a frozen chunk of meat or a bag of dried beans into the Pot and 20 - 30 minutes later, Presto Magic!  Dinner is ready!

healthy, filling recipe for making black bean soup in the Instant Pot
photo courtesy of medicalnewstoday.com

So, that was a very long winded way of saying I made black bean soup today.  I got the hankering for it and off to the pantry I went.  I tossed a bag of dried black beans, a bunch of celery, an onion, some garlic and a chicken bouillon cube into the pot.  Next I added enough water to cover everything, set it for 20 minutes and went to the laundry room.  I loaded the washing machine, turned it on and.... Yep!  I was eating black bean soup before the washer even started it's rinse cycle!  Damn, I love my Instant Pot!

And no, I'm not an Instant Pot affiliate.  I'm not affiliated in any way.  I'm just 110% in love with my Pot.

Striped cowl knit out of left over Palette from Knit Picks

Something else I created recently was a cowl made out of the left over yarn from my Ocean Stripes shawl.  Sorry.  I know that photo is horrible.  The natural light in our house during the winter is simply nonexistent.  Despite the bad photography, I love the way the cowl turned out.

I used a K1P1 design to add a little texture and interest to a stockinette cowl.

Each time I changed colors, I knit the first row in a *K1P1* pattern which produced those little blips of color.

I've finished knitting several other things that I'd like to show you but I don't have photos yet.  Have I mentioned that the light in my house is horrible?  I should probably also mention that I've been a little busy binge watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix.  Good grief!  With the amount of tears I've shed, I don't know why I'm not dehydrated, but somehow, I seem to have gained about 25 pounds from  stress eating while I watch.  Good grief!

But enough about me.  It's Makers' Monday.  Tell me all about what you're making.




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Three on Thursday

It's Three on Thursday, so here we go....

1.  We are finally thawing out.  I woke up this morning to find the temperature was already up one degree higher than yesterday's high.  I now have the worst case of spring fever!  I'm consumed with thoughts of planting something and digging the beach chairs out of their dark hole storage space in the garage.

2.  This post is going live a little late in the day because my daughter's computer is mostly broken so she's been taking mine to school with her.  I've been using her mostly broken one to handle the urgent/do or die computer tasks but....  Her keyboard is in Russian. (Her version of Rosetta Stone apparently.)  Although I touch-type, it's very confusing.  So confusing, I sat in a feeling sorry for myself funk and read trashy novels all day yesterday instead of coming up with three fascinating to tell you about.

3.  I call my computer Steve.  It's real name is Stevie Wonder because I constantly wonder why I bought a Windows computer instead of another Mac.  I also wonder on a daily basis why I haven't thrown this ^$*%#$ computer out the window yet.  But after spending three days using a mostly broken computer and typing on a Russian keyboard, I have a new appreciation for this machine.  If Sarah doesn't get a new computer soon, Steve is changing his name to Stevie Wonderful.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Doomed!

I'm doomed!  Absolutely doomed!

For what felt like weeks, we had 20 degree days and sub-zero nights.  It was cold.  It was winter.  I had yarn and I was dealing with it.  But now?  Now, I have THE worst case of Spring Fever!  It was 51 degrees and sunny today.  I rode around with the car window open.  Okay, not open-open, but cracked open a half inch or so.  I went shopping and didn't even take a coat with me.  It was beautiful outside today.  And now I just want to plant something and walk around the yard every couple of hours looking to see if the daffodils have started to poke through the ground yet. 

It is Way too early to be thinking about daffodils.

I'm doomed!

I'm also upset because, as I mentioned, I went shopping.  Shopping at the local Bath & Body Works.  They were having that 75% off sale that they have occasionally.  And I brought home a giant bag of my favorite products, all of which were 75% off.  I'm thrilled about the sale, but that 75% sales price means all those items have been discontinued.  I'm not sure life will be worth living without Black Tea & Cedar hand lotion.


I'm doomed.

And I might have bought a few skeins of yarn today. 

I'm doomed and shamed. 


Even Minnie is ashamed of my behavior.

And because I was out shopping all day, I have no knitting to show you. 


I started reading Good Guys Love Dogs.  It's exactly what I was hoping for.  A fluffy, not so virginal they don't hold hands but not filled with raunchy sex romance and the characters have animals.  I love it when the characters have animals.

Join me over at the #Unraveled link-up to see what others are knitting and reading.






Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pat me on the back!

I am just so proud of myself!

My daughter's laptop is on death's door so she took mine to school with her today.  Being computerless, I had nothing to do but clean.  Well, not clean so much as purge and organize.

Remember my December pledge not to buy any yarn?  And my decision to continue the yarn diet until I have an empty yarn storage drawer?  Well, I don't yet have a drawer, but I have an empty storage box.  If I empty one more box, it will equal a drawer's worth of storage space.  There's new yarn in my future! 

I'm pretty proud of my recent lack of yarn shopping.  Out of curiosity, I looked at my records to see when I last bought yarn.  With the exception of one skein I needed for a custom order in late November, I have not purchased yarn since November 3rd!

Knitting a 2018 temperature scarf with Palette from Knit Picks http://www.jgknits.com/2018/01/makers-monday.html
Temperature scarf

Besides being proud of myself, I'm also pretty dang excited.  There's going to be a lot of light blue in my future.  The deep freeze we've been experiencing lately has finally broken.  And as is typical of a Virginia winter, we'll be going from the high temperature being in the low 20's to up into the 60's later this week!  It's currently 41 and raining.... and it feels practically balmy!

Join me over at Frontier Dreams to see what others are creating on this gloriously warmer #Craftingon Tuesday.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Makers' Monday

So, how's the weather?

Snow in Virginia.
A snowy day.

The last time I posted, I mentioned it was snowing.  We only got about three inches here.  We were lucky.  South of us got more than twice that and north of us got, well, let's just say WAY more.  We also got enough wind to blow all the snow off the trees and the deck and fence rails.  Enough wind to encourage the dog to 'do her business' in about an eighth of the time it normally takes her.  But again, our wind was nothing compared to the wind north of here.

Thermometer reading minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit
Too damned cold!

What we did get was cold.  Now granted, that -19 degrees Fahrenheit was measured in the shade on a thermometer on the northern side of our house.  But still - that's minus 19 degrees.  That's cold!  Too damned cold!

Using Palette fingering weight yarn to knit a temperature gauge scarf. http://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=738953&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Palette yarns from Knit Picks

Cold enough to inspire me to start one of those temperature scarves.

Knitting a weather gauge scarf with Palette yarn http://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=738953&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Temperature chart

As usual, I didn't give the project a whole lot of thought.  I just grabbed some yarn from the stash pile and started knitting.  I'm using Palette from Knit Picks and a US 2 needle.  I cast on 190 stitches, am knitting in the round, and am doing a purl stitch for the first & center stitches of each round.  The purls will help it lay flat instead of keeping it's tubular shape and they will do a decent job of hiding  the color changes.  Since we don't get much snow around here, I decided to record snow days with an extra row of white.  I thought about beading the day's color, and maybe even beading rainy days but....  Life can get complicated and I didn't want to be tied to the beads.  So, I'm just going with white for snow.

As for whether it will really be a scarf... who knows.  It may end up being a cowl.  It's way too early to tell what my row gauge is.  At the end of the year, if I need to make it longer, I'll add a solid colored section with the year knit in.  Or if I need to make it a Lot longer, I'll add a section to each end and date one January and the other December.  We'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Well, no matter how cold it is, it's Makers' Monday and you know what to do....

Friday, January 5, 2018

Soup's On!

I'm taking a little break from the knitting to talk about soup.  January is National Soup Month.  Soup Month's timing couldn't be more perfect.  Nothing is as good and warming as a nice pot of soup on a cold blustery day and let me tell you, it's been cold and blustery.  Actually, that's not true.  It's been Freezing, with a capital F and windy.

Normally my husband complains about 'Soup Night.'  He's a meat and potatoes man and expects his meat and potatoes to be large and intact and served on a plate.  He's not thrilled when dinner is chopped up meat and potatoes in a bowl with a bit of liquid.  But this week, it's been so cold, he didn't say a single thing on Soup Night except, 'Is there more?"

Hot, delicious soup cooked in the Instant Pot.
Zuppa Toscana Soup, photo courtesy of bigoven.com

This week's soup was Zuppa Toscana.  It had kale in it.  And I ate it!  I ate kale!  I ate kale and went back for a second helping!  Kale!  I have never in my life been served kale that I was able to swallow without gagging.  But this recipe...  Oh!  My! Goodness!  It was Yumm-O!

And I'm sure you're wondering - why did this crazy woman make kale soup if she detests kale?  It's because I didn't  make it.  My daughter did.  In the Instant Pot, all by herself!  (Another Proud Mama moment!) 

Sarah went with me to the grocery store and announced that she was going to cook dinner.  Awesome!  Fine by me!  We picked up the sausage for the soup and apparently the 'giant bag of spinach' I thought she was tossing into the cart was kale.  I didn't find out it was kale until I started talking about how good it smelled cooking and Sarah finally confessed.

It took me a few minutes to gather the courage to taste it but once I did.... I wanted it all.  All for me!  I was not happy to have to share that giant pot of soup.  I may have growled just a little bit when the rest of the family began to dish up their bowls.

So, I'm still in shock that I ate kale and liked it.  I'm so amazed by that fact, it's going to count as one of my Two New Things a Month. (Forcing myself to experience something new each month worked so well in 2017, I've increased it to two new things per month for 2018.)

Kale!

I ate kale!

I willingly ate kale.  And liked it!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Three on Thursday

Today's Three on Thursday is going to be brief.

1.  It's snowing.

2.  It's really, really cold outside.

3.  I think I hurt myself doing YouTube beginners' yoga.

Okay, okay.  Let's amend #3.  I think I hurt myself attempting to do YouTube beginner's yoga.  Good grief I'm out of shape!

Join me over at Carole's place to see others' Three on Thursday lists.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

When the yarn is silent

I'd planned on joining the #fringeandfriendslogalong KALand I'd planned out a log cabin-esque shawl/scarf and I'd wound the yarn and had it ready to go.  And then New Year's Day rolled around, the log cabin KAL started....  and I did not like what I was knitting.  I didn't like it at all.  And more importantly, the yarn didn't like it either.

So I frogged it.  And started over.  Started over without a definite plan.

I'm knitting something large but I don't know what because the yarn is silent and won't tell me what it wants to be.
The start of something big.

I started over holding two threads (lace weight) together.  I like the affect.  I'm creating a nice, squishy fabric and I LOVE the tweedy aspect the two yarns are providing.  Alone, each yarn is pretty, but combined....  Yes! I'm loving the color.

But what exactly am I knitting?  Is it going to be a long striped scarf that's a little too wide for a normal scarf but way too narrow for a decent stole type shawl?  Or will I amend the color changes slightly and attempt to create the original log cabin pattern I'd planned?

I can not decide and the yarn refuses to speak.

One thing I am sure of is that I'll finish reading Malice in Wonderland by Hiliary Latimer this week.  Maybe even tonight.  I thought I was going to absolutely LOVE this book.  It's a murder mystery that takes place at a fiber festival.  What's not to love about that?  Except that it turned into several male characters (boyfriends of other characters) who aren't supposed to know much about knitting, except that they do when it's convenient to the story line and their ability to solve the case.  And I guess it's possible that I missed something early on, but... Just about every character in the book hints that the dead guy was being blackmailed - but there's never any mention of him doing something to be blackmailed for.  It's very confusing/annoying.

Dog friendly romance. Books I am reading.
Good Guys Love Dogs

Once I finish Malice in Wonderland, my next book will be either Good Guys Love Dogs by Inglath Cooper or The Cabin by Natasha Preston.  I'm in the mood for fluffy romance, thus Good Guys Love Dogs.... but The Cabin would pair well with knitting a log cabin shawl.  I guess I'll just pray my yarn quickly breaks it's silence and tells me what it wants to be.

Books I am reading
The Cabin by Natasha Preston

To see what others are knitting and reading, follow me over to both As Kat Knits for #Unraveled Wednesday and Small Things for the 2018 version of Yarn Along.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

True North

The other day, I made the 22 mile trip to the local, big-box craft store and wandered the aisles trying to remember why I was there.  (Four days later and I still can't remember what it was that I'd wanted to purchase.  Good grief!)  I wandered the aisles and was SO good and kept my promise to myself not to buy any yarn.  If you remember, I was on a yarn diet in December.  And I'm proud to say, I did not buy a single skein, hank or ball of yarn in December!  Not even a cone of yarn was purchased!  I was so successful with the diet, I've decided to carry it over into January and beyond.  I'm now on a no-buying yarn diet until I have emptied at least one drawer. (Most of my yarn is stored in chests of drawers.)  Wish me luck.

But back to the big-box craft store ....  It about killed me not to buy any yarn because they had several very pretty, new colorways of Patons Kroy sock yarn.  I like Patons Kroy.  It pills a bit too much on socks, but it's fantastic for hats, scarves, mittens and gloves.  But even though they had several new, very pretty colorways, I didn't buy any.  To ease my pain of saying no to the yarn, I bought a canvas tote bag with a cross stitch panel on it.

Cross stitching on my new knitting tote bag because knitting is my true north.
compass rose cross stitch

Not only did I buy the bag, I brought it home and cross stitched on it!

I found a pattern for a simple compass rose in my old cross stitch patterns and since knitting is my 'true north' and I'll probably use the tote bag to store knitting projects, I thought it was a good choice.  It was also a good choice because it was a simple pattern without a lot of detail and with only a few colors.  I hadn't cross stitched in years.  I wanted something easy.  Easy and quick to stitch.

And now, I need to get back to obsessively knitting.  Knitting big projects that use up lots of yarn.  I've got a drawer to empty.  (And just think of all the Patons Kroy I could fit in my newly cross stitched tote bag.

Join me over at Frontier Dreams to see what others are crafting today.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Makers' Monday and a Happy New Year

First, I wanted to wish you a happy New Year!

Happy New Year, courtesy of lovequotepics.com
Happy New Year, courtesy of lovequotepics.com

I'm hoping all your dreams for 2018 come true.

But today, it's Makers' Monday, so...