Monday, February 19, 2018

A field of color

Knitting a mitered square blanket and a striped hitchhiker shawl
A field of color

I bet you thought I was going to be talking about spring flowers again, right?

Nope!  I'm trying to keep thoughts of fields of spring flowers (tulips instantly come to mind) at bay by concentrating on knitting my Hitchhiker shawl and the never ending mitered square blanket.

On the needles - a knitted blanket and a shawl
OTN 02/19/18

I keep thinking I'm doing so well and making good progress knitting each....  And then I check the numbers.  Although I'd swear that I'm knitting a minimum of four or five 'teeth' a day on the Hitchhiker, today's count shows it having 38 teeth.  It had 34 teeth three or four days ago. How is that possible?

And then the mitered squares.... Goodness!  I don't even want to think about it.  I had it in my head that I only needed to knit 15 or 20 more squares.  Nope!  I have 141 more to go.  One hundred and forty one more squares.

I SO wish I hadn't counted.

contest to name the yarn and win a skein of yarn
My second favorite mitered square

But, to make today's Makers' Monday post a little more cheerful and a little less whiny, let's have a contest.  That blue, orange and celery green square is my second favorite on the whole blanket so far.  It's knit from a self striping yarn.  The first person to name the yarn correctly in the comments below wins a random skein of yarn from my stash pile.

And, since it is Makers' Monday.... You know what to do.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Made for each other

Hat with button for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Button Brim Hat

That button and the yarn seem made for each other!


Yarn:  Lion Brand Wool Ease, Dark Rose Heather
Button:  LaMode

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Three on Thursday

It's Three on Thursday and I have a MASSIVE case of spring fever!  We hit 70 degrees this past, very rainy, weekend.  It's supposed to be in the mid 70's tomorrow. 

And it's supposed to snow on Saturday.

I have spring fever and I'm consumed with thoughts of

Daffodils, photo courtesy of thoughtco.com

daffodils

Tulips, photo courtesy of lushome.com

and tulips

Forsythia, photo courtesy of wimastergardener.com

and forsythia.

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm going to keep today's post super short - hopefully.

https://www.amazon.com/Ocean-End-Lane-Novel-ebook/dp/B009NFHF0Q/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TJX5YY5QPVXXZ1HDD59W
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

After finishing Seven Steps to Closure, I started reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  Seven Steps was a fun, hilarious read all the way to the end and while I'm only 31% into The Ocean, it's proving to be just as good, although for completely different reasons.  These days, I only seem to be able to find time to read right before bed.  I've trained myself to read a page or two then fall asleep.  If it wasn't for that, I think I'd have finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane in one sitting.  It's that good!

Temperature journal cowl hand knit with Palette yarns from Knit Picks.
2018 Weather Cowl

As for my knitting, I'm still busily knitting mitered squares for my blanket, doing some shop knitting and keeping up with my weather scarf. cowl.  I keep calling it a scarf, but it will definitely end up being a cowl, no question about it.  Each month will only be about two inches long.  Definitely not a scarf!  Although I seem to be incapable of calling it a cowl, I'm happy for it to be a cowl.  Specially since I can easily knit a liner for it and not have to deal with weaving in 365 loose ends.  I do wish I'd chosen a different green for the 67 - 77 degree range but.... I was/am working with what I have.  Gotta stick to that yarn diet!  I also find it amazing that it can be 70+ degrees one day and snowing the next.   Welcome to winter in Virginia!

Join me for today's #Unraveled  link-up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A log cabin miracle

So, I finished my log cabin shawl a week or two ago.  I even blocked it right away which is fairly unusual for me.  But the shawl was ... dull.  It needed some bling.  I went to the craft store and found the perfect beads to bling it up.  Understated bling, exactly what I wanted.

Darice Venezia crystal beads
crystal teardrop beads

I came home and sewed them on in time to wear the shawl to my knitting group meeting that night.

I added beads to my log cabin shawl to brighten it up.
Bling

And as I walked through the kitchen on my way out the door to go knitting, my husband asked me to hand him the salt shaker.  I reached over the stove to grab the salt and...

Gasp!

The shawl threw itself off my neck and into a pot of spaghetti sauce.

Yes, a full, giant, 20 quart kettle full of bubbling spaghetti sauce.

Holy ^%%$%^&E%%^ Hell!

You have never heard such curse words before!  Words spewed from my lips that I didn't even know I knew!

I grabbed it out of the sauce pot and attempted to toss it in the sink but as luck would have it, it hit the floor instead.  The dog immediately began licking it.

I was so upset I just walked away.  I left my brand new, just finished alpaca, merino and silk, just washed and blocked, just went the trouble to buy and sew beads on shawl laying on the floor and I went to knitting group.

I assumed the dog would eat the entire thing and it would be out of sight, out of mind by the time I arrived home.

It wasn't.  A dear family member had shoved it over into the corner with their foot however.  Very kind of them, right?  At least the dog was helpful in cleaning up where the sauce had smeared across the floor.

Thinking it would be in 1,000 pieces from the dog chewing it, I picked it up to throw it in the trash....  But it was still in one piece!  It was a little hard to tell because of the amount of sauce that was still stuck to it and beginning to harden but... It looked okay.  It had a reddish/orange tint to it and there were still chunks of tomato stuck to it, but the fabric looked to be still in once piece.

I filled the sink with water, tossed the shawl in and went to bed.

The next morning, I rinsed the shawl out a few times, let it soak once more in soapy water, re-blocked it and Voila!

The knit alpaca and silk shawl, cleaned up after it fell in tomato sauce.
A log cabin miracle

You'd never know it ever took a spaghetti sauce bath!

It's a log cabin miracle!


To see if anyone else had a creative miracle this week, join me for today's #CraftingOn link-up.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Makers' Monday

It's tough when your knitting turns on you.  It may be Makers' Monday, but I'm not exactly celebrating my own knitting achievements today.

I've been doing so well lately with staying on track with my knitting and getting the pieces on my To Do list knitted, finished, and shipped as necessary.  I've been doing so well at it that the skin on my forearm has become overly sensitive and sore from my shirt sleeve/cuff rubbing against it as I knit.  That's a lot of knitting!

And then there was the knitting for puppies issue.

I had an Etsy customer who bought a hat and wondered if I could knit her little dog a hat with a matching pompom.  I went in search of dog hat patterns to get some ideas, (there aren't many out there) and came up with a design that I thought might work.   I knit the puppy hat and sewed on a pompom that was about half the size of the human hat's pompom.

Tiny dog modeling a hat with a giant pompom
The adorable Nooshi

Look how adorable Nooshi is wearing her hat.  Look how the pompom is almost as big as her head!  Look how I didn't do a very good job trimming the pompom!

The pompom on this dog hat is bigger than the dog!
Nooshi

Poor little Nooshi!  She can barely hold up her head due to weight of that giant pompom.

Roxy is not happy to be modeling her new hat.
Roxy

During the design process, I ended up knitting two hats in different sizes so I shipped them both to the customer.  Poor Roxy!  She looks mortified!

knitted hat for dogs for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits
Poor Roxy! She's not happy with her new hat.

 Roxy never asked for a hat, nor is she happy to be wearing a hat, specially a hat with a giant pompom.

Luckily, depending on how you look at it, my phone went bonkers yesterday and I spent close to four hours at Walmart's phone center tying to fix it.  After a crazy amount of time with Joseph, the extremely helpful Walmart associate (he was so helpful, he deserves recognition,) and a conference call with the phone provider's service rep, I ended up having to buy a new phone.  While I'm not thrilled with having to spend the money, or that I lost the majority of my contacts in the transfer, I'm right pleased with my new phone.  I'm also right pleased that all that time away from my needles was a huge help to my forearm.

I'm also right pleased that while I was leaving the store, I happened to stroll by the craft section and noticed they had a teeny tiny pompom maker.  So now, it's back to the puppy hat drawing board.  And Roxy, I promise to never again ask you to model a hat.

A giant Thank You! goes out to Nooshi and Roxy for playing guinea pig and, despite their pain and embarrassment, for allowing me to post their photos.



Friday, February 9, 2018

On The Needles

My current garter stitch, 'knit while I read' project is another Hitchhiker shawl. 

I'm knitting a Hitchhiker shawl for https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=profile_shopname
Hitchhiker

I thought I'd talked about it already, but I was unable to find a previous post, so maybe not.  I'm knitting the shawl with Patons Kroy Socks in the Blue Striped Ragg colorway and using a US 4 needle.  I was worried about how the self striping yarn would behave but so far, I'm very happy with it.  Very happy with it, except that I've knit 30 teeth already and it seems to be growing  in width much faster than in length.  But as they say, I'm sure that sh*t will block right out.

(Sorry.  I try very hard not to curse here on the blog, but I just love that blocking quote.)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Three Hats


 (This post may contain affiliate links.)

Welcome to another Three on Thursday list.  Today I’m thinking about knitting hats.   What with the 52 Hats challenge, it seems like I’m always thinking about hats these days.  Recently I've added three more hats to my Ravelry queue.


 1.   Oak Leaf Beanie designed by Morgan Capestrain.  It's knit with Wool of the Andes and a twisted stitch chevron pattern.  I love the idea of knitting something with the look of cables, but without the hassle of doing cables. 


2.  Weather the Weather Hat designed by Megan Williams.  I love the lightening stripe zigzags. I have a love/hate relationship with lightening.  I love thunderstorms and watching the lightening streak across the sky.  But over the years, I’ve come dangerously close to being struck by lightening multiple times so I’m a little paranoid about it.  As a teen aged lifeguard, I was standing about six feet away from the edge of the pool when it was struck.  I’ve been on a sailboat and had the mast get struck.  More than once, I’ve been in the water, swimming a boat back to shore that’s lost its steerage, when lightening was striking the water all around me.  And several times, lightening has struck the ground just outside the window I was sitting next to.  I’m a lightening magnet!  So I thought it would be fun to laugh in lightening’s face and knit a hat with lightening bolts on it.


3.   Ferry in the Harbor  designed by Kirsten Kapur.  Besides wanting to get more practice with fair isle, or color stranded knitting in general, the hat’s named Ferry in the Harbor.  If you couldn’t tell from my lightening story, I love anything to do with boats and/or water.
  
Join me over at Carole's to see others' Three on Thursday lists.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Closure

I won't have closure on my mitered square blanket any time soon but....

I'm knitting a mitered square blanket with scrap sock yarn.
Mitered squares in bad lighting

I have pulled it out of the UFO pile and begun working on it again.  I don't know how many blocks I have to knit before it's finished.  I refuse to count them.  Maybe in a few days...  For now, I'll be content with just knowing that it's my "current" project and that I've already knit six or seven squares since I rescued it from it's UFO fate.

Fantastically funny book

As for my reading, I'm currently enjoying The Seven Steps to Closure by Donna Joy Usher.  I'm absolutely LOVING this book!  It's hilarious!  According to my Kindle, I'm at the 51% mark and I've already laughed so hard I cried more times than I can count.  Twice I did the laughing/crying thing in public!  And once, I laughed so hard, I blew my Starbucks out of my nose.  That was painful.

I will warn you though - The Seven Steps to Closure does have quite a bit of cussing and a bit of sex.  It might not be everyone's cup of tea.  But I sure am enjoying it and I'll be looking for other books by the author when I finish reading this one.

To enjoy what others are knitting and reading, I"m joining both the #Unraveled and Yarn Along link ups today.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Slytherin or Slithering?

I've made a tiny bit of progress on my Slytherin sock.  As you may or may not be able to see, I've started to knit the heel flap.

striped sock knit from Patons Kroy Socks in the Brambles colorway
Slytherin Sock

And now, I'm sort of slithering away from the project.

I'm blaming Dee over at Just D 2 Me.  She keeps posting photos of the progress she's making on her mitered square blanket.  And that reminded me I had a mitered square blanket hanging out in the UFO pile....  And then someone else posted a stunning scrap sock yarn blanket they'd made on a Facebook knitting group I'm in the other day...  And now I want to make one just like it.  But before I start the new scrap yarn blanket, I'd really like to finish the first.  (I have visions of knitting the second blanket and running out of yarn & being unable to finish the mitered square blanket.)

And really, I should be knitting the blanket now while it's cold instead of waiting and trying to finish it in August when it's 100 degrees.  It just makes sense.  Right?

Join me over at Frontier Dreams for today's #CraftingOn link up.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Makers' Monday

I'm going 'old school' for today's Makers' Monday post.  Instead of talking about what I'm making, I'm going to show you a few things others have made.  In other words, I got lazy.

I'm actually writing this late Saturday night because I have to work on Sunday.  I know!  My "summer" job starts tomorrow.  Or yesterday, as you read this.  My work schedule will be sporadic days sprinkled here and there for a while, then it will be every weekend, then every day.  Anyway, I won't be around on Sunday to type up the post.

Saturday's to-do list had me taking photos of several things I've been knitting but...

I accidentally spent Saturday curled up in the comfy chair reading trashy romance novels instead of being a productive member of society.  In fact, I was so unproductive, I didn't even knit while I read!

So here it is, late Saturday night and I've got nothing of my own to show you.  I do, however, have a couple of things I've procured off Etsy recently that I'm super excited about and think you'd also be interested in.

knitters stitch gauge ruler for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/FriendsinFiber?ref=l2-shopheader-name
Ann Budd Gauge Ruler courtesy of Friends and Fiber

The first is Ann Budd's Gauge Ruler from Friends and Fiber on Etsy.   How cool is this thing?  You just lay it over your knitting and match up the stitches on the ruler to your knitted fabric stitches.  It's so stinking easy to use!  The ruler, besides being an actual 9 inch ruler, measures gauge in half inch increments from 9 stitches to the inch up to (down to??) 4 stitches to the inch.

knitter's stitch gauge swatch ruler
Cool new tool

 And, if you're like me and tend to refuse to check your gauge even when you have a cool, handy gadget, it also makes a great knitting journal bookmark and bullet journaling straight edge ruler.  Oh, and it's also handy for tearing washi tape.

knitting tools
Ruler available at Friends and Fiber

Hey!  Look at that - a tiny bit of knitting.  I'm no where near as far along on my Slytherin sock as I'd hoped to be.


jelly fish project bag for socks and shawls
Knitting Project bag from Twisted Yarn and Fiber

And then there's this project bag.  I LOVE my new project bag!  Actually, I'm not sure I can legally call it "new."  I bought it several months ago and you may have even seen it hanging out here on the blog.  I use this bag constantly so I'm sure it's probably been in a photo or two.

The bag is from Twisted Yarn and Fiber.  I absolutely love the fabric it's made from.  First, it's black so it doesn't show dirt.  While I'm fairly obsessive about keeping my knitting clean, I do carry my knitting with me to some fairly strange places and the outside of my more frequently used project bags end up getting.....  well, gross.  But the jelly fish are fantastic at hiding the dirt, plus they are colorful enough to see at the bottom of my black hole of a knitting bag (more like a giant suitcase.)  And while the jelly fish don't actually glow in the dark, they are bright enough that I can find them in the dark when I toss the bag into the car's back seat. (One of Little Red's quirks is that she doesn't have an interior dome light.)

So, yes, I LOVE this project bag.  The drawstring closure is easy to open and close and the bag's size is perfect.  All my other project bags, and I seem to have collected quite a few, are either several inches smaller, or many, many inches larger.  This bag will easily hold a Hitchhiker or two sets of socks yet it's still small enough to cram into my purse.

As much as I love my jellyfish bag, I picked a lousy time to show it to you.  The shop is currently on"sewcation" so that it can get restocked and ready for spring.  I really hope you'll go check them out in a few days or weeks though.  I remember having a hard time deciding which bag to get because they had so many adorable ones and the customer service was excellent.  The shop's bags are definitely worth the wait.

Okay, I think I've rambled on enough.  Please join me in celebrating #MakersMonday and also, please know that I'm not affiliated with either of the products I mentioned today - I just really, really like them and thought you would too.

Friday, February 2, 2018

5 out of 52

(This post may contain affiliate links.)

It's the fifth week of 2018 and I've finished knitting the fifth hat out of the 52 I've challenged myself to knit this year.

Harry Potter owl hat knit with Wool of the Andes from knit picks http://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=726901&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Owl Hat

At least I guess I can call it finished.  The knitting part is finished.  It's currently blocking and awaiting eyes.  I should probably only count it as half a hat because....  Sewing buttons on is NOT my favorite thing to do and seeing as the hat has seven owls, which means fourteen buttons....  Perhaps I shouldn't count it at all.  I desperately wish I'd thought to use beads instead of buttons for the eyes.  I could have put the beads on while I was doing the knitting.  Oh well....  Next time.

As for the pattern details, I used Oyster Heather Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn and US 5 needles (also from Knit Picks.)  For the owl design, I used an old, photocopied baby sweater pattern that has been hanging out in my loose pattern files forever.  I think it's a pretty standard owl-ish cable design if you wanted to knit your own.

Since I'm currently on a mission to watch all the Harry Potter movies while I knit the Slytherin sock I might have to knit white, gray and brown hats to represent all the owls in the movies.  I'm also flabbergasted to realize that apparently, I've only seen the first two movies.  How is that even possible?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Three on Thursday - A Month in Review

Wow!  I can't believe it's February already.  Where did January go?  What they say about time passing faster as you age must be true and I must be ancient!  It feels like January lasted all of 20 minutes.

But it's February now, and it's a Thursday, so you know what that means...

It's Three on Thursday. 

And since it's the first of the month, I wanted to recap January for posterity's sake.

hand knit hat with pom pom for sale https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits

1.  52 Hats Challenge:  So far I'm keeping up with my goal of a hat a week.  I've knit four of the 52 hats which puts me at 7% complete.

2.  Besides the hat challenge, I also signed up for Ravelry's project challenge.  My goal is to knit 60 items in 2018.  I know! I don't know what I was thinking.  But the 52 hats are included so it's not quite as bad as it sounds.   According to Ravelry, I'm at 7% complete there also.

3.  Back in December, I challenged myself to go one month without buying any yarn.  I met that goal and decided to carry the challenge into January.  Now I've decided to continue it.  I'm not going to come out and say that I won't be purchasing any yarn during the entire year because, seriously!  Who am I kidding?  Currently, so that I don't freak myself out too badly, I'm going to take it one month at a time.  And Etsy shop custom order yarn shopping doesn't count - but those purchases have to be for real Etsy custom orders, not just something someone might want at some time in the future.  Anyway....  I failed my challenge two days in January, or 6% of the time.  And while that sounds bad, I stuck to my yarn diet 29 days or 94% of the time.  Yay me!

And to take my mind off yarn shopping....

sunset photo
January 31, 2018 sunset

Yesterday's sunset.  Although pretty in the photo, it was SO much more glorious in real life.

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