Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Maybe next year

Today's post is not what I had planned.  My intention was to show you bunches and bunches of little hearts I'd knit from all that pink yarn I showed you the other day.  I was going to knit bunches and bunches of them, stuff them, then hang them on a mini Christmas tree for display.  

The problem with that idea.... I never knit a single heart.  My pattern has you casting on five stitches on dpns and knitting several rounds on those five stitches before increasing.  Knitting multiple rows of only five stitches on tiny little dpns and knowing that once I finished knitting one, I'd need to knit bunches of bunches more, and then I'd have to go dig the mini Christmas tree back out of storage to hang them on....  Well, I remembered why every single year, Every. Single. Year., I pull out that pattern and yarn and then never knit a single heart.

If I had any sense, I'd throw away that pattern book and be done with it.  But nope!  Maybe next year...


What I did knit instead was the Big Secret Baby Thing.  I finished it!  Whoop Whoop!  Once it has been given, I'll show you pictures.  Assuming I remember to take them.  Sheesh.  

I also started a K2P2 cowl knit with THE softest alpaca yarn.

Alpaca is so soft and light and warm https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/simply-alpaca-aran/c/5420319
2x2 cowl knit with Simply Alpaca

I had planned to knit a different cowl with this yarn but...  It's been a rough week around here and I needed something portable, mindless and heavenly to knit.  This definitely fits the bill.  

The pattern is so simple I can't believe I bothered to download it.  It's simply a matter of casting on 140 stitches with bulky yarn (or in my case, two strands of aran Simply Alpaca held together) and knit K2P2 in the round until you only have enough yarn left to do the bind-off.

Simple, simple, simple.  And it grows fast because it's bulky weight yarn.  And did I mention how soft this yarn is?  It's Heaven in a skein!  Let's just put it this way - it's so soft I don't even mind knitting an entire skein's worth of  K2P2 ribbing.  Have I mentioned ribbing is not my favorite thing to knit?  It's a little boring.  But this....  This is just glorious!  

The alpaca is so soft and light and wonderful to knit with.  Normally my hands/wrists begin to ache after only about 20 minutes of knitting with bulky yarn but this...  This I can knit on for hours with no issues at all.  There's no weight on the needles, my hands and wrists are fine, and my neck is dying for me to put it onto a bigger needle so that I can try it on.


But that's not going to happen.  In order to try it on, I'd have to stop knitting long enough to dig out a longer cord for my interchangeables.  And right now, I just don't have the time.  Like I said, it's been a rough few days and right now, besides my yarn, I also have a glass of wine and Aquaman waiting for me.   Just as soon as I press "Publish."

I may not even proof read this.  I mean.... Aquaman, i.e. Jason Momoa, my TV boyfriend is waiting.  Who would blame me?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Supper - Spinach and Artichoke Dip

"It might choke Artie, but it won't choke Stymie!"

Sorry.  I had to get that Little Rascals quote out of the way.  Our family has a bad habit of quoting movies and TV shows and it's not possible to say the word, "artichoke" without also quoting Stymie.

Anyway....

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/241634/fabulous-spinach-and-artichoke-dip/?internalSource=streams&referringId=17220&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub&clickId=st_trending_s
Spinach and Artichoke Dip, photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

It's Sunday Supper and despite swearing we'd never go back to Applebee's after a recent visit, we all still love their spinach and artichoke dip.  And this recipe promises to be similar.  The recipe comes from Allrecipes.com and I sure hope they are right.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Colorburst


Pardon the bad lighting.  A cloudy day and a dark house…

garter stitch, triangular, striped knitted shawl
Colorburst shawl being blocked


Remember my Colorburst shawl?  Probably not – it’s been months since I finished knitting it.  Well, I finally got around to blocking it. I cannot believe how much it grew in the process.  The miracles of garter stitch. 

I'm embarrassed to show you that photo but since all I've been knitting lately is the Big Secret Baby Thing, I have nothing else to show you.  

I wish you could see the shawl in person.  In real life it’s so much prettier.  Its jewel tones are just so gorgeous although they are looking a little muddy and dull in the photo.  I was a little worried about its muddiness actually.  The shawl turned the soak water dark blue.  I was afraid of what it would look like when it dried but you’d never know it had bled like that.  Now, I just need to be cautious of it bleeding onto my clothes.


Virginia's state bird is a cardinal.

Totally unrelated to knitting, my room is a giant attic dormer that juts out over the front porch.  There are constantly woodpeckers and wrens hopping all over those two trees and since we moved in, I've told myself almost daily that I should set up a bird feeder on the porch roof.  I haven't and I won't because it would involve a ladder but it's fun to think about.  And then ... I looked out of the window yesterday and there was a cardinal sitting there, waiting to be fed.

Don't forget - if you are anywhere near Williamsburg, VA tomorrow, stop by Yarn Matters and check out my friend, Martha's,  trunk show of hand dyed yarns.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Three on Thursday - Current Projects

Once again this blog post comes to you from my new office/home away from home.  This no internet at the house thing is Killing me.  Absolutely Killing me with a capital "K".  All we have is a rather expensive hotspot that runs out of data after about 10 of the 30 days.  Thank God for Dunkin' Donuts' free wifi and friendly staff that don't mind me hanging out hour after hour every night.  And since I'm using their free wifi, I feel it's only fair that I drink a giant jug of coffee and eat enormous amounts of donuts while I'm here.

Anyway....

Ooh - One more thing before I get started on my three for Thursday....

If you are local, make sure you stop by Yarn Matters near Williamsburg this Saturday.  My friend, Martha Cook from Dying for Art, will be having a trunk show there from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  I can't wait to see what new yarns she's got to show.

Okay, on to my three for this Thursday...

My current projects are:

Knitting a blanket for my first grandchild.  Using my own basket weave design.
The Big Secret Baby Thing

1.  The never ending Big Secret Baby Thing.  Ha!  "Secret" - who am I kidding.  It's pretty obvious but shhh... Sometimes the mom-to-be checks in here.  Hopefully she won't recognize it for what it is.  I also hope I don't accidentally knit that hair into it.  Eeww!

Fingering weight wool dyed to represent a flowering dogwood tree, state flower of Virginia
Urban Girl Yarns, Virginia

2.  Okay, so this one isn't an actual project yet but....  Let me tell you, if that grandbaby was a second grandbaby and not the first grandbaby, I'd be casting that Big Secret Baby Thing aside in a heart beat and casting on with this instead.  It's another skein from Urban Girl Yarns and it's going to be another Reyna.  A knitting friend had grabbed this skein and was going to purchase it, I commented on how much I liked it, she went to the shelf and grabbed another skein and tossed it to me.  I said I didn't really like the second skein as much.  The green was more aqua and the pink was more magenta... And she said she liked it better than the first... So we traded and well, it's not my fault I broke my no yarn purchase rule.  It's Betsy's fault.  Not mine!  Betsy's!  And now we are both going to knit Reyna shawls.  I can't wait to see how different/similar they turn out to be.  Oh, and the yarn's name is Virginia.  How appropriate!  At first I was like, Virginia??  What does pink, white and charcoal gray have to do with Virginia?  And then it hit me like a brick.  Dogwood!  It's 'dogwood tree in bloom' colored and the dogwood is Virginia's state tree. Or flower. Or.... okay, so I'm horrible at that kind of thing.  But it's our state something.  

Palette, Hawthorne from Knit Picks for knitting Valentine hearts http://shrsl.com/22nf0
Scrap yarns, mostly from Knit Picks


3.  Can you guess what I'm doing with all this pink, red and white yarn?  I'm not enjoying it, that's for sure!  Don't get me wrong, despite pink not being my favorite color, I love the yarns.  It's the pattern I'm using.  Ugh!  No wonder the pattern book was on clearance.  Anyway, can you guess what I'm knitting?  And nope!  It has nothing to do with the soon-to-be-granddaughter! 



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

On the Needles

Thanks for all the spelling help.  Doh!  It never even occurred to me to look up "grandbaby" in a real dictionary.  Considering my spell checker thinks the word "reality" is spelled "rea9lity," I should have known it might be misleading me with "grand baby."  Live and learn.

As for my bangs, again, thank you for all the compliments.  By that evening, they were pretty comical.  They were standing straight up.

photo courtesy of gointothestory.blcklstdotcom
photo courtesy of gointothestory.blcklst.com

I guess years of pulling them back into a hair clip had taught them not to hang down on my forehead.

I have Wham bangs
Wham

I really did have a terrifying Wham night.  Now, they've calmed down, mostly.  I'm no longer aware of them touching me and I think I'll be quite happy with them in a few more days.  

As for my knitting, that's been problematic too.  The Big Baby Thing is coming along nicely but my Weekender sweater is another story.  My Weekender has become my stockinette in the round project to work on while I read my email.  In other words, it's a slow slog of stockinette. 

Wool of the Andes tweed https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435443&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
All those loose ends are okay - the sweater is knit inside out!

It had finally grown enough in length for me to bother measuring it.  It was just shy of 12 inches and... OH CRUD!  Seems someone forgot to change to the larger needles after they finished the ribbing.  &%^%&*(*&^!!!

It was suggested at Knit Night that I pull it out and start over but nope!  Ain't gonna happen!  Considering the sweater is supposed to have ten inches of positive ease and I'm already ten inches bigger around than I should be...  Nope! No way! No how!  I'm not ripping that much stockinette and starting over.  My Weekender will simply be form fitting rather than over-sized. 

Hopefully I remember that I may have to make some sleeve adjustments when the time comes.  I'm assuming they don't also have ten inches of ease written into the pattern.  Honestly, I haven't read ahead to see.  It's one of those, "I'll worry about it when the time comes" kind of things.  Meanwhile, if you've knit a Weekender and have any info to share....

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Supper - Gingerbread Cake

Tonight's Sunday Supper is all about me.  Or at least desert will be.  

https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/gingerbread-cake/
Gingerbread Cake, photo courtesy of tastesbetterfromscratch.com

Gingerbread Cake!  I'm the only one in the family who likes gingerbread so it will be mine, all mine!  Well, actually, now that I think about it, I don't know about the mother-in-law.  I might have to fight her for it.  Or perhaps I can lie and say it's solid chocolate.  She's not a big chocolate fan.  Gasp!  (I know!  The horror of someone not loving chocolate!)

Anyway, I'm fixing a 'me' desert tonight.  It's not my fault my family doesn't like good things. 

And by the way, there will Not be bananas anywhere near my cake.  Who would do such an awful thing??

Friday, January 17, 2020

On and Off the Needles

Lot's of progress has been made this week.

The Urban Girl Reyna has not only been finished, 

Free pattern, Reyna shawl knit with Urban Girl Yarns fingering weight
Blocking Reyna

but also blocked!

Reyna, knit with Urban Girl Yarns

The mint green Small Baby Thing has been finished, but not yet blocked.  I'm super excited with the way it turned out and I can't wait to share details and show you a full view photo.  Next week....

The Big Baby Thing is still no where close to being finished but progress has been made.  I'm estimating that I'm 45% done.  Only 55% more to go.  Obviously there's no way I'll get it finished by tomorrow but I'm not stressing over it.  Actually, I'm feeling better about it. Knowing that it's physically impossible meet my self-imposed deadline means I no longer have to try.  I'm feeling much more relaxed and happy about knitting it.  

At this new happy, relaxed rate, maybe I can finish it by tomorrow.  And maybe I'll spend the next week in the hospital because my hands fell off.  Yikes!  Guess I better take occasional breaks.  I'll need my hands to hold the grand baby!

Okay, question for all you language experts out there.  Why is it "grand baby" with a space, but it's "grandmother" and "grandfather"?  Or at least that's what my spell-check is telling me.  Why???

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Three on Thursday - Bangs

I cut my bangs the other day.  I took my mother-in-law to get her hair done and asked the hairdresser how much she'd charge me to cut my bangs.  I'd been thinking about it for a while.  I wanted the hair gone but the thought of growing out bangs again....  

1965 (I'm the one on the right. *)

Next thing I know, I'm in the chair and the hairdresser is tossing a 14 inch ponytail that had been my bangs into the trash.

September, 1980

Considering my bangs have only improved over the years, they will be freaking awesome as soon as I adjust to them.

1993

At the moment, they are touching me and startling me every time I catch my reflection in the mirror.

January 14, 2020

My dear sweet husband says I look like I'm getting ready to go to a Wham concert with Molly Ringwald. 

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

*For those of you who've heard the story, I'm holding Pretty Dirty Baby in that photo.



Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Baby Things

I wanted to thank all of you who commented on the other day's post or emailed me regarding my panic about knitting The Big Baby Thing.  So many of you offered kind reminders that knitting happens at its own pace and that trying to force it to happen quicker can be damaging to both me and the project.  And for that I am thankful.

I had already come to terms with the fact that The Big Baby Thing would be tossed into a gift bag moments before entering the baby shower, that I'd ask the mom-to-be to open my gift first, then I'd quickly snatch it back from her and spend the rest of the party knitting on it. I was okay with that.  If the mom-to-be is going to be part of our family, she better get used to that type of behavior from me.

photo shows curvature of the earth. Sun setting on trees and tops are lit and bottoms are in darkness
random photo of the sun setting on the trees 

But, my real concern is, the baby may be here much sooner than expected.  Nothing to be overly concerned about, the doctors simply adjusted the baby's due date by multiple weeks.  Multiple weeks!  Doesn't the doctor know how important something like that is to a knitting grandma?  I mean, come on!  I've got a knitting schedule!  A one week adjustment is one thing, but weeks, with an "S" ...  Yikes!

But, whenever she arrives, the baby will need a Big Baby Thing and dag gone it if this first time grandma is going to be late with baby's Big Baby Thing.  

But, and here's where I'm extra thankful for all the suggestions to let the Big Baby Thing be late and perhaps knit a small baby thing instead...

Knit Picks Stroll fingering  https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435419&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Mint Green Stroll Small Baby Thing

You all reminded me of an important small baby thing that I'd planned to knit and had completely forgotten about.  Needless to say, it's on the needles now.  In fact, it's almost off the needles!  


And I promise it isn't dirty dishwater colored in real life.  In real life, it's standard, genderless, mint green. Mint Stroll from Knit Picks to be exact.  I'm holding two strands together to make the knitting go faster.  I'm pretty stoked about this design.  I'm making it up as I go and so far, it's working as planned.  Knock on wood!  Anyway, I'll be able to tell you more about it next week. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Supper - Buffalo Chicken Casserole

It's a January Sunday, thunder stormy and 70+ degrees.  On top of the crazy weather, I'm feeling lazy and dealing with the last minute push to get that Reyna shawl finished.  Dinner will be a simple, one dish affair tonight.

healthy casserole recipe, made from scratch from delish.com https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a49035/buffalo-chicken-casserole-recipe/
Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Meet Buffalo Chicken Casserole.  I found the recipe on delish.com and it's exactly what's needed today.   It's light and healthy enough for what feels like a summer day in January, it's one dish, and it has both veggies and protein. I'm declaring it a winner before I've even put it in the oven.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Almost

Are you sick of hearing about my Reyna shawl?  You must be.  Even my  phone has learned to spell it and every time I start to text a word starting with an "R" it auto-fills Reyna.

Hand knit shawl knit with fingering weight superwash wool from Urban Girl Yarns

Thankfully, I've almost finished her.  I hesitate to say it because by doing so pretty much guarantees I'll spill bleach on her or accidentally chop off an appendage and bleed all over her but... I should easily meet my goal of finishing Reyna by bedtime Sunday.

Once Reyna is complete, assuming I finish her on Sunday,  I'll have five days to knit the big, secret, baby gift thing.  Even if some knitting miracle happened (which it won't) and I finished Reyna tonight, I'd only have seven days.  Normally it takes me three weeks of severely focused knitting to make a 'big, secret, baby gift thing.'  Yikes!  I'm in trouble.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Three on Thursday - Boot Cuffs

It's Three on Thursday and I feel like I'm repeating myself.  Sorry.  But, last Thursday's post had me talking about some yarn I wanted to turn into boot cuffs... And that sent me off in search of patterns...  And I've been obsessed ever since.  It's killing me to continue working on my Need To Finish knits instead of tossing them into the corner and casting on boot cuffs.  Honestly, probably the only reason I haven't given in to that desire is my inability to choose which pattern to knit first.  

Okay, okay.  Honestly, I'll most likely knit a simple ribbed pair of cuffs first, just to make sure I know how fat my calves really are and to get an idea of how much ease/negative ease I need.  But the second pair of cuffs.....

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-boot-topper
Cabled Boot Topper by Anna Templer
I really like these.  I've been wanting to do something cabled for a while now but don't have the patience for a cabled sweater.  These boot toppers might be just the trick.  I also think I have the perfect yarn for them.  And, oh look!  The pattern is free on Ravelry.


https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/entangled-boot-cuffs
Entangled Boot Cuffs from Melissa Burke
Or maybe these.  The cabling looks like it might be slightly easier and I'm all about ease these days.  Plus, I just learned the Norwegian purl stitch and these would give me plenty of opportunity to practice.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/estonian-rib-boot-toppers
Estonian Rib Boot Toppers
But then, I have lots of bits of leftover sock yarn that I think would work well for these Estonian Ribbed Boot Toppers.  And the pattern, from Gail Tanquary is also free on Ravelry.  I really like the way the striped yarn works with the slanted ribbing.  When I first saw these, I thought they were entrelac.

Aack!  I can't decide.  What do y'all think?

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Pooling

I love how my Urban Girl yarn pools.

fingering weight yarn, pooled on the spool
Urban Girl Yarns Poly

It pools on the spool.

Sorry.  I think I've had too many cookies and not enough coffee.

But no matter my diet, I love the way the yarn pooled when skeined.  Thankfully it's not pooling like that on my knitting.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Supper - Lasagna Soup

Today's Sunday Supper is Lasagna Soup.

Lasagna Soup from tastesbetterfromscratch.com
I posted a similar recipe a few years ago but it was for the Instant Pot and sadly, I no longer have an Instant Pot.  Mine suffered a painful death in the oven.  Yes, the oven.  And no, I don't want to talk about it.

What I do want is some yummy, warm and filling lasagna soup on this cold winter day.  Want to join me?  You can find this stove-top version of the recipe here.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Urban Girl Reyna

Easy garter and lace shawl knit with fingering weight yarn from Urban Girl Yarns
Reyna
I am so in love with this project.  First of all, I love knitting the Reyna shawl pattern.  It's a simple garter and lace design.  Just as you start to get bored with one stitch pattern, you switch to the other.  But best of all, the design is free on Ravelry, it prints on one page without 400 color photos and truly best of all, the pattern has little check boxes for you to mark off each row as you do them.  I Love check boxes!

But besides my love of the design, there's the yarn I'm using.  It's Poly from Urban Girl Yarns.  Oh my goodness!  I can't even express my love for this yarn.  First, the colors are SO 'me.'  It's beachy and summery and well, just so me!  The yarn itself is, well, awesome.  It reminds me of Knit Picks' Hawthorne but it's a tad bit heavier and much spongier/bouncier.  It has that look of thin, cottony string and I had to give myself a pep talk before casting it on.  I'm not a fan of cotton or string, but those colors!  But, I was quickly and pleasantly surprised as it does not feel like string when knitting with it.  It glides through my hands and has a wonderful texture.  

The only reason I'm not giving this Reyna 100% of my attention is that big, darned grand-baby surprise knit that I must have finished in a few weeks.  Or at least I should  have it finished.  The baby shower is coming up and I'd like to have it finished by then.  But then again, the baby's not due until the end of March.  I wonder if the mom-to-be would understand this Reyna taking precedence over my first grandchild.  Hmmm....


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I have high hopes for 2020.  Honestly, I'm not sure how realistic my hopes are.  We'll have to see about that.  I'm excited to be unemployed and hope to have more time to spend on the blog and the Etsy shop.  My poor Etsy shop has seen no love from me in over a year.  I hope to change that in 2020.  At the moment, it's state is a bit of an embarrassment.  So far, since quitting my job in October, I haven't had as much free time as expected.  But, we did move in with my mother-in-law on November 1st and between getting settled after the move and the holidays....  I have higher hopes for 2020.

Besides spending time on the blog and in the Etsy shop,  I also hope 2020 brings more knitting time.  At the moment I'm struggling with a major case of startitis.  I'm supposed to be knitting the secret baby thing, I'd love to get my Weekender sweater finished in time to wear it this winter, and then there's the matter of needing to knit a shawl to replace the Reyna shawl that was supposed to be a replacement for the Colorburst shawl that I knit as a Christmas gift but didn't give away.  Apparently I'm not giving away the Urban Girl Reyna either.  Good grief!

But as I said, I have a bad case of startitis.  And a current obsession with gray yarns.

Super soft aran weight alpaca yarn http://shrsl.com/21ez3
Knit Picks Simply Alpaca

I've had this gray alpaca in my stash for a while and I'm dying to knit a Cashmere cowl for myself.  The yarn is Knit Picks' Simply Alpaca in the Alfie colorway and it is probably the softest thing I have ever felt in my entire life.  I have no idea how I let it sit in the stash pile for so long.  I can't wait to knit with it and since the Cashmere cowl pattern is written for fingering and this is aran weight, the knitting should go super fast.  And yikes!  I see that it's on sale at the moment.  I'm supposed to still be on a yarn diet but.... 

Ribbed scarf knit with Knit Picks Palette https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1435479&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Five By Five Scarf

I started and abandoned this Five by Five scarf back in the summer.  I'd like to finish it.  I'm also not sure I can technically call it a Five by Five.  The idea behind Five by Five is that it's five yarns held together to knit five columns of five-stitch ribbing.  This scarf has nine columns and only four yarns.  But hey, the difference between nine and four is five so....  Whatever.  The scarf uses up multiple skeins at once and its purpose, besides my current gray obsession, is to use up my yarn stash as quickly as possible.  The yarns are Knit Pick's Palette  in Silver, Mist and an unlabeled shade of white plus a skein of their Aloft mohair in Carbon.  If I'd only spend some time with it, it would knit up super quickly.

Simple Cabled Boot Cuffs by Sarah Leslie

And lastly, I have multiple gray skeins of Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes that I'd like to turn into boot cuffs.  

Breckenridge Boot Toppers from Ryan Page Haas
When they first became popular I thought boot cuffs were maybe the dumbest thing ever.  But, I wear a lot of leggings and I recently bought a pair of short boots... and now I see the need and understand their popularity.  Now that it's officially winter and January which means we're finally feeling mostly winter weather here in Virginia, boot cuffs are getting moved to the top of my knitting queue.

Did you notice?  Today is Three on Thursday and that was three gray things I want to knit.  Join me over at Carole's for today's Three on Thursday link up.