Oh, Nuts!

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#rookiemistake

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NTSH*

Well, maybe a couple of things. I’m allllllmost done my big blue rectangle** and I’m 24 rows of lace away from binding off my Miller’s Daughter.

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God, I love this shawl.

I’ve decided to use this last day of May to start swatching for a toddler hat and diaper cover combo. His mom wanted a knight’s helmet hat, so I found a cute on on ravelry: Sir Knight Helmet by Martina Gardner.

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Image copyright MAGKnits. Via ravelry.

I haven’t decided on a diaper cover pattern yet, but I think something basic will work.

While you’re waiting for me to block, finish and swatch and bring you more news of my knitting exploits, here are a few more patterns that have recently caught my eye. First up is Om Shawl by Andrea Mowry. It’s a super cool looking, versatile shawl and the worsted weight version of Yoga Shawl. Both are giant and can be worn as a poncho, wrap, huge scarf/cowl, or just used as a blanket. I like the way Om Shawl uses color and I like that the geometric motif is interesting but not overpowering. Both patterns are 25% off until June 5.

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Image copyright Andrea Mowry. Via ravelry.

Next up is Halle by megi burci. This one’s much smaller and isn’t my usual style, but it caught my eye anyway. There’s something about the way the color pooling and the wavy lace border interact that I think is compelling.

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Image copyright Vivian Aubrey. Via ravelry.

Lastly, I thought this was a cute little set: Udakua. A thing for summer by Anne B Hanssen. It’s a dress and pants set with cute stripes. I imagine the pattern would be pretty versatile, so you could make the pants into soakers, make the dress a shirt, etc. Also, it’s free until June 5!

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Image copyright Anne B Hanssen Design AB. Via ravelry.

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Image copyright Anne B Hanssen Design AB. Via ravelry.

That’s all the knitting news I have for today. Happy knitting!

 

*Nothing to see here.

**It’s official. I’m renaming my ravelry project as soon as I’m done this post.

Trust Your Gut

As a new nurse, this was one of the first things I learned: If there’s a little voice in the back of your head saying “hmmm”, LISTEN to it. That lesson has served me well time and time again. Over the years, I’ve learned that it not only applies to nursing but to life in general, too. I’ve gradually learned to listen to my instincts, if not always to act on them.

I’m starting to think it applies to knitting, too. We’ve all done it–forged onward with a project when our senses are telling us something just isn’t right. That’s the reason people knit handkerchiefs that were supposed to be shawls, hats that would fit Bob’s Big Boy and it’s probably mostly responsible for the creation of this thread on ravelry. Sometimes it’s the pattern that leads us astray, or the way knitted fabric stretches every which way when we try to measure it. Sometimes it’s just dogged determination that something will turn out a certain way despite plentiful evidence to the contrary.

I think I’m at such a crossroads. All my instincts are telling me that my latest socks (Little Minx) are fixing to be extra giant sized. I just can’t tell you why. Sure, they look a little on the big side. But why? My gauge is right. I’m using the right needles. The yarn is…well, I think it’s working. The pattern doesn’t seem off base. So what’s the problem?

The answer is…I’m not sure. But there sure is one. I had intended to make the large size (72 sts) as, by measurements, that would fit me the best. I cast on and started working on the toe increases. When I got to the right stitch count for the small/medium size (64), I tried them on. They don’t cover my toes all the way yet, but it’s pretty clear they’re too big. If I stretch them out, the circumference hits 11″* easily and could even stretch a little more.

So. Options. I could:

  1. Frog. Choose a different yarn. Restart. However, I would have to do them on dpns as I don’t have long enough circs in US1 to magic loop them TAAT.
  2. Rip back to 56 sts and carry on.
  3. Just plain carry on. Knit the small/medium size.
  4. Ignore all the alarm bells in my head and continue increasing. Make the large size. Lament the fact that I don’t know any giants who want bright orange socks. Orange socks that should have been mines.

I’m hovering between options 2 and 3 currently. I’ve read through lots of project notes from others who have made these socks (god I love ravelry) and haven’t found much guidance. The fit didn’t seem to be a major issue for anyone else, at least not to the same degree. What people did say, however, was that the pattern stitch tends to pull in a good bit. Given that, I’m tempted to leave room for a little extra give, ie, option 3.

The confounding factor is the yarn I’m using: Frog Tree Pediboo Sport. It can be fingering weight, it can be sport weight. It’s mostly merino but it has 20% bamboo. It just doesn’t behave like a typical sock yarn. Honestly, the bamboo content makes it knit up a lot like cotton–shiny, slippery, not much memory. I read through some project notes from people who made socks out of it, and one thing that got mentioned was they turned out kinda floppy. I don’t want floppy socks. I want socks I can wear! So that makes me lean back toward option 2.

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It’s a little tricky to take good pictures of orange socks when it’s dark and no one’s awake to help you.

You see? Too big. So what to do?

Looking on the bright side, I totally nailed Judy’s Magic Cast On and working TAAT!

*It’s supposed to fit a foot circumference of 8.5-9.5″.

Thursday Sock-Along: Choices, Choices

I should have learned by now not to plan my knitting projects too far ahead. I (almost) never end up doing what I thought I would do. Something always comes up: the pattern is wrong for some reason, the yarn gauge isn’t what I thought it was, the yarn yardage isn’t what I thought it was, I get distracted by something shinier, etc. etc. So, in typical me fashion, the pattern and yarn for my next pair of socks aren’t at all what I’d planned. That said, I think they will be pretty cool anyway!

As I’ve been putting in serious time on my giant blue rectangle, and then rewarding myself with a few rows of shawl knitting, I haven’t cast on for said socks yet. I’ve got everything lined up, though: yarn, pattern, needles, approach. The only thing I haven’t decided on is what cast on to use, but I’m going to have to try a few out first. The plan is to knit toe-up, TAAT socks out of a vivid orange skein of Frog Tree Pediboo Sport that I got online a while back. The color is a little brighter and less yellow than in the pic, but you get the idea:

 

It’s a super soft 80% merino and 20% bamboo blend. Aaaaaand it’s sport weight. And it’s only 255 yards. Don’t panic, though, I’m going to make it work. They aren’t going to be knee highs, but so what? They’ll be orange! I’ll just knit until I run out of yarn and call it a day.

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Image copyright attimania via ravelry.

I had settled on using the pattern Lotta by Astrid Schramm (pictured above), but I’m a little worried that the gauge is too loose. From what I’ve read about the Pediboo, it can knit up like either a sport weight or a fingering weight. Since I’d rather err on the side of a snugger fabric, I may go with Little Minx (below) by Karen Scott Designs*. See? Two patterns that weren’t even in the running before!

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Image copyright K M Scott via ravelry.

I’m excited about learning so many new-to-me sock techniques! I’m also excited to have a bright orange pair of socks. I love that, in large part due to this Thursday sock series, the prospect of trying so many new things really doesn’t seem daunting anymore. For my first pair of socks, I even used yarn I didn’t care too much about, just in case they didn’t turn out well. I’m no longer worried about “wasting” yarn on learning new things as I’m confident I’ll get the hang of it quickly.

If you haven’t checked out my fellow Thursday sock knitters, please do so! Paula blogs at Spin a Yarn and Hannah blogs at unsophisticated + jejune. If you’d like to join up with us, we’d love to have you. Just post and link up!

Happy sock knitting!

*Just to prove my first paragraph right, I paused while writing this blog post to go down the rabbit hole again to find my backup pattern. Which is quickly becoming my first choice pattern. And so it goes!

Down the Ravelry Rabbit Hole

I’ve been getting tons done on my two main projects right now. My MO is to work on my giant blue rectangle aka Easy Folded Poncho early in the day. Then, once I’ve knocked out a significant chunk, I’ll reward myself by working on my Miller’s Daughter. That way, I make good progress on both of them and I don’t get too overwhelmingly bored.

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It’s getting giant-er!

I don’t have an updated MD pic because…well, it all kind of looks the same now. It’s bunched up on the needles in typical giant shawl fashion, so it’s tricky to see the shape or any change in size. However, as I might have mentioned before, I am madly and thoroughly in love with this thing. Unfortunately, the weather turned around today and it looks like we’re solidly in pre-summer mode here*. I just want to scrunch it up and wear it forever, but I would probably melt or catch fire or something.

On to the rabbit hole. Despite the fact that I’m “booked” several projects out, I keep getting lost in pattern searching on ravelry. There’s so much out there and I just want to knit it all! I keep adding favorites and adding things to my queue. I’m up to 16 items on my queue, which is kind of crazy for me. I don’t tend to queue things unless I’m 90% sure I’m going to make them. I use favorites to earmark things I’m interested in but might never get around to, or things I might want to look at later for inspiration. In particular, I’ve been bitten by the shawl bug pretty badly. Part of it might be the Melanie Berg KAL that I’m doing right now, but several of her shawls are really calling to me.

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

Meet Rheinlust. I didn’t realize how interesting this shawl was until I saw a bunch of close up pics on the KAL thread. The wave motif is worked horizontally and is made with twisted stitches. That gives each little wave a very crisp and three dimensional look and adds lovely definition. I think it looks best in a tonal, midnight blue shade. This one is going to have to wait until I’ve whittled down my stash quite a bit. It takes about 950 yards of fingering and I don’t have any solids with that yardage currently.

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

Another Mairlynd shawl that has tempted me is On the Spice Market. This one has a main color and six contrast colors. I’ve seen some really lovely color combinations on this one. Amazingly, I have enough stash yarn to do this one–all in Koigu KPM–so this one might find its way to my needles sometime soon! My MC would be this greyish lavender:

I have several choices on the contrast colors, so I’ll see what looks good together next time I dig them all out.

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Photo copyright Melanie Berg. Via ravelry.

The last Melanie Berg shawl I’m going to talk about today is The Love of Spiders. Just look at it. Really, need I say more? It’s got gorgeous texture, shape, contrast and structure. I love it!

What are your favorite shawl patterns? Have you knit any of the ones above? What pattern bug has got to you lately? I’d love to know!

Happy knitting!

*I’d say spring, but it’s too humid for that shit, yo.

Really, Who Doesn’t Need More Yarn?

I got started on the Easy Folded Poncho today. Part of me (well, most of me) can’t believe that a pattern that tells you how to knit a giant rectangle costs $5. If you’re thinking of making one, here’s a spoiler: It’s a giant rectangle.

At least it really is easy and the yarn I’m working with is nice enough. It’s a light blue shade of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, a worsted weight yarn that’s half alpaca and half wool. It’s soft, warm, and has just enough of a halo to it. It seems to be going fairly quickly so far!

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The white yarn is a provisional cast on.

This project has got me wondering what I should do with the random greeny mustard skein of the same yarn I have floating around in my stash:

Berroco calls this color “fennel”?

Maybe it’s the color, but I’m wondering if it would do well for a Mesh Lace Slouchy Hat by Jamie Sande:

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Copyright Jamie Sande. Photo via ravelry.

Coincidence??? I don’t think so! The pattern is written for a DK weight and the yarn is worsted, but the pattern gauge seems like it would work okay. The pattern is free, by the way! I think I’ll add it to my queue.

So, I’m being good and only working on commission projects and test knits. Well, mostly. I did knock out the last five rows of the next to last lace section on my Miller’s Daughter, but other than that I’ve been very focused! I do want to finish the shawl before the end of Melanie Berg’s KAL because, well, have you seen those prizes?? I made lots of progress on my Twinberry test knit. Now I’m just cruising through the stockinette part of the body, so it’s a good project to have for waiting rooms and traffic jams. I’m loving how it’s turning out so far!

So, I think we can all agree that I have enough yarn for the foreseeable future. Between my Goodwill finds, bargain hunting and freecycle hauls, I have more yarn than I can store…much less knit! However, the wifey got me a gift certificate to my LYS for Mother’s Day and I just couldn’t let it go to waste. I debated for several days over what to get and eventually settled on three skeins of lusciously soft and beautifully dyed Queen of Hearts, a new base from Frabjous Fibers a la Wonderland Yarns. Each skein is 410 squooshy yards of fingering weight 80/10/10 merino, cashmere and nylon. I selected the semisolid colors Sleeping Gryphon, Tea Tray and Off With Her Red. I guess one could use it for socks, but I’d consider that a tad sacrilegious. What it really wants to be is a shawl. For me. It was a present, after all!

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I’m not working with the best lighting right now, but the colors are actually pretty accurate.

But which shawl? In between bouts of virtuous obligation knitting, I’ve been going down the rabbit hole that is pattern searching on ravelry. Right now I’m kind of leaning toward Ashburn by Melanie Berg, but I’m not decided. Got any suggestions for a good, three color, fingering weight shawl? I’m all ears!

Happy knitting!

Thursday Sock-Along: Kidlet Socks and Planning Ahead

Welcome to Thursday’s sock post! Someone (my esteemed mother) recently asked me, “Why socks? Why Thursdays?” So, here’s a little history to answer both of those questions. A few, or maybe several, months ago, my blogging friend Maggie at Project(s) in Progress decided she wanted to tackle the sometimes daunting world of sock knitting. She got some other bloggers interested, myself included, and we started a bit of a casual sock KAL. Unfortunately Mags had a serious injury a bit ago and hasn’t been up for blogging, but hopefully she will feel better soon. There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, and anyone can participate, whether it’s for a week here and there or over the course of several weeks or months. All you need to do to join in is knit some socks, or think about knitting some socks, and post about it on Thursdays. There’s no special significance to Thursdays…we just needed to pick a day! If you do join in, please consider linking your post to the other participants’ blogs (see the end of this post for a list). Maybe someday I’ll put together an icon of some sort, but let’s not get overly ambitious!

So, on to the socks! I have another FO to share! Yesterday, I finished up a quick pair of socks for my daughter. Here are the details:

The rundown

Pattern: Basic Child’s Gradiance Sock in Foot Prints by Laura Lough, free off-ravelry download.

Yarn: Knit Picks Parade, 110 yards. Each skein has about 137 yards, so I was easily able to get a pair out of one ball. It’s a self striping yarn but it’s sport weight instead of fingering, so the socks worked up super quickly. I got this yarn in my giant freecycle haul.

Size made: 2-4y. The pattern also includes directions for size 4-8y.

Needles: US3 dpns

Modifications: I picked up one extra stitch on each side of the heel flaps.

Techniques used: Cuff down construction, standard heel and toe (as written in pattern). I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. I finished the toes with Kitchener stitch.

Difficulty: Reasonably easy. This wouldn’t be a pattern I’d recommend for a first-time sock knitter unless I provided a little clarification, but anyone who’s made at least one pair of standard socks wouldn’t have any trouble.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

I’m really happy with them and, more importantly, so is my daughter! The look on her face when I gave them to her was to die for, it was that cute. Her eyes just lit up and she started smiling like crazy.

They seem to fit well, although they look like they’d be too big. They have a little room to grow so they should fit her for a couple of years or so. It’s funny…with heavier weight yarns, I tend to knit more snugly than typical. I often have to go up a needle size to get gauge. Socks? Not so much. For sock yarn, I mostly have to use US1s or even US0s sometimes to get 8 sts/”. For this sport weight yarn, I didn’t bother checking gauge. They were such a quick knit that I would have just ripped the first sock out if it was dramatically off. The pattern gauge for these is 7 sts/” and I think I came in closer to 6. Next time, I would use US2s. I definitely wouldn’t expect these to fit a two year old, like the pattern says.

Other stuff I would change if I made socks from this pattern again: I would add two or three rows of stockinette between the cuff ribbing and the start of the heel flap. The 2×2 rib doesn’t line up with the sl1 k1 heel flap so I’d rather have a little buffer between them.

One thing I specifically like about this pattern is the toe decrease. You decrease every other round for the first several rounds, then the last two decrease rounds are done consecutively. I think it gives the sock a nicer rounded toe instead of a slightly pointy, angular one.

In all, this is a handy, quick pattern to have in my sock arsenal, and there’s a good chance I’d make them again. Best part? It’s a free pattern! Between that and getting the yarn for free, this was quite the economical pair of socks!

So, what’s next on the sock horizon, you ask? Well, if you saw my last post, you know that I have some non-sock projects I need to focus on. However, there are still ideas fermenting and plans being made! Here are my goals in a nutshell:

  • Find a good “vanilla” sock pattern that fits me well. I want to have a go-to pattern that I can just cast on and work on without having to think too much.
  • Make more socks for the kidlet! They’re really quick and gratifying, not to mention cute as stink.
  • Learn how to do an afterthought heel, short row heel, Fish Lips Kiss heel and TAAT (two at a time) socks*.
  • Make socks as gifts for two people who have expressed interest.

In order to explore my options, I started looking through some of my sock resources. I might have a few knitting books tucked away (cough, cough) so I pulled out the ones just about socks. I looked through three different books for ideas and direction, and now I have so many socks I want to make, it’s a little ridiculous. From The Joy of Sox**, I want to make Hot Waves, Warm Up Socks, and Royal Flush. From Op-Art Socks: Creative Effects in Sock Knitting***, I want to make Crest and Victor, and most of the rest of the book, too. From Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, I want to make Bob and Weave Socks, Critter Socks (with foxes), and Dainty Anklets. Clearly, I have my work cut out for me! I also have a copy of Socks by Vogue Knitting on the Go somewhere, but I’m not sure where I put it.

What about you? Do you have socks on the needles? What’s your favorite heel technique? I’d love to hear about it! Also, check out what Paula at Spin A Yarn and Hannah at unsophisticated + jejune are up to this week!

Happy sock knitting!

 

* Lots of people want to do TAAT to avoid second sock syndrome. I don’t seem to suffer from that, but I do have a hard time making both socks exactly the same, despite detailed note taking and trying really hard. Part of it is that by the second sock, I’m more confident and my gauge gets tighter. I think doing them TAAT will help.

**I actually have two copies of The Joy of Sox. If anyone wants the extra one, it’s yours for the cost of shipping.

***I got my copy of this book at Tuesday Morning for about $3! Thrifty knitting rocks!

Honeymoon’s Over

For the past couple of days, I’ve had the luxury of lots of knitting time. As I’ve been stressed out about a variety of things (read: job), I took Paula’s sage advice and worked on things that made me happy. I made some serious progress on my Miller’s Daughter:

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I might have mentioned this before, but I am completely smitten with these colors and how they work together. I wasn’t sure initially about including the lighter blue (Cherry Tree Hill Superlace Ragg), but now? I’m completely sold. One ply of it is grey, which adds interesting texture to the mix. Occasionally, the color edges toward green, which mirrors the Edison Bulb well. As for the darker blue shade (The Fibre Company Road to China Lace), what’s not to love about an alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere blend? Well? Bueller? Yeah, that’s right–nothing. That just leaves the Edison Bulb (madelinetosh tosh lace), and for that, you either love it or you hate it. As for me, you guessed it! I love it.

I love how the texture of lace weight yarn worked on US4 needles is light and airy while still being delightfully squooshy. The shawl is just begging me to scrunch it up around my neck and wear the bejeesus out of it. I can’t wait.

If you are working a Miller’s Daughter, or any other Melanie Berg shawl, you might consider joining her 2nd Annual Any Shawl KAL. There’s still plenty of time left to finish one up by June 12, and there are several really lovely prizes to be had. Check out the thread on ravelry here.

Other projects I worked on this week include one that I will discuss tomorrow and another test knit for Taiga Hilliard. This one is called Twinberry and it’s a raglan tunic-style pullover. It can have either short or long sleeves and the length is adjustable (well, this is knitting…everything’s adjustable). There’s not a ton of it to see yet, but I’ve got a start on it:

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I’m using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for this as I’ve found it’s a good yarn for kids clothes. It has good stitch definition, great colors, and should wear well. My only quibble with it is that it’s not machine washable or dryable, although I’ve a mind to give it a try sometime and see how it goes. It’s 80% cotton and 20% merino, so it shouldn’t felt. I suspect the worst that could happen is it might shrink some and the color might run. I’ve actually used the same yarn on three other kids test knits already! I got several more skeins of it from my giant freecycle yarn score, so I’ve got lots to work with.

I’m glad I had some time to work on these projects, as tomorrow I’m heading into crunch time. I have two commission jobs to work on, and I’m officially getting started on them tomorrow. The first is a knight’s helmet hat with matching diaper cover (and knitted sword!) for a one year old’s birthday party. I’m planning on using this Sir Knight Helmet pattern by Martina Gardner:

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Photo copyright MAGKnits. Obtained from ravelry.

I will also be making this Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas:

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Photo copyright Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. Obtained from ravelry.

I got the yarn for this, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, yesterday and I’m getting the pattern tomorrow. Both projects should be reasonably fun and go quickly, but it will be nice to get back to knitting for me and mine afterward.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a juicy post full of socks and socky plans. Until then, happy knitting!

What To Do

I’m at something of a loss for what to do with myself today. I’m on tenterhooks* while waiting to hear about my (maybe) new job, and there’s nothing more I can do on that front at the moment. I can either worry or just let go…and I’m choosing the latter. But in order to keep the worry from creeping back in, I need to do something with myself. 

Well, why not knit? Yeah, I have been. And I’ll keep at it. The question is what? Here are a few of the options in tossing around:

-Do the finishing for any number of UFFOs** I have lying around. I have three hats that need blocked, a skirt that needs ends woven in and elastic sewed, and another skirt that needs elastic sewed. 

-Start any of four (really?? Four??) overdue test knits. In my defense, I’ve been whittling that number down quickly. Not in my defense, I’ve been leaving the larger projects for last. Unrelated to my defense, I need to rethink my yarn choices for a couple of them as I don’t see my original selections working out all that well. That might be causing some of the delay. 

-Start my next pair of socks for me. I have yarn and a pattern picked out (although it just now dawns on me the yarn is probably in storage, so can’t get it for a few days). It’s not Thursday, so I won’t give you any more details on that front.

-Start a pair of socks for my daughter. I have yarn and pattern picked for these, too. And they’re not in storage so I have no excuse!

-Start a commission hat and diaper cover set. 

-Start a repair job that I’ve been neglecting. 

-Work on my Miller’s Daughter shawl. 

I owe you an update on said shawl. I blogged a while back about my daring repair on one of the lace panels, but never reported back on how that turned out. Well, I messed with the tension on the repaired panel a bunch. I didn’t get it perfect, but I got far enough with it to determine that I think it’s going to be just fine. So I carried on with the stripes and now am ready to start another lace section. 

So, how to choose? Do I fulfill some of my obligation crafting (that my mother, quite rightly, reminded me I brought on myself)? Or do I work on something that will help me feel better in the moment? Well, I worked on the shawl for a bit this am. I’m out of the house for the afternoon now, so my choices are limited to what I brought with me: shawl and kid socks.

But you guys, I really need to do my knitting job stuff. I’ve got another commission piece (kind of a biggie) coming in this week and it would be nice to clear my plate a little more before that. I never really meant to get into knitting for hire because of the time it takes away from knitting for pleasure, but I will say I enjoy it and learn something valuable from each project (even if it’s as basic as charging fairly for my time and skills). I just don’t like getting behind on stuff and then feeling like I need to catch up. 

If you’ve made it this far through my musings, I think that warrants some pictures! 

Not perfect, but it’s pretty durn close!


How’d that get in there? It’s not Thursday!


But since it’s there, that’s the yarn I’m planning making my daughter’s socks out of. It’s closer to sport weight than fingering weight, so they should go really quickly. 

And, here’s some of the wildlife that’s been spotted around my place lately:


Our goldfinches are back! The former next door neighbors had a cat that kept the songbird population pretty much non-existent, but they’ve moved away and we have birds again!


Here we have the elusive tunnel cats!

Happy knitting–whatever project(s) you choose!

*Did you know that word has fiber-related origins? I didn’t. It’s essentially about blocking
**Unfinished finished objects. Come on, we all have them! The fun part is done and the last few bits are just…work!