WIPs


So it’s been a rough start to 2011 for me and for the ones I love – too much personal stuff to go into here.  I’ve try to stay positive and I’m usually pretty good but sometimes I just get really down – early last week was a good example of that, just days of  hopelessness.  But then something happened that made it all better.

I have a new love

Rorschach

Meet Rorschach, our new kitty!  I’ve been working at Pixie Project, as I mentioned before and when I saw her on Friday morning, I fell in love.  She’s a tiny friendly kitty, between 9 months & a year old and just the cutest, sweetest cat I’ve ever met.  CB took a little convincing but once he met her, I don’t think he could resist.  He named her in fact.  I usually call her Rory though.

Picture 680

With her favorite toy, a little foam ball

She came home with me on Saturday and has fit right in.

I wish all my pictures weren’t so blurry, but she is constantly moving and I really should get a better camera.  We just absolutely adore her.  She has a very different personality than Mina, which I think is a good thing – I miss Mina so much – but I’m not constantly comparing them.  Anyway, she’s just making us both so happy and that’s a good thing.

And to be honest, it hasn’t been all gloom & doom since my last post, thought it feels like it sometimes.  So here are some more Good Things.

I had 2 “patterns” published

Semplice Fingerless Mitts

A  really simple fingerless mitts pattern – it’s so simple I feel silly calling it a pattern, I didn’t even add my name to it.  Anyway, I just wrote it up & knit up the sample in a weekend – it’s the one I use all the time.  And the nice thing about working for a yarn company, I have access to good photography – that’s my coworker Jenny – not to mention an outlet to publish it.

Put a Birdie On it Dishcloth

Once again another silly free pattern – several of us at work did them for our release of our new yarn.  This one was fun, thought I honestly don’t like to knit dishcloths – I crochet them now – but how could I resist not putting a bit of Portlandia on it?

As for my own projects, I finished a pair of sunny socks

Just basic top down socks out of Felici Sport Sunny Day. It’s been such a crappy grey spring again this year so I wanted a bit of sunshine on my feet.

I picked up this old project…and I’m finally almost done!

body done

Yep – this is Cables & Os that I started 4 years ago! I wrote a more extensive blog post on it here, but  now I’m done with the sleeves! Just need to sew it up & had the button band (and find buttons for it)

Oh and one more thing…I”m going to TNNA in June!  I’m so excited and I get to meet several of the designers I work with.

So that’s the happy things update – hope you all are well!

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So even though I don’t blog here as often as I used to, I still knit.  And sometimes, when I get a wild hair, I actually take pictures of my projects.

We got a copy of New England Knits several months before the book came out and I was completely in love.  I’ve honestly become part of the group of knitters who rarely buys books or magazines anymore, preferring to purchase single patterns (not surprising, given my job I guess).  But this book…I had to have it.  I found at least a dozen projects that I immediately wanted to cast on.   It’s like my dream book.

First I did a quick knit – I mentioned it in my last post.
Birdies

When you’re sad, there’s really nothing like casting on something quick out of Malabrigo.  Even better, having cute birdie buttons to put on it.  This is the Brattleboro Hat, super quick & easy and lifted my spirits immediately.   Awesome buttons are from Blue Manatee Buttons, of which I have way too many of now – they are all so adorable.  I need to find more projects to put them on.

I had a hard time picking my next project.  I finally settled on Salem Hooded Jacket.
Merlot Hoodie

I had some Swish Bulky in Merlot Heather that was intended for another project but I decided I wasn’t in love with the project anymore.  And I loved this sweater – a hoodie with pockets!  Best of all, it’s called Salem – while I have no idea which Salem they mean, Salem MA has always been one my favorite places.  So that’s what it refers to in my mind.

While it’s a “bulky” yarn, it’s really more of an aran to me and I got gauge on size 9s. I cast on & went to town.
Merlot Hoodie

The only think I didn’t love was just the top closure – I have so many knit cardigans that only close at the top.  So I decided to add buttons.  I’m glad I did, I really like how it turned out.
I love buttons

I found some really awesome buttons at Twisted too.

There were a couple of odd things – the sleeves are much wider than how they appear in the photo in the book.  I had gauge & everything but they end up being bell sleeves.  I don’t really mind, but if I was to do this again, I would probably start with fewer stitches & a smaller needle size.  The length is also the same for all sizes.  I added a couple of inches to them, and they are
Merlot Hoodie

The other is the hood – it’s also the same size for all sizes.  Well I have a huge head (“That’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid!”) so after trying it on, I wasn’t happy with it.  So I added a few more inches too it & am much happier.
Merlot Hoodie

A couple of other small mods – I slipped the first stitch on each side of the body, intending to pick them up & added an icord bind off like my Central Park Hoodie.  But when I finished, I liked it how it was without it.  Pockets I think ended up being smaller than the pattern – I did them like Rooibos but I don’t think I knit long enough.  But they are big enough for small items, which is all I need them for.
Merlot Hoodie

Overall, I’m really pleased with it.  Plus it only took me about 3 weeks! It’s been a remarkably cool summer (not complaining, especially after the Hell On Earth last summer)  Not quite cool enough to wear this regularly yet, but I think this will be worn quite a bit this fall & winter.

Next is the Greenboro Cardigan – a nice garter stitch sweater.  And I’m particularly excited about my yarn choice
IMG_5471

It’s Capra, our new cashmere/merino blend yarn, which I absolutely love. (yes, there’s even quotes from me on the new yarn page about it.)  And I love this color – generally I’m not drawn to orange, but I am more & more and this is the most perfect color (it’s called Tiger Lily).  I’m hoping to finish this one pretty quickly – I’m hoping to photograph it on my Seattle holiday at the end of September…with my guy.  I hope.  Fingers crossed.

I don’t normally get too personal here – or anywhere really.  But it’s been a rough couple of months, mentally.  The thing about long distance relationships, you expect the long distance part to be over at some point and then when that date gets pushed back & pushed back & pushed back, it has a wearing affect on you.  And that has been getting to me.

Part of me feels my complaints are not nearly as bad as what others are going through and I shouldn’t be so down. My SO isn’t fighting a war in some distant land for years on end.  We both have jobs & are financially stable. We’re both healthy and have great friends & family.  So I keep such whining to myself for the most part- I may make the odd post on facebook or a passing comment to friends  but try my best not to have a pity party and have everyone feel sorry for us.  But it still has been getting to me a great deal.

And in this internet age, it’s not like we don’t have the option to “see” each other every day.  It’s not like when I was growing up – my father was in the Air Force and there would be months and years that he would be sent on TDY where we were lucky to get a letter or a phone call every couple of weeks.  We now have cell phones with unlimited minutes to anywhere in the US, gmail chat – even video chat.

But you can’t hug a video image.

And while I have a wonderful job and coworkers and fantastic friends & family that I spend time with, it makes me feel lonely sometimes.  It’s not the same.

So in the midst of yet another delay, other annoyances this week, and the prospect of an uncomfortably hot weekend in Portland – I had reached my breaking point.  So I took myself to the Oregon coast.

I love the Oregon coast – I will say it’s in my top 3 favorite places on earth. I felt my body instantly relax when I came around the bend and saw the ocean.

I found a perfect place – a hotel in Seaside with ocean view from the room and within walking distance of the Boardwalk (as opposed to right on it – way way way too many screaming kids).  It’s quiet and relaxing.

It’s my weekend dammit, so I decided to do some of my favorite things.

I listened to a lot of music.

I love Mumford & Sons. A. Lot.

I had a new book to read

behind the curve I guess.

I, naturally, had knitting.

Brattleboro Hat from my new fave knitting book, New England Knits

My room had a jacquzi so I had a little relaxing spa.

Um, I may have a problem with Lush...

I ate & drank.

And just attempted to relax.  I don’t know if I feel better.  I still feel sad & a little empty.  But I guess I’ll just keep managing.

Awake my soul...

Or…what I’ve been up to in the past several…months. Sigh.

I went to the coast for my birthday with my mom & her dog Maddie

It was cold – I wore my wool hat all weekend.  But it was wonderful.

She taught me to crochet…and I liked it.

Adva Scarf – I need to do a proper photoshoot of it, this sucker is long.

I blogged about these guys for work. Violet the Octopus is my favorite.

Sun Hat, pattern by Linda Permann, who’s one of my favorite crochet designers now.

I started sewing again after several months hiatus:

Yup it’s a skirt again, though I did buy something to challenge me a bit:

The yellow is actually much lighter.  I’ve been into yellow lately.

I went to Black Sheep Gathering

Yes it’s an alpaca, not a sheep.  I loved this guy.

4 generations – Grandma, Mom, Me, and Niece.

Unsurprisingly, Blue Moon got most of my Black Sheep money again.

I also finally finished a pair of socks this year.

Oh My Goth socks in fact. In my defense, I only worked on these at work during meetings, except for the last couple of inches.  I love them, although a cashmere blend mid calf pair of socks isn’t great for July.  Though it has been quite a cold summer this year.

I started a new pair:

Pattern is Gull Wing by Chrissy Gardiner, yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Mango semi solid.  I’m also into orange lately.

And my latest obsession the past couple of weeks

I’m running, as well as working out on a regular basis.  I started Couch to 5K a few weeks back & I’ve grown to love it.  I’m on Week 5, and doing pretty well.  I also started going back to my favorite class at the gym, Power Flex.  And I’m paying for not going in several years – OUCH.  But I’m just tired of being a fat cow. :/

So that’s my couple of months in a nutshell.  I think between blogging for work, writing my project info on Ravelry, doing short updates on things like Twitter, and just not in the mood to write when I have the chance, this poor blog gets left by the wayside.  I miss it though.

I have had a serious case of startitis over the past couple of weeks in regards to my knitting projects.  Not finishitis unfortunately.  I think I have a WIP in every main knitting category now.  I just need to start a toy & some mittens/gloves to be complete! (No wait, that’s a bad idea.)

For example:

Socks:

The second of my Groovy socks that I worked on during Sock Summit & another pair of boy socks for CoffeeBoy which are honestly only worked on when it’s too dark for anything else…or I’ve had too much to drink.

Sweater:

My Calluna out of City Tweed.  I want to work on this, but the time or mood never seems right – too hot, not enough time to fully concentrate on rows that have 228 stitches & a chart to read, laziness.  It is going to be a lovely sweater though.

Hat:

A Sunny Cabley Beanie out of one of my Blue Moon purchases at Sock Summit.  It’s the pattern Clamber and I’ve only knit the brim so far.

As a side note, I really need to stop buying knitting books because it seems most of my projects are free internet patterns.  Sigh.  Although this week I ordered Made In Brooklyn.  Sigh.

Shawl/Scarf

The Prairie House Shawl out of Lotus Yarns Medusa.  I started this at knit night last week – it’s a good project for something like that.   Those are also the new Zephyr needles…I started this project with the Nickel Plated actually since I had just got a couple of sets. I had never tried them but  I didn’t really like them, for this project at least.  (I should also warn that I’m not a fan of knitting with metal needles & they were so heavy to me.)  Switched to the Zephyrs, which I like better – much lighter – but still prefer the Harmony needles overall.

Washcloth/Dishcloth

Started this for the World Record Breaking Knitting since it’s the only thing I could think of that I could use (short)  straight needles on.  Simplest knit ever – garter border, seed stitch for the inside.

To be honest, the knitting I’m most working on is a project for work which of course I can not photograph yet.  But I should be done this week, then it’s off to work on my multiple WIPs!

Because this:

Probably shouldn’t mean knitting a sweater with this:

um, yeah its a heavy weight wool/alplaca blend

um, yeah it's a heavy weight wool/alplaca blend

But that’s what I’m doing:

also a new bag - isnt it cute?

also a new bag - isn't it cute?

Though at the moment, I may copy Mina & stretch out on the floor.

In her case, the top of my fabric bin.

"what? I'm hot, I don't care I'm not ladylike."

Only one week & a bit until Sock Summit!  Let’s hope it cools down a bit.

So I knew this job would be dangerous .

I’ve mentioned before how I have a sewing machine that I couldn’t get to work.  My grandmother left it and a cabinet to me when she died 25 years ago (apparently she knew, even at my young age, that I would be a crafty girl!)  My other grandmother ended up using it for many years, when I moved into a place where I could set it up (as in, not my studio apartment), she wanted to make sure I had it back.  So that & the sewing machine cabinet sat, in my craft room here & in MA, sadly gathering dust.  Sewing had limited appeal at that time – I was interested, but not in quilting and not really wanting to learn to make clothes.

When I tried about a month ago, to get it to work, Ida (as I christened her after my late grandmother) just didn’t want to work.  And I decided she was too much for me to deal with at the time – I need to start simple, as I haven’t sewed anything since jr. high.  I decided a new machine was needed.

Meet Elinor, my newly arrived Brother CS6000i, purchased this week via Amazon.  I named her after another favourite Jane Austen character (to go along with Darcy & Fredrick, the iPods)  Hopefully she will live up to her sweet, steady namesake as I attempt to relearn how to sew (and not be all dramatic, a la Marianne).

Even though she showed up on the hottest day of the year (96 degrees today & no air conditioning), I had to try her out.

Excuse the sweaty hair - like I said it's hot here!

I went with something really simple – a very wide headband/wrap, to replace one I left at my moms last week.  Could not be simpler – I guessed how long it should be, cut, sewed up the long end, then sewed the short ends together.  It’s a bit too loose (my actual first one was too tight) but it works.  I’m not the best sewer as of yet – I can’t cut or sew a straight line to save my life – but I’m learning.

Next I decided to try the pattern that got me wanting to sew –  The Drawstring Bag Tutorial.  I did pretty well, once I figured out what I was doing.

Yah!  I made something!  It just took a couple of fat quarters from Joann’s.  I was so ridiculously proud of it, I immediately called my mom.  I’ll probably make more (I have a serious fat quarter collection already!)  It was very quick & while my seams are really wonky, it’s not that noticeable.  My mom is actually coming up to visit this weekend & is all excited about having a “sewing bee” with just the two of us. 🙂  Of course, she wants to see some fabric stores…I’ve got to control myself though (of course that never works when it comes to yarn, so I don’t know why it would with fabric.)

Oh did I mention I placed my first employee purchase at Knit Picks?  Yep, got paid & immediatly ordered some stuff I needed (another size 0 circ to replace my broken one) and some stuff I couldn’t resist (City Tweed HW!), although I completly forgot I wanted order some of the Harmony cable needles!  Dur!

And I have been knitting as well!  Progress has been made on the Cables & Os!

After 2 & half years, I’ve separated the front & back & started on the armholes.  Woo!  It’s still slow going, but at least the rows aren’t taking me a half hour each to do.

And I finished a sock

Socks that Rock Lunasea – from my stash even!  I didn’t even cast on with my new STR!  This is my on the go project – C&Os has been my home project – so it’s just a plain ol’ sock.  I do like the pooling actually on this, I think because most of it is one color, just the blues in there, so it doesn’t look so weird.  Anyway, I was good & cast on for the second immediately, even with all the new temptations around – I’m determine to actually finish a pair of socks this summer!

Well off to take a cooling shower (I so do not like the heat) and  play with Elinor some more!  I wonder how long I can use the “but it’s work related!” excuse when someone questions all my time spent doing crafty things? 🙂

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