Posted in Crafting, holidays

New Yarn!!!

So, the yarn I ordered to complete Christmas presents was waiting for me on the doorstep last night!!!  Also included were three more sets of needle tips (I like the interchangeable needle sets for most projects these days) that I use on a regular basis.  I suppose it should tell me that I’ve got far too many outstanding WIPs going if I have to keep reordering sizes 6, 7 and 8 needle tips almost every other year.  *sigh*  Someday, right?

Anyway, my first concern when opening the package, after hiding the colors I’m using for kiddo’s hats, was that I had the ‘wrong’ color green.  I nabbed the Cascade 220 Superwash (becuase these are teenage boys I’m making them for) in Shire green.  After consulting with kiddo, my resident Legend of Zelda expert (and I mean, EXPERT!), he assured me that although most of Link’s hats are in a Kelly green shade, there is one (or maybe two?) game where Link’s hat is more of a forest green.  My ultimate question:  Will it work?  His response:  Yes, it will work.

Okay, then!

So, I cast on hat #1 for one of the nephews last night and I’m now about 2-3 inches into it.

For anyone interested, you can find the pattern here.  It’s a great pattern, a relatively easy knit, and I know my kiddo was so tickled when I made him the first one.  After he put it on, he told me, “I need one in ALL the colors!”  Apparently, ALL means Green (normal one), Red, Blue, Black and Purple.  The only two I have left are Blue and Black, and since I don’t want him to know what next year’s will be, my goal is to make both for THIS year.

Christmas 2016
Kiddo in his Link hat and holding the Navi amigarumi I made him in 2016

One more side note:  The Navi pattern is great, too.  I came across it purely by accident on Tumblr about 2 weeks before Christmas.  By then, I was well aware who Navi was, so I nabbed it and started working on it.  Kiddo was so oblivious!  I was crocheting it right in front of him and he didn’t even guess!  It’s a fast project – I think it took at most 2-3 hours?  I made him one in the matching color to his hat for last year – they make great stocking stuffers for any of your Zelda-loving Secret Santas, too!  (I may make a pair for the nephews if I have a) enough time, and b) enough yarn left!)

Posted in Crafting, personal thoughts, writing

Where have the last three weeks gone??

Somehow, I lost track of time and THREE WEEKS have gone by since I last posted!  How does that even happen??

Well, life is busy – we all know that.  Between the job, the writing, the knitting and kiddo in college (not all in that order), it’s easy to put something like this to the side, I suppose.  Add in the gaming groups or just sitting around and watching football on TV, and I’m gone.  No really, I am – I’m a suck for sports, especially if I can knit at the same time! lol  No wonder this is usually my most productive time of year for knitting!

So, I discovered right after my last knitting update that I blew it.  I forgot to adjust the pattern.  For some reason I was thinking the yarn I picked up was fingering weight, like the MadelineTosh I used for mine, but it’s really DK.  I got to a point where I was about to start the headband and  I realized it was waaaaaaay too big!  Math is not my strongpoint, but I managed some (limited) measuring and calcuating and essentially pulled out about two inches in length.  It worked out fine; I can still get the last of the charms in there where I intended to place them, but I’m starting up the ribbing the row after that!  Yikes!

So, the ribbing is done, but the project is sitting in time out until I get to the same point with the other.  Why, you ask?  Well, there’s this stretchy bind-off that was suggested, and I want to do it for both.  I figure if I wait until I have both ready to go, then I can do it without having to go hunting up the HOW part on Youtube more than one time.  So, I started up the second Hatdana and it’s now moving along nicely.  (I’ll post pictures next time)

In the meantime, I’ve also ordered the yarn for the nephews’ and kiddo’s Christmas gifts.  I also treated myself to a couple of new patterns I spotted on another blog I follow, and found that the yarn used in that was relatively cheap at the yarn website I like to use, so I ordered some of that as well.  (socks and fingerless mitts, my fav!)  So, I should have plenty of knitting to accomplish over the winter!!!  In late August or so, I ordered my birthday present for myself – some gorgeous gradient yarns from an Etsy shop I discovered during the KAL I did in January, and those arrived a month sooner than expected, so I have them to knit up as well!  ALL THE KNITTING!!!

My outline for Nano is pretty much set to go.  That took about a week, maybe ten days, to get sorted out.  Not only that, but I was able to sit down and sort of loosely plot out future installments to the series, too.  I think starting with April’s Camp Nano I’m going to really have to focus on editing and getting book #1 ready to go.  If I end up self-publishing, so be it, but this series now has me pulled in so deep, I just HAVE to get it out there!  Plus I have a couple others I’ve worked on over the years that I really want to share.

What is time?  Am I right?

Anyway, suffice it to say, I’m still around, I’m still knitting, I’m still writing, and Nano and Christmas are just around the corner.  I’ve no doubt the next few months will go by far too quickly for my tastes!

Posted in Crafting, holidays

Moving Right Along …

Tessa 2 charms
100 rows

The knitting on the first of the Christmas Hatdanas is moving right along now!  As you can see from the picture above, I’ve completed one hundred rows.  In three more, I’ll add the last charms (two little bumble bees).  In 21 more rows or so, I’ll shift to knitting in the round and to make the k1,p1 hatband for 2 inches or so.  After that, just a few tassels at the beginning point, a bit of blocking and it will be good to go!  The pattern didn’t call for the charms, but seeing as the recipients are 14-16 years old, I figured they might like the additions.

The yarn for this one is Malabrigo Arroyo, colorway Talisman.  This is my first time using the Arroyo, though I’ve used other Malabrigo yarns in past, and I love both the colors and the way that it knits up!  Lovely stitch definition, and I tend to like darker, jeweled tones – this colorway fits right in with that.  The other I’ll be making uses a much brighter colorway, but more on that in a later post.  Last night I rolled it into a ball just in case I should finish this one today …

 

Posted in Crafting, holidays

Progress

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve gone a number of months more or less stymied in my urge to knit.  As a writer and a crafter, I understand all about the ‘muses’ and how they are fickle, at best, and after a 10-year case of really bad writer’s block (granted, college and grad school did play a part in that), I learned not to stress so much about it.  The muses will be the muses and they will do as they wish, even if that includes taking off for glorious vacations in the Caribbean or South Pacific without me!

This past April was no exception.  Burn out might be a better way to view it, in my case, because I inevitably spend most of a year working on gifts for everyone else for Christmas.  By the time the new year comes around, I need a break!  Still, I didn’t expect it to last for almost five months.

Now, to work my way back into it, I decided to try my hand at a couple of different things; one old WIP that I really wanted to finish, and two newer projects, one of which I have since decided will be my ‘big Christmas knit project’ for this year.

While my muses were on vacation, I still followed several of the knitting blogs on WordPress I fell in love with months ago.  A couple of them decided to work on the same project at one point, and I ordered some yarn thinking I might try my hand at it as well.  However, by the time the yarn came and I actually got around to picking up needles again (probably about two months), I decided the style wasn’t to my liking and I would try something different.  Enter Nick Davis’ MOA (Mother of All) Shawl.  This was another I picked up from the knitting blogs (I forget which one, there are so many!), and I thought it might look nice with the yarn I’d selected.

The yarn:  I purchased 10 fingering weight Madelinetosh ‘unicorn tails’ from WEBS (my favorite yarn shop online or in store!) in the colorway Jade.

Keeping in mind that the unicorn tails only have approximately 91 yards in them, I knew I’d have ends to weave in.  For this project, I used six of the ten tails I purchased.  I probably could have gone longer and made a slightly larger shawl, but by the time I was nearing the end, I’ll admit I was intimidated by the thought of weaving all those ends in!  Still, the shawl was a great project and if I do another at some point, I will use full sized skeins for the project.  (Obviously, I still need to block the shawl!)

Back in March of 2018, I came across a lovely shawl pattern that had a variant using beads.  A friend of mine across the country had been beading her knitting for a while, and after seeing some of her projects, I found myself curious to start one!  Around that same time, the Charmayne Shawl by Emily Wood happened across my dash, and I immediately fell in love!  I had the perfect yarn – MadelineTosh Merino Light in colorway Fathom (I have a thing for blues!) and I’d come across some beads at the local JoAnn etc. that matched up well.  I decided to give it a go!!!  And up until it was time to start knitting for Christmas (usually around August/September), I stuck with it ….

Charmayne
Charmayne Shawl

I finally got back to it last week.  When I picked it up, I was about four rows short of hitting the fully beaded rows, and I managed to finish it this past holiday weekend.  Considering this was my first attempt at a beaded shawl (there is are two sizes, and you don’t have to do the beading if you don’t want to.  This is the smaller of the two shawls), it wasn’t that bad.  It starts with the narrower beaded edge, and by the time I reached the rows that were all beads, I felt pretty comfortable with the process.  Again, this one needs blocking still, but I love how it turned out!  I may go back and do another one but without the beads because the pattern is lovely whether you have them in or not!

Now, seeing that September has crept up on me once again this year (well, August did, too, for that matter!), I was in a flurry of panic trying to decide what to do for Christmas gifts this year.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this year the ENTIRE clan is getting together, and while that isn’t anything near the numbers that it would mean if it was my ex-husband’s family (he’s the eldest of 8, I’m the eldest of 3), it does mean I need to make sure I have my gifts ready to go on time!  No last minute frantic finishes!  If I can get myself really into gear, I’d like to have them all done and ready to be mailed to my Dad’s house (our point of gathering) so that I don’t even have to mess with them in my luggage!  *fingers crossed!*

At this point, I’m mostly settled on what I’ll do.  The girls – nieces only, in this case, because I revised my plan – I usually make headbands for every year.  This year, however, I’m working on a variant idea I came across.  This is call the Hatdana, created by Denise Bayron.  She has a basic pattern for worsted weight, plus additional instructions to convert it to fingering weight, which is the option I took.  I had a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light in Cardinal colorway (okay, I admit I have a thing for MadTosh yarn, too!!!) that I purchased for a project only to discover I misread the amount needed.  By the time I went back to get a second skein, they were out of stock, and I had to go for another colorway.  Still, it was a good match for this project, and there’s enough left I could, theoretically, make a second one with what remains!

Hatdana
Hatdana – fingering weight version

I tweaked the pattern just a tad only in the sense that I added a few small charms to it.  The design is pretty much a bandana-style head covering that goes on like a hat, but can also be used as a scarf-like neck covering.  It’s a brilliant idea, and one I’m surprised I’ve never seen before.  The pattern itself is pretty basic and knits up like a dream.  I still need to put a few little tassels at the tip of it, though I’m not fond of tassels much so I might not, I’m still deciding.  It’s mostly worked up flat, but when you reach the last couple of inches to do the headband part, you work it on circular needles.  (She also provides a neat little way to join that gives a pretty solid connection that I will likely implement from here on out with ALL of my circular knitting joins!).

For my nephews, since both are young teenagers and enjoy video games just like my junior-in-college son (yikes! how did THAT happen???), I’m going to make them each a Link hat (previously mentioned).  I was going to make hats or hatdanas for the adults, but decided it’s just too time consuming, so instead I’m going to knit up pillow covers for some pillow forms I have at home.  (and thus the despreate need to MAIL gifts to dad)  Usually, I don’t make projects for the adults (our silent agreement is to focus on the kids, not the adults), but when we get together like this, I sort of feel the need to do so.

So, all in all, the past few weeks to a month, since I decided to try to ease my way back to knitting more regularly, has worked out well.  The muses are there, tickling at the back of my mind with ideas and the urge, so to speak, so that’s good, and projects are getting done.  I’ve cast on the next Hatdana for one of my nieces, now that the shawls are completed, and I have the yarn set aside for Link hats.  I have the pillow forms at home (they were for another project, but I can get more), and just need to decide on colors now.  For September 4, 2019, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape to start this Christmas thing!  I just hope I can keep on track!

 

Posted in Crafting

Hey there, look who’s still here …

So, it’s been a while since I last updated.  (Okay, five months and two days, to be exact!)  I’ve got an explanation for my absence, though.  It’s going to sound weird, but oh well.

You see, every April, NaNoWriMo does Camp Nano – a variation of their yearly writing month (November) where you can write or edit or just simply work on writing whatever.  I tend to use it either for editing my previous year’s novel (someday I will get published!  Just as soon as I get a whole story completed!!!), or simply writing on some other story ideas I’ve had.  This year was no different.  And considering most of last year and a large chunk of the year before I had writer’s block, I wasn’t going to NOT do it.  Right?

So, I started writing … and the words came back, and plot ideas EXPLODED (my muses have two levels for me – Nada and OMGGETITOUTALREADY!) … and my knitting suffered.  About a month ago, I finally forced myself to pick up my knitting projects again, just to do something, because I’m now at the point of the year where OMG Christmas is just around the corner!!!

Why is that a big deal?  Well, I knit all (most anyway) gifts for family and friends.  And this year, Dad and his girlfriend are gathering the rest of the clan at their new house for the holidays.  (If you see a frantic white flag waving in the NH skies come Christmas, send Help!!!)  Normally, I would only worry about my son, nieces and nephews.  That’s five total, and the kiddo I already know what I’m going to do (although after this year or next, I’m back to square one trying to find ideas for him).  He has this thing for The Legend of Zelda video games, and one year I found a pattern to make him a Link hat.

Christmas 2016
Christmas 2016

(Also, the Navi.)  He was so shocked and surprised and delighted, he told me that there were Link hats in five colors total and that I should make him one each year.  Since then, I’ve made one in red and purple.  That leaves blue and black, apparently.  (I may just make both this year, depending how fast I can knit, and get both done or he’ll know which is next years! lol).  Anyway, that’ll be his gift.  I figured since both my nephews like video games too, I’ll make them each a green one.  For my nieces, I found a lovely hat/bandana/scarf pattern on Ravelry (that’ll be a separate post) which I just tested out for myself.  I added a bit of my own creativity to it, and I love how it turned out.  I figured they might like one too (since I usually make them headbands each year), so I ordered some nice yarn for that.

Now, the dilemma posed with getting the entire family together (aside from the usual garbage that goes with it *sigh*), is wondering if I should make the adults presents.  There are three of us kids.  Of the three, I’m the least well off at the moment – I’m a single mom managing to put my one kid through college.  I don’t have a ton of extra money (which is why I make gifts) or, for that matter, ideas for gifts, let alone TIME, which is the big killer every year.  So, if I’m going to make them something, I need to come up with ideas quickly and get started.  I figured the hat/scarf things for the girls – that would add three more, possibly four if I include the possibility of my aunt and uncle visiting for the day, too.  But the guys?  There are only so many years I can do winter stocking/slouch type hats for them! lol  I know they’ll get used – there’s talk about them all going skiing at some point – but I like to come up with different ideas.  And besides, I get tired of knitting in Swedish blue/yellow for the one sibling and Univ. Minnesota colors for the other.  (Dad’s easy – Green Bay Packers for the win every time!)

So, as soon as I finish the current project I’m on – which I believe I’m getting near to the end on, I shall start focusing on Christmas gifts.  And … you may not hear from me again until I get to the other side!  ROFL  I promise, I’ll try to post more regularly, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on in the Real World as well, and that takes up more time.  (College is back in session next week for kiddo (a commuter), I’m on call for Jury Duty, work, etc.)

Anyway, I’m around, I’m still writing and knitting, and I’ll try to be back more regularly!!!

Posted in Crafting

Elementary, Watson! or, SGAA V Begins!

This past weekend, we began our last adventure knitting our way through Sherlock Holmes’s stories over on Ravelry.  Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V – aka: SGAA V – began!

Our first story is the novel, The Valley of Fear.

Now, I’ll freely admit, I’m not a big reader of the Sherlock novels.  The short stories are easier for me to keep up with, so I tend to focus on those.  However, even though I don’t usually read the longer stories, I DO keep up with the knitting!  And, voila!  Square 1 is complete!

file_small2
square #1 – The Valley of Fear

This was a really fun and quick knit to do!  We’ll be utilizing the cables and lacework we’ve used before, it looks like, and the designs are truly unique.  I’m looking forward to next month and finding out which story it’s based off of as well as the square design!

Posted in Crafting

Matallurgy Shawl WIP

It feels like forever since I last updated.  I was trying to finish the Metallurgy Shawl before posting again … but I just can’t!  I love this shawl pattern!!!  I’ve tried to work on it daily, but between work picking up and my writing muses taking over more of late, I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I’d like.  Still, progress is being made.

About a week ago, I finished the main body section – nothing complicated there, just some garter stitching with YOs to increase periodically until I had enough stitches.  Easy Peasy.

The edging looked to be more of a challenge, and in some ways it has been.  First, it took me a bit to wrap  my head around how the patter would work.  I’ll admit, I’m used to ‘edging’ being something that you knit back and forth on all 229 stitches at the same time.  But a quick look at the directions indicated that wasn’t going to be the case.  At some point before I started, though, I realized it would have to be knit up the side — 27 new stitches connecting to the edge of the 229 every other row.  Once I was able to visualize that (I’m more of a visual learner with things like this), most of my worries fled.

metallurgy some edging
Metallurgy shawl with part of the edging – pattern by VeryBusyMonkey over on Ravelry

That isn’t to say the pattern itself wasn’t challenging!  Still, after one time through the repeat, I’ve got the general idea.  I’m now on my fourth repeat and things are moving along splendidly!  (I did manage to drop a stitch somewhere at the beginning of this repeat which threw me off for about four rows, but I finally back tracked and sorted it out)

edging detail
Close up of edging on Metallurgy Shawl 

I’m going to be a little disappointed when I reach the end of this one, I think, simply because I am enjoying the edging pattern on it so much!  There’s a bit of a trick to it, and I have to be careful on counts to keep it lined up right, but I love the way it’s twisting around itself as I go!  In an odd sort of way, it kind of reminds me of the element stones in the movie The Fifth Element.  Hoping by the next time I feel the urge to update I’ll have it complete and be working on the next!

(Also, new Sherlock KAL starts this weekend!!!!!  Lot’s of bouncing over here for that one!)