Tired of being cold

We’ve officially reached the point in winter that I’m sick of hibernating and desperately want to be outside. I considered buying a full body snow suit just to lay in the sun for a few hours. I no longer care how beautiful snow is – I’m ready for spring.

Here in Illinois we got over a foot of snow last weekend. I don’t think I’ve seen that much snow all at once since I was a kid – when snow meant hours of fun not hours of extra work. I just finished clearing the bottom of my driveway when the plow guy came barreling through piling on another foot of snow. I either looked pissed or pathetic because he backed up and tried to scoop as much as he could back off my driveway. It probably took him two minutes to do what would have taken me another twenty. Sometimes such a small kindness can be so big.

K got a snow day from work so we had a nice long weekend basically being trapped in the house. We were at least smart enough to go grocery shopping before all the snow started so I made a giant pot of gumbo that we ate all weekend. We basically just played video games all weekend and huddled under three blankets and a cat on the couch.

I’ve been trying to take break from knitting (hence the video games). Not knitting makes me really anxious. It’s become so integrated into my life that choosing not to knit is really, really difficult. Having finished the last of my projects helps a little, but my brain is itching to start something new. I’ve been thinking about lace or something summery and light because it will get warm again, right?

 

New Pattern!

Well it’s been a month in the making, but my latest pattern has finally gone up on Ravelry. My test knitters are finishing up (a blog post for a different time…) and the pattern went live yesterday morning (my computer ran out of battery before I could blog about it and I got into the celebratory vodka…).

Anyway, my Marka Mittens can be found here if anyone is interested. Lots of people worked hard for all of this to come together and I’m always humbled and amazed that literal strangers take an interest in what I make.

Sleepless & Slightly Miserable

Sometimes I wonder if all I have to write about is whining about sleeping and being in pain, but those are the things that have been consuming me lately. K and I have stayed up during the day for the last two weekends due to social things/needing sunlight and I just haven’t been able to switch back to save my life. I’m back to getting four hour chunks of fitful, unintentional sleep. I can make it until about 4am but then I pass out on the couch or in bed covered in laundry I was intending to fold. This leads to not being tired enough to fall asleep at our usual bedtime so I end up staying up for a few hours and then maybe getting in a little nap before K gets up. Caffeine has almost no effect on me (unless I don’t have any, and then it’s Migraine Town for the rest of the day). I can pretty much have two giant cups of coffee and then fall asleep an hour later. It seems like a pretty mundane problem but ya girl needs her sleep.

I haven’t been knitting much, even though I’ve got two projects cooking in my brain. My wrists have been taking turns bothering me. There’s something pinching in my left wrist that makes my hand go all tingly. I tried heat and ice to no avail. My right wrist is actually burning as I type, so that’s cool. Not really sure what’s going on with either of them but I’ve been trying to rest them as much as I can. I have a toddler sweater to make in the next couple of days though so I might need to just push through it and hope I don’t make everything worse.

I’m probably going to rip a lot of this sweater out. I decided to do a bottom up raglan, which I’ve never actually done before. I wanted to avoid the annoying-ness of setting up the neck and shoulders, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Somehow my sleeves and chest/back pieces are all the same number of stitches as I’m decreasing, which I know is incorrect. I do like the ease of this style though. Starting from the top I always get kind of bored working the body, and then don’t want to knit the sleeves so having all of that done already is kind of nice. I want to get it in the mail by Monday I think so I’d better get to work on it.

 

FO Friday

Sorry for not posting in a while. I was having trouble motivating myself to write, or do anything at all really, besides sleep all the time. Luckily knitting doesn’t take too much motivation for me and I’ve finished quite a few things since my last post. ed23d80b-4d63-4ba4-8357-c7289061b6d9Here’s the big one. It’s all bunched up, but it’s a triangular shawl with a little bit of texture created with slip stitches. It knit up really fast and the stitch pattern was easy to memorize. I’m not super in love with it, I probably wouldn’t make it again for myself, especially with self striping yarn, but hopefully it’s recipient will enjoy it.

 

 

 

img_2669I originally had two skeins left of the yarn I needed  for the shawl so about halfway through the project I had to take a short break until I could get to the store for the last skein. I was in an anxious and weird brain space and not knitting wasn’t really working for me. I think I mentioned before that a friend asked me to make her pet bunny a little sweater. I found some super soft yarn I’ve had leftover since I first learned to knit. It only took me a couple of hours to make and ended up really nice. This is a photo she sent me of her bunny all snuggled up. Apparently he really likes it.

38409117-1c0f-44c2-8184-e321c03ae97b

I still had a little bit of this yarn left over and hadn’t made it to the store yet, which means baby hat. This yarn is way to soft to not be on a baby. I remember buying the yarn but I can’t for the life of me remember what kind it is. I’d really like to make more things with it. This is about newborn size and I barely had enough yarn to make a pom-pom. I also don’t know anyone with newborns so I’ll just add it to the pile of random knits. I guess it’s nice to have a stockpile of instant gifts, and also maybe someday soon I’ll get around to opening up an etsy shop.

Currently I’m working on a sweater for my best friend’s kid. He’s turning one in a few weeks and needs a Weasely Sweater. I also have yarn to make K some gloves, just trying to find the right pattern so I can design them.

Pain is just a reminder that we all die eventually.

This weekend turned into quite a hibernation. Friday we accidentally slept twice as long as we had intended and ended up waking up around 10 pm. So going out to dinner or socializing at all was off the table. Saturday I woke up in so much pain I considered going to the ER. I couldn’t move my neck without pain shooting down my spine and arm. After I spent some time laying on the floor crying K dug out the ice packs from when he had back problems last year. Cold seemed to make things a little worse and the three blankets I was swaddled in weren’t helping so I switched to heat packs. Thankfully those helped enough that I got some movement back. (The three whiskey’s I had sure loosened things up…) We ended up just ordering take-out and spent another night on the couch. I’m feeling much better today, just some stiffness leftover.

img_2656I started working on a shawl today. I’ll probably end up gifting it to my mom since it’s pinkish and I’m not a huge shawl wearer anyways. It’s In the Pines by Kristina Kephart who’s I believe is a new designer. It’s got a lovely texture created by slipped stitches and the pattern is easy enough to memorize that I don’t need to look at the pattern until I get to the decreases. After spending a few hours on it I’m already noticing my wrists hurting again, but I need something to keep my hands busy before I go crazy.

I’m also currently looking for test knitters for my Marka Mittens (featured at the top of the post) if anyone is inclined. Feel free to comment here for more details or drop by my group to join in.

 

#FridayFavorites

We had about a day of random 60 degree weather the other day and wow, what a shock to the system. We were considering sitting out in lawn chairs with beers but it started raining. Running to the store in just a sweatshirt in the middle of January felt very weird and kind of naughty. But the reprise is over and it’s back to freezing in time to do anything.

My mittens are off to my tech editor, and I found a title I’m happy with in case anyone was worried.. and now I just have to be awake long enough in the daylight to take pictures. Too bad all the snow melted away and everything is muddy.

Anyways, it’s Fridayyyyy so you know what that means! Here are some shiny new patterns I found on Ravelry if you’re looking to fill up your queue for the year.

Scratch & Peck Shawl by: Ann Meyer

3248_medium.jpeg

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a sucker for colorwork. This one is mosaic knit so you’re only working with one yarn at a time. I’m personally not a big shawl wearer but I always want to make them. This one has a pretty modern and graphic pattern but all wrapped up would actually be pretty subtle. It’s also currently on sale so get at it!

 

 

Big Stitch Beanie by: Nailya Plaskey

20180101_150244_small2.jpg

I’ve been seeing this one a whole bunch on the internet. It’s such a simple idea – it’s knitting that looks like bigger knitting! I’m kind of mad I didn’t think of it first, but IT’S SO CUTE! I’d totally wear one of these, I’d make them for everyone, I’d put ’em on a baby, I’d put one on a dog. I’m a big fan of giant pom-poms lately and that multi colored one is working hard.

 

19 Fishes on a Mitten by: Magdalena Svanberg

image_medium2.jpeg

This is a free pattern. There’s something charming and silly about it that I just like. This is the designer’s premier pattern though the pattern is only in Swedish at this point. It’s fully charted so if you’re at all familiar with how mittens work I’m sure you could figure this guy out. I’ve been trying to figure out what to knit for K since I’m a scrub and haven’t knit him anything (sweater curse, duh) but this pattern might have to be adjusted for him. There’s a bit of an inside joke about fish with his friend group. Playing with marled yarn might be really nice for these.

Non-Traditional Kihnu Style Mittens by: Mary Germain

IMG_4720_small2.jpg

I knew the second I saw these that were were gauge sisters. I don’t know too many people who like to knit at 10 stitches per inch or use US 1 needles but there are some special people out there who do it. I’m not crazy about the cuffs on these but I also have never heard of kihnu style mittens so I be checking those out shortly.

Hearth and Snow by: Ninja Chickens

HearthandSnow2_medium2.jpg

This is just a good solid hat, and hey one without colorwork! It looks warm and practical but also stylish and unisex. I never love the hats that I make but I also don’t have a cabled hat so that very well could be the problem. I also have a large head and a shit-ton of hair so that could be the real problem.

 

 

#WIP WEDNESDAY

Things have been pretty slow around here. Trying to stay caught up on laundry, trying to cook healthier meals which means more dishes, and trying to sleep on a consistent schedule. Spent some time last week knitting away on my shawl and I started to notice my right wrist hurting. Decided to take a break on the shawl, you know, to rest my joints. Me being me, I couldn’t sit still and not knit anything for a day or two to feel better so I made a pair of mittens in about two and a half days. Now my wrists AND hands hurt. I’m shocked too…

Anyways mittens are finished and blocking, and now I just need to motivate myself to write up the pattern. The chart is pretty much done, it just needs a little tweak here and there to look nice. The writing part is what kills me, and I know that’s a shock to you all as well since I’m SO GOOD at blogging consistently these days. Once I get started it goes pretty quickly, and I know that, but for some reason it takes me forever to start writing. Somewhere in my brain I think that I need to have a pattern title and images before writing up the pattern, which is pretty illogical, those are the easiest things to add or change in a pattern. I guess I did start playing around with a few titles but they feel pretentious and also kind of lame. Finding titles I’m happy with is always such a struggle for me – it’s hard to come up with something original and memorable and on brand without being floofy or overly descriptive and boring. Are there professional title givers? I’m totally open to suggestions if you have a good one!

Hopefully I can talk K into going out sometime this week to help me take pictures, but he’s got a head cold, and I’ve got some kind of stomach thing so I won’t hold my breath. I’m hoping whatever bugs we’ve got go away quickly and I find some motivation to write out this pattern before the weekend. If I wait any longer by the time I get all the tech editing and test knitting done it won’t even be winter anymore.

Homebody Extraordinaire

It’s been so cold the last week or so that K and I have barely left the house to run errands. We’ve stayed snuggled up under blankets switching between Netflix and video games. Since we’ve been couch dwelling, I’ve managed to make a lot of progress on my shawl. I’ve got about 5 more pattern repeats to go before I have to cut the steek and figure out what kind of edging I want to add. I was considering doing more colorwork as and edging but I would have to work each side of the triangle back and fourth separately instead of in the round since it’ll be too large for my needles to handle. I’m thinking a basic icord edge or a rolled hem might be simple enough since the shawl body is already quite a lot. We shall see.

Another perk of freezing temperatures and not leaving the house is spending more time baking. I made a loaf of bread and some homemade butter in my kitchenaid mixer. I remember making butter in a baby food jar when I was a girl scout. Making it in the mixer is a lot messier but much easier. I’m honestly surprised at how different it tastes, it might just be worth the extra effort. I need to find a better way to remove all the water from the finished butter, but buying a butter press seems a little extravagant at this point. I have enough cream to make another batch, so I think maybe some honey butter or herbed butter (or both) is in order. I also saved the buttermilk to make waffles one of these days.

The biggest and most exciting thing this week was getting a washing machine! Our house is fairly small and does not have laundry hook ups, but we really hate going to the laundromat every week (okay, when neither of us have clean underwear left). We found a portable washing machine online and decided that instead of big gifts for christmas we would buy one. It arrived this afternoon and it’s already occupying most of the bathroom. So far, I’m super impressed with it. It’s a lot smaller than a normal machine, but I was able to get a few loads done before I ran out of room on the drying rack. It might have to live in the kitchen from now on since there’s barely enough room in the bathroom to close the door, but this thing is going to get a lot of use.

Updates and Planning

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s fucking cold here. I’m one of those people who generally like the cold but the last few days have been kind of ridiculous. There’s ice crystals on the inside of the car windows, the heat’s been running constantly, just now the cat pulled a blanket down from the arm of the couch to lay under. I’m grateful that the sun is shining through the windows and I’m actually awake in the day time to see it, but it’s too damn cold.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday, I know ours got to be a little stressful this year.

I actually managed to finish all the things I set out to make this year as gifts. I ended up making two pairs of socks, a cowl, a pair of pajama pants, and some little stockings were extra and just for fun. Everyone seemed really happy with their gifts which always makes me happy. My sister put her cowl on as soon as she opened it and aside from going to work or the grocery store, K hasn’t taken the pajama pants off.

I think those were the first garment that I actually completely finished sewing. I’ve made a few quilts and little pouches but I’ve never actually completely finished a garment before. He split his favorite pajama pants right up the back seam this fall and we never got around to buying him a new pair so I figured I could make him some new ones for christmas. I ended up cutting the old pair at the seams to draft a pattern. They turned out so well, I’m a little jealous I haven’t made a pair for myself. The hardest part was probably the dang button fly. Since I wasn’t using an actual pattern with instructions I ended up watching a handful of youtube videos trying to figure out the best way to do it. I eventually figured it out, but it turns out he doesn’t even use the fly. I don’t even have a picture of the pants for you, but he wore them on christmas and everyone seemed quite impressed with them.

I’m not working on anything specific right now, just the shawl I’ve had sitting around since summer. It takes about half and hour per row now so I’ll probably finish it sometime in the next twenty years. A friend has asked me if I would knit her pet rabbit a little sweater (and offered to pay in the same sentence!) so I’ve been thinking about the best way to do that. K has also noticed the lack of hand-knit items in his wardrobe so I’m gonna work on that for him. He needs gloves – he’s been wearing big work gloves to drive because that’s all he has – and I know he wants a bunch of socks. I’ll probably start with a bunch of basic socks and then make some really cool gloves for him in the next week or so, we just have to go buy more yarn.

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 11.48.15 AM.pngThis one got pretty long, but one more thing! Currently, all of my patterns are on sale for 25% off through the end of the year! I know lots of people knit a special project for themselves after all the gift knitting they did so check ’em out if anything catches your fancy.

Thanks for sticking around on this blogging adventure with me.

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday weekend. I woke up this morning to the sun shining and just a dusting of snow. Now I’m off to my fifth Christmas visit in the last three days.

Wanderings in the Labyrinth

Andrew B. Watt's blog

annezazu

Held together by caffeine & chocolate

Burnt Umber Arts

oil paintings and photography by Amber Honour