Testing, Testing, 123…

I’m looking at the market for some new sweater yarn.

(Let’s not talk about all of the sweater yarn I already have, mmmkay? I mean, it doesn’t really count that I have over 10 sweaters worth of yarn, or one on the needle that has been there at least 8 months, does it? I have every right to dream about new sweaters, don’t ruin my dreams for a new sweater by inserting your reality nonsense!)

I’ve been talking to a friend of my, Jess of Storied Yarns, who dyes some wonderful products. I am interested to see how other wool breeds wear as a sweater, so I am doing some experimenting. Jess kindly has sent some bits from her own personal stash for me to play with. I do have to say that I know her from my teaching days and she is a friend of mine, and that’s what friends do, send yarn!

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That up there, from left to right, is 100% superwash BFL sport weight in “The 13 Clocks” colorway, Polwarth/Silk DK in “The Evil Queen” colorway, and 100% BFL DK in “The Enchanted Forest”. I plan to knit each into little swatches, take notes on the way, and let you see the results of my experiments as I go. So stay tuned as I play with yarn! (That’s what you are here for, right?!)

Quick Cooking

Lately my nights have been busy, and I want quick meals to make for dinner. I have a few that I can rotate, but recently I have found some that are quick and so tasty that they are requested by some of the pickier members of my family. (Love you hubby!)

One such meal that I have recommended to family and friends is a one pot pasta dish. One pot, dump everything in, cook. Including the uncooked pasta!

I found the recipe here, and she gives a couple of links to other variations. I have tried some of my own, and thought all were delicious. Tonight our version had dried basil, dried mushrooms, and chopped kale. So good!!

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This recipe is heavy on the onion and garlic tastes, so if you don’t normally like those flavors this may not be for you. Me, I think there is no such thing as too much garlic, and will happily eat so much that I stink for days!

Do you have any quick meals you like for dinner on busy nights? I would love to hear them, as I am always looking for new recipes to add to my rotation.

Just Jumping Right Back In

I love stranded colorwork! I have completed relatively few projects that involve stranded colorwork, however I always want to make more. For some reason the magic that occurs when you alternate colors in your knitted row is just amazing to me. I keep petting my knitting, I am so enamored!

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This project is the Campfire sweater pattern that was released by Tin Can Knits and comes in a wide range of sizes like the majority of their patterns. I am making the 5-7 year size currently. I also have the yarn and plans to make another for my younger child in the 3-4 year size. His will be navy with a yellow accent. I asked my hubby if he wanted matchy sweaters, and he said, “Sure.” I made him pick out a color, though I didn’t buy the yarn, so there may be two adult sizes knit in the future as well. The yarn I am using is Valley Yarns Superwash DK. The only modification I have made thus far is that I did not change to using two colors at the colorwork section. Instead I just continued using the color for the main body of the sweater as the background color. One explanation for this could be that the yarn choice didn’t have another color I thought would go well with the main color as a smooth transition, similar to what is pictured in the pattern photo. Or the reason might be that I didn’t read the pattern schematics well enough before I purchased the yarn.

Now that I think about it, the last one is exactly really unlike me.

Tales from the Toddlerhood: Vol 1, Issue 4

p>My hubby was playing with the window tonight on the way home, so I put on the window-locks.

Hubby: (clicking button futilely) “My window doesn’t work. Riley, does your window work?”

Riley: (who is 4) “Yes, I can see dark clouds in the sky.”

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We Are the People

We have all been hearing about the government shutdown and it is ridiculous, no matter what side you belong to. I don't intend on discussing it here, but I do want to say that Jenny,  The Bloggess makes a good point. I hadn't considered this angle but I am in total agreement. We are responsible for making our communities better, responsible for reaching out a helping hand in ways that are feasible in our lives. Always, but more so now. How are you going to help?the best antivirus software

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Tangential Knitting

So I’ve been trying to finish the socks that I don’t like. It’s just the yarn, I don’t know why I just don’t like it. They should have been done weeks ago, they are small and simple. I keep trying to knit on them, and my little one is excited to wear them.

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Does this look like socks? I think it is a One-Row-Scarf I have modified to be an infinity cowl. It is made from my handspun, (Serenity colorway on Falkland from Into the Whirled) and worked up super fast since it was much thicker weight yarn than I typically use. Off to find the stripy Halloween socks and knit a few rows…

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Or does this look like the socks? I made this pattern up from inspiration garnered from work others have done. Garter tab cast on, three stitches garter on the edge, yo, knit to center rib, yo, k1, yo, knit to last three stitches, yo, k3. Repeat every row. I used Noro Kureyon sock, alternating between two colors. I’m happy to have it finished, for one because it has turned a bit cooler, and second because it has been hanging around since mid March 2012. I would have liked for it to be a bit bigger, but seeing as I only had a total of 3 grams left from both balls of yarn, I doubt I could have accomplished that. I need to get nice pictures of this some time. After I knit a couple more rows on my stripy Halloween socks…

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Ahhh! This looks like a sock! But not the Halloween socks I want to get done so I don’t have to do anymore. These are Firenze socks out of Miss Babs. I finished the first one, and have a few rows of ribbing on the second. I’m worried that they aren’t knit tight enough and that the 100% merino won’t hold up well when worn. But they look pretty. Now to turn the heel on some nice stripy socks…

If you see some black and orange and purple stripy socks, please let them know that they are the project I really want to work on. It won’t do to hurt their feelings. They are going to be loved after all.

Just not by me.

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Back to the Slog

So September started. And out the window went my knitting mojo. I do want to spin a bit more, but finding the time and an appropriate place has been hard lately. But the knitting!

I have 8 projects on the needles currently, and all of them sit in the corner silently judging me. I want to knit new things, but feel my own inflicted guilt of not working on these projects that I do still want to finish, but they have all lost their shine. I want new! I want a different challenge! I want stitches to just fly off my fingers so I can get them done!

The latest of these projects is my Vergeven socks. This is another knit-a-long that I decided to participate in, but I think the combination of yarn and pattern challenges makes them tough to keep momentum on. First the yarn is great, I love the first pair of socks I knit out of it, but I had a similar problem whilst knitting them as well. I’m not particularly fond of the colors, I don’t love the feel of the yarn, though it will wear very well. This just makes me want to knit something else, however I am punishing pushing myself to get them done to get the yarn out of my stash.

The pattern is not bad, I like it and it is simple in execution, but I am not as comfortable with toe-up socks, so I have had to fiddle with some of the details (also knit a kids pair, so had to downsize the pattern measurements), and then the increases for the gusset are not so easy for me to memorize so I have to keep looking at the pattern, which at some points is not feasible for me. I have finished the first gusset and am working on the heel turn now. Luckily I am making little kid socks, so theoretically they are faster to knit! (HA! Good one! Keep lying to yourself, I’m sure you’ll be done in no time!)

Stellar Socks!

Also during August, I completed another knit-a-long project. I know, who is this person that finished two projects in a month?! Where did she come from?! (If you see her, please encourage her to come back, I really liked her!) The dyer behind Another Crafty Girl had a knit-a-long for her yarns that spanned the month of August. You could knit whatever you liked (or crochet, if that is your poison) as long as you used her yarn.

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I only had one skien of Another Crafty Girl, in the colorway Black Star Star Clan. It sparkles! I have also been wanting to knit the Breaking Hearts sock pattern for a while, especially wanting to try the gusset shaping included in the pattern, so away I went. I finished even before I finished the previous shawl, which I thought was in danger of not happening at one point. Glad I was wrong!

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I LOVE these socks. The yarn is squishy and lovely. There is an interesting cuff detail. There are easily (for me) memorizable 6-row pattern repeats. Little cables that charmingly look like hearts. A textured heel and toe. However the most loved part of this sock is the gusset shaping. It cups the bottom of my foot and fits my high arches stupendously. I want to do more of these gusset shapings on my socks in the future, even on different patterns. (Plus sparkles! Never thought I would like sparkles, but I do! I do like sparkles in my socks!)

I will definitely knit this pattern again, it was a great knit.

A Unique Shawl Design Experience

Earlier this summer Heather of Curious Handmade fame decided to embark upon a new-to-me form of pattern design. This design was inspired by feedback from questionnaires posted weekly through her blog. Everything from texture, yarn weight and color, number of colors, and shape was decided by voters, and then the shawl was created from those criteria. For me, it was fun to see how my choices ended up being interpreted into someone else’s design. Then, over the month of August, there was a knit-a-long for the pattern Heather created. It was made easier to judge how far in the pattern you were by the percentages in the pattern that were already calculated by row! I kept up very well, and even increased the size of the shawl, still finishing by the deadline. (The pattern is called Curious Collective Shawl)

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(I didn’t have my camera with me, so I had to rely on my mom’s, which had a smudge on it as I discovered later)

I chose two green yarns, Ella Rae Lace Merino and Frolicking Feet, and despite the increase in size I still had a goodly bit of each left. I definitely want to knit another one of these. Modifications I did were to increase the pattern by 14 rows which were interspersed through the shawl, keeping the aesthetic and the designs uninterrupted. It gave me a shawl that covered to my elbow, which was what I wanted. I had 32g of the light green and 16g of the dark left (313 yards and 360 yards approx). Sadly, this is not my shawl, as I had a gift emergency and this went to my grandmother for her birthday, a nice round number that was celebrated surrounded by family. I finished sewing in the ends mere moments before we went in to start dinner, while sitting on the boardwalk.

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(This photo taken by my sister, who is the model above.)

If you go onto the Ravelry boards for the Curious Collective group (or under the pattern page) there are a number of color choices shown, some that I really would like to knit now. However I'm sure that this next shawl will be a while in the making, as I have many, many other projects that I am itching to knit first!

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Breaking the Silence

I have been doing better this year than the previous year in my canning efforts. So far I have peach salsa, tomato sauce, frozen green beans, garlic dill pickles, peach puree, apple sauce, ketchup, and a few different jams I have done. Some of the produce is from my garden, some from my mom, and some purchased at farm stands.

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I also managed to explode dough in my fridge!

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Still up, more apples (maybe try some pie filling?) more tomatoes, and more green beans!

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