Rules for Feeding the Stash

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Like the Wayward Klutz

Hello Lovelies :)

Today has been a very full day.  I started with a cup of coffee, then a 9am grocery run, and since then I've baked two loaves of bread, between 3 and 4 dozen cookies, and the first of two dozen oatmeal muffins are in the oven as I'm typing.  And I feel as though I've earned a breather.
Looks beautiful, doesn't it?  All settled in, with a cardigan that's not done enough for me to breathe easy and a well-earned cup of coffee.  My version of a perfect afternoon.  I planned to get that first sleeve done (only one inch left on it!) before play rehearsal, then work on the second during a long break I have during rehearsal today.  But oh, how the universe laughs at plans.
If you guessed that I spilled coffee on the sleeve, you're right.  My heart stopped.  I've dyed with coffee before, so I know it can be stubborn.  And this stuff was HOT, as in right out of the pot.  And the yarn is cotton, so it will eat up dye like nobody's business.  I instantly ran it under cold water, and now it's sitting in cold water and dish soap.  Last check, I couldn't see where the coffee had spilled, but I'm going to let it sit for a while longer before I rinse it out.  (Do you know how much coffee I've drunk while working on this so far?  And I've never spilled coffee on my knitting before.  Clearly the universe has it out for me right now.)

And now my plan is shot to hell.  I'm getting really nervous.  Heartmate still looks like this:
(I originally typed that as Heartbreak, if that gives you any idea as to my state of mind right now) and it will take me about 4 days to knit the other side.  I could probably do it in less, but they way my luck seems to be going right now, I don't want to tempt fate.  So I absolutely need to finish Ella no later than July 5th, so I can finish Heartmate by the 9th and have them both blocked and dry by the time I leave on the 11th.  (To make it worse, those are my only set of US7 DPNs on the current sleeve, so I can't even start the other one while I wait for Sleeve #1 to dry.)

So now I guess I'll probably work on the baby blanket during play rehearsal.  I'm so bummed right now that my perfectly planned plan is no longer in effect, I almost don't want to drink my treacherous coffee.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WIP: Ella

You're just going to have to believe me when I tell you that Ella is beautiful.  (Sorry for the lack of photos.  I really need to get better about getting photos on my computer.)

This knit is so much fun.  I'm liking the yarn a lot more than I thought I would-it's just Red Heart Classic Cotton Crochet Thread, so I didn't have high expectations.  I run into a lot of trouble with cotton yarn shedding, and it drives me crazy.  This stuff is pretty tightly plied, and so far it's not shedding at all.  It's also got a nice crunch to it that I wasn't quite expecting. And it's shiny-it almost reminds me of pearls.

I love the double seed stitch.  I was a bit worried early on, because it took a couple inches for it to start looking like something and not a pile of tangled string, but now I can see it's going to be absolutely charming.  This stitch pattern plays so well in the light-especially with this yarn.

I just finished the body to the underarms today, and started sleeve one.  Then it's sleeve two, attaching the sleeves to the body, some raglan decreases, and the neckband.  I wish I was a bit further along, but hopefully I'll still be able to get this finished in time for my friend's wedding.  I am trying to remain optimistic and not yet develop a backup plan for what to wear.

(I am however struggling with the fact that Heartmate needs to be done before the wedding, too, and that it technically ranks higher on the list than Ella.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quickly, on a Sunday

1. I'm sorry for the quietness of last week.  I haven't gotten a chance to take good pictures of anything recently, although that is on my agenda for this week.  I have things I want to show you!

2. Ella is still going swimmingly, though not swimmingly enough that I am totally confident that I will have her finished in time for my friend's wedding next month.  Fingers crossed.

3. I started the first of the baby blankets.  It's simple biased garter stitch, which I think is incredibly homey and comforting.  Both blankets are yellow, which is one of my favorite colors for babies (it's one of the happiest colors, I think).

4. I had a decorative pot related foot injury this weekend, which means I'm getting out of dance rehearsal for a couple days and hoping my tetanus boosters are up to date. 

5. I've spent the weekend moving all the furniture in my room around.  I got rid of my desk/dresser, which gives me a lot of floor space.  The ultimate goal is to be able to fit my armchair in my room, but we'll have to see how things work out.  I need at least one more bookcase and to figure out how to best optimize my under-bed storage space.

6. I'm also starting a new self-care plan. It involves a set, regular, early bedtime, knitting every evening, sleepytime yoga every day, and early morning reading with coffee.  It looks good on paper, so now I'm transitioning to make it happen in real life.  The goal is that I will become calmer and more rested, and overall have less anxiety.  I want to get more rest and fit in things that I love everyday, and this plan allows for that, and it gives me a firm schedule to stick to, which is something I need right now, with the craziness of summer.  Self-care is incredibly important, and I'm happy with my plan.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Week in Review

Happy Sunday!  It's been a bit of a crazy week, but I still have some things to share with you.  Not enough for numbers, though.

My community theatre play rehearsals start this afternoon, which means I'm about to get even busier.  But I think I'll have some decent backstage knitting time, which is probably my favorite part of community theatre.

I've been working steadily on Ella and I am in love with her.  She's such a fun knit.  I want to try to get her done in time to wear to my friend's wedding next month, since I don't have too many nice warm-weather clothes and I love giving myself deadlines.

I also have the sample for a new pattern finished.  I did most of the knitting several weeks ago, and got most of the way through the bind off before abandoning it on my desk.  I finished it yesterday, in a startling fit of productivity, and it's blocking now.  Hopefully it'll stop thunder-storming here soon and I can get some pictures taken.  The pattern will be my summer freebie and should go live in the next couple of weeks, depending on the weather.

Summer always gets crazy busy for me, but I'm hoping things will start to calm down soon. I think some of the worst of it is over, and my fngers are crossed for a quiet couple of months. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

WIP: Heartmate

This is so much fun to knit.  I have such a fondness for white lace, as you all know, and this has been coming along so perfectly:
I'm enjoying myself so much, that I already have one side complete.  The middle took about a week, and the completed side took only three days or so!  I'm pushing this one to the back burner for a little bit, because I don't want it to end too soon!

Monday, June 9, 2014

WIP: Sockhead

I fell in love with this pattern soon after I started knitting, but I always held off because I wasn't sure of which yarn to use.  I found this yarn at my LYS a few years ago, and picked up two balls because it was so much fun, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it would be good for.

Fast forward a couple years, and I rediscovered it while organizing my stash.  I remembered Sockhead, and decided they were meant to be.  I added it to the queue and decided it would be a fun, easy, and quick project at the end of summer, once I'd taken care of my knitting obligations.
And then Anemone came to visit, and we decided to go see the new X-Men, and I had nothing that I could knit in a cinema.  I cast on half an hour before we left, and got half the brim done during the movie.  Then on my mum's birthday we were watching another movie, and I didn't feel like knitting Heartmate, so I got most of the rest of the brim done on this.  I've slowed down now, because I know I'm going to want to go to the cinema several more times before the summer is done, and I need something like this that I can knit without looking at all.

The yarn is technically DK, but it feels closer to sport or fingering to me.  It's knitting up fine, though, and if the hat's a little big that's okay.  I have a big head and big hair, and I live where the winters get abhorrently cold, so I'll always have need for a good hat.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

There and Back Again

I've driven for about 18 hours the past three days.  I lost track of how much coffee I was drinking after cup 3 on day one.  I know I drank coffee at 11:00PM both nights I was away, I know I fell asleep by midnight anyway.  But it was a good trip. And now I'm back home, in my room, with my dog.
I decided to bring Mottled Daydream with me, for those of you who were wondering, but it didn't get knit on at all.  Instead I was tempted by the lovely Ella, just published a few days ago by Hannah Fettig, who's been one of my favorite designers since I started knitting.  I'm knitting it in Red Heart cotton crochet thread (that for some reason I have 3000 yards of, what was I thinking?!) and I'm liking it so far.  I've had bad luck, historically, with knitting cotton sweaters, and I really wonder if this will work in cotton, but I need something summery and easy.

So far it's a really fun knit. I haven't had a whole lot of knitting time the past couple of days, but my knitting load has lightened up just a little right now, and this is a nice break.  I want to try to be the kind of knitter that knits before bed every night, and I think this will be a good bedtime project. 

Also I am a terrible planner and it was 25 degrees cooler where I was going than I planned, so I had to get up crazy early on Saturday to try and find some kind of wrap before I had to be at work.  (I am so disappointed in myself: I went back and forth for three days debating whether or not to bring a shawl, and I decided not to because, "there's no way I'll need one, it's summer!"  Stupid Kat.)  I found this at the third place I tried, and paid a ridiculous amount for it, but it kind of saved my sanity.  And I'm a sucker for florals.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

I leave for a short business trip tomorrow (just three days-I'll be back Sunday night) and I still haven't figured out what knitting to bring!  It's hard, because I'll be working a lot, and driving for most of two days, but I still want something for the hotel room and for slow periods on Saturday.  But here are my options:

1. A baby blanket-probably not a real option.  I have the yarn for one blanket, but the stitch patterns I wanted to use don't work out the way I hoped they would, so I have to re-think the whole thing.  Plus the size factor.

2. Sockhead-potential, but it's pretty small and right now is my go-to cinema knitting, and I don't have anything else in the queue right now that can replace it once it's done, so I want to make it last as long as possible.

3: Neville-strong potential, except I'm still feeling all socked-out.  I don't even want to look at another sock right now, even if it's a sock as charming as Neville.  Plus, these have languished long enough that I'm starting to feel guilty.  I'm not quite ready to face up to my negligence and apologize to them yet.

4. Mottled Daydream-definitely a possibility, but I still haven't finished frogging it.  And I'd have to re-print the pattern and write down all my planned changes.  But it would be an excuse to start working on it again.

5. Cotton lace-weight pullover-if I was farther along in the planning process, maybe.  But I haven't even finished swatching for it, and I have no planned measurements or schematic drawn up.  So right now, that's a bit laughable.

6. Heartmate-I would, but it's more than half-complete already, and it's such a pleasure to knit that I want to stretch it out a little bit longer. 

7. Something Top Sekrit-it would be a good chance to get some Top Sekrit knitting done, especially since cell reception is spotty where I'm going.  But I don't really have something planned out enough where I can take it with me right now.  Plus I'd have to take notes, if it was a new design, which is the antithesis of portable, and most o my dedicated Top-Sekrit yarn hasn't been wound into balls yet.

8. Darjeeling-laughable.  I haven't touched these in over a year, and they're my first toe-up socks ever.  When I finally go back to these, I will be GLUED to the book.

9. Snowdrop-I know Ravelry says that this has been on the needles since 2012, and that it's 5% done, but the reality is, it's totally frogged.  I messed up, and I was only two repeats in, and I needed the needles for something else, so I just took it off and haven't restarted it yet.

Looking at all my options listed out, it seems like my best choice is probably going to be Mottled Daydream, as long as I can forget that I've already knit the whole thing once before.  But it is a fun knit, the yarn is nice, and there's only a tiny bit left to frog.  And since I've knit it once before, I know the pattern well enough to be able to pick it up and set it down as necessary.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

FO: Midsummer Night's Dream

Ta-da!  I finished these with time to spare, which almost never happens!  I kitchenered the second toe on Sunday evening and gifted them on Tuesday.  The first time I saw this pattern, I knew that I had to knit them for my mum since she loves gardening so much.
The yarn is Malabrigo Yarn Sock, colorway Lettuce.  I bought three skeins of this stuff from my "local" yarn store (it's an hour away, but it was my LYS when I was a student, and I go back every time I'm in the city) last summer.  I have big plans for the other two skeins, but I figured I could spare a pair of socks' worth for these.  This isn't the fist time I've knit with this yarn, but it's the first time I've made socks with it, and the result is divine.  These are so buttery and soft that I almost had to keep them for myself!
My mum loves them, and she's actually looking forward to autumn so she can wear them.  I reworked the chart to knit from the top-down, and I'm pretty pleased with how they came out.  I love the leaf motif, and I think the pattern works really well with this yarn.  They were a ton of fun to knit, and pretty easy, once I had the chart figured out. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Numbers

1. First things first, my blog is up to 500 pageviews!  Yay blog!!

2. If you've been paying attention, you'll already know that I have a new pattern out.  Please share with me any feedback you have-I want to keep improving both as a designer and as a vendor.

3. It's officially summer here in South Dakota.  I've got two fans going and haven't worn my hair down in a week.

4. That doesn't mean I'm not knitting:  I've got just one toe left on Midsummer Night's Dream.  They'll definitely be done tonight, in plenty of time for their Tuesday due date.

5.  I also have visible progress on Heartmate, which is such a refreshing knit after nothing but socks the past couple of months.

6. I have a craving for lace-weight sweaters.  I got some discount cotton crochet thread that I want to make into a pullover with a wide neck and dolman sleeves and a high-low hem.  (I accidentally bought 3000 yards of the stuff, so I'll probably have a matching cardigan.)  I also pulled out some Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Lace that's been in the stash for about a year.  I think that wants to become something like Featherweight

7. I still need to order yarn for my brother's birthday present, and for the blanket for the August baby. And yarn for another pair of Mum Socks.  (And maybe yarn for a Top-Sekrit Project.  Shh.)

8. I have to travel for work again this weekend, and I need to figure out what knitting I'll bring with me this time.  Almost definitely Heartmate, depending on how much gets done this week, and probably Sockhead, and maybe Mottled Daydream if it gets its act together and finishes frogging itself.  But at this point, pretty much all bets are off.  I've even been known to cast on new knitting for a trip ten minutes before I leave.