Monday, May 30, 2016

Weekending


It's a long weekend in the US, so I've been spending mine in my favorite ways. I finished a jigsaw puzzle on Saturday, read volumes 18-22 of Fables and Milk and Honey (which is so amazing, oh my gosh), and have done a whole lot of knitting. I pulled out this cowl design that I started a couple of months ago, and I've made some good progress on it. It's well over halfway done now, and I'm absolutely thrilled with how it's knitting up.

I've also been juggling a few other projects this weekend-I finally divided the sleeves on my TPCT, and while it will probably take a miracle for me to be done by the end of the KAL on Friday, I'm still enjoying it and I've got several outfit ideas for it planned already.

I also went on my first training ride in weeks yesterday. There's less than six weeks until the Tour de Cure, which is really lighting a fire under my ass. I got 9.7 miles done, and the ride was easier than I expected, which was a nice feeling. I'm hoping to get a lot of these short rides in over the next few weeks, and get a couple of longer rides in before the Tour date. I can't adequately express how much I appreciate everyone's support so far, and I'm looking forward to the next six weeks of training.




Friday, May 27, 2016

Big Changes, and Yoga Shawl Yarn


If you recall, when I was at my knitting retreat last month I dyed up four skeins for a special project that I wasn't able to tell you about at the time. Well, now the cat's out of the bag-if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you already may know this, but I started a new job on Monday as the Borrowing Supervisor for Inter-Library Loan at the university I've been a secretary at for the past three years. I'm super excited about this change, and I'm loving my new job so far. I've been trying for years to get back into library work, and it feels so good to be back doing what I love.

I used to complain about the HVAC in my office a lot-and the library is notoriously even worse, so as soon as I accepted this job I knew I was going to need a dedicated library wrap to keep at my desk for chilly days. My mind immediately went to the Yoga Shawl-I loved this pattern when it came out, but I didn't feel like it was something I'd wear a lot as an accessory. However, it's totally the kind of thing that I'll snuggle up in at my desk!

My plan was to start knitting this week, but after I wound the yarn into cakes I noticed that my hands were red. And the card table was red. And when I went to rinse my hands, I splashed my front and got red splotches on my shirt. There was a lot of dye to clean up-not surprising, given that this is such a rich and dark red, but it was really tough to clean up. I had to bleach the card table, my shirt was a total loss (it was a $1 tank top, so no biggie), and I really don't want to go through all that again to re-skein the yarn to try and set the dye more, but I also don't want to get dye everywhere while knitting. So do I cast on fearlessly, and only knit while wearing dark clothes? Or do I suck it up and re-skein the yarn and hope I can get the dye to set better? Or is there another idea that's evading me so far? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FO: Make Up Your Mind


 Hark! A finished tank! This was my original project for the Very Shannon TTTKAL, and after my brief affair with the Tallahassee Crop Top, it pretty much flew off the needles. I alternated two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug, but I still have 134g (almost half the yarn!) left over (oh well, I guess I'll have to knit a pink crop top, woe is me). I knit this pretty much as written-I did fudge some length  in the upper fronts/back so the armholes and neckline wouldn't be too deep, but otherwise I didn't mess around with it.


I'm so glad to have finally gotten around to this top-I've had it in my queue for years. I had just a little trouble with two of the stitch patterns-the linen rib and Hindu pillar stitch were a bit fiddly for my taste, but fortunately that made me power through them to get to something I enjoyed more, so it all worked out okay. Ultimately I love the stitches in this top, so I'm glad I powered through them and didn't try to sub out for something else.


Ravelry Page: Make Up Your Mind
Pattern: Make Up Your Mind by knittedblissJC
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug, "Madder"

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, May 23, 2016

We Went to the Zoo!

About a month ago I texted Anemone to see if she'd be interested in a zoo day. I love zoos and aquariums, and I feel pretty fortunate that I've got a zoo just an hour away. Saturday was the designated day, so I drove up to the city first thing in the morning and we went to see all the animals!


Giraffes


Kookaburra


Gibbon


Kangaroo


Goats


Camel


Macaques

It was so great to get to hang out all day with my sister and walk around the entire zoo. We got some good sister time in, I got to pet some sheep and goats (the zoo has a farm animal petting zoo inside!), we ate delicious Mexican food, and we spent way too much time in the gift shop afterwards :) 

Friday, May 20, 2016

FO: Tallahassee Crop Top


Guys, this project was so quick, I can barely believe it! I suppose that's to be expected with a cropped tank, but sheesh! If you recall, I had this yarn left over from my Cam Tee sample last summer, and I'd hoped to make a crop top with it, but hadn't identified a pattern. When Tallahassee came out earlier this year, I knew it would be perfect for this orange, and I think I was right!


I'd been planning on saving this top for a mid-summer project, but then I found this skirt at one of the thrift stores in town and the oranges match perfectly-plus, how often do you find the perfect high-waist maxi skirt? Less than a week later, I had a finished crop top, and I'm just as pleased as punch. I love this outfit, and I have at least two more skirts that this top will go great with.


I did make a couple of mods on this. Most obviously, it's cropped, and I added two more sets of waist decreases before knitting the bottom ribbing. For the straps, I knew I wanted wider straps than the pattern called for, so the top would be a bit less risque for work, so I picked up the stitches as written, but instead of doing straight ribbing, I knit eleven rounds first. There are some stitches that are kept live and picked up straight from the ribbed neckband-I did keep those as ribbed, so I have this cool epaulet-type texture on the tops of the shoulders.


Ravelry Page: Tallahassee Crop Top
Pattern: Tallahassee, by Kristen TenDyke 
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport, "Grapefruit"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More KALing


I'm wearing my new crop top today, and I promise to have FO pictures for you all on Friday. I decided to count that top as a second TTTKAL project, and now I'm well back to work on my Make Up Your Mind and my TPCT.

Both of these projects are almost at good milestones-TPCT is just a couple of rounds away from dividing for the sleeves, and Make Up Your Mind is just a scant inch away from dividing the front and back. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape for both KALs, and I'm really excited with how may awesome new summer tops I'm coming out with.

I'm working on some crafting plans for the summer right now. I'm really tempted to do the OAL with Lladybird and Untangling Knots this year-for a couple of reasons, my summer is going to be less busy than it has been in the past, and community theatre rehearsals won't start until the last week of June, so I should be able to finally swing it! I'd also like to finally get some sewing done, and another summer top or two knit up.

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, May 16, 2016

Auditions and Preparing


Happy Monday! It's the time of year again when I'm starting to get ready for Community Theatre, and I had my first audition on Sunday. I brought along my Rios Scraps Cowl to work on while I was waiting, and I got a good chunk of the next color knit up. We're doing Wizard of Oz this year, and while rehearsals won't start for another month, we'll hopefully have the show cast this week.

I also finished a new crop top over the weekend-and I broke my rule of springing an FO on you guys without ever showing it as a WIP. Remember a couple months ago when I mentioned wanting to knit a cropped version of Tallahassee? Well, last week I just jumped in and did it, and it only took a couple of days, and, well, now I have a finished crop top blocking on my bedroom floor.

It's looking like it's going to be a busy week for me. I have theatre callbacks on Tuesday, I need to take FO pictures of my Tallahassee, and I've also got a ton of plates in the air getting ready for some exciting changes that I'll be able to tell you all about soon. All good stuff, but it's all rushing at me at once right now!

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, May 13, 2016

FO: Nusa


Yay Nusa! I did manage to finish this by the KAL deadline last Friday, but I only just got around to taking pictures yesterday! I love this cowl so much-it's so light and airy, and a great length for a warm-weather cowl.


I went back and forth a little bit with yarn choice for this. I didn't know if I wanted merino singles or merino-silk singles, and I am so glad I went for the silk. It's got such a rich texture, and a little bit of a sheen, and it's definitely a nice cowl. I already talked a bit about trying to choose colors-I probably had 20 tabs open with different colorways before I decided on these two!

I didn't make any mods while knitting this. The lace was a bit tricky, but most of that was probably due to the fact that I knit the first half of it in a dark auditorium (great planning, Kat). The stripes really zoomed by-I love having color changes to mark progress like that!


Ravelry Page: Nusa
Pattern: Nusa by Cory Ellen Boberg
Yarn: Three Fates aether singles "Woodsmoke" and "City of Books"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Perils of Hand-Knits

Yesterday morning as I was rushing to get ready for work, I noticed the dogs' water bowl was empty. I went to fill it, and turned from the sink to put the bowl back on the floor when it happened.

I'd been wearing a handknit lace shawl. It was a chilly morning, and sometimes the office HVAC can get a little persnickety, and I wanted the extra layer over my shoulders before I headed out the door.

Unbeknownst to me, one of the large eyelets in the shawl had gotten caught on the knob of the cabinet beneath the sink as I'd filled the water bowl, and as I turned to step away from the sink I got tangled in my shawl which was stuck to the cabinet and I went down like a roped calf.

My mother, of course, hears something in the kitchen fall, and comes to investigate to see me lying on the kitchen floor, tangled up in a shawl, tied to the cupboard, and water everywhere. Fortunately, I went down pretty softly, so I'm okay, but it serves as a word of warning:

Caution: wearing handknit shawls can lead to embarrassing situations, bumped heads, and bruised egos. Use care while wearing.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Weekending


Hello, my friends! I hope you all had a wonderful, refreshing weekend. I made sure to get some cleaning done on Saturday so I could spend all day Sunday reading and knitting. I've been carrying around my Make Up Your Mind as lunch knitting, so I decided to work on my TPCT this weekend to change things up, and I'm absolutely loving how this yarn is knitting up.

Also, the plain stockinette is perfect for reading and knitting, and once I picked Ahab's Wife back up this weekend, I couldn't put it down! I found this book in a thrift store several months ago, read the first 10 chapters, and then stuck it in my current reading pile and buried it under other things. But the writing is so engaging, and Una is such a great character-I have just over 100 pages to go, and I'm definitely going to be sad to see it end.

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, May 6, 2016

Productivity and WIPs


Gosh, you guys, I am feeling so productive right now! My Que Sera is finished, I finished Nusa (pics to come!), and I'm well into summer knitting, which is all cropped and sleeveless and quick! It feels great to have my mojo back-as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I spent most of the first part of this year ill, and while I didn't stop knitting entirely, I certainly didn't knit as much as I usually like to.

My pile of WIPs is starting to get a bit more overfull than I usually like it. While I wasn't feeling well I let myself cast on new things willy-nilly, but it feels good to be getting some stuff wrapped up.

For now I'm trying to be good and get a lot of summer tops knit up. I've got a couple of other things planned, but I'm trying to stay mindful of the fact that I'm still not back up to peak knitting form yet, and I shouldn't cast on more than I can keep track of.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

FO: Que Sera


Readers, I finished it. Overall, I'm thrilled with how this came out. I love the color, the stitch pattern, the puff-sleeved look I was able to get (yay!), and the most adorable buttons ever. It's a great length, the sleeves are perfect, the neckline is flattering. It's super comfortable, and hopefully I'll be able to get some serious wear out of this.

My only issue with it (and it's by no means a dealbreaker) is that the front gapes quite a bit when it's buttoned. I really only have myself to blame-I knew it was going to happen, and I ignored it, and I kept knitting as written instead of putting in more frequent buttonholes. On me, this cardigan really needs twice as many buttons as it has. Sigh. I think I'm going to try to get more of these buttons from Athena's (fingers crossed!) and make up some kind of afterthought buttonholes in between the real ones to get the kind of closure I need.

So that's a bit of a shame, because I think this would be great to be able to wear closed, but I'm definitely going to be wearing it open for now, and hopefully the next time I get into the city I'll be able to find more of the same buttons. Otherwise, this was great. It used up just over four skeins-I needed to break into a fifth just for the last row and bind-off of the second sleeve, and for the sleeve and shoulder seams, so it was just three yards that I needed.


Ravelry Page: Que Sera
Pattern: Que Sera by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, no color listed, but it's pink :)

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, May 2, 2016

Making Plans


After some consideration, I decided that I just don't have the quantity or variety of me-made garments to be comfortable wearing one every day, and in the end I decided not to do Me-Made May this year. It's not a total loss-I have some great pieces already, and I have some fantastic things on the needles, and I just need to work on figuring out how to make the kinds of things that I'm comfortable wearing every day, instead of just a couple of times a month.

On Saturday, I went fabric shopping with my mum, and I got quite the supply. I have a small fabric stash already, but these are all destined for specific projects. I'm currently at the uncomfortable point with sewing where my abstract skills are much higher than what I can actually make my hands do, which is really frustrating, but there's no way past it except to sew a lot.

Here I've got fabric for three dresses, a tank, and a cardigan. I have fabric for another couple of dresses already in my stash, and I've got a sub-stash of fabrics to make some tops. I had hoped to do more sewing during March and April, but that didn't happen for a few different reasons. I've made my main goal for the rest of spring and summer to get my technical skills closer to my abstract construction knowledge, and hopefully end up with some cute stuff!

Linking up with KCCO