Way behind

Ah, whoops. Time got away from me there. I'm still here, still knitting, just not blogging. Nor have I even been reading other people's blogs, for some reason. Not sure what happened. Well, I guess what happened is that spring/summer arrived and now I have to be a grownup and mow the lawn and weed and water the flowers and things like that. And we've been biking too! Such fun to get out of the house and do fun things on weeknights, but then suddenly it's time for bed and then it's morning and time for work all over again. It's a vicious cycle, this.

Anyway, I've been knitting here and there, though I have no progress pics to share at the moment. Just wanted to pop in here and wave hi. Hi!

I've progressed to the gusset increases on my first Grasshopper sock. (See photos below and imagine it just a smidge longer but looking much the same.) I am still loving it. And still getting used to this toe-up sock business. I am as yet not too confident of when to stop knitting the foot and begin the heel. We'll see if I got it right.

I did finish the main part of the "Whoa! Pink Bag." Still loving that, too. I want to start on the handles soon and get that ready for felting. I might force myself to wait to felt it though because since I have another felted bag in process, I figured I'd felt them at the same time, to conserve water a little.

So, that's the latest from here! Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend!


Knitting Weekend

This was a great weekend for knitting. I got a bit accomplished on both my first Grasshopper sock and the Whoa! Pink Bag, which I’m now calling it because every time I look at it I’m blinded by how bright it is. I love it though.

First up, the Pink Bag…I’m cranking along on it, still knitting in the round. I’m getting wide enough stripes that I think even once felted it will still have good visible stripes.

I am almost done with one ball of yarn, and am hoping to continue to be able to follow the striping pattern it has so far as I use the other balls of yarn. This may require some cutting and advancing to a particular spot in the yarn to achieve this effect, but I think that when it’s felted no one will be any the wiser (even perfectionist me).


My first Grasshopper sock is going well I think, and I made a fair amount of progress on it. It goes pretty quickly.

I was a little concerned about how the lace would go for me after all of the posts I’d read on the RSC blog. I did have a bit of a brain hiccup when I started the lace portion, and I stared at the first line of the lace pattern for a while, trying to figure out how to do a yarn over on the first stitch at the end of the needle. But once I got that sorted out (hold right needle as if you’re about to start knitting from the left, then wrap your yarn around it for your yarn over and then continue) all was well. I was a tiny bit stumped by the yarn over at the end of the other row too, but then I got past that one too. I am not sure if these things are such big issues if you’re using two circs instead of DPNs, but I think I am managing okay anyway.

I’m finding that every other row in the lace (I think it’s row 2) is a little tighter and harder to execute, but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been debating whether I ought to get some sharper DPNs like the KnitPicks ones, but so far I’m managing okay on my bamboos.

I have to say, I do like that there’s stockinette on the sole since that eases up the lace portion a bit. And further to that, I also like that it starts with the foot with the stockinette so that I can get used to this lace pattern before I get to the leg that’s all lace!

I still totally love this yarn, and I think this pattern showcases it nicely. I love how the stockinette on the sole looks too:

Now back to it!


Startitis must be catching

Just like Laura did recently, I apparently have a doozie of a case of startitis. In the past three days, I’ve started three new projects! I was doing so well, whittling down my WIPs…I mean, I was down to two. TWO! It’s been ages since I’ve had that few things on the needles. Oh well!

Here’s the rundown: In honor of having finished my only “no-brainer” TV knitting project, I started another, the Marit Purse kit. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

For this part (the main bag section) it’s pleasant mindless stockinette, with the occasional color change to keep things interesting. I can tell this is going to be a cute purse.

Then yesterday, I had stopped in our local JoAnn’s to see if I could “meet” some yarn in person which I’d seen online. I had seen this pattern* for a baby blanket on the Lion Brand website and thought it was cute. Now, let me just put this little disclaimer out there: I’m not normally a granny-square kind of gal, and it's probably clear that I am much more into knitting than crocheting, but I was loving the colors in that little blanket (Mocha, Mango, Fuchsia, Coral, and French Vanilla, seen here). I thought I could add to it and make it a lap blanket for the sofa (again with the seasonally inappropriate projects). Well, as I said, I decided to go see if I could at least see these colors in person at the store, before deciding if I wanted to order them online, since I figured I’d never find enough in a store anyway. Well, I found the French Vanilla which I’ve used before and liked, but the only other color I could find was the Mango. Holey neon orange, Batman! It was SO bright, and perhaps a little much so for me. Not the lovely mango-esque color I was hoping for. So, without seeing that color next to the others in person, I decided to write off that project idea for now.

But I was not sad and dejected for long. Why is that? Because I found this:

!! Sense a pattern here? Clearly, I love these colors! Mostly pinks, but with a bit of orange thrown in just for spunk.

Now, if you could see my stash of needles and notions, you would know I have no business buying kits that come with needles etc. (And admittedly, they’re not the greatest quality anyway.) But…I had with me a coupon for 40% off which brought the kit down to $12. Not too shabby for four balls of yarn to make a fun felted purse. (Oh, and have I ever mentioned I LOVE purses and bags? Well, I do. :o) hee.) Plus, it came with beads and sequins which I just might end up using on my bag. Needless to say, I brought that home and dove right in:

The pattern it came with has you making two squares as front and back, which then gives you big stripes with the fun self-striping yarn (whose name I don’t know, unfortunately, since it just came in this kit that says JoAnn Sensations). The yarn has really long runs of each color. However, I soon decided that since this isn’t going to be a huge purse, I wasn’t sure the really wide stripes were going to be quite right. So I started another ball and cast on twice as many stitches and joined into a circle. I’m going to see how this option comes out:

Now. You may have noticed that I said I had started three new things. I hadn’t yet begun my Grasshoppers from the Rockin’ Sock Club April kit, so I decided to get going on those, since I have some quiet down time to myself today where I could concentrate on something new that does require some brainpower.

I love this yarn…it is sooooo soft, and I love the colors. The colorway is called Walking on the Wild Tide. I especially love that little fuchsia section, yum. So here’s where I cast on:

This was another new technique for me. The Inside Out socks from the February kit were also toe-up and used a provisional cast on. These used something called a backwards loop cast on (also called an e-wrap). The difference is with the other socks, you start sort of on the top of your toes, work short-row decreases to the tips of your toe, then short-row increases back to the same spot on the bottom of your toes, then you are ready for the foot. With this one, you cast on just a few stitches, and pick up more on the back, and then start right at the tip of the toe, increasing for the toe shaping. So far I like it, that is once I got past the rather fiddly first couple of rows. I have to say though, I didn’t find it nearly as fiddly as I found the provisional cast on! I think what made it bearable was the fact that it was only a small number of stitches.

Anyway, here’s where I am now:

Oh, and yeah, I'm using DPNs instead of the two circulars method the pattern calls for. This is for a couple of reasons: I've never tried two circs, and think it might be best to learn on a plain sock pattern, but also because I don't have any circs this small! I don't have anything against buying some, but just not now for this project.

If you're still here reading this long and photo-laden post, thanks! I think I’m going to head back to my sock now. But first, I can’t leave without sharing this funny Moose photo:

*if you can’t see that link without registering, try this one. Scroll down to the “New Free Crochet Patterns for Infants” and the thing I’m referring to is the little pink and orange blanket in the middle.


Pink and Purple Socks

Another FO! I finished some more socks. These were my plain, take-along-project that I had on the needles, since you have to have something mindless to knit while watching TV, riding in the car etc., right? Anyway, they're done, which is kind of a good thing as I've had them going for a long time, and I was kind of getting bored by them, even though I love the colors.

These socks were knit in Knit Picks Dancing, which I think they may be phasing out as they only have a color or two left and they've been on sale for quite some time. The yarn has elastic in it, which has made some comfy socks! I am quite pleased with them. I just used my basic plain sock pattern, top down, nothing fancy. The color pooled and did its wonky thing, but I like them.

My project specs can be found here.


Pale Blue Cabled Brim Hat

As I mentioned before, I finished my pale blue hat a while ago. But I never posted officially about it as a(n) FO. I think it's going to be a nice hat to wear next winter. There's definitely something anti-climactic about finishing a hat in May though, I'll sure say that. Anyway, here it is:

It technically goes with these other items, a pair of mittens and a scarf:

No idea if I'll wear them all together or not, perhaps just part of the set.
Anyway, the hat pattern is Coronet from Knitty. It was very fun to knit. I am not sure how the brim, which is folded up, will behave when wearing it for real. I might want to tack that up so it stays put with none of the back of the stockinette peeking out at the bottom (which it wants to do) but on the other hand, it might be better to have it so I can adjust it. We'll have to see about that one.
The yarn is Jo-Ann Sensations Bellezza Tesoro, in Blue #632. It is a very soft 100% wool which was lovely to knit with.
Specs for this project can be found here!


The Intrepid Explorer

It was brought to my attention by Dee that I haven't posted any Moose photos lately. Well, I am only too happy to oblige!

This past weekend we sat out on our screened-in porch for the first time this season. Of course, it had to be one of the chillier days we've had, but we "suffered" through it for a little while and then gave up and decided to eat our dinner inside. Anyway, this was also Moose's first visit to the porch, which to a cat, translates as a giant three-sided window. Oh, the fun of it all! I wanted to photodocument him out there but man, he would not. sit. still. I did manage to get a few decent photos of him (although I'm leaving out the dozens I took where he's a black and white blur and the ones where he left the photo's frame before it even clicked).

The Adventures of The Intrepid Explorer

Here we see our brave explorer surveying the scene about to set off:

Over hill, over dale...

No stone left unturned, no corner left unsniffed.

(I tried to get him to stop moving and pose in front of the pretty azalea, but that was NOT happening. Below you will see that Maddie agreed most willingly.)

I guess I'll sit still for a second...but only a second.

Hmm, what's over here?

and while all this was going on, Maddie supervised:

...and then decided that was too much work and took a nap:

Back soon with some actual knitting content! I finished my blue hat, but for some reason have been less than enthusiastic about getting a photo taken and posting about it. I dunno, maybe because it's a hat and now we're in the middle of May?


I got tagged!

I got tagged for my first meme! Nell over at Chicken Knits tagged me. Thanks Nell! :)


Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

Here are my facts:

1. As a kid I lived overseas for nine years with my parents in Japan, Turkey and Switzerland. I have been fortunate enough to have visited 25 different foreign countries and 25 U.S. states, but I have only ever lived in one state, Pennsylvania.

2. I once got to sit in the cockpit of a commercial airliner for the landing, but almost didn’t take them up on their offer because I was too shy. It was an amazing experience! This was in the late 1980’s, and it was on a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen, Denmark to Istanbul, Turkey.

3. I am painfully shy and can be very uncomfortable in social situations like parties where I don’t know anyone.

4. My husband and I bought the house I grew up in from my dad.

5. I am very afraid of thunderstorms, especially when I am home alone. Sometimes if there are storms expected, I’ll wimp out and go to the mall just so I don’t have to be by myself.

6. I didn’t start liking PB&J (peanut butter and jelly) sandwiches until my senior year of college. This was most likely because my mom hated the smell of peanut butter and never had it around the house.

7. My “guilty pleasure” is that I watch a soap opera (The Young and the Restless) which I’ve watched ever since one of my college roommates got me hooked on it. My excuse now is that it provides great knitting time!


I am tagging the following people*:

Laura ~ Sahm I Am
Lynn ~ Knots in a Row
Dee ~ The Daily Stitch
Andi ~ Cotton Pickin’
Jen ~ Piddleloop
Tammy ~ Knits-N-Purrs
Heather ~ No Harm In Yarn

*if you've already been tagged, sorry! I'm not caught up on my reading list, and also, I don't "know" many bloggers who "know" me too! :)


Inside Out and Done!

I finished my Inside Out socks! Finally, sheesh. Actually, in all truthfulness I finished them the other day but then had more interesting things to do than weave in ends and so they sat for a few days. But, without further ado, I give you my completed Inside Out socks:

The one on the left is "right side out" (as they were knitted) and the one on the right is "inside out." I can't say that I prefer one or the other more, I think I'll just switch back and forth.

(Specs on these can be found here.)

The hand-dyed yarn did interesting things with these socks. The feet of both socks look quite different, stripey-wise, but I love that about them. I'd rather they not match exactly, gives them more character. The leg portion, however, was done on larger needles which changed my gauge and made the yarn more striped than pooled.

The tops of the socks (insoles?):

and the soles:

I did make one other small error, in that back when I found a knot in my yarn and restarted, I just joined the yarn where I was, instead of looking at the colors in the yarn and jumping forward to the same spot in the next repeat of the colors. So I got a sort of funny interruption in my pooling, You can sort of see it in the above photos at the top of the foot of the sock on the left. But they're so irregular anyway it doesn't bother me. However, I did handle the second break in my yarn (thanks, Moose!) better and I did advance to the right spot in the yarn, and for that you can't tell where it was. Anyway, these things are SO COMFY...they're definitely thick though and I can't wear them with all my shoes, but great for wandering around the house. Yesterday was a chilly spring day and I got some good use out of them already. :)

Back soon with a swatch for a new project I am challenging myself with.


Pretty flowers

I love pink flowers. Last year we didn't plant any annuals in our yard, and I wanted this year to be different. So this past weekend I planted flowers. Lots, and lots of flowers. And mostly pink ones. I am lucky to have a sweet husband who doesn't mind if I want to plant all pink flowers. :) I don't have pictures of all of them because they're not too floriferous* (is too a word! I looked it up...) yet, but I am hoping they will be as the nice weather progresses. I planted impatiens, and petunias, and some pretty little things called verbena and alyssum. So pretty. And all pink and purple (of course...).

Here are some of the petunias I put in a pot:

I love this color. It's so vibrant in the sun.

And...our tulips came up! This was our first year planting bulbs, and so far so good.

(* that word was on the description of one of the flowers we got. I thought it was a great word!)

And in knitting news...

What's wrong with this picture?

I am still not quite done with my second Inside Out sock. So close...and yet so far. Last night I made the error of knitting my sock with the ball of yarn still in my knitting bag at my feet...well, I suddenly realized that Mr. Moose was at my feet...and, well, let's just say he made really quick work of this. I swear he wasn't there very long at all. I had to rinse the yarn out (it was all wet and slimy and eeeeew) and leave it to dry. Tonight I will see about restarting this. I am so close to being done, and I just want to move on!