Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WiP Wednesday

Hello Friends! I'm still here despite how quiet I've been recently. This relentless New England winter has had me hunkered down enjoying some good books and plenty of knitting. I thought it would be fun to show you what I've been working on. I've finished a couple projects and I'll show those to you later.  These are the projects on my needles right now.

First is the Jimmy Beans Downton Abbey Mystery KAL.  I'm a little stumped right now with this one because I know that I don't have enough yarn to finish it.  Very disappointing. I am getting the gauge that the designer suggested, but I am eating up yarn at an alarming rate.  Actually, I'm not alone on this.  Many, many of the participants are experiencing this same issue.  Enough so that the designer has released a 2nd final clue that uses less yarn.  This is what mine looks like through clue 5 of 7.  Pretty, but.....
this last clue I knit is a diamond lace.  I'm not confident that the diamonds are very defined with the variegated yarn.....
I figure that at this point I have 3 options going forward....
1. Buy more yarn and continue on as is.
2. Rip back 2 clues, which is the end of the garter stitch, go down a needle size and hope that will conserve enough yarn to finish.
3. Rip it all out and start over again with smaller needles.  If I go with this option I will also reverse the colors.  The instructions at the beginning said that "If you want more pink at the bottom, make that color B".  This is what the finished shawl looks like with the colors reversed from what I chose.  Stunning, don't you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. I just keep going around and around on this...

Next project is this pair of super happy, and groovy, socks!  This is the sock pattern form the Rockin' Sock Club January kit.  I never would have picked out this color, Feeling Groovy, for myself or the pattern, 59th Street Bridge Socks.  The pattern is toe up, which I loathe, and the color more neon than I am typically comfortable with, but these are the happiest socks I have ever knit.  I'm committed to stretching my comfort zone this year and I'm happy about that.  I know that I will smile whenever I look at these socks on my feet :-)
Next project is a sweater I'm working on for myself.  The pattern is Cushing Isle by Amy Herzog and I'm using Indigodragonfly SuperBaa Worsted.
I'm loving both the color of the yarn and the texture of the stitch pattern!
The last project on my needles was a complete impulse project.  It's been particularly cold and windy this winter and I have had more than my fair share of dog walking this winter that just plain makes my face hurt!  Friday I was on Facebook and saw that Cat Bordhi was generously offering her Warm All Winter pattern FREE that day only. It is the most PERFECT solution for my subzero walks! (If you haven't clicked to look at the pattern yet, go now.  I'll wait here.)
I literally downloaded the pattern, read through it, figured out what I needed, then got it the car and drove to Spinning Yarns to buy yarn for it.  Bulky yarn?  I'll knock that bad boy out over the weekend so I'll have it for Monday!  Ha! Not quite, but I'm almost halfway finished :-)  And the way this winter is going, I might still need it in May!

Thanks for stopping by, and PLEASE share your thoughts about my shawl.  I promise I won't be upset if you think I should start it over. (Truth be told, that's probably what I'll do)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Turning the Frown Around

It's Monday, and it's supposed to be a treatment Monday today.  I'm closing in on the end of my treatments, only 2 more to go!  But it is snowing. Again.  A LOT!!! Yesterday my oncologist's office called to let me know that the infusion center would be closed today due to the storm.  It's hard to describe how unreasonably angry that made me.  I know it's unreasonable.  It's weather, it's unpredictable, there's the safety of patients AND staff to consider. I know all of this, but it still really pissed me off. I have a plan, the end is in sight, and this weather event just potentially skewed my plan.

So this morning, since I was home, I decided I should balance the checkbook and pay some bills, because what else should you do when you're in a bad mood?  Absolutely get a close up and intimate look of your finances ;-)

While I was sitting at the counter updating the checkbook, I looked up.  What did I see outside my kitchen window? A CARDINAL!!!!  I have lived in this house 14 years and 10 months and I have never seen a cardinal in my yard before!  In fact I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a cardinal in my area.

I immediately jumped up a took this quick picture with my phone.  I didn't think it would come out so I ran down the hall to get my good camera.  I couldn't believe that this bird was still at my feeder when I got back.  Two pictures later, the battery was dead, but I'm so excited that I got a couple pictures.  I've been smiling about this little bird all day :-)  I hope he comes back!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pretend It's Friday

I had this great plan for a regular posting schedule, to help me chronicle my knitting and my life this year. Here it is, the end of January, and I've already fallen short of my goal. But you know what the great thing bout goals is? That's right, you can re-set them! So I'm going to start again with my goal of blogging at least twice a week and begin with what was supposed to be Finish or Frog Friday, even though it's Sunday. So if you could just pretend that it's Friday nobody will know the difference :-)

I shared in the Stashdown Group on Ravelry that one of my goals for this year is to finish or frog every WiP I had on January 1st by the end of the year.  I have finished my first project of the year!  It is my Acorn Trail sweater.

There are a few things that I really love about this sweater.  First is that the back is as beautiful as the front.  Actually, it might be even prettier with the cable that runs up the center.

I used Harrisville Highland for this sweater.  It is the yarn that Amy used for hers and it is one of the few times that I have had easy access to a yarn that a designer used so I decided to give it a try. Bonus, it is a local yarn for me, milled right here in NH.
The yarn felt a little scratchy in my hands so I wasn't quite sure if I would like it.  After a good long soapy bath though, it softens up quite a bit and the yarn blooms beautifully.  The top picture is the back before blocking, the rest are after blocking.  I think that you can see the difference in the look of the yarn even just from the pictures.
This is not a "wear next to the skin" yarn for me.  I do have to wear a shirt under it, but it is a really warm sweater :-)  I've been wearing it a lot this week with these cold, breezy days we've been having.
I found the perfect buttons for it too. It was hard to get a good picture of them, but if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see the leaf print on them.  Perfect match for my Acorn Trail!

So... 1 WiP done, 20 to go!  Here is the list of what I had as of January 1st.  I wonder what it will look like December 31st.
  1. Downton Abbey MKAL
  2. Tea for Morgan
  3. Senna
  4. Cushing Isle
  5. Acorn Trail (1.18.15 - finished)
  6. Bird in Hand Mittens
  7. Shazbat
  8. Drogon
  9. Shadow Shawl
  10. Daenerys Socks
  11. TTL Mystery Sock 2014
  12. Spock Socks
  13. Vamp
  14. Sebasco Cowl
  15. Lush Cowl
  16. In and Out of My Mind
  17. Lissajous
  18. Stricken
  19. Stubbornly on Hold
  20. Sprossling
  21. Wonder Mitts
I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WiP Wednesday

What's been on my needles lately? Let me show you!

I picked up for the first sleeve on the Tiny Tea Leaves.
I added a few inches to the back of my Cushing Isle.  This is the first time that I've alternated 3 balls of yarn.  It's going pretty well and I have a system for rotating the balls to that they don't get tangled.
I'm caught up on the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-a-long.
This is clue 3 of 7.  I have to admit that I'm getting worried that I will run out of yarn.  After 3 clues I've used just over half of my yarn.  My gauge seems fine, but.... I'm wondering if I should frog it and go down a needle size.  I'll probably wait until Sunday when the next clue comes out and see what that looks like.  Maybe the clues will get smaller and use less yarn?

What are you working on or planning to start?  I'll admit that although I am determined to work my way through my WiP's this year, I'm dreaming of what I want to cast on next :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Randomly on a Saturday

Before I get crazy behind again, I thought I'd do a quick recap of what's been going on around here this week.

Tom gave me a second bird feeder for Christmas.  It's a different style of feeding and attracts different birds than my other feeder.  We've been enjoying lots of finches, blue jays and woodpeckers.  It's fun to see them, even though the blue jays are messy eaters!
In my quest to try at least 2 new recipes each month, I tried a new Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It was easy, tasty, and quick!  It was ready to eat in just under 2 hrs.
I used a corkscrew pasta instead of elbow macaroni just because that's what I had in my pantry.  The family gave it 2 thumbs up so I will make it again :-)  Be sure to click on the link above for the recipe.  The Brown Eyed Baker is a great site and I've pinned several of her recipes to my pinterest page.
I finished the body of this Tiny Tea Leaves sweater.  I just have the sleeves and button band left to do!
I have Clue 1 finished in my Downton Abbey Mystery KAL and am ready for Clue 2 which will be released tomorrow.
Today I'm trying to seam my Acorn Trail sweater, but my little dog is in a snuggly mood and just wants to be in my lap. She is making this quite a challenge!

It's hard working over and around her and I've gotten more than my share of dirty looks from her too. It's a cold snuggly day and she needs her beauty rest!

I hope you're having a great weekend!  I just enjoyed watching the Patriots win :-)  From the comfort of my warm living room :-)  (My sister is at the game.  The pictures of her and her husband bundled up are hilarious!  But what a game to see live!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - The Goals

Ten on Tuesday

Considering that this is the first Ten on Tuesday of 2015, it makes perfect sense to think about what this new year will bring. What do we want it to be, what do we want to leave behind, what would we like to embrace?  I hear people talk about Resolutions and what their big resolution is for the year.  I kind of hate that word and won't make a resolution because, frankly, it makes me feel like a failure.  I prefer to think about goals.  A Goal seem more attainable to me, something that I can aspire to or work towards.  A goal is an intention in progress.  And so this week, I share with you, my

10 Goals for 2015

1. Blog at least twice each week.  I'm trying to embrace the fact that I don't have to write a novel each time I blog, in fact short entries are often more enjoyable for both the writer and the reader.
2. Finish or Frog ALL of my current WiP's.  It's time to thin the herd.  This is not to say that at the end of the year I won't still have 18ish WiP's, but at least they will all represent my current interests.
3. Read 7500+ pages.  I've been keeping track of the books I read on Goodreads and join the Reading Challenge each year.  Although I completed more books in 2013 & 2014, I read more pages in 2012.  This seems odd to me and I'm wondering if that it because I have been logging audio editions of the books I listen to?
4. Make at least 2 new recipes each month.
5. Improve my photography skills.  Alright... GET some photography skills :-)  DH signed me up for an online class for using my DSLR camera.  I'm excited about it!
6. Utilize my Fitbit better and take more steps each week than the week before.
7. Schedule every bill to be paid when it arrives in the mail.  Perhaps I won't hate paying bills as much if it isn't such a task once or twice a month.
8. Complete every KAL that I might join.  Even if that means ripping it out if I decided I don't care for it part way through. (The yarn pictured above is what I'm using for the Jimmy Bean's Downton Abbey Mystery KAL)
9. Be more thoughtful and connected.  By this I mean that I want to send more birthday cards, sympathy cards, care packages, Hi-I-was-just-thinking-about-you phone calls, etc.
10. Complete all 39.3 miles of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  I'm walking this year with my sisters.  It's the first time for all of us to participate.  Doing something big like this is a Bucket List thing for me.  As I am getting close to finishing my own treatment, it seemed like this was the right year to do it.  I'm not going to lie, I'm a lot nervous about it!  But I'm pretty sure I can do it!

So there it is, in black and white, for all the world to see.  No pressure!! Haha :-)  I sincerely hope that at the end of 2015 I can look back and truly feel accomplished!

If you'd like to read more, hop on over to Carole's Blog and see who else is playing this week.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year and New Goals

Happy New Year my friends!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.  I sure did, although it seemed to go by so quickly this year.  One of the highlights though was celebrating with these 3 sweet little ones.  So. Much. Fun!  Everything was exciting for them, from watching the tree "glow", as Morgan said, and looking at all the lighted Snow Village houses, to opening presents.  It's been quite a while since we've had little ones in the family to enjoy the season.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.

We hosted dinner on Christmas Day with our siblings who could join us.  I had to take this picture for Tom's mother who made these snappy aprons for all her sons last Christmas.  Not only is it an apron, but a tool belt too! LOL Her response when we sent her the picture was "See how smart Mom is?  Your brothers must be informed!"

We spent New Year's Eve at a house party with our neighbors.  This party has become a tradition in our neighborhood and we look forward to it every year.  Thank you Sean and Michele for your wonderful hospitality!  We're looking forward to next year already!
Look how much hair I have now!  It is coming in crazy curly too! I'm wondering (hoping?) that it will relax some as it gets longer.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see :-)

Now, since this is mostly a knitting blog, I thought that I should share my knitting goals for 2015.  I don't think they're too crazy, but sharing them makes them feel more real.  So here they are...

1. Blog at least twice a week, because I often do something, or make something, and think "I should blog this" and then.... well, life happens and I don't document it.  I'd really like to change that!
2. Use more yarn from my stash than I buy!  This will be tough one because I am easily distracted by the "new" and "shiny".  But my storage bins are full and I refuse to buy any more of them!  (Honestly, I don't think I could handle the (mostly) kidding ribbing from my family ;-)  I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about!)
3. Knit at least one pattern from each sock club shipment.
4. Knit at least 4 sweaters for me!  From stash!
5. Finish or frog ALL current WiP's on my project page.  Some of them are more than 3 years old, so honestly, what is the likelihood that my gauge will still be the same?  If I haven't finished it by now, I probably never will.
6. Build up the Gift Basket to 20 or more items for Christmas 2015.  I'd love to cover my loved ones with warm wooly love :-)
7. Complete any KAL's that I might join.

Speaking of KAL's, the first one starts Sunday.  I've joined the Jimmy Beans Downton Abbey Mystery Knitalong.  It will be a shawl and uses Lorna's Laces Solemate with the Limited Edition color Edith's Secret along with a second complimentary color.  I LOVE Edith's Secret!!!  As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to join the KAL.  I bought a kit, choosing Buckingham Fountain for the second color.  
I often don't swatch for shawls (super naughty, I know) but I was reading through the KAL thread on Ravelry and a lot of knitters were commenting that their gauge was way off with the suggested needle size and had to use much larger needles to get gauge.  I decided that it might be wise to swatch for this shawl and I am very glad I did!  I had to go up 3 needle sizes to get gauge!  Now I'm ready for the first clue AND the first episode of season 5 :-)

I've started a few new projects over the last week, but I think this post is long enough already.  I'll show those to you sometime next week.  See you soon!