Lately I have had ALL the crafty mojo. It’s pouring through me, and it shows because I? Am kicking butt and taking names when it comes to my projects. So much progress! And if two stitchy pursuits weren’t enough, I’m planning to learn a third soon – sewing! But one thing I’ve had no desire to do much of is writing. I do hate to take long breaks from the blog, so here’s the last week, in instagram photos.
Woodland Sampler – January
Woodland Sampler – February
Woodland Sampler – March
If you look here you can see what the original pattern looks like – I made quite a few changes and I LOVE how it turned out!
So many projects going on I had to break out one of my bigger floss boxes
A pretty from work
Finally going to learn how to sew!
If I ever get over my fear of my sewing machine
This Easter Bunny thing makes no sense if you put any thought into it
I am all caught up on my blocking. Weaving in ends and taking project pictures is another story entirely
Springtime Sampler – done with the borders for week one
A perfectly lovely night
On Thursday afternoon I asked The Scientist if he would mind coming home a little early on Friday so I could go to a hair appointment. He said he’d be happy to, and hey, what did I think about packing up and leaving on Saturday for a quick getaway to Austin? To which I replied, to hell with my hair appointment, I’ll cancel it and we’ll leave for Austin as soon as Charlie is done with school.
The Scientist and I love going on road trips. We are an equally adventurous duo and it never takes much (read: any) convincing to get the other to go along with whatever scheme we’ve cooked up. We’ve talked about visiting Austin together since before I even moved to Texas, so this was a long overdue trip. And super bonus points for him: he does most of the driving which equals lots of car knitting. Score!
After a breakfast that included much moaning and face-stuffage on my part (more about that later), we headed over to the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library. You know I have a soft spot a mile wide for presidential history. While there were parts of it that were breathtaking, like the view of the stacks from the third floor, and very interesting, The Scientist and I both thought it didn’t go into nearly enough detail, with some of his biggest moments in his presidency receiving little more than a passing mention. But overall we all enjoyed it, even Charlie. He is wonderfully curious and happy to accompany us to places that would bore most kids his age.
Austin is one of those places where a lot of the people I know have either been there and love it or want to go someday. And there are definitely some awesome things about it, and some not so great. But let’s start with the good stuff. Pros: The food. Oh my god, the food. Both mornings we were there I meant to take a picture of my migas before I started eating, but once they arrived at our table the primal part of my brain took over and was like STUFF IN FACE HOLE NOW. If you don’t know what migas are 1. I’m sorry and 2. I didn’t know before I moved to Texas either, but there is a description of them here. Spicy salsa is an absolute requirement. On the advice of Caro Splityarn we went to Guerro’s, where I had Al Pastor, and it was fantastic. Al Pastor is seasoned pork, cilantro, and pineapple in a tortilla, and if you haven’t guessed yet, why yes, Tex-Mex is my favorite type of food. The last notable food place we went to was Lick, which is a local ice cream shop. I had the Caramel Salt flavor, which uhhhng. So freaking good. The Scientist had Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, also amazing, and Charlie had Goat Cheese, Thyme and Honey, which we were both jealous of. I want to repeat this for the record: my seven-year-old passed over normal flavors like Sweet Cream and Strawberries to get Goat Cheese ice cream, so clearly? We are doing something right. Another thing Austin has going for it are hills, like honest to god ground that changes in elevation. There is one hill in Houston (not counting the ones that lead down to the bayous, a wonderful reminder that this place is built on top of a swamp), and it is across the street from my work. And is man-made. Now maybe you’re thinking to yourself “Kate, Houston sounds great! I bet the flatness makes it so easy to bike everywhere,” but you’re wrong. The city hasn’t heard of bike lanes, and no one, including the other cyclists, have any idea what bike laws are, so while in theory you could get around the city easily on a bike, it might be quicker to step out in front of a train because you’ll get the same result. Also, it’s like 900 degrees here with 5000% humidity for ¾ of the year, so have fun biking in that. Hills are cool.
We spent part of Saturday afternoon walking around Congress St, which I think is the trendy part of town, something I don’t usually go for, but Hill Country Weavers is there so we had to go. You guys. This is my favorite yarn shop ever, ever, ever. I don’t like shopping, not even at yarn shops, but I kept wandering around this store, wide-eyed and fondling everything in sight, and the only reason I left when I did was because I felt bad making Charlie and The Scientist wait for me any longer. Not only do they have a crapton of MadelineTosh and several indie dyers like Sweet Georgia and Alisha Goes Around, they have an entire wall of BrooklynTweed yarn. I’m pretty sure I stood in front of it for a solid five minutes, petting it and talking quietly to myself.
I easily could have spent all the money in my bank account there, but I managed to walk away with just a pair of carbon fiber needles and two skeins of Hedgehog Fibers Luscious Single Silk, which I bought simply because it was pretty. Do you know the last time I bought yarn with no project in mind, just because it caught my eye? Me neither. But I had to have this. The colors are so very me. Any ideas for what I should make out of it?
But there are a few cons about Austin. Namely, it’s in Texas. And it‘s CRAWLING with hipsters. After hearing one girl behind us on the street declaring loudly, for the entire world to hear, that she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing $5 sunglasses, my introvert bell went ding and I knew it was time to get out of there before I started twitching. Also, if you were looking for all the neon clothing, I found it. The young people in Austin are hoarding it. They are also wearing fanny packs for reasons I don’t understand because it can’t possibly be for style I AM SO OLD.
On the way back, we stopped outside of Brenham and Charlie ran through some wildflowers.
I had a lot of fun in Austin, but I’m glad to be home. I missed my cross stitch. I’m all done with January!
What’s on the needles
Hitchhikers: Oh man, I am in so much trouble. This pattern is like the black hole of knitting for me, and now that I’ve been sucked in I can’t escape its pull. I started two of them this week, and I am not even exaggerating when I say there are like 7 more in different colors I’m considering knitting.
Sundara Sock in Mint over Toffee
Mint over Toffee was dyed in limited quantities, like ten or less skeins, for a sock club Sundara did several years ago. I fell in love with this color, hard, and managed to track down 6 skeins of it. But for as pretty as it is in the skein, it’s a difficult color to knit with. Stockinette is out of the question with this much variegation. So all six skeins have sat in my stash, waiting for the perfect project. I’m only using two for my second Hitchhiker, but hey, it’s a start.
Twisted Fiber Arts Arial Evolution in Antique Shop
This pattern was pretty much made for gradient yarns. On my list (and yes, there is an actual list) of colors I want to make more Hitchhikers in is at least one more Arial Evolutions in another range of shades. My favorite colors for clothing are grey and black and more grey in other shades of grey so little shawls like these, in bright pops of color, are perfect for me.
Woodland Sampler, by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
Woodland Sampler: I worked on this quite a lot over the weekend so I could get all the borders done before it was time to take a picture for this blog post. Cross stitch always takes longer than I think it should. I am really enjoying working on this though, and I’m excited to finally be able to move on to the fun part.
What’s off the needles
Hitchhiker, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Rare Gems
Hitchhiker: We established last week that the yarn was super mega beautiful. What I have not found out yet is whether one skein of BMFA STR is enough to make a decent sized Hitchhiker. I had really hoped to go on a giant blocking spree last week because I think I have three projects ready to take a little soak (let’s not talk about all the projects that need to be photographed because OMG I am months behind on those) but it was another case of my body not quite being back to its old self. Bending over for an extended period of time to block things is not in the cards for me quite yet. But if I find a single skein is enough to make a good sized shawl, then look out. I will be buying up Ravelry destashes and digging through my own small STR stash for all the barf colored shawls, until I remember I don’t like variegated yarn that much.
Viajante, by Martina Behm
I am aware that this is a little too poncho-like for comfort. I know knitting this much stockinette stitch in the round will be mind-numbingly boring. But despite both of those warning signs, I want to knit Viajante so bad. Martina Behm, I am so in love with your patterns (see also: Lintilla).
The pattern calls for laceweight but HA, no. I don’t do laceweight. But I think Madelinetosh Merino Light would be a fantastic substitute, and it would look really classic in French Grey. Added to the queue.
Sorry for the break! February chewed me up and spit me out. My surgery is over, and while it ended up being more of an ordeal than anticipated, I’m starting to feel a lot better. So much time recovering at home means I have a ton to tell you about!
What’s on the needles
Hitchhiker, Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight Rare Gem
Hitchhiker: Years ago (I’m talking 2008), I acquired one of the most gorgeous skeins of yarn I’ve ever seen in a destash. And I’ve been hoarding it ever since, because it is a Rare Gem, meaning there will never be another one like it. So the project had to be perfect.
It was way, way too pretty for socks, and too variegated for most shawls. I think when historians look back on this time of my life they will call it my garter stitch shawl period because that? Is all I want to knit. I was trying to decide what yarn I wanted to use to for Hitchhiker, and I realized this is the project my beloved yarn has been waiting for.
There is no way a photograph will ever do this color justice. It is deep greens and deep purples, with lighter shades of both colors and a little bit of pink, and some small areas of blueish purple that absolutely glow. I cannot wait until this shawl is done. I am going to wear it all the time.
Guernsey Wrap: No progress.
The Woodland Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery
Woodland Sampler: My first crafty love was cross stitch, and every time I start a new project I wonder why I don’t do it more often. I’m hoping I can find time for both knitting and cross stitch from now on because there are so many cute patterns I want to make (more on that later!).
The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery put together a year-long woodland themed sampler I’ve started working on. It began in January, and they release a new design each month. Instead of jumping straight into the fun part, I’m stitching all the borders first. It’s slow going since knitting takes up the majority of my craft time, but I’m halfway done with the outlines. The three designs that have been released so far are so cute. I can’t wait to share them with you!
What’s off the needles
Garter rib toe up socks (pattern is my own), Madelinetosh Sock in Tern
Socks for the Scientist: They are finally finished! I cannot believe it took me an entire year to knit one pair of socks. That? Is really pathetic. The first sock was well traveled; I think it went with me to six states, seven if you count all the places I dragged it to in Texas. The second sock helped keep me calm while I was at the hospital, both before my surgery and after.
Achievement unlocked: knitting in a hospital bed.
Color Affection, MadelineTosh Merino Light in Antler, Candlewick, and Tern
Color Affection: You guys never even got to see a WIP picture of this! I cast on after my last blog post, and finished it a week ago. I bought this yarn last fall, and it was supposed to be for a different project, but when I opened the box and saw them together I knew they were meant for something else.
Unsurprisingly, given my love of garter stitch, I really loved knitting this project. The section where you’re striping all three colors got a little long, but the edging moved much faster than I anticipated. I can definitely see myself knitting another one of these. I might already be thinking up color combinations.
Thorn: I love this pattern. I love this yarn. But I do not love them together. I want something that gives a little more stitch definition. This isn’t goodbye for this project, just I’ll see you later. I have a different yarn in my stash that I think will give me what I’m looking for.
Herbivore: I was going to start working on this again, but once I picked it up again my heart wasn’t in it. So I frogged it and will use the yarn for something else. I may start this project again at some point, but if I do I would choose a yarn that’s a little heavier. Wollmeise is on the light fingering weight side, and I would prefer a heavy fingering weight yarn, like Dream in Color Smooshy or BMFA STR Mediumweight.
Cowl project: I got about ⅔ of the way through this, and was really pleased with how it was turning out, before I realized it wasn’t going to be as long as I wanted it to be. So I ripped it out and haven’t cast on again because there are not enough hours in the day for all the things I want to knit.
Shawl project: You would think this is a lesson I would have learned by now, but apparently it hasn’t quite sunk in: Kate, no matter how much you’re itching to cast on, do not, and I mean DO NOT, start a design without a concrete plan. You’re a lovely girl, but winging it does not work for you.
Ravelry has spoiled me. It took me from being someone who occasionally knit to someone who never puts down the needles because through it I discovered so many amazing designers, yarns, and patterns. Now I’m wishing there was something similar for cross stitch.
Cross stitch has not had the same robust crafty rebirth that knitting has, and while there are several places where you can get cute patterns, most of what is out there is not my taste. If I was able to have a cross stitch project queue like the one I have for knitting on Ravelry, it would look something like this:
More cuteness from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery! They came out with a winter sampler last December – sort of an advent calendar – and they decided to do another one for spring (they said on Facebook that there is a summer and a fall sampler in the works too!). I love their sweet designs, and I can’t wait to start on both of these as soon as I’m all caught up with their Woodland Sampler.
Winterwoods ABCs Sampler by Alicia Paulson
Alicia of Posie Gets Cozy made my Multnomah Shawl last year, and I’m excited to return the crafty love by making her Winterwoods ABCs Sampler. It’s so cute!
The Butterfly Collector by Andwabisabi
We have a Butterfly center at my work where you can hang out in a giant glass tropical paradise, surrounded by thousands of butterflies. I very rarely have the chance to visit, but when I do I love to sit and look at all the different types, ranging from Rice Papers to Blue Morphos. I would much rather stitch my own butterfly collection than harm real ones!
Can I obsess about a project I’m already knitting? I am probably going to cast on two more Hitchhikers in the next couple days – one in Sundara sock in Mint over Toffee and the other in Twisted Fiber Arts Arial Evolutions in Antique Shop – and I have a hard time believing I’m going to stop when I’m done with those two.
February is shaping up to be a hectic month. We have a ton going on, and at the end of it I go in for my little slice and dice. But let’s think of the positives here, people. Taking a week off of work to recover surely means extra knitting time. I’ve heard the best way to heal from an operation like the one I’m having is to make sure you receive get well soon yarn. Yeah, that’s it. I need yarn. To feel better.
Pop Spots, by Juju Vail
When this pattern was first published I was sort of MEH about it because the colors the original was knit in didn’t do it for me. Then I saw the above beauty on Pinterest and I totally got the hype. I love this. I need this. I want to knit this, copying the colors exactly because hot damn are they pretty.
Awesome things I can listen to at work are the bee’s knees. I know I’m late to the party on this one, but the Crash Course videos, starring author John Green and his brother, Hank, make the time I spend sitting at my desk 100% more bearable. I’m almost finished with world history, and there are also series on literature, biology, and ecology, plus U.S. History is just being released, which is like offering 6-year-old me a basket of kittens. Or 31-year-old me, if we’re being honest.
Shelf, by Judy Brien
I like this sweater so much I would actually consider knitting a pullover, which for me is saying something since I am in the pro cardigan party. Seriously, why is that not a political party? Cardigans for the masses! Back to the sweater: that cable is fierce. That cable would automatically make me feel 200% more badass while wearing it.
My husband bought me an awesome new Moop bag for Christmas, but I really want this bag too. I will totally admit that it is not because A. I like the shape, or B. It looks really functional, but more C. Sign me up for all the grey chevron with coral accents.
Foxy and Wolfie, by Ekaterina Blanchard
So cute it makes my ovaries squee. Even the broken one.
Long Distance Love keychain, from Sudlow
Considering the first couple months of my relationship with The Scientist we were 2000 miles apart, can you guess what I’m really happy about? If you guessed living in the same city as him, you would be right. You would also be right if you guessed the invention of Skype. Our map would look slightly spiderwebby, since I’m from the Northwest, he’s from the Midwest, we met in the Southwest, and we live in the South. Oh god, I live in the South.
Devonshire Cream, by Laura Aylor
About two seconds after Laura put this cowl on Ravelry, she offered a coupon code that allowed you to download a pattern of your choosing from her designs for free. I was thrilled because this really caught my eye. It looks so soft and cozy, and very versatile too. I imagine this would looks great paired with a wide range of outfits and styles.
Zero Dark Thirty
There are uncomfortable truths to be confronted in this movie, and while it’s dependence on assumptions cloaked as historical accuracy makes me a little squeamish, Zero Dark Thirty is also an incredibly good movie. Good enough to win the Academy Award for Best Picture? I would argue that it isn’t as good as Lincoln and may possibly be on par with Argo (although that is open to debate), but then again I haven’t seen all the nominees, nor will I. I’m looking at you, Les Miserables. There are few things in this world as unappealing as sitting through a two and a half hour musical.
Giveaway time! Leave a comment before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, 2013 for a chance to win one of the patterns I talked about above. I’ll select a winner via random number generator. All you have to do is tell me your Ravelry name and which pattern is your favorite in your comment. Good luck!
What’s on the needles
Cowl, my own design, MadelineTosh Sport in Jade
Untitled cowl project: It has been way, way too long since I released a new design but yay! I’m finally working on one! I wrote up the pattern and started knitting this cowl back in October, but decided the yarn I was using wasn’t right. I knew right away that I wanted to reknit it using MadelineTosh Sport, but for some unknown reason I farted around for months and only bought the yarn in January.
This is my first time using MadelineTosh Sport, and I love it. Like, really love it. It’s definitely the same base as MadelineTosh Vintage, but at a lighter weight.
Shawl, my own design, MadelineTosh DK in Tart
Untitled shawl project: When it rains, it pours. This design project is not nearly as well thought out as the one above, and has already been partially knit, then ripped and reknit two times. And I’m not promising this go round is a keeper either. In fact, I’m seriously considering ripping it back and trying something new.
My only goal for this project was to create something simple, with gradually increasing bands of garter stitch, that would allow the yarn to shine. I don’t usually gravitate towards red, but this might be the most gorgeous red I’ve ever seen. It’s MadelineTosh DK in Tart, a color that deserves all the love it gets.
Thorn: no progress.
Guernsey Wrap: no progress.
Herbivore: no progress.
Socks for The Scientist: no progress.
What’s off the needles
With all the projects I’ve been casting on lately I seem to be going in the opposite direction.
When I wound the yarn for the shawl and the cowl I’m designing I also wound the yarn for my second attempt at Color Affection, hopefully with colors I’ll be happier with this time around.
The only reason I didn’t also cast it on was because I am trying to not cast on all the things, which for someone who used to be a very monogamous knitter is quite the change.
I am also whining to myself at how unfair it is that I’m not allowing myself to also cast on Lintilla. Do any of you remember the Shel Silverstein poem about Abigail, the little girl who died of a broken heart because her parents wouldn’t buy her a pony?
Yeah, that’s me right now, except instead of a pony it’s a green shawl, and unlike the pony this is actually a serious situation because startitis is a horribly affliction.
Pucker up – Saturday, January 26, 2013
This baby giraffe wants to give you some sugar.
The other queue – Sunday, January 27, 2013
I keep this crate on my side of the bed. These are all the books I’m hoping to read this year, save for a couple that haven’t been released yet (Mary Roach and David Sedaris both have new books coming out in April. It’s going to be like Christmas!). I’m not sure which one will be next.
Important safety tip – Monday, January 28, 2013
New note for the kitchen from Charlie – “It if is shrp don’t get ene mor klos to it” (If it is sharp don’t get any more close to it). After he gave it to me, he asked if it changed my life. TOTALLY.
I feel pretty – Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I’ve been coveting this necklace since August and it’s finally mine. I love it so much.
The Scientist and I bought Charlie this game for his birthday, and I’ve played approximately 8326489563 rounds of it in the last week.
Charlie picked me a flower on the way home from school.
Little LaLa, and her ridiculous whiskers, in her favorite spot: looking out the window.