Thursday, July 31, 2014

Today's Accomplishments:

They're few and far between. But I thought I might list them here to prove to myself that they do actually exist.

1) Both kids are still alive. This is mildly surprising, all things considered. It's been a rough one, starting way too early, and full of grumpy, grumpy people. (Myself not excepted.)

2) We made it to the last day of summer ballet camp, and we were even on time. In spite of an en route stop at the post office. (One that I truly did not want to mess with today, but it's over now.)

3) I made supper. Nothing fancy. But, at least there was actual food. For a while there, I didn't think it was going to be allowed. I seem to be unable to move from my chair without Baby Girl screaming and crying her head off about it.

4) I got the dishwasher loaded and run. Thank goodness. Sort of hoping to do that again before I fall asleep. Children allowing, of course.

5) I made it out to check the chickens in the middle of the day. This one really surprised me, and only happened because I ran out to check for eggs while Baby Girl was in her bed- screaming her head off because she doesn't plan to nap today. No matter how very much I really need her to, to preserve the last little strand of my sanity. (Maybe she truly believes it's too late?)  We had six more eggs today, by the way. Seem to be averaging approximately half a dozen a day. Not sure how long this will keep up- I think they're supposed to slow down/stop laying for the winter? In the meantime, anybody want some eggs? There are over two dozen sitting in my fridge right now, with no reason to assume that I won't get another five or six tomorrow... (With my husband still kidnapped in a foreign country, we really cannot eat that many eggs.)

6) I have not (yet) completely lost it and run away, screaming, into the night in the hopes of finding somewhere quiet. Maybe someplace where I can sit and knit, maybe drink an entire cup of tea before it goes stone cold... I consider this to be the biggest accomplishment of my day, so far. Sort of proud of myself for not running away from home, actually... Although, I find myself daydreaming about it every two minutes today, on average. Maybe Australia? Belize? Edmonton? (Although, it's probably chillier there than I would prefer... My sweetie is there, though, so that's a point in its favor, even if it is too chilly.)

7) And, I was actually allowed to type this up without too much interference/screaming about it. Mostly because I still have her tied up in her high chair finishing her dinner...

On the list of things I have not managed to accomplish today:
(This is a much abbreviated version, obviously.)

1) I did not manage to drink my cup of tea in peace and quiet this morning, in spite of being awakened at 5:30am.  In fact, at this point in time, I still have not had a cup of tea. This is disappointing because it is my only allowed source of caffeine. And I need my caffeine. (This means that, in my desperation, I have had to resort to not allowed sources of caffeine. Sad, but necessary. Hopefully tomorrow is a much, much better day.)

2) I did not manage to convince Baby Girl that she: a) woke up way too early, b) needed to actually take a freaking nap instead of dozing for 5 minutes on the way home from ballet camp and calling it quits, or c) keep your clothes on so the air conditioning doesn't give you chill bumps. (It isn't even very warm here this week.)

3) I did not manage, again, to get all of the laundry folded and put away. I still have about two loads worth to deal with. If I ever get an actual naptime ever again, I can take care of that. There's always tomorrow, I suppose. I don't plan to go anywhere tomorrow. I'm tired of running all over the place and missing naptime. (I love naptime, I really do. The only way it could be better is if I was actually allowed to have a nap, too.)

4) Even though I spent an hour on it last night, and have continued to try and swatch it today, I still have not managed to get gauge for my shawl project, which I am supposed to start knitting tomorrow. Even though I have changed needle sizes three times and have willfully stretched the swatch into an approximation of "aggressively blocked", it still refuses to come close. I'm about to give up and just knit it anyway, gauge or no gauge. (Yes, this is probably just begging for trouble, but I'm about to decide I don't care that much. I think I like the fabric I'm getting with the smaller needles and the larger the needles get, the less I like it. If it goes up anymore, I'm not sure I can stand it...) If I can ever manage to get this last swatch large enough to work with, I might manage to wash and block it before I pass out tonight. Maybe it will look better tomorrow. :/

Here's hoping bedtime comes soon...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Finish! Finally...

Sadly, it isn't my Painted Desert Shawl. That still needs blocking. And I have yet to find a spot in this house large enough and undisturbed enough to pin it out... I'm working on that. Really.

Instead, I have one finished pair of Christmas present socks. These are for my sweet Little Miss. And the only reason I can post this picture is that she never, ever reads my blog. Well, that and she already knows she's getting them, because they were a special request, she picked out the yarn herself, and then she watched me working on them.

 I like them. And I hope they fit well. (I haven't let her try them on. I'm afraid she'll try to keep them.) I'm sort of nervous that she might outgrow them before December, but they stretch (I hope), so I'm going to risk it.
 I also really am liking this Inversibles yarn. I love that the second one looks really not much at all like the first. I'm thinking it might be helping to stave off the dreaded SSS (for those who never read the Yarn Harlot's blog, that stands for Second Sock Syndrome. And you should totally read her blog- hilarious!) Not that I would know for sure, seeing as this is my very first ever non-infant sized pair of socks ever completed. (We will not be discussing any unfinished, unmatched, or half finished pairs that may or may not have existed. Just, no.)
 Also, I snapped some pictures of my new babies that did come home with me Sunday in lieu of the lovely bison.

This one, I admit, I only bought when I saw the name of it. The yarn is Paca Peds HT, and the color is (get this) Frog & Piggy. Doesn't that just scream Muppets? I love it! Of course, I had to look up the proper name because I've been thinking of it as Kermit and Miss Piggy ever since I picked it up and saw the label...

 This one, is called Happy Birdie. And I really have no good excuse, the colors just jumped out at me. Socks? Fingerless mitts? Something else entirely? I'll figure it out- probably not until after Christmas, though.
 Last one. This is Smooshy. It is cashmere. And it is mine. The color is Emerald Darkness. And according to the label, there is enough there for a pair of socks. For me. Eventually. But not until after Christmas. (I think that's going to be a common theme over the next few months. I finally get my desire to knit back, just in time to make Christmas presents. At least it is back. Now if only time to knit would come back, as well...)
 Here's the book I mentioned. And the other one. She says both are very good. The one on top is full of pictures and deals briefly with both wheels and spindles. The one on the bottom is solely for drop spindles. Since that is, at the moment, my only prayer of learning to spin, I grabbed it on my way to the register. It has more detail, if not more pictures.
That's about it for now. I've started a Christmas present that obviously can't be shown here for a few months. And, as mentioned, my shawl still isn't blocked, so I don't really want to show it until I'm sure I'm happy with it.

All of that is about to go on hold for a bit, though. Tomorrow is the last of July. That means that Camp Loopy Challenge 3 is about to start. As of Friday morning, I will be dropping everything else for as long as it takes me to finish Maple Leaf Knit Shawl. Or until August 31st. Whichever comes first.

Which gives me time to read through the pattern (I hope). And, tonight, if I don't fall asleep first, I'm going to knit my test swatch to try and get gauge. So, this lovely will be my company for the next hour or so. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Star-crossed Love

Yep. I've fallen madly head-over-heels in love. And my dear, sweet, (nearly) perfect husband just can't seem to understand and accept it. And he, so far, refuses to enable my acquisition of the object of my deep affection.

It isn't a sudden thing. I've been enamored for a few years. But yesterday, for the first time, I actually met my dearest in person. And I have to say, it is definitely true and everlasting love. I wish I had a picture of the wonderful fiber that has stolen my heart. But sadly, I don't. The shop was near closing and I had four rather impatient people waiting for me in the car outside. I thought the lady who ran the shop might object to me keeping her after hours just because I was taking selfies with her high dollar yarns.

Yes. I'm talking about yarn. What else would I be talking about? (Fabric, maybe, I guess. But I haven't been to a quilt shop in ages. And I seem to be on a knitting jag right now, for some reason...)

This is the closest picture I can find anywhere online. It doesn't begin to show how gorgeous yesterday's yarn was, but it is similar. (This picture came from here if you want to check it out.)
The lovely 100% bison laceweight that I fell for is super soft. Even softer than I had expected from reading about it online. And it knitted up into a beautiful, soft, drape-y scarf (that was lying right next to the skeins that I covet so)...
I'm working on convincing my husband that he really wants to buy me this yarn. (So far, it doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere.) But, if anyone would like to buy me an awesome Christmas present, this would be it. And she says she gladly ships. So, just let me know, and I'll give you all the details you need...  ;) Seriously. I have to be reunited with my darlings as soon as possible.
I know, I know. Nobody in my family is going to take me seriously here. Especially after they find out the price. (But they should! This is the perfect present!) My husband's replies to my ongoing campaign always range somewhere from "It costs HOW much??!!!?!" to "What are you going to make with it?" (That's an impossible question to answer. Why make me lie to you? We both know I'm not going to do anything with it at first other than look at it, and hold it, and rub it against my face, and just generally carry it around like some sort of yarn pet. It'll be months before I'm ready to actually knit with it... I gave him a short list and told him it would depend on whether he bought it all for me or not. I personally see nothing excessive about three tiny little skeins...) I have a sinking feeling that he still just does not understand why I need these yarns. And I'm very afraid that he isn't going to buy any of them... :'(
To console myself, I grabbed up a couple of small skeins and a book that will supposedly teach me to spin. (Which has been on my to-do list for years. Someday, I'll actually find the time. Probably right after I convince my poor husband to get me a spinning wheel and a sheep or two...) I haven't gotten pictures snapped of them yet, but hopefully, I will later today. I tried to be good. And I was pretty rushed, so I didn't have time to do any major damage. My husband would say that's a good thing. I just call it unfortunate. ;)
I also think that I'm about one, maybe one and a half, hours away from finishing the socks for Little Miss. With any luck, I can get that done before bed tonight. Which means that I should have pictures of those soon, too. Maybe this blog will actually see a few finished projects before long. That would be a good thing...

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Mail is Here!

My very first (and second!) box of fun is here! Yay! There was a good size box, and a slightly larger one.
The smaller box was the first order we made. It has a couple of sock patterns sized for little ones and some sock yarn for Christmas present socks. The glaringly pink and purple one is for Little Miss, in case you were wondering. She picked it all out herself. Here's a link to the post that will show you a little about the yarns. They're called Inversibles, by Fibernymph Dye Works. They look pretty neat. And the colors are lovely. I really wanted to order more than we did. Maybe next time. (The blue and green at the bottom is Hedgehog Fibers Lagoon.)
 There was also a little surprise inside- a tape measure and a tiny little snippet of yarn, designed to make you desperately want more. There were several pieces of candy inside the package as well, but they didn't stick around long enough to be photographed. (I had a five-year-old watching me very closely, and she scooped up the candy as soon as she realized I was too preoccupied to complain.)

The second box had, of course, my yarn for Camp Loopy challenge 3. It is Colinette Jitterbug in the color October Afternoon. This is the pattern for the shawl I want to try to make. The challenge directions said to use your favorite color, or a color that makes you happy, so I was originally looking for a pattern I wanted to make in green. Or possibly blue. Then I saw that shawl, and when I found this yarn at TLE, I knew it had to happen. There is a little bit of green in this, so it totally counts. :)

 This is more than the required 800 yards. I'm thinking seriously about some fingerless mitts or socks with whatever is leftover. Or possibly a hat.

Also with my Campy Loopy order was this paper. Not sure you can read it, but apparently I am in Bear Cave Ct., whatever that means. It has something to do with the forums over on Ravelry, I think.

Of course, a tiny bit of extra snuck into the order when we got the shawl yarn. (My excuse is that we had to make sure we qualified for the free shipping. Obviously.)

The two little ones are called Unicorn Tails, the white is Antler and the other is Big Sur. I showed remarkable restraint, I think, in settling for just the two. I wanted them all. The colors are so pretty. So, that's on my list to try to talk my husband into...

The larger skein is gorgeous. It is called Willow, by Huckleberry Knits, and the color is Browncoat. Quite apart from the fact that I love that name, the yarn is gorgeous. I wish I had gotten more. Like about 15 skeins more... (I did the math on that, actually. Just a few minutes ago. I was gonna beg shamelessly and see if my poor husband fell for it. But, after seeing the resulting number, I decided that I love him far, far too much to purposely give him a heart attack. Seriously. The number was that bad...)

Apparently, The Loopy Eve has some sort of rewards program. I'm not super clear on exactly how it works, but when I ordered the challenge yarn, I apparently leveled up. Also in my box were these little goodies:

There's a cute little pattern, complete with yarn. And some really great cards for gift giving. They have a place for care instructions of whatever knitted thing you're giving.

And here's how I know this was some sort of reward thingy: Apparently I am now at Sunshine Peak. Which is making some of the chatter on the forum make a bit more sense. I was sort of wondering what they were talking about when they kept saying they were headed places like "Castle Peak". Now I know. And if my husband is generous another time or two before Christmas, it looks like Little Bear Peak is the next stop. I won't hold my breath for too long on that. He will definitely want to see a lot of progress on the yarn he's already paid for.

I guess that means I'd better jump back into the knitting and get away from the computer. I'm trying to get all the rows on my shawl finished tonight before I pass out from exhaustion. Technically, I'm on the last row the pattern calls for before adding the edging. But I'm seriously considering adding a couple more rows to it before finishing up with the edging. I think there's going to be enough yarn to get away with that. I suppose I'll know for sure by tomorrow.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Coming Soon... A Finished Project at Last?

(Wow. This post ended up a lot longer than I expected it to... Consider yourself warned.)

So... I have this WIP. Or, possibly, by now I might be forced to call it a UFO... Either way, I started it way back before my Baby Girl was born. So, that's at least a year and a half. It's a sock. I might have mentioned it the other day. It was going well at the time, but I put it aside so I could knit up some adorable little socks for the impending arrival... And, then I never went back to it.

Until about a week and a half or so ago, that is. I picked it up again. I started knitting around and around. I swear I knit forever, just waiting to find the start of where I needed to turn the heel. It never came. So, I pulled out the instruction sheet and reread carefully...

There's not a heel to turn. There's never going to be a heel to turn. Because, I apparently picked up a tube sock pattern without noticing until now. I need about three more inches of this infernal thing before I can start the toes... It's taking forever.

I snapped a quick (and probably not great) picture of it:

I love the way the yarn is striping itself. And I still love the colors. But if I ever get stuck with a tube sock again... Ugh!! I definitely need a heel to turn so I can see that progress is being made.

Little Miss watched with interest while I worked on this thing during naptime. And then, she came up with her grand plan. Since this sock is way too big to fit her, she decided that, obviously, I should knit her some pink ones. Immediately.

Sounded like a pretty good idea, at the time. Socks for her would be smaller. So, we negotiated a deal. If her daddy would buy me some yarn in an appropriate, Little Miss approved color, I would make her some socks. BUT, I told her not to expect them to be finished before Christmas. (Because I obviously have to do two pairs of socks. Thank goodness the second pair will be even smaller.) She agreed to this, and promptly hit up her daddy for the money. Surprisingly, he agreed.

Judy at Patchwork Times is always talking about the wonders of The Loopy Ewe. I've snuck over to their site a few times, and OH!! The lovelies! So, we went shopping. My very first boxes of fun will be arriving tomorrow, according to the tracking numbers.

Yes. I did mean to say boxes. Here's what happened:

We went over to their site, just to find some perfect pink yarn for the socks. But, oh, the things we found! And I wanted them all. But I restrained myself. We got a little bit of yarn for socks. A pair for Little Miss, a pair for Baby Girl, and a pair for me. (My husband declined to have a pair of socks on the basis of having no plans to go and work in Antarctica.) We checked out and began impatiently waiting for our yarn to arrive. I picked up that infernal tube sock and started around again. Then...

I really have no explanation for it. I don't. I assume it was my resurfacing desire to make something- anything, really- coupled with the realization that Christmas is right around the corner, and compounded by all the glowing descriptions Judy posts of the fun she has doing Camp Loopy. Whatever caused it, I found myself actually thinking that I would like to try it at least once. I mentioned it to my husband. He said, "Whatever you think." And even when I mentioned it would mean buying more yarn (one of the requirements for participating), he still said, "It's up to you."

I promise I didn't run right back and immediately order yet more yarn. I didn't. I actually thought it over for at least 24 hours, waffling back and forth. The challenge requires you to knit an entire project from start to finish, and using a minimum of 800 yards of yarn, and only working between August 1-31. All photos proving a finished project have to be uploaded to their website by midnight August 31... Quite frankly, I'm not certain I can manage it. But I found a shawl pattern I adore, and it meets the yardage requirements. So, I finally decided to take the plunge. I ordered the yarn. And we sat back down to wait for our boxes...

Yesterday, I was wandering through Ravelry, finally checking out some of the forums since TLE had mentioned that they had a thread there to share your Camp Loopy project plans and yarn, and I stumbled upon some very disturbing news (hold onto your hats, it's a shocker): Turns out there is a yarn shop right down the road from me, and nobody had bothered to tell me!!  ;)  Yay! I immediately had to search out their website and find out hours of operation. When I saw that they opened for business in a mere hour and a half, and knowing that I was forced to go out anyway after groceries (with a grocery store less than a mile away from the shop), I had to plan an immediate reconnaissance mission- even though it meant dragging both the girls with me.

Surprisingly, Little Miss was super excited about the idea. And while she was there, she was struck with the sudden, overwhelming desire to knit. So, I had to hook her up.

As you can see, like all beginning knitters (I hope. I really can't handle the idea that I'm the only one who ever despaired of figuring this stuff out in the very beginning.) she has far more enthusiasm than skill. But she's five. And until yesterday, as far as I know, she had never even considered the possibility of trying to knit. We'll have to wait and see how long it interests her. She's having fun, and that's what counts at the moment. She's also already decided that I have to teach her to crochet "when she's ready". Not sure exactly what she means by that...

I managed to get out of that adorable little shop without too much damage. But I did pick up three balls of a beautiful yarn- Painted Desert. They had a shawl done up and it was beautiful! I had already looked at it three times before she showed me what it looked like when it was worked up. That shawl did it. Especially since she had both a knitted version and a crochet version.


                               This is color number 08, I think. I love how it makes the stripes.

I still have at least four rows left, if I remember correctly. Plus the edging. And then, I assume that it needs to be blocked somewhat aggressively. She said you just have to stretch it to the size you want it. I sure hope she was talking about blocking...

Here's a link to the pattern I'm using. The lady at the yarn shop has made at least four of these things already, and has another in progress. She didn't hesitate to grab them and stretch them out completely, either, when she was illustrating her point about the blocking... I've only had a few minutes at naptime yesterday and a little time right before bed last night to work on it, but it's going pretty quickly. I'm glad. I need it to be finished before August 1st. I'm thinking the other two balls of Painted Desert that came home with me will most likely have to be very patient and wait until September before they become anything. I'm also seriously considering going back after another ball or two of the color 18 (?) that I got and knitting it up into this.

And before anyone asks, yes, I do know that this seems to be an awful lot of shawls. Especially for a person who normally has no occasion to wear them. (And, yes, I have already made myself no less than four shawls.) Not sure why I like them so much, but I do. I guess I just like the idea of shawls. And also, they're much easier to make than sweaters. Possibly this means that I should be concentrating on sweaters and practicing, but not right now. Maybe after I'm over this shawl thing... And after I finish up with all the socks...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's about time! Or, possibly, this is gonna be trouble...

My Little Miss started her ballet camp this week. Here are a couple of shots of her right before her first lesson on Tuesday.
                                               I love the little bow in the back. Adorable.

Today, as I was trying to get everybody dressed, rounded up, and stuffed into the car to drive her to ballet on time, I noticed a really strange sound coming from the backyard. Listening closely, I realized the sound was coming from the chickens. In the interests of not being late, I chose to ignore the weird noises they were making and chase everyone into car seats. I figured I could deal with it when I got home. They didn't look panicked, they just sounded weird.

At naptime, I went out to investigate. My husband and I had a theory about that noise. We were right. This is the cause of all the commotion:

That noise is the sound a poor little chicken makes when trying to lay an egg. Huh. Who knew?

 Looks like seven of the ten girls decided that today was a good day. I imagine it was something of a shock to the poor little things. (Judging purely by the amount of noise, of course.) And I feel really bad for the poor girl who had to lay that one in the front here as her very first effort.

We've been looking forward to this day. And I just KNEW that those chickens would wait until I had an entire dozen farmer's market eggs in my fridge to pull this on us. (They did.) So, I guess it's eggs for supper. And maybe breakfast. And now, suddenly, I'm re-doing the math and worrying that I will be buried under a mountain of eggs that we cannot eat fast enough, no matter how hard we try...

In happier news, my husband let me order some yarn this morning. (Yes, I needed permission. It was his card that paid for it all. :) So, I suppose that means that my sweet, wonderful husband bought me some yummy yarn this morning. Yay! The only downside to that is that he's gonna want me to use it all...) I'm hoping this means that I'll start squeezing in some sort of crafting time very, very soon. Because the year is half gone, and I have officially started worrying about Christmas gifts. Possibly, I'm a little late on the worrying. My SIL has been counting down all year long (since about two days after last Christmas), so it shouldn't really be a surprise that we are nearing the middle of July, but as always- I was ignoring that. But, my girls (just Little Miss, actually, but if one gets something handmade, the other does, too) have started demanding that I make them things. Which means that I'd better get moving if I'm gonna have a prayer of churning out the desired items in time for Christmas. I'm not sure who is getting handmade gifts and what they will be yet, but I'm starting to plan. Which means I'd better get to work actually doing, as well...

All of this rambling is really just meant to say that hopefully, I will soon have a few pictures of actual craft projects to post. Maybe. (I have been canning jams and pickles, lately. Does that count as craft projects?) I have picked up a knitting project that I started back before Baby Girl was born, and I've been messing with it for a week or so. There isn't much visible progress, but we're inching there. I need about three more inches of this slow, slogging knitting before I reach a point where something different happens. Then I have to start all over again to make the match to the pair... :(  And if I ever decide to knit a pair of tube socks ever again, somebody please- smack me. Hard! It'll be a miracle if the match to this thing gets made at any point in the next three years. I obviously need a pattern that at least lets me turn a heel so I can feel like I've accomplished something. If I can find a good (and easy) toe-up pattern, that would be even better!