Boys at Lake sherdI just got back from a really wonderful vacation in Wyoming.  Every other year, my family has a family reunion in Wyoming.  The first week was spent at that reunion.  The second week was spent just hanging out with my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephew.  We had a great time.  This is a picture of my boys on our hike to Lake Sherd.

I wore my shawl a lot because the weather was cold.  I also got a lot of crafting done.  I got quite a bit done on my CNE (Christmas n Easter) Scarf for my niece.  I also made three bath puffs while there. I taught my mom how to make them (she taught me to crochet, but I had to teach her all the stitches as she had forgotten).  There are not pictures of the knitting or crochet because I was too busy to get out the camera.

When we got home, DH, both kids and I all had a cold that we got from my brother and his kids.  The kids have a very mild sore throat and cough (although Vicks on their feet one night seems to have gotten rid of their cough). DH and I have serious sore throats, runny noses, terrible coughs, chills, aches, ear aches, etc.  I also got pink eye. CB had it while we were in Wyoming. He got better immediately.  My eye doctor has warned me that I will likely be fighting it for at least a month.

As a result, my return home was not happy.  Fortunately, two things greeted me to make me feel better. First, MIL cleaned our whole house for our anniversary (we celebrated our 9th while in Wyoming…where we were married).  She didn’t just clean…she CLEANED (in all caps).  She washed my windows, washed and put away every stitch of clothing in the house, mopped all the floors, washed the bathrooms, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, took out all the trash, washed the baseboards, vacuumed all carpets, washed all throw rugs, etc.  She is really, really awesome. It was better than any gift she could have bought.

The second thing that greeted me and cheered me was my second Flat Rate Box Swap box.  My swap pal is really, really awesome.  The theme this time was a project for you. The idea was to get everything needed for a single project in your pal’s queue.  My pal chose the Chinook Shawl in mine. She got me the Riverstone colorway.  She also got size 8 harmony needle tips.  Also included was the Mason-Dixon Knitting Book (which I have been really, really wanting) and some Louet Euroflax so that I could make something from it.   There are also several mini-skeins for my sock blankie, a crocheted project bag, mini-highlighter, pencils, mini-post-its, a small pen, a mini clip-on calculator, a magnetic tape measure, a mini-digital camera, an album, a stress ball, Goon n Plenty, hand lotion, and a little sheep.  This is truely a remarkable swap package!!  I was so excited.  I love absolutely everything in it.


I finished my Shawl that Jazz just in time for my vacation (which starts Friday).  I had planned to take this on vacation instead of a jacket.  I finished it at knitting group on Sunday. I just had to bind off. When I got home, I did the bind off and blocked it.  Today, it was finally dry and I was able to get pictures.

The things I love about it: it was a great pattern. I would do this pattern again. The design is easy, but very clever. I also love the look of the shawl. It is pretty and feminine without being lace.  This is one of my favorite projects I have done.  I also love the yarn. It is soft and squishy. The colors are also perfect for me.  I am also glad that I did the ruffly ruffle.  I love how it looks. It is so warm and cozy!

Now the things I don’t love: next time I make this, I think that I will use a larger needle size (just one). The fabric ended up a little denser than I wanted, but I still love it.  I also will be a bit more careful when casting on. I cast on 10 stitches less than it called for. That made it 10 rows shorter than the original. I think I would have liked it just a bit longer in the back (although, it is a good length as it is).  I think a larger needle size will help with that too.  Next time, I will air the yarn out a bit before using it. There was a strong vinegar smell for quite a while.  It is still a bit vinegary even after blocking (I used Euchlan).

All that being said, I still love this shawl and can’t wait to wear it!

Lately, the mail has been very kind to me!  A week or so ago, I got my Loopy Ewe package for July.  It had a pattern, a skein of Bugga sock yarn, a Namaste Buddy case, and a sheepy stitch marker. The yarn is red and burnt orange.  I don’t really wear those colors. I have decided that it should be a shawl. It is soooo soft.  I am going to make it into an Ulmas shawl. I just need to figure out what I want to combine with it. I am thinking of either a charcoal yarn or a camel color. I am leaning more towards charcoal since I wear a lot of black.

Yesterday, I received my package for the Reducio Swap (round 6).  It is wonderful.  I got a little Gryffindor sock, a tapemeasure that looks like a pocket watch, a tiny stitch marker, an owl button, two lion buttons, sock needle point protectors, some stickers, and some bookmarks.  It is such a wonderful package!  LB already has claimed a few of the stickers. He kept saying, “That bluebird sticker is so very beautiful.” I finally took the hint and let him have one of the sheets!

Today, I got my box from the Flat Rate Box Swap on Ravelry. The theme this time was “Local”.  My pal was from Kalamazoo, MI.  The box was packed full of goodies.  The card was a picture made by a local artist.  The card is also a magnet (already on my fridge).  There are matching Avani cards.  There were some preserves made in a nearby town, a candle that is inspired by a nearby community, cherry wafers to represent the cherries in the area, liquid handsoap that is locally made, goats milk soap that is locally made, a Michigan lighthouse pad and pen, a Michigan wooden ornament, a Petosky stone (the state stone), maple sugar candy (which we have already eaten…yummy), and postcards.  Also, there were two skeins of Kindred Spirits yarn (one worsted and one sock yarn). They are so beautiful! I am already thinking about what to make with them! 

I have been wanting to do more sewing. For some reason, sewing intimidates me.  After listening to Megan from Stitch It and Nicole and Jenny from Stash and Burn talking about sewing, I got inspired.  I had a bunch of flannel that I bought a while ago to make cloth wipes.  I never got around it (we just use baby washcloths for wipes).  I took the Little Mermaid flannel with Flounder on it and made sleep shorts for both boys.  I got this fabric for a dollar!  I used just about every bit of it in the shorts.  I just made a template from shorts that fit the boys. I traced the shorts onto tissue paper to make a pattern. I sewed them as shown in this tutorial.  The only difference is that I used Fold Over Elastic for the waist.  I was going to do a pretty blind hem, but decided to fold over the hem and topstitch because I was feeling lazy (and they are just for sleep). They came out really cute. The boys love them. I have a bunch of sock monkey flannel that will soon become sleep shorts for the boys!

On Stash and Burn, they were talking about a 5 minute skirt. I decided that I could do that!  I seemed easy.  I had 2 1/2 yards of some pretty woven cotton fabric that would be perfect.  I followed the tutorial with the exception of the hem. My serger is not working (it is in the shop).  I just folded the hem and topstitched.  I was going to do a pretty blind hem on this too, but got lazy again.  I really like this skirt. The only things I would do differently are make it a bit longer and make the hem more curved in front (without the curve in front, it makes the side seams pointy).  I do love the skirt despite it being a bit shorter than I would normally wear (it still hits my knee…just above it).  I think it took me a bit longer than 5 minutes, but that is my fault for not serging the hem.  I can’t wait for my serger to be fixed!  I really love this pattern. It is such a flattering shape.  I will likely make more of these!

Besides sewing, I have also been getting some knitting done. I have been working on my shawl. I am working on the ruffle part. It is coming along very nicely. I can’t wait to wear it!

CB has been climbing… a lot. The other day, he climbed up to my laptop (it was on a desk…I had pulled the chair away from the desk, but he found another chair to drag over there). He popped most of the keys off of the keyboard. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, excpet that some will not pop back on.  On the back of the keys are really tiny (very flimsy) plastic pieces.  Unfortunately, the broken keys are R and K.  Two keys that I use a lot. I have not been able to post. I am posting from work (on my first light day in over two weeks). The good news is that I am getting a new keyboard and my lack of internet connection has allowed me to get lots of knitting done!

I knit two things for my Reducio Swap pal.  One of those things is a mini Ravenclaw sock (it looks just like the others that I have knit).  The other is the leaf bookmark!  It came out great. This appears to have started the garter stitch glut that I have been on lately. The leaf was super easy. I just made the I-cord long (to be a bookmark) and followed the Mountain Laurel Leaf pattern on Ravelry.

Then I decided to make booties for a friend at church who is having a baby.  I took a long time to decide on these. They don’t know if they are having a boy or a girl, so whatever I make has to be gender neutral.  I thought about trying another bootie pattern, but ultimately decided to make more Saartje’s booties. They are just too cute. To make them gender neutral, I decided they needed to look like frogs.  I used some of my Sunshine Yarns mini-skeins (I think this one is Algae).  I found some cute jet buttons (I looked for googly eye buttons, but didn’t find any small enough).  I really like how they came out. DH says they are still girly, but I think a baby boy could wear them.

Next I did another pair of Saartje booties. A girl from church asked if I could make a pair for a friend. They went to UM. That is my alma mater, so I felt like it would be fun.  I told her I would make these, but if she wanted more than I would teach her to knit!  These are made with random white acrylic yarn and Knit Picks Essential in Pine. The buttons were yellow, but I used some permanent stamping ink to make them a bit more orange.  They also came out cute.

Besides garter stitch booties, I have also made a lot of progress on my garter stitch Shawl that Jazz!  I love how this is turning out. The colors are amazing. I am still in awe of the cleverness of the design as well. It is knitting up so beautifully. My only (very small) complaint is that the yarn still smells like vinegar!  As I was knitting away, I had the sudden feeling my stitch count was off. I realized that I cast on 10 stitches too few.  I decided just to let it go. I was going to try to add them in, but I was worried about how it would affect the shape. I thought about ripping back, but decided that I was too far into it (I had about 3 inches done).  I think it will be plenty big despite the mistake.

Besides all the knitting I have done, I have also gotten some great mail.  First, I got my Loopy Ewe Sock Club package!  It has a great tote, a pen, candy, a beautiful pattern, and really gorgeous yarn!  It is called Luster Sox by Dye Dreams!  I love the greens. This yarn is so soft and has a sheen that pictures can’t do justice!

I also got my Reducio package from my pal. It has a mini-sock, a bookmark for wand tree identification, a journal, chocolate, Soak, two mini skeins (one Ron colorway and one hand dyed by my pal), and some tea.  My pal is so wonderful!  I can’t wait for the mini-skeins to join my blankie!

I have been very crabby lately.  I have had a lot of stress at work.  The Florida legislature has decided that all state employees making more than $45,000 will face a 2% pay cut in July.  It is rather insulting.  We have gone several years without a pay raise. Our budget has been cut so that each attorney is doing the job of more than one attorney (I carry almost two full caseloads). We have been asked to do more work with fewer resources. Now we are rewarded for all of that with a pay cut.  It has made me very angry. I won’t leave my job. I have faith that my boss will insure that my pay is restored as soon as it is possible under our budget. That being said, it is still unfair.

Fortunately, I got yarn in the mail the day that the pay cut was announced!  It is Twisted in Crabby McCrabbypants!  I love it!  I have been obsessed with the Shawl that Jazz pattern by Samantha Roshak since it was announced on the Lime & Violet Daily Chum.  I had been searching for the perfect yarn.  Yarn Harlot showed pictures of hers done in Twisted.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that was the yarn I had been looking for. I didn’t want to do it in the same colorway (too dark), so I spent hours looking at the little circles on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts site.  I finally decided on the Crabby McCrabbypants colorway. It is not at all what I expected. I love it so much more than I thought that I would. It is knitting up so beautifully too.  Fortunately, I had that project to cast on when I had such a bad day. Who knew that something called Crabby McCrabbypants would kill my crabby mood!

DH took me to see Wicked on Friday night!  I loved the book, and I loved the music.  I have wanted to see it on stage for years!  It was so amazing to be there! The performances were amazing. I have always identified with Elphaba, and so it is no surprise that the actress playing her was my favorite (she truly did have an amazing voice aside from my personal bias). I sang along for the whole play. Even DH enjoyed it! He is worried about what this says about his manhood. I told him no one will question it since he hated Mama Mia!

I finished my shawl earlier last week, so I got to wear it to the play! It came out beautiful, but small. I wanted to do a few more repeats, but just ran out of time. If I were to make the shawl again, I would use bigger yarn and would make it bigger (the pattern calls for sport weight yarn). It was just barely big enough to pin around my shoulders even with 5 extra repeats. I do like the pattern.  It is easy to memorize.

I would probably not choose this colorway in laceweight again (it is Moutain Colors Wild Horses). I love the colors, but the yarn is so dark. I found it hard to distinguish stitches.  I have never understood why people curse black yarn, but now I know! It is hard on the eyes. I used the lifeline a lot because I couldn’t fix mistakes. I just couldn’t see well enough. I had to pull back every time.

All that being said, I love how the shawl turned out.  I really enjoyed wearing it. It made the evening even more special.

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