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Project: Hermione Socks for me
Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Indiecieta
Needles: US 1 1/2 (2.5 mm)
Started: April 5, 2015
Finished: May 27, 2015
Modifications: I made the cuff only 15 rounds. I knit these on dpns instead of circular needles. I treated needless 1 and 2 as the pattern needle 1, and 3 and 4 as pattern needle 2. It was not a hard conversion.

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This yarn is so soft. It is so lovely to knit with. I understand why people love it. It is like butter! This pattern is also so wonderful! It is easy to knit with just enough to be interesting. The texture is lovely and the socks are my most comfortable. This pattern may become my new go to pattern!

I was originally worried that the texture was lost on this yarn, but it isn’t lost at all. I think this pattern would be fantastic for a pooly yarn.

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This past week was really difficult. A couple I am very close to and work with lost their toddler in a very tragic way.  Most of the week, I was in a bit of a daze. For two days, I couldn’t even focus long enough to work on simple projects.  I finally started to come out of it, and being able to craft became very comforting to me.  As a result, I was able to get a lot done.

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First up, my DH’s birthday surprise blanket!  I decided to do this a few days before his birthday. I told him that I was going to make it for someone else. I had him help me pick a pattern to go with the yarn. I thought that it would be so fast because it was bulky.  It was not. In part, it took me a long time because I decided to make it so big!  So here are the details:

Project: Secret Blanket

Pattern: Marshmallow Crochet Baby Blanket

Hook: Size N

Yarn: Bernat Blanket in Mallard Wood (7 skeins)

Started: April 24, 2015

Finished: May 15, 2015

Modifications and notes: I started with a chain of 103 to upsize this to an adult blanket.  It came out 41″ x 56″. I didn’t expect it to take so much yarn, so there are several different dye lots. Only one stands out as very different.  I should have gone up another hook size. This is a little stiff. That being said, my DH has used it every night since it was completed to cover his legs while watching tv (that was what I had intended it for).

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You can see the stripe of the differing dye lot in this picture. My husband didn’t really notice (or care), so that is all that matters. This blanket is super soft and warm without being stifling (it is breathable because of the pattern).  I really like how it came out!

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On Saturday, my husband’s little cousin announced that she is pregnant. My husband gets to see her once a year, so he asked me if I had anything for him to take up for the new baby. I didn’t, but I had been seeing the Wee Fast, Wee Speedy, and Wee Sweet patterns on Ravelry and Craftsy.  I quickly glanced through and picked Wee Fast. I happened to have a skein of bulky yarn on hand. This wee sweater is so cute and took me around 2 hours to complete (that is a guess given the number of interruptions I had).  The pattern is simple. It would have gone faster, but I used bamboo needles. That never works out well for me!  It slowed me a down a lot.  So here are the details:

Project: Wee Fast

Pattern: Wee Fast

Needles: 10 1/2 and 11

Yarn: Lion Brand Baby First in the Honey Bee Colorway (about 1/2 a skein)

Started and Finished: May 16, 2015

Modifications: My only modification was to start with a size 10 1/2 instead of a 10. This was because I grabbed the wrong needles and was not intentional.  I used a button from my button jar.

As you may remember, I started a Sock Yarn Blanket like Shelly Kang’s back in 2008.  I worked on it for a while. I last posted about it on block 75. Right after that, I set it aside. I did another two blocks over the years. I picked it up again in the last few weeks.  My blankie has grown to 93 blocks!

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Isn’t it beautiful?  I still love this project. I love working with the wee little blocks.  I love the constant changes in yarn. I love the instant gratification and potato chippy nature of the blocks.  I have added a few special blocks.  See the pretty red and brown blocks in the top row?  They are leftovers from my Ulmas shawl.  The yarn is some of the now discontinued Bugga! yarn.  They are separated by a metallic blue block. That is from the Lion Brand BonBons (metallics). I love those cute tiny skeins!  In the bottom right hand corner of this picture, you can see some leftovers from some socks I made!  That is Collinette Jitterbug in Raphael.  I love those socks! They are some of my favorite!

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The next picture has two more blocks that are worth talking about. The first is the tan colored block in the top row. Although it is more of a sport weight, I did a block with the leftovers of the linen (Louet Euroflax) I used for my moss grid towel. I got the yarn and the Mason Dixon Knitting book in a Flat Rate Box Swap many years ago. I use that book all the time!  I still love it. The yarn is not fun to knit with, but it is soft and lovely when washed!  Right below and to the left of that block is a block from the yarn that I used to make Wyatt’s monkey.  This is also yarn that I got in a swap. Wyatt carried this monkey everywhere for several years. He still sleeps with it regularly (when his little sister hasn’t stolen it to play with).  That monkey got us through countless medical treatments and several hospital visits with Wyatt. He is still well loved!  The yarn is Kindred Spirits Footloose Sock yarn in Footloose Fancy.  Looking around it looks as if this yarn is also discontinued.

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One of things that I didn’t expect when I started this is how it would not just contain memories of my own projects, but also of yarns that were cool and then faded away!  Some of the yarn balls I pull out of my little jar are from swaps 4 and 5 years ago. Many of them are discontinued or discontinued colorways. Many are from indie dyers. It is like a little time capsule. Since I have been working on blanket again, my jar was getting empty. I went back into my bin of mini skeins and pulled a bunch out. In the past, I wound them into little round balls by hand. I don’t love to knit with these little balls because they roll everywhere.  I had wound some of them into center pull balls with my ball winder, but the center was too large. They ended up tangled messes that I had to rewind by hand into little round balls.  Neither is a good option. I decided to do some research. I came across a video on winding a center pull ball by hand that seemed perfect for my mini skeins.  I used a Q hook that I had and wound a few skeins into perfect little center pull balls that don’t fall apart if the wind blows!  Now I can wait to knit with them!  I put a picture of a wound ball of Shibui sock yarn (discontinued), a mini skein of Yarn Pirate yarn in the Killer Bees colorway (discontinued), and my Q hook!  There is something meditative about winding tiny little mini balls of yarn!

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I finished my CNE scarf a few days ago. This is a scarf that will go to one of my nieces for Christmas.  It is made of the yarn I dyed using Easter egg dye left over from our eggs this year.  It is very bright.  I really like the pattern, but the project seemed to take forever. It was knit on size 3 needles with fingering weight yarn. I suppose that is why. If I were to knit it again, I think I would use larger needles.  The pattern was easy to memorize. I also have a fondness for seed stitch, and this scarf has a seed stitch border.  I don’t know why, but I love knitting seed stitch!

After I finished the scarf, I cast on a Monkey 2.0 for CB for his birthday. He turns two at the end of September.  We are trying to wean him from his paci, but I really feel like he needs a comfort/security item to replace it. He loathes blankets, so that is out.  I think he will love the monkey.  The pattern for this monkey is really clever. It eliminates a lot of the sewing by being knit in the round.  I really am enjoying knitting this. I also think this yarn is completely perfect for this project. This is the Kindred Spirits yarn I got in the first Flat Rate Box Swap.  It is supposed to be fair isle/stripey yarn. In the legs of the monkey, it has almost a “galaxy” effect (like the Regia Galaxy yarns).  Also, the legs and body all started in exactly the same point of the color repeat.  I could not have done this on purpose so perfectly if I had tried.  It is such a fun, happy accident.  This monkey is going to be very, very cute.  I also love that it is knitting up really, really fast.  I am thinking that I may do one for my nephew for Christmas since I hadn’t decided what to make him.  I may also do one for LB for his birthday (late December).

I have also started another new scarf (another Christmas present for another niece).  I decided to make it out of the Spritely Goods that I got in a trade some time ago. The colors just scream to be made into something for this particular niece.  I decided to knit the One Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot.  I doubled the yarn and am knitting it on size 8 needles.  It is a huge relief after knitting the previous scarf. It is knitting up so fast!  Part of that is the completely addictive nature of the pattern.  A row doesn’t take long. I can’t seem to knit a single row. I keep saying, “Just one more…ok, just one more…maybe one more…”  I am enjoying this pattern (and how quickly it is knitting up) so much that I may do another for my last niece.  I just have to check the yardage on the yarn I have for her.

I am actually pretty surprised at how much knitting I have gotten done over the last week or so.  We have been dealing with a lot of kid stuff.  LB started pre-K this morning. We have been trying to prepare him for the last week or so for the change in routine. I am not sure why we worried so much. He is such an easygoing kid. He adapts to new situations with amazing ease.  I actually cried a little when I dropped him off. He started by telling me that I didn’t need to take him into the building. Thankfully, they require that parents sign their children in, so I had a really good excuse to go in with him.  He went in and started playing immediately.  I spoke to the teacher briefly, and then told LB I was leaving.  He said, “Bye, Mom” without even looking up from his toys. I said, “Can I maybe get a hug and kiss before I leave?”  He heaved a huge, long suffering sigh, and then gave me the fastest kiss and hug on record before returning to his toys. I got all teary eyed and looked at the teacher. She said, “He will be ok, mama.”  I said, “I know. I think that is why I am crying!”  I couldn’t believe how big and independent he seemed!

We have also been dealing with some health stuff with CB. While we were in Wyoming, my mom asked me, “So, how long has CB been walking like that?”  I had no idea what she was talking about. I turns out, he walks with his head tilted.  I never noticed.  She had to point it out and tell me it wasn’t normal.  Then, CB had one of his “spacing out” spells. Sometimes he just spaces out.  My mom noticed and tried to get his attention. She couldn’t.  She asked me how often he does that. I had no idea because we leave him alone when he spaces out. We have always just assumed that he was such an internal child that he just needed space sometimes. We thought he was just very good at tuning us out, so we don’t really try to get his attention when he does it.  My mom was very disturbed by it. She suspects that he is having absence seizures.  At first, she told me just to mention it at his next appointment at the end of September.  After thinking about it and considering that his head is abnormally large, my mom asked me to call the doctor immediately. The doctor diagnosed CB with mild torticollis (for the “tilt” when he walks). He is going to start physical therapy (again). She also expressed concern about the possibility of absence seizures combined with his head size. She decided to send him for an EEG and neurology appointment. I spent all week setting all the various appointments up (in between court, office appointments, jail visits, and all the other mom stuff I do).  All the appointments are spread out over the next month.   As I said, it amazes me that I got any knitting done at all!

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! 

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