WIP Wednesday

Today is WIP Wednesday!

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I’m still plugging away at the White Pine cardigan, and I’ve joined an informal Spring Cleaning KAL hosted by Ness from Bunnies & Bettas. The point is to finally finish those projects that have been lingering for one reason or another. I feel like every project I have is one that lingers, but I’m getting better at making time to knit. I think I cherish the free moments I have to craft/read/bake a lot more these days.

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I’m still working on the body, but I’ve finished the decreases and have one increase coming up in a dozen rows or so. Then, it’s time to knock out the sleeves before joining them to the body for the caps to be knit raglan-style. Something about getting to the sleeve portion of a sweater (after you’ve knit the body as opposed to starting with the sleeves) makes the finish line a little brighter, a little closer. I can see myself wearing it and that spurs me on even more!

When I’m not knocking out rows on that, I’m still having fun with cross stitching. I have all of my floss wound and sorted by number according to the DMC color card, and I checked off the colors I already have so that I don’t buy what I don’t immediately need.

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This looks like a lot of colors, but I have a couple hundred colors to go before I have all of the DMC colors. The fox is almost finished; I just have to finish the body and I’ll have pictures (and, hopefully, a pattern) soon!

Branching out

Before S wakes up, I figured I’d show off a bit of what I’ve been doing to stay sane and creative while she naps. It’s finally getting warmer and staying warmer in Philly, so it’s time to put away the heavier knitting/crochet projects. The coming months are perfect for knitting socks since they’re more portable than a sweater. There’s also room for other crafts like cross-stitching. I’ve been LOVING The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery‘s patterns.

Last year, I signed up for the Woodland Sampler, and this year I got the Once Upon A Time Sampler as a birthday gift! It’s the gift that keeps on giving since each month, you get another chunk of the whole pattern revealed in an email. By the end of the year, you have a whole sampler with a cute theme.

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On the left is the color palette for the Woodland Sampler, and on the right is the beginning of a pattern of my own! I was obsessed with woodland animals when it came to shopping for baby items. With cross-stitching, I feel as if I have a bit more freedom than knitting to play with colors. Not that you can’t have a great Fair Isle or intarsia garment when knitting, but you don’t have to worry so much about shaping when you cross-stitch.

I’ve got a lot of floss and I think I’ll enjoy playing with colors, patterns, shapes, etc. and seeing what comes of it!

Blogging has been something I’ve done (sadly) off and on, but I feel compelled to write more. Becoming a mother is one of the reasons since it changes your perspective on things, and I want to share the changes & evolution of who I am as a person. Motherhood also changes your filter. Some things just aren’t that important to you anymore and other things become of the utmost value since you have a little one to consider. More and more, I am loving the person that’s emerging from the shift. Craft blogging has, and will be, at the forefront, but I’m going to try to balance that along with whatever else I might want to discuss.

Recently, I was tagged by the ever-talented Maura (who I miss so much!) to answer a few questions about myself. I almost said “ridiculously talented”, but it’s not at all ridiculous how much of a creative spark she has. 20140327-220134

The Liebster award was created to recognize & bring some attention to bloggers who have 500 followers or less. I thought for sure that Mo had more than 500 followers. Go see her blog and you’ll see why…it’s amazing! No, seriously, go. I’ll wait.

So anyways, the rules are…

  • answer the questions you were given
  • keep the ball rolling and nominate 11 NEW blogs with 500 followers or less (I went with the “500 followers or less” rule more so than how new the blog is)
  • post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  •  tag your nominees and be sure to leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated

…and without further ado….

1. Why do you blog? I always loved writing and crafts, so when I began to knit & crochet again in 2003, it seemed like a natural thing to combine the two. I’ve always expressed myself a lot better in writing than through verbal conversations. That’s not to say that I can’t speak, but when I’m expressing a thought, I can make a connection from point A and point B. However, my point B is someone else’s point Q, and I lose them because I don’t explain the random connections I’ve automatically made in my head. It’s even worse if it involves an inside joke or event and I’m the only one who’s aware of it.

2. Where do you find your inspirations and materials? Anywhere and anything that catches my eye. Sometimes, it’s TV & movies; sometimes it’s going for a walk. Also, I think that people who are more creatively inclined have ideas for things that just get stuck in their brains and won’t/don’t come out until they’ve executed whatever they’ve been obsessing over.

3. What drives you outside of your blog pursuits? Learning & gathering information drives me whether it be through books, spending time with friends & family, documentaries, etc. I grew up in (what I now know was) a sheltered home, so the media wasn’t just entertainment for me. It was my source of information on any given topic. Ironically, I was taught to get all the facts before making a judgment. So, if something interests me, I find anything that references that particular topic and pore over it all until I understand that thing enough to tell someone else about it.

4. What’s the worst vacation experience you’ve ever had? I can’t think of any bad vacation moments of recent years, and if there were any bad ones in the past, I’ve blocked them out.

5. Favorite quick, weeknight dinner? Baked beans & sliced hot dogs over rice OR oven fried chicken wingettes with roasted red potatoes & veggies (brussel sprouts, carrots, whatever’s in season).

6. How do you take your coffee? OFTEN, but more specifically I like to put 2 teaspoons of raw sugar unless it has vanilla syrup (my favorite flavored syrup) and enough cream to look slightly darker than a paper lunch bag. If I’m going for a Starbucks run, however, I get a half-caf triple grande vanilla soy latte.

7. Favorite blog? For design & crafts, it’s pretty cool to see what Maura makes. For vocabulary stimulation and a humorous and thought-provoking view on everyday happenings, I look to Danita. At least once a day I visit my favorite natural hair blog for inspiration, information, and the motivation to not chemically straighten my ‘fro and keep it healthy.

8. If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be? The amount of time it takes to get myself and another person ready to go out now. It was twice as rough when I had to go anywhere during this crazy, snow-filled winter since I had to dress a small, squirmy person as well as myself. If I could blink the two of us ready, bundled, and in the car, life would be SWEET!

9. What does ‘being creative’ mean to you? “Being creative” means that you embrace whatever gift you have and use that to make something, anything. I think that everyone has some ability to create. You can use things like yarn & fabrics. Maybe you have an eye for decorating and/or architecture, or you can be someone who feels at home with numbers, formulas, & spreadsheets. Everybody’s got their something, though.

10. What would be your ideal workspace? I’d love a room at home with wood floors, lots of natural light, a wide and long table to work at, and a coffee station. It’d be a bonus to have a variety of fabrics, yarns, and DMC embroidery floss with which to work and make whatever I feel inclined to make at any given time.

11. What mode of transportation suits you best? I have a car, but the train suits me better for going into the city. I find that when I drive, I just want to get to my destination, and that doesn’t leave me with a lot of patience. Visiting family and driving the 1.5 hours to get there is when I can drive the way I want to.

For the blogs that I want to nominate for this award, I choose…

Danita 

Marissa

Figs & Things

Blog #45

Stitch and Purl

Izznit

Palindrome Knits

Needles in the Hay

Bunnies and Bettas

Stitch Therapy

Sleepy Owl Studio

The questions I’ve thought of to learn a bit more about those bloggers are:

  1. What is your dream project? The one thing that you want to complete no matter how long it takes?
  2. With whom would you want to collaborate on any sort of project?
  3. What’s the reason for your blog name? Why did you begin blogging?
  4. What meal can you make with no recipe, hands tied behind your back, one eye open (you get the idea)?
  5. What world city do you feel is your true home?
  6. Describe a time when blogging/crafting helped you through a stressful time in your life.
  7. Name something that you wish you could do or something that doesn’t come easy, and admire others for being able to do so?
  8. What are you reading right now?
  9. What movie’s lines can you recite by heart?
  10. If your life were a movie/album, what would it be named?
  11. At what point in your life were you the most impressed with yourself & your creativity?

I can’t wait to read the answers!

 

There hasn’t been too much knitting going on since S made her debut last month, but I’m working on finishing adult-sized sweaters again. The last month has been a quick period of broken sleep, multiple diaper/wardrobe changes, and tiptoe-ing around while she sleeps, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The tiny hands & feet, the nuzzling, and the funny faces more than make up for it. The last few months, strangers would come up to me at work and tell me to count my quiet days or to enjoy freedom while it lasted. It was like having a baby was some sort of moratorium on living, for goodness sake. I don’t feel half as much of the agony and misery that other parents have warned me of; maybe their kids are just horrible, who knows? She’s a pretty relaxed baby, and she has some fussy moments, but I just go with it.

While she sleeps, I manage to eat, bathe, and even knit a bit. Matt’s sweater is at a standstill right now. I was using Ann Budd’s sweater pattern book to make something that would have the best for him, but with an infant around, my ability to focus on measurement & math is rusty. I might just knit one of the sweaters in my Ravelry queue like Timberline…

That is a handsome sweater. The cabling is beautiful and the collar is what sold it for me as a design I needed to make at some point. For myself, I’ve been slowly gaining progress with White Pine.

I looked in my library and realized I have about 6 patterns from Amy Christoffers. I enjoyed knitting Acer and knew I’d be making more sweaters of hers. White Pine’s cable pattern is easily memorized and works as an Olympics-watching project.

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I’m using Patons Classic Wool, which seems to be spun a bit tighter than Cascade 220, a somewhat comparable yarn. This gives me hope that my sweater won’t pill as much as some items I’ve made from Cascade in the past. For now, I’m just enjoying the rhythm of knitting regularly again, even if it is between blowouts and bottles.

Hollis Baby Blanket

The Hollis Blanket is finished!

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Once carpal tunnel syndrome seemed to leave me alone, my knitting speed and bulky yarn’s quick-knit properties worked together and I got it done in no time. I feel a lot better knowing that once the baby comes, this will keep her nice and warm if we’re out. I love this yarn, Rowan British Sheep Breeds Chunky. The stitch definition is pretty great and I like the squish factor I get from the finished work. Yes, squish factor is important. I haven’t tried the lighter weights yet, but I’m curious. If you want to knit the pattern, it can be downloaded here!

While I haven’t finished Basil or the crocheted blanket, I did manage to get a couple of receiving blankets finished. I used the Purl Bee’s pattern with a grey chevron print and a hedgehog print.

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I really need to explore online options for fabric more often. Not that Joann Fabrics had a terrible selection, but there’s not a lot of gender neutral choices. Everything seemed to be boy = blue/masculine/mommy’s little slugger while girl = pink/princess/cupcake. This is something that makes my eyeballs hurt. I didn’t play with a lot of dolls when I was younger and would freak out whenever I saw the Barbie aisle in the toy store, so the whole gender norm thing bugs me a bit. A little pink and a little blue is fine, but there are other colors and I’m not talking about yellow or green. 

With Koigu KPM/KPPPM odd bits here and there, I used the same dusty pink color for the edging on the grey blanket that I used for the baby’s bonnet and I plan to use a grey/lavender on the one with the hedgehogs. I think one blanket took a couple of hours tops. Most of the time was spent pressing seams before sewing the edges, but maybe it just felt that way because I hate pressing seams despite it being vital to sewing. Maybe I’ll get a few more finished before the big day, but I think I’m all blanketed out for now!

Blanket mania

It’s been blankets and more blankets being made in these parts. M’s grandmother gave me a huge bundle of Lion Brand Pound of Love in aqua for the baby. I haven’t used acrylic in quite some time, but I figured I could get a lot out of just the one ball or I could throw in other colors and make a few more (million) things.

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At first I thought that this yarn has gotten softer or something since I’ve last encountered it, but I think I’m confusing it with my beginner-knitter experiences with Caron One Pound. That stuff will take off your top layer of skin. Oof.

Since I wanted something colorful, I started off by adding pink to the mix, then later on I threw in the white, blue, and yellow. A hexagon blanket was something I’d done before and it works up pretty quickly due to quick memorization of the rounds. I don’t like to make the same thing twice, but I still wanted something pretty mindless to crochet and piece together, so I decided to go with octagons and mini squares. I might not finish this one before the kid comes, but it can be a play mat for her later on I suppose.

The blanket parade didn’t stop there. I knew I wanted the “coming home” blanket to be something warm and squishy, so I took the Rowan British Sheep Breeds in Bluefaced Leicester from my stash, picked a stitch pattern, and got busy.

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I recovered most of this from a too-small owls sweater I made a few years ago (which I loved and will consider re-knitting later), and my experience with this is that it’ll definitely be warm and squishy enough. I just have to finish it! Carpal tunnel got the best of my right wrist, but it seems to have subsided so it’s back to work!

Other baby knits I’m working on:

Basil by Courtney Kelley, Kelbourne Woolens Baby Collection

Whit’s Knits: Baby Bonnet from Purl Bee

Laura’s Loop: Infant Mittens also from Purl Bee

Wish me luck that I finish everything in good time!

NaKniSweMo is over, but I have no sweater to show.

I did get to the armholes on the back of Matt’s sweater, but it’s at a standstill right now. It is for someone who measures larger than the me-sized and baby-sized things I’ve been making, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick project, but it still stinks. I wanted to finish before the deadline, but my right wrist has been hit with a bit of carpal tunnel since the beginning of this trimester. There was a “do what you can” strategy employed on the really bad days, but it wasn’t enough to cross the finish line by November 30th. Ah well, there’s always Christmas!

In the meantime, I’ve been making fabric button earrings!

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I got the idea from wanting to stock my etsy shop, but the patterns & accessories weren’t really flying outta here with a bum wrist. What to do? What to do? You do what you can! I had a ton of fabric left over from the baby’s quilt and a few other projects, and since another quilt isn’t in my near future, I found a new way to use up the scraps. I’ve been making an extra pair for myself from some of the prints since I like them so much.

Check out the shop and see if there’s something you like for yourself or for someone else!

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