Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Conquering the WIPS

Last Friday as I was coming down with a nasty cold, I had the overwhelming desire to go through my knitting WIPs and decide what I could conquer. I know getting sick doesn't equate with conquering lists of things to do, but for some reason this kind of list helped me through my somewhat miserable weekend and yes, with the exception of going food shopping, I spent my entire weekend in my sweats on the couch knitting. Get rid of the nasty cold and it equals a perfect weekend!

I wrote a post back in June where I last talked about my big list of WIPS. You can read it here and this was a shot of my Ravelry In Progress page at the time.
I am proud to say that #1, #2 and #3 on this list moved to the FO section sometime between June and September. #7, TTL Mystery Sock 2012 was frogged.

As of Friday my In Progress Page looksed like this:
At a quick glance you can see that there have been some new projects (three to be exact) started while 10 of the original WIPS are still on the list.

After some pondering and pulling projects out of their sleepy hidey holes, I decided upon three projects in the current list to focus my sick energy on over the weekend. My Glazed Carrot Mod Podge sweater was not on that list. My purpose was to focus on older projects.

So what projects made the cut?

#1 - Some Cloudy Day legwarmers
I remember buying the yarn for this project with my sister when she still lived in Myrtle Beach. I remember rushing home and we both casted on for these legwarmers at the same time. I even bought double pointed needles so I could start them. I remember I had finished one leg warmer in less than a week. I remember casting on for the second leg and getting it almost to the finish line. I remember putting it aside, but I can't remember why.

This project made the cut for this past weekends list simply because I was thhhhhiiiiiissssss close to having it finished.

I will tell you now that as of Saturday afternoon this project became an FO. I will also tell you that even though I was really close to completing the project, it wasn't without knitting drama.

Let's just say I knitted 14 pattern rows and then when I started the cuff, realized I had 61 stitches instead of 60. After analyzing my knitting, I noticed where the extra stitch came from and that was 15 rows back. I'm pointing to the little bugger right here:
The mistake happened the last time I worked on these babies. It must of been fate for me to have made that mistake way back then because after I frogged back to the mistake on Saturday, I relooked at my pattern notes to compare the number of pattern repeats between #1 and #2 that I needed to complete before the cuff, and realized that I only needed to knit 7 rows and not the 14 that I originally did before I noticed the mistake. I am so glad I realized this mistake, because I guarantee I wouldn't of noticed it until after I bound off and snipped the yarn. Then I would of been in knitting tears.

I'll do a follow-up post soon showing the completed project with all the project details I like to include.

#2 - Mystik Spiral Socks
While this isn't one of the "older" WIPs, it was one that I felt needed my attention if it was ever going to be finished. If you remember, I started, and could of had these socks finished, while I was on my European Backpacking Adventure this summer, but on my last day abroad, I realized I missed 11 rows on sock number two, after I had already bound off and snipped the yarn. This post shows you what the pair looked like when I discovered the issue.

To fix the problem, I needed to decide if I was going to just remove the cuff, add the 11 rows and call it finished or if I was going to frog the sock from the cuff all the way down to the ankle and add the 11 rows where they belonged in the pattern.

This is what I decided:
After I frogged down to the ankle, found where I was in the pattern, I added the 11 rows that were missing and put the project aside for another day. My goal was to decide what I wanted to do with the sock and take action towards getting it closer to the FO list. Goal accomplished.

#3 - Back Bay wrap
As you can see above I started this wrap in November of 2011. Eeek! When I last worked on it, and I can't remember when that was it's been that long, probably when I first started the dang thing, I had completed two pattern repeats. That's 20 rows per repeat, so a total of 40 rows plus the setup rounds had been done. By Saturday evening, I had added another 20 or so rows:
I worked on it again all day Sunday and Monday (because I was home sick) and as of right now it looks like this:
I'd say that's some good progress. We have a total of six 20 row pattern repeats done. I believe that the pattern calls for a total of 20 pattern repeats, so I am not close to being done, but definitely heading towards it.

After putting my Glazed Carrot Mod Podge sweater aside for the weekend, I did end my Monday evening with completing sleeve #1. I plan on casting on for #2 this week, but don't anticipate completing the sweater by months end.

I think I kind of liked splitting my attention between a few different projects this past weekend. I really want to get a few more WIPs off the above list by the end of the year.

So, as I look toward my long four day weekend thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, my goals are to finish the Mystik Spiral Socks and the second sleeve of the sweater. After that, we'll see where we go.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Being A Tourist

Back in late October I got the chance to be a tourist in my own city. The last time I played this part was when my sister and niece visited me probably 3-4 years ago. My brain can't remember exactly when, I just know we went all over the place and had oh so much fun.

This time around, when my niece had her Fall break from teaching she asked if she and her boyfriend could come visit for a few days. Why of course! I didn't think twice.

As I am sitting here flipping through the pictures on my phone, I can't help but reminisce about their visit and all the fun "touristy" things we did.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite highlights.

Our Day 1 adventures began with a walk through Times Square in search of TKTS.
With TKTS not open until 2pm, we headed down to South Street Seaport. After having TKTS success and Broadway Show tickets in hand, we strolled over to the water.

It's been a long time since I have visited the Seaport. I couldn't believe how much had changed. The mall that was there is all boarded up and appears to be going under construction. One thing that hadn't changed was the ship.
From the Seaport we decided to stop for a bite to eat. If my memory serves me correctly, we had Lebanese food.
After our bellies were full, we strolled over to One World Trade Center.
Not matter where you stand, every time you look up, the building comes to a point. Of course, we also stopped by the 9/11 Memorial.
It's really beautifully done and happy that I finally visited.

From here we went over to the Hudson River and walked up to The Highline.
My day out quickly came to an end after we checked out, and sampled, some yumminess from the Broadway Bites setup at Herald Square. By this time is was early evening, I headed home as my niece and her boyfriend went to their first Broadway Show.

On Day 2 of their visit, I sent them out on their own as I had a doctor's appointment in the morning and didn't want to hold them back.

However, I was back out there with them for our Day 3 adventures. Even though it was raining for practically the whole entire day, we still made the most out of it and had some fun.

We started with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Fortunately we were walking from Manhattan into Brooklyn so the rain/wind was at our back.
Once we got off the bridge, we got our bearings and headed towards the water. We stumbled upon this beauty of a used bookstore.
This picture just captures a small portion of all the books they had. Heaven!

What visit to Brooklyn wouldn't be complete without a visit to Grimaldi's?
Best pizza ever in my opinion!

After lunch, we strolled through the neighborhood to do some architectural sightseeing and shopping.
This place must be pretty amazing, and expensive, to live in. Loved everything about it.

We also did some thrifting.
Well after my quick perusal of the racks, I planted by behind on a bench and watched the two youngens shop their hearts out. I was completely happy just watching.

Lastly, we headed back to Manhattan for dessert and landed at Veniero's.
All of this for just three people? Yes please.

Of course, before we knew it the fun had to come to an end. The next morning was time for our goodbyes, which is always hard for me. I miss having family close by, so this was extra special for me to have them visit. Can't wait for the next time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter Is Coming

Over the past month I having been knitting away on my new sweater. Today our temps seriously dropped and I realized just how quickly winter is coming and that I need a new completed sweater. The magical word being completed.

So just how close am I to completion?

Well let's see. We started with the back on October 8.
Then just a mere 10 days later the back was complete and I picked up with the left front. When I reached the armhole shaping on the left front I realized there was an issue with it not matching up to the back. Whatwo!
 
I thought staring at the sweater would miraculously fix the issues. Sadly it did not.

After some serious pattern rereading, math and a bunch of texts messages and a phone call with my sister, I realized there was an error in the pattern, even though I had the updated version of the pattern that supposedly fixed the issue with the number of cast on stitches and stitch counts after the decrease and increase sections. So this happened to the back:
And three days later we had this:
Once all was well in the land of knitting, I quickly finished the left front:
Then the right front:
As of Sunday, I entered sleeve island.
So what is my grand master plan to get this baby done? Well. I don't really have one. I know I'd like to have it done for Thanksgiving. It's quite possible to achieve that deadline, but I am not going to drive myself crazy to get there.

I am hoping that by the end of this upcoming weekend I will have both sleeves done. If I do, I will proceed to attach them to the sweater and seam up the sides. Then I'll be left with the collar, which in reality isn't all that bad once you get past picking up all the necessary stitches. I need to look in my notions stash to see if I have snaps for closing the sweater. I think I do, but of course this wouldn't be the first time my memory has failed me. So we shall see.

I know I have been absent from this blog for quite a bit. Lots of personal stuff  has been happening during the past couple of months and unfortunately it has taken my attention from this little space. I hope one day to share everything that has been going on, but until then, I would love to get back here for more regular postings. I get a little sad when I look at my list of posts that I started and never had the chance to complete. Some of them can just be trashed, but maybe I can revive a couple of them even if it's a little late.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Glazed Carrots

Alas, it has been confirmed this morning that my sister won't be visiting me for Rhinebeck this year. While I am extremely bummed, I completely understand. There will always be next year for us to hit up our favorite fiber festival.

In the end, I think things always work out the way they are supposed to and I can tell you right now, I'm not sure if I will even have a sweater completed in time. So now I am off the hook, right?

Let me back up a little.

September was a busy, and a little crazy, month for me. I've been in and out of doctor's appointments, catching up on work stuff, apartment stuff still not done and frankly, when I finally went through my yarn stash, I was completely disappointed and lost my steam for knitting a sweater in time for the festival.

See, I have some fabulous sweater yarn in it that I purchased during my past adventures at  Rhinebeck. When said yarn was purchased, there were no patterns in my mind for them, so I tried to buy an amount that I thought would give me some options for knitting them up.

After I decided I was going to knit Montauk, I proceeded to plunge head first into my stash and when I came up for air, I seriously wanted to weep just a tad. Not only was I about 1 skein short for knitting Montauk, but I also was short for Pinoli.

At this time I am thinking I am still going to Rhinebeck and that I can't possibly go without knitting a new sweater. I searched and searched the interwebs for another yarn choice for either sweater and even another sweater pattern that would fit my yardage. I found a couple of yarns that I liked, but couldn't commit because of my indecisiveness in the colors. I also found another sweater that I like, but I wasn't so sure of the fit for my body. Deflated, I stopped looking for a few days.

Fast forward to Wednesday of last week, I realized that if I am going to Rhinebeck I knew there was no way I would finish Montauk in time. Pinoli maybe, but Montauk? Wasn't going to happen. I was also still not 100% on the other sweater I had found.

So what does one do? I plunged back into the interwebs and perused my friends' completed knits on Ravelry and came back to a pattern that I fell in love with when I first saw it many moons ago. In comes Mod Podge:
One of my dear friends knitted it in 2011 for Rhinebeck and I died and went to yarn heaven! That's how much I loved the pattern and the yarn! I mean, let's just look at how lovely it truly is:
And of course, after exchanging a few text messages with this lady, I realized this was my sweater to knit for Rhinebeck.

Did I think I could finish this one in time? Absolutely and those of you who know me, know I could get it done.

Did I have enough yarn in stash to knit it? Yes, but unfortunately the yarn has too much give and stretches when washed and blocked. I needed a firmer yarn for this style jacket.

I went to Webs Yarn and looked at the yarn Miss Shameka Knits used for hers and they had the color I wanted. The one that I have been obsessed with during the past few Fall seasons. Today, it arrived and looks a little like this:
It's Malabrigo Rios in Glazed Carrot colorway. The color is actually a deeper orange than what you see in the picture. The light shining from the ceiling makes it look like a pumpkin. I am so in love with it. I know this yarn is pricey, but I got a 20% discount and truthfully, I wanted to treat myself just a little, especially after the past month I had been through. This yarn makes me smile and makes my heart flutter.

Even though I am most likely not going to Rhineback, I am still hoping to finish this baby in time for it, just in case I do mange to venture up there for one of the days. There's some big stuff happening for me around that time, so I am not 100% sure if I'll make it, but if I do, I want to be wearing my glazed carrot/pumpkin!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Re-Entry

On August 9th, my honey and I began our second backpacking adventure by hopping on a plane and landing in Europe.
Gorgeous sunrise as were landing in Rome at 6:25 a.m.
The first nine days of our trip we stayed in Italy. We visited Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii Ruins, Capri, Florence and Venice. We then hopped on another plane and spent the last 10 days of our trip in Greece between Athens and Chios.

Just like our trip last year, this one was fabulous (even despite the fact we both came down with terrible colds 5 days into the trip) and truly felt like we had been gone forever. It was a sad day when we headed back to the States on August 30th.
Well it was a sad day for one of us!
I did major photo dumps on Instagram, Facebook and Flickr every night I had WiFi access. Because of the incredibly late nights, I didn't get to post any here. I really was hoping to, but I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to post what I did elsewhere.

For those who don't follow me on Instagram or Flickr,  I am planning on dedicating a few posts to share some of my favorite photos from the trip. I'll be including some that didn't make it to my other social media platforms during the trip. So there will be some new ones for those who've already gotten a peek at my pictures.

There was also some knitting action happening on this trip. I wanted to come home and say I had finished a pair of socks in the three weeks I was gone, but on my second to last day of the trip when I thought I finished them, disaster struck and I realized I had made a huge mistake on sock number two.
Houston We Have A Problem
The disaster entailed either a little bit of frogging to kind of fix it or a lot of frogging to fix it the way it's supposed to be. By the way, my honey voted for the little bit of frogging which I have done, but am not sure if I am happy with that choice. Any hoo, I will share more of that adventure in another post as I feel my knitting stupidity deserves a post all on it's own.

So for the past week, I have been working on getting back to reality. Thank goodness Monday was a holiday and I did take an extra day off from work to deal with jet lag. Last year I was a complete mess so I was anticipating the worst. To my surprise this year has been a pretty smooth transition back to east coast time. I can honestly say I feel like a normal person now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rhinbeck Knitting

Yup Yup Yup the plan right now is to attend the NY Sheep and Wool Festival this year! It's been two years since I last went and three years since I last went with my sister.

Since a Summer vacation of having my sister come here was out, we decided that a Fall visit would be nice and coming for Rhinebeck even better! Airline tickets haven't been bought yet, but I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that she is coming. I need my sister fix!

Now, I am on a mission to complete a sweater in time for the event.

I spent a few hours days stalking perusing through Ravelry trying to locate the perfect knit. I've narrowed it down to two choices.

Choice #1: Pinoli Cardigan
I absolutely love this cardigan. I knitted the CPH Hoodie many moons ago and ended up loving it very much. I always wanted to knit another one, but never got around to it. I am thinking this one would be a good replacement for it.
 
Choice #2: Montauk
Of course, I absolutely love this cardigan too! I actually came across this pattern first and thought right away this would be my Rhinebeck sweater. I think the collar gives it a unique look and with the heavier weight yarn, it would be a tad warmer.

I think in the end, I will eventually knit both, as I may have already purchased both patterns. It's just a matter of deciding which one will be the winner for this Fall.

What are your thoughts? Does one stand out as a winner in your eyes? Is there another pattern that should be brought to my attention to make the decision even more difficult? I'm all ears! Talk to me.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

MIA and an Upcoming Adventure

I know it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted. I have a real good reason as to why and I'll just say that life left me feeling out of sorts during the past week or so. However, I am back and hope to get some of the posts that I had planned on publishing out here on the blog (one includes a blogiversary which may, or may not, include a giveaway)!

However, the big news I have from this past weekend is that my honey and I booked tickets for our next backpacking adventure together! We are going back to Europe for another three weeks!! (cue the excitement!!!!)

So of course, I immediately got these babies:
Last year we went from Barcelona, Spain, through France into northern/middle Italy. We knew for this trip, we wanted to concentrate the first 10 days or so in Italy, as we fell in love with it last year.

My current travel guides didn't really go into southern Italy past the Naples area (and was really outdated - 2011), so I bought Rick Steves' guide (Sidenote - I used his guide exclusively last year and loved them) dedicated to Naples area and the Lonely Planet's guide to Southern Italy since we want to make it all the way down to Sicily.

And so far the Rick Steves' guide looks a little like this:
And my planning calendar is already taking shape:
This is how I planned our trip last year and it worked out beautifully. Being a super organized person really helps. By doing this, I know where we will be when and how many days we will spend in each place in order to reserve hotels. As for planning what to do, we will go with a rough idea of what we want to do, but not lock ourselves into anything.

After the first half of our trip, we will once again head to Athens, Greece. My honey's father lives there so we will spend a few days with him before taking the ferry out to Chios, where we will be doing a lot of swimming in this:
Uh, yes please!
 
Just like last year, I'll be updating my Instagram page as much as I can with snaps of what we experience. Everyone seemed to truly enjoy seeing them and joining us on our little adventure.
 
The countdown is officially on!!!! Less than three weeks until take-off!