Thursday, March 5, 2015

WIKN

Yes yes it's been a few days since I last posted. I know. No real excuse except every time I sit down to write a post, I get distracted by all my lovely scrapbooking supplies staring me in the face at my desk. Those lovelies seem to win out every time during the past couple of weeks. I think I am just too excited to have my stuff out again and can't help myself.

So, while I have been scrapbooking this winter weather blues that I seem to have away, there has also been some stuff going on with the knitting needles too.

Today I thought I would catch everyone up with "What I Am Knitting Now".

My scrap yarn blankie had a good presence in my knitting life during the end of January. I did manage to finish knitting up the half row of squares needed to complete the row. I even got as far as picking out the yarns for each of the squares for the next row.
Sadly, I did not knit any squares during the month on February. So I am going to try to complete two rows for the month of March.

After I finished my Inlay socks, I picked up with the TTL Mystery Sock 2015 and managed to knock out sock number one the other week. I didn't let too much time pass before I started sock number two either.
The color of this yarn is much darker than what you see in the picture. I was in a hurry to snap a progress pic to try to get the real color. I am absolutely loving knitting with this yarn. I won it over at Ellen's blog last summer, right before we left for Europe. When I came home three weeks later, this lovely squishiness was a pleasant surprise in my mailbox amongst all the bills.

Recently I casted on for Color Affection using these three beauties from Madeline Tosh Sock.
After casting on three time, I finally got my first row of increases to the way I liked it and am now almost ready to join in the middle color. I am excited to see this get done. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I have a few more projects that I am dying to start. But I am going to be good and keep my needles busy with these projects right now. I really need to finish these socks so I can start my next pair for the Sock Sampler KAL that I participate in on Ravelry. The only good thing about the KAL is that we have two months to finish the project.

So that's all I've got for now. Short and simple.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Testing My Patience

There is nothing better than a finished pair of socks. Well correction, nothing better than a finished pair of socks that were truly testing your patience.

Enter my Inlay socks by Hunter Hammersen.
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock - Glacier
Started: January 2, 2015
Finished: February 1, 2015
Needles: Knit Picks Size 1

It was truly a combination of things that had me almost frogging these babies and tossing the yarn in the trash. Yes. They were that frustrating. At least in the beginning.

My true issue was with the yarn. Though, not with the color.
It really is a beautiful color, and honestly, that color seduced me into purchasing it. One day last year I was perusing one of my favorite online shops for purchasing sock yarn, and I came across this baby. It's not a color I would typically purchase, so that is exactly why I bought it. It was beautifully different for me!

No no, my real issue is with the base and twist of the yarn. You won't be able to tell from the photos, but this yarn is what I call "fuzzy" and "splitty". Combine these two traits with all the twisted stitches in the pattern and what do you get? One big fat ugly mess. Because of the "fuzziness" I couldn't see where my size 1 freaking needle was going into the stitch and nine times out of ten I would end up splitting the yarn, which easily splits because the twist ain't all that.

Putting my gripes aside, this yarn knits beautifully, and problem free, when you are just knitting and purling it. Which is good, because I have another skein of it in my stash.

Now the Inlay pattern is wonderfully written and I had absolutely no problem with the directions, even with all the twisted stitches.
Please don't let all the twisted stitches scare you off from knitting these socks. I found the repeats were easily memorized within each row, and really, the twisted stitches give these socks a little extra oomph!

I mean look at interest they add to the sides of the socks...
They also make the socks feel more substantial.

The real question is, would I knit this pattern again? Yes.

I have to say it feels real good to have two pairs of socks finished. I am hitting my goal of one pair per month. I currently have a third pair on the needles. I am almost done with the first sock. Not sure if I will have the pair finished by the end of February. I will try, but honestly, my knitting time is during my lunch hour right now, as I am slightly distracted with scrapbooking after work this week. Trying to find balance with all my hobbies!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Long Crafty Weekend

When I was home visiting my family in Georgia a few weeks ago, my sister and I took to doing a little shopping. We hit up a few of my favorites - Michael's, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's - in search of fabric and scrapbooking supplies.

I knew that within a couple of weeks my beloved built-in cabinet would be installed, so I wanted to pick up a few items that would assist me in my craftiness. I flashed some of my scrapbooking haul on Instagram:
It had been a few years since I did any kind of scrapbooking supplies purchases as when I moved in with my honey three years ago, my scrapbooking was put on hold due to space constraints.  So I knew I wanted to stock up on items that I could use in my Travel and Christmas scrapbooking pages.

While I wanted to purchase everything I could get in my hot little hands, I was rather controlled with what I bought. I knew that I had supplies at home, I just needed to see what was salvageable before buying too much.

After spending last weekend getting my crafting space all set up, I was ready to start scrapbooking again this weekend. During the week, I printed pictures and tried to pull papers from my stash to use. The funny thing is that when I sat to scrap on Saturday and Sunday, I ended up using totally different papers on my spreads. But that's just the way things work out sometimes. It's the nature of the creativity beast.

On Sunday morning I finished my first spread in three years. I could tell just how rusty my scrapping brain was, as this one page spread took me forever to complete.
"Feeling Beautiful" - I took this picture of myself during my visit to Georgia in January one morning when my sister and I were heading out for the day. I really wanted to see how the new red lip stain I was wearing looked in natural light. I ended up loving this picture of myself and decided it was worth scrapbooking as I truly felt beautiful.

One of my goals is to try and use up as much of my scrapbooking stash this year, so all the paper I used was indeed from my stash. The only newly purchased items I used on this spread were the two Project Life Cards from the Vintage Travel Edition and the K&Company Layered Accents camera.

I had greater success with the amount of time it took me to complete my second spread of the weekend. I sat down at my desk Sunday evening and a couple hours later it was complete. Yes, I know that a couple of hours isn't fast, but it sure does beat one and a half days to finish a spread. I know in time I will get faster.
"Travel" - Back in 2013 when my honey and I were preparing for our first backpacking trip to Europe, we went to our favorite store, REI, to purchase what we would be wearing on our backs for three whole weeks - Backpacks.

It's amazing at what you have to think about when purchasing a backpack - size, weight, what you are planning on packing in it, etc. - and I couldn't resist snapping this series of pictures of my honey trying to decide if this pack was the one.  Looking at these pictures takes me immediately back to that day and I remember the giddiness and excitement of our upcoming trip as if it were yesterday.

I again used the majority of stash for this spread. The only new items are from the Teresa Collins World Traveler 6x6 paper pad (used 2 sheets for layering), Project Life Cards from the Cinnamon Edition (purchased last spring, but since I have never used it, I don't consider it stash), The Paper Studios Stick-a-bilites Geo Cardstock Tags (arrows) and the Simple Stories Snap Travel card at the top of my spread.

I have to say I am quite pleased with how these two spreads turned out to be. For some reason I am a tiny bit more enamored with my second spread. I don't know if it's the colors, or the layering of my pieces or that it just takes me back to Europe, but I love it.

I am really excited to be back scrapbooking again. To help supplement my really old stash, and the fact it's really hard for me to get to a supply store, I signed up for a couple of scrapbooking kit clubs. I have already received one and I can not wait to play. My plan is to do a "Kill A Kit" post when I've used up all that I can of the kit. Not sure if I am going to step into the "Process Video" arena at this time, but maybe something I will consider it down the road.

My plan is to dedicate at least one post a week to my scrapbooking. I will continue to post about my knitting, sewing and healthy lifestyle adventures. So if you come here for that, they will still be around for you.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, and a long one too if you celebrate President's Day. What crafty things are you up to?

___________________________
("Feeling Beautiful" Supply List: Bazzill solid cardstock, Paper Refelections black cardstock, misc white cardstock, misc patterned paper, EK Success Stick Stickers - Black Small, Stickopotamus Mini Brush Alpha stickers, K&Company Layered Accents, Provo Craft Art Accentz - Flower Brads, misc. clear colored flowers, misc fabric flower, Project Life Cards - Vintage Travel Edition, misc camera ephemera)

("Travel" Supply List: Bazzill solid cardstock, Paper Refelections black cardstock, misc patterned paper, Teresa Collins World Traveler 6x6 paper pad, Project Life Cards from the Cinnamon Edition, Simple Stories Snap Travel card, The Paper Studios Stick-a-bilites Geo Cardstock Tags (arrows), Sandylion Essentials - Mini Travel Tags with brads, Making Memories Journey Rub-Ons, American Crafts Elements Large Brads, Close to My Heart My Acrylix Stamps - Sans Small Caps & Small Numbers) 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Organization Love

This past Saturday was a day that I have been waiting for since December! My custom built-in cabinet was installed and can I just say how much I love it?!?!?!

Let me tell you though, I almost didn't think they were going to get it into the space. As with any old construction, nothing is square or straight. Custom builder said he took that into account and "left" a 1/2 inch clearance when he built the cabinet. Hah I say! At least that's what my honey and I said to ourselves in our heads as we watched him and his worker try to get it to fit.

Attempt #1:
Fail!

Attempt #2 (After chiseling our wall away in one corner inside the space where cabinet is going.):
Fail!

Attempt #3 (After chiseling another part of our wall away.):
Fail!

Attempt #100 (After taking the cabinet outside and sanding the heck out of it.):
Success!

I have never been so freaking happy to have this cabinet. I am so in love with it. It completely changes the space. Well really anything would of improved this space even if it was a shower curtain. But, I am truly thrilled with the way it turned out.

The doors are perfect! They tried to match the paneling on our closet doors and came pretty close.
And look at the inside...
I need a step ladder to reach the top two shelves, but that's ok. It's worth it!

On Sunday morning my honey drove me over to IKEA, so I could get a couple of items to add to my crafting space to make it truly complete. Then, I spent my entire afternoon organizing all my beloved crap crafting items.

Here's a before picture of the cabinet space:
Here's the after picture with almost all of my stuff organized inside:
From top shelf to bottom shelf, I have them organized as such:

Shelf 1: Holds all my stash yarn and miscellaneous knitting tools (i.e. swift and winder)
Shelf 2: Will hold all my sewing stuff (i.e. fabrics, bin with tools, etc.)
Shelf 3: Scrapbooking shelf that houses my photos to be scrapped, die cuts, stamping stuff
Shelf 4: More scrapbooking stuff which are all my papers and stickers
Shelf 5: Sewing machine, die cut machines and miscellaneous scrapbooking tools live here

I bought this Raskog Kitchen Cart from IKEA:
I chose the charcoal color and am very happy with the choice. They also have it in a cream and turquoise color.

The cart is where I am organizing all scrapbooking items that I want at the ready for when I sit at my desk to scrapbook. I love that it is on wheels and I can store it by my desk in front of the cabinet when I am not using it.

I also purchased from IKEA two Antonius plastic insert trays to use on the cart. Love them! They are perfect to hold my Project Life cards and other miscellaneous odds and ends items.

My final purchase from IKEA was a Kallax shelving unit.
I knew I wanted a short bookshelf by my desk as I didn't want to block the beautiful natural light from the window. I also REALLY wanted a shelf that would fit on the same wall as my desk and let me tell you, this one was a close call. My honey and I measured the space twice before we left for the store and when we got it home I held my breath while we shifted the desk down towards the cabinet and made space for the shelf. I let out a huge sigh of relief when it just fit!

The organizing of the shelf is still a work in progress. Right now the shelves hold my scrapbooks along with some books, magazines and a container filled with 8.5x11 solid cardstock paper. On top I placed my recently purchased Epson Picturemate Charm printer as my older printer died, couldn't be revived and being a scrapbooker, I want to have the ability to print pictures at home. Over time the shelving unit will be organized to my liking. Right now, I am just seeing what works and what doesn't.

From a distance this is what my little crafting nook looks like. Please excuse the stuff in the foreground that I must still go through.
Eventually I will put up my gallery wall. We framed all of our purchased artwork from our trips to Europe and San Francisco last Fall and I have reserved a few pieces to place on my wall.

When I was going through all my stuff, I found a couple of prints that I had purchased during one of my trips to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival that need to be framed. They will also make it up on the wall. I mean, seriously aren't they adorable?
So while I have been in organization heaven since Sunday, my knitting has taken a back seat. I do have a new pair of socks on the needles. I also recently purchased some yarny goodness from Eat.Sleep.Knit to make a Color Affection shawl and an Edith Hat. One item is a gift and the other will be for myself. And lawd help me, I am foraging back into color work knitting!!!!

What have ya'll been up to? Any new projects on the needles? Any projects finished? Any projects that have been remanded to time out for bad behavior? Tell me tell me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kinda Over It and an FO

Guess what folks? It snowed here again on Sunday night into Monday and the icing on the cupcake was freezing rain! Don't be jealous now.
Yeah I am kind of over all this white frozen stuff and am so ready for spring. How dare that Groundhog see his shadow on Monday too! Six more weeks of winter?!?!? Ahhhhh.

Okay, okay, okay let me get a grip here. Spring will be here before we know it. Right?

Now onwards to my finished object. I mentioned in my last post that while I was away in Georgia, I finished a pair of socks. Yay for finished socks! However, they weren't for me.

I took the yarn that was left in my honey's Christmas stocking and knitted him a basic pair of socks. Before I left for my trip, one had already been completed and the second one was just started. By day six of my trip, they were complete!
Pattern: Vanilla Cuff Down (My Own)
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Fedora (2 skeins)
Needles: Knit Picks Circs Size 1.5
Started: January 5, 2015
Finished: January 22, 2015

My honey likes to wear socks to bed and a few years ago I had knitted him a pair out of some stash sport weight yarn that I had. He loved them, but couldn't sleep in them as they were too hot for his already warm body temperature.

This time around, I used a fingering weight yarn and now that we are no longer living in the freezing cold basement of our house, he deems them too warm to wear to bed. I am okay with that as he does love the socks and will wear them as house socks.

I knitted the socks using my basic vanilla cuff down pattern. I casted on 68 stitches on size 1.5 needles. Knitted the K1, P1 cuff for 2 inches.
I completed a very basic heel flap after knitting the leg for a total of 7 inches.
The next time I knit these, I will modify the toe decreases. I ended up alternating the decrease row with a knit row all the way down to the end. This makes for a rather strange looking toe when the sock isn't being worn.
However, all that really matters in the end, is that they fit and are well appreciated!

I do have another FO to share with you soon. Let me just tell you that my knitting goal of completing one pair of socks a month is going really well. I finished my Inlay socks this past Sunday and have already started my third pair for the year.

So tell me, how are things going in your knitting world? Finished any projects for 2015 yet?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Talk About "Socks" Baby

Hello my friends! It's been awhile hasn't it? I returned from my eight day vacation early Sunday afternoon and between adjusting from the 60 degree temps I enjoyed to freaking snowstorms here at home, I am just now getting my act together.
Proof of the lovely welcome home I got!
Before I said adios to the Big Apple, I had snapped some pics of my sock knitting projects to share, but never got around to writing the lovely post to go along with them.

The Friday night before I jumped on the big ol' plane, I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything I wanted to bring with me into my bags. Let me tell you, it was a "sit on the suitcase while I zip it up" situation. Not pretty folks. So with each passing moment I wrestled with my luggage, the time I was going to devote to this post dwindled.

But alas, I am here with you now and let's talk about socks. I currently have quite the sock knitting situation going on in my knitting world.
Of course, there is also one sock in progress missing from this photograph as it is in time out, oh say for the last 4 years.

As you know, two of my knitting goals this year is to knit one pair of socks per month and to knit from my sock yarn stash. In an effort to meet these goals, I sought outside help from my dear best friend named Ravelry.

I hooked myself up with the Sock Sampler KALs group where they knit through different sock patterns together. For the months of January/February we could choose any pattern from Hunter Hammersen. Well I was on board for this one. I have had her Inlay sock pattern in my queue ever since I first saw it in Knitty back in 2011.

I went stash diving and came up with a SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock yarn in Glacier.
Love the pattern, even with all the freaking twisted stitches, but the yarn choice for the pattern was maybe not the right call. It looks beautiful, but the yarn is what I call fuzzy and splitty which makes the twisted stitches more difficult. Because of the fuzz I have a hard time seeing where my needle is going and therefore end up splitting the splitty yarn very easily. Put all this together and I can only knit on these socks in VERY good lighting. That means once the sun goes down to sleep, so does this sock.

For Christmas my honey received some sock yarn from Santa in his stocking. I am still trying to figure out why Santa didn't knit the socks for him too. But anyhoo, I decided to take the yarn and knit a pair of vanilla top down socks.
In the photograph, one sock is already complete. Honey approves of both color and pattern.

In another effort to meet my knitting goals, I joined the TTL Mystery Sock 2015. I have joined in on this fun in the past and know that the pattern turns out to be just lovely, even the previous one that had bobbles on it.

As the first clue wasn't to be released until January 15, all I could do was pick out the yarn I was going to knit.
I received this beautiful little handpainted gem from Ellen over at The Ellen Report, which I won in one of her many generous giveaways last year. If you get a chance, pop on over and check her blog out. I absolutely adore reading her posts. I am usually left giggling. She keeps it real folks and I love it!

Lastly, another one of my knitting goals was to address my old UFO's. May I present my Smaug Socks:
I put these babies in time out on July 3, 2014 for two reasons. First, I came to the point in the pattern where I was ready to complete the toe. My gut was telling me something wasn't right. I had trouble interpreting a part of the pattern and therefore that gave me some doubt. Second, the sock was just a tad big on my foot. I wasn't sure if I wanted to frog it and go down a needle size or if I just wanted to frog the sock and never return to it because I wasn't entirely sure if I would have enough yarn to complete the second sock. (That was just a super long sentence.) So into time out it went!

Before I left on my vacation, I told myself to make a decision. This is what happened:
Yup, I frogged it, but what am I going to do? Well first this yarn is going to stay in some serious time out just like this. If you remember, I had used this yarn in another pattern that I ended up frogging back in June and now I just frogged this yarn again.

Needless to say the yarn has got some serious kinks and I have some doubts whether it can be revived. So right row it will stay hidden away as I am not ready to cast on with it any time soon.

The next question is, will I recast on for the Smaug Socks? Yes. I will however go down a needle size and maybe choose a yarn with more yardage on it.

While I was away on vacation, I took the Inlay and Honey socks with me. I made serious progress on one and finished the other. Stay tuned to find out which is which!

Share with me what's on your needles right now. Any sock patterns I should check out? Have you reviewed your UFO pile and decided to take control and deal with them?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwing In The Towel(s)

About three weeks before Christmas a decision was made in my honey's family that we would do a Secret Santa gift exchange instead of buying everyone a gift. I thought it was a great idea as this is something we did in my own family years ago.

After I selected the name of whom I would gift some sort of fabulousness, I was stumped. This person themselves are very creative, but as being a creative person myself, I know how purchasing supplies for whatever their craft is can be very personal. Sooooo I scratched that idea.

Then one day about a week later a light bulb went off! This person always comments how much they love my knitting. So that's what I decided to do. However, with only two weeks until Christmas, what could I possibly knit quickly?!?!?!?!

Honey said socks. I said no.

I also said no to myself about knitting a Lap Blanket or Throw Pillow Covers. Not enough time.

After spending what felt like countless hours of Ravelry browsing and losing a million minutes of sleep, I decided I would knit an oversized dish towel and then purchase some lovely items from O&Co to go with it.

I had the perfect cotton yarn already in my stash so we were a GO!!!!!

Pattern: Stripes and Texture Dish Towel
Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie; Colorway - Coffee
Needles: Knit Picks Circs Size 5
Started: December 13, 2014
Finished: December 16, 2014
After knitting a few rows, I was really pleased with the texture of the knit. The original pattern called for Size 7 needles and one skein of yarn. I decided to use Size 5 needles and two skeins of yarn. I wanted a firmer fabric since it would be used as a dish towel.
It quickly grew and before I knew it the towel was done! So I cast on for another. Yup, one towel turned into two as I thought this would be perfect to gift to another!

Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie; Colorway -  Linen
Needles: Knit Picks Circs Size 5
Started: December 17, 2014
Finished: December 20, 2014
Sadly I am a bad blogger as I forgot to take FO pictures of these two towels before I wrapped these babies up for the intended recipients.

However, I did cast on for one more towel before the year ended!
And finished it in the new year!
Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie; Colorway -  Pomegranate
Needles: Knit Picks Circs Size 5
Started: December 21, 2014
Finished: January 2, 2015
When the towel is open it measures at 16.5" by 23" and used up practically every little bit of yarn. I love it when there are no real yarn leftovers.
This towel truly lives up to it's name of Stripes and Texture. I love it!

Besides changing the needle size, I did a couple other things that I thought made this pattern more to my liking. I completed a crochet cast on because I wanted it to match the traditional bind off. My formula for knitting the alternating pattern rows were 6 rows of seed stitch and 4 rows of garter stitch for nine repeats and then I knitted 5 rows of seed stitch before binding off.

The question is, will I knit more of these? Absolutely. They are like potato chip knitting for me and I think make really quick (i.e. last minute) gifts.

So there you have it. My last two FO's for 2014 and my first FO of 2015!

I'm done with towel knitting for now. I currently have a couple new projects on the needles which may or may not be socks. I am also tackling some of those old WIPs I mentioned in my Knitting Goals post. We'll see where I am at with that at month's end.

Right now I am gearing up for a little trip to see my family at the end of the week. I will be gone from the frigid temps, to something hopefully a little more balmy, for eight whole days. I cannot wait! Rest assured knitting will be packed.