Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Feel Stupid In One Easy Step

I've been a knitter since 2002.

I have knitted a wide variety of items during the 13 years I've been knitting, including a sweater I knit from scratch based on a sample provided to me by my now husband.
I know I do not know everything there is about knitting. I am always learning and trying to challenge myself. But, I do think I've been around the block a few times with my knitting needles and have some knowledge and experience under my belt.

So what does one do to make themselves feel like they are a stupid knitter and know absolutely nothing about knitting?

It's really simple. One easy step. Just decide to knit the Pinoli Cardigan!

Oh my word!

Last night I sat down eager to cast on for this lovely little cardigan. At first glance this beauty looks like it will be a quick and simple knit. However, once you delve into actually knitting it, you realize very quickly just how not simple and not quick and not easy you initially thought it was going to be. Oh no.

Want to know just how quickly I realized this? Ummm row 2. Yup. That's right. Row 2.

The increase abbreviations, and the description of these abbreviations, had me at a total loss. I quickly looked up the abbreviations online to see if there was some new knitting lingo I was lacking. Nope. There isn't any new lingo. My vocabulary seems to be up to date.

My next step was to check with my knitting peeps on Ravelry who've knit this to see if there is any mention of these "new to me" abbreviations. Nope. Seems like everyone BUT me had no problem. Argh.

Last, but not least, I knew there was one more place I could check before I decided this cardigan was not going to be knit by me. My sister.

See, she is knitting it too and has about 4 weeks of work on it ahead of me. After a bazillion text messages back and forth, she pointed me in the right direction. My response was, why couldn't the pattern just say the increases are a "Right bar increase" and a "Left bar increase"? Hello!!!!

With my new found clarification, I immediately started knitting again. All was going well until I tried to complete row 3. My thought process went a little like this:

"Hmmmm. What now?" "Did I not do enough increases" "Let me count all 119 stitches again to make sure they are all there" "Seems like they are all there, but let me just start all over just in case I didn't do something correctly."

Yup, I ripped ripped ripped. Casted on again. Redid the increase row. Counted my stitches. Yup 119 present and accounted for and by this time it was past my bedtime so I decided to leave the row 3 knitting until today.

I had a little time before work this morning. I decided to pick my knitting back up and at least get the third row done. I am knit, knit, knitting along on row 3 and then BAM!  I get towards the end of the row and realize I still have a problem. It seems I am short two freaking stitches again. ARGH!

By this time I am really over knitting this cardigan. I am seeing my sweaterless body roaming through Rhinebeck envying all the other knitters who were smart enough to knit their sweaters way in advance of the fiber festival. I have lost all hope. I am depressed.

After sending yet another 911 text to my sister and having a 15 minute phone conversation with her, all has been revealed to me. I am not stupid after all. I do have knitting brains.

It appears there is a lot you have to figure out on your own with this pattern. It's not all crystal clear. You have to have your knitting thinking cap on for sure.

Fear not, my sister has set my knitting sail in the right direction and I believe I can knit the right course now.

We shall see! I will be back with another update soon!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rhinebeck 2015

Two weeks and six days until Rhinebeck! What is a girl to do? Oh maybe knit a sweater?

My life has been consumed with other things lately and I procrastinated in starting my Rhinebeck sweater. As a matter of fact, yesterday it looked like this...
Yup that's right. Not. Even. Started.

I am not new to deadline knitting, but I think I am cutting this one really close. I have received the vote of confidence from my fellow loved ones, but am I really that fast of a knitter?

We shall see. My hope is that I am able to turn all nine of those skeins containing 220 yards of fiber-y goodness into a Pinoli Cardigan in time for our yarn-y adventure on the 16th!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Revisiting the Old

After completing the Antarktis shawl, I decided it was high time I revisited some of my old unfinished knits.

I didn't want to dig through all my bags (yes plural) containing all the UFO's, so I just grabbed for the first little project bag on top. Fortunately for me, it contained a sock, Yes!!! My thoughts were, "I can finish this one quickly!"

After completing my first two pairs of socks within the first 2 months of this year, I had immediately started the TTL Mystery Sock 2015, which isn't a mystery anymore as the last clue came out in, ohhhh February!

I first mentioned the sock here at the end of January and revisited my progress here in March. You can even see in the March post that I had casted on for Mr. Second Sock!

Then we totally went off the grid with these babies! MIA. Send out a search party ASAP!

While I knew there was no way I would be completing these socks during the actual knit along, I had hoped they would of been done back in April.

I had been cruising towards completedville very nicely until I hit a little snag. It was a second sock issue. I completely messed up the leg chart and had to rip back. When I made the mistake my focus was elsewhere and I didn't realize it until the next time I sat down to knit.

I only had to rip back 8 rows of 64 stitches each. Really it wasn't that much. I could of completed that in a short amount of time. However, for whatever reason, I didn't.

So let's fast forward 4 months shall we?

Today Mr. Second Sock looks a little like this...
I worked on this over a 2 day period during my lunch breaks. First knitting session was to rip it and the second was to put back what I ripped.

Now I am thinking of when I can realistically finish it. After consulting the calendar, counting days, taking my other crafty adventures into consideration, looking at the full moon, I am reaching for completion on or before, September 15th.

While giving myself a little over 3 weeks is a wee bit generous for my knitting speed, I'd rather put a little extra time in there so I don't put a huge amount of pressure on myself to get it done in a short period of time. There is nothing worse than doing that to yourself and then not succeeding. Knitting depressionville is where I would be headed!

So that's it! I am throwing down the gauntlet. I'm going to get 'em done!

Friday, August 14, 2015

FO Chronicles: Antarktis

I knew for my Summer Swap package I wanted to knit a simple, one skein shawl for my partner. I had the perfect skein of sock yarn in hand, but needed to find the perfect pattern for it.

After much Ravelry research, I decided to knit Antarktis. I chose this pattern because not only would it be a quick knit, but it would surely be great for someone that may not like lace shawls. As this was going in my swap package, I wanted to make sure it would be something that would be used.

After several false starts...
...this was number three,  I finally managed to really get past my prior issues and move forward with the shawl.

It took me only a couple weeks of inconsistent knitting to complete it after that.

Finding time to wet block it was another story. But I managed:
It's not pretty and I can tell my blocking techniques are rusty, but I am really happy with how it turned out in the end.

While I have seen some shawls on Ravelry that blocked out rather large (they used the same yarn and amount as I did), mine turned out to be more of a small shawlette. It's still pretty, useable and I am happy to have another finished knit for the year.
FO Details

Pattern: Antarktis by Janina Kallio
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock Yarn (Impressionist Sky); 1 skein
Needles: US Size 5
Started: May 30, 2015
Finished: July 6, 2015

Now I am in the process of analyzing all the projects I have currently on my needles. I definitely need to get more off, before I put more on!

Tell me, what is on your needles right now? Anything you really want to finish that's been hanging around a tad too long?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Since I took the past couple of months off from blogging, there were a few items from that time period away that I really wanted to share with you. My last couple of posts have been just that. First my wedding, then my knitting swap partner experience, but now I want to add another one, WWKIP day!

Every year this day comes and goes without me remembering. I always hear the chatter leading up to the day, but then I forget all about it until after the fact.

Well this year was different. My dear sweet friend reminded me of it by asking me to come and hang out with all the other knitters in Bryant Park. I remembered my goal of wanting new crafty friends, so I didn't hesitate to say yes.

On June 13, I arrived to Bryant Park promptly at 2:30pm and received a text from my dear sweet friend basically letting me know she was going to be late. Oh boo!

After walking around and snapping some pictures:
I set about my quest of trying to find her knitting friends while seeing if I could find the one person I was to know. Let me tell you, I circled the huge group of knitters like I was a starving piranha trying to find a face I recognized. I can only hope everyone was so absorbed with their knitting and socializing to have not noticed me at all!

After 15 minutes of circling and not seeing the one person I should know, I gave up and found a bench on the outside of the group festivities while I waited for my dear sweet friend to arrive. I must tell you I felt like a school kid that wasn't allowed in the cool kids group to play. I quickly got over myself and set about to my own knitting.

After my dear sweet friend's arrival, she promptly found her knitting buddies (minus the one I was supposed to know as she didn't come after all) and we squeezed into the group to sit down for an afternoon of fun filled knitting!

There was lots of chatter, tons of "ooo's" and "ahh's" during the parade of knits, some singing entertainment and of course big smiles all around.
The project I brought with me was the Antarktis Shawl that I had previously been having issues with, which included starting, ripping out, starting again, ripping out again.

While I was in seclusion waiting for my dear sweet friend to arrive, I managed to start the shawl again and I meticulously wrote down the stitch count after every row as I went. I finally experienced sweet, sweet victory as I managed to to get the correct stitch count at the end of the first pattern section. On all of my earlier attempts I always had one stitch too many.
By the end of the event I had progressed nicely into the second pattern section.
Guess I just needed to be surrounded by lots of positive knitting vibes to move past my knitter problems!
While the day was incredibly hot, I enjoyed myself tremendously. I look forward to attending again next year for sure! Thanks to my dear sweet friend for thinking of me!

Monday, August 10, 2015

With Love from Abroad

At the beginning of this year I made a list of goals. One of those goals was to make new crafty friends. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to go about this, as I am not one to go out and do new things by myself, but I was determined to come up with a few ideas.

Idea #1: Join a local knit group. There is a group that meets just up the street from my house once a month. I am a member of their group on Ravelry. I've stalked the message boards, but have yet to attend a knit night. To this day, I still haven't. Think I have a fear thing going on of not being accepted into a group of people that have been getting together forever. This fear is probably stemming from the last time I went to a knitting group meetup and left with a sour taste in my mouth.

Idea #2: Join a knitting swap group. Years ago I participated in one of those secret partner swaps and at the end of the year you revealed yourself to your partner. To this day I am still friends with the person who spoiled me. Sadly we don't live in the same state, but I am blessed for our friendship.

Idea numero uno scares me, idea numero dos does not!

I began to scour the Ravelry groups in search of the perfect swap group for me. I declared the "Swap for All Seasons 2015" group to be my winner. I even decided to swap with someone from another country. I know the shipping is more expensive, but I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to make a new friend from afar.

During the year you will swap a total of four packages, one for each season, with your partner. As per my request, I was matched with a lovely fellow knitter from Germany. So far we've exchanged two packages. Each package has been wonderful and so thoughtfully put together.

I was truly spoiled upon receiving the Spring package back in April. I received a beautiful knitted scarf, skein of yarn, a fantastic book of knitting patterns, adorable hand sewn Easter eggs, little package tags made in Germany and some AH-MAZ-ING chocolate bars!
I was continued to be spoiled when I received the Summer package in July. Inside was a knitted summer vest, several skeins of cotton yarn in three different colors, a travel notions case with a few little items inside, a cute little pouch with a heart trinket box inside, several tea sample in a variety and more amazing chocolate!
I can't believe we are two packages down with our Fall swap package just around the corner. I have truly enjoyed putting my packages together for my partner, but am really excited to put together the Fall and Winter packages.

So, while I've gained a new friend from very afar, I know I haven't gained any new local crafty friends yet. However, the year is only half over. Maybe I'll be brave one week and attempt the knit night. Who knows?!?!

Tell me, have you ever participated in a crafty swap? Did you love it, hate it, want to do it again?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Just Call Me Mrs. and Playing Catch-Up

After taking some time off from the blogging world, I am ready to make a come back! So what have I been up to since we last talked?

Let's see I believe I alluded to a big announcement? Yes, yes...

On May 20th my honey and I got engaged...
And on June 2nd we became husband and wife!!!
So many people were surprised to hear we were getting married so soon after getting engaged, but in reality we had been planning on the wedding date since the beginning of May! I know that isn't necessarily a long time, but it was perfect for what we had planned.

Tuesday, June 2nd marked the 6th anniversary of our very first date, which also happened to be on a Tuesday, so we thought it was perfectly romantic to get married on that day. We planned our ceremony for City Hall. We grabbed our witnesses and had the perfect day ever!

We were surprised with a gift of a professional photographer and let me tell you, all I could think about was how the rainy, humid weather had destroyed my hair. Our photographer must have some mad magical photography skills because amazingly I love almost every single picture he took.

I am so excited to print them and get them into a wedding album!

The past two months have really been about enjoying being married, becoming Godparents and just focusing on things that make me happy. I've been scrapbooking like a crazy fool, managed to complete a knit and even took a mini trip to visit my family.

I've also been contemplating changing the name of my blog, as I am not Deborah K anymore, and starting a new blog solely dedicated to my scrapbooking and leaving this blog as my lifestyle/knitting blog.

I know blogs should be focused on one thing and I started this blog many years ago as a knitting/craft blog. Then over time it evolved more into my "Let's Get Healthy" blog as I put so much focus into losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. Now it's become more of a mish mosh of what is happening in my life at that particular moment in time.

I don't think I can juggle three blogs in total 1) scrapbooking, 2) knitting and 3) healthy living while working a full-time job. So my thoughts are to start a new scrapbooking blog and use this blog to focus on my knitting while interjecting posts on my life from time to time.

I truly have missed blogging on regular basis and the reasons as to why I haven't been doing that regularly, I am hoping to fix in the near future, so blogging will be a much easier process for me.

I have lots of ideas running around my head at the moment. Just need to get my plan of action in place. In the meantime, I leave you with a few of my favorite professional wedding photographs:
I am so happy we went up the Brooklyn Bridge, despite the rain. It made the best pictures and I will never forget walking up the bridge in my 4 inch high heels!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Busy Crafty Bee

Ahhh I am back! After dealing with a nasty upper respiratory infection for the past four weeks, I am FINALLY feeling like my old self again. Thank goodness!

Since I have been daydreaming about another backpacking trip to Europe, I thought I would share with you some of the scrapbook pages I have completed for our 2013 Europe trip. I am not quite sure exactly how long it will take me to complete this album, as we were gone for 3 weeks, but I am going to love working on each page as it takes me right back to our adventure.

Layout #1: "Are We There Yet?"
Layout #2: "Amsterdam Halfway Point"
Layout #3: "Equity Point Hostel"
Layout #4: "Can I Just Eat?"
Layout #5: "The Statue Life"
For these layouts all items came from my stash. Back in January I had purchased the Vintage Travel Project Life cards which I am enjoying adding them where I can, even if I am cutting it up.

I also incorporated some travel themed collections into my stash that I purchased a few months ago which includes: Echo Park's Getaway, KaiserCraft's Wanderlust, My Mind's Eye Hello World and Heidi Swapp No Limits. In a couple of these layouts I used some of the Echo Park and My Mind's Eye collections.

I am printing my pictures out for this album in batches. I am finding it easier to handle all 5,000 pictures (the joy of digital camera) and not feel overwhelmed. I currently have another 5-6 layouts ready to be completed.

My plan is to work on these pages concurrently with the monthly scrapbooking kits I receive so it's not sitting for months and not being completed.

So, that's all for now. I can't wait to share with you all the layouts I completed using my February Hit Kit, some knitting related posts and a huge announcement!

Until then, talk to me. What craftiness you are up to right now? I can't wait to hear!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lost Time

Even though I have been away from my beloved blog, it doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I seem to have lost myself in the world of scrapbooking these past few weeks. Oh how I have missed all my scrappy goodies for the past couple of years. I think I have been making up for lost time!

I mentioned in a previous post that I had signed up for some scrapbooking kit clubs to try them out. Well I am two months into receiving my kits and I have decided that the front runners for my affection are Clique Kits and Hip Kit Club. Not only do I think their kits are amazing, but their customer service is phenomenal!

As with most scrapbooking kit clubs, you can purchase the main kit and then each month there may be some add-on kits (extra paper, embellishments, etc.) that you can purchase to compliment your main kit.

Today I am going to share with you the layouts I completed using the February Clique Kit. As my subscription started after the kit went live to the public, I only purchased the main kit. I did not purchase any add-on's from Clique Kit directly as the additional paper I wanted was sold out. I did, however, purchase a package of enamel dots, a full pack of die cuts and 4 additional 12x12 patterned papers (2 papers I fussy cut to use as added embellishments for my pages) from the same line and managed to eek out 14 layouts.

Please note that in some layouts besides the cardstock, I did embellish from my stash (i.e. alpha stickers, buttons, ribbon, washi tape, acrylic embellies, etc.), but very minimally. I really wanted to use only what I got, but there were time when I needed to use something else.

Layout #1 - My Sister and Her Husband
Layout #2 - One of my beautiful nieces showing off the cowl I knit her.
Layout #3 - My honey's niece and nephew on New Year's Day.
Layout #4 - My honey and I when we were first dating.
Layout #5 - First baby I ever held - my nephew.
Layout #6 - My sister's wedding day.
Layout #7 - Sis and I attending a knit night.
Layout #8 - Uh me!
Layout #9 - Surprise for my sister.
Layout #10 - Celebrating my honey's niece's birthday.
Layout #11 - Two of my sisters and I.
Layout #12 - Honey and I on the train heading to Monaco France!
Layout #13 - My niece being silly with her two brothers.
Layout #14 - Third baby I ever held - another niece.
When I first received this kit, I fell in love with it, but at the same time, I was like "How am I going to get my money's worth out of it?".

For me to feel like I got my money's worth out of the kit, I wanted to get as many layouts as possible completed from it. I think with the finally tally of 14 completed layouts, I succeeded in this. But how did I get this many?

Well adding my own solid cardstock definitely helped with this. I also stepped outside of my scrapbooking comfort zone and tried "new ways to me" to complete a layout. I fussy cut paper to use as embellishments. See the mason jars and big flowers I used? Yup those were 12x12 papers that I took my scissors to. Also, when I used a patterned paper as a border to my cardstock center, I cut out the center of the patterned paper to use elsewhere since it was going to be covered anyway. I learned to cut up embellishments and tuck them in several places on the layout so it looks like I had more than one of them.

By using this kit, I learned it's all about getting extra creative with your product!

So with only a few scraps of paper left from the kit, I am calling it killed. The remaining embellishments and alpha stickers will be put in my stash.

I am currently working through my February Hip Kit. I have 10 completed layouts so far. Working on number 11 now. I have been incredibly sick since last Friday and I cannot wait for the creeping crud to go away so I can get back to my craftiness.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Influencing Again

Influenster has struck again! I qualified for the #XOVoxBox back in February, but for some reason I just received it this past Friday! Eek's only a few days left to the campaign for me to test these items.

The last box I received was full of healthy/active lifestyle products. This one was a tad bit different...
I'm super excited to try those little Tide+ pods.

The box also contained a few John Frieda hair care products, which I think will be nice for when the warmer weather arrives as I received the Beach Blonde Collection in addition to the Luxurious Volume 7 Day In Shower Treatment. My fine limp hair will hopefully benefit from that treatment and I am dreaming that the Beach Collection with immediately transport me to the warm sandy beaches with a view of crystal clear blue water!

Not sure how I feel about the Colgate Optic White toothbrush and paste. I have rather sensitive teeth. We shall see how this one goes.

I've already dipped into the Skinfix Hand Repair Cream as soon as I saw it. My hands have been seriously suffering and after only one use, I already feel a huge difference!

I can't wait to try more of these products over the next few days.

Our regularly scheduled program of crafty goodiness will resume in my next post!

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


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!