Thursday, March 28, 2013


Apparently I've been in an end of winter hibernation.  Since my last post I have just stopped pretty much everything.  I've been tired and have been struggling to just get through a normal work day, going home, eating and spending a little time on the internet for my down time before I go to bed.  It's been frustrating, but I try to listen to what my body is telling me and apparently what my body needs is some sleep, dammit   Very little knitting has been done, much less anything else.

Now that the days are getting warmer, I am hoping to pull out of this hibernation that I've found myself in.  The last few weeks I have been pining for spring more than other years.  The time that I've spent online has mostly been spent looking at gardening and seed websites.  Garden ideas, plant lists, composting, walkways, the list goes on and on.  I have very big, grand dreams for my garden and yard this year.  I haven't been able to give my yard and garden the love that I've wanted to the last four years since I have only been here for a few weekends a month, sometimes hardly at all.  Everything was put on the back burner, and now it is all ready to come boiling out.  Each day I monitor how much snow has melted, how much ice has melted and how much more of my yard that I can see again.  It's been a very long winter, I'm still knee deep in snow in most places, but I'm starting to see rings of grass around trees, lines of grass along fences.

Common, spring!  I just want to dig in the dirt and grow stuff!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yarn Along: Knitting Ennui, Elf Slippers & Portland Hoodie Cowl

This last week brought to me something new in knitting.  I did not have anything to knit. I did not know what I wanted to knit.  No matter how many hours I searched through patterns, I could not find something that jump out at me and scream KNIT ME.  Sure there was a few things in my queue that I liked but honestly, I can't afford to buy new yarn right now.  That was a big part of the problem.  Though I have tons of yarn in my stash, it was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears:  Not the right weight, not the right yardage or just not the right yarn for the projects that were jumping out at me.  Finally I brought one tote at a time to my computer and searched patterns by the yarns that I did have as I also photographed the ones that weren't in my Ravelry stash and updated amounts in Ravelry that I forgot to update as being used.

Eventually I came across in my stash a yarn that was the perfect weight, the perfect yardage for a pattern that I had recently fell in love with and had I been able to buy yarn, this pattern would have been at the top of my list to make.  It is the Portland Hoodie Cowl by Neeka Knits.  It's cute, it's useful, it may just solve my hat dilemma that I've been in for the last year.  Only problem, this yarn is just not something I would make something for myself out of.  However, it was a yarn that I would knit something for my roommate out of and this pattern is perfect for her as well.  She is a walker and a traveler.  She puts on miles.  And is unexpectedly back in Minnesota after fleeing it for climates that aren't quite as brutal.

Portland Hoodie Cowl

I cast on immediately, only to realize that the fabric I was getting was lumpy and just not what I wanted for this pattern.  Because this yarn is a thick/thin yarn, I was expecting this in a small amount, but not the amount I was getting.  I also was ending up with huge gaps in between some stitches that would make the cowl no where near as warm as I wanted to make for my roommate with all of her winter walking.  What to do, what to do.  I remembered that I still had a ton of the black Reynolds mohair in lace weight that I made my cowl out of last month.  If I knit both yarns at once, the Reynolds may just fill in the empty gaps that I was getting. I ripped out what I had and cast on a second time with both yarns.  After a few rows, not only was I pleased with the results that I was seeing, I was completely falling in love with it.  The second yarn filled in the gaps, but the contrasting color made the Gedifra Cicco yarn that I started with stand out and look nothing like the yarn I had started with.  I'm about half way through the cowl section, hopefully this weekend I'll be ready to start the hood!

I also stopped procrastinating this weekend and finally felted the Elf Slippers that have been waiting for some time to be thrown in the washer.  After taking these photos I realized that I need to clean them up a bit more after felting, however they are felted dammit and finally dry enough to wear.

Jenifgrr's Elf Slippers

Julian's Elf Slippers

I made Julian's slippers first and left off the edging on purpose, however, didn't realize that I needed to add i-cord to the tip of the toe to make the elfness of the slippers pronounced.  The pair that I made for myself I added both and will from now on if I make them again.  And I have a feeling that I will be making these again.  Everyone loves them that has seen them and they are an easy knit for a gift.