Sunday, September 21, 2014

A summer of finishes, a finished summer...

summer of pluck

I did a lot of knitting with The Plucky Knitter yarn this summer. What a wonderful pile of knits for fall I have ahead of me. I completed the Esjan by Stephen West, a wonderful wrap with rather exaggerated proportions. It was a quick and entertaining knit using an Aran weight. I struggled with an Ashburn Scarf by Melanie Berg. I have to admit this one was a labor, I picked it up after putting it down for a bit. I just tired of it. Last up, a scrappy Dotted Rays scarf by Stephen West. This was my favorite - it was thrilling to pick the next color from my ridiculous pile of Plucky bits and bobs. This one flew off the needles. Funny, I realize now that each thing is to wrap around my neck, I guess I'll have lots of new options or some gifts.

I also finished a pair of socks using Yarntini Self-Striping in Super Duper Bugaloo.

Socks! @yarntini Super Bugaloo Striping from @cseero

I used a simple vanilla pattern with a fishlips heel and picot edge. Yarntini is on hiatus, so I will treasure these this winter.

I also finished a mystery project for Plucktember, but it has not reached it's recipient so I'll be back with that soon.

I have also done a lot of reading this summer. My recent favorite was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Adorable and quirky - much of the interactions take place via e-mail - but the main characters were in there 30's. While that ship has sailed for me, the references were relatable for me, as they graduated (from imaginary high school) around the same time as me. Very enjoyable, I was sad to see it end. Another winner, Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. It was a very down to earth read with a mystery woven in that had me guessing until the very last. Another winner One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I listened to this one on audio - delightful in the english accent - but also likable adorable characters caught in one bit of chaos after another.

So what's next? I am putting together knitting and reading for an upcoming vacation - I almost think my favorite part of traveling is finding the next best book and new knit to drag along. I have picked up a beach read by Elin Hilderbrand and cast on another shawl with a boatload of garter, Drachenfels. However, suggestions are always welcome.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

some weekend finishes...

Thank god...the turnstile is done.
Turnstile in The Plucky Knitter Feet and Fingering Primo

This knit went on and on, but I did enjoy the monotony of it, and I love cowls come winter. Though I am in no hurry for cold weather, I am thinking this project may warrant a matching hat of some sort. However, after that epic knit around and around... the thought of a fingering hat right now makes me shiver.

Esjan! Plucky primo Aran!
The Plucky Knitter Primo Aran in Oatmeal, Social Graces and Ogre

Next up is the Esjan. I am super excited about this one - it has such an odd proportion to me, but it could be a fun conversation piece. I picked up Primo Aran from the Plucky Knitter shin dig for this one. I am looking forward to some larger needles for a bit and I have heard rumors it is a quick knit - which I would welcome.

I also finished several books this weekend - I read The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, basically prepping for the HBO series, to see if it would interest me. I think the concept is very scary - one day millions of people, random members of families just disappear. I think a series could really develop further. We'll see. I also finished "How to Talk to a Widower" by Jonathan Tropper on audio (while knitting that Turnstile). It was fantastic - again. Tropper is so sarcastic and described grand family dysfunction in way that I can just laugh. His descriptions of ridiculousness are so rich and hilarious.

And a quick plug for the local library - me and my girls have been making a regular habit of going to the library and I am just amazed how quickly holds come in and how I can download ereaders books and magazines FOR FREE. Go to the library - you won't be sorry.

I made Strawberry Rhubarb Jelly last weekend after introducing my husband and daughter to picking berries - in the wild. They were cautiously optimistic and it ended up being a good time for all of us. The farmer came into the field and was chatting with us about his family and business plan. It was very "community", we enjoyed it a lot. I used this recipe and then used a rogue "canning" route, boiling the jars individually. Since out basement recently flooded, I am not sure where my canner is down there. That basement project is a work in progress, and hopefully another finish in the near future. *fingers crossed*


Happy summer - enjoy the week ahead!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Post shindig

I had an opportunity to go to The Plucky Knitter Shindig in Grand Rapids, Michigan over the weekend. A dear knitting pen pal of mine, Christine (cbsknits80), often will work the events with Sarah - so it was a chance to see her in from Boston - but also, I got a cool insider peek at the shindig. I helped unpack and stock yarn the evening before and helped count skeins and pack bags at the check out the first morning. It was so exciting and fast paced - the line didn't even wane a tiny bit until about 1pm on Friday. As a rather introverted person, this was a great way to peek at name tags and meet a couple of people that I feel that I "known" on Ravelry for years - like Zonda (zknitter) and Cat Reading. It was very thrilling and I wish I could have stayed longer. I was just thinking I would sneak in and see Christine, browse the yarn, and go - it was so much more.

It was a long drive, about 6 hours each way - longer with some unexpected construction - but so worth every second. I was also able to stop at a favorite little restaurant in New Buffalo, MI "The Stray Dog" to replenish my t-shirt collection.

I scored 4 skeins of Primo Aran in Oatmeal, Ogre and Social Graces to make an Esjan - I had coveted this scarf last fall, but when Christine and Melissa (Melistocrat) raved about how much positive feedback they got on that project, that is all it took. I also took home skeins of Bello Fingering in Round Table, Dirty Blonde and Breakfast on 5th (totally and unintentionally Plucky Logo colors) to make Skipping Dots. I purchased one of the buttery soft Plucky Knitter Clutches in grey - with a yellow zipper and pop of pink inside. All the way home, I kicked myself for not also purchasing the coordinating oiled canvas tote - for the total package - so now I will "have" to lay in wait and first, hope Sarah offers these in an update and second, that I can score one.

The only purchase I planned for was enough of a base to create a plucky blanket to soften up the look of our leather sofas. I couldn't quite figure out or find exactly what I wanted, but ended up buying one from destash when I got home. oops. I have an awful lot of projects ahead of me with all of this fantastic yarn - but truly, this stuff is unmatched - and like crack.

It was a whirlwind - but so good.

Just for fun, I went back in my blog to the first time I met Plucky - I was as gushy then about her yarn as I am now:)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

something old, something new

Well, the something old is me - 43 in a couple of days. Just incredible how time flies. The older I get the faster it goes. But I am grateful to feel like I continue to learn every day. Here's to 43 more years of learning.

Speaking of learning, I have learned a new skill - a fish lips heel - this pattern was just a buck. While I am old school and love a good heel flap, this is a good skill for the toolbox. It was fun making a little cardboard foot and it could be helpful to fit socks perfectly to a friend or relative - if they are willing to submit their foot.

The yarn is Yarntini Self-Striping in Super Duper Bugaloo

I also managed to crank out another pair of socks recently, in about a week flat. There is something to be said about plain stockinette socks - I can just knit and knit anywhere - the lunch table, the car, in line at the bank. The stripes keeps me going, wanting to see what is next. And a picot cuff - I die. It's the little things, sometimes the very, very little things.

Yarntini in Self-Stripe Fruitastic

I've been a sock ho lately - knitting away. I am wearing my Marooned from the last post today and gave the Roza's, also from the last post, to my mom for Mother's Day - socks are just useful like that.

I hope you are all having a fantastic week. The weather in Wisconsin is as fickle as ever but the sunshine over the weekend was surely a nice Mother's Day treat. I spent part of the day listening to Dr. Sleep by Stephen King (also knitting around and around) - I just can't shake King. I read all of his scariest stuff as a kid - his writing got weird on me in about 1987 but I have been reading it all again. 11-22-63, Joyland and now Dr. Sleep. It is a sequel to The Shining, which I also recently read to grease the memory a bit. The book tells the story of Danny, the "redrum" kid, as an adult. An alcoholic but still shine-y adult. So far, so good. Books are the best. A good book never lets you down.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

a finished object, and rambling...

I finished both of my Marooned socks and pulled this pile of fabrics to make the pillows I was dreaming about in my last post for my living room. The couches are dark brown, not overly stuffed but I think they are casual, comfortable. I see some quilt-as-you-go in my very near future. I just need to find my sewing mojo - I am not sure where it has gone. So much I could be doing yet I keep turning back to books and knitting - not to mention keeping up on the HBO series The Game of Thrones - it's back, it's bad - I love it.

I decided when I finished my Marooned pair - I would review my old WIP's as inspired by Bunnies and Bettas - via A Caffeinated Yarn. B & B is hosting a Spring Cleaning KAL, to finish up some lingering works in progress. I picked up the second sock of a pair of Roza's I started last year around this time - I got one done and then came down with the ever predictable second sock syndrome. Well alas, bloggers inspired me yet again - I have a pair - under the buzzer quite literally. It's not the spring cleaning I dream of but it's a start.

Next up should be some true spring cleaning - I have tired old Easter decorations to part with and a storage room of junk that frankly, I don't need or even want. We are done having children, but oh, that crib is so sweet - but why? It's sentimental sure, but I am not going down to hold court with it, to remember baby days... So, I have been reading The Joy of Less - basics on how to declutter and organize - hoping I might learn a tip of two. I just have stuff that has accummlulated over the years that seems like it contributes to my crankiness, I hate tripping over stuff. Between my own crafty bits, my husband's biking equipment and my kids - every art project they have ever made - I am feeling clausterphobic. For example, I can see three pairs of bicycling shoes and a bicycle helmet from my spot ON THE COUCH. The bike finally left this very room yesterday after my nagging. The problem has always been that no one, including me at times, seems to see the value of picking up after themselves - I feel like I have to be a tyrant for anyone to notice, to find a home for bibs and bobs - so I am going to try a more zen approach with the book - we'll see. Wish me good luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Socks and a re-set.

Spring has toyed with us this week - I have seen the sun, and now it seems to be hiding again. I can outlast this gray and see the sun, I dare it to elude me much longer...Meanwhile at least I have a clever pile of library holds to keep me occupied til the sun comes back..

On another note, I am doing another Whole30 this April. Last year it was a great opportunity to learn how food relates to fuel, pain, stress and sleep for me. After an unprecedented winter, I have needed a re-set in a very big way. The first week went well but ended with a stressful knot, unknitting my progress. If you follow me on Instagram, you have an idea why things hit the fan. My trigger for stress is food. I admit I threw in the towel and had a mangorita, yuck, during the Badger final four game, and indulged in a couple of homemade cookies. My husband was out of town during the hoopla, which I am sure contributed to the lack of focus. Anyways, I searched from some new recipes and will restart tomorrow. The good news is that tomorrow is always another day. I really encourage anyone else thinking they need a little recharge to try this - It Starts With Food is a great book and provides a solid foundation.

Hermione's Everyday Sock in True Love

I finished a pair of socks last week. Hermione's Everyday Sock. The Socks That Rock is a little thicker than I normally like, but I wore the socks anyways. The colorway, Truelove, is a mood booster fer sure. I immediately cast on a new pair in Ms. Babs Shining City. The pattern is Marooned. I have shamelessly copied Hey Ms. Porkchop, knitting the pattern on the front 32 stitches, while stockinette the back 32. Kind of like a mullet, except party is in the front here. I have one done and have cast on the second, which is typically a good sign of a pattern/ yarn marriage - start the second with no separation, no falling into "second-sock-syndrome. I love it and the mix-up of colors include fuschia, ochre, greys, ballet pink, olive - have inspired some pillow ideas for my living room. We got new couches which have changed up the over-stuffed look to somewhat "law office"...I am hoping some quilted pillows will change the direction to what I am looking for. I am thinking putty with these little color pops - stay tuned.

Marooned - in Shining City

Friday, March 28, 2014

out like a lion...

Whoa, March as flown by in a flash. The job change has evoked feelings of excitement, defeat, accomplishment and exhaustion. Ah, I am back. Funny how something so right can feel wrong some days. But it's good to always to be curious how you can do better, and what might be missing, what could change. Unfortunately you can only change yourself, but it's a start.

I recently read an interesting article about traits of creative people and found it intriguing and it seems to fit in many ways. One being they they lose track of time - and have I ever as I look around at my messy house knowing my family is coming tomorrow to celebrate my oldest's birthday - doh! But you know, it's often how we roll here - we work well under pressure thankfully! (and we even sarted to paint our living room this week - we apparently thrive on chaos - OR I know the added pressure of guests will get my husband moving along - either way - it's a win.)

My second Rayures scarf - made entirely of Plucky Knitter yarn bits...I started it for ravellenics and yet only cast off a little more than a week ago. It seemed like a great idea, I love working with little bits but now I have two. Funny - now I have to find someone to share one with. I once wore a scarf to work with the thought that the first person to compliment me on it would get it - I wasn't in love but thought someone else might be. My officemate about died when I gave it to her. Ever since, I get all sorts of compliments on my knits at work - I secretly think that that they are wondering if lightning may strike again. It's been a fun, unintentional game.

I also wrapped up both of my Through the Loops Mystery Socks. I love the striped toes a lot.

Plucky Knitter in Feather Duster and a random blue grey.

My daughter put on the hand knit sock I had taken off to model these and had to sneak her own foot in the picture. She was dropping big hints about how cozy the sock was, funny this is the same kid who complained about how itchy a pair was that I made her when she was a tot. Good to know that hand knits are appreciated by the littlest to the biggest here.

On the book front - I just wrapped up Motherland. It is the story of a young step-mother to three boys - her husband was a surgeon sent off to work in a Nazi hospital. Typically, I read WW II fiction that is told from the perspective of the holocaust survivor. It was interesting to perhaps realize how much the German people had to endure as their homes were destroyed, food was scarce, every day was about survival. It doesn't forgive what happened but it wasn't about one side vs another but just a story based on the author's grandmother. In the acknowledgments she wrote about how she grappled with the story and how to tell it without seeming overly sympathetic to the Germans, I think she did it well.

Off to clean something - have a wonderful weekend knitters!