New House, Not A Lot of Knitting

The last time I posted, TechnicoolDad and I were on our last week of only one of us working from home. The next week — the third week of January, I think — he and I were both working from home, and by Tuesday, we were on the phone with Grandma begging her to come help. Because working full time while also taking care of a baby and a pre-schooler (not to mention trying to teach them things) is not really possible. For me, anyway. If you can do it without help, you’re a superhero.

Anyway, queue the cascade that was February + March + April. Our baby was almost ready to move into his own room, but we had quickly converted the nursery (that he never actually slept in) back into Grandma’s room, and we were in need of some more space. So we decided to buy a new home and sell our old home. Everything went really well and smoothly for us, but it was a lot of stress and busy-ness, and saying goodbye to the home where our little ones were born was not easy.

Fortunately, we are now in a new home, baby is in his own bedroom (AND SLEEPING 11.5 HOURS AT NIGHT WHAT WHAT), and Grandma has her own bedroom on the ground floor. Life is good. Plus there is a playground in our new neighborhood, and my daughter is loving that.

So what have I been knitting for the last three months? Not a lot, to be honest.

Jaina has a new sweater! This is the Bean & Olive sweater by Andrea Mowry. This was a collaboration with Adella from Lolabean Yarn Co. For my version, I used Hedgehog Merino DK in Crystal for the main color and Lolabean Yarn Co Soy Bean in Felted Forest for the hearts. I purchased both from Eat.Sleep.Knit. I lucked out with a recent restock of more of the gray to make myself a matching Bean & Olive Grown Up eventually. I still haven’t blocked hers. Fortunately, this should fit for a couple of years.

J modeling her fresh-off-the-needles Bean & Olive pullover.

As a side note, this photo was taken in our old home. I miss the floors already, haha. We had just finished getting them just the way we wanted them with that gorgeous gray tile. Because as it turns out, TechnicoolDad and I both love gray. Who would have thought?

As it turns out, that sweater is the only actual finished project on my Ravelry notebook since the Hug Time Bracelets that I talked about in the last post, haha. That doesn’t mean I haven’t started anything.

On the contrary, I have several pairs of vanilla socks in progress and have been practicing with the circular sock machine. Here’s an interesting one:

These sock fragments were all cranked using my circular sock machine from the same skein of yarn. This colorway is All My Love, the January club colorway from Katie at Yarn Love. The interesting thing is that gauge changes dramatically altered the pooling effect. On the left, the spiral is 7 sts/inch and goes in a clockwise direction. On the two right-hand sock fragments, the gauge is 8 sts/inch and the spiral goes in a counter-clockwise direction. The second from the left sock is 7.5 sts/inch, and the colors pool together completely differently. I also thought it was cool that the two sock fragments on the right have a different density, even though they were made at the same gauge, one right after the other. Long story, shortened: You have to make gauge swatches even on a CSM.

My inner organic chemist came out to play on this one: The far left and far right sock spirals are enantiomers. They are non-superimposable mirror images, like your hands (you can’t face them the same way and stack them on top of each other). So cool.

Anyway, after fiddling with trying to make the heels and toes on the CSM, I finally called it and am in the process of hand knitting the heels, toes, and cuffs. Both heels and cuffs are done and are just waiting on the heels.

Other things I am currently working on: a pair of socks for TechnicoolDad, a gauge swatch for a new sweater, and a new MKAL.

Now that we are settled into our new home, we have a little bit more downtime than the last few months, so hopefully I’ll actually finish some projects. Both of us were able to get our COVID-19 vaccine first doses this past weekend, so we will be fully vaccinated in just a few weeks. Woohoo!

Hug Time

Good evening, friends!

This was the last week with just one of us working while both kids are at home. It’s been crazy, to say the least, while I got as much work done as possible. Next week, we embark on a whole new adventure: both of us will be back to full time work from home, and now we have two children to care for and teach something!

Our tentative plan is to divide and conquer. Since our youngest’s crib is still in our room (he will be 5 months this week), we have semi-converted his room into an office. Since baby boy is learning how to roll from front to back and how to reach for toys, he will be well occupied in his room with a parent supervising.

Daughter’s flower garden.

For my daughter, I am currently planning for lots of Circle Time with Ms Monica and activities making beaded necklaces and flower gardens. She received the necklace and flower kits from her aunt and uncle for Christmas, and they have been a big hit.

I have gotten almost no knitting done this week. I don’t think I even picked up my needles until Friday afternoon. I am currently working on a The Snuggle Is Real cowl. The pattern is my Maxim Cyr, and I’m using a mishmash of yarns: Western Sky Knits Simply DK in New York for the main color and Madelinetosh Vintage in Tybee Island Inn for the contrast color. For the lining, I am planning to use Shibui Knits Cima in Tar held double.

Yarn for my The Snuggle is Real cowl. From left: Madelinetosh Vintage in Tybee Island Inn, Shibui Knits Cima in Tar, Western Sky Knits Simply DK in New York.

The New York and Tybee Island Inn colorways were exclusives for my local yarn shop, Eat.Sleep.Knit., a couple of years ago, and I am knitting this project as part of their Q1 Mosaic Colorwork Craft-Along. It’s going to be so squishy and soft!

Progress on The Snuggle is Real cowl.

For this project, I swapped the main color and contrast color in the mosaic part of the cowl so that the gray would be more prominent, and I’m also staggering the contrast color purl bumps instead of having them lined up. I used a crochet provisional cast on at the start.

My daughter’s new favorite movie is Trolls. Every morning she is up before dawn asking me to play “Get Back Up Again” on the hallway speaker so she can dance.

Today, she asked me to make her a “Hug Time” bracelet like the one Princess Poppy wears. I’m afraid I’m not clever enough to make it close and open when it’s time for Hug Time, but I was able to make a cute little bangle bracelet with a flower closure. It took less than half an hour to knit and crochet this little project, and it is so adorable. The whole family is getting Hug Time bracelets at her request.

Hug Time Bracelet. Pattern by me, yarn by LolaBean Yarn Co.

I used some leftover yarns for this little Cold Sheep project: LolaBean Yarn Co Bean Sprout in Cast Off Castle (pink) and Felted Forest (red). I held the fingering weights yarn double to get a DK gauge and used just under 3 g total of yarn. I’m very pleased with how well it turned out! What do you think? Shall I write up the pattern for this?

Hello, 2021!

Hello, fiber friends and readers! It’s been a bit, hasn’t it?

A lot of things have changed in the past two years, but not much has changed at all. We have a new baby boy! He is four and a half months old now, and he is just precious! He is starting to grab at things and hold toys now, and he loves rolling over onto his tummy, but he isn’t quite able to roll back to his back yet. He loves sitting in his Baby Bjorn Bouncer (totally unsolicited and unpaid: this is my favorite baby gear that I didn’t have with my daughter).

Me and my baby boy. He is wearing a Beloved bonnet. Pattern by TinCanKnits, Yarn by LolaBean Yarn Co.

My sister and my BFF also had new babies this year. My niece was born in April, and my “nephew” was born just two days before my son (how cool is that??) in August. I knitted a Beloved bonnet for each of them (and one for my daughter). I can confidently say that this is my favorite hat pattern ever, and it’s only a matter of time before I knit one for myself. The pattern is Beloved by TinCanKnits. For all of the ones I knit this year, I used LolaBean Yarn Co. Soy Bean (shown in ESK exclusive colorway “The Magic Yarnstalk.”) He is wearing the “baby” size, but this hat pattern ranges from newborn to adult.

My daughter is four years old, and she is growing and showing us how clever she is day by day. She knows all of her letters, lots of shapes, and quite a few numbers. She’s been following instructions to build Lego sets and showing us her creativity in building with her Lego bricks, artwork, dramatic play, and making up songs, stories, and characters. She will be starting Pre-K in the Fall, and I am sure she is looking forward to going back to school and being around other children.

I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with TechnicoolDad and our children over the last year, and we have been very privileged and able to work from home and keep the little ones at home with us. The last year certainly had trying moments for us, but nothing on the scale of what I know so many others are experiencing. Like so many others, we’ve avoided social gatherings, missed out on family weddings, and had birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations with just the four of us. We are eagerly awaiting the COVID-19 vaccine trial results for children, and we are waiting for when the vaccine will be rolled out to us. We are ok with it being a little while since there are so many other people who need to be a higher priority than us right now.

You can expect more frequent posts from me for the foreseeable future. I know you’ve heard that before, so I’ll have to prove it to you this time. I won’t keep you for long today, but I did want to share a couple of my favorite finished objects from 2020.

These are a Boxy sweater for me and a Little Boxy for my daughter. This is her second Little Boxy and my first Boxy, and I definitely plan on making more for both of us! Both patterns are by the super talented Joji Locatelli. I used Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the bright red “Sin” colorway. I love how these turned out. I wear mine all the time, and my daughter pulls hers out of her drawer whenever it is clean. Yes, we have run hers through the washing machine and dryer, though I know we shouldn’t. I knit the size 36/38″ for myself and the 4 yo size for her. The adult pattern goes from 28″ bust to 54″, and the child version goes from 6 months to 12 years.

Me and my daughter wearing our matching Boxy/Little Boxy sweaters. Patterns by Joji Locatelli, yarn by Hedgehog Fibres.

I started these in September 2020 as part of the Joji Fall KAL 2020 and for the Harry Potter Knit & Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry, where I play as a Ravenclaw. My yarn was purchased from Eat.Sleep.Knit, which is local to me but has the best online presence of any LYS that I’ve experienced. I finished both of these in November 2020 in time for the KALs after staying up until 3:00 in the morning on each of them…I tell myself I’m not doing that again!

Note: Links are provided in case you want to see more about any of them. They are all unaffiliated, and I don’t currently make any monies off of you reading or clicking. It’s just for funsies, but I love that you’re here with me!

Friendship is Magic Sock KAL

Hello, fellow knitters! I’ve been loving everyone’s #makenine2019 posts on Instagram. I haven’t been able to choose just nine projects to make for the year because I want to cast on ALL the THINGS, but there is one set of items that I know I’d like to knit up this year: the My Little Pony – inspired self-striping colorways by String Theory Colorworks.

My plan is to knit up the socks inspired by the Mane 6 during 2019:

  • Rarity – Gemology
  • Twilight Sparkle – Crepuscular
  • Rainbow Dash – Dispersion
  • Fluttershy – Signalling Theory
  • Applejack – Malic Acid
  • Pinkie Pie – Salvinorin A

And a little bird told me that she is working on a Celestia-themed colorway as well.

Apple Jack’s colorway: String Theory Colorworks in Malic Acid

Friendship is so important, and I’ve felt like the knitting community has been a huge source of camaraderie and fun for me. I want it to be that way for everyone! So, let’s share the kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty, laughter, and magic with everyone.

I would love for you all to join me in this endeavor! You don’t, of course, have to use the String Theory yarns (Yarn Cafe Creations has a set as well), but I would love for you to choose a colorway or pattern that you think represents each of the Ponies and their Elements of Harmony: Generosity, Magic, Loyalty, Kindness, Honesty, and Laughter and knit a pair of socks with it.

We’ll plan to run the knit-along (KAL) from now until December 31, 2019. You can enter as many or as few socks as you’d like, so long as they fit in with the Ponies and their Elements! Works in progress count as well, as long as you still have some knitting to do. To enter, share your finished object on Instagram with the tag #FriendshipIsMagicSockKAL2019 and tell which Pony or Theme you are representing. You’ll get an extra entry for sharing a collage picture of all of your Mane 6 socks together. (Feel free to use the tags for your in-progress pics as well and tag me @technicolormom in your posts!)

Here’s my first pair for the year: Rarity! Rarity is my spirit pony. She is generous, creative, and doesn’t really care for camping or getting dirty. I used Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks pattern for mine. This is a great basic sock, and excellent if you are looking for a vanilla sock with an afterthought heel. The mini-skeins in the String Theory Inertia sets are quite generous (25 g), and I was able to get an extra-long cuff and toe out of mine and had about 3″ to spare.

Rarity Socks in String theory Colorworks Gemology

Prizes! For this KAL, I’ll put together a little prize to include a skein of Celestia’s themed sock yarn, a coordinating mini skein, and some other goodies.

What do you think? Will you join me for the Friendship is Magic Sock KAL of 2019? Any questions? I’m happy to answer them!

Where to shop? I purchased about half of my friendship yarns directly from String Theory, and the other half from Eat.Sleep.Knit (my LYS with super-fast shipping). I use the Inertia Sock Sets for all of mine. Again, you can shop anywhere you want and use any yarn/pattern you like, as long as you follow one (or more) of the friendship themes.

Competition Pushes us Forward

Not just in business and innovation, but also in…you guessed it! KNITTING. Since July 15th, I’ve been participating in a community knit-along competition/fundraiser called Tour-de-Sock. Styled after the Tour de France, this competition sets teams of knitters in a speed sock-knitting race. There are six stages that are nine days each, and for each stage, you and the other racers knit one pair of socks. All entry fees for the race go to Doctors without Borders, and the group has raised $32k since it started a few years ago!

The first pair of socks didn’t go so well for me — I finished in the 366th spot (out of approx. 1700 knitters), and my socks ended up not fitting. This is most likely my fault — I decided to make these for my husband, so they are super long, and I even added extra room for the heel, but I ended up making the leg too tight in an effort to have a smaller number of stitches on the needle (so I could finish faster). So for the second sock, I made the smallest allowable measurements. So I’ve got one long and one short sock. *facepalm*

Anyway…for the next stage, which starts today, I’m hoping that the socks are knit top-down. Then I could throw a lifeline in just before the toe, and I could go back later and make them as long as I want.

I’m still waffling on color choices, but as I’ve learned from quilt making, it really doesn’t matter, since things end up looking pretty good in the end. Hopefully these turn out better than the last pair and I will actually feel confident enough to share a photo. I’m thinking I’ll use the Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Astrid Gray as the main color, and either Esoteric (the dark teal) and Hosta Blue (the light teal) with a splash of Pop Rocks (the pink) or the Astrid Gray with Ink (the dark blue) and Liquid Gold. I’ll go with the first option if it is a more feminine pattern and the second option if it’s a more masculine pattern.

In other news, I am diligently working on Joel’s Forest Moon of Endor socks. I showed him pictures of a bunch of different patterns, but for that pair, I included the name of the pattern. And of course he chose that one for me to make! I’m using Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock (an incredibly soft 80% merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere blend) in the colorway “Creeper.” (This is a Minecraft reference for those of you who don’t know.) I’ve used this yarn before and have even accidentally run the socks through the washing machine, and it has held up wonderfully and is soooooo soft! I’ve got one sock finished and have finished the leg on the second one. This is a super easy pattern, so it’s perfect for when I’m stuck in traffic and stopped at red lights.

I’m also starting a knit-along with my BFF (for 20+ years so far!), who is making her first pair of socks! We are making Please and Thank You Socks. I love the simple elegance of these socks, and I envision making several pairs of these! The pattern also comes with instructions for making them starting at the cuff AND for starting at the toe. My friend is using Nerd Girl Yarns Bounce & Stomp in the Blue Box Exploding colorway, and I am using Madelinetosh Twist Light in Tern. I am stepping out of my comfort zone with these and trying to knit using 9″ circulars. We’ll see how it goes! So far, so good. I’ll definitely have to get my hands used to working on such small needles.

Also, my daughter is almost walking. She has an elephant toy that she walks behind as she pushes it around the house. Knitting time has definitely decreased now that she is mobile. I can knit about three stitches before she gets to the fireplace and tries to open the glass panels (after she crawls over to it, turns around to look at me, shakes her head “no” with a big grin, then turns back to the fireplace). SHE IS SO FAST. And AMAZING. I marvel every day at how awesome she is. Also, she likes to help me knit. ūüėÄ

Dreaming in Neon

wp-1485208177913.jpgwp-1485208146587.jpgBright, happy colors have always been my favorites. In particular, I love, love, love neon colors. They seemed to make a comeback in Fall 2012. I remember the day because I went to visit my friend to help her choose bridesmaid dresses, and when we were at the mall, I found this delightfully bright neon yellow sweatshirt and a neon pink purse to go with my neon blue and yellow shoes. I made such good use of them too. Eventually the yellow sweatshirt lost its color and my neon pink purse was retired in favor of a more sensible black purse. Still, I loved them so much.

wp-1485208273398.jpgThe next Spring (2013), madelinetosh, my favorite yarn dyer, introduced their line of neon yarns. Fluoro Rose, Push Pop, Edison Bulb, Neon Lime, and Ultraviolet. Also a variegated one called Neon Crush. I loved them. I bought them all on a base called Feather, which is a single-ply merino wool, alpaca, and nylon blend. My plan was to make hundreds of little “hexipuffs” (hexagon-shaped and stuffed) and sew them together to make a Beekeeper’s Quilt. So far, I’ve made around 35 puffs. I need to get to work on them…eventually. They have since added more neon-like colors, and I am just in love with all of them and have quite a few stashed away.

One way to keep on top of a project is to join a knit-along (KAL), where several other knitters work on the same project. This year, Eat.Sleep.Knit is hosting a KAL for an afghan called Persian Dreams. The afghan is made up of hexagon-shaped tiles, which each have a colorwork design. I’ve done very little color work (the hat I mentioned in my last post and a pair of socks that I never finished) in my knitting life, but I could just *see* the afghan in neon colors.

I had a few skeins of different neon colors on madelinetosh Twist Light (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon fingering weight yarn), so I just needed a couple of complementary colors and a background color. After some input from the lovely Eat.Sleep.Knitters, I decided on a dark gray for the background.

The idea for the KAL is to knit two hexagons each month, then by the end of the year we will have a completed blanket. I got a bit of a late start this month since I was finishing up my husband’s socks, but I did manage to get the first one done, and I’ve already started the second! Each round is new and interesting, and I just want to knit the next one to see how it goes or get to the next color! It’s so nice to have the encouragement and answers to questions from the group of knitters participating in the KAL.wp-1485208360420.jpg

It’s definitely going to take the whole year, so check back to see my progress on this afghan! I am lovingly calling it Dreaming in Neon!

Knitting and Fishing

wowscrnshot_011317_220237The two go together pretty well, I think. Both require a lot of time and patience, and for fishing, at least the kind that I prefer, you don’t need to pay much attention.

For those of you who know me, you might be thinking, what in the world is she talking about? I am not exactly known for my love of the outdoors. I prefer climate-controlled, bug-free locations. And, as my husband reminds me, I once mused, “I like the outdoors in theory.” Beautiful landscapes, grass, trees, the oceans, all that jazz.

But there is one place that allows me to fish and knit and be comfortable. And that is in the World of Warcraft. Joel introduced me to WoW in 2013, not long after we started dating. I already had a penchant for video games: I grew up enjoying and playing a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and later a Wii, and I was quite adept at some mobile games. Shortly thereafter, he gifted me with my very first gaming PC, complete with a Haswell i5 processor, a GTX-660 Ti videocard, Razer Naga and, very importantly, a pink case and green LED fans. It was beautiful. Maybe a little tacky. It was the only pink case we could find, and I loved it.wp-1484797565458.jpg

Fast-forward to 2017, and I’m still an avid WoW player, but with a more powerful computer with a sleek black and green case and color-changing accessories (of course). We raced the clock with the birth of my daughter, who was due just 5 days after the launch of WoW’s most recent expansion,¬†Legion. She was born three days late, giving us about a week to experience the new content. We took a short hiatus, and recently our precious girl has blessed us with an earlier bedtime, allowing us to resubscribe to the game.

There’s a game mechanic that allows you to fish, and you can listen for your bobber to splash in the water. It’s quite relaxing and entertaining for me. And best of all, I can knit and fish at the same time.

I’ve just completed a pair of WoW-themed socks for my husband, at his request. I used madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Ink and Liquid Gold to represent Alliance colors. Early last year, I made him a WoW-themed hat with the Alliance crest on it, so now he has the set!

 

My next project is an afghan using fingering weight (sock) yarn (i.e. it’s going to take the whole year), and there’s an achievement for catching all the rare fish in WoW, so I will be doing a lot of fish/knitting in the next few months!

Eat.Sleep.Knit: My Local Yarn Shop

wp-1483638763885.jpgAs my husband and I searched for homes in the Atlanta area last year, we checked Google Maps for the commute time to and from work. Pretty normal, right? Well, I took it one step further with an additional consideration: how far was the home from my favorite yarn shop? As it turned out, the answer was “not far” for our new home.

Of course, Eat.Sleep.Knit has an awesome website with amazingly color-accurate photos of the yarn (great work, Jess!), and I have been an ESK customer since well before I moved to Atlanta, so I’m sure I would have been OK shopping online. There’s just no feeling like being able to hold the yarn in my hands, choose just the right skeins, and hang out and chat with all of the ESK kitties and my fellow knit-nighters. I’m glad everything worked out so well!

On New Year’s Eve, as my husband and I waited to watch the crystal ball fall in New York City, I was wondering what the new year would bring for the Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon. As has become custom, I was not disappointed when the 2017 Yarnathon was unveiled!

I’m a new member of the Taffy Giraffes, and I couldn’t be more excited! ESK has an incredible marketing team, and of course I want to buy more yarn, but the Yarnathon is so much more than that! I get to participate in knit-alongs, earn badges, reach new milestones, test my knitting skills, and share my love of yarn and knitting with a wonderful community of people.

I’ve also learned that my favorite yarn dyer, madelinetosh, is dying exclusive colorways for ESK this year! You’d better believe I will be hitting ctrl+R until I can order mine! *squee*

If you are living or shopping in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend stopping by Eat.Sleep.Knit’s storefront, and if you aren’t, be sure to check out their awesome selection of indie and hand-dyed yarns!