Love Your Library, vol. 10

Yikes. March was a big fat Love Your Library FAIL for me. I ended up not touching a single one of those gorgeous cowl patterns I listed at the beginning of the month. Nor have I touched my Palessie, either. That's all right. I will get to them this year. Eventually. I blame spring fever. I've been more focused on moving yardage out this past month with my garter squish stash-eating blankets, and getting distracted by new patterns. (it was bound to happen eventually!) Right now I have an intermediate, getting back-on-track goal of using the patterns I've purchased this year (and not letting them linger and then get lost in the black hole that is my library!). One of those patterns is slip-zag, a simple cowl pattern written for multiple weights of yarn. Think Mason-Dixon Knitting's ball-band dishrag pattern, but in yummy cowl version! It's knitting up SUPER fast so far, and is a dream using two color of Malabrigo Merino Worsted. Yummy!

How was your month?

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new fixation

 Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Untitled, 1953
  Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Untitled, 1953

This spring I joined my first ever yarn club, and while I was in the midst of snow-stomach bug-spring break mania my first shipment arrived!! The club I joined is through Fibre Space, a fantastic local yarn shop in the Washington D.C. area. I was attracted to this club because it is a collaboration between a newly discovered indie dyer I'm loving, Hazel Knits, with one of my favorite indie designers, Ann Weaver. The colors are all inspired by Mark Rothko paintings, so you can see why I was uber excited about this and signed up ASAP! Honestly, they probably would have had me at Hazel Knits and Ann Weaver, but what made this club particularly exciting to me was that they gave a great preview of the colors in advance so I knew it was something I would love. I've never signed up for any of these clubs before, since I hate the idea of paying a lot of money and ending up with yarn that I don't love. So this club was totally a win + win + win for me!

This month's project was fingerless mitts, and you can see that they very closely match the inspiration painting (above). I easily have  enough yarn to make a second pair out of the kit we got! I might just need to reverse the order of colors. Next month the project will be a cowl, so I'm curious to see if all the patterns will be colorblocked like this. The yarn is divine. I'm definitely adding Hazel Knits to my LOVE list, along with Miss Babs and Madtosh! And even better, it's dyed in Washington state, so it's nice to support a business in my home state. 

just as good the second time

Hmmm .... can you guess what this big 'ol pile of yarn is going to become? Two hints: you hold yarn double, and it blows through humongous amounts of stash. LOL, yes this a second garter squish blanket! After coming back from our spring break trip, I bounced around between several projects but didn't really get excited about anything until I organized my yarn/craft supplies that had exploded from their containers in our guest bedroom. I realized that I would be really really happy to empty (or nearly empty) the two huge 16 gallon storage tubs of my oldest stash: the acrylic yarns I started with. It's a lot of odd balls leftover from old projects, plus a lot of baby yarn that makes me question my taste/sanity when I originally purchased it. Based on what I've observed of other knitter's garter squish blankets, my favorite projects are those that have one color that is constant throughout. It really grounds the blanket and makes it look more purposeful and less hodge-podge. The other thing that is key for success is having at least one yarn color you really really love as a base to the project. So I purchased the two shades of blue Caron Simply Soft you see on the right above to serve as the "base" for this blanket. I've started off with the lighter blue held with a really pale green Vanna's Choice yarn. Already in love!


inside the natural cave entrance

They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, and oh boy has that been the truth here! My blog break was not intentional, but the end result of a second snow day a week after the first, consequently followed by a family-wide stomach bug, and then spring break travel. Can you blame me for taking a week or so to recover? Needless to say, I am fully ready for spring and the "lamb" portion of this month!

Spring break was a whirlwind trip to what is becoming our favorite family destination, Chattanooga, Tennessee. We hit the Tennessee Aquarium, saw Rock City, and this time made it to the fantastic children's museum. Instead of heading east through Smoky Mountain National Park like we did last year, we headed north to Nashville. And from there we were able to visit a new-to-me national park, Mammoth Cave National Park. I honestly didn't expect that much--we had signed up for the most family friendly tour offered of the underground cave, which was neat, but what really blew me away was the natural entrances to the cave. This cave really is a "mammoth" ... 400 miles of it have been mapped so far, and they still haven't found the end of it. You can buy tickets to go on Ranger-led tours of portions of the cave, and you can walk up to the natural entrance (not man-made) seen in these pictures. We also discovered tons of short trails you can take quick hikes on to see older cave entrances that are now closed off.

heading into the natural entrance

We also made it to Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I have to admit, given how much I despise war and conflict I find myself a little startled by how much I enjoy visiting old battlefields. I always feel a sense of reverence and peace at them, and somber respect. I am so glad we preserve them, since they really do force us to slow down and remember how awful war is and the sacrifices so many people made. 

As you can see, my garter squish blanket got finished during this period and it is pure L.O.V.E. The entire family loves this thing! I was worried when I cast on that the size wouldn't be ample enough, but I was certainly proved wrong. As you can see, it easily covers the length of our full-size couch (it's folded in half length-wise in these photos) and also covers the top of my king-size bed. I really wasn't expecting a blanket this size when I started, but I am so happy! What I love most about this project is that the magic of carrying two strands of yarn together created yarn combinations that I fell in love with--and this is with previously unloved, ignored, cast off, ancient acrylic yarns! The stuff I looked at and went "bleh" before! Magical I tell you, magical.

Pattern: Garter Squish (a freebie by Stephen West)
Yarns: 4,361 yards of unloved acrylic (9 skeins of Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn, in "jazz stripe" throughout, held double with miscellaneous blues/navy yarns), see my Ravelry project page for specifics
Needle: size 15 Addi's, 40 inch circular
Mods: Pattern calls for a 140 stitch cast on, I went with closer to 150 stitches

Finally, I finished my first chains sock on the trip and am about half-way done with the leg portion of sock number two!

Love Your Library, vol. 9

March: What's in Your Library? Now that you're organized, let's take a closer look at it. How many patterns do you have? What is your library composed of? Books? Magazines? Single pdf's? What is your weakness in terms of acquiring new patterns?

I've already analyzed one major source of my pattern-collecting, magazines, last month. But what I haven't really taken a close look at is that pesky "single patterns" category. Honestly, I would have never guessed that I was up to 228 single patterns alone! I blame the recent trend on Ravelry of limited time free pattern downloads ... it motivates me to add a pattern to my library simply because I want the freebie while it's free, and because it's free I'm not as picky regarding whether I will actually knit it or not. While I do have a large number of books, my acquisition of them has slowed since my weekly knit night group no longer meets in a Barnes and Noble! Browsing usually leads to purchases for me, if you can't tell! So I'm not so worried about books. I would love to be able to say that I've knit at least one thing from every book I own, so that could be a future long-term goal to work towards.

What are you knitting from your library this month? I ended up deciding to work on Palessie, another cowl pattern that I've had in my library since last year ... it's lacy and lovely and uses one skein of sock yarn. I have high hopes for this pattern, since it could be a great way to use up the one skein fingering weight yarns that I feel are too "special" for socks! We shall see ...

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wip wednesday: blanket edition

The garter squish blanket is grooooowing! I'm almost done! I had nine skeins of Hobby Lobby I Love this Yarn Stripes that is held double with another yarn from stash throughout--and I just attached the ninth skein! Wooohooo!! As you can see, it's couch length now and super cozy. I love how I've been able to create two gradients as well--first one is more purple, and the second one goes from navy to medium blues. Loving this!! And the best part is I will have churned through over 4,000 yards of acrylic in my stash that I really had no plans for or any motivation to knit. Win-win-win!

And as a testament to how fast this sock pattern is, I'm ready to start the heel! And this is with the poor sock being only touched when I was too tired to manhandle the blanket! Definitely loving both of these projects!

Love Your Library, vol. 8

Working on hats was sooo much fun last month! I really enjoyed knocking out a bunch of those patterns I'd been holding onto with plans to knit them for what felt like ages ... so much so, that I'm going to continue this plan with a different accessory this month. And this month, I'm feeling like cowls! (or infinity scarves ... or whatever you like to call them!)

These are the patterns I've had in my "must knit soon" list for awhile now ... clearly 2014 was the year of purchasing cowl patterns for me!

1. Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham
(purchased April 2014)

2. Something in the Air by Joji Locatelli
(purchased April 2014)

3. Love and Happiness by Amy Christoffers
(purchased January 2014)

4. Collister by Kirsten Kapur
(purchased November 2014)

What are you planning on working on this month? Our theme for this month is to take a closer look at our libraries, now that we've gotten them organized:

March: What's in Your Library? Now that you're organized, let's take a closer look at it. How many patterns do you have? What is your library composed of? Books? Magazines? Single pdf's? What is your weakness in terms of acquiring new patterns?

Wishing you another great month of better using that library of patterns!

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sunday's stitches, vol. 6

sunday's stitches: a moment to slow down and savor whatever your stitching on

Finished another block of light pink along the bottom border!

See my progress from week to week on past sunday's stitches.

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...