If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

I'm Sick

Let me just sum up how I feel:

via GIPHY
I don't know what this is--some kind of stomach virus or something. Where did I get it?

Who knows? If I had a nickel for every time a customer at work touched everything they could reach (repeatedly) and then told me "I've been sick all weekend. I just had to get out of the house." or "I'm so sick, I didn't go to work because I don't want to infect all my co-workers," or something like that...

Well, if I had a nickel for every time that happened, I probably wouldn't have to work anywhere.

Friday, January 06, 2017

One More Christmas 2016 Craft

Goes really well with my front door, right?
Look at him, crafty-like and all!
I just realized I hadn't posted this wreath I made for our front door. T and I took another floral class together (Ha! He loves me so much he comes to craft classes with me!) This time, we each made a wreath. I made one for us and T made one for his mom. This was her first Christmas without T's dad, and it's only been a few months. We were both worried about her getting very depressed and we wanted to do something to cheer her up a little.
Wreath selfie.

That is T's hairy arm,
not mine.
We had a lot of fun with this class, as you can tell. It was kind of funny that  we both chose the same colors for our wreaths. That was totally unplanned. I was so intently working on my wreath that I barely remembered to take any photos at all.

T became the designated wire cutter for our table, after all the ladies noticed how easily he was able to cut through those thick wire stems.

This was so fun and turned out so well, I'd like to do it again. In fact, I think I'd like to do a wreath for every season, now.


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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Apps My Mom Would Have Loved

I've got a lot of thoughts going on in this post, bear with me. By the way, I think that's a hilarious expressions. I always think of something like this...
...which is funny. Of course, it's not nearly as funny as when one of your Facebook friends posts "bare with me." 

Anyway, it's January and that's got me thinking about my mom. I always tend to think about her a lot in January. Mom's birthday was the 17th and she died on the 9th. Also, both my kids were born in February and neither one of them got to meet her. So I always think about how much my mom would've loved my kids.

Also, my mom would be 82 now, so she would be (to put it bluntly) old. But what's funny is, that I don't think my mom would be the kind of old that some old people are, if you follow me. For example, when my mom was around, nobody had the internet. I mean, technically, the internet existed, but it was not being used in-home. In fact, I was the first person I know personally who got the internet and that wasn't until the year after Mom passed. (It was available at some of the larger libraries in the state.)

But I think Mom would've liked the internet. She was always about "look it up" and "find something to read." I think she would've loved being able to access a vast library of knowledge from her home. (She probably wouldn't have enjoyed the initial expense of the computer, but hey, who does?) And I think she would have enjoyed smart phones even more. To have a computer the size of your palm that you could stick in your pocket or purse? Brilliant.

She would've loved having her address book, shopping list, notes, books, and photo albums all in one place. She would've loved having a camera that she could take and share photos with kids and grandkids. She would've loved having her phone handy at all times.

And she would have loved text messaging. My mom loved to converse. (Unlike me, who loves to talk.) She would have loved the group texts my family does--sometimes an almost constant stream of communication between the six of us. She would have loved being able to send a photo or a video or a link to a story. Of course, my mom would have Facebook.

She would've had a weather app, a local news app, and Craigslist (for the garage sale listings, if nothing else).

And shopping. I can tell you with 100% certainty that my mom would have downloaded the Kroger app. And Amazon. 

She definitely would not have downloaded any games, though. She was very practical and was not very keen to waste time on games. In fact, I can only remember a handful of times that she actually played games.

 She would have been very frustrated with all those game requests on Facebook.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas 2016 Recap #3

Well it wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't have scarves, would it? I knitted a few for this past holiday.

Like a beautiful, delicious jelly roll!
This one was for M. She actually picked this yarn out herself, but she never saw it being knitted.
Sometimes, all you need is garter stitch.













This is just basic garter stitch, but the yarn is Caron Cakes Rainbow Sprinkles. I love this yarn. Did I mention? Now I know it's trendy because it's a limited edition yarn, but that's not the reason I like it. It's soft, like Caron is known for. But it's firmer than most Caron yarns. So it holds it shape really well.

But yeah, the colors. The colors are fantastic. I bought a bunch of this yarn in a bunch of different colorways. I can't wait to use it again!

This model is not T, by the way.
I also tried Lion Brand Scarfie Yarn for the first time. Let me just say, it's super soft. And it looks beautiful on the skein. But knitted up, it is breathtaking! Look at this scarf I knit for T. The color is called Charcoal Aqua.

This pattern is a deep rib and seed stitch from Classic Elite Yarns called Sinful Ribbed Scarf. It was an easy pattern to memorize and a pretty quick knit. I'm so pleased with how it came out. I mean, look at it!

T loved it. He has worn it every cold day since Christmas.

I like the ombre effect of this yarn.
B's scarf is the Gothic Lace Cowl (Scarf) from Tin Can Knits. Love this yarn, too. It was labelless yarn I got from Michael's a while back, so I don't know exactly what it is. (I think it's Red Heart Unforgettable, though.) It's extremely pretty, though. And soft. Are you sensing a theme here? I like soft yarn?

The actual colors are a bit darker and
deeper than this photo shows.
Well, who doesn't? This pattern is very nice, too. It's lacy, but the halo of the yarn keeps it from being holey, if you know what I mean. I actually really liked the way this looked pre-blocking, but I did block it to let the lace open up.


I also knit this scarf for my friend Amanda. This is a garter stitch and moss stitch pattern, using Red Heart Boutique Chic in Ivory. Boutique Chic is a pretty cool yarn, like a thick, soft chenille with random fur pompoms.  This yarn is no longer made, but you can still find it here or there. (Like in my stash. I have it in my stash.)

Usually, I'm okay with the random placement of the pompoms in this yarn. It adds a little whimsy. But this time, I had something specific in mind for them. So the first thing I did was cut off all the pompoms and save them for later. Then I knitted this scarf on Size 15s. This is a super bulky yarn, so I think the 15s give it a bit of a drape.

After knitting it (I used the whole skein) and weaving in the ends, I sewed those pompoms along the ends, instead of fringe. I love the way that looks!

I also crocheted a scoodie (scarf + hoodie) for The Fabulous Miss Allison. When I saw this pattern on Moogly, I had to make it for her. I used Caron Simply Soft in Grey Heather and White. Love the way this turned out. It was soft and thick, and definitely looked like a cat. (Don't you hate when you make something nobody recognizes?)
How cute is this?

Loved these little pockets on the ends of the scarf, too. I  had to kind of guess how long to make this to fit her arms, since she doesn't live close by. But I think I made a good guess, because my SIL tells me it fits just fine.  

I think, if I did it again (and I might, it's just so stinkin' cute) I would probably crochet the scarf longer on both ends and then just fold them over and seam the sides for the pockets. It seemed like an extra step to crochet the pockets separately and then crochet them on.

I love scarves for Christmas presents, don't you? I might have to make myself one this year!

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Christmas 2016 Recap #2

As big of a hit the Mertails were, I think some of the smaller gifts went over pretty well, too. Like these hats I made.
I searched everywhere for a Lions patch to
sew on the brim, but apparently you can't
find them outside of Michigan.
This hat is in Detroit Lions colors for my SIL R, who is a Lions fan. The pattern is from Balls to the Walls Knits, Build Your Own DK Weight Hat. That's a great tutorial, by the way, for making even decreases, etc. I would recommend that to beginners who want to try a hat in the round for the first time, as well as folks like me, who just wanted a plain, but customizable hat.
I really like the DK weight of this hat.
It's very tightly knit, but not bulky.

The stripes in this are from the yarn itself. This is Loops & Threads Game Day in Color #7: Navy & Gray. It's 100% acrylic and self-striping. I think the stripes worked out pretty evenly on this hat, too.

I used all 196 yards of the skein. I think I have one more skein somewhere around here. Not sure what to do with that one. Maybe a gaiter or some color accents on a scarf?

I really don't know any other Lions fans, so this yarn is all his!

Stripes are a great way of adding some
interest to a hat, without adding a lot
of extra detail and work.
This hat is for my son R. It's also striped, although I wasn't planning on giving stripes this year exclusively. It just worked out that way.

This is some Caron Simply Soft in Wine and Charcoal Heather left over from another project. I like Caron Simply Soft because it is really... well, soft.  It's a simple 1X1 ribbed hat, with some stripes thrown in. I make a lot of these hats because they are quick and easy, but don't tell R I just whipped this up.

That faraway look...
I had actually planned to do some shark tails for R & R for Christmas, but life just monopolized my time with work, serious family illnesses, and the like. Also, the Mertails took way longer than I expected.

So, yeah, I had to put those tails on hold for the guys and make some hats instead. No matter. They both liked their hats.

I think I will still do the shark tails for the guys. They might just have to wait until next Christmas, though!




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Monday, January 02, 2017

Christmas 2016 Recap #1

I thought you might like to see some of the things I crafted for Christmas 2016, since I didn't get around to posting them as I should have back in December.

These are both the same size, B just has
her legs stretched out in front of her.


The crocodile stitch is what makes this
look so great.
By far, the biggest chunk of my time went toward these two Mertails. I used Feline Grammer's Mermaid Lap Blanket (There is also a YouTube pattern for this.) because it used the crocodile stitch. I really think the crocodile stitch is what makes this look so spectacular. It looks like scales.

I'm sure it would have gone so much quicker if I had used a simpler crochet stitch or knitted it. But, I don't think it would have looked as good. And, as we all know, looking good is everything.

I made one for M and one for B. They were both very pleased with them. M squealed like a child when she pulled it out of the package. "Ooooh a Mermaid Tail!" Haha. That was totally worth the work I put into it.

This tail fin uses a Foundation HDC
method that is pure genius!
But, you know, I probably won't be doing anything with crocodile stitch for a while. Ha!

The tail fin uses a great technique for a Foundation Half Double Crochet that makes the foundation edge look really sharp. Then, these rows of HDC make superbly textured tail fin ribs. I just love it.

I would recommend this pattern for a very special gift, just because it is a heckuvalotta crocodile stitch. But, it looks so sharp. It's is just orders of magnitude better than the plain double crochet tails or the fleece tails you get on Groupon.

I'm glad I made the effort to do these right.

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year?

Brace yourself, folks. It's 2017. I don't know what this new year will bring, but I'm determined to be ready for it.

Seriously, though. I'm taking it easy today, recouping my mental resources after the craziness of the holiday season working in retail. Believe me, I need it. Don't misunderstand, I enjoy my job. I actually even enjoy most of the customers. And I don't even get too rattled when we get crazy busy. But, as an introvert, 8 or so hours a day of non-stop talking with strangers just kind of wears me out.

Also, there are those customers. You know what I mean. The ones that make you wonder if they're just messing with you or if they're really that... well. Never mind. Suffice to say that "Buy one, get one free" means you actually have to buy one. And "Buy one, get one 50% off" is not half off both. Also, just because you are planning to use a sketchbook as a planner, that doesn't make it a "half off all planners."

Not drunk, although I really look it. I was on
my way out when I was told I was still
wearing the crown from our NYE cracker.
But enough of that. 

We went to our DIL's parents' last night for a little NYE get together. It was fun. We played some board and card games, made fun of Mariah Carey's drunk-ass performance, and ate a lot.

What you can't see in this photo is the pile
of UFOs on the table to my right.
Today, I'm sitting in my chair, drinking coffee, and working on some UFOs. My mom always said "Whatever you are doing on New Year's Day, that's what you will be doing the rest of the year." So this is how I choose to spend my New Year's Day--sitting and knitting.

I probably should take down the Christmas tree, but Achilles loves it, so I might leave it up a few more days. We got this smaller tree this year, for the smaller place, and he hasn't expressed an interest in climbing it. But he does love to sit underneath it and look up at the lights.

I do have a hands-off meal on for later. Crock pot corned beef, potatoes, and carrots and bread in the bread machine. Corned beef has been our traditional New Year's Day dinner for as long as I can remember, except these last two years, when I felt the tradition had not brought us any good luck at all. So I broke tradition.

As it turns out, the last two years were progressively worse for us, so I probably should have just stuck with corned beef. Maybe it was the corned beef that was keeping the bad luck from getting too out of hand, eh?

Anyway. Corned beef is pretty good. And tomorrow we will have corned beef hash with the leftovers. So, I think two meals from one is pretty good luck anyway.

How is your New Year's Day going? Do you have any New Year's traditions?

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