Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guide to Knitting While Stressed Out

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My mother is home, still very ill, but firmly on the mend. I still have to do quite a bit of nursing, which isn't always easy with also having two children who need my attention, and I do not get home from work until 6pm, but I'm working on it.

Something I have mentioned a few times over the past week has been stress knitting. For me, stress knitting is knitting that I do when I am super stressed. I can get so stressed out that I actually have some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome for a short time: longer lasting headache, muscle pain, joint pain that moves, exhaustion, memory issues. As these usually only last a short time, and are caused (in my case) by severe stress, I simply sit in my recliner and knit.

When using knitting as a stress relief, especially for severe stress such as family illness or (heaven forbid) death, or waiting for a life-changing decision (job interview), or relationship problems, it is important to figure out what kind of knitting will bring you relief.

Complicated Knitting, for those of us who need to focus hard:
Double Knitting Example
I prefer complicated knitting, something that will force me to focus, but will also keep my attention so it needs to be very interesting. This is why the Born of Fire MKAL has worked so beautifully for me (that and Gilmore Girls on Netflix when I can). The yarn I am using with this pattern is from knitpicks.com and is called Stroll (fingering weight).

Another project that could work to distract the individual who needs complicated knitting would be lace or a heavily cabled project.
Lace Example:
Such as the New Year Mystery Shawl 2016 aka Mandala III that starts on Saturday, this is a lace (lace yarn and lace pattern) shawl that will be huge, and starts from the middle, expanding out. Also called a Pi shawl. I will be using Knitpicks.com yarn called Gloss Lace (lace weight). (I really need to start winding this yarn).

Cable Example:
I am not currently working on, or immediately planning on working on, a cabled project (which is rather shocking, probably due to my current obsession with double knitting). But here is a great example of cables that my sister wants me to cast on for her in a burgundy red, called Birch Bay. I have some lovely Berroco Vintage that I picked up at the last Webs tent sale (2015) to knit this up with. (Note on picture, it is not mine but from the ravelry website).

Non-complicated Knitting for Stress Relief:
I know that many of you need something that is relaxing, will not make you concentrate, and is as easy as possible to knit in order to make it through stressful times. Some ideas for that could be:

One example is the so popular Vanilla Latte Socks, which is also a free pattern on ravelry.com.

Another is the Double Gusset on Bottom Toe Up Sock Pattern, which is also free and one that I have attempted myself (though I ended up with a dropped stitch on one of the socks so they are both in time out haha. (the picture was early in their development haha). I am a huge fan of toe-up.

Garter Stitch Scarf:
This is an easy, carry around, type of project. Simply cast on 45 stitches, size 7 or 8 US (4.5mm or 5.0mm) needles (or more or less as you prefer) with worsted weight and knit every row. This kind of project is probably doable even in a movie theater, if you are so inclined.


Everyone has their own way of dealing with being stressed out, knitting can really help you get through the tough times. We all know this and feel it, but I hope that my blog here has given you some ideas to think about.

Life always has trials and tribulations, then we have calm moments and waters before the ripples set in and life rocks us a little.

Be well!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

*Spoiler - Downton Abbey* & Scary Knitting Weekend

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This weekend my mother went to the hospital ill with pneumonia in both her lungs. While I was waiting for her to be admitted, I was working furiously on my double-knitting, the Born of Fire mkal, to keep my cool. So the picture below is at the hospital on Saturday night.
And these are the pictures below was last night's final progress.

Stress much? My brain still feels like it's vibrating as I have to figure out after school care for my kids, and worrying about my mom in the hospital and if she will be okay when she gets home, and my time off from work.  So I'm a little freaked.

 I did get to see Downton Abbey on Monday morning, and the episode was good, with people shooting themselves in the foot by not talking to each other and with Anna's pregnancy continuing on safely. I cannot understand how Lady Mary could see herself dating/seeing a man who races cars professionally, considering what happened to her husband.

As to the MKAL and MCAL, due to past issues with the clues, I have fallen behind. I am planning on catching up but need the satisfaction of double-knitting to make it through the end of this month. It looks like wings on either side of both, though, are the plan.

End Spoiler

  But after the episode ended I got right up on the Gilmore Girls band wagon, finished season 5 and made a very good dent into season 6. The feeling of listlessness that accompanies my stress lingered and Gilmore Girls was a good match while I was knitting to try and stay focused. Some people clean, which would probably be more productive than me sitting there knitting, but I feel sometimes as if when things get so overwhelming I just need to knit until I can get a better grip on everything.

While I try to get everything sorted in my life, there may be fewer posts. I'm honestly not sure. I'm obviously behind on the Downton Abbey MKAL and MCAL, among other things, but we all need to do what we have to do to make it through our trials and tribulations.

My goals are to keep my bungee cord of sanity untwisted, keep my children loved, make sure my mother is okay, and just do what I can each day. Sometimes that is very little.

Have a great week, folks!

Be well,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

*Spoilers* Downton Abbey Episode and Clue 3 MKAL Gush & Born of Fire MKAL *Spoilers*

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MCAL Avoidance:
Full disclaimer, I have not even started the MCAL clue, so this blog post will not include any spoiler's about that project. The past two weeks I have been sick with migraines and sinus infections, so in an attempt to not have a third migraine on my third consecutive Sunday, I didn't pick up my crocheting (and it seemed to have worked, no migraine).

Episode Gush:

  Through all of these seasons I have actually rooted for Lady Edith, while I tolerated Lady Mary, laughed at the rivalry between Mrs. Crawley (Isobel) and Countess Crawley (Violet) and winced with Anna and Mr. Bates. The episode when Lady Sybil died will always make me cry and hold my daughters all the closer.

  This episode was the one in which, finally, Mr. Carson and Ms. Hughes marry. I must say that I completely agreed with Ms. Hughes and wanting to have her reception apart of the house so she wouldn't have to feel the servant. Very right and true, and Lady Mary should have kept her nose out of it.
  Lady Edith is finally beginning to take charge of her career as an editor (as she should). I think I connect most to Lady Edith, I feel awkward around others at times, have been very passive in my life with spurts of not such passivity, which can be very alarming to the people around us who depend on us being passive and not causing waves (unless they require us to do so to help them).

Who in the show do you connect to most?

MKAL Clue:


   Not quite finished with MKAL Clue 3, but I have had no trouble with it whatsoever, so I am glad that I started Sunday with this clue, versus the MCAL clue. This was much more relaxing. There appears to be a border of some type with three garter stitches going up the side so it will be interesting to see where we go from here!

Born of Fire MKAL:

  The Born of Fire MKAL is a double knitted project that I have become obsessed with. I want to work on it all the time, even though I have dolls and baby blankets to work on (and of course housework....). The picture up here shows an entire wing is completed of the phoenix, the project is a scarf with a dragon on the other end. The yarn used is knitpicks.com Stroll (tonal in Pepper, and black solid).

  Please excuse the cat hair :P.


What MKAL or MCAL's are you enjoying this year?

Have a great week!


Friday, January 15, 2016

What a Week, a Lack of Knitting!

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This has been quite the week:

My entire plan this week was to simply make it through the week. I just wanted to make it. The kids managed to all be fed and cleaned, my youngest visited her new Universal Pre-Kindergarten classroom on Wednesday and started school today:

  I am so proud of her for getting on the big bus with her sister, and I called later on her school and she got off the bus with a big smile on her face haha. My sweet angels.

This week I was so sick from Monday night through Wednesday morning that I could not knit.... The main problem being a migraine making me sick, but fueled by a head cold and my womanly, monthly, friend. Talk about compounded?! That is a very long time for me to not knit, for me. I joke with my family that if I'm not knitting, you know something is wrong haha.

The one thing I could knit:

  I still managed to get some knitting done since then. The yarn arrived from knitpicks.com for the Born of Fire MKAL and I got to work (very weakly, I mean shaking a little in the legs) to wind the yarn I needed to wind and cast on. The stroll yarn I ordered is so soft and knitting up beautifully and I'm very happy with my colors.

Double knitting is a love of mine, but I did have to go look up a reminder video on youtube.com on how to cast on and do the stitches, the two I found the most helpful were:

Casting on video:

And for the knitting across the row:

I am still working on hold the yarn in my left hand and twisting my right wrist less, double knitting can be very painful for me.
In my email today, was a link to a very funny post: A Brief Guide to Lesser-Known Yarn Superstitions by Franklin Habit. Check it out for a laugh, but I wouldn't suggest flushing a stitch marker..

But on a sad note:

RIP Alan Rickman


RIP David Bowie

Be well folks and see you next week!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

*Spoilers* Downton Abbey MKAL and MCAL Continues *Spoilers*

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Powerball News:
Unless you don't watch television, or listen to the radio (and I am not insulting those who do not at all, just factually stating that). The Powerball has taken over some parts of the United States. Apparently, they have changed some rules making it harder for someone to actually win, which is creating a larger jackpot. So I need to buy another winning ticket (le sigh), but fear not, I would keep blogging. :)
   Clue 2 was completed yesterday without a hitch. I started it after an update was pushed through, as a row was left out apparently, so I didn't have any problems and the pattern is fairly intuitive.
  The yarn is still wonderful, smooth, a little stiffer (which I am wondering if it is the silk and I'm fairly sure it will relax after soaking and blocking). Again, yarn is Celestial Strings Yarn, Silk Moon Fingering in colorway North Star. But with the yarn being a little "stiffer" (there must be a better word for it) the stitch definition is absolutely beautiful. Still loving my CDD and everything is going along swimmingly.

Downton Abbey MCAL News:

    This review is one that I am hating to write..

  With any MCAL or MKAL, there are certain typos and inconsistencies to be expected. That's fine. But the clue's for the MCAL have obviously not been reviewed by test crocheters and this makes for mornings where I have to sit there with a pen and write out the corrections, then I email and post them in the forum for others to see.

  What is so frustrating about this, is that she seems really nice, but if the clues keep going as they have been, the frustration level of this MCAL will rise to such a place as to announce the MCAL a failure. I hate to say that, but it's been that bad. There doesn't seem to have been enough prep for this.

  I'm actually starting to wonder if the migraine's I've started to receive every Sunday are because I start with the MCAL.. Why can't I be challenged by a craft and not feel pain before I complete the challenge? :(

Wrapping It Up:

    Honestly, I do not feel so good. My 4 year old starts pre-school this week and I'm nervous about that. I wonder if they will see through me and see that I am a horrible parent that works full time, knits too much and hasn't won the powerball yet. Everyone had a stomach bug the end of last week, my youngest has my oldest daughter's cold and has the same horrible cough, and I feel like crap too.

  Whoever has the other 5 numbers of the powerball for this Wednesday, I have a glue stick, let's go for it. (jk).

Be well!!



Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Most Anticipated MKAL's of 2016 (So Far)

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  As usual, with my inability to really organize my life and focus on one thing, I go through major periods of startitis (versus minor periods of startitis.. the times in my life when I do not actually want to start a new project are very few.. and usually very disturbing to my family).  The new year never fails to be a source of a major period of this startitis and this year has not failed me at that!

  Besides the fact that I have to make two baby dolls for a coworkers:

And baby clothes for a pregnant friend who has the baby shower on the 16th (9 days people):
 (picture not mine)

There are the never ending MKAL's that I want to do.

Definition Time: MKAL= Myster Knit A Long. This means that you know generally what you are making (shawl for example) and how much yarn you need, if you need beads, the size of the needle and gauge. But then the pattern is released in increments, the Downton Abbey one is being released in weekly increments, for example (which is usually the norm).

So there is the list that I have compiled to relay to you my top 5 most anticipated MKAL's of early 2016, not in any particular order.

There is a little bit for everyone, from lace to double knitting or cables.

Will you join?

1) Downton Abbey MKAL and MCAL:

        Started on January 3rd, been fun so far and challenging for various reasons (see previous post for spoilers and more information). This is a fun Sunday project, as the pattern clues are released on Sundays, and will stretch out throughout the season, so I anticipate the clues being a little smaller than the norm for both projects. Should be fun!

2) New Year Mystery Shawl aka Mandala III:

     This mkal starts on January 30th and I am honestly not sure why I want to do this, maybe because I haven't successfully completed a pi shawl (round shawl) and so here is another go at it. (Though, to be honest, my WIP pile is still hiding this unfinished shawl on waste yarn: Mary Lennox). Here is the yarn I just received for the new mkal, Knitpicks.com Gloss Lace (merino/silk mix):

3) Fire Shawl (Part of the Elements Series)

     This starts on January 29th and the entire series has been absolutely wonderful!! I'm honestly not sure I will actually be able to do this one, may put it on the back burner until later in the year, and I never even started the Air one because I did not like my beads. But the pattern is free until January 28th so hop on board!!

4) Born of Fire

   This is a double knitting MKAL that started officially on January 1st. I just found it today and am going to order the yarn so obviously super behind. I just love the idea of doing some double knitting fun with dragons!!!! (So I will be peeking at my bank account and slipping over to knitpicks.com later for yarn). Anyway, this looks like so much fun and if you want a challenge this year with double knitting fun, this looks like it could be it!! (photo theirs, not mine)

5) Arranmore

   I make no bones that I love cables. Seriously ADORE cables. And this pattern looks like it could satisfy that lust, that passion, that yearning to touch my celtic roots and hear them play harps as I use my stitch holder/dpn/pencil/hair clip to make cables.

   This MKAL started on January 1st, so obviously for me it is postponed, but definitely something to catch up on later (this one hopes).


What MKAL's or MCAL's are you participating in?

Be well!


Monday, January 4, 2016

(SPOILERS!) Downton Abbey MKAL and MCAL (SPOILERS!!!) and Other Fun

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   I am in Gilmore Girls withdrawal. All last week I was home with my awesome daughters watching Gilmore Girls (I made it through season 4, episode 1) and slowly (okay maybe not so slowly) turning into a non-coffee drinking (mountain dew) Lorelei.

  But now, snap back to reality, yo I'm at work! So on my break, I'm trying to make myself feel better (and give my elbow a rest from all the major knitting I've done last week), and blog a little.

So hi!

The tip of the week of iceberg was of course the season premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS (final season), and the beginning of me knitting and crocheting the mkal and mcal's that are going on the entire season.

  If you don't want to see spoilers, please feel free to bypass all of the posts, over the next two months, that start with the words Downton Abbey and I will do my best to put the word "spoilers". So if you do not want to see pictures of what I've done so far, please stop reading and I'll see you in another blog post later this week which will not focus so much on Downton Abbey.

So bye to those of you. And for the rest of you who, like me, really do not mind spoilers, here we go!

First up is the KAL, which I am using Celestial String Yarn: Silk Moon Fingering (70% merino/30%silk) in colorway North Star.

   I haven't finished this, because I started it second and I did not used DPN's to start this, so it took two tries (I like to live dangerously). The pattern is coming along swimmingly for the knit a long, no complaints or concerns. So enjoy this clue :) and here is my unfinished preview:

Next is the CAL, which I am against using Celestial String Yarn: Cashmere Cloud (80% merino/10%nylon/10% cashmere) in color-way Eta Carina.

  Now, one of my biggest problems with patterns in general, is that the yarn-crafting community needs to use the same language. This clue was particularly confusing because of the word use: stitch below instead of next stitch. Normally when you say stitch below you mean you are going to crocheting into the row below, not the next stitch. Anyway. Eventually got it cleared up, my count is good on each side.

  Side note: I think I may take apart the square and clean up the joins on each round with the mock invisible join. But the color is pretty. :)

 So that was my Sunday, besides going over to my sister's house and being goofy during the afternoon (thank you sista!). The week was full of fun with lots of relaxing and goofing around with my kids. 
  I was working on some other projects:
1) A V-Neck Onsie for a friend who is pregnant, knit in knitpicks.com cotton/acrylic Comfy sport yarn:

2) Sprig of Hope as a fun dk weight yarn that I had picked up at the Rhinebeck Festival 2015. The yarn is from Dragonfly Fibers, their dk weight yarn is called Travellers and my yarn is in colorway Firecracker. I have to say here that this yarn is soo yummy. Better than malabrigo in that it is so soft and color-rich. Check these folks out, they are amazing!

3) Lastly, I knit a pair of Basic Children's Mittens for my oldest (which of course I forgot about this morning.. *palm to face* haha). They are knit in woolease, brown color. Did not use the entire skein so yay. These were fun because I started and finished them on January 1st, mainly for my Arithmancy class in the Ravelry Harry Potter Forum. I have not been sorted, but have decided to try and do at least one class a month so that I can be sorted in April (thinking long-term am I lol).

That is about it, I think. I hope everyone is doing well and has a great week. The next post this week will not have anything about Downton Abbey, I promise.
But as for the episode, I am so relieved that Anna is off the hook for killing that evil jackass! And Mrs. Hughes (aka Phyllis Logan) looks sooo different in real life with lighter colored hair and her hair down haha. Good for her! :) Cannot wait to see what happens!
Be well!