Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Introverted Knitting: AKA Hiding from the Holidays

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Over the past two weeks, I have started 3 blog posts, but have been unable to finish a single post.

This time of the year is particularly hard for me. I have always been introverted, shy, quiet, watchful.. And the expectations and office parties of the holidays are too much for me. I become uncertain, quiet, headachy, and a little lonely (ironically). But all that remains of the holidays is to ring in the New Year.

How do you celebrate it?

Yes... this will be a rabbit... :P

I will be knitting. I have two rabbits to finish by next Saturday, and two ponytail hats to start (and a third to put up in my etsy shop).

 Yesterday, I finished the Mayapple Shawl in knitpicks.com stroll tonal yarn in Seashell and need to block that out, hard, this weekend (and then guard it from the damn cats until it dries).

Today, I am carrying two projects. The Filemot shawl, which I did restart weeks ago and eek out a few rows every now and again, it really is very lovely! Again in stroll tonal yarn, color Eucalyptus.

The other project is my super-sized version of the 2014 Outlander shawl in knitpicks.com swish worsted in Dove Heather and Merlot Heather. Hopefully it gets big enough that I can add a button, wish me luck (and many lifelines...).

What are you working on this week? What are your New Years Goals?

Mine are to:
1) Dye gradient yarn
2) Get sorted into a Harry Potter House on ravelry.
2) Do a more local craft shows
3) Breath more
4) Take a mom-cation this summer to Lake Placid, even if it is only for a night.
5) Find more joy in life and less bitterness.

Be well in this new year
Find new and old joy
Wake with peace
Sleep in contentment
And may many blessings
Fall from your needles
As gifts to others
Throughout the year.
Be Well!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Knitpicks Yarn Review Part 1: Brava, Stroll, Capra & City Tweed

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From their site.
   I am hesitant to say that I am an expert about anything. But, I have made 33 projects in Knit Picks yarn, from acrylic to cashmere (mix).  In that light, here is my review of the yarns that I have worked with and their finished (and unfinished) projects.

   Generally, I have not had any problems with any yarn from Knit Picks. The circular needle tips are in the mid-range for wear and tear, but the amazing customer service that is provided makes it very easy to contact Knit Picks and get a replacement with very little stress.

    They tend to have at a sale of at least one type of their yarn going on at a time (currently it is Stroll Hand-Painted Yarn). Their prices are very affordable and the quality is on par (or better in my opinion, depending on the yarn) with other big and small box stores.

  This yarn is almost a cross between work-horse and fun!

1) Brava Sport/Worsted

      This is the 100% acrylic work-horse and super affordable yarn. I have used sport and worsted. They both come in 50 color choices, and are $1.99 a skein (273 yards/218 yards respectively). There is also a bulky version with 136 yards and 30 colors, but I have not sampled it.

  This yarn does split a little, it is acrylic, but I will say that it wears fairly well and I am planning on getting enough of it to make a crocheted temperature blanket next year (hopefully lol).
2) Stroll Yarn
   Stroll yarn is a fingering weight yarn in a fine superwash merino/nylon or a fine superwash merino/nylon/stellina mix. There are 6 different options to choose from and I have used 3 of the yarns and had my hands on a 4th (but have not knitted with it as of yet).
  Stroll Glimmer: This is 70% fine superwash merino/25% nylon/5% stellina that is $5.89 and comes in 12 colors. I bought it in red and white, but the double knitting pattern fell by the way side. All I can say of it is that it is super soft!!!! Not a huge fan of stellina in yarn in general, but that has nothing to do with this yarn (my daughter wanted the glimmer lol).
   Stroll Sock Yarn (fingering weight): This is a 75% fine superwash merino/25% nylon mix in 231 yards per skein at $4.69 and comes in 26 colors. This yarn is so soft and I bought enough for the Fia Pullover (pattern by knitpicks). It was my first attempt at a sweater and I need to swatch again before my next attempt. But the yarn was soft and felt wonderful to knit, I knew it would be a super soft pullover. Absolutely usable in fairisle/colorwork.

Philosopher's Stone
  Stroll Tonal Sock Yarn (fingering weight): This is a 75% fine superwash merino/25% nylon mix in 463 yards per skein at $10.99 and comes in 28 colors.
  This version of stroll is hands down my absolute favorite. There is very little that I would not make with this yarn, and this will continue to be my main go-to (especially when it is on sale, yowza!!). It is soft, I have rarely had any knots of breaks (if ever), it wears well, and the colors are fantastic in double knitting or on their own!
  Stroll Tweed Sock (fingering): This yummy yarn is made up in 65% fine superwash merino/25% nylon/10% Donegal, is 231 yards for $4.79 and comes in 25 colors.
  Perhaps you did not know, but I absolutely adore a good tweed, especially a soft tweed like this one is!! I honestly wish that I had more of it. Definitely perfect for cowls, hats and sweaters. Not so much, in my opinion, for lacy shawls, but cables? Sure! It's really very lovely.

3) Capra (DK weight): This yarn is 85% merino wool and 15% cashmere, 123 yards and $7.99 a ball. With the cashmere, it is super soft and I enjoyed crocheting it in the Skokie scarf. The price is really the only downside, well, that and that cashmere is not environmentally sustainable (sorry knitpicks), but the yarn is soft and it is very luxurious. I wonder if we could get a yak version?

4) City Tweed (DK version): This fantastic yarn bestirs my tweedy heart (of course). It is made up of 55% merino wool/25% superfine alpaca/20% Donegal at $4.99 a ball and 123 yards. This yarn is VERY soft and fun to knit or crochet with. I made the Campside shawl with it and absolutely loved every minute, and would make it again with this very yarn (which is highly unusual for me haha). Get your hands on this stuff, folks.

Wrapping it up:

   You know what? I think that I will have to split this up into 2-3 parts. Because I still have Swish (dk and worsted), Palette, Wool of the Andes, Comfy, Mighty Stitch, Gloss Lace, Shadow Lace.. Well crap, I have used so much of their yarn. So this is just part 1 of a series of reviews.

  If you have any questions about my experiences, please feel free to ask! I am having a BALL! More to come, so stay tuned and Happy Holidays!!

Be Well,


Friday, December 9, 2016

Environmentally Sustainable Knitting

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This morning, I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) as usual, and they interviewed some folks in Mongolia about Cashmere/Kashmir Goats and how they are ruining their grasslands. "How your cashmere sweater is decimating Mongolia's grasslands."

Apparently, these goats are environmental disasters because: "Their sharp hooves cut through the soil surface, and their eating habits — voraciously ripping up plants by their roots — make it impossible for grass to thrive." (source is NPR article) This makes it impossible for other animals to survive and are changing ecosystem.

When I first started listening to this story, my ears perked up because I have knitted with cashmere mix yarn. But, perhaps I won't anymore. After I heard the story, I decided to do some research of my own on what types of yarn ARE environmentally sustainable.

So here is what I found.

1) Alpaca.
    Apparently, these awesome creatures are tough, they do not overeat, and they poop in the same spot (really? That is hilarious, I want to see that line!!).  I love alpaca, as a knitter it is a little fuzzy and can create a halo in your knitting. It is soft, hypoallergenic, and a great fiber to have mixed in with wool (Love Berroco Ultra Alpaca!!). So awesome stuff. Some links: Treehugger, Why Your Sweater should be alpaca, not cashmere.

2) Wool
    I am sooo sick of the campaign that PETA has against wool. While absolutely anyone who abuses an animal should be charged, there has been a lot of assumptions that abuse is normal for this world. Going to completely disagree here.
   Apparently, sheep are fantastic at keeping the carbon levels down in the environment. Wool is also recyclable (thrift store and rip that sweater out to repurpose!!) and it wears longer (the yarn) than other chemical (polyester) fibers.
  Wool biodegrades easily at the end of it's lifespan and it can be washed a lower temperature, which is good for the environment. This is all a win-win to me!
Sources: IWTO, Wikipedia.

3) Yak.
   Many of us have seen "new" (for us) fibers coming into the economy of late. Some folks, such as KnitMona, have started to carry indie-dyed yarn with yak in the make-up. I would love to get my hands on a skein, but have not as of yet, because some yak yarn is as soft as cashmere!!
  In looking up how environmentally sustainable Yak's are, I had to turn to an article that (though it did mention the wool of yak) was about meat primarily. But this article did mention that Yak's "eat a third of what cows eat.... and "forage for food without damaging". Sounds better than the goats as well.
Sources: Takepart, Wiki on Yak.
Well, I am pleased about what I found, and personally will be steering away from cashmere from now on. Definitely wish I was rich enough (ironically) to own an electric car and solar panels, but I can do what little I can to help the environment. Can I ask you to do the same?


Be Well!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Prep Insanity, Anyone?

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  Fair warning.

  Christmas is looming, yes it is.

Things to do?
1) Knit two stuffed creatures for my kids for xmas
     One mermaid, and one cat.. I am not fond of the cat.. But it's not for me right? (Don't judge me lol).

2) I have a bearded hat to make. Crap, is it really December 8th already?

3) One hat for the husband... Not sure which it will be... That sounds positive right?

What do I want to do? Knit shawls.... Nap... Hang out on Facebook... Beg my husband to not wash clothes on the warm setting (look up the cold setting, much better in a couple of ways)...

Ya'll know what a Hatchimal is?
Target's may be getting more of them this Sunday. Do I want to wait in line in the wee hours of Sunday morning to get one for my kids (from Santa) for xmas? Nope. Will I be doing this if a line forms the night before? Nope.

I'm feeling entirely too hectic. Wish I could just take the entire month of December off on vacation. Wouldn't that be nice? Sounds heavenly to me. But my powerball ticket was a bust this afternoon, when I checked it, not even a few thousand dollars. Blah.

But hey, it's ok. I'm going to go home tonight and get organized. Honestly!!

It's probably a good thing I think alcohol tastes and smells horrible (and it makes me sick due to intolerance, from the first tiny sip). I would be a very happy, giggly, drunk.

I wonder where I left my keys....

Be Well


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mayapple Shawl Insanity (My Oops)

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  This year, I made the decision that I wanted to do some more things out in the community. Boy was that a bad idea. It was just too much for me and my family, much to my regret. But even with me downsizing, I feel as if things have been just as hectic. But I know that it is mostly in my head and I'm not meditating enough haha.

  Money being what it is, I decided to do a yarn review of some big online stores this month (knitpicks or lion brand for example). The next post after that (hopefully) will be me revealing how my experiment with Caron Cakes and Premier Sweet Rolls went. So much to come in this holiday season!!

Knitting stuff  :
   I have been focused on the Mayapple shawl by Dee O'Keefe (knitted with knitpicks.com stroll tonal in seashell). Again, this shawl is not as hard as it appears, though I have had my moments with the center lace section haha. I have gotten to the point in which I cannot WAIT to see it blocked out and enjoy the WOOSH factor (that moment when the lace just opens right up).

Getting bigger!!!
     Something I found interesting in this project was that I flipped my m1r and m1l (make 1 right and make 1 left). Ironically, the reason why I did that was because in my mind, I thought it was right and logical (but obviously it was wrong). Now I am going to finish it the way that I started and it doesn't look that bad, to be honest. Sometimes what matters most is to be consistent rather than right. (Purlsoho resource and Twist Collective resource).
   As you can see below, I was under the belief that it was leaning left. My belief stemmed from the idea that the curve of the loop I outlined leaned it toward the left. But apparently I was wrong..

Here is the other side:

Based on the research, I am completely wrong. But like I've said, no one will know the difference in the long-run because I am staying the course and keeping it consistent. Though I will know, and I am taking it as a learning moment. I kind of like the overall effect anyway so am not unhappy with it. You will see when I finish it and block it out. I will take close up picture then.

Wrapping it up:
   Just like so many of you, the holidays can be rough. Knit or crochet when you need too. Find joy in the moments, not the memories or nightmares if you cannot.

Find contentment and a sense of grounding in each moment. What has passed is gone and there is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes all we can do is focus on each stitch and each row, each breath. Make the holidays as relaxing as you can by remembering to ground yourself in each moment. Do not let anyone tell you what your worth is.

Be well!