Archive for the ‘Fun!’ Category

Hi there!  Yeah, it’s been a while, but I have a *really* good excuse!  Ready?

From Misc Pics

This happened.

 

Yeah, Miss Abby Never-getting-married-never-having-children Jamaca is now Abby Wife-step-mother-of-two-mom-to-be Dryer.  You may take a moment to tell me that you told me so.  I’ll try not to block you out.

 

So, moving on!  After three months of Why-do-they-call-it-morning-sickness-when-it-happens-all-day fun, I’ve finally started to find my motivation to do something other than fall asleep on the couch before 8pm.  Seriously, I didn’t have the energy to eat or drink, let alone knit.  It was quite horrible.  But now, I’m getting back to normal (thank you, modern science and 2nd trimester!)

 

So, I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I have only finished 4 things THIS YEAR.  (Does my yarn know that it’s almost April?  I won’t tell if you won’t!) First, I’ll show you the most adorable thing that has ever been made by human hands (if I do say so myself)  This was mostly knit in 2011, but I finally got around to finishing the flowers and sewing on the buttons sometime in early March.

From 2012 FOs

I am totally in love with this thing, and really hope that the recipient gets a lot of use out of it. (and to the recipient’s grandmother, I’d love a modeled shot for the blog!)

I also tried to make a hat to match the dress, but as the title of this post says, I have a problem with hats.

From 2012 FOs

I think the hat is about as big as the skirt. It fits ME. This kid will be wearing this hat WAY after knitted bonnets aren’t cool anymore. whoops.

Then I finished another hat. This one I made specifically for me, so you’d think that it would fit me, right? Wrong. I refer to it as my silk alpaca bucket, because it looks like a bucket on my head. (although it is warm, so Chicago Winter doesn’t win as many battles against my ears)

From 2012 FOs

 

Now here’s my most embarrassing hat failure so far. A friend of mine recently had a baby, and I tried to design a hat for him (before I knew it was a him). I tried to pick a gender-neutral-but-still-cool yarn, so I pulled out my shibui sock yarn and picked up my favorite knitpicks needles. I looked up a few patterns to see how many to cast on, and added a few, because the last baby hat I made (other than the purple one) looked like this.

From Baby Stuff

Yeah, that poor child had a red ring around his head for a while after that particular outing. I wanted to avoid such head trauma for this child, so I made it a little loose… or so I thought.

From 2012 FOs

Yup, that’s a baby hat. On my head. And it’s loose.  This goes quite a bit beyond  ”loose-fitting baby hat”…

This wouldn’t be too embarrassing, but the truth is, due to my aforementioned ‘condition’, it took THREE MONTHS to make this hat. Seriously. THREE MONTHS to make a hat that HAS NO CHANCE OF FITTING THE RECIPIENT FOR AT LEAST A DECADE.

Yeah, awesome.

I’m working on a pair of socks now for Ed… I constantly check the size on his foot, so I know those will fit. Based on my current 2012 speed, he’ll have socks sometime in 2013. Woo!

I’ve learned (from both sides of the fence) that it is difficult to know exactly what to do when you receive a gift that obviously took a lot of time and energy for someone to make especially for you.  As someone who spends a lot of time and energy on making special things for special people, I thought I’d put together something to help guide you through it.

 

First and foremost, when you receive a handmade gift, Be Impressed.  Even if you know how much effort it would take YOU to do the project, imagine that the person has put their own sweat, blood, and tears (and possibly those of their loved ones) into this gift.  Go on and on about how special it is, and make note of the details and talk about how spectacular they are.  You may feel a little ridiculous putting on such a show, but trust me, the person that made it for you will appreciate it (and will probably be more motivated to make something for you in the future).

 

After the initial revealing of the handmade item, be sure to Take Pictures of the item being used and share them with the person that made the item.  Posed pictures  of “Let’s show them how much we love and appreciate the handmade goodies” are nice, but action shots of the recipient having fun in Real Life with the item are even better.  (Check out my friend Braden with the fingerless gloves I made for him… This picture was not for me, and they were obviously not thinking about me in any way while the picture was taken, but seeing it on his girlfriend’s very cool fashion blog was the best compliment I ever could have received).

Here is a great example of a baby having fun with the new hat that I had made for her.   Clearly, it wasn’t posed, since she’s wearing the hat backwards, but that adds to the charm, if you ask me!  Someone was holding the baby, someone else picked up their smartphone, snapped a picture, and sent it on.  No spending hours finding the right lighting, or waiting until the baby’s smile was just-so.  Just “oh, look how cute she is in that hat!”

From Baby Stuff

 

Lastly, and most importantly, to show your true appreciation for the handmade item, Use the Crap Out of It!  I know many first instincts is to treasure the handmade item and keep it safe so that someday, you can hand it down it to someone else so that they can cherish it, put it in a box and never use it.  Is that really why I put all my energy in these things?  To have them stored (lovingly) in a box?  Absolutely not!  Especially baby items!  I know that the baby is going to out-grow these things in about 10 minutes (and trust me, it takes more than 10 minutes to make these things), but I want the baby to have the opportunity to love it anyway.  If a hat doesn’t fit on the baby’s head anymore, it probably fits on one of the baby’s dolls or stuffed animals.  Let the kid learn how to dress their toys with something that they once wore (they won’t believe that they were ever that small years from now… which will make it even more awesome).  Let the kid drool on it while they’re teething, take it out and drop it in the mud, or take it to the beach and get it covered in sand, then dropped in the water.  Beat it against the coffee table while ‘playing drums’, and then hold it tight when it’s naptime.  ENJOY the thing!

As for adults, I don’t want much different from you.  If I make a scarf or a hat for you, don’t wait until the ‘perfect occasion’ to wear it.  You know what the ‘perfect occasion’ is to wear a knit hat?  When it’s cold outside!  Or when you have to go to the store and you don’t want to brush your hair.  Perfect occasion for a scarf or cowl?  You guessed it!  When it’s cold and windy outside!  Or when you have a stain on your shirt, and need to hide it in a pinch.  Seriously, nothing I make is ‘too special’ to go to a gas station for a late-night snack run!  If it gets ruined, I can always make another one.

 

Now, if you’re actually using these things, you’ll need to know how to Take Care of It.  Exercise Before Knitting put together a fantastic tutorial for how to properly care for hand-knitted items.  This is exactly how I wash all of my hand-knit items (and even store-bought sweaters that need to stay the same size), so if you received something from me, it has already gone through this process at least once, so it’s safe.  The only difference is that I use Kookaburra Wool Wash instead of Eucalan or Soak because I like the self-measuring bottle-gadget.

 

So there you have it.  If you want to show me that you *truly* appreciate my efforts, this is exactly what you should do.  :-)

Since my last post, many things have happened.  First, I quit my job.  I got a very good offer at another company, and after much soul-searching, and career planning, I decided to take it.  Today is my last day here.  (sadness)

 

However, since I was leaving, I had to make sure that I lived up to my promise of making a hat for a co-worker who has been very supportive of all my knitting adventures.  He is very happy with it, and even likes to wear it inside out sometimes!

From Hats
From Hats

 

I also finally got around to making the fishie hat to go with my butterfly hat.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come out as big as I had anticipated (largely due to me strangling the yarn in the back, creating ‘waves’ on the front)

From Hats
From Hats
From Hats

 

I now only have two things on the needles, and both are big.  One is the train scarf that, because it is a scarf, NEVER ENDS!  I am almost halfway done with the second (and final) passenger car, then I need to do the caboose, then I’m DONE!  (although I’m not sure that will ever happen…)

From Train Scarf
From Train Scarf

 

I also put my sweater back on the needles.  The length wasn’t right, and I have PLENTY of yarn left over, so I’m going to keep at it until I run out of yarn.

From Fun with Sweaters

 

Jason has asked for fingerless mitts, so I think that will be my next ‘travel’ project… we’ll see!

I *finally* finished the fingerless gloves – now known as my fingerless lovelies, because they are so pretty!

 

From Adventures in Lace

I couldn’t be happier with them.  They are warm, pretty, and I can wear them in the office when the air conditioner would otherwise make me freeze.

 

The older boy saw them and wants a pair (no lace in his though).  The younger one will want a pair too… I better get crackin’!

 

 

So I’ve been doing a lot of writing (although not here) and a lot of working (also not here), but I’ve also been doing a fair bit of knitting.

 

I finished Ashur’s hat, using some scrap cashmerino wool for the top.  He didn’t mind

From Baby Stuff

 

I flew to California for a family visit, and managed to get in some good Train knitting on the Plane.  I’m now almost done with the first passenger car, and I’m getting very excited about it!

From Train Scarf

 

While I was in California, my sister-in-law asked for a hat, and after much debate about ‘good yarn’ and ‘yarn stores’, I agreed to *try* JoAnn Fabrics (I’m a bit of a yarn-store snob).  I found out that Lion Brand Yarn makes Cashmerino!  After the store, I cast on as soon as we were in the car, and 4 hours later, Natalie had a hat.

From Hats
From Hats

 

I also finished a bonnet and pair of booties for a friend of a friend who had a baby girl.

From Baby Stuff

 

I’m still working on my fingerless gloves.  Every time I think I’m close and try them on, I realize that they are NOT done.

From Adventures in Lace

 

However, sometimes, I need some simple knitting, and my shrug-bolero-thingie just wasn’t long enough… so I ripped out the cast-on edge and I’m gonna at least finish another skein of yarn before I decide what to do with it.

From Fun with Sweaters

 

 

 

My blogversary was yesterday.

 

There was cake.

 

From Misc Pics

(for those of you who are not ‘up’ on yarn-jargon, when yarn is wound on a yarn-ball winder, the resulting ‘ball’ is actually called a cake.  You may laugh now – either at my joke, or the ridiculous naming convention of knitters… because both are pretty darn funny!)

 

I celebrated my blogversary, not by blogging, but by working on… (drumroll please….)

 

a SWEATER!

 

From Fun with Sweaters

Well, a shrug, really… well, the pattern says it’s a Bolero – which is really kind of a shrug… which is about a half of a sweater…

 

It’s going to be for wearing with dresses, because I can’t find a single sweater/shrug/bolero/thingie that I like with my dresses… so I must make it.

 

It is Malabrigo (of course)… and true to Malabrigo’s form – the yarn WILL NOT turn itself into a nice ball.  First, it took a good 45 minutes to get wound into a ball by hand, then two and a half attempts on the yarn ball winder (the half-one was pretty awesome… the cake thought it turned into a bird, and flew into the window, scaring the jeebus out of Tux!)  Then finally, after the last yarn-ball cake  turned into a jellyfish, an old-school hand-wound ball.  The hand-wound seems to be doing okay for now, so we’ll see if it lasts.  I have 4 more hanks that will presumably go into this sweater/shrug/bolero/thingie, so we’ll see how much of the Malabrigo-ball-cake-suffering continues.

 

From Misc Pics

This is a particularly tame picture of the yarn-suffering this weekend endured. The rest were too unwieldy to stop and take a picture. If I had taken my eyes off for a second, Malabrigo would have taken it as a challenge to see how much MORE tangled it could have gotten in the .002 seconds that my eyes were turned.

 

Also, I started Ed’s second pair of socks.  I call them Tweedy Socks, because they are made with Tweed yarn.  Yes, I am a dork.  He loves me anyway.  Probably because he gets socks.

From Socks

 

I also finished the first part of the four-part series – my “desk gloves”.  Fingerless gloves to wear in the office when the air conditioning gets so cold that my fingers stop working.  I have the first ‘cuff’.  Soon, I will have the second ‘cuff’ (after I actually cast it on and start working on it), then both ‘cuffs’ will have stitches picked up all around, and will be worked two-at-a-time until I have two desk gloves (it sounds like only a three-part series, but trust me, it’s four… maybe even 5 or 6… because there’s lace involved at the end).

From Adventures in Lace

 

So anyway… happy blogversary to me!  I accept gifts… either knitpicks gift cards or yarn.  :-)

So, I know I haven’t really posted a lot lately, and my paltry excuses for posting I’ve done this month have been a little ‘phoned in’… but I have LOTS to share today… so bare with me.

First, FOs… Finished Objects.

The Mobius Cowl… Finished it outside Starbucks on Friday two weeks ago, washed and blocked it on Saturday – it was finally dry and ready to give to my mom on Monday… Still need a modeled shot, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out – and I’m still fascinated by the construction of it – from the inside out, with a twist… amazing.

From Warm Stuff

Second Swiffer Thingy… Even though my own mother mocked me heartily regarding my genius creation… the woolen, reusable duster… she decided that she must have one. Since she did get me a dishwasher and a stove last weekend, I made a duster for her.   Now she will be constantly reminded of her foolish mockery of my genius as she sweeps dust bunnies out of her home.

From Oddities

 

Now for WIPS… Works in Progress

Heirloom Blanket…  the story of this blanket deserves its own post, which I will get to soon.  Suffice to say, this blanket is very special.  So special that I have decided to take up crocheting again just to finish it.

From Misc Pics


Train Scarf.
..  I had to take a train to Springfield. It was a 2.5 hour train ride, followed by a 1.5 hour bus ride. I thought it would be funny to work on the train while riding a train. I finally finished the engine car, and I’m working on the coal car. I think the train may be the only place that this scarf can be worked on – so few distractions…. I may need to figure out how to take more trains for long rides in order to get this done…

From Train Scarf

 

From Train Scarf

Meret Scarf…  This one is inching by… I’m ready for it to be done, but it isn’t ready yet… It’s my purse project… so it will get done eventually…

From Warm Stuff

I finished the Swiffer last night, and dusted the base of a table that had slowly gotten lighter and lighter over time.  The table is now the dark-wood color that I so fondly remember.

 

Moral of the story?  The Wool Swiffer Cover WORKS!

 

From Oddities

 
…and it doesn’t look too shabby if you ask me!

Two points for creativity, and one point for stashbusting!

Somehow, the weather in Chicago went from 40-ish to 80-ish overnight. (Woo!)

We don’t have central air conditioning, just a single window-unit and ceiling fans. Personally, I’m fine with this. I hate AC. I hate being cold, and AC makes me cold… My husband is on the other side of the spectrum – he hates being hot. Some time ago, we came up with the compromise that we’d use the ceiling fans until the heat was absolutely unbearable (for him – uncomfortable for me) before we turned on the AC.  Last night, we officially needed the ceiling fans (don’t tell him I said this, but we probably could have used the AC).

Anyone that has semi-annual ceiling fan use knows that you have to DUST the blades before you use them for the first time after a few seasons, or you get a year’s worth of dust flying through your house, settling on your food, in your eyes, and most often in your iced beverage. Eew.

So we went to get the Swiffer so that my tall, dark, and handsome man could dust the ceiling fan blades. I handed him the handle while I looked for the box that contained the actual duster – the *useful* part. No love. Nothing. OUT of duster thingies.

My enterprising husband improvised… I’m not sure what he did, because I was busy taking action!  I started knitting a duster to fit on the swiffer. I was 80% done by the time he finished dusting and didn’t need it anymore. I worked on it a little more while we watched Glee. I have less than an inch to go before it’s done. I’ll let you know how it works!

No pictures of the duster until it’s done and tested, but since all interesting blog posts have pictures – here’s one of how Tux tried to stay cool in the hot weather last night.  Thanks for the bamboo tray, Paisley Rose!

From Misc Pics

I’ve been struggling with what to knit for the last week or so, and it’s not getting any better.  I only have three projects on the needles.  The train scarf, the Mobius Cowl, and the Meret Scarflette.

 

The Train scarf is on time out until I can think 4th dimensionally.  My goal is to have it done before next Winter shows up… but since this winter refuses to leave, I feel like I have plenty of time.

 

So my choices are the Mobius Cowl or the Meret Scarflette.

 

The Meret Scarflette is Cascade 220 worked in the same pattern as the beret I made for my mother-in-law last year for Christmas.  I had a leftover skein and decided a matching set wouldn’t be a bad idea.  It’s a simple enough pattern, easy to memorize and difficult to lose your place on… but you have to look at it when you’re working on it, so watching TV is sort of out of the question.  So why is it on my couch?

From Warm Stuff

(I also want to point out that Tux is only laying ‘next’ to the knitting and not ‘on’ the knitting because it’s not purple)

The Mobius is Malabrigo Worsted worked in the round over 138 stitches… Depending on what row I’m on, I’m either purling or knitting all the way around.  I’m almost to the point where I don’t have to look at it while I’m working on it.  It’s the perfect TV project because I can watch what’s going on, and still make progress.  Unfortunately, it lives in my purse and only gets worked on when I’m on the train – which is only a few afternoons a week.

From Warm Stuff

 

We all know I love Malabrigo, and it makes me feel good to always have it with me in my purse.

From Warm Stuff

 

Cascade 220 is a wonderful yarn, but compared to Malabrigo, it’s very scratchy, so to go from one to the other is difficult.  My hands yearn for Malabrigo softness, but my brain wants more than mindless knitting….

 

I’m not sure what to do about this conundrum.  Any ideas?

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