Now What?

There are times when I make something and when I finish it, I don’t want to pick up the needles or hooks for a little bit.InstagramCapture_aca6c652-90a6-4aa7-829f-b7d2200a5b67 I allow myself to be done for the day unless I have a slew of orders at the ready.

But I dbn’t (darn it) and so after I completed the sidewalk shawl, I didn’t really want to start anything else.

I did put the pom-pom on the lilac toque. It turns out there was not enough yarn left over to make a big ass pom-pom and I wanted it to be a big ass pom-pom so I joined it with some white yarn and made it.

Though I did not start anything else, I did have the thought of making another shawl in cream. I have the WP_20150628_14_44_40_Proyarn. By the way, the only reason I had to use two skeins was for the fringe. I had some yarn left over from the pound skein. The fringe is very long. I’ve seen it without and the fringe adds something to it. I can’t believe I want to make another one. It took four days to make. I will pick up the scarf tomorrow and see if I can make something so ordinary after learning a fancy pineapple stitch.

A girl’s gotta remember where she came from.

A Little Detour

There I was this past Wednesday working on a fan scarf , a toque and some fingerless mitts, when I realized it was time for knit group WP_20150625_09_32_39_Proand with that, I remembered I told Ellen I would bring the yarn and instructions to make the sidewalk shawl that I started and gotten myself messed up with.

So I brought it with me and started it with Ellen sitting across from me and just like we thought, this time I breezed through it and she didn’t have to do anything but sit there and be my spirit animal.WP_20150626_11_01_53_Pro

For those unfamiliar with it or who want to take a look at the pattern, it can be found here.

I did start it twice Wednesday night and I worked on it some more when I came home. The top photo is the shawl up to row seventeen. Then the repeats start. The second photo was Friday morning – row 31. I haven’t taken a photo of where I am now – Saturday morning – because it’s really early Saturday morning and it’s dark out. I will wait until it’s light and then I will wait until I’ve added the fringe because it’s done. I have some of the yarn left over from the skein – which is odd because Ellen said she used five balls of yarn that had more than 200 yards and I almost feel as if I left out a round or something. I dutifully marked my pattern to keep track and I did all the requisite rows. I did use a hook three sizes up and the fringe is 30 inches long and I will need to go into a second skein to get all that done but not bad for three days work.

The real question is whether I would make another one – or a couple more- to be added to the shop. The answer is yes. I think I would. Now that I know what it takes. Mr. Honey walked down the stairs at one point near the end when I was spreading it out and he gave out a ‘wow.’ That’s like a lecture from him. That’s high praise.

I also finished the toque I was working on here in the office. Just have to take it downstairs for the pom-pom and that will make six of them needing their pictures taken.

It’s also the weekend. I have taken a walk and I hope to sit in some sunshine tomorrow – it’s been raining – and get back to the scarf and fingerless mittens. I am hoping the shawl hasn’t spoiled me for the basic things in the knit and crochet lifestyle.

And I hope you have a great weekend. If you have pics you want to share (rated G and knit/crochet related) send them on!

Picture Day

Picture taking starts again tomorrow and new stuff will start going into the shop. fanscarf2Vacation time is over and I need to start thinking about setting goals for the shop season. I also need to stop thinking the shop has a season.

 

I’ve made about four or five of the togue hats and put the giant pom-poms on top with a new way to secure them which I hope works. fanscarvesEventually all pom-poms are going to fall off. You just hope it doesn’t happen for a few years.

Most of the yarn has been put away. I have three containers downstairs and they will make their way back up stairs. The fan scarves will continue as will the togue and then with the little bits left over, hearts or cuffs can be done. I am in a use it all up mood because I really do have a great deal of yarn.WP_20150505_18_20_02_Pro I’m not just saying that. I do feel blessed to have it and I don’t feel guilt I am, however, aware of people who can’t afford to indulge or who as a husband who will indulge them. There’s even yarn in the car I haven’t brought in. It made the trip to Minnesota and stayed in the car. I got it because I wanted to work on shawls and I had a bunch of coupons and got a great deal.

I will resume the walks in the morning as well. I kind of miss them.

I hope you get to indulge in some knitting/crocheting/crafting. It really is good for the soul.

 

No Place like Home

Mr. Honey and I were on the road this past weekend. For some reason, I had the bright idea we should go to Cubs away games. It started with a simple two hour drive to Milwaukee. It used to be when we went to Miller Park there were more Cubs fans than Brewer fans until one year they had a ‘take back the park’ drive. It was still fun to go but it got pretty routine. Then I thought since I have family in DC, Phoenix and other places, when we go there, we should do it when the Cubs were there. Then it evolved to visiting all the stadiums.

It would have been better to start this when we were younger. But there it is.

So far, we have done Milwaukee, Cinncinati, Phoenix, Denver, Pittsburgh, Washington DC and the latest park: WP_20150619_17_59_35_ProTarget Field in Minneapolis.

We actually didn’t get to see much of Minneapolis. We usually do get to see some of whatever city we’re in but this time we went to a night game followed by a day game so there wasn’t much time in between.

I saw some of the city when we were driving in: There’s nothing like the Chicago skyline and I’m not saying that because Chicago is my hometown.WP_20150619_16_00_04_Pro It really is an impressive congrete jungle. Minneapolis has a nice skyline. And one thing Minneapolis has that Chicago doesn’t is the mighty Mississip. WP_20150619_16_10_50_ProWe have Lake Michigan but a lake is not a river.

 

Once we parked the car downtown at the Marriott, we didn’t get in it again until we left. We walked everywhere. But everywhere consisted of going to the ballpark and back to the hotel and to dinner – which was across the street from the hotel.

We got in Friday afternoon had time to check in, get unpacked and then walked to the ballpark.

Let me tell you something about this walking: Mr. Honey announced we would be staying close to the park to save on parking at the park and the dreadful traffic getting in and out of parks. I was a high school and college athlete but now a mile walk was not going to be the easiest thing for me so I started prepping in April byt starting small and increasing the distance until I was sure I could make it.

Turns out the ballpark is a half mile from the hotel and I did the walk in half the time it took me to do a half mile at home. Don’t get me wrong: my knees are mad as hell at me and ibuprofen stock should rise but I did it.

We had some good food – not the best meals we had but not bad. (Except for the park food, we love ballpark food but the first game we learned this park does not do park food well so the second game we limited ourselves to a strawberry chill and a malt cup.) But the hotel at a nice breakfast buffet.WP_20150620_09_59_46_Pro

 

Strawberries, watermelon and grapes were the appetizer to scrambled eggs and bacon.

 

 

Lest you think I forgot this is a knitting blog, I did take knitting with me but because we were walking, I didn’t want to carry my knitting to the park. I would have if we were driving and I would have knit in the park before the game but the knitting bag didn’t go with me but knitting was very much pat of the trip.

I usually find a local yarn shop to visit – let me say, I have done a LYS in every city except Milwaukee and I still have at least some of it from every city. I have knit with some of it and even sold some of the items. I decided this time to forego the LYS because part of the trip was driving through Wisconsin and this week was theWP_20150621_14_40_52_Pro warehouse sale at:

So Saturday night I asked Mr. Honey since we had to drive through Wisconsin anyway and it wouldn’t add to the travel time, we would just go a different way, if we might not stop in Stevens Point and have breakfast and tool on over to the sale and he said yes. No, I am not spoiled.

I promised I would not be very long in the store because I knew I wanted nothing but cotton yarn as I will be knitting for the spring and summer soon and I wanted to make halter tops and cuffs. They had the Lily’s on sale for less than I can get it at Knitting Warehouse. Here’s the haul. WP_20150622_00_24_00_ProNow that I think about what I spent and what I thought I got – I may have been overcharged so I am going to check and see what I have.

 

 

I am going to be resting the legs for the next few days but will continue the walking because I don’t like being so out of shape a series of short walks will do be in.

A change is gonna come.

 

 

Abundance

The crisis was averted. I woke up thinking about the lost crochet hooks and double pointed needles and the first thing I did was to go downstairs and resume the search. hooks1I an happy to report I had indeed placed them in a box and when I opened it up the bag unfolded like a kid playing peek-a-boo. The familly is reunited and it feels so good. I did give thought to taking a trip to JoAnn and purchasing some more of the crochet hooks and dpns but that doesn’t have to be more than a passing thought now.

 

Football training camp – the mandatory sessions – have started – in mid June before basketball is over and hockey (GO BLACKHAWKS!) just ended and baseball is just getting warm. fanscarf2That means I will have to pay close attention to getting the fan scarves out. I have the New England team on the needles now and that’s a three color scarf. I don’t think many teams have three colors. This is the first one I’ve come across. Red, white and blue. spacloths1In any case, I am going to have to start taking pics again and I have more scarves and more spa cloths and other things to take so I can start getting the fresh inventory in the shop. I am hoping the yarn I ordered for the hat order arrives tomorrow – now that I’ve found the hooks – so I can get that out.

I’ve also made three of the pom-pom toque and I am winding some yarn into a ball to make some fingerless mitts. That’s the trio I am alternating: hat, scarf, mitts. I am knitting with December in mind and believe it or not, I am thinking a little further down than that because in three months time it will be September and I will be thinking of March – because that’s how it rolls.

For right now, it’s late – or early – and I am thinking of nothing but bed. And that’s where I’m gonna roll.

Noses Up – Thumbs Down

This is my yarn stash – in truth – it is part of my yarn stash.stash I have quite a lot of yarn. The thing is – it’s probably 95% acrylic. And that is not a problem. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with good old acrylic yarn. When I first began to knit in earnest, I did a lot of charity knitting and acrylic yarn is almost exclusively used.

It’s easy care. It doesn’t make anyone sneeze and it’s inexpensive. Acrylic is my go to yarn and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Do you see how much of it I have?

I know I used a lot of different brands before someone sent me over to Hobby Lobby and I tried their house brand, dakotaI Love This Yarn – and that was the first thing I said when I tried it. There’s a lot of that in those crates you see. I started adding in natural fiber and blends when I developed an appreciation for local yarn shops. There was a time when I thought going to a really nice Michael’s was going to a yarn shop. Then I stepped into a really nice yarn shop. I didn’t begin to buy immediately. You should know that I am what you call cheap. I don’t like spending money. That’s not true. I like spending money – I also like having money.nodding my head in agreement I decided to try and live off what I make – I went back to the beginning of my business and looked from month to month – I didn’t make much so I don’t have much to spend. So a visit to a yarn store is a special occasion thing – usually saved for when I visit a new city.

I do buy more upscale yarn then – a natural fiber or fiber blend or an acrylic and natural fiber blend. – just a little something. entrelac6I have sold some of these items as well.  The entrelac piece is a cowl makde out of a natural fiber – don’t ask mw I don’t remember. I just know it’s a thin yarn and it’s hand dyed from someone in St. Louis and they don’t make the color anymore. I wrote about it sometime back.

But as you can see from the stash, I’d have to do an awful lot of knitting to get to the end of the stash.

Currently, I am knitting/crocheting for December. I am in a little bit of a crisis because I cannot find my bag with my crochet hooks and double points. I used them recently but couldn’t find them tonight. This does cause my heart to race a little faster. I am sure I didn’t throw them out so they are hiding from me. No doubt someplace I put them but don’t remember where that could have been. I have two J hooks and that’s it. But I will find them. I know they are somewhere and they did not leave the house – I’m pretty sure they didn’t leave the house with me when I went to StitchCraft on Friday and KIP day yesterday – no photos, sorry.

I am sure I will find them in some obvious place and then we can laugh and laugh. It will be funny then. Not now.

 

Knit in Public Day

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day – that’s right. A day to be a hooker or picker in public. kip1Today, I hope to take my knitting bag filled with fiber and go knit with my friend Vicki at the Berwyn Public Library.

I will save how amazing it is that I feel comfortable going into Berwyn for another post. (It is amazing.) This post will concentrate on how much fun the knitting in public can be. Despite the fascinating ridiculousness of the photo above, knitting in public can garner a great deal of attention.

 

People will stop and say all manner of things which, of course, inspired Knit in Public Bingo and it is a game we do play when we knit in public. kip2As I look at the spots on the Bingo card, I could be a winner almost every time I knit in public.

 

I haven’t had someone tell me it’s rude to knit when someone else is talking but given that I’m probably knitting already when someone speaks to me, I guess I could counter with, “It’s rude to interrupt my knitting by talking.” It could be, too, because I could be counting. No one really interrupts your knitting until they see you counting. Then they have kinds of questions.

A couple of years ago we went to Sox park for Stitch and Pitch. I experienced it and I don’t have to ever experience it again. kip3At least not at that park. I can knit anywhere and I have knit happily at Wrigley Field, Milwaukee’s Miller Park and probably a few other places.

I’m not a White Sox fan – which is kinda ironic given the name.

 

 

I admit I have also not knit while walking – let alone running and walking a dog. This lady has skills. I am not under the illusion that this is an actual photo and not somehow staged kip4– but just in case it isn’t, this woman is my new goddess.

I am scheduled to go change clothes, grab something to eat and then go to Berwyn for the next couple of hours and have some fun. I will try to remember to take photos – something I have to get better at – and share them with the public because that’s what you do. I had thoughts of inviting some folks over and setting up an area in the front yard with a table and shade umbrella with some drinks to make it more public. Maybe next year. Maybe this year because we actually have an entire week of knitting in public.

Be afraid. We’re taking over.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

There are some perks to this knitting thing. One of which is finding lots of different yarns and lots of different patterns to play with. WP_20150507_13_28_45_ProAdd to that some coupons to save money and that’s the start of a stash.

With the start of a stash comes the WIP – work in progress. It is just what it sounds like, a project that is in the works. But without all the yummy yarn and those patterns, there would be no such thing as a work in progress. There would be only the one project to work on until it was done.

That’s almost laughable: working on a project until it’s done then going to get the yarn for the next one and starting that one. That’s what someone who knits does. That’s not really fair. wip1One could be a knitter and do that. Or one can run a shop that sells knitted stuff.

Having WIPs is a sign that you love your craft. You want to make all those good things and you want it so badly you start them all and then go back and work on each one in its own time.

I no longer get to that as much as I used to. For one thing, I really don’t like having a lots of WIPs laying around. I don’twip2 like to look that unorganized or schizophrenic.

The real reason, however, is that I can’t do that. I run a shop and in order to sell knitted items I have to, well, knit them. Completely. I have finsih them all up so I can display them and worry no one will see them let alone click the buy button. I don’t know that I long for the days when I had a basket of unfinished projects.wip3 If you go back and read some of the older posts, you will find where I had up to five projects going at once and I sound as if I was happy with it. That was no doubt caused by a new yarn or pattern and youthful enthusiasm.

Today I am pretty much WIP free. I don’t make the acrylic upset by picking up the wool blend because all my yarn knows I pick them up with a purpose. Mama’s about to make something out of you when she picks you up.

I do yearn every so often and ever so briefly for the time when I knit purely for pleasure but that time was so short that I’m not even sure it really existed. I could be wishing for the wish.

But I love what I do and I love it when the WIP becomes finished. Because I love to create.

And then I get start again.

The Knitting Bivrost

So, I rented Thor: The Dark World for a three day rental on Amazon Prime and I’ve watched it maybe five times. I will go downstairs after this and watch it again before the rental runs out this afternoon. And, of course, I can make a connection between the world of Asgard and the world of knitting – because not only is knitting universal; it is intergalatic.

 

The Bivrost is the rainbow bridge connection Asgard to the earth (and the other realms) and because the rainbow is made of lovely colors, I can take a photo journey through completed objects and find every primary color of the rainbow represented.

 

bohocowlsunflower1Yellow: this cowl screams of sunshine. It is bright and cheery and though I might not wear it in winter, it would be great in the fall and spring.

 

 

Staying in the cowl family, it’s cousin the basic crochet cowlcowlburntpumpkin3 in pumpkin (representing orange.) This is a four season color. It is more subtle in the warmer months and a bright star in the colder ones.

 

 

A little bit bolder and not for the faint of fashion hearts is red. the costume hatJust like that perfect shade of red lipstick, if one can find that perfect shade of red in a fashion accessory, one has traveled far and well on the fashion super highway. This red also stands out because it is part of a costume based upon a real hat alledgedly worn by Dante. Wearing it is also not for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

 

My personal favorite – purple and all its hues. GE DIGITAL CAMERAThere were two years I remember vividly in my high school years: one year everything I had was red and one year everything I had was purple. They are next to each other on the color spectrum so it kind of makes sense but purple has stayed with me in ways red has not. In this Eden cap, this is a light shade of purple – closeer to lilac – and still it manages to be both subtle and bold.

 

For a long time, blue was a favorite color though I don’t think I went so far as to have everything in my wardrobe in that color. It, more than purple,can go to calming to jarring from one end of its spectrum to the other. puff hatWhen I think of making a blanket in a single color with different tones, blue comes to mind first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, finally, there’s green. I don’t appreciate green as much as I should. I don’t know why I don’t. I mean, look at your flowers and your veggies grown in the garden and green is the background color for all of them.versa in green Not to mention the grass and leaves on the trees. Green should get more respect from me. Perhaps the next time I’m thinking of doing a tonal afghan, it should be greens instead of blues. I bet if I were to go through my stash I would find I green is the least represented. I can make myself feel bad about that.

 

See? Bivrost. The colors of the rainbow in my bridge between knitting and life and there are the neutrals of black, white, gray and brown. All set aside in boxes, bags and containers ready for me to make them into something that spreads the joy around. And in some cases, I get paid to do it.

Can’t ask for better than that.

Inspiration from Mother

Mother Nature creates beautiful things. I would say she creates all things beautiful but she created mosquitoes…so. But she creates beautfiul things like lilacs: lilacsthe lilac bushes in our backyard. I remember when I planted these and they’ve grown up and they return year after year and stay for a couple of weeks before they wither and go away. Such great color and it’s all gone in a short time.

You always think you will have more time than you do to enjoy them but they pop in like a surprise and leave like a lover who just got a page from his wife. For the record, I have no idea about lovers who gets pages from their wives. I just read romance novels.

But somewhere along the line I am certain Mother Nature inspired the folks who make fiber. They have captured her colors so vividly like in these balls from Louisa Harding. harding

I haven’t made anything with these yet – though I have started a scarf that has some surprising colors in them – you don’t know what you’re getting until you start to work it up. There is a wide color range in these little balls of goodness.

But you can also find color pops in other yarns like the one from I Love This Yarn  called Firecracker. firecrackerThe pom-pom looks just like a firecracker, doesn’t it? Look at the vivid colors and they won’t blossom and go away. They will stay there looking just like that. With proper care, of course.

 

 

 

This hat, too, is from I Love This Yarn but it’s called Pasha, I think. pashaslouchyNot as bright but still vivid and this reminds me of flowers, too.

 

 

 

 

And finally, this last hat is also inspired by nature but not by the flowers she brings but those precious gems. The color for this Lion Brand Amazing
fiber is called Ruby.slouchy And why not?There is a richness of red that runs through all the color changes, even those that are obviously not red are influenced by it.

It’s another joy of knitting: to be able to have such color all year round. Truth be told, nothing beats what Mother does. The earth is constantly amazing; always surprising and we do what we can but we can never match it.

The great things is that by creating these gorgeous fibers and working up the garments and accessories we are not trying to match her or even compete but compliment her on a job well and naturally done.