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Almost Done, and Ambitions

For the last couple of days, I’ve been plugging along on my never-ending dorm afghan to try to keep my mind off of my soon-to-be-knit Lightweight Pullover. This afghan has been in the making for most of the summer, and though I always try to chip away at it row by row, this pattern seems to be stuck in the eternal vortex of knitting: no matter how many pattern repeats I knit, the blanket never grows any longer. Have you ever had that happen? After some frustrations, I decided to actually measure the darn thing, to see exactly how much longer I’m going to have to deal with the eternal-blanket-from-heck, and found out that I’m supposedly about halfway done. Here’s a picture snapped last night – it doesn’t seem that large, does it?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either. When it’s on my lap, it seems huge, but when laid on a bed, it barely covers a third of it. I figured that I needed 10 more repeats in order to hit the point where the pattern says that I should stop, but considering I have 4 more skeins of the caramel colored yarn (that’s roughly half of what I bought originally), I think I’m going to keep plugging along at it until I just want to bind off.

With all this griping, don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love the way that the pattern is coming along, and if I had actually followed the directions and knit in a bulky yarn, I don’t think I would be having this problem. But you see, a stupid cocky college student (read: me) decided that I didn’t want to spend the money for bulky weight yarn, so instead knitting double with two DK weight yarns would suffice. The blanket sure is cozy, but it seems to go by so slowly – I was hoping to have this done by the end of August to take to my dorm room, but what with the Ravellenic Games starting on Friday, I already know that the afghan will be on the back burner while I try to whip out my Lightweight Pullover.

Another thing that really isn’t helping this giant monster that has taken over my room is the fact that all of the autumn sweaters are luring me to knit them. And yes, I do mean all of them. I’ve had requests from other people (read: an old mentor and my brother) to knit them sweaters (or in the case of my mentor, knit his son a sweater). I’ve been perusing through patterns and finally have decided on the Candlestick pattern for the little boy, and am still planning to knit the Drops pattern for my brother.

But that’s not all, oh no, because my brain refuses to believe that knitting sweaters and cardigan could really take all that long, I’ve also gone through most all of Hannah Fettig‘s (aka Knitbot) designs and have made a list of the things I want to knit: everything. I’m being honest – my Yarn to Buy list has 4 of her patterns on it, including another Lightweight Pullover! A picture for proof:

So yes, I am somehow going to complete projects totaling over 7,000 yards of yarn/wool by, you guessed it, the end of the year. (Also, I’m not sure why I seem to have an obsession with Lion Brand’s LB 1878 yarn … other than you can buy it in bulk) After I finish the toddler sweater, and perhaps my brother’s (I’m still deciding whether I want to take it on), I think I’ll start the Effortless Cardigan – I think it would be a nice fall/winter sweater. Granted, I won’t be heart-broken if I don’t finish, but I really would love to have some nice spring cardigans (Featherweight and Breezy being the favorites) when Michigan decides to finally warm up, and just the thought of knitting with fingering yarn during the winter time sounds glorious.

If all those projects aren’t ambitious enough, I stopped by the library today. You’ll soon learn: that’s never a good thing. I came out with 4 knitting books, but they’re mostly just for some ideas and techniques. I’ve already gone through two of them and they’re ready to be returned to the library – don’t worry, no sticky notes flagging pages and pages of projects that just must be knit. Do you ever have that problem too?

I think that the Ravellenic Games are just getting me so excited for starting projects, not to mention the fact that Project: Stash is talking about knitting her own wardrobe for the next 6 months. She has even discussed the possibility of a Knit-a-long! I’m not sure if I’d join, but I guess it depends on the pattern. What’s on your to-knit list? Do you ever get a bit overly ambitious when planning projects?

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Breaking Down

This weekend brought more ball winding – it truly is addictive! Thus far I’ve wound just about everything that I can get my hands on, save shaving the cats and spinning their fur into yarn (wouldn’t that be so soft?). My room is slowly but surely turning into Mt. Yarn Cakes, but I’m honestly okay with that. Don’t they just look so pretty?

While lounging around waiting for the Louisiana storms to pass, I also had some time to swatch for the Ravellenic Games Sweater Triathlon. I didn’t realize that the stitches could grow after being washed (thanks Ravelry users for your knowledge!), so I re-swatched with two of the three possible needles, a US 6 and US 7. Though I originally swatched with a US 8 as well, I really thought that the fabric that was knit up with it was too light and airy for what I was looking for. After dunking the swatches in water for a quick minute, I let them dry and then measured the gauge. Lo and behold, the US 6 swatch (what was originally suggested for the pattern) gave the correct gauge!

I’ve had such an itch to start the sweater that I ended up starting my fourth Miranda Hat to try and get my mind off the Lightweight Pullover. I also stopped by JoAnn’s this weekend to pick up some needles to make socks (yes, I think I’m taking the jump and starting some eventually). Nevertheless, I’m finding the sweater calling to me, and it really is testing my will-power to not cast it on. I’m not quite sure if I can hold out for the opening ceremonies on Friday.

How do you resist the temptations of starting a new project? What are you knitting for the Ravellenic Games? I’m thinking that if I break down and start the sweater, I may just go in for the Hat Dash or Sock Put, or perhaps knit a smaller sweater for a mentor’s son. I also accidentally promised my brother this sweater for a holiday gift, so perhaps that’s the next big project.

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Reunited and New Toys

Sorry for the hiatus from the blog – I’ve been travelling and didn’t bring my laptop with me on my trips to North Carolina and Florida (my grandmother doesn’t necessarily understand how you can spend more than 5 minutes on the computer at a time).

I’ve just landed from Florida, and am reunited with my computer, yarn, and family – it’s a great feeling. I was rather stingy with packing yarn, so I’m really glad to find new skeins waiting for me on my bed when I got into the house. While I was gone, the 4 skeins of Dishie and 3 skeins of sock yarn arrived, as well as my Stitchionary and BALL WINDER!! I’ve been having so much fun with the winder – not only do I already have 1/4 of the yarn for my pullover wound, but also 1 skein of Dishie and the remnants of the yarn I brought on my trip. I’m definitely looking forward to winding the rest while watching some TV and just relaxing.

There will definitely be a long update tomorrow with finished objects (after all, I did travel for 17 hours), but for now, I’m going to leave you with a picture of the mess on my bed and try to find a place to curl up for a nap – it’s hard to believe that I’ve already been awake for close to 12 hours, and it’s only 3:00 p.m.! (it also doesn’t help that I’ve gained an hour going from Eastern time to Central time …). I hope everyone had an amazing week/weekend, and check back tomorrow for a parade of photos!

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A Little Scattered

So much has happened in the last two days, and it seems as if even more will come in the next two. It’s crazy to realize that the summer has just flown by this year: in 6 weeks, I’ll be moving back to school, even though it feels as if I’ve just come home for vacation.

Nevertheless, it’s apparent that time has passed, since this weekend marks the beginning of my annual Travel Week – a week that I spend (as you probably have guessed) travelling to various points of the country visiting family that I haven’t seen for a while. This year, I’m spending a weekend with my cousin in North Carolina (I swear I’m going to move there when I graduate) and 5 days with my grandmother in Florida. With all of the different activities I’ll be doing (travelling, pool, afternoon tea, shopping), it’s been hard to think clearly about what to pack. Thus, last night around 11 p.m., all of my thoughts culminated in a sort of “packing wall,” with index cards marking outfits suitable for each place, as well as individual cards with what all I need to pack. (please excuse the blurry photo – it was late and my iPod was right there)

I’ve been busy knitting up some hostess gifts for my cousin and grandmother – I’m knitting both of them washcloths (yes, I know, I’m obsessed), and wrapping some nice handmade soap in them, from a local place in Baton Rouge. I’m going today to get the soap, and hopefully TSA won’t have any problem with me travelling with it. (fingers crossed)

I’ve been finding that the hardest thing to think of to pack is knitting: do I bring just a washcloth? Or a hat? What about something with some more “substance”? It’s hard to know that I’ll have close to 12 hours of travel-time, as well as whatever down time I have with my grandmother. Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve been finding that my hands need something to do in the lazy moments – certainly, I can read a book or just hang out, but why just lie on the couch when you can lie on the couch and knit? I think it’s just difficult to figure things out because I never like to over-pack, and over-packing yarn seems like a bit of a waste of space, considering that it’ll all be in my tote bag carry-on, which isn’t all that huge to begin with. I don’t want to bring a lot of needles, which means that really I can bring any projects that require the same sized needles – namely, a washcloth that is on the needles right now and perhaps yarn for a hat (along with the coordinating dpns to finish the hat).

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a multitude of projects – the never-ending dorm blanket and washcloths being the majority of things.

  • The third and final dishcloth for myself (for now) has been stalled on the needles for the last couple of days.

  • I finished two more repeats for the dorm blanket – it’s about 1/3 of the way of being done (hopefully), even though I still have 4 1/2 more skeins of the brown yarn.

  • I’ve started and completed a dishcloth for Rachel, which will wrap up a slab of homemade soap from a local vendor. I love the variegated blues – it was all plied together, so I didn’t have to worry about the colors pooling.

  • I’m about 1/3 of the way done with my grandmother’s dishcloth, and I hope to finish that up today or early tomorrow so that I can steam block it before I see her on Sunday.

It has grown a fair amount – I’m now about 1/4 of the way done with the letter ‘E’

I bought two other skeins of cotton yarn to make dishcloths (I thought I would make two for each Rachel and my grandmother), but I’m not quite sure what to do with them. There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind putting them in my forthcoming Wonder Blanket (it’s made of ‘scrap’ yarn mostly, but I think this could work).

Yesterday, I also received the yarn for my sweater(!!!!), and though I haven’t wound it or started swatching, I’ve been having an awfully hard time not just jumping right in and beginning the sweater. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and though the yarn is a little scratchier than I hoped it would be, it will still knit up beautifully (I hope). Blizzard, one of our cats, had a grand ol’ time playing with the box the yarn came in.

In other news, I’ve been thinking more about making blankets – they’re practical for the dorm rooms and easy as all get out – the Wonder Blanket is one that I’ve been looking forward to starting, but I’ve also been drawn to the idea of making a single Granny Square into a lap blanket. Any thoughts?

I hope that everyone is enjoying their summers – what have you been up to? Has the time seemed to fly by for you as well? Do you have any big plans for the rest of vacation? I’ve been trying to keep mine in check, but you’ve seen how that has turned out!

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Yarn-a-holic

So I’ll admit it: I’m a tad obsessed with yarn and knitting. You could probably tell that by this blog, but in the last week, I may have gone just a tad overboard on the yarn purchases.

Remember last week how I took the plunge and bought yarn to make the Lightweight Pullover? Well … it didn’t stop there. A couple of days later, I splurged again and got some really cute Dishie yarn from KnitPicks to make washcloths. Aren’t the colors just too adorable to pass up? (Plus, they were on sale).

Tranquil

Azure

Aster

Conch

Then, some people on Ravelry convinced me to buy some sock yarn and go into sock-knitting. I must admit that I have been debating about it for a while – the self-striping sock yarn has always attracted me, and after knitting dozens of preemie baby hats, I can hold my own around small double pointed needles. I’ve heard that socks are easy to transport, which is a major plus with travelling, driving, and dorm-living, plus, so long as I don’t succumb to the second sock syndrome (where you don’t cast on for the second sock and thus have a collection of mismatched, albeit beautiful, socks), they’ll keep me warm in the Michigan winters! With all of the positives that come along with knitting socks (and the gorgeous yarn that you get to knit with), the main reason I was fighting the urge was turning the heel. That’s right: it scared me. Beyond belief. And until some kind knitters on a forum talked me into it, I thought for sure that turning the heel on not just one but two socks was going to drive me to extinction. But, like I said, I succumbed, and arriving in the mail next week are three skeins of lovely sock yarn in fun and bright colors:

Blue Topaz

Rouge

Dandelion

I’m thinking about doing some striped socks, using this knotting method that I learned about this week. (It’s ingenious … and I’ve already used it to tie on a new skein for my dorm blanket … yes, the blanket that never ends).

With close to 20 skeins of yarn arriving within the next week or so, I also sprung for a ball winder, which hopefully will help organize the yarn and make it so that it’s more manageable. I’ve been finding that near the end of the skeins I’ve been working with (read: at the end of the skeins for the neverending dorm blanket), the yarn gets all tangled and just makes knitting unpleasant. KnitPicks had a portable ball winder for relatively cheap, so I’ll be getting that in the mail as well, and it will definitely be something that has a claim to room in my dorm.

Despite all the yarn that’s coming next week, I went to JoAnn’s today to buy 4 more skeins of cotton yarn to make dishcloths for my grandma and cousin – both of whom I’m going to visit in the next week. I’ve been making dishcloths with initials on them, and not only are they functional, but they’re also pretty cute. I grabbed two skeins in my cousin’s favorite colors: light blue and brown,

Denim Twists

Chocolate Ombre

and two skeins for my grandmother: blue jean and softly taupe.

Blue Jean

Softly Taupe

So there you have it, I’m a yarn-a-holic. Are you? For some reason, I’ve been really splurging on yarn lately, but I figure that by having projects in mind for them, it can’t be too bad, can it? I’d love to hear your opinions!

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Weekend Fun

Hey y’all! I’m slowly but surely shrugging off the Mondays – they hit me extra hard today because of what fun I had over the weekend.

On Friday, after class (I’m enrolled in an Introductory Economics course this summer) I drove down to New Orleans to visit a friend and just walk around – it was lots of fun, even though it was a little hot. We met at his hotel, then walked to Jackson Square, where I was able to snap a couple of nice photos.

 

After our quick photo shoot, we doubled back a bit and stopped at Johnny’s Po’Boys for lunch. Walking past it, it seems like a little hole-in-the-wall – handwritten menus, cash/check only policy, and cramped seating, but boy, was it good! My friend got a french fry po’boy, since he’s vegetarian, and it was rather funny to see starch on carbs. He redeemed himself, though, and later slathered Louisiana Hot Sauce all over it to give it more flavor. I had the chicken po’boy – it was absolutely amazing. The breading on the chicken was very light and flaky, but still so flavorful. I’ll definitely go back to Johnny’s again and again when I’m in the Big Easy.

After lunch, we walked back to Jackson Square, stopped in the cathedral, and then went to Cafe Du Monde for some beignets. These French doughnuts are mostly air, and buried under mounds of powdered sugar. Neither my friend or I came out clean from the dessert – we were absolutely covered with the powdery white sugar, but there were no regrets.

We walked for a while, just talking and popping into shops. Then I left and (of course) got stuck in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge rush hour. But no worries, I had a book on tape!

Saturday was another eventful day, since my mom finally came down to spend the summer! My dad and I cleaned the house, and awaited her arrival. I spent the time knitting (some finished objects are ready for Friday!!), and Sunday we mostly just lounged around (the three of us) trying to recoup for the week. I started another Miranda Hat with the same yarn as the first, and have gotten a decent bit of it done. I took it to class with me today in my backpack. I might have gotten a couple strange looks, but I also finished about half of a repeat! It’s coming along slowly but surely, though I must admit that I stopped at JoAnn’s for needles and came out with needles … and three skeins of cotton yarn to make dishcloths out of. Oops.

What’s your biggest weakness in the yarn store? Do you have one? I’ve been finding that I’ve been drawn to cotton yarns lately. Maybe the heat really is getting to me! Cotton yarns and small projects seem ideal to knit in the summer sun – what’s your go-to project when the heat starts to become overbearing?

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Let’s get started

I’m new to this whole “knitting blog” thing, but I must say, I’m looking forward to it. I’m a writer (well … recreational writer) and love to knit and share what I make. Unfortunately, I have no where to post pictures of the things I make … until now.

With this blog, I hope to share my experiences knitting through college: thus far it has entailed dozens of baby hats, breakdown sweaters, and everything in between. My schedule may not always say that I have time to knit, but we all know that’s not the real situation.

So, reader, here is the start of my quest to make something through college, things that are tangible, and things that serve as landmarks, both of achievement, and of progress. It is a quest to connect with the person who taught me to knit, my grandmother, who seems intent on sticking with me throughout my life, even if she’s not present. This is an adventure, meant to push myself to my knitting limits, and beyond (a little Star Trek on you … didn’t see that combination, did you?), and all the while, keep this blog as a sort of knitting journal in the digital age.

Please excuse any delays – after all, I am attempting to knit my way through college.

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