(Almost) FO Friday and Knitspiration

Y’all didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you?? I’m on my way to North Carolina, but thought y’all would want an update on Friday as well. What are your weekend plans? I’m visiting my cousin, and we’re going to have fun going to a pool party and shopping around her favorite places in North Carolina. I’m so excited to see her again – it’s been close to 9 months since our last visit, and it’s certainly time for another one!

I’m cheating a bit for these FOs, since one of them isn’t technically finished … yet … but it probably will be by the time this posts automatically (technology these days!).

I’ve been making initialed washcloths for my cousin and grandmother as hostess gifts, and though I finished the one for my cousin in about a day, the one for my grandma is taking a bit longer. Nevertheless, it WILL be finished by Sunday, at the very latest. I bought two chunks of soap from LUSH on Wednesday to wrap in the dishcloths – the soap smells amazing, and it’ll be hard to let them go. I bought 1/4 lb. of their Lust soap for my cousin – the jasmine scent just relaxes me, and the subtle florals underneath make it just smell divine. I opted for about 1/4 lb. of their Honey I Washed the Kids soap for my grandmother – it has a very soft scent of honey and floral, and I love the way that one side of the soap has an actual honeycomb in it. I love the soaps LUSH sells, and can feel right about buying them, since a lot of their products are organic, and none have been tested on animals.

With the two washcloths, that’s it for the FOs of the week, but I’m hoping to crank out another washcloth and perhaps a Miranda Hat or two during my trip. I’m a bit nervous that I didn’t pack enough yarn, but I’m sure I can find LYSs around the areas I’ll be.

There have been tons of good posts for knitspiration in the past week. Here are some of my favorites:

  • I love Wendy’s new poncho – though I’m not a huge fan of ponchos on me, I love the subtle cables running down the front and back of hers.
  • Cassy’s Jaywalker socks are so adorable – I love the colorway and the simple pattern that really lets the yarn pop!
  • These socks that Quince & Co. posted are absolutely to-die-for. I love the colorwork, and how using just two colors can be so striking.
  • Evelyn’s Wonder Blanket is motivating me to start my own ASAP – I can only imagine the texture of all the yarns knit together, and her slipped stitch in the center of the blanket to allow for a clean fold is brilliant – the tiniest things can sometimes make a world of difference.

What have been your favorite posts? I’ve been finding that a lot have helped inspire me to think about new projects I can start, and how I can incorporate new techniques into what I already know how to do.

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Blog-A-Long and Travel Plans

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been busy running errands to get ready for my upcoming trip to North Carolina and Florida (eep!), but have also had a substantial amount of time to peruse Ravelry and other blogs. What I stumbled across is a blog-a-long, called a Year of Projects (Year 2). With this, everyone motivates each other to finish the projects we’ve set out to finish at the start of the year (in this case, July 1st).

I’m taking part in this mostly because I need to be held ‘responsible’ for my yarn addiction – I don’t necessarily want to buy all the yarn that I’ve been buying and then start projects only to leave them half-finished once school begins. By checking in with other bloggers, not only do I meet a lot of people and read more blogs, but I have made a sore of promise to someone regarding what I want to accomplish.

So, without further ado, my list of projects I’d like to complete in the next year:

  • Lightweight Pullover for a study sweater – I’ve already bought the yarn for this, and have plans to knit it during the Olympics
  • Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig – this was the other pattern I was considering to make during the Olympics
  • Finish the dorm blanket – ideally before school starts, though that may be hard with travelling and moving
  • Begin/continue the Wonder Blanket made of scraps
  • I’d love to wind all of my yarn, and this may be something that’s ongoing during school breaks and whatnot, since I have no idea how much yarn I have up north
  • I’d really like to complete at least 15 hats/scarves for SWAP (Scarves With A Purpose), the knitting group on campus, since it’s always nice to knit for charity, and it would definitely give me a break from school, and a chance to socialize with fellow knitters
  • Learn how to knit socks. I have yarn coming, but I’m somewhat nervous that the yarn will just sit in my stash for a while.
  • Crochet a granny square afghan/lap blanket – ideally, I could get an ombre look using this yarn, and I think it would be great as a gift (for who, I have no idea)
  • I’d also like to do more colorwork – perhaps a yoke sweater? I’ve been drawn to this one and this one (though the second one seems to be written in Norwegian)

Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure other various projects will pop up along the way, but these are the main goals I have for the year. I hope I have time for them all! What are your goals for the year? Do does your to-do list ever seem overly ambitious?

 

With that, I leave you for a week so that I can travel. I can try to post perhaps next week, but uninterrupted blogging/Internet time is far from guaranteed. I’ll try to put some stuff in queue so that y’all aren’t bored. How does that sound?

 

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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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Friday FO and Knitspiration

It’s hard to believe that an entire week has passed since I’ve finished the baby sweaters and such. In just seven days, I’ve finished two Miranda Hats, as well as one of three initialed dishcloths! Despite the sheer yardage of the projects (500 yards total for all three objects), it doesn’t feel as if I’ve been knitting during every free moment. Rather, I’ve had a decent amount of car time and sitting time in local quilt stores with my mom.

I finished my first Miranda Hat,

and three days later finished my second.

As soon as I finished that, I cast on for a cute Initialed Dishcloth. Thought I wasn’t a huge fan of the inverted stockinette stitch, the washcloth knit up very quickly, and before I knew it, I was casting off last night while watching TV! Up next are two ‘E’s, made with the denim and indigo colored cotton yarn I bought earlier in the week. I still need to block the first washcloth, but I’m still debating as to how I’m going to do that.

In the near future, I’m hoping to finish the two other washcloths, and maybe another hat (I love the pattern, but just want something that takes a bit more brain power). Hopefully the yarn for my Lightweight Pullover will come soon!

Throughout the week, I’ve found some amazing knitters and their projects, some of which I wish I could try, or emulate in a little way:

  • I would absolutely love to be a part of this Sock Club. I love that she hand-dyes the yarn, and includes little gifts along with the sock yarn every month. Some of the colors are just to die for!
  • My next purchase may be a ball winder – I like this one from KnitPicks. It’s cheap, small, and it looks easy to use. That way, I can have center-pull balls of yarn for easier travel.
  • I love Glenna’s post about buying yarn a season ahead. It may not seem logical to be buying bulky wool in the middle of summer, but it sure will help once colder weather starts creeping in! Plus, that was you don’t have to speed knit sweaters in order to stay warm.
  • Cassy’s tour of her stash, as well as the perils of buying yarn online, really intrigued me. I always love seeing how other people organize their yarn, and her green/black yarn conundrum had me hoping that the yarn I ordered for my sweater is actually true-to-color!

Well, that’s it for this week. Do you have any fun weekend plans? I think we’re going to just hang around the house – I have a class final exam tomorrow morning, but after that, it’ll officially be summer vacation!

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Happy birthday, America!

Today’s holiday should have been used for studying, after all, what’s more American than apple pie, hot dog eating contests, and Introduction to Microeconomics? Instead, I’ve slept in and have knit. Yup, that’s it.

I finished another Miranda Hat for charity (pictures to come on Friday), and have started knitting an initialed washcloth out of the Ecru color (the cream-ish skein from this picture). I’m putting a ‘C’ on it, and will follow this one up with two others, both with ‘E’s knit into them – that way, when they’re all put together, they’ll be my full initials.

I haven’t quite gotten to the initialed part of the washcloth yet, but I’m just sitting here with pretzels, Beckett (my camera), and the directions, chugging away at it. As much as I love making hats, I found that I was getting a bit bored of them … and truth be told, I’m feeling a tad like a traitor for using the green color for the hats  (it’s the color of my college’s rival school). Hopefully using cream and blues will help wash away some of the filth that comes with knitting with that color … before I have to pick it up again, since I have about 500 yards remaining to use up.

I’m hoping to finish the washcloths quickly, since I can’t cast on another hat until these needles free up. I leave next Friday to travel for a week, and am hoping to have a hat on the needles by then. Unfortunately, I’ve been finding that knitting with cotton dries out my hands (I wonder why that doesn’t happen when I wear cotton clothing …), so the going is slow. If I like the way the pattern comes out, I know that I’ll make some washcloths for my mom, perhaps for her birthday or the holidays.

In other news, I finally took the plunge and ordered yarn for my Lightweight Pullover. I recently fell in love with Quince & Co. and Hannah Fettig‘s designs, and have been itching to start this sweater – I think it would be a perfect dorm study sweater – something to throw on with a pair of jeans or sweatpants and just hunker down to study. Doesn’t it look so cozy?

I had some trouble deciding between fingering and dk weight yarn, so I compromised and ordered sport: this yarn, in fact.  In the sagebrush colorway.Hopefully I’ll get it in the next week or so – I can’t wait to see the color!

I’m hoping to start this sweater by the end of July, just in time for the Ravellenic Games 2012! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the Games are knitting events that correspond with the Olympic Games – there are spin-offs from the real events, as well as some made-up ones especially for knitters. Throughout the Games, I’ll be “competing” in Baby Dressage, Sweater Triathlon, Charity Rowing, Hat Dash, Synchronized Stash Busting, and Single Skein Sprint. It’s a lot of events, but most of the items will cross-count in multiple categories.

Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? What about the Olympic Games?

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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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