I've noticed a trend in my knitting over the past few years. 2011 was the year of socks. No, really. I participated in the Sock Knitters Anonymous Sockdown challenge (which began in 2010) and knit a wholelotof socks that year. 2012 was the year of the cowl, because I participated in the The Great KAL. I also made a few as gifts. Oddly, my favorite two...
both went to my knitting friend Meg in swaps. That girl is cowl lucky!
So 2013 is the Year of Hats. I've already gotten few off the needles.
I'm currently working on another, which was giving me fits (more on that later!), and have several planned! In the queue:
Ruche Beret by Susan B. Anderson (yarn planned is Cascade Eco Duo)
Winter Buzz by Michelle Hunter (yarn planned is Spud & Chloe Sweater)
Anyone who knows me probably knows that my husband is *literally* the nicest guy in the whole wide world. He never has a mean thing to say about anyone and he'd do just about anything for you if you ask. I feel truly blessed that he's a part of my life, because he's so awesome! Sometimes, though, he's awesome times infinity! For my birthday, he planned a 'Day of Mystery' for me. He began hinting at the 'Day of Mystery' two or three weeks before my birthday, and I tried my darndest to find out what it was. I knew that it had to be some sort of road trip, as my dad goofed a little and told me he was watching the dogs that day. So I knew we weren't going to be in close proximity to our house. That left a few choices:
1. IKEA - I've been talking about how I might want to go here to a) get meatballs and b) look at organizational stuff.
2. Columbus - We've been saying that we wanted to go to Columbus for a while, just to shop and tool around; maybe have dinner with some friends.
3. Ft. Wayne - I've been telling Chris that I'd like to visit the brick and mortar shop for Simply Socks Yarn Company. This one was a long shot, but hey, a girl can dream that her man will take her sock yarn shopping, right?
Since I was super sleuthing it (or trying to) and we were in the midst of watching the BBC production of Sherlock, my husband started calling me Sherlock. He never would tell me if I guessed correctly, though, so I had to deduce that I was right, just by how he squirmed. But I didn't get the whole story. I had guessed that we were going to Columbus. He knows that one of my favorite places to eat when I'm there is Noodles & Company, and he had mentioned that day involved food.
What I didn't know, though, was that it also involved YARN! That's right, my husband took me to Columbus to go to yarn stores - one in particular, though he said if there were others, he'd be glad to tag along and buy me yarn. Yup, he was also buying me yarn.
We left our house around 9 a.m. and dropped the pups off at my parents house. The drive was leisurely, though, in my head I tried to continually plan out what we were going to do/where we were going to go. I know of, and really like, a few stores in Columbus, but there were only two that I truly wanted to hit up - Knitter's Mercantile and Temptations. The first stop was Knitter's Mercantile (super easy to get to from I-71). I perused the store, but had told myself that I was only going to get something if I couldn't easily get it near Akron. My main goal was something by Spud & Chloe, but if something struck, I'd get it. Sadly, no yarn struck me at Knitter's Mercantile, but the buttons sure were calling my name! I purchased 3 pedestal buttons in Chocolate leather...
1 button to enclose my needlebook case...
and 3 other random buttons for a (hopefully) cardigan.
After that, it was off to Temptations. I went a different way than normal, and as I was getting close to Temptations, what did I see practically right next door? A Jeni's!! I have heard awesome things about this ice cream, but the 1 little batch that I got... well... it wasn't my favorite. I know my husband and he is ALWAYS up for ice cream, so I made a note that we had to stop there after the yarn store.
Tempatations, as always, failed to disappoint! They had exactly what I was looking for, but I didn't know it until I discovered something else I wanted. Every yarn store has samples, and if the sample is a hat or mittens, I'm compelled to try them on! The Winter Buzz mittens caught my eye first, followed closely by it's matching slouchy hat. I'm always saying I'd like to make a matching hat and mitten set (to whom, I don't know. You've probably never heard me say that! But I tell it to myself all the time) and this set fit the bill. I figured if I found some yarn I liked, then I'd make the set. Lo and behold, they had Spud & Chloe sweater!
3 skeins turned out to be *just enough* yardage to make both the hat and the mittens. I thought the store sample hat was a wee bit big, so I might see if I can size it down just a bit. The mittens, though, fit like a dream. I plan on making those first, and then making the hat. That should be the best way to conserve yardage. The ladies that work at the store were supremely helpful, and gave me some good tips on possibly getting my ball winder fixed!*
After we had purchased the yarn, it was nearly lunch time, but I wasn't about to head out without trying a bite of the Jeni's. This time, the flavor I picked was a definite winner!
Sorry for the insanely dark photo... iPhone
I got Wildberry Lavendar, and boy, was it amazing! I'd definitely get that again. Chris, however, got Salty Caramel, which happens to be the only flavor I've ever tried before, and, not surprisingly, he wasn't impressed. To me, it tastes like burnt sugar. Which, I realize, is basically what caramel is, but you can make it flavorfully. I warned him, though!
The rest of the day was all about 'regular' shopping - though we did eat Noodles & Company before hitting up Easton. We just walked around mostly, but it was such a spectacular day that the walking was awesome! We did go into The Container Store, which Chris fell in love with. While we were there, they had a travel demonstration. I mentioned how nice Chris is, right? Well, he's so nice, we participated (I would have walked away) and I ended up winning a $15 gift card!
After that, we hit up Polaris, but only for a minute. I wanted to go to The Great Indoors, but sadly (very sadly!), it was going out of business. Thanks to the 70% off/Everything MUST Go Sale, we ended up getting a really nice lamp set for a steal. At this point in the day, I was exhausted. Chris and I drove back over to Dublin, had dinner at Pizzeria Uno, and maybe got more ice cream at Graeters. Can i just say that the Coconut Chocolate Chip is awesome?! Truly.
We didn't get home until after midnight (which is WAY late for us!). It was truly a wonderful day. I'm so grateful that my husband is as thoughtful and caring as he is.
I had a wonderful time last Saturday with my knitting group at the Great Lakes Fiber Show. We saw some awesome alpacas...
and some roving...
Know what I didn't see? Any dark wood crochet hooks that didn't cost $20 each. So you know what I brought home? These pictures. And some super great memories of hanging out with my friends. I rode down to the show with Meg, whom I always enjoy talking to at group, but have never had a chance to talk to outside of knitting group. I enjoyed our ride immensely, and am glad I got to know her better! We had Stacey and her fiancee in the car on the way down, and it was fun talking to Adam about zany celebrities (he works at a Theater). A few of us got to have lunch, too, though we sort of separated at the show and had a hard time finding everyone when we were ready to go get lunch. It was a pretty great day, even if I didn't increase the size of my stash!
Today, my knitting group is attending the Great Lakes Fiber Show, a local 'sheep and wool' held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster, OH. I have attended this show for about 4 or 5 years, and each year, it grows. This thrills me to no end as there is such an interest in knitting/spinning/crochet/weaving that it warms my heart. I love seeing other people who love the things I love. However, I don't need yarn! I believe last year, when I attended with my friends Mary and Andrea, I bought a niddy noddy and a 40" size 8 needle. I can't remember any yarn coming home with me. That will probably be the case this year, as well. What I really want - and TOTALLY don't need - are some beautiful crochet hooks. I'll be on the lookout!
No matter if I need yarn or not, my reason for visiting this show - or any fiber-related event - is the camaraderie! I seriously have one of the greatest knitting groups on the planet. These ladies (and gentleman) are funny, charming, intelligent, and just all-around wonderful! My Wednesday nights would not be the same without them.
I have completed my first month of the ravelry sockdown with flying colors. This pair of socks was completed in 11 days, with ends woven in and everything! You can't tell from the picture, but these socks are pretty darn close to being twins, as the splotchyness occurring after the heel is happening on both socks. All in all, I like the socks, though the yarn is a bit thick for my tastes. I'm glad to be done.
Next month's challenge is underappreciated patterns, holiday stockings or socks designed by Hunter Hammersen. I'm anxious to see what patterns fall into the underappreciated pattern category, but I'm really leaning toward knitting up a holiday stocking. Last year, before our wedding, I bought yarn to make the New Ancestral Christmas Stocking from the second Mason-Dixon book. I really feel like that will be a fun thing to knit - more so than just a pair of socks. However, my yarn stash, which just keeps getting bigger, really is begging to be knit down. There is no law that says I can't do both, but what about Christmas presents? Seriously, shouldn't there be more time to knit in the day?
Last week, I was reading Andrea's blog. She mentioned how she was knitting her first true pair of socks for herself (congrats!) and that she joined a ravelry group, Sock Knitter's Anonymous. Her motivation behind this group sign-up was to join their annual SOCKDOWN challenge, a monthly knit-along for sock knitters. Now, I've belonged to the Sock Knitter's Anonymous group for a while now, and I've been trying very hard this year to stick to a "pair a month" plan for whittling down the sock yarn, however, I've never really, truly tried an organized knit-along. I've wanted to, but clearly, my motivation is highly lacking, as I've never really signed up. Oh wait, I take that back, I did a Jaywalker KAL several years back (and even won a prize), but since then, I haven't even tried. So after reading what Andrea, an amazing knitter of only one year, was planning on doing, I figured I should get off my lazy arse and get in gear. So I signed up. And amazingly enough, I have nearly half of a sock done.
This sock represented a gigantic challenge for me, as I'm not a big fan of the Mediumweight Socks That Rock and I really don't like THICK socks. I'm used to knitting socks with true fingering weight yarn on size 1 (2.25mm) needles. I like my socks to be knit very tightly and turn out rather thin. This sock is a definite stray from my norm, but I'm enjoying it. Whether or not it will make the cut to be a cute sock with some Mary Janes is yet to be determined, but for now I'm enjoying the speed with which this sock is coming together. And I'm digging on the stripes, which is why I fell in love with Socks that Rock in the first place.
I've also completed a few projects since I last blogged, but since this a sock post, I figure I'll just share the socks. Like I stated above, I'm attempting a self-imposed sock club (ala the Yarn Harlot), which is somewhat working, but I'm just coming out with boring, plain vanilla socks. I love them, but I need a bit of a change. Here are my two latest endeavors in the vanilla world of socks.
Pattern: My own sock formula, CO 64 stitches, Yarn-Over short-row heel
Yarn: Scout's Swag, Sis' Boom Bah' (not seeing it on her site, but it was awesome to work with!)
Needles: US1, 2.25mm
These have been off the needles for a while. I got this at a stash sale that Andi, Mary (and Mary's daughter) and I went to last year. Super great deal and an awesome day! Mary's daughter found a trampoline and was jumping on it calling it a Jumpoline. Just about made my year. I can't look at a trampoline without calling it a jumpoline.
Pattern: Same as above, CO 64 stitches, Yarn-Over short-row heel
Yarn: Regia Canadian Colors, 4737 (can't remember what Canadian city it corresponds with)
Needles: US1, 2.25mm
These clearly aren't completely off the needles, but I'm done knitting them. They've been done for about a week, but sometimes that Kitchener stitch just alludes me. Not meaning that I have issues with it, I just sometimes don't feel like doing it. They'll keep on those needles until its time for hand-knitted socks, which doesn't have to come any time soon!
I got the recipe from this book, and boy was it worth the work! And by work, I mean using the food processor I received from my parents for the first time. Chris has used it to grate cheese, but I'm more of a mini-prep kind of girl. The food processor was big and scary to me. But now that I've used it, I love it!
My first attempt at ice cream resulted in chocolate all over my kitchen counter (apparently the food processor has a hole in the center or the bowl... who knew?). My second attempt resulted in the richest, cremiest, chocolatey-est ice cream EVER! So rich and creamy that it needed to be cut with some store bought vanilla. Only a few spoonfuls and you're done. There will be much more ice cream in the future - as a matter of fact, I'm chilling some pumpkin ice cream as I write this.
Chris and I have some major plans this summer. It started with our reception a few weeks ago. Memorial Day saw us putting some finishing touches on our Kitchen Remodel. We really only have to repaint our cabinet doors and install the baseboard, and we're done! Last weekend was my birthday, which had us busy, busy, busy! And this weekend, we're going to Charleston, South Carolina for a friend's wedding. I think next weekend, I can breathe. During the time between our reception and now, I finished a pair of socks:
I do believe that someday I will start taking pictures with my good camera, and not my iPhone.
Speaking of my camera, for my birthday Chris bought me a very nice 50mm lens. I had signed up for a photography course at the local University, but vacation plans for the summer got in the way, and sadly, I won't be taking it. But the lens was already purchased before I dropped the class. I love it, but the weather here in Ohio has been... sketchy. It is either raining or humid, and the sun don't shine (though as I type this sentence, it looks like its gorgeous outside!). I haven't had a chance to really take any pictures with the new lens on my camera in good lighting. I do have a few pictures, but haven't processed them yet. They don't look great on my camera, but that doesn't mean anything.
I am thinking of continuing my busy summer by signing up for a different photography workshop, this one geared toward fiber artists. It is a weekend workshop in Versailles, KY with Gail Zucker. I hate to leave my husband with the dogs alone for a weekend, so I haven't signed up for the workshop yet. I'm still thinking. Anyone want to convince me that its necessary for me to go?
July 17 will see Chris and I heading down to South Carolina a second time, only this time, we'll be heading to vacation spot extraordinaire - Myrtle Beach. The vacation spot wasn't my choice. Every year, Chris's ENTIRE family goes down there. This year, our work schedules allow us to go, too. It should be a good time, even though it is SO CROWDED down there. I'll just forget about the crowds and have a good time. I survived Las Vegas, twice! Myrtle Beach will be a breeze. Besides, there's a ton of liquor left over from our reception, along with LOTS of margarita mix. We'll just have the party suite, and will be fine!
A friend of Chris's, and by extension a friend of mine, and his girlfriend are having a baby in June. Their baby shower was this weekend, but unfortunately, I couldn't go. We (finally) had our wedding reception, which was a super blast! I decided to make something for the baby a long time ago, but the parents didn't want to know the gender. So off to Ravelry to find a suitable, gender-nonspecific knitted or crocheted item. I started off looking for a floppy bunny pattern, but none really jumped out at me. Then, I happened upon this pattern (rav linky). Adorable, doesn't look too hard to do, probably a quick knit. I was correct on all counts. I started it on May 8 and finished on May 20. I didn't work on it nonstop, so it wasn't a stressful project. And it is adorable!!!
Apparently, it was a big hit at the shower. I'm glad the happy parents-to-be enjoyed it. Congratulations Dane and Katie!!!