Monday, January 26, 2015

Dishcloth of the week: stashbusting with warm colors

I finally remembered to take a picture of a dishcloth!  It's the first one of the year!  Hooray!

I crocheted Dishcloth #27 from Big Book of Dishcloths last weekend and used up some scraps in the process.  The pattern is just single crochet stitches in the back loops with increases in the four corners.  Simple, but lovely.  This thing is scrubtastic.

A lot of my cotton yarn scraps fall in the category of Not Enough for a Dishcloth, But Too Much to Throw Away.  Stripes are always a good option, and this knocked out  a small ball of ecru and the last of that bright orange.  Plus, throwing in a few color changes always make a dishcloth look extra fancy, if you're into fancy dishcloths.

Which I am.

I actually crocheted and knitted quite a few dishcloths in December, but I didn't think to take pictures or write about them. And that's a bummer because some of them were super vibrant and cute. 

Oh well.  I took pictures of this one after I worked it up in the span of a regular naptime.  It was simple and quick and I felt super good about the color choices.  I also felt good about adding another dishcloth to my gift stash, because I currently have only TWO dishcloths in my whole stash and that includes a Christmas-y one that is living in a drawer at work.  I have no idea why it's there or what I was thinking when I crammed it into a drawer with paper clips and sticky notes, but I figure I had my reasons so it's going to stay there.

Oh! Before I forget, this is what the back looks like.  Sometimes that's important to me.

Pattern: #27 from Big Book of Dishcloths
Assorted worsted weight dishcloth cotton
I hook
Project page here

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Some this and that

Evelyn has been riding her bike around her grandparents' house for the past couple of days and we're excited about having her home soon.

In the meantime, Cody's been working and running errands and donating blood for the first time in quite a while.  And I'm knitting.  I haven't taken pictures of anything new in the past few days, but here are some projects I have thought to take pictures of. 

Lorne's Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  It used a little over a skein of some sport weight yarn I've had forever and I love it.

This is for Sara's birthday, which is in August.  I feel way ahead of the game with this!  It's knitting up beautifully. I bought the yarn a couple of Christmases ago, but couldn't figure out what to do with it.

I promise you that Evelyn is pleased with these!  Um, once we were able to explain that the blue thumbs were a design choice and not something 'wrong' with her mittens.

I made some big ol' changes to Elizabeth Zimmermann's 36-stitch mitten pattern.  It's basically the only mitten pattern I can make, and it's divisible by 4.  So I did some math and did some things.  And now Evelyn has some mittens!  These are basically 36-stitch mittens, but just reduced by 20% or so.  I think I knit these a bit longer than I thought I would need to, but girlfriend has long fingers.

And this!

I really liked the Age of Brass and Steam pattern that I made for Mom's birthday present, and so I made this for myself with some yarn that I've had for 2 or 3 years.  I've tried to work it into a couple of different hats and haven't liked.  I added another pattern repeat, and that used up about 75% of the skein.  I haven't taken any pictures of me wearing this, but I hope I will soon.  It wears wonderfully and I wore it last week to work.  It was fantastic!

I feel like I've been shopping from my stash a lot this month and it's been wonderful.  I've only used up 3 or 4 skeins this month, but I really like the things I've made and it's been excellent to see yarn I like knitted up into projects I love.  Also, on Sunday afternoon I went through some of my yarn and fabric (I still have fabric around here like I still think I'm going to sew things). I threw away nearly half a trash bag of fabric scraps, and then I bundled up two tote bags of yarn to donate.  Even the tote bags!  All gone!  Glorious!

There was a skein of super bulky velour pink yarn that was eye-searingly bright.  I knit a scarf with it for Evelyn on Monday.  It's not pictured, but she was pretty thrilled with it.  Maybe I can get her to model it for me when the weather gets a bit cooler.

Some of the other projects I haven't photographed in a while are some mittens for Ellis, a cloak for Evelyn that I'm just sort of winging it with some bulky yarn I want to use up, and another garter stitch shawl.  And another hat for Cody.  It's a Zimmermann pattern and my next hat to knit for a challenge to knit 15 hats in 2015.  If it works out well, I'll probably make a similar one for Casey for his birthday.  That probably means I should make one for Evelyn since she shares their birthday month. 

The March birthday people last year, all hatless.

I'm sure I'll be able to make it 20% smaller.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hey there

Hi!  We're alive and doing our thing. We're all over a cold and I'm dying of allergies, but I'll take it because of the warmer weather.

We went to Wooly Hollow yesterday and it was a terrible idea. Evelyn whined and shouted and shuffled her feet for THREE AND A HALF MILES on a very pleasant trail because she wanted to be carried/be taken to the playground.

Going to the mall?  Let's walk around enough for 5 miles and include some stairs!!  Going to a park that doesn't have big rocks to waller all over?  It's like those pictures of people trying to take their cats for a walk.

I hate playgrounds at state parks so much.  I know why they exist, but I do not drive an hour to park my car next to some awesome lakes and woods and mountains and whatever to stand around and push swings like I can do 10 minutes from my cramped apartment and the job that almost physically chains me to my desk. 

Note to self: never let Evelyn see a carrier in our home ever again. 

Anyway, she was so grumpy and disobedient and we were so hungry and wrung out (from carrying her and the destruction of our souls because before you laugh at me for attempting this please know that WE ALWAYS HIKE THE MOUNTAIN AND THEN PLAY ON THE PLAYGROUND AFTER!!  EVERY TIME!! She never stops thinking that if she rails against something hard enough we'll magically change our minds) that we stopped to use the restroom and then went home.  Seriously, we ate while driving after we had spent at least a half-mile explaining to her that she wasn't going to play on the stupid playground because she disobeyed, argued, shouted, etc.

Such a teaching moment.  I hate teaching moments.  Hate.  Like, why does the whole family have to suffer so we can explain to one person for the millionth time that we don't get to do fun things when we act ugly?  I was bracing myself for wailing and whatever. 

So we get back to our car after using the restroom and Evelyn chirps, "I had a great time hiking! That was a good adventure."  She then ate a sandwich and a bag of Cheez-Its and passed out.  We drove around for a while and enjoyed the silence and the sunny day.

She learns nothing she does not want to learn.  On one hand, this is horrifying because her will is just the absolute worst and negative consequences of awful behavior seem to be something she takes in stride.  On the other hand, a part of me is relieved that she thought the day was pretty dang good and her experience wasn't ruined by two grown adults who will let one tiny person destroy their composure. 

There are no pictures of yesterday, by the way. 

I've been knitting and crocheting through my stash.  Evelyn's been playing grocery store a lot.  Cody's been working more hours than expected.  We're all pretty great. 

Cody and Evelyn are at the store, and I'm going to do some yoga (my legs are sore and I need to move more).  I'm not sure why I took time out of my precious quiet day off to write on here, but yay!  Here's a record of our life.

Evelyn didn't want to go to the store, so I told her Cody would buy her a balloon.  She'll probably name it.  I look forward to seeing what she picks out.

Okay, I'm going to exercise, pick up the living room, pull out the painting supplies, and then brush my teeth. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Us, as seen by a small person

Evelyn wanted to take a picture of us this morning, so I put the camera strap around her neck and helped her figure out where to put her little hands.  Then Cody and I smiled for quite a while, but not as long as I thought we'd have to, and she took a few nice pictures of us.

We look older than I expected, and very tall, and incredibly happy to see her.

All of that seems wonderful.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Always in progress

I thought tonight was Wednesday and considered writing a works-in-progress post.  It's Thursday.

Still.  I'm working on a hat. 

And a shawl.

I'm using up my worsted weight acrylic yarn with granny squares that will become a blanket.

I only made 14 squares for Advent before holiday knitting got in the way.  It's not a big deal. I'm going to pack them away and try again next year.  I may even use different yarn for the blue and purple parts if I use up my yarn before then.  I'll sew all the squares together for a blanket.  It will be fine.

I'm trying to make mittens for Ellis.  I've altered a pattern beyond all recognition and it seems to work out fine.  I need to make another pair for Evelyn, even though I don't like knitting mittens for small children because they are so impossibly small.

I may unravel a shawl.  I'm still letting it sit while I think about it a bit more.

You may notice I'm not hyperlinking.  Or including many pictures.  I don't feel like it, and I'm not going to do it since I don't have to.

Man, that feels good.

I'm even unraveling some items to reknit them into things I like.  That's not even a metaphor, but if it was I would be embarrassed to extrapolate because it's so lazy and obvious.  Ugh.

I'm certainly going to make things for people this year--family members have birthdays and there are some babies I need to knit for and we're in the third year of Cody's Christmas socks.  But really, I just want to make things that I enjoy making and make things that I want to wear.

I can look at a pattern and know if I'll like it, and if I'll like the yarn.  I don't really worry about whether or not I'll look good in something because...well, I'm just not worried about it.

My goal is for 2015 (at least yarnwise) is to use up my yarn.  I can use it, sell it, get rid of it, trash it--whatever.  I just want to figure out what I'm doing with every skein in my home and then do that.  I want to be able to find stuff and reorganize my stash into things I want to have on hand for knitting into gifts and having a nice mix of holy-smokes-this-is-glorious and you-never-know-when-you'll-need-to-knit-a-hat-for-a-bland-man at all times.  Seeing yarn and knowing what I'll use it for is one of my favorite things.  There is some unraveled yarn that I already know I'll be using to make hats for Evelyn and Ellis (matching hats, different yarns).  There's some yarn that I'll probably be using for Mom.  There are hat patterns I'd like to try out for Cody because he'll wear anything.  I even want to knit a bird or two for my boss's birthday later in the month.  I've known what I'll crochet for my friend Brook for, like, 6 months now probably. 

Soon I'll have links to specific patterns and pictures and more cohesive thoughts.  But for right now I wanted to set out all the plans I have and how excited I am for this one facet of my life this year.  There are plenty of big changes ahead.  Evelyn will go to pre-school in the fall and we need to start seriously talking to schools in the area.  I can almost qualify for student loan forgiveness and I need to start taking steps to see whether it's worth it to go through the application process or if I should just try to pay that sucker off in the next year or so.

We need to hike like crazy because city living becomes less appealing every day and it's a nice way to see some nature and stretch our legs.

Cody has permanent, part-time work!!!

I'm going to knit a billion, trillion things.  Unless I decide I don't want to. 

And I certainly don't want to sound like I hated everything about 2014, or even knitting in 2014.  I made sweaters for Evelyn and Ellis.  I kept Ellis in seasonal hats.  I learned how to read symbol crochet and even figured out that thread crochet would not kill me, not even a little bit.  I made my mom a shawlette.  I enjoyed a whole lot of car knitting while we traveled around a little bit this year.  I can die happy with the amount of blankets I made in 2014 alone.  All others from here on out are just icing.

Plus, on New Year's Eve, Evelyn asked me to knit her an orange hat so I did.  Just like that.  I'm marking down the year as the year I totally did anything I put my mind to and it all worked out fine.  Did I ever tell you my birthday present was wrapped in this piece of Wonder Woman fabric that Evelyn likes because she thought I was a super mom?  I'm not bragging.  I'm maybe bragging a little. 

The face of the love of my life who sometimes lets stitches fall off the needle and unravel when she's pretending to knit on my projects, like she did with this hat.  It's fine. This is one of the things Mommy actually can fix.
Whatever. I'm going to be gentler with myself this year.  We'll try to work on Dave Ramsey's 7 steps, but my world's not going to end if I need new clothes for work or freak out if Cody suggests buying dinner some nights.  I even think I'm going to buy Evelyn a Captain America costume soon. 

And I might buy yarn for myself, but it probably won't be any time super soon.  By the way, here's the hat I'm working on.

I bought this yarn almost two years ago, and I've used some of it.  But it went on a pretty big sale at my yarn store and I wound up with 4 skeins of this yellow stuff.  This hat might use up two.  It's for me, because it's super duper yellow and that's what makes me happy.  I'm pretty sure I can cast on fewer stitches next time and make one for Evelyn.  Matching hats are my new favorite thing. 

2014 was this year I blasted this picture all over the Internet, my double chin be danged, because we were so happy when this was taken and I was so happy that we had matching hats.  It's still my profile picture on Facebook.

I made things for a dearly loved nephew, impressed people at baby showers, and tried out lots of new things.   Sometimes I even stopped hating myself for accepting help when people said "Hey, do you need help?" whenever I needed help and that was pretty cool.  And our household is mostly free of things like diapers or pacifiers (I have still have pacifiers hidden, like I'll need them if there's an emergency???).  I went to the beach, discovered that Evelyn is now a champion traveler, saw a few mountains, and freed up a huge chunk of my time and brain when I stopped trying to impress people and just starting doing my thing.  (That last part was about work.)

Now that I look back on it, 2014 probably didn't have as much running in place as it felt like at the time.  But I think 2015 will have a lot more forward motion and adventure and I'm going to be wearing a lot of glorious knitted things when it's all over.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas on the 28th

I'm pretty sure this is the last of the Christmas pictures?  I'm pretty sure, at least.

We went to church Sunday morning and took a few pictures while we still looked nice and then I had a few snapshots of Evelyn and Ellis being adorable and playing.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas morning, 2014

She jumped out of bed before we did!

Santa brought her a mechanical insect.

And some interlocking block things.  She studied the pictures in the instruction manual pretty intently before deciding she and her dad should make a bicycle.

The hat I crocheted for Cody fit great.

The hat I knitted for Evelyn should fit forever since I made it in an adult size.

At the end of the day she spotted the bag under the tree for Boris and made him open it.  I had gotten a small bottle of honey from a co-worker that Evelyn co-opted earlier in the week and wrapped up as Boris's Christmas present.  He loved it, and it now sits on the shelf of her little play kitchen.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Eve 2014

Hot chocolate with bears.

The beautiful galaxy cat t-shirts she picked out for her dad and uncles.

Cookie-decorating with Gram. She was finally big enough to really get into it this year!

She helped Cody and me hide small presents in each others stockings, and was very particular about what plates and cup we left out for Santa and the reindeer.  She also said she was going to stay up all night, but finally quieted down around 11:30.