Thursday, January 29, 2015

Knitters are the best

You guys are fantastic. Thanks so much for the great advice.

You all overwhelmingly agree to stick with the smaller needles for the ribbing. So this is what I'll do.

My thanks to Araignee and Autumngeisha for reminding me that garment knitting often takes multiple passes.  --"Most of mine require a bit of a wrestling match before I can wear them :)"


Anyhow I've decided I am going to first take Karen's advice and give the old Brown Bear (this has become the sweater's new name) in a time out for 2 weeks and then sit down with it and give it some proper TLC.

Meanwhile I have been knitting in purple with the glee of an uninhibited knitter. Right weight yarn with the wrong needle. Probably gonna run out of yarn. So bright but so wrong. 

Can't stop, won't stop, give it to me.

I'm plotting another similar weight yarn to absorb the end of the shawl. Not stripes but more color blocking.

In the zone.

What's floating your boat? What projects are you punishing? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sneak Peak: It's Pip Squeak in progress and a request for some knitting advice

This is my latest attempt at ankle socks. I figured since I messed up some vanilla ankles, why not just up the game and see if I can throw some pattern in it for a second pass.

Also the pair up between last year's Downton Abbey KAL colorway (Christmas at Downton) and Pip Squeak seem really good for each other. The example pattern photo has a nice variegated colorway, so I'm hoping to get something as cute out of it. We'll see.

Knitting in 2015 has brought all kinds of challenges, but I like knitting so it's OK ;)

The Common Ground sweater has me sort of ... sad. I cast off and I knew instantly something was wrong. Bunched up on the needles I could not see just how bunched up my bands were. From the torso down. The chest and hood area turned out fairly nice.

At first I was hoping I could block it out. (Isn't this always the initial optimistic thought process?) And then I realized, it's not happening. I'll need to pull it out and try again.

I know, sassy outfit right? Too sexy for this blog;)
It's okay because it's ribbing and it's pretty painless after pick up.

The real sadness comes that I'm not really in love with the design anymore. I think it's the garter stitch of the shoulder/ short sleeve area.  It's very boxy. Even in the dark yarn, it makes me feel like a linebacker.

Surprise though, the hood actually kinda fits on my ginormous hood!

This is my "I didn't realize I'm THAT tired" photo
So here's the thing my lovelies. We all know I over think everything so I could use some advice.
Do I pull out the ribbing and re-do with the larger needle. (I don't know why but the bottom edge ribbing is with the larger (US10) needles but the one for the front and collar is smaller (US9).

Or do I stick with the smaller needle as directed and just modify how many stitches I pick up in the torso, um evenly?

OR ... do I do a combination of both -- use the larger needle and try and pick up my stitches more and more evenly despite whatever the pattern says (also known as ... off the deep end, going rogue.)

Your sage commentary is always welcome and helpful. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Weekends & Redirection

Apparently Redirection is not just for URLs and a parenting behavior tool.

Apparently it's part of my default weekend mentality. I get a game plan. I get excited.

Then somewhere between Friday evening and Saturday noon. I change it up. I'd like to say it's my zeal for life and spontaneity and my super, devil may care attitude.

Really, it's more like Weekend Warrior version of ADD. That's okay, I try to at least redirect that energy in a productive way for the greater (okay maybe just my own household and friend circle's) good. I'm working on it.

Let me be clear this time, I'm not complaining. However, I completely reserve the right to complain in a tongue and cheek way in the future. And I really hope you all continue to laugh along with me, because, yes! those silly things from the last post that were small frustrations, though genuinely irritating me are funny. And I'm so grateful to laugh at them. I'm so grateful you were laughing too.

Sheesh Christmas, we need to keep laughing, right? If I forget how, you completely have the right to kick me in the butt or pull the stick out of it. Please don't let me be "that person".

Okay back to the weekend ...  I was determined to knit the weekend away like a crazy lady. In reality, I sort of piece meal knit. You'll have to wait for knitting photos. But knitting happened. In fact I was scolded for knitting at midnight on a school night in bed. But I was determined to bind off before I began another work week. (Also an excellent show The Making of a Lady was on t.v. and I couldn't look away.)

Anyways what was I doing besides the usual tidy, putter, cook, laundry, dishes?

I had a lovely date with the Manfriend, while The Kid went to a movie sleepover birthday extravaganza. The Manfriend indulged me, and we had oysters, shoestrings and some fennel with prosciutto. 

I watched the entire soccer match on Sunday morning on my own, alone and I could talk at the t.v. all I wanted. Alas, CJ called the outcome and Arsenal kicked our arse (I know, too easy, but still it's funny! No really, it is!!) all over the place. Still that lovely moment was just what I wanted.

When I got back from the gym (we stagger on Sunday mornings) the boys demonstrated how to seriously lounge with a book and football on the t.v. The little one napped a lot recovering from a fun night. We also found out he woke up at 5:30 to upchuck. He admitted he was dehydrated. How does one not worry when their tweener clearly does not demonstrate one of the most basic survival skills ... DRINK WATER. Okay enough of that sMothering.

I had some special requests for lunch for loungers and decided to tackle another project I had been discussing with HM since I was going to be in the kitchen anyhow.

I decided to work on a batch of Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken .

A photo posted by @ellie_elle_elns on

Seasoning, taste was on, but the color was off and so was my desired crispness, but that's my frying technique and not so much the recipe. I'd do it again.

The Kid took a Red Cross Babysitting course with a couple friends.

I'm sorry, but those CPR toddler mannequins were creeping the boys out. ha! They seemed to have a good time. I'm really proud of them taking the course. So I made sure there were some sweet treats to come home to before I lost their happy chatter and stories to the world of video games. Some old favorites...

A photo posted by @ellie_elle_elns on

I'm not pulling your leg. I got some knitting bits and bobs coming. I hope you had a great weekend. As always, thanks for coming by.

* Also, I just figured out how to embed photos from Instagram, so I wanted to try it out. Is it weird, too redundant to use the same photos? I'm not sure how I feel about the embedding vs. reposting. Well, we all know how well I do with sticking to a plan ;)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Friday whatnot waiting on Sunday

Alright, I need to simmer down. I have a strong desire to spit some serious first world problems at you.

I really need to get over myself is what I'm trying to say ...

Ha! You think you're off that easy? No way. I'm going to complain but I'm also going to tell you about some pretty awesome things in my life.

Let's start with the knit club. The bulky sweater was not finished in time for Knit Club night, but look at that crew! Lots of laughter and a teeny weenie knitter in training as well ...

And for reals, this IS the weekend my friend. The final final for that damn sweater. 

I had dinner on Wednesday with people that have all worked together at some point or worked for the same place. We had a Hakka Chinese feast. Then we went for some boba desserts, or as we were referring to them, Buckets of Boba.

That's the good stuff, that and a lovely dinner at home with my family where they explained to me the way the world works.

Also I returned some, "what was I thinking?" clothes. Also known as "Almost but not quite worth the money, honey." clothes.

On the less fabulous hand ...

I pulled out an ankle sock I was working on, because I wasn't convinced it was "right". It was dark. It was late. I haven't exercised.

Oh yeah, and I haven't exercised formally since Sunday and apparently this is not a good thing for me. I'm literally twitchy now. Twitchy in a way that makes you pull out ankle socks that were probably just fine ...

I went to get supplies for my friend's Gatsby Necklace I wanted to make.
  • The brick and mortar didn't have the yarn.
  • The Webs is out of stock of the color I want. Wait everywhere is out of stock of the color I want.
  • I'm baffled about purchasing seed beads.
  • This is going to require more effort before I even get started than I realized. Le sigh.
I tried to send a knitting friend a mini care package. I don't know what happened, if the site was mad at Paypal or if Paypal was mad at the site or if everyone was mad at my browser settings. Regardless, it took a first attempt, 1 cancellation, 1 phone call to the 800 number, 1 unable to cancel order email from them, 1 uptight knitter email regarding the status of my order. Then as SOON as I sent the email I got the 2nd cancellation confirmation... oops said the angry knitter.

After all that, I'm still going to have to go out in the real world and go to the real post office with a lot of other real cranky people. Damn. Next week I will conquer all.

And I will exercise on Sunday. My sister is about to pass me on our Fitbit leader board. We can't have that. Remember I'm the older sister. There is rank and order that has to be maintained ;)

And I'll re-cast on some ankle socks.

And there is Manchester City soccer on Sunday at a reasonable hour on a channel I get. Sunday. Things will be right by then.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New stuff, my random commentary and the weekend highlights

The problem with joining Knit Alongs is getting sucked into other people's problems. This would be the project bag problem. People were putting their new Works in Progress into new Project bags. What can I say. I embraced my inner lemming and found some fun (and pink!) project bags over at Etsy. Etsy aka the danger zone and they came this weekend!

I am a huge fan of the box bag, so I got one of those and decided to try a drawstring one. Semiferrgrrl was really sweet and sent me the little traveler as a bonus gift. By the way this order came really quickly and I was really touched by not just the gift, but her little note on her desire to provide good customer service. This is my purchase with her, but I wouldn't be surprised if I return (shh, don't rat me out to the family!)

Look at the lining! Fun right? It's perfect for me. I'm going to stick my travel pack (bus pass/ID/1 major cc /debit card all bound with a produce rubberband) in there with a travel size tissue and lip balm. ALWAYS travel with lip balm -- words to embrace, people. My biggest regret in my labor & delivery? NO lip balm, mind you I didn't even have a bag packed, so cut me some slack.  Seriously, screw the epidural (no I didn't get one in time), what I would've done for a glass of water and some cherry flavored Chapstick. In the back of my jumbled mind, the feelings of that memory are so vivid.

Okay returning from memory lane, I also wanted to share this Christmas acquisition. This was one of the many generous gifts from my pal HM. She makes it rain on me like Christmas all year round as it is, so this was really excessive. But I thanked her profusely, I promise!

Anyhow, this is my "snack set" also known in some circles as a "tennis set". You may recognize the pattern from Spode. I have a few of these pieces in my kitchen. Pasta plates and a sandwich serving platter. They bring me great joy. (Pioneer woman I think has them too :)

She found this online for me and I love it. It's perfect for when I sneak into my room (where I'm not supposed to eat) when boy domination has taken over our little living room or for Sat/Sun mornings for a little toast and tea or coffee watching soccer, easing my way into the weekend. (insert swooning here).

The boys think it's kind of unnecessary -- seeing how we already have both plates and cups.  I'm reassured by this. It makes me think, they won't use it and therefore it's life expectancy has just grown.

On another note this is a weekend highlight. It's one of the best cups of coffee I've had in 2015. Random, but true, like so much of my life ;)

And this is just another shot to prove:

a) I put photos in my posts.

b) I might have a slight problem with blue and white dishes. I got this one in Chinatown a long time ago.

Things that happened this weekend:
  • Some crude attempts at free-ish hand embroidery. I don't really want to talk about it. It isn't an absolute fail, but it's definitely more Regretsky than Etsy...
  • I finished the sleeves on my cardigan, alas not the edging. I am sticking to my mission and really avoiding working on anything else till this thing gets done. It's hard. It's so very ... hard.
  • The Kid had his first futsal match this winter and I'm pleased that his muscles haven't totally given in to atrophy and he's got some physical coordination left beyond the hand muscles used for video game domination. (aye me!!)
  • I made some brownies for the team and none were left! I did forget the toffee bit topping, but you know, no-one knew but me, hehe.
  • I got 2 days of exercise in but my sister passed me in the Steps leader board for the week in our little family Fitbit competition. I think it frightens my husband and son a little how naturally competitive my side of the family is. Well get out of the way while we get to winning -- what? I'm just kidding!!
What made your weekend or what did you make this weekend? Are you already day dreaming all moon-eyed for the next one like me?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pile o' knittin'

That hot mess on my kitchen table is my Common Ground in progress.

It's hard to contain.

As you can see I'm getting somewhere with it and I'm going to get it done by Monday. TRUST.

Every time I look at it as a whole though, I start twitching. It's the "hood". The word gets quotation marks because that hood is going to be decorative at best, even when I add in two inches of ribbing. I went back over the instructions, and I SWEARs it, I did follow the pattern, my precious. I do notice a few "issues" with the hood in other knitter's notes ... after the fact of course.

It doesn't matter if it's not functional.

Really, it doesn't. I'm taking a page from WoolyThyme's rabbit hole and saying "Whatever" and I'm gonna mean it too.

I think what is unsettling about this project is the closer I get to finishing the less I'm liking it. Does this ever happen to you?  I'm preparing to drop this baby at the fire station if you know what I'm sayin'. This may just be the race to the finish line talking.

I just need to calm myself and keep my eye on the prize. Socks. I'm going to sock crazy town with the MSK group and trying the Personal Mystery Sock Yarn Club .  I actually grabbed sock yarn out of my homemade mystery sock box that was from a Downton Abbey Mystery KAL that I failed to do, ha! I think I will try either Hermione's Everyday socks or Show-off Stranded socks. If you have an opinion on a pattern, let me know. I think I'll go back to plain stockinette after that, just to keep the momentum of socks going.

I think while I'm at it, I'll risk the wrath of the knitting world and admit, the shine for the show Downton Abbey has completely faded for me. I didn't make it through the first episode of the new season. I might try again, but I'm not feeling the need to try very hard. I still appreciate it though.

You know what I was in love with the other night on tv? Murder in the Caribbean with Ms. Marple, the newest version. Ms. Marple knits even on the turquoise edge of a beach, gotta love her, right?

 What's in your pile o' knittin'? What are you enjoying watching or listening to as your needles go clickety clack? What are you feelings on Agatha Christie? Can we still be friends ;)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Peppermint Socks and Progress

Look, look! It's a sense of completion!

I told you I finished knitting those Peppermint socks during my Christmas Tree time.

The stats:
  • Knitpick Felici in Cheer
  • Cast on 60
    US 1.5
    2x2 rib
  • Slip stich heel
The Assessment: A little snug in width. I think I might need to increase my cast on, but for how much is my question. hmm. I do not think it's a good idea to go up a needle size though, I will lose the gauge and it will be too loose.

Meanwhile back at the boringtown ranch, I have had a few old FOs I dug up that require weaving in. I won't show them to you because they are old and I'm irritated with them for making me feel obligated to move them OUT. However they are finding homes and that is good right? My scrap blanket will go to a young gentleman who really enjoys lounging. His mother tells me his favorite present this year was a bathrobe. I think this will be a welcome addition to his lounging attire and video gaming.

I found some yarn that was supposed to be for another scrap blanket that I abandoned (last winter?) while poking around over the holiday break. Damnit. I'm going to have to work on that now too. Ellen's bedroom where abandoned knits go to increase levels of crafting guilt.

I can't talk new socks right now. Though what I really want to talk about is new socks. I can't talk to you about new socks on the needles, because there aren't any. There are a few that have been put on time out and that's okay they aren't new.

So, I'll talk to you about my bulky cardigan that is slowly coming to life. I'm enjoying this bulky progress (kind of like my personal bulk enjoyed having the enormous amounts of indulgent food in the apartment for 2 weeks) I finished "the hood" and have started a sleeve. I'm trying to stay awake enough at night so I do not screw up the shaping. So that leaves 1.5 sleeves and some snappy ribbed edging and the dreaded weave-in left (thank goodness it's seamless).

My dream is to have this thing done by next week Monday night. Knit Club. Those ladies apparently like me for my ability to share an appetizer or dessert and a few laughs, but who are we kidding, I want to bring in an FO.

* Random Note: The fridge is kinda normal now. I'm trying to eat healthier, but let me tell you tunafish on rice crackers ain't got nothin' on peanut butter M&Ms and scalloped potatoes. I think scalloped potatoes are my new mashed potatoes which is like saying hey I might think I might get another husband, not a NEW husband, but ANOTHER one.  Ha!

Monday, January 5, 2015

ZOMG: We have winners!

Chrisknits you are nĂºmero ocho! Our December giveaway winner!

Thanks for your patience while I was in holiday mode.

I'll contact you via ravelry for a mailing address.

Chrisknits wins 4 balls of Knitpicks Andean Silk in a lovely blue. Perfect for some winter knitting :)

However I also have one more runner-up prize! The random number generator then picked #7, Mereknits!

(Crazy random right? Chrisknits AND Mereknits -- perhaps I'll become ElleKnits to be cool too? and then selecting the number 8 and then the number 7? I feel like it's parallel day? Sequential day? I dunno, I think it's neat.)

Mereknits wins on this worsted weight giveaway 2 balls of Plymouth Yarn Kudo. I made a lovely cowl with this in a lavender colorway a few years ago. I'm sure Mere you will be able to turn it into something fun with the color changes with your great crocheting or knitting skills.

Thank you to everyone who participated. I managed 12 give aways this past year and I'm pleased to share the Knit Happiness that you all share with me. The year of giveaways is over, but I'm sure there will be a few more fun packages to come (and go) in the near future :)