Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sweater Dress

A couple of months ago, I purchased 5 skeins of K1C2 Kettle Tweed.  I thought it wanted to be the Meridien cardigan. I was wrong. The more I knit with it, the more it spoke to me. It whispered "swingy lace pullover." I ignored it. Well, I ignored it for a while. It was insistent. "Swingy lace pullover," it said. "Said" is a bit of an understatement. By the time I listened, it was screaming at me. "SWINGY LACE PULLOVER!!!"

It had been a long time since I'd really designed anything, and I was allowing self-doubt to creep in.  But the yarn was extremely demanding. It almost took over the design process. I started sketching out an idea--boat neck, lace, A-line, raglan sleeves. The boat neck sort of surprised me. I've never knit a boat-neck sweater before. I don't even own any boat neck shirts. Where did that come from?

Once I had all the numbers worked and charts put together, I started. That was on October 2. Then I got distracted by another sweater and a shawl, which will each get their own blog posts later.

Then, one weekend in late October, I pulled out the Kettle Tweed swingy lace pullover and tackled it in earnest. I literally did nothing but knit all day Saturday. Sunday was more of the same, with a pause every once in a while to switch the loads of laundry. Even so, I didn't quite get it done. I still had the bottom band to do. That Monday night after work, it was done. I tried it on right away and was instantly in love. However, I knew it needed a good blocking before it was fit for public eyes.

A quick bath and block,
and it was dry and ready to go by the time I got home from work Tuesday evening.

What I thought was going to be a long-ish, tunic-length sweater was suddenly a dress. I couldn't be happier. I love it. It is comfortable, worn with leggings and a cami, and, of course, my "Sith-kicking Jedi boots."  The first day I wore it to work, a co-worker took these pics:

I love it so much. It's extremely comfortable and still looks dressy. Perfect!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

If you've ever read this blog before, you know I'm not a food blogger. But, every once in a while, I take a picture of food I've prepared and post it here. This is one of those times.

Lately, I've had a hankering for stuffed peppers. I distinctly remember not liking them when I was a kid, and in all my adult life, I've never made them. But I enjoy bell peppers--raw with dip, chopped up in a salad, thrown into a stir fry, sauteed with onions and mushrooms to put on top of meat. So why shouldn't I revisit that despised dish of my childhood and turn it into something I might actually like?

I looked at some recipes online, but ultimately, I decided to wing it. I stopped at the farmer's market on my way home from work and picked up peppers, tomatoes and some other stuff I thought might be good. Then, I stopped at the grocery store for meat and cheese. When I got home, I started chopping and cooking.

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to stuffed peppers: One has you stuffing the peppers with raw ingredients and cooking everything in the oven. The other has you cooking the filling, then stuffing the peppers and baking to make all the flavors meld. I decided to go with the latter.

Before I give you my recipe, I want to point out that this makes TONS of filling. I filled 12 pepper halves (6 peppers) and still had 3 pounds of filling, which I distributed evenly between 3 freezer bags and popped in the freezer. So, now I have the "hard" part done for three more dinners.

The peppers were a huge hit. We only have 4 pepper halves left, which means I know what I'll be having for lunch the next couple of days. 

Amanda's Italian Stuffed Peppers

1 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
handful of shredded carrots (I use the bagged matchstick carrots from the store)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced (you could use a can of diced tomatoes)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/3 c long grain rice 
2 2/3 c water (I wanted to use chicken broth, but didn't have any in the house)
1 jar Newman's Own Sockerooni pasta sauce

6 bell peppers, cleaned and cut in half
2 c Italian blend shredded cheese (mozzarella is fine too)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Remove casings from Italian sausage. Brown sausage and pork together. Drain and set aside.
  3. Sautee onions and garlic until softened. Add carrots, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, rice and water (or broth). Stir together. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover until rice is done--about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add browned meat and pasta sauce. Stir together. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. 
  5. Fill each pepper half with filling--maybe 2-3 Tbsp filling per pepper half, but it really depends on the size of your peppers. Sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melty and peppers are softened a little.
  7. Serve with a nice crusty Italian bread or garlic bread.

Like I said, this makes a ton of filling. When I was filling the peppers, I kept having to swat my husband and kids away from the skillet because they were snitching little spoonfuls of filling. So I can't imagine how much I would have had left if they hadn't touched it. We've been thinking about other things we can stuff. Zucchini?  Mushrooms? Chicken? Large pasta shells or manicotti (though, with the rice, that's a heck of a lot of carbs!)? What other foods are stuffable?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Yarn Whisperer

Yarn tells us what it wants to be.

Stop laughing. I'm serious. If you take the time to listen to it, yarn will tell you what it wants to be. Sometimes. More frequently, yarn tells you what it doesn't want to be. That's how it began with my K1C2 Kettle Tweed and the Meridien cardigan.

Make no mistake! Meridien will be mine eventually, but that's just not what this yarn wanted to be. There is too much contrast between the colors in the yarn, and the cable and ridges were lost in the color. The yarn was fighting with the stitch pattern to be the star. I never thought a yarn with the word "Tweed" in it would be such a diva, but there you go. I've named her KT.

KT wants to be a lacy pullover.

I tried telling her no. I don't wear pullovers very often. I prefer cardigans, which I can take off and put back on as needed. I looked at fingering-weight cardigan patterns on Ravelry to see what caught my eye, but she was insistent.

KT wants to be a swingy lacy pullover with raglan shaping and a boat neck.

A pattern does not exist for what KT is demanding. At least, I couldn't find one. So last night, I sat down with my stitch dictionaries, a copy of "Knitting from the Top" and some paper and a pencil.

Yes, I did a little swatching too. So far, she seems pretty pleased with the direction we're headed.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What a weekend!

Productive? Yes! Relaxing? Absolutely! 

I had a fun weekend filled with sewing and knitting and a little bit of cooking.

We kicked off the weekend with the HHS Homecoming game. We're in the midst of a 3-season losing streak, so there was no surprise when the streak continued. But, that's not what's important. What IS important is that the Raider Militia Band ROCKED their Michael Jackson themed half-time show.

Best looking band around. And, as my husband has said in the past, it's really nice of the high school to put on this football game for the Band. Seriously...the band has won more events than the football team has. Just sayin'.

Saturday was all about the sewing. Started the day with a quick trip to the fabric store for zippers, purse hardware, and some solid white and black fabric to use as linings for some of the bags. Once home, I pulled out my craft cart and got to work. I also had a "helper."

Why is it cats think they need to be right in our biz-nazz all the time? Diego has the benefit of being black and white, so his fur shows up on everything. Good thing he's so cute.

First project of the day was another case for my 3DS XL, but this one matches the skin I got a few weeks ago.

Isn't it awesome?! I love it so much. I used 4 different Doctor Who fabrics--I just purchased 8"x8" samples of each, which was perfect. This and the Avengers fabric in the next pic are all from Spoonflower.

Once the DS case was done, I tackled a Two-Zip Hipster for Tori.
What a fabulous pattern! Every step is spelled out and accompanied by full-color photos. It's so clear and well-written, I had no doubt what I was supposed to do. And Tori LOVES it! It's the perfect size for her to carry at school from class to class.

Sunday, I sat down with the Cruzer Convertible Bag pattern and some fabric I got on sale at Walmart eons ago. After the absolute clarity of the Two-Zip Hipster pattern, this one was quite a disappointment. I realize this pattern was written for "advanced" sewers, but even so, it seemed like some steps were left out or not as clear as they could have been. That said, I'm quite pleased with the finished bag. It's big and can be worn as a backpack. It will make an excellent knitting bag and will easily hold a sweater-worth of yarn.

I love this fabric. You might recognize it from the curtains in my front room. I still have tons of fabric left, which is awesome. It also means you'll probably see it here again in the future.

I still have a few yards of geeky fabric I didn't get to use. My intention was to make the Cruzer with my Doctor Who damask fabric, but after I read the pattern, I wanted to do it with a cheaper fabric first. I'm glad I did. This isn't the right bag for that fabric. I also didn't get around to doing anything with the Icons of the Silver Screen fabric. I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I ordered that one, though. (Oh my this how fabric stashing starts? I don't need another stash of anything. My yarn stash is plenty big!)

How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Project planning

I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my River in Summer vest/shawl/wrap/thing. It's about 75% done, and at this point, it's too big to carry around with me. So, I'm limited to working on it at home. I really hope to have it done by the end of the week.

Yesterday, my order from Spoonflower arrived! I couldn't be happier!  I have plans to spend the weekend sewing a couple of bags, another 3DS XL case, and maybe a few other little goodies. Just look at this fabric! I'm so excited to start working with it! I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

I'm also really excited about this yarn I purchased last week. It wants to be a Meridien.
The color is all wrong in the picture. It's really shades of green, not blue and tan. The color is called "Spruce Moss." I want so badly to cast on RIGHT NOW, but I'm trying to be good and finish my River in Summer first. There's one other problem with starting Meridien soon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm teaching a top-down sweater class starting October 8, and I'm also very excited about the sweater I'll be knitting along with the class. But, even if I start Meridien right now, it's unlikely it will be done by October 8. It is, after all, knit with fingering weight yarn. It's going to take a long time to knit.

In the past, this wouldn't have stopped me at all. I'd get a case of startitis, and I'd just go with it. Start all kinds of stuff. But now, I know myself well enough to know that very few of the projects I cast on when I get startitis actually get finished. Most of them end up getting ripped out and the yarn put back in storage until something else strikes me.

Is that a problem? No, I guess not. But, there's something really satisfying and rewarding in finishing something you start. It's always a little disappointing to rip something out or to look at a long list (or big pile) of unfinished projects knowing most of them won't ever be finished.

So, I'm trying to learn to be selective in my starting. Using KnitCompanion to set up patterns on my iPad BEFORE I actually cast on has helped a lot. It forces me to read the pattern, look at construction, and think. There have been a number of times I've started setting up a pattern in KC only to realize half-way through that there's no way I'll ever finish the project. It's really wonderful and has saved me a lot of knitting time and energy.

But my situation right now is a little different. I've purchased and set up Meridien in KnitCompanion. I know I'll finish this project. It's a gorgeous sweater, and I want it. I also have an image in my head of what my top-down sweater will look like, and I know I'll finish it too. There's the added bonus that both sweaters are going to be knit in beautiful yarns that practically knit themselves. So what's the problem?

Well, it's sort of like multitasking. Can you do it? Yes. But, no one thing receives all your attention, so everything suffers as a result. Right?

I'm not quite sure what's wrong with me. I've never been this hesitant to start multiple projects. What does it mean?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gift Knitting

Gift Knitting. Some people view it very simply: I like to knit; you want something knitted; I'll knit for you. I don't happen to be one of those people. I am extremely selective about the people for whom I will knit. My mom is at the top of the list. She appreciates the amount of work that goes into knitting something, but she also understands that I've made the thing for her to wear and use. She and my dad both love handknit socks. My kids are next. Tori loves knit hats and socks. In fact, she has been known to wear knit hats well into dates and places where the weather and temperature would indicate the lack of need for such warm attire. She doesn't care. And socks! During the winter, getting her to take off her handknit socks long enough to wash them is like pulling teeth. It's kind of gross. Aaron claims to like knitted things, but honestly, the kid is like a walking furnace. He's always hot. But, I dutifully knit him a hat every year, and when he goes sledding, he appreciates it. Otherwise, it just sits in the basket with the other cold-weather accessories. My mother-in-law and father-in-law also appreciate it when I knit them things, but I don't do it very often. I'm also happy to knit for my nieces and nephews, but only if they ask. I don't want to be known as Crazy Aunt Amanda who always knits us stupid crap that mom forces us to wear.

Like most knitters, I have a handful of acquaintances who ask me to knit something for them every time I see them.  I usually just laugh it off, or tell them I don't have time to knit all the things I really want to knit for myself, so....  And it's true. Mostly. I mean, I hate it when people say, "I wish I could do X, but I just don't have time." Well, yes, you do. You have time for the things you make time for. Period. It's not that you don't HAVE time to do something, you just choose to use your time doing other things. And that's the point, isn't it? We knit for people that we like enough to dedicate the time to knit for them. I know how valuable my time is. A lot of love and consideration goes into every stitch I knit.

So why am I thinking about gift knitting? It's that time of year. If you are going to knit holiday gifts for someone, now's the time to get started! Even if you don't start the actual knitting, it's a great time to start planning in that direction.

Plus, I just saw a hat on Ravelry that totally made me think of my daughter! It's a free pattern, and I know she'll love it. I can probably knit it in a weekend. Which means it will be done way before Christmas. Well....her birthday is in November. I could give it to her for her birthday.

Uh oh. Do you see where I'm going with this? I have a TERRIBLE time keeping knitted gifts a secret. I want to give them the minute they are completed. Especially if it's something I know the recipient will love. Like this hat. I couldn't even keep the existence of the pattern a secret. I texted Tori the link as soon as I saw it, and she went nuts. I'm not like this with store-bought gifts. I can keep video games, clothes, books, whatever a secret. But I get so excited about knitted things. I want to involve the recipient in every step. I'm not sure if it's because I want them to share in my excitement, or if it's my way of protecting myself--making sure it's something they really want or not.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else feel this way about knitting for others?

Friday, September 20, 2013

And now it's gone

I had a long, elaborate post written with this title "And now it's gone" referring to summer being gone. Then, I did SOMETHING, and deleted the entire post.....and now it's gone. Which makes me very sad. I'll try to recreate the highlights...

So, summer is gone. I'm not sad about it. As much as I love the laid-back attitude surrounding summer, Fall is my favorite. Jeans and sweaters, cooler temps, apples and pumpkin pie, leaves turning gold and red and orange, and the soybean fields yellowing. That yellowing is usually the first sign that fall is really coming.

Those pictures were taken about a week ago, and now the green in the fields is almost completely gone. The only thing I love more than that yellowing-green is freshly fallen snow, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

This time of year, I always look back and take stock of what I accomplished over the summer. This year, it wasn't much. Remember in my last post, when I talked about Animal Crossing: New Leaf? Yeah, it kind of ate my summer. I didn't do much knitting or sewing or any other kind of crafting. All of my free time was spent catching bugs, fishing, doing tours on the island, and building public works projects.
I'm still playing, but not as rabidly as I was before. I take time every day to accomplish the "required" tasks, and play some extra if I feel like it. But, I'm not as obsessed as I was, which means I'm back to knitting and crafting.

I'm currently working on River in Summer.  It's a wonderful cardigan/vest/shawl/wrap thing.
The yarn is Briar Rose Wistful in purples and greens. I love the yarn so much that I really can't wait to have the thing done so I can wrap myself in it. The pattern is wonderful--just mindless and rhythmic enough for watching TV or carrying on a conversation, but interesting enough to keep it fun. Love it.

Starting in October, I'm teaching a top-down sweater class. The class is geared toward knitters of all experience levels--beginners can use existing patterns, but more experienced knitters will get help designing their own. I'll be designing my own as well--top-down cardigan with set-in sleeves, a wide button band and collar, and done entirely in diagonal rib. Oh! And I'll be using Malabrigo Rios--I bought myself 10 skeins for my birthday in August, and I LOVE it!

In other non-knitting-but-still-sort-of-crafty news: My husband and kids got me a Nintendo 3DS XL for my birthday. I was super excited and surprised--when I purchased my 3DS in June, I really debated getting the XL, but decided I'd rather spend the extra $30 on another game. So, this was awesome. But, I needed a case for it. None of the ready-made cases appealed to me, so I set out to make my own. Then the kids each wanted one, and before I knew it, I had these: 
The two on the right are for the 3DS. The two on the left are for the XL. The one on the far left is for my friend Sam, who is one of the hosts of the podcast Not Your Mama's Gamer, which you should all listen to right now.

So, once the cases were made, I realized I wasn't thrilled with the boring color of my new toy: black and red. Snore. So, I looked for skins for it. Again, nothing really jumped out at me. I really wanted a Doctor Who skin, but none I designed my own on DecalGirl. I'd never done it before, but it was so easy.  And, I couldn't be happier.

In other geeky/crafty news, we went to GenCon in Indianapolis in August. Talk about nerds! Holy cow!  (I mean that in the nicest way possible! My husband and daughter had found "their people." Aaron and I, however, felt a little left out because there wasn't much video gaming stuff.)  Anyway, there was a booth for Three Geeks and a Needle, and I couldn't resist purchasing a small bag and a key fob. But what really caught my eye was the fabric they used. It was sooooo geeky! So, I immediately went online to try to find the fabric. After much searching, I discovered Spoonflower. And the angels sang!  So much beautiful fabric! I ordered enough of this to make a bag. I also ordered several 8x8 swatches of Doctor Who fabrics to make another case for my XL, like this and this and this. I'm so excited and can't wait for the fabric to arrive!!! 

So, as you can see, I'm getting my crafting mojo back. What kinds of crafts are you doing this fall?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer's here again

It seems to happen every year. Summer just sneaks up on me and takes over! And by the time I realize it's here, it's gone! Where did June go?! How are we already more than half-way through July?!  Well, we spent two weeks in June on vacation. And what a vacation it was! We started with a 4-night Disney Cruise to The Bahamas. Pure heaven. It was the first time we've been on a cruise, and it was amazing. I highly recommend it.  Even if you don't have (or don't like!) children, do it! There are areas of the ship that are entirely kid-free. Tori was really concerned about having to be around little kids (like at the Disney parks), but she was happily able to avoid them completely.
No matter how many pictures you see, you can't be prepared for the sheer size of the ship. It's amazing how huge this thing is.
Sail Away party on deck. It looks really crowded, but the deck parties were actually the only times the ship FELT crowded.

These big portholes with little cushioned seats were so cool.

We also hit the weather jackpot. It was smooth sailing for the entire cruise. The weather in Nassau and at Castaway Cay was perfect--breezy, not too hot, mix of sun and clouds. Gorgeous!
I think the thing that made me giggle the most was this sign on the outside of the Bahamian Department of Health building in Nassau.

We followed the cruise up with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, where the kids enjoyed pretending to wreck the lunar rover.

Then we spent a couple of days in Estero, FL at Tim's parents' winter place. It was hot. And I don't mean just hot. It was hot and sticky and miserable. We stayed indoors most of the time.

When we'd had quite enough of that, we drove back to Orlando and spent 3 days at Universal Studios/Island of Adventure. Honestly, one day would have been enough. My kids were primarily interested in Harry Potter land and some of the Marvel stuff. The vast majority of the rides are simulator-type rides, which was kind of disappointing. The Harry Potter section of the park was awesome, but too small.

Butterbeer is the bomb.

We had breakfast one day at the Three Broomsticks, and that was cool. We ate there for dinner one night too, and the fish a chips (for the kids), roasted chicken dinner (for Tim) and shepherd's pie (for me) were all very good.

The kids also had to get their pic in front of the Hogwarts Express.
And, when Aaron saw a conductor standing in front of it later, we had to get more pics.

We also did the cinematic dining experience one night. It was okay--the dinner followed by dessert reception was good, but not spectacular. The show was cool--celebrating 100 years of Universal Studios through clips, music, water works and fireworks--but it wasn't as good as anything we've seen at Disney. By the end, I was definitely ready to go home.

All in all, a good vacation. I think if we had started with Universal and ended with the cruise, I might have enjoyed Universal more. But having the amazing experience of "Disney magic" right out of the gate made all else pale in comparison. I'm ready to go on a Disney Cruise again RIGHT NOW!

In other news: I did get a fair bit of knitting done on vacation. I started a moebius scarf--perfectly mindless knitting--to work on during the shows, movies and other "sitting" types of things. I completed the Windward scarf, and I started a cardigan. I also took yarn and needles to start a laceweight shawl, but that didn't happen.

I managed to get a fair bit of reading done too. I finished World War Z and started and finished The Great Gatsby and A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallow's.  I highly recommend World War Z, which is written as a series of interviews about the Zombie War. Very interesting read, but not written as a linear story, so it's easy to put down and pick back up again. The Great Gatsby was one I probably should have read by now, but it was never required, so I didn't. It was a quick read, and I'm glad I read it, but (in my opinion) it's nothing spectacular. A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallow's: If you've read the rest of the Outlander series (and if you haven't, you should!), this is a quick novella. It's a side-story about Roger's parents, specifically his father. Definitely worth the read.

As soon as we got home, I went out and purchased Animal Crossing: New Leaf to play on Aaron's Nintendo 3DS. Less than 24 hours later, I had to go out and buy my own 3DS and another copy of the game. Darn kids wanting to play MY game! LOL! Of course, this means I've done very little knitting or crafting since June 23. Except for the bit of knitting on the moebius scarf when Tim and I went to see World War Z. (Great movie, by the way. Nothing like the book, but still very good. As my husband said, they definitely left it open for a Z-quel. Har har.) And the socks I'm knitting along with the class I'm currently teaching at River Knits. Anyway, I'm totally addicted to this game, and it might be a few more weeks before I get back to knitting in my spare time. It's so silly, but I can't help it.

I was introduced to a new hobby and had a wonderful evening last Friday with several of my friends. We went to Midnight Madness at All Fired Up, a local paint-your-own-pottery place. I had never done that before, but I LOVED it! I can totally see this becoming a new regular hobby for me. I promise pictures once I get the finished item back on Saturday. I don't want to show the "before" pics until I have the "after" to compare them with. 

And school starts in four weeks! How have you spent your summer so far? What do you want to accomplish before we have to get back into the swing of "real life" with school?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I'm pretty attached to my stash. I don't like to get rid of my knitting-related stuff. I love my yarn. I love my needles. I really love my books. But, it's time to do a bit of destashing. Not of yarn, but needles. This is what my stash of needles looks like:

Before I delve into my destash process, let's look at my totally awesome organizer. Yes, I made it myself. I love it. I love the little mushroom print fabric and the twill-tape size label down the center. I love the perfectly-sized pocket at the bottom for a needle gauge. I love the way it hangs in my project cabinet, just waiting for me to cast on something new!

Okay, back to the actual needles. Do I really need that many needles. Um....probably not. I've been knitting for more than 14 years, and one just accumulates needles.

Last weekend, I pulled out all of my metal needles. Addi Turbo, Inox Express, Susan Bates Silvalume and HiyaHiya all came out.

That's a lot of needles. Why the metal needles? Don't get me wrong! I love metal needles. Addi Turbos are slick and fast and wonderful. But, a couple of years ago, we learned that I'm extremely allergic to nickel. My allergist told me he'd never seen anyone react as strongly to it as I had. So, what's a girl to do? I ignored him. Completely. I continued knitting with nickel-plated needles for more than a year. After all, my hands weren't reacting to them. And there's no way skin reactions on other parts of my body could possibly be related to the nickel, right?


Several months ago, I discovered the wonderful Knitter's Pride Symphonie Dreamz circular needles. And the angels sang. I wanted to use these fabulous things for every project I started, so I bought more needles. After a while of not using metal needles, I realized some of my other skin issues were clearing up. If you are a dermatologist or an allergist, you probably aren't surprised by this at all. But I was shocked. How could something that I'm holding in my hands cause a reaction on my shins? I don't know what kind of magic or witchcraft this is, but I'm fully convinced.

So, all of my metal needles got bagged and tagged and ready to sell at the River Knits Customer Garage Sale (which was on May 25)! Now my needle collection looks like this:

Sad, isn't it? Well, not too sad. What you don't see are the two sets of Knitter's Pride Interchangeable circulars that are in their own little case and go with me everywhere.I spent most of Memorial Day sewing, and ended up with this little beauty to hold my interchangeable needles:

Plenty of space for both the full set and the "special" 16" set plus 4 pockets for 4 different cable lengths.

See the zipper pocket in the flap? Perfect for all the little bits and pieces--stoppers, tags, and keys. Love it!

I also spent some time this weekend organizing my yarn a bit. The last great airing of the stash was in November, and I've certainly made some acquisitions since then. So, I updated my inventory with new things and deleted anything I knew was used and gone. I didn't do a full stash airing, just added things that hadn't yet been incorporated. Mileage update: 105 miles of yarn. Tonight, I'm teaching a class on stash organization and stash busting. I think I'm definitely qualified.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Did I just say that?

Over the last month or so, my lovely daughter and I have been working toward a new adventure. We feel that we have a very good relationship. My authority is clearly defined, but we have a comfortable relationship that maintains open communication. I want her to feel like she can come to me and talk to me about anything. I don't ever want her to be afraid to tell me something. Yes, she's only 15 years old, but I feel like I've been pretty successful so far.

So, what's this new adventure? We wanted to find a way to show other moms and teenagers what a good relationship looks like. We decided the best way to that would be through a podcast. We recorded our first episode on Mother's Day and posted it to our new website tonight! I've submitted our feed to iTunes, so hopefully you'll be able to subscribe to us that way soon!  We're planning to record weekly, but we'll see if we can keep that up.

We'd love for you to give us a listen and let us know what you think. Be forewarned that we are a pretty liberal pair. In our first episode, our topic of the week is about body image, but we wander off topic a bit into gender roles--including the difficulties faced by transgender individuals--before bringing it back together at the end.

Our podcast is called Did I just say that?, and we'd love it if you'd join us!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vacation Knitting

We're planning an awesome vacation this summer: a 4-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. I. Can't. Wait. Which is sort of weird because I don't do hot weather, and I don't really enjoy beaches. But, I'm so excited about this cruise, I'm just about beside myself.  I intent to keep my extremely pale self well-protected, with a big sun hat and loads of sunblock. Maybe even an umbrella. Oh! I could get a really lovely parasol. That would be cute, right?

What I've been contemplating the most, though, is vacation knitting. I love vacation knitting. We do a lot of road trips, and my husband prefers to drive. Plus, our kids are old enough to keep themselves well entertained in the car. This means tons of knitting time for me. Past vacation projects have included shawls, sweaters, a Moebius scarf, and more. This year feels a little different, though. I know we're going someplace hot. It's highly unlikely I'll have the time or inclination to knit while on the ship, but I still don't want to be unprepared if the urge strikes!

So, I've been looking around Ravelry for inspiration. I'm seriously considering the Bigger On the Inside shawl, inspired by The Doctor's Tardis. This would actually look great with a couple of Tori's dresses, so maybe it's destined to be hers. I've had Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl in my queue for a long time, and I have some Malabrigo Sock yarn that would be quite nice with that pattern. But I wonder if it's not a little ambitious for vacation knitting. It's big and will require some level of concentration. But it's so lovely... Same goes for the Morning Glory Wrap; I think the Briar Rose Sea Pearl that I talked about in my last post would be perfect for this! Or, I could go the easy route and work on socks. Lord knows I have plenty of stashed sock yarn to choose from.

I just don't know. What kinds of things do you like to knit while on vacation? Do you like to challenge yourself because you know you'll actually have the time and brain power to put into learning something new? Or do you prefer to go with something easy and mindless to make your vacation more relaxing?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fiber Event

Sorry for the long absence. No excuses, just life. And Tomb Raider. And kids' school projects/homework. And. And. And.

But, I'm back now!  And I don't have a ton of tangible accomplishments to report. I finished Tomb Raider to 100% completion. I'm pretty proud of that. I also made those music bags that I mentioned in my last post. Oh! The Fiber Event was in April. It's my second-favorite day of the year (Christmas is #1). I always spend an exorbitant amount of money at the Briar Rose booth, and this year was no exception. I also purchased yarn from Robin Edmundson, who has an amazing sense of color. Tori picked some sock yarn from A Good Yarn. And there was jewelry made from recycled knitting needles. Observe:

This Briar Rose Wistful, which is an alpaca/merino/silk blend. LOVE!

This is Briar Rose Fourth of July, 100% merino. Again, I love this stuff. I can't photograph the color accurately, no matter how many different ways I try. This photo is the closest of all those I took, but it's still not perfect. This yarn is the color of fall. Green, brown, orange, gold. Gorgeous!

This is a special edition sport-weight superwash merino. It's really soft and wonderful. Both pics are of the same skein, just flipped over. So many colors in one skein! I can't decide what to do with it, but it needs something really special.

The final Briar Rose purchase is Sea Pearl, a fingering weight merino/tencel blend. I love this yarn so much, there aren't even words! Every year, I buy at least a shawl's worth of this yarn, usually in greens or purples. I changed it up a little bit this year by going with blue.

Now for the yarn I bought from Robin J. Edmundson. I really like Robin. I've taken a couple of color classes from her in the past, and she's just amazing. She always chooses wonderful base yarns for dyeing, which just makes them that much better!  This one is a worsted weight bamboo/cotton blend. I've already cast on a project with this yarn (Lamb's Lace Cardi), and I'm loving it! I think it will be perfect for my office this summer, which is perpetually chilly.

The final yarn purchase was chosen by Tori. She's a total Batman fangirl, and Harley Quinn is her favorite character. I'm fairly certain that's why she chose this yarn. It's a merino sock yarn from A Good Yarn.

And, finally, the jewelry from Bur Oak Studio. I love these pieces, and am seriously considering emailing the designer/creator to see if she can do a necklace to match the earring/bracelet set.

So, that was my Fiber Event haul. I sat down to write this post with lots of other things in my mind, but I'll save those for another day. There's a lot of exciting stuff going on, including an awesome collaborative project with Tori. More on this in the next few days, I promise!