Friday, February 12, 2016

TUSAL and a finished page!

so i actually finished this page last week, but between waiting for TUSAL day, a snow storm, and a ton of crazy at work, i haven't gotten around to posting about it.

this is the page i started back in may.  after digging out my project (still packed from the move) last month, i realized that i was farther along than i thought i was, and that meant that only a couple days of sitting in my stitching nook listening to the serial podcast i was at a page finish!

it's really fun watching the picture come together on this one.  close up it looks way less cool, so it's nice to take a step back and see what it's really shaping up to be!

here's the project with my jar

and just my jar... it's turning very pretty colors

the next few pages are all partials... lots of open space in between the stitches forming arms and such.  i don't know when the next page full of stitches is actually... so hopefully i'll be finishing up a storm.  in between knitting baby dresses and scarves for charity and wedding projects of course.

happy stitching!

Friday, February 5, 2016

i finished!

so a quick post today to say that i finished my wedding shawl!!
i mean, i finished knitting it.
i still need to block it.
which means i need to figure out how/where i'm going to block it.
but it's off the needles!!

it's kind of hard to photograph at this stage.

i'm so excited because this means i can take it with me dress shopping so i can see the whole package when i pick my dress. 

now i need to knit some baby things.
and i'll post next week with some fun stitching updates.
but for now - just YAY!!

pattern: beginner's wedding shawl by nina stein

Friday, January 29, 2016

Crafting for a Cause

for a while now, i've been turning over an idea in my head. a way to both get more socially involved at my workplace, and to use my crafting as a source of good in the world.

i've been enamored with the idea of knitting and crocheting for charity for a long time. i think the best way that i personally can make my mark on society is to try and make sure no one is ever cold.  there are so many people out there who are having a very difficult time; they may be dealing with homelessness or abusive situations or illness or any number of hardships that i am lucky enough to have avoided thus far.  i also know that having something handmade to call your own can not only be a source of warmth in the cold.  it can show that someone out there cares about you as a person, and sometimes even make you feel more connected to other people.  i want to be able to give this gift to everyone in the community.

however, i can't make enough things on my own to donate in between all the other projects i'm working on.  this is where part two of my brain-plan comes in.

i also think that crafting can connect people in ways that only a shared hobby can.  it's not a sport, or anything that requires competition, and it's not for profit, or for glory.  it can be shared.  it can be a communal activity or a solitary one.  and it allows us to support and encourage each other to try new things and keep going when we are getting frustrated.  i've learned that from my brief time following other crafters on blogs and getting support from those who watch mine.

so my plan was to start a group at work that would encourage crafters - both experienced and beginner - to come together regularly, have a nice social time when we can all enjoy each other's company and escape from the work day, and create a project that can be donated out to the community to really do some good.

so i started Cincinnati State Crafting for a Cause.

we had our first meeting yesterday, and i was so nervous to be teaching knitting for the first time ever.  but the group was awesome, and we had a few people who had good experience to help partner up with the "newbies" as they kept referring to themselves.  it was a nice time.  i'm hoping to grow the group and expand our reach as far as donations made and types of projects we can deliver to those organizations on our list.

i'm mostly hoping that everyone shows back up for meeting #2 next month, with a scarf to show off.

so we will see how this endeavor grows.  i'm pretty excited.  i've gotten some lovely responses from local organizations to my inquiries about whether they would be interested in receiving our donations.  i hope we can do them proud.

anyway, it's a new adventure, and i really hope we can do some good.  for now, it's nice to have the support of some awesome new coworker friends, and the excitement of something to look forward to once a month :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

a snow day... for everyone else

one of the perks of working in education is the occasional snow day.  it's always exciting to get that text message early in the morning letting you know you can go back to sleep.  then when you wake up, you have the whole day ahead of you, completely unplanned because, well, you thought you were going to be at work... in short, snow days rock*

so today, the whole city is in shutdown mode.  all the major school districts are closed for today, including cincinnati public.  this is where many of our students send their children, so on days that CPS is closed, our student attendance drops significantly.  at some point in the distant past, there was an unofficial rule that if CPS closed for the day, we did too.

but today, we didn't.
today, we were on a 3 hour delay.

and i know, most people would be thrilled with not having to come to work until 11.  so i should feel lucky that i got to go back to sleep at all.  which i do.  believe me.  when i saw that text i rolled on back over and slept for another two hours like a boss.

but still...
snow day...
for all the other schools...

i would rather be home. like all my other teacher friends (the ones who work at other schools).  i would rather be here:

i finally figured out how to set up my stitching area, and that is an electric blanket to keep me all snuggly.  so tell me... why wouldn't i rather be here, pretty much all the time?

the roads were also VERY not cleared when i had to come in, so it was not a fun commute.  so there's that... i still can't figure out why we can't get our act together in the snow... it snows EVERY YEAR.
but i digress

the biggest thing is that there are no students here today.  j only had one class to teach today, and 11 of his 15 students emailed him to say they wouldn't make it.  so he didn't come in.  he decided it wasn't worth the treacherous drive in to spend an hour with (at best) 4 students - and that's if those 4 showed up at all. my one colleague had 2 students show up to her class.  2.  what do you do when only 2 out of 19 students come to class? it's not like you can actually teach anything, because you'll just have to re-teach it when the rest of the class is there anyway.  so it's a wasted day. for everyone. i actually feel bad for the students who did come in, because they did the thing that was expected and it was kinda for nothing.

but what do i know?
maybe i should just stop complaining and remember that i have the best job.  i love my job.  maybe i'm just being a whiny pants today.

happy snow day, everyone... else...

*snow days rock, unless you have too many in a row.  then you can go a little mad.  see this post for what happens when there are too many snow days...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

welcome back... a few days late... and a TUSAL update

so it's january, friends.  i'm back to school (work) and almost starting to try and wrap my head around the idea that i don't get to just get up and knit all day long anymore.  sigh... those were the days... (it was two days ago, but still, feels like miles and miles from here).

anyway, i thought i'd do a little show and tell of some of the projects i've been keeping hidden for a while because christmas... mostly they are socks.  ok, they're all socks.

a pair for j

a pair for my sis

a pair for my sis in law

and a pair for my mama

i have to say i learned a lot of things from making all these socks.  

thing #1: socks aren't as complicated as i thought they were.  for years i was afraid of socks, but not anymore.  
thing #2: i actually really like making socks.  they are a good go-to project when you want something small to carry with you, and good for a quick finish when you are in the weeds with a large project
thing #3: of all the techniques i tried in making these four pair (each pair was made with a different method - one at a time, two at a time, toe up, square toe, pointed toe), i think i like making one sock at a time, cuff down the best.  there's something kind of wonderful about it.  and second sock syndrome doesn't get to me the way i hear about it getting to other people.  it's like a challenge :)
thing#4: the stores around me have a bit of a dearth of sock yarn, so i'll need to branch out a bit in my shopping... oh no... that sounds just terrible...
thing #5: i'm going to need to make some extra money to afford all the scrumptious sock yarns that are out there in the world.  oh my.

so, i'm now a sock knitter.  so that happened. 
since the socks though, i've had no finishes.  i've been working on a big project... it's very exciting... it's my wedding shawl!!

it's hard to tell what it's going to look like when it's finished... mostly because there are 576 stitches all bunched around that circular and so it's not really stretching out as i work on it... but i have faith that it's going to be beautiful, and make me very happy.  i started it thanksgiving weekend and i'm about 58 rows from casting off.  that might not seem like much, but with each row containing 576 stitches, we are talking about 25 minutes per round here... the center section flew by, but this outside lace section is not.  
so, i'm dying for a finish.  maybe i'll finish off another pair of socks to take the edge off. i started a pair so that i have traveling knitting... maybe i'll work on it and at least finish the first one soon.  

now for the TUSAL portion... i quit contributing to the TUSAL in july when we were moving and things got all crazy after that so i never got back to it.  but with the new year, i will commit to posting, even if my orts are exactly the same from one month to the next... and with all the wedding knitting i'm committing myself to (like a crazy person), it may very well be that my stitching takes a back seat... so here's a reminder of my ort jar for the game... 
it looks just the same now as it did back in june.  but i'm here, i'm playing, and i am ready for a new year. 

it's gonna be a busy one, folks, although hopefully not as full of drama as the last one.  i'm looking forward to a 2016 that is just about living life and embracing the day to day.  and i hope that means a lot of crafting, and hanging out with friends, and wedding planning, and work on the house.  we shall see.  happy 2016, blogger friends!! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

adopting a family... and some other stuff

so it has been a crazy couple of months for me... work has been completely overwhelming, to the point that i haven't had much energy or focus for anything else.  but... but... i did manage to get some things done in the midst of my haze.

the last couple years, our office has adopted a family through the freestore foodbank, instead of doing a gift exchange with each other.  it's been really great, and so much nicer when we all already have so much.  so this year, the family we adopted all asked for scarves and hats and gloves... so what was a knitting fiend to do but make them?!  (i didn't do gloves because sizing and stuff... plus time...)

hats and scarves for everyone!! the scarves are all a basic garter stitch - done up in super bulky yarn on size 17 needles.  i was able to do one in about 2 hours if i had a chance.  they were fun!  the hats i mixed up because who doesn't want a hat that's an individual?

then there was the color choice...
i decided that off-white and black never go out of style, so for the adults, i went with the classics:

the kids, though... nothing plain and classic would do for them.  but how do you know what color to make for a kiddo?  well, they had each asked for another item in a specific color - one purple, and one pink.  so i decided, if that was the color they wanted something else in, they probably like it, right?  so off to the store to find coordinating yarns:

they don't match exactly, but i think they go together quite nicely...

all in all, it was much fun!  

i also have had a chance to finish tiger eyes... i may have gone a little crazy on the length...

it's pretty  much as long as my living room from the couch to the TV... i can wrap it around my neck twice and leave it loopy and the ends are just right :)

i love the way the lace and color turned out:

i've been wearing it a lot this week... i had hoped to have it done for thanksgiving, but it was not to be.  but i can wear it on christmas!

what else do i have to report?  i got a fun new toy for my birthday... one that i've been wanting for years...  a ball winder.  yes, this tiny little thing that so many crafters consider standard operating procedure is what i finally, finally got this year... my honey knows me, for sure.  so i've been having some fun with it... i even used it on some caron just for kicks:

i may or may not have gotten really excited and wound it too quickly and caused the ball to fly off the winder... i can neither confirm nor deny this.

then i decided to use it more properly... and wound up some nice sock yarn:

it makes me happy.  it's the little things really.
i also found the yarn i'm going to use to make my wedding shawl!  it was quite the process, and the store had to special order it, but i'm hoping it gets in in time to start before christmas... i can't wait!  ps. if you are ever looking for something awesome, silk road textiles in college hill is amazing.  everyone there was super helpful and understanding when i was being ridiculous in my specificity.  they have a thursday night knitting group too, which i plan on checking out soon... more on that later.

so i think that's all for now, kiddos.  this weekend is packed full of stuff again, so i don't know when more crafting will happen... it's all i want to do, but i never seem to have time to do it anymore.

pattern and yarn roundup, from the top down:
all garter scarves: co 10, knit every row until you run out, bind off.
autumn in garrsion by kate gagnon osborn in caron simply soft off white
"warm snowflake" slouchy hat by maria petikhina in caron simply soft black
odessa by grumperina in caron simply soft soft pink
twistygoo by lisa m. beamer in caron simply soft lavender blue
tiger eyes lace scarf by toni m maddox in lorna's laces solemate christmas at downton
off white yarn is caron
sock  yarn is kroy socks strips in blue stripe ragg 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a confession...

so i confess.  i did it.  i started a different project from the one i said i would.  i'm notorious for this.  i say i'm going to work on something in particular, then get distracted by that pretty ball of yarn or that interesting looking pattern. and then BAM! i'm knee deep in a project that i had no intention of starting...

this time, the culprit was lorna's laces solemate in christmas at downton:

(photo credit: craftsy)

i bought myself one single indulgent skein of this about a year ago, and i hadn't ever wound it up or done anything with it... i was waiting until opportunity presented itself.

then on an impulse i pulled it out of my stash and decided i was going to use it now.  to hell with waiting.  to hell with the wedding shawl that i know i need to start (that i haven't even found yarn for yet, but that's another story).  to hell with everything i know is best practice when starting a project.  i just decided.  i was going to make something out of this ball of deliciousness.  

enter tiger eyes:

it's a nifty little scarf, knitted in two halves and then grafted together in the middle.  that way the lace always points "down" toward the bottom of the scarf.  there is the option to do it all in one piece, so that one end has the lace pointing "down" and the other has it pointing "up," but i chose to do the two halves.  so i measured my skein and wound it into two balls of equal weight and got started.  

i'm not doing too badly... my problem is that i get bored with the repeat.  it's only a 16 row repeat on a 31 stitch wide scarf, so after two sets of lace my mind starts to wander.  i'm not sure how this will play into my lace shawl that will follow... we shall see.  

i'm  not sad about this yarn though.  it's soft and gorgeous.  and if the colorway repeat is a little much with the lace, i don't care.  i'm gonna keep on knitting on it because, well, i already split the skein.  and i want it next to my face where i can bury my nose in the softness.

so here's to distraction, friends.  i'll post more photos as we go...