Sunday, January 29, 2017

Owning it

I was going to call this post "Insert Curse Word Here" because, well, dammit!

Knitting a cabled sweater from Knit Picks' Woodsmoke Collection. The Honeycomb Sweater.
Honeycomb Arrow Panel

So, I've been knitting away on my Honeycomb sweater and I've been noticing that the lines on the left side of my arrow panels are squiggly while the right side are much straighter.  And I've been thinking (hoping) it will block out and then I remembered I'd had the same issue on sock gussets and you kind people had told me what I was doing wrong.  Of course, I don't remember what the answer was, but I do remember asking and being told.  And I've also been wondering why the pattern designer didn't write better instructions so that this didn't happen because I am following the instructions.



I'm not even close to following the instructions on the arrow panel.

Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!

So now my question is.....  I've already knit 16 or 17 inches on the back of the sweater.  I'm not frogging it now.  I'm just not.  So, the question is, once the back is finished, and finished the way it's been started, should I, Option A, continue knitting the rest of the sweater the same way; Option B, find the answer to my sock gusset issue and make the left side of the arrow straight like the right side for the rest of the sweater; or Option C, actually follow the directions for the rest of the sweater? You can see what it's supposed to look like  here.  The difference isn't huge, but it's there.

Do I fix it for the rest of the sweater, or should I just own my design modification?  What do you think?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yarn Along Wednesday

Can you believe it's already Wednesday? Where has this week gone?

Oh yeah, it was wasted reading angry political posts on social media.  Good grief!  I'm deeply saddened and frankly, worried, about how angry & divided our country has become.

But enough about that.  Let's talk about it being a Yarn Along Wednesday.  As has become my tradition, I'm joining Ginny's link up to discuss knitting and books.  Sadly, I haven't gotten much reading done this week.  I'm still working my way through The E-Myth.  I'm still enjoying it, but I've been enjoying my knitting more.  My copy of The E-Myth is an actual hard copy, paper book which I find difficult to deal with while I knit.  I'm also not talented enough to cable and read at the same time.

Honeycomb sweater from Knit Picks Woodsmoke cable collection and 2 knit hats for sale at
Honeycomb & Hats

And my Honeycomb sweater has a LOT of cables!

Despite the extensive cabling (it has cables every right side row. Every single one of them!) it's coming along nicely.  Inauguration Day helped.  I spent the entire day knitting in front of the TV.  I don't believe I've ever watched that much of the inauguration hoop-la in my entire life.

Okay, okay - enough about the inauguration.  I'm determined not to discuss politics.  The point was, I got a lot of knitting done that day.  Otherwise, I'm averaging an inch, sometimes less, a day.  At first I was a little upset about how long it was taking, however now that I've got a decent amount of knitted fabric in my lap, I think I'm glad it's taking me a lifetime.  Now, I'm just hoping that it will take me so long that the hot flashes of menopause are loooooong gone before I finish knitting this sweater.  With all those honeycomb cables knit from worsted weight wool, it's going to be a very thick and warm sweater.  I may have to move to Alaska to wear it.

I also finished knitting a couple of hats this week.  If it ever stops raining, I'll get them photographed properly and listed for sale in my shop.  Both hats have hanging loops and I'm super pleased with the way the fair isle stripe turned out on the one hat.

Well, I think I've let this post drag on long enough.  When I sat down to start typing, I was expecting it to be a photo and two sentences.  I should have known better.  When have I ever said what I had to say in only two sentences?

Join me over at Ginnny's Yarn Along to see what others are knitting and reading.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


January is almost over.  I have eleven days left of my self imposed no impulse spending challenge.  Good thing, too!  Besides the fact that my Amazon Wish List has gone from four or five items to close to two hundred items, the cupboards are almost empty.  On January 1st, our refrigerator was so full we had to be careful that the door stayed closed.  Today,

#challengeyourself, #30DayChallenge challenge not to spend any money for 30 days.

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration.  That empty refrigerator was given to us the other day (note 'given,' we did not pay for it. Yay!) But our regular fridge isn't looking much better.  Dirtier,maybe, but not fuller.

So far, I've spent a grand total of $23.14 this month (not counting monthly bills.)  That even includes what I've spent on groceries!  Okay, in full disclosure, the spouse has picked up bread & milk a few times but for the most part, we've eaten out of the cupboards.

So what have I been doing instead of spending money?

Knitting Honeycomb sweater from Knit Picks Woodsmoke Cable Collection
Honeycomb Cabled Sweater

I've been knitting cables.  Slowly, slowly knitting cables & watching the inauguration.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Is there an award for best procrastinator?

I finished knitting Starshower back in August.  August!

Starshower cowl, hand knit

I'm blocking it today.

Good grief!

It turned out way smaller than it should have.  I didn't begin to get close to the gauge called for in the pattern.  Typical me, I never even checked it.  Even on my almost anorexic teen sized mannequin, it's tight when worn over the shoulders.  There's no way it will go over mine.  But that's okay.  I plan to just drape it around my neck anyway.  Worn that way and before blocking, it looked okay so I think it will be great once it dries.  I just hope the almost anorexic mannequin's boobs aren't blocking into it.  That  could make for a weird look.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hanging Loops & E Myths

Let's just get the knitting out of the way so we can talk about the book.

I was reminded recently how much I like knitting my hanging loop hat design & decided to make another.  The design is so simple & versatile, plus I really do like having that little loop to hang the hat up with.

Reading The E Myth and knitting a hat for
The E Myth by Michael Gerber

This version has a fair isle strip (patterns from Mastering Color Knitting) and is knit from Patons Classic Wool in Seafoam & Mercury.  Both yarns were already in my stash, so no shopping involved.  Yay me!

But let's get to the reading part of today's Yarn Along.

I'm so excited about this book.  Normally I have a hard time reading non-fiction.  Real life just doesn't hold my attention & I tend to struggle to read a chapter a week.  But this book.... I can't put The E Myth down.  My husband and I both have our own small, one person businesses and this book was written for us.  I mean, like, really and truly for us, as individuals.  I'm only about a third of the way through the book, but I'm already convinced Mr. Gerber has spy cameras set up in our house & satellite office, otherwise known as my husband's truck.  It's the only way he could so perfectly describe how we've been living our lives for the past umpteen years.

And now that I've briefly mentioned what I'm knitting and reading & thus met Ginny's Yarn Along requirements, I'm going to sign off and get back to the reading.  I can't wait to find out how Mr. Gerber is going to fix this crazy life we've been living.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Knitting Cables

I hope you like gray.

Hand Knit cabled sweater, pattern from
Honeycomb Sweater, Woodsmoke Cable Collection

Because you're going to be seeing this Honeycomb sweater for a long, long time.

My great grandchildren's children will be old and gray by the time I finish knitting this sweater.

Every row, every single row, has a cable.

But despite the probability that I won't live long enough to knit the back, much less the front and sleeves, I'm loving it so far.  The pattern is well written & easy to read (and will be even more enjoyable if I can memorize the arrow pattern.)  It's also knit with worsted weight yarn (Wool of the Andes) so the rows are stacking up quickly.  Well, not quickly, but a lot faster than they'd stack if I was using fingering weight.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Can you blame me?

Okay, so I messed up my zero spending perfect track record.

Woodsmoke Cable Collection from
Woodsmoke Cable Collection

But can you blame me?

Back around Thanksgiving, I bought a sweater's worth of wool with the intention of knitting a Christmas Day Cast On sweater for myself.  I didn't cast on on Christmas Day though because I hadn't found the perfect pattern yet.  I knew I wanted something with lots of cables, I knew I wanted a loose fit through the body but not overly loose in the arms.  I knew I wanted a sweater, not a cardigan, or at least I didn't think I did.  But if I found the perfect cardigan pattern before I found a sweater pattern, the cardigan couldn't have a collar. It also needed to be knit from worsted weight since that's what I'd bought.  Oh, and it had to fit.  None of those patterns that have a 34 inch chest as the XL size would do.  So, yeah.  I had a lot of stipulations on what the perfect pattern was.

I looked and I looked and I looked some more.  I was starting to worry that I'd never find the perfect pattern.  I was starting to think that my Etsy shop would be selling nothing but gray hats in 2017.

And then magic happened.  I opened my email and there it was. KnitPicks had sent me an ad for Woodsmoke, a highly cabled collection of sweaters, scarves, wraps and hats.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to order it.  Absolutely had to!  I want to knit every single pattern in the collection.  But first, I'll knit the Honeycomb sweater.  It's perfect!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Is there anything more blissful than spending a cold wintery day wrapped up in a toasty warm blanket with hot coffee, a vanilla scented candle, a good book and a couple of knitting projects by your side?

Bliss is hot coffee, a warm blanket, a scented candle, a good book and a few hats to knit.

While everyone else I know is hanging out on Facebook complaining about the bitter cold weather, I'm over hear like, "Yeah, baby! Bring it on!"

I'll admit that my No Spending challenge is helping me appreciate staying home, tucked safely under a blanket and away from shopping carts of the real and online variety.

I will also admit that if I don't crawl out from under my toasty warm blanket soon, the dust bunnies are going to become so big, they may fight me for the blanket.  And win.  But that's a worry for another day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Just a dusting

The snowstorm forecast for this past weekend actually hit.  We were in the light dusting to 3 inches section of the map, but ended up getting closer to six inches.  And it was cold! Single digits cold.

A view of the snow falling from the comfort and safety of my couch & warm blanket

Three days later and the only photo I have of the snow was taken while it was falling, from the comfort and safety of my comfy chair and snugly warm blanket.

One of three custom order hats for

I have pretty much lived under the snugly warm blanket ever since.  It remains cold and the snow hasn't melted.  It's still out there.  I refuse to make friends with it.

Instead of playing in the snow, I've hung out with my blankie and kept myself busy knitting and reading.  The book was Midnight Betrayal by Melinda Leigh.  "Was" because I've finished it since taking that photo.  It was a Who Done It type story with a little romance thrown in and it captivated me from the first page.

As for the knitting, the knitting has been perfect.  A previous Etsy shop customer asked me to knit another three hats for him.  The colors he wanted were already in my stash so I didn't even have to go shopping.  (I'm still zero for $0.00 on my no impulse shopping challenge! Yay me!)  I cast on all three of the hats, completed the hemmed brims and now I can just sit back and knit and read and maybe even binge watch Season 3 of the Vikings.

***Yikes! I'm editing this post because I completely forgot to mention that I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along.  Apparently I'm suffering from winter brain freeze. So, please, join me over at Ginny's place to see what others are knitting and reading.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Knitting with Bison

Remember my part bison yarn?

Mock cabled fingerless gloves or mittens.
Fingerless Mitts

Like magic, it turned into a pair of fingerless mitts. 

The yarn is Tracks Sport from The Buffalo Wool Co.  I received it in my November socks kit from KnitCrate.  The yarn is a merino & bison blend.  Right off the skein, it was a little stringy and had a slightly stiff cottony feel to it but after blocking, it softened right up.  It softened up enough that there's no longer a question about whether they are destined to be mine or my shop's.  They are definitely mine now.

Do you notice anything odd about the cabling?  They are worked from the fingertips downward and I was binge watching Vikings while I knit the first mitt.  Apparently I was paying more attention to Ragnar than the number of rows I was knitting.  The cables got further and further apart as I knit.  Ooops.  But no worries!  I just did the same thing on the second mitt and am calling it a design element.  I actually kind of like it.

Friday, January 6, 2017

It's torture

What was I thinking?  Apparently, I wasn't.

I can not believe I went public with my No Spending for 30 Days idea.  I mean, seriously.  What was I thinking?

It's only January 6th.  It's been six days of pure torture.  Torture, I tell you.  Pure, absolute torture.

Target has Sharpies and giant packs of Post-It-Notes on sale.  And all that Valentine stuff in the Dollar section.  I'm not really into hearts, but I do love anything red and white.

Luckily, my daughter was with me and she dragged me out of the store.  I looked like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum over a candy bar at the grocery store.

But I didn't buy and Sharpies or Post-Its.  Or that adorable bright red cake stand that would look so cute on my desk holding my pencil cup & Post-It collection.

Torture. Absolute torture!

I started reading a new book on my Kindle and was really enjoying it and all of a sudden - the book just ended.  What??  Dammit!  It was a Sample book not a whole book.  Double dammit!  I was really into the story, but I didn't go buy the whole book.  I'll save it for February 1st.  That's the plan, at least.

I'm out of chocolate.

Seriously.  I'm out of chocolate and I think buying an economy size bag of Hershey Kisses would probably count as needless, spur of the moment, junk food shopping.  Dammit!

It's going to be a long month!

A very long month, made even longer by tomorrow's pending snow storm and did I mention - there's NO chocolate in the house.

30 days without shopping,

Minnie says, "But Mom, at least you have yarn."

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fourth Time

Well, it looks like the fourth time is the charm.

knitting a striped cowl with Pittura yarn and reading a holiday romance novel
Yarn Along Wednesday

Miraculously, Christmas Eve dawned with only a personal fair isle project on the needles. (Assuming we're ignoring the giant UFO pile, which we are.)  I knew I needed a simple Keep Calm & Knit On project to get me through our Christmas Eve gift exchange adventure.  See, ever since Sarah was taking Drivers Ed & had the homework assignment over Christmas break to 'drive for a minimum of three hours straight,' our tradition has been to spend the better part of Christmas Eve driving all over the state delivering gifts.  And Sarah drives.  Over the years, we've perfected our route.  It actually takes some planning because as we drop gifts off, we also pick up others to drop off further down the line.  Each year, the trip has gone a little smoother except..... Did I mention, Sarah drives?  And how we travel over mostly twisty-turny, back country roads? And how with each year she's grown more confident in her driving skills and how she doesn't believe in slowing down for the sharp curves? And how it has some how mysteriously been pouring POURING down rain every Christmas Eve since we started this tradition?  Well, believe me when I say - I NEED a Keep Calm and Knit On project for the Christmas Eve Adventure.

Anyway.... Christmas Eve rolled around, my fair isle scarf was the only thing on my needles & it wasn't an appropriate Keep Calm in the car project.  The giant ball of knit & ripped & knit & ripped and knit & ripped Pittura yarn was still laying on my desk so I grabbed it, a pair of needles & off we went on our adventure.  In the blinding rain.  It's tradition.

I'm not sure if it was the magic of Christmas or if the Knitting Gods took pity on me but what ever.  The fourth time seems to be the charm.  It's working out just how I'd envisioned it and, knock on wood, there doesn't seem to be any dropped stitches or random purled rows or sets of three pink rows when it's supposed to be only two rows of pink per stripe.  It's all working out just fine.

And while I've been knitting, I finished reading the last of the season's holiday romance books.  The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown was a fun post-holiday read.  While I enjoyed it, I'm really glad I didn't start it right before Christmas because I probably would have suddenly felt the need to knit myself a Christmas sweater.

So, what are you knitting and/or reading?  Join me over at Ginny's Yarn Along to see what others are knitting while the read & to wish Ginny a happy belated birthday.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Zero Dollars

Did you have a happy New Year's?  Ours was low-key but nice.  We stayed home, had a good dinner, Mike watched cowboy movies on TV while I binge watched Vikings on my computer & knit.  I was excited to finish my November #KNITCRATE fingerless gloves just minutes before midnight.  We welcomed the New Year in with champagne and managed to shoot the angel off the Christmas tree with the cork.  Oops.

January 1st rolled around and I'm proud to say I promptly got to work on my one resolution to actually do the To-Do list, not just re-write it daily.  I even put those freshly knit fingerless gloves to soak.

Mock cabled fingerless gloves knit with Buffalo Wool Co.'s Tracks Sport
Fingerless Gloves

By night fall, all of the holiday decorations had been put away.  Actually put away!  As in, put away in the attic, not just put in their storage containers & left unceremoniously all over the house to be put in the attic at some later date.  It's a New Year's miracle!

We ate our New Year's Day Hoppin John and as I was finishing mine up, I realized I'd been successful at another resolution I'd been kicking around.  Actually, I wouldn't call it a resolution, it's more of a challenge.  And it will be a challenge!

See, I'm still suffering from holiday over indulgence.  After eating all the Christmas cookies & cakes, the idea of anything more fattening than a raw, fresh vegetable is repulsive.  And then there's the bank account.  I did great with the gift budget but the holiday food budget....  What budget? The amount of money I spent on holiday food rivals the gross national debt!  Frankly, I'm pretty disgusted with myself for spending so much money on so many fattening & unhealthy foods that, while tasting great, left me feeling like I wish I was anorexic.  

And that sense of holiday over indulgence left me thinking.....  what if I didn't buy any junk food for a month?  What if I didn't even shop at all for a month?  Just think of all the calories and dollars I'd save.

Can I do it?  It's going to be difficult, I won't lie.  I have that new Kindle just waiting to be filled with books and of course Amazon knows I have that new, empty Kindle and they keep sending me advertisements for books I should read.  And reading more is on my 2017 goals list....  But get a grip woman!  I've got at least 10 books already on there waiting to be read, not to mention the shelf full of unread paper books.  I can survive one month without buying a book.  I think.  I hope.

As for the groceries, well the pantry is over flowing.  Granted it's over flowing with some strange stuff but it's full.  We may eat some rather creative meals, but we'll eat.

And then there's the matter of my purse.  I want a new one.  I don't like my current one.  Of course, there's nothing wrong with it, at least not functionally.  I just don't like it and want a new one.  But it can wait.  Besides, if I'm not out shopping every day and spending money, I don't need a purse or a wallet anyway, right?  Right.  Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

No yarn shopping will be crazy difficult.  But it's not like I don't have a giant stash.  Plus, I am signed up for the monthly KNITCRATE delivery.  And it's probably going to take me all month to complete the projects I already have on the needles anyway....

So, the challenge has started.  Can I survive January without shopping?  I'll have to do a little shopping.  For things like milk and toothpaste....  But not the fun kind of shopping.  No yarn (unless it's for a custom order,) no books, no pens (my go-to item when feeling the need to shop,) no mindless grocery shopping.  If we run out of something and actually need it for the next meal, then fine, I can buy it.  But no mindless grocery shopping just for the sake of shopping.

How many days in January can I actually go without spending a single dollar?  Want to take bets?