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First day of Autumn

Happy first day of Autumn from the PNW.

It’s been quite a bit longer between posts than I expected. Unpacking is still happening…slowly. The majority of the boxes are out of here, we are still trying to find space for everything. One thing I forgot about when it comes to apartment living is the sheer lack of storage. I believe all of our boxes have at least been opened and viewed, which is great, however somewhere amongst the random remaining stuff is our television remote. I fully anticipate finding it in a box that has been labeled for a completely different area.

In other news, yesterday marked my birthday. I was rejected for a freelance job, but considering how most of my birthdays work out, this was a pretty good day.

Crafting wise things are slow. I still haven’t finished the shawl, it has about 1.5 repeats on the lace border before the ending lace chart. I can’t explain why I am taking so long on finishing it; the pattern is not difficult, I enjoy the way it looks and feels, and I think it will be pretty once it’s done.

The sock blanket has been getting love recently, but I haven’t bothered to take a photo lately. I’ve managed to make it as wide as I want, but now have to work my way up. Instead of the haphazard way of working on it, by which I add squares with no set method, I have had decided to try to work in rows. Of course doubling the width means I have about half the blanket that needs to be caught to the first side. So far it’s working out fairly well. I still have enough “scraps” that it shouldn’t be an issue, although I may have to look into a swap soon as the repeating is getting to be a bit much.

I’ve started the sweater of doom (aka pink and light purple) and am trucking along at a good pace. The body is almost done which is pretty fantastic, I am a little perturbed by the fact that I ended up needing to wind up the second skein(s) simply because I ran out of some during the ribbing along the bottom. Minor annoyance, but it meant that I didn’t get as far along as I wanted last night.

Spinning is kind of happening, the Russian spindle arrived the other week and I managed to grab some fiber and start with very little second guessing. You know, that feeling that you need to hoard the fiber until you are good enough, like a dragon and its gold. The spindle itself is good, if a little large (37cm/ 14 inches) and when I actually sit down to do the spinning I can get in a decent enough groove. The double treadle has some fiber started on it, but that too has stalled out.

Stalling out seems to be my M.O. lately. I guess my adjustment to out here is still a work in progress.

How have you been? Any new knitting projects for Autumn?

Unpacking for days…

This is Ira McKnitty Pants is coming to you live where the great unpack of 2016 is still underway here at the new home of the Introverted Knitter. It appears that there are a number of factors that seem to be slowing both IK and the Giant down when it comes to unpacking. The first, I am told, is the lack of space in their now tiny kitchen. This is quickly followed by, and possibly surpassing the kitchen situation, the rather poor job the packers did in terms of organization and labeling. This reporter is acutely aware of how much IK loves details and through disgruntled mumblings, some of which we are unable to report on this blog, it would appear that this lack of marking is what is drawing the most ire for her.

I have been told that both spinning wheels have been located, assembled and are as of now in working condition. However as an example of the lack of details, IK wants me to inform you all that one wheel (packed up in the original box) was labeled Christmas bells, despite the image on the front of the box. Additionally the little Prelude, that is affectionately referred to as Beatrice was split into multiple boxes, with the larger parts labeled “chair.” I am assured that IK and the Giant are as baffled by this labeling as this reporter happens to be.

I am told that the stash is still technically unreachable due to the amount of boxes in the “spare” room. However IK has indicated that the goal for this week is to find the swift and ball winder, “which may be anywhere at this point.”

I’ve just received confirmation that, yes, the cats seem to be handling the move and land of boxes far better than their human counterparts, and in fact seeem to particularly enjoy their gigantic tower, which the humans have thoughtfully placed nearest the windows in the living room. I am told that the cats are particularly fond of watching the variety of birds, squirrels, and various other creatures (and leaves) from their perch. It appears that this is by far the most coveted location, although unconfirmed reports seems to indicate that the bed is a close second, followed by the bathroom-whether occupied or not.

It is of this reporter’s opinion that the Giant has been incredibly helpful in this entire process and I am told that not only does IK agree, but that she is eager to cast on the pair of socks for him, just as soon as she can split the skein in half.

In terms of crafting content it appears there has been little to no progress on the shawl, or socks that are currently on the needles, but this reporter is being told that the sock blanket has been getting some attention, however our camera crew was unable to secure any photos. However this reporter can assure you that there has been some pretty decent growth to the blanket, and while IK assures me that there is still a significant portion needed to be knit, she feels confident and enthusiastic about her progress.

This reporter has also been informed that a new supported spindle is on its way to IK and that another bowl has been acquired as well. It is the hope of this reporter that photos will be forthcoming as they arrive. Additionally we’ve been told that spinning shall commence soon, but an actual date has not been given.

Thanks for tuning in to this special report of the PNW moving saga for the Introverted Knitter and Giant, I am Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting.  

 

It begins….

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Guess what finally arrived!?!

Cold Sheeping pause

Or more aptly title how I broke my yarn diet and became a bit of a wool pig.

The past weekend here in the PNW had a little bit of everything I think. The Giant and I started out by visiting two local (ish) yarn shops on the hunt for some yarn. Now some of you may be thinking, “But Introverted Knitter you have been cold sheeping since (May) the beginning of the year, why break the habit now?” Well my dear reader I would like to say that it is because of the request by one of the tiny humans in my life, (they did) I want to tell you all about how she asked me so very nicely for a sweater out of pink and purple yarn (she did.) It would be great to say that this was the catalyst for jumping off the cold sheep wagon, for it is a noble and far less selfish reason. Alas I am unable to truthfully say this was the reason for the plunge.

It all started thanks to instagram and a lovely dyer named Moonrover. (Remember her? From last week, the handspun socks? Yeah that dyer) I just happen to catch a post from Moonrover that stated she was looking to destash fibers. I am going to chalk it up to the fact that 1) her fibers are amazing, 2) I’m really anxious to get back to spinning, 3) fiber’s are absolutely awesome, 4) I’ve gone 4 months with no purchases (although I did get lovely unsolicited stash gifts, however they two are on a truck that is on it’s way to me), 5)Did I mention how wonderful her fiber is?

I ended up hopping over to Ravelry and taking a quick peek at the fiber and fell in love with the selection. I ended up snagging a braid. Lacey is amazingly quick with her shipping and Saturday morning my little mailbox was full of fiber fluffy goodness.

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I can’t decide which part I love the most, but it is a superwash 80/20 wool nylon blend so it may become another pair of socks. It may just become a pet that I love and cherish and name George. (Probably socks to be honest)

After that first purchase I ended up deciding it would make the most sense to go buy the yarn for the sweater (since I was already off the sheep) and I needed to pick up a new needle for the lace part of the shawl I am knitting (fun fact from me to you: if you purchase a cheap set of needles off of Amazon, realize there is a reason they are cheap. Aka the joins are not smooth, despite my attempts to fix them, and will snag your yarn.)

The Giant being a good sport was willing to head out on an adventure as we stopped at a close(r) to us yarn shop, Serial Knitters Yarn Shop. The shop is lovely and arranged fairly well, however despite their wonderful selection of some pretty big name yarns I ended up only picking up needles there. (The yarn for the sweater was not among their selections.) The staff was great and I definitely expect to frequent them in the future.

Our next stop on the search for the yarn led us a bit out of the way to a not-quite-as-local-yarn-shop known as All Wound Up. This store was deceptively large, (it sits in a rather small looking strip of stores) and it too had a large selection of big name yarn producers, including the sweater yarn. We ended up deciding on colors that theoretically will not make me want to stab my eyeballs out, which is always for the best. IMG_3949

This is the closest iteration of pink and purple that the Giant and I could settle on. Berroco Vintage Worsted. As we took in the rest of the store, I was drawn to the sock yarns and the Giant eventually made his way there as well. I pointed out the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock yarn (a first for me to see it in the wild) and suddenly the Giant indicated he especially liked a particular skein. After a bit of a waffle I ended up grabbing the skein with the plan to knit him socks. As we waited to make our purchases 1/2 of the lovely owners informed us that the colorway in question was actually specially dyed for the store in honor of their anniversary.

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the “All Wound Up” colorway. (You may be noticing a pattern when it comes to the colors chosen lately…I am a sucker for blues and purples)  The shop is a lovely place and despite being further away I plan on going again.

The yarny adventures ended with a quick stop to JoAnn’s as I needed more black yarn to finish up the lacey portion of the shawl. I ended up grabbing two of the skeins just for insurance, as I figure I can use it for cuffs, heels and toes with whatever’s left.

As we drove the Giant and I got lost and ended up near downtown Seattle.

Oops, luckily it wasn’t too hard to get turned back around (and we avoidedthe toll road, woo)

The weekened was rounded out with the arrival of my bestie back in town. Ironically she had returned home (our previous location) for a visit with her family  around the time we were moving here.An evening walk for the Giant and I meant we got to not only see her and the pup, but also take advantage of the view from near our place.

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Sunday was a trip to the dog park (which was sadly void of little dogs) but the Giant and Magpie became fast friends.

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The three of us (Magpie stayed home) went to dinner and thanks to the an accidental order I ended up with another awesome shirt.

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It says “In Otter News” 

We decided they were co-anchors for the evening.

How’d your weekend go?

Fresh From the Needles Friday: Handspun Edition

Say wha? Two finished objects in a week, it’s almost like I have nothing else to do but work on knitting….(wait.) In all seriousness I guess I needed a goal or something to focus on, besides the fact that I still do not have any of my stuff. My top list of things I miss the most has wavered slighty, it was keurig, bed, couch. Now I am tossing the wheels in there, just below my coffee maker, why? I managed to score a braid of Moonrover destash and it’s currently heading to me. It’s times like this that make me realize I need to pick up a spindle (or four) again.

Speaking of Moonrover, that’s actually where the finished object stems from. I am sporadically a part of the moonrover fiber club, (it’s at three month intervals and finances have been topsy-turvy in the last few years…boo health related issues)  which I recommend to anyone who loves fiber done right. Seriously she’s pretty much the only dyer I am consistently stalking watching for updates/destashes. Check her out…or wait maybe not because then that means more competition for me…no seriously check her out.

This is the first braid of hers that I spun (way back in October of last year.) I was shooting for a self striping sock weight yarn, and I think I managed pretty well. However through my own stubbornness I decided it was very important for me to attempt to spin it the way I wanted (which was pretty much how the braid was set up…I have no real explanation on this other than I considered omitting the pink section, but ended up putting it back in.)

Sewknitpicky mentioned on her last podcast the “issue” that can develop when you chain-ply a yarn (your inconsistencies show up, thin is thin, thicker is thicker.) Which makes sense to me, but was reaffirmed with this pair. Because I was silly and didn’t just rip the strips down the line, but instead did the oh-so-scientific method of dividing into sections and eyeballing it, I ended up with longer sections of colors at different parts of the yarn. Just what the heck am I talking about?

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The striping on the left sock is fairly consistent and ultimately what I was hoping for, the right is what happens when I “eyeball it.” The foot of the right sock starts to pick back up with the shorter striping sequence, but it still has far larger sections than the left.

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The sock on the right only managed to get one stripe of the blue, which is a bummer because that is by far my favorite part. I do love all of it though, even the pink which kind of surprises me.

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As soon as I sat down to take a photo he came racing over (from a dead sleep) to try to get in the shot. I had to move around three times just to get photos without his little kitty feet (or face.)

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I have come to realize just how much I take my sock blockers for granted, they make photographing so much easier (and you don’t have to be blinded by my incredibly pale legs.) I have also come to realize that I have no way of actually measuring my remaining yardage. This is a bummer because I have a lot left over and we all know my “eyeballing” skills aren’t to be trusted. I am thinking it’s going to be more than a enough for a hat, but I’ll probably have to wait because like everything else, most of my knitting needles are on their way to me.

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I have to say I really didn’t expect to knock these out as quickly as I did. They were a back burner project, but with the end of Sock it to Summer approaching I guess my desire for something to focus on was enough of a kick in the pants. This of course means I have the shawl (which is already at the edging), a pair of socks for the Giant (which I don’t believe I can finished before the end of the month….but now that I say that…) and the, previously only intended as drastic measures back up, lace cardigan (although I ended up bring the wrong needles with me for it, so I either need to go out and buy a pair (darn) or try to hold out until everything shows up.

Specs on the socks:
Yarn: Handspun-from Moonrover fiber club Feb 2015
Needles: US 1, 2.25mm
Pattern: My own basic sock with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel

So for my first pair of handspun socks for me I am pretty excited, of course today we are back up in the 90’s so they will have to languish a bit longer before getting any use.

Happy Friday everyone. Anyone have any fun plans?

Slightly less fresh from the needles

So here we are Tuesday and almost one full week of being out in the PNW. It’s sunny again, which is okay I guess, as long as the temperature stays cooler I won’t complain. It’s weird but some of the leaves have already started to turn which makes me happy. My very first visit to the area was last year in October and Autumn was in full swing, which may or may not have colored my perspective on the place.

On another note I did manage to finish one of the projects I brought along to tide me over until the stash arrives. These were actually completed while we were still on the road, they managed to be knit in 5 out of the 7 states we passed through on our way out here which is pretty good in my book.

These mark my second pair for SewKnitPicky’s Sock It To Summer Year 4 KAL. (It goes until the end of the month….check out her Ravelry group (Knot a podcast) for details.) Which is great and sad at the same time. I had sincerely hoped to have gotten more pairs done, but I guess since I lost about a month and a half in there to the whole, ‘pack up your entire life and head West’ thing it’s not too bad.

If you follow me on instagram you may have heard the saga of these socks, if not let me recap for you. For the most part the cats leave my yarn alone, unless it is actively touching them (because they must be right next to you) fiber is a different story, and handspun in a toss up. However for some reason one of our tabby’s decided that this yarn must not only be stolen but also chomped on and therefore broken. (Side note, he did not actually eat the yarn instead he stole the ball/cake, played with it by flinging it around and creating a giant stringy mess, and chewing it. Which resulted in a lot of rewinding and dealing with severed bits (aka weaving a lot of extra ends.)

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Don’t let the cute face fool you, he was out for blood.

The socks eventually ended up getting finished and I was able to retain enough for the sock blanket.

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Of course when it came to photos, that very same tabby had to sneak into a few shots.

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Sock Specs:

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Foxglove
Pattern: Modified Rose City Rollers (Fish Lips Kiss Heel)
Needles: US 0 or 2.0 mm

I’m going to take the win and just roll with it.

 

 

 

Heatwave

One of the reasons the Giant and I decided on moving out to the PNW was the climate. For the most part it is rainy, cloudy and cool. When you ask people to describe Seattle, they will probably mention the rain. One thing few people mention (or think about) is that due to that cool, wet, cloudy climate few places (aside from larger businesses) have central air. When the Giant and I arrived last week and were greeted with temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s, we both felt a little disappointed. Coming from the Midwest where temperatures tend to be mid to upper 90’s from late June to early/mid September, the heat wave was a serious flaw in our plan. Thankfully it only lasted until Sunday and the heat finally snapped and we are back to that oh so sought after PNW weather. Side note here, as who has lived in the aforementioned Midwest I was more than a little thrown when there was no heat index, 94 felt like 94. My mind was even more boggled when I noticed that in the city it was 94 degrees but felt like 89.

The last week and weekend were spent trying avoid the heat, combined with exploring the area a bit. So far no yarn shops have been visited, which is good because I have more than enough yarn on its way, along with almost everything else. Yeah, so about that whole moving and having your stuff follow, let me just sum it up by saying I never truly appreciated what it was like to have something to sit on (other than a pillow and the floor.)

With the cooler weather I have finally been able to pick up my knitting again, which means the eyeblink shawl is cruising along. The shawl body is done and now I am working on the black lace edging (yeah that slight thud you heard was my head on a metaphorical desk.) The process has improved now that I finally secured a lamp. The lamp in question actually belongs to the Giant, and had been packed away (by him) in his little box of chargers and power cords. Since Wednesday I have been doing without a lamp, relying only on the small light that shines from the closet area in our bedroom and a large emergency flashlight that I packed along, because of course I did.

The Giant has been going to sleep far earlier than I and as a result had not seen my makeshift lighting situation. I, in my infite wisdom had simply tried to make do, until last night when I was muttering to myself about a lack of light and finally voiced my desire for a lamp. Thirty seconds later I was good to go with a very bright and very helpful lamp. Moral of this story? Take five seconds to communicate your needs with your partner, because the whole four nights without a lamp are on me. (Where’s that desk?)

How’s the start of your week going so far?

 

Arrival

1660.6 miles. Seven states. 2 adults, 3 cats and 24 hours spent in a tiny 3 door hatchback.

We’ve made it. Actually we made it mid-afternoon Wednesday, but the evening was spent attempting to acclimate to a non-sitting position and a quick trip to grab food. Thursday, the Giant and I headed out and about exploring a bit more before once again trying to adjust to time changes, weather changes, and all the other changes that occur when you pack your life up and head to somewhere else. More on that later, for now let’s talk about the trip!

Monday around noon the Giant and I made one final pass through our house and loaded the cats and ourselves into our little car, with one last drive through  the place we have called home for a little over 5 years (non-consecutively) we headed out on the open road towards the Pacific Northwest.

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That first day we covered three states, including the one we started in, Nebraska, Iowa and our final stopping point was South Dakota. The Nebraska to Iowa trip was a familiar one, but with no time to waste we could only pass by some of the areas I grew up with. The majority of the trip was our trek through South Dakota. A state I will freely admit I had not traveled further west than Sioux Falls. Even so I felt fairly confident I knew what to expect with the state (fields of corn and soybeans and maybe a few cattle farms.) This proved true for a large part of the trip, aside from a few highlights.

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First, Wall Drug. Now again having admitted the non-traveling outside of easternmost parts of the state I was aware of Wall Drug, but never really investigated it/thought about it. Well this trip certainly changed my awareness level. There seemed to be three different types of billboard for Wall Drug that they rotated every x number of miles along the way (and when you are about 4.5 hours away that turns into a lot of billboards.) There are also billboards for some “1880’s town” that were interspersed with the Wall Drug billboards. It was almost a tie for which of the two places I was more annoyed of hearing about, until we passed the 1880’s town and saw that they had of all the random things in the world, a camel. A freaking camel….who I might add was just hanging out in a field near the “town” munching on some grass. I was so flummoxed that I couldn’t help but laugh at it all.

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The second highlight was crossing the Missouri river. It was cool because the Missouri river is something that helps divide Iowa and Nebraska (my two most frequented states) and I was finally crossing it somewhere else. Of course this meant we had to cross a bridge. (Fun fact I dislike bridges, more on that later.) The view was pretty at least.

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As the sun began to set we arrived in Wall, SD (of course the Wall Drug signs continued throughout the town.) It is important to note that this is my own personal opinion of the following: While I thought finding an apartment that accepted three cats was a challenge, finding hotels that would allow them proved a bit more interesting the first hotel was….well let’s just say that I feel as though it could have been a setting for one of the Law and Order episodes. 

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Luckily we survived the night and headed out early for our next destination. We drove by the badlands and saw signs for Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone, but this wasn’t a vacation we had another destination we had to reach. The one thing we definitely got to see were fields upon fields of sunflowers. South Dakota was just covered in them.

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Not counting SD as our starting point for the day we ended up crossing two states this time, Wyoming and Montana. Neither of which I had ever been to before. I have been to Colorado (once) and for some reason I was expecting it to be similar terrain (read mountains.)

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As someone who has lived in the Midwest their entire life, I thought I knew what big open space was. Granted I lived in cities, not farms but I drove through enough of the area to feel fairly certain I knew what endless meant. Nope, not even close. There was just so much of it: sky, land, hills, sky, cows, sheep, sky, horses, did I mention sky? Seriously It was one of those things that you think you understand until you get there and realize you never really could have known. Now however I completely understand why it’s called “big sky country.”

 

Of course after half a day of driving through the big openness the novelty wore off and I (and the cats for sure) were more than ready to 1)see something other than big vastness and 2) ready to get to the hotel. Luckily we hit Bozeman and started to see some variety and by the time we made it to Butte we were greeted with a definite change of scenery.

 

The hotel this time was significantly less scary and at least two of the cats made quick work of claiming their spots.

(When we lived in the Chicago area, our grey cat had a habit of constantly draping himself across the air conditioner. When we moved back to Omaha the habit continued, but this time it was limited to vents. The edges of his fur flutter so adorably in the breeze that it is sometimes hard to do anything but snap a photo and give him a couple of scritches…until it becomes too warm and you have to move him off of the unit to cool the place down again…but I digress)

Day Three found us with two more states, Idaho and finally Washington, but first we had to make it through more of Montana. Luckily the western portion of the state is far more varied than the big vast openness of the eastern portion.

Also, I have come to realize that should I ever need to move somewhere else, Montana will be on my list. Why you ask? Well because there are places that are devoted to all things Huckleberry. I don’t discuss my love of Huckleberry, mainly because it’s difficult to damn near impossible to find in the Midwest (at least for me.) So when we made a quick stop on the border before heading into Idaho and found a town that featured numerous signs and locations with a variety of huckleberry options I could not resist purchasing a slushy-surgery-huckleberry-goodness, even though it was only about 7:30 am at that point.

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It was worth the brain freeze, it was worth the sugary, sticky mess. It was so worth it, that my only regret was that I didn’t get more.

Our jaunt through Idaho was fairly brief, but the scenery was amazing. So much so that the Giant insisted we stop (at a desginated area) and jump out for quick photos.

Horace had to get in on the action again (finally) he had gotten a bit lost in the reorganizing of the car on day two so his photos are limited to that first and last day. In order to make up for it, he was included in most of our photos for the rest of the day.

As beautiful and lush and green as Idaho was, Eastern Washington was not. It was dry and bare and made me miss the endless green fields of crops from my beloved Midwest.

Fortunately (and unfortunately) we eventually found the Columbia river. I say fortunately because it was a dramatic change in to the varying shades of sand and dirt we had been experiencing since Idaho. It was unfortunate because we had to cross a very large bridge over a very large body of water. (Have I ever mentioned I don’t like bridges? Yeah I have this big irrational fear of neither the thing collapsing, the car careening off the side or even just getting stuck on one. I blame some of the whole bridge thing to the film I saw in a physics class about the Tacoma bridge disaster. 1:23 mark) Anyway the crossing did help a bit in terms of our view, the Cascades started to appear and the fields were starting to look a bit more like the farm land I was familiar with.

 

Around the time we got close enough to actually see the green trees and mountains, was around the same time that I started to get hit with another wave of motion sickness. This coincided with me stupidly dropping my phone (with the directions on it) below my seat. I made a few feeble attempts at recovery, but eventually the Giant had to pull over so I could properly retrieve it. As I went for the phone, I managed to first hit my head on the radio knob (which let me tell you hurts likes none other) I then managed to get my wrist caught in a weird angle as I tried to reach under the seat. This was followed by me hitting my head a second time, however this time it was the shifter (which hurts even more.) At this point I snapped. I had been in a car for three days with various levels of cat car sickness, meowing and just their own anxieties. I had been playing co-pilot/navigator for the Giant, been dealing with motion sickness that made me envy people who own boats. We had gone through a variety of different elevations, crossed two time zones and seven states. I was just done. I ended up slamming my hand on the side of the door of the car quite hard (stupid I know) and I yelled and swore and cried and basically just had a few moments where all I wanted to do was go back to Nebraska and forget this whole long mess had happened.

 

Fortunately the Giant remained sane enough to realize that wasn’t a possibility and after checking on my various levels of bruising, and that I did in fact manage to get my phone; he continued the drive through the cascades. Which of course are beautiful. The mountains/rocks/novelty of it all was amazingly cathartic. The trees, oh my gosh guys, the trees here are so amazing. I’ve grown up in older neighborhood with established oaks or maple, some birch, weeping willows, some pine trees that seem to climb as high as the houses next to them. They are nothing compared to the trees here. The sheer number is mind boggling, the heights they reach have caused me to stop walking and just stare (or just stare out the window, with a wonder that made me feel that same sense of smallness and amazement as I did in Montana.

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Around 3:30pm local time: 2 adults, 3 cats, 24 hours in a car and 1660.6 miles in a tiny three door hatchback arrived.

We got the keys to our new place and let the boys out to explore. The next big part of our adventure is waiting for all of our things to arrive. Until then we have an air mattress and some minor cooking equipment and are just taking it day by day.

 

Road Trip Wips

As I may have mentioned before The Giant and I are packing ourselves and the cats up and heading off to our new home in the next few days. Whatever we don’t pack in the car will be arriving about 2-4 weeks after us. Now we have a tiny car, and between clothing, cats, food (for the cats), cookware (for us), and misc other things we need there is not a lot of room for extras. Luckily I have a backpack from my graduate school/college days that doubles as a laptop carrier so I have at least a little bit of room to stuff some WIP’s in. Now I tried to be somewhat realistic when packing these projects. They have to be smaller items or at least squishable, they should be something I won’t finish too quickly, they need to be interesting but also mindless and they should be varied enough, so that if we don’t get our items until week four (shudder) I won’t be clawing at the walls in frustration.

While there are many projects that fit this description I decided to stick mainly with actual works in progress, with two new projects should I run out of knitting.

First up is a pair of modified Rose City Rollers I have been keeping on the back burner for the most part. These are knit on size 0’s and contain the fish lips kiss heel (hence the modification.) I am using some random stash by way of Knit Picks Felici in the foxglove colorway. Somehow the two skeins I had of this yarn became separated along the way and part of one made its way into my sock yarn blanket, while a part of another made it’s way into a random sock that was languishing in the cross stitching supplies. Don’t ask me when or how it ended up in that bin, but it was found and promptly frogged. While Felici is known for it’s striping and softness (although it pills like a mo fo) I wasn’t too bothered by this fact and instead knit my little heart out, letting the colors fall where they may.

It’s hard to see but the first completed sock as a small stripe of the darker pink that separates the two light pink sections. The second sock has more of the darker pink to act as a divider. Since I am past the heel and zooming* along these might actually be completed before we head out (don’t hold me to that.)

*The zooming is less zooming due to this yarn thief.

He’s been taking every opportunity to absconce with the yarn ball, which means not only do I have to chase him (which he loves and is part of the reason he does it) I also have to untangle and rewind the yarn. Don’t let his cuteness fool you, he’s also a big fan of trying to eat the yarn and so when I knit I often come across small sections of wet spots which is unnerving to say the least.

Next up and what I assume will be a big part of my road trip knitting is a shawl that I cast on thanks to the amazing Laura from the Knit Shift Podcast.  Thanks to her rave reviews I decided to cast one on and becuase I was feeling a little down I chose some yarn I had been saving for just such a project. Lamby Toes in the Botanical Baddie colorway (fun fact this was a custom request that turned into a repeatable colorway, which makes me happy…my wallet less so, although I managed to avoid the last few skeins.) I also added in some generic black sock yarn as a small stripe every x number of rows. This helps to break up the lamby (not that it’s needed) and extend it by an ever so little amount (totally needed.)

The shawl itself is EyeBlink by Heidi Alander and it is a wonderful garter stitch crescent shaped shawl with some lace on the edging. Because of the way Heidi made her pattern you can theoretically size this bad boy up as long as you keep your stitch numbers divisable by 6 (which is theoretically easy to do thanks to her increases.)

I have already exceeded the minimum number of stitches and the plan is to go until I run out of Lamby yarn and knit the lace border with the contrasting black yarn. I do have another skein of Lamby in my stash, but I am holding out for now I would love a pair of socks and a hat from this colorway (and frankly the skein is just as pretty to pet and look at.)

Should I finish (or grow bored, ha!) of the shawl knitting, I do have two more pairs of socks currently in progress.

The first is for the Giant, with just a cuff done I have quite a few hours left before this is anywhere close to being done.

These will be a basic vanilla pair for him. The yarn is Lang Yarns, Jawoll Aktion.

The other sock is knit out of some handspun made from a Moonrover Feburary 2015 club colorway.

These are the first handspun socks for me and I am actually pretty fond of them. When spinning I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep that bright orange and/or the pink you can kind of see in the cuff. In the end I tweaked the order and kept the colors.

Should I manage to somehow finish all of these projects, I have yarn for another pair of socks. They were chosen specifically because we will be crossing into two different time zones.

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Of course it had to be KP Felici in the Time Traveler colorway.

The last project will for sure last me until I am once again reunited with my stash (and then some.)

These two skeins represent a lace weight cardigan I plan on knitting up. The gray will be the main body (three more skeins of this) and the blown out blue (which is more of heathery blue) will be the contrasting stripes. No pattern as of yet but I am think raglan with an open front.

So there you have it the projects I am hoping last me from now until the next time I see my stash. Fingers crossed they last.

Have you ever had to plan for a big trip and decide on knitting? What are your criteria when you are picking travel projects?

 

Fresh from the Wheel:Tuesday’s Summer Picnic

In a somewhat desperate attempt to avoid thinking about all the things needed for the move let me share with you my latest handspun. Because of the aforementioned moving situation I had to actually take the time to clear off the wheel, oh darn legit motivation, the singles have been languishing on the bobbin for about a week (maybe two.) Mind you it took almost two months to get the singles actually spun (I can’t blame this one on the move.)

The yarn is 100% Shetland Wool in the Picnic in the Park 2 colorway.

Handpainted roving - Shetland wool spinning fiber - 4.0 ounces - Picnic at the Park 2

The photo above is from the seller, EdgewoodGardenStudios and let me tell you that shop is full of serious temptations (you’ve been warned.)

Now you may notice that there is a healthy dose of yellow in the fiber, which isn’t normally my thing, but the faux rainbow effect was enough to draw me in. I decided to spin this yarn in strips from top to bottom, the plan was to chain ply and end up with something close to self striping yarn.

This actually worked pretty well, the fiber was a dream to spin (seriously go check that shop out, her stuff is just amazing.) I ended up trying to spin thin but without over twisting,  a very common problem for me, I think it worked for the most part. I ran into two instances, when chain plying, where the fiber wasn’t twisted enough and fell apart.

For anyone that does chain plying on the regular, do you run into this? If so how do you fix it? I often bungle my way through it, trying to get enough twist to reattach the singles but there was one time it ended up with more of a mess than a fix. I would love to hear from you on how to handle it, or if you have any online links to where I could figure it out. It would appear my google-fu isn’t working as well because I can’t seem to find anything addressing this particular issue.

Anyways the yarn was plied and had a little bit of a rest (not much because of the whole moving thing and time limitations) before I wound it off and gave it a little bath. Luckily it dried fairly quickly and Sunday afternoon I was able to snap a few photos. Okay, the truth is I tried to snap a few photos, as of late my shaking hands have resulted in less than stellar photos, but the Giant lent his steady hands and I manged to get a good shot.

Remember how I mentioned the yellow from before? Yeah I don’t know if it is just me or what, but I am picking up a lot of it in the photo and even more so in the skein. I still love it.

The yardage is approximately 432 yards, but that could be off (sleep issues plus foggy brain means I had some difficulty counting, it didn’t help that one of the cats insisted on being a velcro kitty with the yarn.) Fun fact though, this was my first time chain-plying on my double treadle wheel so there is that minor flush of pride because it isn’t completely messed up. The plan for the yarn as of now is a pair of handspun socks for The Giant but that is down the road.

Unfortunately both wheels (unless somebody decides to snap Bea up-shameless self-promotion here) will have to go on the moving truck (there’s simply no room in our tiny car) and so it means spinning will be on hold for awhile (I sold my spindles off earlier this year, but hopefully I can remedy that soon.)

The big thing left to do fiber wise is figure out just what projects to pack. If you had a two- four week time frame to have to plan your knitting around what projects would you chose?

Where I try to be a robot

I’ve debated how to start this post since last Wednesday. I want to make sure I get the words just right, but as I begin each iteration I find that I continually fall short. A big part of the problem is that my own current state is so jumbled that it’s hard to sort out.

The difficulty for me is trying to express the immense gratitude I feel for having gotten the chance to meet and further get to know the wonderful ladies from the little knitting group. In what will completely and utterly shock all of you (sarcasm) I am not someone who finds it easy to make friends. It’s always been tough and despite the numerous reasons that could be listed, the fact remains I find it extremely difficult to let people in.

The small group of knitters I have gotten to know in the last few years has been a group that not only understands what it means to be an introvert, but continued to accept me even when all of my health stuff started. These are people who have been supportive in ways that flew in the face of my background knowledge and they have shown me what it is like to be around others who get you.

Last Wednesday they decided to have a little going away party. There was delicious cheeses (oh my gosh these ladies have introduced me to so much good food and wine that it boggles the mind) there was wine, there was good conversation and a healthy dose of puppy snuggles thanks to everyones favorite blogless lady, Ms Marja. IMG_3491

The puppy can be seen here as he stares longingly at some cheese and bread. Let it be known that this puppy is a superior puppy snuggler and your very own IntrovertedKnitter can attest to the fact that he is super fond of belly rubs.

The party continued as we sat around with a little crafting, a little conversation and a whole lot of amazing and completely unexpected gifts. Yes that’s right I was spoiled, seriously it was astounding how thoughtful those ladies were.

Okay now to the part you’ve been waiting for, the spoils. Because Shells (and everyone else who talks to me about fiber for five minutes) knows how much I love BFL she presented me with this gem.

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It might be a little hard to see in that photo, but it has both purple and green (you will notice that this is a theme for me.) This photo was staged and snapped rather quickly as one of our cats is as big of a sucker for BFL as I am and he kept insisting he get to rub his face in it.

Not to be outdone our lady Marja of the comments and the owner of the super puppy snuggler, ended up bringing a very large and very full bag of her handspun for me to pick through. Despite the desire to take it all, along with the lack of space, I managed to pick out only four skeins. (I will admit I was a full on woolpig, I probably should have stuck to one or two but like with most things that just so awesome it was hard to portion control.)

First up a beautiful and soft and…and… and… (insert adjective of choice) skein out of Julie Spins fiber in the colorway Blue Dancer (although it was the purple that got me…go figure.) Ultrafine merino that is so soft I am thinking the 410 yards needs to be a nice shawl or cowl or simply a skein I wear around my neck while out and about.

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Next was a yarn that I selflessly snagged because, A) It’s Marja’s handspun, B) the colors are perfect for The Giant and C) Did I mention it was Marja’s handspun?

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This is Craggy Mountain, 138 yards of BFL (okay so maybe it was that selfless, and maybe The Giant won’t actually get to wear the hat I make from this.) While this strays a little outside the purple-green motif it was BFL and I admit I am a little weak willed when it comes to the fiber. You will notice that the photo looks darker here (aka less shade) this is because the same fiber loving cat from before decided he needed to supervise from the back of the couch.

The next delightful gift is 100% Falkland in the colorway Circumnavigation and once again you can note the color theme.

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There’s no yardage on this one, but it’s green and lovely and it will become something worthy of the hand spun.

Last and certaintly not least is the gorgeous and wonderfully created Delphinium from Friends in Fiber on 100% Falkland. It was mentioned that Ms. Marja made a point to pop this skein in her bag of goodies and it is not hard to see why.

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There is just so much purple and green it’s hard to get a good image of it. This yarn has a very strong chance of becoming my new pet. It can simply stay on my desk and recieve pets and adoration from myself.

The evening wound down and each of the ladies departed before it was down to just two of us. In a way it was fitting, the last two being Shells and myself, considering she was the first I talked to and the person who initially invited me to meet up with group of wonderful people that I am thankful were willing to accept the very quiet, anxious and introverted me. As I left her place for the final time I found myself realizing just how lucky I am to have found people who honestly care, who honestly understand and who honestly accept someone for who they are.

Even now as I draw this post to a close there are so many more things I want to write about, so many ways I want to tell you how amazing these ladies are and just so much more I wish I could say. The truth is I am not quite sure how to express it all. The main thing I wanted to say to them was Thank You.

 

 

 

When three’s too much of a crowd

First and foremost, how is it Thursday? I swear last time I checked the calendar it was Saturday and then I blinked and BAM here we are. Okay, okay maybe there was a bit of a whirlwind trip to the PNW Sunday through Wednesday and so switching between the time zones twice may have thrown me for a bit of wackadoo loop, but I still feel like there is a day  or two in there that I am missing.

So where to start with it all? Well let’s get that trip business out of the way right? Sunday I loaded myself and a few things onto a plane (I should make note here that in my infinte wisdom I decided it would be “better” (although the question is for whom?) if I didn’t bring any knitting with me) and set off for the Seattle area. Having landed, I had the first big adventure of figuring out just where I was supposed to go to meet up with my (second ever) Uber driver. (Side note here, as shocking as this might seem (note saracasm) the people that help you find a cab, are never going to be thrilled when you have to ask them just where to go to find the “share ride” spot. The person was helpful, but none too happy.) Having finally found the spot (fun fact it’s in the parking garage level 3 row I, big section you can’t miss it, although you might miss your driver the first time they circle around.) I was taken to my hotel before meeting up with my friend. (Note if you follow me on instagram, she’s the one with the little black fluff of a dog.)

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Now when I went to visit said friend earlier this year she introduced me to beef teriyaki, since coming back to the midwest I’ve had strong cravings for one spot in particular. So our big reunited plan was to grab the food and spend the evening catching up. Of course, because it just had to work this way, the place was closed!

Our adventure continued when we decided to stop somewhere else to grab food. Now having lived in the Chicago area (as opposed to the Nebraska suburban area as of late) I grew used to the brazen multitude of birds that would end up hanging out near the train. However that’s been a few years now and so when this guy showed up I  naturally had a little bit of uneasiness (to be fair part of it was the fear of the bird coming after the similarly sized dog.)

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As we moved away from the area the crow decided to hop down and approached a family just to the left of this photo. One of the kids was none to happy (can you blame him?) and made every effort to scare the bird away (it didn’t work, remember brazen?) We left before the saga ended but I would like to think the bird managed to grab something off the ground before leaving the family alone.

Around the time I was dropped back at the hotel I started to realize the lone book I had packed was over halfway finished and I was a feeling that little twitch in my fingers as I tried to settle in for the night. I managed to find something to watch for a little while before I caved and read a few more chapters of my book.

The following day was spent looking at an apartment that accepted our three cats. (Super fun fact going from owning your home back to apartment living isn’t easy, it’s even less so when you happen to have three cats (as opposed to the usual two pet maximum most places allow) I know we are not the only one that has more than two pets and while I was able to find a few places that accepted them, it was still significantly harder than I was expecting.)

The rest of the day was spent reviewing other places (and calling about the pet policy) before I was able once again to hang out with my friend for the evening. We ended up getting the teriyaki and headed back to her place. Now for the sad part, the teriyaki ended up being part of a whirlwind of poor food choices on my part, however in this instance we chalked it up to the sodium content, because I am not part deer, as my friend jokes, it was decidedly not a favorable experience. I know you are all sad, trust me I was pretty bummed too. Returning to the hotel far earlier than planned, I was once again regretting my choice to forgo any knitting. I managed to avoid reading anymore of my book that night thanks to the Golden Girls and Frasier mini marathons that happened to be on. (Why yes I chuckled far too long at the fact that I was watching Frasier while in (the) Seattle (area) I know I can’t be the only one that finds it a little fun.)

The second day (which I suppose would have been Tuesday at this point…maybe that’s the day I thought I was missing) was a repeat of the first, with the notable exception of the appointment for the tour (not set up by me) was not in the apartment’s records. (Can you say anxiety inducing moment, because I can. One of my biggest fears is showing up somewhere they aren’t expecting you.) Luckily they were more than nice about it and I managed to get a little tour of a model (so close to the one we settled on it hurts.) Fun fact of this place it is a just a short walk (and a ridiculously large hill) away from my friend’s place that I was able to head over there and spend some more time with her dog. It wasn’t too bad of a walk (minus that freakin’ hill) even with the rain, which I was able to avoid for the most part because everywhere out there is covered in trees. Seriously, so many trees. Coming from a suburan area that is part of newer development there are a lot of planted trees, but it will be another 5-15 years before they actually produce any real shade.

Wednesday found me leaving the hotel early (6:00 am-ish) so I could make sure to have enough time to 1) get to the airport-Seattle traffic/finding an uber. 2) Make it through security. 3) Find my gate. Of course because I did all of these things for a mid morning flight-the uber was easy to get and encountered very little traffic. I made it through security within 25-30 minutes, and my gate was right there. Better early than running late, but having budgeted more than enough time (plus extra padding because of that whole anxiety issue) I was at the airport almost three hours before my flight was to board. It worked out fine, although I ended up reading a bit more than I should have in the terminal.

That whole reading budget I have been mentioning? Yeah, I only brought one book for the trip (including flights), I had no knitting with me and my phone’s charger ended up not fully (or even really) charging my phone, so I was attempting to save battery life. (Also I live in fear of my phone dying on me. I don’t actually use it as much as you would think, and it rarely dips lower than 40% even when I am home, although this trip I ended up using it a lot more (Uber app and texting with the Giant) and with a failing charger, it ended up getting lower than 10% at one point.) Now you maybe asking why didn’t I buy a book or magazine at the airport (aside from cost, because whoa) there was nothing that peaked my interest (that I don’t already own. Also I am not a big magazine fan (unless it is fiber related, and even then I don’t tend to go out of my way to get them.)

The flight home (after having to switch gates-which was less than 1200 yards away so grumpy mcgrumpy-pants should have kept their mouths shut- due to an injury (baggage handler) on the tarmac, I was informed he would be all right) was a mix of turbulence, tiny humans who decided to yell and scream for most of the flight, people who didn’t know how to turn off/down the sound on their cellphone games and a serious lack of sleep. Which meant that when this damn near mythical moment ended up being my near reality (there were others in the row across from me) I thanked my lucky stars and read the whole way home. *

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*Not the entire way because I finished the book about 30 minutes before we landed which meant I got to listen to the tiny humans yell as well as a that damn cell phone game for the final part of my flight. Add in some serious turbulance, which luckily did not cause me to get sick-despite my stomach’s best tries and you may have found me a little less than at my best while I waited in the heat for the Giant to resuce me from the airport.

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The day ended with a little going away party which I will talk more about tomorrow, while I share my best impersonation of a robot (Spoiler there is hand spun from our lady Marja (and from the always talented Shells!) as well as puppy snuggles, cheese and wine.)

 

FFNF: Baby Blanket

I mentioned a little while ago that I had a blanket that I was working on (for what seemed like ever) for a new nephew (he’s a little less new now, almost three months.) In preparation for the big move we have decided to add a little more craziness to the mix and make a quick trip in the other direction to visit the inlaws.

Luckily the visit includes meeting the newest nephew. Unfortunately I found out about the trip on Monday evening and realized very quickly that the blanket was not quite ready, oops. (I mentioned it was taking forever, yeah a big part of that was because I had not been working on it. Go figure the secret knitting gnomes did not visit and knit for me in the night.)

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So most of this week, when not trying to coordinate all the moving parts of, well moving, has been spent working on that blanket. It’s a labor of love don’t get me wrong, but it definitely was a bit of a slog none the less. Fortunately, I managed to finish it with time to spare.

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I did not use a pattern for this blanket, just cast on three stitches in color one, chose an arbitrary stopping point for the first color. The second and third, brown and darker blue were knit until yarn ran out. The plan for the golden strip was similar except it was the halfway point so I weighed out yarn and tried to make it as even as possible. Overall my decreasing seemed to be going fine, the colors were looking similar in size, which was great. Speeding through the last two colors I didn’t pay a significant amount of attention to the blanket, mainly just trying to get it finished. Of course once it was finished I noticed that the whole things seems a bit…off. Don’t get me wrong it’s a blanket, it will work like a blanket is supposed to. It doesn’t even seem like a signifcant deal and considering it will likely end up seeing an untold number of different accidents happening it isn’t the end of the world.

Speaking of the untold accidents that this blanket may encounter, and my general knowledge of tiny humans I chose an acrylic yarn for the blanket. It’s Knit Pick’s Brava Worsted in colorways I completely forgot to take note of.

This was my first time using the Brava worsted, but not the Brava yarn in general and I ran into a lot of the same problems I have had with the DK version. The yarn is a very soft acrylic and handles the washer like a champ, so FO wise it’s great. The issues I seem to run into with this brand are things like knots, althought this time I had far fewer than any other Brava I worked with, still they were annoying to come across. The knots themselves almost appear to have been trimmed, aka there wasn’t excess yarn on either side, in fact the little bit that was left on the knot was frayed and miniscule. I am not crazy familiar with the milling process of yarn so maybe it’s a result of that rather than anything else. Additonally I had areas of slubbiness. The yarn seemed to have clumped together in a spot while being spun, it was an easy enough fix, but still mildly annoying. The last thing was the opposite of slubs. The yarn grew terribly thin in spots, and oddly enough it was not anywhere near the slubby bits, which I could understand a little better. As it stands the yarn is fine for what it is and for the price point, although I also feel like it shouldn’t be something we all so readily accept (but that is a blog post for a different day, if I ever remember to do it.)

Anyway all of this long windedness is to say, woohoo for a finished object completed in time to give.

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P.S. I wanted to say a major thank you for all of your comments and support about the move and everything.

Adrift

a·drift
adjective & adverb:

(of a person) without purpose or guidance; lost and confused.

I would say that pretty much sums up that last few weeks here at the home of the Introverted Knitter, although in interest of being honest it’s probably been quite a bit longer.

As some of you may have noticed it’s be rather quiet around here, both on posts and updates to the word count. As it stands I realized early this last week that this is one competition I am going to have bow out of. To have come so far and then quit may seem an odd choice and I will admit it has taken something significant to get to this point.

Earlier this week the Giant received very exciting and wonderful news in the form of a new and exciting job, one that will afford him opportunties for growth and experiences  for many years to come.

Now you may be wondering just why would the Giant’s well deserved new job be enough to explain the blog absence and the bowing out of NaNoWriMo, well there is one little detail about the job I forgot to mention. It requires relocation to the Pacific Northwest. So your IntroveretedKnitter and the Giant along with our three cats will be heading that way in just under a month.

This will be our seventh move and fourth bigger move (not within the same city kind of thing) it will actually be our biggest by far and while we are getting a lot of help along the way, everything will likely be in a state of flux for awhile. I do hope to come back to blogging regularly, and perhaps new surroundings will help me achieve that. Anyway I just thought I would let you know that things are changing and it might be a while between posts for now.

 

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and are able to tolerate some of the outrageous heat waves.

Until next time.

Fresh from the Needles Friday

It’s the summer of socks here on the home of the Introverted Knitter, thanks to the lovely SewKnitPicky and the KnotAPodcast podcast for hosting the fourth annual Sock It To Summer KAL and I am playing along as much as possible. Which has actually worked out fairly well considering.

First up is a pair of slightly modified Rose City Rollers I knit up for myself. image_medium2 (4)

Knit out of the discontinued Lang Yarns Jawol Aktion these socks were my go to project  in June when the (never ending) baby blanket got to be a little much. Of course these were finished long before the blanket (I’ve reached the second to last color, which is pretty exciting.)  I mentioned that these were slightly modified in that I made the cuff portion a bit longer and ended up doing a fish lips kiss heel. The toes also mark a change up for me, in order to get 1. a better fit and 2. a more rounded toe I decided to try the reverse of what I have been hearing from all those toe up sock knitters. I think it worked out pretty darn well and will be using it for future socks.

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The color in the first photo is far more accurate than this one. For this pair I ended up using size zeros and for the first time didn’t feel as though my fabric was too stiff. I am thinking it has more to do with the yarn being a bit thinner than my gauge, but I have another pair started so we shall see.

As for my next pair of finished socks, lucky for me (and you should you decide to join in on the KAL fun) this KAL allows WIP’s, which helped force guide me to finish a pair of socks for the Giant. These were cast on way back in February, making their last appearance on the blog back in, March when I discovered just how different a shared dyelot could be.

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These socks hit a hiatus shortly after this photo was taken, but thanks to the KAL I decided it was time to reclaim my needles and I set to work. Despite the very weird dyelot issue the second sock didn’t take too terribly long, once I actually sat down to do it. Past me had thankfully left notes on how I did the toe so when the time came I was able to follow that instead of guessing how I did the decreases. Remember how I mentioned above about the quest for the best rounded toe? This pair was part of a different set of techniques I had tried (from February/March remember.) In the end the brown did finally show up, all the way at the end with a one row stripe followed by a tiny bit for the very tip of the toe, but the socks are finished and I am happy, so is the Giant (or he will be once it is cool enough to wear wool socks again.)

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The yarn is Patons Kroy 4ply in the Grey Brown Marl colorway (I think.) Knit on size US1 or 2.25 mm and my standard vanilla recipe.

So there you have it two finished pairs for your friday. Anyone else participating in the sock it to summer KAL? What projects do you work on when the temperatures start to soar?

 

10,000 mark

10,000 words. That’s the number I hit (surpassed) last night in a flurry of writing (I was a little behind for the day and it was growing late.) Camp NaNoWriMo is going about as well as could be expected at this point. I have hit a few times where it was hard to get motivated to write, and through sheer stubbornness I have kept going. It’s been a full week since it started and while it may not seem like a long time, but when you are staring at the screen knowing you have to write 1600-ish words a day it can be daunting.

Like I said in a previous post this year I am working in a different genre than normal. It’s been interesting. I normally prefer to (try) to write detective mysteries and those usually follow a standard method of progression. There is a formula that one can follow if you will. This time I am running a very loose outline (seriously the least detailed outline I have ever worked with) and surprisingly it seems to be going okay.

My big issue whenever I write is getting bogged down in details and small moments. I feel like if you were to make my writing into a movie there would be a lot of moments where things drag on and on and on. Unfortunately these moments don’t always have significance in a story (well they might, but I would have to finish one to actually know.)

This time I am trying to be a lot quicker in terms of story movements. Although I do know that I am still getting bogged down. Luckily being aware of it and not having to follow the same formula as I normally do, I can lighten the load and get back to skimming. For me it’s the difference between those animals thast can run across the surface of water versus sinking down below. I have no idea if any of that makes sense, did I mention I seem to have developed some type of cold that has left me more than a little tired and foggy headed.

Anyway how are you doing? Are you participating in Tour de Fleece? Any writing competitions?

Until next time.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 Challenge

So here we are at the bginning of a new month and I have decided to tackle, one again, that oh so daunting task of writing a novel in a month. The last time I talked about participating (and winning) was way back in 2012 which seems like a crazy long time ago.

For those of you not familiar with Camp NaNoWriMo, or it’s more popular cousin, NaNoWriMo it is a personal style challenge in which you take one month and attempt to write a 50,000 word (first draft) of a novel. Both websites go into far more detail than I will here, but basically the Camp version is the “Spring/Summer” version of the original idea.

The whole point is to challenge yourself, you can change the word limits, to actuall sit down and write something. My first time participating was more of, can I actually achieve this goal, than an real idea of writing something to go off of. When I participated in the original November challenge I was a focused more on actually getting a rough draft done. Now feel free to ask me what I have done with either draft since then…go ahead ask. Absolutely nothing. Well technically I attempted to edit the November draft afterwards and let’s just say that the inner critic got the best of me (which happens all of the time) and I left it to languish on a hard drive.

So why am I doing this again you may be wondering. Well the answer is long and rather complicated. The short version is I keep getting side tracked by my own self doubt/inner critic and despite my low self-esteem on the issue I would actually like to be a published writer someday. I’ve tried writing numerous stories all of which seem to suffer the same fate, they get side tracked because I can’t seem to get out of my own head. Participating in a contest like this forces me to actually challenge that annoying little bastard and tell him to shove it.

This time I will be trying something very new to me, genre wise. Instead of the traditional detective mystery that I have tried multiple times to write, I will be jumping into a hybrid of fiction/fantasy/comedy.

The main reason for the change is thanks to the always encouraging Giant. (Seriously this guy is my number one cheerleader, and the main reason I even bother continuing with any type of writing (including you my dear blog.)) He made the suggestion of trying out a dark comedy (because I love them in film so very much) and it has morphed into the hybrid listed above. Another main reason I will be participating this year is owed to my best friend (another one of those super encouraging types.) I discussed with her the idea of possibly trying to participate again and she was emphatic in her response of “do it.” Pressed for details she brought up good points (clever lady that she is of course they were good.) Suffice it to say between the two of them I actually felt a little bit of confidence in the idea.

I was sitting here two days ago debating the idea, and after being encouraged by the aforementioned people, I attempted to argue against writing because I had no plot/ideas. Well thanks to reddit and the wonderful subreddit r/writingprompts, I actually stumbled across a sentence that led to an idea, that led to an outline that led to me saying “Okay let’s do this.”

So here we are, day one and I am diving in. You may notice the little progress bar to the side of this post. Hopefully I will keep this updated so for those of you who might be interested can stay in the know for how I am doing. Rest assured blogging will continue (and it won’t only be about writing.)

For those of you in the U.S. have a happy and safe holiday weekend, the rest of you ditto on the happy and safeness. Until next time.

Finally Finished From the Wheel

Way back in the beginning of the year I started a spin. This was my first time using this fiber, and my first time purchasing from this vendor. (Side note, her fiber prep was great.)

As usual I decided to spin the singles thin/ at my default. So I started spinning, and spinning and spinning and spinning. I worked on the fiber fairly regularly, but no matter how much time I actually spent spinning, the amount of unspun fiber barely seemed to change.

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In late March I ended up taking a break from spinning as I went to visit my friend in Seattle. When I came back, I still had fiber left. I was determined to over come any similarity to Sisyphus and pushed myself to finally finish the singles.

May ended up arriving and passing and I was still no closer (it felt like at least) to finishing the singles, but I decided to stick with it (by which I mean I started and finished a different yarn in that time, thank goodness for having more than one wheel.)

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June the first leg of my victory arrived. I finished the singles.

When it came time to decide on a plying method I was a bit stuck. This was a spin that I had no real plans for, it was a chance to try out a new fiber (thanks to our Lady Marja for having some around that I was allowed to pet at one point, thus beginning my quest to find some of my own.

Side note: Everyone should have a friend like Marja, not only is she crazy talented with her spinning (and bonus she doesn’t knit so often she is willing to outsource that part.) but she is also not afraid of trying new things, and when it comes to fiber that can mean a greater exposure to fiber, dyers, and spinning tools.

Where was I? Oh the singles. I ended up deciding on a standard two-ply because for some reason I thought that would be quicker. (You may insert the dramatic music here.) So after winding the singles into a cake I decided to ply. (I did the cake so I could pull from the outside and inside for the plies. This allows me to use up all the yarn, instead of having a little left over that I don’t know what to do with.)

Lucky for me plying seemed to go a little faster. I set to work on Beatrice (Kromski Prelude) and began to cruise along. Probably because things were going so well, my speed resulted in some type of strain, stress issue with my right leg/foot/shin area. (I can hear those among you suggesting to switch up the legs, I have tried before, but I am seem to resemble a newborn deer attempting to walk for the first time. By this time I was just ready to be done.) I made progress and continued until there was so little left I could taste it. After taking a night off to ice my leg area I decided to power through. Which found me Monday evening with this.

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My next move would be to wind the skein and give it a bath. As with all the other parts of this task the winding took forever. I wasn’t too sure how the Tarhgee was going to react to the water so after a quick bath I let the yarn hang to dry.

This morning I was greeted with a still slightly damp skein, but I was still excited, because after all of that work I ended up with this.

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Approx. 552 yards of a two ply. The yarn definitely puffed up quite a bit, and I know there are some spots where I at the very least under-plied but no matter. It is finally finished. Now of course comes the task of picking what to spin next.

How about you? Any long term projects you are just plodding through? Any recent victories in your crafting life? Have you ever spun with targhee, what do you think of it?

 

Fresh From the Needles-Wednesday

So it might be a slight misnomer calling one of these projects fresh from the needles, but the name is just too catchy not to use.

Finally, I have finally finished a project. Mind you both it’s a smaller project, but I am going to take this wins and run with it, because trust me when I say there hasn’t been a whole lot of wins happening right now. However, I know that you really just came for the photos so let’s get to it.

I have a “newborn” vertebrae completed for a newborn-ish nephew. He’s coming up on four months very soon and so I feel calling him a newborn is quickly falling out favor. Regardless, I had decided to knit up not one but two presents for our newest tiny human to join the family. The first completed one was knit on slight larger needles, and made slightly larger even more so in an attempt to actually have it fit him for at least five seconds before he out grows it. Fingers crossed for me, okay? (The second project is a blanket that has been plodding along at a slow pace, I ended up deciding on worsted weight, which also means larger needles. Fun fact larger needles are not nearly as easy for me to work with over longer stretches of time. So the blanket it still a WIP, but I am over halfway at least.)

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This was exactly one skein of Knit Picks Felici in the Rustic Cabin colorway and I actually ended up having to cheat just a tiny bit and grab some miscellaneous orange I had on hand to finish up the sleeves. It’s more noticeable from the back.

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I realize the lighting is different, this one was taken after it was done and before I was able to block it. The Giant assures me the orange doesn’t stand out nearly as much in real life than it does in this photo, I can’t say I am completely convinced, but it will have to do. Like I mentioned above this was knit on slightly larger needles and made slightly larger through extra raglan increases followed up with a longer body and a longer hem.

I don’t know about anyone else but I find that I have to put at least another inch or so on hems for tiny humans so it doesn’t do that annoying flip up because of the stockinette portion. Do you ever get that?

One last point of note. Yesterday marked the two year adoption anniversary for our fluff-ball Toby. Since we got him from a shelter, no one was quite sure on when his birthday is, so in addition to celebrating his adoption we also celebrated his birthday. By celebrate I mean he got an extra treat (the other boys only got one instead of Toby’s two.) So now our little guy is now 5(-ish) years old. I can safely say that adoption/rescue of all of our cats has been the best decision we’ve made. If you are looking for a furry(or not so furry) friend to bring into your life I urge you to consider adoption.

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I always liked the little saying, “Who rescued who?” Because at the end of the day, they saved us just as much as we saved them.

 

Until next time, happy knitting, crafting and all the other things you might be up to.

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