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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.

WIP: Sock Blanket Update

Okay, so it has been a rather long time since I have given any updated (in general as well as in particular) information regarding the sock blanket. Progress has continued albeit lately I have stalled thanks to a wealth of other WIPs vying for attention.

Last time you saw the blanket it looked like this:

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Now it looks like this:

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As you can see it has grown, I ended up getting impatient and decided to add a row that would help in determining width (or length) but of course after more than a few squares the lack of structure took its toll and I was back to working the main body. I have finally hit the point where I am starting to run out of actual colors, which is good I guess. So far I haven’t participated in any swaps or anything, but as I am looking through my extras I might be drawing closer to needing to try a hand at participating in one.

Life has been slow here, after the myriad of tests and doctors appointments, visits from family, planning for visitings and recovering from last month,

Survivors

I don’t usually write on topics that are in the news, because this blog isn’t really about that. However, with all the coverage and discussion that this rather pathetic excuse for justice has garnered, it seems important to use this focus to reach out to anyone who has been a victim/ survivor of sexual assault that there are resources available. You are not alone.

https://rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones

 

FFNF: Gerald the Giraffe

I know I spoke last time about not having any finished objects to share, that was a bit of a lie. The reason I have held out on this particular FO is two-fold. 1) It was actually meant to be given about a week ago. 2) I held off this week because I really wanted a Fresh From the Needles Friday edition (and frankly I feel like you do too.)

The gift knitting for tiny humans continues and in all actuality this finished object was the inspiration/kick off for most of the knitting for tiny humans that has been happening lately. This time, the FO is destined for a tiny human whose parent’s both the Giant and I know. Add to this, that the mother is also a knitter and I found myself just inspired to cast on. (Plus it got rid of some stash, which is always good right?)

I decided to use an easy care yarn (aka superwash) because the intended tiny human just had her second birthday and personally my goal with toy knitting for the tiny humans is that it will need to be washed at some point. (This being due to actually usage and playing as opposed to just being dusty.) Also I haven’t yet printed anything out, but I do fully intend to pass along the message that repairs are free from yours truly. (Again the whole, let’s actually use it.)

Without further ado I present Gerald the Giraffe:

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He is a striped little guy thanks to my using stash yarn, but I think it adds a little charm. The bottom feet I actually knit little legs and stuffed them before attaching, but the tail and “hands” are I cord with some increases done at the ends. The mouth was my first attempt at using a varied version of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, which turned out better than I expected. His ears are just some basic increases and I whipped stitch those on. The horns have a little stuffing and are also whip stitched.

Over all I am simply in love with this little guy. There are times when I kind of just wing it and end up with something I love/ think is adorable. (My favorite part is the small tufted of hair at the top.)

Fingers crossed that this is as big of a hit as the “arf arf” was.

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Do you ever just wing it when knitting? Have you ever ended up with results you really loved? How about something a little less than stellar? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

Until next time.

Just because it’s Thursday

Hello June, glad to know we have hit that half way point in the year already. What? You weren’t aware of this fact? Neither was I until I had to rip off the big page of May from my giant calendar (which I love by the way.) This year is going by quickly in a lot of respects, I mean here we are in June and while we haven’t hit those overbearing hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun-days of summer yet, we have had our share of hot weather. Fun fact, I don’t do well in heat, by which I mean I resemble something akin to a toddler in melt down after missing a nap and their favorite toy. Yeah, it’s not pretty. In reality whatever it is wrong with me health wise (trust me this seems to be as changeable as the plot on a daytime soap opera) doesn’t seem to let me handle heat well at all. I never did great with it growing up, but now it’s just awful, I end up getting warm when normal people are freezing (aka the Giant has been living in hoodies and blankets for most of the winter and spring.)

Enough about the weather, knitting wise I have done a little bit on a lot of things, which really translates to a whole lot of nothing to show. I haven’t cast on a pair of socks for Sock-it-to-summer the Fourth (episode 160 should give you all the details) yet, which I really need to do. Chalk it up to the fact that I am having trouble picking yarn. I do have a couple of WIP’s of socks for the Giant that I should probably wrap up at some point, but for now I am going to dream of all the different options in the stash.

On the whole I haven’t been doing great. Doctor’s appointments took up most of May and of course ended with no real news. I suppose the process of elimination is great and all, but right now (and then) I am not feeling that positive about it. I’ve gotten to that point where I am frustrated enough that I show emotion (read cry/get angry/pout) but am at a loss of what to do next. I’m told I am doing everything right, but improvement has been minute or missing altogether. The whole thing has left me feeling a little less social (read not posting) lately, but I am hoping that through the force of sheer will (aka stubbornness) I can get myself back in the habit of writing up at least a little something to share with you all.

In positive news, because ending on such a downer would suck. There is a new(er) tiny human in my family. A little nephew greeted the world a few weeks ago and both mama and baby are doing well. I’m working on some items for the tiny human and hopefully will be able to share F.O.’s soon.

So how about you all? Have you been dealing with the beginnings of Summer weather (technically late spring, but anything over 75 makes me think of summer) Any new projects on the needles,hooks, wheels,spindles, looms, ect.? Thoughts on a non-photo heavy, more “personal” type of post?

Until next time.

 

Fresh From the Needles Tuesday Edition

A few weeks ago a very special tiny human in my life celebrated her second birthday. Unfortunately the Giant and I were not able to attend the festivities. Fortunately we were able to see her and the rest of her family this past weekend. While their trip was short and time with them never long enough, I did manage to give her a belated birthday gift that seemed to go over fairly well. (Although truth be told, she was far more interested in our cats than anything else, but then again who could blame her?)

I had asked her mother what were considered favorites at this point. I was given a color and an animal and I set to work.

First up was raiding the yarn stash for color apporpriate yarn, which come to find out is not as easy as I expected. As someone who also is a big fan of purple, I have a shocking limited amount. The animal in question was a dog, (or as I came to find out the more affectionately called “arf arf”)

I set to work and before their arrival I managed to create it this little guy for her.

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Photos proved hard to achieve, but the overall reception seemed promising.

The pattern isn’t really a pattern. I worked with what I knew for in terms of general shaping and managed to get something resembling a dog. Which I will take as a very thankful win.

Ira McKnitty Pants: Special Report

Hello and welcome to an Introverted Knitter’s special report. I am your host Ira McKnitty-Pants. As some of you may have noticed the Introverted Knitter has been MIA for the last few weeks. This reporter finally had a chance to sit down with IK and catch up on her fiber pursuits. It appears that despite the plethora of yarn in her possession IK has managed little by way of progress, this may be due to factors that IK was unwilling to go into detail about at this time.

I am told one major obstacle in IK’s fiber world has been referred to as “The F*@#$*&% Never Ending Spin” (please note that while journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance, the actual phrasing has been edited to maintain a somewhat family friendly blog.) When probed for details, IK responded that a spin she started back in late February or early March had only just recently been upgraded from original spin to “resting” singles. I am told the fiber itself was nothing short of fantastic and that the wheel was also in great working order; however despite a three-week gap where IK was out-of-state the spin continue(s) to languish on her wheel. It is of this reporters opinion that the fine nature of the singles may have contributed to the length of time it took to achieve the singles. When pressed for details concerning when plying may occur, IK remained firm in providing no exact deadline, but a variation of when “pigs fly out your a*%, was briefly discussed. I was able to capture a brief picture of the “resting” singles for our dear readers.

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During the course of our interview IK was willing to share that not all fiber work has left such a strong negative reaction, and in fact she was willing to share a photo of her work with one of the known stash guardians that share the home with her and The Giant.

IMG_3101This photo was taken prior to what I am told is yet another doctor’s appointment, the stash guardian seen here, has only recently developed an appreciation for lap sitting, and yet has remained adept in his ability to not only remain adorable, but has also proven skilled in disrupting IK’s knitting time in the most efficient manner.

While this reporter was limited in his ability to ascertain just when IK will return to her regular blog posting scheduled, it does appear that she is doing her level best to remain up to date on fiber related news.

This has been a special report on Introverted Knitter’s Blog, and I’m Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting.

 

When you lose at yarn chicken…

This past Friday evening I decided to finish up a pair of socks I’ve been working on for the Giant. These were started while I spent my time on the West Coast. When I originally packed for the trip out there I did so with the space being at a preimum. Which meant that I needed to pick items that would last me out there, and so I decided to pack the makings of a laceweight sweater and as an almost afterthought/just in case I tossed in a skein of sock yarn and some bamboo needles. Unfortunately for me the sweater ended up being a hot mess that got frogged after too many issues. Luckily for the Giant the socks became my knitting project.

I ended up making the socks a bit longer than normal, simply because I could, or so I thought. The yarn was new to me, but is was self striping and it was decent to work with. The first sock was completed by the time I got home and I had the Giant try it on, of course the longer sock ended up fitting him great. I merrily cast on for the second sock without a care in the world. I even managed to get the socks to match in striping (point for me.)

So here we are Friday night and I am zooming along the foot of the sock when I start to notice a quickly shrinking yarn ball, at this point it was more a yarn ameba but I digress. Now I had said I hadn’t worked with the yarn before, but of course I naturally assumed that sock yarn would be in the 400+ yards range. I was right about that, thankfully I just forgot to calculate adding in another twenty rows per sock. Which meant that around the time I was ready to start winding down I was met with this picture. IMG_3064

 

 

 

 

You may notice the very messy and small looking amount of yarn in that picture. I was a little nervous, but not really that worried. As I had said earlier I had managed to get the stripes to match on the socks, which meant I had some yarn in reserve. This reserve yarn also happened to match the stripes almost perfectly. I kept knitting and realized far too late on Friday night (technically Saturday morning) that it was not going to work. I frogged back to the black stripe seen above and called it a night.

Saturday I figured if I fudged the toe decreases by a row or two it wouldn’t matter. So that is what I did, this time I was a lot closer, but just shy again. So I frogged back and looked at my yarn and looked at my scraps and realized I had a bit extra of the green stripe. I used the green stripe as my “last stripe” and when I reached the right number of rows I started decreasing (basically I started them earlier again, but even earlier if that makes sense.)

Of course this brought me even closer to making it but still a little short. So I made the decision, I was going to lose at this game of yarn chicken. I asked the Giant what he wanted done for the toe, I had some extra black yarn on hand, but really the world (or my yarn stash) was his oyster. He ended up making a decision and I finished up the socks.

I now firmly believe, if you are going to lose at yarn chicken you gotta go big or go home.

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Sock stats-
Yarn: Regia Stadion Color
Colorway: White,Green,Black
Pattern:My own vanilla with twenty extra rows in the leg
Needles:2.25

 

Boulevard of Broken Yarn Diets

As I mentioned in my last post, I am safely back in the Midwest. My journey to the PNW was amazing and aside from the massive amounts of pollen (it was literally coating cars) and the coyote sighting on my last day. One thing I loved (and hated due to the aforementioned pollen) was the sheer amount of trees.

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One day was carved out for a trip to Portland. First and foremost, mad props to my bestie who took on the challenge of navigating the streets of that city. Honestly what is up with the traffic signals there? We saw so many ‘no left turn’ signs, that were on one way streets (going left.) I am not positive, but maybe it is a ploy by the Portlanders to mess with the tourists? The trip turned out to be a tad underwhelming, but it might have had more to do with the heat and the lack of airconditioning than anything else.

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The goals for our trip to Portland were modest by most standards.

  1. Visit Powell’s Bookstore
  2. Go to Voodoo Donuts
  3. Find a yarn shop
  4. Survive

Lucky for us we met those goals with relative ease. The whole surviving bit got a little hairy at times, but we managed.

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Our first goal was Powell’s. Now I was a major bibliophile in my youth, I am still, but my discretionary income has dwindled. I love the monthly library sale, but have officially ran out of room. Reading was my favorite pass time and yes I have the school activities to prove it. Unfortunately my hometown consisted of a religious bookstore, a mall bookstore and a random few stores that carried books throughout the years. We finally got a Barnes and Noble right around the time I entered high school (and no, I am not that old.) Powell’s held a myth like quality for me, it didn’t help that my in-laws shared their experiences and opinions of the place with me.

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When my friend and I made the trek across the sun drenched sidewalk to the crowded entrance I may have been more prepared for a Willy Wonka type experience than most. The reality? Well, to be fair having built something up for so long it was never going to live up to my imagination. I opened the door and was instantly greeted by a wave of heat and body sweat that broke whatever spell I had put in place. Don’t get me wrong the place is pretty neat, aside from five million people being in there. (Only a slight exaggeration.) It does contain a lot of books, which would be great if it was organized better. Sure they split things into categories, but I found the place more confusing than it needed to be. Also I wasn’t impressed with the selection. While there were a lot of used books for sale (and a line of people looking to sell that doubled back on itself twice,) the whole place just made me think of a larger Barnes and Noble/Half-Priced Books combo. I can’t say what I honestly thought the place would be like, but I do know that it was not even close. None the less I found a few things to buy, because come on it’s a book store.

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Our next stop was the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Now this I went into with tempered expectations, although honestly how can you screw up a doughnut? Driving by revealed a line that made me seriously question my desire for the fried pastry. Luckily my buddy was aware of the lesser known second location and we headed over. The line was still long, but it was mostly in the shade. Aside from a gaggle of very rude young teens and an oblivious parental figure (I can’t help but wonder why they all needed to accompany her to the shop when it was obvious she had a list, but what do I know?) we had a relatively hassle free experience.

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 Okay, one voice of complaint here- if you are going to a very busy, very popular location would you not do a minimal amount of research (such as pulling it up on google) which should lead you to understand it is a cash only business? If for some reason you didn’t need to look it up, how in the hell do you miss the fifteen signs that are around the shop (and line) that tell you that they only accept cash? Seriously how does a person wait fifteen minutes in line and still be surprised when they get to the front and find out it’s cash? (Best part, this was after they selected their donuts- also lucky for them they have an ATM on site.) End of rant, thanks for listening.

We got a variety of doughnuts including the namesake and headed out to our last destination, the yarn store.

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I knew that this trip to Portland was a rarer experience and as such I decided that it would be worth it to break the cold sheeping/yarn diet I had been on since the beginning of the year. Finding a shop to visit wasn’t easy (there are a ridiculous amount of stores in the Portland area) but I settled on a unique set up known as Yarnia.

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Yarnia has been in business for 8+ years now and features, a first for me, cone wound yarn. Now I hear you saying that cone wound yarn isn’t that new, nor is it terribly exciting. I hear you. But, the thing about Yarnia is that it is not just cone wound yarn, it features custom blend cone wound yarn. What does that mean? Well consider it like those custom beer sets you can make at the grocery store, but better-because it’s yarn.

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When you enter the store you are greeted with a large wall of cone wound singles. (I mean a large wall.) Your task is to create your own yarn. You pick the color(s) and the fiber(s) and go to the lady in charge, you mention what you want in terms of yardage and she calculates it up and gives you the price. She then takes your singles to a vintage looking machine, with a few twists, turns and a flick of a switch your singles suddenly begin wrapping around your very own cone.

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The prices were amazing and although I managed to get out of there with only a little dent in my wallet the variety and options could easily be some knitter’s downfall. So while I may have broken my yarn diet, I did it in  a pretty cool way.

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Our day trip to Portland concluded with a ride back and another beautiful view. While the day may have gone differently than I had expected, it still made for an exciting and weird day.

Red Eye

The overnight flights that brought me back to the Midwest ended up being relatively uneventful. Fun fact I am not a fan of flying, with an overactive imagination, a body I am for ever considering securing in bubble wrap, and a stomach that seems to dislike the idea of movement at all, let alone any turbulence I am just happy to make it to my destination without making use of a barf bag.  My second flight did make me question the actual idea of humans flying overall, but that might have had a lot more to do with the tiny airplane and less the actual skills of the pilot. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when we are told that someone needs to move to the back of the plane from the front, because of weight distribution, I tend to get a little more anxious than normal.

Flying also creates a dreaded situation for most introverts. A confined space for a specific time period often leads to small talk among seatmates. Whatever the reason, a person seeks to engage the people around them, I am often doing my level best to avoid eye contact and secure my headphones in place as quickly as possible. I will bust out a book if needed to drive the point home. While you would think all of this makes up the universal signal of, “please don’t talk to me,” you and I would be wrong. My first flight (the longest) was relatively talk free, I did get a few questions from my seat mate, but after a little while they fell asleep and I was granted reprieve. I wasn’t so lucky on my second flight.

I realized fairly quickly in my adult life that I am not interested in small talk. I am willing to humor someone for a little while on a subject, but I find it tedious. I know there are people out there who love to engage with whomever they meet. I also get there are social customs that mean I should at least respond to questions asked and in turn inquire the same about the asker. I don’t like it, but for the sake of keeping the peace I tend to play along for a little while.

Unfortunately as soon as someone, whose name I don’t even know, starts sharing details of their life that are anything beyond the basics I start to feel like an animal trapped in a cage. Yes dear readers, I ended up being seated with an oversharer.

Not only did this person engage me in small talk through most of the flight, but once I finally relented and put my book down, I was treated to way more information than someone would know by a third date (okay I am guessing on this one, I haven’t dated someone new in over nine years.) As I internally cursed my weakened defenses, I was privy to the internal strife of this person and their siblings. I was treated to topics ranging from their opinion about why the housing market in the PNW is so tenuous. Their regrets about not going with their church group to Germany, their reason for not going, they have children in college. And even their flying schedule for this year.

As an introvert, but even as a person just trying to make it home, I can’t help but wonder just what it is it that makes some people open up like that? Is it my face, do I just come across as someone sympathetic (the answers to both of those I thought was no.) Does it even have anything to do with me or would this person word vomit their life story to anyone willing to listen? I would like to think it is just a series of unfortunate events that leads to these encounters, but as they keep happening I can’t help but wonder is it because I am introvert?

Introverts often avoid small talk, which means they tend to be quieter in situations. Does the fact that we are quiet draw people to us? Is it because they think we will listen? Is it simply a case of not talking over them that provides the safety net they need to share all the things? I know I am not a big talker I don’t like to say something unless it contributes to the conversation. Is this silence being interpreted as a sign of consent?

In the end the person over sharing about their life did little to affect me, aside from distracting me from my book and taking up my time. I know I should probably just let it go and forget about it, as I am sure they have already forgotten about me. But at what point does it stop? Are all introverts destined to be repositories for other people’s stories? Do we give consent to conversations when we remain silent? Is there anything we can do about it?

 

Magpie’s Rescue

The last few weeks I have been spending time with my best friend and former college roommate in the Emerald City (okay more of a suburb, but still.) Unfortunately the time spent out here has made me realize just how much I miss living closer to her. I know that her time out here hasn’t been the easiest either. She did this incredibly brave and amazing thing, where she packed up her life and headed out west for a new job, a new apartment and a new city.

But my brave friend did not stop there, no, instead she did this other amazing and wonderful thing and adopted a dog from an animal rescue, Emerald City  Pet Rescue. The ECPR was established in 2013 as a no kill shelter and works with a large range of contacts across the country and abroad to rescue animals that are scheduled to be euthanized. They focus on rescuing, rehabilitation, retraining animals that may have been abandoned, neglected or when an animal needs to be surrendered. The shelter provides ample options for setting up appointments for you to meet the animals. The process is low-key, with the dogs being made to feel safe and comfortable. The staff that we both interacted with were really devoted to helping these animals out. They also have an onsite pet store, where new owners can buy a variety of toys, food, treats, and all the other equipment one would need to make your new friend feel comfortable.

Luckily for my brave friend (and her equally if not slightly more brave friend (me)) there was a chance to meet a few different dogs that morning. One pup and my friend had a pretty quick connection and it was a great match.

So I introduce to you dear readers the sweet little darling called Magpie. 

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This photo is from her first outting, and lucky her it was straight Petco.

Magpie is a bit of a timid and shy girl, especially those first few days were she just didn’t feel too comfortable. Time has eased that nervousness some and I have had the chance to see her personality just starting to emerge.  She still doesn’t do great at loud sounds, and she has a dislike of drive thru attendants, but maybe she just wants a puppy verison of something?

Since my friend has had to work while I am out here, I have been given the chance to bond with the little miss, which is definetly helpful process for both of us. Fun Fact: I am not great around dogs, I have anxiety issues that stem from memories and fears of being pushed down by larger dogs, as well as being bit. But this little dog is one of the easiest, most gentle and cat-like dogs I have met. She is a little stubborn at times but when she weighs 6 lbs it isn’t hard to scoop her up if the need arises.

The past week or so I have been able to take her out on small walks, where she and I are able to explore the neighborhood a little more. IMG_2737

 She has been great in helping me to remember to slow down and take some time to smell the flowers.

She has also proven the idea that taking a rest after exercise is always a good idea.

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Another solid piece of wisdom from the little rescue pup that could, it’s easier to sleep when you have someone you care about next to you.

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This trip and mainly my time spent with this little six pounds of fluff and love has shown me that not all dogs are terrifying, nor will they be loud barking machines. They are just these wonderful friends you make in a short amount of time. I can’t say that I won’t be nervous when I am around other dogs, but at least in this case, with this dog I would like to think I found a friend.
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Jet Set

This past Tuesday I took myself to the airport and boarded a plane for an extended visit with the Emerald City and my best friend. Luckily I seem to have missed any issues with the storm that swept across the Rockies and the Midwest.

When I was packing for this trip I paid special attention to the knitting projects I was taking. I wanted something that would be small enough to fit in my luggage, which is a limited space. I wanted something that would keep me busy for the time out here, and I wanted something that wasn’t too complicated because fatigue, jetlag and general chronic pain issues make it hard to concentrate.

I ended up with a pair of socks for the Giant. Those have been cast on, and then I promptly packed them in my checked baggage (oops.) I also decided to dig out some older stash and cast on a lace weight cardigan. I realize the abject horror some of you may be feeling right now. Normally I wouldn’t have considered it, aside from my original purchase, but it fit the critera well, and honestly I wasn’t sure when I would get to it otherwise.

The cardigan has no real pattern. I gathered a few different patterns I had, swatched and used the math wizardy I found from this website to figure out the basics.  It’s definitely slow going, but it also is pretty soothing.  I am using Knit Picks Shadow Lace in the Basalt Heather colorway, and for some type of visual interest, a skein of the same stuff in the Autumn Heather colorway for stripes.

Here’s the status of it so far. So far it’s been a no thinking project and I know eventually I will reach a point where it looks more like a cardigan and less like a bundle of dirty laundry.

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The actual getting to the airport and through security proved to be pretty nerve wracking, the Attack in Brussels happened the same day I was flying out. I figured restrictions might be harsher than normal and I fully anticipated having to undo my progress on the cardigan. Luckily security gave the okay and I was able to keep working on it.

The flight attendants were the only people that commented on my knitting and it was all nice things, so that was a relief.

Luckily aside from turbulance mainly when getting ready to land the flight was good. I was mostly excited that I didn’t get sick, although there was a few moments during the end that I could feel my tummy rebeling. (Gotta love motion sickness right?)

So far we haven’t done much exploring, which is just as well I think I will be recovering for a little bit. I am still just happy to be here, in part because my view is a dramatic change from the usual, and frankly I am in love.

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The Pacific Northwest has always held an allure for me. There was a fear that it wouldn’t live up to the image I had, but when the Giant and I manged to visit last Autumn, I was smitten.

This time however, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around how much this place makes me happy. The weather has been drizzly and cool and it makes me smile whenever I step outside.

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Hitting a Goal

Happy Monday Everyone, (insert groans) I know it’s been a little while since I have taken to the keyboard, but suffice it to say chronic illnesses seriously suck. In other news I had a meet up last week with some fellow fibery friends and while my introversion/some social anxiety almost prevented me from going, I managed to get the gumption to go. Guys? I forgot just how amazing it can be to be around others who enjoy our crafty pursuits. Don’t get me wrong The Giant has become a fantastic and greatly appreciative fan of wooly things, but there is just something about be around people who actually are into it.

Crafting on a whole has been a little on the slow side lately. I have managed to finish one project, but it was a couple weeks ago. Although, as a double bonus it helps me knock out one of my goals for this year. (Number two, for those playing along at home.)

I haven’t gotten an “action” shot yet, but the cats made sure to assist in all photo taking endeavours, as evidenced here.

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The photo is blurry, and the sweater itself is a little wrinkly, all thanks to two tabby cats that feel the need to claim whatever wooly thing that is on the floor.

The project itself went smoothly and I actually like the way it turned out, aside from the non-button band, button band. You can see at the bottom it is pulling in, I am pretty damn sure I picked up 3 for every 4 rows and I still had it happen. It’s a minor thing and I can still wear it with no issues, but sometimes it’s the principle of the thing.

Quick Specs:
Pattern: Mama Vertebrae
Yarn: Berroco Vintage, in the oh so helpful colorway 5174
Mods: I made the body longer and kept the sleeves shorter. 1 x 1 twisted rib.
I used less than 4 full skeins total.

Until next time!

Victorious

As some of you may remember I had some fiber I was working a few weeks ago. The fiber was something I originally started on my spindle, but it ended up languishing for too long. In an effort to actually be able to use the yarn, I transferred the singles to my wheel and finished up. Unfortunately I ended up hurting my left foot in some random act of clumsiness, which prompted me to use my single treadle wheel. After what felt like ages I finally got the singles finished, and of course because I am oh so graceful I ended up with a large shampoo bottle falling on my right foot. So I waited a couple of days trying to figure out how to get this single into yarn, because I was getting to the point where it was mocking me that I hadn’t finished it.

Luckily last week with a combined effort and a very awkward foot arrangement I managed to claim victory over those singles.

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It ended up being approximately 378 yards of a chain ply. The yarn is a combo of BFL and Firestar and came from Yarn Geek Fibers that I purchased at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in 2014.

I am very happy with the results, which is great considering the length and effort that went into it. Unfortunately the resulting yarn is a bit too scratchy for me so this will end up being made into a gift for someone who isn’t as nearly skin sensitive. For now I will just admire the beauty of the yarn and the feeling of victory.

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Silk Anniversary

Hello everyone! Tomorrow marks my four year anniversary with the blog. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long already, but here we are. I started this little blog out of a desire to process my grief from quitting grad school (which thankfully I am now past) and the overall struggle of a twenty something trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world (still not sure of that one yet.)

On March 5, 2012 I decided to be brave and send out a message into the wide internet world and thankfully some of you sent messages back.  This blog has been a sounding board and a cheerleader,  an invaluable source of knowledge and a place to challenge not only my ideas but myself. I have gained confidence,  friends (in real life) and even managed to improve my knitting and spinning.

The main thing I wanted to say, is thank you. Thank you to everyone who has taken a chance on this blog, whether you were here since day one or you just found me. I know that, especially now, our lives tend to be on the go and reading a blog may not be high on the list of things to do in a day, but even if you check it out every once in awhile thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here’s to another year!

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