Friday, July 31, 2015

The Change of Seasons

I used to be a Knitter with a capital K.

I knit all the time.


I was never more than a few feet from my knitting.

I started as a knitter, small k.

I knit a baby blanket.  I knit a few scarves.  But I didn't always have to knit.  I didn't even always have a project on my needles.

Heck, sometimes I didn't even know where my needles were.

But somewhere along the line a switch was flipped.

I know exactly when too.

Meaty was a baby, a sweet tiny baby.  And I stumbled upon a book of baby knits at the library.  I became obsessed with knitting every item in that book.  I think all the babies in the neighborhood got a baby sweater for Christmas that year.  I made (possibly illegal) photocopies of my favorite patterns from that book that I may or may not (if they are in fact illegal) still have.  I knit and knit and knit and never looked back.

I was a Knitter.

And I loved it.  I knit all the things.  I wanted to knit everything in every size.  I wanted to try all the techniques, and learn all the cast ons and bind offs and how many different ways can you knit a sock.  I loved learning and growing and creating.

It brought such joy and accomplishment to my life.

But now, I'm a knitter.

I can go a week without knitting.  I feel it in my stress level, I need to knit.  I need that stress relief.  But trying to dedicate time to knit only adds stress to my life.  It doesn't relieve stress.  Thinking about how I want to knit but I'm too busy, or too tired adds stress.  Thinking I should knit because it is what I do doesn't add a positive value to my life.  It is becoming a negative.

Knitting is something I have to loosen my grasp on.

Not let go.

I don't want to stop knitting.

But I need to let go of being a Knitter.

I am a knitter.

I might finish a project this month.

Or I might not.

I've got a lot going on.  And I need knitting to go from something I feel obligated to do to something I want to do if I can, or not if I'm too busy.

I am a knitter.

And that is alright for now.

Seasons change and in a new season I will be a KNITTER once again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Sock P*rn

And the mermaid socks...

I wasn't kidding when I said I NEVER knit colorwork for myself.  These socks were never meant for me, but my StepMommy reads the blog..a few misleading statements aren't outright lies right?

Don't you love how daintily she poses?  First we point the right foot...

And then the left.

I love these whimsical socks.

And since I've been asked to knit a pair for Pork Chop, Bird, and a girl from my knitting group this will not be the last time you see this pattern on my blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bigger on the Inside

So speaking of strange things I do that my family has seen me do so many times they now consider it to be perfectly normal...

We can add forcing them to model sock pictures to the list.

I told my Dad and Stepmommy that I needed pictures of their socks and they sighed "Time to make some sock p*rn" as they dutifully put on their socks.

I am super sad to announce that the Tardis socks fit perfectly.

I used this pattern available as a free pattern download from Ravelry.

Sometimes color work can be less stretchy than straight knit stitch, so I really liked that this particular pattern increased the stitch count for the color work portions to help alleviate that problem.  It also hid the decreases in the corners of the "boxes" which I thought was fairly clever.

The socks were knit with Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn.

Which is always fun to knit with.

As you can see it says "Police Box" not "Police BCX"

So this is an all around win.

Except for the part where I selflessly gave these beautiful Tardis socks to my Dad.  I'm actually a little surprised he was able to get the socks on the plane to return home, there was quite a list of people plotting to steal them out from under him (Pork Chop, Bird, Me, Half my knitting group)

And then to keep my humble my Dad made me take a picture of the sole of his sock

In my defense we'd had company for a week and we'd been too busy swimming and eating and having fun to bother with things like vacuuming the tile floors.

He's just making sure I keep things real around here.

In an unrelated note, I've started a second blog, which is simply insanity, I can barely keep up with this one.  But I've been thinking about this for a long time, and after some strong urging from The Greatest I've finally taken the plunge.  I considered dovetailing the subject matter of my second blog with this blog, but ultimately decided to separate the two.  This blog will continue to be the wonderful mess of knitting and family it has always been, and Life with Lily will be more specifically tales of Lily, Down syndrome, advocacy.  If you enjoy it feel free to share.  The more people who read and love Lily the more we can change hearts and minds about Down syndrome.   I know I'm taking a risk putting so much of my heart and child on line. The internet, and world in general, is full of ugly people, but I think the risk is worth the potential benefits.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Amature Yarn P*RN

Every once in a while you find yourself busy photographing your yarn, and your family is just running around, not batting an eye, like taking still life pictures of string is a perfectly normal activity and you wonder if it is time to rethink your life choices.

Then you remember YARN.

And you feel pretty pleased with your decision making skills.

Because...NEW YARN!

My Dad and Stepmommy were in town and they accidentally took me to a yarn store.  

They made the mistake of leaving me alone unsupervised.

Not to be outdone The Greatest bought me this.

It was a good day.

In an unrelated note, I don't think I've picked up my big camera in a year or so.  Not since I switched over to cellphone/instagram pictures.  I've forgotten how to use it.  

It is sad.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Second Chances

Five or six months ago I learned that there are teeny tiny circular needles designed to be used to knit socks.

I love circular needles.  I love knitting in the round.  I love knitting in the round on circular needles.  And someone has created a way to knit socks in the round on circular needles.


I ordered a pair in every sock needle size I use.

I NEEDED circular sock needles.

And then they arrived.

Full of anticipation, I immediately cast on for a pair of sock and happily knit away.

Sadly, as is often the case in life, the reality did not live up to the expectation.  They were awkward.  They made my hands hurt from the odd way I had to hold the teeny short needles. They put random pressure on my nails and broke them. They were not fun to knit with.

I wanted so badly to love them.  I tried so hard to knit with them.  But in the end I had to face the truth.

I hated them.

Knitting needle preference is a very personal thing.  And I prefer to use magic loop to knit my socks.

I feel no shame.

I also prefer to use circular needles when I knit stranded color work.

Again.  No shame.

So when I knit the Tardis socks I was at odds with myself.

They were socks, so I wanted to use my fabulous bamboo needles to knit magic loop style.  But the police box was color work.  I wanted to use circular needles.

What's a girl to do?

As a compromise I cast on with my long bamboo needles and switch to the small circs for just the color work portions of the sock.  Then back to bamboo for the remainder of the sock.

And I discovered I LOVE knitting color work socks on circular needles.  I loved it so much I had to knit another pair of color work socks.

Round and round and round and round.

Something about using the two strands of yarn changes my grip and makes the needles more comfortable to use.  They still break my nails...

But when your socks look this awesome who cares?

I'm so in love with this mermaid sock.

And I kinda love the way the yarn striped up to give the octopus...

A very dashing mustache.

Once you see it, it can never be unseen.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Mermaid Socks, The Saga Continues

First off I have to thank everyone who offered to try to find the Simply Soft Ocean Blue yarn for Pork Chop.

I am happy to report she has successfully used the Ocean Blue pound of love yarn to finished her sweater (lacking buttons of course.  She is her Mother's Daughter) and she has already cast on for a miniature matching sweater for The Queen (she really is her Mother's Daughter).

Watching her knitting obsession grow out of control as she passes up a chance to go swimming in favor of sitting on the couch working on her sweater almost makes me want to re-think MY priorities.


And speaking of my priorities, I tried.

I really did.

I tried so hard to make the sport weight purple yarn work.

Isn't it pretty!

Unfortunately the only thing it had going for it was the fact that it was extremely photogenic.

The ribbing wasn't holding, since it was 100% acrylic.  And the fabric was this odd combination of thick and drapey.

Not comfortable in a sock.

I wanted it to work.  I wanted it to work so badly.

But this sock was not meant to be.

So I made a return pilgrimage to Jo-Ann's.

Let us all take a moment of silence to mourn the fact that the economy is terrible.  All my local yarn shops (which were never that local to begin with) have closed, and Jo-Ann's is now the go to place to buy yarn if I need it in a hurry.  Makes me miss that snobby yarn shop I used to live five minutes away from before I move 2,000 miles to live in the bowel of hell (seriously, it is going to be a cloudy 111 degrees outside today.  And it is CLOUDY)

This time I got a cart.

And since she is a toddler she quickly decided to see just how dangerous she could make this seemingly ordinary cart.

And since I really don't want my child to stand in a shopping cart and fall out and crack her head open and die beside the sock yarn the Queen went into the basket.

Side note:  Her pigtails were killing me with their cuteness.

Seriously, I die.

We managed to escape Jo Ann's without buying the super cute mirror/jewelry holder that once again called to me from the shelf

In my defense, and with no prompting from me, Pork Chop pointed it out as being adorable as well.  But she too agreed, there was no where in the house where this would be useful.

We did buy two new skeins of yarn

It isn't as vibrant as the original yarn, but it is sock weight.

And it is 25% bamboo.


And it is making a very pretty mermaid sock

So we're gonna go ahead and call this one a Win.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

More Misadventures In Knitting

I have a toddler.

I swear the other night I rocked my sweet precious baby to sleep.  I lovingly laid her tiny body in her crib.  She sleep the deep sleep of the pure and innocent.

And the next morning I woke to find gremlins had taken my sweet precious pure angel, and replaces my teeny tiny baby with a sassy pants toddler.

Toddler is really a polite synonym for terrorist.  A tiny terrorist who destroys everything in their path, leaving behind them a trail of crumbs (because if you can entice a toddler to eat they will only eat on the run, never in the high chair.)

Why, for the love of all that is good, why did this have to happen????!!!!!

But this toddler vaguely resembles the sweet tiny baby I love so much, so I cuddle a wiggly toddler and go about my day.

I know I have five children.  Which means I have survived the toddler stage four times.  I know this.  But the extreme sleep deprivation that was the first year of The Queen's life seems to have completely addled my brain.

I made a rookie mistake, and ventured into a store...alone...with my newly minted toddler.

I just had to run in real quick and see if they had any Ocean Blue Simply Soft for Pork Chop's sweater (quick recap, they didn't).  In an out.  Easy Peasy.  A five minute trip.

An older gentleman was at the front of the store in a mobility scooter, blocking all the carts.  He appeared to be having issues with the scooter.  He was pushing buttons and muttering but not much else was happening.  The scooter was not budging from it's current position, guarding all the carts.  Rather than bother him on what already appeared to be a rough day for him, I skipped getting a cart.  I can snuggled a Bean for five minutes while I grab a skein of yarn right.

On to the yarn section which is located in the back of the store.


The back corner like knitters and crocheters are an after thought?

Or is it just that the yarn section is such a money maker they want to make you walk past all the other useless stuff they carry in the store hoping that you will see their punny holiday sign and impulse buy it.


I'm not the only one that trick works on.


(I know for a fact that Target also uses this strategic layout technique.  Dollar spot I'm looking at you.)

We boldly resist the adorable Americana merchandise, as well as the super cute mirror/jewelry holding (where would I even put it?  I don't own a vanity.) and arrive at our true destination.  (The Greatest will never understand the will power I display when I go into a store for one item and only come out with the predetermined one item).  The Bean is cute and sweet and adorable, and also twenty pounds.  Twenty wiggly pounds, that are starting to get heavy.

Why didn't I push that old man out of the way and get a cart?

We find the aisle of acrylic only to discover three women and two carts have set up a temporary residence in front of the Simply Soft.  And they do not appreciate my intrusion.

I stand there, clutching my ball band and tiny ball of yarn in one arm, my baby who is growing heavier by the minute in the other.  (Seriously, is she having a growth spurt right there in JoAnn's?)

I try to see around them.  I try to keep the wiggly baby off the dirty floor.  I try to find Ocean Blue.

They block me with their carts.  They step in front of me, as if they are afraid they are finally going to realize the orchid purple is the color they've been needing all their life and I'm going to buy the final skein out from under them.

I wait.  I try to peer around them.  I jiggle a wiggly baby.  I give up and let the wiggly baby have the tiny ball of yarn I'm trying to match.

I contemplate using the orchid purple yarn to finger knit a garrote to strangle the rude women with.

Seriously, would it be that hard to move the cart away from the blue yarn?  I'm holding a ball of blue yarn, with a ball band.  Obviously I'm trying to do something here, and it isn't steal your orchid yarn.

After what feels like an eternity, just when my arms are going to fall off from holding the wiggly Bean who now weights at least fifty pounds, the women move on, WITHOUT PUTTING A SINGLE SKEIN OF YARN IN THEIR CART!!!?????!!!!!

and when the aisle clears I discover to my dismay that the yarn I need wasn't hiding on the bottom shelf after all.

As I search the Bean arches her back.  She has had enough of cuddling.  She needs to roam.  Arms aching I give up.  I should have returned to the front of the store for a mobile play pen (better known as a shopping cart), but I'm already twenty minutes into what should have been a five minute easy peasy trip.  Onto the dirty floor the baby goes to pull yarn off the shelf to her heart's content.  With two free arms the search goes faster.  I'm determined that I can will the needed yarn into existence by sheer force of will.

It turns out that even with two free arms I can't.

Suck Monkey.

I did find the Ocean Blue colorway in a similar yarn from the same company, so clutching my desperation skein I head for the front of the store.

And this is where my will power breaks down.

It shattered when I walked past the sock yarn.

Unable to resist the siren song of yarn calling to be made into mermaid socks, this was the perfect opportunity to grab some yarn that could be used for color work.

But pushed past her breaking point The Queen can not handle another delay.

Quickly I grab the closest thing they have to white sock yarn, and I grab something soft in shades of purple.

These socks are going to be AH-MAZ-ING.

That night I sit down to wind my skeins into pretty yarn cakes.  I don't feel like dealing with ball bands, so I add the project into Ravelry so they can keep track of what yarn I used.

This is where I got my first hint that something might be wrong.

The off white yarn was just your basic sock yarn.  I was surprised to realize it wasn't just the wool acrylic blend you typically find in JoAnn's.  It also has 25% bamboo.


But then I entered my purple yarn into the Ravelry database.  The purple yarn with the same brand, same label,  from the same row as the off white yarn.

The purple yarn was not a wool/acrylic/bamboo blend.  Or even a wool/acrylic blend.  Or even wool.

It is 100% microfiber, which is just a fancy term for really soft acrylic.

This could be a problem.

and it isn't sock weight.

It is sport weight.

A really thin sport weight, but sport weight.

This could also be a problem.

Suck Monkey.

How could I have forgotten the most important rule of yarn shopping?


They only distract you.

And keep you from noticing that the sock yarn in your hand isn't sock yarn at all.

Maybe I can still make this work?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Hard Knitting Lessons

Poor Pork Chop.

Her goal this summer was to knit a sweater.

Two years ago we bought her yarn to knit a sweater.  She's worked on it a teeny bit over the years, but this summer, this was the summer she was going to get it done.

And she did.

She knit the back, and the two front pieces.  And she knit two perfect fitting sleeves.

And then she ran out of yarn.

The sweater has a beautiful shawl collar, and I'm afraid no matter how fast she knits in a game of yarn chicken the tiny third of a ball she has left is not enough to finish the sweater.

And we bought the yarn two years ago.

It is Simply Soft.

We bought it at our local Wal-Mart.

A local Wal-Mart that no longer carries Simply Soft.

I looked at Hobby Lobby.

They no longer appear to be carrying Simply Soft either.

The Queen and I stopped at Jo-Anns on the way home from Physical Therapy the other day.  It was our final hope in scoring some Ocean colorway Simply Soft.

Yeah, no.

They had Simply Soft.

But no ocean color simply soft.

They did have the ocean color in Caron Pound of Love.  It was lacking the sheen of Simply Soft, but I was hoping it might work.

Now that I see them together I'm not so sure.

Pork Chop is more optimistic.

And really this whole story was my way of telling you

I bought yarn so I can knit a pair of My Pet Octopus Socks