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Monday
Aug182014

Swatch a little, Frog a little, repeat



Well, that pile of lovely hand dyed awesomeness is my 2nd attempt at a swatch for a new pattern design of a shawl. I used to do almost anything rather than frog a project, I'd unknit (also called tink) one stitch at a time back through ROWS and ROWS of knitting to save the heartbreak and terror that used to grip me with the idea of just pulling out the needles and ripping back the yarn. Now, I get a sick sort of happiness by doing just that. I don't necessarily rip the whole project out, but now I just slip those needles out and give the yarn a tug or a HUWHAAAAAAAA (my verbalization of frogging) while using my arm in a full extension arc and RIPPING that yarn away stitch by stitch, row by row, PILING up the yarn on my lap, the floor, or wherever it happens to fly. It's empowering, actually. Then you calmly (really) pick up your needles and either slip them into the existing stitches or if you are working with fiddly yarn, tink yourself back a row one stitch at a time and all the little stitches are back on the needles ready to try that part again.



Here is start #3 of my fabulous shawl pattern idea. Well, it's fabulous in my head. On the needles, it hasn't been behaving itself very well the first two go-rounds. I've gotten a bit smarter this time and frogged the entire thing and cast on fewer stitches. Just enough to test things out and get a repeat of the pattern going and see how it develops.

Almost any fiber of yarn really will behave itself and not immediately drop all the stitches back to the bindoff if you pull out the needles. I promise. I used to FREAK THE HECK OUT when someone suggested I pull the needles out of my work and fix a stitch or two. FREAK OUT. Now it actually makes me smile. I'm not saying ALL the stitches stay right there no matter what, one or two may drop down one row, but that's easily fixed stitch by stitch on the next time around the needles. Just take it slow and LOOK at your knitting. Or find someone like me at your next knit night who has a sick pleasure in ripping back knitting a ways and getting things corrected and going right. :) There's one in every crowd. In fact, my little group actually has a few that LIKE weaving in ends. Boggles my brain.

Yes, I have actually been introduced to the idea of putting in lifelines, but for this little swatch, it doesn't seem like it's worth the effort. It's probably just as fast for me to frog back and start again at the point where I last had things going right.

OH, and for those not sure why people call it frogging? As shown on the top picture, when you say out lout "rip it, rip it, rip it" it sounds like "ribbit, ribbit, ribbit". Hence, Frogging. May all your knitting projects behave themselves and you not have any frogging in the near future. But, if you do, remember, it's not a horrible thing, it's like a second chance, a do-over.

PS, the yarn being used is some of my own Cashmere Treasures Lace Yarn. It wants to grow up to be a TreasureGoddess Shawl of Awesomeness. How's that for some pressure on designing a good pattern? Hopefully this swatch will grow up to a good start of the design. Wish me luck!

Here's the view I had this weekend while knitting away on the first 2 attempts of swatches...(my husband and my lake doggie Rio).



Thursday
Jul312014

So maybe I do give a fuxx after all.

This is a post like my blog used to be in the old days. TMI (Too Much Information), only moderately knitting related, but me. This is who I am and that's the original reason for the blog anyway. I've never fit into the super blogger successful woman genre, so here we go.

I've had a lot of stress from too many things on my list. Do you know the feeling, one more crazy freaking stressful thing piled on top of 42,308 other things, one more thing, one more thing. I got to where I just didn't even think about the whole list, just tried to put out the fires and deal with the most pressing item now, then just "put it on the list" for each new thing that came along. Nothing major, no one was dying (although at one point I thought I was), no one was out of a job, we have a good house with food in the freezer, nothing that couldn't be fixed. I just had become the fix everything for everyone and do it all supermom/superwife/supereverything person and it got too much.

SO, I got sick. Very sick. Couldn't eat, pressure in my guts, etc. 102-104 fevers for 22 days, lots of blood taken, lots of tests. Turns out your gall bladder isn't happy when your guts are tied in knots and you don't eat well, don't sleep well and stress the heck out. LONG story a bit shorter.....my liver was swollen, enzyme numbers off the charts, gall bladder not "angry infected" but "rather pissed off infected" and I had to be on lots of meds and REST and RELAX. All of this is when a rather major vacation to MEXICO had been planned for the extended family, our brady bunch 6, my father & mother in law, and sister in law plus her husband and two kids. The doctors decided I probably wouldn't drop dead and they wouldn't take out my gall bladder anyway for at least 2 weeks so I could either lay on a bed or poolside in Mexico or I could lay in a bed at home. I decided I would go on the big vacation and drink no alcohol. (DUDE, it was an all inclusive resort in MEXICO with ALL the family including 4 teenagers and MY husband and I couldn't drink? Awesome.) Though we had issues with traveling, it was a wonderful get-away and truly was a paradise. A hot 90% humidity and 95+ degree paradise, but a paradise nonetheless. I also rested in the shade and got to spend hours watching my kids playing with their cousins in the ocean and in the pool and just loving life. It was wonderful and everyone took very good care of me. Best of all, I didn't end up in a Mexican hospital (which was a MAJOR concern of mine). Many knitting projects were packed, but I just didn't have the energy or brain power or desire to even get them out of their bags on the trip.


our brady bunch on the beach towards the end of the vacation

Back to US, more stress comes right and left, but with the help of concerned family members have decided I just can't give a fuxx any more. About anything. Or anyone. I had to focus on me and resting, and doing things that made me feel happy. I was so sick I couldn't even KNIT for almost 4 weeks. That's a new record that I'd like to not repeat any time soon. It's a theory that mostly works, but is hard to live out. It's a lot like after the first time your heart is broken, you decide it's easier just not to care about anyone and then your heart won't hurt anymore. That doesn't work either.

My husband, concerned that I've been quiet (very unusual) and not knitting (almost unheard of) encouraged me to get involved in going to my knit night again and spending time with creative people to help get my little spark back. I wasn't really feeling it last night, but figured, oh what the heck and went. I'm so very thankful that I did.

After giving the short version you guys had along with a tiny snippet of the why Christine thought she was gong to die scenario, I told them I just don't give a fuxx. Just can't. When I came back from getting my food ordered, one of my friends was frantically telling me to GETOVERHERENOW and said "picc line" and pointed out a young lady and her mother that were leaving their table. I apologized for being rude and asked if the lady did have a picc line and she said yes. I explained that my son has CF (cystic fibrosis) and my friends and I knit up picc line covers to donate to those with CF or other illnesses that cause them to have to have picc lines. I said it's like an arm hug, it helps you feel a bit better, keeps the plugs from snagging on things, and keeps random strangers like ME from asking what the heck is sticking out of your arm. :) I pointed out my friend Laura (Stashbuckler creative genius and dear friend) who had JUST THAT NIGHT given me new picc covers she'd knit out of soft, washable wool. They were fantastic. The young lady said she, too had CF and was so thankful for the picc covers as they'd used old tube socks in the past and thought this was so much better. Then she mentioned that she was going to be transferring to the KU Med Adult CF center the next day and was really nervous about it. She was having a port put in the next morning and now was not nearly as nervous as she'd been when they sat down for dinner. I was able to say that transferring to KU's CF pediatric center was the best thing we'd ever done, that I know it's saved my son's life. We talked more and I was able to rest her and her mother's fears about the big changes and explained how amazing it is that the different medical teams ALL WORK TOGETHER and include patient and parents in ideas and plans to help those fighting this rough disease stay healthy. KU Med is the place to be if you have to be dealing with Cystic Fibrosis. It was like fate picked them up and put them in my way JUST SO I could help them out and they could help me out.

I sat down at our knitting table with tears in my eyes of thankfulness and joy and hope and positivity and a bit of a spark again. My friend sitting nearest to me just said, "well, guess you DO give a fuxx after all, huh?" and hugged me. I burst into tears and said, yes, I guess I do. Then we knit and talked and were inspiring and encouraging and it was just what I needed.


stinky pelicans that were wandering about and then the one with the wings spread, it tried to EAT ME (or at least he snapped three times at my legs and chased me about, causing me to scream bloody murder and all the locals to laugh hysterically). Fastest I moved the entire week.

Want to knit up some PICC line covers with extra superwash wool? Check out the free pattern tab or click HERE. Give them to your local children's hospital or contact me to send them my way. It really does make a difference and helps out.

Wednesday
Jun252014

Introducing Cabin Cowl, new pattern and perfect summer knitting project!

YAY for the perfect summer knitting project! Who wants to have a lap full of heavy, sweat inducing wool for a sweater or blanket in progress in the midst of July? NOT ME! May I introduce my newest, and favoritest, pattern, the Cabin Cowl (Ravelry Link) or for Etsy lovers, Cabin Cowl on Etsy!



I can NOT tell you how much fun I had knitting this baby up and it's even MORE FUN to wear! Light, drapey sock yarn is used, colors of your choice. Go a little wild like I did here (ORANGE to subtle navy to ACID LIME GREEN) or use a more color choices. My favorite part of this cowl is it matches everything I own! When I'm wearing blues, I can twist it around until the baby blue part shows or a little turquoise window for a kick. When I'm wearing Orange, I'm going to hit you with the WOW SPARKLE ORANGE factor!

This is also the perfect design to use up some of those mini skeins you've been hoarding...or buying.... OR dig into the stash and find some leftovers that want to come out and play as a Cabin Cowl of Awesomeness!

To reward my blog readers, feel free to use the code TGCOWL at checkout and save $2 off the usual price of $5. I'll be posting tutorials soon for picking and knitting up stitches across the bound off edges as well as side garter stitch bumps. For now, look below. See how the needle is going through BOTH parts of the V of the stitches? Wrap your yarn and complete your knit stitch and you're picking up one stitch per bound off stitch and you've got it! Garter stitch sides are not any tougher, grab two strands of each bump and knit away in the new direction when told to. It's really addicting, I have to admit to having at least 3 Cabin Cowls in various stages of knitting right now.



I just love my summer knitting project. The cowls are fun to knit and work up super fast, so my holiday knitting list is going to get much shorter. (That is, if I can bear to give these babies away...I just love ALL THE COLORS!)

I used Sparkle Toes sock yarn mini skeins, but you can use any fingering weight yarn you come across. I'm hoping to get more mini skeins in the etsy shop soon!



I'd love to hear what you think of the pattern and also, what are YOU knitting for summer knitting? I'm in one of those phases where nothing and everything sound good at the same time. Comment or send me a note on ravelry!

Monday
Jun162014

The Chateau Chapeau aka Wine Cork Hat


Recognize the amazing photography? It's from Sharon Gottula's Fierce Knitters Project. Fabulous and Fierce indeed! The hat shown is my own new pattern, the Chateau Chapeau! What a lovely way to give an unforgettable gift to your favorite wine lover! Pattern is available on Ravelry.com or on Etsy.com. I had SUCH fun making these, I have a feeling MUCH MORE WINE will need to be drunk up to allow for Christmas gifting season. Better start now!



Sharon Gottula is in a partnership with another amazingly creative woman named Laura Garfield. These women have created a company called the Idea Decanter. They wrote an article featuring my little Chapeau Chateau, go take a look! Drink it or wear it knitted cork hat is oddly adorable.



For another AwesomeSauce idea for wine cork gifting, check out their article on Behind the Scenes - The Fathers Day Cork Tie. The not-quite-fails but not-good trial pieces were cracking me up. They hit on a winner with the final version.

I think we should all pour up a glass of wine, have a sit & knit for a bit and start building up that wine cork collection. There are some amazingly cool knitted projects out there with wine cork crafts!

Friday
Apr182014

the Fierce Knitter Project - Sharon Gottula Photography

Have you heard about this? Sharon Gottula is a local (KC) photographer getting ready to relocate to Seattle. She creates these amazing portraits.... and really captures the essence and soul of the subjects of her pics. She has a toothless project going for kids without their front teeth that are amazing to check out.....and the Fierce Knitters, which I'm proud to be a part of. PLEASE go check out the link and see what she's done. I felt like a bit of a rock star while doing the shoot and couldn't be happier with the way the shots turned out. I'll be sharing a few pics here over the next week or so but here's a few of my favorites.....

All Rights Reserved Sharon Gottula Photography

All Rights Reserved Sharon Gottula Photography

All Rights Reserved Sharon Gottula Photography


I can't wait to see each new fierce knitter on this project. Check back on Sharon Gottula Photography to see as she adds new shots into her gallery. I love Sharon's description of this project "Fierce knitters is documenting the amazing women and men who knit in Kansas City and beyond. I'm looking beyond pretty, fuck pretty, I'm searching for attitude and style."

I'd have to say she's captured that attitude and style in a way that not many have before her.