Category Archives: not knitting

Should it stay or should it go?

OK, so.

First, a positive thing: I’ve managed to make a lot of headway on my crochet sweater this week! Something that I haven’t been able to do in… a while. I’ve finished one sleeve and almost finished the second. All that’s left is a few more inches of Right Sleeve, a cuff, and a neck.

Then, a negative thing: I have literally no idea if I like this sweater. Like, at all. Even a little bit. It’s wild. I go back and forth on it hour by hour, minute by minute. One second I think, “Wow! This is a cute, trendy style with a silhouette that I haven’t tried before! I love how it looks! And the bobbles?! So kitschy and cute!” And then literally the next I think “Ugh! Why would I even think that something like this would look good on me? And bobbles? Honestly, what was even going through my head when I picked up my yarn?”

It’s a real rollercoaster up in here.

So, I’m going to let you guys help me decide: Do I like this sweater, or is it immediately going in the Goodwill pile for someone better at clothes than me? Do I need to wear it with something other than jeans? Am I going to have to think about *gasp* fashion? Is it just the wrong size for me? Would I have to re-crochet it to make it fit better?

(Also, posing/taking pictures of myself is wildly difficult, so sorry for the… underwhelming photos.)

I think I’m at least going to have to raise or lower the cuffs- right now they’re somewhere between 3/4-length and full-length, which is not the most flattering on me. Right now I’m leaning toward shorter…

And I’m definitely going to add on the neckband before I make any rash decisions. I feel like that’s going to really change how this sweater sits.

But it really is anybody’s guess if this sweater is going to make it into my sweater rotation.

Keep your fingers crossed, and let me know what you think!

Slow and Steady(ish)

I know I keep saying “Wow! Crochet is so fast!” And it is. But that’s only when I actually sit down and do it.

Which is why, even though crochet is super fast, compared to knitting, I’ve only gotten… about an inch and a half more put on my sweater since the last time I talked to you about it… weeks ago.

It’s a combination of things. I’ve been super busy with the kids (the big one is being very Four and need lots of help with big feelings, and the little one has decided that 5:00 is a great time to get up in the morning). I’ve got a new project in the works with Knit Picks that I can’t talk to you about… yet. And, when I actually have a little time to myself I’m more likely to sit down and want to scroll on my phone than actually do work (even if it’s fun “work”).

All that’s to say, when I do work on it, this sweater is going quick. I just haven’t been actually working on it. Fingers crossed something will change soon and I’ll get a little more bandwidth to finish it up… I’m so close!

Do you have any projects wasting away in your to-be-knit pile?

Spring Cleaning

I like to keep a pretty tidy house. I do laundry every week. I keep the sink more or less free of dirty dishes. Most of my kids’ toys are stashed in bins. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I try to stay fairly clean.

To that end, I say I thoroughly hand-wash all my knitwear at least once a year. And that I wash the sweaters in heavy rotation more frequently than that.

But, if I’m honest, I’m not even close to that.

In fact, I just sat down the other day and tried to remember the last time I did a thorough cleanout of my sweaters. And I couldn’t remember.

Certainly before my baby was born (1+ year ago). And definitely before Covid hit (2 years ago). Maybe after my big kid was born (4 years ago)? But you could tell me that it was even before that.

Whenever it was, one thing is clear. My sweaters are gross and I need to wash them.

So, I hopped online and bought the biggest bottle of wool wash I could find and went to town. The basement has smelled like grapefruit soap and damp wool for weeks and the dehumidifier is working overtime. My pile of clean sweaters is growing and my pile of “to be washed” is shrinking.

Anyway. This is a reminder that you should probably wash your sweaters.

(Unless you’re a functional grownup who already remembers to do laundry.)

When is the last time you laundered your knits?

A tale of two (one) sweater(s)

I’m of two minds about this sweater. But what’s new?

First, I’m excited about how fast it’s going, which isn’t usually the case at this point in the process. Most of the time when I’m three-quarters of the way in, I’m very frustrated and not seeing much progress. I’m just not used to how fast crochet is. I had a 2-hour Zoom meeting last night, and managed to get through 4 repeats- almost 6 inches of sweater! (I know it doesn’t look like I’m going that fast compared to last week, but that’s mostly because I bought myself a paint-by-number kit that’s taking up most of my attention. I have no regrets.) And, I even like the way the fabric is turning out. I think it’s going to be cute- I love the bobbles (even if they’re a pain to make).

However, I’m real skeptical that this is going to be a cute sweater. It’s just so… rectangular. To be fair, it is a style that I’m not too familiar with (drop shoulder, cropped, oversized sweaters aren’t usually my bag), so maybe this is how it’s supposed to look. Maybe it’ll turn out amazing after I seam it up and put it on, and I’ll never want to take it off. But right now I don’t have a lot of faith in the finished sweater.

Either way, I guess I’ll just keep trucking along and trust the process. I like the finished picture in the pattern- fingers crossed that it turns out that cute!

When’s the last time you were skeptical of a pattern halfway through?

Like the wind!

I’ve been cruising along with my crocheted sweater, and it’s been fun getting to stretch out of my yarn-crafting comfort zone.

I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. I do not like making bobbles, but I do like how they look. (In fact, I made an executive decision to halve the number of bobbles on each bobble-row. It’s a decision I stand behind.) To be fair, a crocheted bobble is much less of a pain than a knitted bobble. So at least there’s that.
  2. Crochet uses different muscles than knitting. I could knit for hours and hours with no discomfort, but my forearms start talking to me after only a little bit of crochet. I don’t think there’s anything wrong, just my body getting used to something new.
  3. Y’all, I forgot how fast crochet goes! Between kids not sleeping and, you know… general life stuff, I haven’t been getting my usual sit-down-and-do-hand-work-time, and still, I’m almost done with the front of this sweater. It’s amazing how fast it’s going!
  4. Crochet patterns are wild! Or maybe it’s just this one. I’m so used to super-precise knitting patterns where every stitch and increase are accounted for, while this pattern is more of a loose “recipe.” It’s kind of fun to try such a different pattern!

I’m really enjoying this project, and can’t wait to wear the finished project!

Have you tried anything new (or new-ish) lately?

Trying something completely different

OK. I gave up on the striped sweater. I’m sure I’ll come back to it, but right now, it’s not “sparking joy.” So, into the hibernation pile it goes.

I thought for a while about what I wanted to make next- I wanted something quick (or at least quicker than the striped sweater) and I wanted to use my stashed yarn. I thought maybe a scarf or a hat, but none of my yarn was exciting me, and I couldn’t find a pattern that spoke to me.

But I do have a sweater-quantity of fingering weight yarn that I thrifted from our local craft-supply-resale shop (Seattle Recreative… it’s really amazing, if you’re ever in town). It’s in two lovely shades of blue-gray. I like it, and want to make something with it, but I don’t want to knit a sweater with fingering yarn. In fact, that’s the whole reason I am looking for a new project!

Then it hit me! I don’t want to knit a sweater, but maybe I want to… crochet? It’s been a minute since I pulled out my hooks, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually crocheted a garment (maybe some hats in high school?). I took to Ravelry to look up crochet sweater patterns, and dang! Crochet patterns have gotten cute since I last looked at them!

It was a tough choice, but I settled on The Goldfinch Sweater by Hailey Bailey, a super-cute, boxy, lightly cropped pullover with lots of texture.

I got to work, and within an evening, I already had several inches worked! It’s wild how fast crochet is compared to knitting (especially knitting on tiny needles).

It took me a bit to figure out how to read the crochet pattern- I truly don’t know the last time I crocheted (let alone used a pattern), but I’m figuring it out. It’s actually kind of fun to re-learn a new “language.” I already love the results, and can’t wait to keep going!

Have you tried any “new” crafts lately?

Stress Knitting… or not

Hi Folks. It’s been a minute.

Well, it’s been a minute for me. Last time I wrote a post, I had a sizeable backlog/buffer of posts, but I’ve fully burned through them. I’m now coming to you in real time, or near enough, anyway.

And, I gotta tell you, it’s been a wild month+. First, my (vaccinated! Yay!) in-laws came for their first visit since well before my (6-month-old) baby was born. Then, a few weeks later, my (also vaccinated!) parents came to visit, too! Both visits were lovely, and it was so fun seeing my kids get to interact with their grandparents in person for the first time in ages. But, having gone so long without visitors, suddenly having so many people in my house was tiring for this introvert.

And then, the baby got a couple weird diagnoses that, while not unexpected, we had been hoping against. He’ll be fine in the long run; we caught everything early, have good insurance and even untreated, nothing is life-threatening. But it’s been really hard having to go through the whole diagnosis-and-treatment thing with such a little guy. He’s handling everything well, but it’s been tough to have to watch him go through.

AND THEN, the entire west coast was basically cooked for the last week. We’re in Seattle, and we’re one of the “lucky ones,” which means we have a sad little window air conditioner and a basement. It got up to 102 degrees in our back yard. Our upstairs was in the low 90s every afternoon for 4 days. Trying to keep 2 kids safe, fed, hydrated and sleeping on schedule under those conditions is stressful to say the least.

So, all that’s to say, I haven’t really been in the knitting mood lately. I’ve been making some progress on the wedding blanket, which I still like a lot, but for some reason I haven’t been feeling real inspired to have a gigantic wool blanket on my lap. It’s a true mystery.

I’m thinking I might do something simple and familiar- maybe socks? Or something fun and silly- a stuffed animal for one of the kids? Or I might change medium entirely and try busting out the sewing machine. Not sure yet. But, I’m letting myself take the time I need to get back to my knitting. After all, knitting’s not a race, and it’ll still be there whenever I’m ready for it.

What do you do when you’re too stressed out to knit?

A Simple Request

Hi folks. I’ve got a simple request to make to y’all. It’s not knitting-related, but it’s important. It’s also maybe not what you come here to see, so I’ve included some pretty pictures of my how my vegetable garden’s going these days.

Look! Some pretty leaf lettuce! I think the spotty ones are my favorite. So cute!

Here’s the request: If you haven’t done it already, please go get your Covid vaccine. (If you’ve already gotten your vaccine, YAY!)

Blueberries! It’s our first year trying blueberries and I can’t wait to see if we actually get any fruit. Fingers crossed.

Here’s the thing about the vaccine. Sure, it’s a personal choice, but your actions really affect everybody. For example, my kids are both too young to get the vaccine, so even though both my husband and I have been vaccinated, we have to continue to quarantine the way we have for the last year. My oldest kid is 3 years old, and he’s only interacted with 4 kids in the last year and a half (and two of those interactions were 1-time outdoor playdates with masks). That’s not healthy. My youngest is 6 months old and hasn’t met his grandparents yet, not to mention his aunts and uncles. That’s just sad.

A small forest of bok choy. We’re eating a lot of stir fries these days.

Once we have enough people vaccinated to create herd immunity, people like my kids (or other folks who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons) will be able to go out in public again. My boys will be able to… I don’t know… do something crazy, like go to school, visit the library or just go to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.

Peas! Supposedly they’re going to have bright pink flowers and purple pods!

And, it’s super easy and free to get vaccinated! I got my vaccine at Walgreens. I signed up online and went in to my local pharmacy. There wasn’t any line, and I got a cool red bandaid. Win/win. And these days, most places are allowing walk-ins for people over 16. Just google “Covid Vaccine (your city)” and I’m sure you’ll find a place nearby.

One of my beds, soon to be overflowing with produce, assuming I don’t mess it up. Front to back: radishes, carrots, potatoes, kale, and sugar-snap peas.

And, finally, the vaccine is super-safe. Millions of people have taken it, with only minimal side effects. If you’re still concerned about safety, there is a ton of really great information out there. Sawbones is a really excellent podcast that talks a lot about Covid and vaccinations. And if you want to go straight from the horse’s mouth, the CDC is a great resource.

Sure, it’s not the most fun, after all, who likes getting shots? And, if you’re anything like the people in my family, you’ll be pretty under the weather for 24 hours. But it’s really important. It’s important to the economy, it’s important to schools, and it’s important to kids and other people who can’t get vaccinated.

And dear lord, I want to go to a yarn store!

And Something Completely Different

Well. I’ve put my striped sweater in a time-out for now. Not that it did anything wrong exactly. I’m just grumpy about the whole math/sleeve situation.

I’m also grumpy about the stuffed animal situation.

“What stuffed animal situation?” you ask.

To which I answer, “You must not have a kid living in your house.”

Because my kid (my kids!) have So. Many. Stuffed. Animals.

They don’t even really play with them. (To be fair, one kid is just a little lump who still hasn’t figured out how to use his hands yet, but still.)

There is a big basket of stuffed animals in the living room, two bins of them in Kid 1’s room (in addition to the half-dozen or so that live in his bed), and another bin in Kid 2’s room.

So, in my frustration, I decided to make the biggest basket ever. (Is this a smart decision? No.)

I found a big roll of quarter-inch rope in the shed and a decent amount of leftover Wool of the Andes in my stash and pulled out a crochet hook.

And with a little futzing and a lot of improvising, I’ve got (most) of the bottom of a basket. (Basically, I’m doing a simple (ch1, sc1) around, catching the rope in each single-crochet stitch, and increasing as needed to keep the stitch density more or less even as the rope spirals out. Eventually, I’ll stop increasing, when I start the walls of the basket.)

Unfortunately, it’s growing super-slowly. And if I want this basket to be big enough to contain the horde of stuffies that my kid has been collecting, well… I’ve got a long way to go.

It looks pretty good so far, though!

The End of an Era

In the light of all the wild stuff that’s happened this year (I’m not going to lay it out… you know what 2020 was), this isn’t a big deal. It barely even registers. It’s a tiny blip.

But, I’m still bummed.

My tape measure has finally broken.

I know, I know. Hardly something to write home about, but you don’t understand. This tape measure was originally my Mom’s. I remember digging it out of her sewing supplies and playing with it when I was a kid. It’s soft click-click-click as you pulled out the tape was just so satisfying. Then, I inherited (stole? Sorry, Mom) it when I went off to college. Since then, it’s lived in my knitting bag. I’ve probably used it every day (or at least every week) for the last 15 years.

It’s nothing fancy- it’s just a regular old tape measure you pick up for a buck or two from a bin at the checkout at JoAnn’s. But still, it’s served me well all these years, and I will miss it.

It even managed to survive my kid- I kind of figured he’d play with it too much or pull too hard on the tape and break the spring. But, no, it was me. I pressed the tape-return button the other day, and the plastic just broke right in two. I guess that’s what happens to plastic over 30+ years.

Because this tape measure was at least 30 years old. It was “MADE IN WEST GERMANY”, and West Germany hasn’t been a country since 1990. How’s that to make you feel old?

Rest in peace, tape measure. You served me well.

(Don’t worry about me… I’ve got at least 3 other tape measures. Not as good as this one, of course, but at the end of the day, they all measure the same.)

What’s your favorite tool in your knitting bag?