Unraveled

Playing Those Mind Games

[Click here for a soundtrack to accompany today's post.]

Sometimes, with knitting, it's really a . . . mind games . . . kind of thing.

Will these colors work for this design?
Do I have enough yarn?
Will it fit?
Will I wear it?
Do I have the skills?
Can I persevere through the hard parts?
 . . .  and the boring parts?
And, of course, there is that whole gauge thing.

It's always nice when it works out in the end.

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We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dude lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic the search for the grail

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Yep. This time, I found THE GRAIL!

Of course, now that I've finished, spring has arrived in my corner of the world (it was in the upper 70s yesterday!), so I will be packing this sweater away until fall. 

Mind games, I tell 'ya!

(You can find all the details on Ravelry, here.)

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A few of you asked me last week how I divide up the "progress bars" for my projects. I'm here to tell you . . . it ain't rocket science! With some projects, there are a clear number of steps (or zones or whatever), and it is easy to divide a progress bar into those steps. With other projects? It's a bit trickier. Knitting projects, for example. I mean, I know you could go through the trouble and the maths to figure out how many stitches you'd be knitting in any given project and create a bar that reflects that. But, for me, in a project, I divide it into chunks of work that make sense for me. For a top-down sweater, the project chunks generally look like this:

  • Get ready: gather materials/needles, wind yarn, mark up pattern, do a gauge swatch, etc.
  • Cast on and get yourself "situated" with the start
  • Divide for sleeves
  • Body
  • Sleeve 1
  • Sleeve 2
  • Cast off, weave in ends, block

Of course, those project chunks are not equal in terms of time and effort, but . . . they work to move the project forward anyway.
(So, basically, I fudge it.)
Hope that helps.

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Be sure to hop on over to Kat's for more Unraveled posts today.


Progress: A Visual Representation

I talk a lot about the "stuff" I'm working on.
Projects, mostly.
Chores, sometimes.
I thought it might be fun . . . to create some sort of visual representation to show you how I'm progressing. Y'know . . . in kind of an Old School way.

Like . . . this.

Here's the sweater I've been working on for a while now.

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It's almost finished, as you can see by my "progress bar." (Maybe also because it's just missing a cuff.)

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It was so much fun (well, "fun" may be a stretch here) - let's say . . . satisfying . . . to color in that progress bar that I decided to try it with more projects!

Like . . . my spring garden bed clean up.

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My garden is . . . a lot. (I've identified - and named - 17 "zones" in my garden.) (Maybe I'll blog about that someday.)  Anyway, I am thrilled to be able to start cleaning up my beds so early in the spring this year. It doesn't usually happen this way. (Often, at the end of March there is still snow covering my garden beds.) So. Even though my "progress bar" indicates I've barely gotten started, the fact that I HAVE already started is huge progress. (And now, even if it does snow again, at least I've begun.)

I also made a "progress bar" for my green overalls project.

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This was really heartening for me, because it feels like I've been sewing and sewing and not getting very far. But . . . the "progress bar" shows that I'm almost to the half-way point. (There are 47 steps in the pattern. Each "square" in my "progress bar" represents roughly 3 steps.) So far, I've spent a lot of time on pockets (there are 5 of them), and they are rather particular. I suspect smoother sailing from now on. (Although the way the straps join in a VERY particular way in the back could slow me down a bit. . . )

And then . . . there's my last "progress bar."

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I'm chipping away! I (almost) finished a major chunk of the work yesterday (closing the books for Tom's consulting business), so I should make quicker progress now. (And, yeah. I know the filing deadline was extended. But we still have a meeting with our financial folks next week, so . . . not extended for me.) Expect that "progress bar" to be completely filled in by the weekend, though.

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You'll perhaps notice that I don't have a "progress bar" for my spring cleaning.
(Hmmmmmmm. . .)

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How about you? What projects (and chores) are you working on?

 

 


That Was Quick!

Last week, I introduced you all to Ferda (my "grand-pup") and explained that I was knitting her a little sweater.

Well. I finished . . . just in time for a visit last Saturday.

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The weather was perfect for an outside, pandemic-friendly visit from Brian and Lauren -- and "The Ferds," of course. We were able to sit comfortably (with blankets) out on our patio while we watched the snow melt. Ferda loves to romp in our fenced back yard. She is agile and fast and full of energy!

I'm sorry to report that after 2 hours of romping in the wet snow, that sweater had stretched out to Flashdance proportions! (I think - hope - it'll spring back into shape in the washer and dryer.) Kind of disappointing to me, but Ferda didn't seem to mind a bit!

For a minute, though . . . it fit like a dream!

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I'll make her another for next winter. But I'll make the collar longer and snugger!

(Ravelry details here.)

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How about you? What are you making these days?

 


Fer da Pup

So . . . I have a little "grand-pup" . . . and she is about the cutest thing ever.

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Her name is Ferda (after an oft-used phrase in the TV series "Letterkenny" . . . "fer da boys" . . . hockey humor). (Also, I am not recommending this show to y'all. Unless you like your humor rather obscure and of the hockey locker room variety. Then go for it.) Brian and Lauren adopted her as a little pup a couple of months before the pandemic arrived. I've not seen Ferda nearly enough . . . sigh. Anyway. Ferda has . . . a personality to match her cuteness! She is full of energy and curiosity and eagerness. She is a bounding, joy-filled pup.

She also . . . likes clothes! (And comfort.)

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When Brian and Lauren first brought her home, it was winter and very cold. And she was a skinny, sick little pup. They put her in little dog sweatshirts to keep her warm in their drafty old house. She likes wearing clothes now -- and has a growing wardrobe.

But she doesn't have a handknit sweater from her "grandma."

Yet!

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She will by the weekend, though! 

I'm knitting Ferda the Lucky Dog sweater (Ravelry link here). I did a lot of researching dog sweaters before I landed on this one, because dogs? They're kinda hard to fit, y'know? What I like about the Lucky Dog design is . . . ribbing in the "undercarriage" area, where dog sweaters tend to pull. And short rows through the chest to accomodate that chesty "dog shape." I'm knitting Ferda's sweater in Teflon-coated (not really) Encore Tweed (mostly acrylic, but also some nylon and a touch of actual wool) because you need something sturdy and washable for an active pup.

I'm nearing the end (quite a bit farther along than the photo I took yesterday), and I may even get a chance to try it on her this weekend.

That Ferda. She's one lucky dog!

(And if you want to see more Ferda, you can check out her Instagram account @the.ferds here.) (Because of course she has her own IG account.)

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How about you? What'cha making?

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If you want to read more Unraveled blog posts today, hop on over to Kat's for a link-up.

 


Turn It Around

(For a soundtrack to accompany today's post, click here.)

So one sad day last October . . . probably around Rhinebeck time . . . when I was tired of the pandemic and dragged down by the upcoming election and totally worn out by the news and missing my kids and my friends and just generally feeling bad about All The Things, I was poking around on my computer and stumbled onto this yarn on the Modern Daily Knitting website.

It was like . . . the clouds parted and the sun shone and the birds started singing for a minute.

That yarn!*

I had to have it.

So I ordered enough to make . . . something.
(In true player-to-be-named-later fashion.)
Enough to make . . . a sweater, even.

I've gotta say that . . . I can't remember a time I've bought enough (pricey) yarn to make a sweater . . . with no concept of a sweater in mind first. 

I've also gotta say . . . that yarn? Totally not what I'd usually go for. Because . . . it just looks like a pool(ing) party waiting to happen. And pooling makes my eyes twitch.

But the yarn arrived. And it was as gorgeous as I'd figured it might be. It definitely turned my mood around for a minute or two. But then . . .  I had to figure out what to do with it!

After a lot of thought (a wonderful diversion), I decided that I definitely wanted to make a sweater with it -- but that the shape would be key if I wanted to avoid a total pooling disaster. So . . . I was looking for, basically, a box-with-sleeves. Preferably . . . a box-with-sleeves that also might have a bit of texture in it to bring out the highlights of that yarn.

I ended up deciding on . . . The Weekender (by Andrea Mowry).

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And it turned out to be the most perfect choice for this absolutely lovely - but totally pool-y - yarn! I mean, The Weekender has all the elements I was looking for:

  • Reverse stockinette body.
  • Stockinette sleeves.
  • Faux seams down the front and back.
  • Ribby neckline.

And BONUS . . . it's like a comfy sweatshirt! (A FANCY, comfy sweatshirt.)
WINNER!

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The whole thing (from purchase to finished sweater) is kinda . . . inside out and a little backward! But the yarn brought me joy. The knitting made me happy. And wearing it?

Totally turned the beat around!

Turn the beat around
Love to hear the percussion
Turn it upside down
Love to hear the percussion
Love to hear it

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You can find all my project details here, on Ravelry.

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*The colorway that caught my eye is called Dusk. It is no longer offered on the MDK site. (Which is a pity.) (But totally justifies my purchase back in October, y'know?)

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Hop on over to Kat's today to see other Unraveled posts.

 

 


Mess O' Hats, Part 2: Auld Lang Syne Edition

Remember last week when I told you I went on a hat-knitting binge that continued on . . . even after I completed my Christmas gift knitting? Well, today you get the rest of them! Welcome to . . . 

A Whole Mess O' Hats, Part 2: Auld Lang Syne Edition.

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I made one for Tom. (Ravelry link.)

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And one for me. (Ravelry link.)

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One for my sister. (Ravelry link.)

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And another of these quick-and-easy headbands for myself. (Ravelry link.) (And, yeah. It's made from the leftovers of Erin's hat from last week.)

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And even though I've moved on from hats . . . and I'm currently busy knitting away at a sweater (this one) . . . I'm still dreaming of hats.
(Like . . . this one.) 
(And this one.)
(And another headband.)
(Or two.)

(Oh, help.)


Can't Help Myself

Looking for something super quick and easy to knit???

That will also keep you (or someone you love) warm and toasty???

And - as an added benefit - will tame your "pandemic hair" or that (un)timely decision to grow out your bangs???

Well. 

Look no further! I've got you covered!

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(It's even a free pattern.)

This is the aptly-named "headband with a twist" by Mirella Moments. (The free pattern is available on their website, here.) It takes just a tiny bit of yarn, a tiny bit of your time, and - for those of you who hate to purl - it's a basic one-color brioche stitch (or English rib if the words "brioche stitch" stop you dead in your tracks), which means . . . ribbing but NO purling! (And super easy to do.)

This is a perfect thing for me right now. (Because we have reached the bangs-growing-out stage where I need a paper bag otherwise. . . ) I'm definitely going to be knitting up a few more. . . 

'Cause sugar pie, honey bunch
(Sugar pie, honey bunch)
You know that I'm weak for you 
(Weak for you)
Can't help myself
I love you and nobody else

Ravelry details here.

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Be sure to visit Kat today for more Unraveled posts!


Did I Mention

. . . that the "bunny girls" have a brother?

Yeah.
They do.
A big brother.
And what do you knit for a sweet little boy who loves books and wrestling and Star Wars? The answer is Not A Bunny, for sure. But what???

Why . . . how about a dragon?

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I have a very clear memory of the last time I actually met a friend for coffee just before All Bets Were Off and coffee-dates became just another thing of the Before Times.  There we were, comfortably sipping and chatting and knitting and showing each other possibilities for future knits on our iPads . . . so casually, so lightly -- not at all imagining how much our lives would change the very next day (I digress) (but sometimes I'm just struck with how much things changed, y'know?).  Anyway, she had a brand-new grandson and had just knit a sweet bunny for him (this one). I shared my plan about knitting my own, different bunnies (these). I mentioned that I didn't know what to knit for the big brother, though, so we started brainstorming and looking things up on Ravelry with our iPads. 

And she found the little dragon pattern. 

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And it was Just The Thing!

(And here I am, 7 months later, finished with the very dragon we decided on that day.) (And all I can do is send her the photos.)

Anyway.
Isn't he just adorable?

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It's more "futsy knitting," for sure. But less futsy than the bunnies. Much quicker. (Plus . . . no wardrobe for a dragon.) (Thankfully.) Someday I may need to knit another dragon. For myself. Because he's awfully fun to have around, and I'll miss him when he's gone.

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But not today!

(Click here for Ravelry details for my Little Dragon.)

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How about you? What are you making this week?
And be sure to visit Kat to find more Unraveled posts today.


On Knitting With Precision. Or Not.

There are some knitting projects that are just more . . . forgiving . . . than others. Projects where you can figure out ways to "fix" or "modify" your goofs so you don't need to "knit backwards" or rip back or -- (heaven forbid) --  unravel altogether.

And then there are projects that require precision.

Like . . . this one, say.

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It's not a difficult pattern to knit. It's super simple to memorize -- and "read" (once you've done a repeat or two). But it does require precision. As in . . . any mistake will stick out like a sore thumb and drive you mad. 

Trust me.
I know!

I have knit back on more rows of this thing than I can count. (Mostly because . . . I can't count, apparently.) (And I'm also apparently particularly challenged about remembering the simple increase-on-every-right-side-row thing.)

This is not a forgiving pattern. Perfection is paramount. (And I'm not particularly into perfection.)

Yet I will soldier on. Because this . . . 

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flower/grid/high-contrast combination just . . . tickles me!

Besides. I have plenty of "explanations" for when my knitting focus goes off the rails like this:

News anxiety
Pandemic fog
Captivating TV
Knitting-with-wine
All of the above

But, as of last night, I have a new one: mercury retrograde! Yes. Mercury is retrograde again. Which really doesn't mean much . . . except that you can blame pretty much anything* on it. 

And I will!

*(Except politics. We know just who to blame there.)

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How about you? What are you making these days? And do you find yourself less focused? (Or is it just me. . . )

Be sure to visit Kat today for links to more Unraveled posts.

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I have a BONUS for you this week!

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For some reason that I can't pin down (pick any of the "explanations" from my list above, even if mercury wasn't retrograde), I seem to have subscribed TWICE to Making magazine. Which means . . . I have duplicate copies of the last two issues: No. 9 Simple and No. 10 Intricate, which just arrived yesterday in my mailbox.  I would like to share! If you're interested in a copy of either issue (or even both), just let me know in the comments and I'll draw a name out of a hat next Tuesday.


Bunnies on the Catwalk

Brace yourselves.

It's Bunny Fashion Week!

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Yes, friends. I'm finally finished with those damn charming and adorable little bunnies! I feel like it's been one long summer episode of Project Runway: Bunny Edition.

Let's join the "Little Buns" (as I've taken to calling them) as they hit the catwalk, modeling the newest looks for the bunny set.

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Fussy much? 

But really cute, non?

And soon on their way to (hopefully) make a couple of little girls I know . . . smile.

Glad I made them, now that they're finished. But I'm REALLY glad they're done, y'know?

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If you want more details (and more photos), you can check out my Ravelry project pages here (bunnies in the dotty dresses), here (textured dresses), here (top-down sweaters), and here (t-shirt dresses).

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How about you? What are you making this week?