Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Guest Post and Vacation Instagrams

While the Summer Sweater Knitalong began with a bang I was far from home, and my fuzzy sweater yarn, camping in Utah.  I was having a great time, but I wished I had my sweater to knit on in the evenings.  Occasionally, I'd even find internet service and check in on the luvinthemommyhood forum and all the beautiful sweaters the other ladies were working on and I'd think about how I wanted to work mine when I got home.

I was also thinking up a guest blog post Shannon asked me to write about photographing our finished knits.  I enjoyed putting my thoughts into words, so please check it out at luvinthemommyhood and remember it's not too late to join this knitalong.  If you sign up today, you can start with me!

Also, here are a some of my instagram photos of what we were doing as the knitalong began.

I love that the town of Wichita Falls, Texas not only had no natural falls but also had a Spinal Tap "Stonehenge" moment of it's own, paying a builder for a 4.0 story skyscraper rather than a 40 because they failed to notice the decimal.  


Zion, Utah

trail drama

polaroid from Watchman Trail, Zion

Orderville Canyon, part of Zion's Virgin Narrows.  This hike was the main reason we went to Utah.

Wall Street, The Narrows

Mystery Falls down Orderville Canyon

roughing it at Meme's cafe

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Summer Instagrams

Here's a few summer instagrams from a trip to Houston.  The Alva Graphics building is where the Graffalot show and demo is held.  It's this ever changing canvas for graffiti artists. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Running

I am running somewhere in Utah or Arizona today so I thought I'd share a little more about my transition into minimal running shoes.  I have been inching my way down to a super minimal shoe for a couple of years now and am running almost daily in them.  So far I've had no injuries or pain and have been sooo happy to be running again.  

The pair on top are Vivobarefoot Utra Pure runners.  They are all rubber and look a little like Crocs but they were 40% off, so I grabbed them.  I would rather have had them in white but, again,  40% off.  These come without any sort of sock insert and so have rubbed a blister in one of my heels, but I'm getting used to them.  Otherwise, they are incredibley comfortable while not being overly cushy or supportive. I feel like too-supportive shoes caused a host of problems in my feet and knees and so I avoid them.  

Though I hate Crocs, I've been wearing these crazy pink shoes everywhere because they are so convenient.  I tell myself they are not quite as loud as pink Crocs.  They are not trail shoes so I do feel gravel and pebbles under my feet, which is good thing for mindful running.  An added bonus is that they can be hosed down when dirty. 

The blue runners are another pair of Breatho Trail shoes from the same company.  I got my first pair for vacation last summer and loved them.  They are light and are probably the only running shoes I've ever had to not rub blisters the first few weeks.  They fit like a glove but have an outsole that's rugged enough to handle very sharp rocks and slick slopes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Watch Way Too Much TV

Though I may have knit some stylish things, that is due to my practical ability to follow directions from very stylish designers, not necessarily my trendiness.  I am a practical girl.   I have trouble even saying the word "stylish" in speaking about myself without being cheesed out.  I also have trouble with "so romantic" and "living your dreams" type statements - see, practical.   Having said that, there are some TV-themed style blogs I sometimes view as a guilty pleasure because I knit to tv... a lot.  I don't even know how I stumble upon these sites but they are definite time killers.

 Of course, there's the obvious influence of shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men, with Edwardian-inspired dresses on Etsy and knitters pinning Peter Pan collars and cropped sweaters like crazy on Pinterest.  You don't have to seek them out, they are everywhere.  Jordana Paige even has a Mad Men Style segment on her blog and pinterest.  She actually links each outfit to a knitting pattern that would achieve that look.

But what about more narrowly focused influences?   I love it when Design Sponge's Living In... , which often features movies you would expect as style influences like Annie Hall, has something like Living In... Moonstruck complete with wife beater and wooden hand!  Classic.

Another one with more obscure tv and book icons is Character Inspired Fashion.  It's all over the place covering anything from Lord of the Rings characters, to Han Solo, or the cast of Community.
Also unexpected is Cheers to Carla in which Chloe Roth finds timely equivalents to the cast's outfits. How can you not like this concept, especially after reading about Diane's "Define The Relationship" sweaters?

Can I talk about blogging tv sweaters and not mention Sweaters of Felicity again?  The fact that this blog even exists makes me smile.  Besides, I have actually watched the show and paused it on a particular sweater that I wanted to make.  That's a little hard to admit.

From a geekier perspective there's Nerdy Fashion Blog and Companion Clothes.  Speaking of Dr. Who, BBCAmerica's How to Dress Like... series has quite a bit of "Steal This Doctor's Look" kind of thing.  There's also Cosplay, on which I wasted a half hour today.  There is nothing better than someone in full River Tam costume, crouching battle-ready, ax and sword poised overhead, with their dented garage door as a backdrop.  Nothing.

As you can see, a lot of these are sci-fi influenced because I lean more toward that end of the television spectrum than, say, the Gossip Girl end.  The point of looking at these is for the fun.   But if you're seriously stalking tv outfits (outfits is another word I have trouble saying.)  Wear What You WatchfilmfashionjunkieWorn on TV, and Possessionista link up to all sorts of hit tv fluff.  I am amazed at the time and detail that must go into tracking these objects down.  I am also amazed that I wasted another half hour looking at them.

Obviously, none of these images are mine and if you haven't guessed, I'm on vacation right now and am probably under the fashion influence of something more like this Lost episode.

If you're still reading, you are a real trooper!  So, what are you watching (or listening to) these days?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sort of New Tools

In the last year I've collected some new tools.  You've probably had them, or something similar, in your knitting bag for ages, but they're new to me so I thought I'd spread the love.

I can't even say how nice it is to have tiny doublepoints all matching and packaged together when I want to knit a sleeve or sock.  I had been using a franken-needle set I'd thrown together when I couldn't find matching ones. It included a mix of metal, bamboo, lace tips, regular tips, long, and short needles all used at once on one sleeve.  Sometimes I'd throw a short circular in there too.   So having a set of Sunstruck DPNs in multiple sizes must be what being rich feels like.

My husband gave me some 24" Addi Turbo circulars for Christmas to round out my tiny needle collection.  I knit very loosely, so I rarely use anything above a 3.  I'm sure there are lots of great circular brands out there, but I have a fondness for these.  They take my abuse.  One pair is dented and slightly bent where bamboo or acrylic would have snapped instantly.  I did get some inexpensive Clover  bamboo circulars at the hobby store in super long lengths for using magic loop, though.

My children gave me a couple of Snapware yarn buckets for Christmas in lieu of yarn bowls, which is probably wise considering the way my cat and dog gallop past me as I knit, the cat landing more heavily than the dog.  If you're a knitter, you can see the obvious downside to these: once you feed the yarn through the hole, it has to be cut to get it out.  That doesn't make for a super portable project.  But I've found if I just leave the lid cracked and let the yarn through it, it works great for me.  I can then take it out to travel with my project and dump it back in when I get home.  They will also be helpful when I have two colors working at once.  Besides that, there is cat and dog hair everywhere in my house and these limit my yarn's contact with it- at least, until I wear the finished item.

Speaking of being hairless and clean, I finally bought some Soak, and though I haven't used it yet, I'm very excited about it's no-rinse nature.  Along with that, I have a Lilly Brush for removing the pet hair and pills from the elbows of my sweaters.   Could it be that I will look less schleppy in the near future?

Maybe.  I have been using some very pretty stitch markers from Cherry Tree Stitches that I won in the Downton Abbey KAL earlier this year.  The wire works so well without stretching tiny stitches, plus it's the knitting equivalent to putting on a pair of earrings.  It bumps things up a notch.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Big, Boxy Sweaters

As I consider what I want to knit for the Summer Sweater Knitalong, I keep coming back to big and boxy.  I have some Reverie in Hawk that I bought in a Knit Picks summer sale and I think it would be perfect for Il Grande Favorito by Isabell Kraemer.  I'm thinking the alpaca will give a nice, soft halo and make it extra comfy.  I would then wear the sweater until the pills had pills, you know.

I also have some Wool of the Andes Bulky in Cadet, also purchased in a summer sale, waiting to become Agnes.   It has waited a long time.  Luckily it is a classic shape.   Now, to decide between the two.

This knitalong is a "true sweater" kind of knitalong so I don't want to wimp out with the three quarter sleeves and wool blends.  No, I'm going all the way with wool or alpaca, fuzzy, and oversized.  Of course, lightweight and shorter sleeves would be so much wiser and get more wear, but I am embracing summer sweater knitting.  In 100+ degree heat.  With my hair matted to my face.  My crazy happy face.

Join the Summer Sweater Knitalong where you can knit with a crazy happy face too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Instagrams

Here's a peek into our lives via instagram.  My daughter graduated, my son went on a mission trip to Arlington, they had church camps, we've run and rode our bikes, had mild garden success, and there was a lot of crafting going on (knitting, t shirt tearing, painting, and decoupage.)   

(my instagram and flickr)

Monday, July 15, 2013


I won a beautiful skein of Duck Duck Wool Spellbreaker in the Project: Stash Por Moi Knitalong recently and have been faving all sorts of accessories on Ravelry as I consider how I should use it.

It's 464 yards of deep semi-solid red, a very rich shade.  I have wanted to make Rose Tyler's Mitts for a while, but I'm not sure I should subject this beautiful yarn to the abuse I would give to a pair of mitts.

I considered stockings, but, again, I don't want to put my beautiful skein thru the wear and tear of being socks.  This leaves me looking for something delicate and less abused, like a shawl. I know it would make a lovely shawl, and one pro to that is the fact that I have never knitted a shawl.  The con would be the fact that I have also never  worn a shawl (I'm in Texas.)  Lately, I have been admiring them on Ravelry and I  hear Project: Stash may start a Shawl KAL soon, so...

(flickr and ravelry)

I'm leaning toward either Aestlight ,  The Lonely Tree,  Corvus or a Ysolda pattern- maybe Ishbel.

This will be my first ever shawl, so any input will be much appreciated.  Help me choose!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

This is Where I Go On and On About a Sweater

Two weeks, $24, and a little netflix for audio was all it took to make this Lady Bat sweater by Teresa Gregorio.  It didn't require any modifications or fiddling and even though I have made one before, I never found myself bored with the lace.  I just love it.

I don't know what I was thinking, but for some reason I knit this entirely with size 1 circulars.  I wanted to knit just the sleeve ribbing with them, but then I guess I was so used to using them, I kept going.  I had planned to switch to 3s for the body like I did on the first Lady Bat.  Thank goodness this is a very forgiving pattern and it all turned out fine.  I probably subconsciously adjusted my tension to be like the first top.  In fact, I must have because I almost ran out of yarn, literally using every scrap of the Shine Sport that I had.

This is where I make a confession:  I tied a few long scraps together to have enough for the bottom ribbing and bind off.  Other than the fear of running out of yarn, this was a pretty uneventful knit.  I bragged about my newfound lace skills a couple of days ago then screwed up so royally I wasted a day trying to fix it.  I was probably asking for that.

Otherwise, this top was a smooth knit.  I used 8 skeins of Shine Sport in Willow on size 1s (though I don't recommend that needle size to anyone).  I have seen lace summer sweaters in stores, though none I liked this much or with such a unique shape.  I notice, with store bought lace knit sweaters, the quality is just not there.  I love that I can really wear this and machine wash it too.

This sweater is knit from one side to the other, with the bottom ribbing picked up and knit afterward.  The construction keeps it interesting.  I want to reiterate that I found it best to check that the stitches next to the markers are correct before beginning another round, at least until you're confident with the lace pattern.

The only thing I did differently from the pattern was to reduce the amount of stitches I picked up for the bottom band by 8 because I usually have trouble getting ribbing to be tight enough.

This is where I post more photos than you really want to see just because I like them:

This is where I say something fashiony:   It's the quintessential summer sweater!  But, it really is.  I got a nice, even chevron pattern by knitting lace rows 7-12  more loosely than the others.  Isn't the chevron lace the best?

I'm glad I made one of my own.  I'm going to take it on vacation so that we have to go "out" a few nights.  Our vacations are usually what you could call rustic...or sweaty, so we dress for it.  Except last year when we went to Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede.  I actually wore real clothes for that but my pants got so wet on a ride at Dollywood that I had to buy the least tacky, cheap something I could find in a gift shop to wear to the Stampede.  Turned out the least tacky, cheap thing I could find was a pair of frayed-edge, black bike shorts with "Dolly" screen printed in big gold letters up the leg.  Oh well, I thought, after the live music, the Stampede will be a dark, dinner arena.  This anonymity I thought I would enjoy  was totally blown when my husband and I were chosen to get out on the floor for races.  Somewhere on my computer, there is a blurry cell phone photo of a "Dolly" fan riding a stick horse like a freak as a souvenir of that night out.

Why did I get off on that subject?  Oh yes, because this will be fun to wear out.  That's all.