Not literally 50 shades.  I actually only painted up swatches of four different shades but I placed them on four different walls in the same room and they all looked different.

 

Of course, these photos don’t accurately describe the colors at all.  Which is kinda my point.  They are all very neutral, not so periwinkle.  So I just picked one and started.  Today’s goal is finishing this job.

We had an excellent Fourth of July.  Unseasonably warm weather for the block party BBQ with lots of water balloons, food, and explosives.

 

Happy Birthday, America!

 

Yesterday, we all spent the day out at my parent’s house in Gaston.  My brother and sister in law are visiting from Fairbanks, Alaska with their brand new baby!  I’m an auntie! Bunches of friends and family came out to see the new little guy so we all put together a pretty spectacular meal to celebrate.  Ribs, salads, beans, pies…all from scratch.  To quote my 5 year old son, “This food is delicious!”

 

My sweet girl with her new cousin

 

It was about 90 degrees yesterday so we didn’t really hang outside until after dinner when it cooled down a bit.  Then we all sat on the porch drinking white wine with ice (always classy) and watching the kids run through the sprinkler.

Summer has arrived.

 


 

So… It’s been a couple of years since I updated this thing.  I have lot’s of excellent excuses.  My youngest kid stopped taking naps, my oldest started getting loads more homework, I went back to school, and I started working out.  But now my youngest is old enough to self manage for an hour or two, my oldest is on summer break, I’m done with school for now, and working out is something I look forward to so it will always fit in.

So here I am.  I have been knitting during my blogging hiatus (not that my Ravelry projects page represents this.  See aforementioned excuses).  I wrote my very first pattern and it was accepted into the Knitpicks IDP program!  The pattern is a pair of leopard print, fingerless mitts, worked in the slip stitch (or mosaic) technique.  They’re called Rowr Mitts and available for sale through Knitpicks and Ravelry.

 

I have been knitting and crocheting from written patterns since I was a kid.  I was really surprised at how difficult putting everything into standard knitting format was.  I could understand the language but I couldn’t speak it.  I hired two separate tech editors to go through it for me before I published.  That was pretty stressful.  Not only is it humbling to have my work critiqued in detail but they each found many different things that needed correction.  I had that panicked sensation of “What else is wrong?!  If they each missed what the other one caught, how many more mistakes are still unnoticed?!”  Of course, I just had to get over it.  I learned a ton and got what I paid for.

Emboldened by my Knitpicks success, I decided to aim even higher and submit an idea to Knitscene Magazine.  A garment pattern.  Scaled for 6 different sizes.  After I had just found out how little I know about pattern writing.  Yup.  I love me a challenge.  And guess what?  They accepted it!  Yikes!  I actually emailed the editor and confessed that I really didn’t know how to scale a pattern but assured her that I would learn really quick.  She was awesome about it and even sent me some links for resources.  My Sunbeams Tank came together just fine and was published in the Spring 2012 issue.  A full two page spread!

So now I’m addicted to pattern writing.  I still haven’t streamlined the process like I assume many professionals do ( seriously, how do they make so many so fast?)  I’m still doing quite a bit of clumsy trudging but there is something crazy satisfying about defining a concept and then reverse engineering it down to every little stitch.

I just submitted a pattern idea for the new Knitpicks e-book.  It’s an unprecedented payout, $500- $1100 per pattern.  They notify us of their selections July 1.    I’m making mine up regardless of being selected and am already half way through it.  Fingers crossed.🙂

I guess it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  I have a good excuse.  You see, my 2 year old quit taking naps, thereby eliminating my usually scheduled time to post.  And, we switched from a pc to a macbook and, as computers are intimidating to me, I put off learning how to use it.  Also, my husband is not good at sharing said macbook.

Cliff is at work, baby’s playing with blocks, and I’m feeling capable.  So here are my newest F.O.’s—

Empire Waist Cardi  by Pam Allen in Madil bamboo print

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I am not thrilled with how the picked up stitches for the skirt have stretched out, but other than that, i really like this sweater.  I might dye it yellow.

Reclamation Scarf by Stephanie Japel in Hazel Knits sock yarn colorway Nemo

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This sucker came out huge!  I love it!  I get compliments every time I wear and it is just soft enough for my real princess sensitive neck.  I really like the gradual increasing.  It allows me to not guess at the finished size so I can just start without counting and end when the yarn is gone.

Oly’s starting to smash things so I’m out.

I finally made mine.  This is a great pattern.  Very quick and easy but interesting and flattering.  Mine is made from Linus by Elann.com.  It is a 100% linen yarn, worsted weight.  Super fuzzy and fluffy at first but really nice texture.  After a machine wash and dry (I LOVE linen!) Most of the loose fuzz is gone and it gets all slinky and shiny.  The pattern is definitely written for a fiber with a bit more memory so I took four stitches out of the extra small size to prepare for the inevitable expansion of the fabric.  It fits perfectly!  If I were to do it again,  I would make my gauge much tighter since the removal of fuzz rendered it a bit too transparent for bare wear.  Now I just need to find an appropriate undergarment and she’s ready to go out.

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It is finished!

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Please pardon the photos.  My camera is on the fritz and little children are distracting.

It came out exactly as I pictured it except for being a bit too big.  Super easy pattern, which I have fantasies of taking time to write up.  It’s just two long rectangles folded over at the shoulder and seamed down the sides, front and back.  The neck and arm holes are attached I-cord and the hem is picked up and folded.  I’m really pleased with it.

My latest design attempt has been very satisfying so far.    It’s a little CotLin top using a slip stitch chart from my Barbara G. Walker book.  I had many false starts with gauge ,counting, and construction but once established, it has cruised right along. 

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I have already seamed the sides and now must graft the front and back, leaving a v-neck opening.  It’s very curled up on itself so it looks a little small and shapeless but when draped on me, it feels like it will fit. I will then do a knit and turned hem all around or an applied i-cord to finish all the edges.  I will decide once assembled and tried on.

It has been a very fun and easy project.  Just enough going on to not be bored but not so much that i can’t watch t.v.  I so hope my result matches my enjoyment of the process.

I had a surgical procedure a couple of months ago (I’m totally fine) that required I lay around on the couch for a week.  Perfect!, I thought.  Knitting time.  I forgot that recovering from surgery requires sleeping off anesthesia ,discomfort and occasional percosets.  This meant that ,although I was bored, counting stitches and following a pattern was too challenging.  The fingers had to keep moving so this is what they did.

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It is completely unblocked as I plan to toss it in the dryer and give it to Bernadette.  Not bad for barely conscious.  I even see potential for a real design in here.  This yarn does not make me happy,though.    It was fine to work with but is uncomfortable next to the skin.  It is Classic Elite All Seasons and has been discontinued. Oh, well.  Bird likes it.

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