Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Beer, FOs & Sunshine

It's been a pretty exciting week! I've been knitting (and finishing things) like crazy. Also, Matt's sister and her boyfriend came to visit us for their Spring Break, so we've been showing them around our new little home these past few days. It's been pretty great because it's "forced" us (me and Matt) to do some of the things we've been wanting to do but haven't gotten around to doing yet.

(64): My remaining hand-dyed skeins//(65): Booked a trip to Portland for my bday!//(66): Finished Couer de Lion
(67): Spent some time in the sun//(68): Flights at the Bruery//(69): First Pinkberry (YUM)//(70): Finished some socks!

As you may or may not know, Californians LOVE them some craft beer. If you google "Southern California breweries" you will seriously be blown away by just how many there are around here, and we make it a priority to check out a new brewery everytime we go to San Diego/the San Diego area. Since Mel and Greg got in late Saturday night and Matt didn't have any time off, we decided to do something on Sunday. Daylight Savings Time got the best of me (sigh), so we didn't really have time to make a day trip to San Diego, which would have been exhausting anyway. So we spent Sunday at the OC Zoo, which was pretty good for a $2 zoo, and then we headed to Placentia to check out The Bruery.

I've been looking forward to visiting The Bruery for awhile now, but for some reason we just haven't done it. Which is really dumb since it's SO close to where we live. They're beers are all over the place here, but they're kind of pricey, so I haven't wanted to invest in them just yet. The tasting room is in an industrial park (like Green Flash), so it's easy to miss it if you don't pay attention. We arrived at about 3pm on a Sunday and it was bumpin'! We found a few seats at the bar and ordered flights, which was really fun since they have SO many beers available to try and I wanted to try them all. Some of the beers I sampled include a sour raspberry & rhubarb, bourbon barrel aged chocolate & coconut, a spiced brown ale with YAMS & a holiday ale with gooseberries. They were all really tasty, but I was still glad I got to try a bunch before buying because some of them were just too much and I don't think I could drink an entire bottle.

So that has been the past few days. As you can see from my photos I've been knitting a lot and trying to get outside more. Oh! We booked a trip to Portland for my birthday next month and I'm really excited about it. I haven't been drinking much beer at all lately (which you would never guess based on this post...), so I told Matt that I wanted to have a pint at as many breweries as we could hit & buy a skein of yarn from every yarn shop we stopped at. We are leaving on April 3rd & heading back on the 6th (my birthday), so there will still be time for cake & GAME OF THRONES. What a nice present, right?

I finished my Coeur de Lion, which I blogged about last week, but I also managed to finish two pairs of socks. Yep! My (two pairs of) March socks are already done and it's only the 11th. I need to buckle down and finish this wedding present, but I'm itching to cast on for another shawl or a sweater even. I let myself cast on some more socks because I'm flying tomorrow and need something to work on. That's legit, right? Well, that explains the first pair at least. Whoops? Mel & Greg are touring Hollywood today, so I'm planning on having a low-key day of getting caught up on my knitting and stuff. And packing. I need to pack. And book a shuttle. And workout.

So many things to do and none of them fun. I better get to it; it's an arms day today!

Happy knitting!

Friday, March 7, 2014

FO Friday: Coeur de Lion

Guys. I finished my shawl!

Pattern: Coeur de Lion
Colorway: Georgetown
Needles: Chiagoo Red in size 6

Unfortunately, I forgot my t-pins back home and didn't realize it until I had already soaked the shawl. Go figure. I laid it out anyway to let it dry and it grew a whole lot. I'll be taking it back home with me next week, so I can properly block it and get my mom to take some non-selfie photos for me. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I really am in love with this shawl, despite all the moaning I did about the edging. I split up the edging work over the course of two days (for my sanity), but I bet I could have gotten it done in one day if I had really wanted to. The yarn is absolutely beautiful and softened up after I soaked it. I was really concerned that it would be a bit too springy and wouldn't bloom, so I automatically went down a needle size when I cast on and I'm glad I did. I can't wait to *really* block this and let that lace edging shine! I'll be wearing this regardless because IT'S SO SQUISHY! I WANT TO DIE.

The color is very hard to capture, but I'd say this is a pretty fair representation. Sometimes it's royal blue! Sometimes it's purple! It's beautiful all of the time. I would highly recommend this yarn and someday (when I can justify buying yarn again) I will have a SQ of this stuff. I would love to try some of her Studio Worsted sometime because holy bananas is it lovely.

Finishing this shawl also means I let myself cast on for the wedding blanket I've been putting off. I'm confident I'll be able to finish it/wash it in time, but there is an i-cord edging that will probably take me a lifetime. If it looks like I'm going to run out of time I'm planning on just adding fringe instead. I cast on for the Hip to Be Square in Knit Picks Brava Bulky and I'm already halfway through the first ball. You have to love bulky knits! My knit time might be cut a bit short today, due to my ditziness, because I managed to pour boiling hot water on my hand this morning while I was making coffee and my fingers are still burning. It hurts to knit :( So I'm going to take a little gym break and then hit the ground running! Matt's sister and her boyfriend are visiting this weekend and I probably won't get too much knitting time in, so I'm hoping I can at least get through 2 balls between today and tomorrow morning.
Cross your fingers for me since I can't ;)

Wishing everyone a great weekend! Happy knitting!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Treats Thursday: Weekly Favorites

I had so much fun picking out my Friday Favorites last week that I decided to make it a weekly thing. Welcome to Treats Thursday! Ashley has fallen down the Podcast rabbithole something fierce. I never understood the appeal of podcasts because I thought they were all audio, so imagine my surprise when I realized nope! There are VIDEO podcasts out there. How great is that? Pretty darn great.

I've been dreaming of hand-dyeing again since my stash is running low (ha..ha..ha...), so mama dropped some fat stacks $$$ on some undyed yarn & new dye colors this week. I can't wait! I've been following Voolenvine on instagram for awhile now and saw that she recently got into hand-dyeing as well, so I checked out her blog only to discover that it's a video podcast! That's where it all began. I watched a few episodes of her podcast this week and she referenced The Dyer's Notebook a few times, so I knew I had to check it out. And hey! It's Gynx of Gynx Yarns! I've been wanting to try Gynx yarn for awhile now but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I almost fell down hard during her shop update the other night, but I managed to reign in it. For now :)

Anywho. I have watched probably 1/3 of her podcasts this week. That's ridiculous, right? Right. I just can't help it! She's such a wealth of dyeing knowledge, she's adorkable, and just fun to watch. I just want to dye everything on glitter yarn after watching her these past few days. Seriously, why didn't I order glitter yarn? Gynx gets a lot of inspiration for her yarns from video games & animes, so I had a lot of fun sharing her colors with Matt. He really likes the Rinoa colorway and I'm obsessed with Howl's Moving Castle (club colorway :( boo hoo) and One Winged Angel. Once I can buy yarn again you can be sure I will be buying all of the Glitz sock from Gynx.

So my newfound love of video podcasts is number one this week for Thursday Treats. If you have any others you love so much please let me know! Most of the patterns I fell in love with are sweater patterns (again), which goes to show how much I'm missing sweater weather right now. California! Why can't you be normal?

All photos borrowed from Ravelry
Clockwise from upper left
1. Engineered Seams by Judy Brien
2. Warble by Bonnie Sennott
3. Afterthought Heel Socks knit by Gynx 
4. Crew by Amy Miller
5. Cascade Falls by Amanda Scheuzger

When I first saw the yarn requirement for JudyIs' Engineered Seams I about died. She used 3 skeins of Tosh Lace! How is that even possible?! Imagine my relief when I noticed that the lace was held double, so it's not actually all that bad. Thank goodness; that would have been a deal breaker for sure. This sweater is just so weird that I love it (kind of like Crew too) and want to cast on immediately. I love the drapey neck and lines on the sleeves most of all. I know the details are kind of hard to pick up on in that dark shot, so I would encourage you to check out Scillala's FO located here. She uses a gray-beige, so you can really see the little details that make me love this sweater so much.

Warble is from Quince & Co's 2014 Scarves, Shawls, Etc. collection. There are a lot of beautiful accessories in the collection, but Bonnie Sennott's design is my absolute favorite. Bonnie has designed a lot of beautiful cowls including Birchleaf, Deephaven and Shallows, so it's no surprise that this one is my favorite. I'm a sucker for anything with lace and cables, so this design is really calling to me. Warble uses Chickadee, a Quince base I haven't used yet, but, I mean, c'mon; it's Quince! You can view the rest of the collection here.

I've already gushed about Gynx, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I went and favorited a ton of her FOs on Ravelry. I included this pair of socks because I love, love, love this colorway! It's so good. When I was perusing Gynx's colorways on her website, I saw this color (and noted it because Matt LOVES Naruto) and really didn't like it. At all. While creeping around on her Ravelry I saw these finished socks and clicked as fast as the wind. I needed to know which colorway this was! Imagine my surprise at how much I love seeing Naruto knit up. Gynx is busy dyeing for a trade show right now, but I will probably be messaging her for a custom order of this come April. 

Seriously go look at it again. So. good.

Crew is Amy Miller's latest design. Amy has been absolutely killing it lately with these sweater designs and I have no idea how she does it. I might just be imagining it but I'm pretty sure she publishes a new (amazing) pattern every week. Crew is a collaboration with The Plucky Knitter, so the pattern is only available though them for the time being. There was a kit update last night and you'd best believe I avoided it like the plague. I peeped at the kits Plucky Sara was composing for the update and I would have fallen down HARD. I love nautically inspired knits, so it's no surprise that I absolutely adore this sweater. Throw in BUTTONS and I am gone. I have a SQ of undyed sportweight yarn in my stash, so I might dye some up and cast on as soon as the pattern is available on Ravelry. If you're looking for some color inspiration the options that were available for purchase last night are posted on the Plucky Blog. So many good ones, but I'm in love with the Original and Dessert First.

Last up is a new design I saw in my Ravelry recommendations this morning. You can tell just how cozy that sweater is through the screen and I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. Cables are my weakness but since I am short and squat (sigh) they don't always look the best on me. Which is a major bummer for this cable fanatic. This is a great way to wear cables if the idea of a cabled sweaters freaks or bums you out. and I just love that. Consider this one added to the Queue.

Now I pop back to my mountain of WIPs. I will be back tomorrow because I WILL have FOs. It's on the internet now so it's gotta happen, right? After I blogged yesterday I continued to work on my Coeur de Lion and I'm seriously this.....close to finishing that stupid edging. I need to cast on for my gift knitting, so it really is crunch time right now. AH!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Coeur de Lion & Sushi Socks!

Another week and another sock WIP. I know, you're probably so bored of seeing these vanilla socks I keep knitting. I'm reaching the point where I need to set down the socks and knit all of the sweaters (see last Friday's post), but then I see my little stack of socks sitting in my bedside table and I want to keep on keeping on. Plus the California heatwave is back and the thought of being wrapped in wool is actually making my skin crawl. So socks it is.

I actually took this picture yesterday and since then I've made a TON of progress. I had a horrible time at the dentist's office on Monday (Almost 3 hours between when I left and got home + all of the pain), so I told myself that if I was still hurting on Tuesday I could use it as a do nothing day. Sure enough my mouth was in pain and so was my whole body from arms day, so I did NOTHING but knit all day. It was glorious. I managed to finish that second gray/green sock (sans afterthought heel), start my second sushi sock AND reach the leg. It was really ridiculous. Now I'm plotting my next pairs of socks...since I can't just be normal and cast on for a single pair. I still have to do the heels on all four of these socks, but since that is finishing work who knows when that will get done. Who knows? Not me.

Dreaming of more socks. All of the socks.
I've been trying super hard to not get distracted by things. I have all of the gifts to knit but none of the motivation to knit them. I'm pretty sure the recipients won't stumble upon this blog, but I'm still reluctant to post any ideas or even say the pattern names. I need to cast on for one of the intended gifts IMMEDIATELY. Like, I should have done it 2 weeks ago, but I'm insane and would rather spend my evenings back home staying up until 2am and working then. I speak from experience; welcome to my next two weeks. One thing that is holding me back is my need to finish something, specifically my Coeur de Lion, which I blogged about last week. 

Poor neglected Coeur de Lion
I love this shawl. The color, the garter body coupled with the lace bottom, etc. What don't I love? Edgings. I effing hate edgings so much. This edging is knitted onto the rest of the shawl and acts as the "bind off," which is nice, but it just takes so darn long. Each RS row binds off one stitch, so this shawl is seemingly neverending. I can only do 2-3 chart repeats (there are 16) before I have to set it down and work on something else. I'm glad that you can finally see what exactly is going on in the lace though! That's good, right? Today I'm actually supposed to be doing things, but I got sucked into a few episodes of Gynx's (super addicting) podcast and managed to get 4 repeats done this morning. Woohoo!! I really want to power through the rest of the edging during my downtime today so that I can block it before Matt's sister arrives this weekend. And, y'know, start on that mountain of gift knitting I signed myself up for.

Oy vey.

So those are my WIPs for the week. I'll be traveling next Wednesday, but hopefully I'll still be able to post some new WIPs by then. Nothing is worse than a lingering WIP. Off to the gym, the scale, and my invisible sobs. Just kidding. Mostly.

Happy knitting all!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Socks, Stitchin', Fitness

Hi guys. It's been an exciting weekend around here in Seal Beach; we got a winter storm! Woohoo!! I've been SO ready for this heatwave to be over and I'm sure the natives would agree with me on that one. It rained all weekend, so Matt and I spent a lot of time just hanging out (windows open), listening to the rain come down. Right now it's 59 degrees (woohooooo), but it looks like the 80s will be back this weekend. Boo.

Yeah, I'm a weirdo.

(57): Sushi Socks!// (58): Cross stitching Kanye// (59): Post-workout hot mess
(60): Cashew Chicken, heirloom carrots & golden beets...oh my! //(61): Cross-stitching cakes & sweets //
(62): View from balcony//(63): March socks in my hand-dyed yarn
This week has been full of working out, crafting and trying all of the new recipes. I weighed myself for the first time in like a year and a half and was so displeased with the result that I remember why I don't weigh myself. Then I had a little pitty party (as the trail of wine bottles I've consumed this year marched through my head) and hopped on the elliptical for 75 minutes.

It was kind of a hot mess.

I hit the ground running last week and while my workouts have fallen into the realm of normal, I've only taken one day off since last Sunday. I'm feeling good, but I also ache all of the time. All of the time. I haven't run since last monday, so I'm hoping the time off will be good for my foot and allow me to get back into it by the time summer rolls around. Fingers crossed. I've been working on incorporating strength training back into my routine, but I feel like a newbie all over again. It has been awhile.

Crafting wise I've been knitting (socks) up a storm. I'm finally at the edging of my Coeur de Lion, but it's one of those fiddly edgings that seems to take forever. I'm pretty sure I will never finish it, so it's living in my craft mess until I finish this second green & gray sock. I'm just so unmotivated. I should be focusing on gift knitting (wedding/babies/a very specific & dorky hat for Matt's dad), but I just want to knit all of the things for myself. Isn't that always the case though? I bought more yarn & dyes to play around with while I'm home for two weeks and I'm really excited to dye up some more skeins.

I've picked up my cross-stitching again. Matt has requested that I make him a little Kanye lyric something-something, so I decided on a line from his song "I Am God" (soooooo humble). I'm going to finish that up and give it a little croissant border. If I can figure out how to finagle a mini croissant. We shall see. I probably have more faith in my cross-stitching abilities than I should.

I also started the Sugar is Sweet sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I've been obsessed with this sampler since Amanda first posted a sample of it on her instagram, so when it came out on Saturday I bought it straight away, hauled Matt out of bed & headed to JoAnns for supplies. I haven't gotten very far at all, but I'm so excited to work on it. This is the first (of 5!) new mini samplers they plan on releasing this year. Yup! I'm in trouble. One of the things I love is that this sampler only uses 12 colors, so it keeps costs down a bit and you won't get confused with colors. It's really great for the aspiring stitcher!

Anywho, that's my week! Plans for the rest of the day include a date with the elliptical, finishing that sock & throwing some Mexican soup in the crockpot. Yummmmm. Oh and getting my nerd on with Pretty Little Liars, my not-so guilty pleasure.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorites: Sweater Love

In lieu of a Friday FOs post (because I can only post so many sock photos), I've decided to post a few of my favorite patterns and finished objects knit by other people this week. I get a little trigger happy whenever I'm on Ravelry and I favorite A LOT of things because I love a ton of things. And I want people to know that I like their fabulous knitwear. So apologies, dear Ravelry friends, for clogging up your friend's page, but I just cant help it sometimes; I've gotta share the love!!

(All photos borrowed from Ravelry.com)
Clockwise from the upper left corner: Pomme de Pin by ByGabs, Ibisco by Thea Colman, Aisance by Kirsten Johnstone, Carrie by Meggied23, Wild Sheep by AnnePande

It's no secret that I love me a good sweater, whether it be a cardigan or pullover. A hot body (not in that way) keeps me from knitting pullovers because I just get so warm all of the time. All of the time. Be that as it may I can still appreciate a good pullover and once I get one stuck on my brain I am just crazy enough to knit it anyway. Which is why i have so many sweaters that I just don't wear.

It's a sad, sad world.

These are 5 of my very favorite sweaters that caught my eye this week and I wanted to share my love for each and every one of them. I've included the links above just in case you too go gaga for these lovely creations and want to cast on for one of your very own; I know that I need to.

Ah, the good ol' Pomme de Pin cardigan. I'm already acquainted with this sweater, because I currently have one languishing away in my UFO pile. It's about 70% done and just needs sleeves and a collar. Y'know, my favorite parts of knitting a sweater! This interpretation by ByGabs might just be what I need to finish that sucker up next time I'm home. Seriously, isn't it beautiful? ByGabs used yarn by one of my favorite indie dyers The Uncommon Thread. I lose my mind every single time she posts an update and, after looking at this sweater, can you really blame me? Not just that but the fit on this sweater is perfect and ByGabs looks great in it.

Ibisco is a new pattern by Thea Colman and I stopped dead in my tracks (well, clicks) the moment I saw it. Again, I'm not gonna lie, it was the color that got me more than anything. But look at that neckline! That lace front! This isn't the first time and it definitely won't be the last that I wish dolman sleeves were flattering on me. Thanks for my weird little torso, mom! Thea Colman is all around awesome. A cocktail pairing for every design? There's a lady after my own heart. And this design further solidifies that.

Kristen Johnstone is another designer I've admired for quite awhile now. I love the way she plays with lines and angles, which makes a great deal of sense since she's an architect by trade. Go figure! Her Raiun, Kabuto (like the Pokemon! /nerd) & Kakomu have been languishing in my queue for far too long. I think I've bought 3-4 different options to make Raiun (Plucky! Tosh! Uncommon Thread even), but I just haven't done it yet. I'm insane. Either way, Aisance is her newest design and it's going to the top of the queue once I figure out what to use for it (let's be real it will be Plucky). The thing that got me about Aisance is the way it hangs when worn. I love the longer in front/shorter in back design element. This sweater reminds me a bit of Raiun, but I think of it as Raiun's grown-up older sister, in a way. Kristen's other new design Gake is also worth checking out this week.

As I mentioned, I don't really wear pullovers that much. I also don't wear turtlenecks or big cowlnecks or funnelnecks, but Megan has been killing it lately with this style of sweater! Her Boden is beautiful and suits her well. Not only is it encouraging me to buy all of the SQs of Madelinetosh DK Twist but that's where my self-induced brainwashing began. I've been trying to convince myself lately that if I knit a sweater like this it wouldn't make me look like the frumpiest thing in the world (it totally would) and that I would wear it all the time because mine would be as awesome as Megan's (I wouldn't). I had almost escaped this internal banter but then Megan posted a photo of her Carrie (knit in Plucky cashmere!!!) and I about died. You can tell through the screen just how soft that thing is! And would it really be the end of the world if I knit one for myself and only wore it around the house? Probably not. I can only afford a SQ of Plucky cashmere in my WILDEST dreams, so I started thinking about some more affordable options and decided that my sweater will be made out of O-Wool Local. It will be soft and sheepy greasy and wonderful. But, seriously Megan, stop making me want to make all of the sweaters that will look horrible on me.

Last up we have one for the kiddos. My love of kid sweaters with animals (cats, weiner dogs, etc) knows no end, especially when sheep are involved. Especially blue sheep! And brown! This sweater is kidtastic, but it's not a baby sweater. This may be a boy's sweater with blue sheep on it, but I would wear the shit out of this sweater. I love the color combination here, but I also love when knitters stick their kids in real wooly sweaters. Another more girly interpretation can be found here.

The moral of this story? I love me a good sweater. What are you favorites this week (and beyond)?

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Couer de Lion

It might be hard to believe but I still knit things other than socks. I'm 95% sure that the sock affliction is a produce of California because before I moved here, I had no interest whatsoever in knitting socks. I knit socks because I can still wear them and they're pretty much the only knitwear I can stomach wearing in 70-80 degree heat.

Plus they're great little compact projects I can throw in my bag and we all know that I love those.

It should come as no surprise that I currently have 2 sock WIPs, like I usually do, but the other project I'm plowing through is a SHAWL. Yep. A SHAWL. I've knit quite a few shawls in my day, but I wouldn't say they're one of my favorite things to knit. Every so often I'll get it in my mind that I need to knit a new shawl and then it just gets out out of control because I love it so much. Which is exactly how I feel about my Coeur de Lion.

Coeur de Lion by Nadie Cretin-Lechenne 
This was my Ravellenics project for the year and I failed horribly at it. Most of this shawl is garter, which is simple enough, but after knitting all of the socks I just couldn't stand it. Especially when each row only adds one stitch, so I really didn't feel like I was getting anywhere at all. So I parked it halfway through the garter section and didn't pick it up again until the Olympics were almost over. I reached the lace section a few days ago and became obsessed with it all over again; I finished the first chart repeat in an afternoon!

The yarn is Studio Sock by Neighborhood Fiber Co. and I swear I lunged at it when I saw it on the shelf. I bought these skeins at Windy Knitty last time I was home in Chicago, but I've bought skeins from this company before. The color, though amazing, it also ridiculously hard to photograph properly. In real life, the skeins are electric purple, not as royal blue looking as in the photo above. The yarn is a joy to work with, but I'm second guessing my decision to use this yarn for this pattern. Studio Sock is definitely a sock yarn: it's tightly wound, springy and doesn't "cling" together. I'm a bit concerned about the lace "hearts" being lost in the FO. We shall see in a few days because mama is getting this thing done!

The socks of the week? More toe-up vanilla socks in yarn I dyed last fall/winter. This time I'm trying something new and doing afterthought heels! I finished the first of the green pair last night and immediately cast on with my Sushi Roll yarn (yay!) afterward. I think knitting two different socks at the same time inspires me to get them done faster, because then I don't just have a single pair to look forward to.

First afterthought heels! 
Sushi Rolls
I've been anxious to use my Sushi Roll sock yarn since I dyed it. I handpainted this skein (like the others), but I painted it in a different pattern than my other skeins. It's working up in a different manner, but it's not as splotchy as I had expected. I'll have to try a speckled skein next :)

What are you all working on this week? Don't let those (neverending) WIPs get you down!