Friday, January 31, 2014

FO Friday: Christmas Socks

They're done!! And all I can say is THANK THOSE KNITTING GODS.

Yeah, one might be shorter than the other one (ever so slightly) and one fits better than the other, but oh well. They're done! How did I celebrate? By casting on for two more pairs of socks. Sigh. My root canal/tooth nonsense took much longer than I anticipated yesterday (I was gone almost 4 hours!), so I plan on doing nothing today but knitting and watching trashy tv. I might even treat myself to some french fries and a beer for second lunch.

I basically knit the same socks over and over again, so these socks were no different. I cast on 24 stitches (divided over 2 needles - woo! Magic Loop!) and increased to 60 stitches. Knit until 2 inches before my heel and did a gusset heel. And that's all there is to it!

I'm mixing things up with my next pairs of socks. I'm using my hand-dyed yarns (again) and cast on for Monkeys in my 80's Hard Candy colorway and (modified toe-up) Hermione's Everyday Socks in my Valentine's Colorway. Of course the same day that I cast on for them I received my Vesper sock "Love Story" colorway. Sigh. But I've come too far!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday: This Sucks

Y'know, sometimes WIPS just really suck.

Finished socks, WIP socks, Future Socks

I mentioned last week that I accidentally left myself with two second socks to knit, which was pretty stupid for someone who wants to knit everything ALL OF THE TIME. A random cold snap in Southern California have left my toes cold and drove me to knock out the first of my second socks in near record time. Woo hoo! First socks of the new year and only pair of handknit socks I have with me in California. I was tempted to just start a fresh pair and wear these to death until I finished, but then I had a knitter's nightmare: holes in ALL of my handknit socks. So much patching...SO much patching...I took that as a sign to get my shit together and just finish these blasted Christmas socks.

Finished Socks
So much patching...

Fast forward to today, when I'm heel deep in that second Christmas sock and I can't remember ever hating a WIP this much. Well, there was that sweater I knit for Manos that I not-so-lovingly dubbed "the thing that I hate," but that was on a whole different level. Yeah, that was WAY worse and, now that I think of it, I don't think I ever got paid for it. *mental note*

Someday these socks will be done! 
You know what does help though? This will be my sixth pair of socks, meaning I almost have enough handknit socks to get me through the week, which is a benchmark I never thought I would pass. I've also realized that I love knitting socks with the crazy yarn that I've dyed. Since I dyed that yarn last year I've really kicked up my sock knitting. Part of it is pure laziness, since I know exactly how many stitches to cast on and about how many rows to knit, but I feel proud of it as I see the colors blend together and know that I *really* made that. It takes my sock knitting up a notch, because, let's be real, I will probably only ever knit vanilla socks.

And all of the cabled sweaters.

Valentines-ish or 80's Hard Candy
So now, thinking about the future, I can't decide if I want to use this Valentines Day-ish yarn on the left or this 80's ish Blue Raspberry yarn on the right. OR I could be patient and wait for my Valentines Day Vesper sock yarn, but that requires patience that I clearly lack. Life is hard, you guys ;-)

Today also marks the first day in over a week that I haven't been nauseous, so that means a quick run before a trip to the grocery store and a brief stop off at my LYS. Hope your Wednesday WIPs are going better than mine are. Godspeed, you knitters!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Week 4

(22): Cooking again//(23):Reading more (trashy) books//(24): Second 7 mile walk of the week
(25): Impromptu trip to San Diego//(26): Beautiful La Jolla//(27): First sock FO of 2014//(28): I trapped a dog

This week has been pretty low-key. I managed to work out almost everyday (in some capacity or another) and logged 20 total miles. Most of that is walking, but heck yes I will take it! My second walk was inland with a Starbucks as my final destination. Boy was that a mistake! That has to be the most boring walk of my life. I will definitely focus on walking along the coast or at least find some other scenic areas to check out.

I also finished my fourth book of the near year: Tampa. Wow is this book a hot mess. It was interesting to read a book from the POV of a sociopath, but I would only advise those with a strong stomach to read this book. The main character is filthy! I've moved onto the much tamer Wild, which is being made into a movie later this year. The main character is pretty self-indulgent, which is a reading pet peeve of mine, so we'll see if I get around to finishing it. I might need some happier eye bleach after Tampa...

Matt & I also hit San Diego for the weekend! It's always hard to coordinate schedules when there are only two cars available to Matt and his coworkers, so when Matt came home from work on Friday and told me we had the car for the whole weekend, my immediate response was to pull up Hotwire and book us a room. As you probably know, we have turned into beer snobs in recent years, so no trip South is complete without a stop-off at some brewery. And Southern California is chock-a-block full of them! Last time we ended up at Stone, which was AMAZING, so we decided on Green Flash this time around since neither of us have tried many of their beers. 

We skipped the tour, so I can't really lend any advice on that one. But one thing I really liked about Green Flash is that they offer many different sizing options for trying their beers. In most cases you can select 2, 4, 8 or 13-16 ounce pours, which is great if you're unfamiliar with their brews. We ended up selecting a few 2 ounce tasters (only $1 each!) and nestled under the sun for a bit. 

I decided on the Serrano Pepper Double Stout (YUM) and Matt opted for a West Coast Pale Ale. We also sampled the Symposium IPA, Saison Diego, and their Rye Barleywine, which packs a serious punch. Don't try this at home, kiddos. 

Green Flash also doesn't have a kitchen, so you can either pack a lunch (like we did) or purchase from one of their food trucks. I love stuff like that!! We left with a growler full of more stout and a few 4-packs of clearance (!!) triple IPA. You know how I feel about clearance and beer clearance? EVEN BETTER.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key as we explored the city a bit more and had a quiet pizza dinner (after I took a nap...whoops). We detoured through La Jolla on our way back to Seal Beach and even on a cloudy day it was super beautiful! There were SO MANY seals just hanging out in on the beach and even in the water. I'd love to go back there soon and stay for a weekend or so. I would probably live on that beach like a wannabe mermaid just to watch those stupid cute seals play all day.

And now things are back to real life. I have a stupid root canal scheduled for Thursday (yikes!) and a trip home next Tuesday. Oh and so much knitting "work" to get done if I want to stick with my goals for the near year. I can't fail before February because that is just lame. 

Oh and remember when I trapped a dog in the laundry room? I should probably go check on her.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday: All of the Socks (And some Pumpkin Ale!)

You know what's worse than a second sock? TWO second socks. I dyed myself some holiday yarn this year (Halloween, Hanukkah, Christmas, & Valentines Day), vowing to knit myself some seasonally appropriate socks to wear on each of those days. Well, Halloween and Hanukkah went on without a hitch, but Christmastime got a little bit too crazy to finish my Christmas socks in time. I did manage to finish one the first week of 2014, but the idea of having to knit another Christmas sock just wore me down. So I started another sock in another one of my skeins, which seemed innocent enough. And then I realized...I now have two second socks staring me in the face.

Christmas sock//not-so Christmas sock

I followed the same general formula for both socks and knit them both toe-up with a gusset heel. I'm ALMOST done with my second blue sock and then it will be time for some Valentine's Day socks, so that darn second Christmas sock probably won't see the light of day until March. Or May. I'd love to experiment with some tighter heels (I really love the slipped stitch heel), so if anyone has any heels that they absolutely love, please let me know!

Pumpkin Ale (is my Favorite) in Manos Rittenhouse (RIP) in Cinnamon
And my other active WIP is my current obsession. I finally cast on for Ysolda's Pumpkin Ale and I'm sucked in. It's quickly become one of those projects where I spend more time stretching it out and admiring it than I do knitting it. I'd love to finish it before I head home again (February 4th), but it's pretty slow going because of all the cables (swoon swoon swoon). The nice thing about this pattern is that the back is the only "involved" part, so once I finish this section I'll be on a stockinette island. Which is prefect because my size 5 needles (which of course I didn't pack) should be here by then. 

I'm planning on dedicating a few days next week towards finishing up my long-neglected O-Wool design, which I need to reknit because of TWO pesky stitches that are in the wrong place. I also need to work on my February design, which is meant to represent the Philadelphia aspect of my travels. I have a few projects that I've started, but they're out of Philadelphia yarns and don't really represent Philly as a whole. Maybe I'll have to knit up all three; maybe I'll have to knit up none. 

(I still miss Philly)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Weeks 2 & 3

Ok, so I dropped the ball last week on this whole "photo a day but only once a week" kind of thing I was doing. I've been stressed out about coming back to California and pushing to release another pattern to stick to my pattern a month release schedule. So I spent my last week at home torn between being excited about seeing Matt and being crushed about having to go back to California. It's gotten easier to be apart from him while he's living here and I hate that.

(8): Midwest is Best 2nd draft//(9): Ale House & 2nd book of the yr//(10): Favorite FO//(11): Thrift problems
(12): Clementine snuggles//(13): First Plucky SQ - Hotsy Totsy in Cozy//(14): New Penguin Classics
(15): Seasonally inappropriate apple cider donuts//(16): ...and Pumpkin Ale//17: Post-lunch cupcakes with Christie
(18): Back to California//(19): Visit to the Yarnover truck//(20): 7 mile walk & the beach//(21): New sweater 

So now here I am in California, recovering from the nonsense than was my (almost) 2 months at home. I knit a lot of things, ate a lot of food & brewed two batches of beer. I'm trying not to sink into the pit of despair that was my first 4 months here but it's hard. I walked 7 miles yesterday and man do my legs hurt! But I explored a new area, one that is lined with cute little shops and coffee shop chains alike, so I'm hoping that might be a potential spot to scope out jobs. I need a source of fulfillment and that, dear friends, is the key to my happiness.

A few friends around here wouldn't hurt either.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Working on my second "Midwest is Best" hat. I really love this stitch pattern and this color, which isn't really as light as it appears in the picture above. I'm hoping to have the kinks worked out, photos taken and pattern published by 1/13. It'd be nice to stick with my one pattern per month resolution, at least for the first month.

I'm also working on something else, but it's kind of a surprise for someone. Well, I guess that depends on if it works out or not. I'm still kind of a newb to colorwork and I think I pulled my yarn too tight. Crossing my fingers it blocks out or into the frog pond it goes.

Tomorrow I'm having a coffee date with Christie and we vowed to bring whatever we don't want to work on. I'm choosing between sleeves (4 of them!) and 2 pairs of delinquent socks, one too big and one at the heel. Sigh. I really want to finish those sweaters up. Y'know, before I leave for California next Saturday.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Week 1

Having a phone with a good camera and apps like Instagram have really made it easier than ever to document daily goings on. I've tried in the past to complete photo a day challenges and Project 365, but sometimes it's hard to find inspiration in daily life. Back then it was even harder for me since it seemed all I did was go to school and work and I saw that as the worst thing ever. So I'm trying this again this year, but I'm going to do it differently. I'll be snapping photos everyday, but I'll only be blogging them here on Tuesdays. Bonus shot from this week because it was New Years :)

(31) Happy New Year!/(1) Sailor Moonathon/(2)Sharing beers at one of our faves/(3)All of the gold hats
(4) Frolicking in the snow/(5) Last morning with Matt/(6) Dyeing all of the yarn/ (7) Another FO in deep stash yarn

Pretty uneventful first week of the year, but I've managed to finish 3 projects and have about 10 rows to go in another. Said good-bye to Matt on the fifth and helped him navigate some horrible travel delays. I always get super sad when we part, but the more time we spend apart the easier it gets. In the meantime I'll focus on making things and snuggling my cat as much as I can. Oh and surviving this polar vortex. Did I mention that it snowed like 12 inches total? Or that yesterday was a -52 windchill? Yeah, that shit cray. California is looking pretty shiny and awesome right about now. 

Time to OD on Pretty Little Liars. I bought myself a beautiful bottle of Spanish wine to drink. Oh yeah, I'm cutting down the wine to a few nights a week instead of every single night. I haven't had any in 2 nights (ouch) and I really miss wine with my supper. I'm sure it will only last so long, but here's hoping I can make some other healthier choices.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Just Checking In

It's freezing, my knees hurt & I'm about to finish my 4th (yup) project of the new year, because, clearly, I'm also insane. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my goals and what I would like to accomplish this next year, but it's been hard to jumpstart certain ones since they mostly involve my life in California. I need some more time to think on them, so I won't be posting them here just yet. Matt's gone back to settle our (second) California nest and I'll be joining him there in just under two weeks. Here's hoping my ducks are in more of a row by then.

Things I will say:

*The weather in Chicago-ish this year? Absolutely ridiculous. Well, I spent the first 23 years of my life here, so I know what to expect, but the past two weeks have been back-to-back whammies of weather insanity. First we had 2 days straight of snow (NYE/NYD) and now we are in the midst of a "polar vortex." AKA don't even think about going outside because your nose will fall off. The windchill was something like -52 when I woke up this morning and I have hardly left my bed today because it's SO cold. And why be cold when you can be warm?

*I'm reaching the end of my time back home. Thank god. I've done pretty well with being patient and whatnot, but being here is very draining on my soul.

*It's always very nice to be surrounded by the comforts of my home. But still. Get me out.

*I'm crossing my fingers that this year will be better and I'm optimistic that it will be. I felt the same way when I first moved to California, but the past six months have been kind of miserable for me and I've felt more like I'm in limbo than ever before. I'm hoping the solitude of last year won't continue (for too long) and that I can use the quiet time in my life to figure out what I want out of life.

We shall see.

I'm off to finish my project, which might very well be the cutest thing I've ever knit. I'm hoping to share them all and publish another pattern by the end of the week.