Category: weekly catchup

Weekly update – 5/24/17

This week…

  • …I’m trying to get back into the weekly updates! I find this simple weekly deadline always helped me keep on track with updating the blog, even when I didn’t always have the most interesting things to talk about. So I figure it’ll help me get back on track here and also hopefully inspire me to find more time during the week to dedicate to pleasure knitting. Sometimes it’s just the threat of a deadline that you need to give you that swift kick in the rear.
  • …my primary knitting has been on a new design for a summer top. I almost had the whole thing finished up last week, but one night I realized that it was waaaaaaay too big – almost 4 inches too big. That’s a bit more than I can get away with as a “design feature,” so I had to rip the whole thing out and start again with a more accurate gauge. (The semi-finished top became the world’s biggest gauge swatch.) For the second go-around, I decided to try going at it from the top down rather than my usual bottom-up so that I could try it on as I go. I have never written a pattern for top-down before and was a bit nervous, but really it just involved working my grading sheet backwards, so I’m excited to have that skill under my belt and get more comfortable with it for other new patterns.
  • …I’m super excited to add a brand new yarn to the Long Dog Yarn shop. Alpaca Luxe is an absolutely stunning blend of baby alpaca, cashmere, and silk that knits up beautifully to produce an airy fabric with wonderful drape. I really like this stuff. It’s like knitting (and wearing) a soft kitten that’s fallen asleep on a fluffy cloud. I first ran across this blend in a LYS in San Diego and knew I had to order some for the shop. I’m really hoping this yarn finds a home in my shop. It’s a bit of an uncommon blend, which can be a hard sell online because people like to work with yarns they are familiar with as they can’t feel it’s amazing, heavenly softness for themselves. But I think this yarn is simply stunning for light-weight sweaters and beautiful drapey shawls. I used the tester skeins I ordered to try out this yarn to knit myself a simple summery tank top (which is out in testing right now and I hope to have the pattern released next month.) Ever since I cast off my top, I’ve been dreaming of knitting a lacey wrap for these cool Cali nights.

  • …I zoomed right through Netflix’s new true-crime documentary, The Keepers. Holy. Moly. No pun intended. If you are a fan of the recent true crime trend, you definitely have to watch this series. It drew me in right away, but the story is completely heartbreaking and frustrating, and I found the ending to be less than satisfying. Nevertheless, I recommend it!
  • …my reading time has been basically nil. I tell myself to go to bed and get some reading in, and it’s like 10 minutes after my head hits the pillow and I pull my ebook up, I’m falling asleep. So almost no progress has been made in my current read, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which is a bummer because I actually like the book a lot and my lead eyelids is definitely not an issue with this book. Here’s to hoping I have some more reading time in the upcoming week.

Linking up with KCCO and Ginny (ugh. I’m so out of it that I didn’t even know yarn along had ended.)

Happy distractions

Confession time: I still haven’t finished that second sock that I blogged about last time. Even though I put the pattern out for testing; even though I tell myself daily it needs to get done for the final photoshoot; even though I’ve set a date on the calendar to release that pattern – I actually haven’t touched it in over a week. There are just too many distractions running around my brain and I blame pretty yarn. When you have a seemingly endless supply of colorful yarn just sitting there, the imagination tends to go a wee bit wild and I tend to get a wee bit distracted. Case in point, this knitting bag full of half-finished socks.

My distraction this week has been a knitting up a new sock design. Because I like to give myself extra work, I thought it would be fun to release a design that included the standard mid-calf length version of sock along with the option for an anklet sock. Because anklet socks are so darn cute. Fortunately, they also tend to work up rather quickly, so that feeling of (almost) instant gratification will hopefully keep the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome at bay. So far I’ve got myself one whole anklet and half a mid-calf sock, and I’m really excited to get this pattern released because I’m having a lot of fun knitting up the samples, and I’ve found that my enjoyment of knitting the sample tends to be a pretty good sign for how a pattern does once it’s released.

Even Rufus is enjoying these distractions I’m working on. I swear he’s admiring the socks, not trying to push them out of the fleeting sunspot on the fireplace so that he can bask in its warmth. 

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along.

New year, new knitting.

Happy 2017 everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and escaped 2016 with only some minor bruising. It’s been awhile since I’ve devoted time to blogging, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into the swing of blogging on a more constant basis and to get caught up reading my favorite blogs (I miss you guys!).

The end of 2016 was a little bit crazy and a lotta bit busy. The big news is that Andy and I have officially moved from Toronto back to the US. We packed up our teeny apartment and bid adieu to Canada just before Thanksgiving. We drove all the way down to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with Andy’s family and then drove from Texas to San Diego to spend the holidays with my family. After spending so many Thanksgivings and Christmases away from family while we were in Toronto, it was really, really nice to celebrate with everyone.

Besides living out the Millennial dream of being a 30-something living at home with mom, I’ve been working hard on dyeing yarn and have a few designs in my back pocket that I’m hoping to get written up very soon so I can have them released early this year. Now that the holidays are over, I’m hoping to kick things into high gear and really begin growing both Long Dog Yarn and the design side of my business (all while maintaining some sense of reality and looking for a job to go with my fancy new PhD).

One of the goodies I’m working on now is a design for a brioche shawl (pictured in Long Dog Yarn colorways Feathered, Scorched, and Spiced Cider). I have been eyeballing all the gorgeous brioche projects on Ravelry for months, but hadn’t taken the dive into actually learning brioche knitting. One of the things I loved most about two-color brioche is how it allow you to play with wack-a-do color combinations that should in no way go together, yet produce something unexpectedly beautiful and unique. Plus, with it’s reversibility, you end up getting more bang for your buck, producing two different, yet equally visually stunning versions of whatever you are making depending on what side of the item is peeking out.

I used the brilliant website briochestitch.com to learn the basics of two color brioche, along with increasing and decreasing, and I’ve been happily brioche-ing away since. This is actually my second brioche design that I’ve been working on – the first one will be out for testing very, very soon (she declared, wishfully). Since I seem to be completely bitten by the brioche bug, I should probably just give in and buy Nancy Merchant’s beautifully inspiring book Knitting Fresh Brioche. Has anyone else dived into brioche knitting lately?

I’m also still working on those socks (pictured in Long Dog Yarn colorways Electric Parakeet and Highlighter) from a million years ago (okay, so it was just back in October, but it feels like a million years ago). To be honest, these aren’t the exact same socks. I started over in mid-December to add the contrasting cuff/heel/toe. Judging from the fact that one sock of the previous version of this design took me about 2 months to complete, I think I’m doing a-okay having this pair 5/8ths completed in only about 3 weeks. I’m hoping to put out a test call for this pattern by the end of the week (if I can’t get my butt in gear and actually get the pattern typed up). If you are interested in test knitting these socks (or any of my future patterns, for that matter) you can now sign up for my test knitter mailing list and be one of the first to hear of new test knitting opportunities. I won’t be posting test knitting calls on the blog any more, so the best way to keep up with my test knits will be the mailing list.

Hoping you all have lots of exciting knitting adventures in the new year!

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along.

Just another heat wave

Photo Sep 07, 9 38 28 AM

I’m so very close to having this shawl finished. I really want it to be finished. It’s sitting in my knitting basket giving me this “you are so close, but not quite finished” look. I don’t think it’s going to get finished today. I’m not sure if this summer really has been one heat wave after another or if it just feels like that because Andy and I have been working from home and exposed to the heat more than previous summers, but either way, I’m pretty tired of it. This better be the last one. The most frustrating part of the current heat spell is that I’m about one row and a bind off away from being finished with my latest shawl, but the idea of having that heap of wool in my lap this morning is too much to bear.

Photo Sep 07, 9 39 18 AM

Rufus is a trooper, but look at that face. Doesn’t that face just say, “Mom, when will life be comfortable again?” I feel so bad for his furry little body. Andy and I can escape to the movie theater or mall, but poor Rufus is just stuck here in the humid, stale air.

Photo Sep 07, 9 40 33 AM

Warm days also mean very little dyeing work gets accomplished. Even if I wanted to stand next to a steaming pot of hot yarn water for any prolonged period of time, I think Andy would have me thrown into the (hopefully air-conditioned) looney bin if I fired up the stovetop today. The very last thing our tiny apartment needs at this moment in time is another source of heat and humidity, not to mention the additional scent of hot, wet sheep. Hot, wet people scent is enough for the time being.

Fall, we’re ready for you now.

Linking up with Ginny and KCCO.

 

 

11/11

Happy Veteran’s Day to the all of you in the U.S., happy Remembrance Day to those of you in Canada, and happy Armistice Day in the U.K.!

It’s also sorta kinda maybe my birthday today, too. It’ll be the last birthday of my 20’s. That’s just a little bit scary while still being exciting.

Photo Nov 10, 4 46 13 PM

It has been so long since I’ve done a weekly update. Things have been busy at work as I prepare for two presentations at an upcoming conference, but there still has been lots and lots of knitting going on. Some of it is a tad bit of a secret (which, if you know any knitwear designers is a very exciting term because while it means I can’t share anything with you right now, it means fun stuff is coming up in the near future), but there’s plenty which I can share, too.

Photo Nov 10, 4 40 36 PM Photo Nov 10, 4 42 23 PM
I have just one more sleeve to go on one sweater design. It would be finished already if I didn’t hate knitting sleeves just so much. But I have plans this weekend to just sit down and power through during a marathon session of either Home Fires or Indian Summer (or maybe both, because why not?). I’m excited to get the sweater finished because, to be frank, I just really want to wear it. It has such nice little details that I just know it’ll be a go-to in my wardrobe.

I’m also chugging away on the body of a new cardigan. I have completely fallen in love with SweetGeorgia‘s Tough Love Sock yarn. It is such a pleasure to knit with and produces some very beautiful, and durable, garments. I’m a wee bit obsessed with the mini bobble stitch, which is not only fun to knit, but just fun to look at. So this is my own funky, fun take on the standard striped cardigan – with wee bobbles.

As for reading, most of it has been scientific papers (yuck!) as I work up a manuscript and those aforementioned presentations (it helps if you know what you are talking about when you speak to a room full of scientists). But in my downtime I’ve been grabbing a few pages of Heir of Midnight, the third novel in the Throne of Glass series.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Time, where’d it go?

Photo Oct 06, 6 48 54 PM Photo Oct 06, 6 52 26 PM Photo Oct 06, 6 58 37 PM

This week…

Knitting: Slow progress is being made on both projects on my needles, but row by row they are growing. They’ve both reached a size that makes them difficult to lug around with me on the subway, which means they only get worked on during the evenings at home. Unfortunately, work has kept me away, so evening knit time is not as abundant as I would like. Combine that with the deadlines looming for some design submissions (and lots of swatching, sketching, and scheming…) and it means that very little time has been available for me to work on finishing up these two sweaters. But they will get there. Eventually.

Fall has also fully soaked into my being, as you can see by my yarn choices for something big, drapey, cozy, and for me-me-me. These four skeins of beauty (all four are Tough Love Sock by SweetGeorgia) are traveling with me daily as my go-to commute knit. Can’t really share much more than that… yet.

Reading: If very little knitting is getting done, you can bet that even less reading is happening. I’m still making my way through Heir of Midnight, which has been exciting and fun and everything a good YA fantasy should be, but I just find myself falling into bed and snoring away with very few pages passing me by.

Basically, I just need way more time. Slow down, time. Let me catch up!

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

Hello, beautiful…

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This week…

Knitting: I find myself with a pile of beautiful, squishy yarn that shall, one day soon, become a beautiful, squishy sweater. My not so mini-obsession with splatter-dyed yarn continues, climbing to new heights. I’m working on a cozy, sweatshirt inspired design with vertical pockets, instead of a kangaroo pouch, and maybe some playful heart-shaped elbow patches. And this yarn is guranteed to ensure it won’t end up as another usual, grey sweatshirt. I’m really looking forward to cuddling up in this fun, bright, happy sweater when the dark days of winter (and writing my Ph.D. dissertation) arrival all too soon.

I’ve also been working away on a colorwork design that has been kicking around my head for a bit, but right now it’s in its more boring stage, so pictures of that will come a wee bit later when it’s more than just a stockinette rectangle.

All the knitting is keeping me distracted while I wait back to hear from several design submissions, very, very impatiently, I might add. That, and I may be procrastinating just a bit on starting work on writing up my latest manuscript for work. (I’m at that stage where I just stare at the blank page on the screen… just waiting for something decent to pour out to get me started. That first sentence is always the hardest, isn’t it?)

Reading: I’ve moved on to the next novel in the Throne of Glass series, Heir of Midnight. I’m happily comfortable in the world Sarah J. Maas has built and I am looking forward to following these characters through their journey. I may not be in love with the series, but it’s good enough to keep me trapped there for a bit longer.

Watching: Fall TV season is here! I’m looking forward to the new Muppets show, the Heroes reboot, the final season of Downton Abbey, and the return of my guilty pleasure, Scandal. I kind of watch a bit of TV…

Andy and I also saw several movies at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, but that’s a blog entry all on its own.

For now, I’ll just leave you with a little sneaky peeky at a sweater that I finished last weekend, just to get your curiosity peaked.

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Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Squishy mail time

Photo Aug 12, 8 55 09 AM Photo Aug 12, 8 56 00 AM

 

In the category of fun mail to receive, squishy mail has a place at the top of my list. I just love coming home to a squishy package with my name on it. This week I received a couple squishy envelopes that mean I have some fun knitting time ahead.

This week…

Knitting: I am almost finished with my Ariel sweater. I just have a bit left on one of the sleeves and then it’ll be ready for blocking. As it finishes up, I’m gearing up to start a new sweater and am having fun swatching and planning as I prepare to cast on.

Reading: I’ve set Prince of Thorns aside for now. I don’t know if it was my mood or the book, but we weren’t clicking last week. I’ll give it another try later. For now I’m reading Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, the second book in the Throne of Glass series. I enjoyed the first book, so I decided to play it safe and pick up something I was almost certain to enjoy. Sometimes I just really need the certainty of a good book to look to each day.

Watching: This past week, Andy and I went to see the Shaun the Sheep Movie because I’m really just a little kid in a grown up body and because I love, love, love Aardman Studios. So I’ll basically watch anything they make. And, as expected, the movie was adorable, enjoyable, and just fun. I’ve also been re-watching Downton Abbey in preparation for the last season coming up (I don’t want to think about a world without Downton…).

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

I will call her Ariel

Ariel sweater by Brandy Velten Ariel sweater by Brandy VeltenI’ve been chugging away on my new sweater design. Lots and lots of smocking. As I kept working, the design reminded me a bit of scales. Not icky, fishy scales (sorry fishes, I don’t actually think you are icky at all), but more like the feminine, alluring scales like you would find on a mermaid, you know, if mermaids were an actual thing. And because I’m grew up as young child of the early 90’s, there’s one Disney-inspired mermaid that is very near and dear to my heart. So I think I will call this sweater Ariel and just keep the fairy tale theme that started with my Rapunzel cardigan going.

(When I was growing up I had a pool in my yard. And I have very vivid memories of pretending to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and being captured and hoping to be rescued – the whole bit. I also had an Ariel doll who’s hair met its match swimming in that pool constantly. So there’s a not so tiny part of me that is quite fond of wearing an Ariel-inspired sweater around the halls and pretending to be a mermaid again, secretly. Shh. Don’t tell.)

I’ve finished the smocking of the body of the sweater, which ends at the armhole. Now I’ve just got to finish up the back and front and get started on the sleeves. I am going to try seamless set-in sleeves worked from the armhole down. I have convinced myself that grading it will be easier than a sleeve cap, but I haven’t actually done any math yet, so that idea may quickly go out the window.

I have also finished Shadow Scale. I’ve moved on to Prince of Thorns, which I picked up at the used book store. I’m not sure on it right now. I iffy on the writing style and I’m also not entirely sure what is going on. Maybe that is the way it is meant to be… I don’t know. I’ll give it a little more time before I really formulate my opinion.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

(Guys, I totally thought today was Wednesday, when I do my usual link ups. I didn’t realize I put this up a day late until I was riding the bus home. I blame the Canadian long weekend.)

 

Knitting through a heat wave

 Morocco Sweater Stitched Up in Toronto  
Morocco Sweater  Stitched Up in Toronto 
The past few days have been pretty warm, Canadianly speaking. With no air conditioning in the apartment, we basically throw open the windows each night hoping to draw in some of the cooler air to trap it inside during the day. Then turn the fans on as high as they can handle and drink lots of iced tea. It’s  almost liveable, but I am hoping for some cooler days soon, if only to make knitting more enjoyable. (And for poor Rufus, who must be burning up all day long, poor kid.)

  

Fortunately, none of my current projects have grown too large, so knitting is still mostly tolerable. Which is a small blessing because work has me a little stressed at the moment. I cannot believe that July is already gone! I know data has gotten collected and things have been accomplished, but it doesn’t feel like as much has happened this summer as I was hoping. I know this is almost always the case – time flies and I feel like I’m getting left behind. Every year, I convince myself I will bend time and space and defy physics, but it hasn’t seemed to happen just yet. Things usually never as bad as I think they are, but this year is a little different. With July gone this year, it really is hitting me that I have less than a year left on my student visa. The deadline of finishing my Ph.D. feels very real. Stress + heat = insomnia.

So the creative outlet (and distraction) of knitting has been needed lately, because it’s no use just sitting around hoping and wishing that lab work would go faster than it is physically possible. It’ll be what it will be. And I know things will get finished up, even if I have to compromise on everything being perfectly perfect all the time, because I know myself and my limits. And I’ve never let these things get the best of me before. (Not to mention, I’m also really, really looking forward to being Dr. Velten soon.)

I’ve also taken time to relax and read a bit more before bed. I’m almost through with Shadow Scale and have been eyeing my book shelf, trying to decide what I’m in the mood for next. A happy escape is instore, I think. Some nice summer reading. 

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along