Archive for October, 2010


Feeling a little blue

I’m offiically at the point where I’m counting down to my due date in days now, not weeks. 22 are left to be exact. And yes, I am very, very excited about that, so excited in fact, that I have to stop myself from thinking about things like labour, delivery, meeting my new baby, and seeing their face for the first time because whenever I start to go down that road, I tear up and get super impatient, instead of just a little impatient. I think that’s one of the characteristics about myself that drove my mother nuts when I was a child, but that gives her so much delight as an adult – you can usually tell pretty easily what I’m thinking and feeling from the look on my face.

But the last few days have seen me in the duldrums a little bit. I just feel so tired. I was tired of knitting everything I have on the needles, I was tired of working on knitted Christmas presents, I was tired of cleaning the house, just to see it get messy again, I was tired of doctor’s appointments, not being able to find basinette sheets that fit our basinette, and of being overlooked when I was having a hard time getting up off a chair or couch, or when I would gasp when I received a particularily painful kick to the ribs from baby, and well, I was tired of being woken up in the middle of the night, despite being so tired. Tired of work drama, tired of dealing with everyone else’s issues, tired of temper tantrums and attitude from Morgan, tired, tired, tired. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I’ve reached that phase of pregnancy that everyone talks about so much.

But, that’s not to say I haven’t been productive in my blues either. I finished Mom’s Christmas present, and it will be coming off the blocking boards in just a few short hours. I’m well on my way on my design project too, and I decided to submit this one to KnitPicks Indy Designers program, and see if they like it well enough to put it up on their website. It’s good exposure, and you’ve gotta love the fact that every cent goes to the designer too. And if they decide not to take it? Well, that’s what Ravelry is for.

But what has stalled, surprisingly, is the toy elephant, Elijah, that I started for the baby. It’s probably because I think I’m going to run out of yarn. Why this scares me, when I know full well I’m going to be downtown and can pick up another ball (it’s just Patons Classic Wool, in a colorway I know I will use up later on) on Monday after the doctor’s appointment, is beyond me, but for some reason, I can’t bring myself to work on it when I know I could run out of yarn. And don’t even ask me about the German Stocking. I’m still on the same spot on the heel flap, and I don’t plan on picking it up again until after I’ve finished my design project.

My English Garden Cozy is being frogged. I’ve realized that it’s not going to fit my oddly shaped teapot, which looks like an upside down pyramid with the point cut off. This cozy is designed more for the “brown betty” type of teapots, that are more ball-shaped, and it simply won’t work with my particular pot. It’s kind of a relief right now though, because having another meaningless project on the needles was starting to get to me. Part of me is sad to see my project count on Ravelry go down (what can I say, I kind of set a personal challenge for myself to see if I could reach 100 projects on Ravelry before the baby came, and I know I’m going to fall short), but on the other hand, it’s also a bit relieving. It was a loft goal to begin with, and so I’m just going to have to admit defeat.

I sort of feel like I should have something else to say – it is afterall, 2:52am, and the baby has had me awake for the last half an hour because after waking up to use the facilities (again), the baby decided that extra room meant it was time to play a game, namely, soccer, with my diaphram as the soccer ball. The only thing I can do when this happens is remain upright until the baby’s movements have settled – any attempt to lie down seems to say “go ahead, start kicking again” and it does, and then I become extremely short of breath, and you kind of need to breathe to sleep by the way. But, instead of boring you with whatever other melancholy thoughts have come my way over the past few days, I will instead end this post, with a promise that I will probably cheer up in a couple days, or after I’ve gotten a few hours of really good sleep.

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The tale of the cursed yarn!

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you may see some projects here that ring some bells. Let me warn you, if you are looking for a happy-go-lucky post that is full of wonderful things, you will not find it here. This is the post of projects that have gone wrong, and in my opinion, it’s all due to the Cursed Yarn.

Close to two years ago now, I purchased 2 balls of Schoeller and Stahl Wonderwool Tweed in a lovely dusty rose color, with the Sunflower Tam by Norah Gaughan. I loved the pattern the first time I saw it in the book, and when my mother came to own it, I immediately went out and sought out yarn for it. I cast it on that very night, and finished it within 24 hours. But then, I tried it on. And yeah, you’ll see from the pictures below why it turned out to be one of my least favorite projects as far as “results” were concerned.

Not my most flattering look…. It was beautiful from the back though!

It was the ridge of purl stitches that did it, I think. It caused the beret to not drape. It might have also been the acrylic in the yarn, but I really didn’t want to rip out that hat, as I knew that someone I knew would look good in it. Sure enough, there was a coworker’s wife who it looked cute on, and the hat went to her.

So, a few months ago, I decided to knit my step-daughter’s aunt a hat out of the remainder of the yarn, so I cast on for the Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and it knit up very quickly, and it was sent off to her the next day when Morgan went to her house for daycare.

Except, there was a slight problem with my comprehension of the words “chunky weight yarn” and I knit it instead in a worsted, or heavy worsted at best. It became a yamaka (sp?) on her, and was so small in fact, that it didn’t fit Morgan well either. It would stretch out nicely on Morgan’s head, but then slowly creep up towards the crown, pointing up and back as it slipped. Not my finest hour as a knitter when I realized this….

So you can imagine my frustration on Sunday afternoon, when I decided to knit Morgan a pair of mittens out of the leftover yarn and get it out of my stash forever, and I got the entire hand of the second mitten done, minus the decreases at the top and the picked up thumb when I ran out of yarn. Seriously? I was that close to having it out of my stash forever, and in some sort of decent completed project, and it chose to run out then?

I let it sit for three days while I fumed, and then today, I took the time to properly frog the Unoriginal Hat so I could finish the mittens. And before you ask, yes, I threw the remainders of the yarn out. By that time, I had realized that it was cursed, and I was going to take the small victory that I got. It was worth it for the cute picture too.

So for those of you at home keeping track, this is the score at the end of the day:

Wonderwool Tweed: 3

Jessica: 0

Morgan: 1

I just want to start off this blog post by saying that I don’t normally try to promote other businesses for free, but sometimes, something so nice happens that I feel the need to tell others about it, especially when in these days, good customer service doesn’t always happen.

So, you might remember me telling all of you about how I had this great idea for a pair of toe-up stockings for a design project, and I went and ordered the yarn right away for it. Well, it arrived yesterday, and I couldn’t resist casting on that evening and getting started with my notes, charts, and ideas. Only, after the second row of stitches, I realized that my yarn was catching on a burr on the cord of my new KnitPicks needle, which is also where the yarn came from. Frustrated, I kept working at it, since I didn’t have any 2mm needles left, but decided to call customer service this morning to see if I could get a resolution.

Well, not only was I surprised to find on their website that their customer service opens at 5am my time, and so was open before I had to go to work this morning, but also that they were happy to replace my needle at no cost to me. I also realized when I got the needle that I meant to order a 40″ circular, but had accidentally ordered a 24″ – which by the way, makes Magic Loop a little challenging. It can be done, but it’s not as easy as it is with a bigger needle. When I told this to the service rep, she said she would replace the needle that had the burr for free, and would order me the right needle, and even wane the shipping! So, in about 6-14 business days, I should be getting my replacement needle and my new needle, and the only money I had to give out for this new needle was for the actual cost! I couldn’t believe it!

They didn’t ask for the needle to be shipped back, they didn’t ask for money for shipping the extra needle I wanted to order, and they were even kind enough to suggest trying a nail file on the burr to see if it would eliminate the problem (I did, and it’s a lot better, but it still catches a little bit and it kind of irritates me). Really, these days can you beat that kind of service?

Because I’m impatient though, I’m going to continue working on the stocking on this needle. I have so many ideas that I want to try out on the leg part of the stocking that I can’t really bear the thought of putting this down long enough to wait for my new needles to come in. I’ve always been a big fan of KnitPicks yarn, needles, and way of doing business, but now, I’m an even bigger fan. Thank you nameless service rep for making my day.

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All I have to say is this:

From start to finish, 11 days. Started October 5, finished October 16. If I had just followed the stupid instructions and used the right needle size in the first place, I could have had this shawl finished before closing ceremonies during the Olympics, and I would have medalled. Stupid &@#$!ing brain thinking it knew better…

Oh well, it’s finished now, blocked, and looks beautiful. I’m thinking it will make a great backdrop for some new baby pictures perhaps???

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Aren’t they lovely? I’m very, very happy with this project, despite the fact that the tightly knit cabled strips hurt my hands. When that part was over, the rest was easy, straightforward, and went very quickly. I thought about giving them away as a Christmas present, but everyone who I hadn’t already planned to knit something up for would not appreciate them, so they are staying right here, where they belong.

And before the left gauntlet even had time to dry on the blocking board, I had already cast on for another project, and gotten the needles out and pattern printed for the second. The first project that has made it onto my needles is a tea cozy. A bit of an odd project for me, as I don’t normally like to knit for my home, but once I saw this version of the pattern, I couldn’t resist. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/kgirlknits/floral-knitted-tea-cosy-from-1937

Stunning, no?

Also, the yarn for my German Stockings by Cookie A. arrived in the mail this afternoon, and we all know I can’t resist new yarn. My undyed Plymouth Happy Feet skeins looked too tempting sitting there in the bag, so I wound them up, and cast on the first stocking. This pattern printed out with 8 pages total, and there is a lot of work involved with them, but I don’t plan on making them my vanilla sock that I carry around with me either, so it works out well. I’m sure that once Snowdrop is off the needles that I’ll appreciate the challenge.

And speaking of Snowdrop, because I know you are curious, no, it isn’t finished. But that’s by choice. I picked up all the stitches last night, and began the edging this afternoon, but I just love the pattern, and I like the way it knit so much that I didn’t want to knit it all up in one go – it didn’t seem fair somehow, to have something that I enjoy that much be raced to the FO side of things, so I am taking my time with it, enjoying a few repeats here, a few repeats there. I’m sure that it will be completed before the end of the weekend, but then I can at least say I dragged it out a few days and made it last, right?

And by the way folks, for those of you keeping track at home, that makes a total of 4 projects on the needles at once for me, plus I have a pair of plain vanilla socks going too. A little out of the norm, is it not? I don’t know what’s up with me and multiple projects these days, but it’s mind boggling how much I’ve been getting done, even with all this stuff going on around me. It’s like I’ve turned into a little knitting machine or something! So, time to grease the wheels and get back to work, there’s still a couple more hours until I need to hit the hay!

Surprise!

Or well, so much for surprise. Today, Mom had to see her Christmas present early, because she was helping me fix it. With no more excuses about waiting until Christmas, I decided that I should fess up and just tell and show you what happened to project.

Last Monday night was blocking night. I finished the Heartland Lace Shawl by Evelyn A. Clarke on Sunday, and waited until Monday night when I had the blocking boards and wires that I borrowed from Mom (getting my own is on my Christmas list. Don’t look at me like that) and the thing had to soak in the bathtub because it was so big. It was 555 stitches in casting off. In lace weight. No, I was not on drugs when I decided to make this project. Anyhoo, I was blocking it. The top was strug through with 4 wires, the bottom tip was pulled down, and several of the scallops on the left hand side were pulled out, when I pulled out the middle scallop on the right hand side, and saw this:

Yeah, I balled. Like a baby. For 20 minutes.

That is a shawl, wider than my loveseat with a hole in it! So, I did what any knitter would do after they’d had their cry out. I called my Grandmother, since my mother had the audacity to be on vacation, and confided in her. She thought it could be repaired after seeing those photos, and assured me to leave it pinned in place until Mom could come over and help me fix it, because there was no one else in my circle of knitting friends who had the skills to repair it. The idea was to possibly pick up a crochet hook and make a bunch of joins into the shawl in the back and pick up the stitches and the broken yarn and just crochet some chains together to hold it in place, then weave in the ends and reblock it. But when Mom got here today, she discovered that it was not possible. Instead of the 2 ends that I thought there were, and only one weak spot, it turns out that there were 4-6 ends and a weak spot. She confirmed my fears – a moth was responsible for the condition of the last several yards of my yarn, probably from languishing unprotected in a basket all this time.

But she made my heart lighter again when she said she had the skills to rip it back to just before the hole and pick it back up. Amen to that! I had no problem reknitting the edging and blocking it again, that was doable, I just couldn’t pick up all those little stitches and have it look good. So that is what she did, while I patiently waited beside her, getting her knitting notions, cups of tea and Coke Zero, and making her a gourmet (Kraft Dinner) lunch to keep her fueled and focused on fixing my (her) shawl. After about 3.5 hours, it was done. She had not only ripped back to before the hole (and found another weak spot in the process, which means she didn’t have to come over to fix a second hole after the second blocking would have broken it) and picked it up on the needles and confirmed that all the stitches were in fact there, but she also purled a row on the shawl too!

I felt very, very guilty about her having to fix what is going to be her own garment soon, but I think she agrees that it would have been better than me trying to fix it myself, and messing it up, and then having the edging not align with the rest of the shawl, or me having to rip back to the beginning and start all over again. She saved me a ton of work, and in the end, she got to work on it a little bit, and sometimes, that’s a cool thing to say about a garment. The Heartland Lace Shawl is now languishing in a (plastic) bag that is sealed, waiting until tomorrow when I have let it sit long enough before I pick it back up again and continue on.

So, how about we move onto some more pleasant knitting news? Like procurring the most adorable vintage pattern book in the world!

I paid a lot more than the cover price for the book, but it was still very reasonable as far as pattern book prices these days. And the fact that I actually like, and can see myself knitting a lot of them makes it even more of a happy piece for me. I love to collect little things like that, but I love it even more when my collectables can be functional. There are some beautiful patterns in it, like this:

But also some laughable, dated pieces that make you just giggle out loud, like this:

This book was purchased at one of my local antique shops, the Button Box (www.thebuttonbox.ca) along with two sets of buttons, for my Helix Gauntlets:

It was a little unclear at the beginning which buttons I should use on the gauntlets, but definitely clear that both sets had to come home with me. By the time I left though, I knew in my heart that the gold flower buttons belonged on my gauntlets, and the blue ones, well, they were just too pretty to pass up, so they came home too.

The finger band for the second gauntlet is about half-done now, but I’m going to wait until Survivor tonight to work on it and the body of the glove. Immediately after this post is up, I will be eating a quick dinner, and then sitting down to pick up stitches on the edge of my Snowdrop Shawl. All 438 of them.

I know you’re all probably still reeling from the fact that so soon after having a diaster with one shawl that I’ve been willing to move onto another, but let’s just face it. I’m addicted to lace, and even moth holes in a shawl that ended with 555 stitches isn’t enough to deter me from a project that I have this much love for. Besides, the challenge of finishing my Ravelympics project before I go on maternity leave was too much for me to pass up.

So…with one evening and a full day ahead of me tomorrow, who here thinks that I might be able to finish both these projects in time for Morgan to be dropped off to me sometime late Saturday morning/early Saturday afternoon? We’ll see if I can declare victory again!

Another week, another finished object. You’d think that I wouldn’t be complaining, but well, I’m going to.

The Reikasai Socks seemed to fit the bill perfectly as I looked up children’s sock patterns online – the pattern looked easy to memorize and predict, and looked like it would flow along just fine, work up quickly, and hopefully, use up a good quantity of the Maizy that I had left over from finishing Socks for Little Witches last month. And despite the fact that the pattern was easy to memorize and predict, these socks did not amuse me. They did not charm me. In fact, I kind of hated them. But by the time I realized how much I hated them, I was already at the toe on the first sock, and I didn’t feel like ripping it out and starting again, so I slogged on, finished it, and then cast on for the second sock right away.

And today, I finished that second sock. And boy, was I ever glad to be rid of it! I kitchenered that toe and wove in my ends so quickly that I think if you had blinked you would have missed most of it. AND, I promptly gave the remainder of that second ball of Maizy to my friend Chelsea, who you will remember I taught to knit not that long ago. It’s now in her little stash of yarn that she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with yet, but will get around to some day. Her stash still fits into a vintage glass vase, but I predict that this will not be the case for very long. Chelsea is a knitting success story; she learned how to knit from a right-handed person even though she is very much a left-handed person. And teaching her to purl? Well, it took seconds. Literally. She watched me for two stitches then took over the needles and has been at it ever since. She’s working on a scarf right now, a 4 stitch seed stitch border with stockinette in the center, and it’s beautiful. She makes me so proud (and look good too!)! Next up will be teaching her how to knit a hat – we’ll be tackling knitting in the round, then when it gets to the top, I’ll be teaching her the Magic Loop technique so she doesn’t have to buy DPN’s for the project too. I’m hoping that this will lead to a sock knitting lesson a little ways down the road, but don’t tell her that. 😉

And for those interested, I have an update on my Snowdrop Shawl. I started it Tuesday evening, and it’s now Saturday evening, and it looks pretty much like what you saw in the photo from my previous post, only in bigger gauge. That photo, if you’ll remember, was taken back in February, when I was knitting it the first time during the Ravelympics, and before it took a trip to the Frog Pond. I have really enjoyed knitting it again, it’s a pattern I loved from the first time I saw it, and kept in the back of my mind everytime I looked at lace weight yarn, and I waited until I found the perfect one before casting on. Only about 9 rows remain in this 16 row repeat, and then I have to knit 8 rows of another repeat before I will be casting off with the I-cord edging. I feel confident that I can have that completed before I go to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner on Monday, unless I get distracted by my newest project, the Helix Gauntlets.

This pattern was featured in the Interweave Holiday Gifts 2008 issue, and I’ve literally had my eye on them ever since. They’ve been sitting in my Ravelry queue for quite awhile, and I decided that I would finally bite the bullet and buy the yarn when I was at the yarn shop today. I found some beautiful pale blue Dale of Norway sport weight wool, and I scooped up 2 50g balls and cast on when I got home this evening. The construction is very interesting, and I highly suggest this pattern if you are looking for quick knit with some interest thrown in there. The only trouble I forsee is finding the right buttons to finish this project off, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. My LYS has a decent collection of buttons, as does the local Fabricland, so I feel confident that I will find it at one of the two places. And if not, well, there’s always the Button Box antique shop downtown, which features a huge box full of antique and vintage buttons, and I’m sure I could find something interesting in there.

My yarn for the German Stockings still hasn’t arrived, and I’m sure it won’t until either late this upcoming week, or even later, because of the long weekend. I’m glad I cast on for that new project so I would have something to keep my interest until my latest love affair arrives! Pray that customs doesn’t decide to hold my package for an indecent amount of time, and that it gets here soon, I’m itching to cast those stockings on! I’ll be sure to share when my yarn comes, so until then, happy knitting!

Reattempt: Snowdrop Shawl

Some of you, more frequent and/or dedicated readers than others, may remember that I challenged myself to knit as much as possible on the Snowdrop Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee as I could during the 2010 Ravelympics. Well, I managed to get the entire body done, including the I-cord bind off, before realizing that the shawl was too small, and not even agressive blocking was going to get it to the size that I wanted it to be.

Now, while I am not a fan of doing the same pattern twice (except when it comes to socks, I don’t usually seem to mind when it comes to socks, or fingerless gloves, or other simple things like Easy Recipe Hats, etc) I am definitely a fan of doing it right. I am a perfectionist, maybe not as much as my mother, there are certain “character flaws” that I can live with, but a shawl that’s too small is definitely not something that I can live with, so I frogged it.

Well, it’s been dug out from the bottom of the stash basket, sealed in a nice pretty blue Ziploc freezer bag, and ressurrected. I am using the correct needle size this time (4mm instead of a 3mm) and I’m keeping better track of my rows with the use of my KnitPicks chart keeper (seriously, if you don’t have one of these, you need to get one) and myKnitPicks row counter. I intend to lick this shawl good this time too, because well, it’s simply beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to make it.

Since I managed to get the entire body of the shawl finished last attempt, with plenty of days to spare before the Olympics ended, I decided to challenge myself with this shawl a little bit. How much can I get done before Halloween? All of it? It’s an extra week on top of what I had back in February, so I’m going to see if I can’t get this beautiful project done before the end of the month. And yes, you are welcome to take bets on whether or not I will complete it, or drive myself insane in the process. Let’s just call it a social experiment, shall we?

So, without futher adieu, let the knitting begin! *insert an image of a racing flag being dropped here*

On Saturday morning, I was feeding the Steller Jays peanuts like I usually do, when I noticed a new bird sitting on my fence!

(click on photo to enlarge it) Naturally, I was excited, and ran to get the camera, and it’s a good thing I did too, because it didn’t stick around for very long! I sent the photos off to my mother who has a bird book, and an hour later, she was on the phone with me, telling me the exciting news that I had spotted a rare bird for our area, a Scrub Jay. Until recently, they only came as far north as Southern Washington State, but that lately, they’ve been moving up into the Puget Sound. I contacted my local bird store, and the owner confirmed that when he’s in Seattle, he sees Scrub Jays all the time, but that they are very rarely spotted here. I was so excited to have seen one, and up close too! He probably won’t be a contestor for my peanuts anytime soon, but apparently they love acorns… so now I’m tempted to plant an oak tree to attract them.

In other exciting bird news, this morning Neil and I witnessed a very hilarious spectacle. I put out some peanuts for my Jays (it feels like all my bird stories start with this…) and a couple flew up bravely while the door was still open and snatched up their peanut and flew off. But then I heard a funny screeching noise, like a hawk, but one that was either very small, or very far away. It turns out the former was true, and a juvenille red-tailed hawk flew up and landed on the fence. By this point I realized that all other bird song was deathly silent, which for 7:15am is very abnormal, and I decided to watch for a moment what he was doing. This hawk was either not very smart, or very desperate, because he was trying to go after the Jays, and he wasn’t any bigger than they! The Jays made their squawking noise at him, and chased him away into the nearby tree many times, then would come, get a peanut, and then chase the hawk away again. This hawk did not seem to get that he wasn’t big enough to eat them yet, because he kept flying out of the tree after a Jay, who would turn around and swoop down at the predatory bird, and chase it away again. I thought it was hilarious to see this either stupid or desperate hawk trying to get a meal that was just as big as he was, too funny!

And now, for the knitting news!

After several months of being in progress, I am happy to report that I have finished my mother’s Christmas gift! And in less than hour, Neil will be coming home with the borrowed blocking boards and wires so that I can turn the pretty creation into a beautiful creation. I really wish that I could share it with all of you, but like my dear mother (knitsnpurls on Ravelry, check out her project page if you want to see beautiful things that make you drool) you will just have to wait until Christmas to see it. I promise that I will take plenty of pictures when she does receive it though, so that I can plaster my masterpiece all over the blog properly. And the mystery hand-dyer who saved the day will also be revealed! Stay tuned! Only 81 days to the reveal!

And I think you will all be relieved to hear that I immediately cast on for my final Christmas present, a second pair of socks for Morgan, and I’m already on the gusset on the first (got to love knitting for small feet!) sock! I’m working the Reikasai Socks by Claudia Eisenkolb and the pattern is both easy, and well written, so if you have any little girls in your life, these socks would make an excellent gift. I’m using the last ball of Maizy that resides in my stash, and whatever I don’t use on these socks, I’m thinking will go in the garbage. I really don’t like this yarn, and there won’t be enough left to keep for another project. If any of you want to save this yarn from it’s ultimate demise however, please contact me, I’ll be happy to send it off when I’m done with it.

And Neil is happy to see that his second Gravel Grid sock is on the gusset as well. However, his sock is my carry-around-with-me-to-knit on project, so I won’t be attempting to finish it tonight, since I have one more chirorpractor appointment in the morning, and I need something to knit on while I wait at McDonald’s and then on the bus ride home. There’s a good chance of me finishing it when I get home though, the yarn for my German Stockings is waiting at the post office for me as we speak, so I’ll be picking it up before I hop back on the bus after getting my back cracked, and the knitting gods help me, I doubt I’ll be able to wait until I get home to open it!

Well, that’s all for now! Check back for FO photos in a couple days, I think there will be plenty to share!

Happy New Year!

It’s the beginning of October, not January, yes, I am totally aware of this. I’m also totally aware of the weird looks that some of you are giving me right now, but hear me out, okay? For years, the start of autumn has always felt like the beginning of the year for me. It’s probably because school started in September, and I would get all those new clothes, a new hair cut, and a fresh stack of school supplies, and off I’d go, into my new school, class, or grade, ready to tackle another year of education. January felt like getting back into the swing of things for me, after the whirlwind of Christmas and New Year’s parties, and the short break from school, I was ready to leave the holidays behind, and settle into a routine. So, as much as my romantic teenage self would try to get down with writing New Year’s Resolutions, and trying to treat January 1st as the start of something new, the truth is that I really end up thinking most about the last year when I see leaves changing color and falling to the ground.

When I look directly out my window, I am still staring at a sea of green leaves, but at the side of my house is this city-kept trail that leads down to the little bit of woodlands behind my backyard, and these trees are in full autumn-mode. Little dried leaves of various colors are beginning to litter my lawn, and I’ve taken down my summer hummingbird feeder, and replaced it with a suet feeder.

I feel awfully good about this suet feeder too, because not only does it have a tailboard to support the Common Flickers that I hope to see on it someday, but it’s also made from 100% recycled products. The tailboard and roof are recycled plastics, and the metal suet cage is made from recycled scrap metal. So far the only visitors to it have been the chickadees, which also continue to frequent my seed feeder, but I expect that after the mountain ash tree in one of my neighbor’s yards has been stripped of all the berries, that the flickers may end up finding this new feeder, and frequenting it.

But besides the change in temperature, color, and bird-sightings, there has also been a bit of a change in my knitting attitude. Yes, I am still knitting like crazy to keep myself busy (especially since I’m still on light duty from the shoulder injury, which is doing very, very well thanks), but the projects I am leaning towards knitting, while there are many of them, they all have one thing in common – they are quality projects. There are two pairs of socks on my horizon, the Irrate Squirrel Socks by VeryBusyMonkey, and the German Stockings by Cookie A. which I have literally been lusting over for about 3-4 years, but those are the smallest of the projects I want to knit. I still haven’t cast on The Dragonfly Shawl by Alpaca with a Twist, and the Snowdrop Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is sitting frogged, in wound balls in my knitting basket. And did I mention the Comfy Cardigan from A Knitters Book of Wool? It would be darling! Plus, on top of all of that, Neil has decided that he too likes the Cambridge Cardigan from a back issue of Interweave Knits that I fell in love with when I saw it the first time, and so of course, seeing has how he only has one pair of socks, a scarf, and a drawstring bag for his snowboarding goggles, I think it’s about time that I turned my attention towards something big.

The only problem with this? I am totally a project knitter. I enjoy learning new processes too, but unlike my friend Chelsea’s mother, who is content to knit something, then rip it out and start a whole new thing, and then rip that out and start all over again, I have never enjoyed the process that much. I like to have finished things at the end, that I can you know, show people, or wear, or give away. I find myself constantly feeling driven to finish a project, just so I can share it on the blog, or post pictures of it on Ravelry. So, with a baby on the way, and my potential knitting time about to cut seriously down, is starting a large project really a wise decision? Something tells me that the whole quality-over-quantity thing is going to loose it’s charm very, very quickly.

So, I decided that instead of trying to force myself into big projects that I will proabably never have time for, I am going to try my best to only knit with quality materials, and use them on the smaller projects that I love so much. I have never worked with Lorna’s Laces, or Blue Moon Fiber Arts, or Sweet Georgia Yarns, and I really, really want to. Instead of buying a bunch of sock yarn from Knit Picks, I am planning on buying smaller shipments from other websites, ones that have unique, hand dyed yarns, and that are unique, and gorgeous. I might not be able to churn out a lot of projects after having Peanut like I’ve been able to, but at least I will feel like I’ve turned out something high quality, and worth showing off, when it does finally make it’s way off my needles.

And for those of you wondering, the leg is almost complete on the second Gravel Grid sock, and I’m coming very, very close to the end of my mother’s Christmas present as well! I’ve picked out the perfect pattern to use for Morgan’s second pair of Christmas socks, and then, I’m going to make something for myself, The German Stockings by Cookie A. are coming up for me next, as the yarn is on it’s way, and the Helix Gauntlets by Caroline Bautista are also next on my radar. And then maybe…well, maybe I should talk about my knitting fantasies another day.