Project Update: January Mittens

Today I knit one of the January Mittens, which I’m hoping to give to my mom for Christmas!  I was afraid I wouldn’t get them done in time but I finished one mitten in just about two days, so I’ll definitely get them done, especially if I take them on the plane with me on Monday!

 

(Sorry for the weird lighting, I’m taking these pictures at about 1AM on my bedsheets, plus it still desperately needs its twin to be knit and then to be blocked!)

This is a very pretty pattern, very simple in shape but graphic in the colorwork.  My only criticism is that it is a very narrow mitten, even after sizing up the needles.  It mentions this on the pattern page as well, so I would definitely keep this in mind and think about sizing up at least one full needle size.  Otherwise, I’m very happy with them!  They look very sophisticated for my mom, who usually wears just black and white and always looks very minimalistic-chic.

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Stressed and Tired (Plus Some Gift Knitting)

 

To be quite honest, I haven’t been sleeping very well lately at all.  Over the past three or four weeks, I’ve only averaged three to five hours of sleep a night, and last night I didn’t fall asleep at all.  Yeah, I’ve been up for about 30 hours, which I hate to do.  I just lay there in the dark for eight hours last night trying to fall asleep!  Even now at my desk, I’m tired but somehow still not sleepy.

I’m pretty certain it’s stress that’s been causing this problem for me.  I haven’t really changed my schedule or caffeine intake (and I’m not sensitive to caffeine anyway), but I’ve been under a lot of stress.  I had hoped that after the spring semester ended I’d be able to relax!  Maybe I’ve been so stressed out for so long that my body is still operating as if I had a lot to do, even though I don’t.

No matter the cause, lost sleep has been having a big impact on my mood and productiveness.  I’ve noticed that I’m more depressed and irritable than usual and that I become anxious more easily even about small things, while at work I’m much more easily distracted and less quick-thinking than I’d like to be.

As far as knitting, I finished a quick test knit of the Spring Stream Socks for Life Is Cozy!  The pattern isn’t up on Ravelry yet but I’m already a big fan.  I’d consider it a unisex pattern and I think I’ll make a neutral-colored pair for my dad!  The straight vertical slip-stitch lines within the pattern give it enough visual strength for a men’s sock, in my opinion (although any sock can be a men’s sock if a man wears it!).

Besides the socks, I’ve mostly been working on a mindless scarf for my mom’s birthday in a month!  I’m working with a dark blue laceweight yarn (KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in Edgar) on size US 9 needles, just doing stockinette stitch.  It’s creating a really nice, open summer fabric, while the 100% alpaca fiber in the yarn gives it just a hint of warmth.

I’m hoping that this weekend I’ll be able to get some sleep and just have some fun. I’m going in to Manhattan on Friday for my fifth American Ballet Theater performance of the season, to see the brand-new Whipped Cream!  It should be a really fun night for me.  I got a series of six tickets for my birthday since I’ve been a huge dance fan my entire life (ballet and modern dance, primarily). Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be present at Diana Vishneva’s farewell final performance with the ABT, which was one of the most special dance performances I’ve even been to.  I saw her six years ago in 2011 performing as Anna Karenina with the Mariinsky Ballet, funnily enough performing at the Metropolitan Opera House, which is the ABT’s “home base” theater for their annual spring/summer season.  Up until last Friday, she was a principal dancer with both companies, and in my opinion is one of the best living ballet dancers in the world.

What are you guys doing this weekend?  Is anyone going on a trip or vacation for the Fourth of July?  And how do you all deal with stress, especially when you can’t seem to find a real cause for it?

*(Oh, can you tell I just figured out how to embed Instagram photos in my posts?  This will save me so much time since 90% of the time the photos I put in my posts are from my Instagram to begin with!)

I’m a New Year’s Fail, and I Don’t Feel Bad About It

It’s been a long, long, long, long time since I last posted!  A little over two months!  A lot has happened in my life since then, but not a lot of knitting has happened.  I’ve totally fallen off of the bandwagon in regards to my New Year’s resolution.  If you’re new to my blog, my resolution this year was to knit a pair of socks a month for all of 2017.  I still only have one sock done of my April socks, and while I technically did finish my March socks, I had a bunch of leftover yarn so I ripped out the top ribbing and decided to knit the calf up higher, which I haven’t finished!  I didn’t even cast on a May pair, let alone a June.  I’ve decided I’m not going to feel bad about it, though.  It wasn’t a resolution to improve my health or finances, or anything important like that.  It was more of a challenge to myself.

I think I’m just naturally a fickle knitter and I don’t like sticking to one type of garment or technique.  I like sweaters, socks, shawls, and hats, and I like cables, colorwork, lace, and knit-purl texture.  Forcing myself to stick to one thing never works out in the long run!  That’s also why it takes me so long to finish projects (except for socks), because I like to have several things going at once and rotate between them.  I used to feel so bad for abandoning projects for a few months and then coming back to them, which is so weird.  Why should I feel bad about that?  It’s not like I just keep casting on new things and never finishing them.  I’m going to embrace my natural tendencies from here on out!

Is anyone else like this?  I always see people on Ravelry and Instagram who are able to just work on a single big project like a blanket or sweater from start to finish, and not touch anything else and I get so jealous sometimes!

The reason I haven’t been knitting very much at all is that a few weeks ago, I finished up the busiest semester of my life.  I signed up for 16 credits, which doesn’t sound like much, but three of those credits were laboratory sections (which only offer one credit per three class hours, as opposed to one credit per one class hour like lecture classes), three of the credits were being a teacher’s assistant (why is it that students always wait until 12 hours before the essay is due to ask the TA for help with fundamental problems?  I had a student ask me the day before an essay was due if I thought he had a good topic!), plus I was doing non-credited research in my free time for about ten hours a week.  Plus, I am the president of the knitting, crocheting, and sewing club on campus.  Huge mistake.  Oh, and did I mention I went about a month without a computer when mine died right before finals?  I just got a new laptop yesterday!  My goal for next year is to not overwhelm myself, so I’m only enrolled in 13 credits next semester.  I really only have three classes left to take before I graduate, but one of them is only offered in the spring, so I have to stay a full year anyway.

Back to the interesting stuff, because I doubt anyone cares too much about my academic stress.

I have been knitting some, though.  I cast on and have made serious headway on an Ebba pullover sweater!  I changed the colors from white, blue, and red to camel, olive, and cream, inspired by a field trip I took to some famous local dunes here on Long Island.  Also, I realized that I have very little “natural” colors in my wardrobe, so I had to fix that!  I’m about halfway through the waist shaping increases, so right now it’s just a big swath of camel wool.  Not too cute for pictures!  I do have a picture of the beach near the dunes though:

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There’s just something so soothing about the beach in the wintertime.  I do love being able to swim in the summer, but I love the way the water looks when it’s cold and gloomy, and the salt air feels so bracing when it’s chilly.  Most of my friends think I’m bananas for that, though!

I’m sorry for this long and rambly post, but I wanted to get my feelings about my resolution down on “paper.”

Socks, a Cat, and Nerding Out

Hey, everyone!  How’s your March been?  I got back this past Friday from Washington D.C., where I was visiting family and touring with my roommate.  I’ve been to D.C. a ton of times, but this was the first time as an “adult” (does 21 count as adult?).  We decided to cram in as much as absolutely possible, so in four and a half days we went to the National Zoo, the National Portrait Gallery, the International Spy Museum, the Newseum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the United States Botanical Garden, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, and the National Air and Space Museum.

Yeah, we were busy.

We basically spent the entire time being huge dorks, especially at the Natural History and Air and Space museums.  We’re both STEM majors, so that was pretty cool.  I’ve been to all of these museums before, but it’d been a few years, and my roommate hadn’t been at all.

My roommate and I also found time to go to Georgetown and see one of my best friends from high school!  I don’t get to see her nearly enough, so that was fantastic.  The next day we went to Dupont Circle for dinner and passed by a yarn store, Looped Yarnworks, so of course we had to go in (we’re both knitters)!  I got two balls of Schoppel Wolle Ambiente yarn in 1862.

I was also home for the weekends surrounding the week and I got to see my kitty!  I miss her so much when I’m at school.  I was home to help my mom pack up the house.  Unfortunately, we’re selling our house.  We had hoped to sell my stepdad’s house and have him move in here since we’re attached to the community in our town and he’s not in his, but it’s just not possible.  So, we’ll sell our house, move in with him, and then hopefully sell his place in a year or two and get a house back in my hometown.

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I cast on these plain socks last Friday on the bus home using the Ambiente.  It’s been a while since I’ve done two-at-a-time!

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I’m considering these to be my April socks, although I might have them done before my March socks, of which I finished the first but haven’t cast on the second.

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If you’re new to my blog, my 2017 New Year’s resolution is to knit one pair of socks each month of the year.  It’s going pretty well so far!

In non-sock news, I’ve finished most of my midterms and am anxiously awaiting grades.  I have already gotten one grade back in a difficult class, and I did really well!  I got a 95%, and the professor said usually the high grade for this exam is a 75%.  I’m still nervous about the other tests, though.

Oh, and I finally got my learner’s permit to drive!  My roommate says she’ll help me learn.  I know 21 is late to get my permit, but better late than never!  My goal is to have my license before I graduate in a year, but we’ll see.

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Do you have any exciting plans?

A Cozy Hat and Some Tea

I’m really ready for a break, you guys.  This has probably been the most exhausting semester of my life, and we’re only about a third of the way through.  At least I’m enjoying most of my classes!

I’ve still been able to make some time for knitting, thankfully.  I got some KnitPicks Wonderfluff in the mail on Monday and quickly whipped up this hat.

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I really, really like this yarn, although I will say that although it’s marketed as bulky, I’d call it a heavy worsted/Aran.  It’s a thin nylon mesh tube with alpaca and merino fibers blown into it, and as a consequence, it’s incredibly lightweight.  The ball of yarn feels about half as heavy as I’d expect, based on its size!  Plus, air gets trapped inside the yarn and makes it very, very warm for its weight.  I hope they expand the color range, because I’m not a fan of some of the colors but I love the yarn.  I bought another ball in a kind of orchid pink color and I’m going to make another one of these hats for sure!

Other than the hat, I haven’t made a lot of progress on my March Operation Sock Drawer socks (or on my Blizzard shawl, for that matter).  In fact, I’m less than two inches into the leg on the first sock!  I doubt I’ll finish them by the end of the month, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  I’m taking 18 upper-division credits and I barely have time to breathe.

In terms of my Laurel cardigan, I’ve just lost motivation.  I cast on so long ago, but since I barely work on it, I’ve made so little progress that the finish line feels miles away.  It’s so hard to get myself to even pick it up anymore.  Besides, it’s so large that I can’t really bring it anywhere to work on a row here and there like I do my smaller projects.  I finished the right top body in 10 days, but it’s taken me since October 20th to just do the left sleeve!

Do any of you have any tips for motivating yourself to just get a project done?  I really want to finish this one, since I think it’s a really cute pattern and it’s taking up so much space.

In other news, I’ve been trying to drink more tea.  I’ve always been a big tea drinker but it’s easy to get too busy for a cup most days.  The last week or so, I’ve set my alarm 15 minutes earlier to make myself some Earl Grey and I feel much calmer and more awake most mornings.  What’s your favorite kind of tea?

 

Lobster Point Neckwarmer

Hello, everybody!  This is just a pattern for a simple neckwarmer I knit up late last year.  It’s a bit form-fitting, more like a turtleneck sweater without the sweater, and with slits a few inches up the sides so you don’t get that horrible gap between your collar and the neckwarmer!

Lobster Point Neckwarmer

Yarn: 1 skein of fingering yarn.  I used about half of a skein of Nooch Fiber Morningside Sock yarn (400 yards).
Needle: US 3 (3.25 mm) 16 or 12 inch circular needle

Gauge: 53 stitches x 39 rows = 4×4 inches in 2×2 rib

Cast on 68 stitches with the long tail cast-on or preferred method.  For this section, knit back and forth as if on straight needles.

Row 1: *K2, p2, repeat from * until end of row

Repeat row one until piece measures 3 inches from cast-on edge.  Transfer stitches to stitch holder or spare needle and cut yarn.  Make another piece identical to this one.

Transfer held stitches from the first on to the circular needle with the second piece.  Knit in pattern across the second piece and then across the first piece, connecting the two.  At the end of the row, join to work in the round and place marker.

Continue knitting in the round as established in 2×2 rib until piece measures 9 inches long.

Cast off using the cable cast off or preferred method.  Weave in ends and block gently.

Notes: this pattern is un-tech-read and un-test-knit!  It’s just a quick write-up of what I did to make the neckwarmer I’m wearing in the picture.  I hope you enjoy!

Snowman Says “Hello 2017!”

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Time just runs away from me during the holidays but now that it’s finally over I can actually take a minute to sit down and write.

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The snowman above isn’t mine unfortunately.  I found him on campus a few weeks ago after our first big snow, so snowman credits go to whoever built him.  He’s got plastic forks for arms, paper napkins for his scarf, craisin eyes, and a french fry nose.  No one ever said college students weren’t resourceful!  I thought he was just too cute not to share.

I had a lovely Christmas with my family.  We had my stepsisters and brother-in-law over for Christmas Eve dinner but Christmas Day was just the four of us (my mom, my stepdad, my brother, and me).  We went to church in the morning, opened gifts in the afternoon, and demolished a canard à l’orange for dinner!  My stepdad has a fascinating cookbook of obscure Sicilian recipes so we also had a pasta dish with a cocoa powder, cinnamon, and pork tomato sauce.  It sounds strange but it’s delicious, very warm and flavorful.  A few days later, my brother and I had dinner and exchanged gifts with our dad, who had gone on vacation over Christmas itself.

Shockingly, I only got one skein of yarn this year.  I’m actually really glad I didn’t get more since I’m still working through last year’s yarn gifts (more on that further down the post).   My aunt, uncle, and cousin got me the yarn for the Maya Hat and Mitts from the Fall 2016 issue of Knitscene, as well as a copy of the magazine.  It looks like it’ll be an interesting knit since it’s done as stranded knitting working from either side of a ball of gradient yarn.

I also *drumroll please* won a skein of yarn as well as a free pattern from Allison O’Mahoney in a giveaway by Of Grace and Stitches here on WordPress!  I have yet to decide what to make with it, so into the stash it goes.  Please excuse the blurry and strange photo!  I haven’t had any good light for photography in weeks, since I’m at work during all daylight hours.

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Mostly, I’ve been working on a pair of socks that I’ve dubbed my “Finals Socks,” which I started during final exams.  The pattern is Cadence Socks on Ravelry!  I’m really enjoying how they’ve worked up and the pattern is quite intuitive and easy to memorize.  I’m well into the foot of the second sock, so those will be an FO sooner rather than later.  The fabric is great, stretchy but firm, which I like around my legs and feet.  The yarn is KnitPicks Hawthorne in Compass.

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I cast on a Rudbeckia hat by Andrea Mowry earlier this week and I’ve been getting through it like a fiend.  I’m almost at the crown decreases already.  I’ve modified the pattern to use fingering weight yarn and size 4 needles by simply increasing the number of stitches and the number of repeats of each section.  The main color (purple and blue) is Hawthorne in Fremont, while the brown contrasting color is Hawthorne in St. Johns that I had left over from a pair of socks I knit my brother for his birthday this summer.

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Clearly, I enjoy KP Hawthorne fingering yarn.  I actually got a ton of it for Christmas last year (my mom bought one of the samplers and some singles) and I purchased a few skeins myself.  It’s got a nice tight twist and a nylon blend, which makes it very sturdy for socks, and it comes in a ton of colors with good yardage.

I’m realizing that this is kind of a long rambling post but I’m still trying to get my head screwed on straight post-holidays.  I hope everyone had a good holiday season and let’s wish for a successful 2017!  Does anyone have any New Year’s Resolutions?