5 projects in 5 weeks, day 12

Brings us to yet another finished object.


This scarf turned out so totally different than the red scarf that it is almost startling!  With the red scarf, I had to coax width out of it during blocking.  With this one, I had to coax out extra length while it widened easily.  The malabrigo scarf was thicker and had a completely different texture.  This yarn just widens and loosens during blocking, creating a very soft and drapey scarf.  Both are beautiful though.

5 Projects in 5 Weeks, Day 11

In which Shells feels like she is making great headway!


I am a bit more than halfway done with this project.  I am using Dream in Color Classy colorway Some Summer Sky.  I really am enchanted with every single Dream in Color colorway, but I liked the malabrigo for this scarf better.  Mostly because the vertical lines were more pronounced.  That being said, this is still a very nice scarf.  I am actually hoping to finish it up today providing I have the time while still on vacation.  Reason?  Above all because the yarn for the final project has not arrived yet, so that would allow me a little bit of time to work on something all my own….and how I do crave that!

5 Projects in 5 Weeks, day 9

In which Shells distracts her readers with a completely different project and wishes them all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Bug has been learning how to make potholders on her potholder loom.  She is really quite good at it, and though she has been in tears more than once over her desire to have perfect potholders, her first looks quite good.  Now, I must add, I did weave the loops at the very end because they are hard to do and causing her much frustration, and I did the crochet bind off.  But I am super proud of her!  I think the fact that she understands the over/under concept at 4 is pretty darn good.


5 Projects in 5 Weeks, Day 8

In which Shells feels like she has very little to show for the last 3 days of knitting.


This scarf goes slower than the others.  And I like it less.  So I can practice an amazing amount of avoidance.  I am hoping that the visit from my mom will provide me with the distraction needed to finish it up while she is here.

The good news is that this is the beginning of the second week.  And I am already part way done with project 3.  Which is really a good deal!

5 projects in 5 weeks, day 7

In which Shells shows you another finished object and ignores the mohair scarf almost completely.


I love this scarf!  The malabrigo makes such a wonderfully soft and warm fabric.  The pattern is great, simple and comfortable.  It is not nearly as orange as this picture suggests, but in the absence of sunlight, this will do.

5 Projects in 5 Weeks, Day 6

Wherein Shells delves once again into what can only be known as mohair hell.

Yes, I’ve done this scarf before, and hated it then, but it does look beautiful in the end so I am going there yet again.  I may have vowed never to do it again, but those vows are usually broken.  (Except for the Pomatamus socks, I take the vow not to knit those again very very seriously!)

Meanwhile, the red scarf is blocking and I have to add the tassels when it is dry.  I will soon have that as a finished object as well.  This puts me a week and a day ahead of schedule.  I am very pleased with that.  Maybe I can have the black scarf done by the time my mom leaves?

I am happy with the fact that I was able to create significantly more width by blocking viciously.  I have one more of these to make, and it is good to know that I can add just 2 more stitches to get the look I want, rather than 10 more.  I figure an hour spent blocking, which I’d do anyhow, is better than countless hours more knitting.  I did have to make the scarf extra long in order that I could block it in width, I lost a lot of length that way.  But it is still a six foot scarf, which is more than enough if you ask me!


Five Projects in Five Weeks, Day 5

Or…Shells Sees Red.


This is the “Elegant Drinking Scarf” I am using Malabrigo Worsted in Rojo Vivo.  I am going to ultimately do 2 of these scarves, and I already know what I am going to change.  You see, I have been slipping the first stitch of every row, which creates a much neater and tidier end.  But doing so on this pattern makes the end rows look smaller than the rest.  On the next scarf I will add two stitches to the cast on and use those as a selvage edge.  I think that will be much nicer.  I do hope that I can block this out quite a bit, as it isn’t nearly as wide as I’d like it to be.  I don’t think I have wet blocked malabrigo yet, so I have no idea if it will expand the way I am hoping it will.

The way I see it, I am 3.5 days ahead of schedule.  Technically this one wouldn’t have to be done until December 2, on my current schedule.  But the next scarf may take me more than a week, so I am hoping to be done with this one soon.  PLUS, there is a bonus.  If I can get my 5 projects in 5 weeks done early, I am going to throw in a bonus project which will match the last scarf!

I will leave you with another Happy Sunday picture….


5 Projects in 5 Weeks, Day 4

Wherein Shells considers changing her name to “The Claw.”

I’ve finished the pair of monkeys, and hung up my sock needles for the rest of the challenge.  I can admit to being quite sad about that, as socks are one of my favorite things to knit.  On the other hand….well, the other hand says “OUCH!”  See, I don’t believe sock knitting should be done under duress.  Small needles and fast knitting will only lead to sore hands.  So I will have to be content to pick up the sock needles at a later date and finish the rest of this challenge with worsted weight yarn.


The yarn was knitpicks dancing.  The colors are fun and it makes a stretchy fabric. These do not fit me, but they weren’t meant to.  Have I mentioned how much I love me a pair of monkey socks?

5 Projects in 5 Weeks, day 3

Or…Shells feels swift!

Look what is on my swift!  Yarn for project #2, which finally arrived today.


Looks like I might be needing it soon…the first sock is done.  Ahead of schedule.  Let’s keep it that way!


In other  news, I woke up this morning thinking there was something wrong with my furnace.  Even though I had turned down the heat overnight, it seemed like it was running way too often.  Then I got up and looked at the temperature.  13F.  No wonder my furnace is working overtime!

Five Projects in Five Weeks Day 2

Wherein Shells happily knits happy monkey socks.


So here is how I see it.  I’ve got 35 days to finish 5 projects.  If I manage a project a week I’ll be doing really well.  I’ve selected the projects and put them in an order which I feel will be the least likely to drive me over the edge.  Starting with the Monkey Socks is a bit chancy, as I love the monkey socks so completely that I should be saving them for the end.  But, we had a bit of a mix up yesterday, causing me to lack the proper yarn for the proper first project.

On Tuesday I contacted my friend Carrie, who works part time at my favorite local yarn shop.  I asked her if she could pick up some yarn for me and bring it to me on Wednesday seeing as I’d be knitting with her then.  She advised me to go ahead and place the order and she would make a special trip in to pick it up.  All was right with the world and I would be able to bring my needles with me and cast on right away.  I called the shop, spoke to the owner, and had him pull the yarn I needed.  I let him know that Carrie would be in to pick it up and he set it aside for me.  I was happy!

A bit after noon, I receive an email with a tracking number for USPS from the local yarn shop.   My heart sank.  What the heck is that all about?  I call the shop, get the owner, and ask if Carrie has been in to pick it up.  He tells me that she hasn’t, and I say “Well, I think we have a little problem.  I just received a tracking number for it.”  He says “WHAT?  It is right here?”  And then I hear the following conversation:

Owner:  “Where is that package of yarn I had sitting over here?”

Worker: “I sent it out with the rest of the orders.”

Owner:  “No no!  Carrie is coming in to pick that up!”

Worker: “Well I WONDERED why we were mailing something to someone here in this city!”

Me:  “Ah….can you please make sure I am not charged for shipping???”

So he quickly removed the shipping, and I pulled out the yarn and needles for the monkeys.  Luckily the yarn should be in my box today.  This contains the yarn for 2 out of the 5 projects, so it is an important package!

A few details for the socks.  I am using Knitpicks Dancing, which is a wool/cotton/nylon blend.  These come from my stash, which is a Very Good Thing.  I fell out of love with this yarn, frankly I bought it on sale and I just don’t care about it anymore.  So I thought I’d use it for the monkeys.  And, I am enjoying it!  A lot more than I thought I would.  The colors are working up in a fun and random way, and the fabric that this yarn makes is great.  It is a win!

5 Projects in 5 Weeks

I am about to do something a little crazy and out of the ordinary here.  We will title it “5 projects in 5 weeks” or “Watch Shells go insane.”  Either way, it should be somewhat entertaining and revealing.  This is a knitting committment, and we all know how good I am about that.  *eye roll*

Full Speed Ahead

It has come to my attention that I have a boatload of Christmas knitting to do.  So much so that I am rather nervous it won’t get done!  In the next couple weeks we should be seeing a lot of project monogamy out of me.  Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?  In the interest of this goal oriented knitting, I thought I should finish up my 2 pair of November socks.  The first pair I finished tonight, with the second pair being not at all far behind.


I had fun with these colors, and have something up my sleeve for more crazy colored socks.  All these socks did was give me ideas!

Give me 2 days to finish the peace socks.  My needles are flying now!

My Trooper

Bug is SUCH a trooper.  I decided she needed a flu shot before her fathers insurance runs out.  I told her we were going to go to see the doctor.  She said “But I won’t have to have a shot will I?”  Now, I just don’t believe in lying to her so I told her that she would need a shot that would help keep her from getting sick this winter.  She said “Ok Mom, I am going to be strong, it won’t hurt much.  I’ll just take a deep breath.  And then they’ll give me a sticker!”  So we went in this morning for her shot.  The nurse gave her the choice of arm or leg, and she chose leg.  I held her hands and told her when she’d feel a sting.  She winced at the sting but of course the medicine hurts the most.  She took deep breaths and her little face turned red, eyes started watering….but she was such a trooper that I had to tell her that it was OK to cry if she needed to.  A minute later she is following the nurse down the hall in search of her stickers.  (She got 2 since she was so amazing.)

Last evening her father got to see Jekkyl and Hyde routine in full effect.  He dropped her off, and she was in full tantrum mode.  Carrying on about wanting to see a movie and she would not be placated.  He brought her up the steps, I took one look at her (no tears, just fake tantrum scream/cry) gave her the ‘mommy” look and said “Bug, come inside right now, that is ENOUGH!”  Boy, she shut right up, walked in, and got her PJ’s on, leaving a rather startled father on the porch steps.

In knitting news, I have decided that J’s sweater has been in time out long enough, so the grand attempt of the weekend is to fix it completely.  I finished one peace sock yesterday (leaving only about a yard of yarn left over, thank goodness for toe up socks) and worked on the tangled yoke cardi and the icarus shawl.


Next week will see the finish of the wild mystery socks and ideally some spinning.  Hopefully.  Not making promises on the spinning.

I said I wouldn’t

But I am weak weak weak in the face of handknit socks!

I think I mentioned how I would not cast on a second pair of November sockdown socks.  I had the mystery colorwork sock and that was good enough for me.  Then I realized one of the patterns I have been looking at was included in this months sock down, and I just happened to have the exact yarn suggested by the pattern.  The pattern is Peace Socks by Wendy Johnson.  (Shown part way down the page in the link.)  The yarn is Chameleon Colorworks evolution in Figgy Pudding.  Evolution yarn is that stretched merino called optim, and it is softer than soft!  Feels very similar to my handmaiden mini maiden wool silk blend.  But sturdier.  I picked the figgy pudding colorway because I had spun some of that colorway and fallen in love.  Since I sold the spinning, I decided to get the yarn for myself.  The socks themselves are knitting up very fast since the yarn is a bit thicker than your typical sock yarn.  Enough of me writing about them, let me show you my progress!


Of course this could mean that I have put down my mystery socks, but that is not the case at all.  In fact, I am sorry that I refered to them as “clown socks” the last time I showed them to you.  As I continue to knit on them, I realize that they do not remind me of clowns at all, but of impressionist art.  I love viewing impressionist art simply because the artists always manages to use color in a way I don’t expect.  This in turn makes me look at the world around me in a different way, viewing the world through different colors.  And these socks remind me of that exactly.  Holding 2 strands together is making the colors play on each other and wander back and forth in an unpredictable way.  My eyes are drawn to them and I am tempted to knit just a little further to see what the color will do next.  Of course, now I am waiting on the next clue to come out.  I’ve finished the heels and will be able to start the rest of the sock on Monday evening.


My Obsession

Let me show you it!

This is the Tangled Yoke Cardigan with yarn I purchased at stitches.  The yarn is Brooks Farm Acero, which is 60% wool, 20% silk, 20% viscose.  The color is a stunning smokey blue.  I lengthened the body of this cardigan and added some spare room for the hips.  I am now down to the medium size where I will stay for the rest of the construction of it.  It seems to be going quickly but that might have something to do with the fact that I absolutely cannot put it down even with the muscle in my forearm screaming at me to take a break.  I think I need some Tylenol.


Free stylin’

When I first began spinning, my yarn would come out thick and thing and drive me nuts.  I spent all my time working on consistant and thin yarn.  As I progressed, I finally got to the point where I could create the yarn I envisioned.  3 ply, 2 ply, navajo ply, whatever I wanted I could make.  But I lost something during that learning process.  I lost the ability to make that thick and thing yarn that I didn’t like when I started.  But my desires shifted too!  I found some of the thick and thin yarn I saw to be pretty and artsy and have a ton of character.  But I couldn’t do it.

So this weekend my goal was to create thick and thin yarn.  And I am happy with the results.  In order to create this, I had to speed everything up for the size of the yarn I was going for, so I didn’t have time to think and straighten out the yarn.  Every time I felt that I was getting consistant, I would then pull farther back into my drafting triangle than I would typically.  Now, this is somewhat painful, but I did manage it.

I haven’t decided if I should leave this as it is colorwise, or overdye the entire thing in black.  I am open to suggestions!  133 yards merino.


ETA:  Forget the overdyeing idea, this one is already sold 😛

Just a few more things

That lace I knit on “almost” exclusively.  But I did have a couple more things to show off.

I’ve been doing some spinning, just a bit!  This is a merino/bamboo blend which has the colors of pink granite.  I am going for 3 ply once again, because I am just so addicted!


And I began my November sock challenge.  This months challenge is slip stitch or mosaic knitting.  Now, I’ve never done either, so now is as good a time as any to learn.  Additionally, there is a mystery sock, and you all know I just love a good mystery pattern!  I needed 3 colors, and so I decided to use some of the colors which my aunt gave me.  She dyed them herself.  They are wool, and they are thin, like laceweight.  So I am holding them double stranded.  And, though they are quite bright socks, I am told that subtlety is overrated.


This is just the cuff, I have no idea what other fun things are in store for these socks!  Oh how I love a mystery!

Back to your regularly scheduled program

I finished my MS4, or serendipity stole, last evening.  I spent the evening grafting the 2 pieces together and blocking it.  This one went surprisingly quickly since I was working on it somewhat exclusively.  This was one of my favorite patterns to knit, I never once got bored.  It is not though, one of my favorite patterns over all.  Yarn is knitpicks heather, and I absolutely loved working with it.  It is also super soft to wear.  I learned with this stole that grafting lace is not scary, and blocking makes the graft blend right in.





Red Bull and Vodka

Yeah nice try, I’ve never had it and the thought makes me gag.  But, after much debate over patterns, Nick and I came to the conclusion that I should just design a scarf for him.  Since it is his scarf, and it will be my first design, it needed a name.  I let Nick name it, and he chose “Red Bull and Vodka.”

I wanted subtle, textured, and somewhat elegant.  I think even in this unblocked state I am getting there.

And here is a quick update on the optim, 600 yards optim singles spun laceweight.

Jekyll and Hyde

Bug is a good kid.  Really.  She is pleasant to be around, she obeys and listens and picks up her toys.  She is funny and smart and active and compliant.  She is somewhat nervous which makes her not take risks that other moms worry about.  If you tell her the danger of something, she pays attention.  She sleeps well, goes to bed when she is told, and is content.  She is at her best in the mornings when she wakes up, playing for hours by herself.  She responds well to discipline, especially the elimination of her favorite activities when she isn’t doing what she is told.  She weighs her choices carefully, and more often than not, the elimination of a particular activity is not worth the disobedient thing that she wants to do.  Even if it is just talking back to me.

Is this nature of nurture?  Is she a compliant child by nature or have I worked really hard?  Is it a combination?

Apparently the ex is having a tough time.  Right down to the point where he doesn’t want her to stay with him anymore.  She won’t sleep for him.  She won’t stay in her bedroom at night and stays up very late.  He gets no peace when she is there.  He has to either let her fall asleep with a movie running or he has to lay in bed with her until she falls asleep.  I have never ever had to do any of these things.  She has asked me to on occasion, usually upon return from her dads house, but I do not allow it.  It isn’t even a question.  But the behavior has gotten so out of hand at his house that he doesn’t even want her around!

Nature or nurture?  We have a real life Jekyll and Hyde on our hands.  I’ve worked extraordinarily hard to make sure I have as easy a time as possible with her most times.  Her dad takes the easy route and doesn’t even want her to be around right now.

I’ve done all the suggesting I can with him and I choose no longer to be involved with his decisions as long as they are not directly hurting her.  I don’t like that he cannot be consistent, but I cannot create a good parent out of him any more than I was able to create a good husband out of him.  Instead, I will spend more time with her and she will continue to be more pleasant around me.  I guess in the end, I feel like the winner.

Let’s start with the Bug as a Beaver!

Well, the major goal this weekend was to finish my second pair of October socks.  That is it, I am not trying for 2 pairs of socks per month anymore.  I want to knit more than socks!

I love these though.  I had the yarn for over a year and didn’t think I would love it.  But it is rich colored, deep, and has a shine that I love.  The pattern is Escher’s Cube.  The cubes are somewhat difficult to see due to the variegation in the yarn, but, they are richly textured even so.