on Ramp Up to Camp 2020

resized952020050495085018As I’m sure many of us can appreciate, working from home has returned my commuting time to me. This means I have over an hour of time back in my day, something I am enjoying as the days get longer and the weather gets nicer. While my coworkers have spent this extra time catching up on shows that they’ve fallen behind on, my partner and I have spent the extra time driving to remote trails. In other words, overall I have not really lost much car time.

That being said, what I’ve lost in having my car time break-even, I’ve gained in not driving. So as my partner drives us all over the place, I’m able to cheerfully knit in the passenger seat. Yes I am cranking out knitting projects left and right. Yes, it is starting to affect my creativity, and my ability to slowly think about what to knit next.

Enter Camp Loopy, a series of challenges that involves knitting one project in June, July and August. Normally, I’m not into deadlines or being told what to knit, but something about Camp Loopy is always a good time.

Someone, whether or not it was in honor of Covid, had the grand idea to create a pre-camp challenge, a ramp up to camp if you will. This came just in time, as I hadn’t yet decided to make my partner’s mom a Venzia shawl for her birthday and am currently trying to use up as much stash as I can outside of the summer challenge.

There were 9 prompts to choose from, this is the one I selected:

Buried Treasure: make something that has been in your Ravelry queue or on your Ravelry favorites list (or on your internal “must make” list) for more than a year. It has been buried in your list – now it is time to unearth it!

img_20200517_152847What was my “buried treasure”? The Wish and Hope cardigan by Anne B Hanssen, which I would make out of some leftover Wollmeise in Pinie. Hanssen promoted this pattern as free a while a go and I couldn’t help but eye it from a far.

When I first started the pattern, I couldn’t help but marvel in the beauty of working an intrecate pattern for a baby — after all a tiny sweater means you’re done with the lace work relatively quickly!

Don’t get me wrong, overall I’m happy with the way everything turned out, but I won’t be knitting this one again. I stopped the leaf pattern after the edging because I was tired of working it. Then I had to sludge through picking up so. many. stitches. But the icing on the cake was a three needle bind off at the top, which created a visible seam.. I should have used the kitchner stitch to graph it together. I could blame the wordiness of the pattern, but there’s a balance between providing enough information for beginners and overloading your experienced knitters.

I think my neighbors were happy with it, I left it outside their door with a note and haven’t heard anything. Nothing like being busy with a new baby!

on Rediscovering Letter Sending

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We proudly hike remote trails, and love the fact that we can finally drive to them with the windows down

I’m very lucky, I live surrounded by mountains, lakes and rivers. On top of this, most of the activities that I enjoy doing take place while enjoying those natural beauties. What I’m trying to say is, not only are my partner and I healthy, we’re still able to do the things we love within the restrictions from COVID-19.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that we miss doing. By a lot of things, I’m really only referring to the numerous thrift shops that I enjoy hunting through and the family that is now harder to see. It sucks that my sister is about to have a daughter and there are additional pressures that come with being a new parent. It also blows that I may not be able to meet her for a while. But again, we’re all healthy, so am I really in a position to complain?

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On the positive end of the spectrum, my friends and I have rediscovered sending messages to each other via “snail mail”. It’s been fun sitting down and writing out stationary that I’ve been hoarding since middle school. In her last letter, my friend asked me to knit her a teapot cozy. I used the pattern Cinnamon Brioche by Elizabeth Sullivan and some leftover Alegria, which 100% reminds me of Batwoman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of how it came out… but I’m more proud of the letter I’m sending with it.

Hello! It has come to my attention that you require my Tea Genie magic to keep your pot cozy. I promise, you ain’t never had a friend like me.

You don’t understand, by day, I walk the streets like the classy lady that I am. Shaking my red hair, rocking a black tank and winking at all the ladies. By night, I’m a tea vigilante. Swooping in to save heat and providing maximum relaxation. (Seriously though, flip me inside out to the colors you’re in the mood for. I don’t mind).

You should also know that I come with a special utility belt so that I can hug my pot better. Just slip the buttons through the loose edge and I’m not going anywhere (My other side will hold onto the spout. I’m a professional after all).

It’s been so long since I have sent something other than a thank you letter or holiday card through the mail (ok it’s only been five years). Don’t get me wrong, I’m the girl who sent her boyfriends handwritten letters when we were long distance, even when an email would have been faster. You can’t help but feel a little more loved when a letter comes in for you, there are more steps in the way of sending them. What I’m trying to say is, I’m not sure why I fell out of practice, but I’m going to make an effort to send at least a post card when this is all over. After all, I can’t be the only one who’s tired of getting only bills in the mail.

Featured: Knitted Bliss

I was featured on Knitted Bliss! Julie stumbled across my modified Azalea and featured it in her blog (below). After loving her Stockholm Scarf from afar, I couldn’t help but have a small fangirl moment when she reached out for permission.

Mod Monday is back! For those that were missing it, honestly there are fewer and fewer modifications that are being documented, at least where I can easily find them.  So if you do come across a great knitted mod, let me know! 

Let’s look at this lovely knit, shall we?

Original Pattern: Azalea

Knitter Extraordinaire: isimlikeafish (Ravelry profile, blog)

Mods: Changed the top of the original strappy tank pattern to be a raglan t-shirt instead. Details can be found on her project page, here. And a note that if you love to read and are looking for knitting with a dash of book review content, her blog is great!

What Makes This Awesome: I love the original pattern, it’s been in my queue for a while- but those little spaghetti straps, they can easily put a knitter off. But here we have such a great solution- knit the shoulders as a cap sleeve tee, and focus on the original pattern details lower down. This is a great idea for anyone who loves a design detail on a tank top, but wants a little more shoulder coverage.

This would be an especially great pattern mash up if you have a knit that you love the fit and look of the shoulders and neckline, and want to incorporate the details from a different pattern into the rest of the body. Now that the warm weather is on its way, maybe it’s time to look at modifying some knits for summer?

May Book Club: The Wife Between Us

34189556I picked the Wife Between Us up in honor of all the patrons who asked for help finding “the blue book they read a while ago”. The title seemed interesting enough, but the description sealed the deal. The idea that things aren’t what they seem is one of my favorite things to read about, the mystery of reading between the lies was exciting.

Part one of this book focused on Vanessa, Richard’s ex-wife, recovering from her separation and Nellie, a young woman who had fallen head over heels with him. Throughout this part, I couldn’t help thinking that there was something a little off about Richard. Something about him seemed manipulative and controlling, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then again, I reasoned, perhaps it was all a figment of my imagination because he had been just been through a messy relationship with Vanessa — who is clearly someone who is unhinged and prone to alcoholism. It was easy to roll my eyes at Vanessa and want her to get her life together. To let go of Richard and to stop obsessing over her replacement. It was easy to root for Nellie, someone who just wanted to feel loved and safe. Someone who found that person in Richard. Still, something wasn’t quite right, something nagged me about Richard.

Fast forward to part two. Well played Hendricks and Pekkanen, well played. I did not see that coming! I literally had a “wait, what?” moment when I learned that Nellie is the younger version of  Vanessa, the nickname being given to her on the plane when she and Richard met because she was being a “Nervous Nellie”. The plot thicked immediately, my mind suddenly inspecting Vanessa’s marriage to Richard with a renewed intrigue.

Looking for clues and insight into who Richard is, while also trying to understand Vanessa’s story now that a light had been shined on it. The more I read, the more I was left wondering, who is Richard? Is he the nice guy he’s made out to be? Or is he the crazy one? I have to admit, the resemblance between Emma, his new fiancé, and Vanessa are uncanny.

As the story continued, everything came to a crashing head. The pacing of the plot suddenly quickening. Vanessa finally in a place where she can discuss the abuse and manipulation that she experienced during her years of being married to Richard. The light that is shined on his paranoia and his concern with appearances. It quickly becomes clear that throughout their marriage both parties played a game and the only person that game was dangerous for was Vanessa.

Emma was an interesting character to introduce to their game because of who she is — the daughter of the professor that Vanessa had an affair with in college — and because Vanessa used her to escape her marriage. True, Emma had an affair with Richard while they were still married and Vanessa put on an act to make Emma see her in a specific light, but the two women played each other. An interesting layer over the game that Vanessa and Richard were playing. The difference being that Emma was playing to hurt and Vanessa was playing to experience freedom. Watching Vanessa try to free Emma was fun because it allowed moments of “is Vanessa the crazy one after all”?

Now that it’s over, I can look back and say that while I had an inkling of some things, this book still provided me with a lot of surprises. Personally, I didn’t need the epilogue, where Emma’s true identity was revealed. While it added to the theme of things are not as they appear, I felt as though the book would have been fine if it had ended with the final chapter.

I passed the copy I found to a friend within hours of finishing it — I wonder what her response will be!

We’ll be reading We Set the Dark on Fire for June. A book based upon the idea that the Sun God decided that those on the inner circle deserve two wives to run their household. Set in a fantasy Latin America, this book appears to be the story of an immigrant who’s family snuck across the boarder in the dark of the night.

37868569._SY475_At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

On going off the beaten path

94404582_725926194612925_8566214286488109056_nIt’s that time of year, there’s mud everywhere and people are remembering that it’s nice to go outside. For those of us who hike through the winter, this means getting up a little earlier to beat crowds to trails and having a backup plan in case everyone wants to hike the same trail you do. COVID-19 seems to have caused an increase in the number of people looking to get out. This is awesome and we’re excited to see so many people enjoying nature, minus the few people we’ve run into that don’t respect the trail (Don’t light fires in the middle of the brush! There’s a lot that can burn right now! Also, please clean up your trash.).

With everyone looking to hike, we’ve taken to seeking out trails that require all-wheel drive and some grit to get to or generally harder trails. We actually drove up to one mountain, only to turn around and attempt to access it from another side! It would have been an amazing story if we had been able to locate the trail and walk on more than an old logging road. Not that I’m complaining, it was absolutely gorgeous back there.

img_20200422_113123It seems as though our hiking habits have leaked into my knitting again; I’m currently working on another Flax Light by TinCanKnits and couldn’t help but deviate from the suggested “fingering” weight that the pattern calls for. For all of the sweater’s ribbing, the plan is to hold a skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Lace-Garn that’s been sitting in my stash double. For the rest of the sweater, I’m holding the Lace-Garn with Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Luna Effects. The result is this fuzzy (and a little tacky) sweater that makes me feel like I belong on the original set of Full House. I can’t help but get excited as I set the sleeves aside and begin to take on the body, good thing I live in the mountains and might get to wear it on a cool summer night.

The crazier undertaking has been converting Azalea from a thin strap tank-top into a short-sleeved sweater. The body of the tank is simple enough, minus some cool lace at the bottom, and knits up relatively quickly. Once those pieces are knit, you’re supposed to pick up stitches and knit 3 rows or so to make straps. In other words, once you’ve knit the body it shouldn’t take much longer to complete the project. But I’m a knitter and what’s the point of knitting something if you can’t make it what you really want?

Using the yarn I bought in Spain, I enthusiastically knit the front and back pieces. Then I took a deep breath, picked up the side stitches and knit sleeve caps. Sleeve caps are really cool! I’ve never done them this way before, but I knit a different sweater that has you seam them on at the end and really like the way it makes the sweater fit. After knitting the sleeves, I seamed the sides and tried it on with my fingers crossed.

00100lrportrait_00100_burst20200422085305802_cover-3It fit! The armholes weren’t too small and the lace bottom hung nicely despite my first attempt at the single crochet seaming technique. Then I looked up and noticed how low the neckline was. I cannot stress how deep the v on this v neck was.

The problem with knitting is that you begin to run out of ways to fix problems as the problems appear closer and closer to the end of your project. At this point, I wasn’t going to pick up stitches and work a few decrease rows to make the neck smaller because I wanted the seam to line up with the ribbing. So I held my breath and picked up the many stitches required to start the neckline ribbing… only to be excited when it worked!

Overall, I’m happy with the way this tank turned t-shirt turned out. There are a few things I would do differently – like lengthen the body and skip the 6 rows of stitching before starting the sleeve caps — but it was a great experiment!