Blanket, Camping, Unpacking and the Best Jam Ever

Happy Thursday Readers! It’s been a while since my last post, but for good reason.

Check out this super awesome estate sale find! It matches perfectly with a side table my grandparents gave me, and it was only $5!
Check out this super awesome estate sale find! It matches perfectly with a side table my grandparents gave me, and it was only $5!

Lets start at the beginning. I signed the lease on my new apartment last Monday, something I’m really happy about. This will be the first place I’ve lived where I’m living by myself, so I’ve spent a good chunk of time looking on craiglist for tag/estate sales, perusing overstock.com and being grateful that my parents are donating some furniture to my cause. Yesterday was my third trip to target in a week, but I finally feel like I have everything that I need to get started.

I’m not done yet, there’s a ton of unpacking to do. The dresser I bought from overstock was broken (they were super good about exchanging it for a new one, but still a bummer) so my clothes can’t really be unpacked yet. I feel like I’m back at summer camp the way I’ve been living out of my Tupperware, but I’m sure I’ll look back at this and laugh. My desk stuff still needs to be unpacked, and my books. My computer and TV still need to be hooked up, but at least I have use of a laptop. There’s a lot of work in my future, but I got this.

It doesn’t really help that right after I signed my lease I went up to NH to camp for almost a week. Can you blame a girl? Beautiful lake waters and a cool summer breeze. I can’t wait to go back up again. I spent my time swimming, running and listening to the third Game of Thrones book while knitting.

After a lot of thought, I casted on this blanket so that I can curl up under it while watching movies this winter. (So hopefully it's done in time.)
After a lot of thought, I casted on this blanket so that I can curl up under it while watching movies this winter. (So hopefully it’s done in time.) I’m calling it my Valley Girl Blanket in honor of my move back to the Valley.

Speaking of that third book… I feel as if it’s important for me to note that I am all caught up on the show. So I knew that the red wedding and others traumatic events were going to happen. I knew they were coming, sure the book always provides a more powerful and vivid image, but I knew they were coming. As I was sitting there, knitting what I’ve come to call my Valley Girl Blanket, I was in a panic because I was so sure that the events were going to happen right that second. Pretty sure I listened to a solid 4 hours before the red wedding happened. Thank you to my friends who told me that I was being ridiculous and that I could make it through the deaths of some of my favorite characters, and for reminding me that the death of one of my least favorites was soon to follow.

Let’s get back to my Valley Girl Blanket for a second. I am, by no means, still a beginner knitter. Sure I’ve only been knitting for about a year and a half now, but I’ve taken on many difficult and non-begininer projects. That being said, I started the Knit Beginner Blanket by knit picks so that I would have a project that is 100% mindless. I casted on 250 stitches in worsted weight, even though the pattern only calls for 210, and have been seriously enjoying the garter stitch. It’s been perfect for people watching, enjoying conversation, distressing, enjoying what’s going on outside my window… etc. It’s awesome, I can feel the stitches and don’t have to look at the knitting at all! Of course, I’m only halfway done with the first strip. Ask me how much I love it when I reach the last one. Then again, I’m starting to be a firm believer in the idea that every knitter needs a simple project and a more complex one to bounce between. I am also the same person that swore a year ago that I would never have more than one project going on at the same time. My how times have changed.

NH evening, cool breeze and beautiful sights.
NH evening, cool breeze and beautiful sights.

As I leave you with a picture of the lake I stayed at and a current picture of my knitting (it’s a little bigger now, but it’ll give you the same idea), I want to take a moment to talk about one of the best souvenir gifts that I have ever gotten. One of my friends went to NY for a few weeks and brought me back some Amish Jam. Blueberry and Strawberry Rhubarb. I’m including this in my post because if you’re ever able you need to buy this jam. Seriously, he has ruined me and my jam preferences. I’m worried that I won’t be able to go back to store bought jam and will have to drive the 3+ hours to buy more. My dad and I spent some time plotting what we could put it on. Some of my favorites that we came up with include: cheese and crackers, cheesecake, zucchini bread, martinis… the list goes on and on.

If you can think of anything else that the jam would taste good on, a place where I could get more that isn’t so far away or is more accessible please comment below! I only have two jars and they’re going fast.

New hair, same enthusiastic me

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday. You know the scary thing about this Wednesday? This Wednesday marks almost of a week since I’ve moved out of my apartment in Cambridge. I have a place to stay until I find my own apartment, but I’ve come to the realization that I’m in this interesting in between that I’ve never experienced in my life thus far. There are so many moving pieces, so many different things that I have to accomplish to put myself back into a more concrete situation. Like go to an open house at a possible apartment tonight and charm the pants off everyone so that I end up first on their list. Is that even a thing? Do people make lists and think “gee, I’m going to help this person over this person”? I would probably go for the person (or people) who seem the most interested, a first come first serve type deal. That seems like the fair way to do it.

Though I should include a before picture, remember the red comes from pure Henna (the same stuff they use for henna tattoos)
Thought I should include a before picture, remember the red comes from pure Henna (the same stuff they use for henna tattoos)

In other news, I officially have no more henna in my hair. I wasn’t blogging back then (this is after all my third post), but back in October 2014 I decided that my blonde hair had bleached itself funny from all the swimming I do and I should dye my hair. I was always thinking of going red once I came to this conclusion, but after wondering around my local CVS I decided I was unfit to pick a dye and needed to look into the projects via research. I love research, none got done however. Later that same day I ended up at a friend’s house and made the offhand comment that I was jealous about how well her hair had taken to the red dye she had used. One thing lead to another and before I knew it I had this gunk in my hair (henna powder, water, lemon and almond oil?) that smelled very earthy crunchy and a shower cap on my head. Did you know you have to sit with henna in your hair for 3 hours? That’s a really long time, but at least it didn’t itch and there was a lot of board games during the waiting period. After it was all over and the henna was washed out my hair was neon orange, it took a week to settle into the beautiful red that I came to love. For about a month and a half, then I cut my hair off (see picture) because I loved Snow from Once Upon a Time’s haircut and decided to stop dying it. The color was awesome, it was the 3 hours of sitting with gunk in my hair and then the two days of not washing and then the week and a half of orange. Henna is awesome guys, if you never ever ever want to change your hair color ever again.

Fun Fact: I can make this color look blonde with an instagram filter
Fun Fact: I can make this color look blonde with an instagram filter

I got it out though! I’m free from the constraints of never being able to dye my hair and it only took about 4 hours with a family friend in her salon. And probably another 4 the night before, but I feel like my own attempt that resulted in light bulb yellow shouldn’t count. I am now rocking lavender-gray hair, and I’m loving every second of it. It makes my yellow eyes pop, but mostly I just feel like it’s me. I am a pixie rocking lavender hair person. New glasses too, trying to figure out how I feel about them. They came in from Glasses USA and were on sale! Literally got them for the price of a new sundress. Why do I feel like I’m going to start a collection?

As for my knitting, I’ve started the sleeve to the sweater I posted the other day. I’d love to finish at least the sleeves this week and get them attached to the body of the sweater, then finish the yoke mid-week next week. The hard part is over? Or at least the 2 intimidating 78 stitch 72 row charts. Mostly I’m ready to cast on something new and make sure the sweater fits the intended. I’m thinking a hat next, probably one that’s a little on the mindless side.

Have you ever done anything risky with your hair? Dyed it any wild colors? This was only my second time dying it, any suggestions on what to do next?

My most intimidating project… thus far

image1_1__medium2I learned how to knit with two hands back in the fall, apparently that’s the most important thing to do if you’re going to attempt color work. One strand per hand, two in your right if you’re bold and you’re trying to knit with more than two colors. The mittens I made came out pretty good, a little small though. Like… the adult size mittens would fit an eight year old if I’m lucky. I swear I checked my gauge, but I also think I was influenced by my teacher to go for the smaller needles so that the fabric would be tight. I think they would have fit better if I used a US 4 or 5 instead of my 2, but I’m just happy that I was able to make the mittens.

The pattern (known as fiddlehead on ravelry if you’re interested) was forgiving to my fumbling left hand and didn’t require much in the world of floats. Actually I don’t think I used any floats, pretty sure I had to look up how to create floats when I started this project.

The color work project I’m working on, however, is not the forgiving simple pattern that my mittens were. Not to mention, the pattern was crazy expensive because of it’s fancy charts. The pattern, known as the Embrace Octopus Sweater, has been haunting my dreams since the end of May. Some days I don’t even knit the sweater, I just spend time staring at the charts and breathing deeply. All things are knit one stitch at a time, so why couldn’t I get past the intricate color work that was required for this octopus? There were days I tried to start other projects but couldn’t bring myself to because I felt like I was cheating on the sweater. Cheating. On a sweater. Ridiculous. But that’s how I felt, I felt like if I wasn’t working on the sweater, knitting row after row like a machine, then I shouldn’t be knitting. I think I’ve gone a week this month without knitting just so I wouldn’t have to look at the octopus chart or feel like I was cheating. Cheating. On a sweater. I think I’m going crazy.

But today, it finally happened. I finished the body of the sweater and finally put away the first two charts. The main two charts,11707483_10153045897710897_2201277114703853376_n the two charts that make up the bulk of the sweater. Sure, I knit for about seven hours today in order to do it, but it’s done. I can finally work on the quick parts and move on.  It will feel good to have another project to work on when this is all over (and I’ll post pictures when it’s all over), just don’t tell my sweater that I’ve been plotting my next project. I don’t want it to get jealous and work against me for the remainder of our time together.

Off to get back to my summer of knitting! What’s the most intense project that you’ve done so far? Do you like to challenge yourself or are you a knitter who prefers a mindless knit? Post your answers in the comments :]

Hello world!

My finished hitchhiker, knit in Sprout by the Fiber Seed.
My finished hitchhiker, knit in Sprout by the Fiber Seed for a friend. I’ve been knitting for about a year and a half now and am always taking on new challenges. I’d like to think I’m witty too, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

These last few weeks have seen the end of a lot of firsts for me. The end of my first year teaching high school biology. The end of my year living in Cambridge, which was the first time I’ve ever lived on my own. The end of the 5th season of Game of Thrones, but, hey, at least I’m all caught up now. The end of my first semester of graduate school. The completion of my first intarsia project.

These last few weeks have also shown the continuation of traditions. Another baby blanket for a friend. Starting my summer off for a second time with the I-91 shop hop. Creating a summer reading list of books I want to read while the weather is warm and I can sit outside. Going to visit the lake with my family. Things that always change but never actually seem to. But me? I am always changing, learning and dreaming.

If you told any of my friends that I was going to start my first summer off as a teacher by starting a knitting blog, they wouldn’t be surprised. Most of them would probably say that it’s about time I stopped relying on Instagram so much. Here’s to knitting publicly, because it’s not something just for old ladies in rocking chairs.