How my Knitting Mojo Came back

One last post before Christmas. I had planned to use this time to do some last minute sewing (altering a skirt, making pajamas, and sewing an apron), but frankly I just don’t want to. We had planned to host Christmas Eve, but plans have fallen through, so instead we’ve been baking and doing a ton of laundry, and re-doing our kids room. Bunk beds arrived earlier this week and it turns out building them and organizing a kids room is a huge time suck and also exhausting. So here I am watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation while sitting on the couch and hoping my children are going to sleep. Ahhhhhh, it feels nice.

Until a couple years ago I was solidly a sweater knitter. I used to make several a year, but then I hit that point where I had too many. Yes, too many hand knit sweaters. They felt overwhelming in a bad way. I knit a few for my girls too, but they spend so much time outside and running that 2-3 each winter are more than enough. Charlie runs so hot that she barely needs anything long sleeved. I’ve knit a few pair of socks too, but I’m not sure how much people are actually wearing the pairs I gave as gifts. My knitting hit a rut. I’ve managed to finish 10 things in 2017 when I usually make 30+.

But recently my desire to knit has kicked back on and I’ve been knitting shawl after shawl! It all started with an email from Black Trillium Fibres. I opened one of their promotional emails and a purple speckled gradient set was right there calling to me. I bought it pretty much immediately even though it was named for a Star Wars character (not a fan and don’t usually fall for the gimmick).

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When it arrived I knew I had to start knitting with it right away. I scoured Ravelry for a pattern and my stash yielded a mini skein gradient from Knitted Wit. Things rarely fall together so well in one project.

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The pattern is Passaggio from Lyrical Knits. Mary and I have been Revelry friends for years so I know her patterns are well written and sure to turn out well. Part of my knitting slump was because I was designing my own sweaters. They are gorgeous and original, but something you just want to sit back and let someone else do the math. Passaggio didn’t disappoint. It is thoughtfully laid out and just as the rows are getting really long they start to shorten again. The shape is a trapezoid that provides a nice amount of coverage to keep the chill off my shoulders without slipping off when I move. We’ve had such a warm fall that a shawl of this size can replace a sweater.

The hardest part of knitting this shawl was balancing the amount of yarn I was using. It didn’t quite work out like I’d hoped. On the right is a picture of one of the outer triangle sections. My Black Trillium gradient had 5 shades of purple while my Knitted Wit set had 6 shades of teal. It took some thinking to decide on a layout. So each side triangle has the lightest purple shade for 2 sections then each darker shade for 1 section. That allowed me to use 1 shade of teal for each eyelet row. However from the picture on the left you can see that each section is a bit of a mishmash. I started to run out of yarn. For the center section I had to use multiple shades in each section to make it work. It isn’t what I’d hoped, but it is symmetrical so it doesn’t bother me in the finished shawl.

Gosh, this is beautiful. It took me 2 months to weave in all those ends, but the finished project is so worth all the effort! Since I finished this back in October I’ve finished another shawl and have yet another on my needles. So I’m counting Passaggio as the pattern that got my knitting back on track.

And for all of you who celebrate, I hope you have a lovely Christmas! Santa is on track to visit us in about 25 hours and make two silly little girls very happy. I’m looking forward to a night away with my husband and lots of time hanging out with my sister. Maybe I’ll sew, maybe I won’t. Either is totally fine, but knitting is sure to happen!

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Taming the Sailors Shawl

Well hello there! I’m back and feeling rested and ready to tackle some new projects again! My husband has been in Argentina for the last month and when combined with solo parenting and Stepbet I have been one exhausted lady! But now my husband is home again. I got two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m a whole new woman.

So today I’m here to share a shawl I knit earlier this summer. I’m not much of a shawl wearer, but about once a year I get a hankering to knit lace just because I want to. Shawls are the best projects for random lace knitting!

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This is the gorgeous Sandpiper Shawl from Laura Aylor. I’ve had my eye on this design for the last year, but I just couldn’t decide on what yarn to use. Then as the warm weather set in I found myself in need of a small project I could knit on my lunch breaks.

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Plus I had a gorgeous single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Jacaranda Bloom. This is a color Madelinetosh created at my recommendation and this skein was sent to me as a gift from a fellow knitter. How did I leave it sitting unloved for almost 3 years?!?!

The main body of the shawl is Astral Bath Spectra in the delightfully titled color Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash while the eyelet row is Spectra in Naked. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like an R rated shawl. Ha!

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And because my husband wasn’t home you all get to experience more photos from a 4 year old photographer. Lu took great joy in making me do all kinds of poses to show off the size of the shawl.

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As you can see it is quite generously sized. I used about 700 yards of yarn all together and this nicely covers my shoulders. It only took about 6 weeks worth of lunch time knitting to complete! Highly recommended pattern!!!


And now I’ll also talk a little bit about fitness and Stepbet. I have no intention of making this a fitness blog, but I thought it may prove useful for others to hear a review.

One of the groups where I hang out on Ravelry has been on a huge fitness kick in recent years, but generally I don’t participate in their contests because it is so hard to balance my personal life and finding the time to work out can be tough. However someone brought up the idea of all joining a Stepbet contest and I jumped at the chance to take part in something where I felt I could succeed.

The idea behind the app is everyone puts the same amount of money into the pot and all the people who make their own personal goal for all 5 weeks gets to split the pot.

Pros

  • Everyone gets their own personal goal. The goals are set by the game, but most people had achievable numbers. Mine were roughly 9,300 for active days and 12,000 for stretch days.
  • It got me moving! I did not realize quite how sedentary I’d become until I had to walk several miles each day, 6 days a week.
  • I won cash! I don’t know the final amount yet, but it is probably about $10.
  • It was fun to do with a group of other people and we all cheered each other on.

Cons

  • The biggest negative is that you are basically rooting for people to fail if you want to win any more money than what you put in. You need more than 25% of people to lose. Kind of sad.
  • 5 weeks of having no free time got me a whole $10.
  • There is no room for bad days. Like when my younger daughter decided to wake up for the day at 3am and I was a total wreck I still had to walk my ass off. 100F heat and extremely poor air quality from a wildfire? Still had to figure out a way to walk miles and miles.
  • When it started I didn’t own a Fitbit or other step tracking device so I had to carry my phone. At first it wasn’t so bad, but I quickly got really tired of carrying my phone every single place I went. It got even more annoying when I got a Fitbit and saw I was walking on average 1,000 steps more than my phone registered.

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But I won and it feels great! I plan to keep up walking, but maybe not quite to the same level. I’m still sorting out what I want my plan to be, but I’m thinking a goal of 10,000 steps 4-5 days a week. I’d also like to add more stretching to my day as my muscles feel really tight.

I think my Ravelry group is going to work on a new contest. Something where its a good thing if everyone wins, because who wants their friend to fail? Not me!