Another Random Friday

In no particular order:

  • It’s SPRING!  Today was the first warm weather and sunshine day with flowers blooming and people out walking and playing.  The past week or so has been rainy and chilly and depressing.  I was getting awfully cranky.

  • I had today off.  I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I did go grocery shopping, talked to someone about my dieing car, and knit.  A lot.
  • I knit these:

  • Which, after dinner, I felted into these:

  • Most of this is leftover wool that I wanted to experiment with.  The yellow is Lamb’s Pride (don’t remember the name of the color), the black is a Berroco – I think?  The reddish brown is a new yarn I bought at Windy Knitty – called Monteza from Classic Elite.  It is 50/50 Wool and Llama.  I like how the stitches disappear when felting (the Lamb’s Pride is still too distinct) but it is so fuzzy!  I suppose I will have to make a decision once the item is complete.
  • Speaking of yarn, I fell in love at the yarn store.  To this:

  • Yeah, I thought so.  Madeline Tosh Merino.  It is ridiculously soft and squishy and dangerous.  I want to knit with it forever.  The colors are so intense.  And not just this green either!  All of them were like this.  The blues and reds.  Amazing.
  • Ellette is having a sleepover tomorrow.  She’s busy cleaning her room now.  I should be cleaning the house, too – but I imagine two six-year old girls will be romping around and causing enough trouble.  Why do twice the work?
  • Tomorrow, while the girls are out of the house with friends’ parents, I am going to be making Plushstaches.  This is currently my sewing station:

  • You guys have a good weekend.  I’ll let you know how many staches I get done tomorrow.  And maybe we’ll have a photo shoot.  Just maybe…

Smoke and Mirrors

Today, I reveal the Mystery Knit from Sunday.  I do apologize for the delay.  I have been battling some personal demons this week.

Anyway, I hereby present to you:  Ragamuffin Top Hat!

After a few years of searching for the perfect little top hat, I decided to finally make one for myself.  This one turned out a little too big, but I still like it.

Then, I decided to alter the original pattern a little and try again!

I think I nailed it!

I am offering both patterns as a set: The Ragamuffin and the Elegant Lady, available here.  Let me know what you think!

This venture has opened up a floodgate of creativity, and I have been working non-stop of new things.  I can’t stop turning all of my feltable wool into these adorable little hats!!  In fact, I am on my way now to Windy Knitty to get more!

Reconstructed Monday

I am happy to report that the “Reconstructed” segment of this blog is back in action, starting today.  I must say, all weekend I was worried about what I was going to present all you crafters with.  Then, as I was throwing on a t-shirt this morning (my day off) to begin all the craft work I have been neglecting for the past month, it hit me.

The weather is starting to warm up – buds on the trees, farmers markets, bikers, etcetera etcetera.  A messenger bag to take to market, to the beach, for a bike ride, would be a perfect way to begin getting ready for the activities of the summer.

Start with a t-shirt.

This is a shirt I got in college from the Anthropology Student Union.  I was briefly part of the group in my 3rd year, but then my goals went in a different direction (now, my cultural exploration involves the production and consumption of coffee around the world. Hmm…)  Anyhow, this shirt has stayed with me as a memento and because I felt that it would come in handy.  Also, I really liked the comic:

So, lay out the t-shirt flat.  It is important that it is completely flat with all of the wrinkles out before you take your scissors to it (I learned that one the hard way!)

Decide how long you want your bag to be.   Measure that from the bottom of the neck and down, then, cut off the remainder.  Save this portion, as it will be used later on as straps.

Remove the sleeves…

…and the neck.  Also snip the shoulders.

Then, turn inside-out, pin the edges and take it to the sewing machine!

I also prepped the strip I had previously cut from the bottom to sew to the shoulder seams once the body was completed.  Sew from the tip of one sleeve, around the body, and to the tip of the other.  Make sure the top of the sleeves (i.e. shoulders) and the neck are open.   In the process of sewing, I decided the bag was too wide for my taste, so I shortened the width by 2 or 3 inches.  Feel free to change the measurements however you please!

Once the body is done, pin the edges of the bottom strip to the edges of the shoulders and sew in place.

And, your nifty new messenger bag is complete!

This is my “Lazy Day Knitting and Haven’t Left the House Yet” look.  I am totally the mom in the PJs walking her kid to school – or at the least the bus stop.  Haha.

Well, I hope this inspires you to go out and enjoy the warmer weather!

Catching Up

It has been a very slow and laid back weekend here.  The sun has been shining but it is still rather chilly, so more time has been spent indoors than out.  Indoors means plenty of time to knit.

And, unfortunately, my current project is a very tedious form of green and yellow blah that I can’t stand anymore but need to finish.

This is the Co. Kerry scarf to match the hat I made for Kevin before I left for Denmark.  This is the last piece in his order and then I can ship it and be done.  Which, I might add, I am thoroughly looking forward to.  There are far too many sketches building up in my journal that need to be written out and created before they are lost.

For instance, in a flurry of frustration, I cast on another project, which shall remain a mystery until it’s completion (hopefully that is tomorrow; sucker is just flying off my needles)

All you may gather is that it is black, and it is circular, and fuzzy.  Any guesses?

In the meantime, my family has been occupying themselves by rather lazily lounging on the sofa.

Yup.  Good weekend.

I Would Walk 500 Miles

So, as promised, here is the list of knitted projects that I took with me across the big pond.  Nothing special, really.  Just socks (hence the title of this post – a song I will not be able to get out of my head for at least a week).  Well, not really just socks, but that seems to be the only item I actually completed.

This week has been kind of crazy since our return.  I dived head first into work again, revolving around coffee for several days straight.  When I wasn’t caffeinating the Evanston populace, I was cleaning.  Somehow, despite the fact that I tried, rather desperately, to get the majority of the house cleaned before our departure, I came home to a mess.  The stove and oven was covered in junk.  The recycling bin was overflowing with things that were not by anyone’s standards recyclable.  There was some weird yellow liquid behind the toilet (and I tried for the life of me to convince myself the toilet was leaking and rusty).  The bathtub was scummy and the edges and tiles were covered in a reddish pink mold, dishes hadn’t been put away, and the floors were covered with a muddy film from people traipsing through the house with heavy boots.  (Now, as a disclaimer, Odin is going to tell me I am blowing this entirely out of proportion, but, seeing as how I am the only that gives a s#!t, I was rather upset by the amount of work that awaited me as soon as I stepped in the door).  Knitting as well as general crafting (which is necessary for the upcoming shows) was put on hold while I righted our house, bought groceries, and tried terribly hard not to kill maim discuss the overturned, remade “bachelor pad” with our roommate.

Anyway, to make myself feel better, I will show you yarn:

These are the socks I began knitting the day we left.  I showed you a picture of how much I was able to complete between Chicago and Arhus here.  In a moment of diligent determination, I added the toes, wove in the ends, and when I ran out of clean socks, wore them for a hike.  While I do love them, I realize that the stitches are a little loose (US 2 is a tad to big for the yarn, it looks better smaller).  Also, my turned heel was done improperly and my grafted toes aren’t award winning. However, for a first pair of socks – not bad.

I also took the Bacchus Socks with me, determined that I would see them completed if it was the last thing I knit.  I finished them our last night in Europe, when we were spending the night in Frankfurt airport and I couldn’t sleep.

(Please ignore the loose ends.  I’ve been busy).  While I do adore the yarn, the color, and the pattern – I do not think I will ever put bobbles on socks again (but don’t quote me on that!).  It limits the shoe choice in wearing.  I want to show off the patter, but many of my shoes won’t allow for that.  *harumph*

I also worked on another pair of basic socks in Berrocco Socks Metallic, which I love the color of.  It reminds me of peacocks:

This was primarily airplane knitting.  I am happy to report, also, that aside from weaving in ends, this pair has also been completed.

So, socks.  A lot of socks.  My goal was to improve my sock knitting abilities, convince myself that repeating the same pattern with the same yarn was cathartic.  I think it worked.  My next sock project is this – yeah.  Cathartic.  Ask me again how I feel when I start the second sock.

I did break up sock monotony with a modular knit shawl.  Again, this is a project in personal growth – I had never worked with modules before.  I am absolutely in love with this pattern, however, and will knit it again with a heavier yarn.

It is about halfway completed, but on the back burner now that we are home.  I have several projects that take priority, which I will be updating you on as they are completed.  I also have several ideas from Denmark and France that will be revealing themselves just as soon as I do the math and knit them up!

Until then, happy knitting!

A Brief Escape to France

I know there are many that have been waiting to see photos and hear about our quick little jaunt to Montpellier.  (And, I know Regis and Marie are looking for this part:  we ate so much cheese!)

We hoped a late flight from Frankfurt to Montpellier and met some friends of Odin’s at the airport.  Odin and I may have bought whiskey before the flight left and we may have snuck it into our apple cider bottles before getting on the plane and I may of had too much.

The woman sitting next to me was nervously watching me knit my sock and I tried to explain that they were plastic.  And, well – in showing her they were harmless I snapped one in 3.  Oops.

There was just so much that we crammed into 2 days that, instead of giving you a play-by-play, I will instead smother you with wonderful photographs.

And that marked the end of our trip!  It was a blast, indescribable (hence the photos instead of words today) and I was truly sad to leave and cannot wait to return.

Late Sunday night, Odin and I hopped on a plane back to Frankfurt, took a bus to the other airport in Frankfurt, slept at the airport, and parted ways for the rest of the day (his flight was earlier than mine).  In the afternoon, I was on a plane to Detriot, and then a plane to Chicago.  I was relieved to be back home after 24 hours of constant travel and crying babies (on every plane!)

Later this week I will give you a run of the knitted projects I took with me, and I will soon be casting on several new projects that Denmark and France inspired.


A few days after I arrived in Europe, I attempted to contact my mother with no success.  I received a message later that my grandmother was in the hospital and not doing well.  I thought about her often and hoped she would get better – my grandmother being a determined and persistent woman.

I finally reached my sister today and heard that my grandmother passed on Thursday.

It is not as though this was unexpected – she has been in and out of the hospital for some time now.  And I am sad, yes, but I am also glad that she is at peace.   My biggest disappointment is that I could not be with my family through any of it.

My grandmother was a war bride, coming to America from Czechoslovakia after WWII with my grandfather.  She did not talk to us much about her past or her family – although I remember her reading a holiday card to us as a child which had been written by her family in the Czech Republic.  Odin was actually able to get more information from her about her past than I had ever heard before, and I soaked up everything she had to say.

I am sad to have lost the wealth of stories and the language she carried with her throughout her life.  I am sad I could not be there through any of the sorrow.  All I can do now is remember.

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