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I’ve done a whole bunch of knitting (and lots of other stuff, too!) since my last knitting-related post in December. We’ve been in the midst of some school drama and trying to make a decision about whether to move the kids to another school or stick it out. We’re not on the same page yet, so I’ve been knitting feverishly to help alleviate the stress. I keep telling people that I really wish there was a Fidelity green line for me to follow regarding raising the kids, but evidently there is no such luxury.

Anyway, on to the knitting. There is much more than I’m posting here because you’d be here all night reading… If you’re truly interested, take a gander at my Ravelry projects pages and you’ll see just what I’ve been up to.

I didn’t even attempt to do any Christmas gift knitting before the holidays because I knew I’d go bonkers. Instead, I waited and sent out letters to the teachers and made some choices based on their replies. My proudest knit thus far is a result of those questionnaires. Our kindergarten assistant is super nice and helped us when our daughter was struggling with the idea of going to school. She also lost her brother unexpectedly this year which is just wrong. I wanted to make something super special for her and she requested a shawl. Unfortunately, she wanted black. Now, I’m all about giving to people and have no problem knitting everything for anyone but me, but a lace weight shawl in black? Yeah, I would like to retain use of my eyeballs, thank you. So I made a bold move. I knitted a shawl using some stash yarn (WOOHOO) and overdyed it when I was done. All in all, it turned out great. I would have preferred a truer black, but she was happy and so was I.
Before dyeing, this is what the shawl looked like:
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After:
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Pattern: Angel Lace by Evelyn Clark/Fiber Trends S-2018
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow Kettle Dyed in Bordeaux 1.3 skeins or 2.30 ounces
Needle: US4

Mods: I made several changes…
I didn’t have a crochet hook handy, so I did the following to start the shawl:
CO 5; k two rows; k2, yo, pm k1 pm, yo, k2 (7sts)
Began lace as written… worked rows 1-30, then 21-30 an additional 14 times before starting edging.

On edge: added 8/0 black beads at the sk2p of rows 9, 11, & 13 and also at the yo, k1, yo of row 15A as written in the pattern.

Before blocking measured 35”w x 17”d
After blocking measured 58”w x 25.5”d

Prepared black dye solution as follows: mixed 100mL water with 2g of dye powder, then added 65mL of dye solution and 25mL vinegar to boiling water, turned to simmer and added shawl. Held my breath… And it turned out.

I’m planning to come back soon with more knitting posts… if only my kids weren’t playing soccer. 🙂

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I’ve always wanted to learn (or re-learn as the case may be) crochet so I could make things beyond blankets and pot holders. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get it down once I started knitting. Well, it clicked this weekend!! Here are the three new toys for my kids, as requested.

The amigurumi dude from Lion Brand:
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The Bunny with a dress from Mr. Funky Crochet and also a freebie from Lion Brand:
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And the Grim Reaper from Creepy Cute Crochet (he’s missing his scythe):
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The kids are all happy, my fingers and wrists hurt, and I can’t wait to make more silly creatures!

My youngest is in preschool this year and he had an assignment to make anything he wanted using our recyclables… Here’s what he named Robo-Recycle Guy:
Robo-Recycle Guy

I hope he brings a little smile to you today!

And we’re immediately back into the swing of outdoor soccer season!  My daughter is playing her first season this year and my oldest son hasn’t yet stopped.  He had a two month break (Nov-Dec) and began indoor games in January.  Two more of those before the outdoor games start, but practice is full-on, baby!  Just in case you’re not from around here, this is what Spring soccer season looks like in Chicago:

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And because she’s just so dang cute, here’s a few pictures of Sparkles the dog. She’ll be 6 months on the 13th… she’s such a great dog!
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If the above picture isn’t the epitome of a golden retriever, I don’t know what is!
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A profile shot

and the “Pose”
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Isn’t she gorgeous?!

Hope wherever you are, you’re enjoying the spring weather!

I can’t say I’ve been knitting a whole lot in the past two weeks because Sparkles the puppy has devoured most of my attention and patience…  However, I knit a bunch of stuff over the first couple months of school and never reported them!

I finally bought the book “Knitalong” because I had seen so many projects in Ravelry that were way cool.  One of which is the pinwheel blanket.  I have lots of acrylic yarns and wanted to put some to good use, so I’ve made two so far.  Both are made of Lion Brand’s Pound of Love using bubble gum pink, denim, and white.

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A fellow kindergarten family had their second baby so I whipped up a little bunny buddy using cotton ease remnants for her:
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After making a Scamp the Dog for a school friend’s daughter, I was asked by all 3 of my kids to make one for each of them, too:
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I decided I’d use some of my stash to make myself a Flora hat, but once it was done it just didn’t look good on me so I gave it to a friend who ADORES hats! She looks really good in it, and her daughters have stolen it often to wear to school.

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The same friend I gave the Flora hat to has a coworker going through chemo for breast cancer. I felt like the best I could do was give her a chemo hat of sorts, so I made a Hurricane Hat using some bright pink Malabrigo.

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I made a little boheme for a good friend’s 2 year old daughter:

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And since I was on a roll with stash-buster knits, I made a tiny little newborn sized Pebble Vest:

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Then I learned that one of my oldest son’s teachers is going to be a grandma for the first time in March-ish and I had to make some baby knits for her. I haven’t given these to her yet, but plan to when the Christmas Break is over.

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And as a gag-gift for the IVF doctor who helped us get our littlest son 4 years ago, I made these:
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My husband’s work associate unexpectedly had a baby 2 months early, so I made a little preemie blanket for him.

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And a preemie cardigan that he’ll hopefully be able to wear once he heads home:
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Finally, my oldest son asked for a new water bottle because he was finishing the little one too quickly at school, so this meant he needed a new bottle cozy to keep the condensation off his desk. We came up with this:
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Apologies that the picture quality is terrible, but when the sun has been out, I’ve not had the time to get pictures taken. If you’re interested in any of the details of any projects, almost everything is noted in Ravelry on my projects pages.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Big News!

I mentioned about a month ago that we’d have some big news coming…  that news is this:

We have a new family member!!

Her name is Sparkles, she’s 8 weeks old, and she’s perfect!

Here’s what happened:  One Saturday evening, there wasn’t much on TV…  until we noticed that Marley & Me was showing.  I knew this movie was sad, but didn’t know exactly why or how until I was sobbing almost uncontrollably while watching it.  I didn’t realize that the movie was going to be one of the funniest I’ve seen, either.  I laughed so hard I almost made a mess of myself, then the laughter turned to sobs.  Many times.

Anyway, the movie was over and the hubby was laughing at me for being such a wuss about the sad parts.  This turned to conversation about when we should get a dog and how it’d probably be just like the movie because we have the worst luck in the world with pets, etc, etc.  The next day, I inexplicably found myself googling golden retriever breeders and golden retriever pups and multiple other variations of the same thing.  (Yes, I know Marley was a Lab, not a Golden, but we prefer the fur on a Golden to the porcupine quills of the Lab)  I emailed some of my findings to the hubby… figured if I ‘forced’ him to do the calls and searching that he’d decide against a puppy right now.

I was wrong.

On Monday, I was scheduled to visit a really pregnant momma doggie and her owner/breeder with my kids.  Needless to say, we fell completely in love.  Olivia is a beautiful golden with a great temperament.  We were good to go!  Olivia had her 5 pups (one less than expected) just 3 days later.  The breeder called on Friday to let us know that she did not have a pup for us.  The 5 she had were accounted for, and she had been expecting 6.  Explained she was sorry and sometimes this happens.

I was bummed.  So bummed that I didn’t tell the kids about the call at all.  It’s a good thing I didn’t because on Saturday, the breeder called and had a pup available because someone backed out.  WOOOHOOOO!  So we became the proud parents of a golden retriever pup.

I’d suggest skipping Marley & Me unless you’re in the mood for a new ‘baby’ in your family… or if you’re less susceptible to reverse-psychology than I am.

Welcome to the family, Sparkles!

P.S.  I know I’ve promised knitting and Cruise details and haven’t fulfilled that promise.  I apologize.  I suggest NOT holding your breath for the info at this time!  I’m spending most of my time chasing after an adorable little puppy for now.  🙂

We’re home!

We made it back from the cruise on Saturday and haven’t stopped running since.  My favorite part about coming home?  I get to wear my new favorite sweater!!

Central Park Hoodie

It’s yet another Central Park Hoodie! I can’t help myself, I just love this pattern! This one was made with some Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (that’s not really chunky at all) that I bought at a LYS as it was closing its doors to business. There are lots of mods listed below the picture of the back if you’re at all interested!

Central Park Hoodie

Pattern: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky color #106–a nice emerald green, approx 7.3 skeins

Needles: US 9 for the entire thing… I didn’t use smaller needles for the ribbing.

Mods: Lots. I used heavier yarn and larger needles, so my gauge was off by a tiny bit (17.25 over 4″.) To accommodate, I worked the 36″ instruction. I knit the sleeves longer (about 20″) because I have monkey arms and broad shoulders. I only knit about 2″ of ribbing for the sleeves before starting the cables. Because of aforementioned body shape, I skipped the shoulder shaping and simply knit even until the armhole measured as the pattern specified and left the stitches live for a later 3-needle-bind-off. I knit the body as written until I would have knit a hood. At this point, I picked up stitches evenly around and ended up with 98 total from the front right up and around to the left front. On the first row, I decreased as such: p2, p2tog, *k2,p2* to last 4 sts, p2tog, p2. On the next round, I worked as such: k3, *p2,k2* to last 3, ending k3. I continued this ribbing for about 3″, then bound off and worked the button bands. When all was done and the sweater was blocked, I sewed in a 24″ zipper (I did have to remove a few teeth to end up with a 23″ total length zipper) and away I went! The collar stands up and out just enough to not bother my neck. When zipped, the sweater measures approx 39″ around.

I love it the most of all my sweaters to date and was happy to return to chilly Chicagoland so I could wear it again!

I’ll be back in a few days with pictures of our trip, but for now I’m off to enjoy the relative silence while a couple of the kiddos are at school!!