Finished Object Friday

My Finished Object of the Week:

A dishcloth. I know. Not super impressive. But it’s what I finished this week so I’m sharing it and linking up once again with Tami’s blog where many fabulous knitters share/boast about the projects they’ve completed. Check them out if you can.

This project is one of my take-along knits that I’ve been working on {off and on} for some time.  But I always seem to need new dishcloths, so I’ll probably start another one soon.  The pattern I used is actually an adaptation of Rhonda White’s DW Darrell Waltrip Dishcloth pattern.

DW DishclothYou can see my notes on what changes I made on my Ravelry project page for this dishcloth if you’re interested.

In other news:

  1. I’m helping with my church’s VBS (Vacation Bible School) in a couple weeks and we’re already working on murals and decorations. I’ve been assigned a mural of a cityscape and have had fun the past few days working on it. (But it’s been taking up some of my normal blogging and/or knitting time!)
  2. I got my baby fix tonight! Baby kitty, that is! Our Gracie-cat (who is really still a kitten herself) had 2 kittens on July 8.  One of the baby kitties died the first night, but the other has been doing well. my kitties I was so bummed when Gracie moved it at 1 week old from the shelter she gave birth in to somewhere out in our wooded area near the house (at least I think that she has a place out there) before I was able to get a picture of him. (I’m relatively certain it’s a boy.) Anyways, tonight she brought him up in front of the house for a little visit (right before my husband and I were going to go out for our run) so I got to hold, pet, cuddle, and get pictures of little Neelix as I’ve named him. Baby kitty Neelix{Doesn’t he remind you of Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager?} Of course, in typical cat-fashion, she’s hidden him again and I’m not sure where, but I was so thrilled to see how big he’s gotten in just a couple weeks! Isn’t he darling?!?
  3. I’ve been running. Me. A self-proclaimed non-runner. And I’m actually enjoying it! Since my hubby is already a runner, it’s been fun for us to do some training together too. Last weekend we ran in one 5K race and have plans for a few more this year. I’m super-ultra-uber competitive so I found it really hard to pace myself around other runners. My first 5K and I came in at 30:40. That’s about 4 minutes better than my best training time had been! CRAZY! After that, my hubby decided to get me a Garmin Forerunner 110. I used it tonight for the 1st time.  It’s pretty cool, but hubby says it’s not *quite* as accurate for distance as his Forerunner 305 that he’s had for almost 3 years. Maybe a clear, unclouded day will increase my 110’s accuracy. Even if not, it’s pretty close and I like that it tells me my pace. So just for the fun of it, we set a nice pace (not too hard) and went for more distance. I need to work on that. It felt good and I could have probably gone more, but we stopped at the end of our running path and we had gone just under 5 miles.  So my distance goal is to run 5 miles non-stop next time we have time for a longer distance run like we did tonight.

Well, there you have it. That’s my Friday update!

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Happy knitting!

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County Fair Fun (no WIP Wednesday this week though)

No WIP post this week

I know it’s Wednesday, but today’s post isn’t a project update (and I’m not going to link up my post either).

Why not?

  • I’m really only working on the same two projects (Almondine socks and Cotlin Crow Shawl).
  • I haven’t had much time for knitting this week so there’s not much progress anyways.
  • Our county fair is this week and you’ve got to go look at all the exhibits and animals and the kids {think they} need to go on rides.

County Fair Fun

But speaking of the county fair, I have to say there’s some fabulous knitted items entered this year!  Sadly, I never seem to remember to enter anything and every year for about the past 5 years I’ve told myself “next year!” And then I forget.  But I was impressed with a few items. One pair of gorgeous socks with cabling up the side. A couple of fabulous sweaters. I’d have some good competition if I entered!  (And if you know me well, you know I’m a very competitive person.)  So, once again I’ll say “maybe next year!” and hope I don’t forget!

Here are a few photos I took yesterday at our local fair. I hope you don’t mind my sharing them instead of project pics!

County Fair

Fair Parade

You can tell we live in a rural area with lots of farming because in our parades there are always quite a few tractors as well as other farm equipment.  Personally, I enjoy seeing the old cars much more.

County Fair

Fair Ride Fun (my boys and a few of their cousins)

My boys were happy to have a few cousins there yesterday too. Rides with a brother is fun, but rides with a cousin or two is better! We have a few tickets left and will be going back this afternoon!

Happy knitting!

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FO Friday

FO Friday or What I Finished This Week

Today’s FO is the Summer Solstice Shawl.  As mentioned in my post on Wednesday, I finished the knitting last Friday night. Then came the blocking early this week. And finally, today I’ve finished weaving in the ends.

Here it is.

FO Fridays

I’m not 100% happy with it.  It’s really more of a shawlette than a true shawl in my opinion and it’s not the right shape to be worn as a scarf.  The pattern was delightful, but a bit ambiguous.  Wendy mentions in several places that you can repeat a section of rows if you want a longer shawl.  I was afraid I’d run out of yarn if I did though! So I didn’t except at the very end I did add a few extras of the very LAST 2 rows. But it’s not quite enough for my liking.  Next time (if I ever knit it again) I will be sure to have 2 skeins and repeat ALL of the sections.  I’m sure I’d like the result much better.

SO…do you think it’s lovely just as it is? Or do you, like me, prefer a larger/longer shawl? Please take a moment and tell me what you think in the comments below.

I’ll be linking up with Tami for FO Friday once again. And this weekend I’ll be checking out many of my fellow knitters’ finished projects! {You can too!}

Have a great weekend!

Happy knitting!

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My Top 5 Online Yarn Stores

In my last Top 5 post, I talked about why I love online yarn shopping. Today I will share my favorite online yarn stores with you so you can check them out too!

Top 5 Online Yarn Stores (according to me)

1. WEBS–America’s Yarn Store

Yarn.com is #1 on my list because of the huge variety of yarns they offer.  Quality name brand yarns. Lace weight all the way up to super bulky. Needles and other notions too. Instead of free shipping, WEBS offer discounts based on how much you spend. So if I’m going to order from them, I prefer to make it a large order and save as much as I can!  I could go on and on and on about how much I love them, but you should really just go and check them out if you haven’t shopped there yet!

2. Knit Picks

Second on my list is Knit Picks.  They sell their own brand of yarns as well as needles and notions.  I’ve tried several of the yarns and have for the most part been very happy with them. The quality is good and the prices even better! Orders over $50 get free shipping.  Again, I like to save where I can, so I usually spend enough so I don’t pay for shipping too.

3. Knitting-Warehouse

Carrying a selection of yarns, needles, etc. very similar to what I’d find at my nearest Michael’s or Jo-Anne Fabrics is Knitting Warehouse.  The prices are also very good–especially their discount yarns.

4. Fabulous Yarn

Another site that carries only quality name brand yarns. Fabulous Yarn also offers discounts including an extra 5% off if you sign up for their emails (they send you a code).  They also have free shipping if you spend over $75.

5. Etsy

Although I haven’t actually bought any yarn from any Etsy sellers, over the past couple of years I have loved looking at the various hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns that are out there. There are several shops that have great ratings and I’d love to buy from them…I just haven’t yet!  Note to self:  my next yarn purchase should really be from an Etsy shop!

 

Are there other online yarn stores?  Just do a Google search and you’ll see just how many there are!  (Tons!)  These just happen to be the ones I’ve enjoyed ordering from (or in the case of Etsy, doing a little window shopping).

Have a favorite online yarn shop that I didn’t mention?  Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below so I can check it out!

Happy knitting!

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Socks, a Shawl, and a Mysterious Society

 

On my needles

WIP Wednesday

After finishing one shawl, I remembered having started yet another shawl ages ago (June 2011 according to my Ravelry notes).  Poor thing has been in hibernation for so long, but I’d made good notes and knew right where I was in the pattern so picking it up again was relatively easy and painless. I’ve enjoyed knitting on this the past few days while watching TV in the evenings with my hubby.  We’re watching all of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and have just started Season 5.  Neither of us remembers watching this far into DS9 before. The show began my first year of college and I believe I lost interest/didn’t have time to keep up with the show regularly during season 3.

I’ve also been working on the Almondine socks a little.  They’re coming along, albeit slowly.

Off my needles

I finished the Summer Solstice shawl on Friday night.  Will be posting pics and share more about it on Friday. It looks pretty neat pinned to the carpet for blocking.

Books I’m reading

I’ve read Reading Reflex (see last week’s post for more info) up to the point where I need to start doing the activities with my 6 year old.  I’m definitely curious to see if this approach to teaching reading–which is very similar, but still different from the LAST method I tried–works better for him. I really want him to know how to read and to be able to do it well soon!

For fun, I’ve started a series that my older son read last summer: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  It was on the Sonlight (that’s the main curriculum we use for our homeschool) summer reading recommendations list. He loved it so much we bought the 2nd and 3rd books for him also.  I’ve mentioned my love of a good mystery before and this one is perfect for the tween/teen age range as well as for adult readers who–like myself–just enjoy a good story and don’t mind that the main characters are kids.

I also started reading Heiress by Susan May Warren this past week–it’s on my Kindle so I was taking it with me and reading it while the boys were in swim lessons.  But then I got so involved with reading the Mysterious Benedict Society that I’ve been taking that book with me instead.  Heiress is set during the Gilded Age and her characters already remind me of Downton Abbey’s even though the story takes place in America.

I’m linking up once again with Ginny’s blog for this week’s Yarn Along, Tami’s blog for WIP Wednesday, and Nicole’s blog for Keep Calm Craft On.

Happy knitting,

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Top 5 Reasons I Love Online Yarn Shops

No Local Yarn Shops…what’s a knitter to do?

I live in Northern Minnesota.  Seven miles from the Canadian border.  And it so happens that the closest yarn-dedicated shop {that I know of} is about a 3 hour drive.  And the closest crafting stores are about 2 hours away.  Of course, my small town does have a few discount and chain stores that carry yarns, but those yarns are generally cheap acrylic or dishcloth cotton.  So what to do when you really want to knit with a quality merino wool?

Shop Online for Yarn

Although not nearly as fun as shopping in a brick-and-mortar yarn shop–no petting or squishing the yarns and sometimes the actual colors vary slightly from what you see on your computer screen–shopping for and buying yarns online is a great option for those of us who don’t have a yarn shop nearby.

1. Discounts

One big reason:  sales and/or free shipping.  Depending on the store, you can often find really good prices for the yarns you want.  Some stores offer free shipping if you spend over a certain amount too.

2. Delivered to you

If you can’t get out to a yarn shop, it is super nice to have your yarns delivered to you at home.  And getting that package of yarns and other knitting supplies is like getting a present!  It’s super fun to open the box and finally get to see, squish, and pet the new yarns you’ve bought.

3. Time to think, plan, and decide with no pressure

Sometimes when I’ve shopped in a yarn shop, I’ve felt pressured.  Like the very helpful and chatty store owner who makes recommendation after recommendation–although I appreciate the attention, I’m the kind of shopper that likes to take her time.  I like to think about the yarns, consider their colors, their weight, their fibers.  Then I have to consider the cost and how much I can afford.  Shopping online allows me to do this without worrying that I’ll offend the shopkeeper by just looking. Or taking days to decide. {I usually don’t have much time when I shop in a yarn store because we’re usually traveling and need to keep driving to our next destination.} So that’s the best part of online yarn shopping.

4. Window shopping

And yes, I often like to browse my favorite online shops and drool over all the pretty yarns knowing there’s no money in my budget right now and I’m not really going to buy anything.  But just looking at all those pretty yarns makes me happy!  And can be inspiring too.

5. Get what you want

My final reason I love online yarn shops is that you can almost always find the yarn you are looking for {unless it’s been discontinued}. If you shop at a yarn shop and they don’t have the exact yarn you want you can either buy a similar-but-different yarn or ask the shop owner to order the one you are looking for and then wait for them to get it in.  But shopping online means you can check out several different stores all from the comfort of your home.  You can drink your coffee or tea and wear your pajamas while searching for just the right yarn.  Need a specific yarn in order to use the recommended yarn from a pattern you want to knit?  Just do a Google search for it and quickly find out which online stores carry it.  You can easily compare prices too and get the best online deal.

So, now that you know WHY I love online yarn shopping, I bet you’re wondering WHERE I do my online yarn shopping.  That will be the next post in my Top 5 series!

If you don’t want to miss it, be sure you’ve signed up for email updates or are following my blog on Bloglovin’ {you’ll find both options in the sidebar}!

Happy knitting!

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July 10 On My Needles

WIP Wednesday Yarn Along

Project: Summer Solstice Shawl by Wendy Johnson
Book: Reading Reflex by Carmen McGuinness and Geoffrey McGuinness

On My Needles

What’s on my needles this week? Well, I’ve continued working on the Summer Solstice Shawl. It’s coming along nicely, if I might say so myself. I really am enjoying seeing how the pattern translates into the shawl’s shaping and lace-work. I’ve also managed to knit a few more rounds for the Almondine socks, but I’ve just barely started working on the lace pattern for them so I haven’t taken any photos of them yet. {By the way, I tried them on and am happy to say that they fit much better now! The change to a larger needle did the trick.}

Time to Read

Just last night I finished the second Percy Jackson book: The Sea of Monsters. My niece asked me why I was reading the series. As I told her, because I’ve got boys and they might want to read them someday. Besides, I generally enjoy young adult fiction. And this series is no exception. Lots of action/adventure. Which I suppose is why they’re making the series into a series of movies. {I just saw a poster for the second movie when we were at the theater this weekend to see Despicable Me 2 and Monsters U. The boys were so happy to get to see both movies this past weekend.}

I ordered curriculum for the fall for our homeschool. We opened the boxes of books yesterday. I get so excited seeing all the new books we’ll get to read! One of the books I ordered this year is for me. My second son (age 6) has seemed to have a much harder time with the process of learning to read than our exceptional (i.e. weird) eldest son who was reading at age 3. But I see the frustration that my younger son has when he’s trying to remember what he’s been taught about letters, words, etc. And I want to help him in any way possible. So I’ve started reading Reading Reflex. I’m only on chapter 1, but I have hope that this book will have some good info that I can use in combination with the reading program we got and started using earlier this year.

Once again I’m linking up with Tami’s WIP Wednesday and Ginny’s Yarn Along and Keep Calm Craft On.  Lots of great projects, so check them out!

Happy knitting!

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WIP Wednesday Tami