Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe it’s July already? Me neither. This summer is slipping away! This morning when I looked at the outside temp it was 44 degrees. Brrr. Because we have our air conditioning on instead of heat, it got down to 65 degrees in the house. Perfect for sleeping, so even my youngest who is usually up early stayed in bed a little longer this morning. But at least the sun is shining today so it should warm up. After 2 rainy days keeping us indoors, it will be nice to be able to go outside and play with our kittens.

Speaking of kittens…

We have four adorable kittens. They are six-and-a-half weeks old today. And so much fun to watch. I just love watching them practice their pouncing. It’s hilarious!

kittens

Yarn Along

Once again I’m going to link up with Ginny at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I know I get a bit long-winded at times, so this week I’ll TRY to keep it short and sweet! 🙂

On My Needles

1) Kingdom Gloves: PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE! Amazing. I know. But 2 days of administering my 8th grade son’s standardized tests (as required for homeschoolers by the state of MN) means a lot of time where I need to be present and quiet. So once I get him started on a test, I either read or knit. I decided to work on the gloves because the quiet atmosphere allowed me to really concentrate on the cable pattern.  Not only did I finish knitting the right-hand glove, I started the left one too!  Woot!

2014-07-02 09.12.12 cable knitting

{You can see I still have to do some weaving in ends and seaming between fingers as well as sewing the cuff’s inside layer where it belongs, so it’s not all done, but the knitting part is!}

2) Simplicity Socks: This is my take-along project. During the kids’ swim lessons, or whenever we’re going somewhere and I think I *might* have time to knit, I grab the bag I keep this project in. So I’ve made a little progress on these also.

3) Mendel sweater: Finished my swatch. After washing and drying, I think my gauge matches the pattern’s. I will check it once more before I cast-on this project though.

Reading

My Book Reviews:

I decided to quit reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  I don’t enjoy reading books with descriptive scenes of intimacy–it’s not my style. And it really disappointed me that the author had the {rather young} characters choose to have sex without the commitment of marriage.  Unfortunately, it’s a reflection of what a lot of people think is perfectly acceptable behavior nowadays.  But it completely ruined the story for me. I’m usually very careful to read reviews before choosing a book by an author I’ve never read before. But too bad for me…I obviously hadn’t read enough reviews on Graceling to know I shouldn’t waste good reading time just to get half-way through the book and quit.

Still Reading:

One Realm Beyond  Force Heretic Remnant cover

Although, technically I’m still reading the others in my last post’s list, these two have been getting my attention the most this week.

1) One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul I’m really enjoying this story now that I’ve gotten into it a little more. Bixby is such a funny and interesting character…can’t wait to see what more happens in the rest of the story! {And I know I can trust Donita’s writing!}

2) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams Having read a TON of Star Wars books, I pretty much know what to expect with this one too. Just plodding along, seeing where the storyline goes next. 🙂

Show and tell?!

I’d love to see your current projects too! Once again, let me remind you that my Facebook page {perfectioKnits’ Facebook page} is open for you to share photos of what you’re working on. Or leave a link to your project’s Ravelry page if you prefer. Also, I’m using Instagram more and more these days {follow me: perfectioknits}, so tag me if you’re sharing project photos and want me to see them. Thanks!

And be sure to leave a comment below before you go! I look forward to hearing from you!

As always, happy knitting and reading!

~Steph

Knitting and Reading Update

Yarn Along 5.14.14

I’m going to link up with Ginny this week at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Knitting Update: On My Needles

1) Kingdom Gloves by Becky Herrick.  I’ve only made it through 2 fingers at the time I’m writing this.  Perhaps I’ll work a little on the next finger tonight. Or not.  My brain is tired.

knit gloves

2) Larger version of my Mystery Mitts  (new design I’m developing) Due to the nature of my wanting to reveal it when the pattern is ready, I’m not posting any pics!

And that’s ALL.

Which is rather weird for me.

I think I need to cast on a pair of socks just so I have another project in progress!

And since the Kingdom gloves have so much detailing–fancy cuffs, cables, fingers, cabled fingers!–a simple or easy sock pattern would be a nice go-to project for when my brain is too tired to concentrate. After a quick peek at my extensive queue, I’ve decided Cookie A.’s Monkey socks look like a great pattern. I’ve seen lots of other knitters have made pairs of Monkey socks over past few years, but for some unknown reason I haven’t.  Perhaps it’s time.

Reading Update:  The Many Books I’m Reading

As usual, I’m working on a BUNCH of different books.  {I’m only including the ones I’m reading on my own. If I added all the homeschool books I’m reading with/to my kids, you’d probably think I’m insane.}

Fiction:

Force Heretic Remnant cover  A Princess of Mars cover  Heiress cover  Death Comes to Pemberley cover

1) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant (A book I’ve been reading off and on for…ahem…2 or 3 years. Have finally put it where I can read it on a regular basis: the bathroom! Ha! Seriously though, I’ve gotten interested in the Star Wars series again.  I think I just needed a break from it for a while. I’m looking forward to the new movie, but knowing they’re basically scrapping the whole Star Wars Extended Universe makes me a little sad too.)

2) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (I’m reading this via my Goodreads app on my iPhone.  It’s nice to have a book to read as long as I’ve got my phone with me!)

3) Heiress by Susan May Warren (I had paused in my reading of this one for a while, but have picked it up my old Kindle and continued the story where I left off.)

4) Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James (I’m reading this one on my Kindle Fire. Right now it’s my go-to book if I want to read before bed.)

Non-Fiction:

Uncovering the Logic of English cover  Say Goodbye to Survival Mode cover  Praying for Boys cover  How am I smart cover

1) Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide (An amazing look at the English language explaining the various phonograms and the LOGIC…yes, that’s right…of how and when to use them for reading and spelling. Having a child who is a struggling reader, I’ve pursued finding the “right” method to teach him so he best understands. Not only did I get Denise’s book at a homeschool conference we recently attended, but we bought the Foundations series to teach him with.  And although he still complains about how he “hates reading,” once we start a lesson he *almost* enjoys it! So far, I’m really happy with it and am recommending the program!

2) Say Good-bye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine (I’ve just started this one, but am hoping to glean some tips for time management from her.)

3) Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin (I’m also reading this one on my iPhone, but using the Kindle app.)

4) How Am I Smart:  A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences by Dr. Kathy Koch (I don’t actually have this book right now.  I started reading it a few weeks ago, but had to return it to the library before I finished it.  Have requested it again in hopes of being able to finish it! Hoping it comes in soon!)

Phew!  That’s quite a list!  It’s no wonder it sometimes takes me a long time to finish a book.  But I do find myself focusing on a single book when the story has drawn me in to the point that I don’t want to put it down!

Tell me:  what are you knitting and/or reading these days?

Let me know by leaving a comment below. Hearing from my readers puts a smile on my face! It really makes my day!

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!  Hope you enjoyed today’s post!

And as always, happy knitting (and reading)!

~Steph

An Update, Some FOs, and a New Design in the Works

April Update

Another month has passed me by…it’s hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted!  Not for lack of things to say, but rather for lack of time to write it.  For the past month I’ve really tried to stay focused on teaching my boys–which is my primary job after all–and by the end of each day most, if not all, of my energy is used up and I just want to sit in front of the TV and knit.  So, sorry dear faithful readers (both of you).  Perhaps this summertime I’ll be able to make time to blog more regularly?

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Science Experiment…homeschool science in the kitchen!

I’ve posted a few of my knitting pics here and there on Facebook and/or Instagram.  So even though I’ve neglected to write blog posts, I’ve tried to keep as active on social media as I can. As I already mentioned, knitting each evening while watching television with my hubby has become my primary means of de-stressing after hounding my 14 year old and working hard with my 7 year old to get their schoolwork done each day.  With lots of good knitting time, I’ve managed to complete a few projects!  Yay!  I love FOs!

Knitting Update

Finished Objects:

#1) After 2 months of working on it off and on, I finally finished my Diving in shawl!  I just love it!  The Malabrigo yarns are so soft and warm!  And although the colorways don’t contrast a lot, they work very well together and the result is quite lovely.

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I know you wanted to see headless photos of me, right?! LOL! Taking selfies is not my forte.

#2)  Earlier this month I finished knitting scarf using the pattern “My So Called Scarf” by Allison Isaacs with that lovely Phydeaux yarn from my February Yarnbox.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this yarn?!?  It’s wonderful!  I decided to use just one skein for the scarf, so I sewed the seams together to make it into a mobius.  I especially loved the stitch pattern in the variegated colors of the yarn. Such a lovely combo!

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2014-04-06 11.02.16 HDR

#3) After finishing the My So-Called {Mobius} Scarf, I decided to use my second skein to design a pair of matching mitts.  I adore how the yarn worked up for my new mitts too!  And although I really want to show off these finished mitts to you all, I’ve decided to wait until my pattern is ready to publish.  Which leads me into the last heading of today’s post…

New Design in the Works

I’m hoping to work out the details for a couple more hand sizes before I write up my new pattern since not everyone can wear my extra-small ladies’ mitt size!  So for now, all you get to know is that I’ve got a pair of Mystery Mitts (that match the above cowl) in the works!

Now if someone would just invent a working time turner so I can work on two things at once!!!

As always, happy knitting!

Steph

PS!  Did you know my patterns are currently on sale?! NO? Well, now you know! Get 20% off with the coupon code “Easter2014”!   (Granted, I only have 3 patterns to sell right now…but still!)  Happy shopping!

Hello, March!

(Will this winter ever end?)

cold winter

I think most, if not all, of us living in any of the many crazy-cold parts of the USA right now are more than ready to start “thinking Spring.” Sadly, that’s not the easiest thing to do when the outside temps are STILL below zero (and yes, I’m talking in terms of Fahrenheit in case you were wondering).

{I’ve been writing this post for a few days, and this morning it’s actually above zero for a change…just barely above, but it is!}

Autumn and Spring are such great seasons–I love both (although Summer is still my favorite). Both of the cooler (but not too cold) seasons, provide us knitters with an opportunity to make and frequently wear our hand knits.  Yes, I believe winter could be a knitter’s best friend for the same reasons, but this year it’s gone too far and lasted too long. 

I’m a sunshine-on-my-face, toes-in-the-sand (or grass if no beach is nearby) kind of gal.

And month after month of this weather–with too often the only time spent outdoors is a mad dash to my van or into a store or back into the house–means I’m in desperate need of some warmth and natural vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.

But this is March. I live in Northern Minnesota and that isn’t going to happen any day soon–at least not here.

I guess I’d better keep on knitting, huh?

On My Needles/Off My Needles

During the Olympics, I started a Diving In shawl. It’s slowly growing and taking shape, but I find myself easily bored with such a simple pattern and decided last week that I needed a mini-knitting-vacation from the monotony.

knit shawl

knit shawl

Plus, the yarns from my January Yarnbox were whispering “knit me!” to me every time I walked past the basket where I had stashed them.  So one day I just grabbed them and wound them into balls.  After winding the Pixie Dust Mini into a center-pull ball, I thought about the best way to wind the Stargazer Silk.  Since I’ve never knitted with beads or sequins of any sort, I wasn’t entirely sure what would be best, but I figured the sequins would be likely to catch and make a tangled mess if I tried to wind it into a center-pull ball, so I just wound it into a regular ball instead.

Once I had them wound, I began playing with these yarns–knitting swatches to check gauge and see the texture.  I mostly worked with the Pixie Dust Mini and found it was an interesting mix of thick and thin, a few sparkles here and there, as well wool in gray, natural, and blue. Plus, the mohair give it a little bit of “halo.”  At first, I thought it would make a great cowl, so I started playing around with that idea.  But then I tried to put it around my neck and knew I would never be able to wear it.  I’m not certain whether I have an allergy or am just sensitive to mohair, but it almost always irritates me when it’s right up next to my skin.  And necks are known to be sensitive anyways.  So I browsed Ravelry for more pattern ideas but nothing really stuck out as The Thing I Must Knit.  I started a few ideas of my own, but ripped  each back because I didn’t like how it looked.  Finally, I settled on a hat…indeed, I choose one of the patterns that came with January’s Yarnbox:  Snow Cap Hat by Cheryl Kubat.  Even though I had ideas of something else I wanted to make with the Stargazer Silk, I couldn’t find anything else that I wanted to make that only used one skein of Pixie Dust Mini. I guess I’ll have to do some swatching with my Stargazer Silk leftovers and see if I want to buy another skein for the other project I had in mind.

knit hat knit hat

The hat didn’t take long to knit–I could have probably finished in just a few hours if I hadn’t had to make the following alterations.

1.   I couldn’t find my US11 16″ circular needles.  I’m sure I have one…just no idea where it is.  So I just used my US 13 needles and didn’t switch from 11s to 13s as the pattern says to do.

2.  Because I tend to knit tightly, my gauge wasn’t quite on (2.75 stitches to the inch instead of 3).  I adjusted the number of stitches I cast on based on my gauge and was careful to be able to shape the hat the same as the original (meaning I made sure the number of stitches was divisible by 4).

3. I found my hat wasn’t quite tall enough at first, so I ripped it back to where the decreases started and added a couple more rounds before starting the decreases.  I probably could have added one or two more and still not had it be too big.

4. Adding rounds changed my decreases too.  So my first round of decreases was on the next purl round (keeping the rounds in pattern). I continued the pattern of 3 purl, 4 knit rounds as I decreased every other round.  And it all worked out in the end!

To finish it off, I want to use the few yards I have leftover of the Pixie Dust Mini and make a pom pom for the top.  I think it’s pretty cute though, and I like how the yarns worked up together.  (Although it bugs me that some of the sequins are on the inside of the hat…perfectionist in me wants them all to SHOW! Oh well…I’ve tried pulling them through along the yarn to the front side of the hat, but they don’t all want to cooperate.)

Next on my radar is the lovely yarn from my February Yarnbox.  I have no idea what I’m going to make with it…yet, but I shall have fun with it, I’m sure!  And in just a few weeks I’ll be getting my third (and final–for now) Yarnbox.  I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

Talk to me…What’cha doing?

Do you have a yarn project in progress that you want to talk about?  I love seeing what other knitters (and crocheters) are making!  So leave me a comment below and tell me about it.  If you blog, be sure you check the Comment Luv box when you comment and I’ll be sure to visit your blog too!

As always, happy knitting!

~Steph

February Doldrums

Winter Blues

I’m in a bit of a slump. {Is it just me? or you too?} Perhaps it’s just normal for February in Minnesota and I’ve blocked the memory of winters past, but I think this long hard winter is really getting to me.  Worst of all: I’ve had a terrible time trying to figure out what to knit next! {Something only another yarn enthusiast can truly understand, right?}

With the Olympic Games on tv and the Ravellenic Games taking place on Ravelry, I was doing as much knitting as I could while watching and cheering on our athletes. I finished the Bellatrix socks, and have been working on the second mitt from this pair I was making for my fingerless mitts tutorial.  Somehow they got set aside and forgotten. *oops*

Knitting yet another pair of socks–a pair designed in entrelac which is something I have yet to try and which I thought would be a fun test of my knitting skills–was next in my queue and planned as one of my projects for the Ravellenic Games.  Alas!  After no less than a dozen attempts at casting on, I knew I needed to let it rest for a while. I just couldn’t figure out how to do the specified cast on. I even tried Judy’s Magic cast on (which I’ve used before) and was still having problems.  Finally I decided that the yarn was telling me it just didn’t want to be a pair of socks!  I will knitting that pattern again someday, but for now I need something a bit less stressful.

Ravelry pattern search

I searched Ravelry for pattern suggestions.  Having 2 colors to work with, I needed to choose whether to make 2 projects or combine them into just one.  I began to lean towards a shawl or scarf. Something with stripes perhaps.  And so, after much much much deliberation, I finally decided on this:

diving in

Pattern: Diving In (recipe) by Mam’zelle Flo

{My apologies for the not-so-great photo, but I was using my iPhone and the lighting wasn’t very good. You get the idea though.}

It’s a relatively easy knit so far. Just what I need.

I will be knitting this shawl with the 2 skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Sock that I bought at a little yarn shop in Hilo, Hawaii during our October family vacation. I’ve starting with Impressionist Sky (blues) and the second colorway I’ll be using is Solis (greens and blues). It should be lovely. The colors remind me of the Hawaiian sea and sky.  Perhaps working in these colorways will be like a mini {mental} vacation back to Hawaii while I’m knitting… If not, I’ve got a new favorite blog to follow:  The Grommom.  Monica writes about her life raising 4 boys who love surfing and skateboarding (aka groms/grommets) on the North Shore of Oahu. Hawaii is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I especially love seeing current photos from there on a regular basis just by reading her blog!

I’m hoping beyond hope that the sun will start warming things up here enough for me to get outside for some natural Vitamin D soon!

Be on the lookout for shawl updates here and on my Facebook page as I work on my new project.

As always, happy knitting!

-Steph

 

 

 

Bellatrix Socks

Off my needles!
I finished the Bellatrix socks. I really didn’t like how they looked while I was knitting them (they’re not too bad now that I can put them on properly) and then I ended up starting my toe decreases just a few rows early. So this pair is a little snug on me. I’m not sure whether I’ll end up keeping them or if I can find someone with smaller feet to gift them to (I’m a size 6.5-7 so they’re probably perfect for size 6 feet). But I am done knitting this pair of socks and can happily start a new project now.

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What about you? Are you working on any yarn project(s)? Finished any recently?

Leave a comment below and tell me!

As always, happy knitting!
–Steph

Yarn Along

Knitting: 

Continuing work on the Bellatrix socks: I’ve finally started the heel flaps. 

Reading: 

Currently reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I think this is my third time through this one. I’ve found it more convenient to check out the ebook from my library–that way I don’t have to lug my huge paperback copy around.

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Linking up with Ginny at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

Happy knitting!

-Steph