Some Kind of “Oh, Darn” Pun for a Title

My friends, today I approach you with excellent news. I have achieved a thing! One entire item knocked off my Independence Yay plan! Yay! I present to you some freshly darned socks, knocking #23 off my list. That leaves 26 to go, so at my current rate of 1 every 47 days, I should be done with the list in…3 years…4 months…you know what, how about a picture?

 

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This is some old knitting I’ve fixed up here, let me tell you. The one on top was knit in 2012, the first pair of my first year-long attempt (and failure) to knit a pair every 3 weeks. The yarn itself is 100% cormo 2-ply sport weight I bought at the 2010 NH Sheep & Wool and dyed with food coloring. I made them for squishy bed socks but I still wore them around the house enough to wear a hole in one of the heels some time in the last…Idunno, few years maybe since I put them in the mending pile. I never really had a plan for the leftovers, so I had plenty to patch them up with.

 

The pink ones are my favoritest pair of socks ever in my favoritest sock yarn ever, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select. These date back even further than the stripey bed socks, even further than the blog, all the way to 2009, and also to the second-ever square in my sock yarn blanket:

 

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Slight side-track to talk about this picture:

1) I knew this numbering would not last long given the scope of this thing, but it was pretty fun to keep track for a while.

2) The socks I knit with 1, 2 & 3 — these socks, these socks, these socks — have outlasted the socks I knit with 5, 6 — both DIC Smooshy — 4 & 8 — both KP Gloss — by YEARS. Granted #1 — Berroco Sox — may have lasted so long because they were mostly unwearable around the house until I fixed them, but the other two pairs have had regular wear, in shoes and around the house, for years, and #2 — Patons Kroy — still hasn’t gotten one hole or even a thinning spot.

3) 7, 9 & 10 were never socks so I can’t talk about how well they wear. Well, 10 was socks, almost. Sort of. It’s probably socks by now for all I know. 10 is Cascade Heritage, which is a beautiful yarn to look at and pet, and I am always drawn to it in yarn stores before I notice the label, and a long time ago I knit one sock out of it and it almost killed me, and I sold the finished sock and the rest of the yarn to someone on Ravelry ages and ages ago and kept back a few grams for this square and every single stitch of it was a misery I don’t really have accurate words for. You guys, I really really hate knitting with that yarn. It’s splitty and it feels like cotton and it sticks to bamboo needles way too much and oooohhhhhh it makes me angry and it all comes back to me every time I look at this square but it’s also so so so pretty that I still like having it in my blanket.

Anywho, back to the pink socks. The soles started to wear through in spots a year or two ago now, and I tucked them away the instant I noticed so they wouldn’t be completely ruined. I will never be ready to say goodbye to these socks, and I would rather have them sitting unused in a bag enjoying their retirement and at least not gaining any new holes than continue asking them to sacrifice their beautiful selves bit by bit for my comfort. I made a mental note to finally learn darning but then I was always knitting new socks and these never felt too urgent when I wasn’t staring directly at them. Eventually I got off my ass and learned. By then I had used up the rest of the leftovers in swaps, but luckily I appreciate some visible mending. All of which is to say the gray heels are actually my second go at darning these.

 

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Now that they’ve been resurrected (twice), I’m assigning these officially and exclusively to bed sock/lazing about duty while also vowing to keep mending them until there’s nothing left for the mending to grab onto, at which point I will probably cut the cuffs off and knit them new feet I love them that much.

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Not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping to get out of this one.

Yesterday morning I went to grab a shirt for work off the drying rack and noticed my husband had hung up these socks too. I was a little “aw dang, I must’ve tossed those in with the regular wash” and figured they were probably shrunk but didn’t think much of it. All my shirts were all still pretty damp (WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THE MIDWEST WAS SO HUMID?????) and that was the much more urgent issue. I grabbed the purple shirt I wasn’t overly excited about from my last Stitch Fix box and put it in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes.

The shirt’s a polyester/rayon blend. Now, I know. I know that rayon isn’t meant for the dryer. But most of my work stuff is of the hang/lay flat to dry variety, and I’ve gone years and years before with most of my clothes being of that same variety, and I’ve found that most of it can stand a little dryer time here and there, especially after several wearings and washes. And this was on low. For barely 10 minutes. Basically, this was the safest risk I could take. Also I have another polyester/rayon blend shirt that recently accidentally went through an entire dryer cycle on high and came out just fine.

Here is an artist’s rendering of how not-fine this thing came out of the dryer:

 

 

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It lost an entire foot of length. The width is still fine, and I can’t explain that, but now I have a super comfy crop top to sleep in. I had to wear a damp shirt to work and let the car a/c dry it on the way, but at least I avoided a lower belly sunburn and some weird looks around the office.

After all that, I was pretty convinced my laundry luck was just bad right now and I was for sure going to find those socks were ruined once I got home and could finally try them on. And once I had that thought, I realized it was kind of a welcome thought. My sock project has not been going very well, despite what I assure you are pure intentions, and I’ve had a hard time getting moving on my finish-all-the-things project too. The thought of these socks falling off the list due to an accident that was beyond my control (well, I mean, yes, I could have actually put them where they belonged instead of in the regular laundry basket, but let’s not dwell on particulars) felt like…absolution.

No such bad luck, though.

 

 

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The thing about ruining socks in the washing machine is it doesn’t work if the yarn is superwash, even if you entirely forget that the yarn is superwash while you are fantasizing about how great it would be if they got ruined in the washing machine. They came out a little fuzzier than after a normal hand-wash, but they still very much fit and they still very much need mates. I could, I suppose, just let it go and say they are an intentionally mis-matched pair, but the thing is I don’t really like the orange and gray yarn knit up all that much and wouldn’t so much miss having a pair of them, while I love love love the brighter, fruity colored one and definitely want a full pair. I could just knit another fruity one and call it a day, but then I’ll have this one sock I don’t even like kicking around and making me feel weird.

So, I know what I have to do. You know what I have to do. Two more ankle socks, knit at the same time, just like the first ones. This shouldn’t feel daunting; they are ankle socks! They should only take me a couple evenings! I can do this! I know I can do this! You know I can do this!

I bet we both also know I’m gonna work on the sock blanket for a while first, though.

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Sometimes I write about food.

Have I told you that? It’s true. Here. See for yourself.

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Who needs filters?

And so, another Stitch Fix review (that referral link gets me a $25 credit if you use it to sign up, FYI). The last one until September, actually, because WE ARE GOING TO FIX UP THE SHINY BLUE CAVE ROOM!!!!! and we need the extra cash in August. Soon, my friends. Soon I shall have a big, white, light-filled space where I can take pictures that don’t look like I’ve applied some “blurry photo your grampa took in 1952 and then left in the sun” filter to them. This is good news for me, good news for my knitting that never gets to look pretty enough on the blog, just great news all around until I realize how much sanding it’s going to take. But let’s not talk about that part now.

You can read about my first two Stitch Fix boxes here (that one explains how the whole thing works too) and here.

Yet again, my stylist, Jenny, sent some stuff that was very me and heard my feedback and requests. There were some great things in this fix and some not-great things and also some personal timing problems that prevented me from getting everything I loved.

Let’s break it down:

 

Liverpool Harper Printed Bootcut Pant in Dark Grey, size 8P, $88

In my note for this fix I asked for some new work pants, preferably in gray or tan. These are gray and bootcut and I was a little excited when I saw the description in my checkout screen (I have found that “cheating” really helps me be prepared for how much I might spend before the paycheck comes in and needs to be allocated, and it turns out I don’t actually want to be completely surprised by these boxes). My first impression was that these had an overall pattern to them and I really think I might be a solids person? Like, I am letting myself be totally open to knew things so that I can figure out if I even like clothes in the first place, but something in me really protests the idea of any kind of patterning that isn’t stripes. I don’t know what that is, but I know it felt weird about these pants. Maybe it was that these felt distinct and I’m very used to owning very plain things because when you can only ever afford one or two of a particular type of clothing, you try to make them as plain as possible so people don’t really notice you’re wearing the same thing every other day? This is a question I’ll have to sort out is my point, but not just yet since these nowhere near fit me anyway.

In my profile, I specified no petite sizes. I am short (5’1″) but I find petites are either way too small in all directions or they fit lengthwise but assume I’m significantly wider than I am. I have loved the 2 pairs of fairly short pants so far in my last 2 fixes, though, so I can see why Jenny chose a petite size for these pants. Just 2 problems: one, despite my adoration for the Margaret M cropped pants and the ankle-length jeans I can wear with sandals and that stay totally out of my way, at the end of the day, I really like a longer length for pants, especially if I’m going to wear them with heels; and two, these are the kind of pants that have a zipper, a button, and a pair of those little hook dealies, and if I really really really tried I could get the button done and then that allowed me to get the zipper almost all the way up as long as I didn’t move or breathe, but there was no way those hooks were happening unless I was flat on my back and exhaling fully.

 

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The shoes tho!

Franco Sarto Ingall Snake Heel Pump in Dark Purple, size 7, $89

Holy jesus, these shoes are fantastic. Definitely purple but so dark they’re almost black, a significantly high heel, and I really liked the snakeskin texture on the heel. These were an absolute definite yes, totally the most me thing that I’ve gotten in a fix so far, but then when we really sat down and looked at the bills for the week and the empty fridge and how often I’ve been buying lunches because I wasn’t planning for leftovers with dinner lately, I just couldn’t do it. Hy-Vee got my extra $89 this week and these went back in their little bag but also onto my Christmas list.

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Market & Spruce Bri Knit Cardigan in Teal Green, size L, $48

I wear cardigans all the time, and we know how I feel about this color from my last fix so I might have squealed a little when I took this out of the box. The cut & length were good, but the sleeves were very tight around the biceps — like, I could only wear this with a tank because there was no extra space for a sleeve — and the shoulder seam was very lumpy and kind of stuck out right at the edge of my shoulder.

 

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Pixley Darcy Weave Jersey T-Shirt Dress in Green, size L, $48

So, here’s a thing that’s been happening to me lately. Twice in the last year or so I have been just minding my own goddamn business trying to buy some practical item at a store, and a cashier has pointed straight at my stomach and asked what I am going to name it. I do my best to make it as awkward as I can for them, because even if I were pregnant this would still be none of their actual business, but it’s not really the kind of interaction I crave from strangers. This dress is cute and the ruffly thing it has going on is interesting, but if I want to keep these 2 isolated incidents from turning into a real trend, this is not the dress for me.

From the front it’s kind of ok. It gives an almost hourglassy effect. I’m not a huge fan of short sleeves, but they’re not necessarily a dealbreaker.

 

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This is a dealbreaker tho:

 

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Not all of that is even me! Several of those folds are the dress itself. But unless I paint “several of these folds are the dress itself” across the dress itself — and even then — I don’t think this is going to do anything to stop the nosy strangers. I will say it was an interesting dress to try on on the anniversary of my Essure confirmation x-ray, tho.

 

So, not the best box so far. But we do have one small triumph.

 

Loveapella Delany V Neck Knit Top in Dark Purple, size L, $48

I didn’t love this when I tried it on. Dark purple is definitely my color, but this particular dark purple was a little too jewel toned, maybe a little too burgundy. I don’t like warm tones. I’m a very cold person. Or something. The fit was great, the cut was great, the fabric was super light but not in that weird clingy way where it just wants to form a bond with your skin and you spend the whole day trying to escape its clutches. But I kind of thought “meh” and tossed it back in the box.

Then the next morning I went to get ready for work and there was not a single shirt that was clean that I could bring myself to put on. It’s been in the high 80s and 90s here with just absurd humidity levels and we have no air conditioning, and every shirt I was faced with that morning might just as well have been a winter coat. Then I remembered how wonderfully floaty and gauzy and still work appropriate this was. And I thought about how the Margaret M pants from my first fix have that great barely-there sort of feeling even on a hot day even though they’re black. And I thought about the shiny sandals I sort of got from my second fix and, well:

 

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100% Stitch Fix outfit achievement unlocked

 

I tell you, I was very nearly comfortable the entire day. It was nice.

 

I had a $25 credit from a friend signing up, so after that came off and tax went in I paid like $26 and change. Not my most exciting experience with Stitch Fix so far, but since I’m not going to be able to get another box until mid-September, maybe hitting kind of a low note is good since I won’t be pining away the next 2 months.

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We Have Got To Paint This Room Soon

It’s Stitch Fix time again!!! Oh, man, I could get used to this. What if I just keep getting clothes sent to my house every so often forever and I never have to go to Kohl’s again? I’m almost afraid to think about it.

If you missed my last post, you can check out how Stitch Fix works & my review of my first fix here. You can check them out for yourself and sign up here through my referral link. (I get a $25 credit if you do. And you’d get my eternal love & admiration. It’s probably a fair trade.)

The good news this week is that I found one time of day when I can get an almost-decent picture in the shiny blue room. The bad news is I found it on Saturday when it was sunny and took most of these pictures on Sunday when it was raining. We’ve been putting off fixing up anything around here until we have a solid plan, and we haven’t been painting because we know we have to redo the ceilings, but I maybe have reached my fuck it point because not only can I not get a good picture, I can actually even barely see myself in the mirror. (Yes, I could move the mirror, but every bedroom — all actual 4 of them! — is painted a color this dark.)

Anyways there are worse problems to have, so let’s just talk about clothes for a bit.

In my feedback on my last fix, I noted that the style of the shirts I got was pretty spot-on but the fit was just not right. I asked for longer tops with a looser fit this time. For my second fix, I got the same stylist (Jenny! She’s great!) as last time and she noted that she made a point of including longer shirts in stretchier fabric. I think one of my favorite things about this whole thing might turn out to be the little personalized note you get from your stylist. The whole thing feels so personalized anyway, but that extra touch of someone explaining why they picked what they did really makes you feel noticed and acknowledged, I think.

When I pulled everything out of the box, I was super pumped about the jeans and one of the tops, thought the sandals were pretty cute, and wasn’t quite sure about the other two tops. I decided to try the tops on in ascending order of how excited I was about them, so that if there were to be disappointments they would hopefully come earlier and I’d end the whole thing on a happier note.

So, here’s what I got:

Dear John Kyleigh Straight Leg Jean in Navy, size 8, $78

41Hawthorn Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse in Green, size L, $58

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One thing I mentioned in my style profile is that I have a really hard time with button-downs and don’t really wear them anymore. All my upper body proportions, but especially my shoulders and upper arms, seem to be off from how a person is meant to fit into a button-down shirt. It ends up being a choice — I can either move my arms or look like I have a torso and not some shapeless void hovering over my legs. Jenny said she picked this top because the cut is a little more generous and she thought if I wore it unbuttoned over a camisole it might be a good fit. Sadly, no. It’s a really gorgeous color and feels like a perfect light summer work top, and just standing there like this I think it looks great. It still gives me pretty much every problem a button-down can, though.

 

Problem #1: The Arm Lift/Breast Shelf Situation.

If I go like this…

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…it stays there.

 

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This may not seem likely to come up very often, because how often do you do jumping-jack arms really, but trust that this happens if I lift my arms just enough to take a sip of coffee too.

Problem #2: The Gappy-Chest Conundrum.

 

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(Self-explanatory.)

Problem #3: HULK SMASH Shoulders

 

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Oh, the pulling! Any position but anatomical position and my circulation becomes threatened.

This was definitely a more generous cut than other button-downs I’ve worn, but I still needed help taking it off because I thought I was gonna bust the seams. Perfect fit and length everywhere but the shoulders and chest, though, so I have to say I’m super impressed with Jenny’s ability to pick out clothes for someone she’s never met or even seen a picture of (though I did add a link to my Stitch Fix tag to my note for next time, so, hi, Jenny, if you see this!).

 

OK, but these jeans, tho. Remember last time how I was saying about the black pants that it was like I didn’t even have to think about them while I wore them? I don’t know about you, but I typically have to do a lot of thinking about my pants. Are they so long I’m walking on them? Are they riding down while I sit and need a good hike when I stand back up? Should I change before I eat so that there’s room for food? Etc. But these jeans! Perfect fit, perfect rise, perfect length. I have walked around the house in them all day and not stepped on them once! Actually, let’s back up: I have worn these around the house all day! I pretty much never wear non-jammies/sweats/yoga clothes inside, largely because jeans just are never comfortable enough to curl up on the couch and/or eat in, and that’s just about my whole weekend and every evening right there. But these might as well be pajamas, that is how comfortable they are. I have curled up on the couch and eaten food in them and everything. Get yourself into these pants, you guys–or, well, buy a pair, I mean. You need them.

 

Papermoon Wigan Shoulder Zip Short Sleeve Knit Top in Light Pink, size L, $44

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I liked so much about this shirt. It has (working) zippers on the shoulders, which I wasn’t quite sure whether I liked, but once I had it on I didn’t feel like they affected the look of the shirt or how it fit. This one was actually pretty perfect for me, and even though I wasn’t sure about the zippers and I don’t wear short sleeves too often, I pretty much always wear a cardigan at work, so those factors wouldn’t even really be a big deal. I did have a sneaking suspicion that having a piece of metal on my shoulder while the sun beats down on my car window on my drive to work mightn’t be the greatest idea, though it would probably give me a cool scar.

 

Laila Jayde Bowie Solid Dolman Sleeve Top in Turquoise, size L, $58

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Before I do anything new I tend to read up on it a bunch. So, I’ve spent a good month at this point reading Stitch Fix reviews and getting a feel for what people like/don’t like about the service as well as some of the trends or pieces it seems everyone gets at some point. And I do want to get the most of this experience, so I try to add a bunch of things to my Pinterest board that I’m pretty certain I would like wearing and keep any notes about things I don’t want to wear in my style profile. But I don’t really feel like I have much of a personal style at this point and I’m definitely staying open to trying whatever I get sent. So, while I did add some NOs to my profile based off some of the things that seem like Stitch Fix staples that I know for sure I won’t wear (for example: everyone seems to get a jean jacket at some point, and they all seem to love them, but I have worn a lot of jean jackets in my day and I can for sure tell you they are not for me), I also made a point of not putting in any preferences beyond that. Like, if there’s something I’m not sure I’d care to wear, I don’t say a word about it, because I really do want to try new things before I just decide to feel a way about them. All of which is to say, Stitch Fix seems to carry a lot of dolman sleeve tops and I’ve never worn a dolman sleeve before but always kind of figured they’d be not the best cut for me and I never thought they looked very comfortable. I guess I kind of assumed you’d feel like your arms were tied to your hips?

But I have got to tell you, I pulled this shirt out of the box and I almost cried a little it looked so perfect. And then I put it on and sent up a little request to the universe that Jenny has something really fantastic happen to her this week because she deserves it. Oh, people. It fits perfectly. It’s roomy but not voluminous; I think how it’s fitted at the hips helps with that. It hits my hips EXACTLY where I like a shirt to. The color is fantastic. The color is the color I painted my dream hutch. I match my hutch now! It looks great with these jeans and I’m betting it’ll pair nicely with the Margaret M pants from last time too. I was so excited to wear it to work tomorrow that I couldn’t wait and wore it today so now I have to do more laundry and maybe I’ll get to wear it to work on Tuesday.

So, yay for this shirt and yay for being open to new things! I’m not rethinking the jean jackets, tho.

 

Let’s talk about Stitch Fix math for a second. You pay your $20 styling fee upfront and then that’s deducted from whatever you decide to buy out of that fix (or you lose the $20 if you don’t keep anything). If you decide to keep everything, you get 25% off, which can easily be more than one entire item costs depending on what sort of price range you request for your items. The jeans and the turquoise top were definitely buys for me and they came to $136 combined, which went down to $111 with my styling fee and an additional $5 credit I had from a friend signing up through my referral link. The green top was a definite no, but the top with the shoulder zips I could have gone either way on. So, this last item ended up being really crucial in my decision making.

 

Steve Madden Sharin Beaded Sandal in Blush, size 7, $80

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Agains, I’m not sure these are something I would have picked out for myself, but I love how they manage to be neutral and shiny at the same time. Shoes are one of the only things clothing-related I have ever enjoyed shopping for, so, even though a big part of signing up for Stitch Fix was about letting someone else pick things out for me and being open to getting stuff that I would never think to grab for myself, I wasn’t expecting that element on the shoe side of things. But twice now I’ve gotten shoes that I thought “that’s cute, but probably not really my thing,” until I put them on and then I LOVED them.

I was wondering if these would feel flimsy at first, but I wore them around the house a bit on Saturday and they were actually really comfortable and they stayed put really well. The ankle laces are just long enough to knot securely without trailing behind you and getting dirty. What really had me sold on them was when I realized I had nail polish that matched them perfectly. I don’t have a ton that I can wear these with right now, and that’s something that usually holds me back, but I had to remind myself that I’m intentionally building a wardrobe here and if my first two fixes are any indication it won’t be long before I have a bunch of stuff I love and surely some of it will go with these sandals.

So, the sandals were $80, which would bring my total to $191. This was a little over my budget for this fix and I would have had to move some other things around. It wouldn’t have been great, but I’m trying to relax about money a bit and prioritize myself these days, so I probably could have made it work if I really needed to. I liked the shoulder zip top well enough, but at $236 for all 4 items I would definitely be out of my budget. The thing about Stitch Fix math though is that at this point it actually makes sense to buy all 5 things. The total for all 5 would have been $206. I would have ended up with the green shirt that didn’t fit, but I probably could sell it. So at this point I knew I wanted the sandals and just had to decide whether I wanted to spring for the extra $15 and get the shoulder zip top, even if I still couldn’t shake the feeling I’d end up with the shoulder equivalent of when you put on your jeans too soon out of the drier every time I wore it on a sunny day.

This was a really tough choice to make! In the end, I decided to look around and see if the sandals were available for less anywhere else and let that be what made my decision for me, whether I just ended up buying them for less or getting a price match from Stitch Fix. (I googled everything, actually, and I did last time too, but it would have taken some amazing like $3 sale price to get me to send back the jeans and top and wait for them to come again from somewhere else once I had them in my hands.) I found these, which are identical except for the back…heel…part…thingy (there must be a word for that?) is a strap instead of the full-coverage of the ones I had. They were $40 and then Retail Me Not got me another $10 off and there was free shipping, so there was really no question at that point. I liked the ones I had, but that slight design difference wasn’t worth $50 to me. So, the Shoebuy ones are on their way and the Stitch Fix ones are back in their little bag and waiting in their prepaid envelope with the other two tops to return home tomorrow. Buying the Shoebuy pair also brought me down below my original budget while still getting everything I really wanted, so I’m still just beyond excited about how this is working out. I’ve got my next fix scheduled for the 20th — which means probably the 21st, given how FedEx has been behaving lately — and I requested some work pants in gray or tan but nothing special beyond that, since I didn’t really feel like there were any major issues in this box that needed to be addressed.

So, in conclusion: STITCH FIIIIIIIIIIIIX!!!!! Seriously.

 

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Independence Yay!

OK, this is it. Time to declare myself free of that weird crafting guilt you get when too many unfinished things pile up for too long. This is going to feel good. Let’s do this thing. I give you the Official List of Allowable Knitting for the Foreseeable Future, in Approximate Order of On-the-Needles Time:

 

1 Life-Long Blanket

No, I don’t expect to finish this, but I am giving myself a milestone to reach; I want to fill in the pretty jagged top so that’s squared off again and fill in all the side triangles (I have the bottom done & one side complete up as far as I’ve knit rows of squares, so the triangle part of the goal is pretty doable).

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2 Secret Project #1

Almost exactly 6 years old, more than half done (though I need to recheck my gauge and see if I even can continue from where I left off or if I have to start over).

 

3 Giant Oceania Shawl

This one was still in progress when I started typing up this list last night, but honestly once I pulled it out to take pictures I just had that oh god so sick of this feeling I’ve been getting lately, and, well, here:

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It’s really hard to get accurate colors in the spare room. Why those walls? Why?

Pattern: Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Oceania, color Java
Needles: 5.5 mm/US 9 KP Harmony interchangeables for the body of the shawl, then it sat on the cord with stoppers for at least the last 3 years, judging by the date on my last Ravelry notes, and then yesterday I just grabbed 2 tips that looked big enough to bind off with but I honestly don’t know what size
Started: 8/18/10
Finished: 7/3/16

When I started this, the plan was to have a giant blanket-sized shawl to keep me warm at work. It took longer to knit than it took that job to lay me off, though, and it’s just kind of been languishing forever since then. Seeing that this only took 130 g out of 400 and it was this big has me convinced I made the right decision and I never would have knit a giant shawl out of this. Also I just knit the giant shawl of my dreams and I don’t feel the need for another one. I found a friend who will give it a good home and I think we shall all be happier for it.

 

4 Francis Revisited Revised

LOOK AT HER NOW SHE JUST NEEDS LONGER SLEEVES!

And Buddy just needs to play with her ends.

And Buddy just needs to play with her ends.

 

5 Conference Call Socks

Started September 2011; have been nothing but trouble since. The first sock was too small. Then I reknit it and it fit perfectly. Yesterday:

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Maybe I’m done with these? Maybe I give them one more chance? Maybe I try to get the same size on the second one and find someone who’s like half a shoe-size smaller than me? Maybe I don’t have to knit this list in order so I have some time to decide.

 

6 Secret project #2

Started in 2013; high chance this won’t get done; best not to get into too much detail.

 

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(There should be a pair of mittens here but I remember some horrible yarn tangles and I’m not sure if I know where one of the yarns that I need even is right now and also the hat & scarf they were supposed to match have had some stain misfortune befall them, so I’m gonna keep a place for them but not get my hopes up.)

 

8 Scrappy Scarf

Fingering weight leftovers from the sock yarn blanket. I like this but I don’t know how much, really. This one might get ripped out.

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9 Ugly Knee Socks

When last we saw them:

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I tried this one on yesterday to see how the fit was, and everything but the heel was great. I think my recent short-row-heel revelation extends to afterthought heels. Since I didn’t love the yarn anyway, I haven’t decided what to do with these. If I decide to finish, I’ll probably cut the foot off just above the heel and add a contrasting heel flap and then redo the foot. I just have to decide how much I care or how much I would wear these. My original plan was to wear them in my boots on the farm but that’s less useful to me right now. Idunno. But I’ll report back.

 

10 Secret project # 2

I can finish this. I CAN finish this. I can FINISH THIS!!!! And then you can see it.

 

11 Muriwai the Third

Big blob of green cotton. Nothing to see here.

 

12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket

I don’t think I ever showed you this! It’s fun.

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I’m just sort of taking leftovers and knitting 20-stitch-wide garter stitch strips. For one strip, I’m alternating 2 colors and changing one of them out every 20 ridges. For the other, I’m splitting it down the middleand knitting until each color runs out. Not sure what I’ll do with the next ones. I think this will be like a 24″x36″ lap blanket maybe?

 

13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks

Haven’t started the second socks yet, but you can see that I intend to, since I actually know where both the yarns are.

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When they’re done, they’ll look just like this but on the other feet:

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Also then they won’t have to be mismatched anymore if I don’t want them to be.

 

15 Kiemurakukkaset

These don’t need much! Just the thumbs (with conductive thread) and a good blocking. Watch this take the longest of everything on the list.

 

16 NETHER GARMEEEEEEEEENTSSSSSSSSSS

Holy dang these are fun, you guys.

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So…that takes care of everything with a Ravelry project page. But that doesn’t take care of everything.

In less of any kind of order, here is what remains:

 

17 This is a sweater. I swear.

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18 This used to be a sweater.

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Back before the blog, I knit a Buttony.

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While I was super excited to knit an actual garment, I think that face I’m making there pretty accurately sums up how I have tended to feel about the thing since. Like, sure, I’m kinda smiling but I’m not like smiling smiling. It’s nice. It’s OK. It’s lived in a box for 8.5 years.

It’s gonna be a pillow now. Probably a pillow with buttons tho ’cause dang I love those buttons.

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19 Gray & Yellow Shawl in unphotographable yarn

 

20 Myrtle, which I am finally ready to swatch after like 5 years of thinking about it–in unphotographable yarn

 

21 Gray & Teal Scarf in yarn I am too lazy to photograph right now but would probably look fine if I did

 

22 Big Pile of Socks With Problems That I Should Really Fix

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23 Mending

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Not much in this category, thankfully.

 

24 & 25 Mystery Projects 3 & 4

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26 My Current Year-of-Socks Socks

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Hey, so if anybody’s having trouble getting in the right mood to knit short socks, let me recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Let me also note that is the ONLY situation for which I can recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Any time I think about socks lately all I can think is well there’s no point covering up too much of my legs, given that they’re about to melt off anyways.

27 Wild Card

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This meets neither of my “on the needles or significantly along in the planning stage” criteria and I don’t even care. I bought this on WWKIP day to celebrate my local store’s 20% off sale. I have no idea what it’s going to be yet but I’m putting it on this list in case something comes to me.

 

OK, folks, I…think that’s it? Like, I really really believe this is everything. I don’t see how there could be more.

 

Onward!

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Make, Mend, Modify

Tomorrow I declare independence from all my works in progress. Aside from my ’15-’16:17 queue, whatever is on my needles — or significantly along in the planning or prep process, let’s say — when I get up tomorrow is the only allowable knitting until all of it is done. (I’ll wait while you finish laughing. Yes, we all know how well this is going to turn out. For the moment, let’s just pretend. A fantasy is nice in summer.) So, I’m spending today getting organized and casting on a bunch of new things just to be safe, and I’ll report in tomorrow with the full list.

I have been finishing things already tho!

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Pattern: none, just my usual approach (64 sts, cuff-down, 2×2 ribbing and stockinette, flap & gusset heel)
Yarn: Holiday Yarns FlockSock Sock, color Barnyard by Nora (there’s a story about the barnyard, the pigs —  pink — the barn — red — but I don’t really remember it anymore; it was nice when the lady who sold me the yarn told it tho)
Needles: 2 mm/US 0 Karbonz DPNs
Started: 4/20/16
Finished: 6/23/16

These were my first entry in the Grocery Girls’ Second Socks of Summer KAL. You’d think short socks would be easy enough to plow through, and yet I totally needed the KAL motivation to get these done. (We’ll talk about the rest of my planned entries tomorrow. There are either 2 or 4 depending on how I decide to live my life between now and then.)

Also, these are #5/17 for my current year of socks. That didn’t seem too bad to me, considering the rough start I got off to, until I checked the math and realized it’s been 39 weeks since October 1 and I should be at 13/17 by now. I swear, one of these years I’ll complete a “year of” project.

Also also, these weren’t even next in the queue. They were kind of an accident but it all worked out for the best. A few months ago I was looking for a new swift on Etsy. (I went with one from this shop and I’m really liking it.) I wasn’t sure what size skeins I needed it to be able to handle, and this was the first skein I grabbed to measure. It was still on the coffee table when the swift arrived, so it was the first one wound. Then it was still there when I finished my last socks, so it was the next one cast on. I’m really happy these jumped to the front of the line, though, because this is the same yarn as the Daughter of the Regiment kit, and after pushing myself through the end of that sock, it was so nice to have a good experience with that yarn.

In fact, these made me so happy with the yarn, that it brought up some ideas about how to use the leftovers from Only Child of the Regiment.

I made these socks — very quickly! — in 2009. I think they were my 3rd pair ever? They were so early in my sock knitting career that they were actually the first ever square in my blanket.

 

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But they’ve never been quite long enough. They stretch over my toes something awful. If I wear them, I wear them in shoes, but I don’t wear them often. I’ve always sort of meant to fix them somehow but never really felt like it. But then I was thinking about how much I actually like the FlockSock and realized the gray was actually kind of perfect, and, well.

 

 

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Pattern: cuff-down, 2×2 ribbing and stockinette, flap & gusset heel, from back in the days when I used to knit 60-stitch socks
Yarn: Berroco Sox, color 1435, and Holiday Yarns FlockSock Sock, which is such a perfect fit with those blues and grays I just couldn’t be happier
Needles: 2.25 mm/US 1 originally (goddamn my gauge has changed; I would never think of knitting this yarn on 2/25 mm these days; I’d probably go down to 1.75, actually), 2 mm/US 0 to knit the new the toes
Started: February 2009
Finished: March 2009 originally; June 2016 for realskies

I might still have just one more use for this yarn too, actually. I was thinking how the solid gray is pretty close to the gray in the multicolor socks, and then I was thinking how nice gray and pink are together, and then I remembered that I have some mending on tomorrow’s list.

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This is Not About Knitting

(This is just gonna be me talking about Stitch Fix and the short version is OH MY GOD LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT and here is my referral link — I get a $25 credit if you sign up through that, but I am not sure if you get anything fancy, so do as you feel is best — so feel free to come back later for the knitting content. There will be LOTS OF SOCKS and a blanket update to talk about in the next post, I promise. But I’ve been so excited to get this box for a few weeks now and I’ve been reading a million Stitch Fix reviews and found them so helpful and I want to contribute to that conversation and tell EVERYBODY how great this is, so here we go!)

I hate clothes shopping. It’s the worst. And it’s been something close to 15 years since I had the money AND the time AND the energy to do it with enough regularity to keep up anything like a nice wardrobe. But back when I could do it, I did enjoy the end result of actually liking how I looked when I got dressed in the morning.  And that’s a feeling I haven’t had in a looooong time. Also I started a new office job a few months ago and have to look fairly decent and aside from a panicky aaahhhh I start a new job Monday 6-hour Kohl’s excursion back in January and the occasional Target clearance shirt, I haven’t bought “nice” clothes in something like 4 years and thus have no wardrobe to speak of. And now it’s summer and everything I bought in January is sweaters, so. Yeah. I’ve been really needing to buy new clothes since like late April but I just have not been able to make myself do it, and it’s been so long since I could really think about these things that now clothes shopping makes me feel like I just got dropped off on this planet and am wandering around a mall wishing someone would tell me how to human.

Enter Stitch Fix.

Oh, people. I gotta tell you. Any problem that requires me to shop for anything but yarn or books is a problem I can’t solve by shopping. But I do, however, seem to be into any solution that moves me closer to an entirely subscription-based lifestyle. You know how I feel about CSAs (although we don’t have one this year, though I did end up with a bunch of mystery seedlings in the garden, so it’ll be kind of  like a CSA once there’s stuff to harvest). Mighty Nest sends really cool stuff every month. We’ve been doing Blue Apron on and off for a few months and it’s made grocery shopping and meal planning and trying to find a cooking routine that works with a 9-to-5 again feel way less stressful, plus everything is delicious. As part of my “what if I liked how I looked again?” experiment, I signed up for Ipsy and Birch Box too. (Those are also my personal referral links for Ipsy & Birch Box, and I think I get points if you sign up through them? Idunno, this is all very new. Also I can’t say I recommend Ipsy’s sign-up process. They seem to try to trick you into spamming on every possible social media front or waiting 6 months to get in but if you push back a little they’re like LOL J/K YOU CAN JOIN RIGHT NOW PLEASE TELL 90 FRIENDS WE LET YOU IN AND THEN FOLLOW THESE 700 TWITTER ACCOUNTS. I really liked the stuff I got from them, but their marketing model is annoying as hell.) Also, we’ve been without a steady paycheck for so long that figuring out how to spend consistently every week and get out of the feast-or-famine money mindset is tricky. On the one hand, my instincts to never spend anything so that there’s something left to pay the bill for whatever is due to get shut off next month are still there, but on the other hand we finally can trust that there will be money coming in every few weeks for the foreseeable future, which means we can finally start catching up on the last 3 years of borrowing and credit card spending and just plain not paying for things. Basically, I still feel like we have no money for me to spend on clothes, but if I think of it in terms of taking a bit out of every paycheck and trying to get a few things every few weeks, we actually totally have the money for me to buy clothes AND still eat and keep gas in the car and the power turned on and all that other fun stuff. So Stitch Fix kind of had me hooked as soon as I heard about it is what I’m saying.

The basic deal, if you’re not familiar: when you sign up you fill out a pretty detailed profile with your sizes, preferences, style opinions, etc. You can specify certain things you do/don’t want — they offer clothes, shoes, outerwear & accessories; for now I’m asking for just clothes and shoes, because we are still so far from a place where a new bracelet’s going to solve my problems — and link to a Pinterest board where you have clothing ideas too. I had a ton of fun setting all of this up! Even the Pinterest board, even though I find Pinterest almost impossible to process visually! You pay $20 and pick a delivery date and then an actual human looks over all your information and picks out 5 items for you. Once you receive your package, you have 3 days to try everything on — at home! with your own mirrors & lighting! and with your other actual clothes & shoes so you really know if what you’re getting is going to work! — and send back what you don’t want in the pre-paid envelope they include. You’re charged for what you want to keep minus the $20 you paid up front (you lose the $20 if you don’t want to keep anything, so $20 is really all you’re ever risking). If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount, which feels super generous to me. (I kept 2 out of 5 items from my first box and spent $169 and change including tax. The other items came to around $175 but if I had bought all 5 I only would have spent $243 plus tax. The full value of the box before any discounts or tax was $351. There’s a question in the style profile quiz about how much you’re willing to spend on various items, and I chose the least expensive option for most items.) Also when you’re checking out you can leave detailed feedback on each item. Your stylist even writes you a little note about why they chose what they did for you. The level of personalization in the whole process really impressed me.

Anyway, my point is: clothes shopping bad, ordering things online good, also lately I feel like I need my choice taken away in a lot of arenas because life is overwhelming and I want to use my brain for the things I like, so any opportunity to subscribe to something necessary and have it brought to my front door is at least something I’m going to take a second look at.

Alright, let’s get to the actual clothes. This is a little photo series I like to call “having someone else pick out your clothes is a way better life choice than dark blue high-gloss walls, but only one of those choices is mine to make, so.”

Let’s start with what I kept:

Nine West Xeena Pointed Toe Pump in dark pink, size 7 ($79)

Margaret M Sylvie Straight Leg Pant in black , size M ($98)

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LOOK HOW FUCKING LAURA PETRIE THESE ARE YOU GUYS !!!!!!

 

So, I took these out of the box and I figured they would be the things I wouldn’t keep. Cropped, straight-leg pants are not my usual could-stand-a-good-hemming bootcuts, and a 2″ heel is basically a flat if you ask me. But oh my god. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOD. These are the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned. The fabric is stretchy but still sturdy enough to make me feel contained (I like to feel like my pants hold me in a little, like how thundershirts work for dogs, I guess?), and between the stretchiness and the length they actually just kind of…stay out of my way is the only way I can think to describe it. It’s not like not wearing pants, because that’s not a feeling I prize very highly, but it is like not wearing pants that I have to think about. If they weren’t $98 I would buy another pair to sleep in. And the shoes were just actually too cute and they looked great with the pants and I don’t know who I became when I put these things on, but that person who doesn’t wear cropped straight-leg pants and 2″ heels is gone now and I don’t know if she’s coming back.

 

Next up: what I almost kept.

Margaret M Christiana Textured Skirt in Olive, size M ($78)

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Just like the pants, this was a great mix of stretchy and sturdy. You know how sometimes you wear a stretchy skirt but it’s more like spandex and see-through and you really feel like you need a slip, but then what kind of slip that won’t make the stretchiness go all weird? Well, it’s not like that. The fabric is thick enough that I wasn’t even thinking about a slip. This skirt was so comfy and again a pretty perfect fit, but I decided against it in the end because the color wasn’t totally me and also because it kind of rode up the more I walked around in it and I thought that could be annoying to deal with all day at the office. I’m not sure why it was riding up, since I can’t remember the last time I wore this style skirt and if it behaved the same. Maybe because it came pretty much just below my knee, so it was more affected by my moving around than it might have been at another length? Idunno. It was close to staying with me, though, and if I’d ended up keeping the other 2 items in my box, it would have been a definite considering the buy-all-five discount.

 

Finally, the stuff that just didn’t work at all.

Loveappella Button Detail Striped Knit Top in Grey, size L ($48)

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Right out of the box, I thought this was a definite keeper. It looked exactly like something I would wear. The colors, the stripes, the shape. I’m fairly belly-heavy right now tho and the last few years of upper-body-centric jobs — grocery store, bartending, housecleaning, farm work — had me upping my shirt size quite a bit when I filled out my Stitch Fix profile. I think of myself as a small-medium, but I weigh the most I ever have right now (165-ish last I was at the doctor’s) and clearly none of it went to my legs since my pants size hasn’t changed and also I finally did that thing the internet keeps telling me to and measured myself to figure out my bra size and I guess I’m a 38 D? Who knew. Anyways, my point is, I went with L as my shirt size and they sent me L shirts, but. This looked long and flowy and then I put it and it was short and sausage-casing-y.

 

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Also the sleeves were weird. I guess they would be short sleeves on an average-height human adult? (I am 5′ 1″ with short-ish arms.) But on me they were just to my elbows and they had buttons. Buttons right at the biggest part of my arm. Buttons keeping me from bending my elbow all the way when the sleeve twirled around, which sleeves always do for me. (Socks , too. I don’t know what’s with my skeletons, you guys.)  I wanted to love this shirt. This shirt did not want to love me back.

Skies are Blue Shani Crochet Trim Top in Off-White, size L ($48)

This looked just huge but like a nice layering piece before I tried it on. I said in my profile that I mostly wear tanks, 3/4 or extra long sleeves and that I needed summery work stuff, so a sleeveless top that I could layer a cardigan over was a really great choice on my stylist’s part.

But.

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Super tight around the chest, like, I wouldn’t have been able to move my arms if this had sleeves. And then under that…a really short tent?

So, basically:

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So, here’s a thing about me: I do not like my mid-parts all exposed-like. No matter how big or small they are at any given moment. They must be covered. I prefer form-fitting shirts, but I need them to hit my hips at least. The main problem with both these shirts is that they were just too short. They left the one part of me that I really insist on keeping covered just kind of hanging out there. But they really did look like things I would wear and with a few tiny tweaks they could have been things I kept and loved forever. I went back to my Stitch Fix profile and upped my shirt size from L/10 to L/12 (XL/14 is the largest they offer right now, so hopefully I’m not just landing somewhere out of their shirt range) and we’ll see how that goes for my next order. I also put in a note requesting tops that are a little looser and more like tunic-length.

(I still needed some new shirts, though, so the next night I went to Target and came out with one L that’s pretty fitted and one S that’s long and flowy, so maybe this just all boils down to problems in the clothing industry, and I am actually fine?)

 

But overall, folks, WHOA DAMN this is one of the best choices I’ve made in a while. I said in my first note to my stylist that what I really needed was to build up a good basic work wardrobe, and I figured over several boxes I might see a good variety of pieces building up. But then I got 2 shirts, pants, a skirt and shoes, which, if I had loved all of them, would have pretty much given me a basic work wardrobe right there. My stylist noted that she sent the shoes because I had pinned a lot of outfits with pink pumps, and I hadn’t even realized I did that! She was paying more attention to me than I was. The sign-up and checkout processes were smooth and painless. It was so relaxing to just play around and try on new clothes in the spare room while my husband made dinner. When do you ever finish trying on clothes and then immediately get into your jammies and sit down to a big plate of chicken and mashed potatoes and 3 or 4 episodes of Leverage? Exactly never, in my experience, until last Monday. I scheduled another box for next week after I get paid again, and I just checked my account and IT’S ALREADY SHIPPED!!! and I kind of can’t wait.

Also I hope I get shoes every time, because I want a million of those shoe bags.

Also I hope I get shoes every time, because I want a million of those shoe bags.

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On Happy Street

After I finished my scrappy shawl, all I could think of was other ways I could look cute while staying warm at work. I was feeling some pretty strong Color Affection feelings, but the day I went to the yarn store I had a nasty migraine and looking at the pattern to get yarn requirements was nearly impossible. Narrow stripes are just not good for my migraine eyes, so in the end that migraine was probably really good timing. I would hate to have knit an entire shawl and then found out I couldn’t wear it when I had a migraine. Lucky for me, Veera Välimäki has lots of other shawl options.

I think I might be developing a bit of a shawl thing. This was such a fast knit and I had the pattern memorized after the first stripe repeat. I don’t know if I’m picking the right patterns or it’s just the fun of trying something new, but I feel like I’m knitting shawls right now faster than I ever knit anything.

There weren’t a whole lot of solid fingering weight options at the store that day, but I found the Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat section and figured I might never need another yarn as long as I live anyway, so it all worked out.

 

 

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This yarn is fantastic. That teal almost glows. And it didn’t bleed into the white at all, even though the water was pretty blue when I took it out of its bath. It also comes in some pretty generous yardage, so I have soooo much leftover and some plans for fun things to do with it all.

 

I went down a needle size for this since I tend to be a loose knitter. My gauge ended up a bit tighter than the pattern calls for, but this is still plenty huge.

 

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Side of my house for scale.

Pattern: Happy Street by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat, 66 g of Dreamworld (purple) and 54 g of Caterpillar (teal); Cascade 220 Fingering, 61 g of 8010 Natural
Needles: 3.75 mm/US 5 bamboo circular
Finished Gauge: 23 sts & 46 rows over 4″; I didn’t take a finished measurement for width depth
Started: 4/16/16
Finished: 5/8/16

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Bits

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Thanks to the Soxcetera Blanket Blitz KAL, I’ve been working the blanket again. I’m trying to figure out the best method for taking pictures of it in segments. With the size it’s gotten to, I can capture the details or I can capture the scope.

 

Also thanks to the Soxcetera group, I’ve gotten some fresh yarns for the blanket too. I’ve added a fair bit to the supply just with my own knitting since the last time I worked on the blanket, but these trades are gonna help me make a huge dent in things. I still have one more coming too.

While I was winding up minis for these trades and sorting out what new stuff I hadn’t added to the blanket yet, I started having that feeling again. I have all these bits of yarn that are too small for swapping but have already been used in the blanket twice (just about the only rule I’m imposing on the blanket, even though I don’t think it will really make a difference in how it looks in the end) and some that were reclaimed from failed or re-knit projects and weren’t in swappable condition. I do have my scarf that I started to take care of my leftover leftovers, but I’m not really feeling scarf-y right now. Some of these yarns have been lying around for YEARS tho, like, since my second or third ever pair of socks, and they’ve been with me through 3 moves and dozens of swaps and I just felt like it was their time to be useful or be gone.

 

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And then I was like you know what? I think it’s time for some Nether Garments.

 

 

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And I was definitely right about that.

 

(Also, the Blanket Blitz KAL goes till the end of the month, and you should definitely get in on it!)

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