Shopping Splurge

Conversation this morning…

Tom: So, do you want to do something today?

Me: (purses lips and gives side-eye) When would have been the right time to ask this question?

Because as a dedicated hermit, if I am venturing into the Out, I like to know in advance. Surprise excursions do not make me happy. A better approach is to suggest something to me at least the day before. “Hey, I was thinking we should (go over to check out Washington) (take the dogs to Flanner’s Beach) (go do lunch on the waterside deck at Persimmons) tomorrow.” This usually works better on me.

But today, I had an agenda.

Me: Well, I was thinking I wouldn’t mind going to Swansboro.

Tom: (registers slight surprise that I suggested anything at all, much less something he didn’t mind doing) Okay.

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We’re in New Bern, NC, and the town’s only LYS (Local Yarn Shop) closed last year, before I discovered knitting. We have a Michael’s and now a Hobby Lobby, and I’ve bought a crap-ton of “big box store” yarn over the years. As a lifelong crocheter, those projects work up so fast and use more yarn, leading to more big projects like blankets and afghans, meaning really nice yarn with exotic fibers or hand-dyed yarn are cost-prohibitive. Knitting is slower (for me), more intricate, smaller projects, and a nice ball of yarn can last me a couple of weeks instead of half a day.

So off we went, heading for, naturally, The Salty Sheep Yarn Shop. Sad that the nearest LYS is nearly an hour away, but it’s a nice little coastal town and lots of great shops and restaurants along the water, so a great day trip.

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I really should’ve asked names, because the woman in the shop (I assume the owner) was super friendly and helpful. I looked at some of her WIPs, bought the stitch markers she recommended, and began looking at the displays of completed projects. I found a shawl I liked that appeared to be something I could do. She told me it’s the Holden Shawl on Ravelry. It’s a paid pattern, but I used my phone and bought it right away.

Which led to the yarn. So. Much. Beautiful. Yarn! I could literally spend a thousand dollars without breaking a sweat, but confined myself to two twists each of two colors of Dream Smooshy with Cashmere (70% superwash merino wool, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon). I got “Mermaid Shoes” and “Burr.” Mermaid Shoes is my always favorite purple/green/blue combo, and Burr is a more beachy blue/brown theme.

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Imagine my delight when I learned a good LYS will wind the twists into cakes for free. Love those special little touches that equal outstanding service. Takes some of the sting out of paying $32 for a 4-ounce twist of yarn.

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We walked through the waterfront downtown, in and out of shops, then had a nice lunch at the Saltwater Grill, sitting on the screened deck overlooking the water. Conch fritters and a tangy potato salad hit the spot!

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Not a bad lunchtime view.

Before we could leave, though, I had to return to Silver Line.

Silver-Line-Jewelry

It was the first shop I popped into on the way to The Salty Sheep, and the second I stepped in, I was drawn to a jewelry display at the back of the room. Sterling settings with bright sky blue stones swirled through with white. I’d never seen anything like it before, like the perfect summer sky at the beach with some high, wispy clouds.

Hmm. One has a nice Celtic band.

Hmm. It also happens to fit my right ring finger perfectly.

Inquired about the price. Cried a little inside.

It turns out the stone is called Larimar, which comes from Larissa (daughter of the guy who discovered it in the 1970s) and Mar, which is Spanish for sea. It’s found only in one very specific area in the Caribbean, and how much of it there actually is remains unknown. But I reallllllllly liked it.

Went about my shopping day, but couldn’t stop thinking about that ring.

Realized tomorrow is pay day, so screw it. MINE.

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And now I’m home, and these two missed me. Apparently.

Checked in on work, so now I can get back to the shawl-in-progress using Knit Picks Chroma (in “drawing room”) that I’ve been working on. Because the sooner I finish it, the sooner I can play with my beeeeeeee-youuuuuu-teeeeee-ful new cashmere blend.

WIP Wednesday

This is weird. As an author and editor, “WIP” means a manuscript in publishing.

Yesterday was a soaker. It rained all morning and into the afternoon like Mother Nature had pulled the flusher on a giant atmospheric toilet tank. The Direwolves, sadly, still have to go outside when we get up, regardless. When they come in, Mozzie always thinks I’m going to dry him (I rarely bother) and runs to his safe place, which happens to be my bed. Funzies. They spent much of the day first watching the rain…

And later watching “Squirrel TV.”

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I got through my work-related tasks as fast as I could, because I’d ended Monday night with a knitting clusterfluff. I should have stopped before I did, but I wanted to do the row of eyelet in my WIP shawl. Doing the knit row after to secure the eyelets, I moved wrong and dropped several stitches from the left needle.

Rackenfrazzle.

I picked up what I could see the best I could, but I knew I had lost stitches. The question was where. So yesterday I knitted across and then counted to see how many stitches I’d lost. Looked like two, one on either side of the center markets. I added an increase on each side of that row to compensate, and moved ahead.

After a few rows, I examined the piece and saw three dropped stitches. I grabbed a hook and looped them back into secure positions, brought the last up to the current row, clipped it with a marker, and worked it into the next row. I was pretty proud of myself.

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I didn’t have a lifeline, despite my new ChiaGoo circulars having the handy eye in the base to allow you to knit a line right in, because it ends up through my center markers and gets pulled along to each new row somehow. And I’m around 150 stitches per row right now, and too lazy to do one manually with a tapestry needle. But I probably should.

The good news is the mistake is the stitches adjacent to the center eyelets, and so very hard to detect. The bad news is I’ve never used stitch markers before, so the eyelets themselves are not very even because I find it awkward to work around the markers. I hope I can fix that somewhat during blocking. If you have tips for working around markers, or the best kind of marker to use, I’m all ears.

My other WIP is the travel scarf, but I haven’t done more on it since sitting on–and breaking–my wood needle a few nights ago. I ordered a replacement.

travel

I’m already plotting another project, but not sure what. Another shawl? Start to learn cables? If you have a good starter cable pattern, let me know!

Now, a bit more work and a few chores, and I’ll see what adventures await in my knitting education today. 🙂

 

Adventures in Knitting

I finished my edit on Friday, so I had a nice weekend of knitting and sort-of gardening. I used to do a pair of three-tiered beds along the fence, but the Direwolves think that’s a jungle gym, and I’m really too lazy to drag the hose over there, especially when it’s hot and humid. So this year I put some tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, and red and green peppers in containers on the deck.

The rainbow scarf came out to nine feet long, and is now blocked. It needs a home, though. Hoping one of my friends will speak up and offer to adopt it.

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I did some work on my “travel” feather and fan scarf…

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And then this happened…

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That’s the result of getting up to make a snack then returning and plopping your rump on the couch without looking first. It was my size 6 from my brand new Knit Picks Caspian Wood set. I ordered a replacement. I do have a pair of size 6 metal needles, but I kind of wanted to do something else, anyway, so I started my first shawl.

I like this pattern because it does a number of rows in garter, then some in stockingette, a couple in eyelet, and there are some lace sections I haven’t gotten to yet. I have some concerns, though. Tell me what you think.

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The blue tail at the bottom should be the back point and the part on the needles is working up to the wide top edge. This is my first time using circular needles, but this isn’t what I thought it would look like. My stitch count is correct, but it arches at the top. If I try to pull the top edge into a straight line, the bottom cups up. Is this something that just happens while it’s on the needles, and it will flatten into a triangle either as it grows or when I cast off? Fingers crossed!

I had a cancellation I wasn’t able to fill in time, so I have no edit this week. As long as I stay on top of my managerial tasks, I should have lots of time to knit this week!

Knitting Knews

It’s been a busy work week, with an edit that keeps finding new ways to befuddle me and other assorted projects, but I’ve been finding time to knit. I’ve also been binge watching Eureka. It’s been long enough since I first saw it that it is like new, and I totally love it.

I’m finally nearing completion on the never-ending rainbow scarf, thank goodness! It’s my third official knitting project, and it’s gonna need a home soon. As you can see, it’s super long, but I had to use one full cake of the Lion Brand Mandala yarn to get the full colorway. I’m pondering which friend would appreciate it. Maybe someone who would wear it for Pride events?

Then there’s the “travel project” I took to Supply with me on Monday. I haven’t worked on it again this week so I can finish the rainbow scarf, but can’t wait to get back to it. So pretty!

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I’m already thinking ahead to my next project, though I’m not sure what it will be yet. I splurged on a full set of ChiaGoo circular needles, so I want to use them, and I also want to expand my skills. I’m thinking a shawl, though I don’t even wear shawls, because I want to make something that’s not square or rectangular. I also want to learn to cable, though. I want to know everything, right now, and that’s frustrating for an overachiever like me.

And let’s not forget sweaters! I want to make a sleeveless summer top, and am browsing patterns for that as well. Sleeveless, scoop neck, hip length, probably in a soft cotton-bamboo blend. Knitting is so much slower than crochet, so it’s hard to guess how long all this will take. If only work didn’t keep getting in the way of craft time…

Paying For Saturday

I did a whole lot of nothing yesterday, other than wash our bedding and knit. Today has been much busier. Morning house chores, got a batch of dog treats in the dehydrator (Super easy two-ingredient “recipe” HERE), wrangled work email, figured out how to use my new scanner and scanned and emailed some photos, and I have a huge pot of pasta sauce simmering so I can assemble a couple of pans of lasagna to take to a family gathering out of town tomorrow.

Now, while the sauce simmers, I can finally knit! I am still working on my super-long rainbow scarf, but started a new one yesterday that is still small enough to take with me tomorrow. So far…

It’s a feather and fan scarf (pattern HERE), using Premiere Serenity yarn by Deborah Norville, in the “sea” colorway. I love this yarn. I made a window treatment with it several years ago, found a ball of it in my stash over the winter, and ordered a bunch more. I’m also using my brand new Knit Picks Caspian wood straight needles, and I love them. The surface has just the right texture for a 2 weight yarn, not as slippery as metal, but more grip than regular bamboo.

There’s a marathon of Season 8 of The Walking Dead, and I’ll alternate between that and a re-watch of an old favorite, Eureka, while I knit. Tonight is the season finale of TWD, as well as the premiere of the new season of Fear the Walking Dead. I can’t wait! I host a live chat on Facebook, and it’s sure to be a ton of fun tonight.

It’s raining off and on, with storms expected later, so it’s a good day for cooking, knitting, and TV. Even rainy, though, it’s a huge step up from our old home in Minnesota, which we fled 4 1/2 years ago. They got over a foot of snow yesterday! Nope, I don’t miss that even a little.

Quiet, Crafty Saturday

Today sort of feels like a “me” day. Work email tends to be light on weekends, and I don’t have a new edit until Tuesday. The only productive thing I’m doing today is washing bedding, because these happy puppy-faces have paws full of yard-sand, which tends to transfer to the sheets, and while it might seem like a great idea to do full-body exfoliation while you sleep, it’s not as pleasant as one might think.

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“Morning, Mama! Does your skin feel smooth and revitalized? Good. Now, go make breakfast.”

Tomorrow will be busier, with making dog treats, scanning some photos, and preparing a couple of lasagnas to take to a family event on Monday. But today, I’m going to chill.

Surely the sign of age and a small sphere of existence (by choice), I’m disproportionately excited about new knitting needles. I ordered a full set of ChiaGoo circulars which should have arrived Thursday since I have Amazon Prime, but tracking showed they won’t arrive until Monday. In compensation, Amazon is extending our Prime membership by a month. So,  yesterday I ordered a full set of Knit Picks Caspian Wood straight needles and paid the extra for next day delivery. See if this boggles your mind as much as it did mine.

  • Ordered 11:33 a.m. yesterday.
  • 6:29 p.m. the package left Chattanooga.
  • 9:48 p.m. it arrived in Knoxville.
  • 11:46 p.m. it left Knoxville.
  • 12:33 a.m. it arrived in Louisville.
  • 4:42 a.m. it left Louisville.
  • 5:54 a.m. it was in Raleigh.
  • 7:13 a.m. it left Raleigh.
  • 7:15 it was in Havelock and out for delivery, which means it must have missed a scan somewhere, because Havelock is more than 2 minutes from Raleigh.
  • Delivered to me in New Bern at 10:30 a.m.

23 hours to get what I want from Tennessee to my doorstep. Pretty cool.

This is what I’m planning today. As you can see, the rainbow scarf is now more-than-couch-length, but I’m in the home stretch. I’m on the blue, which will go back to green then a bit of yellow, and done. I need to find someone who’s into the whole rainbow thing and long scarves to give it a home.

I wanted these straight needles so quickly because we’ll be traveling about 2.5 hours away on Monday for a day trip family event thing. The scarf is too long and cumbersome for travel-knitting, so I want to start something else small to keep me busy and help me deal with the anxiety of socializing. I’m going to do a new fan and feather scarf, though I swore I was done with scarves for now, but I need the ChiaGoo circulars to arrive before I start anything bigger, like a baby blanket or small afghan.

How beautiful are these? Seriously! And I like the feel of them. Smoother than the typical bamboo needles, but a bit more texture than aluminum or steel.

I have quite a bit of this favorite yarn, Premier Serenity by Deborah Norville, colorway “Sea.” It’s a 2 weight and calls for a size 6 needle, and my aluminum 6 needles are currently full of rainbow scarf.

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I might end up using a different size, depending on how my test swatch looks, because I want a lacy look…

But at least whatever I decide, I know I now have the right size needle for my project!

A Mixed Bag

My job, and consequently my life, is a constant juggling act. As Managing Editor for circus-160165_960_720Limitless Publishing, I wear a lot of hats and have to balance the needs of authors, editors, proofreaders, our marketing team, formatters, cover designers, anthology projects…and just thinking about this makes me want a drink.

Factor in household responsibilities, the husband, personal care, and the Direwolves, and it’s even more chaotic. Mozzie just started a new hole in the yard (sorry, Tom) and rolled in it for a while, and we’re expecting my in-laws this evening for a visit. Oh, well.

Still, I try to focus primarily on one category each day. It might be an admin day, in which I manage things like schedules and planning, or an editing day if I have a looming deadline. It might be house stuff, or on the very rare days I don’t have an edit in progress, I can actually kick back and play with yarn.

For most of my life, this meant crochet, but I taught myself to knit a couple of months ago, and am working on my third scarf. I don’t even wear scarves, but it’s a good starter project. I’m using one cake of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, and you have to use the whole thing to get the full colorway, so it’s a long one. It’s currently, um…couch-length.

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See? Couch-length.

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Close-up of the working end, complete with lifelines. I still have lots of green and some blues to get through to reach yellow again, which is where I can finish off.

I want to learn cabling next, or maybe make a shawl or some slightly larger, more challenging project. Yesterday, I ordered a full set of interchangeable stainless steel circular needles from ChiaGoo, and can’t wait to play with them. Expensive, but cheaper than buying each individual size and cable length as I need them. That’s my justification.

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It’s still early, but today’s agenda is crowded and not conducive to focusing on one thing. I have to get things ready for the arrival of our house guests, finish an edit, continue the management-juggling, and get myself presentable enough to go to dinner this evening. Email is caught up for the moment, laundry running, so next up is some editing interspersed with house-tidying…and eventually a shower. I hope.

Or probably everyone else hopes, because I sincerely do not care.