Yet More Madness

The past few weeks have been a little crazy around here. Between taking a crazy 4 day 1300 mile roadtrip that began with us driving through yet another snowstorm (spring, where are you?) and all the usual homeschool business, I have had precious little time to knit.

Round 2 of Sock Madness is half over and I have yet to finish the first sock. Here it is after a day or so in which I had a few hours to knit. Please excuse the blurriness. We were in the car and it was still snowing.

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Now, it looks like this.

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I hate to do it, but I think I am going to have to let this one go because I have another secret test knit on the needles and that has to take priority right now.

I did manage to finish one old sweater project early last week. It’s Rolling Rock and I will be able to show you more next week once it gets a bath and some buttons. For now, you’ll have to make do with this pre-collar picture.

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Today, we started spring cleaning. Five bags of trash and three bags of giveaway stuff, later I only managed to clean out the bathroom closet. Cleaning out a closet is kind of like doing an archaeological dig. Among the debris were baby bath toys, old plant pots, and four old watches. Does anyone wear a watch anymore? I also have about ten giant containers of Tums that I bought at a time when I thought I would eat them for calcium. This was before my doctor told me that the type of calcium in them is not the absorbable kind and before I realized that I don’t really like chewing on chalky things. I was amazed at the number of memories just one closet will bring back. I wonder what the rest of the closets in the house will turn up!

Do you spring clean?

Marching In

Since my last post, we had another snowstorm. This time, we were safely ensconced at home with lots of milk, toilet paper, and chocolate. We enjoyed this storm as much as we could, since we were sort of deprived during the previous one. The boys all went sledding.

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It was super cold that day, in the 20s I think, but they still had lots of fun. I used to go sledding, too, but lately I have found that as much fun as it is to go down the hill, the getting up from the sled without injuring myself seems to be getting increasingly more difficult.

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But, I am more than content to do my favorite snow activity, walking along snow covered paths and listening to the snow falling.

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At home, I love to sit an knit during a snow storm, especially with a hot cup of tea and a treat.

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With March came the beginning of sock madness, a sock knitting race of sorts, which I have joined this year. These socks are part of the first round. We get two weeks to complete each pair of socks, with contestants being eliminated based on speed at each round. I am finding this to be more challenging that I thought it would be, mostly because my hands get tired knitting at this gauge for long periods of time. I have to take a lot of breaks. There are five days left and I am now about halfway done with the second sock. Some people finished within a couple of days!

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Ah, well, if I don’t make it that far, I am ok with that. I am sure I will get at least one or two pairs done and that will be something. When I need a break, I have been doing a row or two on some blanket strips.

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This is part of the Blanket Statement Club from Knitspot. I am using some Ultra Alpaca yarn that has been hanging out in my stash for ages and will make a lovely warm blankie. By the time the blanket is finished, it will be high summer, but no matter. Winter will be around again before we know it! In the meantime, back to the madness I go, haha!

Snow Adventure

Many thanks to each and ever one of you who commented on my Ommegang sweater. I am happy to say that you all have given me the confidence to wear it, no matter what! It certainly is warm and we needed warm clothes this past week when we hit a new low for our area.

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This is one of the coldest weeks I can remember from the past 20 years that I have lived here, but I did not mind. I know how to keep myself busy indoors! I was able to finish a pair of socks for the husband.

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As well as a sock for myself.

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And, for the first time, I think I have been able to keep up with a mystery knit along and finish on time.

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My Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl got a nice bath.

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And then a good blocking.

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I used some new blocking wires that I got for Christmas.

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These will take some getting used to since they are super flexible. I had a little trouble pulling the shawl as taut as I usually do. I will give a more in depth report about these when I have had a chance to use them on a larger variety of finished objects. For now, I am just loving how this shawl turned out.

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Each clue was interesting and fun. I like how there is a mix of three dimensional textures and lace.

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Yes, looky there! We had a little snow early last week, at last! The boys were able to go sledding and it was a pretty good day for it, too. Then, on Saturday, we had a bigger snow event. Truthfully, this winter has been so lackluster that I think everyone had let their defenses down for this storm. We were up before the sun on Saturday to attend the elder son’s last swim meet an hour away.

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The sock and I tried to make some progress, but honestly, early morning and me don’t mix, so I only got a few rows done. By the time we were done at 10:30 am (thank goodness they did all the older boys at once in the morning so we didn’t have to be there all day), it was just a little cloudy. We drove to our favorite restaurant in the area for a post meet meal. It had started to snow a little by then, but we weren’t worried. A little snow can’t hurt us, right? Ha! At 11:30, we were done with our meal and pondering a trip downtown to hang out at a museum, but decided we would all rather go home and take a nap. At this point, it was snowing quite heavily and the streets were getting a bit slippery. It took us an hour to get to the on ramp of the highway and when we got there, it looked like this.

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Clearly, no plow had been by this road yet. After another hour of driving, we were halfway home and decided we needed a break from the traffic and snow.

So, we stopped for some gelato. We got there just before they closed due to the weather.

When we got back to the highway, the traffic was even worse. The first mile or two took us an hour of stop and go traffic on elevated bits of highway with no exits. The other side of the highway was no better. We passed miles of backed up traffic, including this nice line of 13 snow plows that were stuck there, unable to do their jobs.

It took us six hours to get home from a town that usually is just an hour’s drive away for us. And there is no way we would have made it without the husband’s awesome driving skills. We passed many many cars slipping and sliding away and also ones that had been abandoned because they were stuck. The storm took many people by surprise, including us. Thankfully, we made it home safely and the boys even thought that parts of the experience was fun, haha. After a day like that, I was glad to stay in all day yesterday and do some sewing and knitting. I’ll tell you about all that another time, though. In the meantime, I hope you are staying warm and comfy, wherever you are!

Ommegang

Today, I finally get to share with you a sweater that has been in the works for months! Ommegang, by Thea Colman.

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It’s a gorgeous tunic length sweater with lots of cables and a really cool asymmetric design. When I first found out that Thea was going to be designing a sweater using Bare Naked Wools, I was ready and eager to sign up for the testing phase. In her version, she uses Stone Soup. I opted to used their Kent DK.

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Now, this sweater is not for those who want a quick project. From collar to hem, mine measures more than 30 inches. In the round, it seems like the lower body takes an eon to knit, but the cables keep it interesting and the yarn was lovely to work with. It was light and soft at the same time and looks great in cables.

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I opted to do a mock turtleneck version, but with the recent frigid weather we’ve been having, I have been considering redoing it with the full slouchy turtleneck or even maybe a folded over cowl version. I think I will wear it a few more times first to see how I like it.

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Normally, I stay away from tunics, not because I don’t like them, but because I feel that I don’t have the wardrobe to go with them. I am not much of a boot person and leggings make me self conscious. But, I do have one or two pairs of skinny legged pants that might be ok with the sweater. In any case, I love the sweater so much that I am willing to go buy whatever pants I need to wear with them.

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The sweater is fabulously warm, which is perfect timing because we are having one of our coldest nights of the season tonight. Rumor has it that we will see negative temps tonight! I may put it on and never take it off. It looks like there is plenty more cold weather coming this winter so if you get moving, you could have one of these for yourself, too.

Thea’s patterns are fabulous. They are easy to follow and come with lots of tips on how to get a fit that you like, not necessarily the one shown on the model. Plus, they always have interesting details that are integrated into the design of the sweater without being overly trendy. For me, this is essential because if I am going to spend all those hours knitting a sweater, I want it to be fun and I want it to be timeless. This sweater is both of those things. Thank you Thea!

p.s. I didn’t take a lot of notes as I was knitting this since it was over the Christmas holidays and into January when we all had the flu, but here’s the link to my ravelry page if you want to look at it: CrafTeaMama’s Ommegang

Fighting the Winter Blahs

This winter has been quite dreary for us so far. We’ve had no snow to speak of, but lots of clouds and cold rain. Also, someone in the house has been sick four out of the past five weeks. Generally speaking, I think we are all feeling a bit low on energy and motivation. This past week, I was in need of some bright color to cheer me up a bit. So, I cast on a new shawl.

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I love this bright green. So cheerful and the yarn, a silk and cashmere blend is super soft and light. This project is a gift for a friend, but I will definitely be watching the Posh yarn updates to see if I can get some for myself. I’ll have to be quick, though, because they seem to sell out quite quickly.

This year, I have also joined two different yarn clubs. The past couple of years, I have loved getting yarn from the Bare Naked Wools club. This year, they have decided to do a blanket club, which will be fun, but I decided that would be better suited for stash knitting.

Still, I love getting surprise boxes of yarn, so I am trying out the Rockin’ Sock Club. The first shipment came early last week and I love the bright colors!

Spoiler alert!

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Toe up socks are something I do not do often, but it is great for the mind to try something new every once in awhile. Plus, there is the added benefit of being able to try them on as you go.

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I have to say that despite the fact the the sock yarns from Blue Moon Fiber Arts have no nylon in them, they hold up quite well. The yarn is very tightly spun and if you knit them at a tight gauge, they last quite a long time. Usually, I try to not knit socks with yarns that have no nylon or silk because I have had a few pairs wear out on me rather quickly. BMFA sock yarn is the exception in my sock drawer, which is part of the reason why I did not feel any hesitation about signing up for the club. This year is the club’s tenth anniversary and from what they say, there will be some extra fun things coming.

The second club I joined is a new operation: The Fiberista Club. This club is interesting because aside from choosing a color preference and a yarn weight preference, you really have no idea what you are getting. In January, I received two skeins of sport weight yarn in a gorgeous merino, cashmere and silk blend.

This month, it was two skeins of lace weight yarn from a new yarn dyer. The shipments so far have been a great value for the price and nicely packaged. Plus, there have been extra goodies in each box. Last month, it was a set of gift tags and this month, a little tote bag. After everyone gets their package, they release a pattern or two to go with the yarn. We are still waiting for February’s patterns, but I expect they will be up shortly.

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Oh, I almost forgot, I finally finished my Tea Leaves Cardigan!

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The sleeves grew a little when I blocked, so they are folded back here.

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It fits pretty well, though is probably better suited for spring weather as it lets in quite a draft. I did consider putting more buttons on so that I could button it all the way, but I like this look as well.

Aside from yarn, I have been trying to keep everyone’s spirits up and bolster spirits by making lots of soup. Last week, while the husband battled a sinus infection, I tried making my own ramen noodles.

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I used this recipe for the noodles, but made my own broth from pork belly, ginger, green onions, and a little garlic. It was super delicious. It took me two days to get this together, so not something I can make spur of the moment, but it was well worth the work. If I make it again, I will try to get some more detailed notes so that I can share them with you.

This weekend is Vday and Chinese New Year and I have done almost nothing to prepare for them. So unlike me, I know. Ah well, I suspect we will come up with something. Maybe I will make some donuts or cinnamon buns tomorrow!

So, how are you coping this winter?

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