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almost time!

Christmas is almost here, and I’ve been procrastinating.  I still have one more hat and two more ornaments to make.  Instead though I’ve been working on other stuff.

not your average crochet sockhead slouch hat

My third Sockhat Slouch is coming along nicely.  I have not, however, blocked the Olympia Cowl yet, unfortunately.

Also, the Quick & Simple Granny Shawl pattern is being tested for errors now and will be available soon.

Ok, so I’ve made 2 hats so far for the Pussyhat Project, which is a movement to knit, crochet, or sew 1.17 MILLION pink cat hats for the Women’s March on Washington DC this January 21st, 2017 (the day after that asshat is sworn into office).  I REALLY wanted to go myself and protest for women’s rights but it would be too expensive to drive up there, find a place to stay and places to eat, and get to and from the event.  Since I can’t really afford to take more time off either (more on that in a bit), I decided I’d do my part by making hats.

not your average crochet pussyhat project

Using super bulky yarn (Big Twist Yarns Natural Blend Solids: 80% acrylic, 20% wool) I hope to crochet a bunch of these quickly.  I’ve already got 2 down!

not your average crochet pussyhat project

That is the first one, and you can see it was a little long so I had to roll it up, but it doesn’t look bad with a brim.  My second one, however, is smaller so doesn’t need the rolling.

not your average crochet pussyhat project

I’m using the Black Cat Slouch Hat pattern but if you go to the Pussyhat Project website they have free patterns for different weights of yarn for both knitters and crocheters and directions on where to mail your finished hats.  Just remember they have to receive your hats by January 14th so that they have time to distribute, so account for shipping time!

If you in any way oppose the way Donald Trump speaks about women, or if you fear what his new regime will bring to the progress women’s rights have made over the decades, please consider making a hat.  Using this pattern you can make one in a day, and the ladies there will be outside in potentially very cold conditions and will need thick warm hats.  Please, if you have some pink wool lying around that you haven’t found a project for yet, consider making a hat for the Pussyhat Project and be a part of something incredibly important for women all across the world.

So, like I said above, I can’t go to the march and it’s because (aside from the expense) I just took a whole week off work to go to Arkansas with my mom.  Her sister is very sick and was rushed to the big hospital in Little Rock, where we visited her for a few days and then went to attend to some of her finances, etc. and fortunately see some other family members, too.  My aunt is still in the hospital system and may not be able to move home, so if you pray or anything like that please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

While in Arkansas, we passed a store called “Liquor & Boots.”  It’s a stand-alone store but it has two outside doors, one for the liquor section and one for the boots section.  I failed to get a picture of it since we were driving by, but I thought it was hilarious.  This sign made me laugh out loud, too:

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So thanks Arkansas for that laugh!

When I got home there were more laughs to be had.  My dogs Zero and Roll were playing and I got the best picture ever:

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Bahahaha, it looks like Zero’s about to eat his entire head!  Hehehe she’s really very sweet to Roll and gentle while playing, this just captured a hilarious moment.

Didn’t really feel like there was any time away from work so I’m just as burned out as usual, which is taking a toll, but Christmas break starts this Friday and I get the whole week after that off, so that should be a proper relaxing vacation.  In the meantime I’m going to try my best NOT to return sass with sass or potentially snark, but I’ve already failed a couple of times at restraining my rebuttals over the past 2 days.  Not that I’ve been unprofessional or anything, I just don’t feel like taking shit anymore and it is not OK for older staff to treat me like a child or talk to me disrespectfully.  I’m going to start standing up for myself, even if it’s to people “higher up” than me.

OK I’m done.  Off to start that last Christmas hat… or snuggle with Roll.  He beats Zero at the snuggle game — she just sticks her butt on you.  See you soon!

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knitting, big and small

The cowl I’m writing a pattern for has been dubbed The Olympia Cowl, named for an old section of the city I live in.  The knitting has been complete, I just need to block, weave in ends, & take pics!

The Olympia Cowl

I’m really excited about this and I might make a matching hat since I only used 2 of the 5 balls I ordered for this cowl (We Are Knitters Meriwool in Sprinkle Fantasy).

I’ve also started a new Sockhead Slouch Hat, minus the slouch, with KnitPicks Felici in Saltwater Taffy:

Sockhead Slouch Hat - Not Your Average Crochet

This will be slightly different from my first one and from my second one as well (which I never showed you a photo of, so I’ll put it below).  The pattern has proven to be a great looking one but I think I’m knitting too tightly, so I’m having to make some adjustments, & 1 ball of KnitPicks Felici won’t make a slouchy hat anyway.

Sockhead Slouch Hat - Not Your Average Crochet

For this second one I used KnitPicks Chroma Fingering in Manzanita, which was nice but not my fave — the Felici seems softer to me.

Well, that’s all for now.  I’m working on stuff as fast as I can but you know how life gets, especially around the Holidays — planning trips, gift shopping (or in my case, gift making), etc., and my job just changed how everything is done AGAIN and I’m super frustrated about it because I don’t feel listened to or valued anymore.

*sigh* I’m really looking forward to visiting with family, even though sometimes my husband’s large family is a bit overwhelming.  Everyone is always nice, the food is great, and I feel loved.  It’s good to slow down and relax with the fam, & I’m looking forward to going through some old photos with my mom over Christmas break and slowing down the pace a bit at their house, as well.

OK, for real, that’s all for now.  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!  My granny shawl is dry so I can sew in ends & take photos & write up a pattern for that as well for you guys!  Bye guys!

hats & the arlequin shawl: ta-da!

I know I’ve been slack about posting lately, but I haven’t been slack with my crafting!  Admittedly it’s tapered off from my hat-every-other-day rate and I still have at least 5 Christmas gifts to make, but whatever.  I want to share with you my completed Arlequin Shawl!

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So first, I want to talk up this pattern.  Not only is it free, it’s easy to memorize but not too boring.  The asymmetrical shape was off-putting to me at first but it’s actually kind of fun to play with.

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Now I have to talk up this yarn.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I’ve never worked with a fingering/sock weight yarn this soft before.  It’s Lily Neige Single Fingering Alpaga & Soie (alpaca & silk) in colorway Bonbon Harlequin.  This is the same colorway that the pattern calls for only I got the variegated version instead of the long gradient, and it is SO GORGEOUS.  It’s hard to capture just how pretty this yarn is worked up in the garter & stockinette stitches.  Oh and did I mention zero knots?

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I used 1.95 skeins (about 907 yds) and the wingspan was over 8′ during blocking.  I’m glad I made it slightly larger than recommended; it’s a good size for me and it’s actually pretty warm!  The drape is really nice too.  I can’t say how happy I am with this.  I’d definitely recommend the pattern & the yarn!

I also made myself a Sockhead Slouch hat; I felt out of the loop because it seems like everyone has made one of these!  I used exactly half a skein of Julie Asselin Fino (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk) — which is great because I definitely have enough yarn leftover for another hat — in the limited edition colorway Gina’s Dance Off.

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I LOVE this colorway.  The specked yarn trend is awesome, and this colorway really reminds me of the gorgeous yarns from We Love Knitting (only I didn’t have to pay crazy shipping prices).

The hat itself is a good fit, which I was really pleased with.  I didn’t have the required needle sizes at the time so I made this with US sizes 3 & 5, casting on 128 with the smaller needles & using them throughout the ribbing, then switching to the larger ones.  I was a little worried the size would be off but it’s a comfy fit!  It IS really slouchy but the brim can be rolled double or just once really far if I want to wear it as a regular beanie.  Best part of all, it matches my favorite comfy plaid shirt.

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Finally, here’s some crochet.  We were told we HAD to dress up for Halloween for work; I thought about doing something snarky, like writing in Sharpie on a white shirt “404: costume can not be found” or “Costume loading: approximately 8 hours remaining” (that last one was Dad’s idea).  In the end though I thought it might be best to actually put some effort into it so as not to antagonize my boss, but I didn’t have money to buy anything fancy, so what did I do?  Why, crocheted a cat hat, of course!

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I just used a little over 1 skein of Bernat Softee Chunky Solids in black from my local JoAnn’s along with this free Black Cat Slouch Hat pattern.  I didn’t make it a slouch — I did start with the 11″ foundation row as suggested but I didn’t add the border.  I think it looks good; the edge is neat & I like the beanie fit.  This was easy to make & worked up really quickly.  I added a handbell necklace (from my Dad) and attempted wing liner for a cat eye (and for my first try I think I did pretty well) and just wore black clothes.  I actually really love that sweater — it’s oversized & has cables & a silver thread running throughout, and I got it for free from the donations bin there at work (I don’t think it would fit any of the clients).  Actually that’s where I got that mint plaid shirt, too, funnily enough.

And I’ve also made 1 more Ribbed Waffle Hat (my 6th one) as a Christmas gift (yarn: KnitPicks Brava worsted in Fig):

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I really do love these — they’re easy, fast, and they’re stretchy enough to fit everyone comfortably.  Perfect gift, really.

I do have some WIPs that I’m really excited about but this post is already super long so I’ll save them for another time!  If you follow me on Instagram you’ve gotten peeks already!

Thanks so much for stopping by, see you soon!

Christmas gifts ctd.: more hats?!

Hope you guys are liking the doorknob cozy pattern I posted a couple of weeks ago!  I knew I’d get to some crochet after those knitted Christmas hats.  Well, I maaaaay have gone on a hat making spree… Here’s what I’ve done since then:

Ribbed Waffle Hat #2

Ribbed Waffle Hat #2 – 153 yds of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Cranberry

 

Ribbed Waffle Hat #3

Ribbed Waffle Hat #3 – 153 yds of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Avocado (will make a yellow pom-pom so it’s John Deere colors, for my husband’s younger brother)

 

Lace Rib Hat

Lace Rib Hat – 105 yds of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Gold, will probably add a furry pompom

 

Ribbed Waffle Hat #4

Ribbed Waffle Hat #4 – 153 yds of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Ranch Red

 

Ribbed Waffle Hat #5

Ribbed Waffle Hat #5 – 154 yds of Berroco Vintage in 5176

pattern links:

Ribbed Waffle Hat (free)

Lace Rib Hat (free)

Well, as you can tell I’ve been not only on a knitted hat kick but more specifically a Ribbed Waffle Hat kick.  I did go up a needle size for those just to make extra sure they’d fit the heads of all of the men they’re going to for Christmas, and they fit my husband so they should be fine.  I went up a needle size for the Lace Rib Hat too but even so the cast-on was a little tight even for my smallish head — I’d definitely go up 2 needle sizes just for the cast-on if I make this again.

That’s all of the knitted gifts for now.  There are some crocheted ones coming up and a couple of things I’m keeping!  😉  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

Christmas gifts ctd.: hat edition (& life update!)

Sorry it’s been a while.  I’ve been quite busy with personal things (which I’ll share some of towards the end of this post) as well as knitting & crocheting, as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram!  I’ve got 2 crocheted shawls & 1 knitted shawl blocked and I just need to weave in the ends & take photos before I share, but I’ve been churning out hats the past week or so and they’re ready to show!

not your average crochet : christmas hats

Sorry, I know none of them are crocheted… just bear with me until I get to the shawls if knitting bores you.

The top hat is the Pippi hat (free pattern) and I just love the chunky cables, although they were a bit hard on the hands!  I used a little over 1 skein of KnitPicks Billow in the Tumeric colorway, which I love, and this yarn is so soft and rustic looking I’m going to have to get some more!

The middle hat is the Caramel Brûlée hat (paid pattern) and I was a little bummed that such an expensive yet simple pattern did not fit well.  It’s snug and a tad short for me (but an extra repeat of the pattern would have most likely made it too long).  Of course, when it’s stretched out you can really see the beautiful cable work — it looks kind of like a mess here.  Hopefully it’ll be perfect for it’s intended recipient, who has a smaller head than I, but if I make this pattern again it will be with larger needles.  The yarn is LionBrand Wool Ease in Blush Heather and I used less than 1 skein (although I expected to use more than 1).  Also you can’t really tell here but I knitted a Coats Metallic silver thread with the yarn so it has a touch of sparkle/frost, which I thought was perfect for winter!

The bottom hat is the Ribbed Waffle Hat (free pattern) and thinking that I might run into a similar problem as the Caramel Brûlée hat I opted to go up a needle size from the recommended 8 to US9 instead.  I think the 8 would have been fine for my size head but the 9 made a hat that is cozy on me but even fits my husband comfortably (and he has a very large head), so I’ll be making more of these for the guys in my life who still need presents made for them!  It also took less than 1 skein of LionBrand Wool Ease (this one in Rose Heather) and was the quickest of the 3 hats here, taking less than 24 hours to complete.

The pompoms were actually purse keychains that I took the little clasps off of, and there’s a tiny elastic that I can pin into the hats so that they’re removable for hat washing.  They were a bit expensive, however, so I might get some online next time for a lower price (these were from my local JoAnn’s fabric store).

life update

While my job is starting to leave a bit to be desired, I’m getting a lot of life satisfaction out of other things at the moment.  I know I’ve spoken here before about how much Wing Chun Kung Fu is helping me, but I don’t think I can truly convey through writing the powerful effect it has had on my life since March, when I started taking official classes.  I had no idea that practicing martial arts could provide such nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit, but it does.  So much so that it’s changing how I look at myself, my relationships, my job, and the world around me in general in a very empowering kind of way.  I’m practicing 3 days a week for at least an hour and I’m making some great friends.  I’ve gone to 2 seminars with a revered Wing Chun master named Sifu Francis Fong in the past couple of months, which were so informative, fun, and motivational, and I also took part in a demonstration of Wing Chun at the Moon Festival here in town a couple of weeks ago.  Here are some photos:

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

 

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

 

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

 

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

I’m so lucky to have been able to attend the seminars (thanks to Mom and Dad for the early birthday present!) and to have found such a great local teacher with 3 sessions a week.  The mind, body, and spirit are all connected and I truly feel each of these parts of me improving thanks to my Sifu, friends/partners, and the great experiences I’m having with Wing Chun.

OK, so I’m gonna leave that at that, since I could go on and on about the benefits and things that make me happy about Wing Chun and I should probably move on so as not to repeat myself too much and bore my lovely readers!

In other news, fall is slowly approaching; this is the first week forecast to have all highs in the 80s, which is our first sign.  Actually, Pumpkin Spice Lattes were the first sign, hehe, but they were released pretty early — do they even count?  Fall and winter are my favorite seasons because I can finally wear the stuff I make.  I’ve got a sweater in the works too that I forgot to mention, and it just needs sleeves at this point; I hope I can finish it soon but the Christmas gifts are taking priority — I don’t want to get behind on those!

Well, that’s a lot for one day, I think that’ll wrap it up.  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!  I’ll try and not to take so long next time between posts!  🙂

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