Saturday, December 24, 2016

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

I hate Christmas.

There, I said it. Shock and awe, omigoodness. But it is true. I told my mom this year my true feelings on Christmas and she didn't believe me- I am a good actress, I suppose. She said, "But Ceci you are the one that always gets something for everyone!" It's true! I knit for loved ones, I bake cookies, I sing the songs, and I buy presents all year long so that on Chrsitmas something will be under that damned tree. That cursed, stupid tree, that doesn't belong in the effing house. It's an unpopular opinion, I know. But I hate the songs, I hate the season, I hate the shopping, the wrapping, the gifting, the baking, the smiling, the decorating, the hot cocoa, all of it. Says the girl who just knit 5 Christmas stockings and then trekked to the store to buy all the goodies to fill them all up. (I did get myself a few pairs of knitting needles to chuck into mine though so that was nice.)

But, what's important is that this- THIS- is the most wonderful time of the year. Now. The day before Christmas, when it is what it is and it's over soon, and your husband comes home at his usual time and you notice that it's still light outside which means the days are getting longer, and talk starts to drift away from Christmas plans and towards new year plans, and you know that Christmas is going to be over and the New Year is going to begin and everyone is going to make the same old resolutions to lose weight and be a better person.

I love making New Year's resolutions. I always make the same kind: Workout goals, and Knitting goals. For workouts, this blog doesn't care, but for knitting---- I have some tentative plans, and they all include the blogosphere. I want to blog more often, share more pictures, put more lame videos on youtube, knit more swatches for my Super Stitches Knitting project, finish more works in progress. I love New Years because it's full of hope. And you don't have to look at your failures until just about Christmas time next year. Haha

I'm making lists and dreams, and I'll share them all in due time.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What an amazing feat! I'm truly proud of this project. Still have top sew up and embroider the snowmen stocking, but otherwise complete.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Approaching Deadline...

December is such a busy time. It's a busy time for everyone, but especially for crafters. As a knitter, I find myself relying on my skills throughout the year: "Oh, come Christmas I'll have a bunch of gifts already and then I can make some for x y and z. It'll be so easy!" Note to self: NOTHING IS AS EASY AS YOU THINK IT IS.

In October I told myself to order some stocking yarn and patterns because "There's plenty of time before Christmas." Here it is December 20th and my final stocking isn't even half way done!

But it's fine, it will definitely be done by Christmas eve. It really only takes a day to knit most of a stocking. The rest of the time is spent avoiding weaving in ends, seaming and embroidering. And with practically 4 days, there is really plenty of time.

Doesn't the set look pretty? I can't wait to take a picture of them in front of the fireplace! And of course I can't wait to stuff them full of goodies for Christmas morning.

Speaking of Christmas morning, though, there is more on my needles than stockings.
I'm working on:

1) Slippers for my dad
2) A hat for my brother
3) A toy bird for one niece
4) A birdhouse for the other niece (she asked for this. What kid wants a birdhouse?!)
5) Fingerless gloves for my sister

and by "working on" I actually mean I've only cast on the slippers but I still have hopes that somehow I will warp the space-time continuum and finish all 5 of these projects and still have time to like, shower and eat food and go to work.

I have hopes!
Thank you for passing through my blog during this busy busy season. I appreciate it.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Some things I have on the go...

 I've been getting a lot of knitting done. I guess that's just the sort of thing that happens when you ask to go part time at work and school is on hold until next semester and Christmas is nearing. My  personal and fun project (the Must Have Cardigan) is put on hold. I've knit both sleeves and some of the back, but since it's selfish knitting it must wait for Christmas even though I am cold and could use a sweater.
It's so gorgeous. Even though it's made of acrylic I love it. I'm glad I will be able to wash it without worry, and that it will probably wear well through the years. I hope it ends up being very wearable and casual, and that its color will render it very useful in my wardrobe. I am very selfish- I had entertained the idea of finishing it and giving it to my mom instead, but the hours that went into it have included much of me spreading the fabric out and touching the cables longingly. Definitely mine.

While going back and forth between the sweater project and my husband's stocking, I was pretty confident about getting all 4 stockings done by Christmas because I swore to myself I wouldn't go crazy this year. "Only my sister gets a knitted present this year. Nobody else." My sister has rheumatoid arthritis and always receives a simple pair of fingerless gloves, which she makes a big deal of and always appreciates. Fingerless gloves are an easy gift and it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet, and I had PLENTY of time, right?

Enter my niece, and this simple message I received on Facebook:

Indeed I did make her those socks 5 years ago. I actually made something for everyone that year, and those who loved their knitted gifts I have continued to knit for and those who didn't seem to care for them have gotten store bought gifts in recent years. I remembered her fawning over her socks, and also remembered every year writing out my list of who would get a gift and often scrawling "socks" next to her name. But as often happens, I run out of time and funds and this past year we didn't even do a gift exchange in my family... and so she never got another pair.

Until now! These are made with Patons Kroy FX. They aren't identical, but neither was her last pair. This pair was worked on 60 stitches and size 1's whereas the last was 64 and size 2's. As a result they are quite tight... I'm kind of worried they won't fit her as well actually, but this close to Christmas there are no do-overs.

Now, my sister has quite a few kids and if I'm going to knit for the one niece I kind of have to make something for the other. So I dug through the closet, and found the cursed phentex slipper I blogged about back in July.

The second slipper is now about half way done, and after that I can finally get my sister's fingerless gloves worked up. And come to think of it, my brother needs a hat... so Christmas knitting is taking priority. I did finish my husband's stocking though.

My daughter's is up to the chart... of course, it's been up to the chart for a few days now. In fact I might be suddenly realizing my family needs gifts just to escape knitting yet more intarsia charts...
I am trying really hard to ignore the stocking project altogether even though that little voice inside me keeps nudging, "Only x days left until Christmas...."

Anyway, the baby has woken from her nap, and my husband and I have a dinner to attend: Our two year wedding anniversary is on the 13th and his parent's wedding anniversary is tomorrow so we are meeting tonight for prime rib and good company.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

FO Christmas Stocking!

My son's stocking is complete! As much as I think the finished object is wonderful and perfect and adorable, I never want to knit another one as long as I live.

 Which is great because I have all the yarn to make 3 more, plus a total of 4 pattern books of stockings.

I'm working on my sweater now, but will probably pick up stocking number 2 soon. I want to finish them all by Christmas, in spite of hating intarsia.

Friday, October 28, 2016

works in progress

My son's Christmas stocking is in the works. Made with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes on a size 7 needle. It's coming along rather nicely and the chart went by much quicker than I thought it would.
I decided to duplicate stitch the eyes and eyebrows, which turned out pretty well and was much easier than working them in intarsia.

My sweater got put on the back burner, which is good because I was getting burnt out on both the cables and the squeaky acrylic.

I'm hoping to get this stocking done today; it is a rainy ugly day which is perfect for sitting in the house and knitting with warm cozy wool.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mile Marker 333

Knit flat in garter stitch, this simple hat is perfect for when you are riding shotgun on a road trip. Easy to put down to pour your driver a cup of coffee or to snap a few photos. Play with stripes to create a colorful collection. This hat is great mindless knitting, and also suitable for beginners.

*note: Specific instructions for stripes are not included
Worsted weight yarn, held double*
Size US 9 needles (5.5mm) or whatever it takes to get gauge

*Sample hats used Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Red Heart Soft

12 sts= 4" in garter stitch


With yarn held double, CO 56 stitches.

Knit every row for 6"

Shape top of hat:
Row 1: *K6, K2tog, rep from * to end of row.
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: *K5, K2tog, rep from * to end of row
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: *K4, K2tog, rep from * to end of row
Row 6: Knit across
Row 7: *K3, K2tog, rep from * to end of row
Row 8: Knit across
Row 9: *K2, K2tog, rep from * to end of row
Row 10: Knit across
Row 11: *K1, K2tog, rep from * to end of row
Row 12: *K2tog, rep from * to end of row

Cut yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Sew side seam. Done!

Road trip

So one day for no reason at all, we decided to leave town.
In fact, we decided to leave the state. We drove out of California on October 8th... stopped in Nevada. Drive through Nevada and stopped in Utah... kept going through Wyoming, and ended up taking in the beautiful sights of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
This means...
I had some time to knit!

I cast on the sleeves for the Must Have Cardigan which is apparently a free pattern on Ravelry now. I purchased it as part of the Street Smart booklet of patterns. This pattern is so much fun to knit. It looks way more complicated than it actually is, and it's very easy to keep track of repeats and decreases. I am knitting the large size, and didn't really swatch. I just started on a sleeve and seem to have gotten gauge dead-on. I plan on modifying the length of the cardigan by at least 5 inches, and also not doing the V-neck. I feel like I'm investing so much time in making this a warm and cozy garment, why ruin the effect by knitting this deep V-neck? I'm using Red Heart Soft, which is an unusual yarn choice for me. But it is soft, and it was less than $30 for the whole lot, and it's readily available so I didn't have to wait for it to ship since, like I mentioned, we kind of left out of the blue.
I'm really loving the pattern. It's one that has been in my queue for quite some time.

While we were gone I did pick up some yarn to make the kids some sweaters. It's all wool/acrylic blend Plymouth Encore and I'm thinking about making the girl a Tomten jacket and my son a Wonderful Wallaby.

And also I should be receiving a delightfully huge amount of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes by Wednesday because I have finally decided to cast on for some Christmas Stockings for my family. I bought 4 (FOUR!) Mary Maxim Christmas Stocking Books and a ton of wool, and It. Is. Happening.
Me, my son and husband have picked our favorite stockings, and we guessed what the baby would like, and my husband is fully supporting me finishing the must have cardigan first and then it's on the the stockings full force. The last attempt at Christmas Stockings didn't go well, but I'm hoping this time I will beat intarsia!

Finally, I sort of came up with a hat pattern while in the Rockies. I'll post it as it's own entry but for now I leave you with a photo of me and my hubby wearing the finished hats.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I must be on a slipper kick or something because after I finished these I immediately cast on a pair for my mom. One is done. Should be done with the other pretty soon. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Checkerboard Slippers"

Apparently there was this thing called Phentex. From what I can gather, it is an ugly plasticky rug and slipper yarn that was popular in the 80's and it was used to make many many many pairs of "checkerboard slippers." The pattern is free on Ravelry, but it's not really so much a pattern as it is a handed-down explanation of how to make these apparently "super soft super squishy, and super cozy slippers." The comments on the WELL-LOVED Ravelry pattern are simply chock full of people exclaiming their love for these slippers growing up. Women saying, "My aunt/grandma/nonna/nana/nanny/grammy/auntie/whoever made dozens of these slippers and gave them to all us kids for Christmas!" or "These slippers are why I learned how to knit!" or "When I knitted these slippers and gave them to my adult siblings they cried remembering our grandma."

I don't have grandparents anymore... Out of the four of them, I only knew one and there was a language barrier that meant we never held a conversation...Whatever- I'm grandma_status. I have acclimated to the grandma status since I was 14 years old and first picked up knitting needles.

I read those tales of these Phentex Checkerboard Squishy Slippers and I had an immediate desire, nay, a destiny: I must become like these Nonna's, these Grammy's, these aunties, these women who lived on after death as the fairy knitted godmothers. I decided right then and there that I would pick up some of my old Red Heart Super Saver that has sat collecting dust for years, and I would knit Phentex slippers for every kid in my family. And there are A LOT of kids in my family. My sister has 6 kids, and 3 of them have 2 kids each. My brother has three kids. I have 2 kids, and of course I had to make some for my mom and for my dad and for my in-laws, and my nieces and nephews on my husbands side because you can't forget them, even though half of them are in their teens and probably wouldn't be too keen on acrylic hand-knit slippers.

I picked out two colors to start with and began.

The pattern is easy and portable, but honestly very very boring. At least it was very squishy, I thought. I kept on, knitting all day until, with achey fingers from the sturdy acrylic, I completed the first slipper. I sewed up the top and tried it on.

Terrible! I can't even put my finger on what was wrong with it, but it was definitely not what I expected after all the comments! I can't imagine having fond memories of a slipper like that.
I am not knitting a pair for everybody in my family. In fact I'm not even knitting the second slipper! The RHSS has gone back into hiding, and I have picked up my sweater again.

Phentex Slippers. PAH!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sweaters are slow

This last month my husband and I have been lucky enough to save up some money, and we decided to go for a few long drives. One, to Yosemite, which we had never been to as adults despite it being only an hour and a half away. Second, to Dillon Beach, which is about  two hours away. My husband loves going for drives because it means he gets to drive and listen to music. I love going for drives because it means I get to knit. I worked on my sweater both times, and it is slowly getting near completion. I was truly hoping to finish this sweater by the end of July but the way work is working out (and home life- we may be moving again soon) I really don't think that's going to happen.
Here is a VERY attractive photo of me wearing the sweater before the trips.
Messy Hair Don't Care
As you can see it was just above the belly button. I added about 8 inches on to the length and had one of those especially triumphant yarn chicken moments when I thought I was going to run out of yarn during the bind off and have to add on another ball mid-bind off. Now I don't know about you, but I HATE doing that, and would actually much rather tink back an entire row in order to avoid it. Thankfully I had just enough yarn. I had to take a picture and then wait until we were back in an area with cell phone service to post it online. I was that triumphant.
Serious Yarn Chicken
So now the long haul is over: the body is done. I picked up the sleeves and started working on them during the drive home on the Dillon Beach trip, but unfortunately got a bad wave of carsickness which demanded I put the knitting down. Still, some progress is some progress and here is how the sweater is looking now.
I really don't think it's IMPOSSIBLE to expect it to be completed by the end of the month, but it's probably unlikely since we are most likely going to have to move out of our apartment and into my folks' house in a desperate attempt to keep the house in the family. I really hate moving. For that matter I really hate not living in my own place, too... But if it is necessary to keep my mom in the home and comfort that she requires and desires, then I must set aside my own ego and loathe for boxing items and make peace with possibly killing my fish during the move and Just Do It.

I see a lot of memes that say "adulting" is hard. And then a lot of comments where people claim that the first step to being an adult is to not call it "adulting" because it's a sign of a childish mindset. But you know what? Adulting IS hard. If it takes proper grammar to not make it childish, then I'll phrase it this way: "Being an adult and making adult decisions is difficult." It seems like every time I come to terms with where my life is at, and start making ends meet, something happens that just throws a wrench in the gears.

I remember when I was in first grade our class talked about our fears in front of the class. Amid the fears of spiders, snakes, and heights, little dark-haired Cecilia stood in front of the class and admitted her fear of her parents getting a divorce. Awkward moment, let me tell you... Now, over 20 years later, it is finally coming to fruition and amid thoughts of (honestly) "Finally," and "But why NOW?" there is a little part of me that feels like the world is coming apart at the seams. A little part of me that's like, "Adulting is hard."

Obviously, I can't let the house get sold. We built a clubhouse in that backyard. I live in an apartment and my son spends most of his leisure time watching TV because we don't have a yard and there is just a slab of concrete outdoors. Him having a backyard to play in would be soooo good for him, and though we try to save up for a house so far it's not been working out for us. Taking over the bills and everything wouldn't be So much worse than we are already at now, in a tiny apartment. But it feels tainted to move into my family home during these circumstances. I feel like, yes of course I have to take care of my mom, who couldn't make ends meet on her own. But I feel like that would be disloyal to my dad. Which is a totally insane and childlike thought. And my brother still lives there too, so it wouldn't really feel like home anyway.

Meanwhile, I continue to go to work, I have been asked to step up as manager of the store I work at- I still pump milk during my breaks, I don't know why I feel like that's relevant to all this-and it's just... I want to go back to coloring under the covers and talking to my best friend on my walkie talkie!!! And I have to go to work in an hour, but I thought I would update you all about the sweater, because that's something I used to do and would normally take pleasure in, but this all came out instead.

And my niece is having a baby on Friday and I have work. I feel like work is just taking over my life. Which, of course it's apt to do. But jeez you would think if you work full time you could afford to not have to save up for a mop, for instance. I just breathe in and tell myself everyone is struggling. They're just not talking about it.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

After a long hiatus...

It seems that between working full-time, going to school full-time, and having a baby took its toll on the knitting blog. Still, I'm happy to report that SOME knitting is still being done. Penelope is now 7 months old, and is clapping and smiling and eating solid food. My son is on summer vacation from school and preparing for the first grade. I'm somewhat going crazy what with breastfeeding and work and home responsibilities. Still, one stitch at a time we are getting through the days.

So, some of the knitting projects I have finished lately:

Empire Strikes Back Dress

All About Love Shawl

Lovey Dovey Two Toned Mitts

And the one I am currently working on:

Now getting into July, I find myself thinking often of Christmas, of knitting, and of Getting It All Done. Quite honestly I've fallen into a pit of being broke and hungry and overworked and perhaps what I need is just to take a big breather and sip a cup of tea and cast on for a sock. Knitting, however, never got the housework done, and it sure doesn't pay the bills... It does do wonders for your mental state, however.

And truly I have missed the blog, and working on projects until they are done and not just abandoning them halfway through. I am over-stressed, it's true. This blog used to be a place where I could go and it never really had deadlines and it never became an obligation and I could always come and go as I pleased and I never sought to explain myself after a long break. I never did the "sorry guys!" type of post because it always seemed lame and cheesy when I read such a post on other blogs. But today I feel the need to explain that yes, things have been knit since the Antler Hat. Yes, my life has continued and there has been knitting that I have not shared with you. And perhaps most importantly yes I am still here. And by "I," I don't just mean the accounting student who is flailing to keep up with deadlines, and I don't mean the mommy who has sung "patty cake" over 20 times today, and I don't mean the Assistant Store Manager of the corner pet store who covered yet another shift. I mean the me who loves being creative and sharing some of the wonderful fantastic things about being on this planet- being able to make sweaters out of sticks and string, and talking late into the night about which needles are the best or which yarn to avoid next time. I think it is important to remember that "I" exist. Not you- not whoever may or may not be reading this blog after more than half a year went past with not a word from me- but myself. Perhaps many of you are mothers too, or have otherwise slipped into an identity that is not allowing you to grow personally. Maybe this small deviation from my normal content will serve as a small reminder to do the things that you love sometimes. If not, then perhaps at least I will have reminded myself to take pleasure in the things I love to do. Knit. Write. Draw. Take a step back from deadlines, and hop on the blog to say a simple hello! I am here!

Anyway. Hopefully the next time I post I will have more sweater to show you.
There is no pattern, just a top down raglan with a center pattern and some cabling down the sleeves. It's fun but not too complex, and easy but not quite mind-numbingly boring.
It's almost 9 pm here and I am going to have a sit-down with my needles and tea. Tomorrow is a 10 hour work day, but I think I have earned a little knitting time.