December 31, 2014

Another year over ... and new projects just begun!

The Christmas knitting was finished, though I was still knitting dish cloths on Christmas morning, on time for gift-giving festivities this year.  I swear, like I do every year, that I need to start The List in September next year instead of November.  But, hindsight aside, each kid ended up with something that their momma made for them:

hunting beanie for Scout #1
fluorescent Sportswoman gloves for Rocket
extra long Sportsman gloves for Scout #2
And by the time I wove in the ends on the last gift basket dish cloth, my hands were waving the white flag of surrender, so there wasn't actually a new project cast on (and I just about went batty because of it) on Christmas day as planned.  That's okay, though, because it gave me time to look through this little gem that my Honey bought for me for Christmas, the 6-volume set of Weldon's Practical Needlework.


The attribute of this collection that defines its awesomeness is that I can learn how to do any type of needlework according to historically accurate instructions.  I may have to learn tatting in 2015. It's also interesting to note that many of the projects among these pages are cross-disciplinary, meaning that a knitting project may also include crochet and macrame, or an embroidery project may also require a crocheted or tatted lace edge.  This was the best gift of all!

On the 26th, I cast on for a new pair of socks in Rusted from my Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock yarn stash. I thought briefly about working up something complicated and interesting, but decided to just work up a pair of plain socks ... but now I seem to have lost interest a bit so maybe I will rip back and re-think the plan. They aren't knitting up very "rusty"--more like grey and brown stripes with a bit of white pooling.  I can't decide if it's the plainness of the sock or the lackluster colorway that is turning me off.



On the 27th, I cast on for that Eyeblink crescent shawl that I've been wanting to knit up in my stashed Firewood Tosh Merino Light.  You might recall that I knit one for my mom for her birthday in pink in October. I was pretty pleased with the pattern, though I am tossing about the idea of changing the lace pattern that finishes it off.


Since the shawl is a no-brainer and uses larger needles which also are surprisingly easy on my tired hands, it seems to be the go-to project at the moment.  I might even have it done by New Year's Day.

In other hobby news ... I finally finished reading World Without End by Ken Follett.  Although I am a fan of Ken Follett, and I did read the first book of this series, Pillars of the Earth, I have to say that somewhere around the middle of the book (about page 500) I lost interest and put it down for about a year.  With shouts of triumph, however, I finished page 1,111 this past Monday morning.  I tell you this not because it's particularly interesting that I finished reading an unbelievably lengthy text, but because I have discovered that I can knit and read AT THE SAME TIME!  So, that's pretty great because I've mostly spent the last several years choosing between knitting and reading, and now I can just do both simultaneously.  Fun, fun!

I wish you and yours health and happiness in 2015!


December 12, 2014

Making Sense of a Mess

I saw this cute genderless hat pattern on Ravelry and thought, "How great would that be for all of the guys in my house for Christmas?!".  I'm not going to name it right now, as I am currently rather ill about the way the instructions are worded for the hat band, which is to say that I think they are worded rather scantily and badly and required me to start over after about 20 rounds when I finally had an epiphany about what the writer wanted me to intuitively do.  I'm also miffed about the fact that the gauge in the pattern isn't working for the yarn on the needles having done a provisional cast on, though it was perfect on the first go around.  I don't want to give the pattern designer a bad rap at this point because, well, in my current and generally agitated state, the problem could be me.

                                

Although I am already trying to whip out the dishcloths and finish a pair of gloves for Rocket (one of which also had to be frogged and re-knit), I need to get this hat done by, dare I say, TUESDAY, as I intended it as a birthday present.  I thought that, despite my rush, this would be a quick knit, especially since it's really just one of those good stress-knit projects where you knit in circles, decrease a few rows, and bind off.  No frills.  Just one color change and mindless knitting.  But, perhaps, the stress is overcoming my knitting.  You see, we hired a contractor to build a barn 8 weeks ago.  By now, we really should have a 3-story building with a roof and only siding left to go on and a few gazillion gallons of stain.  Instead, we have a hole that, turns out is 2 feet shy of being deep enough and a sizeable portion of a 12 ft., u-shaped, load bearing block wall that doesn't pass inspection (or any building codes) and a contractor who doesn't feel the need to use licensed professionals.  There's more wrong with this situation, but you're probably stressed out just from the little bit I've mentioned.

So again, I knit. TUESDAY. This has to be done by Tuesday.

December 09, 2014

The Perils of Christmas Knitting

I found the perfect colorway for a pair of gloves for Rocket to match her neon winter jacket. This has been a difficult task since she's been around more often than I expected with more than a touch of her first real winter cold and a day out of school.  So there I was, knitting away at a frenzied pace on a pair of secret gloves, sitting by an afternoon fire, thinking about turning on a bit of Christmas music. I was through the cuffs and just working my way around the front of the second glove toward the start of the thumb gusset when I realized (gasp!!) that the second glove was not counting out correctly.  In shock and dismay, I counted again. How could this be?! When I say that it was not counting out correctly, I don't mean not counting out correctly as in I was off by a stitch or two.  I mean, I was off by two glove sizes, meaning that I had one small glove and one large glove on the needles!  How in the name of all things knitterly could that have happened!?!


Yes, this colorway really is that bright!
After much swearing and desperate re-counting, there was only one thing to do: dive into the frog pond.  Okay, so it was only a measly 35 rows that needed to be re-knit, which normally would not be that great of a hardship, but, even if you forget that Christmas morning is 15 days away and that I still have another pair of gloves to finish, 3 hats, and 8.5 dish cloths to whip out, there is one peril of knitting, particularly occurring during the Christmas knitting insanity  season that one cannot overcome: the striping doesn't match on the second go-around.  Nope, not even a little bit.  It was pretty dang perfect the first time through but, because the knitting gods have a sick sense of humor, especially regarding all holiday knitting, the second time, no matter how carefully planned, will not stripe the same way.  NOT AT ALL!

The other thing that irks me is that I could have had the hands finished to the finger starting point today had I not had to spend my 1.5 hours of knitting time re-knitting the second cuff.  Even Nature is  picking up on my mood, as the sun has disappeared behind some rather threatening clouds and has kept this up through the whole of my knitting and the writing of this post.  I have, however, managed to get back to where I was in the pattern before the delusions of knitting mastery were shattered.

Gotta' go make up for lost time, so ho, ho, ho and happy knitting! 

December 01, 2014

The End of My Etsy Era

And with a click of the button and a few choice last words for the powers that be at Etsy about how they've trashed the artisans who built that company, my Etsy shop is no more.  It's a bit sad to suddenly have no Etsy shop after almost 5 years, but I'm moving on!


My new shop's appearance at Zibbet.com is eerily like my original shop at Etsy.  I like the look of the large photos and listings better than what's been done to the Etsy listings pages.  It's definitely like starting over and being whisked back in time ... except that 5 years later my life is so much more awesome than it was then that starting over doesn't seem as daunting as starting up did in 2010.

You know what has been just fabulous about leaving Etsy?  The response from past customers when I contacted them to let them know that I was closing my shop and moving it elsewhere has been amazing!  Every convo response that arrived in my inbox said 2 things: "I'll be happy to follow you to your new shop!" and "I, too, have noticed all the Chinese junk on Etsy and have stopped shopping here because of it."  Such a response makes me feel like I am making the right choice. I've also gotten supportive messages from other shop owners who used to be on Etsy and have also moved elsewhere.

So here's a little self-promotion in the social media realm.  I'm in a few places--my kids tell me that I'm too old and make fun of me to be active on social media, which is pretty hilarious!--and I would love it if you wanted to get connected. Actually, I have a bet going with my teenage boys about whether or not I can become "Insta-famous" without their help. They seem to think I don't stand a chance at social media popularity. I'd love it if you'd help me to prove them wrong!

FB: Cedar Hill Farm Company
Twitter: @cedarhillfarmco
Instagram: @cedarhillfarmcompany
Tumblr: knittingstash
Rav ID: zibelineknits
Online shop:  http://www.zibbet.com/cedar-hill-farm-company
Farm website:  http://www.cedarhillfarmcompany.com

I hope that you will also follow me to my new shop and continue to visit this blog. I will have a new label of yarn coming out in January, though I have yet to settle on a label name, that I know you will love.  This is some seriously squishy merino fingering weight sock/shawl yarn, folks (think Malabrigo Sock and then think "squishier").  It's so seriously awesome that it's going to be used as part of a crazy-big event on the blog Tangledmania (there's also a Rav group) where Jennifer is going to be knitting every single pattern in the pattern book Botanical Knits.  I'm providing the yarn for the Ivy Trellis Mittens (lovely pattern!), alongside other yarn companies that include Knit Picks, Three Fate Yarns, and Celestial Strings. There will be updates here, on the Rav page, and of course on Tangledmania. So stay tuned for that, too!



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