WIP Wednesday- Pollen edition

I have so many projects going on right now and I can’t share any of them! It is a mix of custom requested projects, gift items, and test/samples – all under wraps for the time being.  I really wanted to share something this week, so I started something new. (Who’s surprised? No one who reads this blog for any length of time.  Yeah.) I have dealt with seasonal allergies forever! My dad was a family practitioner, so that was my informal diagnosis from when I was a kid. I have noticed that my allergies have changed a bit over the years – I used to get them guaranteed twice a year – in early September / middle of Spring.  The last few years it seems to be a once a year annoyance, around the middle to end of May. My casual investigation to discover the predominant pollen leads me  to oak and birch tree pollen as the culprits. I have had the Pollen Count pattern in my queue for ages, so I decided to work out the aggression with which I want to rub my itchy eyes and crochet this little guy. Maybe if he’s cute I’ll be less annoyed?

Pollen in progress but once I put eyes on it I think it wants to be something else. #crochet #amigurumi

Anyway, I’m at the point where you add the face before decreasing. I placed the eyes to check the position and then was distracted having to work on something else. For several hours this little guy has been watching me. That has to be the downside of making amigurumi, right? And now I’m thinking I don’t know if this little project really wants to be a pollen grain. He sort of looks like the right shape for a coffee cup.  Or a mouse.  Something.  So, you might see a pollen grain or something else here on Friday.

Side note. In a manner similar to weeds, I find pollen so interesting! This itty-bitty bit of fluff, essentially, harmless to my body but my body thinks it’s bad and makes me sneeze / cough / have itchy-watery eyes to just Get. It. Out! When I was in graduate school, most of my research involved Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and looking at particulate matter (tiny airborne stuff) on Oak leaves. I found a lot of pollen among the other stuff I was looking for – like these! Funny that I spent all that time studying oak leaves and now the oak may be partly to blame for my misery this week!

May your week be sneeze free! Looks like we’re switching from cool spring temperatures to hazy, hot, and humid!

WIP Wednesday (Post #1001!)

WIP Wednesday

I noticed when I logged in this morning that this is post #1001! Keeping things moving, here is what I have been working on this week. I started a pair of Carousel socks. They have been on my mind for a while and they qualify for a Ravelry sock group’s March challenge of “Unusual Construction”.  So far, I am really enjoying working on this. The small section of stockinette seems to move along quickly. On a few rows I have tried knitting backwards and it worked, but I don’t know that doing that saves me any time (and I don’t mind purling). A good friend has commissioned two large slugs for her friend’s children after seeing the “Princess Slug” I made for Lorelai, so you can see the eyeballs and antennae of the first one in the middle. I am just about halfway through the second Malabrigo mitt and I am still loving it.  As much as I am looking forward to spring I am glad that I will be able to have these done and put them to good use sooner rather than later.  

I’ve been reading a bit here and there. Still working through “Case Histories” and I’ve been reviewing the material from the latest Craftsy class I’ve enrolled in, Knit to Flatter. As with my StitchFix experiment, I really want to make sweaters for me that fit and look right. I’m expecting to cast on a new sweater tomorrow, Morning Coffee, as part of a KAL – I think I might be making a few modifications given what I have learned in the craftsy class.  Or, maybe not just yet as I’m still processing all the information. What are you reading and working on?

A cowl, an owl and cables! FO Friday!

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It’s been a good week! This cowl was my first crochet test project! Crystal wore hers a few weeks back to our knitting group and I was absolutely taken with it. I was rather forward in telling her that I was very interested in the pattern – I am feeling a lot more comfortable with a crochet hook and really enjoy the process. Crocheting makes me feel like I am using my brain in a different way, if that makes sense, probably because I still need to stop and think frequently, unlike knitting (usually!). Anyway, the Miss Adler pattern is wonderful for a beginner like me. Once I got through the first set of rows I was flying. Crystal has a great knack for explaining the details and her style is very clear. I can also vouch for her dedication to a pattern – I have seen her work through designs to be published at our knitting group and she doesn’t do anything half-way. She is having a trunk show this weekend and I am really looking forward to checking it out! I used Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend for my version in the Wildflowers colorway. So many lovely colors poking through, very appropriate for spring. I did dip into a second skein, and as my gauge is different, my cowl is bigger, so I will probably wear it folded over as you can see in my Ravelry notebook.

Little Crochet Owl

Continuing with the crochet theme, this is Nel, the tiny owl, that I made for a swap on Ravelry.  He is another Fresh Stitches design and a lot of fun to make. I used Cotton Classic from the stash, and he turned out to be around 5 inches tall.  I hope he is loved when he gets to his destination!

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And finally, the Sweet Fern Mitts, from The Knitter’s Book of Wool.  These are also for a swap and I am very sad to see them go, but I will certainly make myself a pair.  They are just snug enough, and I made them with less than one skein of Berroco’s Blackstone Tweed. I struggled for a while with that yarn, trying to decide what to make with the lonely skein, but I would seek it out again – I loved working with it.

Have a great weekend!

FO Friday

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Last weekend I finished knitting my Fumior arm-warmers and I seamed them up while waiting on my computer to resolve some issues.  I love this yarn, Manos Maxima; the colorway Prince, and the pattern. For my actual FO there is a little love lost.  I blocked them to make the seaming easier and it grew more than I expected (my own fault, I didn’t bother to swatch first!). I also managed to misread the directions, so one arm-warmer has ribbing at the finger side and the other does not.  I am a better knitter than that! I’m choosing to keep that design element as a reminder to read the directions!The Lorax helped to take these photos – it is quite tricky to take a self portrait of arm-warmers.The color is more accurate in the second photo, and you can see they are true arm-warmers. 

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I also worked up another amigurumi friend for a swap package. This little guy is on his way to my downstream swap pal, I hope she likes him.  He is another Fresh Stitches pattern, Nasser the Baby Penguin. I have plans to do finish up another Fresh Stitches pattern over the weekend, for another swap; this has been a great way to really push me to try a few new techniques.  The whole reason I wanted to learn how to crochet was to make the amigurumi creatures! I’m looking at my stash with fresh eyes now. Much of my leftovers and acrylic is great for these fun friends!

 Linking up to fo fridays!

Still digging out, now with more amigurumis!

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On Monday, I looked out the window to see this. A pay loader on our street to clear a path down the street.  It then got stuck at the top of our street and had to be rescued by a plow. Crazy. My husband and I worked in shifts and made steady progress to clear our driveway. Yesterday, his brother came over to help with the rest. It’s clear enough to get one car in / out, but it’s tight. I’m hoping that our usual plow guy can come by and help widen things a bit. And maybe clear whatever we’re forecast to get tonight.

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Good thing we cleared it, as our mailbox is still inaccessible. The mail-person had some guts and drove their truck down our driveway to deliver the mail. There was not much considering we haven’t gotten mail since Friday! There was a swap box for me – I received an adorable baby unicorn & an “OctoPaul” & “OctoPolly” for my little ones! As soon as I started to open the box, Lorelai piped up, “Can I have that?”.  They are adorable! Thank you very much to Cindy, my swap pal!

UntitledAfter I finished my slug, Lorelai requested a princess one.  A bit of stash diving and voila! Princess, the tiara-less, slug! I used one skein of bulky for the body and double up on other stash yarn for the eyes, foot & antennae.  It’s maybe 6 inches tall and 10 inches long! I left it outside her bedroom door last night to surprise her.  Success! 
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Bug Eyed & Sluggish

2 dachshunds high, easily. #Blizzard2013
The Blizzard of 2013 has come and gone but we’re going to be dealing with this mess for a while. We measured 26″ outside our front door, and CT effectively shut down this weekend. My husband and I worked shoveling our driveway yesterday and today and we’re maybe 1/3 of the way done. We haven’t seen a plow truck since 4pm Saturday and that was on the next road over – our road has not been touched. It’s going to be several days until we can get out of here. I’ve never seen this much snow come from one event  and there’s no place to put it! It is very pretty and very striking. These once in a lifetime events seem to be happening more often!  On the plus side we have power and we are ok with food and stuff. I’ve been working on my sample sweater for Plymouth, have started my second Fumior, and have wound yarn for swatching.

I’ve also tried to give my wrists a break by crocheting – they are sore from shoveling and crochet doesn’t seem to add to the ache. I worked up this chill slug, fulfilling my participation in the Fresh Stitches Slug-A-long. He was very quick and fun to make – the Fresh Stitches patterns are very well written, and the blog posts were really helpful – I found the post about crocheting antennae particularly helpful! I’m naming him Nemo in honor of the storm.  I’ve had a request to make a princess one next. When asked for more details that means a tiara & ribbons. I’m hoping a pink and purple version will satisfy.