Jun 20, 2013

Creepers All Around!

pattern: Creepers All Around, by Tracey McDowell (free Ravelry download)  
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in lime and black (82 yards total)  
needles: size US 9 / 5.5mm 16" circulars and dpns

I am surrounded by nerds. Nerds who love Minecraft. I can't tell you a single thing about Minecraft, other than it's a game of some sort (I think computer?), and just about every boy I know loves it. This hat has a ring of "creepers" around it, which are apparently part of the game somehow? All I know is my husband about jumped off the couch when I showed him this hat pattern.

This Creepers pattern is free, which is wonderful, and the charts are amazing -- simple, detailed, and without error (more of a bonus than you'd think). However, it was clearly written for much thinner weight yarn than I used, because I cast on for the smallest size and the hat ended up fitting me perfectly. Not a big deal -- I knew based on the needles suggested and the yarn I was using that I'd have to cast on for the smallest to get a hat that would fit me (and most men or women) perfectly.

I've got plans to make bunches more of these, and might even make a few sized to fit toddlers and even babies. The hat knits up fast, I love the decreases, and I know the person who receives this hat (as well as the others soon to find their way off my needles) will love it!

Jun 19, 2013

college world series 2013

Made it to one game of the college world series this year -- the opening game! Owen spent the day with grandma Mimi, and Zach and I parked at the south end of the Old Market so we could walk to the stadium, eating and drinking all along the way!

After two separate stops for beer we made it to the park just as the first inning was getting started. Perfect seats -- just under the overhang, but still close enough to take a good photo or two. More food (I can't help myself, stadium food is the best!) and then a foul ball came flying our way, landing right in Zach's lap!

Jun 14, 2013

Thoughts As I Turn 36

Yesterday I turned 36. The truth of it all is, I haven't always liked celebrating my birthday. Where I have always wanted to go above and beyond for others when it's their day, I find I'd rather ignore my birthday all together. After years of disappointing days (for a host of reasons), a few years ago I decided that eating pizza and watching a movie with my most favorite person in the world was the only way I wanted to celebrate. Ever again.

And then I turned 36.

I had hoped for little to no fanfare. In fact, I wished for that so hard, I managed to get the stomach bug that's been floating around for the last week or so. Not so bad I wanted to curl up and die mind you, but bad enough I had to lay on the couch drifting in and out of sleep for most of the day. Bad enough that I wasn't sure I'd even be able to eat the pizza I'd been so looking forward to.

And then Owen started to give me big hugs and kisses, out of nowhere, and while watching Thomas -- which for him is like the most selfless thing ever, as Thomas hangs the moon for him right now, and if we talk too much while he is watching he will put a finger to his lips and all but yell "SHHHHHH" until we are quiet.

And then Zach ran out to grab something, and came back with Jones Bros. Cupcakes, which are just about the best cupcakes in the known universe. And he put a candle in one, and then my two favorite men in the world sang me Happy Birthday, and Owen helped me blow out the candle, which I didn't even realize he knew how to do.

And then we ate pizza even though my stomach kept trying to tell me it might not like it (it ended up liking it very much) and instead of watching a movie we watched two episodes of Dr. Who, which we are just now getting around to watching.

And while we watched I cast on my second hat for the day, realizing I'd been able to knit as much as I'd wanted, all day long. I talked to almost everyone who is important to me throughout the day, including both parents and two brothers (the third fell asleep before he could call, so texted me right at midnight).

And then, just as we were about to head to bed for the evening at 10:30pm like the boring grown-ups we are, my phone rang. And three people who have become little extensions of my family were on the phone, singing me happy birthday all the way from Canada. Right after a very important event, rushing to the phone to call because they knew I'm "old and go to bed early".

And as I smiled so hard I thought my face might break, I was reminded just how precious this life of mine is, just how lucky I am, and suddenly I was the most thankful person that has ever existed. And as I fell into bed, I realized this is what birthdays are supposed to be -- all my favorite people, all my favorite foods and things to do, all wrapped up into one lazy day of staying in my sweats and smiling every second I was awake.


I'm also very thankful that folks have been showing up in droves to donate to my Charity: Water birthday campaign! Thanks to some amazing donations, I'm slowly working my way towards my goal, and am grateful for each dollar donated (even the ones from friends reminding me how old I am! Hah!) If you'd like, consider donating as well -- 100% of all donations go directly towards water projects, so your money will be wisely spent. 36 looks like it's going to be a good year, judging by the way it started!

Jun 13, 2013

Ribbstickad Hat

pattern: Ribbstickad Hat, by Jenny Gordy  
yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Colonial Blue (92 yards, including pom)  
needles: 7.0mm 16" circular

 I've been dancing around the edges of the Wiksten world for a few years now. Friends love Jenny's work, at least half of the blogs I read sing of her praises, and I've read enough reviews of her writing and her projects to know at some point I should find my way to her blog. But it wasn't until a friend told me she'd decided she wanted to learn to knit after seeing a few of Jenny's hat patterns that I finally made my way over to her website and shop.

Ribbstickad became the first of Jenny's patterns I put on my needles. My modifications were minor - I didn't have the right size 16" circular needle on-hand so I sized up a tiny bit, and I used a thick worsted weight acrylic yarn instead of bulkier yarn, which gave the hat just a bit more drape.

A simple ribbed pattern, Ribbstickad flew off the needles from brim to pom. After trying it on I wished I'd made it a bit longer, as it didn't slouch off the back of my head as much as I'd have liked, but was also too short to turn up the brim and wear fitted. This happened because of the yarn substitution, giving me fewer rows per inch than the bulky yarn would have, making my decrease rows take up less space.

I forget to adjust for this problem more often than I'd care to admit, leaving many of my hats 1/2 to 1 inch shorter than I'd planned. You'd think after all these years of knitting hats I'd just go ahead and knit a bit extra before decreases, and while sometimes I do, most times I forget!

The hat is wonderful regardless. The pattern is easy to follow, a perfect charity pattern and ideal for people looking to dip their toes into hat knitting - you learn to work in the round, knit, purl, and decrease with ease.

Jun 11, 2013

an afternoon outside

Before his hair cut, so this must have been a few weeks ago. I find I have a terrible memory, forgetting all the amazing little moments we have together, this lovely family of mine. Even when I take photos, share little sentences on Instagram, the bulk of what I want to remember slips by.

This day, he finally climbed through the tunnel on his giant slide contraption. He tried desperately to climb the cut-outs on the side, but they still seem to tough.

He already doesn't fit into those red shoes. He's growing so fast, I can hardly keep up!

Jun 10, 2013

$3,600 For My 36th Birthday!

I can't believe that on Thursday I turn 36!

While this last year (this last decade?!) seems to have flown by, as I look back I can't count the number of things I am thankful for. My life is overflowing with goodness, and for that I am truly thankful. To celebrate we plan to order pizza and watch a movie (we STILL haven't seen Zero Dark Thirty, so I'm hopeful to finally check that one off the list), but I wanted to do a bit more.

And so like most of the best things I've done, last Friday I quickly set up a Charity: Water campaign to celebrate my birthday with a little more style. My goal is simple, albeit large - I'd like to raise $3,600 for my 36th birthday, helping bring clean water to folks in need. I love everything about Charity: Water, and believe the work they are doing is changing lives, communities, and our world.

I've run donation campaigns in the past, donated to other folks' campaigns, and even sent the entire office a box of hats once as a way to say thanks for all they do. I've got some big plans for my 36th birthday, which I'll share more about next week after the birthday celebration hang-over wears off (who am I kidding, we'll be asleep by 10pm!).

In the meantime, I'd love it if you would help me start my 36th year on the planet by making it a better place for some folks. Just $36 will bring clean water to someone in need, and will help me get a step closer towards my goal! Won't you donate today?!

Jun 6, 2013

Hats On People: Collen McCulla

 pattern: Spring Beret, by Natalie Larson (free Ravelry download)  
yarn: unknown, approximately 120 yards of worsted weight cotton blend
needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 9 / 5.5 mm 16" circulars and size US 9 / 5.5 mm dpns

I was introduced to Colleen McCulla of Feelbetterology back in December, thanks to the tip from Josh and Ryan over at The Minimalists. Colleen is a super amazing woman, sharing her weight loss journey and her life with the world while also putting a collage a day on Instagram!

Colleen's hat story has been one fraught with danger, terror, and not a few missteps, and I mean every word of that. Way back in December Colleen quickly picked out the hat she wanted, the fiber type and color of her dreams, and I hopped in for what I assumed would be a quick turn-around hat perfect for this Ohio girl and the winter weather she most definitely still had on the way.

Six months later, a very different hat finally arrived on Colleen's doorstep! Between a variety of yarn choices that didn't work out for Colleen's first hat choice and a few missteps on my part for Colleen's second hat choice, the weather began to warm up and a winter hat was seeming less and less useful.

But then, on her third try at getting a hat out of me, Colleen picked the gorgeous Spring Beret pattern. Around the same time she discovered some yarn languishing in her possession from a project she decided she was never getting around to, and the perfect plan fell into place. Colleen mailed me the yarn, I used the pink skein to make her hat out of the Spring Beret pattern, and before either of us knew what had happened the perfect spring-weather hat was on its way back to Ohio!

The Spring Beret pattern is a dream to work with! I love it when I can knit a pattern exactly according to directions, not having to modify for length or cast-on; even the needle size was spot-on with my normally tight tension! I loved the pattern so much I cast on another as soon as Colleen's hat was off the needles, and have grand plans of making a dozen or so more for donation over the summer. The open weave of the lace pattern on the body of the hat should still be plenty warm if I work it up in wool, and I'm excited to give it a try with a different fiber, as the pattern took so well to the cotton-blend yarn I used for Colleen's hat.

To follow Colleen:

Jun 3, 2013

Chunky Organic Cotton Baby Beanie

pattern: Chunky (Organic Cotton) Baby Beanie by Kelly Meneely
yarn: leftover bits of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn! in cranberry and light grey (35 yards total)  
needles: size US 9 / 5.5 mm dpns

I've found a new favorite baby hat pattern for using up little bits of yarn, and perfect for when I don't want a hat with a turned-up brim. The Chunky (Organic Cotton) Baby Beanie is a free Ravelry download that gives the best instructions for using up your worsted weight acrylic scraps of yarn making baby hats to give by the bag-ful!

I whipped up the hat pictured above in just two hours (which included the time it took to rip out the hat I had started before finding this pattern), and I'm sure as I use the pattern a few more times I'll get that time knocked almost in half. Kelly Meneely gives great instructions for making a baby hat that will fit most newborns perfectly during those crucial first few weeks and months.

In the next few months, as I turn my attention to all baby hats, all the time (thanks to a fun project I'll be sharing more about in the next few weeks) I know I'll be turning to this pattern as often as I turn to my Sandoval Hat pattern. I'm excited to share more hats made using Kelly's pattern in the coming months!