Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hope you had a very merry Christmas!

 I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! =)

It was another week of working a lot and knitting very little. I did cast on for a hat this week for a knit-a-long and I'm nearly finished:
Could have been done days ago, but after work, I've been choosing my pillow over the needles. Hard to believe that I was working 14-hr days on a regular basis this time last year with two full-time jobs. Guess I'm getting old... lol
(project details on Ravelry)

Oh! I did finish the pair of slippers for my friend in time for Christmas:
last handknit for Christmas!
Not sure they went over that well, but they were done in time at least. I'm determined to finish up these skeins of acrylic if it kills me. lol
(project details on Ravelry)

I did take Christmas off and spent the day with my friend's family. We opened gifts in the morning then headed to her husband's parents place in northern Idaho for the afternoon/evening. I wish I could say it was drama-free, but it was much more like being with my own crazy family than I'd have preferred. The holidays seem to bring out the best and, sadly, the worst in people. At least this wasn't my family drama and Reilly got to have some fun!
This was just before he let loose with a barrage of barks letting those deer know he was in charge... or at least thought he was. heh Not sure what he would've done had there not been a window in between him and those 10 deer! These were young... maybe most will be pulling Santa's sleigh next year? =)

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Well, maybe just HO. =)

What have I done this week? Other than lots of OT for work, not a heck of a lot. I do have one HO (half-finished object):
The first of a pair of slippers for my friend. These are made with 3 strands of worsted weight yarn held together so they're quick... quick enough to actually be completed for Christmas morning. lol This is my second pair from this pattern - the first having been knit several years ago for my mom. This pair is being made from acrylic so they'll be easily washable, but and I can honestly say, I much prefer the wool version. I knit the first up Friday night after a long work day and plan to do #2 later tonight... plenty of time! =)
(yarn & pattern details on my Ravelry project page)

I did start a pair of fingerless mitts for her too, but the yarn choice was an unfortunate one. I'd picked up some inexpensive sport weight yarn from Big Lots (In the Loop) with the intention of make a few knitted Christmas ball ornaments. The deep red would have gone nicely with her off-white coat, but the yarn was crap. Not only did it knot up like that was it's job, but the yarn broke while I was trying to untangle it... then I discovered the yarn stained my bamboo needles after only a few rows. grr The yarn went back to the store. I swear, the more I've used it, the less I like any acrylic. I'm okay with acrylic blends, but straight acrylic? I'll be avoiding that in the future! Life is too short to knit with crap yarn. I'll be sticking to natural fibers from here out. I have a few acrylic skeins left in my stash, but no more will be coming in! :-/ Yep, I'm a yarn snob...

This past Tuesday, I was gifted a couple of patterns by designer Kimberly Gintar of The Giving Flower podcast in memory of podcaster Karrie Steinmetz who recently passed away. I received her Melting Snowman and Shawn the Shelf Elf. My friend collects snowmen and I plan to make the melting snowman for her once I have some actual free time again. lol I think I might need to make the elf for my sister's kids for next year though they might be getting too old for that. I picked up white and black fingering weight yarn and buttons yesterday for the snowman, but I wasn't able to find anything for the elf's skin. I might just end up with a really tanned elf! =) More likely though, I'll dye up a bit of my own...

Oh! My niece is officially "knit-worthy"!!!
I hear she LOVES her hat! No word on any of the others I sent, but at least one is being appropriately appreciated. =)

This OT hasn't been great for my knitting, but it has been great for the bank account! I had some OT on my last check and was happily able to make a double payment on my rv loan and even put some money in my savings account as well. =) The plan was to get my loan paid up at least through Spring when work tends to get a little (or a lot) slow and I'm now paid up until AUGUST! =D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

save on shipping!

I tend to think everyone knows about this already, but I discovered this week that that isn't so. It's a little late for holiday shipping for this year, but good info to have for later!

If you go to the post office's official website, you can set up an account and print your own postage. The advantage? No lines! Oh, and you save some money too. =) I have a small digital scale and can weigh my packages, but if you use the flat rate priority boxes (free from the post office), you don't even need the scale. I used to keep a few boxes on hand when I had more space. I shipped 4 packages Monday and 3 of the 4 were cheaper to ship flat rate than by weight - it doesn't take much to add up! When printing the postage online, they give you a small discount (up to 15%) on shipping and they also give you free delivery confirmation (a savings of $.75 per package). The best part? You can also schedule a pick-up and you won't even have to go to the post office to drop them off no matter how big the package or how many you have. The only down side is that you can't print first class postage on the site. I have heard you can print these through PayPal's website though so if you're mailing lighter items, be sure and check that out!

The other alternative? If you're not making the gifts yourself, purchase gifts from companies that offer free shipping (gotta love Amazon!) and have the item sent directly to the recipient. No, you won't be able to wrap it yourself, but a lot of companies offer gift-wrapping services now. Amazon has been offering a lot of $5 credits lately too so keep an eye out for those! I purchased an item for $25, got free shipping and used my $5 credit so it only cost $20 + tax shipped. Not a bad deal!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

little time for yarny fun

You're expecting a lot, aren't you? I know I was! After the past couple weeks, I expected at least a couple finished objects, but that was not to be. Why? One word... overtime. Yes, it's that time of year. It seems to always hit around the holidays and it hit hard this week. I'm thankful for the opportunity to earn a bigger paycheck especially with the slow time of year quickly approaching, but 12-hr work days sure do cut into the knitting time! =)

I stayed up late last night and I did finish this:
That's the last hat that needed to go into the mail for Christmas! =) I finally settled on a pattern for this hat. I've made this pattern once before and really liked it the first time around. I really like it in this less-contrasting color combo as well and can definitely see knitting this up again in the future. This one turned out a bit large. I'm usually a tight knitter, but apparently I knit more loosely in acrylic... no time to reknit it so I'll just include a note for him to let me know if it's too big and I'll make another out of the leftovers.

I started this:
a few days ago, then switched to the hat since it had to go in the mail. This should be a wide headband by now... but it's not. The original pattern is written for bulky yarn, but it came out super wide in that and I switched to fingering weight yarn held double - much better! I don't really like how the increases look on the right though. Yes, this part will be under her hair, but still. With all the OT, I'm doubtful this will be finished for Christmas anyway, so I'm thinking of frogging it and starting over. Good thing I have something else for this kid! =)
(yarn and pattern details on my Ravelry project page)

I've spent a lot of time working the past several days, but I did take a break Friday night for a Christmas party. I can't believe Christmas is so close! Everything is going in the mail tomorrow, but I still have a project in the beginning stages that I haven't had a chance to work on much and still need to make something for my friend who's letting me park in her yard... the same friend who decided I needed to finish up one of her intended Christmas presents and finally handed it to me as I walked out the door yesterday so now it's in my rv. *sigh* I can't say I have any urge to work on it though. I'd rather rip it out and start fresh rather than try to fix what's already done, but as long as the OT holds out, I'll barely have time to mess with it at all if I want to finish my own projects.
I think she'd maybe be more understanding if she had a job, but she seems to think everyone has as much down time as she does. She might just be getting a ball of yarn and an IOU for her gift this year so I can finish that blanket for her. lol

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

getting a yarny (or other crafty) deal...

Yes, still knitting away, but I wanted to share something I've figured out recently...

Jo Ann Fabric has been putting out a lot of good coupons lately and it used to be, you were limited to using one 40% (or 50% or whatever) off coupon per purchase. Not anymore! Last time I was in there, I bought 4 items that were not on sale and got 50% off on each... just wish I'd figured this out when they had the 60% off coupon!

Here's how:
  1. Use the paper coupon from the ad flyer.
  2. Sign up for the emails from Jo Ann's and you'll get coupons in your inbox - print those.
  3. Go back to that email and click "send to phone" - this will come as a text message and has a different number on it than the one you printed above.
  4. Download the Jo Ann Fabric app on your smartphone and log in with your email then go to "coupons" and pull up the current coupon - this will have yet a different number on it.
Now you have four coupons - two digital, two on paper. Jo Ann's will let you use as many coupons as you have on the same order (one per non-sale-priced-item, of course) as long as they have different numbers below the scan bar. This is a great way to buy multiples of, say, yarn in the same dye lot that's not currently on sale or just multiple skeins of the same type of yarn for a colorwork project in just one trip. =) I got four skeins for a sweater, all at 50% off and saved about $22.

Now, you know too. =)

Monday, December 10, 2012

a day late... with more FOs!

I've been trying to stick to posting once a week on Sundays, but I didn't have a pic of the project I finished yesterday so you had to wait. =) Still working on Christmas projects, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! This weekend, I finished up two more projects.

First up:

A cowl for my mother. I bought the yarn for this four years ago while working in Seattle, but then my mother actually requested something and it did not fit with this yarn. At long last, she's getting it this year... and it's out of my stash! It's a nice, cushy, long cowl that can be looped around twice for a snugger fit. She loves purple so I'm hoping she likes this. =)
(pattern & yarn details on my Ravelry project page)

And, no surprise:
 Another hat! I still have one more to go for Christmas but am having a hard time settling on a pattern. lol
(pattern and yarn details on my Ravelry project page)

Here's the stack heading to my sister's for Christmas:
Not too bad, huh? I do need to do a quick blocking on the two wool hats, but otherwise everything is ready to ship which is really good news since in this small of a space, three boxes of gifts really cuts down on the already limited free space around here! =)

Next week, you should get to see my last two planned projects... one more hat and a headband. There might even be a third, though I haven't yet decided on what that will be. lol

Sunday, December 02, 2012

another week... FOUR more hats!

Yep, still knitting away!
I continued my knitting by knitting a slouchy hat for my niece:
Christmas knit #3 - done!
I used some more of my overdyed yarn. It still needs to be blocked, but from what I hear, she really likes hats so it should be a hit, esp in her favorite colors!
(details on my Ravelry project page)

Then I knit up a hat for my middle nephew:
My friend wanted a hat for a friend's baby shower, so I knit this quick one up:
It was an owl pattern, but after getting the eyes and tassels on, I think it looks more like a monster so I skipped adding the beak.
Then back to Christmas knitting with a hat for my brother-in-law:
I figured I should go as basic as possible for his or he wouldn't wear it. 
I can see the end in sight! Only two more nephews to go and the family is done. =) I'm planning a cowl for my mother and that's the last one that needs to be mailed. I'd originally knit a hat for my friend and was planning ones for her family, but was informed yesterday that none of them wear hats... So, the hat for her is going to my sister. I might end up making her a cowl and possibly a headband or something for her daughter. I'll have to figure out something else for the guys. I'm truly at the point that I don't ever want to go to another store though! It's online shopping all the way from here.
I did have to go back to Jo Ann's for thread for a sewing project and since I had a few 60% off coupons, I finally picked up needle felting supplies: 
=) The little packages of roving are way too expensive, but with the coupon, now SO bad. I have some roving I picked up at a wool fest but it's all in storage. This will work for now.

And now... back to knitting!