Favorite Thing Friday: Leaving Cowls

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It’s halfway through September, so that means I’m all tangled up in knitting for Christmas. So far, I’ve got three gifts complete, two of which are the result of my new favorite knitting pattern.

Ravelry is a treasure trove of free patterns if you’re willing to do a little homework. Searching with the right key words and filters will reveal some pretty great patterns. For two of the people on my Christmas gift list, I knew I wanted to make a pretty cowl that would match the hats I made for them last year, so I searched for “knitting, free, cowl, leaves.”

Within seconds, I spotted a pattern called the Leaving Cowl. Beautiful interlocking leaves and simple edging convinced me straight away that this was “the one.” Within minutes I downloaded and printed it out.

Last year, I was smart and stashed some yarn that matched most of the hats I made for gifts last year. By sheer luck, the gauge on the Leaving Cowl matched two of the skeins I had saved. Let the cast on commence!

I made the first cowl using a gorgeous Harvest Yellow, (Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool). The golden tone really enhanced the leaves and made this piece feel extra cozy.

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Harvest Yellow Leaving Cowl

For the second cowl, I decided to make the edges a little more special. I pulled out another stashed skein, Grey Marble (Paton’s Classic Worsted Wool) and paired it with a skein of Plum Heather. The warm tone of the plum gave the leaves gorgeous definition, while the grey marble created a nice contrast.

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Plum Heather and Grey Marble Leaving Cowl

The pattern itself is very easy to read. It provides both a chart and written out stitch instructions. I’d recommend it for knitters who feel comfortable with stitches that go beyond the basics as there a couple of tricky stitches, including slip 1, knit 2 together and pass slipped stitch over. If you’re a beginner looking for a little challenge to build your skills, this is a great pattern to push yourself to the next level.

I love these cowls so much, it’s going to be tough to let them go. At the same time, I know those receiving them will be very happy! I’ll definitely be making one for myself once the Christmas knitting madness comes to an end.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Scribble Diary: Storage

Scribble Diary, September 5, 2014
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This week’s Scribble Diary seemed to be all about different ways I store the things I care about or wish I could let go. It’s amazing how one day can reveal so much about life as a whole when I consider how I package my feelings, apprehensions, and physical objects.

Wake-up call:

My day always starts before the sun rises. I wake up at 5:20 a.m. just about every day whether I want to or not. Sleep has never come easy to me and mornings are my favorite time of the day. That combination leads to an early start!

Saving up for:

I’ve always been a penny pincher, so this prompt was pretty easy for me. Aside from saving for a rainy day, I’m always looking to add to my yarn stash or my bookshelf.

With two elderly dogs, it’s only logical to keep a little money stashed for unexpected medical issues. While my boys are doing very well at the moment, I am constantly aware of how that could change in an instant.

After three years of minimal traveling, I’m starting to feel the itch to explore new places. I have my eye on Seattle and Amsterdam in the coming year. Even though I’m confident about finding a great deal, I’m still stashing some cash for what I hope are two memorable trips.

On a side note, this little doodle reminded me of the three containers I use to save spare change. Perhaps, it’s about time I took those to the bank!

Something(s) I can’t let go of yet:

This prompt took the longest for me to complete as I had just gone through pretty rough day. So many things were beyond my control and I was left feeling incredibly helpless and frustrated. If anything, this prompt arrived right on cue, but I had to sort through myriad emotions to get to the core of why I was feeling so frustrated.

After some contemplation I came up with two things that are always inside my little cage. When it comes to my job, I am always worried about getting called into the principal’s office. Regardless, of how well I do my job, there is always that fear that I’ve unwittingly broken a big rule because of my unorthodox methods. I’m usually very cognizant of what I can and cannot do, but school policies are constantly changing and not always well communicated. On this particular day, I was called into the principal’s office because they thought I was involved in something. It turns out I had nothing to do with it, but this little visit woke up my old fears.

When it comes to everything else in my life, I can’t let go of my perfectionist tendencies. I know perfection is impossible, but that doesn’t stop me from striving for perfectly straight lines, perfect stitches, or perfect writing. While I’ve gotten better about my nitpicking ways, the bars on this particular cage are still pretty rigid.

In my belly right now:

Perhaps this is the place where my perfectionism is at a standstill. After reviewing what I ate that day, I am astounded at the crap I managed to eat in such a short period of time. It’s like my stomach became a storage unit for junk food. For the record, I ate a much healthier array of food over the next week, (including grains, vegetables, and fruit).

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What storage containers are in your life?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

Scribble Diary: A Long Day

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Scribble Diary, August 30, 2014

It’s been a while since I picked up my Scribble Diary, but I spotted it on my shelf a few nights ago and couldn’t help but scribble an entry.

Sidebar:

I jumped into this entry after a long day of seemingly endless errands. That’s how a three day weekend goes sometimes! It was late at night, so I set the scale at the bottom of the page at “letting go” as I was in the process of letting the day go before heading up to bed.

The potion most needed now:

I spent most of the day worrying about one of my cats. She had a very pronounced limp and at her ripe old age of 14 this was very concerning. How nice it would be to have a potion to put an end to her limp and her pain. Thankfully, that awful limp was gone by the next day. Heeeey, maybe the potion worked!

If these walls could talk:

With my bookshelf in view, I could just hear it complaining about the rows of bookshelves bolted to it’s support beams. And I just keep bringing more books home. Poor wall.

Made a start today:

Every day off starts with a morning of knitting. I made some great headway on the reboot of the Box Pleat Scoopneck using my beautiful new yarn from Knit Picks. So far, I am so happy with the results.

For some reason, my old hobby of Barbie collecting has been rekindled. I spent some of the day reorganizing my display and reacquainting myself with some of the dolls I forgot I had. Some have spent so much time in the back, it was like we’d never met!

Brought this home with me:

What’s a day off without a trip to Target? I ran out of a bunch of random necessities all at once, only a few of which would fit in the little basket on this page. I went with including the easiest items to draw! Oh, and the cookies are long gone.

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Failing Without Giving Up

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Sometimes a project just doesn’t work out. No matter how beautiful the yarn or how much you’ve mastered a new skill, there are some projects that just refuse to come together!

This week, I finally had to give up on a project I’ve been working on since May. The Box Pleat Scoopneck captured my attention the moment I saw it in the Summer edition of Knit Wear magazine. Soon after, I bought some beautiful yarn at one of my favorite yarn shops. The heathered copper color of Filatura Di Crosa Potrofino seemed like the perfect match for the stylish pleated top I was so excited to make.

At the point of cast on, everything seemed to be going great. I loved how the yarn handled the rolled rib at the hem and the color variation was just gorgeous as the piece grew larger. I loved the weight of the yarn and it’s smooth texture.

However, it was at the halfway point that I started to have doubts. The very things I loved about the yarn turned out to be the biggest problems. The subtle satin finish caused some of the stitches to slip and even twist due to the weight of the finished fabric. I suspect my gauge calculations had something to do with it as well.

Yet, I kept going because I thought I was over thinking it. I have a tendency to let my perfectionism taint any craft project I’m working on, so I was determined to fight through the doubt. Besides, wet blocking would likely help those wayward stitches, right?

Then, came the day I reached the point of splitting the front and back to make sleeves. I held the garment up to my body to see if the sizing was correct and I just about died. That beautiful silky fabric highlights every imperfection – everything from the button of my jeans to the jiggle in my hips, (however, for the record, the sizing was correct!).

No amount of determination was going to save this one. It was all over and I was okay with that. Some things are meant to be, but my copper colored Box Pleat Scoopneck is not one of them.  As soon as I get a chance, I’ll be ripping out each stitch as I rewind the yarn back into a ball.

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Doomed from the start!

While this sounds like a total failure, I haven’t given up yet! Shortly after making the decision to shelf this project, I ordered new yarn, (a gorgeous medium weight, superwash wool). As soon as it gets here, I’ll have another go at this top!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Mistake Rib Scarf

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After I finished knitting the Veronica Slouch, I had a bunch of yarn left over. Instead of letting it slip into my growing collection of stash yarn, I decided to make a scarf to match my beautiful new hat, (See FTF: Chunky Cable Hat)

I opted for a mistake rib pattern as it gives the ordinary rib a little more personality. The texture of a mistake rib works so nicely with a thick yarn, so I knew it would be perfect for what was left of my Colinette Prism wool.

A quick search on Ravelry’s pattern database pulled up a great pattern that is super easy to follow, (Mistake Rib Scarf by Joan Janes).  Not only is it free, but it also offers several gauges so it can be adapted to different weights of yarn. I absolutely love how my scarf turned out!

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Mistake rib scarf with a twist!

In addition, the simplicity of the pattern allowed for a modification I wanted to make based on a scarf style I spotted on Pinterest. I always wear my scarves tucked into my jacket, so sewing one corner to the edge to create a permanent wrap shape really appealed to me. All I have to do is slip it over my head and it’s a perfect fit every time.

To add a little more style to the wrap around, I added a button to the attached corner. As it turned out, I had an extra button left over from my hat!  With this little detail, I truly have a matching set of accessories!

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It’s a wrap! (And a button)

It’s amazing what you can do with a little leftover yarn and an extra button!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014