Staycation and Mini Clear out

Here at Casa del Revknits, I’ve been looking forward to a vacation time, and had planned to go to Southern California for some of this week to see some friends. Then I looked at the weather forecast, and all of the days I was thinking of going were going to be well above 100 degrees.

Having just endured lived three summers in Fresno, it did not seem like a vacation to go into Fresno-like summer weather, so instead I embraced the staycation. And it has been a lovely few days in San Jose, with the weather in the mid-80’s.

As I settled into my new plan, I realized that now that I know I’m staying for a whole year, it was time to unpack the rest of my stuff, like a bit of jewelry. You see, I hadn’t hung all my pictures and mirrors and paintings, and then I remembered I had a table lamp (a cast-off from a friend 15 years ago) that had bitten the dust, and there were just lot’s of piles of little things everywhere.

Long-time readers of the blog may remember The Great Clear Out from a few years ago, in which I hired a friend who is a home/office professional organizer to help me with my “inheritance” of all my families stuff. This is very small in comparison, so I’m calling it the Mini Clear Out – because it is mostly getting rid of dysfunctional items (see Table Lamp) and clearing out clutter. Then I realized I needed a new sofa pillow and a new couch cover too. So much better for not very much $!

This project didn’t take that long – maybe 3 hours total, but I am so happy with the results and feel of my apartment.

I did get in a day at Santa Cruz (about 35 minutes away by car) and totally enjoyed a beautiful walk along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. It is almost as good as a massage in terms of de-stressing.


And wildflowers were blooming close to the coast’s edge:

After eating a bag lunch, I made a 1-mile trip to visit a delightful new-to-me yarn store called The Swift Stitch. I got to chat with the owner, and delighted in my of their yarns. I bought a beautiful Indigofly dyed skein to match a Hedgehog fibers skein I received as a gift (the new yarn on the right – called Poseidon, while the other is named Damp).

In addition there was a line I’ve not tried before called Candy Skein – a 3-ply fingering weight with a beautiful twist:

I’ll definitely visit again – there’s a cute French cafe next door to try.

Today is a transitional day – because tomorrow I preach, lead worship and teach a class, but fortunately, the sermon is pretty much done at 12 noon, and I just need to review my teaching notes for my class.

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A Lot of Fun

It’s summer, and my knitting mojo has waned a bit since I knit my cousin her summer top. I’ve knit a bunch of knitted knockers, but that’s just placeholder knitting.

I’ve not been especially into knitted toys because I haven’t had a lot of children in my life, plus, well, knitted toys are what I make for my cats.

Then I learned that Franklin Habit and WEBS Yarn Store has teamed up to make a kit to knit his cartoon character, Dolores Van Hoofen, a very badly behaved sheep. So much fun!

I pre-ordered the kit, and it arrived on time. It even came with hilarious sun-glasses!

Now, there’s always a risk that when you are the first to knit some new pattern, that you will discover issues in it. Alas, such was the case with this project. I have it on very good authority that the WEBS tech editor dropped a bunch of the directions; and my own experience was that a few of us knitting to the first issued pattern could clearly tell that no one had test-knitted this version of the pattern. This is when it’s nice to have knitting partners: a few of us gathered into the Franklin Habit Ravelry group and helped each other out as far as we could get (which was not all the pieces). Franklin was contacted, and was more than apologetic about the problems (not of his making, imo), and great improvements have been made.

See?

Dolores has proved that she earns her reputation – she plopped herself into Izzie’s favorite chair yesterday morning to sun herself, and Izzie was not at all happy!

The plus of knitting this toy is that there will be outfits. Yes, just like your Barbie, Dolores is having her very own knitted-couture outfits designed by the knitterati. Amazing! Amy Herzog is having the first go with a Rhinebeck-inspired sweater set, complete with a parasol.

Franklin Habit is starting a KAL on August 1 – so head on over to WEBS and pick up a kit, you won’t regret it!

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Ups and Downs with Gauge

The knitting at Casa del Revknits has been proceeding, but with a family member who has been declining in health, and passed away last week, my brain and energy has been other places.  The positive has been a new baby in the family, Luis Cole (pronounced Louis, at least for me), who has been a bright star in a shadowy time.

Along the way, there have been ups and downs with my knitting.

The Sweater

I had found this lovely yarn called Coast that I reviewed here. I decided to make a lacy cardigan that my cousin Allison could wear after she had her baby – and it was a monstrous knit. I had to knit it extra long because of the gauge I was shooting for after washing, and then it was a large overlap. I thought it would never end.

It looked like this after I knit it:

And then I popped into the washer and dryer. And it felted. Felted. FELTED.

It was midget-sized. Apparently the wool and cotton duked it out in the washing, and the wool won. It was devastating.

I pulled and pulled, and yanked and yanked, and it finally got the point of being a small-sized sweater.

I’ve given Allison the sweater with the proviso that she doesn’t ever have to wear it as it came out in an unexpected way.

The one good thing, is that this happened to me and not her. I would have been sad if I had had the yarn work for me, and then she shrank it to midget sized.

Baby Sweater

The other sweater came out closer to gauge. It is a baby sweater for the new baby:

It is a bit wide for the length, and it turns out this baby is longer and thinner (like his dad), so I will keep that in mind for future sweaters.

One more sweater

I’ve completed one more sweater, and this one was a case of the gauge after blocking is what to trust. The garment is arriving at its intended recipient’s house today, so it’s safe to post here. The sweater is Morning Sky by Heidi Kirrmaier. This is a lovely top, knit from the bottom-up, and has just enough going on to keep your interest.

I knit what I thought would be the right size, having made a small modification to add more stitches for the armhole opening that seemed too tight for middle-age-and-up arms. And I spread it out, measured, and had another omg-gauge-sucks moment when I realized it was about 2 inches smaller in the bust than I had intended. Marie, my cousin and intended recipient had mentioned she’s wearing looser garments since she retired last year, so that was pretty important.

I held my breath and went to the swatch, which had come out exactly at intended post-washing gauge, so I put the sweater into the washer on cold, and then lay flat to dry instead of putting it into the dryer. Now, that was simply a choice, because the Hempathy yarn has no animal fibers in it to felt.

The result – everything came out nicely from the wash:

That was convenient! USPS tells me that the package arrived about a 1/2 hour ago, hopefully I’ll hear soon if it fits as I intended.

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