Finished Object: Nipote

It took me six months from cast on to last end woven in, and missed its recipient’s birth by a month and a half, but the baby blanket I have knitted for my nephew, lovingly called “Nipote” (both the blanket and the nephew), is finally finished.

I would have loved to give this a nice photo shoot outside, but the last couple of days were rainy and cloudy. Today it’s been sunnier, but the ground is still damp.

Anyways, let me introduce you to my latest finished object, Nipote.

Yes, that’s a router box it’s sitting on.

Here are some of the specifics:

  • Pattern: I didn’t use a pre-designed pattern for this one, but I used this tutorial as a template, and the base consisted of 13 triangles of 8 stitches each. All of the tiers and side and end triangles also have a base number of 8 stitches. The tutorial is free and also has a YouTube video embedded if you’re more of a visual learner or just need a visual refresher on certain steps.
  • Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, in Soft Blue and White; I ended up using maybe a skein and a half in the blue and 2 full skeins and part of a third in the white. (You’ll learn why I used more white in a minute.)
  • Needles: U.S. #7 (4.5 mm) circular needles, 29 inches. (This project is worked flat, but the cable supports the weight of the knitting better than straight needles do. Believe me, I learned that the hard way.)

I cast on for this blanket back in March, when my sister-in-law would have been around 5 months pregnant. The technique I used is called “garterlac”, which is entrelac worked in garter stitch. The primary difference between the two techniques is that while entrelac uses stockinette stitch to give the short row blocks a woven texture, the garterlac uses two different types of garter stitch to achieve sort of a harlequin style appearance. Depending on which side I was picking up stitches from, the blue tiers were done in knit garter (stitches were picked up and knit, and the short rows were worked with knit stitches and ssk — slip, slip, knit — decreases); the white tiers were done in purl garter (stitches picked up and purled, with the short rows being worked with purl stitches and p2tog — purl 2 together — decreases).

Now you may notice that the stitching in the white blocks looks a little looser than in the blue. This is due to my knitting style. I tend to purl looser than I knit, and unfortunately switching to a smaller needle to work the purl rows would have proven too cumbersome, as I would have had to slip all the stitches from the previous tier from one circular needle to another one before I could begin working the next tier. When taking a look at the white tiers compared to the blue ones, I realized the visual difference wasn’t all that jarring. So I just decided to work with the same needle all the way through. The only major issue was that I needed a little more yarn to work the white tiers since the looser gauge used up more yarn. I ended up getting two skeins in the blue and three skeins in the white.

As of this post, I have not yet met Nipote. He’s almost two months old (he’ll reach that mark in a little over a week). My sister-in-law has been especially cautious about COVID possibly getting into their home, and hasn’t really let anyone visit. Also, with any newborn there’s usually some chaos going on as everybody starts to settle into a new routine. At least this is the last baby they plan on having, so the chaos is going on one last time. I’m hoping once my dad and I are fully vaccinated (which should be by the second week of October), they’ll finally let us come over and meet him. Anyway, at least this blanket is finally finished and ready to give to the recipient and his parents when we finally do get to meet him!

Before I go, I’ve got a couple of quick updates of what is currently on my needles.

I’ve been working on the Study Hall shawl by Sarah Schira, which is available for free on Knitty. The original pattern calls for some fancier yarn on size 6 and 7 needles, but I’m using Red Heart Ombré (in True Blue, which is a gradient yarn) and Red Heart Super Saver (in Black) and size 9 and 10 needles. I’ve gotten most of the second section done, but I’m excited to get to the slip stitch section. Should be nice and cozy when it’s done.

I’ve also resumed work on my Neapolitan blanket after it was in hibernation for the better part of a year. I’m currently working on a round of brown rectangles, which will then be followed by a round of white rectangles, and then I’m thinking of adding the final large corner squares and finishing with a narrow brown border.

What have you all been up to? I’d love to hear about your latest projects (be it yarny, or written, or even just some sort of renovation project). In the meantime, I’m off to get ready to cook a slow cooker stroganoff. I’ve made it before, it’s delicious.

An Announcement

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, this announcement does not involve me personally, but it involves my family.

I will be becoming an aunt for the third time. In fact, it will be happening in the next few weeks.

And this time, I’m gaining a nephew! That’s right, my brother and sister-in-law are having a boy. Which means I have to come up with a new code name!

Luckily, I already have a good code name for the little guy, thanks to Assassin’s Creed II. I’m going to refer to this one as “Nipote” (pronounced “nee-PO-tay”), which is Italian for “nephew” and is also what Ezio’s uncle Mario referred to him as in the game rather than by his name. Also, since one of his sisters has an Italian code name (my younger niece, who I usually call “The Bambina” on here), going with one for my nephew makes sense.

So, why did I wait so long to share the news with you? The simple answer is: my sister-in-law (the one carrying this baby) has not posted about her pregnancy this time around. Her pregnancies have caused her to become kind of withdrawn every single time. Also, in between her pregnancy with The Bambina and this one with Nipote, she suffered a miscarriage. My dad and I didn’t find out about the miscarriage until right around the time we found out she was pregnant, which was late last year. She suspected she was pregnant back in October, but they (she and my brother) didn’t confirm the news with my dad and I until around Christmas of last year. My brother also confirmed with my dad and me a few weeks ago that this pregnancy will be their last. I haven’t asked my sister-in-law why she hasn’t posted anything about her current pregnancy, as it’s her choice and she’s not obligated to justify anything to me.

(And if you’ve been paying attention to my past posts, this means that yes, she contracted COVID while she was pregnant. Thankfully she has since recovered, and the baby will likely be born with COVID antibodies in his immune system.)

Nipote is due to be born later this month. I actually have two old friends/classmates who have also been pregnant during this time, and one of them is about 2 weeks ahead of my sister-in-law in her pregnancy (the other one gave birth to a baby boy just a few days ago). Based on that, I suspect my sister-in-law is due sometime in late July, which opens up the possibility that he could be born on my mom’s birthday (July 17th, which would be an appropriate tribute to her, I think) or my dad’s (which is July 21st; my parents’ birthdays were four days apart, but my mom was 7 years older).

Before this post, I had actually only revealed this news to a handful of people outside the family: The Lady Bryan (aka my bestie IRL), our mutual friend/my closest guy friend, the old friend of mine who is due two weeks before my sister-in-law, and a handful of people on Ravelry and Instagram. As with my nieces, I will not be publicly revealing my nephew’s name on here. But I will still be referring to him as “Nipote” on here even after he’s born.

I actually do have a project in the works for the little guy, although I don’t know if it will be done in time for his birth, but it’s an adorable blue and white garterlac blanket (that can also be big enough to become a play mat when he starts crawling) that I am fittingly calling “Nipote”. As of this post, it’s a little over halfway through the length I’m going for (enough to make roughly a large square). I won’t be posting pictures of it right now, but I’ll probably write up a dedicated post for this blanket once it’s finished. I will say, the white tiers have been harder for me to knit in one piece because it’s done in purl garter stitch (to give it a right side and a wrong side), and I tend to purl looser than I knit. So these tiers end up looking slightly bigger and looser gauge than the blue tiers (which are done in knit garter) because I’m too lazy to move all the stitches to a smaller needle for the whole tier. But the difference isn’t so jarring that it bothers me visually, so at least I’m at peace with that.

I hope to be able to let you know soon when my nephew has arrived. Here’s to hoping mother and baby do well when the time comes! I can’t wait to meet him.

People on Tinder Have Had Better Luck

So, the last couple of times I’ve gone to the store, I’ve ended up getting cakes of Lion Brand Mandala in “Spirit”, which is a gorgeous blue and gray colorway that really goes well with my eyes (which are…blue and maybe have a hint of gray).

What I didn’t realize is that I would start and frog this yarn (which was begging to be made into a shawl) somewhere around fifteen times. I thought I’d make the Solitude shawl (a crochet shawl pattern I found on Ravelry), but not only was the shawl not going to be the size of my liking, some of the stitch pattern also kept failing to line up. I got frustrated and by the time I got to the end of the cake, I decided I wanted to try and knit a shawl out of it, so I cast on with the other end…and quickly grew bored. So I set that yarn down. I still have not frogged either one of these yet.

WIPs that will eventually be turned into frogs.

So I started with the other cake. I basically started trying all sorts of knitting and crochet patterns to see which one would stick. This sort of “speed dating” went so badly that honestly…people looking for one-night stands on Tinder have had better luck. (Note: I have never used Tinder or any other kind of online dating service; I have this recurring concern that I’m gonna end up being catfished, because when it comes to love and relationships my luck is ridiculously bad.)

I was able to start a pattern a few days ago that has stuck so far…once the pattern is set up, it’s only a five row repeat that produces a surprisingly interesting texture and look combined with the self-striping. I did cut the yarn once so far, since it was kind of a jarring color switch from blue to the first gray in the colorway. Other than that, it’s looking pretty nice.

I’m about halfway through this cake; once I finish the first cake, I will probably unravel the other projects and join that yarn. Hopefully, if this sticks, this shawl will be a nice size when it’s done.

At least I have better luck with shawls than I’ve ever had with men. Shawls don’t ignore me or think I’m just “cute”.

Yellow…Lots and Lots of Yellow.

So, I finished a thing. It’s mostly yellow. It’s “Don’t Huffle the Puff”.

And I’ve started another thing. It’s going to be a cabled bag. I started it with a provisional cast-on using some old dishcloth cotton in the stash and a crochet hook.

Once I cast on my stitches (I cast on 81 with my provisional cast-on, then decreased by one stitch to 80 a few rows into my base), I started knitting the base of my bag in the main yarn.

Once I got the base to the size I wanted it, I started to pick up and knit the stitches around it, placing markers to mark each corner of the bag.

I should mention that for the base I used two separate needles because I purl looser than I knit, so I used a size 8 needle to work the knit rows and a size 7 needle to work the purl rows.

These were part of a set of Woolworth bamboo needles given to me by The Lady Bryan and her mother before they moved to Georgia. The needles only had diameter measurements in millimeters on them, so I used a needle gauge to approximate their U.S. sizes and then I wrote the U.S. needle size equivalent on the top of the needle ends.
My corner stitch markers (the white one marks the beginning/end of the round) and the band of my digital row counter.

I’m only a couple of repeats into this one, but I’m hoping this bag will stick as a project. Here’s a sneak peek.

The actual color is closer to the pictures above this one, the lighting kind of lightened the vibrancy of the yellow here. I’m normally not a huge fan of yellow, but I felt the color would pair nicely with the honeycomb cable you’re starting to see here.

Will this project stick with me? Watch this space.

Death Stuff and Life Stuff

It’s been sad times in the knitting and crochet community lately. We’ve lost two major designers to cancer in the past month, and a little more closely to me a couple of acquaintances I had made on Ravelry also died from cancer. I’d like to talk a bit about some of them.

You may remember that I mentioned Cat Bordhi in my post “Searching for Knitting Mojo” back in August. Sadly, she died on September 19th, a month or so after she had revealed the news of her terminal cancer to the world. Her loss was such an impact on the community that The New York Times published an obituary about her. I’m not sure if there’s a paywall involved, but I will link to it, which you can check out here. I am still working on the Rio Calina cowl whose pattern she posted about a month before her death, but I’ve only managed about a foot or so of it (it’s knit flat).

Another designer, Annie Modesitt, lost her own battle with cancer on October 1st. While I was not as familiar with her work as others may have been, her passing has been recognized on Ravelry. Looking at her pattern collection on Ravelry, she was a master with both the needles and the crochet hook and designed patterns that were eye-catching and things of beauty. Her blog can be found here.

The other two people I’m going to talk about weren’t people I had ever met in person, but were part of a Ravelry group that was one of the first ones I’d joined when I signed up for Ravelry three and a half years ago after slowly coming out of a self-imposed sabbatical from computers and technology. This group is called “Atheist and Agnostic Crafters” (or “A&AC” for short). As I’ve mentioned in the past, I live near the very southern edge of the “Bible Belt”. While people here in Central Florida aren’t as steeped into religious fundamentalism as they are in the rest of the South, telling people you outright don’t believe in God will probably still get you either some side-eye or a “bless your heart”. It’s not necessarily something that’s comfortable discussing with family. So it felt good to have a place to go to online where I could meet likeminded people and not feel shame for it. Some users I’ve been a little closer with than others. Last month, two of our group died just a few days apart. One of them was one of the few men in our group, who was married to another Raveler (who was also in our group, but left…not due to a change in religious beliefs, but due to some posting drama that I’d rather not get into; but she’s always welcome back in my book if she ever wants to), and the other was a young-ish lady in her 40s. Her Ravatar (slang for “Ravelry avatar”) was a pair of cats snuggling, and I always kept misreading her username because I kept mistaking a lowercase L for an uppercase I. I wasn’t incredibly interactive with either of them, although I did enjoy discussing video games with the man I’ve mentioned. We were both Assassin’s Creed fans and it was always great to discuss the games with him. We as a group were greatly saddened to hear of their deaths, and if you’re wondering how an atheist approaches the subject of death, here it is: since we don’t believe in an afterlife, we see death as closure, the end of our one life. We grieve for the loss of a person, surely, but we also recognize that if the person was suffering in their final days, that they are now at peace and their suffering is over. We don’t think of them as being in a “better place”, but we remember the impact they had on our lives. Even if they touched the hearts of just a few people, they will never be forgotten for as long as those people who loved and remembered them live. I approached my mom’s death in the same way. For most of the rest of my family, the thought of her “being with Jesus” comforted them. For me, knowing she was no longer suffering comforted me. I raise a glass to those we’ve lost.

I saw this on Annie Modesitt’s blog, posted during the last months of her life as she was battling cancer. I thought it was a nice perspective on how she saw the eventuality of death.

None of us will beat death, it will get us all in the end. I’ve become much more at peace with that truth over the last few years. I’ve lost so many folks who are close to me, maybe that’s why I have such a strong desire to see a grandchild. Or maybe it’s just that I love babies. At any rate, I feel that as fine as my kids are, there are rough edges to be smoothed, more lessons to be taught.

Annie Modesitt, “Anti Climax”, Mode Knit

Steering away from the topic of death, here is some life stuff.

I ended up getting three more ebooks since my last book update:

  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: A fellow bookstagrammer recommended I read this one first whenever I decide to take a dive into Murakami. (I also want to eventually get a copy of his novel 1Q84.)
  • Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut: Since reading Slaughterhouse-Five last year, I have been on a mission to find and read as much Vonnegut as I possibly can.
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: Not to be confused with The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, this book is considered a landmark work in African-American literature.

I haven’t voted yet in this year’s election, but I plan to. Early voting starts in about a week here, but I may end up going with my dad to vote on Election Day morning (which is when he usually goes to the polls).

Now, before you get worried about me catching the COVID while waiting to vote, hear me out:

  1. We have masks. I will be masking up, no matter what. In fact, my hometown requires them by city ordinance. I just hope my dad will go along with it, at least for going to the polls.
  2. Our polling place has been changed from a small church lobby to a much more open school gymnasium. Hopefully this will give us a chance to make more space in line, too.

We in all likelihood will vote for different candidates, and that’s okay (he jokes that we’ll “cancel each other out”, which is probably why we also don’t do lawn signs). I’m thinking of asking if we can go to the bookstore after we go to vote. After all the shenanigans and the bombardment of ads and the name-calling and the “my guy is gonna whip your guy’s ass because your guy means the end of America as we know it”…I’m gonna need something to look forward to. I still have some spending money. I’ve been wanting to go back to this bookstore for a while, but I just couldn’t figure out when the opportunity would pop up.

The diet is going okay at the moment; I can’t tell you if I’ve lost any weight because I’ve decided not to weigh myself at this time. I do have some pants and shorts in smaller sizes than what I wear now. If I find myself fitting into them, then I’ll know that I’ve lost weight. Then maybe I’ll reevaluate the whole weighing myself thing.

Most of it is portion control, which has been going okay. We do allow ourselves to have one “cheat meal” a week (although I’m not craving a cheeseburger every week, thank goodness), but for the most part I’ve been trying to stick to the meal plan, and when I do feel like I still need something to eat, we’ve gotten some extra snacks (fruit, some cottage cheese, whole grain crackers) or I eat a salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing (less fatty than the commercial stuff) to try and stave off the feeling of not feeling full. I’ve also usually had a protein shake with my snacks for the day (I eat a snack in between main meals). For dinner tonight (which I’ll also put together for my dad when he gets home from work in the morning), I’m trying to recreate one of the dinners we had, which was chicken breast with brown rice, peas, and tomatoes. My recreation ended up missing tomato sauce, but otherwise I think it might work. With portion control in mind, I think I’m gonna use a smaller plate.

I think I’m almost finished with my “Don’t Huffle the Puff” shawl, but I’m going to save that for another post. While it was kind of sad reasons why I started this post, I’m glad to have gotten a chance to give you all a bit of an update. I think I’m gonna go and put together my dinner right now, and then after I eat it’s back to work on the shawl while I watch Roman Empire on Netflix.

In Search of Knitting Mojo

I have to admit something: one side effect of mourning the death of my mom was that I kind of lost the desire to knit for a while. It wasn’t really her death itself that caused it, but it just seemed like for the last couple of months, I just felt no desire to pick up my needles or hooks. I tried a handful of projects, but nothing stuck. I don’t think it was depression, more like fatigue. Like, there was a lot of feelings I had to sort through before I could start to feel some sort of joy again. And my body just felt tired after all those years of caring for her. I mean, I even sacrificed sleep and my own self-care to make sure she was taken care of.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this month that I started to wade back into trying to knit again. Strangely, it took a designer admitting to the world that she is dying to motivate me to pick up my needles and cast on.

If any of you are familiar with the designer Cat Bordhi, you may know that earlier this month she posted a letter on her website in which she revealed that she has terminal cancer. You can read the letter here, and the letter also provides an email address where readers can send her messages as well as a link to an organization that people can donate to on her behalf if they wish. The letter itself is worth a read. The letter posted on her website also has a link to a free downloadable pattern for a cowl pattern she designed but had not yet published. It’s called the Rio Calina Cowl. It’s basically knit flat in 2×2 rib (k2, p2) and you can choose when, where, and in what direction to place cables. I only have a foot or so of this cowl knit so far (the pattern calls for around 34 inches before seaming), but I love how it’s looking so far.

My take on Cat Bordhi’s Rio Calina Cowl in progress.

I also got some more work done on my current shawl project, Don’t Huffle the Puff!. I may be getting to the point where I’m ready to add another black stripe, but I’m still currently on the yellow.

The “Don’t Huffle the Puff!” shawl is still currently in progress.

My Neapolitan blanket is currently in progress as well, but I will need to get some more white yarn for it, so it is on a bit of a hiatus right now. Hopefully with me finally being able to go shopping on a more regular basis, that will be sooner rather than later. I think I have enough pink yarn to complete that part of the project, not so sure on the brown portion.

The phone I had been using (an iPhone 5s, which was originally my dad’s before he decided to upgrade) basically decided to bite the dust. Basically, whenever it was off whatever was charging it, the phone would overheat and crash whenever I’d try to use an app…any app. It was a 6 or 7-year-old phone, so it definitely had a long life, but much like the Toshiba Android tablet I used to use, the battery and processor in this iPhone were probably seeing their last days. Once my dad realized what was going on with it, he decided to order me a new phone, and it was delivered the next day. It’s an iPhone SE, which is a budget-model iPhone that’s based off of the iPhone 8 (I don’t really need a lot of bells and whistles when it comes to a phone), but it’s got the same chip and guts as my dad’s iPhone 11 (actually his is an iPhone 11 Pro Max). And while he didn’t ask me which color I wanted, I think he read my mind and got me the (PRODUCT)RED model (proceeds from the sales of this model are donated to charities dedicated to fighting and eliminating HIV/AIDS in Africa). He’s not really the kind to donate to a charity unless he really believes in the cause it’s supporting (he’s donated to a children’s camp that was co-founded by Paul Newman that provides children with serious illnesses a fun and medically-sound place for them and their families to have fun; he’s also made donations to the Toys for Tots initiative, which is run by the Marine Reserves and they collect toys and other popular items to give to kids for Christmas that they might not otherwise get during the holidays because their families are poor or facing financial struggles). I also do love the color red, but I’m glad that some of that money is going towards efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, which is still a problem in parts of Africa.

This phone holds its charge well, and it barely drained any battery power while I was at the store this past weekend, and that included me texting and sending a picture to my dad (he texted me that he needed me to get some clear packing tape while I was there, so I took and sent him a picture of the tape to see if that particular tape would work). We still need to get a case for it, but luckily there is a version of the case my dad uses for his phone that will fit the iPhone SE. He hasn’t ordered it yet, but he told me he’d do so at some point.

While I was at the store, I also decided to treat myself to an Apple gift card, which I pretty much only use to get ebooks. So far, I’ve bought three with this one, two of them on sale:

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (she’s from Hawaii, and is of Japanese, Korean, and Native Hawaiian descent)
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (probably one of the most popular authors to come out of Japan; side note, I keep wanting to sing this book’s title to the tune of “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors)
  • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (this one is nonfiction, exploring the history of racist ideas throughout American history and how those ideas have played a role in the discrimination of African Americans and people of color)

I’ve also been reading a few other books, although the primary one is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (about a Black teenage girl who sees her childhood friend killed by a white police officer and how she responds to the aftermath of it all). I also finished the first sequel novel to The Tribe (called A New World) and I’m a few chapters into the second sequel novel, A New Dawn.

I’m glad I’m finally starting to get some mojo back into my life. Now, this isn’t Austin Powers-type mojo (because sexuality and me are basically a paradox), but more of the positive energy-type mojo that people within the LSG group on Ravelry (LSG stands for “Lazy, Stupid, and Godless” and is one of the largest and most irreverent groups on Ravelry…my kind of people) send each other in times of sorrow and need. It’s sort of a “thoughts and prayers” for people who don’t necessarily believe in or use prayer. (Hey, if you believe in the power of prayer, more power to you. For me, encouragement and the channeling of positive energy from others works just as well.) Now that life has kind of settled down for us, maybe my sense of creativity is finally coming back. I hope I can showcase more of my knitting soon.

Before I post, I’m going to leave the song I referenced while talking about Kafka on the Shore, “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors. Don’t you want to sing that book’s title to the tune of that song, too?

Easing My Way In

Well, it’s been a little while since my last post…again. I promise you, I have not dropped off the face of the earth, and I have been busy.

Neapolitan is coming along fine, I’m already onto the next round of brown rectangles. I also started a crocheted shawl, a pattern called the Shell Wave Shawl by a Dutch designer named Wilma Westenberg who has quite the following on Instagram. Her patterns (including the one I’ve linked to) are free through her website, but ad-free PDF versions are also available for purchase through her Ravelry store if you’d like to support her. (I would if I was in the position to be able to, but since I can’t personally, I figured I’d spread the word to others who can if they’d like.) This particular project uses Lion Brand Mandala Baby (a very light worsted/DK self-striping acrylic, almost sport weight) and a US size J hook (but you could use a heavier yarn with a hook a couple of sizes larger than recommended to produce a nice drape). I don’t know what it is about crocheting shawls in particular, but it does just enough to satisfy my crocheting urge, even though I prefer to knit everything else. It’s coming along well (with maybe just a repeat or two left), and I hope to be able to share pictures of the finished shawl soon!

The biggest change lately is that I’ve finally joined the world of smartphones. (For those not in the know, I’ve been writing my blog through tablets, first with an ancient third-hand Toshiba with a ridiculously outdated Android operating system, and then when the battery on that one finally crapped out, my dad ended up getting me an iPad to replace it, which I still have and use. I love it and have had almost no problems with it, other than the occasional app crash. I draft and publish my posts using the WordPress app.) The phone itself is a hand-me-down, an iPhone 5 that used to be my dad’s (he decided to upgrade to the newest model available, an iPhone 11 Max Pro…and it is huuuuuuuuuugggggggggggeeeeeeeeee). Technically, my iPhone is obsolete when it comes to what kind of operating system it will run (it will not be able to upgrade past iOS 12, with the exception of security patches and stuff like that), but it is functional and will make and receive calls, send and receive texts, and run apps compatible with anything higher than iOS 10.

Speaking of apps, the reason why he decided to let me have the phone in the first place: a little app called Uber. My mom’s condition makes it very tricky for her to want to get into the Jeep, and sometimes she gets overstimulated from getting dressed or things like that, and it takes time for us to all get into the Jeep, time that we may not necessarily have. I also don’t get much of any opportunities to go out and just get away from the situation at home for a little while other than getting groceries. So, my dad decided to set me up with an Uber account (in my name but billed to my dad) so that I can get opportunities to leave the house without having to worry about my mom’s mood or state of mind getting in the way of me being able to go (as long as my dad is there with her). I’ve so far only used it to go grocery shopping, but I’m thinking of getting groceries again a little later this week (on one of my dad’s days off) and then the next day going to the local library to get a new card and check out their book sale (which this particular one holds every three months or so). My county’s library system allows patrons to check out books electronically (hence why I’m looking to get a new card), and I’m hoping to be able to try that out with some nonfiction books that I’ve been interested in reading. I can always take a break from whatever ebooks I own that I’m reading so I can read an ebook I’ve checked out from the library.

I was a little nervous about taking an Uber for the first time, as I hadn’t ridden in anything resembling a taxi since I was a child and my grandmother (who didn’t drive, surprise surprise) and I needed to get home from a grocery store. So, she called a cab and we rode home in that. She died 15 years ago, but she probably would have loved Uber if she were around to see it. The drivers there and back were both very nice, and the driver back was very accommodating about me getting my groceries into the trunk (there’s a field in the app where you can provide any extra information that you need to let the driver know about the trip if needed), which my dad and I were able to unload when I got home. The cars rode smoothly, and I was able to tip the drivers pretty easily. I’m easing my way in for now, but I’m happy that there are opportunities opening up for me. Maybe not necessarily shopping, but knowing I could go to a park or somewhere I could just walk around for a while to clear my mind and return home feeling a bit more refreshed gives me a good feeling. (I also have a friend who lives in the general area who also takes Ubers when he can afford it. He’s already invited me to join him for lunch when the opportunity arises. Before you jump to any conclusions, this guy is squarely in the Friend Zone.) I know I should be more independent at my age, but given the circumstances I’m glad things are opening up a bit.

With the phone also came the opportunity to finally join Twitter. I am now on Twitter as @snwlssknttr (that’s “snowlessknitter” disemvoweled) and I have a handful of tweets on there already. I’ll be updating the page on here where my other public social media handles are listed. Feel free to give me a follow on there if you like. I have already tweeted about the weather, football, Charlie Brown, and Keanu Reeves, and I have no clue what the Twitter world holds in store for me. I have a lot of interest in sharing my opinions, but no desire to start or join in flame wars. I like to think of myself as a preferably drama-free poster/commenter.

Finally, on the books front, I am still currently reading Children of Blood and Bone as my physical read (over 100 pages in, although some days I haven’t had the energy to read) and The Color Purple as my ebook read. Great thing about having a smartphone (especially an iPhone): since both of my devices are on the same ID, I can switch back and forth between devices when I’m reading in the Apple Books app. This is especially useful if I have to…um…use the 🚽. (Come on…just about everybody reads on the toilet! It’s not exclusive to men only!) The phone is not quite as big as a tablet and I can just set it off to the side when needed. The tablet needed extra steps. I also got a copy of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (which is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale) when I went to the grocery store, and I plan on reading both of those back to back once I finish Children of Blood and Bone. (The sequel to that one, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is supposed to come out in December, if I remember correctly.) Children of Blood and Bone has been a fun read, though, when I’ve had the energy to do it.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. We’ll see if my venture into Uber takes me anywhere interesting.

WIP: Neapolitan

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any knitting updates on here, but I’ve been keeping busy in spite of the radio silence I’ve been dealing with for the last couple of months.

So, as you may remember, I started a blanket that I’m calling “Neapolitan”, after its color scheme resembling Neapolitan ice cream. This weekend I finished the corner squares for the second round of this blanket. The design is based off of a blanket I made previously out of different shades of blue yarn. There were eight rounds with the corners filled in with small squares until the last two rounds, whose corners were filled in with large squares.

So, with that in mind, here is Neapolitan after two rounds. I’ll be starting the next round of white rectangles soon.

The color is slightly off: those dark rectangles are actually a dark chocolate brown, not black. I haven’t decided whether or not I’d like to work a border around it as well.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post some more updates on this project as they happen.

100 Posts: A Milestone, a Heat Wave, and a Finished Object

Not long after I published my most recent post, celebrating my 100th follow on this blog, I looked at my stats on my WordPress app and realized I had published 99 posts to date. Knowing that my 100th post was just around the corner, I knew I had to get going on the final stages of a project that has been in the works since late last year, so I’d have something to show off in my milestone 100th post.

Before I get to that, though, here’s what’s been going on lately around here.

The big story as of late around here has been the weather. While the central portion of the United States has been hounded by all sorts of storms and deadly tornadoes 🌪 (due to a collision of cold air from the northwest and warm air from the southeast, which has made the Plains and Midwest states a hotbed for severe weather in recent weeks), the Southeast (including Florida) has been bombarded by heat. And not the humid kind, either. (That usually comes in during the summer.) We have been bombarded by dry heat. It’s the kind of dry heat that blasts you in the face and keeps you wanting air conditioning for the entire day. We’ve had highs in the mid and upper 90s Fahrenheit for well over a week! Our grass has started to turn brown from the lack of rain, and the temperatures have been so hot and dry that in recent days it’s stayed in the 90s right until sunset 🌅. The pavement keeps its warmth well after sundown, and the heat has certainly sent my sweat glands into overdrive! Thank goodness our AC is currently functioning! We had an issue with a hum yesterday in the inside portion of our unit, which Dad checked out yesterday, but the hum disappeared after the unit was shut off briefly. He also cleaned off the coils in the outside part of the unit when he got home this morning in order to improve the cold air flow into the house. Our house isn’t ice cold (that would add extra to our energy bill), but it’s definitely much cooler inside than it is outside. Unfortunately, we don’t see any relief coming any time soon, rain chances are expected to be 30% or lower into next week.

One upside to all this heat: the sun has made for wonderful lighting conditions when it comes to showing off my finished projects! You saw that with my LoveWave shawl earlier this month, and now I have a new finished object…and it’s a major one.

I’ve finished the Bambina Baby Blanket! 🥳🎉🎀🧸👶🏻

It took me seven months to finish, and I missed my deadline by nearly three months, but I finally finished it! I have yet to meet The Bambina in person, but I’m glad that when I finally do (hopefully sooner rather than later), I will have a finished object to present to her parents!

Let me introduce you to The Bambina’s finished blanket.

Pattern: My own personal pattern, based on a 25-stitch small mitered square / Border uses elements of the Ten Stitch Blanket by Frankie Brown (pattern, which will be linked to, is available as a free download from Ravelry), adapted to work across 6 stitches to form the border.

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Perfect Pink, Baby Pink, and Soft White. It took about a skein and a half of each of the pinks and less than a skein of the white.

Needles: US #6 (4.25 mm) needles. I started with straight needles, but switched to circular partway through to handle the weight of the blanket and also to speed things up.

I used my dad’s trailer to hold and pose the blanket in these pictures, and the pictures were taken around 7:00-7:30 pm, about an hour before sunset this time of year. Though the bed of it isn’t completely flat, it does allow me to spread out what I am trying to set up on it for pictures.

I plan on presenting this blanket to my brother and sister-in-law the next time we see them, which I hope is sooner rather than later. My oldest niece, R., will be turning 3 years old a week from today, on June 6th, while The Bambina will mark 3 months since her birth in just a few days, on June 1st. It will still be a few more months before The Bambina gets to the crawling stage, but I think this blanket should make for a nice crawling mat when the time comes. (This is especially since their house doesn’t have carpet; they opted for hardwood floors instead for most of the house.) I have a feeling they’re going to love it.

Thank you so much for sticking with me for these first 100 posts. It hasn’t been a quick journey to 100 (posts or followers), but I’ve gotten here, one post at a time. You’ve been with me through my very beginnings, my attempts to produce meaningful writing, my experiences and experiments in trying to grow as a blogger/writer, seeing my family expand to include a whole new cast of characters that I could have never imagined being in my life even five or six years ago, my various works of art that just happen to be made of yarn instead of paint and canvas, and my return to being a habitual reader. I hope the posts I make as I continue with this blog are interesting, engaging, and inspire you all, whatever it is that they spark.

Here’s to the future…whatever it may bring!

Won’t You Take Me to Tinkertown?

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram Stories lately, you’ll be familiar with what I’m about to share. If not, strap on your seatbelts and come along for the ride!

I’ve been working on my Wavedeck shawl (also known by its project name, “LoveWave”). You may remember in my last post, “Draggin’ the Line”, I wrote that I hope it “…doesn’t hit another snag.” Well, guess what?

It’s hit (at least) two snags.

Snag the First:

I’ve been trying to work Row 11 in Tier 3 for the last couple of days. Well, when I attempted to finish the row, I noticed that my stitch count was off and I wasn’t able to complete the chart row. I then remembered at one point I had knit three together because I had found an extra stitch where there wasn’t supposed to be one. So I tinked back to where I had knit the three stitches together and took a look.

One look at both the front and back of those stitches gave me a hunch: I may have slipped a stitch on the wrong side row instead of purling it and then purled the next stitch, thus creating a yarn over when I didn’t need one. So I decided to surround the offending stitches with some stitch markers and then tink all the way back to the same point in the previous row. I took one look and my suspicions were confirmed. Easy fix, just tink back to just before the slipped stitch, purl that stitch, and continue purling to my edge stitches, which are in knit garter stitch.

I then work my way back to where the offending stitches were on the wrong side (which I kept marked), and this is what I saw:

And this is what I was able to do:

So far, so good, right?

Wrong!

Snag the Second:

I’m merrily working along trying to finish this damn Tier 3, Row 11, and then just a little ways past the first troublemaker, I encounter this baby:

And I notice that something in this section is throwing off my groups of ssk, yo (slip slip knit, yarn over) on this end of the repeat. I decide to mark this group of offending stitches to take a closer look at what may be throwing off my lace here.

I notice that I may have made an error in the previous right side row, specifically placing a knit 1 in the wrong place, because looking at the chart, I have a knit 1 below a ssk instead of a yarn over, or something like that.

I think it’s just a couple of stitches to the left of that stitch marker where I may have screwed up.

So, it looks like I’m back on the train to Tinkertown, because now I have to tink back not only the rest of this right side row, but now the entire wrong side row that I had just fixed plus the previous right side row up to where I believe I made my mistake, then examine the chart on that row and if my suspicions turn out to be correct, then fix that row. (Yes, I know the Yarn Harlot did a whole post on how to fix a small section of lace without tinking, but I lack the labels, a spare circular, and the proper double pointed needles that would work best in this situation. And I’m using two different sized needles, too, which adds another layer to the Cake of Complication. As much as it sucks that I have to do it, tinking is my best and only real option here.)

And this is how far I’ve gotten. As of this post, I have successfully tinked back to the end of Row 10 (the wrong side row), and am preparing to tink that row back to the end of Row 10, which will then be tinked back to the suspecting section, and I will rework that section to see if my hunch is indeed correct.

And here is the song that inspired my post title, “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.