In Progress: Mercury Socks

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Not sure if you can tell from my Instagram, but I've been a little obsessed with knitting socks since my Christmas Eve cast-on. I've been buying all the sock yarn (which is really no different than before the obsession began) and knitting all the things (which is a change of pace).

I've gone from chronic Second Sock Syndrome to finishing an entire pair in a week or less.

My current project are these more than beautiful Mercury Socks, which have entertained me not only because they're socks, but also  because there's enough lace to be fun without also being intimidating.

I'd wanted to knit something more challenging than a plain vanilla sock, and the Mercury Socks have truly answered that call. The pattern is a simple, easily-memorized four-row repeat that's satisfying my wants for lace and sock knitting.

The yarn I'm using is Phydeux Yarn Chaussette in the Calypso colorway. I wasn't sure I liked how it was turning out at first (the yarn is gorgeous, absolutely - but I didn't know if I liked it with the pattern). All's good, though; I'm loving how it's knitting up and I can't wait to finish.

As you can see from the photo, it's a top-down sock pattern, which I don't usually like. I've sucked it up for this one because I just really wanted to knit them. Not looking forward to kitchenering the toes, but I got to work on my skills while making several pussyhats for my friends and I going to our various Women's Marches, so I think I'll be fine.

What else is new? Still loving my new job and I think I'm doing okay. Consultant/agency life is a whole 'nother rat race, so it's taken me this long to get used to it. I love working remotely (ie: with my dog), my clients are fun, I like my colleagues, and I get to work with my favorite marketing automation software every single day. I feel like I'm finally at a place in my career where I can actually enjoy what I'm doing and use what I know.

So life is good in Jenn Land. How about you? What's new?!

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Owlet
Reading: Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir
Watching: Victoria
Listening: (All Along the) Watchtower - Instrumenal - Devlin

Finished: Penelope Shawls

My family and me wearing our Penelope Shawls on Christmas night!

My family and me wearing our Penelope Shawls on Christmas night!

I suppose it's time I rose from the dead and revisited my poor little blog that's been languishing since when - August?

Yeesh.

Those of you who know me well also know that 2016 was a rough year for a variety of reasons I won't get into here. It wasn't easy on me and I even let go of the one thing in this world I love the most: knitting! Yup, that's how bad my 2016 was. It's not like I didn't knit (or crochet) anything at all; I just wasn't passionate about it anymore, which is really out of character for me.

But that's done with now and the black cloud of negativity has been removed from my life for good. I'm back in my groove and am knitting like a fiend. Mostly socks because that's what I want to do, and I figure if I want to do it, I just will. It's been a year since I truly loved something I was working on and threw myself into, so guess what? I'm going to enjoy my selfish projects for awhile.

One of my most recent projects was crocheting five Penelope Shawls as Christmas gifts for my family. This idea spurred from a) becoming obsessed with Caron Cakes and b) knitting in a local whiskey bar with one of my friends who was crocheting a shawl with said cakes (yes, that did happen). I got the sudden urge to crochet something, but I wasn't sure what - other than I wanted it to be a shawl.

After searching Ravelry for Caron Cakes projects, I came across a user who'd made a shawlette version of the Penelope Shawl. I was done. This is what I need to do. I started crocheting one at 11:30PM on a Sunday evening (as you do) and didn't look back. I think I finished it by the next evening and decided I'd be able to whip out at least five before Christmas: one for my family members and one for myself.

The pattern is super simple, though I had to fudge the edging a bit due to the fact I was making a smaller version; it was fine. It made for great Christmas movie-watching as the holiday approached and worked up really fast. Plus, by using the cakes, I barely had to weave in ends. Best of all, each shawl looked great in their already-designed-for-me colors.

I know you've all got massive Caron Cake stashes, so make sure to check out the Penelope Shawl as a possible project. I just crocheted until I had three colors left in my cake, then completed the final few rounds for the edging. There was usually a small amount left, but nothing I ever felt bad about throwing away

PS: There are 8 new Caron Cake colors!!!

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Just Another Vanilla Sock - Christmas Edition
Reading: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
Watching: Westworld

Finished: Kick in the Pants Rainbow Socks

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They're done! My labor of love is done. And even though they took me forever to knit, I'm incredibly happy with the end result, so it was totally worth it.

You can check out the deets by visiting my project page on Ravelry or reading my last post about them. Either way, the basics are:

I was contacted by Knit Picks over on Instagram asking if they could feature my photo on their Facebook page, so make sure to like them and see my 15 minutes of fiber fame :)

In other news, the Olympics have started, which also means the Ravellenic Games are under way! I'm participating this year by knitting a sweater in just over two weeks, and it's looking like it'll be done just in time. Yikes! Stay tuned for progress photos.

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Broken Seed Stitch Socks (which I'm obsessed with, but are temporarily on hold while I do my Ravellenics thing)
Reading: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Watching: The Olympics. Duh!

Review: 2016 July Yarn Crush Unboxing

It's been awhile since I've unboxed fibery goodness for you (and for that, I am truly, madly, deeply sad). I've been working from home three days a week since my company moved our office closer to the city, so I'll be honest: you're lucky if I brush my hair most days.

I mean, it's not a rat's nest and I still shower and like... other important things. I just usually throw my hair back into a ponytail and don't risk the chore that is putting my contacts in.

It's a great look.

Anyway, I was so excited to get back in the groove of filming that I put on a bra and unboxed the latest offering from my favorite subscription box: Yarn Crush.

The Goodies

The Yarn is the new-to-me, sumptuous, hand-dyed Pyxis from Space Cadet Yarns. It's 100% Superwash Merino, meaning it's easy to care for (and a superb choice for the provided patterns). Subscribers received one of three colorways depending on their preferences (of which I have none because I love surprises) and I received the blue-green tonal Eugenia. "Warm" subscribers received Eta Carinae and "cool" subscribers received Medusa Nebula.

The Patterns: This month’s knitting pattern is the Heartfire Shawl by Katrina King, which is a lovely pattern for Pyxis due to the subtle color changes and drape. It's a lacey fabric that appears to work up quickly thanks to some stockinette up top, making it the perfect penultimate project for summer.

Of course, Yarn Crush is great because crocheters aren't forgotten (and believe me when I say as a long-time crocheter, it's easy to feel overlooked in this industry). That's why each box comes with both a knitting and crochet pattern - so those of us who enjoy both crafts get a yet another choice!

The July crochet pattern is Valladolid by Jennifer Hansen. You will know Jennifer as Stitch Diva, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise I was immediately drawn to this shawl. I haven't crocheted much in the past several years due to my knitting obsession, but this may be what I needed to dive back in with pure joy.

The Yummies: This month's bonus gift is an elegant feather or twig shawl pin (I received the twig). It's a really nice treat and I don't even want to wait to wear it on my finished shawl. I can see this on any light fall jacket or bag - it's that pretty.

We also got 20% off any pattern from Threaded Dream Studio, 50% off patterns at stitchdiva.com, and 10% off our purchases at spacecadetyarn.com. There's a good chance I may take advantage of those discounts, especially if I fall in love with this yarn (as it seems like I will).

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of July 2016's box was $50.99, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s $18 in savings!

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we’re spending (look, I said "trying").

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you:

Test Knitting: Atiru Shawl for Aroha Knits

Back in June, Frenchie from Aroha Knits called upon her team of fiber artists to test-knit one of her latest patterns: the Atiru Shawl.

Needing to get my mind off things (things that you may have read about in my last post), I jumped at the opportunity to keep myself busy and volunteered to join the team.

First things first: I didn't finish the project due to everything going on, so I feel like a failure and a letdown; however, I can say the final result (or what I have of one) is gorgeous and a must-have addition to your hand-knit wardrobe.

The yarns I used are:

Pink: HauteKnitYarn, Fingering, Moving Too Fast
Blue: Happy Fuzzy Yarn, Corrie Sock, Sea Glass
Grey: Classic Elite Yarns, Fresco, 5303 Cinder

The prototype/pattern calls for only two colors, but because I only had one skein of the HauteKnitYarn I wanted to use, I needed to substitute with yet another coordinating color. I'm still not sure I'm in love with the grey (and I kind of wish I'd used the cream color I'd been eyeing up), but I've received nice compliments about the color combo on Instagram, so I'm just going with it!

Although it was a test-knit, I didn't come across any problems with the pattern and I found it easy to understand. Frenchie always does a great job of writing patterns clearly. As long as you are paying attention, you'll be fine. And it's easy to get into a groove/memorize the pattern once you reach the shawl's main body.

The Atiru Shawl is now available for purchase on Ravelry, so make sure to head over and add it to your favorites.

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Kick in the Pants Rainbow Socks
Reading: The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley
Watching: Bojack Horseman