Category Archives: westknits

She’s aliiiiive- no, really (aka blergh part 3)

Last time I dropped by here to chat, it was just a few days after my fun and exciting emergency gallbladder removal.

August was a hell of a month.

The leaking roof, the gallbladder- those you know about. But we had a few family issues that I’m not going to share here- you’ll have to trust me when I say that they were/are super sucky. While I was still working on physically recovering, our microwave decided to die (or rather, to only work on the popcorn setting, and also, to come on all by itself. Freaky!) And then, after I went back to work, my car battery died. Thank goodness the awesome facilities staff were able to give me a jumpstart so I could get to the shop and get a new one installed… That day, when I finally made it back home and to my bed, our satellite TV was out.

Speaking of going back to work, I didn’t pull that off very well. At one week post-op, I went in for 4 hours. And woke up in agony the next day. I stupidly went back anyway, and made myself worse.  Cue a 3 day stint in bed, the only pro being that I watched the final 2 seasons of True Blood in an epic binge. At least by this point I was able to knit again.

Speaking of knitting… this illness and knitting didn’t mix at first. Post 1st ER, pre 2nd ER/surgery, I tried to work on my Drogon socks. (Pattern from April Cookie A Sock Club, using my own yarn purchased many years ago.)

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I had one sock done, and was ready for the heel flap on the second. I diligently plowed thru the heel flap, perhaps while on Percocet. And the next day I realized I had counted my stitches incorrectly and had to rip the whole thing back. I was so frustrated, and worried about screwing up again, that I put it down. Apparently knitting on narcotics is way worse than knitting drunk, at least for me.

Then came the surgery, and the pain. Aside from the fact that for the first week, I was on some potent pain pills and was afraid to risk another heel debacle, it also hurt to hold my arms where I normally would when knitting. D’oh. I plowed through my entire Kindle backlog, averaging a book a day. Finally I felt like I could handle knitting again, but I was afraid to go back to the sock until I was significantly better. So I dug through my Ravelry cue and stash pages until I found a super simple project that I could make with yarn that I had on hand- and even better, yarn that didn’t need to be wound. I cast on the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West on 8/18, and finished it on 8/24. (The pattern repeat is literally 2 rows until you get to the final border…) You don’t get any pics yet as I’m not feeling up to being in them, or letting you see me…

After I finished the shawl, I felt brave enough to go back to my socks. And now they’re done. 2nd time was a charm on that heel…

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The left and right socks are mirrored. The pattern is meant to evoke the scales of Drogon, the most fearsome of the dragons from Game of Thrones. I’d had this Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Korpii color way sitting around for literally years- and it worked perfectly in this pattern. Because the yarn is a bit thicker, and the yardage a bit shorter, I went down a size from normal for me. I also eliminated one pattern repeat… They fit perfectly and I finished with just a bit of yarn to spare.

So it’s a new month. I’m really hopeful that September will be kinder to me and my family. My recovery is back on track. I’m not sure if for some reason I’m having a rougher time than is normal, or if I underestimated the impacts of surgery, even if it was laparoscopic. Regardless, I am now taking it verrrrry easy. I am back at work. On try #2, I went back 3 hours on monday, 4 on tuesday, etc. Today I basically made it an entire work day! My pain is overall way more manageable, and in a week I’m allowed back in hot tubs. If only we owned a hot tub… My car is fine now that it has a shiny new battery, and we got a new microwave on sale over the weekend (bless the internet- we shopped and bought it online, with store pickup, done by my husband, and I didn’t even have to get out of bed.) The contractors should be starting the repair work next week- they would have started this week but I couldn’t handle it while still feeling lousy. They say it’s a one week job, so I’m thinking 2?

I’ve missed you all terribly. While I was feeling lousy, I didn’t even look at my bloglines feed. I’m hoping to start making the rounds and visiting you all again very soon.

Thank you again for all the kind comments and well wishes. They were a comfort when it felt like everything that could go wrong, was…


Filed under Knitting, Shawls, westknits

Sunday Stash, Wherein I Too Succumb to Cotton & Steel Mania (with bonus yarn)

I’m not certain I have ever seen a fabric launch as widely covered by the quilt blog world as Cotton & Steel. I admit, I quite like the line, but goodness, it’s crazy out there.

And yet.

I wanted some for myself (especially the basics/blenders- I’m crazy for those!) I had a brilliant plan. I had a 20% off one item coupon for Fancy Tiger, so why not use it to buy a FQ bundle? Here’s why: they hadn’t actually got any in 😦 They had the entire line…

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…but not any of the precut bundles.Since I had arrived in the store ready to splurge, I did go through and pick my absolute fave individual pieces:

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I could have bought that diagonal dot print in every color, I love it that much. But, I wasn’t THAT ready to splurge. Which turned out to be a good thing, because…


Right there at the register was the leftover yarn from the Stephen & Steven Tour 2014. (For the third consecutive year, I missed Stephen West’s teaching and tour stop at Fancy Tiger. I am starting to believe that he checks my vacation schedule before booking time in Denver…) Several friends went to the trunk show and/or took classes, and offered to pick me up some of the exclusive yarn. But it is VERY spendy, and I responsibly declined their offers. And then, over a week later, there was some just waiting for me. And I still had that 20% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket (or actually, on my phone, since it was from an app.) So when that gorgeous skein called out to me, I was able to answer it.

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The yarn is Galaxy by Wild Hare Fiber Studio and the color way is called Neon Zebra, and it is shot though with metallic silver. I have spent the last 2 days petting it. I cannot wait to find the perfect project for it…

Here’s hoping your week was full of delightful stash additions! (Linking up with Sunday Stash…)


Filed under Sunday Stash, westknits

Books and the Women who Wrote Them- and me

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some fun and met some crafty authors/rockstars- and I’m just now getting around to telling you about it.

On Tuesday, March 4th, I met up with some of my local Tula QAL peeps for happy hour, followed by a book signing with Rachel May, author of the new book, Quilting with a Modern Slant. Rachel was lovely, and so friendly, and we might have monopolized too much of her time… She was so sweet, she even blogged about us, with a photo (!), and told people about my skull quilt. Her book is also wonderful, and you should check it out if you get a chance.

Then on Monday of this week, the one and only Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, was at a local bookstore. Once, 7 years ago, I went to see her read. It was quite a night out– I even ended up on the local news. I guess they felt it was newsworthy that people knit? Anyway! 7 years ago, I was too scared to knit a sock. They scared the bejeezus out of me- the teeny needles and making a heel and oh, no. I confessed that to the Harlot, and she seemed unimpressed.

Shortly thereafter, I took a class, and made my first socks.

Fast forward nearly 7 years. The Yarn Harlot is back in town. Now, not only can I knit socks*, I can knit complicated socks. I can even kitchener a toe while in a crowded room, listening to a famous knitter regale the crowd! So, when it was my turn in the signing line, I told her how I used to be scared of socks, but now am a sockstar. And she examined my sock and pronounced it good.


She even showed off my latest finish for a photo.

The other highlight of the night? I wore my newly completed Color Craving shawl, and got loads of great reactions from other knitters. Someone took my photo in it, and at least 3 different folks approached me to talk about it. It made me feel super special- and happy that I pushed through a project I didn’t love working on to get to the fabulous end result.

The only downside? When the Harlot took her trademark photo of the crowd with the sock, my friend and I were sitting too far to the left to be in the photo. If you look at the first photo in the post, and look at the right hand corner, you can just make out the grey and pink of my Color Craving at the very edge… Ah, well. I know we were there.

*I went back and counted, thank you Ravelry, and I have knit 60 complete pairs of socks in under 7 years. My mind is kind of blown by that.



Filed under Brushes with Greatness, CookieA, Knitting, Quilts, Socks, westknits

Color Craving, Complete



2013 was the 3rd year I signed on to take part in Stephen West’s Mystery KAL (Color Craving). 2011 was fun, and I wear the finished product all the time. 2012 required a restart- I hated the way my first color options were playing out- but when I finished it, it rapidly became one of my favorite knits ever. So of course I bought the pattern for the 2013 project, and rapidly ordered some yarn…


(Knit Picks Palette in Sil er, Cosmopolitan, and Ash)

It took me a while to get into the resurgence of neon, but I finally did.

I started the project in September, 2013. And I ran into one problem after another. I accidentally skipped changing colors for a stripe, which I didm’t catch until a few stripes later, and then I broke a needle, and tried to sub in a different size, and it made a crazy huge gauge difference that was completely noticeable. Did I mention all these issues occurred in Clue #1? Out of 4 clues? And I got cranky, and I put the project down.


And then in January, I finished a pair of socks, and had no other project ready to go. I realized I felt guilty about my abandoned project. I picked it back up, and frogged it completely. I rewound the yarn, and started from scratch, this time with the larger needles from the start. I paid much closer attention to the color changes, and I finished Clue #1 in just about a week. And I felt good! So I kept going, all the way to the over 100 inches of picot bind off.


I finished the final picot bobble just as the women’s olympic figure skating ended…

I was so excited to finally be done that I soaked and blocked it ASAP.

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The shawl was longer than my dining room table, with both leaves in. I had to get creative with the blocking matts and build them out from the table… But the yarn is so light, it dried overnight, and was ready to wear!

So now, the many, many photos… This is the strangest thing I have ever knit. The process was odd, and the shape is unique to say the least. But I’ve actually fallen in love with it. I wore it to work on Monday, and got so many compliments that it darn near made the ordeal of knitting it worthwhile.

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And the other best part of finishing it? I cast on my first socks from the 2014 Cookie A Sock Club!

Did you have any finishes this week? I was planning on showing you a gorgeous, completed skull quilt- but I had a major sewing machine malfunction on Wednesday night. I won’t know how bad until I can get into the repair shop on Saturday. So the quilt is stuck at 1/3 of the way quilted- and the baby is due any minute. Sigh. Cross your fingers for my poor little Viking…


Filed under Knitting, Shawls, westknits

If it’s really going to snow on May 1st, at least I can wear this…

Colorado is officially in a drought, so I shouldn’t be whiny that we’re getting an absolutely nutty amount of spring snow. But I am. Driving to work in the snow is one of my least favorite tasks. Scraping the car off? I’d rather do nearly anything… And it’s even worse now, as I broke my good scraper during the storm that accompanied the meet & greet with Amy Butler 2 weeks ago.

It was 80 degrees this weekend, which made Annie’s birthday trip to the zoo truly awesome. I broke out my flip flops. That made me happy. But the temperature is supposed to drop 50 degrees from that high and be in the 30s tomorrow- and the weather folks, who have been very very wrong this season, are still saying that we’re going to get actual snow tomorrow. Maybe even 7 inches worth.

My only consolation is that if it is indeed cold and nasty, I’ll have a reason to wear this.

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This gorgeous new shawl just finished blocking tonight, and since the yarn is a 95% wool/5% silk blend, it’s not a light piece. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I’d get much use out of it before fall came around.

Pattern: Glacier Sweep by Stephen West/ Westknits, part of the ChoreoKal series.

Mods: I used size 5s instead of the called for size, and the yarn itself was worsted rather than fingering or heavy worsted, as called for in the pattern. I followed the fingering weight directions.

Yarn: Plymouth Mushishi, used 1.75 skeins, as well as a tiny bit of leftover Lamb’s Pride worsted in a hot pink for the i-cord bind off. Purchased 2+ years ago at the Lamb Shoppe, with a gift certificate and on sale, so it ended up coasting me next to nothing- the best kind 0f yarn!


I love this shawl. I love the color, the texture, the stitch pattern, the size, the contrasting i-cord bind off. All of it. But you know what I love the most? That Stephen West himself was at Fancy Tiger when I stopped in to buy some yarn a few weeks back, and I happened to have this particular WIP in my car, and he kindly posed for a photo with the shawl, and Annie and me!


I love his shawls the way I love Cookie A’s socks. I love to follow his patterns. And he himself is just a fabulous guy. In fact, this wasn’t even the first time I got to meet him- at Fancy Tiger no less. He was in town for the first time ever back in September 2012, but, it was while we were at the beach. Our only annual vacation, planned nearly a year in advance, no way to switch it up. I was so sad. And then, he loved Denver and FT so much that he hung around for an extra week, including craft night, where I totally got to meet him after all! And that time as well, he was super gracious, and posed for a photo with me and my most recent Westknits finish, which I just happened to be wearing…


So, if it really is cold and snowy tomorrow, May Day, at least I can bundle myself up in my latest creation, while I wait to bring the flip flops back out…



Filed under Brushes with Greatness, Knitting, Shawls, westknits