Howdy, friends! Welcome back to another episode in the continuing adventures of a 42-year-old daddy who knits. Whether this is your first time at the Knitting Daddy blog, or you’re a regular reader, I’m gad you’re here. I hope you enjoy what I share today and that you’ll be back for more. If you’d like to make sure you never miss a blog entry, there’s a convenient email sign-up box in the sidebar on the right of this page. You can also add the RSS feed to your favorite RSS aggregator if you’re so inclined. I love hearing from my readers, and there is a slew of ways to get in touch with me listed at the bottom of this post.
Since I’ve been at home the past week, recuperating from my recent surgery, I’ve been doing a lot of catching-up on things knitting-related. I’m returning to work this week, and while I’m anxious to get back into the swing of things at the office, I’m going to miss my time on the sofa with knitting podcasts in my ear and knitting WIPs on my needles. Anyway, as I wrap up my period of convalescence, I think it’s a great time to review what I’ve been up to.
This Week In Podcasts
I’m not gonna lie, I spent about the first half of my time at home watching Netflix while I was knitting. I watched some trashy TV, some pretty good TV, a movie, and a documentary. But, really, there’s only so much television I can take. So for the past week, my knitting time has been accompanied with podcasts and an audiobook. As a result, I’m completely caught up on my normal knitting podcast queue, and I’ve almost completed listening to To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve even added a couple of podcasts to my normal rotation. This week, I’ve listened to podcasts from 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Bay Area Knitter, The Creative Yarn Entrepreneur, Curious Handmade, Down Cellar Studio, Ewe University, iMake, Knit 1 Geek 2, Knitting Pipeline, Knitmore Girls, Math4Knitters, NH Knits, A Playful Day, Teaching Your Brain To Knit, TwinSet Designs, Yarn Thing with Marly Bird, Yarns at Yin Hoo, and The Yarniacs. As always, I loved them all. 🙂 It’s too much to review everything that crossed my earbuds, but I’ll go over a few highlights.
Bay Area Knitter is a new podcast for me. It’s hosted by Christine Marie Chen, and I discovered it when she was interviewed on the Yarn Thing with Marly Bird podcast. Christine is a designer, and she talks about her knitting and her designs in her podcast. It’s a video podcast on YouTube, which means I’m going to have to make an effort to keep up with it, since I typically stick with audio podcasts.
Knitting Pipeline continues to be a favorite podcast of mine — it’s the very first knitting podcast I listened to when I discovered knitting podcasts. I wrote about my experience meeting Paula, the Knitting Pipeline host, in my last blog entry. In Episode 217: Two Wee Sheep and a Blue Moon, Paula talks about our meet-up, too. Her blog post also includes some sweet pictures off all of us (including Blueberry) at the Warm-n-Fuzzy yarn shop. Listening to her tell the story brought me right back to our time together and put a huge smile on my face. Paula also has some more love for my Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat pattern, which I truly appreciate. Paula’s gearing up for a trip to Stitches Midwest, and I’m excited to hear about her adventures when she returns.
A Playful Day is another new podcast for me. Many of the podcasts that I’ve been enjoying regularly mention this one, so I finally added it to my listening queue. It’s such an enjoyable listen. Kate, the host, is delightful and brings interesting content to her audience each week. In Tag! Your IT! Featuring Melanie Falick, she interviews Melanie Falick, who shares her tremendous insight into the world of book publishing for knitting books. I love “inside baseball” talk, and this interview was right up my alley. I highly recommend it. I will definitely be keeping this podcast in my regular rotation.
TwinSet Designs is another favorite of mine. Listening to Ellen and Jan chat with each other draws me in every time. It’s obvious that they have a great time putting the podcast together, and they make it feel like their audience is right there with them. In Episode 62 — Just Adorable!, they recount their time at TwinSet Summer Camp, which sounds like it was another successful and delightful endeavor. Listening to the stories made me wish I were there. Perhaps one year I’ll be able to attend. Even though I wasn’t able to attend this year, I’m absolutely thrilled to have learned that I’ll be receiving a taste of TwinSet Summer Camp myself — I won the drawing for a Camp Goody Bag! When I heard them announce my name on the podcast, I almost fell off the sofa, I was so excited. Thank you, Ellen and Jan!
Yarns at Yin Hoo is the third new podcast I added to my rotation this week. This podcast comes recommended by pretty much every knitting podcaster in the world, and I don’t know why I waited so long to sample it. It’s hosted by Sara (aka Sarapomegranate). She describes her podcast as being “about the fiber arts and other post-apocalyptic skills.” In Episode 83: Secrets of Red, Sara shares a great recipe for sweet corn. She also talks about the importance of a clutter-free counter while cooking and has a discussion about red dye. I love it, and have downloaded all of the past episodes of the podcast, which I will be listening to as I can over the next several months.
In addition to my podcast listening while knitting, I’ve been enjoying the To Kill a Mockingbird audiobook, narrated by Sissy Spacek. I’ve never read the book, nor have I seen the movie, but it’s always been on my to-read list. With it gaining some media attention lately because of the publication of Harper Lee’s “new” book, it bubbled up to the forefront of my mind and I started listening to it. I’m generally familiar with the plot, so there are no surprises while I go. I’m about 80% through, with just a couple of hours of audio left. The writing, of course, is excellent. But also, I could listen to Sissy Spacek talk all day long, and then some. I love that my time at home has afforded me the time to listen to an audiobook, and I hope that as I return to work, I will continue to make time for books as well as podcasts.
I’ve been doing a lot of knitting lately. It’s been the perfect activity while I’ve been recuperating from surgery. Let me share with you what’s been coming across my needles lately by taking a look at my works-in-progress (aka WIPs). I’ve been working on 4 projects (2 of which I’ve finished), and I’ve started thinking about the county and state fairs, which has introduced a dilemma.
One day (really, I started and finished this in the same day), I knitted a Baseball Beanie. Regular readers know that my love of knitting is rivaled by my love of baseball. I’m always thrilled when I can find ways to marry the two. Recently, a friend (who is a huge baseball fan) had a baby, and I wanted to make a special gift for the baby. The Baseball Beanie was perfect. The pattern is a simple white hat, with the embellishment of a couple of rows incorporating red yarn to mimic the stitching on a baseball. Adding the red stitching involves a clever technique, which is the main benefit of purchasing the pattern. As written, the pattern has both rows of stitching going the same way, but I reversed the instruction for the second row of red stitching so that they would point in the opposite direction. It’s a minor change, easy to do, and it makes the hat look just a little bit more like a real baseball.
Lilly Rose Dress
I’ve had a great time knitting this dress, which is displayed in full in the photo at the top of this post. I worked on it off-and-on for about two months. The top part and the lace hem just flew by. The slog for me was miles of stockinette for the skirt. Endless stockinette is just not my thing, but when I do work on it, it goes quick enough. It’s just that so much stockinette is difficult to hold my attention, and I’m always itching to move on to something more interesting. This worked quite to my advantage now, however, as it was the perfect kind of knitting for my surgery. I took it to the hospital with me and actually knitted several rows the day of and the day after my surgery. It also made for comfortable, relaxing knitting at home. Once I hit my groove with it, it just flew by. And then when I got to the hem, I loved doing the lace.
I blocked it gently — soaked it in some warm water with Soak wash for about 30 minutes, then squeezed the water out in a jelly-roll-like towel, and laid it flat to dry. I stretched it out a bit here and there with my hands, but I didn’t use any blocking pins or wires. Since the fiber content was bamboo and cotton, using Soak was probably kinda silly (it’s designed for wool), but I don’t think it did any harm.
After it dried, I hung it up and really admired looking at it for several days while I worked on other projects. It stretched a little, which I expected, and I love the way it hangs. I tried it on Blueberry once, for about 2 minutes, and it’s a good fit. It’s a little big, but wearable. That’s how I like to have my hand-knits finish, because it ensures maximum wear and love. The hem falls a bit above her ankles, which is exactly what I was aiming for. As she grows taller, she’ll just end up with a shorter dress. There’s enough room in the torso for her to expand a bit there, too. I do think it will be most appropriate for her to wear with a shirt underneath — the first thing she said when I put it on her was “Daddy! I can still touch my skin through the holes!” as she poked at the lace in the bodice. With bamboo and cotton construction, it should be light and airy for summer wear, but it will also work well on top of long sleeves and tights in the fall and winter.
I didn’t manage to snap a picture of her wearing it this time, but I’m sure I’ll be able to have a photo shoot in the next few weeks. Especially once she realizes that the skirt is perfect for twirling, I bet it’s going to become one of her favorites.
My Crackerjack Scarf has been languishing in the bottom of a backpack for months as I’ve ignored it. It’s hard to get excited about knitting on the scarf when the team whose progress it follows is racking up way more losses than wins. I wrote about this scarf before, and it’s a really neat concept. Basically, I’m following the progress of my favorite Minor League baseball team — the Greensboro Grasshoppers — and knitting their season win-loss record into this scarf. Each game is represented by two rows in the scarf, and each color is significant. For wins, I knit either green (for home wins) or orange (for wins on the road). For losses, I knit either white (at home) or grey (away). This scarf is ending up with a lot more white and grey than green and orange.
Prior to picking the scarf back up again last week, the last game I had knitted into the scarf was June 4. As of a few days ago, I had completely caught up — which meant knitting in 35 games worth of wins and (mostly) losses. The scarf is nearly 3 feet long now and even though it’s mostly white and grey, I’m really going to enjoy it when it’s complete. Knitting so many games at once gave me the opportunity to perfect how I’m carrying the yarn up inside the scarf while I knit, and I’ve settled on a good method that doesn’t interfere with the way the scarf lays and is pretty easy to keep up with.
Secret Gift Knitting
There are birthdays and Christmas on the horizon, so I’ve turned my eye to gift knitting. I won’t discuss it much here until the recipients receive the gifts, but I’ve been posting pictures on my Instagram feed. So, unless you’re my mom, feel free to head over there and see what I’m secretly knitting.
A Fair Dilemma
It’s getting close to time to register for the county and state fairs. I have a few items I want knit (and finish knitting) before the fair, and I think I have plenty of time to do that. But I’ve also been reviewing my projects on Ravelry to see what I’ve knitted over the past year and what I’d like to enter in the fairs. The State Fair has lots of categories, so I should be able to enter pretty much everything I want to enter in one of the categories. The county fair, however, has a small number of categories — 12.
This is my dilemma. Among other items, I want to enter my Lilly Rose dress and my Mary doll. In the State Fair, that won’t be a problem, as there is a category for “other garment” and a category for “knitted toy.” The county fair, however, has neither of those categories. The most natural category for both of those items is the “any other knitting” category.
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I'm reviewing the knitting categories for the county fair. I was planning on entering Mary (she'll be finished by fair time) in the "Any other knitting" category, like I did with a toy last year. But now I notice there is no category for knitted dresses. So if I want to enter the dress, it would have to be in that category. Hrm, only one entry per category. I think I'm going to have to make a tough decision soon.
I posted the above picture on Instagram, and received a few suggestions. One suggestion was to enter the dress in the sweater category and consider it a “sweater dress.” I might have gone for that one except that I have another sweater I’m planning to enter in that category. The other suggestion was to consider one of those entries for the “infant items” category. That one, I could probably swing. I think it would have to be the doll, though, as the dress is decidedly child-sized, and would not pass for an infant’s garment at all. I’ll have to ponder it some more, I think.
The County Fair runs from September 11 – 20, and the entry deadline is August 28. The State Fair runs from October 16 – 26, and the entry deadline is September 18.
Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!