Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Working & Knitting

At my last job, I had a fairly long commute  (minimum of 30 minutes each way) in which I had a lot of knitting time. While I was there, I got numerous sweaters, socks, and other knitted goods done.

When I got my new job, my commute dropped down to 20 minutes (walking) then 12 minutes (riding a bicycle), which was all sorts of awesome. But my shortened commute severely cut into my knitting time and, consequently, the number of finished objects I've been able to accomplish.

However, for the past couple of months, I've discovered new knitting time at work --- the dreaded meeting! I often have meetings that merely require minimal participation on my end, but that do require my attention.

I have found it an excellent source of uninterrupted knitting time where I can knit some mindless things, such as vanilla socks. I tend to have meetings that total at least 6 hours per week.

I usually knit something that is very simple and doesn't take up much room. I tend to knit just under the meeting table as to not distract anyone (so no sweaters or complicated lace). As a result, I've gotten a few simple hats and vanilla socks done! 

My fellow employees are always surprised to find me knitting (as I tend to keep the knitting under the table or from plain view). And everyone pretty much marvels how I can knit and be in the meeting at the same time. I had one manager remark at how amazed that I could knit and hold a discussion at the same time. Of course, every knitter knows that this is pretty much cake and is a good way to keep yourself attentive.

Many ask why I knit in meetings. I often point out that many people aren't paying attention by either working on their laptops or reading their phones. At least, I pay attention while knitting, which they can't dispute. And no one ever challenges me or asks me to stop. In fact, most of the managers and other bosses find it awesome. :-)

It's nice to find some dedicated knitting time during the day. While I don't like meetings (who doesn't), I tend to not dread the boredom anymore.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Technically, I'm supposed to be on a fabric diet, as my Viking & I have a ton of fabric already. We're only allowed a few things -- gift fabric, lining fabric, etc. But then, you see something and you just fall in love.

Case in point.....

I mean, cute little green aliens! What's not to love? And with a sale at Joann's plus a 20% off a total purchase coupon, it's even a double score! So, I picked up 2.25 yards of it to make new jammies. I washed the fabric before I left for Portland and promptly forgot about my cute little aliens.

I realized that it had been nearly 3 weeks since I last sewed anything, and I was getting the urge to make sew. But, I didn't want to completely dive into a long term project, so I decided to pull out my aliens and make myself pajamas.

(Apparently, November is the month to make pajamas, because I checked my old posts, and it was November 2013 that I made my last set of jammies for the Pajama-Jam-Jam at Purlescence Yarns last year).

I ironed the fabric, and cut out the all-too-familiar pattern I had used previously (with my previous set of modifications -- elastic waistband instead of drawstrings.)

Luckily, I have a ton of elastic. (Part of my modification to the pattern is to add 2 inches at the top of the waist to allow me to fold over a waistband to accommodate the 1.5" elastic band)

Unfortunately, I realized as I was cutting it that I did not have quite enough fabric; the pattern called for 2 5/8 yards. So, I decided to merely serge the bottom of the pajamas instead of having a fold over hem, which would give me enough yardage.

Cutting, sewing, and pressing the fabric into pajama shape was very easy and quick. (And yes, I do press all my seams, even for pajamas).

And of course, the cats found the fabric scraps enticing.....

I love the colours.

It was a quick and easy project that I was able to complete in 2 hours, and satisfied the sewing itch. Plus, it now gives me an additional pair of warm flannel pajamas to wear that goes with the motley of other jammies I made previously.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Knitting in Portland

Recently, I went on a trip up to Portland, OR with my DH, the Viking, and a very good friend to relax, see friends, and have fun.

If you ever have a chance to go to Portland, you should. Knitters are everywhere in Portland. It's so fiber friendly. I don't know how many knitters I ran into whilst there but I have a bunch of new Ravelry contacts now. Plus, it's almost always sweater weather in Portland. Nearly everyone had some form of knitwear, from hats, scarves, to sweaters about. (And I was no exception. I actually got to wear some sweaters there!)

Like a good knitter, I planned what knitting projects to take, because I didn't want to be without (before I even packed my clothes).
  1. A project that I could sit, knit, and talk without problems whilst hanging out at the pub with friends -- socks, naturally. 
  2. A project that I could knit that required a modicum of attention, but not too much -- a stockinette sweater with short row shaping. 
  3. A project that required some concentration for the flight there & back...or when I had some spare cycles to devote to it --- a psuedo-lace shawl.
I finished my socks about half way through the trip. They were perfect for knitting at the pub, at the movie theatre, or when riding in the car for short trips. As an added bonus, I got to wear them during trip.

We did the required stop at Voodoo Doughnuts.

I also brought some extra sock yarn with me, just in case. So once these socks were finished, I cast on another pair, and promptly got about 1/3 of the way through the sock.

While I primarily knitted my socks whilst out and about, I did accomplish other knitting.  I found that I had a few mornings to myself at the restaurant cafe, whilst DH and my friends slept in later than I did. The staff were extremely nice and helpful and let me knit unmolested for quite some time whilst refreshing my tea. This is the 3-in-1 sweater.

Knitting by Friday

In two days, I got a lot of knitting done on the sweater, even with the short rows, during my breakfasts.
Knitting by Saturday

There was also time to knit on my lace-y shawl, (Unleaving Pattern in Knitty), but mostly on the plane. However, I got a good 6 inches accomplished on it. 

A few folks asked me about the app I was using to keep track of my lace & sweater knitting. They were fascinated, and I was more than happy to tell them about the KnitCompanion app, which I reviewed last year. I highly recommend it. It allows me to carry all of my patterns and keep track of where I am in each pattern so I can switch projects as necessary.

I was very surprised at how much knitting I got done on my trip. I thought I overplanned (like usual), but it turns out that it was enough. I had a good combination of down time and activity that allowed for a lot of knitting -- which left me with a chunk of knitting done on two projects, one FO, and one new project! It was a very relaxing vacation.

However, potential tragedy might have struck my in Portland, save for the very friendly town. We watched a late night movie at the hotel we were staying at over our trip (yes, they had their own movie theatre).

While waiting at the theatre lobby for the previous movie to end (and knitting), I dropped my spare pair knitting needles and the hotel staff remembered who was knitting, and found me in the dark to return them to me!!

We saw Army of Darkness that night.

Talk about customer service and memory!

The only thing I did NOT get to do in Portland was visit the yarn shops, only because when we managed to get to downtown Portland, I kinda lost all track of time at the mecca of bookstores, Powell's Books, and by the time we left, all of the yarn shops had closed. 

I'm not sure if that makes me a bad knitter or a really good geek!

I did see a few from the outside, and they did look lovely.  After all, I didn't really need anymore yarn, right? At least, that is what I'm telling myself.

I highly recommend visiting Portland if you ever get a chance. We do have family there, and I will be returning...and next time, I'll definitely be going to the yarn shops!