Project #7 in 2021

A gray edged cowl. The middle colors are neon green, hot blue and hot pink.
Oops, I did it again!

This cowl is made with 25g scrap Knit Picks Stroll in “Ash” for the border and one skein of Lion Brand Mani-pedi in the Yoga colorway. I was surprised by the pop of pink. I already know who this is going to this Holiday season – and I’m going to make a hat to pair with it. Pattern undecided, but I’m eyeing a skein in my stash.

The cowl is pinned to a clothesline to give a better look at the way the colors pooled

Stashdown count 7/50 (I’m not counting the scrap used for the border)

Project #6 in 2021

My left hand is holding a needle, weaving in the ends on the center lace panel of the Raspberry Beret hat by Linda Permann

This week I took the WIP hat in the top middle of my WIP photo from the center lace panel (that’s as far as I got) to completion as the Raspberry Beret by Linda Permann. I would link a pattern, but it seems to be out of print. My own copy is from the 2010 “must have gifts” edition of Crochet Today! Magazine.

Side view of the finished hat being worn by a glass head from Pier 1. There are led fairy lights inside the head, lighting it from within.

I was hoping it would coordinate with the cowl I finished last week, but it’s darker. I’ve decided to take a skein of white wool from my charity stash and make this hat again – that for sure will work out with the completed cowl!

Back view of hat, showcasing lace section.

This was made with Worsted weight Brown Sheep Company in the color “spiced plum” with a J hook. My guage seems to have shifted because the brim feels a little snug to me. I’m going to go up a hook size when I try again. I’m feeling positive about my decision to try and make more crocheted projects this year. 🙂

Stash down counter: 6/50


I am sitting in a chair, with my hand on Minor's back. We are indoors but I am wearing a face mask for covid. Minor's eyes are huge and he looks hilarious while he endured the 15 seconds it took to take this photo. He's wearing a red graduation cap and hates it, but was a good sport and didn't fight it.

In March, Charlie Minor graduated his last regular dog class called “Shaping Up”! This block of classes was more for me than him – it emphasized how to shape a desired behavior. One of the key “tricks”/tasks I need from a service dog partner is “get it” (picking things up). Minor still only picks up his own toys, but before this class he refused to touch things on the ground.

One of the other things he learned was how to catch treats and toys! This class has led him to playing by himself, without human or other dogs initiating play. (Finally! I’m hoping this will lead to more maturity and a little less demand on my energy.)

Minor is in the backseat of my car. We have a car mat made to protect the seat from his crumbs and paws. He is laying down and smiling open mouthed, with bright eyes.

He is such a happy and energetic little guy! He has a joy and zest for life, always curious and ready to jump in with all four feet.

We began Therapy Prep classes and I hit a brick wall (emotionally). A few weeks ago I cried and confessed to the owner of the training company that I feel like Minor is a great dog, but that he doesn’t love me and only feels obligated to me – that we haven’t established that bond and he barely ever looks at me unless we’re playing or I’m commanding him for the payment of food, because he’ll do what he was trained to for food, but he would do those commands for any human that gives him food. It was an incredibly low moment and a hard confession to make. It led to an open dialogue with her about my struggles with my health, both physical and mental, and how I’ve been facing burnout and exhaustion.

It made me think “if it’s this hard to be honest about what I’m going through, it must be even harder to admit this kind of low when you’re a parent”. I can’t even begin to imagine! If you’re facing a low of any kind, please speak up. You might be rebuffed, but likely you’ll be embraced and supported.

Apparently I’m not the only one feeling the strain. The classes are longer and more demanding for Therapy Prep. His classmates are also facing their own roadblocks. In previous classes there were clear margins for who is top of the class – almost every day I wonder if any of us will graduate this block, or if we’ll have to try again.

This photo shows a wide space between all of us as we train in class. In the upper left corner, classmates work on exposure to "inspection". In the upper right corner, another team waits. In the bottom center, Minor waits in "down stay" on his towel, and his brush is on the ground as we wait our turn.

In Therapy Prep, the dogs are learning to deal with strangers and being handled by other people. They’re subjected to bodily inspections of teeth, ears and paws. They have to be okay with being approached by people using various medical equipment, as well as being bodily handled by children, those without much control of their hands (rough petting) and those with disabilities. They are training to be calm in the face of people acting erratically, and being in a space with other dogs where they will be held to a higher caliber of behavior. They have to be able to walk around disruptions and distractions, including the lures of food and fun. They are learning how to change their speed of action, walking slower and faster. The hardest yet: Minor hates being hugged.

The end goal is for the dogs to pass the AKC canine good citizen exam, but we are also training to pass the entry requirements for Hand in Paw or Pet Partners. For Minor, he will need to know those skills, but he’s not going to be a Therapy dog so I’m most likely not going to put us all through those hoops – only the AKC test.

The day after the heavy confession, we didn’t train at all. I didn’t even make him sit and wait for me to open the door for him to go outside, we literally acted like there were no rules and we both spend the day in bed. The next day we both groomed and stayed in the recliner, and he was hand fed. I’ve started telling him every night that I know he loves me, and that he is going to graduate.

Maybe we both need to hear that.

Project #5 in 2021

A stockinette cowl in multiple colors with 2x2 purple ribbing

This week I started a new sockhead hat only to get just past the ribbing and be told by the yarn that it was not a hat, but wanted to be a cowl. I was using 25g scrap Knit picks Stroll for the ribbing, and a ball of Ditto “purple cascades”.

When you’re making something with yarn does it ever “talk” to you and tell you what to turn it into?

Dress maker's dummy with hat attachment is canvas color and wood. It is displaying the completed cowl against a brick background.

I’m not counting the scraps I used for the border. Stashdown counter: 5/50

Project #4 in 2021

Large crocheted basket in varying shades of dark brown, tan and green.

Jayda InStitches on YouTube has a video tutorial on a stashbusting basket that looked like fun to me. I don’t crochet very often anymore, and it’s a shame because it’s a legacy skill passed through my family.

This doesn’t count toward skeins used for my stash down, because it’s just scraps, but it turned into a nice little tote basket my mom can use for her afghan projects. If you crochet, I think you might really enjoy knocking one of these out! I held 3 worsted strands together and liked the texture I achieved with a N hook.

Revisiting a hat & mitts set

For Christmas 2020, I made a hat and fingerless mitts set for my boyfriend from a skein of Trekking Pro Natura by Zitron in color 1604. This yarn was a souvenir from the trip I took to stay with my sister overseas in Germany. It’s a little thinner than the fingering weight yarn I tend to prefer, but it’s smooth in texture and had a nice masculine vibe to it. Made from Wool and Bamboo, it strikes a nice balance in texture and drape while also being sturdy.

Hat and fingerless gloves set on a honey wood colored table

For the mitts, I knit a simple sleeve of 62 stitches with size 2 needles in a 1×1 rib for 6 rows. I then did 15 rows of stockinette, 15 rows back and forth so there was a thumb hole opening. I resumed working in the round for a total project length of 11 inches before ending it with 15 more rows of ribbing and binding off in pattern to ensure enough stretch.

I’m still looking at what I want to make to gift in the holiday season this year. Have you begun Winter Crafting yet? What’s on your hook or needles?

Project #3 in 2021

My friend J teases me sometimes about my penchant for making the same pattern over and over again until it’s been done in every color. It makes me laugh, because it’s super accurate! Behold the Sockhead slouch hat….yet again… this time in GRAY!

A gray slouchy beanie is showcased on a glass head from Pier 1. There are led fairy lights lit up inside and it sits on a glass topped table with vibrant sock yarn inside.

My friend H needed a little pick me up, and picked the color/style of hat. I love knitting for H. She is so appreciative and randomly texts me things like “You went to work with me today and my feet were so warm!”. It makes me feel loved and happy.

Dark Gray yarn is sitting on a teal digital kitchen scale. We're ght reflects 46 grams.

I used Knit Picks Chroma in the Wednesday color way, but I cut out the black section to the best of my ability while knitting it. I was pleased to find the total grams used left 46g after the project was completed – so it counts as a ball used up! Total skeins used in 2021 is now 4/50!

Are you someone that makes the same thing over and over, or do you enjoy trying something new for the challenge?

Loom of Doom

Easy Weaver Rigid Heddle loom with pink fingering weight yarn. I've made a poor attempt at weaving 6 inches of work.

This project isn’t progressing. I don’t have any desire to work on it at all. Part of the issue is that the heddle is meant for heavier yarn and I don’t like how open the weave is. Part of it is that I’m still super new to rigid heddle weaving and I didn’t know how to center the warp when I set it up. Lastly, it’s leaning to the side cause of all the reasons listed above.

My left hand is holding bright blue children's scissors. I am actively cutting the warp off the loom.
Cut it out like it’s toxic! Snip, snip, trash!!! Whoo hoo!!!

Sometimes you gotta cut your losses and acknowledge that you have to craft a bunch of subpar trash before you become a decent crafter in your chosen medium.

My loom is now empty and ready for a new project. My right hand is holding a thumb up.

My loom is open and ready for new inspiration, and the solo skein I had set aside for the rest of the weft can be thrown into the stash to rest before new inspiration comes. 🎉🥂 I challenge you today to look at your WIP pile and make a choice for one of your projects. Commit to actively work on it, or cut your losses. It’s very freeing!

Project #2 in 2021!

Two purple socks on sock blockers. They are cables with lace interrupting the sequence inside every other cable.

One of my goals this year is to make my 1 Class by Mayflower solid sock skeins into socks. I am a member of the Solid Socks forum on Ravelry and the January challenge was to be inspired by Spring. We were still in the bleak midwinter when planning for January socks started, so I couldn’t make images line up in my head by the order of “this yarn reminds me of…”.

In my search for inspiration I came across a pattern called Step Into Spring (non-ravelry link) by Mary E. Rose. It’s an absolute disgrace that more people haven’t made this pattern! When I found it on ravelry, only 7 pairs had been made.

I’ve decided to make a solid red pair. Skeins used in 2021: 3/50.

February pUpdate

Photo of Minor's picture on the tv news broadcast. He is in the back seat of my car, laying down. His head is turned to the side a d his mouth is open. He has a very dopey grin on his face.
Charlie Minor was the pet pic of the day on our local news station in early February!

In February Minor was enrolled in “shaping up” classes to reinforce him being able to puzzle out new things and what’s being asked of him. Up to this point he’s figured out to leave my stuff alone (an excellent skill for a puppy set on destroying things with his sharp teeth) and if it’s on the floor it no longer exists. Through the class he’s begun to play with his toys by himself in earnest, and he’s begun learning how to pick things up and give them. He also learned how to catch toys and treats!

Minor standing in the gap between the front seats of my car, looking through the front windshield. His eyes are alert. This side view gives a good look at his new gear. His harness is teal with a gray martingale loop. There is a very small, black and white leash wrap that says "do not interact". His new collar is black and blends in with his fur well.

Minor’s new gear is working pretty well for us. He now sports the 2hounds design freedom harness with a double connection leash. The design of this thing is so thoughtful! The leash is connected to the chest loop and the martingale loop clip behind his head. The handle I hold floats freely between both points but is secure and strong if I only use one end – transforming it into a regular leash. The chest straps are velvety, so he hopefully won’t get chafing (something I had to worry about with Charlie Majors) and the side clips are reversed on one side so you will know if it’s twisted – thus preventing a pinch.

Photo of harness and leash from 2houds website

When the leash is double clipped Minor can easily duck his head through and seamlessly switch sides from “heel” to “side”, but it encourages him to stay closer and check in with me more often. Because of the intelligent design, there’s not much room for signage to let people know we’re trying to train – but this very small leash wrap I used to use below Charlie Majors’ bridge handle fits well. (I got it on Etsy – I love this shop. They’ve been so professional and their products are quality!)

Minor practicing his down stay on his car towel. He's laying on half of it, with his butt hanging off onto the fake wood laminate flooring. He's wearing a gray owl print kerchief and you can see how the leash connects to both points. The leash is on the floor unattended.

I don’t have any photos of Minor’s reaction to the snow, because the morning it snowed was less than 20°, and I wasn’t fooling around with much movement. I woke at 6am and opened the front door for him only for us both to be stunned by a winter wonderland. It was the first time he ever saw snow and he launched straight into it to run in circles and bark.

Alabama snow. The grass is still visible through the light layer. the parking lot and walking path are covered in snow and ice. There is a small amount on the cars.
The snow never stood a chance against his little paws
A large brown dog stands in the snow. He is wearing a bright blue jacket, red collar and pink leash.

Charlie Majors was largely unimpressed with the snow. He has arthritis setting up in his bad leg, so he endured the cold but enjoyed being inside.

Charlie lays on his memory foam mattress with his front paws and head resting on the hardwood floor. Minor is curled up against his belly, in the same direction, with a red rope toy between his paws. He is usually ng Charlie's belly like a pillow.