Frog Me Knot

A knitter displaced from Mississippi and trying to navigate life in upstate New York


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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So, it’s that time of year again. We all know it well. I am of course referring to the mad dash to knit all the things you put off till the last minute Christmas time.

With this time of year we are all filled with stress and panic warm feelings of joy and love as we work on finishing up those knits for the people we care most about.

Even with all of those feelings, I always seem to find myself caving in around this time of the month. It is usually the time when you look at your to do list and count the remainder of the days; doing all the math possible to make it work and somehow things don’t add up.

Then comes the depression. I don’t mean clinical depression, just knitting depression. The slump of too much to do and not enough time. Knitting seems to almost become work at a certain point. Throw in the unavoidable knitting mistakes that will occur and you are soon day dreaming of setting all the yarn ablaze while chugging wine and laughing like the Joker from Batman.

Well, I am here to give some tips on how to keep you from having to file an insurance claim explaining why your house has fire damage.

My first tip is to find a video knitting podcast. I say video because it will give you something else to visually focus on occasionally. Start the podcast and get out a project that doesn’t require too much attention and start watching. Usually what will happen is you will see the wonderful things they are working on and motivation will hit. The next thing you will know your hands are moving and stitches are coming out of no where. This is especially true if you watch a few episodes back to back. They always seem to fly through their projects. Another suggestion I have for this is to take a look at a few different podcasts. Some are more knitting intensive and some simply just sit and knit and talk about random stuff. Find one that suits your personality the best. I tend to mix up the type with whatever mood I am in. (Audio podcasts could work here, but I find the visual stimulation helps give me inspiration and takes my mind off the fact that I am forcing myself to knit.)

My next piece of advice is the reward system. I used this in college to help force me to write a paper or study. Set yourself a goal and when you reach that goal you get something you want. Knit a chart repeat, get a cookie. Knit a heel, get a glass of wine/beer/shot of tequila. Knit a stitch get a breath of air. Just use whatever is a small reward that will make you want more.

Another thing I have found helpful is to just go sit with my stash for a little while. Look at all the pretty yarn, feel it, smell it. This might be just enough to get your motivational juices flowing again. I have a particular skein of baby alpaca that I sometimes just go sit with and hold against my face. I will most likely never knit with this because it is my “special” yarn.

If sitting in the yarn only made you angrier at all the required projects you have, I suggest finding the one yarn in the stash you really want to make something with and cast it on. Working a little while on a “fun” project will sometimes get my knitting mojo back and I can then go back to cranking out those “not fun” projects. This also can go back to the reward suggestion. Knit an hour on the blah project, knit an hour on the fun project.

If none of these work for you then I suggest just take a break. Take a day off. Find a movie/book you have really been wanting to watch/read, put on your most comfortable of pjs, and just relax. Knitting is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. If the person you are knitting for is really going to be upset about having to wait on a labor of love, then I suggest not knitting for them.

I really hope that everyone gets all of their knitting finished with as little stress as possible. It is just a day on the calendar and in the end it is just about being with the people you love.

P.S. If you happen to not get it all finished, I say just wrap the yarn, needles, and pattern and let them figure it out.


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Have I Mentioned Before That I Don’t Like Magic Loop?

If you have read my blog in the past you may recall a whole post about my unhappy experience with magic loop socks.

About three weeks ago I wanted to start a new pair of socks (I know big surprise, a new project.) Well, the set of double point needles I wanted to use on this pair were currently “in use” with the Jaywalker socks. This left me no choice but to use my circular needle in the size needed.

After casting on and working on it a little, I put it down and didn’t pick it back up for a couple of weeks. (What?! Me ignoring a project?! Never!) I decided yesterday that I should do a repeat or two on them just to keep them active. I opened my bag and pulled it out to find this disaster.

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What the @$*% is that? Yes, that is a star shape you are seeing in that cord. I fought with the cord for two rounds before I got fed up. I promptly marched to the “office,” grabbed the jaywalker socks, ripped the needles out of it, and came back to salvage the mess that I had left on the couch.

I didn’t even get all the needles switched out before I realized another problem:

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At the needle joins there is a section of purls. I do not do well with keeping my tension even when I have to purl across a join. So, this must be changed.

Thankfully, this pattern (which is called Monkey) comes in a no purl variant as well. So that being said, I ripped back to the ribbing and started the leg over again. Let’s just say I’m a much happier person now, even if it means I left the Jaywalker cold and alone in a dark box without the support of its needles.

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I definitely like the way the purled pattern looks better, but my sanity means more than her having warm feet.

P.S. For those of you worried about the Jaywalker, let me just mention that he was already a wild child that wanted to be set free. I had already given up on him and his unruly ways.


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A Quick Update

1. I have finally gotten my New York license. Applications are out and I’m waiting to hear back.

2. I have a finished object! The Alewives cowl is ready to be wrapped and mailed. I love the pattern, just made a bad call on the yarn I knit it in.

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3. I got a couple of Ryan’s Christmas presents wrapped.

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4. I finished a single sock.

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5. I discovered my tension gets a little off when it takes me two months to finish the first sock. I knit the twelve rows of ribbing and discovered I wasn’t as stressed apparently.

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6. My pre-order of Dark Side of the Moon from Must Stash yarns came in today!!!

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7. I tried peanut butter and pickle sandwiches and they are amazing! Also one of my pickles looked like the Grinch.

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P.S. I’m way behind on the Christmas knitting. Maybe I can just say I meant I was knitting these for next Christmas.


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Maybe My Computer Just Isn’t Used to the Cold Either

This is the fourth time this week I have tried to make this post. It seems that after its almost eight year run my macbook is finally about to kick the bucket. Issues include but are not limited to: taking a few hours to upload photos, freezing with the slightest click of a button, and throwing a tempter tantrum like a three year old. It also  appears that Apple has finally stopped releasing updates for my model. (This is probably the real reason behind the downward spiral in the last two weeks, but I have no proof.)

So, from now on all of my posts (until I can afford a new computer) will be done from my phone. I apologize in advance for if the quality goes down as it is quite awkward to do it on the phone. That being said let’s get on to the real post I was meaning to do.

As you can imagine, I am having to deal with quite a few changes since moving across the county. Currently, the most prominent change is climate. Before moving here, I cannot tell you the last time that I turned my air conditioner off and actually wanted heat.

How cold is it? So cold that one of my fellow New England residents (Den) has already had inches of snow!!! Thus, I definitely need heat. This brings me to the radiators, which are another beast of their own.

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I have no idea how these things work. There must be a basement troll sensor or something that turns all of them in the building on and off. I have not quite figured out the system it uses for deciding this. It is easy to know when they are turning on because of a loud banging noise coming from the main pipe in the bathroom. I have figured out how to turn them on and off individually in the apartment. (I quickly figured this out when they came on one day when it was eighty degrees outside.) They do not seem to stay on long enough to heat the room up though, which will become a problem when winter is in full force.

Also, I am having to dress differently. Just to take the dogs out I wore this the other day:

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What you can’t see is my long sleeve shirt and flannel shirt under the thick sweater and thick coat. I am going to need four times as much clothing here as I am used to.

In other news, my college degree was finally found sufficient by the state licensing department so my application for licensure is hopefully in the last step of getting approval. Just patiently waiting for that to finalize so I can finally apply for jobs. This cannot come soon enough because we are running out of money which means no more new yarn for a while.

That being said, I have a few projects to keep me busy in the meantime.

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Keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep on track with my goals. I am taking a page out of sock knitting and doing the cowls two-at-a-time to make sure I get them both done.

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The pattern is Yellow Brick Cold Cowl. I am hoping these go quickly as I want to make a few for gifts this year. That was one days progress shown in the picture so I am optimistic. The only real problem will be if I can just keep from getting bored and avoiding them.

Tonight I will be attending my first ever knitting night at a yarn shop. I am a little nervous as I don’t know what to expect. I just hope I enjoy it and can maybe make a knitting friend to hang out with.

P.S. It is really hard to knit efficiently with cold hands, this is going to be a long winter…


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Off My Game

Well, Socktober has officially ended and I am admitting defeat. I only finished one pair of socks and they were not even for me.

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As you can see my progress is quite disappointing. There are a few explanations (mostly mistakes on my part) for this:
– I knit the Mirror sock (the orange one) about four times.
– I test knit about twenty different patterns with the hand painted yarn to find a good match. After finding one I realized last night I cast on two too many stitches and ripped the whole thing out.
– I also knit about 95% of a baby blanket. (More on that later.)

Let’s just hope November is more productive and less full of mistakes.

P.S. I am thinking about casting on a lace project to get me back to not making mistakes. Doesn’t that seem reasonable?


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Drinking To Fix Mistakes Leads To Fixing Mistakes Made From Drinking and Knitting

Every so often life throws you a little test to see how close you will come to a mental breakdown. Lets just say the Mirror socks are truly testing my patience and ability to not murder someone. (Ryan you may want to keep an eye open at night until these socks are finished.)

Well if you remember from the last post, I had to tink back and fix a mistake in the cable. Well in the process of drinking my troubles away fixing the mistake I was so focused on knitting the cable section correctly that I made a mistake in the garter stitch portion. I didn’t realize this until I was already past the heel turn.

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The white lifeline is where the mistake is. If you can’t tell, that is well over forty rows back. Ryan tried to convince me to just ignore it… Well, I tried. I put them away and just ignored them completely for a few days. I even talked to my mother about how I wanted to just leave the mistake and not re-knit basically over half of my work I had completed.

Then came Thursday night, I had a beer and stared at them. After I finished the beer, I made two decisions. The first was to get another beer, the second was this.

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I stuck a needle into the row below the offending section and dropped all eight stitches.

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Lets just say it was only slightly satisfying to see the thing that is stressing me out so much to look like such a mess and absolutely need my help. (I may have been laughing evilly at the sock at this point.)

With a lot of cussing and grunting a little patience I finally got it knit back up. There are a few tension issues but I’m putting my faith in blocking them out.

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Total time spent fixing mistakes on this sock: 5 hours
Total cuss words said at the sock: I’ve lost count
Total alcoholic drinks needed to deal with sock: 6
Hearing people tell me how complicated they look and me replying that it was nothing: priceless

Even though these socks might be making me an alcoholic they are totally going to be worth it because they are gorgeous.

Just because I can: here are some pictures of Meila and Tobey wearing bow ties.

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P.S. If you do not see these socks again, I promise I will have an airtight alibi. 


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Frustration, Secrets, and the Overwhelming Rhinebeck

Socktober is almost over and boy have I let myself down in the socks department. Just after blogging last I was on a roll with Mirror. I distinctly remember that at one point I was doing the cable pattern and something didn’t feel quite right. I quickly talked myself out of that feeling as I had this pattern memorized by this point and figured that I did not need to check the pattern. I just knew I was doing it correctly so I kept on going regardless of what my gut was saying. Just as I was working the last row of cable pattern before turning the heel, I did it differently than I had been since I had that feeling, and it felt correct. I had been twisting two of the cables opposite of how they should have been! I almost made Ryan jump off the couch with the cursing that came upon that discovery. I immediately left the apartment and walked to the wine store on the corner, came back and began ripping back.

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So those socks are officially in time out to think about what they have done. The frustration with that lead me to ignore the vanilla socks also. Here is where they have been for almost two weeks as well.

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The Alewives cowl made it to the half way point and has been stopped there for now. I promise I have a good reason for this.

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The first reason this is on hold is because it is now a Christmas gift which means I am going to ignore it until I have to rush to finish it have quite a few weeks to get it finished. The second is the fact that I have almost completed a baby blanket this past week. I am not going to show pictures of it until the mother to be gets it because I want the design to be a surprise. The color theme is based off the book “Where the Wild Things Are.” Here is a peak at the colors involved.

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I am three quarters finished with the blanket and it will hopefully be done by this weekend. This is unless I get distracted by my Rhinebeck purchases.

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I will break all the yarns down in a later post. But I will say that Rhinebeck was so massive that it was stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it!! There were just so many people all trying to shop in these tiny booths, that it seemed like a mad dash to buy yarn.

It was my first time at any yarn festival, and I was just not prepared for anything like this. That being said, starting off with one of the largest festivals in the country was probably a mistake on my part. I made snap decisions on my yarn purchases because I felt rushed, I felt rude because I was hitting people with my bags as I was trying to shop, and I had no real plan or strategy for browsing so I was just kind of all over the place. Hopefully next year Ryan or someone else can go with me to hold my bags and keep me on track and focused.

I did not get any pictures of booths or vendors as the crowds were so busy I couldn’t stand still for long. But, I did get to thoroughly enjoy all of the livestock there. Next year I will go both days, and spend one day shopping and the second just enjoying the animals. It was nice to have a little more understanding about the fiber I use so much of.

There was a show in which the animals were described and then a llama and alpaca jumping contest. I didn’t know this was going on until it was too late to get a seat, so I just snuck in the side and snapped a quick photo.

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After the show they were all taken back to their booths for everyone to come up and meet the animals. This was my favorite part of the day.

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I even had a sheep inspect my purchases.

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There were goats with horns. (Some bigger than others, but who is concerned with size.)

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Lots of llamas and alpacas. They may be my favorite, hence why there are so many photos of them.

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They were all so busy eating that I didn’t get to ask them the questions I wanted to.

1. Can I pet you?
2. What is your favorite type of hay?
3. How would you feel about living in an apartment?

I am already working on the game plan for next year so that it will go much smoother.

P.S. I may have already began playing with my new yarns. Don’t tell the baby blanket, socks, or cowl.


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Timing

Timing is everything.

So, if you hadn’t noticed I have not been posting for the past few months. There are many reasons to this. The main one being that I moved 1, 389 miles across the country. I picked the absolute worst time to start a knitting blog. I was very ambitious when I started this thing and wanted to post every few days. I was doing very good at that for a while, then I started to realize I was only going to have a few more weeks with my friends before I left.

My attention started to switch from knitting and the blog to hanging out with the people that matter the most to me. I actually started to resent knitting a little bit because I was feeling so guilty for not knitting and not blogging. This became the second main reason I didn’t blog. I was avoiding knitting at all cost. Until two weeks ago I had barely knit a single stitch. (Yes, that is three whole months without knitting to those who are counting.)

But, without further ado, I’M BAAAAACK!!! (And boy have I been busy the past two weeks!)

First of all, let me just say that Albany is great. I cannot stress this enough. I will most likely do a whole blog post about the city soon, but this post is mostly going to be about all the knitting I’ve been doing. (Ignore the fact that most of the photos are in my window because it is the only place with decent lighting in our apt right now.)

So I’m sure you are all aware that it’s the best season Autumn. This to me represents the beginning of the  new knitting year. I know most of you always make your yearly goals and such on New Years, but for me this is the time to make these. It is just when the excitement for knitting really kicks in again after a long hot summer. The nights begin to cool down, life just seems to start getting cozy and relaxing. This inevitably leads to me marathon knitting the afternoons away as I go off to dream land, imagining what the winter will be like. (I will point out that in Mississippi the “fall” is much less of a season and so I have always had to dream it up as well, but here in New York it is everything I ever imagined so far.)

It is also socktober (which is a real month and I don’t know why its not in calendars.) This being said, I have not let myself down with the sock knitting. I already have a finished pair, the first of the new knitting year.

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They are my vanilla socks knit out of Patons Kroy Socks in the Spring Leaf Stripes colorway. They are a gift for a friend, but don’t worry I have some yarn to make me a pair as well.

I am also doing a new thing also, where I will be making a bracelet of some form out of the left over sock yarns. This will be a nice representation of how many pairs I have made this year.

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As soon as those were finished I immediately started another pair of striped socks. I was on a boat in a lake at the time, so here are a few photos of how that was.

 

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As you can see the view was just amazing! I have made some progress on them since then.

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Just another vanilla sock, this time for myself. Yarn is Patons Kroy Socks in colorway Branble Stripes. I accidentally bought two different dye lots so this will be my first pair of striping socks that the stripes won’t match up.

I’ve also started another pair of socks. These are a lot more complicated and will take some effort.

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The pattern is Mirror by Josiah Bain from Knitty Deep Fall 2014. The yarn is Periwinkle Sheep Little Feet in colorway Carrot Sticks. It is much more orange than the photo is showing. I am really impressed that this is a pattern from a 15 year old, as well as the fact that it is a male knitter. I am not impressed with how difficult it is for me to cable on such small needles. That being said, I am really hoping that I don’t set fire to give up on them.

Lets jump to the other end of the body and talk about hats. I knit a hat for Ryan, as he is bald we actually will be needing them soon.

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It is just the Turn a Square pattern by Jarod Flood using some leftover yarns from my stash. Green is his favorite color so it was easy to decide on the colors.

I have also cast on a cowl. I am working out if I am pleased with the yarn choice or not.

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It is Alewives Cowl by Elizabeth Doherty. I am using Elsebeth Lavold Classic Silky Wool. The color is exactly what I wanted, but I really think the yarn company is false advertising the yarn weight. It is claiming to be a dk weight, when in fact it is thinner than all of my sock yarns. This is not making me excited about how thin it is going to be. So, this may end up being a christmas gift for someone back home in Mississippi.

I have yet another finished object. This one is very special to me as it is for the baby boy of my best friend (the same one that is supposed to be getting the never ending blanket) of almost 20 years.

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Would you just look at those leaves!!!!!! I am so in love with this second picture! The pattern is Sweet Pea Baby Blanket by Suzanne Middlebrooks using Lion Brand Heartland in colorway Mount Rainer.

I have been a very busy knitter! But I have also been watching a ton of podcasts lately. Last night I was telling Ryan about some of them. Namely DancingGeek and Swordofaknitter. Not even thirty minutes after I got finished telling him about them, they both (along with Stephen West) liked my photo on Instagram. I freaked out a little needless to say. I have proof that this happened:

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So that is all for the knitting portion of this post. Now I am going to bombard you with photos of the fall leaves. This is my first time experiencing all of the beauty that is Autumn.

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P.S. I don’t have a job yet so I’m looking for creative excuses to buy yarn. My newest one is the fact that Rhinebeck is in a few weeks and I have never been before, sounds like a great reason to me.


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I’m coming back

I have a HUGE apology coming to all of you.

I’m not dead. Just life has temporarily overwhelmed me? Is the best I can state.

I love all of you. Expect a real post this week. I will revive this and things will be better!

Much love,
Jessie Ebersole


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Resurrection Tuesday: I Think I May Be Dying Edition

So I was not able to resurrect any knitting last night and I have a very good explanation.

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Our air conditioner broke yesterday and it is 90 degrees in my house… I will not be knitting or sleeping until this is resolved.

Right now even just thinking about knitting is making me hotter…. I hope this is fixed soon.

P.S. I am really looking forward to snow right now. 57 days!!

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