It has been since I last bought yarn!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Squeaker

I seem to always forget that Halloween-Christmas are my insanely busy months.  I had intended to post yesterday but there is only 24 hours in a day... and I could use about 36 in order to get everything done I want/need to.  Intentions are all well and good... but they're not substitute for an actual accomplishments.

I started November with some lofty goals.  2 faire isle mittens and one plain mitten.  To put it bluntly- I didn't get there.  I got close-ish?

I'm just barely squeaking by but fresh off the presses (and still a little damp in these photos 😕) are the sexily named "NORDIC STYLE #3" mittens.

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Pattern: Nordic Style Mittens (#3) by Shona Smith 
Yarn: Cascade Yarn 220 8505 (White) & Diamond Luxury Pure Wool Superwash 930 (blue)
Needles: US 2.5
Notes: I don't really have much to add to this, except to compliment the pattern designer who wrote a very concise pattern.  So good... might do it again!

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Faire Isle mitten #2- I've got nothing. Hoping to cast on something tonight and eek them out prior to school being done on the 21st.  Wish me luck... and a change in time to 36 hours a day.

The Zimushka mittens are close.... they just need thumbs.

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I'm hoping to have these done by the end of the weekend.  These need some serious blocking.  If I were to knit these again I would go up a needle size.  These fit my hands (which are small) but they are tight.  I'm not sure I'm going to gift them to anyone other than my sister... who has teeeeeny tiiiiiiiiiny hands.  We'll see what happens after blocking.  They're good looking though!

And that's where we're at today.  I'd really like these mittens done because I want to move along to some easier projects... but gifts first.  Hopefully I'll have some good news to report soon!  Let's do this December!




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Hey Let's Knit Mittens!" she says

"Hey let's all knit mittens" I ambitiously said at the beginning of the month, totally ignoring the fact that we were planning a trip away, Parker was off school for a week and that his birthday would be consuming precious hours of my time.

oops.

There's progress.... there just isn't the progress that I was hoping to show you.  I may be a little ambitious on my goals... but we forge ahead.  The Nordic style mitten is actually looking fairly promising for a November finish... we got here yesterday, a large part thanks to my MiL who offered to occupy the child for the afternoon.

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Worsted mittens are so satisfying... once you get past the thumb they practically knit themselves!

Zimushka (which is appropriate right now since my audiobook is about Russia and the Romanov family) mittens are also slowly coming to form.  I'm hoping they will move along much quicker once I have some time to do some parking lot knitting while I wait for Parker's school to be out.

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I had hoped that I would have a complete pair at this point... but instead....

We were San Francisco-ing...

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Birthday Celebrating...

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and Kitty snuggling.... (He is not cuddly but lately he can't get enough of being on my lap on a quiet afternoon.  It is glorious to have a cat to snuggle but so so so so SO bad on productivity.)

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But fear not... all of these distractions (minus an impending birthday party and random kitty snuggles) are behind us and I look forward to the remainder of the month.  I am hopeful at least I will have 2 pairs of mittens to speak of on Nov 30... with maybe more if I can still grind out some time.

Further motivating me is my desire to knit a hat and mittens for myself, which I will not even entertain until I am certain that I have an adequate number of mitten gifts to hand out to teachers.  It's going to be busy around here- so let's grind out some mittens!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mitten Month is NOW- NaMiKnitMo

It's November 1 and, as promised, I am ready for a mitten knitting marathon!  I MUST knit 2 pairs of stranded mittens and at least one pair of regular mittens this month.  In all cases I really want to keep it to stash yarn and bust that down at the same time.  JOIN ME will you?  I've dubbed it NaMiKnitMo (National Mitten Knitting Month).

The "at home" mitten project is cast on and ready to begin.  Say hello to the sexily named- Nordic Style Mittens- stranded project #1.  (Worsted is my new jam baby!)

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My "on the go" project is the Zimushka Mittens.  (LOVE the name of these!)

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Both projects are using up stash yarn and I'm hoping that once I really take off on these they'll basically knit themselves right up.

BUT WAIT... weren't you going to finish up some stuff too?  Well.... yes so glad you asked.

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Pattern: Maudie by General Hogbuffer
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in colorway 1267
Needles: US 1.5
Notes: I did the cast on of 76 stitches.  General Hogbuffer knows their way around a sock.  Not only do their patterns produce incredibly satisfying and beautiful results, the instructions are TOP NOTCH.  This pattern looks complicated but is not... and I love stuff like that.

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These socks are STUNNERS.

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And the sweater.... the sweater is not done.  Progress was made but as the Halloween date approached life just got busier and I found myself with less time to devote to seaming.  (To be totally honest- I also had less motivation... I hate seaming.)

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(So. Many. Ends. To. Weave. In.)

I've made an agreement with myself that this sweater must not be in a "to be seamed" pile at the end of the year.  Before the close of 2017 this sweater will be DONE.  It just will sit back for a bit while I complete the mitten Marathon.

Speaking of Halloween... would you like to see us this year?

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(Star Wars is still a very big thing here- and so when you let your kid choose the costumes, you risk duplicate themes.  Darth Vader, Luke & Leia say hi!... also let's discuss how HUGE my big kid is getting!)

November is kicking off to a great start and it's even SNOWING... which is the perfect inspiration to knit.  How many mittens do you guys think I'll do this month? 

Monday, October 23, 2017

We're Talking About Progress!

GUYS- let's just cut to the chase because it's been so long.... A FINISHED THING FOR US ALL TO BEHOLD!

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Pattern: Dreams of Granada Baby Blanket by Triona Murphy
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in 112 Moonstone (Guys! Stash! Yarn! Go me!)
Needle: US 8
Notes: None of the notes on Ravelry are lying to you... this cast on is a bit of a bear.  It's 480 stitches.  FOUR! HUNDRED! EIGHTY!  It's also really REALLY hard not to twist.  I highly recommend heeding the advice of everyone on Ravelry (that I plain ignored at first, but ultimately followed), knit the first few garter rows and then try to join in the round.  It's much easier not to twist.

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It's a lovely pattern really.  Once you get into the actual knitting part of it, it isn't all that hard.  I will also note that it does puff up a bit in the middle in the second cable section.  It blocks out flat- so don't lose faith, but it does make it a bit more high maintenance for the poor mom washing this thing cuz she's going to have to lie it flat dry.  Maybe I'll just tell the recipient to drop it off to me and I'll wash it and re-block it for her... all the time.  haha.

Still... despite the plumping, it is a really pretty blanket and OH so clever for the rows to get shorter and shorter.  There is no more glorious moment than when you remove the second circular add on because you don't need it anymore and just have enough stitches for one cable.  It's glorious.

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I've also got a whole sweater... in pieces that I'm ready to contend with.  I must admit I've gone from
"KNIT THIS ALL THE TIME" on this project to feeling rather blase on the whole "sew this up" now.  I just need to dig in and do it... hoping that deadline I set for myself inspires me to another thing for the finished column.  After all... NaMiKnitMo approaches!

Don't worry about the sock- there isn't enough progress to actually take the time to snap a photo of it, but it is also getting some love- and I'm hoping it sees itself off the needles soon too.  My October distractions have kicked in, (Oh there IS stuff to do for Halloween afterall and Parker's birthday party also needs some attention...) but I'm still plugging away.  Stitch by stitch we'll get there.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall Motivation

It is Oct 15th.  It is Oct 15th and I don't have a firm grip on our Halloween costume situation this year.  Every October is usually a "write off" for me... trying to get Halloween cased.  This year?  MEGA Lazy.  This is slightly because the child wants to do Star Wars again, despite husband and I desperately trying to point him in another direction.  And so, the costumes for us aren't tricky to do- and, (mom willing), Parker's idea shouldn't be too tricky either.  Mom and I will visit Fabricland tomorrow and hopefully have it all sorted by the end of the day.

Without Halloween as a usual distraction- I have more time to focus on my other projects at hand... specifically my big blue sweater.

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It's starting to look like a real live sweater isn't it?  I've got the right front ready to go next, just need to cast on and get knitting... which will hopefully happen after this post.  I'm hoping potentially by the end of this week to actually start sewing it up!

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Pile 'O Sweater Pieces!

I've even given Maudie some love and have finally turned the heel and begun the foot!

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What I haven't done and need to do, is block the Grenada Blanket.  I'm slooooooow on that front.  I have the blocking board but the motivation hasn't been there.  It needs to get there.  Come on motivation!

I've decided to make a goal for October in order to motivate myself to a finish.  By October 31 I want to be DONE the sweater, the socks AND the blanket.  It's ambitious but not unmanageable.  It would also free up my brain for November.  A lot of people participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November.  I'm declaring it NaMiKnitMo- National Mitten Knitting Month!  Specifically, I'd like to knit FOUR pairs.  I'd really like to go into December feeling indulgent in my knitting.  BUT, it means that I have to knit up four mittens prior to that.  Anyone want to set their own November Mitten knitting goal and join me!?

As hard as it is to say goodbye to summer, I'm enjoying all of this fall motivation and knitting desire!  See you with some finished items (hopefully) soon!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Rolling With It

Great news- (but not if you are the one of many things like dishes and laundry in my house), my desire to knit over anything else continues at a great pace.  "Oh there's laundry to do?  Maybe tomorrow I really want to finish this sleeve."  "Oh I should go through Parker's closets and get rid of things he doesn't fit anymore and clean out the winter gear?   NOPE... knitting instead."  "Work out twice a week like you said you would after Parker went back to school?  NO- that takes up valuable knit time!"  I am a woman posessed and quite frankly... I'm just rolling with it.  (I am going once a week to my Barre workout lest you worry about my well being...)

The grey baby blanket went from 450 stitches to EIGHT and is now off the needles!

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Ends need to be sewn in and lordy does thing need a good blocking... but we're getting there.  I am concerned that the level of blocking required isn't conducive to gifting an "easy to care for blanket" but I might be too far along at this point to care.  Baby isn't due until mid November, I could potentially eek out something simple-ish.

And, as I confessed last week I am wholly consumed with knitting the giant sweater.  It is all I want to do.  I've been using it as "reward" knitting.  You want to knit a sleeve?  FIRST Cast off of the blanket!  You want to do the other sleeve?  I think that Maudie sock needs it's heel turned first!

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I've done the extensive math on adjusting my gauge for the sweater and am in the process of figuring out how many stitches I need to add in order to take it to my knees.  (Answer: a lot... )  But so far progress is moving along swimmingly.  I've already told myself that once the back is knit (currently in progress) I need to stop for another worsted mitten... and then will use the sweater as a bribe to get the mitten done. 

It helps that it has snowed already.  The weather has been either unusually warm or quite chilly.  But I don't know... maybe just giving the mojo the space it needed to return was the key.  I don't know what the key is... and I'd take the time to figure it out... but it cuts into my knitting time... which we just can't have right now.

I'm off to KNIT! ALL! THE! THINGS!

Monday, September 25, 2017

KNIT! ALL! THE! THINGS!

As the title would suggest we are well out of slump-ville these days.  In fact I kept putting off blogging (and various household "to do" list items) in favor of "just a few more rows".  I want to knit everything.  RIGHT NOW.  And quite frankly the fact that I can't just sit and knit and avoid all responsibilities I have is bumming me out.  I guess it's feast or famine with me.

The Granada blanket is growing!

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We've gone from 450 stitches to a really reasonable 168.  And I must say, the whole idea that you go from a whole lot of stitches to a whole lot less stitches is bloody brilliant!  I feel like rows go so quickly now.  I'm about to start another cabled section and I'm hoping it's going to add some size to the blanket.  I have some concerns about the size of this thing... but I'm holding on to hope for blocking to rescue the day.

The poor neglected Maudie socks are no longer neglected!

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In fact today I'm thinking I should probably take some time and just bang out the heel (always complicated) and get myself back to some easier knitting on the foot.  These are still lovely- and I've decided I'm keeping them.

I've also added to the stash....

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I am OBSESSED with a sweater.  OBSESSED.  I tried it in on in a store in NYC and let's just say the only reason it didn't come home with me is I had a hard time swallowing the cost.  Especially since in general it's a fairly simple shape.  The yarn has to be thick and soft.  And I decided that going the Lion Brand route was both a) cost friendly and b) a safer bet in case this whole thing blows up in my face.

An intensive Ravelry and Pinterest search resulted in the closest option... a vintage pattern.  And whooo boy, it's so vintage the pattern requires MAJOR brain power just to follow it.  (The schematic makes my head hurt.)  I need to do some conversion on the thing since I want it to sit longer in the length (just above my knees) so I'm planning to sit down and figure it out from the top down... at least for the back part.  (I'll knit sleeves first in order to assess gauge, cuz I'm also lazy.)

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I'm excited to take a bite out of this... especially since it's bulky yarn and shouldn't take me a terribly long time once I figure out what I'm supposed to do length wise.

Also- I want to knit ALL THE MITTENS... but I can't even wrap my head around that until I get some of these other things off my plate first.  But mittens... they are coming!  Prepare yourselves!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back to School

Y'all... I love my son fiercely... but I'm going to freely admit, back to school has me all...


It's back to school and TIME (sweet, glorious time how I have missed you!) to do all the things has suddenly returned!  On Parker's first day, {as I discreetly danced out the door}, I made a HUUUUGE list of things that I needed to accomplish.  So, of course, all I did was sit on the couch and jump into my knitting.  And then the next he went to school I said to myself "SELF- we're getting things done today!"  And so... I knit more.  GUYS- I want to knit again!

WHAT?!

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This may not look like a tonne of progress, but you need to factor in that each row is 450 stitches.  This is the Granada Baby blanket and it's knit from the outside IN.  I think it's clever that as the blanket progresses the stitches get LESS not more.  It's a bit of a bear to knit, but so far I'm engaged and the rest of the household stuff is getting neglected so I guess I'm feeling it!

I've also started back in on Maudie as my "car project" (got to be at the school 45 minutes prior to end or there's no way I get parking) and even that has slightly progressed.  I fixed the miss crossed cables and now we're onward and upward on that project.

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Looking ahead I need to get on the mitten train- Parker essentially has 1 million teachers this year  and I'm probably going to need like FIVE pairs if I want to continue the gifting tradition.  (Gah!  Thank god I discovered the joy of stranded WORSTED WEIGHT mittens!)  The good news is that I'm currently in a KNIT! ALL! THE! THINGS! mindset... which bodes well for you dear reader... who stuck it out with me in that rather dry stretch.  (Thank you!)  So back to ignoring the laundry and the closets I said I was going to clean today... there's knitting to do!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Momentum Builds

GUYS!  I have mittens to show you!

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Pattern: End of May Mittens by Mandy Powers
Yarn: Diamond Galway (5050 Turquoise) and Cascade 220 Superwash (white)
Needles: US 4
Notes:  I deviated from the pattern on the cuff and knit in a picot cuff, which I always thinks adds a pretty feminine touch.  I also decreased an extra row in the mitten at the end to close up less stitches together.

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Why didn't anyone tell me about how quick and satisfying faire isle WORSTED mittens are?  I opted to go up a needle size and would potentially go up even higher.  I am a fairly tight stranded knitter (it's stressful!) and sometimes the mittens need more give than I'm knitting in them.  However that cannot stop me from how completely charmed I am by these!  It's a lovely pattern and I think I see more worsted/stranded mittens in the near future.

As if that wasn't a great way to start I even got MORE things done.  I finished up the toe on the first Maudie sock and cast on for the 2nd!

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(Frustrating though, as I was taking this photo I found major issues in the cables where I screwed up so will be ripping back about 12 rows... boo.)

Aaaaaaand I made the commitment to a new blanket for a little baby due in November... and even cast on.

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I won't tell you WHAT it is yet- but I will tell you I had to cast on 450 stitches.  It's a unique construction and I'm hoping that it's not going to make me crazy.  Also BONUS- used STASH YARN!

This is our last week of summer vacation.  It's back to school next week and I will fully admit that I'm looking forward to some uninterrupted knitting time.  I'm ready to get some things finished and keep building on the knitting.  Hope your summer is ending as warm and beautifully as ours is!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SHHHHHHH

SHHHHHHHHHHH nobody make any sudden movements.  Don't say ANYTHING... but, and I'm almost afraid to say this out loud so I will say it very quietly.... I think the mojo might be returning.  GAH- DON'T FRIGHTEN IT... whatever you do DO. NOT. FRIGHTEN. IT.

I finished the socks.... because they were easy and once I got going I found they progressed quite quickly.

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Pattern: Take Five Socks by DKissinger (Free Pattern!  {with, also free, membership to Ravelry!})
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici "Surf's Up"
Needles: US 1
Notes: GREAT pattern for a self striping yarn, just enough of "something" to keep you interested but not enough that you need to pay the world's closest attention.  I changed the heel to an "eye of the partridge" heel which I always prefer and as always, broke the yarn for a more even stripe pattern.

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I always appreciate a pattern that isn't just a plain sock but still compliments the wide stripes of the felici.  Long time readers will remember that this year I wanted to knit at least 2 Felici socks out of my stash and I'm happy to report I've not accomplished that.

The sock was done and I had this unfamiliar feeling... I wanted to take a bite out of something else.  A new project.  Something small.  Something that would check a box... something that wasn't too finicky.

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And so a mitten in worsted weight was born.  It's the right amount of "oooo lookie" without being too finicky and also adds a pair of mittens to the pile for Christmas when I like to give gifts to teachers.  And so far it looks kind of great.

I've also been on Ravelry a lot, looking at baby blanket patterns, as that is also going to be needed by mid November.  I'm having a hard time committing to a plan but I'm hoping a lunch with the mama this week might give me some clues in which direction I can go and maybe motivate me a little more.

And now.... quietly... I'm going to get back to the mitten.  And maybe make more progress!  I leave you with a few photos from our family's "stay-cation" this year... being around home has certainly allowed for regular routines, including knitting, to pop back into my life.

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(We climbed a mountain!)

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(We did pottery painting- that was Parker's idea.)

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(Zoo day)

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(Beach day!)

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(Mountain biking)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NEWS BULLETIN

WE INTERRUPT YOUR REGULARY SCHEDULED KNITTING MOJO WHINING TO BRING YOU THIS IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

I finished something.

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Pattern: Cuddly Monster Blanket by Rebecca Danger
Yarn: Diamond Luxury Collection Pure Wool in 930 (Blue) and 934 (Blue-Green)
Needles: US 7
Notes: Instead of stuffing the hands I left them flat as I figured it would make the inevitable need to wash it a lot easier.  It's a whole "lotta" garter stitch.  You will hate garter stitch when it's over, but you will also love the finished product.

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I'm the first to admit this... I gave this project a whole bunch of hate nearly from day one.  I didn't like the way the colors were blending and worried about the blue being too purple.  I worried about the size being too small.  I wanted desperately at several points just to be done the whole thing.  But in the end... when the last end was woven in and I took a step back I surprised myself by liking it.  Even husband was like "hey that turned out great!"  It's really stinkin' cute and I think the couple will love it.  (Even if it's a little late... oops!)

It feels good to have this off the needles and I've already started thinking about the next blanket that needs to get going soon.  I'm setting the goal to start Aug 1- so I have some time to mess around on Ravelry and find something I can really sink my teeth into.  I'm weirdly motivated on this so I'm hoping blanket #2 is what get the mojo back into the swing of things.

In other news- I've had two hours to kill time this week and both times I brought my Take 5 sock to work on, only to completely ignore it.  I realized that I didn't want to work on it because it was bothering me that the (hardly noticeable) problem of the pattern not lining up was subconsciously bugging me and I didn't want to work on it.  So- I fixed that problem.

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Left is before, right is after.  I frogged the entire leg- which sucks... but honestly I'm more interested in knitting it today than I have been in months so it was the right, but difficult call.  Hopefully we can get that off the needles soon and drive ahead to something else.

Also I need to report that my foray into the Stampede wasn't it's usual success- mostly because I didn't really put in my regular effort.  I entered my Sydanmaa Mittens from waaaay back.  They are lovely, they are knit perfectly and they are so soft... but I'm being honest- they aren't show stoppers.  And I knew that going in.  I was not surprised that I didn't win anything.  The good news in all of this is that the theme next year is "WILD ROSE" and oh lordy do I have some ideas swirling in my ole head!  So who knows... hopefully I can build on that momentum.

Speaking of building on momentum... (and entirely unrelated to knitting)... THIS HAPPENED yesterday and we are VERY. VERY. EXCITED.

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And so now my days will be spent outside trying to build on this momentum and get us to a good place by the end of the summer.

YOU MAY NOW RETURN TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED KNITTING.