Vintage Flowers, and Pears

Vintage Pears and Flowers

I have finally gotten my desk together, and all my stamping supplies sorted after replacing my computer. I bought some more storage for all my stuff, and have spent the past few days organizing and sorting, and even throwing some stuff out!

Now that that is (mostly) done, I can get back to making! This card uses Papertake Weekly’s Sketch #35, and also fits the Simon Says Challenge of Vintage with Flowers. I stamped the green embossed background with a handwriting stamp, although it doesn’t show up too well in the photos. I pulled the pear paper and the stripe out of my scrap bin because they had the same green. I’d already cut the papers when I went to choose a stamp. I knew I wanted to use one of my many collage-y stamps, but I’d forgotten I had one with a pear in it!

Vintage Pears and Flowers

That made choosing the stamp very easy. I used flowers with writing on to tie in with both the focal stamp, and the background I stamped. The collage is stamped in brown ink on some Martha Stewart vellum. There’s a tiny bit of adhesive on each corner, which I disguised with the flowers and pearls.

Some Knitting Funnies

I’ve been working away on both pairs of mittens, although I’ve had a bit of a crisis of faith with the thrummed ones. I wanted them to be a surprise for Patrick, but  I keep wondering if they’ll fit! The thrums are huge, and I keep worrying they’re too big, so I spend the entire night staring at them, trying them on, imagining my hands were bigger… I’m back on the Fiddlehead mittens now, working the last lining.

I bought a new computer, and have just gotten to the point where I think I have everything I need transferred over. I now have a beautiful 21.7″ iMac sitting on my desk, instead of my 6-year old, 14″ iBook laptop. I have so much more crafting space now!

I found a few references to knitting in a couple different places recently, and took screenshots so I could share.

Etsy Knitting

This is an Etsy error message. I love how the skein of yarn has an unhappy face too!

Now, you can expect knitting-related things on Etsy. But can you expect them in silly little games?

Peggle Knitting

This is a screen shot from one of my favourite games, Peggle. The various characters help you through the levels, and they have these random words of wisdom sometimes that have nothing to do with the game. I thought this one very apt.

…and then my fingers fell off

Last week, I made a lot of stitch markers. Like, really lots. As I posted on Twitter, 200+ stitch markers over the course of a couple days! My fingers are just now recovering.

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Here’s just a few of them being packaged up before being sent off to The Knitting Nest in Austin, Texas. This is the second order I’ve sent out there, so I’m very excited! Thank you, Texas!

I use that turquoise Scor-Pal mat a lot on my desk, and not just for paper crafts. I have a glass-topped desk (Vika Gruvan, from Ikea), and I shove store stuff in the space underneath. Sometimes that gets distracting, and I “lose” stitch markers (especially the wire ones) because they blend in to whatever is underneath.

I designed myself new business cards for the new year, you can see them there. It’s the same design I threw together for Sock Summit, tweaked and professionally printed, instead of printed on my home printer.

And the hero of my “store” packaging (I do less on my Etsy orders, to save the world a few extra plastic bags) is my lovely green Swingline.

DSC03430.JPG My stapler. While I wouldn’t burn down a building for it, it is very helpful.

Peeking through the window

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I love combining stamps from different companies almost as much as I like combining papers from different lines. I decided that this window stamp from Local King needed someone peeking through it. I don’t have any people stamps except Tilda, so there she is!

I stamped the window in brown ink on to a kraft paper envelope that was in my scrap bin, then coloured it with Copics. The bricks are R27 with a bit of W00 for shading.

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I inked up just the top part of Tilda with Bike, and stamped her in brown on white Copic paper. I coloured her red to match the bricks, and those red pears in the background paper.

The sentiment (seconds minutes hours days weeks I Miss You) is from Penny Black. I stamped it in brown on to some twill ribbon. It’s easiest to read from a distance, I wish I had a fine brown multiliner to touch it up, but I only have black.

Knitting New Year

I’ve been thinking more about my Knitting New Year idea, and I think I may forge on with it. The guidelines I’d set for myself would be to have finished all my current Works in Progress by my birthday, April 2nd. I don’t think this is an unreasonable goal, considering I have most of March off from work, and the work I’m doing from now until then is fairly knit-friendly.

If I meet my current knitting goals, the thrummed mittens will be done by February 28th, and the Fiddleheads by March 7th (although I think I’ll be done before then).

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Ideally, I’d finish both by February 28th.

That leaves me with the following projects to finish (or frog) by April 2:

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These socks just need a lot of ends weaving in – I could do that in a day.

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This modular linen shopping bag. I don’t want to frog this! For some reason I stopped working on it, then lost it. I found it again recently, tucked away in the storage room. I’ve stolen the needle from it for the thrummed mittens, but that doesn’t matter because mittens must be done first!

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These socks will the challenge. They’re knee socks, and I’ve got one knit down to the ankle. Problem is, they’re a titch tight. I think I will soak and block what I’ve got so far, to see if that will loosen up the knitting. If it does, I continue to knit and have a wearable pair of socks. If it doesn’t, then I have to make the hard decision. I may also submit these to the Stampede knitting showase, if I do, do I need (or want) them to fit me?

And those are actually all the projects I have on the needles right now. The issue is that while I want the projects done and out of my knitting bags, there are other things I want to knit! My first Unique Sheep Lord of the Strings sock club kit arrived last week, and I joined the Evenstar Shawl knitalong. It is very hard not to jump in to those projects right now.

Maybe if I’m disciplined, I can finish the above projects (Fiddleheads, P’s mitts, Toe Socks, bag, green socks) I’ll have time before my birthday to cast on a new project. That will be completely allowed in the rules, because this challenge is to make me finish those things that have been hanging around.

Chocoholic

That season is sneaking up on us again, the season of bunnies and chocolates. Well, really any time of year is the time for chocolate, it’s just now the bunnies start sneaking in to it too.

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I have a lot of stamps, but just had to buy this set at my LSS last week. There are 3 different chocolate-related sentiments to go with bunny and his box of chocs. The stamps are by My Favorite Things.

I bought the set knowing I would paper piece the chair, I can just see a whole series of these cards, with different patterned chairs.

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And of course, little chocolate cupcakes all over the paper. :) I bought this DCWV paper pack ages ago for my recipe book, as it is all desserts.

DSC03434.JPG I coloured the bunny with copics, and added some Spica pen sparkle to the chocolates.

Mitten #3 of 6

My Olympic knitting is coming along – I’ve finished both colourwork parts of the Fiddlehead mittens, and I’m on to the first lining:

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And after work last night, I’m almost up to the spot to start decreasing for the top.

I’ve decided that these mittens are probably better known as my work knitting mittens. I’ve done all the work so far on them at work, and I think I’ll try to finish them entirely at work, so they can be the playRites festival mittens.

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The other mittens, the ones I want to finish while the Olympics are on… I started them yesterday! I haven’t brought them in to work yet, because I don’t really want to be tied down with thrums at work. The other mittens are so easy right now, just plain knitting, that they’re perfect for work.

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Not bad progress for just one session’s knitting. I’m still confident I can get these done before the Olympics end, although I may have to give in and bring them to work.

I’ve been toying with the idea of making my birthday the “knitting new year”, and either finishing everything up or frogging it, so I have no WIPs on my birthday. My birthday is April 2, so it might just be possible. Still thinking about that, while I work crazily on mittens.

Bliss in the kitchen

I wanted to use the other side of the pink kitchen-patterned paper that I used on this card.

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I coloured in Kitchen Tilda to match the paper. I rarely do this, I usually colour images with no idea what I’m going to do with them, then try to fit them to papers.It is much easier to get a cohesive card when you do it the other way, though!

I broke down and finally bought some Nestabilities dies, and I have to say I love them. I bought the set of 4 oval sets, thinking they’d be the most versatile, and I love using them already. I have a Cuttlebug machine, and they go through perfectly.

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The buttons are all vintage buttons from a jar I bought at an antique store, and the ribbon I coloured with a Copic marker so it would match too. The Blue button was a shank button, but I managed to break the plastic shank off with pliers so it would lie flat. The thread in the little turquoise button was already in it!

I’ve used the Sketch Saturday #90 sketch for inspiration, Magnolia Down Under wanted to see ‘Flowers, Buttons, & Bows’ on your card, and Simon Says Stamp wanted to see ‘3 types of embellishments, 2 patterned papers, 1 image’, so this is a 3-challenge card!

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And yes, for the record, I do find baking quite blissful. Cooking dinners and meat? Not so much. I’d take cake or pie over steak any day.

Top Chef

After spending Monday making a fancy cake, I thought I needed to make a card with Chef Tilda. This isn’t a stamp I own, I received some stamped images in a prize from The Stamp Shoppe, and this was one.

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I’m entering it in another Stamp Shoppe challenge, which is to make a card in ‘Swedish Style’. Magnolias are Swedish stamps, and there is a particular look to the cards in Magnolia magazine, but it’s a little hard to imitate without quite knowing exactly what it is. I think the secret is layers, ribbon, and flowers, which I have, but I do feel my card is still much more simple. I liked the pink kitchen-pattern paper though, so I let a lot of it show.

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The spoon and the tag were cut from some of my oldest supplies – it was a sheet of various vintagey things.

I gave Tilda a gingham dress by colouring like normal, then going back with the colourless blender and drawing a grid of lines.

DSC03411.JPG I might have to purchase this stamp for myself – I love the whole line of kitchen/chef Magnolias.

Gingerbread Beer Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting

Monday, I set out to make a 3-layer cake. I love the cake book Sky High, and jump at any chance to make a fancy cake.

I started with the Gingerbread Beer cake – I found a fancy ‘porter’ beer, because that’s what the recipe recommended. I got out my 3 8″ cake pans (well, 2 8″ cake pans, and 1 8″ springform), and my beloved new KitchenAid mixer and went at it.

I realised that I had no parchment paper or even waxed paper in the house, so I just sprayed extra grease into the pans. Here are my 3 layers after getting them out of the pans:

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On the first two I managed to scrape the stuck bits out of the pan and put them back on the cakes (with varying levels of success). The third one was so stuck I just ate those bits with a fork, and left the cake with a hole in it.

Because my friend is lactose-intolerant, I couldn’t do the tasty bittersweet chocolate & cream icing called for in the recipe. I looked through the book and found the ‘instant fudge frosting’ from a vanilla cake, and decided to use that. That frosting called for 6 tablespoons of half and half – I bought soy coffee creamer to use for that. I figured that 6 tablespoons was easier to substitute than the 1.5 cups called for in the other recipe!

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That frosting, by the way? One of the easiest things ever. You just dump all the ingredients in to your food processor and process until smooth. That’s it.

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My cake looks different, probably because I’m not a professional, but I like to think it is because I had a smaller tip than called for on my icing bag.

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I thought myself very clever for covering a cutting board in tinfoil to put the cake on – I even remembered the paper strips around the edges so the board would stay clean. Then, I went to put the cake in the cake carrier:

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Oops. Now what? The cake carrier is definitely the easiest way to transport cakes and cupcakes, plus I felt that I get to use it rarely enough that I damn well wanted to use it today.

In an amazing feat (undocumented because my hands were busy) I cut a 9″x9″ square from a cardboard box, unrolled the tinfoild from the edges of the cutting board, and slipped the cardboard under the cake, from under the foil. I got about halfway when I just started pushing the whole cake off the cutting board. At that point though, I could pull on the tinfoil to move the cake onto my nicely-size piece of cardboard. Wrapped the edges of the foil around that, and voila! No catastrophe!

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Along with the pinwheel, this cake also has dino sprinkles. For the same friend’s birthday last year, I promised to make cake with dinosaur sprinkles. I thought it was a joke, but I actually found some at the grocery store, so I bought them. I wasn’t really thinking about how many dino sprinkles were in that container – every cake I make from now until eternity will have dino sprinkles.

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Card Deja Vu

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If you feel like you’ve seen this card before from me, you have! I made this card and wrote about it here on January 27th:

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That original card was one of my first attempts at colouring a digital stamp, and well before I had tried photocopying my images so the ink wouldn’t run. I tried to turn the smudges in to eyeshadow, but it wasn’t enough to make me happy with it, so I just pulled her off the card.

The base has sat around on my desk since them, while I tried to decide what to do with it. I had ordered Tilda and bike on my last Stamp Shoppe order, and suddenly remembered this sentiment from a Local King stamp set. I thought it’d be great to put all 3 of these things together – the card has flowers all over it, Tilda has a bunch of flowers, it’s perfect! I think the sentiment shows love, even though it doesn’t literally have the word ‘love’ in it, so I’m submitting this to the Just Magnolia ‘Love’ challenge.

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“If happy thoughts were flowers – I would send you a bouquet.”

Re-using this base got me thinking about my two favourite hobbies – knitting and paper crafting, and how we crafters go about stuff.

As a knitter, if I knit a sweater (or sock, or mitten, or anything) I didn’t like, I would probably pull the whole thing apart to reuse the yarn. It might take me a while to get up the courage to do it, but it is always a definite possibility in the back of my mind while knitting.

As I’ve been a knitter and hanging out with knitters online much longer than I have with papercrafting, I don’t know what stampers do in such situations. Just about every stamping blog I read (you can see my feed list here) has daily posts of perfectly lovely cards. Does anyone ever feel unhappy with their cards? Do they ever say ‘screw this one!’ and salvage what papers and embellishments they can?

I feel like with knitters you get way more of the ‘behind the scenes’ of the project. Then again, knitting a sweater can take months, and cards can be anywhere upwards of 5 minutes – but I think that’s a whole other set of musings about crafts.

Fiddlehead #1

Here is Fiddlehead Mitten #1!

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This was knit entire at work, backstage. The three middle colours were the easiest sections, because of the high contrast. The pale purple tip of the hand was very hard – it’s always dark backstage, the lights are tinged blue, so high contrast is good. But, with the help of a headlamp, I managed it!

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I even wove in all the ends before I started mitten #2! I’m halfway through the dark purple section of mitten #2, so I’m doing quite well.

I’ve decided to join the Knitting Olympics, and my project will be thrummed mittens for my boyfriend. The yarn is black though, so I think that pair may be home knitting only.

Besides, I’d confuse people at work if I started working on a new project.

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Heart Cookies

Last year for Christmas (and I mean Christmas 2008 here) I used a Chapters gift certificate to buy myself the book Cookie Craft. I’ve been wanting to make fabulously decorated sugar cookies ever since. This year, as I have three opening nights in a row leading up to Valentine’s Day, I decided to make use of the set of heart cookie cutters my mum sent me last year, and make some cookies.

Heart Cookies!

I’d also been putting this project off because I wasn’t sure how reliable my old mixer was, and how/if I’d have to change any directions. New mixer put paid to all these fears!

I went with two colours of royal icing, although you can see I didn’t do a very good job of matching the pink piping and flood colours. Then came the fun of packaging!

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I used that little box pattern I love so much, and paper from the 10 / $1 bin. I chose two papers so the lids would be different, and I mixed up which was the box and which was the lid a bit too.

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Then I found a mostly-coordinating colour of vintage seam binding from my stash to tie little bows to close the boxes and attach the tags. For the tags, I just cut 12 rectangles, then used an edge punch on the bottom of each. I just punched a hole through one side of the box for convenience, and because I didn’t have a lot of the same colour ribbon!

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The plastic container in the back has the extras – I only made boxes for stage management and actors, the plastic container went in to the green room for crew and designer types. Anyone who was around, really.

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I had a lot of fun making both cookies and boxes, but I have to say that I wouldn’t have managed it if I hadn’t had two days off from work.

My Valentine

With all the cards I’m making, I still needed to make a Valentine’s Day card for my wonderful boyfriend of almost 5 years. I did it with him right here in the room, because he doesn’t know which cards I’m keeping, nor did he actually ever look over at my desk. :)

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I used one of my favourite heart stamps (Heartlines by Impression Obsession), stamped in brown ink, then coloured in. I also used some of my new favourite paper, this amazing woodgrain by Bo Bunny. It was in the 10 / $1 section of my local scrapbook store. I almost passed it by, because the other side, the side that was on display, was an old wood gym floor with basketball markings. Turn it over, it’s the same wonderful floor, without the black lines!

I bought a lot of this paper for another project, and I have a lot left over, so I’ll be using it fairly often I think.

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I used the sketch from Papertake Weekly #34 to get me going, and the card also qualifies for Simon Says Stamp, and Cute Card Thursday‘s challenges this week – both are looking for Love-themed cards this week, oddly enough.

Pink Lilacs

I bought a couple new Magnolia stamps from The Stamp Shoppe, along with my new issue of Magnolia Ink magazine (I think I may do a post on that later…). This stamp is Tilda with Lilacs.

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Magnolia Down Under is having a pink & grey Magnolia card challenge, so I coloured the lilacs pink, and put Tilda in a simple grey dress.

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I also decided to use this wonderful marbled paper I’ve been hoarding. It was in a pack of handmade papers I bought a while ago. The lace is vintage, from a lady’s sewing stash I found on craigslist a couple years ago. There are tons of colours of seam binding, and a fair amount of this lace in a few colours.

I found out Copic will be doing certifications in Calgary this April, but I’m working. sigh. I think I’m going to try to remember to take notes or photos of the markers I use – if only for my reference!

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I know there’s a lot of talk about colour blending groups with Copics, making sure you use them in sequence: ie YG63, YG65, and YG67 are all increasingly darker versions of the same colour. I love mixing outside those groups though! For instance, I used two colours for Tilda’s hair: Y26, and E35. And even though Y26 is technically darker (the second number, 6, is higher than 5) I put it down first, then did shadows with E35, then blended out with Y26. It’s all about experimenting. I even blended a bit of RV13 (pink) into the ribbons on the end of her braids, which I coloured with C1, a grey! I just love colour. :)

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I also love sticky-back pearls that come in a line – I don’t have to worry about spacing them out myself!

May Your Day Be Special

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Just a simple card for the CPS sketch for this week. I haven’t had much time to sit down at my desk this past week – but work will certainly ease off to nice and leisurely by this Saturday. I’m very excited.

I used an orange card base, and two patterned papers I found in the sale section of the scrapbook store. I covered the join with a piece of Scor-Tape, then poured orange microbead glitter all over it. I like that the sentiment could be for any occasion, including every day!

Fine Fiddlehead Start

So, once the toe socks were finished, and the Druid mittens frogged, I needed a new project. I actually needed a new project within 15 minutes so I could head out the door to work! I grabbed the Fiddlehead Mitten kit I bought from my LYS, Make One Yarns. I grabbed about 3 different needle sizes, and ran out the door.

I wound up the yarns by hand, putting the skeins over the back of a chair backstage, and started knitting. The kit even suggests the best way to swatch for a mitten is to just start knitting!

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This was 3 days of work! They were 12-hour days, but I definitely don’t knit the whole time at work, just when I’m hurry-up-and-waiting.

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I got up to colour #4, just a few rows of dark purple. These will be lined mittens, so I’ll end up basically making 4 mittens, but they will be super warm! And hopefully slightly less like oven mitts than my thrummed mittens are.

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Time for time

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This little bear is one of the CHA relay digital stamps from The Greeting Farm. He is blue because my constant childhood companion was a homemade, stuffed blue bear called (very originally) Blue Bear. This is almost exactly how I imagined him looking when he came to life while I slept. :)

I had just bought the clock paper, and have had the word stickers for a long time, so the card is a great combination of old and new, digital and not.

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I coloured the bear, then painted over him with clear Tim Holtz crackle paint. I did that before I cut out the image – the paper curled, as paper will, but trimming him after seemed to reduce a lot of the curl. So did a good taping down to the card. :)

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These are the colours I used, and a mostly pre-blending photo (I’d already blended the legs when I remembered to take the picture!)

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And for the record, here’s a picture of the real Blue Bear, modeling a baby sweater.

The Fate of the Druid Mittens

So I finished the green and blue toe socks, I’m just waiting until I can get some good photos. I thought I might as well start on the Druid mittens, maybe get them done before the Olympics start so I can start a new Olympic project.

Too Small Mitten

I opened the knitting bag, and pulled out the entire mitten (except thumb) I had knit with needles much too small (2.00mm). Then I pulled out the half a mitten knit on 2.5mm needles. I decided I didn’t like that fabric either, so I ripped both partial mittens, and started again with 3.00mm needles. I managed to knit the whole cuff with the yarn I’d just frogged. Yarn that had been living as a mitten for more than a year. Then I realised that looked bad, and would probably continue to look bad, even after blocking, so I ripped that cuff too. Then I started with fresh yarn from the ball. Last night I did the first few rows, and decided I wasn’t sure if I liked the fabric, if it was too loose or holey or what.

So I frogged that, and have decided to forget about those mittens for a while. I’ll probably knit the pattern sometime or other, and I’m sure I’ll use the yarn in something else, but I think I just need to take the curse off that project by not trying to force it.

Luckily, I have a Fiddlehead Mitten Kit just waiting to be started! I was going to save that for the Knitting Olympics, but I have to head to work in 20 minutes, and will need knitting. Excuse me, I have to run and find some needles!

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