A Special Black Friday Post

Allow me to digress for a few moments and on this Black Friday here in the States share some words to think about as you head out into the crazy crowds.

As I’ve hinted here and there it’s been a year of change for me.  Part of that change involved losing the only job I’ve had as a “real” adult.  It was not a job I loved or even liked so it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.  I was lucky and found something else to do right away but was still in a bit of panic about the financial end of things.  (Side note – I’m pretty sure in a past life I lived through the Great Depression which explains my never-ending financial panic).  I decided it was a good idea to get a second job as a cashier.  It’s what I did all through high school and college and I’ve always loved grocery stores.  I lasted about two months and Sunday was my last day but the two months reminded me of so much.

I want to share a few tips that you can keep in mind next time you are at the grocery store, or any other store.

  1. Your cashier is a person too – treat him/her that way.  You would be amazed by the varied backgrounds the people I worked with had.  Heck, your cashier might even be a burnt out attorney, you never know!  Either way, he/she is not below you in any way, shape or manner.  In fact he/she is probably putting a harder day’s work in then you would ever imagine.  I got a full body work out every night I went into work.
  2. 12 items or less means 12 items or less.  Don’t try to pretend you didn’t know or could not count. (Best explanation I got for this – “maybe she was using common core math”) If you’re close, go to a regular line.  You’re not only putting the cashier in an awkward position you are being rude to your fellow customers.
  3. When you use the baskets – empty them!  Do you think they empty themselves???  They don’t and most cashiers cannot put them in front of them because that is where the scanner is which forces them to lean and stretch and you often have heavy things in the bottom which only increases the chances of a work related injury.
  4. Don’t throw money at cashiers!  There’s nothing worse than something throwing a crumpled wad of bills on the belt and then staring at you as you try to sort how much is there. And, on the “don’t throw” list I would add your items on the belt.  If you’re throwing them from the cart onto the belt I’m not too worried about how I handle them on my end…
  5. Remember the cashier is the messenger in most situations.  When you’re item does not ring up correctly it’s not because the cashier was personally trying to overcharge you.  Screaming at him/her will not help the situation.
  6. Try to remember some basic manners.  Coming through the line munching away on the food you are buying is a bit rude.  If you’re kid needs a snack halfway through the store I get it but you’re an adult, I think you can wait until you’re through the line.  Likewise, handing me the empty container of food to be thrown away it kind of awful as well.
  7. Want to really drive your cashier crazy??  When an item doesn’t scan ask him/her if it’s free.  Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I heard this in the past two months I could’ve quit a lot sooner.  It’s not funny and we hear it all the time.  And, if it’s not scanning we’re probably a little stressed anyway so you’re joke is not helping.
  8. And last, but definitely not least, PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!!!  I loved that one of my friends who is not a cashier did a post on this recently.  Talking on the phone while you are trying to check out is rude and it often holds up the line because you are paying no attention to what is going on in front of you.  Likewise, texting, updating Facebook or whatever you are doing can wait until you are done paying.  True story – a woman came through my line one night and was discussing whether or not someone was going to stay on a ventilator.  Probably not the right time/place to be having that discussion.

So, as you do your holiday shopping keep in mind that cashiers are people too and during the holiday season they are probably way overworked and way underpaid so use your manners and be nice!

Here are a few other alternatives to the craziness that is Black Friday. Remember that Saturday is Small Business Saturday – visit your favorite local stores (I’m sure we all “need” something at our LYS) Or check out a local holiday market and support local crafters.  In Cleveland, check out the Cleveland Bazaar events here!



And, don’t forget that next Tuesday is #GivingTuesday.  There are plenty of charities that could use the extra few dollars at the end of the year. Gifts to charities also make great gifts – gifts that always fit and never go out of style :)



Holiday Inspirations

Well, there’s a whole bunch of Christmas knitting going on here at my house.  I just finished a custom order for a customer/friend for Christmas.  Many of the projects at the front of the line are hopefully going to be for Christmas.  As I sat down to write this post I was not entirely sure what I would write about but as I was scrolling through Instagram I was inspired by a post from HandsOccupied.  She shared a free pattern which is the first of her 12 Ornaments of Christmas and the first one is a cute star (check it out here).  I’m totally making one of these soon and can’t wait to see the rest of the ornaments.  I love quick, easy projects like this!

Anyway, it got me thinking so I did a quick search on Ravelry to find some other awesome holiday projects.  I put together a bundle on my Ravelry page so check it out here.

Christmas Ideas!

All of the patterns I chose are very Christmas themed and most are smaller projects but I have a few larger, more ambitious projects.  I think it’s clear that Christmas really brings out my love of Scandinavian knitting.  Something about the holiday just calls for all the awesome red, white patterns that are found in those patterns.  I like to be able to have some quick knits that I can give as gifts when needed.  They are super handy to have on hand or something that can be knit up quick if the need for a last minute gift arises.  I hope this inspires some holiday knitting!!

Do you know about creating a bundle on Ravelry?  This was the first time I created one and I think I enjoy the function. Basically, when you add a pattern to a favorite you can also add it to a bundle.  It cuts down on some of the scanning through all the favorites to find that one baby pattern or whatever you may be looking for.  I think I may create some more the next time I fall down the Ravelry rabbit hole.

Also, side note – I went through my favorites to bundle some of these because I love Christmas and I knew I had a lot of patterns already favorited.  And, I learned you should never go through your favorites because you see all of the awesome patterns that you needed to make “right now” and then you want to make them all.  And, I planned four more projects while flipping through, sigh…

Happy holiday knitting to all!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

It’s hard this month to share much because it’s a lot of Christmas knitting but I feel that it’s a pretty safe bet that my brother does not read this blog so I can talk about the hat I’m knitting him.  When I was in Fort Worth in January and made the stop at Mad Tosh Crafts I found these kits for various Texas colleges that would knit up a scarf or hat.  They had TCU (Texas Christian University) kits (which made sense as the store is about 10 minutes from campus) so I picked one up.  Despite the fact that my brother was born and raised in the Midwest he has become southern quite fast so a nice warm cap would serve him well and he does work for the Athletic Department at TCU.  Now, if only I could knit a colorwork hat between January and Christmas!

According to my Ravelry page I started the hat in June and the first couple of inches knit up fine – standard ribbing and then I hit the problem section.


The hat is knit flat, I’m sure due to the colorwork but as I continued to work I realized there was a huge issue with the chart. When it’s complete the white will spell out “Horned Frogs” which is the school’s team name.  As you can see the “g” is below the line so that’s what is in the picture and you need to start that and knit on it for a few rows before you find out if it matches with the rest of the words.  I should’ve realized it was a problem when my yarn was down at the “g” and I needed to start on the bottom of the “H” but I carried on and learned quickly that my letters were not matching up.  I counted, counted again, read the chart, double checked the written instructions and still got no where.  My next step was to turn to Ravelry.  The kit is put out Camas Creek Yarn and I found a group online and posted my question.  Basically, there were too many stitches and it did not tell you were to start the chart work.  I waited about a week and got no response.  I also sent a private message and not no response.  I finally tracked down an e-mail address on the website.

At first, I thought things were going to work out.  I finally got an e-mail response!!  She indicated she did not see an error on the pattern and offered to give me a call.  I responded with my phone number and some times I was available.  A week later she responded to my e-mail (after never calling) and explained the “g” dipped below the line (which I knew) and hoped that helped.  I gave up at that point.  Basically the pattern had you cast on 112 stitches and the chart for the colorwork was 74 stitches and there were no instructions on where to start the chart because obviously it needed to be centered.  I did the math myself and went on with my day.  The kit was really nice and the yarn was spot on for the colors of the school but I was disappointed with the lack of pattern support.

Once I finished the writing I decided to go ahead and join to knit the rest of the hat in the round.  I saw no point in continuing to work flat and having to purl back the long rows.  Plus, I was running low on yarn and needed to decrease the amount of the decrease rows to get it done.


I used the Knitulator on Eskimimi’s site (you should check it out if you need to decrease or increase evenly across a row – it’s magic!) to figure out the decreases and just ignored the rest of the written pattern.  Good news is that it should be done before Christmas!!

Unexpected FO’s for October

Well, a week ago I was afraid this would be my first month without a FO and that was very sad but a couple of things happened that have led to two FO’s!

First up – the Upside Down Daisy Hat by Susan B. Anderson.  You can find it in Itty Bitty Knits (check your library!).  I have to say that it was this book that really turned me on to knitting baby hats.  If you do have lots of little people this book is a must own.  I’ve made many of the patterns and a few them (such as the Daisy) I’ve made multiple times.  It’s my go-to book for the little ones.  I have friends who are active foster parents and they were blessed with a newborn baby girl earlier this month and so the Daisy seemed perfect for her.  I realize it’s October and a pumpkin would’ve been more seasonally appropriate but my friends currently have a little boy and I know they have been craving pink in their home so I wanted something very girly and a pink daisy is nothing if not girly.  Plus, a little ray of sunshine in this very dreary time of year is always nice.

Pattern: Upside Down Daisy by Susan B. Anderson Yarn: labeless stash

Pattern: Upside Down Daisy by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: labeless stash

The next thing that happened was that the project I was working on finished up last week so I’ve had some time off before the next project starts which gave me some much needed time to work on an order I have for Christmas.  Of course, I’m talking about the mermaid lapghans that are all over the internet.  My friend has ordered one for each of her two daughters. I ordered the yarn from Knit Picks and I’m using the Brava held doubled.  The price and quality of the Brava can’t be beat so I got a huge box of Brava in the mail and started off.  The first one was requested to be pink and the second purple and I’m putting a blue fin on the pink one and a green fin on the purple one.  I started the first one about a month ago and this week was just what I needed to finish it.  They look like a lot of knitting but they really knit up fast.  The fish scale stitch is fun and seems to keep it moving along.  I’m taking a couple of days to cleanse my palette with some of my other neglected projects and then start number 2 on Monday.

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Colors: Cotton Candy and Sky

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava
Colors: Cotton Candy and Sky

Apologies for the picture – I could not get the colors to turn out right in any kind of light so it’s a bit more vibrant in person!



Fall has arrived in the midwest of the US!  I shared this picture this morning on Instagram and I have to say I was quite humbled (and totally fangirl excited) that Susan B. Anderson herself left a comment :)  More on the hat (which is one of her amazing patterns) next week in this month’s FO’s.

I have this upcoming week off from my day job as our project wrapped up on Friday and we are awaiting a new assignment and I’m super excited about all the things I can get done.  As I was working on my to do list for the week I realized that the list, combined with the amount of knitting I think I’m going to get done and the actual number of hours in the week probably don’t add up.

This all got me thinking about how we knitters always overestimate the amount of the knitting we can get done in a set time frame.  If you read any posts or listen to any podcasts that discuss travel knitting you will notice a theme – overpacking of knitting projects.  I consider myself a master packer but I always have more knitting than I will every do on any trip.  I travel quite bit and I know how much knitting I do when I travel (very little) and yet, I always panic at the last minute that something will happen and I will need more knitting.  Maybe it will be a long travel delay or maybe I’ll get bored with the socks I packed -who knows but it’s better to be prepared.  And, I know I’m not alone!

I am currently working on a commissioned order of two the infamous mermaid lapghans that are sweeping Facebook.  They will be Christmas presents for my friend’s daughters.  They knit up fast but you still need to put in some time so I am under the delusion that I will finish one and start the second with my week off.  This is the current mess of mermaid projects on my project chair.


And, here’s my partially completed to do list.


Now, either some of the items drop off the list or some of the knitting does not get done because there just are not enough hours in the day.  I suppose we should admire our optimistic views of the amount of knitting we can accomplish which is never extinguished despite all the tangible evidence to the contrary so I’m off to start knitting and I will finish all of it by next week – stay tuned :)

Tiny Roar

One of last month’s FO was my second test knit and I’m happy to say the pattern was released this week on Ravelry!!  So, I thought I would talk a little about the project and I hope you all will go check it out!

The designer of the bonnet is Mimi from Eskimimi Makes (she is also the awesome organizer of Knit & Crochet Blog Week!) and it’s called the Tiny Roar Lion Bonnet.

I made the 4-6 month size and used Knit Picks Palette to get the proper gauge.  It’s a fun knit and the stitch Mimi uses for the lion mane is really interesting and I think could be used many different ways.  The pattern provides a link to a video she did demonstrating the stitch.  While I’m not usually a video learner I did watch the video and found it to be really helpful.  I’ll admit the mane does take a long time but the effort is worth it and the rest of the bonnet knits up quite quick.  This would make a great gift as it is cute and playful and warm too!  You can find the pattern on Eskimimi Makes (where you can check out some of her other patterns and also her new Knitulator which helps you spread increases or decreases across stitches) or on Ravelry (where you can see her cute model of the hat)

This was my second test knit and I really enjoy working on these.  I love that they force me to swatch and work on gauge and also read all the instructions (properly)  And, in this case, I got to learn a fun new stitch as well!!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

Well Christmas knitting is in full swing in my house so some of my current projects will have to wait until after the holiday to be revealed.  But, of course, there are always other projects to talk about!  My current purse knitting is, of course, a pair of socks and this week it got a new bag so I think that’s what we’ll talk about today.

I’m using the Regia Arne & Carlos yarn I got while in Wisconsin this summer. I have the winter night colorway. I’ve decided to start experimenting with my sock construction to see what works best for me.  This experimentation was inspired by many of the podcasts I listen to who talk about all these different socks and by the fact that while I love my hand knit socks I acknowledge they could fit me a bit better (and don’t even start that swatching may help with fit…)

There are two things I know about sock construction for me.  1. I prefer cuff down and 2. double points are the only way, don’t even talk to me about the sorcery that is magic loop or two circulars.  So, let’s look at these points.  First, cuff down – my first pair of socks was toe up on two circulars/two at a time.  This pair nearly killed me and it took my first time in the Ravellenic Games to finish them.  I think the main reason for this is I hate ribbing so ending the sock with endless knitting and then two inches of ribbing was like torture.  I also enjoy my project getting smaller as it gets towards the end – it clearly goes faster!  One of our group’s sock knitters convinced me to give socks another go by trying a pair with dpns and it worked!  So far I’ve not been afflicted with Second Sock Syndrome.

All of my early socks have traditional heel flaps and/or short row heels.  I am really the only sock knitter in my regular group so I don’t really have anyone to talk to about socks.  Once I started listening to podcasts I started to realize how many things were to knit socks and so I started to investigate.  My last pair I used the afterthought heel.  Meh – here are my issues with it.  When I kitchner that toe I want to be done with that sock.  Having to go back and still do a heel was not making me happy.  I also did not enjoy putting all the stitches back on the needles and still ended up with gaps.  Also, kitchner, AGAIN…  Ugh, I hate kitchner so anything that doubles the amount of kitchner stitches is not for me.

The Arne & Carlos yarn clearly only needs a vanilla sock so I could play with heel construction again.  This time I’ve opted for the fish lips kiss heel.  I had my mom come over and we made the cardboard cut out of my foot and I did all the measurements.  I’m about halfway through the first heel and so far am enjoying it.


In the meantime, the folks over at Cooperative Press were having an awesome sale so I ordered Sock Architecture by Lara Neel and will explore those options with my next pair of socks.

The other exciting thing about this project is my new project bag!!   I won it in the Turtles Journey KAL that was hosted by Heather Anderson during the month of September.  You can learn more about Heather and her designs in her Ravely group Heather Anderson Designs.  It’s beautiful and keeps everything inside it much better than the bag I had in my purse where needles often ended up rolling around everywhere.  I also love the contrast of the inside and outside fabric.


What’s everyone else knitting this weekend????