Sockpocalypse Summer, part 2 – Go with the Flow Socks

Today, I sent off a lovely pair of lacy socks to a really lovely friend.

20200519_140041

Let’s talk about Bonnie. You may remember her from this adorable baby blanket and elephant combo that I made her a few years ago, when she was expecting her first baby.

20200519_140047

Bonnie is just the sweetest person out there, and I am so grateful that we have managed to stay in touch after nursing school. She is compassionate and kind and encouraging, an amazing nurse, and honestly one of the highlights of my day is seeing her adorable family pictures. You can imagine how delighted I was to see her name pop up on my Facebook post requesting this beautiful yarn. (Confused? Read all about the Sockpocalypse origins here.)

20200519_140425

Bonnie picked this gorgeous skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Foraged, which is also crazily discontinued! Am I ever going to knit with a yarn that people can actually attain ever again?!

20200519_140056

It’s a really subtle mix of grays, with both light and dark shades of both cool and warm values. It’s really hard to catch on camera, but you get the idea.

20200519_140130

Bonnie requested something lacy, and this pattern delivered. The pattern is Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, also from the fantastic Interweave Favorite Socks book. Evelyn just makes a great sock, you know.

It features a very open, lacy stitch pattern with pleasing vertical lines, especially when you make the tops really long and slouchable. I’m especially enamored of that little border lace panel at the top with the doubled yarnover pickup. It’s good stuff.

20200519_140242

Now, since I made Bonnie that original blanket, she had two babies, and her feet underwent some…changes. I was up for the challenge that size 12 feet presented me. Bring it.

20200519_140302

I’m happy to say that knitting this pattern with no changes other than sizing up the needles (up to a US size 3, if you’re curious), combined with the natural stretchiness of the lace pattern, makes this sock a comfortable fit for a lady with feet on the larger side. I’m pretty sure we got up to a US women’s size 12 foot with room for comfort. However, my feet are much shorter than that and my cedar sock blockers were made for me, so I can only estimate with my measuring tape. Just wanted to include the detail so that you guys (all 5 of you who read this and know what I’m talking about) know that the sizing-up trick works without creating a loose or floppy fabric. You can actually barely tell at all, which is great, plus you’ll have more than enough yarn with the extra-large Knit Picks Tonal skein. I like having this new tool in my sock-knitting arsenal.

20200519_140342

These socks got sent off today, with a substantial portion of my love as well, to grace this feet of a truly wonderful, warm, welcoming human that I am so glad to have in my life. Put your feet up, my dearest Bonnie. You deserve it.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 1 – Waving Lace Socks

When I was finished my Stacy Pullover, I felt like I needed another project right away. I needed to keep busy. So, into the stash I went.

And when I did, I turned up 10 skeins of sock yarn just sitting there and begging for my attention. Two of these were special ones that I had picked out just for me, but the other 8 were sort of a mish-mash of free stuff and presents and parts of multi-packs that I bought to get a specific color. Gorgeous stuff, but not things that I desperately needed to have on my particular feet.

20200508_141106

Here they are! Pretty, right?

So, I got to thinking, I may not need 10 new pairs of socks, but surely I know 8 people who need some handknit sock love in their lives right now, right? So I posted that picture above on Facebook and told my friends that the first 8 people to pick their favorite skein would get a new pair of handknit socks from me, custom-made to their size and style preferences. I figured that some people, mostly knitting friends would be into it, and that the replies would trickle out over the afternoon and evening.

It only took 35 minutes.

Eight lovely people, scattered out all over the country and from a million different times in my life, all so deserving of sock love, jumped right on the bandwagon. Hell yeah. That’s all of my summer knitting ready to go! Stash-busting and spreading love through the glory of handknit socks all summer long.

So, of course, to start, I had to make a pair for myself. Just to get the sock mojo flowing.

20200517_133000

Ugh. So pretty.

20200517_133018

This yarn was one of those special purchases just for me because this colorway of Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted was just calling out to me and forced me to buy it. It’s called Coffee Shop, and it now appears to be discontinued for some insane reason (seriously, can we stop getting rid of all of the beautiful colors, commercial yarn makers?). This makes zero sense to me.

20200517_133251

I mean, look at that! Shades of brown and gray and then these gorgeous pops of sky blue and purple!? What kind of monster discontinues this color?

Any knitter can tell you that part of the true joy of knitting with variegated yarns is awaiting the moment that the color that you have arbitrarily chosen as the “best” one comes up, even if it’s only for like 2 stitches. It makes you stupid happy for no goddamn reason. And this yarn had 2 (two!) of those showstoppers. So good.

20200517_133208

The pattern is Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, part of the amazing Interweave Favorite Socks book. The stitch pattern is super simple, just decreases and yarnovers, but it makes this undulating wave that looks rich and complex.

20200517_133227

So, now that I’ve got my own feet covered, stay tuned for the next sock pair in our Sockpocalypse. That is a really hard word to type, and spell check refuses to help me with my stupid pun. Here’s hoping I don’t fuck it up a billion times before this is over.

Thankful for Pie 2019 Edition

It feels a little silly to have a big round-up post riding on the heels of so many catch-up posts, so we’re going to do things a little differently this time.

Less talk, more reminders of the things that I loved this year, in no particular order.

Now, what did I love most?  Well, what’s always the closest to my heart at all times? Yep, you guessed right.

D1qme9UWwAAyVdr

It’s pie.

EKglC0UWoAAKHPt

And ice cream. Homemade is best, always.

D2dHc2CX4AA21qQ

But let’s not forget the whole world of treats available to us. Snoballs from Hansen’s…

ELSRK2vWwAARNgM

Fresh beignets and frozen coffee from Cafe du Monde with a walk in the park…

EEhWduaW4AEWivy

2019 roundup

Homemade birthday cakes…

D8gEX5PWsAAOOCL

And brownies!

EDFT7ZgXsAEGROt

And cookies!

D0GqFfdWkAAYm-e

And waffles!!

D9xZnisXsAUeVWy

And, most especially, super fancy birthday brunch with my very dear Internet friend Alon Shaya. Or at least at his restaurant when he probably wasn’t there.

It’s all so good.

But we made sure to appreciate our vegetable friends this year, as in previous years, through growing our garden and participating in Grow Dat’s amazing CSA program.

D5pXzOPW0AAtIDT

EL8Y8dFWoAAtTXK

EI9Hd2-XkAA2_dd

D0rH_-WWsAMwjIZ

DxPXsEJXgAAZ0ef

EL866nKXkAAjJcb

D6uqYT7WwAUID9v

D4Cgi7ZW0AEHVLc

And what to go with all those veggies and sweet treats?

Alcohol, apparently, if my camera roll is any indication.

D7Nhc2lXoAA5vMQ

EIQc8pfWoAA0ict

EJnjUSqWoAAziYZ

All the best things.

And what else did I love this year?

ELwSEA3WkAA_-bQ

Dan. I mean, just every day.

EJxIWnEXUAAobLi

Dwu_oF-UYAA6Wc0

D9spbFkWkAA_B6D

D8lUSX2X4AI49A_

There just no one else I’d rather live my life side-by-side with. Dan is the best.

And of course, our children.

D6n2PwAWsAIJ0oy

EKVZAs9XkAAhzx8

EGo1rJIX4AA2LGl

ELdu_rMWwAATKqh

EB8T8UYX4AAnHNf

EMm-GIdX0AE5BtW

Just the sweetest, fluffiest babies ever. Bowie and Trip bring us joy every day, unless they are actively destroying the house. Well, sometimes those things happen concurrently.

I’m thankful for quiet moments.

D4M934HW4AAUzxV

EMcKfLDXkAIY4Iq

Dx99H_EWkAAvGyU

D0GvBSYXQAAo1Bk

EHg5IPFWkAATIq9

DxZF7ggV4AEKoZn

D4Chh3aXsAAxEyG

Dv7lGO7VAAA0ymN

And little adventures.

D5LYud5W0AAMgwR

D4kDRYJWAAIZfKR

DzFVSHEU8AA5wGk

D8psZ8bX4AALZwt

D8psoXiWsAE6Y6X

And several booty-shaking opportunities.

EBV_8PxXUAE_LOz

20190824_222107

Seriously, Planet Booty and KP will make you dance so much you lose 10 pounds, every show.

But most of all, the thing I loved most this year, probably because it came in such few and far-between moments, was making things.

20190125_171828

Effervesce.

EHSZ8RRWkAAJuAX

20191203_153431

Tiny kimono.

D_T3El_XsAAElqT

ELiVsBKXUAExzcd

D3_JlFoW4AAuvA-

What? My DNP project totally counts. I birthed that thing from my womb.

20190702_094348

Mary Blanket Squared.

20191031_123650

Night Sky Saurey.

20191031_124227

Sandworm!

20190816_175649

Cardamom, and the Little Dragon Hat.

And this year, unlike most years, I got to experience the beauty of mending together things that were once broken.

20190125_163545

20190125_152702

I’m not going to go through the arduous process of counting my patient load this year or the amount of pages I wrote, which were considerable, because it only reminds me of the time I spent away from the things I really love the most. So please, as you look back on this year with me, take the time to remember the things that made you most happy, the things that made the year worth living.

And just remember that all of you reading this just made the list for me.

EHR4jiHWwAMEZMi

Happy new year, everyone. Let’s make it a good one.

Catch-Up Time, the Last: a Plethora of Kimono

Here it is, our last catch-up post for the fall and winter of 2019.

You remember my dear friends Jonathan and Rebecca? Of course you do. Just last year, I knit them some socks to keep them warm during their cold Bay Area nights.  This summer, I got the exciting news that they, too, were expecting a baby, although she wasn’t due until at least January.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve fully explained just how important these people are to me on here before. Jonathan is my oldest friend. I know that we all have people that we follow on Facebook and check in with occasionally from elementary school and high school, and of course we consider them friends, but Jonathan is the friend who has always been a major part of my life, despite multiple moves and life shifts by the both of us all across the country over the past 22 (is it 22?!) years.

I was sitting here trying to figure out how to sum up how we became friends and stayed close all of these years, but really, it’s not necessary. Just know that he has shaped who I am today and that I love him dearly. Rebecca makes him sublimely happy, and she accepted me and embraced me immediately when we first met, so she deserves the world.

So, as you can see, this baby coming into the world of two of my very favorite people was a big deal. So big that only one knitted item wasn’t going to be nearly enough to show just how happy I was for them.

20191203_153431

And so we have here, a plethora of kimono.

20191203_125754
When I told Dan about the baby, he said, “Oh, you need to make one of those baby sweaters that you made for Dani that time.” He was talking about when my friend Dani in Colorado was expecting for the first time, and I made her two little sweaters, based on the fantastic pattern One-Piece Baby Kimono by Cristina Shiffman, part of the seminal classic knitting book, Mason-Dixon Knitting. At the time when I made those sweaters (here and here, if you want to see how cute they were!), Mason-Dixon Knitting was still a relatively new blog/phenomenon. I was delighted to find out that they are still going strong, now selling their own beautiful yarns and pattern kits.

20191203_153521

However, sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than the classics.

In this case, I went with my own stockinette-based tweak of the pattern. When you modify the pattern so that you do it this way, you can get a whole sweater out of only one ball of Cascade 220 Superwash, my very favorite yarn for baby stuff, plus it just looks super chic and elegant this way, yes?

20191203_153532

Yes.

20191203_153546

After you knit one, which seriously only takes an afternoon if you’re motivated, you can’t help yourself and need to keep going.

20191203_153619

And going.

20191203_153656

And going.

20191203_153806

They are just too much cuteness. You can only really consider stopping after five.

20191203_125747

The colors I chose, in descending order here, are Cascade 220 Superwash in #1946 Silver Grey, #873 Extra Creme Cafe, #905 Celery, and #1949 Lavender, and Berroco Vintage in #5101 for the white.

20191203_153356

Dan picked out the ribbon colors, and I think he did a wonderful job. They are all 1/2″ satin ribbon from Offray, and there are so many colors out there, you’re bound to find a great match.

20191203_153446

Weaving and sewing in the ribbon is a particular bit of fiddly business that I enjoy. In the original pattern, they only recommend sewing in the ribbon in ties on the side.

20191203_153707

I can’t ever help myself, and I always have to go a little bit further. For mine, I wove the ribbon in and out of the eyelets, skipping two bars on top and one on the bottom. If you try to just weave it in-and-out of each hole, this width of ribbon starts to crumple and fold over in an unattractive way. By skipping holes on the top to create a larger “bump,” everything lays flat and lovely and shiny.

20191203_153600

See?

20191203_153458

After these were blocked and be-ribboned, they got sent off to San Rafael with all my love, just a few weeks ago. I’m glad I sent them early, because Jonathan and Rebecca’s birthday baby girl decided to come over a month early! She is perfect and beautiful, and I hope that she understands just how much she is loved, not just by her amazing parents, but by those of us across the country, sending our love and good wishes and warmth in the form of teeny, tiny handknit sweaters.

—–

So that just about wraps it up for this fall and winter. I am still exhausted, mostly in the brain area, but taking the time to sit and write these out has helped me to see how much I accomplished this year that wasn’t just assigned to me by professors.

In real life, I am a fairly prickly person. I am slow to friendship. I am exacting and organized and suspicious. Those people around me, the ones who love and care, deserve so much more love and appreciation than I am ever able to fully present with just words. So, I make things with my hands. I try to infuse the good thoughts and warm feelings that lurk deep within so that they can see them, finally, on the surface. And I hope that they understand.

Catch-Up Time: Night Sky Saurey

For our next catch-up post, we have a real labor of love.

20191031_123650

Not that it was a difficult thing to make at all, but it was a project infused with love from the start.

You remember my lovely friend Kelli?

20180104_140901

Of course, you do! She is a glorious ray of sunshine in my life, and when she told me that she and her husband Taylor were having a baby, I immediately got to work finding the perfect baby blanket pattern for her. After finishing up a happy dance around the kitchen, of course.

20191031_122953

Kelli is a very stylish lady. She effortlessly surrounds herself with handpicked items that suit her perfectly, without ever looking too very. She taught herself calligraphy, and it is always a treat getting hand-addressed letters and cards from her in the mail. She loves the handmade and the one-of-a-kind, making her the ideal person to grace with a truly loving handknit project.

I’m pretty sure it was only a few days (maybe even the next day?) when I starting prying her for details about her perfect baby blanket. Cables? Stripes? Intarsia?

20191031_123418

Lace? Bingo. Introducing our Night Sky Saurey.

Kelli and Taylor weren’t going to find out the gender of the baby ahead of time, and she had already decided on a “night sky” theme for the nursery, so something lacy and reminiscent of the starry, inky night sky was just perfect.

20191031_123428

She picked out the pattern herself, from a curated selection from me, and specified that she wanted it in navy blue.

The pattern? Saurey from Berroco, made in Berroco Modern Cotton. The color Goddard was just the perfect shade, somewhere between navy and royal blue, to evoke those sleepy nighttime nursery vibes.

20191018_125816

Now, I am apparently not the only person who thought that it was just perfect, because it was on back-order from every single online store I could find, for at least 2 months. However, patience won the day, and I ended up with 3 skeins of this beautiful stuff with 2 months to spare to knit the thing.

20191031_123558

And let’s talk about this yarn for a second. Kelli specifically wanted cotton, something that would be able to be washed and beat up a little bit and not get too hot, because regardless of the season, we do live in Louisiana where the weather is trying to murder us at all times. Modern Cotton is a pima cotton and modal blend, meaning that it’s super soft and pliable, not hard and unforgiving like a lot of other cotton yarns, but still very resilient.

20191031_122943

It’s got great stitch definition, even when knit up a little bit loosely, like is required for this pattern. It’s also got a wee bit of a sheen, and when combined with the lace yarnovers and the tiny spaces between the stitches, it makes it look like it’s shimmering when it moves.

20191031_123720

I mean, could there have been a more perfect blanket for a night sky theme? Or a friend more deserving? I don’t think so.

Only two more installments of catch-up posts! More baby stuff, plus something I’ve never done before! Exciting!

Catch-Up Time: Cardamom, the friendly dragon, and the Little Dragon Hat

I am very tired.

For the past eleventy-billion weeks, I have been heavily involved in my (hopefully) second-to-last semester of grad school, including performing my DNP project. And working. And writing a million papers. This may sound like complaining, but really, I think that I’ve earned the right just a little bit. It’ll all be worth it when I can make people call me Dr. Jinger, right?

Right.

Anyway, throughout all of it, I have still been working on a multitude of projects, mostly because my loved ones just will not stop having adorable babies and letting them grow up into adorable toddlers. It’s relentless. So, for the first of these “catch-up” style posts, I’ll be featuring two freaking adorable knitted items that I made for one of the super cute babies in question.

My wonderful friend Tobias and his girlfriend Alexis welcomed a baby boy in September, and because these are the dear friends with whom I lived out my D&D adventures for many years, I knew that I had to make them something that was both adorable and adventure-based.

20190816_175649

“Where thou go’est, weary traveler?”

20190816_175156

Presenting, Cardamom, the friendly dragon.

This sweet little guy was knitted up using the fabulous free pattern Tarragon the Gentle Dragon from Knit-A-Zoo, purveyor of all sorts of cute knitted animals. I loved the original name, but I definitely more of a sweet than savory person, so Cardamom it is.

This pattern really threw me for a loop while I was making it and putting it together, mostly because I just couldn’t get over how freaking cute all of the details were as they appeared. Like, there are little toe bumps on the dragon’s feet.

20190804_134857

Toe bumps!

20190802_192642

The shaping of the head alone gave it so much personality, even before the eyes and spikes got added.

And the spikes!

20190804_155213

Although I had no idea what to expect when I started knitting that little purple strip of spikes (seriously it took me a minute to understand exactly how they would work, but, just trust the pattern, it knows what it’s doing), they sewed in so perfectly and were, by far, my absolute favorite part of the project.

20190804_161507

But, wait! The wings!

20190816_175059

And his little tail!

20190816_175130

So good.

I didn’t really modify anything here, because everything was so perfect. The only thing I did was use my standard felt eyes, rather than the pre-made doll eyes suggested by the pattern, just because I want all of my handmade creatures to look a little bit sad for some reason.

20190816_175145

That face.

20190816_174935

Such a sweetheart.

Now, I had plenty of yarn left over, and I knew that just a little dragon toy wasn’t enough, especially for a future adventure-baby, so I figured that I had to make a little bit of adventuring gear to go along with it.

What better than a little dragon hat to match his new dragon friend?

20190819_131652

20190819_131635

Modeled here so excellently by R2D2 is the Little Dragon Hat, made from the pattern Little Dragon by Fox & Crow. Fox & Crow’s website is a smorgasbord of cuteness and style, albeit all in Dutch, but do go give it a look and feel all kinds of knit-based envy.

20190819_131726

The overwhelming delight of being able to match the hat to the stuffed animal? Almost too much.

20190731_162053

This one was so much fun, even during the little fiddly bits. I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I originally attached the wrong color and knit 2 spikes in green before I realized that something was wrong.

20190816_175415

And then, after I was finished with all the spikes, I had to go back and undo and replace the very first one again, just because it was one stitch off from laying flat with the other ones, and it was going to make me go insane if I didn’t fix it.

20190816_175459

It was definitely worth it to get it perfect. The hat is a little (lot) too big for the baby right now, but I know he’ll get plenty of use out of it later, when he’s venturing out to explore his new world.

20190816_175343

Don’t they make a charming pair?

I knit both of these with Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, but really any DK- or sport-weight yarn would work wonderfully, as long as it’s not too high on the acrylic/viscose/whatever-plastic content. I only say this because you need to do a fair bit of ironing for the dragon’s spikes and for getting your hat spikes perfect and pointy, so you don’t want something that’s going to melt or get weird and shiny. Rialto is a 100% merino with a very fine multi-ply structure, so you get really good stitch definition.

For these projects, I managed to make both out of 3 balls of Apple and 1 ball of Wisteria, but now that I think about it, I don’t even think that I touched the third ball of the green. August seems like forever ago, you guys. Stay tuned for more catch-up posts as I try to piece back together a year that felt like it took 3 years to pass.

Thankful for Pie 2018 Edition

You guys. This year was a hard one to recap due to the fact that so many things were just so terrible this year, just in general. From the world seemingly falling apart around our ears every other minute, to the more mundane and personal challenges that Dan and I experienced…it was difficult to sit and take the time and attempt to see the silver lining of everything that was going on. This year has felt like five years packed into one, but if you would have asked me before I started to sort through my pictures, I would have had a difficult time telling you the highlights. I guess that’s part of the point, though. Taking the time to sit and reflect and see the good things that happened.

It would feel a bit hypocritical to not mention that all of these things probably only functioned as temporary distractions from the greater problems and difficulties that were occurring all around us. However, that doesn’t make them any less important. You’ve got to find those things that make getting through life worth all of the problems and strangeness, right? Here we go.

In January, I got to make delicious chocolate pie with Kelli, one of my favorite people.

20180104_140901

We made plans to make more pie (which hasn’t happened yet because I am a busy, bad friend), and to make a dog sweater for her cutie, Ellie.

IMG950066

Awwwwwww.

There was also the completion of this masterpiece, now proudly hanging in my dining room.

20180106_200659

20180106_200711

I mean, people talk about life goals, but I didn’t know that having a giant picture of Ralph Macchio on my wall was one of mine until I had properly achieved it.

I made the pinkest socks ever for my friend Sabrina, right in the middle of a crazy hard freeze, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t happen very often in New Orleans.

20180124_114927

And I got to attend a wonderful Hamilton sing-a-long with my friends and fellow nurses Eli and Carolyn, plus Tessa, the coolest kid I know.

26815427_2026719897354601_3934845286622450950_n

Of course I wore my Hamilton hat, plus I met a fellow super-cool shirt-wearer.

IMG_20180119_211607_679

February brought with it a very cool woodworking project from Dan. I’ve been begging him for years to make us a coat rack because Trip loves to infiltrate the hallway coat closet and sequester himself in there whenever anyone opens it. True to form, Dan cut down a tree and made a forest in my hallway.

IMG_20180204_174651_681

It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

This year, we really got into tending our own backyard garden rather than participating in a CSA box, mainly because the washing and storage upkeep on the CSA vegetables would have been pretty impossible with all of my grad school work. In March, the whole yard was sprouting and blooming and glorious. A few highlights from the spring and summer:

IMG_20180305_142951_346

IMG_20180416_190413_371

IMG_20180416_192029_712

IMG_20180416_190413_372

IMG_20180511_085741_206

We planted wildflowers in nearly every empty space in order to bring the bees on over, and it worked like gangbusters.

IMG_20180422_160218_408

IMG_20180422_160736_542

IMG_20180423_191528_194

IMG_20180425_211659_329

IMG_20180505_083408_317

It wasn’t long before the sunflowers got taller than Dan.

IMG_20180422_160949_197

Then, taller than the fence and the patio roof.

IMG_20180506_143815_455

I could look out of my second-story bedroom window every morning and see them blooming. It was fantastic.

We planted a whole crop of carrots, too, which brings me to another goal of the year, which I started in April: annoying a James-Beard-award-winning chef into being my internet friend.

IMG_20180503_192222_800

Dan had bought me Alon Shaya‘s cookbook, Shaya, a little while back, and I spent a large portion of my year making various recipes out of it and tweeting them out to him personally.

IMG_20180703_203304_151

IMG_20180416_192801_663

IMG_20180417_065926_834

But, it worked! I can’t tell you how many times I danced around my kitchen, roasting red peppers over the open flame and delighting in the fact that a famous chef was delighting in the fact that I was cooking his recipes. It’s a recursive cycle of joy, really.

In April, I also learned how to suture.

20180417_140618

Another skill, along with knitting and CPR, that will serve me well in the apocalypse.

20180429_161208

Plus, I made a very pretty beaded shawl and flounced around in the park with it, feeling like a pretty, pretty princess.

20180429_162156

In May, Dan and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary, and I sent him on a scavenger hunt around the house, collecting fancy dark chocolate candy bars commemorating various landmarks in our relationship.

IMG_20180514_213611_545

IMG_20180514_213611_543

We went to NOMA a whole bunch, to see the beautiful exhibits, and to escape the overwhelming heat.

IMG_20180523_163520_812

IMG_20180523_163839_057

IMG_20180523_163839_061

And I made a beautiful baby blanket for my friend Christina and her new baby.

20180531_101422

20180531_101216

I don’t usually call my own work beautiful, but I can’t remember ever being so proud of a project as I am of Autumn Vindauga. It was the perfect way to kick off the Summer of Baby Blankets, because I was just surrounded by pregnant ladies.

In June, in-between writing essays for my nursing ethics class and knitting furiously, we grew some mystery melons.

IMG_20180624_182110_636

Seriously. We did not plant these. They just appeared. And they were yummy.

Then, my friend Bailee surprised me with what might be the most perfect birthday present anyone has ever received.

IMG_20180816_130212_492

Yes, friends, that is me, clad in my Captain America dress, being held aloft by a very sexy, bearded Captain himself. Do yourself a favor and go look at Sakibatch’s other amazing fandom art and support her! This thing is just glorious.

The Summer of Baby Blankets continued into July.

20180707_094134

I put my fingers to the test with all of these tiny cables, but man, it was worth it.

And I made a tiny rainbow!

20180703_174232

In August, the baby blanket mania finally came to an end with the coolest illusion knitting ever.

20180809_104548

A video that I posted on Tumblr revealing the illusion stars is the most reblogged thing that I have ever posted. A small accomplishment, but people love their illusion knitting something fierce.

Then, Bailee and I attended the Ninja Sex Party concert at the Joy Theatre. Aptly named, because sheer joy was just the theme of the evening.

20180816_212953

I mean, look at that. There’s just sunshine and happiness and glitter and rainbows emanating off that stage.

20180816_181421

20180816_181501

Because we got VIP tickets (priced appropriately at $69.69), we got treated to Danny and Ninja Brian’s lovely faces as they answered questions and talked about the music they love.

20180816_185926

We wore an awful lot of glitter, but we definitely weren’t alone. There was so much cosplay and sequins and joy joy joy everywhere.

I was introduced to Planet Booty, an energetic and exciting band that travels with a disco-mirrored mannequin butt that they bring out on stage.

20180816_200117

I did not manage to get a picture of this part because my jaw was hanging open while I danced my ass off.

Then, we rocked out to TWRP‘s electronica-disco-dance-party stylings.

20180816_205537

Then, NSP blew our faces off.

20180816_213447

20180816_221511

20180816_224333

I would have never known about these wonderful bands and people if Bailee had not introduced them to me, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have been listening to them this entire time while writing this, and it’s just impossible to not be happy while you listen to their music. Seriously, go to their channel and immerse yourself in awesomeness.

September brought more musical greatness.

IMG_20180927_233559_203

My friend Kyle, better known as KP, rapped all about bad bitches right in front of my face. Go check out his Soundcloud. His stuff is just…it seems wrong to say delightful because that’s such a “me” word and not a word for super cool rappers, but it honestly makes me so goddamn happy.

Then, we saw Taylor Swift at the Superdome.

IMG_20180922_180159_769

Yes, I only own one shirt with sequins on it. Again, I was not alone in being a sparkly lady here. Never before have I seen so much glitter. On the crowd, on the stage, floating in the air. It was unreal.

IMG_20180922_180159_768

IMG_20180923_001743_246

IMG_20180923_001832_165

IMG_20180923_001914_940

And snakes!

IMG_20180923_002038_299

IMG_20180923_002001_226

IMG_20180923_002109_616

There are no words. It was the loudest, brightest, craziest spectacle I have ever seen, and I loved every second.

In October, I made socks for some truly-deserving people.

20181003_171314

20181009_104235

Plus, Dan and I went and saw Aaron Mahnke of the Lore Podcast, a truly wonderful little bit of creepy storytelling you should add to your weekly routine.

IMG_20181010_220916_075

He treated us to a book-signing and a reading from his new book, Dreadful Places, and we chatted for a bit about exhumed graves. Like you do.

In November, we saw Nine Inch Nails.

IMG_20181124_001935_813

IMG_20181124_002020_954

IMG_20181124_002115_876

IMG_20181124_002152_849

Again, there are no words. I will never stop loving Trent Reznor, especially when he pulls out a freaking saxophone in the middle of concert and plays us some ambient end-of-the-world sounds for about 30 seconds, and then puts it away and never mentions it again. My hero.

So, here we are at December. One last project got completed before the end of the year, a little good, good dice bag for Bailee to enjoy while she’s in grad school in London.

20181217_154109

Plus, we’ve got pickles going in the fridge from the last remnants of the garden, tons of bell peppers and green roma tomatoes.

20181222_170018

And, I’ve got a new pair of socks on the needles for my friend and coworker Kristen, all single-stitch twists and bubbles.

IMG_20181217_222901_042

I also wrote the proposal and designed my DNP scholarly project this year and wrote a total of 85,710 words and 320 double- and single-spaced APA-formatted pages on everything from fall prevention to nursing ethical dilemmas to atrophic vaginitis. I saw 411 patients. Yes, I kept track of all of these things because I am a giant nerd. Some of our long-term patients at the hospital passed away or had some crazy near-misses. I sat with mothers and grandmothers and children as they cried in frustration and fear and relief.

I am very tired.

Let’s hope that in the new year, we can truly delight in the things that bring us joy, rather than only using them as a balm to distract from the horrors of the world. I’m trying harder to do this every day, and I can only wish that it gets easier for all of us soon.

Thankful for Pie 2017 Edition

Here we are, at the end of another year. This year in particular was a challenge, mostly due to the fact that it seemed like every other day that the world as we know it was crashing down around our ears. That’s why doing a year-end round-up thing is usually so pleasing to me. Even if nobody’s reading/listening, it gives me an opportunity to look back on everything that happened and pick out all of the good parts. Especially the stuff that might not have made it onto the blog. It makes you remember the good things, even when everything else is still pretty terrible.

First up, in January, Dan and I went to the Women’s March here in New Orleans.

IMG_20170121_135810_135

We hung out with some of the coolest, nicest people ever and got to see some truly hilarious protest signs.

IMG_20170121_151012_616

It really felt good to walk amongst so many people who felt like they just needed to do something. Who are doing things and working hard to make things better. I had a coworker ask me, very sincerely, the day afterwards, “But what is everyone marching for? What’s made them so angry?” My answer: “Everything.” I knitted quite a few Pussyhats for friends and for myself, and Dan and I will definitely be wearing them when we march again this year.

In January, I also finished a vest for Dan, a project that still fills me with pride.

20170129_152835

20170129_152221(0)

Speaking of Grow Dat (the little farm that Dan’s running through all joyfully), in February, Dan and I really got the ball rolling on getting creative and cooking with our weekly CSA haul.

20170203_190944

20170204_110327

IMG_20170428_112140_086

IMG_20170209_124504_599

20170316_160117

Every week there was more and more kale, and we rose to the challenge. Seriously, I have never eaten so many greens in my life.

20170214_183014

20170306_115101

20170502_180535

20170714_103114

I pickled beets and carrots and daikon and peppers and okra and anything else I could get my hands on. And that’s just a tiny sampling of all of our homecooking. We unfortunately did not sign up for the Grow Dat CSA this year, mostly due to the fact that my time’s going to be even more limited because of school, but it’s definitely helped us to eat better and for me to step up my cooking skills. Do go check out Grow Dat and the Hollygrove Market if you’re here in New Orleans. You’ll be glad you did.

20170208_110023

Studying was a huge part of my life this year, having started grad school in January after graduating from nursing school in May of 2015. I did not take many pictures of it, because it is not particularly visually exciting, but school really ran my life this year. I kept working full-time as well, until the summer, because I am a crazy person and thought that I could handle it. Now I’m down to two days a week (but it’s still night shift and still a crazy-busy job), but at least now I can breathe.

In March, I had to go to “intensives” for school, and I got to see what is possibly the greatest billboard advertisement of all time.

IMG_20170328_084221_461

You might think that a busy highway is no place for Sir Mix-a-lot jokes. You are wrong.

In April, Dan and I found my doppelganger in the New Orleans Museum of Art.

20170408_140329

IMG_20170408_141337_215

And we went to a Hootenanny!

20170421_194117

Grow Dat hosted this huge party for all of its subscribers and donors this year, complete with bluegrass music and square-dancing lessons, and all kinds of amazing food and cocktails from all around the city. I may have had a whole lot of strawberry punch and donated a large amount of money to buy a tractor, but those kids were so excited that it was impossible to not get super excited about tractors right along with them.

In May, I made some dice bags.

20170517_135506

Want to make your own? Here’s the pattern, and here’s the chart for your very own LOTR-inspired monogram on the front.

Then, Bailee and I drove ourselves down to Austin in order to personally hand them to the McElroy brothers.

20170520_214810

20170520_200647

20170520_200637

20170521_230001

It was amazing, plus I made an extra-special awful face in that picture, so that’s how I get to remember it for the rest of time.

IMG_6214

We got to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law, and I got to meet some wonderful Twitter people in real life and eat brunch with them, which is why I think the Internet was really invented: to eat brunch with cool people in different parts of the country.

In June, I went to San Francisco to visit my best friend, Jonathan, and his wife, Rebecca, who are two of the best people, just hands-down.

20170602_164010

20170602_183425

IMG_20170602_200211_688

We went to a Japanese mall.

20170602_232329

We saw Justin Townes Earle.

20170603_110933

We saw the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model.

20170603_122156

20170604_135555

20170604_135652

20170604_141050

We saw beautiful water and gardens.

IMG_20170603_131237_799

We ate at In-N-Out Burger.

20170603_200816

20170603_205850

We saw Elvis Costello at the Greek Theatre. (My third time seeing him, and a wonderful birthday treat.)

20170605_103156

We saw so much modern art at SFMOMA that I’d previously only seen in textbooks, which blew my mind a little bit.

20170605_103307

20170605_103541

20170605_103648

20170605_115314

20170605_115423

20170605_115539

20170605_115806

20170605_120008

Warhol, Chuck Close, George Segal, Robert Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Rothko, Duchamp, Josef Albers…I didn’t want to leave.

20170604_153657

20170604_181002

20170604_195410

We also watched a lot of the new season of Twin Peaks, so it seemed only fitting that I baked us a cherry pie to enjoy.

What a wonderful trip.

During July, I was deep into the throes of knitting for the Summer of Socks, but I figured that this would be a good opportunity to post some pictures of the baking I did this year. Nothing ended up on the blog, but dang there was some good baking coming out of my kitchen.

IMG_20170202_222727_471

IMG_20170427_213327_652

20170713_163058

20171017_181514

20171213_115613

20171214_111349

IMG_20170629_165017_493

And I haven’t posted any pictures of the cats yet!

20171031_090622

20170208_170255

Bowie and Trip make every year better.

In August, I made a lovely baby blanket for a lovely lady.

20170709_151242

20170713_195441

And a very cute bunny.

IMG_20170821_144245_855

Dan and I also enjoyed the eclipse with Dan’s custom made shadowbox viewer, and a giant welding helmet. Everyone loved science for a whole day. It was great.

20170902_123551

In September, Dan and I finished up a masterpiece.

20170903_173622

And then we just couldn’t stop doing puzzles. We have three now that need to be framed and hung before we’re allowed to do any more.

IMG_20170921_192044_323

Dan also took this nice picture of me in the courtyard of Le Petit Theatre before we saw a show.

In October, we showed some friends from out-of-town around the city for Halloween, which always includes some above-ground cemetery action.

20171031_161141

Yep, that’s right, that’s a human jawbone just hanging out. Every day is Halloween here.

I took those same friends to the National World War II Museum, and we had a great, although sobering, time.

20171101_105940

20171101_113717

20171101_133638

The production value of this museum is downright astounding. I highly recommend it, even though I’m not really a huge wartime-history buff, just because everything was so detailed and interactive. Just make sure you plan to spend the whole day there so you can see everything. The place is massive, and the four hours we spent were simply not enough.

20171101_105045

This was my favorite fun fact.

20171029_135222

I also posted about some awesome socks in November.

20171120_103618

20171120_155437

And I visited Bailee in Mississippi for her birthday!

20171120_182915

We ate all kinds of fried chicken and fancy pastries, listened to Taylor Swift and did our Tarot. A really, really good day.

20171109_094149

I surprised myself and made a beautiful rainbow baby blanket in December.

20171109_094106

Complete with turtle friend.

And then I made another one.

20171218_150308

With elephant to match.

20171218_150441

All of these pregnant ladies in my life have such good taste, so I really had to step up my game to give them some beautiful things.

20171207_163509

20171207_163825

20171207_164651

20171207_174409

20171207_214803

Dan requested apple pie for his birthday (as per usual), so I got my buttermilk crust game-face on.

20171207_161718

He also had an extra request this year, and that was that a make peach cobbler for one of his coworkers, a widower whose wife used to love to bake. He’s a good egg, that Dan.

20171218_135139

Then, the Summer of Socks was upon us, and I posted all about my super-secret sock knitting escapades, in three installments (1, 2, and 3!).

20171224_213842

Then, just a few days ago, Dan and I welcomed a new family member into our lives.

20171227_182058

Her name is Turbovicki, and she’s very red and half-electric. We love her.

I have never had a new car ever in my entire life, so I’m having a complicated mix of feelings about it. On the one hand, I feel like I really don’t deserve something so nice. I’m bad about treating myself and doing nice things for myself, because I just don’t ever feel like I’ve done anything special for it. It was a very big decision to even allow myself to think about having a new car.
On the other hand, oh my god if this isn’t the coolest car ever. I’m trying to get over myself and enjoy it.

So, all in all, a pretty good year, full of baking and knitting and schoolwork and love. Speaking of baking…

20171225_200511

First thing for the new year will be a new pie recipe, so you can enjoy all kinds of chocolate and cherries to start 2018.

I can’t even express how good it feels to look over all of this and to be able to share it with all of you. I’m always glad to have the outlet of blogging and to be able to share my (albeit small) accomplishments with a tiny corner of the world. I hope that you all had a good year, despite the ongoing garbage fire of a world, and that we can share the upcoming goodness of 2018 together.

Austin Recap, plus the Good, Good Dice Bags pattern!

First things first, I know that everyone was chomping at the bit to get the pattern for these good, good dice bags, and I did not want to disappoint, so here it is! (At least, I’m hoping that a few people wanted it, right?)

20170517_135506

Click right here for the dice bag pattern in an easily-printable PDF format, and then go here for your very own LOTR-inspired monogram letter to stitch on the front.

I did some extensive reverse-image-searching to find out the designer of this gorgeous Hobbit-y font, and found out that it’s the free font Hobbiton Brushhand designed by Nancy Lorenz, and you can download it right here if you want everything on your computer to look like Bilbo wrote it.

20170525_123924

After the image search, I went ahead and hand charted all of the letters out for you guys for no other reason than that I love you. And that I want you to have such wonderful dice bags.

20170526_124629

Please go knit some and get your duplicate stitch on.

Now, let’s get down to the Austin recap. Last time you joined us here at jingersnaps, we were getting ready to head out to Austin to see the freaking McElroy brothers perform The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother, and Me live.

I know. I had to catch my breath, too.

Bailee and I drove 10 hours from New Orleans, being sure to stop along the way to look at a roadside gas station live tiger.

20170519_105747

Don’t worry, Tony had a lot of toys and space to roam, it seemed. He’s also the source of quite a bit of controversy, as evidenced here. But yes, you’re right, it’s real weird, even for a tiny Louisiana town.

If I broke the whole trip down into timeline-based increments, I think everyone would stop reading right here, so let me just tell you my favorite bits. Austin’s got a lot of really good food, and I’m all kinds of snobby about this stuff.

20170519_220504     20170519_220922Amy’s Ice Creams is a wonderful place. They have quite a surprising photo booth machine that will confuse the crap out of you, but produce some hilarious results.

20170519_222607

20170520_094930

20170520_095059

Hayley Cakes & Cookies is also a goddamn treasure. They sell cookies on Etsy and ship all over the place!

20170520_234154

IMG_6202

I was quite enamored with these chicken and waffles from 24 Diner as well.

20170521_114856

IMG_6214

20170521_121926

Mother’s Cafe is all vegetarian and fabulous for brunch, especially if you get this ridiculously large slice of chocolate cake to finish. It certainly doesn’t hurt if you meet all kinds of new fandom friends there and they turn out to be the nicest people you’ll ever meet. You guys are awesome.

20170521_182803

Ramen Tatsuya has freaking delicious ramen, plus the funniest bit of bathroom graffiti ever. Bailee made sure to tell me to get in there to see this, and it was definitely worth it.

20170521_184408

Stay classy, Austin.

The other thing that Austin has a lot of is amazing cosplayers.

20170520_214810

The Adventure Zone is a D&D podcast, of course, so we were expecting to see some costumes, of course, but the Austin crowd went big. All of these cosplayer pictures were taken by Bailee, just so you know, because she is much cooler than me and knows better how to talk to equally cool strangers.

IMG_6185     IMG_6186IMG_6187     IMG_6193IMG_6194     IMG_6195IMG_6196     IMG_6199

All of those fantastic Taakos and Anguses and Magnuses and Loups…sometimes the only thing we could do was squeal and clap.

20170520_200510

The McElroys themselves also didn’t disappoint. How cute is it that they came out in their character costumes?  And how amazing are our seats?!  Row D!

20170520_200647

20170520_200846

The live episode will be out soon, for your listening pleasure. I won’t ruin anything by posting details, but I will tell you that Space Jam is involved.

Another thing Austin has a lot of is McElroy references just out in the real world.

20170521_140226

20170521_141145

20170521_141210

When we saw these in Toy Joy, we knew we were amongst our people.

20170521_230210

As if things couldn’t get any better, there was a special surprise opening show on the second night by Sawbones! If you’ve never heard it, Sawbones is a medical history podcast that reveals all of the horrible things that “medical professionals” used to do to their patients before anyone had any idea what medicine or science really was, and it’s fantastic. My little nursing heart loves it, and seeing Sydnee and Justin onstage together for this show, talking about gonorrhea, made me so, so happy. That episode’s already out now, so do go listen.

20170521_230435

Bailee got her King Rancho on for the MBMBaM show, and people loved it. We had to run in the rain with giant umbrellas to keep that spider webbing semi-safe, but it was worth it to watch everyone’s faces light up when they saw her.

This live show is already also out, as well, and I just can’t bring myself to listen to it yet because hearing it live the first time made me laugh so much my face hurt. I just don’t understand how three people can be so damn funny in front of so many adoring fans. It’s so, so good, you guys. Go listen.

After the show, we got wrangled into an excessively nonsensical line in order to take pictures and do the fastest meet-and-greet ever. The boys declared that they loved Bailee’s costume (actually Griffin said it was “fresh,” but I could never say that word for real and not sound like an insane person).

Then…

20170521_230001

In my defense, the flash that they yelled at us to put on was super bright, and my face is just horrible. But look at their happy faces!  Griffin is holding his bag!  When I put the dice bags in front of them, Travis and Griffin were just the nicest people ever. Griffin said that he saw them on Twitter, and when I told Travis that I was also the person who made the Candlenights stockings for their kids, I got the warmest response possible (jovial arm punching and quite possibly the best manly handshake in history) when an angry theatre employee is yelling at you to move out of the way. What good guys.

20170522_101010

20170522_101029

On our way home, we took Griffin’s advice and stopped at Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery to get some delicious donuts. Listen to the episode, and you’ll find it impossible to resist going there, too, I promise.

What a good trip surrounded by good food, good silliness, and such good, good people. We’ll be back soon, Austin, especially if the McElroys are involved. Keep the donuts warm for us.

Good, Good Dice Bags for Those Good, Good Boys

20170517_135506

I have previously spoken of my love of the McElroy brothers, and if you are new to my special breed of knitting-based insanity, I highly suggest you click that link and read all about it. When I wrote that particular post, I was merely only full of the Candlenights spirit, and had no idea of what was to come the following year.

One frantic morning, I spent the better part of an hour sitting in front of my computer and cell phone, all hopped up on not yet having slept after a 14-hour night shift, alternating refreshing each screen and texting back and forth with my friend Bailee’s friend Chelsea as we attempted a coordinated strike to obtain precious tickets for two McElroy shows in a row.

Let me back up a little bit. The McElroy brothers, and their charming father Clint, announced that they would be recording two separate live podcasts in Austin at the end of May. Opportunities to see BOTH My Brother, My Brother, and Me and The Adventure Zone, the greatest D&D podcast that I have ever had the honor to listen to, dangled in front of me. (It’s actually the only one I listen to, but when it’s THAT good? You only need one.) My friend Bailee and I knew that we had to get tickets, but the problem was that each show was only being sold separately, and both lots of tickets went on sale at the same time, at about 10am central time when I would normally be sleeping (because night shift makes you a vampire-person) and Bailee would be working as a productive non-vampiric member of society.

What to do?

20170303_184853

You make it wooooooooork. You enlist Chelsea, one of the greatest and most devoted supporters of other people’s silliness (and just freaking awesome person), to purchase TAZ tickets at the exact same time while Jinger is sitting at her computer, still awake after 14 hours of screaming, vomiting children, poised to click as fast as possible to get those good, good MBMBAM tickets.

You join the hundreds (thousands?) of other rabid McElroy fans that have the exact same brilliant plan that you do. And then you crash the damn website.

20170211_102204

That’s right. So many people were ravenous to see these ridiculous podcasters that the ticket website was completely overwhelmed, which resulted in everyone getting “stuck” in the queue for tickets for over an hour while everything stalled. What to do when that happens? Chelsea, that brilliant girl, gets on the phone directly to the theatre, and actually gets through. She bypasses the system and scores orchestra seats! And then you do the same! Miraculously! Much dancing about in your chair occurs, as well as joyous proclaiming of your mutual awesomeness splattered all over Twitter for rational people to ignore. Seriously, Chelsea, you’re my hero.

After all the excitement settles, you’re left with a question. What on earth do you make to give to these wonderful podcasters, especially since they will be the first ones in history to receive two (2!) handknit gifts from you that are not directly related to you? Or Dan?

20170517_135358

Dice bags? Dice bags!

We all know that I hold a special place in my heart for acting-intensive roleplaying games. And every roleplaying person worth their salt needs a good, sturdy dice bag to hold all of their special treasures, right?

20170512_181457

20170512_181409

I chose Knit Picks Dishie for these, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Lovely saturated colors (Ash, Eggplant, Navy, and Silver, if you want to know…), a hint of a sheen, great stitch definition, and sturdiness that somehow also remains soft and pliable. Good, good stuff.

20170512_201204

But you can’t just let things be simple, right? Of course not! It’s just not a Jinger-project for famous strangers unless it involves a silly amount of duplicate stitch.

20170513_142814

I sat down with a glass of wine and a screenshot of the Lord of the Rings handwriting font (click here if you’re interested in the exact one, for some weird reason), translating them into knitter’s graph paper to make custom monograms. Like a completely sane person.

2017-05-17 15.29.34

Yep.

20170513_194218

All kidding aside, there are few things I love more than well-executed duplicate stitch. It’s so satisfying to do when you hit a really good stitching rhythm, and it’s really fun to sit down with the graph paper and chart out something lovely, especially when it turns out exactly the way you saw it in your head. These letters, in particular, please me, due to the varying line-weights in the strokes, and how those things actually still come across in the final, embroidered version. It felt really good watching them “develop” right in front of me while I was working on them. When I finish writing up the pattern so that everyone can make one, I’ll be sure to chart out the other letters in the LOTR alphabet style so that you can enjoy it, too.

20170517_134618

It seems like you have a lot of dice until you lay them all out. Maybe some clever cropping?

20170517_134643

Better!

20170517_135017

20170517_135347

20170517_134517

20170517_134836

Do we think Justin, Travis, Griffin, and Clint might like them? I hope so. I hope that they like the new dice that I picked out to go with them, too, because what’s good is a new dice bag if it’s empty?

20170517_135704

I tried to pick colors to coordinate with their bags, and also just ones that were pretty. Because opening up your dice bag should feel like looking at little precious stones. Little precious stones that could make you a triumphant hero. Or they could make you trip on your shield and split your tongue in two so that you have disadvantage on all spell-casting, and you’re a cleric.

I might have a little bit of experience in critical failures, you guys.

20170517_135108

To the McElroys: Wengelbertina Slapdeback, my all-time favorite character I’ve ever played, a holy cleric of Pelor who also looks like a German beermaid who could beat your ass down with her flaming longsword, prays that all your attack rolls are crits with max damage. And I hope you guys don’t get overwhelmed with all of the aggressive nerdiness coming your way this weekend in Austin.

20170517_135431

Amen.