Lavendar crocheted afghan
Elemental Achievement doily
Bear in a bunny suit
My So Called Scarf
Mini Knothead Bear
Lacy Scallops Socks
Fudge It Heels & Toes by MJ
It's been an entire year since I posted. Death by scarf indeed.
I did finish the Sockapalooza socks. I'd show you a picture, but I can't find it. I've searched through the 15547 (that's the actual #, btw) photo files that windows could find (one by one, because it wouldn't give me any information on the photos so I could narrow it down), to no avail. I'm beginning to suspect that the picture may have been lost, I seem to remember there being an incident where pictures from the camera were mistakenly thought to have been copied to the computer and so deleted off the camera, but since my memory is crap, I can't be sure.
After that, I did so little knitting in the last year that it hardly even counts. I've just FINALLY gotten some knitting mojo back. I knit a pair of socks last month. They're made out of Sock Hop sock yarn from Crown Mountain Farms. The handspun yarn was so special, that the only "fancy" thing I did was a picot edge on the top. Sorry... I can't remember the colorway, although American Woman, Oh, Pretty Woman, and Touch Me are the most likely candidates.
Now I've started 2 new projects:
First, the Murdered by Lace shawl (hehe... I just noticed how well that name goes together with the "Death by Scarf" title of my last post... I wonder if that had anything to do with me being drawn to the pattern).
Second, I finally started my Brea bag. I'm thinking I could've gone down a needle size. I also needed to have done a better job knitting tightly between the ssk's and k2tog's. I think I can fix it by skooching the yarn into the nearby stitches. It's a fairly quick knit... I did one entire side within a day.
It's nice to feel the love again.
Long time, I know. Here's why...
Earlier this year, I joined the 4th round of the International Secret Scarf Exchange. I've had so much fun doing these exchanges.
I got my scarf exchange pal, and she lived in Texas, so she was hoping for something lacy, because really... anything else is not going to get much use down there at all. So, I searched through all of my scarf patterns and links and found something I really liked, and bought some yarn to use for it... not the yarn used in the original, because that was a discontinued yarn, and what I got:
(Knit One, Crochet Too's Douceur et Soie) had a vastly different gauge from the original, so I knew to get a scarf of a decent width I would have to tinker with the pattern.
Then I swatched with some less fuzzy yarn to see how much I'd need to add to make the scarf an appropriate width... but I bound off too tightly, and even the smoother yarn didn't want me to frog it back and fix that, so I got all worried and decided that was not going to work.
After a few days of fretting, I went to a local yarn store to see if there was ANY other pattern that appealed to me and found the Cocoon Lace Scarf from Fiber Trends, which... I already owned and loved and wanted to make, but I had just forgotten about it. Even better, the yarn suggested in the pattern was the exact same gauge and fiber content as the Douceur et Soie. Perfect. I was back in business.
I finally got cast on, and got moving along on the project:
I think at that point I was down to about a month before I was supposed to mail it off. Not nearly as much as I would've liked, so I tried to hurry, but unfortunately this yarn and this pattern just would not be hurried. The yarn was pretty slippery and very fine, so each stitch was slower than I would've liked, especially since I was needing to work fast. Compound that with the fact that on half the right side rows, the stitch markers fall in the middle of a double decrease, so I'd have to lift a stitch over each stitch marker before I could do the decrease.
The first half of the scarf took me about 3 weeks to knit, and I had maybe 2 weeks left before I sent it off... now I'm running behind and so I feel like I can't post anything about it, in case the intended recipient is perusing around the blogs of the people knitting and figures out that what I'm working on is so obviously for her, that it must be the one and the secret/surprise part is spoiled.
And my mom was coming to visit and my house was a MESS, so I spent a lot of time cleaning/straightening up. Then she was here for a week and a half, and I barely got to knit on the scarf while she was here.
By that time, I was officially late, and I still had half of the scarf left to do. I worked really hard on it, but try as I might, I could rarely do more than 2 repeats in a day (I think there was once, and I really did work on it a LOT that day), and many days I couldn't get that many. And to top it off, towards the end, my allergies really kicked in and even though I was at the point where the knitting was finished and all I had to do was graft the two ends together, I had to put that off because it's really impossible to graft (and new to me, I was grafting both knit and purl stitches) when your eyes are nearly swollen shut and you are violently sneezing every few SECONDS. In the end, I was a full 3 weeks late mailing it off. I was so embarrassed!
I do think, though, that it turned out beautifully:
It's a great knit, and the pattern is well written. My only thought is that this pattern in this yarn is a knit to savor, not one to do on a short deadline.
I also made my pal a small tote bag:
The fabric was drapier than the ones I'd made before, so I had to make a stiff insert to go with it, too.
After all that, I was so burned out I don't think I knit at all for a whole week...
And then I thought I'd better look at the schedule for Sockapalooza that I'd signed up for thinking there would be plenty of time after the scarf exchange to do a pair of socks. They're supposed to be mailed out August 2nd. Less than a month from then, and I hadn't picked out a pattern or bought yarn for it.
YIKES! Here we go again.
Next post, the start of the Sockapalooza socks.
I made a fancy apron for my niece for her birthday (she's just a couple of months younger than my older daughter):
She and my sister-in-law both like to cook, and I had given her a kids' cookbook for Christmas.
I used Blue Plate Special Apron Pattern from Paisley Pincushion, but I wanted it to be completely reversible, so in true me form, I altered it in a way to make it considerably harder to put together, just so that the waist ties look the same from both sides. I also added a D-ring on the right-hand side on both front and back to tuck a hand towel in (because you wouldn't want to get such a pretty apron messy... LOL!)
There will be a matching one for my sister-in-law, too... but between my alterations and the fact that I misplaced the instruction sheet and had to just wing it putting it together, I didn't get hers past the cutting out stage before they left from their recent visit.
In order to do it, though, I finally had to give up on my sewing machine. It was an old Bernina my mother-in-law had bought for me (because she loves hers), but I could never keep it working consistently... and I wish I could have the money back for the foot I bought trying to make it work right (Bernina parts are insanely expensive). I also wish I could have all the time back that I spent mucking around with it trying to make it work, and whatever time all the stress it caused me took off of my lifespan.
Anyhow... I got a new sewing machine. It's a Janome DC3018 Decor Computer:
It feels like heaven by comparison!
I can pull it out and it just sews. No fighting.
I can make a quick repair.
It has 3 styles of buttonholes, and an automatic sizer... I just put the button into place on the buttonhole foot, and push the pedal... the machine automatically makes the right size.
I started sewing up some quilt blocks of my own design (nothing fancy).
I signed up for a quilt-block-a-month class
(I'll show some of my quilting efforts off soon).
And now, I can finally dare to take the curtain fabric I've had sitting in my living room for 2 years and make curtains with it (I'm sure actual curtains will make a design statement that is far superior to a roll of fabric standing in the corner), at least once I'm sure enough of the style of drapery I want to brave cutting the fabric.
Aprons are really big now (I've been caught up in it, but more on that later), so of course I've started seeing knitted apron patterns crop up here and there:
Angela's Apron from Interweave Knits, Spring 2007
I'd call this one downright ugly... it's the kind of knit design that makes you say "Ya know, knitting is great, but there are some things it is just NOT suited for.
This one is Party Apron from knitty's Spring 2004 issue (I guess that makes the designer ahead of her time). It's better than the first, but still, nothing that really appealed to me... a lot of knitting time for something that just rates an "eh?"
And another one (warning, this one's a pdf file).
Again, nothing to get excited about. I'd totally written off the notion of knitting an apron as a stupid idea altogether.
And then I saw the Knitty Gritty episode that my TIVO caught Monday off of HGTV (which may be behind the DIY schedule, I don't know), with this one:
And I was in love (trust me... this picture really does not do it justice... it's so sweet). I'm still wondering about the colors... the 70's color schemes were never my favorite, but it DOES give it a fun retro feeling, so we'll see. I think I need to go to the Llama store and look at the color card in person in order to make a decision. I also can't say that I know when I'll get to it... my want-to-knit list is already forever long. This definitely makes the list, but who knows when it will percolate to the top (although considering how much it's on my mind lately, it may make it sooner than later).
I guess this means I do need another hole in my head after all. *sigh*
Yesterday, I got Mr. Tubbs crocheted and stuffed to the point where I need to add the weighted filler to help him sit upright, and then I can finish up the bottom:
I also crocheted the little scarf, which this time is in purple (Cotton-Ease in Sugarplum... thanks Bron!). I'm thinking that makes this one more of a girl, so instead of a black top hat, I need to design something more girly.
Today I finally got around to starting a new pair of of simple socks. I got the toes finished on both socks:
This is Online Supersocke in colorway # 788. I stalked this yarn at the Llama store... I wanted to buy it, but I kept holding back... until they were almost out and then BUGGARS!, I just HAD to buy it, now didn't I???
I tried out a new toe... I did the Magic cast on (this works out so much easier than the figure 8 cast on I'd tried before... same concept, but easier to accomplish) and then I did the increases as pretty much a reverse of the toe I designed when I was working on my first Lacy Scallops sock. I really like the more rounded shaping on it... it works much better for my foot than traditional or short row toes.
An 8 year old's late night story-writing escapade
complete with silly Photo Booth portrait session
Once upon a time there was a "Crasy Laty" [publisher's note: spelled that way because that's how you're supposed to pronounce it] who met 2 frogies that took her under-water. Then a giant squid took her to a whale. The whale took her to the surface of the ocean & sprayed her. She went so far she landed on a camp fire & her bottom was on fire. She went home & went to bed. Her house caught on fire. The firemen came, she was out of her house & she was put in a padded room & the fire was put out.
It turned out exactly like I wanted it to. I intend to use this to tote around my books for book club. In the picture, the Martha Stewart Housekeeping Handbook is inside (I used the book, inside a plastic bag of course, to block the bag as well). It's a rather large and heavy book, and I could still easily fit in some sort of notebook as well.
I could have gotten away with one complete less repeat of the stripe pattern on the handle, and then it would have sat nicely over one shoulder. I don't mind it this long, though, because I've found if I carry my purse on just one side, my back aches terribly. This way, the load is balanced side to side. The length is also just right for easy access to the contents of the bag... so, it would also work nicely for a knitting project bag (with smaller books, I could probably fit the book and a pair of socks in progress inside). The handle felted perfectly and evenly... it looks all straight and professional.
The flap turned out exactly like I wanted it to... both in shape and in length. I'm still debating whether or not to put a button on it. I always pictured it with a button, and I've gone around town searching for just the right button... I've even bought a few (I'm not good at making up my mind), but I haven't decided yet. I'm thinking the perfect button for this might just be none at all... I love it just the way it is. Maybe when I have more time, I'll post pictures of the options, so you can all weigh in on it.
Having read that this yarn felts REALLY hard (meaning it shrinks more than other wool yarns might), I put it in the wash with some jeans on warm instead of the usual hot cycle. I did check it and add extra time to the wash cycle after seeing how it was coming along. I did not have the issue with it being overly fuzzy that the author of that blog post mentioned. I haven't shaved the bag, and really see no reason to.
Base: 10.25" wide (24%) x 2.75" deep (39%)
Height: 9.75" (46%)
Flap: 8.5" from where it starts from the back of the bag to the tip (43%).
Handle: 2.5" (23%) x ~46" (23%)
That makes one project rescued from the stalled list and finished.
Note: The color is off in these pictures... they were taken at night with the flash, so they look more yellow than they should.
I plowed through and finished the knitting on the bag.
It was a big thing, because:
1) I got my Patternworks order came last Saturday. At that point, I had everything I needed to cast on for the Anemoi mittens I've been dying to do. A week later, all I've done on them is wind the yarn into yarn cakes. I honestly don't know why I didn't ever toss this project aside to cast on for them.
2) There were many times in doing so when it was in serious danger of ending up back on the stalled list. I had so much splicing to do... I couldn't seem to find a ball without knots in it (most often with color breaks, of course), and because of who I am and how nicely the striping worked up when there weren't breaks, I had to make it come out just right.
I can't remember how many balls I bought to begin with... I'm thinking 4, and I ended up buying 2 more after picking it back up in order to finish it. I was afraid I would have to buy another, as well, because for a while, it didn't look like I'd be able to finish the final dark stripe on the handle, but luckily, it went just far enough that one of my leavin's would finish it up. I have very little left, and all that I do have now is part of the lighter striping band.
Speaking of the handle, that's the part I'm most proud of:
The front and back look completely identical. The edges are basically i-cords that you knit right along with the garter stitch part. The entertainment of that really kept me going for awhile... but that thing is comprised of over 6000 stitches. In the end, I just wanted it done. "I'm almost there" and the fact that it was so, so easy I could almost do it without looking carried the day(s).
Here's the pre-felting stats:
Base: 13.5" wide x 4.5" deep
Flap: 15" from where it starts from the back of the bag to the tip.
Handle: 3.25" x ~60"
I'm headed off to felt the bag as soon as I submit this post, so in the next few days, I should have a completely finished object to post :)
I finally got my Knitpicks order yesterday (while I was off having a most lovely day with my knit group at Ellen's house... MJ posted some pictures), so now I have my yarn for my Anemoi mittens and Sheldon the turtle. Unfortunately, the Patternworks order (which shipped 2 days earlier) has still not made it, so I can't cast on yet. Can I scream?
I got a lot done on the Soy Wool Stripes bag. I had finished 4 of the striping repeats, having originally planned on doing 5, and decided I needed to stop because it was getting too big and I wanted to have enough yarn for the flap and handles. So, I set up the handles, cast off the stitches for the front, and had the stitches for the flap all ready to go last night. Today, I knit about half of the flap... and determined that I was right in the first place and really would need that 5th stripe repeat after all if I was going to get the results I was hoping for. Grrrrr.
I contemplated just finishing what I had and then going back and cutting the knitting, adding that 5th stripe repeat, and then grafting them together. Then I realized it would probably be faster to just rip it back and re-knit what I had done today. And if not faster, at least less stressful. So, I'm off to do that now. And I'll probably need at least another ball to finish up. But look at me... I'm perservering, rather than just moving on to something else because I hit a road block.
I can't believe I haven't posted about this before... it's been on the needles forever. I think I started it over a year and a half ago.
Pattern: My So Called Scarf
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay in Wildflowers (# 113)
Needles: Denise US 11's
Size: 6" x 70" (it wanted to block even longer)
I hated using the 11's. The part of the needle that tapers was so long that I had a hard time making the stitches, because the first of each pair would get smaller as I slid the needle back in for the second stitch, so I was constantly having to fiddle with them to get them to move down the needle. Nevertheless, the stitch pattern is easy once you get it and easy to remember, so no toting the pattern around with you.
I'm a bit disappointed with the yarn color. I used the same one as in the picture in the pattern, but mine turned out to have much more orange and dark black bits, rather than being the soft pastels of a watercolor painting. 3/4 of the first ball was more that way, but the last 1/4 of it and the second ball were darker. You can see the difference between the ends in the photo.
Don't get me wrong... I love this scarf. It's wonderfully warm, and I love the stitch pattern. I also love that the way this yarn is dyed, you get a really variegated colorway, rather than zig-zags, like the first one I finished. I'm finding I have a really hard time with the way zig-zags travel differently across the piece when you vary the tension even a little (usually so little that you can't tell any problems at all looking at the width of the work).
I would definitely make this pattern again. I've seen it done in nearly solids, and it looks great. I might do it in a different manos color (I like the one they call sage), or I might check to see if Malabrigo has a colorway I like, and if it's spun a little more evenly. There were spots in the manos that were so thin I was afraid they would break, and some spots that were really, really thick. I would also like to try this pattern side to side (although I may have to find a better cast-on and cast-off first). If/when I do it again, I think I may also add an extra stitch to each side to do a slip stitch edge. I've seen a finished one where they'd done that, and the edge looked very nice (and I'll bet it made it easier to work with the blocking wires, too). Will I be doing it again SOON? Probably not. With so many projects already in the queue and on my want to knit list, it's unlikely this will come up again soon.
Also presenting, My So Called Daughter:
The whole photo shoot, she kept asking to do a silly one. :)
In addition to getting this blocked yesterday, I got my Soy Wool Stripes bag (# 11 from the list) back into working condition and did a little on it. Neither my Knitpicks order with the yarn nor the Patternworks order with the needles for the Anemoi mittens came, so instead I started a little crochet project I've been wanting to do. I finished crocheting the head, but since I didn't have the dolls eyes I needed to sew on before stuffing it, that's all the farther I got. Quick and easy, I should definitely be able to finish it by the end of next week at the latest... and it's possible I could finish it Monday, if I put my mind to it. So, one finished, one back in working condition, and one new one started. So far, I'm doing pretty good with my knitting "resolutions".
This is a little doll I made for my youngest to take to a gift exchange at her Christmas party at school.
In my insanity, I decided to sew this (I rarely sew) thinking it would be a quick and easy project. I should've known.... I can't do anything quick or easy. I also thought I'd sew it up on my 8 year old's little sewing machine I gave her for her birthday. I found out something very important. Despite being marketed as a kid's entry level sewing machine, I would not consider it to be something appropriate for kids to learn on. All of the "Compromises" listed in the article are exactly true, and we had the added benefit of a pedal that didn't work (I can't really return it, either... I bought it before she turned 5 and had waited to give it to her for over 3 years). That meant that the only way to start or stop the machine was to take one of your hands off the fabric and push the button. This is not easy, even for someone with a fairly reasonable bit of sewing experience.
I found something out about stuffing... it creates magic in the same way that blocking does. It certainly didn't eliminate my errors (I did NOT do a good job on the sewing, especially where I sewed the bottom to the sides... I had a couple of places where I basically sewed unintentional folds into it, and I did not have the time or the patience to take it out and redo them, especially since I might very well have just done it again). I stuffed the living daylights out of the thing, though, and you can hardly tell unless you're actually scrutinizing it.
One last picture, with a chibi included for size. I'd say the doll ended up about 6" tall:
It was so cute at the gift exchange. I had finished this up while my youngest was at school and took it with me to the party, so she hadn't seen it finished yet. She went up to the little girl that got it, wanting to take a look and tell her that her mom had made it, and the little girl pulled it away and held it tight to her body... she thought my youngest wanted to have it, and she was NOT going to let it go. She even brought it with her to school today for their show and tell time. I think it was a hit :)
The Wee pattern can be found at Wee Wonderfuls. Just click on the "freebies" button on the top right of the page. There's also a gallery of Wee's (I'll have to add mine when I figure out how), so you can see all the different creative results that others have done. I'm sure there will be more of these in my future... my youngest wants one now, too... and I wouldn't be surprised if the 8 year old will also want one of her own.
The main thing I want to do is finish up my languishing projects. To that end, I'm going to try to take 1 each morning and get them to a point where I can just pick them up and knit on them, as the mood strikes me. I won't be upset if I miss some days (since, even if they were all at that point, there's only so much knitting I can do in a day), as long as I am making some noticeable progress (I may find a way to reward myself for doing so to up the incentive factor, though). If I do start accomplishing this, then I'll intersperse or exchange that goal with spending some time working on those older projects each day before rewarding myself with working on newer projects.
At the same time, I know me... I am NOT a monogamous knitter. I need some variety in order to not just stop outright (at least for a time) when I hit the saturation point with a particular pattern, or to accommodate my knitting moods, and to that end...
Here's what I'd like to end up with on the needles/hook at once (the numbers in parenthesis are how many were on the list I posted the other day):
I am going to let myself start out fresh, though. I'm going to consider all projects from that list old projects, and I'm going to start a new one in (at least a few) of those categories. I know that seems counter-intuitive to the desire to cut back on my WIP's, but now that I've figured out why those other projects got stalled, I think I can fix that problem and get myself on track. And right now, I need the motivation. I've really been holding back trying to be good, and I think the new projects will spur me on.
For New Year's, I cast on a dishrag for a gift set for a friend (hey, I didn't even have one in THAT category).
I also plan on casting on as soon as possible:
And YEA! This evening, I finally finished up the knitting on My So Called Scarf. I even wove in the ends (this may be the easiest this has ever been... the pattern creates almost a double thick fabric, so it wasn't hard at all to hide the ends without them being obvious and ugly. I'll have a Finished Object picture as soon as I wash and block it. I'm wearing it now. It's very cushy and warm, and it would be quite a trick for any wind to find it's way through this fabric :)
One last thought... I think the idea behind Knit From Your Stash is a good one, but I don't think I'll go that route. I do, however, have yarn for some really great projects that I really want to have in my wardrobe, so I'm just going to make a big effort to actually do them, rather than just buying the supplies and the having them sit around in my home.
I was looking through my archives and it looks like I finished a bit more than I realized:
Not listed by month because I didn't blog them:
So, I guess that's not as bad as I thought.