Where did May go?

Sometimes its like everything and nothing is happening all at once.  But let’s start with the reason the log jam of the guestroom quilt made it out of the machine and onto the bed… My husband told me he didn’t want to ask for an Overwatch quilt since it seemed I wasn’t quilting as much.  Well it was more like I kept finding the repetitive line quilting boring.  So I ordered him a section of fleece and made him up a quilt for his Houston Outlaws team.

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The design is hand appliqued onto the fleece.

In knitting news… Sock Madness has come to a close.  I made it to Round 5!  That means 6 pairs of socks (Qualifier and 5 rounds).

I’ve started work on my first paper pieced project from a kit I bought.  Its a new skill for me and so far I’m up to about 8 of 36 blocks done.

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Finally a Finish!

This post brought to you from the former student of the no-mojo dojo!  This particular quilt has been a bit of a paper jam in my quilting projects because its big, bulky, and boring! I had decided on a very simple narrow horizontal lines as the main quilting. So back and forth and as I don’t work with a quilting frame… draping this queen size sandwich of fabric over my shoulders.  It got to a point where my husband even said something about losing interest in quilting… which at that point it was about half done or more but then had been set aside for a marathon of knitting.

But in finishing it, and especially in the binding of it there was such joy and freedom just moving it into done from “need to work on yet.”  So it took a year but I’m so back I even stopped at the fabric store for a jelly roll for another top already!

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This one is for my guestroom which is a very vibrant green and getting wonderful morning sunshine.  Its also home to my crafting bookshelf with baskets of yarn.

I am particularly pleased with the binding which is pieced from the yellows and greens.  And was so happy to get some sunshine to photograph this one in this weekend too!

I am tempted to send out the Christmas quilt top that is done since I do have that together and then maybe it will be done by Christmas! But I also have a couple kits and ideas for a myriad of other quilts… just as soon as I finish the latest Sock Madness round!

Darn It!

When you make handmade things and use them, sometimes they get to a point where their usefulness is slightly less useful due to issues like lost buttons, snags, or just plain worn out.  So that was my yesterday crafting.

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The “before” pile. They have really piled up!

I started with weaving in the ends on my fresh off the needles Sock Madness Round 2 socks because I wanted to wear them.  As a side note, the magenta yarn used in these is part of a test buy of Elann Intonation to see how it knits up since its always good to find some less expensive options sometimes. (it came out to $7/skein for 100g/436yards.) It seems to be a bit of a finer weight fingering and knits up fine but probably not suitable for repeated frogging based on the fuzz and splitting it seemed to have when I was working up and tinking a few stitches of my socks.  Pattern is called Checkbox Socks, and its actually the third pattern I’ve knit by this designer.

Sock Madness also serves as a fun skill building testing ground, but that also means maybe you don’t have all the best techniques down so I had a few spots on last years pairs that I gave Ben that needed a small hole fix where an afterthought heel was joined and my first intarsia in the round was coming loose.  Sock Madness does have minimum requirements so that all knitters are knitting at least a specific number of stitches (you can do more) and a 9 inch or better feet.  While I do in reality have exactly 9 inch feet, I don’t always have the best gauge, especially on rows.  In a fun knit I’d just knit less… but in Sock Madness this sometimes means I have to shorten them later… like the round 1 Blackberry socks which came out hilariously long for me.

So at this point I’m 2/3rds the way through my pile but the last two pair are going to be a bit of a challenge.

First up, are the second pair of socks I’d ever knit (March 2014).  I wasn’t so sure if I was going to like sock knitting at this point as the first pair was plain socks and the second sock syndrome ran very strong because aside from the heel turn they were a boring snooze of a sock to knit. So I only committed a recycled yarn  and a plan to knit Two at a time to the cause and I loved them.  The pattern was Melisandre and its a freebie.

Alas not long after I started wearing them, the yarn wore through and I put them in my mending pile where I thought I’d kept the remainder of the yarn (which wasn’t very much) but in the intervening years I must have misplaced or given away.  So I ended up knitting up a patch for the hole and we will see how it goes, its on the bottom of the foot at any rate.

And now we come to the last pair… Which for me was the 2nd Competition Sock Madness pair I’d ever knit, using a yarn swap yarn (Hazel Knits) that has become one of my favorites to knit with.  I love these socks… I’ve wore them down to the very last fibers on the balls of the feet with how much I love wearing them.  It seemed too big of a shame to just give them up considering how nice they looked everywhere else.  So I tried my hand at duplicate stitch darning on one and a giant patch on the other and we will see if I can’t spare my Cable Madness from the pile of uselessness for a bit longer yet.

The yarn used in the last patch is indeed the exact same yarn the originals were made of, its just that the wear has faded the color in the past three years.  I’m not too worried about having patched feet that don’t match.. those are just love patches in my opinion, because I do love wearing socks I’ve knit. (And based on my husband, aunt, and friends… I’m not the only one!)

Where Have all the February’s Gone?

Great Googly-Moogly! I feel like everything and nothing has been happening around here.  I actually did have a plan to update in February, but that went completely out the window due to a impromptu trip to Kansas to help out family for a couple weeks.

I did mention I was going to knit up a test knit shawl.  Its a rather different design as its a center out triangle of 2 color brioche.  The pattern has been released as Arrakis.

Apparently it was a multi-color time frame as I’d just finished a two color shawl on my holiday trip, and then took up a two color brioche sample knit for my nearest local yarn store, The Nifty Knitter. 

file_medium2Which means I did not get either the Havar sweater dress done or the Sweater club sweater done…. and now its Sock Madness season.  Which I did finish my qualifier socks (and in fact are wearing them today!)

Which brings my finished knit yardage up to 1.7 miles thus far this year, even without any new sweaters. Which kind of negates the whole not knitting 11 miles again this year thing if I keep going at this pace.

One of the things I like about the Sock Madness group is that they give prizes for things other than the major end goal of fastest knitter of socks this year. Things like the ability to overcome some hurdles along the way or taking a great or amusing photos which is basically a general participation enjoyment.  The majority of the prizes are donated from fellow participants. The first year I didn’t know what to expect and joined because it was free, and you’d end up with all the patterns, so why not give it a shot.  It was the year of my wedding and I was knitting up all my flying piggies, and my post about knitting up flying piggies won me a prize of a couple skeins of yarn.  So I try to donate prizes now when I can.

One of the things I like to make for prizes and gifts for knitters are project bags.  And I’ve recently finished off a small batch. (And now I need a few more supplies to make another batch)  This style is a good size for a take your sock project with you.

 

At any rate… I am guessing the next post update will be socks.  And I may have to decide on which sweater for my between rounds project.  And just to make it more interesting, the email to pick my next sweater yarn shipment color showed up this morning!

Looking Ahead to 2018

If you’ve read my year end/years beginning in the past you probably know I don’t really make resolutions.  I do set out ideas and monthly goals and try not to get too worked up when something goes off the rails.  (Hello, last year’s quilting goal!)  Life happens, and you just have to roll with it.

So here’s the plans thus far for 2018 and maybe I will surprise myself again.  I certainly didn’t set out to kit 11+ miles and double my socks knit count last year!

On the knitting front, I have 3 more sweater quantities of yarn coming from my Neighborhood Fiber Co. Sweater Club subscription, and I’d like to knit them up before the next one arrives.  Thus far I knit up a lovely cardigan and I’ve picked out my next yarn which should arrive sometime this month.

Additionally my husband bought me yarn for a Havar Sweater Dress.  (Maybe Valentines Day outfit??)  I am still committed to my Op-Art Socks though I was a bit of a slacker in December and knit neither KAL pattern, so now I am a pair behind.  (Though I totally did knit a different pair of socks that month… it counts right?) I have also committed through admiration to test knitting a lace weight brioche shawl by the same designer as my Weirwood Tree Shawl.  So perhaps fewer projects but of greater yardage is the plan for this year.

On the quilting front, I am tempering my number of quilts goal, though the guest room green and yellow modern is still on the list to be finished.

Guest Quilt Top

All that being said, I am a bit of a sucker for beautiful quilts and the woman behind the 365 Day quilt (which, again, I have not finished…) is doing a Block of the Month that is downright gorgeous, so I’ve signed up for her Aves Quilt A Long.

One item that can not be overstated enough is how organization helps with actually getting things completed.  I try to keep my stash updated on Ravelry so that when patterns catch my eye or when I’m contemplating what to knit next I have some idea of what I have without needing to go up and sort through the yarn bins. Alas, there isn’t (or at least I haven’t found it) a Ravelry equivalent for fabric and quilting.  So with the aide of my husband, I started a database to input my fabric stash so I can sort through what I have and perhaps liberate the ones I’m not madly in love with and find solutions for the fabrics I really do love.  So this year is going to be year of the fabric stash organization.  Right after I put away the Christmas decor….

2017: Year of the Knit

This year I managed to finish exactly ZERO quilts.  Though to be fair, I did make some progress on a queen size and my quilting area was dismantled for a few months while we redid our floors.

However, I knit like the wind with the most number of sock pairs (20), finished projects (38) and yardage (Over 11.5 miles!) in one single year.  So here’s a few of the highlights

For Christmas this year, my husband heard my laments about my inexpensive ball winder starting to show signs of fatigue and bought me a Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder and enough yarn to knit myself a Havar sweater dress!  So you can expect to see some of that in the upcoming year.  I am currently battling a head cold and picot bind off for a shawl I knit primarily on our holiday visit… not sure which is going to come out the victor of that yet.

One Month, One Sweater

You may recall in my prior post I joined a sweater club and got my first shipment of yarn in.  This coincided rather nicely with a lead in to NaKniSweMo (aka National Knit a Sweater Month) and so I cast on Nov 2nd.

And so without further ado… I present some rather dark photos of a completed sweater less than a month later!

I managed to get it all out of just 4 hanks so I have a spare hank for a future project!

I am now dangerously close to the 11 mile mark at this point too! (Holy cow!)

Past 10 miles (as the Stash Grows)

I swear there is some yarn harmony rule that says for all yarn that goes into a project, more yarn must come into the stash that keeps my stash in a kind of stasis.  Now it is entirely my fault and in theory a good round of “Cold Sheeping” (A knitter’s term to describe a period of not buying more yarn) would tame my stash pretty well.  I have cut back quite a bit on how much I was thrift yarn shopping which does help with eliminating a number of one-off skeins.  However, having given up all my hand knit sweaters because they no longer fit, I decided to join a sweater club.  In theory a person who is now up to 19 socks this year should be able to knit a sweater every few months… right?

At any rate… my first sweater yarn has arrived. (Excuse my messy photo)

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My plan for this yarn is to make a lovely cardigan to go with a couple new dresses.  The yarn did include a nice cardigan pattern, but I think I might swap it up with a different choice.

In other news we are now up to design 4 of 19 from the Op Art Socks Book. This one took me three attempts before I was satisfied with the color combination.  After which Ben promptly proclaimed that he liked them too.  Thankfully the man doesn’t have too big of feet.

Next up on the agenda is a project that is LONG overdue. The yarn has been in my stash since 2013 when my (now) Mother-in-Law took us to an Alpaca farm in Kansas when we were there that winter and asked me to make her a scarf.  She knits herself, and is very special to me, so a simple thing just would not due.  So the yarn has languished in my stash waiting and waiting for its time on the needles. Well its time has come… and I should be able to update the blog next time with a finished object using this very meaningful yarn.

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Personal Bests and The Bests that are yet to come.

Its not quite October (3 months left to go!) and I’m setting new personal records in knitting this year.  I’ve exceeded my previous most completed projects count.  I’m only 4 pair away from doubling my lifetime sock knitting count with all the socks I’ve knit this year, and I’m only about 450 more yards until I hit 10 miles of yarn stitched up! (Hello next sock pair in the queue!)

This past month I was working on another felted KAL basket and finishing up projects for other people.  Including 6 sock pairs all in the same pattern.

In only marginally related news, I also solved my sock drawer problem of running out of space for new socks by removing all non-handknits from the drawer.  I think I may have made room for a couple more pair and can probably look at a few pair that have felted a bit or don’t fit just right anymore now.  Also my husband installed a small expandable drying rack in the utility room so I have a dedicated space for drying them.

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Next month I am expecting my first installment for a sweater club I signed up to join.  I had to give up all my hand knit sweaters after losing 80+ lbs, so I might as well get started on some new ones!  Expect to see some bigger projects soon!

(Now I just need to figure out…. what am I making anyone for Christmas from myself???)

Now Passing 8 Miles of yarn

So one of the fun things I enjoy doing with Ravelry is tagging my projects by year so that I can see how many things I do year over year.  I also use tags to sort projects into various groups so I can see all the socks I’ve ever knit at once, or lace work, or whatever floats my fancy. There is an added bonus that at the very bottom of these project group pages if you’ve tracked your yardage it will tell you how many yards you have knit across those projects.  A simple google and you can convert that into miles.

My personal best was 2015 with 9.4 miles of yarn knit up across 33 projects.  With all the KALs happening this year I noted that not only have I blown my Socks per Year (SpY? is now at 14!) number way out of the ballpark, but I’m already working past 8 miles!

All of which is to say I’ve not gotten much on the quilting front done… but here comes the Finished Objects Parade!

First up…. I had to buy a new winter coat last year because I got too small to wear my old one.  I love my new coat, but because there are days when one wants to maybe be that ladylike person with actual matching accessories, I clearly would need to update my winter accessories to match.  I found some great matching yarn way back in January, and even a glove pattern I loved, and since we have scheduled our Holiday road trip now… its time to make it up.  I had to improvise on the hat since the designer did not already have a hat pattern to match, but I think I did ok in that department.  (Pattern is Red Bud Gloves)

Ben had said before Sock Madness he wanted a pair of purple socks and we picked out Bora as the pattern from my Op Art Socks book.  Since the Sock Madness people started knitting along and it was one of the pattern options of the month… BAM!  Purple Boras.  (Pay no attention to the baggy toes… Ben wasn’t home so I did my own finished photo. They fit him perfectly!) 

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I really try to use up all my gifted yarn.  But its a bit difficult for me at times because gift items get filed in special places in my brain under “You can’t just make ANYTHING! it has to be worthy.”  So sometimes it sits in the stash, peaking out of the yarn bins to niggle at you.  The shawlbingo KAL gave me an opportunity to find the right match for a worsted gradient kit set that my mother gave me for holidays.

Photos do not really do it justice in my opinion, but it goes from a vibrant teal to a deep indigo at the border edge.  Pattern for this one is Wavedeck, which is free, worsted, small yardage and quick!

I wore this out to dinner last night for my Anniversary.

And last, but certainly not least in the FO parade, our bi-monthly KAL theme is short rows and a garter ridge basket was chosen.  I used up a thrifted yarn and a bit more of my remaining fun fur from days when I didn’t know any better and turned mine into a felted easter basket.   Here’s a photo of it drying in all its glory.

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You may recall an earlier basket for gothic easter bunnies…. this is the cutter purple cousin.   I am actually attempting to knock out a second version that will turn into a bin for stashing things… depending on how the size turns out will depend on which things!

So here we are at five projects so far this month, and we still have a whole week left.  If only I were so efficient at the quilting side ¬.¬