Colorwork and Woodwork

I swear that the woodworking does not refer to me picking up a new craft, but rather to refer to the last post I mentioned how we were updating our floors to hardwood in the midst of Sock Madness.  I am happy to report that the floors are installed!   And they are beautiful.

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So now its down to bringing all the belongings into the house again, which thankfully is not on such a swift timeframe.

Sock Madness has continued in a cavalcade of colorwork, combined with my first pair of dark ludwig socks.

Between rounds of socks we had a hotel stay due to the floor finishing, which I used to start tackling the KAL project, which was  colorwork mittens.  The cats were rather unhappy about the drive, but settled in to days of traffic and knitting supervision.

And while I did finish the striped sweater, I am not super sure I like it and how it fits, so photos of that coming eventually later.  (A portion of that is adjusting to how clothes fit now that I have lost ~80 lbs.)  But I will tease you with my finally conquering one of those knitting opuses… a Herbert Neibling lace pattern.

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Now I just need to get my crafting spaces back assembled!

Let the Madness begin (Plus a bigger dose of crazy)

The Madness I refer to is indeed Sock Madness.  I successfully navigated the qualification round with a pair of Twisted Madness Socks

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This put me on Team KP named for the toxic Pitohui bird.  I went from a Toxic Foxglove to a Toxic Pitohui… what are the mods saying about me?

First round was a dropped stitch pattern called Dropped Madness, and while its still only part way into the round I have finished my socks (I’m #2 for our team this round!), which since they fit Ben, are going to him. These did a different afterthought heel than I have done as well as a new increase style.   I do think making my drop stitch cowl designs last year helped me out this round!

And now onto the extra doses of Crazy.  We decided this would be our year for updating our carpet flooring which has truly seen better days to hardwood floors and refinishing our existing wood to make it looks like a seamless install. This means that the whole house has to get packed up and moved out (excluding cupboards and bathrooms basically).  My husband and I will openly admit that one of our failings is being at least a bit hoarder and packrat about various things (see also: fabric and yarn stashes)  So while I was hustling my knitting along into the qualifier, I was also being a crazy packing and moving planner.

The good news is that my activities have paid off and we are on track for our install!  Its going to look amazing once its done, but until then its a bit weird and out of sorts.

In the extra-extra dose of crazy…. I managed to work in a single Ludwig sock, and a bit of progress on both my Guest room quilt AND a striped summer weight (cotton/acrylic) sweater!

Technically I am on the green stripe after the 4th blue stripe of the sweater above… but who has time for taking more photos?!

Keep Busy and Keep Going

Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep moving in the general direction of where you want to end up.  Then the next thing you notice you are already well on your way to a pile of stuff that somehow managed to get done.

I attempted to start my latest finished shawl on our holiday road trip.  And while its well written its spread across a few charts and as someone that sometimes has eyes wander in a chart, it was put on hold.  But I’m happy to say my first project with Stellina (aka sparkles) is complete.

The pattern is called Weirwood Tree. I suppose a more dedicated knitter than I would have knit it up in white and then hand dye-painted each leaf that burgundy/magenta of its namesake.

Also on the knitting front, its approaching Sock Madness time, and yet I managed to plan out extra socks to make, and even finished a pair for Ben, who has since decided he actually likes hand knit socks.  And I churned out a brioche cowl for a KAL this month too.

And last but not least I said I wanted to make 5 quilts this year… so I managed to put together another quilt top (I have the backing and binding fabric for this already)

Yes, it is a Christmas Throw Quilt.  No, I don’t have plans for it other than to make it. The design is called a Four Patch Lattice and goes together rather quickly.

Next Up: Expect a bunch more socks, Maybe a sweater, and I should probably get around to quilting one of these quilts…..

And to top it off…

Its not even the official middle of January and I’ve already got my first top together!  Believe it or not, the majority of the fabric was purchased back in June of 2015 specifically for this quilt idea and then it only took about a week to actually assemble.

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The idea was hatched from a quilt someone posted from I believe Quiltcon 2014, but the bookmarked link I had is now defunct and I can’t seem to find it again.   So if you think it was you and would like the credit you deserve (or just to tell me how unoriginal I am) then drop me a line!

On the knitting front I’ve put together a couple new variations on my market bags, one with a seamless handle design and one a mosaic style to use up some partial cotton balls from the stash.

And then I frogged and restarted a new lace shawl based on the Weirwood Tree pattern. I first started this on the holiday road trip but its a less simplistic lace design which needs a bit more attention.  After getting home with a proper knit companion, its been progressing along. I’m throwing in a few photos I took from the trip (I wasn’t driving at the time) too.

Hope your new year is also producing some good progress too!

2017 Craft Forecast

I know; I know; I don’t update for a couple months then BAM! three posts in a day.  As I’ve said before… this started out mostly for me, so I’m not even sorry.  Just as I am not sorry about all those extra holiday feasts, cookies and chocolate.  So just like last year I’m going to layout some ambitious goals for the year and let’s see how close or far we get!

In the quilting department my list of in progressed/planned/ideas is at 23.  I’m going to aim for finishing 5. In particular I’m declaring my Wedding Flowers, The Guestroom Quilt, Scrappy Snowflake, and a Contours Quilt (bought kit – paper pieced) with one wild card quilt option.

On the knitting front, I want to go for third Sock Madness, and a Double OtterBingo (which is a KAL year long project with the Reddit knitters group.  I’ve got a number of yarns stashed so I shall try to stash down a bit. (She said carelessly as she browsed more yarn for sale) I’d also like to spin up a bit more of my fiber I got last year.

House plans are kind of large this year as we want to redo our floors this year which may turn into one of those more major projects, but we shall see.  I’d also like to focus a bit more on my flower beds this year, including our community cul-de-sac which I revamped a bit last year, and get the room I sew in straightened up a bit, because let’s just admit that an orderly workspace can often be a more productive workspace.

Last year I put a big focus on improving my health and saw some success, so I want to keep that trend line going in the right direction.

2016 Round Up

Well its time to check in on our goals of 2016 and see how and what we did.

Of the seven proposed quilts, I finished two. (¬.¬ )  I did quite a bit of work on the wedding quilt top as well, but apparently my ambitions for quilting in January didn’t come to fruition.

I knitted a number of socks again thanks to Sock Madness, and not as much lace.  Which when after taking a longer break from I realized I really like knitting lace.

I tried a few new things this year, including felting and spinning. I progressed on a large cross stitch project, and tackled a massive double knit scarf… which isn’t one of my favorite things.

And so while I may have knit fewer yards this year, I still tried new things and that’s important too.

 

Perfectly Presented

Its finally that time of year past gift giving when I can reveal the gifts I made.  I rather like making many of my gifts, though its generally a stressful proposition of that line called “I hope they like it”

First up is a project that was actually a few years in the making for my Father and Stepmother… a movie themed quilt.

I also made one of my nephews a dinosaur sweater… which meant finally having a good use for one of my handknit labels. (He has a great giggle!)

I made up 3 pair of socks and a pair of felted slippers.  The bottom pair went to a friend in Germany.

I also gifted some handmade jellys, lemonade concentrates, rope bowls, hooked rug and starts off my african violet.  Though the subzero weather enroute to their destination was certainly less than ideal for the violets.

I hope your holidays were amazing too!

 

 

Quick Tip: Keeping Track of your yarn labels

I thought I’d share one method I sometimes employ for keeping track of my yarn labels.

First I wind my ball of yarn as usual:

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Then I fold my label so that its smaller than the width of the center of my yarn ball, and then hold this over that center pillar as I pull the yarn ball off the winder.  This leaves the label inside the yarn ball.

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If you also pick up that center pull end and put it inside the folded label, it makes it fairly easy to find that center pull for later, although this does end up removing your label from inside your yarn ball once you start working it.

Link, Lace and Falling Leaves

There is a certain point in the fall when the morning mist becomes the wisp of smoke on the changing leaves of fire. Its a special russet and gold that creeps into your life, and you start thinking about gingerbread and pumpkin pies and getting the bulbs in for next spring’s splendor.  Around here in the Pacific Northwest it tends to come along with dark and rainy days which make the options for getting a good light photo a bit chancy.

img_20161007_140753So I’m going to start off with a lace shawl project since its shawl weather. This one is from a pattern called Robin’s Nest, it incorporates some more traditional Estonian lace with many nupps (thats those bumps in the pattern).  The yarn I used was a yarn swap gift that came all the way from China composed of yak, cashmere and milk protein. It was very soft and has a texture very similar to pure cashmere.

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The outdoor photo does a much better job of getting the color right.

I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy knitting lace as one of my favorite things.  Unfortunately there are only so many lace shawls you can knit for someone  as unasked for before it gets ridiculous. I’m starting to get a bit of a stockpile.

I did get some time at the sewing machine this past month too.  I found a wonderful Link fabric and made up some throw pillows for the living room as the old ones were starting to look kind of flat and sad.  I’ve managed to track down a more colorful version so I’ll have a few more to add to the family room soon.

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I also turned over the quilting stash and found a pumpkin row kit and decided I’d make up a table runner out of it.  The original kit called for a five pumpkin row, but with a couple tiny additions from my stash I added in a sixth as we frequently leave the extra leave in our dining room table.

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The reason why I was turning over the stash… well its getting to be that time of year and there are certain projects that need to be completed and considered for holidays.  Time to pour another cup of cider and tuck in for the cold.

Of Failures, Fibers and Finished Objects

So let me start this off with an apology.  When I started my blog it was just about knitting and probably 90% or more for my own edification.  Then I made a couple things and a few things more and found myself with a blog that while not front page news is being visited more days than not out of the year.  So this year I started off with a goal of bumping up that post number so there would be a bit to read a bit more often… and its looking an awful lot like I’ve failed at that, but I hope you will forgive me as I keep trying to keep up.

I was kind of holding off on updating this time because of my failure feelings, so you can probably imagine my surprise when I have six finished objects to share.

First up, I finished my twisted two color socks made from yarn swap yarn!

The pattern for these is an obscure free one called Twisted. Its done without a cable needle and for me, I decided to continue the design on the legs, which meant going up a needle size.

Then I turned up the full steam of “really its only 180 more rows” and finished up my There and Back Again Hobbit Scarf even before Ben’s birthday.  I figure this way he can wear it on the winter trip rather than finish for Christmas and have him freeze before then.

Now if I had this to knit over again, I’d probably not have chosen single ply yarns (the pills!) and I’d have picked a true solid instead of a tonal.  That said, the charts are exceptionally well done and its an epic scarf with an epic tale.

Now at this point I shall remind you that I was yarn swapping last post and so point out that my gifter sent me some AMAZING gifts, including a glorious skein she spun herself (on the left here).

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This is relevant because whenever I do a yarn swap I have a wonderful time picking out the yarn to give which is then immediately followed by shame and guilt over yarns that are still in my stash.  There is yarn in my stash I was gifted three years ago.  You see… I have this thing where gifts are significant to me, and thus yarn gifts need to become something significant and meaningful.  And there are a few yarns that end up in that pile too… such as the Araucania Lauca yarn which was a wool, camel and silk blend.

So I fixed that by knitting up a honey cowl, and in true “leave no yards behind” mentality I also made up a matching slouchy hat.

Now September and October are currently lace knit along months and so I started out with a lace and bead cowl.   The yarn for this one includes Sea Cells in the blend, which is made from the cellulose of sea weed fibers, and when I saw it on the yarn crawl this year I knew it was in need of something with beads.

I should mention that this is my first time using bicone style beads and they are taller than a typical 6/0 bead so instead of border beads on the side of the pattern I just did a simple purl stitch.  I restarted this so many times before I did that change just trying to make it work.  This was a classic example for no one is judging your final project based on the tribulations you went through except you…. unless you tell them.

Which brings us at last to the sixth finished object.  Technically this was cast on way back in January, but at that time I had a bit going on and this is a pattern with both front and back side charting and is one of those projects you kind of have to pay attention to… but boy is it worth it.

This is in fact another swap yarn and you may remember it from the Maple shawl.  This time its a white oak lace scarf, and there is actually a bit of this yarn left… I’m contemplating a matching hat to finish it off, but don’t hold your breath just yet on that one.

Whew! That’s quite a few finishes.

But wait!… There’s More!

I did put Fiber in the title for a reason… and not just because I was going to namedrop so many different fibers either.  It was actually about something that came just today.  I found a thrift auction for 6 lbs of wool fleece, and it was a good enough deal that I bought it.

For yarn reference there are over 450 grams in a pound and most average commercial skeins weigh either 50 or 100 grams.  Its a very big bag.

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The majority of the bag looks to already be washed and is ready to be carded then spun.  There was a smaller amount of it still “in the grease” which shows it was a bit of a curly hair breed.

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So we will see how this new endeavor spins out.

And lastly a WIP update… I need to get back to my tulip cross stitch.. I did make it past the half way spot, but I’m a bit behind for where I wanted to be at this point.

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