2020 Mystery Stash of the Month Club

So I enjoy the occasional subscription club (although to be perfectly fair I don’t always go in for the patterns and then stash builds up) so based on my stash size this year I would build my own Mystery Stash of the Month Club.  Another Raveler gave me the base idea and I built from there.

I started by picking 12 pattern/stash combinations that I wanted to knit this year.  Four of those were to be sweaters as I’m certainly trying to work down my sweater quantity stash and that would give me one per quarter.  The other 8 could be anything.  This was actually kind of easy as I have more frequently bought stash with patterns in mind OR single skeins for socks.   So here are my piles of yarn (upper left are my 4 sweaters) and I decided since we were part way into January I’d just pick that one myself.

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I numbered bags 2-12 with larger bags for 2, 5, 8 and 11 for my sweaters.  And then I got my husband to play random number generator with an explanation about sweaters and the dual pair of semi-matching socks I’d like to finish prior to our anniversary.  So now my Mystery Stash Buster looks like this:

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So I personally don’t know what project is planned each month, but here’s my February to December Queue of Mystery for 2020 (with links to the patterns on Ravelry because of course!

  1. Iolanthe (Sweater – fingering weight)
  2. Spring in Her Path (Sweater – fingering weight)
  3. Riverway (sweater- lace weight)
  4. Catkin (2 color shawl)
  5. Kirkcaldy Scarf
  6. Delicate Brambles (keyhole scarf)
  7. Coffee Cantata (socks)
  8. Zigzagular Socks (anniversary duo pair)
  9. Hermiones Everyday Socks
  10. Pixel Stitch Socks
  11. Hinterland (Sport weight sweater)

For January I actually decided to tackle a former KAL I’d planned with my mother-in-law.  WAY back in 2015 we visited a yarn mill and my husband bought us both two skeins of an alpaca-merino blend.  My mother-in-law picked the Petra Lace Scarf as our project pattern and was very worried about learning to kitchener stitch.  Well there has been quite a lot of life happening since then and she’s pretty much stopped knitting as a result.  So I stopped waiting and knit mine up and its upstairs blocking (beauty photos later). I may reach out and knit hers up too since coincidentally this particular yarn will very much match her coat for this winter.

2020 Vision

How could I NOT make that pun in the headline?

So I am trying something a bit new this year inspired by all those “of the month” clubs. I’ve decided I’m going to do a Mystery Stash of the Month club out of my own stash yarn.  How it will work is I am picking 12 projects that I have acquired yarn for and setting them aside.  Four of those projects will be sweaters since I want to do one sweater per quarter this year to use up some of my larger stash quantities. I shall enlist the assistance of my husband in sorting them into bags numbered 1-12 (ok 2-14 since I settled on what to stash out for this month I think) and each month I will open its own bag and knit up that project.

I am also planning to finish up my Anniversary Quilt and my Contours Quilt that is actually all ready to be quilted.  That is to be the second full free motion quilting adventure.

So I’m printing patterns and sorting through my stash and getting a bit excited for the year to come!

2019 In Review

In 2019 I managed to finish 2 quilts (3rd is ready for quilting and a fourth has the top done), as well as 3 sweaters and 2 shawls.  Seen here for the first time is the late finish on my NakniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month) Anne of Cleves sweater joined by my other large projects of the year.

Back before 2014 I swore I’d never be a sock knitter because the second sock every was just sooooo boring.  Well… I finished 11 pair last year.  ¬.¬

There were a few other notable projects worth mentioning also… I tackled one of my oldest stashed yarns (recorded in Ravelry during the great yarn stash recording of 2013) by knitting it into a drop leaf scarf!  I made my first yarn bowl and my first tea cozy.

There was quite a bit of travel for me this year and one larger unfinished gift that ate into my craft time, so overall I am rather pleased with how it all sorted out.

Back on top!

Boy I have really fallen behind on updating.  Not quite as far behind as I am on finishing my wedding quilt since we’ve been married now for four years, but still…

Speaking of wedding quilt… mistakes were definitely made, but the top itself is now DONE!  I’ve actually completed all four of the quilt tops for my four quilts goal this year!  I need to get backing for two, piece the backing for the other two then sandwich and do the actual quilting bits… but there is absolutely progress happening.

The wedding quilt is certainly far from perfect.  I adapted a block from The Quilter’s Cache called a posy chain.  Between signers getting into the seams and my poor measuring the points leave a lot to be desired and based on how things were coming together I decided to add the smaller flowers into the chain in order to space the main blocks out and help hide how the main blocks would have met together. It turned out to be about a queen sized quilt.  The three on the left are all throw sized.  The top one does have an additional border now, and was an experiment in learning how to paper piece.  The middle was also a quilt and my lesson on how to sew curved seams.

And speaking of tops, I also managed to finish my second sweater this year, which is also the 2 of 4 for the Neighborhood Fiber Co 2017-2018 sweater club.  (The first being the Waterfall cardigan)  This design is Nutmeg Ginger by Alicia Plummer which I picked because I wanted a bit of texture but not so much to lose the rich chestnut and cool teal from my yarn.

This was actually a project where unlike my photo poses, I attempted to be a full grown knitter and actually alternate skeins as they suggest you do with hand dyed yarn.  Usually I just eyeball and give it a close enough shrug and it works out, but this time I could tell that the balls had some distinct differences. One of the 4 balls was more muted in the chestnut and one ball had larger bits of teal than the others.  So I started out working the hem in one of the true chestnut balls, then swapped to an every other row with the more muted ball through the body and into the texture area.  I used the larger teals ball for the texture and collar.   Here is a close up of my swatch and a comparison of the two balls so you can see why I decided to go that route.

Now I just need to finish up the fingering weight (pattern selected) and navy lace weight (still undecided) before the next sweater club rolls around so I can justify my yarn expenses.  (HA! HA!)

So let’s round up all the other projects I managed to squeak out since the last time we updated… such as the 2 pair of matching anniversary socks, a replacement market bag, a pair of sideways knit zig-zaggy brown socks and a pair of very orange socks (to go with the very orange shawl I presume).  Whew!

Currently on the needles.. the second sock of a pair for Ben, and a very large, very lace project I am doing on 000 needles.

 

Bad decisions and more socks

So the Finished project I am featuring today took me nearly a year to complete and not a single bit of it was the fault of the pattern.  So let’s just jump in to how I made some poor decisions that still ended up looking amazing!

I found this amazing flame orange tonal yarn with gold sparkle thread in it at the yarn stores sales bin (yes, I am still thrifty).  There were two skeins; one perfectly presentable and one more of a loose almost tangle. It was color saturation love.  Check this out:

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Inspired by the gold I decided the ideal choice was finding some solid gold colored beads.  I looked high and low and there were lots of options in semi-transparent golden beads and I bought some but still…. this needed the solid gold bling and I went online and found some metal seed beads and based on the listed hole dimension I thought they were roughly a 6/0 bead.  They were not.  They were more like an 8/0 bead and that made putting them on a heavier than fingering weight yarn was a significant challenge… as in get out your beading pliers and pull your wired yarn loop through the hole at times challenging.  So when I found I’d made a mistake in a beaded row… the project spent some time in the WIP pile to think about what it had done.  I mean really?!

On the plus side when I did go back to restart my project I had apparently forgotten that before I put it in time out, I’d apparently pulled back the bad row and so I didn’t have to do that when I restarted.  YAY!

But wait!  There is more.  Beads are sold by weight and so what I thought was a reasonable quantity based on my prior experience buying glass seed beads turned out to be about 3+ times as many as I actually needed, and so in eyeballing the bind off options… I liked the bubbled version and figured I had enough beads I might as well bead my bubbled bind off.  Of course I forgot all about how long picot style bind offs actually take and so by the end of day one binding off I was rather far more ready to be done than actually done!  So without further ado… here’s some beauty shots of my version of Bubbles and Baubles which based on the color I called Pele’s Bauble.

And yes.. I did say there were more socks.  Which is the round three from Sock Madness pair (yes I was out but I finished these before Round Four pattern showed up so its a win in my book) and my between rounds Günter from the Op-Art socks book. I’m now at pair 5 of the 19 patterns completed.

Toasting Time

Having looked back through my email order confirmations…. I ordered this quilt kit back in November of 2016.  Its just 36 blocks, so it really shouldn’t take nearly 36 months but… that’s how time goes I guess, I did get my blocks finished and assembled so now its just a border and backing.

ExNvOpHr99NqqCLPPcCldFoG47I9LGLcZgg8MkGkEn9_PpTi8yDkflPmvpgo_L2v8J227abJxl6l5DDIDTyNCweIQEO7NBnWZy_XOjTPTR5qKdmJKQGWSHMsqBDfJGvF_ANJXe5YrYNGGnJbYxaNguCVxa0MljLw3o1XFyQkDdhrKPlvUy22Jw3n1qDKQnUWeXujdPkDsKzbDfjSkVsZjpnvDYn9Owpk

On the plus side it was bought to learn paper piecing and well I can say I have learned how and its not my favorite.  Though some of that may be due to choices I made.  For example, you can buy lighter specialty papers for copying your blocks.  I just used a copy machine and ye ole standard A4 letter size.  My main issue though is it feels wasteful.  The quantity and size of scraps using this technique seems large and then there is all the paper.  Which at least I can recycle the paper once I get it all off, which is my next project step.

For fun… here’s the backside with the papers and the original design layout the quilt came with.  I inverted the light and dark sides to come up with my layout.

In other news Sock Madness has been a bit rocky going this year.  In Round Two I made a rather major mistake in chart reading and though I did manage to squeak into Round Three there was much family related travel and so I was out.  Now its just knitting for the fun of it.  I’m half finished with my next pair and its the start of the yarn tour so… signs are pointing towards more yarn in the near future.  But I really DO need to finish a few of these quilts!

Happy Pi(e) Day!

This is not a post about Pi or pie, and in fact when you wind a ball of yarn you tend to call it a cake, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share in the celebration of round food with crusts.

I have been traveling and knitting… I technically managed to finish all the knitting and seaming on my Guston sweater and even blocked it out, but then left the state and the poor thing is currently languishing in need of some buttons.  Hopefully this month.

Between Guston and my travels I knocked out my first ever Tea Cozy!

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I didn’t much follow a pattern, but whipped it up using a simple short row circle, then knitting each side with a K3, Sl1 on the WS and Knit all on the right side.  This yarn has silly loops of vivid threads that pop out and I’d not really found a perfect project for it… but yarn cozy with silly oversize bead flower buttons seems to work and that’s one cozy down in my cozy KAL I am hosting over on Rav.

As is tradition for the start of March… its the start of Sock Madness and travels and headcolds can not hold me back too much… so I’ve knit up my qualifier pair!

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This design stitch technique is called smocking and uses the yarn to wrap certain stitches to make the design.  You can do it using a cable needle, but its a different technique from cabling altogether as you do not actually rearrange the stitch order.  This round finishes on Sunday, so I’ve got to work out what to work on for the next few days yet, but knowing me it will be something far too grand for the timeline!

And so it grows..

Happy Sock Madness registration day! (aka February 1st)  You can bet your socks I am already signed up and mostly raring to go, with a side order of knowing I need to track down my sock needles and make sure they are free for the next couple months.

January was very green in the knitting.  I received the new yarn for Ben’s Guston sweater and restarted and got several more rounds in on my latest lace project to the point I added another segment to the cable of my needles.  Conan helped on a couple occasions.

But more importantly, I did say I was going to really work on my quilts this year…. and I have made significant progress on the Contours quilt top.  I have about 11 blocks left to go but I am far enough along to start arranging and rearranging to see if one layout suits me better than another.  Tessellations are such a fun part of quilt building in my opinion.

The first one shown here is an inverted version of the primary display on the kit.  The second, which does look a bit bears ears at the corners has the same central layout as the kit though.

Hopefully I can finish up the rest of the squares this month, pick the layout and get that top assembled.  With January being so many parts of bigger projects I’d like to move something close to the done pile.

Lastly… I get to introduce the newest member of our household.  We adopted a lovely orange tabby girl from Homeward Pet animal shelter that we have called Kaylee.  She was under socialized with people and so is rather shy, with the notable exception of Conan, whom she follows around and has started a fan club. She also likes fish tanks, balls and toys on strings.

2018-2019 Recap: Where I ran off to since October

Yes, I totally did figuratively fall off the face of the Earth right after saying I was going to try to do better about that.  Whoops!  In order to do better this year I went ahead and made it a Task on my Task list so it should pop up and hopefully that will help… I mean I do get the laundry done every week so I’ve got that going for me at least.

I was knitting and it wasn’t all socks (as promised) it was in fact a sweater finish in September, October and November!

The Havar sweater dress on the left features my 2017 Christmas Yarn from Ben.  I also realized shortly after finishing it I probably could have went down a size.  The middle, which is Radiate by Joji Locatelli used a gradient hand spun I recieved in a yarn swap.  I knit it a bit longer and worked more of the yarn into the hem and cuffs.  Lastly, the right side is an Aidez.

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I overdyed some thrifted yarn I picked up and stashed way back in 2012 that turned out to be just a little different pinkish tan rather than a more neutral tan that I planned at the time to make a nice cabled blanket with.  Alas the blanket went out the window with the color of the yarn not quite matching up with anything and then the idea of overdying it took over. Thankfully I am now down to just under half of the 10 skeins I started with.

Now I did actually knit a couple pairs of socks for gifts.  One pair for Ben that I sincerely went looking for a good one color but good with stripes pattern and ended up finding a two color sock but forged ahead in my one color plans anyway called Algaü.  The second pair being a request for my father-in-law whom has very large feet and so I kind of winged it from his measurements.  I have been assured they do indeed fit, so that’s good.

So total for 2018 was 16 pair of socks, 3 sweaters, a pair of hats, a pair of mittens, and 4 wraps (shawls/scarves)  with both one quilt and a blanket finished.  Not too bad, though I still feel a bit guilty about my quilting WIPs so I have put 1 per quarter on my goals for this year.

catxmasA brief personal note before I jump into my goals for 2019, (Its still January… they aren’t late!)  Ben and I had to say good-bye to our 15 year old calico cat, Sonja at the end of the year.  You may also recall her from the making of the Stargate Cat Beds, which was apparently 6 years ago.

 

Now for 2019…  I am running a very unofficial Tea Cozy KAL which you can join in at any time right over here. As mentioned previously, I am planning to complete 4 quilts this year starting with my Contours Quilt Kit that I have already started and just need to set aside time for.  I have a sweater that I will be restarting for Ben due to a yarn color change, a Niebling Lace table cloth and a beaded shawl in my WIPs to finish.  Then I have 3 sweaters, 3 shawls/scarves and 6 pairs of socks making up my top 12 in my Ravelry Queue.  Here’s the coming colors of 2019!

Summer Sock Knitting

Wow…. so its been a few months since I updated and it was socks.  So I guess I have been kind of stuck in a rut in that after Sock Madness I convinced myself to try out Tour de Sock. And even though I joined in with a group that was literally named Zero Expectations, I managed to knit most of the rounds in the time frame, and the only ones I didn’t knit were the warm-up, cool-down and one that I didn’t have the right yarn for while I was on my vacation.

And then as if that wasn’t enough… I knit Ben two additional pair of socks, and I turned a KAL cowl into… socks.

Which brings my total count of socks year to date to 14 pairs!  Its not quite the 20 pairs from last year, but its still quite a bit of socks when you lay it all out.

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Coming soon; something that isn’t actually socks!