Never Give Up

Yesterday I was talking with a good friend about reservations at our respective pools and how it might be a bit easier now because the Resolutioners seem to have already tapered off. Resolutioners are those people that start out their new year with the absolute best intentions. Every year when they show up; I am happy to see them and really hope they stick with their goals. Invariably a few weeks go by and the majority of them stop showing up. While I’m glad that it might be a bit easier to get a reservation, or less sharing of space (in non-Covid times) its a little bit telling about human nature. I can’t say why the first time they didn’t come when they had every intention of doing so because there are so very many reasons. Maybe it was just too early or they overdid the last visit or they had another commitment come up or they missed the alarm. The reason doesn’t matter, but it tends to trip this train of thought that may not even be fully realized but tells our brains that it was ok to skip once, so its ok to skip again.. and again.. and again. OR that if you missed that one time, well then its a complete and utter failure so its best to give up the whole idea.

We have those thoughts in crafting too. Projects that get partially done and then something didn’t go exactly as planned and so we banish it to places we call things like “the naughty pile” with all the glorious good intentions of someday. One of my more recent projects is from the realm of the naughty pile it went on the naughty pile all the way back in 2017! I fell a bit hard for a felted duffle bag that the original is lovely and gradient colored rainbow designs. I went slightly easier with some harvesty multi colors on a denim blue background. Then I felted it.. and I kind of overdid the felting so some of the shaping and stitch definition was lost. Hence.. the naughty pile.

I had already bought all the feet and snaps and handles. I even had a lovely burgundy micro suede type fabric suitable for lining. (That insists on photographing as bright red) Well it only took about 3 years, but I decided having all the materials and not finishing this project was rather high up on the silly scale and finally assembled it into an actual bag. Its a fuzzy felted weekender size duffle that while I probably owe an apology for my failings to the designer is a functional item, and more importantly… is done.

I also test knit a sweater that I am eager to share with everyone once the pattern is published. (ETA some time in March) And my January hat… which based on comments and how the original sizing was turning out I added a half repeat to, but kept the great crown decrease design.

I also finished my borders on my Warmth in our Stars Quilt. I decided to do piano keys with mini-log cabin style corners. I bought backing for it and borders/backing for the raindrops quilt too!

I started a simple scarf but promptly ran out of black worsted yarn (of all things!) but instead of frogging it or naughty piling it… I just bought more yarn.

Speaking of more yarn… the Sock Madness Materials list got posted so it was time for the annual checking in with the fingering weight stash and see if we have enough. I dunno… what do you think?

I managed to sort out a few possible combinations between them and the beads. There is apparently a three color sock and multiple two colors and several scraps and beads. These may be tossed entirely out the window when the pattern actually comes out but here’s a few of my current ideas that may come to a post near you.

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.


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!

The Gothic Easter Bunny and the first mad socks

I may have mentioned before that I sometimes find thrift yarn shopping a bit fun.  It is probably not super great for my stash and keeping organized.  One of my prior buys had a bit of bulky yarn in it… which isn’t my typical use yarn and so it found itself filed in the same box as some others that might as well be called, “Interesting but, she’s just not that into you”.  Its probably worth noting that my very first knitting project yarn was frogged and currently lives in this box, so its not a case of them being bad yarns per se.

One part of my new years resolution was to sort through this box and Knit It or Quit It.  If the yarns don’t get knit (or at least project ideas picked for them) then its off to someone else.


And so with the trepidation of being only relatively certain the unlabeled bulky was wool… I set out to felt my first thing.  Just a simple bowl//basket shape with some beaded fur held double at the edges to start.  Then into the wash on hot with a pair of jeans….


I call it my Gothic Easter Bunny Basket.  This one came out perfect (in my opinion) so fresh on the heels of my success I tried out a few more felted items using slip stitches and another yarn from the same thrift stash.  And well… here’s the before and after shots.

Not quite as sold on how these turned out, debating if I should try felting a bit more, or just give them a nice sweater shave…. Possibly the wool content was a bit more of a blend in these yarns.

There are a bit more of these yarns left, and if I can sort out where to get nice cork clog soles I’d totally want to try to make those.  So back into the puzzle box for you bulky yarns!

I finished my qualifying round of Sock Madness socks. As is traditional when speed knitting.. the first finished photos may suffer from the lighting in the later hours when they were completed. So I took another photo today when there was a bit more sunshine.

Now I am working my way through the mountains and into the goblin kingdom on this months chart of the Hobbit scarf. (Kind of looking forward to finding the ring!)


Getting Ready to Go Mad

Sock Madness is coming up right around the corner and I’m signed up again.  I made it into Round 6 last year.  So in anticipation, I’ve sorted out some yarn options for the Madness and spent a portion of the other day turning hanks into balls.

This year I also decided to put together a few prizes for the Madness, so I put together some notion bags and fabric boxes with working button holes so you can use them like a yarn bowl if that’s your jam.

The bag tutorial can be found here, and the fabric boxes here.  My only alteration was to add working button holes to the boxes instead of just decorative buttons.


I bought my zippers and buttons at Pacific Fabrics and picked up the rest of their Row by Row kits to make a nice PNW quilt. (Can there be more hours in the day?) That’s what it will eventually look like there on the left.

Sometimes I feel like the quilting side of things tends to fall behind… and if I want to get my goal of seven quilts this year I’m going to have to kick over into quilt-ville after the Madness. Today I put in the first six days of February of my 365 day challenge.


And before I forget…. I did finish my KAL shawl!  Its the latest in my bird themed ones.  This one is based on the local Stellar’s Jays with their blue and black.

Yarn Swapping, Assassiknitting, and a Nyan Cowl Pattern too!

Crafting can at times be very social, and yet very independent work too.  Its the range from knitting/sewing circles to just me at home with my machine/needles.  It can be very easy to skew to one end or the other and at times I feel a distinct need to correct the trajectory.  So this year I’m engaging a bit more with the people side of things.

I started with a couple of yarn swaps.  Yarn swaps are pretty simple to explain, everyone buys yarn for someone, and so everyone gets something they hopefully like.  I have 3 swaps so far, two completed, and one still on-going.  (I’ve sent mine, but still quite some time until shipping deadlines)

For which I have gained some great yarn from my first two swaps.

After the first couple swaps I joined in on an Assassiknitting group project. Assassiknitting is where everyone works the same project, with the goal of completing yours and mailing it out to “kill” whom you are knitting for.  At which point you take on their project and try to eliminate their target…. all before you get eliminated yourself.  Our project was to knit up a Grumpasaurus.  I knit for someone in Pennsylvannia, and managed to get my Grumpy guy knit all in the first day and out the door faster than I could take a photo with his feet attached.

Curse his sudden yet inevitable betrayal!

Curse his sudden yet inevitable betrayal!

However… my assassin was also a speedy knitter and completed and shipped her grump the first day.  She also lived in the same state, so I was sadly… eliminated.  Here’s the culprit:

Which brings us to the third, yet on-going yarn swap.  I have already mailed mine, and I know that there are a few people who have commented about the Nyan Cowl and my thoughts of writing up a pattern.  One of those people was the person I was to gift to.  So I finished up assembling my bits of notes into something resembling a pattern and sent it on its way.

Since my giftee has now received  her package of loot, I am happy to now offer the Nyan Cowl Pattern to everyone!

And YOU get a Nyan, and YOU get a Nyan, And YOU, and YOU, and YOU....

And YOU get a Nyan, and YOU get a Nyan, And YOU, and YOU, and YOU….


Nyan Cowl (PDF)

Please note that this pattern has had very limited test knitting.  Please notify me if you find any errors or mistakes, or just if       something isn’t 100% clear.   Unfortunately I do not have yardage requirements, but I can say that I used less than a single skein of each color, and you can use my first project which I have updated to include specific yarns I used.

Happy Nyaning!




PS – While I was anxiously waiting to post the Nyan Cowl pattern, I found I’d written up most of my market bag pattern at one point… so I finished writing that up too.  I’m calling it Misscarlotta Goes to Market and would love to have some people try it out.


Its Curtains for you, January! & January Project bag(s) round up

Ok so first things first….. as I mentioned in my What to expect in 2013 post, I am working on a master bedroom star quilt.  What I didn’t mention, was that this was a small part of a redecorating of the master bedroom… I managed to repaint it the aptly named, Restful (seriously… its a green).  This month… I tackled the curtains.  I was inspired by this fabric:

Nifty birds and branches!

Nifty birds and branches!

Which I then designed my own…. and used my left over quilt materials for my birds!  Which I just finished up today:


And here they are!  (Note how restful my walls look! ^.~)

Earlier but better photo of my take

Earlier but better photo of my version.  

So I’m pretty pleased with myself about those.  They did take a bit more time than I anticipated, but there is quite a bit of detail work in there.  So its curtains for my curtains project!

And now for the second bit of the title…..

You know those various tote bags.. the cute ones with bugs that you receive as gifts, and the logo splashed freebies… I have a whole collection of those that I consider my project bags.   And its a good thing I have a decent collection…..

So first off… I made my own handbag this month!

Being modeled by my new dress form no less!

Being modeled by my new dress form no less!

The pattern is called Brea.  It came together rather quickly and personally I thought was a good use of some of my Chinese Yarn I purchased from Goodwill.  (That link is to the label, if you translate it let me know!)  I still have a few more balls of the brown, as well as some pale spring green and pale lilac.

I haven’t gotten terribly far on my double knit snowflake scarf project:

Green Side

Green Side

White side

White side

Double knitting seems rather interesting, but one of those things where you defiantly need to keep your mind on what you are doing, so it does tend to get set aside.

I mostly have this cross stitch done from a kit I picked up ages ago… I just need to tackle the backstitches and the french knots.  Its my first project using black aida cloth.

Four cute little Chickadees.

Four cute little Chickadees.

FINALLY…. I said I wanted to tackle a pair of sweaters this year and… not only did I finally pick out and order my yarn for the Ben sweater….

Future sweater in the raw.

Future sweater in the raw.

I’ve cast on and managed to work bout 12 inches of the back!  (This includes the 4 rows I had to pull out and redo last night from the evening before… -.-)

I'm now even further along, but will I finish it before winter finishes?

I’m now even further along, but will I finish it before  the end of winter?

(Lastly… if you have been eyeballing any of the remaining stockings… Please note that the coupons have been disabled, but the prices have dropped significantly if you are looking for a sweetheart gift in February!)

It’s a laptop case, not a Tri-corder Jim!

So I hinted at this one in my last post, but I’ve held off posting until I was able to give it to my very Trek fan friend, Todd.   Personally I would have felt a little tacky to post it, have him see it and then later given it with an “oh yeah and its yours”  so anonymous and partially anonymous (Hi mom!) internet people had to wait.

One fleece lined, Captain Kirk flavored laptop case.  Pattern is the same on both sides:

What's a laptop cap'n? Well its like a Tri-corder only larger and with a viewing screen.

Gotta Knit them All: Rapidash Messenger


Properly oriented Pokéball (white side down)

Ben has a friend/co-worker that is majorly into Pokémon.  He also commented that I should make him a pokémon laptop case.  While I could have gone with something simple like a three color pokéball design, naturally I didn’t go with JUST a pokéball design.

So I employed the finest in friend espionage to uncover which was his favorite Pokémonster.

Naturally he didn’t like something simple likeJigglypuff or everyone’s meme favorite Mudkip; his favorite was Rapidash, a flaming unicorn type.


Game Sprite of Rapidash

On the plus side game characters are all pixel based sprites, which makes pixelating an image into a stitch chart relatively easy.  1 pixel = 1 stitch.  So finding a sprite image of Rapidash wasn’t too difficult.

However, game design and development has come a long way in building up from things like Space invaders of 11 pixels and one color creatures to the mighty Rapidash with his 80 by 80 pixels sprite with multiple colors even for shading.

So I started knitting, but when I finally got the completed Rapidash panel side done, it was clear that this was not going to be small enough to be a laptop case.  And so a messenger bag design was born.  On the back side, with the layered fleece behind it being the laptop zipper pocket was the Rapidash side of the bag.


Rapidash sprite in knit

I used some bouclé yarn in autumn colors for my fire details, and mixed a strand of light colored needlepoint yarn with my darker beige in places to make an in-between shading spaces.   My first attempt was to knit with all these colors going all the time but it was rather chaotic, so I stuck with doing a stitch over my red and white stitches in the end.

The other side was a rather simple Pokéball design with a giant silver painted button for a clasp.


Pokébag with button clasp

Inside, the bag is double fleece lined (red on top of white) which enabled the feature of a zippered laptop sleeve on one side and a double pocket for Kindle and 3DS on the button side of the bag.

Green Grocer

I make my own knit grocery bags.  There… I said it.  It was the first type of bag I tackled after making scarves and hats, when I decided I should attempt to make something rather practical and useful.  Sadly my photos for this post are not the best, but I thought you’d see enough to get the gist of my environmentally conscience thumb.


Newly Knit, Hot off the needles

My first bag, I followed this pattern from  I actually made larger i-cord handles for mine, but to me the bag felt just a bit too shapeless when I finished constructing it out of my cotton yarn.

So I decided the only solution was to use what I’d learned to build my own bag.  I followed the same directions for the base, but when I got to the sides, I decided the solution was to use the YO/drop pattern I learned way back in the very early days of making scarves.  To further enhance the effect I swapped from my smaller needles to a larger size for the yarn over row and then back to the smaller needles as I dropped the yarn overs off for the next row.  This resulted in a neat striped solid/net look.

Secondly, my experience with the i-cord handles on my first grocery sack led me to consider that perhaps just a simple knit every row handle would suit this style better, giving it more area to grip at the top of the bag.  I then crocheted the handles through the rows onto my bag in the hopes of it turning out capable of bearing a load born of the bag clerk learning that knit stretches and then deciding to bag on the principal of discovering just how much the bag will hold.

Strength testing, with about 20+ books in the bag.

I really enjoyed how the pattern came out, learned that shorter handles at first do stretch out over time, and had nothing left to do but give the bag(s) a trial run.  But what of the truly heavy items…. would my bags stack up?  I’m happy to say that repeated testing is showing that indeed they do stand up… incredibly well.   In fact, I strength tested this green one by loading it up with as many books as I could fit into it… which was someplace in the 25 paperbacks region.  I was at a point where I was more worried for the nails holding my  peg rack.

The bag pictured in this post went on to carry about a bushel of fresh picked peaches over last summer.

I’ve made this pattern in a multitude of sizes from Costco-mega-size to the personal half a bag size.  Unless they need it sooner, I toss them in the wash about once a month to keep them clean.