Everything is happening, so Nothing is happening

Life never seems to happen at a steady pace, it surges and wanes into tides.  Its not that there isn’t progress in a wane period, its just that we mark the starts and ends of things.

Which means that I have plenty of WIP to post, just not much for the done pile.  I actually did finish two projects, but one is a gift and the other is… well its brown.

Now keep in mind I LIKE the chocolate brown and it is 100% Alpaca so its soft and warm.  This yarn was languishing in my stash for the past two years from a yarn swap and ever subsequent yarn swap I have this extreme onset of guilty feelings about not having used yarns from previous swaps or gifts.  But I’m not sold on its final form and perhaps I’ll just have to frog it and start over again.

So onto the WIPS!

I was determined to finish those blocks by my anniversary, so I set our a few days to finish off the last few. They need trimmed up and I am considering adding some inner vining borders, but overall here’s where we are.  New goal is to have the top and backing done and ready for quilting by Christmas.

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I am technically still on schedule for my cross stitch project since I am working on the 3rd quarter in the 3rd quarter, but it feels like I’m a bit behind.  My hobbit scarf is actually behind by about 60 rows.  We are currently riding in barrels on the way to Lake Town, but if I can get to the Last Light of Durin’s day by the last light of August 31 then I’ll be caught up again.

Meanwhile in the “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and “good lord what can I do for the Ravellnic games” depts…  A fellow knitter started a color work socks informal KAL.  And I started two different socks and then they got set aside to join that one sock on the last round I was in of Sock Madness 9 in May of 2015.  So that’s my challenge… to finish up all of my partial color work socks.

You might recognize that blue yarn in the last sock… its from my most recent completed yarn swap.  I am midway in another swap.  My recipient has already received what I sent and took great photos.  And I really can’t wait to see what shows up at my door.  Until then… back to socks and scarves and stitchery things.

 

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Get Wrecked! Wreck Yourself Cowl Pattern

The Wreck Yourself Cowl pattern is now live on Rav and on the patterns page!  You will also see that I have added the option for you to purchase direct off my site if you aren’t into the Ravelry scene.  (Though as a knitter… its a pretty amazing scene to be in)

And since you may need both patterns to use up that one skein, I’m offering a discount if you buy both the Check Yourself and the Wreck Yourself Cowl patterns.  Just use the coupon code CheckedBeforeWrecked and it will take $2 (USD) off the total.  Its like buy one, get one for half price.  And if that sounds too complex well… just click here and it will do the whole add patterns and coupons directly for you.  Woohoo!

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Check Yourself Cowl Pattern

Check YourselfI am both immensely proud and partially horrified… I’ve just published my first for pay pattern.  My test knitter messaged me with a pre-coffee wake up update that she had finished her knitting and so the Check Yourself Cowl is now available on Ravelry.

The pattern was test knit and includes directions for both an Aran or Worsted Weight yarn options, and works very well with one yarn that may not have a consistent gauge, such as your own homespun or in my sample, Manos del Uruguay Classica.

And now for some sentimental rambling thoughts…

Deciding to sell a pattern rather than just give it away is one of those brain hurdles for me.  Up until now, I was easing my way into the pool with some free patterns… learning the ropes and through my own knitting seeing the good patterns vs bad patterns traits.  But there comes a point when you just have to take the big plunge and as I was making up my cowl… that was the time.  Get wet and get over it.

Cowl Before Me!

ManosEvery so often I take a minute after a project and before the next to physically go through my yarn stash. Since I’ve been stash busting, its also a good way to see what singles, partials and just plain kind of special cases of yarn need to find a use.  My last venture started out with some thrifted Manos del Uruguay Classica (Price tag is from the stashkeeper before me). This is a thick/thin single ply yarn that is kettle dyed in some lovely colors and which I ended up with just a bit better than 2 non-matching skeins. The skein on the right looked like a good match to one of the half a ball colors left over from my original stitch block cowl, so that was my jumping in point.

So I started out and was knitting along and after a few inches into the cowl project it became apparent to me that there wasn’t enough variation between the two colors, so back into the stash to come up with a better plan.  And eventually I came out with what I am calling the “Check Yourself Cowl” (This photo taken while it was blocking.)

Check Yourself

I was quite pleased and had taken pretty good notes, so I sent the pattern off to another knitter as a test knit and with a bit of luck this pattern will be available soon.  There was just one problem.  I still had half a skein of the original Manos.  So with that… I knit up a slightly different pattern, this one showcasing the Classica as the foreground yarn.  (Again photoed while blocking)

This one I guess I’m calling the “Wreck Yourself Cowl”.  Not just because you should “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, but also because if you’ve ever accidentally dropped a stitch the concept of dropping 30 or so stitches that you want to pick up later is a little mentally challenging, even when the actual stitches aren’t that complex. This pattern needs a bit more refining before its ready to be test knit. Which is ok with me since I like the design even if I am not typically a cowl wearer.

And with that, here’s a few sisters in skein cowl shots:

Colorworkin’ it! (And some Berries to Dye for)

Ok so the KAL challenge this month was colorwork, and to make it more interesting it was a dueling KAL of a cowl or some fingerless mittens.  I couldn’t decide which project I wanted to commit to, so another member told me I was joining the mitts team.  (Sometimes its rather caring to be bossed around and out of your indecision.)

Well here’s the thing… I was born in a state where you get snow; as in build snow forts and snow men, make snow angels, and generally freeze yourself in the cold, but its all ok because there is cocoa.  The concept of an item of hand wear that doesn’t cover ones fingers just does not fit into my brain on a very logical level.  However, I do have a friend that has expressed an interest in such a silly (to me) item of clothing, AND even in the subject matter upon which the pattern was based (See: Agents of SHIELD, sub catagory: villians – Hydra) and so…

Right in your super-powered keester!

Right in your super-powered keester!

These are made using what is called stranded colorwork.  You carry the non-working color along in loops called floats on the wrong side of your work.

But…. in my fit of indecision and due to the size of the yarn in my stash… I decided to also tackle the cowl, because it had interesting looking stitches. the cowl is knit as one piece with three different stitch patterns, all of which use the knit into the stitch below technique.

Cowling on a rock

Cowling on a rock

There were some amazing color choices from the group, and a few people adapted their cowl stitches to work for hats and scarves.  I went with a color group that I’m hoping will match a pair of mittens I want to knit up for a holiday gift… we shall see.

And now onto the berries portion.  I considered making this a separate post, but I didn’t want to pester anyone who actually is being notified of updates with multiple notifications.

Around these here parts (the Pacific Northwest) we have wild plants called salal (Gaultheria shallon). And about this time of year, they grow dark berries, which I had heard in my quest to first identify the plant were edible.  So this year, surrounded by the myriad of berries, I decided to try them out.

Now, first disclaimer here… Salal berries are not true berries, but is actually from the sepal of the flower, and thus is considered an accessory fruit.  (apples, pears and pineapples are also considered accessory fruit) So what I discovered when I was boiling out the juice was that the berry remains were actually very much still a dark coloration, and still giving off an enormous amount of dark liquid.  So… in the spirit of “this main stain” as a yarn person and not as the laundry lady, I decided to see how it would come out in yarn.

First up, I tried it out on some plain white 100% cotton:

And then because it didn’t turn out like a car wreck… with wool:

So there is my first go at dying something… using the most free ingredients, hand picked from around the yard.  (Is Free Range Dye a thing?).  Not sure it is a vibrant enough dye job to make people jump for joy and throw money at it, but it was something to try and now I do have plans for at least some of this yarn already… so stay tuned!

And one more thing…. my giftee finished her Nyan Cowl, and made some amazing mods to the pattern!

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.