Marching Onward

For this update I am presenting some awkwardly taken photos in handknit hat and scarf, some pretty awesome Sock Madness qualifier socks and a whole laundry basket of quilting plans.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. It rains here. Quite a lot in the Spring and Fall. So much so that last spring at the end of a particularly rainy week, I pulled out of the garage and noticing it was just misting and thought aloud “well at least its not raining.” This means overcast days and also they get pretty short on the winter end of the year, so lots of photos when I finish end up at far less than ideal lighting. So in today’s less than grand photos… I bring you my March hat, knit up in the remnants of my Harvest sweater yarn.

You may recall my sweater was a lovely shade of chestnut brown with splashes of a lovely teal. And while this hat is knit with the exact same yarn, this photo is taken at 9PM in the dark and I was trying to be a bit creative with the mirrors.

Next up, I picked out a deceptively simple garter stitch short row scarf. I started in January with the goal of using up the 90% skein of Cascade worsted and at least one skein of some Liberty Wool I was gifted back far enough I put it in my Ravelry stash in 2013.

I ended up running out of the Cascade and had to sub due to availability of BLACK yarn of all things… and only used one skein of the Liberty Wool, but I love how it hugs the neck and transitions through the color changes. Sadly most of the color changes are hidden behind the fold.

Now that those horrible photos are behind us… onto the Sock Madness Qualifier round! The designer of these beauties is more typically submitting later round socks, last year was the three color Lampropeltis, but she writes in a way that if you just jump in with trust they are clear. I actually chose one of her designs as my third pair ever. My first pair were vanilla stockinette and I thought they were the most boring things ever. My second set was a KAL pair which taught me that socks don’t have to be boring. I mostly avoid boring socks.

And in quilting news; I have placed an order for a smaller frame that should fit my machine for quilting! I decided letting my quilting projects pile up without getting to the actual quilting part was kind of sad. So today I went and bought some backing fabrics for my future quilts and here’s the previews of some future projects. There is also my wedding quilt but no photos of that one yet.

So its sock season… expect more socks and eventually some quilt frame assembly and hopefully some finished quilts!

Getting Ripped

That’s right this post is all about bulking out and… oh no, its about having to fix mistakes, which in sewing involves the seam ripper and I had some ripping adventures on this latest project! You may recall the yellow and green fabric from a post back in January where I finally decided what it was going to become. I picked a pattern called Ruby Reflections in a post holiday sale and while I didn’t have quite enough to do a full pattern, I was able to scale it down one step with what fabric I had (plus a wee bit to supplement the yellow that I was lucky enough to find on ebay) leaving me with what should be enough of the green for the binding so all I need for this one is some backing! But along the way I had one row where I apparently turned the blocks 90 degrees and that one row I seamed together the wrong side so there was plenty of seams to pull apart and redo, but some of the corners seamed together into some practically perfect points.

I’ve discovered that just about the time I’m starting to get that confidence and mental motion of “I’m totally nailing this! I am going to finish this up so fast and nicely!” then here comes reality with a humility check roll. But my determination stat is pretty high so… I’ve finished this quilt top! All 84 blocks in one month and coming out at approximately 67 inches square.

At the end of January I got most of my backing/binding and border fabric for the Rainy Day Quilt, so here’s an updated version of that quilt top. I want to do something a bit fun on the back of this one since its already a bit of a hashed together front.

In the knitting department I finished my first socks of 2021, a pair of Fifteens, which is a warm up pattern for Sock Madness and a celebration of their Fifteenth year! And I completed the February Hat. I did quite a bit of a knitted gift as well, but as per my usual, I don’t post gifts until they are given or under special circumstances.

With Sock Madness starting up next month… expect more socks coming soon! (And the March Hat too!)

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.

Getting caught up and carried away

You are not going to believe this but… I’m actually on pace with even my October Mystery Stash KAL goals right now! Of course I completely spaced out on updating in September so there is that…

Yes, that means I finished my third sweater of the year (August). I opted for a Hinterland by Jennifer Steingass to use up a portion of the camel blends I’ve picked up across a couple years with the goal of wearing it and as granny used to say “feel like a real rich bitch”

My September project was a pair of Pixel Stitch socks for Ben, but I also managed to fit in a pair of special request shorty socks for my nephew Gus. Gus let me trace his feet the last time I saw him, and I told him he would need to be patient but I’d send them via the mail. His mom said he’d been saying he was getting socks in the mail and kept asking to go check for them. So I may need to find time to make him a second pair for Christmas or something.

I then spent the rest of the month playing catching up on that one Christmas gift project that I had started back in October of 2018 and put on my list of annual goals to catch up on. Well I’m half way through the charts at least! But I could use another month or two between now and December I think.

For October I had some Kid Seta Pearl I got for Christmas in 2016 to use up. I picked a simple texture keyhole scarf that I figured I’d use up the three balls making. Well it used two, so then I figured I’d add a beret with yarn held double and yet when I finished that there was still just a bit left so I made some mitten cuffs with a third yarn for the main body of the mittens and well now its a third of the month gone. I guess I got a bit carried away!

So now its back to Holiday gift making until next month, which should be a lace weight sweater.

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 ¬.¬

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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Don’t Panic! (Its supposed to look that way)

So I decided to refresh the site a bit as I head into year five.  (Can’t believe I’ve been at this for so long.)  So I hope everyone likes the blue, and if not then you can look forward to the next update in say… 4.75 years or so.

Nearly finished photo.

Nearly finished photo.

In other news, when I visited my Grandmother this year she tried to explain how its hard to find a cute winter hat, perhaps one with flowers.  So as a knitter…. I got right to work.  The first one is a slouchy hat with a flower on the side, and I thought being kind of festive I’d use up some more blingy fluff and sparkle style yarn from my stash.

While I did take a actual finished photo, with the skies getting pretty dark by 4PM the lighting on this one is a bit better.  Unfortunately at this point I decided it probably wasn’t really my grandmother’s style.   Thankfully, a friend was visiting about the time this photo was taken and proclaimed she really liked it, so guess who got a totally not a surprise, but I wrapped it anyway gift?  [HINT:  This amazing person right here!]

Fresh off the needles, one hat with flowers

Fresh off the needles, one hat with flowers

So back to square one on the hat front, but I am one of these people that seems to collect patterns around an idea, so naturally I didn’t have just ONE hat with flower(s) to choose from.  So I picked another and some yarn and forged ahead.  This pattern was super fast to knit and simple, yet a nice design.

Hopefully its the hat with flowers type that she will enjoy and wear.

In other knitted gifts, I made a colorwork shawl for another friend.  The pattern is called Unalakleet.

The actual drape is a bit of a capelet, and it is a real test of tension work as its done as stranded knit and purl.  Which makes the backside appear to somewhat mirror the front, but is all done with loops of yarn carried across.

There is just one more gift on my list I’m finishing up, but you and that giftee will just have to wait and see!