Sock Obsession

Okay, so I still have not knit any socks, however I have started crocheting another 2 pairs.  I use the term pair loosely, the top sock is certainly going to wind up as a pair.  I love how it is turning out and I have plenty of yarn for the second sock.  The pattern is from the Interweave Crochet Issue Winter 2011 on page 56.  The top sock is out of a fingering weight yarn using a size E crochet hook following the pattern almost exactly.  I added a few decreases where the sock hits my ankle to avoid the pouch of fabric the other sock is showing.  The bottom sock, which will not have a matching mate but I believe will wind up having a crazy mate out of a different yarn altogether, is made using the same hook as well as the same pattern.  The top sock has a looser fabric, I will probably try and play with that if I have any yarn left after the pair is finished, but the bottom sock has a much tighter fabric.

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According to sock experts this means that the bottom sock will wear better and the top will wear out sooner.  I have to confess, if I can figure out a good pattern that will work with fingering weight yarn, yet be fun to crochet, I don’t think I will ever bother learning to knit socks.  Only time will tell however.  There is a new form of knitting needles called Addi FlexiFlips and they might be what I need to help socks become easy enough for me to consider knitting, but at over $20 a set I almost think I would have to be in love with sock knitting before I invest.  Fortunately I might be able to visit a yarn store and take these for a test knit sometime and see if it is worth the investment.  Until then, I’m going to keep crocheting socks!

Happy Crafting!

Still Bargaining

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I subscribed to the Darn Good Yarn box of the month back when it was a new thing, probably 3 years ago in 2016, for $10 I thought it was worth a shot.  I received a skein of Sari Silk yarn, which sounds lovely.  In reality it was a sari from a woman in India that had been torn into strips and hand tied to form a ‘skein’.  Since the photo being shown when advertising the box was a lovely skein of beaded yarn I was understandably disappointed to receive a ‘skein’ of purple fabric that bled everywhere, had tons of strings hanging off, and that tore every time I tried to use it.  I washed it until it stopped bleeding, let it tear where it was going to, and tied skeins of yarn with it.  I also cancelled my subscription.

That brings us to last week.  One of my colleagues let me know that she had decided to subscribe to the Darn Good Yarn box, she made it sound like I had recommended this (I don’t remember doing that, but I might have.)  She loved it, it was a beautiful skein of rainbow silk yarn that she made a cowl from.  Not only did that strike my interest, but there was an advertisement on Facebook that the kit would also include knitting needles and a crochet hook made from wood and painted purple.  I was officially hooked in, even if I hated the yarn, knitting needles and a crochet hook!  I also spent the extra $5 to get a surprise.  For about $20, with shipping, I received 2 skeins of silk yarn 75 yards each, a set of knitting needles, and a crochet hook.  I do like the looks of the yarn and the tools.

Now the question becomes what am I going to do with 75 yards of worsted weight silk yarn in two different colorways?  According to ravelry, fingerless gloves, toys, water bottle covers, drink sleeves, wrist warmers, a pouch, or an accent for color work.  I can also use the included patterns to knit or crochet a little cowl, actually I cast on the knit cowl out of the rainbow yarn to see how it looks.

So, I think I will keep this subscription going for a month or two to see what other goodies will arrive.  If you get a chance, and like small projects, this is well worth the $10.

Happy Crafting!

Bargain Hound

When it comes right down to brass tacks I tend to be a bargain hound, I find it very hard to resist a good deal.  This, of course, gets me into a bit of trouble, but who needs groceries some weeks when I’ve got yarn?  It isn’t quite as bad as that, but I do stock on freezer meals when they are on sale so I don’t have to worry about getting something for dinner some days.  Part of that is the fact that between my 3 jobs I work 6 days a week therefore cooking is a luxury not an every day thing.  Enough of my digressions, the point of this is that I subscribe to a lot of different crafting sites mailing lists so that I can take advantage of bargains when I come across them.  Some are well worth my time, some I can do without.  My weaknesses come in the form of under $10 bargains, especially those touted as half-off.

If something is under $10 and I can use it, I will probably pick it up.  With under $20 I tend to take some time to think about it, will I actually use it, do I have enough of this already, etc. then I buy it or not.  Anything over $20 has to be something that I have been thinking about/craving for at least 2 weeks before I even consider it.  This causes me some problems with the independent knitting patterns for sale on Ravelry.  I know that it took you quite some time to come up with your pattern and you are trying to make a living off of it, but at $7.50 it is a bit expensive for me, especially if it is novelty and not like a sock or a sweater.  This brings me to the new quagmire I have gotten myself into, Happily Hooked, a digital magazine I subscribe to, is having a 26 week course called the Stitch Mastery Program starting tomorrow, and guess what?  It was under $10.

This course, for non members, is $20.  It comes with 26 weeks of learning a new stitch every week complete with videos and 2 projects for each stitch.  So my bargain hound soul is singing with the idea of 52 projects in 26 stitches, and six months of learning for $1O.  Those of you thinking about the hooks, yarn, etc. I have a ton of that from Mom.

While I did not need another project/set of projects, I am very happy to be learning yet another new skill.  I think that 2019 is going to be a year of learning.  When I get working on the projects I will let you know more.

Happy Crafting!

A Studio

This was slightly unplanned.  I have an external garage that has been neglected a bit over the past ten years since Dad died.  The wood around the garage door has rotted away, looking horrible, and up until recently there were a lot of mice inhabiting it.  Last year Mom had someone put on a new roof, she also asked for an estimate to get the place fixed up.  That person quoted 5k to insulate, seal, panel, and fix the outside door so that it looked better.  Mom was  hesitant, so it did not get done last year.  This is probably for the best.  It turns out that the majority of the problems with the garage stem from a lack of gutters, this causes water to run down into the walls and rot away wooden portions.  There are also no supports anchoring the beams holding the walls to the ceiling which is causing them to bow in the middle.  I found this out because the gentleman that acted as my exterminator is a carpenter so I casually mentioned that I wanted the other garage fixed up if possible at or under the other estimate.  Admittedly I am currently 3,600 into it, but there is insulation and paneling already installed, he will be working on the wiring as well as the ceiling this week.  I have contacted an external source to get my garage door repaired, mostly a new opener as well as bottom gasket for the seal, in addition to a quote for a screen door that will fit on my garage door to increase air circulation.

Because my garage is getting fixed up, I feel that it is the perfect time to turn it into a studio.  With a metal therapy loom that will be perfect for making rag rugs, my supplies for dyeing wool, and possibly a section for gardening since I hope to create a dye garden, this would certainly give me plenty of crafting options for the spring, summer, and early fall.  At present my floor loom, the therapy loom, cannot be used since it is blocked in by my car.  By putting it into the other garage where there is plenty of space I should be able to start weaving rag rugs.  I am quite excited about this, I think that the rag rugs will be a good addition to my home as well as something that I can conceivably sell.  Right now my dyeing studio and kitchen are the same space.  If I can find a worktable I like then I can utilize my mini-crockpots to create  my own dyed colorways in addition to having a well ventilated space to begin experimenting with natural dyes.  In theory I would also want to begin looking into a rain barrel for natural water collection, but at $90 I do not know if that is something I would want to invest in, although not having to haul water from the house is an appealing idea.

So far I am looking into:

A workbench that will work well with my dyeing setup.  I have 4 mini crockpots, should I be able to use all at once on a surface that would be ideal.

Some form of storage, I had originally thought of a metal cabinet that can close, but if I have a utility shelving unit that can hold not only the dye supplies but weaving also that would be useful.

Potentially another shelving unit or a potting bench for my gardening section.  This is the part I am not certain about however.  I want a dye garden but I am loathe to introduce dirt into my new workspace.  Perhaps a potting bench that I can take outside?

This is going to take some time and effort to get right.  There is also the possibility of just using this space as some form of storage, but I am loathe to do that.  Not only would I be likely to forget what is there, not having frequent human habitation tends to encourage animals to take root in unoccupied spaces.

Still Spinning

Okay, so the 2 pounds of Shetland Moorit arrived so I am working on carding it into rolags to spin up for my Hap.  I was feeling under the weather a bit so in between my knitting, crocheting, laundry and dishwasher loads, I curled up in bed to look over past issues of Spin-Off Magazine.  While paging through I happened across a pattern for little wrist cuffs as well as ankle cuffs.  Each of these take a bit over 100 yards of fiber, well I have all sorts of little scraps so I decided to go for it.  In December I purchased the international box from Camaj Fiber Arts Spinning Boxes, she was selling off past boxes.  There were some very pretty fibers based on Korea and Norway/Finland that I decided to spin into a little skein.

IMG_2178  I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  However, it is only 78 yards.  Yes, not even enough for one of the patterns.  Oh well, I have more little samples (I have already started) so I will be incorporating two mini batts, and three more random colored combed tops that look like they will fit the bill.  I am already almost half way through spinning this batch, it already looks like more singles than the last attempt.

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The patterns are from Spin Off Winter 2007 pages 46-47 titled “Anklettos and Wristlettos: Fringe Benefits” by Phreadde Davis.

Hopefully once I have this yarn spun, plied, set, and dried, I will not be either bored with this idea, working on the hap, or ready for more installments from Jimmy Beans Wool.  I will admit to a small amount of introspection, I am aware that I have been keeping myself too busy to really take the time to miss my Mom.  February tends to stink since we lost Dad near the end, I have already found myself crying for no apparent reason simply because it hit me hard that she isn’t around.  Oh well, back to distractions!

Happy Crafting!

Jimmy Beans Subscription Boxes: Quarter 1, Part 1, Post 2.

Due to the horrible weather the Community College I work at was closed Wednesday and Thursday, SNOW DAYS!  This was fortunate since I was feeling under the weather and would not have been able to accomplish much, there was also a staff meeting that was rescheduled.  Because of this I not only finished the first quarter of the shawl pattern I completed as much as I can at this point.  Let me clarify, this shawl is supposed to be knit over a period of three months, with each month’s kit building on the last.  There are two more repeats of the white portion and another type of stitch that are supposed to be a part of this month’s construction.  Many of the (very fast) knitters on Ravelry have commented that they have run out of white before finishing the portion of the shawl that I am on and have been unable to start the final portion (bobble stitches).  Jimmy Beans has apologized and sent out extra yarn to those that have let them know, they are also including extra yarn for everyone in the next installment.  Since I know that I do not have enough yarn to complete this portion, do not want to halt the pattern in the middle of a section, and have plenty to do, I have decided to wait until the next installment arrives before I continue.  That being said, this kit is amazing!  I am having so much fun as well as learning that I am capable of knitting much better than I believed.

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The bottom of my crocheted ottoman.  This is the first installment of the Jimmy Beans Crochet kit, there were four skeins of yarn left over (tiny skeins) but the next portion is supposed to take a lot of yarn so these bits will be used there.  From what I understand the next portion is building up the sides of the ottoman.  The way things look I think I will have plenty of pillows for stuffing this thing, even if it is much taller than anticipated.  Much like the knitting kit, this spinning kit has brought me hours of enjoyment for very little investment.  While I honestly haven’t learned as much I did begin this journey with a wider base of knowledge, and I will have a neat ottoman when I am done.

Since there is going to be an installment of each of these clubs every month I am going to try and keep up with the stitching as well as reporting how they are going.  I have a couple more projects going on this week and will be writing posts about them shortly!

Happy Crafting!

Jimmy Beans Wool Subscription Boxes

In the Fall of 2018 Jimmy Beans Wool had the option to buy a three month set of their knitting subscription for $30 so that you could knit up some little cacti.  I don’t need any more junk in my house, but I wanted to know if I was capable of knitting a cactus.  Now I have a pair of cacti sitting on my shelf in front of my mother’s religious statues, and I have the parts of the third waiting to be stuffed and added to the collection.  It might be a bit of a wait since I purchased a year subscription to the knitting and crochet clubs that Jimmy Beans offers.

TIP: If you want to order more than one of their subscription boxes, make each one into a separate order.  They don’t say that anywhere that I can find on their website but it really does save a bit of hassle.  That being said, though I have contacted their help about 3 times so far this year, they are quite quick to respond to my concerns.

My knitting skills are a bit rudimentary, to be kind, and so I was not sure if I would be able to follow the instructions to create the shawl that is the first project for this quarter.  Fortunately the instructions are very clear allowing me to expand my skills very quickly and obtain beautiful results.  I am only on the first third of the first set of instructions but the pattern is time consuming and fascinating.  It takes me about 90 minutes to complete the 4 rows that go into one repeat of the pattern.  As of the writing of this I have completed 3 repeats and have 2.5 left to go (the piece leading into the next pattern is only 1/2 of the pattern, the hard half.).  I believe that learning the stitches took me longer than the 90 minutes mentioned above, however, even if it did not I have already accumulated 4.5 hours of enjoyment out of this $20 and I have not even finished the first section.  This club also came with a little knit notebook, which I do not know what I am going to do with it, and a beautiful bag with snaps called the Oh Snap bag.  When I get the first third of the shawl completed I will attempt to post a picture.

I decided to try the crochet kit of the month club simply because Mom loved to crochet and I didn’t want my skills in that area to get rusty.  The first project is an ottoman, crocheted and stuffed with whatever blankets etc you would like.    I love the concept and mildly resent having to purchase the extra equipment to stuff the sucker with.  I contemplated getting a storage ottoman and trying to find a way to create a slit of some sort in the cover, however Wal-Mart had fuzzy pillows on sale so hopefully the four I purchased will be enough to stuff this thing.  If not I am certain I will think of something.  Right now the pattern is a simple single crochet starting in the magic loop and gaining stitches every row.  There is a little hitch where you reach down a row for one of the single crochets to form a cute spike.  We are also working with doubled up yarn, two strands at a time, which I have never done before.

Really, if you enjoy crafting and need some external motivation (which I am realizing is my problem) then these are a great way to expand your skill set and get neat projects to boot.

Happy crafting!