Jimmy Beans Crochet

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I will confess, whether this pattern is particularly easy, or I’m a quicker with crochet than I thought, this bag which is two months worth of kits took me a grand total of three days to crochet.  Not even particularly dedicated days, and I did put in an extra repeat of the mesh.  I would have done another but I was not certain I would have enough extra yarn.  The pattern is a ton of fun to crochet, the cotton/linen blend makes for a lovely, yet crisp, crochet.  Since I spent the month of April trying to knit a pi shawl, I love it, and crocheting shower poufs I did not get a chance to indulge in my Jimmy Beans Wool Boxes of the month.  By the time this is posted I will be back from my vacation and will have some to post about that (I hope) so I should be able to work on knitting the shawl that is this quarter’s knitting club.  I have a couple of other  kits that I have purchased recently and while I look forward to working with them, they will have to wait until I get back from vacation.

As to why I bought the kits, I am a plus sized woman.  As a plus sized woman, with lovely taste in yarn, purchasing a sweater’s quantity of yarn is quite expensive.  In fact, most sweater’s worth of yarn would run me a conservative 120+.  This is why when I find a kit that promises a sweater’s worth of yarn, in my size, with a pattern I like for under 75 I tend to seriously contemplate purchasing them.  If you throw in a coupon or a KAL or CAL then I will usually see if I can fit it in my budget.  This is why I have a shawl that I really need to start crocheting on for my CAL as well as three other sweaters I need to work on.  One of the sweaters, I suppose it really is a cardigan, is of the same construction as the shawl so once  I have that pattern mastered I will feel comfortable starting on the cardigan.  I am very excited.

In the next post I will be discussing my trip as well as any crafting I managed during the trip.  Until then remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Another Week Bites the Dust

I cannot for the life of me figure out where the first quarter of this year has gone.  IMG_2310My first Blossom Sock Pattern in Baker Street colors by Knitpicks is complete!  It is great!  I mean, I need to lengthen the flat part of the heel flap, not decrease as much around the ankle portion and make a bit more of the edging on the second sock, but it is great!  Okay, so I’m still learning how to make socks.  But whatever, the next one will be better and I will keep going after that.

For knitting socks, well that has stalled.  I have my gauge swatch for the sock yarn I got in March’s knitcrate and I am pretty good on row gauge, but on stitch gauge…well I’m an inch off on a 3 inch swatch.  So, I’m thinking that I need to go up a size, more stitches in the inches.  However, I am also using Flexi-Flip needles and at over $20 a set of three I am not that certain I want to knit socks that badly.  I barely purchased the first set, and thought that would be it for a while.  It will be a little while before I decide if I am going to go for it, or work on something else.  Until then, I do have some other projects I am working on.

My Morrigan shawl, okay, so it is now going to be a Boneyard Shawl based on the pattern from Stephen West.  As it happens, when I rip something out five times before I have gotten through the first row of the second of four repeats of a chart I give up on a pattern.  I know, two weeks of knitting and you’re giving up, pfft.  The pattern is probably great for people that have knitted lace before, can follow half of a chart and repeat it, and know how many times a chart should be repeated (off the cuff) when doing the second round.  Since there were 14 stitches to the repeat and there were 28 rows to the chart, but the repeat was repeated on either side of the shawl, this should have meant that the repeat was twice on either side of the shawl…so I’m not sure why I was about 10 stitches away from repeating it three times on either side of the chart, and then I gave up.

The Boneyard pattern is much simpler, very pretty, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out in my laceweight yarn.

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Above, please find the set up and 12 more rows.  it doesn’t look like much, but with an increase of 4 stitches every two rows it will grow quite quickly.  This pattern is a formula, but I do plan on getting into some slightly more complex lace shortly.

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Finally, I have the first of the two shower puffs in my sibling’s chosen colorway.  I love how it turned out and I am looking forward to getting the second one done.

Until the next time we speak, Happy Easter and remember to live a life A Little More Abstract.

Crafting Palooza!

I have about a week and a half off of my most time-consuming job.  It is a contract job, so I will still get paid the same (some of my colleagues took a vacation in January and I filled in so now they are working over this school-break and I get time off).  I will be filling in some of that time picking up extra hours at my public library job, it works out because my supervisor was having trouble with that schedule, but it will still be fewer hours than I normally work.  What will I do with all of that free time?  Clean the house, I don’t think so.  Do some work outside?  Maybe Wednesday when it is supposed to be over 50 and I have the day off.  Will I craft?  YES! All the Crafts!

I have actually taken advantage of the couple of days I had completely off of work to run the dishwasher a couple of times, cook some curry, run a couple of loads of clothes and finish a couple of my projects.  I also asked my sibling (Transgendered, I use neutral terms, I’m not mad at them the way most people think I am when I use the word ‘sibling’) if they would use a crochet shower pouf  if I made a couple out of cotton so that they were washable, the pattern is linked.  I received an enthusiastic yes, they use the plastic kind that you have to throw away right now, and a request for a colorway I do not own.  Their birthday is six weeks away, and I am fairly certain they do not read my blog, and so I let them think that they would be getting a pouf in the color of my choice from what I already own.  I have crocheted two already so that I knew how the pattern worked (plus it is dead simple) and figured out how I would like to construct them.  It turns out I can get two from one ball of Dishy from Knitpicks, and if I fold them over instead of stacking the layers it creates a very puffy pouf, as you can easily see in this photo.  I have also started a third from a new ball, my sibling has housemates and I think if I crochet through my stash I can have poufs for everyone.

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So, what my sibling doesn’t know, is that I also ordered two balls of dishie in the colorway that they requested from Knitpicks.  Of course, they also had some grab bags of sock yarn (two for the price of one) and a couple of sock yarns in Their preferred colorway as well as an offer of a free ball of knitpicks new yarn line Snuggle Puff, which is a cotton nylon blend intended for baby things and other fluffy patterns.  I am trying to not purchase yarn unless I have a pattern already picked out for it, however I have a new sock pattern and if I can manage a pair of socks (or four, if the pattern is as easy as it looks) then I will be quite happy with my Birthday present to my lovely sibling.

I did finish a couple of projects, namely my first Sherlock Square (love it!) and my first quarter Jimmy Beans project, the crochet pillow/floor pouf.  The pouf is a bit lumpy since I closed it off and overstuffed it.  I did have to purchase 4 extra skeins of the Scheepjes yarn, but I have leftovers of that.  I will have to decide if I am going to find a project for them or if I will keep them for possible repairs to the pouf. At present I plan on using the pouf for somewhere that my Cat can sit on while I am working in the detached garage/studio my handyman is working on fixing up.

I had planned on making a flower motif on the top, but quickly changed my mind when I realized that the motif might mean that the cat would not sit on it.  I have also made some progress on the throw together shawl I started using the Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply yarn I purchased.

IMG_2281The photo really doesn’t show things off too well, but since it is lace I don’t think it will look like much until it is blocked.  I finished the first piece of blue and added in 4 rows of black, it is a simple pattern where I knit the three end stitches and do the yarn overs to create the crescent shape then I did a yarn over knit two together all the way across, purled back (in the appropriate increase pattern for the edge).  I did those two rows twice then I started the green yarn and I have completed 4 rows of knit on one side purl on the other.  It is going to take some time since the yarn is so fine, but this will give me time to decide if I want to try some more patterning in the regular sections or just in the black  and brown bands in between.  Which brings up another point.  I do not have nearly enough black for that to be the only transition color between, however I have a ton of brown.  I believe I will us the black at the top of the shawl until it runs out then switch to brown for the rest. I cannot believe I almost forgot a project!

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This is the Morrigan Shawl by Hedgehog Fibers knit in Madelinetosh Prairie in the Aura colorway.  I obtained the yarn at a considerable discount from Jimmy Beans Wool Wool Watchers.  I am not positive I am doing this correctly, however I am enjoying it considerably.  This is simply the ‘set up’ chart, at the writing of this post I have completed row 10 of the repeating chart.  There are 28 rows to that chart and it is to be repeated 4 times before the edging chart is started so I am just starting this pattern but I love it anyway.

So that is all of the projects I am working on right now.  If I get as much as I hope accomplished then there will be a mid-week update, if not then remember to Live a Life a Little More Abstract until next week!

Family History and Crafting

This will contain no crafting updates or lessons.  It has been only five months since Mom joined Dad and I am still processing my grief.  If you have any fresh grief or if you are particularly sensitive, you may want to skip this post.  Crafting updates will resume with the next post.

My memories of my Grandmother, Mom’s Mother, are of her smoking at the kitchen table, cooking dinner, eating pretzels while watching Wheel of Fortune, sitting on metal lawn chairs (not those woven ones with metal frames but heavy metal chairs I wish I had today) while listening to the Cleveland Indians on the radio and watching fireflies, and her crocheting.  She was always crocheting or sewing.  I have more memories of my Mom, but still, crocheting, plastic canvas, (she learned loom knitting because it was mentioned in the Knitting Retreat series by Betty Hechtman, a good series that I read because it got Mom interested in Loom Knitting), and always encouraging my desire to learn new techniques.  Mom never tired of telling me how proud her Mother would have been to see me learning all of the new (old/traditional) crafts.   Of course, I never got mom to try spinning, though I did trick her into learning needle tatting so she could help me teach a class on it; that was so much fun.  I came to realize just recently, how lucky I was to have crafting be a part of my memory as far back as I can remember, while I was working.

During a crafting triage session, where people can bring whatever they are working on for a bit more help, I had one patron show up.  She is a lovely middle aged woman who wanted to know why she couldn’t get the same results twice when using her knitting loom.  We determined that she needs to keep better records of what she is doing, and even out her tension.  However, during this session, while she was working from a couple of tangled skeins of yarn I came to realize that she did not know how to hand wind her yarn into a ball.  I’m not talking about using a notepinne to create a center pull ball, just a plain old ball of yarn.  The kind that tends to go bouncing all over the house if you are not careful.  By checking YouTube I see that they are all promoting how to wind a center pull ball as the only method, oh well.  We spent some time working on this new skill, and at the end she had three balls of white yarn and two more tangled skeins of blue to practice on.

What this really caused me to realize is how very lucky I am to have been raised by a Mom that was crafty.  Actually Dad used to make things with macrame and I remember him doing Rug Hooking for a time, so Dad was crafty as well.  I have Aunts, Dad’s sisters,  that Quilt, Sew, Knit, and Crochet so there is still a ton of Crafty influence and encouragement in my life.  You know how it goes, intellectually you understand how lucky you are to have the support and influences that you do, but until you are faced with someone that hasn’t had those advantages it doesn’t occur to you, Not everyone knows how to make a ball of yarn.  Those people that pull a length of yarn from the edge of a skein and cut it off really do not realize how much damage they are doing to the usability of the rest of the skein.

I miss mom, as spring begins to bloom and I realize that I do not need to traipse all over the back hills to pick every single daffodil that dares peek it’s head above ground, the ache becomes more apparent.  I am glad that is is with her parents and Dad, happy that she is no longer trapped by the ever growing limitations of her body, and pleased that she and Dad are looking down on the family.  Remembering the good times helps to ease the ache and deepen the sorrow all at the same time.

Okay, rant and reminiscing over.  There are more crafts to do, the weather is warming up, I should work on cutting down the weeds so I can create pretty flower beds out front.

Until next post, be happy for your support, remember your loved ones, and Live a Life A Little More Abstract.

Socks, Shawls, and Squares, Oh My!

So, for the Lots of Socks event I wore my worsted weight sock as well as my fingering weight sock. I crocheted each of these following a lovely formula/pattern from Interweave Press.  I love how easily they worked up, and hope to make many more in a similar vein. However, I do think I am going to have to modify what stitches I use on the bottom of the sock.

As you can see on my sock blockers, these stitches have loosened to the point of holes after only 2 wearings of these socks.  I am going to try and repair them, but I have to rip out quite a bit from my second pair (that were down to only the toes) and modify things entirely for my Baker Street Socks. Since I have (realtively) dainty ankles and hefty calves I am either going to have to greatly modify how I do the shaping on the legs of my socks or simply plan on making entirely ankle socks.  I think that the ankle sock option is what I will be going with, however only time will tell.

Onto happier news, I obtained a Miss Babs Yummy 2 Ply grab bag.

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I am extremely pleased with the selection I was sent.  It did come with three other mini skeins, but I have a BFF (best fiber friend) that I wanted to share the experience of working with Miss Babs Yummy.  As you can see I have started a Crescent Shawl using the basic shaping from Aroha Knits 5 Shawls in 5 Days, Bluprint Course Knit Shawls 14 ways, and a stitch guide my Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Jimmy gave me for Christmas to create my own unique design.  So far the yarn is an absolute dream to work with, it is taking everything in me not to order another couple of grab bags before they disappear.  However I hope there is enough yardage in this batch to create a decent sized shawl.  Then I might consider getting a single color/colorway for another, more complex, shawl in the future.

Finally, I am almost half way through my first Sherlock Square.

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I had to rip this thing out twice, but third time is the charm.  I appreciate that Salpal1 recommended KnitCompanion, it really is a useful app…just not for me.  It turns out that I work better when I can physically draw a line after every 2-3 steps in a pattern (k3, p1, k4, etc.)  This helps me keep track, where my little hitch was that in several parts of the pattern there is a k1, p1, k1, section, but in one particular line there was k1, p11, k1 that I misread twice before figuring out why I had so many stitches left.  Now that I understand how I work best, progress is being made.  I am 42 rows completed out of an 87 row pattern.  Since the yarn is worsted I am going very quickly and loving every stitch.  I am holding my Cascade 220 yarn in a Slipped Stitches Studio Sherlock Yarn Sock that I adore. The color and cables have combined to create amazing stitch definition, I do not think I could ask for anything more from this amazing square.  I can only hope the rest are as inspiring!

Until next time, remember to Live a Life a Little More Abstract!

Updates and Completions

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I completed and blocked my Jimmy Beans Cowl, since this photo was taken I have also seamed it together and worn it.  I love how this worked out, I adore that it got me to think outside my box and work on learning new stitches.  The detailed instructions certainly helped me to get over my fear of trying something different with my knitting.  This new found fearlessness with my knitting has helped me along with starting my Sherlock Knit Along Square (well they are rectangles, but pretty close to square).

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I have 5 rows out of 87 completed.  Honestly this is Cascade 220 superwash merino wool in worsted weight on size 8 needles.  Each row is going very quickly.  With my Jimmy Beans Knitting kit I received these highlighter flags that allow me to highlight one row for about 2 inches, this means that for each row I need 3-4 of these for this pattern, but they really do help me keep track of where I am in the pattern.  I probably would have gotten further already however, once I had finished the 4th round reading the pattern from my ipad, I was concerned that my eyes would wander to the wrong line.  I waited until today to print off my pattern so I can highlight each line as I need them.  I hope to do some more on this square tonight, I love seeing how it develops as I read each pattern line and knit them stitch by stitch.  The only other progress on this is that I am considering purchasing a specific mat that will allow me to block all of my squares at one time on the same set of pegs so that they are all perfectly blocked to the correct dimensions.  This was recommended for the Moogly 2019 Crochet Along (CAL) that involves granny squares.   Since I am committed to the Jimmy Beans Projects and the Sherlock KAL I do not think I will take up the Moogly challenge, but I do like the idea of all of my KAL blocks being the precise same size.

For the Lots of Socks Challenge I am going to finish my second sock (of the same colorway so not really in the spirit of things) tonight when I get home from work.  I had finished the toe and tried it on, only to find that when they say 1 inch from the end of the sock, they really mean, when your toes start.  I must have known this for the first sock, but forgot for the second.  So I ripped out the seam, undid the toe section, and added 4 more rows to my sock.  It now matches the previous sock, this will free me up to work on my Baker Street Socks.

I know that I have not written about my crochet project from Jimmy Beans in a little while, It is coming along slowly but surely.  Apparently I managed to put 10 extra stitches into the bottom, which means that all 28 rows of my sides had 10 extra stitches.  No wonder I ran out of yarn.  This has resulted in my needing to order more yarn.  I hope that the 4 balls I ordered are enough to finish this off completely, however, the pattern calls for ending with 45 stitches left so that the pouf can be stuffed, washed, and emptied.  I would rather close it off, but there is leeway if I decide not to buy any more yarn.

The final project I was working on was a simple knit dishcloth.  I finished it a couple of months ago but forgot to post about it.

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I will freely admit that I love the darn thing.  There really is nothing like washing with a cotton dishcloth.  It is so thick that the soap lathers up beautifully and there are absolutely no scratchy parts at all.  If I were a faster knitter (and had a smaller family) I think I would make these for everyone for Christmas.  I might do that, it just might take a few years!

Happy Crafting and Remember to Live a Life A Little More Abstract!

Project Progress

I really enjoyed taking the sock fiber from the February Paradise Fibers box and using coffee to dye it. I will have to wait until I can get a good photograph outside, because the color does not show very well at all in this photo. It was so much fun saving the grounds from my k-cups and turning them into a great fiber to spin. Should I decide to overdye this, the brown as a base will add a lot of depth to the new color. I cannot wait to spin this, but I have a couple of projects before I can get to this one.IMG_2221

Speaking of Spinning Projects I have made progress on my spin for a pair of anklettos/wristlettos.  Using the Ezee Twist tool I managed to spin my yarn at about 16wpi singles which should be 8 wpi 2-ply yarn.  I finished off the singles, they are currently resting.  IMG_2293

I have also signed up to take part in the Paradise Fibers Spinlympics again this year, even though there are no winter olympics.  I already had a grab bag of the merino fiber that they recommend using, I have carded up the yellow, orange, and blues with some silk I had around and made rolags.  I hope to start spinning this since the spinlympics are ending by the end of  February.  This will put me, although I am already, behind on spinning for my hap.  That is supposed to be knit up by the middle of March.  I don’t think I will make the deadline, but I certainly hope to have the spinning done for that by then.  I do not have any photos of my Spinlympics rolags nor my Hap rolags, so we will have to skip to sock progress.

I have the first two socks made from the pattern in Interweave Crochet 2011.  I did not do any extra shaping around the ankle in the blue worsted weight yarn sock.  However for the multi-colored fingering weight sock I added a few decreases before I turned for the heel.  This causes the sock to be a much better fit around my ankle.  Since I used the same size hook for both the fingering weight yarn is a looser fabric than the worsted, this will result in a sock that will wear out faster, but I have already noticed that the fingering weight sock breathes better on my foot.    Right when I finished the fingering weight sock I started on the second sock.  I am not too worried about the worsted weight one, but I really do want to have a pair of socks in this fingering weight yarn.  I had also purchased two skeins of Felici in the Baker Street colorway from knitpicks.  I adore the BBC show Sherlock (though I hate Mary) and so I had to have these Sherlock inspired socks.  I went down a size in my crochet hook, and I am also making the ribbing a bit longer than previously.  I have tried the cuff on, and 36 stitches should still be the right amount.  I am very excited to see how these are going to turn out!

That is all of my progress for now, Happy Crafting!