Back to Crafting

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I have finished the second quarter Jimmy Beans Wool Crochet Club Pattern.  This shopping bag was fun as well as easy to create.  I have greatly enjoyed learning the different stitches.  In addition to this, I have been crocheting on my Furls Coffee Sweater using Furls Z twist Crochet yarn, a 5 mm hook, and the free pattern.  I am on row 8 of the second part of the pattern, with one row of ‘coffee cups’ done and about to begin the second ‘coffee cup’ row.  The two pictures are of the same piece with different lighting.

 

This sweater is going both quickly and slowly.  Since I have been back from vacation the only other crafty pursuits I have engaged in are winding a bamboo warp and weft for a procion dyeing project I will be engaging in with my guild, experimenting with some natural dyes for a class I taught, teaching a class on spinning, and teaching a class on weaving a seamless pouch with a cardboard loom.   Since I have already purchased the yarn, and paid for the dyeing, I will have to wind my cotton warp and weft within the next  three weeks.

I have not made any progress on any of my knitting projects.  I honestly hope to have this sweater completed sometime within the next…well I have 52 rows to complete plus 34 rows for each of two sleeves.  I’m not going to worry too much about the sleeves, however if I can get something like 5-6 rows done each week I should be able to complete the sweater by mid August.  If we are taking the sleeves into consideration, then probably closer to September, just in time for the colder weather.

Mason Dixon Knitting is performing a Sock Along.  This will have several prizes and run until the end of August.  Since I have tried to complete several knitted socks, and failed so far due to how very long they seem to be taking me, I believe that I will put my current socks on a lifeline so that I can give a pattern out of Field Guide 11 a decent try.  Since this Field guide is much closer to a formula than an actual pattern, I believe that I will try a simple cuff down sock following the numbers and directions, probably with a 2×2 ribbing and a plain body/toe with a short row heel.  This will give me a decent idea of the construction of a sock, should I combine working 2-3 rows on the sock along with working on the sweater 1-2 rows a day I may have a decent chance of having both a pair of socks and a sweater done by September.

That is all for now, until next time remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Vacation, Los Angeles

*More vacation information, sorry to say this will continue next week as well.  In two more weeks I will get back into crafting.  Hang in there!*

For the second part of our vacation, and yes there is a third part, my sibling and I flew into Los Angeles.  We arrived at our hotel and spent a very nice afternoon discovering where we could eat near our hotel and looking around. I had a Bahn Mi at a Vietnamese restaurant, and now I know if I order one I need to ask them to leave off the Cilantro.  I picked up a bottle of a peach green tea was amazing, though boba is not my favorite thing at this point.  The Lychee Ramune had little to no flavor, so it was not really worth the sugars.

Our second day was spent exploring Little Tokyo as well as hitting Gather DTLA which is a yarn store.  I will admit, my sibling and I get along in short bursts.  Since I am an introvert by nature and my sibling tends to need to be ‘in control’ yet dislikes making plans we tend to get on each other’s nerves after a short time.  This was our last day spent constantly in each other company, however one day apart was enough to reset my good humors.  On this second day we went  to a fascinating little mall and hada ton of fun.  They had an amazing bookstore with a selection of journals, paper, pens, and other stationary that easily rivaled jetpens.com.  I had been wanting to try different pens for quite some time, however I could not bring myself to pay the shipping and handling.  All of the pen brands I had been wanting to try, as well as some that I had not heard of, were represented in this little store.  I also splurged and obtained some beautiful notebooks to write and draw in, as well as some watercolor pencils and appropriate paper.  I did insist that we go to Gather DTLA, a yarn store that had been raved about on Ravelry.  This little store, above a bookstore, was certainly tried.  The proprietress was a lovely woman that, when I made a purchase I will describe shortly, gave me a pin from the store’s yarn crawl which I was a couple of weeks too late for, as well as a plastic tapestry needle.  I found the selection to be quite poor, however as I said, they had just been through a yarn crawl and may have been understandably depleted.  I did purchase a skein of pink yarn with purple flecks called Flamingo by Elevate fibers and a cement bowl to hold accessories.  I later found out that my one of my pens wrote on the cement bowl beautifully so I can remember where and when I obtained it.  Other than the disappointment of the bookstore that Gather DTLA was found in, my fraying temper, and the discovery that my sibling’s idea of ‘exploring’ is wandering over the same three blocks five or six times to find something that a little research or a willingness to use google maps would have led us to much faster. I explained that I’m overweight and wanted to see more than a few blocks, so we decided to part ways for the next day.  (Alright, there were more raised voices involved.)

The next day started out lovely.  We had decided to part ways after breakfast.  The only unfortunate aspect was that since it was Memorial Day only one of the two yarn shops I wanted to go to would be open.  We had breakfast at the In-n-Out, where I had an amazing Double-Double burger that tasted like a steak burger.  I then went to Wollhaus yarns which had an amazing variety of yarns from all sorts of dyers. I found several skeins I loved, managed to find one in the colors that my best fiber friend would like, as well as a half-priced skein of Sweet Georgia yarn.  It had obviously been mishandled but a little work put it to rights again.  IN addition to the yarn I also picked up two stitch markers, one for my friend and I, with the Wollhaus design on them, and a slap bracelet with a magnet for holding scissors and stitch markers.  Down the street from Wollhaus was a lovely bookstore where I found a pair of sherlock socks, I read Past my Bedtime pins, Book Wyrm Pins, a garden journal, as well as an amazing book on Knitting Modular Shawls, Stoles, and Wraps.  Every time I get a cappuccino in LA I forget that these are real espresso cappuccino’s without any additions.  However the Sangria Nata De Coco Peach is amazing and tastes just like peach nectar.  I also had an opportunity to go to Torrid in the mall by our hotel, they had a few really good sales that I took advantage of.  Due to the sales I wound up with two dresses, two full length trench coats (one in black/grey, one in blue) as well as several braziers in my size.  Actually, In My Size, is the key phrase of my entire experience in Torrid.  Not only were things in my size but lovely things were in my size.  I have coupons that go into effect early July and while I intend to curb my spending I will be taking advantage of these coupons.  Thus ends the day.  I went back to my room, read, and relaxed.

The next day we went to Hollywood Boulevard, which was an experience unto itself.  The museum of death was our first stop, it is also the first museum we saw on this trip.  It was interesting, though not what I was hoping for.  The serial killers were disturbing and fascinating, the autopsy room was very disturbing.  I loved seeing the different skulls, I was very awed at seeing an elephant skull, a giraffe skull, and a human skull for size comparison.  There were 1900s wicker caskets, infanticide photos (photos of infants that died of SIDs or other maladies, the parents wanted to remember their children and had not had a chance to photograph them alive so this custom came into vogue), and various other ritual were fascinating.  I was hoping for more customs from around the world, but the history of death in the US, serial killers, famous deaths, and more was interesting.  The stars on Hollywood boulevard were fascinating, I swear it took most of the day just to wander up one side and down the other.  They were a wonderful reminder of how many amazing artists have passed through this world making their mark in more ways than one, and makes me wonder who will be the next Jim Henson or Angela Lansbury.  While I recognized more names than I thought I would, I did not take too many photographs of the stars.  I still managed to get a big sunburned, but that is alright.  Along our walk there were plenty of artists trying to get discovered, they hand out CDs to everyone that passes (well they try to), one of the artists did give me a High-Five instead of trying to make me a take a CD and I thought that was a lovely gesture.  The wax museum was expensive, $35/person.  However if you were a pop-culture or movie buff it would be well worth the price of admission.  There were some amazing displays and, to be honest, the idea of taking a photograph with some very famous people without all of the awkward conversation aspects is very appealing.  I liked the horror section, grease, and a few others.  The photographs are goofy, but very lovely anyway.  We then went to the Diaso Japan store, my sibling loves Japanese Culture, and I found some (very scratchy) wool yarn.  The quality is not there, however I had to purchase some for myself and my friend simply for the uniqueness.  Since we had to catch a bus to Disney the next day we decided to rest for the evening.

Again, this is much longer than I thought, so I will make Disney and entry of it’s own next week.  I promise that the next entry will be the end of my vacation entries.

Until then remember to Live 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!

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!

Fastest Socks Ever

I started these socks on Friday and finished them on Sunday.  The pattern is so easy and fun to crochet.  The results are acrylic and I did modify them somewhat.  These have given me the confidence to knit a swatch for knitted socks out of a yarn that I received from a KnitCrate.  The swatch is washed and set out to dry.  Once it is dry I will be measuring the stitches per inch and using that to create my first socks.  This time they will be knit cuff down one at a time.

What an auspicious start to the year!

Happy Crafting!

Crocheting Cuff Down Socks

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I have been trying to knit two at a time toe up socks for about three years now.  They were out of this yarn, almost a worsted weight, so they would have been socks.  I took them in to see a friend that I work with and she confirmed that the stitches are too tight, so it is the wrong size hook and the construction probably was not right to begin with.  So, I ripped them out which took very little time.  Then I wound the yarn into cakes, the ball winder I am using is fairly small so it wound into four cakes, and found a pattern to crochet socks.  I am using a 4mm hook to crochet these socks and although I accidentally added 3 more rows to the rib I believe that it will turn out well.

I cannot wait to pick up the stitches for the heel, foot, and toe.  I have not given up on the idea of knitting socks, I am simply going to begin by finding the perfect pattern, select or purchase the correct yarn, and proceed from there.  Right now I am checking a book called Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. If that does not work I will probably proceed to checking out verypink.com to see what her 9″ circular socks look like since several people seem to rave about them.  I have tried to look at Ravelry, but I keep trying to find a pattern to suit the yarn I want to use, laceweight, which is apparently not a good idea for my first socks.

If I can crochet these socks in a couple of days then I will be happy to have a pair of finished socks and be more willing, I hope, to spend the time I need to create knit socks.  Only time will tell, hopefully this will help me develop the patience I am going to need to begin and complete larger projects.  I believe that a book I read recently on Deep Work by Cal Newport will help with this. I have noticed the degradation in my ability to focus on more complex tasks,  part of this is due to the burn out I am facing however I believe that a lack of time and ability to deeply focus on my tasks contributes.

Okay!  So I should be starting my new year with a pair of crochet socks and some projects on my needles that I may complete!  On that note, Happy Crafting!