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!

Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V by Susan Woodly

I am an extreme fan of Sherlock, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I had signed up for Sherlock’s Great Afghan Adventure V which was created by Susan Woodly, the pattern cost $11.99 (there was a sale) but there are quarterly prizes for the trivia and word scrambles.  This is going to not only give me a reason to listen to the Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I purchased but never got to, but to take the year to knit a very large project.  I began purchasing some bits of worsted weight superwash yarn so that I could begin knitting March 16th when the first part of the pattern is released.  I had already ordered Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Yarn – 1305 October Sky from Jimmy Beans Wool for $8.10.  I also ordered a skein of Malbrigio Worsted yarn from Darn Good Yarn for $11.60.  This means that I was about $31.69 into this project already.  I was hoping to get one brand/type of yarn for the entire project, but since I would need 14-16 skeins of yarn and most of the Worsted Weight Superwash Wool yarns are 8-25/skein this did not seem like a reasonable goal.

However, I had a $100 coupon from Paradise Fibers Points system and they were running a 20% off flash sale.  These two things combined were enough to have me order one yarn for the entire project.  Originally these 14 skeins of Cascade 220 would have been $154.  Because of the flash sale, $30.80 was taken off of the top, and then I had a $100 coupon.  This means that for these skeins that would have been $11 each I paid less than $1.70 each shipped.  I am pleased that this will mean that all of these squares will be made out of the same yarn, ensuring a form of continuity throughout the project.  This would not have been the case if I had continued to piece together the project, especially since the Malbrigio is a singles yarn.

This brings the total spent for this project so far up to:

$54.90.  If I only use the Cascade Superwash this will be reduced to $35.20.  Since the true cost does include the $100 coupon that I spent on this project, it is safe to say that this is the reason that crafters cannot get what they deserve for things like this afghan.  Even with the simple 3X your supplies cost this blanket would be $405.60.  That calculation does not include the time spent actually knitting the project.  Oh well, these purchases should be enough to keep me happily crafting for an entire year, if not longer.  If I do not wind up using my initial purchases for this project they will be great for a hat, arm warmers, fingerless mittens, cowls, and more.  I was trying to think of what the moral of this experience is, but unfortunately all I get are conflicting ones.  I guess the best I can come up with is: Keep your eyes peeled for a good sale, but have a backup in mind (or stashed).

Happy Crafting!

Spinning Box February 2019

I have been meaning to purchase a Fair Trade Basket made in Africa for a couple of years now.  Unfortunately, they have always seemed very expensive for something I am concerned I will just push around.  When The Spinning Box had their limited edition baskets filled with fiber, I fell in love with this version.  It is even roomier than I thought, and while my first photo is poorly done, the vivid colors on the inside cannot be mistaken.  All of this is before taking into consideration that it was filled past the brim with fiber and a couple of other goodies.

This basket was in celebration of the holiday originating in India called Holi.  My understanding is that it is a celebration of color and joy, which this basket certainly represents.  Bundled with the basket is also a set of videos intended to demonstrate ways of making the spinning box into a cohesive unit.  I am still working my way through them, I do not know if it is because I am watching them on an Apple device or if my internet is just not very compatible with the server the videos are hosted on but for me they lag quite a bit.

The variety of fibers is quite remarkable, from Targhee, Merino blends, and Lincoln to name a few.

I am hoping that I can spin these two targhee rovings well enough for a pair of socks!  There are enough Merino fibers that I believe I can blend them into a decent sized project, depending on how they want to spin.  If I have the patience to draft them into laceweight I might be able to knit a shawl, if they want to be thicker perhaps some leg/arm warmers, maybe I can weave something with them.  No matter what they become, the colors are guaranteed to shine.

As you can see pictured above there was a wide variety of merino!

There are a few other little batches of fiber that I have to figure out what I want to do with them, if I can manage to get 110 yards of 2 ply out of a breed then I should be able to knit some wrist/ankle warmers which might be fun.  I have the skein for my first attempt at knitting the pattern ready to be balled up so that is also on the agenda.

There was also a wand of some sort, pictured upper left, and a pendant containing an elephant (not pictured) included.  I am very excited, and rejuvinated, by all of this color and opportunity to experiment.  One last interesting feature is that apparently the basket can be wetted and reshaped if it should become deformed.

Was this basket expensive, Yes it really was.  However I could have easily spent that much just for the basket, so I know that the hours of enjoyment that the fibers are going to bring me are certainly a bonus.  I am trying to think of the best use of the basket, right now it is holding all of the merino blends so that I can carry them around into different light and decide how I want to put them together.  Perhaps I can use it to display finished skeins for color inspiration.  Until next time!

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!

Thoughts of Spring

I know, the year has not even ended and I am thinking about a Spring Dye Garden.  To be fair to me, January is National Seed Catalog Month.  I have just under 2 acres of land around my home, however much of that is either forest or too hilly to be useful for planting.  Fortunately I have 2 raised beds in the back of the house and one large raised bed facing the front of the house.  Throughout these past few years the beds have gone to seed.  I intend to put down some material that is supposed to deter weeds and cut around the few plants that I want to keep.  Then I intend to make some cement blocks, with inlaid glass designs on top, to hold down the material as well as further deterring weeds.  The cement blocks will also be a great base for the pots that I hope to use so that I can plant a dye garden out front.  I also hope that creating cement blocks is truly as easy of a craft as it seems so that I can use that as a craft at the public library I work at next year.

To get an idea of what plants I want to put in my dye garden I am researching using several resources.  From Knitpicks I purchased The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes by Sasha Duerr.  So far I find it to be a fascinating resource that will help me a great deal toward understanding how to create dyes from plant materials.  I also purchased A Garden to Dye For through the Amazon Kindle Store.  These should give me a really good basis for understanding what plants I am going to need.  I am also trying to figure out what plants are native to my area of the USA so that I can avoid planting invasive species in my area.

In my two back beds I do hope to plant some vegetables.  Cherry tomatoes, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, spaghetti squash, and perhaps some others.  Again, I do plan on deterring the weeds and utilizing planters to create a garden with reasonable maintenance needs.

I firmly believe that this is going to take me several months, both to figure out what plants are good for dyeing and native (or at least not destructive) to my environment.  I would love to plant some cotton or flax but the reality is I am a little too far north for that to be a realistic dream.

So, I will keep dreaming, planning, and crafting.

Happy Crafting to All!

I Am Infatuated

For Black Friday weekend I decided to obtain a few things that I have been looking at for years.  One of them was the Blue Butterfly Originals 2″X6″ Pin Loom.  I am a librarian and had always wondered about making my own bookmarks.  I was not certain what type of yarn I would like to use with it so I started with a couple of bits of yarn that I had spun.  According to the directions, which I skimmed over, you can use any yarn up to a bulky yarn.  Within two days I had worked out that each bookmarks takes about 4 yards of yarn.  27 bookmarks later, IN TWO DAYS, I am still going strong.  IMG_2094If any of my relatives actually read this blog, you are probably going to get a bookmark.  One of my relatives is turning her old doll house into a car house for her two sons, and race car driving husband I am sure,  so I think that these would make great little blankets or rugs for the cars.

I have ten more balls of yarn measuring 4 yards each wound up and ready to be woven, alas I actually have to work today.  Since each of the bookmarks seems to take around 10-15 minutes to create I anticipate needing more yarn wound tomorrow morning.  At first this loom seemed a bit expensive, with shipping it wound up being around $29 (Which is why I took so long to buy it), but since in two days I have woven over 20 of the bookmarks, using smaller amounts of yarn that I wasn’t sure what project I made them for, I think that this is well worth it.  I think that this would be something that I would certainly consider adding to a craft show, though in order to justify the yardage of the yarn they would probably be about $3 each.  I might make it $5 each or 3/$12.  As the year winds down I am trying to figure out where I want things to go from here.

Right now I am balancing my books with some of the insurance money, and since my work is seasonal and two of my jobs have almost a month long break, January will be supplemented as well.  In February I am going to start seeing if I can live off of my three jobs and what changes I need to make to my current situation.  Starting in March I will be calling the Handyman that Mom and I have been hiring and seeing what he wants to put siding on the house and fix up the external garage.  Those will be my two major home improvements for the year, and hopefully for longer than that.  I do have someone currently working on getting rid of the mice in the house, I have high hopes for that situation.

That is what my life looks like now, though I think I’m going to give up on the food boxes, I do not think that they worked out how I wanted them to.  I do not like sour flavors and everything seemed to have lemon juice or vinegar in them.  I will see about using my instant pot to explore some other cultures with flavors I know I have a chance of liking.

Happy Crafting!