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.

Week of Progress

I did not complete any of my projects this week, however I did ensure that I completed a few rows on all of my currently active projects.

My Morrigan Shawl actually fared the worst of all of my current projects, simply because I am not certain that I am working the pattern correctly therefore I am not working on it too quickly.  At present I am also wondering if my second repeat of the pattern is going to be very confusing because I will have the number of stitches at the end of the pattern but I will be starting with the….nevermind.  I just reread the instructions and finally understand what I am supposed to be doing.  It’s a good thing I have not completed the chart even once.  I think that I am going to take some serious time and write out the entire pattern stitch by stitch then follow that.  It’s a Frogging Time!

IMG_2301.JPGMy shower poufs have fared better, I completed a third pouf.  I also crocheted a washcloth from the remains of the second skein, as well as receiving the new colors for more poufs.  I have started on my fourth pouf, this time in the correct colorway.

IMG_2292.JPGThe project that I have made the most progress on, not that it shows a lot, is my Sherlock Socks.  Since I am now using the correct gauge, and a pattern with much smaller stitches, this is taking quite a bit of time.  I am actually quite pleased with how much time these socks are taking.  They seem to be resulting in a much tighter fabric that should last me a very long time.  I have already started on the first toe of the first sock in the correct colorway for my sibling’s socks.  It is fortunate that this new pattern is an ankle sock, so that the foot is the largest part, once I turn the heel there should not be too much more to do.

Knitting socks is the bane of my existence, but I will not be deterred.  I had previously purchased 2.5mm Flexi-flips, this is a US size 1, but it is sometimes called 1.5.  I am currently using these needles to create a gauge swatch for a very nice ankle socks pattern.  The gauge is supposed to be 3 inches over 30 rows and 24 stitches knit in the round.  Since a gauge swatch seemed to be a good idea, they actually advise using 2.25 needles, I decided to cast on 48 stitches and work 40 rows.  This means that when I lay the round piece flat it should be 3 inches wide and about 4 inches tall giving me some room to make my actual measurements.

IMG_2291.JPGIf I get gauge then I will be golden, if my results are too large then I will have to decide if I am going to buy the smaller needles.  Should my results be too small then I will have to decide if the difference is worth buying larger needles.  So far I have discovered that I am, at present, not to a knitting skill level where I can do the traveling stitch trick I heard of where you slide the last stitch of the previous needle onto the new working needle so as to ensure that any inconsistencies are never on the same stitch and are less noticeable.  This is supposed to prevent visible ladders.  Instead I must be twisting the stitch or working it incorrectly each time as my first 10 rows have this spiral of weird stitches going up in two places.  If I were working DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) this would have been in three places.  The next 10 rows I skipped this, I am simply making sure to tug the first stitch on each needle very tightly to prevent ladders.  I like the results so far.

IMG_2302The final current project that I have going is the Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply shawl that I am making up as I go along.  I have decided on the feathers and fans pattern for the rest of the green section, I hope to complete 4 repeats of the 4 row pattern for a fairly distinctive effect.  As this is slightly stretched out you can begin to see the feather and fans effect of the stitches.  I love how this is turning out!

Until next time, remember to Live 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!

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!

Shifts in Time and Perspective

Today is when we set our clocks ahead an hour, thereby losing an hour of sleep but gaining an hour of daylight.  For me this means that spring is ever closer, and a quarter of the year is almost gone.  I know, that will not be true until closer to the end of March, but time is certainly marching on.  Taxes are soon going to be filed, the cat is going to the vet tomorrow, gardens need to be prepared, and it really needs to stop snowing.  Thinking about all of this is giving me time to remember what the name of this blog is really about.  It is too easy to take life very seriously, and think of things in a very linear way.  Sometimes you need to think in ways that are A Little More Abstract, about life as well as craft.

February is always a bad month for me.  The end of January was my parents wedding anniversary, February 21st was the closing of the 10th year since we lost my father.  This is my first full year without my mother.  March begins a new month, a fresh month, working our way toward spring.  Lent is upon us, if you are Christian, so we begin a march toward Easter.  The word ‘March’ in the phrases, “March toward Easter”, and “Time is Marching on” tend to bring the unfortunate connotation of drudgery.  You think of an army slogging its way toward a battle, instead I think of a steady progression.  When soldiers March they tend to do so with their heads held high, marching proudly toward their destiny, whatever that may be.

This is where my shift in perspective is coming into play.  I need to figure out where my destiny is going to lay.  These past 10 years working several part-time jobs and taking care of mom has been a wonderful learning experience.  I have had the time as well as freedom to learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of in addition to some of my limitations.  Now it is time for me to face what the spring and summer will bring.  I know, this entire entry is a bit maudlin, but that is what this time of year does to me.

Yesterday I managed to wrap all of the warps for the shoelace weaving project I will be teaching tomorrow, put together a shelving unit for my studio when it is completed, and set up pans for the 12 stepping stones I hope to make out of cement.  I intended to begin pouring the stones yesterday, but since the weather is supposed to get up to almost 50 by the middle of the week I decided to hold off on actually mixing and pouring the cement.  I have the sand poured and the glass set, so it is just a matter of adding the cement and leaving them to harden.  Hopefully things will be in good shape by Wednesday, when they are coming to install my new garage door, and Thursday when I hope to mix the cement.  The decorations on these stones are pieces of glass, but I believe I will change that out for mosaic tiles or decorative stone for the actual class.  The glass shards are too much of a liability to consider as a good solution.

I have completed 2/3rds of the Jimmy Beans Knitted Cowl and have begun the final third.  It is actually my goal to have that knitted by the end of this week so that I can block it out and take a final picture for a blog post next week, fingers crossed.  I have not make much progress on the second installment of the Crochet Pouf but that is going to be my second goal, I believe.  This may get sidetracked depending on how complex the first installment of the Sherlock Afghan is on Saturday.  I also have socks and dishcloths I am fiddling with, hopefully things will get past the stage of stitching into nothingness and some progress will be made.

So that is the end of it for now.  Shifting time, shifting perspective, and a shifting list of priorities.  Learning more about myself and what I can do, playing with cement is new, and reminding myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.  So until next installment.

Keep crafting and remember to keep your 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!

Mini Update

I have crossed the half way point with my cowl, knitted from the thick and thin yarn sent to me by Melody’s Makings.  For this cowl I cast on 100 stitches and started knitting.  I began switching stitches on the ends, but stopped that when I decided to join the cowl int the round and knit on circular needles.  Because of this the join is rather messy and when I seamed things up it got sort of ugly.  I fixed this as best I could and will see how badly it looks on the right side when I am done.  If nothing else I can make sure that the ugly side stays at the back of my neck, or create an embellishment to cover over it.  So this is what over half of a cowl looks like:

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I presume that things will block out some.  On another note, I almost forgot that I was crocheting a lace shawl.  I found the bag, and since it is the half-granny pattern I can pick it right back up.  I made a decent start, but since it is lace weight chroma twist things are going to take forever.  Oh well, that just means that I get even more time to enjoy crocheting with the Chroma twist.

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