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!

Shawls and Haps

My first skein for my Shetland Hap was 150 yards, I though that this would be enough for the center of at least a half hap, silly me.  It turns out that a full sized hap is about 1100 yards for the center, of course the half hap is still 550 yards.  I also thought that I needed two supplementary colors, I need 3.  The supplementary colors are not a problem, I did have to order more fiber for the center though.  It should be arriving soon so that I can actually begin spinning for the majority of the shawl.  One of the supplementary colors, green, is spun and should have enough yardage for one of the colored portions.  While waiting for the Shetland Moorit to arrive I am working on spinning the pink.   I have also decided that I will be carding the Shetland Top into rolags and spinning with long draw to make the center light and fluffy.

Aroha Knits has a 5 shawls 5 days challenge that she puts on every year.  I have participated for the past two years, and I managed to finish four of them this year.  I started the fifth but did not get it completed in time.  This is a great exercise that not only has me flexing my knitting muscles, but learning new techniques all the time.  I am finding that I seem to work better if I have a kit and work toward a project from that point.  Hopefully as I grow more confident in my skills I will be able to work on projects from a different approach.  Until then I am expanding my repertoire and having a ton of fun along the way.

Happy Crafting!

Spinning for a Hap

Spin-Off magazine has their first 2019 spin along project and it is to spin and knit a Shetland Hap by March.  I had thought that I would spin for a sweater this year, just as a random goal, so this will be a great way to figure out if a sweater is a reasonable goal or not.  To that end I have chosen the fibers I want to use, I have some Shetland in brown, pinks, and greens.

There is a tutorial on knitting a Hap on Craftsy/BluPrint that I have watched so at present I am confident that this is something I can accomplish.  The official spin along begins on the 14th, so I will find out then how much work this is going to be.

I did finish spinning my Finn on the Ladybug, it is on the ball winder waiting for me to ply from a center pull ball tonight.  I am internally debating if I want to spin on the Ladybug and ply on the Firefly or reverse the order.  I find that I enjoy spinning more on the Ladybug so I will probably use the Firefly as a ply wheel since I have larger bobbins for that wheel.

Until I get started with that, Happy Crafting!

 

Crocheting Cuff Down Socks

crochet cuff socks

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!

Knit Picks Chroma Lace in Wildflower

I know, I do not need more yarn.  I have mom’s stash to get through, I have yarn that I have spun, I have more yarn than I know what to do with.  However when this yarn went on sale for $3 per 400+ yard hank, I was a goner.  I picked up to of the same color and wound one into a center pull ball already.  I was thinking about patterns, most people think that one is enough for a min-shawl and anything of a substantial size requires four.  Since I hate mini-shawls, and do not have four, I started crocheting a half-granny shawl.  I know, my standard pattern, but it is just beautiful!

Chroma lace half granny shawl.jpg

I have barely started and it is already 12 inches across and 7 inches long.  I am certain that if I were to stretch this during blocking it would get considerably larger.    I have a row of double crochet lattice work before the yellow starts turning orange, I am going to try and free-style several different motifs into this pattern.  The hook that I am using, shown, is a 3.0mm hook.

I have several other patterns and projects I am thinking about, along with a couple of other purchases from this huge sale of knit-picks products.  The more I work on crafting the more I realize that at present my go-to crafts are spinning and crochet.  I hope to up my weaving, knitting, and felting game in the next few years but at present these are my comfort crafts.  I wonder if crocheting a good pair of socks would get me over my troubles with the idea of knitting a pair, or should I just keep swatching for these knitted socks?  Oh, these crafting dilemmas.

Happy Crafting!

Faerie Knitting by Alice Hoffman

This is a lovely book that serves not only as a pattern guide but as a reminder that Faerie stories come from within as well as being passed down through the ages. All too often we forget in our times of ‘politically correct’ and ‘historically accurate’ that these stories were constantly revised to fit the day that they were being told while remaining true to the lessons within. I love that there are no names associated with these, no major background information or world building, they are just simple tales with simple morals. Some of the morals are a little progressive, and the stories are all set within rural environments (with the occasional city or castle thrown in), but they are still very well written. I love the patterns also, though at my skill level they are mostly beyond me, but they are certainly worth aspiring to complete.

Happy Reading!