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!

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!

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!

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!