Thursday, June 27, 2013

Always Put Your WIPs Away!

I came home to this yesterday:

Apparently, one of my cats was interested in the nearly-finished blanket I had near the couch and got her collar caught on it. She dragged the blanket across the dining room and must have gone around and around the chair leg quite a few times in order to get it wrapped around like that.

Surveying the scene
On the one hand, I feel really bad about her getting stuck. On the other hand, it's been there for days, why did she now find the blanket so appealing she was able to get her collar stuck on the yarn? Luckily, as you can kind of see in the above picture, all of the yarn tangled around the dining room is from the skein; the hook remained caught in the working loop:

I suppose this is a sign to just finish the blanket already - that or to actually put the project back into the project bag when I'm not working on it. One or the other.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Penultimate Steotch-Along Clue

Not too much to this clue, just adding the backstitching to the face. I love backstitching, it always gives a lot of impact and now his face really pops!

On to the final clue, where we will finally learn what phrase has been chosen.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Steotch-Along Clue #6

I am still keeping up! Clue #7 was released on Friday, but I wanted to show off my shawl so I held off on posting this until today. Looking a bit less demon-y and a bit more Samuel L. Jackson-y:

Two more clues to go! If I can find a suitable framing method (probably a 5x7 frame from Goodwill), I will be finished by the end of the month. The stitching definitely will be, the only question is, how to frame things? I've started a collection of seasonal cross stitches with a bit of a geeky slant (Christmas, Valentine's Day) and am planning to have a spot where I will keep something on the wall (maybe the current WIP?) for most of the year and switch it out with the holiday ones as appropriate. The Christmas one is mounted on Styrofoam because it's an odd shape and I didn't want to deal with figuring out the perfect frame and matting and all that. The Valentine's Day one is currently still taped into the card, so I still have to figure out if I should frame it or what. I can put them all on Styrofoam, frame them all, or just do what seems right for each individual piece. I still don't know what I'll end up doing. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Camp Loopy Project 1: Finished!

All of the Camp Loopy projects need to be started and finished in the same month and must follow the prompts. Project One needed to be a 1-skein project of at least 375 yards using a yarn you haven't used before. I chose Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering for the yarn and the Brandywine Shawl for the project. At first, I thought the shawl was coming out a little too camo-y for my tastes. It's not quite what I had envisioned from seeing the yarn in the skein, but I think it turned out well in the end:

I finished it in less than a week, much faster than anticipated, mostly due to having about 10 hours of straight lecture in my 12 hour class that week. With the majority of this shawl worked in garter stitch, it was a quick knit anyway, and very easy to work on while taking notes and listening to the professor.

Yarn: Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering in Element
Needles: US6/4.0mm
Timeframe: June 10 - 17, 2013
Mods: Added another 4 repeats of Chart B to use as much yarn as possible.
Problems: None!

I added four repeats and considered a fifth, but in the end I'm glad I didn't because I would have run out of yarn that way. The reverse I-cord bindoff is absolutely perfect for this shawl and I love it so much! I also think I finally got the hang of I-cord edging - mine always came out too tight, mostly because I thought you had to pull it fairly tight to get it to close up. With this project, I found that you really don't, and if you just keep a normal tension rather than trying to pull it taut, you do get a fairly stretchy, nice bindoff. Who'd've thought? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June WIPs

Over one mile down, 2118.9 yards to be exact, and 880 yards of yarn for Camp Loopy Project 2 just arrived. 521.1 yards more to go this month for 1 mile net yarn loss. All but one of the WIPs on the top of the pile are easily over 600 yards, more than enough to bring my yarn total for June where I want it:

I have four things I'm working on for the rest of the month. You've seen (probably more than you wanted) the Steotch-Along cross stitch. I also mentioned the tall sock that needed to be ripped out back to the heel and re-knit; that one will be my travel project. For Camp Loopy, I was going to show off my in-progress shawl, but it flew off the needles and will be the star of my next post, if I can get some good pictures! As a backup travel project, I have a scarf I can't show off yet to travel around with. It's currently at a really easy garter stitch for X" stage, great for lectures and reading, but it is the one WIP that won't let me reach my goal, requiring only about 400 yards.

Finally, I'm trying to finish a blanket that I've had in progress since 2007. It's a 3-panel Broomstick Lace crocheted blanket, and I already have two complete panels. It's my at-home project for when I am waiting for the next Steotch clue. I was hoping to get it done this month, but given the (very) limited time I've had for crafting at home this month, it may or may not happen. I do have a nice long car trip this weekend, but part of it will be from bourbon distillery to bourbon distillery. I historically have tension issues when crocheting, and I seriously doubt bourbon will help!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Steotch-Along #5

Now with 100% more flowers!

This is one of four WIPs I plan to work on this month. My summer class has had quite a few more hours of lecture than anticipated so my Camp Loopy project was done much quicker than anticipated. More time for older WIPs!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Simple Socks

With some simple self-striping yarn, I made two pairs of almost-instant-gratification stockinette socks. Or at least, they would have been almost-instant-gratification had I gone directly from sock #1 to sock #2 for each pair.

Yarn: Green - ONline Supersocke 100
Purple - Universal Yarn Ditto in Purple Cascade
Needles: US1.5/2.5mm
Timeframe: Green - January 14 - June 8, 2013
Purple - February 21 - May 19, 2013
Mods: Shortened the leg on both socks, on the first sock to be sure I would have enough yarn (didn't need to), and on the second because I realized that I much prefer a shorter sock leg or additional calf shaping. It's easier to shorten the leg than to figure out the shaping, especially when you barely have enough brainpower left at the end of the day to figure out dinner. Yay grad school!
Problems: None with the patterns, had to rip back and re-knit the purple sock toes due to haste.

Both pairs were part of February Frenzy. I'm not sure if I like the yarn yet. It seems a bit scratchy and I don't know if that will be a problem. I usually don't mind scratchy yarns, so it shouldn't be. I'm just happy to have two more pairs of socks in the sock drawer - just in time for summer, when I typically don't wear socks at all!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Steotch-Along Halfway Point

Hooray, 50% of the clues are completed!

Now with 100% more cat!
Now he looks like some kind of soul-less demon coming to suck out my soul. Or something. I hope that the next clues fill in his face better so he doesn't continue to scare me while I'm working on him. Evil satan-spawn.

In sock news, I have made all of the fixes, though for the tall sock that means I have ripped back the entire foot and need to re-knit the foot. No more mistakes, but no real progress. The other socks are all fixed, toes ripped, lengthened, and re-knit, and I found the extra yarn I had from Absinthe (all < 1 yards) and duplicate-stitched around all the nail hole. Hopefully that holds. I love those socks!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

99 Problems...

Toe with well-hidden yarn end
...mostly socks. I was going to photograph and post my two most recent socks, but realized that in my excitement to finish, I had started the toe too early on one pair. To make matters worse, I am having difficulty finding the woven in end to un-pick the toe, rip it back, and add the 5-ish rows on one sock and 2 - 3 rows on the other. They technically fit, needing less than 1/2" of adjustment, but if I'm going to spend the time making my own socks, I may as well take the time to be sure they fit!

More toes to rip back
I figured that since I was going to be ripping back some toes to fix sock length problems, I should probably fix my Cusp as well. These were a test knit and in my haste, I apparently stopped about 1/2" too short on the foot, making the second one to perfectly match the first. Logically, taking my time to be sure the project is perfect is one of the great things about knitting. Emotionally, sometimes you just want to be done with the project, and that apparently happens around 6 rows before I should start the toe, at least if I'm making socks for me!

A couple of years ago, I made Absinthe, gorgeous socks out of a gorgeous (hand-wash only) yarn. These socks and I had some problems, the major problem being it's toe-up and I have a large instep, something that just doesn't work well for typical as-written socks.
Evil nail damage
It's easily fixed through extending heel flaps, something that isn't often a part of toe-up socks, and isn't part of Absinthe (it has a "fake" heel flap, looking like a top-down heel flap without offering the ability to customize). I had to rip back, recalculate, and re-do that sock to make it the luscious, well-fitting, amazing sock it is today. I don't wear them often due to the handwash-only nature of the sock. You can probably see where this is going. While wearing these socks, I found a nail that decided it no longer wanted to hold down the floorboards. Instead, it wanted to make a hole in my sock, my precious, precious sock!

See how the gusset squishes the flap?
Finally, I made the same mistake on my tall socks as on my toe socks. I followed the pattern to make a stockinette heel and because I always ignore the directions on how many stitches to pick up along the heel flap and just pick up one per slipped stitch and one in the corner, I did just that. For a plain stockinette heel flap, the size is different and that stitch ratio just doesn't work. With the toe socks, I really couldn't rip back without completely messing up the sock given the cutting and matching I did with the toe colors. With this one, I luckily can rip back to the heel flap and re-do the foot before moving on to the second sock. It is the next sock up on the needles, but the first one took quite some time so don't expect a finished object post anytime soon!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Clue #3

Chugging right along and keeping up with the schedule, I finished Clue #3 Tuesday night:

I'm still going with my earlier guess, and still questioning what exactly the text will be. Only time will tell, and only five more clues 'til it's done!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Victorian Rose Hotness Top

This is a cute, rather fast knit that is both work-appropriate and, in a different color, would be excellent with jeans to go out in. The only problem is that you need to select your bra carefully; it will show through the bottom of the lace panel!

Pattern: Hotness Top (Ravelry, mine)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Victorian Rose, 2 skeins.
Needles: US7/4.5mm
Timeframe: May 21 - June 5, 2013
Mods: Added 1" to the body.
Problems: None really.
Next time (I do believe there will be a next time), I plan to use US5 or 6 needles for the ribbing. It's not bad at all one needle, but a smaller needle would be better. I would keep the US7 for the neck though, any smaller and it would be too tight. I had considered smaller needles when I was knitting it this time, but was already into the body and didn't want to start over again, and I'm kind of glad I didn't switch because I would not have realized the neck would be too tight with the smaller ribbing.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Steotch Clue #2

I normally cross stitch from kits. Or I suppose I should really say that I used to cross stitch from kits - everything I've actually finished and shown off recently hasn't been from a kit. Anyway, stitching exclusively from kits means I always got a needle with my kits and have been lucky enough to have never lost or broken more needles than the number of kits I've stitched. Until now. I broke the small needle that came with my (unfinished) Santa Ornaments kit, the only needle open suitable for smaller than Aida 14 ct. fabrics. I purchased some new needles and stitched up Clue #2, and let me tell you (if you didn't already know), the quality difference between cheap in-the-kit needles and needles purchased for stitching is very, very noticeable! I thought it was just a little piece of metal, no way there'd be any difference in type of needle, and I was wrong. Higher quality tools are always better, even if it's just a small sliver of metal. But you probably already knew that.

If you didn't, the purchased needle is shorter, allowing for slightly more economical use of thread, and smoother, going through the fabric much faster and easier and therefore allowing me to work faster. I would recommend buying needles rather than using the ones that come with kits in the future, and now I'm wondering if there are different brands or styles (like gold-plated) that really are better and worth the extra cost. Any input from more experienced stitchers who may be reading this?

Completed Clue #2:

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Time ran away from me this past week. Everything is so close, and yet, so far, apparently. I can't even blame it (much) on the cross-stitching, since my needle broke and I haven't replaced it so haven't done the second clue yet. Yarn count went up:

It is now June. A year ago, I had just over 41 miles of yarn, hitting the lowest point, under 40 miles at the end of the month. Today I have just over 46 miles. I don't think I'll be making a new record low! This month, I hope to:

1. Finish the Camp Loopy Project 1, the Brandywine Shawl.
2. Buy yarn for Camp Loopy Project 2 (as yet unknown).
3. Knit one mile more than I purchase. That should be even easier this month with 1900 yards of almost-done projects I intended to finish last month.
4. Keep up with the Steotch-Along.

Now off to read about case study research while finishing a ~600 yard project!