Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What was I saying about focusing on WIPs...?

They just aren't getting done fast enough. This is what happens when you make mistakes or bounce from project to project instead of dedicating your time on a single project. So instead of fixing the mistakes and being more careful or picking a project that is near completion, I started something new.

On the plus side, it uses some very old stash (from my mother, probably from the '80s) and some unloved stash (that blue is just not a nice yarn and the red is not a color I'm likely to use!). It's also a lovely quick blanket for a cousin who is due in two months whose family I'll be seeing in the next week. After all, it'll all get done eventually, right?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Be You MKAL

Still not finished! I found an error.

This is not the kind of error that can be easily fixed. It's making seven stitches out of one, the beaded stitch right there. On the last Right Side row. This means I have to rip back a row with 76 beads in it, and the purl row below that, being careful not to drop the other 20 7-from-1 stitches that don't enjoy being on the straight knitting needles, and then, thankfully, not much of the row below that. While I'd usually just pull out the needles, rip back, then carefully get the stitches back on the needles and fix any dropped stitches as I go, the combination of beads and 7-from-1 stitches means I'm slowly, painstakingly, tinking back over 1100 stitches. It's a lot slower to un-knit than it is to knit. Or purl for that matter.

Annoyingly, I checked that row about 3/4 of the way through it, thinking it would be an easy mistake for me to make and a real pain to fix. I just never checked the final 25% when I was done. I was right, it was both an easy mistake to make and a real pain to fix.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stash Dash Preparation!

Stash Dash has begun! I'm planning for a couple of quick finishes to start off strong and if I participate in Tour de Sock and Tour de Fleece, I'll have a pretty solid showing.

One sock down, one more to go!

I can't decide whether to set a goal to begin with or to just wait and see where I get. The levels are all measured in kilometers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15. Over a three month period, I generally work through just under 5k in stash, so 5k would be a safe bet. I can finish more, especially if I'm spinning yarn and focusing on finishing some high-yardage WIPs. 7k would be a good goal if I'm trying to stretch myself. 10k is highly unlikely, but not impossible. That's a little more than six miles, double what I typically do in a three-month period.

Nine more heavily beaded rows, then a picot bindoff.

Between Camp Loopy and the Will Work For Yarn projects I've agreed to, that's nearly 5k as it is, and Tours de Sock and Fleece will certainly push me over that goal. There's also a good amount of traveling this summer, both by car and by air, though I'll be driving for many of the car travel hours.  There's also this year's Steotchalong which will take time from yarn stash efforts.

Morvarch, about 130 more rows to go, 54 stockinette and the rest lace ribbing.

It seems like a good time to pull out all of the WIPs to try to knock a few out. Of course, this means that what I really want to do is cross stitch (doesn't count for Stash Dash), spin (yardage counts, but it doesn't decrease my stash yardage), and start new projects instead of working on ones that are already half-finished.

Table runner, center nearly finished, beaded edging needed.

Of course, no one is surprised by this. I guess we'll see where I end up in August!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Warm Necks

Yes, I'm stalling on the Boo Knits MKAL. It's because Stash Dash starts soon, so the shawl counts towards that if I finish it on the 26th or later. I finished the pig because it was only a little bit of yarn, but everything else is getting close to finished, then waiting for Stash Dash to start!

In lieu of a finished shawl, here are a couple of other things I've made, one recent, one from a year ago. Yes, that's another Gap-tastic Cowl, it was a request from one of the original recipients for another one!

Pattern: Double Layered Braided Cowl (Ravelry mine)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Grey Heather and Blue Mint
Hook: USH/5.0mm
Timeframe: April 1 - 9, 2017
Mods: Did the initial chain for each segment in the accent color, did not string all the pieces together due to having an accent color, did not make the connecting part as long so it would be snug against my neck instead of lower like a necklace.
Problems: None!

Yarn: Big Twist Yarns Chunky Solids in Chunky Black, one skein
Needles: US13/9.0mm
Timeframe: October 15 - 18, 2016
Mods: Worked until the yarn was gone instead of a set number of rounds.
Problems: None!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Eyes Have It

Rather than trying to position plastic eyes correctly, I've been making needle felted eyes for my more recent stuffed creatures. I tried finding a tutorial for someone recently but didn't see one, so decided to make my own since I was about to needle felt the eyes onto the purple mystery pig.

Step 1: Gather Supplies. In this case, it's the object to needle felt onto and some lengths of scrap wool to felt. The object can be any sort of fiber but the felting scraps should be wool. Make your scraps fairly generous for the area you want to cover, you can almost always felt it in tighter and smaller.

Step 2: Starting Point. Begin to tack down the center color (pupil, whole eye, whatever you're doing) where you want it.

Step 3: Coil Around. Wind the yarn around the starting point and felt it down. Keep winding and felting to cover the area you'd like covered.

Step 4: Next Color. Do the same steps of tacking down the beginning, then coiling the yarn where you want it and needle felting it in for any additional colors you're using (iris, white, eyelashes, etc.).

You can make the areas as fluffy or as tight as you want by tacking down only a little bit along the yarn scraps or fully felting it down. The eye on the left is lightly tacked down while the one on the right has been more vigorously felted.

One of the nice things about starting with yarn scraps is that you can more easily make straight lines with the yarn where you want it to be. As long as the yarn scraps are wool or something that will felt, you're good to go! You can also do fun things like felt down one side of a piece of yarn and brush out the plies to make eyelashes or other hair-like things.

Et voila!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Two Piggies!

As part of the Piggy MCAL, there was a pre-MCAL fun pattern of a smaller pig. I did that one because I had the yarn available, so why not?

Pattern: Pre-MCAL Fun! (Ravelry mine)
Yarn: Red Heart Soft in Plummy
Hook: USD/3.5mm
Timeframe: May 5 - 7, 2017
Mods: Needle felted eyes rather than plastic.
Problems: None!

Pattern: Piggy MCAL (Ravelry mine)
Yarn: Red Heart Soft in Plummy and Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Everyday in Wild Blue
Hook: USD/3.5mm
Timeframe: May 8 - 20, 2017
Mods: Needle felted eyes rather than plastic.
Problems: None!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mystery-alongs, the penultimate clue!

Still going!

These are all the piggy parts. The final clue (assembly) was released two days ago, but I haven't gotten there yet. I call this one, Pig: Exploded View.

The final clue for the shawl was just released today. I am (surprisingly) right on track and should finish this one in the next few days!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mystery-alongs, still going!

Four of six clues complete!

The pig parts pile continues to grow. Next up, a tail, but what else? I hope nothing with the contrast color, as I've already run out! It ran out one stitch before completing the skirt, just about perfect.

For the shawl, I have more yarn than the pattern calls for. Probably enough to repeat clue 3 or 4. Given the way everything lines up, I would need to repeat clues 3 AND 4 or else clue 5 isn't right. Maybe there will be something in clues 5 or 6 that will let me use up more yarn - I have more than half left!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Now for something else!

Between clues, I've still been working on a few other projects. The mystery-alongs are not easy to work on when doing much else - they all require a bit of concentration, whether it's the charts and beads of the shawl or the constant counting and stuffing of the crochet pig. One of these projects is a fairly simple, mostly garter stitch shawlette that I'm making as a commission piece. I already made one of these before, and this one has beads added to the snowflake motifs.

Having made this one before, I was pretty confident in my memory of the pattern. So confident that I made a small mistake on a couple of the snowflakes.

Nothing major, barely noticeable, but still, something I'd ordinarily drop down and fix. Due to the construction of the shawl, that would not be a good option for these errors. However, in contemplating the errors and considering whether to fix them or not, I found a much greater problem, even earlier in the shawl.

That's an entire missing row, which really means two missing rows because of the corresponding wrong side row that's gone. Apparently, my experience with this pattern just means that I had enough foolish pride to not even get through the second repeat of the first section. Siiiiiiiiiigh. Riiiiiiiiiiiip.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mystery-alongs, halfway there!

Here we have the third clue for each, still keeping up and on time!

More piggy parts and an even lacier shawl that's starting to look very blob-like on the needles, though I can still stretch it out to see what it's supposed to be.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mystery-along update!

They are both progressing nicely, clue #2 of six completed for both!

As the shawl is much larger, the final clue comes out two days after the final assembly clue for the piggy. This is good, because assembly is always the worst part of making stuffed creatures and will probably actually take longer than the final clue of the shawl, even if it is one of the semi-famous, takes FOREVER picot bindoffs on the shawl.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And the current mystery-alongs

I have one MKAL (Mystery Knit A Long) and one MCAL (Mystery Crochet A Long) currently in progress. I'm even keeping up with both! For now...

The crochet-along is a pig. We know this from the start. I'm making a purple pig, apparently wearing a blue shirt. The first clue was the arms - they look like eggplants.

This is the Boo Knits spring MKAL beaded shawl after the first clue. I loved last year's and wear it all the time (and should actually get good pictures of it sometime...) so I decided to jump in again this year. The yarn I'm using was earmarked for a different project, but I really wasn't sold on that and it seems practically perfect for this one. Since I had brought one of the two skeins of this yarn with me to Indiana get beads for the beaded bindoff of the original pattern choice, it didn't take much convincing to get me to buy a much larger number of beads for this pattern instead and start the MKAL immediately. Luckily I had the correct needles with me too! I only heard about it a day or two before it started and so far am quite happy with my choice!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Back to the subject of mystery-alongs

I do finish them sometimes! Not always in the expected timeframe, but hey, it's done!

This was supposed to be a 60" diameter-ish round pi shawl. I wasn't sure I'd wear that and didn't really have the stash available for it either. I did think that it would probably make a great tablecloth for the sad, needs-to-be-refinished teak dining table in the kitchen, and with Jo-Ann's 50% off coupons, enough crochet thread could be had for under $10. I was sold.

I probably should have gone with the burgundy instead of the blue, as the KitchenAid, oven mitts, and towels are all a darker red. It probably would have matched better given that the table currently lives in the kitchen of our townhouse. The burgundy didn't pop though, and I wanted something that was eye-catching, something that would shine against the medium-dark wood, and something I'd enjoy making.

It is a touch smaller than I was going for, more of a full-table doily than the tablecloth I'd envisioned, but really, no regrets! It's even cat approved!

Pattern: Mixtape MKAL (Ravelry mine) and Knit Trim: Zig Zag (Ravelry) for the edging
Yarn: Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet (Size 10) in
Needles: US4/3.5 mm
Timeframe: January 15 - April 30, 2017
Mods: Thinner yarn and needles than called for.
Problems: None!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Blue Bookmarks

Once I finished the blue blob, I had about 5.5 grams of thread left. Time for a bookmark! I typically use thinner thread and a smaller hook, so while this amount would give me more than one of my normal ones, I decided to make one a bit bigger than usual this time.

After it got to be much bigger than usual and there was still thread left, I decided I would actually make two, each a little shorter than the pattern calls for, but both a decent size because they are out of larger thread. I didn't stiffen them because they're stiff enough with the size 10 thread, I didn't have my stiffener, and I left one as a thank-you for the person I stayed with on my business trip.

Pattern: Fan Bookmark (Ravelry mine)
Yarn: Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet (Size 10)
Hook: US7 steel hook/~1.65mm
Timeframe: April 30 - May 1, 2017
Mods: 6 fans instead of 8.
Problems: Only having more thread than my original plan accounted for!

Monday, May 1, 2017

April Showers...or something like that...

As previously mentioned, I signed up for more WWFY (Will Work For Yarn). A large amount of yarn entered my stash. A reasonable amount of yarn left my stash as well. This was good as I barely managed to not hit a new highest yardage of yarn in the stash. At least, at the end of the month, when such things are officially reported, it is not a record high. Very close!

I enjoy having the project count available but I'm not sure the sub-stash mileage makes sense anymore. I suppose I'll keep reporting on it for now, until I go through the stash and my Ravelry queue to figure out how many total projects I have yarn for to get an accurate(ish) total project count. The sub-stash is at a new high, in large part because a 400-yard skein of sock yarn and the 800 yards for the Clapotis were considered new yarn in addition to the two plus miles of actual new yarn.

As for projects, I'm still chipping away at things, managing to finish a few things, not start many more, though the queue jumped up a bit, in part because of the WWFY yarn, in part because I had leftover yarn from a project that I was able to make two new items out of. I started with 18 projects ongoing and finished with 17, completing five things this month (all also started in 2017). I was hoping for one or two more finishes, but I'm not going to complain!