Posted in Completed Projects, Crochet, Current Projects, Spinning

NYAN!! and Other Things

Ever have one of those days where you feel like there’s a lot you want to share, but aren’t sure where to start? I’m feeling like that as I try to write this blog post today! I’ve been busy organizing my stash, figuring out what projects to work on, knitting, crocheting, and spinning. How about I start with an FO?

I hadn’t mentioned it here as a WIP at all because I wanted it to be a surprise. I knew I couldn’t upload photos to Flickr or Ravelry as I knew the recipient would see! It was hard to keep it a secret and I kept wanting to share it. Now I finally can!

I started this scarf back in December, hoping to get it done as a Christmas present, but it didn’t end up getting finished. January hit and I started working on other things, then decided to finish it up just in time to be a birthday gift. I made this for Jen, aka piddleloop on Ravelry and part of the Piddleloop Sewing Team. A while back she saw the Amigurumi Pop Tart Cat Scarf pattern and went crazy for it. I knew I had to make this for her since she said she can’t really crochet. This has to be one of most fun things I’ve made!

Nyan!! <3
Jen and the Nyan Cat Scarf
Photo from Jen

Pattern: Amigurumi Pop Tart Cat Scarf by Mevlinn Gusick (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: December 4, 2011
Completed: January 16, 2012
Yarn: I Love This Yarn, Caron Simply Soft, and Vanna’s Choice Solids (see Ravelry page for details on colors)
Hook: 4.5 mm and 5.0 mm (H)
Notes: Added a few extra stitches to make the scarf a bit longer. Added a mouth, nose, and cheeks. Followed the rest of the pattern as written.

Nyan Cat Scarf
Nyan Cat Scarf

Before I mailed it off to Jen, Matt was nice enough to let me take some photos of him wearing it. I think this one was my favorite of the bunch, though this one was a close second!

Tasty pop tart? (Nyan)
Tasty Nyan Cat!

This year I wanted to get back to spinning and hoped to get in at least an hour a week with my spinning wheel. Recently, my friend Karen learned to spin, which really motivated me to finish what I had on the wheel and do some spinning for the current SSK KAL. The top one is from Stitches ‘n Rows. It’s Falkland in the colorway Silver Age Joker. It was great to spin and I LOVE the colors. It ended up being heavy fingering weight, though I haven’t figured out the yardage on it yet. I’m planning to knit a pair of fingerless gloves with it.

Handspun!
Handspun!

The bottom one is from Gale’s Art. I bought this a few years ago when I went to MDSW. It’s merino in the Crayon Box colorway. I tried to get a worsted weight with it, but ended up bulky. I’m currently knitting up a Tony the Toy-Box Monster for the SSK KAL #3, which features Rebecca Danger patterns. Since I don’t have enough for the entire monster because the yarn ended up bulkier then I planned, I’ll be using some stash yarn in a chocolate brown color for the arms and legs.

Last night I realized that there was quite a bit of yarn, mostly acrylics, that I didn’t have in my Ravelry stash. I thought I had at least most, if not all, of it in my stash at the beginning of the year. I realized I needed to go through and double check everything yesterday when I noticed a non-acrylic yarn missing from my Ravelry stash that I knew was there. This added quite a bit of yardage to my total – roughly 8,000 yards! Last night I took the time to photograph it all and today I made stash entries for everything. I’ll have to adjust it just a bit later on because not all of them are full skeins. It sure does feel good to have EVERYTHING on there now, though, and have a solid total on everything.

In an effort to use up some of my stash, especially the acrylics I purchased for various home things (blanket, pillows, etc), I started a Moderne Log Cabin blanket using the colors below.

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket
Moderne Log Cabin

I’ve been wanting a knitted blanket for myself for a long time, but couldn’t bring myself to commit to it. I attempted to make a rippled afghan using the blue and pink from the photo above, but just got tired of it. Crocheting doesn’t allow me to watch TV while doing it because I have to look at my work constantly, so I frogged it. Since I can watch TV or read while knitting, I thought this would make a good TV/movie project since it’s all garter stitch. I’m about a 1/3 through the first big square right now and will mostly work on it while TV or movie watching, so it’s more of a long term project. I will admit it’s a bit addicting to knit garter stitch and I find myself wanting to work on it quit a bit. I think the bright colors I’m using are giving me motivation to finish it because I really want the finished blanket!

Oh! I gave Matt’s brother his hat and I think he liked it. 🙂

What are you working on this week? I feel like I still want to start ALL THE THINGS lately, but refraining until I get other things finished first so that I don’t get overwhelmed with WIPs. Tough when I see so many beautiful projects from everyone! I did finish the Wussypillows beret, but haven’t blocked it, so no photos of that yet. Of course there are other WIPs I’m working on, though I don’t have photos of them right now, so I’ll share them next time.

Happy crafting! 🙂

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Posted in Crochet, Current Projects

Long Term WIPs

I feel like I have a lot more WIPs then I usually do. I currently have 7 things on the needles and will be starting another project Monday (Westknits Mystery KAL!). SEVEN WIPs! I usually like to keep it to 4 or less, but… well… I’ve been a joiner of things lately and it’s keeping my WIP count higher then usual.

Three of my WIPs are more like long term projects. Things that I work on occasionally, but don’t really get the majority of my knitting/crocheting time.

The first is Matt’s Scarf, which I started in 2009. I should take a better picture of it, but as a 1×1 ribbed scarf with two colors, it’s not really that interesting to see the progress as it gets longer! It has seen quite a bit of progress, though, and it’s a great project to work on while TV or movie watching when I don’t want to pay much attention to my project.

The second of my long term projects is the High Seas Shawl. I love how this is coming along, but with patterning on both right and wrong side rows, it’s a little slow going and it doesn’t make the best social or TV knitting. Right now it’s been set aside for other projects.

High Seas Shawl
High Seas Shawl

The third of my long term projects is the Spring Ripples Scarf. About two weeks ago now, I had to rip out all the progress I’d made because the gauge had changed from when I started to where I was. It was really obvious that even blocking wouldn’t save it. Ripped it all out, started over, and now I’ve worked back to where I was plus a little more. I like it better with the looser gauge I’m getting now then when I first started it.

Spring Ripples Scarf
Spring Ripples Scarf

I think of short term projects as things that keep my attention that I want to work on it constantly. Long term projects are things that mindless (plain sock, a scarf) or something complicated that takes a lot of brain power. I enjoy knitting these types of long term projects, but usually they aren’t holding my attention so much that I only want to work on it the way the short term projects do. I usually keep at least one long term project on the needles and it’s often something I consider mindless that doesn’t require me to look at it much. Those kind of projects also make for great social knitting or crocheting and since I often find myself knitting in public with non-knitters, these are great to have.

Do you have long term and short term projects that you work on? What sort of things are short and long term projects for you?

I’ll have the rest of my WIPs to show next time! 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Crochet

Almost August and a July FO

My how July has flown by! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I last blogged. I had the best of intentions (as always), but I’ve been a bit lazy about photographing my WIPs and FOs and without pictures, I end up not blogging. The heat we’ve been having hasn’t helped much, either. The last thing I want to do when I get home is put on a handspun wool cowl and take pictures in the house on the 2nd floor which is all too often about the same temperature as outside. Heck, that makes me not want to even TAKE pictures most of the time. Sadly, that 2nd floor room with lots of light and white space is the best room to take photographs of yarn, WIPs and FOs. The 1st floor, with it’s lack of ceiling and natural lighting, makes good pictures difficult, so I end up not doing it. Definitely doesn’t help that Matt has been working a different schedule then usual (four 10 hour days vs five 8 hour days). Since he’s been working later, 2-3 times a week I’m going directly to the gym after work and getting home around the same time as he does. Time just seems scarce lately!

Anyhow… I have still been knitting, crocheting, and a little bit of spinning despite my lack of blogging about it.

Let’s see. Tour de Fleece is over and I ended up barely participating. I did get some spinning done in the early days of the tour, but I haven’t photographed what I’ve been spinning to share that with you (totally forgot to!). A few days in, the fiber prep and spinning started bothering my wrists and shoulders, so I set it aside and sadly didn’t really get back to it before I realized the tour was over! To be honest, I was having a hard time getting into it this year for some reason. Probably because of other things I’ve been working on that have been holding my interest more. Ah well. There’s always next year! 😉

Since I last updated, I finished my Granny Square cowl. I did end up getting 24 squares from the yarn and ran out of yarn while crocheting the squares together. Thankfully I had some other handspun in a similar color to use to finish crocheting everything together. I like how it turned out! It’s going to be squishy and warm to wear this winter.

Granny Square Cowl
Granny Square Cowl

Pattern: Granny Square Cowl (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 27, 2011
Completed: July 9, 2011
Yarn: Handspun, Zarzuela’s Fibers Hand Dyed Corriedale in the “Tour de Fleece” colorway
Hook: H/5.0 mm
Notes: This was inspired by Mary-Heather’s Granny Square Cowl. No real pattern other then granny squares. I crocheted 24 squares total, then randomly placed them together. Pretty easy to do and man are those squares addictive!

Granny Square Cowl
Granny Square Cowl (Worn)

Lots of other WIPs on the needles, though I think that will be a whole post or two for another day. I think I’ll be able to make one of those WIPs into an FO before July is out. Here’s hoping!

For those of you that are Westknits fans, you probably already know about the Mystery Shawl KAL he’s doing starting August 1st (Ravelry link), right? I heard about it right after the pattern went up on Ravelry and knew right away that, despite all the other things I’m working on including the one that is more or less deadline knitting, I wanted to join. I had a tough time picking out three colors for the shawl, but I knew I wanted it to be something I had in stash that I could use up. After a lot of pondering, I decided on using this color combo for it.

Westknits Mystery KAL Yarn
Westknits Mystery KAL Yarn

This is Yarntini Merino/Nylon Sock in Concord (top), Capirinha (bottom left), and Summer Sunset (bottom right). Not sure what color will be A, B, or C in the pattern yet. I’ll probably decided this weekend when I wind up my yarn or you can suggest which one should be my “main” color (C) in the comments! 🙂 If you’re doing this Mystery KAL, what colors and yarn are you using? Decided on which will be A, B, and C?

All of you suffering through this heatwave, stay cool and drink lots of water! All those that aren’t and are in cooler climates, man am I jealous – can I come stay with you until winter? 😀

Posted in Crochet, Current Projects

Granny Cowl, Socks, and Tour de Fleece

It seems like I’ve done a pretty good job of clearing off my needles recently, which left me with not a lot to work on. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I do have Matt’s scarf, the High Seas shawl which I haven’t even photographed yet, and that crochet scarf. They weren’t really holding my interest (either scarf) or weren’t good portable knitting (I’m looking at you High Seas shawl with your charting on every row). So… I started some new things!

A while back I saw Mary-Heather’s granny squares cowl. I knew right away that I wanted to make one! I’m terrible about being random in color choices when it comes to knitting or crocheting and I didn’t much care for weaving in a lot of extra ends from having two colors, so I decided on using my handspun from last year’s Tour de Fleece that had enough color differences to make them a little more random. The Corriedale fiber was from Zarzuela’s Fibers in a special colorway for TdF last year. I have 16 squares so far (aiming for 24) and I like how they’re turning out!

Handspun Granny Cowl
Handspun Granny Squares

With the Gush socks off the needles, I figured I should pick out another sock pattern to knit considering it IS the Summer of Socks. After all the previous failed attempts, I decided I was going to get this Summer Spirals pattern to work for me. 54 stitches were still not enough and 64 stitches were still too much, so I figured out a way to add just the right amount of stitches. I cast on 60 stitches, adding in one purl stitch in each purl section. Now I’m basically following the 54 stitch sock with the addition of one purl stitch in each section. I think it’s working out pretty good so far. Just a few more rounds until I start the heel.

Summer Spirals
Summer Spirals Socks

Starting one new pair of socks just wasn’t enough for me! I decided to join in on the CSI: Most Wanted KAL and after a week or more of debating which sock to start with, I finally settled on Dawn Gnot using Plucky Knitter Primo in Sassy Sprout. I’ve done the toe and two repeats of the chart so far. The yarn is really nice to work with – soft MCN blend with a tight twist. Definitely need some more when I can manage to snag some!

Dawn Gnot
Dawn Gnot Socks

This past weekend was not only a holiday weekend, but the start of the Tour de France and for the fiber spinners out there, it was also the start of Tour de Fleece! I made the decision to participate fairly close to the start of Tour de Fleece, so my only goal was to “do some spinning.” Now, I have to admit, this may have been some poor planning on my part. For some reason I knew that it started July 2nd and still thought that it must surely start later in July then that. On top of that, this past weekend ended up being a pretty busy one. I have to hang my head in shame and admit that I haven’t done a single bit of spinning yet. 😦 I suppose it’s a good thing I only joined the Lantern Rogue team, where you know you won’t be able to spin every day, since I figured there’d be a few days that I couldn’t do any spinning. I just didn’t think I’d start out with no spinning the first weekend, a holiday one at that with 3 whole days off! I plan on getting my wheel out and doing some spinning tonight. With the gym, having to grocery shop tonight, find time to make dinner, and Matt working a different summer schedule then normal, I don’t know that it’ll be that much time. Some time is better then no time, though!

Anyone else doing the Tour de Fleece this year? If you’ve set goals for yourself, how are the going so far? If not, have you done much spinning yet? So far I’m not doing so hot, but there’s still time to make up for that! Hoping to have some spinning progress to share next time. 🙂

Posted in Crochet, Current Projects, Spinning

I’ve Been Crocheting, Spinning, and Knitting!

As the days go by, I find that I have less pain in my hands/wrists and can knit a little bit longer each time. I feel like I’m almost back to “normal,” though I am still getting a little pain now and then. I’m still a little slower then is normal for me, but I suppose that will come back in time.

Since I’ve been crocheting, knitting, AND spinning in the last week, I’ve got some progress to share!

The scarf is coming along nicely. I’m enjoying working on it and seeing the colors change. It seems a little slow going because I keep adding or skipping stitches, then realize it a row or two later. Ah well, I’m still enjoying it!

Spring Scarf
Spring Ripples

For June and July in the Soild Socks group on Ravelry, there is a mystery pattern from Yarnissima. Initially I wasn’t going to join in since I never finish mystery knit-a-longs, but there was this green Wollmeise in my stash that called out to me, so I wound up the skein into two (mostly equal) cakes of yarn and cast on! The pattern can be found on Ravelry here: GUSH – Solid Socks June 2011Mystery Sock. I’ll probably just refer to these as my GUSH socks or mystery socks, since that title is a bit long. 😉

This past weekend, I finished up the toes of both socks. The second clue came out yesterday and I’ve already started working on it.

Gush
GUSH Sock

Speaking of socks… I have tried to finish up Maelstrom and my stripey socks. I love the gauge I’m getting on Maelstrom, but it’s a little on the tighter side for Socks That Rock Mediumweight (I’m using US 1.5’s) and it really hurts my hands when I try to work on it. I have been knitting on my stripey socks and they’re moving along, slowly. I think the US 0’s are bothering my hands a little, so I’ve been limiting my time knitting on them. I’m hoping they’ll be done soon, though!

There has been spinning! I finished up the Cheviot I had on the wheel from Zarzuela’s Fibers in the DC Sunrise colorway a while ago, but I haven’t taken pictures of it yet since it still needs to be washed. After I finished that, I started on the Falkland I got from Stitches ‘n Rows in the Silver Age Joker colorway. I put it aside for a bit when my wrists got briefly worse, then the fiber for The Dahlia Cowl SAL/KAL that’s going on in Zarzuela’s Fiber Junkies group on Ravelry arrived.

When I was ready to give spinning a go after my wrists were feeling a bit better, the SAL/KAL had started, so I figured I should get going on it. In two days I had it spun, plied, and washed! That may be the fastest I’ve spun something up in a while. I love how squishy and soft it turned out. If I calculated it right, I ended up with 92 yards, which is a bit short of the 120 yards required for the pattern. I do have a small “leftover” skein that didn’t make it on the first bobbin that I didn’t measure, so I might have around 100 yards total.

Here’s a shot of before and after spinning up the fiber.

SAL/KAL Fiber
Dahlia Polworth Fiber

Dahlia SAL/KAL
Dahlia Polworth Fiber – Spun

I’ve been debating about what I want to cast on for next now that I’ve cleared a few sweaters off the needles. I think I’d like to do a shawl of some sort, but I can’t seem to decide on a pattern! There’s too many ones that I like out there. What shawls are on your list to knit or that you’re currently working on? Or is there something else (that isn’t a sweater) that you’ve got on your “must knit” list? I want to cast something on, but nothing in my queue or stash is really calling to me! What a problem to have! Hahaha 🙂

Posted in Crochet, Current Projects, Knit Ramblings, Life

Still Not Knitting

Still not knitting here, but I have been able to do a little spinning and this weekend I managed to start and get a good way into a crocheted scarf. Not quite up to where I can knit (still hurts a bit to knit) and I can only spin or crochet for short periods of time before I take a break (don’t want to overdo it!). At least I feel like I’m finally seeing some progress! For a while I was getting rather frustrated because both wrists were hurting a large part of the time, but this last week seems to have brought some improvements.

The scarf I started this weekend is a pretty simple pattern to memorize. The pattern is Spring Ripple Scarf (Ravelry link), which I’m fairly sure is just a generic stitch pattern that is likely in some book somewhere, but seeing as I don’t have many crochet books and I was looking to start something right away, I paid the $2 for the pattern and went looking in the stash for some yarn to use. I chose the pink/white/green Zauberball I had and thought it was appropriate for the name of the scarf.

Zauberball - Pink/Green/White
Zauberball colorway 2079

I don’t have a picture of it yet, but it’s about 8″ long now. I really need to get some pictures of my Elektra shawl and now of the scarf! I like to do a bunch of knitting related photography all at once and with not knitting, well I just keep putting it off. Soon I will rectify this.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not knitting, I’m often thinking about knitting (you could also substitute crocheting or spinning in there). I haven’t been knitting for over a month now. At first I didn’t think to much about it and tried to focus on other things. Slowly I was thinking about it more and more as the days turned into weeks and I still wasn’t knitting. This year has become one full of sweaters up to this point. Knitting sweaters, thinking about which sweaters to knit, planning and pairing patterns with stash… even thinking about what sweater I’ll knit for Rhinebeck. Up until about 2 weeks ago now, I was on the fence about going to Rhinebeck because of some things going on at work in October, but I reserved a room a few months ago “just in case.” Then I found out that Amy of Stash, Knit, Repeat will be doing her Fit to Flatter class there and I’ve been really wanting to take her class. That sealed it for me – I’ll definitely be there this year! So… last week I started thinking about a sweater for Rhinebeck. After a lot of thinking about what I wanted this year’s sweater to be and pattern searching, I found the pattern and yarn (from stash!) that I wanted to knit. I was all set to start swatching it as soon as I’m able to knit again.

That’s when something dawned on me.

Rhinebeck is 5 months away. That’s PLENTY of time for me to knit a sweater, but these last few days I’ve been frequently mentioning something to people: my clothing is no longer fitting me very well and soon I’ll have nothing to wear. Before any one gets any crazy ideas, NO, I’m not pregnant. I’ve been losing weight. For the last few months, I’ve been following Weight Watchers and working out. I’m finally fitting back into clothing I haven’t been able to wear in 3+ years, but it seems that just as I’m getting into those smaller sizes, I’m shrinking right out of them just as quickly!

Overall, I’m really quite happy about this, since that’s the point of WW and exercising, plus I’ve been feeling a lot better physically with regular exercises and some changes in my diet. With that said, though, the downside is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue to make this the year of sweaters if by the end of the year (or fall when I could wear them) most of them will be too big on me. And really, what’s the point in knitting yourself a bunch of sweaters you can’t wear? I did consider knitting smaller sizes, but I don’t really know what size I’ll be once I get to my goal weight or how long it’ll take to get there. I also considered just knitting to fit me (possibly tightly) now, then frog later and make into a new sweater. Typically I would be fine with this, but I rarely knit a pattern twice and frogging a whole, finished sweater seems like a giant pain to do. I’ve frogged sweaters 2/3 finished and that was difficult enough. Definitely not up for that task.

So, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I am going to stop knitting sweaters for the time being. No Rhinebeck sweater for me this year. After thinking on it a day, it makes sense and I’m a bit less sad about it. On the up side, I think I’ll get a lot from the Fit to Flatter class and get even better fitting sweaters when I’m ready to get back to knitting them!

I think I can safely say that the 12 sweaters in 2011 that I was working on is no longer a goal for this year. I will definitely give this another go next year, though, as it’s still on my “bucket list” of things I’d like to accomplish. I’ve put the two sweaters (Slipped Hours and Shibuya) I’ve been working on in hibernation until I’m ready to knit sweaters again. They will likely be frogged, but I’ll decide that later.

At the moment I keep thinking “Well, what now?” There’s so many patterns out there and in my queue that aren’t sweaters, but it’s difficult to shift my focus so much after planning a lot of sweater projects (or potential projects) for the year. I’ve been looking around at what other knit-a-long type things I could do instead and Summer of Socks 2011 is about to start! I was all set to knit socks last summer, then I got sidetracked and didn’t knit very many socks. I think that was about the time I got bit hard by the sweater bug. I have loads of sock yarn, there are tons of patterns out there, and with sweaters set to the side, I’ve started looking at what socks I’ll knit this summer.

First thing I want to do is get Maelstrom and the PDY Stripey sock finished. Hopefully before Summer of Socks officially starts on June 21st. Not sure what I’ll start after that yet. Thinking I might do a few Cookie A. patterns and maybe some colorwork socks. What’s you’re favorite sock pattern? One you’ve been wanting to knit? Socks you’re planning to knit for Summer of Socks 2011? Go ahead… make my queue grow! hahaha 😉