Friday, June 10, 2016

Projects in Progress or What Madness am I Up to This Week?

It's been a while since I've done a general round-up of what I'm working on.

With Stash Dash upon us, the short answer is "everything" -- but barring that not particularly helpful or fulsome response, I thought I'd take you through a bit of a pictorial tour.

First -- remember those socks I cast on June 1?  I knit the better part of the foot of one Whiz Bang sock (pattern by Sarah Shoo) before I decided I didn't like it.   So I'm back to having two toes.


The yellowy ones to the left are going be Marigold by Pamela Wynne, because of reasons.   The yarn is Highland Handmades Sugar Maple Sock in the "Fru's Hairy Balls" colorway.   It was created as a fundraiser in 2014 for Sillyfru -- a podcaster and knitter who has been diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia.   The proceeds went to help pay for her medical costs, and I was happy to be a part of that.

The multi-colored yarn on the right is Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in the "Spectrum" colorway. Those are the ones that tried (and failed) to be Whiz Bang socks.  I think I'm going to try a toe-up version of Hermione's Everyday Socks instead.  I'd hate to waste a perfectly good toe.

In other knitting news, I have a cowl on the go out of some yarn I picked up last winter from a dyer who was going out of business.  This is Rambling Rose Yarns Divine: Merino Sock in the "Midnight Blue" colorway.


This is the Trifle Cowl by the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. This term the Headmistress' Challenge is to participate in a Cowl Mystery Knit or Crochet-along. I'm doing the knit version, and so far I really like it!   (I did cheat and look at other people's clues before committing ... mystery knitalongs being somewhat of a gamble.)  I like it though!

Next up is my Lionberry Shawl.  The pattern is by Narniel of Endor (er, that's what it says in Ravelry anyway.  I suspect her mother didn't give her that name, but I dig her choice of fandoms, so.)


It's a crescent shaped shawl, with distinct sections of texture.  I am calling the project "For Aslan," and am knitting it with Him in mind.  The yarn is Lost City Knits Pathways sock yarn in "Rumpelstiltskin."  I picked it up specifically with this shawl in mind at Stitches South this April.  So far I'm loving working with the yarn.

I'm also working on Bifrost by Cate Carter-Evans.   The yarn is her Infinite Twist Helix base, and the colors just make me salivate.


The scarf will run through a full rainbow before it's done.  It's happiness in squashy garter stitch.  I might decide to mattress stitch the whole business closed when I'm done and turn it into an infinity scarf.  I'll decide when I get there.

In crochet news, I'm still plugging away at my Cosy Stripes blanket by Lucy of Attic24.  It's amazing how quickly three stripes a week will grow a blanket.  Especially when compared to "no stripes per week" which is how much I was working on it before.


That's folded in thirds, and there's another three feet or so hanging on the other side of the chair.  I really want to get this done though -- both because I am nearly as tired of it as I love it (which is a lot) but also because this bad boy is going to net me around 4000 meters for Stash Dash.  Big blanket is big.

My Circles to Squares Afghan is so close I can taste it.  All the squares are done and I've started crocheting it together.


It looks a little wobbly now, but an outer border should help tidy it up.   Here's a close up of what the back looks like:


I rather like the ridges it makes.

So that's the majority of what I've been working on lately.  It's rather a lot, but in this case "lately" really means, "I've touched it in the past two weeks."

That doesn't actually make it any saner, does it?

Saturday, June 04, 2016

FO: Rose City Dancers and a Very Berry Anklet

To make up for being a day late getting this written, I offer you a "two-for-the-price-of-one" FO post.

I sat down on May 1 to cast on some socks.  At the time I had no socks on the needles at all, having just wrapped up the Monkeys that I started back when.   Nature abhors a vacuum, and my sock needles were getting cold and lonely.


I ended up waiting on the yellow yarn, but I got the the Knit Picks Dancing in the middle, and the Knit Picks Felici and leftover Knit Picks Stroll over on the right started.

Rose City Dancers


Dancing is a cotton/wool/nylon blend that I am hoping will make great summer socks.  This is kind of a good news/bad news situation -- Dancing has been discontinued for 9 years.   On the other hand I have a ::koff:: well curated stash.  If these work out, there could be more, is what I'm sayin'.

Project Notes

Pattern: Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner
Yarn:  Knit Picks Dancing in the "Tap" colorway.  Probably.
Total Yardage: 243 yds.
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5mm), Magic Loop method
Started:  May 1, 2016
Completed:  May 29, 2016
Ravelry Project Page: here

Very Berry Anklets

And speaking of discontinued yarns, I had one skein of this Knit Picks Felici in my stash.   (Actually, let me be perfectly clear... I have an embarrassment of Felici in my stash, it's just this particular colorway that I only had one ball of...)


When I went looking for yarn for contrasting heels, ankles, and toes, the Stroll from the Monkey socks I'd just finished seemed about perfect.

These socks aren't just pink, they're PANK.

Project Notes

Pattern: I knit these toe-up, without a specific pattern.  I stole the toe off of Carrie Ramirez' "Double Gusset on Bottom Toe-up Sock Pattern" and the OMG heel from Megan Williams.
Yarn:  Knit Picks Felici, "Cochineal" and Knit Picks Stroll, "Rouge"
Total Yardage: 221 yards
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm), 2 16" circulars
Started:  May 1, 2016
Completed:  May 31, 2016

Ravelry Project Page: here

So, I learned some things this past May.  I learned that I can knit two pairs of ankle socks in one month (providing that month has a full complement of 31 days) and I learned that I may have a bit of a sock... thing.

Okay that last wasn't much of a surprise.  I pretty much already suspected.  Miss "I Am Going to Try to Knit 16 Socks in One Year" is now sitting pretty on 14 out of 16 socks done.   Now, granted, four of those socks have a shorter cuff than average, but even still.

The real hint that I might be a bit sock obsessed came when I immediately cast on for two new pairs on June 1.  Because of course I did.

Sockwatch16:  14/16
StashDash16:    880 m

Friday, May 27, 2016

Happy First Day of Stash Dash

Stash Dash 2016 is upon us, and my spreadsheet and I are prepared.

Stash Dash is a summer finish-along hosted by Laura and Leslie of The Knit Girllls videocast.  (If you don't watch them, you're missing out.  They're a treat.)  Anyway, the idea is to finish as much as you can while Laura is on summer vacation. This year that's May 27 - August 21 (Happy First Day of Stash Dash!).   "Winning" means finishing up 3K, 5K, 7K, or if you're really bold, 10K, or 15K meters of yarn during the allotted timeframe.

Long time friends of the show will remember that I competed last year at the 3K level.  This year my aspirations are more ambitious, as I'm aiming for the 5K - 7K range.  

WIPs totally count, as well as new cast-ons, so those that have game have been stashing (haha) their nearly finished items in a corner to trot out this summer.

Take this beauty for instance:


My Hitchhiker has  been all done save a bit of tinking and a bind off for a couple of weeks now.   That's 454 meters right there.  Boom.

The rest of my strategy relies heavily on my Cosy Stripes and Circles to Squares afghans.  They'll come in at over 5K meters between the two of them.  The Cosy Stripes afghan is 70% done.  I've done the maths, and so long as I do at least three stripes a week I'm in good shape for this one.

This thing is gonna be humongous.

And the Circles to Squares afghan just needs seamed together and a border added.


Finishing these two bad boys (along with Knitting in Red) is one of my goals for 2016, so Stash Dash is the perfect motivation to get them done.

I also have some ankle socks to finish, an Order Mission to cast on (more on that later) and other bits and bobs to work on over the summer.

The Spreadsheet has all my current and planned projects listed.  If I finish EVERYTHING I'm looking at nearly 10K.  I don't expect to finish everything.  At least not by August.  But we'll see!



Friday, May 20, 2016

On Being a Maker, Part 1: Heritage

Earlier this year, Kate from the A Playful Day podcast asked the question, "What does making mean to YOU? " (Here's a link to the specific episode where she posed the question.  It's worth a listen.)

I've been rock-tumbling my answer ever since, and of course it's complicated.  I realized that being a maker means a lot of things to me.  I make because I grew up in a household of makers. I make because I value beauty, and I make because I feel called to do so.

So, here's the first in what will be a three part series on my making journey.

Making is Heritage.

I grew up in a family of makers.  Both of my parents were artists and creators - my mother sewed and painted, my father was a photographer, a farmer, and a horticulturist.   I grew up in a house with a well stocked pantry, full of delights such as my grandmother's famous bread and butter pickles.  We made things.  We made for practicality, for frugality, for joy, for art, and for beauty.  The best things were made for all of these reasons.

My sisters and I all learned the love of crafting and making at an early age.  Lucy was a seamstress, and loved to try her hands at any other craft that caught her fancy.  Abby sews and takes gorgeous photographs.  When she was in high school she took a pottery class and made incredible things.

We were pretty broke (we were very broke.  We owned a family farm in the seventies.  It was dire.) so we didn't have a lot of the toys and things that the "other kids" had.  When I was about six or seven, Abby and Lucy made this incredibly elaborate Barbie doll house out of cardboard boxes, wallpaper samples, and scrap lumber.  They sewed my dolls intricate and adorable outfits (this was during the period that Abby taught herself how to sew with Mom's Bernina.  That adventure was not without incident).   I ended up with the best, most incredible set up for my dolls,  Being the baby was not without its advantages.

We make, it's what we do.

My parents and grandparents are no longer living -- but when I look around my home, evidence of their making is everywhere.


My mother toll painted the bucket on the right sometime in the 1970s.  My father took both of the photographs in the frame to the left.  Neither are particularly special in and of themselves... except they absolutely are.  That's my mom and my grandma caught in everyday, domestic tasks.  Making a household.  Years and miles apart from each other, but in the exact same pose.


This is the rocking chair I sit in while I'm knitting and back-seat driving Carl's video games.  It was built by my paternal great-grandfather.


I am lucky enough to own several pieces of Abby's pottery.  She made these in the 11th grade, y'all. When she was sixteen.

Are you starting to see what I mean?  I didn't even have to go hunting for any of these things -- they are just a part of my daily life.  (Well, I did have to grab the pitcher and plate out of my china cabinet... but that hardly counts.)

I can look around my living room and count seven or eight things that were made by my family, and several more that were made by me.

Making is heritage - and it's a heritage that I am proud to have passed on to my children.   Rhiannon and Morgan are both knitters, and both artists.  Morgan is also a musician (which is a kind of making that I know naught of, but she gets that from her father.)   Rowan has started baking.  His pretzels are a thing of beauty and wonderment.


Morgan is not amused by my picture taking shenanigans.  She's just trying to cast on here, okay?

So, in summary:  I make because I was taught that's what you do.  I make to honor my family, and to teach my children about making.

At least, that's part of my answer.

Friday, May 13, 2016

FO: Pink Monkeys

So, it turns out my "April Socks" were actually my March socks of 2015.   I do what I want, Thor.  My party, my rules, etc. etc.

I cast these on last year during my annual early March frenzy of startosis.  (The natural and inevitable consequence of February is for Finishing... March is for Casting on a Whole Whack of Stuff.  Happens every year.)


I worked on them off and on last Spring, but for some reason they never really took hold.  Not even when I decided to horn in on Notre Dame Jen's #operationclearthesockneedles last summer.

Monkeys, bottom center
This was taken in July of 2015. Mind you, all of the other socks in this picture have long since been finished or frogged.  But those dang cheeky monkeys just sat there.

But since I declared #sockwatch16 for this year, I couldn't let the advantage of a half completed sock go, now could I?


Once I decided to work on them with any kind of focus or intent, they flew off the needles.  Funny how that goes, isn't it?


I knit the toe and heel as written -- which in retrospect I regret.  If I do this pattern again (and I might just, or maybe try a pair of Purlless Monkeys), I'll do my standard heel and toe.

But overall, we are pleased.  (Heck, I'm pleased they're off the needles finally....the fact that they're pretty darned cute is just bonus.)

These socks are PANK!


Project Notes

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A
Yarn:  Knit Picks Stroll, "Rouge" colorway
Total Yardage: 319 yards
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5mm) 5in" Knitter's Pride DPNs
Started:  March 2, 2015
Completed:  April 26, 2016
Ravelry Project Page: here

#sockwatch16: 10/16 socks complete.

Friday, May 06, 2016

No, it is too much. Let me sum up.

April has just flown by.  Do you hear that WHOOSHING noise?  That was April.  Happily, I caught a lot of it on film (er, metaphorical film.  I use my cell phone.  But you know what I mean.)

So settle in and buckle up.  Here's a picture heavy, lightning tour of the month of April here at chez woolly.

Stitches South

Right after we last spoke, we loaded up the car with a swatch of knitters and headed up the road to Stitches South.  Since they moved Stitches to Nashville, it's only a 45 minute drive from my house. Atlanta would have been doable (though I never actually did it...) but Nashville is just right there, you know?

Anyway, we were Stitches bound, stopping mid-way between the Opryland Hotel and my place for breakfast and to collect our Jess.

A Swatch of Knitters

Assembled, fed, and caffeinated, we continued our journey.   While there we spent some money (some of us spent a lot of money...) and met up with some dear friends from out of town.

Some of these knitters live in the internet.

I bought some yarns...

Don't give me that look, my goals specifically mentioned Fiber Events as an exception.

...and the best wine glass.

That says "three sheeps to the wind"

Business Trip to Melbourne, FL

The next week saw us starting the process of cleaning for Seder, and the week after that was for a business trip.   I spent the better part of the week in Melbourne, Florida.  I was there to facilitate two leadership workshops on inclusion and empowerment.   

Among other reasons....
I may or may not have also walked on the beach, eaten excellent food, had some wine, and, oh yes, I did some knitting.

Something about knitting a Hitchhiker as travel knitting appeals to my sense of the absurd.

Passover 2016

And after that?  It was time for Seder.
 
Seder Prep Selfies

One of the best things about Seder is the day we spend preparing the meal.  This year the kids were more involved than ever and that just makes my heart sing.  Even little Phoebe got in on the act, with a butter knife and some apples.

That's Morgan, Iris, Phoebe, and Jess making the Charoset

Dinner was lovely, and the remodeled living room served to make things more comfortable rather than less (I'd had some concerns, but all was right in the end).  We fit 30 at table comfortably and with room to breathe.  Barely.  

There's another table out of frame to the right.

Since Seder I've been quietly working on finishing up some old projects, and getting some new things cast on.   I'll tell you more about that next week, as surely this has gone on long enough.

But that's April, more or less in a nutshell.

Oh!  And one more thing...


The iris started to bloom.

Friday, April 01, 2016

First Quarter 2016 Intentions and Goals Update

Today is April 1, the first day of the second quarter of 2016.  Back in early January I posted a list of Crafting Intentions for 2016.  Now that we're an entire quarter of the way through the year (you are welcome, those of you that hadn't realized that yet) I thought I'd pause a moment and reflect on where I am now, and where I thought I wanted to go.

So.  On January 3rd I said:

In 2016, I would like to complete greater than 10,000 yards of knitting and crochet.  For context, in 2014 I hit 10,751.  2015's total hit a nice 10,415.... So essentially my goal is to carry on grooving.

I've completed 2,721 yards during Q1, so I am exactly on target to hit 10K.  In fact, I may well exceed this goal if my plans to complete the two afghans I have in progress pan out.  More on that in a bit.  If you have a Ravelry account, my completed 2016 projects can be found here.
2016 Q1 Projects
In 2016, I intend to complete 16 pairs of socks.... Socks that were on the needles in 2015 count, so long as they are finished in 2016. 

First off, FLAG ON THE PLAY.  That should have said "16 socks" not "16 pairs of socks."  Hahaha, whoops.   That said, I'm pretty much a sock star these days, and am sitting pretty on 8 of 16 socks complete for the year.  At that rate, 16 pairs isn't out of reach ... but my goal is still 16 socks.   Let's not get crazy.

So what? I'm still a sock star, I got my sock moves. 
I've picked my Monkeys back up (remember my Monkeys?  Yeah, I almost didn't either.) I cast them on last year on March 1 as part of my annual "HAHAHA FEBRUARY IS OVER" Festival. (You'll note I've already finished the pair of socks that I cast on March 1, 2016.  These are from 2015).  And then not a lot happened after that.  I'm happy to report though that I'm now well on my way to having sock number 1 finished.

Product Placement:  Erin Lane Bag!
All in all, I am in good shape to hit my 16 sock goal.

In 2016, I will limit my yarn purchases to festivals, shows, and the two yarn clubs I'm currently enrolled in. I've done a great deal of yarn acquisition in the past year and a half.  And I ain't even sorry.  But I'd like to slow down and enjoy some of the really excellent yarns I currently own. 

See, now, about that...

Here's the thing, this kind of arbitrary restriction is really grinding my gears.  I have the urge to go buy stuff I don't really want just because I said I wasn't going to.  This is dumb.  (Apparently I am better at making goals around what I WILL do rather than what I WON'T do.  I should probably make a note of that somewhere).

Anyway, with two notable exceptions, I have stuck with this plan so far.  The two exceptions being the Suburban Prairie kit that the Prairie Girls Podcast and the Suburban Stitcher collaborated on, and yarn for two shawls that I picked up at the Haus of Yarn when I took Rhiannon up there for her birthday.

And I'm not even sorry.

Especially about the kit.  Would you be sorry about this?

Yeah, me neither.

So anyway, here's what we're going to do.  We're going to modify this goal a bit.  What I was really getting after was intentional stash acquisition, instead of willy-nilly, shopping for the sake of shopping, random acquisition.

In that spirit, my modified goal is:   I have free reign to go as amok as I please at fiber festivals and shows, as was originally stated.  Jess, Koren, and I are going to go Yarny Tonkin' in Nashville at some point.   I am still in two clubs.  

All of that is the same as the original goal.   Here's the modified bit:

Outside of the above parameters, I will only buy yarn if it is for a specific project that I will be casting on immediately, and I do not have the right yarn in stash to do the job.

So the point here is that I am not going to be randomly acquiring the odd bits and bobs here and there that I'll stuff into my stash and ignore for two years.  THAT is the behavior that I'd like to change.

I want to buy yarn that I love, and then knit the yarn into projects that I love, that I will then use and wear (and continue to love).  That's the end goal.

And last, but not least (I know, this post is ridiculously long.  If you're still reading, I love you).

In 2016, I will finish my three oldest, biggest, or oldest AND biggest works in progress: Circles to Squares Afghan, Cosy Afghan, and Knitting in Red.

I'm making progress on this -- I've only got one square left on the Circles to Squares afghan and then it's time to seam.  I haven't really done much with the other two yet this year.  I am planning to do a big push on all three during the summer so I can log TONS of meters for Stash Dash.

Pile o' Squares
So that's my update.  On track and going strong on 3 out of 4 goals, and I'm choosing to modify the 4th goal to better suit my needs and whims.

How are your 2016 Goals and Intentions treating you?  Are you correcting your course mid-year? Holding steady? Have you already forgotten whatever it was anyway?  Do you even do yearly intentions?