Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finished: Mezza-Ana-Luna

I dub this creation the Mezza-Ana-Luna. It is a mashing of the Mezzaluna Wrap and the Juliana Wrap, in hopes that I could find a shape that I like better for the first section.

I finished it yesterday afternoon, and my sister took "modelled" photos of me wearing it in the evening. It has not yet seen the blocking boards, but I am so happy to have finished it!

I ended up using 4 skeins of KnitPicks Telemark (a sport weight), hence the variety of colors. I am now rather fond of the color combination, but I believe it will end up in the gift bag for one of my close friends.
It is definitely more scarf than shawl, but it is big enough to serve as a small shawl, if one chooses.
Check out Tami's Amis for more finished objects this week!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Does Frogging Count as Progress?

Today, as I join up with Tami's Amis' WIP Wednesday and Ginny's Yarn-Along, I wonder: I frogged a whole border this weekend- does that mean I made progress on my project?

Story time!
Here you can see how ruffly and wide my border *was*
I'm working the Juliana Wrap for the June CAL at Crochet Shoulder Wrappers, as I mentioned previously. I was all set to finish the wrap for Friday, but that obviously didn't work out. I realized after I was nearly done with the border that I had worked too many stitches into the ch6 spaces at the end of the mesh, making the border REALLY long and quite ruffly. I persevered, convinced that I could finish it....

Until I was getting precariously close to the end of my 4th and last ball of yarn. I frogged back 2 or 3 rows... still not enough. Friday evening, I started working on a second Juliana, trying a different shape for the 1st section, even though I knew I should finish the pink one first. But the rows were still too long.

Saturday night I decided that I was going to run out of yarn. And I really wanted to make the tassels that were included in the Juliana pattern. So I ripped. And ripped. And got 2 balls of yarn out of that border. I took 2 rows of the mesh section out, and started the border section again. As of today, I only have a few rows left, and I haven't started the 4th ball yet.
The border is much smaller here, and the wrap lays flat.
I started working a second Juliana because I was attempting to make it narrower and more crescent shaped.

As you can see above, the first few rows are worked differently, making #2 nearly as long as #1, but quite a bit narrower. The yellow yarn is mostly the first section, with a row or 2 of mesh at the end. I will probably work one or 2 more rows of mesh before starting the border. The yarn, KnitPicks Telemark (I believe it's been discontinued), was a gift from my brother. He bought me 5 skeins, each a different color. I'm hoping that I will be able to finish without adding a 4th color.

That's all I have today! Stay tuned for both of these to be finished within the next week or so!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Week 3

I am determined to be on time this week. Visit Marie to see hers, and check out this thread to see who else is participating!
The challenge/prompt of the week: Now that you’ve sized up the yarn in your stash and the people on your gift list, what types of projects do you plan to make?  Are you making the same type of (or the same exact) project for multiple people, or does everyone get something unique?  Do you have lofty project goals for everyone on your list, or do you make small gifts with love?  Tell us more about your project ideas!

I have a lot of project ideas. *sheepish face* And after writing my post last week, I promptly starting looking at yarns that I wanted to buy... For me, this actually is a stashdown, so I am really trying to minimize buying.

I think I am safe posting my ideas here, as I don't think any of my family reads my blog. For sure, I know I want to make these fingerless gloves, in a variety of colors, for my 3 aunts and 1 cousin (mom's side). I've attempted the pattern once, and promptly gave up, but upon further examination, they won't be too hard. I will probably leave off the ribbing. I think fingerless gloves are fabulous, and I have 3 pairs currently in my personal "outdoor clothing" basket. I actually wear them inside a lot, because I always get cold hands. They also work up rather quickly, especially in a simple stitch.

I also love making scarves. Scarves are fabulous, but even better when they can double as shawls. I try to make narrower stole-like patterns into scarves, so they are fancy enough to be used as a stole/shawl if needed. I will probably make a few different patterns for my 3 close friends in colors that they like.

Basically, my goal is to make a variety of smaller gifts, similar styles-different colors, and for my immediate family, I'll work some bigger gifts. If there is time, which is possible (due to these prompts and encouragement from Marie and others) I may work a second small project for some of the people on the 'second ring'.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge Week 2

The challenge this week:
Let’s take a stroll through our yarn stash, to see if there are any suitable yarns in there for gift-giving.  Don’t worry about matching these up to projects or people yet.  Are there yarns you like enough to work with but are willing to part with as gift projects?  If you don’t have a large (or suitable) stash, where do you think you will be doing your yarn shopping?  Tell us all about the glorious yarns!

So far I am failing in a rather epic way. This is the second week in a row that I have forgotten to post about Marie's stash-down challenge. However, she is super flexible, so I'm going to double post my Wednesdays again this week.

Over the last few years, I've accumulated a decent amount of stash. I mainly work with easy-care acrylics, and it's only since I found Ravelry that I've gained an appreciation for nicer fibers (especially when it comes to their dyeing properties). My stash has just about everything in it, mainly in small project quantities.

Taking only a quick glance through my stash, without any official counts, I have as follows:

Cotton: Lily Sugar'n'cream- at least 6 skeins, and 1 cone, plus 2-4 skeins of a weird variegated cotton from Chile (can't recall the exact brand)

Knit-Picks: (not counting the 4 skeins for a sweater) 2 worsted wool skeins, undyed; 6-8 bulky wool undyed; 1 skein of sky blue Capretta, 1 skein Macaw Comfy, 5 skeins of Telemark (Sport Weight wool, a discontinued brand, I think)
Vanna's Choice (acrylic)- 4 skeins, variety of colors
Lion Brand Homespun, 10+ skeins
Red Heart acrylic, unknown number

and a variety of skeins of thrifted sweaters, in varying states of dyed/undyed, and raveled/unraveled.

If I need more yarn in any quantities, I'm hoping to order some online. I love KnitPicks, and I have yet to order from Deramores (but really want to!) so I definitely see some stash enhancement in order to complete some gifts. (I'm looking particularly at James C. Brett Marble Chunky... love the colors!) If I order from KnitPicks, there will probably be some fun for-me yarns tossed in...
Anyway, I've totally been stashing-down as much as possible, and even though I've purchased the odd skein here and there, I can see some progress!

How's everyone doing in their Stash-down?

Hosting a CAL

Joining up with WIPW @ Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn-Along @ Small Things.

This week, my biggest WIP is my Juliana Wrap. I'm hosting the June CAL (Crochet-A-Long) at the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group on Ravelry. (I mentioned this last week)

In order to properly host, considering that June will involve lots of preparation for A's wedding at the end of the month, I figured I would crochet the wrap early and take copious notes. Most of my notes are on my project page, so Ravelers can benefit from them too. So far, I've only shrunken the first section. I'm nearly through with the mesh section, which I LOVE! 

I do wish, however, that I was using a lighter weight yarn. The yarn I'm using is from a thrifted sweater that I dyed, and might nearly be classified as worsted. But I will persevere and finish.

I'm really excited to be hosting the CAL, and I hope you'll stop by the group to check out everyone's progress once we get started in June.

Thanks for visiting today!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Finally Finished!

I'm sharing my succss with Tami's Amis Finished Object Friday!
[This is getting shared on Saturday because my home internet has been down since Thursday night, and I wasnt able to get to another source until today]
And I have another story to tell.

This week I finally finished an Eva's Shawl. I say finally because I started an Eva back in Sept/Oct? to wear to a wedding, but it ended up in the frog pile.

The CSW group was hosting an Eva CAL this month, and I jumped right on it, as I really liked the look of the shawl and wanted to give it a second chance.

I started with a lace-weight yarn that I rescued from a pale pink cardigan- silk/angora/wool nylon. It was definitely a messy yarn to work with, due to the angora, but it felt so light and airy, and I *knew* that it would be a great summer shawl, so I persevered. The first few rows were completed with hook size F, but I moved up to H after the rows were established.

The rhythm of the shawl pattern clicked with me this time, and I did not want to put my hook down. I knew I had other projects to finish, but I really wanted this one done. Especially since it was this month's CAL, and I wanted to feel accomplished at the end of the month.

I skipped the "fancy" edging, as I liked the clean lines of the pattern. Tuesday night saw the shawl soaking in my bath tub, in preparation for dyeing and blocking. Did I mention that the yarn was an awful pale pink? Well, it was. It totally wasn't my color at all. And it looked really blah. So I decided to save it. Hence the overnight soak.

Shawl is blue, dyebath is red?
 I had some dyeing issues on Wednesday morning. The shawl was pink, the dye was blue (Mixed Berry KA, if you are wondering). After cooking for a bit, I went to check on the shawl. It was a lovely pale blue, but the dyebath was oddly red. I figured that some of the pink had just leeched out or something.

This is an after shot of the dyebath...
 I added a second round of dye, and the dyebath did it again. But the shawl was the color I wanted it, so out into the sunny lawn to dry. I did not severely block this out, as the weight of the yarn helps keep the shape of the shawl.

When my sister got home, I asked if she would get some shots of the shawl in action.

I totally love how this turned out, and I hope I have as much success on my future shawl projects!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Week 1

Who is craft-worthy?

This fabulous question, posed by Marie at Underground Crafter, is to start off our holiday stashdown, in which we encourage one another as we prepare for the holidays and 'stash-down'.

I honestly have to say that I don't know who will be on my gifting list this year, and it's even harder to decide who is worthy of a handmade gift. But, I can make a long list, and always come back and edit it when things get closer.

  • Mom & Dad
  • 3 siblings- T, D, N (1 sister, 2 brothers)
  • E- [as Marie put it] my special guy
  • K, A, B, 3 of my closest friends
  • R, M, 2 of my out-of-town friends
  • 3 aunts, 1 cousin (on my mom's side, all women)
  • E's family (5 children, 9 adults)
  • 16 co-workers (something small)
Oops, that looks super intimidating. But honestly, the co-workers will all likely get something small like an ornament, and that's also the case with E's family. The immediately family is definitely craft-worthy, the only problem is coming up with gifts for all of them. BUT, since I am thinking about it early, I will likely get ideas, etc, from the lovely crafting community, as well as hints from the recipients themselves.

Progress, I think...

As I join up with Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn-Along, I'm making a mental list of all I have to do this week. My classes started yesterday, so my days are busy once again. My best friend's bridal shower is this weekend! and I'm excited to celebrate with her.

Once again, I have a list of afghan squares for the BAMCAL and Melinda Miller CAL to work on. This month's squares have been languishing in my project bag (my rainbow tarn bucket has become the temporary home for my BAM squares) because I have been working on so many other projects. I did finish the Windowpane Square early on, but did not want to post it separate from its May counterpart. Above is pictured the Stained Glass Square. It is such a well written pattern, and the color combinations are endless! I really want to make a whole blanket of this square.

Also pictured above is my library's copy of The Fellowship of the Ring on audiobook.  I wanted something fun to 'read', and it needed to be something I could crochet to. I thought that LOTR fit the bill. I just finished Book 1 last night, and I'm excited to listen to the rest :)

As I look at my list of things to do this week, the squares dominate, so hopefully I'll have a set of completed ones to share with you soon!

I've finished my Eva, but it needs dyeing and blocking. Look for it on Friday!!!

I'm hosting next month's CAL at the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group on Rav. We are making the Juliana Wrap! I'm super excited to work on this pattern, and I already have 2 different yarns picked out so I can make 2 wraps :)

I'm also helping to host a Dishcloth Swap on Rav, and the sign-ups for the July swap (We do 4 swaps a year, and each one is 2-3 months long) are still open- maybe you'd like a pick-me-up?

I hope everyone has a fabulous Wednesday, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tell Me a Story

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis for today's FO Friday!

Today, my FOs have a story to tell. And it starts with a story from me.

I'll admit it, I love to tell stories. Usually they are just an elaborate telling of a certain activity throughout my day. E often calls me out on it, not because he doesn't like my stories, but because he knows I can be more precise. So I attempt to be precise, but often I still tell a story. Maybe it's because I am a history major, and I know that often times there is more to a simple statement then meets the eye.

Take today for instance. I could just tell you that my FOs for this week are a huge stack of cotton dishcloths that I suddenly decided to make. But honestly, that would be pretty boring. There are several stories behind the excessive amount of dishcloths that I made this week.

The first is a story about me and my mom. I have been crocheting since I was around 12 years old. As a middle schooler, I had a limited scope of the crafting world, and mainly enjoyed making simple square dishcloths for my mom and anyone else important to me. (I also made a handful of simple scarves, but that's beside the point.) As I expanded my knowledge of the crafting world, I knew that there was more to life than dishcloths. But my mom, who shopped regularly without me, could not be 'trusted' to buy yarn in colors and quantities that I needed for whatever project I wanted to complete. So I told her it was safe to buy dishcloth cotton for me, as a skein of it could make one or 2 dishcloths, and it didn't really need to match. And so here I am, nearly 10 years later, with a drawer full of cotton yarn that will never be anything other than dishcloths.You can see this in the picture above- the blue/yellow/purple yarn, the purple/blue/green yarn, and the pink/purple/magenta yarn.
So that is the first FO story from me. I hope it made some sense.

The second story has two parts, and starts with a very kind aunt, Aunt B, who supports my crafting in many ways. (she's the aunt who sells her sweatshirt designs at craft shows, and allows me to piggyback on her booth.) Aunt B often 'gifts' me yarn that she won't use, as she had a friend who passed away a few years ago who left most of her crafting stuff to my aunt. Aunt B is my mom's oldest sister, and she mainly sews now, as machine sewing is easier on her hands. Within the last year, Aunt B passed along to me a half-used cone of cotton yarn. I accepted it graciously, because what craft can refuse free yarn? However, as it sat in my room, waiting to be used, it started to grate on me. Why, you may ask, did it bother me?
Enter part 2- the boyfriend, E. E and I have been together for nearly 3 years now, so I would say he has a huge impact on my life. E is in the military, as I have mentioned before, and quite patriotic. And I am student of history, and have much respect for my country. However, E finds some displays of patriotism to be cheesy. This yarn falls under the umbrella of cheesy patriotic as defined by E. (Note: I am not trying to insult anyone who loves Americana print yarns.) So this half-empty cone of yarn sat and sat and sat, until last week when I went on my dishcloth making craze. I knew that if I was going to be on a creating kick, I should probably use this yarn before I chucked it across my [very small] room.
Pictured above is the empty cone (OK, not all empty, there might have been 8 ft left.) with the third and final dishcloth, made extra cheesy in the shape of a star, using the Americana print yarn. I joking told E the other day that I would send them all over to his house-- he was not entirely keen on the idea.

The third story is short and sweet. I broke my yarn fast, and bought MORE cotton yarn-- again you may ask why... Well, as I may have mentioned on Wednesday, one of my closest friends is getting married next month. Her bridal shower is next week. I wanted my gift to be more personal, so I had to buy more cotton in her kitchen colors, so I could make some dishcloths for her. Of the stack of dishcloths that I have made, 3 of them are currently for her. I plan on adding at least one more, plus a reusable grocery bag.

I hope you enjoyed my little stories to go with my FOs.
I have one final thing to celebrate- I finally wove in all the ends on my 2 lapghans!
Pay it forward handmade anyone?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIP/Yarn-Along- too much cotton?

Joining up with Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn-Along today!

I've been working on a large number of crocheted dishcloths as part of a wedding gift, which leaves me with lots of WIPs laying around, but no big projects accomplished.

Dishcloths: I've been using the tulip stitch dishcloth pattern, with a few modifications- throughout the dishcloth, use ch 2 instead of ch 3, except for the edges. I like the density of this pattern, and it's simple and quickly memorized.
May CSW CAL: My Eva shawl is relaxing and taking a temporary vacation, as I am not entirely fond of the laceweight. Some of you commented last week that my yarn's '2-stranded-ness' would be difficult to work with, and I will admit, that's part of the reason why I am stalling on this project.
But I love the way this drapes, and as soon as my dishcloth kick has cooled down, I will come back to this.

Something else that I'm super proud of this week is my progress on one of my UFOs- I brought the knitted vest for my brother out of hibernation, and after knitting a few more rows, it was long enough to FINALLY decrease for armhole shaping. This is where things get a bit uncomfortable for me, as I have never before made a garment that needs to fit properly.

I will definitely have a few things to share on Friday, so don't hesitate to stop back to check it out! :)

I still have open spots for the Pay it Forward Handmade, mentioned here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I heave a sigh of relief as I write today's FO Friday post, kindly hosted by Tami's Amis.

Yesterday the weather was bi-polar, and I did not have work, so I spent most of the day in my room, listening to The Fellowship of the Ring on audiobook, and finishing a few projects.

I finished my "yarn bucket" as I have fondly dubbed it, a colorful concoction made of recycled t-shirts. It is crocheted, on hook P, and took at least 10 t-shirts, if not more. My mom said it would probably make a great beach bag-- I'll probably use it for that in the next few months.

I also finished the Feburary CAL for the CSW group on Ravelry- the lattice lace wrap.
I haven't had a chance to block it yet, but I hope to have some spare time for it over the weekend. 

I'm proud of both of these projects because they have been "on my hook" for quite some time, and it is a relief to have another project checked off the list :)

I hope everyone has a nice weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Quick Note: I'm participating in the Pay it Forward Handmade! Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIPW/Yarn-Along: New Things!

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn-Along today!

This week, I'm technically on "vacation". Winter semester is over, and my spring classes don't start until May 15th. And so far, my week has been really productive. I really enjoyed participating in Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes, and was really inspired by all you who craft and blog! I was particularly inspired by those of you who manage to keep your WIPs to a minimum, usually only working on one or two projects at a time. However, even though I was inspired, I haven't quite gotten to that point. In fact, I started a new project on Saturday evening...

Encouraged by the chatter on the CSW discussion board for the May CAL for Eva's Shawl, I got home from work, dug out the yarn I wanted to use, and got started. This is some of my progress from during the Saturday night movie:

This is not my first attempt to work this pattern, as some of you may remember, I was attempting to work this pattern so I could wear the complete shawl to my cousin's wedding last November. That was not to be. The yarn was scratchy and my hook was too small. So it went into the frog pile. But this yarn, a silk and angora blend, I believe, is lovely and light and soft. I'm not keen on the pale pink color, so it may visit the dye pot before I can say it is complete. But I like it more than the first time. I also added an extra wedge which gives the shawl a more versatile shape, in my opinion. Basically you add another chain 1 and 2 more dc in the foundation row.

Where are the rest of my projects, you may ask. And I will tell you- on my bedroom floor, in one project bag or another, too large to take to work with me. I'm nearly halfway through the yarn I bought for my ripple, but it's not as big as I would like it to be (I measured last night, and the width is still bigger than the length-- 42" by 32" ). The rows keep getting longer on my Citron, so that's hiding too. And I really need to work on that vest... and more dishcloths... The list could drag on.

In other news, I started a new book: A Dab of Dickens & a Touch of Twain by Elliot Engel. I bought it several years ago at a used book sale and hadn't touched it since. But because I am on vacation, I figured I should try a new book. My eventual goal is to read all the random books I buy (used and dirt cheap) or get rid of them. I took 14 books to the library as part of my effort to clean up. (Many more stayed, but that is beside the point.)

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about my little world today! Stop back any time! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pay it Forward 2012

I've been seeing this PIF thing in several different places, on Ravelry around the Blog Hub, and then over at Natalie's blog (Misadventures in Craft). So I decided it would be a fun thing to participate in. Here are the rules:

1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right? 
2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post. 
3. You must have a blog (that is updated, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you). 
4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will chose the next person who comments.
Also, please leave a way for me to contact you, either via email or Rav, so I can get your address!!! :)

So feel free to join, but don't forget to Pay it Forward!