Thursday, June 28, 2012

Same Song, Second Verse

June's nearly over, and I'm evaluating my progress  of stash bashing so far.

  • Finished the wedding ripple- yarn purchased before January 1st, but bought with a purpose, so never really languished in stash. 
  • Finished 20 -12" blocks using patterns from the BAMCAL- yarn purchased with purpose.
  • Half dozen dishcloths- some using stash, some using newly purchased yarn--oops
  • Finished Mezza-Juliana- gift yarn- yay!
  • Finished Pretty in Pink Juliana- upcycled yarn from stash
  • Finished Eva in Lace- upcycled yarn from stash
  • Finished Divine Hat- yarn from stash
  • Finished Claret Cowl- upcycled yarn from stash
  • many more scarves/cowls!
As I'm going through my Ravelry projects page, I'm realizing that I've finished more than I originally thought, even though I don't feel like my stash is decreasing (probably because it hasn't quite yet)

WIP Juliana Re-mix

This week, I really don't have any huge stash-bashing progress, other than the 6 months of progress so far this year. But room for improvement is good! The Juliana Re-mix above is using yarn that I purchased mid-March, as a celebration for finishing my fieldwork for the semester. I'm trying to finish it so I will be able to move back to more 'official' stash bashing. 

Since the spring semester finishes for me today, I'll definitely have more time to work on bashing my stash again! 

Check out Tricia @ Crunchy Catholic Momma- she's been kind enough to host this stash bash for us!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Small Progress

Seeing as I finished my biggest WIP to date (the wedding ripple), I'm determined to keep the size of projects down, at least for the next month or so.

Afghan blocks are great in-between projects (or all the time projects, LOL), and I'm using a new color palette, shown below (missing a second brown and a dusty green).
I like using fall colors, and I'm hoping the finished afghan will be something that my mom will like.

I've also started my third Juliana Wrap, though again with modifications to make it more scarf-like. I'm using Cascade 220 for the first time, and I like it, but not enough to purchase it again. The colors are nice, but I like machine washable more than I like nicer fibers.
Center section of modified Juliana
I'm excited for the end of the semester (which is tomorrow) as I have a stack of non-school books waiting for me! Two more Simon Hawke novels- he writes fictional Shakespeare stories- and Abby Johnson's story Unplanned.

That's all I have for today! Check out Tami's Amis and Ginny's Yarn-Along for more!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Week 7

Marie was stuck for a prompt this week...But she has released them! This week, we're looking at scrap yarn/one skein gift ideas.

And I just realized that this set I just finished is a good example of a one skein gift.
It is a basic hat/fingerless mitt set, with a flower for embellishment. I did the hat first, and then worked the mitts from both ends of the yarn so I would use up all the yarn- and it was nearly exact! One skein of this yarn made both the hat and mitts!

This is the pink colorway from Lion Brand Tweed Stripes. I did not have a pink that matched as well with this one, so I just added the rose to the hat and called it good. The rose is from the May Roses pattern from Lucy @ Attic24, and I love it! I have a handful in my desk drawer, waiting to become something.

Another great scrap/one skein project are these Ripple Lace Fingerless Gloves. I have the smallest hands imaginable, so making gloves using this pattern doesn't take much yarn/time at all. I was testing out some of my birthday yarn using the pattern last night, and I still need to show them to Mom and Sis for approval. The pattern is so simple and pretty, and I think they would look very cool in the Tweed Stripes yarn. Another great thing about this pattern is the instructions allow you to create a pair in any size or length you desire. I can see several pairs of these in my future.

I'm racking my brain, trying to come up with more pattern suggestions, but can't think of anything off the top of my head. I crochet loads more than I knit, so anything that I can think of is going to be small and stripe-y (for crochet). But I do know that there are a number of knitting patterns (scarves and the like) that use only one skein of yarn, or have alterations in the pattern to adjust for more or less yarn. I LOVE using Ravelry's pattern search, because I can narrow down patterns by yardage and weight of yarn-- very handy!

I hope this was helpful and not too ramble-y. I've got a lot going on this week- I just finished taking my first final exam, and turned in one of 2 final papers. The second final paper will be turned in this afternoon, and my other final is on Thursday.

The bachelorette party was this past weekend, and I leave for Detroit Friday afternoon, and my best friend gets married on Saturday!
Bachelorette Party

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Time for Celebration!

Dorky picture of me that I cannot figure out how to rotate. 

This week I celebrated my birthday. I also celebrated finishing a really big project: the wedding ripple afghan.

My dad wrote me a birthday message, also sideways...

It took 8 skeins of Caron Simply Soft, and I used Lucy @ Attic 24's ripple pattern, which is absolutely lovely. I like that it does not have any ch increases in it, as the holes created have always been what I dislike about some ripple patterns.

Here is the ripple in all of its lovely ripply goodness:
Ignore all the ends that haven't been woven yet. Please :)

I'm also celebrating the end of the semester. This coming week I take my finals, turn in 2 research papers, and then freedom! I'm looking forward to free time, even though it will mean lots of cleaning. But it will also mean more reading time too! (I have a stack of books to read- to see if they are worthy of remaining in my collection).

Here's a look at my birthday haul:
Several skeins of Bernat, the nice self-fair-isle-ing type (I'm itching to try it)(from sister) A really lovely burgundy colored Scrumptious superwash 4-ply (from E) A basket of miscellaneous acrylic (from godmother)(the basket's really my favorite part)(she also got me these awesome earrings, that I forgot to photograph) Amigurumi Toy Box is finally mine! as is Aladdin on DVD (brother #1) a cute dragonfly travel mug and instant coffee (brother #2, not pictured) On the right is a photo album with a old world map print, and the far left is a Freeset bag from Better Way Imports, both from the parentals.   

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the week- finals, Idina Menzel Concert, WEDDING!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rejoining: Stash bash!

It has been a number of weeks since I joined in with Tricia/Crunchy Catholic Momma's Stash Bash. It doesnt help that my focus has been on a small number of large projects either.

However, as I am nearing the end of my large projects, I feel that I can properly join in again with a stash-bashing post.

Confession: I fell off the wagon. I purchased a large amount of yarn in the past month, yarn that didn't really need to come into my room. But it happened, so we move on.

I also actually threw away a chunk of partially unraveled sweater in an attempt to feel like I was cleaning. It did make me feel better.

I unraveled a scarf that was just ugly, and have been working on a few infinity scarves in order to clean up another bag that has just been sitting.

I currently claim that my only problem, my only interference is school. I have less than 2 weeks of summer classes left, but they also consume a lot of my time as I attempt to write papers and read textbooks.

My goals: to finish 3 hats by the end of June, to make 3 more headband bases, to clean up one more bag of yarn- whether it be using it up or putting it in a more permanent storage space- it doesn't matter.

To make this a more happy post, I will show some of my stash-bashing FOs:
A finally finished headband, with an awesome button:
Also, a Divine Hat:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Holiday Stashdown: Week 6

Reflection is always good. Marie's Holiday Stashdown prompt this week has us reflecting. Celebrating success, re-examining our goals, and setting new ones.

Our challenge has been going for six weeks.  Let’s celebrate our successes so far.  For each of us, success may be measured differently: stash organized, list made, awareness of our potential recipients, finished projects, etc.  What have you done so far for the Holiday Stashdown Challenge?  If you’re not feeling successful, what’s preventing you from getting started on reaching your goals?  Or, are your goals unrealistic?

My success has been in finishing (or nearly finishing) 2 of the bigger projects that were getting in the way of smaller projects.

My 8 skein ripple afghan wedding gift is nearly complete, and will be out of my room as of June 30th. Over the weekend, I had 3 nights in a row of nearly uninterrupted crocheting, and I can see the end in sight. There are 2 sections left to be finished, 5 rows long, with 2 transition rows in between. This is how it looked Saturday evening:

My 7 skein 12" block afghan is nearly complete. I have to weave in all my ends, and check all the blocks once more, then put them all together. I don't know if what is left of my 7th skein will be enough  to join all 20 of my squares, but I know where to find a 40 or 50% off coupon to get a spare skein if I run out. And as this is my first blanket made of squares, I want to do it properly.

As I finish those 2 projects, smaller projects are leaping into my lap. I have a huge grocery sack (one of those awesome reusable ones) full of Lion Brand Homespun yarn that is all destined to become infinity scarves for the fall craft shows. I also plan on a few pairs of fingerless gloves, because they are quick, and maybe a knitted scarf or 2. I'll definitely stay out of large project territory for at least a few weeks. Especially since I still have some hibernating projects that need to be finished so they can leave my room.

OMG, I ramble. A lot.

The point, I need to get to the point. Yes, I am feeling successful, although I have purchased yarn that I never originally intended on purchasing at the beginning of the year.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

None of them are on the Floor

My books, I mean. They are all either stacked on a shelf or some other similar surface.

I'm down to just my Michigan history books, for class and for my research paper. We have been assigned The Flivver King for the next week or two. It's quite a short little book, about Henry Ford and the rise of the automobile. So far, it's not killing me. I'm glad to be putting aside Rites of Conquest, as the author was writing to an audience that is quite a bit smarter than me.

Mary Higgins Clark went back to the library last week. I really enjoyed The Lost Years, it kept me up several nights in a row, something I haven't done in ages. I've never been good at reviewing books, but I will say that I had hoped for a bit more of the historical angle in it than was actually provided. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading something new (if not entirely different) and hope to do more of it once my classes are finished (at the end of the month, YAY)

I took the ASL books back to the library, for a time, and will probably check at least one of them out again. Robin @ Crochet Nirvana asked me why I was trying to assign hand motions to a song. For the past 5 years, I have worked at a week-long Christian summer camp, and I will be going back again this August as a head counselor. We have an evening where each cabin provides some form of entertainment, be it a skit or a song or the like. I have it in my head that I will work out hand motions for a song to teach my cabin so we can perform it for Entertainment Night. We'll see how it goes.

I've made my way through The Two Towers, and am now nearly halfway through The Return of the King. I find it is nice to "read" while crafting. Harry Potter has been put on hold a bit, though I will likely go back to him mid-week or so.

Other than that, not much else going on in my corner of the world- lots of crocheting, some attempts at cleaning, and lots of avoided homework. I'm planning on cracking down and churning out a history paper this week, I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

On my Bookshelves*

*or on the floor, or my bed, or my desk....

I've decided to do a separate book post this week, because I am actually reading some new stuff (Along with some older stuff, too)

First are the Michigan books that I am reading for my history class. 3 of them are the "main" texts for the class, while the rest are fueling my research for the final paper. I can only think of the titles of my textbooks right now... Rites of Conquest, Cleland; Michigan: A History of the Great Lakes State, Rubenstein and Ziewacz; The Flivver King, Upton Sinclair.

Next is the newest (?I think) Mary Higgins Clark book, The Lost Years. I haven't gotten really far, but my mom passed it to me when she was finished, saying that it was good. It's a library book, so hopefully I will have a chance to read more of it before it's due.

The older stuff is Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- both audio books that I can listen to while crafting :)

The rest of the books that I currently have checked out from the library are either crafting books or sign language books. I'm trying to come up with a decent list of Christmas gifts this year, so I keep searching the crochet pattern books from the library. As for the ASL, I'm trying to come up with hand motions to a song, and ASL is always the best place to start, at least in my mind (I've never done this before, HELP)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's not Wednesday...

...but there is progress!

I've missed a few WIP Wednesdays, being caught up with school and work and wedding activities. But despite being insanely busy, I'm still finding time to crochet in the evenings.

So, on to my progress:
Nearly twenty 12" squares, which started as my BAMCAL afghan. I've branched out and am using squares from 2 other Ravelry groups- Melinda Miller is hosting a year-long "Afghan Extravaganza" and shares a newly designed square each month and Vanna's Choice Fan Club is hosting a BAWL (Block-a-Week), so I've added squares from both of those groups to bring my number up. Since I was nearing the end of my yarn (I purchased 6 skeins of Caron Simply Soft, adding a 7th mid-March) I decided that I'll stop at twenty and join. I'm thrilled to be nearly finished with my first afghan made of blocks, but I'm not sure who to gift it to. My original plan was to be a selfish crafter, since it took a lot of work, and I didn't know if anyone would appreciate it... Not so sure anymore.

My second 6-month project is a wedding gift. I have 2 weeks left to finish it, so it's getting down to the wire.

This ripple is nearly as wide as the seat and back of our couch. It is a bit more than half way done, but if I don't get to the end of my yarn by the week of the wedding, I'll probably just stop and call it good. I just hope the newlyweds will enjoy it :)

That's all for this week. I'll be working furiously on the ripple, so probably wont be anything new to see next week... Unless I work really really hard :D

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Week 5

I feel so accomplished, as I have been able to keep up with the Stashdown, even if my stash hasn't exactly been going down...
This week's prompt from Marie:
 How do you identify the right gift for the right person?  Do you spy on your giftees year round?  Ask them what they want?  Take requests?  What tips do you have for making the right choices with handmade holiday gifts?

I think I'll answer them one at a time, then explain.
1) Right gift for Right person: I ask people. Honestly. "Mom, what do you want for your birthday?" "T, do you think you would wear this scarf?"
2) Spying on giftees: not really. see #1
3) Ask them: yes, always. or nearly always.
4) Requests: sometimes. It depends on how close I am to the person.
5) Tips for making good choices: don't overwhelm yourself with big projects. and don't make big things unless you know they will be appreciated.

In regards to my little sister- she hints all year round, most frequently in the weeks after Christmas. "Mary, you can make me one of these..." So basically I have to have a good memory with her. But her tastes are similar to mine, even though she is terrible at explaining what she actually wants. Last week, when my KnitPicks order came in, I showed her the yarn I bought to make her gift- she liked it! So that's score one point for Mary :) Hopefully the pattern I picked will go well with the yarn.

Anyway. T is only one example of how I decide on gifts. Sometimes I just try to be observant. K mentioned that she LOVES scarves- guess what I have planned for her gift? And sometimes, I just want to try out a new yarn -like the Felici I bought last week- and in this case, I have been meaning to try a fingerless glove pattern that could be adjusted for that yarn.

No rhyme or reason to some of my weird ideas.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Invasion of the Hexagons!

Over at Barbara's blog (Made in K-Town), there has been an on-going Beyond the Square Challenge. Barbara's goal is to make over 100 of the motifs featured in Edie Eckman's Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs book (there are 144 motifs in the book). I've wanted to join in, having purchased the book a few years ago, but haven't really gotten into it yet.
Motif #34

This weekend, however, I pulled out my book. Armed with some "sport weight" yarn from one of those old ornament kits (from my aunt, who didn't want it at her house), I started in the hexagon section, searching for snowflake-like motifs. I didn't want any of my hexagons to be abandoned, so I am doubling my Beyond the Square Challenge with the Holiday Stashdown Challenge.
Motif #43

The following motifs passed the snowflake-look-alike contest:
Motif #29 **
Motif #34 - it's very picot-y**
Motif #35
Motif #36- super easy after all those picots in 34**
Motif #37
Motif #38
Motif #39
Motif #43**
Motif #29

After hooking 34, which had 5 rounds, I decided for my "first round" of hexagons,  I would only hook the smaller ones. 36 was a little denser than 29, but still looks really pretty worked up. 43 was super quick, and looks adorable.
Motif #36

A note about my yarn: I don't think it's sport weight. I'm using a F hook, and sometimes that feels too big for this yarn. But by using it for this project, it will not longer be in my stash, languishing.

Another note: sorry for the not-super-clear photos- red and artifical light don't get along

Sunday, June 10, 2012

You've Got Mail!

Thursday I arrived home from a long day of school to find a stack of mail on my bed!!!

First was my second chance prize from Barbara (Made in K-town)-- a lovely dress shaped potholder, as well as a cute little card and the most precious little crocheted flower. Barbara recently held a contest to guess the length of her flower garland, and while I didn't win initially, she held a "second chance" giveaway. Oddly enough, I won!! Thank you so much, Barbara!!! It totally made my day!

Second was my order of KnitPicks yarn. I wasn't expecting it until Saturday, so this was a bonus excitement in my day! 4 skeins of Felici sock, colorways Tyrian Purple, Fizz, Tiki and Hummingbird; 4 skeins of Shadows Tonal Lace and 2 skeins of Bare Superwash Fingering. All of this was ordered to help round out my Christmas gift-giving, and I'm excited to work with it- though I don't know if I should wait until more of my stash has been bashed or not.... No matter what my decision is, you will surely hear about it when I start a new project.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FO Friday: A Set!

I'm joining up with Tami's Finished Object Friday today, and am already fulfilling my weekly goal (from yesterday's post)  of a finished project a week.

I bought 4 skeins of Lion Brand Tweed Stripes back around November/December last year, as it reminded me of James C. Brett Marble Chunky (purchased while abroad last May). I hadn't decided what to make with it, as I had 2 skeins of 2 different colorways: Orchid and Mixed Berries.

This hat and fingerless glove "set" is with the purple colorway, Orchid. I used a basic hat pattern, and used Motif 40 from Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs to decorate it. The gloves are just 20 stitches in the round, decorated with a simple chain flower. All the flowers are made with Vanna's Choice Wild Berry. I have yet to decide if I will sell them as a set, or just sell the hat, and save the gloves for a gift (as part of the Holiday Stashdown).

My assessment of Tweed Stripes: it feels almost as nice as the Marble Chunky, but the skeins are not as generous, and I don't have access to many colors at my local craft stores. I also believe that I can get more yarn for my money, even if I do have to order Marble Chunky online-- even with shipping. However, convenience is often an expense that is worth it. (OMG, my econ class is getting to me...)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Stash-Bashing FAIL

I'm coming clean- the stash-bashing has not been going as well as expected. It went great, at first. The beginning of the new year was great. I made my final purchase of yarn on December 30th and was completely prepared to go at least 6 months without buying yarn.

I got involved with the Block-A-Month CAL, and the suggestion of patterns was fabulous. I was able to work a number of squares in 'stash yarn' (basically project leftovers) and completed 2 12 square afghans by the end of March.

This is where things started to get tricky. I was now venturing into full skein territory. As some of you may know, I follow the craft show circuit in the fall with one of my aunts. Recently, I have been mainly crocheting hats, but also make some scarves and shawls. Since I have been making the hats out of easy-care acrylic, I have been reluctant to make afghan squares from these "untouched" skeins of yarn.

Which resulted in my moving on to other projects. A few dishcloths here and there, some headbands, a lot of repurposing woolen sweaters, dyeing wool based yarn, taking apart more sweaters, more dyeing, you get the idea. I got a bit carried away. Plus, it was early in the year- there was no craft shows to prepare for immediately, no one really wants to buy crocheted stuff after Christmas- I could make excuses all day. But I won't.

I bought yarn. Only a few skeins at a time, never large amounts. But added to the rest of the *stuff* that piles up in my oh-too-small room, and I start to get claustrophobic. And I'm not really claustrophobic. That's only happened once, in the Catacombs in Paris (If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. If anyone's really curious, I could dig out some photos...)--- Anyway--- lots of bags of *stuff* and not enough time in the day to do anything with it. And just within the past week I bought 6 skeins of Vanna's Choice Baby (super clearance deal though!) and made a KnitPicks order (nearly all sale stuff) so I have an extra box and another bag (plus all the wedding stuff that's hanging around for a few more weeks too...)

So now, in an effort to start this whole thing over again, I'm going to make every effort to join with Marie/Underground Crafter's Holiday Stashdown Challenge, as well as Tricia/Crunchy Catholic Momma's Stash Bash each week.

I don't know if I should be setting lofty goals or not... But I'm thinking one finished project a week will be enough of a goal to start out. This way, I won't be overwhelmed by my *stuff* and will still be productive.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Week 4

I'm participating in Underground Crafter's Holiday Stashdown Challenge.

So, writing the posts early nearly guarantees that I post on time. Sounds like a good method to me, but it means that some of my writing may come off as dis-jointed. I apologize in advance.

The prompt this week: You’ve made your list, you’ve thought about yarn, and you’ve scoped out some pattern ideas.  Can you try to match up your projects to people?  What about setting some completion deadlines?  Now’s the time to think about how you are going to make this all happen early this year, rather than at the last minute.  Do you have any organizing or motivating tips to share?  Are there any pitfalls you are worried about?  Tell us how you plan to get your holiday crafting done earlier this year.

I answered part of this question last week, when discussing pattern ideas. I think I'm going to go back to my list from the first week to help me figure some things out.

  • 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)

Some of these are totally planned out, but a few may prove problematic.
My immediate fam is easy: I'm nearly positive that I'm going to put together a 12" block afghan for my parents, and do a smaller individual gift (yet to be determined) for each of them.
My sister is getting a scarf- I just placed a KnitPicks order that included yarn for that- also probably a hat and fingerless mitt- all in blue & purple tones (her request)
Brother N is getting (hopefully) a knitted vest that I've been working on for ages, and probably a nice scarf to make up for my slowness.
Brother D is the hardest- still thinking on that one.

The friends and extended family are getting a variety of scarves or fingerless gloves- patterns to be picked out as I go along- yarn either from stash or my most recent KnitPicks order.

I think I'm going to make snowflake ornaments for my co-workers- those will be from stash yarn.

The rest are still to be determined. I'll probably refine the lists once I'm done with the big summer wedding!