Monday, October 29, 2012

An Attempt at Holiday Stashdown.

I was a little busy this weekend, and haven't really made any progress on my Holiday Stashdown this week. But given the reason I was busy, I think I'll be excused. I'm engaged! My boyfriend proposed on Saturday, and I've been giddy ever since. 
We're planning on a wedding next summer. So no major planning yet, just focusing on finishing up this semester of school  before anything else. Which is good, because otherwise I would be simply focusing wedding plans. My parents are still a little weird, but Evan and I are taking it really slow, as to hopefully ease them into it.
I'll be back to my regularly scheduled crafting posts hopefully by Friday, if not sooner!
(I promise, there are really yarny things in the works, but my camera and computer have a hard time being in the same place at the same time. I'll make up for it, I promise!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge Week 24

I'll admit, it's been a bit of a strange ride with me on this Challenge put forth by Marie, as I can be inconsistent with my progress and what not. But oddly, this has been a blessing. As I am smack-dab in the middle of craft show season, I do not have as much time to dedicate to family gift making. But because I know what I am making everyone and am halfway through, I have less to worry about.

Original sweater
Today I'm sharing my WIP rug for my aunt. I had a pattern, but then discovered it was not in English. Oops. Then HillyT at Hilly Town Blue shared a "not doily" that she made, Jameson. I thought the pattern would make a really cool rug. The yarn was the next debate. I knew some of it had to come from the giant basket of yarn that my aunt got me (at a garage sale) for my birthday. The rest came from a recycled cotton thrift store sweater. So far, it's looking good, though I deviated from the original Jameson pattern.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shallow Waters Revisited

I made a NEW SCARF
Back in July, as part of the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers monthly CAL, I hosted a "Show Your Support" CAL, meaning everyone who participated made a pattern from a designer who is a member of CSW. I picked out the Shallow Waters Shawl, which done in a lighter weight makes more of a scarf.
for seeing the scarf, this is not an excellent photo
The first time I made it in Knit Picks Shadow Lace in the Summer Blooms colorway. It is my absolute favorite scarf. I wear it all the time. Hence, this post being littered with photos from my (heavily) photographed date. (My sister is a perfectionist when it comes to her photos, as I've mentioned before.)

I knew I wanted to make another scarf in that pattern, especially since I get so many compliments on my pink one, and it's quick and easy. I purchased a bunch of Knit Picks Felici a few months back, because I love the colors, and have wanted to try it for a while. I was attempting to make fingerless gloves in the colorway Hummingbird, but they stalled. So I decided another Shallow Waters was in order. Besides, I said to myself, the designer used a sock weight for her original...
Comparison of the 2 shawls
I was making great progress, until I came close to the end of the skein. It still wasn't as long as I wanted it. I figured I'd try it, and was able to squeak out a border row of single crochet with inches to spare.

My hummingbird Shallow Waters is not as big as my Summer Blooms Shallow Waters, but it is big enough to wrap around my neck!

I really love how Felici feels, and the colors are awesomely vibrant. I'm not sure if I would use this yarn for this pattern again, at least not this colorway. Because the colors are so different, the striping caused odd pooling in the pattern. I started working with the Tyrian Purple colorway the same evening I finished with Hummingbird, and those colors are closer together-- multiple shades of purple-- so it might have been a better choice for this shawl. Also, I would definitely recommend 2 skeins. After looking through the pattern info, etc, I saw that the designer did use 400+ yards of a sockweight, where Felici is only 218 yards. I will definitely continue to experiment with different yarns and yardages with this shawl, as it is definitely a staple for me. I have more sockweight somewhere, waiting to be dyed-- an after Christmas project, maybe?

Joining up with Tami's Amis for FO Friday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reading Weather

With the fall setting in properly, it's time to get snuggly with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book. Most of the time, I skip out on the tea, as I read right before bed (in bed).
I can see 4 blankets from this angle.
For my classes, I have 2 textbooks that I'm reading, plus Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, and parts of the Bible. I just started Bloodlands this week, and there's far more to it than one would expect. There is some talk of the Holocaust, but also a lot on Stalin's Five-Year Plan (which led to mass starvation) and the Gulags. Very heavy, statistically, as well as just depressing. There was so much death.

On a more entertaining note, I've been able to start Dragons of Winter, by James Owen. I've read all the other books in this series: Chronicles of the Imaginiaruim Geographica. I can only imagine the work that goes into writing a book  like this one, and he's written 6 or 7. I'm also reading the Tightwad Gazette, which is ridculously outdated, but still funny and mostly educational. I don't live on my own yet, but I have a feeling I will put many of the ideas in this book to good use when I finally do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Knitting Should Not be Slow

I am never ready for Wednesday's Yarn-Along and WIP Wednesday. And by ready, I mean having a project at a point where it can be photographed without someone questioning what it is. Also, compared to my sister, I am miserable at photgraphy. So I never feel like I am sharing some of the amazing stuff that I see people share at Ginny's and Tami's.
What I worked on over the weekend
I had a really good retreat this past weekend, but I still haven't caught up on sleep. I managed to get a lot of crocheting done in between sessions and during the afternoon recreation. And frustrated with how a pattern was working out, I pulled out a sheet of paper and sketched out an idea that I liked. It isn't really earth-shattering or anything, but the women who were watching me were astounded.

The poncho I'm knitting "Boho et Belle" has 20 sections, and I've nearly finished the first. I love the stockinette portion, as the yarn feels lovely and smooth. The only problem is my slow knitting. In order to feel productive, I switch between crafts. Hence the next WIP- more cupcakes.

All the cupcake bottoms are finished, along with a few extras just in case. I have to dig through my stash for pastel colors- these were requested, and I am trying to minimize the yarn I have to buy. Which is why I'm stash-shopping. I have at least 3 pastels that are easily accessible, and maybe 3 more that I know I have somewhere... I'll keep you posted. They'll definitely end up in a FO Friday :)

Thanks for stopping by-- be sure to visit Ginny's and Tami's for more yarny goodness!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge Week 23

I'm still participating in the stashdown with Marie, even if most of my projects right now are commissioned items for other people. I'm still working mainly from stash, which I think is a major accomplishment (or a testament to the amount of yarn I have...) so I'm definitely stashing-down!

Chocolate cupcakes: Zero calories
On the menu this week... cupcakes! Last year, I made a ton, and they are still featured in my cover photo on my Facebook page. They are quick and fun and colorful! When I remembered last night that they were on my commissioned item list, I found some yarn and got straight to work. Well, straight to work meaning I assembled my materials, popped a bag of popcorn, and snuggled on the couch for the new episode of Castle. I know, who makes popcorn when they want to crochet? But, Mondays are my long stressful days at school, and I wanted something semi-healthy to snack on (Because I'm cheap and don't like buying campus food). Even including the food setback, I was able to finish 3 bottoms during the episode of Castle, and one more before I went to bed. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but at least it was a start.

More half-finished hats
Another bonus, I got paid this weekend! I saw both my cupcake lady and my boyfriend's sister this weekend at the retreat, and got paid for my services. All nine of my creative hats were delivered (and are out of my room!!!) and well received! I can't wait to see the response from the kiddos at Christmas time! As a college student, on a college student budget, getting paid is awesome. But, since my stash has overwhelmed me (temporarily, I hope) I will not be buying any more new yarn until I absolutely need it.

I'm still thinking about and working on some Christmas gifts, but with 3 craft shows all within a  5 week period, I really need to focus on those as well as the ever-growing list of commissioned items. I am thankful though. All this work means I practically have a job that pays me to do what I love: knit and crochet.

I really really want to have a proper gift crossed off the list next week, so stay tuned!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Repeat Friday

I don't know if I've shared my infinity scarves as a FO Friday recently, but that's what I have. I was really hoping to finish my second Shallow Waters Shawl for today, but it's still a WIP in my bag. I've mostly been making infinity scarves this week, and even though the picture is from a few weeks ago, it reflects what I've been making this week.

I'm going on a retreat this weekend with my mom, and it'll be a 3 hour car ride, so expect more photos next week of finished stuff!! Like, I will properly take photos of my new infinity scarves, and the Shallow Waters shawl should be done. I might even get to read a new book! Yay!

There will definitely be more fall-ish type pictures coming up too, as I've been waiting at least 2 weeks for my sister to finish editing photos from our trip to the pumpkin farm with my boyfriend. She's a perfectionist when it comes to photos, so they've been taking a while.

This is my new bag, purchased from another vendor at the craft show last Saturday.
I LOVE it!

My camera, when it was broken. But it's fixed now! :)
Thanks for stopping by!! Check out Tami's Amis for more FOs this week!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Knitting Progress

Yesterday, I had a date, put my camera in my bag for school, and somehow got it wet. It didn't want to work, so I freaked out, and borrowed my sister's camera for a quick picture.
This is the start of the knitted poncho I'm making on commission for a friend. Yes, I realize that the picture is crappy. I did not realize this when I took the picture, and I will definitely take a new picture with more contrast again later.
Size 6 circulars on Bare Superwash fingering weight yarn from KnitPicks.

I really hope to get back to some reading this weekend, as I have a long car-ride to a retreat on Friday. Most of my reading is boring though-- looking up stuff about Prince Edward Island for a geography paper, researching Nicholas II of Russia and George V of England for political science.

As per usual on my Wednesday posts, I'm linking up with Tami and Ginny!! I'll be checking more WIPs and YArn-Along posts, and you should too! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge Week 22

Marie just posted about how she is stalling in her holiday craft-making-- and that's exactly what I was going to post about!! The last week or so has been a whirl-wind of preparing for last Saturday's craft show, and in the aftermath, I've found that I still have a large number of commissioned items to make. But I still need to be keeping up with my business, so to speak, which means I am dividing my time between 2 types of projects, neither of which are Christmas gifts for my family. I am getting paid for them, though.

I am making progress on my list, though. I finished making  this child-sized Viking hat for my boyfriend's godson, and I am very proud of the results. I have until Christmas to make it even cooler, though it probably won't change much from the picture you see. I also finished a commissioned item- a pair of bulky slippers. The pattern is pretty good, but I think there could be an alteration to the sole to make them less boxy. However, as I said, another thing off my list.

I finally bought the size circular needles that I needed, and have started on the commissioned knitted poncho for Barb. I haven't gotten far enough to make an assessment about the pattern, but it will come.

I'm going to try to finish as many of my commissioned items as possible, but I will probably intersperse them with quick Christmas gifts. So there will be more coming!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Taking a Break

I've been on a bit of a break from blogging for the past week or so. I'm still here, I've just been really busy with school and everything else. And then a craft show snuck up on me, and I wasn't as ready as I thought I was. So I spent a week trying to prepare more items for the craft show, and I took a pause from personal knitting as I suddenly had a list of commissioned items.

6 new skeins of Homespun, plus one in Thick & Quick
A friend of my sister's ordered a pair of crocheted slipper-socks for his girlfriend-- luckily the picture he saw was attached to a pattern-- this one from Drops Design. My cousin asked for a frog hat for her youngest, to look like a tree frog with red-orange eyes and everything. My boyfriend wants a Viking hat for his godson, modelled after the characters in How to Train Your Dragon. Barb from my women's group saw a cool poncho in a yarn shop window 'Up North' and the woman at the shop gave her the pattern-- I was asked to make it. Anne, Barb's daughter (also in my women's group) found a cute child's tunic pattern (more like a hooded sweatshirt, but the pattern said tunic) that she would like made for her 2 youngest boys. One of my co-workers, Kelly, saw my Toothless hats and requested one for her goddaughter. She also keeps finding ideas on Pinterest-- I think she wants me to remake her entire wardrobe. Bri, a woman I worked with at summer camp, wants a sweater for her husband. Luckily, she understands the time and effort, and is willing to pay. So my list grows longer, and my personal time shrinks.

Due to that huge list of commissioned items, I simply *had to* buy more yarn. Well, actually, I did have to buy more yarn. Last week, I  purchased quite a bit of Lion Brand Homespun for craft show items-- if I haven't mentioned it before, it's my favorite yarn to use for scarves. It required a trip to JoAnn's, even though I currently hate our store because they are remodeling and everything is a mess, but the yarn was on sale, and I had a 20% off everything coupon. I also was able to buy a skein of the new Homespun super bulky, in Purple Haze, this beautiful purple/blue color that they don't make in regular Homespun. (Yes, none of this yarn actually has to do with commissioned items).
Bernat Super Value
My next stop was Meijer, oddly enough. It's the only store in my area that stocks Bernat Super Value yarn, which has a nice range of colors, and one of the nicer acrylic yarns that I've used. Their prices are also really decent, considering they only carry a small range of yarns. Even though I was only after Carrot orange for the "Crochet a Pumpkin Pin" class that I'm teaching next week, they also had a lovely green- "Lush"- that I thought would be good for the frog hat, and a rich red- "Berry"- that would work for the slippers. And because I apparently have no self control and wanted a few more color options for craft show items, I also bought a skein each of "Peacock", "Super Pink" and "Light Damson". I can probably get at least 2 child sized hats from each skein, along with numerous flowers. (I still have this thought in the back of my head of this epic scrap yarn afghan, but with everything else, I don't have time yet.)
And then, last week Friday, my Knit Picks order came. I had to order yarn for the sweater- she asked for natural fibers- and more yarn for the poncho. Barb and I discussed the yarn possibilities, and she wanted something in a natural color, and a bit finer, since it was lacy. I had on hand some Bare Superwash Fingering that fit the bill. But, since I did buy that yarn to dye for projects, I ordered 2 more skeins for Barb's poncho. I wound one skein so if I wanted to, I could start before the yarn came. (I didn't get to it). I also order 2 skeins of Stroll Tonal Sock for me, in Pearlscent. I want to knit this for a formal event in November, but I don't know if I will have the time.
Our booth
I keep seeing things that I want to make, and I keep noticing defiencies in my wardrobe-- you know "If only I had a scarf in x color..."-- but I don't really have time to craft for myself. And school is demanding a good portion of my time, leaving even less for crafts. I'm hoping to make good use of my time at work, being efficient and finishing my homework so that when I go home and relax in front of the TV, I can be knitting or crocheting. Well, and between craft shows and custom orders, I have my hands really full.

Speaking of craft show, I worked one this past weekend. It was only one day, but in that one day, things went really well. My aunt sold a lot of sweatshirts, and even got an invitation for another show at the end of November. We're still deciding about that show.
A closer look at my crochet table
Last show, I sold out of my infinity scarves, so I was determined to have a good supply for this show. I started with 9, and took home 2. Many people came back and wondered if I had more stock, but I was not prepared for the interest that I received. I hope to have more items available for the show at the beginning of November. I'm trying to better sort out my priorities, trying to evenly divide my time between this- my "second job"- my actual job, and my full-time schooling. My boyfriend's been pretty impressed with me so far, so I must be doing something right. I'm definitely buying more yarn this week, as I know if I load as much business crafting as I can in this first week or two, I will be able to move back to personal crafting sooner. This month will definitely be a busy one, though, as all the commissioned items that I mentioned before need to be started and finished in an efficient manner.

I did have more to talk about, but I'll spare you all right now. I'll try to be back on Wednesday, but my WIPs will be similar and boring for the next 2 weeks.