Warm and green

Back in November work was sucking big time. To cope with my crappy days, I seem to have gone on a bit of a retail therapy bender on Eat. Sleep. Knit. At some point, I bought a single skein of Squoosh Fiber Arts Ultra Worsted in Bud – which is a really pretty shade of green…kind of fresh grass, but not. I’ll be honest, I had no recollection of buying it. When it showed up in my box, I seriously had no clue when I added it to the cart. I remember liking it, but not actually buying it. Ah well…eventually I’d find something to make with it.

Fast forward a couple months and I’m working on my Stash Down for the year (need to make room for more yarn). I’d completed one project and was ready to move on to another. This pretty green yarn seemed like just the thing to use, but what to make? I didn’t want anything too complicated, after all, I had a serious binge watch of Friends to attend to. I decided on a cowl with an eyelet pattern I found in my stitch dictionary. It only took a couple of days (and 1.5 seasons of Friends) to complete.

green cowl

That’s 2 stash down projects done! I’m not even sure how many to go (eek!).

Owl Basket

I’ve taken my first steps into my Stash Down 2015 goals and completed one of the projects that has been sitting in my queue for quite some time. The Owl Basket. I’ve developed quite a thing for owls in the last year or so and I’m super excited with how this turned out. There is a corner in my living room just desperate for a basket. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll put in the basket, but that is neither here nor there. Owls are awesome & I must have them everywhere. End of story.

owl basket

2015 already?

I guess it’s been a little longer than I thought since I wrote last. Let’s just say that 2014 was a bit of a whirlwind and leave it at that? Summary – I made a bunch of stuff, Team PI is awesome, Nerd Wars ended (forever…I know! It’s super sad.), I went to Rhinebeck for the first time (it was GREAT), met up with people from Team PI for real (also GREAT), made more stuff, and bought a TON of yarn.

Now that’s out of the way….2015! Goals, plans, stash!

2015-new-year-card-with-red-sheep-685x780

Nerd Wars may be gone, but Team PI lives on. There are other games, but none of them have really attracted my interest. To be honest, I was really slacking on the amount of time I was able to dedicate to challenge projects and I think I may have wound up leaving the game at some point anyway. BUT we still have our team…which is great. I really do enjoy spending internet time with these people. Why am I talking about this? Stash Down 2015.

One of our very smart team members brought up the idea of doing a team Stash Down for this year and boy do I need it! One of the by products of learning new knitting skills and having a little extra money is that I seem to have acquired quite a lot of yarn. It’s not the room-fulls that some people have, but it is starting to exceed the space I have to store it for sure. Plus, it’s full on sweater quantities in some cases. Oh & I still have a megaton of cotton yarn because I never did complete Project Use Up All The Cotton.

2015 Knitting & Stash Goals

  • Knit up the items which I specifically purchased yarn for. Things like my Owl Sweater that I’ve been wanting to make for over a year. I’ve put them all at the top of my Ravelry queue and I’m going to stubbornly resist starting other things until I get through these 5 or 6 projects. (Only exception is baby gifts. New babies don’t care about my stash goals and need hats regardless.)
  • Finish the projects that have been in the works for a super long time. There are 3 of them: 1) Raven socks. 2) Trillian shawl. 3) Linen stitch scarf.
  • FINALLY use up all of the cotton. I still have quite a lot sitting in a bin just waiting for me to do something with it. I think it’s time to get moving there.
  • No yarn buying except for baby gifts (if the yarn I need isn’t already in the stash) and if I go to any festivals like Rhinebeck.

Right now, I’m happy with those goals. If I can accomplish those, I’ll have brought the stash under control and made some really nice things in the process. (And made lots of room for more yarn!)

The Sweater that launched a thousand funks

You might remember the Sea Princess Sweater that I made for the Kiddo. It’s pink…very pink. I was super proud of how it came out. The Kiddo loved it. Even though it was probably a bit too warm out to be wearing a wool sweater, she wore it every chance she could get.

20130408-232254.jpg

Although it’s a washable wool, it still needed to be handled with care. I washed it a couple times  – with maybe one or 2 other items and in cold.

And then….this

It's a little hard to see here, but it looks terrible in real life.

It’s a little hard to see here, but it looks terrible in real life.

It got mixed into a full load of laundry somehow & washed in what was clearly water that was WAY TOO HOT for it. Now I have a weird looking pseudo-felted, cabled sweater. I’m not sure what to do with it. I worked too hard on it to be willing to just throw it away. What I know is that it sent me into a crafting & blogging funk the likes of which I haven’t seen in a couple years. Combine that with working full time and you can imagine how much I’ve gotten done.

BUT about 2 weeks ago I finally started to come out of it. I made a pair of baby pants, I finished the puppy hat of eternity, and I made a lovey blanket (pics & stories to come).

And now I have ideas…so many ideas! I have some really nice yarn that is just screaming to be used. A cowl, socks, washcloths…oh my. Now I just want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS!

On a separate note, what the heck does one do with a pseuo-felted, cabled sweater when it is totally unwearable?

Game of Thrones – mystery knit-along – clue #2

This clue gave me fits. The first time I did it, I followed the same process I’ve followed before for doing short rows and I wound up with a bunch of gaping holes. So I ripped back and started over, but the second time I followed the suggestion of several of the other folks doing the knit-along and tried the shadow wrap method of doing short rows. SO much better. (Thanks Socktopus tutorial!)

There are still some areas that I’m not entirely happy with, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to rip back again or not. I still have one very large hole and I don’t know where it came from…it’s not from a dropped stitch. Also, the center stitches of this section are really loose and look, I don’t know…weird.

On the up side, I’m enjoying the knit-along itself thus far. It’s fun to be making the same thing as other people at the same time. Plus I’m learning all kinds of new approaches and ways of accomplishing even the simple parts.

A VERY pink Sea Princess

It’s done! I can’t believe it, but I finished the Sea Princess sweater early.

And, like so many of the knitting challenges I’ve taken on before, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. (Really, you’d think I would have learned by now.)

I was really overwhelmed & nervous about the prospect of having to use charts for almost the entire thing…especially the cables. The only charts I’ve done before were for washcloths (non-cabled washcloths, mind you). Once I got into though and figured out a way to keep myself on track , the charts were super easy. The cumbersome part of this project was actually flipping between the charts and following the written directions at the same time. The trick? A 3-ring binder and post-its.

20130408-232056.jpg

Being able to flip through the 3 charts and keep the directions out & off to the side made it much easier to work. And also easier to pack back up when I needed to. (Not so easy to keep the cat off of though…seriously if you put a piece of paper down, you may as well be providing an engraved invitation for her.)

So, much to my surprise, I managed to finish this sweater about 2 weeks earlier than I anticipated. And it’s a good thing too! All of a sudden, it’s decided to be spring here. After a wishy-mostly-washy March, it’s supposed to finally be warm all week. At lease the Kiddo got in one good wear before it warmed up.

I guess it’s good that we have more little girls in our extended family.

20130408-232238.jpg

20130408-232247.jpg

20130408-232254.jpg

Game of Thrones – mystery knit-along – clue #1

Okay – couple things you should know about this knit-along before I talk about the first clue.

1. Where can you find this knit along if you want to play?

It’s on the Jimmy Beans Wool blog if you want to play along (PS – Jimmy Beans is awesome!). Or you can find it on Ravelry.

2. What the heck is a mystery knit-along anyway?

A mystery knit-along is where a different portion of the pattern (called a clue) is revealed on a regular basis over the course of the knit-along. At first, you don’t even know what you are making. It is only by virtue of knitting up the clues that you gradually reveal what the end product is going to be.

Now…Clue #1!

From the Jimmy Beans blog post:

Materials:

-2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Haymarket (or 430 yds of a worsted weight yarn – I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted)
-US 8- 24″ (or shorter) circular needles
-1 stitch marker
-Some episodes of Game of Thrones to enjoy while you knit!

Directions:

-CO 120 sts
-pm and join for working in the round
Rnds 1-6: knit in garter stitch (see above abbreviations for instructions on how to knit garter stitch in the round)
Rnds 7-14: knit in stockinette stitch (see above abbreviations for instructions on knitting stockinette in the round)
Rnd 15: purl

*Repeat rounds 7-15 twice more.

Now, I’ll be honest. There was a gauge swatch post as well, but I didn’t do it. Ordinarily I would, but time got away from me during Easter week since I was making the family dinner and then I got impatient to start the clue. BUT, I’ve checked my gauge against what everyone else is getting and I seem to be in the clear.

Here’s my finished Clue #1:

20130407-145242.jpg