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

Winter is Coming

Game of Thrones and Yarn…what? How awesome is that?

And more importantly – The Starks and Yarn.

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This is Winter is Coming from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted and I’m going to be using it in my very first Mystery Knit-along.

First…the yarn.

I’ve used this yarn before in another color (one that I can’t get anymore and that makes me very sad). It’s soft, easy to work with, and washable…woo hoo! Still I haven’t been buying as much of it as I’d like because it’s about $20/skein. Not SUPER expensive, but not cheap either and when I’m crocheting and making things for babies, I generally stick to cotton blends or acrylic (cheap & don’t require much extra care). And believe me, if I could afford it, I’d have this yarn in 50 colors. First of all, there are so many to choose from. Secondly, they are so rich & the combinations are gorgeous. And third, it’s so smooshy and soft! I love it!!

Now, the knit-along.

It’s a Mystery Knit-along. That means that you don’t know up front what you’re going to make. Instead, you get a small portion of the pattern (called a “clue”) each week. And this knit-along is Game of Thrones inspired/themed. So, the piece is inspired by the show & books and the clues come out each Sunday to coincide with the new episode of the show on HBO.

So fun!! I can’t wait to see what I end up making.

My mission, should I not wuss out and refuse to accept it

I believe I’ve previously mentioned my affinity for the creation of small hats, yes?

As I was looking at my list of items to create for gifting purposes, I realized that I have a fairly significant number of hats to make in the next few months…no fewer than 6 without having to think too hard. And then it dawned on me…dissertation! (A dissertation is a project/series of projects made during a 3 month period of time during a Nerd Wars Tournament.)

I attempted (and failed to complete) a dissertation in Nerd Wars Tournament 3, but I believe that was because my plans were FAR too ambitious. This time the challenge I will set for myself should be much more achievable, particularly because I already know how to knit hats and some of the patterns are ones I’ve done before.

The Basic Plan – Knit or Crochet 9 hats in varying sizes and patterns between June 1 and August 31

Here’s where the challenge comes in:

  1. I actually have to function in real life and not yarn-craft all day.
  2. I will also be participating in other Nerd Wars challenges.
  3. I want to do this all from my current stash and not buy any new yarn. (This is a personal challenge and will not be included in my dissertation proposal.)
  4. I’ve knitted plenty of hats, but I’ve never crocheted any. This one could get interesting

So, that’s 3 hats per month. At the moment, I’ve selected 3 patterns which will be used for 5 of the hats. And all 5 of these hats have gifting destinations. I’m just not sure about the other 4 yet. Hmm….

3rd time’s the charm – my February Nerd Wars plan

February is Round 1 of Tournament 4 of Nerd Wars…my 3rd NW Tournament. I’m like, a real veteran now.

Since it’s a short month & there are actually things I want to knit, here’s what I’m planning for the month:

Porifera Socks

These will apply to the Scientific Challenge which is to create a single something or an item out of all one “thing” – such as one ball of yarn. And that’s what I’m doing…making a pair of socks out of a single ball of yarn. I have no idea how I’m going to tie these to the team yet.

The pattern is quite pretty and is working up quickly so far.

iPad cozy

This I am making from scratch without a pattern for the Nerd Culture Challenge (make an item inspired by technology). The yarn is a very nice dark purple. I am going to tie it back to Warehouse 13. I figure I can make a nice little story about neutralizer (purple goo) infused yarn keeping Steve Jobs’ original iPad from going all “artifacty.” (In reality, I need a cozy for my fancy new iPad that the Hubs got me for Christmas.)

If I wind up having time I’ll try to do a third project, but at this point I’m only planning on two. I figure I’d rather aim a little lower this time and not have to be sad when real life intrudes on my knitting time.

Trying something new

I want to learn how to make something new. Yes I started on making a couple shawls in the last few months, but they don’t feel like new things to me…more like really big scarves (which is, I guess, what they kind of are).

I’m thinking socks. Ultimately, I’m planning on making these – Porifera Socks:

image from miriamfelton.com

But I’m going to start with a tutorial called Silver’s Sock Class.

I’m a little scared actually. I’m casting on today & I’ll let you know how it goes.

Apparently I’m “counting challenged”

In a fit of post-Nerd Wars ambition, I decided that I would tackle my first official lace shawl project.  I looked & looked until I found a pattern that I liked, but that didn’t seem monumentally over-challenging and that would work with the Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Twilight that I already have a bunch of.  And I found a pattern that I think fits those criteria nicely.

Leaf & Acorn Lace Shawl*

From what I can gather on Ravelry, there used to be a Leave & Acorn Lace Shawl pattern specifically for worsted weight yarn but it’s been discontinued.  Instead the pattern link takes you to another very similar pattern that is for a certain yarn on the pattern provider’s site (as they are also a yarn-seller).  The yarn seems to be a much lower weight, as I figured out pretty early on in my first attempt at knitting the pattern.

Yes, I said first attempt.

I’ve been knitting this shawl since September 1st and I’m only on about row 30. (Actually I’m on row 33, but I screwed up – again – and I have to work backwards.)

First I started using only slightly larger needles than were suggested on the pattern – but much smaller than suggested for the yarn weight.  The shawl looked more like a small scarf and you couldn’t really differentiate the lace pattern at all.  So I ripped back to the beginning and started over.

Then I got to about row 15 and something just went horribly wrong.  Stitches were dropped and lost and I don’t even know how to explain how badly messed up it was.  So I started over again.

Now I’m on my third attempt and, again, things are just wrong.  However, as I said, I’m about 30 rows in…I was nearly 40, so there’s no way I’m starting over again unless I have absolutely no choice.  I know that I dropped at least one stitch and I thought I fixed it, but then I counted the # of stitches in my row and I had 4 less than I needed.  I worked one row backwards and it was still wrong.  So, I went back another row…still wrong.  You can guess where this is going.

Now I’m going back to at least row 30 and hoping that I can start moving forward again tonight.

This shawl may mean the end of me.

Well, probably not…but I may have to jump to something simpler for a week just so that I don’t get too annoyed with myself.

 

*You have to register/sign in to view the pattern, but it’s free to do so and it doesn’t appear you need to buy anything.

Something for me?

Since I’m waiting on the yarn I ordered for my upcoming baby projects, I decided to de-stash a little and make something for myself using my super soft, super bulky Rowan Big Wool in Smoky.  It’s a really pretty gray, almost 2 shades in the the same family.

I decided to use a pattern by Mary-Heather Cogar (of Ravelry, naturally), called Riverwalk.  It’s a pretty, but simple cable pattern and should work nicely with my super bulky yarn.

The pattern itself is actually the first individual pattern I’ve ever purchased (on Ravelry or otherwise).  Although I’ve bought books before, I’ve never actually bought a single pattern on its own.  Much to my husband’s chagrin, this could become a habit.

This scarf I’m keeping for myself.  I haven’t made myself anything in quite some time and since I’m the only person in my family that seems to be able to appreciate real wool when it’s at its soft, fluffy best anyway this one gets to be mine.

Sheep pic from http://www.nataliedee.com (so cute!)