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!

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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!)

Ready for spring

I’m so done with winter. I have been for a while. I’m ready for spring. I think it might be the colors.

And I am ready for spring colors. And flowers. And plants (I keep thinking about what veggies I’m going to plant in my container garden this year).

But since spring isn’t here yet, I decided to create a little bit of spring for myself.

How about some flowers?

Pretty, pink, and functional too…flower dishcloths.

Flower Dishcloths

The pattern is Flower Power Dishcloths by Doni Spiegle and is a free Ravelry download. It’s an easy-to-follow crochet pattern and it works up super fast.

I think I’ve figured out the two things I like most about crocheting.

  1. I can make a crochet project much faster than the same thing if it were knitted.
  2. I find it to be much easier to do shaped things – like flowers, Mickey ears…etc. (There are plenty of ways to do the same things with knitting, but they don’t come as easily to me.)

And bonus, the dishcloths are made from my stash of cotton.

Project Use Up All The Cotton Totals: 54g for both flowers

468 grams of yarn used, 618 grams to go

Simple, quick, pretty

Washcloths. They’re quick, they’re easy. And bonus, they use up a bunch of yarn…especially when you crochet them.

These four I made in one night. I don’t have a specific person in mind to give them to yet so I bundled them together with a pretty ribbon and put them in my closet. I’ll hang on to them until a gift or donation is needed…or maybe even a craft show.

My goal is to make at least 2 Project Use Up All The Cotton items a month and I made 4. Yay!

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Project Use Up All The Cotton Totals
100g total for all 4 washcloths

414 grams of yarn used, 672 grams to go

Plans and goals and projects, oh my

Yes, it’s already been 2013 for a week, but I think I’m still safely in the window for resolution-making.

1. Make at least 2 “Project Use Up All the Cotton” items per month. I have no illusions about actually emptying the cotton stash completely, particularly because I’ve had to buy more to use in customer projects. However, I figure 2 items each month is a reasonable and achievable goal. Plus, it would be nice to have a stash of washcloths & soap pockets to donate later in the year.

2. Make this sweater for the Kiddo. It’s a beautiful short-sleeved cable sweater that would be great to wear over a long-sleeved shirt in the early spring. The designer is Elena Nodel and she has created some wonderful patterns. For me, this will be only my 3rd sweater ever attempted and the largest. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by larger garments, but I figure if I was able to tackle a lace shawl in 2011/2012 I can take on a child-sized sweater in 2013.

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photo from “Sea Princess” (by Elena Nodel) pattern page on Ravelry

3. Learn how to make an “Aunt Gert” blanket. What is that you ask? Well, the simplest explanation is that it’s a crocheted ripple afghan. More than that though…it’s a blanket that almost every kid in my family has received – me, my sister, my cousins, my niece & nephew, the Kiddo. Aunt Gert was my great aunt. I don’t really remember her, but she made my blanket, my sister’s, and 2 of my cousin’s. My Aunt Barbara and my mom have made all the others. My mom can’t really sit and work on the blankets like she used to so someone needs to step up and make them. That’s really the main reason I decided to learn to crochet. (I had the story totally wrong earlier & my mom called…she was like, “You know all this.” To which I responded, “Duh! Yes I do. I don’t know what I was thinking. So I came back & fixed it.)

There are lots more plans I have in my head for what I’d like to do this year, but as far as solid goals go I would be super proud of myself for accomplishing all three of these.

Speedy teacher gifts or What I got for the Kiddo’s teachers this Christmas

Teacher gifts are tough. I never know what to get for the Kiddo’s teachers and there are usually at least 3 teachers to buy for because she’s still so little. It can get costly real quick.

That being said, I like to make sure I get them something every year for the holidays. These are people that take great care of my little one and who do a great job keeping her smart little brain full and happy.

I typically go the coffee or other local food place gift card route since I know that it’s something that is likely to get used. And if I make cookies, I attach a gift card to a container for each teacher. This year I just felt like the gift card and cookies weren’t quite enough, so I added in a cup cozy as well.

These 3 were quick & easy (just half-double crochet the whole thing, done flat), but I think they came out pretty cute. They’re actually adjustable and use velcro to close (which I naturally forgot to take a picture of before I put them in the gifts).

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And bonus, I used some of my cotton yarn for these so they go toward the Project Use Up All the Cotton tally:

Pink Cozy – 19g
Purple/Blue Cozy – 19g
Red/White/Blue/Green Cozy – 17g

55g total for all 3 cozies

314 grams of yarn used, 772 grams to go

Project use up all the cotton – I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise

Way back in May, I started a cotton de-stash project – Project Use Up All The Cotton. (Side note: I could have sworn it’s been longer than that. May feels like it was a REALLY long time ago.) I’ve had a few detours since starting and haven’t used up nearly as much yarn as I’d hoped by now.

BUT I did make another washcloth this week. I am proud & disappointed in it at the same time.

 

From a looks perspective, it didn’t come out that great…and I know that’s my fault. I made a poor choice in yarn. You’d think I would have learned to make these types of picture patterns in solid colors by now.

On the other hand, for this washcloth pattern, I did 2 things I don’t usually do and for that I am proud. The pattern itself is actually just a chart for the phoenix picture. So I did all the math to figure out exactly how many knits & purls I needed to make the right sized washcloth with a centered picture. Plus (and probably what I’m more pleased about), I read the phoenix pattern straight from the chart. Usually I follow written patterns (you know – knit 2, purl 5, knit 10…etc), but this time I just used the chart ( you can find it at this site).

I do like the chart itself and, now that I’ve figured out the math, I’m thinking that I’ll make this one again…this time in a solid color so you can actually tell what the heck it is you’re looking at.

Project Use Up All The Cotton – Week “I gave up counting a LONG time ago”, Projects 5, 6, & 7

I know, I know…it’s been a REALLY long time. What can I say…darn life! I seriously did not expect this summer to get away from me like it has. Yeah, yeah, excuses excuses. On the up side, I’ve actually gotten quite a bit done…some non-cotton items and a couple of things that are in cotton, but are not part of this project. Plus 3 more PUUATC things and here they are:

There’s an Owl Coffee Cup Cozy:

I really enjoy how this came out & I’m thinking a few more will make great holiday gifts for my kiddo’s preschool teachers. I’m always at a loss for what to get them, especially because there are usually at least 3 teachers to give gifts to and we don’t have a huge budget for that stuff.

A Zig-Zag washcloth:

I added this one to the small arsenal of wash/dishcloths I’m amassing in my kitchen. I like that they are re-usable and soften up over time. Right now I’m the only one that will use them though. My husband has yet to convince himself that it’s okay to use a knitted washcloth. He looks at them like little treasures that he’s afraid of ruining…which is sweet because he respects that it takes effort to make these things, but he’s missing the point – they’re supposed to be used. Ah well, some day.

And a Broomstick Bookmark:

This came out really cute. I’m not sure if I’m going to make more though. I love giving book gifts, but my family has finally hopped on the e-reader bandwagon, so a bookmark is less-than-helpful as far as a book-related gift goes. They would probably be happier with Amazon gift cards so they can get more books. On the other hand, I’m considering doing a few craft fairs next year and if I do, I’ll totally put a few of these out for sale. I think they’ll do really well.

Project Use Up All The Cotton Totals:

Project 5 (Owl Coffee Cup Cozy) – 16g
Project 6 (Electric Cloth) – 33g
Project 7 (Harry’s Broom) – 6g

 215 grams down, 871 grams of yarn to go