Rescinding That “Uncle!”

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Sitting at work, when I’d honestly rather be knitting (this is not news to anyone, especially during budget season and fiscal year-end when I might be slightly stressed), I had the epiphany that I don’t really need to learn to knit right-handed. I mean I am sure it will be a great skill to have, but am I going to master it in a week? I think not. I’ve got the whole continental feeling down, but it’s slow.  And doing a giant sweater that slowly could take me a year or more.

And I want to cast on NOW!

I’ve practiced the pattern stitches, and I feel very comfortable with the pattern (except for pockets – this will be a stretch), except for reversing the raglan shaping. And I don’t want to get that far in the pattern and screw it up. Yes, I can and will put in lifelines, but still having to rip things makes me sad.

So I got the epiphany to cast on a sample tonight. Whip up an inch or so of the 100 stitch width in the pattern, and then try the raglan shaping. If it’s wonky, I haven’t ruined or been discouraged on anything. DUH.  I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier.  It’s amazing what comes to mind when you don’t want to work.

I guess I’ll put down the Sunny Baby Blanket and swatch up my new sweater. Yay!


Crying Uncle

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I am super excited to cast on for my hooded raglan, so I started looking at the instructions in order to reverse them for left-handed knitting.  I’ve already swatched all the different patterns, and I’m so ready to create!

But after reading all of the instructions, very carefully, and trying to reverse them, I got a little confused on the raglan shaping. There are a lot of “K to end” which, without having the knitting in front of me, is a bit confusing, once the number of stitches starts being reduced. I’m 99% sure it won’t be a problem when I get to that section, but the 1% of me that invested quite a bit in the yarn, kinda wants to say ALRIGHT – I’LL KNIT THE DARN THING CONTINENTAL!

The thing is, I don’t know if I even know how to knit continental for real. I mean, I’m a leftie, so I do hold and throw with my left hand now, but I wonder if my dexterity is strong enough with my right hand to actually move the needles. I have knit right-handed with throwing before, for an entire sweater (which I didn’t swatch for and it was more like a toddler sweater), so I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of if it will take forever and/or frustrate me to all get out.

So tonight I’m going to go home and cast on a simple baby blanket with some stockinette stitch, and maybe even some twists, just to see if I can actually do it! I’ll use some of my stash, and hopefully hone some skills so I can cast on the sweater next week.  Sigh.


Stash Dash! Wait – they started without me!

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The Knit Girls have an annual summer Stash Dash, where knitters, crocheters and spinners are challenged to use/make 5,000 meters (5,468 yards) of yarn. This year, the “event” runs from May 23 to August 7, and has the easiest rules ever.  Basically, nearly anything goes. Your 5K can include WIP/UFO, and you really decide when you consider an item “finished.” For example, if blocking were required, I’m sure I’d not even participate. I’m writing this post on June 6, which means I’m already two weeks behind on this. People were posting finished objects on the 23rd, for Pete’s sake! But I do have three UFO I will finish during this challenge, plus some others that I might finish, but they are lace weight scarves, so maybe not.  I owe my neighbor a baby blanket, so there’s some mindless crochet to do, and I just wound a crap load of yarn for more Monkeys, so I am not worried about finding enough to do – just the time to do it. So, I’ve sketched out my initial plan:

Time Traveler Socks (UFO) 400 yards

Leaf Lace Skirt (UFO) 660 yards

Crazy Monkey Socks (UFO) 400 yards

Hooded Raglan Pullover 1710 yards  (my major project of the summer)

Baby Star Blanket 630 yards

These projects put me at 3800 yards, which is a good start. I’m sure I’ll throw in some cowls, shawls, and of course more socks before August.

I’m really nervous about the Raglan Pullover. I fell in love with it back in March, got to touch, feel, and (shhhh) wear it at Vogue Knitting Live, and I know it’s a bit of a stretch knit for me. I’ve swatched all of the pattern stitches (yay), and I’m about ready to cast on, as I think it’s going to be a good 45 day knit.  I won’t let myself cast on, however, until I get the lace skirt finished, because 1. it’s been haunting me with its black residue on my fingers and clothes each time I pick it up, and 2. it’s total summer wear, whereas the sweater can go in any season.

So here’s to my 5K.  Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and start running some as well!


Easily Confused, But That’s Not An Excuse!

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I failed the Ravelenic Games.

I totally followed the rules – I cast on during the opening ceremonies, and I completed my project before the closing ceremonies. I posted on my team page. I did not realize I had to “cross a finish line” on a Ravelry thread, and so I don’t get a medal.  I’m kinda sad about that.

My project is totally gorgeous. The clap turned out lovely, and I know my mom will love it, but I guess my bragging rights are limited to my blogs.

Finished Clapotis

Finished Clapotis

Oh well.

That’s the thing with ADD – sometimes reading all the rules gets boring. And for a first time participant, there were a LOT of rules to follow. I’m not making excuses like Shani Davis did – blaming the Under Armor suits. This was all on me.

Larry Modeling the Clapotis in front of the Four-Man Bobsled Finals

Larry Modeling the Clapotis in front of the Four-Man Bobsled Finals

 

And I’m ok with it. And clearly, Larry Dog is happy with it, as he immediately lied down on it, so I wrapped him up. I did what I set out to do! I tried my hand at project knitting, and I liked it. I finished a project and didn’t leave it hanging on my needles for weeks (months, years….). And my mom gets a kick ass clapotis. It’s all good, and I know that next time I should probably read all the instructions.

 

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Ravelenic Games 2014

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As much as I LOVE Ravelry, I just don’t go there as much as I used to. I tend to follow yarn companies and designers on Facebook and twitter, and honestly, I haven’t had the energy to get back on there (as demonstrated by my inability to keep up with any of my blogs!).

I decided I needed a good project, with good yarn, and a deadline – I always need deadlines or I won’t finish things.  My Executive Director has a Clapotis sitting on her chair, and I always admire it. It isn’t a hard knit, and it looked pretty entertaining with more than stockeinette stitch.  I had a gift card to a local knitting store burning a hole in my pocket, so I bought some nice Liberty Wool, and went to town!

Liberty Wool

Lovely Liberty Wool – my mom chose the colorway

I joined Team Canada on Ravelry, because there were thousands of teams from which to choose, and Canadians are very nice folk. Were it warmer up north, I may have defected earlier in life. But it’s not, so I live a little vicariously.

I of course had to wait for the start of the games to cast on – I am very much a goody two shoes when it comes to following rules. I must confess, I made my husband order in dinner rather than going out so I could cast on that evening.  I ended up frogging the start two or three times, simply because I wasn’t good at counting. It’s not a difficult thing, but I just wasn’t paying attention. Once I got started, it was a super easy knit, and I’ve made pretty good progress – 50% completed halfway through the games.

Half Clap

I tend to fall asleep when knitting this, as I tend to attack it in the evenings, after a day of work and a hard workout (for more info on my crazy 90 Day Fitness Challenge, be sure to check out my personal blog). I had a freak out last night that I didn’t have enough yarn, but I’m guessing I’ll have nearly a skein to spare.

I kinda like this project knitting thing – I don’t really ever do it, but with my propensity NOT to finish things, it may be a better idea!


A Grand Plan Nipped in the Bud Before It Failed

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Like 10 million other bloggers, I thought I’d resolve to do a craft project a week in 2013. I mean google it, and you’ll come across a slew of bloggers sharing their amazing crafting success (and the much more entertaining craft fails). Perhaps I was thinking I could be featured on the amazing CraftFail because I know they would not (all) be beautiful at all! I mean, there are very few places you can be non-snarkily praised for failing

But as I walked to lunch to sit and work on a cowl I have on my needles, I realized I was, as usual, being way too overly ambitious. I already have a blog idea I credit to my 10th grade English teacher, where I hope to write 10 minutes a day about a random word. She made us do this once a week – she’d come up with a topic or random thought, and we wrote non-stop, with no-editing, for up to half an hour, depending on the plans for the day. I loved it – and realized I should pick it up again. So that’s my 2013 blog plan.

The real reason I opted not to do a craft a week, other than it’s been done before, is that I know I’d do it for two weeks and fall off. As usual. I’d also spend a boatload of cash along the way, which is pretty silly.

Remember This?

Remember this? My crazy stash circa 9/2012

Then there is the fact that I have quite a lot of yarn in my stash. So much yarn that I somewhat vowed to use a lot of it before I can break into my awesome gift basket from the recent Yarn Crawl (which is thankfully divided into projects!). So I think I am going to try and inventory my yarn this weekend (ha), and then come up with a project plan to get rid of some of it, so I can delve into my basket o’ fun!

Got any crafty New Year’s Resolutions?


So I Made a Little Holiday Money

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But I probably spent just as much in product, but that was MONTHS ago, so it shouldn’t count, right?

This summer, I had been invited to be part of the Denver County Fair. My friend Becky had taken over the craft pavillion, and she kept asking me to be enter some of my knitting in the competition. My easy out was a vacation planned for the same week. Then Becky went ahead and organized a holiday craft sale, and I decided I needed to get in on the action. I had a slew of scarves already knit, so I just needed to make a few trendy ruffle scarves, and I’d be set. It was a low investment – like $40 for a space, and I knew I could sell two scarves at least, to make that back.

Overall, the event went well. I made about $200, netting $150 when you take into account all the taxes and licenses and stuff, and I learned what sells. Those trendy ruffle scarves are very, very popular. My favorite lace and Queen Anne scarves are not.

I don’t know if I’ll do that again – it was fun, but it was a lot of work – though not half as much as Becky and Stephanie put in to make it a reality. I will eventually get my etsy store up and running – I’m still in need of a model or a dress form to better display my works, and I’ll actually be able to market The Stitiching Squirrel. I can’t deny I totally approached this event half-assed.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll try and keep up with this blog a bit more regularly!

*****update – I made $260 or so – I forgot the sales I made to friends and family after the show! No, I still can’t make a living at this, but I can pay for more yarn!


Stash Busting Bit Me In The Butt

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I was being so good. My friend had twin boys, and I needed to knit up some blankets quickly. I had one already completed in my stash, so I figured I’d make another, using the yarn in my stash. I had a nearly full cone of Peaches & Creme in Shaded Denim, which should be close to enough for a blanket. Well, it wasn’t exactly a full cone. And even a full cone might not be enough for a blanket.

Peaches & Creme has basically been discontinued. The yarn production was purchased by another company, and the colors have changed. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? I mean there is tons of yarn on etsy and even Amazon. Yeah, not so much. One little skein on etsy was all I could find.

I put a plea out for the yarn on Ravelry, and thankfully have a few takers. Had I just bought a new cone of yarn, it would have been easy, and I could finish these last 80 rows this weekend. But I was being good, and knitting from the stash.  It has now come at a premium, as I’m basically selling my kidneys for 200 yards of yarn.

Such is life.


Hooks and Needles

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A quick inventory of my ADD Crafting Lifestyle….here’s what I have going on:

 

  • Baby Blanket for Wigginton Twins – I cheated a little on this one, in that I had a baby blanket I finished for another friend, but never delivered. Their son is like 2 now. Oops. This pattern is the completely mindless, but always adorable Diagonal Comfort Blanket. I’m close to half way finished, so I’m hoping to finish it up by Sunday, October 6.

    Ruki immediately jumped on my finished creation!

  • Bronco Ruffle Scarf. I picked up a skein of Denver Broncos orange and blue mesh ruffle yarn during Yarn Along the Rockies. This should take about two hours to knit, but I keep working about two rows and move on to something else.
  • My second Vanna’s Stripes blanket (first one is the photo on the right). I had enough yarn left over from the first to do another, I’m close to halfway through this one too – I want it off my needles!
  • Fish Hats – one for a Cleveland Browns fan (using ALL stash yarn), and one in honor of the Denver Cutthroats Hockey Team (a cutthroat is a trout). The latter may hopefully create some interest in my knitting – and minor league hockey fans will buy anything!
  • Fashion Yarn Scarf for my mother. We visited a local yarn shop in Colorado Springs last week, and my mother fell in love with some fashion/novelty yarn which is incredibly soft, and a sort of faux fur. This will be a quick knit, probably 90 minutes, but I need to free my larger needles for this! She spent a bit on the yarn, too, so I’d like to give it to her when we go to the theatre on October 9th.
  • A baby sweater (right-handed) that my friend Mary handed down to me, which I’ll get done by the time she has grandkids (her daughter is only 5 now).

AND I won $400 worth of amazingly awesome yarn a week ago in Yarn Along the Rockies. Like I needed anything for my stash! I’ll be posting more on that later, but I’m just about drowning in yarny goodness in my Craft Cave! I need like a week off work just to knit!

 


Project Knitting – I Can Do This – I Swear!

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I am a little proud of myself. I bought yarn for a project and I actually used it all!

My friend Mary and I are swapping crafty goods – she made me business card holders, and I offered her “anything.” She selected a slouchy hat. She actually joined Ravelry to search for patterns. I was pretty impressed by that – and also the fact Ravelry is big enough that there’s no longer a waitlist!

I immediately fell in LOVE with the pattern Mary selected – a Quick Cabled Slouch Hat. It has a simple, but beautiful cable pattern. Friday night I ran out an bought two skeins of Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends in lavender and started stitching. I basically did the hat in about 3 hours, but I decided to make one extra cable repeat. The result was more of a Rasta hat than a slouchy hat.

Saturday morning, I made the tough decision to FROG the whole thing. The best thing to come out of that was explaining to my husband why it is called FROGGING. He spent the drive home from the gym saying “rrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiip” and giggling a little bit. I can’t really blame him, as it is a perfect term.

The final product is gorgeous. I don’t think my camera (actually my phone and my husband’s much better phone) do it much justice, and seeing as I can’t wear slouchy hats, I need to get a photo of it on Mary when we meet up. I may be making these hats all winter long! I just love them!

Quick Cable Slouchy Hat

I ended up with an extra skein. Of course I did. I offered Mary a scarf or wristers. She had never heard of wristers, and loved the idea (she’s a children’s librarian, so they are pretty cool). I took a few patterns I found online, and like a real grown-up knitter, I made my own pattern. They didn’t come out perfect, but I do really like them.  I probably wouldn’t have made them as long in the fingers, and of course the second glove is tighter and look a little better than the first, but that’s how doing accessories one at a time works.

ImageImage

I really am trying to use the yarn I buy for specific projects. On my shopping trip, I did pick up another skein of ruffle yarn in pinks for Race for the Cure coming up in a few weeks. I know someone will enjoy that, and I super cute skein of stretch sock for my own fingerless gloves. That gave me a +2 for the week. That’s probably not so great. But that’s better than +4.