Sunday, June 30, 2013

Year of Projects 3 - YES THREE!

SOCKTOPUS: Totally Vanilla • Kandahar • V Junkie • Kwalia • Farmer McGregor • Shur'tugal • 2luvcrew • Vorticity • Rumpled! • Crowley • Om Shanti • Mince Pie Mayhem • Hundred Acre Wood • De Stijl • Fiori di Zucca • Caretta Caretta • Spring Shoots

Wrapping up Year 2: I started out intending to knit every pattern from the book Folk Knitting In Estonia. Turns out I don't enjoy Estonian folk knitting that much. I don't have need of any more pairs of mittens, and if I ever knit another pair of full-fingered gloves again, it'll be too soon. After knitting 7/27 patterns I put the book aside.

In December I switched my project book to Knitting Vintage Socks and things were back on track. To this point I've knit 11/20 patterns in the book, with a twelfth pattern currently on needles awaiting more yarn. Once they're done, I'll be putting this book aside as well. I simply am not interested in the remaining eight patterns - bed socks, knee high cuffed men's socks, baby bootikins or even the useful stockings which Nancy Bush admits "suits those who do reenactments or belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism". Seriously?!

Embarking on Year 3: Socks! In the introduction to her book Socktopus, designer Alice Yu exclaims "I am a Sock Addict. I love knitting them, ...wearing them, gifting them, receiving them." Me too! The book includes seventeen patterns with a huge variety of fun and interesting socks. At the same time I signed up for a Ravelry KAL for all the patterns in the book. The KAL will dictate the order I knit them in, and will (hopefully) help to keep me on track. It's going to be a good year I think!

The Year of Projects is organized through a Ravelry Group called "Come Blog-a-long" ... we blog our way through a Year of Projects. Our project year runs from July 2013 to the end of June 2014. Members construct a list of projects they want to complete through the year, and post their progress on Sundays. Although I choose a book (or two) each year, others start out with patterns in their queues, or lists for Christmas and birthday gifts, or whatsoever. You're welcome to join us!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

a little stash-busting

Yesterday on Ravelry I happened across a post from TriMomma:

Would like to make lap blankets for seniors displaced by the massive floods here in Alberta. Collecting 6" x 6" crocheted or knitted squares. Please message me if you can help.

Clicking on her profile I confirmed that TriMomma is in Calgary AB - on the spot to assemble and distribute the blankets - so I pm'ed her and offered a couple of squares. Shortly after posting she was flamed by other users and her post was locked and archived :(

A quick search of the Ravelry pattern database turned up a number of possibilities for 6 inch squares. I settled on this Flower Granny Square from Silja Devine. There are helpful notes from other Ravellers that clarify some of the pattern directions that aren't crystal clear, but once you get the hang of it, it's very simple and quite lovely. For my two squares I've used up scraps of Redheart Soft Touch and Bernat Satin. Each square took less than an hour from start to finish.

I'll be dropping my squares in the post to Laura today. Now I just hope it stops raining in Calgary. Enough is enough.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finished Object Friday

No surprise here: I finished my African Flower Hexagons blanket. Once the joining was started the whole thing went together pretty quickly. After crocheting a final round on each motif with the navy blue, I used Single Crochet to join the hexagons into the final blanket shape.

This is the first time I've ever assembled a crocheted blanket from motifs that aren't square. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it the most efficient way - there were lots of ends to weave in - but I found it tough to keep track of motif order while assembling. Stupid head cold didn't help.

The individual motifs were made to use up all the scraps of Berroco Vintage DK in my stash. It's lovely yarn - a 50% wool and 40% acrylic blend that's super soft and has beautiful drape. And it comes in a wide range of colours - perfect for a multicolour project like this. Some Ravelers have remarked about pilling with this yarn. No sign of that here; it still looks good after the first wash and dry, although admittedly I hand-washed and laid flat to dry.

I had just enough scraps to make up 31 motifs which, after joining and adding borders, resulted in a finished blanket that's 34" wide and 42" deep. Not as big as I'd hoped, but not as small as I'd feared. My plan is to donate it to the Warm Hands Network. According to their guidelines they prefer blankets that are 35"x 35" or bigger, but I'm sure they'll happily accept this one.

There's an ulterior motive for getting this blanket done now. In just a few days I'm seeing my brother and sister-in-law at the cottage. Coincidentally they live just a few minutes from the shipping location for the Warm Hands Network. By handing the blanket over to them for delivery I'll save several dollars on shipping! Every little bit helps, right?

Happy Canada Day weekend to my Canadian friends! Happy Independence Day weekend to our American neighbours! Happy Friday everyone! Click through the link to Tami's Amis to see the parade of finished objects there. Lots to celebrate!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

At the end of March I decided to gather up all my Berroco Vintage scraps to crochet African Flower Hexagon motifs. And for the last several weeks my finished hexagons have been awaiting a border colour. Finally I went to my LYS and made a decision. Okay, truthfully, I didn't really make a decision. Nina and I laid out all the possible border colours and then settled on this navy blue - the only one that had several balls available in the same dyelot. I wasn't sure how many I'd need for joining and borders - more than one and less than three I guessed - so I'll use whatever's left in a Surprise baby blanket. That pattern's been in my library for months, awaiting yarn and inspiration!

My original thought was to "join as you go" according to this tutorial, but after trying it I decided it was simpler just to join it all up with single crochet. Both Gavin and I have terrible head colds, so simpler is definitely better right now! This morning I wove in all the ends, so all that's left is a couple more rounds of navy blue border. Yes FO Friday, I have my sights firmly set on you!

At work, when I haven't the energy or focus to plug away at my Shark Week Socks, I'm also working on a Teapot Cozy as requested by Linda. The pattern has vertical stripes that are gathered in pleats by short floats on the wrong side. It's clever construction but it's a really unpleasant knit - all those stitches tightly bunched on the needles ... never mind this splitty and squeaky acrylic from Michael's Art and Crafts! Yech! I hope she likes it because I don't plan to ever make another of these!

It's Wednesday, so I hope you have time to check out the links at Tami's Amis. There's almost always some surprising and inspirational things going on!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Finished Objects Friday

Pattern: Linen Stitch Coin Purse by Mimi Hill

Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk (used 16gr) with 4 inch metal purse frame from Sugar Carousel

Needle Size: US 3 (3.25 mm)

Modifications: None.

Comments: Mine worked up a touch big; narrowing the width by 4 stitches might eliminate the slight pucker of fabric eased into the metal purse frame. I sewed my seams on the machine but next time I'll hand stitch them. And really, I need to get over my fear of sewing to make a fabric liner for the next one - it'd be so much nicer and sturdier!

Gluing the fabric into the frame with super tacky white glue - the kind that dries clear - worked fine. A tooth pick came in handy to really wedge that fabric into the channels on the metal frame. I let the glue dry for a couple of days and then sewed the fabric to the frame using a tiny little needle and the pre-punched holes in the metal frame. Once that sewing was done I used nail polish remover to clean up the splotches of dried glue on the metal frame. Worked perfectly!

I love this little purse! Looks like this'd make a great Christmas gift, especially if I tuck a gift card inside :)

Pattern: Tangled Happy Wand by Sara Freisberg

Yarn: Shelridge Farms Soft Touch DKW (used 20 gr)

Hook Size: 3.75 mm

Modifications: I omitted the final round on each individual star and then used that round as the joining round. I don't think it improved it, so I'll do another few as written. Following a suggestion I saw in another Raveler's notes, I used a dollar store wooden spoon for the stem rather than a dowel - the star topper stays on the spoon face without any trouble!

Comments: Cute and quick little project; I only wish I was more confident in my embroidery. You don't even want to know how many times I ripped that out and redid it! I'm hoping to make a handful more of these for the craft show tomorrow.

It's Friday, so you know the drill! Why not head over to Tami's Amis to see what's cooking with all the other bloggers posting there?! Happy Friday!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

FO: Jerry the Musical Monkey

Pattern: Jerry the Musical Monkey by Rebecca Danger

Yarn: Loopy Ewe Solid Series in Sunshine Yellow and SRK On Your Toes in Natural

Needle Size: US 1 (2.25 mm)

Modifications: Other than using sock yarn I knit this exactly as written. Seated he measures 5-1/2" from his butt to the top of his head.

Comments: I was worried that my safety eyes might be ridiculously huge on a monkey worked in fingering weight, but the wide-eyed effect is okay with me. Phew.

Finishing is always the make-or-break thing isn't it? Rather than using running stitch to attach the ears and arms, I used mattress stitch. Similarly I mattress stitched the mouth on rather than using the recommended whip stitch.  I did follow directions by attaching the legs and tail to  the inside of the back and then finishing the bottom with a running stitch seam but I don't like how that looks. Instead I plan to rip out the bottom seam, remove the legs and tail and reattach/reseam all with mattress stitching instead.

This monkey doesn't sit up on his own. Some Ravellers have added weights to the stuffing at his butt and I might do that as well when I redo the finishing; I haven't entirely decided on this because I kinda like his floppiness. We'll see. Overall I'm pretty happy with him. He's pretty cute. The instructions are very clear and well written, so another winner from this designer!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

You're forgiven if you glanced at the photo and thought "Looks like a mess." That what it looks like to me too. In fact they're bits and pieces of Jerry the Musical Monkey ... two arms, his body, two ears, one complete foot and the start of a second.

I'm working him in sock yarn from the stash. The yellow is Loopy Ewe Solid Series, leftover from Star Trek socks made for Christmas last year. The natural colour is SRK On Your Toes, scraps of which have been used in various projects over the past year.

When I started out I did think that this might be a good choice for the craft sale, but now it looks like I'll struggle to complete more than 1 or 2 monkeys in time. We'll see. There are project notes available from another raveller to make a mini version, so once this guy's complete I may look at that. In the mean time, it's an entertaining little knit and it's stash-busting so it's still a win.

It's Wednesday so you know the drill - have a look at what all the other peeps are up to over at Tami's Amis! Thanks for stopping in to look at my show and tell.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

It's the hardest thing I've ever attempted in crochet. This Maple Leaf Motif in Irish Crochet is rated as "intermediate" - way outside my beginner crochet comfort level. The instructions are written and charted, but I'm finding the visual clues provided by the chart invaluable.

With the craft show falling just over a week before Canada Day I'm keen to produce some Maple Leaf themed crafts. It'd make cute little hostess gift or table decoration for a Canada Day BBQ, wouldn't it?

This first sample is being made from a DK weight Egyptian cotton on a 2.25mm hook. Looks like it's going to finish up about 8 inches wide. I wouldn't want it any bigger than that so typical worsted weight dishcloth cotton is out of the question. Maybe a fingering weight cotton is the way to go? Any suggestions?

It's Work-in-Progress Wednesday at Tami's Amis. Take some time to check out the links posted. It's a fun way to connect with crafters at every corner of the earth.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Surmount the Stash June 2013 update

goals for June:
  • find my sock knitting mojo back and finish the two pairs that have been hibernating, not to mention catching up on the Socktopus KAL
  • make more and more things for the craft sale