Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm No Competition

I'm speaking to knitting designers.  It took me two full days of knitting, frogging, cussing, and a little thinking to make this 5" by 6" dishcloth.  It's got a fish on it but you can barely tell what it is.  I don't think I'll be designing something again, but I'm glad I did it.  VJ challenged us to chart a design and then knit is at the January Knitting Guild meeting.  Since I rarely ignore a challenge I plunged in.  First I was just knitting an outline (top photo) but that didn't work, so I ripped out to the green and started over making a solid fish.  That sort of worked, but not really.  We need dishcloths anyway since our supply is wearing out so it'll have a nice home at the sink but, nope, not gonna design anything again.  Evidently I don't have a conceptual brain.

Aside from the design challenge, I seem to be fixated on knitting or crocheting dishcloths lately.  I guess because they're relatively quick and easy and you get a payoff with a small effort.  This one's supposed to have a pseudo-cable on it but it looks pretty darned flat to me.  Oh well, I've got a bag of leftover cotton so I'm knitting it up and this one calls for holding 2 together so it'll go faster.  Besides, HZ asked me for some dishcloths so she'll have some to pick from on Feb. 9 at the next family supper.

DD, I don't know why I'm avoiding a second go at a crocheted net scrubbie but I swear (cross my heart) I'll pick it up today.  Promise.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


The January program at Bay Lakes Knitting Guild was how to read and make knitting charts.  Charts are a graphic way to write out a knitting pattern that are especially helpful with complex designs.  VJ, the prez and presenter, gave us each a chart blank and encouraged us to quickly design something that could be knitted into a dishcloth.  Naturally, I drew a fish, and last night I decided to get some graph paper and see about figuring out how to knit what I drew.  So far I've only had to rip it out once, so I think I'm doing well.  I did discover that I'm doing it backwards.  I mean the flat, stockinette part is on what I thought was the Wrong Side, which means that the design will be facing right instead of left.  Oh well,  I'm going to keep going as I am, get it all written out, see how the design looks, and then figure out how to turn the whole thing around.

At Friday Night Knitting I crocheted another Short Row dishcloth.  Well, I got it all done except for sewing the beginning and end together, and single crocheting around the edge.  Ooh, I should have made a little chain to use for a loop.  Oh well.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Finishing Continues

Yesterday I had actual work to do at work so I was forced to finish the last Bandwagon Afghan block at home after supper.  I laid them out in the living room and think the afghan's going to look great.  The pattern calls for applied I-cord edging.  I need to watch a few more YouTube videos about how to do it before I decide whether I'm doing it or not... but I probably will.

When I laid them out I was sad to see that I'd forgotten to weave in the tails on one of the blocks.  *sigh*  It's always better to weave them in as you go along.  One day I might even learn how to knit them in as I go.  Now wouldn't that be good?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Look What I Did!

Yesterday after running errands I went down into the sewing studio and got my Craftsy Block of the Month quilt blocks sashed together.  It was a much bigger job than I thought it'd be; all that laying out and rearranging, then cutting the strips, cutting them apart, sewing the rows, then sewing the remaining long strips together so I could sew the rows of 4 blocks into one big quilt top.  That last item, making the strips into one long one, that's where things slowed waaaaay down.  See, I thought I was sewing them together so that the seam allowance was on the same side of the strip from one end to the other but I wasn't.  I ended up sewing and then ripping, then sliding it through my fingers to discover that I'd resewed it the same way, then that made the next seam wrong, so more ripping... finally I got it and could begin the laborious pinning and sewing phase.  Finally I got them all put together into one fabric.  Ta-da!

I'll admit that I don't have the sashing around the outer edges yet, but at least the blocks are together and I call that real progress.

DD gave me a thread nipper for Christmas and yesterday was the first time I really got to use it for more than snipping one thread.  I. Love. It.  Thanks again, DD.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Cheated

Remember how I said I wasn't going to cast on anything until I had that last afghan block done?  Well, I kind of cheated.  See, DS & DIL1 asked at Christmastime if I'd crochet them some net scrubbies like the ones Mom used to make.  They took the remaining few of them when she died and have evidently scrubbed their way through them.  I didn't seem to have Mom's pattern so I searched Ravelry and found one that I printed off and tried.  I sucked at it.  I suspect that it's because I cut the netting too narrow so I will try again AND I emailed DD to ask if she has Mom's pattern, but I found a pattern for a scrubbie made with one strand of dishcloth cotton and one thin strip of netting.  So I grabbed a ball of yarn, some needles, and cut some of the netting Mom had into strips and took it to work with me on Thursday.  I learned quickly that netting is not easy to tension and where it slides (heh, more like scrapes) over your skin it hurts, but I persevered and finished one.  I forgot to crochet a hanging loop before I cut my yarn but I carefully made one out of the tail.  I like it.  I'm going to leave it over at DS & DIL1's today so they can test it out.  Thursday night after supper I sat at the table, tying the strips of netting together and then winding the loong strips onto cardboard tubes.  I discovered that it's easier to leave the yarn in a bag and put the netting in an old oatmeal box so that they only tangle and twist at the ends and not all togehter in the bag.  Then I made a scrubbie for me yesterday.  I can't decide if I want to weave in the knot tails, cut them off, or just leave them poking out.  What to do?

I've been working on the afghan block too, really I have.  I finished the third miter last night at knitting (I took the picture yesterday morning when there were only 2 miters done) and my first order of business today (after my shower) is to pick up stitches for the last one of the square so by the end of the day I'll be working on the first log cabin strip.  Really, this is going well, and quickly.  It's amazing how fast you can get something made when you focus on just one thing at a time.  Amazing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Got More Done

Yesterday's drive to Appleton to see the Leonardo da Vinci's Machines in Motion exhibit and back gave me time to power through the last log cabin strip on Bandwagon Afghan Block #11.  Only 1 more block to go!  

Then I get to sew them together and either knit an attached I-cord edging (the pattern way) or wimp out and crochet around it a few times and call it good.  I'm tempted by the I-cord only because I had the idea to use the ends of the cross skeins for the edging with maybe some of the background colors between them.  We shall see.  First thing is to knit Block #12 and seam it up.  Edging consideration will ensue when I contemplate the vastness of the task ahead.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fun With Yarn

Friday and Saturday afternoon I tossed my stash like I do each year to see that there are no bugs munching on my fibers and to bring forgotten yarn to the light.  I started putting single, mostly souvenir skeins into a basket planning, oh I don't know what.  Last night after I put all the yarn bins away I still had that basket of 10 random skeins of yarn.  Then I had a brainstorm.  I carried them upstairs, made sure they were entered into my stash on Ravelry, and then I used Ravelry's pattern search function to find a pattern for each skein of yarn.  It was fun narrowing and narrowing the search parameters until I had a dozen or so to choose from for each different skein.  Some were more challenging to match up than others but I managed.  I will admit that they're all accessories--shawlette, wrap, fingerless mitts, scarf, hat, 2 cowls, a neckerchief--common stuff and the patterns are all pretty simple but the yarn's what's going to make them shine.  Want to see?

I'm very intrigued by this one.  This is Classic Elite Yarns' Silky Alpaca Lace with about 460 yds. in the skein so I chose this Wrap To Go by Zelda ThreeOhFour.

Here's an eye-popping skein of Knit One Crochet Too's Ty-Dy Wool that will become an After the Rain shawlette.


This skein of Freedom Spirit will make a pair of Easy Fingerless Mitts that promise to be warm and fuzzy.

Because a person can never have too many hats this Berroco Keltic will make a One Skein Beanie.

I think the Straightforward Cowl will look and feel luxurious in this Crystal Palace Yarns Taos with the southwestern-ish colors.

More than once I have looked at the Inside-outside Scarf pattern because it involves an intriguing technique of knitting a stitch in the row below.  It calls for 2 skeins of the same color with long color repeats used from opposite ends but I figure these 2 skeins of the same yarn will make an interesting scarf.

I suspect that the Lilou Loop Cowl will become a go-to stash-busting pattern but for the first making it'll get this red and sparkley skein of Lustro from Artful Yarns (sadly discontinued).

The hardest search was something to make with this skein of DK weight 75% cotton, 25% wool.  I finally settled on the Country Rose Neck Kerchief, which is the only crocheted one in the bunch.

As eager as I am to cast on one (or all) of these I am determined to do a bunch of finishing before I start starting.  Today I got 2 WIPs finished:  the latest Purse Stitch scarf which I made wider and therefore shorter than the last ones, and Car Knitting Warshrag #5.  This project lives in a bag in the driver's door pocket of my car for grabbing for waiting room or the bridge is up knitting.  I'll be casting on another Ballband Dishcloth later so that it's back where it belongs tout suite.  I am determined to finish the third Double Thick Dishcloth and the current afghan block, maybe the next one too, before allowing the temptation of casting on to take hold.  Fingers crossed that I'll be strong.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Long Overdue FO

That's Finished Object to the muggles.  (can you tell I'm relistening to the Harry Potter books?)  The summer and early fall before Mom died she was knitting herself a capelet to take along when she played bridge in chilly restaurants over the winter.  She didn't get it finished so I took it home with me when we cleaned out her apartment, and I won't even go into what size a job that was.  Anyway, I tried a couple times to finish it since all it needed was the neck stitches picked up, 6 rows of garter stitch, then the addition of the already-knitted I-cord fastener loop, and the pattern described I-cord coil button to hold it closed.  I couldn't manage to wrap my mind around picking up the stitches even though that's something that I know how to do blindfolded.  I finally understood that it wasn't the right time to finish the capelet so I put it away, but not so far away that I didn't see it every time I searched for yarns or other UFOs.  Last weekend when I put the Christmas things away it was the right time.  I brought it to work with me yesterday and late in the afternoon I hauled it out, picked up the stitches lickety-split, knitted those 6 rows, and before I knew it I was binding off.  After supper I wove in all the tails, then got a ceramic button that I got at Arti Gras last winter, placed the knitted loop and button, and sewed them on.  I didn't take the time to block it yet because I want to take it to the knitting guild meeting tonight but it'll get to take a little swim in wool wash this weekend and then dry all patted flat on my foam blocking squares.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Am So Over This Scarf

I weaved in the last of the yarn tails of the Maple Tree Scarf today.  I don't think I have ever been this glad to be done with a knit.  Knitting this scarf was a lot like digging the Panama Canal with a spoon--it went on forever.  Not that I didn't have fun planning the colors and counting the garter ridges and figuring out how to note things that I thought needed noting, I did all those things.  It's just that now I have 150 inches of scarf and I'm not real sure what to do with it.  Can I figure out a way to wear it that doesn't endanger my neck a la Isadora Duncan? We shall see.

I commented to DD when they were here that HZ asked me to make her a few new dishcloths so I was in the market for a pattern.  DD said that she is fond of a Tunisian short-row crocheted cloth and offered to show me how to make one.  I figured I could work it out for myself and it turns out I was right.  I dug out the yarn and an afghan hook, printed off the pattern, and set to work.  It's quick and easy and I really like the way it looks.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Having Company Is Hard On Knitting Too

I was sure that I'd get reams of knitting done while DD & DIL2 were here for a few days.  Yeah, right.  Not.  Those five days just zoomed by, so much that I feel a little whiplash today.  They drove away this morning and called around an hour ago to say that they were home safely.  Whew.  That's a long ride; I'm glad they've got each other to share the driving and chat with.

I got a few more rows of the red & gold striped Christmas stocking knitted.  Didn't finish in time for this Christmas.  Maybe next Christmas.

I've added rows to the third of the Double Thick Washcloths.  This yarn must be DK-ish because even though it says worsted on the ballband even I, who am not a yarn savant, can tell that it's thinner and the cloth is getting longer at a much slower rate than the previous two.  I like the colors though and I LOVE the feel of the fabric.  Mmm, squooshy.

I dug out the barely-begun latest version of the Purse Stitch Scarf and have made pretty good progress.  It's an easy project for distracted knitting, I have a tendency to forget that first yarn over but I've learned to save myself so it's not a project breaker.  I do love these scarves and this one is a tad wider than the previous ones and that'll made the end product a bit shorter so I won't have to figure out how to wrap it around to keep it from dragging in my soup or snagging on tank valves at work.
Now I just have to resist playing one of the new hidden object games I put on the laptop over the last week.  I didn't realize how addictive they are.  I rationalized today that they're good for retaining cognitive acuity.  Good rationalizing, Barbara.