Posted in Book stash, Books, Knitting, Project planning, Reading, Technique, Yarn stash

Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time

This Led Zeppelin moment brought to you by… YouTube

Of course, it’s my blog that was lonely, not you all. You went about your days in ordinary fashion, never even noticing the eight-month absence here. Which is perfectly fine. I don’t really expect anyone to actually pay attention to my ramblings. It’s one of the reasons I feel only marginally guilty when I don’t post for weeks and months at a time.

But I finally found some time to catch you up, the three of you who still read this thing. 🙂

Since we last met, I made two shawls:

The Reyna

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and Arroyo;100_5067 (2)

And one hooded cardigan, the Lochlan.
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I performed in two plays:

The Vagina Monologues
TVM

and A Round-Heeled Woman.
RoundHeeledWomanBanner

I read all of 34 books and portions of eight others. Three of those are “did not finish” and five are still being worked on.

And I just got home from Stitches United in Atlanta, with lots of new goodies.
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At Stitches, I took some great classes, learned how to customize a pattern’s fit to suit me, tackled brioche stitch and Irish crochet, won a door prize, made two new friends, and (as you can see above) went a little crazy in the Marketplace. I had an absolutely fabulous time, and came home inspired and ready to tackle some new challenges.

This summer will include taking a dance class, learning an Irish accent, surgery (nothing major), and traveling to California for my 40-year high school reunion. My intention is to be a little more present around here, post a little more frequently. You know what they say about intentions.

Drop me a note in the comments and let me know you’re still here too!

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Saturday: Overboard edition

Because I’ve been so busy with rehearsals and performances in recent months, I haven’t made it out to any local yarn stores.  That did not stop me.  Because I have the internet.

Normally I ignore the emails I get from yarn dyers and other internet yarn vendors, like Webs or KnitPicks.  I especially ignore the emails I get from Expression Fiber Arts, simply because Chandi’s yarn is so amazing.  Except for email with the weekly free pattern .  That one I always open.  Well, a few weeks ago, that free pattern email also featured some new yarn colorways that smacked me between the eyes.  So I went to the website and looked around.  Out came the credit card.  Results pictured below.  I offer you my photos and her photos, because the lighting in my craft room simply does not do her yarn justice.

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway “Hygge”

 

Pearlescent Fingering, colorway Beluga

 

Oasis Camel Silk Fingering, colorway Arches National Park

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Resilient Sock, colorway Butterbeer

For this one, you just get my pic.  By the time I took photos and checked the website, this colorway was sold out and Chandi’s photo was no longer available.  Believe me, this creamy yellow, pale gray, and even paler ecru colorway is even more gorgeous in person.

And finally, this:

 

Dewy DK, colorway Maple Fog

I’ve actually lusted after this colorway for a while, but every time I checked the website, she was either out of stock or she didn’t have a sweater quantity in stock.  So I emailed and asked when she would have it available again.  “How many skeins do you want?” she replied.  I told her.  “Okay, it will be ready in about 10 days. I’ll email you then.”  And she did.  I bought enough for a cardigan.  It’s going to be amazing.

And now I’m going back to ignoring her emails, possibly even the free pattern Friday emails.  Because my credit card bill is going to be amazing too.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

A blanket for a friend

I finally finished that damn blanket that I’ve been making for, um, over four years…

Orange Sampler Afghan 1It started out as a way to use up skeins of yarn that had sat in my stash forever because there was no way I was using them to make anything I would wear. I mean, I like orange, but I don’t wear orange, generally speaking. So I decided a patchwork crocheted sampler afghan was the perfect way to get rid of… I mean, put to good use all this bulky orange yarn that had been sitting here unused and unloved for close to ten years.

So I made 11 squares.  And they sat around my craft room, waiting for the last square to be completed.  They sat around my craft room for four years.  A good portion of that time, they sat on the floor, just like this.  Waiting.

100_4674 (2)But when one of the dogs started thinking they were her personal cozy space, I picked them up off the floor and stacked them on a table. Where they waited again.

And waited.

And waited.

In January, I was in California for my annual girls’ weekend.  The husband of one of my dearest friends is suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and all the rest of the unpleasantness that goes along with cancer treatment.  And that’s when it struck me: this blanket belongs to him.  So I came home and finished the last square.

And then that blanket sat around again while I finished up rehearsals and performances for Old Love.  And started and finished a cardigan for me, because I’m a selfish bitch.  But I finally sewed the squares together last week, took a few photos, and now I’m ready to send it off.  I’m holding this blog entry until I receive word from my friend that they’ve received the package.

Peter Blanket 1

Peter Blanket 4

Peter Blanket 7

Pattern: Sampler Afghan by Darla Sims, 12 selected squares
Yarn: Rowan Plaid, colorway 154 Spicy, 7 skeins; Patons North American Shetland Chunky, colorway 03520 Russet, 7 skeins; a total of 1610 yards
Hook: Boye, size K
Size: Roughly 36 inches by 48 inches, just big enough to cover one’s lap and legs
Satisfaction with end product: I like it. It’s cozy and warm and machine washable. I hope they like it. (And yes, I washed it to get rid of any dog hair.)  Click here for the Ravelry project page.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting

New blog entry, with actual yarn content!

With all the rehearsals going on over the last six months, you would be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten how to turn yarn into usable items, much less actually complete anything.

Ha!  I haven’t!

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished in that time, but there were a couple of things.  First, this baby blanket for a colleague who was expecting his first child was started in November and finished in January.

Mike Blanket 3

Pattern: Taylor Baby Blanket (my original design)
Yarn: Bernat Pipsqueak, in four different colorways (see Ravelry project page for details), approx 275 yards total
Needles: Addi circs, size US 15
Size: Approx 36″ x 24″
Satisfaction with end product: It’s soft and squishy and perfect for a newborn. My colleague and his wife loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

Late last summer I made this tank top.

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Pattern: S7365 Damentop mit Ajourmuster by Schachenmayr Design Team (Thankfully, it was available in English)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker Multi in Candy Cane, approx 628 yards
Needles: Addi circulars, US 5 and US 3
Size: Medium (34″/36″)
Mods: Gauge with this yarn was a little wide and tall, so I cast on for the small to get a medium, and began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148. Did 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning lace pattern. Also 4 rows garter stitch at neck edge and armhole edge instead of stockinette. Did not turn over arm and neck edges for a hem. 2 inch shoulder seams instead of 2 cm as called for in the pattern.
Satisfaction with end product: Made for me, and I love it. It’s cool and comfortable and looks pretty good under a jacket, so I can even wear it to work.

You can see a few more pictures on the project page.

And finally, I made this hat in February:

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Pattern: #24 Cabled Pompom Hat by Annabelle Speer (from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2012)
Yarn: Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate, approx 215 yards (a now defunct yarn company; this was my last skein)
Needles: Addi circs, US 7
Mods: Smaller pompom due to lack of the appropriate size pompom maker, a situation that has now been remedied
Satisfaction with end product: This was a gift for a friend who helped out the production of Old Love by sending us authentic Tim Horton’s to-go cups from Canada to use in our coffee shop scene. A small detail that the audience probably never noticed, but we did. I think the hat turned out lovely, but more importantly, my friend did too. You can see a few more pics on the Ravelry project page.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Latest stash additions

It’s been all books and weight loss around here recently.  Let’s jump back into yarnie stuff and look at the new(ish) stash for a change.

Laceweight yarn has caught my attention in a big way.  The last several skeins I’ve purchased have all been laceweight.

100_4790 (2)Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in colorway Rost Turkey is a shimmering silk/merino blend.  Each skein is 798 yards, so there’s enough here for a cardigan or long sleeve top.  I going to give the colorway naming people the benefit of the doubt and believe they meant to spell it that way.

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Shibui Knits Cima in colorway Lumen.  This yarn was on clearance at the LYS so I bought every skein they had in this colorway.  1900+ yards of alpaca/wool laceweight that simply glows. I see this as a drapey A-line tunic to wear over black leggings with black suede boots.

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Swans Island Natural Colors Collection Merino Silk Lace in colorways (from top to bottom) Ivory, Sand Dollar, and Sea Glass.  These beauties are destined for a long-sleeve “fade” pullover, mostly likely Little Bird by Veera Välimäki.

 

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Yarn stash

Stash additions

100_4726 (2)Been on a bit of a stash binge recently.  Let’s start with my favorite new acquisition.  Expression Fiber Arts Superwash Merino Silk Pearlescent Fingering in the colorway Stardust.  Isn’t that gorgeous?  It’s soft and silky and soooo luxurious.  I bought this with no idea what to do with it; I saw it on Facebook and it yelled at me really really loudly so I had to have it.  With two skeins totaling 1100 yards, though, I imagine it will become a cardigan or maybe a lacy tunic-length top.

100_4753 (2)This was another yarn I saw on Facebook and had to have. It’s from OnTheRound, Everyday Fingering in colorway Robin’s Egg.  My photo doesn’t do justice to the colorway, so click the link to see a better representation.  Although I love the colorway, I was initially a little disappointed in the yarn itself.  After the smooth silkiness of the Expression Fiber Arts skeins, it seemed a little rough, but after a while I realized that it’s no more rough than any other 100% merino fingering with a really tight twist.  So it will make sturdy socks or (given that I have 850 yards) a long-wearing and warm cropped or lacy cardigan.

100_4751 (2)While I was on the website for OnTheRound, I ran across this other colorway of the same yarn, Speckled Time Travelers.  Again, my photo is crap, so click through the link for the dyer’s photos.  This skein will most likely become socks.

100_4750 (2)Finally, some yarn I acquired sort of by default. A friend wanted me to help her knit some brain hats for one of her friends and his daughter who are attending the March for Science on April 22.  I made the hat in just a few hours and then considered the best option for the yards and yards of I-cord required.  Michaels (or was it Jo-Ann?) had an Embellish-Knit I-cord maker on clearance, so I scooped it up and tried it out. The results were, um, non-existent.  This yarn, Trendsetters’ Forzetta (colorway, Ashes of Roses), is a single-ply worsted, and the little hooks in the I-cord maker just tore it apart.  Next I tried a gray acrylic plied worsted I had in stash, but that yarn was too big for the I-cord maker to work properly. (Apparently, it’s best with DK or smaller yarns.)  With time running out, I told my friend there was no way I could get this hat done before the march if I had to make the I-cord the slow way.  She said she was having the same trouble; thus, we bagged the project, and she told me to keep the yarn for my trouble.  With about 3 1/2 skeins left (roughly 500 yds — more if I frog the already finished but ugly hat), I figure it will become a warm winter set with a scarf, hat, and mitts.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Sock yarn plans

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Sock yarn pile #1, to be used for actual socks

Some time ago, I pulled all the sock yarn out of stash and sorted it into two piles.

Into pile number one went the sock yarn that is suitable to be used for actual socks:  it has nylon or some other such fiber content that makes it suitable to take the abuse on being worn on feet, walked upon, and rubbed against the inside of shoes.

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Sock yarn pile #2, to be used for other accessories like shawls or scarves

Pile number two contained all the sock yarn that will not be used for socks.  Now, this could be yarn that is 100% wool with no other strengthening fibers; or it could be a single ply with no twist that can’t take the abuse; or maybe the yardage is far too excessive for socks and must be made into some other accessory; or it could be yarn that’s just too dang pretty to be hidden inside shoes.  The yarn sorted into this pile is destined for scarves, or shawls, or in a few cases where the yardage will allow, perhaps even a lacy shrug or cropped cardigan.

Progress notes:  I made a pair of socks from one of the skeins in Pile #1 already (Dragonfly and Rosebud, blogged here); tried a second skein but, after struggling with it and its splitty nature, relegated it to Pile #2; and am currently knitting socks with a third skein.

True confession:  Since these photos were taken, I’ve added more sock yarn to the stash.  They were pretty evenly divided. Four of the new skeins went into Pile #1; five into Pile #2.

Posted in Crochet, Finished object

A blanket for Liam

Stripes and Hearts 10I have a new grand-nephew on the way. And, of course, I made him a blanket.

Pattern:  I Got You Babe-y by Marty Miller, from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of the now-defunct Crochet Today.

Yarn:  Bernat Gloucester Sport, 2.8 skeins (308 yds), colorway “French Blue”; Mirasol T’ika, 4 skeins (364 yds), colorway 502 “Light Blue”.

Hook:  H for body, I for borders.

Mods: Did not do the lacy attach-as-you-go border between panels. Rather, did single crochet edging around each panel and sewed them together. Three rounds of single crochet in alternating colors around entire blanket for the edging.

84df2-knit-your-library_2016Satisfaction with end product:  I think it’s lovely.  The 100% cotton yarn makes it soft and absorbent, besides making it an easy-care baby item; I’m sure my niece-in-law will appreciate that.

You can see more project pics at the Ravelry project page.

Still “knitting” my library.  Please join us!

Posted in Crochet, Finished object, Knitting, Project planning, Technique, Yarn stash, Year in review

2016 in Review: Yarn

Last January, I proclaimed 2016 as the “Year of Knitting Selfishly”.  Out of a total of seven projects completed, five were for me, so that’s a win.  On the other hand, only seven projects were completed, so that’s a blow to the Ravelry queue.

The two gift projects were for babies:  Kaysen’s Blankie for my newest grand-nephew; and Davi’s Stocking for a girlfriend’s baby.

Both were knit projects and took far longer than I expected.  The two months it took to knit that baby blanket — size approximately 24 inches by 34 inches — gave me pause to reconsider tackling a couple of other knitted blankets I have queued.  I can crochet  blankets far faster than I can knit them.  I may stick to crocheted blankets in the future, especially for babies.

The five remaining projects were for me.  I’ve blogged three of them:  Ribby Striped Cowl; Wildflower Cardigan; and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.  The two remaining projects, a shawl and a pair of socks will be blogged shortly.

2016 Technical Accomplishments

I  designed and knitted three projects: Kaysen’s Blankie, the Ribby Striped Cowl, and the Lacy Moebius Cowl.

I made my first pair of toe up socks (to be blogged).  That same pair of socks also included my first short row heel.

I made my first real colorwork project with Davi’s Stocking.  Learned a lot about intarsia by muddling through and juggling bobbins.

2016’s Stash Accomplishments

I used 3,743 yards of stash yarn.

I acquired 5,576 yards of new yarn for a net addition of 1,833 yards.

I refuse to feel guilty.  Look at this one.  Look.

Silk Traveler 1

Fingering, 70% Merino, 30% Silk

*drool*

2017 Goals

I make no plans whatsoever to avoid acquiring new yarn because that’s a silly idea doomed to failure.  In fact, I’ve already doomed it by buying four skeins in January alone.

What I plan to do is:

  • Make a baby blanket for my nephew and his wife
  • Make more socks
  • Finally tackle a Fair Isle project — probably a hat that can be knit in the round
  • Continue to knit from stash as much as possible — the baby blanket for my nephew and his wife may be the exception because I don’t have much yarn suitable for that purpose
  • Continue to knit through my library of patterns
  • Write out and publish the patterns I’ve designed

Everything else is on a wait-and-see basis.  I’m dropping weight fairly rapidly (down approximately 17 lbs since surgery), so I don’t intend to make any cardigans or other  garments until I’m much closer to my goal weight.

What are you going to make this year?

Posted in Book review, Books, Reading

Book review: The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

The Light of the FirefliesThe Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I characterized this novel as Room, sort of, but with an entire family unit. To paraphrase the Goodreads synopsis, an unnamed boy lives underground with his parents and sister. They are not allowed to go outside above ground. Ever. The boy is threatened with being attacked by “a monster” if he ever even expresses an interest in leaving.

As the novel progresses, the reader begins to understand the circumstances that led to this situation, and realizes that all is not as it appears; sympathies shift; perspectives change; and the ending, while not exactly unexpected, is more grim than necessary. Family loyalty is one thing. Living one’s own life is entirely another.

Neither poorly written nor poorly translated (as far as I can tell), but two stars because I hated the ending.

View all my reviews