Tag Archive | tunisian

FO Friday: Sigh of Relief Edition

It’s done.  It’s finally finally finally done.  The Tunisian Terror will terrify no more.

Mom's Tunisian 29

I’ve been absent from this blog for a couple of months, at least, frantically working on this blanket and a few other must-finish gifts.  Today’s post will feature only  the Tunisian Terror.

Anyone who has followed this blog over the last couple of years has seen numerous posts about this project.  A quick recap for any latecomers:  At Christmas 2013, my mother was thumbing through my afghan books and came across a blanket she had to have, the Take-Along Sampler Afghan by Ruth Ellen Klug. “Make me this,” she said.  I gulped, but I love my mother so naturally I said, “Of course.”  In March 2014, we went to the yarn store near her house and ordered the yarn.  I received it in April 2014, taught myself Tunisian Simple Stitch, and set to work.   In April 2015, I finished crocheting the last of the squares — or potholders, as my husband called them — and started the decorative cross-stitching.  In August 2015, I finished the cross-stitching and started weaving in all the colored ends.  In September, I began sewing the squares into strips and the strips to each other.  I sewed on the last strip Tuesday night, did a one-row single crochet border around the whole thing Wednesday night while cooking a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, and started weaving in the ends of all the black yarn.  At 11:30 pm, my head hurt, my eyes burned, and I could hardly keep from nodding off. I gave up and went to bed.

Yesterday morning, we got in the car to go to Alabama for dinner with the family.  Spouse drove.  I had the blanket in my lap and wove in countless ends as the miles and the pine trees rolled by.  We were less than 10 miles from our destination when the last end was woven in and clipped off.  The blanket was a crumpled mess, but it was done.

I handed it to my mother as we walked in the door.  “Mom, it’s done, but it needs to be washed and dried.”  She laundered it.  I took the above photo while it was still warm from the dryer.

  • Pattern:  Take-Along Sampler Afghan by Ruth Ellen Klug. Link to my Ravelry project page.
  • Yarn:  Uptown Worsted by Universal, 21 colors, approximate 3,700 yards total.  A lovely yarn for an acrylic, smooth and fairly soft right out of the skein.  Based on the pattern amounts — which unfortunately gave ounces rather than yards as the unit of measurement — I bought four skeins of black and one skein of each of the other colors. The black was insufficient and I dipped into stash to make up the difference, using about another 400 yards (best guess) to finish embroidery and borders. Additionally, I ran out of the Electric Blue during the cross-stitching, and substituted Little Boy Blue or Royal Blue on several squares. Further shortages during cross-stitching: I ran out of Sage and Baby Green. I substituted from stash for Sage but replaced Baby Green with the Sage substitute or another color altogether, depending on the square. Therefore the yardage shown on the project page for Sage is a best guess.
  • Hook:  Tunisian hook, size H.  Standard Boye hook, size G
  • Satisfaction with end product:  I sincerely doubt I will ever make this pattern again.  It’s just too involved.  As much as I hate to admit it, I started to resent making it before I was halfway through, and I didn’t give this pattern all the meticulous care it required.  The tension from square to square is uneven because of the amount of time that passed while making them.  This means no two squares are exactly the same size, and some of them are considerably different.  That problem could have been remedied by blocking, but I didn’t do that.  Blocking 63 individual squares to identical measurements was beyond the scope of my energy.  Because the squares were not blocked to size before I sewed them together, the blanket is a little rumply in spots.  Despite all that, it’s still very pretty.  My mother loves it, and that’s what really matters.

Something to keep in mind when looking at the time span this project took: I work a full-time job.  When you factor in the commute to downtown Atlanta, I put in about a 10-hour work day five days a week.  Plus the care and upkeep of house and spouse.  Then add trying to keep my acting chops sharp? Hah!  It’s a wonder this project didn’t take longer.  Of course, another factor in the time span was the time I spent making other things while this blanket was in progress.  Periodically I grew wholeheartedly sick of the whole thing and had to set it aside until my enthusiasm returned.

Normally, I’d link to a couple of FO Friday roundups, but I can’t find any of the usual suspects, no doubt because of the holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and a joyous holiday season to come.  I’ll do my best to get back here a little more frequently.  I have several other finished projects to show off, and Christmas gifts still on the hooks and needles.  Stay tuned.

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WIP Wednesday: The end of the Tunisian Terror is in sight

Remember the Tunisian Terror?  The blanket I started for my mother in April 2014?  I finished all the crocheting in April of this year and then started the embellishments.  Behold!  All the cross-stitching is done!

Mom's Tunisian 28

Here it is laid out in the order in which it will be assembled.  Now all that remains is the sewing together of the squares.  One row is sewn, eight rows remain to be sewn, and then comes stitching the rows to each other and putting a border on it.  Stitching the squares together doesn’t really take long: I can do one row in an evening of TV watching, but truthfully, I’m so sick of looking at this thing that the blanket is lucky if I even pick up one row in a week.

Aarons Baby 1 Chinook 1Also in progress, two new projects — first, a baby blanket, the tried-and-true giant granny square of many colors for a colleague who is expecting a boy.  All the leftover yarn from the Tunisian Terror is coming in handy for this one.  I have another colleague also expecting a baby, but gender is unknown at this point, so that blanket will wait a bit.  Also, I started another Christmas gift, the Chinook scarf, out of the drapy-est silk and cotton blend you ever felt, in a color called Sea Glass.

In book news, I just finished A Sudden Light by Garth Stein and started Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.  Review pending of the Garth Stein book but it will be a favorable one.  I’m less than 100 pages into the Stephenson and completely enthralled.

100_4341 (2)Bonus picture:  Here’s Phoebe, who keeps me company when I’m here in my craft room writing or winding yarn or planning projects or simply goofing around on Facebook.  She’s getting older these days and doesn’t have any teeth left, but she’s still a good dog.  Aren’t you, sweetie?  Of course you are.

This post is part of Stitch-Along Wednesday.  Click on that badge below to see what other folks have been up to this week.  Also, go check out Shadow’s Knit Knacks Link-up post and add your link at the bottom.

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WIP Wednesday: Cross-stitching the Squares

I finished crocheting all the squares of the Tunisian Terror on April 20, 2015 — one week shy of one year since starting the project.

63 squares in 21 colors.

63 squares in 21 colors.

The cross-stitching of the squares began immediately.  Thus far, 12 squares are completely finished with all embroidery and the weaving-in of ends; two more are partially done.

12 down, 51 to go.

12 down, 51 to go.

The cross-stitching moves quickly. The multi-colored designs make the plain squares lively, and solid color stitching anchors the multi-colored squares. I ran out of the black acrylic worsted yarn purchased for this project before finishing the crocheting but had some black acrylic worsted in stash which works just as well. There’s some slight difference in texture, but no one will notice it.

Stitch Along Wednesday

“Worsted” is a curious word.  Note to self: check origin as it relates to yarn.

In other news, rehearsal continues apace for Harvey.  We open a week from Friday.  Woo hoo!

This post is part of the Stitch-Along Wednesday round-up.  Click that badge over there to see what other folks are working on.

It’s A Thrilling Thursday Throwdown!

The above blog post title came about because I’ve missed WIP (aka Stitch-Along) Wednesday and Freshly Finished Friday for the last few weeks, despite my best intentions.  This evening I found some time to take a few photos and do a little mental composition; thus, a blog entry!  Ta da!

Said blog entry (that would this one, the one you’re reading, right here, right now) will contain:

  • Photos of an unfinished project!
  • Photos of a finished project!
  • Photos of a project that has yet to be commenced!
  • Yarn p04n!
  • And a flimsy explanation for the recent lack of activity (plus a bonus excuse for a future lack of same)!

Isn’t that thrilling?  Get it, thrilling?  Because it’s a “thrilling Thursday throwdown”?  Oh, never mind.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Mom's Tunisian 18First, the unfinished project.  The Tunisian Terror approaches the end of its crocheting phase.  I have one more solid square to finish in the coffee colorway, two to make in the cranberry colorway, and then eight striped squares.  Once the striped squares are completed, the crocheting is done.  Then will begin the cross-stitch component of this blanket.  Yes, each of these squares will have a cross-stitch design embroidered on it.  Have I mentioned I don’t do cross-stitch?  That’s my sister’s craft.  But, for my mother, I will do my best.

Bryony 5Next, the finished project.

Pattern: Bryony Cap by Tammy Eigemann Thompson; found in Interweave Knits Weekend 2010Click here for the Ravelry project page.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, colorway Marte, roughly 162 yards

Needles:  Addi Turbo circs, size 9 for the ribbing, size 10 for the cabled body, and size 10 DPNs for the crown

Satisfaction with end product:  Very pleased.  If this hadn’t been intended as a gift, I’d have gladly kept it.  I’ve never used Malabrigo before, and now I understand why fellow yarncrafters fall all over themselves for it.  It’s a dream to stitch: soft and squishy and satisfying, not to mention flat-out gorgeous.  Pure tactile pleasure! The pattern itself was well-written and easy to follow.  I made a few minor adjustments.  The pattern called for Bryony 6using a US 10.5 needles, but the ribbing in the 10.5 needle was far too loose for my tastes, so I switched to US 9s and cast on the same number of stitches that were required for the cable portion of the hat (rather than increasing after the ribbing as the pattern specifies). After the ribbing and a no-increase knit row, I switched to the larger needle (a 10, rather than the 10.5) and carried on as written. Using the smaller needles meant row gauge was short, so I did two and a half repeats of the cable section to get sufficient height before starting the decrease. The extra half repeat meant adjusting the decreases to get the same pattern effect at the crown, so I shifted the k2tog and ssk sections by…um, I think it was six stitches.

Purple Shawl 1The project yet to be commenced is also a gift.  I want to use the yarn pictured, which is Miss Babs Cosmic Handpainted Sock in colorway Swan Princess, because the gift is intended for a purple-loving person. The pattern pictured, Bellingrath, is the current champion of the Ravelry “what’s in my library?” search.  I’m just not sure it’s the right pattern for a colorway with such high contrast.  I’m afraid the lace will get lost in the color changes.  I have another sock yarn in stash that is a much lighter purple and much more subtle in its color changes, and now I’m waffling back and forth between the two, plus still stalking Ravelry for patterns. Thus, the “yet to be commenced” part of this project.  I suppose one could say that the only thing I’ve decided here is to make something purple for a particular individual.  Thrilling, yes?

And now, the promised yarn p04n.  I’ve been on a bit of binge recently.  Ready?

Yarn Acquisitions 1Wait, here’s another angle.

Yarn Acquisitions 2Some go-to workhorse yarn (the Cascade 220, along the back), some vibrant look-at-me sock yarn (four skeins at the front left), and that gleaming alpaca-rayon blend Folio in a deep charcoal on the right.  Heaven only knows when I’ll get to use any of it…well, that’s not true.  I bought the Cascade because I needed those colors for specific gifts.  The rest was whimsy.  It’s the whimsy that gets me in trouble.  I am quickly approaching SABLE status.  (That’s “Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy”, for the uninitiated.) I’ve already achieved BABEL status.  (That’s “Books Acquired Beyond Expected Lifespan”.)

Harvey 1Speaking of books, I’ve read several good ones recently.  No, I haven’t blogged about them.  Yes, I feel guilty.  But (here’s the flimsy explanation portion of this blog entry), I’ve been busy.  With this.

Yes, that is a script for a stage play.  After three years away, I auditioned for a local community theatre production and was cast as…

The female lead.  Veta Louise Simmons, sister of Elwood P. Dowd, he of the white rabbit fame.

It’s nice to know my acting chops have not failed despite their lack of recent use.  It’s not so nice to realize I have over 200 lines to learn and must be totally off book, not even calling for a line, by NEXT TUESDAY!!!

Harvey 2Just look at all that yellow on those pages.  It’s like that throughout most of the show.

Actually, I have a good grasp of about half of my scenes, and between now and Tuesday night will be spending virtually every moment that I’m not working with my nose buried deep in that script.  I intend to drive my husband insane by making him run lines with me every night when he gets home from work.  I expect I’ll make the other riders on MARTA think I’m insane by constantly muttering to myself while commuting back and forth to the office.

We open in May, so (and here’s the excuse for future absence bit) don’t expect much in the way of activity here for the next couple of months.  I hope to get back here and read some of your entries for Knit & Crochet Blog Week, but there’s no way I can take part this year. *sad face*

Hey!  I have one more photo for you, and would like a little feedback on it.  When I sat my camera on my desk to upload the photos I had taken today, I noticed something interesting in the viewscreen, so I quickly snapped a couple of shots.  After some judicious editing and cropping, I came up with this:

Yarn Book Banner 3Books, yarn, music…pretty much everything I ever write about.  And a pen to indicate the writing.  I’m thinking I might make this photo the banner for this blog.  Or maybe stage a better one.  What do you think?

Freshly Finished Friday(Edited to add:  I’m going to link this to Hard Knit Life’s Freshly Finished Friday.  Well, it contains an FO, doesn’t it?  Click the badge over there to go to the link party.  You know you want to.)

2014 in review: Yarn

2014 wasn’t a productive year for yarncraft. I finally figured out why this past weekend, after Jacquenetta was gone. When she became so ill, she spent so much time in my lap during the evenings that knitting and crocheting came to a virtual standstill. I couldn’t work on projects without getting her fur all over them, but I could read, so I traded yarn for books. Snuggling her for the last few months of her life was worth every moment, and be damned to lackluster productivity in the yarn arena.

Projects finished in 2014: Three.

Wanderer Scarf 2The first, finished on New Year’s Day 2014, was the Wanderer Scarf, seen here modeled by spouse. The pattern and the yarn are from Rowan. It was intended as a gift for a friend in Washington, and finally was mailed off to said individual shortly before Christmas.

Buds and Blooms 21Next was my new favorite cardigan, A Rose in Winter, finished January 31. The pattern is “Buds and Blooms” by Alana Dakos. The pattern calls for endless endless stockinette, but that only serves as a backdrop for the gorgeous details: the buds and vine pattern up the back, the flowers on the pockets, the deeply ribbed collar. I also loved the yarn I used (Chris by Schaefer, now sadly out of business), and that gorgeous pomegranate color.

Penny's Granny 2The only other finished project was a giant granny square baby blanket, made for the new grandbaby of one of my colleagues. I grabbed a variety of high quality acrylic leftovers in my stash and threw them together to come up with the color scheme for the blanket. This is the fastest, easiest baby blanket I’ve ever made, and the pattern become my go-to pattern for quickie shower gifts.

Projects started in 2014 and not yet finished: Three.

Wildflower 6The day after the Rose in Winter cardi was finished, I cast on another of Alana Dakos’ patterns, the Wildflower Cardigan, using Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in a deep caramel color. This is another cardigan with vast expanses of stockinette but exquisite little details that make those vast expanses worth the tedium. The back of the cardigan is finished; the right front has been sitting here in my craft room, waiting patiently for me to pick it up again. Soon, my darling, soon.

Tunisian Terror squaresAt Christmas 2013, Mom picked out a blanket pattern in one of my afghan books. In April 2014, she bought the yarn and shipped it to me. Thus, the Tunisian Terror was born. The thing that slows me down with this project is the boredom. Each square is the same: one color surrounded by a border of black single crochet. The pattern calls for some multi-colored squares, but I haven’t got there yet. And each square, once finished and assembled, will be cross-stitched, so there’s some excitement to be had down the road. The finished blanket has 63 squares. I’ve got roughly half of those done.

Ultra Pima cardi attemptCome summer, I decided I needed to knit a lacy cotton cardigan to wear over sleeveless dresses, which serves two purposes: warding off the air-conditioned indoor chill that is everywhere during summer in the South; and making said sleeveless dresses appropriate for the office. Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but some reptilian portion of my brain won’t quite accept that “sleeveless” is now in keeping with professional office attire. I am determined to use this turquoise-colored Cascade Ultra Pima that’s been hibernating in my stash for several years, but have had nothing but trouble in finding the right pattern. I think I’ve started three or four separate patterns with the Cascade and ripped each one of them out after getting roughly five inches into the piece. I’ll keep experimenting until something clicks.

Projects started in previous years but not finished: Nope, not telling. Let’s just say there is more than one (*cough*spouse’s socks*cough*)

New techniques learned:

  • Tunisian crochet: Learning Tunisian crochet (Tunisian simple stitch only) was easier than I thought. I will no longer shy away from Tunisian patterns, even if they call for something other than TSS, because if I can learn that stitch by reading the directions, I can learn them all!
  • Mitered squares: This technique was taught me in a class at Stitches South in April. I have yet to put the technique to use, but the instructions and my practice swatches are sitting right here in my craft room, just waiting.

Stash acquired: Um. A lot. A good sight more than I used, that’s for darn sure. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Stash used: Not very much. As noted above, I only completed three projects. I’ll never go cold sheep, because such is beyond my willpower, but this year will probably be a diminished year in stash acquisition because I’m not going to Stitches in April. It’s been moved to Nashville and the travel budget just isn’t available. So, yay for the bank account? And yay for shopping the stash!

So, here we go, 2015! New year, new crafting opportunities, new patterns to read, new AND old yarn to fondle, new techniques to learn or put into practice. It’s going to be a good one.

WIP Wednesday: The Return of the Yarn

It’s been forever since I wrote about yarnie goings-on. Mainly that’s because I’ve been in a slump for several weeks — um, months — and have hardly touched any of the pending projects. In fact, I just took a look back and the last time I posted anything yarn-related was in June.

*sigh*

Tunisian Terror squaresThe only project that’s seen any significant progress is the Tunisian Terror. This picture was taken in July. Since then I’ve completed several more squares but haven’t taken any more recent photographs. If I buckle down, it’s possible I might get it completed by Christmas, which would make Mom happy, but part of the trouble I have with this project is the process of making the squares bores me silly. After about the third or fourth square, I’d mastered the Tunisian simple stitch and there’s simply no challenge any longer. Something to look forward to, though: The pattern calls for several squares that require color changes; however, due to some color and yardage Wildflower 8
Wildflower 6limitations, I had decided to wait until all of the solid squares were completed before getting into the mixed colors. I’m regretting that decision. It’s still the right decision, and I won’t change my mind, but I keep looking longingly at the directions for the multi-color squares…

The Wildflower Cardigan has had virtually no progress. The back was completed several months ago, and the left front was started, but once I got into the part where I had to follow the chart for the pocket design, I fizzled out. Again, this photo was taken in July. I have done some work on the first few rows of the pocket chart, but again, no pictures. In the meantime, please admire the scalloped bottom detail. And those little flaps on the stitch holders are the pocket backs. 🙂

Ultra Pima cardi attemptThat turquoise blue cotton lace shrug stalled right at the point the ribbing was done and the lace pattern began. I hated the lace pattern, so I put the poor thing in a bag for a time-out while I rethought the whole thing. Here we are, months later, and over the weekend, I finally did a couple of fresh Ravelry searches, which resulted in a few other lace cardigan or shrug patterns that may work. I just have to grit my teeth and rip this piece back to the beginning. Again.

Spouse's socks 6And the less said about spouse’s socks, the better.

Normally, I’d refer you to Tami’s Amis for the usual WIP Wednesday roundup, but there isn’t one for this week. If you’re on Ravelry, though, you can look in the group The Blog Hub for the WIP Wednesday thread and catch up there.

WIP Wednesdays: Squares R Us

Mom's Tunisian 11Slow but steady progress on the Tunisian Terror, as seen here. I’ve noticed my tension seems to have relaxed some on the later squares, now that I’m comfortable with the Tunisian Simple Stitch. This means the later squares are slightly larger than the first few. I’m hoping this won’t create a major issue when it comes to assembly. Someday in the not-quite-foreseeable future. Ten squares down, 53 to go.

I hope my mother realizes how much I love her. 😉

After the highly unusual feat of posting for seven consecutive days last week (yay, Blog Week!), I took a short break to read a little, spend some time with the spouse, pamper the critters, and start getting my mind in gear for our upcoming class. I’m a technical and policy instructor for a government agency; and we have almost 300 students registered for our next 14-week course, with more expected, so I may be a little scarce around here very shortly. But I will also do my best to keep up with WIP Wednesdays, and maybe a book review once a week.

Miss Q in the SunshineIn other news, my ancient tabby Jacquenetta (who turned 20 earlier this year) has made a remarkable comeback from the health scare she gave us several weeks ago. Seriously, I thought when we took her to the vet that day in late April that she wouldn’t be coming home again. She’ll be on medication the rest of her life, but she’s regained a good portion of her strength and can once again climb up and down the stairs and jump on the sofa under her own power. There she is, having a wash and enjoying the sunshine. She just loves a good stretch out there on the warm concrete of the front walk.

ab2a5-tami_wipThis post is part of the WIP Wednesday Round-up hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click that badge over there and go see what other crafters have been crafting this week, and tell them avantaknits sent you.

5KCBWDay7 — Looking Back, Looking Forward

Blog Week 2014 Banner

Blog prompt: Look back on last year’s Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about ever make it onto the hook or needles? Did anyone cast on and complete the project researched in last year’s Day 2 post? One year from now, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?


 
Last year I discussed several things:

  • Making the cardigan worn by the little girl in the movie The Fall.
  • Organizing my craft room
  • Attempting Fair Isle
  • Attempting Tunisian
  • Making sock puppets for my friend based on a photograph

Success rate? 60%. I achieved three out of the five goals. Behold the craft room:

Craft Room 1

And the Tunisian:

Mom's Tunisian 9

And those sock puppets, which got their own dating profile in this year’s Blog Week Extravaganza:

Avatars 1

For next year, I’m putting Fair Isle and The Fall Cardigan back on this list. Also, I want to finally write up and publish the pattern for a pair of fingerless mitts I designed as a gift several years ago.

San Luis Mitts

I’ve gotten multiple requests for this pattern, but have procrastinated writing it up for so long that I may have lost my initial notes on the project. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I originally designed the mitts in a bulky yarn and have since decided a lesser-weight yarn is a better choice.

Magazine Review: Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2009Blog content-wise, I’m considering a return to magazine reviews. I pared my knit and crochet magazine subscriptions down to two (from a high of seven), Rowan and Vogue Knitting. Back when I had so many subscriptions, I was trying to review each magazine as it came in. That meant upwards of 30 magazine reviews per year, which resulted in a stack of unread issues sitting next to the computer, giving me guilt. I don’t need more guilt, thank you very much, so I stopped the reviews. Vogue and Rowan only may be manageable: Rowan publishes two issues per year, and Vogue publishes five (six if you count the special crochet issue, but that’s not included in the subscription). Rowan CoverWriting timely reviews will require a certain amount of self-discipline. I’m not good with self-discipline, and I need to be, because the next step for this blog — not next year, but within the next five — is to turn it into something that generates a little income. That means content other than me running my mouth about my latest project or the last book I read. It means patterns and tutorials mainly; perhaps little stuffies, if I ever design any. I don’t expect to make excessive bank here, just enough to cover the domain fees.

And that’s quite enough ambition for my little corner of the interwebz.

As Blog Week draws to a close, I just want to say I appreciate each and every one of you who’ve dropped by during this past week. I found a few new bloggers to follow and hope at least one or two of you enjoyed my articles as much as I’ve enjoyed yours. See you around! And y’all come back now, y’hear?

WIP Wednesday: Tunisian tidbits

Mom's Tunisian 9
Five squares done. Well, technically, they’re rectangles, but I’m not going to argue semantics here. There’s not a chance in hell this blanket will be finished for Mother’s Day. Or for Memorial Day, either, which is the next time we’re planning to visit Alabama. I have to make 63 of these frakkin’ squares! And then sew them together and cross-stitch all over them. Wait, cross-stitch, then sew. Regardless…Mom, count yourself lucky if you get this by your birthday in November. Yes, I owe you a margarita. Several margaritas, in fact. Because this:

Margaritas for Mom

5 down, 43 to go, but I’m not tired of making these little squares yet, so no further progress has been made on the Wildflower Cardigan. We’ll see how things go in the next week.

ab2a5-tami_wipThis post is part of the WIP Wednesday round-up, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there to see the progress other folks have made this week.