Close Up

It’s Yarn Love Challenge Day 2!  If you missed day 1, explaining what exactly Yarn Love Challenge is, please see yesterday’s post.  Today’s prompt is “close up.”  Over the last few years, I’ve tried to improve my ability to take close up pictures.  Close ups help us focus on details, providing a better understanding of and appreciation for finished projects.  Rather than just sharing fiber arts pictures in this post, I’ve chosen close-up pictures that represent different aspects of my life.  Collectively, these small details provide a better understanding of the ongoing project that is my life.

Fiber

Since this is primarily a fiber blog, I am starting with the fiber pictures!

First, one of my favorite projects and pictures: a close up of the lace border on the Raindrops on Roses Shawl.

Next, one of the first close-up pictures I ever took of a fiber project.  It’s a humble garter-stitch dishcloth and I hoped to take a picture that made it look like more fun than that!  I tried to make it look like ocean waves and added the octopi charms both because of the ocean theme and because I love octopi so much.

This is the lace edging on the first project I ever knit from my own homespun yarn.  I was (and am) so proud to be able to knit from yarn spun by my own hands!

I have been obsessed with cables ever since I knit a cabled baby blanket as my second-ever knitting project.  (The baby I knit that blanket for just got married this week and is expecting his first child).  When I knit the Sand Tracks scarf, I became obsessed with the combination of cables and seed stitch.

Rainbows make me happy, and this Redfish Dyeworks 20/2 Spun Silk gradient is no exception.  I love this picture because it captures all the skeins in the gradient and because there’s something perfect about the way the circle draws my eye around and around and around the rainbow.

The Gotland / Teeswater fleece pictured here is one of the first fleeces I purchased (at SAFF 2016) to process by hand.  This picture is of the raw fleece and I love all the different colors in the fleece.  I took this picture just before I washed it.  I have yet to comb or spin it.

 

Tiger

I take a ridiculous number of pictures of our cat, Tiger.  He’s so photogenic.  He’s also ridiculously cuddly.  Sometimes he’s so cute and happy with cuddles that I don’t want to disturb him, but I’m also bored.  I almost always have my phone with me, so I whip it out and take pictures of him.  Of course, I take many close ups of his face.

But I am also rather obsessed with taking pictures of his paws.

 

And the way his tail wraps around his body and curls up beside his hip is one of the most precious things in the world.

Life

My husband grew up in Toms River, NJ.  Toms River is right about in the middle of the New Jersey coastline, separated by the intracoastal from Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, NJ.  He grew up going to the Seaside beach constantly.  His grandmother and an aunt each lived a couple blocks from the beach where the boardwalk was.  Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of the boardwalk.  If you watched any of the coverage of that storm, you might remember a picture of a roller coaster in the ocean.  That was the Seaside boardwalk where my husband grew up.  After Sandy, the boardwalk was rebuilt in record time, and the businesses lining it reopened for the following summer season.  That fall, one year after Sandy, an electrical short started a fire that burned six blocks of the newly-rebuilt boardwalk (this article says 3 blocks, but it was really 3 blocks in Seaside Heights plus 3 blocks in Seaside Park for a total of six blocks).  Fire trucks came from all over the state to fight that fire.  In the end, they were only able to put it out by bulldozing out part of the new boardwalk to create a fire break.

Three months after the fire, we were in New Jersey for Christmas, so we went down to the boardwalk to view the devastation.  The picture before is a charred piece of wood, about 4 inches long, embedded in the sand near where the fire started.

Birds

My father is a birdwatcher; I’ve been birdwatching with him since I was 6 months old, in a backpack on his back.  Last year, we attended the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  One of the tours we took was a bird banding tour.  The guide was a licensed bird bander.  We accompanied him to the location where he bands and helped him to capture three birds for banding.  He applied a band to each bird, weighed them, measured their wings, beaks, and leg bones, then released them.  This is a Bachman’s Sparrow, an uncommon species which is in decline due to habitat loss.

 

In the vendor area of the festival, was a booth operated by a bird rescue.  They brought several of their education birds — birds that will never be able to released back to the wild due the extent of injury — and you could have a picture taken with the bird of your choice.  I picked the Golden Eagle because I am a Ravenclaw and the Eagle is the emblem of our House.  Note that I am not holding this bird.  Only licensed handlers are able to do that.  The eagle is sitting on the gloved hand of the handler and I am standing beside her.  The picture is taken from a clever angle, making it seem that I’m closer than I actually am!

In the Yard

Several years ago, I got lenses for my iPhone camera.  I didn’t know such a thing was possible until I was traveling on business and a colleague had them for her phone.  I was so excited, I bought myself a set.  I especially loved the macro lens.

Leaf and tendril from the grape vines.  We’ve since pulled them out because they were growing up against the house, destroying the paint and the window screens.  Plus the neighborhood birds ate all the baby grapes while they were still green so we never got any ourselves.

A cherry tomato, still on the vine.

Lichen on the trunk of a crepe myrtle.

A crab spider on its web.

 

Click here to read Yarn Love Challenge, Day 3: Currently Making.

 

 

Raindrops on Roses Shawlette

I’m going to start with this: I love this shawl.  The pattern is beautiful.  The yarn is beautiful.  This pattern and this yarn were a perfect combination, and the results are spectacular.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: June 3, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 27, 2015
  • Pattern: Raindrops on Roses Shawlette by Assorted Musings (Ravelry, blog)
  • Yarn: 495 yards Nice & Knit Fingering in Peony
  • Needles: U.S. 5 / 3.75 millimeters
  • Finished Dimensions: For blocking, I pinned it out to 19.25” deep at the center and 47” wide at the widest point.  When I took the pins out after it dried, it shrank a little to about 17.5″ deep and 45″ wide.
  • Made for: Test knit; I think I’m going to keep this one 🙂
  • Ravelry Project Page

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About This Project

In early May, I flew from Orlando to Hartford, Connecticut.  From there, I was driving to Vermont to attend my cousin’s college graduation.  This is the cousin for whom I wove the Dr. Who Scarf.  My father also flew into Hartford from Ohio.  His flight didn’t arrive until four hours after mine, so I googled yarn shops near the airport and found Creative Fibers (website, Ravelry).  This is a great yarn shop, located only 10 minutes from the Hartford airport.  If you ever find yourself needing to kill time waiting for a delayed flight, I highly recommend visiting this shop.  When I went into the shop, I asked if they had any local yarns.  The woman working that day directed me to this yarn from Nice & Knit.

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Nice & Knit (website, Ravelry) is yarn hand-dyed by two sisters, not far from the Creative Fibers shop.  They have four yarn weights — fingering, sport, DK, and worsted — all in 100% superwash merino.  The yarn was a dream to knit.  It’s so soft and smooth, with no hint of splitting.  Their colors are amazing.  In addition to the skein of Peony that I used for this project, I bought a skein of fingering in Seagrass, a stunning bright yellow-green.  I haven’t knit anything with that skein yet, but after knitting up the Peony I’m dying to find the right pattern for the Seagrass.  The label says the skein is 490 yards / 100 grams.  My skein of Peony was a little overweight, at 103. 8 grams, and that turned out to be a good thing because I added 1.5 lace repeats to the border.   I used 100.3 grams (495 yards) of yarn.  If my skein had been right on the nose or a little under, I wouldn’t have had enough yarn to make the shawl larger!

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The pattern was well-written and a fun knit.  I followed the charted directions, as I always do with lace, but I did read through the written instructions and found them easy to understand.  I think it would be a great first lace project.  If you look closely at the picture above, you may be able to see that a 2-stitch garter column separates each repeat of the lace pattern.  This feature is helpful in keeping track of the repeat, even if you aren’t using stitch markers.  There’s no lace work on the back, but it’s also not a straight purl across because you knit the stitches for the garter stitch columns.  I found myself automatically counting stitches between the garter stitches as I worked across the back, and this helped me as find any yarn overs I accidentally omitted in the preceding row.  The pattern calls for 3 repeats of the lace.  I wanted to use as much of my skein as I could, so I asked Assorted Musings if it was okay with her if I made the shawl bigger.  She said yes.  I was able to get 1.5 more repeats out of my skein.  It’s a fun pattern, and a relatively quick knit; I knit it in about 30 hours, including the extra lace repeats.  Assorted Musings plans to release the pattern on July 15.  You should get it and knit the shawl!

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A Year of Projects 2015, Week 26.5

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For the past week, I’ve been crafting like it’s my job.  I also had an unusually high number of fun activities.  I had lunch in Diagon Alley with Ravelry friends who were in Orlando on vacation from Massachusetts.

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Of all the items listed for sale here, I most want the never-tangle wool.

I went to my first ever professional soccer game.  It was my cousin’s wife’s birthday and that’s what she wanted to do.

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My husband and I bought tickets to view last Sunday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from the NASA causeway.  We didn’t want to get up at the crack of dawn and drive over, so we drove over Saturday night and stayed in a hotel.

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If you look closely, you can see Launch Pad 40 and maybe the rocket on the pad. There’s 4 objects that look like buildings. Pad 40 is between the two right hand buildings. There’s 4 lightning towers surrounding the pad; the rocket is in the middle.  It’s a slightly thicker line than the 4 surrounding towers.

Here’s the video I took of the launch.  The vehicle failed 139 seconds after launch.  I stopped recording two seconds before that because I was using my phone to record video and could barely see anything at that point.  It looked like a beautiful, perfect launch with nothing more to see.  And then the Liquid Oxygen tank exploded.

 

I still managed to get quite a bit of crafting done!  Let’s review the ridiculously ambitious list of goals I wrote:

Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015

  • Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
  • Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
  • Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
  • Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
  • Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
  • Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
  • Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
  • MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
  • Small stuffed bird (DADA)
  • Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
  • Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
  • Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)

Fully Accomplished Goals

I finished the Raindrops on Roses Shawl.  I absolutely love it.  I test knit this for Assorted Musings (Ravelry, blog); the pattern will be released on July 15.  I plan to publish a detailed blog post for FO Friday on July 3.

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I finished the Grisou Scarf.  I test knit this for Sasoolero (Ravelry, blog) and I’m not sure when she plans to release the pattern.  I will publish a blog post on this project for FO Friday on July 3.

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Partially Accomplished Goals

I started the Solid / 1×1 Scarf.  I’ve woven somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of it.  I have the hardest time taking pictures of weaving in progress.  Since the finished work gets wound onto the cloth beam, it’s difficult to see progress!

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I finished the Heart Illusion Dishcloth that I had in progress, plus two more.

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I started the tier scarf and knit about 1/3 of it.

Knitting while waiting for the rocket launch.
Knitting while waiting for the rocket launch.

I crocheted one dishcloth.  In my goal, I didn’t say how many I wanted to knit.  I need 18 for the Dishcloth Advent Calendar, but didn’t expect to get them all done this month.  I was hoping for 9.  I learned how to single crochet increase, single crochet decrease, and crochet through the back loop.

I knit the first 3 swatches for MHK1.  I still need to weave in the ends and block them.  I also wrote answers to several more questions.

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Unaccomplished Goals

As expected, I did not weave the 3 additional scarves for my OWL.  I did not make the stuffed bird.  I decided to submit the Grisou scarf for DADA instead, and didn’t need the bird for anything else.  I have not cast on the Sweet Summer Shawl.  I will be doing that today.  I have not swatched for Liquid Silver.  I will be doing that today.  I have not cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl.  I think I’m going to wait a couple of weeks and cast on before I go to TKGA in San Diego.  It will make excellent travel knitting.

Other Projects

I made a felted cat bed for Tiger.  I managed to knit 1,047 yards worth of garter stitch in less than 3 days, felt it, and stitch it together!  It wasn’t on my goal list because I hadn’t decided to do it until after I wrote that list.  Tiger’s been sleeping on an alpaca blanket my father bought me when he was in Peru and I didn’t want it ruined.  I needed a quick replacement.

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Goals for July 1 to 5, 2015

  • Knit at least 1/2 of the Sweet Summer Shawl
  • Cast on Miranda Shawl
  • Swatch and Cast on Bubbles Baby Blanket
  • Swatch and Cast on Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Finish spinning and plying the Cormo I’ve been working on since February
  • Start spinning the 3 Feet of Sheep (8 ounces BFL) on July 4 for Tour de Fleece

I’m tempted to write more, but I think this is more than enough.  My husband is off on Friday and Monday for the July 4 holiday.  I will have less crafting time than usual because I’ll be hanging out with him, and we’re going to the beach for at least one day!

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
    • First 3 swatches finished by June 24, 2015
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Grisou Scarf, finished June 24, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette, finished June 27, 2015
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

A Year of Projects 2015, Week 25

It’s been a busy week around here, and this coming week will be busy too.  However, there’s always time to craft!

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Here’s the list of goals I wrote last week:

Goals for the Week of June 14 – 20, 2015

  • Finish the Sand Tracks Scarf.
  • Finish the Raindrops on Roses Shawlette.
  • Finish half of the questions and swatches for MHK1.
  • Finish at least one color and weave scarf on the rigid heddle loom.
  • Cast on the Liquid Silver Shawl.
  • Knit the Grisou Scarf (another test knit).

I’ve finished the Sand Tracks Scarf.

imageThe Raindrops on Roses Shawlette is a stockinette stitch body with three repeats of a lace pattern.  I finished that, but did not bind off.  I have enough yarn to knit at least one, possibly two, more repeats of the lace.  Since this is a test knit, I e-mailed the designer and asked if she preferred that I bind off now, per the pattern, or if it was okay for me to knit extra repeats.  She said she’d like to see the shawl in a larger size, so I’m going to knit the additional repeats and expect to finish early this week.  Here’s how it looked on Wednesday, 4 rows shy of finishing the first three lace repeats:

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I haven’t done anything with MHK1 this week.  I need to make this a priority as I want to finish before I go to TKGA’s Annual Conference in San Diego from July 21-26.

Yesterday, I tied on a color and weave scarf.  This is a solid red warp.  The weft alternates one pick of the same red as the warp with one pick of a tweed.  I’ve woven perhaps 1/4 of the scarf, and plan to finish it early this week.

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I looked at all the crafting I plan to finish this month and decided to move Liquid Silver to early July.  I do want to swatch for it by the end of the month.

The Grisou Scarf is a test knit.  I am using a different yarn than the designer, so swatched for it.  I ended up knitting swatches with three different size needles!  I’ve just got to finish the border, and expect to finish knitting it today.

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While I was waiting to hear back from the designer of Raindrops on Roses and for the Grisou swatches to dry, I cast on another Heart Illusion Dishcloth.  I got about 1/2 of it knit.

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Finally, though this has nothing to do with knitting, I wanted to post a picture of me with my father, since today is Father’s Day in the United States.  I often say that I’ve birdwatched since I was 6 months old.  My father started birdwatching shortly after my parents married, and once I came along, I was in a backpack on his back.  This morning, my father, mother, aunt, uncle, and I went birdwatching for Father’s Day.  We went to a newly opened 11 mile drive that skirts along the northern edge of Lake Apopka, not far from where we live.  We only saw 22 species of birds, all of which are common in our area, but we saw many, many individual birds of most species.  Here’s a picture my mom took of my Dad and I, looking at birds:

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Goals for June 21 to 30, 2015

I’m writing this set of goals through the end of the month, to cover the class deadlines for the HPKCHC.  I honestly don’t expect to finish all of these items, but I’m going to do my best!

  • Finish Raindrops on Roses Shawl (Headmistress Challenge)
  • Finish Grisou Scarf (homework, but which class?)
  • Finish Solid / 1×1 Scarf (OWL)
  • Three more color and weave scarves to meet OWL 50% (highly unlikely to finish)
  • Finish current Heart Illusion Dishcloth, plus 4 more (COMC?)
  • Tier Scarf (Charms or Potions)
  • Crochet Dishcloths (Transfiguration)
  • MHK1 swatches (Divination and / or Charms)
  • Small stuffed bird (DADA)
  • Cast on Sweet Summer Shawl (Quidditch Round 3; due July 8)
  • Liquid Silver Swatch (OOTP; due July 19)
  • Cast on Begonia Swirl Shawl (Headmistress Challenge; due July 28)

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette (in progress)
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

WIP Wednesday: June 17, 2015

I had itchy fingers today.  I’ve finished the Sand Tracks Scarf that was in last week’s WIP post.  Since it is a test knit, it will get its own post as soon as I can get some pictures.  That left me with only one WIP.  Hence the itchy fingers!  I want to cast on all the things.  I was hoping to cast on all the things today, but alas it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.  Tomorrow, maybe.  That leaves me with only the one WIP for today!

Raindrops on Roses Shawlette

I’m almost finished with the second lace repeat.  I’m bringing this project to knit night this evening and I’m hoping to finish it while I’m there.  I’ll definitely be finished by next week’s WIP Wednesday post, so stay tuned for a pile of new knits next week!

 

WIP Wednesday: June 10, 2015

For the last week, I’ve spent my crafting time working on the two test knits that I cast on last Wednesday.  Both projects traveled to Indiana and back.  On the way there, I knit on the shawl.  On the way home, I knit on the scarf.  I worked on them while I sat in Stacy’s office on Friday.  I worked on them as we drove to and from the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  I’ve made great progress on both projects, and hope to finish both this weekend.

Sand Tracks Scarf

I love this project.  I love the yarn.  I love the pattern.  All the love!  I’m about 1/3 of the way into the second ball.

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Raindrops on Roses Shawl

I’ve finished the first of three lace repeats.  I’m probably halfway through the shawl at this point.

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WIP Wednesday: June 3, 2015

I’ve gotten a lot of crafting done this week!

Cormo

Last Friday, I spent several hours spinning the Cormo while at a demo.  I started a new bobbin at the beginning of the event.  Here’s how it looked at the end of the event:

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Heart Illusion Dishcloths

I’ve knit four more dishcloths this week.

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Raindrops on Roses Shawl

I joined the Testing Pool group on Ravelry and signed up to do two test knits.  This is one of them.  It’s a top down shawl, stockinette with a lace border.  I’ve finished perhaps 1/4 of the stockinette section.

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Sand Tracks Scarf

This is the second test knit.  It is a cabled scarf on a seed stitch background.  I’ve finished the garter stitch border and the first pattern repeat.  I think I’m really going to love this project.

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