A Year of Projects: 2016, Week 1

I have not yet written crafting goals for 2016.  November and December were pretty crazy around here!  First was my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday on Thanksgiving Day.  Then there was the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, followed the next weekend by the Holiday Party.  Then we had Christmas festivities with my family.  On December 28, I flew to Indiana to play matron of honor for Stacy’s wedding on January 2.  Chris flew up on December 31 so we got to spend New Year’s Eve together.  We just flew home this afternoon, to a cooler and wetter Florida than I left last Monday.  Stacy’s reception was held in a building at the same fairgrounds that hosts The Fiber Event.  It was so strange to be in that building without seeing rows of lovely fiber, yarn, and tools for sale!

This past week has been busy as the wedding preparations including baking 680 cookies and a 5-tier wedding cake!  Stacy, her mother, her aunt, her sister-in-law, and I baked the cookies last Wednesday.  Fortunately, we had the use of Stacy’s parents’ church kitchen, which had a commercial oven that could fit 150 cookies at once.  We baked all 680 cookies in only 3.5 hours!

Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!
Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!

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After baking cookies, we started on the cakes.  I was the lead decorator and giver of orders, as I have been decorating cakes since I was 12!  I made the cakes and the lemon curd.  Stacy made the chocolate ganache and all the buttercream and mixed lemon buttercream and raspberry buttercream.

I may have used this cookbook once or twice.
I may have used this cookbook once or twice.

Her mother and aunt cut out fondant Christmas trees and painted them with powdered food coloring.  I showed Stacy’s sister-in-law how to pipe miniature Christmas trees and she cranked out 250 of them, while Stacy’s mother went behind her putting the little stars on top of each tree.

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The army of trees.

Stacy’s brother cut the dowel rods that help support each tier (using a pipe cutter borrowed from a cousin) and her father cut and sharpened the dowel rod that goes from the top to bottom through all the tiers.  When it came time to stack all the cakes, Chris helped me line up my edges correctly.  At every step of the way, Stacy and I discussed colors and placement of pieces.  This is the first time I’ve made a cake in such a collaborative fashion.  It was so much fun, and I love the result!

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Now that the wedding is over and I’m home, it’s time to look ahead and lay out my goals for 2016.

Taking Stock

Before I start making ambitious plans for myself, I wanted to look back at 2015, to see what I finished and what remains unfinished.  I’m working on a slide show of all the projects I finished this year, and I will publish that later this week.  Today, I’m making a list of all my WIPs.  It’s a scary list, even though it only includes projects I’ve actually started, not everything in my mental queue!

Knitting WIPs

Projects started in 2015

  • TKGA Master Knitter, Level 1
    • This week I will start working on addressing my gauge issue
  • Splash Socks (started in April 2015)
  • Tier Scarf (started in June 2015)
  • Miranda Shawl (started in July 2015)
  • Bubbles Baby Blanket (started in July 2015)
  • Morrigan Shawl (started in August 2015)
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl Redux (started in August 2015)
  • Finishing
    • I still have all the sweaters I got from S.  They need to be seamed and blocked.  I believe there’s 10 or 11 projects right there!

Projects started prior to 2015

  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the knitted dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 leaves
    • 18 tribble scrubbies
    • 18 waffle stitch
    • 4 brick pattern
    • 16 illusion heart
    • 4 random designs (1 each of 4 different patterns)
  • Traveling Scarf
  • Evenstar
  • Baby Blue Monster

Crochet WIPs

  • Granny Square Blanket (started in 2014)
  • Skulls and Roses Scarves (started in October 2015)
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the crochet dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 hyperbolic
    • 9 ladderstitch
    • 4 or 5 diagonal (corner to corner)

Spinning WIPs

  • Camel Down / Silk Blend (started in September 2015)
  • Three Feet of Sheep (started in August 2015)
  • One pound of BFL (started in November 2015)

Weaving WIPs

Since the only loom I’ve been using is my rigid heddle, I only have one weaving project in process!  I started this scarf on December 5, 2015 while at the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, so that I could demo weave.  I talked to many people throughout the days of the sale and did a fair bit of weaving.  I haven’t had time to work on it since.

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In addition to this project, I now have the storage unit full of weaving things to sort.  This includes minor repairs to one loom (the 36″ Harrisville) and probably a complete refinish of a second loom (the 48″ Macomber).  I’m hoping to the the storage unit cleaned out by mid-February, though the refinishing job will most likely take longer than that.

Dyeing

Dyeing doesn’t really have WIPs as something is either dyed or it isn’t.  But this is a list of dyeing projects I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t.

  • Dye Maple Leaf Shawls (pending since December 2014)
  • Dye Triangles (pending since August 2014)
  • water source / pH experiment (pending since early 2015)

I’m not sure if this is actually all my WIPs.  It’s everything I could find laying about or listed in my Ravelry project pages, but I’m sure I missed more.

A Year of Projects: Week 51

I haven’t updated my progress since week 29, back in July!  Since we’re coming to the end of the year, it’s time to review my goals and start thinking about goals for next year.  Anything that’s crossed through in the list is something I did not get to at all.  If I did any work on a goal, even if it isn’t finished, I kept it on the list and made notes about its status.  In early January, I will publish a slide show with pictures of every project I finished this year and a list of goals for next year.  While I didn’t finish everything I hoped to finish this year, I am happy with what I accomplished.  I learned a great deal, especially about crochet, and I’m looking forward to learning more in 2016!

Review of 2015 Goals

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater  Moved to 2016.  In July, my friend Stacy got engaged and I’ve been working on projects for her wedding instead of knitting a sweater!
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1 
    • First 3 swatches finished by June 24, 2015
    • Swatch #14 finished July 11, 2015
    • Swatches 1-12 knit on size 7 needles, finished by July 19, 2015
    • I did actually finish the swatches by the dates listed here.  I went to Masters’ Day at the TKGA Conference and learned that I had guttering issues I need to work out before finishing my swatches.  I haven’t gotten back to my swatches yet.
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Waffle Stitch, finished November 18, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress; need to knit two more dishcloths and weave in ends on two finished dishcloths)
    • While I made progress on the Dishcloth Advent Calendar project, it is not complete and will be rolled over into 2016
  • Charity Knits
    • Mock Rib Scarf, finished January 18, 2015
    • Emergency Scarf, finished June 1, 2015
    • A Tisket, A Tasket Scarf, finished September 28, 2015
    • Traveling Scarf, finished September 28, 2015
    • On Location Scarf, finished November 25, 2015
  • Do some test knits
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
      • This is different than the Traveling Scarf listed above under Charity Knits.  This one is still in progress!
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat, frogged December 2015
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag, finished July 2015
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch
    • Super Secret Shawl, finished June 1, 2015
    • Traveling Scarf, also listed under Charity Knits above, published free pattern on blog and Ravelry, November 2015

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
    • Five crocheted skulls & roses scarves, three finished by October 31, 2015; two still pending assembly
    • Hyperbolic Dishcloths, finished October 3, 2015
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)
    • Hyperbolic Crochet, finished October 3, 2015

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
    • Cormo, finished September 2015
    • BFL (in progress)
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle, goal moved to 2016

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
    • Ravenclaw Houndstooth Scarf, finished January 19, 2015
    • Solid Warp, alternating picks, one of which matches warp, finished December 4, 2015
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
    • Completed first inkle band as part of the “All the Crafts” Hat, September 30, 2015
  • 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

The Highlights Reel

While I was at The Knit and Crochet Show, more than one person commented to me that they couldn’t take classes the entire time because it was too much for them to absorb.  Wasn’t I totally overwhelmed?  Nope, not at all.  The entire event was an adrenaline rush and I enjoyed every moment.  A week after I got back, after reliving the entire event through writing the blog posts about it, I crashed.  This wasn’t all because of the show; August is break month for the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  I push myself hard during the term, achieving feats of crafting that I otherwise wouldn’t attempt, and I appreciate break month!  Don’t get me wrong — I still crafted and had fun adventures in August and September to date.  Here’s the highlights.

August

S’s 5th Birthday Party

My cousin’s daughter turned 5 and had a birthday party at the zoo.  It was the largest kid’s birthday party I’ve ever attended — 28 kids and 30+ adults.  I made fondant cupcake toppers (I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve got mad cake skills?  I don’t make cakes as often as in the past).  Since I live 2+ hours from my cousin, she bought cupcakes locally and I put the toppers on when I arrived at the party.

imageBirthday party at the zoo = live animal show and tell!!

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And I was the first person in line to get my face painted.  I got to the party early so I could get those cupcake toppers on the cupcakes and the few children already there showed no interest in getting their face painted.  I figured I’d beat the rush!

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I knit the birthday girl a Barbie dress.

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Sorting Yarn

A few months ago, my friend Nancy and I went to the home of a member of the weaver’s guild who had passed away (see my blog post).  She wanted her yarn to benefit the guild.  Nancy and I sorted it to pick out anything that was suitable for demos.  We always have a little takeaway for kids and are constantly on the look out for yarn for those.  We packed up any project kits or yarns suitable for weaving and brought those to the guild’s annual auction.  The money raised from the sale of those yarns is designated for demos and will be used to buy yarn for takeaways once we use up our current stash.

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Orlando Shakes Open House

From the Weavers Guild meeting, I went straight to the Orlando Shakespeare theater for their annual open house.  I’ve never made it to this event before and had a great time.  I went to all three panel discussions — one on lighting and sound production, one on building props, and one with the directors and educators about visioning and producing individual plays and the future of the troop.  They also had a small display of props and costumes from previous productions.  Here’s a small selection of the spectacular costumes, which are created in house, in conjunction with the theater department of a local university, and with the help of many volunteers.

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Akerworks

My order from Akerworks arrived!  I got 6 bobbins for my wheel (one in each style) and 3 drop spindles (one in each size).  I didn’t take pictures before they got pressed into service, but I’m sure you’ll see pictures in future blog posts.  I did take a picture of the lovely hand-written note Adan included in the box.

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Ravenclaw Staff

I accepted a position as blog mistress for The Ravenclaw Aerie, the blog for the Ravenclaw Tower in the Harry Potter Knitting / Crochet House Cup.  This is a big part of the reason for the neglect of my own blog; planning and executing for that blog has taken the time I had for blogging.  Now that we’re on a schedule over there, I expect to be back to my own blog regularly!  Most of what’s on The Ravenclaw Aerie is probably only of interest to those in Ravenclaw Tower or the Cup, but one of the first posts is about something else I did in August.  Ravenclaw Porcupine Snuggles works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  She and two of her colleagues drove from Baltimore to New Smyrna Beach, FL to release Cougar, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.  I met them in New Smyrna Beach so I could witness the release, and Porcupine Snuggles and I wrote a blog post about it for the Aerie.

Disney with Beth

My friend Beth came on vacation for a week and we spent lots of time at Disney!  We ate at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new part of Fantasy Land in the Magic Kingdom.  We did not expect to be able to get a reservation because this restaurant, the interior of which is a replica of the castle in Beauty and the Beast, is sold out 6 months in advance.  We checked anyway; someone must have cancelled because we got a 1:15 pm reservation!  The restaurant is stunning inside and out.

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On the day we went to EPCOT, it poured.  My mother, Beth, and I walked from The Land to Journey through the Imagination without seeing any one else walking around (everyone else was smarter than us — when we got to Journey through the Imagination, the ride was down because the building was struck by lightning!).  It was eerie, and made us think about what the park is like after it closes.  We waited for Journey through the Imagination to be back up, and after we got off the ride, the rain had settled down to a normal rain shower rather than a deluge.  We headed towards the World Showcase, wading through a calf-deep puddle on our way there.

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All the rain made for a beautiful sunset!

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Sick

A couple days after Disney, my husband got sick with a very bad cold.  I caught it from him and it turned into a sinus infection.  Yuck!  For the last week of August and the first week of September, we took turns feeling misearable.  Not much got accomplished around here.  I was coughing so much that fiber crafting wasn’t even viable 🙁

September

L’s Birthday

Fortunately, I felt better in time to fly to New York City for a long weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday.  Before she arrived on Friday evening, her friends and I went to the Global Fashion Capitals exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum.  Here’s a couple of interesting pieces from that exhibit.

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We were trying to decide what to do next when I saw someone walk by with a Mood bag.  For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mood is a fabric store and is the place contestants on Project Runway shop for the fabric used to make their creations.  We decided to go to Mood and since it was a lovely day we walked the 10 blocks to the shop.  I was totally overwhelmed by Mood.  On the ground floor, there’s a two-story section of upholstery and other home decoration fabrics.  To get to the main shop, you take this old elevator, operated by an elevator attendant, to the third floor.  Once there, you have another 3 stories of every fabric imaginable.  I have no idea how the contestants manage to shop for fabric in only 30 minutes!

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Yes, I did pet Swatch!
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One section of the leather department.

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One day, we went to the Tenement Museum (no pix allowed there).  Our grandfather grew up in the Depression-era tenements of the Bronx, so this was a poignant visit for us.  Afterwards, we wandered around SoHo and I bought my first ever pair of Fluevogs.

Later that evening, my sister and her friends went to a play.  They bought tickets before I committed to the trip, and I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the show.  Instead, I took a train out to Long Island to visit law school classmates and meet their 4-month-old baby.  It was good to see them!

The next day, my sister, her friends, and I went to the Cloisters Museum, and visited their famous room of unicorn tapestries.

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We ate fabulous food every day, including the best doughnuts I’ve ever eaten, from The Doughnut Plant.  The interior of the shop was adorable, with doughnut pillows on the wall, a doughnut tile backsplash, and donut chairs!

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The last night, my sister and I stayed in her friend’s apartment in Brooklyn.  The friend was out of town, but gave us a key.  The apartment came with bonus kitty, Billie.

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Billie was super sweet and reminded me of my Pepper, whom I still miss very much!

Although I lived in the Northeast for nearly 30 years, I had never spent more than an afternoon in New York City before this trip.  I had a wonderful time and hope I get to visit again!

Spamalot

For the fifth year in a row, Chris and I have season tickets for the Orlando Shakespeare theater.  The first show of the season was Spamalot!  It was absolutely spectacular.  If you have the opportunity, you should totally see this show.

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Orlando Maker Faire

Last weekend was the Orlando Maker Faire.  The Drunken Monkey Spinners and Weavers of Orlando shared a booth for the event.  Nancy and I spent the entire weekend in the booth; other members of the two groups spent one day or the other.

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This was the fourth year of the Orlando Maker Faire.  Last year, they expanded from the Science Center and included some exhibits in the park.  This year, they expanded further, with arts and crafts exhibits in the Orlando Museum of Art, which is located on the opposite side of the park from the Science Center.  The expected attendance at this event was 15,000; I didn’t hear an actual number after the event, but it is by far the highest attendance at any event where I’ve demoed.

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The Science Center was wall-to-wall people; the Art Museum, where we were located, was steady but manageable.  This was a fantastic event to demo.  The people coming to this events are makers themselves.  They like to know how things work and ask lots of questions!  I spun the 50/50 Camel Down / Silk that I bought from Red Fish Dyeworks at The Knit and Crochet Show.  I only got 1 ounce spun, out of 4, in the 17 hours I spent spinning!  This is partially because I talked to lots of people, but also because it is spinning very fine.

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Hey — there’s one of the Akerworks bobbins I got in August!

Florida Fiber In

This weekend is the Florida Fiber In.  I went last night, but won’t make it there the rest of the weekend.  I picked up some Black-Faced Valois locks and some Bombyx Silk fiber, and spent a couple hours spinning and chatting!

Fiber Crafting

The new HPKCHC term started on September 1 and I’ve been crafting like a mad woman.  I haven’t taken pix of anything yet, but I’m working on that today and tomorrow.  I’ll have a Year of Projects update post sometime tomorrow.

Ongoing

I have also been working on improving skills to benefit my blog.  I bought my first DSLR camera (a Canon 70D (affiliate link)) and a Pro-Am video camera (Canon XA-10 (affiliate link)).  I added Adobe Stock to my Adobe Cloud subscription.  I used my Lynda.com subscription to learn how to use Adobe Bridge, then used Bridge to move all my photos out of Apple’s Photos app and into their own folders on my external hard drive.  I’m still working on adding metadata and tags to the photos.  I had 19,000 photos and videos in Photos and have a very hard time actually finding anything when I’m looking for it!  It’s a lot of work to organize, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.  I’m just starting the Lynda.com courses on Adobe After Effects and Lightroom, to further improve my photography and videography skills.

So that’s the highlight reel of the last six weeks.  What’s your highlights?

 

A Year of Projects 2015: Week 29

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Despite my modest list of goals for the week, I got little done.  I published my YOP goals of the week on Sunday.  Early in the evening on Tuesday, Chris’s mother told us her brother passed away and the funeral was on Friday.  We flew up to New Jersey late Thursday night and came home late Sunday night.  This morning (Tuesday), I’m flying to San Diego to attend The Knitting Guild Association Annual Conference and I won’t be home until Sunday night.  When I found out about the funeral, I immediately developed a long list of things to do in the two days before we left.  I knew that most of what I needed to do before TKGA had to be done before we left for NJ!

Chris’s Uncle Angelo was 85 years old.  His birthday was September 4, one day after Chris’s, so when Chris was growing up, the family often celebrated the two birthdays in one party.  One of the pictures on display at the funeral home showed Chris and Angelo cutting a birthday cake together.  More than 20 years ago, Angelo suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side.  Despite that, he lived on his own, mostly taking care of himself.  His sisters did his grocery shopping, but he prepared his own meals.  Around the time Chris and I first met 15 years ago, Angelo started doing 3D puzzles.  He completed more than 20 of these puzzles, using only his left hand.  Some of the puzzles were on display at the funeral home:

imageAngelo served in the Army (I believe during World War II, but I’m not sure), so he had military honors at the funeral.  I always find this ceremony — taps, folding the flag, and presentation of the flag to the family — touching.

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Now that I’ve lowered your expectations re: my completed goals, here’s a reminder of the goals I set last week:

Goals for July 13 to 19, 2015

  • Finish the Miranda Shawl
  • Knit all the homework swatches for TKGA classes
  • Finish knitting the MHK1 swatches
  • Spin 1 color of the BFL / day (there’s 10 colors / 8 ounces total in Three Feet of Sheep)

On Deck:

  • Mittens for MHK1
  • Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Bubble Baby Blanket
  • Weaving with VCR tape
  • Color and Weave Study scarves
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl

I did not finish the Miranda Shawl.  I did knit several rows after Sunday, but I didn’t take a picture of it to include here.  The body of the shawl is all stockinette, but it is short rows.  While it’s not difficult and there is a regular pattern to the number of stitches in each row, I’m finding that I do have to focus to keep track of which row is next.  Once I learned about the funeral, I put this project on hold.  I did put it in my bag to bring to TKGA.

I finished all the homework swatches for TKGA swatches.  I knit a dozen of them before we left for NJ, and brought the rest with me to NJ.  Since each swatch is small, they made for excellent travel knitting.  I blocked them yesterday.

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As of last Sunday, I had completed 4 of the 17 swatches for the Master Hand Knitting Level 1.  I knit the 5th swatch and blocked the 5 finished swatches before we left for NJ.  After blocking, I found an error in one of them so had to reknit that one.  I also didn’t like the fabric I created on any of the swatches.  I knit them all with Cascade 220 on US size 8 needles.  I decided to reknit all of them with US size 7 needles.  Before we left for NJ, I did research and wrote answers to several questions related to swatches I hadn’t previously knit.  I brought the yarn and needles to NJ with me, and I’ve finished knitting 12 of the 17 swatches on size 7.  I don’t have a picture for you because they aren’t blocked.  I actually packed blocking mats and plan to block them in my hotel room tonight so I can bring the swatches for review during Masters Day tomorrow!  I also plan to knit three more swatches on the plane

Before we left for NJ, I finished spinning 4 of the 10 colors in Three Feet of Sheep.  Obviously I won’t get any more spinning done during the Tour de Fleece, since I’ll be away for the rest of the Tour.  I do hope to finish spinning the Three Feet of Sheep by the end of the month, however, so I’ll be working on it after I get back.

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As you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t even look at any of the projects I had on deck.

Goals for July 20 to 26, 2015

  • Sew the lining into my Quinn Bag
  • Finish the first 17 swatches for MHK1
  • Finish the Miranda Shawl
  • Knit at least 1/2 of the Bubbles Baby Blanket
  • Cast on the Begonia Swirl Shawl

I am bringing my iPad with me and I hope to blog from TKGA.  My next YOP post will probably be on Monday, as I won’t be home until late Sunday night.

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
    • Swatch #14 finished July 11, 2015
    • Swatches 1-12 knit on size 7 needles, finished by July 19, 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
    • Miranda Shawl (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
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
    • Cormo (in progress)
    • BFL (in progress)
  • 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

Tour de Fleece 2015, Stage 10

My continuing mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations  um, I mean spin one color of 3 Feet of Sheep each day.  Today I spun through my one color and about 40% of the next color.  Unfortunately, my Tour de Fleece will be cut even shorter than I expected.  Chris’s uncle passed away early this morning and we will be going to the funeral.  This means I now have at least three more days with no spinning.  I do hope to finish 3 Feet of Sheep by the end of the month, even though it will be outside the usual Tour de Fleece time frame.

As usual, the picture on the left is my bobbin at the beginning of the day and the picture on the right is my bobbin at the end of the day.

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I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.  This fiber continues to spin up faster and thicker than the cormo.  I can’t wait to see it finished!

Tour de Fleece 2015, Rest Day 1

During the Tour de Fleece, spinners rest on the days racers in the Tour de France rest.  July 13 was the first rest day for the Tour de France, so most spinners rested today.  I am not resting on the official rest days as I won’t be able to spin for the last week of the Tour since I’ll be in San Diego for the TKGA Annual Conference.

Since I finished plying the cormo yesterday, today was the day to start something new!  The next fiber in my spinning queue was 3 Feet of Sheep.  This is 8 ounces of Blue-faced Leicester hand-dyed by Frabjous Fibers.  The colorway I have is “Colors of the Capital.”  It is 10 bumps of fiber, each a different color and each weighing 20 to 21 grams.  The fiber comes packaged in a long tube:

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I toyed with the idea of fractal spinning this fiber, but decided to spin end to end so that when I knit it I’ll have a gradient.  I plan to Navajo ply to maintain the color sequence.  I didn’t do any pre-drafting, but I am splitting each color into multiple strips and spinning from those.  The colors aren’t solid; they are tonal and look like they are probably space-dyed, with concentrated dye applied in certain sections and then wicking out into the rest of the fiber from there.  The result is subtle striping within each color.  I spun each strip starting from the same end so that this subtle striping happens multiple times throughout that color.

My goal is to spin 1 color per day until I’ve spun all the fiber.  I’m spinning this fiber about twice as fast as I spun the cormo, so I had time this evening to spin up two colors.  Here’s how my bobbin looked when I stopped for the night.

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Looks like I’ll be spinning yellow tomorrow 🙂

A Year of Projects 2015, Weeks 27 & 28

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I didn’t write a Year of Projects post last Sunday, so this post covers the last week and a half of progress.  Saturday, July 4 was Independence Day in the United States.  My husband had Friday and Monday off, and we planned to go to the beach at least one day.  We didn’t go because I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday and Monday.  On Friday, my family got together for lunch:

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Chris and I hung out around the house for the rest of the long weekend.  The rest of this week was our usual routine.  Today we did some yard work.  The aloe plants in our backyard are blooming.  I love their flowers!

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I’m also happy to report that while Tiger seemed suspicious of his cat bed when I first made it, he’s decided he quite likes it.  It is now his favorite place to sleep — if no human lap is available, that is!

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Let’s review the goals I set when last I wrote a Year of Projects post:

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 finished the Sweet Summer Shawl on July 8.

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I cast on the Miranda Shawl, knit 8 rows, discovered that my mistake on the cast on row was going to be a problem, ripped it all the way out, and cast on again.  I only cast on again yesterday and I’m now making excellent progress.

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Since I’m working on the Cormo as part of Tour de Fleece, I’ve been writing regular updates about it (Stage 1, Stage 3, Stage 6, Stage 7).  Today I finally finished plying it!  The bobbin on top is the one I finished plying for Stage 7.  I finished the other two bobbins today.

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I have not started the baby blanket, Liquid Silver Shawl, or spun any of the BFL.  I didn’t include anything about the Master Hand Knitting swatches on my goal list, but it is an ever-present goal.  I knit one more swatch in the last week:

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Goals for July 13 to 19, 2015

The next two weeks I will be very busy.  My cousin is in town next weekend.  I’m also taking a three-day weaving workshop from the 17th through the 19th.  On the 21st, I head to San Diego for The Knitting Guild Association Annual Conference, and I won’t be home until the 26th.  I have a long list of things to do and little hope that everything will get done!  I’m trying to write a modest list of goals, and it’s taking every bit of restraint I have to keep it short.

  • Finish the Miranda Shawl
  • Knit all the homework swatches for TKGA classes
  • Finish knitting the MHK1 swatches
  • Spin 1 color of the BFL / day (there’s 10 colors / 8 ounces total in Three Feet of Sheep)

On Deck:

  • Mittens for MHK1
  • Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Bubble Baby Blanket
  • Weaving with VCR tape
  • Color and Weave Study scarves
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl

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
    • Swatch #14 finished July 11, 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
    • Miranda Shawl (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
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
    • Cormo (in progress)
  • 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

Tour de Fleece, Stage 7

Today I continued plying the cormo.  While plying is faster than spinning, it still takes a long time when your singles are like thread!  I finished the first bobbin and barely started on the second bobbin.

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I haven’t mentioned this before, but I a towel under my spinning wheel to protect our hardwood floors.  The small movements the wheel makes while I’m spinning scratched my floor the first couple times I used the wheel.  I usually pick the towel up at night to keep it away from the cats.  I forgot to pick up the towel last night and someone puked on it during the night, so I put a different towel on the floor today.  Fortunately, the guilty feline missed my wheel and my bobbins of spun yarn.  I would not have been happy to find dried up cat puke ruining my beautiful singles!

Tour de Fleece 2015, Stage 6

Since I only had 0.06 ounces of cormo left to spin, I finally finished it.  Then I started plying.  And plying.  And plying some more.  Plying is a lot quicker than spinning, but with yarn this fine it takes a long time.  I’m about halfway through the first bobbin of finished yarn, or one-quarter the way through the singles.

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My husband walked through the room just as I was getting set up to ply.  He looked at the spinning and said, “Do you still call this yarn?  It looks like thread to me!”

Sweet Summer Shawl

I finished this shawl yesterday, and I’m super excited because it’s the first time I’ve knit with my handspun!

Official Stats

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About This Project

I loved knitting this project.  I’m happy to finally knit with my handspun.  This yarn is a massive improvement over my prior handspun, but it still has some anomalies.  The Sweet Summer Shawl pattern is forgiving of yarn anomalies, since it is mostly garter stitch.  The shawl is knit from end to end not top down or bottom up.  I was looking for a pattern knit in this manner to maximize the yarn I had.  I managed to use all but 6.9 grams of the yarn.

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The pattern suggests knitting 10 repeats of the increase section then 10 repeats of the decrease section.  I started weighing my yarn after the 8th repeat and every repeat after that.  I ended up with 11 repeats.  I knew I didn’t have enough yarn to knit a 12th increase repeat plus a 12th decrease repeat.  Now that I finished the pattern, I wish I’d knit one repeat without either increasing or decreasing.  I had enough yarn to do so, and I think I would have been happier with an odd number of points.  Since there’s not a central point in the pattern, it ends up slightly asymmetrical and I would have preferred symmetry.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor quibble.  It’s a fun, easy pattern to knit and I KNIT WITH MY HANDSPUN!!!

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