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!

image

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.

image
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!

image

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.

image

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 Traveling Scarf

I have been knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving away, but have not been writing posts on each of my finished projects.  I received a private message on Ravelry, asking for the details of this project, so thought I’d write it up to share with all of you!

Official Stats

  • Date Started: September 16, 2015
  • Date Finished: September 28, 2015
  • Pattern: as discussed below
  • Yarn: Cascade Pinwheel in Autumn Leaves (#21)
  • Needles: US 8 , 5.0 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: I forgot to write down the measurements; but approximately 6″ x 65″
  • Made for: Charity
  • Ravelry Project Page
  • PDF version of this pattern: A Traveling Scarf

IMG_0833

About this Project

I bought the Pinwheel yarn specifically to knit for charity.  I got two skeins of most colors so I could make matching sets with a scarf, mittens, and hat.  The scarf takes one skein and I can just squeak a hat and mittens out of a second.  For three colorways, I only had one skein because that was all that the shop had.  In September, I decided to knit up a couple of those skeins into scarves.  I looked at the free patterns on Ravelry, but didn’t find anything that caught my eye that I hadn’t already knit.  So I pulled out my Barbara Walker treasuries and found stitch patterns.  This scarf uses the Traveling Rib pattern from page 180 of A Fourth Treasury of  Knitting Patterns.

When I first started this project, I planned to add a couple selvedge stitches, but after knitting the repeat a couple times, I didn’t like how that looked, so I ripped it out and started over, using just the stitches for the pattern.  Ribbing isn’t going to roll and makes a nice stretchy fabric. It doesn’t really need a frame to give the fabric structure.

Abbreviations:

  • K = Knit
  • P = Purl
  • RS = Right Side
  • WS = Wrong Side

This pattern uses a 7 stitch repeat.  I’ve been casting on somewhere close to 40 stitches for all the scarves I’ve made with Pinwheel.  This gives me a finished scarf of 5″ to 6″ wide and 60″ to 65″ long, depending on the stitch pattern.  For this particular pattern, I assumed the ribbing would pull the fabric in so chose to cast on more stitches than usual.  I cast on 7 repeats (49 stitches), using the long tail cast on, which is my default.

  • Row 1 (RS): K1, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K3
  • Row 2 (WS): P2, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P1
  • Row 3. K2, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K2
  • Row 4: P1, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P2
  • Row 5: K3, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K1
  • Row 6: *K4, P3* repeat to end of row
  • Row 7: *K4, P3* repeat to end of row
  • Row 8: K3, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K1
  • Row 9: P1, *K4, P3* 5 times, K4, P2
  • Row 10: K2, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K2
  • Row 11: P2, *K4, P3* 5 times, end K4, P1
  • Row 12: K1, *P3, K4* 5 times, end P3, K3
  • Row 13: *P3, K4* repeat to end of row
  • Row 14: *P3, K4* repeat to end of row

Repeat Rows 1 – 14 until scarf is desired length, ending on either Row 6 or 13.  BO loosely and in pattern.  In this case, that means working Row 7 or 14 as written, and passing the preceding stitch over the just worked stitch as you work across the row, using larger needles if needed to keep your bind off loose.

This scarf is reversible; I’ve only marked a right side and wrong side in the pattern to help keep track of where you are.  If you look closely at the pattern, it may appear that rows repeat, but while the instructions repeat, you are on the opposite side of the fabric when you work it (Rows 1 & 12, 2 & 11, 3 & 10, 4 & 9, 5 & 8, 6 & 7, 13 & 14).  As a result, if you put your work down and come back to it later, it may be difficult for you to tell where you are in the pattern.  If you think you’re on Row 1 and you were really on Row 12 or vice versa, you will find that the direction of your rib changes midstream!  You may want to mark the right side of the work, by hanging a locking stitch marker on that side.

IMG_0834

 

Grisou Scarf

This is the third test knit that I finished in June.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: June 17, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 24, 2015
  • Pattern: Grisou Scarf by Solène La Roux (website, Ravelry)
  • Yarn: 181 yards Gynx Yarns (website, Ravelry) Gynx Aran in Ocean
  • Needles: US 10.5 / 6.5 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: 13″ x 19″
  • Made for: test knit
  • Ravelry Project Page

IMG_9315

 

About this Project

This is a quick little project.  It’s called a scarf, but it’s intended to be worn like a neckerchief.  The designer used Cascade Eco yarn when designing.  I used yarn from my stash.  I had a hard time matching gauge.  I actually knit 3 swatches — something I never do, and probably wouldn’t have done if this wasn’t a test knit — and chose the largest of the three sizes as that was the closest to the designer’s gauge.

image

I ended up cannibalizing all three swatches to finish the scarf; I used every inch of the skein.  Despite using all the yarn I had in the skein and pinning the scarf out to the designer’s intended dimensions of 14″ x 22″, my scarf was too short.  When I unpinned it, it shrank down to 13″ by 19″.  This proved to be too small for me to wear.  In order to take pictures wearing the scarf, I pinned it with one of the shawl pins I got at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  It is really tight on my neck!  Since it doesn’t fit me well, I’ll gift it to someone else, but I’m not sure who yet.

IMG_9439

IMG_9438

It’s a well-written pattern.  The cables look fancy, as they always do, but they are very straightforward cables.  This pattern is a good choice for someone new to cables.  I worked from the written instructions, as I always do for cables, but the pattern also includes charts.

As I mentioned in the Sand Tracks Scarf post, I almost always form cables without using a cable needle.  I use a cable needle if the yarn is very slippery, e.g. the Cascade Pinwheel I used for the Palindrome Scarf, Palindrome Hat, and Irish Hiking Mittens last year.  I might use a cable needle for something like the Sand Tracks Scarf, which had purl stitches in the cable, since it’s easier to drop those stitches.

Before the Grisou Scarf, I had formed 2-stitch, 3-stitch, and 4-stitch cables without a cable needle.  The Grisou Scarf cables are 6-stitch cables.  I decided to knit the Grisou Scarf without a cable needle, just to see if I could.  For the first 3 pattern repeats, it did not go well.  I dropped stitches on every cable row.  I still don’t know how I was dropping them.  I was carefully counting to make sure that I got them all back on the needles, only to find that I was missing a stitch.  The scarf took many hours longer to knit than usual as a result of my stubborn refusal to use a cable needle and the resulting need to rip back to fix stitches dropped from the middle of cables.  Finally, I decided to record a video demonstrating cables without a cable needle.  Miraculously, I didn’t drop any stitches in the making of the video, or in any of the cable rows after that!  I’m not sure what made the difference.

The video is 18 minutes long because I recorded two full rows of cabling, one with stitches held to the front and one with stitches held to the back.  I planned to edit it down to just a couple of examples, but decided to leave the entire thing so that if you are watching the video while working cables, you don’t have to stop and rewind to watch the demonstration again.  The video starts with stitches held to the back.  After two examples, I added a note in the video telling you the time stamp where stitches held to the front starts, so you can fast forward if you are ready to do so!  I hope you find the video helpful, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

 

A Year of Projects 2015, Week 26.5

come-blog_0

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.

image
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.

image

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.

image
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.

image

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.

IMG_9439

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!

image

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

image

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.

image

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.

image

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!

come-blog_0

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:

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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:

image

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

Sand Tracks Scarf

As promised in yesterday’s WIP Wednesday post, here’s the info on the Sand Tracks Scarf that I finished earlier this week.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: June 3, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 15, 2015
  • Pattern: Sand Tracks Scarf by Tracey Lee
  • Yarn: 500 yards Swans Island Natural Colors Worsted in Maize
  • Needles: US 7 / 4.5 mm
  • Finished Dimensions: 7.75″ x 73″
  • Made for: ?
  • Ravelry Project Page

image

About This Project

In early June, I signed up for two test knits, including this pattern.  These are the first patterns I’ve ever test knit.  I wanted to know more about the process of creating a pattern, and thought this would be a fun way to learn a little more about that.  I really enjoyed both of the projects, and the test knitting process.  I’ve signed up for another test knit and am swatching for it now.

This particular pattern was an interesting challenge.  I’m not a huge fan of seed stitch.  I knit English style (throw the yarn with my right hand).  When I have to switch between knit and purl a lot — and with seed stitch you are switching on every new stitch — it slows me down since I have to reposition the yarn.

Cables slow me down too.  I don’t use a cable needle anymore.  Instead, I pinch the base of the stitches that form the cable, slide them all off the needle, put them back on the left hand needle in the correct order, then work the stitches according to the cable directions.  This is obviously slower than working across the row, but it is quicker than using a cable needle.

In this scarf, the cable is asymmetrical.  In addition, it is partly worked on a seed stitch ground not reverse stockinette, like most cables.  If you look closely at the inner part of the cables in the picture below, you might be able to see that the central diamond shape has the traditional reverse stockinette, but the outer diamonds are seed stitch.

image

In order to form these varying grounds, the pattern uses 5 different cable stitches.  Some are 4 stitch cables and some are 3 stitch cables.  Some of the cable stitches involve purling in the cable.  The complexity of the cables and the combination of cables and seed stitch make this project intermediate difficulty.

The pattern provides both written and charted directions.  While I always use the charts in lace patterns, I always use the written directions for cables.  There’s nothing wrong with the charts in this pattern.  I did compare the written and charted directions to see if they matched and they did.  It’s just that I find the chart symbols for cables confusing.  I have to focus on them carefully to distinguish the number of stitches involved and which stitches are held to the front.  I find the written short hand for cables easier to look at and understand.  Since this particular pattern does have so many different cable stitches in it, I highlighted each one in a different color, both in the abbreviation section at the beginning of the pattern and in the written instructions.  By the time I was 1/3 of the way through the scarf, I could knit without referring back to the abbreviations.

I hope I’m not making this pattern sound so hard that you don’t want to try it, because it was really fun and interesting to knit.  The pattern is a 10 row repeat and, despite the combined challenge of seed stitch and advanced cables, it only took me about 1/2 an hour to knit through one repeat.  The entire scarf consists of 42 repeats and took 23-25 hours (including the borders, cast on, bind off, blocking) to create.

This is the first time I’ve used the Swans Island yarn.  This yarn is custom spun in New England, in one of the four mills in the United States to earn a Global Organic Textile Standards Certification.  It is hand-dyed using natural dye processes.  It is super soft organic merino and an absolute dream to knit.  The yarn is tightly plied and did not split at all.  This particular color was such a good match for this scarf; the softly tonal yellows really make the scarf look like tracks in the sand, as the name of the pattern suggests.  I used every inch of two skeins of yarn.  I just knit the repeat until I was running out of yarn, then did the border.  I underestimated how much yarn I needed for the border, so on my first try I had to rip out 5 rows of border and 6 rows of the last pattern repeat, then redo the border.  The second time, I had the perfect yardage to finish the border, bind off, and weave in the end.

I truly loved every minute of knitting this scarf.  The pattern was well-written (I didn’t find any errors at all, not even a typo) and the yarn was spectacular. When I bound off, I was ready to cast on for another one.  That’s not something I usually say when I finish a scarf!

While I was a knit night at my local LYS, Susan took this picture of me wearing the scarf.
While I was a knit night at my local LYS, Susan took this picture of me wearing the scarf.

The Tale of Pepper and the Emergency Scarf

I finished the Emergency Scarf on June 1, but I haven’t blogged about it yet.  I didn’t write a separate post about it; I didn’t include it in my FO Friday post.  I wanted to write something a little different for this project, and I wasn’t sure how to do it.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to write, but now that two weeks have passed, I think I’m ready to try.

Official Stats

  • Date Started: February 16, 2015
  • Date Finished: June 1, 2015
  • Pattern: 4 rows 1×1 ribbing alternating with 4 rows garter stitch
  • Yarn: 440 yards Cascade Pinwheel in Citrus
  • Needles: US 8, I think.  I forgot to write it down!
  • Made for: Charity
  • Ravelry Project Page
Stacy modeled this scarf for me :-)
Stacy modeled this scarf for me, since it perfectly matched her outfit!

About this Project

Once upon a time, all the way back in 1996, a pretty little tortoiseshell kitten was born.  She had a brother in her litter.  He was black and white.  They had a rough beginning, but then someone found them and took them into a house as foster kittens.  When they were about 8 weeks old, their foster mama put them in a carrier and brought them to a different house.  A man and a woman at the new house petted them and snuggled them.  Then the tortoiseshell kitten and her brother went in a carrier again and went to yet another home, where the new man and woman lived.

The adoptive mama called the tortoiseshell kitten Pepper, because she looked like freshly ground pepper.  She called Pepper’s black and white brother Puck, because he was a mischievous little sprite.  These were not the names the foster mama called them, but Pepper and Puck soon forgot that they used to be called Elvis and Priscilla.  Pepper liked her new mama.  To be honest, Pepper just liked people.  Everyone who came into the house was a new friend.  She ran up to everyone and greeted them with a loud meow.  Most people petted her, and that was nice.

Pepper and Puck moved with their new mama and papa to another place a few months later.  Mama stayed in that house for a while, but the papa moved out.  A while later, Pepper made friends with a visitor to the house.  He didn’t just pet her; he let her climb on him and sleep with her head on his shoulder.  This was how Pepper told mama that he was a nice guy.  Pepper was happy when he became her new papa.  He petted her a lot.

A year passed, and mama and the new papa moved a long way.  Pepper and Puck rode in the car with mama and papa for hours and hours.  The car was scary, and Pepper was happy when she could sleep on papa’s lap, even if he was driving.  The new place was nice.  Pepper and Puck always lived inside before.  The new place had a screened in patio.  Pepper could see outside, and catch little lizards that snuck onto the patio.

Pepper and Puck moved with mama and papa three more times after that. Tiger joined their family after the first of those moves,  and Pepper wasn’t happy about Tiger.  Even when he was little, he thought he was the boss of everyone.  Pepper was really the boss!  She reminded Tiger of this as often as she could.

Mama and papa didn’t move again.  Pepper got to live in one place for a long, long time.  This house had a whole fenced in yard and on really good days, mama or papa would let Pepper out in the yard.  She liked to sleep in the grass, chase lizards, and eat grass.  Sometimes she tried to slip  through the fence and see if the grass was better over there, but mama or papa always picked her up and brought her back to her own yard.

Mama made Pepper nice beds to sleep on.  Pepper was especially happy with the bed on top of the refrigerator.  She could see everything that happened in the kitchen and dining room.  Tiger didn’t usually try to come on top of the refrigerator, so she could stay away from him.

Pepper got older, as happens to everyone.  Her hips didn’t work as well and it was hard for her to jump up to the counter to get to the refrigerator.  Mama and papa put a chair near the counter so it was easier for Pepper.  Eventually, Pepper couldn’t jump on the chair.  Mama and papa moved her bed to a table in the living room.  When Pepper couldn’t jump on the table, they put a chair, and then a step beside the chair.

After a while, Pepper got sick.  She didn’t know what was wrong, but she went to the vet an awful lot.  Everyone at the vet was nice to her.  Pepper talked to all of them, and they pet her and cuddled her.  She liked the massages she got.  Her hips felt a little better after the massages.

One night, Pepper did not feel well at all.  Mama looked worried.  Eventually, mama brought Pepper to the other vet, the one that is open at night.  Mama brought her knitting with her.  Mama often had knitting.  Pepper liked the knitting.  The balls of yarn were a soft place to sleep.

image

After that visit to the vet, Pepper started sleeping in mama’s office at night.  Pepper liked being away from Tiger.  She liked having her own litter box, food dish, and water.  But Pepper didn’t like being in only one room.  When morning came, she was ready to get out of mama’s office and wander around the rest of the house.

Pepper saw mama knit the scarf, and it seemed like it was done.  It was still sitting on Mama’s desk though.  Pepper heard mama say that the end needed to be woven in.  The scarf sat on the desk for a long time.  Pepper never did see the end get woven in.

Pepper’s eye was bothering her, so she went to the vet again.  Mama kept putting drops in Pepper’s eye, and Pepper didn’t like that.  She wished mama would stop with the drops.  Then Pepper started feeling worse, not because of her eye, but because of the other sickness.  The one she’d had for a long time.  She stopped eating.  Mama seemed worried.  Mama put food on her finger and tried to get Pepper to eat it.  Pepper sniffed the food and licked her lips.  It smelled good, but she didn’t want to eat.

Mama brought Pepper to the vet again.  The vet looked worried too.  The vet took tests.  Then the vet put warm things all around Pepper.  That was nice, because Pepper felt cold.

Pepper didn’t know it, but mama was at home worrying about Pepper.  Mama made chocolate chip cookies and ate too many of them.  She wove in the end on the Emergency scarf that had sat on her desk for so long.

Later that day, mama and papa came to see Pepper at the vet.  Mama brought the new bed she’d made last week, the one that was Pepper’s new favorite bed.  Mama and papa pet her and cuddled her.  It was nice to see them, and Pepper purred as she went to sleep for the last time.

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.

image

 

Raindrops on Roses Shawl

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

image

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:

image

 

Heart Illusion Dishcloths

I’ve knit four more dishcloths this week.

image

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.

image

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.

image

May 2015 in Review

Since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d write a quick post re: finished projects and activities.

Finished Projects

Slytherin Houndstooth Scarf

  • Draft: Houndstooth
  • Loom: 15″ Cricket Table Top Loom
  • Reed: 10 dent
  • Warp Stats
    • Yarn: 150 yards (including loom waste) of  Knit Picks Capretta in Platinum and 150 yards (including loom waste) of Cascade Heritage Silk in Pine
    • Loom waste: 31 yards
    • Total Warp Ends: 110
    • Ends Per Inch (EPI): 10
    • Warp Length: 100″
  • Weft Stats
    • Yarn: 153.6 yards Knit Picks Capretta in Platinum and 142.8 yards Cascade Heritage Silk in Pine
    • Picks Per Inch (PPI): 10 – 12
    • Width in the Reed: 11″
  • Ravelry Project Page

I didn’t write a post about finishing this scarf, though it’s appeared in several WIP Wednesday posts (January 22, February 4, March 25).  I had to finish it so that I could weave the Dr. Who scarf on my rigid heddle loom!  Since this is the fourth Houndstooth Scarf I finished (see the posts on Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw Houndstooth scarves), I felt like I didn’t necessarily learn anything new on this project.  I did apply the lessons learned on the prior Houndstooth scarves, so the Slytherin is the most consistent of the four.

image

image

 

Cotton Candy Corriedale

  • Wheel: Kromski Fantasia
  • Spinning Twist: S (clockwise)
  • Plying Twist: Z (counter-clockwise)
  • Ratio: 8:1
  • Singles Yardage: 978 yards
  • Fiber: Sassy Bee Corriedale in Cotton Candy
  • Finished skein:
    • Ply Structure: 420 yards 2-ply; 46 yards n-ply
    • Weight: 4 oz
  • Ravelry Stash page

This is another project that I’ve been working on for a while and which has appeared in a couple of WIP Wednesday posts (February 4, February 18).  As of February 18, I’d finished plying and had wound most of the yarn onto a niddy noddy.  It then sat around, still on the niddy noddy, awaiting washing.

image

 

Dr. Who Scarf

I did write a blog post about this one!

image

 

Felted Cat Bed

  • Pattern: garter stitch
  • Yarn: 440 yards Patons SWS in Geranium
  • Needles: US 13 / 9.0 mm
  • Pre-felting dimensions: 23″ wide by 40″ long
  • Post-felting dimensions: 11.5″ wide by 19″ long
  • Made for: Pepper
  • Ravelry Project Page

I whipped out a new cat bed to line the bookshelf where Pepper likes to sleep.  Although she wasn’t very co-operative re: posing for the picture, she loves the bed.  It’s now her favorite sleeping spot.

image image image

 

Semi-finished Projects

These projects are “semi-finished” because I’m making multiple dishcloths from the same patterns, as part of my ongoing Dishcloth Advent Calendar (details in my 2015 Plans post) project.  I’ve finished at least one individual item, but am still working on making more.  I need to make 18 dishcloths in each pattern, and will write blog posts with all the project details when I finish all 18.

Heart Illusion Dishcloths

I finished 9 of these in May.

image image

 

Bias Knit, Crochet Cotton Dishcloth

I only finished one of these.  Even with two strands held together, it took about 3 hours to knit one of these, and I didn’t even make it as big as the pattern suggests.  It’ll take me a while to make all 18 of these, but I do like them.

image image

Activities

I participated in three demos with the Weavers of Orlando.  I’ve written blog posts about two of those: St. Johns River Festival of the Arts and Arts at Audubon Elementary.  The third demo was just this past Friday, and I’m working on writing a post about it!

I also traveled to New England to attend my cousin’s college graduation.  While there, I visited 12 yarn shops, including WEBS!  I bought yarn in all the shops, and will be writing multiple blog posts about the experience.  I needed to take pix of all the new stash for the posts and to update my Rav stash.  I’ve been working on it and I’m just about finished.  I will be posting about these shops throughout the month of June; I plan to get all the posts up no later than June 25 since several of the shops I visited are part of the 2015 I-91 Shop Hop which starts that day.