Knitting

A Weekender for Every Day of the Week

I’ll admit it – I’m a bandwagon girl. Or, more accurately, if there’s a sweater parade going by, I’m definitely in the crowd watching, and, it doesn’t take much for me to hop on the float, and cast on the sweater du jour. When everyone started knitting this sweater, the Weekender by Andrea Mowry, I certainly put it in my Ravelry queue, and I kept my eye on photos of completed projects. I didn’t cast on immediately though, because I was concerned about the drop shoulder. A drop shoulder on an oversized sweater with no shaping definitely runs the risk of looking like a trash bag with a hole for your head.

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Crafting On – Starting Point at the End Point

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Ah, this time last week we were just arriving in sunny California for the E3 conference. Myself, I’m not a big gamer. I dabbled in a little World of Warcraft, but I got bored with that, and I’m just not coordinated enough to play shoot em up games. But, for my husband and stepson, going to E3, the video game industry’s yearly conference at which they unveil all of the new games and gaming gear for the upcoming year, was like winning the Golden Ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. it was like three straight days of Christmas.

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We did do the touristy things of course, like going to the Griffith Park Observatory, and hitting the beach and the pier at Santa Monica.

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Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

I was sorely disappointed when we went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and I actually got to visit the Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars.  It’s just a strip mall!  All of the glamour, gone.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the last few days of the trip were hampered by Joe catching some kind of a horrible cold (I had something before we left, but I find it hard to believe that he would have developed it over a week later), so we didn’t get to go on our Hollywood Homes tour, as recommended by the Ellen DeGeneres show, darn!  And, we didn’t go to Venice Beach.  Maybe we’ll be back, maybe not.  I feel like we packed in a lot before Joe went down.  Gamer down!

Anyway, needless to say after listening to him hack up a lung for two days, I was ready to be home, and as soon as I got home, I got to work finishing up the last clue of the Joji MKAL, Starting Point.

Brilliant finish – no grafting!

 

I guess the question to ask at the end any MKAL is, would I have knit this if it weren’t an MKAL, if it had just been released as a stand alone pattern?

In this case, it’s difficult to say.  I used all stash yarn – I don’t know if I would have gone stash diving had I knit this with true intention.  And, I don’t know if I would have wanted to make the big investment in yarn that this gigantic thing calls for.  So, I’m really happy with the end result, I’m pleased with my stash busting, but I’m not sure if I would have looked at this and said, yep, I want to spend $150 to make this.  I don’t know.  But, I’m certainly not sad it’s now in my wardrobe.

After that big knit, I found myself ready for some crochet.  I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was wandering through Michael’s while Joe got his hair cut (I’ve convinced him that the Hair Cuttery next to Michael’s is so much better than the one next to Whole Foods), these Caron Cakes were on sale, 30% off – and my curiosity got the best of me.  I don’t knit with acrylic, so the project was going to be crochet, and I thought, yep, that is actually what I’m in the mood for – crochet it is!  Caron Cakes is actually 20% wool, and that bit of wool really makes a difference.  If you put this yarn in a bag with pure wool, and I were blindfolded, I’d probably have a tough time identifying the fakery.  Unlike a pure acrylic, this doesn’t feel stiff, nor does it squeak like the Caron pound skeins.  Because of the color changes, I really wanted to do something that just went round and round, so here is the beginnings of my shell blanket:

Easy peasy.  Round and round.  Of course, while I’m doing this easy peasy thing, I have my eye on something harder, the Nuts for Squares CAL, but I’ve promised myself I’m going to finish this first, or at least finish off the four skeins that I bought of the Caron Cakes, before I invest in another project – gotta keep that wandering eye looking firmly straight ahead.  It’s so easy to get distracted, and you have too much Ravelry time on your hands.

So, that’s what I’m crafting on about, hope your summer crafting is moving right along was well.  Linking up with Linking up with Frontier Dreams, Crafting On!

Not Yarning Along, Crafting On!

Hello Wednesday!  Is it really you!  Good to see you, my time suck of a calendar day.  Before the day goes poof, here’s a run down of the knit/crochet happenings since February –

The Ambah MKAL

As you may recall, my knit started out looking like this:

But I hated the cartoony speckle, and ripped it out – then it looked like this:

I was kind of meh about it, but I did finish it.  It looks like this:

 

I guess it turned out ok – I haven’t even blocked it, or weaved the ends in.  I guess I’m still meh about it.

Buzz the House Fly

So, to cheer myself up about my meh-ness, I decided to crochet a Lalylala critter – looking through my stash, I didn’t have the best combo of solid finger colors, so I went with some purple Koigu and Buzz, the House Fly:

 


I think he turned out super cute!  Emboldened with my amigurumi prowess, I decided to finally try an Octopus for a Preemie.

Octopus Fail

I joined this Facebook group probably the week it started, as I had seen an article about the program, and thought, well, since I like crocheting critters, and my husband doesn’t appreciate them, and my nieces and nephews are really getting to old for stuffed animals, this seems like a good idea.

I waited to crochet a little guy, though, because the group was just getting organized, and in the beginning, there was a lot of confusion, and a lot of failed Octopi.  Then, the group came up with a system of becoming a certified crafter – in order to ensure that the Octopi complied with the strict guidelines, you had to upload photos of your Octopus passing certain tests to show that the the tentacles weren’t too short/too long and that your stitching was tight enough.  So, after finishing my bug, I decided to give it a go –

On the face of it, it looks like the little guy passed.  But, alas, after it went to an Octopus Ambassador, who again threw it in her washer/dryer, the holes opened up, and the tentacles stretched out, and the head got smooshy.  I didn’t even bother to mail in my second one – I just gave it to my dog.  Later, it was revealed that others had problems with this yarn – I think it’s Caron, and while still approved, since it is cotton and it doesn’t bleed, it was kind of use with caution.

So, I pondered whether I wanted to go back to the drawing board, maybe with a different yarn, and the answer was no.  I broke every nail on my fingers, crocheting so tightly, and with the required yarn under method of crocheting – and my nails were not long to begin with – so they were broken down to below the tips of my fingers.  And, I had also managed to stab myself under the nail with the hook a couple of times, and I was literally sore for a week after finishing one.  So, while this is a good cause, there are over 13,000 people in the group, and they are much better crocheters than I.  And, I had already washed and dried the little guy above, and my machinery just doesn’t have the juice that the official tester had – or I would have already seen the problems, and never mailed it in in the first place.  I tried, I failed, I’m not going to beat myself up.

Which brings me to my current knit, the Joji Mystery Wrap

 

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When I first saw this MKAL, I wasn’t even on the fence, it was just a big no! I had no desire to knit a gigantic rectangle. It seemed like way too much boring knitting. But, then I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool (more on that another day), and it was kitted up everywhere – every booth had some kind of Joji MKAL kit, and I was mesmerized. But, I didn’t buy yarn – five skeins of fingering yarn is a big investment – the Miss Babs kits were $132, the Bare Naked Fibers was even more. Of course, it’s fantastic yarn, and for a project that wasn’t a mystery, reasonable. But, for a mystery … especially after the meh Ambah MKAL . . . So, I pulled random fingering Shetland out of my stash, and said, not perfect, but good to go.

It’s a really easy knit; it’s mostly garter, and fantastic t.v. knitting.  I’m relieved that it’s not developing like your typical rectangle.  And at this point, there are no live stitches on a holder, so that says to me no grafting – hopefully these two pieces will come together some other way, because I hate grafting.  We shall see.  Two more clues to go!

And there we have it, all of the yarning since February – I think.  I feel like I’m missing something – oh yeah, my Kate Davies’ sweater.  That’s on the back burner, maybe never to return – it was turning out pretty small, and I have to totally reknit a sleeve that turned out wonky.

 

 

Oh my!  I just went to link up with the Yarn Along and discovered it ended in March!  All of that Waiting for Wednesday and there wasn’t any Wednesday left!!!!

So Godot, really . . .

Go figure!

Linking up with the suggested alternative to the Yarn Along, Nicole at Frontier Dreams – Keep Calm and Craft on my friends!

Yarning Along – the Mystery Way

And the Ambah Mystery is underway!

Mystery knits are always a crapshoot, but I enjoy them nonetheless.  This time around I’m joining in on Ambah‘s Hale-Bopp Mystery Knit-a-Long, some kind of a shawl, I guess with a comet theme.  As you may recall, I bought yarn, fell in dislike with the yarn, returned the yarn, and settled on this yarn:

The iron blue yarn is from Loop in London, and the rest of the yarn is from Loop in Philadelphia – fun, right?  Anyway, I hope my London souvenir ends up being a part of something lovely.

The first clue was released last Thursday, Friday for those down under, like Ambah.  The waiting, the waiting, the email that the clue is out, and then . . . drat! It’s  Turkish cast on!  Why can’t anything be easy?  Every day I just find myself exhausted because nothing can just be easy.  For instance, why did the Republicans have to shut down Elizabeth Warren?  ELIZABETH WARREN. SHE WHO WILL NOT BE SHUT DOWN.  Now, nothing is something, and anger just continues to seethe.  KnittyD. who is also knitting along, asked me if I thought I would have a snow day tomorrow – we shut down when the city shuts down, and I was like, dang, this city needs it – it needs to shut down for a day, and shake itself off.   I need some rest from this unrest.  And I’m onboard with the unrested – but one down day would be nice.

Anyway, where was I – Turkish cast on.  I had to watch a video, I had to cast on three times – once, because I ended up knitting in the round, once because I screwed up my markers and they were sliding up and down the long cord on my circular, and the third time was a charm:

As you can see, the Turkish cast on begins much like Magic Loop – the stitches are divided over two needles, created by forming wraps over the needles held together.  Unlike Magic Loop, though, you turn the work instead of knitting around – so with Magic Loop, the working yarn is going to finish off on the bottom needle, you switch needles, knit from the bottom needle to the top, and keep going around.  With the Turkish cast on, you turn the work around, so the working yarn is coming off the top needle, and you’re knitting in kind of like a “u”.  That’s my U above.  That probably didn’t make any sense, but I’m really proud of myself that I can actually talk my way through it.

And, yep, that’s a knit on icord edging – which I personally love – it makes everything look finished.

After the initial garter stitch beginning, it moves on to a slip stitch with the speckle, and then to a lace section:

I’m a little meh about it, because the speckle is just not made up of my colors.  I love the grey, I love the blue, and then . . . the speckle.   It says baby to me, but I don’t know, we’ll see. Onward!  The next clue comes out tomorrow.  The next clue is a 2 week clue, so it should be pretty significant.  Hopefully, I’ll love it . . . fingers crossed.

On the reading front, I’m still reading Michael Chabon’s Moonglow.  I just haven’t been reading that much.  I think I was at 10 percent the last time I posted, and now I’m maybe at 25%.  Again, onward!

Happy knitting!

Yarn Along – First Finish of the Year

Hello everyone!  Hope you started your year off on a knitting high note – it’s always good to wrap up the old, start something new, and plan the next thing, and so on . . .

My holdover from last year became my first finish of the year – behold, Braid Hills from Kate Davies:

After finishing the knitting, I was really kicking myself for not having read the pattern all the way through before I started.  In the photos, Kate is wearing the sweater with buttons, but on closer inspections, the buttons are decorative, and this thing is closed with snaps.  Apparently, the original pattern was written with buttonholes, but people found that the buttons caused gaps, I think because of the weight and pull of the cable.  So, she rewrote the pattern for a ribbon lining and snaps.  Uch.

So, here’s my ribbon, which I handsewed to the button (er snap) band. I made the mistake of sewing one on the other side as well, so when I close it, you can see the ribbon just a little bit.  I debated ripping it out, and resewing the snaps straight to the sweater, but, eh, it’s fine.

Then, I had to decide if I was going to bother with the decorative buttons, and opted to forego the buttons.  I have a lot of button down cardigans, so this is a little different look, and I think the buttons, at least the one’s I experimented with, detracted from the pretty cable.  So far, I’d say 2017, knitwise, is off to a good start.

Next!  Another Kate Davies, this time from the Inspired By Islay Club.  This is Ooa –

Ooa is knit in Kate Davies’ yarn, Buachaille, which is a little bit too expensive to make something this large. With the club, you do get a 10% discount on all things Kate, and hopefully, the perfect sized project will be revealed to try it out.  So, I’m using Cascade 220 Sport:

Before yesterday, I would have been totally singing Cascade 220’s praises.  When I worked at Rosie’s, I always recommended Cascade 220 worsted for first time knitters, as it didn’t split, and was always dependable.  This yarn . . . there’s no nice way to put it, ok, there is a nice way to put it, but I choose not to – the cream skeins are so f-d up they are nearly impossible to wind on a swift with a ballwinder.  The first two skeins were manageable – I kind of hand wound them to start off, and they eventually untangled.  Not the third skein.  The third skein broke my ballwinder.  Yes, it broke my ballwinder.  I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to hand wind it it’s so tangled.  Sigh.

But, here’s the beginning:

The bright photo shows my first cast on – yes, there was a first, and then a second, and then a third . . . the first was gauge challenged – way too small.  That’s what you get when you say, yep, I’ve got gauge after knitting five rows.  The second turned into a moebius – oopsy.  And the other photo is the third cast on – with size 6 needles.  I think US 5’s would make the perfect fabric, and if I had been willing to go for cast on 4, I would have switched to a five and knit a bigger size.  But, I stuck with the 6’s, and I’m pretty much at the armpit –

Now, I just have to wait for my new ball winder to arrive tomorrow, and I’ll be back in business.

Now onto future business – near future, next week actually.  Next week starts the Ambah MKAL, Hale – Bopp.  I’ve never knit an Ambah pattern, but I do admire them – especially knit up in the Miss Babs booth every year at Sheep and Wool.  This MKAL is a shawl that calls for three skeins of sock yarn – a dark, a light, and a speckle.  The speckle is optional, but Ambah used a speckle, and you’ve gotta love a good speckle, so I’m all about the speckle.  The MKAL is a partnership with Sunshine Yarns, which kitted up combos of yummo colorways.  I was infatuated with one of them, a plum, grey, speckle combo, but even though I hit the shop web page as the yarns were loading up on the screen, and even though I managed to get the one I wanted in my shopping cart, but the time I filled out my shipping address, it had vanished – I’ve never had an online shopping experience where something can actually disappear from your cart, and frankly, that sucks.  But, thems the breaks.  So, I did a stash dive, and came up with an iron blue skein of yarn that I bought while we were in London – so I played around with a few combinations with Hedgehog sock as the speckle:

I bought the top combo, but then had anxiety – I didn’t think the cream was quite right, not enough blue. So, I trolled Ravelry, looked at a few finished projects that used that colorway, and realized that I was correct in my anxiety, and I returned the first skein, for the second combo. I’m feeling much more confident.  So, that MKAL starts next Thursday night.  I probably won’t be done Ooa, but it’ll probably be a good time to take a break – hopefully, I’ll be in between sleeves.  I hate sleeves.

On the reading front, I finished The Nix (the beginning was much better than the ending), and now I’m reading Michael Chabon’s, Moonglow.

I’m not very far in, but so far I’m enjoying it.  More to report next time!

Anyone, knit on everyone, and take care!

This and That Before 2017 – A Knitting Catch Up and The Inspired by Islay Club

I’d say “my it’s been a long time,” but that’s how this blog has gone for years, I suppose.  I’ve picked a word for 2017, and I’ll talk about that later this week (yep, really, I will!), but an element of my word is consistency, so I’m going to come up with a plan for being more consistent here in this little space of mine.  Perhaps I’ll sit down on Sunday and write a bunch of short posts I schedule to publish throughout the week, or maybe I’ll commit (hint hint) to blogging twice a week.  I’m not sure yet, I’m still figuring it all out, but I do know that I don’t want to ditch the whole thing, so I’ll come up with something.

So, this week I’m going to do a series of catch up posts, just a little this and that before the new year.  First up, knitting!

In my knitting world, I finished the gigantic sweater I knit for my husband (a sweater for a 6’4″ guy is necessarily going to be gigantic, so I knew what I was getting into, but it still didn’t make it any less of a, cough, cough, slog – miles and miles of stockinette.  I’d show you a photo, but I haven’t actually taken a picture of it yet – which is strange, because he’s already worn it a couple of times, and it is his favorite of the three sweaters I’ve knit for him.  And, that, in and of itself, was a lesson learning thing.  The first two sweaters I knit for him were lovely – last year’s sweater was Guston in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter, and a few years before that, Brooklyn Tweed’s Cobblestone, in Katmandu Aran.  Both sweaters, two me, were fab – texture and tweedy yarn.  Joe, however, really doesn’t like anything that isn’t structured, and he likes a smooth yarn, rather than a tweed.  So, this year, I let him pick the pattern (sort of, he described what he wanted, and I found it), and I let him pick the yarn.  And, now he has his fitted neck, saddle shoulder, ribbed sweater that he always wanted, Churchmouse Yarn’s Saddle Shoulder Pullover.  This pattern was frankly ridiculously expensive, but it got the job done.  My one problem was that rather than the instructions being in inches (like knit until armhole is x inches), it was knit 97 rows, or whatever.  This was done intentionally, as there’s a whole section on getting gauge, including row gauge, as well as how to add length here and there, to get a better fit.  I’m just not all that concerned with row gauge, and I like my instructions in inches.  Because I’m a lazy counter, I had to do some fudging sewing the saddle and the sleeve into place, because I didn’t have quite the same number of rows where they were supposed to be, but you would never know from looking at it, and all is good.

On the selfish knitting front, you may remember this:

This is Islay, from I think Gudrun Johnson.  I abandoned Islay because I a. ran out of yarn, and had to order more and b. it was time to knit giganto husband sweater.  When I picked it up again, I didn’t remember where I was, and of course, I hadn’t written it down.  I couldn’t figure it out, didn’t love it, decided to part ways with it, and knit something else.  So, I decided I wanted to knit this with my precious Miss Babs, Baby Cocktails’ Dirty Martini:

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You would think this would be an easy color to find a contrast – grey, maybe.  But, I tried at least a half a dozen colors, yes, I actually swatched, and hated them all.  Meh.  So, I abandoned that idea (although I still want to knit this cardigan), and waited for something to come to me.

And, what came to me, ironically enough, was the Inspired by Islay Club from Kate Davies.  Back to the Hebrides!  I signed up for the club around Thanksgiving, but the first pattern didn’t come out until the second week in December.  I couldn’t wait, and I cast on Kate’s Braid Hills, not part of the club, but still a Hebredian inspiration:

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Perfect right?  So, here’s mine, just about the same place I ripped out the other Islay:

Anyway, no offense to the first Islay, but I’m so much happier with this version of my Miss Babs.  And, this is actually a pretty good representation of the color, as opposed to the grayer photo above – it’s a really beautiful, vibrant blue green.

I have long been a Kate Davies fan.  I’ve knit Paper Dolls, and her owls sweater, and I’ve admired her yokes and her haps.  I even have a fan girl photo:

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That’s Kate and I in 2009 when she visited Philadelphia.  Of course, I look at that photo, and I see how thin I was, and think, “oh my, how did I get from there to here,” but that’s a post for another day.

Digression over.  Of course, now I’m midknit while the Inspired by Islay patterns roll out – 12 patterns over 12 weeks, and 12 newsletters filled with the most gorgeous photos of Scotland, and little history lessons to accompany each pattern.  The patterns come out on Wednesday, the newsletter on Fridays.  The newsletters also include Kate’s husband Tom’s whiskey reviews and recommendations.  Not only am I inspired to knit Islay inspired patterns, I am totally inspired to visit Scotland, and stay in a caravan and stare out over the lochs, and climb the foothills in my Islay inspired socks.  Not only do you get the 12 patterns and 12 newsletters for $36, you also get a discount code for Kate’s yarn, Buachaille.  So, for $3 a pattern, free whiskey advice and dream inspiring photos, and a coupon for  Scottish yarn, it is completely worth it.  There’s also a nice Ravelry group as well, but you can join the group without joining the club.

The first Inspired by Islay pattern is Kate’s wedding cardigan, Finlaggen:

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I think this is the pattern that I’ll order my Buachaille for – although I’m going to wait for all 12 patterns to come out before I decide.  I love the heart shaped cables, the shawl collar, and the ribbed waistline.  I’m thinking I’ll forego the pockets though.  So, this might just be the Winter of Islay, which shall hopefully not be my winter of discontent.  In any event, if you are at all a Kate Davies fan, you should definitely check out the club – it’s a bargain, it’s delightful, and it’s inspiring.

Tomorrow, a crochet catch up, and another club!

Yarning Along – It’s All Over But the Neckline

When last we left the cardigan, I was still mad at it.

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Darn you sweater for making me run out of yarn and lose my place in the chart.  Oh, and make mistakes, that made me rip out, and back and . . . whatever, I’m mad at you, into the closet you go.  I’m seriously considering ripping the whole thing out and making the sweater I originally planned to make, Dirty Martini, but Baby Cocktails.

And then I made the mitts.  But, still mad at the cardigan, I was looking to be distracted, and you know, email can do that to you.  I received an email from my LYS, suggesting I knit this, Boardwalk by Heidi Kirrmaier, from Wool People 3.

And, I said, thanks LYS, I think I will knit that.  Of course, LYS also suggested I go to said store and plunk down big bucks on Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, but I said no thanks to that.  Maybe this is sacrilege, but I hate Loft – I’ve attempted to use it twice, and both times the twist was so weak it broke – again and again.  So, instead, I went right back to the fingering weight, Davidson’s yarn that I used for my mitts, and cast on – and one week later, I have this:

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I just love those little cap sleeves.  The true color is a bit more purple than above, but I’m in my office, and I’m not going to get a shot of the true color.  I just have to finish up the mitered neck placate and block it up, and it’ll be done!  And, we finally have the perfect weather for it.

On the reading front, I just finished Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family?

 

When this book was long listed for the National Book Award and the Man Booker Prize last year I poo poo’d it – why on earth would I ever want to read something so incredibly depressing?  The premise is that a woman loses her family in a house fire on the eve of her daughter’s wedding.  Not a spoiler – it’s the springboard for this really lovely meditation on what it means to have a family, about love, and loyalty, choices, and legacy.  It’s about forgiveness and connections, compassion and humanity.  I really enjoyed it; it’s not often a novel can move me to tears, but this one did, and in a wholly genuine way, unlike last year’s other manipulative tearjerker, A Little Life.

And now, I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s “heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-riot-creating, oddball-hating, soul-shaking, love and fear making, heartbreaking” autobiography, and so far, which is not so far, just a couple of chapters, it’s just like going to one of his concerts – he brings you into his stories, mesmerizes you, and leaves you wanting more.  Some sentences read like pure poetry, others kind of go clankety clank, but it’s all very real, just like he is.

So, that’s it for this week!  Knit on and knit well, my friends!

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Yarning Along, Quickly!

Holy Moly, I completed a project with yarn from circa 2007-8!!!  Now that’s a deep plunge into the stash.

Frustrated with my Islay Cardigan (recap – I ran out of yarn, bought more yarn, waited for said yarn, forgot where I was in the chart, realized I couldn’t figure out where I was because I had done the decreases for the wrong size, unknit the additional decreases, and I still had the wrong number of stitches, oy!), I decided I wanted to knit something quick quick quick and get a finished project under my belt.  Get my knitting mojo back, you know what I mean?  I feel like it’s been awhile since I finished a knit project.  So, I went looking for something small, something modest.  Every year I admire the dooable projects in Ysolde Teague’s Knitworthy e-books, patterns perfectly designed and timely released for gift knitting.  These patterns are released bi-weekly until the ebook is complete, and while from the start you can preorder the entire ebook, and get the patterns as they are released, you can’t buy the individual patterns until after the subscribers get their full ebook.  So, I usually like the first pattern, don’t want to commit to the whole book until I see the whole book, and then I forget about it.  So, when I really liked the first pattern this year, Belyse, I just decided to go for it, and I subscribed to the whole book.

So, because I needed immediate gratification, I wasn’t going to buy anything, and I started going through my stash.  Dig dig dig – and I ended up finding a nice, tweedy Rowan 4 ply Tweed, which came out sometime between 2006-2008, and is now discontinued.  For the main color, I picked this purply pink tweedy yarn from Maryland Sheep and Wool, from Davidsons.

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Unlike traditional glove patterns, Belyse starts at the fingers, not the cuffs.  Interesting.  The fingers are actually pretty ingenious – they’re knit like I-cord, and then you make a stitch from the tail, ladder it up the back, and close up the circle.  Crazy.  And then the fingers are joined to start the palm.

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Here’s the first one in progress.  Sorry about the crappy photos – I knit these through Saturday and Sunday football – not to much movement out of the blue chair.

The back (yep, with some dog butt) –

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And front (sans butt!)

I really did mean to take better photos – but I forgot.  Oops.

And of course, as soon as I finished these mitts, I saw these –

 

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OMG I love these! They’re from Ann Kingston Tup Knits (tups apparently refers to sheep mating, learn something new everyday!), and I love the mitts, the hats and the cowl – although I think all three is a bit much.  I think I’ll make the mitts and the hat and call it a sheep.

So, that’s where I am in my yarning!

And the reading!  I finally secured the digital download of Dark Matter, and read it in a day and a half.

The beginning is edge of your seat exciting, the middle starts to read like a traditional time travel novel (although its not about time travel), and then there’s a twist and bam! Gotta find out what happens!  I enjoyed it, and obviously it was quick, like my mitts.  I guess that’s the theme this week!

Back next week with probably a return to the cardigan, or the start of something tuppy!

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Basic CMYK

 

Still Not a Closer

As predicted, my one-handed, fast and wrong bead glazing and drying technique was a bit of a disaster – I lost a handful of beads that stuck together because they were strung too closely while they were drying.  At least it wasn’t a surprise – it was pretty darn predictable once I had it all strung up – just with only one hand, I was somewhat helpless to start all over again.

But, I did rescue enough beads to string up a ladder bracelet:

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I didn’t have any leather cord in my stash, just hemp, so I went with that.  And, I broke out the new C-Lon cord that I bought for my next up Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry class.  I did taped down my button closure, did some macramé knots to get it started, and laddered on down to a finished bracelet.

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As you can see, I tacked down my loop with the same macramé stitches with which I began, and I thought my loop was secure.  Wrong.

My husband is always asking me why I don’t sell my finished objects on Etsy.  First, the only thing that I think I make that is sellable quality is my knitting, and unless I come up with my own design for a small item – like mitts or a hat, the time v. expense v. profit analysis just isn’t worth it.  If I make a shawl, I’m probably spending at least – well, let’s not guess, let me look at the last shawl I made – which was super expensive.

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I made the Spice Market Shawl with a Miss Babs gradient set, $76 (now $83 in her online store), and then I ran out of the main color, and I had to buy an additional $26 skein to finish the project.  I think the pattern cost $8 or something close to that.  So, to break even, I’d have to start pricing at $110.  Now, what would someone pay for this?

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It’s hard for me to say. My motivation for making something is rarely “I love that shawl so much I have to wear it, and it must be a part of my wardrobe,” it’s “I love that yarn, I love that pattern, I really want to knit it.”  Once it’s finished, of course, I’m happy to wear it, but I’m a process knitter, not a product knitter.  But, I’ll render a guess that someone might spend $150-$200 on this handmade item created with luxury yarn.  But is my labor only worth 50-100?  That comes to less than $10/hr.  Obviously, I didn’t log my hours knitting this, but it took more than 10.  And, I have zero motivation to knit it again.

So, the only way I’d knit to sell is if I came up with my own one of a kind small item pattern that I could crank out in a fairly short amount of time, and use 1-2 skeins of luxury yarn.

So, until that time, my only marketable craft skill just isn’t worth it to me.

What does that have to do with the beads.  Well, while I may sew a lot of things, and put together some jewelry here or there – I just don’t think my workmanship is of the sellable quality.  I have never made a piece of jewelry that hasn’t, over time of course, fallen apart in someway – with the wrap bracelets, inevitably my button or my loop comes loose.  I made a lot of these ladder bracelets a few years back, and all of them eventually came apart at the button or the loop.

When I finished this ladder bracelet, Joe asked if I could sell it, and I pondered a moment – the paper beads are inexpensive, the wrapping/laddering only takes an hour or so – and then I stopped myself.  Let’s see if this holds together.

And, it didn’t.  Even though I had macramé knotted the loop closure down, it opened up.  Sigh.

But, there is hope!

I have now watched all of Robin Dudley-Howes Eclectic Beaded Crochet class, and she has an awesome, three part method for securing her closures.  I was so happy when she admitted that before she discovered her method, her jewelry fell apart too.  I really do enjoy successful crafters and artisans sharing their fails as well as their successes.  Anyway, I’m now thinking that selling my stuff might be entirely possible.  Forget the paper beads for the most part – back to the junk jewelry beads, flea market beads, beads from broken jewelry.  And, the crochet bracelets are back in my wheelhouse – fiber, stitching – all good!  And, because I do know how to crochet beyond chaining, slip stitching, and single crochet, I’m thinking how I can add other stitches, and make bracelets that look more like my own.  Anyway, the cogs in ye old brain are turning.  But, I am so far ahead of myself.  Let’s get that bracelet closed properly first!  And, I will leave you with that, as I await my ThreadZapper II from my Amazon Prime 2 day shipping!

Back tomorrow with a Yarn Along, and a spur of the moment finished object!

Basic CMYK

 

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