Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Borders and Bummers

Last week I was knitting pretty confidently knowing that I had 2 projects to finish before the fair and it was doable.  Mittens and blanket.  No big deal, got it.  Then I made a few squares for Amy's blanket.  Then I got a couple squares from other knitters, and I attached those.  I'm happy to do it, but working on the blanket means that the mittens aren't going to the fair this year.  And that's okay.  I'm still going strong on my blanket and Amy's blanket.

*If you're contributing to Amy's blanket, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

On Sunday I got up early, made around a dozen circles, attached them as quickly as I could and headed to stitch and bitch with a 17 x 19 blanket.  And it's big enough.  I think.  But whatever it is, it's too late to change it. By Sunday night after a couple hours at SnB and True Blood, I had the first round of my border done.

Here it is with no border
And with 1 row of single crochet in white
And with 1 row of half-double crochet (which is not the same things as single crochet) in green
And another row of single crochet in white
And Madeline helping Mommy with the border
And finally, the ROW OF DOOM, these decorative little shell things in white. I like it a lot, but it's taking a while. I'm only halfway through and it's been 2 days.  And I've still got some ends to weave in.
 So I could finish this blanket tonight or tomorrow night and work on the mittens until my hands bleed and maybe get them done, or I could take my time and enjoy the very last row of a blanket I started last summer and actually get some sleep over the next few nights.  I could also start my Olympic Knitting project on time! (and then finish the mittens before they start collecting dust on the coffee-table.  These suckers are going to get done if it kills me). 

In other news, I've made 2 hats out of handspun lately.  These are the projects that live in my purse and get worked on when I'm sitting in a waiting room, standing in a long line, etc.  I'm thinking that the green hat might actually work for the same category as the mittens, killing 2 birds with one stone.  I made it to enter in the "knitting with handspun" competition but last week I was going through my tags and attaching them to the right projects, only to realize that I didn't actually enter the "knitting with handspun" category this year.  Derp.

So here are my 2 handspun berets, green is blocked, colorbarf is not.  I'm not a hat person at all, but I'm going to wear each of them at least once.  So there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Call to Needles

I know this is a long shot, but I'm going to post it here anyway.

A couple weeks ago, one of my good friends and teammates' daughter, Sam, fell out of a 3 story window in Greece on a Study Abroad trip.  My friend Amy and her other daughter, Alli, dropped everything and went to Greece and have been with Sam since then (she had been in a coma).  This morning Sam died.  She was 20 years old.

I'd like to put together a WASHABLE afghan for Amy & Alli.  So this is my Call to Needles:  if you have time to make a 12 x 12 square, please let me know.  I don't have a color scheme going or anything, and I will do all the assembly myself.  But if you would like to contribute a square (or two or three) then I will happily take them.  Please email me at if you're interested.  Yarn: anything acrylic.  If you don't have any but want to contribute your time, let me know and I'll find a way to get you some yarn.

Please let me know if you can help.  It would mean the world to me, and I'm sure Amy & Alli.

Monday, July 16, 2012

When is big big enough?

I am having a serious mental block about finishing my crochet scrap-eating afghan.  I keep thinking "the next row will be it" and sure enough, it still seems too small.  Now I can't decide if it's actually too small or if I just don't want to stop working on it.

I did a few of my common afghan-sizing tests to see if I'm getting close to having it the right size.  It's missing a few patches that haven't been attached yet (or made yet for that matter) but I think we're getting close.  But I thought I'd share my highly scientific test methods to determine if an afghan is big enough or not with you.

Test #1.  Do you get cold feet during naps?
This test was repeated several times for the most effective results.  If this test is passed, move on to test #2.

Test #2.  Does it make an appropriately sized fort?
Yes.  Move on to test #3.

Test #3.  Can you reenact scenes from "Titanic" using the afghan as a door and a cat as Kate Winslet?
Affirmative.  Move on to test #4.

Test #4.  Is afghan big enough for more than one cat? 
Clearly, it's not.  I think I'll add another row of circles. 

If you find yourself wanting to do these tests and lacking a cat, you're welcome to my old yellow cat.  She hates life and pees on the floor sometimes, but she's a trained yarn snob and will deliver highly accurate results. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Reminders to my future self

You'd think in the past 19 years of being a knitter, I would have learned more about myself as a knitter and my knitting habits.

One of my classics happened this week.  Picture if you will, an orange tote bag that's been hanging on the door handle since October, all of one mitten finished except for a thumb, the other ball of yarn, waiting for hundreds of delicate little cables on tiny yarn, waiting, taunting.

I decided that this pair of mittens would work perfectly for the "accessories, knitted" contest of which entered this year for the Indiana State Fair.  So there, a solid reason for their hasty removal from project hibernation, but that doesn't exactly mean anything as there's a huge difference between "I can finish this for the Fair" and "I have time to finish this for the Fair".

I sat down with my audiobook yesterday, the 4" of ribbing done.  If I knitted 12 insanely cabled rows a day, that leaves me with a pair of mittens ready for the Fair, not including the time it's going to take to block (add an extra day or two for humidity).  I knitted around 20 rows before I realized my mistake.  (This is a classic Paige screw up).  I changed the pattern for the first mitten, and I assumed I'd remember it for the second mitten because I totally wasn't going to put it away for 8 months.  Naturally, I put it away, forgot, and I didn't change it for the second. It's nothing huge like the omission of a thumb or adding an extra 2 reps of something, but it's noticeable.  I think that I screwed up on the first mitten and just realized it too late and kept going, but the 5 stitches that form the gusset between the front and the back are supposed to be garter stitch with 2 slipped stitches on the sides, and my first mitten is definitely stockinette.
Lesson learned (but knowing myself won't be implemented) is:  if you make a change, write it down.
When I noticed the mistake I actually laughed a little. I like quirky mittens.  I much prefer the garter stitch on the second one, but not enough to go rip back the first mitten.  I might make this pattern again, in which case I'd make them both garter stitch edged, but for the time being, I'll accept that my mittens are fraternal twins and enjoy the process of the second mitten.

*Yes, I know that this mistake might cost me a ribbon.  And right now, I just don't care.  I lost a lot of respect for the judge when my beaded lace shawl was displayed inside-out and lost to a ribbed scarf last year.  I'm really just going to see how my lace tablecloth does and if anything else places then it's a bonus.
**That sounded snotty.  I'm not mad that my shawl didn't place, but there were loads of awesome knits (fair-isle, cabled and lace) that lost to this ribbed scarf.  I worked on that shawl for over a year and this ribbed scarf was a very nice ribbed scarf, but in the end, still a ribbed scarf.

Moving on.  I made it to 16 x 16 squares in my crochet afghan.  I'm still aiming for 16 x 18 plus a border.  I think I still have time.  I hope I still have time.  If I get to 16 x 18 and decide it's not big enough, it won't go to the Fair.  I would rather wait a year to enter it (or not enter it at all) than be displeased with it for the rest of it's life because I was too lazy to make it 18 x 20.  I didn't take a picture because it looks exactly like it did at 14 x 14, 12 x 12 and 10 x 10, just bigger.

I made a hat out of handspun.  It is knitted far too tightly and is a little small.  Luckily, I have a tiny head.  Here it is blocking.  I like it, except for the ribbing is a little loose.  I might go back and in the row between the ribbing and the lace pattern, crochet a row from behind to tighten things up.  But it's been drying for 4 days and is still wet- it's way too humid to be drying knits right now.
In non-knitting news, I have a guy who thinks I'm pretty cool.  And I think he's pretty cool.  He brings me these:
And Madeline brings me these, which is not cool at all  (I think it's a corn snake.  Regardless of what kind of snake it is, it is still a snake, and I jumped on the chair and screamed for a bit when she brought it to me, still alive, and very angry.  I hate snakes.):
And I might actually have a cucumber or two out of my little garden this year!

*I'm on Instagram!  If you'd like to get little pictures like these, follow knitpurldrop.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

the busy bee

I must have been crazy to think that working from home would mean that I have more time to do things like knit or blog (instead of spending 2 hours a day in transit to and from work).  And while I'm waking up earlier, getting out less, and working for much longer that I was a couple months ago, it's absolutely fabulous working for myself.  I do have to be a bit cheap for a while though, as I don't plan on paying myself anytime soon.

My only regret is that my personal crafting time has gone completely out the window.  And when I do have time to knit what I want to knit, I get that guilty feeling that reminds me that it's not going to help my little business in any way by knitting someone else's yarn with someone else's pattern.

And I have had a happy couple weeks designing away on 6 new projects in 3 new yarns.  But the State Fair is coming up, and I've got 3 entry tags with no projects attached.

I put a couple hours in to the scrap-eater afghan, and it is going to be a lot of work, but it might be doable.  After I finish attaching the row of circles I've got started, it will be 16 squares tall and wide, and my plan is 16 by 18.  I might decide to make it 18 by 20 though since I love a big blanket, but then it wouldn't go to the Fair this year.  Decisions, decisions.  There's going to be a border to it, but that won't add more than 2 inches. Tubby Custard thinks it's great exactly as it is...
No comment on the other 2 projects that lie unfinished.

Here are a couple pictures of the projects I'm playing with for Good For Ewe, the first is a future baby blanket in the yarn "Chord", the second is a hat in "Sultry Steps".  Both patterns (and a few more) will be available in print within a few weeks.
I thought I'd also post a couple garden shots, although the green thumb seems to be taking a year off.  Here are my herbs (mostly basil and catnip)...
 And cucumber #1...
And cucumber #2.  The heat wave and drought is not helping my inability to make anything grow this year.