Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Knit a Fantasy Story Update

My project is starting to look more and more like the little scene I had pictured. I still have a ways to go, but the basic framework is there.


The road is done, along with the pastures and the yard area in the lower left where I plan to make the gnome home. The river is finished, but I still need the lake and camping area in the lower right. The yard for the house will be in the upper right, but is only outlined right now. I have finished one of the three fields, still have the other two to go.

One friend asked me what the finished field was. I have no idea. Hay? Straw? Wheat? ...Whatever it is that turns yellow before harvest? (golden waves of grain is ringing a bell)


She is pretty sure that not having a clue makes me a terrible farmer, but since I'm also planning for lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, squash, pumpkins and who only knows what else to be ready in the other fields at the same time I'm pretty sure this farm is not going to be accurate. Of course, once you have a gnome fishing off a pipe cleaner and yarn bridge with a bead bobber I think the claims to realism have all been shot to hell.


So anyway, that's how far the basic mat has gotten. I've also made progress on some of the 'extra bits' -

There are two trees and one shrub. The trees have knitted trunks (mainly garter stitch) that have been stretched over different sized/shaped frames of plastic canvas.

I made the bases larger for stability, and stitched loops of yarn to look like grass around the trunk area.

The treetops are pompoms I made and then hot glued to the tops of the trunks. The shrub is also just a pompom with a little glue shot through the center to make it more durable.


The house is going to be made with a frame of plastic canvas with a knit cover. The house siding look is from rows of stockinette separated by purl rows. The bottom will be open, the door will be a cut out section, and the windows are just going to be square or rectangular knit sections that I stitch onto the siding.


On my first attempt I overestimated how many stitches I would need to cast on for the cover. Guess I'm nit used to knitting so loosely and on larger needles. Instead of ripping back and restarting, I decided to make a new house frame for the larger playmat I'm going to make my nieces. Even though I still need to knit a smaller one to fit the original frame, I want to finish the decorating on this larger house first.

I've secured the knit cover to most of the frame after cutting out the door section. The climbing roses have been stitched on the one side, I'm considering the look of a chimney on the other side which is why the bottom of that is still loose. I still need to make a roof and the windows.


That's it for this update. While I have gotten a lot done, I'm starting to doubt whether I can get it finished in time for the mochimochi photo contest without abandoning all my other projects. Just in case I do run out of time, I've tried to take extra nice pictures of the tinies I knit last week.

From her Fall collection I made the tiny pumpkin. Cute and perfect timing, because I had wanted a pumpkin patch for the playmat. This one I tried to make look carved so it can sit outside the gnome home or the house when I'm finished.


and the tiny bat (just because it was cute)



The pumpkin made it onto the Mochimochi blog, so that has to be a good sign...right?


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finish Two, Start Three

And this is while I'll never run out of WIPs

My most recent finished project is my cardi -

I just finished it last night, and I was so excited. My first big person cardi, all done and it fit. Even better, it was actually kind of cool out today, so I was able to wear it to work.

The pattern is abalone by Beata Jezek, and is available as a free Ravelry download. Mine was done with Lion Brand Amazing yarn, a superwash wool/acrylic blend. Not bad to work with, but I don't think it would hold up to frogging well. Luckily I didn't have to worry about that. The one thing I did have to worry about was running out of yarn. All the local stores were out of it in the Olympia colorway too. I was able to find more than I needed to finish though, bought out of another Rav users stash. It was even the same dye lot, but honestly with the variegation in this yarn I don't think it would have mattered.

My only other FO since my last update was the teddy bear I knit as my younger niece's Christmas gift.

It's texture bite by Nancy Anderson, from the (free!) online mag Petite Purls. I used Loops and Threads Earth Ombre. I had an impossibly bright ribbon which I tied in a bow, and now the cute floppy guy is ready to gift. I just need to find the books I want to give her along with the toy.

Now even though I've finished a couple things, I'm still at 8 WIPs.
That's because I started a new pair of socks (those Blue Day socks, but in the green), another Christmas gift (a monster my friend's daughter 'designed' from the mix and match section of the latest Mochimochi book)
aaaaaaaand I signed up for another mystery toy KAL - I know I shouldn't have, but I just can't help it! They're fun :D
So that's me, still sitting at 8 projects, with plans to cast on even more. Still under a dozen though! And I've made a bunch more progress on the KaFS playmat. I really need to do an update on that!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another project complete!

Which puts me down to 7 WIPs ... For now.

Hovering around 8 works in progress is better than a dozen though, right?


My latest finish is third pair of socks.

The pattern is Cyranea by Patti Waters (available on Rav here but I received the whole ebook from Hot Pink Socks reviews) The pattern is great. Easy enough to memorize after a couple of repeats but with enough going on to keep it interesting. The perfect combination in my book. The fit is perfect. That was something I worried about with only one size being given, but the lace and cables give it a lot of stretch. These socks would fit a whole range of sizes.

The yarn? Less of a joy. As in terrible to work with, but too pretty to just give up on. Not a good combination! It shows of the pattern well, but was splitty as hell. Even worse the core in the middle that's supposed to give it strength and stretch is not dyed so you really don't want it peeking through. The yarn was Walk Away sock yarn. Yarn Bee (from Hobby Lobby) makes some great yarns, but this just is not one of them.


My next pair of socks (which I already started planning half way through this pair!) is going to use some of my 'nice yarn' squirreled away in my stash. I think I've earned it, and I'm confident enough with sock knitting now that I'm not worried I'll "ruin" it

This is the skein of Cascade Heritage Paints that BF bought me last year. It hopes to become a lovely pair of Blue Day socks by Moonfire Handknits when I'm done.


Sooooo I guess that'll put me back at 8 WIPs (oops?)


Friday, September 7, 2012

So much for WIP only...

So I had the best of intentions when it came to my plans on going WIP only for my knitting until the end of August...No really! I did! Unfortunately I didn't quite make it. While I made some progress on them (even finished a couple) I couldn't stick with it. The procrastination bug has bit me, and HARD. More evidence is the fact I'm making this post well I to September instead of the first.

The first little hiccup was my tiny gnome. Just one little project, done almost as quickly as it was started. Cute too (if I do say so myself, and this being my blog why shouldn't I?)

I'm not sure if he really counts as cheating, because he is part of my KaFS scene. That is a WIP, and a major one. He was a gateway project to more cheating though.


Before I knew it I was thinking about all the Christmas knitting I hadn't started yet. With the nieces' big present being for their birthdays instead, that does cut down on what I'm making but I still have a list. In theory it will be a quickish list with most of the projects being smaller BUT ... Well look how good I am at plans! Even small projects take time when you have a bunch of them. The thought of putting them off longer started to stress me out, so...

First present up - the bear for Rochelle. It's her current favorite animal, and so she's getting this toy along with a bear themed book or two.

I've finished knitting the main body/head piece, finished the face, stuffed it and added the ears all within a few days.


The legs are knit, but not stuffed and attached. I just started knitting the arms. Once I've finished I'll take a better picture to post.


Next will either be a Tangram puzzle (two people are getting those) or maybe doll clothes for Sharee (she's getting doll things - a knit outfit along with some sneakers I bought)

I know I should have stuck with my WIPs a little longer, but I have to admit just making the list did make me feel a little better. I figure if I stick to one present at a time, and still plug away at the the other projects I'll eventually catch up.


I have managed to resist the biggest temptation of all - pretty shiny new lace yarn. Courtesy of one of the awesome members of the Sherlocked Team on Rav who sponsored the prize and picked me. THIS I'm dying to use. I really want a floaty bright lace scarf.

I'm holding strong for now, but I can't promise how long I'll be able to hold out!



Now for a few things I did get done-

Two more squares on the Sherlock Blanket

First up was the Black Lotus Square. Really fun lace square, looks much better in person

With its inspiration

Inspiration pic = gratuitous reposting of series images
Inspiration pic = gratuitous reporting of series images
And then the square for (yet another, because I love them so) John Watson jumper. This pattern was actually from the very first month, but at the time I was missing black yarn. It's nice to have finally taken the time to catch up and knit it. I still need to weave in the ends for all those stripes, but I'm saving that for when I need something mindless to work on (like when at peewee football games for BF's nephew)







I've done a couple other things, but since they are mostly small (and this post has waited long enough!) I figure I can always update on them later.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Knit a Fantasy Story Update

In another long overdue update, I've made some progress on my playmat.
I had to return that library book, but not before I managed to find used copies of both The Knitted Farmyard and Knit an Enchanted Castle for really cheap. They include nearly all the things I wanted to make from the Knit a Fantasy Story book, even down to using the same photos an wording. The patterns are jumbled around a little, but they're there with the exception of just a few. I'm thinking they must be included in Jan Messent's Knitted Gnomes and Fairies book, but I'm not sure.

Anyhow, this is where I'm at right now- 

I know they say that the camera doesn't lie, but I swear I've done more than the picture shows! Or maybe it just seems that way because that stream was so much more involved than I expected? 

As you can see I've filled in more of the grassy area and made a few small bushes by leaving then yarn in those sections of latch hook longer. I also extended the dirt path towards the stream, which I finished. 
The other major (to me) accomplishment was finishing the bridge. The bridge is 1x1 ribbing, and I've tried to make it 'pop' by threading pipe cleaners through the underside.

I was going to just do that on either side, but ended up adding one through the middle to keep it from pulling or sagging.

I'm happy with how it turned out. Perfect for letting a gnome fish from, I think.

My major design change since my last (and only other...sorry) update is to change the pond itself. The small round pond in the pattern wasn't working for me. I've decided to make it more of an oval, and to keep the shore slightly irregular. I will probably regret having made the outline bigger once I get to filling it in, but I do like the look of the shape much better. 

I'm trying to stick with no new projects until September, but I really need to knit a couple Mochimochi pieces so I can figure out my scale better before I go much further. Is it cheating if I make a mailbox and gnome before then? It would be for an existing WIP after all...or maybe I'm just trying to justify my startitis?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Overdue Updates

I’m in the middle of a WIP whittle down right now, so most of my free time is going to that. I’m only knitting on my WIPs and not casting on anything new until the end of the month. After seeing how much I accomplished during the 17 days of the Ravellenic Games, I wanted to see what I could do with another 17 days. Hopefully by September I’ll have a nice post with a few FOs to show off.

In the meantime, I tried to link someone to something here and then realized there were things I had thought I posted, but apparently never did. So this is a quick update to fix that.

I now have a bunch of recent pictures of my nieces - ALWAYS newsworthy. I even have a couple knitting related ones from when they were at my Aunt’s house swimming. Here are the pictures of Rochelle and Sharee wearing the summer tops/beach cover-ups I made.

Sharee’s was pretty wet at that point, so it was sagging a little, but still great to see the girls wearing them!

Another ‘Action Shot’ of the knitting gift variety – Cody right after I gave him his sock monkey. He was so very happy.

That look on his face right there is why he is high on the knit-worthy list, special occasion or not.

Now it's back to knitting for me.
I've already gone from 9 WIPs to 8. Maybe I can get down to 6 or 7 by month's end?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beehive Tea Cozy - DONE!

And with that, all three goals for the Ravellenic Games finished. I even had a couple hours to spare :D

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravellenic Games – One week in

I’ve been knitting on these projects for a week now, so it’s update time. This time I’m posting with pictures, because that really helps with the showing off aspect of a craft blog.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flyby Update

Thinking I could post on any sort of schedule during the Ravellenic Games was crazy talk, total insanity.

Kind of like my goals, except they're the crazy I might be able to accomplish.

So far I have one sock done, in just four days. Well, I still have to sew the buttons on, but still that is great progress for me. The second sock just started the heel flap one row ago. I just realized I don't have a good picture of them uploaded and I'm running out of time before work. I'll be sure to get one before next post. The down side of all this non-stop knitting is that I no longer have time to share it all properly!

The Dalek hat is still in chart one, but making good progress. I plan to take it with me to knitting group tonight, and hopefully will get to the 2nd chart.

The tea cozy hasn't been started yet, but as long as I get it started by this weekend I'll be fine time wise.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ravellenic Games - Day One

Okay, quick overview of my plans for the Ravellenic Games (I'm on the 221b team)
-PSoS - purple button up socks, looking much like a certain detective's purple shirt
-INSULATE!! -Dalek hat in that same yummy purple with black
-Beehive tea cozy - does that really need more description?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adventures in Dyeing

I spent a good portion of the Tour de Fleece watching my teammates turn out so many awesome hand-dyed fibers and seeing how beautifully they spun up. While I did think my purchased fibers were beautiful, I still felt like I was missing out on the fun of making my own colors. Not going to lie, I was a little jealous. Not in the angry spiteful way, but in the way that made me know I just had to try it for myself.
Sometimes peer pressure is a very good thing!

I ended up finding a killer deal on some undyed Shetland wool, and now it's my turn to play. I have some Koolaid on standby, but first some natural dyeing.

I looked at tons sources beforehand and pestered (and post stalked) my fellow Ravelers for hints and advice first. One of them was the person who linked me the blog with instructions for dyeing with blueberries and dyeing with tea. My info on fiber prep came from this Knitty article

Since I am practically allergic to following directions, I decided to document my whole process, so I would know what worked (and what to avoid) for future adventures. And since I was going to do all that, why not share it will anyone stumbling onto here?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week in review and my Tour De Fleece finish-line!

The Tour de Fleece ended yesterday, and so I held over this week's review until today so I could include my 'finish line' photo.

Last week I had almost finished spinning my second single of the merino blend, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

I ended up with 47 yards, and with the first single I should have plenty to knit that cup cozy I wanted.

It took me through Sunday, but I finished my 2ply Corriedale also. I mixed silver and eggplant colored fibers together in each ply, so the yarn varies from solid to heathered to a barberpole twist throughout. I like the look, but had one small grrrrrr-moment. I wasn't paying enough attention and somehow broke the yarn during plying. So instead of one smooshy skeinlette, I have two. One is 27.5 yards and the other is 15.5 yards. It's still pretty though -

And that brings me to the end of The Tour. It took me 23 days (well, Saturday I missed. So 22?)to spin just over 137 yards between the three fibers. 

I admit I'm not a fast spinner, but I met all three of my goals. 

I made it to the end without quitting, even had just one rest day instead of two. I just tweaked the day I took to fit my schedule. 

I spun yarn that is knitable, and I think it's pretty awesome looking personally!

I tried plying. In fact, over half of the yarn I spun I ended up plying and the only disaster was the yarn breaking that one time.

All in all, I'm calling my experience a success, and I plan on participating next year too. I've gotten to like spinning so much more than I thought I would. Now I'm campaigning hardcore to get a trindle for my birthday this year, and before the end of the year maybe have a DODEC wheel. Maybe!

This week wasn't just spinning-

I finally finished knitting my mystery toy KAL. 
Introducing Benny the Cat (designer named, but I like it so Benny he stays)

He was meant to have whiskers, but they just didn't look right. I decided he was cuter without. I love how he is the floppy rag doll equivalent of a kitty, and I think this toy will be a keeper instead of a gift.

And my rescheduled rest day from spinning? One of my friends 6yo daughter was over for the day, and we played with Sculpey. She really got into it, and went home with a collection of spiral snakes, beads, marbles and a handful of magnets and other random bits she thought were pretty.
She even made this magnet of BF and I for us to keep, she's so sweet

I had to play with the clay a bit too. Along with a few random magnets, I also made myself a Hedgie (of course!), a mini one for her to take home, and a bowtied penguin (bow ties are cool)

Slightly on the ugly side, but what do you expect when I haven't played with this stuff in YEARS.

Aaaaaaaaand that was the past week. 
This next week with be 
-Trying to finish the sock monkey for BFs nephew. He has his mouth and one arm knit, but not stuffed or attached. Most of his other arm and his tail still need knit. I'm going to try and have this finished before the Games start.
-Which brings me to Ravelympic *cough* I mean Ravellenic prep. Gathering yarn, needles and patterns together to make sure nothing is missing.
-And last (but not least!) a little fiber dyeing. This I've actually started for today, and is why this post is so late. 
I know it's crazy to start another thing right now, but watching all the fun my Tour teammates had with their dye projects made me want to try for myself. One of them pointed me towards a blog with instructions for blueberry dyeing, and as luck would have it there was a bowl with blueberries that were past good eating, but hadn't molded. What better time to try? There was also a post there for using tea, so half the fiber will be trying that too. 
If this works, I'll have about an ounce of each to play around with when I'm done. 

But no more spinning until after the games!! Must stay focused if i'm going to have a hope in hell of finishing all three projects I have planned!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tdf Day 23- the final day

My Corriedale color mixing experiment is done, plied and currently drying.

The top picture is the beautiful mess it was on the spindle, and the bottom is of it hanging to dry.

I had a grrrrr making break in the middle, not sure what I did. I have a strong suspicion it was user error, and evidence that me watching tv while spinning is just not a good idea. Anyway, I ended up with one 27.5 yard section, and the other is 15.5 yards.

Holding off until that is finished to take my "finish line" photo. Even spinning every day except yesterday (including rest days) I am so slow I need that yarn to make it look like I actually *did* something. Maybe by next time I'll be ready to work on my speed?

TDF day 22? Not so much, but that's okay!

Well I didn't get a speck of spinning done yesterday and I forgot to put my fiber in to soak before going to bed last night.
BF and I spent the afternoon with the 6yo daughter of a friend, and she kept us very busy. In fact, she came with a list of things she wanted to do. Surprisingly we got it all done, but not much else!

When we played with the Sculpey she made a magnet that she said was BF and I, and gave it to us.
Big thing - took two magnets - but how cute??

Verdict? Missing a spinning day was totally worth it! I'll just finish that plying today.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tour de Fleece Day 21

The second ply of the Corriedale is finally spun. It's not as even as the first, but hopefully it will work. 

Tomorrow is plying, and for better or worse I'll know!

And, thanks to my Paradise fiber order arriving today, I can spend my last day of the tour (Sunday) trying Kool-aid dying for the first time. 

They had 1lb of Shetland wool on sale for less than $15, which I though was pretty great. First thing I did was split the fiber up into 4oz sections

Here's my KA stash, I'm thinking blue and green for my first try

There was an extra half ounce of wool. What to do, what to do? I feel like I must waste it doing something inadvisable...I wonder what espresso would do to fiber? I know it has colored the hell out of every white shirt I've ever worn to work. Hmmmm

I couldn't resist getting some yarn too, especially since it was my favorite pink and a good deal (gotta love coupon codes!)
It's a new summer sock yarn from HiKoo (skacel) - a cotton, bamboo and silk blend with nylon called CoBaSi-

The color is so much better than I've managed to capture here. The yarn is also very soft and has a great texture. The only thing that worries me is that ,at least at the ends, it seems kind of splitty. I'm hoping this won't be an issue when I knit with it. I have a few pairs I want to finish before I get to whatever I decide to make with this, so hopefully the added experience under my belt will make it a nonissue. I hope so, because I really love the feel of this yarn!

I don't normally like to buy yarns I haven't seen in person online, but I liked Simplicity so much I took a chance. Simplicity was the super wash wool/acrylic blend they make, and I had used it for Charlotte's latest dog sweater. It was great to knit with and has held up incredibly well.

Because it is knitting related I can be excused for a puppy picture, right?

Awww she looks so little... And angry... But mostly cute

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A KAL FO and TDF Day 20

Even I think it's like I'm talking in code sometimes, I swear.

I tried a couple different looks for my cat's whiskers, but didn't find one that I really liked. I decided he's better without, and so my Mystery Toy KAL WIP is now officially a FO.

Meet Benny (designer named, but I like it so it stays)

Now for the spinning. After the first ply went so well, I am getting frustrated because this second one seems to be fighting me every step. I'm almost done though, and still expect to be able to ply this weekend.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TDF day 19 and the Mystery Toy Reveal

So today was supposed to be challenge day for the Tour. I was going to attempt two days worth of spinning in one, but the real challenge was getting my spinning to cooperate at all! I was fighting thick spots, then I started getting so thin it would break. BAH.
In the end I managed to get .26oz of decent yarn - even if there are a few spots I'm not happy with - which is about a day and a half worth of spinning.

I probably could have muddled through and hit my goal, but I decided to take a break so I could continue tomorrow when it will hopefully go smoother.

I didn't waste the down time though, I got both the ears and all the sewing up done on my Mystery Toy KAL project.

Isn't he cute??
Like the rag dog equivalent of a stuffed cat!
I love him, and might even keep him for myself!

I still need to figure out what to do for whiskers and decide if I want to embroider a mouth (I'm leaning towards no) then I'll take his "official" picture and mark this project complete.

Next up will be finishing the sock monkey for Bfs nephew
(or at least get as close as I can before the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games)