Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is there a such thing as Craft-Centric ADD?

Quite a change from last week, when I only worked on one thing. This week I flitted from project to project, with an attention span no better than a fruit fly.


Seriously! There is no reason a washcloth should be a WIP after a week, especially when I'd already cast on for it before then...my only excuse is that it's a fancy pattern, that counts for something right? Nice looking and it's sproingy.



I got this skein of Knit Pick's Dishie for Christmas, and I like how it doesn't hurt my hands to work with like some of the cottons. I like the bold color (it's called Kenai), and feelwise I would compare it to Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton (a plus in my book, it's quite soft)


I worked on two toys this week, one is the Hurly burly I'm making for BFs nephew for his birthday. He picked put the pattern, and it's an interesting one that you can turn inside out to change the look on.

I'm not even half way done, so it isn't much to look at now BUT having it done by his birthday next month shouldn't be a problem.


The other toy is one I just started, so (again) it isn't much to look at yet - test knitting a hugable flower doll designed by Kimberly Gintar that I'm pretty sure I'll be giving my my younger niece.



The pattern should be available soon after testing is finished, and I've heard there will also be a pattern coming up for a cute little watering can.


Then there's the lace scarf I started right after Christmas. I'm using the Noro Sekku I got as a prize after the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games. Love the yarn and love how it looks in this pattern. I've already knit far enough that it's too long to lay out flat and still be able to take a good picture.



The Gypsy Rose Scarf is a simple two row repeat pattern that shows off the yarn well and is a great beginning lace pattern. I'm hoping to have enough yarn for a nice long, loopable scarf. I think I should have more than enough yarn but I've misjudged amounts before. Not July am I new to working with lace weight, thick and thin yarn can be tricky on guesstimating.


And I started another new project. One of my favorite Ravelry groups is doing a Baby Surprise KAL. I'm told that through some sort of folding magic this oddly shaped blob of knitting will eventually turn into a baby sweater.



No, there isn't a particular baby, or baby to be, that I'm knitting it for. It is just that there have been too many times when I've wanted to give a hand knit gift to an expecting friend, but have run out of time before the baby comes. Those 9 months just fly by when you aren't the one pregnant (I have heard that is NOT the case when you're the expectant mom!) I'm planning a couple gifts like this sweater that I can stash away, and have ready for giving so I'm not running to the store and buying whatever at the last minute.

There are some really cute mods for this pattern out there, but right now I'm keeping it simple and just knitting as written since this is my first one. If I like the pattern enough to make more, I will probably branch out and try some of the things I saw on other knitter's projects.


I am worrying about the size. I know everyone says it seems big at first, but... It looks really really big! I have a feeling I'll be ending up with a one year size instead of 6 months. Oh well, the good thing about there not being a planned recipient is that there's no such thing as a perfect fit, right? My next one might be fingering weight though (and not in generic baby pastels, I want to work with some color!)


In an attempt to clean up my craft room so I can find things (like missing DPNs) and get back to other crafts (spinning, scrapping and attempting to learn how to sew better) I've been spending at least 15 minutes every day in there setting things to rights. Since the first of the year. And I'm not done. This should give you a clue about what a disaster it was.

I'm making progress though, and when I was able to find the top of the main counter I found a scrapbook page started when I was first learning to spin (May 2012). I figured it was well past time I printed the pictures so I could finish it.



Please excuse the not-so-great scan if the page. We bought a new scanner since the last time I did this, and I haven't worked out how to keep everything in focus with a 3D heavy page. That and unfortunately it still cuts off the edge.


The reason I wanted to scrap this - besides the fact I think crafting about crafting is kind of funny - was that everyone says you should keep your very first yarn spun to look back at and see how far you've come. Being that my first attempt was with the tiny bit of fluff that came with my spindle, I was afraid I would lose it. Solution - I stuck some of the unspun, some of the yarn and some of the yarn knit into a swatchlette on small pieces of cardstock. Also, I coiled some of the yarn into a ball and glued it on the page to dot the I in my title.



Last but not least - Just so you don't think I entirely abandoned the playmat, I still did work on it some.


Here is last week again -



And now this week -



I filled in the lower road some more, the path near the pond, and the grass above the field. Sadly, not much progress at all.

On the bright side there was all the other crafting and cleaning I got done...

We won't talk about how I discovered there is now a Temple Run 2, and that sucks way more than its fair share of time away...


This coming week, I'm going to try to make at least one of my WIPs into a FO. That way the week after I can focus on the playmat again.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A week with only one project? Practically unheard of!

This past week I only worked on the playmat for my nieces. Mostly because my motivation was still running high on it (new project and all) and also partly because my brain didn't want to focus on any complicated patterns due to having a cold/flu/horrific-alien-plague.


Flashback to my post last week - here was the playmat with the areas drawn out and a few borders stitched


And here we are a week later -


I think I've made a good amount of progress. All the outer and main borders are done, and even started filling in the road and part of the grass by the fields. The lower row has been widened and had curves added since last week. I've decided to shrink the fields a little to leave more room for the barn and animals I want in that section. The roads and water will all be outlined in the brown (think dirt on the shore and shoulders on the road) and I've already done over half of that.

The bit of progress I'm happiest about is the latchhook grass.

On my first playmat I used one main color for that section with just a couple clumps of different colors. It looks okay, but it is a little too dark and not ... Fun


This time around, to make it look more interesting, I am using three sets of three colors - middle greens for the main grass, lighter greens for small bushy areas, and then a dark green with red and pink for a flower look.


Some of the colors are from a latch hook set I picked up cheap at the thrift store, but most came from the giant bag of odds and ends scrap yarn given to me by a couple of the ladies in my knitting group. Those pieces I cut to size myself using a template made from plastic canvas. I wind the yarn around it and then cut along one of the long sides. It isn't perfect, but the small variation there is in sizes makes the grass look more natural.

And here is how it looks when the colors are all put together. It might be less realistic, but it is much more interesting to look at.


I really like how it's shaping up. Almost enough to make me want to redo that section on the first mat. Almost. I will definitely do something similar if I ever get around the making the castle set.


So, that was my week. I still plan on working on the playmat some more this next week, but don't expect quite as much progress next time. I have some neglected WIPs that are calling out for attention.

Plus there's this blanket kit I got for my birthday practically demanding to be cast on ...



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Knit a fantasy story - take two

I haven't finished my own playmat yet, but I've made a start on the one for my nieces anyway.

Now I know that nobody is ever going to accuse me of being tall, but you do have to admit that a playmat nearly my height is BIG.

For a little bit more reference - here is a picture of my (now seemingly small, and still unfinished after 8 months!) playmat sitting on top of the new one while I drew some of the placement lines on -


... I'm thinking it's good thing I've already started the new one, because it's taken a week just to get the layout planned and this little bit of edging/outlining done! It might not be a technically difficult project, but it is very time consuming.

My original plan had been get the mat done this spring (between their birthdays) and send them extra pieces at Christmas time. But then I started thinking how that would be months of waiting for the animals, people, houses etc that would actually be what made the playmat fun. I talked to my sister and ran a change of plans past her - Saving the mat till Christmas and dividing the animals and whatnot up advent-calendar style. She agreed it would be a good idea.

Now that I realize exactly how much bigger this mat is (I'm terrible at judging size based on measurements. Terrible!) I'm glad I've bought myself those few extra months. I'll need them!

I really really want to get this done by the end of the year, and so hopefully motivation will keep me moving along on it.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Everything is so Hush Hush lately!

The problem with having a crafting blog and having friends with a better than average working knowledge of how to google you is this - you can't really feel comfortable posting about any of your gift projects before the holidays for fear the surprise will be ruined.

Even now, there are a few things I can't post about because they're secret and it is killing me. Seriously. You have no idea.

What I can post about are the projects that have safely made it to their new homes, and are already being enjoyed.