Make Something Monday – and I Cleaned Out a Bin!

IMAG0459

Yesterday, I got a wild hair to rummage in my craft storage bins for some yarn that I bought waaaay back when I first started to knit.  I put it away, thinking I’d make a sleeveless sweater or something for the holidays.

Only, I’d bought four skeins, which isn’t enough for a sweater.

And so it’s languished in the bin for ~cof~ years ~cof~.  I also got some very difficult, fussy eyelash yarn of an eye-catching red.  I tried mixing it with this gorgeous stuff and it looked awful.  Rather than looking like a fur border, it looked like, well, a mess.

I’m not sure what magical alchemy happened yesterday.  Mercury is retrograde; maybe it’s that.  No clue.  But in I walked to my office, let my fingers do the walking through my binventory (I made up a word!!), and voila – new project glee.

Only one problem.  What the eff do I make, if not the sweater I’d been procrastinating?

IMAG0460

The yarn is a lovely, skooshie Plymouth 24k in a red and gold, complete with gold flecks.  I could do a rectangular shawl with thin tassels, (once I learn how to spell tassels ~fail~).  I could do a necklace or beads.

Hmm.  That’s actually not a bad idea.  I have four balls of it; I could use three for a triangle shawl and the one remaining ball for some jewelry.

IMAG0462

I started with a garter stitch border and then started yarn over increases three stitches in on each side.  When I had enough of an edge to make the point strong, I started two yarn overs in the center.  I’m going to do Little Arrowhead Lace from Barbara Walker’s Volume I, and then in the center, I think I’ll do budding branch once I have enough on either side of the center spine.

Oh.  As I’m writing this, there are really two centers, one on either side of the spine.  Hmm.  I can do buds, but have them mirror each other.  Facing center, or facing out?  I’ll noodle on that, but I’m thinking facing center.

IMAG0463

I got pretty far yesterday.

And I did not allow Kolya to eat the yarn.  Or chew on the needles.  Or steal the project bag so he could gnaw on the plastic.

Right.  I decided to be a textile artist in a house full of cats.  Brilliant.

What are you making this Monday?

Work In Progress Wednesday

20160223_0001

 

I looked at the ratty holder I’ve been using for my transit card the other day and got embarrassed.  It’s falling apart!  The leather’s all rubbed off on the corners and it was built to hold a cell phone that I haven’t had for two phones now.

I’m a knitter.

This should be a solvable problem, yes?

Ergo, I’m making a small knit pouch wallet for my transit card.  I decided to try the woven stitch, but it curls a lot at the bottom.  I may add an edge of seed stitch or do the whole thing in seed stitch, we’ll see.  I’m still farting around with the swatch.

But I’m having fun designing again!  That’s almost better news than the fact that I’m knitting.

What about you, Dear Reader?  What’s your Work In Progress for Wednesday?

Make Something Monday – The Jewel Scarf

20160102_0057

The Jewel Scarf is done.  It’s nice and soft.   I’m not sure what I’m going to work on next; maybe a top-down sweater.  For now, here are some more views:

20160102_0059

I like long scarves, but I think this will fit well on the person for whom I designed it.
20160102_0060

It actually drapes well, which is nice.  I haven’t blocked it yet; this is just off the needles.  But I like the flow of the fabric even without blocking.

What about you, Dear Reader? What are you making?

 

Stash Sunday – Becoming

20151227_0691

It’s coming together.  Slowly.

2015 has been a difficult year as regards output.  Most of the work has been internal; journaling and the like.  When Rachel was in town in October, we bought this yarn and I started farting around with some lace patterns, and realized I needed to drawn it out in a chart because the swatch was decidedly not cooperating.  As in, sticking out its tongue at me and going “Nya-nya-nya.”

I finally finished the first of the two skeins yesterday.  If this were a scarf for myself, it would be way too short – one, I’m five-eight; two, I like loooong scarves.

But it’s not for me; it’s for Rachel.

20151227_0692

She’s a similar height to Leticia (my dressmaker’s form).  This length comes right about to her hips, which is actually where Rachel prefers her scarves because she is using them more for an accessory, given that she lives in the desert; whereas I, living in Chicago, am looking for warmth and the ability to wrap it around my head and my neck several times.  So yay, it fits!

20151227_0693

Here’s a view around back, and there’s plenty of room for the second skein to make it a full length scarf for her.  I’d like it if it could be longer, but the third skein is a different color (and only one skein of that color, so it’s probably going to be made into an Amazeball or a truffle; I haven’t decided yet.)

An Amazeball: I came up with this a couple days ago when my bud and I were sharing hard-won kudos with working out.  I thought, we need some kind of trophy or something that we can mail around in our group of friends, and whoever gets it gets to take a picture of themselves with it, and gets to decide to wins it next.  But we need something, and I figured a ball of yarn (not a ball of unmade yarn, but a knitted ball) would be a cool trophy.  A truffle, if you recall, is a creature from our Persis Chronicles that’s a cross between an aardvark and a cocker spaniel.  I think I’ll modify an elephant pattern and make a small one; only problem is, I think I need more yarn than I have for this project, which is why the Amazeball.

Glad you asked?

What about you, Dear Reader?  How long do you like your scarves?

 

 

Tuesday Tips: Keeping Notes

20151118_0009

I just realized something as I was looking at my design notes for the lace wrap I’m making.  My notes go back to about 2010.  That’s like five years, sports fans!  Cool!  So, I figured I’d share some reasons why I think Keeping Notes is the Thing To Do:

  1. Keep track of your current project. This way, if you have to set it aside and you forget about it for a month or ~cof~ year, you’ll remember what you were doing.
  2. Keep notes of stuff you are planning that you might make someday.  In other words, it doesn’t have to be the Notebook of Things I Will Make.  It becomes a NOTEbook.  Of notes.
  3. I found a list of gifts I wanted to make from 2011.  I haven’t made everything on there, and the ideas are good ones, so why not crib from that for the 2016 gift planning list?
  4. You can use it for the 2016 Gift Planning List.  (See how I did that?)
  5. Pro-tip: if you get yourself a pad with grids on it, then you can use it for regular notes, in words, but also for design concepts if you’re learning how to use charts (which I am).  In fact, that picture up there ^^^ is my vereh first real chart.  (My vereh first unreal chart is actually page one of the notebook, but I couldn’t figure out charting, so there you go.)
  6. Number six in my list of five things:  the point of number 5 is that this is a work in progress.  Keeping notes, and reminding yourself that they’re notes and notes by their nature are informal, reminds us that we are learning, always developing, and that it’s not important to get it right the first time.  It’s just important to show up with yarn, needles, a pad of paper and a writing implement.

Happy making!

K Is For… Knitting! Again!

20131001_0001

I know I did knitting today on the main blog, too, but it bears repeating.  ~grin~  Besides, what if you don’t, yet, knit?  How do you go from string to art?  It’s like anything else.  Practice.

Okay, so how do you know what to practice?

Well, there are plenty of books and websites out there purporting to be able to teach you how to knit.  If you’re reading this and nodding along, chances are that you’ve glanced at them and they meant about as much to you as they did to me – which means, nothing.  Zilch, zip, nada.  I tried to learn to knit from books for almost ten years.  I just couldn’t make sense of the stuff on the page as it related to the stuff in my hands.

If this is you, then I have two solutions for you:

First, find a teacher.  Local yarn shops and big-box stores like Michaels and JoAnns offer classes, as do park districts, senior centers, and adult learning centers.  There are Meetup groups, and knitters even put themselves out on sites like Craig’s List.  Don’t overlook your local university – fashion design programs feature knitting, because the designers need to know how to work with knit fabric.  I met my first teacher through my local yarn shop, and she is an adjunct professor at not one but two local universities.

Second, look online.  YouTube has a wealth of videos on how to do anything from cast on (which is how you get the yarn onto the needle so you can start knitting with it) to complicated stitch patterns, decreases, increases, lace, cables, and all the other foreign-sounding words that are the stock-in-trade of the knitter’s craft.

If you haven’t discovered it yet, Craftsy is a ton of fun to poke around.  They’ve even got a bunch of free classes, so you can see how you like the learning platform.  Their basics series are good, solid grounding in whatever craft you select; they’ve got a ton of intermediate (skill building) and advanced classes for you more experienced knitters out there.  You can select classes and add them to your wish-list, and keep your eyes peeled for their sales.  Might be just as addictive as doing the craft itself!

What about you, Dear Reader?
What suggestions do you have for folks who want to begin a new craft?

Work In Progress Wednesday

Attempt the First

It’s Wednesday.  I figured I’d share what I’ve been crafting around with.

My first item to share is the Emerald Keep Scarf, which will be a giveaway in the forthcoming Keepsake Tour starting March 8th, to celebrate the release of Book 2 in the Persis Chronicles, Emerald Keep.

It didn’t work.

I mean, yeah, it’s fabric, and it’s knitted.  But that’s about it. For one thing, the stitch said WS (wrong side) for both pieces, but either I misread it or it’s a typo because clearly, it’s incorrect – the edge stitches clearly are backward from the main lace stitches.

Attempt the First, Backside

This is a view where you can see the edge stitches are right-side up, while the lace is wrong side.

Grr.

Attempt the Second, Front and Frustration Both Start with F.
So does my favorite swear word.
Jus’ sayin’.

Started over.

And… I don’t like my idea of the border.  You can’t really see it well in this shot, but the edges pull in too much and make it look sloppy.  The reason I wanted a border to begin with is that this stitch has quite a bit of bias curl; however, the edging I picked (mistake-stitch rib) isn’t working.

I think either I’ll throw an extra yarn over in to create a sort of gutter, or eliminate the edges entirely.

Mancooking.
Why move stuff outta the way when you can stand over it?

I mentioned to a friend that we made candles last weekend and realized I neglected to take photos.  I planned to take pics of the cold pots, but we have to cook in our kitchen so they had to come off the stove.

And, apparently, my kid thinks it’s no big deal to stand over them rather than move them out of the way.  He’s cooking a very lovely taco salad at the moment, (well, cooking the sausage that will go in the taco salad).  Yum.

Soap! Curing!

Our batch of soap that we made a couple weeks ago is curing very well.  It’s a lovely creamy ivory color now.  We cut it this weekend to allow each of the bars exposure to air, so they can continue the curing process.

In case you’re wondering, curing is letting the chemical reaction between the fat and lye to finish.

This is raw soap and not milled soap, so it’s not made in a mold.  You can use it as is, once it’s cured, or mill it again and then pour it into pretty molds for a nice appearance.

Candles, Dipped 2015

I only made a half-dozen this year so far; I may fire up the pots once more before I put everything away.  I like the way these came out; they are nice and uniform.  They’re also really long, which is my favorite (I have four different heights I can make).

Basket-o-Candles, Bad Lighting.

This isn’t a very good shot, but it’s of my candle stock.  I’ll see if I can get a better one for you one of these days – but for now, it’s off to eat dinnah.

Yum.

What are you making?

Make Something Monday – Bryce Canyon Hat I

Bryce Canyon Hat, all done!

I finished the hat late Sunday night.  I used a sewing needle bind off so that the edge is nice and loose.  It’s very warm; reflects heat back against my head.

Top View

I love the way the top came out with swirls.  One thought I had is to continue the swirls down the body of the hat using decreases after each yarn over.

Bryce Canyon Hat, Almost There

Here’s a shot of the rib stitch.  My next one, I want to do something more interesting on the body of the hat.  The ribbing is boring; I’d like to try something more fun – maybe even patterned.

In process, large enough to go on the double-pointed needles.

It looks like a little bag at this stage.

Top View, in process

Here’s the top before drawing all the stitches up.  A pom pom might look cute here, or even a bauble.

Stash Sunday: Introducing Aubergine

She has a name now!

I’m so excited – I settled on a name, and I’m nearly done with the scarf!  This picture is a little too heavily slanted toward blue, but you get the idea.  I’ve decided the name is Aubergine.  I should be done in another day or two.

This is a fun project because the stitch is much simpler than it looks.  It’s just a four row repeat, and two of those rows is to Purl across.  What could be easier?  This would be suitable for a beginner, as long as they know how to cast on and bind off, knit, purl, and do yarn overs.

Pro-tip – keep your yarn untangled by moving the working skein around the waiting yarn on each color change.  Otherwise you’ll have a wadded up mess before you go five or ten repeats.  No fun.

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

The Beginning

I received my first commission as Knoontime Knitting!  I am making a scarf for a friend in two colors of purple, Royal Purple and Lavender.  Here is the beginning as it sits on my design pad after the starting swatch.

The Middle

 Here it is after a bit of knitting.  It knits up quickly.  I am using 30 sts cast on for width.

Still the Middle

This is how far I got before I called it a night.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this shapes up.