I should know better

 

I pride myself on possessing a certain amount of self-awareness. However, sometimes I’m forced to come face to face with something that tells me I am not in touch with my own nature at all. Way back in November of 2010 I decided it would be a great idea to start a blanket of crochet squares. Out of Red Heart Super Saver. That’s right, I decided that a long-term, many-small-pieces, lots-of-ends-to-weave-in, lots-of-finishing-to-do project, out of Red Heart, would be a great idea. For the better part of four years, this was the only photo I bothered to take:

Granny Square

 

Every so often I would feel guilty, haul out this project and add another square to my pile. After a square or two, I’d loose attention and it would filter down to the bottom of the basket. I decided to just randomly pick blocks from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton to make a sampler blanket.

 

Blanket

 

I have one skein each of Super Saver in colors Carrot, Coffee, Aruba Sea, and Real Teal. The plan was always to make blocks until the yarn ran out and then use a skein of cream yarn to add a border to all the blocks and piece them together. The problems are many:

1) I hate big projects that are made of little pieces. I know some people feel like each piece is its own little accomplishment, but I find each completed piece to be a nice “stopping point” and it takes a lot of will power to start the next piece rather than a shiny new project.

2) I hate weaving in ends. There will be so so so many ends here.

3) While I don’t hate seaming, it’s certainly not my favorite and there will be a lot of that here too.

 

Blanket

 

Each square is about 16 inches to a side. Right now I have 18 squares. Two more and I could call it quits with a 4×5 block afghan. You have no idea how tempting it is to just crank out two more blocks, finish this sucker, and be done. I know, though, that I would really rather have a blanket that is 4×6. That means I need 6 more blocks, not 2.

Internet, I need you to make me work on this blanket. I’m making it your mission. If I start showing you other lovely things, things without a lot of finishing, things made with natural fibers, I need you to lay on the guilt, thickly. Mock me. Taunt me. Embarrass me. Anything to get me to power through these last agonizing hours of getting this done.

Skew

For a while I was knitting Skew by Lana Holden. I’ve loved the pattern ever since I saw it in the Winter 2009 Knitty. I especially love the versions that I’ve seen in self striping yarn.

When a Skein of Canon Hand Dyes Jane Self Striping yarn in the colorway Love’s Labor Lost came into my possession via the awesome Laurie, I knew it would become Skew eventually.

Eventually, has turned out to be right. Since September I’m….

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That far. Which is to say, not far. As a bouns, on my left foot you can see my icky surgery scar from the 2008 osteotomy (aka the Great Foot Straightening), and on my left foot you can see my hairy big toe. Sexy Lady.
An interloper (or several) came between me and these lovely socks and I haven’t made it back to them. Also, since I’ve been working at the yarn shop during the regular sock hour, I don’t have that time set aside to dedicate to them anymore. I really do need to give my neglected WIPs some love. They’re all projects I like. I’m just… easily distracted.
Speaking of easily distracted, on the reading front I’m STILL reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke. I do like the book, I really do, but I keep putting it down for sexier, flashier, quicker reads. According to Goodreads, I started reading this in March… and according to my Kindle (which I have named Anthony because it’s fun to call things by a proper name) I’m only 40% through. Now it’s about 1,000 pages so 40% is like reading two little books, but still… Also, the last 10% or so of the book is footnotes, and I’ve read a lot of the footnotes already, but they don’t count in the 40% since it measures from the page you are on looking back. I like it when I flip to the footnotes and it tells me I’m 96% done. A girl can dream.

Gloves

These are gloves:

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I guess I should say that is a glove. Since there’s clearly not two. I’ve reached the rows of my swallowtail that have nupps and suddenly each row is taking forever! Purl 5 together… brutal. This is my distraction. Simple 1×1 ribbing on nice pointy signature double pointed needles.
It’s OK. You can call me fickle. I can take it.

Elektra

Remember how I mentioned how once the knit-a-longs are over, I tend to not focus on the projects so much, in favor of new exciting things… Meet exhibit B.

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This is what I have of Elektra by Romi Hill. It’s from her Year One collection of 7 Small Shawls. I really love her year one and year two. Year three is about half released so far and I’m not loving it so much, but I’m very glad to have the first two years.
It’s a generously sized beaded shawl. It’s written for fingering weight yarn, but I’m using Dream In Color Baby which is a heavy lace weight. I’m using the baby because it’s easier to get the beads on the slightly finer yarn. See the beads?
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This one is in deep storage for a while (which is a shame because it’s on my size 4 signature needles.) I just have quite a lot of projects that are more important than this one. I’m sure I’ll get back to it someday…

Wildflower Cardigan

I love the monthly knit-a-long we do at the shop. The ladies are great, and the projects are always something I wanted to make anyway. That being said, the fact that they move on to a new project every month has left me with quite a few knit-a-long victims. Projects that I started, and worked on dutifully for the month, only to drop like a sack of potatoes when the next month’s project came along.

Meet one such victim.

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That is a completed back, completed sleeve, and partial sleeve of Alana Dakos’s Wildflower Cardigan from Coastal Knits.
It’s a very lovely sweater, but it’s 99% stockinette and done in sport weight yarn. It’s boring. I need to line up some really exciting movies to watch while I work on it. About the only “fun” part is the scallop at the bottom of all the pieces.
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It only takes four rows though, then it’s back to the stockinette. There will be a few cables and bobbles when I get to the pockets on the front, but they will also be over quickly.
I pick this up for a few rows now and again, but it’s seriously slow progress now that the knit a long is over and there’s no incentive to show progress each weak.

Hibernate

Just because I’ve been working obsessively on my Swallowtail Shawl, doesn’t mean I don’t have other WIPs waiting in the wings for me to feel like picking them up again.

One of the projects that I would love to get back to (soon) is the Hibernate sweater by Christina Harris that I started in October. I cast this on and feverishly knit to the point where the fronts and back are connected at the underarm then got distracted by… I can’t remember.

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I have had this Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds yarn in my stash for a long time, just waiting for the perfect project to come along. It’s a bulky 100% undyed wool. The color of the yarn is determined by the color of the sheep. The label says this comes from a Black Welsh sheep. I love it.
The yarn has that lovely crisp wool feeling to it. A big difference from the merino Malabrigo I’m using but pleasant in its own wooly way.
I was a little hesitant to buy this pattern since there are only two projects on Ravelry. I have found a few little typos in the pattern, but nothing unusual or difficult to decipher. So far it’s worked perfectly. I’ll give a full review of the pattern if when I finish.

Up to date

If yesterday was about physical cleaning and marshaling my stash, then today has been about electronic organizing. I spent the day getting a bunch of networking set up for my (seemingly never ending) job hunt. When I was satisfied with that, I got my Ravelry notebook in order. I now have pictures and stash information for all of my Projects.

I’m pretty good about getting photos of finished objects (thanks Ry!) but terrible at the in progress photos. At least for the moment, I’m all caught up. Would you like to see one?

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I know that lace never really looks good until it’s blocked, so it’s probably not that interesting to you yet, but this is my current obsession.  It’s Evelyn A. Clark’s Swallowtail Shawl done in Malabrigo Rastita.  I have made this before in lace weight, and have been meaning to make it again in a heavier weight ever since.
The lace weight version I made came out rather small. I decided to follow the directions for the DK weight version this time so that my shawl will be nice and big. So far it’s coming along nicely.
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The first time I made this, it was my first lace project and I remember thinking it was very hard. This time it’s giving me no trouble at all. Just goes to show what 4 years of experience can do for you. I’m hoping to have it done by the 17th so I can show the students in my Garter Tab knitting class. I have 5 of 14 repeats done… we shall see.

It’s so fluffy!

First, if you haven’t seen Despicable Me do so now. I’ll wait. Your appreciation for fluffy things will be increased 10 fold.

Yesterday at the shop, the owner remarked that we could really use a sample for the store knit in a new Rowan yarn called Tumble. I jumped at the chance because I have been wanting to try this yarn since it arrived at the shop. It’s 90% alpaca, 10% cotton, and 100% FLUFFY.

Sadly, all I have right now is a crappy late-night iPad photo since my camera seems to be playing a one-sided game of hide and seek.

I’m knitting this on size 15 needles. They feel like giant sticks and I can only knit on it for about 45 minutes before my wrist starts to hurt because of the giant gauge.

It’s so soft and going very quick. I may have a hat to show you on Friday. All camera-finding vibes are much appreciated.

New project!

I’ve been really trying to knit down my number of WIPs. I’ve been doing pretty good actually, and have managed to get from 16 to 8. But guys, I’m starting to get bored. Very bored. The call of brand new projects is strong. My solution:

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You see, weaving is NOT knitting so this really is NOT a new projects. It’s just the thing I’m currently working on.
Back in May I picked up a 10″ Cricket Loom at Black Sheep Fiber Festival. I wove my first project up in a jiffy, but then my loom sat. The thing was, I knew I wanted my next project to be with this yarn, but I didn’t have the correct size heddle.
This lovely String Theory Caper Sock yarn is fingering weight, and I only had a heddle suitable for a worsted-ish sized yarn. (The heddle is the white piece in the middle that you move up and down to weave. The further apart the holes, the bigger the “mesh” that you weave. Finer yarn needs a tighter mesh. Make sense?)
No problem. Saturday and Sunday was Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (Oregon is such a yarn-y state) and I picked up two new heddles. One that will work with fingering weight yarn and one that will work with bulky yarn.
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The green is waste yarn that you weave a bit with at the beginning to even out your tension. It gets pulled out when you’re done.
I wanted to weave this yarn up because I knew I’d never knit with it. In a fit of crazy-pants I had it wound at the yarn shop when I bought it even though I knew I wasn’t going to use it immediately. I hate knitting with yarn that’s been wound for too long, and this has been sitting wound in the stash for over a year. Oops. Wound yarn gets super kinky near the center of the ball when it sits too long and the tension put on the yarn when it’s wound can mess with your gauge if the yarn sits in a wound ball for too long. Weaving solves all these problems.
What new things have you not started?

Class

I’m very excited because I’m going to start teaching knitting classes at For Yarn’s Sake in October. In October I’ll be doing a class for the October Dream In Color Kit (I won’t know what this is until the kit is revealed) and a two-part class on colorwork.

In order to get ready for my teaching debut, I decided to watch a master at work. Anne Laird is a teacher at For Yarns Sake who is phenomenal and loved by all. Tuesday I sat in on her class about the garter tab cast on for starting shawls. It was lots of fun. The choice of projects for the class was either Summer Flies or Dinner in the Eiffel Tower. I chose Dinner in the Eiffel Tower. I love it. I’m already in Section 4.

Dinner in the Eiffel Tower

I’ve done the garter tab cast on many times, but I loved being in a class because it let me observe how Anne runs her classes and I got to chat and have fun with some wonderful people.
I’m knitting this up in DK weight and it feels like it’s flying. Should be off the needles within the week.