Knitted Travels

The anticipation is killing me!!  We leave TOMORROW for a 5-day vacation in West Virginia, visiting Odin’s family.  Apparently, it’s going to be a big deal, and tons of people are going to be there.  Somehow, I still maintain that I will have enough time to knit everything I want to, and still worried that I won’t have enough projects with me.

I have finally made up my mind as to what to bring along, as follows:

I have enough yarn for 2 of these hats, called the Suzy Snood and an original design.  One hat is going to be “autumn” colored and will be the completion of an order placed in November by Mystic Moon Media as a trade for a family portrait.  The other is simply a set of colors that my mind put together in one of those “A-ha!” moments.  Maybe I will have left over yarn from the other projects that will make another hat.  The more the merrier! And warmer!

Estimated time: 5 hrs.

Total time used: 10 hrs

 

 

I will also be bringing enough yarn to make one, if not two, of these lovely berets.  I am trying to get ahead on orders while offering a sample at the next show.  I have two made already but those are being shipped off to Mystic Moon Media as well.

Estimated time: 3 hrs

 

 

I will also be making these, which is a pattern I found on Ravelry.com and can be located here.  I do not have a suitable pair of mittens for the upcoming winter season, and I have never made mittens before.  Also, this pattern is absolutely beautiful and I love Fair Isle knitting, and I think a double stranded knit from 100% wool will be incredibly warm.  So, there you have it.

Estimated time: 10 hrs.

 

 

 

This is the Hemlock Ring Blanket, also a pattern found on Ravelry.com and can be located here.  It is adapted from an Antique Doily pattern to be over 4 feet, using heavier yarn and will make a fantastic throw.  I pick up the yarn tomorrow on our way out of Chicago and can’t decide what color to make it.  Black? Green? Deep Purple? Gray?  Something warm, soft, and interesting.

Estimated time: 24 hrs

 

 

 

 

And as if all of the above weren’t enough, I am also bringing a bag of yarn remnants with which to make about a half dozen of these fun little guys.  Just because.  They make a great gag gift.  And, there’s a ton of things you can do with a simple pattern.

Estimated time: 1 hr.

 

 

So in short, I have enough projects to last me….roughly 48 hrs, if my estimation is correct.  It is a 12 hour drive, each way – so, 24 hours of knit time in the car.  Then, we will be there Wednesday – Saturday, which is 4 days.  That means that’s a full 96 hrs of potential knit time.  In total, over 100 hrs of available knit time.  Now, I understand that I will be required to spend a portion of this sleeping, eating, socializing politely, and possibly driving.  But still.  I’m a fast knitter.  48 hrs of knitting.  I am soooo going to finish before we leave.

I wonder if I can fit more yarn into the bag….

Oodles and Oodles of Yarn

Step 1: Curious about the damage done to my project via incorrect gauge, I decided to finish the band I had going with the smaller needle size and block the project.  I am not too far off now, but I still need to go down another needle size.  I meant to pick up the smaller size today, but totally spaced.  Either way, what I have complete so far:

I may yet have time to run out and get the missing needles.  Or, they may magically appear in my stash, which I tried to organize somewhat this afternoon.

Basically, I have had several boxes of yarn, remnants, works-in-progress, and the dreaded forgotten works-in-progress.  I decided to begin with the full skeins of yarn.  My reasoning for this was actually quite economical of me.  We are driving to West Virginia on Tuesday and will be gone for 4 days, plus 2 days driving.  This is at best a 13 hour drive (from Chicago) and I have no intention of driving if I can help it.  I do not want to bring my sweater in the car to protect it from mistakes and dirt, so I must find an alternative suitable project, or projects as the case will most likely be.  I have two orders to complete for snoods:

I have one hat about halfway done, and the second one is a child’s size, which will be a fairly quick knit.  Especially since it is an original pattern that I have memorized and uses remnants specifically (pattern is for sale here).   Provided I don’t complete the hat already begun (unlikely) this is a mere 6 hours of knitting.  That’s not even the trip there.

My original plan was to swing by the yarn store near Odin’s workplace and stock up before picking him up and heading out.  However, today, while cleaning, I made the realization that me stash looks…well, rather disorderly and neglected.  Observe:

So, as you can see, I do have quite a bit of yarn to work with.  And that’s only what hasn’t been used yet.  There are so many half skeins and works-in-progress that are destined to be frogged!  I decided, in a strike of knitterly organization, that I was going to catalogue my yarns via Ravelry, in order to link to patterns designed for each type of yarn and gain inspiration.  This way, I save money on yarn, and use of some of the unmanageable stash, and have several projects to keep me busy throughout our road trip vacation!  Brilliant, right?

I am also proud to report that this portion of my stash now looks like this!

 

And now, I have 3 days to clean the house, get myself and the 5 year old packed, change the oil in my car, and find enough patterns to prepare.  Easy, right?

 

 

 

 

…………….right?

Roses and Tulle

It is not that I have been, necessarily, neglecting work.  It is merely that my excitement may has gotten the better of me.  Again.

I have been picking up my slack, however.  Mainly because I realized that, while my stitch gauge is correct, my row gauge is off.  And, as the sweater is initially knit horizontally rather than vertically, it has come to my attention that the sweater is a lot wider than it ought to be.  And, because the knitting is done in small block of 22-26 rows, interspersed with 4 rows of sparkly yarn, with a nightmarish amount of loose ends I will have to weave in, ripping back does not seem like a viable, nor economic, solution.  As such, I have slowly begun reducing needle size, in hopes that by the time width actually is supposed to fit snug, I will have corrected my mistake, and will end up with a more A-line, swirly sweater than I had initially intended.

But an update on that:

Completion: Almost done with Band 4 (of 6 full bands)

New needle size: 4 (down from 6!)

Time taken: Approximately 10 hours

Number of expletives muttered: probably a dozen at this point, especially when I realized my gauge error

Excitement levels: Rocky

Mood Swings: less frequent, but more severe

Familial relations: Deteriorating steadily (if I’m quick however, I can salvage them!)

Besides the sweater, I have been working on Faery Skirts (Tutus) and Rose Hair clips.  I still have several items to knit and patterns to complete, as well as a new supply of baby wings to sew and some coffee cozies and coasters to finish.  The ones I had up at the coffee shop are beginning to move, much to my excitement.  It also means that while preparing for the upcoming show, I am also working on restocking existing locations.

This photo was particularly amusing because I had tutus and roses covering the dining room table when company arrived.  Rather, a potential roommate arrived and saw me standing precariously on a chair with random floor lamps positioned in different spots and trying desperately to get a good photo.  At least he had the humor to laugh at the situation with me.

These are the roses that I have been working on.  They are rather popular because they are both hair clips and pins.  I make them out of 100% cotton, in an assortment of colors (including black!)  They are also relatively inexpensive and versatile.  I have several small ones for myself that I made using scraps of bamboo, soysilk, and wool yarns.

Another hiccup has occurred in my creative process, involving this quest for a roommate.  A friend asked if we were still looking, and could he perhaps come over and check out the space, the room, and talk about our options.  As it turns out, he is interested in renting out the attic from us, which might work.  My significant other and I got into a little spat involving the movement of our studios, and finally, I think, came to an agreement.  This means, however, that while I had gotten the studio mostly set up, I now have to relocate to the front room of the house.

Today, I took out the measuring tape, feeling rather dominating in my stubborn determination to figure this out, and began to measure and record the dimensions of EVERYTHING!!  This, I converted to a ratio of 1 ft = 1 inch and mapped it out on pieces of card stock.  I marked off windows, doors, entryways, the fireplace, and sockets.  Then, I measured the rough dimensions and the used dimensions of chairs, couches, tables, and shelves, cut these out of card stock, and began playing puzzle-maker on the room charts.  Somewhere in the process I had the “EUREKA!” moment involving the movement of our bedroom (if we are no longer renting out the best room in the house, I am determined to move my bed in there!) and following closely was the layout for the front room and the parlour.

With some time to spare before picking Ellette up from school, I began sweeping, cleaning, and rearranging furniture as best I can into the new layout.  I must say, it suits the space better than the original layout.  Once Odin gets home from work we will deliberate on this layout and how he likes it, and then I will begin, finally, putting holes in the wall for artwork, photographs, and the like.

Probably the most significant portion that I am looking forward to is the drapes.  We have two “entryways” into the front room, one of which is over 4 feet wide and smack in the middle of the wall, making it a little difficult to define space.  In order to give me working privacy, and offer me the mental separation of home and work, we are putting up drapes that, at will, can be pulled back.  My favorite part of all this?  Tomorrow and Saturday, Vogue Fabrics on Main here in Evanston is having a Warehouse Sale.  I just got my paycheck.  Me in a fabric store is about as dangerous as me in a yarn store.  And really, I through the “on a mission” mentality out the window.  I look at this as business, and if I find something that inspires a new product, or will perk up an old one, I grab it, thinking to myself that one must spend money to make money.

But, I will try to behave.  Honest.

How many curse words does it take to make a sweater?

Day 3 of Project:

Band 1 completed!!  I am currently halfway through band number 2 and exercising every measure of self control I possibly possess.

Time taken: about 3 hours

Alcohol consumed: 1 glass of wine

Number of expletives yelled: at least four, mostly while grafting the ends together…

Excitement levels: Stable

Mood Swings: frequent

Family: annoyed by my obsession

Outlook: Sore hands, frustration, and temporary uneasy family relationships.

In other news: I am pulling together stock for the upcoming Garfield Inn and Museum fair in December, which isn’t going to be too difficult considering Stronghold was such a flop for me this year.  60 pairs of wings and I still have 40…  I am making tutus, although I’m not quite sure how many to make.  Usually 10 is sufficient, but that was both a less expensive style and a different sort of show.  It is difficult for me to prepare based on my ignorance.  What sort of people will be present and how heavy are their wallets?  Nearing the holiday season, I expect sales to pick up slightly, but I also need a more “mature” selection of items that are suitable for gifts.

I will be setting up the studio further, cleaning up, and making a dress form, after which I will be able to take photographs of high-end stock and get it up online.  Fingers crossed that is completed by Friday!!

Until then, I keep on trucking, making tiny little stitch after tiny little stitch, coming closer to a happy ending (I hope) and getting ready for a relaxing trip to Virginia.

Happy Knitting, My Friends!

Skein One

Cost of Yarn: $136 (add cost of interchangeable circular needle – just one, I have control)

Location: Mosaic Yarn Store in Des Plaines

The pattern: Klimt, by Daniela Johannsenova in Verena Knitting Magazine Fall 2010

The Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock and Blue Heron Yarns

Funniest part: I told Odin I was going to the yarn store, and his response was “You’re going to the yarn store BEFORE you go grocery shopping?  You have less to lose the other way around!”

Most Frustrating: Deciding the perfect set of colors

The Child: Happily occupied herself collecting the little plastic snowflakes in the store and redistributing them where she saw fit.

My level of sobriety: considering I haven’t yet started, pretty darn good.  Had one bagel with water for fortification, and then I’m going grocery shopping (yes, I do have cash left over – I’m thrifty!)

So now, the question is this:

To swatch, or not to swatch?

Multitasking

Today, my to-do list seems insurmountable.  There is simply no way that I can complete it all while retaining sanity and without time travel.  I wish I could ask Santa what his secret is.

This is my dining room, at the moment.  You see, I have had this terrible urge to just KNIT, and so that is what I have been doing.  However, my budget does not allow for frivolous knitting or yarn purchasing at the moment, so digging through my stock I found a lot of lace/sock weight yarn remnants (or balls that I had no idea how I acquired).  Well, what was I going to do with it?

Sometime in the past, I think perhaps last winter, Stitch Diva offered a solution to my predicament, and surveying my stash, this idea popped into my head.  I needed to practice knitting lace, but didn’t want to spend hours upon hours working on one project (which, in either case, I did not have enough yarn for!) so I began knitting swatches.  What a perfect way to practice both lace knitting and getting a feel for different yarns?

This is a mercerized cotton I had picked up in this beautiful ruby red, black, navy blue, and gold some time ago.  My intention was to knitting juggling balls out of them, but the idea of knitting more sets of juggling balls (I’d already made myself a set of 4) was too daunting, and I never got around to making them.

This was a silk damask yarn (I think?  I should probably look for the label) in an interesting combination of greens.  I purchased 2 balls of this colorway and 3 balls of a pink colorway that is currently being used in a top that made it into the Lost Projects pile when I realized I didn’t have enough of the pink.  I remember I purchased the yarn from WEBS.com when they were having a massive sale and I thought the colors were interesting and the idea of working with a fingering weight silk blend was enticing.  I first started knitting this swatch on larger needles and it just looked a mess.  So, I frogged it and started over, down a needle size or two, and, once blocked, it looks pretty cool.

This is remnants from an amigurumi project that I abandoned when my wrist issues flared up.  It turns out that crocheting cute ami dolls is not good for me, which makes me a little sad (I now have a plethora of dragons and faeries that are missing eyes, limbs, wings, and/or other accouterments).  So, the last bit of this Lamb’s Pride merino/cotton blend was turned into a small swatch of a lace ribbing.  I’m envisioning this as the edging of a sweater in the future?

Combining this pattern and this yarn was a risk, I’d thought.  The yarn is a thin sock weight superwash wool (very very soft!) that I had purchased years ago when I was determined to learn sock knitting.  Unfortunately, my gauge was off and I didn’t stitch the toe together right, and suffered Second Sock Syndrome (as a result of the gauge, perhaps?)  I have attempted a second, more interesting sock pattern, convincing myself it was simply the boring stockinette stitch that gave me SSS, but, alas, I didn’t even make it through the first sock!  (And this is in February of 2009).  Anyway, I kind of like the result of this swatch.

This was a more recent sale bin score that I had no idea what I was going to do with, just liked the color and texture.  It stretched a bit more than I was expecting in the blocking process (READ: the importance of blocking!!)  The color changes with flecks of white and the swirling lace pattern make for an interesting visual piece that I haven’t quite decided if I like or not.

So, 6 pieces done so far and my dining room table is covered, and you’re wondering now what I am going to do with all these swatches, yes?

Well, there is an awesome fair coming up in December that I am working, and this is what I will be making with the swatches:

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of weird dangly earrings and no where to hang them.  This is my solution, a picture frame of jewelry.  So, once the swatches dry, and providing my kitten doesn’t chew them up, they will become works of functional art, on sale by Little Green Pixie at the Garfield Inn and Museum Holiday Fair.  (http://www.garfieldfarm.org/)

My next few weeks consist of taking inventory of stock, replenishing what is low, and preparing my display.  See you there!

Let it Begin!

…This is the space I had to work with when creating my studio.  Spacious, well lit, and open, right?  That’s what I was thinking.  The slanting roof makes it a little difficult to work with.  Initially, the picture on the right was going to become the main point of my studio, but once I began to put it together, I realized the layout wasn’t as streamlined or inspiring as I’d hoped.

This is a half completed studio in that space.  I stopped when it came to placing tables, because I realized that any place I put the table was either in the shade of the slanted roof or blocking traffic towards the rest of the attic.  If you notice, the stairs are located to the left of the studio space.  Yikes.

I turned my attention towards the other end of the attic.  You see that door down there?  That leads to a small, dark room that’s somewhat full of cobwebs with a gaping hole in the drywall.  Perfect for long term storage, and so it doesn’t need to be easily accessible (I’m hoping to put up a curtain over the door).  Well, my little girl helped me move all of the shelves and boxes to the other end of the attic and had fun drawing while I organized.

I’ve been collecting milk crates from work and trying to create more shelf space, but it’s a slow process.  I’m still trying to figure out how to organize my works-in-progress.  And the white walls are really getting to me.  I’m wondering where I can put curtains up and whether or not I can paint.  I do have these:

I need help screwing these into the wall, but I’m hoping to entice the faeries into my lair and play with my creativity.  What sorts of things can I make now??

 

For now, I leave you with a photo of my daughter’s knitting project.  She is learning how to knit, and having a perfectionist mother, I won’t let her get away with mistakes.  I gently take the yarn from her, show her the mistake and how it happened, and have her correct it.  She’s a trooper!

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