Knitting On

Of the many projects on my fiber platter, one is almost as tedious as the endless striped scarf.

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It seems like an endless 32 piece monstrosity that has consumed my life with rips and words and calculations.

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I go back and forth with the project, loving it, then hating it, then wishing it were over, then marvelling at the cleverness of it all. (Or, as Peter Pan once said “Oh, the cleverness of me!”)

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And all I can do at this point is hold my breath and knit onward.

Unrelated

Completely unrelated to the yarny endeavours of late, I have been cleaning up the studio area in preparation for people moving in.  This means I have been organizing, cataloging, photographing, and uploading fairy wings.

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Not your typical, store-bought wings – these are individually handcrafted, one-of-a-kind creations by yours truly.  They use different mediums, from fabrics to papers to other weird things like monofilament and ribbon and moss.

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They are lightweight and durable, with heavy gauge wire threaded through key parts of the wings to offer firm structure while still allowing the wings to flutter beautiful as you move. 

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The paper ones are made from recycled materials, are then hand-painted and coated with a polymer resin to make them water and UV resistant.

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They are now on Etsy for purchase, along with a slow progression of more as the week continues.

Want to make them yours?  Follow this link!

For The Love of Stripes

I have a commission. I actually received this commission a couple of weeks ago and just did not feel motivated to complete it.  Now, the deadline is drawing near, as deadlines have a habit of doing, and I am finding myself sleeplessly creating stripe after stripe.

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The thing is, I was given virtual artistic freedom, but handed a photo of a double crochet striped scarf as a starting point for the desired finished product.  I tried double crochet, but I didn’t like the way it was turning out.  Garter stitch was too monotonous for me, and the end result is not reversible.  I wanted something classy and simple, yet interesting to work with.  This scarf is double knit, which is a brand new technique for me (patting myself on the back for initiating a 2013 challenge).  The first few inches were fantastic, and now it is starting to wear me down.

I estimate I am only 25% complete.  So, I apologize in advance if my posts this week are boring.  I will try to spice it up with clever photos and maybe a sneak peak at the other projects on the needles.

Out of Focus

I have had a very quiet week thus far, and I know there are things I could be saying right now, but the words that keep coming out of my mouth sound like babbling to me.  I can’t seem to find anything of substance to say.  I have been more than wayward lately, on everything from knitting projects to temperament, as I attempt to sort things out.

There is an afghan in the works, and with the sudden cold that has taken over our area, it seems like an awfully nice thing to be working on.  Yet, there are some Christmas presents that never got finished, a new pattern in the works, and a commission or two with a quickly approaching deadline.  Yet, I continue to bounce from item to item, lacking the discipline to pummel through the more important, mostly tedious projects.

And as far as life goes – that personal life that I really don’t spend much time talking about – I am trying really hard to stick to the goals I have set myself, which is perhaps part of the reason for my recent silence.  I have been spending time with friends as much as possible, as a distraction and a comfort, and that means the things I would have to say are not entirely mine to say.  There have been game nights and tasting parties and so forth that left me very little crafting time, a large mess to clean up (but that’s ok, the making of the mess was fun), and inspired much self-reflection which I don’t feel compelled to share.

Anyway, once I trudge through the couple of new projects/patterns, I will have something delicious to share.  I have several ideas that need me to only find the time to execute.  Then, it is going to be primarily baby stuff since I am trying very hard to de-stash and there is a quickly growing god-daughter in need of cute handmade love.

In Which Something Is Finally Finished

The chaos of my knitting temperament of late means that a lot of things are on the needles – and none of them have appeared to be making their way off.  This was leading me dangerously close to a fiber snap in which some piece of innocent knitting was going to be thrown across the room, stamped on, maybe turned into a cat bed for a while, and then stuffed in a bag.  However, last night I made a great push to complete the project closest to completion, which has thankfully restored my desire to trudge forward.

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And behold, draped around the neck of my besmircking youngling, the completed purple sparkly scarf-turned-inifinity-cowl for Ellette.  She loves it, which is good, because if she didn’t I may have just strangled myself with it.

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The yarn is Polaris from Rozetti yarns.  It had the sequins stranded into the yarn directly, which made for easy knitting and adds the fun sparkly bit.  Honestly, though, I thought I would be in love with this yarn because on the shelf it was enchanting.  Knitting it up, however, was a bit of a pain.  The yarn is underplied and splitty and the sequins occassionally did not want to slide through the stitches easily.  I tried to make an invisible seam but the sequins kept getting in the way and puckering the yarn.  I finally ditched that effort in favor of a quick crocheted seam.

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The stitch pattern is a simple seafoam pattern, which if you do a Ravelry search there are dozens of examples.  I believe this is the one that gave me the inspiration though.

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I don’t really have anything else close to completion at the moment, so it’s back to trudging for me.

Attention Deficit Fiberactive Disorder

Last night, I could not concentrate, and a terrible thing happened in my living room.  My project bags exploded.

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It started simple enough – I just wanted to show off the a project here and there, all in progress, and as each one emerged, I had the strongest desire to “just finish it goshdarnit!” This lovely purple sparkly would-be-scarf-now-infinitely-cowl is blocking so I can sew the ends shut and hand it over to Ellette.  But pretty soon there were half-finished afghans draping over couches, balls of yarn tumbling across coffee tables, and snipped ends scattered across the desk.

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Multiple pieces of the chess board have been started – and frogged – and abandoned because the stitches are tinier than I wanted to work with.  All of the pieces have been written out, and now it is just a matter of testing them and getting the ebook ready for release.

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And then, I remembered this commission for a black and gray scarf in my queue, and I was struck with sudden inspiration to work double-knit stripes.  I didn’t know how to double-knit.  So, throughout the night, in-between loads of laundry, I striped, and decreased, and wove in ends, and blocked, and striped and cast-on until the wee hours of the morning because I was overcome with this urge to get it all done NOW.

I suppose, I really should view this ADFD as a good omen for how 2013 will be.  Perhaps I will be churning out projects left and right.  Or perhaps my entire stash will mutiny.

It Was An Accident

It was cashmere.  It was soft.  It was shiny. It was washable.

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And it was on sale.

And it did not help that while I was up to my elbows in the basket, a friend was whispering in my ear “Do it! Do it!”

 

……So much for a yarn diet…….

Flip Flop

There are so many projects in work right now, and I want them all done NOW.  However, I haven’t quite worked out how to knit and crochet four things at once.  I need to find some radiation so I can grow six extra arms and maybe another set of eyes.  And while we’re at it, how about super human organization skills?

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I find myself carrying several projects in my bag throughout the day, because I never know what circumstances will allow for and which project I will be in the mood for.  Above is the head of the king piece for the chess board in the works (look for the completed ebook March 1st).

Below is what I have come to call the Rag Afghan.  I was given 7 or 8 balls of this strange raggedy yarn from a friend.  They were already wound into cakes and had no identifying tag.  They were neatly bundled into a brown paper bag and given to me.  I have had them sitting in my stash for a while now, and only just realized that I could make a wonderful afghan from them.  I don’t know what the material is, but it definitely has cotton or linen in it.  There are smatterings of turqouise and purple and orange, so I can tie in other colors if I end up not having enough yarn for the size of the afghan I would like, and the large granny squares I am working on are easy to carry around.  This is my “zoning-out” project that I primarily work on after Ellette goes to bed and I need to unwind.

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Resolutions

I have had quite a bit of time for reflection over the past week.  There have already been many trials for the new year, and somehow I have kept my cool and a smile while I shovel through the mess.  This “c’est la vie” attitude has been quite refreshing, and I have found myself all around in a better mood.  It would appear that the recent life changes have been good for me and I am determined to continue rolling with the punches.

I don’t normally give in to new year’s resolutions, but with the flurry of activity this week, I think it would be beneficial to have something to look back on that will keep my head on straight.  This is also so I can keep track of my goals to prevent December arriving and bringing with it the realization that I failed to complete half of the things I had meant to do for the year.  Lastly, I may need a gentle nudge every now and then if when I begin to stray.

So, in no particular you order:

  • I want to knit a dress this year.  It is something I keep “meaning” to do, and never seem to find time for.  So, this year, it is going to happen.  I cannot decide if it is going to be a pattern by someone else, or one of the dozen in my head.
  • With the partner moving out, I need to make room for the roommates moving in.  This means I am giving up my craft room.  I know, I know – horror.  I’m managing.  Everything is getting sorted through and reorganized to optimize space and fit into my little bedroom.  There is some spillage, I admit.  My ready-to-ship items are occupying the loft in the pantry (why we have a loft in our pantry, I will never know), but the wips and materials are in my closet, a tall bookshelf, and a spare dresser in my room.  The three-drawer-dresser is currently housing my yarn, and of course the yarn is filling boxes and bags in my closet (and on my floor, actually, as I try to locate all of the renegade balls for organization – you understand).  In any case, my goal is to yarn diet until all of my wool fits into this dresser.   This will protect my wallet and the personal space of my housemates – and really, my wool as well since my cats love to sleep with it.  While filling the drawers, I organized it so the top drawer is filled with immediate projects, the second with projects I would like to do, and the third with wool that sort of has a purpose, but nothing solid.
  • On that note, I want to finish up all of my works-in-progress.  The Two Year Tech Square Afghan that really just needs finishing, the Christmas socks that never got finished, the Chess Board, the shawl I started in DC this past summer.  If it is not going to be finished, it must be frogged so that I can have a fresh start.  I will not make a rule that I cannot cast on while I am finishing (I may or may not be obsessed now with this crazy granny square afghan I may or may not have started this week….).  I am going to burn that candle at both ends, just for the fun of it.
  • I want to spend one Sunday each month to explore something new about Chicago.  I never intended to live here very long (and still don’t), but I never took the time to see the city.  I closed myself off to the possibility of liking it because I just wanted to move on.  It’s hard to say how much time we have left here, and I would like to search out friends, stories, and adventures whenever I can.
  • I am going to save up money for more intensive workshops, classes, and possibly certificates in aerial acrobatics, because that is what I love to do most right now, and I really want to pursue it as a career.  This is also going to help me move out of the Midwest.
  • I will attend the Aerial Dance Festival this summer.  Nothing will hold me back.
  • I am going to push myself to be social, even if I feel like being a hermit, because the past month has really opened my eyes as to how much I had been on my own, and how unhappy that was making me.  I need to cultivate the friendships I have and seek out new ones.
  • I will try not to be such a control freak.  The world will never bend at my will and nothing is as important as I think it is.  I must slow down, relax, and see life from different perspectives.
  • I will work hard to realize all of the beautiful designs in my head and share them with all of you knitters.

I think this is a good point from which to launch.  A diverse enough list, with physical, emotional, and mental goals to be achieved at various levels of difficulty.  I have high hopes from what lies ahead.

Time to Catch Up

I didn’t have the clarity to photograph the knitted gifts on most of the recipients.  Rest assured that they were loved and worn.  Except for the owl socks, which were loved and did fit, but were one short of a pair.  That is the last of the holiday knitting I have to complete, and I just haven’t had the motivation to work on something so small.  Wait – it’s a new year, I should work on that thing called honesty.  IhavenothadthemotivationtoworkonitbecauseIambusymakingasparklypurplescarfformydaughter.  There, I said it.

Despite that, I do have photographs of three items to show you.

The first is the Black Prince Hood from Annie Modisett.  The pattern was a little bit confusing for me in the beginning and end.  Once I got the hang of it, the middle was just fine.  It was well received.  The yarn is Berrocco Vintage – which I find myself using for a lot of projects.  Soft, durable, washable – I can forgive the 50% acrylic content because it is such a beautiful, versatile yarn.

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Ellette wore the hood during a game.  She has been giving me the sullen kid looks lately.  It worries me only a little.

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I made Calvin’s new baby sister, and my goddaughter, a couple of burp clothes.  You can never have enough of those.  The pattern is Flower Power and it was a wonderfully quick knit.

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The last thing I have to show you had been my biggest worry – the custom knit cape for Ellette.  The end saw some design changes, and I was right about it being too small around the shoulders, but she loves it nonetheless.

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One and a half skeins of Cascade Eco+ and less than one skein each of Cascade 128 in Forest and Cream.

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I was terrified doing the steek, and must have zigged over the stitches a million times before starting the single crochet edging.  I used a white knot closure instead of the buttons because it was faster.

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She has been wearing the cape non-stop, which is a good sign.  I want to tweak the sizing a bit and write up the pattern, but that may take awhile.  Ellette also received a castle for the holidays, and became a fairy princess for the remainder of the week.

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Our active week was followed by a restive snow, and I have been working hard at starting off on the right foot this year.

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2013 is going to be good – I know it.

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