January Round-up

January was pretty decent for tackling my Resolution list. The HUGE stash organization was a massive help in kick starting my creative juices and I spent the better part of the month going through my pile of works in progress (WIP) and taking stock of what I have on the needles and if I still want to complete that project. There was some frogging and there was some completion.

One of my oldest WIPs was the crochet Queen Anne’s Lace scarf.

According to my Ravelry queue, I started it back in 2008 from two skeins of Manos Silk blend. I had a little over one foot left to crochet when I put it down and in the intervening years completely forgot how to make the stitches! Frustrated with my inabilty to read my work, I booked a private crochet lesson with Megan of LettuceKnit; she had me sorted in about 15 minutes and also got me started on the Wingfeathers Shawl in Handmaiden Mini Maiden. It is my current travel project, it’s small, simple and if my hook falls out of the stitch while it’s in my bag, I only have to pick up one stitch. Unlike that time my needles slipped out of a shawl I was knitting, causing me to rip back to the stockinette portion to pick up my stitches.

The structure of crochet fabric has caught my fancy so consequently, I have found crochet projects finding their way onto my Ravelry queue. The Wool-Eater blanket is top-most in my mind as it will lend itself nicely to making a healthy dent in my sock yarn stash.

Hot on the heels of completing the Queen Anne scarf, I hauled out another WIP. Last week I cast off Driven, my 2011 NaKniSewMo project.

Oh, how I love this sweater! My initial purpose in knitting it was to have a warm sweater to wear at work as it can get really cold on the front desk. We wear uniforms at work which have a jacket, but it’s made from poly-beast, which does nothing for keeping you warm, thankfully we are allowed to wear black sweaters or cardigans. I went to the stash for yarn, where I discovered, for some unknown reason, I didn’t have a sweater quantity of black yarn. Am still not quite sure how that happened, but it was quickly remedied by a November 1 panic striken run to The Purple Purl where I picked up some Diamond Luxury Collection Lima which worked a treat.

Continuing with my WIP submission mission, I decided it was time to come to terms with my “issues” with Every Last Yard.

Ravelry tells me that I cast on ELY on December 25, 2010 with the 2 skeins of IndigoDragonFly Merino Silk DK that Chris & the kids gave me for Christmas that year. I remember making excellent progress until I got to the lace portion, which is precicesly when my math skills decided to take a trip to Cuba! I knit, ripped & re-knit the same 2 inches of that ‘effing lace for a good few weeks before I tossed the sweater across the room with a cloud of very blue air trailing it. I picked it up earlier this month and yet again fought with that stupid lace section for about two weeks before my math skills returned from their extended vacation all bronzed and reeking of cigars & rum laced umbrella drinks. Turns out I kept forgetting the two stitches between the ribbed collar and the start of the lace pattern which would explain why I could never get that son of a motherless goat lace pattern to match up properly…a stiff drink and excessive use of stitch markers may or may not have followed this realization…

There were a few small/quick projects complete as well. The kids get a bit miffy if they see me knitting too many projects that are not for them, this is generally followed by demands for something handknit. Fortunately, they can be easily placated with smaller knitted items like the LyaLya Hoodie.

 

These hoodies take under a skein of Malabrigo to knit the adult size (reducing my collection of single balls of yarn by 2) and have the added advantage of negating the need for a scarf, something both my kids refuse to wear, but will bitch incessantly about the cold air going down their necks…

There were a few other WIPs that I finished, but forgot to photograph so they won’t get much of a mention here.

As productive as January was on the fiber front, I found myself floundering on two other resolutions: keeping ahead of the housework & getting back into the habit of meal planning. Heading into February, I’m going to use the How to Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day program and have complied a list of meals which will be printed out, cut into strips & tossed into a bowl for the kids to draw 4 each week (I choose 4 meals to compensate for left over meals). We’ll see how successful I was in adding these new routines to the household in 29 days…

 

Big-ish changes

Things be changing ’round here…in two weeks I will be finished my full time contract position and return to my old job at the front desk. But there is a twist, I will only be working weekends and will be spending my Monday to Friday’s home with my kids.  The decision is mostly for economical reasons, having 2 kids in before & after school care is about $1600 a month and higher during the summer & holidays as they are there full time.

In addition to the financial benefits of our new normal, it also means that the house clutter will no longer be barely kept at bay, Chris will be relieved of cooking duty (our consumption of meat & starch will drop dramatically), I will have time with my kids and there WILL BE TIME FOR CRAFTING!!! I’m super excited by that last bit as for the past 2 years, between school, work and life, there just hasn’t been much of it going on so consequently, I was becoming quite the unbearable Grump-A-Lump.  The little bit of crafting I was able to do was one of the few things keeping me sane…mostly…

My weaving has seen a resurgence, mainly as an effective and quick stash buster but Spunky Eclectic’s Weaving Club has turned out to be an excellent way to expand my rigid heddle skills and get me excited about the loom again! My two most recent projects are a HoundsTooth scarf from using some Shibui yarn that has been maturing in the stash.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/69332842@N00/5762579130/” title=”002 by craftygrrrl, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2441/5762579130_863b02821d.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”002″></a>

Houndstooth looks like it might be tricky, but it’s dead easy! I plan to weave up a few more for gifts.

New Baby Niece Mea’s arrival inspired another weaving project with coordinating sweater:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/69332842@N00/5873156410/” title=”198 by craftygrrrl, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5120/5873156410_2c2d453358.jpg” width=”500″ height=”333″ alt=”198″></a>

There has been next to no spinning going on although last night I was spindle spinning through out the bi-weekly DnD game.

The knitting has been slow and steady, I have a new sweater (which will become it’s own post once buttons have been added) and a nearly completed one. The various travel knit projects are going to now take a bit longer to complete as my commute will drop from 5 to 2 days a week…

Another little bonus to my becoming a mostly stay at home Mum, is that I will have time to blog again!

A little bit of tidying up…

And here I thought once I was done with school I would have buckets fo free time to get on top of all those things that were set aside while I was at school. THat was just silly of me! So I’m creating this ginormous catch-up post.

My seach for a full-time job in my area of study is still on going. I’ve sent out countless resumes, with next to no response so I’m taken a new approach. I’m goign to be volunteering in the Conservation Office at wok two days a week helping to digitize then enter into a searchable database many decades worth of condition reports of the artifacts. I’m terribly excited by this as I will get to see all sorts of interesting things and last time I volunteered some place, it turned into a paying job after a fairly short period of time. I have mid-height hopes.

The house still looks like a bomb went off in it, but in a few weeks we should have some repreive as we are reclaiming a portion of the basement. Our tennants are moving out at the end of the month and we are converting the basement apartment from a one bedroom to a bachelor which will give us more floor space and allow us to move a bunch of the stuff from upstairs down into the soon to be built rec-room/studio space in the basement. This reorganization will also allow for a massive declutter of the house…I’m just a bit too excited by this prospect and am prepping myself by watching Hoarders.

As for my creative pursuits…well things have been moving along nicely if a bit manic. As my evenings are no longer taken up with homework, I am able to get moving on larger (and less portable) knitting projects (read: sweaters). During my time at school I was restricted to smaller/portable projects that could be shoved into my bookbag. There were lots of hats, scarves and shawls which allowed me to trot out some of the lovely yarns in my stash and get over my reluctance at knitting with finer weight yarns. I’ve managed to get a few long term projects off my needles (and started and abandoned more projects than I care to acknowledge).

Most impressive of all was, I finally cast off my Elsewhere!

Made with super squishy Malabrigo, I had bought this yarn a long time ago to knit an ill fated Wisteria. I ended up with a irreparable issue with the cables whic so frustrated me I frogged the offending knit. I have enough skeins left over for a February Lady sweater, which will be next on the needles once I’m done with Liam’s Fall sweater.

Children’s Neck Down Jacket # 249 from Knitting Pure and Simple, knit with Malabrigo Chunky.

This little number will be seeing some heavy use as the mercury starts to drop:

Last week, after a bit of knitting ennuie hit I treated myself to two skeins of Tannis Fiber Arts Green Lable in Plum which are being transformed into a pair of Dragonskin Legwarmers.

They make for solid transit meeting, and they are coming along quite quickly!

I have much more to say but there is laundry that needs a doin’ and groceries to be procured…will try to get the rest up by weeks end.

Feeding the weaving deamon

I love my looms. Yes, that would be looms in the plural.

I love that in as short a time as one evening have a completed project and make a serious dent in the groaning fiber stash!

Looms are a simple yet sophisticated piece of machinery, I can totally see why many a retired engineer becomes smitten with weaving. With the most basic of set-ups and a solid reference book you can create some truly amazing pieces, I have some deep love for the loom…

Although I’m itching to get weaving on the 4-shaft floor loom, I’m currently contenting myself with some simple tabby weaving on the 25″ rigid heddle loom. After my last exam on August 20, I came home and promptly warped Fillippe with some Wollesyarncreations. I wanted to see if I could get a colour shifting scarf out of this yarn.

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Used my 10 dent reed, put on a 14″ wide by about 150″ long warp starting with the dark green on the outside. The second ball used in the warp was the reverse colour order of the first ball. I used the same plan with the weft yarns, but miscalculated and ended up being about 10″ too short to get through the final few colour repeats of the last ball, as it is the scarf/shawl is almost 3 meters long including fringe, it could double as a table runner…which I just might use it as instead of a scarf…I’m undecided.

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The total set-up and weave time was all of maybe 10 hours of joyously relaxing work. My plan is to do a few more simple tabby weave scarves to get my selvedge under control then I’m going to get all wild and crazy with the techniques I learned in the workshop Jane Patrick taught at The Spinning Loft a year and a half ago with Denny.

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No really, there is still some crafting going on here!

Wow! I knew that my returning to school would have a detrimental effect on my knitting…but really!

Come to think of it, this may have been a rather prolific year, for the smaller projects. I’ll have to do a head count at some point.

Anyhoo…I’ve got me a lovely new shawl!

Colonnade from Fall 2009 Knitty.com
Knit out of Malabrigo Silky in the Stonechat colourway.

Loves it! Although it has recently dawned on my that Stonechat is my junior high and Chris’ high school’s colours…how odd. Wonder if I could count it towards that failed 7-shawl challenge I tried a few years ago?

Colonnade will have its first outing this Saturday night at a dear friends wedding…there is going to be a midnight poutine bar at this little do! How very Canadian and civilized, because really what could be better than to serve a slightly tipsy, dance crazed hoard at midnight!?!

getting a baby to sit still is like trying to herd cats!

I have a finished knitted object to share with ya’ll.

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Organic Guernsey knit with Rowan All Seasons Cotton in the 18 MONTH SIZE!!!!! Liam is not quite 6 months old! I’m really hoping he slows down with the growing soon! I originally got the yarn to knit Trellis and now have enough yarn left over to knit one of the smaller sizes for one of the buns that are presently cooking away in some bellies of my aquaintance. (that sounded better in my head)

Yesterday I realized I don’t think I ever posted a finished photo of Elijah, so here’s one:

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Liam has taken to using his trunk for a teething chewie.

The Closet…

I’m quite convinced there is a hand knits thieving boggin in my front closet! Every time I put something hand knit in there it seems to disappear for the rest of the winter season. No matter how many time I completely empty it while vainly searching for a mitt or a hat it will not be seen again till Spring.

So it is for this reason I find myself casting off my most recent cold weather chapeau and casting on another pair of mitts. This whole closet issue is ruining my goal of clearing out the WIP basket, but the silver lining in all this is I’m doing a fair amount of stash busting with the assistance of the pattern search section of Ravelry.

The last FO of 2007 and a new WIP

Finally I have taken a picture of my completed Seaweed!

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The Deets:

Yarn: Rowanspun Chunky from the Stash (used a bit over 1 ball)

Needles: Denise US#9

Mods: The only thing I did differently was to put the button loops instead of holes.

My attempts at finishing up some current WIPs has so far been unsuccessful, but I have be finding projects to help me get a grip on the stash, I present the most recent project:

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This is the last fiber I spun up on my very first wheel (louet s10, single treadle) and the first time I used acid dyes. What am I knitting, you ask? A pinwheel sweater for Abi.

And because it’s just so darn cute! Here is a picture of Liam having a snooze in the sweater that Laura gifted to him. I’m convinced that babies sleep better when they are wrapped in hand knits!
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First FO of 2008!

In about 24 hours I cast on and off my first project of the year:

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A Saddle Cozy for Rosie!

(please excuse the wood paneling, my basement is stuck in a time warp!)

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The Deets:

Pattern: Saddle Cover from Take Back the Knit issue #2

Yarn: Left over Malabrigo in Little Lovely

Needles: Bamboo US8/5mm

Mods: The saddle on Rosie is on the generous side so I needed to add 8 stitches to give me an extra set of 2x rib on either side of the cozy and the side was knit longer as Rosie has a not only a wide but a plush seat.

We have a FO!!!

Yep just 4 weeks after Liam was born (my Gods how time flies!!!) I have my first finished knitted object!

I present my Monkey’s:

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Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A from the Winter 2006 Knitty

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM

Needles: 3mm bamboo DPNs

Comments: Love this sock pattern! The lace pattern was easy to remember and I found it easy to read my knitting to figure out where I left off in the repeat because I had to drop my knitting in a hurry to tend to either Abi or Liam (this is an import thing for Mums!!!). I do believe that Cookie A patterns will be playing a major part in my stash reduction plans. Most importantly it was a fun knit and I cast on the second sock quickly and would have been done sooner but there was this whole having a baby and caring for him and his big sister thing that seriously cut into the knitting time.