Thursday, March 23, 2017

Frolic Eve

 It's that time of year, and I'm working a lot of hours, but there has been some knitting  going on the past couple of weeks even if it hasn't been as much as I would like.

Tomorrow after work, I head west to Sapphire Valley and the Carolina Fiber Frolic.  I've been getting some things I finished a while ago blocked to take for "show and tell".

First I washed and blocked my Find Your Fade shawl, although blocking in this case just meant laying it out to dry without really stretching it, because it was already huge enough!

This picture shows the colors better.

 I also finished and blocked my Snowmelt Shawl MKAL.

And last in the just needed to be blocked category is the Moroccan Days/Arabian Nights shawl I finally finished at the end of 2016.  This is also a giant shawl, but I finally took the time to pin it out.  I couldn't figure out how to get a really good picture of this, and there are beads, but they are very similar in color to the yarn, so they're subtle, which is what I wanted.

As for the projects I was trying to finish in time for Frolic, the Cayambe is finished.

But the Sweet Chilly sweater is not.  I only have one sleeve and the neckline to do, so I'm hoping I can finish it up by Friday in time to give it a steam with the hotel iron Friday night and enter it in the "what I made with my door prize" contest on Saturday.
Pic of the body before I started the sleeves.
One sleeve done, second one started.
As usual, I'm sure I've packed way too many projects to work on at Frolic, but that's nothing new.  I'm looking forward to seeing friends, making new ones, learning a few things, and just hanging out with my people.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

WIP Roundup - The Blankets

If you knit or crochet, you may already realize that "scrap" blankets are a popular project these days.  I appear to have bought tickets on the crazy train when it comes to blankets the past couple of years and have several in progress.  Some of these get worked on regularly, some sporadically.  I consider them all long term projects with no deadline (except for the one that will be obvious in a moment).

The crazy began back in January 2015 when I decided to start a sock yarn blanket. I use a lot of fingering weight yarn, for socks and other projects, but I always have at least a partial skein left over.  I'm doing 31 stitch squares on US1 needles, so each of my squares only uses about 3g of yarn.  I've been throwing more of the larger squares in lately because I've been using more self-striping yarn and it takes a larger square to really show the stripes.
Not too long after I started the sock yarn blanket, I decided to start a blanket that is truly from scraps of sock yarn.  These are bits that are too little to even make one of the small squares in the sock yarn blanket.  I'm making this one up as I go along.  I cast on 25 stitches and just knit the bits in stripes until that one strip was as long as I thought I wanted the blanket.  Now I'm working on the second strip of only 10 stitches, attaching it to the first one as I go.  Other than trying to make sure I don't do the very similar colors right next to each other, I'm not planning anything, just knitting until I run out of that yarn, then magic knotting the next color on and keep knitting.
Because it only takes a little over 50g to make myself a pair of socks, I still had a lot of sock yarn left after making a square for the sock yarn blanket, but more than I really wanted to use in the true scrap blanket.  So in June 2015 I started making blanket squares similar to those of the Barn Raising Quilt that a lot of people have made and called it my Bandwagon Blanket.  I start off my squares a little differently, but it's the same effect.  So far I've made 14 squares for this.  I'm a little more choosy about which yarns I use for this, sticking to ones I really love the colors of or ones that are colors outside my "norm" so there will be some variation in the end product.
I blame Diane of The Suburban Stitcher podcast for this next one.  She started a granny square blanket out of sock yarn, and after seeing it several times on her podcast, I had to have one too.  This is basically a big granny square that just keeps getting bigger.  I started it in December 2016 and I'm using a 3.00 mm hook and just crocheting around and around in whatever yarn I pick up next out of the bag.
So with all these "scrap" sock yarn blankets I've developed sort of a system for where my leftover sock yarn goes.  I knit my socks two at a time, so when I finish a pair there are 2 balls of yarn left over, usually about 20-23g each.  One goes into the sock yarn blanket bag and if I like the yarn enough, the other ball goes in the bandwagon blanket bag.  Whichever ball is biggest after those squares are made goes into the granny square bag and the other one goes into a bin where I keep leftovers for making mini skeins for swaps, etc.  Yarn only goes into the scrap blanket bag when it has less than 5g left and therefore not enough for making a mini skein.

The final blanket is the only one that's not a scrap blanket.  I did start it out of leftover worsted weight superwash yarn I had on hand, but I've already had to order some more of some colors, and I'm sure I'll probably need more before it's done.  This one is my 2017 Temperature Blanket, which I'm making using the Groovy-ghan pattern. This is also a crochet blanket, and I'm using a 4.5mm hook.  Basically, I do one stripe for each day of the year and the color of the stripe is determined by the high temperature for that day.  I'm about a week behind on this one because of trying to finish things for Frolic, but I'm generally trying to stay on top of it by working on it every 2-3 days.  It's going to be a large throw blanket when it's done, but not wide enough to cover a bed. This picture shows January and February.
So that's the blanket madness.  Sadly, those are not all my projects.  I have another group of projects that are hibernating.  I was going to post about those, but since it could be a while before any of them get any attention, I've decided I'll just wait until I actually work on them at some point and tell you about them then.

Friday, March 10, 2017

WIP Roundup - The Waiting

Today I'm sharing some of my other works in progress (WIPs). These are the projects I haven't worked on in the past week or so, but I plan to start working on again soon.

First up is my Rhapsody in Cables sweater.  I fell in love with this sweater as soon as the pattern was released and had to start it immediately!  I initially started it in the yarn I'm using for my Sweet Chilly sweater I talked about yesterday, but between the darkness and slight variegation of that yarn, the cables just weren't showing up well, so I ripped it out and started the Sweet Chilly with that yarn.  But I still really wanted to cast on this pattern, so I'm doing it now in some Morning Meadows yarn in a natural colorway I bought at SAFF in 2015.  I got started at the end of January, but then I started to realize I didn't have too long to finish all the things I wanted to finish before Frolic, so this one has gotten set aside for the past few weeks and doesn't look like much right now, but as soon as my Sweet Chilly sweater is done, this one is getting some serious attention.
 The next two projects that are getting ready to go back into the regular rotation are a couple of baby blankets.  My daughter is pregnant with her first child and due in June with a boy, so of course I'm making a blanket for him.  I don't think it will be any surprise to her if she sees this that I'm making him a blanket, but I will hold off disclosing the details until I've finished it and gifted it.  I'm hoping to get it finished by the time or shortly after he's born.

I've also got a blanket I started for my grandson (my son's son) when he was a couple of months old that's been hibernating way too long.  That's a Baby Dragon Blanket  that I'm making in Cascade 220 Sport.  I made him one blanket before he was born, but his older sister got two, including one with a castle on it when she was born, so I thought a dragon would be cool for him.  He'll be 2 in July so that's my artificial deadline for finishing it this year, and really 2 years old is the perfect age to appreciate a blanket with a dragon on it right?

I'm also planning to get back to spinning regularly as well.  I've currently got a gradient set from Three Waters Farm in progress, but I haven't spun in a while.  Here's what I've spun so far and the waiting fiber. 

Towards the end of last year I started working on counted cross stitch again.  I pulled out a couple of old projects that had been hibernating for years and started a couple of new ones, that are now hibernating.  But I signed up this year for the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's year long Happily Ever After pattern.  They send a portion of the pattern each month, and I started out doing well in January, but that's fallen by the wayside as well.  I want to get back to working on it again regularly so I don't get so far behind.  I still haven't finished January, so it will take a couple of months, but if I start actually working on it sometime soon it's possible.
So those are the things I plan to try to put some work into in the next few weeks, but sadly, they're not the only things in progress.  Next time I'll talk about the blankets.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

WIP Roundup - The Active

I keep thinking about writing here, and I keep not doing it.  So I've decided it doesn't matter if I have nothing "important" to write about, I'm just going to write about what I'm crafting, and if something more exciting happens, I'll write about that too.

As a starting point I thought I'd start a run through of all the various projects I have in progress.  As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a monogamous crafter, so there are a lot of them. Today I'm talking about the ones I've been actively working on recently.

The Cayambe poncho is the one I'm closest to finishing, and plan to have finished in the next couple of days.  When I went to Carolina Fiber Frolic in November, someone was wearing one and several of us decided to make it, so I want to have it finished before the spring Frolic the weekend of March 24th.  As soon as I finish the knitting I'll need to block the piece before I seam it up into the poncho and since I'll be busy the whole weekend of the 17th, I need to get it blocked this weekend.  I'm making this in Miss Babs Yowza in the Forever colorway.When I started this post yesterday I still had about 3 repeats of the pattern left to do, but I worked on it a good bit last night and finished the big rectangle.  I'm not going to have enough yarn to do the neckline as written (despite having almost 150 yards more than the pattern calls for) so once I get it seamed I'll have to decide whether to do something different at the neck, or nothing, or maybe I'll raid the stash to see if something I have would blend well or be a good accent at the neckline.

The other project I'm trying to get finished in time for the Frolic is my Sweet Chilly sweater that I'm making out of the Neighborhood Fiber Company yarn I won at last year's spring Frolic.  The yarn is their Studio DK base in the Dupont Circle colorway. Neighborhood Fiber Company will be vending at this spring Frolic, so I want to be able to show off what I made with the yarn.  I'm not quite half-way down the body on it, but once the Cayambe is finished this will take priority and I should be able to finish it up in time.

Also seeing some action this week are my March socks for the Desert Vista Dyeworks year long KAL. These are just vanilla socks for me and this month I'm using the Secret Life of a Snowflake colorway.  I chose this color for March hoping it would bring on at least one snowfall this winter despite the 70 degree days we've been having, and it looks like it might have worked, they're calling for snow here Sunday!

And I have a second pair of socks on the needles.  These are for a friend at work who is an ECU fan and I'm using the Hermione's Everyday Sock pattern although I'm doing them toe-up and will use a different heel.  The yarn I'm using for these is sock yarn dyed by the Friends and Fiberworks yarn store near Asheville in the Happy Ripper colorway.
So that's it for what I've been actively working on this week.  Tomorrow I'll show you what's waiting in the wings.