Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Crafty Goals

Last year I checked off two of my four crafty goals. I entered something in the state fair, and I participated in a crafty event (Spinzilla and the Ravellenic Games). I'm keeping it simple again this year:

1. Zero yarn purchases. Last year, one of my goals was to reduce my stash size. I did quite the opposite - I acquired about 43,000 yards! Yikes!

2. Finish my Master Hand Knitter Level 1 submission. Now that I'm done with school, I hopefully don't have such an aversion to everything that even remotely resembles schoolwork.

3. Sew a garment, actually wear it. Sounds simple - but this has been a goal of mine for the last couple of years, and I just don't get around to sewing at all! 


Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - A Year in Review

2016 was a productive year for me - mostly thanks to the last few whirlwind months!

I used 14,418 yards of yarn on 6 hats, 5 garments, 2 doilies, 2 blankets, 2 shawls, 1 swimsuit, 1 cowl, 1 pair of boot cuffs, and 1 pair of trivets. I also spun a grand total of 2,476 yards of finished yarn.

According to knitmeter, I made a lot of mileage this year!



On to 2017!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Handspun: Summer Jubilee


Finally finished plying and setting my yarn that I started during the Tour de Fleece this year! It's 1095 yards of a fingering weight(ish) yarn. I was really regretting my decision to combo ply these two hanks as I started to ply them - but I actually love the finished product!


I really do love how the colors came together. I'm thinking about knitting a Drift pullover with it!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

FO: Sparkly Yeti Pullover

I've been knitting and crocheting for years and years now, and I still haven't decided if I am a process crafter or a product crafter - or bit of both! I can say with certainty that this sweater was a product craft - I just wanted that cozy sweater!


This was crocheted with Mary Maxim Glitz Mohair in the Cashmere colorway. I picked up three balls at Craft Warehouse a couple months ago on super sale and knew right away I wanted to make a lofty, fun pullover.



This took nearly 2 balls, around 845 yards total, on a size H hook. I used the Summer Sweater pattern as a reference, but I didn't buy the pattern. It sheds all over the place but I am still looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear it often! In fact, I liked making this so much that I might make a couple more in other colors and yarn types - maybe something that sheds a bit less.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spinzilla 2016

On a whim I signed up for Spinzilla this year just a few hours before signups closed. I work full-time so I didn't really think I'd be able to accomplish much in the 7-day time span - but I couldn't resist! I spun up this merino from Judy's Novelty Wool that I've had in my stash since May 2015. 


4 ounces total, 497 yards of fingering weight(ish) finished yarn. As a 2-ply it counted as 1,491 yards total. Last year there was a spinner that spun nearly 50,000 yards - wow! So impressive!


I also learned a few things while I worked on this over the last week. I noticed that the chair I'm sitting in makes a big difference - I didn't notice that my single was getting way too much twist when I moved to my spot in the living room. The difference was the distance of my hands from the orifice. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on so there are sections in the yarn with curlicues. But, I will just snip out those sections when I get around to knitting or crocheting something with this.


I just love how these colors came together!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Ravellenic Victory! Farpoint Topper FO

This is old news by now - but I did finish my Farpoint Topper in time to cross the finish line for the 2016 Ravellenic Games!


I bought this Universal Yarn - Alana in the Keiki colorway at Tuesday Morning on a whim back in July and this was the perfect project for it. I had wanted to make this top ever since I became serious about knitting/crocheting but never found quite the right yarn for it.


It turned out a bit oversized because I added two extra rounds to each pentagon. The first one I finished looked like it would be smaller than the schematic showed - but it stretched a fair bit once I washed and blocked it out.



This took up about  600 yards total, crocheted with a 10mm hook. I wore this several times over my vacation and just love it. I adore the colors - it reminds me of Lisa Frank and childhood nostalgia!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Ravellenic Games 2016 Update!

Well, it's starting to look like I won't get to any of the projects I had actually planned for the Ravellenic games, but at least I've got something! I'm actually just about done with my Farpoint Topper!


I had started it around the end of July, but I ended up completely unravelling the first panel. My pentagon somehow ended up with six sides. Since I was starting from scratch anyway (and I lost over a week due to other life things) I figured I would use this as my Ravellenic games project!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

FO: Spring into Summer Blanket

I finished it on time!!!


I used the free Spring into Summer Blanket pattern, with the exception that I switched yarns every row. I had about a million yarn ends to weave in, but I was able to use up most of the Red Heart Gumdrop and Loops and Threads value pack yarn that I had on hand.



I worked 54 rows before I started to decrease. The finished blanket is about 4' x 4' - I hope the wee recipient can get a few years of enjoyment out of it before she outgrows it!

I think this pattern is really better suited for self-striping or solid yarns - but I am still happy with the end result. It took a total of about 1760 yards of worsted weight yarn using a G hook.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Chevron Lace Tank

I'm hoping to get this tank top finished pretty quickly as a gift for my little sister - it's the Bow Crazy pattern by Lauren Riker. I'm knitting this in Cascade Ultra Pima Fine in Sprout on size 4US needles.



I've reached the bust portion of this, so I hope the rest goes fairly quickly! So far I am enjoying working with this yarn. It is really smooth!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fiberista Club Review


I had been itching for a while to try out a yarn club - I ended up getting a 3-month subscription to Fiberista Club. They have a brick and mortar store in Illinois and offer four types of clubs: Yarn Club, Sock Club, Fiber Club, and Garment Club. Since I have only sampled the Yarn Club, I'll keep my comments to that one (but I'm dying to try the others!).

http://www.fiberista.club/our-clubs

For a monthly fee, you receive: at least two skeins of yarn (retail value between $27-$35 USD per skein), four patterns (two knitting, two crochet), and a "miscellaneous item." As with other clubs, the longer your term, the greater your savings. I signed up for a three-month subscription and took advantage of the 10% discount for new members: my total was $134.95 USD for three months.The nice thing about this particular club is that they curate the selection. Rather than getting fiber from a single dyer or supplier, Fiberista Club selects from an array of brands. It has been really fun to try different lines of yarn. They also customize your selection – and accept exchanges if you aren’t happy with your shipment.

When you sign up for Yarn Club, you are asked to select your preferred yarn weight: lace to DK, worsted to chunky, or all of the above. Then you are asked to identify your color preferences: warm, cool, neutral, or no preference; and then saturated versus vibrant color hues. You can further specify your preferences with an email to the team - such as an aversion to wool or something of the sort. Bonus: you can change your preferences at any time!

They post the "mood boards" for upcoming shipments so you can get an idea of the color palette they'll be selecting. I had my preferences set to Lace to DK/All Colors/All color hues.... this is what I received for my three months.
 

From left to right, two skeins of Baah La Jolla in My Sweet Valentine (came with some gift tags), two skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles in Granny (came with a large bag of ice tea), and four skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Wool Socks (came with a tapestry needle). While I wasn't initially in love with my Brooklyn Tweed or Hedgehog Fibres (neither is really in my usual color spectrum) they both push me outside my comfort zone. I think I will enjoy working with them. Plus, the patterns provided with each month's shipment were great options of things to make with these yarns!

I highly recommend Fiberista Club - only if you are OK with surprises! It is truly is a great value for the money if you’re willing to take a gamble!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ravellenic Games 2016

I am participating in the Ravellenic Games again this year! They run from August 5 through August 21. I love these - they always really challenges me to push myself a bit. This year, I have a couple of options for participating:

Garment Polo: I'm debating whether I want to dive into my Lace Dress for this - I'm not convinced I could pull this off in three weeks! Whenever I do get around to it, I'm planning on knitting this with Cascade Ultra Pima in Pink Sapphire.

 

WIP Wrestling or Frogging Trampoline: I have been reluctant to frog my Cabled Tunic for years and years. My ultimatum (to myself, of course!) is that I have to frog or finish it!


and, if push comes to shove and I really need a project, I could enter:

Synchronized Spinning: I still need to spin up that blue fiber from Judy's Novelty Wool at the Nampa Fiber Train Festval last year!


 For a full list of the events this year, visit the Ravellenic Games 2016 page on Ravelry!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour de Fleece 2016 Wrap Up

Well, I spun about 2 ounces of my Three Waters Farm roving in the Summer Jubilee colorway over the last week, stages 16-21.


That brings my total to 6 ounces of fiber spun over the TDF - not sure of the yardage just yet. I didn't meet my goal of at least one finished yarn, but I learned a lot! These are my lessons learned for next year:
  • Prep all fiber before the tour starts. I like working with pre-drafted fiber.
  • Decide on the weight and plying method for each yarn before the tour starts. The multicolored Jubilee caused me to rethink my strategy a few times, so I will put a bit more thought into my yarn for next year so that I don't spend time ruminating!
  • Clear my calendar as much as possible! I ended up not spinning at all on several of the tour days because I just had a lot going on. 
 I'm looking forward to finishing up this yarn, and next year's tour!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

FO: Gardenia Cardigan

Finally finished up this simple cardigan!




I've had the Knit Picks Capra in my stash for years and had planned on knitting it into a cardigan when I made the purchase - it's been patiently waiting for me! I didn't follow a pattern for this - just knit a gauge swatch and calculated to my measurements. This was knit top-down and nearly-seamless; the patch pockets were seamed on after completion (as I wasn't sure I would have enough yarn left!). This took just shy of six skeins of Flamingo and a little over one skein of Black (about 870 yards total).



Knit on size 6US needles (size 4US for the ribbing). The buttons are nondescript plastic buttons I had in my stash. It's a wee bit on the tight side - hopefully I don't gain any weight before I can wear this in the fall!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tour de Fleece 2016: Stages 10 - 15

This last week wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped. I barely made it into the second of my 4 ounces of the Three Waters Farm Summer Jubilee merino/nylon blend. Unfortunately I didn't spin at all three days of this last week, so that really stunted my progress!



OK - 7 days left! I had high hopes I could finish a couple of skeins at least - I'll keep pushing!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Moral of the Story: Listen to your Gut (or, Chunky Throw FO)

I often have fits of inspiration in the middle of the night, or while I am falling asleep. More often than not these ideas go to waste because I'm too lazy to write them down, but I actually remembered this idea of a chunky, gradient-like chevron throw for our bedroom. It turned out just like I imagined...





Except this version was completed after a supreme fail. When I started this, I did not make a gauge swatch (first mistake), eyeballed it after a few rows (second mistake), and kept going even when I felt it was going to be too wide (third, and biggest, mistake). When I ran out of yarn this behemoth was over 8' wide, but just over 4' long. Super awkward dimensions, and it also weighed about a hundred pounds.

The icing on the cake was that, due to the way the gradient was done (swapping out one of three strands every so many rows), it had to be unravelled into three balls of yarn at a time. All 6,500 yards of it.

After some tears and some threats to throw it in the garbage, it took me about six hours total to unravel the stupid thing. Why did I come back to this? Because I am a glutton for punishment, I suppose.



So, I reiterate, the moral of this story is to listen to your instincts. If you've got a bad feeling (especially after doing things you know are naughty, like not using a gauge swatch...) then stop. Your gut is usually right and can save you hours of heartache!