Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Challenge (and a Guy in a Scarf)

I told Andrew I needed to take pictures of his scarf, and of course he made this face at me.
Just for you guys, I managed to get him to take a nicer picture, too.

So I've started a new challenge for myself. I was talking with Gabe at work today and realized that I have way too many projects on the go. Like, way too many. Really. I started figuring it out, and... I have more than 30 projects going. 
I decided to challenge myself to finish some of them. I want to see how long it takes to finish 25 projects. That will get at least some of these projects finished!
The rules are:
1) It has to be something I've already started
2) I have to finish it completely
3) I can start any new projects I want- but they don't count.
My guess is on 5 months to accomplish 25 finished projects. That's 5 a month- it seems manageable. Some are simple (like half finished socks) and some are absolutely crazy (like cobweb weight dresses). Either way, I'll get some old projects going again and maybe finally finish some of them.

The first one is already complete. Today I finished off this cowl for my Mom- simple, but it's done. I have a whole set of them I promised her for Christmas (she knew they would be late), and this one is for her birthday. I'm hoping to send them all off to her soon. There might still be skiing days left in the year for her!

I also got work done on a blanket I'm making, a pretty good chunk of my half-fingered mitts finished and started into the sleeve caps on my colourwork sweater. Not bad for day 1- here's hoping I can keep up the enthusiasm.
Now for a list that will be at the bottom of my blog for awhile;

Finishing Challenge:
Mom's Cowl

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP and Crochet Stockinette, 2.0

Check out the progress I made on my afghan! I love it. It's getting so big and cuddly and warm. I'm only starting in on the 4th ball of each colour now, so it's about half the size it will be. Plus I have 4 more balls of yarn in my cubby at work, although it might be big enough after these in which case I will have to make a matching pillow.

I mean, we're getting a new couch soon, and this afghan tossed artfully over an awesome new couch with a throw pillow to match would seriously elevate our living room from college-y to kinda grownupish.

I started working on these half-finger mitts, because my knuckles are always super cold. Especially at work in the back room. I really need something to keep me warm, and regular fingerless mitts just don't have quite the coverage.
I started these working bottom up, but realized that the palm section would be much more strechy and comfy if I worked it sideways along with the cuff. So I pulled it out and started again. Much better, I was right.

The top part and fingers I'm really not sure about. It's a nice stitch pattern, but I think it might be a little bulky for the fingers. When I go into work, my coworkers will be forced to try them on to give me a second opinion.

The rainbow stripey pullover has progressed! The body is finished. It's time to start on the sleeves now, then all the pieces will be joined together at the yoke.

I even got some spinning done this weekend. I know, right? I had a long weekend because of Family Day Monday. Since I usually have Mondays off, my boss was nice enough to give me Tuesday off too so I still got a long weekend. I did nothing and ate yummy food and spent time with Andrew and it was wonderful.

Ok, I didn't do entirely nothing. On Sunday, I walked to a yarn store that opened in my neighborhood recently. It's called Ladeebee and it is very sweet! It's on the bottom floor of another store, but has nice natural lighting and a small but sweet selection. I was pretty good with all the shinies, but I had to get something! Four balls of super cheap sock yarn, little paper cut out hearts, awesome labels to sew into gifts and a totally sweet handmade project bag. I was really tempted by some of the fantastic deals on cotton she had, but I have so much cotton already.
Sundays are sit and stitch day there, and the group was small but really nice. I had a good time and will definitely be returning- but when it's warmer. I was bundled in two hats, a neckwarmer and scarf, two sweaters and a jacket, two pairs of mitts, wooly legwarmers and wool socks in my snowboots and my thighs were frozen by the time I got there. It was a much longer walk than I expected. Spring will be here soon, right?
Speaking of that walk, I saw the most hilarious and very Canadian thing (or just cold weather area thing, I suppose) on the way back. I had gotten all the way to my townhouse complex and looked up to see a guy in shorts and flip flops carrying his laundry down the sidewalk to the laundry room. Reread what I told you I was wearing and think about it being -20 C with the windchill and that insane man was wearing shorts. And flip flops. Bare feet! In the snow and ice! I'm cold just thinking about it (says the woman who eats frozen yogurt outside in January).

I also published two more patterns today! Yay! One of them, my Sophisticated Chevrons Cowl, has been done for ages. I just need to make a gauge swatch because the yarn I used was a mystery skein.
The other was just a simple freebie pattern for the scarf I made Andrew for his birthday- Basket Weave Slip Stitch Scarf.
It's a really simple pattern using slip stitch front loop only and slip stitch inverse back loop only. The little picture above is the photo tutorial I made to show the inverse back loop stitch.
If you remember, I posted about crochet stockinette quite some time ago. I used a technique I figured out because I had no idea that iB (inverse back loop only) existed. It totally works, but it's not useful if you want to do something like basket weave where you have the front and back of the stitches showing on the same row. Using iB is way better, and while it takes a bit of figuring (make sure the yarn is in front- that messed me up for awhile!) it ends up being so much easier. It's really freed up my design in slip stitch crochet.
I owe a lot of what I've learned about slip stitch to the group on Rav, and the tutorial on the yarn guy site- Slip Stitch Crochet. I've come a long way since my crochet stockinette "discovery", but I'm still proud I figured that out independently, even if it wasn't exactly the smartest technique!

Alright, time to go have some lunch. I think we still have leftover potato pancakes (so good!) and maybe some other yummy leftovers from our delicious weekend off cooking.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I love my new curtains. My bedroom looks like this in the morning now. It's so inviting! That can be a problem when I need to, you know, get out of freakin' bed in the morning. I have the most comfortable, cozy, amazing trap of a bed in the world. I love it.
And yes, those are my stuffed toys you see sitting on the bed. Andrew has long since given up on laughing at them. I've had them on my bed my whole life, I'm not stopping now!

I completely forgot to mention the designs I did for work that are now available. I've actually been published, woah! Someone posted one of the patterns on Rav and I realized I should have done that, so I posted the other.
Here they are on Rav: Cotton Shrug and Stacked Shells Cardigan
And here they are on the Mary Maxim site: Shrug and Cardigan

It's so cool to be published! I have more designs I'm working on for them, but to actually see these in print was really cool.

I took a bunch of pictures of recent stuff and realized that I have a whole bunch of rainbows going on in my crafting right now. This is definitely a good thing. I love rainbows, love love love. They are bright and sunshiny and happy. I'm a big fan of pretty much all bright, saturated happy colours.

This rainbow is a bunch of merino fluffy I got to spin- the shiny white bits are firestar that make it sparkle and GLOW under blacklight! Awesome!
I got this from etsy: Zauberzeug on Etsy

Speaking of things I've gotten for spinning, here's a look at my spinning stash. You can see I've made some progress on my pink silk, although I must admit I haven't worked on it at all this week.
That reminds me, I should tell you where I got that awesome snowflake drop spindle. 
It was also an Etsy thing: Sevenyaks on Etsy

Take a look at my new afghan project (and I still have a motif afghan to finish that I've been working on for years, naughty me!). It's to cuddle with on our new couch, which we're hoping to get in March. It's 100% wool I got from the clearance section at work. I love how it's turning out, and I can't wait for the super cuddly finished product.

This is the project I'm most excited about right now. I'm so close to finished with my capelet and I am trying to push my way through, but I just want to work on this!
It's sock yarn that I got on sale at work, and I love it. My coworker and I have started a challenge with this. We both have the same yarn and are making sweaters. Totally different sweaters- she's making a cardigan, I'm making a pullover. Hers is knit, mine is crochet.

I went for sl st blo in the round to get a nice mock-garter stitch. I've never been a huge fan of the look of garter stitch, but this is convincing me. That, and garter in finer gauge is much nicer.

I haven't yet decided which side is the right side. Really, it'll be reversible so the right side is whichever way I decide to pull it on.
The side facing me while I work has nice, clean stripes (aside from where the colours jog in the round), but the inside has some fun play going on with the stripes I like too.