Monday, April 14, 2014

Old-Fashioned Update + Current Knitting Project

I took some (awful) photos of the latest batch of squares for the Old-Fashioned Sampler afghan.  Here's the mosaic:



1. Danish Square, 2. Italian Cross, 3. Peony, 4. Bright Flower, 5. Lemon Stripe, 6. Fudge, 7. Framed Flower, 8. Circle in a Square, 9. Daisy Chain, 10. Seville, 11. Edwardian Fancy, 12. Peony

The colors are off, and some of them are very blurry if seen up close-- not to mention that the squares haven't been even remotely blocked-- but at least it gives you an impression of them.  (Heh.  A bad impression, maybe.)

- - - - - - -

I picked up the Billowy Delight (a.k.a. Billowy Clouds of Alpaca) scarf again!  Sadly, I'm still not loving it.  I mean, I love the way the finished projects look, on Ravelry, but I'm not loving the actual knitting.  I keep hoping that will change, and it's not so bad as I remembered, but still not joy in every stitch.

The problems are these:

First, tension.  Keeping the tension right with this laceweight yarn isn't the easiest ever-- particularly during all the (many) rows of purls.  So my tension's far from perfect, but I can deal with that.  (I think it's getting better with practice, but also, I think that with this pattern, it won't matter so much, in the long run.)

Second, kf&b.  I don't remember having a problem with kf&b before-- certainly not to this extent.  I'm not sure why it's so bad this time.  Maybe I've simply never had to knit into the back of a stitch of laceweight before.  It's very tricky to get the needle under the back leg of the stitch, and I find myself wishing I had pointier needles, but I'm not planning to buy any more needles for a good long time.  (I have two interchangeable sets already, for goodness' sake!  I would possibly consider buying one or two fixed circulars, but I'm not sure yet which sizes I'm most likely to use again and again...)  There's probably a trick to making it easier.  (Time for some research.)

Anyway, I guess I'll keep slogging away at it until it becomes fun-- or I finish.  Whichever comes first.  (And I may sneak some other projects into the mix, on the sly, and let this one take forever, if it must.)

Here's an artistically blurry photo of the yarn and the back of the WIP (wonderful planning, there):

Billowy Delight

The yarn is Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in "Wonderland Heather"-- a very springtime-y sky blue.  Soft, fluffy, and light as a feather.  Should be a pleasure to wear, next autumn!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bad Puppy!

Luna broke out of "her room" (i.e. the dining room, which we've temporarily stripped of most furniture and sectioned off from the rest of the house) last night and had herself a good ol' time.  It's not the first time this has happened, but it's the first time it's happened that Trixie didn't let us know. Also, it's the first time that Luna noticed my yarn, apparently.

This morning, I was greeted by this mess:

Luna's Yarn Mess

And this was after Donald tidied things up, he says.  (He happened to be the first one up today and wanted to soften the blow.)

Ugh.

At least it was only acrylic yarn.  It could've been worse.  There were finished squares she could have chewed into bits (not to mention furniture, walls, cables, etc.), and there's a ball of laceweight on the coffee table that she probably could have gotten, if she'd been determined.  Still, not the sort of thing to fill a crocheter's heart with joy.

The yellow-green yarn was the worst, by far.  It's a whole, unopened skein of Vanna's Choice.  Or, well, it was unopened until Luna decided that it was a very early Christmas present just for her.  Vanna's Choice isn't exactly luxury yarn, but I try to be frugal with my craft purchases-- plus it was a whole skein-- and I think that color (Grass) has been discontinued-- and I wanted to use it for the Old-Fashioned Sampler afghan.  So I sat down and started untangling.

I ended up cutting a couple of times to make the untangling easier, so it's in a few balls instead of one nice skein-- but it's all salvaged and ready for crocheting.

Phew.
There's a saying that comes to mind right about now... Ah, yes: "You're lucky you're cute, dog."

Maybe it's time to start putting her in her crate at night... If not, I will at least be stowing all yarn well out of reach!

Monday, April 7, 2014

So Tempted...

I've been slowly working on more squares for the Old-Fashioned Sampler.  (Sorry, no photos.)  I'm starting to repeat some of the squares I liked best, now.  Still no specific number as a goal, but in theory I'd like to make it big enough to cover our bed, so there are plenty left to hook. 

I haven't picked the knitted scarf back up.  It's sitting right where it's been sitting for the past few weeks (or however long it's been), just waiting...

We have several "home and garden" projects going or in the planning phase right now, too, and I've been trying to get some things done before summer really kicks in, because I loathe that heat and humidity and know I won't want to be outside much then.  Problem is, there's so much to do-- and so many projects seem to hinge upon something else.  Oh, and while we're out there working on something, we start really looking around and thinking about what we see-- and end up with yet another thing we ought to/want to do! 

In any case, what with one thing and another, I haven't been devoting much time to crafting, lately.

So, with all the loose-end projects and WIPs languishing around the house-- not to mention the multiplying "home and garden" projects--  obviously I've been itching to start yet another afghan.   ...Don't worry-- I won't-- but the bare fact that I even want to is crazy.   I have the yarn.  I have an extremely nebulous idea of what I want to do with it.  But it's insane to start another afghan right now, with so much already to do.  Nope.  Not gonna do it. 

...Well, not until I finish something else first, at least.  ;o)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Old-Fashioned Sampler: Still Chuggin' Along

It's coming along slowly, a square at a time.  At one point, I tried introducing a medium-dark turquoise into the mix, but after 1 and a half squares, the second thoughts won out.  (So there's one completed square kicked out.  An orphan square.  It's waiting, along with another rejected square from a previous project, for... something.  Not sure what, yet.) 

I finally snapped haphazard photos of the squares made since last time.

Here's a mosaic of the most recent batch of squares:



1. Christmas Rose, 2. Lacy Square, 3. Alhambra, 4. Circle in a Square, 5. Queen Anne's Lace, 6. Old Vienna, 7. Kingcup, 8. Lacy Wheel, 9. StarFlower, 10. Criss Cross, 11. Edwardian Fancy, 12. Waterlily

The photos aren't that great.  (At all.)  I've deteriorated into an extremely lazy photographer.  (A lazy photo editor, too.  Didn't even try to get the colors right, because... too much work.)  Of course, how good can the photo be, when the squares are so wibbly, wobbly, wonky, and wiggly?  Blocking them is out of the question, so they'll just have to stay this way until I join them.  Maybe it's an incentive to keep going on this project?  I have to join them to see how they really look?  Or rather, how good they can look? 

Not pictured:  The outcast square in turquoise and the most recent square-- in the "Danish Square" pattern.

Old-Fashioned Sampler

Quite a stack of them!
I'm out of one color, now, and nearly out of a couple more.  Not sure yet if I'll try to find more of the same/similar colors or just make more squares from the colors that I still have in abundance...

- - - - - - -

I started a scarf in the "Billowy Delight" pattern earlier this month, but I made extremely little progress before setting it aside in favor of the Old-Fashioned Sampler.  I just wasn't enjoying it, so it's been difficult to make myself want to pick it up again.  It's a shame, because I like the looks of the pattern-- and the yarn is soft and pretty (Alpaca Cloud)-- but when it's not fun, it's just not fun.  I hope that it's a matter of getting in the right mood.  It takes me a while to get into the groove of most knitting projects.  Maybe I need to learn a trick or two to make this pattern work for me...

- - - - - - -

Meanwhile, Luna says, "Play with me!!!"

Luna

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Old-Fashioned Sampler Progress Pix

I've been crocheting a few more squares for the Old-Fashioned Sampler, lately.

On the one hand, it's pleasantly casual, just flipping through the book (or referring to a list of favorites I jotted down at the beginning of the project), picking a square, and hooking it up. 

On the other hand, it can be difficult to keep up the momentum.  When one square is done, it's not as effortless to move on to the next.

Also, I'm feeling a little wishy-washy about a couple of aspects of this project.

First, I'm not completely, positively, undeniably sure about my palette.  Do the two darker colors stand out too much?  But if I take them away, then the yellow-green looks too yellow-green-y.  But if I take that away, this other color becomes too dominant-- and I've just removed half of my colors... Oh, let's just toss them all back in together again!  Good.  Fine... But do I really want to put that darker turquoise (that I've yet to use because I'm just not sure) into the mix?  Ack!  Decisions!

Second, I'm not sure how many different square patterns I want to use.  I don't really like at least two or three of the ones I've done so far. (Too limp.  Too meshy.) I could take them out, but if I just leave them in, I'm sure they'll blend in well enough. (And I could go back and add an overlay of some sort to bulk them up.)  Maybe I just won't make those squares twice... In any case, I'll probably want to make at least some of the patterns more than once.  Maybe I ought to narrow it down and make my favorites three or four times each rather than continuing to add new patterns...

...Which leads me to a third question:  How big will this blanket be, anyway?  I've never made an afghan that was big enough to cover our king size bed.  Maybe this will be the first.

In between agonizing over details, I made myself snap a few imperfect photos of the recently-completed squares.  (Some of them look wonky, but I'm confident they'll straighten out when they're joined and laundered.)  All patterns are from Jan Eaton's 200 Crochet Blocks


Fretwork:

Fretwork


Gothic Square:

Gothic Square



Willow:

Willow



Anemone:

Anemone


I altered some of the patterns slightly.  Particulars are in the project notes on Ravelry.

More squares to come!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chit-Chat

Most of this was written a few weeks ago, while I was bored and in a chatty mood. 

- - - - - - -

I've yet to take photos of the things I was supposed to photograph.  So no photos of the bag.  No photos of the scarf.  No photos of my current most-active WIP.  (I've allowed myself a new one-- but it's ok.  I'd kinda-sorta finished a couple of things from my lists, and this is something I promised someone else, so it's not completely selfish.  More on that later.)


I haven't even woven the ends of the Regency Ruffles (a.k.a. Helix Scarf) yet.  (Tsk, tsk!)  I could blame it on Luna (the new puppy), but while it's true that she demands an alarming amount of time every day, technically I could have done all of those things.  I've just been lazy.  (And I've been doing a little yard work... and we've been installing a vented range hood, because the non-vented one that came with our house was pretty much useless.)  

So-- end-weaving and photos?  Maybe tomorrow!

- - - - - - -

The new WIP next-to-latest finished object is a hat for my husband.  I got him to help choose the pattern and at least narrow down the color options.  It probably won't be cold enough for him to need it until the end of the year, but at least it'll be ready then.  I've already made a hat (Hurricane Hat) that ended up being for him, because it fits him better than me-- but this one's especially for him.  :o)  I used the Claudia pattern, which (despite the name) is a unisex hat.  It was fun just to be working on something that wasn't a ruffle scarf. (Here's the project link for the hat.  No photos yet, though.  Such a slacker!!)

- - - - - - -

A few days weeks months years? weeks ago, I overdyed a skein of yarn that I'd already dyed once, before Christmas.  I briefly considered making a hat for my niece.  I had a cute pattern, and I had some cream sock yarn I thought might work, so I dyed it yellow, green, and blue:

Hand-dyed Sock Yarn

Well, I cast on, but I just wasn't enjoying the tiny needles and skinny yarn, at all, so I pulled it out and put the yarn away for another day.  (I still think the hat is adorable, so maybe some other time, some other baby/toddler...)

Since then, I've been wondering what to do with this single skein of yarn.  I think I've found another pattern I like that will work, but I wanted slightly different colors.  Perfect excuse to unpack the dyeing supplies!  Of course, I have no photo of the overdyed yarn... Nor will I be starting that project any time soon...  

Er. I just finished it last week.  (Again, no photos.  What, did you actually think I'd have weaved in the ends and photographed the thing within a few days of binding off?  No, I didn't think so.)  It was another Irish Mesh Cowl-- my second.  I like the pattern, but I had some issues with the end/beginning of the rounds.  They don't completely blend in with rest of the mesh, and I'm not sure if I'm to blame or if it's just the nature of the pattern.  Donald scoffed when I showed him the messy section, and even I don't think it looks awful, but it's still frustrating.

- - - - - - - 

What's next? 

For the time being, I'm pulling out a long-term WIP-- the Old-Fashioned Sampler.  Maybe I'll crochet several blocks before shifting my focus, or maybe I'll only manage one or two before another obsession hits. 

I'd like to weave in a few ends, snap a few photos, and get those things off my mental check-list.  Meanwhile, the kitchen is kind of a disaster after putting in the range hood this weekend...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Slowly, Slowly

Well, I'm slowly (and I do mean slowly) making progress on some of the "open" projects listed in my last entry.

I worked some on the Summer Garden Secret, and could probably finish it in an evening, if I'd just make myself.  (Note to self:  Make yourself.)  I need to pre-wash before I can do the very last bit, though.  Maybe I'll remember to do that this afternoon, when the regular laundry is done.

I weaved in ends on the six motifs already crocheted for the Hypno-Cushion.

I sewed the floral embellishments onto the Rusty French market bag.  Need to photograph it, but I think it's done!  (One item checked off my list!)

  - - - - - - -

I'm within sight of the end of the Regency Ruffles scarf.  It's long enough that I could just bind off and call it done, but I like long scarves, and there's so very little of one of the balls... (I'm holding two strands of laceweight together, and one ball is significantly smaller than the other.)  I'll keep knitting until I use up what's left, stopping when it looks like there's just enough for a comfortable, worry-free bind-off. 

I've been working on that scarf (Helix Scarf pattern) for so long-- since right after Christmas-- that it will feel strange when it's no longer there to work on.  I've worked on it for so long that I went right through the "ugh, no more!" phase into the realm of "I can't imagine my (knitting) life without it!"  (g)

There should be a name for this phenomenon...  Scarfholm Syndrome, perhaps?  You work on something for what feels like for-ev-er.  You eventually start to resent it, because you'd rather move on to something else, but this thing is holding your precious craft time hostage!  But you keep trudging along, until eventually you start to enjoy it again.  It's been there so long... It's so familiar... You don't even have to think about the pattern any more: your hands move by instinct.  It's always there-- an easy project to pick up and mindlessly, effortlessly knit or crochet.  And now that you really are finally nearing the project's end, you are vaguely troubled.  What will you do without it?

...Or you just jump for joy and move on (with a smile) to the next project in line.  ;o) 

- - - - - - -

My craft time has been decreased by this little ball of fluff:

Luna

This is Luna, our little Eskie pup.  :o)

We got her at the end of January, on the spur of the moment.  Saw the ad in the morning, drove hours both ways, and had her home that night.  We'd been looking for an Eskie puppy in reasonable driving distance for months and months, so we didn't want to risk missing this opportunity.  (My maternal grandmother had been wanting an Eskie puppy, too, so we also brought home one of Luna's brothers.  They kept one another company on the long drive home. :o)) 

She's a cutie, but already a handful!  She's keeping me busy-- not only with satisfying her demands for attention, but also with cleaning up after her and trying to guide her through the first baby-steps of house-training.  I live for the day when the puddles in "her" room (the emptied, puppy-proofed dining room) will be a thing of the past, and she can be trusted in the rest of the house without constant, unwavering supervision.  In the meantime, we're taking it a puddle day at a time.