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WIPs: Ahmanet and Japanese Stitches Scarf

I'm just popping in to give a couple of quick project updates. 

First, I'm still slowly crocheting my way through "Ahmanet".  It's taken a backseat to my other current WIP, but every so often it gets a little attention.  Here's the latest progress photo:


It's a little rumpled, but you can at least get an impression of it.  That's a Clover Amour steel hook, for scale.  This will be a big one, once it's finished and blocked!  I've started the third and final ball of thread.  At this point, it kind of feels like there's not much to do, but with large doilies, those last several rounds can take a lot of time to crochet. 

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The main crafty focus for the past week or two has been the "Japanese Stitches Advent Scarf".  It's a knitting project-- fairly ambitious for me, with some unusual (or at least new-to-me) stitches.  There have been some bumps in the road (see my project notes for details on some-- not all!-- of those …

FO: Cables and Lace Advent Scarf (2015)

If you've been reading along, you know that I recently washed and blocked (for the first time) an Advent scarf I knitted three years ago.  If I remember correctly, I finished the knitting not too long after the holiday season, but I then took a long, long time to decide how to finish it-- then even longer to finally wash it!  (I hope to be a little faster with this year's Advent scarf!)

My blocking job is far from perfect.  This is partly due to the challenges of blocking a loop scarf, but probably owes more to the fact that I was in a hurry to just be done and test the softness of the yarn.  (Uncertainty over whether I'd actually ever wear such an itchy yarn as a scarf made me unwilling to spend too much time fussing over it.)

My knitting isn't perfect, either.  The grafting is kind of ugly, to be honest, but that's fairly easily hidden.  I'm more distracted by the "rowing out" in the reverse stockinette background around the sections of cables.  I t…

So Much for Good Intentions!

Well, I washed and blocked the 2015 Advent Scarf.

(I also blocked a couple of small cable swatches knitted from the same yarn, mentioned briefly at the end of this post.  Basically, they're an excuse to try out cable patterns just for the fun of it, and I have nebulous plans to frame them for my craft room.)

As soon as the washed yarn was dry, I tested it against my neck.  Tentatively... Cautiously... Reluctantly...

...Ick, it still itches!  (~scratch shudder scratch~)

Not exactly surprising, but disappointing.  That yarn would probably be ok for certain hat patterns, if the wearer is used to rustic, scratchy wool-- and it would definitely be fine for anything that won't be lying next to bare skin-- but while it's possible to wear the scarf I've already knitted, it's not the most pleasant texture to have draped against your neck (and possibly face).  It just... prickles.  Life's too short to waste on knitting a scarf I might not ever want to wear.  (Especially …

WIP Updates (and Some Griping About Flickr...)

I have an update on the yarn I'll use for the 2018 Advent Scarf project, but that'll wait for another blog post.  This time, I'm here to share a couple of progress photos of a couple of WIPs (and to complain a little about something).

First, there's the "Sitka Spruce" hat.  As expected, it looked a little shallow/short for a beret, so I've followed the example of many other knitters before me and added in an extra half of a repeat (so it has 1.5 repeats, total).  I'm just a few rounds short of finishing that, then it'll be time for the decrease, and hats usually fly off the needles, at that point.

Hats don't usually take this long, but I've taken my time on this one.  I'm not a speedy knitter at the best of times, and these twisted stitches have slowed me even further-- plus I've been working on another project or two, so there have been some long breaks.

Incidentally, I noticed when skimming my project notes for the 2015 Advent Sc…

Let's Knit an Advent Scarf!

A few years ago, I participated in Tricia Weatherston's advent scarf for 2015-- the "Cables and Lace Advent Scarf".  (The pattern is not currently available, unfortunately.)

Much to my shame, I still haven't finished that project! (!!!)  I think I did all the knitting, but I'm not sure if I ever bound off... I know I was debating whether or not to make it a loop, but I can't recall if I ever decided and bound off!  One thing I do know is that it still needs blocking.  Maybe I'll do that in the next couple of weeks...

In any case, even though I haven't done all the finishing, even after all this time, I really enjoyed the process of knitting that scarf, and so when the designer's advent scarf for this year popped up in my Ravelry pattern suggestions, I gave it a closer look.

The last two years' advent scarves have been in styles/techniques that I either didn't feel up to trying (stranded colorwork) or wasn't really interested in at the …

A Scrabble Bag, Bobbins, and Two WIPs

The silver plastic tile bag that came with our game of Scrabble was falling apart at the seams, so I decided to sew us a new one.  I don't have a lot of experience sewing bags-- or anything "3-D" / not blanket-flat.

I've hemmed some cut-off jeans (hurray for cooler capri pants!), made some pillow shams, pillow inserts for stuffing, dog toys (smaller pillows/tubes), a cover for my old sewing machine, and a couple of extremely simple (but still flawed) bags, but I'm definitely not in my comfort zone when sewing anything that has "shape".  (I'd like to make myself some pj pants and a lightweight kimono-style robe from sheets, but I'm kinda scared of sewing clothes!)

Considering all that, even a small bag was a little intimidating!  I found this video tutorial, though, and thought, "That looks manageable." So I went stash-diving and chose a colorful (even kind of crazy) fat quarter, part of an old sheet for the lining, two smaller scraps f…

Various and Sundry

Today, I have a couple each of FOs and WIPs. 

First, the most boring of the bunch-- another crochet mesh grocery bag.  I've lost track of how many of these I've made, at this point.  It might be the seventh one. 

The project link above has all the particulars, but suffice it to say that these are handy bags for toting some things (not so great for others, of course, with all those holes), and they work up quickly.  I made this one mainly because I had one final skein of that variegated mercerized cotton and couldn't think of anything better to do with it.  This way, at least it's out of my stash, and it's a useful object. 


Second FO:
Earlier this week, I decided I'd like a box of tissues for my bedside table.  Time to make a kitschy tissue box cover!  This was the fourth such cover I've crocheted (two as gifts), so I was familiar with the pattern.  It works out great every time! 

I pulled four balls of yarn from my scrap bag (the one I'm using for granny…

Doily FO: "Wispweave"

The third and final doily I squeezed out of those two skeins of Alize Miss Batik (color "3713") was not a Grace Fearon design, for a change!

I crocheted "Wispweave", a pattern by Julia Hart.


This is a pattern for a small doily that works up quickly and has an appealing, floral motif.

It does have some texture (in the form of fp, bp, popcorn, and picot stitches), but it's not particularly difficult, by the standard of a lot of the patterns I've been crocheting lately.  (However, I did find the ch-2 picots a little tricky to make "prettily", for some reason.  If I make this pattern again and remember, I might increase those to ch-3 picots and see if I like that better.)

There's a minor error in the last round of the written instructions.  The repeat is missing a picot that you can see in the sample photo, but it’s easy enough to guess where to put it to achieve symmetry.


I used the same hook as usual (1.75mm Clover Amour), and of course the thre…

Doily FO: "Poppy"

Last FO post, I mentioned that I had a lot of the second skein of Alize Miss Batik left over from that doily ("Emma").  I decided to start another of Grace Fearon's doily patterns-- this time one that others have already crocheted (with great results) with that same line of thread.

Here's my "Poppy":


Again, the thread is Alize Miss Batik (colorway "3713").


So much fun to watch the colors change as you crochet!  And the results are one-of-a-kind, since even using the same thread can yield distinctive results, depending on where in the color change you start.


I used the same hook as (almost) always-- 1.75mm Clover Amour steel hook.


This was a fun pattern, and it doesn't use that much thread, really, so it's a good choice for partial skeins where you have a decent bit of thread left over.


This would also be a good candidate for build-your-own colorways (changing color every round or section, using a variety of single-color threads).


This is a…