Monday, June 29, 2009

Squares and Contemplation

Well, I am still mulling over what I want to accomplish this summer and how I want to proceed with my projects. I did, however, make 2 squares this weekend. I really like Saturday's:

Sunday's, not so much:

The square is fine, but it doesn't lie nice and flat, which bothers me.

The variegated yarn, that looks almost white in the pictures, is Simply Soft Baby by Caron. I only had 1 skein, and I am glad that I am playing with it in these squares before I bought enough for a big project, because it turns out that I don't like the yarn very much at all. The white yarn is soft, but the color flecks seem to be fabric, and they are hard. This would not be a good yarn for preemies, that's for sure.

Otherwise, this weekend, I did my chores and laundry, and I read. I finished the 2nd crochet mystery, Dead Men Don't Crochet, and then read most of an older Jayne Ann Krentz called Family Man. Once I start a Krentz, I just can't put it down. Even though work did settle down late last week, it was nice to have some time to sit this weekend and rest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Projects

I was so happy on Sunday when I finished my mittens. Somehow, I had it in my head that I needed to complete 4 projects a month for the 52 Projects in 52 Weeks challenge, and I had finished my 4 projects for June. I thought that I could take a couple of weeks off, work on some of my bigger projects, and decide what my goals would be for July. Then it occurred to me that 4 projects a month times 12 months in a year equals 48 projects, not 52. I really do need to complete a project a week, even if some months that means 5 projects. So that set me a back a bit in my thinking.

Then, over the last 2 days, the summer reading season started with a bang at work. This is my 12th summer at the library, and I'll admit that we get busier every summer. Nothing in my experience has prepared me for this week, however. I have never seen the library so busy. Yesterday was the kick off party, and 300 children showed up. We were so busy helping patrons that we couldn't even keep up with returns, let alone any of our other tasks. Lunchtime is the only chance I have gotten to sit down. Since it is only the first week, I haven't hit the wall of exhaustion yet, but if this pace keeps up, I will hit it soon. So I have to factor that into my plans for July and August as well.

Then, while reading my blog subscriptions this morning, I found a new blog that I had to subscribe to. It's called 365-A Crochet Odyssey. The woman who writes the blog is making 1 crocheted block a day this year, just to be creative. She picks a pattern and yarn each day and makes whatever she feels like. Not every pattern works, but overall her blocks are beautiful. But they aren't made for any other purpose. She doesn't know what she is going to do with them. This idea has intrigued me. I don't want to just copy what she is doing, but I think it would be fun over the summer to do something like this, to be creative first and determine the purpose later.

So I'm still going to take the next couple of weeks off from the 52 Projects challenge and work on my larger projects. I will also be mulling over how I want to proceed over the summer. And I have to think about what project I want to take with me to the Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo in August. So much to think about, so little time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

#4 of 52

Despite having a very busy weekend last weekend, I did find the time to make a mitten and finish my 4th project for July.
These are sized for a man and will be donated to charity eventually. I used 146 yards of Plymouth Encore (unfortunately less than 1 skein). I have to admit that the gray got a little boring, so I'm glad these are finished.

And there was yarn waiting for me when I got home from work on Saturday.
3 skeins of sock yarn from Elann. It was a nice treat at the end of a very busy day at work.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baktus Clarified

Sandy left a comment on Wednesday's post, and I thought a more detailed explanation was in order (since I might have confused others as well). I mentioned that Baktus was knitted end to end rather than bottom to top. Typically, when I knit a triangular scarf, I start at the bottom point of the triangle and increase up to the shoulder. Then I knit both ties one at a time. This gives me a scarf that looks like these:

Baktus starts at the narrow end of one of the ties. You increase to the widest part of the triangle, then you decrease down to the end of the second tie. I think this will give me a shallower triangle than the scarves pictured above, which will be a nice change. I think Baktus will be more flexible in how I can wear it.

I also wanted to thank Taph for her comment. I think that I don't mind using sock yarn for other projects because I'm just not a committed sock knitter. I know how to knit socks, well enough to help others, and I have made several pairs. But I don't find it as addictive as some knitters do. However, I have to try making a pair with a more detailed pattern one of these days. Outside In from the new Knitty might be the candidate. The plain vanilla socks that I have made get a little boring to knit. So making socks a little more challenging might just make them a little more addictive as well. And I have plenty of sock yarn in the stash to play with to try this theory out!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Last week, while searching Ravelry at work, I found a pattern that got me excited. This is actually fairly unusual. I look at a lot of patterns, most of which don't interest me all that much. My Ravelry queue is only about 30 patterns long, so I am rather particular about what I want to make. But Baktus really grabbed my imagination, and I couldn't wait to get started. The pattern originated in Norway, as far as I can tell, and Baktus was originally a character in Norwegian mythology.

Baktus is basically a large triangular scarf that is worked end to end (rather than bottom to top) in garter stitch. I decided to use a self-striping yarn, and I got this far:
Then I hesitated, because the stripes look a little unusual because of the construction of the piece. So I went digging further into the stash, and found another yarn to try.
Then I went back to Ravelry and looked at all 400 projects listed on there. And I finally reassured myself that the FOs all looked fine and mine would too. So I now have 2 versions of this project started, both of which I want to finish. Luckily this is a quick and fun project to knit, even if I am using fingering weight yarn and size 3 needles.

However, I also now have self-striping sock yarn on the brain and wouldn't you know that put some self-striping sock yarn on sale yesterday. I fell in love with 3 of the colorways, so I now have 3 skeins of sock yarn coming my way. I just couldn't resist! Since I don't think I have bought yarn all year, I don't feel too bad. But I will be good now until August, when I go to the Knit and Crochet Show.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

#3 of 52

Just a quick post to show off my FO from last weekend. This is the One Row Lace Scarf. I used 1 skein of Lion Brand Microspun, for another 168 yards out of the stash. I hadn't intended on finishing this one so quickly, but I found another scarf I want to make last week on Ravelry. (More about the new project later.) So I decided to be a good knitter and finish this one first, before I started the new one. It was so close to being finished that I was able to get it done despite a fairly hectic weekend schedule.

I lost my internet connection last week, and I ended up spending most of the weekend getting it restored. It only took 2 calls to AT&T, a new patch cable, a new surge protector, and a new router, but by late Sunday afternoon, I was finally back in business. Now I just need to finish backing up my files and replace the battery in the laptop, and I will be completely wireless again. However, all this is still cheaper than buying a new computer, so I'm not really complaining. But please be patient with me, because I am still catching up on my Google Reader subscriptions and Ravelry groups, so it may be a few more days before I am completely back up to speed.

Monday, June 08, 2009

#2 of 52

On the one hand, I'm starting to feel like I'm on a roll with the 52 projects challenge by finishing my second project this weekend. On the other hand, the summer solstice is about 2 weeks away and I'm making mittens. My seasonal knitting seems to be a bit off right now. However, I will be great shape when the cold weather rolls around next winter. And I actually decided that mittens aren't a bad choice for summer knitting because they are small projects that don't spread out all over your lap.

So, without further ado, here are my Malabrigo mittens.
Started 12/08 and finished 6/7/09. I stopped working on them because I took it into my head that the first mitten was too big. It then took 6 months to convince myself that it was exactly the right size.

The mittens used up 168.5 yards, leaving me with 47.5 yards to use before I can count the skein finished. I am thinking about some sort of crocheted motif, maybe hearts, that I could put aside for future use as a pin, fridge magnet or applique. (And if I do that, would it count for another project? I think it would!) When I come off my yarn diet, I definitely want to acquire more Malabrigo. It is just so soft and yummy to knit with.

And amazingly, there was other knitting this weekend, too. (Amazing because there was also a major shopping expedition on Saturday morning and a birthday celebration for my mom yesterday.) I managed another 20 rows on my Classic Elite Premier vest, and I am now just 1.5" away from decreasing for the armholes. Once I set up the King Charles Brocade stitch pattern, I think the back of the vest will be finished very quickly. I made the mistake of reading the end of the pattern, and now the finishing has me a little concerned, although I will try not to psych myself out about it. I just need to do some research into the best way to block cotton/tencel. And I have time, since the two fronts won't be finished for a while yet.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

#1 of 52

I finished my striped socks yesterday, for my first project of the 52 Projects in 52 Weeks challenge. These were knitted toe up, with a short row heel, using Janet Rehfeldt's instructions. (I don't have a link, but her book on toe up socks is finally available.) I think I need more practice binding off toe up socks, because the top edge just looks a little wonky to me. (Or maybe the socks just need blocked.) However, the socks look just fine on. (Pardon the white legs above the socks.)

I used Regia Crazy Color yarn for these socks. The socks used a total of 272 yards, which was just over 1 skein of yarn. So I now have 188 yards in the second skein that I still need to use up. I'm thinking about a pair of fingerless mittens in the near future.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

Last weekend, Sandy very graciously bestowed an award on this blog - the Kreativ Blogger award. The rules with this award are simple:
List 7 things you love
Link back to the person who gave you the award
Pass it along to 7 other bloggers.

I've been mulling over my answers ever since. 7 things I love:

  1. My husband.
  2. My family.
  3. My pussy cat.
  4. Knitting.
  5. Crocheting, and the people in my life who share my passion for the fiber arts.
  6. Books and reading.
  7. My job and my coworkers. (I can't believe I just typed that, when there are so many things I could complain about when it comes to work, but the truth is that I would be lost without it right now.)
And the 7 bloggers I think deserve this award, in no particular order. Please consider visiting them and prepare to be inspired:

  1. Crocheting with Dee - Dee is a good friend both online and in the real world. I can't think of another blogger promoting the art of crochet more fervently than she does.
  2. A Little Yarn on the Side - I found Toni through the Stash Knitdown Group on Ravelry, and her efforts to both stash bust and finish WIPs have been an ongoing source of inspiration for a lot of us.
  3. Unravelled - Another Stash Knitdowner, Taphophile is currently wrestling her WIPs into the ground and is providing me with inspiration to tackle my own.
  4. Yoelknits - Yet another Stash Knitdowner, Yoel actually used up her stash last year during the course of the challenge. She makes beautiful and occasionally whimsical projects that also continue to inspire me.
  5. Creating Lace - Lacey was my first swap partner, and I have followed her from blog to blog ever since. She is currently blogging about her life and her adorable puppy dog, and her blog is still a joy to read.
  6. Knitikas - Valerie was my swap angel during my second swap, when my original partner went completely AWOL. She has since become a friend, and I always enjoy her posts. As it turns out, she is also a librarian, so we have several things in common.
  7. Prairie Gumbo - Criquette has been a blog friend for several years now, and I always enjoy her blog. She is an animal lover extraordinaire, and her posts about her animals make me want to be a better person.
So there you have it. Thank you, Sandy, for giving me this award and the opportunity to share it with the bloggers I look forward to reading each day.

Monday, June 01, 2009

One Last FO...

...before the start of the June challenge today. This is a scarf that I started in March and finished May 13th. I put it down without weaving in the ends, so I finally finished it at the end of last week.
And it represents another 3 skeins out of the stash. (Yes, I am back to counting skeins as well as yardage as of today! I was very excited when I finally finished a skein of sock yarn yesterday as well.)

And in other news, I spent a lovely day yesterday with Jen, Nancy and Grace at Jen's house, teaching another sock heel workshop. Heels were turned, plans for our trip to Buffalo in August were made, and a wonderful time was had by all. It was the perfect end to my vacation week, and I actually feel up to facing work again today.