Knitting WIP

Sorry for the lack of WIP post last week.  It was our birthday week (my husband and I share a birthday, 4 years apart) and he took the week off of work.  We were snowed in for the first day so did a Downton Abbey marathon.  That turned out to be so much fun that we did it the next day (and the roads were still messy anyway.)  The next two days we spent out shopping.  When I did have time to knit I worked on my cowl design which I couldn’t show you anyway.

I finished the cowl over the weekend and will be releasing the pattern tomorrow.  Since finishing the cowl I’ve been working on A Downton Abbey Wedding Shawl.

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I’m three rows from finishing the third section. Three (increasingly difficult) sections and a border to go.  Although to be honest, the eyelet rows are the most difficult for me.  It’s not that the stitches that are difficult but for some reason they make my hand hurt.  I have to take at least an hour break after finishing one to let my hand rest.

I’ve got the chart and yarn picked out for my next design but I’m taking a break from designing.  I don’t want to burn out on doing colorwork and I would like to make more progress on my other WIPs.

Speaking of other WIPs, I have made some progress on some of them but it’s either not enough to make it worth showing or so boring that I’m just waiting until it’s done. My Jacob wool garter shawl is one that’s boring.  I knit on it during Nascar races and I’m making good progress but really, who wants to see acres of garter stitch?

Oh and on one of those shopping days we stopped at a yarn store and I got some beautiful silk (Mawata) hankies for spinning.  I’ve never spun them before and I’m a little intimidated by them.  I’ve researched how to spin them and I understand it but I just haven’t gotten up the courage (or the time) to start spinning.

I may or may not get a WIP post up next week.  I want to sew more project bags and I’m hoping to start next week. There’s nothing wrong with having dozens of project bags is there?  I need to find a way to store the ones with projects in them.  I can’t leave them on the floor or the cats will get into them and I don’t have any spare horizontal surfaces to put them on.  Maybe I can put hooks in the ceiling.  Or I’ve got a bit of empty wall above my spinning wheel.  I’ll have to see if my husband can build me something there.

Random Ramblings

Does anyone else’s brain just suddenly go “Nope!” while they’re knitting?

I’m on the third consecutive day of working exclusively in my colorwork cowl design.  I’m about 2/3 through knitting it.  Last night I really hit a groove.  My fingers knew what movements to make to knit each color without me having to think about it much and I was knitting along nearly as fast as I would with one color instead of two. Today started out the same but all of a sudden my fingers aren’t doing the right things.  If I’m supposed to knit 2 black stitches next I end up knitting 2 color stitches or vice versa.  I immediately notice, of course, and tink back to fix it.  It’s just weird.  The last time it happened I distinctly remember thinking “knit 2 black” but I knit two color stitches.  My hands just did the opposite of what they were supposed to do.

This happens on shawls too.  For example, let’s say the lace pattern is a 10 stitch repeat and it’s repeated a dozen or more times across the row.   The first two repeats set the pattern into my memory and I merrily knit along without having to look at the pattern.  On the 10th repeat, all of a sudden, I can’t remember what stitch comes next and have to check the pattern, even though I knit the repeat from memory just fine 10 seconds ago.

I don’t know what the problem is, brain fatigue maybe.  It’s just weird.

In other news, it’s been five days since I released my first pattern and while it’s not gone viral, it’s not been ignored either.  I’ve had two people buy it and more than 40 favorite it.  I’m pleased.

I’m not really looking to make money from my patterns.  It’s more to give back to the community.  Although I am hoping to make about $50 a year.  Yes, a year. That gives me enough money to buy my fleeces every spring.  Anything I make beyond that is unplanned.  Come to think of it, I might spend any extra on needles.  I’d like to have 47 inch circulars in every size and several in some sizes.  I have some but not as many as I want/need.

Knitting WIPs

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A Downton Wedding Shawl – I’m past halfway on the third section.  It’s a nice little knit.  Not too complicated (yet).  It changes fairly frequently so it keeps my interest.  I’m knitting the original size but I may have to alter the end a bit.  I’m not sure I have enough yarn. Yarn is reclaimed; 35% wool, 25% rayon, 25% nylon, 20% silk, 5% cashmere

I’ve worked on other things but nothing has enough progress to bother to show you except for my next cowl design, which I can’t show until I release the pattern.

My new motto seems to be: Progress is progress.  It doesn’t matter if I only knit one row, or comb 2 nests of fiber in a day, it’s still progress.  I’m one row or 2 nests or whatever I manage to do closer to the end.

That being said, my cowl design is calling to me so I’m off to knit.  I’m almost to halfway.

Spinning FOs

 

It was a productive month of spinning, despite the sewing distraction.

5 skeins of fingering weight from Patrick the CVM 2016 for a total of 1052 yards.

A 209 yard skein of fingering weight CVM.  I keep seeing skeins spun from those gorgeous dyed commercial braids. Part of the reason I got into raw fleece is because I can’t afford those braids. I tried an experiment to see if I could dye hand combed top without felting it. I succeeded but I don’t actually like how it looks knit up so I won’t be doing it again. Turns out I like the yarn in the skein far more than the yarn when knit.

5 skeins of bulky weight CVM.  It’s still a bit damp so I’ve not measured it yet.  This finishes Patrick the CVM, aside from a pillowcase stuffed full of combing waste.  Someday I may card that to make lumpy bumpy yarn.  I’m a bit tempted to sew the bag closed and use it as a pillow as it’s very soft and comfy.  Eeyore the cat likes to sleep on it.

An unmeasured skein of Hampshire for weaving.  It’s about sport weight.  This was spindle spun.

I am very pleased with what I accomplished.  Patrick the CVM is done and off my mind.  Now it’s on to Violette the Corriedale’s super delicate but soft fleece.  I have several ziplocs of dyed locks to comb which will take me awhile.  I can only do 2-3 nests a day because I have to flick the locks before combing.  My body can only take so much of that before things start hurting.  I’ll do a post in the future showing the issues and process of this fleece.  Many would toss it as not worth the effort but it is such soft wool and spins like a dream that I’m willing to put in the work.

A new month

My month of spinning is over and I accomplished much of what I wanted to do.  Even though I got distracted by a sewing bug for a week.  I’ve learned to follow the sewing urge when it comes.  That urge doesn’t come often or last long.  Since the last few skeins of yarn are still drying I thought I’d show you the results of the sewing bug.  Some is even sort of knitting related.

It all started when I decided to try making a project bag.  I dug through my fabric stash and found a bunch of appropriate fabric.  I found a tutorial online. I combined the sizes from Easy Drawstring Bag from Purl Soho with the instructions from Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial from In Color Order, adjusted for using a solid piece of fabric.

I suppose I should say that I’m not a beginner at sewing but I’m not an expert either.  As long as things aren’t too difficult I can usually alter and adjust as I go.  My mother was a master seamstress and I couldn’t help but pick up skills as I grew up.  She can no longer sew like she used to so now I find myself having to increase my skill level to make things I want instead of asking her to make things for me.

So here are the bags I made, most of them with projects in them.

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 The bag on the bottom right is a lined tote bag for carrying around the project bags.  I glanced at a few tutorials to figure out length and where/how to sew in the straps but the bag is the same as the rest.  Technically they are all reversible but the fabric is all the same on the inside, white with suns.
Much of the fabric was from thrift stores or rummage sales (the lining was a sheet.) Some was bought for other projects that never got made.  The tiger fabric is from a skirt (that I made) that I’ll never wear (I’ve outgrown wearing tigers.)
So from making those bags came the idea of making grocery bags.  We’ve been talking about making the switch to reusable grocery bags but didn’t really want to buy bags and couldn’t find the ones we’d already bought (I think they got used to store things.)  Our local Habitat for Humanity restore has upholstery scraps and I’ve been collecting them for a few years for no apparent reason.  At 50 cents a bundle and often several yards in a bundle, I couldn’t resist. Some of the fabric is from heavy tablecloths bought at thrift stores of rummage sales.
I used the same basic pattern as the project bags but much larger and unlined.  The straps are sewn down the inside nearly to the bottom of the bags.
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I’ve probably got the prettiest grocery bags in town.
I’m waiting for some interfacing to arrive in the mail and then I plan to make more project bags.  I want to make a few that are stiffer and will stand up on their own and I want to try making a zippered bag (I’ve never put a zipper in anything.)  I have the fabric ready to go.  I bought a bunch of pillow cases at a thrift store, plus a white sheet for the lining.  I’ve got them all cut out and ready (although I need to pick up another sheet.  I have more outsides than I have linings.)
You might have noticed that I mentioned sheets and tablecloths a few times.  I did look at fabric at a store but that stuff is so expensive (at least the stuff I liked.)  Sheets and tablecloths are often very cheap at thrift stores and rummage sales and you get so much fabric from them.  I seem to find ones that are nearly new (or new) and without stains fairly easily.  Pillowcases are good for when you want just a small amount of fabric but in many colors/patterns.
Tomorrow I plan to post about all the spinning I accomplished in the last month.  I’m quite pleased with what I did.

Knitting Fail

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I cast on Frostfangs Hat yesterday.  I frogged it today.

The final straw was the colors.  There just isn’t enough contrast.  I need something brighter and lighter to go with the black.  So the pattern goes back in the queue until I find/buy that yarn (whatever it might be).

The other straws, you ask.  Well, the pattern itself was…umm, not the best.  It’s a hat, designed for a very large male head.  To make it fit a woman’s head, there are a lot of alterations to be made.  You need to drop one repeat and remove some (10) rows so it’s not too tall (unless you want it really slouchy).  I actually charted out the pattern so I could decide which rows to remove.  Most of them were at the bottom but there were a few higher up.  The ribbing was very loose, even done is a smaller needle size (size 2, instead of 3).  I knit colorwork very loosely now so I stayed with the size 2 for the body.  I still think it would have ended up a bit too big.  I think that I’ll make this into a cowl when I find the right yarn.  Then I won’t have to skip any rows or repeats although I will have to fiddle with the chart at the top to remove the crown decreases.  Gauge won’t be so important so I could maybe go with size 3 needles.

There won’t be a knitting wip post this week.  I only worked on this and my cowl design.  I finished the cowl but can’t show it until I’m ready to post the pattern and with this hat being frogged I’ve got nothing to show.  Tomorrow starts my month of spinning and I won’t have anything interesting to show after one day.  Actually I might not have anything interesting to show most of the month.  A bunch of grey singles in cakes isn’t very interesting.  We’ll just have to see how it goes.