31 December, 2011

December 2011: Wrap-Up

Here it is, kittens. The last yardage tally for 2011. These are some of the only posts I managed to keep up this year.

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds
August: 687 yds
September: 405 yds
October: 436yds
November: 216yds
December: 813 yds

Year to date: 8,220 yds or 4.67 miles

All-in-all, not a bad way to end things. See you all next year! ;D

29 December, 2011

2011 Stash Down: Final Post

Well, kittens. There's definitely no more yarn to be out these next two days, and there's no yarn coming in. May as well wrap the year up, eh?

2011 Stashdown Q1:

Yardage In: 15,254
Yardage Out: 1,737
Net Stash Change: +13,517
Ratio (yds out/in): .114

2011 Stashdown Q2:

Yardage In: 880
Yardage Out: 4,286
Net Stash Change: -3,406
Ratio (yds out/in): 4.87

2011 Stashdown Q3:

Yardage In: 1,975
Yardage Out: 2,125
Net Stash Change: -150
Ratio (yds out/in): 1.08

2011 Stashdown Q4:

Yardage In: 1,728
Yardage Out: 2,388
Net Stash Change: -660
Ratio (yds out/in): 1.38

2011 totals:

Yardage In: 19,837
Yardage Out: 10,536
Net Stash Change: +9,3011
Ratio (yds out/in): .531

So yes, my stash did increase in size. (The vast majority of it yarn for a blanket I haven't finished yet, but have knit 1/3 of the way through...I can't wait to see that number as stash out next year.) But despite the large amount of yardage in Q1, I did really well every other quarter...even though really low productivity tried to thwart my efforts. And considering all of that, the ratio is not bad at all.

As we're always telling newer members in the Stashdown group, this is a process. It doesn't work overnight and it takes time to change habits. I've been pretty pleased to see the changes in my purchasing habits since starting Stashdown in 2010. Let's compare some numbers. (The first number is my 2010 yardage in while the second is my 2011 yardage in.)

Q1: 6,681 vs. 15,254 (There's that blanket yardage. :P )
Q2: 7,014 vs. 880
Q3: 7,591 vs. 1,975
Q4: 19,553 vs. 1,728

I'm really happy with where I am purchasing wise, but 2011 was a bad year for productivity. I'm hoping 2012 will change that and I'll be seriously in the green. I should finally reach my original goal of fitting all of my stash into that under-bed tote! Some people may find the fact that it's taken over 2 years to reach this goal a bit depressing, but I'm OK with it. All of the changes I've made to my behavior will allow me to maintain a perfect-for-me sized stash in the future.

How about you, kittens? Was 2011 good to you and your goals?

05 December, 2011

I promised FOs, right?

Well kittens, I'm going to try and post some up even if I have little to say about them. (That's the problem with not blogging right away; you forget everything.) I've spent a lot of this year knitting toys and small items...which are not my favorite thing to knit. And yet, it seems to be just about all I've managed to get done this year besides a pair of socks. 2011 has been a rather awful year for crafting. :P

This trio was finished in early July and finally went off to live with Laurie's family in early October. I am a huge flake; it's just how I am. I always bite off more than I can chew and then get bogged down in wanting to do things perfectly which causes me to get nothing done at times. I'm glad they're finally in their new home. :)

I've posted the Angry Birds pattern before, and last I heard, the woman who wrote the patterns was contacted by the game company to cease and desist selling them. It's a shame.

The stegosaurus is a pattern from here (Ravel it). I wish I could remember more about it. I decided to use inexpensive felt for the scales instead of knitting them. I took inspiration from this project and plan to copy it for myself some day.

The owl pattern is a bit special to me since my friend Rachel designed it for her own daughter. Rachel is a friend I made back at our last duty station, and I wish we could have had a bit more time to play together. She does not have a blog, but she does have an Etsy shop if you're looking for cute embellished hats, and you can find the owl pattern on Ravelry. It's very well-written and easy to understand; she did a great job with it. Did I mention it's free to boot? You can use any weight yarn you want to achieve the size owl you desire. If you have anyone to knit a baby gift for, or children on your list for the winter holidays, I highly recommend this one.

This little guy is another present, this time for a friend of The Boy. He was invited to his first ever birthday party in September, and I wanted to send him with something unique to give to his friend. (She loved it, btw.) So in a very short time (4 days), I whipped this up to send with him. I was literally finishing it about the time the party was supposed to start, so I never did get a decent picture of it. (This one came from my camera phone.)

Susan is very inspirational to me, and I got the idea for a mini Jerry after seeing her adorable one. (Seriously, check out her entire Ravelry project page; she does some amazing work.) I used leftovers from my first rainbow stripey sock and a little Knit Picks palette and that was it. Little monkeys are kind of futzy, but oh so cute.

I think that's enough for now. I'll try to post again shortly with some more FOs. I'm hoping 2012 will be a better year in general, and I'll get back to posting more regularly. I hope 2011 has been treating all of you kittens well!

01 December, 2011

November 2011 Wrap-up

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds
August: 687 yds
September: 405 yds
October: 436yds
November: 216yds

Year to date: 7,407 yds or 4.21 miles

Kittens, those of you on social networking sites with me already know that November was an awful month for our household. On Veteran's Day, we were in a fairly serious car wreck, and while I did not have to be hospitalized for my injuries, I've been spending most of my time recovering. I hit my tailbone pretty good and sitting down for any length of time was just not an option for awhile. We're all OK and the other driver is too, but it really should be no surprise that I wasn't able to be as productive as I wanted. This also means I haven't been able to edit some photos of recent FOs, and I hope to have those coming in the next month. (I'm just glad that I didn't attempt to do the November blog-a-day challenge this year!)

I hope all of you have been doing well and are gearing up for a merry holiday season. ♥

31 October, 2011

October 2011 Wrap-up

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds
August: 687 yds
September: 405 yds
October: 436yds

Year to date: 7,191 yds or 4.09 miles

Kittens, things have been crazy around here so blogging has taken a back burner until things get back to normal...though, it's been a very long time since that's happened. The Mister's schooling continues to get more involved and time consuming, leading me to more escapist uses of my time. I'm playing more social games now than I ever have before. At least I can control my pixel lives.

I had another month of nothing but toy knitting (and not daily at that), so it's not surprising that my numbers are still quite low. Someday, I'll break free from the toys and move onto higher yardage, less fiddly projects again. And once I take some pictures, I'll try to blog about an FO or two to break up the boring yardage tallies.

01 October, 2011

2011 Stash Down: Q3

2011 Stashdown Q1:

Yardage In: 15,254
Yardage Out: 1,737
Net Stash Change: +13,517
Ratio (yds out/in): .114

2011 Stashdown Q2:

Yardage In: 880
Yardage Out: 4,286
Net Stash Change: -3,406
Ratio (yds out/in): 4.87

2011 Stashdown Q3:

Yardage In: 1,975
Yardage Out: 2,125
Net Stash Change: -150
Ratio (yds out/in): 1.08

2011 totals so far:

Yardage In: 18,109
Yardage Out: 8,148
Net Stash Change: +9,961
Ratio (yds out/in): .450

So here we are at the end of Quarter 3, kittens. Where has 2011 gone?!

I had a pretty good Quarter 3 and remained, for the most part, stash neutral. There is one item that came in that I haven't counted yet (a kit), since I'm not sure I'm keeping it; I bought it for the pattern, not for the yarn. The colors are not 100% what I'd want for the project when I do decide to make it. If I do decide to keep the yarn, I'll be adding it into Quarter 4. I suspect I'll break it open and keep the few colors I like and then destash the rest, but who knows? Maybe I'll find a use for the other colors and I can use them up quickly to make up for the hit.

I was rather pleased that this quarter almost all of my stash out came from actual knitting rather than getting rid of yarn. I'm pretty happy with what I have in general and I'm looking forward to using it.

I am hoping for a larger yardage out number for Quarter 4 to help counteract the blanket yardage that came in during Quarter 1, but I'm not sure I have that much knit in me. I will be starting off with quite a few baby gifts/toy knits, and if I'm focused, I could finish those quickly and get the ball rolling. I do have hopes that I may knit another sweater this quarter, and that I'll finish my current pair of socks and maybe another in the next few months. So who knows? It could go pretty well. And at some point I want to pick back up the blanket o' doom I'm knitting for my son. Now that the weather is consistently staying under 90ยบ, it shouldn't be so unbearable to have all of that wool in my lap.

What about you, kittens? Do you have any plans for autumn knitting?

30 September, 2011

September 2011 Wrap-up

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds
August: 687 yds
September: 405 yds

Year to date: 6,755 yds or 3.84 miles

It felt like I knit quite a bit more than this all month, but much of it was sock and small-scale project yardage which can be hard-earned. Even though I'm a little disappointed with how low the number is, I'm rather pleased with how much I managed to get done: 1.5 pairs of socks, a small monkey, and the component of my son's Halloween costume. Onto October!

18 September, 2011

So. An FO update.

I hear that knitters--myself included--still sometimes actually finish projects they've been working on. Quarter 3 2011 is quickly coming to a close and so far, I have 2 FOs to show for it.

Rumor has it that they also still post regularly in their blogs. What a novel idea.

Pattern: Atelier (Ravel it)
Needles: US size 7
Yarn: Sundara Sport Merino- Storm Studies #148

This is the big one, Kittens. (And the one I had hoped to get better pictures of, but The Mister is still grumpy with me since the last photo session, so I'm afraid it may never happen.) Cast on in mid-April, I thought I might never finish this sweater. When it went into hibernation for almost 2 months due to a loss of will to knit, I thought it was a goner. Usually hibernation is the kiss of death for my projects. But, I pulled this back out on 31 July and knit until 16 August.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. My biggest nitpick about this sweater is that I liked the fit much better at my pre-blocking gauge than the pattern gauge I ended up with. Reading some other Ravelers' project notes, I was not the only person to encounter this: it would seem the pattern has some unmentioned positive ease built into it. Had I known, I probably would have gone down another size for the back and the front panels. There is a lot more positive ease in this knit than I am used to, and I'm rather self conscious about too much ease across the back of my knits. I tend to feel sloppy if the back has enough room that a small child could climb in with me.

Contrary to my previous experience with this yarn, it had quite a bit of vertical growth during the blocking process, which also threw me for a loop. I had expected a little in the front garter ridges, but there was a noticeable length difference post blocking. My other nitpick is related to the first: after growth, the front garter ridges hit lower than I had been expecting and I think this adds to the impression that the knit is too big for me. It's still a good sweater, but a bit more casual than I had wanted. It should work out nicely for the winter with long sleeve shirt underneath.

The pattern is very clear and well written--the only problem being the unmentioned positive ease--and I will definitely knit it again.

So, that's my one sweater so far for 2011. I had originally hoped to knit 4 over the course of the year, but at this point, I'd be tickled pink to finish a second.


I'm not in a sweater knitting mood at this moment in time and instead have gotten back into socks....

Ah, stripey socks, how I love you!

I'm currently working on a toe-up "pattern" for all of my self-stripers. Plain stockinette can be dull at times, even with the thrill of the next coming stripe, so I threw in a cable on each side to add to the interesting knitting factor. I didn't need to make these anklets, but I had been convinced they were not going to be wide enough to climb up my leg, so I lopped them off early. Turns out, I could have easily knit another 1.5-2" of leg.

Ages ago--back during last November's blog-a-thon topic suggestion post--Ms. Katie asked me to review some yarn, my Twisted Limone in particular. Well, I can say that I'm rather pleased with how this yarn knit up and turned out. (I have yet to find how it will wear and I can comment on that later. ) I had not worked with a 100% BFL yarn to date, but I will definitely do it again. It has a nice tight twist that reminds me somewhat of Wollmeise. It does not have so many plies that it feels cotton-y, but it definitely has a more "firm" feel to it than merino based yarn I've used in the past. As you can see, kittens, it has lovely stitch definition. The cables pop right out at you. The dye job on this is lovely. Even with two complementary colors, there is no over-lap producing icky brown. No real white spots to speak of, either. Karen is quite a talented lady and if you all are so lucky as to catch one of her Saturday updates, I would definitely encourage you to do so! I was fortunate enough to hear rumblings of her before she took off in popularity and had a custom order made. I still have two more colorways to try out!

This first pair is pretty good, but I've changed up a few things on the next pair I'm knitting. Oh yes, there is already another pair on needles and the first sock is nearing completion.

What is better than a toe-up, self-striping sock with cable details...?

A rainbow self-striping, toe-up sock with cable details! And ribbing.

I Love this, even though the KP Felici is fuzzy and difficult to take pictures of. But you already know how I feel about Felici, kittens.

31 August, 2011

August 2011 Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds
August: 687 yds

Year to date: 6,350 yds or 3.61 miles

Not stellar yardage by any means, but I'm pretty happy that my pace has noticeably picked up after my slump. If the weather ever cools, maybe it will pick up some more.

26 August, 2011


Kittens, I have been an awful blogger this month, despite having content to write about. I'm currently waiting on some better pictures to share of a project, but for now, I'll share 2 new WIPs with you. Not on Wednesday, because I was too busy then. The Mister's schedule is making things difficult, and I've been sucked into a silly (and frankly, pointless) island resort game as a diversion.

BUT. I've actually been knitting while wasting my time building my pixel empire.

Are you all Puffing yet?

I'm currently at a halt on this while I figure out where I want to go. I do not quite want to make it a blanket, not stuffed like it is. I am torn between a pillow, and some sort of crazy, awesome chair cover. I think my brain has been eaten and I've lost my mind. That seems to be the theme for this month.

The only real difference I've made from the pattern is that I'm picking up stitches to connect as I go, rather than tie all of my hexipuffs together at the end. (This genius idea came from Ravelry's CrochetAmy.) It's pretty quick and smooooth. I have big plans to knit this pattern more than once.

While I figure out what to do with that project...look at what else I cast on:

It's a sock. I haven't worked on any of these since the beginning of the calendar year. Toe-up. Self-striping. Cable rib detail on the sides. So much to love here.

So what about you, kittens? Have you been getting any yarn-y crafting done over the summer? Surely some of you live in climates where it's not baking hot and the thought of wool in your lap doesn't make your skin itch? I'll be stuck in summer's clutches for another 6 weeks or so, but I'm definitely dreaming of cooler autumn weather.

03 August, 2011

WIP-it "Wednesday": 32 of 52

Wow. It's been awhile since I've done a WIP post, kittens. So long I had to pull up a 2011 calendar online and count out which one today is.

Today's pictures are not that great. They're taken with my cell phone and pretty blurry. I hadn't realized how crappy and sensitive my camera is; it can take some lovely pictures in natural light, but apparently hates my bathroom.

As mentioned in a recent blog post, I finally picked my cardigan back up. Last night I reached the point where I will alternate skeins before starting the next. I am pleased to say that I have two full skeins left and it's looking like I can definitely make the cardigan long enough. With pockets. This is great. Sadly, the internet can not properly communicate my happy tone.

I plan to go just a tiny bit longer before starting the pockets (6-12 more rows for up to 1.5" more) and then I'll know for sure. I have yet to err on the side of making a top too long, and I'm aiming for a longer cardigan, so this should hopefully get me there.

I'm even daring to be optimistic enough that I may have enough yarn left over to undo the sleeve bind offs and make them a wee bit longer. I can live with them at this length, but even a few more rows would have been preferable. I doubt I'll have enough yarn to get an extra 1"-2" in each sleeve, but that's life. If I can avoid having to pester the one other owner of this colorway, I'll take it as-is.

01 August, 2011

July 2011 Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762 yds
March: 1189 yds
April: 1083 yds
May: 849 yds
June: 487 yds
July: 222 yds

Year to date: 5,663 yds or 3.22 miles

Oh, kittens. July ended up being not-so-good for knitting after all, but you already knew that with the lack of blog posts, didn't you?

It turns out that knitting a worsted weight garter stitch blanket large enough to cover a queen sized bed just hasn't been my thing lately. My goal (for the second month in a row) was to finish the bottom chocolate brown stripe: ~2.5 skeins of yarn. I knit up the half a skein and just enough of the next to finish my row. At this rate, I will definitely not finish the blanket before our next move. I might get it done in time for Giftmas 2012.

However. The last few days I've been getting back into my cardigan, which I haven't touched in two months. I still need to see if I'm going to make it with the amount of yarn I have: fear of not having enough has definitely held me back. I've been in a place where I just didn't want to know or deal with it, so it was easier just to shelf the project and distract myself with other things.

My goal for the year was to knit up 4 sweater quantities of yarn. This is still the first. Heading into August. I've destashed quite a bit of yarn the last couple of months, so room will not be an issue. It's just been...demoralizing as a sweater knitter to have no desire to knit sweaters. I think the bad start to the year with the green tweed one set the tone, unfortunately.

At this point, I'm not sure I want to bother making any goals for August. While the list is a nice visual reminder, it does not give me the drive needed to create anything.

31 July, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Week 5

Well, I managed to eek out one more week's worth of blocks, kittens. So while I did not catch up a bit with the QAL, I didn't fall too much farther behind, either. I'd call that a mostly win.

Block 9: Box

This one was pretty nice to me, except one HST that just would not line up properly. I went to fix it and realized today that my fix actually didn't do what it was supposed to...and I trimmed it up so I sort of have to live with it this way. OH WELL. I'm calling this one done, and I'll worry about the new problem I created for myself when it's time to piece the top.

Have I mentioned how much I love fussy cutting? Or this pony fabric? I love them both, and I'm hoping to feature ponies in future blocks. If perfectly honest, I love all of the fabrics in this block.

Block 10: Bowtie

Easiest. Block. Ever. I love it for this quality and how striking the result is. I spent quite a bit of time deciding what fabrics I would use when this block came up.

I ended up picking out 3 completely different ones the day of.

It's funny how that works sometimes.

29 July, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Week 4

Kittens! I did not fall off the planet and die after the first week of July. Instead, my projects continued to be a pain in my behind, and my crafting drive is still very low. It's making for very little actually getting done.


I did finally finish "week" 4 of my Farmer's Wife QAL. So, here they are:

Man. There's a lot to say about these...mostly just that first block.

Block 7: Birds in the Air

This block kicked my ass. Several times. If I had not decided to cut into some of my precious Flea Market Fancy stash for it, I would have chucked the thing and just recut and went from there. But no, I used special fabric and ended up: sewing, ripping, resewing, reripping, and then fiddly sewing it back together a final time. There are over 10 hours' worth of labor in that first block. It's not perfect, but it is exponentially better than it looked the first 2 go 'rounds.

The FMF held up pretty well to the abuse, but the cheapie Jo-Anns purple did not. The edges started to fray on most of the pieces in spite of my careful handling and gentleness. As a result, the block looks wonky (it's not) and that weird "wrinkle" in the upper left square? It's where I actually had to sew more purple to it to give the thread something to hold onto other than frayed edge. I probably should have recut that particular triangle.

Birds in the Air took me weeks to get done and to my satisfaction. Such a bummer, but at least I can live with it as-is now.

Block 8: Bouquet

This block, on the other hand, went together in under an hour and didn't give me any trouble. The hardest part was deciding which fabrics to use. No drama. No pain. Went right together. One point is slightly off, and I'm not sweating it.

(And I'm not sure what happened with my photos today. No, there is not a wrinkle in the Pip's section of the block.)

Anywho! Week 5's blocks look pretty easy and I may try to finish them up before July comes to a close.

What about you, kittens? What have you been making?

06 July, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Week 3

Yes, it's been 3 weeks since "week" 2, but I'm trying to do 2 blocks per "week" and blog them. Obviously, I'll be playing a little catch up this month and hope to close that gap between myself and the rest of the group, who should all be posting their week 6 blocks starting today. If I can manage 3 blocks per real time week, I should be pretty much caught up before the month is done.

Anywho, onto the blocks!

Block 6: Big Dipper

Truly, I should subtitle this week, "Pain in the Ass week," because each of these blocks gave me some trouble. My Big Dipper block is looking pretty good now (only one intersection is a bit off, and it's not terrible), but don't let that fool you. I had to rip and resew this block together 4 times before I was able to get most of the points to match up. When I was cutting out the templates for this one, I was a bit sloppy and some of the end pieces were just the tiniest bit smaller than others. It turns out, this made for some finagling of seams and effort to get things to line up. As I mentioned before, the main reason I took on this project was to conquer my hatred of templates and prove to myself that I can be careful and produce nice results. I do not have to be a hare when it comes to finishing up projects.

Block 3: Basket

This is the block I mentioned in one of my last posts. I had these insane, grand plans to flip the orientation of the block to match the way I plan to piece the top. It turns out my abysmal geometry skills got the better of me so I changed tactics: instead, I chose a cricket fabric and chose to have the basket spilling them out.

This block went together pretty quickly, except for the handle. That is where the PITA element of this one came in. The book gives two options for the handle; you can choose to cut a bias strip and hand applique it down, or one for machine applique was provided. When it comes to applique, I'm very opinionated. Machine sewing it down was out. Decorative stitching? Out. It had to be a hidden seam and tidy. It turns out, I can not curve and sew down a bias strip to save my life and in a bit of a huff, I ripped it off and formulated a new plan. After calling my mother and verifying what I wanted to do, it turns out she has the same issues and resolved them the same way: I transferred the shape of the machine applique piece to freezer paper, ironed it onto the wrong side of my fabric, cut it out with an allowance to turn down all around, removed the paper as I basted the piece, pinned it, and sewed it down that way. When I was finished, I removed all of the basting stitches. VOILA! The handle is the correct shape and size, and it didn't cause weird, messy puckering of the under fabric.

The only thing about this block that makes me a bit sad is that it is noticeably smaller than my other 5 blocks. I suspect that when it comes time to set it into sashing, I'll be getting creative with the seam allowance to try and keep all of my points and as much size to the block as I can.

Also, having worked with two of my Spoonflower quilter's cottons now, I can say this: this particular fabric they offer is not worth the premium price. Even after pre-washing, it has a very stiff, cheap feel to it. I've also noticed that it continues to show pin holes long after the pins are removed. I still plan to buy from Spoonflower, but I think next time, I'll try a different fabric option and see if I like it better.

03 July, 2011

July 2011 To Do

This list is almost identical to June's thanks to my illness. Hopefully, I can cross more things off this time!

30 June, 2011

June 2011 Wrap-up

Another month, another yardage tally.

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762yds
March: 1189yds
April: 1083yds
May: 849yds
June: 487yds

Year to date: 5,441 yds or 3.09 miles

As you can see, kittens, productivity was way down this month. On the evening of my last real blog post (16 June), I fell ill with a nasty GI virus that has been making its rounds on the base here. Until last evening, I was still sick with it. 14 days of horrible, persistent sick. This means that I effectively lost half of my work days this month and accomplished very little in the time. That considered, I think I did OK. I'm finally on the mend for real and am hoping to play some catch up with my crafts in July.

2011 Stash Down: Q2

Bet you thought I dropped off the planet, didn't you, kittens? I live, but that's for another post. Today is about the end of Q2 Stash Down.

2011 Stashdown Q1:

Yardage In: 15,254
Yardage Out: 1,737
Net Stash Change: +13,517
Ratio (yds out/in): .114

2011 Stashdown Q2:

Yardage In: 880
Yardage Out: 4,286
Net Stash Change: -3,406
Ratio (yds out/in): 4.87

2011 totals so far:

Yardage In: 16,134
Yardage Out: 6,023
Net Stash Change: +10,111
Ratio (yds out/in): .373

I had a much better quarter and am very pleased with the result. I didn't finish any large projects--just toys again. Most of my yardage out came from detachment from my stash and allowing myself to sell some that I'm honestly not going to use anytime soon. It's quite freeing to not feel so emotionally beholden to all of it. This has been an on-going process in my life: learning to let go of things and not buy more than I need or can use.

I am hoping to have at least a sweater project out for Q3 and maybe a couple other things. If I can keep up this momentum in Q3 and Q4, I'm hoping to end up, at the very least, stash neutral. To me, that's a pretty big deal.

To any of you out there also stashing down, how is it going?

16 June, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Week 2

A couple more blocks have been finished for the Farmer's Wife QAL, just in time for the week 3 posts to start going up. (I'm already half done with week 3, but slicing my finger while cleaning my food processor has slowed me down a bit today.)

Block 4: Basket Weave

I skipped Block 3 for the time being, due to indecision about what fabric to use. I'm sure my intention to flip it from an on-point block to a straight on one isn't helping either. I plan to get to it shortly. Instead, I got started on Block 4.

For this block, I did the math and skipped the templates. I used a little Flea Market Fancy, and some Heather Ross for Spoonflower. I think the clothespin people are darling.

Block 5: Bat Wing

This block caused me some trouble. Apparently I couldn't figure out how to piece the side triangle blocks and kept insisting on trying to make them taller. Once I found some forum posts about this block online and noticed something that was different from my piecing, I accidentally stumbled upon my solution. I just couldn't see it, otherwise. Once I had the correct side of the triangles on the center one, it was easy peasy. I used some Amy Butler fabric and the dot is from Sherbert Pips.

So far, this is looking pretty scrappy, but I'm trying to go with it. Each block definitely looks like it belongs to a different quilt than what I'm working on. I find it really interesting that as a knitter I do not collect single skeins and have issues using them up because I can't find a project. As a quilter, however, I purchase a lot of random stuff and it can be difficult to pull them all together. I'm sure by the time I get to 50/100/whatever blocks, it will have a more cohesive look to it due to color repetitions.

12 June, 2011

Farmer's Wife QAL: Week 1

Due to having to wait for my book, I joined the Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-Long a bit late in the game. Week 3 is about to begin, so I'm working on catching up this week. My book arrived yesterday. Last night I set to work, and I completed week 1's blocks. I'm trying to work in order and not skip any; we'll see how I do. I'm also not sure if I'll be a Farmer's Wife or maybe a Farmer's Girlfriend and make a smaller quilt.

I didn't originally intend to join this QAL; when Amanda announced the project, I went to check it out and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I can ignore the superficial dressing of many things: quilts are not one of them. One look at the fabric in the quilt blocks and I couldn't envision them any other way. I saw a kind of drab, old looking quilt. Really not my thing. I'm a bad person; I know. *wink*

But then she and Angela posted their blocks and BAM! I was smitten and wanted to play. BAD. The blocks were so fresh and fun in bold,modern prints...some of which I have in stash too. I ordered the book immediately and then waited for almost 2 weeks for it to make its way here. Now it is and I'm slowly reading the letters that inspired the blocks chosen...and calming myself down about working with templates. Things have gone very wrong in the past thanks to them and it's hard not to think about that when working.

Block 1: Attic Windows

My first attempt at this block didn't end quite how I wanted. The colors were more demure than I had intended, and I wasn't digging the block as it looked in the layout. A bit of a bummer after taking the time to fussy cut that lil' pony to be on point like the quilt is laid out. It was good practice, and I'm going to try and use this block in something else...maybe a project bag?

So I tried again.

I like this one quite a bit better, though I was nervous making my fabric selections. I was afraid they might be a bit much, but they're growing on me. On this one, I not only fussy cut the ponies, but also the cherry blossoms from the Amy Butler print.

Block 2: Autumn Tints.

Block 2 was much easier for me to execute, even if it isn't at all autumnal. I've been learning that I really enjoy fussy cutting, but I'm afraid I may be overdoing it a bit. I plan to keep doing it, regardless. Template cutting for the block seemed unnecessary, so I did the math and rotary cut it instead. I rather like those crazy colored, grumpy owls.

Now, onto Week 2's blocks!

06 June, 2011

Birdie Stitches: April 2011-June 2011

Yeeeeaaaah. I got a little behind on stitching and documenting this one, kittens. 2 of the 3 blocks had to be heavily altered...a.k.a: drawn from scratch. I finally played catch up last night and today.

April's block is one of the two that I drew up on my own. I even stuck a little Totoro in there for The Girl. As soon as I saw the next month's block, I knew my theme would work out just fine.

Yes. May Flowers. I changed very little in this block and was super happy with the composition and concept. The Girl absolutely LOVES this block.

And then June happened. While I like the idea of the text somewhere on the quilt, it felt really out of place with the other blocks to date. Thanks to Katie's suggestion, I had a theme for the block and worked on it today. It turned out OK. It's not my favorite block, but it works.

But yay! I'm caught up on Birdie Stitches until July.

Something New to Try...

I have so many projects going on these days that it's becoming difficult to keep track of them all...and I'm looking to add a new Quilt-a-long as soon as the pattern book arrives! I realized that it is time to start making a crafting To Do list.

This is what I came up with last night for June. Most of the goals are pretty unambitious, but I like to set myself up to feel good and motivated rather than demoralized when I realize I can't gain 5 extra hours a day to do it all.

I'm not sure if I'll post up the initial list at the beginning of the month and update at the end or what I'll do. I plan to add to it as a month goes on and items get checked off.

01 June, 2011

May 2011 Wrap-Up

It's hard to believe, kittens, but May is already gone. (Well, it will be in ~ 20 minutes Chez Knitpicky.) Time to see how I did with using up some yarn.

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762yds
March: 1189yds
April: 1083yds
May: 849yds

Year to date: 4,954 yds or 2.81 miles

I wasn't really focused on knitting or crocheting this month. I actually did a bit better than I feared. The "lack" of yardage is mostly due to the fact that I knit very little on The Boy's blanket: with The Mister in basic flight, he's unavailable every night of the week and sometimes on weekends if the load is heavier. This means we've spent very little time watching movies or shows together, and that in turn means I've had very little time to work on the blanket. And thus is life. I'm really not a big TV watcher unless he's around to spend time with me. Hopefully, June will be a little kinder to me...even if the weather is already disgusting.

31 May, 2011

So...what does one do after she learns how to make a pouch...?

This kitten here goes completely insane. She drafts a pattern from scratch, learns a new quilting technique and then spends most of the day working on it.

My arm, it is wore out from all the back patting I've done since about 10pm yesterday.

There are so many of my favorite things in this pouch. I'm not even sure where to start.

The interior fabric?

The bunny?

No, I believe my favorite part is right here: a sweet running pony 1" square surrounded by an equally sweet wonky star and then outlined with some twee embroidery. The cute, it just killed me.

I didn't actually follow the tutorial, just looked at the pictures to get an idea of what I was supposed to be doing.

I think I "done good."

A crazy part of me either wants to write up a pattern, or try making more and selling them. I'm not sure, though. This pouch has about 6 hours of work in it, and I'm pretty sure charging minimum wage plus materials it could be a hard sell. Would someone actually pay $50 + shipping for a Kindle cozy? Even one was intricate and sweet as this? And would it be fair to myself to sell my work/time for minimum wage?

Anywho! I had an awesome Memorial Day here, kittens. I hope you all had a good one.

30 May, 2011

It's not a Wednesday....

But I'm blogging today anyway! Happy Memorial Day to the American kittens out there. I've actually been a bit busy the last few days, as my friends on Facebook got to preview last night.

I spent a little over 5 hours Saturday night and about an hour yesterday morning working on these pouches. I wanted to make gifts for The Boy's teachers for making his first school experience such a positive one. I will be stuffing these with chocolate and putting little notes in them; for his teacher and her assistant, I also plan to add small gift cards.

I have had so many scraps sitting around from recent projects that I didn't have to wash up anything new to make these. It felt good to clear out some left overs, even if it was such a small amount. They won't quite hold an unsharpened pencil, but any instrument shorter than that fits in just fine.

The Boy approves.

25 May, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday: 21 of 52

Kittens! I'm managing to blog today. Two Wednesdays in a row; haven't done that in awhile. You see, after last week's post, a fire lit under my butt, and I started working faster on my cardigan so I could get an idea if I need to try and acquire another skein of my yarn or not. The jury is still out as I finish up skein 03 of 06. (I currently have 4-6 more rows worth of yarn in the skein.)

From the back, it's looking good, nothing to worry about. I could have lifted the waist band up even higher to fit better with my natural waist, but as it was, I cut over an inch from the pattern right there.

The worrying part is here:

Even though the sweater is wide enough to not burst out of it, I'm still busty enough that the front is riding much higher than the back of the sweater. Once I block the sweater and the upper garter ridges relax, it will help with the problem. I know that's partially what is going on right now and why it's riding up. I'm seriously considering and debating adding darts to the front sides to give them a bit of extra length.

But this eats up more yarn...which I'm not sure I can spare at this point in time.

I originally thought that making it through half of my yarn would give me a better idea of if I had enough. Now, I'm convinced that I need to knit up skein 04 and see how far that one takes me to get a better idea. It's definitely going to be close if I decide to make this a longer sweater, add darts to lengthen the front, and keep the pockets in. I really want all of these things, but having a limited edition colorway with only 10 skeins in existence makes it tricky. I've managed to locate 3 of 4 sister skeins to mine. However, I really do not want to have to bother someone else for one of them if I can help it.

So, knit skein 04 first, then see how I'm doing from there. I keep hoping that perhaps mine are a bit higher in yardage than marked, and I'll eek through this. Sundara is known for underestimating the yardage of her skeins to avoid disgruntled customers.

19 May, 2011

WIP-it "Wednesday": 2O of 52

Kittens, I fear that I may be skipping quite a few WIP-it Wednesday posts. At the rate I'm currently knitting, there are not enough changes from week-to-week to keep things interesting. I'm not sewing or doing any other crafting at a fast enough rate either. Things are pretty slow here and my motivation has been lacking. 2011 is looking to be stressful for me 'til the end, so I suspect this will be normal.

Anywho, not to be too much of a Debbie Downer here, but I did want to address that really quick. When one has readers, no matter how many, she feels a need to explain absences. Blogging is a really interesting thing in that way. It's done primarily for one's self--for me it is, anyway--but there are others who read the content, making it almost like a letter or conversation. Thus, the apologies for not blogging more often.

But I digress.

It took almost 2 full weeks, but I finally made enough progress on one of my projects to show it off again.

My cardigan is slowly coming along, but I'm really happy with it so far. It now has both sleeves, and I've started into the body. A couple of things about it have made me nervous; the first was quieted today. It does indeed appear to be wide enough in the front that I will not be bursting out. Yay!

Before I move along to the second concern, aren't those garter ridges a lovely detail? Along with all of the stress I have this year, I'm also without The Mister, which means I'm lacking a photographer the majority of the time. He's not physically gone, but he may as well be. He spends all the time he can locked in our bedroom with background noise to drown everyone else out while he studies. And studies. And studies some more. (Some people like to talk about how the military is full of stupid, unintelligent people: this could not be farther from the truth. Most jobs require a level of intelligence and competence that surpasses being "a grunt." Being a helicopter pilot not only requires being in peak physical condition above and beyond, one has to be really sharp and able to learn/memorize quickly as well. Now you know. I digress, yet again....)

Back to the knitting stuff.

The second worry I'm still on the fence about. I have 6 skeins of the Sundara sport merino I'm using for this project. At this pictured point, I've used up 2 and started into the third. Is anyone else starting to feel nervous for me yet based on that bit of information? I'm starting to think I may have to give up the pockets which are a feature of this design, which would make me sad. I'm hoping that my obnoxiously short torso will save the day and I may be able to eek pockets out of what I have.

Only time will tell. And at this rate, it's going to be a substantial amount of time....

08 May, 2011

Oooh, an FO!

Kittens, it's been awhile since I've had one of these. It seems that this year, all I can finish are toys. (Interestingly, these are my least favorite thing to knit/make. Love the look of them; hate making them.)

On Wednesday, I started and finished this Angry Birds Finch for my little guy. He's been having a difficult time adjusting to his father's new class schedule, so I wanted to do something nice for him. He's been super excited and the first couple of mornings, I woke up to Angry Birds battles in my bedroom. Now, he wants even more birds and more piggies to vanquish. He'll get them...in time.

The pattern designer has a full pattern line of the Birds now. I would highly recommend these; they're very well written and clear.

04 May, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday: 18 of 52

I'm back this week, kittens! I finally made some noticeable progress on one of my projects, so I have something to blog. You know... other then assure you that I'm working even if I've been really quiet and not showing off many pictures.

After my last sweater project turned out so abysmally, I allowed myself a pattern purchase and immediate cast on of another to ease my pain. Nothing hurts me more than a project that needs to be frogged; I hate wasted time and effort. (Hey, at least I do not knit the whole thing trusting my gauge and try it on at the end!)

This is some lovely Sundara Sport that I have had marinating in my stash for about 6 months now. It's definitely not the oldest yarn I have sitting in there, but it is one that I've had a hard time picking a project for. For some reason, I remembered it as being darker then it is; I seem to recall that while I liked it, I didn't really love it when it first arrived. Maybe it just looked like a darker grey in November then it does now?

This project has been on needles since mid-April. I'm moving at a snail's pace on it, but I'm OK with that. 2011 is all about taking things slow. I've been working with an unfamiliar construction type--the technical aspects are easy peasy--and sleeves are always a concern for me. I ended up making a decision to alter the pattern and fit 8 additional sleeve stitches into the top of the sleeve as I worked. (No math involved, just winged it.) I am so glad that I did and how they're spaced. Even before blocking and the growing this superwash merino will do, they fit perfectly. With growth, I'm expecting about a couple inches of ease to be added in, making them a close fitting, but looser-than-my-usual-preference sleeve. Even if for once my knitting doesn't grow like past experience has taught me, it fits! So...WOOT.

I'm about to take a quick break for a project I'm making The Boy. Then, I'll be right back on the next sleeve and getting this sweater moving!

01 May, 2011

April 2011 Wrap-up

End of the month, kittens. Here we go again!

Yardage Totals 2011

January: 1071 yds
February: 762yds
March: 1189yds
April: 1083yds

Year to date: 4,105 yds or 2.33 miles

Not bad considering it feels like I got nothing done this month.

I skipped the last WIP-it Wednesday because there was no discernible progress in any of my projects. Why bore my small audience with the same pictures as the week before? I can assure you, kittens, that I am making progress, as my yardage numbers show. I managed to finish O4 of the O7 skeins of chocolate brown yarn in the bottom stripe of the never-ending blanket for The Boy. In May, I will finish that stripe. In the sweater project I cast on late in the month, I've finished the yoke and am moving onto the sleeves this next month. I even managed to have a single FO for April, a monkey for my daughter. (The Boy now wants one of his own, and I'll try to knit that sometime in May as well.)

I'm rather pleased that my average is better than 1,OOO yards per month, which is my low monthly goal for 2O11. After 2O1O and popping out a mile per month--damn near close, anyway!--I really needed a break. I'm not going to lie to you, kittens, I've needed it. 2O11 has been rather stressful and many things require my attention that have not in the past. I'm hoping to come through this experience a little more adult than I have been. With the third decade of my life wrapping up, I suppose it's time to get serious about that whole "adult" thing.

Thank you to those of you that read this little blog of mine. Here's to a productive May!

21 April, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday: 16 of 52

Err..."Wednesday," more appropriately. Didn't have the time to blog yesterday, I'm afraid, so we'll pretend this one was on time.

First, the Wide Stripes blanket. It's hard to tell, but it is making slow progress. I now have 03 of 07 chocolate skeins knit up in the bottom stripe. For sure, I'll be finished with it by the end of next month, then I can unravel the provisional cast-on and work my way up the rest of the blanket. I'm still hoping to finish it this calendar year. (At the rate of 03 skeins/month, I should be done in December.)

Next is a sweater cast on. This one isn't too interesting yet, so I really do not have much to say about it. I'm taking things slow since I'm having to alter as I go. I do not want another mess like the last sweater I had on needles.

13 April, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday: 15 of 52

Kittens, last week you were guessing what I was up to. About 20 minutes ago, I finished it.

I believe it was my friend Katie who guessed I was making a monkey. Susan guessed it was a monster and she wouldn't be far off: he's a pattern from Rebecca Danger who *is* the "monster lady."

I had been planning to make this little guy as part of a set to send off to live with someone else, but then...it happened.

Danger! Danger! Someone seems to have fallen for the monkey.

"Mama! You no take my monkey!"

Well played, little girl, well played. It's OK, I wasn't feeling much like gift knitting anyway.

He's even started settling in and making friends.

08 April, 2011

Keyka Lou Bucket Bag

Kittens, I have been a ball of anxiety lately and yesterday, I reached the point that I had to DO SOMETHING, or I just may die. Seriously.

I needed something quick and would yield a finished object in little time.

I needed something that would use pre-existing supplies and not cost too much for a pattern.

I needed something different then I've worked on before.

And most importantly, it had to be something useful...and to my taste.

I set my mind to sew myself a new bag, and for a long time I've been eying Keyka Lou's designs. (It just so happens that she's having an anniversary sale right now if you're in the market for a new bag as well.) I've had this inexpensive brown corduroy sitting in stash for forever now; I honestly have no idea when I bought it or why I did. It's always been there. After assessing that I had just under a half yard of the fabric, I decided to make a Bucket Bag. I bought the pattern, printed it out to the correct size, and then played around a bit with what I had in stash until I was happy.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results. The only way I could be any more happy would be if I had enough corduroy for the front pocket to be brown as well. Everything in this project--minus the corduroy-- is a leftover from one of my current projects, and it uses this adorable fabric I reclaimed from a Gymboree shirt I bought for The Girl and she never had a chance to wear. Who doesn't love ponies on some level or another?

Ponies. ♥

I've never sewn a bag before, and I'm sure I've denigrated my own sewing skills enough on this blog to paint the picture that I'm not a very experienced sewer. If I haven't, let me say it loud and clear: I AM NOT A VERY EXPERIENCED OR CAREFUL SEWER. My work is sloppy, and the eagle eyed out there will be able to see spots that I fudged or didn't get things quite right.

Overall, I'd say I did a pretty good job.

And for as much as I hate to get bogged down in putzy details, I really enjoy top stitching.

Even for someone like me, this pattern was pretty easy to follow and produced a pleasing result. I had a couple of places that I became stuck, but after reading through a few times and looking more closely at the provided pictures, I figured it out and was able to move along. I want to say this bag took 4-5 hours from beginning to end.

I definitely recommend these for anyone.

06 April, 2011

WIP-it Wednesday: 14 of 52

Wordless. (It's just easier that way, kittens.)