Monday, November 28, 2011

Wait, what happened?

Well, no suffering from a lack of content here today! I'm not sure what happened - one minute I had no knitting projects, and now I have suffered a minor project explosion.

I needed some Thanksgiving knitting, so I took my nearly complete Melpomene with me. I knew that wasn't enough knitting to get me through the whole day, but in the midst of everything else that was going on I failed to plan ahead adequately, and couldn't lay my hands on anything that had the right level of mindlessness and portability. I finally stuffed some yarn and pattern pages that I had lying around in a bag, and voila.


I cast on this Urban Necessity glove to complete the matched set for CodeNinja. I've really been pretty negligent about knitting these and they don't take very long, so I really ought to be ashamed of myself. In my defense, though - it hasn't been very cold. Anyway, I got this started in the car and then put it aside, since the 1x1 ribbed cuff was something I could knit in the dark on the way home. I kept knitting on it later in the weekend when we went Christmas tree hunting, and now I'm almost ready to put the thumb stitches on a holder. I need some time to finish it now with CodeNinja nearby so he can try it on and direct me as to the length of the fingers.

For the football viewing portion of Thanksgiving, I cast on this.


Permafrost by Jared Flood in his Loft yarn, colorway Snowbound. I don't know what I was thinking, this is going like lightening now, but as the number of stitches increases and increases - this is not going to be a quick project! I still have Galadriel's mirror hanging around, sad and neglected, if I needed a big project, and of course as soon as I figure out what I'm going to do for a wedding shawl, I'm going to drop everything else like it's on fire. But, oh well, it's started now, and I'm most of the way through Chart 2. I'll try to catch up on the knitting over my Christmas vacation.

And now for something completely different! Every year, the ladies' group at my church does an ornament exchange, and almost every year I've taken some type of handmade ornaments. A few years ago, before I started knitting, I bought a kit from (I think) Bead Sphere for netted ornament covers. There were three covers in the kit. I made one for that year's ornament exchange, and the rest got shoved inside something somewhere. I uncovered the kit while I was working through the stuff from the craft room and, as the ornament exchange is this coming Friday, decided that if I just went ahead and made the ornament covers, I wouldn't have to figure out somewhere to store the kits! (Genius, I tell you.)

Everything I needed was still in the bag, including all the beads, the needles, and even my little square of Thread Heaven. So I plopped down at my desk and got to work.


It's easy enough - pick up this many beads, thread through this bead on the prior row, etc. etc. Quite simple, though these are size 11 beads, so very tiny. I finished the first one...


And went ahead and started the second.


It takes about 3 hours to do one of these, so I had to quit the second one in the middle and come back to it later, but I finished it on up and it's even prettier than the first one.


I did have a problem with both, however - despite the fact that I was SURE I pulled out enough string as directed, I ran out. This is sort of like running out in the middle of a long-tail cast on - one you've spent the last two hours working on. There's not really a good solution for it and taking all that netting out and starting over would NOT be easy. So...I did a Russion join. It doesn't work quite as well as it does in knitting, but as you can see above - it does work. I'm especially bitter that I ran outof yarn on the second one, though, since I made doubly sure to pull out extra.

I'll pop these over a couple of plain ol' spherical ornaments and they will be gorgeous, perfect for the ornament exchange. This is the best kind of purging.

And now, only one thing remains - my finished Melpomene!







Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Beginnings

Happy Thanksgiving! Knitting content is a little slim (yet again), but I have begun a project that is relevant to this blog - that is, the demolition and reconstitution of my craft room.

This blog rarely sees anything but knitting, but I do actually have a lot of crafts that I like to do. I scrapbook, I make cards and other paper crafts, and I have been a cross stitcher almost as long as I can remember. Knitting has kind of taken over, but at least part of that, I believe, is because my other crafts were so much less accessible. Since I moved into this house, I had grandiose plans for my craft room (which, to my mother's horror, had been in my living room up until then).

Unfortunately, none of those plans really came to pass. I had too much stuff, and not enough space for it. Plus, I am not by nature a neat and organized person, and my crafting process is rather manic. I make a big mess tossing things around until I get the effect that I want. Plus, since I had no office space, my computer stuff and office files and all that stuff were also crammed into the craft room. Essentially, I ended up with a room that was basically a complete junk pile, and my guest room was not much better, being used largely for storage of all the stuff that didn't fit in the craft room and that I didn't otherwise know what to do with.

Times are a-changing, and with my brother moving out, freeing up the basement bedroom to be the new guest room, and with CodeNinja moving in (and bringing all his stuff with him), it was time to do something about this "stuff" situation.

I have never spent any time in the craft room, and have never wanted to, it was so unpleasant in there. When I wanted to work on my paper crafts, I hauled all my stuff down to the kitchen table, made a mess, left it there for a week or so, and then took it up and piled it all back in the craft room. The room just wasn't pleasant to be in, despite being, in my opinion, one of the nicer room in the house. It's quite a good size, but it's long and rectangular. It has a recess with two large windows that face the front of the house, and it probably gets more light than any other room. There's no reason at all why it shouldn't be a perfectly lovely place to spend time in.

But, it wasn't, so I had to put some thought into figuring out why. One answer was obvious - it was too cluttered, cramped, and messy with all the stuff I had in there. Step 1 - we (by which I mostly mean CodeNinja) hauled all the stuff out of the craft room and into the now-empty den in the basement. I asked him to take a 'before' picture but he forgot, so here's all the stuff in the den and basement bedroom:


Looooooots of stuff. The goal is to go through this mess and sort out the craft from the non-craft, and also to purge as I go, getting rid of stuff I don't need, don't want, or don't use. Then, everything will be reorganized and reloaded into the craft room and the former guest room, which will now become an office. The office is really going to be CodeNinja's space; I'll have a desk in there, but I'll try to keep my stuff to a minimum, so we each have a retreat when we need some space.

The craft & guest rooms were very cold-looking before, so we picked a beige paint color with a bit of a pinky-peach undertone to warm the walls up a little bit, and the result is so much massively better than the color that was there before (a color I generally refer to as 'Old Dried Toothpaste'). I've already started rethinking where I put the crucial pieces of furniture and put some of the stuff back in there.


It's hard to get a good picture - the room is really about twice as big as it looks in most of these photos. The entrance to the room is a little odd, naturally closed off because the closet sticks out into the room in front of the door. I had the long table on the wall where the bookshelf is now, and the bookshelf was at the end of that table nearest the door, making the entrance even more closed. Lesson learned - I've cleared up that wall considerably to make it less overwhelming to walk into the room. There will have to be some more shelves & storage on the near wall, but I will take much better care this time to avoid getting that cramped feeling when you walk in.

I've also decided to use that computer desk as a working surface, and use the long tables only to hold supplies and lay things out that I want to look at. Before, I used the long table to work, but in order to have my tools on the table where I wanted them, I lost a huge amount of workspace and got frustrated very easily. This way, I'll have to do a little bit more moving back and forth, but my work area won't be cluttered with supplies, and I can use the keyboard tray to keep tools I really need to have to hand, like my paper cutter. I had developed a habit of cutting paper in my lap anyway, which was not very effective and, sadly, led to the demise of my paper cutter (leverage issue - snapped a piece off of it).

So, I have a long row to hoe, and a lot of time is going to be devoted to this, but I'm determined to have a working craft room at the end of it. Ideally, I would love to find a place in here for a chair and my spinning wheel, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. My biggest issue here is storage; I have spent a lot of money in the past on storage tools that just weren't really effective, so I'm trying to be very critical about buying new supplies.

This won't, of course, be the only area of the house where I'm purging, and CodeNinja will be responsible for purging on his end as well before we try to pack everything into this house.

I have been knitting, however, and I'm on the downhill slide with my Melpomene.


I had a bit of a set back the night before last when I apparently went temporarily insane and hauled off and knit my twists on the wrong side. It's not like it's easy to mistake, either. The front side looks like this:

Twisted stitches right there. The wrong side looks like this:


No twisted stitches, just something that looks kind of like 2x1 ribbing.

AND YET, not only did I knit a section of twisted stitches on the wrong side - after I fixed that, and knit merrily onward, not more than an hour after I took those pictures, I had to take another picture before I posted, so I could show you that I did this:


This time I started my short rows on the wrong side, and so while every other scallop faces the bottom of the shawl, this one faces the top of the shawl. Argh!!! Feeling rather red-faced over here. It's easy to fix, just one of those things that you can't figure out how you could not notice that. Especially having made a similar mistake so recently!! It boggles the mind.

I've also started my MadroƱa in my JulieSpins Glimmer Lace.


But, I've had another thought for yarn, so it's on hold until I get my second option and can swatch it.

I actually had several issues starting that shawl, not from any flaw in the directions, but because I have never used DPNs before, and I was dropping them all over the place. These are Chiaogoos, but they don't have the sharp lace tips, which is also a tad frustrating for me, addicted as I am to sharp tips. After a few rounds, I had enough stitches on the needles that I wasn't dropping them (as often), but it's still a bit awkward. I was hoping to avoid the ladder stitches I had on my Evenstar circular start, where I used two circs, and so far I haven't had that issue, but it definitely was more difficult than just doing things the way I was used to. (Speaking of which...I did the Emily Ocker cast on instead of Romi's recommended bellybutton cast on, because I was too impatient to figure out a new method).

That's really it on the knitting front. I owe CodeNinja some fingerless gloves, so that's on the horizon, as soon as I can tear myself away from my lace!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Another week managed to slip by without a blog post. Mea culpa, my dear bloggees!

Sadly despite the lateness, I don't have much to tell. The newest muse is out and, consequently, on my needles.



I've barely started. This is Melpomene by Romi and the yarn is Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Black Pearl. This yarn is a little crisper to work with that the other incarnations of Djinni I've used, but that's not very unusual for yarn that is mostly black, in my experience.

And, I finished my Buttonwillow!


But she's not blocked yet.

Other than that, my time has largely been taken up with wedding planning and stash enhancement. I picked up some lovelies in light of The Sanguine Gryphon's - reorganization? Shut down? I'm not sure what to call it, but I cashed in.

3 skeins of Gaia lace in Memoirs des Arbres, and beautiful rich dark brown.


A skein of Skinny Bugga in a puzzling colorway called Sooty Dancer. It photographs as kind of a dark green with black mixed in, which is what I expected when I bought it, but when you're looking at it in real life, it's pretty thoroughly black.


And one skein of Eidos in a color I can neither remember nor properly pronounce. I think it started with a P, and I did all manner of unnatural things to this photo to try and get the color to turn out correctly. I got close, but it's still not really accurate.


I also snagged one skein of Metamorphosis from A Verb For Keeping Warm, whose yarns I've been meaning to try for ages, in anticipation of the imminent public release of Caliz, a pattern Romi originally designed for AVFKW's shawl club. The color is Transnational Fury.


And last but not least, the Great White Yarn search. I looked all over for white-white yarn to go with my wedding dress, and had trouble finding it anywhere in a blend I was happy with. Finally, on the advice of some dear Rav friends, I contacted Julie at JulieSpins on Etsy, who prepared some of her glimmer lace (mostly wool, some silk, and a tiny bit of angelina) for me in her "Here Comes The Bride" colorway - a beautiful white-white. I'm thrilled. I'm going to take a crack at making the October Pins & Lace pattern, Madrona, in this yarn, and if it works out the way it is in my head I'll be over the moon!