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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A New Sock

Twisted 
I cast on for a new pair of socks.  This is Twisted (which I think I began once before and then frogged for some reason), knit in Socks That Rock Lightweight in It's a Supernatural Thing.  I usually work Socks That Rock in a plain vanilla stockinette, but I'm trying something different on these.  I'm not quite sure that I'm loving this pattern with this yarn, but the farther I get, the more I'm liking it.  I'll try another inch or so and decide.  It's possible that Twisted would be happier in a more subtle colorway.

OK, it's official, over the course of writing the paragraph above, I've decided to frog and redo this into a plain vanilla stockinette pattern.  Socks That Rock tend to spiral on me (versus a true self striping), but the purl stitch background and the slipped stitch foreground are just breaking up the colors too much.  I'm glad we had this talk.  Sometimes it helps to just think something through out loud, right?  Hopefully the third time will be the charm with this pattern!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In the Forest

In the forest 
Once again, in the spring semester of Loopy Academy, we've been given the chance to do extra credit.  I decided not to do the sewing extra credit because I couldn't find something I wanted to make within the project requirements, but I am doing the knitting extra credit.  I decided to make the On the Spice Market shawl, but I'm making it in greens and blues so mine is In the Forest.  I'm using Loopy Solids and I'm using Cornflower, Pesto, Olive, Pine, Evergreen, Lake and Navy.  Cornflower is my main color.  As you can see, I've made it through the first set of stripes and I've just begun the middle, polka dot section.  (It's not really polka dots, but that's what it looks like from a distance.)

This is the same designer as Drachenfels, which I made for the solid/multicolor project earlier this semester.  As soon as I saw On the Spice Market, I knew I wanted to make it, just for the color combination possibilities!

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Carson Throw: April is Finished

Carson throw. 
I have completed April's knitting for the Carson Throw.  What you see is through Round 152 and I've just started using color 4.  If you look just at the top of the knitting, you can see that the color behind the "spokes" is more of a gray blue green, than the bright blue green of color 2 (the "spokes" are color 3).  Every time I add a new color, I'm not too sure how I feel about it at first, but then once I've done a couple of inches with it, I like it.  I know all the colors work together, it just feels strange when I add in a new one.  Now this project can sit and relax until next Sunday, when I can begin May's knitting (which I think is another 30 rounds).

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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Knitting is Finished

Heathered Ruby 
I finished the knitting on my Heathered cardigan!  Of course now I have to weave in the ends, sew down the pocket linings,  and block the whole thing so it doesn't look so rumpled.  At some point, I will also need to find buttons for it, but I have several months before I'll wear it, so I have plenty of time.  I'm calling it finished (although I'll show you what it looks like when it's blocked and pretty).

This weekend I'm going to try to finish April's section of the Carson Throw and then maybe I won't feel like I have so many half finished things hanging over my head.  Of course, I'll probably start knitting my Loopy Academy Extra Credit project too!

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Max

Max 
Yes, he's even ferocious in his sleep!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Look! More Sleeve!

Heathered ruby 
That is all.

I will be trying this on later this morning to decide how much more I have before the cuff, but I'm almost there!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Cardigan

Heathered Ruby cardigan 
I have finished the ribbing and bound off the lower edge of my Heathered Ruby Cardigan, I have knit the pocket linings (but they aren't sewn in, neither are any of the yarn ends), and I have begun the first sleeve.  Sleeves in DK weight are much faster than sleeves in fingering weight!

I will probably spend most of the week finishing this cardigan.  I seem to have gotten too many things started at once, and I'm planning on starting my extra credit Loopy Academy project soon, plus I've got plans for Mad May (the Madelinetosh KAL in May) using ESK yarn so I can double dip for their May KAL as well.  Currently on the needles, I have this cardigan, the Carson throw, my Meditative Blanket, and Lorelai (although the last two are technically on the hook).  This means I have no socks going right now, but the idea of starting something new with everything that's going on and with everything that's fixing to start, just makes me feel a little crazy.  All this means that I need to get two or three things finished as soon as possible or it's going to get overwhelming.

I'm still looking for buttons for this cardigan, and I loved the glass button idea from Moving Mud (I actually have a shawl pin I bought from them at Maryland one year), but I'm not sure I want to make that kind of financial investment in this particular sweater.  (The buttons would cost more than half the price of the yarn and this sweater just doesn't feel like it needs buttons that special.)  I'm going to keep looking and keep playing with ideas.  I know there's something perfect out there.  I'm not going to make the bands until the very end of the knitting, and I won't need it to wear until October or November, so I've got some time to find what I'm looking for.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

My Weekend

Over the weekend I decided to do a little housekeeping on my iPhone music.  There were a couple of songs we have on CD that for one reason or another, didn't get put into iTunes years ago, and there were some songs I wanted to buy.  I've always been comfortable using iTunes with my iPods/iPhones/iPads, so I grabbed the cord and hooked my iPhone into my laptop.

iTunes has changed a few things.  iTunes wants you to buy their music, not just upload what you already have.  I understand this, they're a business, businesses aren't charities.  There's always been a way to upload your own music before, and there still is, but it's a lot more difficult.  The problem wasn't uploading the tracks to my computer, but getting them onto my iPhone.  I did eventually manage it, but at some point during the process (I'm honestly not sure when the fateful moment occurred, I'm more aware of the emotional trauma that resulted from this moment), I went from almost 1000 songs to 349 songs.  I also lost all of my playlists.

Thousands of years ago, when we got our first iPods (mine was a first generation iPod mini - pink), we sat down with the entire CD collection and uploaded everything.  From that point forward, when we have upgraded to new iPods, then iPhones and iPads, we just installed everything from the previous device.  When I lost 600 songs, these were the songs that disappeared.  Ironically, the four songs I was trying to add did get added just fine.  Fortunately, we still have all those CDs so I started over, uploading the songs I wanted.  It took all weekend, but I got it done.  I reconstructed my running playlist as well as I could and I'm working on the other playlists.  I'm through the worst of this, but it took ALL weekend.  I got nothing else done.  I didn't knit a stitch ALL weekend.
Loopy Academy table runner. Feather Bed blocks.
Fortunately, I still haven't shown you what was originally supposed to be Friday's blog post, before the little birdy pincushion took over the blog.  I finished piecing the top for my table runner.  I now need to layer it, quilt it and bind it, but now that I've got my music sorted, I'll be able to do that soon.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Loopy Academy Sewing Edition

Loopy Academy pincushion project 
Today's blog post was supposed to be something completely different.  Then, yesterday afternoon I started working on my pincushion for Loopy Academy and I was so excited to get it all made and finished, that it became today's blog post.  The other thing will wait!
Loopy Academy pincushion project
My search for a pincushion idea was similar to the table runner idea.  I pinned a number of pincushions, but there were two themes that kept reappearing: birds and storage.  There are all kinds of bird pincushions out there, from tiny sparrows, to chickens, to owls and beyond.  By storage, I mean pincushions with pockets or places to put the things that get used with pincushions like rulers, thread, scissors and thimbles.  Yesterday, I just decided to make a bird and add a loop for scissors under a wing.  I chose Joel Dewberry's Bird Sachet pattern (scroll down for the link) because it looked like it would be big enough for the scissors, but simple enough that halfway through the process I wasn't surrounded by 200 bird parts wondering why I hadn't made a little square pillow and gotten it all over with.  I stuck to the pattern pretty closely, although I didn't hand embroider the wing, I just machine quilted it, and when I sewed the wings onto the body, I decided they needed a button there.  I also used a button, not a bead, for the eye.
Loopy Academy pincushion project
Another thing I had discovered while searching for a pincushion idea or just in the general discussion of the project on Ravelry, is that stuffing a pincushion with walnut shells is good for keeping pins and needles sharp.  I also figured it would add some weight to the pincushion, which is always nice.  You can get walnut shells marketed for sewing projects but they're really expensive packaged that way.  I went to Amazon and got a bag of walnut shells sold for reptile bedding.  It was much cheaper and now I'll be able to make pincushions forever!  (Who are we kidding, my great, great grandkids will have pincushion stuffing.)  I've obviously never used walnut shells in a sewing project and I had concerns about bits of walnut shell coming out of my pincushion and making a huge mess all over the house.  To (hopefully) prevent this, I turned the stitch length down to 1.5mm and attached fusible fleece to all of the pieces of the bird.  I thought the fleece would make the seams that much tighter and less likely to leak walnut pieces.  When it came time to stuff the pincushion, I stuffed the head very firmly with polyfil and then got Caleb to hold the bird so I could pour the walnut shells in.  I'd pour some in and then we'd bounce the bird gently and poke at the shells to pack it all in tightly.  The bird took a surprising amount of walnut shells!  Once it was packed as tight as we could get it, I added some polyfil just in the place where I'd handsew the bird closed.  I've sewn stuffed animals up before, so working around polyfil is something I'm OK with.  I wasn't sure I wanted to sew a seam with walnut shells right in the seam.  Also, I figured the polyfil would keep the walnut shells from leaking out my hand sewing.
Loopy Academy pincushion project
Now I have a finished bird pincushion!  Her name is Bagel (Caleb named her).  She has a nice weight to her, and she's ready to get to work, holding pins and scissors for me!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Carson Throw

Carson throw. 
I've been working on the April section of my Carson Throw and I think I'm about halfway through the month's knitting.  That estimate is based on math I just did in my uncaffeinated head using numbers that I think I remember but I'm too lazy to look up.  So I might be only a quarter of the way through this month's knitting, or I could be almost finished.  Anything could happen!

I did wind another skein of color 3 (the blue green that's the ribs), and I will need to wind color 4 soon (which will be making its debut in this throw before the month is out).  Since these skeins are so huge, I hand wind them, draping the skein over my feet or my knees (depending how I'm sitting).  Last night's winding session was supervised/helped along by Max.  It took a while.  He had fun, but eventually I got it finished.  I'm hoping to wind the other skein while he's napping today.  What's funny is that the most he ever does to my knitting is slap at the ball of yarn a bit.  He isn't really playing with it, just giving it some discipline as he walks by.  Apparently, winding a skein into a ball requires a much more paws-on approach that just knitting from it.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Freebird!

Freebird blocks for Loopy Academy table runner 
I've started working on my second Loopy Academy, Sewing Edition project - the table runner.  I don't typically work in just solids, but that was the assignment.  I decided to make a runner for the TV nook in the family room, so I bought some fabrics that I thought would work.  I figured a runner would give Max someplace nice to sit before he launches himself up to the mantle and beyond (where he's not supposed to go at all, but does anyway because he's a cat).  Then I had to find a pattern.
Freebird blocks for Loopy Academy table runner
I looked around to find something I wanted to make.  I pinned a few things on Pinterest.  I looked some more.  I looked at what I'd pinned.  I played with graph paper and thought about going to the other room for markers or colored pencils - I didn't.  I made the pajamas for Loopy Academy, I made two pairs of pajamas for Not Loopy Academy, I knitted all three of the knitting projects, and I thought about my table runner.  I liked several of my pins and could have done them pretty easily, but they just weren't quite what I wanted.  Then I remembered the Feather Bed Quilt.  I had found this free pattern a while back and saved it to Dropbox.  I didn't have any plans for it at the time, but I liked it.  After looking at the pattern and playing with the graph paper again, I decided that I could make a runner with three feathers, so yesterday, I sat down and made three feathers!
Freebird blocks for Loopy Academy table runner
You start with some strip piecing.  I cut my strips 1-1/2 inches wide, 2 inches wide, and 2-1/2 inches wide and just grabbed them randomly to make the strips.  I made two sets of strips, although since I only made three feathers, I probably could have just used one.  To cut the shapes for the blocks (there are no regular rotary cutting shapes there - it's templates), I plopped the templates on the fabric and cut around them using the rotary cutter.  I don't think this would have worked for a bed size quilt because it wouldn't be precise enough, but for only making the three blocks it worked just fine.  Then I sewed the blocks up, which was pretty quick, but holy bias edges Batman!  There are no bias edges on the outside of the block, but there is more than one seam inside the block where you sew bias to bias.  This isn't a hard block to make, but the bias action means this shouldn't be attempted by a beginner.  Anyway, I got all three blocks made and they all measured the same (9-1/2" x 18-1/2" - they're meant to be sewn into pairs, for a square, 18 inch block when it's all finished, if you're making the bed quilt) so I'm happy!

Next, I've got to add a few border type of pieces to make these blocks into a runner, and then there will need to be quilting and binding, but my runner project is moving along nicely.  Just in case you were wondering about the name, Freebird came up on my playlist while I was making the blocks yesterday afternoon, and it just seemed right.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Cardigan Marches On

image 
I'm working on the lower ribbing of my cardigan now!  The gaping holes are where the pocket linings will go.  Once those are knit, then I'll need to sew them to the backsides of the pockets and then there won't be gaping holes anymore.  I'm supposed to go a little bit farther on the lower ribbing, but seeing the sweater on Fifi, I think I'm probably about ready to bind off that lower edge.  It looks like I'll be trying on the sweater today and making some decisions!

I've been looking for buttons for this cardigan, and I've got two possibilities (is it just me, or is possibilities really hard to spell first thing in the morning?), but I'm not sure I'm loving either of them.  I usually use shell or metal buttons, but I don't think that's what I want for this cardigan.  I've actually got plastic buttons that match, but plastic has to be just amazing, and these aren't really hitting amazing.  Does anyone have any ideas?

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Loopy Academy, Knitting Edition, Twisted Stitches Project

Essential to perfection socks 
I finished my final, official project for Loopy Academy!  This is my Twisted Stitches project and I made the Essential To Perfection socks in Fable Fibers Story in Ruby.  It's been a long time since I knit a pair of socks with this much going on at once!  I've been knitting simple, repetitive patterns that I can memorize easily because I can work on those during odd breaks between subjects as I homeschool Caleb or while dinner cooks.  They're easy to pick up and put down.

This pair of socks, while not a difficult pattern, is just not the kind of thing that's easily picked up and put down.  I had to have the chart available and it's not a pattern that I could stop mid-round comfortably.  I'm glad I knit them though and once I get some better pictures (it's raining here again this morning, and while we need the rain, it's impossible to get good pictures when it's this dark), I'll get everything uploaded to The Loopy Ewe.

This is my last knitting project and I've been thinking about the extra credit projects.  I still have two sewing projects to finish, but I've just about decided that I will be doing the knitting extra credit, but not the sewing extra credit.  I'm not coming up with anything for sewing that I really want to make.  I'll still think about it for a few more days before I order, but that's the direction I'm leaning right now.

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Thursday, April 07, 2016

Needles!

Dyakcraft Rose Northern Lights 
Some yarns knit easier on wood needles.  Others prefer metal needles.  Still others work great on either kind of needle, but switching needle material can change your gauge.  I fell in love with Dyakcraft needles years ago and I'm fortunate to have several sets of the wooden needles.  Northern Lights is their anodized aluminum needle line and they've just recently reintroduced it.  They are adding in colors slowly, and late this past winter, they introduced Rose!  Being the Pink Lemon, I had to get a set of Rose needles, because, PINK!  They arrived yesterday and they're just beautiful!  I have a pattern picked for their debut knitting and the yarn is wound.  Unfortunately, I got antsy waiting for them and cast on my Heathered Ruby cardigan.  I'm going to get that finished before I start knitting all the glorious pinkness, but once it's done - watch out!

It's going to be all pink all the time!

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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Heathered Ruby

Heathered Ruby cardigan 
My Heathered cardigan is zipping right along.  Possibly because it's the only thing I'm knitting on right now.  That might have something to do with it.

I've made it to the waist of the cardigan and I'm just about to begin the hip increases and the pockets, so that will be exciting (or not, I guess it depends on your point of view).  At some point I need to check my button stash and see if there's anything up there that will work for this.  Of course, sinceI haven't even finished knitting the body, let alone the sleeves and front bands; I've got plenty of time to find buttons.

My new needles are supposed to be here today.  That's why I'm trying to get this cardigan finished - so I can cast on the other project!

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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Another Row

image 
I've completed the tenth row of my blanket.  Sometimes I try to figure out how many rows I'm going to make, but then I remind myself that it's a stash buster (sort of, it started out that way, but I've also bought yarn for it), so I should keep going until I run out of yarn.  Also, we do have other blankets, so it's not the end of the world if I don't get it finished by winter - no one is going to freeze to death!

I am enjoying making this blanket, I guess I just worry because I'm coming up on one year for it.  I began it April 26, 2015, and most of my projects don't go on for this long.  I think I should probably just chill out and keep on crocheting!

What's your longest WIP?  (Not including projects that are in time out/lost/or forgotten.)

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Monday, April 04, 2016

I Caved

image 
I started a new project, and this wasn't the project I was waiting on needles for.  I'm still waiting on the needles, so I started another project.  A waiting on needles for the other project, project.

Anyway, if you're still following all of that, I cast on the Heathered cardigan.  I'm knitting it in Fable Fibers Biography in Ruby.  If the color looks familiar, that's because I'm using Ruby in fingering weight for my Essential to Perfection socks.  It's DK weight, so it's knitting up very quickly.  As you can see, I've already separated the arm stitches from the body.  I made a hat with this yarn for the very first semester of Loopy Academy, and I liked it so much, I ordered a sweater quantity of it.  It's just been sitting and waiting for me to knit it up!

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Friday, April 01, 2016

A Little More Sock

image 
I'm about halfway down the leg of the second sock.  I'm hoping to make some headway on this over the weekend because I'm ready to move on to other things.  I still haven't cast on for any new projects, but there's no telling what will happen over the weekend.  I'm not making any promises!

Have a great weekend!

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