WIP Weds ~ the holiday for me edition

Happy holiday week! There are a lot of holidays all at once this year. (Sometimes they’re farther apart… and these are just the three I am most familiar with. I’m sure there are others I’m not aware of.) Yule starts today — on the Winter Solstice,  12/21. I have known this for a while, but I wasn’t aware that it was a multi-day celebration. (Which it is at least according to my Google search.) Then, Hanukkah starts on 12/24 this year, which is also Christmas Eve. I think this is the first time since I’ve been paying attention to the dates that the beginning of Hanukkah and Christmas have been on the same day! Very fun.

Anyway, happy holiday week! This year, I have NO holiday knitting to show you. I didn’t do any holiday knitting this year, so all the knitting is for me! (Well, mostly. But the one thing I’m currently knitting which I’ll be gifting isn’t going to be gifted until next year. So it’s not holiday knitting.)

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. The Dangling Conversation scarf.

It’s been a lot of fun. Lots of beading, since I elected to add a bead at the start of every row. But still a fun knit!

2. The Mortal Kombat GAL square.

I had paused on the GAL knitting for a little while, but I’ve picked it back up and am loving it again. (I think this is partly because I am so excited about the 2017 GAL blanket. Someone save me from myself.) I don’t have high hopes for finishing the 2016 GAL blanket in time to submit it for prizes – I still have 5 squares to knit – but I’ve decided that I want to have at least the official 2016 GAL blanket finished before I start any 2017 GAL knitting.

I am planning on making the current GAL blanket bigger than my official 2016 one. This is because I want to go back and knit some non-video-game themed 2014 squares as well. But that might happen later on, and not right away. I’ll have to see.

3. The Leaving Cowl.

Leaving Cowl - 75% done

This is the one that I am knitting for a 2017 gift. I’m close to done with it, which is nice, but I also feel no pressure to get it finished before Christmas. And that is nicer. I’ve been loving knitting it in the Cascade 220 sport yarn that I had originally bought for the 2015 GAL blanket. (Hmm, I wasn’t so sure about knitting the GAL blanket in sport-weight. Maybe I’ll have to re-think my participation in 2017.  We’ll see… I do love the GAL knitting community. AND THE YARN for the 2017 blanket. So yummy looking.)

Anyway, that’s my current knitting progress. I’m enjoying it and the lack of “get it done before Christmas!” stress.

I hope your week is stress-free and holiday-full!

WIP Weds ~ the fickle edition

I have been knitting again! Yay! I figured out part of what had stalled me: I over-planned my knitting year. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the projects I have currently OTN* (on the needles). But sometimes having a Plan (yes, with a capital P) can take the fun out of knitting even enjoyable projects. Sometimes I want a new project to get the spark of creativity flowing again. In this case, that spark provided by the Dangling Conversation scarf, which I cast on in my Schachenmayr select Tahiti yarn.

I’m really loving the way this is knitting up. The yarn makes a beautiful fabric, with a lovely drape. There is an occasional problem where the yarn gets splitty when I add a bead, but for the most part it’s not an issue. Speaking of the beads, I picked them at random out of my bead stash because I thought they’d compliment the yarn nicely. I think they were a good choice. I don’t remember where I got them, though, so I can’t pass along that information.

The new knitting has been so much fun that I’m also thinking of casting on the December MKAL: Rose Quartz project that Lattes & Llamas is hosting. I do want to also get back to the projects OTN, but only one of them has anything like a deadline (now that I’ve admitted I won’t be finishing the GAL blanket by the January deadline). So I have the time — I hope — to add another KAL in there as long as I can keep the knitting mojo flowing.

* For the record, before the new item(s) cast on, I had OTN: 2 pairs of socks, the 2016 GAL blanket, the Leaving Cowl, the East of the Sun West of the Moon Shawl which I love but whose rows are really long right now, another shawl which is destined for the frog pond because I don’t like the yarn I picked for it, a toy monkey I’m not happy with but might make myself finish, and the Babette Blanket which hasn’t seen any action in a very long time. I’ll get back to them shortly.


WIP Weds ~ the All The Things edition

It’s time for another WIP Wednesday! This week I will show you all the knitting projects that I am currently working on. (There are others on the needles, but since they’re not in the current knitting rotation, I’m skipping them for this post.)

This time, I’ve been working on the Semele Shawl quite a bit, so I’ll show you a pic of it even if it still doesn’t look like a ton of progress. I’m finally getting to the point where it feels like I’m starting to get toward the end of this project.

It’s really a fun shawl still, and I love the beading, but I’m ready to be done with it. It’s time to wear it, not to knit it.

I’m also still enjoying knitting the Lacy Entrelac Scarf.

It’s a fun knit, but my favorite part is (as with all entrelac) watching the color changes. It’s still great having the lace bits in the normally plain entrelac squares. I’m a little concerned about how it will block out when I’m done knitting. I want it to be flat enough to look great and not curl up at the edges, but not be so flat that it loses the texture of the entrelac squares. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll have to be extra careful when I wash and block it.

And there has been progress on the GAL Blanket! I have finished the “GAME OVER” square…

GAL blanket progress (4-17-16)

GAL blanket progress (4-17-16)

… and started the “Rayman” square!

I loved this original game when it first came out – and I do mean first came out. My sister’s boyfriend at the time was one of the beta testers, so I got to see it played before it was available to the public. So much fun! I was thrilled when new versions were released… even if I am a terrible platformer, and so do very poorly at it. I still love it. Fortunately Mr. Wyrm is a good platformer, so when we play together he can carry the team through the tricky bits.

Happy hump day!

WIP Weds for 4-13-16

I’m not feeling at 100%, so I think there will be lots of knitting in my future. My guess is that I caught a cold from a co-worker, though it could also be bad allergies. (I’ve never been officially tested for allergies, so I don’t really know if I am more prone to allergies in the spring, winter, or fall, and since cold and allergy symptoms are largely the same, it’s hard to tell which is which.) In any case, I’m hoping there will be a huge jump in progress between this WIP Weds and next week’s due to enforced idle time while I recover.

But in order to know that, we’ll have to have a benchmark to judge by, right?

Here’s the first WIP for today:

This is the state of my “Game Over” square for the 2016 GAL blanket. As you can tell by the picture, I am half-way done with this square. I’m really enjoying the way it’s turning out. Sadly I didn’t think to take a picture of the other side to show off the fact that the words will be legible on both sides of the square. Oh well. Next time.

Next up:

This is my progress on the Lacy Entrelac scarf. I had a lot of time in which to knit this one over the weekend, and made a huge jump I’m progress then. It’s going to be coming with me to work, since I realized this weekend how much better a travel project this is than the GAL squares (which had been my travel knitting). I had hoped to finish this while it was still cold enough to wear with the hat I knit out of the same yarn, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. Still, I intend to have it finished by the time I start wearing knit hats again this coming fall.

I am also working on the Semele shawl but progress pictures of it don’t look like much at the moment, so I don’t have a new one for you. Hopefully I’ll have made enough progress on it by next week to really show off how much work I’ve gotten in on it.

Nice Crispy Bacon

I promised you a bacon scarf FO post… and here it is! Yay!
This scarf was one that a friend asked me to make him. He had asked me for a bacon scarf, so I found a few patterns that I could knit easily and showed them to him. However, I was looking on Ravelry, and so in addition to the ones I suggested, he saw a different pattern that he liked most because it LOOKED LIKE BACON.

So. Silly me, I decided I could make it for him, “no problem”. I guess, when you come to it, there technically wasn’t a problem, in that I did finish the scarf. (Though it was over a year after he asked for it.) But there were little problems. First, the pattern was not really a pattern, just a bacon chart. (A very well done bacon chart, mind you. It really does look like bacon when worked up.) Second, there’s no delineating mark between the edge of the bacon and the “no stitch” part. (There’s no excuse for that one. I don’t understand that part, and have to adjust my opinion of the value paid for the chart accordingly.) So once the pattern and the yarn was purchased, I still had to spend a bit of time marking the chart up to determine what was going to be worked and what was not.
The third little problem was determining how to work the scarf. I had originally planned to knit it, because I greatly prefer knitted fabric to crocheted when it comes to clothing. (Yes, there are some exceptions. This was not one of them.) However, I really don’t like knitted intarsia, and also I wanted this to be a double-sided scarf. I didn’t want to carry fair-isle style floats on the back of the piece. So, the scarf had to be crocheted. Which meant I needed to learn how to do crochet intarsia. (Turns out it’s technically easy enough, but either you have to carry all the other yarns inside your work, or you have lots of little balls of yarn which make wonderful yarn spaghetti. I carried yarn inside the darker colors without a problem, but every time I carried the yarn inside the white yarn, it kinda showed through. So I had lots of ends. Fortunately crochet makes it really easy to hide ends.)
The fourth (and final, thankfully) little problem was length. I wasn’t good enough at crochet intarsia (since I had just learned it) to know how long the resulting project would turn out. I had to go with a gauge that gave me a good fabric, and hope it would be long enough. Given the type of chart, making it longer wasn’t an option for me either, since I didn’t want to pause during the final third and spend weeks trying to work out more design that matched the style of the bacon I had just crocheted. So it ended up however long it ended up, which is long enough to be a scarf, but not long enough to tie around a neck.

Anyway, the final result is that I am pleased with how the bacon turned out, and I think my friend is also pleased with it, even though it isn’t exactly what he had in mind when he asked for it.

PATTERN: Big Strip O’ Bacon
YARN: Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids (in Aran, Soft Rose, and Claret)
HOOK: US G (4.0 mm)
START/END DATES: August 9, 2014 – January 31, 2015 (though most of the crochet was done in January due to Christmas knitting)
MODS: Either none or lots, depending on what you call the chart prep-work.

Round Of Words – Check-up #4

IMG_0183.JPGIt’s time for the 4th check-in for this Round! Huh – and would you look at that? I’m on time (or possibly even early) this week! Probably because we’ll be going to a super bowl party later today (which, in my opinion, is just an excuse to get together with friends and have a lunch of little nibbles instead of something healthy).

So. How did I do this week? Let’s find out:

1. Some kind of writing task at least two times a week. I’m pretty sure this is a yes. They weren’t long sessions because I had headaches, but I’m pretty sure there were small sessions twice last week. (3/4)

2. Exercise at least three times a week. Sadly no. It’s hard to do more than lay around on the bed or the couch when your head hurts. I spent all my active time doing things someone else was motivating me to do (work and rehearsal) and had little energy left for anything else. (2/4)

3. Knit 2 squares for the 2015 Geek-A-Long blanket. I’m having so much fun with this one, though I haven’t finished either of the two squares I’ve set as goals yet. However, I have now finished my other crafty-goal for this Round, so I can start to focus on this one. (0/2 squares)

4. Finish a crocheted scarf I’m working on for a friend. DONE. And early! The birthday that I was hoping to have this done before is later this week, so I just made it in time for that! The scarf’s FO post will be later this week (maybe Friday?) so if you want to see pictures of it, come back later. However, I’ll warn you now: it’s a bacon scarf. You may get hungry looking at the pictures. (1/1 completed scarf)

5. Post ROW blogs at least once a week, and visit (& comment on!) the blogs on my blog roll plus at least 5 random ROW-er blogs. I posted blogs, I know that. I can’t remember if I kept up with the comments on other ROWer blogs. However, I’m going to call it a win because the part I remember was a success, and I’m going to try to focus on the plusses this Round instead of the things that I didn’t manage to do. (3/4)

Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Hard to believe it’s February already…

Rondelay FO

Lookie! Another FO project that was done this summer (barely… nearly fall but not quite) and yet had to wait until after Christmas for its big reveal!

This one is the Rondelay I knit for my sister-in-law. Several members of my S’n’B have made this shawlette (or is it a scarf?) and so I’d seen it in progress before. I never really paid attention to the construction of the project other than to note that it was different, and I certainly never thought about how much trouble blocking such a uniquely shaped scarf would be.

However, it knit up quickly, and didn’t give me too much trouble when I went to block it. (It might not be the most even blocking job I’ve ever done, but since the scarf will rarely be spread out, that shouldn’t matter. It will spend most of the time being a ruffly thing, so no worries there.) My biggest issue was that the rondels were easy to manage until you had to deal with ALL THREE OF THEM AT ONCE. Then the number of stitches on the needles got unwieldy. (Yes, I know. This happens with nearly all shawlettes. But this one was no exception to that rule.) Still, there were only a handful of rows that worked all the stitches on the needles, so it went smoothly enough.

I used Chroma for the scarf/shawlette, since this pattern works best in yarns with a long color repeat. I love the way it turned out in this particular colorway. I had initially thought (when I bought the yarn) that the shades of green would be more distinct, more different. And then the yarn arrived, and I worried that the shading might have been too subtle for the pattern.

But I think I needn’t have worried. It turned out lovely.

STATS (and a link to my Ravelry project page)

PATTERN: Rondelay
DESIGNER: Jennifer Dassau
YARN: Chroma Fingering by Knit Picks in the “Seaweed” colorway
NEEDLES: US 6 (4.0 mm)
START – END DATES: September 1, 2014 – September 20, 2014
MODS: None.