Spring is green

spring is green shawlette

green on green – not my best photography idea

This gorgeous Cedar Leaf Shawlette is, I think, my fastest shawl project to date. I got the idea for a last minute gift – and it had to be ready within 5 days. While I was still busy with everyday life. And I made my own life harder by deciding to knit it up in lace instead of worsted weight, as the pattern suggests. The construction is quite nifty – you knit the main part of the shawl and shape it through short rows. Once the main part is completed, you add the leaf pattern by knitting along the side, from one end to the other.

I finished this spring shawlette in time, and quickly steamblocked it. It took just over half a skein – 282 yds – of Malabrigo lace, wow.  It was a gorgeous gift – I liked it so much, I was tempted to keep it for myself. But I know it went to a good home.

spring shawlette on a statue

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Wednesday = Yarn Along

Pink Grapefruit Cowl knit in MadTosh merino light in Oxblood

my “p[u]rrrple” grapefruit cowl

And I’m yarning along again after a break. Not that I’d planned a break but life got busy, as it tends to. I’m figuring out that I a) need to plan out time for blogging in my day b) schedule posts ahead of time and c) set up some kind of posting schedule so you guys know when new content will go up.

MadMay 2013 badgeBut back to knitting. As I’d mentioned during this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, I’m multiple wip kind of person. I cast-on to keep my knitting mojo going – plus there are always requests, and gifts, and so on. Plus, this is my MadMay – Madeline Tosh May – project.

This is really a fun project. It’s Julie’s Pink Grapefruit cowl and fingerless gloves pattern (her website is Knitted Bliss). Right now I’m only planning to knit the cowl, albeit in a larger size. I love how the star cluster sections look – and the way you create them really isn’t too complicated so it’s easy to memorize the pattern. I’m curious and nervous how the final project will look – you drop the stockingette sections between the star clusters, creating this dropped stitch – pattern effect. I hope it’ll be long enough.

Btw, my nephew asked me why his Mom and Dad can’t knit and that I should teach them so they could teach him so everybody would be able to knit. Lol. Toddler logic.

Now for the blog hop part: I’m linking up with this week’s Yarn Along, this week’s Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft on (KCCO) blog-a-long. Check out some of the other awesome wip posts.

approx. 365 days later

Hello hello! I bet you were wondering if I would actually get around to putting up a post for the last day of this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. And I do, I do, I’m just a bit late. Ok, more than a bit, but I’ll delay putting up a new post so you’ll have a whole extra day with this post at the top of the blog. Today’s topic is all about the future, particular the knitting future.

Day Seven (Sunday April 28th): Looking Forward
One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

This could be anything from mastering a technique (broomstick lace, entrelac, etc), trying a new yarn or skill, or a long term wish to crochet only from your stash, or knit every stitch in one of the Harmony Guides. Maybe you have no desire or plans for your craft at all, no new element of knitting or crochet that you dream of mastering, in which case write about why that might be. In a year’s time participants will be asked to look back to see if they achieved any goals, no matter how general, and see which house conquered the art of looking forward.

inspiring quoteSo, let’s imagine it’s April 2014 (sheesh!) and I’m looking back at what’s been going on. Well, one of my big goals for the year is reduce my stash of yarn. It is pretty darn huge, so I really need to start whittling it down. I’m planning to destash later this year, and I have a few projects planned that’ll use a lot of yardage. But really, I need to look at my current yarn first when contemplating a project. Normally I see a project on the pattern page on Ravelry or in my queue and then I think about colors and yarn, and then I look what I have in my stash. Which is still distributed among a few places since I’m still not finished moving (sigh).

I think my process needs to change around – I need to choose a yarn and then find the right pattern to show it off. The thing is though, since so much of my knitting ends up as a gift I’m often limited by the giftee’s request – shape, color, technical elements like cables, lace and other things people stick in their requests. Or in the future I’ll just do the pattern picking and give people only a few options. Especially since no one is as interested in looking at different pattern options as I am. Hmmm. Something to thing about.

According to my infographic, another one of my goals for this year is steeking. I’m actually almost done with the hurricane vest I was working on and which has been hibernating now for a while. I’m really nervous about the securing the steek step. I think I can get in some sewing machine time via a friend (phew!) so I don’t have to secure the steek by hand, crochet hook, or not at all (scary!).

And now that I’ve become more comfortable with knitting various types of projects – lace, socks, toys, garments – I really would like to get more comfortable modifying patterns to the point that I use other design-elements, and maybe even adding my own design motifs. I love seeing how people got started on designing and I’d love to dip my toes into those waters. That’s a big goal though, no idea how likely I’ll be at implementing that. But I guess the motto is to dream big.

caterpillar

What oh what will you be? Let’s meet in the future and see. (Hopefully not a moth!!!!)

And since I’m dreaming big, I’d like to see if I can manage to stay on track with my knitting yardage this year. I’ve knit over 10,000 yards in each of the last two years, so it would be great to manage to keep that up this year. Let’s see if that’ll actually work out. I’ll be taking a look at all of these goals next year, and I’ll be curious to see what I’ll actually have managed to achieve. Most of the time I’m not really good at setting reasonable expectations for myself – perfectionist here – so hmm, I’m not sure if I’ve actually set reasonable goals.

Finally I wanted to share with you the progress I’ve made on my mascot socks, which meant getting in a little photo-op time. This was a post I couldn’t prep ahead of time. So far I’ve managed the leg and heel of the sock and I’m currently working on the foot part of the sock. I’m really happy with the result so far – and you can really see the hexagonal shape of the pattern. Mascot pattern success!

Snicket sock pattern

yay for hexagons! and berries and cream! (apologies for the crappy picture)

And on that note, I conclude. Thank you all for sticking with me throughout this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! I really appreciate all your comments and visits and feedback. I feel like I’ve stretched my blogging muscles and taken a new look at my knitting and knitting skills,  and that’s the point after all. I’ll hope you’ll still come back and visit – after all, my mascot project isn’t finished, all those wips need to be cast on for and MadTosh Mad May 2013 is around the corner. Plus a whole bunch of food and photography posts, and some major blog changes. Stay tuned for more!

Good to go

Essential knitting tools

the bare necessities

It’s Saturday which means yay weekend! and yay more knitting time! Which means I can get some knitting done on my mascot project. But first I’ll share my favorite knitting tool with you, since that’s today’s assignment:

Day Six (Saturday April 27th): A Tool To Covet
Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

Now I have to say, I don’t really have one favorite tool. I do love my swift and my ball winder – they make life so much easier. No more tedious winding of yarn by hand, yay! Once you’ve figured out the right setup and method, there’s something quite Zen about winding yarn. Woohoo!

organized knitting tools

I also love my pointy knitting needles, and my project bags (of which I probably have too many) and lots of little useful tools here and there. But what I really like is the ways I try to organize my most important knitting tools so I can find them when I need them. Which makes life so much easier – I don’t have to hunt around for the second needle to a needle pair or try to find a size in the middle of a ginormous box and so on.

I actually wrote a bit about my knitting tools and organization in another Knitting and Crochet Blog Week some time ago. Wow, I just checked – that post was written over two years ago. Whoa. But how interesting that my organization hasn’t changed that much. I still use one of those fabric knitting needle organizers – well, since I have more knitting needles I actually have more than one. I love this one with the cute little red riding hood pattern that a friend created for me.

What I did change is my notions bag. I still have those two notions bags, a bigger one and a smaller one. But since I tend to carry around a small project bag with me, I’ve created a little essential notions pouch that can go with me without taking up much space. In fact, it usually sits in the bottom of my project bag, the one that I’m currently working on the most. It’s also great for travelling – I have the most essential stuff on me all the time and I don’t have to hunt around for the right knitting notions. One thing I do, though is to swap out the little scissors for an empty tooth floss case. I like the Toms’ flat floss case – it has a large enough floss cutter to use for yarn without problems.

very small notions case

really small: 2.5” x 4”

That little bag is very small – 2.5” x 4” but it’s just the right size to accommodate all that I need. I got the case as part of some kind of Loopy Ewe kit (it has the Loopy Ewe logo on the other side). It’s soft plastic and it’s stable enough to keep the scissors or cable needles from poking through and making a mess or my yarn or knitting. As you can see, I also have small measuring tape attached to the key chain part. That’s been really useful.

And then the contents of the pouch: embroidery needles, a little crochet hook, a pencil, two cable needles and a few different stitch markers. The markers with the beads are no-snag stitch markers from Jed’s Joy – I really like those. There’s also one of those Knitpicks tighteners that comes from with the interchangeable needles, an awesome needle gauge from Succaplokki and a small, very sharp pair of scissors that can also be used for steeking. Not that I’ve actually done any steeking – not yet – but they are really good and small enough to fit into the pouch. Oh, and a paper IKEA tape for good measure.

That’s pretty much it! With that, and a project bag – and my knitting of course – I’m pretty much good to go. So now to you – what tools do you love/hate?

Flight of the [Bumble]bee

Today’s post is a mashup of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week assignment and {this moment}. The assignment is to come up with a different kind of post.

Day Five (Friday April 26th): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post or write in verse. You’ve already stretched your wings with an infographic, now it’s time to freestyle. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be. Bonus points if you manage to work your house animal in somehow.

Last year I stretched my blogging creativity muscles by creating a stop motion animation video. That was a lot of fun but my goodness, it was a lot of work. You take a photograph, then move things a teeny bit, take another photograph, move things again, take another photograph and on and on and on. It takes forever, I mean f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I used an iPhone app to help me out but still, that was a lot of work. And then you add in the editing and music and text and so on and it’s pretty much a day’s work.

This time around I had a few ideas, but my main idea was to make some kind of knitting gif. Or some kind of slo-motion or high-speed knitting video. And then I picked House of Bee and really spent a lot of time and thought on this bee thing and, well, the idea for the flight of a bee was born. Except that this bee likes yarn better than fruit. Especially since the colorway sounds like its some kind of yummy dessert. So – enjoy!

Color vision

huge Umaro blanket

The ginormous wedding gift blanket – and part of the reason I only managed 19 FOs last year…

[Heads up – this is a image-heavy post. And a long post. I apologize in advance. Thank you all in advance for your visits and comments and views. I really really appreciate it].

For all of you who are looking to take a color vision eye test – sorry, you won’t find one here. Instead, this post is all about color and knitting and stash and the such. Yup, today’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Post tackles color:


Day Four (Thursday April 25th): Colour Review

What are your favourite colours for knitted or crocheted projects. Have a think about what colours you seem to favour when yarn shopping and crafting.

Only after writing this part of your post should you then actually look to see what colours you have used in your projects. Make a quick tally of what colours you have used in your projects over the past year and compare it to the colours you have written about. Compare this, in turn, to the colours that are most dominant in your yarn stash – do they correlate?

Now think back to your house animal – do the colours you have chosen relate to your animal in anyway – if you are in the house of peacock, for example, are your projects often multicoloured and bright?

Some of the 2012 projects I knit...

Some of the projects I knit in 2012…

I like color. I do. While I have plenty of black and grey items in my wardrobe, I also like and wear clothes in jewel tones. That would probably surprise my mother who is always complaining that I should wear more color. I bet that the Indian woman in her – you’ll just find way more colorful Indian sari rather than black. Western fashion is definitely influencing Indian fashion, but you’ll still find bright colors in combinations that I don’t think many people will wear here. I mean, a bright orange and neon pink shirt here? To wear as everyday clothing? Not my cup of tea. But when I’m in India, in a Sari store it looks just fine and I find myself seriously contemplating if I’d look good in that. Huh. I guess it’s all about the environment.

I’m not as much a fan of pastels… I just prefer the look of jewel tones. There’s something about those saturated colors that make me happy. Pastel colors – meh. Although I do like them a lot in my stash and knitting. I’m not a colorway discriminator 🙂 I’m just more of a color style discriminator. I like semi-solid colorways way more than crazy clownbarfy combinations (for all of you non-knitters, clownbarfy yarn is yarn that looks like a clown, well barfed on it: crazy multicolored). Not that I don’t enjoy funky socks, but honestly I’m much more likely to wear something that isn’t. And I don’t like pooling – especially not in garments. On my feet, ok, I can deal with that, but a sweater with pools color in patches here or there? Nope, I’ll likely not wear it, or overdye it to fix the pooling. And you should wear what you feel comfortable in, IMO.

multicolored yarns knit up

baby cardigan – grey yarn and crazy clownbarf yarn held together, and scrappy linen stitch scarf – ways to ‘break up’ multicolored yarns and avoid pooling…

I took a look at my projects, and as you may remember from yesterday, I knit a lot of gifts. A lot. Which means that the color choice is most of the time determined by the giftee – by their color wishes or by what I think they’ll like color-wise. It’s pretty ironic that a lot of them are grey, black or the dark end of primary colors – like the Struan hat I knit for my brother-in-law. The colorway is called Brothers Grimm (MadTosh, yay!) and it’s a very dark green that could almost pass for black, depending on the light. It makes me think of the woods, where the foliage cover keeps out the sunlight and it’s so green that it’s almost dark, no matter what time of the day. A very fitting setting for fairy tales and thus probably the reason why the colorway is named after the Brothers Grimm.

For me – I go through phases where I prefer one color over another. For the longest time blue was my favorite color, then I went through a green phase. Then I started wearing more red (again) and right now I really feel like knitting something in yellow. And wearing yellow. It just makes me so happy. Overall, I tend to stick to primary colors. Oh, and stripes. Give me stripes any day.

striped projects

some of my stripey projects…

As you can see, I love stripes. I have 21 projects with stripes, with an even mix between self-striping yarns and my own stripe creations. I’m actually joining a striped project KAL with any kind of striped project: socks, sweaters, scarves and shawls etc. And I have plenty of patterns involving stripes in my queue. One of the projects to be cast on within the next 30 days is a striped one. I have about 130 projects with some form of stripe element in my queue – not even counting those that could be modified with stripes.

So – I guess I’m beelike in that I move around between colors and design elements. At the same time, I have a thing for yellow right now and since so many of my gifts are in a dark/grey/black color, I have a bee color scheme going. And then the stripes, well, bees are striped. Ha!

Btw, last year’s knitting and crochet blog week also had us put up a post on the topic of color. It’s funny, I just took a look at what  I wrote, and yes, most of it is still true. I do like color, I still like striped yarns but not crazy color combinations, yada yada yada.

I leave you with a contemplation on my stash. I started putting this together yesterday as part of the Infographic but then decided to save that data for today’s post. (Btw, for all of you who asked, I got most of the information from my Ravelry project page and by playing around with the advanced search feature). The image isn’t  statistically correct – the percentages are different –  but the color sequence does reflect the color preferences in my stash.

Stash Color Distribution