Summer Slump

For the past couple of years I’ve found myself slowing down with my fiber habits and this year is no exception.  In the past I’ve associated it with different things, like a new job, always being on the trail, or just starting up with new hobbies, but I think after a third year of this I think I just don’t have mojo in the summer.

Work has been crazy and the last two weeks particularly so and while the heat from last week has broken, I’ve been totally listless in my fiber doings.

The one bright spot, is that I’m making some serious headway on Carla’s shawl.  I was hoping to have it done by August 1st, but that’s unlikely considering the week I have ahead of me, however I do expect it to be done in the next couple of weeks.

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Also, my Dropcloth samplers have arrived, and I’ve been playing around with embroidery, which has been lots of fun.

Four new samplers

Four new samplers

Just starting out

Just starting out

Getting the hang of the stitches

Getting the hang of the stitches

Doodling on my own

Doodling on my own

 

I’ve been sorta spinning.  I got a new coffee table (and a television) two weeks ago and I haven’t figured out the best spot to spin with the new furniture. But I’m making some headway on spinning Angel.  I want to have it done before our first guild meeting in September so I can show it off to Heather (the shepherd).  I don’t think I’m going to make it back to the Rosseau Market this year, so I may have to email her to see if she has fluff for any other of her sheep because they are an AMAZING spin.  Also, there are little bits of VM (vegetable matter, mostly grass) in the fluff which reminds me of where yarn come from and makes me smile.

 

Angel on the wheelI also tried to distract myself with a bit of crochet and for some reason I wanted to make the African Flower hexagons.  They are fun to make but my heart just wasn’t in it, so now I have some motifs with nothing to do, I might make a couple more and sew them together and give them to my friend Kristen’s two-year old daughter Taylor who can use them for a doll/stuffed animal blanket.

Crocheted Hexagons

I’m hoping to get Carla’s shawl/veil done soon because I still need to knit myself a shawl as well as I haven’t made a pair of socks in ages.  I’ve put most of my other knitting on hold to get this shawl done and I have a few things that have been taunting me for ages and stash that is just dying to be knit up.  However, my stash acquisition hasn’t been too bad this year (and I’ve been destashing slowly) so I’m not feeling the relentless push to keep up with my stash this year, which is probably good for my mental health.

Day 7: Looking Forward

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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.

Looking forward has always been a big part of the new year on my blog.  For the past few years I’ve been setting goals, for 2013 my goals are …

Quantities

  • Spin 5lbs of fluff
  • Use up 10 miles of yarn
  • Create 40 items (knit, crocheted or woven)
  • Knit 15 pairs of socks
  • Knit an adult sweater for myself

Techniques

  • Complete a project in Tunisian Crochet
  • Learn and complete a project that uses Broomstick Lace
  • Learn and complete a project in Brioche Stitch
  • Learn and complete a project in double knitting
  • Complete a tatting project
  • Give stranded colorwork another try
  • Complete the sampler in The Weavers Idea Book by Jane Patrick
  • Complete a weaving project using overshot techniques
  • Compete a weaving project for something OTHER than a scarf or cowl
  • Spin a semi-woolen yarn (long draw from a combed top)
  • Spin an “art yarn”
  • Spin a laceweight yarn
  • Give needle felting another try
  • Give DPNs another try

Yarn and Stash

  • Use my handspun yarns in knitting, crochet and weaving projects
  • Use more yarn than I stash — More specifically get my stash ratio to less than 1.0 for 2013 and try to get my lifetime ratio to less than 2.0 by the end of the year (as the end of 2012 it was 2.43)
  • Destash yarns I don’t absolutely love and probably won’t ever use

I’ve already accomplished a few of these goals, well I’ve knit a brioche scarf, woven a pickup stick sampler scarf, and I’ve finished 3 (nearly 4) pairs of socks.

A few others I’ve already tried and discarded, like giving needle felting a try.  I tried again and ended up giving away my needle felting supplies. Also, double knitting, unless I find a project I love I didn’t really like the technique.

So for the purpose of KCBW, my goal for the year is to make sure that I enjoy my crafting and that I didn’t push aside my enjoyment of fiber to meet some artificial goals.  Also, to make the Mascot Projects that I  wrote about on Day 2.

And as another successful Knitting & Crochet Blog Week draws to a close I have to give a big shoutout to Eskimimi for putting together a fantastic blogging event, here’s to year 5!

FIFO, FIFO, it’s off to knit we go

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So, if someone were to look at my workspace, kitchen, dresser, car, hard drive you would make an educated (and accurate) guess that I’m not an overly orderly person.  On the whole whole, my life has taken the “long way ’round”, totally without order or plan.  Which is why my obsession with FIFO (First In, First Out) is so deeply odd.  Although, I do eat the frosting (my favorite part) last when I get cake, so maybe not that odd.

For some reason when I get a new awesome yarn, I can’t just ball it and knit it, I feel the need to keep going with the oldest yarns in my stash.  I’ve been working on this issue, I managed to knit some TFA Red Label in Dove within 2 months of getting it, and it didn’t kill me.

So I’m stating it here, I’m not throwing away my goals for the year, but I’m taking them with a grain of salt.  My tendency would be to attack the list in order (and use the oldest yarns in my stash) and then see what I get to do for fun after the “work” is done.

I have finished, or released myself from, all my obligation crafting (knitting/crochet mostly) and I’m going to do what I want, when I want to.  For the rest of tonight, I think I’m going to sit down at my wheel for the first time in months, and maybe do some reading in my new copy of The Spinner’s Book of Yarn Design. Maybe later this week I will re-warp my loom, or not.  I’m going off script, and the adventure awaits.

Meet the Stragglers

Going into 2012 I had a clean slate of projects, this year is a bit different, I have a few stragglers that I wasn’t able to get done before midnight on December 31st.  They will be either finished or frogged by the end of the year, and probably sooner than that.  Here they are, from earliest cast-date to latest cast on date.

First up, we have the Rockberry Triangle.

Rockberry Triangle

Cast on: September 18th
Percent Complete: Probably about 50%, I am just starting chart D (which is the other design on the body before the edging)
Deadline: I don’t really want to start another big shawl till I get this one done, so it is at the top of the WIP pile.

Next, we have, Opal Bud Crochet Shawl,

Opal Heather Shawl

Cast on: September 30th
Percent Complete: 5% – I’ve barely scratched the surface on this one, as I have 1,200 yds of laceweight earmarked for this project
Deadline: None in mind, I just want to get it done before the end of the year.

Then, soon after I cast on Too Cool for My Socks

Very cool toes

Cast on: October 4th
Percent Complete: 10% – the toes are done and when I actually get to them in my purse they should get finished reasonably quickly
Deadline: I hope to have these done before the snow melts, I have heard rumors that Felici Sport is being discontinued, so I stocked up during the Black Friday sale and will have lots of socks to keep me happy for a few years, so I have no real desire to rush through this pair.

Then after a bit of a gap, I have my Canaries, Castles and Bunnies, Oh My!

Color Affection

Cast on: November 3rd (sorta)
Percent Complete: 0% – I have knit and ripped out the first section about 10 times since I cast on 2 months ago
Deadline: Like two months ago, I need to focus in and get working on this, or find another three-color shawl, cause this one is really hanging over my head.

Then we have one last thing cast on in 2012, Ottawa Baby Sweater

Ottawa Baby Sweater

Cast on: December 26th
Percent Complete: 60% –
Deadline: Right away, I need to finish three more baby sweaters before a shower that I have heard rumors will be in February …

Actually, there was one more in 2012, Pointelle, but I decided to hibernate it after screwing up the first two rows of the cuff too many times.

Then with 2013 starting I have some a new kid on the block, a Raccoon for Toshie

The Start of Rocky Raccoon

 

So I have my work cut out for me, but all projects finished in 2013 count towards this year’s goals.

2013 and Looking Forward

Not actually today but a close likeness

So, here we are at the end of the the first day of the year and I guess it is time to let all of you know what to expect from me this year, although if last year is any indication my results and my goals bear very little resemblance to one another.

This year instead of classifying by craft, I have set my goals by type.

In 2013, I want to …

Quantities

  • Spin 5lbs of fluff
  • Use up 10 miles of yarn
  • Create 40 items (knit, crocheted or woven)
  • Knit 15 pairs of socks
  • Knit an adult sweater for myself

Techniques

  • Complete a project in Tunisian Crochet
  • Learn and complete a project that uses Broomstick Lace
  • Learn and complete a project in Brioche Stitch
  • Learn and complete a project in double knitting
  • Complete a tatting project
  • Give stranded colorwork another try
  • Complete the sampler in The Weavers Idea Book by Jane Patrick
  • Complete a weaving project using overshot techniques
  • Compete a weaving project for something OTHER than a scarf or cowl
  • Spin a semi-woolen yarn (long draw from a combed top)
  • Spin an “art yarn”
  • Spin a laceweight yarn
  • Give needle felting another try
  • Give DPNs another try

Yarn and Stash

  • Use my handspun yarns in knitting, crochet and weaving projects
  • Use more yarn than I stash — More specifically get my stash ratio to less than 1.0 for 2013 and try to get my lifetime ratio to less than 2.0 by the end of the year (as the end of 2012 it was 2.43)
  • Destash yarns I don’t absolutely love and probably won’t ever use

So, it looks like I have a few awesomely cool challenges ahead of me this year, and I’m sure I will dream up a few more in the next 12 months.

2012 and Looking Back

2012 Knitting

For the last two years I have been doing retrospective and looking forward posts as the years end and begin, and this year is no different. I am using December 30th, as the cut off day for finishing projects in 2012.  Unlike last year I have some projects carrying forward into 2013 and I’m okay with that.

So 2012 in numbers looks something like this, 2011 and 2010 numbers are in brackets. Note, that this year I added a loom so these number include woven projects as well.

2012 by the Numbers:

  • 20.56 (14, 23) miles of yarn acquired during the year
  • 33 (22, 18) miles of yarn currently in my stash
  • 8.7 (6.2, 4.5) miles of yarn knit/crocheted/woven into projects
  • 1.82 (2.15, 3.93) Ratio of yarn acquired to used
  •  1,092 (2,771, 426) yards of handspun yarn
  •  2.5 (6, 5.7) pounds of spinning fiber acquired
  • 12.7 (12, 5) pounds of spinning fiber in stash
  • 1.37 (2.85, 4.68) ratio of stashed fluff to spun yarn
  • 1 (6, 7) pairs of mittens
  • 4 (5, 14) hats
  • 7 (3, 6) shawls or stoles
  • 10 (0, 3) scarves
  • 0 (2, 2) bags
  • 0 (2, 0) blankets
  • 8 (6, 1) cowls
  • 13 (3, 1) pairs of socks
  • 1 (10, 0) dishclothes
  • 2 (0,1) baby sweaters
  • 3 (0,0) toys

The big difference this year was the addition of socks, in a big way, to my repertoire.  Ultimately, I acquired more yarn this year than almost any other but I also used much more than any year.  I also had the smallest fluff acquisition ever, but I did hardly any spinning. I found that with my crazy work schedule I never was all that compelled to sit at my wheel, I’m hoping to change that in 2013.

So to see how I did on the goals I set for myself in January 2012.  I didn’t often look at this list when making decisions about what to make this year so, I think I didn’t do very well meeting my own expectations, but I had a great year in knitting, crocheting, weaving (and an okay year in spinning) so this is just an exercise in curiosity at this stage.

In 2012, I:  (goals I have met are struck through)

– Spinning –

  • Participate in the Tour de Fleece in July – NOPE didn’t even try
  • Spin a truly woolen-spun yarn – Not this year but I will try again next year
  • Spin a useable sock yarn – Didn’t even attempt this one, but I have some ideas on how to accomplish it.
  • Spin a 2-ply laceweight of at least 800 yds from 100g of fluff – Nope, another one for 2013
  • Spin at least 3lbs of fluff – I did 1.8 lbs, so more than halfway, which is good for not really spinning
  • Tailspin some locks – Nope, but didn’t get my hands on any locks so that was extra challenging
  • Spin hand carded fleece Yep, but I hated the yarn I was making so I just tossed it, but I do want to get a drumcarder one day because I do prefer spinning carded batts to combed top.

– Knitting –

  • Knit 12 pairs of socks during the year – I have all the yarn in my stash – YES, and you can read about all my socks HERE.
  • Finish one large shawl/stole, more than 1000yds of laceweight – Nope, I had nobel ideas, but none came to fruition, I am going to relist this goal for 2013 as I have a crocheted stole lined up to use about 1,200 yards of laceweight I hope to have done before summer.
  • Design a pattern that is appropriate for submission to an online knitting magazine – Nope, but again, I have some ideas that are at least suitable for self-publishing, something I want to set as a goal for 2013.
  • Participate in at least one Knitalong – This goal was kind of a gimmie, because I was already planning on participating in the January TFA KAL and then I went on to do several more through the year, one of which actually won me a prize.
  • Knit more than 10 miles of yarn – With 8.7 miles of yarn used, I am short of my 10 mi goal, but I think I still want to aim for it, because I have big plans for 2013.

– Crochet –

  • Start a sock-yarn Babette Blanket from my scraps – Nope, but I got a RH loom which I have been using to use up scraps and I LOVE it.
  • Crochet a shaped item (mittens, hats, shrug, etc) – AMIGURUMI are fun!  I had no idea that might be what I made in shaped crochet, but I have more yarn and patterns on the way to make many, many more.

– Fiber/Yarn –

  • Take undyed fluff and turn it into a finished object, which will included dyeing, spinning and knitting.
  • Process some raw fleece, preferably from a local producer.
  • Knit down my stash
  • FAILED on all these counts, however, a chaotic summer (with a daily 2hr, 100mile round-trip commute) killed some of my inertia to accomplish these during the summer.  

Looking at it I didn’t really accomplish many of my goals for 2012, however I don’t see this as a failure, but a representation of how hard it is to see into the future, when I was sitting at my desk in January, I had no idea that I would be where I am today.   So I will set goals for 2013 and post them here tomorrow, January 1st, but here are some of the things I accomplished this year which were not on my list for 2012.

Also in 2012, I:

I still have a few 2012 FO posts to share in the next few days as I get better pictures (or in one case block and take pictures, its a lace shawl so it really needs blocking), but I am ready to dive into a new year of fiber fun!

Snippets of May

I have two drafts and five finished objects (and two handspun yarns with more to come) to get posted on the blog, and yet I haven’t published in weeks.  With my gainful unemployment ending next week, I feel a mania grabbing me and getting me to start and finish all sorts of projects knowing that I won’t have nearly as much time going forward from June 4th.

On June 4th I start a new job in Bracebridge, about an hour east of Parry Sound, in Muskoka.  For those of you who are familiar know that Bracebridge is in the heart of cottage country and a neat little town.  I’m going to be working for a local environmental not-for-profit doing archival and stewardship work.  I’m really excited to start, the work should be interesting and I hope to learn lots from such a good organization.  Also, it could mean moving, most importantly, out of my parents house for like the 4th, and hopefully last, time.

For some reason I’m more keen to blog when I’m working, when I’m not working I find it more of a chore to sit at my computer and not be knitting or weaving.

Here are some snippets of what I have been making and admiring (click the first picture to see all of them in a fun gallery format).

If you want to see more of me, I’m usually on Twitter, sometimes on Pinterest and rarely on Facebook. Use the links at the bottom of the page to track me down there.

Public Health Alert: I have OFATAS

So after posting about my new loom, I got a really nice comment from siberianstarbeads warning me about a communicable disease that has been spreading, OFATAS or Obsessive FiberArts Tool Acquisition Syndrome.

OFATAS is characterized by the acquisition of needles, hooks, nostpinnes, spindles, wheels, looms, carders, handcards, combs, shuttles and all manner of fiber art paraphernalia.  Warning signs of the onset of this disease is an excessively large stash of yarn, fiber and fleece, as well as a growing collection of books on fiber arts.

Well, I have a serious case of OFATAS, which is quite visible by my growing stash of tools.  I have two full sets of interchangeable knitting needles (wood and metal), two full set of 32″ and 47″ sock needles (wood and metal), crochet hooks, a niddy noddy, swift, ball winder, blocking kit (mats, wires and pins), three spindles, a spinning wheel, extra bobbins, lazy kate, hand cards, rigid heddle loom, tatting shuttle …

I have it bad and I couldn’t be happier.

For me working with my hands with these tools to create objects, useful objects, frivolus objects, one of a kind objects is really gratifying.  Considering how much of my life and work exist only in computers and theory this is a very real thing.  I imagine gardeners feel the same way, their hands can create something great and special or woodworkers or painters.

The most important thing about these tools is that they not be garbage.  My great-Oma, always said “We are too poor to buy cheap things” and this is a mantra I have taken on for many things, from food (why eat garbage, real food is so much better), to computers, to shoes, appliances and fiber art tools.  I understand needs changing, but why buy a practice spindle for $30 when the one you really want is $80 and you are eventually going to buy it anyway, save the $30 buy just buying the good tool first, or the one that won’t need replacing.

So I have a confirmed case of OFATAS and considering that Cricket Loom is not likely to treat the condition for long, I think my next item will be drum carder but I need to get a permanent job position before that can happen.