Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Week That Was............

....fast.  And over.  Hiking, a Fat Tuesday blues concert, a discussion group--it was busy.  There was also a lot of walking, but not a lot of crafting as I am still very fond of sleep. I thought I'd get some done over the weekend, but we were out most of both days and I was worn out by evening and I get into enough trouble in the sewing room when I'm well-rested.  So yesterday I managed to spend a little time in the sewing room.  The green jacket is progressing,
there was some work on the red and white table runners,
and my careful plan to make sure I created an even distribution of blocks failed badly, so with the last three squares, I just put them together and we'll see which blocks they create. 
I think what I might end up doing with these blocks will be laying out the table runners all at once to see how many I have blocks for, which blocks I need, and going from there.  I have a feeling there will be one runner with a very scrappy look. 

I have moved one of my exercise balls into the sewing room to use as a chair, which both strengthens the muscles and helps me sit for a bit longer than I generally could, but it's a still a very short-spurts sort of thing, so I alternate with projects I can do while standing.  In my cleaning of the sewing room, I ran across this fabric,
which is a blue microsuede that I probably bought in 2006 or 2007.  I had intended to make a suit out of it, which would have been very entertaining as I picked a lined jacket pattern having just barely taken sewing up again and knowing nothing about working with microsuede, making jackets, or dealing with lining.  But such details rarely even slow me down.  However, I decided that an excellent place to start coping with the sewing room stash would be to use one of my oldest fabrics, so I cut out a pant and shirt ensemble,
which left 2 yards remaining which Theo promptly claimed.  I thought it would only leave one yard, and a quick 5-yard project sounded great, but 4 yards is good too.  Not that I'm trying to use up 100 yards of fabric of course. 

I have done a bit of knitting this week.  The white scarf is my first Mad Dash project finished, and I've started the bulky weight sweater.
This yarn was originally a gift and I made a shrug with it, but it was such great, squishy yarn and the shrug was a little small, so I had gone looking for one or two skeins extra to make it a bit bigger, and ran across a 10-ball bag on clearance.  So, the shrug is being ripped back to make a lovely, squishy sweater.  It's on size 11 needles, which I don't use very often, so it's zipping along--or would if I wasn't ripping back another project to knit this one.  I'm not sure if I'll really get to that 3000-yard mark by the end of March, but I will definitely make a visible dent in my box of yarn:
 
I even sold a skein of yarn this week.  It wasn't one that I had listed for sale, but someone on Ravelry needed that particular skein for an afghan and I had bought it several years ago for a Baby Surprise Jacket, but it wasn't a yarn I was particularly fond of and as it's discontinued, the other knitter REALLY needed it.  So, 315 yards of yarn out of my stash and I've helped another knitter--WIN-WIN!  With that and the Mad Dash and if I did fewer lace projects and more worsted and heavier weight projects, I could completely clear out an entire rubber bin by the end of the year..........

Of course, what I want to do right NOW is to cast on a new lace project for portable knitting.......

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wow, Was THAT A Weekend!

After spending so much of the last 4 years in bed in pain, I am still amazed by how much stuff one can do in a pain-free day.  And by pain-free days in general. 

With my Mad dash yarn all ready and waiting for Sunday's knitting kickoff,
I decided to get in a project I've been wanting to try--a white rope bowl with variegated thread:
I used Sulky 30 wt. blend-able cotton thread, and found that it used almost the entire 500 yards AND created THE must fuzz I have ever seen.  Sulky is a great thread company, so it isn't a fault of the thread, but the sheer volume of thread used and using cotton instead of my usual polyester meant my next project was cleaning the machine thoroughly.  I'm pleased with the bowl, though having to change the bobbin frequently left some noticeable spots on the bowl, so I am going to add a button to cover up the biggest one.  Still, I had bought the thread specifically for this purpose and now I've done it.  YAY! And my machine probably needed cleaning anyway....

I have been being very good about spending time with WIPs, but with full days, I found that I needed a simple project to work on in the evenings, so I ended up taking the recently-discovered Highland wool/silk yarn out of my Mad-dash bin,
and making another keyhole scarf.   Have I mentioned that I love this pattern?  It took 2 days, so the yarn-I-didn't-know-I-still-had-and-had-to-add-to-my-stash is officially used up now.  That felt good. 

Saturday was lovely, but I was holding myself to only a one mile walk because we had decided to try hiking with friends on Sunday which would be a challenge for my hip, so 
I put more strips together for the newest red and white table runner experiment, and--you might want to sit down for this--worked on the green jacket:
I know!  If I hurry, I could get it done just under the one year mark.  Please don't be frightened by such dazzling crafting speed..........

Sunday I put one of my Mad Dash projects in the car, just in case I needed to turn back early or something,
and went hiking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We went much farther and much faster than I expected, but it was still okay.  I was completely worn out at the end, but everyone else was tired as well and I didn't hurt and hadn't held everyone up and just had a nice hike almost like everyone else.  The only difference was the rocky part at the front, and as my hip will always be able to be knocked out of place, I was extremely careful going over that stretch--especially coming back when my hip was worn out.  BUT I DID IT!!!!!!!!!  And I didn't hurt--which was great because I'd forgotten to bring any pain killers.  I had to be very careful that evening because my muscles were just too tired to be relied on in any way, so
I started my first Mad-Dash project!  3000 yards of knitting in 6 weeks.  I think I can do this!  (Of course, I still seem to think I can knit 20,000 yards of yarn a year, so we'll see..............)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday!

Thanks everyone!  If you didn't notice, I am more than a little thrilled with the first table-runner top.  I was questioning my fabric choices all through the sewing of the 96 strips, and it's a relief to see how well they work.   Now I need to mark the edges for trimming and then move on to backing and batting, but so far I've been tidying and vacuuming most of the morning.  Let's pretend like you can notice a difference:
So far I haven't found any fabric that I didn't know I had, but some of it isn't in my project book, so I've been adding as I go.  Boy, do I have a lot of projects ahead of me!  Maybe I should just lock myself in the sewing room for a month and see how I do....

I have the first blocks cut out of the red and white projects, and have been playing with layouts:
It seems I could have controlled the orientation of the blocks, because I have 2 sets of 4 and 2 sets of 6, but now that I have a mix of both, I'm going to continue to work with both directions.  I have to say, I could play with these for hours.  Of course, the problem is going to be that they don't all end up perfectly balanced once you try for any wider than this, so my love of symmetry is in for a rude awakening, or I'm in for some short table runners. 

Calisto, who is suddenly NOT afraid of the vacuum after 11 years of terror, is my sidekick today.  If she couldn't hear a can of catfood being opened at 100 paces, I'd think she'd just gone deaf. Of course, she needed a little lift to get up there.
Fair enough.  I doubt I can jump that high anymore either..........

Thursday, February 12, 2015

One top is done!

Spring Fever And Spring Cleaning

In spite of it still being February, we're having 60-degree weather this week and last (which will probably destroy most of Idaho's fruit crops among other things), and while it's completely crazy and unseasonal, it's hard not to enjoy the early spring.

Why is it that spring brings on the desire to clean?  Believe me, this is not a normal desire for me.  I know there are people who LOVE to organize because my sister is one of them and when we had to clean the garage as kids, she could extend it into an all-day ordeal and completely nasty to me when I stopped after doing what we had been asked to do instead of helping her organize.  (We're not close)  However,
after tidying my clothes closet, I thought it time to tackle the sewing room--at least in small doses.  Unlike a lot of people with huge stashes, I rarely buy things without a project in mind.  I just think of projects MUCH faster than I make them.  Much, MUCH faster.  So, besides dusting and sorting and revisiting things I've probably forgotten, I want to make sure I have my projects accounted for in my little project book.  It's up to 16 pages now, but as 68 of the projects are now finished, it's actually motivating rather than overwhelming.  My desire to check things off lists REALLY knows no bounds.  I will add things I've finished to a list just to be able to put a checkmark by it.  Really.  So, I'm hoping that now that I can sit for small periods of time, I can get to more and more of the projects I've lined up.  There are some great ones in there.  I'd love t say that empty cubbyhole is there because I've used up everything that was in it, but alas, that is not the case.  Instead, I dusted off the plastic bags of yarn, and found this
leftover from a sweater I made in 2007, and which is now in my Mad Dash bin to make another Lacy Bowknot scarf, this
which is leftover from a sweater I made in 2008 (and part of the 75 balls of yarn I bought to get ready for my first year of cold sheeping in case I ran out of yarn).  It is by far the worst yarn I have EVER worked with--knots in EVERY 75-yard skein, shedding, pilling, and the sweater I used it on looks 50 years old by now.  I almost threw it straight in the trash, but there are a few souls on Ravelry who like this yarn, so I think I'll list it for sale or trade for a bit. 

I was far more excited to find this:
which is a beautiful shirt-weight cotton flannel I bought in 2006 or 2007 and had intended for a shirt for Andy--and haven't seen in a few years.  So, after confirming with Andy that this is a color he would wear (surprise be damned--I have ripped back a sweater in a brown he hated, so we don't do surprises like that any more), I have set it aside for his birthday this year.  As soon as I finish the tan clothes for his birthday LAST year, of course. 

I actually might have started cutting it out yesterday (you know--before losing it again), but I decided the sensible thing to do would be to make some progress on the projects already in progress--for which I am VERY proud of myself as that is not the choice I would normally make.  Instead, I steeled myself to cut up my first 4 "strata" for the spicy spiral table runners,
and after puzzling over the writing of the instructions for a bit, finally figured out what the author meant, got my wedges for the first runner all cut out, and started sewing:
There's a point in the strips where, no matter which way you go, you're sewing against the pressed seams, so that part was slow, but I worked on it again this morning while drinking my coffee, 
and the first runner is close to being assembled.  I am really pleased with it, though these are definitely NOT the project for the less-craft-worthy recipients on our gift list.  After all this work, these babies will need SPECIAL homes--if I part with them at all.  :)

While mindlessly sewing the 96 strips together for the table runners, I decided to throw in the strips for the next project:
because once you're over 75, what's a few more?  I ran across this on Pinterest, and thought it would work really well for a table runner--you know, because I haven't worked in red and white for SOOOOOOOOOOOOO long.  The real deciding factor here was that I had already ironed the red snowflake print before noticing that it was too orange to match the reds in the other table runner.  I don't know about you, but I hate ironing and rather than let that wrinkle-free fabric go back in the bin, I cut strips for ornaments and 2.5-inch strips both for my "jelly roll" bin and for this project.  I'm not sure how many table runners I'll make like this, but there could be quite a few if I like the look.  We exchange gifts with so many people during the year--it's a bit daunting to think about.  Out of all the table runners I've made in the past 2 years, I think there are 8 in the gift bin right now that aren't already earmarked for something soon.  So, there might be quite a few of these little guys.........

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mad Dash 2015

Yes, there has been work on the eternal table runners,
but no, it doesn't look like it.  Did I say knitting was slow?

Yesterday I signed up for one of the teams for Mad Dash 2015 in the Stashdown Group on Ravelry.  I believe this started with some wildly ambitious knitters who set out to knit 12,000 yards in 6 weeks (February 15-March 31).  As I have had YEARS when I haven't knit that much, I've never been remotely tempted to join in, but it's always fun to cheer for knitters crazier than I am.  However, now there are TEAMS, so I have committed to 3,000 yards in 6 weeks--probably more than I've ever done in 6 weeks, but not totally crazy--though, perhaps, mildly.  So this morning, while Theo kept an eye on the neighborhood,
I sorted through a bin of worsted- and aran-weight yarn that might have moved just outside the sewing room door without ever moving back in....(Ahem.......)
This is actually yarn that mostly wasn't on my Ravelry stash page until we redid the sewing room a few years ago, and it turns out that there are a few problems with updating one's stash while on pain pills.  I discovered I had two skeins of this
instead of just one (which makes it MUCH more useful and means I have enough yarn for a scarf), but a blue chenille yarn was listed incorrectly, so I have less than half the yardage I thought I did.  So, up one skein but down some yardage--not bad for doing nothing.  And I set aside enough yarn for scarves and hats, 
which would bring me to 2000 yards AND half-empty the Rubbermade tub.  I have a bulky-weight sweater that would use up 1200 yards if I got it done which might make up the difference for me, or I might try matching projects to a few more balls of yarn in that bin to get closer to emptying it. So I could use it for fabric........Oops.