Saturday, March 31, 2012

Not So Much "Finishing" Friday

...or even a crafting Friday.  I have accepted a political consulting contract, so I worked most of yesterday, and it wasn't until evening that I had some free time for knitting.
This will be a simple baby sweater all in stockinette, and was just the right project to start after a busy day.  According to the pattern and everyone's notes on Ravelry, the two balls of this yarn that I have should be enough to make this sweater in the 12-month size, so that's what I'm aiming for.  12 sweaters in a year didn't necessarily mean 12 ADULT-sized sweaters.  Stand by for doll-sized sweaters by about October...........

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Insert "Chariots of Fire" Theme Here

The first sweater is done,
blocked, and
 furred.  Theo's part is done, but I do still need to weave in the end for the neck.  I was waiting to see how it blocked before weaving in the ends.  I think I would make it just a bit longer if I were to do this again, but I actually made it slightly longer than the directions said, but because cotton stretches, I didn't want to get too excited about modifications.  It's very cute though, and I was all jazzed about starting the next sweater.....but the pattern books for the next 2 are somewhere in boxes.  Dang it.  I guess that's one way to make me tackle those WIPs.

1 down, 11 to go..............

Saturday, March 24, 2012


In an ordinary week, I would have perhaps finished some knitting.........or done some knitting.  But as anyone who has been seeing Idaho in the national news lately will probably know, this is not an ordinary week.  I've been posting the details on my other blog so I won't do so here, but I mention it here as the only excuse I have for having only made it to here
on the spring tank top.  One tiny front piece and then just the neck and arm holes and it's done.  So like 5 stitches more than last time.  Sheesh--if I were knitting any slower I'd be tinking.

The good news is that Andy has not been such a slug, so I helped him glue the first shelves together:
They're made from oak and oak plywood, and will be stained a reddish-brown--sort of to look like cherry office furniture.  We've been trying out different colors of stain and wood combinations and found redder hues look best against the green paint.  We talked about using nicer wood, but with the size of my stash, only a very small portion of these shelves will ever be seen by anyone ever again.  Sort of like Andy's pajama top.

Andy also helped me hang the sewing thread this week:
and I have finally adjusted to being much closer to my new well-your-eyesight-is-only-going-to-get-worse-at-your-age monitor. I didn't think about it being closer, but for the first few days I felt like the computer was yelling at me anytime I used it--which is really the serger's job in this room. Andy is hoping to bring at least the first shelf "carcass" up here next weekend, so I could soon have a finished sewing room!  Or finished in the "stuff Andy is doing" sense.  I have a feeling I'll be only STARTING at that point......

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why Is It........

Just when I'm down to knitting the last part of the tank---just ready to divide for the front--that what I really want to do is cast on a new project?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Really, I swear I almost have a finished sweater.  Honest.  The back of the tank top is done, the front is on the needles.........and I am posting late at night because I thought I might have a finished sweater to show you if I just kept knitting........

Dang that pesky need for sleep...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Organizing The Sewing Room

Andy had another idea for storage for the sewing room, so he added a thin piece of plywood to the underside of the new sewing desk
and now it's the perfect place to store long skinny things--yardstick, blocking wires, that long flat pressing thing,
and also seems to provide a LOT of kitty entertainment on rainy days:
Because my back was hurting a bit more (gym, lifting boxes, sitting--image that),  I spent most of Finishing Friday working on the new sweater,
which has now divided for the armholes and I'm working on just the back.  I also finished picking up the button band for the blue sweater, but I want to edit that pattern to add buttons and button holes, which I thought would be best to do while NOT back on pain pills.  

No progress on the green dress yet, but I have actually located a sewing project I can do as soon as the dress is finished.
Same jean-type jacket pattern I keep making, but this one in purple corduroy, so one that would be great for fall.  I have 4 yards of the fabric, so ideally I would be able to locate a shirt or bag pattern and be able to cut it all out at once, but so far I have only located 5 sewing patterns, and they're all ones I've used before.  Still, I think this will make a cute jacket.  When I bought this fabric, it was on clearance and something around $1 a yard, and my intention was to make Andy a shirt, but I've already made him a purple corduroy shirt in a finer wale but in this exact color, so that seems a bit Stepford.  Why that didn't occur to me AT THE TIME I BOUGHT IT has a lot to do with why I have this humungous stash.  There may be people who can pass up $1 a yard in decent fabrics, but I'm obviously not one of them............

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It took almost all day, but I finally was able to convince myself that there were 3 entire tubs that I probably wouldn't be getting to in the next 12 months,

so the stereo has a place to sit.  Call it the "music for the delusional" project, as it really was hard to admit that there is ANY yarn in my possession that I won't knit this year.  If you'll notice, I couldn't even commit to 3 yarn tubs.  There are 3--I think there are actually 6 or 7--but I struggled with not just saying there is yarn I won't get to for a while, I also have the tubs sorted by weight and didn't want to combine them, but I also don't want to have tubs around that are only partially full. Maybe the less-full ones can be moved to the shelves when they are done?  Or maybe at least I can pretend for a little while longer that the stash is really going to be tamed by those shelves................

Robin and Gaidig had some great ideas for the stash bin, so I've started sorting this year's yarn:
There are projects that I really NEED to do this year (gifts), projects I want to do (sweaters for me), and projects that I would like to do if I get frustrated with everything else.  So, the yarn that is VISIBLE in the bin is yarn from the "need to do" list.  I'm hoping to move it to clear plastic bags, but I'm not sure I have enough of them.  Oh well.  The yarn in bags I can't see through are "reward" projects.  If I'm caught up on the other things, I can pick one of those.  If one can't control one's inner child, one should at least know a few good ways to bribe it.  This will probably be a 2-bin project eventually as I think my current WIPs will go in there as well, but the one empty bin I had is holding general sewing room crap right now.  As is the hallway, our bedroom, the guest room, my closet.....ahem.....

ONE thing from the sewing room has been dealt with.  While looking for scissors I ran across two blue hand towels that I had intended to decorate, so...........
I originally thought I would fill in the space between the two decorative stitching strips as well, but when I got this far, I really liked how it looked like there was a lace-trimmed insert on the towels, so I left them like this.  I am calling these a "decoration" for my list of 12 items as we're keeping them.  They could have qualified as embroidered towels, but I kind of intend that to be 12 towels embroidered as gifts (unless I mess them up--then we keep them), so it made more sense to call them something to decorate the house.  One more thing done!

And in the "really behind on my list" category, I haven't gotten back to the blue sweater yet, but
the spring tank top is moving along quickly.  There's a lot I like about knitting with cotton, but it is a nightmare to splice.  I know it doesn't look as nice and it's a bad thing in the knitting world, but I am leaving knots on the back of this baby, and if it turns out, I will take a needle and thread and stitch them down to the backside so they won't be in the way or visible.  It's ugly, but not nearly as ugly as my mood gets when splicing tweedy cotton...............

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things Learned This Week

*  When trying to sort out the yarn I will be knitting in the next 12 months and the yarn I won't get to in the next year, I have discovered that some part of me really still believes I can knit a 10-year supply of yarn in the next 12 months.

*  If one has big rubber tubs full of yarn, until one has actually emptied out every single tub of yarn and double-checked it, one should not boast that one finally has one's entire stash on Ravelry....unless one wants to be blindsided by 15 unaccounted for skeins lurking in the depths of the stash.

*  Getting the sewing machines and computer all set up on the new sewing table would be even MORE exciting if I knew where my patterns, pin cushions, extra needles, marking pencils, and hem gauges were and could actually start sewing.

*  If one can't find a knitting group that one likes, a clever knitter offers to teach all her friends to knit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Have A New Idea

For now, the stereo-sitting-on-a-stack-of-yarn-filled-Rubbermade-tubs scheme is probably going to need to be continued in the sewing room, which means

1.  I can move a few things back into the sewing room and out of the bedroom
2.  This would be an excellent time to decide what I want to knit in the next 12 months so I don't discover that the next project is going to require moving a whole bunch of stuff.

So, what if I had two tubs to hold what I planned to knit in the next 12 months.  Could I stick to it?  And could I actually empty two entire tubs in one year?  Could my rise-to-the-challenge-no-matter-how-insane tendencies override the I-don't-want-to-knit-it-if-it's-planned-ahead stubbornness?  Or am I just saying this so I can play with yarn all day and really feel like I'm "cleaning?"

Monday, March 12, 2012

When The Going Gets Tough....

The tough finish an easy scarf:
and start a new sweater:
This is going to be a cotton tank top, and I would be providing a link to the pattern if I weren't such a nice person.  It's a free pattern, and it's always nice when people decide to share their work for free with the world.  I get that.  And it's a cute tank top, which I also appreciate.  BUT the stated gauge is 5.3 stitches to the inch using the pattern stitch.  5.3 stitches to the inch is insane enough, and generally no one does that, but the pattern has a double decrease separated by the 2 YOs by 5 stitches, which pulls the knitted stitches to a diagonal to form a wavy edge.  So....our gauge is now 5.3 stitches over a wavy pattern, and if one just measures the stitches themselves, they are at an angle and don't accurately represent the width of the stitches.  The solution?  Knit for a while, slide all 180+ stitches onto a piece of yarn and measure to make sure that the darn thing will come reasonably close to fitting some part of my body.  If this were anything but a tank top done in the round AND I weren't already 2 sweaters behind for the year, I wouldn't even attempt this pattern.  So, I'm sure you'll understand why I would attempt a pattern that I'm unwilling to inflict on my friends.

Yesterday we got the machines and chords all tracked down and plugged in (except for one surge protector that is still MIA), and decided that the $30 sewing tables are the perfect opportunity to test design ideas for the future "real" furniture.  Idea number one:
serger thread cone storage under the serger.  Originally I was thinking about having storage drawers on this end, but what do I use when I'm using the serger?  Thread, tweezers, a brush, needles, the tiny wrench for changing needles, and machine oil.  So far, that's it.  On a REALLY rare occasion I change feet, but that's so rare that they don't need to be near the machine.  Everything else could be in a single sleeve, bag, or cup.  So maybe this will work better than a drawer after all.  Andy also has a great idea for a storage slot under the table for long skinny things--my yardstick, my tube of blocking wires, my ironing sleeve.  I think that will be really handy, and since the furniture is just particle board and two by four boards, we can try anything, and if it doesn't work, we just take it off and try something else.  I think it will be about 2 years before we can get to the real furniture, so we'll have lots of time to experiment and take notes.  Why didn't we think of this sooner?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sewing Furniture!

As a pretty accomplished woodworker, Andy would probably like it known that this is in no way reflects his general building standard, but this weekend he made me a temporary sewing desk:
so we could get our folding table back to use for parties.  It's not pretty, but I am VERY excited, and it's going to be far more stable than the plastic tables I've been using.  He put it together yesterday and today he is assembling it in the sewing room,

 with Theo's help, of course, which is actually FAR more helpful than his "help" with the painting:

I think Theo's pretty happy with the new arrangement--at least far happier than he was about the paw scrubbing he got yesterday,
and now I can start putting part of the sewing room back together while Andy works on the shelving.  Yay!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

And What Did We Do For Finishing Friday?

Picked up the stitches for the neck and button bands for this:
"Surely," you must be saying, "that can't have taken the entire day."  Well, I can say for certainty, "Yes it jolly well CAN.  And don't call me Shirley."

The problem is that while this is a lovely yarn to knit with, the cool tweedy-look is caused by various threads of a highly argumentative synthetic that run through the yarn....except when trying to grab the yarn with a crochet hook.  Then they abandon the wool entirely and branch out on their own.  And if THAT wasn't enough fun, I'm actually trying to follow the pattern exactly, and the stitches to pick up aren't easy mathematical ratios--like 2 for every 3 stitches or anything of the kind.  On one part it's almost 1 for every 2, but not quite, but along the front it's almost every stitch--but not quite.  I haven't even actually FINISHED picking up all those blasted stitches--I'm down to the left front, but just couldn't take it any longer--even to FINALLY have my first finished sweater.  Sometimes it's good to know when you've been beaten for the day......

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Okay--I Hate Math

Today someone on the Cold Sheeping thread on Ravelry asked me if I had any idea what my net stash decrease has been after all this Cold Sheeping.  I know from my side tallies that I have knit up 357 balls/skeins/hanks/whatever.  That's sort of the easy part.  BUT, in the 4 years 2 months of Cold Sheeping, there have been "reward purchases" at the end of the year, a few "dang, I ran out of yarn and need more" purchases, the chemo-cap project, gifts, a few I-don't-actually-have-the-right-yarn purchases, and the infamous "I am on pain pills, in pain, feeling sorry for myself, and basically bribing myself to not murder anyone" purchase in November.  So, that isn't a net stash decrease.  I have now gone through my blog, through my Ravelry stash & stash used up tabs, and I think I can say with reasonable accuracy that the stash IN has been 212 balls, so the true NET decrease is 145 balls.  I did donate a big bag of icky acrylic yarns, but did not keep track of that, but there were at least 10 big Red Heart "Super Saver" skeins, so that would make it 155.  Not an astounding amount for 4 years, but part of me is slightly amazed that I have managed ANY net decrease because I couldn't ever manage it before.  There is NO WAY that I will try to figure up how much yarn I added to my stash in a year prior to Cold Sheeping, as I sincerely believe it would be MORE than 145 balls in a single year.  There is math that is simply too painful to do.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


And the first of TWELVE sweaters is almost finished:
and, being me, I still think 12 sweaters/shawls entirely doable.  Probably not too surprising, because I also seem to be able to believe that chocolate chip cookie DOUGH has no calories, even if the cookies do.  My world is a fun place.

Now that the sewing room is under attack an organizational-spree, we thought it would be a good time to rehang the closet doors:
which would have been a FANTASTIC thing to remember before packing up all the shelves.  The screws, I can locate.  The metal sliding parts.........not so much.  They are in a plastic baggie, but where that baggie now IS would be anyone's guess.  "A box" is as close as I can come.  So......maybe later.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Trial Set-Up Number 1

Pilfering the folding table we generally use downstairs when we have parties,  I set up the U-arrangement I'm thinking would work:
or would if this were actual furniture and not plastic tables.  Picture the card table with the stereo on it actually being just part of the actual desk.  I thought it would be great to be able to sew while looking out the window, which works really well for the first part of the day, but by afternoon:
Um, yeah.  These are indeed southern-facing windows.  How did you guess?  New plan:  the embroidery machine can go on that table.  But, I do think this will be a fantastic layout if I can figure out how to get 4 machines and a computer all set up around it.  For the eventual actual furniture, Andy will make the desk, and we can make most of them a bit narrower so it doesn't eat up as much space.

Trying to do a test-run was a bit interesting as I haven't the faintest idea where anything actually is--except the serger thread which is in my bedroom closet and the sad looking ivy plant, which is in the guest bathroom.  However, I did finally locate a WIP that I probably started back in 2004, as it's one of the very first sewing projects I attempted and DEFINITELY my first sewing projects banished to the project time-out bin, where it was sent for the crime of being over my head at the time.  Today I got to spend a fair bit of time ripping out the seams which were A. totally and completely wrong, and B. the reason for the banishment, but thankfully I still think it's a cute project
and have nothing else to sew anyway.  So it's really cute.   I am really annoyed that I packed up the wrist pincushion I always wear, but so far have remembered not to stab myself in the wrist.  The hardships we crafters suffer for our crafts.............:)  I'm doing the pleat insets now, and after that I think everything is pretty much done except for the buttonholes and hem and one or two seams.  Thankfully it doesn't require a zipper--I think they might be in the garage.  Or maybe Andy's closet.......

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Totals

Rats, I really thought that extra day in February would get me one more ball of yarn, but did not happen.  So, for February my totals ended up as follows:

Skeins of yarn used:  7.25
Yards of yarn used:  1,631.65
Yards of fabric used:  6.25

Not bad, and this time there was no yarn thrown away.  Whipping out my calculator (really, even math is fun if yarn is involved), if I averaged 1631 yards of yarn every month this year, I could use up 19,583 yards of yarn for the year AND get to say I only have about 10 year supply of yarn.  All I need to do is keep myself AWAY from the lace weight..................