Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mad Dash - 350 Yards Already

Actually, since there were size 11 needles involved AND double-stranding, it's rather sad that it took so long to finish, but in my defense, there WAS come major canning happening today.  At any rate, this: 

has now become this:
 which will look a whole lot more like a hat for a human once it has been felted, but it used up lots of odd ends of yarn.  From past experience, I know the hat takes about 350 yards of yarn, which is the good part.  The bad part is that the dark red--which is now completely gone--seems to have never been on Ravelry in the first place, so I didn't a stash decrease on Ravelry, but I did in person, so I guess that works.  And there were 5 partial skeins of black wool that are now gone, so my stash feels tidier.  I just wish it worked like that for the rest of the house...........

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bwah-haa-haaa.............It's the Halloween Dash

I have started leading odd little short knitting challenges on Ravelry that we refer to as "dashes," and now that everyone has recovered from the Ravellenics, it is time for another one, so, it's time for:

Mad Scare Yourself Halloween Dash!

Halloween is just over 2 months away, and what better way to frighten a knitter than to do one or more of the following:
  1. Knit 4,000 yards before Halloween
  2. Knit up the most challenging pattern in your queue.
  3. Use the most difficult yarn in your stash--mohair, splitty, so black you can’t see even the biggest garter stitch--whatever is most difficult.
  4. The personally-scares-you challenge of your choice.
Complete one, two, or all as the mood takes you!

There are people who just knit..........really?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ready for 2013!!!!!!!!

It's hot, it's smoky, it's dry--so I'm of course thinking about Christmas.  More specifically, Christmas ornaments. 

I'm VERY excited about 2013 and trying for 365 ornaments.  I really want to push myself to try new things, so they won't all be knitted mittens or felt mittens--I need to branch out to at least SOMETHING besides mittens.  Growing up, my mother made lots of felt ornaments, and I've always wanted to try them, but just haven't ever gotten to anything besides mittens.  So when a sale came along online:
There's only 6 of them (thank heavens), but they're cute and certainly things I couldn't come up with without help.  The cutting lines are printed on them:
which is probably going to be the most challenging part, but I do have one year.  And valium.

I also bought:
 a beaded cross stitch ornament, which I debated about--believe me--but I think I could do this in one year.
There are beads involved--which is always crazy-motivating--and it's small.  VERY key point.  Even better, there's only ONE.

I also had my one planned dismount for the year, as I wanted some new sparkly yarns for the Christmas bin.  This is the find I'm most excited about:
 but these are nice too:
 They're all sparkly and were all on sale.  Last year I made the mistake of trying to find Christmas yarns around Christmas time--I know!  What could I have been thinking????  So this year I was ready, was able to get them on sale, and was able to buy new colors without going insane.  Interestingly, craft yarn doesn't excite the Stashing Monster.  While it was nice to have a package arrive, I had a harder time limiting myself to only one felt ornament kit than limiting the yarn.  I think it might be because I have always kept some craft yarns on hand for Christmas stockings, because they've been my go-to wedding gift for at least 15 years now, so it's just sort of accepted.  It used to be exclusively Red Heart crappy acrylic, which would excite no one, but I've added slightly nicer yarns since then, but only as I ran out or legitimately didn't have a color, so I've never had the wild "this-will-make-me-happy" feelings about Christmas yarn.  AND it seems to be the one area of my stash where I'm always more excited about the finished object than the yarn.  This isn't cool yarn in my stash--these are ornaments that will be on my tree by Christmas 2013!!!!!! 

At least that makes me a yarn-obsessed-stasher with discriminating taste..........

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Never underestimate the determination of a type-A knitter:
2 washcloths and two tribbles later, I have now used up a whole CONE of dishcloth cotton yarn, and have one more entry on my "all used up" tab on Ravelry.

Now, on a new yardage-burning high, I've become a bit of a knitting schizophrenic.  What can I work on that will increase my yardage fastest?  The epaulet sweater is in worsted on size 8 needles,
so it got some attention yesterday.  I decided to disregard the pattern and knit the sleeves in the round, which leaves a visible line on the sleeves as I'm working in garter stitch and there's a clear line where I now switch from knit to purl, but I'm not sure I could do a seam that would be any less noticeable, so I can live with it.  I think I've gotten past the "interesting shaping" part that I was curious about and am now in the "boring all-garter-stitch" part, so I worked on it as long as I could stand it, then
cast on a new pair of toe-up socks.  It's one of the last skeins of Knit Picks Dancing, which I don't particularly care for, but it is non-splitty enough for me to read or do other things while working on these, so they are zipping along. They were just started yesterday, and the foot is probably 40% done already.  The nice thing about my new obsession is that socks were a bit depressing last year because I needed TWO of them to hit my goal.  Now that I'm yardage-crazed, I get a little yarn-obsession FIX each time I finish a single sock--or at least I do if I have the sense to use smaller skeins instead of the big two-sock skeins that I actually prefer.  I'm not obsessed enough to pursue any yarn that would force me to splice or weave in ends on socks--there are limits even for ME.  Which is REALLY saying something........................

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Have Become A Yardage Slut

So, I have finished my 12 washcloths for the year, but

I am now working on number 13.  Why, you might ask--for the fun of it?  Because it's a new pattern?  Nope--it's to try to finish off that cone of yarn, which will give my tally an 800-yard boost in one shot.  There is also a wee bit of motivation to get my hands on that cardboard cone inside for some sort of Christmas tree decoration, but 99.9% of my reason is the yarn tally.  I am nuts.  Truly and certifiably.  But it IS 800 more yards.......which would really help right now, as my latest knitting obsession,
is a shawl with blasted lace weight mohair yarn on size 4 needles and 540-yard balls of yarn.  A good idea for NONE of my goals for the year.  So, of course, I'm doing it. 

At least I'm also embroidering some napkins:
Two years ago I had embroidered  7 napkins to match our plates and some placemats I made several years ago:

The original idea was, of course, eight napkins, but I never figured out what became of the 8th one--and still haven't.  I found a package of 12 napkins at the local Tuesday Morning store, and thought it would be nice to have some extras.  It will be--even if one of them came out of the package stained with something that can't be washed off.  I know other people like that chain of stores, but I was pretty unimpressed BEFORE this--I won't be back.  They weren't even inexpensive enough to make it understandable.  But, I have 11 new white napkins and one that looks like it lost an argument with spaghetti sauce to embroider--and have just run out of the thread color after napkin #3. It seems two years ago I mentioned that I would need to pick up some navy blue thread to make some contrasting ones--and I still need to, or more matching thread.  One of the two.  It probably says a lot about my hate/hate relationship with ironing that my first thought today when the thread ran out was, "Great, I ironed those blasted things for nothing!"  Not, "darn, I wish I had picked up more thread."  So, 3 new napkins done, and I'll be looking frantically for a place to store some freshly-ironed napkins until I can get more thread.  For heaven's sake, I don't want to iron the blasted things again.

There wasn't really a good "12 12s" category for them, so I am counting each napkin as a "decoration."  A lame decoration, granted, but a decoration.  I made this decision when I thought I'd be polishing off the "12 decorations" category this weekend, which probably made me more eager to play fast and loose with my own rules, but it is August and that tiny scent on the air just might be a whiff of desperation.  Yep, 4 1/2 months left in the year and I'm starting to panic ever so slightly.  Canning season is approaching (hopefully), then the holidays, and there are FIVE sweaters and NINE sewn apparel items to come up with.  Somehow I'm sensing that this is not going to be pretty...............

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finishing Friday

To make up with an inexcusable flirtation with the new lace shawl,

I made another wine towel--which looks like the last 4 so I didn't take a picture--which brings me up to eight of twelve towels finished.  Then, while I made the 12th washcloth,
I set up Jeeves to pump out 4 new stand-alone lace ornaments,
which adds to a "12" I've already completed, but will look nice on our tree anyway.  Two years ago we bought a huge 9-foot tall tree to go in our entryway, and while it's a lovely tree, dividing our ornaments between 2 trees requires some creativity--especially since I refuse to buy packs of ornaments.  For years I've brought ornaments home as souvenirs from travel, and Andy and I have continued the practice.  I also have a wonderful collection of ornaments from a girl's ornament exchange party that has gone on for simply ages with my book club friends, and we also have a great collection of ornaments people have generously made for us, so there's a pretty high standard for ornaments here at the Chateau.  (Aside from the collection of plastic dollar-store bows we purchased in desperation when we figured out how bare that big tree was going to look, but they're just temporary).  I think I gave away all the mitten ornaments I made last year, so you can understand the reason--though perhaps not the sanity--of my goal for next year of making 365 ornaments.  It's hard not to want to get started, even though these won't actually count, but it is exciting to know that I'll have a few new ornaments for THIS year.  I expect a totally spectacular tree next year--though knowing me, I'll manage to give away all but the really crappy "mistake" ornaments from next year's endeavors.  Those are the only embroidered kitchen towels we ever get, and for quite a while the only wooden pens we had from Andy's new lathe were the "rejects."  I suppose it does relieve the pressure of having to be perfect--I mean, if everything turned out really well, we'd have never kept anything and I'd still be writing with BIC pens and decorating my trees with dollar-store finds.  Thank heavens for errors!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lesson Learned Today.......

Ravelry has all sorts of different ways for how to see one's stash.  "By weight" I can take, but it takes either a brave knitter or a really stupid one to sort "by yardage."  Almost 5,000 yards of just ONE lace yarn. 

I think I need to lay down now...........

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Closing In!

The seventh embroidered towel for the year is in progress:
and now that I have THREE completed "12s," I'm starting to feel like this might really be doable.  Of course, it feels very weird to have my cross-stitch goal achieved before the machine embroidery one--but then again, it feels weird to even have a cross-stitch goal.  Normally, I think my goals would generally involve staying AWAY from such a slow hobby.  It's not that there's anything wrong with cross-stitch, it just doesn't really work as a hobby for me because I'm always thinking of the next project, which is hard enough with knitting as this sort of foolishly-forward thinking has generated a 10-year stash of knitting.  As the cross-stitch is going to take AT LEAST 10 more years to finish--and probably much longer--my desire to look at the next cross-stitch project would simply do me in.  One more of these babies and I'll have a lifetime supply of them.  I probably do already, to be honest, so what could I think about to do next?  I'd probably implode.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ravellenics - The Wrap Up

Bob:  We're here at the end of the 2012 Ravellenic Games with Ms. Sutton, who finished her third knitting games with 9 medals--certainly a personal best.  Ms. Sutton, how are you feeling after such a performance?

Toni:  Well, I'm certainly pleased to have gained 9 medals--that's exciting.  I was, of course, trying to finish a few more WIPs and would have liked to have reached 10 medals, but with work and the garden and having company for several days during the games, I'm pleased with what I did get done.  

Ron:  Now during the last part of the games, you did branch out into some other hobbies as well--finishing your 13th thread for the year on the never-ending cross-stitch and some new embroidered Christmas ornaments and towels.  Was that a strategic move or were you having trouble concentrating?

Toni:  I think I was starting to lose a bit of steam in my knitting, and nothing is more motivating to me as a knitter than to remind myself that there are even slower hobbies than knitting.  Two cross stitch threads and even fair isle knitting starts to look crazy-fast.

Bob:  And the machine embroidery?

Toni:  That's a bit of a different story.  With the back problems this year and the sewing room project, last weekend really was the first time I've been able to spend some quality crafting time in the sewing room, and the machine embroidery lets me knit while the machine is working, so it really didn't slow me down too much.  Not nearly as much, in fact, as not being able to FIND one of the closest-to-finished WIPs that would have possibly been that 10th medal.
Ron: Any thoughts on where the missing WIP might be?

Toni:  Well, since both "cleaning" and "organizing" were involved in its disappearance, it could truly be anywhere.  I think I can narrow it down to being IN the house, but I'd hesitate to be more definite.  

Bob:  With the games wrapped up, what are your new plans?

Toni:  As you know, I still have the 12-12s challenge to meet, and while I think I'm on track over-all, some of the more time-consuming categories are a bit behind.  I'd also like to hit my record year for stash usage, and with this
finishing off a 603-yard ball of yarn--not to mention becoming my 11th washcloth for the year--I think it could still be done.  I'm perhaps a bit behind, but I just need to use up 7066 yards in the remaining 4 1/2 months to break my previous record of 19,183.  Ideally, of course, I'd like to make it past that 20,000 yard mark, but even 19,200 would be a new personal best.

Ron:  There have been some destashed yarns this year, so if you are going to cross that 20,000 mark, this would be the year.

Toni:  Exactly.

Bob:  So how exactly do you explain this new lace weight project we find in your bag?
Toni:  No comment...........

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ravellenics - Just Under The Wire

Bob:  With just 15 minutes to spare, Ms. Sutton has squeaked out a 9th medal in WIPs Wrestling:
Ron:  She falls short of the 10-medal goal, but what an astounding last-minute effort.  Two medals earned on the final day of the games--that's some dedication.  

Bob:  It really is, Ron.  There were some tense moments when the extra row of garter stitch Ms. Sutton added so the cast-off edge would roll to the inside instead of the outside caused some problems with the direction of the first row of the neckband, but her perseverance has paid off.  The problems did cost her the opportunity to go for that 10th medal, but three finished WIPs is still an outstanding effort.  Any word on what Ms. Sutton's next plans are?

Ron:  No official word, but if this reporter had to guess.......
 Bob:  Perhaps we'd better wait until tomorrow for the wrap-up interview...........

Ravellenics - This Just In!

 Ron:  With 3 and a half hours remaining in the games, the shrug now has one sleeve attached:
and the second is being pinned as we speak.  Will she finish it in time, and if so, can she complete a second project to reach 10 medals?

Bob:  It may be a photo finish--there's a neckband and two button bands to be done.  Additionally, Ms. Sutton's resolve could be shaken by this:
 It's the remaining yarn from a 600+ yard ball of cotton yarn.  When Ms. Sutton finishes small objects like washcloths and ornaments, she doesn't normally count the yardage as the amounts can be difficult to determine.  So, one more project could give her stash total a 600-yard jump.  As it THAT weren't enough temptation, Ms. Sutton's Ravelry page currently shows that she has 282 projects (counting WIPs) as well as 282 entries in her stash.  With one dishcloth, Ms. Sutton could put her project count ahead of her stash count for the first time EVER.  If that's not temptation for such a type-A knitter, I don't know what is.  

Ron:  So if it comes down to the wire--will Ms. Sutton go for the finished sweater, the 10th medal, a 283rd project--or just run screaming from the house under all the pressure.........?  

3 hours, 18 minutes to go.............

Ravellenics - The Countdown Is On

Bob:  Stop presses!  Or, er--stop the internet streaming!  With just under 6 hours left in the games, we have a surprising last-minute entry for Ms. Sutton in the Homestuff Hammerthrow:
This Starfish dishcloth earns Ms. Sutton her eighth event medal, with two WIPs left within striking distance.  Will she be able to pull off a 10-medal sweep?

Ron:  Anything is still possible, though with the finished embroidered towel from yesterday 
 Ms. Sutton seams to perhaps be a bit distracted by other hobbies.  Or at least by this particular towel pattern,
 as a second one is already in progress.  Now we have occasionally seen Ms. Sutton knit while her embroidery machine is going, so it is possible that we will see at least one more medal before 5:00 PM MDT.  We'll be checking in later today for any progress.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ravellenics - Day 16

Bob:  With less than one day remaining in the 2012 Ravellenic Games, we're seeing what may well be the final burst of activity from Ms. Sutton with another completed WIP:
which I believe is a balaclava, though it does bear a striking resemblance to the "Yip-Yips" of Sesame Street fame
as well.

Ron:  It does indeed, Bob, and Ms. Sutton is known to be rather a fan of the Muppets, though in this reporter's view, a silk-blend yarn is less appropriate for a Yip-Yip than that problematic stash of Fun Fur Ms. Sutton likes to ignore.  

Bob:  She does indeed, Ron, though I think by now most knitters have generally chosen to try to hide or ignore any possible experimentation with Fun Fur and novelty yarns.  Not a proud moment in any knitter's life to admit to possessing any yarn that looks like it was spun from the hair of a shaved toy monkey.  It's a bit like the macrame vests of the 1960s and 1970s--we know of their certain existence, but no one has ever admitted owning one. 

Ron:  How right you are, Bob.  This brings Ms. Sutton to seven medals for 2012.  Any chance we'll see 8?

Bob:  There has been a definite flurry of crafting activity here at Chateau Sutton-Goar, but since the completion of the Muppet/balaclava, a certain lack of Ravellenics dedication.  However, Ms. Sutton now has completed the last of her 12 ornaments for the "12 12s" challenge:
 is--even at this very moment--working on the 4th embroidered towel for the year:
with only 4 1/2 months left to complete the remaining 8 needed, and in the most surprising turn of events of all, 
this morning completed the thirteenth thread on the dratted cross-stitch project.  At this new cross-stitching pace, it is entirely possible that Ms. Sutton will complete the cross stitch during her lifetime.  Good thing longevity runs in her family!

Ron:  It is indeed, Bob.  Between the cross-stitch and the lace weight stash, Ms. Sutton can certainly use as many crafting years as possible.  That doesn't even begin to address the fabric stash.  

Bob:   That would require a show all to itself--and possibly a storage unit.  

Ron:  Less than 23 hours left in the 2012 Ravellenic games.  Will there be an 8th medal in Ms. Sutton's future, or will she stop at 7?  Will there be another finished "12" before the games end?  Keep it tuned here to the Wide World of Wool for the final hours of Ravellenics 2012.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ravellenics - Day 15

Bob:  We're here in the final days of Ravellenics, and it looks like the early burst of speed has definitely faded.  While the balaclava has seen some progress, 
Ms. Sutton was seen in the sewing room today,
and her dedication may be wavering.
Ron:  It certainly seems that way.  Will she fade entirely, or will she find enough dedication to finish the balaclava or the shrug before the closing ceremonies at 5:00 PM on Sunday?  Or are 6 medals Ms. Sutton's limit?  Keep it tuned here for all the latest updates?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ravellenics - Day 11

Bob:  We're here at Day 11 of the 2012 Ravellenic Games.  It's been a fierce competition so far--but with 6 days left, it's impossible to predict the final outcome.  Will the WIPs get Wrestled?  Will the hats be dashed? 

Ron:  I think we're all on the edges of our seats here, Bob.  Ms. Sutton is showing progress on the second sleeve of the purple shrug, and could be turning in another wrestled WIP any day.  With 4 projects completed or frogged and 5 remaining--with 6 medals already awarded--we could see Ms. Sutton buckle down surprise us with a record number of wrestled WIPs. 

Bob:  Or we could see her run screaming from the room as we did with the Yoke-Collar Pullover incident.  I think even in a seasoned knitlete, things can go either way in the last days of the games.   

Ron:  Very true, Bob.  In the 1990s we saw early knitlete Ivanna Pearl crack under the strain of the Cobweb Lace Luge and start knitting fancy hats for her 3 cats.  After heavy sedation, months of intense therapy, and a tetanus shot, she was able to return for the 1992 games, but only in dk weights or larger and under the supervision of her doctor and veterinarian.  

Bob:  And in the 1984 games, three-time sweater triathlon champion, Mel A. Brago, was temporarily lost in the massive shoulder-pads of that year's sweater and was unable to be located for three days.  When found, she was pale, slightly emaciated, and unable to bear the sight of parachute pants ever again--a rather common tragedy at that fashionistically-challenged time.  

Ron:  It was indeed, Bob--almost as common as what became known as the "Lime Pom-Pom Poncho Tremors" of the 1960s and 1970s.  I believe that one was often incurable and left the sufferer forever unable to knit acrylic yarns, wear bell-bottom pants, or see avocado appliances without trembling.  Truly tragic. 

Bob:  It was indeed, Ron.  Thank heavens this year's knitletes have all been inoculated against the most invasive knitting diseases of this era:  Fun Fur Frenzies, Novelty Nasties, and the ever-invasive Red Heart Rash.  We hope to see this year's games conclude without any yarny-epidemics.

Ron:  We do indeed, Bob, but we are certainly keeping a close eye on things here at the Wide World of Wool.  Keep it tuned here for ALL the latest yarn-breaking updates.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

And Now, More Words From Our Sponsors.........

Ron:  Since--as the knitting world has learned--competitions are for the hawking of products, we pause in our Ravellenic coverage to bring you these messages from our sponsors:

For the knitter who has received "helpful suggestions" that she organize her stash, 
Organized yarn stickers.  Because stash organization is no laughing matter.

And to protect a knitter from rain or overstuffed yarn closets, it's
the black sheep umbrella.  The latest fashion in protecting knitters from falling rain or yarn.

And for the knitter looking for new ways to suck up even more of her knitting time, it's the
 Champion Sheep Rally
sheep-racing video game.  Bringing you the latest in knitterly distractions.  

And finally, for reasons no one has yet to figure out, it's
MusicSkins MS-FOB30040 Guitar Hero Gibson X-Plorer- Xbox 360- Fall Out Boy- Sheep Skin
sheep "skins" for electric guitars.  Um........yeah.

We now return you to the 2012 Ravellenic games, already in progress.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ravellenics - Day 8

Ron:  We're here at the 2012 Ravellenics with a late-breaking update.  The recently sighted purple-blobby-tea cozy is beginning to look like it might be a sweater of some sort:

Bob:  That's right, Ron.  Unless there is a bigger tea pot in need of cozy-ing than this reporter has ever seen, this is definitely looking sweater-ish.  I believe we can even see a finished sleeve of some sort, which may mean that this is more than 60-65% finished.  Could this turn out to be Ms. Sutton's fourth completed project for the games and seventh sweater for the year?

Ron:  Keep it tuned here to the Wide World of Wool for all the latest Ravellenic updates.