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It’s Good to be Polycraftural

So this happened:Broken MarkerThe Broken Row Counter

While I was using this over the needle row counter, the ring snapped off.  I ended up sticking it in an organza bag (which my Debra’s Garden gauge pendant came in) and keeping it in my notions pouch until that project was done.  I figured I had choices, either use this as an excuse to buy a fancy row counter (I’ve been eyeing the Ablet for a while), or see if I could repair it.

As it happened, I have a lot of beading supplies, some of which I’ve had plans for for a while.  I figured this was as good a time as any to try out a new method of making stitch markers, using very flexible beading wire:

Fixed marker One side is just a loop, the other side has a Darice brand rotating lobster claw, so it should work for knitting and crochet projects.  I’m not completely sure the loop won’t just pull through the bead with use, but if it does I think I know how to fix it.

Back Log of Beading

Charms and stuffThe necklace is for my husband (I’d promised him I’d repair it).  The bracelet is for my daughter, who is in Phi Sigma Pi.  I’m going to make a matching necklace, but I need to get more spacer beads.  I got those Greek letters from Bohemian Findings on Etsy – they have an amazing selection.  I also got the Theatre Masks and Fleur de Lis from there, as well as some charms for a project I couldn’t complete just yet.   I think I’ll be heading to JoAnn sometime soon to pick up a few things.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered a giveaway for the Impeccable Knits Lissadell sock pattern on 100 Creations (2 September).

Pineapple Sunrise

The Pineapple Sunrise

Pineapple Sunrise TequilaYarn

Kauni - lowI finished the shawl.  It used 533 yards of Kauni, so about 4/5 of the skein.  This might leave enough for a small project left over, or a portion of a larger one.  I’d love to see how it felts up.

The FO is a tiny bit rough, and very warm.  I think it will be perfect over the sleeveless dress on chilly evenings, so it definitely does the right thing.  I’d be happy to work with this yarn again.

Blocking

Pineapple - unblockedI Promise You Pineapples looks pretty right off the hook. It’s absolutely gorgeous after blocking.

I’m still feeling my way around blocking wires.  It’s sort of fun to realize how many choices there are in the blocking process.  I know that I can re-block if I don’t like the final effect, so it’s a low-stress, high impact stage of finishing.

Since the dress that I made this to go with has a triangular neckline, I decided not to really curve the shawl.  I also chose to align the pineapples themselves rather than the curves on the shawl edge.  Finally, I decided to pin out the center portion of the fans rather than every shell within those fans.  The end result makes me happy.

Pineapple - blocked

I plan to wear this next weekend, along with the dress.  Hopefully I’ll get some usable pictures of me in it.

Yarn Projects

My Most Recent FO

Goatless Pocket

I picked up stitches on the inside right where the bottom met the side. First stitch of each row I K2Tog with body of bag, slipped last stitch of each row. It worked well. (click for enlarged picture)

I finished the felted handbag using mohair from Flying Goat Farm.  I ran out of the darker brown just as I got to the handle break, so I switched to the orange there.    I had a bit of orange left over, which I used to make a knit-in (garter stitch) interior pocket.  I didn’t have quite enough to make it a good cel phone pocket, but it’ll be good for something, I’m sure.

The bag (pre felting) was a little bit lumpy and awkward, but I was sure it was going to turn out nicely.

Unfelted Goatless

Yeah, I know, if I was more consistent in my tension I wouldn’t have this much unevenness.  BUT – I kept my floats short (see pocket picture above) and felting is a really forgiving process.

Goatless Felted

I’m very happy with the result.  At some point I plan to seam up the swatch ans turn it into a change purse, but other than that it’s good to go!

Current WiPs

So – four project bags, four projects.  From oldest to newest –

Mont Royal Socks

Mont Royal patternThese are slow going, mostly because 1) I’m working on four projects and 2) they’re not mindless.  This picture clearly shows the downside of the asymmetric toes – the stitch pattern is totally centered in the base pattern.  It doesn’t bug me enough to frog and re-knit, but it’s worth remembering for the next pair.  Anyway, the pattern is lovely, the CoBaSi yarn is doing the right thing, I’m happy with these, even if they won’t be done until (at this rate) mid – fall or so.

Fifth Doctor Sweater

This is the project I alluded to in the cockroach post. I’m knitting my husband a sweater.  Now, there’s a knitting superstition that knitting your boyfriend a sweater dooms the relationship*, but I have it on reliable authority that that doesn’t go for spouses.  Besides, over 24 years of marriage we’ve gone through so much (of the good and the bad) that I don’t think a little curse can make much difference…

Because it’s cotton I  not only blocked the swatch, I hung it overnight before re-measuring it.Five Swatch

Yes, with cotton it really does grow and stretch with blocking and hanging.  About a 10% vertical difference, enough that I know to knit it just a tad short.  Not only did I get valuable information, I can use the swatch as a dishcloth (but I’ll hold onto it until the sweater is pieced and finished, just in case).

Five Cast On Casting onto a large project (like a sweater) always intimidates me a little, so I placed a marker every twenty stitches during the cast on, and double counted those stitches, to make sure I had the right stitch count.  I’m not sure how much time it saved over double and triple counting the stitches straight off would have taken, but it did lower my anxiety level about the whole process.

This sweater is the Cricket Jumper from Joy Gammon’s The Doctor Who Pattern Book, because Five is his Doctor.  You will notice it runs over $30 on Amazon, but I managed it for about $15 on eBay.  I’ve been looking on and off for this book for years, and it looks to be worth the search.  Joy Gammon did a lot of media fandom pattern writing in the 1980’s in particular, and the patterns are great (I’m so tempted by the K9 bag!), but she was basically writing with the target audience of not-necessarily-skilled costume and toy makers, so I read over the pattern with an eye for adapting.

The most needed change was size (I had to extrapolate one size beyond the pattern).  I also added a slip stitch selvage. A little reading convinced me that the classic cricket jumper (which would be what Davison wore) would be knit flat in cotton, so that’s the way I’m making the sweater.  I expect this to be done by mid to late fall, because it’s a big project and because I’m working on three others.  There was a little bit of calculating to make sure the cables were properly centered with the new stitch count, but I don’t expect any serious hick ups. I used my LYS’s ‘customer loyalty’ discount for this one, but even if I hadn’t buying the yarn would still have been less than I’d pay for a decent cricket jumper off the rack.

Stereotypical

I’m making a case for my sunglasses.  Once again, I’m knitting a pattern from Stiching in the Stacks.  This time I’m making a case for my sunglasses.  It’s a simple enough idea – two color outer case, change yarns and purl (or was that the other way around) and keep knitting for the lining. Close it up and there’s a lined case.

It’s a small piece, but I’m just planning to have it finished by next summer.  The colorwork is pretty, but it’s not TV knitting.

Pineapple Sunrise

So while I was at Ocean City (watching the beautiful sunrises) I bought a lovely orange-red sundress.  It’s pretty and floaty… and I don’t have anything to accessorize it with.  Fortunately, it was always my plan to stop by Salty Yarns.  Yes, they are a needlework shop, but they have a nice little room full of knitting yarn, including this skein of Kauni.

Pineapple Sunrise Tequila

It coordinates with the dress, and it looks very sunrise like.  I’m using the pattern I Promise You Pineapples by Justyna Kacprzak (it’s a free Ravelry download).  I’m liking the effect very much so far.  In fact, with the colors and the title of the pattern and the whole sunrise thing I just had to call it Pineapple Sunrise.

Then I asked my local bartender to make me a Tequila Sunrise with pineapple juice instead of orange juice.

It was beautiful and tasty both!

Pineapple Beginning

This is the last WiP I started, and the one I’m concentrating on.  I want to finish it before it gets too cold to wear that dress…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the fabric from Marshall Drygoods, or the One Skein Wonder book from Lisa Bogart.  No new giveaways this time.

*Apologies for pedantry, but I can’t make myself not say that the superstition probably has a lot to do with the length of time it takes to knit a sweater vs the length of an average romantic relationship. I just can’t make myself believe that it’s anything more than that, but still, folklore is fun!

Pretty Skies

Once again, I had all sorts of plans for posts which got preempted by life and by other post ideas. So, today, I will bring you some photos I just had to share.

The first is a series I took at sunrise in Ocean City.  This series was taken from the balcony of the condominium we were lucky enough to stay at.

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I would have done better with a tripod here, but I think the iPhone camera wasn’t too bad.  Of course, the suns disk was visible to the naked eye up until the last one, rather than being full of fire as the camera saw it.

The other great sky scene I wanted to share with you was from just a couple of days ago.  This one was also taken with the iPhone, from a moving car.

Stormy SkyI took a whole series of pictures, but none of them really captured the menace of the scene.  This one came closest.

So that’s it for today.  I hope you enjoy, and I expect to be posting about WiPs and FOs within the week.

I was all set up to tell you about my ‘next big project’ and about how the sweater curse doesn’t apply to spouses, and about how swatching cotton is different than wool, but then…

Unexpected Challenges Can be More Fun!

My daughter, Dottie, is winding up a summer internship, one which she felt was very productive and important, and filled with people she is very glad she met.  Last night we went out to get a handful of so last minute ‘goodbye’ gifts.  They had to be inexpensive, most were candy  but personal, and all from specific bonding experiences..  This one needed the perfect coffee mug.  That one, a jar of peanut butter.  For the third, nothing but a toy bug would do.  Preferably a cockroach.

Let me point out that this conversation took place at nine o’clock on a Sunday night. She needed the presents by this morning.  Needless to say she was more optimistic than I was.

Fortunately, I knew that Ravelry could save the day.  I found two highly suitable free patterns, one knit and one crochet.  I picked the one which didn’t require felting, The Teeny Dudes Cockroach.  I went to my stash of ‘suitable for children and stuffed toys’ yarn and set to work.

I got about halfway done last night, but eventually put down my crochet hook and got a few hours of sleep, since I had to get up early in the morning anyway.  I was able to finish (weave in ends and all) before Dottie left for her internship this morning.

cockroach

I’ve been told it was a great success, and will help the recipient get over her fears.

Rachel and friendBlog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the crochet hooks from Stitchen Stacey.  I entered a drawing for 54 yards of fabric from Marshall Dry Goods (15 August)

Talented Friends

This coming weekend two of my friends are opening in two different plays in Baltimore.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned here before that years ago I was occasionally active in community theater, in several roles.  I’ve been stage-mom several times.  I’ve worked as stage manager (well, technically), lightboards, stage mom, santa-stripper, you name it.  I’ve made connections in  the OutOftheBlackBox Theatre and the Rude Mechanicals.  As it happens, I didn’t meet either of these particular friends through my own community theater connections, I guess it’s more or less a ‘small world’ sort of thing.

One of them is playing Motormouth Mabellle in the Purple Light Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray (note to self – go back and update that link when it’s no longer the ‘current production’).  The other is playing Falstaff in the Baltimore Shakespears Factory’s all female production of Henry IV, Part One.  I’m very excited for both of them, and can’t wait to watch them perform.

Now, I’ve seen Hairspray before, both the original film and the movie musical version.  I have to admit, though, that I’ve never actually seen Henry IV.  So I did what any supportive friend would do:

I tracked down the Chop Bard episodes dedicated to the play.

Podcast Love

Of course, then I realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve given some link love to podcasts I listen to.  So here are some quality podcasts, which are independently produced and still small enough that they might actually be helped by a little old fashioned name checking…

Chop Bard: Reminding us again and again that Shakespeare is not literature.  They’re plays, and they’re fun, not scary.  I found it through Craftlit.

Craftlit: Heather does deal with actual literature, and it’s also fun, not scary.  Also crafts.  I don’t remember how I actually came across this one, but I’ve been listening to her (and occasionally corresponding) for so long that I feel as though I actually know her.

Escape Artists Podcasts:  I started listening to Escape Pod waaaay back.  I mean before iTunes was a thing way back.  Great science fiction stories for fans, a pro-paying market for writers.  Now it’s been joined by Pseudopod and Podcastle, which do the same  things for horror and fantasy literature respectively.

The Happiness Patrol: Doctor Who fancast.  Often rude, crude and socially unacceptable.  Always fun.

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics:  We don’t have to be doomed to repeat it…

Knitting Pipeline: Knitting, nature, bagpipes, who could ask for anything more?

Prometheus Radio Theatre: Steve Wilson went to high school with my husband, so I’ve heard some interesting back story about the Traveller campaign where some of the Arbiters characters came from initially.  They’d be more than worth listening to even if I had not, though.

So how about you?  Any particular, non professionally backed, podcasts which could benefit from a little bit of shout-out love?  Any podcasts (or obscure procasts) you think I might enjoy?  I’d appreciate hearing about them, so please do comment.

Now it can be Told

I have finished my “secret” project, and gifted it to my friend.

Snatchel

This is a Snatchel.  It’s a delightfully ‘naughty’ project from the Anticraft, which is always full of delightfully naughty.  I made it for a friend who is recovering from a hysterectomy, and put a bottle of Fireball, because, hey, everyone needs fireball.  I think she’ll be using it for a dicebag (the snatchel, not the Fireball).

Other FOs and WiPs

I finished the second Artful Infinity scarf, and have given it to my younger daughter.  She absolutely rocks it (as she does everything she wears).

Artful Infinity PhotobombThe not so goatty bag is coming along nicely (if slowly).  It really doesn’t look much different than the last picture I posted of it, but  I’m having fun playing mix and match with the motifs.

Mont Royal toesMy only other WiP right now is the Mont Royal socks. I’m playing around with my usual asymmetric toes.  Rather than my usual plan of increasing on both sides for the first few, then switching to only increasing on the outside of the socks, I’ve staggered it.  So the first few increases are on both sides of the sock, then the next few increases alternate between increasing on both sides and increasing on the outside only, then the final few are on the outside only.  I think it looks fine, and the CoBaSi yarn gives it a very crisp feel.

You can’t really tell from the picture, but I’ve just begun the chart. This is my first project using my new Knit PIcks magnetic chart board, and it will be the first one I use my new KnitPicks sock blockers with as well.

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the Red Heart giveaway from Happily Hooked, or the Yarn Crush box from the Dainty Fawn blog.  No new giveaways today.

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