Friday, January 31, 2014

End of Month Summary

Quilt WIPs at beginning of month = 12
Quilt WIPs started = 0
Quilt WIPs finished = 0
Quilt WIPs at end of month = 12

Needlework WIPs at beginning of month = 14
Needlework WIPs started = 0
Needlework WIPs finished = 1
Needlework WIPs at end of month = 13

Knit/Crochet WIPs at beginning of month = 21
Knit/Crochet WIPs started = 2
Knit/Crochet WIPs finished = 5
Knit/Crochet WIPs frogged = 2
Knit/Crochet WIPs at end of month = 16

Once again, I've got a pretty long list of items I'd like to get finished in February.  Hope I can get these done, unlike the January projects.

February Goals
  1. Complete one puff per day
  2. Start and finish Big Rib Scarf
  3. Start and finish Blomekrans Mittens
  4. Start and finish Biscuit Cowl
  5. Finish Octopus Bag
  6. Finish Kitchen Rag Rug
  7. Finish Beaded Ornaments
  8. Start Save the Stitches Blackwork

Final puff for January!  I spent the morning at the salon getting my hair done, so I only did one puff today.  Even so, I met my goal for the month of 31 puffs!

Last night I finished up knitting the body of the octopus bag.  I started on the i-cord strap, but probably won't finish it up for a couple more days.  After this gets a good long soak I plan to block it around a plastic canvas "bag".  I plan on lining this with some cotton fabric yet to be chosen from my quilting stash.  This turned out to be such a cute bag!

I've set all my knitting aside for the rest of the day.  I'll be working on the beaded ornaments, hoping to get them done this weekend.  I'm really wanting to start a year long project of a free blackwork pattern found at Blackwork Journey.  A cross stitch group on Ravelry is doing this as a stitch along and I'm anxious to get started.  I've got my fabric, 25ct Jobelan; floss, DMC cotton and Light Effects; and beads, Mill Hill Seed Beads.  Now I just need to print the first part of the pattern and get stitching!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Little Fox

This morning I watched the last 2 episodes of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which was tragically depressing I must say, but that's beside the point.  While watching, I completed 3 puffs for the Beekeeper's Quilt.  With the puff I will complete tomorrow, I have met my goal of 31 puffs in January.  I was thinking about sewing some of these together this weekend, but after looking at my selection of puffs, I have changed my mind.  I've only got a few colors in my little bin.  I think next month I will use a different skein each week to get a more diverse selection going.  I'll need to spend some time sewing these together, otherwise I will look at them at the end and the putting together of this blanket will seem daunting and I'll set it aside for something else bright and shiny.

This afternoon I listened to a bit of The Cuckoo's Calling and finished up my Little Fox Hat.  I highly recommend this pattern if you're looking for a whimsical little knit.  You can find it on Ravelry at Little Fox Hat.  The pattern says to use felt for the eyes, but after I was done with the knitting, I realized I didn't have any in the right color, so I just duplicate stitched them on with the same yarn as I used for the nose and ears.  I also picked up stitches along the decrease lines to add the ears instead of knitting them separate and sewing on later.  All in all I'm quite pleased with this little hat.  It's a tad bit too big for me, however.  I should have known this would happen and gone down needle size and reduced cast on stitches accordingly.  I have a small head and very short hair so hats tend to be a bit too big for me.  After a nice soak and spin in the washer, I think I'll throw this in the dryer for a bit to see if it fulls enough to fit me.

This little mishap should not be construed as being the fault of the pattern.  Oh no!  The pattern is nicely organized and easy to knit up.  It's just my darn small head .... and tendency to knit loosely also.  You can find the designer at her blog ( or on Ravelry (Frankchester).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

I had plans today to work quite a bit on the Beekeeper's Quilt.  I had visions of sitting and knitting multiple puffs while waiting for my new recliners to be delivered.  Ummmmm not happening.

I also had plans to make Boeuf Bourguignon (a la Julia Child) (and yes, I did have to look at the cookbook in order to type the name correctly here).  Not sure why I thought I could cook this dish, which takes a fair amount of prep and watching over, at the same time as I knit little puffs.

Instead, I spent the morning happily cooking away and listening to the final chapters of The Secret Garden.  About an hour ago, this cast iron dutch oven, filled with succulent pieces of beef, carrots, onions, wine and spices, was put into the oven to bake for about 3 hours.  I poured myself a glass of the wine that was left to have while posting this entry.

Just after noon, when Paul had come home for lunch, our recliners were delivered.  Perfect timing!  Paul was able to take care of the delivery while I continued working on our dinner.  I love these chairs!  They are Lazy Boy rocking recliners in a beautiful red leather.  Now to make sure Digit doesn't claw them to death!

Once dinner was put into the oven, I was finally able to sit down and knit a puff.  Behold the only knitting I have accomplished today!  I used up the last little bit of the purplish skein in this one.  I'm thinking soon I should be able to start sewing some of these together so I can see what they will look like as a blanket.

Yesterday, I worked some more on the octopus bag.  I'm getting about 10 rounds done per day, so the fair isle portion should be done this Friday.  I'm hoping to have the rest of the knitting done this weekend.

I started a new project last night, since I was allowed to.  I received this pattern free from the designer when she offered a few up in the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry.  I even had appropriate yarn in my stash to knit it up!  This should work up really quickly.  Can't ask for a more perfect project; free pattern, yarn in stash = zero financial commitment!

I've been checking over my wips too.  Really taking a good hard look at them and trying to decide if they aren't complete because I got sidetracked, or because I really don't want the item.  I decided to frog the Ann Marie Stockings.  I think they were just a beautiful project that I should have shown love to by making the pattern a favorite on Ravelry instead of a project that I should have been making for myself.  I'm never going to wear them out of this house, and I had already modified the pattern to make them sans toe/heel for use as yoga legwarmers.  Have I ever needed yoga legwarmers? No.  Do I need yoga legwarmers now? No.  I've decided that later this year I will cast them on again and make them as knee high bed socks.  Bed socks are something I DO need here in blustery Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another Finished Project

Hexi-challenge Day 4!  Here is my puff for today.  I have just a small bit of yarn left from the first skein.  Not enough to make another puff, but too much to throw away.  I think I'll make some stripey puffs with these small bits of leftovers.  No sense trashing perfectly good yarn right?  I'm still 2 puffs behind on my January goal of 31, but I think tomorrow will be a good day to concentrate on getting caught up.  We're supposed to be getting our new recliners delivered tomorrow and I don't want to be in the middle of a complicated row of lace knitting or whatnot when the truck gets here.  These puffs will be the perfect little project to work on while I wait.

Otto is officially done!  I reworked his back shell last night and am quite happy with it now.  I went down a hook size and skipped the final round of increases to make sure that it wasn't too big this time.  I think it came out perfect and reminds me of a little derby hat.  Now I'm thinking Otto needs a hat, but that's going to wait until another day.  He looks quite content sitting on my tea cart doesn't he?  This used to be the place I put my light loving plants, but Digit has claimed it as his own since there is great afternoon sun.  Now it is home to cat grass and catnip plants, so Digit has something to snack on while he sunbathes.

Now that Otto is complete, I will spend my afternoons working on the Mermaid's Tears octopus bag and listening to my audio books.  I don't think this is going to take very long at all.  There are only about 30 more rows to complete on the chart, then there's a bit of ribbing along the top edge and the handle.  I have some very long floats in this bag because I don't like catching them.  The catches always seem to show on the right side and ruin the pattern no matter how careful I try to be.  I'll line the bag to give it a bit more stability and protect the floats from being pulled.

I love the little seahorses that are on the back side!

 I started working on Lottie's body yesterday.  I'm not spending a lot of time on her right now because I really do want to get some of these other longstanding wips completed.  I'm not going to set her aside to be forgotten and become one of those longstanding wips however.  I'm not sure yet what clothing I want to put on her, so that's another reason to just take my time.

One of my goals for 2014 was to finish or frog several blankets that I had started in past years.  Yesterday I pulled out the two that I haven't worked on yet this year.  The Chain Reaction Afghan and the Great American Afghan.  I had started the Chain Reaction Afghan using Caron Simply Soft.  Two other afghans I've made in the past using this yarn have just not stood up to being used.  I love this yarn for baby afghans, but it's just not sturdy enough for bed sized ones.  I made the decision yesterday not to finish the Chain Reaction Afghan using this yarn.  I will use the squares I have already completed to make a cat blanket for Digit.  He will love it.

Two of the Great American Afghan squares are completed and ready for blocking.  There are 3 others that need a bit of finishing, and then they too will be ready.  I did not get a block completed in January, and with only a couple of days left, I don't think I'm going to attempt to get one done.  Instead, I will work on getting two done while I watch the Olympics in February.

Monday, January 27, 2014

In an Octopus' Garden in the Shade

Since I am so close to completing Otto the Turtle, I checked Ravelry to see what the next most recently started project is (not counting the Lottie Doll I just started).  It is the Octopus Bag I started on Christmas morning.  I hadn't gotten very far before setting this aside because it was a bit too fiddly for my comfort at the time.  The pattern stated that stitches should be cast on for the bag instead of picking them up all around the bottom to avoid this issue, but did I heed that advice?  Of course not.  Who wants to sew a seam when you can just pick up stitches and knit away?  Well, I had this on a tiny circular needle, but switched over to dpns yesterday and worked about an inch of the bag body.  Much better now.  Once Otto is complete, this should only take a few days to be added to the "completed" list.  This is a good thing since I have two gifts I need to get started on.  I know I said that I didn't have to finish 2 projects before being allowed to start a gift, but I still would prefer to get that wip count down instead of filling it up with gifts.

I did wind up spending some time yesterday sorting beads out, but not as much time as I had before.  This ornament is ready to have the pointy bits added to the tops and bottoms, then I can move on to beading the second one.  This is going much faster than I originally gave it credit for, so I may have this completed in February.  I was originally going to pick up a different project at the beginning of the month, but since this should be completed soon (and I don't want to set it aside and lose all this momentum), I've changed my mind and will finish this up first, then start on the next one.  Not sure yet what that will be.  I keep bouncing back and forth between the bead woven purse and the embroidered pillowcases.  Leaning a bit more towards the pillowcases now since I don't want to get burned out on the beading.

Otto is just about finished!  I got all his pieces, with the exception of the back shell, sewn on last night.  His back shell just seemed a bit too big, so I am going to re-crochet it today a bit smaller and try again.  Once that is done, all that is left is to add some embroidered embellishments for nose and mouth, and accents and laces on the shoes.  I really like how this guy turned out and will make more items from this book, Zoomigurumi 2.

This morning I listened to a few chapters of The Secret Garden and worked up 2 puffs.  Checked my skein count for this and found that I have 35 skeins.  I don't think that is going to be enough to complete this to the size I'm wanting, so I'll be on the lookout for good prices on Koigu in the coming months.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Oh Beads!

Finished my puff for today.  I think I'll get 3-4 more out of my current skein.  I am doing all mine from Koigu KPPPM.  Yarn I purchased from Amanda.  It was originally purchased by her as a kit to make a jacket.  She decided not to make the jacket, and I got it in my head that I would make it.  I did start the thing, but in the end decided that I really didn't like it as much as I thought I would.  I will assume an average of 14 puffs from a skein.  Now I just need to go down to the craft room and count up how many skeins I have to see if I have enough to make the size blanket I want.  If not, I will need to purchase more as I see it at a good price.  Either that, or resign myself to the fact that my blanket will be smaller than planned.

Last night I stayed up watching "The White Queen" on Starz On Demand, and finished crocheting all the pieces to Otto the Turtle.  Still need to stuff his legs and get them sewn to the shoes and his body, as well as sew his shell pieces on.  Pretty sure I will get this finished tonight, but I plan on working on my needlework project this afternoon while watching more of  "The White Queen".

This is what the needlework project currently looks like.  Not sure how much I'll be able to complete today because I keep getting distracted.

Distracted by all the beads being mixed up and not in their proper spot!  The blue should all be in the top left space; the yellow/green all in the bottom left space; red, dark green, and orange in the top middle space; purple and white in the bottom middle space; and nothing except the needles and large greenish beads should be in the rightmost space.  See, I have this cat .....

Digit has managed to knock this box (luckily with the lid firmly closed) off the table several times, and each time it has landed upside down.  It could be worse I suppose, but trying to fish out the right bead (and these are size 11 and 15 seed beads) from these small spaces is a pain in the behind.  I find myself adding one bead to the project, then sorting beads to their proper spaces for the next 15 minutes or so.  Makes for slow progress on the project at hand.  I'll try to be less anal about this and just stitch today, but no promises!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hexi-challenge Day 1

First puff of the 2014 hexi-challenge complete!  Doppler kindly agreed to model it for me lol.  I counted how many I have and it turns out I only need to work up an extra 3 to catch up for this month.  I'll see if I can't get that done next week.

This morning I received the final clue for the Secret Garden mittens, and this afternoon I worked up the thumbs and blocked them.  They are just the slightest bit too long (I should have followed the directions for making shorter mittens), but I love them all the same.  I've purchased another pattern by this designer and plan to knit another pair of her mittens during the Olympics.  A great way to use up all that Palette yarn I have in my stash.

Tonight I'm working on Otto the Turtle.  His parts are just about complete.  Only have to finish up his back shell and the bottoms for his shoes.  Tomorrow I will probably get him all sewn together, and finish him up on Monday.  I haven't worked on the beaded ornaments at all today, but might pull that out tomorrow to work on since I still don't have backing fabric for Paul's quilt so can't start the quilting on it yet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A New Challenge

So, I haven't been doing well on getting work completed on the Beekeeper's Quilt or the Sock Yarn Blanket.  Had a nice long chat with my friend Amanda today about it, and she confessed that she hasn't been working on hers either so we are challenging each other.

Every day we must complete one hexipuff for the Beekeeper's Quilt and post it on our blogs.  We decided that we would start tomorrow, so hopefully you'll be seeing a lot of blog posting from me.

I finished stringing Skip up to his control stick.  He's so cute I can hardly stand it!  I adore the projects in this book ( Beastly Crochet:  23 Critters to Wear and Love).  I've made 3 of them now and have plans to make several more.  All are well written and cleverly constructed.

We took the car to the shop yesterday afternoon, so I had some knitting time on the ride home while Paul drove.  I was able to get about 6 ridges completed on my Mermaid sleeve.  Today, we received a call that the car was ready to be picked up, so I got another 5 ridges completed on the ride to the shop.  The first sleeve is just about 1/2 completed.  This may become my project of choice while watching the Olympics.  Miles of garter stitch means I don't have to think too much and don't have to keep my eyes on the knitting.

Otto the Turtle is coming along too.  He has a body and two arms although they aren't yet stuffed and sewn together.  I've also completed the top of one shoe, and should have the other completed tonight.  A few more days of work on him, and he should be finished.

I was originally going to wait until tomorrow to start my Lottie Doll, but after talking to Amanda (who is knitting one too), I got excited and had to cast on today.  The head is complete to the point where I need to stuff it, so I'm going to set it aside for now and work on Otto the Turtle.

Tomorrow will be busy crafting day.  I need to make a puff, or maybe two to help catch up to where I should be by now.  Also, the final clue to the Secret Garden mittens is supposed to be sent tomorrow, so I can finish my mittens.  I plan to spend some time on the beaded ornaments too.  Then there's Otto and Lottie to bring to life, and can't let myself get behind on the rug or Mermaid jacket.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2 Down .... a Bazillion to Go

Last night I finished up clue 5 of the Secret Garden mittens.  Only have the thumbs to knit, a few ends to weave in, and these will be officially done.  I still have a few hours left on the audio book, but I'll finish it while working on other projects.

I'm still not 100% happy with the color I chose for the flowers, but it's not horrible I guess.  I'll definitely wear the mittens, and might even knit more of these in different colors.

I also finished up the Felicity mitts last night.  Completely forgot the eyelet row before the i-cord bind off on the palm and thumbs, but decided that since I wasn't planning to weave anything in there anyway it wasn't worth redoing.  These mark my second finished project ..... and you know what that means!

I think I'll wait until this weekend to start my new project, because I'm making pretty good progress on some others and don't want to lose my momentum.  I mentioned that I wanted to get the Kitchen Rag Rug finished, so I pulled it out today, prepped some of the fabric strips, and completed 3 rounds on it.  If I continue at that pace, this should be done next week!  Of course, that is going to depend on whether I have enough of the fabric strips to get this to the size I want.  I'm starting to think I might have to go get some more fabric in order to get this guy finished, but that can be done this weekend when Paul is done.  Stupid car battery is dead again!  We need to get it into the shop to find out what's up.

Since the Ann Marie Stockings have become such a slog to work on (and therefore I don't want to work on them, and when I force myself, I wind up daydreaming instead and get nothing accomplished), I've set them aside for a bit and decided to try a new tact in getting projects completed.  According to Ravelry, my oldest wip is a Mermaid Jacket, started in December 2008 (oh the shame of it!).  I just need to get the sleeves done and sew a couple of seams and this will be done, so I'm going to work on it just a bit each day.

I started on one of the sleeves today and got past the short rows.  Now I'll work 4 ridges each day until I get to the next short row section.  It's a pain to keep track of where I am in the short row section, so I'll do that all in one day.  I know 4 ridges isn't much, but doing just a couple of rows each day worked really well when I made a double knit coat.  I never got tired of the project, and I had the coat in time for cold weather.  This won't be done in time to wear this cold season, but it will be done in plenty of time to wear it next Fall.

Next, I checked Ravelry to see what my most recently started project was.  It's the enormous amigurumi turtle for Paul.  I had the head done before Christmas and set it aside.  Yesterday, I got a fair amount of the body done.  Since this is crochet, it shouldn't take too long to get it finished up and off my list.

If I get this done, and the Secret Garden mittens done, I won't feel so guilty about starting something new for February.  I need a project that starts with B that can be finished next month.  The only B project I currently have started is the Beekeeper's Quilt, and I already figured out that it is going to take another year or more to get that done.  I've already purchased a pattern for another pair of mittens that should work up quickly while I watch the Olympics next month.  I was originally going to join a couple of Ravellenics teams, but after the fiasco that happened a couple of weeks ago in the first group, I decided to just craft happily away on my own stuff and not join in the new group and risk getting sucked into the drama.  I love the Olympics too much to let them get ruined with all that hoopla.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Skip

Skip is finished!  Well, with the exception of being strung up on his control stick, that is.  At the moment, the glue on the control stick is drying.  Once that's done, Paul will drill a couple holes for me, then I'll string him up and get proper photos.  I think he turned out so cute!  Love this little guy. 

Yesterday I struggled through the duplicate stitch on the owl mitts.  Found that if I started with the white, I didn't mess up.  Finished up the feather charms this afternoon, and now these little mitts are done.  I really like these.  Must make more fingerless mitts.  Now, since these were originally for a swap and weren't on the initial list of knit/crochet wips, these won't count towards my two wips that need to be finished in order to start a new project.  Darn it!

Since I'm liking the fingerless mitts, I decided to pull out the Felicity Mitts that I had started in December.  I had one completely done, but it just seemed too long, both on the arm and hand.  Yesterday, I frogged that one down to the lace edging and started over.  All that's left to do is the i-cord bind off on hand and thumb, then I can start on the second one.  Should be able to have it done in the next couple of days if other projects don't distract me too much. 


Hoping I get them done though, since finishing these means I can start something new if I want.  And I want!  I discovered a doll designer on Ravelry and have fallen in love with her work.  Really want to start a Lottie Doll.  I have plenty of appropriate yarn in my stash to use, and I'm hoping it works up fairly quickly.

Yesterday was supposed to be quilting day, but Paul and I were watching tv shows, which is difficult to do from the sewing room.  So, this morning I spent some time down there and got the borders all sewn on the Man Cave Quilt, and the fishing rod applique ironed on.  At some point this week I'll get the blanket stitching done on the applique and start looking for backing fabric.

Next up on the list to get finished is the Kitchen Rag Rug I started in November.  I thought I'd have this done by Thanksgiving, but if I remember right, a shawl captured my attention and I set this aside for a bit.  It wound up getting shoved out of sight for my mother's visit over Thanksgiving, and I never did pull it out again.  I can only crochet a bit of it per day because it's rough on the hands.  Cotton fabric has no give!  I'm liking the way the different fabrics are playing with each other so far.

 Would also still like to get those Ann Marie stockings done before moving on to February's B project, but we'll see.  The bright and shiny newness of those wore off much quicker than I thought it would and they have become a bit of a slog to work on.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Duplicate Stitch .... ugggggg

In all the year's I've been knitting, I've never worked a project that called for duplicate stitch.  Until now that is.  Actually, this project could have been worked using intarsia for the colorwork, but I don't really care for intarsia.  I've discovered that I really don't care for duplicate stitch.  Ugggggg I spent about an hour last night working on these mitts.

And then spent another hour and a half picking out everything I did because apparently I can't count and messed it up.  This morning, after a cup of coffee to get quite wide awake, I began again using a second color.  Worked about 30 minutes, then spent about 45 picking out most of what I'd done, because I still can't count this morning.  Uggggg I should have done these in intarsia!  They are small and the irritation of tangled yarn strands wouldn't have lasted nearly as long as the frustration over picking out duplicate stitch over and over.  All I can hope is that these turn out lovely and I adore them for years :-)

Before starting on the frustrating duplicate stitch, I put the finishing touches on the Shaker Sewing Set.  The satin stitch actually took longer than I expected, but I love the way it turned out.  Still setting aside funds for the boxes, so it will be awhile before you see this in all its glory.  As stated before though, I am counting this needlework project complete.

I think I have my February project lined up, but to keep my momentum going in January, I pulled out the beaded ornament kit I started in November.  Yes, November.  And all I completed was 2 1/2 rows before setting it aside for other bright shiny new projects.  There is a cross stitch shop near the salon where I get my hair done and get my monthly massage.  When I checked them out, they had a lot of Mill Hill bead kits and I couldn't resist buying a couple.  Who could?  I mean, they're beads!  They are bright.  They are shiny.  They make you smile.

I also spent some time yesterday completing the parts to Skip.  Isn't he going to be so cute?  Tonight while watching Downton Abbey, I will start sewing him together.  Then this week I need to get his eyes put on, and his teeth sewn in.  Yes, teeth!  He gets little e bead (again with the beads) teeth sewn in around the edges of that bright red mouth.  Lastly, I need to put his control stick together and get him strung up.