Monday, April 24, 2017

Almost There

"Almost there" is how I feel about all of my projects. I've put time in to each, but none are quite finished just yet. Still, I'd like to share what is almost done.

I'm nearing the finish line with the Iceland Sweater. I was undecided on how long to make the welts for the body, so after doing around 60 rows of the front, I started on the back. I got a little nervous about the width. The ribbing sucked in so much that I went ahead and blocked it. No need to keep knitting if I'm going to rip it all out again. Luckily it blocked out great. Now I just need to finish the length of it before weaving in the many ends and attaching the buttons.
I tucked all the ends into the sweater when taking the picture, but there are quite a number of ends to weave in

I've been putting quite a bit of time into my new woven scarf. Connor has started playing Fallout 4, so I've been using that as my weaving time.... you know, when I haven't stolen the controller to play a little myself. (It's such a small part of the game, but I'm obsessed with collecting the magazines and displaying them on the rack at our home base.)
I'm nearing the end of the scarf and I've already learned what I would do a bit differently next time, but all in all it is a good first project. The only problem I've really run across is how to show weaving progress. It sort of looks the same as you weave.... so here is the big roll of scarf that I've woven.
It looks so small all rolled up, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a long scarf when I'm done

The socks are all moving along, too. The Haleakala socks (top) got put aside again because I forgot how complicated the gusset is. The test sock (right) is almost at the toe. My plain vanilla pair (bottom) is also almost at the toe. I wish some of these were second socks, but alas, they are all the first in the pair. I'm hoping that once I get one sock done, the match will knit itself.

Of course all these projects are just my yarn-related ones. I've been continuing on with my comic and figuring out how to best scan and process them for online and print. (I have no current plans to print them, but if I ever changed my mind, I don't want to rescan 160+ pages.) I've also taken a step away from the embroidery sachet/ quilt project. It all became a bit too much to maintain.

Who else has a bunch of "almost there" projects? If you love them all, how do you choose which one to work on next?

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm A Weaver

Do you know the feeling of having so much to do, but having no idea where to start? Ideas and projects swirl around in your head and leaves you too tired to cross anything off of the list? That was me yesterday. Luckily, when I get to that point, Connor sits me down and has me list all the things that are overwhelming me out loud while he writes them down. Usually at the end of the list he'll say, Wow! That is a lot of things." This time when we finished, he looked at me and said, I think you need to start weaving.

I've wanted to try out weaving for quite some time. I've even been borrowing a loom for over a year (sorry David) but kept being too intimidated to try. So yesterday Connor helped me... alongside a book, youtube, and an online tutorial.

Originally I was going to weave a plain white scarf. I have a ton of white from when I thought I'd knit my wedding dress. But after threading the the first two threads, I realized I'd be bored immediately, so we wound up the white and I started to sketch out possible patterns. A little while back, Wei Siew had kindly send me some other colors by Anna Gratton, who also spun up the white. They work together so harmoniously, it was clear they needed to be in a scarf together.

After a few false starts, I was able to get going. So now I am a weaver. I've already woven and unwoven parts of this scarf, but I'm learning quickly.

I have high hopes to be wearing a new scarf soon.... unless Connor steals it. He keeps telling me it's "great man colors."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Captain Shiney's New Hat

I had been promising Connor to take him to see the tall ships that some times visit nearby; specifically the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain. We had missed out the last time they were in town. By chance I looked to see where they currently were and it turned out I had looked just in time because we were able to go see them the last week that they were close by. So early on a Sunday, we headed to the nearby marina.
Does the ship look familiar? It played the Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

My Mum had volunteered on the Lady Washington over a decade ago. Whenever the ships were in town, we would go and invite crew members to the house for a hot shower, dinner, and laundry. Life got in the way, people we knew moved to different places, and we slowly stopped visiting. When Connor and I headed out that Sunday, I wondered if we might bump into someone I knew. Luck was on our side and as it turned out, I knew the captain. Shiney (James' nickname) had started volunteering on the Lady Washington the at the same time my Mum had. We knew he had worked up to being a captain on other ships, but it was great fun to see him be the captain on the Lady Washington.

We had signed up to be part of a battle sail. On a battle sail, the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain go out and under sail power maneuver around and shoot off cannons (with blanks) at each other. The captains on each ship keep track to see who wiped the floor with who. (We totally won.)
Our gunner firing one of the swivel guns

There are different kinds of shots that can be taken. You can broadside a ship when it is alongside you. You can shoot through the whole ship when it is pointed directly at or away from you. Shiney's favorite, however, is to aim for the stern because that's where the other captain and his officers would have been.
The Hawaiian Chieftain had moved all of its cannons onto one side so it could get four shots in

While we took our time to line up shots and the strategy was discussed, if it were a true battle, the shots wouldn't have been lined up. The goal would have been to damage the other ship as much as possible as fast as possible.
Shiney is catching the other ship's cannonballs with his hat

While we were catching up, I learned that the hat I made Shiney years ago that had "Shiney" knitted into it had been lost to time. As a knitter, I had to ask, "Do you need a new one?" The giant smile on his face was all the answer I needed. I knit like the wind and on a different weekend, we drove to a port that was further away from us to deliver the hat. It was a big hit.
Shiney is much taller than me. He was obliging and leaned down so I wouldn't be so dwarfed.

If anyone is interested in visiting either tall ship, there is a schedule at . The ships sail up and down the west coast of the US regularly. Also, when we dropped off the hat, they were taking a wedding party out for a pirate-themed wedding on the bay. I didn't know that was possible, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

Friday, April 7, 2017

I've Run Out Of Sock Needles

I've jealously eyed Gale's Art sock blanks for awhile now. Friends coming back from Rhinebeck had them... and at the time it was really difficult to get one on Gale's etsy shop. A year ago, around my birthday, I finally decided I was going to take the plunge, stalk her shop, and finally get myself a single sock blank in The Big O color way. The only problem was that less than a month earlier she retired the color. Oh the agony! And no one on ravelry was giving their's up. I did have a little sliver of hope though. She said that after a year, she might un-retire it. Well.... while sitting in the bathroom with my phone (like you do), I decided to see if the color might have finally been un-retired. And what do you know, she had exactly the one I wanted in her shop. I came bursting forth from the loo and shouted to Connor, who was sitting on the couch, I HAVE TO BUY YARN NOW. IT'S IMPORTANT. And now it is mine. However, I have run into a problem. 

All my sock needles are full. I know that some people would solve that problem by buying another set of needles, but that is not my way. (Also, I haven't been able to make it to the yarn shop...) So instead I am knitting furiously on all my socks to clear the needles. It might make sense to just work on one at a time, but after feeling really inspired to work on the Haleakala socks, I ran into a part that required lots of concentration, so I moved to my plain pair. Of course then I figured out the problem I was having with the test knit I was doing, so I gave my attention to that... until the weather turned cold again and I worked on my sweater instead. This is why I shouldn't be allowed to have more than three projects going at once; it prevents me from knitting my new yarn.

Does anyone else have a tale of yarn woe... and perhaps eventual triumph? Or is there yarn that you knew you should have bought and will never get your hands on?

Friday, March 31, 2017

I've Run Out Of Row Counters

For those of you who have followed this blog for a bit, you may know that I rarely let my WIP (work in progress) pile go above three projects. That seems to be the magic number for me. Any more than that, and I find that progress gets slowed to a snails pace. The other reason, I have discovered, is because I don't have enough round counters to maintain more than that. Despite the lack of round counters, I have found myself with six projects going. Four of those projects are socks. The bottom two are for the same test knit that needed two socks to test properly. The top left was my usual stockinette sock I like to have for car knitting. The top right is the Haleakala sock that I stalled out on.
Starting in the top left and going clockwise: Opal's Little Prince in Die Rose, Malabrigo Sock in Pocion, Canon Hand Dyes in Etude 120 and Yoga For Elephants

Beyond the socks, I've continued on with my sweater, which is inching closer to completion. When I last posted about it, I had finished four repeats of the leaf pattern. Now I only need four more repeats before going to the next section.
The wide bit at the end was blocked. The rest of the sweater will match once I block it all out.

And finally, I have a hat. It's an important hat with a deadline. I bumped into a knit worthy friend I hadn't seen in a decade. He no longer has the last hat I made him, so I offered to make a new one. It's got some writing on the inside of the turned brim that required intarsia in the round. Turns out intarsia in the round is a bit fiddly, so it took me a couple goes to get it right. Luckily for him, he is an intarsia-in-the-round-worthy friend. Now it's just smooth sailing with nine out of ten rounds of the repeat being in stockinette.
However, there is a deadline to finish it up before he sails to the next city. It's rather hard to mail a hat to someone when they work on a ship.

Even though I am excited to make the hat, I really am itching to get back to my sweater... and maybe a sock as well.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.2

The next morning, Connor and I went to do the Trinidad Head hike. It is one of the ones you can do as a Redwood Edventure. The museum where you could get the brochure was closed, so I loaded it on my phone from the website instead. We followed the clues, one of which took us to this magnificent view. 
I have since filled out the form for the patch. We will see how long it takes to arrive.

From there we stopped by Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, but decided not to stay too long. I have been there before as that is where Fern Canyon is located. We also considered doing the Edventure that was located there, but time wasn't on our side. Besides, the spot I wanted to see most was still further north.
After another hour or so, we reached Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. There is an Edventure there too, but we took a recommendation from the ranger at the visitor center and walked the Simpson Reed Grove Trail instead.

There were a bunch of banana slugs out an about. I don't recall seeing ones with brown spots before, but this guy had them.

Most of the redwood state parks in the area are also associated with Redwood National Forest. I think the Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP just might be my favorite. It seemed wetter and greener to me. I especially like all the moss and that ferns that sometimes grow out of the trees. 

Connor and I then continued on to Oregon. As we passed from California to Oregon, Connor saw in the rearview mirror that the California state sign was back up. The last time we had passed through, it wasn't there.

How silly is it to live in a state and not have a picture by the state sign? Despite the heavy rain, we righted that obvious wrong and stopped for our obligatory jumping photos.

From there we went reached Oregon and had a jolly time seeing family and celebrating with Oma.

We did end up with quite a haul in terms of patches and magnets. The patches have been added to the souvenir patch map for those who are curious about where to find them. They were acquired from Leggett to just past Crescent City in Hiouchi while following highway 101, then turning onto highway 199.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.1

Connor and I just got back from a trip up to Oregon to celebrate my Oma's birthday. Usually when we go up to Oregon, it is a pretty direct trip up and back. We pass by all sorts of things that look interesting, but don't have time to stop for. This trip we stopped.

After spending a night in Willits, we got up bright and early-ish to see what we could see. First on the list was the Drive Thru Tree in Leggett. There are several drive thru trees, but after one got blown over in a recent storm, it seems like a good idea to take advantage of driving through this one. It's five bucks to drive through the park, which includes some really impressive redwood sculptures.

The next place we stopped was Confusion Hill. It was confusing to find, so we made all sorts of jokes about the origins of the name. Also worth noting is that there are long stretches of the coast where there is no cell phone signal. We relied on signage to find the confusing hill. It turned out to be very similar to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. I wondered if the same architect of the Mystery Spot sold their plans to all the different vortex spots.
Although Confusion Hill and the Mystery Spot are similar in architecture, the big difference is that Confusion Hill is a self-tour, which is great if you want to take pictures unhurried. The Mystery Spot is more fun if you want to watch well rehearsed demonstrations. 

After getting really dizzy at Confusion Hill we kept going up the road until we found the One Log House.

It really is made out of one hollowed-out log. For a dollar, you can go inside. I commented to Connor that it looked bigger than our first apartment together.

At this point, we were on the Avenue of the Giants, which Connor and I had been on before we were married. It was dark when we drove it, so it was nice to see it during the day. We stopped at the visitor center to see if we could find a Humboldt Redwoods State Park patch. They were out, but we learned about a great program that is going on in the parks in the area.
Although this is geared towards children, the volunteers told us anyone could do this. Each of the participating parks have a little brochure that has clues in it. You go to a certain trail in the area, follow the clues, and by the end you have to fill in the last clue to earn a patch. Even if the visitor center is closed it is possible to go onto to get a brochure. Once you find the final clue, you can fill out a little form to have them send you a patch. Of course it is a bit more fun when the visitor center is open and you can just do it in person.

A treasure hunt that ends in earning a patch? I was hooked immediately. We went to the Rockerfeller Loop Trail and followed the clues. It turned out to be quite educational. We learned about burls and snags. We also came across a large downed redwood that must have not been able to withstand the last storm

We also spotted a few things that weren't in the brochure, like this Trillium.

Near the end of the hike, I dropped my lens cap. It turned out to be serendipitous because as we turned to pick it up, we saw a Rough-Skinned Newt. These guys are really hard to spot. Kudos if you can see it in the picture I took.

If we had more time, we would have hiked more. As it happened, we had a dinner date with some friends a bit further north, so we headed up and met up with them. We talked so long that we closed out the restaurant. All in all, it was a great day. Connor and I fell into bed absolutely exhausted from all the fun we had.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sock, Sock, Sweater

The weather has just turned warm, which means the two new pairs of socks I finished will have to wait to be enjoyed. Luckily I have my socks out on display, so I can enjoy looking at them while I wait to wear them. 
The first pair is my Hieroglyphic Socks. I started these in September and have been working on them on and off until now. They required quite a bit of attention when I started, but I found that once I got my rhythm, I could knit them at knit night or while semi-distracted. They never quite got to car-knitting level, though. I didn't like putting them down mid-round.

I did make some edits to the pattern. I didn't care for the recommended heel, so I put a heel flap in. And rather than leave it plain blue, I took a page from Stickfia's book and kept the stripes going. I did find that the golden stripe on either edge of the sock got a little gappy, so I sewed through the blue loops on the heel flap and anchored them with duplicate stitching to the blue stripes on the gusset. I was pleased to find that it worked just like I had hoped.

I'm also quite happy with my replacement rainbow socks. It sort of looks like a trick of the camera, but the sock on the left is the old, washed out sock. The one on the right is the new one.

I had hoped to finish while it was still raining, but wasn't quite able to make it. I thought it would be delightful to wear rainbows in the rain. Honestly, I would have been happy wearing rainbows in the sun, but I'm not so happy sweating in rainbows.

Now that both pairs of socks are entirely off my plate, I have been devoting all my knitting time to my Iceland sweater. I'm not quite done with the first sleeve, but I'm getting there. The recommended sizing would have the sweater fall off of my shoulders, so I am entirely ignoring the recommended sleeve/body width and am blocking my progress after every 20 rows or so to make it match my own measurements instead.

So far, so good. The pattern is pretty intuitive and has paired well with Netflix watching. Speaking of which, I have been watching Greenleaf. Or, I should say, Connor and I have been watching Greenleaf. After watching a few episodes by myself and talking about it, Connor thought he would watch an episode with me. We are both sucked in and now I need to find a different show to watch when he isn't around. 

Has anyone else got a show that has just sucked them in? I'd love to hear some recommendations.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Catching Up On Crafting

I've been pretty productive with my various projects as of late. After realizing that I was not quite starting or finishing anything, I knew that I needed to make a list of what was causing each project to stagnate. It seems silly, but every project just had one step that needed to be worked on before I could go full steam ahead. 

For the Iceland sweater, I needed to swatch, so swatch I did. The swatch wasn't very helpful though. Since the pattern doesn't have a very good schematic, it was difficult to know how to successfully make the adjustments I wanted to. Eventually I decided that maybe I should just cast on. If it goes badly, I'll just rip it out and try again.

Next up is this test knit on my to do list for a while. It doesn't have a solid deadline, so I've waited until I had some brain power to put to it. I did my swatch, got confused over the stitch pattern directions, got clarification from the designer, and cast on. Of course after I got past the cuff, I realized that I had another question. This project will sit for a little while longer, but I'm glad to have gotten it started.

I recently wove in the ends to two different pairs of socks, but they still weren't being added to my sock rotation. I've mentioned in the past that I like to re-fix the color in all my socks before wearing them. If I have several pairs of socks close to completion, I'll wait until they are all done so I can do them together. I wasn't getting around to re-fixing the color and I realized it was because the Hieroglyphic Socks were a little too long in the toes. I wanted to fix the toes before re-fixing all the color. I don't know about the rest of you, but I wasn't really motivated to unweave in the ends and rip back color work. I finally caved and am pleased to say that both the Hieroglyphic and Rainbow socks are now re-fixed and drying.

My lavender sachet project also had been languishing. I often thought about embroidering, but kept putting it off because I needed to set up the fabric. After having a good think, I worked out the spacing I needed between each sachet. (2.25 inches) And to prevent myself from putting it off again, I'm sewing all the bag boundaries before I keep embroidering. It's going pretty well.

The last project that I'd been putting off was catching up on my comics. After Hawai'i, I was nearly two weeks behind. I've been slowly catching up by doing two comics a day: the previous days' comic and one from when we were in Hawai'i. Eventually I'll be up to date.

How has everyone else dealt with stagnating projects? Do you find a list helps or do you have a different method?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

To My Husband On Our Second Anniversary

Oh Connor, who knew that this last year of marriage would be a tough one to get through. Not because of any friction between us... just that life decided to throw everything at us at once: illness, family deaths, loss of friendships. As it turns out, all that hardship has further glued us together.
The Death Valley trip we went on with Joe

Even through it all, you have been kind and compassionate even when I've fallen apart. You kept up on chores on the weeks I could hardly get off the couch. You've had a good attitude even when things we hoped for didn't work out. Thank you.
The time we went to the Rocky Mountains and took the wrong trail with your family on the way to Dream Lake. 

Despite it being a tough year, we still were able to have fun together. Looking back, I'm really surprised by all the travel we still managed to do. We made it to Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Kentucky, and Hawaii together. We also traveled to different spots in California like Sequoia National Park, the Alabama Hills, Death Valley, Camp Layman, and Pinnacles National Park.
The time we went on that all-day canoeing trip in Kentucky. We chose the fiberglass canoe because it wasn't hot from the sun. It turned out to be superior because had a flat bottom and didn't get stuck on the rocks.

Looking back, I can now confirm that when we got married I got the better end of the deal.

 Happy anniversary, my love.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Stitches West 2017

About a month before Stitches West happened this year, I decided that maybe I did want to take a class. I've been interested in trying out weaving. The all-day weaving class was full, but Deborah Jarchow was doing a one hour market session on how to set up a Rigid Heddle loom. She was an excellent teacher and I have all sorts of aspirations now. Besides the class, I spent two different days at the market. I know, I know... I have plenty of yarn. I'm weak.

This is what came home with me. In the top left are three skeins of Spincycle Yarns Independence in the Payback color way. I'm planning to make an Arrowhead Cardigan out of it. In the top center are two skeins of Lost City Knits Foothill Fingering in the Cerrillos color way. I plan on using it as the weft for a scarf I'd like to weave with my skein of Big Sur yarn that has been waiting for the perfect project. On the second row on the left are four horn toggles from Buttons! to go along for the Arrowhead Cardigan. I really liked how Rachel of Spincycle Yarns had made that mod to her sweater, so I am going to do the same. To the right of the buttons is a bit of fiber by Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks BFL Dark in the Oaxaca color way I got from the Carolina Homespun booth. Earlier this month Connor had taken me to the Cirque du Soliel show that was in town for my birthday. It was called Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico. The Oaxaca fiber just captured the feeling of the show so well I had to have it.
I knew I shouldn't have gotten within 100 yards of the Canon Hand Dyes booth. I have so much yarn from her... but I love it. Of course upon walking by her booth, the yarn sirens called and I gave in immediately. The two striped skeins in the bottom left are Canon Hand Dyes on the Charles Merion Sock base. The grey/red one is called Bucky and the yellow/grey one is called Hufflepuff. The bottom left purple skein is Miss Babs Hot Shot in the Amethyst color way. I plan to pair it with another skein in my stash for some color work socks. In the bottom center of the picture are two orange skeins. The one to the left is Hedgehog Fibers Twist Sock in the color way Monarch. (There's the Luzia influence showing up again.) The orange skein on the right is Material Culture Fiber Arts on the Modern Era base. The color way was an exclusive for the show and it was called Indian Paintbrush, after the flower of the same name.
Along the right side of the picture, you might have noticed some mugs. Pawley Studios was at the show and I couldn't help myself. The top mug is for me and says, "No Skein No Gain." The middle mug is a Hufflepuff mug for Connor. He was pretty excited when I brought that home. The bottom mug I got to help encourage my father with his knitting. It says, "Knit Long And Prosper." I was going to give it to him for Father's Day, but I couldn't even wait 24 hours after buying it to give it to him. I was too excited.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Knitting Basket Full Of Socks

It has been raining buckets all month. I think we've had maybe four days of sun. What has that all added up to? Lots of knitting time of course! At the moment, I only have socks in my knitting basket.

I've been diligently working away on my Hieroglyphic Socks that I started in September. I only have to knit the toe on one of the socks. But, like all my other recent socks, this one has the potential to misbehave.
Yarn is Lisa Souza Hardtwist Merino Petite in the Coachella and St. Louis Blues color ways 

The stitches are a bit loose where I picked up along the heel flap. I have a plan on how to fix it, but I'm not sure how the fix will affect the length of the sock. So until I'm sure that I got the length of the first sock's toe correct, I'm going to hold off on knitting the second sock's toe.

The other two socks pairs I have in my basket I had cast on just before we left for Hawaii. I've knit the Haleakala socks before, although they have since been gifted to my Mum. I thought that since we were going to Haleakala, it made perfect sense to knit a new pair. Well, after casting on and knitting a round and a half, I realized that I probably wasn't going to work on anything with a cabled pattern while on vacation. Although, I still took them to Haleakala. They sat in the car while we hiked. Now that we are back, I've started to knit on them again.
Yarn is Malabrigo Yarn Sock in the Pocion color way

I still wanted some knitting for the airports. Since Haleakala socks were out, I also ended up casting on a pair of vanilla socks. They might look familiar because I have knit the exact same pair of socks before. The yarn washed out and the rainbows aren't as bright anymore on the old pair. I've since learned how to better maintain my socks, so I'm knitting this pair again.
Yarn is Canon Hand Dyes Charles Self Striping Sock in the Yoga For Elephants and Silver color ways

I've also kept up at my embroidery. After sewing most of one side, I realized that I'd done it really crooked. I ripped it all back out, took some deep breaths, and started again. It's ready to be sewn into a sachet, although I think I might wait to have a few more ready before I break out the sewing machine again.

Well, that's what I've been working on for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I hope to have the Hieroglyphic Socks finished up soon so I can cast on a sweater. What has everyone else been working on? And what do you hope to start?
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