Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Where has the time gone?

I haven’t posted in 4 months, and I truly have missed it. I’ve been fairly prolific on Instagram lately, which works for me, but I miss the words. I’ll try to be better.

As usual after a blogging hiatus, I’ll start off with some baking, knitting, and books talk.

I actually haven’t been baking as much as I was. I’ve been counting calories and using my Fitbit (which I love) and, believe it or not, I haven’t really *wanted* the baked goods as much. Last night, though, I did do a little baking. I made a lemon gooey butter cake, modifying Paula Deen’s recipe by adding some lemon zest and about 1/4 cup lemon juice. It turned out very good!

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The last post I made was about my Vintage Cakes project. I’ve actually done several recipes now, but have only posted pictures on Facebook or possibly Instagram. Looking at the table of contents, I’ve made (in addition to the ones in the previous post): Texas Sheet Cake (which was a fail as far as the actual recipe went (baker error), but still tasted delicious), Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake (this was amazing!), Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes (pretty good), and The Pink Cake (which was a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream – oh.my.god). These cakes tend to be a little time intensive, which is part of the reason I haven’t been baking them regularly. I tend to wait for an occasion, of which there haven’t been many lately. I can’t remember which cake I was planning to make next just by looking at the table of contents, but it involves strawberries and ricotta cheese. Maybe that will be a “yay for the end of school cake” in a couple of weeks!

On to knitting. I’ve been knitting a ton lately, but finishing little. Wow, I just looked at my projects page on Ravelry and got a little persective. I’ve actually finished 10 projects in 2013 so far. I have several things on the needles but am actively working on 3 right now:

And reading. I’ve only finished a handful of books this year – well, according to Goodreads I’ve read 12, which isn’t too shabby, but it feels like I haven’t read much. The only “wow” book I’ve read this year has been The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, which was *this* close to getting 5 stars. It lacked some little spark that would have put it over the 4-star edge, but it was a damn good book. I highly recommend this one, especially if you are a fan of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

In other news , or just rambling-ness, life is crazy. Work is crazy, and I will be very glad when July 1 has come and gone. My daughter was going and is now not going to Japan, all in the course of less than a week. Disappointing (and expensive, since we had to get an expedited passport) to say the least. We’re planning a trip to Big Bend in early July, and I absolutely can’t wait. I just wish we could stay longer. My husband is in Atlanta for the weekend with his school’s Academic Challenge (aka Quiz Bowl) team for Nationals, and we’re planning to go to the Mississippi coast in a couple of weekends. And that’s about it. I miss writing and hope to be back soon.

2012 Knitting/Crocheting in Review

  1. Pretty Petals afghan squared for my quickly-abandoned square-a-month project
  2. Wishing for Winter hat
  3. Tamarind Cowl
  4. The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief
  5. Nathair Mitts
  6. Dr. Who socks for Jimmy
  7. Stacked Eyelet Cowl
  8. Harvest Dew socks
  9. Leaf Blanket
  10. Windschief hat
  11. Simplicty socks
  12. Belle Epoque socks
  13. Sockhead hat for Laura
  14. Maurandya socks
  15. My Knitted Heart Vanilla Socks #1 (with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” yarn)
  16. Santa ornament
  17. My Knitted Heart Vanilla Socks #2 (with “The Grinch” yarn)
  18. Facets hat
  19. Vanilla socks #2 (with “The Santa Clause” yarn)
  20. Dustland hat
  21. A Very Braidy Cowl
  22. Library of Congress hat
  23. Vanilla socks #1 (with Knit Picks Felici in “Aquarium”)
  24. Drawstring bag
  25. Crocheted sun dress (mostly crocheted in 2011; finished in 2012)
  26. La-La-Love-You Cowl

Afghan blocks: 1
Hats: 6
Cowls: 4
Shawls/kerchiefs/shawlettes: 1
Socks: 9 pairs
Baby blankets: 1
Ornaments: 1
Bags: 1
Dresses: 1
Mitts: 1

Look at that. Almost an equal number of projects as books read. Coincidence? I think not.

In addition, I have 7 projects I worked on quite a bit this year. Four of them are in “hibernation,” but 3 of them are still active projects that I will finish in the nearish future.

Cat toys

I made my daughter’s kitten, Oliver, a couple of cat toys this week. He loves them! However, he keeps batting them under the couch or into the closet. He is so smart, though, that when I enter the room, even if it’s been hours since the toys disappeared, Oliver will greet me with urgent “meows” and lead me to the spot where he lost the toy. Without fail, if I move the couch or open the closet door, there is a toy. I have officially become “She-who-makes-and-retrieves-toys.”

Want to make a simple toy for your cat? (and this really couldn’t be simpler) Grab some leftover yarn & the appropriately-sized needles (you want the fabric to be pretty dense). Knit a square, leaving a long tail for seaming. I like to use one of these patterns for Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth, since you start with a corner & can start decreasing when the triangle is the size you want for your toy (I like using kfb for my increases & k2tog & ssk for my decreases so there are no holes along the edges) . Once you’ve completed your square, fold it in half, corner to corner, to make a triangle. Sew up one side using a whip stitch. Stuff with polyester filling (& catnip if you really want to make your cat happy), & sew up the 2nd side of the triangle. Voila! Almost-instant cat toy.

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Knitting update

So, what have I been up to lately? Attacking a mountain of projects, mostly.

I’ve actually made a little dent in my WIPs, but naturally, I replace each finished object with a new project, it seems.

In this post I listed my WIPs. Of that list, I’ve actually finished or frogged almost all of them! But now, the list is still just about as long. I was working through the list on a schedule, but lately I’ve fixated on certain projects. Here’s the current list (newer projects link to my Ravelry project page):

1) Thin Ice – still working on this slowly. It’s not a priority and tends to get put on the sidelines.

2) Clothilde – same thing as Thin Ice. It’s a lovely project, but it’s time consuming, so it tends to get put aside.

3) Sockhead Hat – Laura wanted something made with the Peeta colorway of my Hunger Games yarn, but she didn’t want socks, so I found this pattern. It’s a fun, mindless knit and is in regular rotation.

4) Belle Epoque Socks – I actually have 3 pairs of socks going right now. Fun! These are made with a gorgeous blue-green yarn and I ❤ them.

5) Vitamin D – another one that comes and goes. I’m almost to the sleeves. I still have a very long way to go on this project.

6) A Very Braidy Cowl – I had this goal to do a cowl a month this year. I was on track until this one. This was supposed to be May’s project, and I’m about 3/4 done with it. It’s going to be pretty when done, but it’s sort of a boring knit.

7) Halloween socks – Nothing special about these – I haven’t even put them in Ravelry yet. I have another goal, to knit my “holiday” socks for this year using holiday-specific colors of yarn or themed patterns. I bought this yarn to make these socks with. I cast them on over Memorial Day weekend, but haven’t touched them again.

8) Ella Sleep Sack – this was intended to be a baby shower gift, but I didn’t have time to finish it (and probably won’t finish it by baby-time, either). It will go in my gift stash for a future baby gift. Thus, it isn’t a priority.

9) Test knit socks for my mom – I’m 2 repeats into this pattern and they’re really pretty. Good job, Mom!

Here are some more recent finished projects:

I never posted pictures of the Leaf Blanket, but I did take them, but on a different camera. I’ll try to post pictures of that project soon.

Spinning!

Oh yes, I went down that rabbit hole.

Today I attended a spinning class at Yarntopia in Katy. I’ve been curious about spinning but hesitant to pick up yet another fiber craft. When my friend Katie mentioned Yarntopia was offering a class and that she had switched her work schedule to go, I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did – it was fun!

I am not really the most coordinated person in the world, so I wasn’t sure I could get very far. What I spun wasn’t particularly pretty, but I was much more successful than I thought I would be!

My first handspun

I brought home fiber to play with (more of what we were spinning in class) and some to spin when I get a little better. The colors in this picture don’t show well, but it’s Superwash BFL in the Frozen Margarita colorway.

Hunger Games Yarn

It’s been weeks now since I received my Hunger Games inspired from McMullin Fiber Co., and I had every intention of sharing pictures of this glorious yarn. The colors are gorgeous and it is super squishy (fitting, since the name of the yarn base is Squishy). So, with no further ado, I bring you Hunger Games yarn.

Katniss

Katniss

Peeta

Peeta

Primrose

Primrose

Haymitch

Haymitch

President Snow

President Snow

Gale

Gale

WIP Inventory

I took a deep breath and did a WIP inventory this week. For those of you non-knitters/crocheters, WIP stands for “works in progress.”

1) Thin Ice – I started this for a knitalong on the Knitabulls podcast Ravelry group. This, however, is a huge shawl, and despite my best intentions, there was no way I was finishing it in 6 weeks. However, it is a lovely pattern, so I don’t plan on hibernating it anytime soon. It is just no longer a top priority. In fact, I don’t actually have anything on the needles right now that counts as high priority.

2) Clothilde –  I cast this on in January, did a little bit on it, and noticed a mistake. I’ll need to frog it (for you non-knitters, this means rip it out – get it? Rip it, rip it, rip it…) and start over. Since I’m not far into it, this is no big deal. What I do need to make myself do this time around is place stitch markers after each repeat of the lace pattern. I learned that this week with another project that should have been easy but had me pulling my hair out!

3) Dark Mark Illusion Scarf – I started this in the fall of 2010. The original plan was to give it to my daughter. Then decided to give it to my son. Now it’s been languishing for a very long time. I honestly don’t remember the last time I knit on it. It’s been hibernating in my cubicle at work, but I will pick it up on Tuesday to see how I feel about it.

4) Dr. Who socks – I guess if anything counts as high priority knitting, this is it. I’m making these for my husband using Knit Picks Felici in the Time Traveler colorway, which is a pastel version of one of the Tom Baker scarves. I’m sure some of you out there could tell me *which* scarf, but I couldn’t tell you. I’ve finished one sock and am just past the toe on the 2nd one. I’d like to have them finished by his birthday at the beginning of April.

5) Vitamin D sweater – I’ve only finished one sweater, and it was pretty much a failure. I’m hoping this one will work out better. It’s another one of those projects that keeps languishing, although after picking it up again this week, I really want to keep working on it. I love the yarn and how the fabric is working up. The biggest problem is it’s at the point now where it takes around 45 minutes to do just one row on the sweater. This is not conducive to working on at work. I’ve decided I just need to get over the idea that I have to be able to make it through an entire row and just do *something*. I’m concerned the sleeves will be too tight if I follow the pattern exactly for the size I’m making, but after looking at the pattern, I think I can do the sleeves as if I were doing the next size up without any problem, based on how the pattern is written. This will be the first time I’ve ever tried to modify a pattern like this, so wish me luck!

6) Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief – Another one that’s been languishing. When I got this out to work on this week, I realized how close I am to actually finishing this! I think the reason I haven’t been working on it is because I hate the needles I’m using. So, once it’s finished, I’m chucking these cheap Hobby Lobby needles into the trash!

7) Beach Bag – I started this as part of a knitalong last summer and lost interest. It’s not the most exciting pattern, but I want to finish it. I think I am going to heavily modify it and turn it into more of a messenger bag than a tote.

8) Cotton Ribbon Sash Dress – This one has been almost finished for ages. When I got it out yesterday, all it needed was buttons, button holes, and the ribbon sewn on. I got the buttons and button holes done, but alas, I can’t find the ribbon I had bought for it. I’ll need to make a trip to JoAnn’s to buy some more. This is an adorable little dress, and I plan to send it to a beautiful little girl in Michigan. 🙂

9) Drawstring Bag – I don’t even remember why I started this. I thought it would be a super-quick knit but I quickly lost interest. I think I thought the pattern was for a much smaller bag (4-6 inches maybe), but it’s actually going to be probably closer to 10 inches when finished. I made myself work on it last night, though, and got it almost done. Two rounds plus a round to create eyelets then bind off. Then I have to do the I-cord drawstring. I may be able to finish this today if I ever get around to it.

 

I did have one finished object this week. I finished the La-La-Love You Cowl, which is very pretty. This project, however, gave me fits! I started it on February 2 and got a few inches in and realized I had twisted it at the beginning, so I had to rip it out. I wasn’t going to restart but changed my mind. I kept messing up the lace pattern and ripped out more than I knit, I think. I finally got smart and put in stitch markers, at which point it flew off my needles. I managed to finish it on Feb 13 and was able to wear it on Valentine’s Day!

The whole thing

You can see the design and color better here - although it's really kind of a mix of the 2 pictures