Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Paying it forward

Earlier this week I taught three women how to knit!  It was very gratifying to pass on this skill.  I used the pattern “Easy Fingerless Mitts” by Roxanne Richardson that is a free download on Ravelry.  It is a great beginner project because it shows the knit and purl stitch and because you have to do two of them you get to repeat the cast on and cast off for more practice.  I have never thought that a scarf is a good first project to learn.  True, you get a better handle of the stitches by repeating it, but beginners either get bored with it because of the length or get discouraged because it looks so uneven with the inevitable dropped and/or added stitches.  So that is why I liked this pattern.

Here is the progress that my students made and the sample that I made with some left over gray Madeline Tosh.  The first two, had already knitted in the past, they just needed a better understanding of how to do it and a quick pattern to see some progress.  My friend with the white yarn had never knitted before and had a difficult time at first.  I told her it was partially because the turquoise yarn she had originally chosen was too close in color to the blue metal needles she had bought, which made it harder for her to see her stitches.  So I gave her some bulky white yarn from my stash and size 13 wooden needles so she could see things better and that helped her a lot!  She was so excited she actually texted me at around midnight last night to show me that she had used up all of the white yarn.  That is so satisfying to see someone feel accomplished! I hope they embrace this craft with as much love as I have.

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Rhinebeck – it finally happened!

This past Saturday I finally made it up to The Wool and Fiber Festival of New York – a.k.a. Rhinebeck!! I have been looking forward to this for years. Yep, years, no I’m not exaggerating. It was a beautiful fall day and it was packed with fiber lovers. It did remind me of Maryland Sheep & Wool, but it did have a lot of vendors that I had never met and I was able to run into some friends from Philadelphia.

I wish I could say that I came home with a pile of yarn, but my budget was very limited. I ended up with three skeins, enough to make a hat from the Drops Design Studio, an a pair of scissors with some really sharp blades. I got those for when I finally cast on a project that requires steeking, something I am determined to learn.
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I am happy that I got to scout the fair and see all that it has to offer (like maple cotton candy – YUM!) I can’t wait to go again next year!!

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Things don’t always work out as planned

Doesn’t that suck? You get so excited about trying different things and then you realize that your attempt, while a valiant one, was just a waste of time. Or, if you’re the optimistic type, it’s “a learning experience”.

First, my container garden: I was able to harvest some beans! Great!! Hurray!!! … except that I only got 1 ounce from all the plants and all the weeks that I invested in it. That’s not even enough to make a meal for my baby boy!
Can you get beans from container gardening?
Yes.
Should you bother with it?
Not unless you are willing to fill a bedroom with many, many containers.
Lesson learned – wait until you have a yard
Resolution – planted carrots after I pulled up all of dried out bean plants. I figured it’s a root vegetable, it will grow down, so I might actually be able to get enough to add to a salad

Second, my submission to the craft fair: met the on-line entry deadline! Great!! Hurray!! …except that I thought I would have to take the shawl in a day or two before the actual fair started. The reality is that I had to hand in the knitted garment a week before the fair so that it could be judged in its category. D’oh!
Have I submitted an item into a craft competition?
Technically yes.
Should I bother taking the shawl to be displayed even if it can’t be judged?
It’s better than nothing
Lesson learned – put deadlines on your Google calendar with reminders
Resolution – called the person in charge of the committee and was told that I was too late, items were judged the following day, but that I should enter again next year

Sucks! Oh well, got no one to blame but myself.

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Crochet Intarsia

Over the past few days I have been trying to figure out a new crochet technique: intarsia. I’ve done knitted intarsia before, it’s been challenging but fun – my greatest knitting accomplishment to date is an intarsia alphabet baby blanket for my niece.

I found some great tutorial videos on YouTube (if you need help with this technique I recommend Crochet Ever After’s Channel), but I must admit, I am not liking the way crochet intarsia looks. Unlike knitted Intarsia, when you crochet a square the first and last stitch are always off, not on top of the other, so it looks lopsided.

The project I want to make is a 1Up Mushroom (free on Ravelry), another project for the Super Mario Theme Nursery. I think what I am going to do is knit the colorwork in garter stitch (so that it stays reversable) and then crochet the border. Hopefully, the crochet chart will translate well into knitting. We’ll see how that works out.

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Knitting Entry into Fiber Fair – CHECK!!!

BOOM!!! I have just completed another of my New Year’s Resolution and submitted my knitted shawl into a fair competition!! I’m so excited, I could just fill this blog post with just a bunch of exclamation points!!!! The fair is at the end of the month, so we’ll see how it goes. :-)

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Fresh Off The Needles: Cashmere Tie

I just finished knitting the tie that my hubby requested as his first father’s day gift.  (Ugh, I am terrible with deadlines!)  There is no one more knitworthy in my life than him.  He sees how much time and effort I put into the things I make.  He enjoys and takes good care of the knitwear I gift to him (I’m surprised his socks are still holding up!).  And unlike the dog and the baby, who have no idea as to what is going on, he appreciates the handmade items.  So when he asked for a knitted tie, I was so happy to oblige him that I busted out the fancy cashmere yarn to fulfill his request.    All he asked was that the tie be a solid color so he could easily pair it with his striped work shirts.

The pattern is a free Ravelry download called Father’s Day Necktie by Mary C. Gildersleeve.  The yarn is Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply in a light sage green color.  The pattern called for a worsted weight, so I did an extra pattern repeat to add width to the tie and repeated it 25 times before starting the decrease.  By the time I got to the end of the tie, I just made my own decreases and casted off – I had the pattern memorized and was too excited to cast off to go looking for the proper way that the designer ended.  In the end the hubby loves it and I am excited that I have enough of this luxurious yarn left over to make something for myself!! Here is how it came out:
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PS: Did you know that some designer brand cashmere ties can sell for over $200!?  So don’t feel bad if you have to splurge on the yarn, you’re getting a very good deal!

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Icelandic wool

 

A friend of mine just got back from a trip to Iceland and was kind enough to buy me a beautiful book with traditional patterns and enough yarn to make one of the sweaters! I am so excited!! I cannot wait to get to get started on this project, but I am going to wait until I finish the sweater I currently have on my needles.image

 

Another project I’ve started today was my stash organization.  I got these shelves free from Craigslist so that I can empty out my craft closet.  My apartment complex promised to install a washer and dryer in my hall closet back in April, since it’s now September I don’t think it’s actually going to happen, but I am still going to to organize my stash.  The easiest first step I already did was move all of my library to the bottom two right shelves.  I also gave up some precious real-estate on the bottom left shelf for our collection of cookbooks.  Here is the before photo, I will post an after photo once I figure out how I plan to organize it.   image

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Get Well Soon Needles

Over the past year my hubby and I started a new tradition,  where I show him knitting items I want and he buys them (or sometimes I do and hand it over to him), but has the say so on when he will gift it to me. A few months back my LYS had my favorite glass knitting needles on the 50% off bin and I “encouraged” him to buy me three out of the four pairs.  Last night he gave me the last pair (size 13 on 40in cables) because I have been struggling with a cold for over a week.  I squealed,  yes I did! A squeal of pure joy! I have been thinking about these needles for a while now because I wanted them to make a baby blanket for our son.  Now I just gotta figure out what pattern to cast on.  I’m so excited!

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Hibernating Flower Shawelette Finally Blooms!

I have not done many lace projects, and in December 2011 I was overwhelmed with three different WIPs on my needles! Something had to give and so I put aside the Petal Shawelette Designed by Bonnie Evans (Book: Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders) to hibernate into my craft closet “for the winter”… HA! Years later and that shawl made a cross country move before it ever saw the light of day again.

Earlier this year my lovely new LYS offered a WIP Help class and I decided it was now or never for this shawlette. I didn’t know where I got stuck or why my stitch count wasn’t adding up, so I went for a little help. All it took to keep this shawl moving forward was a closer reading of the instructions. Turns out all I was doing wrong was not following the pattern. I thought that after Chart B I had to move onto Chart C, when in fact I needed to repeat Chart B! Once that was made clear by one of the knowledgeable and thorough staff of my LYS, I zoomed through the pattern happy as can be that it was finally starting to look like the photo in the book.

Of course I was also working on a few different projects and with a new baby, this shawl took a few more months to be completed. But complete it, I did!! I finished the leaf edging over the past week while sick in bed with a horrendous sinus cold. Now it is blocked and I just have to debut it!

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Trial and Error Gardening

I was so surprised to see some beans growing in my old cooler!  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and am really happy that it has.  Now the question remains, when do I harvest the beans?  I did a web search and found a lot of information about planting and drying them, but no real descriptive instructions on when to pull the pods.  Some YouTube videos showed the gardener pulling up the entire plants by its roots and drying it, but I only have a dozen plants in my container, not a whole field to test it out.  On Wednesday,I pulled pulled a handful of pods, some green and some dark, to try drying them out.  I left most of the pods on the plants in case my little experiment fails.

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My feijoada plant


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Beans!


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Drying experiment

My herb gardens started out well, but now I’m not sure if they will continue to thrive.  OK, well the mint I’m not worried about – that’s a weed that even my baby can’t mess up.  But my cilantro started out with so much promise and now the stems dried out and I am left with a very pathetic pot.  Similarly, the chives grew and we ate them with eggs, but once I trimmed them, they didn’t regrow.  My basil looks like it has had its growth stunted.  Luckily, I moved some of my original seedlings to my friend’s shared garden, and they are doing much better there.  I haven’t harvested the oregano yet, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to grow much more than what it is now.

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My row of basil in the back, my mojito plant to the left, and two more bean sprouts

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My cilantro is all sad and gone

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The oregano and chives that have stopped growing

The latest addition to my container garden is a Meyer Lemon Dwarf Tree.  I dreamed about having one for weeks and weeks after finding so many growing tutorials on Pinterest.  So I went to a local nursery and bought the last one they had in stock.  I think I’m failing there too. The three fruits on the branches were already there when I bought it and I think I’ve lost more leaves.

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My lity little caipirinha tree

Even my beautiful calla lilies that I got for Mother’s Day seem sadder.   I was able to give some of them away to a friend that is moving and ever since then it seems as though the rest of the plant is mourning the loss of its fellow flowers that were clipped.  I plan to repot them onto a prettier and larger container, hopefully that will help them bloom again.

That’s what’s happening in my little balcony, thankfully we are helping friends maintain their raised bed gardens and so we are getting quite a lot of delicious vegetables from them.  We’ve had radishes, peas and green beans before and this week we got beets, carrots and Swiss chard!  I found a recipe on Pinterest for pickled Swiss Chard stems and did two cans – one for us, one for our friends.   I’m excited to try more new recipes for all the delicious foods we are growing!

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Fresh carrots!


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The three garden beds before things really started to grow.

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