Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Fresh Off The Needles: Baby Hat

I just finished a little baby hat for my husband’s coworker.  It turned out great! Except for one itty bitty little detail… it’s too small!!  We were going to give it to them at the office holiday party yesterday, but when I looked at Baby D’s head, I could tell it wasn’t going to fit him.  So the present stayed in the car all nicely wrapped.  It will be ready for the next baby that is born and now I have to find another pattern for Baby D.  Not that I mind, it was so great to have an instant satisfaction project considering all my other WIPs are ones I have been working on for months!  Here is how the hat came out:

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attern: Baby's Cabled Milk Silk Cap Designer: Susan Boye Source: Luxury Yarns One Skein Wonders Yarn: 127 Print by Filatura Di Crosa

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Container Gardening Fail, Canning Success

It finally started to snow here in Connecticut and I thought now would be the right time to see what progress my carrots made in their container. As you can see from the photos below, the answer is zilch.

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I didn’t have much luck with container gardening, except for some herbs and my little lemon tree. Just enough to grab a bottle of Dominican rum and make myself a delicious mojito. Not very cost effective, to tell you the truth, but I am still determined to make this work. I am going to clear out the dirt from my containers and when Spring comes I am going to try again. I just have to pick the right crop to plant.

Thankfully, my husband and I joined a CSA from a local farm and got a TON of winter vegetables. Comparing the carrots from the farm to the ones in my container gardening, is just pathetic and completely unfair. But essentially, that is my goal. I didn’t start out as a great knitter, I am not going to start out as a great gardener. So I get a learning curve for a few planting seasons, right?

What I am doing pretty well is canning. My husband gave me a canning book for my birthday and so I took the farm carrots and made them into Asian pickled carrots. They also became: carrot ginger soup, baby food, carrot cake, and part of a delicious vegetable ragu. I can’t wait to try some recipes with whatever vegetables we get in December!

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Fresh Off the Needles and Hook!

My baby turned one at the beginning of the month and I finished his crochet baby blanket on his birthday!  After a few attempts I figured out how to properly do the Crochet Intarsia that I had mentioned a few weeks back and here is the final result:

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I couldn’t be happier with how it looks!  I had to do some modifications to the chart, because it appeared to be off-centered so I shifted it a little so there are 8 stitches on both side of the widest part of the mushroom.  Then I sat back to admire my work and noticed that the eyes were also off-center. I thought I had miscounted, but when I looked back at the chart I saw that it was indeed uneven, with ten stitches on one side and eight on the other.  So I fixed that too. In the end, it was a little annoying to keep balancing things out but well worth it!

Another project that I have completed this month is one that has been hibernating in my craft closet since 2010! It is a beautiful tunic in which I had the body, one sleeve, and most of the second sleeve already done. I think I got stuck with the second sleeve when the directions told me to “reverse knit” the decreases. I didn’t know what that meant at the time and so I hid it; out of sight out of mind! I am so relieved, not only that I finished it, but that it fits me pretty well too. Let’s face it, a person’s body can change a LOT in 1,460+ days, especially after a pregnancy.

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Both of these pictures are before blocking, once that’s done it can only get better. Currently I am still working on the blue sweater, I have one sleeve done, I just need to keep adding length to the stockinette body and start the second sleeve so that this project doesn’t end up hibernating for four years too. besides that, I have some colorwork projects going on and I plan to cast on a baby sweater to steek. Yep, that’s happening. No more just talking and dreading it, I’m gonna put my yarn where my mouth is! Wish me luck!

 

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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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