2,487 and Counting

Let me just say I’ve been knitting and crocheting my little fingers to the bone to keep pace for this year’s stashdash (details here). So far I have four – count them – FOUR finished objects!!! Wootie woot!!! Here are the deets:

1) Barley by tincanknits (my project: Chestnuts & Barley)


Dates: May 5, 2014 to May 25, 2014

Yarn: Patons North America Classic Wool Tweeds in Chestnut Tweed

Needles: US 5 & 7 circulars

Yardage: 148 yards

 

2) Half Granny Square Shawl by Anastacia Zittel (my project: Half Granny Shawl)



 

Dates: May 25, 2014 to June 2, 2014

Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock in S221

Hooks: US G & 1.4mm

Yardage: 462 yards

 

3) Yellow Dwarf Shawl by verybusymonkey (my project: Kittywake)


Cute puppy alert!


Dates: July 29, 2013 to June 19, 2014

Yarn: Quince & Co in Finch

Needles: US 6 & 7 circulars

Yardage: 548 yards

 

4) Sunny Spread by Ellen Gormley (my project: Avocadoness)



 

Dates: September 20, 2010 to June 21, 2014 (yes…just shy of four years this thing took)

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted in Avocado and Forest Green Heather

Hooks: US I & H

Yardage: 1,329 yards

 

Currently I’m at 2,487 yards (45.5% complete). I’m super stoked!

I’m working on two other projects at the moment, my Haiku shawl & my Garter Squish blanket.

The Haiku shawl is working up quite nicely but is kinda slow. This is mostly due to a few of the repeat rows just being tons and tons of chains and single crochets that doesn’t add much to progress. But it’s going to be totally worth all of the work – I can tell. It’s going to block out like a freakin’ champ and all that detailed work is going to be the business!



And let’s just say my Garter Squish is going to be the shit.

Let it be said, what was initially holding me back from starting this project sooner was twofold: 1) I felt that I should finish my Washington Square Cardigan before starting another large project (even though the color I was using was looked HORRID next to my skin tone) and 2) I couldn’t settle on what yarns/colors to use.

Well let me tell you! Frogging my Washington Square Cardigan squashed all that shit!


BOOOOM! Sweater WIP no longer an issue! Oh, and look at that…I now have my main color yarn which magically makes picking out the other colors so much easier.



As a previous hairstylist would always say, let’s do the damn thang.

Committed

Or at least I should be. This year I’ve committed myself to participating in The Knit Girlll’s 2014 Stashdash. For those that don’t know, a stashdash is when you have knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving goals that you meet using yarn (or fiber) from your stash exclusively. It’s a great opportunity to work thru some stash, make room for new stash and to get around to using all of those “myyyyy prrrrrrrecious” yarns that have being sitting around in ziploc bags that you’re afraid to use.

Sounds fun and easy right? It is!

HOWEVER, this year’s goal is to get thru 5K (5,468 yards) of yarn. Yup, that’s five thousand four hundred and sixty eight yards of yarn. A shit-ton. Oh, did I mention that you only have just over 2 months to get thru this shit-ton of yarn (May 23rd to August 7th)? Yeahhhhh, a shit-ton of yarn in a short period of time.

Of course this appeals to me in every way and I have to participate.

Since I’m not the fastest knitter and I like to nap, I figured that I need a plan.

Step One:  Over think the shit out of what to make. What do I really want to make? What can I make with reasonable speed? What pattern/yarn combinations do I really want to make happen now or save for later? What Wolle’s Yarn Creation Color Changing Cotton colorway do I want to use? Should I throw in a few more cowls? What about getting my dishcloths for the summer swap out of the way? Blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc…

Enter an Excel spreadsheet:

Picture1

Why yes, it is color coded. Why do you ask?

Anyway, am I absolutely, positively married to all of these items? No. This is just a rough plan that helps me see everything that I would like to accomplish and how any changes I decide to make can effect the bottom line. It also gives me a reason to build a spreadsheet, which always makes me happy.

Step Two:  Break out the WIPS. My first completion was a beanie (Barley by TinCanKnits – my project: Chestnuts & Barley) that was 85% complete when the stashdash started giving me 148 yards right off the back. My Yellow Dwarf Shawl should be coming off the needles (sooner rather than later) and giving me over 500 yards towards my overall total.

Now is also the time to wrap up those high yardage WIPS that are lurking in the closet. For me this means breaking out my Sunny Spread and Granny Square afghans for completion. I’m guesstimating them coming in around 1,000 yards each, but its highly possible that one or both them will use much more than that. Wootie woot!!!

Step Three:  Have a fast, high yardage project in the mix. I’m not one of those knitters that can make a lace weight shawl in 7 days. I mean, theoretically, I coooooould but I would have to take a full week break from work and do nothing but knit (no sleeping or eating). So since that ain’t going to happen, I decided to put some easy, but awesome yardage in the mix: I’m going to make the Garter Squish afghan by Stephen West. I’ve been wanting to make that afghan since the pattern was first published!  Miles and miles and miles of garter stitch knitting and it uses worsted weight yarn that’s held double throughout. Ohhhhhh yeah. I logged it into my Excel chart as using 1,000 yards but it should really come in around 2,000 to 3,000+ yards.

I think this is a solid plan. If I can just stay true to my plan I should able to make this stashdash my yarnie beeeeyatch.

I Got My Nails Did

So for those that don’t know, I kinda have a thing for nail polish. I have over 100 bottles of nail polish, I keep my toes painted all the time and I keep my fingernails polished about half of the time. I don’t like doing my pedicures simply because my feet are sooooo far away – or at least that’s the way it feels when I try and paint them. So I usually hit the nail salon every two to three weeks to get my feets did.

Lately, I’ve been getting a mani and pedi when I go just because it’s nice to be pampered and things have been crazy stressful for me lately (hence all the quiet on my site – sorry about that). The salon that I go to is usually really good. Most of the folks that work there do at least a decent job. I can say that I’m usually totally happy with my pedicures (probably because my eyesight isn’t great and my toes are far away) and I’m usually okay with my manicures. I do however take my own stuff with me simply because I have a pretty good arsenal of products that work well with me and give me the results that I desire.

Picture1

However, I got the most awful manicure of all time this past weekend. I ended up with a guy that I’d never had before and he was horrible. He called me picky to my face when I showed him the nail shape that I wanted, when I insisted on using the color I picked out for my hands and when I told him I just wanted a minimal cuticle trim. He threw my hands around and glared at me the whole time.

The actual manicure looked and was awful. First of all, the layers of nail polish were so thick that when he put on my fast drying top coat on (Seche Vite) the polish literally ripple on multiples nails. It would have probably rippled on all of the nails had he actually covered all of my nails with top coat. I wish the photo showed how some nails literally where only half covered with top coat (you can actually see how shitty it’s done on the thumb nail). He just slapped it on every which way. Let’s not even start talking about how chewed up he left my cuticles.  ANGRY.

Look! How is this an acceptable way to send a client out of the door? SO JANKY.


After I left the salon and looked at the mani in the sunlight (and after I asked the random gas station attendant if it looked as janky as I thought – which she did), I went back to the salon and had them redo the painting of my nails. When he first sat down at the table to fix my mani he was like “did you mess it up?” “No, its just a bad job.” I responded. Jerk. He proceeded to be very rough with me and tried to make me feel like I had messed up my nails (“No! No! I’ll carry all of your stuff!” Like that was the problem.).

He did a decent job the second time around but he manhandled me like mad and still gave me a below average mani (my poor cuticles…thumbnail still looks like shit too). At this point I just wanted out.


Not only did I speak the manager about all of this, I didn’t tip this guy either time. He did a shitty job, was rude and I’m not going to reward either one of those things.

This is why my mom never got a manicure in a nail salon. She knew that if you patiently do your nails at home you’ll do a better job. Tru dat mama. Tru dat.

Spirit Lifting Socks

Pattern: Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks Pattern + Instructional Videos by Staci Perry/Very Pink (my project: Spirit Lifting Socks)
Yarn: Bernet Mosaic
Colorway: Fantasy
Fiber: 100% Acrylic
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) 40″ circulars
Dates: March 16th to April 1st

Notes: Okay, these socks are super easy and awesome to make. Staci Perry’s patterns are awesome, the videos are super helpful and it doesn’t hurt that they’re done in worsted weight. I always recommend Staci’s sock tutorials to newbies looking to do their first socks and people love them. It takes the mystery out of sock construction whether its cuff down or toe up; on dpns or circular needles; or one-at-a-time or two-at-a-time. Annnnnnd you get the whole instant gratification awesomesauceness feeling because they work up super quickly with worsted weight yarn. Needless to say, I totally recommend this pattern or any of the Staci Perry’s sock patterns with mucho amounts of zeal.

However, I totally screwed these socks up. I’m very aware that I’m a loose knitter and I should have totally gone down one or two needle sizes. But I didn’t. And not doing this totally caused a bunch of problems.

First of all, the toe area is too big for me. I think this problem stems from not using the right sized needles and the toe area being a little too square for the shape of my feet. I loved making the toe she teaches you and I love the way that it looks (seamless without having to fuss with the whole kitchner weaving crap), it just doesn’t fit my feet.



I love the method that this pattern uses to turn the heal but it gives you tiny holes up the side of the heel of the sock. I think it would look great when done either on the correct size needles and/or not in worsted weight yarn. However, my holes are big. Boo.


The ribbing isn’t tight enough because, again, wrong needle size. This also makes the recommended bind-off SUUUUPER stretchy and gives it a SUUUUPER loose edging. No bueno. So I tried two different bind-offs instead: a regular bind-off (far too tight) and a crochet bind-off (not so bad but not the best option for socks).


Even though these socks are not the best FO, they were a great learning project! I’ve never done toe-up socks before and I’ve been very wary of them. But now, I’m totally looking forward to trying another pair!!!

Stupid guage.

Beanie Bender

You know what you do when you realize you have a shit-ton of Caron Simple Soft? You make beanies for charity – that’s what you do!


Okay, so while my mountain of Simply Soft was begging to be reduced, I was also inspired by my friends Eve and Jill to do some charity knitting/crochet this year. Like Eve, I knit up some beanies for Knots of Love (organization website here) for cancer/chemo patients using two of their patterns: Basic Slouch from their Young Adult Line (beanie on the far left) and Madeline’s Cap (brown and blue beanies on the right).


But then I found a foundation called Knit with Love (organization website here). Well, actually they liked one of my beanies on Instagram and I checked out their website. I saw that they took beanies and other knitted items in all sizes and all types of yarn – which I liked. But what I really liked about them is that they give to people that simply need help staying warm: chemo patients, victims of natural disasters, the homeless, etc. I like that – I like that a lot. So they got three beanies too: (top) Perfect Crocheted Beanie, (bottom right) Textured Unisex Hat, and (bottom left) Better Late Than Never Beanie.


I really like how all of these beanies came out. I will definitely be using these patterns again and again…well except for the Textured Unisex Hat pattern. That pattern calls for lots of front posts stitches and I’m really slow with that stitch. It took me forevah to make that hat up. And if it’s going to take me forever to make a beanie, I better be knitting it damnit.

So much! So much!

I’m not a yarn snob. I like all sorts of yarn – I’m more of an equal opportunity yarn user. Red Heart, Malabrigo, Vanna’s Choice, MadTosh…and don’t even get me started on my favorite indie dyers. I love them all! But in cleaning/organizing my craft room recently, I came across an unusual amount of Caron Simply Soft. At first it wasn’t that bad.

I sat down one night and weighted/measured and stashed it all in my Ravelry account.

But then a few partial skeins/balls/cakes materialized.

Then some baby balls appeared.

Thennnnnnn all yarnie hell broke loose.

Whyyyyyy do I have so much Caron Simply Soft (and a few skeins of discontinued Rhapsody which is very similar to CSS)??? WHAT. THE. HELL. It’s like I own stock in the company!

Not going to lie, I love the stuff! Is it full on acrylic? Yup. Is it terribly soft and super versatile? Yooooou betcha! Because it’s so soft and a good weight (depending on who you ask: dk/worsted/aran) I really like using it for baby blankets and beanies. Even though I’m probably going to make a couple of blankets out of this stuff, I’m definitely going to work up some charity beanies. It’s nice and soft and gentle enough for the sensitive scalps of chemo patients and many charities list CSS as an acceptable yarn for donations. I’ve decided on sending some to both Knots of Love and Halos for Hope.

But while I eek out a beanie here and a beanie there, I will just stash it along with my other acrylic yarn…

Acrylic yarn and puppy butt. There you go.

 

Just A Few Good WIPs

Since my post about living a monogamous knitting life I’ve tried extremely hard to concentrate on only a few projects at a time. I’m doing okay…ish…

Minus my two blanket projects that I haven’t touched in monnnnnnths, I only have three projects on the needles/hook:

Solid Granny

Solidan (pattern > Solid Bottom Bag Crochet Tutorial): This is going to be a project bag – hopefully a knit night type bag. You know, something that can hold a couple of project bags and a small notions bag and be thrown over the shoulder. I’m working it up in a fairly tight gauge because as we all know, cotton S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S something fierce and I want this to be a large bag but not a LARGE bag. The combination of a US F hook and a shit ton of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn seems to be producing a nice and tight stitch – so far, so good.


Pascal (pattern > Arrowhead Socks): After multiple (soooo many) sock patterns were bought and downloaded, I finally found a pair of socks to make for the 2013-2014 EpicKALCAL. This pattern hit all of my requirements for this project DK weight yarn, easy lace pattern and top-down construction. I busted out my MarigoldJen DK yarn for this project and magic! I love the way it’s working up! Please note that this is like the 3rd freakin’ project I’ve tried with this yarn…so glad I found a good pattern for it…freakin’ finally.

I also used this project to try out the ever so popular Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I don’t really like a heel and gusset because it doesn’t fit my foot well. It makes my socks bunch up in the back of my shoes and spill out. Not a good look. I like this method much, much better. Not only does it fit better than the usually heel, it works up like gangbusters! No counting stitches, holes or picking up stitches down the side. ANNNNND the stitch count never changes and you can use it on any stitch count. LOVE IT.


Kittyhawk (pattern > Yellow Dwarf Shawl): This project is kind of a thing. Okay, soooooo at first this was the Metallurgy Shawl. But that pattern made me its bitch and I didn’t like working on it. There was just too much back loop this and don’t back loop that and the lack of true rest rows took its toll on me…about 10 rows in. Which is sad because it was reallllly pretty. But one day I was cruising around Very Busy Monkey’s pattern pages and noticed that she’d started another shawl series called ??? that included a pretty shawl called Yellow Dwarf Shawl. I was like “Oh that’s cute! I should make thaaaaaaaaaaa…OMG! That has the same body as the Metallurgy Shawl!!! Maybe I could turn the Metallurgy into this shawl!!!”

*buys pattern and notes that bodies are the same and I can easily switch from one pattern to another…gives self high-five*

So after a lot of stitch counting, frogging due to dropped stitches, additional dropped stitches being fixed by a friend while watching football, my Metallurgy Shawl is now officially the Yellow Dwarf Shawl! Progress is being made! PROGRESS DAMNIT!!!

My plan is to wrap up my bag first because I have lots of free time this week and I have the Superbowl on Sunday. PRIME CROCHET TIME.

I want to start the Washington Square Cardigan and Steven West’s Garter Squish NOW NOW NOW but I will show some self control…maybe. Don’t judge me.

Must knit all the projects!!!

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