Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Showers... (or better late than never)

Let's start off with a review of my 2015 goals and my progress in the first quarter:

1. Blog at least monthly - So far so good!
2. Stash Down - Even though I can't remember to use the #noshitnonewyarn I have only purchased yarn for a crochet blanket that my granddaughter requested. How do you say no to a 6 year old???
3. Update stash, projects etc and organize Ravelry - big fat fail so far but it is on my list for the 2nd quarter. Honestly I thought I would get to it during my break at the holidays but I was working on #sweatshopprogress! Now that I have done all the bags I'm going to do for now I will set aside some time to work on the stash, match projects to yarn and set up a de-stash page.
4. Garment sewing - None yet but I'm planning some shorts for summer and I have fabric for two summer tops.
5. Weaving - I did some sampling, wove 3 rag rugs. I'm working on a warp for a twill sample scarf but need more warp, note to self - buy warp, and I want to plan something to enter in the fair this fall in the weaving category. I'm thinking about some kitchen towels.

Personal goals were:
1. Fitness - I am still wearing the Fitbit, but I have been very inconsistent with any exercise regimen.
2. Diet - We are being more mindful and have been continuing to look for ways to cut back or substitute more healthy options.
3. Weight - I've lost a little bit, exercise would help.

Overall, not too bad for the first quarter. Lets see what warm weather does for some of this.

Finished Objects

I finished my Bankhead Hat by Susie Gourlay! Its a free Ravelry pattern. It was a great knit. Because I wasn't paying attention I had to rip a couple of inches back when you get past the ribbing because I left out the knit every other round part. I knit this on size 8 circulars and DPNs using Twist Fiber Studio Madison Worsted in the Amethyst color. This is a variegated purple yarn with lots of depth. Very nice to work with.  Its more purple than the photo but its in the bathroom, green, with artificial light. And please excuse the sheep pajamas.... :)

I finished another 21 wedge bags for Ashley for her Kickstarter Surprise Perfect Pairs sets. This time I'm really done. I want to make some for myself as well as having other projects in mind.

Knitmeter Progress
I have knit 2399 yards so far, and woven 5 yards. I am only updating this as I finish stuff so the next couple of FO's will make it jump. 

In Progress

After I finished the Bankhead Hat I weighed the leftovers and decided I had enough to eek out some Maize Mitts by Tin Can Knits from the Simple Collection. I am making them fingerless as I think I just barely have enough. I have finished both and just have to do the thumbs. 

I've started a new crochet project. When one of my granddaughter's visited me a couple of weekends ago she wanted to see someone knit. Then she viewed my yarn stash and determined that I had enough yarn for a blanket and asked me for one. :) Well, I couldn't really say no so I showed her a pattern that I had been wanting to make for a while and got a color list. Now I should have put a caveat on my New Year goals regarding requested items as I didn't have enough washable  yarn in the stash in the colors she wanted. So off to the store I went, coupons in hand. I'm using the basic pattern by Little Yellow Uke for her Ripple Blanket. I have 4 solid colors broken up by a multi color. I'm doing 6 rows of the solids, probably repeating them twice and 3 rows of the multi between. I promised it by her birthday in June. Hope that works out.

I'm making pretty good progress on the Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu. This is a gorgeous pattern and very easy. Because I'm trying to spend time on 4 separate projects I only knit on it 1 or 2 days a week. I'm on the 7th repeat of 13 for the sleeves. I'm using Twist Fiber Studio Montford  Fingering which is an MCN base. It is luscious!! This is in the Tradewinds Colorway.

I'm close to the finish on the Citron Shawl by Hilary Smith Callis. I am almost finished with the ruffle section. I have 540 stitches on the needles and it takes almost 40 minutes on the knit side and nearly an hour for a purl side. Its also hard to photograph because I have it on a 24" circular needle. I promise its not shaped like it looks in the pic. This is with Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino in the Lettuce colorway. It says it's a 2 ply but it's not, it is a single ply yarn and is soft and luscious. Good thing cause it takes a long time to knit the rows. There are 12,186 projects on Ravelry for this pattern!!! Wow!

I have new progress on my Happy Scrappy Sock Yarn Blanket a free pattern by Shelley Kang! Ashley (CarolinaSpinner) started a thread in her Twisted Stitcher Podcast Group asking if anyone wanted to trade mini skeins with me. 3 people joined me and a 4th just wanted to send someone some leftovers. So I now have lots of new yarns to play with. Its hard to photograph it since its so wide. I'm going to start next month showing the new squares I've done. I'm also including pics of the yarns sent to me. 

Knitting Technology
Knit Companion - Do you use it??? I have found that I no longer use paper patterns. Since I have Knit Companion on both my iPhone and iPad mini I use that exclusively. I know some people use other PDF readers but the difference with KC is that they have built in software for setting up charts, adding annotation to serve as reminders, smart counters to help with row instructions, such as increases or decreases etc. There is a lot that I haven't even used yet. I recently learned to use smart counters when doing my Custom fit Featherweight Cardigan. I set up each row with increases or decreases and when you get to that row  you can't advance to the next row on the chart until you acknowledge you have completed the task for that row. You can get the free version to try and can do quite a lot with it. The full version is $14.99 and worth every penny!

I've also found an app called PatternGenius. This appears to be awesome! I haven't used it yet, and I haven't really thought about designing patterns but I love the idea that I can chart something, colorwork perhaps, or cables and save it as PDF to use in KC. The free version will let you design basic charts. I haven't played with it enough to see what all the free version will allow but it could be useful. There are options for purchasing a 1 year subscription for $3.99 for a specific Genius Bundle or all the bundles for 1 year for $15.99.

New to Me
Knitting On Paper I found this on Facebook. Yes, I do occasionally find something useful on Facebook. :) This is a graph paper you can use for designing colorwork. I'm sure other things but that is why I have saved it. Instead of just using knitting graph paper where the squares are actually rectangles that mimic the taller than wide stitches in knitting, this has stockinette shaped boxes. There are tons of other design/planning things on this site. Its a good one to bookmark.

Ooh Girl! Yarn - I know you all have seen something that just has to come home with you. No matter what your particular "thing" is. This happened to me when Ashley and I went to Knoxville a few weeks ago. We met up with Dana of Unwind Yarn Company and her husband. We went to the spinning guild meeting and then to lunch. The next day was Dana's birthday and Ashley had a gift for her. Then she offered her a skein of yarn from a basket..... *sigh* That was my downfall..... I saw this skein that I just had to have. This is in Ashley's Lexington Fingering base. Fortunately one of the caveats of my #noshitnonewyarn knit from stash goal was that I have shop credit.... THANK GOODNESS!............... ummmm......... On second thought, the shop credit may be my downfall...... lol.

New in MY Queue
Rhonwen by Jennifer Wood. This is in the top 20 on Ravelry today. It is an open front cardigan with cables and lace that can be overlapped at the neck or left open. It is a beautiful design knit in DK weight. The suggested yarn is Anzula Cricket which is an 80% Merino, 10% Nylon and 10% Cashmere yarn. I think I may just know where to get something like that..... Be sure to check out this designer, she has many lovely patterns in her Rav store.

Coming Up
Tippary Tweed - I got this yarn in a destash several years ago. I have washed it to see if it softens up some as it is a very rustic yarn. I'm going to swatch with it aiming for the Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I want this to be a large, comfy cardigan for winter use. Something I can wear over layers when its cold. It won't be next to skin so it can be rustic. I adore the color.

That's it for this month. It took me a while to get my pictures done and I need to make it a priority to get the blog together more quickly. I have a fun new fiber tool to show off next blog. See you then!