Baffling Brain Fogs and Resulting Chaos

The Thursday before last, I couldn’t do my regular blogpost as I was the helpless victim of an inexplicable brain fog.

This fog was very strange and kept me in it’s evil clutches for about a week and a half. It scrambled me so bad that I could barely string 2 relevant thoughts together.

You can imagine what it did to my knitting. It fairly near reduced me to tears.

Nothing would work, and when I bravely soldiered on, it caused much cursing due to skipped instructions, miscounting and multiple rippings back of hours of stitching.

~~~

Adventures in Entrelac

I did, somehow, manage to finish the first Crocodilian Sock through sheer willpower and gritted teeth.

The leg took 3 runs at it to get the stitchcount down to where it fit an 8″ leg.

Final count = 45 stitches. Fingering wt. On 2.25mm needles. BIZARRE.

I swear, entrelac must warp the space-time contiuum or something.

Upon finally reaching the cuff, I changed first round of cuff to (K1, P1, KFB) to increase stitchcount from 45 to 60.

I also had to alter the first row of the heel by knitting into the front & back of each of the 15 stitches to bring it up to the required 30.

Okay, from here-on-out this should be a cakewalk, right? Wrong.

Following instructions, I diligently worked the heel and half of the gusset as written:

Crocodilian Socks - Sock 1 heel

Then I tried it on. The rectangular heel turn (Welsh?) as a rule doesn’t work well for me, but the worst part was that *the gussets weren’t lining up*. One side was about an inch ahead of the other side. HUNH??

For the life of me, I couldn’t work out how to pick up the bloody stitches evenly on the sides of the entrelac instep.

Being so fed up with this idiot sock at this point, I did the only logical thing possible.

(No, it didn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol or screaming, although those thoughts did filter through the fog.)

I ripped back to the heel turn, did a regular triangular heel turn (French?) and proceeded to knit the gusset and sole without joining to the instep. When the sole was long enough, I simply kitchenered it to the bottom of the toe and sewed up the sides of the foot.

Crocodilian Sock 1 - Done

DONE.

This pair is going to BadgerDan because I simply cannot get over my ambivilent feelings for this pattern enough to wear them.

~~~

Lace Limbo

I didn’t dare even *attempt* to pick up one of my shawl projects, but I had promised my friend Heather Zoppetti (aka “Digitalnabi”) to test knit her newest sock pattern “Bobbie Strow“.

It took me *three days* to knit the lace cuffs. This would generally take me the matter of *maybe* 4 hrs.

Garden Stroll Socks - Sock 1 progress

This is as far as I got on my version – “Garden Stroll Socks” Thankfully far enough that I could send my notes off to the ever-patient Heather with confidence.

These will now become the resident “purse” socks until they’re done as the hard part is over.

~~~

Maybe It’s a Yarn Weight Thing

Sure, that’s it – you’re overloading on sock & laceweight yarns. You need to knit with some chunky yarn.

Emmaline has been in the queue for a while, why not give it a go? Okay.

After screwing up the bodice increases 3 times, it occurred to me that perhaps gauge wasn’t the issue after all.

It did get done though, however slowly.

Emmaline Bodice

I had to put it away, but pulled it out again yesterday and finished it this morning:

Emmaline Top Complete

Emmaline Top

Finally – a Finished Object! (a week late.)

~~~

What Can I Do????

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a Knitter who can’t concentrate enough to knit – let’s just say it isn’t pretty.

Over and over I muddled over in quiet desperation what I both wanted to do and *could* do in this troubling state.

I was almost to the point of hysteria when a little internal voice answered.

“You can spin”.

So I took it’s advice.

I spun:

Life's Lemons on Spindle Life's Lemons - Skeined

Highland Handmades Superwash BFL – “Life’s Lemons” (4 oz)

And spun…

Fertility Handspun Handspun Fertility

Intentions Yarn Superwash BFL – “Fertility” (4 oz)

And spun…

Handplyed Brown Heather Shetland

Handplyed Recycled Shetland (from sweater) – Brown Heather (36g – 2 ply lace to 4 ply fingering wt)

And spun some more…

Handspun Cinnamon Simon

LlamaGoldsmith Alpaca Roving – “Simon” (1.3oz)

Toasted Almond Alpaca Wool

Louet Dyed Eastport Alpaca/Wool Roving – Toasted Almond (2oz)

I even spun up some itty bitty samples into 55yds of self-striping laceweight singles:

Self-striping laceweight alpaca

Natchwoolie Samples of: “Black” Alpaca; “Hazelnut Truffle Fawn” Alpaca/Tussah Silk; “Milk Chocolate” Alpaca; “Sterling Mixed Grey” Alpaca/Tussah Silk (total weight: 12g)

~~~

All Spun Out

Relaxing a bit, time to branch out a little and ease yourself back to knitting. How about some crochet?

Fingerless mitts – that should be simple enough…

Bohemian Opera Gauntlets

Bohemian Opera Gauntlets

Wow, those were unexpectedly fast and easy.

Bohemian Gauntlets

And very sexay!

~~~

On a Roll

Hmm… perhaps you should try to do something with all those tiny balls of dishcloth cotton that have been driving you nuts…

Crocheted Dishcloths

Clockwise from top: Big Blue Flower Washcloth; Nature Star Tawashi; Spumoni Starflake Tawashi; Forget Me Not Tawashi; Eye-Searing Leftover Dishcloth; Softie Leftover Washcloth

Little balls of cotton? GONE.

~~~

Then Badgerdan returned home from Toronto with a set of Ikea Kassett CD Boxes.

Who knew that this small act could make me deliriously happy and spawn a joyful afternoon of cutting up sleeves from the overloaded CD binder all to the tune of blaring 1990s music?

CD boxes

I am such an organizational geek.

With my appetite whetted, I moved onto the 2 unsuspecting DVD binders with scissors in my scheming hands…

DVD Collection

Believe it or not, there’s 76 DVDs and 14 extra empty sleeves in that small plastic dollarstore basket. I’ll pick up a snazzier box for them next week.

And the binders didn’t go to waste!

Cross-stitch Binders

They’re now safely housing my collection of cross-stitch patterns and magazines. πŸ˜€

This little adventure got rid of 2 plastic binders, one slightly warped CD binder and 2 plastic magazine holders. YEAH BAYBEE!!!

~~~

There’s still some residual fogginess going on, but the worst of it seems to have passed.

I think I can safely start on Clue 6 of Evenstar without too much chance of casualties.

I hope.

TTFN.

(Note: Will be back to regular Thursday updates starting next week.)

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Breaking Even

Remember back in March when I told you about the master plan to work my yarn stash down to more reasonable levels?

Well, I encountered my first fullblown challenge to the plan a little over a week ago while out shopping with a girlfriend at the local Salvation Army Thriftstore.

You see, I found yarn.

Good yarn. Wool yarn. Useful yarn.

Lana Grazia Lavabile

2 balls of Lana Grazia “Lavabile” (100% Wool, DK, 110m/50g) in a lovely camel colour @ 99c each.

Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply

1 oz ball of vintage Simpsons Supremacy 4-ply “All Purpose” Fingering Yarn (50% Wool/50% Nylon) @ 79c.

Total purchase price = $2.79

Now here’s the kicker – at that point, I had only earned 30% of a single new yarn purchase. A deficit of 2.7.

Translation: I would need to use up a full **27 balls of stash yarn** before even looking at any new fiber purchase. ACK!!!!!!!

After I finished thwacking my head against the wall for a bit, I girded my loins and decided to face the monster head on.

~~~

First up – finish the Sampler Baby Blanket.

I simply couldn’t afford to wait another 2 months for the CAL patterns.

So a few more filler squares, a couple more February squares, four of the April squares for the corners and a sewing marathon later, I had this:

Sampler Baby Blanket - Sewing Complete

Added an improvised border and VOILA!

Sampler Baby Blanket - Complete

One crib sized baby blanket ready for the baby nephew πŸ™‚

~~~

Next – finish the Exploding Plum Blanket.

And holy cow, did it ever explode! It’s almost 6 ft wide!

Exploding Plum Blanket

Had to get a little creative at the border due to goofing up the pattern sequence a little and not wanting to pull it back to correct it. It’s not perfect, but it still looks pretty cool :).

~~~

Well that’s 22 balls down. Need 5 more. Hmmm…

I *had* planned on using some Malabrigo for this month’s Woolly Wormhead KAL Hat (“Waffle Slouch“) – maybe I’d better check the wool “oddball” case instead.

Rummagerummagerummage

Here’s 22yds of a dark brown mercerized wool (okay, that’ll totally work for the brim…), 71 yds of brown tweed Aran wt (nice for the body… but will it be enough? Better be sure…) and 28 yds of red heather (well, it blends a *little* with the tweed… maybe some stripes?)

Crossing my fingers, I used the stitchcount of the smallest size with larger needles and hoped for the best.

The brim yarn yielded a good 2″ of ribbing on 5mm needles. (The pattern said 3″, not too bad.)

Upsized the needles to 5.5mm for the Aran wt tweed and got to work. After a couple of repeats, decided that I’d need the red heather after all and threw a single repeat of it after every 2 of the brown tweed. Had *just* enough tweed to finish the hat. (Whew! That was close!)

There’s still a little bit of the red heather left… hey, how about a flower applique? There’s that one in the Knit 2 Together book

Add an army surplus button from ye olde button box and…

Crunchy Granola Hat

The Crunchy Granola Hat is born.

I swear to you that the red heather wool isn’t NEARLY as pink as the photo suggests and actually blends with the brown.

I’ve been wearing it for 2 days now – it’s cute as Hell.

Webcam Hat Shot

~~~

Damn – still behind by 2.

It’ll be summer soon… maybe it’s time to do something with those pesky balls of shiny cotton-blend ribbon yarn.

Enter the Steampunk Safari Scarf.

Steampunk Safari Scarf

I offset the ribbon with some heavier mercerized cotton braid in a deep rich brown.

The pattern is called “The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief” by Orange Flower and only calls for 240yds of DK wt yarn.

BTW, did I mention that it’s *FREE*?

Webcam Shot, Scarf

Lovelovelovelovelove. OMG – Must. Make. More.

~~~

Beginning Yarn Stash Talley: -2.7
Current Yarn Stash Talley: +0.1

And that, dear Reader, is why this week’s post is a day late.

Now there’s the small matter of the 9 more balls that need to be used up before this GORGEOUS Highland Handmades Corridale can come home.

Highland Handmades Peacock Corridale

I *really* need to get on that.

TTFN.

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Getting My Crafty On

In the immortal words of David Wooderson (aka: Matthew McConaughey)

“All right, all right, all right”

The Mojo – she is BACK!

I even managed to resurrect some old skills and learned a new knitting technique this week – but more on that later.

Let’s tidy up some loose ends first…

~~~

Evenstar Clue 5 was the first on the docket:

Evenstar Shawl, Clue 5 Complete

I don’t think I’ll ever get over how pretty this shawl is. Just 2 more sections to go!

My La Vie de Bois socks were Tuesday’s mission:

La Vie de Bois Socks - Done

Mission Accomplished. πŸ˜€

La Vie de Bois Socks - Complete

I am insanely happy with how these came out. They stop just shy of my calf muscles, so no shaping was required, although I did have a needle the next size up handy should they prove to be getting too snug near the top. It turned out to be unnecessary and they fit perfectly.

The last couple of days, I’ve been tackling the monster that is the Shadowed Cypress Project Bag.

Shadowed Cypress Project Bag - Top

The cotton cinch at the top turned out to be far less “easy peasy” than I thought. In fact, those 5 inches of cotton took the better part of 16 hrs to knit. That “allover cross stitch” pattern nearly killed me. I ended up knocking off the last two repeats to save my sanity.

Then the black cotton wouldn’t behave when attempting to make the twisted cord (or Monk’s cord according to the pattern). Having just about enough with this thing – I decided it was time to play dirty.

I dug out an old curtain tie-back, snipped one end, wove it through the eyelets as instructed, then carefully sewed it back into place on the tassel.

Shadowed Cypress Project Bag - Complete

HA! TAKE THAT!

Next I had to tackle the lining, which I also technically cheated a bit on by re-purposing an absolutely *hideous* drawstring bag that I picked up somewhere. (To my credit – it had gorgeous green satin ribbon ties with blown glass flower beads & was only a buck, so it was totally worth the money.)

Shadowed Cypress Project Bag Liner

All that was needed was to square off the bottom, fold over the drawstring hem and sew it in:

Shadowed Cypress Project Bag - Liner

I know it clashes badly, but it’s for my personal use and no one’s going to see it most of the time anyway.

The fugly was promptly hidden anyway by immediately stuffing the bag to capacity with the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket and it’s yarn.

Mischief Managed. πŸ˜€

I also finished the 16 square centre panel of the sock yarn Patchwork Blanket:

Patchwork Blanket - Centre

All the squares will radiate out from here. (The colours are a bit off in the photo, but I wanted to show the pattern texture.)

~~~

A little known fact … back in the 1980s when I was a little girl, my parents gave me a loom. It was plastic rigid heddle loom made by Fisher Price and looked like this:

Fisher Price Loom

I distinctly recall using it, but couldn’t for the life of me tell you either what I made or whatever became of it.

But what it comes down to is the fact that I was weaving even before I ever picked up a crochet hook, embroidery or knitting needle. (There was also my unwavering obsession with my Grandmaman’s tiny 4″ wooden working model of a spinning wheel from the time I was a toddler, but I digress.)

Fast forward to a few years ago…

Harkening back to my childhood loom, I worked a trade with an acquaintance for a vintage “Wool Weaving Loom” made by Spears Games in the UK (circa late 1940s-early 50s).

Spears Wool Weaving Loom

It is, according to the label, a “size 3” model (what it refers to, I haven’t the faintest idea) and had basic instructions on the lid.

Anyhoo…

Late Sunday night I got a wild notion to warp it up and see if I could weave a scarf on the little sucker.

Loom - Warped

I used about 25g of Burnt Orange Patons Kroy 4-ply for the warp (27 threads for those interested) and then started weaving a basic linen stitch scarf with the cursed – err – *cranky* Koigu KPPPM (darned stuff didn’t seem to like whatever I tried making with it) held double for the weft.

Woven Koigu Scarf - progress

Well what do you know… I guess it’s just like riding a bike :).

I wove all day Monday and had a complete scarf by dinnertime:

Woven Koigu Scarf - Complete

A new professional grade loom may be in my immediate future – just sayin’.

~~~

The Sock Knitter’s Anonymous challenge for April is Entrelac and/or “Non-traditional” sock construction. I came prepared for this one.

Drummossie by Rachel Brown has been in my queue since last year’s Sock Madness.

It took a few attempts with different yarns and a stitchcount adjustment, but I think I’ve got it now:

Crocodilian Socks - Sock 1 progress

This Opal Rainforest colourway (“Veronica die Wilde”) is based on a butterfly, but is turning out decidedly more reptilian in flavour, hence their title “Crocodilian Socks

The toe is knitted in the round, the instep is worked flat, then you provisionally cast-on for the second half of the leg which you work in the round to the cuff. The standard top-down gusset heel and sole are worked back and forth starting from the provisional cast on, ending where you kitchener the sole to the bottom half of the toe.

Wacky, but it works. I can’t wait to see how these turn out.

~~~

Desperately needing a mental break from knitting black cotton in the dark last night, I grabbed some chunky acrylic yarn from the closet and started crocheting a quick throw using my 8mm hook and a vintage doily pattern.

The pattern is called “Sunburst Pineapple” which is amusing enough at one-o-clock in the morning, but as my yarn is this great dusky purple and my version will dwarf the original 20″ doily, the name “Exploding Plum” came to mind and put me in a fit of giggles.

Exploding Plum Blanket - Rnd 11

There’s 19 more balls of the Mary Maxim Cloudspun where that ball came from (a neighbour gave it to me) so I expect this blanket will be HUGE.

Goodness! Would you look at the time!

You must excuse me – I have to go be all crafty now.

TTFN.

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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