Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gentle as a Giraffe

It started as a joke.

Over on Ravelry, someone asked for a suggestion on entertaining kids in the car. One person suggested the quiet game, in which the winner was the person who stayed quiet the longest (the hope being that the kids fall asleep and everybody wins). Someone else suggested that the kids pretend to be giraffes, since they are not known to be particularly loud animals. A plan was hatched to have a bunch of people make giraffes for House Cup classes in September, since we Hufflepuffs have a completely undeserved reputation for quietly munching away on leaves in the corner.

Classes were posted and we got to work crafting a story to fit a stampeding herd of giraffes into magical assignments. History of Magic was the target, which asked us to craft something inspired by a magical part of the structure of Hogwarts. The stampede began last weekend and I still only had half a giraffe. I finally finished the little guy yesterday, so I said he was hiding in a freezer (which also explains why he is blue).




Spike may object, but this little giraffe is not destined to live here with us. I'm donating him to raise money for a friend doing Team in Training for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Look into my hats!

I was poking around on Ravelry (how many stories start this way?!) looking for patterns that have a spiral in them to satisfy the Arithmancy requirements for September's HPKCHC class which was, loosely, "something with math". Spirals are math, so a couple fun searches later I happened on the Textured Child's Spiral Hat pattern, which is available for free. I dove into my superwash wool stash and came up with two shades of blue intended for a hat and got to work.

Spike's Spiral



It's reversible, and also a handy container for your treasures.


So my husband came home and I proudly showed him my work. He held it, looked it over, tried it on, and asked for one just like it but in browns. A request from someone I want to make things for, the holy grail of crafting!!

One just like his




Yes, I was standing on the back of the couch to catch this shot. It was worth it.

WIP Wednesday September 29

It's WIP Wednesday, which means time to pull out everything I've worked on in the past week and show off my progress.


Wow... that's pretty awful! Okay - upper right corner is Mr. Turtle. He is a pillow creature my mom made out of a ruined bedspread and socks when I was a baby. For this month's Potions class we're supposed to beautify something, and I'm beautifying Mr. Turtle by taking out the frankenseams he's acquired, replacing his stuffing, and patching his holes.

The two blue cylinders are just under my spindle, which doesn't really show a lot of spinning progress but it's there. Unfortunately the singles on each tube (yes, those are toilet paper tubes, I am so classy) are pretty different thicknesses. I don't know what to do about that. My big plan of the moment is to eventually create a proper 3-ply yarn with two plies of the blue "colonial top" and one ply of the tussah silk I got this past weekend. I'm a newer spinner so any advice is greatly appreciated!!

Squirrel mitten is representing down on the bottom there... no progress since my last picture actually.

The purple bizarro shape is my Mythos Cardigan. I finished shaping the front finally because I needed the longer needle cord for my Quidditch sweater, which I realized I forgot to add to this picture. I have only managed a few rows since last week anyway. Mythos is coming along, but will be set aside for a bit to catch up on my deadline knitting now.

Finally, yet another square for the secrety group blanket thingy is in there. That's actually finished but I threw it in anyway. I realized I needed another pattern to use my squares for Flying homework this month so that I'd have three different stitch patterns and had to think fast!

Overall, not a lot of visible progress here, but I did finish a few things - details to come!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Squirrelly Intentions

Fall in the Northeastern US means, among other things, fiber festival season. For a crafter such as myself who has done plenty of shopping and not enough catching up with the stash, it's a test of my willpower. I tested myself at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival two days ago, and would you believe that I consider this a success?


The blue and green orb is 5 oz of Romney wool from Descansamos Fibers. Continuing clockwise along the perimeter, we have some Watercolors from The Periwinkle Sheep in teal, memories of summer, stonewash denim, and memories of summer which the ever-fabulous Karin had marked down (what can I say? I'm a fan!). The blue skein between memories of summer and the blue-green orb is a skein of sport weight superwash from Sliver Moon Farms in Indigo. The last two items were the shiny ball of tussah silk to spin (a little under two ounces) from Eastside Weavers and a 4oz twist of Susan's Spinning Bunny Polwarth fiber in Autumn Sunset. This booth had little spun up samples of their fiber braids and the sample totally sold me on this one. I wanted to get some different fibers to spin and I have quite the collection of merino, anonymous wools, and blends, so the Romney, Polwarth and tussah silk will be great experience I hope!

The festival itself was great. It wasn't very crowded, had nice wide walkways, and so many vendors that I don't think I even saw them all. The weather was also great - not too hot, and just breezy enough to make it feel okay to buy wool but not need a jacket.

In other news, the squirrel mitten is coming along. It is. It's just.... hard to tell.


The end of September is coming up fast and classes are due for the HPKCHC. I have a giraffe to sew together and a pre-approved sewing repair project to finish before Thursday.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Yes.... it's Thursday. I ran out of Wednesday. I'll have to order more hours in my Wednesday next week!


See how much nicer they look with a real camera instead of my camera phone!!!!

So, let's see.... clockwise from the top - we have a brown on brown spiral hat for my husband (spiral to come), squirrel mitten coming along, my spindle, the blue tubey blob is an amigurumi giraffe in progress, and the grey blob is my Quidditch sweater.

It's no wonder it takes me so long to make one thing - these are just my WIPs that I've worked on in the past week. There are many more!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Monday

1. Sooooooooo anybody from the HPKCHC reading this knows that there was a bit of a kerfluffle a week ago leading to some House Cuppers leaving the game. It's been discussed pretty thoroughly on Ravelry so I'll leave it at that, but I do want to mention that I was promoted from Groundskeeper to Deputy Headmistress. Yes, that makes me the second-in-command so to speak at the wizard-themed internet knitting and crochet school game. I'm happy to have the position, sad about how I got it, and ready to carry on. So on we go!

2. I was interviewed for the HPKCHC blog a few days before the kerfluffle, and the interview was published yesterday. Check it out!

3. Look! Pretties!!


Four new rovings from Younger Yarn!! Clockwise from upper left: Holyhead Harpies Superwash, Coraline Punta, Reserved for Stephanie (that's me!!) Superwash, and Hurley Superwash. I'm happy and sad that I'm kind of a slow spinner because it will take me forever to see what yarns these will be, but I'll get to savor them that much longer...

4. I finally got going on my Quidditch sweater this weekend. It's just a generic formula raglan pattern, but the color scheme is going to make it look like the House Sweater from the book Charmed Knits (which - and I know this is a shock - I don't actually own).


My raglan is top-down and I'm doing a v-neck, so after one false start I'm a couple inches down from the top already. I don't really know what I'm doing and I'm just being brave and going for it.

5. My two OWLs (the bigger three month projects) are going okay so far. OWL check-in day for my house is Friday, and here is my progress from then.


As you can see, the squirrels ARE looking at me!

6. I'm collecting and contributing some squares to a group project. Everybody who wants to makes some squares and sends them to me, I lay them out into two blankets, send one pile of squares to my co-conspirator, and then we each make one blanket for two particular people. Even though I really, really did not need to, I bought some more yarn to make some squares.


Plymouth Happy Feet and Brown Sheep Cotton Fine

I've gotten five squares made so far. Lots more to go!

7. Traveling scarves are fun!! The idea is that you start a scarf, put it on waste yarn, and send it to someone who adds a section and then sends it on, on and on until it makes a complete circuit. Meanwhile you receive, add to, and send scarves that belong to other people. My traveling scarf group is the yarn club from Alina Shea Creations.

I started my scarf:


And here's the section I knit on the next scarf:


I'm particularly proud of this section. The yarn is from a sweater I unraveled and dyed myself. The pink was done with food coloring and the brown was done with onion skins. I alternated yarns by rows by using a circular needle and (from the perspective of the RIGHT side) worked with pink right to left, then brown right to left, then pink left to right, then brown left to right. If I wanted to do plain stockinette like this, I'd knit pink, then knit brown, then purl pink , then purl brown. The lace pattern was written in the usual right to left, left to right fashion, so I had to follow the directions backwards for every other row. It took some tinking and fiddling but I did it!!

8. I also sent along some squares to the next person in my circle, GazeboGal, who is collecting 4"x4" squares to make a blanket (rav link) that depicts a pixelated view of the earth from space. I told her I had some blue and green yarn that would fit and she told me she had two spots for blue and green yarn!


They're squares. They're even the same size. I promise!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

August Stashdown Report

Sometimes the stash just doesn't have what you need - I just need to work on needing to make things I have yarn for already. Yes, it took me nine whole months to figure this out!

August yarn in: 13,739 yards
August yarn out: 387 yards
Year-to-date in: 48,107.75 yards
Year-to-date out: 11,955.6 yards

A House Cup (that's HPKCHC) meetup at WEBS, then an order from WEBS, then a sale and free shipping from added up to a very yardsy August for me. However! Instead of getting bogged down in my numerical failures, I'm going to adjust my expectations! While I will continue to record yearly numbers, starting September 1st I hope to have more yards out than in for the rest of the year in its own separate little cloud. That's an achievable goal, and every little bit helps right? Right. Right!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Herbology OWL, Fall 2010

This is my second OWL proposal for the term. If you missed it, my first OWL proposal and a little more information is in my previous post.

Herbology – Students should be able to easily manipulate organic materials.
Option 1: Knit or crochet an adult-size sleeved garment with multiple cables or an afghan with multiple cables. Garments usually must have at least one complex cable that travels the entire length of both the front and the back body AND at least one complex cable that travels the length of the sleeves, OR more extensive and complex cables in either of these areas. Please note that these are guidelines. The Examiners are looking for projects that demonstrate the student’s ability to follow mutiple cables. Think: all-over cabling.
Option 2: Create an item using freeform knitting or crochet.
Option 3: Spinners – spin a minimum of 600 yds of plant fiber into a plied yarn which is spun and finished in ways appropriate to the medium (meaning no drifting apart cotton singles, no stiff-as-sticks linen, etc.).
Option 4: Spinners – Spin at least 8 oz of fiber into a cabled yarn.

I am Needlesnswiffers of Hufflepuff here to submit a proposal for a second OWL this term in Herbology. I am a fourth year student and have two complete OWLs so I am eligible for a second OWL attempt this term.

I have found a cabled sweater that I would like to make for myself - the Fireside Sweater. This sweater has three different cables and cables of one sort or another appear on the back, sleeves, and fronts of this cardigan.

I actually have the needles (size 10/6mm) and yarn (Valley Yarns Berkshire in Wine, 13 skeins, only 12 called for) that are called for in the pattern, and - someone alert the media! - I actually printed the pattern out. Now you know I’m serious.


Yup, that’s my stuff.


This is a little closer view of the swatch. My swatch is 3.5 inches of the bottom of the right front of the cardigan. After pondering and even verifying on the OWL Advisory thread, I determined that this piece made the most sense as a swatch. If you are concerned I would be happy to elaborate. I made the swatch long enough so that the widest part of each type of cable would appear so I could measure at that point. I was pleasantly surprised to find that each cable measured exactly the width referred to in the pattern. I guess dreams really can come true.

Possible changes alert: I don’t love the collar and I don’t love the back. The back would have the same OR MORE cabling involved. The collar, I don’t know. I was thinking of making it a hood. I don’t know how to do that, but that’s never stopped me before. It will be finished, either as written or some other exciting way. So, depending on how that collar ends up, the cable on the shawl collar might have to go. I think the rest of the cabling makes up for it.

Buttons will be procured when there is something for them to button. If I have to, I am in possession of my grandmother’s button stash and it is extensive. I can always slice buttons off of something else, sew them on, cut them off and sew them back if I really have to. I am a Hufflepuff, and I will make it work!

Now, challenges! I haven’t made many sweaters in my time. I’ve finished two and they were both for the under 6 months of age set. I’ve got a sweater stuffed in a bag of shame and missing a sleeve since 2005. I went sweatermad recently and have two others on the needles at the moment, neither of which is eligible for anything outside of detention. So you could say I don’t have much good history with sweater making. It’s a dead heat for the title of My First (Adult) Sweater and I frankly have no idea what will win.

While I’ve cabled a little, I haven’t done much and I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of so many different varieties of cable in a single row as I’ll have here. My swatch section has some cabling on every right side row. I don’t even know if that’s normal, but it sounds like a lot to me. I’ve mostly cabled hats before. Small. Round. This sweater is neither.

This sweater is totally OWL worthy for me and I have little doubt that it will keep me occupied well into November.

Thank you for your time.

Ancient Runes OWL, Fall 2010

In the HPKCHC the three-month projects are called OWLs, in reference to the big exams of fifth year students in the Harry Potter series. There is a set of guidelines by subject and to achieve an OWL in the subject you have to propose and complete a project that takes longer than one month but less than three months and that presents a personal challenge.

This term I'm proposing two OWL projects, and I'm reposting my proposals here. They were both approved and now I just have to make them...

Ancient Runes – Students are expected to decipher obscure markings with ease.
Option 1: Craft something using an intricately charted design. Weavers – weave something with an intricate pattern.
Option 2: Craft something that contains 5 or more letters and/or symbols.

I am Needlesnswiffers of Hufflepuff, proposing an OWL in Ancient Runes.

I intend to complete the Swedish Squirrelly Mittens, which is a free pattern here on Ravelry. The pattern is entirely charted except for the 17 rounds of 1x1 ribbing which is turned under and sewn down inside the mitten.

I have chosen Knit Picks Palette in can’t-remember-pink and tag’s-under-the-couch-purple, and will be using these lovely size 1/2.25mm dpns at least until I get a sock off my long circular needle, which may not happen for the duration of this OWL anyway.

I plan to first make one mitten and then the other mitten. While I have every intention of making one left and one right, I hate to be tied down like that so we’ll just say two mittens, just in case.

My swatch took me much longer than I anticipated, which is why my proposal is on page 14 or worse instead of page 1. One can only hope that it doesn’t mean my mittens will take 14 times longer than I anticipate, but one never knows. These are the OWLs, baby.


Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back in the saddle

My laptop is fixed, and although the photo upload process is not as easy as it was, it will do! I'm able to access my photos and other files again, which brings me to today's WIP Wednesday shot, which is from the cell phone.


It's not every WIP, but it's everything I've worked on in the last week or so that isn't done yet. Squirrel mittens (one of my OWLs), Fireside Sweater (that would be the other OWL), purpley scarf (it looks blue?!?), and Mythos (that's the big purple sleeve) of course. And my trusty spindle!

Look for the August Stashdown Report (it's bad!) coming up soon, as well as more about my OWLs!