Monday, January 31, 2011

Swallowtail Update - the END

I made it!


Proper FO post later, but I wanted to post tonight!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swallowtail Update 7

I'm at 84.42%, and also I made a lasagna today.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Swallowtail Update 6

I'm at the beginning of the edging chart, which is 74.21% complete and I have 20g of yarn left! Time for lunch.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Swallowtail Update 5

I put the shawl down last night after row four of the second Lily of the Valley border chart, which was 66.98% complete and well ahead of the pace needed to finish on Monday. Only three more pattern rows to go before the edging!

Before starting the current chart I had 25g of yarn left. I should be okay on yardage but it's good to have a second opinion from the scale.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Swallowtail Update 4

I'm seven rows into the Lily of the Valley border chart 1, which puts me at 56.84% complete. The nupps aren't that bad!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Swallowtail Update 3

No picture this time!

I'm on the last budding lace repeat, which puts me at 43.64%. After spending 20 or so minutes scanning Ravelry and squinting at the shawl under a lamp, I've decided to try the nupps as written instead of replacing them with beads. We'll see how it goes!

Swallowtail Update 2

Yesterday's end and today's beginning is 39.98%!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Friday, January 28, 2011

Swallowtail Update 1

We' re at 30.58% - looking promising for today's goal!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

Put on the crazypants

It's the end of the month, which means that in my crafting game things are reaching a fast and furious point of crafting as quickly as possible to beat the deadline, the end of the month. I've already got my stuff done (although not all turned in yet) and I'm making nice progress on my OWLs, so yesterday afternoon when I got a wild idea I decided to run with it.

I've offered to make items to be auctioned off to raise money for two charities this season, and the deadline for one is coming up quickly. The Quidditch theme for the term is charity so my stuff fits nicely there, but there are more bonus points to be had for my team (Hufflepuff!) if I turn the higher-yardage items in for regular classwork.

So that's where I was yesterday, January 27th, when I decided to try to make a Swallowtail Shawl in five days.

Here's my progress this morning.

2011-01-28 11.30.38.jpg

Yes, that's on top of my coat, in the car, sitting in the parking lot of Spike's preschool waiting for dismissal. Zee fell asleep in the morning and instead of putting him in his bed, then waking him up to go get Spike I just put him in the car, grabbed the knitting and went early.

In support of my crazy agenda, I've partially prepped four meals in the last three hours so that I don't have to think about what to cook, I can just work on autopilot between budding lace repeats. Why? Why not? It's silly, it's ridiculous, but it is pretty fun. And I can still use it for points even if I miss the deadline.

Based on total number of stitches in the shawl, right now I am at 17.94% complete. I need to hit 35.53% tonight to stay on pace. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Muggle Studies OWL, Winter 2011

To find out what the heck an OWL is and to read my first OWL proposal from this term, check this post.

Muggle Studies - Produce clothing and/or outer wear to use as a disguise when dealing with muggles.

Option 1: Knit or crochet an adult sweater OR two children’s (age 6 yr and up) sweaters OR four toddler items (to keep the crafting time about the same).

Option 2: Create a ‘coordinated’ (according to the wizarding world) set of at least 3 adult-size accesories (hat, scarf, mittens, bag, socks, etc.).

RavID: needlesnswiffers
House: Hufflepuff
Year: Fifth
OWL subject and option: Muggle Studies - Produce clothing and/or outer wear to use as a disguise when dealing with muggles. Option 1: Knit or crochet an adult sweater

Hello again, Examiners! This is my second OWL proposal for the Winter11 term. I am seeking my OWL in Muggle Studies by making an adult-sized sweater for my husband, who is an adult.*

Eleven days ago I received an email with a link, a charming little lobster gif, and a request to make the sweater depicted in the link, the Saturday Morning Hoodie. I immediately** plotted, stash-dived, and started planning the yarn. I settled on Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky. It seems that this Hoodie is typical muggle casualwear for relaxing weekends in a slightly chilly house reading the newspaper and stirring a pot of chili. I hope to have a reenactment of this muggle entertainment once the sweater is complete.

In order to knit this sweater I have secured 12 skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky in Oregano, a green color that my husband picked out himself, size 13 needle tips, and an extra pair of 47" cords.


My supplies arrived today*** and I knit up a freaking huge swatch.


I know, it looks normal.


There. Those are my normal human-sized feet. It's a big swatch.

Washed and laid flat, once it was dry I pulled out my trusty ruler and surveyed the damage. My gauge is a teensy weensy bit small - half a stitch too many over 4". My husband turns out to be needing a size adjustment on stitch gauge, so that works out. I think. I think I'm going to be doing a lot of measuring and holding up sweater pieces to him while he is distracted.

Challenges: well, unfortunately one is the same I had with an OWL proposal last term - there is still a dead heat for the title of My First Sweater.

A Brief History of Me and Sweaters:
1. The original sweater for my husband, then boyfriend? Fiancé? Somewhere around knitting project #5 ever, still in pieces and missing a sleeve 6 years later.
2. One tiny baby sweater of my own design.
3. One baby wrap sweater that fit .... um... poorly. On a baby. They're shaped like sausages, how do you mess that up?
4. Baby cardigan - half a back done.
5. Easy Baby Cardigan, finished too late to fit any of my children.
6. Iced sweater in LB Homespun... iced.
7. Mythos Cardigan stalled for evermore prior to reaching halfway
8. Quidditch sweater autopsied and buried
9. Sweater for Spike - toddler size bottom up in the round, to the underarms before a roving band of scavengers took the needle tips for another OWL... ahem....
10. Fireside Cardigan - failed Herbology OWL Fall10.

So you see, of ten documented sweater attempts, I have two finished objects to show for it, both sized for the 0-3 months set. They do not count.

Sizing, ease, seaming, toggle buttons, pockets, and re-figuring the collar to exclude the hood are just some of the challenges I will face. There is also that pile of fail in the numbered list above hanging over me. Luckily I made a big, trustworthy-looking swatch and I have plenty of yarn. Also, my husband is tall and skinny which means that to make a truly pleasing sweater it has to be a little less wide and a little more long than any of the sizes offered, so I will sorta be making a medium-large. Scary business for a First Sweater.

I plan to make the sweater in the order that they are presented in the instructions - back, front, front, sleeve, sleeve, collar, edging, pocket, pocket, button loops. I am very worried about the finishing portion and will want to take my time there. So, let's say halfway is the back, a front and part of a second front?

Thank you for your time!

* Most of the time. He is certainly always adult-*sized*.
** ... after jumping up and down with glee for a minute...
*** Actually since it was negative eleventy degrees outside we didn't leave the house yesterday and it probably came Saturday, unnoticed and unloved out in the cold. Shhh, shhh, don't cry, it's okay....

WIP Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I finished three projects last weekend so there are only two projects I've worked on this week that are still WIPs, and they are both my OWL projects for this term. One I haven't even told the blog about yet since I only proposed it Monday. But, here they are.

2011-01-26 15.35.57.jpg

That's roughly 38% of my Celeste Shawl and the start of the back of a sweater (more on that, um, later). The colors are really off here, so just pretend they are whatever color you think looks better and we'll go with that for now. Just not these colors, because they are wrong.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project 7: Broadripple Socks

Considering the amount of sock yarn I possess I am not much of a sock knitter, although I am working on changing that. I couldn't pass up socks designed to work with a yarn I had in stash and made on size 3 needles (usually I work socks on a size 1 needle, this yarn is much thicker) and these didn't disappoint. In ten days of fairly monogamous knitting, I have a very cute pair of socks!


Freaky lighting not necessarily included.

The yarn in this pattern was just..... perfect. Which I guess was the point of designing the pattern for this yarn, but still. It's satisfying to see it happen.


Pattern: Broadripple Socks, free pattern from Knitty

Yarn: Cascade Fixation Spray Dyed color 9245, kind of a red-pink-purple

Needles: size us3 (3.25mm) aluminum dpns

Yardage: 160 yards (1.6 balls of yarn)

Mods: none, other than inadvertantly picking up one stitch too many on the gusset (due to one repeat too many on the heel flap) so I had to decrease it away, then repeat it on the second sock. I also knit the foot a little longer and the toe a little shorter, grafting 16 and 16 stitches at the toe instead of 10.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brrrr for a WIP Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is the view from my office/craft room this afternoon:

Makes you want a cup of tea and some knitting, doesn't it? I mean, that's a perfectly normal reaction to icicles over three feet long, I think.

So in the triumphant return of WIP Wednesday we have quite an assortment here:

2011-01-19 15.52.32.jpg

Starting with the blue thing in the upper left corner and moving clockwise, we have a (blue) afghan square in progress (for a class this month), a pink Broadripple Sock and its mate in progress, a pink and sometimes fuzzy scarf made with donated yarn for Handmade Especially For You, and my pink/green/peach Celeste Shawl, all floating on an ocean of Zee's Baby Blanket which, after a long hibernation, is back and rushing for a finish!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Care of Magical Creatures OWL, Winter 2011

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.

Care of Magical Creatures (CoMC)
Option 1: Craft a CoM zoo. Go into the paddock and bring out at least 4 different creatures found in the magical world: dragons, hippogriffs, unicorns, etc. These creatures can be stuffed toys OR a design element/yarn in an item, such as socks, scarves, mittens, etc. OR yarns (minimum 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg) of fiber). Amigurumi will be considered for this option, but you must make many, many of them.
Option 2: Hatch an Egg. Identify your egg (dragon, phoenix, etc.) and knit or crochet an object inspired by your creature. If you make a physical creature it must be a minimum of 12 inches in at least one dimension.
Option 3: Groom a hippogriff: Create an item with at least 3 distinct patterns.
Option 4: Bowtruckles. These wood guardians have exceptionally pointy fingers and toes which can do great damage to unwary witches and wizards. To prove you know how to handle pointy objects, craft an item using a new-to-you technique or crafting skill. If you usually knit, you must crochet. If you usually crochet, you must knit. If you usually use a spindle, you must use a wheel and vice versa. Simply using a new-to-you fiber or stitch pattern does not qualify a project for the Bowtruckles option.

RavID: needlesnswiffers
House (or NQFY/SoS): Hufflepuff
Year: Fifth year
OWL subject and option: Care of Magical Creatures (CoMC) Option 2: Hatch an egg

Greetings, fine Examiners! I would like to propose OWL certification in Care of Magical Creatures by hatching a dragon egg. If my understanding is correct, the egg I have is that of the highly dangerous Ukrainian Ironbelly, which is "rotund and slower in flight than other dragons"***. In honor of the creature within, I have chosen to craft a Celeste Shawl which is a lace shawl of unusual shape and slightly larger than other sock yarn shawls. The coloring is evocative of the juvenile coloring of the Ironbelly, which has the sheen maintained with maturity but with peach, pink, and green undertones that disappear with time. Long live the serial comma.



I have, of course, swatched to determine if my needle and yarn combination is a success. The yarn is Sliver Moon Farm Fingering 65%superwash/35%bamboo in the color Cahoonzie, and the needles are size 7 (4.5mm). I should note that at this time I intend to exclude the beads on the edge.


Regarding challenges, I am experienced at starting lace shawls and not finishing them. I anticipate this shawl taking the 6 to 8 weeks of consistent effort required of an OWL (if not, of course, I will have a victory project proposal later!). The pattern is charted using five different charts, one of which is three charts in one apparently. That sounds nice and confusing.

Thank you for this opportunity!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Project 6: Black Fiber from Pacasha

When I got my wheel last November Pacasha sent me a little package including some mystery fiber, telling me to use it to practice chain plying or something. So when the time came to start a new spinning project in 2011 I knew what to go for and go for it I did!


Pacasha has since elaborated that this is about 2.5 oz of Brown Sheep mill ends fiber, so I'm guessing that the content is a wool/mohair blend.


I did end up spinning it into a continuous single and then chain plying. I overspun it in plying and ended up running it back through the wheel to take some of the twist out, which ended up making most of it just right and a little of it underspun. The singles were nice and tight though so I think it will hold up okay in a project. Now I just have to figure out what to make with it!! It's quite a nice looking skein - it looks like real yarn.

87 yards
10 wpi, which Ravelry tells me is between a worsted and dk... I'd say worsted

The fiber:


Project 5: Not Quite Straight Scarf

Paul asked for a new scarf, and so on January 1 I got out the yarn I'd set aside for his next scarf and got to work.

Then I got to work again...

and again....

ripped it out again.....

it's tricky, this scarf, when you're just getting going and have the pattern pdf on the phone and you're trying to figure out just where it's going. But after a while it clicked and the scarf and I took off.


It's a wonderful pattern. Don't bother trying to slip the first stitch of every row, because it gets wacky. But the pattern is just interesting enough that you don't collapse of boredom, and just boring enough that tv or child-chasing or throwing it down and picking it up becomes a problem. Once I realized that it's just

or alternatively

knit purl knit
knit purl knit

I could remember what was coming next and it became intuitive, and a lovely scarf for my husband to boot!



Pattern: Not Quite Straight Scarf by Nicole Hindes (free Rav download)

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in color 140 Blueberry, 401.5 yards

Needles: size 7/3.5mm Knit Picks Options nickel-plated

Yardage: 401.5 yards

Mods: I made the scarf a little wider by increasing a bit more before doing the straight (biased) section.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 4: Patchwork Square #26

I'll warn you right now - some of you might think this is cheating.

I kind of agree.

But, I have to make rules somehow, and so I'm sort of using some of the rules from the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup, which allow modular pieces of a larger project as a complete project if they are (or add up to) over 64 square inches (an 8 x 8 square).


Pattern: Square #26, Simple Shell Stitch, from 63 Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver, worsted-weight 100% acrylic in country blue (not pictured) and soft navy, and Red Heart Giant (same yarn, bigger skein) in aran

Needles: Size I/5.50mm crochet hook

Yards: 67.7 by weight

Ravelry page (for the whole project)

Mods: I had to tweak the second row of shells to get them to line up correctly. The directions had them one stitch off, at least I think they did, so I had to fix that.

Not a bad start, and using these squares to fill in some classes will be a great way to motivate me to finish it and not leave it as a pile of squares forever!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Project 3: Summer Flies

I made a belated (oops) Christmas gift that just got finished a couple days ago. It's a free knitting pattern - the Summer Flies shawlette, knit in a worsted weight superwash wool.


Pattern: Summer Flies

Yarn: Queensland Collection Super Aussie, a superwash worsted-weight merino wool

Needles: size 8/5.00 mm Knit Picks Options, nickel plated

Yards: 194

Mods: Instead of knitting ten rows in stockinette at the end I only knit eight, hoping to use a little less yarn. I ended up having to join a new ball of yarn about 40% of the way through the picot bind-off anyway. (Note: I'd started with a partial ball, so I only used about 1 3/4 balls of yarn total and if I'd started with a full one I wouldn't have run out during the bind-off.)

Project 2: Ribby Toque

I bought the yarn to make Paul a hat and finally got around to it. The pattern, Ribby Toque, is from the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of Knitscene. The yarn is Knit Picks Swish worsted in Truffle (a nice chocolate brown color) and using size 8/5.0mm needles I used almost an entire ball of yarn at 103.4 yards (by weight).


I was careful in weaving in the ends so that the hat is reversible too!

Borrowed a different model...




THERE'S a good picture


December Stashdown Report and Final Summary

December - the month that's a whirlwind, and before you know it it's over. I bought yarn on December 1 and that was actually my last purchase through today. I'm trying not to pay too much attention to the accomplishment lest I ruin it just to spite myself.

Of course, December 1 was a busy day with some lovely laceweight and some other goodies half off.

So, we'll see how long this streak goes. I'm not counting my Alina Shea club yarns as purchases, not only because the payment for 3 months was prior to Dec 1 (I think) but also just because.

December yarn in: 4,544 yards
December yarn out: 103 yards .... dismal

September to December challenge in: 22,437 yards
September to December challenge out: 3,846.2 yards
Break Even in 18,590.8 yards

2010 Final Yarn In: 71,295.25 yards
2010 Final Yarn Out: 15,801.8 yards
2010 Yarn In - Yarn Out: 55,493.45 yards

Errrr. Maybe it will look better as a graph?

2010 stash overall

Hmmm. Nope. That green line was supposed to be on top of the blue line. Those equations on the side there boil down to saying that on average I used up 44.3 yards of yarn per day and on average gained 197.65 yards per day. That's the most sobering statistic of all, I think.

Biggest Yarn-In Day: November 22; 99 cent skeins of wool = downfall to the tune of 7,360 yards
Biggest Yarn-Out Day: March 29; finished a blanket 3,531 yards

In 2011, I am choosing to focus on what I accomplish instead of the negative side of what's coming home with me, because this tactic didn't exactly help in 2010. S0! The new for 2011 goals: make lots of stuff, don't worry about buying yarn, but I think I will keep up the reporting. I really like spreadsheets. If I see something that I want to buy, that's fine. If I don't that's fine too. I'm wondering how long I can go...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

November Stashdown Report

There was a sale. I've since unsubscribed to the technology that alerted me to the 99 cent skeins of lovely wool, but the damage was already done... Looking back, I definitely just gave up in November. Not that I didn't give up in the months before, but this time it was obvious.

Ironically, December fared much better.

November yarn in: 8,990 yards
November yarn out: 1,102.3 yards

September to December challenge in: 17,893 yards
September to December challenge out: 3,743.2 yards
Break Even in 14,149.8 yards

Year-to-date in: 66,751.255 yards
Year-to-date out: 15,698.8 yards

Project 1: Orange Squeeze handspun

Here it is - my first finished object of 2011.


It's about 1oz of superwash BFL, spun into a continuous single, wound into a center-pull ball, the inside and outside ends held together and wound into a plying ball (on an tennis ball) and then plied. The plying ball was interesting in a tangly sort of way, but I would try it again at some point in the future.

51 yards
12 wpi (dk weight)

The fiber (I dyed this one myself):


My stash page on Ravelry.

Not that easy

Hello, again.

If you thought you'd escaped the endless torment of my blog, think again, because I am BACK! My friend in all things fibery Pacasha and I are steamrolling through 2011 with a ridiculous goal. A goal so absurd that our group dedicated to the cause on Ravelry has 203 members, all just as crazy as we are. We are testing the boundaries of sanity and attempting to finish 111 crafty endeavors in the year 2011.

We WILL finish 111 projects in 2011.

That's one project every 3.29 days.

One project every 3 days, 6 hours, 55 minutes, and 8 seconds.

Alternatively, 30.4% of a project per day.

Because, well, it's good to have goals...

To keep track of things, each project will have its own post here on the blog with the vital statistics, and will only be numbered once it is FINISHED. I'll have a page to track them up at the top there. I've already got a few waiting in the wings for their moment to shine, so best to get going I think!