Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the Spirit of Excellence

That right there, ladies and gents, is my brand new actually functional garage door. I'm really very pleased with the outcome, especially the part where I can open and close it without assistance and the part where it's insulated and has windows. The real test of the insulation is going to be in the middle of the summer, but I can go in there now and see pretty well during the day. We still have a lighting issue in there, but at least now we have the sun. 

I bring this up because in the second picture, just behind and to the left of sweet Miss Bu, is my floor loom. It's a 36" Leclerc Mira 4-shaft 4-harness that I got for far less than she was worth to me. After a little repair and cleaning up, I got her working and managed some rudimentary fabric, but I really hadn't learned to weave as such. My learning style tends to be to jump in with both feet and see what I can figure out before going back and actually asking someone how to do it or seeking out classes. 
One of the more involved parts of Project Make has been that I'm determined to learn how to weave. That's why I'm getting the garage in shape and, if I were to tell the absolute truth, why we got a house with a garage in the first place.

Like Bekah, I don't really talk about my religion much here, though I may have done in the past when I wasn't really sure what I wanted this blog to be. Generally, I now blog about religion elsewhere and like to keep this space primarily for crafting. And then there's when those two things are actually the same thing.

My experience with my Gods has been that They expect excellence from me. If I'm doing well, They push me to be better. I sort of figured out how to weave, now I need to learn how to weave. I may think I know how to sew, but now I need to see if I can't do some more complicated things and hone those basic skills. I can spin, but I can learn more about spinning and make better yarn. 

It's not just about making a better product, either. This is about making a better me. The most useful techniques I'm learning are things like:

  • Slowing down
  • Letting go of pride
  • Concentration
  • Silence and stillness
  • Equanimity
In the spirit of excellence, I don't have any FOs to show you this week. What I do have needs to be pressed and photographed in good lighting. I'm plugging away at Leto, I'm still on a quilting jag, and I'll have some spinning, sewing, and Summer's hanky to show next week. Right very now, the SoUP* is steeping in the pot and I'm going to leave it there for as long as I can stand in the hopes of more or deeper color. Lots of crafting is happening and I've got spring fever something bad. 

*Sheep of Unknown Provenance, not actual soup. Do not eat the privet berry soup.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marching on

Between the rain and the sudden appearance of flowers, I'm tentatively declaring Spring to have arrived. We've already got one of the cars stuck in the mud and then subsequently un-stuck, thanks to our very helpful and very nice neighbors. Yellow House Guy and Retired Guy were both awesome and are deserving of good things. Needless to say, we'll be parking in the driveway until we can get the secondary driveway sorted out with some gravel and a hoe and rake.

The Garage Project is about to move forward quite a bit and, if the gods favor us, we should have a brand new green door by the end of the day. I'm super excited about being able to open and close it by myself, but the windows and insulation will also be a plus. I'm strongly considering a celebratory leaf mulcher. (So many leaves. So. Many.)

We've also had sun and warm days. I may have spent the majority of those outside and I may have gotten a little pink from sun. I've had a vitamin D deficiency all winter and I'm half convinced that I actually run on solar power. Thanks to those sunny days, I finally got the embroidery done on Miss Summer's hanky.

While there are things I know I could have done better on this one, I'm generally pleased with the work as a whole. It just needs a hem, a wash, and a good pressing and it'll be completely finished. 

There's this crazy idea that if you work on something, it gets finished faster. Bekah is convinced this is but myth and rumor, but I'm currently testing the theory by actually working on my eldest's quilt. It worked on Summer's hanky and it's too early to tell, but I might be able to finish before she goes to college.

...which was funny when she was in grade school.

I'm also thinking about learning to quilt after I finish this one. Because I jump in and do before I learn something, I tend to miss things like "Heeey, you can make the corners match up!" or "Did you know that you could plan a quilt? Who does that?" For now, I want to just do what I can before the weather gets too hot. It's just straight lines, but I can't be crawling under that in June.

And hey! A Finished Object!
These are Fork in the Garbage Disposal from Fork in the Road Socks by Lara Neel, done up in Andey Originals Sock yarn in the Holy Crap! Bubbo's on Fire! colorway.

I. Love. This. Heel. I have never had a heel fit so well, much less an afterthought heel. Offering Fork in the Road for free is about the cleverest thing because now I really do want Sock Architecture. The only thing I changed about the pattern was doing a rip cord/zip line thingamy instead of the provisional cast on in the middle of the sock. That worked a treat and I wish I were clever enough to have figured it out myself, but Bekah was the one that helped me wrap my brain around it. 

And that's this week's technique:
  • Rip Cord/Zip Line for afterthought heels
So, when you get to where you want to put a heel, whether you're going toe up or top down, grab a piece of scrap yarn, drop the working yarn, and use the scrap yarn as your working yarn. Knit across however many stitches are going to become your heel (usually half), drop the scrap yarn, go back to where you dropped the working yarn, and work across those same stitches again. Keep on keepin' on until you get to whichever end of the sock you were trying to get to. 

There should be a tidy little line right across half of the sock where your heel is going to go, as you can see in the sock on the left. 

For the next part, there are probably several ways you can do this, but the following is what I did: 

First, I picked up the stitches on either side of the rip cord.

You can see the brown scrap yarn between the needles here. Once I made sure that my count was right and nothing was going to be twisted, I picked out the scrap yarn. The first few stitches were a little challenging, but it got easier once I could open it up a little. 

When that was done, it looked like this:

I joined the yarn, crossed the stitches at the corners to reduce the dreaded corner gap, and proceeded with the heel. This worked much better for me than trying to fiddle with a provisional cast on and seemed much quicker and more intuitive. 

I'm also working on:

And I made a rainbow pizza for Ultimate Pi Day:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Forward

This last week has been full of dance things. Miss Fluffalo's dance school did a performance of Sleeping Beauty and, because I generally try to be supportive of her artistic pursuits, I made sure she got to all the practices and to the performance on time and with all necessary accoutrements. She did very well and I can tell that she's grown a lot as a dancer. I am told that she'll be on pointe by next year.

She has other dance practices this week and, because I am a supportive mom, I will make sure she gets to those as well. There are times when we both wish she could drive, but neither of us are truly ready for that quite yet. I feel unprepared to have a kid who is almost in high school and I really wish we could send her to private school instead of our questionable public school. I have concerns and freshman orientation did not fill me with confidence.

She will do well whatever the circumstances, but I worry. I'm her mom. It's in my job description.

One thing that dance practice has been good for is focusing on the Fork in the Garbage Disposal socks. I haven't done any spinning or embroidery this week, but dang if I didn't get some sock knitted. That's about all I've done. Since this picture was taken, I've knit a good seven inches on the second sock since this picture was taken and that while stopping to graft many several places where the dermestids had got into my yarn. This is old damage and I've since managed the problem, but it's still frustrating. Dermestids are the bane of my existence both professionally and privately. Now all the yarn is in plastic. Even some of the stuff that's in plastic is in plastic.
Ugh! We hates them, precious. We hates them and their yarn-eating habits, we do. Nassssty little carpet beetles.
They don't taste very good, do they?

Actually, I don't know how they taste, but they're not on the list of bugs I'd eat.

The March cast-on-a-thon, which is way more fun than startitis/startosis because it sounds more "make a pledge to cast on some things!" than pathogenic, continues with the casting on of a pair of legwarmers for me. My legs and knees get terribly cold in the winter and I'm hoping these will help with that. I'm considering a pair for the eldest child for dance, but the jury is still out.

These are the Easy Ribbed Legwarmers by Carol Wells and they are indeed both easy and ribbed. I'll let you know how the legwarmers part works out. They're an easy knit, but are taking a nap in the WIP basket until I finish my socks.

Meanwhile, it is raining. Rain is not an entirely bad thing, but this solar-powered lady needs some fresh air, sunshine, and flowers.

So. Close.

I hear the spring peepers, it's nearly the middle of March, and I am ready for flowers.

Pin curls!
This week's technique doesn't have anything to do with wool and does have quite a bit to do with watching several episodes of Agent Carter in a row. I taught myself how to put the longer parts of my hair in pin curls and, remarkably, it's really cute. The back is super short, but I like how it looks and it stays all day without anything in it. I just wet it and put it up again at night and I'm fabulous again in the morning.

This tutorial really helped. For my hair, I wet it, curl it by hand, pin it, sleep in it with a wide elastic headband over it, unpin in the morning, and brush, following up with a light finger-combing. The more I do it, the faster it goes and I think I can get the whole shebang down to about fifteen minutes, total.
My haircut is supposed to be more like the picture to the right, but then there were pin curls.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

March is for Making Lots of Things

February is for Finishing was a resounding success. The month ended with just four projects still on the needles and four freshly off the needles/hook. Predictably, this means I felt the need to cast on a bunch of new things. This week, I've cast on a pair of wee socks for Miss Bu, using the Knitmore Girls' Genevieve's Tube Sock pattern and some ancient Maizy from stash. I'm nearly two inches in now and they seem to go pretty quickly when I'm not watching Sesame Street. I try not to knit things where I need to count stitches when Sesame Street is on.

Which, brings me to Brickless. There's more counting in this one than is safe for Sesame Street knitting, but I've been wanting to make it in my Alisha Goes Around: Tracks of Bison for some time. I'm one repeat in after two false starts and wrestling with the yarn to get it wound into a cake. There were several breaks in the yarn from previous insect damage and there were crosses and tangles in the yarn. All of this is my fault, of course, and if I'd taken proper care of the yarn, none of this would have happened. But it's going to be beautiful and match half of everything in my wardrobe. I'm already in love.
An alarming amount of spinning has been getting done, too, and I can see the end of the SoUP batts from here. 


Became singles...

Became yarn.
All that happened in the space of a couple of days and I can definitely see myself finishing this one up either next week or the week after. 

It's a space helmet.
I've been very productive this week, so far as knitting goes, and I'm starting to feel much more like my normal, healthy self. I've made a commitment to try to get my step count every day this week and I've done so every day since Sunday. The checklist has helped considerably and I'm hoping the warm weather will help take care of the cabin fever.

I've got it bad this year. I'm ready to frolic in the flowers and run around outside in my garden. Tomorrow is another OMGWTF, WEATHER?! day, so the biggest kiddo is out of school and I'm theees close to spending the day in my room like Achilles in his tent or Janeway in her ready room. I want the kids to be able to play outside, but I also really want me to play outside. I'm tired of cold, rain, snow, and cold.

Did I say cold? Because that can go now. I'm so done with cold. My most sincere sympathies to those farther north than we.

This week's FO is Mr. Rippley, my coffee friend, because I wasn't quite done with him last week before blogging time. He's 2,487 yards of Brava Worsted. That's nearly 12 skeins and as much yardage as I have knit and/or crocheted on average each year since 2007. He's cuddly, warm, and matches my couch. All these are good qualities in an afghan and finishing him puts me in a mind to do more crocheted afghans for all the beds in the house. This is the delightful Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic 24

So much love in this handsome fellow.
No technique this week, but quite a bit of knitting love. 
I'm also working on:

  • Fork in the Road socks in Andey Originals sock yarn - I'm at the cuff of sock #2. Guess who's WIP picture is featured on the Ravelry pattern page! This made my whole week. 
  • Leto in Knit Picks' Shadow and Misti Alpaca Lace

The Garage Project is still underway. Our new door has to be special-ordered and it's going to cost us a wee more than anticipated, which is fine because we have the budget for it, but my fabric stash and various supplies are buried for the time being. Turns out you're not supposed to attach a garage door to drywall.