Getting away

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Another fiber friends weekend has flashed past.  This time we met up halfway between the northern people and the southern people, at an Air BnB house in Olympia.  Tucked into a quiet little neighborhood we sewed and spun and knit and played with fiber.  Also, there was wine.  🙂

I cut out and sewed most of three more tunics based on the Dress No. 2 pattern.  I got as far as the neck bands before I broke the sewing machine needle on a misplaced pin and had to stop.  But look at this book card fabric I found!  Perfect for my job as a high school librarian.

Leslie 1 (50% of the group is named Leslie) brought her blending board and showed us how to make rolags, which you need if you want to spin in true woolen fashion.  And it makes it really easy to mix up colors and fiber types.  There is cotton, wool, angora, and alpaca in those sample rolls.

I added another big chunk to my 1×1 ribbed stash-eating scarf.  I’m holding three strands together for a marled effect.

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There was knitting in public, which greatly intrigued the wait staff at the Three Magnets Brewing Co. when we ventured out of the house in search of cold drinks on a very hot day.

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Look at all the handspun my friend Paige has created and accumulated! This is just the fraction I could fit in the photo.

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I tremendously enjoy each of these weekend getaways.  Like minded people laughing together, plus fiber.  How can that not be great?

 

End of the Year: WIP update and 2017 goals

To get ready for the new year of crafting, I’ve revisited my previous WIP list and removed all the finished projects and set some goals for 2017.  This list will probably get revised again – one of my goals is to reorganize the craft room before vacation ends in a few days, and more forgotten projects are bound to turn up.

WIP for 2017:

Knitting

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  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue cable sweater – just needs zipper sewn in
  • Volt wrap – complete i-cord edging

New Goal:  Knit a complete cardigan in 2017

Weaving

  • Rug – partially warped on floor loom – this one has been sitting there so long it is getting dusty

Spinning

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26 lbs. of fiber in the stash to be spun!   In progress:

  • Gray merino/alpaca/angora – 1/3 of ~7 oz. spun

New Goals: spin 8 oz. a month, 6 lbs. total through 2017; reduce stash below 20 lbs.

Crochet

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  • J’s red monster – needs a face

New Goal: crochet two cotton bath mats

Needle punch

  • Sheep in a field – needs the field

Sewing

  • Knit shirt conversion to tunic
  • Mom’s backpack purse – the pieces are cut out
  • Floor pillows/poofs – I’ve started combining the upholstery samples into fabric
  • Embroidered circles that need to be sewn into a pillow cover
  • Paper pieced snowflake that needs to be finished to become a pillow
  • Placemats – need backings to be finished

No new sewing goals, just need to finish some of these!

Embroidery

  • Wild flowers – figure out what the blue flowers should look like, add others

Mini quilts

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  • Mountains and flowers – needs some top stitching and a back
  • City and trees – needs more embellishment

New Goal: Make the Oregon wall hanging I’ve been mulling for a while

Quilts

  • Scrap in a box – top finished and pinned, needs quilting and binding
  • Red and white Xs – top finished and sandwich pinned, needs quilting and binding
  • Strings table runner – a couple more blocks needed
  • Oceans QAL – five blocks to complete before assembling top
    • needs octopus, orcas, lighthouse, shark. and seagulls
  • Scrap blobs – blob blocks need background
  • Jelly roll baby quilt – top finished, back purchased, needs pinning, quilting and binding

New Goal: Make a king sized quilt for our summer bed blanket

It is a little overwhelming each time I look at this list, but it really is shorter than it was the first time I made it, and I keep reminding myself that I enjoy all these crafts and it is as much about the process as the products!

Finishing weekend 2

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I just spent wonderful weekend in Seattle with my fiber friends.  It was the second finishing weekend of the year, a time when we dig out WIPs that have been languishing and dig in to get them done, along with a lot of catching up and some fabulous food.

Finding knitting projects was a little difficult for me as the last finishing weekend took care of most of mine that needed just a bit of seaming or ends sewn in.  Plus I frogged so many of my knitting WIPs.  Quilting WIPs weren’t going to work as I didn’t want to haul my machine and all the necessary bulky quilting supplies.

But I did have my blue sweater that just needed one sleeve sewn on, and my Volt wrap.  And there were some embroidery projects to sort through for possible finishing contenders, and spinning fiber in progress.  So in the end I had plenty to do.  Enough that it took several trips to get all the bags and bundles out to the car.

It was such a great time!  So much laughing and helping and exchanging projects and sharing ideas and accomplishments.  Portland Leslie likes to seam, and Seattle Leslie and I needed a lot of that.  Paige loves to sew in ends (so weird!  so handy!) and I was useful with machine binding.

Have you heard of Slow TV?  I hadn’t – apparently on Netflix there are hours and hours of Norwegian television that takes a topic and sticks with it through every possible second.  There are eleven hour celebratory hours of a boat traveling a Norwegian canal.  Eight hours of knitting talk. An entire multi-hour train trip captured on film.  And our personal favorite for weekend viewing, five or six hours about wood chopping.

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Everything about wood chopping.  How to stack, how to chop – and all the possible variations of both.  Wood deliveries, wood tool, music with chopped wood, contents on wood stacking, how to cut a piece of wood so that it is a burner for tea and a stool.  The apparently bitter controversy over bark up or bark down in the wood pile.  It was both tedious and mesmerizing.  And all in Norwegian and subtitles!  We had it on for hours, and yes, I’m aware of how crazy that sounds.

Another highlight was the tour of Seattle Leslie’s fiber stash.  It is impressive!  Walls of IKEA bins full of spinning fiber, and more cases and boxes and bins of the yarn she has gathered since the days when she worked at a yarn store and was paid in yarn.  We treated it with the respect normally given to museum visits.

We ate, and drank gallons of tea, and laughed, and got so much done.

I finished my embroidered undersea scene that I started in a class I took a couple of years ago.

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I also got the last four oz. of my Ashland Bay merino spun and plied both bobbins into finished skeins just needing their bath.

My Volt wrap is just two rows away from needing the attached i-cord edging, and my blue sweater has its last sleeve attached. Just needs a zipper now.

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Everyone walked away with a lot they could cross off the WIP lists.  The photographic evidence of all we accomplished:

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That blanket at the bottom was a major team effort and is going to get a blog post all of its own very soon.

We are already planning the next get together.  There is talk of an AirBnB in Olympia in the new year.  Can’t wait!

Odds and ends

I go through stages where I binge on books, to the point of neglecting a lot of the rest of my life.  As an adult, it tends to happen in times of stress.  Craft binging doesn’t have the same stress reduction effect – I can still think and sew or knit.  Reading is pure escape.

The last month or so has seen a lot of reading.  I’m not quite sure what the true stressor is – there seems to be a constant low level.  Trying to juggle work and home is part of it, and the election sure isn’t helping.  But it means that the WIPs have been gathering some dust.

A small amount has been accomplished.  I made a couple of trips to my sister’s classroom to use all the tiled floor space to pin three finished quilt tops.

I added some more rows to my Volt wrap. One and a half colors to go – so 24,495 more stitches.

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And I filled a bobbin and a half with more of the red fiber I’ve been working on sporadically.

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There was also a yarn sale at Little Knits that resulted in a bit of stash enhancement in the sock yarn category.

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That is pretty much it on the crafting side of life.  No finishes, just some baby steps further down the road.

One more picture to share – the kids went back and forth on whether they were too old to go trick-or-treating but the real outcome was never in any doubt. The lure of the sugar was too strong.

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In case there was any question, yes, I am definitely the kind of mom who steals candy to eat from her sleeping children.  No Snickers or peanut butter cup is safe from me.  They suspect, but have no proof.  😏

 

Finishing weekend

July has been a very barren month for fiber crafting!  We started the kitchen remodel on the fifth of July (post to come), and I didn’t touch a needle or fiber again for weeks.  But this weekend was a long scheduled finishing weekend with my knitting friends, and I finally got my hands on some yarn at least.

We all dug out unfinished projects and got to work.  Many, many ends were sewn in to complete already knitted projects.  Here are the three I did – a green handspun cowl, a lace crescent handspun shawl, and a color blocked red, white and black scarf that was my lunch knitting project at work.

Just as many projects that had lost their appeal were frogged and the yarn recovered.

We all had sweaters (and even one dress!) that needed seaming and just a bit of detail work.  Projects that had been in bins and under beds for years were pulled out to see the light of day.  Some died in the frog pile, some were put on the road to actual wearable garment.

Sadly, some of the projects had not survived the moths.

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Elizabeth Zimmerman played as an accompaniment.  I love the way she talks about knitting!  “Fraught” one moment, easy peasy for all in the next.  With the occasional cat wandering through.

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Some of the work took place at Coin Toss, a microbrewery, because seaming always goes smoother with cider and beer.  (Despite what that picture makes it look like, there was no inebriated stitching.)

I got the collar knitted and most of the seaming done on a cabled cardigan I started in 2012.  One sleeve left to attach and a zipper to buy.  I also sewed in the ends on the three projects shown above, and gave away an almost finished white lace shawl (started in 2009!) to a friend who was going to knit one for a wedding and now only has to finish the border of mine.

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We had so much fun and were so productive that we are going to make it a quarterly event.  Next time is in October in Seattle.

And it helped with my list of knitting WIPs, though not a dramatic dent as I hadn’t put the finished-knitting-but-still-with-loose-ends on the list.  Here’s where the knitting now stands:

  • Fingerless gloves – finished
  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue Urban Aran sweaterUpdate: collar done, seaming almost complete, need to buy zipper
  • Shawl in Tosh blues – frog, find a better contrast yarn and restart
  • Pink handspun slippers– frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • D’s cupcake– frogged
  • Daily temperature scarf– felting has begun – remaining yarn returned to stash
  • Novelty scarf on giant needles– frogged and yarn donated
  • Orange sweater– frogged and yarn donated
  • Blue-gray socks–  finished and given away
  • Ladybug sweater– frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • Aeolian shawlgiven away for Leslie M. to finish as a wedding shawl
  • New Start: –Blooming shawl in green silk – frogged – I couldn’t face all that thread like yarn. It is put away for when I start craving delicate lace knitting again

It is really hard to not start up a new project.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so few knitting projects in the WIP pile!  Still more destruction than construction, mind you, but still a lot removed from the to-do list, which is a relief.

I even got a little done on the only project on the crocheting WIP list.  My son’s monster now has weird flappy ears.  Just eyes left to do, as soon as I find where I put the white felt.

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Now I really need to get cracking on the sewing front!

 

Update – WIPs

I’m revisiting my WIP list from early June to keep myself on track.

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Knitting

A lot of frogging has greatly reduced this list.

  • Fingerless gloves – just the thumbs left to do
  • Red sweater – my oldest WIP, knit years ago, it just needs a crocheted edging and buttons, but will it even fit now?
  • Blue cable sweater – sew pieces together, do collar and add zipper
  • Shawl in Tosh blues – frog, find a better contrast yarn and restart
  • Pink handspun slippers – frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • D’s cupcake – frogged
  • Daily temperature scarf – felting has begun – remaining yarn returned to stash
  • Novelty scarf on giant needles – frogged and yarn donated
  • Orange sweater – frogged and yarn donated
  • Blue-gray socks –  finished and given away
  • Ladybug sweater – frogged and yarn returned to stash
  • New Start: – Blooming shawl in green silk (I just couldn’t stop myself from casting on.  This will be a slow project as the lace yarn is thread like and silk requires extra care to avoid runs.)

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Weaving

  • Rug – partially warped

Spinning

27 lbs. of fiber in the stash to be spun!   In progress list:

Crochet

  • J’s monster red monster – needs appendages and a face

Needle punch

  • Sheep in a field – needs field

Sewing

  • Three knit shirt conversions to tunics
  • Mom’s backpack purse – the pieces are cut out
  • Floor pillows – I’ve started combining the upholstery samples into fabric
  • Embroidered circles that need to be sewn into a pillow cover
  • Paper pieced snowflake that needs to be finished to become a pillow

Embroidery

  • Black work sampler – barely started and needs to be abandoned because my eyesight just isn’t up to it
  • Wild flowers – doesn’t need a lot to finish, but I couldn’t decide on how to do the blue flowers
  • Undersea scene – just a few more sea creatures needed

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Mini quilts

  • Octopus – finished and given to Haley!
  • Mountains and flowers – I don’t love it, but it is also very close to done, so just do it already!
  • City and trees – needs more embellishment, but the majority is done

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Quilts

  • Scrap in a box – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Scrappy stars around the corner – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Red and white Xs – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
    • Update – backing pieced
  • Floral diamonds – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Wonky scrap stars – top finished, needs back, quilting and binding
  • Strings table runner – a couple more blocks needed
  • Oceans QAL – half the blocks done
    • Updatefinished two blocks, two more to do before putting top together
  • Tiny scraps block blobs (I need a better name for this one!)
    • Update – decided on layout, created third blob, started putting together top background
  • D’s Pokemon quilt – abandoned in the fabric pile state – he decided he wants the Oceans quilt to be his instead

 

Summing up:

10 items crossed off the list, 1 new start

Most of my progress was destruction rather than construction and in the knitting part of the list, but there has been some progress on the quilting front as well. A good start considering it was the busy end of the school year (checked in 8000+ textbooks!) and we went on a week long coastal vacation.

July is the start of the kitchen remodel, but I still hope to achieve more on the sewing front.

 

Frogging

It hit 102 degrees here today! That is crazy hot for this time of year. A good day for indoor activities.  Thank goodness I gave in to my husband and we installed airconditioning this winter. Our house is poorly insulated – none at all in the sides – so it heats up fast.

With all this indoors time on my hands. I made a dent in my long WIP list, but only because I chose the very quickest projects to get them off the list.  Which meant a lot of ripped out knitting.  I spent all the spare minutes here and there today on frogging various projects and wondering why I let them hang around so long.

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I keep a lot of my unfinished knitting in a basket on a bookshelf.  Some of it has been in there for years.

Frogged first:

A novelty yarn scarf on gigantic wooden needles – you can see it peeking out in the basket picture above. The yarn was a free handout from a Mariners stitch-n-pitch day in Seattle.  Before the new stadium was built, which means it is years old.  And only one skein of the unattractive yarn, so how did I think that would make a whole scarf?  And who was going to wear it?  It’s undone now, and the yarn is going in the donation bag.

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Next up for frogging – some slippers in a pink handspun yarn that was remnants from other projects. I could never get the shape of the first slipper to be what I wanted, so after several tries, it is permanently unraveled and the yarn is going back into the odds and ends bin for a future use.  I bought slippers a while back anyway.

Also frogged – an odd little project started back when my youngest son asked for a knitted cupcake.  Neither he or I can remember why he wanted it, and I never got the weird novelty yarn to look very frosting like.  It is gone now.

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My daily temperature scarf I rather regret saying goodbye to.  It was part of a Ravelry knit-a-long where the rows represented the high or low temperature of each day.  I did a linen stitch pattern and really liked the overall look.  But it fell to the pressures of packing up our house and moving out of state; I didn’t keep track of the temps and never caught up.  Plus, as it grew, I doubted my yarn choice. Knit Picks Palette yarn is great for color work, but not soft around a neck.  I doubt it would ever have gotten worn.  It is currently in the wash pile to be felted and cut up for coasters.

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The oldest project I just unraveled was the start of a ladybug stranded knit that I started back when we got our adoption referral for our first son. He was two then; he’s ten now.  Time to say good-bye to the luridly colored little thing.  The colors – what was I thinking?  And he’s never been willing to wear a sweater since we met him, so this project was not one to ever be finished.

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In addition to all the destruction, there was one completed project today.  Again, a very quick one from the list.  All my niece’s fused fabric octopus wall quilt needed was hanging tabs sewn on the back and one button replacement.  It is done as of this afternoon, so I get to cross something off the list that was construction rather than deconstruction.

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I recovered a lot of yarn and some needles.  This picture is pre-ladybug frogging, so the pile grew bigger.  And my friend just texted about an upcoming yarn swap gathering, so some of it will go away all together.

All the low-hanging fruit is now gone, however, and I’m going to have to start diving into the bigger projects.