A sweater for me update #3

Last night I thought I had used up all my skeins of yarn with 1.5 sleeves finished and was saddened to have to spin more. I now know that my yarn is quite overspun and have no desire to sit down and purposefully do that again. I like the feel of properly spin yarn and this not so much. While looking for my pattern for my SSSSP (super secret santa sewing project), I found my swatch for my sweater, now I have a smallish ball of yarn to work my sleeve with, I’m optimistic.


Attack of the Deadlines

Yes, you read that correctly deadlines, there’s an s on the end of that word. I have things to do and I’m running out of time. There is a nasty cold going around this fall that people are saying takes up to three weeks to fully recover and I have it, one down two to go. A week ago Friday I started to feel poorly and it went downhill from there. I was so sick last week I didn’t even feel like knitting or surfing my favorite knitting/crocheting/yarn site or much doing of anything. I’m starting to feel a bit better, but my nose is sometimes draining on to my throat causing me to clear my throat constantly and sometimes I have time to grab a tissue before it drains. Throw in driving to the vet once on Sat, once on Sun and again today and all I can say is I’m behind before I even thought about getting ahead.

    Here’s the list:

  1. Sweater-was supposed to be finished on Saturday, would have been if not for the illness, current status: one sleeve down, one to go and then the bottom edge
  2. Podcast-I had time on my hands to get the first episode recorded, but who wants to hear me while I’m sick, I’m hoping to release the first episode Dec. 1, a full episode, not just an intro. I’d like a promo out by tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath for that one
  3. Jesse Tree ornaments-I have a handful cut out, but I need to sew them together and create a tree of some sort by Wednesday, I also have to put the advent boxes together and hang them so Boo and I can open them.
  4. Super Secret Santa #1-I purchased fabric before I fell ill, but haven’t cut any of it
  5. Super Secret Santa #2-I have yarn, I have a pattern but I need to finish my sweater
  6. Super Secret Santa #3-fiber just arrived today in the mail for me to spin then I have to knit it
  7. Super-Super Secret Project #1-I am fairly certain I don’t have time for this one, it’ll get done, just probably not in time for the Christmas

Are you behind? Are you ahead? What’s your secret?


My new favorite thing of the day

A few years ago I purchased 2 sets of Boye Needlemaster interchangeable needles. I was able to find them on sale at a closeout store and love that I have two of every size from 2 to 15. One major drawback is the cable, all the Boye cables are a bit inflexible and have a weird join that adds to the length of the needle at a weird angle. On regular circular needles, it doesn’t bother me because they are glued together. On my interchangeables, I’m constantly grabbing the key and grip to tighten the join up because my pinky grabs at it and untwists it while I knit. A week or so ago I read a tutorial for making a flexible cable from weed eater cord and a few other parts. I love that Sarah decided it could be done and knew what materials to try. Her post makes it sound as if she tried a lot of things that didn’t work before she settled on what did work. I’m so excited about these new cables. I made a rather long one tonight so that I could try it out on my sweater. If you own a set of Boye Needlemaster interchangeables, I strongly recommend heading over to her site and making some new cables for yourself.

I’m currently working on the sleeves a la magic loop because I didn’t want to make a short cable tonight and a longer one in a few days when I was back to the body of the sweater. It’s been a bit since my last sweater update, I’ve got a lot of length on the sweater. I used up the second ball of yarn left it at an edge and decided it would make more sense to leave the stitches live and head up to finish the neck and sleeves. I followed the pattern for the neck and didn’t like how short/small it looked so I added a few more rows in pattern. Then I started on a sleeve with the plan to finish the other sleeve and try on the sweater while looking at the ball of yarn I have remaining. I should have enough yarn already spun so as long as I plan to leave enough for the bottom edge and bind off. I’m using approximately 8 yards per row so I should be able to accurately plan to make it as long as I want it or use up all the yarn, whichever comes first. I had hoped to finish by Nov. 26th so that I would have make a sweater in 30 days, unofficial NaKniSweMo and all, but I don’t think I can finish my current sleeve, make a second, finish the body and make the ties in 3 days. I knew it would be close and I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made. My new target is Nov. 30th so that my final NaBloPoMo entry will show a finished sweater. I’ll plan my sweater making project in 2011 so that it is completed in the month.


101 in 1001 2010 Update

My 101 things to do in 1001 days is rounding the home stretch. May 2, 2011 is day 1001 and I need to report that I have not finished my list nor will I. I’m still undecided about whether I will start a new 101 in 1001 list in May 2011. I’m thinking about taking off a month or two in order to compose a new, more realistic list. I’d like to try again knowing what I know now. I know I can better guess at what I’m likely to accomplish. Some of the goals were unrealistic, some I was too lazy to complete but mostly I had the most wonderful little boy in world and I allowed myself to be sidetracked from a list to pour myself into him. I think I made the wiser choice. I purposefully added some easy ones so that I could check them off quickly knowing that the rest would take effort. Here are my thoughts on most, but not all, of the categories as well as what I’ve accomplished thus far.

I wish I had put knit a sweater on the list, I’m doing that, I wasn’t sure if I would want to do that. I finally taught myself to crochet, I didn’t put that on the list, but I did challenge myself to crochet something knowing that in order to do that I had to teach myself.

  • Stamp cards to use for special occasions: have 20 in reserve I joined a card swap so have blown this one out of the water. Five times a year I make 10 cards and swap them.
  • Knit 300 dishcloths/washcloths, patterns of varying choice (9 per month) (9/2010 completed 4/300 crocheted 10-12 scrubbies) I won’t finish this, but I’ve made progress
  • Complete one crochet project (summer 2010)

I don’t seem to have time to complete these as they involve others. I am helping with literacy, just not adults and not as a volunteer.

My TV viewing habits declined sharply in fall of 2010 because NBC stopped broadcasting in our area again. We made the decision to just shut it off except for DVDs and Netflix movies. I do watch L&O occasionally, but more often than not I find myself only watching 5 or 10 minutes then shutting it off. We’ve watched an hour and a half of PBS Masterpiece Theatre for three weeks. We watched Jeopardy for the first time in months, I decided to see if NBC came back, it did. We’ve committed to only watching weeknights from 7-8 for Wheel and Jeopardy and perhaps a PBS show here and there.

  • Decrease regular television viewing by 25% (fall 2010)
  • Ration television to 10 hours per week for at least two consecutive weeks (fall 2010)
  • Hall closet-find & implement workable organization: accomplished when one towel can be removed and the rest don’t fall out and when the bottom area is only extras /li>


  • Join a knitting group-I did, actually I joined a knitting group and a spinning group, though I’d like to find one closer that suits me a bit better

WordPress 3 changed my blogging desires, now with the versatility of child themes I have less desire to make a theme myself, though I am working on graphics to substitute in to an exiting theme that is designed to be tweaked like this.

Living Local & Green/Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The yearly garden and seed collection failed. This summer I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t keep myself together, let alone worry about a garden. I let my husband play in the garden. We had a small garden and I think he kept some of the seeds, but I can’t count it as I didn’t do much. As our freezer contains lots of meet and veggies from the garden, it’s not practical to put a month of meals in it. Boo and I are going to start cooking more with the purpose of storing extras, but I’ll have a difficult time finding space for too much.

Who’s got time to read WoT? The 12th book part one came out and I haven’t even finished 10 or started 11. Some day I’ll read them and make my own little encyclopedia of characters, places, events, holidays, and all. Since I’m starting a podcast, the Librivox recordings are on hold because I’m dedicating my time to planning. The classics are coming along, but I’m probably not going to reach that goal either.

Super Secret Santa Sewing 2010 #1

Every year for Christmas, my husband’s family pops names into a bowl and each of us selects one person to give a Christmas gift to. We are encouraged to make it if possible. This year I have Granny again. I last had her in 2006, where I cross-stitched a stocking that took me a few years to actually complete. In my defense, I started the project too late and had a very busy next year.

As the following is super secret, please, for the love of everything good, don’t tell a soul. It’s why I’m putting it here, to keep it under wraps.

I have been contemplating this year’s present since we drew names. I have finally settled on a couple of things, the largest being a Northern Cardinal table runner. I have hunted high and low for the perfect pattern and not finding it I created one with Inkscape with the goal of cutting all the pieces with my Cricut. I couldn’t get things lined up just right so last night I sat down with paper, pen, and a ruler to draw. I’ve taken measurements of my drawing, made copies to color and am ready to head back to the computer for more drawing. I’m pleased with the results so today my goal is to size all the pieces with a seam allowance and get it back into Inkscape for cutting. There are entirely too many pieces to cut by hand. By next weekend I hope to report that pieces have been cut and I have started sewing them together. There will be a male cardinal at one end and a female at the other. I will use neutral border colors and center mounting squares so that Granny can use it any time of year. I haven’t decided on the quilting yet, but there’s plenty of time.

The second part of my gift is a handspun, knitted cowl (neckwarmer). I didn’t purchase enough fiber, so I’ve ordered more to be dyed but it won’t ship until the 19th. I was able to spin 50 yards in an evening, so my hope is that I can spin the rest (150 yds) the week it arrives and then knit. Merino-tencel is a difficuly blend for a newish spinner. I’ve received lovely advice that I think I’ll follow when I get the rest of the fiber-spin over the fold.

The last part of my gift came about as a a compromise on an earlier idea. I thought to make a fabric wallhanging of her family tree, but I do not have access to an embroidery machine for lettering. It would take me too long to hand letter as my handwriting leaves much to be desired and too expensive to have the work done by the companies in the area that specialize in those kind of things. I found a neat poster that maybe she will enjoy filling in and then we’ll mount it somehow and hang it when she’s used her beautiful handwriting to complete it.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates.


A sweater for me

Threaden (a.) Made of thread; as, threaden sails; a threaden fillet.
Yarn (n.) Spun wool; woolen thread; also, thread of other material, as of cotton, flax, hemp, or silk; material spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, manufacturing sewing thread, or the like.

In 14 days I will quietly celebrate my one year anniversary with my spinning wheel. I bought 2 pounds of inexpensive Shetland sheep fiber with the wheel so I could practice on something that I was not emotionally or financially attached to. The lovely woman who sold all of it to me informed me that 2 pounds was enough for a sweater. I quietly giggled and said, “Oh no, no sweater for me, too much work. I’m just going to make little things here and there-mittens, hat scarf and what-nots.” Then I sat at the wheel, 10 minutes a day for several months. I had enough yarn to make a hedgehog for Boo with a bit left over in yarn form and over 1.5 pounds in fiber form. A sweater was suddenly a real possibility because I didn’t want to try to come up with many uses for all that fiber. I took much of late winter/early spring off from spinning and picked it up again in the late spring. I made it a goal to finish spinning my yarn by mid-July and did. I also bought a little bit more fiber as a cushion in case I need more than I thought I needed. Good plan as the lovely woman who sold me that fiber out of a huge bag of it is finally out of it.
My poor yarn is quite over spun. I was so fearful that it would pull apart that I treadled like mad. I feel confident that my sweater will long out last me and I don’t plan on going away in the near future. I washed and whacked and swatched. I picked a needle size, tried it out and tried out two smaller sizes then tried the other two again. I went with my original size and started last weekend.
During the month of November every year there seem to be many -alongs to encourage people to push and accomplish goals. I participate in NaBloPoMo because I like to push myself to post interesting things every day for a month. Some people attempt to write a 175-page novel during the month, NaNoWriMo. Some try to knit an entire sweater in 30 days, NaKniSweMo. While I cast on in the last parts of October, after I started blogging for November, I set another unofficial goal of knitting my Shetland sweater in a month and reporting here at least once a week, Thursdays.

The pattern:
I am knitting # 263 Wrap Cardigan Top Down from Knitting Pure and Simple. As of the writing of this post, my sweater is the last sweater in the third row.

The yarn:

The progress:
I have 5.5 inches, almost to the row to divide out stitches for the sleeves.


Inventory of projects

September is WIP Wrestle, so I’ll be tackling all my works in progress. Admittedly, I have done a fairly good job since the last time I wrestled with them so my sticks are fairly empty. I have more “want to starts” than I have actually in process.

Currently on my sticks:

  • Amigurimi animals for Boo-crochet
  • Plushie-intarsia knit
  • Jellybean socks-two at a time toe up

Once I finish those, I’ll tackle my holiday crafting. In theory I have plenty of time between now and my tentative completion date to complete the following:

  • For Boo
      Boo’s animals
  • Top secret gift knittingx2
  • Boo’s Secret Elf gift
  • My Secret Elf gift
      Sewing project
      Spinning/Knitting project
  • For me
    1. homespun sweater
      2 pairs of socks

If my hands still work after that list, I also would like to complete:

  • Purse
  • tennis ball frog
  • Spinning, lots and lots of spinning


Test knitting

I’ve been busy of late. Boo keeps me hopping so I don’t get much time to write or craft, but I’m stealing time here and there. I’m still rather addicted to a knit/crochet/yarn website so I don’t make time for other things webby. So here’s a summary of the knitting recently.

Earlier this summer I started test-knitting patterns and completed a hat. The hat is a summer beret made from a cotton blend.

I just finished a shrug last night. I really would have liked to modify the patterns as I knit, but since it was s test knit I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I may give them away.

I’m taking a break from test-knitting and need to go after some projects of my own.


Broadening my podcast horizons

Since I discovered podcasts several years ago, I have stuck with a couple of genres. Lately I have felt pulled to stretch out and find new things to listen to which are not knitting or religion related. I’m sorry to admit that currently there far too many knitting podcasts and aren’t any religion podcasts in my feed. While branching out I tried a several from the “stuff you should know” site but found credibility to be lacking on many. After listening to a string of episodes and yelling at the iPod that that information simply isn’t correct only to hear in the next episode the hosts admit mistakes in fact checking, I gave up on all of them. A few others I have tried and still enjoy are book reviews, real life stories, and most recently fictional stories.

While listening to a knitting podcast I discovered Podiobooks available through iTunes or the podiobook website. I have listened to Shadowmagic, a fun story about an 18 year old boy who wakes up in a dungeon in Tir na nÓg. While not particularly complicated, the author left me begging for the next chapter with his carefully crafted cliffhanger episodes. I’m a sucker for a good fantasy involving Irish mythology. Luckily for me, this audiobook was completed in 2006 so I was able to download the entire book and listen over the weekend. I also found his second book in the series and subscribed via iTunes. I am currently caught up and am afraid that at one episode per week I will be well into the new year before I hear the final installment although I have a strong feeling I know where the major plot lines are headed. The author promises the possibility of a third book. The first book is also available from Harper Collins in paperback. Please see the author’s website for more information.

I’ve been listening to these books while knitting a Deep Waters and Starlit Skies Shrug by Holly Priestley. The original was knit in blue, hence the name. Mine is a green with pink and green flecks. As I wear this during the winter, I’m sure I will contemplate the story line and a movie or two I’ve watched while working on it.

The least listened to podcast in my feed reader are fitness related. I tell myself that soon I will start working on that again. I used to post updates on Fridays about that. It was motivation for me to keep going. I wonder if I can guilt/pressure myself into action again.