Monday, June 30, 2014

Short update

There was a contest (ending today) where if we post a WIP pic with a sign (name/date) to the official HAED fb group, we'd be eligible to win a free chart off our wishlist. It ends tonight, so I need to scoot over to fb to post my pic. My intention was to work on Daddledore and post a nice WIP pic of that. Evidently, my projects had other ideas. Since My pregnant fairy piece - "Expecting" - decided I would stitch on her a while. I was hoping I'd get all of the top row of pages done . . . um . . . not quite. But I did get another color done and into the next one. There are a total of 10 colors, including the sparkly #4 braid in 032. Few colors, but so effective in where they're placed. But the trade off is confetti. Lots of confetti. But for some reason, and maybe it's because each one is used so much, it doesn't feel like confetti. Yeah, I'm going with that.

So . . . here's my fancy, new, updated pic:

I really like how I can really see her face and all the outlines I'm going to be filling in. I decided with this chart, I would only print off a row at a time (heh I had 3 out of the 5 (I think) pages done on this row without even trying!) . . . so I'm rather looking forward to being able to print off some more of this chart. I think I get to baby next row of pages.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lace shawl part 1

So I decided to start working on the lace shawl pattern I found to use with the lace weight 100% alpaca I got for myself back for Christmas. They said it was sock/fingering weight, but when I got it . . . nope, definitely NOT sock weight. Definitely lace weight. I was a bit irritated over that, I mean it is beautiful yarn and oh so soft, but I wasn't intending to get lace weight. Which is why I didn't get the garnet colored lace weight 100% alpaca. So I found a pattern on Ravelry and they used that specific yarn in the example (which I mentioned in a previous blog post).

So . . . on Monday, I started winding the yarn from a skein into a ball. Well . . . it's more of a football shape rather than ball. But the main thing is that it pulls nicely from the center, which is the point. Though I did look up ball winder prices. And found one to bid on on eBay (they were much more expensive on either the woolery or paradise fibers). Now I'm just waiting for it to be shipped.

I've not actually ever used lace weight yarn. It's definitely way thinner than I was expecting. And winding it into a ball . . . just seemed to take foreeeever!

So, then I started actually knitting the shawl. There's a 2 inch border on all sides (and I really probably ought to be using a size bigger as I think it's a smidge small, but I'm going with what I have). I was knitting on it at the music show I went to on Tuesday (the Chuck Johnson Experience - lead singer of TK-421 singing/playing some really good songs at Buffalo Wild Wings, he played All Along the Watchtower, like I requested :) ) . . . after doing 3 repeats and counting only 12 stitches left instead of 17. Hmmm maybe stitching a lace shawl isn't the best idea while attending a music show at Buffalo Wild Wings. So I switched over to the rest of the sock I had started.

So yesterday, I wrote out the pattern rows so I could check them off methodically. And this time, I had 17 stitches left when I was supposed to have 17 stitches left yay!

So far, I've done 2 repeats of the pattern . . . so far so good. It doesn't look like much, but that's because lace shawls need to be pinned and blocked and such. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do that . . . but cross that bridge when I get to it.

So here's the pic I took! It's kind of hard taking a pic of a lace shawl on knitting needles . . . you hafta stretch it out and still need to take the pic.

When I was working on it tonight, I thought, oh gosh, I can't wait to go home and knit some more on this! And I gotta say, in the words of my friend Gilee, lace weight shawl knitting is hardcore. I kind of felt a bit badass knitting on this shawl.

Monday, June 23, 2014

April, May, and some of June

Ok . . . so this is the post where I catch up with the counted cross stitch stuff. And then I'll be better about updating stuff, I swear this time!

So I decided tonight to take a pic of Melena. I really ought to work on her more. (I'm putting her first as I mentioned her in the previous cross stitch post):

That peachy bit is part of her cheeks.

Ok . . . so most of the time, I was working on the secret-can't-talk-about-it-until-July-or-so-project (so looking forward to being able to post that pic). But I did bounce back and forth between that and other cross stitch projects as well as spinning.

One of the ones I worked on a little bit (like a day or two) was the Shinysun's Cross Stitch Single Flower Iris (Lachri). I think I basically have like a page or a page and a half left to that. I did a lot of filling in of confetti. Yet another thing I want to attempt to do/get done by the end of the year, if possible. Here's the loveliness:

I know somewhere in there, I did work for a day or two on Rendezvous, but I forgot to take an update pic before this post. Ooops. Next time.

And I was supposed to start Daddledore on May 30th. Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen. Partly because I hadn't actually unearthed the fabric and had yet to start the gridding. Plus, after the "secret project", I just needed a break. So . . . I decided to pick up a project I had put down the year before. The pot-bellied Dragon!

White Willow Stitching

Pot-Bellied Dragon

Dee Dreslough

Full crosses 3 strands over 2 on 28 ct hand dyed fabric (I dyed it)

Started December 6, 2012

Finished June 15, 2014

I also started the second part of a four-part project. I had gotten Joan Elliott's Bewitching Cross Stitch book years ago. There is a pattern in there of a wizard looking into a crystal ball. And there are 4 possible patterns to put in the ball for him to look at. The one that was stitched in the model was the castle. The choices were an unicorn, a castle, a dragon, and an owl. I, of course, started with the dragon one. I did finish that one and put the other 3 aside for a while. Well I decided to start on the owl. Too bad I misread the symbol for 762 as 341. I frogged that and did restitch that. I don't have a pic yet, but that's because there's not much to see. However, here's the dragon:

And last night, while watching Camelot and Salem (so I say that's why I didn't get further along lol), I started Daddledore finally!

Here's the gridded fabric:

And here's after about 2 hours:

And as a bonus, I finally picked a shawl pattern to use the lace weight alpaca. I didn't feel like I could use it for socks as it is lace weight instead of sock/fingering weight. So I picked up a size 5 circular needle on my way home at Michael's. Hopefully, I'll be able to use it, even if it is 16" instead of 19". And I found a new sock weight yarn I want to try out. I bet I can get two whole pairs of socks out of it! So I picked the silvery grey one called "cool grey" to test it out. I'll start with a pair for my sister. She usually gets the test stuff. lol But it's nice and soft, so I can't be too unhappy that Michael's did away with the super nice yarn that had cashmere in it. Plus this stuff (ok it's mostly acrylic, but also has nylon) is only 2.99 so even better. But here's the alpaca lace weight yarn I had gotten, thinking that it was size 1/sock weight. Well, that's what the description said, at any rate. It is so pretty, it's got a subtle shading between pink and slate pink and a lavenderish and is super soft.

Ok so it's hard to see the lovely change in color. But the color name of "mother of pearl" is perfect for this. Hopefully, this will knit up nicely. I found a free pattern on Ravelry, called, "Tuscarora Beach Shawl" by Rachel Howard. The description says it features the "passionflower" motif. (The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns) And I liked this one best for this yarn due to the fact that the material used for the the sample was 1 skein of Cascade Alpaca Lace in the color Amethyst Lace. And I like that is the same as my not-sock-weight yarn. So . . . now to wind it into a ball (I think I need a ball winder, btw) and then start knitting. I'm also going to need to figure out how to block this . . .

Tatting isn't dead! (and Yarn part 2)

What? I hear you say. Tatting, like doing tattoos? Nope. I mean tatting, like the old-fashioned making of lace using itty bitty threads and a funny looking shuttle.

I learned lots of crafts from my granny, who passed away back in 2011. Unfortunately, tatting was not one of them. So I missed out on her teaching me how to tat. :(

But . . . thanks to the Tubes of You, all is not lost. The Tubes of You has this one lady who has some really easy to understand how-to-videos. I've watched them but I've yet to actually attempt this. I was able to find not only the tatting thread, but also the little packets of shuttles! Not just one but several. I picked the pink/blue one instead of the more readily available yellow/green ones. Yay, thanks AC Moore.

So . . . wanna see my pretties? Well . . . they're right here:

And no, I haven't yet attempted to try this yet, but I'm going to try to get this accomplished by the end of the year, possibly.

And now for Yarn part 2:

I took a pic of the first yarn (the multi-colored), the tardis yarn (the blue), and the tweedy stuff (the grey and white Norweigan).

And this little gem is my yarn keeper that my dad made me - yes, he used bamboo for the uprights. And I've got, in order from the bottom, the rainbowy one (candy shop plied with white polwarth and also the little bit of n-plied candy shop), the Blueberry bash I n-plied, the alpaca (2 oz each of fawn and brown and plied together), the Firefly (the Serenity merino plied with grey/brown Romney), and the Serenity (the Serenity n-plied on itself).

And a closer look for a better view of the colors:

I'm slowly spinning up the Igloo polwarth, which is soooo pretty, it has purple and grey/white, and turquoise. So I'm looking forward to finish spinning this up. I've still got 4 oz of white Polwarth to be plied with this.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yarns Spun part 1

Ok I'm not sure I've gotten pics of all the lovely yarn I've spun up, so I decided to title this as part 1 of Yarns Spun. In fact, I know I haven't as there are 4 on my yarn holder waiting for their dunking to set the twist.

That being said, here are the ones I have got pics of. Now the pics may not be the greatest, but that is because my phone's camera suuuuucks. Because it has big cracks in the little plastic thing that covers the lens. And yes, I am too cheap to buy a new phone - I've had it since the end of 2009 I think. I want the phone I had back before that - it was a silver flip phone that reminded me of the original Star Trek communicators, I could just flip it open.

This is the first bobbin of yarn I ever spun. The lady who runs Yack & Yarn showed me how to start it, but the rest is all me. And yes, I have definitely improved since this. All beginner yarn is "thick & thin" and people actually try to make it later and call it art yarn. I think I got like 135 yards . . . ok I totally don't remember now.

This is actually the first yarn I spun. Mostly about 20 years ago on the drop spindle. It's a rather harsh yarn so I'm not fond of how it feels. But I loooove the changeover in colors. How say I put yellow next to turquoise and you can see it spiral up and switch places. So pretty. Now I can't remember how long it was, I want to say 75 yards.

And the "sweet tarts" yarn - Malabrigo Nube (which means "cloud") in the color Baya Electrica. A 4 oz braid of Merino wool, all dyed up in pretty raspberry and purple. I spun this all on my original drop spindle and got like 167ish yards. It's so soft and I liked it so much I got another braid of it at Mosaic and am (very slowly) in the process of spinning that up. This first one took me a week and was a bit felted. That can be a problem with fiber. You just kind of have to pull it apart and then draft it. I wonder if it would help if I had a comb or something. (Hmmm slicker dog brushes are pretty cheap, might look into that) I watched Forever Knight while spinning most of this yarn. I had a great time with it.

Not a great picture, but this is when it was hanging up in my bathroom, drying over the tub. This shows the nice twist I have in it.

And here's a better pic:

I had gotten some fiber from Paradise Fibers to practice on. I found some Norwiegan wool in both grey and white - 4 ounces of each - that I decided would be a great tweeded effect. I got 225 yards out of that. (No pic tho) It spun up nicer than I thought but definitely good for outerwear.

I also found a bright blue Corridale that looks like it's the color of the tardis, so I got 8 ounces. I split it in half and spun them up. I got like 250 yards. No idea what I will do with it.

And then I got some alpaca/wool blend that I had wanted. I kept drooling over the lime sherbet that the seller had and also liked the 5 colored one called "froggy". So, I bought a total of 16 oz of it from them (3 lots of 4 oz each of the lime sherbet they had left and 1 4-oz lot of the froggy). I had good March productivity, so I felt I deserved it. I got it and decided to spin up the froggy stuff and Navajo ply, aka n-ply, it. That means it has 3 strands instead of 2, it's like making a really big crochet chain and twisting it up. It's good for when you want to keep the colors together or have 1 strand or things like that. I was a bit disappointed in this as it was rather greasier than I was used to. I couldn't seem to get the greasy/waxy feeling off of my fingers after I spun, so I couldn't spin a bit and then cross stitch, like I could with the previous ones. Also, there was a lot of "vm" in there. VM = vegetative matter = little pieces of grass and sticks and things like that. Buffy & Molly bring vm in on their fur all the time, silly goggies. So . . . I'm thinking I will wait and see how the lime sherbet (which I still have yet to spin up) behaves. Maybe it was just the froggy stuff.

I don't remember how much I spun . . . . I really ought to label stuff . . .

I went to Mosaic and got 2 4-oz braids dyed by Spun Right Round Fibers. One is a rainbow colored one in very bright colors called Candy Shop. It's a Polwarth. I love bright, rainbow colors, so I decided yes, please. I found some white Polwarth at the Olde Liberty Fibre Faire I went to in March and decided to ply it with that.

I got 363 yards when the two were plied up and I even had some of the candy shop left over, so I n-plied that.

The other 4-oz braid I got there was a Merino called Serenity. And yes, it is indeed named after the ship in the show Firefly. It has brown for the brownshirts and blue for the "hands of blue" as well as some white, black (I guess for space), and purple. I decided to ply it with a lovely brownish-grey Romney I found at the same fiber fair. I'll take a pic of it (I've finished spinning/plying it) - I got 417.5 yds of the Firefly and not quite 128 of the Serenity (n-plied). I found that the Serenity only is really pretty - I want to go back and get the other braid! And the Firefly is a lovely, subtle color. I think it'd be a great yarn for something for a guy, it's actually rather neutral, but has sort of a masculine feel to me.

And I also got a braid my Y&Y lady dyed. I probably could have happily bought all her yarn, but restrained myself to just the one 4-oz braid. It's Falkland wool dyed in blues/purples, named Blueberry Bash and is rather smashing. I was able to get 160 yds n-plied of this:

And a bit brighter with the flash on:

I also spun up 2 ounces each of a brown and a fawn colored alpaca that my dad got me - 245 yards, whew!

Pics to come of the actual spun up yarns! And my Yarn Keeper my dad made me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014: off to a good start

Ok so I decided I will do the update blog of 2014 in several pieces. And I know they'll be more overview, but still, at least I'll make the effort.

Ok . . . so 2014 started off rather wintery and with an imminent finish, that being QS Salvatore. And oh my goodness, I got sooooo sick of pink! And on January 7, 2014, I finally finished the shoe. Yay!

QS Salvatore Tcherekov HAED 20 ct lugana I hand dyed myself 2 strands stitched over 1 for full crosses Started: 7/7/13 Finished: 1/7/14

And then I got it all framed:

My sister adores it. She picked it up in March (I think) and took it back to her home and it's in a place where she sees it every day. She loves the pieces I pick to make her.

In February, we had the 2014 Winter Olympics, which marked the 22nd anniversary of when I learned (ok taught myself) how to cross stitch. And that reminded me, I hadn't done much on my Olympic piece. Which, if you don't remember, was my HAED Rendezvous, which is basically Tannith & Corsaire.

And in case you don't remember:

Now if you don't remember (and I cannot remember now if I actually blogged about it or not), the Olympic Project doesn't have anything to do with the Olympics. Rather, it has to do with someone's post on the bulletin board where she stated she starts a big project during the Olympics and then the idea is to get it done by the following Olympics. So I picked Rendezvous for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Now, I silly thing that I am, thought "I could get that done by the 2014 Winter Olympics" hahahaha that only works if you actually work on the thing! I will blame the 2012 and 2013 HAED BB SAL pieces . . . yeah I'll go with that . . . So . . . that means I've got until Rio to get this piece done. There are 4 rows of pages, so I figured, if I get the bottom row done this year, the next 2 in 2015, and the last/top row in 2016, that'll work, right? I mean I really do want to be able to start the piece I'm planning on for Rio for 2016. I'm stitching Rendezvous on 18 ct with full crosses - 3 strands for 310 and 2 for everything else.

So . . . here's the starting point, well what little I got done in 2012:

Not nearly as much as I hoped for. I decided to attempt to work on it each day during the Olympics (ok didn't stitch each day, but a majority of the days). I even took it with me when we got snowed in at work and I and a couple of co-workers were put up at the hotel across the room. I had my own room, which was nice, I got to spread out on the big bed. So . . . here's what it looked like at the end of the Olympics:

I have gotten further along than this, but I don't have a pic of it yet. I do intend to work on it more this year.

And here is the one I am planning on doing for Rio in 2016:

It is called Mayan Aztec Montage and is decidedly a MCBAP ("massively complicated big-ass piece") - lol I am so not thinking I'll get it done by the 2020 games, I just really liked the idea of starting it for Rio.

Speaking of things I want to start, I saw one of the new releases, Make Merry, and went "omg!" He looks like my dad, there's something about the mouth/beard that looks very much like him. And the glasses he wears are half-moon shaped. Not half-circle glasses, half-moon. Like Dumbledore. So . . . I shall call him Daddledore. (Dad likes this.) My original intent was to start him on May 30th, as it was not only a 5th weekend, it was also his birthday. Unfortunately, I've yet to start him - I have all the materials tho. I blame it on the "secret stitch" project I'm not allowed to post the name or pics of yet (tho that will be coming soon to a blog near you in the not toooo distant future). It was kind of complicated and confettilicious, so the idea of starting another BAP, kind of intimidating. But here's Daddledore:

See how awesome he is? He'll be epic.

Let's see . . . what else in the first quarter of the year? Um . . . oh St, Distaff's Day. There's an event at our local library, run by the lady who runs Yack & Yarn, who taught me to spin, which is basically a yarn swap and crafty time. It was a lot of fun, even if I didn't bring anything to swap. I think next year, I'll probably help her run it as there were a lot of people there.

I also started stitching another character picture. I play Pathfinder (like Dungeons & Dragons, but better). And I started playing a character I've tried playing twice before. Melena Belden, my half-orc-who-doesn't-look-like-a-half-orc ranger who eventually gets magic. We get to dual level/gestalt, so I get to do both ranger and sorceress stuff at the same time, plus fighter. (Actually I'm not sure if she kept her maiden name or changed to Cartwright.) She loves her great axe and is very good at using it. And like Tannith, I picked a HAED as what she looks like. I decided I will only work on her during games (or a little bit for the weeks we don't game).

So . . . I started her on January 11, 2014, on 22 ct Hardanger with 2 strands for full crosses:

What Melena looks like:

I don't have an updated pic and I'm not going to post the last one I took as it doesn't look like anything.

Dad got me some alpaca yarn and I made a scoodie for myself. It's very warm.

I also decided to start the outline only of QS Tagalong aka QS Penguin Lady. I think I'll wait to post a pic until I have finished her.

I started and finished this little treasure for my sister - perfect for her bathroom:

Both Tannith and Legend got a bit of love, as did Expecting:

And I did a little desert scene:

And a baby rattle to welcome my friend's friend's baby boy - I realized afterwards the colors are the colors of Mardi Gras, which is appropriate, as they live in Louisiana:

And in March, my friend Stefy came to visit me! Woooo! And left with a pair of crystal pink socks. :)

Ok I think that's everything I can remember for January - March 2014 . . . not including the spinny stuff. Stay tuned, more blogs to come.