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Friday, May 01, 2015

Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester Two, Slipped Stitches

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I have started my third project for this semester of Loopy Academy:  Slipped Stitches.  This past winter I realized that I didn’t have any gray fingerless mitts, so when I saw that slipped stitches were one of the assignments for Loopy Academy this semester, I knew I wanted to make my Endless Love mitts in gray!  I’m using The Loopy Ewe Solids Series in Charcoal, which is a dark, almost black kind of gray.

There is a requirement to use at least 175 yards per project in Loopy Academy, so I needed to double check the yardage.  Fortunately, I’ve knit these mitts twice before, so I just weighed one of the other pairs and figured out how many yards were used.  I figured out that to get to the yardage requirement, I would need to add 24 rounds to each mitt.  These were going to need to be longer in the cuff than the originals!  Fortunately, the main hand repeat is 16 rounds, so I just added two more of these.  I also cast on with larger needles and gradually decreased to my US 1’s (2.25mm) to make the longer cuffs fit my arms comfortably.

At this point, I’m almost finished with the first mitt, they do fit nicely, and as soon as I get this first one finished, I’ll weigh it and double check my yardage calculations.  Fingers crossed!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Big Damn Heroes

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Knitting a really “readable”* lace pattern is almost as easy as working stockinette stitch.  The Big Damn Heroes cowl/poncho/whatever definitely falls into the Readable Lace category.  I’ve been working along on it and it’s getting pretty big now!  I’ve got it gathered onto about a 30 inch needle, so Fifi can’t wear it until I get it completely finished.  Until then, it will be a gray blob of yarn.  It’s a really soft gray blob of yarn though (oh, Pashmina, how I love thee!) and it seems to be knitting up quickly.  Exactly what I need to work on when my mental skills might or might not be up to complex knitting!

*Readable lace is lace that is repetitive and looks like the chart it’s knit from.  If I mess up, I figure it out very quickly (within a couple of stitches), and can correct things.  Most lace can be “read,” but more complex patterns take longer to get a feel for and depending on the size of the repeat, it might take longer to figure out there’s a problem.


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Monday, April 27, 2015

A Restart

Last June (according to my Ravelry notes), I started working the Meditative Blanket as a stash buster to use up all my super wash, fingering weight leftovers.  I was using everything, warm colors, cool colors, light to dark and everything in between.  In the end, all those colors would play happily together and I’d have a scrappy blanket that Mrs. Weasley would be proud of!

I still believe that the finished blanket would have worked out well, but I didn’t like the way it was looking in the meantime.  The colors were just too All Over The Place for my slightly OCD personality (which is quite charming, I’m sure - the OCD, not the colors).  However, I’ve been doing some thinking about the blanket because I haven’t touched it since August.  Ignoring something this long usually means there’s a problem with it, so I needed to figure out what was going on.
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I finally decided to sort out my colors and restart with a more defined color palette.  This time around I’m using light to medium toned cool colors only.  I’m much happier with how things look now, and I think the overall blanket will make me happier in the end as well.  I got a dozen squares crocheted yesterday once I figured out a plan.  (I plan on 24 squares per row.)  I even got the ends all woven in last night too!

I’m feeling much better about this now!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Fridays Make Max Happy!

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Smiley kitty!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spinning

I don’t know if anyone still remembers, but I own two spinning wheels.  I haven’t used them in ages because spinning wheels and baby animals are just not a good combination, and while I was waiting for Logan and Max to mature, I just got out of the habit.  Periodically, I’d think about spinning, but didn’t really do anything about it.

Then I had surgery and my body was using all my energy for healing.  As I started to get stronger, I realized that spinning might be a good thing for me because it takes minimal energy, both physical and mental.  Mickael brought my Kromski Symphony downstairs and set it up for me.  I sat down to spin and it was like I had never stopped.  I spun for an hour, and when I quit, my arms were shaking - ooops!  I had over done it, again.

I waited a couple of days and tried again, this time timing myself for 20 minutes.  I hadn’t worn myself out that time.  I started spinning everyday, just a little bit at a time at first, being careful not to overdo it.  I’m now strong enough to spin for an hour at a time, and yesterday, I completed a bobbin!
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This is 75% Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) and 25% Tussah silk from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the Rook-y color way (black with green, blue, and purple) from the Raven Clan.  I started with 8 ounces total and I’m spinning a three ply yarn.  The singles are 40 wraps per inch and I’m using the 10:1 ratio on the whorl.  According to my notes (thank heavens I keep a little notebook for each wheel), I started this bobbin on November 10, 2012.  I hadn’t spun much on it then, I’d really just gotten it started and hadn’t done much more.  Max would have been one and Logan would have been two, so they must have been having a really good nap when I started this, because at those ages, neither one was really good to spin around, although Logan never attacked the spinning wheel.  Max used to jump on it while I was spinning and try to take it down like a tired wildebeest who had fallen behind the herd.  This time around, Logan has been sleeping at my feet and Max has sat on my lap (which is treadling of course) and plopped right on top of my fiber and held it in his paws for me.  Thankfully, he doesn’t do this every time I spin, and when he does, he doesn’t mind when I reach under him and pull more fiber out.  He’s a strange little cat.

Anyway, I’ve got the first bobbin finished, and I got the second bobbin going yesterday afternoon, so I can keep right on spinning!  The spinning uses less mental energy than knitting does and it’s making me feel like I’m less of a lump right now.  Some days, by the time I finish homeschooling Caleb, I have no mental energy left.  Knitting on those mitts mostly happened over the weekends when I wasn’t using my brain for homeschooling.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Look! I Actually Got Something Done!

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I’m getting stronger!  My body still won’t let me do everything I want to do but I’m now more than halfway to the six week limit before I can run again.  I’m not napping during the week anymore and I can go upstairs several times a day without getting exhausted!

I have had energy to work on projects over the last couple of days and I was able to finish my modified Alice Caterpillar Mitts for Loopy Academy, Semester Two, the striped project.  These are modified because the original pattern is written for DK weight yarn in the mitt section and the mitts are knit flat.  I’d have never gotten to the required 175 yards with DK weight yarn, so I knit mine in fingering weight and knit them in the round.  I’m not sure which would be more fiddly, seaming them up at the end like the pattern calls for, or working the ruffle in the round like I did.

For the mitts I used The Loopy Ewe Solid Series in Smoke and Charcoal and the ruffle is knit in Shibuiknits Silk Cloud in Lumen.

I still have to knit the slipped stitch project for this semester, and then I can decide if I have time to do the extra credit.  The extra credit info came out right before I had my hospital adventure and I planned to do it, but hadn’t ordered yarn yet or picked a pattern.  I have until May 30 to finish the semester projects and extra credit if I do it.

I’m hoping to start blogging more regularly now.  I won’t be here every day yet, but I’m hoping to start with a few times a week and work up to my regular schedule.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Tiptoes in quietly, to see if anyone else is around...

I’m still here.  I’m not getting much else done other than healing and home schooling right now, but I’m here.  Caleb and Mickael are being amazingly helpful to me, all I have to do is ask.  I’m not allowed to lift anything 20 pounds or more for six weeks, so I really need their arms to do the heavy lifting!

I think about knitting, but when I actually have a chance to knit, I usually end up sitting like a potato. (Not an interesting potato either, like spicy, curly fries; no, I’m a boring potato right now - school lunch tater tots kind of boring.  Do they even do tater tots in school lunches anymore or is it just carrot sticks?)  I’m also napping every afternoon and I know that’s helping me to heal, but I feel like a four year old.

Logan is still sticking to me like glue, but he’s stopped waking up every 30 minutes or so to check that I’m still here (he did that when I first got home from the hospital).  Max continues to be drawn magnetically to my incision and tries to stand on it.  I think he knows he’s not really supposed to stand on me right now, but he thinks he can help me feel better by either standing on me or jumping back and forth from one side to the other, clearing my incision area but making me very, very nervous.  I suppose there’s a reason most cats don’t go into medicine.

I can see signs that the healing is happening, I’m just impatient with the pace it’s taking and with how much of my energy it’s using in the process.  On the other hand, I know logically that I need to let my body heal at its own pace or it will take longer.  I know that at some point I will feel like knitting again instead of falling asleep, I just need to be patient.