Let’s Catch Up

I thought it would be fitting to fill in some gaps since my last spree of posting in November and now. I didn’t finish a lot, and nothing earth-shattering happened, but here’s what I did get completed below.

Before we begin I have two notes. One, please note that on this post due to the fact that these are old FOs I am only including a Ravelry link to each item instead of detailing yarn, needle size, etc. For future posts on current projects I’ll give you the full specs. Second, if you are curious about my current projects you can either be patient and I’ll be putting up a post soon with my current projects and details or, if you don’t want to wait you can follow me on Instagram as that is where I post the most (@victoriaschwanke), about creativity and my life. Okay, lets get on with the FOs.

Socks, socks, socks. Its about all I had the brain-space for. My favorite saying over the past month has been ‘too much data, not enough brain waves”…that sums up my life for the past months.

Rav Links: top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left

Dog Sweaters: I got into a kick where I needed to knit the puppies in my life sweaters. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of my Grandma’s dog in his sweater but perhaps this winter…

Puppy Sweaters: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: left, right

Small Projects: Well, if you count each single item. The what seemed like eight million bluebirds of happiness were indeed done in time for Christmas gifts with even a few to spare. The hearts were a random endeavor for work (yes I knit a few for work…case in point in last photo).

Hearts and Birds: Wooly Mastadon

bones: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: left, right

Big Projects: First and foremost I finished spinning my Mom’s yarn to knit a shawl and its beautiful. Stay tuned as my next shawl project will be knit out of this. I also finished a re-knit of a hat pattern I designed several years ago. I am hoping to get my act together and release this as a free pattern soon.

Big Projects: Wooly Mastadon

Rav Links: main, right corner

Well, that’s about it except for perhaps a few small things here or there. I did keep busy but mostly I was dealing with life. You can reference my last post before dormancy to know more. Perhaps I’ll go into things in more detail in future, maybe not, but I have so many ideas for this space once again. Its so good to be back!

~Stay Inspired

 

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When You Get Mad at Your WIPs

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly MastadonIt happened, and no one is surprised. In the past two weeks, I pushed to attempt to finish the bane of my existence, my scrap afghan. Honestly, its been a project for almost two years and although the initial idea was cool one mistake at the very beginning made this project a time sink and trouble all the way through. For some people, they would have seen the warning signs and ripped out the first few motifs at the start, but I was stubborn and decided to plow through.

Scrap 'Ghan Fail: Wooly Mastadon

I was so excited when I finished the borders around each motif for the afghan. So excited I didn’t plan and simply tried to crochet all of the motifs together…without testing for strength. Yeah, that was a fail. I shoved the connected circles, loose ends and all, back into the bag and I haven’t looked at it since. The kicker to all of this, it has stalled my knitting/crochet/spinning mojo. I want to cast on my Waiting for Rain shawl (yes that is going to be my next project), knit away at my socks, and start other projects. However, this afghan is preventing me from starting anything.

Do you ever have those projects, the ones that seem great at the beginning, but slowly but surely fall down the slippery slope of constant error and troubleshooting. This is one. The only way to get this cloud off of my knitting mojo and out of the back of my brain is to finish this afghan. I have an idea for a fix. Here’s to hoping it works and that I can report back with better success very soon. Happy Friday.

~Stay Inspired

A Current Project Returns

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

Hey there, this is a knitting/crochet/fiber blog and you are all probably wondering what happened to that after last week’s thought heavy posts. Well, you might just know that I haven’t been knitting near as much as I would like. I have spun a little but my progress is slow. My personal emotional rollercoaster has been interesting and a few new things were added to my plate, some willingly and some exciting (more on that later this week). For now, however, I thought I’d share an update on a project that hasn’t been seen around here for some time now, my scrap afghan. Yes, it still exists and is out of hibernation for as long as I can muster the courage to work on it.

Scrap Ghan: Wooly Mastadon

The thing is, I was stuck on this project. I stashed it away in a bag (and granted it had to be one of those weekender sized bags because this project is so large) and didn’t look at it for months. About two weeks ago I was chatting with some friends about knitting/crocheting afghans. They were both talking about starting one and I said I have had one in progress for months only to get stuck. I explained the particulars of how I had originally messed up the pattern motifs and ended up with circles instead of hexagons. Then I decided to put a border around the circles to force the hexagon shape. That border took so long and looked bad but I didn’t know what to do so I gave up. Both friends suggested I rip out the old border, punt the idea of the hexagon motif, and make the afghan an afghan of connected circles. I stood there for a second, shocked that I hadn’t thought of it, and went home that day ready to start the afghan once more. I ripped out and crocheted the new borders on the few motifs I had already done and started on the rest. Now I am slowly making my way through the motifs putting a simple black border around each piece which I will later attach into a more mesh-like afghan.

And I am making progress. Finally my scrap ‘ghan is out of hibernation and becoming something that I will either be able to stash away or gift away at some point, and it is all thanks to a few friends who pointed out the obvious. Granted, I am not making fast progress on this project by any means. I am slowly moving forward when I have the time and energy after work every once in a while to work on it. The main thing is this, that I am working on it again, and that I don’t think it will be sitting in it’s half-completed state for much longer. Now I just need to finish my Splitstone

~Stay Inspired

Another Week…And I’m Still Exhausted

WIPs Forever: Wooly MastadonThat title doesn’t bode well on this post, but in reality, I actually got some knitting done this week. It was one of those weeks where I worked a few late shifts at work and just really couldn’t recoup my energy…let’s face it, I’m a morning person through and through, whether I want to admit it or not. Next week will be worse, as I have double the amount of late shifts I did this week, but I digress. Knitting, your’re here for knitting. Well, it just so happens that on my days off this week (today included, yay) as part of my reset I knit. I knit and knit and knit. I worked on my shawl and on my  socks. I worked on my mitten project. I figured out a way to get my afghan finished. I even brainstormed some graphic design projects (although that didn’t last long as a surprise last minute rush project came up). I kept busy.

My only problem with this equation, I have been knitting on the same projects for ages. You are all probably sick of seeing the same things lingering on the needles for weeks or months. I am too. So the plan? I want to finish knitting my Lionberry. I am so close (on row 85 of around 95ish). Then I want to work on my Splitstone a bit and feel free to cast on a new project. The issue? I don’t know what to cast on next. Any suggestions? Let’s get this blog back to being a place you can go for fresh content. I want to get these projects done!

~Stay Inpsired

New Summer Reading Material: Magazines

Reading Materials: Wooly Mastadon

This past two weeks have been really good in the mail department. I received three magazines that I have been savoring and enjoying. May’s issue of Molly Makes is amazing as always. Interweave Crochet Summer 2015 looks like it will be a winner. However, what I am most excited about is Knitscene Accessories 2015. I have religiously watched for and purchased every Knitscene Accessories since they first came out and I absolutely love the magazine. I ordered it early this past week and it’s been here for a week. They don’t normally last this long but work had me tired and not ready to read much of anything so I saved it for when I could enjoy it more. I just quickly flipped through it but it looks amazing, I might have to cast on almost everything. I’ll share more on that later.

This weekend (other than work) will be filled with a bit of shawl knitting, hopefully some Mazie time (my pooch), reading, and drawing. We shall see how all plays out but until then,

~Stay Inspired

Day Four: What’s in My Knitting Bag

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Today’s prompt is to share what I keep in my knitting/crochet bag. I have actually wanted to do a post like this for a while, and do one every so often so that you can see what has changed over time. I love reading these posts so hopefully this will be an interesting addition to the interwebs. Here we go.

First of all, I don’t ever use one single bag for my knitting. Admittedly I am a bag hoarder (I prefer the word collector but we are being real here). I have purses upon backpacks upon tote bags, upon pencil bags upon…you get the picture. Big or small, if it is a cool bag, I probably have it. Granted I shop thrift stores and look for bargains so I don’t think I own a single high-end bag (unless an LL Bean backpack counts, haha). Thus I switch out my knitting depending on the need. I have a sort of system of levels of bags and what I take with me. I have the, ‘oh, I’m just going to work or a small event in town level’, the ‘it’s just a day trip’ level, and the ‘oh my goodness it’s more than 24 hours I must pack all of the things’ level. I also own a core notions bag that goes with me everywhere, no matter the project. Here’s how it works.

The Notions Bag (pictured above): In this bag I have a lot of different random items that I take with me everywhere. These are my essentials and they never leave my knitting bag, no matter which one I am using or the size of the project. The pouch is a little mesh pouch that I actually swiped from my Mother (she forgave me, haha). I keep a ton of stitch markers in various styles ans sizes. I have a bunch of the cheap plastic rings, a few open rings, and a bunch that I made myself with lobster claw clasps or jump rings and beads. I also have several tapestry needles (plastic and metal) and a needle threader. Crochet hooks are a must: these are smaller because I have been knitting a lot of socks. The scissors are a favorite I got recently and the brown sheath I made for them is knit and then felted, something I whipped together. I finish it off with a row counter, clothes pin, old cable needle (from a friend’s grandmother), medium stitch holder (I somehow lost the small one), and tape measure…of course!

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Sock Bag: I also have a pouch (sewn by me!) that I use only for socks. When I knit socks I always have the coordinating dpns to the project I am making. I keep them in my case I made out of duct tape and velcro tabs so they don’t get lost in my bag or poke through anything. The pencil is a must. I also keep scrap yarn for afterthought heels. Finally I keep a few 3*5 cards with my basic sock recipe as well as a reminder for Kitchener stitch.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Addtional Notions Bag: When I am going on a slightly longer (read day trip) trip, I add this pencil pouch filled with awesome to the mix. I’ve been using this particular pouch for a few years…it’s just so darn cute. Inside I keep several sizes of dpns and a ton of crochet hooks so that I can start whatever the mood strikes. I also keep my large stitch holder, a row counter, some color-work bobbins, a sewing needle and embroidery thread (for amigurumi), and a small seam presser. I finish it off with a needle gauge, a lip balm (of course), and some 3*5 cards that I have written out quick patterns in a form of abbreviated pattern writing that I use for quick projects I do often, and I am set to go. I throw a lot of random stuff in this bag.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

The Extras: For long trips I add a few more things to my bag. I own a set of Knit Picks interchangeables. The base set is the nickel plated set and I have added sizes in both the same type as well as their Harmony, Caspian, and one set of their Jumbo Sunstruck needles. In the needle case I also keep a small crochet hook set, dental floss for lifelines, tapestry needles, another tape measure (not pictured) and all of the extra cables and hardware. I almost always add in some pencils, highlighters, and pens (I love the G2 pens by Pilot). I also grab my cable needle set (with an additional added tape measure) if I am working on a project that has lots of cables like my Splitstone.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Typically I stuff all of my additional items and my project into a backpack like this one. This is what I travel with for longer trips.

What's In My Knitting Bag: Wooly Mastadon

Finally (yes, one more thing. I have a lot of tools and I even own some not pictured), I have a small pouch containing an assortment of stitch markers that I have made over the years. I love making these, especially the ones with the lobster claw clasp. They look like jewelry and are fabulous for just about everything. I also made a few beaded lizards and dangles on plain jump rings.

Well, I think that is about it. That was a lot of ground to cover. Hopefully next time I do one of these I can pare it down to a smaller list.

Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-6-Badge

Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

Day Three: WIP Photos

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

So, today’s prompt was all about taking creative and slightly different from your normal project photos. As you have probably noticed on this blog, I tend to take photos on a white background with only the FO or WIP in the frame. Thus, here are some of my attempts at taking different photos.

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

We start off the day playing hide and seek in my toe-up socks. The goat wanted to join in on the fun and hopped up on the yarn ball.

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

The puppy saw how much fun the goat and sheep were having that he had to make up a game himself. The Splitstone was the perfect obstacle course for a game of jacks.

Project Photography: Wooly MastadonGuess who?

Project Photography: Wooly Mastadon

We ended the day with some interesting scrap ‘ghan adventures and words to live by.

Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-6-Badge

Watch for other blogs taking part in the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week hosted and created by eskimimimakes.com and see other takes on each day’s prompt on other participating blogs. Follow the tag #KCBW6 to see more on all social media.

~Stay Inspired

 

Eskimimi Makes Blog Week

Knitting-And-crochet-Blog-Week-6-Eskimimi-Makes

I decided to take the leap and participate in the 6th Annual Eskimimi Makes Blog Week. Why not join an awesome community of bloggers and take the challenge to step up my blogging game? If you’re interested in participating, it starts tomorrow and more information can be found at eskimimimakes.com. It’s going to be a lot of fun (and let’s hope I can keep it up the whole week…that will be my personal challenge). Hope you join in on the ride.

~Stay Inspired

Book Haul!

Book Haul: Wooly Mastadon

I was a bad, bad girl this past week. I was looking at my book wish list and realized that I didn’t own any books on knitting sweaters. What an oversight! I’ve been trying to get into knitting sweaters and really like the process thus far, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a few books. Originally I was going to get them with a gift card I had, but ended up buying them from Knit Picks instead because, hello, book sale! I wanted to get free shipping as well so a few (read two) other books just leaped into my cart (seriously, I couldn’t stop them, they wouldn’t let me). On top of it, they had a promo where you could get a set of size 8 Caspian interchangeable needles with the cable for like $7 as a promo (no idea how long it’s going on or if it is only with certain purchases), but I decided to go for that too. You can see where this is going, can’t you. I ended up with four books and a set of needles at the end of the night with no regrets…none.

So here’s what I got. For starters, the non-sweater books. I had been eyeing up Crochet with One Sheepish Girl by Meredith Crawford since it came out. I have followed her blog onesheepishgirl.com for a while now (read a few years) and actually went back and read all of the blog posts when I discovered her. Thus, I knew I wanted to get this book. I love her style and the patterns in the book are just so stinkin’ cute. That camera purse is going to be mine, yes it is! I also got Knitted Woodland Creatures by Susie Johns. I have seen this book reviewed in a few places as well as featured in ad spots and just knew I needed to get it. My main reason for buying it: the rabbit pattern looks just like the Velveteen Rabbit from the children’s book, I just have to knit it. There are a lot of unique patterns as well: the mole stands out. They are just perfect.

For the sweater books, I ended up getting Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog. I have been stalking this book since it came out. I knew I wanted it before all of the reviews started coming out but now I am so happy I purchased it. I have already skimmed it and am reading it cover to cover. I think I may add my review to the never-ending mix soon, but for now let’s just say it is as amazing as I thought it would be. It’s the perfect book to add to my library.

The last book I purchased was a bit of a whim. I had heard a review on it done by the Knit Girllls and realized that I had seen the book elsewhere but it had slipped my mind. It’s No-Sew Knits by Kristen TenDyke. I have only just glanced at it but I know already that it will be a good resource and pattern book. I hope to glean some great info on sweater knitting from this book, not necessarily the basics but just a few techniques I have been curious about. All in all I am excited about this book too.

Overall I am happy with my new books. If anything new books are always a good motivator to get more knitting and crocheting done. So, are you interested in reviews on these books? I think I may share my thoughts on a few of these. Until later.

~Stay Inspired

Random Ramblings: My Knitting Story via Yarn

My Yarn Journey: Wooly Mastadon

When I found the weaving piece I shared with you yesterday, I started thinking about yarn. When I was younger, I thought that yarn was stupid. I thought it was the most useless craft material known to man, and the only yarn I owned was some depressing acrylic from a thrift store that occasionally was used for sock puppet hair. Then, in fifth grade I was introduced to weaving on a cardboard loom. I actually enjoyed it and ended up putting that thrift store yarn to use. I started many of those weavings but never finished as single one. Fast-forward just under two years and my Aunt decided to teach me crochet on one summer vacation. My Aunt, Uncle and Cousin met my family at my Grandmother’s house for a week to visit, swim in the lake (Grandma lives on a small lake) and do chores to help out. For whatever reason, my Aunt was kind and patient enough to teach the snotty child that I was crochet. I don’t even remember why she decided to do it. All I remember is my Mom asking if I’d be interested shortly before we went on vacation and I said sure, not having a clue what would be started that summer. When I arrived a small crochet care package (yes my friends, that was my first knitting bag, and it was my pride and joy…I love Scooby Doo to this day) awaited me along with hand-written instructions and samples all prepared by my loving Aunt. I caught on quickly, much faster than she expected and only got stuck on the crochet chain (my Grandmother ended up showing me how to do her method to create the chain and I was set). By the end of that trip I had created 9 blanket squares which I shortly joined into a small baby blanket. That vacation I hardly ever put the hook down. From then on I created everything I could.

The following summer my Aunt taught me how to make a granny square, and many more projects followed. That Christmas she gave me a big box of yarn, knitting needles, and a how to knit book. I attempted to knit, but struggled to follow the book’s instructions. My Grandmother couldn’t stand watching me strugggle and taught me how to cast-on and the basic knit stitch. After that I never looked back. I learned the Continental method of knitting as opposed to the American method taught in the book, and have knit faster because of it.

All it took was a few days one summer to completely flip my opinion of yarn. Now I have so much yarn that I don’t know what to do with it. It is such a blessing, but I always look back to the days when I thought yarn was the most stupid, useless craft material on the planet. If only I knew what I would get sucked into. If only I knew fiber crafting/art was in my blood.

And I’m not ever going back.

~Stay Inspired