Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review: Knitlandia by Clara Parkes

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   Knitlandia is a beautiful journey that Clara Parkes let's you in on. It brings to mind Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books, which I adore, and the tone and chapter subjects are very similar (I wonder if they had the same editor).

   Each chapter is like an essay that speaks about specific locations/events around the world that are of interest to a knitter (or not). In the chapter on Paris, France, Clara promises to not buy any yarn or even to go into any yarn stores. She succeeds in the first, not the second. The journey is familiar to me, as I have traveled to Myrtle Beach and have learned the joys of marking a road trip with yarn from the destination. I have also begun to venture (as funds allow) to yarn festivals, such as Rhinebeck.

  Clara is often a teacher, and most of her chapters are from that perspective, which is heartwarming, not overly critical. I have always hesitated to take classes at festivals, because even though many think my knitting is expert, I have trouble with criticism. This book helped me with that a little, because as a sometime teacher, it shows how similar we are no matter what hat we are wearing.

  Knitters really do have a wonderful club that has been cemented with Ravelry.com, craftsy.com, Interweave and VogueKnitting. There is nothing more relaxing than to go to Rhinebeck and be surrounded with people of all religions, heritage, and ages that are all yarn-crafters. The consideration that is generally there, the kindness, the camaraderie is wonderful. Even knitting/crocheting on a bus, a fellow crafter can, and will, acknowledge you with a nod and smile at least, just as if they were standing beside you at a yarn vendor at Rhinebeck and you reach for the same yarn.

  The Iceland chapter was hilarious. As someplace I have daydreamed of going to, the chapter started out as an affirmation, to a "I am NEVER going there!", to a daydream again haha. But all in good fun with general information and kindness, so I'm still good with my daydreams of Iceland.

  When I was doing video podcasting on youtube.com, I was aware of the birth of the Edinburgh yarn festival and as an American Scot, I hope to return there one day and visit. That chapter is more about the people than the festival, though. Can you imagine having a meal with Stephen West!? Even Clara is awed by who she meets there and that makes her all the more endearing. You never know who you will run into at a festival.

  This book is worth the purchase or wait through the local library. It is endearing, funny, relatable and interesting. It has a little bit of something for everyone. If you enjoyed the books by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (all hail the Yarn Harlot!) you will enjoy this book, so check it out, check yourself in and sit back with your favorite beverage when you need to rest your hands from your yarncrafting. You will not be sorry.

Be Well!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Space Between Stitches

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   Lately, besides a touch of the blues, I have been between mkal's. The Outlander (now Dragonfly MKAL 2016) MKAL (and I adore Rachel Roden's patterns!!!) starts a week from Sunday, and a few weeks later the Game of Thrones will start.

  This never means (for me) that I do have projects to work on, PHD (Projects Half Done) is a true degree for me. But I am not as excited about them as I could be, I suppose, the funk will pass.

  The Waiting for Rain shawl is coming along, and I'm loving the Plymouth Monte Donegal yarn (tweedy!!) I'm using that I had found on steep discount on craftsy.com late last year. I'm doing it in black and silver and I have to tell you that my phone just does NOT want to photograph it. It either is too bright or not enough, but my love affair with the color black will continue (I promise).

 The Havens Crocheted Blanket Wrap by Doris Chan is coming along swimmingly, I am enjoying crocheting with the comfy sport yarn from knitpicks.com much more than I enjoyed knitting with it. I don't know why I have so much trouble knitting with cotton mixes, something about the stiffness perhaps. This yarn is a mix of cotton and acrylic and is really quite lovely. What do you think?

   Used magic ring for the center, so it would be closed nice and tight. And there was an error in row 15 that I emailed to the designer and publisher, Tahki Charles, but have not received any sign that it has been received *shrug*.

FYI: Many of the shawls I have made and talked about on here are for sale on my Facebook page.

  Easter passed without anyone getting sick (which is the main reason for my not really being present the past few weeks), so small victory. Anyone had a really rough first 3-4 months of 2016 in terms of people getting sick? In upstate NY I feel as if we may just not have had a good freeze to take care of some of the virus and bug nastiness hanging around.

  If you are in upstate NY tomorrow, feel the warmth!! I need to find and de-bug my lawn chair and stick it into the back of my car for lunch tomorrow, a little comfy knitting in the sun.

Stay tuned for a book review of Knitlandia by Clara Parkes, as my next post.

Be well!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

More TV Mystery Knit/Crochet Along Projects (And Game of Thrones is Coming!)

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  There is no need to deny it, I love mystery knit and crochet along's. I regularly start these, and finish with various rates of success haha. On my Facebook page I started a Game of Alongs but you can bring to the party any Alongs that you want that is tv related :).

   Jimmy Beans Wool in particular has some fantastic ones coming up, which I may have mentioned, though their Game of Thrones will not be announced until April 1st (blah!).

1 & 2) The Outlander MKAL/MCAL starts on April 9th (same date the show starts up). Who doesn't love doing these knitting projects along with the shows? A new clue is released every week and everyone can work on it and chat about the show at the same time! And bonus? These projects are supposed to be patterned like plaids, which is so much fun in crocheted or knitted version.

 Years back I made a crocheted blanket and wove two strands of yarn through to give it a plaid look. Bet the crocheted version will be similar to this, which I do have in an old crocheted pattern book of mine called Afghans for All Seasons, Leisure Arts # 100318:

3) The Godswood of Winterfell MKAL is starting April 24th and is one of those projects that I found randomly, happily. It's not specifically listed as Game of Thrones, but it obviously is once you read the description and when it starts. Seems to be a fingering weight, lace shawl in a single color. Says it will have a center panel, so that is kind of exciting!!

  The yarn they suggest is as solid as possible, without variegation, which I am all about. But the yarn I will try out has what will come out as a few dark traces, not something (I hope) that will detract from the pattern as it isn't constant. It is worth a try anyway, the yarn is so soft and yummy!

  As soon as the Jimmy Beans Wool Game of Thrones MKAL/MCAL pages are up on ravelry.com, I will let you know (of course). So come join the event and let me know what you find. What yarn clubs have you joined that are inspired by tv shows? Are you looking forward to Game of Thrones and Outlander as well? Pray with me that I will get my kids to sleep on those nights at reasonable hours haha.

Be well folks,


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Weaving In Ends... How Many Ways?

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We have all seen the question come up, and in our own time have asked the question ourselves.

How do you weave in the ends so they disappear?

  I will admit that sometimes I am more fastidious than others and I am just happy when they do not show on the right side (especially with stuffed animals haha). But a general good rule of thumb is never knots. If you knot, I disagree. The other ways that I will highlight here will demonstrate ways that are more natural, do not leave a bump/rough spot in your knitting, are very unlikely to come apart and can float to the right side and show.

1) The first way I figured out how to weave in an end is the picture above, which can be found on pinterest. Simply through the purls on the wrong side. I will still do this sometimes in cabled hats, mostly because it is easier than trying to duplicate stitch around cables.

2) The duplicate stitch technique is so useful, and it lends itself to invisible weaving on both sides. What is also particularly nice about this one is that it teaches you how to read your stitches. This is so extremely important that I would suggest any beginner to work on this as soon as they can. It helps you with future knitting, counting rows, stitches and general understanding of how a stitch works.

3) The Russian join is my favorite (and so is the number three, what a coinkidink). This prevents having to weave the ends in later on, and for me is most useful with single color knitting. I have not mastered the skill of doing this while changing colors. The best way to describe this is via youtube:
I'm sure there are more ways but to wrap this up, here are some final tips:

A) Leave lots of space on either side of the Russian join.
B) Relax and realize that it is still just yarn and sticks.
C) Leave long tails
D) After casting on, double the tail with your active yarn and knit it back.
E) Have fun :). You're creating stuff!!

Be Well!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sick and Miserable - This Will Be Short.

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  In all honesty, I really know that my anger and crankiness today is a result of the two big facts:

1) My period is just about to arrive, so honestly a part of this is depression.
2) I still have a stomach bug and should be home laying down and napping.

I am angry and frustrated that I cannot rest when my body is demanding it of me. In fact, just writing that sentence makes me tears well up in my eyes.

Deliberately, I do not talk specific frustrations that are happening in my life. These blog posts are not my personal life vomit journal entries. But let me just say that I am as frustrated at life as I could be and my spirit is fighting over this simple meme:

  No one says this is easy. It isn't tangible as fixing a hole in the wall, or coloring your hair. It is a perspective change. It is realizing that when you are so tense and frustrated spiritual arms are actually up and in defensive position, as if you are boxing. The only person you are hurting is yourself because we are all so wrapped up with ourselves that we don't even see other people's depths.

  The surface is rarely our true selves, especially when we are reacting to others. We are not reacting to them, but to our past experiences. I'm slowly trying to see this but right now life is throwing some bricks at my family and I am doing my best to be grateful for what I do have.

  So, although I am sick and miserable today, and unable to lay down and rest as my body is demanding. I am grateful for the following things.

1) My two daughters. They are the light in my lives. When I was growing up, I never wanted children, but these two beautiful souls chose me to be their mother and bless me with their light and laughter every day, even when they cannot find a napkin they drop that is practically on their foot haha.

2) My mother. She was told to abort because of the risk that I would have colon cancer. She chose me instead and brought me into the world, raising me the best way she knew how in a family that had not loved her for the gentleness she personified because her body was tall and at times large. She has always supported me.

3) My husbands true self, which is far kinder and more understanding than he realizes.

4) Being cancer free, and my families health.

5) Knitting and Crocheting to keep the dogs of depression at bay.

Be well!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Crafting with ADD

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  ADD and ADHD is one of those things that I personally believe everyone has to varying degrees. What that means is that some people find it very easy to focus really easily on one task at a time and not get distracted; some do find it hard to finish tasks, start tasks, focus for long periods of time without feeling anxious; and some cannot sit still at all and focus on things.

  You can see one test here: Adult ADHD Test, if you are curious to explore this for yourself.

It sounds simple, but it really isn't. Just like anything with us humans, ADD/ADHD is complicated and different for each person.

It manifests for me when I was in high school and college with anxiety over starting large papers. Once I got going, I was usually okay (some tears, but okay lol). But getting going was tough because I couldn't focus, my mind would become so distracted and stressed.

 In crafting, knitting and crocheting, I am awesome at starting projects, but can be bored, distracted by new patterns, or just find a project so annoying I cannot work on it without anxiety literally driving me to distraction each row haha.

  An example of the last is my mother's blanket:

This was started in February of 2014... #27 Leaf Blanket for Mom..
Actually, my projects page is a really good example of my problem. I have 16 works in progress (WIPs), 4 of which were started in 2014 and I am definitely not actively working on right now haha.

Do you have startitis when are stressed over life experiences? Because I find that as a correlation as well!

Some of my friends have asked me why I do not sell my wares, but I wouldn't be able to keep up with any kind of inventory. And I actually despise knitting for others because of the anxiety with making something they will really like, main reason why I seem a selfish knitter.

 I love doing MKAL's (mystery knit a-longs) because I do not know what it will look like and if it is not for it, it goes in my bin of Finished Objects and eventually try to sell them, either on my Facebook page or at a Craft Fair (this option usually fails). The schedule that the MKAL's are on can be helpful as well, though I constantly fail in making Pi shawls haha, simply because I get distracted.



What about you? To what degree do you have trouble focusing and finishing tasks? Do you fidget a great deal if you are not knitting or crocheting?

Are you working on your PHD? Project half done? How many WIPs do you have? :)

Be Well!



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Finished Born of Fire, Dolls, New Yarn Bowl and More

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 This photo is particularly relevant for the past two days for me. I woke up Sunday with 19 rows to go on the double knitted scarf, Born of Fire, and finished it!

    Some side by sides of either end:

I do not know what it is about the red not photographing as well as the blue, same time of the day and same camera. Silly thing.

   Anywho, I am going to sew the two ends together to make it a long cowl and that will be it! Maybe Kitchener each side with their corresponding colors... That would be a good idea, don't you think?

Almost Finished:

Almost done with the dolls, so here they are together:

   All I have left to complete are the eyes and mouths on both of them. Instead of making the arms separately and sewing them on, I picked up the stitches on the dolls. This was both good and bad, but worked for me this time. Good because I didn't have to sew them on, bad because I had to pick them up haha.

And Then:

   When I finish a big project, and a scarf that long (and complicated counts haha), I tend to sit back and have a "what now?" moment. It is almost zen, and disturbing (as zen moments sometimes are). Zen can be defined as the total togetherness of the mind and body. When I finish a big project and sit back with it fully cast off and ends woven in, the moment is almost like an exhale and a pause.

  So I picked up some nice and easy knitting (at least for now), my worsted weight Waiting for Rain shawl in Plymouth Monte Donegal yarn (black and silver). The garter work was a nice change for my hands, especially my left handed pointer finger (the knuckle was feeling a little sore from knitting one color of the Born of Fire scarf continental-wise, the purl stitch).

Normally, this shawl is done in fingering weight, so I am guessing it will be very large, maybe I will sew together the ends and make another poncho, like I did with my worsted weight Knitwitch shawl.

  I also FINALLY started my swatches for the TKGA.com Master Hand Knitter Class/Evaluation, having purchased the first level in January. As someone who does not enjoy swatching at ALL, this is surprisingly nice to do after the focus double knitting requires :).

What was in my mail:
First of all, I received my very first (ever) yarn bowl. This has been a new thing that is popular over the last year or two, so here is my band wagon from AAHarison Ceramics. I really love it and am using it far more than I thought I would. Picture below is of it nestled in my yarn delivery from knitpicks.com. Only downside? I guess I wish it was bigger.

   And finally, I received my Deluxe Sock Knitter's Tool Kit from Burning Impressions and am very impressed. My ravelry handle is burned into the sock, and into the back of the long measurement sock. There are so many useful tools here, I really am over the moon. I cannot actually think of a single detraction for these. The long sock tool is used to fit into the sock you are knitting and it actually has the shoe sizes labeled on it as well as the measurements in inches (you can request centimeters). So check that shop out, well done!

Take care of yourself this week, I have some rain and my youngest is a little sniffly (poor thing).

Currently, I just want to go home and knit :D.

Be well!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pondering the Joys of Craft Technical Editing

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  Anyone who has read my blog, at any point, has gotten the idea that I am seriously passionate about knitting and crocheting. I have dabbled in designing, but do not think in pictures, it is likely not the direction my crafting focus will ever be able to drift firmly towards designing my own crafts.

  What I am passionate about, and am VERY good at, is editing patterns. Part of this could be test knitting, but there is also something called Technical Editing.

Technical Editing for knit and crochet designers, mean several things beyond what test knitters can sometimes do, as well as encompass what test knitters do.

Edie Eckman has a few points (from her post I linked at her name) on what it means:

  • "Create a style sheet if one does not exist
  • Help you (designer) with pattern-writing language
  • Assure that the stitch counts and all math results in the schematic numbers
  • Assure that shaping instructions result in the right numbers
  • Assure that instructions work to create the sample garment
  • Check sample garment vs. pattern instructions to make sure they match
  • Check for consistency of language within the pattern(s)
  • Ensure appropriateness of pattern language for intended audience
  • Check for logic of construction and “best practices” for knit/crochet techniques
  • Create stitch charts and schematics (either rough charts for an art department to finalize, or final “camera-ready” art for the publisher)
  • Assure that sizing/grading makes sense, and questioning anything that seems off."

  • Kristen Tendyke explains that tech writing (again, from her webpage, linked at her name) for her is:

  • "Your pattern is checked for mathematical accuracy and for simple and precise wording.
  • Excel spreadsheet is used to verify math and will be provided upon request, at no additional charge.
  • Charts and schematics are drawn in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Finished measurements are checked to be sure they will fit comfortably onto the intended size body and I offer suggestions if necessary.
  • A list of abbreviations used in the pattern and detailed written instructions for a variety of commonly used techniques are provided, to be sure that everything the knitter needs is included in the pattern."

  •   I will admit it. I adore every aspect of looking over a pattern for errors, because we are human and it happens. I have no problem changing a written pattern to a charted, or vice versa, and enjoy the challenge. So this week, I allowed the idea to percolate in which I will start to build my resume as a knitting and crocheting technical writer. Yes, both.

      I have crocheted for 20 years, knitted for 15, and have been doing test knitting for the past 3 years with very high success. As a technical editor, my goals are to do the following:

    1) Make the pattern clear and easily understandable in every way by the crafter.
    2) Check math.
    3) Create charts if there are none (and some are desired)/create written if there are none (and they are desired). I do this quickly.
    4) Use Excel, Word, and Envisioknits to create and fine-tune patterns as requested.
    5) Ensure that patterns will create the least amount of questions possible that the designer would have to weather or correct.

    This is just a start of a beautiful friendship. Please feel free to email me at tangledmania@gmail.com for my (currently to build my resume further with references) free services. I am so excited!!

    Be Well!

    Monday, March 7, 2016

    Doll, Born of Fire, and What is Coming..

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       This pattern is called Knit Baby Doll Pattern set by Amy Gaines. The great thing about this pattern, is that it is so customizable. I can see doing all sorts of fun patterns around the gown of the doll, fairisle, cables.. The sky is the limit!.

       I have made this doll before, according to instructions, and this time I thought it would be a great idea to do it in the round, rather than flat (and have to sew it up at the end). Well, let me tell you, I figured out why that is a bad idea.

       The reason why that was a bad idea was that it was just plain frustrating to do the increases on circulars in the round versus flat.  Flat seems to give more space for stitches to grow versus trying to do it magic loop, so I have been converted.

       This is the next doll, knitted flat up, the one above was knitted in the round, even the arms (which I may still knit in the round on the flat doll, actually).

    Born of Fire:

       This past weekend, my depression continued to haunt me so I spent the weekend cuddling with my kids, building a bookshelf for my stash that is on the first floor (OMG I love it, pictures will come later this week), and working compulsively on the Born of Fire MKAL (when I didn't turn to the doll's). I have made such good progress, and I love the stroll yarn from knitpicks.com for this project.

    Look, you can see the dragon's wing and tail!!

    What is Coming?

    1) My in-laws live in South Carolina, and one of my favorite crochet designers, Doris Chan, has a new crocheted design out called Havens Crochet Blanket Wrap through Tahki Stacey Charles (photo is not mine but from ravelry.com). The yarn will be from knitpicks.com, their comfy sport yarn, which is 75% cotton and 25% acrylic, which is perfect for South Carolina's weather.

    2) Tania Richter has another double knitting mystery knit-a-long coming up, the Inari Kitsune (foxes), and we have the choice of a cowl or a scarf. I'm going to be making a cowl for my daughter in knitpicks.com stroll glimmer (which has some sparkly fiber in it) in white and pomegranate.

    3) Finally, there is the Outlander 2016 MKAL (mystery knit a long) by designer Rachel Roden, which I am not too keen on being on time with it, but yarn is a-coming! With my budget, I bought knitpicks.com stroll tonal yarn in colorways kindling (I think this one is disappearing) and thunderhead. Word on the grapevine is that this one will be leaning towards plaid type, but we will see!!

    Wrapping it up:

      I have dealt with depressive symptoms since I was 8 years old (I am now 35). For me, personally, my depression is what comes up during the lows of the waves of life. I know, now, that the waves will go back up and last week my feelings were probably fueled a great deal by my monthly period arriving. I knit, I get up and do something around the house, I cuddle my kids, and I give myself some compassion. I deserve a break and a breather. It doesn't make me selfish to let myself feel the way I feel or sit and knit after a long and disappointing week.

      We all deal with the dumps the only way we can. Some use medication, some use exercise, some use less healthy ways of food, nicotine or alcohol. But we are all human and just trying to give and receive a little bit of love while we make it through this world. And as the Dalai Lama has said:

    Keep your head up, don't judge yourself too harshly. Be compassionate to yourself and others. One breath at a time, one heart beat at a time. We can do this. Much love to all of you and see you in a few days with a Downton Abbey wrap-up.

    Be Well!!