2020 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gotta Love Sunflowers...

For some reason I started off this week kind of 'meh' about doing anything with yarn.  Until Saturday, all I had managed to make were a couple of dishcloths (later in this post), but yesterday, a rainy Saturday, I was on you tube - not sure now what I was looking for, but I stumbled across a video tutorial for a Sunflower Hotpad.  I immediately thought it would be a great addition to my new potholder/hotpad collection.   So I went through my stash of yarn and found some workable cotton.  A couple of hours later this is what I had come up with:

I love it!   If I find some orange-y yellow cotton, I may just have to get it and make another one, but for now, this one makes me happy.  I added an extra row of yellow, and because of that it took most of a skein, but the brown and green were just scraps.  And the pattern is so easy.  Looking at the finished pictures in the tutorial I would never have guessed how easy it is.  There is no written pattern, or link searchable on Ravelry, but here is my project page - on the chance that anyone would benefit from the details I've put there.


Back to the dishcloth knitting, though...   Somewhere around Tuesday I started noodling around with the knitting needles again and in a couple of days I had finished another simple dishcloth.

I feel like this is my best knitting so far.   Of course, all those speckles help hide some unevenness, but I'll take it.  The progress I feel I've gained, that is   :)

And when that one was done I started another Seeded Stripe dishcloth:

Now, my looser stitches don't show so much on this cloth (because there's so much going on), but this cloth gave me a great opportunity to really see how my stitches went from mostly nice and even (the garter stitch stripes) to all loosey goosey (the seed stitch stripes).  You can't see the loosey goosey stitches in the picture (and even in person it doesn't look bad finished), but I knew I was having some problems.   And somehow, even though I could see my stitches loosening up as I was knitting, I had no idea why it was happening.  Googling what causes uneven tension led me to some helpful sites (the most helpful being aknitka.com) that explained to me that my tension problem is probably due to purling looser than I knit.  I practiced some more and sure enough - that was my problem.  The seed stitch rows gave plenty of opportunity to pay attention to tension while switching back and forth between knitting and purling.   I haven't yet achieved correct tension while purling, but knowing what the problem is is a huge help.  Assuming I can conquer this, I feel like this knowledge will move me much further along in my knitting ability and what I may even want to try to make.

I hope it doesn't sound lame, though, to be fairly content just knitting dishcloths for the time being.  I see beautiful shawls, socks and hats and think I should be wanting to make those things, but I'm not overly drawn to try to knit them.  Knitting a dishcloth is about as relaxing and "instant gratification" as it can get for me while still working on basic stuff like tension, and eventually new stitches. And I love using my new knitted dishcloths.  I have some crocheted cloths that I like, but I'm pretty picky about my dishcloths.  They can't be too holey and they can't be too stiff or thick. Finding that perfect combination in a crocheted cloth is tricky.  But a knitted cloth, I'm thinking, pretty much always fits both of those criteria.  So for now I'm just a happy dishcloth knitter.  :^)


To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our thread this week on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Revelling in my Ravellenics' Accomplishments...

Along with the ending of the Olympic games tonight in Rio, the Ravellenics will also come to an end.  Rather anti-climactic-ly, it feels at this point (evidently, Bobicus Maximus has been chasing his tail for two weeks and the "medal machine" has had glitches so most of us are still waiting to be called to our respective "podiums" to receive our electronic awards), but still...   though I'm ready to wrap it all up, I'm excited at what I accomplished.  And happy to show my latest makes.  

First is a Linen Stitch Scarf I made with Red Heart Unforgettable in the new colorway Tealberry (my prize yarn received from Red Heart last month).

Normally, I make these with two different colorways, but this yarn had enough different colors in one skein I thought it was unnecessary to use a second colorway.  Yay! I thought - over having fewer ends to weave in.  Well...  Of course, self-striping yarns don't always work out the way you hope.   Where particular colors lie, how long the color runs are, how large (or small) the piece is that one is making -- all conspire together to either make a beautifully striped, or oddly color-pooled finished object.  As I was making this scarf I concluded that I didn't want more than two rows of the same color laying side by side together.  And I couldn't have one color dominating one end of the scarf while another color dominated the other end.  Which, of course, kept wanting to happen.  Sigh.

So there I was...  with my self-striping yarn (that I thought would be a piece of cake to make one of these scarves with) clipping and re-rolling the yarn to get to just the right color in the skein (over and over again - many times needing to do this in the middle of the row) to keep any one color from dominating any one part of the scarf.  And of course, all those starts and stops meant ends to weave in.  I'm pretty sure, by the time I was finished, I had woven in far more ends than if I had simply started each new row afresh - alternating colors from different skeins, as I normally do when making one of these from two different colorways of yarn.

But I'm glad to say... for my tenacity and hard work, I will receive a gold medal (someday) for successfully completing the Scarf Hockey event.  Yay me!


Next I finished a Coozie Disc for a medal in the Toy Toss event, and laurels in Colorwork and Stash busting:  

I see more of these in my crocheting future (like this upcoming week, I think).  They make great flyers and every one is unique.  Great gift ideas for kids and adults alike!


Then, late in the games I was inspired by a post Casey wrote a few weeks ago titled "My Yarn Story".  In that post is a composite picture of a bunch of Casey's beautiful crocheted potholders and I decided I needed to start a cute collection.  So this week I did.  Here's my first potholder (for a medal in the Household Heptathalon event and laurels in stash busting):


And then on Saturday, I decided to concentrate on finishing a doily I began last April.  It's called April Showers

Can you see the little umbrellas ringing the center?

I know April showers are long behind us, but last week it rained nearly every day, so it was a fitting project to work on.  This was my first attempt at making a doily, or crocheting with a tiny steel hook and a single strand of size 10 thread for that matter.  It's hard, let me tell you - especially if you've got middle aged eyes and fingers.  But once I got back to it, I actually found I enjoyed it  - in between sessions of rubbing the back of my neck as it got achy from holding this thing close and bending over it.    While it was challenging (for me) and tedious, it was also very interesting to watch the pattern emerge.  I think I'll be wanting to make some more.  Or, at least, another one.  Someday...

And that wraps up another YOP week and Ravelery's Ravellenics for me.   It was fun while it lasted, but I imagine next week to not be nearly so prolific.  To see what other Yoppers are up to visit our thread this week on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Spice of Life!

Today marks the end of Week One in the Ravellenics!   And I'm happy to have crossed the finish line in WIPS Wrestling and be able to show a finished Spice of Life Blanket:

The pattern was written for DK weight yarn, but using worsted weight yarn, and making it exactly as the pattern is written (except for adding some rows for length) it measures approximately 54" across and 78" long.  Does that sound crazy?   Written down it sort of does to me, but in reality it's actually pretty perfect for tucking one's self up in.  What can I say?  I like my blankets big.  :)

I've been keeping up practicing knitting, and have 2 more dishcloths to show:

Not perfect, but getting better! 

I really like this pattern and using a stripey yarn makes it even more fun to do. I basically just switched back and forth from garter to seed stitch and back again whenever the color changed.

This may just end up being the year of the knitted dishcloth.  If I master the humble dishcloth, maybe I can move onto something bigger.  But I'm liking using my new knitted dishcloths, so I'm fairly content for the time being knitting away on them.

It's a rainy weekend, with the beginning of the week promising even more rain.  No complaints from me.  The grass is green (not the norm for August in Indiana) and the temps have come down a bit (into the mid-80's.  Maybe high 70's by Monday.)  What a relief that sounds like.

Later today our sons are coming over and we're having a lasagna lupper (that's a late lunch/early supper).  It's a real trip trying to coordinate three adult young men to come to Mom & Dad's house anymore.  I thought they would fawn over the offer of a home cooked meal, but it was like wrangling cattle to get them to agree on a day and time.   I'm still not sure if middle son is going to make it in time for eats.  But these days I take them when I can get them.  :)

And that's a wrap for this YOP Sunday.   To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The games have begun...

In Rio, as well as in the homes of Raveler's around the world!  

Before starting some smaller projects, I wanted to get my Spice of Life Blanket to a stage where finishing it over the next two weeks was feasible.  

I'm feeling good about the progress made and I'm happy to say it's nearly finished.  Just a few more rows of double crochet and then the edging!  I'm hoping to finish it in another couple of days. though maybe that's a bit optimistic. I have a feeling crocheting a border up and down the length of this thing will take some significant time, but hopefully next Sunday I can post a finished picture.

There are also a number of small projects I hope to finish during the Ravellenics.   There's a linen stitch scarf and a knitted dishcloth, and a pair of fingerless mits I hope to make.  And I'm going to try to finish a little doily I started last April.  There are a few other things queued up onto my Ravelry projects page I may get around to, but I'm also well aware that I've probably planned far more items than I'll likely actually finish before August 21st.  We'll see what happens over the next two weeks while the Olympic games are going on in Rio!  Who knows.  I may come up with entirely different projects in that time.

To see what other Yoppers are up to, visit this week's thread on Ravelry.   To open any of the links on this page a (free) Ravelry membership is required.  If you're not part of Ravelry, come see what it's all about!