Sunday, January 28, 2018

The last dance is winding down...

It's been a very good week.  The weather was great on Thursday and Friday and I made the three-hour drive to visit middle son who recently relocated to northern Indiana.  He's a quiet sort of fella, but it was so good to spend some mom and son time together in his new digs.  And spending the night gave me a glimpse into his new early to bed, early to rise life.  He headed to bed at 8:30 and I'm pretty sure he was up before 5:00 - he maybe left by 5:00.   I don't know...   I just know I was still sawing logs when he headed out into the dark morning...

Don't tell him I said so, but I think I need to do that again sometime soon.   Not too soon, though, I suppose.   I miss him bunches.  Actually, I'm missing both my older two sons in recent months as work has taken one further away, and commuting to a new job gives the other less time for getting together.  Not that I saw them that much before recent changes, but at least it was easier to get together when we did.  But they appear to be doing well, so I'm glad for that.

This week also saw another scarf finish and two more squares for my Last Dance blanket.

First, a scarf was knit from bulky yarn on BIG needles.  I don't recall how big, and I've put them away already, but they were big.  In fact, I'd never knitted anything on such big needles so I was amazed at how quickly the project worked up.

I used this video tutorial in making this.  The yarn is Premier Serenity Chunky Prints in the color, Velveteen.  What looked in the skein to be a purplish color turned out to be red!  I was so surprised.  Since I expect a scarf like this to be wrapped around the neck a couple of times to make it cozy and warm to wear, I had to get a picture of it in that state, too:

I really like this yarn.  I have another 1.5 skeins and I'm hoping that's enough to crochet a scarf in the round with the stripes running horizontal. Or maybe I'll make a hat.  We'll see.  Soon, I hope.


And here are two more square designs I finished for my Last Dance blanket (they are both substitute designs from two in the original pattern):

With these squares finished, I have only to make two more designs.  That's just eight more squares!   And then I'll be ready to crochet this blanket together.  I can hardly believe I'm this close.  I'm feeling ever so slightly anxious about the joining process (both that my colors will work well together, and that the process goes smoothly).  I had intentions of finishing this blanket during the Ravellenics, but if I can, I'd like to wrap it up beforehand.  I now think it's entirely possible.  😃

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  7.89/100 Skeins

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's elemental, my dear...

I finished my Elements Pillow!   I used the first two video tutorials of the Elements CAL to make the front:
I'm thinking of incorporating the pattern that makes up the center square into my BAMCAL blanket.

The yarns used are:  Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn in the colors sea blue, antique teal, and graphite.  This graphite color is my new favorite dark neutral.  It's between a brown and gray and it seems to work with pretty much anything I put up next to it. And the light beige color is Deborah Norville's Everyday yarn in the color, chinchilla.

For the back of my pillow, I used the stitch pattern found in the Twisted Textured Pillow:
The button hole band and button band were made of simple single crochets.

I love this stitch pattern.  A solid, or even striped pillow made using this stitch pattern would be awesome, I'd think.  Made the way this designer did (with all double crochets), the fabric created is very dense - which is great for a pillow, but the fabric curls.  Significantly.  Stretched over a puffy pillow, though, it works beautifully.  


And, I think it was actually a week or so earlier that I finished this simple cowl:

Call me goofy, but I liked the look of the partially closed door 
I accidentally got in this picture, so I left it in.   

Just to give you an "insider's" glimpse...   the door in the picture opens into a little half-bath (powder room) that sits right by the south-facing back door which has 9 small window panes in it.   That's where the light is coming from that's shining on the door above.  This is my back hallway.  It's so small, it hardly seems like a hallway, but technically that's what it is.  My pantry is on the other side of the scarf.  This is a great spot in the the winter to snap a picture of anything on a hanger because so much light comes into this space.

Above is a picture of that hallway taken a little over a year ago from the vantage point of my front door.  The pantry and powder room are on the left as you're looking at the picture.  Can't you just picture the contortions I get into in that narrow space trying to get pictures of hanging scarves?


Normally,  I try to keep the doors out of the frame, or I crop them out later, but the shot just  above shows how my pictures taken in this spot normally turn out.  Without my explanation above, you'd never guess I was in a skinny little hallway with a scarf hanging between the doors of a powder room and a pantry.  😉


Back to the scarf...  It seems like I started with a pattern, but then went my own merry way with it.  Basically, it's just all half-double crochets done in the back loop - which creates some texture.  And it's crocheted in the round (as in a spiral) so there's no seam.  I finished it off by winding down to a few single crochets and then a few slip stitches to end it all.  Such a simple crocheted scarf, but done in a multi-striped yarn looks much richer than the stitch pattern would indicate.  The yarn used in this scarf is Lion Brand Unique in the colorway, Harvest.

Super soft, and colorful, I expect it will be super warm for someone next winter.

And that's a wrap for another YOP week.  To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  4.39/100 Skeins

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A light week crochet-wise...

Trying to give my wrist a rest, I did a pretty good job of laying off crocheting most of the week, but by Friday I was chomping at the bit to play with yarn.

I think I needed to finish only one of the squares below for my Last Dance blanket:

And now I have just 4 more designs to go!  Or 16 more squares. I'm seeing the end of this project!


And then I worked a few more rounds on my pillow top (again, using the Elements pattern):

It's interesting to see this change with each round.  

And that's basically it.  Because I had to buy a few more skeins of yarn to finish up the pillow above, my stash reduction progress took a hit. But overall, there's still a loss.  Of .11 skeins.  😏   It's going to be mighty slow going at this rate.  But still it's progress.  Most of the yarn I bought will get worked into the pillow, so I'll probably show some sudden progress in a few weeks.

To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  .11/100 Skeins

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Some de-stashing projects...

With the bitter cold, and no real outside commitments this week I stayed home and had plenty of time to crochet.  It felt like quite an indulgence.  That said, I'm very happy to see temps rising again into the double digits - maybe up to the high 40's by next weekend!

The first thing I accomplished (crochet-wise) was finishing the Openwork Scarf.

Sometime back I had purchased (online) a bunch of skeins of Premier Everyday yarn in the color Violet Heather, but when I received it I was disappointed to not be able to detect any heathering in it.  To make a good thing out of a disappointment, I rolled several skeins with Woolike fingering yarn in the color mauve and it created this sort of marled effect when crocheted up:

I like it in this scarf!  I have one more skein wound up with the same mauve yarn that I need to find a use for, but I'd like to try mixing it with some other colors, too.   Kind of a fun thing to do, and a way to use more stash - which I'm on a mission to do.


And then I made a color block scarf - made of half double crochet stitches into the back loop of every stitch.  This stitch pattern gives a ridged, "washboard" effect.   Washed and dried, this scarf (made mainly with Vanna's Choice yarn) came out soft and squishy:

Wrapped twice, it makes a snug cowl around the neck.  💜


And lastly, I continued working on a pillow for the Cushion/Pillow CAL in the Our Happy CAL Place on Ravelry.  I'm using the first two weeks of the Elements pattern to, hopefully, make a pillow that will be the right size for a couch.  This design is surprisingly easy to do:

I also did some crocheting on more squares for my Last Dance blanket, but I'm holding off taking pictures until they are finished.  Honestly, I'm not sure how much crocheting I'll manage this week as I have an owie in my right wrist.  I think I've developed a ganglion cyst, and it's painful, so I'm going to try wearing a brace to minimize my wrist movement and maybe it will go away on its own.  Wouldn't that be dandy?  Anyway, I don't think I can crochet while wearing a wrist brace, so I may just have my squares to show next week.

I hope you have a good week.  To see what other YOPpers are up to, visit our group on Ravelry.

2018 Yarn Stash-Down:  2.53/100 Skeins

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I have a confession to make...

I thought long and hard about writing this post.  Tucking it in here on a Wednesday when nobody expects me to post seems to me to be my safest bet.  So here goes...

I have a confession to make.

I am a yarnaholic.

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I know...  you're laughing and saying "That's you're big confession?" because if you're reading this, you likely are too.  A yarnaholic to some degree.  Or a fiberaholic, or a fabricaholic, or some other overindulger of crafty goods.  My confession isn't to be construed as judging.  I am not.  I love yarn.  I never want to not have yarn.  I love being able to shop my yarn stash whenever a crochet pattern strikes my fancy.  I want more yarn.

That said...  I have too much.

This is how I know...

Recently, as I was meandering around Ravelry, I came across some stash-down challenges.  Having felt for some time I have too much yarn, the idea of "stashing down" appealed to me very much.

One of the  challenges I came across was a 100-skein challenge.  The challenge is to remove or work-down 100 skeins of yarn in 2018.  That sounded like a lot of skeins to me, but at the same time I wondered how much of a dent that would actually make in my stash.  I knew my stash was big, but I didn't know exactly how big.

So, clearly, the first thing I needed to do was determine how much yarn I actually have.  Over the last few years I have recorded all of my yarn stash on Ravelry.  Well, just last night, I found out that if you download the Excel file of your Ravelry stash, you can then have your computer sum up the different categories (like # of skeins, yardage, anything that has a numeric value).

Now, I'm almost too embarrassed to admit this, but for the sake of enlightenment and to challenge others  of you to know how much yarn you actually have (if you want to know), I'm going to confess...  If I did the "summing" correctly on my Excel chart, and divided by 100 properly, I have enough stashed yarn to do the 100-skein challenge for TWENTY years!!!!!

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While you pick yourself up off the floor and fix your glasses, let me just say I'm dumbfounded, too.  I mean, I knew I had a lot of stash.  It's neatly organized for the most part, which is possibly why I could have so much and not even realize how much.  But TWENTY YEARS worth????   How did that even happen?   How much did that cost me to accumulate?  How many hours did I spend just logging that much yarn onto my Ravelry stash page - let alone taking pictures of, editing pictures, posting pictures...?

Don't try to answer those questions.  They are rhetorical, and I really don't want to know the answers.  Even though I think it's fair to ask them.

Before doing this little exercise, I was already telling myself I needed to go on a yarn diet.  But for TWENTY YEARS???   Forget dieting.  I'm just now hoping I live long enough to see the end of my stash.


Well...  I've got to do something about this.  Thinking I'm going to make much of a dent in my stash in a year's time is likely not a reasonable expectation.  But I've got to do something.  Even if it just looks like baby-stepping.  Or even if it looks like this:

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Here's what I'm going to try to do.  In my weekly YOP posts, when I show a finished project, I'm going to try to record a running tally of how many skeins I've used.   I'm going to do it without fanfare and only those who've happened to read this post will understand the significance of my running tally.  The tally may go down on occasion if I need to buy more yarn to complete a project, but hopefully, the overall tally will head in an upward direction most of the time.   When it hits 100 skeins I may throw  party or something.  Or maybe I'll just take a nap.

I'm not asking anyone to join me.  Or to share my views or concerns about my yarn hoard.  But I'd sure welcome encouragement from time to time if I manage to make progress.

And now that I got that off my chest, I need to get busy.  My crochet hooks (and yarn) await!

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Editing to note that I got it wrong above.  I know...  dividing by 100 is tough isn't it?   Actually, I was looking at the wrong column on the Excel chart.  I was looking at a column called "Skeins".  But today (the day after I wrote this post) I noticed another column called "Remaining skeins".   😯  Evidently, the "Skeins" column is a record of all skeins entered into my stash.  So, assuming "Remaining skeins" is what I actually have to work from, my recalculations show that I only have 18 years of yarn!  

I know.  I know.  It's still ridiculous.  But somehow I feel like I've made progress already. 😃