Feb 28, 2010

And on the last day of the Olympics

I finished a long-time UFO.

Ravelympics Day 17: Finished UFO!

Yes, those are the closing ceremonies in the background, and as the Olympics ended, as the Ravelympics draw to a close on their last day, I got in one last project: I finished my long-abandoned Scrapilicious Mini Tote, transforming it forever into the Olympic-licious Mini Tote. Hurrah.

Congratulations to Canada, to every Olympian in Vancouver this year, and to all this year's Ravelympians. May your courage and your tools of choice never fail. ;D

Craft or Bust Week 8 check-in and roundup (Feb 21-27)

Notes & Announcements

Happy last day of the Ravelympics/2010 Winter Olympics! If I miss something in this week's check-in and round-up, just let me know ... My brain has been all wrapped up in the crazy sports and knitting events of the past couple of weeks. ;)

Roundup of Week 7: What We Crafted From Feb 14-20

  • Velma was a multi-medalist in the Ravelympics with 3 WIPs finished, a hat knitted, and 3 UFOs frogged. Woohoo! She also took her required daily photos and read two books. Read about it on her blog.
  • Jessica cast on some socks for the Ravelympics, tried to make a lemon meringue pie and experienced epic failage (but hey, at least she tried ;)), made oatmeal cookies that did not fail, put together a Lego car, and watched a metric ton of hockey (which, er, teaches creativity, even if it isn't a craft, right?).
  • Sarah made more shiny things and oxidized them, ate marshmallows, made an attack on a flea market and got away with more trinkets, felt pressured by my CoB updates to be funny (oops ;)), and resolved to make a light bulb terrarium (which I'm sure we'll get to see when it happens ... right?).
  • Halloweentango (Michelle) finished sorting photographs (and light shone down from above), uploaded sunsets to an online gallery, studied lace knitting, made yummy chocolate cake, started knitting some new lace, and won two Ravelympics medals. Read about it on her blog.
  • ThisGoodLife (Anna) was back with us last week after a little hiatus ... Send her and her family positive thoughts, because her grandmother just died, and she found out while she was crafting newspaper and phone book pots. Erk. She and her father made a picture show, which certainly counts as crafty ... Read about it on her blog (and leave nice comments!).
  • LunabudKnits aka Stephanie Stratton finished some more of her neverending turquoise shawl (which I'm sure will be lovely :D), started carding some alpaca, shared her puni method, and carded some BFL (hey, I was dyeing BFL this week — maybe it's contagious! ;)).

Check-in for Week 8: What Have You Done Lately? (Feb 21-27)

What I did this week:

Ravelympics Day 13: Filey socks finished!Sunday, I sent out some more test-knitting packages, bought a set of dedicated measuring spoons for dyeing with, bought a new display item for craft shows, organized my Ravelry queue (made sure everything was in a category findable in a tab, and deleted some old things that weren't available any more or that I've grown beyond wanting to knit). Monday, I wrote my CoB RAK wish list and finally sent the consolidated wish list file to everyone who sent one in (e-mail me and let me know if you want a copy but didn't send in a wish list yourself), started dyeing a bunch of BFL roving to make into yarn for the Etsy shop, received my first feedback from a test knitter, organized my test-knitting files, worked on updating the test-knitting form but didn't get it working the way I wanted so it isn't uploaded yet, sent some more test-knitting packages, and knitted on the second Filey sock for the Ravelympics. Tuesday, I made hot and sour soup, picked out some beads for making a test-knitter's compensatory stitch markers, finished knitting the Filey socks FINALLY!, made a page on the blog for my knitting patterns (see the little link at the top? ;)), picked up some abandoned Colonial wool and my neglected drop spindle and spun a little yarn to test the product of my wrist distaff pattern, packaged up a RAK, and wrote drafts of two more tiny knitting patterns. Wednesday, I got hooked up as a Ravelry designer, sent my RAK, picked up a cross-stitching project from B's mom, bought more vinegar to dye with, re-started knitting on my Scrapilicious Mini Tote UFO for the Ravelympics and then had to stop and wash a ball of yarn that had escaped and gotten dirty, started writing out some detailed gusset instructions for my pattern being tested, and spun a little more Colonial wool on the drop spindle. Thursday, I talked to a friend of mine about an artsy collaboration for his company, dyed some more BFL top, and ... did my taxes, which isn't crafty, but involves my crafty business. ;) Friday, I dyed some more BFL top and worked on my Silken Scabbard UFO for the Ravelympics. Saturday, I finished the detailed gusset instructions and sent them to the test knitting group, wrote myself a writing pep talk, did some plot work for the Ancient Book Project, and ripped out and re-knitted a bit of the Silken Scabbard that I messed up while watching Apolo Ohno skate.

HOLY CRAP. The Ravelympics have apparently inspired me. ;) So.

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!)

Feb 24, 2010

Ravelry is for Designers!

First, the hug monster pattern that I tested a couple of weeks ago is up on Ravelry for purchase — yayyy! Check it out! (It's worth it just to see the pirate version. ;))

Also, momentous news! I. Have. Been. Hooked up as a designer on Ravelry.

Behold, my profile now shows that I Design Patterns:

Designer Hookup!

(The blue arrow points to the hug monster I made with that pattern I just mentioned.)

My official designer page is here, but I haven't done anything special to it yet, so it's just an echo of my personal profile ... with my designs attached at the bottom.



Feb 21, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 7 check-in and roundup (Feb 14-20)

It feels like it's been a year since the last check-in, for me. Can't tell what's going on with my sense of time, there. Anyway, this week we're joined in Craft or Bust by Courtney! Woohoo! No links to her online presence at the moment, though ... booo. ;) Her CoB goals are:

1) Complete six quilts in 2010.
2) Experiment with new bag patterns. Complete at least one a month.
3) Get creative with knitting projects. Don't just stick with favorites even though patterns are comforting.
4) Create a new meal every Sunday
5) Start a window garden.

Also, I have been a slacker on getting the RAK lists out. I'll send them today, though, to those of you who have expressed interest, and maybe I'll even put them into a post. ;)

And did you notice the link at the top of the blog to the page with all the CoB stuff on it? :D I haven't figured out yet how to make the tabs show up as a color instead of creepily floating little links, but anyway, CoB stuff should be easier to find now.

/announcements DONE!

Roundup of Week 6: What We Crafted From Feb 7-13]

  • Velma summed up her Week 6 thusly: "Ravelympics + 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse book signing + Valentine's Day embroidery." Read about it on her blog.
  • Jessica finished her bat shawl, despite the necessity of frogging, and blocked it — go, knitter, go! There was a convenient snow day, on which she baked bread, roasted a chicken, and made Rice Krispies treats. (Geez, you should come visit my house on snow days — not that we have them here...) She also made a vanilla pudding pie and knit about 6 inches of a hat for the dear Mr. Richard. Nice!
  • Sarah made and photographed a bunch of new jewelry, "prodded my new webpage hopefully, but found no signs of an emerging blog," (I just had to quote that because she keeps saying the funniest things in her check-ins ;)), and made French marshmallows. (To which I would like to say: OMG.) Even if she also "learned a valuable lesson. Rose syrup is not the same thing as rose water. Rose syrup is like the vanilla syrup you'd pour in your latte, and rose water is like vanilla extract, and if you use the same amount of rose water in a recipe that called for rose syrup, what you get are marshmallows that taste like rubbing alcohol and potpourri, but that keep your home smelling rosy for days." (I feel like a lazy bum quoting so much, but seriously, Sarah is Teh Funny. And also lives near enough that I should go steal some of her chocolate marshmallows, or the coconut rum(!!) ones.)
  • Meredith C posted twice to her blog (woo!), finished and blocked a stole, made mole and fresh tortillas (you guys are seriously kicking my butt on the foodiness), swatched her alpaca/silk handspun, joined the knitting Olympics, and cast on a shrug and a baby onesie. Holy whoa. Read about her productive week on her blog here and here.
  • Halloweentango (Michelle) finished her first lace piece (AWESOME!) and learned some new stitches doing so (MORE AWESOME!), worked on the TwitKAL shawl, finished a pen drawing, and continued sorting through photographs. Read about it on her blog.
  • Lunabudknits, a.k.a. Stephanie Stratton flicked, carded, and spun a skein of yarn from a fleece. (Which I also need to do. ::looks guiltily at bags of fleece piling up in craft room::) She also worked on her turquoise shawl, persevering against the apparent lack of progress that happens in the last part when you're knitting like a million stitches in a row. She also picked an alpaca fleece so she could start carding it. Mmm. Alpaca.

Check-in for Week 7: What Have You Done Lately? (Feb 14-20)

What I did this week:

Ravelympics badge: Designer BiathlonSunday, I had B do a photo shoot with me so I could finally test the fingerless gloves pattern, knitted on the TwitKAL shawl, turned the heel and powered through the gussets of Filey sock 1, and wrote up some documentation for prospective test-knitters. Monday I worked more on the test-knitter files and did a ton of work on building database-driven content for the Web site redesign (although I'm nowhere near finished). Tuesday I finished Filey sock 1, cast on Filey sock 2, and knit 2/3 inch of cuff ribbing (so THERE, Second Sock Syndrome!). And to throw in some food stuff because I'm feeling left out, I made Chinese longevity noodle soup with joi choi, enoki mushrooms and Thai hot peppers. :D Wednesday, I worked more on the test-knitter documents (I can hear you yawning ;)), posted my call to test knitters for the fingerless gloves, sent out the first test-knitting packages, sorted and started hand-carding some hand-dyed Merino clouds, and knit a few rows on Filey sock 2. Thursday, I finished writing a knit wrist distaff pattern, knit two wrist distaffs, photographed them, and posted the pattern here on the blog and in the Ravelympics finish line thread, thereby earning my first Ravelympics medal EVER! :D I also put in my request on Ravelry to be hooked up as a designer so I can edit my own pattern listings. Friday, I sent some more test-knitting packages to new testers and worked on Filey sock 2. Saturday, I looked up some steeking information with fixing my mom's tank top in mind, did some math in preparation for dyeing a big (big for me...) batch of fiber, and knit what felt like a ton on Filey sock 2 (from halfway through the leg all the way through the beginning of the gussets).

WHEW. I guess it feels like a year since the last check-in since I've done almost as much in one week as I did in all of last year. ;) Sooo...

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!)

Feb 20, 2010

Writing a book with a published author!

That sounds all fancy, doesn't it? ;) And of course I'm full of crap — but not completely.

What's up: I just discovered Holly Lisle's Write a Book With Me project, which reminds me of Craft or Bust, in a way. In Write a Book With Me, you...
  • Work on any project you choose.
  • Join any time.
  • Check in any time.
  • Try to write a little bit on a regular basis.
  • Don't worry about missing a day, a month, or more.
  • Have fun; no guilt.
  • Aim to finish your book.

And in CoB, you:
  • Join whenever.
  • Stay as long as you like.
  • Have fun; be inspired; show off your achievements.
  • Try to check in every week, but if you don't, no worries.
  • Try to craft regularly, even if it's only a little bit.
  • Work on any project or projects you choose.
  • Set your own goal(s).
Anyway, if you've checked it out at all (or even if you haven't), the subtitle to my blog reads "One little pirate chick spins yarn, knits, weaves, sews, writes, babbles, runs a crafty business, talks about speculative fiction and reality, and chases dreams."

You may have noticed I haven't done much of the speculative fiction or writing bits, even though they're a large part of why I changed the blog from plain old "Quicksilver Crafter" to "Quicksilver Crafter 2.0." But! I have a Cunning Plan. I just signed up for Holly Lisle's "Crash Revisions" mini-workshop on SavvyAuthors.com, to learn how to revise a novel in seven days — even though I don't have a finished novel. Ha, ha. ;D (Three halves of unrelated novels do not a finished book make.) Can you see my thinking? The mini-workshop is March 28. I have over 50,000 words written already. And if I write every day from now through March 27, I'll be at least 8,000 words closer to finishing my novel. Maybe I'll even be finished.

And that's however much closer to that elusive, decades-old goal: having a novel written! :D :D :D

BTW, I have NaNoWriMo to thank for what I have written so far, but also to thank for the multiple book projects, since I wasn't sure, the first time I did NaNoWriMo, whether I would end up writing complete drivel, so I started a new project rather than work on the one I had going, which I didn't want to derail with drivel. ;)

More later, after I ponder whether I'll really be joining Write a Book With Me. Regardless, I need an attack plan to get That Darn Book (or any one of them) finished. Finally.

To steek, or not to steek?

Once upon a time, I knit a tank top for my mom in under a week. It was Christmas, and I was determined. Held my own little endurance-knitting contest. WIN! It was finished in time. It was beautiful. I gave it to her. DONE.

But there was one flaw in the performance: The top was knit in the round from bottom to top, and although I bound off reeaaaaallly loosely for the neckline, as my mom puts it, her head is too big for the hole. ;) (It does fit over her head, but I take it she doesn't like how it feels when she pulls it on.) The neckline in question:

To steek, or not to steek?

So I took the thing back and told her I'd fix it. I don't want it just sitting in her clothing pile, wasting away for lack of attention. I could just undo the bind-off (little though I relished that idea) and re-bind-off with a much stretchier method. Right? Sure ... As I tried to make off with it, she asked me one of those questions that non-knitters ask with such nonchalance, but that make knitters cringe: "Can you just put a slit in the front?"

I told her that would probably be a little bit beyond me, but because my brain works like this, the idea keeps popping back into my head. I hate to think a thing is impossible, and the more I think about it, the more I remember that to give a good gift, one should give what's wanted and not what one wants to give ... and I'm one of those people who gets crazy ideas, and likes the idea of doing the crazy thing just to show it can be done, never mind whether it's the most practical thing. I could do any number of other things to make the neckline looser; I could even undo part of it and reknit it back-and-forth to make a slit in the front. But like I said, I'm a little crazy. So here I am, thinking of steeking the thing. And I've never steeked before.

I looked up some steeking resources this afternoon. Kristin Nicholas waxes poetic about steeking on her blog, and over some sweaters that look totally worth it. Mary Ann Stevens wrote a nice, thorough tutorial on how to steek, including her fancy (and currently incomprehensible to me, but still very attractive) covered steeking method. The more I read about steeking, the more I want to try it. Those colorwork sweaters are so pretty (and so impractical for the semitropical Floridian clime), and it looks like it'd be fun to knit a tube sweater and then cut holes for the sleeves (never mind that I'm not sure what that style of sweater looks like on me) ... but none of that answers the question of whether a steek will easily solve my mom's tank top problem, or whether it will be more likely to make me want to stab myself with my knitting needles because I have now created a completely mucked-up tangle of yarn that dreams of the days when it was a tank top.

Maybe I'm ahead of myself. Maybe there are people reading along who are like What the F is a steek???? and/or Why are steeks so scary, already??

Well, this is what a steek is: It's a place where you cut a big hole in your knitting and try to force the thing not to unravel. It's a little like purposefully putting a huuuge run in your stockings because you want them to button up the front — or really, a little worse, because a run is more like a dropped stitch, not a big fat wad of cut ends. (Want to see some scary scissors + knitting photos? Check out the unreinforced steek portion of Eunny Jang's Steeking Chronicles.)

I'm dramatizing it, of course. ;) Apparently, steeking with self-loving, felty-in-a-good-way Shetland wool is virtually a breeze. But my mother's top, being a tank top, being knit for Florida weather, is not made of Shetland wool. It's not even made of wool. It's made of cotton. Slippery, smooth, cool-wearing cotton. Which is probably one of the worst things it could be in terms of steeking potential. And I'd have to put the steek in right at the shaping decreases.

Which means I should probably not try it. But still. The thought won't go away. Maybe the answer is to practice steeking ... to practice steeking a lot ... before I make the final decision. And in the meantime, I'll sneak in a new bind-off on the neckline. ;D If it works, then maybe I won't have to worry any more about steeking this particular top.

But the steeking bug has bitten. And now it's only a matter of time...

Feb 19, 2010

Free Knitting Pattern: Fiber Helper/Wrist Distaff

It's the week of the knitting pattern! This one's free and quick, and takes 10 or fewer yards of yarn. Of course, it won't be much use if you aren't a spinner or don't know one — but there's always room for a new craft, right? ;) Anyway, this pattern is for a wrist distaff. I'll probably make a PDF out of it later, but I wanted to post the pattern before I lost my nerve. Here 'tis.

Fiber Helper/Wrist Distaff
Design and Pattern by Crystal Calhoun
A Star & Crossbones Knitting Pattern

Wrist distaff / fiber helper

A tiny bit lacy, a tiny bit cabley, and they only take a tiny bit of yarn. Ta-da! A stashbuster knitting project for spinners or friends of spinners. For those of you who haven't used a wrist distaff before, there's a nice short demo video here.

Designer's notes: pattern structure

The wristband is knit flat, then joined together to become I-cord, which ends in a little bell or circle to help keep the fiber from slipping off. The "stopper" at the end is knit in the round — so you get a lot of technique for the tiny yardage. ;)

Added August 26, 2010: At least one person has also gotten a ruffled stopper using these directions. I think if you use a heavier yarn than recommended, or knit at a larger gauge than I did for some other reason, you'll probably end up with ruffles rather than a circle or a bell. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know if you end up with ruffles, or some other unexpected result, too!

  • Around 10 yds of worsted-weight yarn
  • Size 6 double-pointed needles

Stitch Patterns

Crossed Stitch (crs): Insert right ndl into 2nd st on left ndl, and knit. Knit 1st st on left ndl (st closest to edge of ndl). Slip both sts off left ndl at once.

And now, the knitting!

CO 4 sts. (Designer used the long-tail cast-on.) Purl one row.

Row 1 (RS): k1, crs, k1
Row 2 (WS): sl1 purlwise, p2, sl1 as if to purl tbl

Rep these two rows for 7 inches or until wristband is long enough to fit comfortably around your wrist with ease (it will need to slip on and off easily, but not be so loose that it will fall off while you're spinning). End by knitting a WS row, ready to start a RS row.

Next row, join wristband into a circle: Hold CO edge behind live stitches and, for all sts of row, knit into one live stitch and one stitch of CO edge at the same time.
Tip: If you find that easier read than done, try this technique for the wristband join row: Knit each CO/live st pair in two steps. Put the right needle tip into both the live st and the CO edge st. Hold the CO edge firmly with left hand, and draw the working yarn through the CO edge st. Then, holding the left needle as usual, draw working yarn through live st on needle. (Whew!)
Begin I-cord: Knit one row. * Without turning work, slide live sts to right end of dpn and bring working yarn to right edge of knitting; knit all sts. Rep from * until I-cord measures 4 inches, or desired length of wrist distaff.

Increase for bottom stopper and join to knit in the round:

Row/Rnd 1 (inc): kfb into all sts. (Divide sts over at least 3 dpns after the first rep of this inc row, and continue knitting stopper in the round.)
Rnd 2: Purl.

Wrist distaffRep these two rnds 1-3 times depending on how big a stopper you want. Knit one round. Bind off. Weave in ends. (I like to "weave in" the yarn dangling off the wristband by running it into the hollow space inside the I-cord, then bringing the needle out near the bottom of the I-cord and clipping it close to the I-cord — but not so close I cut the I-cord.)

Your fiber helper/wrist distaff is ready to help you enjoy making more yarn!

License/copyright: This pattern and items created from it are intended for personal, noncommercial use only. Please do not reproduce and/or redistribute this pattern without the designer's permission. If you're interested in using this pattern or the products of this pattern for commercial purposes, please contact the designer at crystal@starncrossbones.com. :D

Feb 17, 2010

Call to test-knitters: fingerless gloves are ready!

It's officially time. My first wristwarmers/fingerless gloves pattern — yes, the one I've been blathering about since late last year ;), the revised version of the gray wristwarmers design you may have seen — is ready for someone other than me to test-knit it. Dum-dum-da-DUM!

Fingerless gloves

As mentioned before, I'll be giving out goodies for this test knit (and you'll probably get to choose between a couple of options). I'll also need a pretty quick turnaround — I'd like feedback by February 24. I knit one fingerless glove in one night, though, and they only take a little over 100 yards of yarn, so the deadline shouldn't be too difficult to meet. (These would probably make an easy Ravelympics medal ... wahahahaha. ;))

Vital stats for the pattern
  • Yardage: 110 yards
  • Yarn weight and type: smooth, evenly-spun, light worsted weight/DK to heavy worsted weight/aran (pattern includes information on two gauges)
  • Yarn color (recommended): light to medium solid colors or long color repeats (like Noro yarn has) — texture will be obscured by dark colors or frequent color changes
  • Recommended needles: size 7 double-pointed needles (set of 4)
  • Gauge: for light worsted/DK weight yarn: 5 sts/inch; for heavy worsted/aran weight yarn: 4.5 sts/inch
  • Difficulty level: beginner/advanced beginner
  • Skills needed: CO, BO, knit, purl, decrease, using waste yarn, pick up and knit, reading simple charts, edited to add: knitting in the round
  • Other required materials: 2 stitch markers, waste yarn (about 6 inches)
If you want to be in the Star & Crossbones test-knitting group, go to my shiny new test-knitter application form (I made it myself! OoooOOOooo!) and sign up! If you see anything wonked up about the form, BTW, email me and let me know. It's fresh off the keyboard, and I will much appreciate it if you point out anything ungood about it so I can fix it. :D The request for notification of wonked-up-ness applies across the board to the sign-up process, really.

And for the record, you absolutely do not need to be an expert knitter to test-knit. You just need to match or exceed the skill level required by the pattern, which is why I listed that tidbit of information above.

See you in the testing pool. ;D

Feb 14, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 6 check-in and roundup (Feb 7-13)

Notes and Announcements

Happy Chinese New Year, supercrafters! Oh, and happy Valentine's, too. ;)

New person!

This week we're joined by LunabudKnits AKA Steph, whose CoB goal(s) are: to finish all UFO's on my knitting needles; to clean, card, spin and knit a sweater out of the BFL fleece I bought last year; and to really hunker down and finish spinning my friend's alpaca fleeces so that her sister can crochet them into a blanket for her.

RAK List Update

I have currently have four RAK forms on file. If you're interested in sending/receiving crafty goodies, check out the information near the bottom of the rules page and send in your form. I'll be sending out the RAK forms by e-mail first, I think, and then maybe I'll post them somewhere around here...

Roundup of Week 5: What We Crafted From Jan 31-Feb 6

  • Halloweentango (Michelle) finished a knitted RAK square, worked on her TwitKAL shawl, worked on her inspiration book (ooo, that sounds nice!), read about felting, and sorted photographs. Read about it on her blog!
  • Velma spun a yarn called "Rosy Nipples" (ha, ha ;D), attended two stitch 'n bitch gatherings, and acquired new craft supplies. Read about it on her blog!
  • Meredith C did a double check-in last week, in which she frogged her scarf+hood project (sniffle), worked on her stole (see the blog link for a photo!), finished her Veyla mitts, spun some yarn, swatched lace and swatched for a baby-gift project, and fought a spell of startitis. Read about it on her blog!
  • Sarah bought a web domain and hosting and wished for a blog to emerge as a result ;), and learned about the need for gloves and a vise in metalworking as she was attacked repeatedly by a chasing hammer. ;)
  • LunaTheFarmLady changed her blog banner, streamlined her blog's CSS, added some blog widgets, worked on her WordPress Web Shop, and started working with graphic software with the goal of putting together a flyer and brochure for her shop opening. She also finished her patternless mitt, started crocheting baby blanket squares for a friend who had a baby, got together supplies for making a Valentine garland with a friend, organized some non-fibery craft supplies with her new apprentice spinner ;D, went to Ikea for shop display supplies, put together a huge yarn order (and started working up the courage to send it in), and spun some more on her Valentine yarn. Wheeeeeew.
  • Jessica finished the body of a shawl and picked up stitches for the border, cast on a Fair Isle Harry Potter bag, acquired yarn for a friend's hat, cast on the hat, made a banana cake, and started a game of six degrees of separation on her living room wall (which sounds really interesting...).
  • Vickie worked on finishing her plaster shrines (blog post here), started a project for Art & Soul Vegas (blog post here), and learned to stuff arting into small moments by always having something going. Hurrah!
  • Elabeth worked yet more on her knitting WIPs (so. much. knitting.) and finished a beaded bracelet WIP, with promised photos to come. ;D

Check-in for Week 6: What Have You Done Lately? (Feb 7-13)

What I did:

Ravelympics Day 2/Filey socksSunday, I finally cast on the Hug Monster test knit (Rav link) for NattyKnits and knit the body. Monday, I finished the Hug Monster and sent my comments to the lovely designer; I also cast on Traveling Woman shawl very belatedly for the TwitKAL. Tuesday, I made a set of test lace stitch markers for me to try on TwitKAL shawl, and worked more on knitting the TwitKAL. Wednesday, I created a yards per ounce spreadsheet for my handspun yarn. (I'll be sharing it with you guys soon — as soon as it's not ugly any more. ;)) Thursday, I added a scrolling product widget to the Star and Crossbones Web site, worked on the Web site redesign (no peeking yet! ;)), converted my business logo from Photoshop to Illustrator, and prepped for the Ravelympics with a new Ravatar and some project tagging. Friday was Ravelympics Day 1! I cast on Brian's late-Christmas-gift Filey socks and knit the cuff of one sock during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and worked a little more on the Web site redesign. Saturday, Ravelympics Day 2, I knit to the end of the leg of Filey Sock 1, and finished one rep of Chart A on TwitKAL (actually, I made it to the beginning of the color change in the yarn — finally!).

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!)

Day 2 of the Ravelympics: Day of the Filey Sock Leg

Yesterday — Day 1 of the Ravelympics — I made it through the cuff ribbing of one of Brian's late Christmas socks, a while (I can't remember what that means; an hour? more?) after the opening ceremonies ended. Am I slow? I wasn't sure. There was one knitter who made it all the way through a pair of socks DURING the ceremonies. Sheesh. This is as far as I got:

Filey progress

Then, today (I'm using Baxil Standard Time, meaning even though it's technically the 14th as I write this, I haven't slept, so it's still the 13th BST), I made it through the leg of Sock 1:

Ravelympics Day 2/Filey socks

And also as I type, there are eight people past the Sock Hockey finish line (Rav link). But I can see why most of them are there — most of them are knitting smallish socks, or knitting with largish yarn, or both, with one exception, who specifically noted that she knit aaaalllll day (another Rav link). The Sock Hockey progress thread (yet another Rav link) looks pretty promising, too — meaning that no one there looks like they're waaaay ahead of me.

So what gives with that one person who finished an entire pair of socks during the opening ceremonies?? Is she just the fastest knitter on the planet???



She used a knitting machine.


Guess I'm doing okay after all. :D

Of course, my poor TwitKAL has been sitting abandoned for two days, which I don't want to make a habit, or I really will end up with another UFO — and I'm right in the middle of a lace repeat, too, so if that turns into a UFO, I'll be pretty lost when I pick it up, not-terribly-complicated-pattern or not. Note to self: Finish that lace pattern repeat tonight or tomorrow.

Tomorrow's Ravelympics goal: Turn heel on Brian's Filey Sock 1, knit as much of foot as possible. If Sock 1 is finished, immediately cast on Sock 2 so as to avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome.

And now, off for the night. Go teams!

Feb 12, 2010

O, Winter 2010 Ravelympics — let's begin!

The opening ceremonies for the Winter 2010 Olympics have begun — and so, I have cast on a new project in their honor, and as my beginning for the Ravelympics. (Yes, for once I'm not beginning late. Woooo!) I'm representing Team Hopelessly Overcommitted and Team COLORBOMBers this year, and my main event is WIPs Dancing. Yeah, if I get even two WIPs finished, I'll be satisfied.

This is my first Ravelympics, so here's hoping it's a good one. :D

Ravelympics Cast-On/Opening Ceremonies

Feb 10, 2010

New jewelry for my knitting

Tonight I made stitch markers.

Lace stitch markers

They're meant for lace knitting. I'll test them with my TwitKAL shawl (which, by the way, I cast on yesterday — finally...), and if they don't snag or catch or attack my knitting in some other way while I'm knitting it, then there should be some appearing in the shop shortly ... or maybe I'll be giving some away ... OooOOOooo...

Feb 7, 2010

Craft or Bust Week 5 check-in and roundup (Jan 31-Feb 6)

Notes & Announcements

Based on the response in last week's poll, we're on for the CoB RAK List. Woohoo! So let's RAK. If you want to be on the Craft or Bust RAK List, do the following:
  1. Make a wish list of things that would help you achieve your CoB goals. It can include crazy and extravagant items (you never know) as well as "easy" stuff.
  2. Check out the CoB rules page for the short and snappy RAK List form to send in, and fill that out. (Scroll doooown ... The form is near the bottom.
  3. Send your form and wish list to me at crystal@starncrossbones.com.
  4. Check back next week for the wish list info and start a-RAKin'!
New People!

We also have some new members this week:
  • Jessica, the Knitting Linguist joins us with the following comments: "My crafts are knitting and cooking/baking. I think that my goal will be to knit six pairs of socks this year. I don't know what kind of goal I could have in baking because I already bake every weekend."
  • Carmen also joins us, with the goal of making one item a week.

Roundup of Week 4: What We Crafted From Jan 24-30

(Going to be a short one this week, since we have a couple of people who will be doing double check-ins this week! ;))
  • Velma invented some cocktail recipes, spun yarn, made some custom fiber and started a new knit object. WooOooo. Read about it on her blog.
  • Sarah learned to make silk rosettes (and needs some ideas for how to use them — anyone?), had some crocheting issues that made her feel like a first-grader (or something like that), but on the up side, made some lovely jewelry that you can see in the Flickr pool. ;)
  • Halloweentango (Michelle) knitted yet more on the 12x12 inch square, worked on her TwitKAL shawl, took about 500 photographs (oops, I still need to go back and answer that thread! Sorry for my slackerdom!), and finished her art card exchange project. Read about it on her blog.
  • Luna worked on revamping her blog (LOVE that new banner photo!), took photos, knit, and started spinning a new yarn from her own dyed and blended fiber (yum) that will become a COLORBOMBer yarn. See photos on her blog.
  • Elabeth knitted a bunch, added projects to her Ravelry project page, and did a supply check that she hopes will help inspire her (okay, my words, not hers ;)) to do more crafts. Read about it on her blog.
Told you it would be short this week! Hopefully last week was insanely productive for everyone and we'll all have a lot to say. ;) Here goes my part:

Check-in for Week 5: What Have You Done Lately? (January 31-Feb 6)

What I did this week:

TwitKAL yarn in progressLast Sunday, I finished knitting the right wristwarmer while test-knitting my own pattern. Monday, I edited the pattern, made my first knitting charts in Illustrator, started laying out the pattern in InDesign, and spun some more on my TwitKAL yarn. Tuesday, I helped enable a friend to join the fiber arts world by meeting her at the local yarn/fiber shop and helping her pick out fiber for her new spindle — and I came home with some variegated Merino for another handspun shawl (ambitious, aren't I?). I also thrifted a bit to find something on which to photograph scarves, test photographed on the new scarf display, FINALLY finished spinning that TwitKAL yarn and started to ply it. Wednesday, plying the TwitKAL yarn consumed my craft time ... but I finished. Yay. Thursday, I read up on Ravelympics rules, made a potential Ravelympics project list, and it was a good mail day: some destashed fiber and a lace yarn RAK (to pass on as a knit RAK) arrived. I also bought more stuff from Velma to spin during the Ravelympics. Friday was this week's fail day. We'll call it my day off, even though it was more of a drama day than a vacation day. ;) Saturday, I finished spinning some organic cotton singles from Blonde Chicken and rather belatedly started test-knitting the hug monster pattern (Rav link) I need to send comments on today (but I'll finish today, I WILL! Stupid dramatic Friday and its delaying effect ;)).

Hmm. I feel a little better about my productivity when I put it all together like that. I guess this listing-of-accomplishments thing really works. ;) Anyway.

What did you craft this week?

(Don't forget to use the standard check-in format on the rules page!)

Feb 3, 2010

The Tale of the Monster TwitKAL Yarn: How to Spin a Shawl

O. M. G.

That's what I would name this yarn if I were lazy. (...or feeling particularly bizarre. ;))

I have finally finished spinning the TwitKAL yarn, and it turned out to be a monster. This is the biggest skein of yarn I have ever spun. At a guess, I don't need to worry about running out of yardage for the Traveling Woman shawl.

You want to see photos? Yeah? Yeah? Well, I sat there through what, twelve hours of spinning and plying, not even counting the dyeing? You can put up with a few more in-progress photos before you get to see the finished product, too, dangit. ;)

So we left off after the fiber was dyed and dry. The next thing I did was split each color in half (without worrying too hard about making them exactly equal halves) and make mini-sets of three colors — each set of three colors would go on one bobbin, then the two bobbins would get plied together. I actually wanted a bit of overlap between the color changes, to hopefully make for smoother transitions — which is why I didn't bother trying to split each color exactly in half.

TwitKAL yarn in progressTwitKAL yarn in progress

Close enough to equal weight for me. Next up: Spinning. Actually, pre-drafting before spinning, to take out any fiber stuck-togetherness (a.k.a. the bit of felting that I probably did when I wasn't paying attention to whether the dyepots were boiling ... ::whistles innocently::).

TwitKAL yarn in progress
TwitKAL yarn in progress
TwitKAL yarn in progress

For those who wonder this kind of thing (I do), the above photos only show half the fiber of a given color. I have waaaayyy too many photos of predrafted fiber now, though, if anyone likes to look at that sort of thing. ;)

TwitKAL yarn in progress
TwitKAL yarn in progress
And then it was time for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of spinning. Mini bobbin montage! (Yeah, this doesn't even begin to convey the hours and hours of tiny-yarn spinnage involved.)

At last there were two bobbins, no unspun fiber, and a ghetto lazy kate. The Magical Jumbo Flyer and Bobbin were just over the horizon...

TwitKAL yarn in progress

Finally, after more long hours of plying (with occasional cursing when one of the plies broke — not a problem the intrepid wheel+spinner normally have...), one unassuming but gigantic bobbin remained.

TwitKAL yarn in progress

Then, this dark and unpromising yarny caterpillar (if you will) split its chrysalis and unfolded its brightly-colored wings. (Ready for it? Ready? Ready??)

Monster TwiKAL yarn

TA-DA! And the close-ups!

TwitKAL yarn in progress
TwitKAL yarn in progress

There it is. Finished. Done. Finito. NO MORE. And it's, like, way, way, WAY more yardage than I need for this shawl. Ha, ha, ha. 4.9 ounces (weirdly, I didn't "lose" any weight, although I normally do with smaller skeins of fatter yarn). 686 yards. Around 18 WPI, a.k.a. sport weight to fingering weight, which is pretty much what I was going for (did I neglect to mention my trusty spinner's comparison card? Maybe it'll show up in a future photo...). Purple, blue, and greeny-blacky.

You may now applaud. Thank you, thank you. Bows all around. Flowers on the stage. The roar of the audience's sincere and deep appreciation. Ahhh.

(And whew. Wait — you mean I have to knit the shawl now? Groooaaan...)
Related Posts with Thumbnails