Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Finished Object of the Year: Red Iced Cardigan

Well, the sweater that I was trying to get finished in two weeks...didn't. However, it did get finished on Christmas day; a small present to myself. It took a total of 21 days to finish this sweater, which all things considering, isn't too shabby.

I really did try to get it finished in 14 days. At day 15 (December 16th), it looked like this:

It wasn't quite done, but it definitely looked like a sweater. I had finished the whole body including the sleeves. But the shawl collar wasn't anywhere near started. 

However, I had to put it aside because we were going to be hosting a Christmas Eve dinner at our house. There was a LOT to get done, which wasn't going to happen if I knitted on the sweater.

Part of the house cleaning involved completing the organization of the craft room, which meant that a lot of stuff would get taken out of the dining room (i.e. off the dining room table), which meant that we could actually using the dining table AS a table. (I'll post about THAT later...)

Insofar as this sweater, I really loved this pattern. It was extremely simple, yet elegant and functional. The seed stitch looks awesome on the shawl. There's a bit of waist shaping so that, despite it being a chunky yarn, it is slightly fitted. 

I LOVE the yarn too -- Queensland Chunky Kathmandu -- is a Merino, Cashmere, Silk blend. It's warm AND soft. Heck, I wore it a few times before I got around to putting buttons on it.

Finding the right buttons was a bit of a challenge. I went through my button box and tried a few that I had. I picked these out as they seemed to work, but I'm not even sure that I like the buttons. The jacket was perfectly serviceable without them.

I might replace the buttons at a later date, when and if I can find something more appropriate. But for now, these will do.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE this sweater?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Creating and Organizing Crafting Supplies

As most of my friends know, my entire house pretty much serves as one big huge crafting room. The dining room table has been our main workstation for quite some time, which leads to project sprawl....

(Not my house, but close enough....)

 Also, our storage situation has been hit or miss for quite some time. We primarily use a lot of plastic storage bins that stack, but this solution has proven inefficient.

We decided to finally tackle the problem head-on. I've been looking at various craft room ideas on Pinterest and such. Many use the Ikea Kallax / Expedit cases for storage. So, first, I decided to tackle my fiber & yarn stash first.

We picked up a 4x2 and 4x5 Kallax bookcase, stacked them onto each other, then bolted them to the wall in case of earthquakes.

Then using the storage bins (also from Ikea), I started organizing my stash by fiber and yarn weight; commercial vs. handspun. (It turns out that I didn't buy as many as I needed, so I need another trip to Ikea.)
  •  Top row - All fiber, which includes top, roving, braids, silk hankies, etc.
  • Second row (white) - Sweater amounts of yarn to individual aran/bulky weight
  • Third row (yellow) - Worsted weight yarn to sport weight
  • Fourth row (needs more bins) - Handspun yarn
  • Fifth row - Fingering/Sock weight + UFOs + Weaving supplies
  • Sixth row - Patterns, notion, and still unsorted yarns.

(Fleece amounts of roving are in another location.)

This sorting actually freed up quite a bit of space and confined it to a specific area (instead of having it all over the room).  Seeing it one location made me realize that I actually don't have as much fiber and yarn that I thought I did. Of course, this doesn't mean that I'm going to run out and buy more fiber and yarn, but it's nice to take stock!

Consolidating the Stash made it easier to put the industrial sewing machine into a closed room, whereas it was in our living room previously. Having it in the room means that we can close the door and not scare the cats with the very loud industrial motor.

As you can see by the photo, we're still not quite finished. We need to pick up more Kallax bookcases so that we can start organizing the sewing supplies too!

This process is going to be take a little bit of time to finish the whole room, but it's freeing up a lot of space in the rest of the house.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Quick Knit Sweater

After the disaster with my sock that I put into time-out, I wanted to start a quick knit project, preferably another sweater that just involved stockinette. (It's been COLD lately.) So, I went to my Ravelry queue and looked at projects for which I had yarn.

I came across, ICED, on Knitty. It pretty much met my requirements.
  • I had the yarn, which was Queensland Kathmandu Chunky (merino, cashmere, and silk). 
  • It was a sweater.
  • It was primarily stockinette.
  • Many Ravelers said that it was a really quick knit.
So, on a Friday evening, I swatched and got gauge at a US 10.5 (after steam blocking).

I pretty much knit on it non-stop over the entire weekend, which gave me half a sweater. I knitted at work during meetings, and even at the Mythbusters tour.

By Wednesday, I had the full body of the sweater completed, including adding pockets!

I still need to add the sleeves and collar, but if this continues at this pace, I'll have finished a sweater in two weeks! Woohoo

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Project Time Out

I've been on a sock knitting kick as of late. I had just finished my Hulky Invader (Zim) socks.

And I wanted to knit more self-striping yarn. I went through my Stash and found Electric Avenue by Stray Cat yarns. I previously had made  fingerless mits with it, but had plenty left over for socks.

I managed to finish the first of the pair but broke a set of knitting needles (US 0).  However, on the second set, I broke 3 sets of needles before I even got to the heel!

And to make matters worse, I misplaced the first of the pair! Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated, so I've decided to put this project on "time out" until I am ready to tackle it again.

And not to mention that I need to buy more US 0 needles before I finish it.