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And that isn't quite true.

I think that part of my problem is that I don't like to revisit things that I feel should be done already. I made the backpack, and made it too small. So I've reworked it. Made the squares larger, redid the straps (although I think I'm going to have to re-redo them, since they're a bit short now.) It's better now, but I'm not getting the sense of accomplishment that I would like. Because the project was already done, you see. And now I'm just tinkering with it.

Another reason it feels as if I haven't done anything is that I haven't really-and-truly seen my coffee table in months. My ideal "resting" coffee table is nearly empty. It has a bowl of floating candles, and that's it. Yes, things go on it when I'm sitting on the couch. But when I get up, these things go away. And the candles remain.

Not so recently. The Sunset Rain blanket has been parked there since early summer. I need to assemble it and edge it. No rush, really, but I want it done and out of my home by Thanksgiving. (For the non-Americans, that's a month and a half from now.) Sounds doable.

And I'm making progress on my Border Collie blanket. A week and a half ago, I was just over a third of the way through with the squares for the blanket. I've now got 32 out of 36 squares done for the blanket, and 5 out of 8 squares done for the pillow. True, 3 squares a day is not precisely light-speed, but it's a far cry from the snail's progress I thought I was making. I've finished the blue and the green, am nearly done with the beige (one more pillow square), and then I'll need just six black-and-white squares. I'll be done with those by this weekend.

Ahh... This weekend. NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. I'm still not sure that I'll be attending. I'd like too, but I'm not sure I need the temptation just yet. I mean, more unstarted projects?

And I just know that if I go up there, I'm going to end up with at least a drop spindle and some roving. And I really really really don't need to add another fiber art to my repertoire right now. Really. Truly. I want to, but I don't need to. And I really need to make room for new projects by clearing out some of the old ones. Really.

The problem is... It's mid-October. A lovely time of year. And I'd rather be outside, enjoying the colors and the coolness, than inside, assembling blankets.

Decisions, decisions. On the one hand, I could go, enjoy the outing and the weather and the sights and sensations, and buy new toys with a combination of excitement and guilt. On the other hand, I could stay home, take comfort in the subtler satisfaction of finishing projects like a virtuous little crafter, and budget time/money/space to take up spinning next year.

One blanket done, small bag almost made

Well, this blanket has been completed and donated to the nursing home as of Friday.
Americana Trip

Odd that I remember the easy numbers. It's 45" across, and 2 meters long. That's... 114cm across and 79" long, I think. But 45 and 200 are easier to remember than 114 and 79.

Also, I made a backpack. I went to the local renfaire this past weekend. (Last weekend in my area.) I enjoy going to the renfaire, but I dislike carrying my bag around, and envied my cousin her backpack. This year, I had the brilliant idea of making my own backpack. So I bought yarn early this summer. Crocheted a square, and did nothing with it. (Well, that's not entirely true, but that's another post.)

Last week, I bought more yarn. Three skeins of Lily Sugar'n Cream. Two in 202, Midnight Magic Ombre, and one in 009, Bright Navy. Jettisonned my original plans as too complicated, and made two (well, almost two) large granny squares out of the multicolor yarn. (One was the right size (7 rounds), the other wasn't (6.25 rounds).) Didn't have time to make the other full size, since it was nearly 8:30 Saturday morning, and I had 15 minutes until I had to leave. So I stitched them together loosely with navy yarn, and cut a length of navy yarn that I hoped would be okay for straps. Finished the assembly at 8:44 and was out the door.

The straps were less than ideal, so I redid them. Twice. I'm pretty happy with the result, but I'm going to disassemble it and make it larger.

I made it about 8" by 8"/20cm by 20cm, which was the perfect size for what I needed to take to the fair. (Wallet, cell phone, kleenex.) What I didn't consider was that I'd acquire stuff at the fair. (The Fair guide (11"/28cm tall) and the drinking cup were the troublemakers.)

Anyway, I'm going to take it apart, and make both squares 8 rounds. Then add more stitching at the top. And redo the straps so the whole thing is a bit easier to put on and take off.

So next year, I'll be able to put everything in the bag. Including sunscreen. Ouch.

Next project: the blanket for the Camp Border Collie silent auction. I don't know when my cousin needs the blanket, but I would like to have it done as soon as possible. Avert unpleasant last-minute surprises. I figure if I start it now, even with interruptions, I should have it done well before the auction date in June, and comfortably before my self-assigned deadline of March 31.

What I'll be working on this evening...

Americana Trip

Have to make two more white squares, finish the main assembly (make two more "scarves" and then do three long seams), and do the edging. (Yes, the blanket in the photo is done - I edited the post.)

And then I'll work on the other blanket that needs assembly. It's nice to get back into production mode!
I was reading crochet and saw a question from someone who wanted to reverse engineer a crochet motif so she could make another one.

The answers all had some similarities (make a stitch into a space in the previous row, then chain one, and make a stitch in the next space, repeat that along the sides, and oh, each corner space gets a (stitch, ch1, stitch cluster), but they also agreed that the stitch was either double or half double (US terminology: everyone else, read that as "treble or half treble"). I disagreed. It looked like US single/UK double to me.

So I tried it.

I spent several hours last evening crocheting a pot-holder size hexagonal motif.
katrina hexagon
Yes, it's pretty, and yes, I demonstrated to my own satisfaction that the stitch used was US single/UK double, but darn it, it would have been nice to get more than three hours sleep last night.

Ah, well. I'm nuts. I'll just have to live with that.

Memo to self...

  • When going to a craft store, please remember to bring a small ball of yarn and a crochet hook. This will help avoid awkward situations such as the one that occurred this past Saturday, where someone who will remain nameless overheard two shoppers try to figure out a granny square, and had to extract a promise from them that they would buy the yarn in question if she used it to demonstrate.

  • When working with even numbers of stitches, and an evenly repeating pattern (such as k1p1), you will not be creating a seed stitch effect by working each row exactly the same. Yes, you will knit into the stitch that you had just purled, but because you are working on straight-needles-not-in-the-round, the magic of flipping the fabric means that the little loopy things will end up flopping over in the same direction. And you'll end up with 1x1 ribbing. Try not to be surprised by this.

  • When discussing the desired size of the finished dishcloth with the recipient, take into account that different fibers may have different gauges, and that knitted items tend to be thicker and stretchier than woven items of the same length and width. In other words, casting on 60 stitches of worsted weight cotton to get a 12"/30cm dishcloth may produce something more suited to the bath than the kitchen.

I've cast on a smaller cloth, and it seems to be working so far. It should be 9" in theory (45st @ 5sts/in), but mine is coming out closer to 10" on 5mm needles, and it will likely stretch to 12" in use. Sounds about right. (And it means that I need to frog the yellow one!)


Do I work on cream squares, for a blanket that doesn't yet have a fixed pattern...?

Well, okay, I have some ideas, but nothing is set in stone. Except for the fact that it'll be 7 by 11, and the squares will be 6rd/23st. And that I've got 25.5 of the 38 or 39 cream squares done. But that's all that's certain at the moment.

Do I work on assembling my Sunset Rain blanket, even though I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing, and the A/C has switched off, which makes draping myself with a layer of acrylic less than appealing...?

Do I work on my knitting (just garter and seed stitch), with my shiny new 4.5mm(US7) needles, and my cotton yarn in Lily Sugar'n Cream Sunshine (00073), Delft Blue (00028), and Sunkissed Ombre (00218)...? (Oh, and Carol? I'll have you know that I was just going to get the solid colors until I saw how pretty that swirly red-pink-white dishcloth of yours was. That's why I got the blue-white-yellow cotton. See if I can get a cool pattern like that.)

And most important, do I watch The Princess Bride first, or Desk Set?

Decisions, decisions....
Near future.

Not sure how it happened.

One minute, I was on the phone with my mother talking about how I'd botched my finances.*Collapse )

The next minute, I'm looking up information about quilt fairs in New England so she and I can go on vacation together.

Anyway, the World Quilt & Textile: On Tour - New England show will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire from Thursday, August 18th, to Sunday, August 21st.

The registration deadline for classes is this Friday, so we could conceivably sign up for classes. Except that the brainpower that would take (reading the descriptions, picking the most-wanted course per time period, getting my mother's input for what she wants to do, and filling out the forms) is a bit more than I can spare at the moment. And since hotels, meals, and classes would run about $600 per person, I want to be at least slightly sure that we aren't wasting time and money.

Fortunately, there is a bit of a middle ground. If we are in the Manchester area during those days, we can see the show and merchants mall without attending classes. And since admission is only $10, my inner skinflint won't even blink.

I'm not entirely sure what we'll do beyond that. About an hour north of Manchester, there is a fabric shop in Center Harbor (on Lake Winnipesaukee) called Keepsake Quilting. I'd like to go there. And they have a sister store called Patternworks. Looks as if they sell all sorts of lovely yarns. I definitely want to go there.

There are other things in the Winnipesaukee area, too. More traditional touristy things. Some of which I've been to, and most of which I haven't.

And an hour north of Center Harbor lie the White Mountains. The Old Man in the Mountain may be gone, but there are other things to see and do. Who knows... I might even decide that my car needs a "This car climbed Mt Washington" bumper sticker.

(And let's not even talk about the fact that Rhinebeck - home of the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival - is just about an hour north of where I live. That's in October. Plenty of time to think about that later.)

Some updates!

Well, I finally added a page for the Lavender Patch blanket.

I'm doing something experimental for my next blanket, and it may change quite a bit as it progresses.

Solid: Red Heart Super Saver 347 Lt Periwinkle
Variegated: Red Heart Super Saver 968 Starbrights

Anyway, this is a triple experiment:
1. New way of doing solid squares, with the increases echoing a diagonal, rather than forming a straight-line seam. (Works well for creating the squares. We'll how the seaming goes.)
2. Use of multicolored yarn within the main part of the blanket. (Haven't tried this since the first blanket.) And use of more traditional lacy granny squares. (Okay, the squares themselves aren't much of a stretch, but I've never combined lacy squares with solid squares.)
3. Use of half-square triangles on the edges. (This is definitely different! I have no idea what I'm doing, but if it works, it should be pretty cool.)

I have no idea how this is going to work out, but it looks good so far! (19 blue solid, 1 blue triangle, 2 variegated squares)

Oh yeah, and I fixed a hotlink that I had promised to fix about 6 weeks ago. My intentions were good. My time management was bad. Mea culpa. (Thank you, Jeanne, for taking time out from your happy scrappy blanket to send me a nudge comment!)

And the sun is now down, and I hear fireworks. Time to go out onto the balcony and see what I can see over the trees!