Games Finish Line

Posted in Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Organization, Ravellenic Games by tchemgrrl on August 13, 2012

All the knitting was completed, the inkle band was completely woven, a zipper was purchased, it’s blocking, but is not assembled. It’s not every week that both husband and child have Hand Foot and Mouth disease and I teach two workshops. Call it a silver medal, tripping on my shoelaces 3 feet before the finish line. Pictures soon. My primary goal, as for the TdF, was to reduce my time online, and I did an even better job of that the past two weeks than I did for the Tour. It feels great to be making things and feeling productive; please remind me of this sensation the next time I start living on Metafilter.

Somewhere in the middle of the muddle, I started in on organizing and cleaning my yarn and stash area (again/more). I basically haven’t done much except throw things into a different corner since 2009, and it’s really starting to show.

I’m partly dealing with the mess through stash reduction; I finished off a lot of bits during the Tour de Fleece, which opened up my Spinning WIP basket considerably, and was able to pass along another pound or so of fiber at this weekend’s fiber workshop, so I can play Yarn Tetris and figure out how everything fits together neatly. I’m a bit surprised to find myself eyeing my sewing machine, too. A few of the projects laying around are sewing ones, so I may make up some little Olympics-like goal for myself but with sewing, now that I’ve had my fun with spinning and knitting. Maybe do some sewing for 15 minutes every day for two weeks? Something along those lines. But first I need to fit all the pieces together in their respective locations.

(My real-life friends are doubtless laughing at me talking about my out-of-control stash right now, because it’s a lot smaller than a lot of people’s. But it is very messy. Before and after pictures might be in order.)

Now that the random unfinished bits are beaten down to a dull roar, I can concentrate more on figuring out the best way of organizing what’s left. We moved a little over a year ago, and the craft corner is still arranged in a very temporary way; it’s basically the same setup I had in the last 3-5 apartments, but more spread out so that what I want is never where I want it to be. It’s my goal to not move out of this house for a very long time, and that means that I can stop converting my yarn tub into a coffee table, and find a place where the yarn belongs and keep it there.

Anyone have any blog or pictures of stash organizational schemes?

Games Day 12

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on August 8, 2012

Hanging at home today with a sick-but-improving little dude, and am nearly done with the sweater knitting. Just have a few more rows of the hood, another inch or two of weaving, and then the finishing. Yippee!


Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on August 5, 2012

Hokay, so sleep training now out the window because little dude has a fever; doesn’t mean that mommy’s getting any more sleep. Pictures, but little commentary, because I’m going to go to bed early in preparation.


As you can see, I finished the yoke (and was WAY off on my yarn estimates, worse than any of the other ones, but at least it was overestimated and meant I didn’t have to knit as much pink). I’ve just barely started on the hood. All is progressing as it should and I just have to stop knitting and admire it every few stripes.


A) this was me playing with the new camera–it seems great so far. B) I like how you can see the different colors of the individual plies in some parts of this one.

I continue to be way ahead of schedule–something like 2.5 days, now. The sweater’s getting a little big to transport on the bus, and my little niece is going to be showing up any second now (they’ve already gone to the hospital only to have labor peter out), so I gotta finish her vest so she knows it’s okay to come out. Sympathetic magic, y’see.

Games Day 8

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on August 4, 2012

Omigod this is the best sweater in the world. I might need to knit one for myself.

(Camera arrived today! Is charging. Good pictures tomorrow! Sleep training toddler=overtired, bad-sentence making momma.)

Games Day 6

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on August 2, 2012

More inkle-weaving, more progress on the back of the sweater, and finally did something a little different than what I’ve done for the past 4 pieces–I put T’s initials and the year on the inner hem of the sweater–a little hidden message for him.

Games Day 5

The thing that inspired this was a retrospective on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s work at the University of Wisconsin that I saw a few years ago (I believe the occasion was the 50th anniversary of Schoolhouse Press). The gallery had a wonderful variety of things, including correspondence, bits of patterns she’d written with many scribbles and codes, clips from her PBS show, and of course tons of knitted objects. Some were knit by her, others were her patterns knit or interpreted by others. There was one example of a sweater that she knit, in the round (of course), with a hemmed bottom so as to avoid purling (of course). They displayed the sweater with the hem flipped up so that you could see that she had knitted the year in a contrasting color yarn. The notes next to the sweater said that she often did this, and it’s a charming detail that tells me a lot about he as a person.

I’ve done similar things on a few other projects, now, including knitting my husband’s initials in moss stitch into the gussets of a gansey I knit for him, and incoporating my initials into the sides of a Fair Isle sweater I knit for myself. It’s a little thing that feels very important when I do it. People try to express their individuality through their clothing, and yet their clothing isn’t individualized–chances are, it was manufactured half a world away in batches of thousands. Lots of people make beautiful things that lool like many other beautiful mass-produced things, because the aesthetic in our culture is for a relatively mass-produced type of style. (Sometimes I do, too; I’m not calling anyone out here.) So it feels very important, in a deep-down hard-to-verbalize place, to make a small addition that explicitly says “this thing belonged to this particular person, at this particular time. Every bit of it was made just for them. Other people might wear it in the future, but this fact will never change.”

Games Day 5

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on August 1, 2012

I warped the inkle loom and wove a bit for the edging of the sweater. I’ve finished the fronts and decided to take some time to weave in ends now (partly because I couldn’t find my size 4 needle before the bus came this morning). And I’ve cast on for the back of the sweater.

My original schedule for this sweater was for the sleeves, fronts, back, and yoke of the sweater to take 3 days each, and the hood and finishing to take the final few days. I’m one day ahead of schedule if I don’t count the inkle weaving and the start on the back. Not too shabby. I probably won’t get much done tonight though–the Toddler had a rough, Mommy-requiring night last night, and I’m bushed.

Games Day 3

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 30, 2012

A conversation with my son:

Scene: The living room. I’m knitting the rainbow sweater, sitting next to Th and lending an occasional hand while he makes Duplo towers.

Th, pointing to knitting: Eh?
Me: I’m knitting a sweater for when it’s cold outside. It’s going to look like a rainbow.
Th: ‘Ainbow.
Me: Yeah, a rainbow. This is the front of the sweater. Do you like it?
Th, nodding vigorously: Mmm!
Me: That’s great! Because it’s a sweater for you.
Me: Yes, for you! When it’s all done, will you wear it?
Th, nodding: Yah!

So my greatest fear on this sweater, that he wouldn’t like it and would refuse to wear it in a mercurial toddler way, may be unfounded.

(Finished the first sweater front, started #2. My calculations on the sweater fronts overestimated the yarn amounts by a little bit, but I was able to compensate without much trouble.)

Games, Day 1

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, Ravellenic Games, WIP by tchemgrrl on July 28, 2012

If you’re a person who suffers from their trips to Sleeve Island, I have a solution:

Knit the sleeves first.

I can’t guarantee that this will work for the whole sweater, as I’ve only done the sleeves so far. But check this: It’s the first day of the Olympics and I’ve already knit two sleeves.

(Still no pictures until I get a hold of my husband’s phone, but the short version: It’s working! It’s working! OMG it’s working! *happy dance*)

I’ve also decided to do a simple one-color inkle-woven band for the cardigan edging, so I will probably get started on that soon, because it will be much less portable than the sweater itself so I’ll only be working on it in little bits of time at home. So far I’m off to a great start.

Preparing for the Games

Posted in knitting, Knitting Olympics, made with handspun, planning, Ravellenic Games by tchemgrrl on July 25, 2012

(still no camera)
Off of one boundary-stretching craft game and right into another.

My primary goal, as it was for the Tour, is to minimize my computer time. I have one main project and a few WIPs that I’d also like to make progress on, but if I don’t finish any of them but continue to avoid frittering time, I’ll have succeeded.

The project I’d like to make from start to finish is the Toddler’s rainbow hooded cardigan. You can see the rainbow yarn in the middle of my last entry. Here’s what the original fiber looked like.


Bright. Just a little. I did some fancy footwork in the spinning with the goal of having the stripes all line up nicely, so part of my challenge may lie in gently fudging the yarns to make that work out. It’ll be striped with some dark blue yarn of the same weight as the handspun. Based on yardages, I think I’m going to alternate 2 rows of handspun with 4 rows of machine-spun. I’m swatching to confirm that right now, and I’ll knit a sweater sleeve first so that if my numbers are way off, I won’t have as much to unravel.

Other projects in the pipeline which may show up during the Games: I have a mostly-complete baby vest that needs completion before the baby I’m knitting it for arrives (sometime in August). I have a sweater for myself that is at a very awkward stage, and I need to sit down with it and confirm that I’ve got everything sorted for the next step. I have some very small holiday presents planned which will require some stash diving, but which would be good bus knitting when the other projects get large and/or complicated to cart around.