Posted in babbling, crochet, presents, Thoughts, yarn

The future of Otakraft

Happy New Year! Time to make up some new excuses for why I did practically nothing last year!  Hmmm, let’s try honesty, I was lazy and didn’t put in the effort.  Oh, except a shawl I was working on for my mother for Christmas, let me tell you how that went… Just not well at all.

I started it in September, put it down for a month (because I’m into messing myself up) so when I picked it up again I didn’t remember the pattern quite right.  I, of course, didn’t notice for some 10 odd rows, which was….so much, like a foot, maybe more, of row progress.  I ripped it back.  Now this yarn is an alpaca blend, so I’m sure you can guess how much it likes ripping back.  And this wasn’t the only frogging rodeo the yarn went on.  There were some occasional mistakes that were pulled back, but by the time you get to the place with the mistake (and it’s lace so it’s SUPER obvious), you’re pulling back an entire row. It’s physically painful for even non-crocheters to watch (Like seriously, it was funny the first time I pulled back a row in front of this teenager who’d watched me find a mistake.  He was horrified when I told him it would take about an hour to do back up). And I just keep messing up. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I just kept making really ridiculous counting mistakes that should have been.  Ripping back was getting harder and harder and then it happened, the continuous line of my lace weight yarn broke.  I tried to carry on, but it wasn’t the last time I was suffer another break. It just became too much and I knew I wouldn’t be able to salvage it for Christmas.

So ultimately I’m trashing the original yarn (more accurately ripping it back to figure out something else to do with it, because it was 40 damn dollars and I am poor) and I picked up a new skein of Freia Ombré Lace Weight, this time in Dirty Hippie.  I’ll be trying again for Mother’s Day this time instead of Christmas.

I have some other projects planned for this year, including some home improvement work like sewing curtains, a shower curtain, finishing up the hidden cat box I’ve been working on, and some other things.

I’ve gotten part of the hidden cat box done, I’ll probably make a couple posts with pictures of my progress until it’s finished.

I’m going to try and go back to updating weekly with projects I’m working on, but I’m also going to add in some reviews of products I’ve used.  I’m also working on the scripts for a crochet tutorial that I hope to upload to YouTube later this year.

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Posted in babbling, life, yarn

The Snarl

While I can’t claim that ALL my attention has been on moving, it has taken up large portions of my time of late and as you can imagine after I’ve worked all day then followed up with several hours of moving heavy things I just don’t have much left in me for crochet. I’m also a bit waffle-y between projects right now because I’ve got a bunch started, several I really want to finish but am having trouble for one reason or another (usually it’s issues with getting more of the yarn).  My Infinity Scarf and my Diana Shawl require more yarn that I can either order online or go to the only store I know that carries it which is out in the middle of nowhere.

My prepster jacket is kind of just sitting there unfinished because it frustrated me into a time-out until I’m not mad at it anymore.  The Tetris Blanket is going, but it’s always been slow because I kind of just work off a few squares at a time and they slowly accumulate.  I’ve been working on a frog pattern, but that’s requiring some pretty serious rework.  I’ve got a bunch of other projects I’m supposed to finish (to say nothing of the tons of weird WIPs I’ve recently unearthed during the move)

 and here I am contemplating a new one to start!  Depending on how things go I think I might try and work out a pattern for a pair of ShisaKomainu, or another set of guardian animals so I have some good vibes working for my new place.

But I’m mostly still sorting out things and packing them and the other night I decided tackling the stash was a good idea at 10pm. 9_9

 I can’t tell you why I thought that would be a good idea.  An hour later I was still untangling skeins that have gotten jumbled with various moves and stash reorganizations.  I was repacking totes full of yarn, separating out yarns I no longer wanted when I come across an old grocery bag.  It was tucked up under a bunch of other bags of yarn and fiber, bits of cheap acrylic peeking out not just standard worsted weights, but eyelash yarn and fun fur as well.  I pulled it out to peek inside it and THERE IT WAS! Snarl
It looks far less menacing now because I’ve cut it off and salvaged what I could, but at the time this Snarl was doing it’s level best to eat at least a dozen bobbins and small balls of yarn tangled together alongside a bunch of random amigurumi pieces; ears, limbs, and a stray torso or two, all while nearly filling a standard sized grocery bag.  I tell you, it’s a good thing I found this Snarl when I did otherwise it might have moved to snack on the rest of my stash.  Luckily they’re lazy hunters and tend to concentrate on one area at a time and aren’t prone to moving much.  Still I’m glad I didn’t overlook it and accidentally dump it in one of my totes because I’m sure the Snarl would have happily started absorbing any other yarn it could be introduced to.  As is it seems this was the only serious case I had to remove, all the others were more Snarlettes than full fledged Snarls and I was able to actually exterminate them with out amputation.

I don’t have any new projects to report on for obvious reasons, but I’m looking to have something to post on Friday.

Posted in babbling, crochet, life

Prepster jacket it may be…

But I obviously can’t prep anything to save my life.  Less than a week into the new posting schedule and I’m already messing it up.  I missed a post last Friday and thought about posting Saturday, but by then it was Sunday so I figured I’d just wait until Monday anyway.  Truthfully it was a really busy weekend of running around and looking at potential living spaces because my lease is up in February and I’ll be damned if I’m staying at my current complex a week more, much less a year.  There was lots of disappointment all around for the most part, though a few promising options and I’ll be looking for more in the coming weeks.  I wasn’t a total slacker this week because I did finish all the pieces to my jacket. (This is Red Heart Boutique Treasure in Portrait, by the by.)

Wooo! Now I just need to weave in all the ends and sew it together.  I’m not terrified of f-ing it up at all! >.>  The more realistic fear is that I’ve taken my sweet time with actually crocheting the damn thing and I’ve put on weight.  I’m worried that I’m going to finish it up, it will look amazing and then it won’t fit me. ;_; That would be tragic.

In other news I definitely don’t have enough yarn for the Mew so I have to figure out what to do there and I’ll probably be hitting up a Michael’s this week to price out what I would need to finish it up.  I’ll also be working out the written version of the pattern for some produce bags I made for my sister and I hope to post those on Friday as well.

 

Posted in babbling, crochet, LYS, review, spinning, yarn

Brushes off the dust

Ok, I’m back!  I request a pass for missing out on posting pretty much anything last month, it was insanity.  If you’d like full details please see sqpegroundhole because I’m not going to whine about it here too.  Here is a place for happy things like the new friend I’ve made!

As a library worker you get to know hypothetical people through their holds and when people get a lot you get a decent idea of what the person is like.  I’d noticed a particular library patron getting a lot of yarn related materials and one day I lucked out in that our self check-out machine wasn’t working and she came up with a stack of books on spinning yarn.  I had to ask her about it and then we got into a lively discussion about spinning and she mentioned that she had a drop spindle, but was focusing on her wheel at the moment.  Then she suggested we meet up to spin together sometime!

So Tuesday night we met up to hang out at Felicitous, a delightful coffee shop near both of us that I highly recommend (it’s a bit pricey, but super cute, quirky and hilariously hipster).  She not only brought along her drop spindles, but her wheel as well!


It was beautiful and adorable, an Ashford Kiwi that qualifies as “inexpensive” which means it’s less than $400 dollars.  Ugh.   -_- Definitely not getting a spinning wheel anytime soon, I can tell you that.  What I will say is that those who spin tend to really love the Ashford wheels so if you’re going to get into spinning seriously an Ashford seems like a great investment.  In my, at the time, nonexistent experience it was pretty easy to work with.

I brought along some generic brown wool of indeterminate origin, but a nice staple length to practice on and she showed me what to do.  Over the course of a couple hours I spun my first single ply “yarn” on a wheel!  I’ve made “yarn” on my drop spindle and I have to admit this didn’t look too different, but it was lots of fun!  Then she let me use some old yarn she’d made as practice that was still hanging around on a bobbin to try plying on my drop spindle!


I’m ridiculously proud of the result because even though I know it’s not very good yarn, I still made it!  It’s not much and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I’m going to figure out something and I’ll post the result here.

I also picked up some beautiful baby alpaca last Friday from Criativity, a yarn store in Largo.  It’s luscious and springy and now I finally know what chain plying is because I’ve been seeing a bunch of yarn lately that looks like it’s a length of single crochet very tiny and that is chain plying, a yarn spinning technique. I’m going to work up two headbands (I hope I have enough, it was $10 a skein and the skeins are only 95 yards, ngh) for my sister and me.  She’ll be getting a teal headband with red accents, I’ll be getting a red headband with teal accents!


Aren’t the colors pretty?  I don’t even think the picture comes close to showing the loveliness.

The store was huge and lovely and sometime I’m going to go around to a bunch of yarn stores with structured rating criteria and I’m going to do a series of reviews of the stores in the larger Tampa Bay area, and yes this will include Sarasota and the St. Pete area because goodness knows there aren’t really any yarn stores in the Tampa area proper.

So despite some serious suck last month and continuing on, things aren’t all bad.  Also Felicitous makes a killer Chai Latte that I’ll definitely be having again.

Posted in amigurumi, babbling, blankets, crochet, DIY, life

Projects on the hook and more

Ok, on the subject of radio silence I have a really good explanation: I spent the better part of March moving (which was a mess) into an apartment with a host of problems all its own.  Add to this that my phone was stolen recently so I’m actually completely out of a computer and a camera at home for the moment, though at this point I’m going to have to suck it up and do something about it.  If you’d like a more complete version of events check out my other blog, especially Reel Big Fish Everything Sucks and Home row key smashing.

During this time though I haven’t been totally slacker.  I’ve finished two more skeins of squares for my tetris blanket, they’re really starting to add up.  I still need to make the blue and cyan squares but I’ll have to dig through my yarn to find it, most of it’s pretty jumbled from the move.

I’ve also completed the body of the shawl I was working on, I just need to select a yarn for the border and figure out where the pattern went. >.>  Also I need to block it because it’s curling something fierce, but I can’t decide if I should finish it first or block it now before adding the border.

The MLP:FiM pattern is actually in the final stages of completion, I just have to work out the back legs and it will be done!  I’ve already gotten to work on my sister’s long promised Fluttershy.  The line from hock to knee is the tricky bit I’m still working on.

I’ve also started work on the Prepster Jacket from The Happy Hooker, I’ve got one sleeve and I’m working on the other right now.

In other news, because of some design differences in my current place, my cat box doesn’t fit beside my toilet anymore.  I bought a trunk a good while ago to make a hidden cat box from, but haven’t gotten around to it.  The fact that my cat’s litter box is hanging out right in front of my door (one of the few non-carpeted places in my apartment) should be pretty good impetus to actually convert the trunk that’s been sitting empty for a good long while.  I’m also thinking about finally getting around to making a craft closet for myself.  I don’t just want a place to store things, I wanted to build a crafting space into the closet itself and intended to have a shelf at working height inside and a small table I could swing out in an L-shape for extra space.  I have design ideas, but not a lot of experience in the area so I think I’ll invest in a fairly inexpensive used armoire for my first try.

When I actually have some way to record what I’m planning on doing and can get around to it (I have a other problems I need to take care of first), I’ll definitely update things with pictures.

Posted in babbling, crochet, life

Accomplishments and Improvements

Ok, so I haven’t been posting lately.  I can blame my lack of home computer, but I do have access to computers at work and the occasional time to type out a quite post so that excuse isn’t really going to fly anymore.  I’m going to try and get back into posting again, mostly because I’ve actually been doing stuff, which is nice.  So we’re going to start with the accomplishments because they make me feel good before we get to where I could really stand to improve.

Accomplishments:

I made a skirt!  An entire garment!  It’s not just an accessory like a hat or scarf (not that those aren’t good and cool), but it’s a whole different ball game.  The commitment is greater, the cost is higher.  I made the Violet Beauregarde Skirt from Debbie Stroller’s Stitch and Bitch: the Happy Hooker (I’ll be adding a photo later).  It’s a great book for beginners and even the more experienced, if only because some of the patterns seriously rock, I’ll also be making the Prepster Jacket.

I’m also currently working on a shawl pattern that I really like (Again, adding a photo later).

Improvements:

I have one New Year’s Resolution this year: to finish all of the projects I owe people.  I’m going to make a master list of all the projects I’ve promised people and methodically work my way through them.  Since most are actually pretty small, I think one or two a month should be completely reasonable.  I’ll be posting this list as a permanent post at the top of this blog as I work through it.

Work more consistently.  I go on excited crocheting bends and devote myself obsessively to a particular project until it’s finished, but then the enthusiasm peters out and I stop crocheting for sometimes months.  I think the above list of goals will help me be a bit more steady about my work.

Post on this blog regularly, by which I mean at least once a week.  Sometimes I worry about posting because I won’t have made much progress, but there are lots of things I can talk about.  I have a number of crocheting books I could comment on or I could do yarn or hook reviews.  I can update anyone who’s wondering about my (nonexistent) youtube tutorials and when they’ll be coming.  There are lots of things I could talk about and I will.

Ok, so lots to do and improve on, but past accomplishments prove I can pick out a specific goal and work hard on it until it’s done.  I have every intention of doing that here.  Thanks to anyone watching for your patience.