In an earlier post, I wrote about 2 projects I finished that were stash busters. I finished this blanket back in November. I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. When I was planning it out, I wasn’t sure it was going to work out at all because I didn’t use a pattern for this. When I started to plan this blanket, it felt like a big project for me. I can’t remember when I have been so excited about how a project turned out. It was so exiting to me to finish a bit project and have it turn out well. It really boosted my confidence and makes me want to try other ideas I have been thinking abut doing.
I finished in time for the weather here to get very cold and it came in handy. I found out one of my other blankets had holes that I was’t able to easily repair so I ended up sending it a recycling center. I found this out as I was almost done making this blanket. By time I finished it, I really needed a new blanket. It goes well with my bedspread and has been very cozy. The day I finished it I used it to take a nap and it was nice. The other blanket I made a few years ago was a little too short. I made this one wider and longer and it works out much better. I am thinking about making another blanket but I feel like I need a break from making such a large project.
Happy New Year, for me it was a tough year in many ways but good things also happened. I originally started regularly posting in this blog in July of 2016 after very long hiatus. Then I stopped posting on August 10 of 2016 and starting writing blog posts regularly again in April of 2017. I didn’t post any recap last year at this time. It feels like a good time to reflect on the progress of this blog so far. The main reason I wanted to start this blog again is that I needed a creative outlet. I was feeling like knitting and crocheting other peoples patterns weren’t enough. I felt like I needed more than that. I also wanted to have a project that would push me to write on a regular basis. Writing has a been a big interest of mine for years and I wanted to get back to it.
I also really wanted to start a project that would give me something to look forward to in my life. Every time I looked at the news something awful was happening that scared me. I didn’t have much going else going on that I looking forward to. It was tearing me up to be so scared for my country and not have much going on in my own life.
When I started this blog, I didn’t have a set plan or brand in mind. I mainly wanted to write what I liked and see what happens. I had read advice from a friend that said to take advantage of being a beginner and write what you feel like and don’t worry too much about branding. In this process, I learned a lot from this blog. I rediscovered my love of writing. Writing the blog posts made me realize all over again how much I like to write. I also realized that it is nice to have a record of what I have been making and my thoughts at the time.
From this blog, I also met other bloggers and learned a lot. I joined the Problogger Facebook group and that has been very helpful. I was able talk to other bloggers and get advice and see how other bloggers approach their blogs. It also helped me to see what I need to work on with my blog. For example, I have realized I need to use a content calendar, improve my titles and learn more about SEO. I also found out about blog chats on Twitter and that has also been helpful for similar reasons.
I also had some challenges in 2017. I sometimes struggled with consistently posting content. A few times this year, I had a noticeable gap in posting. I would not feel well, get tired or get discouraged. and would take a break, and lose momentum . Then fall out of posting for longer than I thought I would and have to get back to it. At one point this year, I almost gave up on the blog when I realized that Net Neutrality would be repealed. I struggled with feeling like writing this blog was futile with all the awful stuff going on around me and net neutrality being repealed. I was also scared that this blog would be over before I started if net neutrality was repealed. I decided to keep going because I realized that if I gave up on this blog, I would be giving up because I was giving into fear and negative emotion and I felt like that was not a good reason for me to stop.
In 2018 I want to be more consistent about posting content and promoting it. I want to use a content calendar and plan ahead more. I also want to start writing posts in batches. I also want to make more of an effort to read other people’s blogs. Overall, this blog has been good for me. I have learned a lot and I hope in 2018 I can take this blog to the next level.
It is the day after Christmas and I hope everyone who celebrates it had a good Christmas. I thought I would share the projects I made for family this Christmas. I made my mom, dad and brothers gifts. For my mom, I made her washcloths. I had made her washcloths years ago and she liked them and uses them all the time. Recently, she showed me a washcloth that had worn out so I decided to make her a couple more.
The first one is a simple stockinette pattern in brown yarn. I used a pattern I had used before but it wasn’t available online anymore. It was a simple pattern so I just winged it. It is stockinette stitch with a seed stitch border. I wanted to use warm colors because her kitchen colors are brown and green. I also made her this lace dishcloth in yellow.
My brother asked for a hat. I had made him a hat a couple of years ago and he wanted one that was a little longer and a slightly tighter fit on his head . I told him what yarn colors I had and he chose this blue grey. For this hat, I didn’t use a pattern; I used a formula I use for simple hats.
Finally, I made my Dad fingerless gloves and I used this pattern. I was a little nervous about this pattern because I am not super comfortable using dpns but it was easier than I thought. I struggled a little with the thumb part but I figured it out after having to rip it back and start over once. Fortunately, it is such a small project it didn’t take long to re do it. I am now inspired to try other glove or mitten patterns since making these gloves weren’t as hard as I thought it would be.
Happy Holidays and merry Christmas if you celebrate it. It is 2 days until Christmas and I finished knitting Christmas presents last week. I made most of my presents this year and I will share what I made after Christmas so I don’t spoil anything for the recipients. I like to make gifts for people because I enjoy it and don’t like shopping at malls around Christmas.
Each year I start making Christmas presents for friends and family around November and finish in December. I mostly make smaller items like hats, scarves and dishcloths. I have seen people who start Christmas knitting or crochet as early as July. Each year I think I will start earlier in the year and it hasn’t happened yet. I also keep meaning to try a craft that I can make in batches so I can make several at once for friends and family. For example I saw a tutorial for making homemade sugar scrubs or making flavored vinegars. I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet. Instead I usually knit or crochet gifts for my friends and family. In the past, I also have made jewelry for loved ones. Maybe next year I will try something new instead of knitting most of them. For now, I am happy I am done and hope everyone likes the gifts I made them. How about you? Do you make presents for your friends and family? Do you start early or wait until the last minute?
I am back after a hiatus; I had taken a break over thanksgiving week and that ended up being a longer break than I had thought. When I took that week off, I didn’t work on the blog or write. I lost momentum and then each day I didn’t write, it was harder and harder to get back to it. I finally got some blogging mojo back and I wanted to give an update of the projects I have been working on since I last published a post. I will start by writing about my stash busting projects.
I finished this bag in the middle of November. I made this bag in part because I wanted to use up some yarn in my stash. The lavender yarn is yarn I bought on clearance a few years ago. I have had it in my stash for years but I couldn’t figure out how to use it until now. The solid colored light blue yarn is some Cotton/polyester blend yarn that was leftover from other projects. The bag ended up using more yarn than I thought it would. I ended up also using some other cotton yarn for the bag. The cotton yarn is the blue and white yarn. I am mostly happy with how it turned out. It came out a little uneven in spots and I had to go back and fix that. I think that happened because I got the stitch count off on several rows. For now I am using the bag to store the yarn I want to use for a blanket I want to make.
I also finished the hat in the first picture. I started it because I was looking for a quick and easy project to relieve stress after I had to unravel a shawl I had worked on for months. I also wanted to use up the odd bits of worsted weight yarn in my stash. I had wanted to make a colorful hat out of my yarn scraps for a while. I am very happy with how the hat turned out and it is becoming one of my favorite hats to wear. I love the bright colors, they make me happy.
Lately, I have been decided to make more sweaters . When I have been stressed out, I have been looking at sweater patterns on Ravelry to relax. This is a list of some of my favorite pullover sweater patterns. It is a sort of wish list; all of these are either in my favorites or in my queue. If I have time, I really want to make the Margot pullover this winter. The rest may have to wait at least a few months but I still enjoy looking at the patterns.
The For Irene sweater is one o f my favorites. I just love the lace detail on the sleeves and yoke.
I love the bold stripes and how this designer used color in the Camaro sweater.
The Margo sweater has been in my Ravelry queue for ages. If I have time, I mat try to make it later this winter. I like the split him and garter stitch edging.
The Pixilated Pullover uses stranded color work in a very innovative way and I love the effect.
The Breathing Space pullover has a unique design with an asymetrical hem. It uses short rows to a good effect.
I love the garter stitch detail on the sleeves on the Flax Light sweater. Plus if you made this sweater, it would be a solid addition to a handmade wardrobe.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had to unravel the Herbivore shawl I was working on. This experience made me think about what I have learned from other failed projects. Failure is inevitable in any creative endeavor. If you try a new technique you risk failure. I thought I would write about what I have learned from a couple of my past craft failures. Every time, I had to unravel project, it was upsetting at the time but I always learned something.
My most recent failure, I had cast off the shawl and the first thing I noticed is that it came out much smaller than I thought it would and I didn’t like that. I was disappointed about that so I put the scarf aside. An hour or so later, I picked up the scarf again and noticed that several stitches had come loose on the cast off edge. I tried to repair it but the stitches would have been much looser than the other stitches around it . It wouldn’t have looked right so I decided to unravel it. I was heartbroken, I had been working on the shawl for at last 6 months and that was 6 months of work down the drain. My immediate reaction was to remove most of the shawls from my Ravelry queue and put the project where I din’t have to look at it. When I thought about it a little later, I realized that I used a cast on I hadn’t done before and probably didn’t do it correctly. I also realized that when I make shawls using fingering weight yarn, I need to use two skeins of yarn. Otherwise, I have to play a guessing game over how much yarn I have left and the shawl comes out too small for me.
Several years ago,I crocheted a sweater and it was one of the first sweaters I had made. At the time, I didn’t take the concept of garment ease* into account and made it to my exact chest measurement. I also made the whole sweater without trying it on or checking if it would fit. I had nearly finished it and when I tried it on and it was skin tight and looked terrible on me. I had to unravel it and was so upset at the time. Years later I used the yarn from that failed project to make another sweater and it came out very well. It fits well and it made me happy that I was able to reuse that yarn from a failed project. So the lesson here? make sure you understand garment ease when you make a sweater. Also, make sure you know how much ease you like in your sweaters. I would recommend measuring your chest and waist and then measuring your favorite sweaters to find that out.
Another project that I had to unravel was a beret, I was excited to start this project. It used up some yarn I had leftover from a sweater I made and I thought the hat was cute. I was having trouble figuring out how to make the brim and made a mistake. It then looked terrible and I unraveled it. Looking back I didn’t have a clear idea of how I was supposed to knit the brim but I soldiered forward anyway. If I had to do it over, I would have asked for help on how to do the brim and made sure I knew how to do it before I started it. In summery Failure is inevitable but you always learn something.
*Garment ease is how loose or tight you make a garment
I had originally planned on making a ripple blanket once I finished the blanket I am working on right now. However I am getting a huge urge to make a log cabin blanket. One night I was looking at my Ravelry queue and I found this tutorial for a log cabin blanket. I watched the video and I immediately loved the idea. I love that it is rows of garter stitch with a striking result. Plus I love to play with color and this would be a good project to do that.
A short time after I was thinking about this, I found out that Karen Templer of Fringe Association is hosting a knit a long that starts in January with a log cabin theme. The timing is perfect, I found out about it right after I watched the tutorial that made me want to make something with a log cabin theme. I want to do this knit a long and I have been thinking about what I could do for it. I was originally going to make a blanket using a pink, purple and blue color scheme using the yarn pictured above. I also have a lot of red yarn and odd bits of orange, grey, white and black yarn. Or I could use some odd skeins of worsted weight wool in teal and blue colors. I was thinking of making a wrap with the teal and blue yarn. I am not sure about the black, red, orange and grey yarn. I am not sure I have enough for a blanket. I haven’t made up my mind what I want to do yet but I have time to think about it since the knit a long doesn’t start until January. .
I have realized when I get stressed out, I like to start new knitting projects. About two weeks ago, a project I was doing didn’t work out. I had to unravel a shawl I had been working on for months. I was very upset and I ended up casting on 2 easy short projects to make myself feel better. I had just finished casting off the Herbivore shawl. The first thing I noticed after I cast off was that it came out a lot smaller than I wanted it to. At that moment, I put it on a shelf, tried not to think about it and hoped that blocking would help. I went to look at it again an hour later and realized that several stitches on the cast off edge has came loose. I tried to fix it but I couldn’t see how I could fix it without the stitches being much looser than the rest of the shawl. I decided to unravel it. At that time, I was heartbroken. I stuffed the shawl somewhere I wouldn’t see it because I didn’t even want to look at it.
Right after I cast off the shawl , I cast on a washcloth I had been planning for to make for my mom. I had been planning for this to be my next project for a while. The plan had been to start holiday knitting as soon as I finished a project. Then I was so upset over having to unravel that shawl I also found myself casting on a hat to make myself feel better. Hats for me are a comfort zone. I have wanted to make myself a hat out of my odd bits of wool scrap yarn. The idea of a hat out of bright colors appealed to me and I wanted a short easy project to make me feel better. I worked on both projects for most of the weekend after my shawl disaster and they have been a good stress reliever. I still don’t want to look at that shawl or much less finish unraveling it yet. However the hat I am making out of bright colors cheers me up. Also, having a short easy project on hand to knit a few rows to relax made me feel better. I have finished the washcloth and am almost done with the hat.
I thought it would be fun to post a couple of videos that always make me smile since the news can be so depressing these days.
The first video is by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochiland.
The Second video Shaun the Sheep doing Irish dancing.