WIP day

I’m sick, so you don’t get any ~content~ today. We’re just gonna do a quick WIP roundup. What all has the Seafarer been doing, before they were tragically brought low by the common cold? (Physics studying. Soooo much physics.)

I cast on my Doodler and have been working on it on and off as you do, which has been absolutely delightful. Painted Desert’s yarns aren’t strictly speaking gradient yarns, I wouldn’t say, but the subtle color changes are lovely. Also, despite the fact I had extra yardage, my slightly-too-big needles mean that I’m now playing yarn chicken with my last wedge.

could get the right size needle and frog the whole thing and give it another try, since there is actually no point where the red yarn was broken, but…I don’t want to. I like the fabric I got with these needles. If I actually lose yarn chicken, I might do it, because it wouldn’t be a hardship to knit it again, and Painted Desert is expensive yarn to buy a whole new skein to work just a bit of the edge, but until then, I knit on.

Here’s a close-up. I love this pattern.

The infinity scarf I’m making for my sister. I’m almost done with this, I just need to sit down with it for a few hours. (Probably Tuesday. Being as everything is lecture that day.) Note the purple cast-on: I’m gonna unpick it when I’m done and graft the two ends together for a seamless finish.

Aaaand some actual crochet. I’m prototyping again. What is this? You’ll just have to wait until June to find out.

BALLS

…or rather, cakes.

I have nowhere left to sit.

I took my ballwinder and went to town on my stash. This isn’t all of it; I still have to sort through the smaller balls and decide which ones are too small and would just collapse upon removal from the winder, and which ones are worth having as cakes. I also have a couple skeins of the ribbony novelty yarn Red Heart Boutique Sashay, which is weird enough that I’m not sure I want to entrust it to the ball-winder. They’re also still in skein form, so they’re not quite as uncooperative as balls, so…I guess they can stay.

That’s 1 out of 3 January resolutions finished, and the other two are looking…somewhat less than promising. WIPs seem to keep appearing out of thin air. Some of them I just forgot I had, and some of them sort of…leaped onto the hook.

Teeny tiny flapjack octopus

Like this tiny Opisthoteuthis sp. octopus. It just kind of happened.

Also! I went to the aquarium! This is noteworthy because a while ago I talked about my favorite aquarium resident, Pirate the yellow-eyed rockfish, and everyone I talked to subsequently was like “I’ve never seen that rockfish in my life.” This means I have to show you pictures of Pirate, because I love him.

This bit’s his good side. Remember, Pirate contracted pop-eye at some point in his life, leading the aquarium to have to remove his left eye to prevent the infection from spreading. Don’t mind the glare; there’s a lot of lights around this tank and it’s quite difficult to get a good picture.

And here’s his bad eye. (And a photobombing Chinook salmon in the bottom.) It hasn’t slowed him down at all. Of course, rockfish are venomous and pretty excessively spiny, so assuming that he survived the infection in the wild, he still would probably have been fine. Not too many things would choose to tussle with a rockfish of his size (about 18-24 inches, a length it takes decades for a rockfish to attain).

I leave you guys with a belly shot. Look at those lovely gills and the thick muscles where his fins attach. What a beautiful creature. He was actually being pissy just then; you can see a dive cord behind him because the diver was close by, attempting to offer him food, which he snubbed.

Maybe I’ll ditch my tiger rockfish stripes colorwork, buy another skein of the lovely heathered Lion Brand Heartland Yellowstone, and make a yellow-eyed rockfish instead. It’d certainly be a lot less work…

how i use ravelry bundles

I recently went through and overhauled my favorites on Ravelry so I could properly find things when I wanted them, and it took enough effort that you all get to see exactly what I was doing. You can peek at my favorites here.

Ravelry has a couple different ways you can organize patterns: the Favorites and the Library. I like to think of Favorites as patterns I like but may or may not own, and the Library as a record of patterns I’ve bought. In practice, I just use the Library to re-download things as I need to, and the Favorites as an amalgamation of to-make and inspiration.

Within the Favorites, you have your bundles and your tags. I use my bundles to put together patterns of similar types and my tags to mark attributes I might find useful later–like drawers in a file cabinet and folders within those drawers.

I try to keep my tags simple and fairly self-explanatory. I tag the method (knit, crochet, tunisian), and then the attributes (colorwork, cables, beads, lace). Then I have some tags which are more for me: “water” is ocean- and marine-themed patterns, “fandom” is patterns based off of existing franchises (this one is mostly Pokemon right now), and “rainbow” is simultaneously patterns with rainbows and LGBT-themed patterns. Some of my tags are a little more cryptic: “construction” is for patterns whose construction I found to be clever in some way, and “colors” is patterns which allow you to play with color combinations, whereas “colorwork” is actual stranded work.

Basically, my tags break down into techniques, personal interests, and themes. When creating your own tag system, think about what parts of a pattern are going to draw you back to it, and use those as your tags.

My bundles are way more broad. I have 17 right now, and add more whenever I find new categories worth keeping.

I have Wishlist, Amigurumi (Crochet), Amigurumi (Knit), Baby Blankets, Bags, Books & Bundles, Children’s Clothing, Doilies, Doll Clothes, Gloves, Hats, misc., Ocean Apparel, Projects, Shawls/Wraps/Scarves, Socks, and Tops. All self-explanatory, except perhaps for Projects, which is for projects by other Ravelers which I found to be inspirational in some way.

Some of them I don’t really need anymore: now that I have the “water” tag, I don’t think I need the Ocean Apparel bundle; “water” has some amigurumi and non-wearables in it, but they overlap so significantly that I might delete the bundle. Also, given that I sort of consider my entire favorites list a sort of “wishlist”, I might also not need the Wishlist bundle. It’s an evolving system.

If you haven’t organized your favorites, but would like to, one feature I found really helpful was the “not bundled” and “not tagged” sections under “Top Tags”. I could just click on those to find the favorites that hadn’t yet been organized, and go through them that way. It made everything a lot simpler. If you’ve already organized everything to your liking, how did you do it? What’s your system?

shawls

Confession: I’ve never seen a real live person wearing shawls just out and about–lots of infinity scarves and some blanket scarves, but no Real Actual Shawls. Which made the overabundance of shawls on Ravelry somewhat baffling. Were people just making them because they’re fun to make? Were any of these shawls actually getting worn? What did you do with shawls?

Turns out: they’re better than scarves at keeping your face warm.

This is just a worsted-weight Reyna in Caron Wintuk Ombre (a now discontinued yarn). It’s not very soft and I didn’t have that much yarn so it’s a little small too.  But it is the only thing between my delicate nose and a great deal of physical discomfort, so I love it.

This brings me to a resolution I forgot to put in the last post: this is the year I’m making The Doodler. I have wanted to make a Doodler since the first WIP pictures from the 2015 West Knits Mystery KAL came out, but I always told myself “You don’t even wear shawls” and put it off. Then a few months ago I said, “You’ve been staring at this thing for a year and a half, just admit something about it makes you feel squishy inside and knit it for that reason alone” and bought the pattern.

Now that I’ve found out I do actually like to wear shawls, or at least one shawl, my resolve is only strengthened.

Here are the yarns I’ve picked: one mystery yellow/green skein that I think is Painted Desert but might not be, and two verified Painted Desert skeins. They look kind of weird just sitting here together, but I have confidence that they’re going to work up really nicely together. And if they still look weird? It’s all part of the Stephen West aesthetic.

Now I just need to finish up my scholarship applications so I have some spare time to get those short rows figured out.

resolutions? goals?

Well, it’s 2017. That means it’s time for New Year resolutions. (Yes, it is the eighth of January. In my defense, I spent the first moving back into my dorm, and the subsequent week busy with school.)

In my mind, the concept of “resolutions” feels very…vague. I prefer the term “goals”. For me, resolutions are things like “Become a better person in 2017”, whereas that as a goal might be “Volunteer 100 hours at the local soup kitchen”. This may be why I have never really made resolutions before. I sort of have–“Work hard at school” and “Write lots this year”–but I don’t remember any of them really coming to fruition in a measurable way. So this year I probably won’t make any resolutions either. I’ll have goals instead. That way on December 31st I can look back and say “Yes, that actually happened this year. Good for you, self.”

(The actual difference between a resolution & a goal, as told to me by Google, is that a resolution is a decision to do something and a goal is the object of that decision. Which is to say, they are exactly the same thing, barring some grammatical finagling. Whatever. I’m choosing to call mine goals in spite of the dictionary.)

So here are some yarny New Year’s goals of mine.

Year goals:

  • Write on this blog regularly. At least once a week. Maybe more often sometimes, that would be nice.
    • My issue is that I always think I should have something Important to say. Truthfully, almost nothing I say, especially here, is Important. One doesn’t always have something Important to say, and that is okay. The Unimportant things are fine to talk about too.
  • Finish that damn rockfish. No ifs ands or buts. No “well here’s a prototype but–“. Finished. Written up. Tested. Published on Ravelry.
    • Resist the urge to charge 900 dollars per copy of the pattern. Just because you spent ages confusedly wrangling colorwork and then even longer being intimidated by your own indecipherable notes does not mean it is worth diamonds. It means you are a doofus, and should be smarter about your pattern writing next time.
  • Make the Blog a custom layout. It deserves it, and it needs some room for some expansion thoughts I have. We’ll see how these pan out. At the moment, designing and writing more regularly are highest priority here.

January goals:

  • Empty out the WIP basket. I will frog with abandon if I must, but I spend 6.5 hours in class every Tuesday this quarter, and a lot of knitting can get done while listening to 6.5 hours of lecture.
    • I know you read this blog, Mom. Don’t worry, I can participate and knit at the same time. All the current WIPs are fairly simple at the moment anyways. Except for that damn rockfish. But he’s not coming to class.
  • Test & write up the sculpin pattern I have lying around. This pattern is already written and significantly more functional than the rockfish, so it shouldn’t be a ton of trouble to put it together.
  • Wind all the weird skeins lying around my stash with my brand new ball winder. JoAnn had an after-Christmas yarn sale. The stash is overflowing. The yarn is spilling out. Cakes at least are stackable.

There. Now it’s in writing, I have to do it, right?

the perils of making it up as you go along

A month or two ago I made a post about all the things I wanted to make for the newest addition to our family, the kitten. It is now past Christmas break, and only a few things actually got done. No biggie. I have the rest of Twinkle’s life to spoil her.

Anyways, I talked about wanting to make her a cat bed that was somewhat cave-like, so that she could hide in it, and I did the thing! Sort of. Ish.

I feel like my attempts were doomed from the beginning, given that A) I’ve never attempted anything like this before, and am not sure I will after, and B) I wasn’t working from any sort of logical pattern at all. (Also, C) I was working entirely from stash, and stash turned out to be extremely mismatched in color and somewhat variable in weight.)

This is made out of about six skeins of Lion Brand Homespun and two skeins of Loops & Threads Cozy Wool. Both of those are super bulky. Then the base is half a skein of New Zealand wool I got at Goodwill ages ago, which is only bulky weight. Also one of these loop things from JoAnn, the intended purpose of which I don’t actually know.

(I wanted to put a picture of the loop right here, but mysteriously, I couldn’t find it on the JoAnn website. Where did it come from, where did it go.)

So, for starters, I crocheted a really big circle. Three times. Because the first time I couldn’t get it to lay flat, and then the second time I couldn’t get it to lay flat either. Third time was the charm (sort of, but I told myself that once it was finished it would flatten itself out). I went around and around until it looked sort of big enough for an adult cat, and then the kitten sat on it and it clearly wasn’t big enough at all, so I went around and around for some more.

The rest kind of baffled me even though I was the one doing it, honestly, but it went sort of like this:

  • Crochet around the base. Attempt to incorporate the loop by doing a stitch around it each row and then turning. Fail.
  • Frog back. Crochet a bunch of stitches around the loop and then, using same thread, start crocheting around the base.
  • Crochet all the way around.
  • Realize that you can’t do that, and you actually need to decrease where the loop stands perpendicular to the walls, or there will be too many stitches.
  • Decrease by three stitches at the corners.
  • Realize that’s too few.
  • Decrease by four stitches on subsequent corners. Realize this makes the previous rows act strangely bulgy. Do not frog. You have come this far, you refuse to go back now.
  • Do this for about ten to fifteen rows. Get suddenly scared that doing this for the entire cat igloo will result in the back being slanted funny, despite not having any real basis for this fear. Stop doing the thing.
  • Begin to crochet only on the wall stitches, turning to go back and forth.
  • Discover that the bulky yarn is going to collapse on itself due to its own weight no matter what you do. Ignore this fact in favor of relentlessly continuing onwards.
  • Get fed up after another 20~ rows, and, even though you have the space and skeins to make the igloo taller, start counting your stitches to calculate your decreases. Discover you don’t have an even multiple of six (the circle constant).
  • Fudge by decreasing several times in a row in some places. This creates weird puckers. Disregard, keep going.
  • Decrease evenly by six until the hole in the top closes up. Sew in all your ends. Pretend that you haven’t created a saggy abomination. Present to cat. Pray desperately that cat appreciates your efforts, because no one else will.

  • Thank the universe that at least the cat loves you, even if yarn doesn’t.

it’s finals week

I would just like to say, if I started a knitting blog (other than this one, which is technically not a supposed to be a knitting blog but a multi-craft-related design blog) I would probably name it after knitting stitches. They’re really catchy. For example:

Slip Slip Knit (a blog about a somewhat frazzled but dedicated knitter who often encounters “slips” or issues in their life, but holds it together with their knitting.)

Through Back Loop (an avant-garde artist on the fringe of society writes about radical use of crafting, including yarnbombing and “craftivism”.)

Moss Stitch (a knitter with a fondness for their local flora, especially their parks and forests. Alternatively, Seed Stitch, by a gardener who loves to cook with their own crops and knits things with a distinctly homey aesthetic.)

Knit Two Together (couples’ blog about their shared love of crafting–wait, actually, that’s just Boys and Bunting, a site by a lovely couple who enjoy sewing, knitting, and crocheting together. I would still name my couples’ blog Knit Two Together though.)

4-Stitch Cable (a knitter who also likes to rappel! A knitter who likes making fishing nets and string (sometimes called cables)! A knitter with Celtic heritage or other cable-rich heritage!)

Of course, me, I’m the Seafarer’s Yarn, a simple marine biology student with a fondness for yarns of the fiber and story kind both. I’m content with that.

School is kicking my butt at the minute, but I took the time to test a quick pattern for someone on Ravelry: a hat masquerading as a pineapple. I made it out of a bunch of acrylics I had lying around, including some brown RHSS, some Loops & Threads Impeccable in green, and a yellow that I got at a rotary auction.

img_20161121_114417232

The yellow is that kind of yarn you can tell is vintage just by looking at it; a peculiar kind of scratchiness and muted color that acrylic nowadays tries to avoid. The ball band was lost years ago. I love it.

Also, food-related hats are very seasonally appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

BRINGING HOME A BABY

Okay, not a human baby.

twinkle1

My family is bringing home a kitten from Gentle Touch Ragdolls on the 9th of December; her name is Twinkle! Naturally, even though I’m not going to see much of her living in the UW dorms, I have to spoil her rotten. Obviously. Look at that precious face. How can I not shower her in gifts.

I’m thinking a handful of cat toys and a bed. Just for starters. Next Halloween, when she’s all growed up and big, I’m gonna start making some stupid-cute kitty costumes.

cat-toy-collection

From top to bottom, left to right: Meelai’s Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse Toy, Selina Kyle’s Catnip Bunny, Hanna Breetz’s Quack – Knitted Duck Toy, Lion Brand Yarn’s Door Hanger Bouncy Cat Toy, Nina Shimizu’s Roly Poly Cats, and Maz Kwok’s Bouncing Rainbow Jellyfish.

I’m thinking some normal mice and bunnies, and some laced with catnip. The roly poly cats would be excellent vessels for jingle bells–even if they’re too big in worsted weight, working them in sock weight or substituting this pattern will make them good for giant jingle bells. The ducks are technically dog toys, but I think they’re cute, and being of a more elongated shape than the other toys makes them good candidates for bunny kicking–that thing that cats do where they roll on their back and kick whatever they’re grabbing with their hind legs. This is usually done in play, but it’s an adapted defensive/aggressive behavior designed to disembowel the opponent. Cats are great.

Finally, maybe one door hanger with catnip and one with a jingle bell? Maybe crinkly paper, instead? An extra long one for playing one-on-one? The possibilities are endless.

I also wanna make sure the little twinkie is comfortable, so, pet beds:

pet-beds-collection

From left to right, Hanne Katajamäki’s Nest, Iona van Deurzen’s Cat Nest, and Cris Porter’s 1 Skein Pet Bed.

I love the first one, Nest, and it’s certainly the most popular pattern, but it also seems poorly supported, and a lot of the finished projects seem to collapse in on their kitties. Cat Nest has a wireframe opening, so it’s sturdier, but it’s also more bowl-shaped than cave-shaped. And of course, the 1 Skein Pet Bed is simple, cute, and easy, but in my experience whether or not a cat will go for a flat mat is totally hit and miss.

I’m going to have to go home before Christmas and get my bulky yarn, which I didn’t bring to college because it takes up a lot of space and I don’t use it as often. After that, I think I may have to do some wire engineering and combine Nest and Cat Nest to make something sturdy and cozy.

Currently, my shopping list includes:
  • Catnip
  • Jingle bells
  • Crinkly paper? (Might snag some wrapper somewhere instead.)
  • Some piping or wire for bed construction
  • A basket. This has nothing to do with kittens, but my finished items are starting to pile up in odd places in the dorm and I need somewhere to put them all. Gimme a bit longer to get over the midterm hump, and I’ll have a post up showing them off.

There’s so many things to make for cats, Twinkle might be the only one getting Christmas presents this year, to be quite honest. Sorry, fam.

stashbusting

It’s been two weeks, I know. I have excuses, like that I’ve been busy with the quarter barreling full-speed ahead, or that I’ve been in a weird mental place for the past couple weeks, but really I think I just felt bad about not doing anything of note in the fiber art ways.

Mostly, I’ve just been stashbusting. My yarn hangs in one of those fabric organizers in my closet, and directly below is my laundry basket. I’ve been finding yarn balls in my laundry every time I try to wash my clothes, because they keep falling down. This inevitably leads me to the conclusion: I have too much yarn. Time to use some of it up.

I started with a market bag.

diamond-market-bag

This I did mostly freeform with a couple of colors of Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids, using a stitch pattern I cribbed from the Diamond Lattice Scarf pattern I bought a while back. I haven’t gotten around to making an actual scarf out of the pattern yet, but I’m calling it a purchase well made. I keep my apples in the bag and use it for grocery shopping sometimes. I only need to feed me, it’s plenty big.

pumpkin-hanging

I made this doorknob hanger decoration thing from Pumpkin Bracelet, which recommends crochet cotton and four pumpkins to make a bracelet-sized thing. I went with worsted scraps and some thread to outline the pumpkins and made my room a little more festive.

tiny-christmas-sock-wip

Then, against my better judgment because it’s still October, not Christmas, I started on a tiny Stranded Christmas Stocking (3mm needles instead of the recommended 4mm). My mom asked for Christmas decorations. I probably won’t give this one to her, because it’s tiny and while I’ll finish it, I’m not making four more stranded stockings on 3mm needles for the family. I’ll think of something else for Christmas. Plenty of time, right? Right?

baby-blanket-wip

Finally: a baby blanket. I have a Sugar & Cream ball in waiting and 1 and a half balls of Lion Cotton knitted up. This is just a 3×3 garter rib, which didn’t come out well at all in the photo because it’s black. I know black isn’t necessarily the most traditional of baby blanket colors, but I’m pretending it’s modern and trendy, because when you stashbust, you work with what you got. Also, black doesn’t show stains. I know this because I cut my finger and got blood on this blanket, and you can’t see it. Perfect for the harried parent and their filthy spawn. (It’s getting washed before any babies get anywhere near it, don’t worry.)

As an aside, you may wonder if I am knitting a baby blanket because I know someone who’s having a baby. The answer is no. I don’t even know anyone who’s pregnant. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from knitting blogs, it’s that you don’t start knitting when a baby is announced. You keep a stash of baby items in reserve, or you end up frantically binding off and trying to wash a blanket on your way to the hospital.

Unless you’re a deadline-driven masochist, in which case don’t start knitting anything for babies until like, two months after the mum tells you she’s going to have one.

As for the rockfish project? What I’m supposed to be working on? Well…

i-wrote-that

a short post

Last week I missed my deadline for a number of reasons, which I decline to state, and this week isn’t really that much better. I moved into a new dorm, and the week-long event to welcome freshmen has started, and the first part of it I attended was a behind-the-scenes tour of the Seattle Aquarium.

Have I told everyone here how much I love rockfish? I love rockfish. I love the lazy way they swim, barely moving their fins. They’re built thick and heavy with fins barbed with spines. They don’t need to be fast; they’re tough enough to ward off most predators just by existing. I love the way they will sit on anything; rocks, walls, corals, whatever will sit still long enough for them. I love the way their only response to something that surprises them is to slowly raise their dorsal fin.

I especially love the Pirate, who lives in the big exhibit just inside the door of the Seattle Aquarium. He’s a forty-year-old yellow-eyed rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) who’s hit 18-20-some inches, and his name is the Pirate because a while back he had a run-in with a bacterial infection known as pop-eye or bubble-eye. Pop-eye causes a fish’s eye to swell up to painful-looking proportions; the Pirate had to have his removed so the infection wouldn’t spread. It hasn’t bothered him a bit. He might even outlive me; some yellow-eyed rockfish have been identified as 120 years or older.

I have pictures, but my dorm is from the 1930s and wi-fi didn’t exist back then (or now, apparently), so I can’t transfer them to post. Similarly, I have become stymied in my yarn rockfish adventures by the fact that I am a truly awful colorwork writer, and I need to print out the pattern so I can write all over it. However, the aforementioned wi-fi problem has screwed with my wireless printer, so that’s not happening any time soon either. Solutions must be found. When I have more energy.

Until then, readers.