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.