Saturday, April 5, 2014

What do you do at a knitting retreat, anyway?

I found out this week that I got in off the wait list for the Super Summer Knitogether 2014 (hereafter referred to as SSK 2014)! It's a five day knitting retreat held in my hometown, so how could I resist? But what do you do at a five day knitting retreat? Sure, there will be classes, but that doesn't seem to be the main focus. Unless I'm very wrong, I think you mostly sit and knit. For five days. With people you almost certainly didn't know before you arrived.

This has caused me to re-evaluate my knitting projects of course. When you go to something like this, you want to bring something slightly impressive to work on, yet simple enough that you won't mess it up. I think I'll have to start something new - surprise!

It has helped with UILI already, even though I only found out a couple of days ago. Last night I got all my knitting projects out and looked them over; sure enough, I had no interest in finishing six of them so into the frog pond they go! That leaves me with four knitting projects still on the go. Next, I have to decide what I'm going to start so I can be working on it at the retreat. :-) Vanilla socks are a possibility, a simple shawl, or maybe a sockhead hat. Who am I kidding, I'll almost certainly start all three.

UILI is coming along (there was another post describing some progress but it seems to disappeared), and several projects have seen good progress. "Party Cakes", which I'm making for my sister, has become my go-to project for craft group stitching since it only has about six colors and no scatter stitching. It's on 40-count linen so people are still impressed! The last cake is almost done and then I'll move on to the bottom border.

There are several big projects I haven't so much as touched this year because I never seem to have the mental capacity to set them up and get going. :-( There is something to be said for having a 'stitching corner' where the floor stand is always set up with a big project ready to be worked on. I don't have that right now, and I need to figure something out.

That's about it for today. I'll be making soap this morning, and probably knitting while it's cooking. It's a nice spring day!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Year of UILI

It's not so unusual to have a crafting 'theme' for the year. Every January, I'll see a trend (although I'm usually too late to join in); one year, it seemed like everyone decided it was a good idea to start a new project every day in January. Another year, it was to list all your WIPs and work on them. A friend dedicated one year to completing all the kits she had stashed. A couple of years ago, I decided to stitch an ornament a month; I completed four which, considering how slowly I stitch, was probably as much as could be hoped for.

This year I decided to (mostly) come up with my own theme - UILI. "And what is UILI?" I hear you ask. UILI stands for Use It or Lose It. I didn't come up with either the concept or the acronym of course. The concept is as old as time, and credit for the acronym must go (or at least my awareness of it) to Nicole and Jenny of the Stash and Burn podcast. The general goal was to use some of that stash we all seem to hoard; participants in last year's UILI challenge would pick a yarn in their stash each month and commit to using it for a project that month. You didn't have to finish, but real progress had to be made. At the end of the month, if you didn't care enough about either the yarn or the project to put a bit of time into it, you *got rid of it*. No more hanging around indefinitely, no more "oh, but this is too special to use!". You do something with your yarn or you lose it. UILI, in short. I didn't participate but it seemed like a great idea - except that I already have WIPs too numerous to count! I didn't want to start something *new* each month and just add to the already overflowing bins of started projects. So I've taken the UILI concept and tweaked it a bit for my own purposes.

I have a list of projects. No, I'm not going to put it here - it's too terrifying! I've committed to working on each project started before January 1, 2014 *at least* three times in 2014 or it goes away. I decided that if I didn't care enough about a project to put some time into it three times in a year then obviously I didn't care enough about it to finish it and that just makes it clutter. And aren't we all trying to reduce clutter? Some projects will be finished, most won't, but all will progress.

The first project to be 'out of danger' was "Party Cakes" by Country Cottage Needleworks. That happened January 28, so I'm clearly off to a slow start. This piece is worked with cotton fiber (DMC, Crescent Colours and Weeks Dye Works) on 40-count Newcastle linen in Golden Harvest from Silkweaver. It's for my sister (as so many projects are) who makes beautiful custom cakes. If she ever opens her own shop, I will insist that this piece be hung somewhere. :-)

So that's it. My crafting challenge for the year. I feel good about it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ok, I'm still really bad at blogging! Good intentions and all that.

I finally picked up my wee needle again this week and it felt really good to be working on stitching again. The last time I set a stitch was probably early September and I've missed it. On Saturday, I put a name on my sister's wedding sampler. A name! Four whole letters. For my sister who got married more than two years ago. What was I thinking to do this thing on 40-count linen with all the personalization done over one? I must have been suffering from temporary insanity. The pattern is 'Join Your Hands II' by Lila's Studio, and everything is done except the personalization. I love the look of her patterns, but the charting is somewhat lacking. Did you notice the heart with the couple's names? That heart is divided over four pattern pages - that's right, four! The chart also has some errors that should have been fixed before it was printed. I found myself several times with the model picture an inch from my nose to figure out what should be going on because the chart didn't make sense. There are only two colors, so it really wasn't too bad.

After I put the name on the wedding sampler, I worked for a bit on 'Petite Rainbow Row' by Barbara and Cheryl. I like to have some projects that don't require obsessive hand-washing, although I tend to do it anyway whatever I'm stitching. This one is not done in red overdyes so it's a little more relaxing!

More progress has been made on the not-so-wee needles. Knitting tends to get worked on more often because it's so portable. If I have a few minutes, out comes one of the three projects stashed in my purse and away I go! This week, I mostly made progress on my Tilting TARDIS cowl in honor of the up-coming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I also started a Beaded Rib Headband for my sister. (I only have the one and I make a lot of stuff for her. Or at least I start a lot of stuff. Whatever.) The headband should be finished in a few days, especially as I want to get it to her for her birthday.

Of course, more progress would have been made in needlecrafting if I hadn't been focusing on doing well on the GRE. I decided to go back to school (again) and despite knowing that the GRE really only measures how well you take the GRE, I still wanted to do well. Without revealing too many details, I did do well, yay! Now the applications need to get done. Statement of purpose, here I come.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm *really* bad at blogging aren't I?

Two and a half years between first and second posts - I'm not good at this am I? However it's a new year and I want to post regularly so I'm going to join the 2012 WIPopcalypse in a few minutes. That should motivate me to not only post here but also to actually work on the many stitching projects I want to finish. I don't have pictures yet, but here are the projects I currently have on the go that I'd really like to make some progress on:

"Shadows" from Nine Lives by Graphique Needle Arts
Heirloom Baby Sampler by Heart in Hand
Snips and Snails by Serendipity Designs
Sugar and Spice by Serendipity Designs
God Bless the Moon by Marie Barber
Summer Ball by Sandy Littlejohns
Nature's Bounty by Maria Kelly
Spring Planting by Serendipity Designs
Main Street by Ann Taylor Nelson Designs
99 by Ink Circles
Elegance by Serendipity Designs
Parfum by Serendipity Designs
Washing Up by Serendipity Designs
Jane Austen's House by M. Yvonne Iley
Selkirk Grace by Textile Heritage
Sweeter Love by Plum Street Samplers
Sunshine and Shadows by Barbara & Cheryl
Spring Queen by Mirabilia

In addition (like I need any more!) there is a set of Christmas ornaments I've been "working" on, a wedding sampler to design and stitch for my sister (who has been married for several months but understands how these things work) and several small projects waiting for finishing.

I've also got several knitting projects I won't enumerate but the only one I really want to get done is a cabled cardigan for my Dad's birthday. He's a New Year's Eve baby so I've got eleven and a half months.

I'll post pictures next time so there will be a record of my progress. Now back to the hat that needs to be done!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hello, world!

I wanted to write a quick post just to say hello and introduce the blog to the world! I'll probably talk mostly about stitching, although I'm sure other things will creep in on occasion. I've been cross stitching for more years than I like to say; I've enjoyed it even more in the last few years as I've been doing more and more samplers. I think the symmetry and repetition speaks to the engineer in me. ;-) As I go along I'll post pictures of some of the projects I've completed along with works in progress. Hopefully seeing the change from one photo to the next will help me stay motivated!