Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shawl Status

September is devoted to finishing project both at work and on the needles, and right now the total volume is bearing down hard.  Scientific research and mental stimulation is all well and good, but sometimes the only logical response to difficult students and difficult projects and difficult deadlines is to eat ice cream for dinner.

Peanut butter cup ice cream with additional peanut butter and chocolate chunks.  It was worth it.  Luckily I also have knitting to relax.  Let's check on the knitting projects, shall we?

This rather snarled-looking mess is my grandmother's shawl.  It looks much better stretched a bit.

This shawl is a sampler with several bands featuring different Shetland lace patterns.  I have finished the first band, which means I've completed the first 66 rows.  As the entire shawl is about 220 rows, I estimate that I have knit about 9% of the total shawl. 

I also estimate that I am probably not knitting fast enough for my intended deadline.  I'll work on that.

The punkin socks are progressing better than the shawl; I am working on the toe of the first sock.  Their progress is actually helped by the mess of traffic and construction around the city, as I knit while the bus creeps from stop to stop.  I should be casting on the second half of the pair in a day or two.

For now, though, back to the shawl.  Grandma deserves her present!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Shawl for Grandma

My maternal grandmother was the original crochet person of the family.  She made several afghans for my family, most of which are still in our possession.  She also taught me to crochet when I was about eight.  She lived in another state at the time and taught me during a visit, so my mother supplemented my knowledge with a teach-yourself-crochet book, and I played with the craft off and on into my twenties.  I got more serious about yarn crafts in graduate school, eventually learning to knit, discovering Ravelry, and turning into someone who blogs about these things on the internet.

My grandmother does not crochet any more, due to pain in her hands and a shortened attention span.  She still enjoys talking about it, though, and has told me numerous times about a friend of hers who made crocheted lace.  My grandmother thought it was the most beautiful thing, and it motivated her to learn to crochet herself.

My grandmother turns 80 next month.  I am going to make her a lace shawl.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finished: Rose Crowns

This is the second handmade I included in my fairy tale swap package.  I have found that I like to come up with three or four handmade ideas for these swaps, because something invariably goes wrong in making one or more or them.  After the tammy, I knew I wanted to do something with roses, because roses are a feature of two of my partner's selected fairy tales.  I knew my partner had a small daughter, that she read fairy tales with . . . and fairy tale costume items then seemed like a good idea.

So I went to ravelry and did a pattern search.  I didn't like anything that I liked in the first couple pages.  Instead, I made up my own pattern for a rose crown.  The roses were made following these instructions, but using shorter starting chains to make rose buds.  I knit the headbands so that they would be stretchy, and simply cast on three stitches and knit until the bands were long enough, where long enough was fourteen inches because that seemed reasonable for a toddler girl. 

Then, the morning when I needed to ship this package, I sat down with some additional green yarn and sewed on all the roses.  It is important to crowd the flowers together at this point; otherwise they stick out funny when the crown is worn. 

Aren't they fun, though?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Finished: Sleigh Ride Tammy

When I received my swap partner assignment for the August Geek and Nerd Swap, I was a bit intimidated.  My partner learned to knit about the same time I did, and she likes to make the same things I make (hats, socks, the occasional shawl), but she is far more prolific.  I think she turns out three times as many finished objects as I do, and her items show the skill that comes from that sort of practice.  I wanted to make something a little bit special, even if I couldn't pull off giving her something that she wouldn't necessarily make herself.

So I made a tammy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Box for Me!

My fourth or fifth birthday party was themed around Little Red Riding Hood.  I remember few of the details beyond the lovely little red cape my mother made me and that my dad wore a plastic wolf mask to play the villain.  It was awesome.  While I don't find it my favorite fairy tale to read now, I still have a fondness for that story.

So when I got home from work and found this . . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back to pumpkins

Belgium's poor attempt at summer seems to be giving up on being anything but fall, and the back-to-school season is in full swing.  Things have been hectic.  I have participated in congresses for the two dance federations I mostly work with, one of which included a competition.  I currently am balancing three projects at work, which is mostly okay except for days when I spend 5.5 hours in meetings to present 35 of my own slides and provide back-up to a student's presentation.  That was Friday.  I sent out my swap package for the August edition of the 2014 Geek and Nerd Swap Saturday morning, and I look forward to sharing the details of those projects once my swap partner has received them.

In the meantime, though, I am returning to my small stash of works-in-progress to see what I can make progress on.  The latin dress is stalled somewhat, mostly because I don't particularly enjoy the pattern alterations I am trying to sort out.  Standard dress patterns don't fit well enough or look right for dancing, so alterations must be made.  But I don't feel that I am skilled at it, so I end up making a mock bodice, and then *tweaking the pattern and making another mock bodice, repeat from * until satisfied.

To keep me busy during my commute, now made longer as students in school means buses tend to run late, the pun'kin socks have been restarted.  I ripped them out to start with 72 stitches around and did one less repeat of the cuff pattern.

I wouldn't particularly care for this sort of cuff, since I prefer 1x1 ribbing, but I must admit that it makes sense--the cuff looks like a pumpkin stem.