Monthly Archives: July 2012

Holiday Stashdown Challenge – Week 12

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

Just a quick update this week since I was working late last night and I’m rushing off to work now.  I started another ribbed beanie for my other male cousin using stash yarn.

I’m using the same design I used for this beanie since these hats will go to two brothers.  I *think* I’ve decided which one is for which brother, but I reserve the right to change my mind once it’s finished :).  I’m using two strands of Moda Dea Tweedle Dee that I bought at Smiley’s Yarns about two years ago.  It’s kind of interesting because it is a self-striping yarn, but since I’m pulling from two ends of the skein, the yarn patterning isn’t very predictable (to me, at least).

Please feel free to share your progress or link up to your blog post in the comments!

If you need some inspiration for a Holiday Stashdown Challenge post for next week, here’s the prompt for Tuesday, 8/7:  The summer is winding down and fall is just around the corner.  Does anticipation for the change in season help or hinder your progress towards your Holiday Stashdown Challenge goals?  As always, feel free to write a post that isn’t restricted by this prompt but relates to your own personal Holiday Stashdown Challenge journey.

Year of Projects, Year 2: Ravellenics and Unveiling the Motif

This post contains affiliate links.

This week I made progress towards two of my most challenging YOP goals.

My sister and I were able to decide on a motif for my mom’s milestone birthday blanket.

(Ignore the fold. It got a bit rumpled in my bag.)

We both had a really hard time choosing a motif, so I made a hybrid.  My hybrid pattern uses the center and final row from Afghan #9 by Valerie Vandergriff with the cluster-y inner border from Crown Jewels by Melinda Miller.

You can see how the first Afghan #9 and Crown Jewels motif patterns relate to the final motif.

I picked the yarn, Cascade 220 Superwash, and my sister picked the color, Banana Cream.

Photo from Cascade Yarns website.

I special ordered a whole bunch of it from my LYS, Knitty City.  I know that the top of the bedspread will be in this color and with this pattern, but I’m still deciding on whether the side drops will be in the same color and pattern.  I’m going to wait until the 42 squares I need are finished and joined before even thinking about borders :).

And now we interrupt this blog post with a customer service rant.  You may remember that Knitty City is my favorite NYC yarn shop.  I have five stories from this week to demonstrate why!  My week started out on a high note – I was able to easily put in my special yarn order to Knitty City via email, and I received all responses via email in a timely fashion.  This shows that the folks at Knitty City are not only responsive but also that they understand that if you send an email, you would likely prefer an email (not phone) response.

I spent most of the week in training for the Ravellenic Games, and I wanted to get a set of size 1 40″ circular needles in case I wasn’t able to get gauge with the needles I had at home.  I had four bad customer service experiences at four different Manhattan yarn shops while trying to get a set of needles!

With size 2 needles, I was at 7.5 stitches per inch, and I was hoping for 8.

  1. I stopped at a new-to-me LYS after work on Tuesday.  I arrived in the store to see three women knitting away feverishly in complete, perhaps tension-filled, silence.  One looked up and said to let her know if I needed any help.  The shelves were a mess and only partially full, and with all three women sitting on the same side of the table, it wasn’t easy to get access to the patterns located behind them.  (I wasn’t looking for patterns, but you get my point.)  There were very few notions in stock, but I decided to pick up some needle point protectors anyway.  (Side note: I come from a family of entrepreneurs and run a small business myself, so I really try to support small businesses when possible.)  It was only at this point that I realized that all three women actually worked there.  When I mentioned I was looking for a specific needle size, no one offered to order it for me.
  2. After work on Wednesday, I decided to stop by a different LYS that usually has a broad selection of needle sizes.  I didn’t see any 40″ circulars in the display, so I asked if they had size 1 in stock.  After being asked about what type of needle I wanted (wood, metal, etc.), they realized they didn’t have any size 1 needles anyway.  Again, no one asked if I would like them to order it for me and by now I was getting really down.
  3. I called a third LYS in another neighborhood and they told me they did have size 1 needles in stock.  Unfortunately, due to commuting times, I wasn’t able to get there before closing.  I decided to stop by the next day (Thursday), and went by about 25 minutes before their listed closing time.  The shop was closed with the gate pulled down.  And, of course, there was no sign indicating they had closed early.
  4. On Thursday morning, I had also emailed a fourth shop to see if they had size 1 needles in stock.  After receiving no response by Friday morning, I stopped by this shop after running errands.  The clerk asked, “Didn’t you call yesterday?” to which I responded that I had sent an email.  Even though she knew someone was looking for this particular size, the woman didn’t know if the needles were in stock.  So I waited while she looked through several disorganized piles of needles before determining there weren’t any in stock.  Again, no one asked if I would like to order this size.  And, about two hours after I got home, they left a voice mail in response to my email saying the needles weren’t in stock.

After all of this, I figured size 1 needles must be extremely rare.  With only the slightest of hope, I dropped by Knitty City on the way home.  Not only was I treated warmly, but there were FOUR different brands of size 1 40″ needles for me to choose from.  I guess the moral of the story is just go to Knitty City every time and don’t even bother with the other places!

And now back to my YOP post :).  I did end up needing the size 1 needles to get gauge.  I finally chose the Graphic pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  My thought process went this way: according to The Knitter’s Book of Socks, I should have at least 10% negative ease for the circumference of my sock.  After convincing MC to measure our feet based on the chart in The Sock Knitter’s Handbook, this pattern seemed to be the right size.  And, with my brand new needles, I was able to get the right gauge!

Unfortunately, my first several attempts at making this sock were disastrous.  Let’s just say the combination of poor lighting in my apartment, the small needle size, and my lack of familiarity with knitting socks led to a few issues.  Yesterday I restarted and things seem to be going much better now (perhaps because I have knit this very same section four times already?).

Not much to show for several hours of knitting…

…but at least it looks like a toe!

I’m not too confident that I’ll finish this pair before the end of the Ravellenic Games, but I really hope I do.  Because I have the feeling that if I don’t, these will sit as a WIP until the 2014 Ravellenic Games.

I also forgot to declare how many motifs I wanted to make for the Games, so I couldn’t participate in the Modular Relay :(.  Instead, I dug out stash wool that is over 1 year old, and decided to make more squares for the felted wool blanket I’m making for myself as part of the stashbusting event.  I finished these three yesterday.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

FO Friday: Panda for my cousin

I’ve had my eye on the Lala the Panda pattern since I interviewed Stacey Trock as part of the Crocheted Softies blog tour back in December.

Stacey’s version of Lala the Panda. Photo (c) Martingale Publishing.

I wanted to make a relatively gender-neutral toy for my little nephew as part of my Holiday Stashdown Challenge.  His parents are a bit old school, so I didn’t want to offend their delicate sensibilities by making a toy that might be seen as “too girly.”  I thought Lala would be perfect.

I’m very happy with how the eyes came out.  MC always frets about how I get to the end of an amigurumi project and suddenly start rushing through the assembly.  I think eyes that are askew can be cute, but he disagrees.  I decided to take his opinion into account for this project, and after several retries, I’m glad the eyes were even.  (Yes, he did take out his laser level just to be sure.)

As for the mouth…  Well, let’s just say my opinions about things being a little askew prevailed in this matter.

I think the panda came out a bit rough and tumble, which is perfect for a 4 year old with parents with traditional views on gender roles.  If he was any cuter, there might be trouble.

It feels great to have 5 holiday gifts already made at this point in the year, and I used about 210 yards of stash yarn on this project (yay!).

You can find the details on my Ravelry project page.

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.