FO Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

I’m excited to be participating in another I Love Yarn Day on my blog!  To celebrate, I’m sharing some charity projects and showing off some of my recent yarn acquisitions.

Finished charity projects

I’ve been working on some charity projects with stash yarn for the Hats 4 the Homeless drive at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Men’s hat and child’s hat.

I had plans for more creative (read: flashy) hats, but then I remembered these guidelines on the Bridge and Beyond blog about donating handmade hats to homeless people:

Choose colors that don’t show the dirt, that are appropriate for the group you’re donating too.  Wild colors, bold stripes aren’t a good choice for homeless people…  Homeless [people] don’t like to call attention to themselves with wild colors.  Dark colors work for everyone, kids, teens, women, and men.  Light colors limit who can benefit from your warm hat.

With that in mind, I pulled out the charcoal yarns and went work.  I made both hats very bulky and warm so they will provide a little extra protection in harsh weather.  I’m also planning to make some scarves before the drop off deadline.

Yummy yarn stuff

When I wrote my post for I Love Yarn Day last year, I was already thinking about thinning out my stash.  This year I’ve been participating in Surmount the Stash and I started my own Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I’ve made a lot of progress towards reducing my stash and increasing the proportion of natural fibers in my collection.  I’m not even going to enter the I Love Yarn Day contest where you can win 365 skeins of yarn.  Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it up.  So what changed?

One of my best friends and I took part in the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge with Frugally Sustainable in January.  As New York natives working in the public/non-profit sector and watching prices rise astronomically, we are always worried about our finances.

My frugality is still a work in progress – there is much that I haven’t changed yet – but I have been pretty good about keeping a 30-Day List.  Last weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival and the New York City Yarn Crawl, and I’ve been planning for months to go wild.

The yarn and roving I bought at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.

From top to bottom: Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki in Aella and in Anastasia, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red, and Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace in Night Sky and Hand Dyed Merino Roving in Harvest Festival. I only had time to visit three of the ten yarn shops participating in the New York City Yarn Crawl last weekend.  (After all, I was in New Jersey for two days for the Festival!) My first stop was (of course) my favorite NYC yarn shop, Knitty City, where I picked up two skeins of madelinetosh tosh vintage. On Monday, I visited Downtown Yarns, my favorite stop for knitting needle shopping.

Believe it or not, I actually went there hoping they would have some super jumbo circulars, and I was not disappointed. (These are US size 50!)

I found this lovely skein of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock right next to the needles. My final stop was The Yarn Company.  I’ve done a fair amount of browsing in the shop since it came under new ownership and the vibe is much better than it was in the past.  Other than a few skeins of sale yarn that I bought when ownership switched over, I had never found the “right” yarn for me when visiting.  It is in my neighborhood and I appreciate the work the new owners have put into rebuilding the store’s reputation, so I decided to stop by during the Yarn Crawl.  And I wasn’t disappointed when I found this lovely skein of Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in Violets in the Grass. I have ideas for these yarns, but honestly, I almost never make exactly what I planned when I’m buying the yarn!  (Does this happen to anyone else?)  By the time I get through the things I’m making now and the projects I have deadlines for, I’ll be interested in making other things.  At least now that I started using Ravelry’s stash feature (thanks to this tutorial from FreshStitches), I can easily scan my stash before starting a new project. For more I Love Yarn Day excitement, check out the inspiration webpagePinboards, and Facebook page, and follow @iloveyarnday or search #iloveyarnday on Twitter.  And for more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Return to the fold

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It’s been almost 6 weeks since I last participated in Work in Progress Wednesday and Yarn Along.  Life got very busy and I was mostly working on secret projects, so there was nothing too exciting to share.  I’m happy to be back with a (very) little something and am looking forward to checking out what everyone else is up to, also.

You may remember this swatch from June…

A swatch in Nude Ewe Ron.

I didn’t love any of the three cable patterns I tried out on the swatch, and after unraveling it, realized that a superwash wool was probably a better choice for the intended recipient.  So now I’m working on an entirely new pattern with a totally different yarn that I won in a giveaway on Robyn Chachula’s blog.

A very small start to a hat (in the form of a gauge swatch in progress).

As far as reading, I finished up How To Love Your Job Or Find A New One by Joanna Penn a few weeks ago.  I love her blog and was very excited to receive a review copy.  (You can read my review here.)  Right now, I’m about a third of the way through The Last Man by Mary Shelley.  Mary and her mother are two of my favorite historical figures, and Frankenstein is one of my favorite books of all time.  So far, I’m loving the experience of being immersed in Mary Shelley’s “future,” which seems to me so clearly in the past!  (I especially love how the super futuristic mode of transport is the “sailing balloon.”)  Nonetheless, I’ve been completely sucked into the book and have been snatching little reads every night.

For more Works in Progress, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

Year of Projects, Year 2: Hanging in there

I’ve somehow made it through two marathon weeks at work (10-12 hour days, working on the weekends, etc.), but crochet and knitting (and blog reading) have been on the back burner.  Yesterday, I opened my Google Reader to find over 1,000 unread posts (!) and while I did get around to reading almost every YOP post for the past two weeks, I definitely didn’t comment as often as I usually do.  I’m hoping things will slow down, at least slightly, in this coming week so that I can start up a new YOP project from my list.

I did have a chance to finish my infinity scarf variation of the Bruges lace design I created a few weeks ago.

MC wasn’t available to help out with photography this morning, so I went the self-portrait route.

In the picture, it’s wrapped around three times.  I could have made it longer (I only used 60% of the skein), but I really liked this length.  It’s interesting to see the two Bruges lace scarves together because the yarn weight and colors are so different.  (D’oh!  I probably should have taken a picture of them so you could see, too!)

This is how it looks folded in quarters.

I plan to make a variation of this pattern for most of the ladies in my dad’s family as part of my Holiday Stashdown Challenge.  That will also give me several samples to photograph when I release the pattern.

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Bruges crochet design, part 2

I’ve been pretty excited about my first Bruges lace design since I developed it and made a sample last weekend.  I actually started a second version yesterday so I could take some tutorial pictures to include with the pattern.  It’s being tested on Ravelry as we speak!

I’m making this version with Austermann Step, a sock yarn I got in a Ravelry swap back in June.

Austermann Step in 03.

Truth be told, I’m a bit afraid of variegated yarns.  Sometimes, there are mystery colors hiding inside of the ball, skein, or hank that are just plain scary.  In the case of this yarn, the color changes are unexpected, but still attractive.

This light green towards the bottom is my favorite of all the colors in this yarn.
The white and reddish brown are the most unexpected.

Most of the yarn is a darkish green, which looks grey in these pictures for some reason.  It’s more obvious in the close ups, but there are little flecks of brown repeated throughout which kind of pull the whole thing together.

I expect that this will be a holiday gift for one of the ladies in my dad’s family.  I have four that I’m making gifts for this year.  I might even make each of them a variation of the same design.

Assuming I have enough yarn, I plan to make this one an infinity scarf.

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Burst

Yesterday, I had a burst of creative energy and the time to crochet.  I designed a Bruges lace scarf pattern and made the sample.

MC took a picture of me outside this morning.

I don’t usually finish one of my Year of Projects goals on the same day that I start it, so I’m as amazed as you are.  This will ultimately be a Christmas present for my friend, JS.  I made it with this wonderful Bitsy Knits yarn I bought at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival last year.

JS and I usually spend time together with another friend, OB.  She’s getting a Bruges lace scarf, too, but one designed by Tatyana Mirer.

By a strange coincidence, I happen to be wearing the same outfit in this photo, taken by MC over a month ago.

It’s nice to have both of their gifts finished so early in the year.

A detail of my Bruges design.

If you are interested in helping me test out this pattern, PM me on Ravelry.  I have a few other things I’m working on right now, so it probably won’t be written up until next week.

(Edited to add: The pattern is now available on Ravelry as Visit to the Kantcentrum.)

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