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Year of Projects, Year 2: Charity washcloths and other updates

YOP2 This post is part of

It’s been ages since I posted a Year of Projects update, but I have been working towards several of my goals for this year.

Scrappy mitred square washcloths.
Scrappy mitered square washcloths.

My latest series of quick projects has been to make mitered square washcloths for the April Crochetlist charity challenge, which will benefit Mothers and Infants Striving for Success.

You may remember that mitered squares (also known as domino knitting) were on my original list of new (to me) knitting things, and I learned the basics for making them from Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman late last year.  Since then, I’ve been exploring Domino Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro and have picked up the formula.

Making these washcloths has been a fun way to use up stash.  I’m currently working on a jumbo square, where I cast on 109 stitches to start.

MISS washcloth 2 in progress

I’ve also made some progress on another new (to me) knitting skill, which is entrelac.  Once again, a book has been my guide.  This time, it’s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale.

Entrelac 3 rowsThis swatch will probably eventually turn into a block for charity, too, and then I will make a new one in cotton for this washcloth challenge.

And I also finished hosting my second crochet-a-long of the year in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group.  (We’re now voting on the pattern for the next CAL, which will start in May.)  I made a striped version of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl.

Pineapples for Everyone stripes on couch

I’m not sure yet if I can claim that this will be a project for me.  I like it a lot, but it seems to be telling me it might end up as a gift.  Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t taken a picture wearing it, so it doesn’t quite seem mine yet…

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Experiments and pineapples

YOP2 floral with dates

Yesterday, I took an amazing class, Double-Ended, Circular Tunisian Tapestry with Lily Chin.  I’d never taken a class with Lily before, but I’ve heard a lot of good things.  Well, believe the hype, people, because she is an awesome teacher!  It’s rare to find a talented designer who is also an excellent teacher, but Lily has the total package.  In addition to being very clear and organized, she was also a lot of fun!

Lily modeling her projects using this technique at the December, 2012 NYC Crochet Guild meeting.
Lily modeling her projects using this technique at the December, 2012 NYC Crochet Guild meeting.

The workshop was designed to teach us how to do Tunisian crochet in the round using a double-ended hook.  Once we had that technique down, we learned how to use the method for creating intarsia style projects along with several different ways to increase and decrease.  (Lily has used this colorwork technique in several patterns, including the Bitmap Cowl, Graphic Ornaments, and Argyle Hat from the 2012 Interweave Crochet Accessories issue.)

Here's my tiny circular project from class.
Here’s my tiny circular project from class.

Although my actual YOP goal was to learn a new (to me) knitting skill, this class taught me several new crocheting skills and my creative energies were totally inspired!

The start of a circular Tunisian project from class.
The start of a circular Tunisian project from class.

I’ll need to sit down with some different yarn and see what I can come up with.  Perhaps, like Lily, I’ll experiment by making hats for charity.  (She showed us a slideshow of over 100 hats she crocheted as chemo caps using this technique.)

In other news, I kicked off my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL on Friday.  So far, we have a pretty lively discussion going on in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group.  The CAL will run through March, and then I’ll just need to organize one more CAL or KAL in my group to be on track with my YOP goal.

My second version of the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl for the CAL, through Round 14.
My second version of the Pineapples for Everyone Shawl for the CAL, through Round 14.

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Slow and steady

After a few busy weeks with minimal blogging (and minimal blog reading), I’m happy to return and report that I’ve made progress on my new YOP goals.

I’ve started two projects for myself!

First on the list in my 2013 Temperature Scarf, which is a great stashbuster.  I love that it is a slow project, guaranteed to take at least a year to finish.  (If you’d like to make one, too, check out my free crochet version here or the original free knitting pattern by Honey Nutbrown here).  So far, I’ve crocheted a row for each day in January.

Next is a pair of crocheted socks for me.

Here's my gauge swatch. This picture shows the yarn color more accurately.

Like the Temperature Scarf, this is also a stashbuster.  In fact, both projects are part of -alongs in the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.  I just started the socks this morning, and am working on the cuff.

I’m using the Hello Sunshine pattern by Janet Rehfeldt from More Crocheted Socks: 16 All-New Designs, a cool book my two besties gave me for my birthday.

Since both projects are stashbusters, they are helping me with my other goal, of reducing my stash and tracking my yarn consumption.

I’m happy to report that I also crossed off a goal from my original YOP list. The pineapple shawl that I designed to use with my crochet students, Pineapples for Everyone Shawl, has been published in the Spring, 2013 issue of Crochetvolution.

I’ll be starting a CAL with this pattern in my Ravelry group on February 15.

For more Year of Projects updates, visit Come Blog-A-Long on Ravelry.

Year of Projects, Year 2: New Year, New List

After reviewing my progress in last week’s post, I decided to revise my list for the last half of the Year of Projects.  This may not seem as ambitious as my original list, but for right now it works for me.

I’ve been purposely vague about the exact numbers of projects, etc. because I would like to keep my Year of Projects participation fun and not obligatory!

So without further ado, here’s my new list.

1) Continue to reduce my yarn stash and track my yarn consumption.  I’m an active member of the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry, but I’m always looking for new ways of tracking my yardage.  I started using KnitMeter yesterday, and I think this will be quite helpful.  I’ve already learned a lot from entering the projects I completed (and didn’t unravel) in 2012!

My goal is to have one less plastic bin of yarn by the end of 2013, so I guess I should be about halfway there by the end of the Year of Projects.  I have no idea what that represents in yardage!

2) Make more projects for myself.  I never seem to focus enough on projects for myself.  I’d like to make myself a pair of crocheted socks and a full winter accessories set (hat, scarf/cowl, and mittens or convertible gloves).  If I could do this by the end of June, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.

3) Learn at least one (hopefully more) new (to me) knitting technique or skill.  Some options I’ve been thinking about are entrelac, efficient use of DPNs (the horror!), circular knitting that starts with a small amount of stitches and increases rather than a large amount of stitches and decreases (like some of the great motifs from Knitting in Circles), and more advanced cast on, bind off, or colorwork methods.

4) Host at least 2 CALs or KALs in my Ravelry group.  I had a lot of fun with the Ripple Mania CAL last year and the Chubby Sheep CAL going on now in the Underground Crafter group.  I’d like to be more organized about how I approach these, though.  Maybe I might even write up a mystery project for a fall CAL…?

5) Donate crocheted (or knitted) projects to charity.  Crochetlist is a Yahoo group that I’ve been involved with on and off for years.  I’ll be hosting the September challenge this year (pet blankets for Bideawee again), and I’d like to donate my own projects to at least one of the other challenges.

Some possible projects are

  • Cotton washcloths and hand towels (a great way to use up some cotton stash) due at the end of April for Mothers and Infants Striving for Success (MISS Inc.), a shelter for women and children.
  • 6″ squares (and I think we all know that I love to make grannies) for Casting Off the Cold  by the beginning of June.  But I’m not sure about the cost of shipping to Canada…

I could also participate in a charity drive through the New York City Crochet Guild or to send some 8″ squares to Sandy for Bridge and Beyond.  And I’m actually hoping to find a charity that accepts crocheted toys.  I know that I can look charities up on Bev’s Charity Links or Lion Brand’s Charity Connection, but if anyone has a suggestion of a US based charity that accepts crocheted toys that don’t need to be made in any particular colors, please let me know!

 

Right now, this list seems incredibly ambitious since I have two samples due next Friday, another one due at the end of the month, and I’ve just volunteered to help out Crochet Happy with her January CAL.  But I’m sure once February arrives, I’ll be amazed at the small size of my list.  I can always add more things to it if need be!

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Return

It’s been a while since I shared a Year of Projects post, but as the year comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my crafty accomplishments in 2012 and planning for 2013.  I’ve definitely missed the camaraderie of participating in YOP so I thought I would ease myself back into posting on a semi-regular, if not weekly, basis.

All this week, I’ve been sharing year in review posts, so it only seemed natural to share an update on my initial YOP Year 2 goals.

Completed

Crochet 52 granny squares for charity. While I didn’t actually crochet that many squares since July, I mailed off 60 squares to Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge on Thursday.  I’ll likely make more for one of the 2013 Crochetlist charity challenges.

Design my own Bruges lace pattern.  This was one of my early YOP finishes.  The pattern, Visit to the Kantcentrum, is available for download here and I’ll be teaching a Sunday afternoon Bruges Lace Basics class at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in March.

Try domino (modular) knitting.  I did get a chance to play around with mitered squares while working on my review of Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman.  (You can check out my review here for a chance to win a copy.)

My first domino knitting project.

Design a crochet lace shawl pattern or recipe for my DC 37 crochet class students.  This was actually one of my early finishes.  I can’t share pictures… yet.

Abandoned

Knit my first complete pair of socks.  I think this project was my epic fail of 2012.  I’m feeling pretty convinced that knitting socks is not for me, and my first serious attempt at sock knitting became one of my frogged projects of 2012.  If I do revise my YOP goals, I may add a crocheted socks project.

The two little balls were my gauge swatches. The two bigger balls were for my two-at-a-time socks.

Timeline adjusted

Make my mom a special bedspread for her milestone birthday.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to put this project aside.  I have a very large secret project due on February 1st, and I can’t imagine wanting to complete a bedspread right after that in time for my mom’s birthday.  I already talked to my sister about it and decided this bedspread will be a Christmas 2013 gift to my mom.

In progress

Learn to spin.  My first tentative drop spindling has whet my appetite, and I’m hoping to dive in more deeply in 2013.

My first attempt on the drop spindle.

No progress

Learn overlay crochet.  

Create my own hairpin lace pattern.  

Try double knitting.

Make a small project inspired by Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch.

Learn knit entrelac.

 

 

If I plan to continue with YOP updates on a semi-regular basis, I’ll definitely need to review my list and decide what to keep and what to change.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my general crafty goals for 2013, and I’d like YOP to fit in with my overall goals rather than being another set of goals.

For more YOP updates, visit Come Blog A Long on Ravelry.

2012 Year in Review: Frog Fest!

I’m not the type of crocheter (or knitter) who feels the need to complete every project I start.  Sometimes I start a project for stress relief, other times I make a bad yarn choice, and then there are times when the project just isn’t really something I want to work on anymore.

Today, I’m celebrating all those creations that actually made it as far as into my Ravelry projects but were later unraveled.  While I actually unraveled 12 projects in 2012 (freaky, huh?), I’m just going to talk about the three most significant ones today.

If you followed my second Year of Projects posts, you may remember that I was working on my first pair of knit socks.

I started these during the Ravellenic Games, hoping that would be the push I needed to actually get excited about making knitted socks.  I love looking at other people’s knit socks and I love wearing hand-knit socks, but something about actually knitting socks never seemed all that appealing to me.

I think I’ll stick with crochet socks.  I’m not all that comfortable knitting with small needles or with lightweight yarn and I just don’t feel committed to spending the amount of time needed to knit a single pair of socks.

Another learning experience was the slip stitch scarf I started for the Red Scarf Project.  Vashti Braha‘s newsletters got me very excited about using more slip stitches in my projects.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really think this one through.

Let’s just say that the combination of not so great quality acrylic yarn, watching a movie while crocheting, and slip stitches is not a good one.  I decided to unravel this, along with a Christmas stocking I made last year (in red wool)…

…and give slip stitch crochet another try in wool in 2013.

 

I think the addition of this hook I found at a shop near my job, which looks like a pjoning hook, will also help to make the stitches more even.

And finally, there’s the Pineapple Doily Shawl I started.

Several students in my crochet class were working on it, and I decided to start one, too.  I don’t usually work on projects with my students (besides a little swatch I make in class), and this experience hasn’t encouraged me to make it a habit.

I inherited this yarn from my grandmother and I eventually want to make it into something special for my mom.  So far, the perfect project for this yarn hasn’t revealed itself.

 

Do you unravel projects, do you always finish what you start, or do you abandon projects that aren’t working out?

2012 Year in Review: Charity projects and crafting for a cause

This year, I donated more projects and patterns to charity (and causes) than I have for quite a long time.

I started off 2012 by making 6″ granny squares.  I sent off 40 to Binky Patrol in May as part of the Crochetlist charity challenge.

26 6" granny squares.

In June, I hosted the charity challenge for Crochetlist on behalf of Bideawee‘s Manhattan Adoption Center.  I created a pattern e-book, 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets, and I donate all of the profits from its sale to animal welfare organizations.  So far, I’ve raised over $180 for Bideawee and the Humane Society of New York!

I also collected about 70 pet blankets for Bideawee.

In August, my very first knitting pattern was published in support of the 2013 Knotty Knitters for Autism calendar.  You can read my interview with Marsha Cunningham, the organizer, here, and download the free pattern here.  (And calendars are still available for sale here.)

In the fall, I made two hats and also donated a scarf to the Hats 4 the Homeless drive hosted by Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

The Studio's November window was all about crafting for charity.

This year, I made a strong effort to destash.  In addition to using up yarn for new charity projects, this also meant rummaging through my bins for existing projects and yarn to donate.  In September, I donated a bunch of yarn to the Roosevelt Yarnies and Knitters and Crocheters Care.

And in December, I mailed off 6 hats, 5 scarves, and 2 cowls I crocheted in years gone by to the Oyate Teca Project, a charity I found through the Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation.  I also included this wool scarf I made in 2012.

I sent out a very big bear I crocheted in 2008 to a drive for the children of Newtown, CT that I read about on FreshStitches.

I’m not sure why I crocheted an enormous bear (other than because I wanted to try out the pattern at the time), but I’m hopeful that he’s found a better home than squished into a plastic bin in my apartment.

I also packed up 60 (!) granny squares to send to Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge.  These included the charity squares I made as part of the second Year of Projects and a bunch of squares I found hiding in a yarn bin during the summer.  I will mail these out by the end of the week.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up this much charity crafting next year (especially since a many of my donations were actually crocheted years ago), but I’m glad I was able to help out this much in 2012.

I also started a Pinterest board of charities that accept handmade donations, in case you are looking for places to donate.

Do you have a favorite crochet or knit charity or charity project?

 

Year of Projects, Year 2: My thoughts on continuing in YOP

You may have noticed I haven’t posted a Year of Projects update for the last two weeks.  I have been following along with my favorite YOP bloggers, but I think I’m taking a break from the Year of Projects for a while.

I say “I think” because this has been something I’ve debated about for weeks.  I’ve actually previously written posts about this and then never published them.  I love participating in the Year of Projects because it is a great crafting community, and I’ve “met” some of my favorite bloggers this way.  Last year, my YOP goal list was tied to one amazing book, and I felt really compelled to work through it as a way of learning new crochet techniques and also of sharing with the world some of the amazing things crochet can do.

This year, I tried a slightly different approach.  I set up a list of goals that included my crafty aspirations for learning new skills.  I added some projects that I wanted to be accountable for completing but where I might need some community support to help me stay on track.  In some ways, having a list that has so many different types of things on it has made it harder to choose what to work on next.  Yes, I know I can sit back and reform my list at any time but I’m not sure that is what I want to do right now.

You see, some things have changed in my life since I joined this year’s YOP.  I’ve been given some more opportunities to publish my patterns, and for the most part, I’m not able to share anything about those projects until publication.  This means that I’m working on more and more projects that I can’t share with my readers while simultaneously having less and less time for projects on my list.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about three blog posts lately:

  • this one from Crochet Concupiscence describing why she isn’t participating in the Year of Projects for 2012-2013,
  • this one by Thistlewood Farm asking bloggers to consider what they want their blog to be when it grows up (which I originally discovered through a post from Project: Stash), and
  • this one that I wrote back in back in January about my fear of becoming over-memed.

I know I don’t want my blog to be a place of obligation and crankiness, nor a place of feeling like I don’t live up to (my own) expectations about completing goals.  I have a lot of ideas about the direction I’d like my blog to take in the future, but I also have to be realistic about the amount of time I have left after accounting for my full-time and part-time jobs, attempts to have a personal life, etc.  The solution that seemed the best for me right now is to step away from participating in YOP until I have time to work on specific projects and I feel energized about posting about them!

For more YOP updates, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.

Year of Projects, Year 2: A quickie

I’m sharing a quickie post today because I’m running out to meet my mom and join the lines of New York City shoppers preparing for Hurricane Sandy.  Public schools are closed tomorrow, but I haven’t heard about the colleges yet, so I may or may not be going in to work.  I hope everyone in the storm’s path remains safe over the next few days.

On a lighter note, I did make one charity square this morning.

This is the Dog Rose from Granny Squares: Over 25 Creative Ways to Crochet the Classic Pattern by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm, and Barbara Wilder.  (I’ll be reviewing this book soon, by the way.)  I haven’t woven in the ends because many of the charities ask that you don’t – it seems that some people just “knot and cut” and to make sure your ends are woven in sturdily, the charities ask you to leave the yarn tails hanging.  It doesn’t make for a neat photo, though.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Bl0g-a-long on Ravelry.

 

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Detour

I haven’t made any progress on my Year of Projects goals this week because I’ve been sidetracked by other projects.

The first (and most time sensitive) project is a part of some work I’m doing for Kollabora.  (You can see the poorly lit – yet tantalizing – snapshot of some of the yarn involved here.)  I’m not allowed to share details until later, so I took an ultra super close up to give you a little teaser.

The second is my Ripple Mania CAL.  Yesterday, I was out taking some pictures of one of the projects with two models.

Initially, I was going to give this sample to one of my cousins as a holiday gift, but I fell in love with it.  I’m actually wearing it right now :).  I have a few more ripple samples to make for the final week, and, of course, I need to format the PDF that will go live on Wednesday for the second week of the CAL.

In other news, thanks to everyone who left suggestions about the pattern for my mom’s milestone birthday blanket on last week’s post.  I decided not to switch my pattern to the Tree of Life Afghan.  Many of you mentioned that I probably wouldn’t have enough time to make it, but it was really the comment from Minding My Own Stitches that made up my mind.  She thought the branches looked a little thorny, and I definitely don’t want to give my mother a bedspread and find out my mom thinks it looks thorny!

I hope to be finished with these other projects so I’ll have more time to focus on my YOP goals by the end of the week.s

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

There’s still time to win a copy of  Caitlin Sainio‘s 100 Snowflakes to Crochet, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, here.

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