Climate change

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the my color choices last week.  I ended up starting my 2013 Temperature Scarf on Saturday.

I love everything about this project so far!  The colors are coming together nicely, and I love that this is a project that will take a minimum of 365 days to complete.  There is something really liberating about not working against a deadline.

For those of you just hearing about the temperature scarf project: it’s a conceptual crochet project where I track the weather for the course of the year by matching colors to temperatures and crocheting one row for each day.  I got the idea from this knitting version.  I’m using 7 skeins of yarn from my stash, so it contributes to my stash busting goals for the year.  And it’s a project for me, which is a rarity.

To add to the whole conceptual nature of this project, I basically combined several stitch patterns so that the stitch count for each row is the same as my current age.  I chose a single crochet based stitch pattern because I didn’t want the scarf to be too long.  If it seems to short by March, I’ll adjust the stitch heights seasonally (half double crochets in the spring and fall, double crochet in the summer, and single crochet for the winter) to represent the daily hours of sunlight.

So here are my first 13 days.  The standout feature is that the climate of New York City has really changed a lot in the past few years.  I haven’t even used the color for the coldest temperatures, and we’ve had several days in the high 40s.  I almost wish I had made one of these years ago so I could compare the shift in temperature over time.

Though I love this project so far, don’t worry.  I don’t plan to share an update on it for each of the next 52 weeks – that seems a bit much ;).  I will share the stitch pattern as soon as write it up since a few people have asked about it on Ravelry.

As for reading, I finished The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke earlier this week (review here) and I started reading a NetGalley review copy of And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host yesterday.

Edited to add: I’ll be at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend.  If you’ll be there, too, let me know – I’d love to meet up!

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

Crocheters may want to check out my giveaway for 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet: Beautiful Patterns to Mix and Match for Afghans, Throws, Baby Blankets, and More by Betty Barnden, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press.

Conceptual startitis, or Am I Crazy?

It’s usually when I have obligatory projects with looming deadlines that I suddenly have the urge to begin new projects.  My current case of startitis revolves around two projects for me: a pair of socks and a conceptual knitting project, my 2013 Crocheted Temperature Scarf.

The backstory: While procrastinating on Sunday night, I came across the this thread on Ravelry discussing Kristen Cooper‘s My Year in Temperature – Scarf.  (You can find the pattern recipe on Kristen’s blog, Honey Nutbrown’s handcrafted and old fashioned, Northern living).  I first became interested in conceptual knitting when I read about Lea Redmond‘s Sky Scarf last year.  Since we are so close to the beginning of the year, I thought why not jump in?

I scanned the web to find out the temperature range in New York City last year.  It seemed like there was a 90 degree range, from about 10 degrees to about 100 degrees.

Then I looked through my stash for colors that *may* work together.  And here’s where you come in :).  I found 7 possible yarns.  These are all medium weight superwash wools that I like.  The colors are different, but, I think, harmonious.

The potential yarns, arranged in temperature order. The colors are pretty accurate on my screen, except for the final yarn. It is more blue.

You see, as much as I want to be more confident about color, I’m still a bit of a color wimp.  I think that since most of these colors are somewhat muted, they will come together.  But I might just be crazy.  What do you think?

Whether or not I end up using these actual yarns, I’ve done the rest of the legwork.

I've divided up the temperature ranges for each of 7 colors.

I also recorded the temperatures for the first few days of the month.  I’m now searching out a crochet stitch pattern (you didn’t think I was actually going to knit a 365 row scarf, did you?).  In a perfect world, I’ll use a stitch pattern that allows me to start with the same number of stitches as my age this year.  I think that would make an even cooler conceptual project.

Once I knew I was going to crochet, I identified a hook that I was willing to take out of commission for an entire year – my trusty Boye size J hook.  I picked the yellow one because it is an outlier – it has a matte finish while all my other Boye hooks are shiny.

My final decision will be whether or not to include the rows of white that Kristen recommends.  I don’t have an appropriate skein in my stash and I don’t feel compelled to buy yarn for this scarf.  More importantly, I think that white will be pretty harsh against these mostly subdued colors.  Do you think the white is necessary?

The other project I’ve been thinking about instead of the deadline projects I’m supposed to be working on is a pair of crocheted socks for me.  These socks came into being through a combination of trying to get over my failed attempt to knit a pair of socks last year, and looking for a good stashbusting project for me.  Also, I wanted to join in the first sockalong in the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.

The yarn I plan to use: a skein of Regia Design Line Hand-dye Effect by Kaffe Fassett I received in a swap. It's more purple in real life.

I have a few potential patterns in mind, but I plan to swatch for each and then pick the one that seems like it will fit me the best.

As for reading, I’m almost through The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clarke.  I’m really enjoying it thus far.  It’s a collection of short stories, mostly from early in Clarke’s career, and each story starts with an introduction from him. The one downside is that some of the Kindle formatting seems a bit off.

I suppose it is my first book in the Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge.

I set a goal of reading 65 books this year.  According to Goodreads, I read 61 books last year.  The problem (to me) is that only 16 were “real books” and the rest were needlecrafts books.  This year, I’d like to read 20 regular books and 45 crafty books.  Let’s see how I do!

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

2012 Year in Review: 12 for Myself

Back in January, I joined the Ravelry group 12 for Myself (now called For Myself!) with the hopes of making some crochet projects for me!  I’m that type of crocheter who always makse things for others and rarely for myself.  You know, the one who never has her own scarf finished in time for the winter because she was finishing a baby blanket for a colleague’s wife so she ends up buying one at the last minute.  This tendency has gotten even worse now that I’ve been designing, because I also have design deadlines that take precedence over gift and charity projects.

The original idea was to create 12 projects for me in 2012.  I actually made more than 12 projects, but there are only 5 that I actually use on a regular basis.  Others were repurposed as gifts or charity projects.  Since I probably only made one thing for myself in 2011, I consider this a good start!

My favorite projects were the two infinity scarves I made.

The All Weather Cowl (Ravelry project page/free pattern) is great because I used a neutral color so I can wear it a lot.


On the other hand, the Eyelet Ripple Infinity Scarf (Ravelry project page/for sale pattern) is really vibrant and bright, and I love to wear it on grey days.

The most unlikely project for myself that I actually love is this bathroom rug.

The backstory: I wanted to participate in as many competitions as possible in the Ravellenic Games.  This rug started out as the only partially completed project I was willing to unravel that was old enough to compete in the Frogging Trampoline.  At the same time, my current bathroom rug was looking really sad, so this seemed like the best usage of 1″ wide strips of cotton fabric.  I have used it every day since!

I’m also very proud of myself for finally finishing the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program in Knitting.  I consider the swatches I made for the program one of my favorite gifts to myself this year!

The final project for me success story is this placemat.  In many ways, it is totally impractical – after all, it has an uneven texture and the yarn doesn’t match my dining table in any way.  But I love it and it gives me a happy feeling to put my plate on it at dinner time.

After looking through what worked and what didn’t work for me this year, I learned a few things that will help me make more projects for myself in 2013.

  • I prefer functional projects for myself.
  • I still have a lot of trouble making things for me, so combining a “for me” project with an “obligatory” project (such as a design, testing out a pattern as part of a book review, or trying to use up stash yarn) seems to work best.
  • Although it helps to have some guidelines (“I’d like to make myself some winter accessories!”), I seem to use projects made spontaneously – and not necessarily with me as the intended recipient – more often.

Are you the type of crocheter or knitter who makes a lot of projects for yourself?  Do you plan to change that in 2013?