In training!

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My main focus this week has been preparing for the Ravellenic Games, which kick off on Friday during the opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

My personal Herculean effort will be to knit my first pair of socks.  I decided to use a pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  I’m far more comfortable with circular needles than with DPNs.  I think it is generally best to tackle one learning task at a time – this exercise should be about sock structures, shaping, and fit, not about learning to use a different type of needles.  For the same reason, I decided to use a skein of medium weight yarn instead of sock yarn.  When I was attempting to make a gauge swatch with sock yarn, I realized that my dexterity with thin yarn knitting is nearly non-existent.  (Apparently, summer crocheting with thread is not a transferable skill!)

This is a lovely skein of Malabrigo Rios in Primavera, purchased at Knitty City last fall.  This is one of those yarns that looks totally different wound.  I actually love it, though I confess that if I saw it wound in the store, I probably wouldn’t have bought it since the colors are a bit out of my comfort zone.  I chose this yarn for my socks two reasons.  While deciding on my sock pattern, I was skimming through The Knitter’s Book of SocksClara Parkes‘s first “beginner friendly” pattern is made with Malabrigo Rios.  Then I started poking around in Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks and found a few patterns using a heavier weight yarn. Given my clumsiness with thin yarn knitting and the fact that I had a skein in my stash just waiting for a project, it seemed like a wise choice.   I wasn’t sure if one skein would be enough for a pair, though, and I have a good amount of the Glazed Carrot left over from my hat.  Since these are toe up socks, I could always end with orange cuffs if necessary, right?

The famous Glazed Carrot skein.

It’s a bit hard to tell from these pictures, but there is a common orange color in both yarns.

Since this is such a big challenge, I’ve been making those real gauge swatches that are spoken about in books, not the fake ones I generally make :).

Isn’t she pretty?

I’m still fiddling around with needle sizes, but I should have a solid idea of pattern and needle by Friday (I hope).

I also plan to declare a goal for the Modular Relay, but I’m not sure which of the three motif projects I’m currently working on (yikes!) would be the best candidate for this.  I’ll have to decide first before saying how many motifs I plan to make.

As for reading, I’m currently about one-third into How To Love Your Job Or Find A New One by Joanna Penn.  I love her blog, The Creative Penn, and she recently offered her readers the opportunity to get a review copy of the revised edition of this book.  So far, I’m finding it really well written (no surprise, after reading her blog) and filled with actionable advice.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say as I get further into it.   I’ve put down  The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories by H.G. Wells for the moment.

Is anyone else making socks or modular items for the Ravellenic Games?  We can cheer each other on!

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

Year of Projects, Year 2: Decisions

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This week,  I auditioned six more motifs for my mom’s milestone birthday blanket.  I made each sample with stash yarn, and I’m happy to report that I’m almost to the bottom of one of my plastic yarn tubs!

This is my version of Duckbill Dalliance by Margaret MacInnis.  I like this motif a lot, but I don’t think I will be using it for my mom’s bedspread.

I found this great motif, M-6, in a vintage crochet book I have, Crochet and Creative Design by Annette Feldman.  I bought this book after interviewing Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence.  I made my version in a self-striping yarn.  I love it, but it is definitely too openwork for a full bedspread.

Then I moved on to Afghan #9 by Valerie Vandergriff from Contest Favorites Afghan Squares. Because I plan to donate this square to charity, I made it 12″ so my version includes a few extra rounds.  This motif is definitely in the running for my mom’s bedspread.

And finally, I had to try out the Monet Pineapple, one of my all-time favorite motifs.  This was designed by Janie Herrin and appears in 100 Afghans to Knit & Crochet.  I also added a few rounds to my version.  This brings my charity square total up to 14 out of my YOP2 goal of 52!

At this point, I was ready to make a decision.  (Ok, I wasn’t actually ready to make the decision, but I was ready to stop making more samples!)  But then, I got an email from my sister.  You see, I had sent her the link to the Pinterest board of patterns I set up a few weeks ago, and she just got around to reading it this week.  Naturally, she thought two patterns that I hadn’t even tried yet were the perfect choices for my mom’s bedspread, so I made samples of those, too!

This is the Lacy Square Motif by Crochet Atelier.  (Side note: This is the first time I followed an entire pattern on my Kindle Fire.  It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be, and I saved some printer ink and recycled paper!)  If I were to use this motif, I would adjust the center part of the pattern so that the circle and the petals were a bit smaller – I suspect that my chains are much larger than those of the designer.

This is the Super Cable Aran Spiral Bedspread by Flora Yang.  This pattern might also need a little adjustment if I were to use it for the final project.

My plan now is to send pictures of all the possible motifs to my sister for a final decision.  Then I will purchase the yarn and get started.

And that brings me to my next set of decisions.  You may recall that one of my YOP2 goals is to participate in the 2012 Ravellenic Games.  The kick off is the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern time.  There are a few things that I need to do before then:

  • Choose a sock pattern.  My main goal is to complete my first pair of knit socks during the Ravellenic Games.  I think I’ll be using the Austermann Step Sock yarn I received in the July Goodie Box Swap.  These will be entered in the sock put event.

    The yarn, along with DPNs and patterns that were included in the swap.
  • Make (at least one) gauge swatch.  I want to make sure I have the right needles available before casting on Friday.
  • Decide if I’ll be entering the modular relay.  If so, I’ll need to decide whether I’ll be competing with charity squares or motifs for my mom’s bedspread or motifs for a scrap blanket for me.  (That’s right, I want to make even more blankets!)  I will need to declare a number of motifs, which will naturally be based on the project I’m working on for this competition.
  • Choose a team (or teams).  This has been the toughest part for me.  Normally, I would enter a crochet-focused team, like Team Crochet, but that seems strange if my main project is knitting.  (Although, apparently, I can enter more than one team.)  If anyone reading is also participating in the Ravellenic Games, do you have any team suggestions for me?
Suddenly, I’m feeling very tired ;).  I may also try and make another stash yarn hat to cross-compete in the Hat Dash, Holiday Hurdles, and Synchronized Stash Busting events.  I can just decide to do this as I go along, so there is no stress about this possibility.  I should hopefully have some great updates for next week’s post!
For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Blog-a-Long on Ravelry.

Year of Projects, Year 2: The List

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I’m so excited to be embarking on a second Year of Projects along with the folks in the Come Blog-A-Long group on Ravelry.  Last year, I aimed to work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters – you can read more about why here – and in some form or fashion, I blogged my way through 13 out of 18 chapters.  I learned a lot and met some great people, but at times, I felt restricted by using one book.  For this year I decided to try something different.  My 2nd Year of Projects list includes a mix of projects and techniques.

The Projects

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I like to donate charity projects each year made from stash yarns.  My first project goal is to crochet 52 granny squares for charity. (I crocheted 40 this year, so I’m hoping this is manageable.)  To keep things interesting, I plan to use 52 different patterns – there will be no two squares alike!

Granny square books from my collection for inspiration.

I also plan to participate in the (newly renamed) Ravellenic Games for the first time this year.  I will attempt to complete my very first pair of knit socks.

Sock knitting books from my collection.

I’ve already started my Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I have quite a few small holiday projects that I’m planning to make in 2012.  But I’d also like to make my mom a very special bedspread in time for her birthday in February.  So far, I have a few ideas, but I haven’t settled on anything.  This will need to be a really great one, since she is celebrating a milestone birthday next year.

The Techniques

This year, I’d like to learn a few new skills, and improve others that I picked up in the past year.

Learn to spin.
Continue to develop my Bruges lace skills and create my own Bruges lace pattern.
Learn overlay crochet, a technique frequently demonstrated by Melody MacDuffee.
Create my own hairpin lace pattern.
Try double-knitting.
Try out domino (modular) knitting.

 

Make something cool inspired by Pop Knitting.
Add knit entrelac to my entrelac repertoire (along with single crochet entrelac and Tunisian crochet entrelac).

I’d also like to create a crochet lace shawl pattern or recipe to use in my spring crochet classes at DC37.  I’m familiar with broomstick lace, hairpin lace, pineapples, and Tunisian lace, but I can always learn more about crochet lace!

The final list

I learned last year that I need about a month to work on each technique, so my final YOP list for 2012-2013 has only 12 items on it.  I seem to work best with books as my inspiration, so I’ve included links to the books I’m likely to use for each goal.

  1. Crochet 52 granny squares for charity. Likely inspiration: 50 Fabulous Crochet Squares, 99 Granny Squares to Crochet, 101 Granny Squares, 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans, 201 Crochet Motifs, Blocks, Projects and Ideas, Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, Contest Favorites Afghan Squares, Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook, The Granny Square Book, and When Granny Meets Filet.
  2. Knit my first complete pair of socks.  Likely inspiration: The Knitter’s Book of Socks, Socks a La Carte, The Sock Knitter’s Handbook, and Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks.
  3. Make my mom a special bedspread for her milestone birthday.  (Suggestions for stunning crocheted blanket patterns are welcome!  I might even consider knit patterns, but since I’m a slow knitter, that might be too daring.)
  4. Learn to spin.  Likely inspiration: Respect the Spindle and Start Spinning.
  5. Design my own Bruges lace pattern.
  6. Learn overlay crochet. Likely teachers: The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet and Crochet Master Class.
  7. Create my own hairpin lace pattern.
  8. Try double knitting. Likely teacher: Extreme Double Knitting.
  9. Try domino (modular) knitting. Likely teacher: Domino Knitting.
  10. Make a small project inspired by Pop Knitting: Bold Motifs Using Color & Stitch.
  11. Learn knit entrelac. Likely teachers: The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting and Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting.
  12. Design a crochet lace shawl pattern or recipe for my DC 37 crochet class students.
What’s on your list?