Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Great Crafting Obstacles list of 2018...

Well. I've spent a ridiculous amount of brain power preparing for this post this week,  which isn't unusual for me. ;-) It's nice to have a sense of purpose about my crafting again. I had really lost my crafting mojo after a difficult winter, and right now it's providing me with a lovely sense of peace and serenity. Life can be hard sometimes, and so we all need the little joys in life, yes? In my case, that means reams and reams of yarn.


I have a personal goal this summer of using as much stash yarn as I possibly can, rather than buying new. This sounds quite virtuous and economical, but the real reason is that I'm going to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in October, and I want to feel unfettered and free to buy as much hand spun, hand dyed yarn as my little heart desires. Carpe Diem, right? Following this logic, one of you needs to go in my will to inherit my inevitably still voluminous yarn stash when I die, so let me know if you're interested!

*virtual high five!*

And so here we have it! This list is a combination of Things I've Just Needed To Knit For The Past Decade, and Things That Truly Scare Me. :0


Big and Frightening Cabled Cardigan

I've knit cables before, but they're still pretty new to me. Also, never in a man's sweater. I have had "Sweater for Mike" on my Christmas crafting list for approximately the past 5 years. At least 3 years ago (maybe more 😳) I bought a truckload of tweed yarn in a neutral color that men seem to like. I'm thinking of one of those fisherman-like cabled sweaters with cables out the wazoo. This one of those projects that I just need to pick a pattern for and cast on for lest I lose my nerve indefinitely. Mike will be excited.


Scary Seamed Socks

My comfort zone with socks are cuff down, basic ribbed socks, knit on double pointed needles. You know, those ferocious-looking ones with points on both ends. THAT was scary to me at first, but I have mastered knitting socks in this way. There are, however, *many* other ways to knit socks, and this is one of them. I want to make socks that are knit flat into a complicated-looking pattern, and then seamed. I loathe seaming. Probably because I'm so bad at it. But these socks are awesome-looking enough to warrant the possibility of a thick and uncomfortable seam on the back of my ankles:

"Smokey Zickzacks" by Natalia Vasilieva
Tentative Toe Up Socks

I tried toe-up socks once. Let's just say it didn't go very well. Rather than a happy load of 64ish cuff stitches, you start out with relatively few stitches on your needles and gradually increase up. The kicker is that, until that happens, things tend to get all twisty and tangled. I was so determined to make those falling leaves socks, too! It was a curse called down on those freaking falling leaves, let me tell you. It's been years now, and I'd like to try again. I WANT THOSE FALLING LEAVES, #@%! IT.

"Falling Leaves Socks" by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

How Could They Not Be Trouble When They're Called Fox Socks?! 

I like stranded colorwork knitting. But stranded knitting in socks in an entirely different animal. Indeed, we do have the Great Argyle Sock Incident of which we will not again speak. Picture Tiffany painstakingly knitting the argyle pattern with multiple strands of yarn going at once all the way down the cuff, knitting the heel flap and turning the heel, knitting the gusset, then starting the pattern again on the foot, and then finally trying them on. This all took WEEKS. For a single sock. Do you want to know what happened next, good and gentle reader? Imagine your Catholic Librarian trying to force her giant size 9 foot into this sock like one of Cinderella's ugly stepsisters intent on the glass slipper. Stranded knitting dramatically changes your tension, making it tighter than usual. Did Tiffany knit a gauge swatch to try and prevent this from happening? No. No, she did not.

And so I have not yet successfully knit a sock with a stranded pattern. I want the fox socks, people, and I want them badly!

Did you ever?! "Fox Isle Socks" by Life is Cozy

"Am I Going To Regret This?! Intricate Stranded Hat That Will Actually Fit A Human Head

Speaking of tension issues with regards to stranded knitting... Stranded knitting requires a particular kind of patience. Socks that do not fit size 9 feet = hats that would fit a baby bird. And Henry would like a stranded hat made with an image of Hedwig from Harry Potter on it. I have gray and white yarn, so I have no excuse not to try this. But...eeks. This is going to require swatching. 😭

"The Owlery" by Ingrid Carre

Praying That It Will Be Gorgeous, Complicated Lace Shawl

I have knit a lace shawl before. But only one. And it did involve some blood, sweat, and tears, especially when I dropped a stitch in the main lace section.


I want to knit a lace shawl before Rhinebeck with a design inspired by the mid-Hudson bridge. The pattern is not available online, but it is *beautiful* and I have hand dyed yarn with a colorway intended for this specific pattern. That's a lot of pressure if I screw it up! :0

A Rhinebeck Sweater

Speaking of Rhinebeck, a "Rhinebeck sweater" is a traditional rite of passage each year for all knitters, and I *really* want to knit one that I've had in my queue for all time and eternity:

"Autumn's End" by Alana Dakos
Yes, more falling leaves, because I am obsessed with them. Don't judge. :0 I even have this very featured yarn in my stash!

Colorwork Sweater For Anne

More sweaters! I've been promising Anne one for a few years now, and I just cast on for this one:

"Little Lighthouse" by Carrie Bostick Hoge
She picked out a bright blue/green yarn, and I'm using neutral colors from my stash for the colorwork yoke. 😇 I'm hoping to have this done for her for the fall.

School Cardigans for Anne and Autumn

Anne and her adorable friend Autumn both attend Catholic schools with a navy blue uniform. I said last year that I'd like to knit them navy blue cardigans that are comfy, rather than the scratchy wool ones a person tends to find in the uniform stores or JCPenney. It is also infinitely less expensive to buy a navy blue cotton/acrylic blend yarn than to buy the sweaters.  I excitedly bought the yarn during a sale, and well...I haven't knit them. :0 Do you think I could get both done by September? eeks!

"Little Hiker's Cardigan" by Melissa LaBarre
I'm really enthused about this pattern. I think the garter stitch will be so stretchy and comfy!

Finish Up a UFO That I Don't Even Like Anymore


This is not an alien invasion, UFO here stands for "Unfinished Object" in the crafting world. There are...let's just say, a NUMBER of possibilities for this category. I like to start new craft projects. I get all excited in the planning phase, and then after I cast on and the item takes shape, it's just bliss. And then, for some projects, the fever sometimes wanes. The pattern begins to bore me, the color starts to sicken me, whatever. And so I innocently tuck it into the bottom of my knitting basket, telling myself that "I'll get back to it later." For some innocent UFO's, later never comes. I know they're starting to resent me, casting on for bright new sweaters, while they languish amongst knitting notions and lost pencils. There's a cream colored, tweed poncho. There's a summer top in peach linen. There's a colorblock shawl. I can feel their beady eyes on me right now as I think about which I'll choose, and it's making me shiver. 😁

Double Knitting Bonanza 

Double knitting is a technique that I've never learned, so I can't even describe it to you, ha! I know that it makes a fabric appear on both sides of your item with no "wrong side," if you will. For example, I've always admired this scarf which is knit using this technique:

"Snowstorm Scarf" by Rose Stewart
See how the one side has white snowflakes with a colored background, and the other side is the reverse? Cool, right? Melanie, you mentioned double knitting. Want to do a winter double knit-along? *halo* I'm open to the Harry Potter scarf, if so!

The Ultimate Terrifying Knitting Project - Steeking

OK. This one is the Big Mama. All of this other stuff? Yeah, I want to make/learn this stuff. But steeking? I'm actually afraid of steeking. Steeking is related to Fair Isle/stranded knitting, which in many ways explains it's intimidation factor. *eyes narrow* Essentially, when you knit using a lot of different colors, the most expeditious way to do it is to knit in the round, wherein you never need to purl. Now, this is all great and everything if you're knitting a pullover with no sleeves. :0 But the instant you need to make an opening for sleeves, or God forbid, a center opening for a cardigan 😱, you need a steek. To steek, means TO CUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL KNITTED GARMENT THAT YOU JUST SHED BLOOD OVER.

I literally don't understand how this is possible. There's something about reinforcing the fabric with sewing prior to taking your scissors to it, but I'm feeling woozy, so I do not understand these words.

This is the last knitting frontier for me. I NEED to try this and live to tell about it.

Before I'm willing to go there for a sweater, I need a smaller steek. A baby steek. A steek with training wheels. So I'm going to knit Fair Isle slippers:

"Frost Slippers" by Emily Kintigh

Don't laugh. I may need you to come and hold my weeping form before this takes place.  You may also need to bring a bottle of vodka.

I will grant, it's going to take me many months to accomplish all of these items. I'll update the blog as I make my way through each project, but it may take me a year or more! :0

Here is out Bingo card to keep track!

 Anne's sweater is already on the needles, so there's a start. *halo* Are you excited to join along with my crafting adventures? What new adventures are you up to this beautiful June day? Have you gotten your book club book, the time is getting closer!!


  1. Have my book club book on the way. WOW - I am so impressed that you even know HOW to knit. We learned some basic stitches in high school (long time ago) and it was interesting. While I'd love to know how to actually crochet things, I'm not sure knitting is high up on my list of want to do. BUT, I do have many, many UFO's and patterns of things I want to sew! Have progressed to setting up my sewing machine, bought NEW fabric (don't judge - but those lovely precut, sized strips that would work perfectly in my current project were just too hard to resist.) Like you, I have many projects and would like to use up my stash of what I have. Many of my fabrics are vintage and/or reworkable - green fabric as it were. :) I plan to make doll clothes, etc. out of my stash for my ETSY shop. But, I keep getting sidetracked with gardening (poison sumac results), writing (have editing projects to complete as well as a final edit for one of my sequels), and a sudden intense desire to do cross stitched gifts. So far, I've done for all the friends I know -except for a few upcoming birthdays. My work on my friend's quilt is progressing well - only the binding to finish. I'd like to unearth a huge cross stich sampler that I began some - ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm - years ago. It's a state fair type sampler with a roller coaster at top and various lines of animals, fair food, veggies, ribbons, etc. About two years ago, I got it out and whizzed through horses and cows, and cute little canning jars of fruit. Then I realized that I'd sewn the roller coaster (a HORRID project) using too many strands of thread! It looks a little 'fat' but I'll be darned if I tear it all out or begin again. I'm going to finish the darn thing ONE DAY. This fine June day it's pouring rain, I stepped on a bee with the resulting swelling, so I'm doing the best thing possible - reading!

    1. Oh Donna Alice, your poor foot! But reading to wile away your healing time is clutch. *virtual fist bump*

      It sounds like you are quite a talented sew-er! This is something that I do not know how to do, aside from buttons. :)Good to know that fabric stashes have the same growing ability as yarn ones do, lol! If you live near a JoAnn's, they almost always have an Introduction to Crochet class going/coming up, or if you have a small yarn shop nearby you could inquire. :)

  2. All of the patterns you posted are beautiful! Many of the things you mentioned wanting to learn are things I thought I'd like to learn someday too. I'm in for a KAL. I thought of mentioning it after reading about the seamed socks. I've been intrigued by that pattern for a while.

    I've also thought it would be interesting to try toe up socks. I like the idea of being able to stop the leg and add the cuff when you want to either to make shorter socks or because the yarn is running out. I tried toe up magic loop once but had too much trouble so I stopped and ripped it out. I don't remember now if it was the toe up bit or the magic loop bit that gave me the most trouble.

    For double knitting I want to start with something smaller like a pot holder to get the hang of how it works before committing to a large project like a scarf. I have pot holders and blanket squares favorited for this purpose.

    What about frogging a UFO and reclaiming the yarn for something else. If you don't like it any more you don't have to finish it.

    Steeking scares me too. I figure someday I'll see a pattern I really want to knit that involves steeking and then I'll try it.

    So to summarize, I'm in for the following KALs, seamed socks, toe up socks, and double knitting. One KAL at a time as I may need to buy yarn. My stash keeps out growing it's storage space but it isn't voluminous yet.

    1. Melanie,

      Sure! I'll let you know when I'll be getting to those projects. The first one I tackle of those 3 will be the seamed socks this summer. Falling leaves closer to fall. The double knitted pot holder to start off sounds like an excellent suggestion. :0

  3. I have the best idea for the fox socks! Swatch in the round *with the fox area* -- maybe from white stripe to white stripe? You'll get an idea of how your tension is going, be able to see how it fits on your leg, and how truly horrible the stranding work is. Best of all, that swatch will be a usable objet, as a wristband or mug cozy or cat toy (depending), so if you decide that you don't want to do the socks after all, you'll still have those adorable foxes. Right?!?

    1. Nance, this is an *awesome* idea! Foxy mug cozy, here I come! :0


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