Monday, February 28, 2011

Catching up

It's been a couple of weeks since the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival, but I still am feeling the creative burst of energy. I've been busy coming up with new projects, and working steadily on old ones. It's amazing what a weekend with crafty people will do for a lady.

This was my third time attending the festival, but the first time we actually made it an overnight trip, and the first time I took a class there. It was a great weekend. First, I was able to make some decent progress on my fourth "first knitted sweater" - Radiate from Knitty's spring 2009 issue. I'm to the point where I am actually thinking and believing that I will finish it. Look at it! I could bind it off now and have a... very weird cap sleeved bolero thing. But still a garment! It is very exciting to be this far along and not, a.) hate it, b.) have a mistake gnawing at me to the point where I must unravel the whole thing, or c.) be so bored with it that I must start something else. This is incredible progress, people.

The class I took was on needle felting. I have been wanting to learn this ever since last year's festival, when I came across a booth with all kinds of needle felting supplies and kits. It turns out that the booth's owner, Esther Bechler was the one teaching the class. If I had known how easy this was to do, I would have started the second after seeing her booth last year. It was a great class - and here's the project so far...

The bag itself is felted - it's a great (and free!) pattern from Knitting Daily. I made a couple of minor modifications - lengthening the handle a bit and removing the foldover button closure. I had no idea what I actually wanted to felt onto the bag, and then I came across a pattern book during our class with a lot of fun paisleys. The cloth in between the bag is a water soluble fiber - a great idea Esther came up with for those with less than desirable (or, in my case, NO) freehand skills. We traced our patterns onto this cloth, taped it on and went to work. I'm making progress, slow and steady, in between working on my sweater. I can't wait to see what else I can do with it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The best laid plans...

It's been a while. So there's one resolution down the drain. But you can always jump back on the horse, right?

I've been busy - really busy. And drained. I redid my bathroom. Tore up floors, laid tile, wainscoting, sink, etc. etc. It might be a subject for a future blog post when it's finally finished - likely on the reasons never to redo your own bathroom.
A few photos from early on in the process...
Almost gutted bathroom -
 the closest thing I have to a "before".

Finished floor

Elsewhere in the world of failed resolutions, my goal to reduce my yarn stash is not going so well. I finished the Hurricane Hat I made with the leftover yarn from my Clapotis. I don't know if I would say that I'm happy with it. On the one hand it was a fun pattern to follow, and it turned out to be a cute hat... on someone else. But after putting it on, I've decided I'm just not a beanie type hat girl. I like my slouchy type things, and I'm a little disappointed that with the amount of leftover leftover yarn. I could have probably just knit a slouchy thing all along.

The bathroom sink adds a nice touch, don't you think?
And then there is the opposite problem -- buying more yarn to use up my stash. It seems incredibly counterproductive. But I've done it twice so far. I finished one mitten using up a stash of Patons wool, and realized I'd need a second ball -- or one less hand -- to complete the project. Buying the second ball seemed a tad more realistic. And then I had another leftover ball of Patons, which I thought would be enough for a cute felted bag. Two rows from finishing, I ran out of yarn. Grr. So I bought more yarn for that as well.

I suppose the larger dilemma is how to best use all these little leftover balls. As I've mentioned previously, I'm cheap. And a pack rat. So I have a ton of little balls of yarn, sometimes a half a skein, more likely less. I can't throw them away. I... just... can't. Do people do that? I want to use them, but I want to use them in a useful way.
I do have much much more to blog about - it has been a month, you know. I'll be back soon with more.