Monday, January 18, 2016

WIPs - 2015 and older

I was inspired by our Aerie blog editor-in-chief greenegirl's blog, to list out my WIPs from 2015 (and before). I'm afraid there are a fair few, but here goes:

Active WIPs:

Begun 2015:

*Vivid Wedding Afghan for J&C - begun 6/11/15, knit this for my cousin's wedding (Dec 2015). I'm adding an antique lace border to it that I think highlights the petals of the vivid square center work, and will finish before their first wedding anniversary this Dec 2016 :)



Begun 2014:

*Sock Yarn Throw - begun 9/1/14, don't we all have one of these? Mine started as hexipuffs, which I swiftly fell out of love with after knitting the fifth one. It's more of an afterthought, to use up the last dregs of yummy sock yarn we can't bear to throw away. I'll use it to turn in a quick class if need be, and I really need more miniskeins (hundreds!) to make it nice and colorful. It's more a sock yarn scarf at the moment, but I have dreams that in a few years, it'll be a nice throw for the living room.



Hibernating: These are the projects I've put aside to work on others, that I can't bear to frog (yet), and plan/hope to get back to someday:

*Vintage Reindeer Sweater for DH - begun 2/12/12, our kiddos "commissioned" me to knit this for DH so he'd have one to match all of ours, but he really doesn't want one (so he says)




*Puff Daddy cushion for living room - begun 7/11/14, really do want to finish this and not buy one in a store for $100+, but it tires my arms very quickly with several strands held together




*Amy Farrah Fowler granny square afghan - begun 7/17/14, about 30% completed, but the squares are coming out way larger than in The Big Bang Theory TV show, so I'm a bit discouraged. A fellow Ravenclaw knows one of the executive producers, and told her about my afghan and got full blanket shots from her so I can make it as true to the original as possible - she then told the cast about it, so I can't give up on it :) Crocheting on it too much hurts my shoulder, so I need to pace myself




*attic24 Cosy Stripe blanket for living room - begun 9/2/15, you can never have too many cosy blankets in our house when it gets cold in the winter, and I have the yarn on hand. Using the "Harmony colors" instead of the Fall palette.  Ditto crochet hurts my shoulder



*Mermaid lap blanket 2 for DD2- started 10/2015 as a Christmas gift, she says she still wants it, ditto crochet hurts my shoulder



Woodland Hills snuggle up - begun 10/29/10 for DH. I started this when he complained that everyone had a Snuggie but him (they don't fit him well), when we all had and used Snuggies for about five minutes. I should probably frog it and reclaim the yarn; each pattern "row" takes forever.
TARDIS stuffed plush WIP - begun 10/27/11. All panels are knit, just the duplicate st needs to be done, and I didn't like the way it was coming out.
HP Squares Blanket - 12 squares knit, should do 4 more and seam together
Knit paper chain
32 st Advent Calendar Scarf 2013
49 st Advent Calendar Scarf 2013
No-fuss shade-loving shawl
GeekALong blanket 2014 - Triforce Square
Catbug ami
Lamp cosies for the office
Toothless hat for DD1's friend
VividToo
Lord of the Rings ami - begun 2/2009, these are my oldest WIPs, sad to say. The bodies are crocheted and stuffed, and they live on a dusty bookshelf in the basement until I get around to adding their hair and clothes. The felt clothes patterns weren't working for my scale/gauge, so they've been suffering, cold and neglected. I really should take care of these poor gents.



Really too many WIPs to have to deal with, and they weigh me down and give me the guilts. I think I need to frog all those not marked with "*" and move on. I can reuse most of the yarn for Knit A Square hats, squares, and handwarmers.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Mermaid Tail finished!

Finished the mermaid tail lap blanket for eldest daughter on Jan 1. She loves it!



Am I ready to get back to work on DD2's now?

Not really, no. But I'm setting my goal to finish hers before December. Maybe it will be a birthday present then. :)




Saturday, January 2, 2016

Morticia started

My OWL proposal was approved, and I've begun work on Morticia. Very exciting!

Here she is, set up section and first chart A repeat completed:


The beads slow things down, of course, and it grows exponentially, but it will be worth it. 

Most of the shawls I've knit for myself are blue, so knitting a red one is a big change for me. I will just need to track progress and work on it consistently, so that I finish on time. At the start, they go quickly, but the last third takes forever, and the picot bind off has you crocheting long chain points which are beaded, adding on about 3,000 sts, so that will be a huge challenge as well. 

Challenge accepted! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Just Keep Swatching....

This winter break seems to be flying by all too quickly. We've been having a low-key, relaxing time together, without too many emotional outbursts, and for that I'm grateful. 

I'm currently swatching for my OWL proposal for Astronomy, a lace Morticia shawl in Madelinetosh Tosh laceweight yarn in Tart colorway, with size 8/0 dark plum iris beads. I'll add an extra two pattern repeats to make it larger and hopefully OWL-worthy. 

I do love the magic of blocking, it never ceases to amaze. 

Freshly bound-off swatch:

(Love how it matches my crafting chair)

Ready for its warm water Soak bath, approx. six inches tall and two inches wide 16 sts across):


On the blocking mat:



Next day after blocking - lovely!



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tail progress

30" long so far, getting there!




Crocodile stitch the right way

I'm not sure if I misread the pattern directions or messed up not turning when I was supposed to, but I've decided to cut the yarn, turn the tail and work the dc v sts from the wrong side, turn it again to work the scales as I saw on YouTube, so the right side of the tail is the backside of the scales. This way I don't have to secure them down. 



There will be three distinct changes in the scales themselves, but I don't think it will harm the overall aesthetic of the magical piece. :)

I will frog DD2's tail to work the crocodile sts the correct way -- that's a post for another day. 


Detention Jan 2016

I'm taking a slight break from the mermaid tail, and working on Kari's puppy pullover sweater, so it will be close to finished for Detention come January 1. 


I'm knitting long sleeves for the front legs, as she's a Rat Terrier, with short hair. She doesn't like being cold in the winter, and must be sitting on my lap or along my left thigh if I'm sitting anywhere. And it's best if she's under a blankie. Case in point: 


I love her to death, but it gets annoying at times. She will sit on the couch across from me, staring me down, until I call her over to join me on my chair. 

Hence the new wool sweater with long sleeves. Because short-haired pups suffer in the winter, poor dears. She just might need matching leg warmers for her back legs, too. ;)



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fixing Crocodile stitch mermaid tail lap blanket

I'm crocheting the mermaid tail lap blanket for DD1. The scales should be worked so the back side is the right side, so they would curl under. As written, the front side of the dcs is the right side, so the scales are curling up. To fix this, I'm working the sc at the bottom of the scale as a fpsc around the v st posts of the scale in the row below. 


Posting pics so I don't forget how I did this. 

Worked 5 dc as the first half of the scale:


Hook is under the v st:


It can be a little tricky to work the loop and pull through, but fpsc worked:


Finished the 5 dc for the second half of the scale.


And here we see the last five rows of scales have been secured in this manner. 



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas baking

I didn't do any baking last year, and since we added an additional thyroid med, I actually have more energy this year. So we are baking some Christmas cookies. The hubby asked if we could bake some for him to bring in to work, so we're doing lemon cookies and Crookies for that, plus some peanut butter/kisses drops. I also remembered the chocolate snowballs I baked for him when we started dating way too many years ago, so might make some of them as well. 

I'm posting the recipes here, as I seem to lose them!

Lemon Cookies

1 pkg (Duncan Hines) lemon supreme cake  mix 
2 eggs 
1/3 cup veg oil 
1 T lemon juice 
3/4 C chopped nuts or flaked coconut (we omit) 
Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet or use parchment paper

Combine cake  mix, eggs, oil, and lemon juice in large bowl, beat at low speed with electric mixer until well blended it will lighten in color a bit

Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to cooling rack. Place paper towel under cooling rack and dust with confectioners sugar. paper towel helps make clean up easier!

Makes about 3 dozen.

Before the sugaring --




Easy PB Cookies

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk 
3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter 
1 egg 
1 t vanilla extract 
2 C bisquick baking mix 
Hershey’s kisses, Unwrapped 
Granulated or candy coating sugar

In large mixer bowl beat sweetened condensed milk, PB, egg, and vanilla til smooth. Add bisquick, mix well. 
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on I ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake 6-8 mins or until lightly browned. Do not overbake.

Press kisses in center of each cookie immediately after baking. Let cool.


Crookies

4 oz saltine crackers (1 sleeve) 
1 C butter 
1 C brown sugar 
2 C choc chips 
Chopped nuts if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). 
Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer to fill the pan, edges touching parchment paper lining helps wih clean up 
In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely. 
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes it will be bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

------------------------

Chocolate Snowballs

2 C sifted all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

3/4 C butter

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 egg

1 t vanilla

1/4 milk

10X sugar for rolling


Measure dry ingredients into sifter

Cream butter with brown sugar until light

Beat in melted chocolate, egg, vanilla, and milk

Sift in dry ingredients a little at a time, blending well to make a stiff dough. 

Chill overnight or until firm

Roll dough a tsp at a time into marble-sized balls. Place 2" apart on ungreased [parchment lined] cookie sheets

Bake 8 mins in 350 degree F oven, until tops are crackled

Remove and roll in 10X sugar while still hot

Cool on wire racks, then roll again in 10X sugar to make a generous white coating 



Monday, December 21, 2015

Gift-A-Rama

Happy Christmas week to you!  We are in the home stretch, and I can almost hear the clicking of needles and the whooshing of crochet hooks and weaving looms around the globe, singing in frantic harmony with my own.

I saved up vacation days from work to be at home with the family, and I am *still* working on gifts. So here's the skinny -- gifting plans have changed (they always do), but I am actually making some good progress.

I'm not sure who in the family has bothered to look for my wee blog (lol!), so I shouldn't go into detail nor show any pictures until after the big day.  I have managed to finish something for DH, DS, and DD2, and am now near the end of DD1's boyfriend's gift.  DD1's gift is the largest and I'm about halfway through, and have put it into brief hibernation until I was able to finish up the others.  If I gave it to her to open with skein still attached, to give it back to me immediately to finish up, she would understand (she knows about it, anyway).  I had wanted to knit something else for DH that he actually mentioned he'd like to have, which was a first, but as it turns out to be quite time-consuming, I went with something quick and easier with chunky yarn instead. Maybe next week, if I can get the yarn I have on hand to make gauge.

And for the first time in her life, DD1 will not be with us on Christmas day, but in another state meeting bf's father for the first time. So technically, I have more time to finish her gift before giving it to her.

Oh, getting back to the wedding blanket I mentioned back in March, the squares are done and I still need to seam them together. Bit of a win! I truly did have good intentions, but life just got away with me. I hope to get it together and shipped to them before Valentine's Day (it's good to have a goal, no?).

So that's enough about that.

I started listening to an audio book this morning, albeit tardily as it expires via the library in about 14 hours, An Unquiet Mind.  I haven't shared here publicly, mostly due to the fear of stigma, and also because I don't know who may find this wee blog, but we have bipolar disorder in the family.  It is a roller coaster ride, to be sure.  I've requested to be put on the wait list for it again, and there is one reader before me, so not sure when I will have it to listen to again.  Since it hits home so closely, it's hard for me to listen to for any length of time, but it is helpful to know that we are not alone.  I mean, I *know* that millions of people are impacted by BP, whether in themselves or close family or friends, but often it does feel that we are all alone in this, that nobody would understand what we're going through, and not knowing where to turn for support.

DH and I attended a 6-week "Basics" class by our local NAMI chapter, and there were a few other folks there going through similar situations, but none with a clear BP diagnosis.  And there really are no answers.  Every situation is unique, each person dealing with it reacts in different ways.  I have bought about 20 books now and each recommends different techniques for dealing and coping and redirecting.  I continue to find myself in a haze of uncertainty and fear about the whole thing, hoping that we will make it through another day in one piece, praying it will be not as bad a day as the one before, and walking on eggshells if it was a good day, waiting for the hammer to drop and explode all around us.  It's exhausting -  emotionally, mentally, and even physically, and I worry when it negatively impacts my performance at work.  I think I'm getting less resilient, the older I get, and that's not good.

So I knit.  I knit so I won't kill people, lol.  And try to take it one moment at a time.  And I try to remember to breathe.  Breathing is important.