Cross-Stitch and You

3 weeks ago, Steotch started the 2016 Steotchalong. It’s the cross-stitch equivalent of a mystery KAL/CAL, and I have to admit it’s a hell of a lot of fun. This is the fourth one, I think? So far, there have been homages to Pulp Fiction, Snoop Dawg, Star Wars, and…? I’ve got no idea what it’s going to be this time.

Here are some pictures. Week 1:

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No idea.

Week 2:

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Still no idea.

Week 3:

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Nope.

And tomorrow is Week 4. Maybe I’ll have an idea by then.

I’ve written about my cross-stitching before. It’s kind of relaxing, even though I kind of looked down on it when I was doing “regular” free hand embroidery. There are a lot more kinds of charts than there were when I was a kid, and they’re a lot more fun to work on. There’s even a chart on the side menu as well. It needs to have a new border, but you’re welcome to put whatever you’d like as a border there. Come join the Steotchalong!

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The Start of a New Week

This past weekend was a bit rough. It was a long weekend for Baby Goth, and we’ve been doing free/cheap things which has been a challenge. She did spend most of Saturday out with her gang, so that was good.

I spent the weekend working on this chart, which was a good distraction.

We’ll see if it uploads, shall we? Not correctly. Sigh.

Now that that’s finished, I need some more to do. I think I may do some crewel work this week with this: crewel1

It’s more of the Churro; light gray to start with, which made some nice-looking dyed crewel yarn. Probably on some hemp twill canvas for a bag, but we’ll see.

The Dalek is coming along. I keep frogging and repeating the lace, as I’ve not been happy with how some of the lace turned out. I think I’ve got it this time. The yarn has held up surprisingly well, considering the abuse I’m putting it through.

What’s in my Basket? The Professor’s Homework Assignment

This month’s homework assignment is pretty easy. I think. I have a lot of things going at one time (what, me ADHD? Naw…), so there will be a few things here, one from each basket.

First, there’s the knitting basket:20150129_125958
That’s the Wavedeck Pi shawl from the Knitty Winter 2014 issue. It’s been fun so far. The yarn is my own; spun from a Merino/silk blend I bought a while ago, and that I spun for Spinzilla 2014. It’s going okay. I’m not sold on the color, but it looks better than I’d feared.

Then the crochet basket: 20150129_130045
This week’s Geek-a-long square. Also handspun. This yarn has been sitting for a while, so it’s not splitting like some yarn I’ve been using.

The spinning basket has a couple of things, but I’ll just show you one: 20150129_130307

This is bison/bamboo/cashmere roving. It’s soft and beautiful; I think I’m making at least one more prosthetic for my mom out of this. The only drawback is it’s probably going to be warm in the summer. This is my “waiting for A at the (fill in the blank)” spinning.

There are a couple of other things I’m working on… 20150129_130358
See these? They are the in-progress blankets I started last fall. One is the Geek-a-long 2014 blanket (I managed to get 18 squares finished) and the other is a “Big Bang Theory”-style Amy Farrah Fowler blanket for my sister and her girls, as they’re big fans of the show. It was supposed to be for Christmas; so you can see how that went.

I’m working on a sewing basket. Right now I need to come up with a more permanent place for my machine and a decent cutting surface. Once I’m finally finished with school in May that will be easier.

As you can see, I’ve got a problem with “start-itis”. I have a hard time finishing things, especially if it’s a handknit or crocheted item that needs sewing. I’m good with hand sewing, honestly, and I enjoy it. As long as that sewing doesn’t involve putting knitted items together, it’s good. This Christmas I was racing to get a couple of things finished and mailed off…and now my brain is rebelling against doing a lot besides coding practice.

In the spirit of start-itis, I’ll be starting a new thing very soon.

Advice

Today’s prompt goes something like this:

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you wouldn’t give to anyone else? Why don’t you think it would apply to others?
(Thanks for inspiring this prompt with your suggestion, glitterweaver!)

That’s a tough one. If I hadn’t committed to writing every day, I would have left this alone.

I’m guessing this should be fiber-related, so I’ll use this one. Someone once told me, “it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be finished.” This advice was good for me mostly because I tend to procrastinate. Just a bit. I use the inevitable imperfections in any piece (especially yarn) as an excuse to not finish. Or put things off. Or not put things into a perfectly good Etsy store because they’re Not Good Enough.

Most people are not like me. Most people know what they’re doing and can fix what’s wrong with something without dwelling on the imperfections. Or use them as an excuse to quit.

Almost Knitting Time

This week is my last week of classes for my penultimate semester. Two more classes to go… And after they’re done, I can do some gift knitting. Not a lot. Some things have to go far away, after all. But some.

I’ve signed up, once again, for NaBloPoMo. This month’s theme is “Joy”. Today’s post is pretty easy – what brings me joy? Making things. Knitting, crochet, sewing, spinning, electronics – making things.

I’m making a couple of TARDIS ornaments; one for A and one for Niece #2, one with snow and one without. I think I’ll make a Dala horse for Niece #3, and an extra-special tree topper (warning: link to .pdf), and that’s the extent of ornament making this year. I might make a Weasley sweater or three. Once everybody realized what it was (“The hell? Why Canadian Living?” Twice.), they were pretty excited. Which made me happy.

Giving things I’ve made brings me joy. Which is why I save the things I’ve made for giving to specific people. (Hey! Let’s all tell stories in the comments about the things that made us never knit/crochet/sew for a certain somebody ever again! I’ve got a LOT of stories…) Getting things that people have made for me gives me joy as well. Especially if that person is around to tell the story of how that thing was made. That’s the best part for me. It’s two presents: the item itself, and its story. Pretty awesome, I think.

The thing that gives me the most joy is spinning. Spinning serves a number of purposes. Right now, it brings down my pain level and the insane stress of learning something new while wondering if anybody will hire me to ever do that thing. It’s a good way of getting more yarn; not cheaper – oh hell no – but a good way indeed. It’s also a good way of passing time in the car while waiting for A, which is becoming my new hobby.

I hope you find what gives you joy this season and make time for it.

Spinning a Sweater in a Month

No, it’s not NaNoSweMo. It’s Giftmas knitting, and I need to start planning out what I’ll use for yarn.

This sweater is the one that A fell in love with (that I already mentioned the other day). My go-to yarn, the one I can make in a hurry without thinking too hard, is a DK/heavy sportweight yarn, so I think I can get it done by at least the end of this month. Yeah, that’s right – the yarn. The sweater could be a different story. However, it’s not going any further than the living room for Giftmas, so I’m not too stressed. Just enough…

A has decided on either blue or white. She liked the blue shade in the cover version, but maybe a bit brighter and/or deeper. I have some Blue-faced Leicester, but not quite a pound’s worth any more. I was thinking of trying my hand at dyeing Tencel. We have lots of cotton/plant fiber dye here, so that’s an idea. It could use a protein dye, like rayon does, but I’ve never dyed any Tencel before. If anyone out there knows, don’t be shy.

It’s been a while since A has asked me to specifically knit her anything – and never asked me to make the yarn for it, like this time. We’ll see what happens.

Happy Damn January

Oh, January. Your near lack of any holidays (save the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and I find that more of a somber remembrance than a WooHoo Holiday thing), ramping up of work/school responsibilities and freakish damn weather have been a constant disappointment for the past 13 years.

Some people use January as the start of new habits: exercising, eating better, things like that. For the past few years, I’ve been using January as the start of new learning opportunities. I talked about it a little on this post, and I’ve started some things. For example, I’ve finally unearthed my Russian textbook from ages ago, and have been using that with the Russian podcast to help things along.

I’ve been doing some of this, too: rockypride1

wingedvampheart

The top one is a cross-stitch chart that I made with Photostitch. The bottom is from an Urban Threads pattern. Neither one is finished, but I’m still slogging away on them.

I’m also restarting Burtonesque with some different yarn. Since nobody was interested in the red 3-ply, I’m using at least one skein for it along with the black alpaca I’d already planned on using. I’m almost up to the end of the ribbing again…