Taking control of the WIPs.

About 10 minutes after I sent off my last post, I started to feel completely overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of WIPs I had going. I didn’t even tell you about the lace stole at the bottom of my knitting basket (the one I only knit a few inches at a time every 6 months or so), or the socks I’m not sure I want to continue. Um, or the quilts and rag rug I’ve got started and not finished. Enough is enough. Every once in a while, I do this crazy thing to myself where I start a million projects for fun and then am almost immediately overwhelmed and bummed out by them. Fellow crafters, why do we do this to ourselves? Why?!

So I decided I better take back control of at least the knitting. I’ve started to work on new designs and the last thing I need is guilt from my knitting basket slowing me down. My usual method is to put aside the larger projects for the moment, and intensely focus on the things I can finish quickly and get out of the pile. So I haven’t knitted anything on Terra all week (though did luckily bump into someone destashing the exact yarn I’m using for that one, so now I should have plenty to make a nicely large shawl), or Umaro (which, unfortunately, hasn’t been so lucky – the long-since discontinued Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky is absolutely impossible to come by now, so it looks like I’m going to have to start over with fewer stitches to get a suitable lap blanket length), or my brother’s cardigan.

Instead, I focused my attention on my Primavera Socks, started back in my Christmas knitting binge. As is often the case, the second sock was less exciting than the first, and they’d been lingering too long. I took them to my knitting-at-the-pub group last night and announced that I wasn’t allowed to go to bed until the pair was finished. One repeat later, I really wanted to switch over to a new project. But The Knitters encouraged me to finish and so I did – before bedtime, even!

FO: Primavera socks

And so glad I can finally just wear them already. I’m totally madly in love with these socks – the pattern’s genius, easy to work but oh-so-pretty to look at, the yarn (Trekking XXL) is so warm and bright, and they fit absolutely perfectly. And even better, this was stash yarn, waiting for a use since 2007. Oy! I’m not officially stashbusting or anything, but I am trying to knit from it as much as I can right now. No particular reason, just trying to find the perfect uses for those yarns I loved enough to stash in the first place. It’s very satisfying when you finally find just the right project.

FO: Primavera socks

Also from the stash is the Big Herringbone Cowl I mentioned the other day. This Noro Cash Iroha was also stashed in 2007, bought during one of those awesome John Lewis yarn sales. I bought all they had, 3 skeins, which turned out to be a really odd amount. Not quite enough for most shawls, too much for most cowls. This project was finally the exact perfect one – it won’t be quite as huge as the original (I cast on 10 fewer stitches and I’m estimating it’ll be about 11″ wide in the end) but is a dreamy match for the pattern.

WIP: Big Herringbone Cowl

I’m concentrating on this one next, because I only started it Sunday and I’ve already started my last skein of yarn. I knitted the first two up in about one evening each, a little longer. It’s such a fun pattern, it just flies by once you get the hang of the herringbone stitch. So I’m not sure it’s totally possible, but I’m going to set a can’t-go-to-bed-until-it’s-done goal on this one today and see how far I get. Think I can do it?

Nearly finished, thinking ahead

Almost finished

My little lyric sheet embroidery is nearly done, ready for just the finishing touches before sticking in a frame and up on the wall (proper FO post then), and now I’m starting to think ahead to the next little project. ‘Little’ because there’s loads of big projects on the go that I can’t quite show yet, so quick projects that are just for fun are exactly what I’m looking for right now. And all I can think about is stitching up one – or many – of the Sajou antique monogram letters available (free!) from the amazing Pattern Maker Charts (etc) blog. In case you’re a stitcher and somehow haven’t ever bumped into this site, go now – but, be warned, you’ll be there for hours. Pages and pages of free antique patterns, scanned and often also downloadable in your favorite cross-stitch software’s format, it’s just infinitely inspirational.

Lately, I’ve had the French Sajou letters floating in my head: I’ve got a whole bunch saved, but my very favorites are these from Sajou 235, a large version of one from Sajou 484, or either of these types from Sajou 346. Aren’t they just too lovely? All dainty and intricate and girly – or, in other words, not me at all. But I wants one anyway, maybe because it’s so unlike something I would normally do?

Anyway, other than the having to pick just one to stitch, my real problem here is what for?? I mean, literally – for what purpose would I stitch this, and thus what would I stitch it on? I don’t want to make a big project out of this, so although I thought a little make-up bag might be cute, I really don’t want to spend the time making one, and I don’t really need one anyway. Pillowcases would be really really cute, but I don’t have any handy nor any fabric to sew any up, and I’m making an effort to craft from stashed materials anywhere possible. So, um … hmm. Maybe just in a little hoop on the wall, just because it’s cute as hell?

Stitchery In Progress

Stitching in progress

For what was supposed to be a simple project, getting this one off the ground took some time. Isn’t it always the ‘simple’ ones that cause problems? It turns out that I was using the wrong type of thread – simple stranded cotton – and no matter what variations I tried (number of strands, etc), the couching just looked sloppy. I suspect it was the combination of dark color (meaning you saw every tiny bit of fuzz along the strand edges) and that I was using Anchor thread. Not that Anchor isn’t nice thread, but it is much more matte than DMC’s stranded cotton, which didn’t really suit couching very well. Couching looks best, so I learned, when it’s used to create a smooth line (i.e., not interrupted by stitches), allowing for continuous light reflection along that line. A matte finish kind of negates the whole thing, which seems obvious now, but I just hadn’t thought about it like that when picking out my thread. Switching to pearle cotton (DMC, from my charity shop loot) finally got me back on track. It’s solves the fuzz thing, fulfills the light reflecting thing, and creates a perfectly bold line that won’t be overpowered by the backing fabric I chose. Now, for reals, it should be a pretty quick finish!


New Project

I’m getting ready to start a new embroidery project – just a little one, but I’ve been thinking about it for months. Embroidering song lyrics is hardly a new idea, but it’s one I’ve always liked – being a music dork and all. There are a lot of songs – probably more than I could count – that mean something special to me, but only a few with lyrics that I feel I would do well to remember daily. I didn’t want to cross-stitch this project, but couldn’t think of a fitting way to do it until recently. Now I’m almost ready.

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