Monday, March 29, 2010

Malabrigo March Madness, NATCROMO, COM...Oh My!

Need I say more? Well, OK, maybe I do. March is a busy, busy month! It's National (and International on Ravelry) Crochet Month (NATCROMO/ITCROMO). It's also our 2nd annual Village Hopelessly Overcommitted Cast On Mania (COM). And it's Malabrigo March Madness (MMM). btw, it isn't a coincidence that COM is the same month as MMM. ;)

First, Malabrigo! Yep, I'm going backwards. *warning: shameless self promotion ahead* ...cause I need votes! I am a new Malabrigo Junkie. I've had this heavenly yarn in my stash for about a year, but never done anything with it other than occasionally take it out and pet it. And I wasn't really that in love with the worsted I had...the color YES, but the feel, no. So when MMM came around this year, I thought what better way to get me off my butt and try it. I'd always heard how soft it was but wasn't really seeing it the skein. Then I started using it! OMB! (That's Oh My Bob! for any non-Ravelers out there.) It really is amazingly soft and keeps getting softer the more I work with it! I am now officially in LOVE!

So what better way to show my new found love, than with a song! ...and an entry into the 2010 Show Your Devotion Contest. So here is my first ever attempt at 1) a video and 2) singing in to speak. If you're on Ravelry, check out the Contest thread in the Malabrigo Junkies group and vote for me! ;) Voting ends the 31st...I think.

Now, onto NATCROMO! This year for NATCROMO, I got to be a little more active in the Ravelry Party than last year, but still not as much as 2008. Nonetheless, I was still crocheting and actively promoting crochet to others. I have worked on several things...

a dress for Thing 1's Ariel doll. She picked out the pattern (from the 80's!) and color. It just needs snaps and a little ribbon:

ariels dress 2

a scarf that will end up as a gift before too long (you'll have to wait to find out who for). It's taken a while to find out what pattern this Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace wanted to be, but this is it! It's the Alpine Frost Scarf (Rav pattern link) by Amy O'Neill Houck from Interweave Crochet, Winter 2008.

alpine frost scarf

And then I've also been working on a couple of new designs too! ...but I can't show you those right now. ;)

And finally COM! Crazy thing to do! The idea is to cast on/start something new everyday of the month. Sounds a lot easier to do than it is. I couldn't keep up last year either and then ended up with a TON of projects that are either still WIPs or I've finally frogged. This year, I've tried to be smarter about it. I have never planned to try to cast on something every day...just wanted to allow myself the freedom to start something new with no guilt. All the things I've done for NATCROMO have been included as well as a few knitted things...

Like this Faberge Neck Warmer (Rav pattern link) by Nina Machlin Dayton (that is also for MMM) from the gorgeous Malabrigo worsted I was given in a swap last year:

faberge neckwarmer 2

(I'm about halfway through this neck warmer now...need to take a new pic!)

And this Cable Band Bag (Rav pattern link) by Jennifer Jones using the GORGEOUS merino/alpaca Pistachio and Chocolate handspun yarn from my Danish friend, Lykkefanten.

handspun cable band bag

Clearly, they're all still WIPs, but ones with a greater chance at becoming FO's than the COMs from last year. :D

And all this while dealing with colds in our house that took all but one of us out for 2 weeks! ACK! Anyway, I hope you all have had a better and more productive month. But it's still been fun!

And as always...Happy Crafting! :D

Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 Ravelympics

OK, I know I owe you a follow up post on the Pinewood Derby, but I got distracted by the 2010 Ravelympics! So I'll post about it next time.

Anyway, the 2010 Ravelympics, which coincides with the 2010 Winter Olympics, is almost over. The closing ceremonies will begin before too long and I'm proud to say I accomplished most of my goal for these games. I did not plan on competing as many projects as the 2008 games...nor did I intend to compete in WIPs Dancing (I'm already sick of my WIPs, which is why they're still WIPs). Instead, I planned to try to use up as much old stash as I could. And with the crazy month I've had, I'm very happy with my performance.

The games started with a Team Hopelessly Overcommitted Everlasting Synchronized Bag Jump...using Knitty's Everlasting Bagstopper pattern, we had a mass team cast-on during the opening ceremonies. That I know of, there were 12 team members ready to go on this...though it looks like only 9 managed a start (at least according to our tags). But it was great fun nonetheless! It seems fitting that the bag I cast-on for the start of the games was the last thing I finished at the close of the games.

ravelympics bagstopper

I somehow managed to make this bag 4 rows shorter in the lace section than my previous bag. Not sure how I did that as I carefully measured both bags. Oh well! This can be the bread or produce bag. :D And how could I not be happy with a bag that finished gold in the Bag Jump and Stash Compulsory Dance?

I also competed in Junior Olympics, Mittens Moguls and Stash Compulsory Dance with my Chocolate Dipped Blueberry Mittens for Thing 2.

chocolate dipped blueberry mitts

Just before the games started, I finished a matching pair for Thing 1...Mixed Berry Mitts. (Clearly, I shouldn't name projects when hungry.)

mixed berry mitts 2

Now if only I could have finished both pairs of mittens in time for the 5" of snow we had the day before starting them! LOL Oh well! There's enough growing room in them to wear again next year.

Then I had 4 projects compete in Charity Curling, Single Skein Speed Skate and Stash Compulsory Dance (noticing a theme here?).

monet afghan square 1monet afghan square 2
monet afghan square 3monet afghan square 4

I think it's pretty interesting to see the differences in these squares. They're all using the same pattern, same yarn, same dyelot, but very different effects. I had hoped to finish 2 more (and thus using up all of this yarn I had), but other things kept getting in the way and besides, my hands were hurting at that point. But I will finish those other 2 squares and then find a good home for them. The original charity I had planned on donating them to is no longer accepting squares, but I've been given information about several others that would be happy to have them. I'll let you know where they go when they're all done. And I think I'll be making more squares for charity as well this year. It's for a great cause and uses up stash to boot! :D

Then there was a new event for these games...Aerial Unwind. I have to say, this may have been my favorite event! I had 4 projects medal here as well, but that also means I have 4 fewer WIPs! :D For this I frogged my Bamboo Scarf (loved the yarn and the pattern, just not together), my Luscious Lace Scarf (couldn't get the pattern to look right with my yarn), my Hand Spring Mitts (again, loved the yarn and the pattern, just not together...wished I'd had another skein of the yarn to hold double for it), and finally, my first attempt at a sweater for Hey, Mom! OK, that last one was hard. I really liked the pattern and the yarn and the two together, but it's been so long since I've worked on it, I couldn't figure out where I was. I had also been having problems with adjusting the pattern to in the round without having big sections of stockinette at the center front as the pattern indicated. Rest assured, I'll try this one again!

crochet circle scarf 2frogged circle scarf

luscious laceluscious frogged

hand spring mittshand spring mitts frogged

Hey MomHey Mom frogged

So, all in all, I'm very happy with my performance in the games this year! :D And Malabrigo March Madness, our Village Hopelessly Overcommitted Cast-On Mania, and National Crochet Month all start tomorrow! It's going to be a fun fun month! :D

Happy Crafting! :D

Monday, January 18, 2010

Derby Time!

My little space in the kitchen where I usually have all my fiber fun has been taken over this the Pinewood Derby! Jitterfrog, my oldest son, is a Cub Scout Wolf. And as any Cub Scout parent's Derby Time! :D

This year, however, Thing 1 and Thing 2 want to get in on the fun. They've asked for cars too. And I said OK. Some may say that's being a good Mom, but in reality, it's just an excuse for me to make a car to race cause I love it too. LOL

Here's what my space has looked like so far this weekend...

2010 derby prep

2010 derby prep 2

Can you guess which car belongs to my daughter? ;)

For anyone interested, we sealed the cars using an all-purpose sealer (frequently used in tole painting), base coated in Titanium White and then followed with the lightest color to be used in the design (multiple coats were required, especially for the pink one). After all the detail painting is done, we'll seal it with a gloss varnish to make them nice and shiny. And we're using all water based products...easier clean-up and more color choices. Finally, if more weight is needed, we'll use those zinc weights to get us as close to 5 oz as we can.

I know we could use more weight for the twins cars since they'll be racing in the "open" class, but I'm thinking of theirs as practice cars for the future. But don't worry, Jitterfrog is doing most of the work! We've only helped him when absolutely necessary. I really can't wait to see it after he finishes painting. He's made a sketch of what he wants to do and it's pretty cool looking.

So, until the race for our Pack is over this weekend, I won't be doing much fiber related stuff. Except maybe sketching. I can do that just about anywhere. Swatching will have to wait a little bit though. I do have a few new designs I'm working on...including one that's knitted! I'm hoping to be able to get them done soon and to some wonderful people that have agreed to test them for me.

See, I told you I did other stuff besides just crochet and knitting! :D

Happy Crafting! :D

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Little Fiber Therapy

Ever had one of those days when simple things seemed complicated? I've had a couple of those lately. And then I realized I didn't have any "brainless" projects to work on. What was I thinking? One should always have a few projects ready just for those days.

I finally decided to give the Everlasting Bagstopper a try. It's been in my queue for a looong time. I've even had the yarn in stash for about a year. And the garter stitch bottom, for sure, seems as brainless as it can get. So no problem! Apparently, the night I decided to cast on it was. I only got this far before problems started...


Yeah. Pretty sad. But hey! It takes a lot of work to screw those needles onto the cables...and figure out how much yarn you need to cast-on the right number of stitches using long tail cast-on...and then of course, the slip knot doesn't just make itself! ...yeah, still pretty sad.

Good news? I was feeling much better the next day. I got about a third of the way through the bag yesterday (between all the other things going on). And I think it's just the fiber therapy I was needing!

You see, I've got two new designs I'm working on (including a knitted one!) and ideas for another five or six that I'm itching to get working on. I think all of that plus the real life stuff just overloaded my brain. I've had problems sleeping cause I just can't seem to shut my brain off! So I figured, I just needed to take a little time off to relax the brain so I can focus and get all these things done! And brainless fiber therapy seems to be working! I think by the time I finish this bag I'll be able to jump right back in and knock out at least one of those designs. Then maybe, I'll make another bag so I can knock out the other one before Valentine's Day. Hmmm...could that be a possible theme? Stay tuned to find out!

Happy Crafting! :D

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Fiber Resolutions

But first a look back at my 2009 fiber resolutions...

So here was my list for 2009:
  • I’d like to get my WIPs under some sort of control.

  • Make a least one sweater/cardigan thingy for Me ME MEEEEE!!!! And crochet/knit for me more in general! LOL

  • Learn knitted fair isle/stranding or at least attempt learning it.

  • Start Christmas gifts NOW!

  • Write and offer at least 3 new patterns.

  • Spin more!
I didn't do tooooo badly. LOL I didn't get my WIPs under control at all. They actually got worse! Unless you count the number I put into hibernation as getting under control. ;) I never did finish the cardigan for myself either. In fact, I think I'm going to frog it and start over. It's been so long since I've looked at it now that I doubt I could figure out where I was on it, so better to start again. I think. I did at least start a lot more projects for myself...even if I didn't finish them. I didn't get anywhere near close to knitting fair isle. I did start Christmas gifts early, but didn't finish any. I got a new spindle and did start some more spinning, but again, didn't get very far. And I officially only offered 2 new patterns. Sooooo, I didn't do as well as I thought after all! Humpf!

But I think getting a pattern published in Interweave Crochet...and on the cover!...more than makes up for my other fiber failings. Non? LOL

OK, maybe my goals were too lofty? So this year I should be more reasonable...right? Nah! That wouldn't be very Hopelessly Overcommitted of me would it? ;)

So let's see...for 2010...
  • I think I should try the WIPs thing again. Maybe I just need to go through all the WIPs and hibernating projects and decide...frog or finish!

  • I would still like to make a wearable piece for myself.

  • I want to finish the big Christmas gift I started last year, but never got to finish. If I get any other Christmas gifts finished, it'd be a bonus.

  • I'd like to spin at least half of the fiber stash I currently own. I don't have a big stash, so this shouldn't be too hard. And it would give me an excuse to buy more pretty fibers! ;)

  • And write and offer at least 3 new patterns. (What can I say, I like the number 3!)
Still a little lofty when you consider how crazy my non-fiber life has become over the last year. And this year, it will likely get even crazier. I'm still teaching Art Awareness for Jitterfrog's class for the rest of this school year. The twins may start preschool sometime this year (still haven't decided). Plus our Cub Scout pack has just had another pack merge with us, so we have more than doubled our pack size in a year! Thing 1, my daughter, wants to start gymnastics or ballet...she hasn't completely decided which yet. Jitterfrog is thinking soccer this year. And I'm still hoping to reclaim some space to get back to my other non-fiber crafts. So, even without fiber, it should be a pretty busy year! Can't wait to see! :D

Happy Crafting! :D