The Bog of Lost Scholars

September 26, 2013

Late 2013 Craft Update

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 3:57 am

So, 1.75 years after my last post, here’s an update on my craft status.

Knitting and crocheting: Progressing well. I still have far too much yarn and too many UFOs, but I finished 40 projects in 2012 and have finished 18 so far in 2013 (not bad given circumstances). I’m trying to focus more on one or two projects at a time, while still sometimes working on others.

Spinning: I’ve spun 20 more skeins of yarn since I last posted — most very short, granted, but a few in the 200-300 yard range. I got an inexpensive wheel. And, big surprise, I have far too many spins-in-progress on my spindles.

Cross-stitch: At some point I’ll admit that I’m not really a cross-stitcher anymore (probably when I finally get middle-aged vision difficulties). I’ve finished one or two ornaments and occasionally worked on other projects, but no significant work.

December 27, 2011

2011 Craft Goal Update

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 1:11 pm

While it’s not quite the end of the year, it’s close enough for me to check in and see how I did on my 2011 craft goals.

1. Finish all the projects started before 2011 (except for sweaters/vests and Heere Be Dragone) in 2011. I made a good dent in this, finishing the following:

  • Blue Curacao Shawl
  • CTH Peacock Socks
  • Hobby Horse
  • Katika
  • Garden Gate Socks
  • Bear Rug
  • Copper Penny Socks
  • Spot Check Socks

Still unfinished, and not likely to be done in the next five days:

  • Linen Bag
  • Loud Escher Socks
  • Shall We Dance Doily
  • Medallion Travel Bag
  • Microsock

2. Finish at least two sweaters/vests that I started before 2011 in 2011. Done; I finished the Oblique cardigan and the Flutter Cardigan.

3. Successfully complete the 52 Projects in 52 Weeks challenge in June and sign up for another year of it. I did successfully complete it, but I decided not to sign up for another round. I want to focus on finishing my existing projects, not on a goal that encourages me to start a bunch of small easy-to-finish projects instead.

4. Start at least ten projects with stash I’ve had for more than two years.
Done; Cast-on Mania did help with that!

5. When I buy new yarn, start the project it’s intended for within a month of purchase.
Ha. Not even close. Definitely a sign that I have too many projects in progress, if I can’t start a project I’ve specifically bought yarn for.

6. Make at least ten projects from patterns that have no Ravelry pattern photo (i.e. my Needlecraft for Today patterns), and take a good picture that can be used as the pattern photo.
I finished nine. Some others are in progress but won’t be done by the end of the year.

7. Start a blanket to use up sock yarn scraps.
Done.

8. Start at least one project from my stash of wool that’s stored in the freezer.
Done.

9. Weave some towels from the gazillion cones of cotton yarn I’ve bought.
Still haven’t finished warping the loom after a year and a half. I’ve resolved that by 1 January, I have to either warp it or rip it out.

10. Go through the bins of yarn I got with my loom, and log everything I want to keep in my Ravelry stash.
Not completed, but I’ve made a start, and I also got rid of a bunch I knew I didn’t want.

11. Knit five pairs of plain socks.
Done! Also knit three pairs of patterned socks.

12. Use all the remaining yarn from the Loopy Ewe orders that made me a Loopy Groupie.
Not done, but I made progress; I’m down to six skeins.

13. Knit all the kid sweaters that I’ve bought yarn for (one in progress, three unstarted).
Didn’t happen.

14. Reduce my knitting/crochet yarn stash so that it fits on my allotted yarn shelves (or at least is out of the closets).
Not even close.

15. Start working regularly on all the cross-stitch and sewing projects.
Nope.

Still, overall I’m satisfied with what I actually did accomplish in 2011. I finished 42 knit and crochet projects: four sweaters, six scarves, ten pairs of socks, three hats, nine dishcloths, a pillow, a shawl, five ornaments, a stuffed toy, a rug, and a bag. And I still might manage to finish a cross-stitch ornament before the year’s end. There’s a lot of stash for me to use, but I am actually producing a bunch of finished projects.

July 3, 2011

Craft Goal Progress

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 11:41 am

Now that the year’s half over, time to check in on my craft progress.

1. Finish all the projects started before 2011 (except for sweaters/vests and Heere Be Dragone) in 2011. I’m making pretty good progress on this. I’ve finished the following:

  • Blue Curacao Shawl
  • CTH Peacock Socks
  • Hobby Horse
  • Katika
  • Garden Gate Socks
  • Bear Rug
  • Copper Penny Socks
  • Spot Check Socks

Still remaining to do:

  • Linen Bag
  • Loud Escher Socks
  • Shall We Dance Doily
  • Medallion Travel Bag
  • Microsock

I’m not sure I’ll get all these done; the Linen Bag, in particular, is very slow. But if I can get at least one or two of these done, I’ll be satisfied.

2. Finish at least two sweaters/vests that I started before 2011 in 2011. Half done; I finished the Oblique cardigan earlier this year. So far I’m on track to finish at least one more by the end of the year, especially if I can focus on one.

3. Successfully complete the 52 Projects in 52 Weeks challenge in June and sign up for another year of it. I did successfully complete it, but I’ve decided I’m not going to sign up for another round. I want to focus on finishing my existing projects, not on a goal that encourages me to start a bunch of small easy-to-finish projects instead.

4. Start at least ten projects with stash I’ve had for more than two years.
I’ve almost met this goal; I’ve started nine projects with stash bought or received before 1 January 2009. (Thank you, Cast-On Mania.) If one counts old scraps, then I’ve met the goal, but I’m limiting this to unused stash.

5. When I buy new yarn, start the project it’s intended for within a month of purchase.
Failing miserably, but I’m not surprised. It’s a further sign that I have too much stash and too many projects going.

6. Make at least ten projects from patterns that have no Ravelry pattern photo (i.e. my Needlecraft for Today patterns), and take a good picture that can be used as the pattern photo.
Eight done; four in progress.

7. Start a blanket to use up sock yarn scraps.
Done.

8. Start at least one project from my stash of wool that’s stored in the freezer.
One sweater started, though I haven’t gotten very far with it.

9. Weave some towels from the gazillion cones of cotton yarn I’ve bought.
If I ever finish warping the loom…..

10. Go through the bins of yarn I got with my loom, and log everything I want to keep in my Ravelry stash.
Not completed, but I’ve made a start, and I also got rid of a bunch I knew I didn’t want.

11. Knit five pairs of plain socks.
Three done, one close to done, and two likely to be finished by the end of the year.

12. Use all the remaining yarn from the Loopy Ewe orders that made me a Loopy Groupie.
Ha! Though I’ve actually made a little progress on this; there’s only seven skeins left to use. I don’t expect to meet this goal this year, but I might get several items started, at least.

13. Knit all the kid sweaters that I’ve bought yarn for (one in progress, three unstarted).
Not yet, and probably not happening, but I hope to at least finish the in-progress one.

14. Reduce my knitting/crochet yarn stash so that it fits on my allotted yarn shelves (or at least is out of the closets).
Ha! Not yet.

15. Start working regularly on all the cross-stitch and sewing projects.
Not yet.

Overall I’m happy with my progress. I’ve started a lot of projects that have lingered in the queue, and finished a bunch as well. Participating in Cast-on Mania did throw off my finishing progress, but at least it got other stash into use.

April 19, 2011

Spinning

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 11:50 pm

Spinning was on my list of things-to-learn-someday, but given an autistic child with an obsession for shredding fluff and a full plate of crafts I’m already interested in, I figured I wasn’t going to learn it until at least 2020.

Then I got a drop spindle for Christmas 2010.

I’ve now been spinning for almost four months. I’ve made ten skeins of yarn, ranging from 17 to 180 yards, and have five more in progress. So far I’ve mostly spun two-ply yarns, though I’ve done one n-plyed sample, and I’m considering doing a four-ply cabled yarn from one top if the singles are compatible.

Spinning is addictive; I really enjoy playing with the fiber and watching it turn into singles. I’m still a beginner; I’m not yet to the point where I can decide that this top should be made into this kind of yarn and actually get the results I want. But that actually makes it easier for me to just spin and see what I get.

I’m not getting nearly as much knitting done as I did before I learned to spin — it’s just as easy if not easier to pick up the spindle as it is to pick up a sock or sleeve — and at some point I want to start using the yarn I made, but for now, I’m enjoying the learning process.

March 19, 2011

Lessons from Cast-On Mania

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 12:01 am

There’s a group on Ravelry that does Cast-On Mania once or twice a year. The goal is to start one project every day for a month; the next couple months are spent working down the projects started. This year, I decided to participate.

Why would I do this when I’ve already got numerous projects in progress?

I was out of my mind.

Actually, given the number of projects I’ve bought yarn for but haven’t started, or that I’ve wanted to make for a while but haven’t gotten around to, Cast-on Mania was intended as a kick-start. Instead of putting them off and putting them off and putting them off, I’d start them and get them into my regular project rotation, so they’d at least be moving forward.

And in that, it’s succeeded. Sweaters and vests, toys and bags, socks and dishcloths that have been on my to-make-someday list are now on my work-in-progress list.

Sadly, they’ll be there for a long time. Adding 28 projects to my existing works-in-progress — well, it finally threw off the habit of working on projects as they turn up, because when I have ten projects come up on a weekday, it’s very hard to do even a row on each. However, I took a leaf from David Allen’s book and rescheduled the overdue ones, most with longer repeats. It’ll take longer to get them all done, but I’m getting back on track. (And honestly? Learning to spin has actually done more to hurt my knitting productivity than starting 28 more projects has; I’m spending more of my leisure time making yarn and less using it up.)

The biggest thing I learned from Cast-on Mania, though, wasn’t that I have the willpower to stick with it for a month, or that I’ve hit the limit of how many knitting projects I can reasonably keep going at one time. It’s that I have far too much yarn. I could’ve kept starting a project a day for at least two more weeks, and that’s not counting the multitude of sock yarn skeins. Needles and hooks were the limiting factor, not yarn.

I can see myself doing Cast-on Mania again someday, but not until I get my WIP quantity back into single digits.

January 9, 2011

2011 Craft Goals

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 8:44 pm

My craft goals for 2011:

1. Finish all the projects started before 2011 (except for sweaters/vests) in 2011:

  • Blue Curacao Shawl
  • CTH Peacock Socks
  • Hobby Horse
  • Katika
  • Garden Gate Socks
  • Bear Rug
  • Copper Penny Socks
  • Linen Bag
  • Loud Escher Socks
  • Shall We Dance Doily
  • Medallion Travel Bag
  • Spot Check Socks
  • Microsock

Exception: the Heere Be Dragone shawl (if I finish that, great, but since it takes so long to do a row, I’m not holding my breath on it).

2. Finish at least two sweaters/vests that I started before 2011 in 2011. My options:

  • Humphrey Vest
  • Al-Araaf Sweater
  • Sherwood
  • Japanese Vest
  • Portland Sweater
  • Arietta
  • Oblique
  • Flutter Cardigan
  • Neon Turkish Sweater
  • Lace Coverup
  • Aran sweater

(Oblique will almost certainly be done by the end of this month if I work on it at all. The other is likely to be Sherwood or one of the vests, though I might surprise myself with one of the others.)

3. Successfully complete the 52 Projects in 52 Weeks challenge in June and sign up for another year of it.

4. Start at least ten projects with stash I’ve had for more than two years.

5. When I buy new yarn, start the project it’s intended for within a month of purchase.

6. Make at least ten projects from patterns that have no Ravelry pattern photo (i.e. my Needlecraft for Today patterns), and take a good picture that can be used as the pattern photo.

7. Start a blanket to use up sock yarn scraps.

8. Start at least one project from my stash of wool that’s stored in the freezer; my husband would like more room for actual food.

9. Weave some towels from the gazillion cones of cotton yarn I’ve bought.

10. Go through the bins of yarn I got with my loom, and log everything I want to keep in my Ravelry stash.

11. Knit five pairs of plain socks.

12. Use all the remaining yarn from the Loopy Ewe orders that made me a Loopy Groupie.

13. Knit all the kid sweaters that I’ve bought yarn for (one in progress, three unstarted).

14. Reduce my knitting/crochet yarn stash so that it fits on my allotted yarn shelves (or at least is out of the closets).

15. Start working regularly on all the cross-stitch and sewing projects.

16. Keep practicing spinning.

November 6, 2010

Why Some Projects Get Buried

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 12:09 am

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee recently asked on her blog what makes you set aside and forget about a craft project you really like.

For me, it’s mostly the cumulative effects of newer and shinier projects.

Mind you, I’ll also set aside a project because it’s getting boring, or because I’ve hit a snag, or because while I really want the finished object I hate crocheting with #30 thread that tangles itself up every three stitches. (Yep, that’s a project that’s going to be finished in 2018.) And sometimes a project might be one I like, but it’s so complicated that it requires a stretch of uninterrupted time (see: Heere Be Dragone, which I actually hope to finish before 2018).

Most of the time, though, it’s just getting buried under other projects. Another project grabs my interest and attention, or I unearth an older project that now interests me again, or a project that I started as a quick project turns out to take longer than I’d thought, and the current project moves slowly to the bottom of the pile. Or I decide that some yarn sitting in stash is driving me up the wall, and I need to just start the project, adding to the UFO pressure but reducing the stash pressure. The result — the 20+ unfinished knitting and crochet projects, not to mention the other crafts that run the total even higher.

But so far, working on projects as they turn up on my to-do list seems to be helping with this. I only have to do a row every few days, or in some cases just a few stitches every few weeks. If it’s one I like, I’ll work on it more often; if it’s boring, it’s not that big deal to just knit a couple rows; if it’s crocheted with a tiny hook using #30 thread that is possessed by the ghost of a perverted topologist, I can still tolerate doing a few stitches. Nothing vanishes into the pile for too long. Ultimately, it’ll all be finished.

(Seven projects due this Sunday, though; we’ll see how that goes!)

October 7, 2010

Craft Update: Caught Up on Knitting

Filed under: Crafts,Dejunking and Organizing — castiron @ 11:13 pm

Being a mildly organizationally-obsessed person, I’ve got all my unfinished craft projects listed in Toodledo, set to remind me to do a few stitches or a row every so often. And then when I don’t get around to working on the project, as happens fairly often, I know about how long it’s been since I picked up that sweater or sock or hat.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve caught up on all my knitting projects.

Everything’s been worked on, even if it’s only a row or two. Newer items like the Japanese vest pattern, older ones like the Turkish sweater and the Fair Isle hat — it’s all been touched at least once. I have no overdue knitting tasks.

Now we’ll see how long I can keep up with this. Some days I only have one knitting project on my to-do list; others I have five, especially challenging when they’re the doozies. This Saturday, for example, five projects are showing up at once, and four of them are complicated ones that I have trouble getting the impetus to work on. But I’m finding I can talk myself into one row, or maybe two; one row means one step closer to done.

Still, it’s a nice feeling, knowing that all my knitting is current.

Now if I can just get there with the crochet and the sewing and the cross-stitch….

June 21, 2010

Unfinished Project Guilt

Filed under: Crafts,Dejunking and Organizing — castiron @ 12:21 am

The Yarn Harlot recently posted wondering why she feels guilty about bailing on a project to knit something that’s more appealing. Predictably, many of the comments in response were along the lines of “Don’t feel guilty! Knitting is supposed to be fun! It’s the Puritan Work Ethic coming to harass you; just ignore it! You produce plenty of finished projects; you have nothing to feel bad about!”

All good points.

But sitting here surrounded by 20+ unfinished projects, I can tell you one reason why it’s legitimate to feel guilty about neglecting one to knit something else: the waste of money.

Yarn isn’t cheap. Even a few skeins of big-box craft store acrylic represents some money that could’ve been used for a lunch out; a sweater-quantity of luxury fiber could buy a week’s groceries; a large stash could represent enough money to rewire the house or take a nice vacation. Now, when the yarn’s still in skein form, the pleasure of petting it and imagining what projects you could make from it may well be worth what you paid for it. The process of turning that yarn into something nifty is another pleasure that’s well worth the cost; ditto the enjoyment of using or giving the finished item.

But when the project is sitting half-finished in a bag somewhere, it’s not doing any of those things. No dreams about what to make from the yarn, because a project’s already chosen and started; no fun of watching the project grow and feeling the yarn as you work, because you’re not working on it; no finished item to be proud of. If the project’s packed away somewhere, you don’t even have the pleasure of petting the yarn. It’s a waste of the money you spent on the yarn. You’d have been better off putting that money towards paying off debt or going out for a memorable meal…or buying yarn for a project that you actually would enjoy finishing.

May 26, 2010

Craft Update: Yeah, a Few Things Got Finished over the Last Eight Months

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 7:08 pm

A massive case of startitis, a massive case of stashitis, and some occasional actual finishing; that’s been my life in crafts lately.

Finished:

  • Knit:
    • Socks from Regia Ringel Color in Clown
    • Andean Treasure Vest
    • Ballet socks
    • Coupling
    • Felted Lopi Bowl
    • Frondly Hat (too loose to do much good outside, but a nice hat for bed)
    • Frondly Scarf
    • Kureyon Backpack (felting turned out meh; waste of a nice color of Kureyon)
    • Claudia Sport socks
    • Colonnade Shawl
    • Snake & Mouse
    • Blue/red/purple print socks
    • Saints Victory Washcloths
  • Crochet:
    • Toy Brontosaurus
    • Lopi Bag
    • Two of my favorite pattern of string bag
    • A different string bag
    • Penguin
    • EVE
  • Woven:
    • Sampler Towel #4
    • Sampler Towel #5
    • Sampler Towel #6
    • Sampler Towel #7
    • Sampler Runner
    • Sampler Mat
    • Scarf in Telemark Scraps

Still ongoing:

  • Medallion Travel Bag: Done with the bottom and starting on the sides
  • Annemor #8 Gloves: Just the fingers left, but they’re a pain in the rear and taking forever…
  • Arietta: A few more rows (changed one of the colors at the last minute)
  • Heere Be Dragone: A couple more rows
  • Memories afghan: A few more rows (60% done!)
  • Aran Sweater: Sleeves are past the elbows, I think
  • Lace Coverup: Part of a motif
  • Neon Turkish Sweater: A few rows (hate running in ends)
  • Microsock: A few rows
  • Flutter Cardigan: Still think it’s too big; still need to make myself knit a few more inches and see if it’s as bad as I think
  • Oblique: Fronts and back are done; I’ve started the sleeves
  • Spot-check socks: Halfway down the legs
  • Shall We Dance Doily: Still in the boring section
  • Fair Isle Swatch Cap: Resurrected, and a few more rows knitted
  • All the cross-stitch, latch hook, and sewing projects: Yep, still lingering

Started in the meantime:

  • Turkish Stockings from a Gibson-Roberts book: barely started; one square inch of toe over the past six months
  • Portland Sweater: Starting at the yoke and have a few inches; hoping I have enough yarn since it’s discontinued and gone and I bought less than I’d thought I did
  • Loud Escher Socks: An inch of cuff on each
  • Socks in Knitpicks Dancing “Tap”: Most of the way through the foot and fixing to start the heels
  • Fuzzy Bathmat: What was I thinking to do a double-stranded bulky cotton chenille as my first entrelac project?
  • Vest from a Japanese pattern book: A very few rows; way too many of my UFOs can be described this way. They’re acting as placeholders rather than projects.
  • Wonnacott’s The Bag: A few rows, almost through the first pattern repeat.
  • Sydney Spice Socks: Toes done. This yarn was clearly dyed to match my wardrobe….
  • Sorcery Socks: Toes done, one foot half done
  • Cotlin Towels: Warp is measured; now need to put it on the loom
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