have found just enough time in the past three weeks or so to squeak out some finished projects…

first off, i finished my ripple afghan. this was my very first crochet project ever, i started working on it in may of 2007. i crocheted the entire thing out of Caron Simply Soft yarn, which is pretty squashy and nice to begin with, but i have to tell you, after i washed and dried the finished afghan the first time, it is absolutely to die for. (also, since it ate up 12 skeins of yarn, it’s nice that the yarn is only $3/skein.)

what started out as a learning exercise:

gradually became (over the course of nearly two years) a bedspread-sized afghan:
Finished Ripple

so that’s fun. i can now say i can double-crochet on complete, full-on autopilot.

then, i took a little time here and there to sew together the squares for my Lion Brand Crochet Sampler Afghan Crochet-Along stash-busting afghan, aka the stashghan. i decided to make it out of the dribs and drabs of leftover bits of red heart super saver i’d accumulated, but i did wind up running out of straight dribs and drabs and having to actually go out and buy more red heart super saver to finish it up with the same yarn, which sort of defeated the purpose of it being a stashbuster. also, for some weird reason, the RHSS yarn was seriously ALL OVER THE PLACE with regard to weight and texture. two of the ombres were new purchases for the stashghan, and they were almost a chunky cabled yarn weight and texture, as opposed to the regular old plied worsted stuff. also, the plied stuff varied between worsted and aran. the blocks wound up being completely differently sized with each yarn, so i had to keep adjusting on the fly for the number of chain stitches and number of repeats, to get them all in the same ballpark. and even then, after dutifully measuring each block multiple times while crocheting it up, some of them still ended up off a bit, so while putting the afghan together, i had to grab the hook and throw in a few extra rows here and there to fill it out. oh, and, on top of that, i assembled it wrong; my first row of squares i got right, but then for some reason the second set of blocks i grabbed was actually the set of blocks for the fourth row, not the second, and in fact the fourth row was the same as the first row, but i sewed it on backward so i didn’t notice it was the same, and so i didn’t realize it was all wrong until i went to figure out which set of blocks was for the third row. what was moderately frustrating about that particular snafu was, when i finished up all the blocks a couple of months ago, i took an hour or so of time to set them all out on the kitchen island and rearrange them all meticulously so they were all arranged just so — no two blocks of the same yarn in a row, vertically or horizontally, no similar blocks touching, etc., which was harder than it looks primarily because i chose which yarn to make which square in basically at random. so i put all that time into planning it and then bollixed it up immediately. oh well. i think it turned out alright anyways:


and i have to note that while the red heart was less than pleasant to work with — the coarser stuff, anyways (oddly, the fluffy cabled-like ombres were nice and soft and fuzzy) — after i finished it all up and popped it through the washer with hot water and the dryer with fabric softener, it did ease up a LOT. it’s actually pleasant to the touch now, although it still can’t compete with the caron simply soft.

also recently, i decided to start attacking the hibernating WIPs, chiefly because the basket was full and i was sick of looking at it.

this one i picked back up in january, and took it along to both london and las vegas, though mostly it got worked on on the vegas trip. it’s my Nelly, which i’ve named the Harlequin Nelly because of the colors — with the pattern and yarn from my SP9! i could never ever ever get it to knit up right, and i couldn’t figure out why i just couldn’t get such a simple pattern right, so i gave up in disgust. but — this was actually my first incursion into the hibernating WIPs basket — i decided this time i was going to do it. so i grabbed a new copy of the pattern PDF down — this time with some corrections for some missing stitches, huzzah! — and started it in some scrap sock yarn to practice, and got it just fine, so i decided to go back and proceed with the laceweight. of course i decided my gauge would be wonky from the few rows i had on the needles, so i ripped it back, rewound the ball of yarn for the Nth time, and cast on once more (seriously, this is at least like the 6th time for this yarn/pattern). happily, i have yet to make any serious mistakes with it this time, and i’m like 7 repeats in to the pattern at this point, so i’m feeling like i conquered whatever bad Nelly mojo was plaguing me. here’s where it’s at:

Harlequin Nelly

of course now that i’m not flying on airplanes around the world i don’t have quite so much time to just sit and bang out on that, and a couple hours on the weekend (while sufficient to finish the odd nearly-done, so-close-i-can-taste-it afghan) aren’t going to cut it for making serious progress on lace, so i don’t really know how long it’ll be before i get much more done on that. (and we can all just bid a fond adieu for now to my hopes for staring on the Juno Regina i really wanted to start, but oh well.)

today i was working on my bouclé wrap, which i started in (cough) summer 2006. it’s one of those projects that’s so easy and boring you don’t want to slog through it because it is, well, boring. but it’s been half done for years now and i’m kind of on a scarf kick now and so i figured i should just go finish it up. so i picked it up and have worked a bit on it. i haven’t taken a recent photo, but this is what it looked like in (cough) 2007 sometime:

Boucle wrap

oh, speaking of my scarf kick. back before i left for london, i cast on with some lorna’s laces shepherd sock in the Buck’s Bar colorway (which i hope is not discontinued, but loopy doesn’t have it anymore so i’m a little worried — it does look a bit odd in the skein but it works up so beautifully!) for a simple seafoam stitch scarf. i had hoped to get it done in the week before i left for london, but i didn’t, so i wound up mostly knitting on that on the way out, finishing the last few rows in town, and blocking it by using my shampoo on it in the hostel shower, and then draping it over the radiator in our room. (I AM ALL CLASS.) but it worked out pretty well and i do love how it turned out:

London scarf

lastly, i’ll just mention the hat i made, also in london — although this one was finished on the return flight, boo — which is the very first thing i have knit out of my own handspun. it’s made from some plain natural grey shetland wool which i spun up on the drop spindle in my old wicker park apartment. it’s just a regular beret pattern, with the ribbing done on #4 DPNs and the body of the hat on #6s, though i think i might have been better served, chicago cold-ass winter-wise, to double-strand it on some fatter needles and get a thicker hat. still:

London beret

so that is what i have been producing lately. i do have at least a half dozen things i want to cast on for, though i’m hoping to confine myself to stash-diving for the bulk of the year, as i am (it should be said) pretty damn well stocked up, yarn-wise. i mean, at my current production rate, i’ve got probably 10 years’ worth of material in that closet, and that’s not even counting the stuff i have yet to spin into actual yarn. but i want to get through at least this bouclé wrap, and then see where to go from there — of my remaining WIPs, then, i think i’ll probably be down to my Nelly, and the red beret i have already knit twice (in sizes which necessitated ripping it out and starting over, so the third time will hopefully be the charm here, just in time for winter to be over), and an entrelac scarf i started two winters ago (ditto on the timing). i’ve also got my MS3 i started, and got far enough into to actually see pattern developing and be thrilled with, but to be honest, i didn’t really like the wing so i lost interest, and now i’ve completely lost where i’m at on it, so i’ll probably wind up just frogging it. which will mean i have yarn to start on something else with! maybe it’ll be around spring break time i have a little free time to actually do that…

in the meantime, i’m really looking forward to having tomorrow as a holiday from work. now that i’m burning every saturday in bio class (and it’s effectively an entire work day; i leave at 8 and get home around 3ish) it’ll be lovely to have a whole two-day weekend again. i don’t know what i’ll do tomorrow but i might even get so wild and crazy as to bust out the spinning wheel! you cannot stop the madness!