A can o’WIPASSessment

Now that I’ve got the naughty WIPs under control and disciplined, it’s time, on this WIP Wednesday, to open up a can o’WIPASSessment on what’s left, which are five projects plus 1 new one I started on Monday. The rest of them aren’t featured here in photos because they look the same as the last time I photographed them.

If you pay close attention to what I blather on about, you might remember that I said I would only start a new project when the crochet table cloth, the sweater, and the cross stitch pumpkin were finished. Recently I have had a conference with the WIPs and, as we now do in education, from elementary to university, an assessment was performed. Higher Education administrators who read this blog will be just thrilled to know that I prepared paperwork for this tedious – yet administratively necessary – procedure. The evaluation questionnaire, filled out by all WIPs, collected the following data:

WIP Title:

Indicate to what degree you agree or disagree with the following statement. 1 = strongly disagree 2 = slightly disagree 3 = agree 4 = slightly agree 5 = strongly agree

  1. I am necessary for use in the upcoming season.  1  2  3  4  5
  2. I am handy for this season and can be finished now.  1  2  3  4  5
  3. I am boring to work on.  1  2  3  4  5
  4. I am 3 hours or less from being finished.  1  2  3  4  5

The tablecloth is nice enough, but it’s summery and this hot season is almost over, not to mention the fact that it is pure decoration for the table when it isn’t being used. You know, it’s for “company” that comes over to sit about on a sofa for a cup of coffee or a stiff drink to chit chat. When subjected to assessment, it strongly agreed that it is not necessary for the upcoming season and strongly disagreed that it is 3 hours from being finished. Clearly, the administrative procedure has revealed that its moment is not this year so it shall vacate the back of the sofa and rest a while in the bottom of a bin in a dark closet.

The cross stitch pumpkin is good for about twenty minutes of cross stitching once a week because it’s really boring to get through and has this tedious nature about it that is quite revolting. Its prime moment for being done is in October. It is now August. I don’t have to work on it more than I’ve been working on it. Once it’s done it’s only going to get processed through the sewing machine so it’s displayable with its other pumpkin friends for Halloween. The three finished vegetables alone, in fact, could serve a decorative purpose without this fourth gourd. Its current pace of completion is just fine. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the cross stitch pumpkin strongly agreed that it is useful for the upcoming season and that it’s a bore to stitch on.

The two afghans and the Celtic Wheel cushion were going to be permitted to be in progress for a long time. So, their status remains the same. Don’t worry, though, they got a taste of the very same paperwork the others were tasked with and so very much deserved. It was not necessary to assess them, but the administration requires everyone to participate in the process even though it’s a waste of time.

I finished my “Telegraph” sweater – it’s drying now, and should be ready for supermodel photos by FO Friday – and so it escaped the assessment. To celebrate, I have started a new crochet sweater that I’m inventing on my own without a pattern. I began the project after the paperwork, so it, too avoided the questionnaire. It’s just in its very first stages:

sweater

This sweater is going to be for my partner, who is unaware of this. I have decided to keep the wearer out of the know due to a general lack of patience and a constant asking about when things are going to be finished.

You can tell that, in the past three weeks, I have devoted a total of about 30 minutes to my last cross stitch pumpkin.

pumpkin

Trust me, this pumpkin is really cool when it’s finished. I saw the photos in the magazine where the other ones you’ve seen are published. It’s just annoying to sit down with and commiserate because it’s too easy, which makes it a very dull companion. The last five minutes I spent with it I didn’t even get out the chart. Before I put it away I checked the chart and I made no mistakes. Really. That much of a dud.

Conclusion of this WIPASSessment report: It’s all a total no-duh.

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WIP knockout

I’ve managed to transform a couple of WIPs into FOs, which means I feel less overwhelmed because I have fewer things in progress. The flavor of the week, that had been abandoned temporarily, is the pineapple shawl for my sister.

pineappleaug2

This time I hung it off a hanger, which is promising. It means that it’s big enough to drape over something. The yarn ball only has three color repeats left. This is good news, because it means I’m almost done. It is also slightly disappointing, because I was thinking of borders, but I don’t I think I’ll have enough yarn for one. This is only slightly disappointing because I envisioned a border just to have fun crocheting it. The shawl will look just as wonderful without it.

I have resisted the temptation to start any new projects (Go me! Fighting the good fight!). I am not even working on my usual pair of socks that I always have going. This means that the WIP stats are going down. All my projects are now crochet and cross stitch. I have no knitting in progress. That’s fine. I’m not going to start anything new until I finish my cross stitch pumpkin, the pineapple shawl, and my crochet sweater. The Celtic Wheel cushion (cross stitch) and two crochet afghans can continue with their WIP status for a while longer. However, I plan to work diligently on my hexagon afghan before starting anything new. The goal is to bore myself with the afghan until I can’t take it anymore and then start a new project or maybe I’ll feel like working on the Celtic Wheel cushion. Hope certainly floats, doesn’t it?

Text-only Wednesday

No pics today. Nope. Just some text. I want you to feel nostalgic for the days of yore when you were trying to beat The Legend of Zelda and you went over to the GameFAQs site to read the walk through with its ASCII terminal type and maps “drawn” with symbols. OK, maybe you never did that. I did, though.

What made me think of this? Because way back in 2002 I decided to get out the old Nintendo and follow the walk through to beat Zelda, finally. 17 years later I did it again! That’s how I spent my weekend. No, I did not remember all the things I had to do to win the game, so once again I relied on good old Colin Moriarty’s nerdy, ASCII instructions. By the way, Colin, thank you again.

Wait a minute, this is a knitting and crochet (and sometimes cross stitch and sewing) blog. Totally off-topic. I’m supposed to talk about crafty things. OK. Here it goes:

  1. Socks knit with Cascade Heritage Prints yarn: I turned the heel on the second sock.
  2. My sister’s pineapple shawl: languishing in the UFO bin.
  3. Cross stitch pumpkins for Halloween: I’ve got three done and I’m working on a fourth one. I wanted to photograph them but I worked all day and now it’s night time so, nope, no picky-picky. Another time. I’ll be talking about these things for a while, anyway, because cross stitching them entirely is just the first volume of the saga. Once they’re cross stitched I’ve got to decide how I want to sew them together. I also “need” to buy fabric to accent them. I really “need” Halloween-themed fabric.
  4. Cross stitch “Celtic Wheel” throw pillow (or cushion, take your pick): I’ve managed to get some little details done. I’m still in quarter 1 of the chart. I might overstay my welcome in this area given that the details are time-consuming. Yesterday, with about three hours, I got the little thingies that might be rocks or might be snails (not sure what they are supposed to be) stitched up partially. If only Joan Elliott cared about my blog. I follow hers. BTW, Ms. Elliott, if you’re reading this, what are those things supposed to be? Are they magical rocks or magical snails? And please excuse my ignorance. Sometimes I see them as snails and sometimes as rocks, because the thingies that sit in the middle of the piece don’t have antennae, but then the ones that are on the border framing the whole piece seem to have antennae. I debate with myself often if they are snails hiding in their shells or magical Celtic rocks with mystical time travel powers.
  5. Top-down crochet “Telegraph” sweater: languishing in the UFO bin with its cousin, the pineapple shawl.
  6. Crochet cotton tablecloth: languishing yet perched on the back of my sofa, exposed to the elements but certainly free to finish itself if it feels motivated. I tell it often, “feel free to finish yourself” but so far it isn’t getting my drift.
  7. Tunisian crochet afghan: on month 4 of being ignored, yet pleased to be resting in the afghan cubby. It often shouts at the projects in the UFO bin that it’s in the VIP furniture.
  8. Hexagon afghan: Resting peacefully next to its brother, Tunisian crochet afghan, telling him to shut up and leave the non-VIPs alone. It’s not their fault they’re wool and need a line of protection against pests, after all. I’ve even heard Mr. Hexagon say to Mr. Tunisian, “don’t get so full of yourself, we’re cheap acrylic, after all!”
  9. Socks that are finished yet not washed or blocked yet: Those three pairs are in the UFO bin, shouting at Cascade Heritage Prints to get done already, so that maybe they can all have a bath together.
  10. Never-before-mentioned mosaic knitting thingy: I made some progress on it. I still have no idea why I’m knitting it and what it will be. It’s blue and white and a big rectangle. I cast it on some months ago and forgot I had started it. I found it by accident yesterday and knit some on it this week just for fun.

If you’ve read this far, thank you for your attention. Since you are kind enough to stay, I pose the question to you: What the hell would you do with all these WIPs? It’s too much. Some days I feel like putting white dresses on them all, parading them through the town, and leading them to the mountain to sacrifice them to the volcano.

So far the only idea that has occurred to me is that I will finish my socks and then just work my way through all the other projects until they are done before I ever, ever, ever start something new. Obviously the afghans have a low priority given that it’s July and it’s hotter than seven shades. However, the shawl is manageable. I think I’ll try to finish the shawl and the table cloth next while using cross stitch and the mosaic knitting whatever-it-is to take a break from the shawl, table cloth, and cross stitch. I don’t like this idea much because I WON’T HAVE A PAIR OF SOCKS GOING. THE AGONY. But that’s life when you have the attention span of a fish that knows how to knit, crochet, and make other things.

Getting ready for Halloween

As many of you know, a lot of people tramp through my house because I tutor them in English in my living room. Well, after two years, I’m tired of looking at this leisurely work space. I need to add new colors and patterns to perk it up.

I’ve decided that it would be entertaining for the students to see festive decorations during particular key seasons for Americans: Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December, etc. So, I’m getting ready for Halloween by planning and creating little things to put out here and there in the living room. I’m pretty sure I’ll knit and crochet some things: how about some knit throw pillows with Halloween-colored stripes and some amigurumi bats? I’ve also decided to cross stitch some things to hang up.

This week I’ve started cross stitching some pumpkins I found in Just Cross Stitch. There are six different ones. I haven’t decided if I want to stitch all of them because I might like to mix them with other Halloween-themed items. I’ve finished one pumpkin and started another one. Here’s the one I finished this morning:

pumpkin

I like them because they aren’t the typical Jack-o-lantern, although I plan to stitch up one of those, too. Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you?

I can talk about my WIPs on a Wednesday

This morning I actually caught a break from working and had time to photograph my WIPs with some good quality sunshine. I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and cross stitching.

My sock made with Cascade Heritage Prints is taking its time. You’d think I’d be pumped to finish the first of the pair since I’ve already finished the foot and most of the leg. But, nope. My hands get too sweaty in this 90 degree (F) weather.

sock

The background for my sock is my crochet tablecloth, which is also progressing slowly because I only work on it for maybe twenty minutes a day. Again, it’s the uncomfortable feeling on my hands in the hot weather. Cotton breathes but while it’s doing that it suffocates my hands!

Anyway, as you can see, it is approaching the correct size of its intended wearer, which is the table that it is resting on. When I use up this second skein of cotton it will be time for me to start a nice border for it with skein 3. I’m thinking about using a filet pattern.

tablecloth

My crochet “Telegraph Sweater” designed by Peter Franzi is also coming along very gradually. If the cotton is uncomfortable in my hands, just imagine how the wool feels. Anyway, this garment can take its time. I’m in no hurry just yet to wear it, considering it’s July and I wish it wasn’t necessary to wear clothes.

Cross stitch – for the most part – has cured my need to create in uncomfortably hot Castilian weather. I’m glad I’ve got back into this pastime. I’ve been spending most of my free time cross stitching and less of it knitting and crocheting. The pattern I’ve chosen, which is Joan Elliott’s “Celtic Wheel Cushion” from her book Magical Cross Stitch, is a delightful challenge with very fine color details. The rose and the bunch of grapes you see have three or four shades. If you think the fruit and the flower look awkward you have a good eye. There is a lot of backstitching to complete for outlining things as well as to add stems and other little details. Right now the poor rose’s leaves are just suspended in midair and disconnected from the flower.

crossstitch

I have already become an over-enthusiastic cross stitcher and ordered more stuff for future projects. I’ve got plenty of Aida cloth in different colors and I’m waiting for some seed beads, floss, and Kreinik metallic threads to arrive in the mail. Yeah, you bet, when I’m in, I’m all in. After placing my order I forgot that I wanted some gold-colored Aida cloth for a bookmark I’d like to make, so I’ll have to buy some more supplies soon.

I can’t wait for the end of the day when I finish work and relax with a little WordPress browsing so I can see what you’re up to with your WIPs.

 

Tardy Thursday

I missed WIP Wednesday. I didn’t forget, I just had to work. Also, I’ve been swatching a crochet stitch pattern that I wanted to get “just right.”

This week, as last, crochet has been the dominant craft. I have plenty of knitting to do, I’ve just been distracted by crochet. I think the weather is helping direct my attention to crochet, because I typically find it more comfortable for hotter weather. This week has brought some seriously high temperatures so I’ve been working a lot with cotton.

Mostly, I’ve been crocheting my table cloth and my green “Telegraph Sweater”.

The work on these projects got sidetracked, though, because in my free time, on Monday, I started getting obsessed about a Schöppel Lace Ball that’s in my stash. It has many shades of blue so it has my sister’s name written all over it. It could have my name written all over it, too, because my favorite color is blue as well, but I haven’t made my big sister a shawl in a while. She is big on crochet, so I thought I’d crochet the shawl, and I decided it had to be covered in pineapples. Do you know a crocheter that doesn’t need a pineapple shawl? I thought not.

The problem was finding an appropriate pattern. The “Ananas Shawl” by Zsuzsanna Makai caught my eye, but to wear it you have to have the tropical fruits running sideways. I just know the wearer will want upright pineapples. Some other designs drew me in, but they weren’t triangles. My sister doesn’t do giant shawls. When I make her one, she most often uses it like a big scarf. Long story short: I had to work out my own pineapple pattern.

How do you crochet a triangular fabric covered in pineapples? With lots of planning. These fruity things are not exactly simple to design with, even though following a pineapple pattern is really easy. After a lot of trial and error, and browsing my doily patterns, I realized that you basically need to think about your pineapples in panels. Double-v stitch is the most common thing to frame them with, and happily they can force a fabric to take on just about any shape you want: triangles, circles, squares, and so on. I swatched away with some cheap dollar store yarn and finally, after trying to learn how to use software for making crochet charts, I now have a game plan.

What could be harder than designing with pineapples? Figuring out how to use computer software to create crochet charts. Yes, I could have written the pattern out line-by-line, but I was experimenting and swatching, so I was desperate for a quick visual. Here’s my horribly messy, unprofessional chart, that will work just fine for me when I start this shawl:

pineappleshawl

I really need to practice more with this crochet charting program, which is really wonderful and convenient. Right now I’m pretty sloppy, but it’s just for my reference so, why worry? If you’d like to give the application a spin, it’s available for free.

This chart is not a pattern, really, it’s my personal record of what I need to do when I get going on the project. If you want to use it, feel free to do so at your own risk because I was just looking for the repeat for the increases. To understand how to make the pattern continue and grow larger, just pay attention to the increases. The double-v stitch panels are increasing over several rows. So, what will happen is that you will add many pineapples to the pattern at once. You start with one, then stitch two, then four, etc. The number of pineapples increases rapidly because they depend on the increases done on the double-v stitch panels. Really, it’s nothing special and this type of thing can be found in a lot of patterns, especially for doilies. The trick is to remember to start increasing for the new pineapples that will come later while still finishing off the old pineapples.

Some old, some new

The WIP saga continues and the FO story seems to have slammed into a wall. Guess what FOs I’m sharing on “FO Friday?” Did you guess ZERO? Dingdingdingding!!!!

Since I seem to be dragging my rear through my WIPs, I’ll just remind you of what I’m working on: Dewdly Blue Knitted Lace Scarf, Crochet Afghan Made of Hexagons, Tunisian Crochet Afghan, Arne & Carlos Self-Patterning Socks. I could link to older posts about them all, but who cares? It’s too much work for you to click on them and I feel too lazy to link to them. If I’m going to drag my behind, I’m going to do it with an “all in” attitude. That includes not bothering with photographing them all. I dare say, though, that I should take pride in the Dewdly Blue Lace Scarf because the ball of yarn has got a lot smaller and the scarf has grown considerably.

To make the WIP experience less drab I’ve started a new WIP. It’s a crochet table cloth:

fans2

It could look complex to a casual eye, but it’s wicked easy. The square gets bigger by repeating the same pattern over and over, adding more and more fans. The fans are sort of like truncated pineapples because that’s how a lot of pineapples begin to develop in a lot of patterns, starting with the famous row of clusters. I got the idea from a YouTube video from Milagros Ena’s channel. It’s in Spanish. I’m sorry if you don’t speak Spanish.

This square can also be turned into a triangle to create a shawl, as Milagros demonstrates in another video:

So, as you can see, often a repeated stitch pattern can be used in a variety of ways to create different shapes to suit your needs. I think this would look fantastic as a shawl with a self-striping yarn with very long stripes, like in the popular Lace Ball, which is made by the same company that produces the Zauberball sock yarn.

Autopilot crochet is my therapy this week, I think. The best part is that my dining table is a square most days. Once a year it gets expanded into a rectangle. So, when I feel like making the living room look super cool I can throw this table cloth on it. That is, when I finish this thing.

This is so autopilot that I can crochet it while thinking about which border I want to finish it off with!

I hope you have had time to play around with your yarns and threads this week. 🙂