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  • WIP Wednesday

    I thought it would be fun to have a WIP (work-in-progress) Wednesday post.  Why?  Because I adore alliteration adamantly.
    And because I think it's fun.  Setting out all of my WIPs either inspires me to finish them up, or forces me to decide if I want to keep going.  I think most people have some kind of process for figuring out how they feel about their projects, and this is mine. 
    First up is the Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh (this links to the Ravelry pattern page, so you'll need a Ravelry account to view it.  Please tell me you have a Ravelry account!).  Half the Internet seems to be working on this, so I thought I'd join in on the fun.  I'm knitting the smaller size and using Size 6 knitting needles.
    And some alpaca yarn that I've never used before, and seem to be having an allergic reaction to.  I tried to write it off as dry winter skin, but when the red splotches were even on the finger I use to keep my tension even, I knew it was time to set this project aside.  I don't know if I'll take another chance on this, but it's going to sit in its corner a little while longer because ALPACA.  Something could change.  You just never know.

    This is the Cable Headwrap from  Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.  I'm using some medium weight acrylic and Size 6 knitting needles.  I cast it on to try out the double increase stitch and I really like this.  The main part of the knitting is a four-row repeat, and I think it's really pretty.

    I don't know what button I'll add to this when I'm finished, but the friend I'm making it for isn't having a birthday for another month.  Which is good, because I'm making a slightly altered version for a friend having a birthday next week.

    Like I said, slightly altered.  I'm going through a weird phase right now.  Actually, I'm going through a lot of yarncrafting phrases right now.  One is the nagging feeling that I should be starting every project I see.  Another is that I keep seeing things and wondering how they would look as a cowl.  The stitch pattern in a hat.  Lots of scarf patterns.  And when I saw the Headwrap Pattern, I thought it would like nice as a cowl.  I pulled out some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and some Size 15 needles and tried to find out if I was right.

    I think I was! 

    I'm not sure how I feel about this work in progress, though.

    The pattern is the Mitered Eyelet Blanket from Baby Blankets Made with the Knook, and the yarn is some lightweight cotton I got from a friend last fall.  I like the yarn and I like the pattern, but I'm not sure that I like them together. I may finish the square first, though.  Just in case.

    And because I firmly believe that sometimes you need to crochet something, I'm using up scrap yarns from my Knooked dishcloths on this Rainbow Dishcloth from Dishcloths (#5951).  And besides, I can never turn away from a good granny square project.  This colorful little square is making me happy.

    Like I said, most people have some sort of method for figuring out what to do with their WIPs.  Do you complain about them to friends until one of them says "Just rip it and get it over with!" like you were hoping they would?  Do you check your project pages on Ravelry?  Do you post your own WIP Wednesday posts on your blog?  Let me know in the comments!

  • Sometimes You Just Need to Crochet Something

    I've had a serious case of castonitis.  Not to the point where it threatens my marriage or my job, but serious nonetheless.  I just want to knit everything in the world and I want to get started on it rightthisinstant.  I understand that it's really common after the holidays because you've finished your gift knitting and you have your patterns and your yarn and your ideas about what you've been wanting to make ever since you started making things way back in May or September or, uh, November for your Christmas gifts. 

    I'm not sure why I'm saying "you" and "your."  It's me.  I mean that I do those things.  It's been awesome.  I've cast on at least a dozen projects!

    I've finished, like, 4 of them.  The rest have a looooong ways to go.

    But I don't let that stop me.  In fact, I woke up extra early this morning to start a cowl!  It's a gift and it's going to be pretty and it's going to use up some stash and really, what else are you supposed to do at 5:30 a.m. that's more important than knitting?  Huh?  That's what I thought.

    Castonitis doesn't ever really go away, even if you do get started on all the projects in your queue.  You'll still find something else.  You'll realize you have maybe enough stash yarn for a hat or a baby sweater and then, oh hey, what's this thing in your hands?  It's a WIP, my dear.  Another one.

    Pretty soon, you're drowning with WIPs.  They're just sitting on shelves and stashed in bags and hidden under a blanket on the couch.  Even when you cover them up or squirrel them farther away into closets, you can feel their judgement.  Judging you for your poor impulse control and flawed time management skills.  Those works in progress are full of possibility, but also time and effort and dedication and sometimes you just don't feel like putting forth those things.

    I found myself in that position this weekend and realized there was only one reasonable thing to do.

    Start something else!

    Something quick, something not-too-big, and something completely different.  

    It turns out a little crocheting was just what I needed.

    I followed all the rules on this one and did just what the pattern told me to do.  I used the very same yarn used in the pattern (Lion Brand Amazing, which is now maybe my new favorite yarn) and I crocheted the very first pattern in the book.  The Quick and Easy Button-Up is such an obvious choice, it's the cowl on the freaking cover of Crochet Cowls

    Here's the freaking cover.  Look for it at a store near you.

     I finished the whole thing under 24 hours, which proves that the cowl really is both quick and easy.  Crocheting is not my best talent, but I enjoyed myself a lot with this project.  The pattern was pretty intuitive and I like the design.


    I also enjoyed the yarn because I love seeing what color comes next.  Simple pleasures, guys.  Really simple.

     Just like me.

    Speaking of which, I had a bit of trouble figuring out the button placement.  Which is why I sewed them on wrong.

    This is the face of someone who just realized the button on the far left should be all the way over on the right side of this photograph.

    I made the cowl, wove in my ends, and sewed on the buttons.  Then I had my husband take a picture of me.  Once I realized aloud that I'd messed up the button placement, only then did my life partner offer up "Yeah, I saw the pattern and I wondered why you were sewing that button there."

    Such a helpful man.  This is him, by the way.

    Neckwear expert.

    In the end, I decided to leave the buttons as they were because 1) I don't want to deal with it anymore and 2) cowls are not that big a deal.  It's pretty difficult to really and truly mess up a cowl.  As long as it's big enough to go around your neck, and short enough to keep from tripping over, it fits.  As long as it's sewn or buttoned enough to keep it on your torso, it's secure.  And as long as you have pretty yarn and a good basis for a pattern, you'll be warm and stylish.  So the buttons are staying right where they are and I'm going to feel good about my extra bit of drape.

    So yay for cowls!  And yay for finishing something!

    A few practical notes about the Quick and Easy Button-Up Cowl:

    1. It uses exactly one skein of Lion Brand Amazing.  I went a little over that limit, and was lucky to have a second skein on hand to finish the last few inches of edging.
    2. Variegated or self-striping yarn would be super-lovely, although solids probably look beautiful too.
    3. You only need 2 buttons.
    4. Instructions for each of the techniques in the pattern are featured in the back of the book: single crochet, double crochet, and picking up stitches.  Most of those techniques are also featured in the Learn to Crochet series on this blog.  Also, check out the Leisure Arts channel on YouTube for a slew of tutorial videos.  And lastly, here's a link to the HD video tutorials on the Leisure Arts website.

    If you too suffer from castonitis (or if you get a great deal of happiness from it), I strongly encourage you to start a cowl today.  Something small, something quick, and something satisfying.  
    Sometimes the payoff is even enough to spur you (me) on to finish up a few languishing projects!
    Or maybe it just makes me (you?) start up a few more projects.
    Some of us may be beyond help.

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