Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barn Raising Quilt

I seriously can't believe what I'm about to tell you.  It is totally shocking to me because I have never even once visualized this as a finished project.  EVER.  Are you ready?

Unblocked Barn Raising Quilt

I started this project in April of 2008.  The general concept was to use sock yarn scraps to make a 7 inch square until I had 42 squares - that is what the pattern calls for (I ended up with 56 because apparently that's exactly how crazy I am).  I had so many sock yarn scraps back in April 2008 that I really thought I need to do something with them.  Reality is that I had exactly 8 scraps, I went back and checked.  I made a few squares & came to the realization that it would take me 14 bajillion years to knit up 42 pairs of socks & have enough scraps to finish up this blanket.  I came up with a brilliant idea to get new scraps for my blanket - I would ask all the knitters I knew for one of their yarn scraps.

Here is what I found out.  When you tell people that you are looking for sock scraps for your blanket, they will offer you every single sock yarn scrap they have in their possession.  I know why, honestly, because now I have scraps that I would love to (and do) put into the hands of people who would love them.  What I quickly figured out is that if I took every scrap from one knitter I knew, the blanket wouldn't become about all of the knitters I knew.  My friends laugh that I was pretty strict about it, like "I have already given Tasha a scrap so she sure won't take another one."  For the most part that is true.  I didn't want to have a blanket full of someone else's scraps - I wanted this blanket that would take me most of my natural life (or 3 1/2 years) to finish to mean something to me.  My "rules" really made people think about which scrap meant something to them so they could give it to me.

For example:
Manda gave me this Zen String Blueberry Pie scrap because I drew her name in a swap & I gave her this yarn since purple is her favorite color.
Manda Blueberry pie

Becky gave me this scrap which we affectionately called the Groovy Greg Brady sock yarn.  I was with her for the many weeks that she worked on these socks.  There were many stories told over coffee at our local coffee shop, much gossip shared.  Groovy Greg Brady is a part of those memories for me.
Groovy Greg Brady

Liz has several scraps in my blanket.  This is her favorite yarn because it's Aggie yarn.  Not only that, but I bought this yarn for her.  We were on our first ever trip to Kid N Ewe & she really wanted this yarn but passed on it because it was literally one of the first booths we visited that year & she wasn't ready to buy it.  When she wasn't looking I went to the vendor and bought the yarn for her.  She was SOOOOOO disappointed that she wouldn't stop talking about it forever.   I was going to give it to her for Christmas but I broke down & gave it to her that weekend, that is how sad she was that she didn't buy it when it was available.
Liz Aggie Square

This is the yarn that I used for my mother-in-law's birthday present from 2009.  I chose the yarn and pattern specifically for her, and that shawl was one of the prettiest things I've ever made.  The best part?  Based on the prodding of my friends, I entered that shawl into the Texas state fair and won a 3rd place ribbon in 2010.
Happy Forrest

Amy gave me this Madeline Tosh scrap & if you knew Amy you'd say, yep, that looks just like Amy.
Amy square

I really could tell you about every single of the 56 squares in my blanket but I'm sure that would bore you to tears.

So while you were looking at those pictures I know exactly what you were thinking.  "Tasha, block that blanket, please, those squares look like they have nipples."  No?  Go look at those pictures then tell me that's not true!  Here's where the story turns a little sad.  After I finished the border I immediately wanted to block it out.  I tried to steam it but the border is just too tight.  Having said that, I really LOVE the way the border looks.  I love the icord, I love the pink, I think it adds exactly what I wanted for the finishing.  I refuse to change this project status to "not finished" right behind it being finished.  I am going to rip out the border, block this thing, then make a decision on what to do about the border.  Seriously, it only took me about 3 nights to do the icord, so I'm tossing around the idea of doubling the border yarn, using larger needles, maybe a crochet borders?  I don't know and to be perfectly honest I can't even think about it right now.  I'm currently in the EEEEEP-I-have-to-pull-out-my-border mentality.   I might even bring it to knitting tonight & let someone else do it because you know those friends that so freely gave scraps for my blanket?  Those bitches are also quick to rip out a project if you just can't bear to do it.  That is a true friend.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What I Learned from Cast On Mania

Well, August is over & with it goes Cast On Mania.  I must admit that I'm a little sad because I was having fun casting on whatever I wanted.  Obviously I didn't start something new every single day but here is what I ended up with:

Number of newly cast on projects: 11
Number of finished projects from those: 2
Number of frogged projects from those: 3
Number still on the list in danger of frogging: 1
Number making it through to the regular WIP pile: 5

This exercise was so much fun.  Some things that I learned about myself & my process:

* I don't need to buy new needles for a long time.  Holy crap, despite having 30ish things on the needles, I still have a collection to chose from if I wanted to cast on for something else.  I have a few Knit Picks Option sets, which I truly love.  I have also been adding Addis to my stash for as long as I've been knitting.  No more needles.  Wow.

* I really love the process of picking out a pattern and yarn pairing.  I could (and do) spend hours searching for the perfect pattern for a specific yarn I have.  Or the other way around - I find a pattern that I love and spend time picking out a yarn that will work best with that pattern.  Seeing what they become together is  a really satisfying part of the process.  I have had my fair share of failures in this area, but I will admit I've gotten much better at it.  Sometimes the pairings still don't work, but I think the longer I knit the more wiling I am to pull the project out.


I decided that in September I was going to work on projects already on the needles because obviously I have a few things I could work on.  It seems like there is temptation everywhere!  I found out that a friend is adopting a baby and she will be here in a few weeks, so I had to cast on for a new baby thing.  It's the Clara Dress  that was featured in a Soak ad several years back.  I've been wanting to make it forever so I finally broke down and bought the kit in a dusty plum color.

The other temptation is from Single Skein September with the Stash and Burn podcast group.  I participated last year and I pushed through a lot of projects that I had been wanting to make.  This year I'm trying to resist so I can work on the bigger projects that I already have started.  Today is the 7th and I've only cast on one new thing (the Clara dress), so maybe I can make it without casting on more.  I just stashed my needles away and am hoping to stay far far away from them....but we'll see.