2013 Spring Cleaning #6

DMBlanket

Deb Menz Blanket. I haven’t posted an update since 2009! I have worked on it but haven’t felt any love in a long time.

While thinking about 2013 Spring Cleaning, I thought that I might rip it and do something different with it. But once I took it out for its photo shoot, I realize that I quite like how it is turning out. The reason I haven’t felt any love was that it is now large enough that it’s not easy to drag around.

Decision

Keep on knitting! I will move my Mitered Non-Cross blanket back to on-the-go knitting since it is so portable. I’ll put this by my chair for TV knitting — after I finish my Hexagons, that is.

The current size is 26″ x 30″. It’s still a long way from a usable size.

Aside

There are several ten stitch blanket patterns on Ravelry. Mine is 12 stitches wide and made up before the pattern came out. If you are interested in making one of these, you can read up on how I came up with the pattern (recipe) or just use one of the free published pattern on Ravelry.

I added a few twists and turns when I got bored going in one direction.

Blanket Update #2

According to my spreadsheet, I’m about 40% of desired size.  I haven’t blocked it yet, so it might be a bit more.  But I don’t intend to block it aggressively, so the size is probably fairly accurate.  The sections are going very very slowly. But I know I’m committed enough to the project to start weaving ends in and trimming them… :)

On other news, I’m home safely. Except for the cold I seem to have caught somewhere along the way. I’m taking these few days easy, drinking lots of fluids, chicken soup, vitamin C, zinc, and plenty of rest while catching up with my Tivo.  All this provides some good knitting time.

Still Here; Homeward Bound

Still alive and kicking.  I pretty much lucked out and dodged all the typhoons in the Philippines. I’m also scheduled to miss the remnants of Typhoon Melor that hit Japan last week and due to hit the west coast early this week.

The diving was good. I can’t say great because I don’t think it was as good as the Solomon Islands last year. But who am I to say? It’s only my second diving trip. The weather was hot, humid, and unpredictable.  We had residual rain, wind and cloud cover from the never ending Typhoon Parma during the early part of the week. It finally calmed down for the last day or so of the trip.  The waters were murky. But the murky water also brought the corals out for feeding, which we wouldn’t see otherwise.

There was a lot of surge and it took me a few days to learn to not fight the surge and current and go with the flow. I got comfortable enough to play with my underwater housing for my point and shoot Canon.  You can see some of the pictures in my Picasa album.

I’m in Makati, outside of Manila right now. While the areas that I’m seeing look back to normal, I was told by my driver (hotel car service) that the outlying areas are still under water and without power.  They are not expecting to have power restored for at least 3 months.  It means a dark Christmas.  In order for him to get to work, he first has to catch the raft from his home and help push the raft for an hour to get to dry land, then onward to the hotel for a shower and start his day.  He plans to be here by 5:30 am tomorrow to take me to the airport, which means that he needs to be up by 3 or so.  They can’t leave their home for fear of looting.  They can’t cook at home so he needs to buy food for the night on his way home.  (I’m trying to be liberal with my tipping while here in Manila.)

So, yeah, don’t ignore the requests for donations from MSF, Mercy Corps, Red Cross, or your aid relief organization of choice.

And the blanket? It’s finally getting past the “placemat” stage.  It’s almost pillow sized.  It’s another way of say, I have a lot of knitting ahead of me.  It may be a sleepless flight back to California.

Blanket Update

The blanket is coming along very very slowly. I seem to rip more than I knit.  How is that possible? I’m still net positive on the blanket. It physically exists.  Math doesn’t work that way.

So what’s the deal?

Because I’m making it up as I go, and I’ve been working at it very sporadically, I can’t seem to remember how I was doing things so that they look consistent from previous work.  I’ve made notes, I seem to interpret my notes differently each time I pick them up.

How is that? Well, I tried half a dozen methods, if not more, for how to attach the working strip to the blanket edge.  I came up with a way that gives me a seam that I can live with.  One that looks similar from the front and back.  Most attachment methods will have a right and a wrong side of the fabric.  That won’t do for me.  I don’t want to think about right and wrong side when I throw a lap blanket over myself.  Even if there’s no one around but the cat and dog to see it.

And because I’ve made this up, and because I don’t work on this blanket regularly, I forget my chosen method.  Then, I’d pick up the project and knit merrily along.  18″-24″ later, I look down, turn the blanket over, and do my Edvard Munch’s The Scream imitation. Rip. Rip. Rip! I’d try another method. Nope. Still not it. Rip.

After the 5th or 10th ripping session, I got smart. I wrote down my instructions.

I still get it wrong.  Huh? Back to being lazy. I wrote shorthand for my attachment method, thinking, I’ll know what I mean by “twist the pair of sts and p2tog.” After all, how many different ways can there be? Apparently a lot.

So, I got anal.

pwt-cards

I took step by step pictures. I took notes. I combined them into a series of reference/flash cards. Of course, now that I’ve done this, it’s fresh in my memory and I haven’t needed the cards.  But it hasn’t been a total waste.  The hand, eye, note taking memory is serving me well for now.  I still remember after 24 hours.  But then, I’ve also been actively knitting.  So, the jury is still out on these cards.  We’ll know one way or the other next week.  I need to punch a hole and put it on a ring so I don’t end up doing my version of 52 card pick up.

Now I want to know how far along I am on the project.  I am aiming for a 30″x48″ blanket before I get started on the edging. I have no idea what my percentage of completion is or if I have enough yarn spun up. I didn’t want to fall into the trap that The Harlot fell into. But the project manager in me really wanted to know where exactly I was every step of the way.

So…I created a spreadsheet.

pwt-worksheet

With periodic measurements, I’ll be able to track my path to completion, based on square inches.  A quick trip to the scale will tell me how much yarn I have used. Based on estimated yarn requirements for the finished blanket and how much I have used, I can see if I’ll have enough yarn to finish the project.  Since this is all hand spun, spun over the course of nearly a year, the grist isn’t the same, so this calculation is a way to periodically verify my yarn quantity.

Yeah. I’m a geek and I’m anal.

So, where am I?

pwt-0928

The blanket is currently at 12″x18″. According to my spreadsheet, I am about 15% done with the blanket, sans edging.  I have ample yarn spun to finish the blanket.  See?

pwt-yarn

I really hope I didn’t make a mistake with my formulas…

The big giant ball of yarn in the upper left corner is designated for the edging. It most likely will not be enough. I have another bobbin of mixed colors spun up, but it’s sitting on the bobbin to rest before I wind it up into a ball.  And if I that’s not enough, I still have some fiber that I haven’t spun up yet. (Stop laughing. I meant fiber designated for this project. I know I have a garage full of fiber.)

Wait! How is that? You have a spreadsheet that tells you exactly how much yarn you need. I just saw it!

Ah. That was for the base blanket, sans edging.  I have no idea how much yarn I will need for the edging since I haven’t measured, weighed and calculated how much that will be.  Oh, and more importantly, I haven’t decided what the edging will be yet.  Most likely, it will be an i-cord edging since it is easy and takes less yarn than a crocheted edging.

My biggest problem is that it took me months to get to this point. SOAR is less than 4 weeks away. For 2 of those weeks, I’ll be on vacation. In the topics. I really was not planning on bringing a wool blanket with hundreds of tiny balls of wool with me to the tropics. The idea of the lap blanket on, well, my lap! has absolutely no appeal. Nor does the idea of chasing little balls of yarn down the airplane aisle on an international flight.

But, if I want to have this in the SOAR gallery, I’m going to have to just suck it up and take the whole kit and kaboodle on the trip with me.

Wish me luck.

(Of course, I could just bind off and show it in the gallery without the edging. No one would be the wiser. Right?)

Twitchin’

I have the Deb Menz blanket (“DMB” because I’m lazy that way) that I must finish, but haven’t touched in about 10 days.  But while sitting in the CNCH 2010 planning meeting yesterday, I was mesmerized by Carole’s lace stole.  I am twitching to cast on for a new lace piece.  I am fighting that urge valiantly, but may be losing to it soon.  I have no desire to take the DMB and hundreds of little balls of yarn on a plane to the tropics with me.

I’m also battling the calendar to finish the CNCH 2010 website before the unveiling in 2 weeks.  So, more sporadic postings, I’m afraid.

P.S. My copy of the Fall 2009 Spin-Off is still MIA, but I saw a copy of it yesterday.  My scarf is in it! It’s such a thrill to see your work and name in print.  (I won Best Use of Sheep Wool category.) You can download the All Wrapped Up in Natural Fibers gallery from this page.  This PDF also includes a few scarves that didn’t make it into the magazine.  I’m so tickled!