365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 355/365: One Last Yarn Splurge

Sean and I left Ventura and drove back up to Morro Bay this afternoon.  When we pulled into our driveway, I saw the rocking chair on the porch and felt immensely grateful to be living in such a safe neighborhood.


Four of the packages were Christmas presents.  The large pillow-shaped one on top, though, was the Attic 24 Sunny Yarn Pack that I ordered online from Wool Warehouse just last week Sunday.  I was surprised that it arrived so soon.  It came from England, and I had expected about ten days for delivery.


I’d been trying to resist ordering it, but seeing Lucy’s progress with the Sunny Crochet-Along on her website Attic 24 totally sold me.

As you know, I am currently crocheting the Coastal Ripples afghan that she designed.  Having the Sunny Pack waiting in the wings is now a good motivator for me to finish the Coastal Ripples afghan by the end of this year.  Luckily, I have some vacation time coming up.  I am very much looking forward to the holidays.



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Day 271/365: Cherry Cola, Revisited

Remember the Cherry Cola crocheted afghan?  I’d planned to make it a large afghan that I could use as a blanket when I watched TV on the couch.  The problem was that, the more I added crocheted rows to it, the more the afghan became bulky and unwieldy.  When I pulled it over myself for a test run on the couch, it stretched and was too hole-y for my taste.  It just wouldn’t do as a crocheted afghan.

So I did what a lot of other people won’t do:  I accepted the fact that I’d hit a dead end with this project.  For all the hours I put into crocheting it, I knew I wouldn’t use this afghan.  I didn’t want to waste the yarn, so I spent the afternoon frogging it.

And then casting on for a new project…



Day 263/365: The Failed Felted Bowl

I got it in my head that I wanted to make a felted bowl.  So I looked through the yarn stash and picked out two skeins of wool that I thought would go well together.  I tried knitting first and then decided that crocheting would produce a sturdier bowl.  It didn’t take too long to finish a small bowl shape.  I threw it in some hot water and soap, did some scrubbing and agitation by hand, and then tossed the wet bowl in the dryer with some socks and towels.

Unfortunately, the bowl did not turn out as well as I’d hoped.  I think the lesson to be learned from this is that you have to use super bulky yarn and not two strands of medium weight yarn.  And rather than some half-assed scrubbing, you’ve got to really rough it up in the felting process.


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Day 125/365: The Afghan That’s Making Me Buy More Yarn

I know I said that I was only going to knit and crochet using yarn from the stash.  I even took photos of said stash to remind myself of just how much yarn I own.

As you know, I started my latest afghan project with yarn that I picked out of the stash.  Now I’m three skeins into it with three skeins left, and I realized that I have A Predicament.


This is what three skeins of crocheted Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn look like.

The length is perfectly appropriate for an adult-sized afghan, but as you can see from the photo, three skeins of yarn do not produce enough width to cover a lap.  Three more skeins would add roughly double the width, but it still wouldn’t be wide enough to suit my taste.  So I had two choices:  Unravel the thing and start over with different dimensions, or buy more yarn.

I think you already know that I went with the second option.

Luckily, I was able to find more skeins of this particular colorway on eBay.  Now I can only hope that the dye lots will match, or at least come close.


Day 87/365: The Day I Broke Up With A Sweater

Remember when I was knitting this sweater last month?  I got tired of knitting in the round and set it aside.  I thought I should finish it, but there wasn’t any joy in the process.

I started and finished other projects, and in the meantime, that partially completed sweater remained sleeveless with half a torso.  It was taking up space in both my living room and in my conscience.

Today I made a decision.  I had to be completely honest with myself, and the truth was I didn’t care about finishing that sweater.  And even if I did, I knew I wouldn’t wear it.  There was just no real reason for me to keep knitting when my heart wasn’t in it.  I had no real love for the sweater.

I ended up doing this:


Goodbye, sweater that I would never have worn anyway. Goodbye, hours and hours of knitting around and around in stockinette stitch.

In under five minutes, I managed to unravel the whole thing into a couple of flat-bottomed balls.

And you know what?  I’m totally okay with it.  In fact, I feel less burdened.  That sweater was one more piece of clutter that I could remove from my life with no dire consequences.

Now if I could only tackle the hundreds of other pieces of clutter in the rest of my home…



Day 82/365: The Day I Show You My Stash

I started this blog back in January for several reasons.  One reason was that I had accumulated way too much yarn over the last dozen years.  A second reason was that I had too many unfinished knitted projects.  For 2015, I resolved to either finish those projects, or else frog them and wind the yarn back into balls.  I resolved to reduce the amount of yarn in my stash by either knitting or crocheting useful and pretty things that I could then either keep or give away.  I would document my progress in the blog, and once I went public, I’d really have to commit.

I mentioned these reasons to a few non-knitting, non-crocheting friends on a few separate occasions, and their reactions were all pretty much the same:  “Really?  You have that much yarn?”

Yes, I have that much yarn.

I have sock yarn, from the fairly inexpensive stuff you can purchase at chain craft stores, to the really expensive hand-dyed extrafine merino wool that they sell at independent shops with “Fine Yarns” added to the store’s name.


I have balls and skeins.


I have Peruvian wool, lamb’s wool, merino wool, silk, cashmere, and super kid mohair.

They come from Romania or Japan, Italy or Germany, Wales or other places in the United Kingdom.  The labels and brands vary from the small and obscure to the names you know, like Noro, Cascade, Crystal Palace, Classic Elite, Karabella, Debbie Bliss, Berroco.


I have cotton, linen, and bamboo.


I have cotton-linen blends, and acrylic-cotton blends.

I have 100% acrylic that is made a lot softer now than the old scratchy stuff from back in the day.



I have a lot of yarn.


This is a stash that grew out of the last twelve years, starting in 2003 when I left my full-time teaching job and went back to graduate school to pursue a new career.  When I look at each ball or skein, I can remember where it came from and the general time in my life when I bought that particular yarn, whether it was during the MACP or PsyD program, pre-doc or post-doc, the dissertation, the internship year, the interminably anxiety-ridden months of licensing exams, or post-full-time-permanent-state-job status.

Now I can breathe in relief that those stressful years are behind me.  I’m happy in my present time.  And I have enough yarn today to keep myself knitting and crocheting right into retirement.

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Day 77/365: The Beginning of Another Stash-Busting Project

So I looked at all the yarn in the stash and pulled out these three little orphan balls that looked like they could go together, somewhat.  Naturally they didn’t have their labels anymore (why? why didn’t I save the labels and stick them in the middle of the ball, like thinking people do?), but it was pretty clear that they were three different brands and dye lots.  I figured they had the potential to be transformed into something cute.


I started with the multi-colored pastel ball and crocheted a few row of shells.  Then it became pretty clear to me that I would end up with another small rectangle, like my most recent pink and yellow baby blankie.  I decided I wanted to make something different this time, where I would start the piece at the center and work my way out.  I could either crochet essentially what would be a round lace doily or a large granny square.  I went with the granny square.


Here is my little Luchador mascot, who you will recognize from my blog header.  We’re both trying to decide if we like how this granny square project is turning out.


Day 69/365: New Crocheted Afghan

I finished this little yellow afghan and sent it to a friend yesterday.  (And in case you were wondering what I decided, I went with no edging.)  I am still on a mission to use up yarn from my stash, so I decided to crochet another quick baby blankie to give away.

I crocheted a chain of 145 stitches and started a lacy strawberry pattern that incorporated a scalloped edging.


Like so.

Then I decided that it wouldn’t do for a baby afghan.  So I ripped it all out and started a new pattern, this time with a shell stitch.  It actually turned out kind of nice, so I think I’m sticking with it.  For now.


Pretty, right?

Oh, P.S. I used my KnitPicks ballwinder to change that skein into a more attractive flat-bottomed ball.  In case you noticed the difference between the two photos.  Because I’m a little compulsive like that.

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Day 48/365: Back to The Sock That’s Going to Make the 4th Pair This Year

Remember how I started this sock, and then this unfortunate thing happened?

That night (the 12th), I ordered new circulars from KnitPicks.  (It was a completely different brand of needles that broke, by the way.)  Kudos to the fine folks at KnitPicks, because they shipped my order promptly and the new needles arrived yesterday (the 16th).

I got to work putting the stitches back on the needles and managed to get as far as knitting the gusset and turning the heel.  I’d like to try the Fish Lips Kiss heel at some point down the road, but for now I’m using a basic pattern from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson (of Wendy Knits).


This sock will look better on a foot, once it’s done. But the colors are pretty, aren’t they?

This is Patons Kroy Socks FX, which is one of my favorite brands of sock yarn.  It’s a tactile pleasure to knit.  It is also reasonably priced and generally available at most craft stores that sell yarn, which is why I have an abundance of them in different colors in the yarn stash.  If you haven’t already, give this brand of yarn a try.  I’ll be interested to know what you think.