Sunday 5 May 2024

Tortoise Projects/Yarn Arts Update

Slow and steady wins the race, according to the Tale fo the Tortoise and the Hare. And this year I decided to apply that principle to my yarn projects. I have too many UFOs that have been languishing for months or years and it's time to see more finishes. In 2022, I was finally able to finish Sophie's Universe, and I want to add more projects to the "finished" list. So, I chose 4 projects and set a goal for how much of each that I would work on at a time. That way, I wouldn't get bored with 1 project as easily and would still make slow and steady progress on each. My goal is to work on them daily, but I also recognize that there are times when this might not be possible. And I'll also be honest and say that lately I've kind of run out of steam and haven't been working on them as consistentlly as I was earlier. 

Tortoise Project #1 is my variegated moss stitch throw. I don't remember how far along I was at the beginning of the year. My plan is to do 15 repeats of 13 different variegated yarns. I have now completed 11 (this picture was taken after finishing the 10th repeat). Unfortunately, it appears that I will run out of a few of my yarns before finishing and they are no longer  available. I will likely have to find a best match if I do actually run out, and likely it won't be very noticeable because of the nature of this afghan. My goal is one row.
Tortoise Project #2 is the Shannon Afghan, a complex knitted project that involves individual squares about 8" or 9". I think I started the year with about 6 squares completed and I currently have the 23rd on my needle. There are a total of 48 squares to be made, and my goal is to do 10 rows at a time. I have already ordered more yarn as knew I would run out and wanted to make sure to purchase it before it, too, became "no longer available". 
Tortoise Project #3 was The Poet Shawl, which is now completed. This project is from the Craftsy course, Fair Isle Crochet. At the beginning of the year, I had one pocket completed, but none of the ends worked in and the shawl part was started. I did 2 rows at a time to complete the shawl and I can't remember how I worked the remaining pocket. Working in all of those ends was the biggest part, brecause I had to begin and end the yarn with each row on the pockets, and there were two strands of yarn for most rows. I'm not that thrilled with how the shawl turned out, but I'm pretty pleased with the Fair Isle pockets. 
Tortoise Project #4 is this little 12" latch hook wallhanging. I picked up the kit at a thrift store and had 24 of 45 rows completed at the beginning of the year. My goal was 1 row at a time. I completed the hooking part and then had to wait to finish it until I got some rug binding, which is not that easy to find. I now have the binding and am currently stitching the border to the back, preparatory to attaching the binding and creating a hanging sleeve. Even though crocheting and knitting remain my primary yarn arts, I occasionally like to try a different craft, especially when I can find a kit for a really good price. 
Tortoise Project #5: needlepoint. While waiting for the rug binding for the latch hook project, I decided to put this project in its place in the queue. A few years ago, I bought a small needlepoint kit at a thrift store. The instructions said to work it on a frame, which I didn't have. I checked Michael's and they didn't have what I needed. I found one on Amazon, but was reluctant to pay the price for something I may only use once. And so the project disappeared somewhere in my stash. I think it was last year, while out on a walk, I saw a sign for an estate sale. There I found this mostly finished (about 3/4 done) needlepoint on a frame, together with the yarn. I don't remember the price, but it was very reasonable, and I purchased it, determined to finish the picture in honour of the deceased crafter and then, hopefully be able to fit my kit on the frame and complete it as well. I'm not really sure where that kit is and I realized that I really am not enjoying needlepoint. I have done it before on plastic canvas, but it's quite different when doing it on cotton canvas. My goal is one length of yarn at a time (which was already pre-cut when I got the project), but I'm finding it hard to feel motivated to even accomplish that much. 
Tortoise Project #6: Brackman 3806.5
Once I completed the Poet Shawl, I had to decide what project to add to the queue in its place. While this is not a yarn project, it is still handwork, as there is no way that I can make this block on the sewing machine. The miniscule pieces would disappear under the foot and likely get pushed down into the machine by the needle. It is not a project that lends itself to foundation paper piecing, so I am using English paper piecing. 
Back in 2021, I participated in the Electric Quilt BlockBase+ Sew Along. However, it only made 8 blocks and I decided that I was going to continue along and make a queen-sized quilt for my bed. I am using the Trellis Setting that I used for High Tea and Where the Charming Roses Bloom, so I still require several 12" blocks as well as a number of 6" blocks. I determined to tackle the most challenging blocks I could find in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. Someone in one of my quilting groups on Facebook suggested this one. It has 8 of these tiny LeMoyne stars placed between the rays of a larger LeMoyne star. I know that it's going to be far from perfect because my hand-stitching is not great and I find it almost impossible to line up those tiny pieces exactly. And I find the templates, printed from BlockBase+, don't all match up exactly. Maybe the software can't print templates this small accurately. As they say, finished is better than perfect, and if I can actually finish this block, I will be happy. I haven't really set a goal for this one. 
Now for a few other projects, not included in my tortoise queue:
A previous coworkter asked if I could finish a cardigan for her mother-in-law. The lovely senior lady had some cognitive decline and couldn't figure out how to assemble it. As it turned out, she had completed the body parts correctly, but not the sleeves. So I frogged the sleeves and knitted them correctly, then assembled the sweater and completed the ribbing for the front and collar, plus added the button loops. The woman said she had the buttons and would put them on, so I left that to her. The sleeves ended up being quite long on her and I likely could have done the small size. But she had started in the medium, so that's what I continued with. However, I do tend to knit larger than gauge. 
My youngest sister celebrated her 60th birthday this year and these slippers were part of her gift from me. Several years ago, she requested that I make her a pair of running shoe slippers, a picture of which had been circulating online. I purchased the pattern and found it rather ridiculous, with the sole made of 2 strands of sock yarn and one of crochet cotton, and the body of the slipper made of bulky yarn.  Not only did I consider that a weird combination of yarns, but I knew that I'd be lucky to find all of them in colours that worked together. Not to mention the fact that the pattern did not appear easy to follow. So that idea languished in the background until this pattern popped up in my feed. Unfortunately, the pattern calls for 2 hook sizes, and it wasn't until I got to the laces, where it says to switch to the smaller hook size that I realized that I had completed the entire first slipper with the smaller hook. No wonder it was too small. So I actually ended up making 3 slippers and still have the first one. It might fit my grandson, but I haven't felt motivated to make another one. I didn't enjoy this pattern at all, and I likely won't repeat it. Still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the odd slipper. 
I wanted a couple of dishcloths for gifts, but I don't like using the same pattern over and over. So, I pulled out this book, selected an appropriate stitch and voilà, a new dishcloth pattern. 
And another one. Don't ask me to remember the names of these stitches. I probable made a notation in the book. 
Then I had a bridal shower coming up, and wanted to use a dishcloth instead of a bow on the package. 
However, I ended up using this one on my nephew's birthday gift instead. The young lady getting married had chosen a red spatula in her gift registry (which I purchased as part of my gift) and so I assumed that red was one of her kitchen colours. Plus the dishcloth I used to wrap my gift in had red in it as well. So, I chose a reddish yarn for her dishcloth instead. 
Environmentally friendly, reusable giftwrap. 
The dishcloth pattern is found here. I like it much better than the slipper pattern. 😉
I included a quilted hot pot holder in the gift as well. 
That's a 4" quilt block in the lower corner, called An Envelope Motif. 
Now I think my blog is up to date on all of my yarn projects. 

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