Monday, 30 June 2014

June goals - end of month

At the end of the month it's important to evaluate whether or not the goals have been met, and whether they need to be rolled over to the next month.

Goal 1 - the closet purge.  Not completed.  :-(  Washing has begun, but there's still more sorting and purging to happen.  I'm hoping I can work on this a lot in the next week while I'm on annual leave - so this will be rolled over to July.

Goal 2 - Project life catch up. I've made definite progress, and in some ways this is a silly goal, because it will never be entirely met.  But I'm happy with where I am.

Goal 3 -  Household file.  Not done, in part because the printer isn't hooked up yet.  Rolled over to next month :-)

Goal 4 - blog about Project Life.  July has been declared PL month :-)

Goal 5 - the Tea Towel Stole.  That's not done, but I have completed the Kobo Cover, blogged about my UFOs, AND begun on the Great Big List of UFOs.

Goal 6 - 40% on Goodreads goal for the year.  Not there, but I've made some progress.  This month at least I won't be rolling this goal over.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

[Finished Object]: a mat for cats

Bishop helpfully wanders into shot with his cat mat

I'm always reading more than one book at a time.

When it comes to craft projects, I'm the same (have you seen my UFOs list?  And that's the short one.)

I don't always jump into a new project the moment I have the inspiration for it, but this one had a timeline involved.  Two days before we were due to pick up our adorable new cats, I realised that they might like a blanket for their carrier.

Having frogged my first attempt at the baby afghan, I had multiple balls of Patons Jet with no intended project any more. And as I was sorting out my craft room I found the Modal Vera Marvel 'Parrot' that I'd bought for the edging of the LoriBlankeet, a fabulous rainbow yarn perfect for the kitties joining a queer household.

I used the same basic principle as the baby afghan; two yarns, a large hook (10mm) and loose tension. But I changed the pattern, to two rows of trebles and one of DC. It's worked up beautifully quickly, although I don't think I've followed the pattern entirely without mistakes.

What I've learned from this project:

The great thing about the large tension in this is I've finally been able to work out where I've been accidentally adding stitches all this time. It's fantastic to finally work that out and it's going to make other projects much more straight forward in the future.

A bonus:
I had a small amount of the Moda Vera "Parrot" left over, and I worked it up into a headband for me.  There are times when you just want something subtle-but-not-subtle in rainbow colours, and this seemed just right.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Holbrook's Yellow Submarine

For months at my workplace we've been a collection point for pieces of yellow knitting and crochet. The were all bound for Holbrook, a town about 40 minutes north on the Hume freeway.

For reasons not actually understood by pretty much anyone, Holbrook, a town hundreds of km from the nearest ocean, is named after a submarine captain, and has a giant decommissioned submarine sitting in one of its parks.

In celebration of a number of things (World Wide Knit in Public Day, International Yarnbombing Day, Holbrook Sheep and Wool Festival, and the 40th? 50th? Anniversary of the Beatles first arriving in Australia), someone in Holbrook or MurrayArts or something decided to yarn bomb the submarine.  Yellow, of course, given the Beatles connection.

I provided two small pieces of crochet:

Lots (and lots) of other people provided lots more pieces, to come up with this:

I even think I found one of my pieces :-)

More of the photos taken by me, and by my GF, are on the Chez Stutters Facebook Page.  For more fabulous pictures of how the whole project came together, visit the Holbrook Yellow Submarine page.

Friday, 27 June 2014

UFO challenge

Once again, I'm blaming the fabulous Kellie Winnell for this. Kellie posted about a number of her unfinished projects with the challenge of finishing them by the end of the year.

Well, I've got piles of UFOs (unfinished objects) around the place. Maybe one day I'll embarrass myself with a full list, but for now I'm sticking with those I want to finish by the end of the year. I'm also going to limit this to projects that have gone into hibernation, not ones I count as being current (ie the ripple blanket, the Elphieblanket, and the cat mat).

Dish towel stole
Dish towel stole - this was supposed to be a 'quick' version of my quilted stoles. I love the symbolism of the dishtowel, and the stole was inspired by a Maundy Thursday sermon; in 2009. It's meant to be more of a Lenten stole, but I'd like to get it to it's intended recipient before the beginning of Advent this year. (It's also in my June goals list, but there's precious little of June left).

Golden Teddy
Teddy bear - this little golden knitted teddy was only ever supposed to be a 'finish off' project. We found the teddy itself knitted and left (still to be sewn up) in the library store cupboard a number of years ago.. I've sewn him up and stuffed him: all he needs is a face, which I should be able to do with a mixture of surface crochet and wool embroidery. This wouldn't take long if I'd just pick him up and finish him. Then he'll go to this year's church fete in early November.
Tinkerbell Cross-stitch

Tinkerbell cross-stitch - meant to be a Christmas present last year, not finished in time.  We have a friend who is nuts about Tink, and this kit was on sale.  Since I picked up crochet in April last year, I've kind of dropped the cross stitch, which used to be my main form of crafting.  I have another unfinished cross-stitch that is a present for my mother, but that will go into 2015's UFOs challenge, I think.

40th Bithday album

40th birthday mini album - I have all the bits and pieces to put together a mini album of a friend's 40th from February this year.  Except for printing out the photos.  Again - the planned deadline is Christmas.  Obviously, although the picture shows two Core Kits, I won't be using all of them for a single mini-album.  But Blush and Maggie Holmes are the two I'm planning to use for this.

Chez Stutters (the house) album

Our new House mini album - Although I've been trying to keep up with
weekly PL spreads, the GF suggested a mini-album about the move.  There's a lot of work to do on this one, and of all the UFOs it's probably the lowest priority and the least fixed deadline.  But I'd still love to see it done before the end of the year.  This is using one of the new 6x8 albums, all the house and home-related cards from 5th and Frolic, some Ali Edwards digital elements, and Kellie Winnell stamps.

And if you're wondering what the heck it is I'm talking about here, July is going to be Project Life month here at Chez Stutters, so that I can finally get around to blogging my almost-a-year-long-now new scrapbooking method/obsession.

Purple Headband

Purple headband - earlier this year I went on a headband-making spree. I've completed two pink ones, but this purple one got somewhat lost in the house move.  This one matches my work uniform, so I'd like to get it done so that I can wear it next time I get my hair cut. Which really ought to be soon.

TARDIS blanket

TARDIS blanket - it was supposed to be a Christmas present for a friend last
year: I'm determined he'll be given it THIS year.  No, there's no pattern other than one I've vaguely drafted up after looking at various other people's TARDIS blankets on Pinterest. 

Kobo Cover
Finally, and most ridiculously, my Kobo Cover.  All it needs it two snaps, a button, and a chain loop.  I've had the snaps and the button for ages, and I've been using the cover on my Kobo for a good six months: it's just those final little things that need to get done.  This one I really ought to be able to get done *today*.

A little pre-warning...

I feel it only fair to warn readers of this blog (should there be any) that Chez Stutters is about to get two new inhabitants on Saturday (aka "Catterday").

I will try very hard not to turn this into a cat blog, but I'm just warning you all that Bard (left) and Bishop will quite likely make their presence felt, even in cyberspace.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Currently Creative

Kellie Winnell has said that she's reinstating a regular "currently creative" linkup.  As you may have noticed, I'm trying to be more regular with this blog and to build it into an actual blog instead of just an occasional series.

If you're here from Kellie's blog linkup - welcome!  This is what I'm currently creating:

So, there's the Elphieblanket: I'm at 20 of 27 repeats of the main pattern before I start the multiple rounds that make up the border.  And I've read through the pattern for the border enough times that I think I almost understand how it works.

I'm slowly working on getting my craft room set up properly.

And I've created a Facebook Page for this 'ere blog and am working on graphics to use for it.

(For regular updates on posts to this blog, please "like" the Chez Stutters FB page, even though it's currently fairly bare.)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

On the hook: the Elphieblanket

A friend is having her first baby, and is moving away from the area at the end of the month, and my GF declared that I was going to make a baby blanket.

Attempt No 1 - I chose a pattern via Pinterest - although I'm using a slightly smaller hook.

I'm using Patons Jet in emerald (which is getting used up ridiculously quickly) and Patons Rainbow in Rainforest.  The Rainbow is gorgeous yarn, comes in a massive 200g ball, and I was grateful that I got balls of both Rainforest and Horizon during Lincraft's sale.

It's a lot plainer than my other blankets, and the edges are no where near as tidy as they should be.

On the evening on June 17, I decided I'd had enough.  I began to frog.

The same day, I'd recieved my copy of issue 19 of Simply Crochet, containing an utterly gorgeous pattern for a baby blanket.  So attempt 2 is using that pattern.

With the second attempt I'll only be using the "Rainbow" yarn, putting the Jet aside for something else.  (I don't know what.)  It will also be a far smaller hook size.

Because either way the blanket will be green, and because we're going to see the musical "Wicked" this weekend, I've christened this particular project "the Elphieblanket".

You can find the appropriate Ravelry entries here (attempt 1) and here.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

From the depths of the drafts folder [Finished Object]: The Annablanket

This post (well, the beginning of it) was buried deep in my drafts folder.  I was going to delete it, but the blanket is just so pretty and it was the first big project that I completed.  So - here you go:

The Annablanket is complete!

It's my first biggish project finished, and I'm really quite pleased with it.

The Annablanket has been with its rightful owner, Annabel, for about six months now.  I've done another blanket in this pattern for another new baby, with more reds and blues than the pinks and purples in this. 

 It's all done in pure wool (Moda Vera) to a Martha Brooks Stein pattern.  The GF suggested the extra round of white between the colour repeats, I altered the final round to add a Double V edging by Bunny Mummy.

The only real downside to this pattern is that it starts off working up so quickly, then gets slower and slower, and slower as the rounds get bigger.  It does keep your lap warm during the winter, though.

Friday, 20 June 2014

My new favourite home gadget

When I was a kid, I loved staying with an honorary aunt of mine during the school holidays.  She lived right out in the country, and there was a huge yard for me to play in and imagine all sorts of wonderful things.  She was also the local postmistress, so I could help sort and stamp the mail, and all that sort of old fashioned thing that doesn't even get done by people any more.

She was also the sort of person who had a definite routine in the mornings: specific jobs that just had to get done before we were really ready for the day.  One of those was to run the carpet sweeper over all the carpets in the house.  When I was there, that was my chore - that and making my bed - and I loved it.

Okay, so, I'm not *this* old...
 When we moved into Chez Stutters mark 2, and ran my beloved Roomba in the bedrooms for the first time, we noticed a slight problem.  The carpet is a much tighter weave than in the old place, and it has very defined ridges.  And whereas the Roomba could work easily with the old carpet, and could pick up all the dropped fluff from the flannel sheets with no problems at all, the combination of the tighter weave and the ridges combined to leave the majority of the flannel fluff on the floor.

At which point I began to muse.  "Do they still make carpet sweepers?" I wondered.  "Because that's what we need here."

Blow me down, but they do!  And it's just as good as the one I remember from my childhood - and as fun!

So although I don't sweep the carpet every morning, I really should try to do the bedroom and the big red rug in the living room at least twice a week.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Mid-month goals review (June)

It's far too easy for me to post about my goals and then forget about them until the end of the month.  So part of my process is a mid-month "how I'm going" review.

See my June goals post here.

Goal 1 - the closet purge.  Still hasn't happened.

Goal 2 - project life catch up.  Photos have been printed up to the Queen's Birthday weekend, and are all sorted by week and mostly placed in layouts.  The most recently completely finished layout is still back in April, and I don't know that I'll get entirely caught up until I have my week off work in July, but progress is being made.  I've also come up with a couple of ideas for keeping organised while running behind.

Goal 3 - set up my household file.  I've thought about it a lot, does that count?  Again, progress, but not there yet.

Goal 4 - blog about Project Life.  I've certainly kickstarted my blogging again (something I've been wanting to do since the beginning of the year) but I haven't yet got the PL blogging up and running.  I think I may make July the month of PL around here :-)

Goal 5 - the tea towel stole.  I know where it is.  In the current state of the craft room, this is an achievement.  Again, unlikely to finish it this month, but major priority for July.  It's also the top of my list for my UFO challenge (which you'll be reading about in a day or two's time.)

Goal 6 - 40% on my Goodreads challenge.  I'm at 29%, with three books at 60% finished or above.  It's not out of the realms of possibility yet.

How are you going on your goals for June?

Monday, 16 June 2014

Chez Stutters report: the cliffhangers continue

So - when we last "spoke", the dishwasher had quit, taking out all the powerpoints with it.

Thankfully, unplugging the dishwasher restored the powerpoints, and once we'd survived the weekend with my un-laws, we got in the repairperson.

Who told us the dishwasher was old, the seals were failing, and water had got into the electrics.

Long story short, we went shopping for a new dishwasher on the long weekend, and after an unfortunate run-in with the worst record-keeping system either of us have ever encountered, on Saturday (a week after we purchased it) the new dishwasher was installed, and we did two runs with it before the evening was out.

But in a newly purchased house, of course there are ongoing issues. 

And so now we're dealing with the heater.  Or lack thereof.

Last Thursday we got the repairman in, who decided what it needed to be fixed, and came back the next day.  While he was up in the roof on the second day, the GF - who was at home to let him in - heard words you never want to hear:

'It's smoking, God, it's smoking!' and the sound of coughing...


(What?  I promised you another cliffhanger in the title!)


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A new craft: rope coil basket

 I blame various websites, a mid-year sale, and the Queen's Birthday long weekend for this one.

For reasons related to post shared by friends on FB, I re-joined up to 'Household Management 101' on FB. (The frequency of posts and the way it takes over my feed is reminding me why I left the first time.) and they had at 'declutter the top of your dresser' challenge.  The top of my dresser is a mess (still is: I haven't really got to the challenge itself yet, apart from returning an overdue magazine to the library,) and with the layout of the new house, the dresser top has become the spot where I put my keys when I get home. I was already wanting some sort of vessel in which to corral my keys.  The GF and I have seen some beautiful bowls - made from telephone wire - at a local shop but they were well out of our price range. 

On Sunday, in search of yarn for a new baby blanket  for a friend who will move away well before she has the baby, we discoverd the Lincraft mid year sale, which was 30% off everything. Full rolls of cording we're marked at $5, and turned out to be around the $3 Mark with the discount. And that reminded me of Kellie Winnell's rope baskets from February this year. (Have I mentioned that Kellie is a favourite blogger of mine, and lives just two hours down the road from me! No, we haven't met in person.) 

So I bought the cording with a sort of 'someday' intention. Someday I would make one of those baskets. 

Then, on the Monday of the long weekend, I got itchy fingers. You know that feeling, if you're a crafter. You just have to DO something. I was having a quiet day while the GF kept on writing reports. I'd washed dishes, run some laundry, written long lists of all the other domestic chores that I really needed to get done, but I wanted to craft. And I thought about that dresser top, and the cording in my Lincraft bag, and soon I was looking up a non-video tutorial just to confirm my thoughts on technique, and away I went. 

I used a tutorial from The Red Thread Blog and worked on the basket for a good part of the afternoon, for an hour in the evening while the GF was watching Game of Thrones, and then again while I was attending a work meeting via Skype on Tuesday morning. (Anyone who's seen me at a church meeting knows I concentrate way better when my hands are busy. Luckily I can do the same thing in remote meetings for work: it's much harder to do in face to face work meetings unfortunately. Just imagine how much crochet I could get done then!)


Witness the final result - at the point of finishing, and then later, in situ on my dresser, with keys. 


Monday, 9 June 2014

Crochet project: a dishcloth

It's a new finished object!

Last year I was converted to the idea of crocheting my own dishcloths. I did one and started on a second (that half-finished second one is somewhere in the junk that hasn't yet been unpacked).  During the weekend I decided I needed another one.

I found a pattern I liked via Pinterest and Ravelry, and hey, presto!

It's not quite right, but I like the basic idea, and I will definitely be trying this one again, although I'll begin with Magic Loop next time, because I'm hoping that will contribute to a far neater beginning.  It also gave me quote a lot of practice with back loop DC, which is good, because I have a couple of patterns in my wish list that require BL or FL stitching, and this is good, sustained practice for that.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

June Goals

First up
  • That closet purge I was planning for May.  As I've mentioned before, the ailing washing machine caused problems for that little plan.  But despite two weekends away and another full of family obligations, I have every intention of getting through my closet by the end of June.
  • Catch up on Project Life.  I'm nowhere near as far behind as I was, but I really would like to be properly caught up.
Now for the new stuff
  • Set up my Household file.  This includes getting budgets and other routines sorted.  I want my financial routines sorted before the new financial year kicks in.
  • Blog about Project Life.  Ideas include -
    • Are my Monthly spreads working?
    • Spreads I'm proud of
    • My 'historical' projects.
  • Speaking of historical projects - finish the tea towel stole.  It was supposed to be a "quick" project and I started it back in 2009, before the GF and I were even living together.  I put it together in the living room of her old flat, which is now two houses ago!
  • Goodreads tells me that I am 27% through my challenge of 90 books for 2014.  (Bonhoeffer was bound to put me behind, but I've also ended up back reading fanfic again.)  There's no way I can make 50% by the end of June (without reading picture books), but I'd like to be at 40% by the end of the month.