Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sophie's Garden and Going Cold Sheep

By now, you've seen Parts 1-5 of the Sophie's Universe CAL, but today, you'll get to see the inspiration for my participation.

Lets set the scene.  January, 2015.  A new year.  Still on break from work.

I decide to go Cold Sheep.

That means no more yarn until what I have is feasibly used up.  You'll see more about this later, don't worry, but imagine me setting out the guidelines for exceptions.

  • I can buy yarn if it is only to finish a project I already have.  For instance, I bought a third hank of Alchemy Silk Purse (more on that later) when I realized two was not quite enough to finish the scarf.
  • I can buy yarn if it is for a gift or a special request.
  • In February, when I go to Stitches WEST, I can buy yarn, but only for projects that I've already determined (no impulse buying!).
  • Once my stash fits comfortably in one crate (instead of 4) and I have mostly small, unassigned bits left, I can lift the restrictions.
I open up my Ravelry tab and come across this delightful pattern.

"It's beautiful!" I think, "And perfect for stash busting!"

Soon, my Sophie's Garden is underway, a nice long-weekend of crochet before the frenzy resumes.

And then, I discover that Dedri is hosting a CAL to expand Sophie and make her into a six-foot blanket.  I have always wanted to join a CAL.  I want to be part of a community.  I want to make friends and have something to look forward to.  The mystery of it all, finding out each section as you go, intrigues me.  I get a rush just thinking about it.  I must participate.

But alas, I don't have the yarn...

So, I quickly make one more rule, and since it's during that first week of January, it doesn't count, right?
  • I can buy yarn to participate in Sophie's Universe.
Now, of course, I have, since then, hemmed and hawed about purchasing the yarn to participate in another CAL, or maybe make a second Sophie, trying to justify it under stipulation four.  So far, I have stood my ground, so we'll see!

Anyway, here's my Sophie's Garden, which currently sits daintily upon a card table only slightly larger than she is!
Ravelry Project

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL - Part 5

This week, we've expanded the Sophie's Universe CAL Square into an Octagon-of-sorts, and I love it!  Circle to square, square to octagon...I'm wondering what happens next!

Once again, the "Wine" Petals were next to the Sienna Background.  Since Dedri is using white, hers pop out, but mine tend to disappear.  I'm thinking about switching the Coral and the Wine next time there's a pattern like this.

I used:
  • Round 37: Cornflower (16 g)
  • Round 38: Avocado (14 g)
  • Round 39: Coral (41 g)
  • Round 40: Caution (12 g)
  • Round 41: Wine (32 g)
  • Rounds 42-45: Sienna (44 g)

Yarn used to date:
  • Sienna: 141 grams
  • Avocado: 34 grams
  • Caution: 41 grams
  • Coral: 62 grams
  • Cornflower: 38 grams
  • Fairy Tale: 10 grams
  • Orange: 13 grams
  • Solstice Heather: 16 grams
  • Tidepool: 26 grams
  • Wine: 48 grams
  • Total: 429 grams
    • Part 1: 20
    • Part 2: 39
    • Part 3: 86
    • Part 4: 125
    • Part 5: 159

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Randall's Socks Take 2 (Also known as the forever socks)

9On my continued Quest to make socks that work perfectly for the Mister, I have made socks that never fit to begin with, and socks that slid down over his heel, and now, finally, socks that fit!  Sortove.

Orange being his favorite color, I jumped on the KnitPicks Stroll Brights snapdragon to get him some neon socks..and then started to wonder how to make them fit.

I started by realizing that the main problem is that the Mister's heels are about 2 sizes bigger than his feet, and that his ankles are about a size smaller.

I chose a base pattern from ravelry, Little Minx, which was a gorgeous and simple pattern, but every fourth row had every stitch cabled once, and it was slow-going.  In fact, it took me so long I almost gave up.  It also ended up coming back to bit me, since cables aren't very stretchy, as you'll see later.

About an inch and a half before the start of his heel, I started increasing one stitch on each side of the center stitch of the sole every other row.  Essentially, something like this:

Row 1: knit instep pattern, knit half the sole, m1r, k1, m1l, knit the rest
Row 2: knit instep pattern, knit sole
Row 3: knit instep pattern, knit half the sole, m1r, k3, m1l, knit the rest...

I continued on in that fashion, making two on either side of these growing insets, until there were 18 extra stitches, and then continued on to the heel, which I did in short-rows, the amount of which had basically doubled because of the inserts.

At the end of the heel, I decreased stitches in the same manner as the increases, only backwards, until I had decreased about 10 stitches.  I ended up with more stitches on the cuff than the original sole, and continued in the pattern all the way around until the bind off.

The result?  They fit perfectly.  Too perfectly, in fact.  They're almost impossible to get on and off!

Well, they're comfortable while he's wearing them, and that's a start.  Hopefully the next ones can be a bit stretchier while still fitting well!

Ravelry Project

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL - Part 4

In this week's installment of the Sophie's Universe CAL, you'll see how the Mandala finished in PArt 3 squares off.  I have to say, I haven't used any of the Fairy Tale since last week (it wasn't ever called for), and I'm still not sure about it, but the Caution is a win.  I love it mixing with the other colors!

This was also my first week using the Orange, which I was pretty nervous about, but it seems to work well with the Caution and Avocado.  We'll see what happens when it gets paired next to some of the pinks and purples, but for now it'll do!

I used:
  • Round 26: Avocado (10 g)
  • Round 27: Sienna (12 g)
  • Round 28: Avocado (7 g)
  • Round 29: Orange (13 g)
  • Round 30: Sienna (14 g)
  • Round 31: Coral (11 g)
  • Round 32: Sienna (12 g)
  • Round 33: Caution (9 g)
  • Rounds 34-35: Sienna (23 g)
  • Round 36: Solstice Heather (14 g)

Yarn used to date:
  • Sienna: 97 grams
  • Avocado: 20 grams
  • Caution: 29 grams
  • Coral: 21 grams
  • Cornflower: 22 grams
  • Fairy Tale: 10 grams
  • Orange: 13 grams
  • Solstice Heather: 16 grams
  • Tidepool: 26 grams
  • Wine: 16 grams
  • Total: 270
    • Part 1: 20
    • Part 2: 39
    • Part 3: 86
    • Part 4: 125

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Christmas Skirt!

I am unbelievably excited to show you my Christmas Skirt from this year!  I knit it on size 3 needles, using a center-out shawl pattern called Evenstar Shawl, and leaving out the center.  The yarn was 2-ply thread-weight yarn that I got at the Article Pract closing sale back in October, and it was teeny!  It took me at least 60 hours, and I am SO pleased with it!

I had originally intended to knit in the other direction, as well, to make a tank-top dress, but I love it how it is, and I'm honestly not ready to pick up that yarn again.  It was so tiny it just hurt my eyes! xD

Ravelry Project

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL - Part 3

Previously, I posted about participating in the Sophie's Universe CAL, and my version of Parts 1 and 2.  Today, you get to see part three!

I really liked it at the end of Part 2, but now I'm not so sure.  The Fairy Tale and the Caution really seem to have an off-putting effect.  I decided to leave it, but if I get a mreh result, I'll probably just give it away!

I used:
  • Rounds 16-17: Fairy Tale (10 g)
  • Rounds 18-19: Caution (20 g)
  • Rounds 20-21: Tidepool (22 g)
  • Rounds 22-23: Cornflower (19 g)
  • Rounds 24-25: Sienna (15 g)

Yarn used to date:
  • Sienna: 36 grams
  • Avocado: 3 grams
  • Caution: 20 grams
  • Coral: 10 grams
  • Cornflower: 22 grams
  • Fairy Tale: 10 grams
  • Orange: 0 grams
  • Solstice Heather: 2 grams
  • Tidepool: 26 grams
  • Wine: 16 grams
  • Total: 145
    • Part 1: 20
    • Part 2: 39
    • Part 3: 86

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sea Salt Soap

I'll be finishing up with the last two Christmas posts this week and next on Wednesdays, so hopefully by the time that's over, I'll have something new ready to post about!

This week, we'll take a look at the soap that I made my mother-in-law, who can never ever get enough of the beach.  Having made my father-in-law some wonderful Adirondack soap, I decided to make her some sea-salt soap-scub bars.

After doing some research, I ad-libbed the recipe, and came out with some beautiful bars that I really love (and I hope she does, too!).


  • 6 oz water
  • 2.75 oz lye
  • 12.75 oz coconut oil
  • 1.875 oz castor oil
  • 1.875 oz cocoa butter
  • 1.875 oz olive oil
  • 1 lb Celtic Sea-Salt
  • a pinch of yellow coloring
  • 15 drops each of Rosemary and Citrus Fresh Essential Oil
I measured and melted the oils as usual, added my yellow coloring, created my lye base, and brought the mixture to trace in about 3 minutes, at which point it turned a nice sunflower color.  After a two hour cook, I added the Essential Oils and Sea Salt and stirred vigorously, before pouring the whole mixture into the mold.

As predicted, the sea-salt made the bar crumbly and difficult to cut.  After letting it sit for about 40 minutes, I took the whole bar out of the mold and cut off the two (now solidified) ends, revealing a slightly mushy center.  Since the edges were hardening fast and the center was still liquidy, I let it sit for a few more minutes, and then I cut another slice off each end.  I repeated this process all the way through, always waiting until the center was just barely hard enough to not droop out when sliced before going ahead, since the edges were continuing to harden and crumble.

Over all, I'm pretty pleased with the results.  I might have to make myself a batch!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sophie's Universe CAL - Part 2

Previously, I posted about participating in the Sophie's Universe CAL, and my version of Part 1.  Today, you get to see part two!

I used:
  • Round 9: Avocado (3 g)
  • Round 10: Coral (10 g)
  • Rounds 11-13: Wine (16 g)
  • Rounds 14-15: Sienna (10 g)

Yarn used to date:
  • Sienna: 21 grams
  • Avocado: 3 grams
  • Caution: 0 grams
  • Coral: 10 grams
  • Cornflower: 3 grams
  • Fairy Tale: 0 grams
  • Orange: 0 grams
  • Solstice Heather: 2 grams
  • Tidepool: 4 grams
  • Wine: 16 grams
  • Total: 59
    • Part 1: 20
    • Part 2: 39