blankets time

I love blankets and nearly always have one on my lap (as I do right now). Dot loves this as she’s my blanket lap cat. I’ve been working on several blankets for around the house, one for over five years.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about them and I recently figured out a fundamental flaw to my method, one that’s been hindering my progress. I want to share in the hope that it may help you get unstuck.

My favorite method for working on large blanket projects is to create them modularly. This means the blanket is worked in sections and joined. The joining can happen right away or later, or even a combination of the two.

This allows me to work on them in spurts and often to snuggle with them long before they’re complete.

This is true of the Garden as Safe Space blanket. Dot and I snuggle together with it every night when I sit on the couch to read or watch TV. This blanket has been ignored of late as it’s one where I join in each module (a hexagon) as I work it. It makes the blanket a bit unwieldy and strange at the current stage. For a while I felt overwhelmed by it, so I put away most of the yarn and only have the next hexagon in a small project bag on table next to where I sit. My hope is that is all I need to knit, I will plan and think of the next hexagon only after this one is complete. So far, the yarn has been sitting there for a few weeks. Next time Dot has enough of me for the evening and leaves for her favorite box, hopefully I’ll work on it. I’ve finished 5 complete rows and am about a third of the way through the 6th. The plan is for 18 columns of 11 hexagons each, there’s a long way to go!

tuxedo cat curled up on a handknit blanket

The blanket I’ve worked on for over five years, the Hexies for Always has had several hexagons knit while I’m working on Literary Fragments (see below), I haven’t added them … or woven in any of the ends. There’s no reason for this other than it hasn’t been a priority. At the moment it looks pretty much the same as it has for a year. Dot and I still use it whenever I sit on my studio couch.

Both the Library blanket for E and my Literary Fragments Blanket are suffering from my flawed modular methodology. The major flaw?

I keep each blanket in a large project bag with whatever is queued up for the next motif.

That means I need to schlep everything each time I work on it. As I’ve only finished 3.3 stripes of E’s blanket that’s not too overwhelming at the moment, but it means it never gets taken anywhere and this fourth stripe is neglected. My plan is to finish it this afternoon and to keep a project “go bag” so I will work on the next stripe more easily. That can fit in my everyday bag and will ensure project progress, I hope.

The Literary Fragments blanket is a little more complicated. Each round is a different color, I try to work on a batch of motif centers at once, then the second round, then the third. But it also requires me to organize the scrap yarns differently (another work in progress) and think about what I bring when and where. E’s blanket is my current priority and once I feel better about its progress, I’ll improve my workflow.

You can find progress updates for these blankets and more at my digital creative notebook at notebook.pennyshima.com. Can you guess the current theme – it is also a work in progress. I still maintain my account at Ravelry, however I like having more control over how things look. It also will allow me to eventually share some of the other projects I work on that aren’t strictly knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving … and then let me write differently about them here.

alpine frost for summer

I wear cowls (and wool socks) year round. For our recent trip, a cowl that would be wearable in summer heat was essential, so I turned to a design from the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet. Here is my interpretation of the Alpine Frost Scarf by Amy O’Neill Houck.


It was a welcome addition for our three day side trip to the Ukraine where cooler and overcast weather prevailed during our visit.

Crocheted in the delightful yet sadly discontinued Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotlin, it was a pleasure to work with. Originally I hoped to make a wide and long stole in the design, unfortunately my time was limited. Instead I crocheted enough length to turn it into a loose cowl. I now find it a perfect length and a delightful addition to my summer wardrobe.

cotlin-scarf-progress

However, I wish it had brought some alpine frost with it off the airplane, Budapest (our primary destination) was hot and humid during our brief stay. That didn’t stop me from wearing it!

at Keleti pályaudvar station for a brief break from the sun.

at Keleti pályaudvar station for a brief break from the sun.


There’s a project page at Ravelry though I didn’t write anything while I was working on the project.

quick tool organization upgrade

I love my needle organization, however, it doesn’t work well when I’m out and about. A few years ago, Tom Bihn released knitting tool pouches.

spinning samples and swatches

I’ve been busy working up handspun samples for Happy Fuzzy Yarn to display in the booth at the summer trade show of The National Needle Arts next week.

2015-05-21-HFY-Spinning

I’m also knitting and crocheting (and hopefully weaving) swatches of each sample.

Fibres and colourways shown are:
100% Bombyx silk in Death & Taxes (center); clockwise from top: 100% Falkland in Crete, 100% BFL in Hemoglobin, 75% BFL/25% Silk in Kelp, 100% Merino in Hearth, 50% Merino/50% Yak in Azores, 100% Polwarth in Sunset, and 50% Merino/50% Tencel in Cobalt.

happy yarn

Today over at little acorn creations, I posted a quick interview Riin of Happy Fuzzy Yarn. We talk about her yarn business, knitting designs, and bunnies. Discover your answer to the question, does yarn make you happy?