Saturday, January 31, 2015

What's on Your Cutting Table?

This month's homework assignment from the Curious Professor Z is “What's on Your Cutting Table”. As usual, the insomniac  has left it to the last possible minute to hand in her assignment, the excuse being she always works best under pressure.

As she's never been particularly good at following assignment guidelines either, she will not only share with you those items currently on her Cutting Table but also any craft-related items on every other table in the cottage as well. Because just when a person finally gets their very own crafting area condensed into a portion of an old attic - where everything is close at hand, is decorated exactly how one wants, and is organized enough that one has a vague idea where things are - well then obviously, it's time to move.

When we decided to build, the insomniac  knew she would likely have Separation Anxiety when her large collection of crafting supplies went into storage, so she took up knitting to keep herself occupied until we were reunited.

Little did she realize knitting would become such an obsession - to the exclusion of all else, some might say. House needs cleaning? Pffft. Nobody comes to visit. Laundry needs doing? Pffft. Nobody comes to visit. Meals need to be prepared? Well, if someone claims they're not really hungry for long enough, eventually someone's spouse will make us something to eat.

Let's start this assignment off with some finished projects, shall we?

Rowan Tamara Glove Pattern

The insomniac  loved these fingerless armwarmers ever since she discovered the pattern in Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine number 48. And although she'd never tried the intarsia technique before, she didn't think it would be a problem as she'd previously made a Cowichan sweater for her father using the fair isle technique. Once. Like thirty-five years ago.

The back looks much like a dog's breakfast, doesn't it.

And really didn't have the calming effect one looks forward to when knitting.

After three attempts at intarsia, the entire thing was pulled apart and a fair isle pattern from the same magazine was selected to replace it. And because any project these days always culminates with the insomniac  screeching, “Where is my **insert missing item here**?” which will require a trip to the basement to sort through all the craft boxes still unpacked because there's no place left to put anything else, she did not carefully plot out all the colours with her missing pencil crayons to see if they looked okay together and just started knitting.

As any prolific knitter will tell you, one of the biggest problems with knitting (besides the intarsia technique) is what to do with all one's projects after completion. (You'll notice the insomniac  has categorized herself as a Prolific Knitter. Not a Good Knitter. Vastly different). And so she asked the youngest if she'd like the armwarmers, to which she graciously replied, “Of course, mum.” And to prove she really liked them a lot, she put them on in the car and carefully covered them over with the sleeves of her coat before we headed into the bookstore.

In one's defense, her special order of non-pastel wool in shades
of scarlet, purple and grey never arrived until after these were finished ...

In December, the insomniac  inquired of her eldest whether his Significant Other might be interested in a slouchy hat with a pompom on the end for Christmas. “She doesn't wear hats. No point.”, he said. Doesn't mince words, the eldest.

But when they came for Christmas Dinner and his SO saw the youngest in her red slouchy hat with a pompom on the end, she said she liked it and wouldn't mind one for herself. And when asked whether she'd like a pair of mittens to match, she replied, “Thank you, but you already made me a pair last year.” A statement which one didn't believe for a second, but totally admired for the skillful way in which she'd managed to avoid receiving one more knitted item without offending a woman who might conceivably become her future Mother-in-Law. Nicely done, my dear girl. Nicely done.

Unfortunately, the sock wool complemented the slouchy hat wool so well,
the insomniac  just couldn't help herself.

If you listen closely, you'll be able to hear the offspring hissing at one another:

Eldest: I'm  not taking those socks. They're pink. You  take them.
Youngest: I'm  not taking them. I  took the armwarmers. And  the slouchy hat and matching mittens at Christmas.

Even when one isn't knitting, the Night Table always contains
potential knitting projects for someone's future enjoyment.

Or inspirational pictures for the day she might have
her own dedicated crafting area again.

Some people manage to make knitting look like an enjoyable pastime; not so the insomniac, who is probably the world's most awkward knitter. When she's not flipping needles across the room or dropping them between the cushions of her chair, you'd probably find it humorous to watch as she raises the double pointed needles perilously close to her face in order to see well enough to unknit her mistakes. Because it's always funny until somebody loses an eye.

A dedicated knitter slaps a band-aid on any friction points and knits through the pain ...

Most days you'll find the insomniac  firmly planted in her knitting chair from sunup to sundown. And although she could knit well into the evening as we do have electric lighting in the Little Gothic Cottage, they're mostly to provide atmosphere and pretty much useless for doing anything practical.

Now we come to the unfinished projects portion of the assignment and let's be honest ... if a person has a damask box in their possession clearly labelled Unfinished Projects, it's safe to assume that box is filled to overflowing. Taking pity on her readers, only a small portion were exhumed for this assignment.

An embroidered runner which will likely never be completed,
despite the threaded needle suggesting otherwise ...

Silkscreen samples, to be made into some thing at some point ...

Although that grey scarf could almost be considered finished and
perhaps moved into the Completed Projects damask box.

The Gothic Fingerless Gloves Project

Might  need a bit of pressing before continuing on with that one ...

Have decided this piece will not be repaired as previously thought,
but framed for display exactly as is.

Still planning on graphing out the pattern and sharing it with you all though.

And finally, we come to the Project of Shame - because although she may procrastinate on projects not meant for anyone in particular, she never does so with projects specifically promised to someone well over a year ago. So earlier this week, she went down into the basement, searched for the garbage bag containing Nightwind's coat, brought it upstairs and dropped it down next to the chaise in the large guest bedroom, which now also doubles as the insomniac's  sewing room.

And there it sat ...

Today she opened the bag, withdrew the contents and laid them out in full view, hopefully providing the needed incentive to get cracking on it. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing worrisome about this project - the pattern is extremely simple, there are no sizing alterations required, most of the supplies have been located (except for the buttons and soutache braid, which are still missing but around here somewhere), the embroidery pattern on the capelet is exciting - and yet one keeps stalling, for whatever reason. To make matters worse, Nightwind has been an absolute gentleman about the whole thing, never once asking when he might be able to expect his coat to be finished.


While you're here, did we decide on bats or spider web embroidery
on the capelet, Nightwind?

Maybe Doctor Z. could schedule a follow-up assignment in another month, specifically requesting completion of ALL unfinished projects, since some of us seem to work best under pressure.

In the meantime, please check out this month's other participants, all of whom have likely passed their assignments with flying colours. They probably don't have ANY unfinished projects lying about ... epic fail for the insomniac.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

55 comments:

  1. Those silkscreen samples are gorgeous! I too have the need to knot but then not wear the products myself. >_> I unfortunately do not have offspring to force my knitted goods on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jade! I really enjoyed silkscreening but it's one of those crafts that require a lot of equipment that isn't easy to duplicate at home, and the studio costs at the art college ended up getting really expensive. I had to give it up but hopefully have made enough samples to make a quilt out of or something!

      The only knitted items I've ever worn are socks and mittens. But I learned how to properly sew up those armwarmers so now I think I might be ready for a sweater. I know - the poor offspring. ;)

      Delete
  2. Being severely craft-impaired myself, I can only envy you your talents. Even the unfinished ones. I love the slouchy hat and hand warmers would go over a treat here in the Land of Victorian Era Home Heating.

    Ali

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm excited to be retired and able to spend my entire day doing crafts now if I want, Ali! Life is good.

      The slouchy hat actually looks much cuter on than it does laying on a couch. I might even make one for myself, even though I don't generally wear hats. I don't know how you stand the damp cold ... whenever I'm in Vancouver, I freeze - even in summer! Of course, I haven't been without a sweater since we've moved in either, so I suppose it's not much different. :)

      Delete
  3. Oh wow! I love your chair. Those look like some interesting projects

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! So many gorgeous projects. I dread to think what's at the bottom of my sewing bag/sack, perhaps I'll delve into it for a future post. The phone case!! It's blooming gorgeous! And the chaise looks like the perfect place to sit and read. :)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwww thanks, Yvonne! You should have seen the things I didn't write about - cross stitch pictures that I was going to make when the offspring were little, wool vests with embroidery that wouldn't fit now even if I wanted to finish them, etc. etc. Sad, really. :)

      Did I ever thank you for pointing out that phone case? I love it! And the Dracula and Undying scented oils you mentioned in that same post are two of my three favourites. Unfortunately, that chaise is the most uncomfortable thing you can imagine, so it's really just for show or to put things on. LOL

      Delete
  5. OMG you do beautiful work! One prolific knitter who I know knits those tiny tuques for premature babies at hospital. There's always a need for those so she can knit to her heart's content.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks Debra! Not a compliment I hear very often around here! LOL

      That's an excellent idea - I bet I could crank out a dozen of those little suckers a week! I also thought about knitting hats and mittens for the homeless. If I look around, there's probably lots of things I could knit for good causes. Win-win for all involved. :)

      Delete
  6. Thank you Winter Moon! Another Fabulous creative Canadian M. Yippy! Beautiful needlework Work! Nice yo meet you! xDebi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Debi! Thanks for commenting and I'm now following the blog of another creative Canuck! I have some catching up to do. :D

      Delete
  7. Ah, I do that too, stall... for no reason. And just maybe every now and then because I'm lazy.
    I love those armwarmers! Both of them. :) I bought a nice yarn a few weeks ago and was planning on doing armwarmers myself, but then I saw the computer... and it has a fun game on it... and, yeah.
    It takes some time to settle down in a new home, I think you'll come around with all your projects. ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so weird isn't it, Sandra? I wish I could figure out what makes me do it and then maybe I could fix it! LOL

      I'm actually pretty happy with the armwarmers even though they didn't end up looking how they were supposed to. And I do think the youngest likes them as she was wearing them again yesterday. Who knew!

      Oh yes, the computer - it sucks up too much time. It does help that it's slower out here. I find I'm not spending near the time on it as I was in the city. :)

      I thought we were settled in, and I think we are in every other area except my crafting stuff. You're right, I'm sure - once I actually know where everything is, I hope I'll be better at finishing things and starting some new projects! :)

      Delete
  8. Hmm...I don't remember what I originally chose for the embroidery on the capelet; but since you're asking me now, I lean toward the bats. I've got to say that I'm excited in just knowing that you've brought out the material. Good things are worth waiting for and I'm simply overwhelmed by your generosity and willingness to do this for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yippee - bats! Tomorrow I will be ironing everything and getting it ready for sewing. I've already told myself 'no knitting' until I get that much done. Once I start, I know it will go quickly. I wish I knew why there are certain projects that are so hard for me to start - who knows how the insomniac's mind works - least of all the insomniac herself! LOL

      I'm thrilled to be doing it for you, Nightwind. I just feel terrible that it's taking me so long. Soon. :)

      Delete
    2. It is going to be so cool! I can't wait to see it!

      Delete
    3. I'm not sure if I should post pictures, Rhonda - I might leave that up to Nightwind since it'll be his coat! LOL

      Delete
  9. Love the armwarmers!

    I can't knit, but I've been spending the winter crocheting like crazy. But I'm now at the point where I don't crochet (or sew) for anyone unless they specifically request it. Seeing gifts I've spent so much time and effort on go unappreciated hurts me so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Pixel Pixie! I can't crochet, but I'd really love to learn. I've always wanted to do a granny square quilt, probably because my granny had one!

      I seldom craft for others anymore, either. And I used to make things to sell but I got tired of paying myself $1.00/hour so I stopped that too. I tease about the offspring not wanting my projects, but there are things I've made them that they really do appreciate, especially now they're getting older and know how much work it is. I completely understand how you feel when your gifts are unappreciated. :)

      Delete
  10. Hmmmm. not sure how much knitting is going to go over big at Horror Con... I'll try to keep an open mind though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just think, Mark ... slouchy hats and armwarmers with bats and skulls and crows and ... really, need I say more? ;)

      Delete
  11. I've been really tempted to try some knitting (I've knitted before but only the most basic scarves) because of some really cool knitted skull designs that I've seen, but just the idea of intarsia knitting makes me break out in hives.

    The lamp on your night table is absolutely gorgeous!

    I'm stealing the expression "Project of Shame", although in my case it would be "projects". :D I'm currently desperately trying to finish too many items I've promised to others. Nightwind's coat will be utterly awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In that Vampire Knits book on my Night Table they had a very easy scarf with a simple pattern that looked like blood around the neck. If you'd like, I can email it to you so you can try it, Emma! I may never attempt intarsia again unless I can find someone who can teach it to me. There's only so much you can learn from a YouTube video.

      Thank you! I got a pair of them on eBay and the seller shipped them without any wrapping at all. So although it started out as two purple lamps, I had to get one redone in green because there was only enough purple left unbroken to fix one of them! I've found the identical lamp and am now making them to sell in my shop (because I also took some stained glass classes along with the knitting classes - it was a long year without crafting supplies!). ;)

      You can totally steal Project of Shame - it's plural in my case, too. You just didn't get to see all of them! And I hope after all this waiting, he's totally thrilled with it when it's done. :)

      Delete
    2. Oh, thank you! That would be wonderful if it's not too much trouble. ❤

      Delete
  12. uhh - I don't want to even share my craft area - you think your disorganized?
    ....I wrote that book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You wrote the book? I thought I wrote the book! Actually, I think a lot of us have written that book. :)

      Delete
  13. Craft supplies....I have been known to be found on the floor sobbing, things strewn everywhere, because I couldn't find the particular jar of German glass glitter I needed to finish a project. I still don't know where that damn jar is. And that project, plus about 20 other ones, is still not done. At least you can actually find your projects, ha ha!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I know exactly where all of my German glass glitter, Martha Stewart glitter, Stickles glitter and every other kind of glitter is. Do you know why, Tilda? It's because I don't need any of it right now. ;)

      I got the Woodland Crafts book this week - I think all of those projects would look really good with glitter on them. LOL

      Delete
    2. Oh, and the only reason I can find my projects is cause I really do have a large damask box clearly labelled Unfinished Projects in my possession. ;)

      Delete
  14. Oh, that grey scarf is gorgeous! Great work on all your projects, i have never even learned to knit to a pattern and can only make scarf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Laura! Well, I can imagine that when you're allergic to wool and live in Australia where there's not much use for warm apparel, learning how to knit wouldn't be terribly high on your list! But you sew, and beautifully. You didn't have any unfinished projects to share? Maybe you're one of those people who always get everything done before you start something else. Wish I were more like that. ;)

      Delete
  15. If there`s one thing I wish I could do more anything else it`s knit. I think it is pure magic turning something one dimensional into so many things so beautiful or practical. My mum could knit at an alarming rate I`m sure sparks came from her needles. I used to read the patterns out to her keeping time to the clicking sounds. She could do an adult size Arran jumper in a fortnight. I still have one she made me in the 80`s. It`s so special to me, one of the last things she made me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My paternal grandfather who came from Bristol knew how to knit, Alastair. He said he learned when he was in the war, and would make little knitted tubes to sew into the end of his coat sleeves so the wind wouldn't blow up them. I'll never forget that. My maternal grandmother was always knitting - I think that's where my fascination with knitting on four needles came from.

      What a wonderful memory of reading the patterns out to your mother, and I'm so glad that you still have a sweater she made for you. Those things are precious. My mum ended up giving away the Cowichan sweater I made for my dad after he died. I was heartbroken.

      Delete
  16. Hehehe ... perhaps just for you, I will require Nightwind's coat to be finished before the end of March. I completely understand working best under pressure and have written many a dissertation chapter under pressure from my advisor. Intarsia sucks. Enough said. UGH! I just can't get my brain wrapped around so many different colors, though one day I know that I'm going to try. Ah knitting, it's a demon that possesses one's brain, heart and soul.

    I'm tempted to learn crewel. Mom left so many kits and projects that I'd like to finish for her. I'm not sure what I would with them when I'm done, but at least they will be done. And for the record, I'll take the socks if no one wants them. I LOVE pink. LOVE THEM. And the arm warmers are gorgeous!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think now that the coat's out of the bag, I will hopefully get sewing. But maybe check in with me at the end of February; if it's still sitting on your guest bed I might just take you up on that offer of a new assignment!

      I seriously didn't think intarsia would be that hard but I HATED it. I have enough confusion in my head without looking for more in my knitting. ;)

      Oh, you should learn crewel! And like you say, it doesn't matter what you do with them at the end but that you finished something your mom started. I think that's a lovely idea. I'm going to make you a pair of pink socks now. Well, not right NOW ... AFTER Nightwind's coat is done. Let me know what size and how high you want them. Yay, a new knitting project! LOL

      Delete
    2. :) please and thank you. I would love it!!!

      Delete
  17. This is so cool! I love the pattern knitting, I love the pretty wrist warmers in the making and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished coat...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mindless! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished coat, too. Haha. :)

      Delete
  18. I've been working on my best friend's 30th birthday present for a while now. She turns 33 on Saturday. Sheesh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, you've got three days to finish it, Leslie! I'm glad to hear somebody else has projects that are greater than a year old. That runner is about twenty. Sheesh is right.

      Delete
  19. Your knit are lovely, I've always been a bit jealous of anyone who has the patience to do fair isle. It requires both concentration and skill, and well, let's face it, with the attention span of a - oo, something shiny - it's a bit impossible to master :D Same goes with embroidery... your work is impeccably beautiful and I'd love to see the runner finished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming from the Queen of all Knitting, Sewing and Crocheting, I take that as very high praise indeed, Heather! I like fair isle - I don't think I could ever like intarsia. Waa-a-ay too much work for me. I think you'd do well with fair isle though. I quite enjoy it and I also suffer from the attention span of a - oo, something shiny. ;)

      I started that runner about twenty years ago - it was going to go on one of the dining room buffets. I'm not sure I like it enough anymore to finish it. That's the trouble with having an unfinished project that old - a person's tastes change!

      Delete
    2. Oh, and the Queen of Pattern Design, too! Forgot that one. Never been able to master that, which is why I stick to regular patterns that require no adjustments whatsoever.

      Delete
  20. I wanted to do this assignment as well as I have TONS of unfinished projects. And in typical "me" fashion, I failed to follow through on this too. For shame...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Danielle - you don't know how close I came to not following through myself! Got it handed in the nick of time. ;)

      Delete
  21. Oh. My. God.
    That chair!
    The Green lamp!
    The little table!
    And I don't even know where to begin about your sun room in the previous post - pure Belle Epoque luxurious with a gothic twist. Love, love, love.

    I am also very impressed by your knitting. I use Wrist warmers quite often, but never anything that fancy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gee thanks, Ms. Misantropia! I was just looking at the sunroom the other day and thinking ... bleh. Too boring. White walls. Needs more stuff. LOL So, I lasted about two whole months before I decided to scrap the whole idea of being a minimalist. ;)

      I LOVE KNITTING! :D

      Delete
    2. Have to agree with you on the 'no-white-walls' thing. Can't wait to see what you choose!

      Delete
  22. There is a knitting book called 'Vampire knits'!! Oh my goodness, how utterly amazing!! I am in awe over your knitting skills, you follow patterns, this is a skill! my attempts at freestyle knitting last year produced some 'interesting' results (including armlets which I really wanted to be like knitted archery armour) my children also skilfully avoided my knitted headbands - your chaise is perfect, your sewing area is perfect!! also Nightwind's coat is magnificent - I really should fix my disasterous bug fabric kaftan and make it into a skirt, but my motivation mojo has gone on holiday x x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes there is, but don't buy it Ms. McGinty! It's only got like two patterns in it that are worthwhile. I follow patterns up to a point - the fair isle pattern certainly didn't look anything like the one in the magazine by the time I was done with it! Oooh, knitted archery armour - that does sound fun! Children can be so unappreciative of our Mad Skillz, can't they? LOL

      The chaise is uncomfortable to sit on but wonderful for displaying pillows! The sewing area is not quite perfect yet - today I started ironing Nightwind's coat and the only space large enough to work on it is the floor. My knees are too old for that! Don't work on the bug kaftan until you're “feeling it”, Sandra. We all know that will only cause heartache in the long run! :D

      Delete
  23. Knitting... my grandmother and then my mother knit and i want to learn so bad but i always thought it would be hard. It requires great focus, which is something i dont much have. The last picture with the chair *died a little and went to heaven - now i am writing you from up there*. And of course not the chair only... gosh! I don't think i will ever not like anything of your possessions! ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My grandma used to knit socks constantly, Magda but my mom never knit. I remember thinking one day I'd like to be able to knit socks on four needles like grandma and look - here I am! Maybe it's an age thing. ;) I think you should give a simple scarf a try - I bet you'd be hooked too, especially if you pick one with skulls or bats!

      Everybody likes that chaise but it's really uncomfortable. Good thing it looks so good or I'd have gotten rid of it when we moved! My possessions have been culled, for sure. And now I think I can truly say I love almost everything - still a couple of things to get rid of that don't suit the new house, and once I sell those then I can buy new things I like better! LOL

      Delete
  24. Those posters are amazing! So glad I've made such ace discoveries on the internet today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I'm guessing you mean the posters by Nat on the most recent post, Dirty/DC? I'm just going to assume so and enter you in the draw. If only I knew how to move comments from one post to the other! :)

      Delete