Around Christmas time, knitty came out with another fantastic Franklin Habit pattern, a plaid (yes! PLAID) scarf! I immediately printed it out, read the blog post, found some stash yarn (yay me!) and got to it. I have fond memories of knitting on it while watching  Brisco County Jr with B and while sitting next to the tree with a glass of pale yellow wine. *sigh*
Then I messed up on it, and after feverishly knitting for a week or so, I had a small hissy fit and stuffed it in a drawer. Everything had been going so well! I used stash yarn, even when I ran out of a color I used a new one, boldly transitioning into a color that didn’t “match” but nonetheless looked wonderful. I punched through that pattern in like 9 days. During the holidays. With kids. BAM.

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See those vertical stripes on the right? That's where I messed up. They're too short, although you can't tell in the picture.

Ugh! SO rather than throw it across the room after my own mistake (went too fast, didn’t think it through) I put it away for later. When I wasn’t mad. My journal entry says “I’ll get back to it soon”.
Aaaannnd, cut to 6 months later. Franklin Habit has a new article in the First Fall Knitty 2014 and I thought of that damn scarf again.
If I were to make another one, and honestly I might, I would not connect the cowl until I finished the final stripes/weaving. Then I would notice if it was too tight and could stretch it a bit as I wove, so it would fit better the first time. I didn’t do that this time, but I can fudge it. Like any good crafter, and like many crafty people before me, I’ll repeat to myself “I can fix this” as many times as I need to. ;-) I may have to frog it and start over…as in take the whole thing apart…sigh…I hope not. It would most likely sit in the drawer for another 6 months/years.

I dragged out Man’s Best Friend by Dimensions again. I read some neat sites and articles about different stitching methods to make it easier to transition between lots of color changes, as well as make it easier to count stitches as you go along. Normally, I will start in the dead center of the pattern and go from there, counting little sets of stitches as i go; it is fairly random and tedious. But one method I’m going to try is splitting up the pattern into columns that are 10 stitches across and use another method called “parking”. Parking is when someone is using lots of colors, but instead of stopping/securing an old color then rethreading a new color, the colors are all left on the piece and parked for later. Some people use multiple needles (one for each parked thread) and others use one needle. I have a wall of half stitches to do after finishing this section, so I think I’ll go for both of those methods. I won’t have to count so diligently and go cross eyed keeping all those greens in order. I hope it goes as quickly as those articles said it would! Here is my progress so far, I need to fill in that little white area with dark green, then I might backstitch the dog and grass. I have some french knot snowflakes to do too, but since those are delicate, I may wait until the end. It sounds fun to add the snow last and then see the scene really come to life! I want to backstitch each section (there are four) as I finish them. I think it will go by faster and encourage me to finish.

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I love labrador retreivers

I spent too much time on the forest background. I was stitching the half stitches (with the recommended 5 strands of floss! That’s twice as thick as the usual 2 strands! So that is tiring in itself) In a bad way, so I was wasting a lot of thread. No big deal because Dimensions will replace it if I need to order some. You can see on the back where I was using too much thread, then where I tried a different way. It’s slower going but much more effective. I also broke down and bought a hoop big enough for the whole thing and having that extra fabric tension is really helping. Whew! This project turned out harder than I expected, but now that I changed my game plan it is going well. Normally I don’t use hoops/frames at all.
More soon! I’ll post more pics of parking and columns when I get to it.

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P.S. For reference, this is what it will look like when I’m done:

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I finished my header for the site. It’s made of DMC thread (whose color names I have misplaced). I tried different ways of stitching, like back and forth, up and down, traditional x vs. half stitch then halfstitch, I even went in circles. I love variegated colors! The black is DMC metallics in, well, black. Thread Heaven helps keep it from fraying with stitching.
The alphabet is from 2001 Cross Stitch Designs from Better Homes and Gardens.

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I finished my epic Batman sampler with all of the Wee Little Stitches bat-patterns!

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There are of course a few changes here and there and some mistakes I won’t point out (because they don’t matter): I used gold for the Riddler’s cane head and I added chest hair to Bane on Penny’s suggestion because it’s hilarious and I would think Bane has lots of hair. Clayface and Two-Face were the most  difficult, and Joker has the most colors at something like 15. Commissioner Gordon might be my favorite here, because he just looks exactly like the animated series Gordon, and the colors are spot on. The crooked tie and glasses! Each one took about an hour on average, give or take. Clayface took the longest and Dr Strange was probably the fastest, or Catwoman.

Anyway, here’s the line-up, starting from the top left and going left to right, and top to bottom:
Penguin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, Riddler
Alfred, Robin, Nightwing, Batman, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman
Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Raz Al Ghul, Dr. Strange, Clayface

I will have it framed soon and probably put it in the boy’s room. :-) One of these days I’ll frame them myself, but I get some great coupons at Michaels now and then, and that’s just easier.

So I’m head over heels into this tatting gig. I’ve made a few bookmarks, played with different thicknesses of thread, and bought a ton of stuff to play with! Whee! I have five shuttles already (oh boy) and lots of thread (not counting the size 10 DMC Cebelia doily stuff I already have) and even a tiny hook for joining picots (the little loops). Hobby Lobby has some tatting stuff, like books, thread, etc, while most craft stores only had the Clover shuttles, if anything. Handy Hands and Be-Stitched are the nicest sites that I found so far. HH is by far my new favorite site and I need to stay away for awhile, lol.

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Shuttles are plastic Clover (used together), bone (what kind of bone?? This keeps me up at night…I like to pretend it’s dragon or chupacabra, but let’s be honest it’s probably pig or cow), plastic Moonlit (HH) with a tiny hook (fantastic idea), and my Dymondwood shuttle (also from HH). I splurged on that one…just look at those stripes! (heart) I even have a couple thread holders. They’re awesome. I can knock them off the table and they keep everything neat and clean and wound. You can really see the difference in thread weight here too. The size 20 threads are in the top left corner and the green edging. My favorite size 10 is the one on the right (that’s half of a heart right now), and the massive size 3 is on the bottom, soon to be a bookmark. I’m using the sample HH sent so I hope I have enough! I’ll improvise if not. ;-)

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I’m making more bookmarks and a couple edgings for hankerchiefs. My friend bought me the bone shuttle and the green holder, so she gets a green edged hanky. Everyone needs hankies, in my opinion. I’ve embroidered them before and now, by gum, I can put pretty edges on them!!

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Most of the thread is Lizbeth from HH, those variegations are so very cool. If I know you, and you read this blog, I will make you a bookmark! Whee! Just comment about it and I’ll get one for you (eventually). This is a neat hobby because it doesn’t pretend to be useful. It’s just relaxing and pretty. I did some more research and learned how to fix mistakes by just cutting them out, and how to add more thread withouthaving the ends show. It’s so much like crochet, but not. Easier, really. And the cutting the mistakes out? Not near as scary as I thought they would be, in fact, much easier than trying to pick the knots out.
These books have been really helpful to teach myself how to tat. I’m going to learn split rings eventually, but I’m having a lot of fun with the basics now and don’t want to do too much. *cough*notlikewhenilearnedtoknitandcrochet*cough* I haven’t seen anything harder than split rings yet. Whew!
I’m still knitting stuff while watching shows with B. The Hitchhiker scarf for Game of Thrones and a new one, Leila’s Shrug Driftwood Tee, for House of Cards (and everything else). I’ve been crocheting too but it’s for birthday presents, so I’ll post those after I finally send them in the mail. Better late and hand-made than never! ;-)
I totally considered how to attach a thread holder to my purse so that I can bring it with me everywhere. I decided against it.
I just put a rubber band around the holder to keep the shuttle in place, and put it directly in my purse instead. ;-)

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Ha, I get some weird looks with this guy. Kids love it! B says I look like a spider weaving webs. (cool!)