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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So tatting isn’t very popular, nor is it very easy to find anything about it. I’m so happy for youtube videos! I found a good Dover book about tatting. The videos are where I go for demonstrations. The big goal is to make a 4 leaf clover. My entire tatting experience is thus:

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That’s it! There it is. I made another butterfly two more butterflies and gave one to my mom. I mailed the first one to a friend. I made a ring of rings over on the left, a bunch of practice rings, a lil turtle, a daisy. Note the half formed butterfly on the right. The only thing about tatting that makes it really frustrating is that if I make a mistake, I either have to undo a bunch of knots, or start over. I’ll never complain about fixing knitting or crochet again. I think learning to knit was much harder, but this is a fiddly craft, I’ll say that. It’s very pretty though! I’m going to try to make a shamrock next, then a fancier one. I know I already said it’s frustrating, but the interesting thing about that is it isn’t maddening. It isn’t scream-inducing. If I mess up, I have to start all over. That’s just a snip and a couple knots and off I go. I have been known to throw knitting/crochet on the ground, then stuff it in the closet for awhile (sometimes years). I don’t know why tatting, a craft of unforgiving knots, is less stressful but there it is.
On that note, I am 5 rows away from finishing the Bat Shawl! They’re looooong rows, though. Still. The end is in sight!

I finally finished the outer edge of the window. I put this down two years ago because of that window ledge! I’m working on the grapes now, then cheese. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…

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Update! 2014-2-23
OK I did the cheese, then the grapes. ;-) I’m working on the wall a bit as I use certain colors, to make it less painful. I’m excited to use bright colors in the grapes; I’m tired of browns and black.
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We visited Old Town when my brother and his wife were here for Thanksgiving. I had to stop by the yarn store of course, and found this stuff. Normally I don’t really like artsy yarn, but they had one knit up next to the display and it was neat! I like these colors because they remind me of the desert, and will be wicked cool against my black coat. I think it’s fun to see the different stripes and types show up. The fluffy stuff at the beginning is silly soft. It’s nice to just knit on whenever, plus I get to use the Galadriel yarn bowl. <_3br>

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P.S. Peri Charlifu makes these bowls. I won this and the Cthulu bowl at Bubonicons past. He is a professional potter from Colorado. I’d like to see a Doctor Who yarn bowl…or a Poe/raven inspired one someday.