100 puffs and counting

This month we officially passed the “100 puff” mark on our Beekeeper’s Quilt, and it’s really starting to look like something.

The score for the first 100 is 90 to 10, Sara, which means I’m perfectly at 10%. Sara thinks that’s a little pathetic, but I’m pretty thrilled with it! (And also, how many stories has she published in that time?)

This month was a big month in terms of puff production. We have been driving a lot on the weekends lately, and Sara can really crank those puppies out in the car. We have quite a little basket full of these little things, and it does look really cool seeing all the different kinds of yarn. My favorites are the ones we made from the yarn we hand dyed. What a cool thing to be able to include.

So now we just keep on being busy little bees and see how fast we can get the next couple of hundred finished.

Wool Madness

Well, she’s got it. Wool Madness.

“You know how everybody says, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting different results?’ That’s the definition of knitting.” – Sara Halbach

To say that Sara is knitting all the time would be an understatement. They say that knitting is addictive, and that definitely seems to be the case here. It has certainly helped with our beekeeper’s quilt, with an additional 24 honeycombs this month.

We keep the current month’s progress in the glass jar, and empty it into the basket with the others to start the new month.

Now, most of those puffs were knitted by Sara. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s officially a score of 23 – 1 this month, which is bad enough, but Sara also threw in a sweater and a shawl as well, just for funsies. (EDIT: After a recount, make that 22 – 2!!) However, I am contractually obligated to mention that I sacrifice all of my week nights to working so we can go places and do fun things on the weekend, not to mention that she only works part time. I’M JUST SAYING.

Anyway, you get my point: knitting all the time. But knitting all the time does not wool madness make. That’s only the beginning.

Lately, Sara has started becoming interested in “fiber”. Not just buying yarn, which she does, but the other day she purchased a drop spindle for making her own yarn. In fact, she even approached her cousin Lisa about the possibility of raising sheep for roving purposes.

Wool madness my friends. Know the signs before it infects someone close to you!

Slowly Goes the Knitting

Okay, so when I said it was going to take years and years to make our Bee Keeper’s quilt, I didn’t think I was talking about just the first honeycomb!

This is turning out to be a little trickier than I thought. Things that are new for me:

  1. Double pointed needles (I keep stabbing myself!)
  2. Tiny needles (my fat fingers aren’t nimble enough!)
  3. Knitting in the round (there’s a whole extra needle just flopping around and getting in my way!)
  4. Knitting with fuzzy wool, rather than cotton (it’s so hard to see what’s going on!)
  5. Increases and decreases (actually, these aren’t too bad)

It has been a lot more frustrating than I expected. I lost count of the number of times I would spend hours on a honeycomb only to have to take it all out and start over. I am surprised at how much more delicate and difficult the tiny needles make everything. And of course, since it takes so much of my concentration to do it right, I knit everything waaay too tight.

However, my hard work was not for naught, because here is my beautiful, perfect, first honeycomb:

Although it took me several weeks, it turned out really good and I think it is better than Sara’s first honeycomb was, if I do say so myself. That doesn’t matter much, however, because she’s knit a few since then. You might say she’s kind of winning, if you keep track of things like that.

In fact, if we’re being honest, Sara, having already secured her lead in the honeycomb race, left to go knit a sweater.

Yeah, okay. But still, even through knitting this one honeycomb, I’ve already gotten noticeably better as I get practice. The first 10 rows took 100 times longer than the entire rest of it. So I’m sure I’ll be an old pro by the time I knit 50 or so more. That’s the nice thing about knitting: you improve so quickly, that you really get that positive feedback, like “Hey, I did it! I can see that I’m improving!”, which is encouraging. It’s a lot better than something like playing accordion, where you have to practice and practice and practice and even then you can’t really tell if you’ve improved or not.

I definitely think I am going to enjoy having a “go to” project. I don’t like to have down time, so it’s nice to know that I have something I can fall back on whenever I need something to do. Even if Sara is a little disappointed with my progress so far. However, this project is a marathon, not a sprint, and I don’t give up easily.

Onward and upward!

An Ambitious Project

Sara and I have begun a very large joint-knitting project known as a “Beekeeper’s Quilt“.

Basically, you knit hundreds of these little stuffed honeycomb shapes, and then tie them together to make something that looks like this:

Ours currently looks something like this:

Sara and I thought this would be a nice project to do together, since knitting the honeycombs is an independent activity, but are all combined into the finished project. And part of the draw of this quilt is that each of the honeycombs are unique, so it’s okay if they don’t exactly match up. Plus, since there are hundreds of these things to knit, we can do them here or there as we go. In other words, Sara can knit other projects and come back to this one, while I labor away slowly, and maybe it will all even out in the end. 🙂

Because we had to buy so much yarn, we decided to also buy an Amish yarn swift. This is a little wooden spinning thing that you use to wind skeins of yarn into balls. It’s helpful, but it still takes quite a while to ball up an entire skein.

So we’ll see how it goes. The honeycombs are a *big* step up for me in terms of complexity, but I’m hoping that they are small enough that I can get some good practice on a few new knitting skills (lots and lots of practice)(hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice). I’m imagining this project will take us a few years, so I’m planning to give periodic updates now and again.