Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Presents

I swore to myself that I was not going to be doing any last minute Christmas knitting this year.

My husband and I were out shopping for a present for his grandmother, who is turning 95 the day after Christmas. He spied a really nice hand-knit looking scarf at Macy's. I said, "I would rather make one than spend $60 on that."


I comfort myself thinking that this is a birthday gift, not a Christmas gift.

I found a lovely and lacy scarf pattern by Julie Sprague called Christmas Lace. It's a simple two-row, four-stitch repeat that a poor left-handed knitter like me can follow without adjustments. It's turning out beautifully so far, and more so because I get to use some beautiful blue wool that's been waiting patiently in the stash for a few years (the rest will become a sweater at some point).

Because it's not done, and I suspect there will be a rush to block, wrap, and give, here's a picture of the incomplete scarf. This is going to stay on my list for future gifts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Focus? What's That?

Sorry for the long delay with no postings, there was a new baby, then a death in the family. I am back now.

My brain is going crazy with ideas for new patterns and project ideas. A large lacy scarf/wrap? Reversible? A knitted sweater with short sleeves and a single button at the throat that makes everything fall at an angle? A crocheted baby vesty/cardi out of some kettled-dyed sock yarn? A poncho-type thing that widens at the base and is assembled out of two matching not-quite-rectangular pieces?

My problem is my lack of focus. I think any number of these items would be fun to work on and might turn out to be pretty cool, but I can't seem to concentrate on one idea long enough to make any progress. I started a baby cardi, then stalled on making a lace pattern for it. Then, I drifted off to the lacy shawl... then wouldn't that be a cool baby blanket?

November will be my month to get my act back together and design something. I just need to make a decision and roll with it and see how things come together.

On the stash side of things? I have now gone over four months with only buying two skeins of yarn to finish specific projects. I'm pretty proud of myself. My goal now is to get below 40,000 yards of yarn on hand by the end of the year. I think I can do it!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Maternity Leave Knitting

Yes, I have been knitting and crocheting while on maternity leave. At least, I was before my two-year old decided she didn't like taking naps anymore. I am getting sleep at night, managing to keep the house fairly neat during the day, and almost managing to keep my sanity. I start back at work in 3 weeks.

I have spent a lot of time on my Twist Cardigan, and have finished the back and one half of the front. The other half has stalled and may be resumed once the weather cools a little. Lovely worsted weight wool is not quite so lovely when it's 90 degrees outside.

I have started several other projects, all of which are still in the process of being completed. A baby vest for a friend (along with matching hat), a dress for my daughter's baby doll (which is nearly complete), and a crocheted baby cardigan are all in the works. Hopefully I will make a little more progress on some of them before I head back to work. Otherwise, it's knitting during lunches again!

I am hoping to visit a LYS today while I am in Milwaukee. Hopefully, this one will not be a disappointing as the ones I tried to visit in February...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Frantic Knitting

The due date for the new babe is in less than a week! I have this week off from work, so on top of trying to get the house ready, I intend to knit my little fingers off. I am starting the Twist sweater for myself, which I hope to have finished by the end of 2009. I also have lots of baby items planned, as two friends are going to be having babes this year (oh, and me, too!).

Although I have not been writing a lot of posts lately, I fear there may be even fewer for the next few months while I am on maternity leave.

Although... I will have lots of sleepless nights, so maybe there will be more...

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Dollar and a Half Mess

Oh, how I wish I had Ravelry two years ago when I started making my Dollar and a Half Cardigan (aka Joni Mitchell cardigan). There are so many great modifications that are really needed in order to make the sweater wearble, and I didn't know about them until it was too late.

So, I am frogging this sweater, unfortunately. It makes me sad, but it frees me up to worry about my other projects and focus on getting them done. It also unfortunately adds a ton of yarn to my stash because it wasn't previously recorded as part of my total. Oh well.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beaded Lace Garter

It is official, Interweave Crochet is publishing one of my pieces. The supply list is here, while bonus photos are here.

Now that it's finally here, I feel like I can share a couple of my own photos. This is the piece actually featured in the photos in the magazine:

I am so proud,and very excited to start working on my next item. I've taken a break lately because I've simply wanted to knit up some of my stash, but I think the time has come to start up again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mr. Penguin

After about a year and a half, my knit penguin is finally finished.

This project was started sometime in 2007, and has been sitting in storage without wings or a bottom since then. Finally, I have sat down for a hour and finished this thing. I still need to take some new pictures, see how young my little one is in this picture? She's almost two, now!

And, I have a confession to make. Today during work, I finally broke down and placed an order on knitpicks to get the Little Baby Bubbles cardigan kit. It is so freaking cute, and I couldn't resist it any longer.

And, given the kit was so cheap, clearly I had to order some of their sale yarn to get my total purchase up to $50 to qualify for the free shipping. So, just shipped is the following:
  1. 5 skeins Comfy Sport for the baby cardigan (680 yards)
  2. 3 skeins Elegance (330 yards)
  3. 11 skeins Wool of the Andes (1210 yards)
  4. 2 skeins Essential (462 yards)

Grand total? 2,682 yards added to stash. Sigh. I am excited to see this stuff in person.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend of Finishing

I finished three of my projects this weekend, and continued to work on the Cobblestone.

The three-year adventure making my Neverending Ripple Blanket has ended. This was a funny pattern, as I could never manage to completely memorize it. Usually, a four-row repeat is something I could handle, but I couldn't remember which rows needed an increase on the end and which rows were worked even on the end. Although I like the finished product, I won't make it again for this reason. A crocheted baby blanket should be something that can be worked without a pattern.
I finally sewed handles on my two Felted Stained Glass Bags. They don't seem particularly strong to me, so I plan on having them lined by a friend-of-a-friend. This will make the finished product just a little nicer, given they will be Christmas gifts this year!
My other felted bag, the Entrelac Bag for me, may never be finished. I am not happy with felted handles, so I need to find some other kind of strap. I love the bag itself so much, that I am just being super picky and will probably never find something good enough. So, I have decided that this will go back into hibernation until I can make up my mind. Maybe I'll get lucky and find something at Knitter's Connection?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Cobblestone Progresses

I have made significant progress this week on my Cobblestone Pullover. I have finished the body up to the underarms, and have about 7 inches done on the first sleeve. By the end of the long Memorial day weekend, I imagine I'll have this sleeve done and have started on the second.

I frogged the baby vest. I am really starting to dislike Encore yarn, as it is very scratchy and thick. Although it was going to be cute, the vest was turning out very stiff and uncomfortable looking. Also, I ran out of the grey yarn and wasn't going to buy more.

I have found a use for all the partial/random skeins of yarn I have sitting around. It is the Traveler's Life Afghan by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It is meant to be a record of all the knitting projects you have worked on, made by knitting up all the partial skeins and leftovers from those projects. Each row is meant to be a different color, and the original pattern appears to be in garter stitch. I have seen another version with a feather/fan type pattern, which I may copy. I may also crochet it, to keep it a little simpler for me. It's going to be a fun project to work on every few months, or so.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh no, not again

I started another new project!

In my defense, this is for a friend who just had a little boy. It's my Baby Buckeye Vest, and will hopefully fit him this fall. This should be a quick knit, as it's only a size 12 month vest.

I am making significant progress on my Cobblestone Pullover, with about 400 yards worked up. The body is about halfway up to the arm pits. I have also finished felting my three felted bags. I took a razor to them to clean up all the fuzzies, and they are now ready for handles.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Frogged the Boring Socks

I frogged the boring socks last night, and it was liberating. I put away the needles and added the skein of yarn back into my stash. Free!

I also have finished all the knitting required on my three bags and they are ready to be felted. This probably won't happen this weekend, as we have company coming in, but maybe next weekend? It takes so long for my washer to felt something, somewhere in the 3-5 loads of laundry range (unless, of course, it's something I don't want to felt - then it's immediate).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May/June Goals

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I've decided that the next two months will be for cleaning out all my wips and hibernating projects. A couple of them are so old that they are not even on Ravelry. They include the following lucky 14 projects.

The first two are okay, and have not been languishing:
Cobblestone Pullover - just started
Jeanne's Shawl - started in April
  1. Playful Penguin - FINISH IT! This cute little guy just needs wings and maybe a rattle. I can totally finish this and give it to a good home where the cats won't tear it apart.
  2. Thrummed Mittens - FROG IT! I don't really like the pattern I'm using, but I love the yarn and the idea. I will have to hunt down a different pattern and get started again.
  3. Entrelac Bag - FINISH IT! This bag went through one round of felting and a test run of handles. It needs to be felted some more and some final handles/straps selected. All the knitting is done.
  4. Stained Glass Bag #1 - FINISH IT! It just needs to be felted some more and assembled. Possibly add a lining?
  5. Stained Glass Bag #2 - FINISH IT! The I-cord strap is nearly complete, thanks to my knitting night on Monday. Then, felting, finishing, and lining.
  6. Picovoli - FROG IT! I started this great little top several years ago and never finished it. Now, it doesn't fit because I'm a little bit different shape than I was back then. This needs to be frogged and the yarn needs to be added back to my stash.
  7. Joan Baez Cardigan - FINISH OR FROG? This was the first sweater project I ever started, and I'm not sure anymore if the yarn works. I need to block the body of the sweater and decide if this project will work or not.
  8. Boring Socks - FROG IT! My mother-in-law picked out the yarn and wanted a very simple pattern. I picked a plain-jane boring sock that I can't bring myself to finish. I will definitely frog and pick a new pattern for her.
  9. Green Lace Shawl - FINISH IT! This is something that I will try to start working on again, as it has been hibernating for over two years. I can't work on it at home or at work, as there are too many distractions. I will try to pull it out when I go to the yarn shop to work.
  10. Basketweave Baby Blanket - FINISH IT! This one's not even in Ravelry. It's a knitted baby blanket in DK weight yarn, and is taking forever. I will try to take this project on the next long car ride to try to make some progress!
  11. Crocheted Wave Baby Blanket - FROG IT! This one's not in Ravelry, either, and it will stay that way. I remember hating this pattern, as it never got easy to memorize and that's just annoying.
  12. My Market Bag - I don't know what to do with this one. It's a bag I designed for IC that was rejected. Still, I am proud of it and like it and am trying to decide if it's worth submitting it somewhere else or just writing up the pattern and posting it here. I need to decide.

So, this will clearly take me longer than just May, so I have made it a two-month goal. This will put me in good shape before the baby comes in July!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Progress in April

I have made significant progress on projects ans stash this month, finishing up a couple whoppers and throwing in a few instant gratification items, too. I started out the month with 46,526 yards of yarn on hand and ended the month with 44,114, for an actual reduction of 2,412 yards!

I added 2,167 yards through one purchase and several yarn adoptions from friends. The one purchase was for three skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca which is planned for a bag for my mother-in-law at some point. Most of the rest of miscellanous sock yarn for my little baby booties and celestine star toys. They are a lot fo fun to make and don't take too long with the crochet.

I destashed 1,167 yards by returning a hank leftover from my minimalist cardigan and forcing friends to make some adoptions.

I actually knit/crocheted 3,412 yards! This includes my:

  1. Solas Caomh
  2. Minimalist Cardigan
  3. Roaring Meg
  4. Baby Hat and Booties
The total of these puts me right where I was at the beginning of 2009, which is major progress for me since I haven't been making progress!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Roaring Meg

I wanted to share a picture of the Roaring Meg I finished a little bit ago. The weather's now too warm to really get a lot of use out of it, but it will still fit her in the fall when the temperature cools a bit. This is really one of my favorite baby/toddler sweaters so far. This designer has a lot of cute stuff!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cutie Pie Booties

These are the cutest booties I've seen. They are Saartje's Booties made from some miscellaneous sock yarn I adopted from a friend in a swap.

I found a similar pair in crochet I wanted to try, but the pattern costs $5.95! The designer does have another cute pair for the same price that I might actually pay for. We'll see... I may just have to come up with my own.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No New WIPs!

That was supposed to be my goal for April to allow me time to clear out some of the felted bags and my minimalist cardigan that have been hanging on for a long time. That didn't happen.

My cardigan is nearly finished, with about half of the seaming remaining. The half that is seamed fits perfectly and I love it, so assuming I don't screw up the other half, I should have a lovely sweater at the end of April. Just as the weather warms up here in Columbus.

However, I have not picked up any of the felted bags that are hanging around. I have two stained glass bags to finish for gifts for this Christmas. They were supposed to be gifts for last year, but that didn't happen. One of the them is knit and just needs to be felted more and assembled. The other needs a bottom and strap and felting. It shouldn't take long once I get motivated again. I should probably pick those up before I start on my next sweater. I also have my own entrelac bag that needs to be felted a little more and lined with something. It's too big and needs the lining to add that extra support.

I started and finished a Roaring Meg sweater for Emily, which is so cute. I need to find the camera and take some proper pictures of it this weekend.

I have started and not nearly finished a shawl for my grandma Jeanne up in Michigan. I'm using some hand-dyed purple linen yarn that I bought almost a year ago at Knitter's Connection. It's shedding and a little hard on my hands, but I hear that it soften up quite a bit when you wash it.

I have also started and nearly finished a little baby set out of some leftover sock yarn. The bootees need to be seamed and the hat only needs ties and finishing. I definitely will make it my goal to finish this project in April.

I have also made serious progress on my stash, but more about that at the end of the month. Hopefully, I will have pictures of all these things soon!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Baby Girl's Blanket

I actually completed a significant project yesterday, and I am very proud of it. This is Jodi Euchner's Solas Caomh, published in the Spring 2009 Interweave Crochet. I decided to make the new baby a blanket of her very own, since she's going to be getting so many hand-me-downs from her big sister.

Here is the work-in-progress picture:
And the detail pictures:

I used 7 whole skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, a total of 1,505 yards. I love it, though it is a very heavy blanket. If I made it again, which I might, I would pick something machine washable and maybe a little lighter.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Obviously must revise goals...

At the beginning of January, I had 44,107 yards of yarn on hand. Right now, I have 46, 219. Obviously, I need to rework my goals because simply trying to knit up 1,400 yards a month is not getting it done. So, I'm thinking of a revision.

I know that I will want to buy yarn at Knitter's Connection in June, so I need to reward myelf somehow by reaching goals. I plan to limit my spending at Knitter's Connection to one penny per every yard of yarn I knit or destash or sell before then. This starts today, and I have given away three random skeins of yarn for a total of 307 yards, or $3.07.

Think this will work? We shall see!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Traverse City, MI Yarn Shops

Well, I was both disappointed and delighted by the yarn shops I found in Traverse City when I was up there a couple weekends ago.

My first stop was Yarn Quest, on Garfield Road. We were greeted by the woman by being instructed to make sure my toddler didn't get into any of the yarn. I should have turned around and walked out right then, but I needed some new needles to get my minimalist cardigan started. The selection was fine, but they didn't have needles in stock in very many sizes. I was not disappointed to leave and continue my search in another shop.

The other shop we went to was much more rewarding (and stash fulfilling). We stopped at Lost Art Yarn and Needlepoint in the downtown area. We were greeted warmly and there were no instructions given regarding my Emily. We found some yummy Adrienne Vitadini Donata on clearance; I picked up 13 skeins in a bright sky blue color at 50% off. They also had my Addi's and I left the store quite happy.

At the end of February, I had 44,381 yards in my stash for a net gain of 274 yards in 2009. My minimalist cardigan should eat up a lot in March!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Milwaukee Yarn Shops

Very disappointing yesterday, but today Milwaukee redeemed itself.

Yesterday, I decided to take a trip to the local yarn shop while on vacation here, temporarily lifting the spending freeze. I stopped by the two shops I know about, Kro-Sha and Fiberwood Studios. It turns out that Kro-Sha is closed for good, and the other is closed on both Sundays and Mondays.

So today, I drove all the way out to Whitefish Bay, which is actually a suburb of Milwaukee, to go to Ruhama's. Good selection, good variety, and a very large store. I picked up 6 skeins of Cascade Eco Alpaca in black for a new cardigan for me (1320 yards). I probably only needed five, but get nervous when I'm buying for a sweater.

So, in February so far, I have added 2,724 yards to my stash, bringing the total way back up. So, the spending freeze is on again until Knitter's Connection.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hello again!

I have been gone for a very long time, and I apologize if you were hoping to hear from me. In December and January, I had to take some time off from knitting and crocheting as I think I got burned out from all the Christmas presents I was working on. The work part? I didn't even finish most of them. They will, however, make very lovely gifts for next year!

I have some wonderful crochet news. Interweave Crochet has selected one of my designs to be published in their summer issue! I don't want to share any details just yet, as I have promised not to share any pictures or other information before the magazine in published. It was a relatively simple project, but it turned out beautifully and I am very proud of it. It's very exciting.

Projects? I have finished one that I am very excited about. Emily's little Pink and Purple striped sweater that had been on the needles since August 2007 was finally finished in December. I will share pictures soon, but our computer is fried and I haven't been able to download anything off our camera. I am thankful I made a size 2-3 year old, as it is still just a little big on her after all this time!

As for my stash, I continued my spending freeze throughout the holidays and only broke down this week to spend a gift certficate to the Yarn Market. I started out the month of February with 43,808 yards of yarn on hand. I am working on a couple things that should really knock down the totals this year. My goal is still 1,400 yards per month, though there have been very few months where I have come close to that. But, this is a new year!