Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clown Barf Hat (Needs A Better Name)

I've finished another project (or two? I'm having trouble keeping track since I can't actually talk about all of them here) since last we spoke.    A wise friends suggested that if I needed to knit a hat from stash, and all my stash is fingering or lace weight, that there are not actually any ordinances prohibiting holding the yarn double.


So, the Clown Barf hat was conceived and born.   Made of a pattern of my own reckoning:  simple-simple...rolled brim on size 6 needles, stockinette on 8s.  CO. 80 stitches, increase to 88 when changing needles.   Knit until you are bored or about 6 inches.  Spread the decreases out evenly across the 88 stitches--first round was knit 9, k2tog around--I decreased in a manner that made sense and ended up without being too flat or too pointy, et voila:

I swear I just took this is not, in fact, Spring in TN.
Made from two ancient balls (heh heh) of Knitpicks Memories Sock Yarn.  It will make some clown 11 year old happy.

In other news, Halloween is nearly upon us.  I have had neither time, nor energy, nor spoons to devote to kids' Halloween.    Morgan is planning to be a Hogwarts student (a costume that anyone in this house could put together with their eyes closed, and one hand tied behind their back...although that would make putting the robe on awkward).    Rowan wants to be a cone-head zombie from Plants vs. Zombies.   It'll be adorable, assuming I can come up with a reasonable facsimile of an orange traffic cone to place upon his pate.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend of Knitting, Net Gain 2" of Hat

I decided yesterday to find a pattern for the blue wool that Jess brought me from London-town.

Pretty Wool From London-town
It's a pretty blue-dark blue aran weight twist.  So I used Ravelry's brilliant search system and found Vegamot.  It's designed for DK weight yarn and relies heavily on texture (Down-side: it involves purls.  Up-side: it is super-cute.)

I cast on, and made it about 2" in when I realized I wasn't loving it.  Something wasn't quite right.  (Two cast-on looked terrible).  I decided to take it off the needles and try it on to see if that changed anything.   It did and it didn't...once it stretched out the cast-on was fine, and the yarn was taking the pattern pretty well, but my forehead started itching like you wouldn't believe.

Poor thing ended up in the frog pond - I decided that it didn't matter how cute the hat was if no one would wear it.   I am going to set the yarn aside for now.  I think it might be a bag when it grows up.

So, today I decided to try again.  I found a new pattern, and chose a different yarn.   Except for the part where I missed two yarn overs two rows down (which, through my extreme lack of attention led to the loss of six total stitches...long story, it was dumb.  Okay, that's actually a pretty short story), yeah so, except for that this next hat is turning out MUCH better.   I tinked back three rows, fixed my boo-boos and am back on track.

Seems like October and I are not getting along as well as September and I did.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Slowing Down and Gearing Up

The knitting is starting taper off here at chez woolly.  After hurting my wrists last weekend, I decided to take a bit of a break.  I did (finally) finish Saucy McGoogles' mitts, though -- so that's done and good.

That brings my Yulemas knitting total to 7 completed gifts.  I need to hurry up though, because November is National Novel Writing Month, and not only will I be writing a 50,000 word novel during the month, I'm also the co-ML (municipal liaison) for Murfreesboro.  So I will be a busy, busy girl in November, with no time to knit.

Yule Gifts in potentia
See that up there?  Sure it looks like a pile of yarn, but really it's a bunch of hats.  They just don't know it yet.

Wish me luck, y'all.

My cat is constitutionally incapable of not getting in the middle of every picture taken in his presence.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Wherein I Discuss Gifts in Couched Terms and Have no Pictures

I'm pretty sure that with a blog title like that, you can't wait to read this.

I've slowed down quite a bit on my knitting because I hurt my wrists this week (a combination of too much knitting and moving a couch.  Waily.)   I'm going to try to get some more done this afternoon though while I watch football, so all is not lost.

I starting trying to make up a mitt pattern to go with the Tam I made for Miss Awkward Potatoes (hey!  I can show a picture.)  Here's the tam in question:

A Fine Hat
I had a bit of a gauge accident though, and the result was something not fit for man nor beast nor wee little girl.  So, back to the proverbial drawing board on that one.   Also, worsted weight color-work with magic loop technique and only 40 something stitches is whatchacall AWKWARD.

My gift for Saucy McGoogles is more than half done.   I can post no more here, lest they be reading, but suffice it to say, my plan continues apace.

On a final note, I would like to report that I have been more prolific in producing knits in the past few weeks than perhaps at any other time in my knitting career.  That sentence had a preponderance of "p" words.   Anyway.  My plan (there's another one) to knit from stash was dashed when I realized that my yarn is nearly all lace and fingering weight.   The lack of worsted weight yarn in my stash, and my previously demonstrated inability to finish projects in a timely manner may be directly related to one another.  I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Meow" Means "Knit me a hat," in Kitty Speak.

The Yulemas knitting is continuing apace, here at chez woolly.  I've now completed 6 (count them, SIX) knitted gifts since Labor Day, and am right at halfway done with Saucy McGoogles' mitts.

"Meow" means "I like that hat, Miss Boppy.  Knit me one," in Kitty.
Comrade Twinkletoes' gift is now complete (although I do still have something else about half done for her -- we'll see what becomes of that.)

I am really not sure where all of this industry is coming from, and frankly I'm a little afraid to examine the phenomenon too closely, lest I jinx it.   It may be safely said, however, that my concurrent desire to re-watch all of the Appendices to the Extended Edition Lord of the Rings DVDs has been both aiding and abetting the knitting.

For that matter, Sunday football has helped too.

Monday, September 12, 2011


My Yulemas knitting continues apace.

So far I've managed gifts for:
  • Miss Snarfblatt
  • Marmalade Lady-Pants
  • Miss Awkward Potatoes
  • Signor Mountebank
And I'm half-way through a thing for Comrade Twinkle-toes.   I'm considering another gift for that one as well.

Signor Mountebank's Goodly Robot Hat
Despite near universal claims that he'd much rather have socks, I've made this Robot Hat for Signor Mountebank.  (Okay, there is no way he's reading this...but the nick-name thing is too much fun.)

The thing is, he's got two feet, but only one head, so there's that.  Also, the aforementioned feet have a tendency to grow about half an inch every night, so there's no way they'd fit him come December.

Of course, that said, I'm considering designing some wee little robot mitts to match.

Miss Awkward Potatoes' Tam
Miss Awkward Potatoes will be receiving this lovely and poly-chromatic tam.  (The other side is also pretty, but I didn't manage to take a good picture of it).

It's made with Knitpicks' Chroma Worsted and Swish DK.   I've never done colorwork with a yarn that changes colors like the Chroma before (although I've often admired pictures).  It was fun, and makes me look clever — so I call that a win.

The pattern is Mom's Tam.   I'm planning mitts and a scarf to go with.   We'll see how much gets done between now and then.  I figure I'll spread out the love some, as I'm hoping to manage knit gifts for many of my kith and kin this year.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Operation Knit All the Things

So far "Operation Knit All the Things" seems to be very successful.   I cast on another gift today, and am already nearly half way done.  I feel like a BOSS.   I am going to try really hard to finish it tomorrow.

Okay, three more months of no pictures and saying "it" and "the thing" is going to get real damn old.  Maybe I'll come up with clever code names for everything -- that will help!
  • So far I have one thing finished for Miss Snarfblatt.
  • I am right at half way done with the gift for Marmalade Lady-pants.
  • I am going to make fingerless mitts for Saucy McGoogles.
  • Little Miss Awkward Potatoes is getting a hat/scarf/mitten set.
No, no ... that's still pretty ridiculous.

How do other people blog about their Christmas knitting?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's the Most Wondrous Time of the Year

And I'm not (just) talkin' bout sending the kids back to school.

I'm challenging myself to come up with Yulemas gifts for people out of my stash.   I don't usually manage to get much done in the way of handknits for people (I have chronic good intentions disease.  As anyone who has read more than three posts on this blog has no doubt sussed out).  But I'm feeling pretty good about it this year.  I already have a gift finished, the pattern and yarn lined up for another, and a strong plan for a third.

I could DO this.  I think this calls for some lists.

  • My love is demonstrated through wool.  This is never wrong.
  • I use some stash, thereby creating room for more stash.  Win!
  • I like to knit.
  • I can't actually show any pictures of anything.  
  • Maybe I could post some pictures of a duck.
  • My hands get crampy.
All in all... pictureless blog posts aside, I'd say this plan shows clear promise.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Retro Daffodil Ribs

Pattern: Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark from Interweave's Favorite Socks.
Yarn: Knitpicks Stroll in Dandelion
Needles: Knitpicks Options Nickel, size 2 (3.0 mm)
Started: March Something, 2011
Finished: June 30, 2011

These are for Rhiannon, who demanded happy, yellow socks. Women's size 9-10.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Always Do Your Best

Saturday was our Fourth Mostly-Annual Apollonian MidSummer Games. The event entailed Nine Games of Strength, Wisdom, Cleverness, Endurance, and Bad-Ass Pie Baking Skills. We competed in a Marathon (three miles of race-walking. Real athletes would scoff, but even so), the long jump (our longest jumper went 103" -- approximately 30" longer than his own height), coloring pages of the gods, and also pie.

A Plate of Pre-Prepared Pie Contest Entries

It was awesome.

All throughout the day, the same message was repeated, "Always do your best." We weren't competing to win (I lie. We were totally competing to win.) But we were also competing to give the very best of ourselves as a gift to the divine and to our community.

We ate the very best foods for lunch and also for dinner.

Don't You Wish Your Caprese Was Hot Like Me?

And we played a hard-core game of Twister.

Game On.

Always do your best.

It's a good rule to live by, even when you aren't trying to throw a frisbee across the yard like an Olympic Athlete.

It applies to baking.

Rhiannon is baking buns for tonight's cheeseburgers.
Mmmm. Cheeseburgers.

And also to knitting (you knew there was going to be a tie-in, didn't you?)

Nemesis...Aptly Named Socks Take 2

I started over. It's important to always do your best.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Conspiracy Theory

I'm starting to think I might be cursed. (Okay, not really) But you remember my May-June Sock Club Socks? "Ooh, look at the pretty depth and shading" I said.

Well, the thrice-blessed things don't fit.

The same problem I had with my doomed Jerkwalters. I've been successfully knitting socks for many years. Sometimes socks with patterns. And fancy work. Heck, I made a Nancy Bush sock once, and it fit me. What the eff is the matter with me now? I am so ready to frog this frakker and knit something in stockinette.

Okay, not really. I'm about to go cast on the next size up and try again.

Monday, June 06, 2011

At Least I Didn't Have to Make Any of This Up

I told myself that I had to blog today, even if I hadn't done anything interesting. "If you haven't done anything interesting, make something up," I says to myself.

As it happens, I have done some things — although whether or not they are interesting is at worst debatable, and at best, in the eye of the beholder. You'll have to let me know.

Rhiannon's Retro Daffodil Socks aren't any farther along than they were when last we spoke, but I did take another pretty picture of them.

Three-quarters of a pair of pretty socks.

I have worked on my Sock of the Month Nemesis socks. I'm not super sure they'll fit, but gosh they're pretty. I was worried that the pattern wouldn't show well in the Happy Feet, but it doesn't look like that's an issue.

Isn't the depth and shading pretty?
That's all done with increases and decreases.

And lastly but not leastly, I've dug out my Ab-Fab Afghan kit from 200...and something, 2004, I think, and have started working on it again. It's been a zillion years. We all know that I have a bit of a problem with project monogamy...this comes as a shock to no one, but at least this is an old project revisited. I get some credit for that...right?

One square of many.

And there you have it, all the news that's fit to print. Oh! And I am still working on Robert's quilt too. Every Tuesday night, the Sock Monkey quilt and I settle down in front of NCIS for some quality together time.

At this rate, I might be able to blog about finishing something, and we all know how rare that is.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The First Rule of Sock Club

The first rule of Sock Club is that you DO NOT BLOG ABOUT Sock Club.

That's my official excuse for not telling you about my May-June Self Imposed Sock Club socks until June 1.

The rules about Sock Club should be considered as the Pirate Code.... more like guidelines really. Somewhere around Rule 11.b.ii is: You should eventually knit the socks.

So anyway, after entirely too much ado, I introduce you to June's Nemesis.

Pattern: Nemesis
Needles: Two

I'm not far in, but I'm dedicating every Wednesday in June to their creation, so I have great hope (especially after the failure of my Mar-Apr Jerkwalters.)

I like them already.

(I now only have two pairs of socks on the needles, these and my Retro Daffodil Ribs. It feels weird. I may cast on a "plain" sock... just to keep my options open.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Most Rare and Wondrous Thing*

I've been doing quite a bit of crafting here in the koff-monthandahalf-koff that I have been quiet.

I bailed completely on my Mar-Apr Sock Club Socks (they were Not Meant To Be), but I cast on some spiffy new May-June Socks, about which later will I blog. I've also been working on some pretty yellow socks for Rhiannon, and --get this-- I actually finished my Checkerboard Twist socks. I know! I was shocked too!

(Confession time. Knitpicks recently had a sale on sock yarn. Someone may have gone a little overboard. Someone best be knittin' some socks, if she'd ever like to use any of it.)

Anyway -- I'm now down from three pairs of socks on the needles, to two. And one of those is well in to the second sock.

And lest ye think I only knit socks, let me reassure you... I only MOSTLY knit socks. I've also been working on a Super Sekrit Projeck, and dreaming about scarves and fingerless mitts.

Oh -- and I've been quilting too.

See? I told you I've been busy.

* Dudes. I finished something.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A More Prepared Blogger

I decided to grab some pictures of my blooming iris before the thunderstorms and nickel-sized hail hit and mangled them all to hell and back.

(I should note that said thunderstorm and nickel sized hail never materialized. But would it have stormed and would ice the size of a small coin fallen out of the sky had I NOT taken these pictures? You bet your sweet Doppler it would have.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Spring is springing all over the place here in Middle Tennessee, and I'm pretty much thrilled. I have daffodils on my table, greening grass outside, a red bud in bloom, and iris.

My iris are starting to bud out, and that makes me happy.

(A prepared blogger would have a pretty picture here of her front flower bed. Pretend I am a prepared blogger and imagine a flower bed full of beautiful green iris leaves. And since this is an imaginary picture and not a real one, go ahead and finish weeding that spot in front of the garage with your mind's eye, won't you?)

Things on the knitting front are moving apace. March is supposed to be for Making Mates, but so far it seems to be mostly for watching NCIS re-runs and test knitting mitts for a friend. (In my defense, I did make two mitts, so mate making happened.)

Meet Pretty Perdita X Mitts (Ravelry link). The cable would have been less, shall we say, "subtle" in a different yarn at a different gauge, but that is no fault of the designer. In any case, they are going in a box labeled "Do not open until Xmess" in a no doubt mis-guided attempt to avoid an onset of what Stephanie Pearl-McPhee refers to as "It."

Unfortunately, I also have less successful knitting tale to tell. My Sock Club socks for Mar-Apr are doomed to the frog pond, I fear. I'm knitting Jaywalkers (another Ravelry link) out of a really pretty striped indie-dyer yarn. They look gorgeous, but they aren't going to work. The fabric has no give (and Jaywalkers are tricky to fit anyway) and they aren't going to fit. So, rather than finish them and have pretty socks that I hate, I'm going to frog them and make a new plan.

My original concept with the whole sock club thing was to challenge myself (and to actually finish some damn socks, but that's beside the point). But... you have to know when to bail, I think. I may try Charlene Schurch's Chevron Socks (still yet more 'nother Ravelry link), and see if I can get them to act right.

Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Being A Compleat Accounting of February, Including Attendant Finishings

February is for Finishing turned out to be a ridiculously successful venture here in chez woolly. I started with 25 projects -- some that had been languishing on needles for YEARS.

YEARS, she says again for dramatic emphasis.

So here are the current standings:
  1. Halloween/Samhain Mystery Shawl
  2. Red Heart Afghan, started in the early 00's
  3. Ab-Fab Afghan
  4. Winter Marigold (current sock club sock)
  5. Dr. Who Scarf
  6. Arabella
  7. Blue Triangle Headscarf
  8. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  9. Wee Toe of a Sock
  10. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  11. Water Shawl
  12. "Blue" Kerry Shawl/Blanket
  13. Mandala Shawl
  14. Mystery Swan Lake Stole
  15. Soleil
  16. Cheeto Socks (Gentleman's Fancy by Nancy Bush)
  17. Clapotis
  18. Amelia Cardigan
  19. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson)
  20. Pink and Grey Stripedy Socks
  21. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  22. Checkerboard Twist Socks
  23. Eala
  24. Watergarden Cardigan
  25. Awkward Red Thing
Six projects left, kids -- out of 25. I pretty much rock, I think.

(I did cast on my Mar-Apr Sock Club Sock yesterday, so I'm back up to seven active projects...but I feel like that's legit. I mean, it's all part of the plan, man.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting There

This is more for my own accounting purposes than anything else (also, it makes me feel better when I see the list getting shorter). Here is what is left:
  1. Ab-Fab Afghan
  2. Dr. Who Scarf
  3. Arabella — ~75% Finished
  4. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  5. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  6. Amelia Cardigan
  7. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  8. Checkerboard Twist Socks — 50% Finished
  9. Watergarden Cardigan
I will also be frogging:
  1. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson)
So, I'm down to nine projects on needles, one of which is nearly finished (Arabella) and another is a pair of socks (and March is for Making Mates).

This, from 25 on January 31. Go me!

A note on socks: I'm thinking that I am going to embrace "March is for Making Mates" and get my Checkerboard Twist Socks and the "Socks That Would be Mittens" finished up. That will leave me whatever part of March is left (if any) plus all of April to finish up my Self Imposed Sock Club socs for Mar-Apr. As of right now I'm thinking not to cast them on until I'm done with Making Mates...but I'm fickle, so we'll see. The heady rush of "it is no longer February and I am free to cast on!!!" might overcome me. It's hard to say.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Well. I feel better.

February is Finishing Me

I have made a fair bit of progress on the finishing front, but it doesn't feel like I have.

I have completed the Checkerboard Twist sock that I had on needles (the mate is to wait for March), and I have very nearly decided to frog the Raspberry Sorbet socks (I kind of thing that they should die in a fire. This is why I think I might frog them.)

Arabella is coming along very nicely. I'm in the last repeat of the main lace section, and then it is just the edging to do.

See? That's progress.

I'm just... SIGH. Over it. Over all of it. I want to cast on new socks, and a scarf that I'm designing in my head, and two or three hats and...

I am going to be vicious in my project culling before all is said and done. I think it is finally time to face the fact that I just don't actually WANT to knit all this stuff. I have ennui. ENNNNNUUUUUUUUUUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII.

I should come back with pictures of great piles of yarn from all of the stuff I've frogged.

Here's an updated list:

  1. Ab-Fab Afghan
  2. Winter Marigold (current sock club sock) —Finished
  3. Dr. Who Scarf
  4. Arabella — ~75% Finished
  5. Blue Triangle Headscarf —Finished
  6. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  7. Wee Toe of a Sock — Doomed to Frogdom
  8. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  9. "Blue" Kerry Shawl/Blanket — Doomed to Frogdom
  10. Cheeto Socks (Gentleman's Fancy by Nancy Bush)
  11. Clapotis —Flung
  12. Amelia Cardigan
  13. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson) — Doomed to Frogdom
  14. Pink and Grey Stripedy Socks — Doomed to Frogdom
  15. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  16. Checkerboard Twist Socks — 50% Finished
  17. Eala —Finished
  18. Watergarden Cardigan

Thursday, February 03, 2011

An Update on the UFO Situation

  1. Ab-Fab Afghan
  2. Winter Marigold (current sock club sock) —Finished
  3. Dr. Who Scarf
  4. Arabella
  5. Blue Triangle Headscarf —Finished
  6. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  7. Wee Toe of a Sock
  8. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  9. "Blue" Kerry Shawl/Blanket
  10. Cheeto Socks (Gentleman's Fancy by Nancy Bush)
  11. Clapotis —Flung
  12. Amelia Cardigan
  13. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson)
  14. Pink and Grey Stripedy Socks
  15. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  16. Checkerboard Twist Socks
  17. Eala —Finished
  18. Watergarden Cardigan

Monday, January 31, 2011

One Down...(And It's Not Even February Yet)

Yesterday I pulled out the "closest to done" of all of my projects, and blocked my Eala shawl (Ravelry link).

Tonight I unpinned the little darling,and made sure the ends were all tidy.

Pattern: Eala by Goddess Knits
Needles: Knitpicks Options, Size 5
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette, Fawn

We are pleased.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet Merciful Bob in Knitpicks

So, I've counted my UFOs, in preparation for February is For Finishing.

People, I need some sort of intervention.

Please excuse the crappy picture, there's no light in my room.

I am starting this process with 25 UFOs to my name. TWENTY. FIVE. Many of these have appeared in previous years' lists, and some of them were on the FIRST list, back in 2005. Which is ridiculous. Something needs to be done.

(I swear I do finish things. Honest.)

So, on to the actual list.
  1. Halloween/Samhain Mystery Shawl
  2. Red Heart Afghan, started in the early 00's
  3. Ab-Fab Afghan
  4. Winter Marigold (current sock club sock)
  5. Dr. Who Scarf
  6. Arabella
  7. Blue Triangle Headscarf
  8. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  9. Wee Toe of a Sock
  10. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  11. Water Shawl
  12. "Blue" Kerry Shawl/Blanket
  13. Mandala Shawl
  14. Mystery Swan Lake Stole
  15. Soleil
  16. Cheeto Socks (Gentleman's Fancy by Nancy Bush)
  17. Clapotis
  18. Amelia Cardigan
  19. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson)
  20. Pink and Grey Stripedy Socks
  21. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  22. Checkerboard Twist Socks
  23. Eala
  24. Watergarden Cardigan
  25. Awkward Red Thing
Many of these projects are not long for this world. At least two are very nearly done (Eala just needs blocking, and the Blue Headscarf just needs a tie and binding off). I'm past the heel on my second Sock Club sock (go me!)... so it won't be quite as bad as TWENTY. FIVE. by the time February actually starts. I actually frogged two shawls this morning, because I knew that I didn't want to finish them.

So, once things are Frogged and Flung, the list is a little more manageable.
  1. Ab-Fab Afghan
  2. Winter Marigold (current sock club sock)
  3. Dr. Who Scarf
  4. Arabella
  5. Blue Triangle Headscarf
  6. Flamin' Fingerless gloves
  7. Wee Toe of a Sock
  8. Socks that Wanted to Be Mittens Instead
  9. "Blue" Kerry Shawl/Blanket
  10. Cheeto Socks (Gentleman's Fancy by Nancy Bush)
  11. Clapotis
  12. Amelia Cardigan
  13. BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket, not Bloody Stupid Johnson)
  14. Pink and Grey Stripedy Socks
  15. Sooper Sekrit Surprise Projeck
  16. Checkerboard Twist Socks
  17. Eala
  18. Watergarden Cardigan
The Bloody Stupid Johnson Baby Surprise Jacket may yet get ripped, and so might the "Blue" Kerry Shawl.

Good gravy, that is still a lot of stuff. Now I just need a strategy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A naye yor, a naye leben*

Sunday is International Clean Your Bedroom Day (if by "International" you mean "my house"...and I do), and yesterday the project du jour, once the laundry was taken out and the toilet swishied, was to clean out from under the bed.

No wait. You don't understand.

We have a custom built bed (if by "custom" you mean "your husband built that himself, didn't he?"...and I do)**, and there is right about 18" of clearance under our bed. My husband and I are both quite tall, and therefore so is our bed. This is made of logic. In any case, 18" deep by Queen Size wide and long = a hell of a lot of space to keep a hell of a lot of junk, and a hell of a lot of dust.

Man, was that an adventure.

So anyway, we threw out or made the decision to donate (as appropriate) a bunch of stuff we'd long since forgotten that we own, and we vacuumed out 3 metric effing-tons of dust (approx. by weight). My Harry Potter legos, I am pleased to report, are now put away upstairs, where I could conceivably play with them; AND I went through my "second string" (hahahah) yarn stash.

As mentioned earlier, I really started knitting ca. 2004-5. And, as many have done before me, I went through an acrylic stage (much like a larval stage, only with more petroleum by-products.) As my taste in yarn, let's say "matured," all the acrylic got shoved under the bed, in three banker's boxes and a big plastic tub, as the "good stuff" (read: natural fibers) took pride of place on my yarn shelf.

People, I was ruthless.

I mean, I found one unfortunate yarn that clearly wanted to be Lion Brand Homespun when it grew up... only it wasn't nearly so classy, if you are picking up what I am putting down. And sweet baby Buddha on a cashmere rug, it looked like a moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwich had been extruded (not spun) into yarn.

It was too terrible to even take a picture of. I care about my readers, and do not want to put them off their collective lunches.

Once the dust settled, and I do mean that quite literally, I am left with just the plastic tub, and that only about two-thirds full. The rest is going to a local thrift store, and may the gods bless whoever ends up with it. Everything I kept I could conceivably imagine myself knitting someday, and really that's all I ask of my stash.

Having gotten rid of so much yarn yesterday (and I don't mind telling you, even though it was all acrylic, and mostly awful, it was a bit wrenching), I received a sort of karmic reward in the mail today.

Aw, yeah.

Okay, I grant you that I actually am the one that ordered that box from Knitpicks, but even so the timing was pretty darned sweet.

What did I buy? I hear you asking. Well, I will tell you. I got a box of joy.

(Or more specifically, the new Chroma, in both weights, and some pretty charcoal grey Andean Treasure to make myself a scarf to match my new red coat. Not all of the Chroma is mine, alas. But I may have squeezed it a bit, you know, just to check and see if it is ripe.)

* A Yiddish phrase meaning "New year, new life."
** I actually adore the bed my husband made for me, both despite and because of it's... unique qualities.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One is the Loneliest Number

I finished up the first of my Winter Marigolds (I keep changing what I'm calling them) two nights ago, and then very cleverly cast on the next one last night.

The toe on the second sock went together better and easier than the first one did, so I'll call that progress. Let it be known, however, that it still looks of ass, and I'm hardly convinced. Further forays into the world of the toe-up sock will utilize different toe conception techniques, cuz this shit's for the birds.

I took the sock outside to get some pictures...

Oh, you didn't just want to see the cat? Here's the sock then...

Monday, January 17, 2011

February is For Finishing, 6th Annual Finish-a-pa-looza

I started really knitting back in 2004-2005. That's also when, the observant amongst you will note, that I began blogging. So anyway, by 2006 I had racked up a gracious plenty of UFOs. I decided that drastic piles of yarn required drastic action and cooked up "February is for Finishing." I've been trying to con others into doing it with me ever since.

As a side note, I did learn after some Googling that others have hoisted the February is for Finishing Flag. I suspect, human nature and alliteration being what they are, that the idea for FISF arose, full-formed like Athena, into the minds, blogs and knitting needles of folks all across the country. Which is to say, I thought it was an original idea when I thought of it, and I bet they did to. S'alright, the point is that more UFOs are getting FO-ed this way.

All of which is merely prologue to this:

6th Annual February is For Finishing-Palooza

The Rules:
  • List, list, oh list. By February 1st, have an accurate and complete list of ALL of your UFOs. Yes, even that one that you stuffed behind the couch in shame and despair last August.
  • Take Inventory. Now that you have your list, decide which of these projects actually bless you. Did you not finish this UFO because you were led astray by that fancy new sock yarn? Or have you not finished it because its uglier than a really ugly thing, and will not fit man nor beast?
  • Make Decisions. Finish, Frog or Fling. In my little world, UFOs can be sorted into 3 categories. Finish — I totally still want to make this. Frog — in the immortal words of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, "I like yarn better than I like bad hats." And, Fling — Wow. This is so bad that not even the yarn is worth saving. I'll say a passing prayer for the Acryls who gave their lives to make this fugly yarn, and move on with my life.
  • Prioritize. At this point, you have to decide what your end goal is. Are you in this to finish as many items as possible? Or is there one specific UFO that you'd like to push through and finish? Some folks like to have a plan "I'll knit the last sleeve of Auntie Mabel's sweater, and then I'll finish up that scarf I've been knitting since the Carter administration." Others prefer a more holistic approach and simply knit what suits their mood and fancy at the time. Do as best pleases you.
  • Be Strong. Do not, and this is very important, DO NOT cast on anything new during February. We're finishing here, people, not starting. The object of the game is to clear the slate so we can cast on a whole slew of new UFOs in March and April.
  • Take a Button.
As an avid, yet inconstant sock knitter, I also have an optional rule.
  • March is For Making Mates. If you have the first of a pair of socks on the needles, finish 'em up in February, and then set them aside. February is for what's already on the needles. Then in March, make the second sock for all of those first socks (or gloves, or mittens, or whatever) that you finished up in February. Clever, eh?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Knit Like You Mean It

I made some wicked progress on my Marigold for January socks. And then I hit the heel. (Cue ominous music here.) My first go at the short row heel ended with me ripping back after I'd done the first half of the wraps. I was sent to do the second half (wherein you pick the wraps back up) and I buggered it. So I pulled back and started again. Finished the heel, and then started doing the calf.

Funky afghan added for contrast.

Here is the part that makes me cry. I knew that it was likely to be a bit small for me (I usually need a 72 stitch sock, and these are 64), but I was planning to make them for Number Two Daughter. I got her to "model them" for me (read "try them on") this afternoon, under the premise of helping me get blog pictures. The (@&&!^% things are too shallow through the instep for her. So back I've ripped again, and this time I'm saying Eff the pattern sideways and through the wall, I'm trying a different heel. Yes, I'm here to learn new techniques, and one of those techniques is how to flee like a rat from a sinking ship when a pattern decides to turn on me.

I'm trying Wendy Johnson's reverse-engineered gusset heel next, as it is meant to add more ease through the instep. Wish me luck. The picture above is pre-ripping. There is considerably less sock now... I didn't have the heart to take another picture.

Oh! I did finish a thing though! Socks that I'd finished all save the last wee bit of kitchener stitch, are now officially done, off the needles, and ends woven in. We will not speak of how long they sat in that sad and abandoned state.

A Word To My Commenters:

First, let me say Hello and Welcome! I was thrilled to see comments from someone that I don't know in what passes for my "real" life, so let me say thank you for reading, and I hope you keep commenting!

One thing that LiveJournal does that beats Blogger hands down is how it manages comments. In LJ it is really easy to respond to a comment and to keep a conversation threaded. Here... not so much. But here's my plan — and I imagine that this is what most bloggers do anyway. If you comment in one of my posts, I'll do my best to respond back in the same post. The only way you'll know, of course, is if you go back and check (or clicky the little box when you comment that will prompt Blogger to email you.) So anyway, if you ask me a question in the comments, that's where to look for an answer.

Come on in, pull up a chair, and have some coffee. It's nice to meet you.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Begin as You Mean to Go On

I got my daughter to help me select my sock kit for January-February yesterday afternoon. This was accomplished by me holding out the box and saying "Just grab one!" while she eyed both it and me suspiciously.

Once I'd dashed her hopes and informed her that no, the socks would most likely not be for her, the deed was done, and my course laid.

I'll be making Marigold (Ravelry link) out of a lovely couple of skeins of Jojoland Melody wool, in the descriptive (and intuitively lovely sounding) colorway of "MS08."

Part of what I'm after with this experiment (other than to justify the purchase of more sock yarn, of course) is to broaden my proverbial horizons and to utilize techniques that I'm usually just too darned lazy to bother with. I have a basic, cuff-down, vanilla sock recipe that lives in my head and that I can knit in my sleep. That way lies boredom and sock-driven ennui. Hence the kits and the patterns.

My very first sock out I'm doing a short-row toe-up sock pattern, and I'm suddenly reminded of why I always knit my socks the other direction. I suck at toe-up short-row socks. They look of un-mitigated ass. And they are a pain in my tuchus. And I'm not good at them (this bothers me to no end. The cure, one hopes, is practice.)

I soldiered on and am now a repeat-and-a-half into the lace pattern. All is well.