Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Socks on the Go

I went to San Antonio for a conference last week and took my socks with (as well as two extra projects for "just in case" -- and a good thing too, because I finished the socks the day after I got there, and then managed almost all of the first of a new pair while I was there.)

I knit on the plane.

I knit at lunch.

I took them to the Alamo for a bit of sightseeing.

And when I had a free moment during Day Two, I finished them up.

I'm ridiculously pleased with how well they match up.

Before I left last week, I also finished up my Asymmetry Cowl.

Since I did cast on some new socks in San Antonio, I'm at 7 projects total in the works, but only three pre-date this past February.  Boom!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


My Granny Halter is complete, and pretty darned cute, if I do say so myself.   The only other thing I might do is get some beads to put at the end of the tie (to give it a little weight and whimsy).

The yarn is Knit Picks Shine Sport, in a whole raft of colors.  I used almost two complete balls of the apple green, and about forty percent of one ball of each of the other colors.  Size 3.75 mm (F) crochet hook.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Attempting to Update

Last post I promised an update on what I'm working on, and then I realized that was easier said than done.

I'm not sure I know what I'm working on.

Ravelry tells me that I have eight current unfinished projects, and I think that's probably pretty accurate.  But I'm sure not working on all of them.

So let me tell you what I've actually laid hands on recently.  That's a more accurate measure, I think.

First, my current sock companion.  This is the second of two, and it keeps not knitting itself while it rides around in my purse, the freeloader.  I started these in March on size 1s.  I might have been the wee-est bit stressed out back in March, as the first sock is knit at the terrifying gauge of 9.5 stitches per inch.  I just hope the second one matches it.

Second, my Granny Halter top is ALMOST finished.  I need to add more to the side, do the other side to match, and then make straps and pray.  I do not promise a modeled shot when I'm done.

I'm also working on this Asymmetry Scarf (Ravelry link).  My intention is to crochet until I'm out of the Lion Brand Homespawn it's done up in and to turn it into a cowl.  It's actually charming me now that I've got it going.  (I am trying to use up old stash.  This definitely qualifies.)

So that's three, out of eight that I'm actually working on.  Two are nearly done, and they're all three over the half-way mark.  Once the Granny Halter is done, I'll pick a different old-old project for my "WIP Wednesdays" (likely the afghan. I seem to be on a crochet bender at the moment).

And I don't promise not to cast more on in the meantime.  So there.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Wicked Case

This spring I've been struck with a wicked case of startitis.  I predicted it in February — I felt sure that after having been so good all month long that I was due to cast on about a billion things.  And I did.

But I'm trying something new this time, and finishing a great deal of what I'm starting.  It's wacky, but it works.   Long-time readers will remember the Parade of Hats back in 2011 (that was a good Christmas year).  It's like that.  I'm casting on, knitting a while (or crocheting in a few cases) and then whammo! I'm casting back off.  CRAZY.

There are a couple of things at work here, causing all this industry.

Firstly, I'm participating in a Stashdown on Ravelry.  Rules are simple:  don't buy new yarn, love the stash you're with, and oh hey!  You might get some prizes!  I'm in it more for the satisfaction of freeing up some storage space (my outrageous stash has outgrown it's shelf and under-bed containment areas) than the prizes, but it sure doesn't hurt as far as incentives go.

I'm also attributing some of my recent knitting mojo to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.   I have been re-reading her blog from the beginning, and watching nine years of her hand-knits parade past is pretty damned inspiring.

Gauge is also playing a part.  I've been knitting things like baby sweaters out of worsted or aran weight yarn.  Turns out that if you knit small things with bigger stitches you get done faster.  This is like a revelation to me.  (Just like it was during the Time of Many Hats.  Sometimes I need to learn a lesson over and over again more than once.)

So, without further ado, here's some of what I've been up to.

First up are two tiny baby cardigans.  The yellow is newborn sized, the green is 3-6 month.  I modified this pattern to size it up by casting on 12 extra stitches (one pattern repeat) and distributing them evenly around.   The original is long sleeved, but since the babies in question will be wearing them in the South and in the summer, I thought that short sleeves were rather the way to go.

Next we have my version of the popular Hitchhiker scarf.   I've tried a couple of different things with this yarn (a scarf that was culled from the herd right before February, and then Nutkin socks) but nothing was working.   The Stashdown was having a Hitchhiker Knit Along, and I was in like Flynn.

I've also got several projects still on the go.  I'm planning a "here's what I'm working on" post for later in the week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesdays are for Works in Progress

If you remember from the end of February (and if you don't, I totally wouldn't blame you, because I had to go look it up myself to be sure) I had four projects still on the needles after my last, wildly successful, bout with February is for Finishing.

I had the Watergarden Cardigan from years ago, my Knitting in Red Shawl, a not-nearly-tacky-enough crochet afghan, and my improvised Granny Halter Top.  So, that's four things, and save an hour or two spent pleasurably with the halter last Friday night, I haven't touched a single one of them since Feb 28.

And see, this is  how I get myself into these problems in the first place.  (If by "these problems" you mean "having 18 things on the needles, more than half of which you haven't touched in three years" ... and I do.)

Once I was released from the enforced finishitude that is February, I instantly cast on a whole whack of projects (as per usual).

I started and frogged two pairs of socks (that was fun, let me tell you.  Gauge and I have a hate-hate relationship)  I've started two MORE pairs of socks (I'm into the second sock on one pair, so that one's likely to stick, thank goodness), some gnome mitts for my niece, two baby sweaters, a Hitchhiker, and, uh... maybe something else?  I don't even remember anymore, it's that ridiculous.  Oh, a hat.  That's right, I made a hat. 

Anyway, I'm all about starting something new, so I'm not worried about it, but I've been craving a bit of structure in my life.  I feel the need for an arbitrary rule or two, just to keep me on track and to give me a goal to work on.

So, to that end, I present to you:  Wednesdays are for Works in Progress.  (Not an original, alliteration, I grant you, as a quick google search will reveal, but it will do.)

I hereby commit, for the duration of the time between now and when I decide it's boring and I don't want to anymore, to only knitting WIPs on Wednesdays.  For our purposes, I'm choosing to define "WIPs" as "stuff what was on needles or hooks on Feb 28."  They are really closer to UFOs than WIPs, but I decided that thUrsdays are for UFOs was pushing it.

First up?  The Granny Halter:

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Better Offer

Dear Koren,

We know that when you first crocheted us up, you were filled with nothing but affection and love for our cute little granny-corners, and our bright happy colors.  We were happy too.  We really were -- we were excited to finally be a part of something, after we hadn't quite made it into that hat you'd started and finished YEARS before.

We wouldn't say that we were bitter, no of course not, maybe just disappointed that after all this time, after you'd finally fished us out of the closet where you'd been keeping us with the other cast-off and abandoned bits and bobs of yarn, after you'd finally started putting us to some kind of use and making us feel loved and wanted, that after all of that you just...

...left us.

Left us lying behind like so many over-sized coasters next to the couch in the living room at chez woolly.

Well, if that's the way it's going to be, sister, then that's just fine.  We know where we aren't wanted.

And we know where we are.  We want you to know we don't miss you at all.

Yours Sincerely,

Your Granny Squares

(With all due respect and apologies to The Yarn Harlot.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March is For Trying to Make Mates But Making a Mess Instead

So, you guys thought I'd wandered off again didn't you?   Thought I'd spent a week basking in all the finishing I did back in February, and then gone right back to reading fanfiction and eating bon-bons didn't you?

Okay, so that's fair, but look - I've been really busy okay?  And I've been working a lot, and I like fanfiction, alright?

And besides, I didn't really quit knitting at all.   I just quit actually accomplishing anything useful is all.

In fact, in a neat attempt to fulfill the promise of "March is for Making Mates" I'm pretty sure I knit two halves of two different socks that I've either frogged or am going to frog.  So, that's like "making mates" right?  Two frogged half socks?


Well, There's a hat.  What about the hat I knit?


Um, no.   See, because I've been working, and...

Well, reading.


Maybe next week.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Win February

This has been a wildly successful February for me.  (No doubt in part because I got on the finishing train back in January) -- but whatever the reason, I have been a finishing fool.

Let's recap.   On February 1st I had eight projects on needles (and/or hooks):
  1. Watergarden Cardigan
  2. Fourth Doctor Scarf
  3. Knitting in Red
  4. Catching Dreams for Baby
  5. Mitts for Rowan
  6. Drop Stitch Scarf
  7. Ripple Afghan 
  8. Summer Halter Top
I'm down now to four projects -- two knitting, and two crochet.   I don't remember the last time I only had two knitting projects on the needles.  Probably in 2000, the month I started knitting if I had to guess.  

(I confess that the urge to cast on was hard upon me this week.  It didn't help that my dear husband was all, "Cast on some socks!  You've earned them!")

Anyway, here are the current standings (still in order of age):
  1. Watergarden Cardigan
  2. Knitting in Red
  3. Ripple Afghan
  4. Summer Halter Top
Since last we spoke I've finished Catching Dreams for Baby and my Drop Stitch Beauty scarf (both links lead to my project pages on Ravelry).

Catching Dreams for Baby
Drop Stitch Beauty Scarf (accompanied by Left-over Yarn)
I'm close enough on the top that I could have it done by the end of this week (it was a toss up on Tuesday.  Do I focus on the halter?  or the scarf?  I could have finished one or the other but not both.  The scarf won on account of February.  It's cold now.)  

You know I'm going to cast the hell out of some shit now, right?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finishing Update

Goodness, somehow I managed to let 20 days of February slide past without an update!

Guys, I have done SO. MUCH. FINISHING.  (There's my excuse.  Can't blog!  Too busy knitting!)

On February 2, I finished Rowan's mitts.   I'm inordinately pleased with these babies, and plan to write up the pattern.

these used to be socks

Next, and many days later, I finished my Fourth Doctor Scarf.  This baby was wrapped up on February 12, which means I knit over 600 rows of garter stitch in ten days.  Woo!   This was one of my only two "old" projects still left on the needles.   I'm so pleased to be done with it, I can't even.

my old man is kinda cute

Since the 12th, I've mainly focused on adding blocks to my Dream Catcher Baby Blanket.  I've sitting at 23 of 25 blocks (I started with 13).  My current goal is to have the whole business completed by Sunday night.   I've also started making my summer halter top look like more than just two triangular coasters.

Here's a sneak peak:

over the shoulder boulder holder!  Hooray!

Friday, February 01, 2013

February is For Finishing 2013

After a very successful January, I'm left with eight projects on the needles.  I started with fifteen, and after I finished four and frogged three more I'm ready to hit February hard and fast (like your mom.)

So anyway -- here's what's left, from oldest to newest.

1.  The Watergarden Cardigan.   Started March 2008.  I've got maybe 4 inches knit.  I am not frogging this one, because I do want to knit it.  Someday.  Hell, maybe even this year, but it won't be in February -- my goal lies elsewhere.

2. The Fourth Doctor.   Started September 2008.  This and the Watergarden Cardigan are the last two "old projects" I have left.  I'm going to finish it this February.  This is me saying it out loud.  I will finish it, by gum.  I'm 40% in right now (I have a spreadsheet that says so.)

3. Knitting in Red.   Started March 17, 2012.  (Note the four year gap.  This is not because I stopped knitting, it's because I started finishing.)   This project is a meditation on change and on personal growth and fulfillment.  It's also a spell.  I'll pick it back up, but I'm not quite there yet.

4. Catching Dreams for Baby.  Started March 2012.   This is a cutie baby blanket.  I know a number of cutie babies that it might go to, or I might keep it at my house for said cutie babies to drag around while they are here.  I've 14 of 25 squares done.

5. Mitts for Rowan.  More about these later.  (They'll warrant their own post, as I'm wanting to write up the pattern.)  I'm about 60% - 65% in.  These will also be finished this February.

6. Drop Stitch Scarf.  Started October 2012.  I'd been looking for something to do with the gorgeous handspun that my sweet, good friend Summer gifted to me.  This was the perfect pattern.   I'm not far into it yet, maybe 5%?

7. Ripple Afghan.  Started December 2012.  I decided that I needed to undertake the art of the tacky crochet afghan.   I was greatly inspired by Lucy at attic24 (she's charming).  I am 50% done.  The first half was finished in probably 3 weeks, but I set it down when I started finishing up old knitting projects.  I kind of love this blanket.  It's swell.

8. Summer Halter.  Started January 2013.  More on the crochet kick!  My dear friend Erin reminded me of the summer top that she'd designed for herself.  I'm working on making my own.  I'm not sure how to categorize the percentage, maybe 25%?  I have two boobs, and nothing else.  (There's a "your mom" joke waiting to happen.) The color in this picture is all wrong,  It's really a happy, springy green.

So there you have it.  I'll do the mitts and the Who Scarf for sure, and then we'll see how much time I have left to work miracles when that's done.

I will point out (loudly and often) that once the Dr. Who scarf is done I will only have ONE (count them... one) project that is older that a year.  Hot damn.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Nemesis

I finally finished them.

These socks have pretty much been the bane of my ... okay, that's a little melodramatic, "bane" is probably over the top, but dang y'all, these socks have been a bitch to knit.

I started them back in May of 2011.   They were going along really nicely -- in fact I was feeling pretty smug about them at first.  "Oh the yarn is so pretty, oh it takes the patterning so well!" I cooed.  But I cast on the smaller size (64 sts), and I wasn't more than, say FOUR INCHES in before I realized that they would be too small.

Well, dangit, I says.  And I ripped them back and started over.  In late June (this is still 2011, mind you).

Sometime during that Fall I realized that I had carpet beetles.  (Can we talk about how much I hate carpet beetles?)   The yarn and the sock both had holes.  There was much violent cursing, and maybe a wee spot of fit throwing.

The socks got a VERY long time-out in my freezer.  V. v. long time-out.

Last February I decided to haul them back out and finish the durned things (February being for Finishing and all).  So, out comes the recently defrosted Sock #1.  I repaired the holes, and started knitting with some seriously damaged yarn.   Every few feet I'd have to skip a section anywhere from 8" to 10" long, to avoid the holes and have enough room to weave in the ends.

The first sock had a LOT of ends to weave in.  (The saving grace of this story is that the second skein of yarn was undamaged.  Shwew.)

So, I finished the first sock last February and set it aside because March is for Making Mates.  After all of the work to produce the one sock, I was just... not in love.  It was meh.  Okay.  This stupid sock was way too much work for just "meh."

Turns out March is also for Faffing Off when one is angry at the socks, because I never got any farther than this:

Until about two weeks ago.  Because damned if I was going to walk into another February with these bastards still on the needles.

I seriously considered setting the whole thing on fire, but Koren talked me out of it.

The second sock did come together MUCH more smoothly.  The only real problem I had with this one was the inch and a half that I ripped back due to inattentive patterning.  (Turns out that I wasn't able to read fan-fiction and follow this pattern at the same time.  Whoops.)

I do want to say that the problems (which were legion) that I had with these socks were NOT because it is a poorly written or designed pattern.  The designer did not summon carpet beetles into my home, nor is it her fault that I took leave of my senses, and lost my grip on the reality that is the size of my ankles.  The pattern's swell, I just had a rough time.

That said though, it might behoove me to pay more attention to what things are named.  If there are socks out there called "Kryptonite," well, let's just say I won't be knitting them.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Progress to Report

I'm down to nine projects now, a slight change from last week's eleven.  (I think there must be a crumb or something under the keyboard at the "v" letter.  I have to poke it extra hard to make it show up.  Hermph.)

Anyway, I decided one of the scarves wasn't pretty enough for the amount of work it was bound to be, so off the needles it came.

Doomed Scarf - Frogged
I also finished the wee Gryffindor Cardigan that I started for Jess' eldest sprogling.  It was a quick knit that managed to linger on the needles for nearly four months (mind you the entire thing couldn't have taken more than 6 hours to knit and sew up all told.)  In any case, it's done now and ready to go to it's new home.

Wee Cardigan - Finished
I spent part of Saturday going through everything and making sure I know exactly where to start if I want to pick something up (it was during this process I decided that I wasn't feeling the scarf).  So everything now has a post it note that says "Start here!" with an arrow and a date.  No excuses!

My other major accomplishment for the week (you thought that was it, didn't you?  I'm so on FIRE you can call me Katniss.  Actually, I'd rather that you didn't) was to kick serious ass on my Aptly Named (Nemesis) socks.  I've turned the heel on the second sock, and it's just foot from here on out.  I am pushing to finish them before February, because I am angry at them.  (I should watch what I say where they can hear me.  I have suffered enough at the hands of these... Do socks have hands?  Anyway, I've suffered enough that there is no wisdom in courting further punishment.)

After that is Doctor Who city. 

We all know that I'm going to cast on, like a thousand things in March, right?

Oh, and before I forget, I also finished up Jess' Lumberjack socks last Sunday, the 13th.  (On. Fire.)

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dream the Impossible Dream

After the bags, baskets, and buckets were all turned out, the corners swept, and the dust settled, I have eleven projects currently on my needles.

It is worthy of noting, I think, that on Friday I had fifteen, but I frogged two and finished two, and so eleven.

Last year I ended February with five projects on my needles:

Nemesis -- 50 %
Dr. Who Scarf -- 40%
Amelia -- 20%
The Lotus Blossom Tank -- 5%
Watergarden Cardigan -- 5%

And this year, there those projects sat, at very nearly the exact same state of completion (or, uncompletion, rather).  Well, I did cast on the second Aptly Named (Nemesis) sock, so there's that.  And I had more than 20% of Amelia on the needles, but I don't actually remember putting any of it there.  But no.  Didn't really touch 'em.  Knit a whack of other stuff, but none of those.

So now is the time when we are asking ourselves, "Do we actually want to knit/wear/own any of these things?"   And Lo, we looked our hand knits deep in their beady little eyes, and this is what we discovered.

Nemesis:  I am in blood so far stepped.  (My bestie Koren convinced me not to set them on fire.)
Dr. Who Scarf:  Hell yeah.  All your nerd cred are belong to us.
Amelia:  Eh.  Not really.
The Lotus Blossom Tank:  Mmm.  Not so much.
Watergarden Cardigan:  I think so, but fair isle steeking is intimidating

So, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and frogged Amelia and The Lotus Blossom Tank.  They are now both ex-parrots.   (We watch a lot of Monty Python here at chez woolly.  Please excuse me.)   I've started working on Aptly Named (Nemesis) again, and if I play my cards right I might have that little bastard of a second sock knocked out before February.

I've decided that my major push for this year is the Dr. Who Scarf.  It's been too damn long on the needles, and the Yarn Harlot has recently shamed me.

All of which means, if I finish the Dr. Who scarf and the Aptly Named socks, then I will only have one item on the needles that's more than a year old come March 1st.


(Okay, sure there will still be a whack of new stuff, but those of you who have witnessed Februaries past will surely realize what a coup this will be.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Getting Ready for February

February is for Finishing is looming on the horizon, so its about time to start counting the WIPs, UFOs, Abandoned Projects, and Things that Just Need Kitchenered.

I've done a preliminary search, just in Ravelry, and found ten projects.

Five of which were unfinished at the end of LAST February.  This should be indicative of something, methinks.  At least one of those is outta here (The Lotus Tank).  I'll need to give the rest the hairy eyeball and make some decisions.

I didn't actually quit knitting entirely after March of last year, but I can see that it might look like I did for all the activity around here.  I'm not sure what happened, but blogging stopped being a Thing that I Do.

(The observant amongst you will have no doubt noticed that not blogging is a Thing that I Do fairly frequently.)

Anyways, I have it on my calendar to find all of my projects, and make sure they're all in Ravelry (I know they aren't).   I can think of three more that aren't counted in that 10 I mentioned.   While I'm at it, I'll take some pictures and be back with a proper pre-February is for Finishing update.