Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Forward Looking Back

2014 was an outrageously productive year here at chez Woolly.

One of the main ways that I use the tagging features that Ravelry provides is to tag my projects with the year as I finish them.  (I don't worry about the year I started a project, mind you, just the year I finish it).   I have my projects organized by year of completion, and down at the bottom I get this neat little notice that tells me how many yards and how many projects are included.

In 2014 I knit 8,682 yards and 30 projects.  Dude.   Some of those projects are as small as 40 yard afghan squares, and the largest is my Alice sweater at 1100 some odd yards.

To offer some context around this, in 2012 I knit 2,743 yards in 9 projects.  2013 was better with 7,320 yards in 29 projects.

Anyway, I bet that's all pretty boring to anyone who isn't me.  The key take-aways here are that I knit a lot and that Ravelry is cool.   My 2014 list of finished objects is view-able here.

If I had to pick a favorite project for the year I would really struggle between choosing my Harvest sweater, Multnomah (knit at Multnomah falls, out of yarn spun for me by Jess!), or these mittens that I just finished up for Rhiannon for Christmas.

The Pattern is "How Cold is It?" by Drunk Girl Designs.
I used Palette yarn, and size 3.0 mm needles (size 2.5 in US terms).

Yeah, I am that mom.  Hashtag No Regrets.

Looking Ahead

I have big plans for 2015.  I know that I will be finishing a project (casting off) and starting another (casting on) on January 1.   Begin as you mean to go on, and all that.  I will finish things, I will start new things.  Also, I'm being very deliberate in choosing what I want to cast on.  I will be casting on one of the following projects  (this is Nurmilintu, the Denver Cowl, and Brickless.  The yarns pictured on the right are from my stash and what I will use.  The photos on the left do not belong to me).

I'm looking at two different themes for my 2015 knitting.   First, my motto is going to be "Wear what I knit, and Knit what I will wear."   My underlying theme is:  Intention.

I will be approaching my crafting decisions with Intention.  I will buy yarn because I actually want that specific yarn for a specific project (not just because it was on sale, or because "yarn good."  I will knit projects that bring me joy, and that I actually want to knit (not just choosing projects that will get crap yarn out of my stash).

It's going to be about consciously making the right decisions about how I spend my precious crafting time.

What are you planning for 2015?  Do you have any goals or themes for your year?  What did you do last year that you're most proud of?

Sunday, October 19, 2014


So this is mostly a ta-da! post about the Gnome Mittens by Spillyjane (if you don't know Spillyjane and like fair isle or happiness then you are seriously missing out).

Anyway, I promised my niece Sarah that I'd make her these mittens for her 24th birthday.  For those of you keeping score at home that momentous occasion took place in April of 2013.  Road to Hell, good intentions, etc. etc., yadda yadda.

I cast them on in March of 2013, made it as far as about here:

...and then I bailed on them.  I don't know what happened.  Maybe it was the rows that involve three colors at once (damned gnome beards) or maybe it was the parade of other knits that caught my eye.  I'm not sure exactly what it was but as the months went by Sarah was getting less and less patient with my bullshit.

Me:  ::posts picture of finished scarf::
Sarah:  Hey that's nice!  You know what else is nice?  Mittens with gnomes on them.
Me:  ::posts picture of finished sweater::
Sarah:  Wow,  you're really cranking out those knits!  Feeling like a little mitten knittin'?
Me:  ::posts picture of fourth finished sweater::

So anyway, last Saturday I picked up the first mitten and by the end of the night, it was done.  "Well," I thought to myself, "that was embarrassing."

I cast the second mitten on the next day and did a bit here and there during the week.  Yesterday, I sat down, put on some podcasts, and finished it up.   BOOM.

Gnome Mittens by Spillyjane
Needles:  Knitpicks size 3, 16" circs
Yarn: Various colors of Knitpicks Palette, raided from my bestie Koren's stash
Yardage:  184, estimated by weight of 40g

Next up, I'm working on finishing up a shawl that I'm lovingly referring to as "Not Socks Then," knit from a Patons sock yarn that stubbornly refused, through three tries and four years to become socks.

(And a quick update to follow-up my last post, all buttons have been sewn on, and I've worn all the sweaters I knit this summer except for Ardys.  I don't have the right outfit for that yet, or haven't figured out how to wear it or something.  I need a white Oxford button down.  I ended up buying new buttons for Myrna, as neither of the options I found pleased me.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Button, Button! Who's Got the Button?

I do!


So, all the sweaters that I've declared "done" this summer?  Yeah, you guessed it.  "Done except for the buttons..."  Hey, give me a break, it was July, it's not like I was gonna wear a worsted weight wool sweater anyway.

Anyway, a couple of trips to my button box and the local Joann's Fabrics, and I think I'm set.

These wee little flowers are for Alice.  Simple and sweet.

I wanted something kind of funky and maybe a little rustic for Harvest.

(Ardys didn't actually need any buttons, so it really is done.)

And then there's my latest FO, Myrna.  She's still blocking (and still damp), so I can't do a full-on, modeled "TA-DA!" post yet, but here's a teaser shot:

My foot is totally hiding a stain in the carpet.  Move along folks,
there's nothing to see here.
I'm debating a couple of different button options.  I found these two in my button box:

Of the two, I think I like the white and gold better, but I'm not entirely sold.  I may end up back at Joann's before all is said and done.

(I hope none of you noticed that none of these pictures actually show actual buttons on actual garments...)

Monday, September 01, 2014

Summer of the Sweater

This has been the Summer of the Sweater.  Since May I've knit Harvest, by Tin Can Knits, Ardys, by Laura Aylor, and now Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska.

That's three sweaters!
That's right, Alice is done, baby.  BOOM!

I would show you the front, but I haven't fixed the button band yet.
The front view's a bit ... revealing.
I am so pleased, and proud of this sweater.  It's my first time doing top-down set in sleeve construction--which wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be.  For the most part, the pattern was clear and well-written, though not for the faint of heart (or inexperienced).  There were a couple of places where it essentially said "keep doing what you ought to do in this spot..." so if you didn't know what you ought to do, you'd be kind of screwed.

I mostly did though, so that's alright then.

I used Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, which is a tonal sock yarn that has enough color variance to almost count as variegated.  I swapped out skeins every two rows to keep it from doing any weird flashing or pooling or what-have-you.  That seems to have worked pretty well, though it did make for a billionty ends to weave in.

Lessons learned:  I wish I'd made it a size smaller than I did. It's supposed to have negative ease, and it's a smidge loose throughout the bustular region.   I also decided to skip adding buttonholes to the front placket because I figured I'd never wear it open anyway.  I'm regretting that life-choice.  Not a major deal, but I wouldn't do it that way if I could go back in time and do it again.  

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014
Finished: August 30, 2014

So now what?

I don't have a sweater problem. You have a sweater problem.

P.S. Don't worry, Sarah -- your Gnomes are back on the radar.  

Wee Gnomes All in a Row

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Finished! WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl(ette)

Guys!  I finished a thing!  I know that's less of a cause for shock, alarm, or celebration than it would have been, say, four years ago.  But after four weeks of working on Alice almost exclusively it's nice to have something positive to report.

I started the Wendy Knit's Summer Mystery Knit-along on a whim.  I never finish the things, and often don't entirely care for them, but the spirit of along-i-tude swept me up and before I knew it I'd signed up and dug around in the stash.  (It should be noted that this happened right before or about the same time as my recent change in attitude about knitting.  This represents more of my old style and approach than it does what I'm trying to do now.)

Pros:  I could use old-growth stash on this, no problem.  So I got to feel virtuous.  The design included a "Knit According to Your Yarn" option that me use up every last drop of the skein.

That little tail there is straight up all that was left.
Cons: The size and shape I ended up with feels a little "old lady" to me.  (No offense intended to any ladies, old or otherwise.)   I tried it on before blocking and well it's okay.

I don't think I'd wear it like this?  I tried wrapping it up like a cowl.

G+ made me a fashion montage!  Alas, it did not also fix my hair.
That's a little better.

I've got it blocking now, and yoinked (technical term) on it some.  That'll open up the garter stitch, so I'll lose some squashiness (another technical term), but gain some length.

Summer Shawlette

Pattern:  WendyKnits' Summer Mystery Shawl 2014
Yarn:  Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet DK, bought at my local, The Knaughty Knitter
Needle:  Knit Picks Options Interchangeables, Size 7

Update on the Alice-Front

I'm to the bottom ribbing/patterning/hem thing-a-ma-jig.  The pattern has you shape the stockinette body of the sweater as an a-line.  The very bottom is a repeat of the faux-cable that makes up the front of the bodice. Five repeats of this bad-boy and Boom!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Let Us Observe a Moment of Silence

... for the Watergarden fair isle sweater.  Alas, poor knit, we hardly knew ye.

The Watergarden sweater is a men's fair isle sweater from Interweave Knits.  I cast it on back in 2008 out of Knit Picks Palette and got maybe, I dunno, 4-5" done.  And then I set it down and never, ever came back to it.

Long-time friends of the show will note that it has appeared in every single February is for Finishing post since.  And even as recently as this past February I was still protesting that I was gonna knit it someday.

Yeah, no.

There comes a time in every knitter's life when she needs to get a frickin' grip, and y'all that time has come and come again.

What with my new-found resolutions to knit things I'll really wear and a healthy dose of reality checking I realized that EVEN.  EVEN IF. I should ever actually finish the entire mostrosity of a sweater, I would never. ever. wear it.

So, after 6 years of protestation and hand-wringing I ripped that sucker out.

Now I just need to figure out what the heck to do with eleventeen tons of Palette.   A variation on Funky Grandpa perhaps?

Meanwhile, Alice carries on.  I'm a good 4" into the stockinette and am at the stage where the end is both in sight and so very, very far away.

Maybe a beer will help.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Go Ask Alice

Since I had that knitting epiphany I was talking about last week, I've started choosing my projects differently (which only follows after all, otherwise what's the point?)  I guess what I mean is that I am thinking about projects differently.   Time was I'd see a sweater and think "that looks like it would be awesome to knit" -- and don't get me wrong, that's definitely still a consideration.  But now I'm trying to stop and think "would that be awesome to wear?"

A subtle and important difference, methinks.

My current project is (I hope!) going to be both. I'm making Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska. The construction is wicked clever. It's a fitted sleeve that's knit top-down. I feel confident that the designer is cleverer than I, but the pattern is well enough written that I'm doing alright.

This is my first stab at knitting an adult garment in fingering weight yarn.  I'm using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in "Canopy" (it's much more variegated than I was hoping it would be.  I'm trying to be at peace with the occasional bit of pooling-weirdness.)  It's going a lot faster than I was expecting, but I'm still about to the point where I'm longing for a spot of worsted weight.

Project Specs

Needles: Knit Picks Options, size 6
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Canopy
Pattern:  Alice in Wonderland by Justyna Lorkowska
Started: July 22, 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

A Knitting Epiphany

I've had a bit of an epiphany about my knitting.  I know you're dying to hear about it, so I'll tell you.

I've been a process knitter for pretty much my entire knitting "career" -- I'll pick a project based on how fun it would be to knit, whether I'd learn a new technique, or (and let's do be honest here) if all the cool kids were knitting it.

Now, there's nothing wrong with that.  I've learned a ton from this approach, and I'm sure I'm a better knitter today because of it.

But what have I got to show for it?

Let me give you an example -- we had an "along" in one of my Ravelry groups.  Everyone cast on and knit Zuzu's Petals by Carina Spencer, and I am SUCH A JOINER, so of course I'm all in.  Knitting along is fun! Plus, the pattern looks interesting!

Yeah but...

I pretty much hate it.  It was a waste of good Chroma, and looks weird on me to boot (I look like the world's most rainbowdy gila monster in this picture).  (I should note -- this is not intended to be a slight on the pattern itself.  The pattern is fine, it just wasn't a good match for me and certainly not in that yarn.  What was I thinking?)


Here's a counter example.  Hitchhiker by Martina Behm (and to be fair, also an "along" but a better chosen one for me.)

Much more my style. I love this pattern and I've knit it twice.

I wore the heck out of this last winter.  It's my colors, and I have a tee-shirt and sweater that match it perfectly.  It's not just some weird thing I knit...it's actually part of my wardrobe.

And therein lies my epiphany.  What if I knit things I want to wear?  What if I considered what I was making in terms of how it would fit into my wardrobe and lifestyle?  What if I remembered that I could be knitting actual clothes.

Y'all, I'm becoming a product knitter.

Meet Harvest and Ardys.  (Ardys isn't blocked yet in this photo, so imagine it slightly more smoothed down and tidy).   I am looking forward to wearing them (as clothes!) this fall and winter.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

February is Finished and Olympic Pride

From a strict "February is for Finishing" standpoint, I didn't do so well.  The Oregon Socks are the only things I finished that had been on the needles prior to February.   Ah well, I knew that my finishing would be sparse when I decided to cast on socks for the Olympics.

I finished my Olympic Pride socks on February 15, meaning they took just over a week to knit.  I'm not sure if it was the stripes, the concentration, the Olympic Magic in the air or what, but damn they went fast.

I left on a business trip on the 16th -- the day after I finished Olympic Pride, so I decided what the hell and cast on another pair to knit on the plane.  (Also, it was weird not to have any socks on the needles.)

Meet Olympic Pride II.   I didn't finish them during the Olympics (though I came pretty close -- I was on the heel flap of the second sock).   I did, however, wrap them up on February 28, which means that I knit 4.5 socks during the month of February.  I'd feel a little more badass, but I know that the plane trips contributed significantly to that number.

And then, because it was March 1 and I could (not that it being February had stopped me from casting socks on), I cast on a wee little sweater for my besties' daughter.  It didn't count against my total number of projects on the needles for long though, because I wrapped it up the next day.   Worsted weight baby sweaters are fast, yo.

I'm going out of town again tomorrow, so of course I cast some more socks on.  These are going to be Hermione's Everyday Socks when they grow up.

And lest you think I've forgotten all my old WIPs entirely, I spent the morning working on Multnomah.  I'm into 7 of 10 lace repeats and it's done.

So, that's what I've been up to.  Tons of Finishing ... just not much that "counts" if you're counting February...which I'm obviously not.

(Having just re-read all of that ... and having fixed some egregious mis-used homophone errors,  I realize this post sounds really choppy.   If you've actually read this far, thank you and I'm sorry.  I have been such a sporadic blogger for so long, I figure any post is better than none.   From my perspective, anyway.  I totally get why others might not agree.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Knitting is Definitely Happening

As I mentioned before, I'm not following my normal "thou shalt not cast on in February" rules.  I really wanted to get in on knitting rainbows during the Olympic Games, so I decided to go for it.  It's my dumb arbitrary rule, and I can break it if I want to.

So!  I finished up my Oregon Socks (they deserve a post of their own.  They traveled all over Idaho and Oregon last summer).

And I promptly cast on my Olympic Pride socks.   I had a couple of balls of Felici Rainbow in my old-growth stash that I dug out for the occasion.

Please note:  I cast these on last Friday

They are practically knitting themselves, holy crap.  The pattern is Traffic Island Socks (a riff off of the ubiquitous Jaywalkers), and it's pretty much perfect.  I've modded them a bit to add afterthought heels, because a classic heel and gusset arrangement jacks up the stripes.

They are pleasing me greatly, and I'm hoping to have them finished before I leave for Connecticut on Sunday.  I'll need something else to knit on the plane, so I guess I'd better plan to cast on another pair of socks....

Saturday, February 01, 2014

It's that time of year again

It's February 1st, and that means it is time to knuckle down and start doing some serious heavy duty finishing.  (As inconstant a blogger as I am, you can check the archives and find posts in most years from February.)

This year I am starting the month with 10 projects on the go.  Interestingly, four of them are crochet projects.  I used to be crochet-curious, but now I think you can actually call me bi-craftual.

I'm not entirely sure what my strategy is for the month -- I know I want to finish my Oregon Socks before the Olympics start.  I'm not playing by my usual rules this year, since the Winter Olympics are in Sochi this time.  I'm planning to cast on and knit a pair of rainbow socks, "BECAUSE OF THE GAY," as my dear friend Jess so eloquently put it.


Here's the list:

1. Watergarden Cardigan.  Yeah.  Again.  I know.

2.  Knitting in Red.   This bad boy's been in hibernation since before last February.

3. Ripple Afghan!  I started this handsome fellow December of 2012.  I plan to finish it soon.

4. Sarah's Gnomes.   This will be a (overdue!) gift for my niece Sarah.

5. Emelie.  This is meant to be a short sleeved cardigan.  I'm not sure if it's really destined to be or not.

6.  Circles to Squares Afghan.  When I saw the (then new) Lion Brand Heartland yarn, I fell in love with the colors.

7. Oregon Socks.   My sister and my husband and I went "home" to Oregon last August.  It was lovely and awesome, and so good to go back and reacquaint myself with the land.  These were my travel socks.  I need to finish up sock number 2.

8. Multnomah.   I brought this with me to Oregon too.  And then we went to Multnomah Falls.  I tried to pass it off like I was an awesome planner.  Nope, just lucky.

9.  African Flower Bag.  This is me messing around and trying to use up old stash.

10.  Happypotamus.  Because there is nothing about a crocheted, multi-colored, funky, hippopotamus that is not awesome.  This is the back legs and the octo-butt.  I promise that there is a hippo in there.  Really.

Well, there you have it.  This is what I have on the go as of this morning.   Last year I only had 8, in 2011 I had 25, so I'm calling this year a solid B+/A- going in.  

More to come as I begin to kick finishing ass.