Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Now Where's She Gone Off To?

Hello, my darlings!  Here it is half done March and I haven't told you how February went yet.  I am remiss.

I managed a metric eff-ton (as opposed to an imperial eff-ton) of knitting, and only finished two things, go figure.

Protest Knitting
My first FO of the month was "Protest Knitting."  I used Susan B. Anderson's instant hit, "Smooth Operator Socks" for the heel, and did my own thing for the rest.  This is White Birch Fiber Arts' "Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow" colorway, in her 80/20 merino/nylon base.  I knit these as a quiet, yet obnoxious form of political protest.  I have grave concerns about the direction our country is heading, and I have the big gay socks to prove it.

My second FO is "Sonder" by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.  I don't have a really good FO shot of this one (despite having finished it two weeks ago) but here's a look:


It's big, squishy, cozy, and I have no idea how to wear it.  More on that as it develops.  I used Knit Picks Billow in the "Comfrey" colorway.  It's a lovely thick-and-thin bulky cotton that somehow managed not to hurt my hands at all.

The bulk of my actual knitting time in February went into my Vitamin D cardigan.  At the end of February I was finishing up the short row shaping and working on the set of radial increases at the bottom of the body.   As of this morning I'm done the body and the neck band, and I'm into the first sleeve.


It's at a weird and hard to photograph stage.  I am hoping that blocking will cure a number of ills (particularly with the way the hem and neck band are rolling).   I don't know that I'll make the Spring Equinox, but I am definitely on track to have it done by the end of March.

I also added a whack of squares to my Sock Yarn Blanket/Cozy Memories Afghan (I need to settle on a name, seriously).


It's still a long-term project with no particular end date in mind, but it's definitely growing faster than I was expecting.  I am enjoying the little bite-sized mini-project aspect of each individual square, while building towards something bigger that I'll be able to enjoy and use later on.

So that's what I got up to in February.    I finished another pair of socks yesterday, but they'll get their own post.

How did your February go?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's February Eve!

And you all know what that means.   It is time for the annual Airing of the WIPs, in preparation for February is for Finishing.

Discovering project bags sure has made my project "group photo" tidier.

We've been celebrating the fine month of February here at chez woolly since 2006.  I mentioned the other day that I've been doing it for 11 years, but then I pulled out my trusty fingers and actually counted on them... and this is my 12th year observing the sacred ritual of trotting out my WIP pile, cataloging it, and then making some sort of stab at finishing any of it.

Early days also included a fair amount of frogging and flinging along with all that finishing, but somewhere along the way my process changed enough that I'm not doing that so much any more.  I'm chalking it up to a combination of things, such as working with nicer yarns, choosing yarns and patterns that want to be friends, and embracing the concept of bailing like a rat off of a sinking ship when things start going pear-shaped.  

I've also really upped my finishing game.  I know I dedicated my entire last blog post to tooting my proverbial horn, but what I've got to tell you guys is too momentous, too unprecedented to let go unmentioned.    

For the first time in all the history of February is for Finishing -- since 2006, y'all -- nothing on the list I am about to set down was on my list last year.  None of the things.   Like, I finished them all. 

WHO AM I?  WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!?

::;ahem::

Anyway I digress.

Let's just get on to this year's list, shall we?  

Being a Compleat Liste of All Thyngs Extant Upon Needle or Hooke 

1. For Aslan.    This is a lovely half-circle shawl.  I'm knitting it out of Lost City Knits Pathways Sock Yarn in the "Rumpelstiltskin" colorway.  The pattern is not very well written, and I'd hesitate to recommend it to anyone, really, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to a newer knitter.   I'm knitting this for Aslan (hence the project name).   Cast on April 21, 2016.


2. Sock Yarn Mitered Square Blanket.   This is one of those long-term projects.  I'm knitting it 3" square at a time, and frankly I am not bothered about when I finish it.  I'm getting a kick out of adding my bits and bobs of leftover sock yarn (and bits and bobs formerly belonging to all of my friends).  My standing rule for this is that it doesn't really "count" as an active project unless it has live stitches on it. Cast on May 16, 2016.


3. A Light in Dark Places.   I'm knitting this two-color shawl out of Dragonfly Fibers Pixie in District 12 and Peach Melba.  I started it last year for the Yarniacs Colors of Fall KAL, but I put it aside to finish other things.  I just need to get myself oriented and I'll be ready to go.  Cast on June 20, 2016.


4. Sonder.  This is one of the shawls from the Shawl Society by Helen Stewart.  I'm knitting it from KnitPicks Billow.  This project stands a pretty good chance of getting finished in February.  I'm actually rather farther along that this picture would have  you believe, but at the time of this writing it is winter, and night, and ... well,, this is the best picture you're gonna get tonight.  Just... imagine more on the one end.  Cast on December 4, 2016.


5. Heliophilia.  Jess and I have organized ourselves a wee #galpalkal and are knitting Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier together.  We swatched on the Winter Solstice, and we'll be knitting along with the intent to finish by the Spring Equinox.  It's a bit of Intentional knitting, focusing on bringing more Light into the world, and staving off SAD.   I am also knitting this as my Harry Potter House Cup OWL, so I'll be putting a lot of work into this over the course of February.   Again, I'm farther along than the picture would have you believe.  I'm using Morning Meadow Sundries sport weight wool in the "Straw Into Gold" colorway from their Fables and Fairy Tales collection.  I picked the yarn up at SAFF last October.  Cast on January 1, 2017.



6. Protest Knitting.   There are times when current events demand that you cast on socks out of a yarn with a colorway name like "Nothing Says Screw You Like Rainbow."   I'm about 5 rows from finishing the first sock.   Cast on either January 14, 2017.


7.  Lace Anklet Socks.   I'm knitting these for Morgan out of my Rain's Obsessive Stitchery Fred Sock Yarn in the "Lake on the Mountain" colorway. They are part of my Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup Order Mission, so they'll be seeing a lot of action in February.  Right now they are at, oh, about 4 rows, so here is a "before" shot.  They've been on the needles for like, ten minutes.  Cast on January 29, 2017.


8. Geek Love.   For the second pair of socks I'm knitting for my Order Mission, I decided to go to Ravelry and filter my stash to only show me fingering weight yarns.  I scrolled allllll the way down to the bottom (it took a while) and picked one of the oldest sock yarns in my stash, some KnitPicks Felici in the "Mixed Berries" colorway.  This was first run Felici, y'all.   This yarn featured in a previous February is for Finishing, but experienced the "frog" option that time.  Better luck this month, kid.  Cast on January 29, 2017.



So that's the list!  My strategy is going to be dictated by what has deadlines, so Vitamin D, the Lace Cuff socks, and the Geek socks are going to see the most love this month.  I'm going to finish my Protest Socks, and I'm also targeting Sonder.

What is on your list for February is for Finishing?  Have any old WIPs that you'd like to kick in the butt this month?


Friday, January 27, 2017

Pat Pat Toot Toot: A Maker's Year in Review

2016 was a rough year for a lot of people in a lot of ways, both personal and political.  I had my fair share of personal upsets, disappointing and concerning things took place in my professional life (none that directly impacted my own role or earning ability, but concerning none-the-less), and of course there is a lot to be said about our current political landscape.

2016 was hard, yo.

This past year I was deeply reminded of why I am a maker.  I have a lot to say about that, and will do -- but this is not that blog post.   This is the blog post where I share what I accomplished last year in my fibery pursuits, and where I check back in on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

In 2016, I would like to complete greater than 10,000 yards of knitting and crochet.  

Y'all.  I finished 2016 with 16,487 yards completed.  Let me say that one more time for those in the back. 16,487 yards in 37 projects.   Can we say "Exceeds Expectations"?  (Or as Prairie Girl Susie would say, "PAT PAT, TOOT TOOT" as I pat myself on the back and toot my own horn.)  Of course, not every bit of that yardage was worked in 2016, it was all finished in 2016.  That's a reason (if you care about such things) to look at averages over time, as well as projects completed within a year.   In any case, if you have a Ravelry account, and you'd like to take a gander at my 2016 projects, you can see them here.  

In 2016, I intend to complete 16 socks.

In 2016 I completed 18 socks.  As a funny side note, when I originally wrote out my goals I said "16 pairs of socks" ... hahahaha nope.  I meant 8 pair.  I was using #sockwatch16 on Instagram to document my sock progress throughout the year.  It was fun -- and just about the right amount of sock for me to aim for. 




In 2016, I will limit my yarn purchases to festivals, shows, and the two yarn clubs I'm currently enrolled in. 

Yeah, nope.   Okay, what I did accomplish in 2016 was becoming much more intentional about my shopping habits.  I ordered maybe once from Knit Picks all year -- and that was in November.  I bought a few things from Etsy shops, and visited the odd LYS now and again.  So, I totally did NOT accomplish the goal I set for myself... but I did up my Intentional Acquisition game, so I will award myself partial credit on that front.

In 2016, I will finish my three oldest, biggest, or oldest AND biggest works in progress:

My Circles to Squares Afghan.



My Cosy Stripe Afghan.



And my Knitting in Red Shawl.




All three are done.   Completing these three older projects felt wonderful.  I felt like a computer processor that had been chugging along trying desperately to keep too many too large files open and run three programs at the same time.   Closing a few windows and a hard re-boot later and I feel amazing.

I have more to say about the Knitting in Red shawl -- but again it deserves it's own post, so I'll save it for another time.  

I have a lot more to show you that was completed in 2016, but this is about long enough, I think.

All in all, I'm incredibly pleased with my 2016 crafting.  In addition to the knitting and crochet, I did some sewing, dabbled in art a smidge, and generally enjoyed being a creative.   I still haven't 100% decided what my 2017 crafting goals are going to be.  Stay tuned, and I'll report back as soon as I've figured it out.  One thing I know -- I'm gonna keep making.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Throat Clearing

Man, I did not mean to abandon my blog for six months.

I have no idea what happened there. I was merrily posting along every week, and then I started posting every three weeks to every month, and then ... nothing.

I've been thinking about blogging.  I've been composing blog posts in my mind while commuting (upside -- plenty of time to think while I'm driving; downside -- hard to type while driving).   But I haven't been translating any of those thoughts or ideas onto the blog.

Part of my issue (and I've touched on this before when I've gone AWOL from the blog and then gone back to posting) is that it's hard to start again.  Hard to say "Hey guys, I'm back!" Hard to explain why I've been gone, and hard to get back into the swing of regular posting.

And the longer I wait, the harder it gets.

So, that's what this post is really all about.  It's about breaking through my "stuckness" around regular blogging.  It's about saying "Hey guys, I'm back!" and just getting THAT over with and out of the way.

It's throat clearing.   Because guys I have a lot I want to talk about.  I want to tell you about how my 2016 crafting goals turned out, I want to show you some of the things I've finished (some of which have been a long time coming), and I want to talk about things like craftivism, and intentional knitting, and more about why I am a maker.  

I've got stuff to say, y'all.


Peace out, and I'll be back soon.