Friday, November 30, 2012

Reviewing my 2012 goals for the year

Here were my original goals:

  • 12 sweaters/tops - for me - in 2012
  • 40 hats for homeless charity
  • two baby blankets for Project Linus by April 1st
  • whatever else comes my way through Dumbledore's Yarny

So, how did I do? 

  • I finished EXACTLY 12 sweaters / tops for me.

I started 2 that I didn't get finished, one is SOOOO close (the colorful cardigan that was my OWL this term). But I just realized it needs 10 hours of work. I have 8 hours between work ending and the end of term at 2:00 AM CST tonight.

I will probably get it down to the last end to weave in (and probably wear it that way - lol) and weave in the final end for WIPFirst in January.

The second one is the brown one I got about 33% done in October. I'll probably pick it back up after my Christmas knitting is finished and it can be a WIPFirst in February.

I also knit a dog sweater and a kid sweater... so all-in-all, not too shabby.

  • I finished EXACTLY 90 hats for Homeless/charity knitting
Woot! I figured that with the extra effort to do more sweaters I wouldn't have time for lots of hats (my goal last year was 100, and I knit 101 because I'm not good at counting, apparently).

Technically, I would have stopped at 40 if it weren't for the mega-Quidditch point options this term... and technically, if I had stopped at fewer hats, I probably would have finished my OWL sweater. so, yikes. But, in the end, there were a TON more points form the hats than the 13th sweater - even if it was an OWL.

  • two baby blankets for Project Linus by April 1st

I actually finished four baby blankets. Sadly, the only Project Linus drop-off place in the area was no longer affiliated with that project. But they still went to a good charity and they are still now available for keeping babies warm.

  • whatever else comes my way through Dumbledore's Yarny

They never put any more challenges out for this... so technically, I got all of the challenges met (lol).

But that said, ten of my charity hats were for Click for babies. There were two Animal Rescue cat blankets taken to a shelter. There were three scarves and three cowls made for a winter clothing drive for the homeless.

So, while I might not have been able to stick to the letter of the goal, I sure did stick with the meaning behind it.

I will probably do a couple more charity projects for Christmas presents, but there won't be much more added to my achievements for 2012. And I'm ok with that. I've felt a bit mojo-less post-Hat Trials earlier this month and I'm going to try to take it pretty easy on the knitting front starting tomorrow. (Tonight, I'm hoping to squeeze out one more small project and a couple of partials for some last minute points.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cleaning out stash

My wool allergies have gotten a LOT worse.

So, about a year ago I got rid of a ton of lower-quality 100% wool balls by shipping off a box to a random number drawing from asking folks if they wanted it within the Gryffindor house. Some of it got used for an OWL - how awesome is that?

But some of the nicer, expensive yarns I didn't feel comfortable gifting quite the same way. And I had thought about donating them as prizes in Gryffindor... but wasn't sure about that. So, instead, I listed them on Ravelry in Stash to be traded/sold.  They've been sitting there for a good year. It's not like there's a lot of yarn there... just one or two balls of different quality/type/etc. Some of them I did use to trade for the last Cleaning Wars prizes; and a couple of more are slated to go in teh next Cleaning Wars prizes sometime next month.

But what surprised me is that I've actually sold two of them, like within a week of each other.

It's not a lot of money - just $8. But hey. It's $8. AND I get to get rid of more wool from my house. How cool is that?!

My goal for next year is to eliminate all wool from the house as lately? Literally picking up the skein and moving it to another place with wool? Makes me break out in hives. It's got to be eliminated. So, I figure in January I'll decide what's decent enough to contribute as a prize. What's not will probably get thrown into a 'grab bag'... and I'll probably pick someone from my pride to send it as a random act of kindness.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Yarn Shopping

Quite a few online stores are having cyber Monday sales today. Quite a lot of them are offering 25% off or 30% off or even 40% off.

But so far? The deal that I couldn't resist?

Select yarn and tools are 50% off. And their prices are usually very reasonable to start with.

I had at one point two sweaters-worth quantity of yarn in my shopping cart. But only one of the yarns was at 50% off. So, I ended up deciding to move the non-sale priced yarn into my wish list instead.

So what did I get? I got enough sport-weight baby alpaca in a Heathered Indigo to make a sweater. Easily $150 worth of yarn (bought elsewhere); worth $100 at Knitpicks not on sale;  for $49.50.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

FO's - Julee's cowl

A co-worker had bought one of the charity hats originally intended for the homeless shelter... she plucked it right out of the donation box. I tried convincing her otherwise, but she insisted. I agreed for the sole reason that I could take the money to buy mittens/gloves for children for the donation box with the proceeds.

BUT THEN she proceeded to declare that she needed a matching cowl. sigh. I hate making things on 'command'. And it's for charity... which means more gloves and mittens... which should be a good thing. But, it didn't help much.

This should have taken only about two to three hours to make, max. It took about ten. It got frogged at least four times. But I finally finished it yesterday.

It doesn't help that it's made with Wool Ease Thick and Quick... which is a wool blend. Which I'm now pretty allergic to. I'd been able to work with it before; but after the Hat Time Trials a couple of weeks ago... not so much any more. Now, it's triggering my allergies to even pick up wool, let alone knit with it. (but it had to match - she said - sigh).

This cowl was knit with me taking my benedryl each time I picked it up to work on it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

November - mid-month Progress post

Ugh. Definite lack of mojo going on around here. This past week has been disappointing.

But here goes.

I posted last week that I exceeded my goal of 30 charity hats and managed 40 instead.

My OWL?  I'm onto the sleeves!  I still have a ton of work to do and not nearly enough time.


Ancient Runes - Changed my mind to do an infinity COWL with my corn yarn.

A new project I cast on for History of Magic - in honor of the booby... A bulky weight cowl for a co-worker who bought a charity-intended hat and wanted a matching cowl. I used the proceeds of the sale for mittens and gloves for the clothing drive.  And of course, because it has to match - it's in a wool-blend which means I can only work on it for a little while at a time. AND of course, because it's a paid order - it's not going well and I've had to frog it multiple times - and need to frog it again... sigh.

Not started yet:

Muggle Studies - assignment is to craft something inspired by games - a Mario hat for my 9 yr old son.

Headmistress Challenge - create swatches on the knook.

Charms - craft something to reflect a favorite season - a handful of mochimochi snowmen

Potions - that stubborn old TKGA Master Knitters hat that I keep procrastinating working on.

Flying - craft something inspired by a flyer - teddy bear....

Yeah. sad, I know. I knew that I'd have trouble making everything I wanted this month... but I didn't expect so much trouble with knitting mojo after that hat time trials.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FO's - and then some

Quidditch Hat Time Trials was a seven day challenge to make as many hats as you possibly can.

So I did nothing else except make hats for a solid seven days.

Saturday - I used Wool Ease Thick & Quick and started making child-sized versions of my basic Brioche watch cap.

But, I actually reached a point where I needed to take a little break from the pattern. I've rarely been tired of working brioche... after 100 hats last year and 40 hats earlier this year in this pattern - I still think that if I haven't gotten tired of it yet, I'm unlikely to. But, I did need a break and wanted to do some crochet.

So, Sunday - I started with a simple crochet hat pattern - still using the Wool Ease Thick & Quick. I adapted it for a child's size... but it was more involved than I wanted ... I was in the mood for fast and quick.

So, I switched to another pattern and whipped out a baker's dozen ... most of these were intended to be child-sized... but I was regularly distracted and ended up with several larger hats - perfect for an adult.

And then, my wrists got sore. So, it was time to switch back to knitting. Back to the brioche stitch. Sadly, apparently two dozen hats in wool ease in less than 48 hours was enough to kick off my allergies... lol.

So, between Monday and Thursday - I managed another handful of hats.... the remainder of these hats were knit with various worsted weight acrylics - held double.

Friday, I decided to kick it up a notch and did my best to exceed my own expectations... and landed with seven more.

Final tally - 40 hats. All of these hats are going to charity. My son took the first 33 to school with him on Friday for a school winter clothing drive... the last seven and the 40 I did earlier this year along with a few scarves and cowls are heading to a winter clothing drive at work.  Definitely fun and a stretch for me. A little nuts, but what good is being totally sane?

That said - nuts is relative. I'm not sure what the maximum number of hats knit for this competition was - but the biggest number I saw was 100... and I'm certain there were other, equally nuts numbers. 100 hats in 7 days? Yep. Nuts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weasley's Sisters Podcast

I was honored this week to be a guest on a podcast focused on the knitting competition I partcipate in... the HPKCHC on Ravelry.

My Ravelry ID is PennyIA which is how they know me....ergo, how I'm introduced.

Weasley's Sisters Podcast - Episode 51

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Planning

DETENTION - November 1st

I started a hat for the class I teach on making these hats on Oct 25th (first night of class).  And finished on the evening of Nov 1st (last night of class).

Yes, I know - it looks just like a few others I have made. This is actually the 50th charity hat I have made this year (and I'm not even close to being done yet).

Defense Against the Dark Arts - Create something from your own design.

Yet another hat - same style, new color. Hope to start and finish tonight.

Then, I'm going to work on my OWL for the rest of the evening (Velvet Morning)... here's where she was when we left off a little over a week ago.

Sadly the colors are a little washed out in this photo. It's so hard to take a decent indoor shot and honestly? The weather hasn't been that great to try an outdoor shot.

But then ..... starting tomorrow.....

I'm going to dive DEEP into the Quidditch Hat Time Trials.

My goal?

Are you sitting down?

30 Adult Hats for Charity in 8 days. I have from the 3rd of November to the 10th of November. I'd like to do the bulk of them this weekend. And I probably won't work on anything else all week.

Then, the next focus will be working on the OWL. I have to finish it by Nov 30th... and there's 40% of a sweater to work I will be busy!

I have NO idea if I will find time to do anything else... but if I need something to carry around and/or need a break, I will be working on the following:

Muggle Studies - assignment is to craft something inspired by games - a Mario hat for my 9 yr old son. It's crafted in two colors - then all the decoration is done with duplicate stitch afterwards, so it should be pretty portable until you are adding the colorwork.

Ancient Runes - craft with fiber containing a minimum of 50% cellulose-based fiber. I have some lovely corn yarn that has been itching to become something. I'm going to make a scarf for my daughter-in-law.

Headmistress Challenge - create swatches - I've been wanting to learn how to knook. And I can create ten sampler swatches that in the future could be seamed and turned in for detention as a scarf.

Charms - craft something to reflect a favorite season - I'm going to make a handful of mochimochi snowmen as Christmas Ornaments for my son's teachers for gifts.

Potions - that stubborn old TKGA Master Knitters hat that I keep procrastinating working on. It takes three colors (but doesn't specify which three colors) and the prompt is to craft something with a complementary color scheme.

Flying - craft something inspired by a flyer - I'm picturing a little girl in pigtails with her birthday balloons tied to the lawnchair getting carried away, but clutching a teddy bear. So now I can make a teddy bear that has been on my list for quite a while.

Yes, I know there's no way I'm getting through this list during the month of November.

There are a few items on this list that I need for gifts that can wait until December.... and there are a few items on this list that do not HAVE to get made at all, but that I'm eager to try to get to.

Basically, I'm going to be happy if I get through the Charity hats and the OWL. The rest of it? Just icing on the cake. And I'm pretty sure I can get through the pile of hats and the OWL as long as I make them the priority.

Half-finished sweater

Here's the latest shot of the not-yet-finished sweater.

I used a varigated or 'ombre' shade of the yarn to not be named for the yoke and a nice brown from KnitPicks Brava Worsted line for the body. 

I did end up extending the 'color' further down the body after separating off the sleeve stitches because I wasn't very happy where the line would have fallen. BUT then I chickened out and stopped when I finished the skein and didn't join a second skein in the ombre.

I'm hoping it'll still look fine in the end.

October - end of month wrap-up

Finished my Ambiette for Detetion - DONE

Quidditch food fight - Small steak for son - DONE
OWL - Velvet Morning - 50% done

Dye yarn for the gradient yarn for Fingering Weight sweater - Chromatic

(pre-October Planning) - Oct 6th -- turn this into Charms to get my yarn to blend in with my current rainbow colored stash

Herbology - Quick Hat #1 - DONE
Start (and hopefully get half-way through) said Fingering Weight Sweater (whole month) - For my mission of blending in with Muggles in the Order Mission

Start and finish - Avril in April (rav link) (whole month) -- still don't know what class this would fit into

Quidditch Endurance Challenge Ten baby- or preemie-sized hats for the Period of Purple Crying project - DONE
TKGA Submission Hat - Oct 13th -- still don't know what class this would fit into

Muggle Studies - Baby ball -- DONE
History of Magic -  Snowman stocking - DONE

Not previously planned, but what ended up happening instead:

 - Suede bracelet - turned in for Defense Against the Dark Arts (claimed it was a type of parasite that was trying to get into someplace dark and steamy like my child, but that we captured it).

 - Test Knit Hat - turned in for Potions as it was a nice gray with interesting texture and represented the smoke that comes from Skelegrow.

 - Finger Puppet converted a pattern to make an Ood from Dr Who. I turned this in for Ancient Runes as it bore a remarkable resemblance to the rune for 7.

Started but not finished:

 - Adult Yoke sweater

I just couldn't convince myself to work on the third sweater. I never did cast on. I went back and forth on picking a different pattern. I just didn't seem to be able to commit by casting on.   As it was, I only got about half-way through the adult sweater I finally cast-on in Worsted weight yarn.   Over all, I'm still quite pleased with my progress even if I didn't get started on my third sweater.