Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 goal-less-ness

2011 was the year of the hats. My charity goal for the year was 100. I made 101 (because I can't count).

2012 was the year of the sweaters. My goal was 12 tops for myself - I made 10. But I also hurt my wrist and was out of commission for over six weeks. I also set a charity hat goal of 40 - I made 80 (call me inspired).

2013 was the year of the blankets. My goals were posted yesterday. I didn't make my blanket goal. The problem was that my goals seem to still carry forward. I still had a sweater goal (which I barely made), but also a sock goal (not quite made either), and a charity hat goal (exceeded by 1, this time because I felt inspired).

2014? The outlook for 2014 is pretty hazy. I don't want to do a big goal. I'll still probably knit a lot. Right now I have a complex cabled sweater for myself in the plans... a hoodie for little 'a' in the plans... a baby sweater in the plans... some baby blankets... some charity hats. But, I think this year? This year... it'll be whatever inspires me at the time as opposed to doing x number of things.

2014 is going to be the year without a goal.


Random and inspired instead of regimented.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Review of 2013 Goals

I don't think I did too bad... for the most part, I accomplished a lot of knitting in 2013.

Here's how I did:

3 tops/sweaters for me - 3 done! Well, one still has an end to weave in, but that's intentionally waiting until February 1st.

I think the two-tone chevron top is my favorite of them all. But am thinking I ought to focus on making a few more long-sleeved ones, huh?

I also wanted to make 3 pairs of socks... but only managed two pair, and since the second pair were yoga socks (so no heels and no toes), they feel like cheating. I didn't hate them... but am not sure about making lots of socks again any time soon.

Though, in all fairness, I think I ought to be able to include the pair of socks I made for my son.... afterall, they do fit me perfectly (and don't have much growing room for his ever-growing feet).

I also had it in my head that I was going to make 13 blankets in 2013 (nothing like shooting high, huh???) But most of these were going to be baby blankets. And as always, there were still plenty of babies needing blankets, so I'm down to only one baby blanket at home right now (go figure). But, I only accomplished 9 blankets, with a few squares to make a 10th one... but not remotely enough squares for it in the end.

Then there was the goal to make 50 charity hats, I exceeded that goal, by just one. Not too bad, not too bad at all.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Another WIP whipped

Not the greatest photo, but I had to grab this quick while visiting my daughter-in-law since my phone (and only camera) died. I do have a web cam and tried that, only the shot was much worse. It's a pretty cute top. Not sure I needed as much 'flare' as there is at the hips, but I wanted some of the shaping... again, the pattern really calls for VERY slow color changes and long ranges before the next color and this yarn changed a bit faster, but I think it's still a cute way to use self-striping yarn in something not-quite striped. I'm sure I'll wear it in the spring and fall quite a bit as it does fit quite well.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Next WIP

Picked up the Mermaid Tee project... this was set aside in October when it was taking longer than I liked to finish it... and then I ended up having a baby shower invitation pop-up, so I ended up throwing together a quick baby blanket for the Quidditch this was intended for.

I should have totally taken a photo of the knit spaghetti before I started to pin it out... it looked like... well, it looked like rolled up, stockinette scraps.

I've pinned the items out as they were finished in October in the rough-shape of the schematic for seaming the parts together.

If I hadn't told you it was a shirt, I bet it would be virtually impossible to have figured it out.

The bottom half is the back (just needing one strip for under the left arm). The center is over the shoulders (just missing the sleeves). The top half is the front (just needing the strip for under the right arm and the two strips for the center front).

I've just finished under arm sections and have cast on and started knitting the front panels. Hoping to have them done by tomorrow night. A couple more days (give or take with the holidays) and I should be able to knit up the short sleeves. That leaves a TON of seaming - but it's an exposed seam, so the plan is to use single crochet to seam it up.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it again now. I just wish that the color changes were a little longer... but I think it's going to be a fun way to use self-shading color yarn and think I should have a finished garment by boxing day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Knitworthy little boy - and Mario

It's DONE! <>

Yes, it's done, DONE, DONE!

To be honest, the worst/hardest part was coming up with charts for the words and I'm not entirely thrilled with either panel. But all-in-all, I think it's going to be a great blanket for his bed. It's ALMOST, but not quite big enough to cover my queen sized bed.

I've got a few ends to tackle (intentionally left for maximizing points)... but it's been through the washer and the dryer and is currently stashed for putting under the tree. (please ignore the messy bedroom)

Unlike the star wars blanket from a couple of years back, this is much lighter weight and will work throughout summer months... whereas the star wars blanket mostly has to be put away to prevent him from sweating to death once it gets even slightly warm out. Good for this time of year though... :-)

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Long Haul

Some projects are a bit LONGER than others.

Sometimes it's a complete slog, but you really, really want the finished item.  Because in all honesty? If it's no fun AND you don't REALLY want the finished items, let's face it - those items don't get finished! In point of fact... the double-knit blanket? got frogged this last weekend. The yarn has been reclaimed and is destined to become something else. Don't know what yet, I have a couple of ideas and only time will tell.

Sometimes it's a lot of fun, but just immense amount of work. That's the current Mario Mushrooms blanket. Each section was fun... but each section took a lot of time. I did a 9-block section for an Order Mission (my first and only complete Order Mission in the history of Order Missions). I did a 15-block and 6-block section for half of my NEWT (my first and only complete NEWT). I did a strip, that was the equivalent of a 5-block section for the top a week ago.  I finished the last strip (another equivalent of a 5-block section) this week.

All the ends have been woven in - so after a bit of seaming and a few more ends woven in... we should have a finished blanket. Plenty early for Christmas! And being it's my last Christmas present to make, I'm feeling pretty good about that.

I have only four remaining WIPs on the needles:

1. Fingerless gloves from October - these really need to be frogged and restarted - so I'll wait until January to maximize points.

2. My Braided I-cord scraps rug... this is a long-term WIP. Fun to work on... lots of work. Funny enough, while it's simple enough knitting - it's always fun to see how the unexpected scraps of color turn out as I am adding them quite randomly - and by the tme you have three different random sections that then get braided - it's quite enjoyable. I do bits and pieces of it as I come up with yarn scraps. I originally was thinking this was going to be a five to ten year project. But honestly? At the rate it's growing - it'll be ready for use within a few years.

3. My Mermaid Tee. Over 50% done. Cast-on originally for Quidditch for a seeker position - but set aside and never turned in for anything as it was taking so long to make. And I needed a quick baby shower baby blanket - which I used instead to earn points. Probably about 20 hours left of knitting and another five to six hours of seaming. Simple, straightforward knitting. Boring. It's using a self-shading color change yarn which should make it more interesting... but it's really not. But put on a good tv show and I should be able to pound away at it. I was originally thinking I should focus on my fourth WIP through the end of the month... but it's kind of intimidating... so maybe I'll take  the easier project of the two to focus on for a bit.

4. My Chocolate Passion Cardigan. This thing was a bear. I kid you not. There was a chart with a repeat. Then there was cabling (which couldn't really totally be in the chart due to short rows) plus garter stitch. THEN there were short rows (not in chart) AND there were also increases (not in chart) simultaneously. I have two sides - left and right. And had finished one incorrectly and didn't catch it until I was at that point in the pattern on the other side and realized I had missed the increases. I wrote stuff down and set it aside in frustration. And now can't find my notes. I reprinted the pattern and have no idea where I am as far as the pattern goes on the side that is live right now.... so I'll probably frog back to the last 'recognizable' point. Yes that's in quotes and I probably overdo using quotes... but I'm seriously  doubting there is going to be a recognizable point (insert  quiet little stifled sob here). Hopefully I can figure that out and finish one side correctly. And hopefully based on that - I can figure out how much of the other previously finished side needs to get frogged and restarted. Add some sleeves to knit and some seaming and buttons... and maybe, at some point this might become a sweater. Originally, I had planned on tackling this first. And I really do think I'll like the finished sweater a lot. But, it's the kind of thing that needs peace and quiet. I don't usually get a lot of that. However, I'm taking several days off towards the end of the year... and it looks like my son is spending most of those days with his dad.

So... my plan of attack is to watch a bunch of Christmas movies with the boys after school this week... and see if I can't pound out the rest of the knitting needed for the Mermaid Tee. I could seam it this weekend and get it turned into Flexible Scheduling for Nerdwars. Enjoy the holidays - if my fingers itch - I can always cast on a couple of charity hats to work on. Then by boxing day...  after my son goes to dad's house... I can drag out the Chocolate Beast and spend a little time in quiet focus.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Still more Christmas gifts coming off of the needles

First, a ski mask... for little Aydan who REALLY, REALLY wanted a dragon... and when I offered to make him a ski mask instead decided he wanted BOTH a dragon and a ski mask....

This was made with Red Heart With Love... with a pattern I wrote as I worked it. I cast on the same number of stitches I would have for a hat, knit in K1, P1 ribbing for six inches (for a six year old) - older and adults, I'd go up to eight to ten inches...  Then I cast off half the stitches - for me, I used Jeny's Extra Stretchy Bindoff from Knitty. K1, P1, the other half of the stitches... then used Backwards Loop to cast-on the stitches I had just cast off. I knit in K1, P1 ribbing for a good inch or so... then changed to stockinette (disregard the one row of K1, P1 ribbing that slipped in there somewhere during a good part of the tv show I was watching. I knit it stockinette another four inches (would have done closer to six for an adult).  Typical hat-based decreases, I K5, K2Tog  repeat through end of row, K one row, Then I repeat each row decreasing the number of stitches between K2Tog until the last row which is just K2Tog all stitches.  Quick, fast and mindless knitting. Fun and bright... perfect for a little boy who doesn't like to freeze.

Second, a pair of simple socks. I used the Easy-Peasy sock pattern on Ravelry. Worsted weight socks are SUPER FAST - this pair is in some Hobby Lobby I Love this Yarn in Ombre print.

He's growing so fast, and he's had to give up several pair of outgrown hand-knit socks this fall. He loves these socks, though they are almost as thick as slippers... but they keep his toes warmer in winter, and what's not to love about a little boy who loves socks that his mom makes him?  I want to knit him dozens... lol.

Lastly a set of bells... these were made following project notes out of the left overs from  the Red Heart with Love yarn from the ski mask hat...

One for me, one for little 'a', one for big 'A', his fiance 's', her son the littlest 'a' and the rest will go to teacher's with the teacher's gifts. Super fast at only an hour or so to make each one. The only thing stopping me is that I ran out of jingle bells. I have added a jingle bell inside each bell as a 'clapper' so that when 'rang' there's actually some noise.

I love following the tradition of hand-making ornaments every year and gifting them. It was getting to be a chore at one time when the number of nieces and nephews getting them were getting a bit 'numerous'... but after cutting back to immediate family and teachers, I can start enjoying it so much more again. I love finding a new pattern. And while I enjoy the more tedious projects as well, you just can't beat something that turns out this cute and is so super fast! These were made with a thick worsted yarn and came out to about four inches tall, three inches wide... but I was thinking some fingering weight yarn? might turn out tiny bells? and wouldn't that also be soooo cute?!