Friday, November 23, 2012

planning part 2

Now here comes the knitting plans...

   I recently went on a bit of a yarn acquisition spree, ok really it was a binge, where I picked up my Hue Shift Afghan kit, the yarn to knit a pair of stranded mittens that have been in my queue forever, and some of the yarn needed to knit another pair of stranded mittens that I've made before.  And Cyber Monday is just around the corner!

   Since my WIP confession in October, two more items are now on the needles bringing my total number of WIPs to 13.  Ideally, I'd like to have a maximum of 3 WIPs going at one time with no hibernating projects.  So, for the remainder of this year and in 2013 I'd like to aim for paring down my number of WIPs.  For the moment, I'm trying to work only on the project closest to completion.  Keep in mind that I haven't had a knitting FO since JULY!  So it will be good to get a few finishes in the near future.

  I have several sweater quantities of yarn that have mostly been knit then frogged and a few sweaters lying around that I've been meaning to frog and make into something else.  I don't think I regret most of these yarn purchases since I could afford them at the time, and in exploring and trying out a few new yarns there are bound to be a few duds.  No harm no foul.  I would however, like to match up some of these yarns to patterns that might be more appropriate.

   As far as new yarn purchases in 2013, I'd like to severely limit my impulse buys but leave some wiggle room for things I make that get a lot of use.  Sock yarn is not (yet) a problem and I actually use the socks I knit, so I won't limit my sock yarn purchases including "vacation" yarn that I can't usually find in my LYS.  I'll also leave it open for things I need to buy in order to finish queued items especially ones that I already have some of the yarn needed.

   For the rest of 2012 I'm going to try to get my Ravelry queue in order and match the yarn I already own with the pattern I plan to use.  I will also revisit some of my WIPs and make some serious decisions as to what should be frogged and what will get finished up.

Here are some of specific goals and projects I'll be trying to finish in 2013:
  • Hue Shift Afghan
  • Miss BB
  • Norwegian Rose Socks
  • Peerie Flooers Mittens
  • 6 pairs of socks (from free patterns or patterns I already own, and preferably from yarn I already own)
  • At least two sweaters in addition to ones already planned from existing stash
  • Bring the number of hibernating WIPs down to 6 or less
   This year I think I really want to stick to the plan more than have tons and tons of finishes.  With all the cross stitching I'm planning on doing as well, I'll have to stick to the knitting plan to see my WIP situation improve by this time next year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

weekly WIP report

   This week was surprisingly productive considering the amount of work I've got going on.  The semester is nearly over and it's good to get a little boost when dealing with stress with some visible progress on the things I can control... my WIPs.

   Early in the week I got a few more squares on my Hue Shift afghan completed.

   It will be good to get into more of the brighter colors.  I purposely started with one of the darker colored segments to get those out of the way.

   I also managed to spend a few hours restitching my January Cottage.

   Now that the bulk of the cottage is finished, there really isn't a whole lot left to complete before I can move on to the April Cottage.

   The biggest news of the week is that the knitting on Peterborough is finished!  Now comes all of the seaming and weaving in the ends.

   I'm a little embarrassed to say that the last of the final sleeve took less than two evenings to finish knitting, soak, and block.

   My sleeves are still pinned out and are nearly dry, but you can see that in the meantime I got a start on weaving in ends and seaming the shoulders and back of the neck together. 

   I love using Mirasol yarns, but the one downside is that the skeins are so short.  I believe I used about 16 skeins to finish the knitting on this and that makes for a whole lot of ends to weave in.  Hopefully I can break up the seaming into chunks so I don't get too burned out on this.  I doubt I'll get it finished before I leave for the Thanksgiving holiday, but the good news is that it should be finished when it's still cold enough out to wear it!

Oh, and after finishing up knitting Peterborough, I managed to cast off a sock.  Now to find the motivation to start the second.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

planning part 1

   It's getting late in the year and I've been thinking about my plans for projects to finish out this year and things I'd like to tackle next year, both for knitting and cross stitch.  I'm sure I will further refine these plans as we get closer to the new year, but its been on my mind, so I might as well go with it.  One thing I'd like to accomplish this next year is to reign in unnecessary stash "acquisitions."  I'd also like to keep motivated when it comes to my big two cross stitch projects (including the upcoming Santa's Village) and work only knitting projects that are planned ahead and mostly from my existing yarn stash.  The primary goal being to bring my knitting WIP count down.

  So here's a bit about my cross stitching plans for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.  It seems that I need to publicly post my plans and deadlines to keep myself honest.  It is far from foolproof, but here goes anyway.

Currently Planned:
   I'm already set up to start stitching Santa's Village in December as the first chart should be shipped to me after Thanksgiving.  I've joined a stitch a long, so hopefully I can keep up with the series and actually finish a piece of Santa's Village every month.  That's my goal.  I'll also be working through the remainder of the monthly Cottages, probably irregularly but I expect and hope to be finished stitching all cottages by the end of 2013.

Planned Stash Growth:
   I'll need to add to my floss collection to get both of these series finished and I'll keep an open mind if I see a new pattern I must have in 2013.  I already have a large one in mind, but I keep reminding myself that it will still be around later and I have plenty of stitching to keep me busy in the meantime.

   I should work up a list of old cross stitch WIPs that are lying around that I should work on as well.  I believe there are two or three Dimensions kits sitting around that I have started and not finished.  However, my cross stitch projects are no where near as out of control as the knitting projects are, so a few WIPs on the list are not an immediate issue that I'll focus my time on.

   All in all I feel these goals are reasonable, but this is before the knitting is considered.  The knitting plans are ambitious and will come soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

weekly WIP report + a new start

   I spent a couple evenings this week ripping out my January Cottage so I could start over.  That limited my stitching time this week.  After spending one night stitching my cottage is starting to take shape again.

  A New Start

  This week I indulged a bit in the yarn department and received two yarn orders in the mail yesterday and I had to cast on immediately.  I got caught up in the hype surrounding Knit Picks Hue Shift Afghan and decided I needed one of my own.  Luckily I ordered my kit on Monday night before they sold out.  I've never knit with 100% acrylic yarn because I was afraid of all the negatives everyone cites (rough, squeaky on the needles, etc.) but I am impressed with Knit Picks Brava yarn.  It is really soft and I get no squeak using bamboo needles.  This pattern is a combination of many things I dread knitting (acrylic, a blanket, garter stitch, and others) but this is a really fun knit!  I'm glad I indulged.  

   I really shouldn't drop my other knitting WIPs for this, but this afghan is addicting.  Can't wait to see it grow. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

back to January

  Remember my January Cottage?

Well, this is what it looks like now.

   It's gone.  

   My stitching has improved since I began stitching my cottages.  So much so that I would never quite be happy with my January cottage especially when its been stitched alongside all the other cottages.  Here are a few of my problem areas:

   The most noticeable mistake is that I miscounted and began stitching my cottage one stitch higher that it should have been.  Of course I didn't notice until the cottage was nearly complete and my snowman was halfway done.  I had hoped that I could make a quick fix by adding in another row of snow below my cottage that would line up with the rest of my cottages, and not be too noticeable.  From a distance it isn't, but it's (in my view) a glaring mistake that I just can't ignore.  

   The stitching on my snowman and especially on the roof of my cottage is pretty ugly as well.  So that plus my counting error made my decision to rip out relatively easy.  It took me a few evenings to rip it all out in between working on other things.  Ripping out is definitely not as satisfying as stitching.  So, I guess the moral of the story is to trust your gut when you find a mistake that you know you can't live with and rip out sooner rather than later so you can spend more time stitching.  

   After all the time spent undoing my stitching, I'm eager to get back to watching this project grow.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

March Cottage

is finished!

Pattern: March Cottage, Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: 35 count Lambswool Linen, Wichelt. Worked over 2.
Floss: All DMC colors suggested by pattern

   This cottage stitched up fast, mostly because of the detailed windows I think.  I wasn't stitching large areas of green for the cottage so it seemed to fly by.  Plus those sheep are adorable!

   I'm sort of on a roll with stitching cottages, so I'm not sure I want to put this piece down yet.  But I need to get going on some knitting projects.  So, we'll see what I focus my attention on next while I'm awaiting the start on Santa's Village.  

   Looking at my finished cottages, I've decided that my January Cottage needs to re-stitched.  It will break my heart to rip out the entire cottage plus the snowman and tree, but I'm just not happy with my mistake and the easy fix I made.  Also, my stitching is pretty subpar especially on the roof of my cottage and on my snowman.   I should rip out and start over right away, so I can get it over with but (and there's always a BUT) it would be a lot easier to stitch a few more cottages before going back to January.  Decisions.... decisions.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas everyday

   I've committed to another monthly series and my first stitch-a-long.  This time, it will be Christmas all year long!  Country Cottage Needleworks is releasing a series of 12 charts entitled "Santa's Village" and I couldn't resist the tiny Santa in the sneak peek.

Country Cottage Needleworks, Santa's Village image found here.

   Each of the 12 pieces flow into the next, so I'll be stitching them all together on one piece of fabric like my monthly cottages.

    I filled out my floss collection with the colors I didn't already have and I ordered a piece of 32 count Amber linen by Wichelt.  I knew I wanted to go with a darker fabric than what the pattern calls for because I really want the white (snowflakes!) to pop.  Not sure I'm sold yet on this color, but I'll wait until I see the first chart ("Santa's House") before I decide but its growing on me.

   I'm super excited already and the first chart won't be released until the middle of the month! I guess I'll have to keep working on my cottages to pass the time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

weekly WIP report...

and a tragedy.

   This week I spent most of my evenings working on my March Cottage.  I've got to say that I wasn't really sold on the colors before I started, but the combination makes for a really cute cottage.  I think this is my favorite cottage so far.  Here's a preview.

Pattern: March Cottage, Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: stitched over 2 on 35 count linen from Wichelt - lambswool
Floss: all DMC colors provided by chart

   I've also spent a couple hours working on Miss BB.

Pattern: Miss BB, Chic Knits
Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Sawya
Colorway: 1800, Black

   I've gotten to the point where my cable pattern for the upper back is set up.  I can knit up nearly an entire ball of Sawya in just a few hours if I can manage to focus on this project.  So I know that this pattern knits up quickly, but life gets busy and I'm trying to stop feeling guilt over neglecting certain projects sometimes.  I suppose its a bit of perfectionism, but isn't a hobby all about de-stressing?  My projects are really just for me and this isn't a competition after all.  Anyway, I'm still working on 'getting over it' and letting some of my high expectations go.  

   In other news...
Somehow I've corrupted my photo library and can't access any photos from before the ones included in this post.  And of course, my external hard drive is at work.  So hopefully on Monday I can restore it and get 6 years of pictures back!  In the meantime, thank goodness for flickr. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

handknit wardrobe

Otherwise known as what I wore today or look what I made.

Pattern: Nespelem, Berroco: Norah Gaughan Vol. 8
Yarn: Berroco Pure Pima
Colorway: 2263 Caneel Bay

   Today I'm teaching and although I don't need to dress formally, I'm close in age to my students.  So I try to look a bit more put together than jeans and a t-shirt.  Today however, is pretty casual for me.  I'm wearing Nespelem, designed by Norah Gaughan and knit with Berroco Pure Pima.  This pattern came from the same collection as Peterborough (of which I'm still working on the last sleeve) and is one of my favorites.  I knit this more than a year and a half ago and I still love it.  It probably doesn't get as much use as it should, especially since it's such a versatile piece.  I should change that.

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