Monday, December 31, 2012

final FO of 2012

   Just wove in the ends on what is my final knitting finish of 2012.  These little socks were a quick and portable project I picked to test out my first pair of Knit Picks nickel plated circulars and I can now say that I'm a convert.    

Pattern: Wednesday, Knit Picks Fancy Feet Anklet Kit
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Fingering
Colorway: Planetarium

I've been feeling under the weather and think I'll celebrate tonight by picking up a WIP and having a personal Netflix marathon.  It just started snowing in the last hour, and I think this celebration plan is perfect.  Happy and safe New Year everyone!  

in my mailbox this week

   While I was gone, several packages turned up in my mailbox; none of them containing yarn!  I did however, succumb to a few new (to me) charts.  Partly in anticipation of another 4 for $1.00 sale on DMC floss so I can fill out my floss collection (which was a success).

   The second chart from the CCN Santa's Village series, Poinsettia Place arrived from my auto-ship club, so I purchased the overdyed floss I'll need to stitch the next couple of charts.

   As it turns out, my first Blackbird Designs chart, Loose Feathers 2011 - Autumn, managed to fall into my cart with the floss I needed to stitch Poinsettia Place.  So for now, I'm planning on stitching this chart individually using the DMC conversions on some 32 count linen I tea (and coffee) stained myself.

   While perusing more Blackbird Designs charts, I fell in love with Winter Wonderland.  I have a soft spot for Canada Geese and instantly knew I had to stitch this piece.  I tracked the chart down and bought the other two charts from the Blackbird Designs series (Summer and Winter) to round out my collection.  These three charts should be arriving shortly.  I'm not quite sure when I'll be getting these done since I don't want to derail any of my current stitching or knitting plans, but they are mine!

   In other news, I got a new DSLR for Christmas, so it seems I can no longer blame my ancient point and shoot camera for bad pictures... now all the blame is on the novice photographer. :)

   Happy New Year!  I've already got my new stitching start ready to go tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

refining the plan and making some rules

   Since 2012 is winding down and 2013 is setting up to be a crazy year as always, I thought I'd put my plan down in writing to keep me focused in the new year.

   For the last few days of the year, I'll continue to try and get organized.  In particular, organizing my stash storage/office area and cleaning up my knitting queue.  It's hard being away from the stash (I'm still in California) because all I want to do is start swatching so I have more concrete ideas about what I want to make from my yarn stash.  I have my eye on a few patterns that might be perfect especially for some of the sweater-quantities of yarn I have.

   My primary knitting goal is to stash down.  I'd like to get my stash to live comfortably in the four allotted storage bins in my office instead of the overflowing mess it currently is.  

   In general, I buy yarn only if I have a specific project in mind (except for sock yarn… because it doesn’t count… right?).  So in order to stash down I need to finish the projects. In October I listed all of my WIPs. There were 11, but I’ve gotten that number down to 9.  I also added 3 new WIPs since then, bringing my total up to 12 WIPs. Eventually I’d like to have no more than 4 projects on the needles at one time.

2013 Goals:
  • Finish my current sweater WIPs (Cassidy and Miss BB)
    • I believe Miss BB is headed for a frogging, but I have another Chic Knits pattern in mind for the yarn.
  • Finish or frog all WIPs from October before buying any new yarn in 2013 (excluding finishing the 2 afghan projects)
  • Finish about 1 current WIP per month so I can start 2014 “fresh” with no WIPs hanging around from 2012 or earlier.
  • Knit at least 2 sweaters from my KP CM order (I bought 4 sweater quantities total)
  • Knit Peerie Flooers mittens from Palette

I am free to cast on a new project of any type from stash yarn for every 3 WIPs I finish or frog (each section of my Hue Shift Afghan will count as one WIP).

   Now that the goals and rules are public, I'll need to stick to them.  Here's hoping.

Monday, December 24, 2012

weekly WIP report

   One of these weeks I'll actually get to posting my weekly WIP report on time... but for now, I have a couple of things to show you.

   After finishing up Santa's House, I managed to put a few stitches into my April Cottage.  There is still a lot left to do, but any progress is progress.

Pattern: April Cottage, Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: 35 count Lambswool Linen, Wichelt (2 over 2)
Floss: DMC as charted

The color palette for this cottage is amazing!  So spring-like.  I can't wait to get a few more cottages stitched on this piece.

   At the Knit Picks Cyber Monday sale, in addition to all the yarn, I ordered a 40" inch US 1 nickel plated fixed circ which happened to fall into my cart on an earlier window shopping excursion sometime in the couple of months before the sale.  I tried to resist casting on something new before finishing another WIP or two, but I needed something portable to take with me on the plane.  After digging through my stash I pulled out some Knit Picks comfy fingering weight and cast on a quick anklet sock with my new needles.

   WHY did no one tell me how amazing the KP nickel plated circs are?  Clearly I live under a rock.  I have a few sets of Addis around and the KP circs are awesome.  The slippery finish is similar, except the KPs don't tarnish like my Addis do and the cable is of course amazing... all for about 1/3 the price.  Anyway, the point is that these anklets are a combination of perfect yarn, perfect needles, and an easy to remember and fun stitch pattern.  I took this photo yesterday morning, but after my flights yesterday the first sock and the toe of the second is already done.  Good thing I brought a second ball of comfy just in case.

Pattern: Wednesday Sock, Knit Picks Fancy Feet Anklets Kit
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Fingering
Colorway: Planetarium

   I'm going to try to use the last days of December to get myself organized and ready to go for the projects I want to tackle in the new year.  This includes documenting my stash down knitting plans and hopefully avoiding yarn purchases.  I also have a couple of new cross stitching projects on my mind that I need to get supplies for.   


Friday, December 21, 2012

stitching finish

I put the final stitches in this piece last night.  I guess all I needed to get Santa's House finished was a blizzard.

Pattern: Santa's House, Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: Wichelt Amber Linen, 32 count over 2
Floss: DMC and Crescent Colors as called for in the pattern

I'm so happy I got this finished.  What a bummer it would have been if this guy didn't make it in time for Christmas:

This was a really fun piece to stitch.   The houses always take the most time to finish because they are large blocks stitched solid and the color changes always take up a lot of time, but all of the other little details on the piece go really fast once you knock out the house.  At first I kind of dreaded stitching this little holly branch border at the bottom (especially as I'll have to do it 11 more times), but it turned out really cute and works up quickly.

It's a little sad that because I'm stitching these all together, I don't really have a finished piece to display yet.  But, since I finished Santa's House during December, I am on schedule to get the rest of the pieces finished before next Christmas!  Now I just need to stay on track and finish each piece on time.

While I'm waiting for Poinsettia Place to show up in my mailbox, I'm picking the knitting needles back up and will hopefully get a finish or two out before the end of 2012.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a white wednesday Christmas!

   After spending monday night wrapping Christmas presents, I managed to get Santa stitched last night.   Today I can't wait to get back home and finish stitching Santa's House.  Especially since this is today's forecast:

I don't think there is a more appropriate time to sit in and stitch a Christmas themed project than now.  I'm planning to leave work early today and will work from home tomorrow.  Anyway, I'm 100% sure that there will be a finish before the sky clears.  Then it's time to organize my knitting queue in preparation for my 2013 stashdown efforts.  For sure, I want to get my long hibernating WIPs out to see the light of day again so that, hopefully, I fall in love (lust?) with one or two of them again.  In fact, I might be tempted to do an entire stash flash... maybe.

Monday, December 17, 2012

weekly WIP report

   After all of the knitting FOs I completed this last week, I've been neglecting my cross stitching projects.  In fact, it seems like last week I just wasn't in the mood for stitching or that I just never got into a rhythm when working on Santa's House.  After finishing Peterborough, I rededicated myself to stitching on this piece so it would be done in time for Christmas (which really means done and photographed by December 22nd, the last day before I leave to visit family for Christmas).  Beginning on Friday, however, I held my own little stitch-in and stitched all weekend.  Here's what I have to show for it:

Pattern: Santa's House, CCN
Fabric: 32 count amber linen, Wichelt, over 2
Floss: DMC and Crescent Colors as specified in pattern

 Clearly, I am not a fast stitcher if it took me three days of monogamous stitching to get this far, but then I keep telling myself that Santa has a bigger house than any monthly cottage.  All that's left to stitch on this is Santa (of course), a Christmas tree, snowflakes, snow, and the holly branch border at the bottom.  Listing these of course makes it seem like I have a lot left to do, but that house is HUGE!  It really shouldn't take more than a couple of evenings for me to finish stitching the rest of this piece.

   There's been a lot of concern on the SAL blog about the lambswool linen being too light and visually losing the snowflakes and chimney smoke stitched in white DMC floss.  I purposely chose a darker colored fabric so the white snowflakes would pop.  I think the amber linen is working out great, I'm happy with my choice.

   As for knitting WIPs, I've been thinking about what I should take on my trip home for Christmas to work on.  I already know that I get next to nothing done when I travel, but hopefully after finishing Santa's House, I can get a start on the second sock of a pair to take with me.

Friday, December 14, 2012


   I am never taking this off.  Never.

  I'm always kicking myself for not finishing things that I end up really loving, sooner.  In the case of Peterborough, I had to deal with the yarn (it's lovely, but primarily cotton), worrying about running out of yarn, and the possibility that it might not fit once I've gotten all the pieces knitted and sewn together (as with all seamed sweaters).  Eventually all of these things had to be overcome, or really, I just had to quit being lazy and dragging my feet.  Thankfully, a Raveller sold me a couple of extra skeins in the same dye lot, so no issues with running out of yarn.  In fact, I only used 22% of one of those extra skeins, which is surprising since I had to add an inch in length to each sleeve.  That cable pattern up there was downright addicting, and of course this made the long sleeves (that I foolishly knit last) incredibly boring.  Add to that the length of the cardigan made for some really long seams to mattress stitch together and 50 gram skeins = millions of ends to weave in.

   But after nearly 10 months on the needles with a lot of down time in between it's done!  And it's perfect.  

   It's the perfect weight for a multi-seasonal piece.  The cotton/silk is heavy enough to be warm and cozy, but cool enough that I will most likely wear this all the time.  Bonus is that the sleeves are the perfect length.  I've never owned a store bought sweater or long sleeved top that actually fit as long sleeves on me, so it's always nice when I can custom knit something to fit to my liking.  

Pattern: Peterborough, by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Wach'i
Colorway: 1512 Cream

   Another plus is that this finish means I can now move 1765.5 yards of yarn out of my stash!  Even if the knit skeins were already out of my actual stash storage, that yardage is now officially removed from my stash yardage total.  

   This has been a big week for knitting FOs.  I think over the weekend I'm going to commit to getting Santa's House stitched.  If I don't finish over the weekend I at least hope to get it mostly done.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

another finish

   So I was on a roll with knitting super bulky after finishing bohemian, so I picked up another (should-have-been-quick-but-I-put-it-off-for-too-long) super bulky WIP.  This here is a cat mat:

Pattern: Cat Mat, improvised by me
Yarn: Loops & Threads Cozy Wool
Colorway: Velvet

Fashioned from a photograph from a pattern in a book that I wasn't able to find at my library.  It was really quite simple and even in its unblocked state as seen above looks great on my couch.  Ok, not really.  My couch is red and this clashes horribly, but it serves it's intended purpose which is keeping an excess of WHITE cat hair off my RED couch.  I now know that when choosing furniture it must be cat colored.  Live and learn.

   Each skein of yarn was only about 90 yards and I'm able to knit about 1 skein or so per day.  The problem is that I also had to use US 13 needles which are to say the least, not my favorite.  My hands feel clumsy and the weight of the needles make my wrists and the muscles in my hands ache.  It also seems to slow me down, making every stitch seem like one too many.  So, I'm glad to be done with this project.  I just need to remind myself every once in a while that super bulky yarn and I are not the best of friends.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

a bit of instant gratification

   After sorting through my stash and trying to pack my cyber monday yarn purchases into my already full storage bins I got the urge to use up some yarn and fast.  I opted to pull a skein of super bulky yarn out of one of the bins because it would open up a lot of space for relatively little yardage.  I searched through a few free hat patterns on Ravelry and pulled one up on my ipad.  And in less than two hours I had this:

A simple yet effective usage of some yarn that really didn't need to live in my stash any more.  I'm not really big on hats, but living in Nebraska, a girl needs to have at least one or two lying around.   Good news is that this quick FO got me motivated to get a couple of other things off the needles.  This week is turning out to be quite productive.

Pattern: Bohemian by Eva Stone
Yarn: Berroco Peruvia Quick
Colorway: Blue Nile

Sunday, December 9, 2012

weekly WIP report

   So many things have been happening around here and elsewhere while traveling lately!  I've made some progress on a few things and even a FO to tell you about, but I'll save that for another time (it's still drying).  Several things have been on the needles (or needle in some cases) over the last week.  Keep in mind that I was gone for 5 days and only brought one WIP with me.

   While I was gone, I did some more knitting on my On Hold socks.  But don't get too excited; by "some knitting" I mean I finished two pattern repeats.

Pattern: On-Hold Socks, by Wendy D. Johnson
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock
Colorway: Persia

Unfortunately, my luggage was left in Denver on my return trip, so I didn't get this WIP back in my possession until late Friday night otherwise this sock would have been finished! (just kidding)

   When I returned home I was ecstatic to finally get Santa's House in the mail!  So I immediately had to put a few stitches in my fabric.

Pattern: Santa's House, Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: 32 count Amber Linen by Wichelt worked over 2
Floss: DMC and Crescent Colors as called for in the pattern

   But by far the biggest project of the week was logging my Cyber Monday order from Knit Picks into my Ravelry stash.  Opening the box was a bit magical...

But then I quickly realized that I just added 8.5 lbs of yarn to my stash!  After pulling it all out, cataloging, and photographing it all there's a good argument that I'll need to cold sheep (no yarn purchases) through 2013.

There's enough for four sweaters/tops and at least three pairs of socks up there.  After attempting to pack it all away, I'm left with over stuffed storage containers and full bags of yarn that are escaping their allocated space on my limited shelf space.  I definitely need to work on stashing down or whittling down the amount of yarn I have on hand.  In any case, I'll have lots of knitting to keep me busy in the coming year.

   The reality check I received after taking a good look at my overstuffed yarn storage bins led me to start working on some WIPs that will quickly open up some room in those bins.  I worked a quick stash busting project that I'll show you later (once it's finished drying) and pulled out another WIP using super bulky yarn.

This is another Cat Mat that I reverse engineered from photos of a pattern in a book that I don't have access to.  Last night I finished up the first ball of yarn and will keep knitting until I run out of yarn.

   I'm hoping I'll make a lot more progress on some of these projects before the holidays.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

an almost weekly WIP report

   I've been a bit disorganized for the last couple of weeks and it seems like there isn't enough time to finish anything lately.  This week has been super busy at work and now that it's finally calmed down my schedule is about to be tipped over again.  So before I get on a plane for more traveling tomorrow I thought I'd give an update on the limited amount of crafting I've gotten done lately.

   I'm still anxiously waiting to get my first Santa's Village chart in the mail.  I'm crossing my fingers that it gets here today.  In the meantime I pulled all of my floss for the April cottage and even managed to put a few stitches in.  There's not much to look at yet, but I love the color palette for this cottage.  So appropriate for a spring cottage!

Pattern: Country Cottage Needleworks, April Cottage
Floss: DMV and Crescent Colors as called for in the pattern

   I've also managed to get a bit more of the seaming done for Peterborough.  I now have one sleeve sewed in!

   Slowly but surely, this cardigan is coming together.  I'm sewing it up at my dining table which doesn't have the best lighting and it's really not the most comfortable place to sit for more than an hour or so.  So this is slowly getting finished.  I will actually be able to wear it this year.

   Most of the knitting I've been doing this week has been on my Hue Shift Afghan.  I got three blocks done, which I really should have been able to finish in one night but... life.  

   I've got 10 blocks completed so far.  That's 1/10 of the blocks needed for the entire afghan (100 total).  This is definitely a long term project, but it's really fun to see the different color combinations develop.  I hate to say it, but I'm already behind on weaving in the ends as I go.  So I will need to catch up on those soon so that I don't doom the entire project to hibernating status.  

   And finally, over Thanksgiving I managed to start a new pair of socks.  I ended up ripping out my start on Almondine socks and started fresh with a new toe-up pattern.  This really isn't a new (to me) pattern because I've already knit a pair using this pattern, but it's a really pretty pattern that I think will look amazing in the Malabrigo Sock yarn that I've been hoarding for some time.  It's a bit sad to show this, but over the 6 days that I spent in California over Thanksgiving I managed to knit one toe.  

   That's it! That's all I managed to do over the entire holiday!  Good news is that I'm packing this pair of socks to go with me tomorrow, so hopefully by this time next week I've at least turned the first heel.  

   In other news, Cyber Monday was not good for my stash down goals.  It's beginning to look like 2013 needs to be a cold sheep year.  No unnecessary yarn purchases!
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