Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tomten

I've been knitting a lot of garter stitch.
I bought the pink and white yarn for this Tomten Jacket in Colorado in October. It was meant all along to be a tomten jacket, but I had forgotten how much yardage garter stitch eats up. After the third white stripe I realized that there was no way the yarn I had would cut it. I was using Plymouth Encore, which is a 75% acrylic 25% wool blend so I dug through the stash and found some spare partial skeins of wool-ease, which is a similar fiber composition. The dark purple and red are wool-ease. But as I continued and thought about the hood and the sleeves I decided to add some of the light purple too, of which there is plenty in the stash. It is 100% acrylic and matches ok texture-wise.
I never sat and thought "hmm, why is this baby cardigan taking so much damn yarn?"
If I had, I might have realized it's a behemoth of a thing.
(I had to bribe the kid with chocolate for this photo and even though all the ends are woven in now and the hood is complete, I'm not going to try for a better photo until the sleeves are done.)

As you can see, it is HUGE. Like, hilariously large. Like, it fits my 5-year-old niece and it's made for my 1-year-old daughter. To be fair, I'm making it in advance of Christmas next year for her. So she has a lot of growing to do, and since it's garter stitch it should fit for basically ever.

And it sure means I've knit up a lot of yardage! Three full skeins of encore plus about 1.5 skeins wool-ease, plus one skein of the acrylic probably adds up to about 900 yards so far. That's not even counting the sleeves! (must add here that the yarn is held double)

On a side note, I have decided to skip Stitches this year because of a few hiccups in life. Namely, my husband is currently unemployed and I just don't have the extra $$ to be throwing down on yarn. Secondly, I still haven't knit the yarn I bought last year at Stitches and I don't feel right getting more until I at least knit up the cashmere. And third, I'd really like to actually attend classes at stitches and not just the market. Finally, we bought a trailer and might be living in it temporarily some time in the next year and I would really need to downsize the stash in order to make that do-able, not upsize.

In other news, my town may be evacuating due flooding soon. The next town over has been affected but so far our levees are holding up ok.

I'll share more soon.

Happy knitting!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ombre Hat

I cast on and completed this hat day before yesterday. The free pattern is here on Ravelry. I really think I might make a few more of these hats. This one had a few issues with gauge. Mostly, I used a size 7 needle when I should have used 8s but also I used two very different yarns and the white is much thicker than the maroon so the top feels thicker than the bottom.
I haven't decided if this hat is going to be one of my charity knits or if I'm going to save it and give it to someone for Christmas.... I'm leaning towards charity because it's easy-care and I have a goal of knitting 15 charity knits this year.

I can't wait to cast on something new. I am almost done with Randy's socks- I started the toe yesterday at school and should definitely finish that up on Monday. My must have cardigan still awaits, but I am finding it difficult to have "proper" knitting time. I have a lot of sitting at school knitting time, or quick lunch break knitting time, or end of the day my brain hurts too much to think knitting time. But not much time for crossing rows off a chart and making sure all the cables twist correctly. I got a head start on my homework tonight and I have tomorrow off, so maybe I can work on it a little then.

I am going to be knitting two more Christmas stockings next month, and I have a baby hat to make for a friend... another friend wants a unicorn hat... so many projects, so little time!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

January Review an ongoing WIP and my newest FO

Well, the first month of the new year has gotten away from us.
I just reviewed my purchases and finished objects and found good things!
I bought 1200 yards of new stash, and used up 1549 yards.
I made a cowl, which will be a Christmas present.
I made a Christmas Stocking, which was a commissioned knit for next Christmas.
I made a GORGEOUS beanie, that doesn't quite have a destination yet but it might be gifted next year too.
And I made a sweater for my daughter.
So 4 projects total for the month of January.

My goals for February are:
1) Finish Randy's birthday socks. (His birthday is in March)
2) Start Mom's birthday socks (Her birthday is in April)
3) Knit an Ombre hat
4) Knit a hat for charity
5) Start Penelope's Tomten

I've also been working on something of a different nature: A knitting journal. I had initially meant to take a video flip through for you guys, but my kids kept barging in on it; they always have to be the center of attention.
I am using templates from Kathrynivy.com, and filling out my project details as I go. It's proving to be quite fun! I used to do this ten years ago in a blank craft paper book, but it was so sloppy and unattractive I gave up on the idea.
I find the binder to be neater and easier to keep organized and attractive. Plus I'm using sheet protectors so I can slip in the whole pattern if need be.

Finally, I started and completed a sweater. My Must Have Cardigan is waiting in a bag, but the cables are too fiddly for relaxing and multi-tasking. I like to knit while I read my textbooks and I like to unwind at night knitting and watching TV, so I dug through my stash and found a few skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, and cast on for Nutmeg- a free pattern on Ravelry

But it evolved into something that was not nutmeg. I tried it on, and while it was warm and cozy, it was lacking something and I still had yarn. So I picked up around the neckline and knitted up a hood. That helped some, but now it definitely needed a pocket. I made the pocket in just about a half hour, and then it was complete! I cast on this project on January 30 and completed it February 9. Not bad for someone who goes to school full time and works part time! I wish I could get that kind of almost- instant gratification with every project I knit.


I should find out tomorrow whether I have the weekend of Stitches West off of work. If I do, exciting! If I don't, then another goal for February is to not buy any new yarn. I truly have plenty.

Just look at that pile of yarn!

Lol

As always, happy knitting!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stash Busting!

I have never really been one to go on a "yarn diet." I find that for me there is simply no good reason to try to curb the influx of wool into my house. It's what I like to do and there's no way to overdose on yarn, die from yarn, hurt others with my obsession with yarn, or harm myself with yarn. I don't ever buy enough to put me into debt and I am very clever about finding room for more of it (goodbye trunk space!). So ultimately, I usually just buy as much as I can whenever I can and have often inwardly scoffed at other knitters' attempts to curb their purchasing habits.

But, alas, all good things must come to an end. I went through my stash and found out a few irritating truths:
1) There is a lot of yarn in my house
Now this shouldn't be an irritating truth because obviously, I like yarn! I like knitting and yarn is like my soul string. It's what all my good feelings are made of! But, unfortunately, if I continue to buy  yarn without using up some of the yarn I already have, I will inevitably run out of room for yarn. And with us moving soon to a smaller place I really don't have a lot of room for yarn. So, it's either use it up or donate or get rid of it and seriously I bought (most of) this yarn because I loved it and wanted to use it.
2) The amount of yarn that I DON'T want is incredibly small
There is one bag of things I COULD donate. And it's a very small bag.
3) A lot of this yarn I have toted around for YEARS
The oldest yarn is the yarn I'm the most sick of seeing and I think it should go first. And by go I mean be knitted up.
4) I have some really nice yarn!
I have anzula, malabrigo, koigu, beautiful hand-dyed skeins from local spinners...why am I not knitting this stuff up?! Why do I instead rush off the the store to get a sweater's quantity of some cheapo acrylic for the umpteenth time?
5) That bag of teeny tiny little scraps
What in the heck am I supposed to make out of them?! I've been researching scrap afghans but honestly I don't really like how they look. I don't want to do a cozy memories or a log cabin type one, I hate weaving in ends, I don't want to crochet one even though it would be quicker, I guess they are just doomed to sit there on time out and think about what they have done.

 

Anyway

I did work on a hat from all stash. Be proud.

(Yes unapolgetic snapchat filter photos. Why wear makeup when I can just use snapchat!?)
This is the siksak hat It is a free pattern on Ravelry and it was perfect for a little bit of stash busting. I used most of a ball of Patons Classic Wool for the beige color. (Leftover from my fair isle cardigan I made a few years ago) and everything else was scraps of patons as well, except for the orange which had no ballband and was I think Ella Rae from a Tuesday Morning sale. This hat is excessively long, proof again that I really should do gauge for hats, but I actually quite like how it looks. I will definitely end up making another one out of different colors eventually. And honestly the turn up brim makes it SOOO warm and cozy. If ever I knit hats for the homeless this is the pattern for it! The brim, by the way, was also the most boring and horrible part to work on. ah, life.


So then I worked a little bit on my Must Have Cardigan, and worked a little bit on a boring pair of socks in progress, both of which I don't have pictures of because they are boring. (The socks are all black, and a vanilla pattern. For the husband. I'll share on completion) Then I went back to my stash for another quick little stash buster.

My daughter was in want of a cardigan. And I had a random ball of I'm really not sure that I had purchased just for the express purpose of making her a sweater. Only, I knew it was enough to make a sweater for her THEN, when she was 100% still inside my body. Now she is over a year, and I worried the ball wouldn't be enough. Surprise: it wasn't.


So I got a little fancy with the collar, pulling another ball of stash out and working up a little short row collar. Which looked funky of course, so I added the pockets.


I almost frogged it before I got the pockets on, but once I did I realized it was turning into something quite unlike I had expected and I suddenly decided that it needed embroidery. (I never embroider so this was quite unusual.)


Ahhh the little blanket stitch. I stayed up well past midnight wanting to get this done for Finished Object Friday. (I did!)


And finally a little daisy on each pocket.

The sweater- a frankenstein modge-podge of stash yarn and hopes - actually amazingly FIT my daughter (after I reached the underarms and started running out of yarn, I abandoned the regular pattern of decreases and just did whatever I could to conserve yarn and keep some semblance of sweater-shape so I was shocked it worked out ok) and looks stinkin' cute on her.

She, of course, pulled it off in a fit of rage after about 3 hours.


At any rate, I'm pretty impressed with how much I've worked from stash so far. There is so much yarn in my stash I'm sure there is plenty to knit without getting bored! As of now, I'm working on (aside from ongoing cardigan and socks) a very old project: a crochet baby blanket I started for Penelope but which now has no intended recipient.

Oh and I started a knitting journal! This was right before I FOUND my old one from high school which is hilarious.

I can't wait to share that with you all. I'm planning on making a video.

Happy knitting!



Friday, January 6, 2017

FO Friday: GAPtastic Cowl

I cast on for a quick and easy project on January 3rd. I had to get some yarn to make a commissioned Christmas Stocking, and it was the perfect excuse to shop the Joann yarn sale. I've never been much for novelty yarns, but I found these skeins of Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky with Sequins that just really struck me as the perfect yarn to make something for my step-daughter. Now, Christmas managed to sneak up on me this year but next year it won't! I cast on for the Gap-tastic cowl and was finished by January 5th.
I used 3 skeins, which was not enough for the full 15" but it still looks fine. I had to play a bit of yarn chicken at the end, but I think I did a pretty good guesstimation for how much yarn I would need to bind off!


It's sparkly and soft, and I really think she will like it.... of course, I have to wait a year to find out!


I didn't weave in the ends so that I wouldn't be tempted to give it to her early. Also, that way come Christmas I will feel like it's a new project. Also, I hate weaving in ends.

I did start the commissioned stocking too.


I'll share more soon.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

FO: Penny's Oversize Sweater

So I finished up an adorable little sweater for my daughter the other day.
There is an adorable oversized poncho pattern called the Azel Pullover that has been incredibly popular lately. Again and again, adorable renditions of this little sweater have been produced and shared on "Knit & Chat," my favorite Facebook group. As much as I appreciate the look of the design, I am on a tight budget and don't buy patterns very often. As in, I have purchased 17 patterns on Ravelry and have been a member since early 2009. So really, not very often. I'm more likely to try to figure out how it is knit by the picture and attempt
 to replicate it myself. I liked the oversized look and large collar of the Azel Pullover, but didn't have a big selection of bulky yarn and wanted something a little more interesting to knit- thus this little sweater was born.

Using a cute cabled design from the little book Fabulous Knit Aran Stitches, called Framed Bobbles, I knit along and made basically a big rectangle with a cast off section for the neck. Fold that puppy in half, seam up to the armholes, pick up the turtleneck and BAM! Cute oversized sweater!
I did work some decreases after the initial neck bind off to give the neckline some shape. The only thing that kind of irritated me was that I didn't end the diamond at a point, but I knew that once I picked up for the neck you wouldn't really be able to tell.
Can you tell? Not really, huh.
My only real regret is that I didn't use Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off. I definitely will the next time I do a turtleneck. It fits her fine and everything, I just think she would have appreciated some extra stretch.

My Ravelry page gives a little info too.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

I hate Christmas.

There, I said it. Shock and awe, omigoodness. But it is true. I told my mom this year my true feelings on Christmas and she didn't believe me- I am a good actress, I suppose. She said, "But Ceci you are the one that always gets something for everyone!" It's true! I knit for loved ones, I bake cookies, I sing the songs, and I buy presents all year long so that on Chrsitmas something will be under that damned tree. That cursed, stupid tree, that doesn't belong in the effing house. It's an unpopular opinion, I know. But I hate the songs, I hate the season, I hate the shopping, the wrapping, the gifting, the baking, the smiling, the decorating, the hot cocoa, all of it. Says the girl who just knit 5 Christmas stockings and then trekked to the store to buy all the goodies to fill them all up. (I did get myself a few pairs of knitting needles to chuck into mine though so that was nice.)

But, what's important is that this- THIS- is the most wonderful time of the year. Now. The day before Christmas, when it is what it is and it's over soon, and your husband comes home at his usual time and you notice that it's still light outside which means the days are getting longer, and talk starts to drift away from Christmas plans and towards new year plans, and you know that Christmas is going to be over and the New Year is going to begin and everyone is going to make the same old resolutions to lose weight and be a better person.

I love making New Year's resolutions. I always make the same kind: Workout goals, and Knitting goals. For workouts, this blog doesn't care, but for knitting---- I have some tentative plans, and they all include the blogosphere. I want to blog more often, share more pictures, put more lame videos on youtube, knit more swatches for my Super Stitches Knitting project, finish more works in progress. I love New Years because it's full of hope. And you don't have to look at your failures until just about Christmas time next year. Haha

I'm making lists and dreams, and I'll share them all in due time.