Monday, September 18, 2017

Gift Knitting

I can't be the only one who casts on for Christmas gifts in Januray. This year, I have a good little pile going. Unfortunately, I also tend to give away my gifts early and just gifted a shawl I made for Christmas for a birthday instead. And now I have one less present.
I've finished a few things, mostly socks but also a sweater, since I last wrote on here.
California is still pretty warm, and the thought of trying on the sweater just for a photo for the blog makes me wrinkle my nose.
So there was a series of events that led to me finding this mostly done sweater in my garage. Apparently, when I move, I'm not the most organized person. Although I keep a pretty stern rule regarding Stitches West and yarn buying (Do Not Purchase More Yarn At Stitches Unless the Yarn You Bought Last Year Has Been Knitted) I decided this February to forego the rule because this sweater, which contained the last of last year's yarn, was missing in action.
I was so happy when, cleaning out the garage in preparation for yet ANOTHER move, I found this sweater. I started working on it right away, setting aside my aran cardigan which is also nearly done.

Poor photo but the sweater is done! It's light and cozy, and it begs to be worn over leggings.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some July projects

I guess apparently I wasn't done knitting Christmas stockings. This one was for nobody in particular. I don't even like Christmas, but for some reason the large stockings are satisfying to knit. I like adding the designs with duplicate stitch, and I like how you only have to make one of them. I think next time I will incorporate some nice Norwegian patterning and keep it red and white. This one was done with Bernat 100% acrylic and I used some fluffy stuff from the stash for the Santa beard. A long time ago when my son was a baby, his paternal grandmother asked me to knit some stockings like this for the family. I guess whoever had previously knitted all of the stockings had passed away, and she needed to add some for my son as well as a few other new babies. She offered me $40, but I never took her up on it because I was intimidated by intarsia and I also never really liked knitting for money because it's usually not something I want to make if someone wants to pay me for it. Anyway, this stocking was OK to knit. I would make more. Not for $40 though! The original pattern also had two candy canes criss crossed at the heel front, but I added Santa in duplicate stitch and by the time he was done I was over it. Next time intarsia for the win.

Anyways something happened in June. I didn't knit a single thing. July certainly made up for it as I completed two sweaters!

This simple raglan sleeve pullover was made all in a week, sitting fireside. We went for a camping trip in the Henry Cowell Redwoods and I really enjoyed the simplicity of round after round of stockinette while the kids made bigfoot calls and chased eachother around and roasted marshmallows and went on hikes. I worked on the sleeves while we went on a night hike and someone commented they'd never seen anyone knit and walk at the same time! I laughed, "Now you have!" The neckline was finished on the drive home. It's for my son.

And look how well it fits him! (Excuse the bedhead- I swear he "brushed" it.) He unfortunately thinks it is itchy and actually refused to put it on until I offered him a candy... and a dollar. It is 100% acrylic so it isn't really itchy. He owns and wears itchier things. Oh well.

My daughter's jacket was completed too, at least the knitting part of it. I started it in February and realized in time that I had made a grave error in my maths and it was huge. Very very very huge. Like, fits her 6 year old cousin huge. (She wears a 2T.) Still, I persevered and the Tomten is complete. Since this photograph I have added an I-cord border, which looks lovely, but it's 110 degrees in California and I'm not going to make her suffer putting it back on for a photo. Besides, I have purchased some nice fabric to line it with, and still want to add a zipper. I told my mom, if I line it and zipper it then by the time it is done she will have grown into it! (I'm notoriously bad at finishing)

Look at those rolled up cuffs!! Poor thing can wear this thing for years!

I really actually like how it came out, although it seemed to take DECADES to knit. Garter stitch, man. It takes a lot out of you! But seaming it was really quite easy, and it's easy to keep track of where you are. Maybe (MAYBE) some day an adult Tomten is in my future.

Finally, I know I mentioned Bigfoot earlier. Well we found ourselves going to the Bigfoot Discovery Museum down in Felton near Santa Cruz and so what did I do? Find a bigfoot hat pattern!
Is that hilarious or what? My dad was a big fan of it. It's was too big for my head though.

Anyway, I've been keeping the needles clicking!
Happy knitting!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FO Tuesday

It's amazing how when you are knitting something because someone ELSE wants it, it kind of sucks the joy out of it.
Doubly so when the item in question is Christmas themed and it's June.

Two Christmas stockings done!!
I have cast on a blanket for my dad for Christmas, and I'm glad to be working on something I want to work on again.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Running Total for March

March Totals

Total in= 0 yards
                            Socks- 273 yards
                            Mittens- 50 yards
                            Bunny- 50 yards
                            Reflective- 83 yards
                            Slouch Hat- 260 yards
                        Total out=    716  yards
Monthly: I knitted 716 yards more than I bought :)
YTD: I bought 3,388 yards more than I knitted :(

I feel like this month wasn't a very productive month knit-wise which, with full time school and 30 hours of work a week makes sense. But not buying any yarn at all sure helped my totals. For April I am planning on finishing a pair of socks, knitting 2 Christmas stockings, and starting a sweater for my mom. No, I don't plan on finishing the Must Have Cardigan. It just takes up too much brain work for me to be working on it during this semester. I need mindless projects these days.

My favorite knit of this month was this slouchy hat I worked up during lectures on campus. It's added to the xmas pile, which so far is comprised of 3 hats and a cowl. There were two pairs of socks in the drawer too but they were both gifted for birthdays instead.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Plodding along...

WHAT?! I've actually pulled my Must Have Cardigan out of it's lonely corner hiding spot and begun to work on it again? Believe it or now, when you actually work on projects you begin to see progress being made. It's amazing, I know. My little progress keeper (right hand diamond, second cross down) shows where it was when I set it aside in January. Everything from there was knitted in 2 days' time between work and school and what have you.
So, it's nice to see that progress CAN be made, even on such a drab and dull and boring project as this.

I've started the second stocking project, and finished my mom's socks, although I don't apparently have any photographic evidence. So that makes 3 of my March goals down only 8 days in! I have also cast on for my KAL socks, and am making decent progress during lectures at school. Although, man! There are some speedy gonzaleses in my knitting group. One gal is done with one pair already!
I was quite proud of my partial sock until I saw that!
I haven't touched Penelope's tomten, but I have begun to run again in the mornings so I feel like that's pretty good news.

Everything else is going fine. My life is just... keeping on in the same old way. I'm beginning to feel hopeful that one day I won't be quite so broke and hopeless. Hoping that the future brings less hopelessness... that's odd isn't it?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stash Enhancement & Marching ahead

I ended up getting a few skeins at Stitches West this year after all.
I got four skeins of Miss Babs Yowza for my Dark and Stormy, a skein of "yarn love" in the colorway "Midnight in Paris" just because it's gorgeous, some Lazer Sheep in both "Bat Ram" and "Fantasy Sheep" (I already used up my Fantasy Sheep on a little hat and mitten set for Penny) and finally a lot of 10 skeins of Encore Chunky because it was a good deal.
I have so many knitting plans!
My goals for Febraury are all completed!
1) Finish Randy's birthday socks. 
2) Start Mom's birthday socks
3) Knit an Ombre hat
4) Knit a hat for charity
5) Start Penelope's Tomten

So now looking ahead to March I have a few more
1) Finish Mom's birthday socks
2) Do the Spring Sock KAL on Knit and Chat facebook group (Socks for Lauryn XMAS)
3) Finish Penelope's Tomten
4) Start second commissioned stocking
5) Work on Must Have Cardigan, which has been sadly neglected.

I have a lot of other things I'd like to add to the list, but I'm keeping it simple in order to see more strikethroughs next month.

I also have acquired a new addiction


Yes. I  have been making stitch markers. They're so addicting. They're so fun! They're so easy! Will I ever need all these stitch markers? ... Maybe! I mean, I lose them all the time! Ha. They sure are fun to make though.

Happy knitting.

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.