Thursday, January 31, 2008

I got my butt kicked by a pair of fingerless mitts last night!

The whole thing just bewilders me. I put on a movie and cast on for a pair of Axel Mitts and got the first one almost completely finished before deciding that they'd fit better and I'd love them a lot more if I went up a needle size. So I frogged and started over.

I couldn't get anywhere with my second try. I had holes in the thumb gusset. I messed up the ribbing across the palm.

I really want these mitts, so I'm going to try again as soon as I get some peace and quiet. There's no reason I can't do them -- especially since I already did it once yesterday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Sweater

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Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky,slightly more than 3 skeins
Needles: Denise size 10
Pattern: Oh So Cool (Creative Knitting, March 2008)

This makes the third sweater I've cast on and finished in January. They're children's sweaters, worsted weight or heavier, and mostly stockinette, but that still seems like an awful lot of sweaters.

I've got another one still on the needles for Leif, and yarn and patterns lined up to cast on three more for the other kids, and a few more ideas kicking around, not to mention those Mommy-size sweaters I'm going to get around to eventually...

This can't go on forever, but maybe I'll work my way through more of my acrylic stash before the weather warms up. Some of that has been following me around for quite a while, but my stash has definitely shifted over the past year or so. I've knit up a lot of the oldest stuff, yarn I bought for projects that were never going to happen because they were just bad choices. If feels good to have that stuff used up, but it's got me wondering exactly what my goals are when it comes to knitting down my stash.

I do want to limit my spending for a while, to only buy yarns that I really want or need. The yarns that will nag at me forever if they're sold out or discontinued before I get any. Or yarns that I'm going to use so quickly it doesn't matter.

I don't really care about reducing the size of my stash. I've go the space for it. I could probably triple it without totally overwhelming my sewing room. If I had to, I could squish it down into a closet, so even if I didn't have the room, I wouldn't be getting rid of my yarn.

It's not about reducing the size of my queue either. I don't look at that as an actual plan. It's more of a wishlist, and not one that I take very seriously. If I want to make a specific project badly enough, I'll get around to it. Eventually. As long as I don't get distracted by a plan to knit a cabled sweater for my friend's little lap dog. A sweater that wouldn't use up any of my stash, because I'd frog Presto Chango for the yarn....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

That snow they were predicting actually did get here -- eleven inches in our back yard according to my husband. I'm not planning on going out myself, so I'll take his word for it. My plan is to stay inside where it's warm and cross my fingers that no idiot drives into a pole and knocks out the power. Because if the power goes, the water goes, and then the pipes freeze... I'll just keep my fingers crossed and try not to think too hard about the possibilities!



As soon as I got that sweater for Heath done, I cast on a new one for Alex. Two and a half days later, I've got the front and back and most of one sleeve done. If I can figure out the math, I'd like to do something like this for myself with that lacey rib stitch pattern from the Quickie Cowls.



I finished my first mile of yarn this afternoon, way ahead of schedule and despite the fact that life kept eating up my knitting time. It was fun keeping track of how much yarn I used, so I think I'm going to keep it up for the rest of the year and see what the grand total is. Miles are a lot less depressing than grams! At least until I added up my stash and figured out how many miles of yarn I've got...that was scary.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I should have gone back while I had the chance

There was some potential here, but things didn't come together well. The pattern sucked, and I didn't make things any better by ignoring the little inner voices that warned me to turn back and find a better one. On the bright side, it oes fit. I would've made it longer if I'd been sure I had enough yarn, but the pattern called for five skeins which was what I had, and I was already making it wider.

So I wound up with a sweater that's a couple inches shorter than I'd like, and a leftover skein of yarn.

HPIM1481


And while I was sewing it together, Alex came in and oohed and aahed and told me she wants one just like it. I do have six skeins of green Denim Style that were meant for a baby blanket. And I could find a better pattern.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's been a hellish week. Nothing life-threatening or truly tragic, but enough is enough! I had hours and hours of potential knitting time yesterday, and I was so worn out I just sat there. It was pathetic.

Tonight, though, is going to be better. I'm going to try to finish the second mitten and maybe start another chunk of TriMiters.

The first mitten was sort of entertaining, and the Red Heart Strata does make nifty stripes, but that's its only redeeming quality. It's got the texture of Supersaver for about double the price. I've got one more skein in my stash and a hat pattern that I want to use it for, then I plan on being done with the stuff.

TriMiters -- I can't decide if this is fun or not! It's not hard, or all that fiddly, but it's got ends. More ends than you can possibly imagine. Four ends per triangle, six triangles per whirly gig thing, four of the whirly gig things... that's 96 ends right there! Not counting the solid triangles, which I'm sure will have ends of their own. I don't like weaving in ends, but I do want this bag.



Oh, and Farm Fresh is done -- and it fits! I'll post some better pictures soon.

HPIM1477

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some knitting projects are just hard to trust. I've got the front and back of Heath's Denim Style hooded sweatshirt done and a couple of inches of the sleeves. A couple of sleeves and a hood -- that should be easy, shouldn't it?

But I can't shake the feeling that this thing is going to bite me. First, the pattern hid. It's from the ballband and when I dug the yarn out to cast on, all of the skeins had patterns for other things. Except for one skein that didn't have a band at all. The pattern isn't available online, at least not that I could find.

I did manage to search my stash for a different color of Denim Style and one of those skeins had the pattern. The print is too faint to copy, so if I lose this scrap of paper...

It's not even a well-written pattern.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Now and than, I come across a thread about "things I would never knit." I don't think I've ever posted my own list, because when it comes to knitting I rarely say never. I don't expect to knit with beads and wire anytime soon, but I seem to be working my way through the rest of the list rather quickly.

I was never going to knit an Ipod cozy because I don't have anything to put in one. But Dad got one for Christmas and I couldn't think of anything else to knit him...

I was never going to knit a sweater with a blocky intarsia animal on it, but then I found Farm Fresh and gave birth to a little boy who is obsessed with chickens...



I cast on late yesterday afternoon and had the entire front and a sleeve done before I finally forced myself to put it down and go to bed. I got the second sleeve and about four inches of the back done so far today.

I don't know why I'm surprised by this. I did help Alex design a sweater for an actual chicken to wear.

Friday, January 11, 2008

UFOs aren't always a bad thing

I'm so glad I didn't rip this project out two and a half years ago!

HPIM1474


Pattern: Sunshine Pullover from the Summer 1998 issue of Knitter's
Size: 4
Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton (2 skeins green, less than half a skein of red)
Needles: Denise size 7 and 8

Both of the sleeves and the ribbing of the back were done before I decided I hated the pattern or hated the yarn or hated something far too much to ever finish it. Looking back now, I can't see what the problem was. Kitchen Cotton won't be my first choice if I happen to knit this pattern again, but other than that, finishing the front and back were easy.

What shocks me most is that before burying it in the darkest corner of my stash, I wrote down which size I was making and which size needles I'd been using. I can never manage that on projects I plan to finish, let alone the ones I'm ready to throw out!

Tonight I start the intarsia chicken sweater. I hope.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A mile? I can knit that!




The January challenge for Stash Knit Down 2008 is to knit one mile (1760 yards) of yarn between January 5th and February 19th. It breaks down to about forty yards a day. I can absolutely do that.

What'll make it more of a challenge is to use a mile of old stuff instead of the pretty new yarn I just bought last week. But I should be able to balance old and new projects and make it work. If not, I'm giving myself credit for knitting up the new yarn because a mile of yarn is a mile of yarn.

And I've been knitting up an awful lot of the old stuff lately. The three skeins for the Buttonhole Bag...the three skeins for the Sasquatch Shawl...the Knitting Needle Knitting Bag... If I keep this up, there isn't going to be much old stuff left. Except for the new stuff that'll have become old stuff while I was knitting the older stuff.

For this particular challenge, I'm counting anything I bought more than a year ago as old.

So far, I've pulled out some Denim Style to finally cast on a hoodie for Heath. The back is done, and I'm almost ready for the neck shaping on the front.

I've resurrected a cotton sweater that I started for Heath when he was the size that Quinn is now. I'm not sure exactly what made me give up on that one. Judging by an old blog post, it was some horror stories about the way cotton wears, or maybe some trouble I was having understanding the slip stitch pattern, or maybe the fact that Heath was obviously going to outgrow it before I finished. Whatever the problem was, I buried two sleeves and the pattern in the deepest corner of my sewing room in an effort to forget it existed. But, through some miracle, I'd written down what size I was making and which needles I'd been using. Now that's done except for the seams.

I've got the library book with the pattern for the intarsia chicken sweater checked out and I figured out where the yarn is. So far, I've had the yarn but not the book or the book but not the yarn. This time, I'm going to knit the thing!

Friday, January 04, 2008

I don't even know where to start. I'd planned an entry about my 2007 projects and that's coming, When I get around to it. I'd planned to write about Stash Knit Down 2008 and Cash for Stash. And then my best friend ambushed me with a huge bag of yarn the other day...

As excited as I am about it all, I can't seem to settle down enough to put things into words.

Last year, I tried to knit from my stash. I was successful for the first couple of months, then didn't do too bad for the next couple of months after that, then bought a whole bunch of yarn at the end of the year when the sales got good. I'm fairly sure I bought less yarn than I bought the year before, and I suppose it was good for me, but the whole time I felt like I was punishing myself. By the time it was over, I'd missed out on some yarns I really wanted for no good reason.

This year, the goal is to knit up a bunch of the yarn in my stash and maybe be a little more discriminating in my purchases. I'll try to shop my stash when I can, but if I find a fantastic sale, or a new yarn I'm dying to try, or I want to knit a project that I don't have the right yarn for, I'm going to buy yarn.

To keep myself sort of motivated, I joined Stash Knit Down 2008 on Ravelry, and also Cash for Stash. The idea behind Cash for Stash is assigning a set value to the knitting you actually finish (I'm allowing myself $3 for toddler sweaters, $5 for big kid sweaters, and $20 for mommy sweaters, etc.) and for working out/losing weight/whatever, then using what you've "earned" as a yarn budget. In theory, that could keep me knitting more yarn than I buy.

Mission Possible 2008 is a great idea, but too scary for me. I'm all for choosing twelve projects to finish this year, but no way can I commit to giving up the ones I don't get done.
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