Clearing Out the WIPs

Holiday knitting wrap up coincided with the end of a number of test knitting projects. Also, hopes that the weather might actually turn colder soon prompted me to finish up a project or two that had been languishing. So, my WIPs and UFFOs are dwindling! More on that later as stuff is blocking. I will tell you that I spent a long time making two very awesome pompoms.

In the meantime, I actually ran out of stuff to knit. So, to ignore the huge number of ends I need to weave in on a couple of projects, I started a new project. I’m making a Betsey shawl using one colorway of Ella Rae Classic Sand Art. I have four skeins of it and have knitted through one already. I’m planning to just keep going until I run out of yarn. So far, I like how it’s turning out:

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I have several projects on the horizon, of course. I’m doing a stranded colorwork raglan sweater test knit (for the kiddo), a shawl test knit out of some gorgeous madelinetosh tosh merino light in beautiful filigree, and three (yes, I know) other tests that aren’t due until March. Plus, a few random things for a few random people, some projects I’m interested in for their own sake, and who knows what else?

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Happy knitting!

 

 

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FO/WIP Drive By

Merry Christmas, if that’s your thing! Happy whatever-your-thing-may be, if not! Our daughter was declared illness-free this morning, so we went up to my wife’s family’s Christmas festivities today after all (they do their main stuff on Xmas Eve). I’ve spent the past couple of days getting stuff finished and blocked in time for gifting, so I have a ton of pics to share. I won’t do a full review of each project, but you can click on the photos to link to my ravelry project pages if you want more info.

Here goes the pretty!

The Color Dipped Hat is done and gifted!

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A Barley hat in Noro!

And some Honeycomb Mitts to match!

And…major progress on my Capitals Hat:

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The knitting is all done. I need to add some duplicate stitch so that the letters are complete and the stars have five points instead of four. Then, the weaving in of the ends. Oh yeah, and a pompom!

And, just because it’s my first stranded knitting project, here’s the obligatory WS shot:

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I think I managed to keep it loose enough. There are a couple of places where my floats are a little TOO loose, but I’ll be able to adjust those some. I am really, really happy with it and the recipient, who saw it in progress tonight, seemed happy with it too. Sweet!

In health news, I had facet blocks (nerve blocks in the joints along the spine) on three vertebrae done this am. It’s a minor procedure but has potential to help dramatically reduce inflammation and allow healing. It was not a fun process and everything feels kind of weird now, but I’m hopeful it will help. Please send me any extra healing woo you have lying around 🙂

Bright Ideas

So, the Christmas knitting continues. Since last posting, I have finished everything but the blanket (still about 20% to go) and one last hat. Unfortunately, my daughter is sick so we will be spending Christmas at home instead of with my wife’s family. Less unfortunately, that gives me more time to knit!!

With only a few days left to go, I have decided to a) make a hat for which I was unable to find a pattern, b) make said hat using stranded colorwork, which I have never done before, and c) make my own charts for it and splice together a pattern. Hey, it’s a sports themed hat, so I have to keep it interesting (for me) somehow!

I’m about to start the colorwork bit. Potentially the only smart decision I’ve made about this project is to limit myself to two colors per row. I’m going to use a few strategically placed duplicate stitches to make this possible.

Wish me luck!

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Prioritization Fail

I’ve got tens of thousands of things to do. No, literally–it’ll take that many stitches to get me ready for Christmas gifting. It seems like I’m behind on reading approximately that many blog posts, too. So, if I usually leave you likes and comments, trust that I’m not ignoring you! I’m just, well, behind. The situation isn’t completely dire. I have about a third of a blanket to go as well as a hat and another approximately hat-sized project and I’ll be good. 

However, I can’t bring myself to work on much beyond my non-gifting-related Wayfarer Hat test for which I’m using madelinetosh tosh DK in stunning Cousteau. Really, can you blame me?

  
The colorway is even richer IRL than in the pic. 

Here’s hoping your gift knitting is farther along than mine!

Hang On and Knit

Now that Christmas is really seriously lurking, I’m getting into the groove and trying to just knock some stuff out. One can hope that this knitting spree will be quickly followed by a finishing and blocking spree but I guess that remains to be seen. I still have to finish the blanket for my FIL (about 75% of the knitting is done), block the Color Dipped Hat (I wove the ends in the other day) and then I have two more gifts to make, start to finish. I’m still in planning stages for those but I’m going to try to keep them on the simple side.

The test knitting continues, too. I’ve got a hat on the needles, a spring cardigan that needs ends woven, buttons sewn and blocked, and a raglan pullover that’s probably about 30% done (all child-sized). I have yarn picked out for a Wayfarer Hat test (will match the Passport Mitts) but just haven’t gotten it wound yet. I’ve got a Fair Isle yoked (kids) pullover and a shawl coming up after Christmas that promise to keep me busy. More on those once I get some of them actually completed!

I arbitrarily decided the other day that my Drachenfels is officially finished. I had kept it back because I had this illusion that I would block it. However, I’m not willing to take it off long enough for that to happen! So, I added that to the FOs.

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I’m participating in a mini swap over at Carol E. Herman Designs. I haven’t sent my package off yet so can’t share details here yet, but I can say that it’s been both challenging and fun! The swap packages include a mug or cup, a handcrafted coaster or cozy and whatever treats the sender wants to include. A nice detail is that you aren’t supposed to include more than will fit in the actual cup, in order to keep expenses down. I like that it’s a way to make a fun surprise for someone without having a lot of pressure to spend a ton on it. I have my item made (but classically not completely finished) and have assembled all but one of the other things so, with any luck, I should be able to send it off on Monday. Once my swap partner has received it, I’ll tell you all about the process and some of the stumbling blocks I hit.

I mentioned in a previous post that I won a copy of the pattern e-book The Tea Collection by Clare Devine, right? Well, I did, and the patterns are all really cool. I haven’t actually started any of them yet, even though I was really excited to do so. Why not? Well, I’m having stash issues. Don’t get me wrong–I have plenty of yarn. It’s just that it’s all in the wrong quantities. I either have a skein or a partial skein of something, or I have six skeins of it. In the first case, it’s not quite enough and in the second, it’s too much. I have this idea that I’ll make a larger project out of the bigger quantity of yarn, so I shouldn’t use just a skein or two to make a hat. Also, I seem to have a disproportionately large amount of cotton and cotton blends which aren’t really great for winter hats. So, as soon as I resolve my stash problem–and please don’t ask me how I’m going to do that, as I have no idea–I will get something going from that book.

In the meantime, Sammy says just keep knitting!

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Photo copyright Callandra S. Cook

Ten Mile Milestone

The other day, my ravelry yardage knitted total surpassed ten miles. I wonder how many stitches it takes to knit ten miles of yarn? 17,600 yards. How big would that skein be? It’s pretty crazy to consider. It’s also crazy to consider that I’ve knit a lot more than that but didn’t record the yardage, even after I joined rav.

Where has ten miles of knitting gotten me? On one hand, I think I’m a pretty experienced knitter. I’ve made a ton of different kinds of projects (ie, I’m not a “niche” knitter), some on the complicated side. I’m not afraid of lace, seaming, socks, doing gauge swatches, picking up stitches, dpns, blocking, intarsia, etc. On the other hand, there’s a number of projects and techniques I’ve never done that I’d like to try, like Fair Isle, adult sized sweaters, double knitting, more complicated brioche, steeking and knitting on a border, to name just a few. And more socks!!

My flurry of test knits continues. I’ve really enjoyed doing them. For starters, test knitting pushes me to choose projects I might not otherwise have picked, just by virtue of what’s available. Also, it’s a really good outlet for the detail oriented side of me. I love editing and proofreading, and test knitting is like the yarn-based version of those. As my daughter would say, “win win window”!

The last test knit I completed was my Caput Snood (not available yet) by Gabrielle Danskknit. This is the third test I’ve done for her. The others were the Tunbridge Hat and Vik Beach Hat. I made the child size out of two colors of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick that I had on hand from a thrift store purchase. Total yardage for the snood was 99 with an additional 20 yards for a giant tassel. I added a button at the front of the neck to help keep it snug. It’s for my daughter’s bestie but I tried it on my daughter in order to get some pics.

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I also finished the other hat for the same recipient. At long last, the Pretty Crabby hat is done and gifted! Again, I had my daughter model it so I could get pics. I used aran weight stash acrylic, none of which had any ball bands. I used the Jumbo Crab Cap pattern from Baby Beasties: monster mittens, hats & other knits for babies and toddlers by Debby Ware but I modified it heavily. My notes on that are on my ravelry project page, linked above.

It was such a tedious knit that I wasn’t expecting to like the finished result much. However…how cute is that?? I think it’s awesome! I would not recommend the book the pattern came from, though. I didn’t find the patterns to be well written or the finished items pictured to look very, well, finished. I like my version much better!

I guess that’s where ten miles of knitting gets you: to the point where you can use past experience to improve current projects. My modifications to the crab hat relied heavily on the Earbud Pouch pattern as well as knitty.com’s Kureyon Kozy pattern.

Here’s to the next ten miles. Happy knitting!

Somebody Stop Me!

It’s 9:30ish pm. I’m cold, drowsy and have had a long day. I’m thinking about having a glass of wine. And I want to work on the Hat of One Million Years (i.e. my Color Dipped Hat). You see, I FINALLY started the decreases today. I have put so much time and effort into this stupid hat (it’s not really stupid) and I am unbelievably excited to have it off the needles soon. It’s been through multiple frogs and tinks, has been reworked and fixed and coaxed into being, and has generally been the bane of my knitting existence for about two months now. That might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. That one big frog caused some serious angst and a lot of time to recover from!

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The problem with working on it now? Glad you asked! I’ve found I really need natural light and a vaguely fresh brain to avoid making mistakes. Mistakes that are really, really, really hard to fix. The fingering weight charcoal yarn is just not good late evening knitting fodder. Fatigue and wine are about the perfect things to combine with this project…if I want to screw up royally and have to rip the whole damn thing out!

So yeah. Stop me. I’m begging you!

 

PS–I have yet another gratitude to the knitting world post brewing (remember that…it’s a pun) because I am the lucky recipient of a copy of the ebook, The Tea Collection by Clare Devine (do you get the pun now?) Being a raised-Episcopalian-yet-lesbionically-paganish-non-religious-spiritual-church-music-lover, I don’t tend to use the word “blessed” much, but I think it’s time to whip it out. It seems like I’m winning the knitting lottery almost every day right now! Many thanks to Orange Smoothie Knits for this one!