Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Year in Review

2008 Knitting in Review

1. Mill End Socks, 2. Meaghan's Socks, 3. Seraphim Shawl, 4. Town Meeting Socks mistake heel, 5. Sarah's Socks, 6. Entrelac Scarf, 7. Shetland Triangle in the wild, 8. Embossed Leaves Socks, 9. Leaf Mitts, 10. Wide Leaf Scarf, 11. Wide Leaf Hat, 12. Apple Lace Scarf, 13. Dad's 70th Socks, 14. Herbed Carrots, 15. Digitessa Too, 16. Mobeius, 17. Blueberry Moon, I love this p2k1 ribbing!, 18. La Digitessa Socks, 19. Blue Wavering, 20. Electric Mitts, 21. Lime & Blue Cabled Hat, 22. Christmas Balls Socks, 23. LMKG Chevron Scarf, 24. EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket, 25. Baby Cakes Raglan, 26. Project Stole and Frizzy Hair. Woot!, 27. Cornucopia Socks, 28. Seal Rock Socks

29 FO's

13 Socks
4 Scarves
3 Shawls
2 Mitts
2 Baby Sweaters
2 Hats
1 Adult Sweater
1 Stole
1 Cowl

Conclusion #1: More socks for me this year. Seriously. I gotta be more selfish about this.

Conclusion #2: Relearning that I should never say never. One year ago, if someone would have shown me this FO list, my face would have twisted into a "what you talkin' 'bout Willis" expression. I never would have thought I'd ever knit a lace shawl OR be spinning fiber.

Hopes and dreams for the new year?

Hope #1: I really want to harness my creativity and develop patterns.

Hope #2: Knit more sweaters. I'm sick of the love affair American fashion has with negative ease. I need more sweaters and I want some positive ease '80s style.

Hope #3: Knit a truly inspiring shawl that takes the "Best in Show" ribbon at the Topsfield fair. (A girl's gotta dream big.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Knitting freedom

The Shetland Shawl/hat/mitt project ended on as onerous note as all my other scarf/hat/mitt projects. Which is too bad, but easily, and happily, forgotten.

Now that it's done I feel like I can breathe easier. Not only am I enjoying wearing these every_single_day (fangul you -6 degrees!) I can get to that gift project I started back in November, but had to put aside to complete my Christmas knitting in time.

It's the lace scarf knit up in a lovely cocoa colored Bristol Valley Yarns. My new camera captures the color of the yarn beautifully.


Bristol Yarn Gallery

It's 80% Alpaca/20% Silk and splitty as all get out, but I think I'm finally finding my rhythm. I nearly doubled its size this week. (Photo below was before.)


cocoa lace scarf

Speaking of my camera, I finally had a chance to take pictures with it outside and I had a rude awakening. All that success I've had with indoor photos is the extent of my knowledge with the camera. This puppy must be reprogrammed for outdoor light and, well, uh, I just haven't had the mental energy to crack open the book hubby gave me to learn the settings. I tried the auto setting and it, like the indoor auto setting, was a bust.

I'm gonna blame my ennui on the monotonous snow (once or twice a week since early December) which I'm watching fall presently. My regular outdoor staging ground, our back deck, has been covered since we received 8 or so inches back before Christmas. The following picture, with the old Canon powershot, was taken last January. It is a pretty decent facsimile of what I see right now, sans Junco and Cardinal:


January 2008 snow storm

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obsession, compulsion, ye name is yarn

I have been buying yarn, and then more yarn, then more yarn, and then, for good measure, even more yarn. I need to fess up. Maybe if I put my shame out for all to see I'll be able to control myself?

But seriously. Why should I fess up? Why should I feel guilty? As long as this is free cash I shouldn't. The reason I do is because I feel out of control and that is breaking rule #1 at chez yarn.

Control is everything. Isn't it?

In November, a month or so after the US economy began it's trip to hell in a red, white, and blue hand basket, I stashed 32 skeins of yarn:


mosaic8121143

1. Knitpicks Felici, 2. Claudia Hand Painted, 3. Bristol Yarn Gallery, 4. Sheepaints lace, 5. Wollmeise Indisch Rot, 6. Wollmeise Suzanne, 7. Hangefaerbt extra fein, 8. Hangefaerbt extra fein, 9. Hangefaerbt fein, 10. Wollmeise Kurbis, 11. Wollmeise Miss May, 12. Knit Picks felici, 13. Queensland Katmandu Aran Tweed, 14. Cherry Tree Hill supersock, 15. DIC Strange Harvest, 16. DIC Butter Peeps, 17. Yarntini Hope, 18. Butterfly Yarns hand paint, 19. Sheepaints Sock 'n Go, 20. Scout's Swag

January's tally is mounting.

I have never fully comprehended why when things are stable, I'm all parsimony and level headedness. Yet, as soon as things get a little hairy, like that time I up and quit my job in 1997, or these past three months where my different retirement accounts lost between 25 to 65%, I go all spendy up the whazoo. Normal people do the opposite.

And before anyone thinks the bank is coming for our house, this spending freak show only affects my savings. Our household money is completely separate, and with it I remain my frugal Yankee best.

Why, though, with all the yarn? Why isn't what I have enough?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Selfish Knitting

Nothing makes this knitter more self satisfying than a month or so of gift knitting. As soon as I was done with the last of my Christmas knitting I went hog wild with the casting on.

Over Thanksgiving I purchased six skeins of Queensland Collection Aran tweed at a "new to me" LYS, Knits and Bolts of New Haven, Vermont. The color card says pale pink (#141), but a better name would be pink granite.


IMG_7511

These were purchased with a project in mind, another scarf, hat, and fingerless mitten set. (I'm still catching up with the coat purchases I made this year and at the end of last winter.)

My preference is for a lace scarf and after a couple of weeks of indecision, I realized the Shetland Triangle would be the perfect pattern. First, the pattern is so addicting and easy to knit. Second, I've taken to wearing both of my smaller shawls, the Sunshine and Shadows and the Shetland Triangle, wrapped around my neck, rather than my shoulders (scarf style, rather than wrap style). And last, I've been itching to knit a lace pattern in a heavy weight yarn.


plane knitting

(I love how matchy the Yarnissima stitch marker looks in this picture, which I took on the plane ride home from Arizona. You can take the girl out of the 80's, but you can't take the 80's out of the girl!)

Not knowing how much yarn the scarf is going to eat up, I made a commitment to knit on the scarf only long enough to sate my craving. And then, as a salve, I allowed myself a little more knitting on the plane ride home.

I cast on the first mitt the day I cast on the scarf. Instead of carrying over the fir cone lace motif to the mitts, I opted for the fern lace motif instead. It is definitely better suited to the shape of a glove than the fir cone lace.

What is usually a quick knit, over a few hours, has yet to be completed two weeks later. I started the second mitten last weekend.


Pink Granite Blob 2

These mitts are uninspiring blobs. Who can blame me for dragging my feet with them?

So, instead of wrapping this project up on Sunday, I started designing the hat. I borrowed the quarterly "bar" structure of Knitty's Foliage hat for my design. I'm at the point of the design where the bar welds into the leaf. Using waste yarn I've gone through a couple of variations with fir cone lace. Once I decide which I like, finishing the hat will come swiftly.


Pink Granite Blob 1

Sunday morning, as I lay in bed in a half dream state, I considered writing out a pattern for the hat and mittens and publishing them them here and/or over at ravelry (for free). This seems like a logical next step for me. Yet, I'm not sure how devoted I am to doing the legwork it will require.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Brain Malfunction

The knitting and spinning has been slowed by health, work, and the demands of the holiday season. Washing the yarn I plied the week after Thanksgiving was on the todo list the day I first woke up sick as a dog, December 12.

And todo it, I did.

Not being right in the head has to be the reason I thought it was a very good idea to put all my newly plied handspun into the washing machine with a hat and scarf.


Being sick has its consequences...

handspun mess

(The second picture is one of the first I took with the new camera.)

If I hadn't been preoccupied with wallowing in vat of self pity the size of a small island nation over being sick, I would have been crying myself a river, and then a sea, and then an ocean over the perceived ruination of all my hard work.

The delayed hysteria gave me enough time to recall that when it comes to untangling things I have a freakish amount of patience.


BFL Handspun 11/08

Merino Handspun

Mystery wool from VT S&W 11/08


I originally wrote this around 12/18/08.
 

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