Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Grief!!

I did one heckuva lotta knitting since my last post, but my WIP list grew!! Oh well, I guess I should give up on the idea of not casting on new projects until I finish some already started ones. I'm starting to depress myself with my complete lack of willpower when there is beautiful yarn within my grasp.

I finally have a photo of the finished Clementine Shawlette that I made for my MIL's birthday. I think she wore it every day we were there.

During the drive to Texas (yes, we're crazy and drove from Columbus, OH to Dallas, TX), I finished up Megan's Mitts. I sent them home with her Dad, who was visiting too. Should hear soon if the kids like their handknitted gifts. It's a good thing I'm giving up on that not casting on thing, since now I am itching to cast on a pair of these, complete with fingers, for myself.

Sitting in the hotel during the evenings, I finished up the knitting of the Fyne vest, with the exception of the armbands and collar. I didn't knit this flat like the pattern stated. Instead I knit it entirely in the round, adding steeks for the v-neck and armholes. Since this yarn wasn't really made for steeking, I had to wait until I got back home to sew and cut my steeks. Wore it to work today, and got some nice compliments on it.

Of course, I had to buy some yarn while there so I could make a little something for Paul and I to remember our trip. For myself I chose some scrumptious angora yarn to make the girliest mittens I have ever seen in m life. I've finished the first and should finish the second in a couple of days. These photos don't show the halo on these things very well, but I will get a shot of that once they are complete.

Paul chose to have a hat made just like the one I made Brian. I was amazed when he brought over a skein of Tonalita and told me he wanted his hat made of those colors. I think he's a secret fiber enthusiast, since that's the yarn I used to make Brian's hat. He did choose some nice colors though, no?

The new project I decided to start on the trip was a pair of gloves (which was abandoned as soon as I got that angora on the needles!). I'm hoping to have this first glove done this weekend, and perhaps I can get the second done by next weekend. Not sure though, since I'm not taking any time off work for the holidays this year.

I picked up some Rowan Tapestry about a week before we left with the intention of knitting a great tam designed by a Ravelry acquaintance. It doesn't look like much now, but I think these colors are really going to be beautiful in this pattern. A couple more knitting sessions and we shall see.

I have a couple more photos on the other camera, but the batteries died so I can't download them tonight. Those should be posted tomorrow, and I'll give a few more details about the trip and my next probably impossible goal regarding knitting.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Goodies, a FO, and progress reigns again!

I received my Ravelry Mitten Exchange package yesterday afternoon! My pal frisianfrillies did a great job! She asked me about sports teams I might like to use as inspiration for colors and ran with my answer. I told her I liked pro football and my favorite team was the Indianapolis Colts. Like me, she loves Peyton Manning, so she used that as the theme of my mitts and the goodies she sent along with them.

It was so much fun taking a box from the postman, shipped from the Netherlands, that had a picture of Peyton on it lol. Inside that box were some handmade stitch markers, an adorable stuffed kitty wearing an "I Love Football" sweater, chocolate letters "P" and "M", other assorted sweets, a bag of Pepermunt ballen (from the makers of Mentos) which I am addicted to now, a nice note on a Peyton Manning postcard, and of course the mitts.

Aren't these the greatest!!

This morning I finished Brian's hat while having my Holiday Mint coffee. I really like this yarn, Trendsetter Tonalita, and might try to find some to make a sweater with. The striping is so much fun, and it came in several great colors. Hope Brian likes it.

Megan's mitts are coming along nicely. At the rate they are working up, I should be done with them Tuesday night.

And, I pulled out the Fyne vest again. It's so close to being finished, I don't want it to languish too long. Besides, finishing this and getting the leftover yarn taken to the craft room will give me more space in the knitting bag I keep upstairs. And, I need the room!!

Paul and I are going to Texas next weekend for a much needed vacation and visit to his mother. I'd like to have a couple of my WIPs finished before we leave so I don't feel guilty starting something new to take with me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3 new projects .... not being so good now!!

Tonight I put the finishing touches on the first outfit I've sewn in almost four years. The last thing I sewed was my wedding dress. Boy was there a lot of cleaning to be done on the sewing machine and serger! I only have a photo of the jacket right now, but maybe I can get someone to take a photo of the whole outfit when I wear it tomorrow. Next up on the sewing front is a wrap dress. That one shouldn't take as long. Might even have it done this weekend.

There has been quite a bit of knitting going on, even with the sewing distracting me a bit. One of my nieces wanted to learn to knit when Paul and I visited over Thanksgiving, so I looked up a yarn store in their area and bought her some ribbon yarn to make a capelet with. She's doing so good! When I left, she had 7" of her 44" rectangle done. By the time we got home and called to let the family know we'd made it ok, she was at 25"!! And thus, another knitter is born.

Since I had purchased her the yarn to make her capelet, I decided to pick up something to make my other niece and nephew something. Brian will be getting a "Basic Cable" hat from Stitch n Bitch Nation. I love the way the yarn I chose is working up. This won't take long at all ... will probably have it finished up this weekend.

Megan is getting a pair of "Marvelous Mitts". I had to cast these on 3 times before I got the color combination right! I purchased 2 skeins of Jitterbug to make them. One variegated purples/blues, and the other looked almost solid greens. When knit together, the project looked like a jumble of colors and you couldn't distinguish the pattern at all. What seemed in the hank like fairly solid green tones, knit up with some purple, orange, etc. So I frogged the mitt, grabbed the leftover purple I had from the Mermaid jacket and cast on again. This time it seemed like the green skein had even more purple in it. The pattern was showing up a bit better, but that bit of purple in the background was obscuring it just enough that I wasn't happy. Back to the frog pond it went. Next, I grabbed a skein of bright green Palette and cast on again using the variegated purples. Bingo! This time you can definitely see the pattern and the background. I'm quite happy with the mitts now, and hope Megan likes them.

I did manage to get quite a bit done on the Russian Coat during the trip. I've finished with the bodice pieces. Since the pattern resulted in a coat with a 44" bust measurement, and I'm a 32", I decided to try to make it a bit smaller by changing gauge. That route worked out ok until I took a good look at the sleeve length. Making each hex smaller resulted in sleeves that will be too short. I think I've figured out a way to add some hexes and triangles in the right sequence to lengthen them, and hope that they won't wind up too long now. We shall know soon.

I grew tired of the hexes, so decided to cast on for the skirt for the ride home. The circular I took with me is a 29" I think, so right now this looks more like one of those ruffle scarves than a coat.

Instead of taking one of the smaller projects I already have on the needles with me along with the coat, I decided to cast on a new project. I know! You don't even have to say it. At this rate, my WIP count will never get below 10. I chose to cast on Zarah from one of the many Elsebeth Lavold books in my library, and am using her Angora yarn to knit it in. I only did 1 repeat of the peplum so far, but I'm really loving this yarn and the pattern is pretty easy to follow.

Wish me luck finishing a couple of these projects before I succomb to the cast on bug again :o)

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've been a good girl

I finished 2 projects this week and actually managed to NOT cast on yet another one! Woohoo my WIP count is now down to 10.

First up on the FO list for this week are the Stansfield 27 socks for Paul. This pattern was really easy to memorize and knit up. I'm not really sure why it took me so dang long to finish these. Only 2 more pair of socks on the needles now.

Also finished this week is the blue version of the December Lights Tam. It's hard to believe this is the same pattern as the red one from last week isn't it? I haven't quite gotten the tam bug out of my system yet, so I'm sure there will be a couple more in other patterns on the needles in the near future.

I've also done some work on the Russian Coat this week. Pictured here is the beginning of the right side of the coat. I've started on the left side now and hope to have them connected by the time Paul and I get back from Atlanta this weekend. Along with this project, I think I'll take the Fyne vest and a pair of socks to work on during the ride.

Although not knitting related, I've renewed my fascination with sewing this week. I picked up a copy of Threads Magazine when I spied an article on copying the fit of favorite pants and that's all it took. Off I went to the store. Before I was done, I had purchased 6 patterns, a dress form, and fabric to sew 5 outfits. This weekend I finished a pair of navy blue pants with a side zipper, and started on an oriental style jacket of gold and teal metallic brocade. Next week Paul is going out of town again on business so I will have lots of time for knitting and sewing in the evenings. I'm sure you will all forgive non knitting related crafty photos on the blog won't you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor a stuffed up nose ....

...can keep me from my knitting!!

I buckled down and finished up the Double Eyelet Socks. I really like the way the pattern worked up, and I've fallen in love with the yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino).

Next, I pulled out the Stansfield 27 socks and finished up the first one. I had to use some Knit Picks Palette in brown from my stash to do the ribbing. You'd think by know I'd know that I need just a bit more than a skein to do monstrous mutant mansocks with Trekking XXL, but obviously I didn't learn my lesson with the first 2 pair I made. I've got the second sock started and am hoping to have it finished up this weekend.

Saturday I finished up the Christmas colored December Lights Tam. Now I can't wait for it to get cold so I can wear it.

Last night I pulled out the discarded original December Lights Tam and put it back on the needles. As you can see, the colors chosen for this tam, although they all looked great side by side in my LYS, obscure the pattern in some spots. I'm not going to worry about that since I really like the colors. Besides, this way it won't look so much like I made 2 tams the same. I'll start working on this after I finish this post and hope to complete it tonight during the football game.

Even with all this other knitting, I am still doing pretty good keeping to a daily quota of completing one background color per day on the Mary Tudor cardigan. I should hit the armhole steeks by next week. At this rate I should finish this up well before my original estimation on February.

I've also continued working, although slowly, on the Fyne vest. I love the yarn I chose, Grignasco Tango, and will probably use it again in the future. Once the Stansfield socks are complete, this project will take on a higher priority.

And, since you all know I'm hopeless and simply cannot help myself, I will confess that yesterday I cast on yet another project! This is the Russian Coat from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2007. I'm really impressed with the softness of the yarn for this pattern, Berroco's Peruvia and Jasper, and am enchanted with the striping of the Jasper. I'm hoping to work on this quite a bit next week over the Thanksgiving holiday. Paul and I are driving to Atlanta next Wednesday, so I'll have a lot of car knitting time. We'll be spending Thanksgiving with Paul's brother and his family. And, best of all, Paul got us tickets to the Colts-Falcons game on Thanksgiving night!!

Hopefully I'll get a couple more posts in before we leave next week with lots of progress and finished projects!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I've got the creepy crud!

Mostly a photo post today because I'm sick and my brain isn't working well. Paul brought the creepy crud back from Texas a few weeks ago and until last weekend I managed to evade it. Now I have it full force and the doctor has me on four meds to try to kick it's butt. Hopefully I'll feel better in a couple days and can get back to knitting.

Last Saturday I finally took the Mermaid jacket to my Mom. It fits her really well and she says she got a lot of oohs and ahhs when she wore it to church on Sunday and work on Monday.

Put the finishing touches on the Everlasting Bagstopper this week. That brought my WIP count down to 12. I also finished up the Clementine Shawlette, which brought me down to 11. I don't have photos of the Clementine yet, but will get some this week before shipping it off to my MIL. I'm hoping my SIL will get a photo of MIL wearing it too.

Progress continues on the Mary Tudor Cardigan. This photo was taken over the weekend so I'm a bit further along now. I've started the second repeat and am just about to the purple band.

Since I finished 2 WIPs, I rewarded myself by buying some yarn to make the December Lights Tam in IKs Holiday Knits. I cast on this past weekend and finished up the ribbing section and had started on the body section when I decided I wasn't sure I was getting enough contrast with the colors I chose. I went down to the craft room and dug around in the stash and came up with some bright Christmasy colors and cast on again. I'm just about to the same point as I was when I gave up on the first. Of course, as always seems to be the case with me, after taking a photo of the original I'm kinda liking the more subtle coloring. I think I may put it back on the needles and knit both versions. Since this would count as casting on 2 projects, my WIP count is now back to 13. Uggggggggggggggg!!!!!

I've done some work on the Fyne vest too this week. It is a very quick knit, so I think my count may be back down to 12 soon.

Also being worked on, but are not pictured, are the Double Eyelet Rib socks (on track to be finished this weekend ... WIP count 11), Stansfield 27 socks (should be finished next weekend ... WIP count 10), and Leg Cozies (hopefully casting off next weekend ... WIP count 9).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Plan of Attack

Every day I log into my Ravelry account and see those 13 WIP I groan. It's one thing to have them all tucked away in the craft room, and quite another to have them staring accusingly at you on a daily basis. I really need to get this situation under control.

With that in mind, I buckled down and finished up all the pieces of the Amigurumi Turtle, which Paul has affectionately named Snappy Tom, and sewed them all together. Although this photo looks pretty good, I am planning on redoing the eyes and embroidery on the face. You can't tell at this angle, but poor Snappy Tom has a definite vision problem. If it weren't for his shell, he could be mistaken for a chameleon. I'll take a few more photos once I do some serious work on his facial features.

In order to get the WIP situation under control, I obviously need to do some actual knitting on some of them, and quit setting them aside when a new project takes my fancy. Unfortunately, some of these WIPs have lost their appeal entirely for me.

One such project is the Double Eyelet socks. Socks in general have lost their appeal to be quite honest. The 52PP kinda killed the magic. Instead of forcing myself to work on a project I'm not feeling the love for until it's complete, I'm breaking it down into manageable bits. Two repeats a day on this is making progress, and the charm is starting to return I might add. I should be able to put the finishing touches on the first sock this week, and have the pair done mid November at the latest. (12 WIP to go)

Another project that has lost it's magic is the Everlasting Bagstopper. Again, 2 repeats a day will have this finished up by next weekend. (11 WIP to go)

I'm seeing a trend here with patterns that have a never ending repeat of 4 rows or so as the ones I lose interest in. The Clementine Shawlette is one such pattern. I'm just glad that I decided to knit both pieces at once or this might never get done. Once again, 2 repeats is the extent to which I can work on this project before my mind starts to wander or I get the urge to go do laundry or scrub a floor. You know a project has lost it's appeal when housework draws you away from your knitting and you feel relief. This WIP is much closer to being done than it looks and I believe I can have it finished up next weekend. (10 WIP to go)

Although I didn't take a new photo (since it looks almost exactly like the last one I took), I've been doing a few rows a day on the Asymetrical Alpaca Jacket I started about this time last year. It will be awhile before it's at the top of the WIP list, but at least there's some progress.

Even with all the 2 repeats here, 2 repeats there, on other WIP, I have managed to stick with my daily quota of one background color on the Mary Tudor cardigan.

Since I know that there is no way I will be able to finish all my current WIPs before giving in to the urge to cast on one of the multitude of projects I have waiting in the wings, I am not going to even attempt it. I will instead work towards decreasing the WIP count steadily and cast on selectively.

Worrying over my WIPs always makes me want to retreat to the solace only casting on a new project can provide, so yesterday I didn't deny myself and cast on for the Fyne Vest I bought yarn for a couple weeks ago. I only worked on it for long enough to take the edge off before going back to completing my daily WIP goals.

The next batch of WIPs to receive attention will be:
  • Stansfield 27 Socks
  • Leg Cozies
  • Lace Knee Highs

And next up on the cast-on list are:

  • December Lights Tam
  • Braided Cable glove with fur trim
  • Russian Coat

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Turtle Parts!!

Ain't they cute? I've picked at this project a bit here and a bit there. I'll probably put a bit more effort into it this week and try to have it finished up this weekend. Woohoo one more WIP down.

I've pulled out the Clementine Shawlette recently too and am doing a bit of work on it each night. My MIL mentioned again to Paul that she'd love to have something to keep her shoulders warm. I really want to get this done soon since the weather is finally turning cool.

The Mary Tudor cardigan is now in progress. I thought I'd never get done with the border. Can I just say that garter stitch in the round in fair isle sucks! It might not be so bad if I learned how to purl continental, but I haven't had the discipline to learn that yet. If I complete one section of background color each day, I should be able to complete this cardigan by the first of February.

And, because I forgot to post this last week, and was asked to do so .....

here's a photo of the front of Knitfitt's nonmitts. I love the lace pattern and the little flair the picot hem gave the cuff.

Just in case anyone has wondered if Doppler the weather radar dog is neglected with all the knitting I do, just take a look at how he spent his Monday evening! Looks pretty comfy doesn't he?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why yes, swatching IS cheating

Last night when I got home from a very stressful day at work I was pleasantly surprised to find my yarn order for the Mary Tudor cardigan had arrived! I tried to convince myself that knitting a swatch wasn't cheating. Didn't work, I felt guilty just thinking about it.

So instead, I pulled out the Silken Slippers and finished them up. Aren't they cute?

Feeling much better about my WIP situation, I tore open the package sitting on the bed and dove into the yummy yarn. I sorted it all out by color, preparing to knit just a few rows of a swatch (surely just a few rows isn't cheating) and groaned. Most likely the only person reading this who will understand why what I am about to say is so stupendously idiotic is Marina. I stared at the balls of yarn and the color chart in the book, trying to put everything in order, and wondered how on earth I could have NOT ordered Oasis and Ginger, and why on earth I had so many balls of Pistachio and Yellow Ochre. Ummmmmm you big dumb@$$ the color names of the yarn you bought are different than the colors in the book! Of course, this realization didn't hit me until I had stuffed all the yummy yarn into a bag and had given up on the idea of knitting the few rows of a swatch. That's ok, since even a few rows of a swatch would have been cheating right?

So I pulled out the Lake Park gloves and finished up the first one. Any idea how hard it is to photograph a glove on your right hand by yourself when you are righthanded? This is the only photo out of about 10 that was decent enough to save.

Tonight I cast on for the second glove and knit this much ribbing .....

and then .....


All in all, I'm quite pleased with the substitutions I had to make due to discontinued colors. I don't think I'll be changing any of them. The only modification I plan to make on the cardigan is to shorten it. Normally I need something no longer than skimming the hips or I look shorter than I am. Sometimes I can get away with something longer, but I don't this is one of those times.

Now to get back to that second glove so I don't become a complete cheat by casting on the sweater!