Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goals for 2014

I don't want to write too many big goals or resolutions for the coming year.  I am thinking that last year I hoped to knit one ornament every month so I would have 12 ready for Christmas gifts.  Um.  Yeah.

One goal I had last year was to publish a pattern on Ravelry.  I published two patterns.  I hope to double that this year. 

Other than that, I can't think of specific knitting goals, like knit X number of hats.  I am too disorganized for that, and I like to be open to whim crafting. 

I did a pretty good job of crafting from my stash this fall. This morning, I bought a bunch of yarn from Little Knits for some projects I have planned in January, February and March.  And, I need to buy a bunch of acrylic for some afghans I have planned this winter and spring.  I don't have the right yarns and colors, and don't really want to make a true stash afghan.  I hope to continue knitting socks from my stash, though that will probably fall apart when Sock Madness begins.  That's ok.  I know if I buy yarn for those socks, it will be for specific projects. 

The last thing I need to do to get my yarn stash under control is to bag up all of the yarn that I have from long ago (all acrylic) or that people have given me this year when they stopped knitting (all acrylic, novelty or cotton and not cotton that makes good dish cloths).  I will see if Colleen can use it.  If she can't, and no one in Eastside Stitchers wants it, I will donate it to charity.  I want to have yarns that I am planning on using.  Not just have yarn.   When I do buy new yarn, I really want to buy for planned projects.  This is one area where I have improved this last year.

The last goal that is specific is to spin one skein of plied yarn every month.  This will be a hard one, as I still am not in a good habit of spinning every day. 

Ok, back to work on Racing Raindrops.

shaping the planet with big goals.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Crazy for Socks

I don't even have a photo of the lake from today.  It was so gray and foggy when I got up at 6.  Then, I was knitting pretty madly all day on my Racing Raindrops scarf. 

Here is the thing.  The new Winter Term for the HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup) begins on January 1, 2014.  It begins specifically for me at midnight because the game time is Pacific Time, and that is my time zone.  I can't start anything because if I want my projects to count for points for my House, which is Gryffindor again!!, I need to wait for the game to begin.  Normally this would drive me crazy.  However, this term, I am doing a NEWT project.  This is the biggest of the possible projects you can do in the game.  A NEWT is a project that should last about 4 months.  You have to have completed 4 OWLs to be eligible.  (An OWL is a project that should take 8 - 10 weeks of crafting.) 

So, NEWTs actually start before the term.  This works out great for me in December because I love doing THE SCARF (The Advent Calendar Scarf KAL...).  Since it is knit in December, I can't turn it in for points.  This term, however, it is a part of my NEWT, so all of that glorious lace knitting, hour after hour will  bring points to my house. 

Since THE SCARF is finished, I have been absolutely cranking on the other shawls/scarves that are part of the NEWT.  I have finished the Age of Brass and Steam, all but blocking (ABB) and weaving in.
Unblocked, it measures about 26 in from the center tip to the back end.

I also took a measurement from where the front of the scarf would touch my neck, then down to the tip.
That measured just about 1 foot.  I don't think I want it to be any deeper at the front triangle.  I might want the ends to be a bit longer though.  I need to try it on in front of a mirror, and decide.  I will have to be careful when I block it that it doesn't get any bigger in the front.

It knit up a lot faster than I thought it would.  I don't know why it took me so long to try making it.  I guess I was afraid of all that stockinette.  I think my purling has really improved.  While it is certainly not
perfect, it is much faster, and more even that it used to be. 

Since I have finished the knitting on the Age of Brass and Steam, I have been working on the other lace part of the NEWT, the Racing Raindrops scarf by Churchmouse.   Again, I am not sure why this took me so long to start.  I got the pattern, yarn and beads during the 2013 North Puget Sound LYS Tour at Churchmouse.  A few people in Eastside Stitchers have finished theirs, and I loved them. 

I have been doing nothing but knitting on that scarf, all day, and I mean ALL day, for the last few days.  I have about 1/4 left to go.  I am really glad that I am so far ahead on the NEWT.  First of all, once Christmas break ends, I will be back at work, and I will have way less time to dedicate.  Secondly, the Advent Calendar Scarf didn't use up as much yarn as I thought it would, so for the NEWT, I will have to add one more project to bring up the yarn amount.  The lace scarf part of the NEWT is for Transfiguration.  I am trying to transfigure a huge amount of yarn (1800 yds) into a finished object(s).  Since the scarf didn't use up as much as I thought, I need to use up more yarn to fulfill the requirements.  It's good I discovered this early, as I will have time to knit the last shawl, High Plains Drifter, and add one more thing.  I hope.  I am planning a lace cowl using up the last skein of the yarn I used in THE SCARF.  I got some good advice from a few members of Eastside Stitchers on sizing the cowl.  I might finish the Racing Raindrops tomorrow, so I will cast on the cowl.

This much knitting already shows how crazy I am.  But, I am about to get even crazier.  I am eagerly awaiting the Sock Madness competition that begins in March.  There is a Sock Thread in Gryffindor, and i have been looking at the challenges in SolidSocks (brown for January), and in SKA (Sock Knitters Anonymous).  I plan to knit a pair of socks in January, and another in February while I wait for that competition to begin.  Someone in Gryffindor gave a link to another Sock Competition that is beginning in January (I think).  This is a speed knitting game, as well, but all of the patterns will be based on computer games.  Wow, I am so IN! 

I debated whether or not I should tell Skeinherder about the new group, because I know she is crazy busy at work, and she is planning on doint the Ysolda knit along.  But, I decided that the group was just too good to not share, and if she (skeinherder) was too   busy, all she had to do was say no.  But she loved the idea, and now we are both members of The Bleeping Sockgame.  EEK!  there is a new pattern dropping tomorrow night. I haven't knit any socks since I finished my colorwork socks in November.  I ALWAYS have a pair of socks on the needles.  It will be great to get going again.

No photos of any of that yet.

shaping the planet with gamer socks.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Fiber Friday of 2013


There were just three of us at Crossroads in Bellevue for Fiber Friday.  For a while, I thought I was going to spend the time knitting alone.  I managed to bind off my Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief.  I need to block it, and then weave in the ends, but it was a much faster knit than I ever thought.  I am making this as part of my NEWT project for HPKCHC, and I might have to add another project as this went way too fast.  I will talk more about this tomorrow, if I remember.

Back to Fiber Friday.  After I bound off the Kerchief, I was ready to cast on the 3rd part of my NEWT (along with the Age of Brass and Steam, I am making the 2013 Advent Calendar Scarf, and the High Plains Drifter Shawl), Racing Raindrops Scarf by Churchmouse Yarn & Teas.  For some reason, I thought CathieC had used a different size needle than the one recommended in the pattern.  As I love how her scarf came out, I was hoping she would show up at Crossroads so I could ask her.  When she didn't, I texted Skeinherder.  I was pretty sure Skeinherder was at work, but I was hoping that she could go on Ravelry for me and check Cathie's project page!  ha ha ha!  Skeinherder came through for me.  CathieC is getting very good at leaving helpful notes on her project pages.  Skeinherder is making this scarf, too, so she told me that she is using size 4 US (3.5 mm) and that CathieC is also.  That was the size I had brought, and so I cast on. 
Look! you can see the first "raindrop."

Just as I was figuring this all out, BlueBerryMary arrived.   Mary is making a sweater for her DH.  She has finished the back and about 1/2 way done with the front.
She has this complicated pattern memorized, so she actually brings this as her social knitting.  I love the colors, and her husband is a very lucky guy.

Winterpromise31 joined us shortly after Mary.  We had such a nice time.  It was great to hear how everyone's holiday was going, and talk about plans for New Year's Eve (ha ha ha none of us are planning much as we are all definitely NOT party people).  Winterpromise31 is making a beautiful lace scarf to match the lace hat she just finished.

The Sunday Group is planning on meeting this coming Sunday.  That will be the last meet-up for 2013. I hope you have enjoyed seeing what the group has made this year.  I have certainly enjoyed reporting!

shaping the planet with a cat on my lap, and another trying to take her place.

2013 Advent Calendar Scarf, Finished Photos


I'm getting ready to head out to Crossroads to meet with the Fiber Friday Group of Eastside Stitchers.  I wanted to post the photos of my finished 2013 Advent Calendar Scarf.  I have put them up on my project page on Ravelry, but I thought I would post them here, too.
Since he is home from Princeton for Christmas, I once again have my knitwear model, Pookie.  He is such a great sport, always willing to model my finished items for me. 

The stats for the finished scarf are:
91 in long (231.14 cm)
13.5 in wide (34.29 cm)
1272 yds used.
The yarn is Cascade Heritage Silk, which is a fingering weight mix of 85% Merino and 15% Silk.  It was a bit splitty, not horribly, but I had to watch it.  I love how it looks, feels and drapes, so the splittiness was worth it.  I have to admit that I stopped knitting to pet the scarf, often.

I used 3 skeins, with about 9 yds left of the last skein.  Last year, when I used size 6 needles, I went into a fourth skein of my yarn, I think it was Cascade Alpaca Lace.  This year I used size 2 needles.

I laid the scarf on the wood floor to measure the length, since I had forgotten to do that before I took it off the blocking mats, and the beads made a cheerful chinking sound.
I need somewhere special to wear it.  I have tickets to the Univ. of Washington's Dance Series!  Well, tickets to three of the shows.  I will wear it there.  And, of course, I will wear it today to Fiber Friday AND probably on a few of the Wed. and Sunday Eastside Stitchers meet-ups.

shaping the planet in silk, lace and beads.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not the Scarf


I am still waiting to take some finished photos of THE SCARF.  It is completely finished with ends woven in.  I love how it looks now that it is blocked.  I could just take some photos of it on a hanger, and I might have to do that if my kids don't wake up (it is only 1:15 pm...). 

Today I finished a hat that I have been slowly knitting all month.  I started this hat when I was in So. Cal. I got there right before December 1, so had a few days where I wasn't yet knitting THE SCARF, but needed something to knit.  I am using up all of this rust colored Wool-Ease I have from a failed sweater years and years ago.  Everyone is getting something with rust in it, either as the main color, or as a stripe.  Anyway, I had downloaded a free hat pattern, ... I don't remember when, and cast that on.

The pattern is Xeranthemum by Tiina Kuu.  I liked the flower details. 
I still need to block it, and weave in the last end.
I should probably say that it is ... based... on the pattern by Tiina Kuu.  I didn't follow the pattern exactly because I never bothered to print the pattern out, and since I worked on this in between Days of THE SCARF, I wasn't working regularly enough to remember exactly how to make the flowers.  I would come to a make a flower row, and think... how did she make these again?  And then I gave it my best shot.  They look almost right.

The pattern instructions say to knit until the hat is 23 cm, then begin the crown decreases.  I have tried the hat on and it feels really long.  I think I have a small head.  I made a hat for my nephew who is in college in Indiana (from So. Cal. so experiencing winter for the first time).  His mom told me that it doesn't even reach his ears!  He brought it home with him for Christmas, and his little sister is now wearing it for fun.  I hardly ever bother to measure when I am making hats.  I just keep trying on the hat, and when it seems slouchy, I start the decreases.  Maybe I need to actually measure.

This is the hat on a bowl for a model.  You can see it really needs to be blocked.

If I can get Pookie to model for me, I'll post better photos tomorrow.

If Moogie doesn't want it, I might send it to my niece in New Jersey.  I've been wanting to knit something for her.  I can't send it to Halos of Hope because it is wool, and not particularly soft.

I have also been working on my Age of Brass and Steam scarf.  About 1 1/3 years ago!  I decided that I needed some pretty scarves/shawlettes/shawls to accessorize my wardrobe as I was hoping to go back to work.  When we went to Bellingham, WA, on our little 4 shop LYS tour, I bought yarn for three different scarves, and this was one of them.  I bought some beautiful Silk and Merino -The Diana Collection from Yarns Northwest at The Wool Station.
I cast the scarf/shawlette on right away, then it just languished.  I really don't know why.  I like the yarn, I like the pattern.  I guess I just got busy with other things.  And it is a lot of stockinette.  I want to make this scarf.  So, for HPKCHC, (Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup), I proposed a NEWT (a 4 month long project) that involves four scarves/shawls.  THE SCARF is the first part of the NEWT.  The other 3 are the Age of Brass and Steam, Racing Raindrops by Churchmouse Yarn & Teas, and High Plains Drifter by Kristen Hipskey.  I bought the yarn for the High Plains Drifter on the same mini-yarn crawl in Bellingham when I bought the Diana Collection yarn. 

I was worried that my tensions might be completely different from how I knit that long ago, so I ripped it out, and cast it back on a few weeks ago, when I had a moment between THE SCARF knitting.
This is why I love HPKCHC.  I actually knit and finish projects.  Well, we shall see about the finishing.  But, I am really excited to make these scarves. 

shaping the planet with a new hat.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Advent Calendar Scarf, Day 24 On The Wires


How will Santa find our house in this fog?  Actually, it has burned off by now (1:20 pm), and I will try to get another photo up of how beautiful today is.

I have finished my 2013 Advent Calendar Scarf, ABW (all but weaving in).  The scarf is on the blocking mats downstairs.  I am so happy.

I finished the pattern for Day 24 last night, but was just too tired to completely finish the final spacer section that forms the end of the scarf.  I actually knit the bead row, but just couldn't do the last three rows of garter stitch.  That was the first thing I did this morning.  Then I put the scarf in my washing machine (on delicate) with a little Eucalan Wool Wash.  I cooked the Doc some breakfast, then cleaned the kitchen (ha ha ha).  Then I went down to block the scarf.

First let me show you Day 24.
It looks a bit distorted in this photo but I wanted to show a non-blocked version first.  This pattern had instructions for both odd and even rows (right and wrong sides).  This meant that in addition to ssk and k2tog, there were p2tog and p2togtbl.  I discovered (by actually paying attention to my knitting), that the ssk's and p2togtbl were paired.  And, the k2tog and p2tog were paired.  This connection could come in handy if I am ever designing something with decreases that happen on both right and wrong sides of the fabric.

See how silly I can get late at night?

The other funny thing I discovered last night is that Doc doesn't totally understand my knitting obsession.  Here is our conversation:

Me:  I can't make dinner because I have to finish the last day's pattern.
Doc:  Why?
Me:  I have to have the knitting finished so I can block the scarf tomorrow, that way it will be all finished before Christmas Day.
Doc:  O!  Who is it for?
Me:  Me
Doc:  If it's not a gift, why does it have to be finished by Christmas Day?

I feel that the idea of an Advent Calendar Scarf KAL has escaped him.

So, here are the blocking photos:

Unblocked and dry:
That is a meter stick next to it.

Wet and with the welding wires inserted, but no pins yet:
And here is what it looks like pinned:
It is not quite 9 mats long, and the mats are about 11.5 in. each. I didn't measure, but it looks a bit more than one mat wide, so a bit wider than 12 in?

And for those of you who are crazy and want to see each day blocked, here they are:
ha ha ha!  I just realized all these photos are up-side-down.  I'll post them again later right-side-up.

Day 1

 Day 2

 Day 3

 Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

If it is not too damp, I will wear it tonight.

Merry Christmas,
Shaping the planet with silk and merino.