Month in Review: December

Adios, December and 2011! It’s been a productive month, and a productive year.

I did finish a pair of Wishbone Socks (blog post coming soon).


I finished a Maile Cardigan.


As well as my Chambourcin.


And I knit another Due North.


I broke out a crochet hook even!


And I started on a Parseltongue Hat, which I may finish today to include in December’s count.

I did bring in a good amount of yarn as well, but mostly in the process of stocking up for next year’s yarn diet. Let’s just leave it at that.

I’m looking forward to 2012 and having a little more freedom with my knitting goals, while hopefully creating a little more wiggle room in my stash bins. What are you looking forward to in 2012? I hope everyone’s having a fun yet safe New Year’s!

Looking Forward

Traditionally, this time of year—after the holidays, right before we toss out the calendars—is a time for reflection and planning resolutions or goals or simply wishes for the upcoming year. I’m no exception. I think creating goals, whether they’re yearly, monthly, weekly, or even hourly, are important to us as human beings; they give us something to strive for, something to attain, a reason to get out of bed every morning. I know there’s a sense of urgency and peer pressure to come up with lofty resolutions for each new year, and I think that’s bunk, but I don’t see anything wrong with creating goals whenever you feel like it.

Last year, I set myself the goal of knitting a pair of socks every month. I did not quite make it, though I did knit quite a few pairs of socks this year. Nothing bad will happen because I didn’t meet this goal, and something good came from it in the form of learning and warm feet. I learned that I hate telling myself what to do, in terms of my fun, relaxing knitting hobby. Before this, I knew very well that I hate being told what to do in general. I suppose I didn’t extend that to my knitting life. Feeling like I had to knit a pair of socks every month, that I was “failing” if I wasn’t constantly working on socks, was such a chore and a bore and I hated it. It tarnished (but did not kill completely) my love for sock knitting.

One of my big plans for this new year is to go to Paris. I’ve been trying to go to Paris for nigh on ten years, and something has always come up when the time seemed ripe for traveling abroad. Knocking on wood that this year is The Year, and that in nine months or so, I’ll be going on a little mini-hiatus while exploring the City of Lights.

As part of my larger goal of getting to Paris, I need to set smaller, personal goals for practicing self-restraint and self-discipline. SO. BORING. I know. But I need money to pay for this trip, and the easiest and least painful (in that it doesn’t involve selling body parts) way to have money is to tighten the reins on my budget and spending habits. That part doesn’t largely apply to this knitting blog, except that I have in the past spent a ridiculous amount of money on yarn each year. (“Ridiculous” may be a relative term.)

So for 2012, I’m not setting goals that are specific to what I’m knitting. Once again, I am vowing to not buy any yarn, with two exceptions:

  1. I can buy yarn if it is absolutely necessary to finish a project. There are a few projects in my queue where I know I need one more skein of yarn. Take my Tilted Duster for instance. I’m pretty sure I’ll need one more skein of Cascade 220 to knit it; I’m just trying to find a place that has this color (I suspect The Loopy Ewe will likely restock it, maybe when their brick and mortar store is open in a couple of weeks). If nothing else, I discovered Amazon sells it. That was an eye opener.
  2. I can buy yarn in Paris.

That’s it, end of story. No more yarn coming into my house of my own will. (Aside from possibly the yarn I’ve bought with Christmas money to make specific projects in 2012.) Again, if someone gifts me with yarn, that will totally come into my house, because otherwise I would be RUDE. Though if someone feels the need to gift me with a knitting-related thing, I have a fancy pattern wishlist queue over on Ravelry. Not angling. Just saying.

Related to that goal of not buying yarn is to knit from my queue. I’ve spent the last few weeks matching queued projects to stashed yarn, or adding projects to my queue to knit with stashed yarn. I’ve got more than 170 projects with patterns in hand and yarn to match that I can knit over the course of the year. If I get bored with or bogged down on a particular project, I can just go shopping in my “ready-to-go” queue, or pick out a skein of yarn from the many residing in my apartment and go from there.

To add to this fun (and yeah, this planning and coming up with a way to make it easier to resist yarn purchases has been fun), I’m going to see if I can knit a half-marathon’s worth of yardage out of my stash. That’s 23,056 yards of yarn. An average of 1,921 yards every month. Nevermind that my average for the past four months was just over 1,400 yards. Details, details.

Along the way, I’ll also be trying out new-to-me techniques, such as steeking (eeking is more like it—scissors! knitted fabric! noooooo!) and double-knitting. And hopefully developing more productive coping skills than “Stressful day! Buy yarn!” Not that there’s anything wrong with mechanism; indeed, yarn is, in general, much preferred to other coping mechanisms. That thinking simply doesn’t jive with my overall plans for the year.

So here we are, a few days left in 2011. What are your plans for the next year, knitting or otherwise? Are you going to set some sort of goal or milemarker for yourself?

Sweaterday: Miniature Edition

What’s that you say? Sweaterday? But I finished a sweater earlier this week! This is true, but I finished a second sweater this week.


I knit the Maile Sweater by Nikki Van De Car for the same baby-to-be who is getting the panda bear and the crochet blanket. Worked in a fingering weight yarn, this sweater should be a good weight for a baby living in Florida—not too heavy but hopefully warm enough for those times that the temperature does drop. The sweater is unblocked in all of these photos, because I finished it Wednesday night and didn’t have time to block and dry, but I imagine it will probably grow a little bit.


The yarn is hand-dyed by my friend Lizz, so I don’t know a lot about the details of it. I love how it striped a bit in the sleeve.

And of course, my favorite place to add detail on a baby sweater is in the buttonband. I went diving into my button stash and came out with these adorable little white buttons.


I’m so excited to give these gifts to the mom-to-be. I hope she can use the blanket and the sweater in Florida, at least a little bit. It’s about 80° right now, if that gives you any indication about the weather in Florida’s “winter.”

Back to work on my socks!

Friday Finds

Maybe you’re rushing around trying to finish gifting (dare we go so far as to say finish gift knitting?). Maybe you, like me, have given up gifting knitted items to people who live in pseudo-tropical climates (though I did say I’d knit an earflap hat for my dad for those few times when he might go some place cold and needs his ears kept warm). If you’re in my camp, hopefully you’re enjoying today by knitting selfishly for yourself—I finally cast on for this month’s pair of socks. You know, with ten days left, that sounded like a good idea. Ten days of no work? This can totally happen.

Whatever you’re up to today, here’s a short and sweet Friday Finds. I’ve got socks to knit and family to hug. Not simultaneously, I don’t think they’d appreciate a needle tip in the back.

  • Normally I go with the fake, pre-lit tree, but this does have a certain appeal! Giant wool Christmas tree, story by the Daily Mail.
  • Please take a peek at Gabrielle Henry’s Faultline shawl ($4). One dollar from every sale goes directly to the Red Cross New Zealand, and the Kiwis, still recovering from the massive earthquakes earlier this year, just had smaller quakes in the Christchurch area this week.

  • I love this. There are not enough words to tell you how much. Boreal (£3.95) by Kate Davies.

  • Yeah, I’m on another stranded colorwork kick. Olafsdottir ($7.95) by Carol Sunday.

  • I love the pattern on these fingerless mitts, though I would be tempted to turn them into mittens. Nadolig Fingerless Mitts (£3.95) by Kim.

  • Absolutely delicious twisted stitches in this shawl from Lily Go. Rendezvous ($5.50)

  • Quoth the Raven ($16 collection) by Lisa Mutch is all around stellar. Be sure to look into Nevermore (pictured), Lenore, Plutonian, and Ominous.

  • On the Right ($5) by Debbie O’Neill is squishy, stripey garter stitch set at odds.