Year in Review: 2012

Goodbye 2012! Overall this year pretty much balanced out between good times and less good times, but the back end was definitely overloaded with crap, and created situations that are unlikely to improve any time soon, so I’m not particularly looking forward to 2013.

Knitting-wise, this was an incredibly productive year. Without planning to, I knit six garments for me that worked out (and one that didn’t). And as you saw in the last Sweaterday post, I’m a little more than halfway finished with another one.

My creation

This is the first year I’ve churned out this many sweaters since the original launch Sweater Odyssey a couple of years ago. And this was mostly accidental. I’ve got a good amount of yarn queued up to knit a few more sweaters and cardigans next year, which is awesome, because sweaters get rid of a lot more yarn than socks do.

I did knit three pairs of socks this year, in addition to six shawls/scarves and a few hats (one of which still needs to be sewn together, oops). Quite a few baby projects were made for a few babies who debuted this year.

Oh yeah, there was that Loki scarf too.

IMG_5309

I had a goal to not buy much yarn to help save money for my trip to Paris, and while in general I did pretty good with that—didn’t really impulse buy much yarn—I did keep buying yarn to knit those sweaters. And I knit them up pretty much as soon as the yarn appeared. So that’s good. But next year, I really need to buckle down and knit from my stash and not add to my stash via my own means (meaning, if someone sends me yarn as a gift, obviously I will accept it and love it, and I can buy yarn for other people, but I can not buy yarn for myself). I have a ridiculous number of pattern + yarn-in-stash match-ups and I need to work through the queue.

So my two knitting goals for 2013 are:

  1. Knit from the queue. I only finished around 25 projects this year (partly because the Loki scarf did take up a bit of time—I figure next year I could knock out about thirty projects, depending on the size and complexity). I have about 140 patterns matched to yarn in my queue. I’m set for a while.
  2. Don’t buy yarn. I obviously don’t need any yarn. I have enough projects to keep me entertained from here to the next apocalypse without fail.

Pretty simple, really! Here’s hoping I can stick to them. Are you making any crafting goals for the new year?

Advertisements

Travel Knitting: What to do?!

I’m heading home to my parents’ house for a long weekend tomorrow, and I kind of just realized that I’ll be on a plane for about 8 hours altogether (it’s been an adventurous week). Now, I have plenty of projects on the needles to knit while on a plane, but let’s look at the facts:

  • The Loki Scarf is coming along nicely, but it involves intarsia and stranded knitting and four balls of yarn dangling from the project. Now imagine trying to knit that on an airplane. Exactly. This project is definitely coming with me (I’m having a separate crisis about how much yarn to wind off the cones), but I don’t think it’s very good for on-the-plane knitting.
  • My Pontos cardigan is also zipping along, being that it’s bulky and lace knitting and I’ve got the sleeves joined and everything. But it’s bulky and the sleeves are joined, making it a kind of chunky project to take on a plane. I mean, I have to wrestle it into the little child-sized duffle bag I’ve been using to carry it. It takes up too much room to fit in a carry-on, and I would feel a little ridiculous paying to check a bag so I can take this project with me. This does mean it won’t be finished by closing ceremonies, but that’s okay. It’s not far off.

    Untitled

  • Folded has been sitting in time out while I was working on the scarf and Pontos, and is a smaller project (fingering weight yarn takes up less space than bulky yarn). So it is a contender for on-the-plane knitting.

But then there’s a little bit of starteritis threatening to set in. “Maybe I should start a pair of socks, I haven’t knit socks in a while, and my queue is full of sock patterns with yarns matched up.”


Bex by Cookie A

“Or maybe a shawl! I’ve got a few options there.” (see also: Holden Shawlette.)


Age of Brass and Steam, photo by Sketchbook

“Maybe I’ll crochet something! I haven’t crocheted in a while.”


Alpine Frost Scarf

…though I am extremely, stupidly, thinking about casting on another pullover. It’s lace weight! On big needles!


Cecilia, photo by Oby

…don’t look at me like that.

Month in Review: March 2012

I mentioned yesterday that March was pretty lively in some regards, and the knitting front is no exception! I finished two cardigans for me, one cardigan for a baby, and knit a shawl–a post on that coming soon! I also started a scarf for myself and made plans to knit lots of other things but didn’t quite get to it.

In reverse order, we have my Cascade, knit for a friend’s little girl. I can’t wait until she’s big enough to wear it; I just hope she waits to grow that much so it’s cool enough for her to wear it.
IMG_4139

And then we have my Delancey Cardigan, knit as part of the Sweatshop of Love Knitalong. I finished this cardigan in one month. Aka, half the time the knitalong is running. Oops.
IMG_4068

Finally (or firstly), there’s my Larch, which is super snuggly and warm! Also from a knitalong that I was hosting in the 2012 Sweater Odyssey group on Ravelry.
IMG_3939

This month I also interviewed Amy Christoffers as part of the knitalong. Not only is she one of my favorite designers, but she’s one of my favorite people now, as well (okay, she kind of was before, but now even more so!).

I introduced a new weekly blog post, called Kickstart, mostly as a way for me to get pumped about the work week on Mondays.

And I didn’t buy any yarn. I was tempted, oh was I ever tempted, by the likes of Roman Hills and Apothecary Yarns and Your Mom Knits, among others, but I resisted. RESISTED.

WINNING.

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?

Catch-all

Inspired by a post by John and Sherry over at Young House Love (which any of DIYers should be reading, for serious), I went over to Ethan Allen and took their What’s Your Style? quiz. Apparently my signature style is “Elegance.”

Classic design elements, yes, I do like those. Luxurious and beautifully liveable… maybe? I think you lost me at cosmopolitan, Ethan Allen.


This is not really my style. There’s nothing wrong with it as a style, but it’s definitely not my style. I mean, consider that this is currently the color scheme going on in my bathroom.

So I retook their quizzy thing, and even though I picked some of the same images, I got the Vintage result, which yielded some options closer to my actual style.

I love light. I have a bad habit of taking photos of various light fixtures. I love things that add light to a room, with brighter colors to bounce sunlight pouring through big windows and reflective surfaces on furnishings. That top image is a bit too clean for me–needs some crazy wall art or giant pink gerbera daisies or something. The bottom one is really close, although I’ve discovered a general distaste for the run-of-the-mill floral print that I really can’t explain. If that chair was orange or something, I’d be all over it.

My mom and I (really, my mom, but I was there to… direct?) made loads of progress on the apartment this weekend, so hopefully there will be some more in-progress shots soon. Meanwhile…


The yarn buying has bested me AGAIN.

This and the one below are from a destash, helping out a knitter who lost her job in the Borders debacle, as I’ve come to call it. (and, you know, they’re pretty.)

IMG_2525
IMG_2529

This was sent to me by a friend and therefore does not count against the “no buying yarn” rule, but it is scrumptious so I figured I’d share it.

IMG_2530

This was on sale and is Ravenclaw colors, AND it’s DK weight and I don’t have a lot of DK. (Look at me rationalizing to myself.)

IMG_2550

THIS IS FOR A PARTICULAR PROJECT, A VERY PARTICULAR PROJECT, AND THEREFORE IS EXEMPT FROM THE RULES.

IMG_2551

This… I just couldn’t resist.

IMG_2552

This part of the post is brought to you by “look how awesome wood floors make for yarn backdrops.” Seriously. And finally…


Remember that sweater dress I’ve been working on for the last few weeks? Except that I wasn’t actually working on it for the last few weeks, because OMG my brain, my brain has not been working at all. And I’m at a portion in the yoke where I need my brain to be working, because I have to make sure that this thing is going to fit my upper body. It’s close to done, and I’m close to the point where I can get back into concentrating on it and talking about it. Hopefully with something resembling coherency.

Hatchling

I have a secret, blog friends. I’ve been keeping something from you.

It’s nothing personal! I just started working on a project, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it in the grand scheme of things, so I was keeping it to myself. I’m still not sure what sort of end game I’m going for with this thing, but it’s been lingering for a little while and I’ve had this constant, nagging thought that if I blogged about the project, then I’d get back into the swing of knitting it, that I’d rediscover the joy of figuring out a design as I’m going along, that I’d finally sit down and do the damned math to figure out the decreases in a yoked sweater dress.

Yep. Sweater dress. A purple seamless yoke sweater dress with elbow-length sleeves.

Don’t look at me like that. Here let me distract you with a picture.

purple sweater dress

(Yep, someone had some fun with Polyvore. PS, that’s totally Thea Colman’s new Gibson Girl top in purple; I’m still debating the collar treatment but when I saw her purple top with it’s portrait collar, I got a little buzz of excitement, so I may be borrowing her idea.)

I have decided that, for the time being, there is not going to be a pattern at the end of this. Rather, there are going to be (hopefully) detailed notes and “here’s what I did” stories so that if you just have to have your own knitted sweater dress (and really, who doesn’t? ::crickets::), you can recreate this process on your own, with whatever yarn you choose in whatever color you chose—though I have to say, purple is a pretty flattering color.

For my own purposes, I’m using Quince & Co’s Chickadee in the Frank’s Plum colorway. This “sport weight” (quotations because it’s SUPER lofty and not tightly spun, so I’m actually knitting it at DK weight gauge and getting the perfect fabric) was actually really affordable for the fourteen skeins I bought (who knows how many yards a sweater dress takes?!), and so far I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out!

Hopefully later this week I’ll be back with notes on how I began the process of planning this sweater dress. My goal is to provide a usable “template” for other people to try out the process of designing your own garments, but part of this will rely on questions from the audience, so if you have any questions at all along the way, pipe up!

Knitting and the Television

Remember when you first started knitting and it was something to do while you sat around, watched TV, did other things? A means of being productive while doing something else?

I realized yesterday that the roles of knitting and other distractions in my life have completely reversed. In an attempt to unwind from real life stressors, I spent a lot of time watching TV and knitting this week, especially yesterday. When I first started learning to knit, almost five years ago, my projects were mostly scarves (because that was what I did at the time) and very simple stitches. I could knit while watching anything—except for maybe stuff with subtitles.

Now, I’m picking my TV around what I want to knit. I don’t have TV service at my house, so when I say “TV,” I mean TV (or movies) on DVD. When I wanted to knit on my Rock Island shawl? I put on True Blood, because I’ve seen seasons 1 and 2 enough that I don’t have to pay attention to them, and could instead tune into the chart portion of the shawl (I’ve got about 10 more rows to go on the chart; it’s awesome to see how much knitting this is picking up as the rows get shorter and shorter).

Rock Island Shawl

When I wanted to work on my Elemental Boatneck, I put on Torchwood season 1. I’m getting the discs from Netflix, and since I’m a total newcomer to the show, I knew that knitting linen stitch in the round (forever) would be a better choice, because I don’t have to pay attention to the knitting.

Elemental Boatneck

The good news is that I’ve finally separated for the front and back on this pullover. I just started working the lace pattern this morning. Yay progress! Though I did find a bit of errata for the two largest sizes of the sweater. As written, armhole shaping is supposed to end with 98 (102) sts. However, these numbers don’t work with the lace repeat, a multiple of 4 sts plus 4 sts; 98 – 4 = 94, which is not evenly divisible by 4 and 102 – 4 = 98, also not evenly divisible. If you’re knitting either of those sizes, either work another row of decreases or stop a row short (so you’ll have either 96 or 100 sts for the 46” size, or 100 or 104 sts for the 50”). Sorry if that was a bit too much math for your day off, if you’re observing Memorial Day.