Eep! 2009 Wrap Up

So things got just a little crazy with the ILs coming and all. The second half of December there has been silence from me and I apologize for that. I’m still knitting and still behind on FOs. Nothing new there.

Anywho! 2009 wrap up. This was a pretty busy year with a few more projects then last year. 36 total. Of these 7 were adult sweaters and shrugs. 5 were sweaters for children and babies. 7 were hats. 2 were traditional scarves. 6 were shawlettes. 5 were socks. 4 were misc. small projects. That’s a lot of knitting.

Another way to look at it is the yardage.

Yardage totals for 2009:
January: 937 yds
February: 1286 yds
March: 1466 yds
April: 1093 yds
May: 909 yds
June: 759 yds
July: 1886 yds
August: 1679 yds
September: 1465 yds
October: 879 yds
November: 1217 yds
December: 1498 yds

Total to date: 15,074 yds or 8.57 miles

That’s a lot of yarn being knit up. Over 8 and a half miles’ worth of yarn. I think I will continue to keep track next year and see if knitting mostly sweaters changes this at all.

All in all, 2009 was a good year for knitting, though it had a very bad start. Remember Year of the Frog? At least that changed about mid-way through. Imagine what I could have knit had my whole year been like the last 4 to 6 months. Or better yet, imagine how much I would have knit if I had not piddled away so much time on Ravelry and was knitting instead.

Happy New Year everyone! I’ll be back with more FOs and other knitting posts tomorrow.

Back to FO catch up

Sorry, got side tracked for a few days. Some more pictures have been taken and I can get back to documenting all of the FOs I have been behind on. The good news is, I’m finally current after this post. “Current” meaning I’m less then a month behind, though I do have projects building up again. I’ve been knitting up a storm as if to try and squeeze all the yarny goodness I can out of 2009. All in all, I’d say that’s a good thing and I’ll work to get pictures of my most current work after it’s done blocking. On one piece, I’m sewing in some lining.

First up: the much kvetched about, never-ending cardigan. That’s right kittens, it’s…

Pattern: Whisper Cardigan (Ravel it)
Needles: US size 5
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Cashmere Silk Laceweight: 2 of Hearts
Whisper. Three and a half months on needles. About 90% of that time was the damn sleeves. If anyone plans to knit this, do yourself a favor: do. not. knit. on. 12″ circulars. Just don’t. You will hate it. Your hands will cramp. You will hate the sweater. My Snobs group debated this rather in depth and magic loop seems to be the best way to go with the sleeves on this to avoid cramping and ladders.

The following notes are taken directly from my project page. I used every last bit of this yarn, with maybe a yard left over, but I think it was less. Almost all modifications made were due to necessity and not enough yarn, with the exception of the sleeve shape. I left it the stitch count of the widest part of the sleeve and shortened it due to personal preference. Other modifications included 2.5” of the 1×1 rib vs 3”, and the body length was closer to 6” then 8.” Had yarn allowed, I would have made the ribbing the full width and done at least another inch on the body. Due to my own shape, I may have also added a section of straight knitting before adding the increases every other row so that they hit under the bust.

If it isn’t obvious from my notes, I ran out of yarn. Lesson learned: when buying a limited hand dye, be a bit more cautious about how you use it. You can not just go buy more. I bought the yarn first then picked the pattern. I have some additional thoughts now that I’ve worn the sweater a few times. One, even though I made the large, I would have shortened the back sections just a tad because it’s a bit too loose across the back. This makes it very comfy but taking out 1/2″ from each side would have made a world of difference. Two, I think I would have used short row shaping to bring the front ribbing out a bit further to do a better job of covering tank top and bra straps. Despite that, this is one of my favorite knits to wear. It’s soft as a kitten’s belly and warm without being hot. So nice and light. I will definitely knit another and probably mod the bejeesus out of it.

Oh look! We’re to the end of November, finally.

Pattern: Wurm (Ravel it)
Needles: US size 5 & US size 7
Yarn: Mama Blue Troika Sport: Mermaid

I LOVE THIS HAT. That pretty much covers it. I love the color. I love the whimsical shape. I wish Troika sport had about 10g more in the skein so I could have done one more pattern repeat, but this was good enough. I used every last inch of yarn. Love, love, love. And it makes The Husband smile.

Last, but not least, finished in the first days of this month…

Needles: US size 2 1/2
Yarn: Unwind Yarns Merlot Fingering: Cheeky Monkey

These were a gift knit for my sister and will be in the mail in the next day or so. I want to keep them. This pattern was super easy to memorize, but looks complicated. It’s just a simple slipped stitch pattern with 4 stitch cables on the sides to give it some stretch. Because of the pattern, it takes forever to do the leg, but once you get past that part, it flies. The only modifications I made were larger needles since I knit tight, shorter leg because I wasn’t sure how the sock would fit the leg and my sister is an anklets kind of gal, and a shorter, wider toe since the “normal” way doesn’t fit me properly and looks funny. Happy, happy, happy.

That’s it for tonight’s installment. I have three more FOs in various stages of finishing and a project on needles I could easily finish tonight.

Resolutions 2010

Anyone who has followed this blog for long knows that I failed miserably at all of my 2009 resolutions. Throughout the year, you will see post after post of my attempts to find a way to make it work out, only to end up with more yarn then I started with. I did succeed in one of my goals that I set for myself later in the year: I managed to use up a good-sized portion of my random skeins of fingering and sport weight variegated yarns. There’s a reason 2009 was a big year for hats and shawlettes for me.

It was a bad year for reducing stash size, and I was not the only one feeling it, as my Yarn Snobs group can attest. The monthly diets were fun, but more of a yardage tally then a stash reducing effort for the majority of us. Stash down groups and threads were all over the place on Ravelry and more are popping up this month. One group has a thread about going Cold Sheep in 2010; pretty cute name for stashing down. The NaKniSweMoDo group is setting up for their 2010 challenge, which I’m taking part in. It’s a dodecathon: 12 adult sweaters in 12 months. Many have echoed the sentiment that they would like to knit solely or mostly from stash this next year. Excess stash seems to be plaguing the online knitting community as a whole; it makes me wonder about our counterparts who do not participate in Ravelry or maybe have no internet access at all.

Right now, I’m participating in the test mini-quarter of our 2010 Stashdown effort. To date, I am doing pretty well: averaging 2 yards out for every yard bought. Something rather amazing has happened in the last month of participating in this effort. I have found the zen in regards to yarn buying that I spent the rest of the year desperately trying to find. When I wasn’t looking, I found some of the peace I was trying to buy with yarn. I did make one large purchase at the very beginning of last month, but about mid-way through, yarn lost its temptation for me. I ignored all of the Black Friday yarn sales. Good ones. At my favorite online yarn stores. Even the one I consider to be my virtual LYS.

If I can keep in this frame of mind, my resolutions for 2010 will be easy peasy to keep and I won’t feel so embarrassed by my complete failure with almost double the yarn I started the year with. I’ve been mulling them over for months, wondering how big of a fall I was setting myself up for. Now, I think it just may work, so I’m going to blog about my knitting goals in 2010. They’re solidified now and I’m hoping I’ve found ones that I can stick to but are still challenging.

Most of these revolve around the fact that while I love knitting and have been having a torrid, passionate, and mostly exclusive love affair with it for the last two years, I do indeed have other hobbies I’d like to work on but can’t, because I feel obligated to use up most of my yarn first. My stash has become a hindrance to my creativity in other areas; something a lovely bunch of yarn should never be. Stash is nice, but perhaps having more then a dozen sweaters’ worth of yarn in one’s tote is a bit excessive. For me, anyway.

My ultimate goal for 2010 is to get to the point that in 2011, I can quilt, sew, read, art, embroider, or whatever-else-my-heart-desires without feeling obligated to knit a sweater first. I hope to find balance in my hobbies.

To achieve this, I plan to:
  • Continue to knit down my random fingering weight skeins of yarn. I would love to complete a minimum of 3 pairs of socks in 2010 as well as 2 other accessories using that type of yarn.
  • Make a good effort to win one quarter of the Snob’s Stashdown 2010. In my fantasy world, I will be the Stashdown Queen for the year. I’m hoping to make 2 out of 4 quarters with no yarn purchased/in, just yardage out. Hopefully, I will not be gifted or given yarn either, since these will count against me.
  • Participate in the 2010 NaKniSweMoDo challenge almost entirely from stash. I plan to purchase the yarn for one sweater later in the year, after I have cleared several times more out of my stash. I will not do this until I am about to cast that particular project on. At the end of the year if I make it to 12 sweaters in 12 months (or beyond!), I plan to reward myself with buying yarn for one new sweater project of my choice–this could also be a skirt or a dress project.
If I can do all of these things, I should start 2011 the way I want to: with 2-3 sweater quantities in my tote and a small handful of other projects to work on when I feel like it. If all goes well, I will be able to resist impulsive stashing and purchase yarn for a project when I’m ready to work on it. Because truly, that is the greatest crime my current situation has committed against me. I am unable to purchase yarn for a new pattern I love now because I have so many obligations already in stash.

More back-FOs

Welcome back to FO Catch Up 2009!

The first one tonight is another August FO, this time finished at the end of the month. 2009 seemed to be the Year of the Shawlette.

Pattern: Hayworth Shawlette (ravel it)
Needles: US size 5
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Merino Cashmere Nylon Fingering – Jezebel

Overall, a very quick knit and I loved the Deco style details of this shawl. It was nice to see lace that isn’t overly girly and floral, but rather, geometric. The yarn came from my short stint in The Plucky Knitter’s yarn club. Once again, it’s been so long since I finished this that I’m unsure if there were any special notes I would have liked to write down about it. From what I remember, it was easy to follow and I’m happy with the results. I’ve noticed that MCN blends do not like to stay blocked, however. I originally had pulled the points out further, but you can’t tell. I do like the more mellow points vs. what I had while blocking it.

Next up…a shawlette. Surprise?!

Pattern: Traveling Woman (ravel it)
Needles: US size 7
Yarn:The Plucky Knitter Merino Cashmere Nylon Fingering-
Leona Stevenson

I finished this in mid-September; getting closer to the present! Enjoyable pattern, went really well with the color way. I love the juxtoposition of the lace with the more masculine colorway…though it was inspired by a Big Shouldered Broad. Pretty easy pattern to follow and didn’t give me any problems that I can remember. Once again, MCN doesn’t seem to like to block out and the points on this one didn’t come out. I might try to block it one more time or I may just leave it as-is.

That’s it for the second installment of FO Catch Up. I still have 4 more FOs to blog; one of them is photographed and ready to go. I may push my photographer to help me get pictures of at least one of the other three for the next installment.

There was a question asked in the comments of my last blog entry: I know my camera has a timer feature, but I’ve been too lazy to figure it out. I’m sure it likely has a remote we could purchase for it, but I’d need a tripod as well. I tend to prefer a human behind the lense. And I’m lazy, did I mention that already? However, I may have to push myself to utilize this option as it is likely The Husband will deploy again in the future, leaving me sans photographer. I probably should not bank on The Boy and The Girl to be models when this happens. 🙂

Finally catching up on FOs!

But since I do not want to be up much longer tonight, I’ll post up the most over-due for now and save some of the pictures for tomorrow or coming days.

I am horrible at remembering to get pictures of my finished knits and then blog them. It doesn’t help that The Husband hates helping me photograph and can be impossible to nail down for a shoot. It causes him pain and annoyance, apparently. We speak different languages when it comes to communicating what I want focused on in a photo of a hand knit. Either he zooms way in to the point that you can not see the whole knit, or he’s so far out that it’s a rather boring portrait of me. Someday, we’ll get it figured out.

Maybe.

Anywho! Most over-due knits coming right up. First, finished in April…

My second Ishbel. Took me long enough. It’s embarrassing, but I did not weave in the ends on this and block it until the post I made about the pile of FOs I needed to finish up. It was too hot to wear scarves and shawlettes by the time I finished in April, so it wasn’t a priority.

Second, and last for tonight, finished in August…

Pattern: Eyelet Cap (ravel it)
Needles: US size 3
Yarn: Mama Blue Troika Sock-Pit
I wish I could remember if there is anything special to say about this. I know that I knit it in a lighter weight yarn then called for in the pattern. I also did not knit a really long ribbed section and then fold it over and sew it down. I just made it shorter to wear that way. Once again: Texas, very rarely gets cold enough to need heavy duty knits.

I’m short and to the point tonight. There will be more pictures soon as I continue to play FO Catch Up. *Cue the cheesy music*

Holiday Knitting

Sorry kittens, it’s all text and musings today.

I’ve been noticing a trend on Ravelry and the Blogosphere: posts about winter holiday knitting–Christmas in particular–are popping up at an alarming rate. I’m starting to wonder if I’m the only knitter not busting her balls (ha, sorry, couldn’t resist that one) to make every member of my family a gift with time I do not have. Truly, this puzzles me. I am working on one holiday knit but not firm on the deadline. Perhaps I’m a bit odd, but I believe in giving gifts when I feel the urge to rather then on a schedule with dates dictated to me. It defeats the purpose and spirit of a gift. Just a personal opinion there. For holidays and birthdays, I’ll send well-wishes and treats instead.

But, oh my! The stress and panic that is jumping off my screen as I read these forum posts and blogs. Why do knitters do this to themselves?

The ones that stick out most to me are the ones that I’ve seen argue that they love to knit for others and that’s why they do it; it’s a good and selfish thing for them to do. However, you’re going to have a hard time convincing me of this point when my own blood pressure is creeping up reading about your unrealistic list of gifts that must be completed in the next three weeks. The writer herself admits that she’ll have time for nothing else but grinding, non-stop knitting while she slaves over these gifts. These gifts she’s…enjoying…to knit. Right. If the written word could hyperventilate, these posts would be doing it.

The other posts that seem to be just as prominent are the, “SCREW IT, I am not knitting for anyone anymore,” posts. These usually come with an amusing but sad tale of ingrate relatives and friends who have no appreciation for the handknits that were gifted to them. They have no idea of the agonizing process of finding the right colors and fibers, the right pattern, and then the hours of labor that went into that gift. None of this is a surprise to me. What does surprise me is that the poster/blogger was once of the mindset that handknits were expected and something that were owed. Somehow these handknits were saving them money, because apparently, time isn’t worth anything. If one has the skills, she owes it to the world to make them things.

Bitterness and anxiety, the internet is full of it for knitters this holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year?!

I’m of the mindset that a phone call and personal chat is worth more then a physical gift for most special occasions. Gifts are nice, but I like to think there’s something extra nice about them when they’re completely unexpected. Whether that is due to the time of year they’re received or the fact that I do not gift every single year, it doesn’t really matter. I like to flatter myself and think there’s something refreshing about my approach, but I’m sure most would think that I’m inconsiderate and cheap.

So, I have a question for those of you out there who are reading this entry: what is your gifting philosophy, and are you currently killing yourself to crank out handknits or other homemade gifts for the holidays?

November yardage totals.

Hard to believe it’s time for these again! And yet, here we are. November was more productive then October, but still a bit lower then I would have liked. (Someday, I’ll get the FOs pictured and blogged. REALLY.)

Yardage totals for 2009:
January: 937 yds
February: 1286 yds
March: 1466 yds
April: 1093 yds
May: 909 yds
June: 759 yds
July: 1886 yds
August: 1679 yds
September: 1465 yds
October: 879 yds
November: 1217 yds
Total to date: 13,576 yds or 7.71 miles