Tuesday, December 6, 2016

sometimes i'm quite stupid really

so my best friend in the whole world got married.  4 1/2 years ago.  in 2012.  and i started working on their wedding present then.  it was going to be lovely.

that's the image from the pattern site.  

i started it in 2012 on 18 count aida, and after about a page decided that it was working up too small and i didn't like it.

then my sister announced that she was getting married, so i decided to put this one aside, because my bestie would totally understand that i'm working on her present and it will be finished... eventually... because she's a fellow crafter and my best friend in the whole world.

so i took the next year (and a half) and worked on this piece of art for my sister:
turned out lovely, and with a lot of swearing (those cobblestones...)

so once that was done, i restarted the rockwell piece, this time on 16 count aida, and i liked it much better.  i stitched away, then started the process of moving.  and that's when the wheels came off the wagon. 

when i got to our new house, i had finished a row and a half of pages, and i decided to set up my front room as my crafting clubhouse.  my first mistake was letting the work live in the q snaps rather than taking it out when i wasn't working on it.  not the most egregious mistake ever, but it would need pressing when it was done for sure. 

but, what i didn't remember is that a) exposure to sunlight is bad for fabric (i'm really really not sure how i forgot this, except that maybe i was temporarily insane) and that b) my front room is all windows on 3 walls.  so when i got really excited and bought myself a new floor stand, i put my work in it and left it out in the front room for the sunlight to destroy.  

now, the piece that has already been started twice and has taken 4 1/2 years to get even partway through, looks like this:

and just like that, it's ruined beyond repair.  the image goes outside of the sunbleached area, so there is no way to just pass it off like i meant to do it.  i have to start over.  

and as much as i love my bestie and her husband, there is no way i am starting the same pattern a third time around.  

so i'll pick something different, not quite as awesome, and get it done more quickly.  and then i will, for the rest of my life, tell the story of how i ruined a good year and a half of work in the course of 3 months.  

Friday, December 2, 2016

life post sweater

so i finished my sweater, which is a big deal.  it made its debut on thanksgiving day, and i remembered how much i love hearing "that's really pretty" and being able to say "thanks, i made it" in response.  it's very gratifying.  i wore it to work as well, and several co-workers asked if i can make them one... is it weird that i'm actually considering it?

anyway, since the big project for fall came off the needles, i've been able to concentrate on my favorite kind of knitting: gifts!  christmas is upon us, and i've been a busy little bee working up some prezzies, which always makes me happy for a number of reasons - 1, because giving is the best.  i love giving presents to people.  2, because most presents are quick knits (hats, mittens, socks) and i get to feel like i'm really accomplishing things.  and 3, because christmas is my favorite holiday.  mostly because of all the giving and celebrating with people who are awesome.

my christmas knitting is a smaller list this year.  when i was planning my year of knitting, i decided to be reasonable about how much i could really do christmas knitting with the wedding coming up (it was a rare moment of clarity and self-awareness that i'm sure will not be repeated), so i only had a few people to make things for:

hats and mittens for a couple of my favorite kiddos. super fun to knit!

a sock, which i designed myself, testing some new methods, for a dear friend (the mate is on the needles now)

and that's it for family and friends for this year.  but, as we have the last few years, my office is participating in the adopt-a-family program through our local freestore foodbank. i love that we started this tradition.  we have about 6 people in our office, and we used to do a little christmas gathering and a gift exchange with each other to mark the end of the semester and the year.  but then one year, we decided to do something good for others instead of exchanging gifts among ourselves, and it was wonderful.  the freestore sends us the names and wish lists of the family members, and we split that up amongst ourselves and go get as much as we can.  then we bring everything in and wrap the presents to deliver to the freestore, it's so nice.  this year we are going to lunch as a group after we deliver the presents to enjoy each other's company.  i'm so lucky to work with other women who are interested in giving and contributing to the community.  it helps.

anyway, this year, everyone asked for some combination of hats and gloves and scarves, so i got to work.


and 2 sons

i will be buying the gloves, since there's a much closer deadline than i can meet with handmade gloves for 4 people... but i'm hoping they like the hats.  i know it's not much, but i feel like it's the least i can do to try and keep a family warm this winter.  

what about you all?  how is christmas prep going?  is it starting to feel like the season yet? 

patterns from top:
love the winter hat by emily dormier
basic children's mittens by elizabeth durand
sock - being designed currently.  stay tuned for pattern notes
autumn in garrison by kate gagnon osborn
hurricane hat by andrea guldin
regular guy beanie by chuck wright

Monday, November 21, 2016

the sweater saga, concluded

ladies and gentlemen, i give you the grand finale of the sweater saga.  yes, i actually finished it!

you may remember that it started as an obsession that had me sitting still for a whole weekend and enjoying the october sunshine.  i got the whole bottom half done really quickly!  it was so fun to work on.

then, i ran into a snag, quite literally, which set back my work for a few days.

i came up with a brilliant plan to combat the need for a swift by using my feet, but that was also slow and not so much fun.  

and going was slow, but progressing.

and finally, it was finished.  but the neck was not very attractive and super uncomfortable.

so that brings us up to speed on where we left off.  the next bit was terrifying, as i attempted my very first lifeline and hoped to the universe that i was on the same row all the way through.

it was pretty scary, but i ended up being right where i needed to be.

then the reconstruct - i did some increases and made the neck longer, with a looser bind off, and in just 2 sessions, i was done again!

and now i have a finished sweater!  it needs a soak and a block before thursday, but it will definitely be making its thanksgiving debut as planned.

overall, the experience was lovely.  i have only made one other true garment for myself before, and i think i learned a lot between then and now, and during this project.

mostly, i have learned what all knitters learn at some point in their lives.  that it is much better to rip back and make something you'll actually wear, than to push through and end up with something that will sit in a drawer forever.

i love my sweater.

happy thanksgiving to all!

pattern: lacey tunic by beautia dew (with some alterations in the neck)
yarn: cascade ultra pima cotton in teal

Monday, November 7, 2016

finished... for now

well, fall is here, and that means that the weather changed and i got my yearly cold.  so i was feeling kinda crummy on saturday, which allowed me the perfect opportunity to be a hermit again and knit on the neck of my sweater.  and guess what?

i finished it:
go me!  thanksgiving deadline, conquered.


i don't like the way the neck fits:
it doesn't hang right, and it is too tight across the back of my neck.

so, my plan currently is to un-finish it. i think i'll do some increases in the neck tube and maybe some short rows right toward the end to see if i can make it lay better on me. it sucks to have to rip out several inches of work, but i'd rather do that than never wear it because it's uncomfortable, right?

so i'm not counting it as totally finished yet, but i'm almost there!

meanwhile, i am going to finish these mittens because they are just adorable and i need a finish:
now i just need to get over this cold...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

birthday weekend!

friends, i had the best birthday this year.  it was gorgeous weather, and i got to do many fun things, and i was spoiled absolutely rotten.  i seriously don't deserve any of it, but i am so happy as a result that i'll allow it for now ;)

it all started with a little online shopping spree... craftsy had a sale last week and i couldn't help myself - a sweater kit for $25??? cascade superwash for $3.12 a skein???  who could resist??? so as my birthday treat for myself, i bought all of these things for me and me alone - not even to make presents for anyone else:

the grey is to make the mendel sweater and the blue and off white will be my new shake the barley gloves for this season 

then, my favorite lys sent me a 25% off coupon for use on my actual birthday (saturday), so after renewing my driver's license, i treated myself to a shopping spree there as well.  i limited myself to one project to keep from going totally broke, but there was ever so much more that i wanted.  the birthday karma was in full swing too, because they had exactly the right number of skeins in stock, all from the same dye lot:
this is going to turn into a vignette sweater for my awesome grandma (eventually...)

but why stop there?  so off i went to the local big boxes to get some christmas present supplies:
this represents two pair of basic children's mittens, two love the winter hats, and a pair of socks (to be designed) (and another shot of the lovely berroco vintage, because it's just too yummy) 

the rest of saturday was spent on our menu tasting at our wedding venue, which is going to have super yummy food... oh my will it be yummy, and another tour of the lovely building. i don't have photos from that, but here is a picture of the flowers we are going to be making to decorate the lovely tables:
they will be made from pages of old books, using this amazing pattern which is so easy to use even i can't mess it up :)
and then drinks and a show with my besties.  it was a happy birthday day!

sunday was when j and i celebrated, since he is off work on sundays, and boy did i make out like a bandit - all i ever ask for is a day to not have to talk to anyone if i don't want to, and good food.  so here are some shots from the day:
brunch of potato, egg, and chorizo bake

hanging out in the sunshine with the happiest dog ever

getting enough crafting time in to finish the body and sleeves of my tunic.  just the neck left to go, and that thanksgiving deadline is going to be dust! (ps, ignore the grossness on the mirror - i think it's leftover sticker gunk...)
dinner of flank steak with goat cheese, herb pesto and pepper roulade, and asparagus risotto, and an amazing bottle of wine

and that was supposed to be it... but yesterday, i got surprised with another present!  i've been complaining about our lack of good lighting in the living room, and what i really wanted was a table with a built in lamp to try and get the lighting i need without sacrificing table surface area.  i have only been kind of halfheartedly looking, but he paid attention, and when i got home last night he was building this:
it's exactly the right thing!  i set it up and immediately used it to cast on one of the pair of mittens for christmas presents.  

i can only hope that everyone has a birthday weekend as perfect as mine when their turn comes.  
happy november, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

stupid work...

work is totally getting in the way of my knitting time, friends.  i'm kinda mad about it.  i mean, i love my job and all (seriously.  it's the best job i could ever, ever hope to have, and i am so lucky that the stars aligned to let me have it) but man, i wish i could be home knitting more this month.

to start with, fall is so pretty at my house... this picture is from last year, but it's pretty similar this year....

so how can i not want to just sit out on my deck in the sunshine and knit surrounded by all that gorgeousness?

then, there's the fact of this crazy project.  when i have a chance to work on it, it goes like gangbusters, but i just haven't had the kind of time i want... after the marathon two weekends ago, this is as far as i've gotten since:

i'm ready to divide for the armholes, which necessitated winding another ball up.  i developed a kind of ridiculous system, but it worked...
well, when the dog decided to get out of the way, that is:
she was just trying to help, you know... basically the system consisted of laying the skein across my feet, which were propped up on the ottomon, then putting the tv tray between my legs holding the ball winder.  i would pull some off the skein by going foot to foot with the live end and then wind them up on the ball winder... by the end my back was not super happy with me.

then, i had to divide said ball into 3 balls of equal weight - since the armhole and neck shaping section of the pattern call for each piece of the sweater to be knit individually.  so out came my trusty kitchen scale:

and by the time i had that all done, it was time to go to bed.  no knitting was accomplished.  the rest of this week is just crazy, but i'm still convinced i can get it done by thanksgiving... this gives me... 28 days... so we'll call it 25 days to account for time to soak and block and dry.  

totally doable, right? 

in other news, i made an executive decision about my ravelry queue last week, and i think it is going to work very well for me.  for years, i've been saving any pattern to my queue that looks interesting or that i might want to make someday.  this resulted in as many as 10 pages of patterns in my queue at one point.  

and then, when i wanted to make something, instead of looking at my queue, i would go out to the pattern search and inevitably find something not in my queue that i liked better. so the queue would just sit there, growing ever longer and feeling a bit neglected.

so, i decided that my queue from here forward would have only the following types of items in it:

1- patterns that i know will be repeats (i.e. j's hat... whenever he needs a new one, that is the pattern i will use, because he is super picky about his hats and he likes this one)

2- patterns that i have already chosen for a particular person and particular purpose

3-patterns that i have already purchased a particular yarn for so i don't forget what the yarn is for.

that's it.  everything else can live in pattern search land. 
my queue now has 12 items in it, all with notes specifying either the recipient or the yarn to be used.
i'm hoping that it makes me less crazy, and slightly more organized. 

i'm feeling pretty good about my crafting plans... now if only stupid work would get out of my way :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

finished objects and my new obsession

i know, i went forever without a post and now i'm a glutton, but i've got so much news to discuss!

first, a frolic through some finished objects of late:

first, a sweater for a not-so-new-anymore baby:

and another little dress for a not-quite-ready-to-be-born-yet baby (she'll wear it when she's older):

a couple of crobots for a lovely couple getting married this month:

and another pair of socks for my auntie who had unexpected heart surgery (everyone knows the key to a quick recovery is stylish and warm feet):

rounding out the fo show is this adorable happy hippo for another expected bundle of joy:
i had forgotten how much i love making these little stuffed toys.  so much fun and so happy and so gratifying to finish in one day.  <3

and now for my new obsession - a very selfish project that i've been waiting (im)patiently to start for over a year now.

after the disaster that was the ball winding (see this post for the carnage), i knit up a couple little swatches.  the pattern called for size 6 needles to get an 18 stitch to 4 inch gauge, and i ended up with a 17 stitch gauge, so i decided to call it good enough:

 i cast on last monday while sitting vigil at my auntie's surgery, and by the time i left the hospital it looked like this:

i took a break midweek from knitting for two things: 1, to crochet up the happy hippo seen above, and 2, to deal with visiting auntie in the hospital and, oh yeah, taking j for stitches after he sliced his thumb on a can lid.  it was a rough week.  i would not  like to repeat it please.

but, by some crazy miracle, this past weekend was a knitter's paradise for me.  i got all the grass cut and leaves up by 11:30 on saturday, and then had two full days with nothing else on the calendar. and they were absolutely perfect fall days.  so by the end of saturday i had this:

and by the end of sunday i had completely finished the lace section on the bottom half of the sweater:

so here i am, ready to get into some seed stitch for the underbust, and i can't wait.  i'm hoping to have it off the needles and ready to wear by thanksgiving!  it will only be my second attempt at creating a garment for myself, and i'm kind of nervous at how it will turn out.  but i'm loving making it!  i'm also participating in a kal for fall, which is my very first one, and hosted by the lovely andi over at my sister's knitter. she's great, and i love reading her blog, so i'm super pumped to be part of her knitting universe, even if it is only vicariously.

happy monday, friends. i'm off to sit on my deck some more and tackle that seed stitch!

patterns from top:
child's placket neck pullover by joelle hoverson
tuxita baby tunic by vickie howell
zombiebot and girliebot by nelly pailloux
my cup of tea socks by robin lynn
hippo by tammie oldridge
lacey tunic by beautia dew