Thursday, December 31, 2009

... and one more thing.

Bonus End-of-Year Entry: I accidentally started a hat Tuesday night with the leftover yarn from my husband's Trilobite Hat - It's called The Year-End Deadline Hat. Thankfully, it got finished well before midnight on Thursday!! Here it is about 1/5 done, whereupon I decided that no, there WAS such a thing as "too many DPNs" for a hat.

By the end of Wednesday morning, having switched back to five DPNS, I was about six rows from where I thought I could call the crown "done"; by the end of lunch, I could almost see about how much hat I had left to go... and, more importantly, I could tell that yes, though on the close-fitting side, this hat will actually fit. (Yay for having a tiny, child-sized head - my glasses are cheaper (with my eyesight, this is really, really important - people can buy cars for what I'd have to pay for "grownup" frames!) - and it doesn't take much yarn to knit a hat or headband!) Plus, I remembered that if I don't have enough gray yarn for this hat, the orange-rust from my Sharp Shootin' Mitts is also DK-weight. So, there may be pom-pomage. I'm went back up to 9 DPNs, since hat was starting to edge a bit too close to the ends of the 4 DPN setup; that got too complicated, so I went back to 7 DPNs, which worked well.

Looks, um, questionable though, so that's a "GO" on the pom-pom, so the, um, pointy bit is obscured. Finished all the gray yarn Wednesday night, and started working the orange/rust. And managed to screw up a bit, so there' a bit of reworking (hey, "k2p2 around" CAN be confusing if you haven't had much sleep due to over-knitting) that happened on the very, very long commute in this morning. I figure I'll do one "repeat" of the cable pattern I made up for my mitts, and whatever yarn is left? POM POM. Here's how it looked at the end of Thursday lunch:

And, here it is, all done!

Note: if there's an image here, I finished it in time.
If there isn't, it'll be done before the first time I fall asleep in 2010.
I'm hoping there's an image.

If it's done, that's two yarns (the Berocco Merino DK from the Trilobite Hat and the Shiubi (sp?) Baby Alpaca DK from the Sharp Shootin' Mitts COMPLETELY used up. And STILL at 49 UFOs heading into 2010!! **PHEW!!!!**

A Resolution for the New Year

Well, a new year is about to begin, and this time, in addition to my NEW usual resolution of getting under "x" UFOs (this year, for the first time, it's "under 40" instead of "under 50" or "60" or.... or some really high number), I'm also going to have a resolution to finish all the things that I started in 2009 and haven't finished yet. These, in no particular order, are:

Clapotis, which will be my carry-around project until it's finished, which, thankfully, is less than a ball of yarn away. Still probably over 300 yards of yarn away, but at least it's not "over 1200" any more!

My TKGA Masters Handknitting Level I first submission...

Knitting swatches is draining...!

... including the Dreaded Hat.

This hat is done, but not well enough!

My Dragon Illusion blanket, which will be spectacular when finished. This will be my Ravelympics 2010 project - I'll only be entering WIP Wresting, and this will be the creature I'll be fighting with for over a solid week in February. Rawr, I fights the dragonz!!

And, most importantly, the Williamsburg Chase Sampler I'm stitching for my mother. She stitched it when I was little, and it got lost in one of the Army moves we made; I've had an eye out for one ever since. Found it, and started it, in 2009, and while I'd like it done for her birthday (she's a Capricorn), that would require no sleep and skipping work for the forseeable future to get it done in time. Hoping for Mother's Day, instead!

There's so little done on mine it's not worth a photo!

So, are there any knitting/stitching/quilting/crochet/etc. projects that you're absolutely, positively finishing in 2010?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Age is just a number...

We had snow. Lots of it:

Don't care how old you are - if you're healthy enough to survive the process and get back on your feet unaided, when faced with soft, fluffy light snow, it is incumbent upon you to make snow angels.

Old enough to "know better" but doing it anyway!!

I did!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pattern - Super Simple Bedsocks

Pattern - Super Simple Bedsocks

Yarn - Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn (super-bulky, suggested gauge - Knit: 9 stitches x 12 rows = 4" (10 cm) on size 13 (9mm) needles). Acrylic (and very machine-washable) yarn made in the USA, and named after appropriate US cities - "Cleveland Brown" and "Cincinnati Red" really were gimmes. These use "Syracuse Orange", "Green Bay" and "Pittsburgh Yellow".

Needles - I used size 10, as I tend to knit very loosely, and wanted this to be a nice, dense fabric. Your mileage may vary.

So, I finished my bedsocks, as I said. They were pretty easy, and the secret to that is in the construction.


First, you make two k1p1 things over your-foot-is-this-wide stitches, with slipped edges. (The slipped edge makes it easy to hide color changes, and makes construction easier, IMHO.) Mine would up being about 40" long, since I like tall socks. Mine are made from Lion Brand's "Hometown USA" yarn, since "machine washable" is mandatory for bedsocks in my house, and this is a great, soft, super-bulky yarn that knits up quick. But the trick? You can use ANY YARN with ANY PATTERN (lace not recommended, unless you're going for pretty over warm) as long as you wind up with two rectagles of the proper width and length. Not only that - you don't even have to knit them. You can do the same thing with, say, crochet rectagles, or quilted ones - how's that for "make it your way"?

The pretty side

The not-so-pretty-side

See, you want to fold your bedsock-to-be roughly in half, but not exactly. You'll be making three seams from the cuff down, like this:

The secret

I just crochet 'em together, from the cuff down, RIGHT SIDES FACING, a stitch through the two loops, then a stitch with the resulting loop and the last stitch, then keep going.

From the top of the calf down, work to the midpoint of where the eventual wearer's ankle should be, then make the heel seam. I just chain the yarn back to the main seam to continue.

Then, finish from ankle to toe.

There, you have an inside-out sock.

Now, as a design choice, the crocheted seam is actually kind of pretty, and you may want it on the outside of your sock, instead.

Either way, weave in all your ends, and turn sock right-side-out. Ta-dah!! Toasty warm bedsock in a matter of hours (or less, if you knit fast!).

Now, if, like me, you've got people in your house that like quieter colors, that's also an option (this pair was made in Lion Brand Jiffy Yarn):

Taller people require longer, wider flat pieces
to make up their socks.
This could've been a scarf.

They sure like them, though!

Monday, December 28, 2009

One last finish for 2009...!

First, the good photo to grab your attention:

Got some lovely Baby Alpaca DK from my boss for Christmas and, promptly upon opening Friday morning, started making some shooting mitts. To avoid SMS (Second Mitt Syndrome), I do (a) for both mitts, then (b). In this case, it was two thumbs (10 rows of k1p1 over 16 st), then two index fingers (15 rows of k1p1 over 16 st), then both three-fingers (some number of rows over 36 st), then joined the index finger to the three-fingers bits, which brought me to Friday night. Note that the index finger bit is made three rows longer than the rest of the fingers; it needs extra warmth, being out there all on its own.

Saturday, there was a thumb mis-attachment incident....

Which was fixed by the end of the day.

I sort of made up a cable as I went (it's a double twist over 4 stitches, with the not-part-of-it stitches going back and forth a bit, sort of in a honeycombish effect. It'd make a pretty sweater. But, by Sunday evening, they were done.

So, 43 projects done for the year, and I'm STILL under 50!! Wooohoooo!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before...

A Knitter's Night Before Christmas
~Author Unknown~

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
but I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.

The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.

And though I was tired,my brain was a bit thick,
I knew in a moment,it must be Saint Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
"move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover
Move, Reynolds; move, Starmore; move, Fraylic--move over"
"Paton, don't circle round; stand in line.

Come now, you sheep wool work just fine!
I know this is hard semi, it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a'grazing.

And then,in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back,
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace,
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.

The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable,
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
and I asked "Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"

He proudly replied "Ho-ho-ho, yes I did,
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself for I'd thought up a plan.

I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my needles and yarn for a cap.

He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two;
For the first time I thought I'd really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!!

So quickly like magic, his needles they flew,
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I blame the Snow.

So, I finished my bed-socks and scarf and forgot to bring in the card with the good photos. So you get this:

Orange and Green Scarf via Tiny Cameraphone

I blame the snow.

Saturday, after 6h

Saturday, after 12h

And the fact that I have to slog through it...

Monday morning, headed back from the bus that never came.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vacation Photos (but not the usual kind)

Random vacation photos, and things I bought and/or didn't buy...

Waffle Iron:

       Now living happily on my Kitchen Counter!

Ball of Yarn Bigger Than My Husband's Skull:

       Something to make a sampler afghan with, I think.

Replacement Cross Stitch Chart (for one I've colored in):

       L&L will give you a free pretty chart if you send in the old one, but I think I'm gonna keep it. I've had it a long time, and we've been through a lot together.

Electric Moose:

       A neighbor, long since moved away, had an electic moose instead of the usual reindeer. I swore that if I ever saw one, I'd get it, so this is this year's big decoration. Photos of moose outside to follow, if I get it outside before the snow. Heck, even if I don't!

Gaudy Non-seasonal Store Display:

       Thank you, Louis Vuitton!

Cross-Stitch/Canvas/Knitting shops:

       Yes, I bought a few things. Um, kits. Complete kits. With fabric. It was much needed shopping therapy after the Dishwasher Delivery Incident of 2009.

Frighteningly Sparkly Sneakers:

       No, I didn't buy any. But face it, you'd think of me if you saw these in the store.

Oddly Made Mass-Produced Scarves:

       Love the colors & yarn, and would have bought it if it hadn't been stockinette with the edges SEWN back. WTF?

Books that might be revised in future printings:

       For those who say Tiger wasn't promoting himself as a role model for kids, he/his reps had to OK this page's existence in "A Book of Lists About Me". This may not be a page in future editions.

Gymnasiums Full of Crafters:

       My favorite craft festival (this is "the Back Big Room" - as opposed to either of the back small rooms, the four upstairs rooms, or the room out near the pool...). Ben & Xander's Fudge is always there, and several of my favorite jewelers, photographers, and quilters. And knitters, but they're never selling their knitting...!

And my 1,000th comment on Ravelry!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday, almost the end of the year...

Okay, for now, it's been over six months since I started Masters Level I, and I'm not doing anything, and reporting seems to be discoraging, rather than encouraging, me for now. So, the Master's Monday that has been on hiatus (in reality since July) is officially suspended for the time being. I'm gonna finish, just maybe with some self-pressure off, I actually WILL.

So, on to the feeling of accomplishment stuff (and hint-hint, some photos to be shared later this week, if you read carefully): I reset my "Projects Finished in...." list for 2010, just so I could see. In 2009, I started 35 projects, of which I finished 31 (not too shabby), and finished a total of 42 (those previous 31 plus nine from previous years, the oldest of which was Spirit of Christmas, started in 1994). That's a montly average of 3.5 projects finished, which isn't too shabby, since I didn't finish anything in February or July. (Which, for actual months I finished things, gives me an average of 4.2, which is cheating, but still nice to note.)

So, here's the tally of what I've got "left over" at the start of the year:
Cross-Stitch: 25
Cross-Stitch Sets: 3
Latch Hook: 1
Crochet: 0
Knitting: 8
Quilting: 7
Canvaswork: 5
Sewing: 0
That's a grand total of 49 projects at the start of the year. So, for the first time in several years, I get a NEW UFO RESOLUTION!! This year, the goal is to get - and hopefully stay - UNDER 40 UFOs!!!
(And I'm trying to shut up the part of my brain that keeps yammering that I'm actually just about done with most of the quilting projects, if I could just get over my Fear of Sewing Machine and attach quilt tops to batting and backing and throw on some edging already.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Big Excitement Ahead!

Finished something else, too, whilst on vacation. The Trilobite Hat!

It was supposed to be a Christmas present for my husband, but he looked cold, so I gave it to him early.

Now, you may have noticed a finishing trend going on here - it's true. I'm finishing things - and being so close to 50, it's been pretty easy to keep myself from starting anything major (although there is a little Mill Hill Bead Kit that I'm carrying around, ready to start just after it turns to January 1, for the New Year's Free Stitch). As of Right Now, I have 51 UFOs, two of which are a Super Simple Scarf for me (max of two commutes to finish) and the seaming - JUST THE SEAMING - of my Super Simple Bedsocks. So, my goal for next week is to have a two Super Simple Patterns for you... along with my UFO count which, after many (three, at least) years of the SAME New Year's Resolution, will FINALLY be .... UNDER FIFTY!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Absolutely nothing to do with yarn. Or Thursday.

Completely unrelated to yarn (um, unless that's what's in the box), I managed to finish most of my wrapping/mailing this week. (Please note that the foregoing is a "positive reinforcement statement" that is not currently true, but is hoped to be true in the near future. Visualizing the thing you want and repeating that it has happened is supposed to help.)

Note my lovely Twilight/New Moon-themed wrapping colors. (Finding black and white holiday paper that's not Super Artsy isn't easy. Blood red ribbons and bows, though, abound.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scarf Frenzy!

I did get some knitting done. I made a pretty red scarf for OFA, and it knitted up quickly... and then I re-read the instructions. "No Super-Bulky, please." DRAT.

But it knitted up really fast, so I kept going...

And now I have Christmas gifts for the two ladies in my carpool (the red and the green) and my friend at work who crochets (the yellow). I'm making one for myself, of course, in green... and orange!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Lovely Finish (finally!)

If you're a cousin of mine, don't give my in-laws the link to this, I want it to be a surprise. (It's unliklely my in-laws would read this page before Christmas... I think. I hope.) Anyway, finished a MAJOR big project. This is Lavender & Lace's "Angel of Hope". My father in law showed me the pattern a few years (like three?) ago, and said that he just liked the picture, he wasn't planning on stitching it or anything. I might have mentioned that I was familiar with the pattern, and went home and started it immediately at full size. I didn't like the way it was going, so in 2006, while recovering from surgery, I started again, but smaller. It's supposed to be stitched 2 over 2 on 32ct linen (or over 1 on 16ct). This is 2 over 1 on 32ct linen (2 because it's all half-cross stitches, and two strands gave the right amount of coverage). So, instead of being a wall-eating 16 x 24 when framed, this photo is only slightly smaller than actual size (I guess that depends on the size of your monitor, too - mine's 17" diagonal).

I'm really impressed with the way it came out, and while I won't have it framed for Christmas, I'll be rolling it up carefully to give to my in-laws, with frame to follow roughly mid-February. Yay!