Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So....that's the end of 2008, huh?

I can't believe this year is over. Time truly does fly when you are having fun. Or working. Or knitting.

So here's what I've been doing - I have been struggling with what to knit next. Dawn threw down a challenge to go through your WIPs (works in progress for your non-knitterly people) & either finish them, commit to finish them, or tear them out. Sigh. That was a hard process for me as I hate to pull out my knitting. It represents hours of time & effort & even if I don't like it I have a hard time doing it. I am trying to change my focus to the fact that if I do that, I'll have more yarn to make things I like instead of just having it sit. Not to mention the needles that it frees up! So I did frog several projects. I frogged some socks that were just going to be too little (stupid Socks That Rock)

Yes, I know they are pretty, but they were going to be too small - I can't get proper gauge with any form of STR. This is my 2nd frog of this yarn, btw.

I am going to frog the Trellis Shawl that was quite a ways in but seriously, I am unhappy with how wide it was (not enough) & I just won't be happy with it. I need to upsize the needles to about a 10 then start over.

It is WAY further along than this - probably 14-16 inches in, but hey, I'm not happy & I need to face the truth.

Then I'm almost embarrassed to show you this, but truth is truth:

I don't know what I was thinking. This Square Cake Bag called for a beaded yarn (tres pricey) & I was thinking I could use use this ridiculous mirrored yarn that I bought for $2 a skein & bling up my own bag. was even a little much "bling" for me. Which is saying a lot - I'm hard pressed to call something gaudy, even when it is. But this was really just a disaster. Dawn tried to frog it to save the Bonsai it was held with, but soon decided that she'd rather me lose the $12 than go through that so we THREW IT IN THE GARBAGE CAN. Oh well. (I truly apologize to the place of business that now has a floor covered in sequins. Not to mention that Dawn will be finding sequins in her knitting bag for about 14 years)

The good news:
I uncovered some projects that really don't require much effort to finish. Noni Adventure Bag - it seems that all I have left on this bag is the handle. I put it down because my yarn is tangled - how wimpy is that???? I can untangle some yarn now so I'm going back to it.

I found 2 skeins of yarn that I have been looking for - both of which will become the 2nd sock of 2 pairs I started. So that's good.

I found my itty bitty beaded bag & it's pretty far along - I actually enjoy knitting on it, so I want to finish that up.
Beaded Thimble bag

Whew. That's it. I think. I want to extend the challenge to you too - go dig out your UFOs - frog what you don't love, knit what you do.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Wrap up

My holidays were SO GREAT - we had the best holiday season ever & I must tell you - I'm so glad it's over. I'm sick of eating rich food & not sleeping & spending money & not sleeping in my know the drill. But really - we are so blessed and go so many freaking presents that I'm STILL unpacking.

Here is my annual for my very own self year end project wrap up. I realize no one cares about this except me, but I love going back & seeing how I've progressed or knowing what I keep making over & over again (scarves, anyone?)

January - 4 hats, 3 scarves, 1 pr socks
Super Yak Scarf
Hannah Hat
Skinny Scarf
Edge of Lace Hat
BR Knock Off Hat
Le Slouch
Luxe Neck Warmer
Basket Weave Hacho Socks

February - 1 shawl, 1 hat, 1 scarf
Opal Shawl
Spring cap
Villandry swap scarf

March - 1 pr socks, 1 scarf
Army Girl Socks
Twisty Toasty Malabrigo scarf

April - 1 scarf
Squishy Purple scarf

May - 1 scarf, 1 shrug
Silk Multidirectional

June - 2 toys (the month of toys?)
Patrick's Gun

August - 1 dishcloth, 1 sweater, 1 shawl, 1 pr socks
Blue dishcloth
Tatami Kimono
Falling Leaves Shawl
Go with the flow Glam socks

September - seriously? Just a burp cloth?
Baby burp cloth

October - 1 baby sweater
Plankton Baby Sweater

November - 1 bracelet, 2 scarf, 1 pr socks
Beaded bracelet
Purple Koigu Garden Socks
Springy Lace Ribbon Scarf
Baby Kimono

December - 1 scarf, 1 hat, 1 pr mittens, 1 pr socks, 1 sweater
Green cabled scarf
Pink Foolproof Hat
Autumn Footies
Fylingdales Cardigan

That's 33 projects - less than last year but still. I really hate that the months that it looks like I'm not doing anything (like April) are probably my heaviest knitting months - I'm just working on something mammoth like a sweater or shawl.

I'm already busy planning new stuff for 2009. I cast on for a new sweater today and I plotted out a few gifts. I also went through my WIPs & ripped out a few things. I pushed a few things to the front burner as well, like a purse that I only have the handles left. Why in the world do I stop things when they are so close to being done? Usually I have no clue, but in this case the yarn is tangled to hell & back. I have a few things that I need support for so I'm bringing them with me the next time I see my friends. Someone is always happy to frog a project that isn't theirs! Time to start fresh! And how about you? Anything you need me to frog for you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Tree that Saved Christmas

I do love Christmas. But the older I get the more I dread pulling out all the crap that transforms my home into a Christmas wonderland. Don't get me wrong - I WANT the Christmas wonderland, I just want the elves to do it. More importantly I want them to take it all down.

I put off the tree decorating a little this year. Usually I put up the tree the day / weekend after Thanksgiving. I stayed home ALL weekend this year because we had both been running so much, I just really needed some do nothing time. I felt guilty all dang weekend because I didn't go get my tree & put it up like a good little Christmas Elf. I'm off on Wednesdays, so the following Wednesday I told Patrick that we MUST go get our tree & put it up today or really, what's the point? Honestly, I was prepared to go through the full Christmas season with no tree. I wouldn't have told anyone this - I can't stand the peer pressure. I find that if you don't say it, seriously, no one asks. Who wouldn't put up a tree? Patrick was very adamant that he wanted a tree & I was a big old scrooge if I didn't put one up. He came home from work that night, changed clothes, and we got in the car, me half groaning. He told me that we could turn around right now & not get a tree....he called my bluff & I said "as long as we are out we might as well get a tree."

We arrived at home depot in appropriate cold (do you know how UNfun it is to buy a tree when it's warm?) He immediately walked over to the small 4-5 foot trees, pulled one out, and said "What about this one?" I could have kissed him. I think I did kiss him. Really? A small little tree that isn't a beating? That only costs $18.95? That we don't have to navigate through the maze that is our house to the tree spot? Only to find that it doesn't fit in the space for said tree? Then try putting the lights on a too big tree......Sounds like last year.

But a small tree....I can do a small tree. Sad part? A small tree never crossed my mind - NOT EVEN ONCE. I don't know what that is, but I didn't even know that was an option. IT IS! So we got the small tree, got it home, and I put the lights (2 strands, thankyouverymuch) - I could even walk around the dang thing to put them on. No beating. No fighting. No gnashing of teeth. I LOVE MY LITTLE TREE! It smells like a tree, it's lit, it has ornaments. Sigh. The tree that saved Christmas, at least at our house.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2009 Plan (not resolutions)

As I stated last year here, I do not make New Year's resolutions. But as 2008 starts to wrap up, I can't help but wonder what 2009 holds in all areas of my life, including knitting. First let me look back at my 2008 plan & see how much of it I accomplished.

* I wanted to utilize my books more this year. I did knit 11 patterns from books that I have or bought throughout the year. That is less than half of the projects I did all year, but that's better than I've ever done before.

* I said I wanted to learn to knit socks on magic loop. Well, I didn't knit narry a sock magic loop, but I did knit 27 Barn Raising Quilt squares on magic loop, so I get it. I consider that a "done".

* Learn to crochet. Uh, that didn't happen for the second year running. I tried & I suck & I hate being bad at something. I can't get my tension right & it frustrates me.

* More sweaters. I knit 2 sweaters for myself, so that is technically more sweaters. Not exactly what I had in mind, though. I think this goal will follow me throughout my knitting life.

* Make a hat that fits a real person, not a doll or a yetti. Well, I knit 5 hats last January & they all fit real people. So....check!

* Glad I didn't make any yarn resolutions because I bought a bunch of it this year.

For 2009:
* Continue the book thing. I love the idea of choosing a book & getting inspired by that book. Ideally, in my wildest dreams, I'd like to knit all of the way through a book. I can't pick a book because naturally I don't like all of the patterns in any book, but I can dream. Last Minute Knitted Gift & Knitters Book of Yarn are the only two in the running at this point.

* Some sort of stranded knitting - I bought yarn specifically for the Inga Hat. I also really like Three Tams & the Fake Isle Hat. So something like that.

* Do more charity knitting. I really am a selfish knitter & I have to consciously decide to knit for charity. I am always glad when I do.

* Do more baby knitting. It's fun, fast, and rewarding. I will be surrounded by babies this year so I have people to knit for (boys! don't they know how much pink yarn I own???). I also got caught needing some last minute baby gifts, so having a few baby sweaters / hats / booties on hand wouldn't go to waste. Can also go with the charity knitting since one of the girls in my group is on the board of Newborns In Need for the Dallas area.

* Blog more. I have so many ideas for my blog. I'd like to share my trips, which I know we have at least 2 this year. My inlaws are giving us a trip to Washington DC for Christmas & then Patrick's dad was named President of the Louisiana Bar Association, so I know we will be going to Vegas or Destin for that this year. We have so much fun & I'd like to share that with my friends & family, not to mention having a diary of sorts for myself. Plus I have some series-es (man, how do you make that plural???) that I want to do. I have tons of ideas & no follow through. I figure if I blog EVERY SINGLE WEDNESDAY since I'm most probably off, that would be great. We'll see.

* As mentioned above, more sweaters. I noticed that the last few years January was a hat time. This year, not so much. I want to knit Liesl immediately following my Christmas knitting (of which there isn't much) and then I'd like to make some type of pullover before we go to DC in late February. I'd like to have a sweater on the needles at all times throughout the year just like any other project.

* Complete The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee. I heard about this book on my new favorite podcast - Cogknitive (you should really go listen). I bought the book & I really am intrigued - it isn't a sweater, but I have read comments from everyone that has made it & they agree that they learned SO MUCH. I want to make it.

* Finally, yarn. I did get my craft room in working order last month. I got a great glass front cabinet to put all of my yarn in, so I can see it AND it's easily accessible. I do have a little room in it, but there's the whole Woolie Ewe year end sale coming up & I already have Christmas gift cards! So I plan to stock up & I do have a list already. I'm not saying that I won't buy yarn next year, because that is RIDICULOUS. I will say that I'm trying to change the way I chose my projects. Usually I pick a project, half-heartedly search my existing stash, then go buy yarn for said project. I want to change that focus to choosing one of the fabulous yarns that I have on hand, swatching (if it's a garment or something that needs it), then find a pattern that works with that yarn. At the end of next year, I'd like to have knit more out of stash than new yarn, and I think that's totally doable.

So that's my plan! How about you? If you post a list, let me know so I can go check yours out - I might have missed something & will need to shameless copy you.

ETA: I thought of one more. I want to knit a difficult lace weight shawl. I have done one in worsted weight & one in heavy fingering, so now it's time for the real deal. Right now I'm thinking Hanami in my mahogany Handmaiden sea silk. We'll see.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Need a smile today?

How cute is this?

I went to see Annise & her new little baby yesterday after a long day of Christmas shopping. It made my day - he is ADORABLE & she's such a good little mamma. He arrived 3 weeks early AND managed to break her tailbone in the process, but she doesn't even care.

Too cute!
Photo credits to Liz & her new camera.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Swap questionaire

For my Rubbernecker swap person.

Dear nicest swap partner alive,
Here are my answers to the questionaire. I really am not a picky bitch just in case it sounds that way. I'm sure I'll be happy with whatever you come up with.

* What form of fiber manipulation do you prefer? (Particularly, do you spin / would you welcome roving in your swappypack?). I do not spin, but do appreciate handspun.

* What fibers do you prefer? My favorite is alpaca, but I like any natural fibers as long as they aren't scratchy.

* What yarn weights do you prefer? I think there are uses to all yarns. I prefer chunkier scarves, but I'm also intrigued with lace weight these days.

* What colo(u)rs do you prefer? Pink is my FAVORITE but I'm trying to expand my horizons. Next favorites are green, chocolate brown, or deep purples. The only colors I do not like are yellow or orange. But I'd never turn down pink yarn.

* Would you be amenable to noms in your swappypack? sure Any allergies your buddy should know about? no

* Do you have a wishlist? Just If yes, where can it be found? You can follow that linky thingy.

* Do you have a blog? Wow - yes, obviously Where? RIGHT HERE.

* Is there anything else you collect? I just turned my spare room into a yarn room. I am decorating in sheep & I have very few right now, so I guess the long answer is: SHEEP

* Any books, yarn, patterns, or needles that are out there that you are dying to get your hands on? All of my books/ mags / pamphlets are in my Ravelry library. You can check my queue, but I'm thinking I have more patterns than I'll ever use. Unless you have access some cool UK magazine I can't get my hands on, like Yarn Forward. Or, you know, Shaun the Sheep by Alan Dart. (see, not TOO picky wanting an impossible patterns. how about an Alice Starmore book while your at it)