Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Can't Stop Casting ON!!!!!

I recently realized that since I have joined Ravelry (really nerdy knitter site) that I haven't been sharing my knitting as much on my blog. So, do you want to see what I've made in the past few weeks?

Cashmere Neckwarmer (that is the name, I used Cascade Baby Alpaca) & hat to match:

This is for Patrick's stepmom for our February trip to Washington, DC. I still have to block it & sew on the button.

Green Chunky Scarf - so easy, seed stitch, 7 stitches, fringe. I love chunky yarn & size 17 needles. I haven't done that in a really long time.

Asymmetrical Hat as a birthday present for my stepmom:

Remind me not to knit anything else "asymmetrical" - it really messed with my head.

Plus my Clapotis (see previous post). I don't know what it is about January that makes me cast on a ton of projects, but it always seems to bring it out in me.

This one is finished, but I can't really take credit for it. I finished knitting this Tovesta bag in March 2008. I took a bag lining class in May, and what that taught me was that I need to pay other people to line my bags for me. I had that fabric cut out & ready to sew in, so my sweet friend Cheryl sewed it in for me & gave it to me this week. I love it so much & she has a cool goodie coming her way for helping me.

It looks like small instant gratification projects are the theme of this month! Off to pick out something ELSE to cast on. See, this is why a stash is a smart idea.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Race for Clapotis

So here's the story. I made a Clapotis for myself back in the summer of 2006. Here's a picture of it:

Let's just say that I don't have fond memories of knitting this shawl & it has been one of the least used things that I have ever knit. Very disappointing.
This one has a lot of things in the con column:
* Why oh why did I make it that color? This was back in the day when I didn't really think through the finished object & rather it would be practical & useful.
* I used an acrylic yarn - although I have to say, I've used this blend several times & it wears well, is easy to care for, and the fabric is pretty dang good. Plus it's cheap & comes in a ton of colors. (Erdal Laser)
* Even as a beginner I knew this was a boring knit

Fast forward to December 08.....I went to run around doing errands before Christmas & it was freaking cold here. I really needed something more than a scarf, but what? Oh yeah, let me throw on my Clappy. So I did & I literally fell in love with it. The construction of it going from shawl to scarf is so freaking clever that I couldn't believe it. I could take off my heavy jacket & use it as a shawl - it was a perfect companion. Now my issue - it was acrylic & perhaps not as warm as I had in mind (I know I live in Texas & everyone thinks it's so warm here, it's a "warm" 29 this morning). It was solid colored, and not even really a color I would normally chose. I cut it one repeat short because I was afraid I'd run out of yarn. I wanted one that was gorgeous & varigated like the ones that everyone else & their grandmother have. But....I'd have to knit it again.

I began to think about it (obsess about it?) a lot & I went through so many options of yarn that I had in my stash. I finally gave up & asked Liz to tell me what yarn to use. So she did - Brooks Farm Solo Silk in the Cary that I got on the retreat last year. I credit 2 things for the completion of the Clapotis in record time:
1) This yarn - it kicks ass. It falls into the deserted island yarn category - if I had a chose a few yarns that I had to knit with forever, I'd be fine taking this one.

2) Liz just finished her Clapotis after TWO YEARS. When I told her that I figured out that I could do a straight row repeat in an hour (maybe an hour 15 min) & that at this rate I could finish by the end of the week, she told me if I finished mine in a week she'd hate my guts. I know she can't hate my guts but I'd have the "I finished my clappy in a week" ammo in my knitting bag forever. So basically she accidentally threw down the gauntlet & I accepted in a crazy way. On top of that, I was really afraid that if I put it down for even a day, it would languish in my not-finished-objects for 2 or so years.

So in a week, people, I knit myself this gorgeous Clapotis. I cast on during The Bachelor (don't you judge me! That Jason is adorable) & I bound off during The Bachelor the next week. I can't take it off - it has been everywhere with me since.

Now go knit one!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

But I Don't DO Christmas Knitting!

In years past I have stressed myself out over Christmas knitting. I have been knitting all the way up to the wire & every year I tell myself I'm not doing it again. I have learned that I am NOT good under pressure, the knitting becomes un-fun, and I knit all kinds of evil thoughts into the item & that isn't good for anyone. So why oh why did I do it again? I do it to myself, too, no one asks me to, I just do.

So what did I make this year? Only 2 things.

My Mom asked for a Christmas green scarf, so I finished it just in time:

I didn't even get a photo of it done - can you believe it? But it looks like this, only longer & not on the needles. This is Palindrome, but I did it in a DK weight yarn, which I don't recommend since it took for freaking ever.

Patrick's Grandma has been saying she wanted some fingerless gloves for quite some time & I got inspired to make her some Dashing:

These literally took me 2 days of off & on knitting to finish. I mean really, they are so pretty (designed for men, but throw in some pink & nothing looks manly).

That is the end of my Christmas knitting. I still much prefer to just knit stuff & surprise the recipient at some odd time (sometimes in the heat of summer) but both of these were well received & I was glad I made them.

Some people plan ahead & start their Christmas knitting right now! How in the world do you hold stuff for that long? I have news for everyone - if I finish knitting you something in February, you are going to get it in February. If it's done in June, you have a random June gift. I'm so terrible about that! Do you knit / buy gifts ahead & actually wait to give them to the giftee? Give me tips if you manage.