Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIPS to attack 2012

This is one of my favorites posts to do every year.  It makes me look at the things I have in progress and makes me think about why I haven't finished them.  I find it interesting to see what made me stop knitting something and sometimes when I pick it up again and finish it in a day or two.  My, what a fickle knitter you are, Tasha!

A few stats about the Wips that I had at the start of 2011.   Of the 18 that I specifically addressed, I finished 8 of those & frogged 2.  Did you do that math?  I should have 8 left!  Well.....I created a few new projects that have become my "need to finished" projects.

First let's talk about what's new because that is so much more interesting.

Sam sweater #2
Sam Sweater #2 - I wanted to make a sweater for this cutest little baby that was born October 2011.  I started it right about the time that he was born, but I got bored & well, I was making a one year size so I figured I had plenty of time.  I pulled it out the half finished project & couldn't figure out where I had left off, what size needles I had used, etc etc.  I am pretty religious about entering that kind of info into Ravelry the minute I start a project, but I started this sweater on the plane to Paris last year & I had thrown several different sizes of needles in the project bag.  After I finished the back, I was totally lost & started freaking out.  I checked with the mom to see what size he was in, and low & behold he is 14 months old & is in at least an 18 month.  So I start over making this sweater, which is Sam sweater #2.  It's SO CLOSE to being done, I just need to make the button band, sew on buttons, and weave in some more ends. Did you know that striped sweaters have so many freaking ends???  I already dealt with a bunch of them, but there are still quite a few.

Sam Sweater #1, which is still in progress & still has the problems referenced above. Cabled Baby Sweater.  I couldn't put my hands on it to get a picture, but it's that cute one in the link but navy with gray in the sleeve / cuffs.  Which has nothing to do with the Dallas Cowboys, I swear.

Woodsmoke Scarf - When Loft came out I had to have some & cast it on immediately.  I'd been looking for a perfect yarn for this scarf, and this was it.  Just have to finish the borders.  It's so soft & pretty.

Endpaper Mitts
Endpaper Mitts - I really love these.  I'm going to get back to them, they are so bright & happy.  I'm still intimidated by the colorwork, but I'm going to push through it on these mitts.

Curlique Shawl - I've tried to start this shawl twice and I'm still not digging it.  I think it is destined to be frogged again.

Camo Socks

Camo Socks - I am making these for Patrick.  I was trying to surprise him, but I got stuck right here & not knowing how long to make the foot.  I finally fessed up to him about these, so I need him to try it on, finish the toe, and cast on for #2.

Girlfriend Market Bag
Girlfriend Market Bag - This was part of Cast on mania in August & I truly hate working these K2tog with the Sugar & Cream cotton.  It's in the frog pile.

Persephone - I'm not sure why I stopped working on this.  I love the idea of this sweater in this yarn (Brooks Farms Willow).  The pictures really don't do it justice- it's going to be really pretty.

Slippers - One finished with that terrible pink toe.  I thought I was going to work some stripes in these, but I was working on them during an Ann Budd workshop, visiting with my fellow students, and got carried away.  By the time I decided to add the pink the slipper was done.  I'm tempted to pull it out & redo the toe, but really, they are slippers, I think I can live with it.  Not to mention that they are knit flat & seamed, so I'd have to pull out the seam, frog the toe, reknit & reseam.  That seems like a lotta work for a slipper.  I cast on for #2, and I finished the first one in a half day class, so I really need to sit down, work on it, & finish it up.  It wouldn't take long!


Astrid - Did I even talk about Astrid last year?  I know for sure I haven't taken an in progress picture since I've been this far along.  I started this in July 2008 and I pick it up periodically.  As you can see, I have a lot of circles done. I checked my notes & I have all small & medium circles done & I think I need to finish 11 more big circles to be finished.  If that is true, wow, it's close.  Other than all of that seaming, which I won't do until I can lay it out.  I also included all 5 needles I found in that bag.  Needle eater!

Girlie-flauge Clapotis - destined to be frogged - I truly hate the stark whiteness of the white in it.  This yarn would make great monsters, though!

Chevron Love Mitts
Chevron Love Mittens
Oh how I love these mittens.  I got completely stuck on the thumb & I won't begin to explain to you why, let's just say I was confused.  Which I was.  And kind of still am, but at least I think I have it figured out.  This is a perfect example of getting off track on a project & then letting it sit forever even after you know what the problem is, but you really don't know why you can't just pick it back up again!  Because if I haven't mentioned this, I love them.

Now let's talk about the leftovers from the beginning of 2011 (including the few project that I had hibernating but there is no use ignore them because they exist).

Vintage Velvet
Vintage Velvet - this one is on the cusp.  I surely can't read my knitting on chenille yarn with reversible cables.  I'm not sure what to do with it.  Part of me thinks just finish it like it is, even if it's wrong, because really it's going to be felted & this gorgeous color no matter what.  And I can't even imagine what frogging Touch Me would be like.

Unblocked Barn Raising Quilt
Barn Raising Quilt.  Sigh.  You will recall that I post about being finished with this last year.  It was finished but the icord around the edge was kind of tight & I couldn't block it out to the size that it really wanted to be.  I pulled it out, need to block it, then come up with another way to do the edging. That is part of cleaning up my yarn room so I have room to block & use my new steamer.  I did work on the cleaning mission today & I think maybe there is enough room for this, I might try it this weekend.

I haven't worked on any of these to any great extent, so there really isn't much to say about them:
One Row Buffalo Scarf

Learn to Knit Afghan
Notes of Lyra
Misty Ike Socks
Triple S Shawl
Lace Sampler Scarf

Trellis Shawl (needs to be frogged, including mohair)
Noni Adventure Bag (needs to be felted.  That's it.  It's even sitting in a zipper bag on the dryer.  Seriously)

I also have these bags done & they just need to be lined:
Noni Carpet Bag
Carla Cabled Bag
Sunburst Purse
I figured I would put it out there, doesn't hurt to have a little peer pressure to get it done.

And there you have it.  We won't even talk about the fact that I have 3 brand new for 2012 projects on the needles. Ahem.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Goals, schmoals.

I don't know why I feel the need to have a talk with myself every year about what kind of knitting goals I have for the following year and then never look at them again.  I'm done.  Not doing it.  Here they are if you want to read about it & laugh.  Or I'll give you the quick recap.

  • I bought lots & lots of yarn even though I said I wasn't going to (that did last 3 whole months though).
  • I didn't make any gifts ahead.  Not even one.  I did give away a bunch of my past knitting, but it wasn't entirely planned out, so to say I did it on purpose is kind of cheating.  I also finished up a baby sweater that the baby outgrew while I was making it & gave it to a different baby, but again, completely unplanned.  It seems unfair to turn my timing failure into a "planned gift", but it did work out & I recommend it if you have nearly finished baby presents lying about. 
  • Get rid of sock yarn?  What was I, INSANE?   Well, I did finish 6 pairs of socks, which is pretty good.  And I made 11 other things out of fingering weight yarn, a few of which were originally in the "sock yarn" category.  Most importantly I did knit up the Yarn Pirate Culture Club that I specifically targeted in that post.  I am thinking perhaps that wasn't a coincidence.  Let's call it a win if for nothing else my self esteem.
  • Wips - that will be addressed in a full post of it's very own.  I don't think I can bear to do both in one day. 
  • Limit spending to $50 per month for the first quarter.  I can call that a victory, I really didn't buy much yarn until after DFW Fiber Fest, but wow, how the flood gates opened after that.  My total for January to March was for sure under $150. 
  • "Look at my existing yarn in a new way & stop trying to make it into the project I loved 4 years ago."  I still love the sentiment of this goal.  I did a little bit of this through using some of my sock yarn for hats & I also used some of a dye lot of a discontinued yarn to make a baby sweater.  I usually save odd amounts like that thinking that I'll find the perfect thing, but it was the right color for the right baby & I went for it.  Now I have enough of that yarn to make another baby sweater or something and make it all work out.  The few things that could fall into this category really end up being using up odds & ends, which I put a pretty good dent in too, but not enough. 
  • "Knit stuff that I love.  Destash the rest."  Yeah, I'm really not a good destasher - I like to have AllOfTheYarn.  I did a lot of culling in January last year, but otherwise I keep my yarn.  I can't help it & no I do not have a problem.
  • "Enjoy what I have and admire what others have without necessarily coveting some of my own".  I love that as well, I would say my success rate on that is pretty good.  Most of the stuff I stashed this year was pretty specific, most for baby things.  I see stuff & I want it too though, I am only human.  
What would I like to see for my 2012 knitting life?  I refuse to make too many goals.  Since I am kind of at a clean slate, I can tell you where my head is.
  • I would like to concentrate on sweaters & sock since I tend to use those finished objects the most. 
  • I am not putting too much pressure on myself - not so much "joining" & going along with a crowd, more just doing what I want when I want.  That's the only way the multiple sweater / sock thing will ever work out.
  • I am attempting to not buy yarn until DFW Fiber Fest, and then only a set amount.  No random buying just for fun.  I put some personal parameters from a  financial standpoint & while I'd like to say NO YARN, I do know that isn't practical.  Let me get through the next few months and then we'll talk.
  • I feeling like historically I have put a lot of pressure on myself to "get organized" & then I go follow a group around, and that just doesn't really work for me.  I've never been a person that likes to be held to rules & restrictions, it makes me wonder why I've ever sought that out!  
  • Get my yarn room organized once and for all!  It seems like I'm constantly throwing a bag in there.  Or throwing books on the floor instead of putting them on the shelf just to get them out of the living room.  Or put stuff in there that I don't know what else to do with.  It's a mess & that is stopping me from another goal I have - BLOCKING.  I have loads of stuff that needs to be blocked, but the yarn room is really the only spot where I have room to do it that is safe from the curious paws of my cats.  I find myself putting off the blocking part for most stuff because of this, so if I could just get it straight maybe I'll be more motivated to block the stuff that needs it.  Besides, I got a commercial grade steamer that should make this process so much easier - I hate my current steamer for so many reasons.  (drippy, not hot enough, takes forever, etc, etc).  I found a commercial grade stand up steamer for $45 on & ordered it immediately.  I can't wait to try it out! 
The only structured thing that I have going on - and I'm doing it because in our case the word structure is truly laughable - is that my friend Lyn & I have planned to start knitting through the book Knitter's Book of Socks.  I cast on for the first pair, Stepping Stones, on Jan 1 & am flying through them.  That is probably because they are knit out of heavyweight Socks That Rock (in color LL Cool Socks in case you care) & I'm just so happy to be knitting something for ME that I can't stand it.

So that's it - very loose & not very specific "goals" which pretty much amount to no goals.  I like it.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 - The Retrospective

I feel so completely disconnected from my knitting right this second.  I spent several days in Louisiana with my family to celebrate Christmas, came home & immediately left for Costa Rica with my inlaws for a week.  That setting really wasn't conducive to wool.  Let me assure you, sunscreen + sunburn + heat + more moths than I've ever seen really does not equal knitting mojo.  (yes, I did freeze every bit of yarn that I brought with me just in case, why do you ask?)

Here are just a few of the hundreds & hundreds of pictures I took while I was there:
Me at Manuel Antonio Park
Me at Manuel Antonio Park - Costa Rica

One of the many sloths we saw at Manuel Antonio Park (through the lens our guide had)
Sloth at Manuel Antonio Park, Costa Rica

It was hard to take a bad picture of this beach at Manuel Antonio Park, but this is one of my favorites:
the beach at Manuel Antonio Park, Costa Rica

I swear we went more places than that park, but I have so many great pictures it was a good place to start.  Well, one more.  Here is the view from the house where we stayed.  I took a picture of Patrick in the pool daily because he spent an awful lot of time in there (both with & without beer, scotch, rum, etc)  We actually spent a lot of time at the house because really, why wouldn't we?
Patrick hanging in our pool in Costa Rica

I might post more about the trip later, but I figured I would throw those pictures up now because my track record of trip reports really really sucks.

Are you ready to get back to the knitting?  Honestly, I'm not either because I can't stop obsessing about the pictures of Costa Rica, but I'll do my best.  I managed to get my numbers together for 2011- it's such a boring thing for everyone else, so let me take a moment to wish you a very Happy New Year & if you want to skip the rest of this I won't blame you one little bit.  As usual I like to have a LIST of everything I made in the year, because goodness knows having it all on Ravelry & tagged by year just isn't enough for my OCD brain.

Totals:  51 items (10 less than last year.  I blame all of the wash clothes I made last year)
Breakdown as follows:

Scarves - 10
Socks - 6 PAIR
Hats - 7
Wash clothes / towels - 2
Toys - 3 (all mini)
Shawls - 10
Cardigans - 2 adult, 4 baby
Other baby items - 2
Fingerless / regular mitts - 3
Sweater Sampler, which doesn't fit anywhere - 1

January – 1 baby, 1 shawl, 2 pairs socks, 1 hat, 1 scarf
Happy Baby Blanket
Simple Yet Effective #2
Flamingo Stripe Monkey Socks
Groovy Thorpe
Knit Clinic Preppie Socks
Savvy Scarf

February – 2 scarves, 1 shawl, 1 hat, 1 misc
It’s Good to Be Girl Shawl
Nouveau Bohemia
Sweater Workshop Sampler
La Novia

March – 1 hat, 1 scarf, 1 adult sweater
Lettuce Slide Scarf
Peasy Sweater

April – 1 scarf
Noro Melody

May – 1 scarf, 1 shawl, 1 pr socks
WM Poison No 5 Clapotis
LSU Socks
Mara in MT Fathom

June – 1 shawl, 1 scarf
Striped Study Shawl
Chroma Striped Scarf

July – 1 scarf, 1 pr socks, 1 pr mittens, 1 mini toy, 1 washcloth, 2 shawls
Shelburne Scarf
Pinata Socks
Eugenia’s Mitts
Tiny Zombie
Cotlin Washcloth
Ellie Shawl
Guernsey Wrap

August – 1 towel, 1 hat, 1 pr socks
Gridded Hand Towel
Bob Sockhead Hat
Loopy Striped Jaywalkers

September – 1 blanket, 1 baby dress, 1 shawl, 1 hat
Barn Raising Quilt
Clara Dress
Aspen Wrap
Sockhead hat Jitterbug

October – 3 baby cardigans, 1 pr socks, 1 shawl
Lace Edge Cardigan
No Purl Monkeys
Easy Baby Cardigan
Bitty Cabled Cardigan

November – 1 baby cardigan, 2 scarves, 2 shawls, 2 hats 
Garter Yoke Baby Sweater
Easter Egg Honeycomb Scarf
Shoulder Bling
Traveling Woman
Jayne Hat
Turn a Square Saints Hat

December – 1 scarf, 2 mitts, 2 toys, 1 adult sweater
Cranberry Garter Stitch scarf
Sweet Fern Mitts
LSU Mitts
 Tiny Santa
Curtis elf scarf
Featherweight Cardigan WM lace

Next time I'm going to address all of the WIPs I have.  Remember when I made my true confession last year?  Well it's time to revisit that & my "resolutions" for 2011 to see how I did.  I hope 2011 was good to you & 2012 brings you nothing but joy & happiness.  I'm truly blessed and can't really complain.  

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dear Knitwear Designers,


Please stop coming out with terrific books with patterns that I-must-knit-right-this-minute.  The cooler weather has given me a severe case of sweater knitting-itis and I've been buying your publications like a crazy person.  There seems to be no end to great looking patterns & I am stuck knitting random hats & baby items because I can't make a decision.  Can you hold off until next year so I can get a few of these done just in time for Spring 2012 as is my tradition of sweater knitting?  Thank you.


PS - I threw in The Knitters Book of Socks because I just got it last night and I love it too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barn Raising Quilt

I seriously can't believe what I'm about to tell you.  It is totally shocking to me because I have never even once visualized this as a finished project.  EVER.  Are you ready?

Unblocked Barn Raising Quilt

I started this project in April of 2008.  The general concept was to use sock yarn scraps to make a 7 inch square until I had 42 squares - that is what the pattern calls for (I ended up with 56 because apparently that's exactly how crazy I am).  I had so many sock yarn scraps back in April 2008 that I really thought I need to do something with them.  Reality is that I had exactly 8 scraps, I went back and checked.  I made a few squares & came to the realization that it would take me 14 bajillion years to knit up 42 pairs of socks & have enough scraps to finish up this blanket.  I came up with a brilliant idea to get new scraps for my blanket - I would ask all the knitters I knew for one of their yarn scraps.

Here is what I found out.  When you tell people that you are looking for sock scraps for your blanket, they will offer you every single sock yarn scrap they have in their possession.  I know why, honestly, because now I have scraps that I would love to (and do) put into the hands of people who would love them.  What I quickly figured out is that if I took every scrap from one knitter I knew, the blanket wouldn't become about all of the knitters I knew.  My friends laugh that I was pretty strict about it, like "I have already given Tasha a scrap so she sure won't take another one."  For the most part that is true.  I didn't want to have a blanket full of someone else's scraps - I wanted this blanket that would take me most of my natural life (or 3 1/2 years) to finish to mean something to me.  My "rules" really made people think about which scrap meant something to them so they could give it to me.

For example:
Manda gave me this Zen String Blueberry Pie scrap because I drew her name in a swap & I gave her this yarn since purple is her favorite color.
Manda Blueberry pie

Becky gave me this scrap which we affectionately called the Groovy Greg Brady sock yarn.  I was with her for the many weeks that she worked on these socks.  There were many stories told over coffee at our local coffee shop, much gossip shared.  Groovy Greg Brady is a part of those memories for me.
Groovy Greg Brady

Liz has several scraps in my blanket.  This is her favorite yarn because it's Aggie yarn.  Not only that, but I bought this yarn for her.  We were on our first ever trip to Kid N Ewe & she really wanted this yarn but passed on it because it was literally one of the first booths we visited that year & she wasn't ready to buy it.  When she wasn't looking I went to the vendor and bought the yarn for her.  She was SOOOOOO disappointed that she wouldn't stop talking about it forever.   I was going to give it to her for Christmas but I broke down & gave it to her that weekend, that is how sad she was that she didn't buy it when it was available.
Liz Aggie Square

This is the yarn that I used for my mother-in-law's birthday present from 2009.  I chose the yarn and pattern specifically for her, and that shawl was one of the prettiest things I've ever made.  The best part?  Based on the prodding of my friends, I entered that shawl into the Texas state fair and won a 3rd place ribbon in 2010.
Happy Forrest

Amy gave me this Madeline Tosh scrap & if you knew Amy you'd say, yep, that looks just like Amy.
Amy square

I really could tell you about every single of the 56 squares in my blanket but I'm sure that would bore you to tears.

So while you were looking at those pictures I know exactly what you were thinking.  "Tasha, block that blanket, please, those squares look like they have nipples."  No?  Go look at those pictures then tell me that's not true!  Here's where the story turns a little sad.  After I finished the border I immediately wanted to block it out.  I tried to steam it but the border is just too tight.  Having said that, I really LOVE the way the border looks.  I love the icord, I love the pink, I think it adds exactly what I wanted for the finishing.  I refuse to change this project status to "not finished" right behind it being finished.  I am going to rip out the border, block this thing, then make a decision on what to do about the border.  Seriously, it only took me about 3 nights to do the icord, so I'm tossing around the idea of doubling the border yarn, using larger needles, maybe a crochet borders?  I don't know and to be perfectly honest I can't even think about it right now.  I'm currently in the EEEEEP-I-have-to-pull-out-my-border mentality.   I might even bring it to knitting tonight & let someone else do it because you know those friends that so freely gave scraps for my blanket?  Those bitches are also quick to rip out a project if you just can't bear to do it.  That is a true friend.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What I Learned from Cast On Mania

Well, August is over & with it goes Cast On Mania.  I must admit that I'm a little sad because I was having fun casting on whatever I wanted.  Obviously I didn't start something new every single day but here is what I ended up with:

Number of newly cast on projects: 11
Number of finished projects from those: 2
Number of frogged projects from those: 3
Number still on the list in danger of frogging: 1
Number making it through to the regular WIP pile: 5

This exercise was so much fun.  Some things that I learned about myself & my process:

* I don't need to buy new needles for a long time.  Holy crap, despite having 30ish things on the needles, I still have a collection to chose from if I wanted to cast on for something else.  I have a few Knit Picks Option sets, which I truly love.  I have also been adding Addis to my stash for as long as I've been knitting.  No more needles.  Wow.

* I really love the process of picking out a pattern and yarn pairing.  I could (and do) spend hours searching for the perfect pattern for a specific yarn I have.  Or the other way around - I find a pattern that I love and spend time picking out a yarn that will work best with that pattern.  Seeing what they become together is  a really satisfying part of the process.  I have had my fair share of failures in this area, but I will admit I've gotten much better at it.  Sometimes the pairings still don't work, but I think the longer I knit the more wiling I am to pull the project out.


I decided that in September I was going to work on projects already on the needles because obviously I have a few things I could work on.  It seems like there is temptation everywhere!  I found out that a friend is adopting a baby and she will be here in a few weeks, so I had to cast on for a new baby thing.  It's the Clara Dress  that was featured in a Soak ad several years back.  I've been wanting to make it forever so I finally broke down and bought the kit in a dusty plum color.

The other temptation is from Single Skein September with the Stash and Burn podcast group.  I participated last year and I pushed through a lot of projects that I had been wanting to make.  This year I'm trying to resist so I can work on the bigger projects that I already have started.  Today is the 7th and I've only cast on one new thing (the Clara dress), so maybe I can make it without casting on more.  I just stashed my needles away and am hoping to stay far far away from them....but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riding the Crazy Train

My cast on crazy train took a little detour because I went to Louisiana over the weekend.  I brought a few of my projects with me but ran into a few problems - mostly needle problems!  I got to the decreases on my Sockhead Hat & had to put it away.  I must admit that when I started this madness it never occurred to me that I might actually FINISH something this month.  There I was though, on decreases with no shorter needles or DPNs.  I almost broke down and went to the new yarn shop in Hammond, LA (which looks adorable & I can't wait to visit) or to Hobby Lobby or something, but I could hear Patrick cackling in the back of my head telling me that he KNEW I'd have to buy needles.  I fought off the urge knowing that I had the dang needles at home and it was only a few more days, seriously!  I worked on some of the other projects I brought and I am trying to accept that the most adorable Fiesta Frock baby sweater is just not going to work out.  It is entirely too wide and despite adding a little bit of length, the proportions are definitely off.  If I frog something & cast it back on using smaller needles, does that count as a new cast on for the day?  I have to think so.  Here are the other things I started before I left Thursday and since I got back.

Heel Head Scarf  using this Adrienne Vittadini Trina that has been in my stash for what seems like a million years.
Adrienne Vittadini
I bought it 50% off at the Woolie Ewe way back when I realized that there was a clearance section.  I have a weird amount of it - which is exactly why it was in the sale bin.  I had a project picked out for it all this time but when I grabbed all of my stuff together to cast on for it, I realized I didn't have enough yardage.  Go figure!  This scarf with a hood has been in my queue forever, so I paired them up & cast on - isn't that the point of this exercise??

When I got back I immediately finished the Sockhead Hat (with needles that I already own, thankyouverymuch).  My nieces saw the nearly finished hat & both of them threw a fit & wanted it.  Right after I finished the first one I cast on for another in this Colinette Jitterbug Fruit that again, I've had forever!  Great old stash busting that I've got going on over here.
Jitterbug Fruit

Camp Loopy Project #3 started on Monday so I cast on for The Aspen Wrap in Amy Butler Belle DK.
amybutler belle organic dk
This was my Monday AND Tuesday cast on project since I started on size 9 needles & I didn't like the way it looked. I have to finish before September 15th to finish up the 3 months of camp challenges and that WILL happen.  It's been fun.

Since I'm trying to finish up the Camp Loopy Aspen Wrap in a month, I'm debating casting on more projects in August.  There are so many things I want to cast on though, and it seems to be working....stay tuned.  I'll let you know what happens!