Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April

April was not a very good month for The Year of the Stash. The WIP Mountain remains,
though arguably smaller...sort of.

Two WIPs were finished:
Five WIPs were frogged,the Baby Surprise Sweater getting the ax today for having an error that was too much work to fix.

Two WIPs were thrown away,
(we'll skip the pictures--they were ugly projects that I no longer want to admit to)

One sewing project was finished, which I am counting as a net stash depletion of just over 2 yards--quilts being very difficult to measure,
7 skeins and 1024 yards of yarn were used up, and no fabric nor yarn purchased. Four months--that is certainly a record for me. (To be fair--any actual stash decrease is a record for me)

Theo is in mourning for the loss of the quilt, which is wrapped & ready to go to its recipient this weekend. I'd like to say that the two washings and a vacuuming removed every trace of cat hair from it, but I'm trying to keep this blog a work of nonfiction.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smugness Gets a Setback

To celebrate finishing the quilt AHEAD of schedule (continuing to milk that--thank you), I wanted to spend the evening with mohair, and while the Lady's Circular Cape
has become my favorite project, this
is on big needles, and with big needles, I could use up this
much yarn and be able to say that I had used up 45 balls of yarn by the end of April (a rather slow month for projects overall), but after 30 minutes of searching, I could not locate the pattern book. Apparently the sewing room has gotten so out of control that it is taking prisoners.

This weekend will involve a GREAT deal of cleaning, though I might tie one of those hiking ropes around my waist first--just in case.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Done!!! It's Done!!!!

The quilt is done & in the washing machine now. And 5 whole days before the birthday!!!

I will have no idea what to do with myself when I'm not scrambling to finish the gift minutes before leaving for the party. Could this be personal growth at long last?????



Is that laughter I hear?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Almost.....

I'm just working on the binding for the quilt--SO CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Must

keep

sewing......!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Progress - sort of

Thursday I was home with stomach flu, so I dug this out to finish.
Remember seeing it in the WIP inventory? Yup, forgot one. The knitting on this has been finished for over a year, but I really hate sewing seams, so..... The only problem is, for some unknown reason I had never counted this yarn in the stash inventory in the first place, so not only do I have nothing to officially "deduct," I added the 10 and a half leftover balls to the inventory, so I have managed to simultaneously finish a project AND increase the stash. Luckily, I adore this sweater, so that takes a bit of the sting away.

Since the birthday party is next week, Theo and I started our quilt battle early this morning,

and it wasn't until I convinced him that I REALLY wanted to get the bed made and would be very unhappy with a cat sleeping on the covers
that I was able to get any work done.

OK, it looks exactly the same as it did, but I can assure you that it is fully quilted & ready for the binding, which is tomorrow's project. After that, I am having a massive fling with some mohair.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Always in search of something new

Tonight I had the house all to myself, and faced with the prospect of two full hours of uninterrupted knitting, I caught myself actually checking the WIPs to see if any of them were attached to balls of yarn that could be used up in two hours, thereby allowing me to change the little tally on the side of the blog.

Obviously, the part of my mind that is delusional enough to A) start sweaters two months before Christmas, B) stockpile insane amounts of laceweight because it's comparatively small and won't take up much room, C) hoard wool like it's possible that all the sheep in the world will instantaneously burst into baldness, and D) stash away Andy's Christmas pajama tops so thoroughly that we STILL haven't found them, can always find new forms of crafting insanity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Month of the Frog

When I initially declared April to be the Work In Progress month, what I actually envisioned was FINISHING projects, thereby reducing the number of WIPs. I have indeed reduced my Works in Progress, but only one has been completed. 2 were unceremoniously thrown into the trash--being of cheap yarn and unworthy of continued closet space, and 4 have now been frogged.

With only a few days left in the month, I fear for MS3's safety......


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Outsiders believe hobbies to be soothing

Suckers!

Today has been a day of quilting, knitting, and swearing--not exactly in that order.

Between actively battling Theo for control of the quilt (11 days and counting until B-day), struggling to machine quilt without sewing unintentional "pookies" (the technical term my family uses for unintentional pleats in sewing) onto the back of the quilt, ripping out the quilting seams that did involve "pookies," trying to figure out how my sewing machine's "walking foot" might actually work because Husqvarna does not believe in printed instructions, and trying to remember that this whole experience is to create something that one of my best friends will absolutely love, it's been a busy day. I found that it helped to bribe myself with some knitting:and

The big draw for each being I can now say I have used 44 balls, 6085 yards, or almost 3.5 MILES of yarn so far in 2008 without buying so much as one scrap of yarn. After getting my "arse" kicked by a quilt all day, I can use a little positive thinking.

To bring a little calmness to my quilting experience--and to stop scaring Andy--I tried to picture Amish women, seated in a circle, meticulously quilting with nary a foul word passing their lips--or even entering their minds--for inspiration, but after an hour of quilting, my inner self gets a bit cranky and refuses to emulate anyone who actively chooses to forgo indoor plumbing. Maybe I should try a sedative???

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I've got plenty of time.............NOT

Last weekend, I put the borders on the birthday quilt, and thanks to everyone's much appreciated input, I've decided to quilt it with a simple ("simple" being not elaborate, not "simple" as in "I can't mess this up," because I can and have repeatedly in the past. Incidentally, it only took me one really disastrous quilt to realize one should quilt from the inside out rather than vice versa--I consider that a triumph of personal growth over stubbornness) stitch-in-the-ditch pattern and to let the zig-zag of the music notes be the real focal point.

So, this afternoon I laid out the backing, the batting, pinned the top on--smoothing everything repeatedly (OK, that one took me about 3 project disasters to learn--sometimes stubbornness wins), pinned militantly, turned around to set up the sewing machine, and

I swear, they must have radar. To be fair, she does match the quilt rather nicely.

This morning I realized--this is a gift for a birthday that occurs two weeks from TODAY! Oops, that's sooner than I realized. So, don't look for any knitting progress this weekend--I'll be quilting and, most likely, swearing. Nothing says "love" like a handmade gift, after all....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'll take what I can get

I've got this much yarn left on the alpaca cardigan
before I get to say I've used another skein, but it's really REALLY close and in the interests of not having to wait until 9:00 for an update, I'm going to call it close enough. I am rarely a precise knitter, which explains a lot of Neandertholish sleeve problems....

42 balls used for the year and ZERO purchased!!!!!! Excuse me while I do the Dance of Smugness.....

Monday, April 14, 2008

There Are No Small Knitting Victories....

...there are just ones that people haven't learned to brag about properly.

Victory 1: It is April 14 and I have not purchased any yarn or fabric since 2007.

Victory 2: April has been designated the "Month of Works in Progress" and I have not yet cast on a new project.

Victory 3: It is April 14 and our taxes are done and filed!!!!!! (Okay, that has nothing at all to do with knitting, but it is fabulous nonetheless)

So, maybe it's okay that I've mostly ignored my "A" and "B" rating system in favor ofthe alpaca cardigan. Look! I just divided for the sleeves!!! It could be done in May! Wow, good thing too--it might get down to a bone-chilling 60 degrees over Memorial Day weekend. Actually, this is Idaho, and snow is even possible on Memorial Day weekend--we like to keep our options open.

And even better--I've almost used up another ball of yarn!

I'll soon be scratching off another 122 yards--putting me over 5,500 yards so far this year.

The fabric stash has been moving a little slower, but this weekend I did cut out a new summer dress.

It was obviously Callisto's turn to "fur" my project. I try not to mind keeping lint rollers everywhere, but occasionally I forget and I don't care how much gender stereotypes have changed over the years, what woman is really prepared to look down and find her chest covered in fur?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Frogging Month

Remember these from yesterday???
Today we hit a bit of a snag. The pattern said to start the toe decrease about 2 inches before the desired length of the sock, decreasing every other row--which I did (I know--that surprised me, too). The result left me with a sock that was still one inch too short. Now, not every project has to be perfect, but when a sock is already made of a scratchy yarn with dubious merits as a foot covering, THEN develops pattern problems......

Not exactly what I was aiming for this month, but to be fair, it is no longer a Work In Progress.

After that episode, I did not feel I should be allowed around other yarn, so I resumed work on a quilt for a friend's upcoming 50th birthday. I finished the main part months ago, and had been trying to decide what sort of decorative quilting to do on it, but after putting the sashing on it today

I don't know--I think I like it plain. I don't know if it's just because I find it soothing after getting my ass kicked by a sock, or if it highlights the music pattern as is

but right now I'm tempted to keep it really very simple. Thoughts?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

WIP Month - Day 12

See all the progress I've made?


Me neither.

Twelve days in to Work In Progress month--the month when I was going to finish 5 or 6 projects because they are so close to being done and I am still spending most of my time with the new alpaca cardigan that I wasn't going to cast on last month and the Lady's Circular Cape. Finally out of frustration I made myself work on this:


It's a cuff-down sock made with the discontinued Magic Stripe sport weight yarn from Lion Brand, and there was a point in time when I was totally enamored with this sock. I found the yarn on clearance for an insanely low price, and rushed home to cast on--thoroughly overexcited because I had never made a sock in red or black before. Obviously when it's a matter of clearance yarn, it does not take much to excite me. That was a little over a year ago. Ours was a passionate affair, but fleeting. I have finally made it to the toe decrease, will be rewarding myself with a chocolate martini for having to graft a toe, then will have to find a way to entice myself to cast on that dreaded second sock. Better not do a second martini--I'll end up with a mitten or something.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Last night I did a couple rows on the EZ baby surprise jacket--labeled an "A" project for this month, then went right back to the Lacy's Circular Cape--certainly NOT labeled an "A" project for this month. You know, as a child I actually did my homework. If the teacher said, "Read chapter 8," I didn't go home and read chapters 5, 7, and 10. What happened to me???

Oh, and to answer Danielle's question, last summer I organized The Stash and listed everything (well, almost everything) on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. I list amount, a description, what it's made of, the color, weight, total yardage, what project it was destined for, the start date & end date, the recipient, whether the yarn is feltable, washing & care instructions, and the cost of the yarn (or fabric--it's in there as well). When I start a project, I use the "fill colors" to change the line for the yarn/fabric in use to lavender, and when it's finished, I change the color to teal. If I frog it, it goes back to normal. Great way to quickly find out if I have enough yarn for a project. Bad way to remain in denial about one's stash. :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One WIP finished!

The chenille blanket
is finished! And yes, it does look exactly like the one I made back in November, though perhaps it's a few rows longer. The count is now 2 WIPs frogged, 2 thrown in the trash (don't worry--it was really cheap acrylic yarn), and 1 finished. And....

----drum roll please-----

I have used up 3.11 MILES of yarn so far this year!!! (It sounds SO much more impressive in miles)

Luckily, even I have the sense to not total up how many miles the entire stash would be--there are fun experiments and then there's downright insanity. Let's just say that crossing a state line would not be unthinkable and leave it at that.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Works in Progress - Part Two

Sad, isn't it, that there is a part two? Thankfully, there is no Part Three. Just really long parts 1 and 2.

MS3 - no picture, no progress. This unloved project is 30 rows from being done, and yet I haven't touched it in a month.

This is a baby aran sweater that I started making when a close friend announced she was pregnant,

and put away after she had a miscarriage. Still, I love the color & the yarn & the pattern, so when they're ready to try again, I'll finish the sweater.

The next sweater for my husband,

which I put away after discovering an error & being too lazy to figure out said error. I have it on this year's "to-do" list for July or August, so there's hope.

I am in a sock rut. This sock

got derailed because it isn't my normal sock pattern, and requires some pattern consultation, so it lost "purse sock" status to those of my normal pattern which I know by heart. I CAN branch out! I will finish this sock with little to no whining!!!

I started this shawl last summer to have a portable project for our trip to Seattle,

and things were moving along nicely until I broke one of the bamboo needles. I think I was able to pick up all the stitches onto another needle, but haven't had the courage to check. Obviously, I have some cowardly knitting spurts once in a while. The pattern is from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, though I think she has the sense to use a heavier laceweight.

Also from Folk Shalws, the Fir Cone shawl which was zipping along, intended for a friend's 50th birthday, until the friend mentioned she would rather have something BESIDES a shawl. Good to know--shawls are a lot of work for someone who wouldn't wear them (well, they're a lot of work for someone who would wear them, but at least it's worth the work then).
I've completed the center, just picked up the outside border, and could finish it without too much time & effort. "B"

A baby sweater I had started working on sometime before I sold my house,

and first the pattern got packed and I couldn't locate it, then when I found the pattern I couldn't find the sweater. (You'd think I could learn to label moving boxes after all this time) Everyone is located & will eventually be finished, but probably not this month.

What I assume to be the matching bottoms to a newborn sweater I made for a nephew who is now 5 years old. The sweater I finished, it's adorable, and has been worn by his little brother & sister as well, but I decided that my sweaters really don't need matching bottoms.

To the trash!!!

Knitter's magazine ran some patterns for angel tree ornaments, and I was struggling so much with the #10 crochet cotton that I tried Knit Cro-Sheen--
Not nearly as delicate, but far easier to work with. I'll think about this one....Christmas gifts for next year??????

A sweater that I was going to surprise my husband with, and got this far when I ran into 2 problems:

Massive typos in the pattern, which would require a lot of frogging to fix, and the fact that my husband really hates brown clothes. So.......


And one of my current favorite projects, the sweater I was not going to cast on last month & I was not going to work on this month...

progressing nicely. I am such a child sometimes.

Dem Fischer Sin Fru - no progess

Mystic Light - haven't cast on

Christina's Rose Garden KAL - haven't cast on.

Chenille blanket - so close to being done that I haven't taken a new picture--hoping I could power through the last bit & post a picture of it FINISHED rather than IN PROGRESS. So, let's just leave that one "pending."

So, 2 WIPs frogged, 2 thrown away, nothing finished just yet, but close. And just under 3 miles of yarn from the stash used so far this year!!!!! Whoo hoo!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let's Examine the Works In Progress

Gleefully casting on a new project every month is WAY more fun, but thanks to a powerful decongestant, it is the WIP Month. I have given myself a few days to recover from the shock of the sheer volume of unfinished projects, and am ready to dive in.

First though, Cheap Thrills is finished, blocked, and


furred. Honestly--I set it down for 30 seconds TOPS. I think the cats have some sort of radar for detecting clean, furless clothes. For those 30 seconds, though, it was a really stunning sweater.

Deep breath, and time to check projects.

This is a lace scarf that I started sometime last year. I love the yarn, love how it is turning out, but it's one of those lace projects where you always have to consult the chart, and I'm not always in the mood for "attentive" knitting. Still, I love it, it's more than halfway done, so I keep it, though I'm calling it a "B" priority for this month as it's for me & I can wait for a while. For some things.

Look at this!

A baby sweater in need of neck ribbing & a set of snaps. That is it!!! Let's see, instant gratification & the ability to be a little smug about finishing a WIP....SOLD!!! Definitely an "A" priority for this month.


This is a sweater pattern I don't actually like, made with an acrylic yarn that I don't like either. To the trash it goes!!!!!

This

is a shawl I was making out of a sparkly acrylic/mohair blend that I didn't think would look good with a lacy pattern, and it's really not too far from being finished, but....I don't like it. For a while I kept trying to convince myself to finish it just so I could count it as a finished project, but I like the yarn--it has definite possibilities, and I want to do something better with it. So.....

To the frog pond we go!!!!

This is an interesting project:
It's a mohair sweater I started in December. Elann had a mohair full bag sale a couple years ago, and it sold out within minutes. I managed to score a bag of black & one of white, but as we were in the middle of the moving/wedding/house buying year, I had to set it aside & didn't even look at it. Now that I've started working with it, I am willing to grant that there is some mohair in there, but frankly it looks like someone shaved a poodle & spun THAT into yarn. I like the pattern, though, and I think I would actually wear it (though perhaps not around a lovesick poodle who might get ideas) so it stays, but definitely as a "B."

My VLT Lacy's Circular Cape:

I am actually working on this one pretty regularly, though it's a long way from being done. Still, it gets pretty regular attention.

This is for one of my nephews, who as the third child is getting to wear a lot of hand-me-down sweaters from Aunt Toni. So he needs one of his very own.

Having gotten a little wiser with each succeeding niece or nephew, he is not yet a year old and the sweater is sized for a 5 year old. I don't like pressure. I just need one more sleeve and a few seams, and I'll have another Finished Object! "A"

And wonder of wonders! A half-finished EZ Baby Surprise Jacket!
Fast, easy to finish--definitely an "A."

And the birthday poncho, which I really am working on regularly, but is impossible to photograph. Already 2 months overdue as a birthday gift--definitely an "A."
(Anyone else beginning to think that there are a few more A projects than I can get done in a month.......?????????)

One of the cutest baby sweaters I have ever worked on, in Novita Bambino, which is the only project that I have ever set aside because I just didn't want to be done with it. I don't know what it is about this sweater--just the perfect pattern/yarn combination I guess. I have just some ribbing & the second half of the little pant-thing to finish, but not for this month. "B"

This is actually the project I planned to finish this month,

which of course lowers it's chances to practically nothing for actually getting finished. The back is done, and the front is more than half done. The poor thing got set aside for one of the dumbest reasons of all time--it's on my only set of ebony needles & I was afraid of breaking them if I carried the project around with me. I actually have a set of knitting needles I'm not using because I'm afraid I'll break them. Wow, was THAT money well spent.....

I started this last year & love the yarn and I think it will be cute, but the pattern is flawed, so I'm getting to redesign it as I go, and I got a little frustrated with having to go to all that work to correct someone else's pattern. Still, it isn't the sweater's fault. Keep, but a "B."

This is the beginnings of a chemo cap

that I thought would be a nice yearly tradition--donate one chemo cap a year. Obviously it didn't start with 2007...maybe 2008? It's a really stretchy yarn, and I'm struggling to keep any sort of normal gauge with it, but maybe it can be an anonymous donation....

A lovely cardigan made out of a cashmere blend.

I love this project, but got sidetracked by some other projects. Keep, but a "B."

My Fruity Pebbles socks:

Sock One progressing nicely, and I'm ready for something interesting on the leg. I'm thinking a lacy, open pattern so it's noticable with all the color.

The back to a baby sweater that is quite overdue, though I think the baby is a year old and the sweater is for a size 2, so theoretically I have a year.

We'll be visiting the rest of the WIP stash tomorrow--I seem to have exhausted Blogger. I think I need some quality knitting time.