Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Halloween Bags Are Done!

The bags are finished, washed, and in the dryer now.
I always like to start a 3-day weekend by accomplishing something--it sort of takes the pressure off the rest of the weekend. Not that holiday weekends should always be about GETTING THINGS DONE, but I always convince/delude myself into thinking "if I just had more free time, I'd get all this done..." which is not true, of course, but I'm a gullible human being.

Tomorrow I start on the Christmas gifts! Ho ho ho!

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Little Helper

Crafting was a little slow tonight thanks to Theo. First he "helped" me with the trick-or-treat bags,then he "helped" me embroider some towels,then he helped me with the knitting bag for Jennifer, our first contestant to finish 10 WIPs in a row.
Of course, it could have been worse--I could have been trying to knit tonight.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In My Desperation, I Have Done The Math

I have now finished 8 WIPs in a row. I have 19 left, and am at least trying to make it to 10 in a row. I am currently mostly working on Andy's sweater and the Fir Cone shawl (now that I remembered to wind the ball of yarn & everything).

Tonight, before deciding which project to work on, I actually sat down and did the math:

Andy's sweater calls for 1530 yards of yarn (I actually only have 1526 so I hope they're just kidding about that last 4 yards). I have knit up 327 yards so far, leaving me with up to 1199 yards left to knit. Plus seams.

The fir cone shawl called for 2200 yards of yarn, of which I have knit 1320, leaving up to 880 yards of yarn left to knit. A little grafting, but no seams.

GUESS WHO GOT THE ATTENTION TONIGHT?????

I have been driven to perform non-required math!!!! When I start doing voluntary Geometry or long division, stage an intervention!!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, Obviously I Was In Shock

Last night, in the sheer ecstasy of having new yarn, I pulled out the shawl, sat down with the new yarn and
I honestly forgot it would need to be wound. Obviously the shock of A.) being able to buy anything at all after the 90-day spending ban and B.) getting to buy yarn at ALL addled my brain entirely. Good thing it wasn't a 6-month spending ban. I'd be a talking monkey by now.

So tonight I came home and wound the new yarn (the thrill does have to last me another 4 months, remember) andended up back with Andy's sweater because that little ball of yarn on the side is almost used up and might even be able to be added to the tally tonight.

Entering the 9th month of The Year of the Stash, that little tally is the only thing keeping me going at this point--especially since there really is no visible dent in the stash. Maybe a dimple, but definitely no dent.

Back to that ball!!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I. GOT. YARN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with destiny wool.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Longer Update - The Saga of the Birthday Poncho

With Andy camping and a solo weekend yawning before me, I grabbed the yarn I bought specifically to finish the poncho only to discover,it was the right color but the wrong yarn. It wasn't even a yarn that would "get by" as the recipient is bound to be machine washing the poncho and a feltable yarn would be a disaster. Discouraged, I went to bed and read of knitters who checked the labels before leaving the store.


Saturday morning I made a half-hearted stab at cleaning the sewing room--a feat only to be attempted by the truly brave at heart--and foundRemnants!!!!!! I have kicked myself over and over for being silly enough to keep little tiny balls of leftover yarn and for once I have been truly, TRULY thankful for this obsession.

The poncho is done done done done done done done done done done done done done done....
and I, flakiest of knitters, have finished 8 WIPs in a row!!!!!! And people say miracles never happen!!!

I also spent some quality time with the sewing machine, and almost have 3 Halloween bags ready to be sewn together,
and two of them aren't even overdue yet.

Theo and I finally washed and blocked the red toddler sweater
and then spent some time drying ourselves and the counters off.

And in unrelated news, Craft Warehouse has totally ignored my existence, but a very nice woman named Barbara emailed me back from Jane's Fiber and Beads said they had the beads I was looking for--though they were called something else altogether so I don't feel silly for not being able to figure out for myself whether or not they had what I was looking for--and that they had 3 tubes left. Visa in hand, I immediately called and ordered all 3 tubes. I have no idea how many beads that will be but I am taking NO chances by now. We still have half a pair of pajamas at Chateau Sutton-Goar because we can't find one lousy yard of fabric, so we do not fool with "just getting by" any longer. Fleur has been saved!!!!!

Quick Update

* I have sent a desperate, begging email to the Craft Warehouse corporate headquarters to see if they can send me the correct beads from ANY store. I would have sent them a picture of how much knitting I will have to rip out if I can't match the beads, but their form wouldn't let me.

* The birthday poncho is finished (FINALLY) but missed the Ravelympics deadline by a few hours. Still, WIP #8 is done!

* I did some sewing on Saturday, and Sunday was taken up with canning tomatoes and pasta sauce using tomatoes. I'm not ready to discuss it just yet.

* The yarn I ordered to finish the shawl has indeed made it out of Colorado, reaching Salt Lake City on the 21st--and hasn't been heard from since. I am still hopeful, but why invest in a tracking system if you're only going to use it some of the time?

Rats, now it's back to that pesky "work" thing. It interferes so much with my knitting time!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Must Have Really Made the Knitting Gods Angry This Time

CRAFT WAREHOUSE IS NO LONGER CARRYING THE BEADS I NEED!!!!I have almost a full yard of the beaded trim done and I'm going to have to rip it all out if I can't find these #*(@*$%&@! beads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess after the pajama episode, I should maybe have seen this one coming, but those little tubes really look like they hold a whole bunch of beads, and I haven't even been projectiling these around the house. So tonight I have been frantically emailing internet bead stores looking for the following:

Toho 8 Round #166 Transparent Lt Amethyst AB

Anyone live near Craft Warehouse?????

I did at least find the yarn I need for the birthday poncho, but haven't gotten around to it yet this evening as Andy's sweater
was really close to using up a second ball of yarn & we all know what kind of a sucker I am for adding to the tally. Whoo hoo!!!!! 83 balls of yarn used so far this year!

OK, now I'm off to start a new audio book (Jane Eyre--me with an English degree & I've never read it), finish the birthday poncho, and think evil thoughts about Craft Warehouse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Hold

While not mentioning any names, there has recently been a little smugness on this blog--using up stash (perhaps a tiny victory dance at passing 13,000 yards--but just a teeny, tiny one), finishing WIPs, finishing a birthday present early. This sort of behavior is rarely tolerated by the Knitting Fates and today was their day to smite me the offending knitter.

* I started to finish WIP number 8--the very late birthday poncho--only to discover I am out of yarn for that project as well. It wasn't discovered until I--I mean "The Knitter"--was already in pajamas for the evening and not about to venture out again.

* I picked up two tubes of beads to finish Fleur. Unfortunately, they are the wrong color. When I went back to Craft Warehouse to get the right color, they didn't have them. I--I mean "she"--will try again next week.
* The yarn to finish Fir Cone is en route, but only in Denver as of tonight. The Denver US Postal Facility is the only place I've ever had packages lost, and so many of them have gotten lost there that I think "Help Yourself" must be part of their employee retirement plan. I will sleep easier when the yarn is safely out of Colorado & the land of Lightfinger Louie.

Everything else being "On Hold," I double-checked some of the other Works in Progress. As I have multiple cable needles, at least one more skein than the pattern calls for, and I am not allowed to even go near it with beads, Andy's latest sweater--begun sometime prior to 2008--was the winner for today.

It's been zipping along this evening, but I promise that I am not the slightest bit smug....nope, not me. Not ever.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

80!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of tonight I have used up 80 yards of yarn from my stash so far this year. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, technically I'm counting this as a "used up" skein
but if you knew how much I didn't want to work on this, you'd understand that I need all the encouragement I can get. After all, tonight I have buckled down & worked on my second entry for Ravelympics--the poncho. We started out here:

An "L" of loopy knitting, then I sewed one bottom edge to the other panel's side to create a funnel shape,
then added the top border.

It's a bit long right now, but I think I just need to wash it as I stretched it a lot while working with it, and as it's acrylic it won't stay that way.

Tomorrow night the bottom border and WIP #8 in a row will be done!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Little Distraction

The good news is, I didn't cast on anything new. The bad news is, I didn't work on my Ravelympics entries. The back of a toddler sweater was really close to using up a ball of yarn (I am so pathetic sometimes), so I worked on it until I finished ball 78 for the year
then promptly abandoned it for Fir Cone,
which also finished up a skein of yarn--bringing me to 79 balls and 12,662 yards used from the stash for the year. I would LOVE to keep going on Fir Cone--it's a scratchy wool & really hot and just the sort of thing I am generally dumb enough to fall in love with in August--but that ball of yarn was the last one I had, so until the new yarn arrives, it is on hold. The good news is that the 90-day spending ban is finally over, and I have already ordered the yarn. I decided for purposes of the Year of the Stash project, if I started a project in good faith and subsequently ran out of yarn, I could buy the yarn needed to finish the project provided I kept working on it. Because you know that by the 8th month I would have been converting cardigans into robes and socks into longies just to be able to buy yarn if there was a loophole. The loophole is, therefore, closed but the yarn has shipped and will be here soon!!!!!

Now to just convince myself to work on that poncho until it arrives.......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Contest Rules Revised

Our WIP marathoners--me included--are slowing down a bit, and some are struggling to stay motivated with all the new projects and yarns facing them on a daily basis. As everyone has been great about supporting and encouraging each other on Ravelry and through each other's blogs, I have decided to alter the contest slightly.

Any of the WIP marathoners who can finish 10 WIPs in a row (without casting on any new projects) will receive a new personalized knitting bag. There will be an additional prize for anyone who finishes 20 in a row, though I think I might be the only one who had over 20 to begin with. Still, if I finish at least 20 before casting on, I'll be rewarding myself as well--and reviving those who have fainted in surprise.

Onward fellow WIPpers!!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reasons Why Finishing WIPs is Better than Casting On

* You'll locate all those missing knitting needles.

* Your knitting bags will be less likely to explode under pressure

* Winter is coming, and it's a whole lot easier to stay warm with a finished sweater than half a scarf.

* Putting a bad project in the very back of the closet doesn't actually make it go away.

* Is there a better reason to justify buying more yarn than just having finished a project?

* It would be really embarrassing to give someone a baby sweater for her firstborn when you had actually started it for her as a baby.

* You'll just have to memorize that stitch pattern all over again if you set it aside

* People will notice if projects keep disappearing off your knitting blog and never reappearing.

* If you've been knitting for a long time, it might surprise people if you start finishing a whole bunch of projects at once. You can torture them by saying you've finally figured out how to knit in your sleep, but you won't give any details.

* If you finish a large number of WIPs (say 15) all in a row, the knitting world will be in awe and wonder. There will be hushed whispers, discussions, perhaps a cult following. There may even be an action figure.

* There will be far less guilt when you finally go on a binge and cast on 37 new projects in one evening.

7 down.....20 to go!!!!!!!

Note: To be funny I was going to say "Why Finishing WIPs is Better than Sex," but that would put my blog into a whole bunch of searches I don't think I want to be in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WIP Marathon Update

With the Ravelympics going on, it's a bit hard to keep track of who is competing the WIP Marathon & who is in WIP Wrestling, but the updates I have right now:

Jennifer leads us having finished her 8th WIP in a row, I am still holding firm at 7, and Janet has 5 but two baby sweaters just need seams so they could be finished at any time which would catapult her into contending for first place. I need to check in with everyone else--I know Patti is cruising along on the WIP Wrestling (Go Team Stashdown), and I know everyone else is busy knitting. It's gotten a bit challenging--everyone is trying to support each other and keep track of each other's projects, so daily each knitter is confronted by pictures of new potential projects that she could knit, and it's really REALLY tempting......or there's some great yarn......

Knitting contests can be very, very dangerous.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Real Life Keeps Interfering

AAAAAUUURRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

It's the Ravelympics and instead of getting in some quality knitting time tonight, I worked late, had dinner with my very patient husband, cleaned what we hope is the last trace of this weekend's pumpkin butter incident off the counters and stove (turns out hot soapy water and one of those plastic scratchy things will remove darn near anything), and now it's 9:00 PM.

Blast--real life has no respect for my knitting!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics - My First Gold Medal

Late last night I was awarded a gold medal by Bobicus Maximus
for my first Ravelympics WIP

which is my 7th WIP in a row. Yay!!!

Tonight I've spent some time with my second entry,
then rewarded myself with a little lace:
And the cheering section is waving me on!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Close

My first WIP for the Ravelympics isn't quite done,
but it's really close. I just finished the sleeve and just need to sew it on. That will be 1 for Team Stashdown and WIP number 7 in the WIP marathon. And if I get some of the seam done tonight, I've promised myself some quality time with those beads!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

WIP Wrestling

The Ravelympics started yesterday, but I didn't get to start on my entries for WIP Wrestling until today. Bright and early this morning, I cast on the second sleeve for my nephew's sweaterand it's making great progress. It could possibly be done this weekend, which would be WIP number 7 in my WIP marathon, and 1 completed for Ravelympics. YAY!

The poncho got a little attention today as well.
Then as a reward, I got to work on Fleur

This is the beaded band that will go all around the edges. I am still totally in love with beading,
but I've reached a bit of a snag:
I can't get more beads until the spending ban is over, so I might start showing a little more loyalty to the WIP Wrestling entries. I might only be capable of project monogamy under extreme circumstances, but when a gift is already 6 months late, I'll resort to pretty much anything.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let the Games Begin!!!!!

The Ravelympics have officially begun!

Over 6000 knitters are competing, and the games are being presided over by Adonis Dyonisis Bobicus Maximus, who has officially declared the games open.In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Ravelympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without Copyright infringement and with lots of yarn, in the true spirit of fiberworks, for the glory of finished product and the honor of our teams.


Ya gotta love knitters like these--great knitted objects AND a sense of humor.

Go Team Stashdown!!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Countdown to WIP Wrestling!

At the risk of Google including me in some very strange searches, I'm getting ready for the Ravelympics, which in my time zone starts at 6:00 PM this Friday. For the uninitiated, it does indeed coincide with the 2008 summer games, but unlike the summer games, those of any age can participate, no one is going to be tossed out for supporting humanitarian causes, and lots of wool is involved.

Our events are:

Afghan Marathon
Amigurumi-n-Toys Toss
Baby Dressage
Bag-n-Tote Backstroke

Balance Beads

Cable Steeplechase
Colorwork Cross-Country
Cowl Jump
Designers Discus

Fantasy DecKnitathalon
Felted Freestyle

Free-For-All Freestyle

Fleece to Finished Fencing
Glove Decathlon

Gift Knits Pentathlon
Hand-Dyed Hurdles
Handspun Heptathalon
Hat Dash

Holiday Handball
Home-Stuff Hammerthrow
Itsy Bitsy Bikini Breaststroke
Laceweight Long Jump

Mitten Medley
Pets Pommel Horse

Scarf Stroke
Shawl Relay
Sock Put
Sweater Sprint

Synchronized Flirty Skirts
Vest Vault
WIPs Wrestling

I was all for the Sock Put--and might have joined Itsy Bitsy Bikini Breaststroke out of sheer curiosity, but as I'm still holding strong on my WIP marathon, I can't start anything new, so I'm in WIPs Wrestling for Team Stashdown, along with many of my WIP marathoners. We'll see if our advance training will pay off.

My entries, in order of priority:

1. My youngest nephew's birthday sweater , which doesn't actually need to be done until October but who can resist the thought of having a gift done early for once?
2. A poncho for my sister's 40th birthday, which was actually in February. Ah well, we can't win them all.3. The pink baby set, which is just so close to being done that I thought I might be able to squeak it in under the deadline.
I'm ready, I'm warmed up, and now the big question is, how tricky do I have to get with those needles before Wheaties calls me about their next box???

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm Beading!!!!!

Tonight I've been working on Fleur because the edging has beads and I am positively loving how it looks.
The pink is a bit paler than I would normally choose, but I wanted something that would go with almost anything so I'm ignoring the "Barbie-ish" quality. The beads are pinky-lavender and look quite fabulous. I had a couple options, but the darker purple beads, while looking quite fabulous in the container, looked like a bug infestation on the sweater, so I chose Barbie over Bugs.

Fashion requires lots of tough decisions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Few Questions Answered

Since Blogger isn't working tonight, there will be no pictures of knitting, so I thought I'd answer a few questions:

* MS3 was indeed a KAL--over 6000 knitters made the same pattern last summer, or at least started the same pattern--I know mine is not the only one that has been languishing for a few months. The asymmetrical shape was only revealed about halfway through the KAL. It was actually a very controversial KAL, as there was a symmetrical version, but that involved the "fast lane" knitters having to rip back 60+ rows of knitting and lots of grafting. Knitters are generally a pretty easy-going bunch, but things can get a bit heated when ripping back 60 rows of lace knitting is at stake.

* The baby sweater will go in the "my friends are reproducing in droves" bin to wait for the next arrival. I had been able to keep up in general, but then there were a couple sets of twins that totally did me in.

* Listening to the entire Harry Potter series on audio tape is good bribery when working through a WIP mountain. So far I'm averaging one Finished Object per book. Thank heavens book 7 is one of the longer ones. I'm thinking maybe Jane Austen will be next?

* I have dozens and dozens and dozens of buttons in the sewing room, and not a single one fits Sitcom Chic, which is usually the way these things work. Why do I even try to stash buttons???

* When I finally break down and cast on something new, it's going to involve REALLY big needles and no laceweight!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It Never Gets Any Better

Today I blocked my MS3.I like the beads, like the draping effect of the yarn (Skacel Merino lace),am thrilled that it's finished,and still dislike the shawl.

I have knit much larger lace projects, but I have never knit anything that felt larger. It proves something that I should have realized long ago--don't knit patterns you don't like. Seems sort of self-obvious, but under the influence of yarn fumes, I forget this one pretty regularly. Still, I think I will have learned my lesson with asymmetrical shawls at least. I am not an "artistic interpretation" sort of lace knitter. I'm more of a "those-two-sides- of-the-shawl-darn-well-better-match" sort of lace knitter. Probably good to know for future reference, and in case I am tempted by "mystery knitting" projects in the future...

This weekend I started the beaded band for Fleur,
which now has me terribly excited about the whole project, and the right front was brought through the fussy stage and is making wonderful progress:I am SUCH a sucker for beads!

The Kimono shawl got a little action over the weekend
until I got sidetracked by the beads, but at least if it gets put back in the WIP bin for now, at least it's farther along than it was. I have warned the existing WIPs of the serious case of frogging that struck the bin earlier this year, and thus far they are all behaving themselves and have not developed any irreversible errors or large snags. When one has over 20 WIPs, one has to be careful to keep them in check lest they gang up on the unsuspecting knitter and stage a wool rebellion!

WIP Contest So Far

OK, this is what I think we have so far (Ravelry IDs in parenthesis):

Me (ToniS): 6
Jennifer (kountingsheep): 6
Patti (catnip610): 5
Helen (Bluedragon): 2
(Hockeyme): 2
Holly (SilverIlix): 1
Rayne (Raynebair): 2
Alison (knitwitchery): 1
Snani (Snani): 1

Bringing us to a total of 26 WIPs finished so far. Have I missed anyone?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Number 6 - Taking The Easy One

Having finally finished MS3, the temptation to cast on something new has been almost overwhelming. It wouldn't matter what project, exactly, just a new one. To give myself a little "pick-me-up," and just in case I did cave finally, I decided to finish the baby wrap sweater
which just needed a small seam, some buttons, and a couple snaps. Not terribly exciting, but it is the 6th WIP in a row finished. YAY!

I'm hoping to have a tally of everyone's WIP progress for the blog tomorrow. Let's see how we're doing!

Friday, August 1, 2008

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

The Albatross Swan Lake MS3 stole is finally done!!!It will look a bit better after being blocked, but how much depends on your perspective. I am a "symmetry" sort of person, so this takes top honors as my least favorite knitting project ever. But, it's done, and I get to add 1000 yards to my tally for the year. YAY!

I might have been doing a little swearing while working on the last few beaded rows--Theo obviously thought it safer to wait outside the sewing room.
I've had a little difficulty deciding what to work on next. After finishing 5 projects in a row, I would love to cast on something new, but I'm hoping to get to at least 10 WIPs in a row before I crack. So, I did a few rows on the Fir Cone Shawl

which can't be finished without buying more yarn, then on to Fleur
which I have a love/hate relationship with. It's a lovely cashmere blend yarn, but because of the shaping, it is really fussy knitting and yet boring stockinette stitch, so I lose interest pretty readily on this one, which drove me to
the Kimono shawl. It's quite far from being done or adding to the yarn tally, but I'm on a bit of a lace-kick right now, so it's enjoyable in spite of the fine cob-webby yarn.

Fabulous--not only do I have 20+ WIPs, I have knitting A.D.D.!