Friday, December 31, 2010

Finishing Thursday

This week's lesson learned: Just because a broken toe feels better after three weeks, it is not really healed.  

Since it will be 4 weeks tomorrow and there is STILL bruising, it probably shouldn't be surprising that walking around on it can still really, really hurt, but AMAZINGLY I was getting a bit impatient, so Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was out running errands and "catching up" on things that I hadn't been able to do very easily.  By Wednesday night, the real catching up seemed to be being done by the pain.  My foot actually hurt more Wednesday night than it had at any time since the x-ray fiasco.  So, figuring it needed a day of rest, I moved my to-do list to today and used yesterday as Finishing Thursday.

First, a finished chemo cap:

Then casting on for a new chemo cap:
 and the scarf is so very close to being done that I think I'll have it doe by the end of the day--to-do list not withstanding.  I decided my desire to raise my "stash used up" number is stronger than my desire to hedge my bets for next year.  I spent as much time as I could stand doing the hand-stitching on the second apron:

and I'm going to remember to NOT let myself count yardage on a project until all the work I don't like is done as well.  AND that one does not want to hand stitch on black material.  EVER.

My foot and I have some things to do today, but since we have guests coming for New Year's Day brunch and more guests coming for dinner on the second, we will be seeing in the new year with a quiet night at home (reading, knitting, shivering as the furnace is acting up and it is currently 58 degrees INSIDE the house), so there could still be two more finished projects for 2010!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Really, I Can Explain.....

It all started innocently enough.  My youngest niece received an 18-inch "American Girl" type of doll for Christmas (the ones that aren't $100), and my sister would like for her learn to knit, and asked if I could make matching hats & scarves for my niece and her doll as an incentive.  Which is fine, because I used to love to make doll clothes & am ALL for recruiting new knitters.  The problem is, I didn't have the right shade of pink in sportweight or DK yarn, so I decided I could have one more yarn purchase before the next year starts.  All good so far.  Then I remembered that I actually haven't knit anything for my next-to-youngest niece, and she's been quite thrilled with the socks I made for her mother, so I thought I would knit a hat and scarf for her as well....or maybe even an afghan because I'm getting just a little cocky about my ability to finish projects quickly, and....
"just in case" I got enough (I think) for the afghan, since the youngest one did get a small afghan 2 years ago.  A bit more than expected, but still good.

Andy and I had also been discussing how very nice this scarf is turning out,
and we thought it would make a nice gift for a couple other people, which led to...
enough yarn for 3 more scarves....which is still sort of okay because the scarf is going quite quickly and all 3 could theoretically be finished in one month.  However, there was a bit of an incident with some worsted cotton that was on sale,
though I had just been thinking that I needed to make more dishcloths for us to keep instead of giving away, as most of ours are falling apart and there just isn't anything that scrubs quite as well as homemade cotton dishcloths, so that's theoretically okay, but perhaps this
 was a bit of overkill, though it WAS half price and $4.99 for 603 yards is hard to argue with.....

I'll be surrendering my credit card to Andy for safekeeping until January 1, as I obviously can't be trusted lately......

Monday, December 27, 2010

There's Just Something About Christmas

So in the knitting world, Christmas is traditionally a time of knitting like a freakin' maniac into the wee small hours of the morning in an attempt to finish a marathon of gifts that a knitter would have to be on crack to attempt at any other time of the year.  So what happens when the knitter has ceded all most of the gift-making to her loving spouse?
There has still been a crazy amount of knitting going on.  Two more chemo caps and a scarf from the newly-acquired yarn that is moving in & out of the stash so quickly that maybe it really didn't count as stash anyway.  There was even a fleece baby blanket sewn & embroidered in one day, but I seem to have given it away before getting a single picture.  And since there's no photographic evidence to contradict me, let me just say that it was THE cutest and most creatively designed baby blanket ever.  Um...yeah. 

That makes 16 finished projects so far for December, with 4 days left to go.  The question is, do I keep channeling this project energy to stockpile gifts, or should I try to turn it to bigger projects to move them a bit closer to completion to get ready for next year?  Hm.......

Thursday, December 23, 2010

115!

So with 8 days to go, I have now completed 115 projects for the year.  Wow!  So in theory, I should be able to pull off the 111 projects next year, but in theory one buys yarn only as one needs it and patterns always make sense.  In reality, there MAY be some hedging of my bets for next year.....like maybe a scarf just started today that could make some serious progress but not actually be finished until January 1.......

Monday, December 20, 2010

So Is It Just Me.....

....or has anyone else noticed that I'm finishing projects much faster now that I've already reached my goal for the year?  Did it seriously take me 11 months to figure out that small projects  worked better??????  I have finished FOURTEEN projects so far this month, and there are still 11 days to go.  Sort of makes you wonder what I could finish in one year if I had the sense to stay away from quilts, doesn't it?

Speaking of which, I have a new goal for 2011--for which I am not the one responsible.  That instigator of this little endeavor is Qutecowgirl, and of course I am even more attracted to craziness that is not of my own doing.  The goal for 2011?

Finish 111 projects by the end of the year


Thankfully, they do not all have to be knitting....which would probably have left me a broken woman weeping in the corner clutching two dpns and a fistful of superwash merino.  Nope, it can be any craft (though please may I have the sense to stay away from quilting).

9.25 finished projects every month.  Who's in?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finishing Friday

And I actually finished LOTS of things.  First, I decided it would be nice if the wands Andy made for a niece and nephew had something to be stored in, so
Then I decided to see if Jeeves had problems using one of the embroidery cards he originally came with, or if it is just designs I transfer to a writable card, so I made gift bags
I had actually intended to make only one, but I loved the design so much that I just kept going.  I also "just kept going" with making handles
 
so the little heart bag finally got them
and the rest have been put into safe keeping for my next bag marathon.  I loved the design so much that I dug out some home decorating fabric and used it on a wall hanging
Currently it is just pinned up because I was trying to decide if it needed something extra, but I sort of like it just plain.  Still, I'll think about it for a week or two, then either add loops to hang it from a rod or just tabs on the back to hang invisibly from pins.

Apparently nothing motivates me quite like the desire to have enough space to hit the Joann's after-Christmas fabric clearance sales.................................

Thursday, December 16, 2010

They're Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe I made 35 of these little felt tubes (I did count, but have already forgotten and now several are wrapped, and Andy just brought me a white chocolate martini, so a guess is as close as we're going to get tonight.)  Even Theo was exhausted by the time we were done:
I do like how the nine I did today look:
even though I wasn't initially very pleased with this decorative stitch.  I think these guys qualify as the "most work for least amount of yards used" project for the year.

Speaking of which, I have resolved to buy NO yarn or fabric for the whole of 2011.  If I make it, this will be huge, because the last time I tried this I did make it without buying any yarn, but only made it to October on the fabric front.  To do this, however, is going to require some careful planning as 2011 is also my year to make the Christmas gifts (I'm not really getting credit for those darn tubes).  So I've been making a list, checking it against my stash in Ravelry and the sewing room shelves, and I discovered something I never thought I would say....or at least, wouldn't say for another 3 years:

I didn't have the yarn I needed for 3 proposed gifts.

[Let's all pause here to recover from the shock, shall we?]

Typically when I buy yarn, I buy an entire sweater's worth, which works out really well on the sweater front, but I have lots of scarves planned for next year, and was either going to have to forfeit sweaters to scarves (which I don't want to do) or I needed some yarn.  So I stopped by Hancock Fabric today to pick up yarn for one man's scarf:
and for two women's scarves. 
I have a couple lace scarves in the gift bin, but not everyone I know is the lace scarf sort of person, NOR is everyone I know the can-be-trusted-with-things-out-of-feltable-yarn sort.  So, add 5 skeins of wool/acrylic blend to the stash...unless I can get them knit up in 15 days.....

To GET to the yarn, I had to pass Hancock Fabric's discount bin, where I was viciously attacked by trims that were 60% off,
and buttons that were 90% off. 
 If my foot hadn't been hurting, I would probably still be there rummaging through the buttons.  At least I have made the yarn & fabric ban one step easier for next year:  I'm out of money.  It's amazing what a motivator that can be. 

Realizing my stash is moving the wrong direction, I have been knitting whenever possible.  Meet the new portable project:
which will be a scarf when it grows up.  I'd like to add fringe when it is done, but that will depend on 1) me having enough yarn left over to do any sort of fringe as I only have on ball of this yarn, and 2) whether adding fringe makes it a less "manly" scarf.  Andy says no fringe, but I don't know.  What about short fringe?  That's sort of manly, right?

I have also started a pair of socks for a friend's birthday in February.  I'm going to do some cables on these, so thought it might take a while & should get underway a bit early.
I'm using the "Magic Cast On" for toe-up socks, but otherwise, I'm just making this up from my favorite sock recipe.  Since I'm doing toe-up I'll be doing a short-row heel which may not be as durable as the heel-flap methods, but he has big feet, so this way I'll know I have enough yarn. 

I may need to set the alarm an hour earlier for Finishing Friday......

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Greetings From Pen-Sleeve Purgatory!

Earlier this year, Andy found a really nice lathe for sale on Craig's list, and has been hard at work producing pens for Christmas gifts:
 They are extremely lovely and so far everyone just loves them--which is all good.  Because they are such lovely pens, we decided they needed to be presented IN something, which is where I come in:
These are just the ones we still have.  There were more.   And, just in case you were wondering, repeatedly making itty-bitty fabric tubes is sort of boring.  I've been trying to liven it up a bit with my new decorative stitching possibilities:



which helps a bit.  I have one more set to mark, stitch, and cut
and then I think I'll call it good for a while.  I was trying to use odd bits of scrap fabric from other projects, but I have to leave bigger seam allowances for regular fabrics, which makes them a bit bulkier, so I have switched to using felt.  SUCH useful stuff.  If I do all the stitching before cutting them apart, I can really get tiny, tiny seam allowances, which is really pretty cool on the first 25, though by number 30  the excitement wears off just a bit.

In other sewing news, prepare for a shock:
Emma has her very own bobbin cover!!!!!  And it only took my Husqvarna dealer (Holland's Sew Shoppe) just under three months!!!  The speedsters.

I have taken a wee break from chemo caps to pay a bit of attention to the beaded ostrich plume scarf
and
one of the aprons is totally finished!!!!!  The red material was in the "holiday prints" area, but I can't remember if it's supposed to be Christmas or Thanksgiving.  At any rate, I am pleased with how they are turning out, and I can't decide if I want to keep one of them and put the other one in the gift bin, or put both of them in the gift bin & make an entirely new one for myself.  They're so cute that I'm rather tempted to use them both as gifts, which is unfortunate as this whole project started because I wanted some holiday aprons.  Oh well, I also always need gifts.  Especially ones that don't need an itty-bitty sleeve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yarn I Can Resist!!!

Normally, there isn't much yarn I don't love.  In weak moments, I have even been known to purchase bright fuchsia Fun Fur, so my standards are obviously not too high.  However, this yarn might be completely without temptation for me.

55% New Zealand Merino Wool
20% Nylon
15% Alpaca
10% Possum

Possum????????  Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I can't even hear the word without images of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies, and when one is trying to think of classy knitting projects, it's best not to picture someone with string for a belt serving up a stew of your yarn source

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Close Enough!

A friend has sworn that the next time I mention that I am going to make two project simultaneously, she will remind me to stab myself in the leg repeatedly until the urge passes.  This is a good thing.

The problem with doing two projects from the same pattern AT THE SAME TIME is that if you make a mistake on one, you're more than likely going to make it on the other one as well.  Another problem is that if the pattern was written by psychotics who leave you with two unexplained pattern pieces,
you have TWO projects with unexplained pattern pieces.  According to the pattern, the red one belongs somewhere on this apron:
and the black one on this one:
 which doesn't make any sense.  Since I had them, I decided to go ahead and use them as facings for the top yoke, but decided to actually match them up color-wise so they would make sense.  Of course, by the time I decided this, it required mostly hand-stitching them in place, but it would really irritate me to have leftover pieces.  I double- and triple-checked the pattern.  They never do account for them. 

So the two aprons are almost done.  There's a lot of hand-stitching to be done (even without my edits), but I have spent the entire day on these things with little to show for it, so I decided to count the fabric as used up but not yet count them as finished projects in an effort to boost my will to live sew.  So, if you will check that little stash-busting tally at the side of the blog, you will notice that I have crossed into triple digits!!!  That's right, I have used over 100 yards of fabric from the stash so far this year!!!  I'd like to think that I've used up more fabric than I have purchased, but I'm also carefully not doing any tallying as I have some strong doubts on that point......

Still, I have now sewn a football field!!!!!  Which is likely the only football reference that shall ever appear on this blog, unless I find a way to make a fantasy fair isle league or something.......:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And The Chemo Caps Just Keep Coming...

Okay--no funny drugs today.  I had my toe x-rayed on Tuesday just in case I'd done something more serious than a clean break (I haven't, but it is broken), and the x-ray process was so painful that when they offered me pain pills, I jumped at the chance.  (Or lunged, I suppose, since my foot was propped up on the table at the time.)

Oh.  My. 

I'm glad pain pills exist. I truly am.  And when I actually broke my toe Saturday night, I was probably in enough pain to take one of them.  I'm not now.  I'm now at a point where pain is preferable to 4 hours of comatose.  And now that I can operate things again, it's picture time!!!!

The black pi topper chemo hat:
 A new blue hat:
 and the latest pi topper:
The blue one will be on it's way to another friend who celebrated her 40th birthday by undergoing an operation to remove a brain tumor, but the green one will hopefully be in the gift bin a VERY long time before it gets an owner. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lesson Learned Today

New lesson for the day:  If a medication says "Do not operate machinery while taking," one probably can't operate a sewing machine either.  In fact, knitting needles might totally stump one if the drugs are strong enough.........

Monday, December 6, 2010

The White Chocolate Martini Is In Hand!

Andy wasn't all that wild about Gaidig's suggestion that Andy be my cabana boy while I recuperate, though I was all for it.  He did make homemade pizza tonight and mix a large white chocolate martini for me, so the life of the stupidly-injured isn't all bad. Not to mention.......the final cornucopia is done, allowing me to chalk up another 5 yards of fabric to the tally (note to self: home decorating yards of fabric are depressingly large compared to yards of 45"-wide cotton), and the black chemo cap is done!  There will be a picture of the chemo cap tomorrow as there is something in the combination of me/digital camera/linux operating system/laptop/blogger that generally results in "orientationally-challenged" pictures appearing on the blog.  And that's even when I DON'T have a martini.  If I tried it tonight, I'd probably sprain my wrist or something..............

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And the GOOD News Is.......

So, the GOOD news is that there will probably be a lot of knitting going on tomorrow.  The bad news is, that's because I broke my stupid toe last night and we are hosting a Christmas party tonight, so I have been on my feet waaaaaay more than I should today.  Theo thinks I'm trying to recreate the fun of having a cat with a broken leg for Christmas two years ago.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Confession Time

Remember how I said my cousin wanted a black chemo cap as well?  I didn't have any of the yarn in black, so I needed to order more from Elann.  And, I thought, since I was already going to be placing an order, I could do my reward-for-another-year-of-cold-sheeping purchase a bit early.  I had decided that I would allow myself to spend $100 on yarn as a reward.  What I wasn't prepared for was Cyber Monday.  $100 went a tad bit farther than I had expected.
In addition to the new supply of yarn for chemo caps,
they had some great fingering weight merino that will be perfect for an Alice Starmore pattern I've been wanting to make,
and some really soft worsted-weight yarn
that is probably destined for this sweater and a few scarves. 

The good news is, I didn't buy more yarn than I've used up for the year so far, though I wasn't too far off.  However,
there is another finished chemo cap (I had to be doing something while waiting for the 2 1/2 days it took Elann to ship me my new yarn), and the black one is progressing.  I'm going to send the blue one to my cousin as a surprise.  It's a cute pattern, but I won't recommend it to anyone but an advanced knitter as the pattern is wrong as written & has to be changed as one knits to get it to come out correctly.  I'm getting the patterns from the Elann website.  If you visit this link, you should see several free chemo cap patterns at the bottom of the page.  You have to log on to their site to get the patterns, so I can't link directly to them.  But they're all quite cute & available to anyone.  They are designed for Elann Esprit, which is a soft, stretchy sport-weight yarn.  It took a little getting used to, but once you get going with the yarn, it works pretty well.  I thought I'd crank out a few more of these before I have to tally up the NET amount of yarn used for the year.  It will make the number a bit less frightening......

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To be honest, when I dreamed up the idea of doing 100 projects in one year, I had doubts about whether or not I would be able to pull it off, or whether I'd be doing a 72-hour knitting marathon during the last days of December to meet my goal, but I just cast off project 100.  And it's my favorite of the entire year:
It's not a great picture, but on Monday I received an email from a cousin who is currently battling cancer.  I'd sent her a chemo cap about a year ago, and she asked if she could hire me to make her two more--one in chocolate brown and one in black--because the other one is currently about all she can wear right now.  As most of you probably know, when someone you like is going through something horrible like cancer, what you wish for most (besides their full and rapid recovery) is the ability to do something to help.  I told her I would be more than thrilled to make her more and that she is to consider them a Christmas gift, so I could think of no project that would be more fitting to end on than a chemo cap to help a very lovely person.

Cheers!