Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Preparation Continues....

The Year of the Stash begins in just a few short days!

I have been making a list of everything I want to make next year, which is really challenging since if I was at all realistic about how many things I could actually make in one year, I wouldn't have a stash problem. I did allow myself a little yarn indulgence,

some cream worsted weight for the EZ Knitter's Almanac January Aran (and part of me really does believe that I will finish a sweater in one month--explains a lot, doesn't it?) and some cotton blends for cardigans. After the no spending month, I needed a little yarn fling before the year-long ban begins.

My hope is that a year of doing only stash projects will make at least a small dent in the stash, but I may be a bit "reality-challenged" again....

And yet I'm still tempted to make one last run to the fabric store.....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gearing up

In the euphoria of just having survived the month long "can't buy anything new" project, and having a solid wall of stash facing me each day, I have decided that 2008 will be THE YEAR OF THE STASH!

That's right--no new yarn or fabric purchases--just projects made from The Stash.

I am giving myself until January 1 to prepare--finding the matching material to bind the quilt from my class, getting a few things tucked away for "must do" gifts next year, but my "preparation allowance" is limited. Embarking on a "stash year" would lose a little if it was kicked off with a $500 yarn & fabric shopping spree. Might be a good way to end it, though.....:)

Today's acquisitions: black fabric to make more Halloween trick-or-treat bags like the ones I made this year:

I also picked up more felt in case I feel the insane urge to make another puppet kit this year. New way to irritate people: take 7 large bolts of felt up to the cutting table and ask for 12 inches from each one. Pretend not to notice the sales clerk's glare.

And winging it's way to me is some cream-colored worsted wool for my January Aran cardigan for the EZ Knit-a-long. This may be one of the only projects I do from the book this year as it's hard to follow a set of patterns AND not buy new things, but I needed a new sweater at my office. Unfortunately, it probably won't be finished until spring. Ah well--faster hobbies may not be as satisfying. If I ever try one, I'll let you know.

14 days to go!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rising Under Pressure

The countdown to Christmas is on, and the relative panic of not getting everything made in time has just arrived. So Sunday was Christmas gift day.

For my Grandmother, who once gave me a set of hand-embroidered pillowcases,

Granted, machine embroidery isn't exactly a fair exchange, but in the interests of time and her ever receiving them, they will have to do. Even with the machine, this is the second attempt--the first one had a few "user error" issues and are now buried in our linen closet.

Two sets of Christmas napkins were finished:

Okay, that's one set, but the other looks EXACTLY the same so we'll pretend it shows both.

And a fleece baby blanket for a cousin's new son born just a couple weeks ago.

15 days & 2 gifts to go!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A New Knit-Along

For the uninitiated, a "knit-along" consists of a group of knitters making the same project & helping each other, commiserating, and a few speedsters gloating about how fast they finish each project.

As much as I don't particularly care for the MS3 stole--henceforth known as the Beaded Knitting Abyss--it was fun to be part of a knitting group. My friends locally have other hobbies--usually scrapbooking--but as much as I support their right to have hobbies, I don't really want to hang around them with my knitting while they have dozens of sharp cutting implements laying around. So, rather than convert, I have joined another KAL.

Elizabeth Zimmermann, a revolutionary knitter who would probably not have hesitated to smack someone with a size 11 knitting needle for trying to sell patterns for garter-stitch scarves & plain socks, wrote a book in 1974 called Knitter's Almanac. In it, she provides instructions for a new project every month, but in such a folksy, conversational way that the book is fun to read by itself without any knitting needles involved. The projects may not be at all trendy, but to be honest, I'm not either. Tonight I opened the door for the pizza delivery man while wearing crossword puzzle flannel PJs and slipper socks with cat heads on them, so I'm not one to criticize from a fashion front. The great thing about the book is that it emphasizes learning to knit as a process instead of blindly following charts. After all, the first person to pick up two sticks and a piece of string and decided he/she could make something out of the combination probably didn't find a copy of Vogue Knitting laying beside them.

The only potential problem for this KAL is that it is sponsored by a yarn website called Knitpicks. A yarn site, moreover, with great stuff. You see the problem here, don't you? It's like having an alcoholics-anonymous meeting at a local bar or pub.

Maybe scrapbooking would have been less dangerous after all.......

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How I Spent My Weekend

Fishing the shrug--involving MILES of ribbing:

Finished my homework for quilting class tomorrow night. THANK HEAVENS THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE CLASS!!! Nothing wrong with quilting, but this little baby quilt already represents close to 26 hours of my life. And there is still more to do! *Sigh*

And in time to be this week's Secret Santa gift:

Mr. Flurry. Who would be part of an entire colony if I had spent the same 20+ hours working on him.

Obviously, no one should be expecting quilts for Christmas....ever.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The holiday spirit

Last night we went to the Festival of Trees and saw this:

It's the "Knit Before Christmas" Tree! It was decorated by a school class, and each mini hat represents four hats knitted & donated to a homeless shelter. I thought it was a great class project, and made for a pretty spiffy tree!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Rarely-Seen Sight....

It's been a long time since one of these has been sighted around here:

That's right--FINISHED OBJECTS! Of course, the hat still needs to be felted, but as it is easier to store this way, the felting process can wait until closer to Christmas.

And, in a further burst of creativity, the puppet kits for our youngest nieces & nephews are done:

Complete with hair, mustache, and bow tie options:

Thankfully, we only needed 12 for each child to receive 3 puppets--otherwise Aunt Toni might need a little alcohol...felt puppets get a little monotonous after a few hours......

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Last night my husband and I were discussing our Christmas list and upcoming birthdays, and as part of our "not buying anything new" program, I was trying to think of gift options for a young niece that I could make in a reasonable amount of time, and asked him what he thought of a hat & mittens combo. Bless his heart, he asked if I had enough yarn!

Being an idiot, I confessed that I not only had enough yarn, but that I could knit for the next 5 years without running out of yarn.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?????????????????????????????

I should have said I would have to check, or that I'm sure I could find enough of something! But to admit to my spouse that I have, perhaps, a little too much yarn...what have I done???????? What's next--admitting I have more shoes than I really need? Saying that one really can have too many Cary Grant movies?? Someone stop me, please!

Monday, November 5, 2007

2 Hours = 1 seam

Yesterday I had a lovely 2-hours stretch of free time, so with that "I'm about to finish a project" thrill (which doesn't exactly rival the thrill of starting a new project, but it's light years ahead of the "I'm slogging through a project with no conceivable end in sight" doldrums), I locked myself in the sewing room with the almost-completed fleece jacket which would be quite handy right about now.

2 hours later, I was one seam ahead of where I started out.

Step one: sew the sleeve hem in place, using a knit-friendly, ripping-out-hostile jagged seam, only to notice seconds later than I misread the directions and must rip out BOTH sleeve hems.

Step two: rip holes in fleece with seam ripper. Spend 20 minutes fixing holes with fabric glue & tweezers.

Step three: pin the sleeves correctly, sew hem. Sew cool decorative stitch using embroidery thread as described in the newest sewing book acquisition.

Step four: rip out decorative stitch that looks nothing like the pictures in the newest sewing book acquisition, and looks like an odd line around the cuff.

Step five: Still unwilling to do the suggested blanket stitch by hand, experiment with decorative threads in the serger, feeling VERY proud to have remembered to disengage the knives.

Step six: serge the edges

Step seven: rip out the serged edging, as it looks stupid and uneven.

Step eight: Admit that, for the day, the only thing I can successfully work in the sewing room is the CD player. Go get a nice, simple sock to knit.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Always a bad sign...

Last night I finished the body of the shawl-back shrug, and have only the ribbing to knit, and out of the 8 balls of yarn the pattern asked for, I have about 1 and 3/4 balls left. This disturbs me, as that generally has meant I have missed something important in the pattern, such as, say, a sleeve. But, I have tried the shrug on, and it fits, and the 3/4 sleeves are on purpose, so maybe the ribbing is much more yarn-consuming than I am picturing....

Yesterday's WIP inventory count (which missed a few things, I admit) motivated me to finish something, so the fleece blanket for my new nephew is finished, complete with name & satin binding.

OK, it wasn't a difficult project, but at least it is something that is no longer "in progress." And might be a good reason to start something new....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Works in Progress

Sometimes, reality just can't be avoided--even in knitting. Thursday I was feeling the "new project" bug, and was seriously debating between a shawl and a sweater, when I noticed a distinct shortage of available knitting needles in my bag. For someone new to knitting, this might really be possible, but for someone who has been knitting for almost 30 years, this is not highly probable. So, I went looking for the missing needles. Generally, I have several projects going at once, but I think I might have reached an all-time high this time. A sampling:

A cotton tank top, knit in the round in order to keep it from languishing in the "knit but needs to be sewn together" black hole:

A cashmere blend cardigan that I truly do love and only put aside because I was wooed by other projects:

A shawl intended for my next friend who turns 50, that was zipping along nicely until I discovered that she doesn't want a shawl for her 50th birthday:

A new sweater for my husband:

A sweater for my newest nephew, Dalton:

The Elann shrug that I am actually working on this week:

A symmetrical lace stole begun this summer in retaliation for MS3, which is still in progress but is still in banishment:

The obligatory pair of socks:

The pirate costume, which is, of course, sewing but is still a project in progress, and therefore can't be eliminated in a "face the fiber facts" moment:

An almost-finished fleece jacket, with the most abnormally long sleeves ever, and unless I can come up with a reasonable way to do a 7-inch hem, we will be cutting:

I wish I could say this was an all-encompassing list, but alas! There is the "project time out" bin, which is generally reserved for sewing projects which are kicking my tail and protects them from my desire to cram them down the garbage disposal. There are also a few project pieces--the back of a baby sweater, a mostly done toddler ensemble, the back to a glittery silver sweater--which are currently not on needles but still not finished. There is also a shawl being knit on size 0 needles, which is just too depressing to look at very often.

At exactly what point does a hobby need an intervention?