Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Leap of Faith!

After washing the January sweater, my heart sank. The knitting gods had wreaked their revenge. No matter what I did when I laid it out to dry, the ribbing was a disaster--the garter stitch was stretched and looked terrible. I tried turning it, rolling it--nothing helped. Finally out of desperation, I threw it into the dryer on low, and amazingly

it looks like a sweater again! An additional bonus may be the large ball of Pepto-Bismal pink fuzz that ended up in the lint filter. Just in case, this sweater will get its own lint brush. And it is finished just in time.
Boise, usually of the rain and fog winters, has had over 11 inches of snow in January alone. I show you this to explain
my total lack of progress on dem fischer sin fru. Theo has willingly saved my place while I shovel snow in the evenings.

The birthday poncho deadline is looming and
maybe. OK, if I had any concept of reality & knitting I wouldn't have 30,000 yards of laceweight yarn in my stash. So....I still have hope!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

January Sweater DONE!!!!!

You know, sometimes insomnia is a good thing...

The January cardigan was finished last night and

with a little help from Theo,

is blocking tonight.

Actually, I think he's inspecting it to make sure that we don't have any clothes that don't have cat hair on them somewhere.

Three days left to go in January, and I know the knitting gods will smite me for this, but I am feeling SMUG!!!!!!

Now I'll go make sure my stash hasn't burst into spontaneous flames or given rise to some bizarre species of winter moths....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The January Sweater

4 days left to finish January's project! Rows and rows of mind-numbing edging, followed by sewing the silly thing onto the sweater. Why exactly did I decide on one project every month?????

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 26 - The Year of the Stash

I have finally found a way to finish the baby blankets from last weekend, and I prefer to look at it as exploring my options rather than getting my tail kicked by the serger. I resorted to decorative stitching

which I think looks rather nice. When I bought my sewing machine 2 years ago, I wasn't sure if I would use the decorative stitching capabilities, but I use them all the time. In a few more years, I might even be willing to admit what I paid for the machine....

The January sweater is almost done--as is January--and what have I done?????? Joined a lace knit-a-long. The good side is that when it is done I will have used up 2100 yards and 5 hanks of yarn. The bad side is that those 2000 yards really don't take up much room in the stash & when all 5 are gone the only thing I will have accomplished is that the rubber tub containing lace yarn will be LESS overflowing. What I need are a few KALs involving bulky-weight yarn--where is the Mystery Afghan when you need it?

Anyway, I have cast on the dem fischer sin fru:

My yarn is a little heavier than the yarn called for, but not by much. I had another yarn option, but being The Year of the Stash, the yarn that would use 5 hanks versus 4 skeins won out--how sad is that?????

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Year of the Stash - Day 24

The original plan was to have two projects a month--one knitting and one sewing--and by concentrating on one project at a time, I would have more finished projects and fewer Works in Progress.

I'm sure that plan would work, just perhaps not for me.

On day 24 of the Year of the Stash I have come to a realization--if I can make it an entire year without adding to the stash, it doesn't really matter HOW I make it the entire year. So, while I am still suffering through the never-ending garter stitch edging,

(Trust me--it's more mind-numbing than it looks), and the bizarre tie-dye shawl,

I have started a poncho for my sister's birthday.

Sticking with my regular habit of being totally divorced from reality when it pertains to my hobby, her birthday is in about 3 weeks. There is a chance, though, as it's worsted weight wool and size 11 needles. A slim chance, granted, but if I weren't generally delusional about knitting, how much fun would the blog possibly be?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Have you ever noticed....

...that a sweater really doesn't seem that big until you start working on the edging that goes all the way around it?????????

Stay tuned for the adventures of the never-ending 9-stitch garter-stitch strip......

Monday, January 21, 2008

They're Killing Me!

Today this appeared at

I love the sweater, the yarn sounds fabulous (though REALLY expensive), and I'm on a stupid self-imposed yarn diet! What moron thought this up?? Oh wait, that would be ME.

A smarter person would stop checking visiting their website--I realize this, but then a smarter person probably wouldn't restrict themselves from buying yarn, nor would they buy more yarn than they can use. It's a vicious cycle when you give up on rational thought.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Day 20 - 9 1/3 yards and 13 skeins down!

OK, this really wasn't "taking an easy shot just for the yardage." This really was a project I wanted to get done this year:

It's a nice fleece throw for fall. And, if it makes it more of a project, between hemming it and doing the decorative edging, it took about 2 hours--some of which can be chalked up to user error, but even with the best sewing machine, decorative edging around an entire blanket takes a REALLY long time.

The pink cardigan is done except for the edging, which is a mind-numbing 9-stitch strip of garter stitch which will be sewn onto the sweater:

Thinking that I knew better than the designer, I did try knitting the border on, but she was right--that doesn't work. It only took me about 10 minutes to come to that conclusion, which is good for me. Usually it isn't until I'm halfway through the project that I discover that the instructions I decided were "stupid" really had a purpose and now I have to rip back because I am totally screwed. So, I consider yesterday a "Personal Growth" day--completely ignoring the fact that it is only owing to the fact that it was immediately obvious my version wouldn't work that I have chosen to believe the designer. We take what we can get.

I also tried a new method of doing decorative edging on fleece baby blankets with the serger:

Yup, a complete and total failure which took 2 hours of my life and required ripping out serger stitching TWICE. A very nice lady in a Yahoo group wrote out very clear instructions for this fun-filled excursion into fabric torture, and I am sure she is a kind and loving person, even if she is delusional.

The sewing room doesn't look even the tiniest bit less crowded, but I created a spreadsheet today to track stash depletion, and my progress looks GREAT on there. At this rate, I should be able to close the closet doors by May!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 18 - Staying Strong

Yesterday it hit me--an entire year without buying more yarn or fabric! No, no Joann trips, no that I have any shortage of either one, but it is a lot of fun to go to the store & pick out new projects....In fact, far more fun than making them, which is the problem.

But I am making progress! The January cardigan is down to just sewing on a sleeve and adding the border around the edges, and it will be done! Monotonous, oops, I mean monogamous, knitting really pays off!

The count now stands at 13 balls of yarn down and 7 yards of fabric (I've been working a lot this week).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

7 yards and 12 skeins down!

I finished the green dress last night, so I have now OFFICIALLY used up 7 yards of stash fabric and 12 balls of stash yarn. Even if I stopped now, that is the most progress I've ever made on stash reduction in any given year.....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Reality Check

Sometimes it's possible to love the yarn, be enjoying the knitting, love the feel of the knitted object, and......

dislike the results.

This is my Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl. I am using a yarn that I have hoarded for several years because I love the colors so much that I didn't want it to be gone from my stash. I am making the pattern up as I go and loving the experience & how it is looking as a pattern, but now that the shawl is getting big enough to see the result....

Tie dye lace?????????

This was going to be a surprise 40th birthday gift, but I have a thing about not giving gifts that I don't particularly like (so no one should be holding their breath for the MS3 stole as a birthday gift--even if I ever finish the beaded-knitting-abyss), so I finally sent pictures of the shawl in progress as well as some other options to choose from. Admittedly, I might not be "thinking outside the box" enough on this one, but for what occasion would this shawl be even remotely appropriate?????

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Day 12

Well, monogamy lasted 10 days. That's something.

I think it's all a matter of perspective--I joined the Victorian Lace Today Yahoo group several months ago, and had yet to start one of the shawls, so in one sense I'm just getting caught up and NOT being fickle and being too much of a child to commit to one project for more than 10 measly days.

Side note: I have not gone colorblind--the green stripe will be removed when I put the border on.

The January cardigan is progressing--the back, both fronts, and part of one sleeve are done.

And the Pi shawl greatly enjoyed the trip to Disneyland and may actually be finished by its February target date.

If so, that would probably be a knitting first for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Day 8 - Monogamy is getting to me

The back for the pink cardigan is almost done, the fronts are on the final decrease, I'm over halfway there on the knitting....and I'm getting bored. I don't think it's just a stockinette stitch problem, although that has never been known for its excitement factor. I generally flit between 4-5 (10-11) knitting projects at a time, and this one-project-at-a-time idea is getting to me. I was hoping to finish one knitting project a month, and in order to do that, "flitting" won't work. I may have to start promising myself a little lace fling after every 20 rows....

Fidelity is easier when sewing--the projects take less time, it's almost easier to finish than to pack up the project & put it away, and my wardrobe needs the help. In addition to the finished pajamas,

I just have the finishing hand sewing to do on this:

It's my first adventure with microsuede, which is sad since there are at least 25 yards of the stuff in the closet, and it was a little hard to work with. It's much harder to cut than most of my favorite fabrics, and some things are impossible with it--invisible hems, for one. I resorted to a hem using decorative stitching instead--and of course not getting to do all that lovely hand sewing just broke my heart....:)

Still, another 3 yards gone from the stash, although I don't really get to count it until it's officially "done." That "waiting for hand sewing" could become a VERY big pile otherwise....

Sunday, January 6, 2008

4 Yards and 5 Skeins Down!

This is where we started 6 days ago:

There's actually even more to the stash, but I think you get the idea without me embarrassing myself too much. While even at my most optimistic/delusional, I can't pretend that I'll get through the stash in a year, but I am hoping to make a serious dent in it by the end of the year.

Check up:
Today is Day 6 and I am just finishing a set of flannel-backed satin pajamas for my husband (for some reason he's really keen on this set having both tops AND bottoms--perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I keep the heat so low during the night that I keep expecting to find frost inside the house one morning) which used up 4 yards of the stash, and I have used just over 5 skeins of yarn in the pink cardigan:

I'm using this yarn
which is soft & fun to work with, but so far every single skein has had a poorly-done splice in it, which I keep having to cut out & redo, so I wouldn't recommend this one or ever use it again. If I want a bad splice I can do it myself. These people make yarn for a living--they should be able to splice yarns without looking like they used a blender for the project.

Theo is really getting into sewing:

It's much cuter than when he tries to help with knitting.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Day 4

I realize it's a little bit early to start gloating, but I am still holding firm on the Year of the Stash project. I have made a list of projects to finish this year, and I think as long as I keep it in front of me, I will be less tempted by the idea of shopping for new projects. Let's hope!

I have noticed a disturbing trend to visit other people's blogs to see what they are buying, but at least shopping vicariously takes up no space and costs nothing. Seeing the wonderful yarns that other people are buying that I can't have....well, we'll be looking for a little maturity this year as well.....

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Year of the Stash

January 1 - it begins.

This year I am buying no new yarn or fabric.

That's right, for 2008 Joann's,, and will have to find alternative funding sources--I am only making projects from my existing stash.

As my first day dawned, I had to decide--is this about decreasing the overall volume of the stash, saving money, or getting long-planned projects finished? While all are fabulous motives, what do I really want to accomplish?

As I sit surrounded by shelves & tubs full of fiber, I had to admit--my number one priority is to decrease the size of the stash. This means that while I love lace knitting & will certainly do a lace project or two, the bulkier yarn & fabrics will be taking a higher priority. While I adore lace yarn, it's easier to store than, say, the bulky-weight mohair blend that reminds me a bit of an unshorn poodle. Fleece fabric will take priority over chiffon. It's a space issue--the stash has grown large enough that we may be claiming it as a dependent on our taxes this year. To kick the year off, I cast on a lovely WORSTED WEIGHT cardigan from the August 2007 issue of Knit 'n Style:

Admittedly, not my favorite knitting magazine, and part of me resents knitting anything called "Fashionista," but my office is cold and I wear cardigans all the time. And I am already 1/15th of the way done! Just watch my speed!!!!