My Seven for 2011


Peaseblossom Tunic

It’s that time again when we look back over the year that was and make plans for the year to come. At the start of 2011 I posted about Going for Seven in 2011 and even came up with a programme for the year. Time to look at how it all panned out, eh?

1. Present a pattern for publishing – DONE! I presented a pattern for a cardigan for my daughter to Knitty. It took an arduous two months of early 2011 but I did it, including all the maths for grading it to fit all sizes from toddler to teenager. Unfortunately, it was rejected and languishes still. I’m unsure of my plans for it. I still believe it’s worthy of publishing. I think I’ll get a few of the sizes test-knit – perhaps make one of the teenager sizes for one of my neices –  and take it from there.

Swirl Shawl

2. Bust my stash – NOT DONE! The year started well with the stash busting. I made my Peaseblossom Top in Fyberstpates Lace, the yarn with the highest yardage in my stash (1010m used out of 1796m). I also used Jojoland Melody Superwash in Teal Whirl, a shawl I made for Viola (744m used out of 1006m). In addition, I de-stashed ALL my cotton from Lidl  – a whopping 1.914 kilometers of  it – by making up Tunisian Crochet dishcloth kits for sale at HandmAid Craft Day in September. However, I have yet to finish my Petal Wrap using Alpaca Lace from Dublin Dye Company and I didn’t touch any other high-yardage yarn in my stash.


Stash Accumulation from Freckledpast

3. No more USA – NOT DONE! I was very strong this year. Stronger than I have been for many years. So many times this year I inhaled yarn fumes but resisted consuming. Having a steady flow of yarn from the Janel Laidman sock club seems to have helped and though there was some Stash Accumulation it was all (that I can recall) for planned projects. I’m going to stick with this strategy next year: only buy for a known project that I plan cast-on within the month. I was somewhat undone by some of my knitting friends towards the end of the year, however! BionicLaura de-stashed some gorgeous Possum Touch and two skeins of Artesano Alpaca 4ply. As part of Knitmas, Freckledpast de-stashed 4 skeins of chenille, 1 skein of Rosários 4 Loopy and a ball of Donegal Yarns Aran Tweed. Then Averil de-stashed a skein of Regia Galaxy in the Saturn colourway. They are allvery bold! but I love what they de-stashed in my direction. It’s only fair, I have de-stashed in other people’s directions too (see point 2. above!).

4. Spin more – DONE! The Skein-a-month Spin-a-long was quasi-successful. While we didn’t manage to do an actual skein a month, it certainly increased my spinning efforts and out-put. My most productive month was July, during the Tour de France. A complete lull in activity followed in August when I brought the wheel with us camping in France and didn’t take it out one night! Anyway, more importantly, I spun for a specific project and knit it up too – a small hoodie for BionicLaura’s baby girl. I learned a lot from the experience – how fractal spinning helps crazy colourways; check gauge and resize to suit; even when you don’t expect to have yarn left over, you will!

BionicLaura's Funky Bear

5. Quilting – DONE! Thanks to Elana I was hooked up with quilter-extraordinaire Mary Heseltine who lives down the road from Elana. We had an introductory session in March which led to Clarabel & I doing a five month quilting course over the Winter. I am loving it though I’m a little concerned for the new stash of fabric I am accumulating now.

6. Gifts – DONE! and NOT DONE! On the one hand, most of my knitting time in the past year seems to have been gift-knitting. On the other hand, I don’t think I managed a single gift included in my original plan! The gifts I planned for the early part of the year were scuppered by how long it took me to write the pattern (see point 1. above). Then, later in the year, planned gifts were superceded by a completely unforeseen (by me) baby-boom amongst my crafting friends. The baby-knits were fun to do thought they led to some stash accumulation. I’ve decided it’s probably a good idea to keep some baby-suitable yarn always handy in my stash in future.

7. Darn Socks – DONE! I surprised myself and actually darned some socks during the year! This coincided nicely with the Sock Exchange initiative by @futuremenders to get people back to “Make Do & Mend” mentality as part of the Absolut Fringe festival in Dublin. Unfortunately, I still have more socks to mend, however. And soooo much more sock yarn to use!

February Round-up

I have very little to report for this month. In fact, checking back on my post for my January Round-up, the situation has hardly changed at all!

  • FOs = 0
  • WIPs = 2

GlenvArgh! is languishing while I focus on pattern-writing and knitting my design.
While I don’t have an FO to show for it, pattern-writing has been a fascinating & thoroughly rewarding process. Having read a few timely tweets from other designers, I was prompted to work out the Maths first. I did this as far as I could visualise but then *had* to pick up the needles to test it out. It was just as well I did because I had made some classic, newbie mistakes.

It took at least 3 attempts at the sleeve & shoulder shaping before I got it “right”. I also suffered two needle fatalities: one Denise cable and on of my Knit-pro cables.

  • Frogged = 1… several times!

Meanwhile, I did get a pair of socks into circulation, by darning a hole on one toe. These are my favourite socks, ever! They’re Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks by InterWeave Press.

There was stash enhancement but it was of the controlled, long-awaited variety; and therefore completely acceptable. It was the first instalment of Janel Laidman’s “Illuminations” sock-club: two skeins of Staccato Sock by ShibuiKnits.

I also didn’t complete my February skein for the SkAM-SpAL. I was reviving a spindle of Louet Northern Top that I had started last Summer. Though I enjoyed the spindling – and became quite good at it after practicing so frequently – it really is much slower.

  • Yarn in = 175(103-Green)+175(105-Blue) = 350m
  • Yarn out = still indeterminate, but probably more than yarn in!… //for once!//
  • Meet ups = one, #twillting aka the Quilting workshop given by @MaryLD at the beginning of February.
  • I had to bow-out of the February Spin-in because I was enjoying a weekend away in Inchydoney Hotel and Spa. It was a treat for my fortieth birthday.

    – Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    January Round-up

    This won’t be the most inspiring round-up since no WIPs became FOs this month; stash-in is greater than stash used. But there *was* meeting-up!!!

    The adventures of GlenvArgh! continues. 

    • Earlier in the month I suspected that it wasn’t so much the pattern that was cursed, but the yarn, when a stitch broke on a row below while I was making a cable.  After some surgery, and more careful manipulation while cabling, progress advanced.
    • At the weekend, our car was broken into and my Jordana Paige Knitting bag was stolen out of the boot. I had left GlenvArgh! very obviously sticking out of the bag, in the hopes that any tempted thief would realise it was “only” a knitting bag and not proceed. I’m helpful like that! But would they listen? They left the WIP and took the bag and it gives me some pleasure imaging their disgust to find it contains nothing more than knitting accoutrements.
    • As you can imagine, GlenvArgh! is somewhat in shock – as am I! Thankfully, my bag was recovered and is languishing down at the Garda Station. I’m hoping that it still contains the ball of wool I was using (not that I’m short of wool for this project, I have several km!)

    A Sooper-Sekrit Project begins.

    • I’m a bit amazed with myself in that I actually sat down and started to write a pattern. Initially, I would have rather had some teeth pulled that sit and focus. Then suddenly I was plugging numbers into an Excel spreadsheet and acting like Neo from The Matrix. I could SEE into the columns of numbers and could understand what they meant.
    • I’m a little concerned about the sizing however. According to the chart for children’s sizing that is linked to by Knitty, my eight-year-old daughter is four! I understand that she is quite slight but I’m in a quandary to know whether I a) go with her chest-size and ignore the American-based sizing system or b) make her top with several inches of positive ease??
    • On the plus side (no pun intended) when the submission guidelines for Knitty – First Fall were updated the submission date has moved back a month. So I may use this time to test-knit a few more sizes.

    Controlled Stash-Enhancement

    • I’ve already blogged about my two stash-enhancements: Ember and Myriad, both from These were pre-planned and part of a controlled programme that I’m going to try to stick to this year.
    • The big test was being in TIK yesterday for the January Spin-in. I touched, I inhaled but I did not consume! I’m very proud of my restraint. (Okay, so I bought some buttons and some stitch markers… that’s not the same thing!)

    Skein-a-Month Spin-A-Long

    • I’m so thrilled by the response we’re having over on the Irish Spinners group on Ravelry to the Skein-a-month Spin-a-long idea. It seems to have rejuvenated the group. All the different entries are so inspiring. And, as a newbie, I’m learning so much just from listening to the other spinners describe their work.
    • I’m amazed by my first proper skein – Eyjafjallajokull. 300 meters of DK(ish) weight yarn. I’m excited to day-dream about what it will grow up to be.
    • I’m already planning my February skein and – with the new moderator’s imprimatur – we’ll have a little competition brewing.

    Social Knit-work

    • The big high-light of the month is that SusyMcQ (a.k.a. @WrapNTurn) decided to come up to Dublin for a spinning workshop and stay with me on the Saturday night.
    • I had the brainwave of getting in touch with some of my regular commentators here on my blog and arranging for us all to have a night-out (there’s an incentive for yiz to comment more!).
    • It was a great success – what a riot! We’re so lucky to have a great bunch of Knitty/Tweety/Ravelers that all get on well in real-life.
    • There were some complaints of sore heads the following day – most notably from @SineadR and @Clarabel. I got away more lightly than I deserved.

    Final Round-up:

    • FOs = 0
    • WIPs = 2
    • Frogged = 1
    • Yarn in = 400(Ember)+300(Eyjafjallajokull)+452(Myriad) = 1,152m
    • Yarn out = indeterminate, but probably much less than yarn in!… //sigh//
    • Meet ups = 1 biggie, involving 12 “knitweepellers”

    Eclectic and Enchanted Soles

    Great enabler that my knitting-buddy Bootie is, she pointed me towards these pattern books from Janel Laidman (including, with feigned nonchalance, the link for where I could buy them on The Rustling Leaf Press web-site):

    Bootie knows me so well, that she knew I wouldn’t want to resist. I had never heard of Janel Laidman before. I haven’t been able to get enough of her since! The photos of two patterns that I’ve included here just don’t do them justice. If you’re on Ravelry, have a better look at her books here:

    The Enchanted Sole

    The Eclectic Sole

    I bought the books last April but I was too late at that time to sign up for her sock-club. I left my details indicating my interest in her next one. When I got the email alerting me that sign-ups had opened for the next one, I jumped on it straight away – despite the fact I was out at my Christmas Party!

    In fact, Janel Laidman has two different clubs running in parallel: “Art & Sole”, which give a sock pattern and a non-sock pattern with each shipment; and “Illuminations – Colourwork Sock Club“. After much hemming and hawing, I went for the Illuminations – Colourwork Sock club rather than the Art & Sole. My main reason is that I’ve only done very limited colourwork socks – only one pair comes to mind, in fact. The colourwork patterns Janel Laidman has in her books are just stunning.

    Signing up for the whole year seemed a bit steep for me at the time – what with a lot of our budget being tied up with Christmas presents; so I’ve opted for the pay-as-you-go option. Here’s what I’ve to look forward to:

    • 6 shipments per year, starting January/February 2011
    • Beautiful sock yarns from a different dyer each shipment
    • TWO new and exclusive sock patterns from Janel Laidman each shipment
    • Choice of color family when signing up for the club
    • Instructions and videos specific to colorwork techniques for socks
    • Pattern only option!
    • KAL group
    • surprise goodies and extras!

    The first installment should arrive in mid- to late- February. Can’t wait!

    Choosing Moderation

    Hi, My name is UnderMeOxter.

    And I buy too much yarn!

    Last year, I started with the best of intentions to get my stash under control. I started well, too – monitoring my aquisitions and consumption.

    Then I had a few crises and I responded by indulgent spluges. Not only did I undo all my hard work; I set myself back a few years in terms of SABLE.

    This drove me to think about the Twelve Steps Programme for addiction. Looking it up on Wikipedia it is scarily appropriate:

    • admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion; – I guess that’s what this blog-post is about!
    • recognizing a greater power that can give strength; – That would be you guys, my blog-readers and all my supportive tweeps on Twitter
    • examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member); – Might be a bit stuck on this one: I don’t know anyone who has successfully kicked the yarn-habit. If any of you want to put yourselves forward as my Sponsor, im ready to spill the beans about all those Stash Enhancement expeditions to TIK and Constant Knit last year!
    • making amends for these errors; – My knitting plan for this year is entirely focused on busting stash to bring myself back under control
    • learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior; – it’s too simplistic to try to “knit more, stash less”. I have to accept that complete abstinence is not realistic so my idea is to have a pre-arranged supply of regular yarn instalments. To this end, I signed up for two Sock Clubs: one from and the other by Janel Laidman
    • helping others that suffer from the same addictions or compulsions. – I guess that’s what this blog-post is for too. Perhaps by going through this process I will encourage you to join me.

    Choosing Temptation

    I love making lists. I guess you might have noticed. Making up a list is my first step towards getting things done. My next step is similar to many people’s approach to getting exercise, especially if their first step was to buy an exercise bike. We all know what happens to exercise bikes, don’t we? Yes, they gather dust  in the garage / spare room / under the stairs. Similarly, with my lists. The effort of making one is so great and so self-satisfying I blithely assume that somehow the stuff is getting done – by someone, somewhere!

    Making lists is one thing. Sticking to them is quite another. Ignoring all the shiny distractions that have nothing to do with the list  – such as… oh… joining Sock-a-Month KAL 9 – takes much determination. I mean, you’d have to be bloody-minded and stubborn – to always stick to your guns like that.  Does that sound like me? Don’t answer that!

    Should I stick to the list? Do I have the will-power to resist temptations? Such was the little debate I started with myself when I read Zonda’s blog and realised that invites were open for Sock-a-Month KAL 9, which runs from January until June 2010. And then I realised: what if the shiny distractions and the list can meld in some way? After all, I’m planning to complete my Adirondack Socks in February during Ravelympics. Plus I’ve a pair of socks that just need the legs done – they could be my January socks without impacting on my plan to complete GlenvarAgin. My planned projects in March, April and May are all small – for my kids or a cropped cardi for me. I might have a problem with June, though. It may not be feasible to knit a present each for two teachers in four weeks as well as a pair of socks.

    Then Diane (a.k.a. Chicwithstix) posted on Ravelry that she’s setting up a Sock Club for the Dublin Knit Collective. You set your own goals for the year. That sounds more like my cup of tea. Let’s not forget, I want to knit DH two pairs of socks before his birthday in August. I’ve decided to aim for literally a sock a month i.e. 6 pairs. That’s do-able.

    Of course, I’ve also sent an email to Zonda to see if I’m not too late to sign up for SAM9. Shiny-shiny!