FO Friday: Leaving It

I’ve been plodding slowly along with Turbine diligently ignoring the glaring fact that if you knit an Aran-weight pattern in a DK-weight yarn it’s going to be too small. I really astonish myself, at times, for my dedication to the ethos of the ostrich.
After slogging it out for another few hours at knit-night and appearing to be no nearer to the crown decreases, I tried it on DH when I got home and he confirmed: it’s too damn small.

After five days of delusion I was in need of speed. It wasn’t just that I needed a project that would be done quickly. I needed to go from yarn to FO in less time than it usually takes me to mess things up.

I’d had “Leaving On The Edge” in mind when I did my recent stash-accumulation excursion. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say: I realised the Sirdar Chunky would not be the Super Bulky that the pattern calls for.

Luckily, I remembered I have two balls of Rowan Big Wool in my stash and a quick check of the pattern’s projects page convinced me others have had success with this yarn before.

I cast on in the car on the way to work (DH was driving, I hasten to add) and by the end of coffee break I had finished the first (of five) pattern repeats:

By the time I was finished my lunch I was 2/5ths there!

The rest was done that evening while watching an engrossing film, which actually slowed me down a lot!
Hey Presto:

As the designer herself tweeted:

yay! I love instant gratification knits

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

In a Quandry

I can get quite paralysed by indecision. So paralysed that I procrastinate myself into missing the boat entirely. I’m on the cusp of this again.

But first a bit of background…
At the end of May we have two major family events: brother’s wedding and then – two days later – my daughter’s First Holy Communion. Having two family event separated by two days means two completely new outfits for me. And you know how much I love shopping for clothes for me. Bleughch!

As part of my stash-down knitting-plan for the year, I identified Peaseblossom Tunic by Kirstin Omdahl…

…as a good pattern to use my Fyberspates Lace.

I thought this could be a starting point for one of these out-fits. This puts me on a dead-line to try and have it complete by early May so that I still have shopping-time to buy the outfit to go with it.
Ingenious plan, no? Eh… no. Highly risky plan that may well back-fire. Grab your time-machine and return in a month’s time to witness the debacle.

The thing is… ideally, I should also be advancing the Petals Wrap as the basis for a second (as yet also un-purchased) outfit.

My dilemma? Keep going on Petals or get Peaseblossom up and running?

Until I figure this out I’m quite likely to do neither. By which time the procrastination will determine the outcome. Go me!

Going for Seven in 2011

Towards the end of 2009 someone proposed the concept of “Ten for ’10″ listing ten things to achieve in 2010. My list was the bones of my knitting/crochet plan for the year.

  1. Finally knit a cardigan for DH that actually fits him (I’m on attempt no. 3 by now – not counting all the frogging) DONE!
  2. Knit something lacey DONE! (twice over: Ishbel and Annis)
  3. Review sock yarn I’ve used to date to establish one or two preferred makes …DONE! Winners were Mega-Boots Stretch by Lana Grossa Meilenweit; Jawoll Silk by Lang Yarns; Ranco Sock by Araucania
  4. Set up template for socks for DH using Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints Method DONE! Nutty Socks for DH that I’ve just realised I never blogged about (oops!)
  5. Go to at least one Knitting Meet-up DONE! What I had in mind was Knit Nation or I Knit Weekender. Going to Rhinebeck, or being taught by Annie Modesitt was beyond my wildest knitting fantasies when I wrote the list.
  6. Meet some more online knitting friends in the flesh DONE! Boy, did I? I had a blast from beginning to end in 2010 meeting so many people I’ve been chatting with for so long.
  7. Publish a pattern on my blog / get a pattern published Not done
  8. Bust a lot of my stash by using Tunisian Crochet to make a few shawls & scarves as gifts Not done
  9. Design and knit a cardigan for DD with variagated-blue Lamb’s Pride bought in TIK last WWKIP! Not done
  10. Knit jumper for DS1 using brown cotton bought at Knitting & Stitching show DONE!

So, my final score is 7 Done and 3 to Do! Those three I’m carrying forward to become the bones of my crafting plan for 2011:

  • Design and knit a Cardigan for DD
  • Publish a pattern and
  • Stash-busting

In fact, these three are linked since it’s the design for DD’s cardigan that I hope to write up as a pattern and the intended yarn has been in my stash for 18 months already.

To help me put meat on the bones of my crafting plan for the coming year, I’m using this motto (or “rallying cry”) from FLYLady:

“Go for Seven in 2011!”

With out further ado, here are the Seven things I intend to target in 2011:

1. Present a pattern for publishing – I’ve wanted to send a pattern to Knitty ever since I first saw it. I have three different ideas, one of them being this cardigan pattern for my daughter; the other is the hat I failed knuckle-down to the design of during Ravelympics last February. Even if I don’t get published publicly I want to put myself through the process of writing up a pattern and submitting it. It will give me something to put up on the “Free Patterns” page of my blog at the very least (don’t look now, there’s little or no point!).

2. Bust my stash – recently I realised could list my Ravelry stash in order of yardage. This year I’m prioritising projects based on using big-yardage stashes first. So coats, dresses and lace shawls are going to be the order of the day year.

3. No more USA – my stash-busting efforts will be undermined if I continue to have splurges like I did last year. So this year I’ve deliberately signed up to two “Yarn Clubs” which will send me a skein of sock yarn at regular intervals through the year. My theory is that the knowledge that yarn is on its way to me will stop me from impulse buying when yarn-fumes over-whelm me. Excluded from this are a) skeins purchased to complete a project and b) a skein or two bought as a souvenir on holidays

4. Spin more – We’ve set up a skein-a-month Spin-along over on the Irish Spinners Group on Ravelry. I’m trying to be disciplined about spinning for at least 10 minutes every evening. I’ve been advised by a spinner more talented and experienced than me that I’ll learn more from this than I would from an hour-long spinning session. Having struggled to connect my fibre the other evening after a 6-week-hiatus, I’ve learned this lesson the hardway. WIPdown proved to me I respond well to peer-pressure and the power of a band-wagon; so the SkAM-SpAL should be the incentive I need to stick at it. For now, I’m telling myself that this also comes under the umbrella of “Stash-busting”. When I have 12 new skeins of yarn waving at me from my stash drawers, I’m sure I’ll think differently!

5. Quilting – I may yet rue the day I ever clapped eyes on the Tokyo Subway Map Quilt but what can you do with love-at-first-sight, even when it is unrequited. I now have two full drawers given over to the materials I purchased at the Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show for making it; so this also comes under stash-busting. By taking baby-steps each month, I plan to have the quilt finished by the end of the year.

6. Gifts – This is partly under the stash-busting umbrella and partly under the design/publish umbrella. This also has a little to do with an economy drive. I have an idea of a gift I could hand-make for each of the female members of my immediate (mother & sister) and extended family (Mother- and Sisters-in-law). The first Sister-in-Law’s birthday crops up in early February, so I’d better get cracking with this kinda soon, eh?

7. Darn Socks – This is another “economy-drive” driven element of my plan. I have put several socks belonging to DH and me out of circulation (i.e. I’ve hidden them!) in order to darn them. The trouble is… I haven’t got around to the actual darning. There’s a bit of a viscious spiral at work here in that the less socks in circulation, the more wear on the socks in circulation, the sooner they get worn out and put out of circulation. So Phoo-ey to viscious spirals! One pair of socks is to be darned each month this year.

Sunday Miscellany

Santa's been

This is my favourite time of year – this week between Christmas and New Year. There’s been so much focus on getting everything done for Christmas Day that it’s like you’ve been snuck an extra week. It’s time to take stock; to catch up – with other people who are “home” or with jobs that have been put on-hold; to review what you’ve got done and make plans for what you’d like to do. I tend to hibernate a little; I eat lots, lie-in for as long as I can get away with and hardly venture out at all except to go for nice walks locally.

I realised recently that there’s really only 11 months in the year – with December being entirely given over to Christmas. Similarly, there’s really only 51 weeks for getting things done; with this week being devoted to planning how to spend the next 51. In reality, any plans you make have to be front-loaded. A builder-friend of mine wisely says that if something hasn’t been done by May you can forget about it for the rest of the year. In his case it’s because he’s heavily involved in the GAA – whose season really gets going in May – but it’s sage advice, none the less.

House Plans

  1. January (4 weeks) – Re-organise play-room storage: panelling to walls, buy storage system from IKEA, cull toys – old to charity / broken to dump
  2. February & March (8 weeks, 5 – 12) – New Deck: Get builder in to demolish garage and build a deck; change boiler to high-condensing gas boiler
  3. April & May (9 weeks, 13 – 21) – DD’s Bedroom furniture: design & get built / research & order it in time for her birthday at the end of May
  4. June (4 weeks, 22 – 25) – finish building Bar-B-Que: use bricks reclaimed from demolishing garage
  5. July & August (9 weeks, 26 – 34) – mainly spent gardening, by which I really mean – in the garden
  6. September & October (9 weeks, 35 – 43) – Refurbish bathroom: rip it out, install tanking membrane, start again
  7. November (4 weeks, 44 – 47) – Planning permission for refurb of 2011: possibly started earlier in the year, but ready to lodge this month
  8. December (4 weeks, 48 – 51) – Christmas preparations underway so forget about trying to do much else!

Knitting Plans

Since I’m in list-making-mode, I think you’d be amazed – and disappointed – if I didn’t do a similar exercise with all the plans for my WIPs and Stash that I have buzzing around my head. The thing that I find about drawing up a programme is it’s already out of date by the time it’s printed, or in this case, published. But anyway, here goes:

  1. Finish Glenvar-Agin for DH – allow 4 weeks (January weeks 1 – 4)
  2. Finish Adirondack Socks – allow 2 weeks (February weeks 5 & 6)
  3. Knit Ishbel for me using skein of Natrual Dye Company bought at I Knit Weekender – allow 1 week (February week 7)
  4. Knit hat for co-working in King Cole 100% Merino 4 ply – allow 1 week (February week 8 )
  5. The Ravelympics are on between February 12th – 28th; they start Friday of week 6 and continue until the end of week 8. So I’m aiming for three medals in the following events: WIPs-Dancing (Adirondack Socks), Short  Track Shawl (Ishbel) and Hat Half-pipe (Hat for Co-worker)
  6. Top-down cardigan for DD in variagated blue Lamb’s Pride – allow 4 weeks (March weeks 9 – 12)
  7. Brown cotton jumper for DS1 – allow 4 weeks (April weeks 13 – 17)
  8. Cropped wrap-cardigan for me in Purple Manos del Uruguay – allow 4 weeks (May weeks 18 – 21)
  9. Presents for teachers x 2 – allow 2 weeks each (June 22 – 25)
  10. 2 pairs of socks for DH birthday – allow 6 weeks (July & August weeks 26 – 31)
  11. Go to a Knitting Meet-up in Stirling or London or Estonia and meet some online knitting friends
  12. Stash bust to make a shrug in Tunisan Crochet with Koigu or Malabrigo  – allow 3 weeks (August weeks 32 – 34)
  13. Top-down coat from Fitted Knits in Colinette Prism – allow 4 weeks (September weeks 35 – 38)
  14. Oroborus October  – allow 4 weeks(39 – 43)
  15. November (4 weeks, 44 – 47) – taken up with Charity or Christmas Knitting
  16. December (4 weeks, 48 – 51) – Christmas preparations underway so forget about trying to do much else!

Wow! I’ve tried to be as realistic as possible but I’ll be mightily impressed if I get all this done. I haven’t allowed any contingency plan for the inevitable distraction of knitting patterns that are published in the mean-time. There’s still a lot of stash left to work through so I’m also putting myself on a strict yarn-diet – you heard it here first.

Pick a Name... any name...

And now… Drumroll Please!…

You see before you a hat. Just an ordinary hat (if you ignore that it was hand-knit with great care).

But not an empty hat. In this hat, I have placed four pieces of paper. And on each piece of paper I have written a name.

Each name is the name of someone who entered a haiku in the great Ban-zai Bonanza!

In just a few moments, I – with the aid of my able-bodied and beautiful assistant, DD – shall pull a name from this hat. Prepare to be amazed advised.


Lotteries on a blog, eh? Kinda like dancing on the radio! Tune in tomorrow to find out who wins this great prize…

  • Judy Sumner’s book “Knitted Socks: East and West”;
  • 1  x Easy Knits Sushi Sock Roll – 100% Blue Faced Leicester in Harkness Green;
  • 1 x Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn – Col No.  S185;
  • Knitting Notions (stitch markers, row counter, bodkins);
  • needle case;
  • origami paper (not shown)