My Seven for 2011

Peaseblossom

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.

Picture

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

    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 EasyKnits.co.UK 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.

    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.

    Stash Saturday: The Yarn and Fiber Company

    So I mentioned that I had little splurge online on The Yarn and Fiber Company’s website as compensation and therapy for minding the three crazies when DH got caught in San Francisco by the Ash Cloud. It was all delivered the other day, so I can show and tell all:

    One Lace weight yarn:

    Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace Yarn. I don’t know what I’m going to make with this. All I want to do is cuddle it!

    Two “goes” of Roving for spinning – previously blogged about:

    Ivy Brambles Merino Roving in “Volcano” (l); Sereknity Blue-faced Leicester Roving in “Kismet” (r)

    Three specific projects:


    Sereknity Perfect Sock Yarn in “Jewel of Denial” for Jaywalkers (l); Kauni Effektgarn for Non-Reversible, Intarsia, Double-knit bag or blanket (r)

    and…

    Jojoland Melody Superwash Fingering for their Swirl Shawl pattern – also purchased from The Yarn and Fiber Company. psst! Free-shipping to Ireland!

    F.O.: A Saga

    It all started one Thursday, when the world woke up to find a certain unpronounceable volcano in Iceland had brought hubris to man-kind:

    If we thought human-kind could gad about in aeroplanes, defying the laws of gravity; Eyfjajökull brought us back down to earth.

    If we thought European Member States could act decisively and efficiently, thanks to the instruments brought in under the Lisbon Treaty; the five-day delay in agreeing a cohesive strategy put pay to that delusion.

    And if Scientists thought human-nature could be defied, and multi-national companies would tolerate losing billions of euro daily in the interest of human safety; they were asked to think again.

    Those of you who read here regularly might have been surprised by my sudden silence – did the ash-cloud eat me? Then again, many of you also read Ravelry and Twitter; so you already knew that the infamous ash-cloud prevented DH from returning home from San Francisco for five days – leaving me to wrangle the three crazies and keep down a job. Needless to say, more people expressed concern for me than for him! San Fran is not the worst place in the world to get stranded, eh?

    I should have kept a better track of the week but I guess these are the high-lights:

    • We wake up, of a Thursday morning, to find the world taking a sudden interest in Secondary School level Geography: volcanic activity, constituents of an ash-cloud, wind patterns and weather systems are hotly discussed topics of conversation; 
    • Not since Sigur Rós‘s last album have so many people tried pronouncing Icelandic names;
    • realising DH is “stranded” near yarn-shops I’ve never been to, I put a call-out on Ravelry for suggestion for some compensation yarn: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/irish-knitters/1098908/1-25#1
    • Tales unfold from fellow-Ravelers on Irish Knitters Group of stranded boyfriends unable to see their girlfriends; brides flying in for a wedding they’ve been waiting 25 years to do; parents not being able to see their daughter graduate. It was astonishing to realise just how much we take flying for granted;
    • Meanwhile, on Twitter, people were having incredible adventures: driving from the south of Spain back to England;
    • I get some great yarn and shop suggestions; which I promptly pass on to DH
    • DH’s yarn buying field-trip is in vain – three out of five yarn shops on his list have moved; the fourth doesn’t answer the phone;
    • The fifth yarn shop – the one he didn’t visit or ring – turns out to be the “golden ticket” yarn shop!
    • The same day, DH gets word that Delta Airlines have re-booked him on a return flight to Dublin, via New York;
    • At that stage Irish Airspace is still closed so DH doesn’t want to take the flight – being stuck in SF near his customers is better than being stuck in NY near no-one he knows;
    • DH takes a leap of faith and gets on the plane to NY, fully expecting his onward leg to be cancelled
    • Dublin Airspace opens at the last-minute – while DH is in the air on his flight from NY! His is only the second flight to land at Dublin Airport in seven days.
    • When I get the call that he has landed safely, I skive off work to pick him up (bold, I know)
    • Parking at the “Set-down Area Only” at the Airport I burst into tears when a Garda taps on my window to move me on (wtf? I never burst into tears – obviously more pent-up anguish than I’d allowed myself to admit! The Garda was very nice about it, very apologetic – though I still moved on)
    • DH & I are re-united and, after I splurge for yarn online at The Yarn and Fiber Company, I forgive him for coming home with no “Compo” yarn!

    And so, a happy ending! I got DH home eventually; I got to come off the strict yarn-diet (having difficulty getting back on it, mind you) and the balance of my Brownie-Point Deposit Account is so high the crafty-world is my oyster.

    Góðan daginn for a Stash Enhancement Xpedition

    While I was at the Yarn Room for my class in Tunisian Crochet (in-the-round, no less!) I had a special indulgence. Time for me to…

    FLASH THE STASH!

    3 Skeins of Lett Lopi from Ístex, Iceland in Light Purple(1) and Violet(2)

    100g of Ashford Merino Silk in Juniper for spinning

    1 Plate of Plotulopi in Arctic Blue Heather - for plying practice; with 2 sets of Addi Turbo needles and 1 set of circular crochet hooks

    All-in-all a good day for a Stash Enhancement Xpedition – very satisfying.