Who’s in charge here?

I blogged before about my WIPs rising up against me to thwart my crafting prowess. If you think I’m being over-the-top and melodramatic you might be right but it was fairly disconcerting to fall foul of no less than seven projects at once.

Now there’s been some time to lick and heal wounds I thought I should do a round-up of how (or… if) I beat back the tide:

  • 1. Gloves for teacher “B” – I progressed these to the point of joining the fingers together and starting the palms. However, I tried to do this without looking at the pattern and messed it up entirely. It wouldn’t have been much to rip back and redo but I’d really lost interest in pursuing the project as an appropriate present for this teacher. Current Status: RIPPED!
  • 2. Design Idea #1 – previously ripped out. Current Status: STEWING
  • 3. Slouchy Beret for teacher “C” – I abandoned the project in this yarn but not the pattern. I made another Phoenix in a solid grey and was delighted when I found a fabulous button at The Constant Knitter to finish it off. Like the Phoenix of its name, this gift rose triumphantly from ashes of defeat. Current Status: FINISHED AND GIVEN AWAY!
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Slouchy Phoenix for Teacher “C”

  • 4. Design Idea #2 – previously abandoned but not yet ripped out. Current Status: STEWING
  • 5. Baby quilt – I’ve been warned not to rip out the seams already made. I think this can be rescued with some sashing. Current Status: HIBERNATING
  • 6. Mint green Pizelle – previously abandoned but not yet ripped out. Current Status: RIPPED!
  • 7. Raspberry Beret for teacher “D” – I ripped it out and started again. Current Status: FINISHED AND GIVEN AWAY!
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Raspberry Beret

  • CONCLUSION: of seven troublesome WIPs the final score is FO = 1; Ripped = 3 and Hibernating = 3
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    Status: stable

    Speaking of presents for teachers, in the end, Teacher “B” got a scarf in Tunisian Crochet and Teacher “E” got socks.

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    Tunisian Scarf for Teacher “B”

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    Faux Fair-isle socks for Teacher “E”

    Unfortunately, I spent so much time on failed hat and gloves I ran out of time to make a present for Teacher “A”. Knit-night buddy Watermemory came to my rescue and sold me one of her felted bags. She’ll be launching them on her etsy shop shortly so stay tuned!

     

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Push My Buttons

These are my current WIPs.

Baby Cardigans

From left to right:

  1. 2-piece baby jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knit One Knit All – Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Garter Stitch Designs
  2. “Bedhoin Cardigan” a.k.a. # 63 Catwalk by Carolin Schwarberg from Verena Stricken, Herbst 2011 (or in my case, Burda Tricot, Automme 2011)
  3. Harvey Kimono by Louisa Harding from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms

I know they look finished but the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the buttons are in a heap in the centre of the picture and not sewn in place. So, yeah, still WIPs…

Buttons are a bit of stumbling block, aren’t they? Finding the right buttons can be the most challenging issue for a WIP. First you have to find somewhere that has a decent collection. For me, this has meant trundling all the way in to Dublin Woolen Mills in Dublin City Centre (or, in the case of the lovely timber toggles shown, prevailing upon a member of my knitting group). Then there’s the arduous task of whittling down the choice in terms of suitable colours and sizes. It’s a good plan to have the WIP in question with you (as I’ve learned the hard way).

Even having overcome these hurdles I’m still stalled. What’s worse, they’ve been in this state for weeks! [Another thing I’ve learned the hard way is: “keep a thin sewing needle with a large threading eye with my notions’ kit”.] Really, I’m posting this to embarrass myself into doing something about them. With an FO Friday coming up will these WIPs make the cut in time?

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 EasyKnits.co.uk. 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”

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.

An FO-making extravaganza

So, regular readers here will have seen my mentions of WIPdown. Today is the day for the big reveal of all the FOs it got me to make:

In chronological order of finishing during WIPdown – which started on St Stephen’s Day and ran on until The Epiphany:

Pilates Socks:

Started these tabi-toe style socks on the plane over to Rhinebeck.  My plan was to have a quick knit that would be done by the end of the month for the Sock-a-Month KAL and I made excellent progress over the Rhinebeck weekend. They’re based on Lickety-Split from Knitty and I worked them according to the that pattern from the toe to the heel.  I thought I’d make a cabled pattern for the legs – just to jazz things up a bit. To my horror, when I was cabling with out a needle – Annie Moddsitt style – the yarn snapped in the row below the one I was working on. They were shelved for a while until I figured out what to do with them. I had picked them up again and was torturing myself with a tedious 1 x 1 rib on the legs when the WIPdown call went out. Being egged-on by other Tweeps is all that made me perservere. 

Tunisian Hand-warmers:

These were started after my class with Irene Lundgaard to learn Tunisian Crochet in-the-round. I had finished them and then ripped back the last few rounds of one of them ages ago – I had forgotten to do some decreases on one before casting off. They languished for most of last year and only saw the light of day again, thanks to WIPdown.

Hamma Hamma Hat:

This is an experimental try to see if I could convert the Urchin pattern by Ysolda Tegue into Tunisian Crochet. While googling Tunisian words for Urchin (for a word-play name for the hat), I found the story of Hamma Hamma –  a fourteen year-old Tunisian street-child (an urchin) who rocketed to celebrity stardom after appearing in a Ramadan television series. Hamma plays the role of a homeless child in the series entitled “Casting”. source: http://news.meedan.net/index.php?page=events&post_id=305405

I also started this hat/experiment on the plane to Rhinebeck and ran out of yarn with one section to go. While I was re-organising my stash before Christmas I found to part-balls that I reckoned could work to finish the hat. The power of WIPdown got me back on track and while the additional yarns work very well the overall hat turned out too small. I don’t know if I can consider this WIP truly whupped but as experiments go I learned something even if the result was not a success.

Chemo Cap#1:

The story behind this hat is rather sad – it’s for a toddler that was diagnosed with cancer last year. I didn’t enjoy making it, mainly because of the yarn. I didn’t much like the structure of the hat either: you make two rectangles; one in entrelac tunisian crochet and the other in back-loop doubles (single crochet to American readers!) then sew them both together; seam the sides and gather up the top. Actually it worked out very well and I’m delighted that WIPdown came along and made me give this WIP life. Now to send it off in the post and hope the little toddler has had a nice (healthy) Christmas.

I wasn’t the only person taking part in WIPdown. If you’re on Ravelry and would like to see all the others take a look at  this search for WIPdown2010 or search under #wipdown on Twitter.

It’s been 6 weeks since my last confession…

I did not love Blog when:

  • I promised to write specific posts and then completely …eh… didn’t!;
  • I did all these fantastic, blog-worthy and craft-related things and never told you about them;
  • I allowed real-life time-pressures to get in the way of blogging time…
  •  

For these, and all my sins, I am truly sorry.

For my penance I will try to write circa 20 catch-up posts over the next two weeks!

I have to apologise for my prolonged absence from my blog. It all started when DH got stuck in San Francisco because of the Ash Cloud. I was due to write a blog post all about my adventures to The Yarn Room in Wicklow the previous weekend, and meeting Irene Lundgaard for the first time – and being taught by her – but the heart just wasn’t in it.

When DH is away I still work full-time and have to get myself and the three crazies up and out the door in the morning; and fed and put to bed each evening. It’s a bit like living on a treadmill but I can do it by just getting on with it. I cut myself a break or two by easing off on household chores, such as laundry, for the duration. My knitting buddies are a great help too, as they often “bring the Mountain to Mohammed” as it were, by coming over to my house for Knit-night.

I have huge admiration for single parents, let me tell you; I don’t know how they keep themselves going. I know I only have to hold it all together until DH is home again and usually we’re only talking one week. I liken it to running a marathon: it’s a hellish run but you keep yourself moving, knowing the finish-line is in sight.

On Thursday 15th April the world woke up to the news that a certain, unpronounceable Volcano in Iceland was – quite literally – hell-bent on wrecking everyone’s plans. DH had been away since the previous Sunday and was due to fly home on Saturday afternoon. Sure enough, Mother Nature had different ideas. From my perspective, it was like someone had taken the finish-line and just run off with it. I had no choice but to keep running the marathon; but there’s something disturbing, psychologically, about not knowing when it will all end.

On Saturday night, DH suggested that he could be stuck for another five days. Strangely, rather than being horrified and distraught at the news, this was exactly what I needed to gather my energies and keep myself moving. He had given me a glimmer of ribbon that I could focus on and move towards. As it turned out, his prediction proved correct and he flew in on the second flight into Dublin Airport on Wednesday 21st April. It was amazing to see a single con-trail in the sky while simultaneously listening to a news headline reporting its arrival. We were thrown back to the early days of Flying!

So he’s been home now for a month… how do I explain the past four weeks?!?!?! Hmmmmm!?!?

The problem, for a change, was not having nothing to say (if you follow me). The problem was absolutely, over-indulging in crafty, blog-worthy adventures; to such an extent that I’m spoiled for choice. The problem with this is that I haven’t yet learned how to make time – I can only make the most of it; and I’ve certainly been doing that lately, as you can see below!

As it’s Sunday Miscellany, I’m just going to list all the excitement, somewhat in chronological order. These are potential blog-posts that you can look forward to. I have a plan for when I’m going to write each but I’ve learned from my mistake – I’m not going to tell you when to expect them in case I don’t follow through and disappear from my blog again out of shame!

  • Trip to the Yarn Room Co. Wicklow
  • Met Irene Lundgard
  • Learned Tunisian Crochet in the Round
  • Made a pair of wrist-warmers using what I learned
  • Went to the April Spin-in at Powerscourt
  • Stash Accumulation after the April Spin-in
  • Chose between finishing my April Socks and making a hat for a co-worker
  • Attended Combination Knitting Workshop by Annie Modesitt at TIK
  • Met Samsaradh and had great time catching-up with SusyMcQ
  • Stash Accumulation after the Combination Knitting Workshop
  • Met Averil
  • Stash Accumulation to celebrate meeting Averil (yeah, I’m totally out-of-control, by now!)
  • Choosing Crochet over knitting lately
  • Some Chemo caps I’m making and why
  • Choosing not to cast-on until current WIPs are whupped
  • Progress on Better Mousetrap socks
  • Progress on GlenvarAgin
  • We get Broadband means Spinning Tutorials on YouTube
  • Stash Accumulation from The Yarn and Fiber Company
  • Getting into running, the “Couch to 5K programme” and The Flora Women’s Mini-marathon

That’s kinda enough to be getting on with, I think you’ll agree!

February Round-up

Yet again, the last day of the month falls on a blogging day. Plus, since it’s a Sunday and therefore a Sunday Miscellany-themed post a round-up of the month is in order:

  • 4 F.O. – Ishbel, Blackberry Socks (see below); 2 Charity Squares
  • 4 WIPs frogged – Meters of Miter Scarf; Pebble Argosy; Origami Hat; Frou-Frou Swatch (not over the finish line yet but the green alapaca mess has been tamed!)
  • 3 WIPs-not-whupped – GlenvarAgin Cardigan; Not-so Frou-Frou (maybe later this evening); Hat for Co-worker
  • 12 Ravelympics medals – 8 for the two charity squares; 3 Aerial Unwind Events (maybe another later this evening); 1 WIPs Dancing (maybe another later this evening)
  • 2 Meet-ups with others that I’ve only previously “met” online – City Centre SnB at Café Bell and February Spin-in at Powerscourt
  • 2 U.S.A. – Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Ombré from Fourboys; Rotex Metalic Novelty Yarn from Clarabel
  • 1 S.E.X. – Malabrigo Lace in Blue Emerald
  • 1 Major House Task started: Architect hired to develop necessary drawings and documents for demolition of garage and building of deck (yay!)
  • 1 Little lad now no-longer using a pacifier at all (double-yay!)
  • 2 funerals (boo!)

And… don’t forget:

Blackberries in February?

F.O. Blackberry Socks

I only finished these this morning, just in time to wear them to the Spin-in Meet-up at Powerscourt Townhouse this afternoon.

These are so comfy to wear and they generated a very satisfying “Oooh” from everyone at the meet-up. I’m thrilled with the matchy-ness; which I only discovered by accident.