Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Recap

This year I finished fewer projects than last year. I finished 126 in 2012 and 97 this year, which surprised me. With grad school, I had much less time for, well, anything.

Final count:
  • 16 total unfinished projects
  • 5 unfinished projects from 2013
  • 97 total finished projects
  • 93 finished projects from 2013
I only finished four older projects: two cross stitches, a blanket, and a costume for my nephew's turtle doll. The two cross stitches and the blanket were the oldest projects I had, all from 2007 or earlier, so that's great, but I didn't really touch any of the other 11 UFOs from years past that are hanging around.

What were my goals?
  1. Get projects down to single digits and keep them there.
  2. Reduce stash down to under 6/30/2012 levels, i.e. lower than it's been since I started charting.
  3. Finish any and all gifts I want to make on time.
  4. Participate in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup all three terms.
  5. Finish everything I start in 2013. 
How did I do?
  1. No way. The overall project count was in the 20s for most of the year and even the 2013-only project count was in double digits for awhile. I did finish some large and old cross stitches but not many other pre-2013 projects.
  2. Nope. I did use more yarn than I purchased this year, but not enough to reach the goal.
  3. As long as I meant on time for use by the baby and not necessarily the shower, got it!
  4. I realized I don't like just participating, I like playing competitively. I can't play too competitively with all of my other responsibilities, so I didn't do this and am happy with that decision.
  5. Yes, as long as finishing by December 40th counts (so no, actually). I started spinning and got hurt and/or had no time to finish that and had a couple other ambitious projects that just didn't get done.
I can't say I'm too fussed about not making most of my goals. There's just too much going on otherwise for me to feel bad about not making arbitrary deadlines for my hobbies. I knit a lot of gifts for people and was able to use up a lot of yarn that was just hanging around without a purpose, so all in all, I feel pretty good about 2013.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baby Bibs

I still had some little bear buttons and some cotton to make a couple of bibs for another new baby:

Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
Needles: 5.0 mm/US8
Timeframe: October 10 - 21, 2013
Mods: I slipped the first stitch of every row and used a crochet cast on to start for a more uniform edge.
Problems: None!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Scrappy Mitered Blanket

I was almost able to get through this entire blanket using scraps. I had to buy another skein of red at the end, but since I was planning to use it in another project, that isn't a bad thing. I could have sworn I got more pictures than just this one, but oh well. That's black on the edging and blue with the white.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in 5 colors
Needles: US7/4.5mm
Timeframe: September 27 - October 11, 2013
Mods: Used a different pattern for the colors
Problems: None!

I love this blanket so much! I will probably knit another one for myself when I have kids. Seriously. It's so squishy and quick to knit because it's all garter stitch, and you add the squares together as you're knitting so no real seaming necessary! Soft, squishy, cozy, and just plain wonderful; it's by far my favorite baby blanket and I hope the recipient enjoys it! It may be my go-to blanket for future babies.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chasing Stripes Blanket

There were some more baby blankets made for the explosion of babies this year. One was a "Chasing Rainbows" blanket that I made with stripes instead of rainbow colors, so call it a "Chasing Stripes" blanket. I never got great pictures of it, but I did get at least one okay picture of the finished product:

Yarn: Caron One Pound in Leaf Green and Ocean
Needles: US8/5.0mm, US10/6.0mm for the bindoff
Timeframe: September 2 - 25, 2013
Mods: Every 9th row was knit with the blue, every 10th row purled and rows 1 - 8 knit using green. The bindoff is a 3 stitch reverse (purled) I-cord and I think it works very well with the stripes!
Problems: I should have used a larger needle to get a looser gauge and less-scrunched blanket, but I don't think the baby will care!

This was, like the first two, made from stash yarn. One great thing about all of these babies is that I'm using up a lot of stash that isn't already earmarked for a specific project - not as much as I'd've liked this year, but a lot! I may make this blanket again using these mods and thinner yarn or bigger needles. I like how it turned out, but I'm not sure I love the final shape. It's interesting. That may be a good thing or a bad thing and I haven't decided which yet.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baby Toys

I really wanted to make DNA baby rattles for some friends' babies. Isn't this just an excellent pattern?

From Baby's First DNA Model by Kimberly Chapman
In just under two months, I got this far:

This pattern was just too fiddly for me. It was coming out great and would probably have been an amazing rattle, I just did not like working on it. It's taken a trip to the frog pond.

I still needed/wanted to make toys for the under-1 crowd. For the first little one, I crafted a braided ball out of some pastel scraps and put a quiet rattle inside:

Yarn: New Hitsuji-chan, a Japanese DK-ish weight wool, in six colors
Needles: US5/3.75mm
Timeframe: December 13 - 15, 2013
Mods: None!
Problems: None, aside from the fact that the one black stripe is a bit odd but I went with the colors I had on hand.
I haven't yet gotten to the next two, but let me tell you, I am very excited and may make one for myself!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Frilly Scarves

I made a pile of frilly Sashay scarves for this year's holiday season. Originally, I intended to knit them, but ended up crocheting them because I knew I'd be annoyed by knitting with the mesh ribbon.

Pattern: Frilly Crochet Scarf (Ravelry 1 2 3 4 5 6 7)
Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Sashay, various colors
Hook: 6.5mm/USK
 Timeframe: December 1 - 9, 2013
Mods: None
Problems: Ravelry specified a smaller hook than the pattern did. Had I been paying closer attention, I probably would have been happier with the length that the larger hook would have provided.

Very quick, very easy scarves. I just hope the intended recipients like them!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Frilly Baby Blankets

I crocheted a baby blanket and didn't really like the final look. The gauge was too tight.

So I made another one with the same yarn and a different hook. I even used the same style ribbon:

 They really are different. The gauge is much nicer on the second one. The first one is a bit stiff and tight.

The second one is larger than the first too.

Pattern: Tiramisu Baby Blanket (Ravelry 1 2)
Yarn: National Yarn Crafts Natura Sayelle (old stash of my mom's)
Hook: 5.5mm/USI for one, 6.5mm/USK for the second
 Timeframe: August 6 - November 26 and August 14 - October 6, 2013 (they sat around waiting for ribbons for a LONG time)
Mods: Worked 'til square rather than a set number of rows or inches
Problems: Gauge

 I gifted the second, nicer one. Now I have a perfect car seat blanket sitting in my gift pile and no one to gift it to at the moment.

Love the bows!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Always Check Your Dyelots!

Just because they're in the same bin in the big-box craft store and seem to be the same doesn't mean they are:

I realized I didn't plan gifts for my sisters this year and we'll be spending it with them so that would be a huge oversight on my part. A pile of 50% off coupons from Jo-Ann's and I have materials for quick scarves for them, scarves I've seen a lot of undergrads wearing on campus so they shouldn't be too uncool. I realized when I got home, however, that I'd grabbed an old version and a new version of Jiffy in Fisherman, and they are noticeably different. Oops!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bear Hats and Easy Booties

I may have mentioned that EVERYONE is having babies. Here's some of the hats and booties I've made for upcoming newborns:
Pattern: Baby Bear Hat (1 2 3)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
Needles: US8/5.0mm
Timeframe: February 20 - 24, 2013
Mods:Two were two-color hats, with C1for the first 7 rows and the ears and C2 for the rest.
Problems: None!

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft
Needles: US6/4.0mm
Timeframe: October 31 - November 20, 2013
Mods: One color rather than two for one pair.
Problems: Getting the stripes to line up when seaming didn't always happen perfectly.

Stay tuned for (kind of a lot) more posts on Things for Babies. Also probably more cat pictures, because they just can't stay away when the camera comes out:

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 31st?

Sloping in the correct direction:

I may need to figure out a better way of showing off the graph. The numbers are getting a bit squished.

I had hoped to finish two more 400-yard projects this month to bring the stash down a full mile, but it's December and they're not there yet.

BFF Socks - The color is a bit more uniform and subtle than the camera was willing to pick up.

One more month and it's 2014. I had hoped to create a new low point on my stash graph this year. That is so not going to happen.