Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year's End

Well, it's almost already 2012, I just didn't have internet on my vacation. This past year's goal was to finish WIPs, with carryover goals of using my non-laceweight stash so I don't end up bringing more back from Japan than I brought to Japan.

I started with 15 WIPs, so the largest difference between how many FOs and how many FOs this year should be 15. I decided that since I'd actually cut out 3 box bags, they were added to the WIP count, and then I counted an addition to an old project as a finish, so that was not technically a new project either. 19 official old WIPs. I did not finish all of my 2011 projects either, ending the year with 22 WIPs, five of which were Christmas presents and four unfinished socks.

Almost all of my pre-Japan WIPs (except for the pesky cross-stitches and a stole) were finished, hooray!

As for yarn count, well...I have a lot of yarn. More than I'd like. More than I started the year with, even. I am disappointed by that, since I was hoping to use all the yarn I'd brought to Japan and ship minimal crafting stash home. I blame the internet - too many pretty yarns that all can be shipped anywhere in the world! Sure, maybe somebody had to click the correct buttons, but if it weren't for the internet...who am I kidding, I'd've bought more yarn anyway! Just probably not quite so much.

If I counted the skeins of yarn used in unfinished projects, I did in fact knit more yarn than I purchased this year. Officially, however, I did not.

I do have some lovely new additions to my wardrobe, though not as many as I'd like, and some gorgeous yarns I'm happy to have on hand. I also have a large number of overestimated yarn leftovers that are really annoying. I'd rather have that extra skein if it's going to be close, but nearly two full skeins leftover from a three skein purchase is a bit much. I have more worsted weight yarn than I'd like right now, but most of it is project leftovers.

All in all, I sucked at knitting goals this year. I finished 68 total projects, 59 of which were started and finished in 2011. 11 of the 19 pre-2011 projects were finished, meaning I have 15 2011 WIPs. I'm going to try to start January off with a bang and finish a few things!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

100 days left in Japan, and we celebrate with Christmas (on the 23rd, before we head to Okinawa for break!)

As you can (maybe) see in this picture, I made a Portal turret to guard the presents against early openers, and a Darth Vader and Yoda snowflake. Yup, I am that dorky!

Happy Holidays, and Joyous Crafting in the New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Goodbye, my friend...

This was the nicest yarn I'd ever tried until that point, gifted through a swap, and I will sorely miss the socks:

I've patched them and loved them as long as I could. Now, one has a hole in one heel, an almost-hole in the other heel, and both are about to become holey right around the patches as well. Time to let go; doesn't make it easy. Goodbye my friend, you will be missed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The rest of the potholders have been completed without incident. Well, without major incident - of course there were a few times where I had to rip back to the row below, realizing that I'd miscounted or skipped a stitch or something like that, but no major mistakes or mishaps. Enough yarn for all of them, enough petals too, and on time, early even!

Pattern: Gehaekelte Topflappen (Rav)
Yarn: All were made using two colors of DMC Senso, mostly 100% Cotton but the green/orange one was Microfiber Cotton like the first.
Hook: 3.25mm/USD
Timeframe: Started the first on September 12, finally blocked them on October 31, except the pink/blue (September 4 - 17) and the green/orange (December 14 - 17).
Mods: I made a 14 petal flower and went around the center with the contrast color too. Final pattern I used is here.
Problems: Inability to count to 14 on one of the blue/orange ones.


This one wasn't early. I finished it on the bus ride to gift it and wove in the ends while I was at the cookie party I was gifting it at. I also forgot to get a picture of the back, but it'll be just like all the others, except light orange.

Love the finished potholders, and I'm now looking at what I've got left and wondering which color combinations would look good in our kitchen. Though what I should be doing is finishing the Christmas presents so I can get some of the bulkier worsted weight out of my stash and into my wardrobe in the form of sweaters and things!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Large Illusion #2

I love this piece. I finished it very, very quickly for the size and amount of yarn. Apparently October was a good month for knitting. November and December, not so much.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Cloud and Fedora, 4 skeins of each
Needles: US6/4.0mm
Timeframe: October 4 - 31, 2011
Mods: None really, 2-color cast on/bind off and slipped the side stitches rather than giving it a garter edging.
Problems: None, though it turned out so large (28.5" x 33.25") I kind of wish I'd knit it from a sport weight yarn instead.

I'm also really happy with this one because I used it for Transfiguration homework for the Harry Potter House Cup. That's a group of people on Ravelry, sorted into the four houses of Hogwarts, who complete homework for classes to earn house points, where the classes are project categories or prompts and the homework, or projects, have to be started and completed in the same month. You have to complete at least one homework in any class every month of the three month term in order to remain in good standing, and every homework you complete gets you house points. There are other activities to play along with as well, but one homework project per month that matches a prompt in some way is the bare minimum. Anyway, I was playing as a not quite first year for the Fall 2011 term, and this project matched the prompt of knitting something representing your animagus form. Not only did I take it from start to finish in October, this project was also nominated for a prize. Didn't win, but to be nominated my first time playing along was great!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Final Christmas Scarf

We've got the Snowflake Scarf, the Dark Mark Scarf, the Penguin Scarf, and finally the last one, the UB scarf:

Pattern: My own, based off of the Oh You Illusion Scarf (Ravelry)
Yarn: Anny Blatt Princess Anny, 2 skeins of each (blue and white)
Needles: US4/3.5mm
Timeframe: October 4 - December 11
Mods: Technically the whole thing was a mod because it's my pattern. So there.
Problems: None I noticed while knitting...

As you can see, I accidentally knit a row of white towards the end. If I'd noticed and either fixed it or added a couple more, it could have been a design feature, but now it sticks out like the mistake that it is. Oh well, not going back to fix it now! I was originally going to put the "UB" logo along the entire scarf, but decided against that. Love how it turned out, just hope my sister feels the same way!

All of the illusion scarves are now done, hopefully to their recipients' liking, the in-laws gifts have already been wrapped and sent, and now I just need to finish up the last few things for my family's gifts, like the three HUGE, what-was-I-thinking?!?! illusion pieces and the little keychains as gift tags to go with the scarves. I also have a dismembered elephant to piece together.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Black Sock Down

It's the home stretch for holiday knits. One of the last few things on my plate are socks for Lee. Nice black socks in a yarn and pattern we'd chosen awhile back that I just hadn't gotten to yet, but now, I was finally going to give him some more warm socks to wear to work.

My work computer is very, very, very slow, and decided to be extra derpy yesterday, so while waiting for pages to load and Word to cooperate (never happened!) I knit on his socks and got almost the full 3" heel flap and a good chunk of the gusset decreases done:

Guitar Man Socks. They look great but black is so difficult to photograph!

Last night, we had a work party, and since we'd be taking our shoes off, he wore the Malabrigo Rios Thujas I'd made for him a few months back. Since Rios is not a generous skein, the legs are not as tall as one might like, but I intended for them to be house socks so I wasn't too worried. Of course, he was ribbing me all night regarding the length of the socks, and we got into a discussion of the heights of the legs of the other socks I knit him.

When I first knit him socks, I noticed that he always rolled down the cuff of his work socks, so I assumed he liked that height, and when I told him I was knitting him socks and I wanted to measure it so I made them the length he liked, he didn't object. Now, I come to find out that actually, he rolls them down so the elastic isn't a problem, and also, he wouldn't mind having another half inch to an inch on the legs of the socks I'd knit for him.

Of course, I already had in my file of knit measurements that he likes his cuffs at 5", rather than the standard 6", so I have to change that. Have you picked up on the problem yet? I already knit the leg of the first sock. To 5". And my only accomplishment at work Thursday was in fact the inches of sock I have to rip out. So, now that I've also mentioned that these socks are for him (work parties are all you can drink, and the sake was pretty good!), I think they'll be sitting in the WIP basket for a bit. At least until the other couple socks I'm working on are done. He should still get them sometime this winter!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another Whoops

I made an adorable ball from Paton's Classic Wool scraps for my nephew for Christmas. I was going to knit him a Celestine, but decided that it was too much work for me to make a second one, so I kept it. Bad aunt, but hey, who's going to know? Aside from everyone who reads this blog?


I also planned to knit an elephant, Elephante to be exact, from some of those same scraps. I made the ball first, though had I been thinking correctly, I'd've made the elephant first to be sure I didn't run out of the yarn I wanted to use for it.

I suppose you can guess where this is going.

While I'm not actually out of yarn, I am going to run out before I finish. So, should I keep going and pretend I don't notice the lack of yarn until it is very, very obvious, and figure it out then? Should I rip out the blue and use the lighter blue? Should I rip out the head and make the trunk, legs, tail, and ear edging dark blue while the body is the lighter blue? Or, and I think this is what I'm leaning towards, should I use red to make the body? I just hope I have enough red. It won't be a gorgeous elephant, and I don't know why I just didn't do it as a solid color with the lighter blue from the outset, but I think a red body will work. Babies like bright colors and contrasts, right?

Friday, December 2, 2011

November's Numbers

Here's the final November count:

Down nearly a mile, though not quite. I also went through and figured out how much yarn I've knit up this year and how much I've purchased. I've purchased just under 10 miles of yarn (most of it was for presents! I swear! And the Loopy Ewe summer camp...), and knit just over 9 miles so far. So basically, for this year, I may barely be able to squeak by with less yarn than I had at the beginning. If I knit like a crazy person this month. Which I probably will what with Christmas only 23 days away and two long vacations coming up. Looks like a safe, conservative estimate of how much yarn I knit per month is about half a mile, roughly two and a bit pairs of socks. That will likely change next year; I'll have only one project with me from April through July, and with (hopefully) grad school starting up in the fall, I have no clue how much knitting time I'll have!

The big conundrum for this month: I know I cannot finish all of my 2011 WIPs. I still have some Christmas stuff to finish and Rhiannon is a very time-consuming sock, so there's no way I'll be able to finish the gifts and the two pairs of long socks I've started but not finished this year. Which are the only non-gift WIPs that require more than a couple of minutes of finishing work. So, do I attack those in a vain attempt to finish all the 2011 projects like I wanted to this year, or do I do one or two quick projects for me? The rest of the gifts are not really travel-able projects, so I need something in my bag this month after I finish Lee's socks. I can either start in on the second Treetop Sock and probably finish that, or I can likely make both a pair of Thujas for me (first one out of, according to Ravelry, 18) and a vest for work out of some Patons Classic Wool, a quick worsted weight knit. Hmmm....decisions, decisions. Probably will go for the socks since I didn't realize that they should be the only non-finished knits of 2011.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Posting, yay!

Very, very, very busy week! Some of this:

Bit of that:

And a touch of this:

As well as all kinds of work stuff and meetings and baking and preparing the house for guests and planning a vacation and planning people coming to visit and OMG PhD APPLICATIONS and...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Wear

for Siberia.

Lee and I are planning to walk the entire Appalachian Trail next spring/summer, after Japan but before Grad School (ohgodohgodohgod), and one of the recommendations was to bring a warm wool hat and a balaclava, for the really cold bits towards the end. I'd already decided to make us hats, because what's the point of being a knitter if you don't knit the simple wool hiking hats you need? Instead of carrying a hat and a balaclava, I decided that a hat plus a ninja mask/cowl/half balaclava of some sort was the way to go. Not like these though:

I found this lovely pattern that is meant to be form-fitting for a ninja mask that is perfect for biking. I probably won't test that since I don't usually bike when it's that bad out, but may use it for walking to work this winter! I used thicker wool than recommended, so that they'd match the hats and be extra warm, but I'm not sure they're as comfortable as they could be. I may re-knit this pattern in the future if I live in an area where such winter wear makes sense, in a thinner, softer yarn. As they are, they'll be perfect for the Trail, and any other winter activity we might ever want to do. Like go to the South Pole. Or scale Everest.


Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, roughly half a skein.
Needles: US8/5.0mm
Timeframe: Roughly a day for the hats, maybe a couple of evenings - quick easy pattern!
Mods: I knit a nice rolled hem on mine and an extra inch fold-up brim on Lee's. Same hat pattern, different personalities in the details.
Problems: None.

Pattern: Ninja Bike Mask (of awesomeness)
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, same as the hats, a little over one skein for the masks
Needles: US6/4.0
Timeframe: April 17 for mine, 29 for his, finished both with a block on May 11.
Mods: None, it's a fill-in-the-blanks with your gauge pattern.
Problems: None really, though a thinner yarn would have been better. 
My mask doesn't like to play nicely with the amount of hair I currently have, but I won't have any when we do the Trail, so it should be fine! I just hope they don't stretch out. Two skeins was a good amount for the hat plus mask, and you can also get a pair of mittens or fingerless gloves with the leftovers if you want a full set of worsted weight snow gear.