Making Progress

12 02 2014

I am a weak-willed individual with no hope in finishing projects I don’t really care about all that much.

But at least I’m finishing things I need to get done.

I finished the commission and delivered it to the commissioner. Or am I the commissioner and she is the commissionee? What?
Regardless, two gaptastic cowls and one self-ruffling scarf and it’s out of my apartment! I finished both cowls with less than two yards left over for the bind off, they blocked in one night and they’re cute and I’m really proud of the final products, regardless of how tedious it was to complete them.

Murphy’s birthday present is done. This is the most she’s seen of it:

So there. Two things done all within 5 days of my resolution.

And then I fell apart. The chunky sweater is still sitting on the floor with one front panel done up to the shoulder and I’m fully aware of the fact that a small amount of work needs to go into it and it’ll be done, but I feel like I need to lose 5 pounds before starting this one again so my stomach won’t look so enormous when it’s done. This being said– I have NOT seen what I look like in this sweater apart from my reflection in the plastic-covered patio window. I can hear you shaking your head as I write this. Don’t judge me.

I finished Murphy’s present on Sunday night and didn’t knit anything until Monday night at knitting where I forgot my stitch book and/or couldn’t remember the cable pattern for my Madelinetosh Pashmina hat. So I pulled my Tahki Donegal Tweed, the Christmas present from Boyfriends’ parents and cast on for a repeat of Murphy’s present, but this one is for me. I know this project takes about two skeins of Cascade 220 and the yardage is about the same, so I’ll have one last skein to make some mittens.

Come to think of it, I might break into the mittens first and use all the remaining yarn on the scarf.

Anyone else notice how this isn’t on the list to the right? I had to make a concession when I realized I’d been wearing the same cowl every single day on my way out of the apartment. Somehow, all of my knitting is gone and not being used around my neck. I’ve also lost my Malabrigo Rios mittens from the CrossFit Games KAL. I can’t find them anywhere… I’m sure as soon as I finish these mittens they’ll show up. 

So the above picture is how far I got after about two hours at knitting. I then went home and made a mad search for my stitch pattern book so I could find a cable motif for the Pashmina hat. My very third design, all!

I found an Antler cable and it was exactly what I wanted. This little 16 stitch repeat over 6 rows is so stinking easy and I love it. This also gives me a reason to break out my Rosewood cable needles, of which I am obsessed. It is so smooth and versatile and it’s beautiful and I have nothing but good things to say about it. After about 2 more hours, I had 3 cables completed and I was totally ready for bed.

Tuesday night I worked late and didn’t get to my knitting until I was home and finally able to relax. I picked up the pashmina and kept knitting all night until we went to bed at 11 after trying to catch up on the Olympics.

Work has been insanity. I’m so exhausted. So much stuff and so many proposals are going out the door this week, I’m working late, missing Crossfit and drinking an obscene amount of coffee to the point where I almost feel more tired than before. I also have a migraine that’s currently eating away at my brain.

You’ll notice some changes in the list to the right. I realized  I’m putting pipe-dreams of projects on the list, rather than what’s actually on my needles right now. Once the project is actually on my needles, I’ll put it on the list.





Team Get Sh!t Done

31 01 2014

This is the winter that never ends. I am well aware that, living in Wisconsin, we’re going to get some seriously cold weather during the winter season, but this is ridiculous. The beginning of this week gave us another three days of -20 degrees with the wind chill which has forced me to wear two hats, two pairs of mittens, a woolen sweater, knit socks and generally wishing I had some polar bear fur to wrap up in.

I have some goals now that this year is well under-way and I figure sharing them with you all will keep me honest.

1.) Posting at least once a week: I think I’m already off schedule on this one, but the blogs are always on my mind. Whether I’m talking about what I’m starting or, more aptly, what I’m finishing, I want to have 52 posts by the end of the year!

2.) Set up a yarn budget: I’m headed to the bank to get quarters to finally do laundry for the first time in about three weeks and will be setting up a savings account for my yarn only. Every Monday, 10 dollars will get automatically transferred from my checking to my savings and I can only spend money from that account on yarn. This forces me to really prioritize the amount of money I spend on yarn and if that yarn is really imperative. Obviously, there are some emergencies (like the four skeins of Cascade 220 I bought for Murphy’s birthday in two weeks…) that will have to break the rule, but otherwise I will be keeping to it. This will help me immensely when the time comes for Stitches Midwest and Wisconsin Sheep and Wool in August and September.

3.) FINISH THINGS: So far this year I have finished a pair of socks and a hat. I want to finish at least two things per month whether it’s a sweater, a pair of socks, a hat or a cowl. I have the yarn. I will get it knit.

4.) Knit from the stash: I have so much gorgeous yarn that desperately wants to be knit so that’s exactly what I will be doing.

5.) Do some good: I have already gone through the massive stash and filled a garbage bag of yarn and sent off 12 hats for the Knitmore Girls Podcaster Throwdown for Halos of Hope. My hope is to continue spreading the knitting love to other people throughout the year, even if it’s just to donate more yarn to the church.

6.) Start the Master HandKnitter Program: Lots of swatches and reporting. My hope is to start it by summer and have level 1 done by Christmas. One skein of fishermen’s wool from Lion Brand and I’ll be able to get them all done, I think!

 

So. January 31. Here’s my WIPs. This will also have a running tally on the right sidebar to keep me honest.

My number ONE priority: The Commission. Seed stitch is SO BORING. Going to work exclusively on this tonight and this weekend with the hopes of having it done by the end of knit night on Monday. Then I can give it to the lucky girl and I’ll have some yarn money to add to the account.

Murphy’s birthday present: I’m about half done with it, just need to get about 150 yards out of the second skein and then finish it off. It has a deadline of the 15th when we are getting together for her birthday. Shouldn’t take too long.

The Super Bulky hoodie: Knit with Lion Brand Thick & Quick in a gorgeous cream colorway. The body is partly done and I think slowly chipping away at it over the month will allow for a final product while it’s still cold out!

The Worsted Weight Featherweight cardigan: Yes, I know this is a slight oxymoron. Knit with the Sand colorway cone of Shelridge Farms, my hope is to finish this by the end of March. It’ll be a perfect birthday gift to myself.

Socks: Forever I’ll be knitting them. Patons Kroy in colorway “Flax” on the toes, heels and cuffs, Loops and Threads 80-10-10 Wool-Cashmere-Nylon in colors “Crocuses and Oceanic” on size 2 needles. Two at a time, toe up. Houdini-style.

The Sincere Sheep cowl: It’s a gorgeous orange and purple but it’s taking me forever. I switch off every other row to do garterstitch in the round. I have been knitting it since Christmas of 2012. Pretty sure it’ll take me until the end of next year to finish.

Advent Mittens: I got through six last December before other things distracted me. I’ll likely work on these during the summer as they’re quick and portable and won’t make me warm.

Penny’s Santa Hat: It’s currently buried under a mountain of laundry. I just need to figure out the math for the crown. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Dark and Stormy: I really hate the way my leaflet came out in the Tosh Chunky, so I’m going to frog the whole thing, give the yarn a good wash and start it here. This won’t get started until a few months from now, but it’s on my radar.

The Grey Gaptastic: It’s grey Cascade 128 and a skein of Plucky Sport. I got partway through it before I got the commission and now it’s just sitting around doing nothing, waiting to be knit. I’ll finish it when I decide I like seed stitch again.

 

Keep me honest, people. Once a week, my progress will be up! Promise.





In Which We Purge

21 01 2014

It all started innocently enough; I sold some mittens to a coworker to give to his mother for a Christmas present.

I didn’t think anything of it– he was helping me, after all. I am poor, he is now richer with the wealth of knitting. It was also getting the things out of my apartment and no longer mocking me for being unable to find a home for them.

So when I came into the office one Monday morning and was talking to the woman at the front desk, Chris comes up to me with a red sendik’s bag saying “This is my mother’s way of saying thank you for the knitting.” I laughed, took the bag and peered in to find a menagerie of knitting needles. A huge bundle of single points ranging in color and size, a pile of double points I’d never be able to use in my life and a coil of taped-together circulars. I took a look, knowing I’d likely never use anything from this bag, but thanked Chris and told him to thank his mother. I then posted on Ravelry that I’d be sharing the love. My coworker took a large set of single points and I sent an email to the administrative assistant at my church knowing the “We Needle You” group might want something.

The ladies at knit night picked at the needles, we did some research on the random teal-green needles to see if they were bakelite or not in which case they’d be worth something (for the record, I didn’t care enough to buy a bottle of 409 to find out if they were authentic) and most of the needles came home with me. A set of 6 steel double points are going to Kat and a couple blue DPs went to Marilyn.

I received an email back from the We Needle You group saying they’d love to take the needles off my hands. I was happy to know I’d not be holding onto these things for long so I planned to stop at church before work on Sunday.

On Saturday I was thinking about my stash and, after listening to a couple episodes of Knitmore Girls Podcast, I came to the conclusion that I needed to cull my stash and really only keep the yarn I was mad about and/or may potentially knit in the near future. I had gotten to the point where my stash no longer was owned by me, but had begun to overtake me. So it was time for some things to go. Boyfriend thought this was a good idea (I’m sure anything I can do to get rid of my yarn is good in his standards) and I continued to knit on the socks I was currently obsessed with as a reward for knitting a full skein of the commission cowls.

I went home on Sunday morning and, after cleaning up the kitchen, grabbed bin after bin and sorted through what I wanted and didn’t want anymore. I came up with this:

For those of you who may not realize, I have 6 32-quart bins that were brimming with yarn of all colors, weights and textures. I had Caron Simply Soft that had been sitting in the stash for over 5 years that would NEVER get knit. I had old sweaters I had taken apart in the vain hope that one day I’d find a use for it. I had schnibbles of handspun that would never amount to being knit into anything.

I was over it all. So I put it into a garbage bag and hauled it to the church. I didn’t tell the woman this until I’m sure she already had looked at it but I included a letter stating my hopes that she and her group would have a use for the things I no longer needed as my stash was currently exceeding my knitting expectations.

I felt so good about myself: I had successfully beaten one of my packrat tendencies and got rid of fiber I knew for certain I didn’t enjoy the look of anymore or knew I’d never have a need for. Three of the bins are now half-full and one is almost empty and I was more than happy to be able to pass on the fiber love to other people around me.

I then went to work and bought a skein of sock yarn.

Some things can’t be helped.





My feet Are Cold

16 01 2014

I’m kind of to the point where the winter sun makes me want to smack someone. I love the snow, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like dying whenever the sun comes out.

Last night I went to buy a new tea kettle. I needed to replace my adorable red kettle when the enamel started burning off in really ugly holes. I love drinking cocoa and hot cider and tea when Wisconsin gets super cold, so I needed to replace it. I had spent weeks… and I mean WEEKS… searching for a new kettle but I never loved any of them. Finally, when I knew I really wanted to make tea that night, I decided to make a decision.

Sur la Table had a cute, TARDIS blue tea kettle for $40 which is more than I wanted to spend, but it was available and I liked it and I could pick it up day-of. So I had them hold it for me. I seriously thought traffic wouldn’t  be terrible going west but it took twice as long as planned to get to Bayshore.

20 cents in the meter and I was in and out 10 minutes later with two burlap bags as well as the tea kettle.

I then stopped at CrossFit to get dinner at the Urban Caveman Food Truck. Finally I was able to go home. Needless to say, my feet were freezing from toddling around in boots and thin socks that were sweat through.

So I got home, realized my feet were gross, took off my socks and snuggled up on the couch with Boyfriend. When he touched my feet he realized they were freezing. I went upstairs to get my one and only pair of socks only to realize I felt the need to knit more. These were made when my feet were bigger so, when I lost the weight and my feet shrank, I find it hard now to walk in these socks as they’re not very tight and have a tendency to shift around a bit. Not comfy.

I have sock yarn, but I don’t want to knit something that’ll take forever. I want socks now. It’s cold now. If I made socks with sock yarn, I’ll be done in a month. I’m also listening to The Knitmore Girls Podcast and Jasmin has been talking about #operationsockdrawer for the longest time and it’s making me want to join her.

So I grabbed some sport weight yarn from a Christmas present years ago and two size 2 needles. My hope is to start them this weekend on my one and only day off this month. That’s only after I’ve finished cleaning the entire apartment and finishing this commission knitting.

Oh. Right. The Commission. I’m knitting two Gaptastic seed stitch cowls and one self-ruffling scarf for a woman who bought it all for her mother who no longer can knit. It’s cementing in my mind how boring seed stitch is, but it’s so easy to finish that it’s been about 5 hours and I’m half-done with the first one. I dropped a few stitches this morning but manged to pick them up with no issue so at least I’m good at some things.

I am really looking forward to having all of Saturday and half of Sunday off work, but I feel like it’s all going to go too quickly and I won’t get everything done. I’ll let you know how it goes.





An Apology and a Resolution

8 01 2014

So I was at home last night. On the couch. Knitting. Watching Doctor Who.

And I realized that I have been a terrible blogger and it’s been months since my last post. I always say that I’m going to rectify this, but this year I honestly swear that I will be writing more. I don’t know why I don’t write more: it’s my outlet. It’s my de-stressor. It keeps me sane.

I write for work, but it’s not the same kind of writing. This writing I understand; I understand how the needles slip in and out of the strands of yarn and how my hands move to the beat of music or how I can put down this big cowl I’m stupidly trying to start and finish in one night (it didn’t work, by the way) and pick it up the next day and remember precisely where I am the following bleary-eyed morning.

Work writing is stressful; it’s technical; it makes my brain hurt by the end of the day. Writing about knitting makes me feel like I’m doing something right with my life. I feel accomplished when I finish that row or complete the next cable or even turn the heel on a sock that I’m not doing whatsoever… >.>

So while I failed at felting the french press slippers I had planned, I managed to make it OK by starting a simple hat with a big brim and finishing it in three days. I vowed to start making a pompom for said hat. I finished a gaptastic cowl in three days while traveling and cooking and visiting with family. The cowl is 20 stitches too big, but it still keeps me warm during this deep chill. I started another hat with two strands of sock yarn as soon as the green was was done. I need a new tam for winter as my Purple Rios Tam has started to stretch out.

2013 sucked. No doubt about it. I was unemployed for half of it. I got a cyst on my ovary. I had abnormal cells removed from my body and more biopsies and tests than I care to admit. I gained 10 pounds of muscle without losing any fat.

But there are some silver linings: I did eventually get a job that I really enjoy. I became Lead Editor for D20 Girls Digital Magazine, Boyfriend and I are still going strong and he’s still completely obsessed with the cranberry orange muffins I made randomly for Christmas morning. I moved to a cheaper apartment which, while the downstairs neighbor smokes, is a much better situation than before.

I rang in 2014 with a kiss from Boyfriend and a wonderful day with his family. It’s been quiet so far at work lately, though we’re finally ramping up with the proposals and contracts to be written so I’m being kept busy.

2014 will be better. 

 





Randomly on a Tuesday

29 10 2013

-I am at work on my lunch break; one of which I don’t take often enough.

-I am waiting for this afternoon to be over: We have a huge project going on and it’s live as of 3 p.m. today.

-I am sitting at my desk knitting the sleeve of a sweater.

-I was hoping to have this sweater done by now because it’s currently freezing in the office.

-At least it’s keeping my lap warm as I knit.

-I am really hoping to be done with this sweater by tomorrow afternoon so I can wear it to work for the remainder of the week.

-No, I have no shame in wearing the same sweater multiple days in a row.

-Why, you ask? Because it’s warm. That’s why.

The  yarn is Cascade Eco and I’m knitting it based on the Leaflet Sweater from Knitty. I adapted it so it doesn’t have the lace panel and I’m making the button band much larger so it’ll overlap a bit in the front. I’m using two full skeins of Eco. Oh and I did garter stitch on the edges. Basically all I used the pattern for was the raglan increases. It’s tight on the arms, but that’s what I wanted. The next one I make will be just a hair larger so it’ll require less of a button band and the sleeves will be looser. As soon as the sleeves are done, I’ll be using the rest of the yarn (probably) to knit the button band. Still not sure if I want to include buttons, though.





Really, Really Cold

22 10 2013

I’m sitting at my desk all day yesterday and I’m wearing a rather thin swing cardigan with pleather accents. I kept my honey cowl wrapped around my neck and my hair was pulled back in a pony tail. I was dressed for any other normal day.

That was until I started shivering.

The thermostat was adjusted slightly for the sake of my sanity; it is now pushing near 80 degrees and yet I am still shivering. I put my hat on my head and a jacket on as well before I finally started feeling some relief.

I walked to my old office and, I swear to you all, it was even colder.

My nose was actually cold.

What was this?

I wasn’t getting sick; the office is just seriously that cold on a regular basis.

So, when I left the office that day, I vowed to start knitting a sweater and, if possible, finish it tonight as well. Yes, I seriously think I’m that amazing of a knitter. 

I went to work out, got a good sweat and sore on, went to get dinner and finally got home, bounded upstairs and grabbed the skeins of Cascade Eco in dark navy that I still have from almost two years ago on my birthday. I pulled a needle from the basket (which, in my haste, wound up being the wrong needle) and I cast on the sweater around 7:45 p.m. last night.

I am adapting the Leaflet sweater from Knitty with the hopes that making it insanely simple will allow it to go faster. And I suppose it does.

By the time 11 p.m. rolled around, I had pulled the arm stitches off and started knitting stockinette back and forth. My left pinky finger had cramped around that time but I wasn’t about to let that stop me.

When I could no longer see straight (around 12:30), I headed to bed, saddened in the fact that I couldn’t get it done in time and I would freeze the next day. I told myself I’d knit whenever I had a chance to do so during the next days and I would have it done by the end of the week and I’d just bundle up for the most part for the rest of the week.

Today I donned the 1/2 sleeve original Leaflet with a 3/4 sleeve black shirt under it. I’m starting to feel the chill. But I have brought alpaca fingerless mitts and a hat and I’m still wearing my cowl.

Clearly, this means I need to do laundry to get my long sleeved shirts back.








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