Thursday, 31 January 2008

Progress is nice

I had the morning off today, like every Thursday, and I spent it putting things in order around the flat. This resulted in my finding the missing 5th needle for the fingerless gloves! So I spent some time weaving in a few ends and starting the hand and thumb gusset of glove number 2, which was nice. The weather is supposed to get bitterly cold in the next few days, so getting these finished would mean much warmer fingers on my walk to and from work every day. Hopefully I can finish them by Monday!

I also managed to get the gusset of the second Jaywalker done and a good start made on the foot. Hopefully that won't take too long either. I'm really looking forward to some new projects and getting back to some UFOs (like the half-hexagon shawl).

I do have one sort-of new project. I was looking at a one-skein scarf that I started a while back, out of burgundy and black mohair-ish stuff, and decided to rip it. I've had the yarn for years, but only because I like it so much I wanted to make something that would really show it off and make the most of the 300-odd metres I have. So I cast on for a top-down short-sleeved raglan sweater. I'm knitting it at a really loose gauge to make it more of a summer top that I can shove in a bag and wear over a tank top if the weather changes abruptly. All good, knitting away, figured out the collar. Unfortunately, the circular needle I've got is too long for the neckline at the moment. So, once again, my lovely burgundy yarn is on hold, this time until March when I'm allowed to buy knitting stuff again.

Over the weekend I' m planning to have a big picture session and hunt out all of my PS Fire stuff. Things that spring to mind are the Jaywalkers, the half-hexagon shawl, the Posh laceweight (pink and red both!), the orange Posh sock yarn, the leftovers from the pink Wool-Ease, the orange sockweight cotton from Bulgaria, the stalled raglan mentioned above, the red embroidery floss for the band sampler, and a packet of seed beads. I'm sure there are other things lurking around, but these are all potential Fire projects!

I'm also planning a Fire feast, with homemade bread (possibly naan, since I've always wanted to try making it!), curry, and spice cake. Or maybe gingersnaps, since cake with curry might be too heavy a meal. Other things that spring to mind are: passionfruit, since fire is all about passion; chili, both red and firey; homemade Valentine cards; a divination card based on Fire; a bunch of red and orange flowers to put some Fire in the flat; a dedicated Fire altar for the months of February and March; spaghetti sauce; strawberry and red wine sauce. I'm sure I'll come up with more things as I keep thinking about this lovely project!

I'll admit freely to having a fairly 2-track mind when it comes to creating - knitting and embroidery. Hopefully this will inspire other things too...

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

I'm such a joiner

I was surfing around blogland, looking for inspiration as I often do, when a post about Project Spectrum caught my eye. It's a very cool craft-along with a twist. Basically, you pick any medium, from knitting to painting to baking, and for a given period of time you create within a colour family. I've never done one, because I always seem to remember it in the middle. Not this year, baby! It starts in February - 2 days from today! It's running for 8 months this year, each pair of months based around one of the four elements, which appeals to the good little witch in me. And I have plenty of red and orange yarn in my stash for Fire, which is the first element. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a collection of red embroidery floss that I bought a couple of years ago to make a monochrome band sampler! And I have some undesignated fabric! Man, talk about destiny...

FEBRUARY / MARCH - FIRE- orange, red, pink
APRIL / MAY - EARTH - green, brown, metallics
JUNE / JULY - AIR - gray, white, yellow
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER - WATER - blue, black, purple

The other knitalong that I've found is on Ravelry. It's called Mission: Possible, and the goal is to get 12 things out of one's stash over the course of 2008. They can be individual balls of yarn, WIPs, as-yet unstarted projects, big bags of yarn, notions, whatever. You just pick 12, post what they are, and then get cracking! I think it's a really good idea, because I tend to think in monthly completions rather than things that take place over a longer period of time. So, here are my 12 things:
1. Finish the black drop-stitch shawl
2. Finish the half-hexagon shawl
3. Use up all of the Dr Who leftovers
4. Knit something out of the red Posh laceweight
5. Knit or crochet all of the worsted weight acrylic
6. Knit the Interlocking Cables sweater (hopefully in time for the Knitting and Stitching Show!)
7. Knit something out of the alpaca yarn
8. Knit a shawl out of the green laceweight
9. Knit a pair of Monkey socks
10. Knit a pair of Pomatomus socks
11. Knit a pair of Anne-trelac socks
12. Knit the Rowan Tapestry into a Clapotis

I think this is a good combination of things I've already started and things that I want to start/use. And I think it's doable!

Monday, 28 January 2008

You know you've been sick when...

... you get weeks of bedrest to play with and are so tired that you can't knit for most of it. Still, I am feeling better now and looking forward to resumed normalcy in my needlework life.

The stranded mitts are mostly done. I finished one and weaved in all the ends, and did the cuff of the second. Unfortunately I've misplaced one of the necessary DPNs, so that is delaying finishing number 2. I think it may be down the crevices of the couch, so with any luck I'll find it this evening. I could always do something sensible like weave in some of the millions of ends on the cuff, though I think we all know how (un)likely that is!

Jaywalker 2 is making steady progress. I've turned the heel and am working through the endless gusset and foot. I managed to screw up and rip out the heel on this one, too. Whoops. It's fine now. Just a case of getting ahead of myself. That'll go back to being my lunch-hour knitting, now that I'm back at work.

I'm doing work on the ripple afghan sporadically also. It would be really, really good to use up the entire bag of yarn that I've got earmarked for it. I'm planning to use the scraps for a pair of stripey legwarmers, so I've even solved the issue of teeny tiny balls of yarn. I WILL reduce the stash.

Speaking of reducing the stash, I managed to use up an entire ball of scrap yarn the other day! I'm now at 125 balls of yarn. Happily, I've just found out that another friend is pregnant, so baby clothes are going to use up lots of my odds-and-ends. I've found a pattern for booties that should perfectly consume the golf-balls of sock yarn that are inevitably left after finishing a pair of socks, so now I have even more incentive to knit socks. Not that I needed more incentive!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Plan of Action 2008

I have a very small flat, and very little room to keep my exploding stash. So, year-long goal is to reduce my knitting stash to fit in one tub and one sewing bag, and to reduce my sewing stash to fit into one tub. At the moment knitting stuff is in one tub and four bags, and sewing stash is in the equivalent of two tubs.

Secondary to the volume reduction, I'd like to reduce the number of balls of yarn from 126 to less than 60 at the end of the year. The biggest issue is going to be using up scraps and remnants. I am predicting lots of colourwork this year!

Of course, I also want to finish up projects - using up the yarn is not very practical on its own. So, I'm going to continue with my guideline of finishing two projects every month.

Until my birthday in the middle of March, I'm not going to buy anything needlework related at all. I have more than enough to get on with until then. After my birthday, the only yarn I'm going to buy is the Manos yarn for the tree skirt I want to make. Other than the Manos, no new yarn this year until I've reduced to less than 60, and purchases can't push it over that number. After my birthday, I can go back to buying books and tools in moderation. Notions can be purchased as needed.

A pair of bonus goals - I'd like to finish up the year with nothing cast on earlier than this year, and I'd like to do enough stashbusting that I can have fun shopping at Alexandra Palace this year!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Ack!

I just finished counting. I have 126 balls of yarn.

Admittedly some of them are remnants only a few metres long, and some are attached to projects, but still. That is a lot.
Three projects finished this year and pictures to go with! I must be turning over a new leaf or something. I got back and finished the Karlchen hat that I was working on, so that's quite a good thing. An entire ball of yarn used up, too.

Also been working on the granny square pillow like a fiend and have used up several little balls of yarn while finishing the front. Some ends to sew in and a back to finish, then it's done.

I cast on for a pair of fingerless gloves from Knitting Classic Style, one of my sexy new Christmas presents. These are going a long way to using up the remains of the Dr Who yarn, but since I've been racing through them, I shan't bother with photos until they are done.

Upcoming posts shall include plans for reducing the volume of my stash, photos of the Christmas yarn and other toys, and hopefully a few more FO reports!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Stuffses, my precious

1 - the black scarf is finished, thus using up three balls of yarn and meeting my January quota of 2 projects. Woohoo!

2 - My mother, her green socks and a digital camera were all in the same place at the same time for the first time. Ergo photos.




3 - Why terrier puppies and sock yarn don't mix:

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year, New Projects

A long, picture-filled post will be made once I'm back at home and can do my uber-update. Suffice it to say that I am visiting family, got a bunch of really nice yarn and knitting needles for Christmas (as well as my own lucet!), and have finished my first project of the year! I made a Scarf Remedy Hat, as outlined by the Yarn Harlot. 'Tis black and comfy, and fits my head perfectly. The matching scarf is nearly done, too!



While visiting here, I found this piece of embroidery that I made years ago and thought a picture needed to appear. It is a dresser scarf, covered in morning glories. My bedroom balcony at mum's is covered over in these lovely flowers. For once, the colour discrepancies are not the fault of the camera - there was a gap of about 8 years in between starting and finishing the piece, and the embroidery floss on the 2 sides is from 2 different dye lots! It's not just knitters who need to worry about dye lots!