Wednesday, 27 January 2010

State of the WIPs, January 2010 edition

So, now that I've gotten a major piece of coursework and an SCA event out of the way for the month, I can actually sit down and think about knitting again!

The mad rush at Christmas to finish gifts left me with a pleasingly low number of outstanding unfinished projects to think about this year. And only one of them was a gift that never got finished! Fortunately, the recipient is happy to wait until 2011 for me to finish it.

So, oldest first. A lace scarf, made in the sadly discontinued Rowan Lurex Shimmer. This might actually be the first yarn I ever bought. I started in way back in July last year, but put it down after cutting millions of pieces of fringe and working the first few rows. I pulled it out of hibernation last night. It's simple enough, just a feather-and-fan pattern, so I'm planning to work one repeat per day until it's finished.

Next up is the orange shrug I started with the lovely cotton 4-ply my best friend gave me. This one is in a time-out at the moment. It's mindless and goes quickly, but I'm not sure I'll actually ever wear it. Going to leave it while I ponder its future.

My Franken-Mei socks are going well. I decided to work both at once to avoid Second Sock Syndrome, and it seems to be working. I've finished the first cuff and am nearly done with the cuff of the second! 65 rounds of 3x3 ribbing, ugh. It'll be comfortable when finished, but right now I'm going a bit mad with it. Still, nearly to the heel flaps, and then I can start the interesting lacy stuff on the foot.

My green/grey Ene's Scarf is also fine. I'm not working on it much at the moment because the rows are long and require chart consultation, and I've just not had the mental energy to deal with them recently. I'm partway through the first repeat of chart three.

Sock yarn granny squares - I've a second uncovered pillowform for the couch. Since I've already done one in big granny squares, it makes sense to use up my sock yarn scraps for a matching one. This is my bedside table project for when I'm waiting for the Spouse to come to bed.

One lace shawl hibernating until next year, because it's not for me!

And finally, a new project. This is my first cast-on of 2010 - another Shetland Triangle Shawl. This time I'm using Malabrigo Lace, and it is incredibly soft. I started it because I was having a bad day and wanted to play with a kitten. Since we live on the 3rd floor and can't have pets, the blue laceweight is the next best thing.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

New yarn, but still Cold Sheeping*...

This year I'm attempting to knit up stash without buying new yarn. The current goal is to make it to Knit Nation without purchasing any yarn at all. I realized today that it's been three and a half months since my last purchase - go me! However, I have acquired a wee bit of yarn recently.

First up, a Christmas present from my lovely friend S, she of the crocheted wedding dress. She found me three hanks of gorgeous lavender Louet Gems, which I'm planning to turn into a lace scarf. Isn't it pretty?

On the same day, I received a parcel in the post. It was Tsock 5 from the Flock Sock Tsock Club! This one is based on the fairy tale The Ice Queen. It has beads on, which will be an interesting adventure. I've never put beads on socks before.

The Ice Queen wasn't the only thing in the parcel, however. One of the funky things about this particular club is that sometimes random members of the club get a visit from the Yarn Fairy. This comes in the form of a one-off skein of yarn or braid of spinning fiber. I got a visit! The Yarn Fairy brought me a stunning skein of sock yarn in the exact colour of lilac blossoms. It's going to be fun finding a pattern to suit the colour. I'm thinking something with fiddly lace and cables, since the semi-solid yarn will show them off nicely.

*Cold Sheep is like Cold Turkey, but for yarn instead of booze. You just stop shopping.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Finished projects, at last!

We were snowed in this weekend (not seriously, but enough that we didn't want to go out), so we did a ton of housework. And I knitted my fingers off! On Friday evening I fastened off my Tea-Sippin' Pansy Scarf:

Pattern is the Boteh Scarf from Interweave Crochet.
Yarn is Sheepy Time Yarns' All Your Base, colourway Pansy Ass.
Size F hook.
Mods - gauge was way off. The pattern calls for 16 curlies with sock yarn and an F hook; I made 23 curlies and could probably have squeezed one more out of my yarn. Reading reviews, it seems that a lot of people have issues with the recommended gauges in this magazine. Fortunately I just bought the pattern as a one-off.

On Saturday evening, after a long day of cooking and file-purging, I finished the first socks of the year:

Pattern is a modified version of Thuja from Knitty.
Yarn is Lion Wool-Ease.
Mods - fewer stitches, longer cuff, shorter foot, totally different heel and toe. They fit perfectly, and will hopefully keep my feet warm at Coronet Tourney next month.

I spent Sunday spinning on my seaglass fiber. I've finished the first bobbin and started the second. I had planned to finish the singles this month, but at the rate I seem to be going I might ply it this month too! I managed to wash a couple more bags of fleece yesterday evening in between episodes of Bones, so my flat smells like a wet sheep.

Franken-Mei Socks in my handbag, spinning at home until I finish, then I'll bring a shawl out of hibernation. I like finishing old WIPs!

Monday, 4 January 2010

2009 round-up and 2010 plans

I decided to have a real holiday over Christmas with very little time spent on the computer, so this post is a few days late. Still, better late than never!

The scores:

38 finished projects, 9 less than 2008, broken down into
9 skeins of handspun yarn
5 pairs of socks
5 shawls
5 scarves
2 hats
1 pillow
2 hotpads
2 toys
2 crocheted blankets
3 pairs of mitts
1 wedding dress
1 pair of garters

2009 was the year in which I learned to spin. I made a wedding dress, something I'm probably never going to outdo. I didn't finish a single piece of embroidery or garb, but I made more gifts this year than I have in the entire time I've been knitting. This was also the year I learned to knit and crochet without looking at my hands, which led to much better conversation and tv-watching.

2010 is going to be all about me. I plan to finally get around to knitting all the lovely things I've been stashing for myself (okay, maybe not all of them...) and finally having enough handknit socks. I'm planning to do a lot more spinning, predominantly looking at the technical side of things. I'd like to be able to produce a wider range of yarns on my wheel, from cobweb to chunky. I'm also hoping to knit up a good chunk of my stash and buy as little as possible.

2010 is also going to be the year in which I take my first formal knitting and spinning classes. My mother and grandmother have generously bought me spaces at classes at Knit Nation in the summer, so I'll be learning about Baltic fancy stitches with Nancy Bush, funky cast-ons with JC Briar, and spinning yarn for socks with Judith Mackenzie McCuin. I've also indulged in a ticket to the evening preview shopping, since the Wollmeise is going to be in attendence. I'm hoping to get some yarn for a sweater!