Tuesday, January 11, 2011

D is for Done

I finished quite a lot of projects last year, due in large part to the 10 in 2010 group on Ravelry. I spoke of this group in my "A" post this year and I said I'd talk details later so here they are...

This group had a goal of making 10 different projects using 10 different yarns in the year 2010. There were no restrictions on project type or yarn usage but they wouldn't count WIP's. They had a thread for posting a list then another thread for your final list. You were able to change your "final" list as much as you please as they know how fickle knitters can be with shiny new patterns coming out every quarter (or more) in mags, e-mags, and all over Ravelry.

Here's what I posted in the Final List Thread complete with changes I made and adding pic's of the things I did finish (if the pic's aren't here it's because I posted them in my last post already)[also, today I'll be adding commentary in brackets]...

This is exactly the list I had when I posted in the non-Final thread. The only difference is that I’ve decided on a more reasonable goal for my Ravelympics project and switched the order of things. And I keep wavering on the yarn I want to use for my first project. I didn’t have any sock yarn that was grabbing me for it and I’ve had the Kathmandu in my stash forEVER but recently I’ve received some sock yarn that would be perfect. Decisions, decisions….

Is anyone else thinking of having a Cast-On-O-Rama on January 1, 2010? Because I’m thinking I’m going to cast on every single project except my Ravelympics one!
[hmm, apparently I have this same exact thought every year] I’m not a fan of casting on so I think I’ll just do it all in one day and get it over with. Who’s with me!

Impatience Cowl - Kathmandu Aran (US 8, CO 136 and hope it works!). - Replacing with Pretty Thing

Owls - Malabrigo worsted (this is my Ravelympics project) Finished!
[As you saw in my "A" post, I have this finished sweater on my WIP list to make the arms and body longer.]

Nutkin - STR mediumweight Muddy Autumn Rainbow [Finished these Dec. 29th as seen in my "C" post]

Towel/Dishcloth set - kitchen cotton (for my kitchen) - Finished [I guess, technically, the towel isn't yet finished since I still need to put a button on it to hang over the oven door handle.]

Fake Isle hat - Noro Kureyon and mystery wool. [Frogged due to huge size and crappy fair isle skills] - Replacing with Skew Socks - Black Trillium Sock Yarn/Coraline colorway [these are also on my 2011 list - Sock category]

Mitts of my own design - koigu and waterlily [another project on my 2011 list - My Designs category]

Inaugural Sweater - Malabrigo Worsted - Finished [This is an excellent pattern. Unfortunately, I messed it up as posted here.)

Swirly hat and matching mitts - blue sky alpaca silk and Noro silk garden [Another that should've made the 2011 list. I have had this set on my list and in my head for over 2 years now. I want to make fair isle but as with the Fake Isle hat, I'm no good at it yet so it's still on the back burner. I'm going to start smaller with the Zombies Need Not Apply wristers.]

Pet bed of my own design - tbd [Another that made my personal 2011 list in the "my designs" category. This is also a thing that's been swirling around in my head only this one's been there so much longer. When I first learned to knit, one of the first things I ever made (after 30 scarves in 6 weeks) was the cat bed from the original Stitch and Bitch book. After making that cat bed, I had an idea for a different design of cat bed and I've yet to get that design out of my head and onto my needles.]

Viviane - more Malabrigo - I figure it’s OK to use Mal again since I’m using multiple different yarns in some of the other projects? Also, this cable masterpiece may be the one that breaks me and doesn’t get finished in 2010! Setting the goal a bit high but… that’s what I do! [on my 2011 list in my WIP's category]

Swirl Socks - mystery DK yarn. [this got moved to the 2011 list - Sock category] - Replaced with minisweater/boob holder - Kathmandu Aran yarn - Finished

All these yarns are stash yarns and all the projects are from my current queue. Both stash and queue are completely S.A.B.L.E. and QUE.B.L.E. so I should really get on that.

ETA: Failed miserably with the Impatience Cowl. Twice. It’s being replaced with Pretty Thing. I don’t know how to do the Strike-through thing but if I did, I’d strike Impatience down with a vengeance. (Totally not the pattern’s fault!)

Failed again with the Fake Isle Hat. This is the Year of the Frog for me! Substituting Thorpe.
Thorpe is done!

ETA - October 19/2010 - Totally changing my whole game plan! I see that I have actually finished 6 items (splee!) but here’s what I’m going to do for the remaining 4:

Finish Nutkins
- Finished
Finish Dave’s socks in Skeindalous’s Napalm colorway sock yarn - Finished
Scarf for teacher in Big Wool
[actually did the Noble Cowl in Malabrigo
Silky Merino] Finished
Hat for other teacher in mystery grey wool [Basic Cable Hat - Alpaca With A
Twist Highlander] - Finished
Slippers for inlaws (4 pairs, so if I finish at least one pair - that’ll be my 10!) - Finished them all!
Got to get on that holiday knitting! eep!
As you saw in the "C" post for this year, I had quite a prolific amount of xmas knitting. I also finished many other small things throughout last year - 6 washcloths, a minion for D2, etc., some big things already listed - Inaugural and Owls and then there's these socks I made...

Pattern: Heath's Socks Yarn: Skeindalous Lone Ranger colorway
The colorway was perfect! The pattern was easy and flew by - the only thing I changed is that the pattern calls for the cable to be inbtw the needles so I rearranged the stitches to avoid that.
With the Thorpe I had hope that I'd broken my hat curse. (For "K" in comments who asked, my hat curse is a personal curse. With the exception of that Thorpe, I've never made a hat just once. It's always too big or too small for any normal human head and I have to rip the damn things out and do them over.)

How was your knitting last year?

Looking forward to this year's List of Insanity, Ruth!

Monday, January 10, 2011

C is Christmas

I was a knitting machine in late November and December!
T's Teacher gift....

Pattern: Basic Cable Hat from the Stitch 'N Bitch Yarn: Alpaca With a Twist Highlander - cranked it out in three days (12/2 - 12/5). The pattern practically makes it a yamake so I added a few repeats for length. I was going to make him my typical Hat Fit For A Boyfriend but that's a plain rib and he saw me knitting once and told me how much his wife loves to knit so I felt I had to do something a bit more impressive then just 2X2 ribbing.

For D2's Teacher gift...

Pattern: Noble Cowl Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino. I had 30 stitches left in my bind-off and ran out of yarn! I bought 2 more skeins from someone's Rav destash and finished. I bought both skeins because I love this yarn! The pattern's really great, too; easy and quick.

For my 2 BIL's and their wives I made Ribby Slippers for the men and French Press Slippers for the women.
I had to work so didn't get to hand Jerry and Jackie their slippers at the annual xmas dinner at their house in Denver. My MIL told me Jackie put hers on right away and didn't take them off all evening. My MIL also told me she'd like a pair!

I'm glad Jackie's fit her. I put both pair into a zippered pillowcase and washed them in a small load with some jeans. No felting. Then with a load of towels. No felting. Then with THREE other loads of wash and they hardly felted at all! Then I threw them in by themselves (still pillowcased, of course) and they felted almost too much! ARGH!

Here's Jackie's....

Here's Joan's...

The men each had three slippers made for them since both times I picked yarn in my stash, made one and realized it wouldn't be near enough yarn for the second slipper. Damn big feet in this family.

Here's Jerry's....

Here's John's...

(For those keeping track, that's Jerry and Jackie then John and Joan. There's also an Aunt JoAnne and her husband Jerry. Jerry and Jackie and John and Joan and Jerry and JoAnne. Took me YEARS to get all that straight and I'm pretty sure I still spell the women's names wrong!)

I also made more Ribby slippers for the boys. I finished them in late November and haven't yet taken pictures. I used Wool-ease with a Berroco Comfort cuff for T's and Red Heart with a Berroco Comfort cuff for D2's. It's nice that they wear them ALL the time when they are home (even to sleep in!) but T's already has 2 big holes in one of them. I used Alpaca With A Twist for the ones I made them two years ago and they felted and holed up after few months. It was a damn waste of some fairly expensive yarn and I should've realized they'd felt like that! Well, I figured the Wool-Ease with it's acrylic content would last longer but it didn't last AS long. sigh. I'm doing what I did to Dave's old pair (also made 2 years ago, also made with AWaT, also felted huge holes in both), I'm making tight garter stitch, 2-strands-held-together, rectangular patches for the bottom w/more Wool-ease. (I also made Dave's patches in Dec. - Size 11.5 US Men's shoes.) Hopefully, it'll get T through this winter!

The night before and the day of xmas, I made these two cat toys...

The cat seemed to be doing his level best to actually tear the bone apart instead of flip it around and play with it (like he does with his store-bought toys). Perhaps a touch too much catnip inside?

He pretty much ignored the mouse completely but I caught him walking around with it in his mouth today. He saw me, dropped it and walked away. hah!

The day after xmas, I started this toy for my friend's baby....

(They were in England until the 29th so no rush there.)
Pattern: BBF Yarn: Trendsetter Delicious.

This yarn with it's little sparkly bits may look like it's not very soft but it is so thick and squooshy... you literally can't stop touching it! You don't feel the sparkly bits at all and it's yummy!

I finished my 3's a Charm Nutkins around the 29th.

I say 3's a charm because I restarted it three times. It was way too tight at first, went up a needle size, still too tight, went up to a 3mm needle and it seemed OK. It's actually a bit loose but not so bad I can't wear them! My pictures of these are horrible and don't even begin to do justice to the amazing STR's Muddy Autumn Rainbow colorway. And the yardage?? Even going up to the 3's, I have a racquetball sized ball of yarn left over!

My short-row heel is kinda crappy. I don't think you can see it in the pic's but in real life, if you look closely, it looks like yarn-overs instead of how a good, tight short-row/wrap-&-turn heel should. I fear with those holes and the looseness of the sock, they'll probably wear out faster (although I haven't yet had a pair of handmade socks wear out on me. Then again, I've only been wearing handmade socks for.... well, this'd be the second winter of the handmade sock for me.). After seeing my sad short-row heels, I didn't do the short-row toes called for in the pattern. I did one purl ridge on the top of the foot to simulate the 3 needle bind-off in the pattern, then did my usual toes.

There's still some December clean-up knitting I need to finish (coughstartcough) - MIL's French Press slippers, T's patches, a couple other things, but for once, I actually finished all the xmas knitting I set out to do!

The boys had a great xmas as usual! They are the only grandkids on both sides so they aren't spoiled or anything!

My mom sent them each a camera and she sent us a fifteen pound box of treats. Cookies, breads, fudge, you name it! Yea, those fifteen pounds are gonna look great on me. sigh.

Dave's parents got the boys some toys, some clothes and gave each of them a $50 Target card. Then Jerry and Jackie also gave them each a $50 gift visa! They had a blast at Target picking out new video games and more toys. John and Joan also sent some great games and gifts (They live in New Mexico but usually make the trip every year. John is ill and they couldn't make the annual dinner either.)

We got the boys some of the toys they asked for and Trevor got an electric guitar w/a little amp. I figure it can gather dust next to the keyboard that we also can't afford lessons for. My friend Becca, however, turned me on to some really good beginner guitar books/cd's so we'll get them going on those for now.

I love that after the melee of opening all their gifts and seeing all the toys, the first thing D2 did was sit down and start in on his new chapter book. So cool!

I gave Dave two new big-and-fluffy towels since the really nice ones my mom gave us 5 years ago are starting to show their age. I also got him some books he wanted.

He got me this very beautiful sweater dress. He took the boys to Macy's and they picked it out together. He said he knew I would return it and he almost bought the ugliest sweater he could find so I'd have to return it and get what I wanted. He's so funny! I love the dress but when he told me it cost $80?! Yea. That's going back. I can buy several outfits for the same price!

He also bought me a 90-minute massage! Splee! Can't wait to use that! Sitting at a desk for 40+ hours a week doesn't do my body a bit of good. I'm always achy now.

Wondering what y'all got, Ruth!

Friday, January 7, 2011

B is for Baseball

Last year, during my Alphabet Soup, I had other things I wanted to tell y'all about but when I'm stuck in Alphabet Soup, I dedicate myself to it and try not to cheat.

One of the things that I didn't get to write about was the boys' baseball adventures!

T was on a "beginning" team for his age group and he did really well! He improved his catching and hitting and just look at that stance...

On the team, he usually played either 1st base or catcher.

He was growing his hair out until the first game on a hot day when he spent most of his on-field time in the catcher's outfit. He asked us to cut it that very night! (We usually clipper-cut their hair at home, really short. This past year, both of them have been growing it out and it looks quite good on them!)

The coach for T's team was about 6'7" and a very big guy. His son was the main pitcher and was also quite a bit taller then anyone else on the team. He was very mellow and laid back and the kids seemed to really like him. Dave assistant coached as many practices as he could make and all the games as well. I think he really enjoyed it! It got him to thinking of joining a softball team of his own because he really loved playing back in the day. Of course, with his schedule, he found it to be nearly impossible and didn't do it. Anyway....

The last time Trev played baseball, he was about 5 years old, playing T-ball and the smallest baseball pants were so loose on him that he had to hold them up when he ran around the bases.

D2 played, too. He played on an "advanced" team in his age group, despite never having played before. The other kids on this team were mostly from his class at school and the coach said not to worry about the "advanced" label and that he would work with D2. He did work quite a lot with Davis and the 3 other boys that weren't as skilled as the rest. He is a very patient, high-energy guy and a great coach. There were three other dads who also helped with the coaching and they were all very kind and patient with the boys.

Of course, every team (or classroom) has a horrible child, and the one on D2's team.... every time I saw that kid I wanted to smack his dad. The kid's name was... we'll say J and he was such a shit. During practice one day, he was being rotten and his dad said, "If you do that again, I'm going to make you run to the fence and back." 20 seconds later, he does "it" again and Dad says, "OK, go run to the fence and back" and J says "NO" and Dad says, "ok, well... don't do it again" and 10 seconds later... J does it again. Aaaaand There You Have It, no consequences, and J is quite the little shit. I've seen that kid KICK his dad and throw his glove at his dad and the dad never did ANYthing about it!

Before each game, the dads would pair up the kids to play catch and warm up. At the last game, J got paired up with D2 and he flat out refused to play with D2 saying how "crappy" a player D2 was and how much he sucked. D2 just stood there, not really paying attention (but I know he heard that hateful child) and J's dad also just stood there saying things like, "Now J, that's not nice. You have to play with him. Be nice. Stop saying that." blah, blah, blah. J wouldn't "be nice" and he refused to play w/D2 (again, throwing his glove at his dad) and I was getting out of my chair to handle it when one of the other assistant-coach-dads (the really uber-competitive one of all people!), walked out there, took J by the arm and said, "You do NOT treat your teammates like that. AND, you do what the coaches tell you. Now shut your mouth and practice with D2 or you don't get to play today." J shut his mouth and did as he was told. Amazing what a tiny bit of discipline can do, right?

Here's D2 at bat, wearing his ball cap under the batting helmet (told y'all he was new at this!).

Here's D2 after the season with his first ever tiny trophy...

He was more interested in the trophy then he ever was in the game. Next time, we'll put him in a beginner team and maybe he'll like it better!

One of the coolest things that happened during that time was a different ball game...
One of Dave's half-brothers got tickets for all the boys to go to a pro-game on Mother's Day. (And, as an aside, can I just say what a joy it was having the house all to myself to knit and watch whatever I wanted all day!! Best Mother's Day present ever!)

So both half-brothers (Jerry and John), Dave, their dad (grandpa) and both the little guys (T and D2) went to see the Rockies play the Brewers at Coors Field in Denver. After the game, Dave and the little guys were in the stands at one end of the bull pen watching the relief pitcher throw baseballs to the crowd on the other side of the bull pen. Dave told T to shout out and ask the pitcher to throw one their way so T did.

Dave told me that the pitcher threw hard and Dave was making a move to get down to the edge of the balcony to get it. He slowed down though since he saw that the ball wasn't going to make it. He said, "T reached over the railing with his glove and 'boop' CAUGHT that ball!" He said it was such a great catch that the crowd on the other side of the bull pen all cheered!

I loved having my day to myself but I'd've given almost anything to've seen the look on T's face when he caught that ball! He slept with that ball for over a week!

Maybe this year they'll try Basketball, Ruth!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A is for Ambition

(This post is long and full of links. For sake of ease and sanity, all the knitting/yarn links are Rav links and TBD means To Be Determined. You don't have to click on every link, obviously, but after all this writing, I timed how long it took to link everything and it was about 45 minutes at which point I decided not to link all the yarn. And so dear friends, let us begin our journey into my 3rd annual Alphabet Soup....)

This year I've got plaaaaans, baby!

I have BIG knitting plans this year! I also have many small knitting plans, like the KAL where you knit a xmas ornament every month, only I'll be doing two every month - one for each boy. But here' s the bulk of the big plans...

On Ravelry, I joined the 10 in 2010 group and it was enormously helpful in setting some knitting goals and actually following through! That group stated that you needed to do 10 different fiber projects using ten different yarns. I like that the group lets you change your list as much as you like - that was a HUGE help in my ability to make my list! It changed several times throughout the year but this post is already too long so I'll post about all that later.

One thing I wasn't crazy about with that group is they didn't count WIP's. Donna's idea for the WIP Cup helped out quite a bit but there's still too many WIP's and UFO's in my life. (For those that don't knit, a WIP is a Work In Progress and a UFO is an UnFinished Object. My personal definition for UFO vs. WIP means that a UFO is something that's been dormant for over a year.) But they've change that this year! The 11 in 2011 group isn't so much a list of 11 projects, they've opened it up to 11 goals. Here's my 11 goals in several different categories...


Vivian - one sleeve and part of another done (WIP)
Thorpe Mittens - wristy parts done (WIP)
Cranberry Throw - 1 of 4 panels half done (this may get frogged if first panel isn’t big enough) (WIP)
Mom’s Vest - 1/3 done (it’s terribly boring but at least the yarn is splitty!) (UFO)
Icarus - 25% done (UFO)
Baudelaire - one foot of one sock done - I'll probably start the other foot, then join the two for 2-at-a-time-toe-up to finish the legs. (UFO)
Blue/Green socks - half of first leg part done (need to switch it from DPN to Magic Loop) (UFO)
Habu Lace Scarf - 25% done
Fix Woodsy Owl - My 2010 Olympic project; finished it, but apparently I’m not as short as I think - need to lengthen
Jitterbug socks - 2-at-a-time toe-up, both feet 1/2 done
Stupid Bath Mat - 14 ever-growing rounds to go - blech

My Designs :

Cat Bed
Mitteny things
Handspun Vest - half done (UFO)
Grace - half done but may start over. Again. (UFO)
Fair Isle - 10% done (UFO)
Yellow Scarf - 80% done
Reunion shrug - restart. Again.

New Sweaters:
Poet Sweater - Yarn: Classic Elite Miracle
#77 - Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky
Pioneer - Yarn: Lorna's Laces Worsted
Isabella - Yarn: Rowan 4ply
Arbor - Yarn: TBD, possibly some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I have
Washington Square Vest - Yarn: Araucania Ranco Solid (saving this one for Octobervest)
Aleita - Yarn: Rowan Calmer

Saxon The City - I have all that Malabrigo Worsted in Jaen color that a friend gave me. I've overdyed most of it (leaving some un-overdyed for the contrasting bits) (thigh-high KAL)
Dave’s Diagonal Rib Socks - DIC Smooshy Raining Cats and Dogs
Skew - Black Trillium Coraline
Eleanora - Blank Stare Crater Lake (knee-high)
DK Swirl Socks - mystery pink dk yarn
Gothic Temptress - Casbah (knee-high)
Naniboujou - KnitPicks bag ‘o sock yarn
Anastasia - blind grab into the sock bin
Francie - Dizzy Blonde Studios Queen of Tarts
Lakeside - Fearless Fibers Smoke (knee-high)
Candle Flame Stockings - TBD (knee-high)

2 Shark Hats - Berroco Comfort
Turn a Square - Cascade 220 and Noro Silk Garden
Bounce - TBD but probably Malabrigo
Hannah - TBD
Dorothea - TBD
Miniature Top Hat - Patons Classic Wool
Caulfield - blue tweed stuff I lost the ball band for
Hermione's Hat - Cascade 220
Nottingham - 2 colors of Berroco Jasper (one color for the bottom and top ribbing, a different color for the cable section)
2 Thorpes (one each for the boys) - Berroco Comfort doubled
Claudia - TBD
Marsan Watchcap - TBD
Trilobyte - TBD
Sutro Heights - TBD
Knotty But Nice - Rowan Pure Wool Aran (I actually finished this last night, but as usual with hats, I'm going to have to frog and reknit it. I thought the Aran was thicker then worsted called for in the pattern but with my overly tight knitting and the cables, it's too tight to pull over an adult-sized head. sigh.)

With all these hats, I'm determined to break my hat curse. As you can see with the Knotty But Nice, the hats are still winning.

No-Sweat Pants - Bernat Illusions
Flutter Scarf - Habu laceweight Smoky color

Every year I say I’m going to try/master Fair-isle. This time, hopefully, I will! I'm starting small with wristers and then longish finglerless mitts.
Zombies Need Not Apply - Knitpicks wool
Snowball’s Chance - Knitpicks wool


1. Stash ONLY
(the one exception is the Lamb’s Pride Bulky Charcoal Heather I need for #77) I know I've said this before but I had a bit of a wake-up call when I was doing some xmas knitting. I had my Bin 'O Felting Wool and I dug through it looking for the things I needed. I saw that I would need some dark brown and some black felting wool for my projects. I was going to buy some in a few days but inbetween, I had to dump out all the yarn to temporarily use the bin for something else. When I dumped out the yarn, there was the dark brown AND the black wool I needed! Even digging through the bin from the top, I missed it. My stash is completely out of control and I have to STOP! To that end, I've joined the Ravelry Cold Sheep group which is a support group for those trying to stop yarn purchases cold turkey. Also, all the lists above use yarn I already have and if I complete them all.... that's about 150 skeins of yarn. I feel if it's gotten so bad that I don't even KNOW what I have? That's pretty pathetic. Which leads us to my next goal...

2. Photo and post ALL stash
I have about half of it posted now. (OK, maybe quite a bit less then half.) I suggested to my knitting group that we get together for a stash photo shoot. We are doing this on the 2nd of January and I can't wait! I'm bringing my Ott lites, my tripod, my cameras, my light box and a gaggle of yarn. One of the women in the group was kind enough to offer her house and it should be lots of fun! I've already put all the stuff I want to photo tomorrow into my Ravelry stash - the make/model, the color/dye lot, and the quantity of each. I've still got a LOT that needs to be done but it's a start!

3. Organize/cull queue
I have Q.A.B.L.E. as well as S.A.B.L.E. This may be my downfall. I try to be brutal but I really do want to make EVERYthing in my queue! Plus when I'm working, I can see Ravelry but it's very "look but don't touch". I can click on things, I can type in the search boxes (pattern or yarn or whatever) but I can' talk to people in the group forums or respond to messages. If I try to, it disappears like a popped soap bubble and takes with it any other web pages I had up. So basically, all I can do is read the forums and look stuff up. Looking at patterns leads to a a bigger queue.

4. Assign stash yarn to suggested projects
I think finding projects (from my extensive queue) for the yarn I have will go a long way to keeping me stash oriented.

5. Four squares each of the boys’ blankets.
I’m taking the stitch-pattern-a-day perpetual calendar I bought years ago, using dates that are relevant to our family (birthdays, anniversaries and such) and making each boy a 16 square twin-bed-sized blanket. 14 squares of dates and 2 squares with their initials. I want to be finished by the time they go to college. They are currently 7 and 9.

That's it!
I know this seems like a special kind of crazy; like I'm biting off WAY more then any one person can chew but the 12 hats are small projects, there’s 16 things that are in various states of WIP/UFO/partially finished (that includes the half-finished ones in the “My Designs” category), and the new sweater projects…. all but 2 of them don’t even have sleeves and one of those is bulky yarn! The socks will be the killer challenge - especially all those knee-highs.

In 2010, I designated Sundays as WIP/UFO days which meant I could only work on the older stuff and it seemed to work pretty well for keeping me on board with finishing those items, so I'm going to go with that again this year. Also, my new job is me sitting at my desk at home for 40 hours a week answering customer service calls (AlpineAccess.com - if you need a job) and I’ve got it down enough now where I can actually do quite a lot of knitting while I work. So that’s like a generous 15-20 hours a week of knitting time!

I've already printed out all the above patterns and put them in their own pretty binder. It's a 1" binder and with all those patterns in there it isn't even that fat, so that's encouraging!

The only thing wrong with all these exciting new projects is that I want to cast on all of them RIGHTNOW!!!!, so I'm trying to be reasonable about that as well.

Casting on some of them, Ruth!