Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years wake up call

In Progress:
Safire, for me
Anna's socks**
My halloween socks**
Pi shawl
Waves of Grain stole
Nancy lace scarf
Doubleknit headband*
Addie's socks
Jessa's yarn
Nancy's yarn
Cora's bunny*
Nathalie's nautilus*

*Needs minimal finishing
**Missing parts

Why I'm not knitting right now:
I hate finishing things. I love having things finished, but the act of finishing them- weaving in ends, finicky multi-part bits (bunny ears, nautilus tentacles), Kitchener stitch- is just not really my cup of tea. On the other hand, I would like to have a few things cleaned up for the New Year.

With that in mind, I hauled out Anna's sock, finished the toe, wound up the second ball of yarn (with my new ball winder!), and cast on for the second sock. I've got about half the leg done, and if I can get past the heel today, I'll be in good shape. I'll worry about shipping them to her later.

I'm thinking about starting an "... of the month" club for myself for the upcoming year. Ideas so far include:

  • Start, and finish, one big project a month. (sweater, quilt, spin everything I own, etc)
  • Track down every single UFO (unfinished object) in the house. Finish them.
  • Knit one 'stash only' project.
  • Knit projects out of every pattern book I own.
  • Design something.
  • Try a new technique: intarsia, stranded, Latvian braids, etc.
I'll probably end up doing some combo of those. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a sock to work on.

What are your new years resolutions?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Magic

Not entirely holiday related magic. Mostly the magic of blocking. I slightly photo-documented the blocking process for the Saroyan shawl that I just finished today. It's made out of 2 skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino, in Teal Feather.


The colors are significantly incorrect. I'll get some nice pictures of it outside this weekend. Finished measurements: 64" x 13 3/4"

The first skein of natural alpaca is waiting to be plied:

The coral alpaca/silk is completely finished, and so is this hat:
1 skein Alpaca with a Twist, Highlander in Tartan Red

As for my 'still in progress' projects:
Wendy Johnson's Anniversary Pi Shawl, SWTC Bamboo

Anna's socks
Of course, those two are the only ones I'm willing to admit to. :-)

Up next: Mittens, and problems with them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spinning and Christmas

I was just informed by the lovely Harlot that there are only 18 days until Christmas. I have to admit, it did make me panic for a minute, until I remembered that I gave up Christmas.

Oh, yes, right. *ahem*

To Whom It May Concern,
be ye hereby informed that I, Stirling (also known as 'that crazy knitting one'), do renounce and disregard Christmas as a gift-giving holiday. As I expect that this announcement will probably surprise, annoy and confuse you, here are my reasons and some guidelines for future conduct:

  • Reason, the 1st: I would rather spend happy times with friends, family and food than stressful, unhappy times hiding in a closet frantically trying to finish and wrap all of this (and future) years presents.
  • Reason, the 2nd: As a crafty person that views buying pre-made gifts as a sign of weak character (only in myself, not other people), I'm saving myself a lot of sanity.
  • Reason, the 3rd: There is not enough time in the world to make 25 hand-knit things for close family members, never minding any friends, that all have the same deadline. (Unless someone is hiding a TARDIS somewhere...)
  • Guideline, the 1st: Thou shalt not expect anything other than baked goods and hugs at Christmas.
  • Guideline, the 2nd: Unless you have a burning need to guilt me into something, I do not expect anything at Christmas.
  • Guideline, the 3rd: Birthdays are fair game.
Question: does anyone know if moths eat alpaca? If they do, I've got some panicking to do.

Speaking of alpaca, and Christmas, I do have one amendment to make. I was gifted an alpaca fleece this past summer, and promised to return some of it in a slightly more usable format this year. As such, I am spending this week spinning. I even have some incredibly bad laptop-cam pictures to prove it:

1 oz. alpaca/silk, ~150-200 yards

That last one isn't the alpaca in question, but it is alpaca/silk, and I did spin it this week. 

The white fluff is the alpaca in question. Hand washed, hand drum carded, undyed white 100% alpaca, from Vermont somewhere. It's been a dream to spin. I think you could call me a 'loose' spinner- I'm mostly self taught, and my wheel is about 150 years old, only has 1 bobbin and 1speed. As a result, I just spin whatever the fiber wants to be, and I have to get creative if I want to ply anything (my first attempt involved a chair back, a niddy noddy, much swearing and 3 days to ply 270 yards). My point being, I don't really know what the resulting alpaca yarn is. I intend to 2 ply it, and the singles are somewhere around sock weight. Both ends of the sock weight spectrum. Whatever the fiber wants to do, really.

More updates and actual pictures at a later date. Back to the wheel!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Socks and Stash

I have a confession to make. I love sock yarn. I love the idea of knitting socks. I actually do knit socks. But there is something about socks- the heel, the fact that you have to make two of them, the amount of numbers you have to know to make them useful- that puts them low on the list of things I love to knit. 

For some reason, I have difficulty turning sock yarn into not-socks. This irks me. I suppose this does explain why I have 3 pairs of socks-in-progress and lots more sock yarn with plans to become socks. 

Koigu KPPPM, colorway P917 1
2 skeins, from The Yarn Company, NYC.

I am calling these my 'Halloween Socks' because... well...

You're smart people.
Needles: US 2.
Pattern: My own cobbled together toe-up pattern. More on this when I finish them.

A few months ago, I decided to start keeping track of all my yarn purchases. It has been interesting to watch the list grow, but the numbers are guilt-inspiring. I'm not sure I recommend it. In my defense, the NYC Yarn Crawl happened during that time, which probably doubled my estimated yarn purchases for the year. As a result of this, I have decided to go on a yarn diet at least until a) all of my yarn fits in the bin again, or b) all of my yarn fits in the bin without the lid bulging, or c) my husband stops giving the bin unhappy sideways glances. Probably 'c' will be the end of the yarn diet. I sense a pair of mittens in his future, possibly so that he'll ignore the yarn I picked up in Arkansas (at Yarn Mart) last week.

Speaking of which!

I picked up 2 skeins of this lovely:

Shibui Sock in Stone. This stuff is amazingly soft and squooshy and 100% merino wool. These are currently destined to be a pair of socks for my mother- unless something better (than socks) comes along.

I also got 2 skeins of Plymouth Yarn Co's Happy Feet, in a lovely burgandy/purple/bright pink colorway that is halfway to a pair of socks (The Yarn Harlot's plain sock pattern) for my grandmother-in-law.

Last, but not least, I got one skein of Alpaca with a Twist Highlander, in Tartan Red. It's already most of a hat (my own design) for my grandfather-in-law. I love this yarn- it is very soft, squishy, warm and joyful to work with.

Pictures to be posted this week! Promise. Double promise. :-)