Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sweater progress

So, I was solidly monogamous on my sweater for about half a month--16 or 17 days. This includes me sitting through two movies without a knitting project. I only broke the monogamy for a three day conference where it wasn't sufficiently professional to have a giant sweater mass on my lap, and I worked on some socks instead. Then I went back to sweater knitting only--until I left on my road trip on the 25th of the month, and the sweater was not in-the-car knitting so my Clapotis got picked up.

Not-strictly-but-still-monogamous of a June, then. And it was pretty successful! I am almost done with the body of the sweater, which is worked as a whole back and forth of a large circ. I'm about three to four inches from the end. When I'm done I'll pick up the sleeves with some carefully matched colors and knit as much of those as I can.

The Stash Dash is going pretty well. If I polish off all this yarn with the sweater (which I suspect I will), I'll have knocked out another 1400 yards, on top of some 700 odd yards from spinning and the hat and mittens I finished before the month of monogamy began.

Almost typed monotony there. the sweater was.... hard. a bit of a drag, some times, when all I wanted to do was bust out something new and small. I am glad I tried it though, not in the least because I can look back at those times and recognize them as momentary distractions, little butterflies of thought in my brain of new shiny things. Staying committed to the project was a bit tough but I felt really good the week after I'd not-cheated on the sweater, a week after the urge to knit-soemthing-new-finish-it-rightrightnow had passed. I still love the sweater and want it, and with constant knitting and a dk/worsted yarn it's very satisfying to see how far I progress in a given span of time.

Separating for the sleeves was the most exciting so far, followed closely by switching to garter stitch here at the botttom.

Now it's July, and I'm on a week's vacation. I brought the sweater and am continuing my work on it, happily and with the long-term picture in mind--but the clapotis is here, just in case I finish it, or get bored, or run out of things to do.

couldn't stop myself from bringing a skein of sock yarn too, though, just in case.

Happy knitting to you :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Really, I signed up for this

June. The sixth month of the year, the halfway point of 2015 knitting, the point-of-no-return for holidays-are-coming knitting (if that's what you do). The first true month of Stash Dash, too. For me, it's always been full of tons of planning, new projects, old wips, and fresh FOs for the stash dash yardage. using up bulky yarn fast for fun. all sorts of things.

Except this June, I'm going to try to be a monogamous knitter.

I don't think I've ever practiced knitting monogamy. Maybe my first two projects, a scarf and another scarf--but those were before I had really taken up the craft, back when I was just fiddling around. Before there was stash; when I would just go into the store, see yarn, decide I wanted to knit a scarf, and buy what I thought I needed for that project.

Now I don't have any qualms about my normal knitting polyamory. Some projects are better suited to certain situations than others, and once I started knitting in class to keep myself awake, I'd always have something supersimple and another more engaging project going on at the same time. This spread, especially as my stash grew and I got on ravelry, where I was inspired by 400 things every minute.

So, nowadays, as you well know, 10 projects on the needles that are active, plus five or so hibernating things, plus some spinning and other crafts keeps me happy and busy.

Still, I've never knitted a sweater. Well, I did knit that one in Denmark, but I improvised the pattern, it didn't fit right, it was too short, and I ended up felting it. Soooo that was more of a disaster than a project. I've never actually measured myself, followed a pattern, and then adjusted it to make it fit me. I mean, I can (and have) knit a sack that goes over my head, but that's not a sweater.

I started two sweaters since the time in Denmark. One required colorwork,and changing a pattern to be knit in the round rather than flat--rather easy (as it was colorwork, and I wanted to steek) except for doing increases and decreases in pattern, which I spectacularly flubbed on the sleeve I started as a swatch. That was three years ago and the six inches of sleeve is all I have of it, still.

The other was a fitted sweater knit in pieces and seamed that I started two and a half years agol. I decided to mod it. I wanted it to be seamless (not hard). I had to change the numbers of stitches for the yarn, needle, and my own size--so I swatched, and measured, and blocked the swatch, and measured again. But I also wanted to change the shape of the neckline and the sleeves, and I had the wrong amount of yarn, and after knitting three inches at the interminable stockinette bottom and having it be a weird size and shape despite my efforts, I abandoned that one too.

About a year ago, I finally worked up my nerve and ripped the second one out, then bravely cast on a completely new pattern. This is Harvest, by Tin Can Knits. It's well written, and it's part of their (free!) Simple Collection that's designed to help people learn how to knit. Yes, I know how to knit. but I do not, apparently, know how to knit sweaters. Also I like the construction of this, and it seems to look good on fat people as well as skinny ones. And, finally, as a top-down raglan, I could try it on to make sure it fit as I worked it. Plus, with my shortage of yardage I am hoping that I can mod the sleeves just in length.

So, I worked on it last Sept (2014) and then put it in a bag and ignored it for six months, pretty much only because of gift knitting. I finally scraped it back out of the bag, figured out where I was at in the pattern, and started working on it again at the end of this past April. But since then, and despite the ease of the pattern, the loveliness of the yarn, and my desire for the FO, I have knitted like a fiend on socks, cowls, hats, and other things.

I want this sweater. I want it to work, to fit me, to have enough yarn, to look good and be wearable, and I want to finish it. actually finish it, and be able to wear it to work for the freezing AC and to like it. Also it's gonna be like 1300 yards for Stash Dash, which I rather desperately need. How to make myself actually work on it? this monogamous thing.

So, I'm trying it. And I don't even want to tear my hair out yet! I had about an hour's worth of knitting time yesterday and today and I've put it into the sweater with nary a qualm (I did glance briefly at a pair of socks that are more than 75% done, but they meant nothing, I swear). I am enjoying how the yarn knits up, the feel of the fabric, and keeping track of how much further I have to go before I can separate for sleeves (maybe 14 rows? not too bad!). I think this monogamy thing might be working out!

In fact, I'd be really optimistic if not for one thing: It's only June 2nd.

Keep your fingers crossed that I don't crack.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happiness is Strawberry Jam

and food from the grill and the garden, handmade pie and buns for the burgers, bright colors and good music and melted cats asleep on the couch or in a puddle of sunlight Yesterday was a really good day, and today's turning out pretty nice as well, with iced coffee and making people laugh and tending my plants, just waiting for the strawberries to peak (they look SO good). I think this weekend I'll go to the farmer's market--I want some fresh eggs and more berries and breads.

Now if I can just beat this program into shape and make some science happen, then I can go home and knit all evening with a light heart.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Still feeling lost

Transitions are hard, and the end of this semester was a tough one. I'm not taking classes, so at least I didn't have exams to worry about. But I was teaching three night-labs a week and pretty much went full-on nocturnal by the time April rolled around, sleeping from 4am to 10am. This led to a lot of grading and teaching getting done but not so much on the research front, and my attempts to eat reasonable food went right out the window (sleep deprivation does not make it easy to plan ahead and take care of yourself).

After the labs were over, I had grading for a week straight. Then I immediately went to visit some friends. Then it was graduation. then I went to see my girlfriend. Now I am at the tail end of a week of quick-hang-out-with-friends-who-graduated-before-they-leave-forever, and I love them all to bits but I am burned out pretty bad. I've spent two or three days in the house trying to get my brain to turn on again and the high-level anxiety of "OMG ALL THE THINGS MUST GET DONE NOW" to turn off. Today was a decent work day, and I pushed past the anxiety enough to end it with a productive meeting with my boss (although as I entered his office I had to fight the urge to just stand with my back to the door and burst into tears).

What all needs doing? ugh. I can't even articulate it here, there's a steaming pile of to-do lists and single items all up in my brain, and I thought I paid off all the bills but a couple more cropped up and one of them I missed so I'm getting urgent notices about it.

And I fell down at the post office two weeks ago and a bone in my wrist still hurts, so that's probably... pretty bad.

Let's think about knitting, shall we? something shiny and distracting as a reward for a hard day's work. Stash Dash 2015 has begun, one of my most favorite events of the year because it requires planning and checking off boxes, my favorite (you know how much I enjoy making lists). Today is the first day of the event, in fact. This year you can choose which goal you are working towards (3k, 5k, or 10km of weaving, spinning, knitting, or crocheting). I'm going for 5k. I hit 5k last year but only because of a laceweight-held-double shawl and held-double doesn't count this year, so I'm going to try again.

I have good odds: I've a slew of things in progress. if I finish them all, I'll be at 4460 meters, and I've got some spinning that isn't yet counted that should be able to put me over the top. In fact that's what I've finished so far today.

My 2015 Stash Dash list:
1) **done** spin dried flowers yarn from Spinnerettas
2) **needs plying** spin purple-and-green chilean wool
3) knit myself my first sweater
4) finish the Rothko blanket
5) finish a pair of socks for my twin
6) finish a hat for L
7) finish mittens for L
8) finish sky-blue cowl for me
9) finish my Clapotis out of Handmaiden Casbah Sock in the Masala colorway
10) **done** finish a hat for me out of my chilean yarn
11) knit a pair of fingerless mitts out of the rest of the chilean yarn
12) finish some gift knitting for L2

if I have time, I'll also add in:
13) knit 3 pairs of best-yarn-ever mittens (twin, sister, me)
14) start xmas present for twin
15) start next pair of socks for twin
16) work on spindle spinning for spin-the-bin

of course, Stash Dash is only 12 weeks or so, so 12-16 FOs is a lot to ask. Yes, many of these are in progress, and some of them (the hats) are almost done. But the sweater is going to take a lot of time, and I'm not sure if I'll have the patience to finish it. Still, we will see.

Do you have summer goals?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

hats hats hats

Hats are fun! I didn't know!

I've knitted a few, but they were not that fun.

but these two I am currently working on--FUN. FUN!

The first one is a Sockhead Hat: 4 inches of ribbing and then 9 inches of stockinette. Easier than pie. I have decided to double the ribbing so it can be folded over the ears, and I'm just about done with it (but I'm adding length because I always always seem to want more ribbing in my hats). Soon it will be stockinette in the round forever, which is by the way very soothing but also quite fast!

The second is my own design, but it's basically a dk/worsted version of the above Sockhead Hat. I cast on somewhere between 80 and 100 stitches, did ribbing for about 3 or 4 inches, and now I'm in the stockinette part. I actually had finished the top of it and I tried it on its intended recipient but he wants more slouch and I have plenty of yarn left (I used less than 3/4 of a skein of malabrigo arroyo or rios, I am not sure which). so I ripped out the crown and am back to stockinette in the round forever.

This is the one I've got pictures of:

see? not slouchy enough.


This is the type of knitting that's getting done lately, mostly because I can only squeak some knitting in before I fall asleep, while I am at stoplights, or during meetings.

other things I am working on:

-a linen-stitch-framed cowl of some sort in gorgeous hand-dyed sky blue cashmere bulky yarn that a friend gave me for my birthday ^.^

-a skinny Clapotis--I have less than half the required yarn so I've done fewer increase sections and will do fewer repeats. I always said I would never get into this trend, but the pattern shows off this gorgeous Handmaiden Casbah Sock in the Masala colorway very well, and I would definitely wear this as a scarf, so it is happening

-a new pair of socks for my twin

those are the active things. I'm also fixing stuff up:
-a pair of mittens for a friend that needs finishing. and probably another mitten, the first one was from a different ball and there's a noticeable difference in color between the two.

-a blanket that I've decided needs an edging--but the calculations are not perfect so it's in the *thinking* stage. wee ^.^

-a fiddly lace shawl that I really need to finish the edging on (meep. the beginning edge)

things I am avoiding:
-other socks for my twin
-socks for me
-another garter stitch blanket
-fixing the cat mittens
-figuring out the purple lace
-working on the unpleasant silk hankie mitts
-doing anything for two sweaters in progress

BUT. I am spinning. I borrowed the wheel from my friend for another week and I've knocked out 4.5 oz since Sunday night (so, you know, 32 hours). I am determined to spin some very lovely things but I need more hours in the week :D

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spinning Notes

**Spin the Bin 2015 Declare Post**

My list is quite short because normally I'm a spindle spinner, and a slow one at that. I wanted to keep it realistic and still play! I hope that's ok.

I am NOT in it to u.i.o.l.i.

I am borrowing a wheel for a week (late January/early February)

BIN LIST

1) and 2): 4 oz of Thunderboom from Dyeabolical on this weird portugese merino base
3) and 4): 4 oz of Starrenicht from ITW--my first batt!
5) and 6)  4 oz of Lanitium ex Machina's Ethereal on 100% lambswool
7) and 8): 4 oz of Fibernymph Dyeworks' 100% Falkland in the Storm Warning colorway
9) and 10):  4 oz of Fiberartemis (eee!) corriedale in the Lotus colorway
11) 2.5 oz of Hobbledehoy compost batts that'll be crazy as heck
12) 2 oz of Solitude wool Border Leicester/Romney/Coopworth blend that's been ... pin drafted? combed? pin combed? something... that I'll need to spin on my spindle to try and reproduce the first half of it that I played with a year or two ago.


FINISHED LIST
(as of 11 April 2015)
1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

that leaves the Starrenicht Batt, the Hobbledehoy batts, and the Solitude rough stuff! to be done by the end of the year :)


Notes at the beginning of April 2015:
-finishing spinning and plying the last 1oz of Ethereal

Notes at the middle of March 2015:
-progress: nada, zip, zilch.
-I am trying to clear off a spindle or two so I can at least take a stab at some of my less intensive stuff
-unfortunately the spindles are all loaded with laceweight and it's taking a lot of time
-will probably borrow a wheel again--once some work stuff is done.

Notes at the first week in February 2015:
-I followed up with my plan for the epic 3-braid project, and spun up the second half of the corriedale a bit plumper, then plied with the falkland for my second skein. That turned out well, and Falkland was 100% used up.
-I had maybe 1 oz left of the corriedale from the skinny ply (because I had to attach the end to the plumper stuff to maximize yardage), so I spun up a matching 1oz of the remaining lambswool ethereal and plied those together for my third skein. Corriedale is 100% used up
-random ~1oz of ethereal remaining--will spindle spin this sucker and maybe navajo ply it to use up every bit.

Notes at the end of January 2015:
-I finished the Thunderboom; I will have to try to get a good picture of it soon. Three plied it and it turned out pretty nice. Portugese merino is pretty scrunchy/crunchy/dense/fluffy/sproingy/lofty Idontknowhowtodescribeit.

-I started my big three-braid project by spinning the Storm Warning 100% Falkland. Then I spun half of the Ethereal lambswool and plied them together (not too badly matched on the amount leftover, either). Then I spun up half of the Lotus 100% corriedale. I haven't plied it with the falkland yet--I spun it rather thin and I am thinking I will do the second half of the singles, make it a bit thicker so it matches better the width of the falkland. then I can spin up the second half of the lambswool and make it nice and skinny and ply it with the skinny corriedale. This I hope to accomplish by the end of the week, as I still have the borrowed wheel and some opportunities to use it.
-but the first plied bit is underplied so I will have to send it back through soon.

UP TO DATE By the Numbers:
15.8 oz of singles spun up; 15.8 oz plied into a 2ply, for a total of 31.6 oz worth of treadling (well, 30.6, and 1oz on the spindle) (work those feet). I have three projects  left in my <del>bag</del> *bin*. I am honestly thinking about setting up a spindle-only bin for later in the year... but I'll just have to see if I ever get around to wheel spinning again.

The borrowed wheel has been returned to its owner, although I almost cried when handing it over.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March isn't the most craftiest of times

Mostly because I'm so daaaaaamn busy.

And April's not looking so good either (in fact, I think my work load doubles in April. woot.)

Still, I finished my colorwork cowl.

This is a free pattern by Lion Brand, I think--called Hanna's Cowl.


This is v1 of the cowl, which I knit in 2013.
It looks ok in this picture but it was actually about 5 feet in circumference, which is far too long for my short frame. It also curled badly--not in the least because I knit too quickly in an eagerness to finish it in 13 days because it's really cool looking.

In 2014, I ripped it out. *sigh*.

So, this Feb I re-cast it on. far fewer stitches for the cast on, so it wasn't enormous. End result?


pretty! but too short (can't wrap it, alas) AND it still curls.

So, my choices are to a) rip it out AGAIN and knit it a third time to make it longer, but not too long (just right). b) leave it as it is and just fold it and be happy with it, or at least accept it for what it is or c) fold it (like in the image), then pick up stitches on the top edge and knit a seed-stitch band so that it stays folded and doesn't roll and is double thick and has the appropriate edgings on top and bottom.

I'm leaning for c, but I might yet convince myself that a is the right option.

I also finished a pair of socks for me and cast on another pair that turned out to be for me (I was knitting them on a plane. by the time I got to try them on they fit me and I wasn't gonna go back).
I ripped out 1 hibernating WIP (I don't know what possessed me, this yarn is hideous and I don't want to work on it. Wait, what if I added it to my shoulder cozy?) and made a wee cat toy out of the cast on edge, which broke instead of ripping back. And I am spinning the last 1oz of my 3-braids-of-blue fiasco from Spin the Bin 2015.

Between hibernating and active WIPs, I still have 15 things on the needles, and there's no counting the spinning projects in progress. *deep sigh* Don't get me wrong, I am not by any means a monogamous knitter and I love having things casted on so I can work on them when I want--but 15 feels overwhelming, and I really like having FOs. Maybe I could just *try* some monogamy. And I kind of like the idea of clearing my needles off--don't I *want* all these things? yes. yes I do.

still, some of them are epic (two blankets. a lace shawl. two sweaters that should actually fit me) and other ones require a lot of thought to fix because something's wrong (mittens+monsters; mawata mitts; witchy mitts; triangle of +2 luxury). Maybe I can just finish a few things and see how I feel.

Or maybe I'll hide from all the grading and research I need to do and cast on a third pair of socks tonight and watch x-files.