Archive for category Knitting Goals

Flashing the Stash

With the beginning of a new year, I decided to truly let it all out.  The fiber, the yarn, the UFOs. Everything.  Just in case my not-so-fibery friends happen across this post and start to worry that I’ve added unidentified flying objects to my hobbies, UFO= unfinished objects… but they can be just as scary.

So let’s get that frightening picture out of the way:

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2 shawls, 2 sweaters, 1 tee, 1 baby sweater, 1 color work mitten, 1 hat

The oldest project in the bunch is the color work mittens that I started last March.  So it could be worse, but I’d like to not take an entire year to knit a pair of mittens. The good news is the have been started much more recently and consistently worked on.

Next up, my remaining handspun from 2012.  Though there isn’t too much of it, I would like to knit up my handspun yarn a bit sooner.  I’m always to excited once it’s off the wheel or spindle, but then find that it sits there waiting for me to find the right project.  Some of these already have patterns ready and printed, but for some reason I can’t commit to starting the project.  So I’m holding myself accountable for what’s left of last year’s handspun and I hope to knit it all up by the end of this year.  That being said, I hope to spin much more this year, so I probably won’t be able to keep up going forward.

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Now, for the real deal.  The rest of the stash.  Keep in mind, this is pictured on a queen-sized bed… just to give some perspective.

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To give some further perspective:

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And for even more clarification, this spans the entire length, covers more than half the bed and is three skeins high through most of the pile, with most of the fiber hidden in the back.

So where from here? I’m not declaring a “yarn diet”.. I’m not so good at the dieting.  I am going to try not to purchase any yarn or fiber outside of that purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May, the SSK retreat I’ll be attending in July and Rhinebeck (NY Sheep & Wool Festival) in October.  These major events will have all the yarn and fiber I could possibly want with all the vendors I adore.  I plan to save up for these events so that I can buy only the things I will truly love and I don’t already have in my stash.

I also have planned out 13 projects for the year using my oldest yarn to correspond with Stash & Burn’s Use It or Lose It knitalong.  The hat on the needles now is project number one.

As long as I know I use the additions to my stash, I won’t feel so guilty having it.  Also, it maybe cannot grow… when I put it all away (some was still out and not properly put away from last year) it barely fit in the six bins I have in my ENORMOUS bookcase. I don’t have anymore bins……

 

 

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New Year, New Goals?

When I began this blog a little over a year ago, my intention was to direct it towards the life of a knitter through the perspective of a single parent.  It has certainly taken a few twists and turns, but that will remain the primary focus.  Moving into this year, I decided to take a quick look back at what M and I accomplished so as to better provide goals for the coming year.

In 2012, I learned to spin, M spun for the first time, and we both learned to share my crafting supplies a little more.  I managed to spin approximately 3,870 yards on my wheel (not including that spun on drop spindles) and gained a lot of confidence to take on different spinning skills in 2013.

I also knit over 8,000 yards and 38 projects.  I went through the year thinking my primary focus was lace, but looking back I knit more cables and cowls than anything else.

Since I am not they type to stick to well-defined goals very well, though there are some projects in my life I would like to tackle, I plan to keep my general crafting goals broad and more number-centered and less project-specific. By the end of the year, I would like to have spun at least 10,000 yards and knit at least 9,000 yards.  This may seem like a jump in spinning, but I did not spin on my wheel for the first three and a half months of 2012 and I was still just beginning.  I took it very slow at first and often took time between spinning projects.  I also took about a month and a half off at the end of the year to knit all the things for Christmas.

Finally, this year, gift knitting will not be saved for the last minute.  Throughout the year, I plan on knitting a variety of projects, be it baby sweaters, hat, cowls, shawls, mitts, everything.  This way, when a birthday sneaks up on me or a baby shower invite comes my way, I won’t be spending late nights knitting up last-minute projects.  More time, thought and love will be able to go into the gifts and there will be options and time to carefully choose each already-made present for the recipients. Thus, the recipient is likely to be happier (though I don’t believe anyone was unhappy this year) and I will enjoy each project even more.

Here’s to 2013 being more intentional!

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Holiday Wrap-Up, Part 2: Crafting Goodies!

Though Christmas has come and gone and we are now well into the new year, I want to quickly rave about the wonderful crafting presents I received.  Now, I’m not one to brag – but these are seriously awesome gifts.  That being said, I will only quickly touch on each crafting related present and how some of them have already made such an impact.

First, I received three awesome books, two of which I very strongly dropped some hints about.  Knitter’s Almanac, The Principles of Knitting and Finishing School. I have already begun reading Knitter’s Almanac and paging through the other two.  The wealth of knowledge in these three books is just unbelievable and I cannot wait to try to absorb it all!

Next are the two presents that have become incredibly helpful in my life.  It’s crazy to think I’ve been knitting for over ten years and I didn’t have a ball winder and swift… but I decided to be patient all these years and wind my yarn into annoying balls that would roll around everywhere.  Most annoyingly, my hand-balled yarn loved to roll away from me whenever it could be the most embarrassing or inconvenient.  For example, when I’m in a meeting, waiting at the doctor’s office, on public transportation, etc.  But now, this is a problem no longer.  Knitting from my center-pull yarn cake is like a dream come true.  But these embarrassing truths were not why I finally sucked it up and put these items on my wish list.  No, the dreadful hand-wound, center-pull ball I tried to use to two-ply, pulling from the outside and inside of the ball, when trying to use up the last of my hand-spun singles and ending up with the biggest, gnarled mess is why I gave in.  I love my spinning and after putting in so much time and effort into this one particular project and watching a good deal of spun singles be wasted nearly broke my heart.  No longer.  I have already used my ball winder and swift to ball up several projects-worth of yarn, of which the projects are all already cast-on) and used my ball winder to create a perfect center-pull cake for me to two ply on single onto itself.  No mess, just joy.

My third, rather large, present was a bulky Woolee Winder.  When my family first started asking me what I wanted for Christmas, aside from the previously mentioned, I didn’t seem to have much I needed and therefore didn’t want to ask for items I thought I maybe might want and find I don’t use later.  But eventually, I realized that was silly.  I have batts and bumps of fiber that I would like to spin bulky and some beautiful color gradient braids I would love to spin continuously, but wasn’t able with the bobbins and flyer that came with my Ladybug.  Plus, with a Woolee Winder, I don’t have to worry about stopping to change the hook to ensure the yarn goes on the bobbin evenly.  This has proven to be a difficulty of mine. Though, in all honesty, I did have to send the Woolee Winder back for some tweaks so that it fits my wheel perfectly, I couldn’t be happier to have received this present.  My Loop Bullseye Bumps better watch out, because as soon as my Woolee Winder is back, they are all being spun up!  Ooh, and my two braids of Fiber Optic of one gradient colorway that I have very big plans for.

I already have insane goals for this new year and I’ve started at the year in full force.  I’m just glad that I have some wonderful presents and tools to help me through it and make my crafting experiences that much sweeter!

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4 Days Left!

A quick note before I get back to the knitting: felting by hand = the worst back pain… and I’ve gone through labor.

I have three projects left to knit, one that I’m nearly finished with, another pair of felted slippers (because I found felting the first pair to be so enjoyable) and a small shawlette (potentially to be given any time before the New Year).

Though the amount of knitting I have done in the past month and a half has been insane, surprisingly enough, I haven’t found myself stressed. Aiming high and readjusting as time passed seemed to work for me. Not to mention the awesomeness of already giving some of the gifts to coworkers and seeing how happy they were has totally motivated me to keep pushing these last few days.

Tomorrow, we pack up and drive the, roughly, 15 miles to my parents’ where we will be spending Christmas. I will post again after the festivities with a more details regarding each present made.

Happy Holidays!!!

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9 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 1

Projects Complete: 14

Total Presents to Complete: 20

The counts have changed quite a bit to accurately reflect what will actually be completed for Christmas. The three sweaters that the recipients knew about and previously okayed receiving after the holidays have been removed from the count, along with a shawl that has stalled out a bit, and one hat has been added.

The remaining six projects include: two pairs of mitts, two hats (one in progress and to be finished tonight), one pair of slippers and one shawlette.

Each of the hats will take one night. The pairs of mitts and the shawl, I am providing two nights for each. The pair of slippers will take one night, as did the other pair, and the two pairs will be felted together on the 22nd while I work on another project.

This is happening and the chaos hasn’t taken away from my love of the holidays, which is always a plus. I hope your holidays are going well!

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14 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 5

Projects Complete: 10

Total Presents to Complete: 22

Clearly, the holidays are in full swing.  Between Santa visits and holiday parties, finding time just to breathe is getting difficult.  In order to stay on my strict knitting schedule, a quite a few days have passed without an update, and as we get closer to the big day, that might be more common. 

At this point, I have only two people left to knit for so that everyone has at least one knitted present, however small. As long as these last two projects are completed before Christmas, I will be safe.

Here is the current break down of what’s left to complete:

3 sweaters (2 in progress), 2 pairs of mitts, 2 shawls (1 almost done, awaiting more yarn), 2 cowls (1 in progress), 2 pairs of slippers and 1 hat.

Aside from the sweaters, which are allowed to be late, everything should be completed by their due dates… if not actually by Christmas.

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21 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 7

Projects Complete: 6

Total Presents to Complete: 23

Although my numbers haven’t changed, I have been making loads of progress.  One of M’s fingerless mitts is complete, and the other should be finished today or tomorrow.  The shawl I am actively working on only has six more rows of the lace border before moving into the stockinette short row shaping, so this should also be finished tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I have gotten a few more rows of my fathers sweater done. All-in-all, I’m not too bad off.

Another thing to point out, though I have seventeen presents remaining, I am only knitting for twelve people.  I have completed presents for five of the twelve… so as long as I complete seven more projects by Christmas, everyone will have at least one present.  Seven isn’t nearly as bad as seventeen.  So my strategy at this point is to work my way through the presents I need to complete so that everyone on my list has a gift, then I will go back and complete the outstanding presents if there is time.  If not, maybe M and I will just make them a lovely handmade card to go with their gift… and pretend like that’s the same.

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22 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 7

Projects Complete: 6

Total Presents to Complete: 23

I’m struggling.  Not with the idea that I have 17 projects left to complete.  I cannot seem to find the time to knit M’s Christmas presents. I want her to actually be surprised! How do you manage to surprise a three year old that seemingly never sleeps or plays by herself.  And she is aware.  So aware.  Each time she sees me with a new project she asks what I’m making and who it’s for.  I started her mitts last night, when I thought she was sleeping… only to have her walk into my room half asleep.  I was able to quickly throw it under the blanket before taking her back to her bed.  Even just a glimpse of the hot pink yarn would give away that it was finally a present for her.

Since she seems to be refusing to sleep, I am forced to only work on her presents while we are not together.. which leaves me only my lunch break.  I was hoping to have both mitts done tonight, but I only got through the first half of a mitt today.  I might risk pulling it out to finish a mitt and just having other projects next to me to distract her with if she decides sleeping is only for adults – which tends to be her mantra. That is, all adults except, well, me.

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23 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 6

Projects Complete: 6

Total Presents to Complete: 23

After working five hours yesterday, I did not get the normal amount of Saturday knitting complete.  Since my mother was out of town this weekend, M and I opted to stay at the apartment all day today instead of venturing over to my parents’ place for church, brunch and Sunday dinner.  M was lovely and let me knit while playing with her and during movie time.  If that wasn’t enough.. she actually took a nap. My daughter.  Slept.  When the sun was still shining. It was a solid two hours of knitting time.

It was then that I finished the ribbed hat of doom and started seriously working on the Arroyo shawl.  Tonight, the plan is to finish the lace border on the shawl (no I’m not that amazing, it starts with the border) and get to the short row shaping before heading to bed.  I’m hoping to get through the rest of the shawl tomorrow during my lunch break since knitting garter stitch is going to feel like a breeze after all that ribbing!

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24 Days ’til Christmas

Projects in Progress: 7

Projects Complete: 5

Total Presents to Complete: 23

18 more projects in 24 days.  That’s not entirely accurate, since a few projects are acceptable to gift anytime before the new year, but it is still the goal.  Today, I completed a pair of ribbed fingerless mitts knit in two days.  Let’s just say, the other four pairs will not be ribbed.  2×2 rib slows me down way too much, especially since I knit with my right hand and purl with my left.

My goals for the coming week are:

-Complete the hat I start today… tonight.
-Complete an Arroyo Shawl
-Complete a Pedestrian Crossing Cowl
-Complete a 198 yds of Heaven Shawl
-Knit 3 more inches on my father’s sweater

How do I plan on accomplishing this in a week? The hat and cowl should each be done in a day. The two shawls I plan on completing in two to three days, while the three inches on the sweater will happen throughout the week, whenever I get a spare minute to knit some stockinette.  However, this plan all hinges on me being able to take lunch breaks at work this week… I’ll keep you posted on how well that goes.

Now that we are finally in December, is everyone on board and ready for the holidays?  We have some upcoming holiday events that we are very excited about.  What is getting you pumped and ready for the season?

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