Looking Ahead to 2018

If you’ve read my year end/years beginning in the past you probably know I don’t really make resolutions.  I do set out ideas and monthly goals and try not to get too worked up when something goes off the rails.  (Hello, last year’s quilting goal!)  Life happens, and you just have to roll with it.

So here’s the plans thus far for 2018 and maybe I will surprise myself again.  I certainly didn’t set out to kit 11+ miles and double my socks knit count last year!

On the knitting front, I have 3 more sweater quantities of yarn coming from my Neighborhood Fiber Co. Sweater Club subscription, and I’d like to knit them up before the next one arrives.  Thus far I knit up a lovely cardigan and I’ve picked out my next yarn which should arrive sometime this month.

Additionally my husband bought me yarn for a Havar Sweater Dress.  (Maybe Valentines Day outfit??)  I am still committed to my Op-Art Socks though I was a bit of a slacker in December and knit neither KAL pattern, so now I am a pair behind.  (Though I totally did knit a different pair of socks that month… it counts right?) I have also committed through admiration to test knitting a lace weight brioche shawl by the same designer as my Weirwood Tree Shawl.  So perhaps fewer projects but of greater yardage is the plan for this year.

On the quilting front, I am tempering my number of quilts goal, though the guest room green and yellow modern is still on the list to be finished.

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All that being said, I am a bit of a sucker for beautiful quilts and the woman behind the 365 Day quilt (which, again, I have not finished…) is doing a Block of the Month that is downright gorgeous, so I’ve signed up for her Aves Quilt A Long.

One item that can not be overstated enough is how organization helps with actually getting things completed.  I try to keep my stash updated on Ravelry so that when patterns catch my eye or when I’m contemplating what to knit next I have some idea of what I have without needing to go up and sort through the yarn bins. Alas, there isn’t (or at least I haven’t found it) a Ravelry equivalent for fabric and quilting.  So with the aide of my husband, I started a database to input my fabric stash so I can sort through what I have and perhaps liberate the ones I’m not madly in love with and find solutions for the fabrics I really do love.  So this year is going to be year of the fabric stash organization.  Right after I put away the Christmas decor….

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2017: Year of the Knit

This year I managed to finish exactly ZERO quilts.  Though to be fair, I did make some progress on a queen size and my quilting area was dismantled for a few months while we redid our floors.

However, I knit like the wind with the most number of sock pairs (20), finished projects (38) and yardage (Over 11.5 miles!) in one single year.  So here’s a few of the highlights

For Christmas this year, my husband heard my laments about my inexpensive ball winder starting to show signs of fatigue and bought me a Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder and enough yarn to knit myself a Havar sweater dress!  So you can expect to see some of that in the upcoming year.  I am currently battling a head cold and picot bind off for a shawl I knit primarily on our holiday visit… not sure which is going to come out the victor of that yet.

One Month, One Sweater

You may recall in my prior post I joined a sweater club and got my first shipment of yarn in.  This coincided rather nicely with a lead in to NaKniSweMo (aka National Knit a Sweater Month) and so I cast on Nov 2nd.

And so without further ado… I present some rather dark photos of a completed sweater less than a month later!

I managed to get it all out of just 4 hanks so I have a spare hank for a future project!

I am now dangerously close to the 11 mile mark at this point too! (Holy cow!)

Past 10 miles (as the Stash Grows)

I swear there is some yarn harmony rule that says for all yarn that goes into a project, more yarn must come into the stash that keeps my stash in a kind of stasis.  Now it is entirely my fault and in theory a good round of “Cold Sheeping” (A knitter’s term to describe a period of not buying more yarn) would tame my stash pretty well.  I have cut back quite a bit on how much I was thrift yarn shopping which does help with eliminating a number of one-off skeins.  However, having given up all my hand knit sweaters because they no longer fit, I decided to join a sweater club.  In theory a person who is now up to 19 socks this year should be able to knit a sweater every few months… right?

At any rate… my first sweater yarn has arrived. (Excuse my messy photo)

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My plan for this yarn is to make a lovely cardigan to go with a couple new dresses.  The yarn did include a nice cardigan pattern, but I think I might swap it up with a different choice.

In other news we are now up to design 4 of 19 from the Op Art Socks Book. This one took me three attempts before I was satisfied with the color combination.  After which Ben promptly proclaimed that he liked them too.  Thankfully the man doesn’t have too big of feet.

Next up on the agenda is a project that is LONG overdue. The yarn has been in my stash since 2013 when my (now) Mother-in-Law took us to an Alpaca farm in Kansas when we were there that winter and asked me to make her a scarf.  She knits herself, and is very special to me, so a simple thing just would not due.  So the yarn has languished in my stash waiting and waiting for its time on the needles. Well its time has come… and I should be able to update the blog next time with a finished object using this very meaningful yarn.

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Personal Bests and The Bests that are yet to come.

Its not quite October (3 months left to go!) and I’m setting new personal records in knitting this year.  I’ve exceeded my previous most completed projects count.  I’m only 4 pair away from doubling my lifetime sock knitting count with all the socks I’ve knit this year, and I’m only about 450 more yards until I hit 10 miles of yarn stitched up! (Hello next sock pair in the queue!)

This past month I was working on another felted KAL basket and finishing up projects for other people.  Including 6 sock pairs all in the same pattern.

In only marginally related news, I also solved my sock drawer problem of running out of space for new socks by removing all non-handknits from the drawer.  I think I may have made room for a couple more pair and can probably look at a few pair that have felted a bit or don’t fit just right anymore now.  Also my husband installed a small expandable drying rack in the utility room so I have a dedicated space for drying them.

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Next month I am expecting my first installment for a sweater club I signed up to join.  I had to give up all my hand knit sweaters after losing 80+ lbs, so I might as well get started on some new ones!  Expect to see some bigger projects soon!

(Now I just need to figure out…. what am I making anyone for Christmas from myself???)

Now Passing 8 Miles of yarn

So one of the fun things I enjoy doing with Ravelry is tagging my projects by year so that I can see how many things I do year over year.  I also use tags to sort projects into various groups so I can see all the socks I’ve ever knit at once, or lace work, or whatever floats my fancy. There is an added bonus that at the very bottom of these project group pages if you’ve tracked your yardage it will tell you how many yards you have knit across those projects.  A simple google and you can convert that into miles.

My personal best was 2015 with 9.4 miles of yarn knit up across 33 projects.  With all the KALs happening this year I noted that not only have I blown my Socks per Year (SpY? is now at 14!) number way out of the ballpark, but I’m already working past 8 miles!

All of which is to say I’ve not gotten much on the quilting front done… but here comes the Finished Objects Parade!

First up…. I had to buy a new winter coat last year because I got too small to wear my old one.  I love my new coat, but because there are days when one wants to maybe be that ladylike person with actual matching accessories, I clearly would need to update my winter accessories to match.  I found some great matching yarn way back in January, and even a glove pattern I loved, and since we have scheduled our Holiday road trip now… its time to make it up.  I had to improvise on the hat since the designer did not already have a hat pattern to match, but I think I did ok in that department.  (Pattern is Red Bud Gloves)

Ben had said before Sock Madness he wanted a pair of purple socks and we picked out Bora as the pattern from my Op Art Socks book.  Since the Sock Madness people started knitting along and it was one of the pattern options of the month… BAM!  Purple Boras.  (Pay no attention to the baggy toes… Ben wasn’t home so I did my own finished photo. They fit him perfectly!) 

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I really try to use up all my gifted yarn.  But its a bit difficult for me at times because gift items get filed in special places in my brain under “You can’t just make ANYTHING! it has to be worthy.”  So sometimes it sits in the stash, peaking out of the yarn bins to niggle at you.  The shawlbingo KAL gave me an opportunity to find the right match for a worsted gradient kit set that my mother gave me for holidays.

Photos do not really do it justice in my opinion, but it goes from a vibrant teal to a deep indigo at the border edge.  Pattern for this one is Wavedeck, which is free, worsted, small yardage and quick!

I wore this out to dinner last night for my Anniversary.

And last, but certainly not least in the FO parade, our bi-monthly KAL theme is short rows and a garter ridge basket was chosen.  I used up a thrifted yarn and a bit more of my remaining fun fur from days when I didn’t know any better and turned mine into a felted easter basket.   Here’s a photo of it drying in all its glory.

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You may recall an earlier basket for gothic easter bunnies…. this is the cutter purple cousin.   I am actually attempting to knock out a second version that will turn into a bin for stashing things… depending on how the size turns out will depend on which things!

So here we are at five projects so far this month, and we still have a whole week left.  If only I were so efficient at the quilting side ¬.¬

That’s No Moon!

Every once in awhile its important to challenge yourself, and you have to understand that masterworks don’t just appear, its something you have to attempt.  For lack of a better option to call them… I call the knitting ones my Knitting Opuses.  The last one was my two color brioche shawl.  I have had “Knit a Herbert Niebling lace” on the opus list for some time, and had gotten as far as tracking down the one English translation book and added it to my library.  The knitting group on Rav started talking about doing an informal KAL and so I finally jumped in at the end of March.

And in true “This is why we block/blocking is magic” fashion I bring you the before and after of blocking my Glocinella.  Blocking added 18 inches!

Now I see you saying… “but Carla, that doesn’t explain your title” and so I bring you to the second part of this post.  Maybe you are sitting there thinking that lace is old fashioned for old ladies with candy dishes and its just not you.  And you are right, lace can indeed be girly and frilly and formal.

But you are also wrong, because at your house when you are an adult you can decorate how you want and have ice cream for dinner.  Parents have been telling their kids that for ages.  When my husband finished his 39 inch Lego Apollo Rocket, I told him the dining room table would be a nice place to display it (The model breaks down into its respective parts and the moon lander fits inside too!).  It certainly is.

And yet, That’s no Moon!

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Next Up:  More socks, a knit basket and a worsted weight lace shawl!

Cakes, Hanks, Socks and Lace

At the end of June, I was back to my thrifting ways and found a nice deal on what I thought was a couple skeins of point 5 (A thick/thin bulk weight) and some professionally dyed fiber so that I could compare to my current just washed fiber and see if that improved my spin, and a couple of skeins I was kind of ambivalent about.  Turns out it was 10 skeins of the point 5…. larger than my teapot!  So I am thinking based on the color I will make up some larger toss pillows for our living room.  I also spun a bit of the unlabeled extra fiber, and it definitely went smoother than my first  round with my own prep work.

Earlier this month I turned 40.  I celebrated by wearing a shirt proclaiming I was “Adult-ish” and drinking a blackberry hard cider while eating a chocolate cake… like the adult I am! It was also new license year for me so I’m kind of glad I lost weight this year.  Now just about 15 lbs to go and then maintain it.  Health-wise some things have gotten better, and some haven’t but overall I’m doing pretty good for 4 decades on this planet.

Naturally I took the occasion to buy myself some hanks of yarn.  There was a special on a weight I wanted to use with the handspun I got from a yarn swap, as well as a camel/silk blend which.  It should be arriving later today. (refreshes package tracking again)

I have finished my first non-wool socks pair, and the first of the Op-Art Socks KAL Anni which I made for Ben. I’ve got yarn picked out for Bora next month and I’m hoping to double down with the Alhambra if I can find a suitable combination. (I wonder if I can sneak in a bit more yarn when I go shopping for my latest swappee….)

I did start on my June KAL lace project, but had difficulty reading the pattern due not in small part to the printing side of things so I’ve put in more work on my Glocinella than I have on my alpaca lace shawl.  I’m down to the last 55 or so rows, which are fast approaching 1000 stitches per round, but its coming along.

I’ve also been attempting to get a couple rows of quilting in on the guest room quilt… but its slow going and like most things these days, it seems like the things to do are piling up faster than the things done.

Sock-u-pied and Stash Flash

A normal year of sock knitting for me, is Sock Madness of 5 or 6 pairs plus a few extra pairs spread throughout the year for until now 10 pair a year.  So I am rather pleased with myself to say that I am now at 11 pairs of socks already this year.

You’ll notice I finished the second of the test knit socks.  The pattern, called Runway Socks, is now available and there is a discount code on the pattern page for the next few days if you want to make a pair of your own.  The tetris-y looking socks were the semi-final round for this years Sock Madness, Pentoeminoes. Alas, my East Coast team rival managed to best me with a finish while I was part way up the 2nd leg (they were toe up)

61LbUCyI-UL._SX413_BO1,204,203,200_Now, I would understand if you concluded that I was done making socks for the year, but I mentioned to my teammates how I had committed to making several pairs of Ludwigs from the Op Art Socks book and would be looking to knit all the socks from the book since I received it for my birthday last July.  So now I am committed to KAL the rest of the book.  If you want to join us for a rather casual KAL, the details are over in this Ravelry thread in the Sock Madness group. There will be two pattern options open for knitting each month and you can knit both, one or neither as your heart desires.  There are no prizes other than the satisfaction of knitting 19 pairs of socks with a group of other people all doing the same thing.

I did get out to a few shops during the LYS Tour in May. And Ben even joined me apparently to pick out more yarn for more socks. (This winter seemed to have created a sock wearing monster!)

The Orange in the first photo was used in the Runway Socks above.  The brown and the CoBaSi left of it have patterns spoken for them already too. The three left side yarns in the right photo have been earmarked for Ben.  They join an Opal and another Hazel Knits already in the stash with his name on them.

In non-sock news I have been putting in the rounds on my Glocinella and am about half way through the 2nd set of long leaves now. I still have over 80 rounds to go and I am hoping to finish that AND the KAL lace shawl AND the OpArt Sock by the end of July.

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In non-knit news, my house is mostly reassembled.  The main living areas downstairs and the Master and one Guest bedroom are back together (sans the grandfather clock).  My sewing machine is back at the work table and the shelves are together in the library.  The yarn stash has returned to its stash space, but I’m still sorting out the solution to my plethora of fabric boxes… which is probably why I haven’t been quilting lately. I am thinking I may give this month’s upcoming Quilt Shop Hop a pass.

Sock it to me!

Ok so first up I am updating this from a jury selection room on my phone… But seeing as I couldn’t bring my knitting with me, what better time to blog about it?

 

Firstly, I have managed to squeak in my finish of the latest Sock Madness round just yesterday with a pair of Mosaic socks. (Again with a twist cuff) These are a second pair for Ben already this year.

The round before was a lovely twisted stitches and beads. And I managed to get both of the dark Ludwigs complete as well as one test knit in orange.

This brings my current sock total to 9.5 pairs! 10 has been my prior years maximum, do it’s looking like a good year for socks.

In other news I am about 75%ish of the way through my Glocinella lace, which seems to be the 500+ stitches per round, no longer get full thing spread out on the needle for photos point.

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But at least I have my sewing table and machine set up again do perhaps some quilting updates next time?