Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Catching Up or at least not falling too much further behind

I finished one of the gift knitting items! Are you excited? I sure am. And I think the FoUI is too because he has successfully bemoaned the cold as he bicycles to work so he's getting them early. Which sort of leaves me short a present. But I think I will print out a photo and wrap that up rather than trying to add yet another item to my already scary list.

But look! A FO!

And now I am off for four days of probably not much knitting time at all. So no doubt will be considerably further behind by the next time I can post. Still, I have one present! Yay!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oh so very far behind...

So according to the Holiday Knitting Plan by today I was supposed to be done with 1 pair of mittens, at least one sock of a pair of socks, a good half of a vest, and working on the knitting for a stuffed toy.

And where am I? I haven't even looked at what I need for yarn for the stuffed toy, I haven't gotten any further than the swatch for the vest, so there's nothing to show for that.

I do have part of the foot of the first sock done (this would be more impressive if they weren't toe up socks):

And one mitten hand done, thumb still to go and the second mitten on the last set of increases for the thumb gusset.

I am on the hook for parent helping with school stuff next week so confidently expect to be even further behind by the end of the month. Frankly, it would be likely that I would be further behind even if I weren't going to lose my knitting time for most of a week. But I have not yet given up entirely. The Holiday Knitting Plan did have some extra time left at the end which I can use to make up for lost time earlier on. As long as I can keep from losing too much time I still might pull this off. (Cynical optimist may be almost a contradiction in terms but I strongly suspect it labels me pretty accurately nonetheless.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wednesday Weasling - or rather Weaseling about Wednesday

No offense intended to actual weasels of course. But on Wednesday I had planned to employ some weasel words to imply I got more done than I did since Monday. Only then I fell asleep early that night instead of finishing a blog post. And again on Thursday and then other life issues intervened as they will and so on... So now we're at the point where I need to employ weasel words to cover for why I didn't even blog when I was supposed to. Only my readers are much too smart and aren't gonna fall for that anyway. So, I'll just tell the truth. I still haven't even managed to put in as many hours of knitting per day as I was supposed to. And much of what I did manage to do had to be ripped back. You would think I would learn, wouldn't you?

I'm doomed. The Plan has me finishing two items by the end of knitting time tomorrow. The FoUI's (aka husband's) mittens and his socks. I have one mitten most of the way through the thumb gusset increases.
at least this seems to fit - actually to me it seems a bit big but he says it is right and they are his mittens

The other mitten is yet to be cast on. This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the Pioneer colorway. I'm using Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns mitten pattern for these.

The socks were also only a singleton of the pair and it was only part-way up the foot, but was also too big around so is now not even finished with the toe increases.
yeah, pathetic, I know - the worst part is I knew it was getting too big but I kept going

That's Fiber Fiend superwash sock in the Mars colorway. And I'm making them up as I go along. He want's ribbed socks. I had such a clever ribbing pattern set up for them when they were 64 stitch socks. Now I have to refigure it. Ah well...

And that is it for projects started. At this rate, I might just maybe have one gift each done in time. If I speed up.

I have swatched for the vest for the Remembrall (aka daughter) and now have enough information to start actually designing the pattern. I think I will start the back of that today. The yarn is a really lovely green from Tactile Fiber Arts.
which this photo captures best out of the ones I took today but still doesn't really show the glow

A little of the indigo (I think I am remembering how this was dyed correctly, indigo over something else to produce this lovely shimmering green that really does look like a kelp forest shining in the sunlight that filters down) is coming off on my fingers as I knit but that is to be expected. And it's just barely noticeable. Much less than some other yarns I have worked with. I'm really looking forward to working on this and have been using it as a bribe to get more workaday stuff done.

And now that I have done my bloggerly duty. I am off to knit while the FoUI takes the Remembrall on a bike ride. If I get enough of the mittens and socks done early enough today I will get to spend a nice little bit of time working on the vest back. I really am looking forward to that so motivation isn't going to be a problem.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Well, that good intention went well didn't it?


Still no completed knitting to show off. Lots of mucking about in the real life areas since June what with packing for moving back home to California and then unpacking once we got here. Not to mention getting through the first month of school etc. It all just left much too little time for my hobby life. Which is annoying as all get out. And nearly equal amounts of tinking to knitting means very little progress to show for what time I did have for knitting. Plus much of the knitting now is "secret" so really I got nothin' blogwise.

But this is ridiculous. So I think I'll just blog the secret knitting anyway and hope that the recipients are smart enough to not read my blog between now and Winter Solstice. I thought about ending that sentence with just Solstice so that when the deadline for the knitting blows by and I wave at it, I can tell people, "Oh, I meant the Summer Solstice" when they ask where their present is. Then I decided that I really should try to aim for the goal. And maybe my nice readers, if I still have any after such a dreadfully long hiatus, will cheer me on to completing everything in time. Or, you know, something.

So here's the knitting list for the holidays (and my family's inconveniently timed birthdays falling as they do in the winter also) so far:

For the FoUI (aka hubby): Mittens, a "Professor" sweater (anyone who has an idea what that means past leather elbow patches please please please clue me in), two pairs of socks, and maybe if there is time, a hat.

For the Remembrall (aka daughter): a vest, a knitted stuffed toy, a sewn stuffed toy, a pair of socks, a doll sweater, and maybe some other knitted or sewn clothes for her dolls and a pair of fingerless mitts.

For my Mum: a sweater (the blame for which can be laid completely at my daughter's door - she piped up oh so helpfully at dinner one night last week that I could knit Mum a sweater for her Holiday present this year), a pair of fancy gloves (which was what I was "sensibly" limiting myself to)

For my first BFF: A scarf and a pair of socks that are seriously overdue from her birthday.

For my second BFF: a pair of socks.

My BFFes may have to settle for New Year's presents because this list is already scary scary scary long and that doesn't even allow for the fact that I kinda wanted to have a knit by me shawl to wear to the FoUI's office holiday party this year.

And of course, considering my track record over the last 6 months with completed knitting this list is preposterous raised to the ridiculous and multiplied by insane. But very much in keeping with jumping in where angels fear to treadle, right?

So I've got a plan. The official start is Monday. If I knit the entire evening every night from now on, I might make it. If I guessed right about how long each thing was gonna take to knit. I plan to work on three projects at a time; one big and two smaller more portable ones. Starting with the FoUI's mittens and one of the pairs of socks, and the Remembrall's vest. Progress thus far on this is nil. I am designing the Remembrall's vest and I know what I want it to look like. But getting there... not so easy. The FoUI's mittens and socks I can pretty much just knit. Although I will need him around to be sure of fit issues. So since he'll be out of town all week next week tonight I need to find and wind yarn for these two projects and get started on knitting them so I can be sure of the fit before the body is inaccessible for a week. The yarn is found and the first skein wound for the Remembrall's vest. So it is also time to start swatching for that.

Just as soon as I finish a couple of design things I was doing over the summer...

Go ahead, laugh at me. I am. Progress report and photos on Wednesday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I really need to do better than once a month...

I hope that will be easier soon. By this time next month I think I will at least know when I will be able to move everything back home. Can't recall if I've mentioned here that we have been spending the last few months mostly in Texas. The FoUI (the Fount of Useless Information - aka my husband) is doing some work for a client of his company there. The carrot that got homebody me out of my house here (we're home this week) was that after the months in Texas we'd then be sent on to Australia for a year. Now I ask you, could any fiberholic say no to a year in Australia? Only, it appears that the Australia part has gone poof.

Which is ok. We'd have had to leave our dog behind for that year and I think I'd miss her an awful lot. And besides, now that we'll be home instead, Operation Second Dog can commence sooner. As soon as I get us moved back I'm puppy proofing and then we are on the hunt for a new Golden Retriever puppy. We like to have two dogs at a time so that when we're out they have company. And we haven't had two dogs for a very long time now. It still feels a bit odd. Although not as odd as no dog at all!

OK back to fibery goodness type stuff... Except, I got nothin'. A few more rows on what I posted last time. A decision made that there was no way the sock I was designing was going to work as I had done it so I had to rethink it. A new sock started for that friend in someone else's pattern thinking that that would be quicker at least. And it looks like my gauge is off... In fact the only thing I have is new yarn and fiber which arrived while I was in Texas. And is staying here because even I can't really imagine taking it back to Texas just to move it here in July or August.

I swear my fibery mojo has totally deserted me in Texas. I need to get home for good. I had a sense of direction there (which I don't here nearly as much) which was nice but not if I had to give up my fiber-pursuits mojo for it.

I promise some kind of actual knitting or spinning or something related content next time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Busy busy busy

Boy, time flies when you're busy. Nothing much to show for it I'm afraid. Most things I have been knitting on over the last two weeks have ended up frogged. Or not appreciably further along. But I'll show them off anyway. I've got nothin' else that I've done.

A Very Late Birthday Present:

That's not that great a photo but that might be ok, since this pattern is going to need some rejiggering I think. I've been avoiding frogging it though. Mainly because it is so late a present already. 'Course at this point wool socks are probably not needed until fall anyway. Maybe I should just do it right and make it a half birthday present. Votes?

Clapotis 2:
Which, naturally - partly because there is only one yarn ball to cope with and partly because the magically changing colors is entertaining, is further along than Clapotis 1:
Which is being knit from two skeins of All Things Heather Merino/Silk so means changing yarns every two rows. I had to alternate because my skeins were pretty different. But they are making a kind of nice stripey effect. See:

I also recently got my first shipment from the Tactile Fiber Arts Fiber Club. Oh boy is it well set up!

Look at what I got:

That's Finn fiber dyed with weld in a solid and in a multi-color to pair with the solid. I'm not sure yet what I am making with these. Aren't they the epitome of spring though? I love it and I am soooo not a yellow fan usually. Here's a close up of the fiber:

And here's one of the awesomeness that is Maia and Brooke:

They know I need all the help I can get to keep track of stuff and so along with a binder they have included a couple of business card storage sheets and a little card that I can attach a fiber sample to and also a singles sample and then a finished yarn sample too for that matter. Is that not Brilliant!!! One of the nicest touches is that the binder is both made of recycled materials and also is itself completely recycleable. Awesome! There's also a fantastic info sheet on the dyestuff. I love this club.

Sadly that lovely fiber is not yet spun up (in my defense I have only had it a week). Unfortunately for my fiber fun time I have been busy with other things. Including, starting the work to get us ready to move back to California this summer. Which is getting closer and closer. And most recently finally making a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Houston. We just managed to get there in time to see the exhibit from Afghanistan. They still have some info up about it. I found it to be a very interesting exhibit and I would have loved to have had more time to study it. I very much recommend going to see it if you get a chance. It looks like it will be in New York City at the Metropolitan June 23rd through September 20th. I thought it was interesting enough to seriously be considering making a trip back east in the right time frame to see it again there.

It has completely reawakened my fascination with ancient history and archeology. This is not necessarily a good thing considering the size of my to do list.

In the "slightly closer to textiles" arena there was also a fascinating art installation that was so like something my brother would have done (not in content necessarily, more just like the artist's mind works in similar ways to my brother's or something) that I find it a tad heartbreaking.

Ok, back to work.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I think I better give up sleeping...

'Cause that's the only way I am ever going to be able to come close to catching up. Or even keeping up were I to get caught up.

Since my last post, knitting has just not been going well. That's all there is to it. I didn't manage to make it through the third round of Sock Madness this time. Which is not necessarily bad. But isn't necessarily good either of course. But the attempt meant that other stuff didn't get finished either.

I went to Spring Fling at The Loopy Ewe which was a great deal of fun. I sure hope I get the chance to go again next year! At Fling I took a lot of classes (which meant I got no knitting done on my Sock Madness socks for long stretches of time) but I really enjoyed all the classes.

I took Sock Design classes from Wendy Johnson and from Cookie A. So in theory I now know how to design socks both toe up and toe down. LOL

I also took Anne Hanson's Advanced Lace class and was a bit worried about whether I qualified for an advanced lace class. But I kept up mentally if not with the actual knitting. Learned lots and had fun so I am very glad I took the leap.

Both Cookie A and Anne Hanson mentioned that they teach longer versions of these classes and I hope to someday take them because I can tell that I have barely touched the tip of the iceberg vis-a-vis what all three of these ladies have to teach. And I love to learn.

I picked up a few yarns at Fling but it will be a little while before I get going with anything with them so I will wait until I have a project for them before I start getting silly with the showing off or anything. I'm also still not properly unpacked from Fling so no longer remember what I had been doing before I left and can't remember where I tucked my current knitting projects so can't show them off either for the little progress that was made until I find them again. So I need to do some hunting.

In the mean time, I'm going to do a little WIP list from memory to remind myself why I need to spend more time knitting. So, in no particular order (and certainly not in need to finish first order):

Round 3 Sock Madness 3 socks
Round 4 Sock Madness 3 socks
Rounds 5, 6, 7 and maybe 8 are coming up soon too.
The Loopy Ewe second quarter challenge (I still don't know what I want to knit for this)
BFFs socks (my design which I think needs a little reworking which means tinking back because like an idiot I didn't put a lifeline in - when will I learn!!!!)
Cluaranach (it is too warm to work on this right now even though I am not that far along - the yarn is marvelously warm so when I do get it done it will be wonderful)
Baby Bee (class project from Anne's Advanced Lace Class at Fling)
Clapotis 1
Clapotis 2
Design project 1 (child's vest)
Design project 2 (shawl)
Design project 3 (mitts)
Design project 4 (hat and mitt set)
Design project 5 (stole)
Design project 6 (socks from Wendy's class)
Design project 7 (socks from Cookie's class)
Zazzlejeans sweater (need the needle tips from Clapotis 1 for this)

And then there are all the not even started yet things. Which I won't list because if I do it will damage my calm. Although I need to remember at least a few of them:

S's socks
A's socks
Socks for The FoUI (the Fount of Useless Information aka my DH)
Vest for the Remembrall (aka DD)
The Loopy Ewe Second Quarter Challenge project
my personal challenge to myself (knitting up all the yarns that remain unused from my first 6 orders at TLE)

I also need to frog some projectst that simply aren't going anywhere and either repurpose the yarn or put it up for destash.

So much to do... I better go get started. I hope to be photo heavy next post to make up for being so photo non-existant this time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Sock Madness's fault

Well, by dint of ignoring everything else I was supposed to be doing, including getting back into a proper blogging routine, I managed to make it through both Round 1 and Round 2 of Sock Madness in time to move up. I'm now in the gap just before the start of Round 3 and finally catching up on other things again. Since last year I almost made it through Round 3 I feel a dreadful despairing urge to make it through Round 3 this year. This could be very tricky. Although I would already be out if I had been in the "For Whom The Ball Rolls" division (whew, there's a bunch of speedy knitters in that group) so I'm counting myself lucky.

So what have I been doing since I last posted? Well, strictly speaking since before the last post. Round one of Sock Madness this year was a pattern that I designed and submitted for the contest last summer/early fall.

Tropical Mer-tini in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Beach Glass

Tropical Mer-tini (Ravelry link) is based on the Drunkard's path quilt block. To make it extra wiggy for Sock Madness I developed a way to do a heel flap heel as an afterthought heel. The pattern will eventually be available outside of Sock Madness participants but I want to add a second size option and also see if I can make the heel prettier. And include improvements from the feedback I have gotten from the lovely folks who knitted it up and then let me know what they thought. This has been a very fun learning experience and I have really enjoyed it. Although, I have to say, I was worried I wouldn't make it through the first round since I was trying to make sure I was available to answer any questions, I wasn't concentrating as much on my competition pair as I would have been if they had not been my pattern.

Tropical Mer-tini in Celtic Memory Yarns Merino-Tencel in Irish Mist

I still need to come up with a nice greenish martini to pose with these socks. Possibly I will have time for that once Sock Madness finishes. Or I get knocked out of competition.

Round 2's socks were Tokena (Ravelry link) by Tricia/Zemy. I found them very hard going. Mainly because they were my first Fair Isle style color work knitting. And partly from poor choices I made about which yarns I used (I should have gone for the ones that were closest in size) and how I worked.

Tokena in All Things Heather sock in Raspberry and Apple Laine Apple Pie in Silver

But I got them finished in the alloted time and I have found a home for them (although I wish I had done a better job on them since I am sending them to a very sweet fellow raveler) so really, it is all good. I think I have enough left of the yarn to knit a second pair for myself if I use the Raspberry (how could I have not bought that yarn?) as the contrast color and another shade for the main color. I'm thinking maybe black? Thoughts?

I've also been slowly working on my Cluaranach and my two Clapotis and a pair of socks for a friend's birthday (I'm late with those too) and trying to develop some more designs. But I'm going to save all that for another post. Within a week I hope.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good Grief

I have been appallingly neglectful of the blog. I do apologize. It's partly that things weren't blog-able for a while there. And partly that moving only some of your stuff is so much more complicated than moving all of it. And partly that I just didn't think I had much to say I guess.

Anyway, I did Christmas knitting. Some of which was actually finished in time to give on Christmas but not in time for the last post. Like this pair of socks for my mum (of which I apparently do not have a FOto. I'll try to get one when I see her next):

Simple Stockinette Socks - Berroco Sox in Humberside

And some of which ended up being birthday knitting for my daughter. Thank goodness her birthday is in the early part of the year and thus after Christmas.

She had mittens on her list as the highest priority for knitting. So I made some basic mittens for her:

Simple Mittens - Union Center Knits Whatnot Sport in Stormy Sea

And then I had signed up in October I think for the Loopy Ewe Swap 3 on Ravelry. So I made Anne Hanson's Boing! for that:

Boing! - Malabrigo Lace in Loro Barranquero

I also was busy working on a second sock for a Sock Madness 3 design I did. More on that later. Sock Madness 3 is ongoing now and I still haven't finished the Round One socks so I need to get cracking! Back in .75 socks.