Monday, January 26, 2009

Sock On!

I actually remembered to bring the camera to work with me today, so let's enter this one into the books as the first FO of 2009 (even though technically it's No. 2). I think my first FO of 2008 was also a pair of socks, so I'd like to keep that trend going! Sadly there was not enough of the silk garden sock yarn to make a pair of knee socks like I wanted. But the end product will still go nicely with my mid-calf boots. I wonder if I can block the heck out of them to get them a bit longer?

Here they are:

Pattern: 64 stitch toe up socks with a 2x1 rib. I did a short row heel for the first time which was just as quick and easy as everyone says and actually fit my feet pretty well despite some caveats I had heard out there. I added a few increases up the center of the back to fit around my rather shapely calves.

You can see that the socks are essentially the reverse of each other which I think is actually kind of fun, though I can see how it would drive some people nuts.

Piece o'cake! And actually I may start up another pair of socks soon since this pair went so well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nothing to see here

Please pardon the lack of activity. I swear that there has been much going on, not all of which is blog-worthy, but much of which is and I have been severely disappointed in my inability to get any interesting pictures up to describe said goings-on. Problem is that I somehow managed to massively screw up my computer by, of all crazy things, doing a disk cleanup. It no longer recognizes my USB ports, which means no camera (and no ipod for that matter) updates. This means that even if I did remember to take pictures, I'd never be able to get them up here for all to see! But can I describe to you what I've been up to without pictures? Not really. It doesn't seem like nearly as much fun for either of us, now does it?

There has been baking. But all that I'd be able to show you now would be an empty springform pan that contained this little marvel. Or the nearly gone chicken pot pie that was made from leftovers of my first roasted chicken (the carcass of which also produced some stock that's currently frozen in some ziploc bags). Actually I should clarify. The chicken was technically steamed, but whatever. It was delish.

There has been knitting. But it's really just a big blob right now so even if there was a picture, it wouldn't be particularly interesting. Instead of the Venezia sweater, I decided to start a blanket as my first major longterm project of the New Year. It was nearly impossible finding a pattern I was totally on board with. It had to be warm and cozy obviously. I preferred some sort of lacy pattern but not too lacy that it sacrificed the warm and cozy. And as much as I love what Brooklyn Tweed's been doing to elevate the doily, I wanted something in a more standard blanket shape. That's when I happened upon this shawl. It's perfect. It's also just interesting enough to keep me from being bored to death while not so complicated that I can't knit while watching some Arrested Development on dvd.

There has also been progress on more personal levels. I'm doing pretty well on the diet and activity front. Still haven't gotten around to checking out some yoga studios as I'd like to broaden my exercise repertoire, but I'll get there eventually.

I also signed up for yeah. I know. So far I am less than impressed but I'm clearly not giving it a chance. I need to be a bit more open to possibilities. Tonight before going out to dinner, a friend who did online dating and I are going to sit down and evaluate my profile and some of the dudes who have been emailing me. Also, is it weird that I don't want to click on dudes' profiles because then they'll know I was checking them out? It is, isn't it? I knew it.

In addition, it looks like my completely useless/selfish roommate will be leaving next month which means that my other roommate and I are evaluating our options. I'm putting an apartment with decent light all day long on my wishlist. This means that once my computer decides it wants to recognize my camera again, I can upload glorious naturally-lit pictures of my knitwear instead of pictures that look like they were taken in a cave. Huzzah!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Year Ahead

I think this was such a worthwhile tool last year to keep me focused. Otherwise I worry that I lose focus and fall victim to chronic startitis.

January: Finish Nantucket Jacket. Start Venezia Redux and Thrummed Mittens
February: Start Blanket and Francis Revisited
March: Shalom Cardigan or similar. Finish Venezia Redux.
April: Spin 1 batt of fiber. Start Wallis Cardigan w/ blouson sleeves
May: Finish Apres Surf Hoodie. Start Lace Project
June: Socks
July: Socks
August: Finish Lace Project. Start Rhinebeck Garment
September: Spin 1 batt of fiber
October: Finish Blanket and Rhinebeck Garment
November: Urban Aran
December: 5 pairs of socks completed.

There are lots of other resolution type things that I've promised myself that I will do this year. First and foremost, I'm getting back in shape. I know this is the kind of thing that people say every new year's, but I mean it. I recently had a rather unpleasant fitting room experience that has made this imperative.

To accomplish this goal I'm doing a few things: 1. Keeping a food journal, 2. Making a workout/gym schedule, 3. Making more prepare ahead meals

After 1 week of this program I've actually put on a pound. How frustrating is that? But I've got to do some serious lifestyle changes or I'll be stuck in this rut forever. I have a feeling that my knitting will have to languish periodically. But them's the breaks. I just discovered the Body and Soul Challenge over at Whole Living. (35 days to a new me? I hope the new me is Heidi Klum!) It starts today and you know what, I'm going for it. Kind of awesome that I'd already replenished my cupboards with a wide variety of legumes. It's as if I knew that this was in my future ;) That and some Beano, I guess.

One last recap of 2008:
If there's one thing I love, it's a family who appreciates the handknits.

And that family is my mother's-best-friend-from-college's-family:

Note: The photo is a little fuzzy b/c I was dumb and left my camera out in the cold car which made it very unhappy when it eventually came indoors to defrost.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: Year in Review (Techniques)

Bold for stuff you’ve done, with an asterisk for things done for the first time in 2008
italics for stuff you plan to do in 2009, and
normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items (finishing anyway)
Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns*
Dying with plant colors
Dying yarn
Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Garter stitch

Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)*
Kitchener BO
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Knitting with bamboo yarn*
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere*
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton*
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with DPNs
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Knitting with silk*
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn

Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool

Knitting with your own handspun yarn*
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO

Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up*
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Olympic knitting (didn't get around to it this year)
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Steeks* (WOO HOO!)
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Swatching (though making this a habit should be a goal for 2009)

Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns*
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

I had set a goal last year of doing 17 new things, but as these things invariably go, that didn't quite come to pass. However, I did manage to accomplish a whopping 11 of the heretofore untried techniques including, and this was a big one, steeking! Such fun. I have 12 items I'd like to do in the coming year, several of which I'm very excited about (thrumming!) All in all it's been a pretty good year on the knitting front.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008: Year in Review

If 2007 was the year I got serious and got knitting, then 2008 is the year I turned into a knitting machine. Having already accomplished serious milestones of sweater knitting and such, there was very little I was not willing to try. But I ended the year having finished a whopping 39 items (one of these, as of press time was awaiting finishing, but with confidence that it will be completed in time for gifting on New Years Eve).

So what did I make this year? (Lots o' stuff!) And did I make an effort to make stuff for someone other than yours truly? (Yes and no.)

1. Enid, 2. Mittens!, 3. Dan's Noro Striped Scarf, 4. Haruha Scarf, 5. Ellen Cowl, 6. Feb Lady Sweater, 7. Leah Tunic cropped, 8. Mossy Shell Sock, 9. Renaissance Palm Cowl, 10. Hexacomb Cropped Cardigan, 11. Roped Shell, 12. Koolhaas, 13. Kiri, 14. Brompton Cardigan, 15. Clapotis, 16. Drops Jacket

Hats came out on top with 8 items, due to my designating this a hat Christmas gift year after 2007 year of the cowl. There were lots of cowls and cardigans (6 of each in fact). There were 6 wraps and scarves of varying types. There were 4 tops and tees. Add in the assorted other random items for a total of 38 finished objects this year. Not too shabby considering the monstrous scale of some of them.

I altered much of The Plan I laid out for myself at the beginning of the year, which I think is totally fine. I kept it challenging and just altered choices and dates as whim demanded. As I fell out of love with a particular pattern I was certain to find another that replaced it, which is why Buttony and the open collar pullover did not get made but the Drops Jacket and the Roped Shell did.

My goal of knitting 5 pairs of socks fell through just barely with 4 pairs completed. Quite an accomplishment since I'm not so wild about sock knitting (though I love wearing them!) Though stashbusting of sock yarn failed miserably.

The year did not start off great as far as The Plan was concerned. I quickly found that the Kauni color changes I selected for the Venezia Pullover were not what I wanted and so that project went into deep hibernation mode to be awoken this January with one strand of the blue Kauni and one strand of a solid oatmeal colored wool used instead of the yellow/brown/white (which I think might look lovely paired with the dark red wool I picked up in something like this). I also had serious attention and enthusiasm issues as far as Juno Regina was concerned. But hopefully all that will be rectified with some serious rethinking and reevaluating of projects in the New Year.

The tail end of the year was pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned. Jenn in DC and I went to our second (frigid) Rhinebeck. Oh yeah, and I bought a wheel. That'll play quite heavily into my goals for the coming year. I finished a bunch of the aforementioned major projects, proving that Venezia and Juno hadn't sucked out all my mojo. Most of all I had a lot of fun knitting. With work and family and city living driving me nuts on occasion, it was definitely a great respite from all that craziness. Here's hoping 2009 sees improvement on all fronts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gchat: It happened just now...

1:43 PM me: so um i started mildly freaking out last night b/c i haven't woven in the ends of dad's sweater and therefore have not washed it yet, have not started on tara and melissa's gifts
cousin danny and cousin jess are only half done
Jenn in DC: well christmas is a week away
me: and anthony's hat also needs the ends woven in
Jenn in DC: you should get a lene
me: lol yes
1:44 PM well i freaked out mainly b/c the sweater is gigantic and where will i block it at home w/o dad seeing it?
Jenn in DC: who's anthony?
me: jess and dan's younger brother
who is ryan's age
Jenn in DC: oh i didnt know they had one
block it at your house tonight
me: yes we frequently forget about him too
but i'm seeing them on saturday
i have love actually/indubitably cookie party tonight at kyra and tyler's*1:45 PM Jenn in DC: saturday two days from now?
me: yes
Jenn in DC: well when are you going to dad's house?
me: sunday
ryan is picking me up at my apt. on saturday to go to long island and then from there i go straight home
Jenn in DC: oh
yeah you have a problem
1:46 PM cant you just do it at his house in a room and tell him not to go in
me: i guess i can improvise at home in my room
but i will weave in ends when i get home tonight
Jenn in DC: so you need to find yourself an office and go knit right now**
me: i haven't been able to fall asleep before midnight all week anyway
i am not too worried about the other projects***
i will have a half day tomorrow
1:47 PM and i may skip a christmas party to stay home and knit all night
and block danny's scarf
and then i can finish jess' mitts in the car if need be
oh lordy
1:48 PM Jenn in DC: jesus
you're a mess
me: how did i get complacent???
thank GOD i didn't bake ten million cookies this year****
Jenn in DC: you thought you had this christmas thing licked
me: i did
i totally did
1:49 PM me: yes
sigh :(

* Love Actually/Indubitably Cookie Party (c): Party in which we watch Love Actually (not to be confused with Love Indubitably) the greatest Christmas movie of our time and bring cookies to eat and share. During which I will clearly not be eating cookies because I will frantically be working on Jess' gift.
** This is how Jenn gets her knitting done.
*** Yes, I am.
**** Just a batch of Sambuca Cookies, a batch of Ginger Spice Cookies, a batch of Black and White Cookies, and a batch of Florentines (which I am just this moment realizing, I sandwiched instead of leaving as described in the recipe, doh. No wonder I only have a limited number of them)... and a partridge in a pear tree.