Thursday, January 28, 2010


Although yesterday's "Creative Time" was abbreviated due to massive piles of laundry, I did manage to block out my Multnomah Shawl. This doesn't count for the 10 Shawls in 2010 because I started it way back in September. It had been in time out because, in spite of it being the stitch pattern that new knitters cut their teeth on, I cannot manage to do Feather and Fan to save my life. Apparently, I cannot count to six with any kind of consistency.

The yarn is Creatively Dyed Tradewinds, a superwash fingering yarn in the Sour Orange colorway. I blocked it a little too severely, and the scallops look more like points; I've softened the edges somewhat since taking it off the blocking wires. Blocked, it looks like a Cylon Raider, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shetland Triangle

Although these weren't on my original list of things to do to Expand My Fiber Comfort Zone in 2010, I think completing a lace shawl and blocking it myself certainly count as developing new skills. This is the Shetland Triangle I cast on for the Once in a Blue Moon Cast On in Socks that Rock Mediumweight, colorway Winter Solstice.


On the blocking wires:


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Creative Time"

A few weeks ago, I had the realization that my so-called "creative" energy was being directed at anything and everything except my own efforts. Wednesday mornings have become the precious time that I have alone in the house -- no work for me, husband at his work, The Preschooler at, well, preschool -- and so that has become my "creative time."

Have I been wildly creative? Well, no, but it's a time I can gather my thoughts and work on something that's just for me. Last week, I was inspired by the 10 Shawls in 2010 group on Ravelry and tagged, um, more than 10 shawls in my queue that I'd like to work on this year. While my choices don't exactly fit the perameter of the Ravelry group, it does give me a focus, and, more importantly, it helps me plan out projects for yarn I already have. Then I gathered up the patterns for those shawls and put them in one binder.

That was last week. This week I
  • Knit one pattern repeat on my Shetland Triangle that I cast on for the Blue Moon Cast-On.
  • Watched Hoarders.
  • Jumped up after Hoarders was over and sorted out a bag of recyclables, lest I be on the show next.
  • Walked to the library and back.
  • Knitted another row on my shawl. 

Perhaps next week will be better.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blue Moon

My Rare Gem Mill Ends from the BMFA Blue Moon sale finally arrived. These are Earth and Fire. I love the Earth; I'm not wild about the yellow in the Fire.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What are you knitting during American Idol?

Last year I chose one project that I would work on while I watched American Idol. I figured it would be a good way to work on Project Knitting: one of those things that I might find actually pretty tedious to knit, but I wanted the final result of the knitting. Idol, fortunately or unfortunately, is a huge timesuck; even watching on tivo and fast-forwarding through commercials means a commitment of at least two or three hours a week. So long before the finale, I had a completed Garter Yoke Sweater and a Wrenna. Woo!

This year my project is my resurrected Mr. Greenjeans from Knitty, knit in Brooks Farm Solana.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How did you get to 50+ FOs anyway?

I make a lot of hats. It's getting to be a tradition that I make hats for my now sister-in-law's two nieces and The Boss. Might as well make a new one for The Preschooler (who says that he is A Great Big Preschooler) while I'm at it.

From top left, clockwise:
  • The Armando Hat, knit in Lorna's Laces Steelers Pride. I went down a needle size from the recommended size 9 to a size 8 and knit the beanie size. Perfect for a preschooler!
  • Snow Cat Hat, a pattern I won from Cosy last fall. I've actually knit this twice now, but The Boss' version, I think, is extra-cute edged in red malabrigo.
  • The Baby Republic Hat, knit in Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. Finally! A good use for my Clapotis leftovers.
  • And finally, a Lellow Hat. This is Cosy's Yellow Bells Jester Hat from her book. I made this for Frankie, who tells everyone she is "Lellow years old."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Skillz

The theme at the shop this year is Expand Your Fiber Comfort Zone, but I'd like to think I did a little of that in 2009. Here are some projects that employed skills or techniques that were new to me in some way:

On Ysolda Teague's Hap Blanket (knit in Cascade Eco Wool, a truly wonderful yarn), I used a Russian Bind-Off. The pattern orginally calls for a purl-wise bind-off. On David's advice, I knit a row, then bound off with the Russian Bind-Off, which created a loose, flexible, yet sturdy edge.This blanket is now proudly on display at my brother and sister-in-law's house.

The Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing  -- mine is knit in Pagewood Farms Alyeska, a luscious cashmere blend -- taught me how to do a sewn bind-off. It's easy-peasy and creates a neat, flexible edge.

Finally, Jared Flood's Habitat, here knit in Malabrigo Worsted, challenged my ability to do cables. This was the first time I'd done a cable beyond a simple right or left cross. I learned to color-code my charts (The Preschooler was dismayed that I used his crayons, but that's another story) to keep all the crossings straight. While cables still slow down my knitting considerably, the color codes keep me from continually having to peer at the symbols and painstakingly figure out what to do next each and every time.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009 in Review

This year, I knitted (I mean, I finished) 56 things! 56!

Here's a breakdown
  • 2 scarves (one Peaks Island Hood!)
  • 2 cowls
  • 15 hats
  • 1 pair of baby booties
  • 15 pairs of socks (hey, I won the employee division of the Summer of Socks and Lace!)
  • 1 blanket
  • 7 baby or child sweaters
  • 4 dishcloths (2 ended up as blankies for The Preschooler's baby dolls)
  • 3 sweaters FOR ME
  • 1 felted bag
  • 1 pair of mittens
And so the question becomes, how did I do with the Year of Selfish Knitting? In 2008, I knit only two things for myself. Just two! In 2009, most of the items listed above were for me, most noteably 14 of the 15 pairs of socks, all the shawls, and 3 sweaters.

So what are my goals for 2010? It's hard to plan for an entire year; looking back on 2009, the sweaters I outlined at the beginning of the year clearly did not go the way I intended, for example. In my case, to be brutally honest, a rapid and unexpected weight gain derailed a lot of my garment intentions. I also got bitten by the new trend in small shawls and wraps that hit in 2009. Who knows what trends will evolve this year? However, I just finished an article for the shop newsletter about resolutions for the year, and a common theme emerged: Expand Your Fiber Comfort Zone. And so, I'd like to do the following:
  • Learn new colorwork techniques and make at least one pair of colorwork mittens (you know, instead of just clicking "Buy It Now" on the Ravelry sidebar and having good intentions about them).
  • Complete one pair of toe-up socks, perhaps my Discovery Sock from Cat Bordhi's Personal Footprints. 
  • Learn once and for all to do a picot hem on a sock or a knitted hem on a sweater without turning to a coworker for help (Hi Yvonne! Hi Melissa!). 
Happy New Year!