January 17, 2013

Old and New

On My Needles/Hooks:

The Blue Yoke Sweater has been languishing on my needles for eight years, maybe more.  If I remember correctly, I started it when Mom was in rehab for compression fractures of the spine as something for me to work on while I sat with her.  I got as far as about two inches into the yoke and then stopped, reason unknown.  

   Unfinished sweater

I'd kept some very spare notes on a little slip of paper which were just enough for me to continue without having to do any major recounting or head scratching.  I am truly surprised that little bit of paper survived.  If it hadn't, I might've been tempted to frog it instead of finishing it, but finish it I shall.  I'm currently up to the collar ribbing, so almost done.  


I found a ball of unlabeled yarn with very nice colors and decided to use it for Mom's mitts.  I think it's dk or light worsted weight acrylic or an acrylic blend, and not the softest (although it is squishy), but it's the colors that caught my eye.  See:

  Mom mitts yarn  

I cast on the other day using measurements from memory: an eight inch wrist and nine inch circumference hand, but stopped at the wrist.  It just didn't jive with what my head sees for her hand now.  So I remeasured Tuesday night and, wow, good thing I did.  Wrist is now six inches, hand eight and a half.   Frogged and immediately recast on with new numbers.   It's a plain, simple, afterthought thumb mitt and is working up quickly. 

On My Spindles/Wheel:

The Knit Girllls "Expand Your Horizons" January fiber is Southdown, and I just happen to have a wee bit of Babydoll Southdown in stash.  In fact I have all of this year's EYH fiber in stash, so yay!

Babydoll Southdown was something I tried a few years ago for the Wool Breeds Challenge and wasn't too thrilled with. I believe I found it surprisingly difficult to spin, but I can't find my notes (if I even made any) so don't remember what the specific problem was.  It might've been that this fiber begs for longdraw and I wasn't that experienced with it yet, or it might've been something else.

Either way, I finally got around to trying it again on Tuesday.  The part of the roving that was still intact in the 'skein' was fairly easy to spin (longdraw of course).  The pieces I'd pulled off to try previously were much fussier and difficult.  But I persevered and have this bobbin of singles (40gr) to ply, when I decide how many plies I want.  

Babydoll spun up  

Tuesday was the first day I'd spun in what seems like ages, and it felt really good.  So after spinning the Babydoll I immediately switched out the bobbins and started on the Fiber Optic merino/silk fiber for the The Knit Girllls other SAL.  It's lovely colors and spinning quite smoothly. I'm spinning smoothed semi-worsted from end to end and will chain ply to maintain the color gradient.

TKG/Fiber Optic SAL

There are some other small items I have going on various spindles for Spinning Itty Bitty Bits project, but they're so small I'm saving details and pictures for the January FO post.

Brought To Me By: Crafting accomplished with the following audio/video accompaniment:    
  DVDs etc:   Castle S4; The Backup Plan; The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant;          
  Pod/VideoCasts: The Knitmore Girls; Round The Twist; The Knit Girllls; Knitting Pipeline;            

January 11, 2013

Triksaidekaphobic - Not!

I am not triskaidekaphobic. Never have been.  In fact I usually consider any Friday the 13th will be a great (or at least good) day for me.  And it usually is.  Thirteen is a lucky number:  a baker's dozen anything is wonderful.  So when it dawned on me this was 2013 my brain when off on a tangent. 13 in 13!

13 in 13.  Let's see, I can do 13 pairs of socks, 13 pairs of mittens, 13 hats, 13 shawls, 13 preemie hats, 13 hexipuffs a week, spin 13 pounds of fiber, process 13 pounds of fleece, do 13 projects for Bundles of Joy and 13 for Socks for Soldiers, make 13 sweaters, finish 13 UFOs......enough already! Getting carried away here!

Realistically, while I probably need to do all of that to reach my #40lbStashdown goal, it ain't gonna happen.  My hands alone couldn't handle that much knitting and/or crocheting.  So let's whittle this down a little more sensibly. Maybe

Thirteen pairs of socks was the first one I thought of so that's in (WIPs count).  And I've been chomping at the bit to do some stranded colorwork mittens, so 13 pairs of mittens is also in.  Hats are small so they're in, as are the hexipuffs (at least 13/month) and preemie hats.  The 13 shawls and 13 sweaters are out. I'd like to say I'll try for 4 sweaters and maybe 2 shawls, but I'd also rather not set limits for them at all, so I won't.   Also out are the 13 projects each for both Bundles of Joy and Socks for Soldiers, and the 13 UFOs - they're all redundant if I'm doing all the rest.  

What? no spinning goals you ask?  To which I reply: yes, I have spinning goals for this year, it's just a little tricky working it into the 40lb stashdown goals.  Why?  Because of the whole spinning the fiber just moves it from one stash pile (fleece/fiber) to the other (yarn) thing.  Now processing fleece (scouring, combing, carding) will reduce (sometimes up to 50%)  the original start weight of the fleece, and I am counting that in the 40lb stash down.  But I won't actually reduce my spinning stash unless I use it.  

To that end, my spinning goals this year are (1) to use my handspun yarn in any 13 projects this year, and (2) spin 17,000 yds of singles. I know, that is lowballing it considering how much I spun in 2012, but there's a reason.  Last year I was aiming to knit and/or spin 10 miles (17,600 yds) worth, and I spun over 25,000 yds but only knit under 4,000 yds.  This year I've upped the total yardage goal to 30,000 yds, but split it out at 13,000 (see '13') yards of knit/crochet and 17,000 yds spun.  The spinning is easy; the knitting, not so much. And that's the challenge.

January 10, 2013

2012 Odds and Ends


10 Mile Goal was to knit, crochet or spin (singles) totaling ten miles or 17,600 yards.  In actuality, I spun 28,565 yds of singles, and knit/crocheted 3,752 yds of yarn for a total of 32,317 yds.  That's almost double my goal.  Of course, I also bought over twenty pounds of fleece/fiber & yarn which negated any good surpassing my Goal might've done.  Oh well.

End of Year WIPs, SWIPs, and UFOs:   

WIPs/SWIPs: Autumn Walk socks, Owlie Socks, Spinning Itty Bitty Bits,    

UFOs (haven't been touched in at least 3 months):  BBS, Hexipuff Baby Blanket, Preemie Hats, Charlotte Bronte shawl, blue sweater, Spinning Promise, Spinning Friesian x, Dragon, washcloths, Margarethe Shawl. And there's also the projects I planned or gathered materials for but never actually started like the Thrummed Mittens and the Quilt Blocks Sampler Afghan.  

That's a lot of open projects, but lest I get discouraged and think I've accomplished nothing, I added up my FOs for the year on my Ravelry Project Page, and there were 23 projects completed.  Some, like the Tour de Fleece contained multiple FOs within one project.

  Geek Patrol   
The latest round of badges from Hogwarts at Ravelry:   
  Badge CoMC Y6R1  
Apparition badge Y6R1

January 4, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013


I've been looking over the vast (and I do mean vast) amount of stash I have and realized 2013 must be the Year of the Stashdown.  I believe I have reached S.A.B.L.E. (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy)   Seriously, I have about 90 pounds of fleece and fiber and another 25-30 lbs, at least, of commercial and handspun yarn.  Spinning the fleece/fiber is fine but really only moves it from one stash to another.


The only way to really reduce stash is to USE IT, sell it, or give it away.  Sooo, that's what I'm going to do.  2013's goal is to use, sell or donate one third of my stash.  That's forty pounds of yarn.  That's a lot of yarn, and honestly, I don't really think I will reach that goal, but it is something to work towards.


And I do believe it gives me a legitimate excuse for some Selfish Knitting.  I'm thinking sweaters and lots of socks and maybe a shawl or two or three.  And of course, charity knitting; I've really fallen behind on that over the last few years.   Bad Knitter - Shame on Me!  (If I used all the yarn I got specifically for charity knitting, I'd empty one whole bin - that's gotta be a couple of pounds right there.)

Hmmm, forty pounds. Guess I should put down the iPad and pick up the needles