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51 – WIN!

So, this week marked a very significant point in my xmas knitting plans… I finished the sweater!!!!!!!

December 2012 256Thanks to a lovely stranger on Ravelry, I managed to snag a partial skein of the yarn I ran out of, which gave me enough to finish not just the hood of the sweater, but the optional attached mittens as well!

Needless to say, when we exchanged gifts this morning, I had a very thrilled 3 1/2-year-old on my hands. She was running around with a HUGE grin on her face while she wore the sweater.

…and I totally don’t blame her – that thing is awesome. December 2012 296

I know, the moment I held the ears & horns up to the hood, I literally squealed with excitement. It’s possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever made, and I love it to death, and hope she gets a lot of use out of it!

Now, I seem to have gotten out of the habit of sharing yarn & pattern info, but for anyone who is interested in knitting the most adorable giraffe sweater for a young child, the pattern is the Twiga Hoodie by Megan Grewal, available on Ravelry, and the yarn is Knit Picks Swish Bulky in Hickory, and Bare Swish Bulky hand-dyed in a semi-solid yellow.

Now, I could be ranting about how some of the yarn I used in my nephew’s sweater felted in the dryer, despite being superwash, but… I’m too happy with how the giraffe sweater turned out to really care.

I mean, come on – who could be sad when they made this happen?

December 2012 298

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50.1 – Wow

I’ve really done it now…

Last night, I finished my 52nd project this year! With 17 days to spare!December 2012 045

Apparently, simple stockinette stitch socks go really fast – especially when they’re for little kids, and knit with fun, self-striping yarn! Woohoo! 😀

On top of that, this morning I finished all the miscellaneous sewing I had to do. Buttons are sewn on to various projects, conductive thread is sewn into the fingertips of gloves and mittens, broken buttons have been replaced…. *whistles innocently*

I’m down to just a few more projects to finish, and then I’ll be ready to go. Tonight, I think I’m going to work on my niece’s sweater, and hopefully that will be done by Wednesday-ish, so I can wash and block that and my nephew’s sweater, and have those wrapped by next Friday – just in time for our Christmas get-together with them on Saturday!

Now, that being said, I’m in a bit of a moral dilemma. Certain people in my family have decided that they’re only doing gifts for kids. Which is fine… Even if I think it’s a bit stingy, as there aren’t that many adults, and they only have one niece and no nephews on this side of the family, and they’re the ones in the family who actually have money, while the rest of us – who can’t really afford it – are much more generous and enjoy giving gifts… But that’s beside the point. They’ve also made it clear that it goes for giving gifts to them – they don’t want any.

Every year up until now, I’ve gone against that and either bought or made gifts for them. Last year, I made hats for both of them (hers was out of a gorgeous, not-cheap, Angora blend that I wanted so badly to keep for myself – it was the only hat I ever made that looked good on me!) Now, they put the hats on for pictures when they got ’em, but I have no way of knowing if they ever actually wear ’em – I’ve never seen it. For all I know, they never have, and they’ve either been shoved in the back of a closet somewhere, or they’ve been given (or thrown!) away.

Needless to say, this year, with my hands acting up and my bank account perpetually empty, I decided not to give them anything. Up until now, I’ve been alright with that decision, but now, with just over a week before we exchange gifts, I’m starting to feel bad about it.

You see, gifts aren’t an obligation to me – they’re something I do out of love. If I make a gift for someone, every little stitch is a bit of love, a wish for happiness and well-being, a drop of hope. And, whether I buy or make a gift, a lot of thought goes into finding just the right thing for the person it’s going to. I don’t just grab a pair of socks from some store and call it good, I scour the internet for hours at a time, looking for just the right thing, and then either I buy it, or I spend many more hours making it for the person it’s intended for. Every gift I give is an act of love, and a way of showing how much I care for someone.

And not giving a gift, to me, feels like I’ve turned my back on that person. As much as these two get on my nerves at times, I don’t feel right turning my back on them – they’re family, whether or not we always agree on things.

What should I do? I don’t have money, but I do have a bit of time… Do I make them something? Or just not give them anything, knowing that they don’t give a damn, so why should I? (Yes, I know, this may not be true of them, but it sure feels like it most of the time…)

Do I stick with my initial decision and not stress myself out trying to do something? Or do I find something simple to do? Or just run to the dollar store and call it good? 😉

50 – So Close!

So, 2 weeks until Xmas, and I’m so close to finishing!

…well, if close means 2 pairs of mittens, 1/4 of a sweater, a hooded scarf, a pair of kid-sized socks, and a blanket. >.>
BUT! Most of those can be finished after Christmas. In fact, the only things that need to be done right away are the sweater and the socks, which shouldn’t take me more than a week combined (I hope) – and they’re due in just over a week, so I should (hopefully) be good!

I’ve wrapped up a bunch of the gifts that have to be sent out (though no idea if I’ll have enough money to actually ship ’em in time – eep!) and the others that still need to be wrapped are  blocking as I type this. Including one pair of mittens that I just finished this morning.

I broke a button while squeezing water out - eep! Need to replace that...

I broke a button while squeezing water out – eep! Need to replace that…

Everything else, I’m looking at an extra 1 1/2 weeks after xmas until it needs to be finished (except for the blanket, which I already told my mom was going to be late – so she knows it’s coming, but doesn’t expect it on time. She said my gift to her was helping with all the xmas shopping anyways.)

So, for my updated goal of finishing 52 projects this year, where am I?
Well, let’s see…
7 sweaters (8 if you count the one I finished on the 1st, but I’m not counting it)
5 pairs of socks
2 pairs of fingerless mitts
1 pair of gloves
4 pairs of colorwork mittens
5 scarves
7 hats
2 cowls
3 soap holders/washcloths
1 capelet
2 pairs of slippers
5 shawls
2 bags
3 dresses
2 collars
total: 51 finished projects!!!!

At this rate, I will not only meet, but exceed my goal for the year – topping out at (hopefully) 57 projects. On top of that, I will have designed 5 patterns for publishing, and heavily modified or improvised another 6. I’ll have given 5o gifts, and kept a whopping 7 items for myself, including a sweater and a gigantic scarf.

Needless to say, today I’m feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

…now if I can just get those last few things done and ready to go.

44 – Behind Again

So, this month has been pretty bad knit-wise. I’ve been feeling a little apathetic and overwhelmed, and my hands have been having issues, and things have been taking forever, it seems.

I started a few projects, finished a lot less (3 – 4 if you count the one I finished on the 1st of the month), and spent a lot of time doing, well, nothing.

I’ve changed my gift plans so many times that I’m not sure what’s what anymore, I still have yarn that I need to order, and some that I have no idea what I’m even getting!

In other words, I’m starting to panic a bit.

…and let’s not mention the things I should have sent out already that are still waiting to be blocked *facepalm*

Things will get better…. right?

41 – Getting There

Finished mittens. Still need to be blocked, but I’m saving up all the blocking for a giant “block party.” Yeah, that’s it. *whistles innocently*

So, the mittens are finished, and new projects are on the needles. I’ve got 2 gifts I’m working on – a sweater and a scarf – plus a nice, aran weight shawl for myself. I knocked a couple of things off of my list, switched plans around… and still I’m 3 days behind schedule *sigh*

I’m excited, though – I have reason to hunt down and purchase some really, really nice, exotic wool. Well, exotic if you consider cold European countries “exotic.” I’ve got major plans for this yarn, and can’t wait to get my hands on it… Even if it’s going to take a while to get here. But it’ll so be worth it!

I’ve got a total of 16 holiday projects I’ve yet to start – not to mention a couple super-secret, non-holiday-related ones. Plus, I have the three on the needles. But, I finished 12 last month, so there’s no reason I can’t get the remaining ones finished in a little over 2 months, right? (heh… right…)

Of course, I’m trying not to remind myself that most things need to be done well before xmas, so they can get where they’re going in time… >.>

Help?

40 – Productivity!

September was a very, very productive month. I managed to finish 12 projects (11 of which I started the same month!)

Roflmao, my super sexy bunny model

The vast majority of it was, of course, gifts to be given over the next 3 months – most being Christmas gifts, with a few other things thrown in for good measure. Plus, I tried my hand at felted slippers (bunny slippers, to be exact) and fell so in love with them that I’m trying to figure out a way to sell them… Without charging more than I think people will reasonably pay – or selling myself short. I’ll keep you updated on the progress there.

The gift box contents so far… Sorry, colors would be too big of a hint!

I also worked on something that’s becoming increasingly important… Alternative methods of holding the yarn & needles when I knit. My hands have been getting achy lately, and there are times when I can’t really feel anything in the tips of my fingers (yes, I know, I need to see a doctor – but there’s no money for doctors right now, and no insurance.) So, I’ve been experimenting with my options, and I’m leaning toward lever knitting. It’s similar to English, but with the left hand doing more of the work, and the right hand moving only to wrap the yarn. It’s a bit of a challenge to learn, but I’m getting there, and getting faster. In fact, I’ve knit a couple projects already done entirely by lever knitting!
Right now, I only have 2 projects I’m working on – a pair of Norwegian mittens that are coming out beautifully, and a scarf that I’m only one row into and I’m already considering frogging it – eep! But, for only being the second day of the month, I think I’m doing ok.

As for right this very moment, though, I think it’s time to give my hands a break and do something a bit less strenuous…. Maybe I should crochet a bit! 😉

It’s ALIVE!!!!!

Knee socks!

So, it’s been a few days weeks months since I’ve posted… Life’s been pretty busy, and very stressful… But it’s getting better. I hope.

Actually got alot done in the past couple months. Too much to post everything, really. But I can give a few highlights! There have been socks (only one pair, but they’re knee socks!), shawls (three!), baby sweaters (two of  ’em!) and other baby-type things. There has been soap stuff, and other random little things. Mostly garter stitch, which I’ve found I love immensely because it knits up so quickly, without taking a lot of thought – which gives me plenty of time to focus on other things. And it’s not so bad for knitting in the car, either – which is always a good thing!

Garter stitch shawl of awesomeness

Right now, I’m working on another shawl, and a pair of socks. (And possibly a second shawl/wrap that I’m going to pretend doesn’t exist for now… Because apparently I hate knitting with tiny yarn on huge needles.)

Awesome shawl, awesome little girl.
But she still doesn’t get to keep it.

What has me really excited, though, is that I’m organizing a swap for Schmutzerella Yarns. Names have gone out, and we’re already a couple of weeks in, and it’s loads of fun. Everyone is busily crafting away for their swap partners now, including myself, and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. It was so much fun choosing who was going to craft for who… And I hope everyone likes my choices!

I guess now, though, I should get back to work on that shawl… Which is slightly annoying because, apparently I hate purling 300+ stitch rows. Oh well…

At least the yarn is amazing. 🙂