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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 – 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 areΒ  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.

Week 5 – And a happy birthday to my baby!

Today was my daughter’s 8th birthday, and I have to say, it was awesome. It started with the opening of the first birthday gifts… Hand knit sweaters for her and her doll, hand knit knee socks, and an activity book for us to do together.

Someone was a very happy girl. πŸ™‚

She wouldn’t stop talking about how much she loved it all… Though it took her a little while to get used to the socks. She’s never worn hand knit socks that actually fit her, so it took a little getting used to. But she seems to love them now. And she adored the fact that nobody else has a pair just like them. Overall, I’d say that it was a major score on the crafting front.

After that, we got ready and headed out to Chuck E. Cheese’s… Which was actually reasonably priced and a lot of fun for everyone – especially since I hardly had to do a thing, despite there being 10 kids invited! Cheyenne even won a (semi crappy) Tinkerbell art kit. (She could have gotten a much better prize with her 2,220 tickets, but that’s what she wanted, and it’s her birthday, so that’s what she got.)

Otherwise, the past week has been pretty good. I knit something for myself for once – a hat that actually looks good on me, out of a gorgeous angora/merino blend. It took about a day to finish… Would have been a lot less, but it consisted almost exclusively of daisy stitch, which I have never tried before, and will likely never try again. Evil, evil stitch, that.

Ran out of hand soap in the bathroom on Monday, and Cheyenne decided that she was going to refill the container… With water. *facepalm* And, of course, I’m picky about my soap, and didn’t have the time to run across town to get the type I like, so what did I do? Looked online! Now, I’ve got a few chemical sensitivity issues, and artificial fragrances are high on my no-fly list… You’d be surprised how many “natural” soaps list “fragrance” as an ingredient. I’m sure that it can be natural… But unless you know for a fact that it is, and you can prove it, I’d rather not take the risk. Needless to say, it took me about an hour to find something that would work. But, find it I did – Apple Valley makes some wonderful soaps. I ordered a bunch of samples from them, and I’m simply amazed at the quality. I’ve never been big on bar soaps, but after just a few days of using this stuff, the dry, scaly skin on the back of my hands is gone. I always thought it was because of the dry air in the winter, but now I’m wondering…. Anyways, I don’t have room in my shower for a soap dish, and I hate using wash cloths, so I wound up making a sweater for the one full bar I got – a lanolin, lemon, ginger concoction that’s just wonderful on my skin! I won’t be going back to liquid…. Like, ever.

And, of course, let’s not forget this month’s socks! I got this yarn from Schmutzerella Yarns back in October. The colorway is called Amok! Amok! Amok! Amok! – inspired by Sarah Sanderson from the movie Hocus Pocus. The moment I saw it, I knew it had to be my valentine’s socks this year, so here it is! I’m using the pattern, My Vampire Boyfriend, from Knitty… Honestly, the cables are kicking my butt. It’s taking forever to get through a single repeat of the pattern, but… It’s worth it. I hope. They’re cute so far, at least!

As for my 2012 goals… As of February 1:

  • Learn/try 1 new thing each month – 1/12 (January – daisy stitch)
  • 1 shawl or pair of socks each month – 1/12 (January – knee socks for Cheyenne)
  • Learn to lever knit – no progress yet
  • Spread xmas knitting throughout the year – 1 gift down
  • Work on scrap blanket – *whistles innocently*
  • Sweater for me by 8/31 – still in planning stages
  • Sweater for Cheyenne – DONE
  • Finish all current WIPs – Uh…. Eventually. πŸ˜‰

Overall, some pretty good progress, I think. And now, I think I’m going to go curl up in bed and sleep. It’s been a long day, and I have to work tomorrow. Ick…

Four!

Yet another good week finished!

Just about ready to wrap up January, and I think I’ve done pretty well so far. I finished my 7-year sweater, made the first of 12 pairs of socks, completed another sweater, plus a matching one for Cheyenne’s doll, got the first gift for my Xmas box done and ready to be put away, and I’m all set to start on my next big project: a Hemlock Ring blanket.

I’m really excited about this blanket. I’ve got the yarn – a full bag of a lovely green, worsted weight, superwash wool (for those who aren’t in the know, superwash can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer.)

I’m going to be good and not start until the 1st, but I did make up a swatch for it… and didn’t like how it felt while it was drying, so knit up a second swatch on smaller needles. Of course, now that the second one is drying and the first is completely dry, I sorta like the first. So… We’ll see how that turns out.

The thing is… I don’t want to start anything new until the 1st, but I’ve run out of things to work on! So I’m basically just sitting here, staring at the screen, and poking at stuff that’s already finished.

…maybe I should just do a quick project. Maybe something super-selfish just for me? We’ll see.

Now if only I could get caught up onΒ  bills so I could buy all the yarn I need for the projects I have planned this year… Big projects.. Which need lots of the same yarn, instead of all the single skeins I have… Hm…

Week the Third

Three weeks. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could knit an entire sweater in just three weeks. But, here it is.

Part of me wants to give it to the midget right now… But it’s a birthday present, and the matching one isn’t done, and I can hold off for another two weeks, right? Right???
Um… Maybe it should be hidden out of sight before I change my mind. πŸ˜‰

I need to make another sweater. For me. *nods*

The yarn for the next big project came the other day, and I’m aching to start it… But nope – I’ve got a pair of knee socks to finish first, and a beaded-shawl-thingy to work on, and a doll sized sweater to finish up. I’m being good, I swear!

Of course, it doesn’t help that I have some gorgeous merino/cashmere/nylon yarn that’s screaming my name, and some alpaca sock yarn, and the yarn for one of the few pairs of birthday socks I’m doing this year came, too, and those want to be cast on…

I will say, though, last year’s goal of birthday socks for everyone taught me something… Very few people really, truly appreciate them. So, while it is going to become a tradition in some sense, it’s not going to be one that everyone gets to be in on… Just the people that I know liked their birthday socks, and wear them regularly. 2-3 weeks of work is too much to put into something for anyone who doesn’t really like what they got. I’ll still do small accessories on heavier weight yarn, but not socks. Besides, I need more for myself!

And, speaking of which… I got my first ever darning egg and darned my first pair of socks. It took a lot less time than I thought it would, and was a lot easier than I expected. And now, I can wear my Joker socks again!

This really has been a good week. Hell, it’s been a good month so far. An amazing month!

Amazing

I’ve never completed a sweater that didn’t take me at least 5 years of off and on knitting.

This month, I will.

I think this is officially the year of the sweater, and of the large project in general. It’s the year I learn to stick with things, and finish them in a reasonable amount of time, and where I stop procrastinating as much.

Maybe.

Week 2

Unlike last week, I’m really happy with what I’ve managed to accomplish this week!

I’m about halfway through the first sleeve of Cheyenne’s sweater, with the back and both front sections finished. The buttons for the doll sweater are in, and the buttons for the full size sweater will be here Tuesday. At this rate, I’ll be finished with the sleeves by the end of the week, and the entire sweater should be done by the end of the month, leaving me about a week to do the doll size sweater – which should be easily manageable.

I started her socks the other night, and managed to get about 1/4 of the way through the leg (knitting two at a time.) I’m calculating that at about 1/6 of the entire length, which means those should be done on time, too.

These socks are reminding me of why I love self-striping yarn, and non-stockinette sock patterns. The striping makes you excited to see the next color, even if you already know what it’s going to be, and the pattern… It’s sort of like reading. If it’s a book of one-line quotes, you can stop anywhere, and pick it up later, but if you have a book with chapters, you tend to finish a chapter before you put it down. Plain socks, you knit a row and set it down, pick it up, knit another row… The phrasing, I guess, is short, and it gets tedious, and you wind up feeling like you’ve gotten nowhere when you knit a row and it’s 1/8 of an inch longer. When you have a multiple-row pattern, though, the phrasing can last 2 or more rows (this one is 8), and you keep pushing, just to finish the pattern repeat, then measure and… Look! It’s another inch long! Plus, you can measure how much you have left based on the number of repeats you have left. 10 repeats sounds a LOT easier than 80 rows, even if it’s the same amount of knitting.

On top of that, I’ve completed the first clue for the mystery knit-along that I’m working on… But I’ll post more on that next week. πŸ™‚

Also, I’ve set a new limit for myself… No buying yarn for a while, unless I have a specific project planned for it, and I have nothing else in my stash that will work. Hopefully, this will help me get caught up on bills and stuff, which I very much need to get on top of, and soon.