Thursday, December 31, 2015

Endings......

Today is a day of endings.

The end of December.

The end of 2015.

The end of yet another round of yarn chicken!  The log cabin style blanket project has officially been determined to be a draw.  2 for the chicken and 2 for me!

It all started with a bag of assorted colors of Big Lots Acrylic.  I bought it on a day that I had a coupon for 20% off an entire purchase and the yarn was marked at a dollar a ball.  I bought all they had in a beige, cinnamon brown, burgundy and black and proceeded to knit a couple of little charity scarves out of some of it and then uncovered it again months later to start a tv watching blanket as the colors would look good with the sofa.

Now, being the organized knitter that I am (NOT!!!) I of course knew how much of each color I had (NOPE!) and just grabbed balls out of that big plastic bag as I needed them.....And along came the yarn chicken.

He tugged and pulled at ends until he won with the cinnamon brown.

He tugged and pulled at the ends until he won with the burgundy.

He pulled and tugged, but lost (by less than a yard) with the beige.

He pulled and tugged, and tugged some more until he lost with the black.

The finished blanket is just one or two people large...I didn't measure it yet, was too busy washing and clipping all those pesky little ends....and does go rather nicely with the sofa!

I learned a few things knitting this very plain and boring blanket.  (I suppose the first should be to check how much yarn you have before you start, but I doubt that will ever be my strong point!)  Having spent years knitting shawls and seamless items I haven't had to do a lot of picking up of stitches, other than sock gussets, and having them look messy was annoying me, so I worked at learning a few different techniques and the back side of my blanket looks like this :

Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

So there is one ending that turned out just right!

Of course, today is also the day of reflection on the past year.  What went well?  What didn't?  What do we plan for next year?

I am always happy to sweep the last dirt of the year out the back door, and open the front door to see what things the new year will hold.  2015 was kind of a mixed bag.  Some, few, high points, some, too many, low points.  But, as a wise person once said, without the hardships we would never enjoy the highlights.

Here is wishing all of us a year filled with highlights in 2016.

~M

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It was Christmas Eve at the Workhouse



When I was a kid, I think it was my dad would wander around just quoting that first line from a poem.  I have actually looked the rest of it up, and I found it horribly depressing so that is all you get from it!

It is not much of a workhouse around here.  The official Christmas knitting is all complete, including three sets of ornaments for an Advent Tree. (We won't mention that I am two trees short of a set, now I have 11 months to get the trees done for next year!)

I am tempted to knit another star, so that one can be the topper and the other hang on the tree.  We'll see how lost I feel in the morning when I don't have another little ornament to knit!

I did get my ex-mil's Winter Wheat finished in time to get mailed off to the West Coast.  The designer asked if the "largest person in the house" could possibly model it for her.  The boys voted and as the kids' dad was already here for his Christmas visit he got handed the sweater!


 He was a very good sport about it.  The sweater is a little small for him and quite a bit too big for myself or TDQ.  Maybe I will get pictures of it on ex-mil so that we can see if it really fits her!

It is starting to sound like I have nothing on my needles, which isn't true!  I still am plugging away at my boring garter stitch log cabin blanket.  The yarn chicken won our game with the darker brown and burgundy.  I won with the beige and we are tugging back and forth with the black that will be the outer border.  TDQ asked if I was almost done, which depending on how you look at it I am.  there are only 2.5 more segments to go.....unfortunately for me, they are the largest segments.  But I am determined to get it finished this year, so maybe, during our movie marathon Christmas I will cast it off and get pictures!

I also have a cardigan for myself on the needles, none of the kids wanted or needed sweaters this year so they are getting their traditional socks and a hat each.  I figure TDQ has stolen enough cowls and fingerless mitts to keep her going for a few more years!
 
I am still working on the "great stash elimination/organization" project.  Three boxes of yarn need to find a home, not good yarn, just old acrylics and odd balls that won't ever get used here.  Even the boys have tastes that run to silk and cashmere so there is no sense in keeping (hoarding) yarn that won't get used.  I did discover that when you actually enter your stash in Ravelry, if you are looking at a pattern it will suggest yarns out of your stash to knit it with!  Great feature that I had never seen before, because my stash was just my stash!  I am all the way through the lace weights, mostly through the sock weight yarns (that was stashed in lots of different places and I am discovering more as I go!) and probably over half way through the worsted and aran weights.  I used up some bulky weights making really thick cowls for charity knits, and hated every minute of that knitting!  So the rest will be joining the acrylics in a box and the next charity that is picking up in my area will get them.  Of course I left the hardest area or last, my ColourMart Stash has it's own little area and apart from digging out some things for TFB to weave with I haven't even started on that!

But that is a project to get back to next week, for now my garter stitch log cabin blanket and I are going to go watch movies with the kids!

Merry Christmas!  May your stockings be filled with all you could ever want and may the true spirit of the season live in your heart all year long!

~M





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Internet Ate My Blog Post!

Monday evening, I was so excited.

I had the blog post all ready to go....

A pattern ready to be uploaded...

And the internet ate them!

On Ravelry, I kept seeing these (albeit cute) pictures of Bob (That's Bob in the left hand corner) telling me that things were a bit shaky so..well here I hit publish and nothing happened.

It was late, I was tired, once Bob stopped licking my screen, I uploaded the pattern and went to bed. Which means I promptly forgot to tell you that my shawl pattern for my contest entry to the Fall 2005 ColourMart Lovers Knitting Contest is live and ready to buy!

It is a rather pretty shawl, if I do say so myself!  Which, of course, I do!  TDQ says it makes her think about Downton Abbey, although that was not my intent when I was designing it.  I just wanted something a little cozier than a lace weight shawl, to wrap up in while I knit. A little cashmere, a little merino, in a fingering weight without a lot of chart symbols to remember.

It has a few left leaning and a few right leaning decreases, but mostly centered double vertical decreases throughout the two very different lace stitch patterns.  With each pattern having it's own color, never any guessing as to which lace to be knitting.


Here's the blurb from the pattern page:

During the fall when everyone else is thinking of pumpkin spice lattes, all I can dream of is apple pie with cinnamon and caramel. Crisp fall apples with spices and sweetness all it needs is a little whipped cream and I am in my own personal heaven! This shawl evokes the comfort of warm apple pie. Knit in a light fingering or heavy lace weight yarn, the knitting goes quickly.
This is a modular, top down, lace shawl, knit using two colors of yarn. You can extend the width and length by adding repeats of selected charts, or by using a heavier yarn and larger needle.
Pattern assumes a working knowledge of charts, provisional cast on, left, right and centered decreases, along with yarn overs and twisted stitches.
Originally knit and designed for ColourMart Cashmere/Merino 2/15 4 ply during the Fall 2015 as a design entry in the ColourMart Lovers Group Contest, it could easily be knit with other yarns.

And some pictures for you!






TOB's fingerless mitts also make an appearance in my pattern store. 


Of course I had to knit them up just to make sure that the instructions I wrote out for him worked in his chosen yarn.  His will not have embroidery on them.  They are a pretty quick knit.  Not a "no time to knit something" but a "little time to knit something" gift maybe.

You still have a couple of weeks to get that Christmas Knitting done.

I am still a pattern repeat, killer bind off and two sleeves away from finishing up my ex-MIL Christmas sweater.  Even with that deadline looming over my head I have stayed current on the Advent Tree knitting...more about that later.

I have some knitting to do...how's about you?

~M

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Not everyone has

I have mentioned before that TOB (The Other Brother) has become quite the knitter.  This evening he realized he does not have a project to work on during lunch and the ride time to and from school each day and decided that he needed to cast on a pair of fingerless mittens as a Christmas Present.

TOB : Is there a pattern you can give me?

Me - I can write you up one very quickly.

TOB: Ok, I want them to be red, and soft. Not too long in the cuff and no fancy lacy stuff.

Me - TOB, you are a very lucky boy.  Not everyone in the world can decide at 8:30 on a Sunday night that they want to knit a project in a certain color and yarn, have a pattern custom written for them and just go to the yarn store in the basement! 

Fifteen minutes later, yarn has been picked, pattern written up, he has cast on his project and has it in his project bag to take with him in the morning.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why having an extensive stash is a good thing!

~M

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's beginning...

So here we are, a few days into December and I have to ask...where do you stand with your holiday knitting?

I have one sweater on the needles, playing a serious, no holds barred, game of yarn chicken with it, for my ex-mil and need to figure out something for The Monster Man but other than that most of my knitting lately has either been testing for myself,

(That is Winter Wheat for those that are interested.  I changed the sleeves and knit it to my measurements, so it really doesn't fit TDQ in the sleeves!)

or testing for other people. 

 
The kids are all good for sweaters and just requested socks (all knit, thank you for asking) but you know me..can't have a holiday season without throwing a wrench into the works!

This year, Frankie Brown is publishing advent patterns for a cute little "Needle Advent Tree".  The pattern for the tree was released in November and involves sacrificing a knitting needle for the trunk.  No worries for me there, unless they are double points I have given up on using straight needles.
I knit mine with some seriously bright green yarn, couldn't find the pot I wanted to put it in permanently and forgot about it until December.

Each day there is a pattern for a little ornament to go on it.

 December 1st



December 2nd

 
The Third
 
and finally, this mornings offering.

Each day, TDQ tells me I am a dork for downloading the pattern in the morning, then squeals about how cute the ornament is in the evening when I finish sewing it up.

For someone who doesn't like to knit, she certainly finds people in her life who are knitworthy, and then comissions me to do the actual knitting!

That is for her bestest friend.

I have been, slowly and day by day, organizing the stash.  I am up to 150 entries in my stash pages on Ravelry and as I am cataloging and putting everything away after it's photo shoot, I am being ruthless with getting rid of the yarns I will never use!  In some cases I have "odd" balls of sock yarn that I know I have mates for, just need to sort through some more to find them.

In other news, TDQ had her wisdom teeth out.  We did discover that she has a moderate allergy to pain meds and like TFB does not react well to the anesthetics used in dental work.  Bad timing on our part, she had a class to go to the next day that she couldn't miss, but she got through it like the trooper that all of my kids have turned into.

Speaking of TFB, college tours have started for him.  Straight A's are easy for him, the soft skills needed to actually interact with the general population, not so much, so I did more of the talking and asking of questions than he did!  I think on this recent tour the person taking us around thought I was interested in the program and even mentioned that he is seeing more females in the program than ever before.

My shawl pattern is being tech-edited and should be ready to purchase sooner rather than later...if I can get my act together there might even be some Quick Knits for the Holidays files in my Ravelry Store soon too!