Not gonna make it…

My Strawberry Fair cardigan now has five complete pieces – two fronts, a back and two sleeves.  But it’s not going to be finished by the end of the month.  It needs blocking, seaming, a hood adding and then – then.  A thing that I would call a button band, except I’m planning to install a zip.  So a zip needs to be sewn in, too.

Oh, and I’m going out tomorrow night, too!  So, no finished sweater for January.

That’s OK; I didn’t start it until a week in to January.  If I can finish before February 7th, I’m still notionally ‘on track’.

Two at once

Now the back and both sleeves of my Strawberry Fair cardigan are done, it must be time to work on the fronts.  (Well, duh).

But I noticed, as I was knitting the garter band for the first front piece, that the purple I was using was much more *intense* than that used for the back (no photographic evidence, sorry).  I don’t have a massive problem with the fronts not matching the back too well.  I’m not even that bothered about the sleeves.  But I’m not too happy with the idea of the two halves of the front being noticeably different in colour saturation.  Hmmm.. What to do?

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Knit both pieces at once, of course.  I’ve noticed that this yarn tends to have subtle variations within each ball of yarn (like it) and occasional greater differences between balls of yarn1 (annoying).  There are no dyelots, either.  So I decided that I’d probably be best off knitting the fronts simultaneously, each using a different end of each ball of yarn until its all used up.  Which is what you see in the photo above.  This seems to be working fine so far; I think it’s a bit slower (because you need to keep stopping to work out which to work on next.  Also, tangles), but I can cope with that.

On the upside, once I cast off these two, I can block and start making up.  Woo-hoo!!


1 It’s not just the semi-solid colours that do this.  The variegated colourway I used for ‘Lily’ this time last year did, too.  Documented here.

Nuthin’ to see here…

So, long time no post.  There has been knitting; I have a back and two sleeves done on my January cardi.  I haven’t taken any photos yet, though.

There has been spinning; I went to meet up with the Rampton Spinners ten days ago, and they were lovely.  I’ve been spinning since, too.

There has been no weaving, and no dyeing.

There has been destash-by-giveaway.

I’ve been seriously pre-occupied and distracted this last week; also very tired.  Now I’ve made one post, I intend to keep following on with more – with pictures.  Honest.

Hate

Read this.

When a man can be targetted as a punch-bag and killed purely because he has a learning disability, and it barely makes a ripple in the country’s news, it sickens me.

I live in the UK, and the crowning horror of this story, for me, is
that I thought that HSB’s blog entry was talking about a *different* case. In the UK.
Where a man with learning disabilities was targetted, brutalised, and
ultimately killed by grown boys/young men. This, though, was 2006. The
details are vile – worse, in some ways, than Brent Martin, as the
attacks were pre-meditated and sustained over months, descending into torture. The details are
sickening, and here.  The story reporting on their jail term being cut is here.

I don’t know what else to say.

Avoidance

OK, I’ve been totting up the stash.  I wanted to be able to present a grand overview picture of what yarn I have hidden away at the beginning of 2008.

It’s taken a while.

I’m pretty bored with spreadsheets now, and I’ve given up striving for 100% completeness, but I can tell you that I have:

  • 75.454 km, or 32.294 kg, of knitting yarn;
  • 17.010 km, or  1.940 kg of weaving yarn;
  • 84.552 km, or 10.765 kg of yarn for dyeing.

I’m particularly shocked by the dyeing stash; I haven’t actually even got round to mixing my stock solutions yet, so where the *heck* did all that come from?!?  The vast meterage compared to the weight is telling; most of it is laceweight and/or sock yarn.

So, there we have it.  I’ll do my *best* to update monthly on my stash reduction progress.

And yes, I’m aware that this doesn’t even mention spinning fibre or the three fleeces in the garage.

On the positive side, I can also tell you that at the beginning of 2007 I had 93.952km, or 44.453kg, of knitting yarn at the beginning of last year.  So I have achieved nearly a 20% reduction by length, or a 25% reduction by mass, in my knitting stash over the last year.

Not bad going!

Something new on the needles…

Actually cast on two days ago, I’m now more than half way up the back.  Not bad going!

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This is the jauntily named "Pink/purple
raglan
" from my last post.  I’m planning a very simple hooded raglan zip-up cardigan with garter stitch bands.  Shockingly, I’ve never actually knit a raglan before, so I’m considering it an Adventure.

And yes, this is for ME.  Despite the stripes, despite the pink, I will be wearing this.  It will have a very hippy, festival feel to it, I think; if it’s cold for Strawberry Fair this year, this deign would be a shoo-in for the perfect fashion choice.

I’m hoping to do something a little special and different with the hood, too, so watch this space…

This year’s plans

January:  Pink/purple
raglan sweater
(my design)Debbie Bliss Maya, pink and purple semi-solids

February/March:  Orange
moss-edge cardi (my design) – Jamieson’s Soft Shetland 

April:  Amelie
cardi – plum cotton angora, knit to a tighter gauge

May:  Aran
lace cardi
– Rowan Silken Tweed, dusty pink

June:  My So
Called Jacket
(my design) – Debbie Bliss Maya  peach mix

July:  Ginko Leaves organic cotton
tunic  – from kit

August:  ‘Colette‘ – GGH samoa, coffee

September:  Drops
Bolero – green handspun

October:  Yoked sweater (my design) – plied tapestry yarns

December:

Long, sleeveless cardi-duster (my design) chocolate Big Wool


OK, that’s 10 sweaters, and five of them are my own design.  But then, a few of them are cropped and/or have short sleeves.  I’d like to knock out a few socks, too, and some lace.  Easy, right??  Don’t disillusion me; I love the potential of a new year.

The pattern I’m probably most excited about?  Colette.  Dont’ ask me why it’s only scheduled for August; I don’t know.

Looking forwards/looking back

I hesitated about putting this in the ‘knitting’ category – it’s a wider issue than that, really – but it’s mostly in the context of knitting, so I might as well.

2007
When I see the lists of accomplishments on some people’s blogs, I feel particularly as though 2007 hasn’t really been a productive year for me.  I started the year finishing up ‘Lily‘ (who never got an FO photo shoot), but apart from that I knit one single, measly cardigan for myself, which I don’t think even got any blog time.  That was Melody, from Debbie Bliss’s ‘simply soft’ collection.  I knit nothing for J.  In February, I finished two pairs of socks that had been a bit of a millstone, and made a pair of footies from the leftover yarn.  In March I knit my Lotus Blossom Shawl, which finally got some wear around September time.  MS3 and the Pomatomus socks took up most of the summer months, and then I got stuck in to my Dad’s Fair Isle, which was started in October and not finished until the end of December.  Time has certainly flown.  Also in there, somewhere, were a crocheted wire and glass necklace, and the ‘urchin’ beret (and invented a matching gauntlet) from Knitty.

I did do a fair bit of spinning in 2007, though not nearly as much as I’d like; that’s for a different post, though, I think.

I put myself on a strict, voluntary yarn diet in 2007, which was pretty much successful up until November, when I broke the rules for the first time.  But then, I broke them good and hard.  The final stash-roundup for the year is yet to be achieved.

2007 was also the year Ravelry was launched (I really don’t need to link them, do I?).  I like Ravelry, but unlike some, I don’t *love* it.  I’m not a massively social person, and I’d rather be reading blogs (or knitting!) than trying to follow groups and forums.  I do love being able to see other people’s projects, though; finding out how they look outside a professional photoshoot, on folks who aren’t necessarily professional models, in different yarns than the designer recommended…  And I love being able to queue my projects, and mark faves for later.  I use faves, mostly, and will be going through them at some point to see what I feel like ‘next’.

2008
This new year is already off to a flying start with a new FO – Tudora!  I haven’t blogged this at all, but it’s been a pretty quick knit; I certainly didn’t cast on till after Christmas, and I’m wearing it as we speak.  It took just over 1 ball of Cork (including the swatch) and only a few days.  I’m pleased with it, though it is also testimony to how even a soft, squishy yarn like Cork can be a bit scratchy if knit up firmly and worn next to the neck.

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I have some thoughts on knitting plans for 2008, though nothing cohesive yet.  In 2006, I made myself a schedule, and I stuck to it.  Pretty much.  It was a productive knitting year.  Last year, no such schedule, no such productivity.  I think I might need some plans this year.

Although, I’d like to keep my flexibility, too.  I need to think about gifts *before* they become urgent.  When I have a gift idea for someone, I need to make a note of it – and start working on it as feasible, not on the ‘if I really pull out all the stops, I might get it done in time to wrap it in the car on the way to the party’ schedule.  This kind of non-planning has been proven to result in stress and the giving of incomplete gifts.  Or even gifts that are six months late.  I might have to have a policy of alternating gift-knits with big-knits.

I think I might also attempt to alternate ‘large’ projects and ‘quick’ projects, though the definition of each is definitely up for discussion.  Maybe I’ll plan the ‘large’ projects and leave the ‘quick’ ones unplanned as an Opportunity for Spontaneity.

RIP, Ugly Socks – who wants the yarn?

The Ugly Socks are going; I just can’t be doing with knitting something that doesn’t bring me any kind of joy at all.  If I was running out of both socks and sock yarn, I might keep plugging on with these, but in the circumstances, they’re just not worth my knitting time.

So, I’m giving the darned stuff away.  I’m also ‘advertising’ them on my Yahoo! group, StashSupport.

This is a single ball of Opal Elemente which I have split into
two equally-sized balls so I can knit toe-up socks as long as
possible.  It will be enough for a generously adult-sized pair of
socks.  You can see the effect I’m getting here.  If you want them, drop me a comment saying why, (or join the group
and tell everyone!) by the end of Sunday, and I’ll randomly select my
favourite submission to receive them, totally free.  I will take the needles out, but will probably leave the sock
as-is for you to unravel or continue, as you see fit.  If you ask
nicely, I’ll even transfer the live stitches onto waste
yarn for you.

These are being knit toe-up with short row heels and toes.  The first sock is just past the heel; the foot is in stockinette and fits a woman’s medium-large foot, UK size 7.  I’d just started a 3-1 rib leg.

Any takers?

Happy New Year!!

I’d hoped to have a stash report all ready for you to ring in the new year, but I didn’t exactly manage it…

So I figured I’d be better off just wishing everyone a very happy new year, and reminding you not to overdo the resolutions.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

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