Sunday, 30 December 2012

Gift Wrap 2012 (Part 2)

As promised, here is the second instalment of this years gifts.

First up is a scarf/neckwarmer thing that I sort of made up as I went along, so there's not really a pattern for it.

I knew I wanted to make a nice warm manly scarf without too much bulk, so I started out knitting a fisherman's rib scarf.  It's just a little different than regular 1x1 ribbing, all of the purl stitches are normal, but all of the knit stitches are knit into the stitch below the stitch on the needle.  It makes it a bit more complex and doubles up the warmth of the scarf because each stitch is being knit twice. Unfortunately this also makes the knitting go a lot slower.  So instead of knitting a full length scarf I decided to add the buttons and some buttonholes to make it more interesting and stay put without having to wrap around a bunch of times.  Invention out of laziness!

Next are the Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang.

After knitting the Deep in the Forest mittens (see part 1), these pretty much flew off the needles.  Such a fun, simple knit where after getting used to the pattern I only needed to glance at it to see what row I was on.  The only thing I changed from the written pattern was that I omitted one repeat (10 rows) of the cuff section since the recipient has pretty small hands.  Also, because I didn't feel like knitting all of the repeats.

Next is Bias, a long scarf which looks much nicer in real life than it does in the picture.  (I apologize for these next two pictures, they were taken hurriedly after 10 pm just minutes before they were stuffed into boxes to be wrapped up.)

This one was a very simple portable knit.  Most of it was knitted on my lunch breaks or on the bus home from work.  The yarn (sweet georgia silk crush) was so beautiful that I think a more complicated pattern would have hid the variegation, and then what's the point of a lovely variegated yarn?  Exactly.

And last for today, Camptown Races, a cowl (infinity scarf) that just about killed me.  Not literally.

This pattern only became available in November.  Once I had the pattern I needed to find the yarn.  As soon as I first laid eyes on this cowl I imagined it in grey and yellow and started searching for yellow yarn.  You may or may not know this, but nice yellow yarn is very hard to find.  Not only is the right yellow hard to find, but finding it in the correct weight was even harder.  So hard in fact, that I never did find the right colour in the correct weight.  The pattern called for sport weight, but the closest I came was fingering weight.  Since it's a cowl, the difference in weight wasn't crucial so once I found the right yellow I didn't even care that it wasn't sport weight.  I knew I wasn't going to get any closer.  More difficult than finding the right yellow was giving this away.  Even though the colours were chosen with my friend in mind, I totally love them too, and I don't even wear yellow.  I guess when it's the right yellow, the rules change.  Luckily I have enough yarn left over to make another one.  I don't know if I actually will make another one, but I could if I wanted to, and that's the important thing.

After my last post I finished my last bit of Christmas knitting, which will come in a future post as it has not yet reached its intended recipient.  A few weeks ago I had started to knit a little something for myself as I thought I was farther along with my knitting than I actually was, and I almost paid dearly for my hubris with my sanity.  I kept it together though, and after finishing my Christmas 2012 knitting I celebrated by finishing the Deviate shawl for myself.

Blocking is much more enjoyable (and nicer looking) now with the assistance of my new blocking wires and knitter's block, courtesy of the Enabler.

Unfortunately,  I will have to wait until next year to wear it.

Fortunately, next year is only two days away.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Gift Wrap 2012 (Part 1)

Merry Christmas everyone!

I know I know, it's Christmas day, I should be spending time with my family, not sitting in front of a computer writing something that nobody is sure to read until probably next year.

Well to that I have two things to say.  The first thing is that I already spent all day yesterday with my family, and I will also spend all day tomorrow with my family.  Today so far I have spent all morning and part of the afternoon with my family, and the trend suggests that I will also spend the remaining part of the afternoon and all of the evening with my family.  I think they probably won't miss me (and I them) for an hour or so.

The second thing is that now that much of the Christmas knitting that I did has been distributed to their intended recipients, I can't wait any longer to show the projects off!

As I have said before, I was a little overly ambitious this year.  Although I started out with good intentions and did not mean to nearly drive myself crazy with Christmas knitting madness, most of the gifts I started were with tiny yarn and tiny needles and it would have been fine if just one or two were like that, but there were only a couple that WEREN'T like that.  Big mistake.  One that I am not going to make again.  Actually I probably will make that mistake again but at least not until next Christmas.

So, here are some of the projects that have now found their new homes (many of them photographed using my new photo studio in a box!.. but edited on my dad's computer which does not have much of a photo editor on it so I can't adjust colours/levels as much as I'd like to, but gimme a break, it's Christmas.):

First up, Highwayman Armwarmers for the Enabler.

This is the first time I have succeeded in knitting something for him in secret, so I was pretty proud of myself.  The colour of the yarn happened to perfectly match the colours that he picked out for the Earth and Sky scarf (shawl) that I made for him earlier this year, so I knew this yarn had to be something for him.  He wanted fingerless mitts for driving, so when I found this pattern I knew it was the perfect choice.

Next is the Cuss Hat for my (not so) little brother.

My evil big sister side really wanted to knit one of the... um... less family friendly charts, but better sense prevailed and I stuck with this one even though the other ones would have been hilarious.  Maybe when he's older. 

And now one of the most knitting madness inducing projects I took on this Christmas, Deep in the Forest Mittens for my mom.

The first one wasn't too bad, but I gotta say that starting the second mitten took an enormous strength of will and I nearly didn't make it.  Totally worth it though.

The last thing for today has a bit of a story to go with it.  Last year I made my dad a pair of fingerless mitts that he (said he) loved, but couldn't wear due to the Itch Factor.  Turns out that he has a sensitivity to wool, which is not something that a knitter likes to hear.  I vowed to make a better decision for him this year, so I chose a silk/cotton blend and was going to make him another pair of fingerless mitts.  Then I realized that silk/cotton would not make very good mitts, so for some inexplicable reason I decided to knit a tie instead.

Yes you read that right, a tie.  This tie, specifically (with modifications).  Who knits a tie??  Apparently I do.  This was clearly a symptom of my knitting induced madness.

In my haze, I knit the tie.  All 60 inches of it.  Well okay, it was about 62 inches by the time I stopped knitting, but that's because I kept measuring it and it was 58 inches every time I measured it.  I swear, three times over the course of an evening I measured it, and it was 58 inches.  After the third time I knew it had to be getting close, so I knit a few more rows, measured again, and it was 62 inches.  At that point I did what I could to retain some semblance of my sanity, and instead of ripping it back I said "CLOSE ENOUGH" and grafted the end together.

Then I blocked it.  I figured that it would grow a little during the soak, so I tried not to stretch it when I was pinning it out.  I measured it as I went and still managed to keep it to about 64 inches which I deemed CLOSE ENOUGH.

Finally Christmas Eve came around and I gave my dad the tie.  He was initially confused, then excited (only my dad would be excited over a knit tie... my knitting madness must have known that).  He put it on right away, but it was immediately obvious that it was too long.  He grabbed one of his usual ties, and we measured the ties next to each other.  The knitted tie was 72 inches long.  As my dad is about 5'9", the tie was taller than he is.  Something had to be done, as I wasn't about to let the second present in a row be a failure.

I slept on it, and today I did a tie-putation.  I marked the 60 inch point with a needle and set to ripping the tail back.

It was actually pretty fun.
It didn't take that long before I'd ripped it back enough, got the stitches back on the needle and grafted the end back together.

Now my dad is totally ready to rock.  All the other dads on the playground are gonna be super jealous.

Best tie/shirt combo EVAR

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I have no regrets

Dear Christmas Knitting,

I'm going to start out by saying that you're great.  I've really enjoyed the last few months together.  There's been some ups and downs, but mostly it's been a pleasure.  However, lately I've been feeling a little claustrophobic.  I feel like I'm being smothered, which is totally not your fault.  I know it's a cliché but it's really true: it's not you, it's me.  You know I've always liked to dabble with different projects and you were okay with that.  We had an understanding.  When it was time to buckle down and focus on you I did it without complaint, and I really enjoyed myself.  But now there's only one project left to be done this year, and I need a bit of a break.  Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to see this through, and I certainly don't want to neglect you.  I made a commitment, and I'm going to stick to it.  But you see, I have over two weeks to complete it, and two weeks is a long time to be knitting just one thing...

I think you see where this is going.  Fine, I'll admit it... I slipped.  I cast on another project, this time for myself.  I was feeling like I was giving and giving and I had nothing more to give.  I needed a little space, a little me time.  I'll come back to you soon, I promise.  I really just need a couple of hours with the new project.  If you saw it, you'd understand.  It's beautiful, and feels wonderful.

I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have said that, but it's true and I feel like honesty is the best policy.  I hope you can forgive me.  I'll do my best to make it up to you... in a couple of hours.  Maybe a day.  I promise I'll see you soon.

With warm regards,

- Wooloholic


P.S. Yes, I started knitting Deviate.  I had sort of planned to knit Askew, but the needle size it called for was 3.5 mm and one of my 3.5 mm circular needles is stuck in the apparently never to be finished Honeycomb vest, and the other is stuck in the final Christmas project of 2012 (There's one more to be done which is technically part of Christmas 2012 but it doesn't need to get done until January so I'm not counting that one).  I obviously couldn't wait that long to cast on something new so when I saw that Deviate was knit with a 4 mm needle that solidified my decision.  Of course I managed to misplace the 4 mm needle somewhere between taking it out of the needle roll and sitting down to start knitting.  In between I had put away some patterns and some leftover yarn and made myself some tea and I came back to the couch and it had completely disappeared.  I thought I was losing my mind, and we combed the house up and down for it... and then I found it in my bin of leftover yarn.  I am so smart.

Just so there's more than one photo in this post, here is a teaser photo of the yarn for the final project!

And that's all you're gonna get.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The problem with Christmas knitting

I started my Christmas knitting back in August.  I haven't just been knitting things for Christmas since then, but it has been on and off and there has always been a gift on the go.  Naturally, I can't post my finished (or even in-progress) items on here, because that would ruin the surprise for people at Christmas.  The reason I didn't post at all in November (aside from my super long last post) is because I have been knitting ONLY things for Christmas.  That's right.  Since I finished the Storm Fir Shawl, I haven't knit anything for myself because frankly I just haven't had the time.  I realized with about 45 knitting days to go that I still had a number of projects left to finish (or even start), and so it's been crunch time since then.  I was pretty sure that there was no way I was going to get it all done.  I thought about scaling back a project or two, but ultimately it wouldn't have been what I wanted to do so I stuck with my original plans.  I then started to prioritize.  I bumped back a project that didn't need to get done until January, and focused on the ones that need to be done before Christmas.  All I've been doing lately is knitting, so I haven't had time to blog, even if I DID have any projects that I could post pictures of.

Now it's December 1.  I've made a lot of progress in the last week, so my situation doesn't seem as dire to me as it did before.  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I can see a faint glimmer of light through the trees.

Which is a good thing, because as much as I totally love knitting things for other people, I have a whole bunch of things that I want to knit for myself.  Such as one of these two shawls by Lisa Mutch.

I think I am leaning towards Askew (pun intended), but I also really love Deviate.  The yarn is indigodragonfly MCN Sock in "Ooooo.. Shiny...".  If that isn't the best colour name ever I don't know what is.  Go check out their list of available yarn and just read the colour names, they are hilarious!  The yarn itself is pretty great too.

So that's about all I'm going to say for today...  Oh, I can show you one more thing!  I've been making tiny sock Christmas ornaments.  They are like potato chips, just one is not an option!  I have a bunch of them by now and I just love them.  They're so quick and adorable I can't even stop myself!

And for good measure, here is a picture of my cat sitting funny.

He thinks he's people!