Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let the Games Begin

I've been watching the mounting knitting/crafting Olympic hysteria with a certain amount of detachment. I'm not doing the Ravelolympics, the Knitting Olympics or any of the other 'knitting challenge goals while watching the Olympics' things, even though that kind of goal-oriented behavior is usually right up my alley. (NaNoWriMo, I'm looking at you.) No, I'm sitting them out for one very simple reason. I don't have television. This startles people who've visited me, because there's a large television-shaped piece of electronics in my living room, but that's actually the screen for the DVD and VCR players. And every now and then, I will catch a current television show on the computer, usually while I'm on the exercise bike. But watching on the computer isn't sufficiently attractive enough to make me want to watch sports there, even winter sports which I like better than the summer ones. Besides, the cat objects to having my lap occupied by a computer all the time--that's her spot.

But then today, Toni, a past master at ambitious goals (she's gone a year without eating processed foods, is on her third year of knitting and sewing from stash, and is currently trying to do 100 projects in a year) threw down the gauntlet. We're currently neck and neck with nine FOs apiece for 2010 so far. What, you only counted seven?
Mittens, of course.

So, nine FOs. And she's half-a-pair of pyjamas from FO#10. Now. There's a lot of variation in the amount of time that a project takes--I wouldn't be at nine without those six pairs of fingerless mitts. But she's doing a sweater for her Olympic challenge, and I have a bunch of things in progress at the moment myself. And there are always mittens. Not that I'm competitive or anything. I don't know that I'm up for doing a hundred projects in a year (that's one every three and a half days!). But then I'm a little doubtful Toni's going to make that one either. We'll see where we're at come December, won't we? Toni, you're on!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You Really Can't Knit Just One (Pair)

So, when I set out to knit my co-worker a pair of fingerless mitts (the red ones, a couple of posts ago) , I'd forgotten something very important. They're fast. They knit up quickly and give me that tangy little buzz of finishing something. They shamelessly pander to every goal-oriented gene in my body. What does this mean? Well, that they're approximately as addictive as crack. Witness:
fingerless mits  child size

fingerless mitts

fingerless mitts

fingerless mitts

But! I am strong willed. I am In Charge Of My Knitting. I can stop any time I want to. See:
mittens in progress
Mittens! (Knit flat, two at a time.)

Okay, so maybe I'm still all about the instant gratification.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recapping 2009

A year ago this month, I started with just 2 WIPs (a pair of socks started during the big ice storm in December '08 and the Moderne baby blanket).

I ended the year with the bamboo sweater, and the fluffy blue sweater on the needles, along with the green wool Aran, and a new pair of socks I cast on for carrying-around knitting while I was on vacation. These don't really have a name...the pattern is euphoniously called "314" in my stitch dictionary (the new one I got for Christmas...thanks, Mom!) But I'm calling them the Rose Arch socks (after the rows of little arches in the pattern).
rose arch socks
Rose Arch socks in Deborah Norville Serentity Sock yarn

And in non-knitting projects, I still have some more work to do on my kayak cart (which will not be happening until the garage isn't freezing).

In reviewing my FOs, I was continually startled to find that a project had been done during 2009. I kept thinking, 'no, surely that hat was done last year'...but it wasn't. Clearly the reason that time seems to pass quickly is that I lose track of when things actually happened!

In summary:
Knitting- 31 FOs:
13 pairs of socks
1 pair fingerless mitts
1 pair slippers
2 sweaters
1 scarf
8 pairs mittens
1 baby blanket
4 hats

Crochet- 2 FOs:
2 crocheted baby/lap afghans

-refurbished bench
-reattached mailbox to post

-assorted mending
-tablecloth for long folding table

Interesting what a little data can tell you—I had the feeling that I'd done a lot of socks, and so I did. And my husband has been by far the biggest beneficiary, scoring a sweater and no less than four pairs of socks. That, I hadn't realized. And that doesn't take into account knitting the better part of two sweaters which will be inflating the 2010 FO list. Based on projects planned, I will probably have more sweaters, lots more mitts, and less of everything else this year. We'll see how that goes.

A great idea, this end of year list--I feel so much more productive than I did before I made it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010: After the Vacation

While I got a few things done the week between Christmas and New Year's, it wasn't the all-projects-all-the-time push that I had kind of been hoping for. What I did do was catch up on sleep. Ordinarily I see-saw between my night-person inclinations and my morning-centric job, and wind up seriously slort of sheep a lot of the time. A week at home, and I was actually full up. Rested. And while I would certainly have liked more vacation, I found that I wasn't quite as grumpy rolling out of bed at oh-dark-hundred as before. What a difference!

Among the things that did get done, and actually, the first FO of 2010--the extraneous sweater:
Fluffy blue sweater

And the neck detail shot (which also shows off the yarn a little better):
Fluffy blue sweater neck detail

This is a top down raglan, seamless, made using the Incredible Custom Fit Raglan pattern. (Note to self- the raglan dimensions on the pattern chart are seriously scrod. Next time stop the raglan increases when you reach the chest diameter. Or at least at some point before it would make a cozy for a cement mixer, necessitating lots of ripping back.) The fluffy yarn didn't lend itself to a lot of texturing, so it's quite a plain sweater, but I thought the yarn was just so pretty knit up that it didn't need a lot of ornamentation.

The yarn was a gift from a friend of my mother's, who has very kindly destashed quite a lot of yarn in my direction over the last year. My mom confessed to a grave temptation to keep it, despite not really wanting to knit a sweater. Hey, I can take a hint! I promptly decided that I'd really like to knit the yarn into a sweater for her--for Christmas. There was only one teensy little issue. I got the yarn at the end of October.

Now my Christmas knitting list was really quite modest, well thought-out and under control. Until I added the sweater. And decided to write a novel draft in November. Not even big needles could save me, I just plumb ran out of time. And the time I spent on the sweater was directly responsible for the last minute sock-and-mitt drama that had me knitting right down to the wire and beyond.

However, all that is now behind me. And I can return to my sorely neglected green Aran sweater...with maybe one or two teensy little side projects. After all, mitts hardly count:
ladies cable cuff mitts in Dark Horse Fantasy
Ladies Cable Cuff Mitts, from Dark Horse Fantasy and FO #2 of 2010

The sweater I just cast on for my sister, on the other hand....well, faint heart ne'er knit a lot of sweaters.