2015 First Quarter Plans

Last week we discussed the knits I finished in 2014, and the intention words around which I’ve chosen to focus my year. I also mentioned needing a ‘plan of attack’ for my WIPs and yarn stash. For the stash, I’ve ruthlessly gone through and and either donated or put up for destash all of the skeins that I don’t foresee using anytime soon. (If there’s anything in my regular stash that you’re interested in, feel free to inquire as well, I might be persuaded to let it go.) For the WIPs, I’ve decided to split the year up into quarters (3 month chunks) and have listed a 5 ‘new’ projects (began since Dec 2014), 4 sock WIPs, and 3 other WIPs (projects begun prior to Dec 2014) to work on each quarter.

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Knitting plans for Jan – Mar.

 

Let me tell you, when you only allow yourself a certain number of projects to knit at a time, it really forces you to choose wisely! I’ve given careful thought to the yarns I want to work with, the variety of projects I like on my needles, and the finished objects I’m anxious to wear to sort out my lists. I have not planned out every new project through the entire year, but I did assign all my WIPs to each quarter so I will at least be required to either finish them or frog them at some point soon. The above photo represents my first quarter knitting plans (minus 2 sock WIPs that I forgot to pull out).

New Projects:

Sock WIPs:

Other WIPs:

Phew! I bet you guys are sick of lists by now, but I have one more.

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Spin the Bin 2015

 

This year’s CTA Spin the Bin Challenge! The idea for this challenge is to pull out 12 ‘types’ of fiber from the depths of your stash, put them in a bin, and commit to spinning the whole shebang this year. This helps a spinner stay focused when the shiny, new, colorful braids are being too tempting. You only need to count 2 oz as one ‘type’ of fiber, so it’s easy enough to spread large bunches of fiber out over several categories, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t spin new fiber, just that you also commit to spinning up some of what you’ve had for a while. Here are my 12 types, many of which have been lingering in stash since 2012.

Spin the Bin 2015:

  1. Loop! Kermit Coordinate Bump – 5 oz
  2. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Rime – 4 oz
  3. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Canopy – 4oz
  4. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  5. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  6. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  7. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  8. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  9. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  10. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  11. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz
  12. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz

As you can see, I’m taking what are really 7 different fiber stash entries and spreading them out over the 12 ‘types’ for the year. There are plenty of other things I want to spin this year, but these bin spins are on the list because I don’t want to keep putting them off, especially the BFL cross locks. I’ve only committed to the minimum for those fibers, since I’m considering washing and prepping them by hand to be part of the challenge for me. Plus, I have a full pound of each and I’m not yet sure what I want to do with all of it, the goal this year is just to sample them.

And those are all of my lofty plans! If I manage to accomplish all of my first quarter knitting and the first three Spin the Bin goals, I will have used up 20 skeins of yarn and 13 oz of fiber. Not bad, right? Here’s hoping I can make it!

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IS #81: Worsted Weight Shawls

Now that I’ve finished my Lucy Hat, I’m on the hunt for the perfect worsted weight shawl pattern to knit with the rest of this delectable wine-colored yarn.

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Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorway Kiss of Cabernet

So I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorites.

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My own photo. Click for project page.

I knit this shawl (Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn) way back in 2010 and I still wear it every season. Worked in Malabrigo Worsted, it is exceptionally cozy. It’s not a super wide shawl (with extra repeats mine blocked to 58″ wingspan) so when I wear it kerchief-style I like to secure the ends with a fun shawl pin (the wiggle one is my favorite), especially since thicker fabric doesn’t drape the same way as lightweight fabric does. I’m talking myself into knitting this one again… but let’s see what else is out there!

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Photo copyright CatReading. Click for pattern page.

This one, Flourish designed by Rose Beck, has a very similar feel to the previous shawl, while being just a little bit lacier and more dramatic. It’s conveniently already shown in a deep wine color, too, so I have a pretty good idea of how my finished shawl would look! I’m really liking this one.

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Photo copyright KnitJaneKnit. Click for pattern page.

The Dane Shawl, designed by Jane Tanner, is a free pattern that has been in my queue for a long time. I queued it because its simple pattern repeat allows for modification in any weight of yarn, just choose an appropriate needle size and knit smaller or larger as needed! I would also like to give this more curved, shoulder-hugging shawl shape (vs. the traditional triangle) a try.

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Photo copyright tincanknits. Click for pattern page.

A similar-but-still-different shawl is Rosebud, designed by Tin Can Knits. The sample was knit in fingering weight yarn, but like the previous shawl, the entire shawl consists of one simple lace repeat that would be easy enough to size up or down for different weights of yarn. I think the rose motif would be especially striking in my wine-colored yarn.

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Photo copyright Owlish. Click for pattern page.

And now for something completely different! This beautiful shawl (Loie designed by Beth Kling) is asymmetrically knit from side to side in a textured rib that ends in a lovely cable and lace edging.

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Border closeup. Photo copyright Owlish.

Isn’t that border a gorgeous piece of work? It’s knit in DK weight yarn, but just up the needle size a bit and grab an extra skein for yardage insurance and I think it would work wonderfully in worsted. I would likely use some Codex yarn for this, rather than the Zaftig I have, because I like the way I imagine the silk blend would make the stitches shine.

And I can’t leave this post without mentioned this brand-spanking-new bit of loveliness:

Photo copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

This worsted weight shawl is Nacarat, designed by Hunter Hammersen. It’s part of her new collection, Curls, an entire book full of asymmetrical wraps/shawls. The book was put up for pre-order today (at a discount!) and the first 250 people to order get a little goody bag as well, so you know I’ve already bought mine. I can’t seem to NOT buy one of Hunter’s books anyway. There are a whole slew of patterns that I love but I’ll wait until I actually hold the book in my hands before a blab about it any more.

Do you have a favorite worsted weight shawl pattern, or do you prefer lighter weight accessories? What’s been inspiring you lately? Share with us in the comments below!

IS

FOFri #34: Double Whammy

You know it’s been a good week when you get to Friday and realize you have crossed off everything on your to-do list. THAT NEVER HAPPENS, GUYS. I’ve even finished things that weren’t on the list! Which is why I have not one but two finished objects to show off today. Although I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos: mornings are dark, the lighting is terrible, and it’s crazy hard to focus a DSLR when it’s on a tripod and you’re a few feet away. (Still learning with my new toy, obviously.)

Wine-y Lucy Hat:

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Blurr-tastic! Click for project page.

This hat is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite. Seriously. I love the yarn, the shape, the style, the fit… everything. The pattern is Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer. I really admire Carina’s designs. Her aesthetic aligns perfectly with what I actually want to wear, and her patterns are well-written and usually fun to knit. I’ve made her Regina hat, Whippoorwhill Shawl (which was a bit of a slog because it involved so many stitches but the shape is perfect and I wear it constantly), and no fewer than three Zuzu’s Petals cowls (and I’ve been itching to make another recently).

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Pre-finished, but shows the colors well.

I am really happy with my yarn choice for this project, too. I used Verdant Gryphon’s Zaftig (worsted weight 70% superwash Merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon), which is a nice round yarn with a soft hand from the cashmere content. The main color is Russian Sage, a nearly-neutral pale lilac, and the contrast is Kiss of Cabernet, a perfect wine color that I’ve been really digging lately. I was imagining the main color as more of a khaki tan, but I think the lilac is light enough to still be worn with a brown-ish outfit without screaming HEY GUYS, LOOK AT MY CLASHING PURPLE HAT, and it coordinates perfectly with outfits on the grey end of the spectrum. (Yes, I really do debate this much over whether or not things match. It’s important! Or OCD.) I will likely knit another of these someday in a different combo, probably involving teal.

Sweet Codex Shawl:

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Fringe-tastic! Click for project page.

These perfect skeins of silver Sanguine Gryphon Codex have been waiting to become a shawl for a long time… since 2012!  I waited and waited, changing my mind about a million times, wanting to use it for an intricate lace masterpiece (but having no time to actually knit such a thing). Finally, the need for a grey accessory became overwhelming and I cast on for a simple shawl that I had made before and knew that I loved.

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Makes a nice couch cover, too!

The pattern is Sweet November Knit Shawl by Caryl Pierre and it is the ultimate in stylish simplicity. It’s really nothing more than YOs, k2tog, and ssk’s combined with a fun little fringe. It’s epically wearable and looks great in both solid and variegated colorways. It can be knit with basically any weight and amount of yarn. I knit mine on US 10 needles (a bit smaller than called for since Codex is sort of in between DK and worsted weight and is rather slinky from the silk) and continued until I had 223 stitches on the needle (instead of the 171 called for) using less than 460 yards. I bound off on the WS with the recommended stretchy bindoff and added 33 fringes of 4 strands each. The shawl measures 66″ across (I like ’em big!) and 26″ down the center spine, not counting fringe.

Here are some horrible photos of me wearing it. I promise, it looks way better IRL.

I think that taking a little break from my NaKniSweMo project to finish these two accessories was totally worth it, don’t you? Plus, I have a road trip ahead of me this weekend so there should be plenty of knitting time to make up for my non-monogamous transgression (this is why I suck at KALs, y’all). I hope your weeks have been productive, as well, and Happy Friday!

WIPWed #71: Instant Gratification

As a knitter, you wouldn’t think that I’d have a deep love of instant gratification, since knitting is probably one of the slowest ways to create something. Yet, I do. I can only stay project-monogamous for so long before my fingers get itchy for something new and quick. Especially when lovelies like these arrive:

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The Verdant Gryphon Zaftig, colorways Russian Sage and Kiss of Cabernet

As I mentioned on Saturday, The Verdant Gryphon brought back my beloved Zaftig yarn (worsted weight MCN blend) and I just could not resist. Skeins were acquired, and swatches were  nearly immediately made.

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Swatches!

The top swatch was made with size 7 needles because I could not find the size 6 needles the pattern called for and of course, my gauge was too large. I finally did find my size 6 needles and made a second (slightly less enthusiastic) swatch, which was close enough! (Pattern called for 5 sts/inch, I achieved 5.25 sts/inch.)

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The beginnings of a Lucy Hat. Click for project page.

Hats are my absolute favorite instant gratification project, and normally around this time of the year I’m knitting hats like crazy for gifts. However, this one’s for me, and it’s going to be awesome.

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SG Codex, colorway Lioness of Brittany. Click for project page.

The project I’ve been (mostly) monogamous with is my Sweet November shawl knit with luscious, silky Codex. I know I’m going to love this thing like crazy when I’m done, it’s just not particularly engaging to knit anymore since it’s quite simple and repetitive. But that ball is shrinking quickly, so an FO should be in my future soon enough!

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Inglenook Batts. Click for handspun project page.

I took a little spinning break after Spinzilla, but have since picked up my supported spindle project here and there. I’m still enjoying this spin. The singles are so colorful and such a crazy mix of fibers that I’m really looking forward to seeing what it will look like plied!

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Spindle storage.

Over in the Spindlemania group there has been some discussion about how people store their spindles. The above photo illustrates my little spindle corner in the living room. If you look closely, you’ll spot two Turkish spindles on top of the tallest bookcase (one of the few spots in the house that Darwin can’t terrorize). Hanging on the wall are two colorful bags that each contain a top whorl spindle (my Golding and my Kundert) with their fiber. The small hanging bag holds fiber for one of my support spindling projects. Below the bags are my two support spindles and one additional top whorl stuck in a vase with glass beads to hold them upright. For traveling, my Jenkins Aegean and my larger Capar Turkish spindles each fit well within my Dakine school supply case (with shafts removed and with plenty of fiber).

How do you store or travel with your spindles? What do you do when the urge for instant gratification strikes?

IS #79: Worsted Weight Wonders

It has been quite a while since my last Inspiration Saturday post, but it’s also been some time since I’ve had a chance to really sink my teeth into a pattern search. Many of these posts are born of a burning need to find just the right pattern for just the right yarn and lately I haven’t had any pattern-matching conundrums. However, I’ve just discovered that The Verdant Gryphon has brought back one of my favorite yarn bases (Zaftig Bugga, a worsted weight MCN blend) and well, I had to know how many skeins to buy for my next project, didn’t I? Let the luxurious, worsted-weight-accessory-pattern curating commence!

The Millwater cowl by Beth Kling is one I’ve had queued for Zaftig for quite some time.

Copyright Beth Kling. Click for pattern page.

I knit this pattern out of Malabrigo Twist a while back and really enjoyed it. The knitting is simple and soothing, just garter stitch with a ribbed cable that is knit flat and then seamed. I think the finished piece is striking and versatile and looks lovely in semi-solids and variegated yarns.

Another simple-but-striking cabled pattern is the Tidal Flats hat by Melissa Thomson.

Copyright Alexa Ludeman. Click for pattern page.

This hat is part of the Cascadia collection, which contains many lovely accessory and sweater patterns. This hat would work best in a semi-solid, so as not to obscure all that smooth reverse stockinette.

I’ve been enamored with this Bosc scarf by Robin Ulrich for ages:

Copyright Robin Ulrich. Click for pattern page.

It’s just so dang elegant, and knit in worsted weight it would be cozy, beautiful, and fairly quick to knit.

This Fission mitts by Annika Barranti would be quite cushy in Zaftig.

Copyright Vivian Aubrey. Click for pattern page.

I love the laced-up i-cord details, the cables, and the twisted stitches. You need a yarn with good stitch definition to really make these pop. The style is a little bit similar to my Berriboned Wrists pattern (lacing-wise, anyway):

Copyright Alicia Morandi. Click for pattern page.

The wristwarmers were initially designed with Zaftig, and are quite cozy as all get-out in the heavier weight yarn. (I’m wearing them as I type, in fact!)

To up the elegance ante, we have the Juneberry Shawl designed by Jared Flood.

Copyright Brooklyn Tweed. Click for pattern page.

I’ve adored this shawl for quite some time, but have been having internal debates over whether I want to knit it out of Zaftig or something a bit drapier with some silk content, like Codex or Mondegreen.

Lastly, and the pattern I will most likely knit first, is the Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer.

Copyright Knitscene. Click for pattern page.

I think the plump, tightly-twisted texture of Zaftig will lend great stability to this striking, structured cloche. I love the stitch definition in the photo, the possibility of amazing color combination, and that jaunty flipped brim. This hat needs to be rocked so hard, and I plan to rock it well.

Have you been inspired by anything in particular lately? What’s your favorite use for worsted weight yarn? Let us know in the comments below!

IS

WIPWed #61: Time Warp

It turns out that when you spend your summer getting married and going on a honeymoon, your knitting progress seriously suffers. It appears that my active WIPs are exactly the same as they were in my last WIP Wednesday post a month ago!

(Not So) Secret Swatches:

This project is basically just a couple inches longer than it was in the last post, so nothing to see here.

Simply Royal:

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BMFA BFL Fingering Superwash, colorway Royal. Click for project page.

I began this sock just before my wedding, knit on it during our photo session, and took it with me to Costa Rica. This is a very special sock, indeed, although the knitting is very simple. I’m loving the way the colors are knitting up, the combination of striping and pooling is really interesting!

Tarnished Yak/Silk:

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BMFA Rockin’ Whorl Club Yak/Silk fiber, colorway Metalocalypse. Click for handspun project page.

My little Jenkins Aegean flew with me to Costa Rica, too, but only spent a little bit of time out and about. It was too humid to spin, really. The fine, soft fibers stuck to my fingers too much and it just wasn’t pleasant. But now I’m back, and ready to tackle this fiber as part of the Jenkins Ravelry group’s Fall Mini Spin-A-Long.

Speaking of spindles, a wonderful new addition joined my (quickly) growing collection:

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Enid Ashcroft Mini Turkish spindle.

It is every bit as gorgeous and teeny tiny as it seems! Its whorl diameter is only 3.25″ and it weighs 17 g, my smallest and lightest Turk yet. The arms are Tulipwood and the shaft is African Padauk. I don’t know if it’s the weight, the dimensions, the woods, or the maker (or some combination) but it’s also the most pleasant to use of my Turkish spindles. It has the longest and most stable spin of the three that I own and it feels the most comfortable to wind on. Basically, I adore it and I anticipate much happy spinning in our future.

And speaking of new acquisitions, this is what happens when there is a mystery grab bag mill end sale, a closing down of a favorite yarn company, and a discontinuing of a favorite yarn base all at the same time during a fairly stressful month:

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YARN-SPLOSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I swear, I’m usually much more restrained than this, but it was a trifecta of circumstance (plus so many sales!) and these acquisitions just could not be resisted. They should keep me going for quite a while, I’d say. Want more details?

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight

These were my Mystery Mill End grab bags from BMFA. I told them I liked blues and purples and they totally delivered! I’m not completely in love with the skein all the way to the left (royal blues mixed with oranges that got a little muddy) but STR is superwash and always good for baby knits or toys, and I see this skein as a great baby boy color (which is rare in my stash). The rest of the skeins, I love: a pale icy blue, a moody mix of purples, teals, and maroons, and finally a skein that looks a lot like Lavender Fields in the Mist, which I’ve admired for a while. Very happy with my mysteries!

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Final Cephalopod Yarns purchase.

These three skeins of CY Traveller were the only things I could snag off the website during the feeding-frenzy days of the final CY updates (2x Red Palace and Wolcott). I’m not usually drawn to reds, but I’m surprised by how much I like the Red Palace colorway and the Fiasco basically exclaimed “OMG THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!” with completely non-ironic enthusiasm when he saw it, so it stays. I actually have 2 more skeins of Skinny Bugga headed my way that my dear friend Jeremie picked up from his local yarn store. Before this point I wasn’t really buying yarn very actively so I am grateful he was able to get me a couple of colorways I’ve loved for a long time but hadn’t yet stashed. Yay for yarn-conscious friends!

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CY Bugga in Flamboyant Cuttlefish

This skein also falls under the ‘loved for a long time but hadn’t yet stashed’ category. CY is pretty famous for its amazing rainbows and I just had to grab this from a destash while I still could.

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Verdant Gryphon Mondegreen in Paradise Valley, Black Hole Evaporation, and Athena

One of my other favorite yarnies, Verdant Gryphon, is discontinuing one of my favorite yarn bases, Mondegreen, and selling it for 40% off with the coupon code ‘mondegreen40’ at checkout (I believe the sale is still going). So (I ask you again), how could I resist? Although I haven’t stashed very much Mondegreen (see: not actively buying lots of yarn recently) I still really love it and am sad to see it go. The blend of BFL wool, silk, and camel down is unique and a delight to work with.

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VG Codex, colorway Carousel Horse

I believe at this stage of the game I reached a point of “what the hell, why not” and just grabbed this skein because it was pretty and different from anything else in my stash. Don’t judge me, ok? These things happen.

I hope that was enough yarn candy to perk up your Wednesdays! Check out more WIPs with Tamis Amis.

WIPWed #52: Limping Along

Due to the hectic weekend, my still-not-quite-right-wrist, and working like crazy to finally get my lotion bar Etsy shop up and running (soon, I promise!) my knitting feels like it has been barely progressing. I’ve only managed a few rows here and there, really, but I suppose it all adds up.

Stitch Block Blues:

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Quince & Co. Osprey. Click for project page.

This cowl is one of those projects that I really want to own but don’t necessarily want to be making anymore. The yarn is a delight and I adore the color combinations, but the stitches themselves are somewhat tedious and fiddly because they involve a lot of knitting into the row below. The finished fabric is worth it, but it isn’t my favorite thing to knit.

November Melody:

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The Verdant Gryphon Mithril. Click for project page.

This scarf, on the other hand, is about as simple and painless to knit as can be. I truly love working with Mithril. It’s a laceweight yarn but it’s a beefy one — multiple plies, nice grabby wool, nothing slipping and sliding unnecessarily out of place. It’s not like knitting with cat whiskers or air, as some laceweights feel like. (No cats were harmed in the making of this analogy.)

Fiasco – Deconstructed:

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight. Click for pattern page.

BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight. Click for pattern page.

My not-really-Fiasco socks are progressing nicely. I’m still loving the way the yarn is striping in the simple stockinette and garter stitch combination. This colorway, Sigur Ros, has such a primary feel to it — all those royal blues and brick reds and yellows. You wouldn’t think those colors would mix well with the aqua, lavender, sandy tan, and acid green in there, but they somehow do.

Raven Loch:

Squoosh Fiber Arts Rapture. Click for project page.

Squoosh Fiber Arts Rapture. Click for project page.

My recent Inspiration Saturday post about lightweight, spring-appropriate hats motivated me to get back to the Loch hat I’ve had hibernating for a while (another great spring hat pattern). This one’s so close to done I can taste it, I’m on the decreases! Which is nice, I’m in need of a knitting win.

CTA SAL Pigeonroof BFL:

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Frabjous Fibers Sparkly BFL. Click for handspun project page.

I finished the Pigeonroof Fibers BFL single from 2 weeks ago and am now about 2/3 of the way through the Frabjous Fibers single which will constitute the second ply in the CTA spin-along I’m trying to finish by the end of the month (yes, this month). I have a blissfully uncommitted weekend coming up so I’m still thinking I can finish this in time… especially since spinning is less painful for my wrist than knitting is at the moment. (When will this thing heal already?!?!? Sigh.)

That’s all I have going on this week! How are your weeks going? Any hurdles you’ve been trying to overcome? Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

WIPWed #50: What A Week

This week is totally walloping by. I’ve written what feels like half a dozen blog posts in my head, but have lacked both the time and the energy to actually type them out by the time I sit down in the evening. For instance, yesterday I didn’t get to eat dinner until 9:30 p.m. NOT HEALTHY. My wrist, however, has thankfully recovered. I didn’t knit a single stitch for 3 entire days to give it time to heal (though I caved and spun a bit on the second day – I’m not superhuman). It’s still a little twinge-y from time to time, I had really done a number on it, but I’m back to normal amounts of knitting now. To the WIPs!

Stitch Block Blues:

This one looks just like last week except the piece is now 20″ long and I’m ready to begin the second stitch. Huzzah! (Sorry for the lack of photo. See above, re: busy week.)

November Melody:

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Verdant Gryphon Mithril, colorway November Moonlight. Click for project page.

I decided to add a bead row to jazz up this basic scarf and I’m really loving it so far. I worked a k1, *(YO, k2tog)*, k1 row and then on the next row used a crochet hook to thread beads onto the k2tog stitches. I love the sparkly effect. I plan to add two more evenly-spaced rows. Hopefully counting rows and weighing the remaining yarn will help me space them out properly, otherwise my OCD side will get twitchy.

Fiasco – Deconstructed:

These were regular Fiasco socks:

BMFA Socks that Rock Lightweight, colorway Sigur Ros.

But the square, metal Kollage needles were really hurting my hands for some reason and I realized what I actually needed was a simpler pair of socks. I frogged and restarted a couple of times before I finally accepted that a plain stockinette sock was all I wanted.

Desk shot! Click for project page.

I’m keeping the garter stitch cuff, heel, and toe of the original pattern and just doing stockinette for the leg and foot. I really like the multidirectional striping effect I’m getting with the highly-variegated yarn. I also quit the Kollage needles and am using size 0 Carbonz needles instead and I love them. They might be my new favorite needles, ever.

CTA SAL Pigeonroof BFL:

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Pigeonroof Studios BFL, colorway Filigree. Click for handspun project page.

When I saw the gorgeous colorways being dyed by Pigeonroof Fibers for this quarter’s Completely Twisted and Arbitrary spin-a-long, I couldn’t resist the blues and purples in Filigree. I have a perfectly coordinating braid of sparkly blue BFL that I plan to ply with this single. I’m nearly finished spinning this first single but it will still be quite a rush to finish by the end of the month. (I’m sure you are all on the edges of your seats, aren’t you?)

I have more spinning-related things to blab about but they’ll have to wait until another day — I’m beat! Hope you all are having less hectic weeks. Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

February Focus

I’m not quite sure why I’ve never taken part in the Ravellenics events in the past. It could be because I wasn’t in a group that was really into it or because I don’t have cable TV (we’re a Netflix and Hulu household) or because I’ve never been fond of watching sports (although the Olympics are definitely more interesting than your average sportsball game). However, this year, I’m sort of taking part. In The Verdant Gryphon group on Ravelry we’re hosting The Gryphon Games. There are three categories you can enter: WIPs, small projects (under 400 yards), and large projects (over 400 yards). Finish any of those items by 3pm on Sunday Feb. 23rd and you’ll be entered to win either a $25 or $40 gift VG certificate.

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VG Codex, colorway Devil’s Dictionary. Click for project page.

I’m planning to enter with 2 projects. For the WIPs category, I’m trying to finish my Deep, Dark Stellaria shawl that I started back in August. The garter stitch section whizzed by but of course since the lace edging requires concentration, it has languished. I’m now almost halfway through the edging but man those rows are long.

Copyright Robin Ulrich. Click for pattern page.

For the small projects category, I’d like to knit a Bosc Hat by Robin Ulrich using Mondegreen in a lovely pale green color to match the Taygete Shawl I finished a while back. Those 2 projects alone would likely be doable over the next 2 weeks… but of course, they are not the only 2 projects I’m trying to complete in February.

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February goals. No big deal, right?

Here’s everything I’d like to get through this month (of course, the shortest month of the year). To the left, we have the Christmas socks I was hoping to finish by Valentine’s Day, which is not likely to happen over the next 4 days. In the back are 2 secret projects I was also hoping to finish this week. (Note: was.) Then we have the shawl and skein of Mondegreen for The Gryphon Games. And last but not least, to the right is 6 ounces of alpaca fiber I’d like to turn into yarn by the end of the month for my Mom’s birthday in early March. And let’s not even mention all the design swatching I need/plan to do.

I better get crackin’. Are you participating in any crazy deadline knitting? How do you handle your priorities/knitting whims?

WIPWed #43: Don’t Hurt Yourself

Here’s a public service announcement for the holiday knitting season: if you’ve been knitting so many gifts lately that your (insert weird place to feel pain here) is swollen and sore, then you should give yourself a rest. I might have had to take Monday night off from knitting because I might have overdone it a bit over the weekend — my knuckles were very unhappy. Oops. I’m trying not to feel anxious about the lost time but (taking a page from the Yarn Harlot) my knits-to-gift pile still looks like this:

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Yes, I realize there is only a week left. Oy.

That pile represents: a secret gift hidden in the pretty blue project bag, cheerful rainbow armwarmers, a pair of Miscreant cuffs I just started to compensate for the scarf I know I won’t be finishing in time (especially because I seem to have misplaced it somehow), a pair of stripey socks, a completely un-started soon-to-be hat, and a half-finished toddler vest. For those counting along, that’s 6 projects left to finish in the next 7 days. I think the reasons I’m not totally panicking right now are: 1) almost everything is well underway (except the hat), 2) I still have 2 nights of uninterrupted knitting before I travel this weekend, and 3) I’m doing a lot of traveling over the next week and travel time = knitting time. I think I’ll be spending at least 13 hours in some state of transit before all the gifts need to be given so that helps. Some details!

Simple Seaside Stripes:

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Knitpicks Felici Sport. Click for project page.

The key to (last-minute) gift knitting is to keep things simple. These socks are just 3×1 ribbing, it’s the colors that make them interesting. An afterthought heel also keeps the knitting simple: no stopping and stalling out to deal with a fiddly flap and gusset. Save all the fiddly bits for the last minute, when I’ll really be rushing, woohoo! (In retrospect, this might have been a bad plan.)

Bigger Dyvest:

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Malabrigo Rios, colorway Bobby Blue. Click for project page.

Like the adorable tiny one I finished earlier in the week, this vest is moving along at a good clip. It’s also largely the cause of my poor sore knuckles. However, I’m just about at the front/back split for the armholes and at least with the little one I got through that and the finishing in just a couple of nights, so I’m pretty confident this gift will be finished on time. I tend to prioritize gifts for the very young and the very old, everyone in between should be able to understand if I’m a bit late with a gift. (Right? Right.)

Bigger Miscreants:

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The Verdant Gryphon Codex. Click for project page.

I’m using leftovers from my mom’s Brazen shawl to knit a pair of cuffs. I’m actually not loving how this yarn is behaving in the slipped stitch rib patterning so this project might be frogged, in which case poor Mom will just have to wait a bit longer for her scarf and some other knits I have planned (more chemo caps and things of that nature). I finished the Little Miscreants I was working on earlier, though:

Madelinetosh DK, colorway Cathedral. Click for project page.

I think the pattern works best with a really spring, bouncy wool. It’s simple and quick but the nature of the fabric means it doesn’t have much stretch, so you want to give it as much as you can to start with by using a more elastic yarn. The other gift WIPs in the first photo haven’t been touched this week, except for the Fiasco’s secret gift, which you can see if you click here (RICHARD, DO NOT CLICK).

Phew! I’d chat more, but I need to keep knitting! Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.