Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Knitting New Years Resolutions

Last January I posted this about my 2013 knitting goals.  I wanted to:
1. Knit more sock yarn from my stash
2. Keep my stash under 30,000
3. Card and spin my alpaca fleece
4. Knit a hexipuff a day
5. Finish up some UFO's

So, how'd I do?  Well, one out of 5 ain't bad:

654 hexipuffs! I knit my goal of 364 in 2013.  I got a bit behind with the holiday knitting, but I caught back up on my 5 day Christmas weekend.  Now it's habit, I'm going to keep it up.  It's possible I might even finish my BeeKeeper's Quilt this year, depending on how many more I need. I guestimated 1000, but basically I'm going to knit it until it's the size of the white comforter underneath.  However many that is!

And I didn't do too bad on my other goals, either. I barely touched my fleece but I did knit from my sock yarn stash. I didn't buy ANY sock yarn for myself in the past year.  I don't need to as I still have plenty to keep myself knitting socks for the next couple of years.  And I barely bought any yarn for myself, either. Almost everything I bought was stuff I needed for projects for craft shows or for other people, mostly my nieces.  Or I dyed the yarn myself.  And it really wasn't that much, either. My stash is over 30,000, I'm sure, but I'm not really keeping track anymore. It's still (mostly) contained. I'm trying to work my way through my Ravelry queue, which is all projects I already have the yarn for, and only buy yarn when I need it for something I want to make for someone else (since 90% of my stash is for ME ME ME.)  I've pretty much weeded out all the yucky yarn out of my stash. I will look again, but at my first perusal, I couldn't find a single thing to donate to our knitting group's annual yarn swap.  I'm kind of proud of that. I don't buy stuff I regret later.

I have made progress on some UFO's, but not anything substantial. I'm going to try to work on that again year.  But, since I really didn't do that great in 2013, I'm going to try to keep thing simpler this year.  So, my 2014 Knitting Resolutions are:

1. A hexipuff a day! 
2.  Bind off 2, cast on 1. 

The second is a new thing I'm going to try. I'm not allowed to cast on a project until I've finished 2 first. Maybe this will help with the UFO's.  I know it's pushing me to finish some things I have on the needles now because I have a serious case of castitis and really want to start a new project.  Like the Thinking of Spring Mittens I have the yarn for, but haven't been able to start yet.  They have robins on the hands.  Robins! I must knit these! But seeing as how NONE of my knitting Christmas presents are done yet and I'm having a sweater slog...

I'm going to extend BO2CO1 to spinning, too. I can't buy more fiber until I've spun 2 skeins.  Hopefully, it'll help me start to tackle my beautiful alpaca fleece. 

What are YOUR knitting resolutions this year?  And how did you do in 2013?

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's BACK!

Back in 2009, KnitPicks released this sweater kit they called "Lusekofte".

 I was SO in love and wanted the pattern, but they only sold it as a kit. I couldn't afford it at the time and by the time I had the money to buy it, it had all sold out. I emailed KnitPicks about buying just the pattern or if they'd re-release it since it did so well and got back a generic "who knows?" sort of email.  Every once in a while I'd think about it and check back and it was still gone. I was really sad.

Until today. Today I found out they have re-released it under a new name: Lofoten.  AND they are selling the kit OR the pattern! The pattern is in black or brown with options to choose your own colours.
I immediately bought the pattern, but I want to do it in the original blue colours, so I need to research what they are...and wait until I have 1) money and 2) room in my yarn bin for this kit.  I dug out a skein of sock yarn this morning and had to do that cartoony "sit on the suitcase to get it to close" thing to get the lid back on. Which is a bit confounding as I've barely bought any yarn in ages! Maybe it's breeding in there? Actually, it's the 10 skeins of Malabrigo Chunky in Butter that is taking up so much room, but I have some birthday/Christmas presents to complete before I can get to that. Maybe the yarn for this sweater will be my New Years "You Survived Your Christmas Knitting" annual present to myself. 

But, back to the point: HOORAY!! This gorgeous and admittedly very reasonably priced sweater is BACK! I WILL be knitting it one day and I'm so glad KnitPicks came to their senses and offered the pattern for download.  Isn't it fun?  Anyone want to plan a 2014 Lofoten KAL with me?

May your steeks never unravel,


Sunday, August 4, 2013

I made a Wee Faerie! And it Sparked Some Thoughts About the Toy Industry in the US.

I'm supposed to be preparing for the craft show next Saturday (Second Saturday at the Foundry. Come on out! It's really neat!), working on some gifts and stuff for the Etsy shop (hey, did I mention it's Free Shipping Month?  Enter Coupon Code August2013 for free US shipping and reduced international shipping rates!) but yesterday I was overtaken with the compulsion to knit this:

A little faerie!  The pattern is from Susan B. Anderson's Flora & Fairies that was in a holiday Knit Simple magazine a coworker gave me as a Christmas gift in 2011.  While normally knitting books or magazines with the word "simple" in them do not appeal to me (I want a bit more of a challenge), this one actually has several patterns in it that I have already made including little mitten and sweater ornaments and a holiday garland with little birds on it that I put up in my living room every year and hang my Christmas cards from it.  And this pattern was in it, too.

If you are not familiar with Susan B. Anderson, let me introduce you.  You can thank me later.  She is a designer for children and makes the cutest toys and clothing for kids you have ever seen. She may be my absolute favourite designer for toys.  I own her must have book "Itty Bitty Toys" and have knit about half the book so far with plans to knit pretty much every pattern in it.  I often check her blog and the many (free!) patterns she has designed for the Spud & Chloe blog.

But back to my faerie.  It's a simple, tiny pattern that took me about a day to make and used bits of sock yarn I had in my stash (most of it hand dyed by me. Her skirt/wing yarn was hand dyed by someone else.) Her little i-cord arms and legs took no time at all and I knit them directly onto her body by just picking up 3 stitches where I wanted them to go and starting my i-cord instead of making them separate and stitching them on. I love to save piecing together at the end.

The thing that took the longest was the hair. You have to tie each strand on around her scalp, which takes time, but then, because I wanted her hair to be curly, I went back and separated each strand into 2 pieces with a crochet hook. I adore how it turned out. Her pigtails are VERY Sera and I feel like she has so much personality. Too bad she's too young for this toy and it's going to sit around for a couple years until she's old enough not to eat the hair.  Sometimes you just have to give into the little voice in your head saying "KNIT THIS!" even when it's not sensible.

The fairies in the pattern are all white with blonde hair (well, the ones that have hair and not little flower hats.)  I really want to make toys that look like my niece.  So it was important to me to make an African American looking faerie.  Even as a small blonde haired blue eyed (BHBE) child, I noticed that most dolls and toys were BHBE like me and that any doll that wasn't blonde was relegated to the sidelines. Barbie's non-blonde friends (do you remember any of their names? Because I don't!), She Ra's one African American looking friend who only shows up in occasional story lines, Rainbow Brite's one non-white friend (wasn't she Indigo?)  I understood the idea that toy makers were throwing at me at a very young age: that Barbie's other friends weren't as pretty or important because they weren't blonde.  And that didn't make me feel good about being lucky enough to be born BHBE. It made me feel a bit guilty and ashamed.  My favourite Barbie growing up was Island Barbie, because she had the beautiful long black hair and golden brown skin of the Chamorro women I grew up around. I hardly every played with my blonde Barbie.  She wasn't as pretty in my mind.

So, it's important to me that my nieces have toys that aren't just BHBE.  I want my niece Sera to have toys that look like her, but that also look like the people around her. And so that's why I have plans to make a blonde "me" faerie and an Asian looking " Mommy" faerie.  I won't just do this for Sera, I want Katie (who is a blonde baby with hazel eyes like her mommy) to have dolls and toys that reflect the wonderful variety of people around her.  I don't want her to ever feel guilty for being blonde,  just as I never want Sera to feel bad because she isn't. We can't change how we are born. But we can change the idea that BHBE is the "best" way to be by teaching our daughters that everyone is beautiful and that differences should be celebrated.  Who knew knitting a simple toy could have so much power and potential?

May you always get gauge,


Friday, July 26, 2013

Knit-speare in the Park!

The knitters of KnitCore love field trips and Shakespeare in Delaware Park is becoming an annual summer tradition.  Last night a group of us went to see the opening night of Measure for Measure.  And, of course, we brought our knitting!

We got lots of knitting done (and ate some yummy food!) and really enjoyed the show.  If you get a chance, go see it!  It's set in Vienna, TX in the Old West and is full of silly accents and silly songs and is so much fun.  It's running until August 18.  Really, go see it! And bring your knitting!

And, since brevity is the soul of wit, that's all I have to say about that.  :)


Friday, July 19, 2013

This is What 500 Hexipuffs Look Like!

It nearly covers the top of my bed!

I feel like I was doing pretty good with my hexipuff-a-day project, but I've gotten really busy this summer and I've fallen a bit behind. BUT, today is actually day 200 and I have knit 200 hexipuffs so far this year so I'm actually right on target. All those days when I knit 2 or 3 really paid off.  So, If I can get back on track I have a shot of meeting my goal this year!  I CAN DO IT!

 And so can you! How are your 2013 knitting goals coming along?


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vacation Knitting!

I'm back home from my vacation and recuperating (my flight got in very late last night.)  Only good thing about flight delays?  Lots of time to knit!

I didn't get a ton of knitting done on this vacation as I was visiting my best friend and one year old niece.  Anyone who has or has ever been around a one year old knows they only stop when they're sleeping.  So, not much knitting. But, I did manage to finish ONE of my vacation socks!

 Isn't it pretty?  The pattern is Tintagel from The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman.  I knew I had to knit this sock since the day I got the book because not only do I love the pattern, I have been to Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur.  Seeing the ruins on the romantic, wind swept, heath strewn cliffs overlooking the deep blue ocean, you can amost believe  he was really born there. It's a beautiful and (possibly) magical place. 

Though I loved the pattern and the socks fit great, I think I'm going to have to add elastic around the top.  I did the small size and I DON'T have tiny calves, but it's still a bit loose. We'll see.  I love the yarn so very much. It's Sanguine Gryffon Eidos in a one-off colourway I got at Rhinebeck a couple years ago. It was love at first sight.  I kept thinking the colour reminded me of something. 
 And since I started knitting it up, I remembered.  It's this tapestry from The Hunt of the Unicorn:

Both are a dark rich green background with lots of lush colours over it. Greens, yellow, reds, purples.  I had a book as a kid with this on the cover. Back in my pre-teen years when I was really into unicorns. Obviously it is stuck in my psyche.  I just adore these socks and can't wait to finish them!

Hope your summer knitting is going well!