Wednesday, February 8

Travelling is tiring!

It's been a very long day for me. I had to get up at 4am to drive into the city to pick up Derek from the airport, and then turn right around and come back home!

At least I didn't come home empty handed... I stopped at Wolseley Wool and got a few things. First on the list was "orange yarn" to shut up my best friend, Liz. She's been telling me for about a month now that I had to get some orange yarn or she would explode! I got a cool hand-painted sock "blank" from Flat Feet, and a nice orangey wool/ alpaca blend from ONline. I also wanted to get some more removable stitch markers for my cardigan, but they were out of stock. I did manage to pick up a new crochet hook to try out to see how my wrist handles it, and a package of straight Chibi's. I also ordered a set of interchangeable crochet hook frojm Knitter's Pride, now that they are available in Canada. I'm looking forward to trying them out.

The only knitting that was accomplished was the leg of Derek's work sock. One of his work buddies caught a ride home with us, so with 3 of us sitting on the one bench seat in the truck, it was the easiest to manage. At least I'll be able to get the sock itself finished in the next few days!

Tuesday, February 7

Travelling tomorrow

Been spending today preparing for being gone most of the day tomorrow. I have to leave around 5:30am to go to Winnipeg to pick up Derek from the airport. I also have to do a bit of shopping before I pick him up at 11, so that's why I have to leave so early. Then comes a second 3+ hour drive in the truck, but this time more squished because his friend that lives nearby is driving back with us. I just hope magic-looping the sleeve on my sweater won't be too awkward with 3 of us on the seat!

Monday, February 6

Facing my fears...

I'm afraid... I'm very afraid... of my craft room!

Yes, one of my biggest fears is my craft room. Right now it is little more than a storage room. I have been picking at it bit by bit over the last year, occasionally with help from the sproggins, to get it in order. There have been times that nearly the whole house has been taken over, and other times where it's only a few boxes or bins that escape the doorway. To the untrained eye, it would seem that nothing has really happened in there... stuff goes in... stuff goes out... stuff goes back in... In reality, a lot of trash was removed, and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam is in varying degrees of organization. The biggest difference for me was being able to access whatever I needed during the months of December and January... typically the worst possible times in there because the craft room tends to become a dumping ground for all the homeless items in the living room when we decorate for Christmas!

My "after work" text message conversation with Derek yesterday read, "I set off a bomb in the craft room", "You did", "That's what it looks like", "Oh", "Alex, Lissa, and I ripped it apart today", "House too with that bomb", "Parts of it anyway". Man does he know me and my methods or what? LOL!! But it's true, it does look like I set off a bomb in there, and the fallout is scattered throughout the hallway and into the living room. At least my family understands that in order to make a real difference in cleaning up and organizing such an area requires making a huge mess to accomplish it!

...anybody got a lifeline for me before I venture into there?

Sunday, February 5

Lookee what I found!

Yesterday was very depressing for me, so I went on a search to find patterns to match some of my stash. I do have some designs to work on, but I also enjoy working on OPPs (other people's patterns). Here's a small sampling of what I came across... I love the advanced search on Ravelry!!! (These ones are all free downloads)

Head in the Clouds Cowl: (knit) A pretty cabled cowl, and who doesn't have enough cowls?? Especially if you live in an area that is supposed to get winter! I don't suit hats... of any type... ever... but a cowl doesn't make me look like a complete dork (well unless that's the effect I'm going for).
Wedding Ring Quilt Afghan: (crochet) I have always loved this design, but knew that it would be way beyond me to ever make one... now I can... in yarn!!! I saw a few examples of FOs where 2 different colours of rings were used, and I can see that being perfect for my Jeweltones stash.
A Recipe for Fish Afghan: (knit) This one has made the rounds of the internet before, but there are people that haven't seen it. It's not as popular as the hexipuff pattern is right now, but its up there! I actually started one for Melissa several years back, and still come across a few fish every once in a while. I had *lost* the pattern, but I found it again now! Maybe I might even finish mine eventually!!
Nine Dwindling Cables Tam: (knit) A beautifully classic tam. It's more like woven cables than twisted ones IMO, but still looks very intricate. I am not a hat person (see above), but this was just too striking not to save it.
Monster Eyes Slippers: (crochet) All you have to do is look at the picture for this pattern and you will understand. Who wouldn't want Mikey from Monsters Inc. on their feet? Yes, it has kid to adult sizing!
Red Bird Hat: (crochet) Angry Birds. Hat. Nuff said!
Fisherman Shrug: (knit) This is the pattern I decided on when I picked up the Homespun a few weeks ago. Strangely enough, a search of the projects on Rav shows that noone has tried this pattern in this yarn, even though nearly every other bulky Lion Brand product has been represented. I have the magazine this pattern was originally printed in, but the vast eratta makes it necessary for anyone that wants to make this to download the freebie version.

Most of these patterns all call for worsted weight yarn, which I personally have in abundance beyond reason! My biggest problem is finding the time to make all these cool things, and then the time to make more when the kids see what I'm making for myself! LOL!

Saturday, February 4

Giving up?

It seems like none of my larger projects want to work out. First there is the missing dark sage yarn for Derek's MAM which completely stalled my plans to finish up that long-term UFO. Now the tweed cardigan is giving me fits. I am beginning to feel that I'm simply not meant to finish any large projects at all this year. Then to add insult to injury, I found a large Rubbermaid bin that was crammed full of more yarn! Most of it was Red Heart Jeweltones... a yarn that was discontinued over 10 years ago.

I think it's time for bed... hopefully things will be better in the morning.

Friday, February 3

Project Progress Updates

I have been quite busy lately, as you can see by the knitmeters on my sidebar. I have also been tracking how much yarn I've bought so far this year, and it's nearly an even amount. My goal for the year is to use more than I buy, and for this, sock yarn does count as stash!

I am now finished all of the commissioned projects I had in my queue. All that's left is washing and delivery! I haven't had time to take any pics yet or upload them, but I'm hoping to get that done tomorrow. For this week I have finished off Raith's socks, started and finished Raith's slippers and Neecie's slippers, started a pair of work socks for Derek and finished the first one.

For the next few days I want to continue finishing off a few things. My tweed cardigan is expected to be finished by Wednesday (according to Derek anyway LOL!), the second sock for Derek should be done, as well as a pair of slippers for him. I also want to get the Gumdrop Placemat set finished up for pattern release.

Thursday, February 2

February Goals

From my Jan. 1st post with my project goals for the first 6 months of 2012, my February project goals are:
Sweater: Melissa's Cute Knit Cardigan (Mary Maxim pattern/ Bravo yarn); Shawl: Diatom Shawl (Knit Picks kit, purples colourway); Afghan: finishing the Melissa design; Socks: finishing the Texaco design.
Considering I didn't finish a single project from January's list (see yesterday's post), I am skeptical that I will be able to complete this month's goals without completely ignoring everything else I have on the go currently. All that being said, I am not going to ignore this list entirely... just use it to guide me through the month somewhat.

Sweater: As of this writing, I still have at least a few days of knitting left on my A Little Bit Irish cardigan. I also purchased some Lion Brand Homespun in Tudor to make myself a shrug to keep my arms warm in our chilly living room. This project will bump my other planned sweater projects down one notch in my list, as I really need something while the weather is cold that is practical while I'm knitting and crocheting... something a typical sweater doesn't do... well at least not exactly how I want it!
Shawl: I have Diatom listed for this month, but since the Denise shawl design wasn't touched... and this design is a higher priority than any of the shawls I have in my queue... just like the sweaters list, the shawls list has to be bumped a notch.
Afghan: This is actually one of the goals I can honestly see myself finishing this month... or at least making progress on. I won't be able to do much on Derek's popcorn MAM until I can order the additional yarn, so it is the perfect time to pull this project out again.
Socks: Only time will tell if I can get back to the Texaco design. I have a sock and half to go on the Felici socks, and a second sock to go on Derek's work socks. This isn't a pressing design at the moment, and I have a few other sock patterns that are nearly ready for release, so I don't feel guilty if I have to bump these socks yet again. 

I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to complete my other goals... releasing a pattern, promoting myself, updating my Rav databases, and getting my craft room functional.

My most important goal of all, and the one that will decide if I can complete anything, goal or not, is my health. Since the beginning of December, I have lost approximately 15 of the 60 pounds I need to lose, and I am making sure I am walking more. I have cut out nearly all of my typical snack foods, and reach for fruit or vegetables much more often. I'm cooking healthier, and beginning to feel better. I have been told that you can see that I've lost some weight, but I can't see it and my clothes don't fit any differently. Hopefully that won't be the case a month from now!

Nicole =o)

Wednesday, February 1

January Round-up

Well, just how well did I do with my goals? Not too well it appears, but I did get quite a bit done regardless! This is what I had on January 1st as my knitting/ crocheting goals for the month of January:
Sweater: Tweed Cardigan (Mary Maxim kit); Shawl: finishing the Denise design; Afghan: finishing Derek's Popcorn MAM; Socks: finishing my Felici socks (Caprica colourway).
  • The tweed cardigan isn't finished, but I did spend 2 weeks mostly concentrating on the popcorn afghan. As I had posted earlier, I recovered from having to rip back so much of my early work due to missed increases, but that was a loss of at least 2 days worth of knitting. I started work on it again the day before Derek returned, and got it divided a few days later. I went through well over a ball of yarn while he was home for the 5 days. I still have the sleeves to do, the stitches are on holders right now; and the body is about half done. I'm on the 4th ball of the 8 included in the kit, and Derek expects me to be wearing it when I pick him up from the airport next Wednesday. It's a fast, and mindless knit, so it is an achievable goal... it all depends on what else I decide to work on.
  • I didn't touch the shawl at all =o( (no links since it's a design in progress)
  • The popcorn MAM didn't get finished, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Firstly, it wasn't nearly as complete as I first thought. I had wanted to surprise Derek with it finished when he came home. I realized that I wouldn't be able to finish it in the 2 weeks that he was gone initially, as I needed approximately another week or so. I then discovered that I didn't have enough of the dark sage yarn to finish up the afghan. I checked my stash, and according to my Ravelry listings, I have NONE!!! It would be my guess that I had used a lot of it on his quiltghan back in 2002 or 2003... knowing then that I could easily buy more. Unfortunately 10+ years later, that is no longer the case. The colour is still being made, but nowhere I shop (or can get to) carries that colour. I will need to order more from Herrschnerrs, the only place online I could locate that colour. I had considered re-working it to become a "striped" afghan... using a different colour scheme for alternating strips... that way I could keep it a surprise still. The more I thought about it, the more I leaned towards letting Derek know, and letting him make the final decision on it. He decided that he wants it all to be in the sage colourways, so I'm ordering the additional yarn needed when I next get an email letting me know about a free shipping offer.
  • The Felici socks were worked up to picking up the gusset stitches, and left at that point. As much as I love the socks, and love working with the yarn, my priorities dictated that I work on Raith's socks and other projects that were "needs" rather than "wants". They still went with me everywhere, but spent the majority of the month being shown off, rather than knitted on.

What got finished?

  • Raith's socks. I finished the first sock on the 26th or 27th I think (checked my tweets for a guesstimate), and of course immediately cast on the second. That one was finished on Sunday (2-3 days), which seems to be quite typical of my second socks... what the first one takes in weeks, the second one is done in days!
  • Derek's travelling slippers. Derek travelling means new slippers... this is a tradition born of necessity for over 10 years now. I wasn't up to making him slippers when he originally left in December, and as it turns out, it was a false start anyway. I had him pick out a ball of yarn from my "scraps" bin the day before he left and whipped them up in time for him to get them in his luggage before we went to bed that night. 

What's in progress?

  • Derek's denim work socks. I cast these on right after finishing Raith's socks on Sunday. I've been meaning to get some more socks done for him, but haven't since I nearly killed my hands doing two pairs back-to-back for his b-day/ our anniversary in June last year. One of his pairs of socks is about to blow out, and I forced myself to buy 2 pairs worth of Tuffy when I was in Winnipeg dropping him off last week. When I got home and tried to put the yarn away in the bin Derek and I had bought for worsted wools, it wouldn't all fit! I did go out and buy another, larger bin, but at the same time I went hunting for the 2 hanks of Tuffy I had balled up back in the summer. As of this writing, I am FLYING through the first sock. I got the stripes done Sunday before bed, the leg done Monday, the heel flap/ turn done and gusset picked up before I went to knit night last night. For whatever reason, my fingers flew while I was there, and I'm now nearly at the toe. I fully expect to be grafting the toe tonight! It would be nice to have them waiting for Derek when he gets home next Wednesday.
  • Raith's slippers. These were also started on Sunday. I have been facing my ever-growing queue, and am seeing the list loom over me like the Sword of Damocles. Derek wants to go into Winnipeg for the weekend later this month, so I need to have the entire order he placed from the fall complete by that time. This pair of slippers, and one more is all that is left. These slippers would have been sewn up last night, but yesterday morning I ran out of yarn a few rows away from the second tongue being finished. It was a "Maxwell Smart" moment... "I missed it by that much!" I knew the yarn was well over 6 years old, since it was wound into a regular ball of yarn and I've been doing centre-pull balls by hand for at least that long. I was guessing at what yarn it was when I created the Rav entry, but when I got to the end of the ball, I discovered that I had wrapped the ball around the yarn label. Thanks to having my stash so well documented on Ravelry, I was able to find out that not only did I have 2 full balls of this exact yarn in my stash (and in which bin), but one of them was the same date code of "No Dye Lot" yarn as what I had been using! (2002 by the way!) Rebecca waited over 6 hours, and didn't go get the ball for me until just before I left for knit night, so the tongue wasn't completed, and I couldn't sew them up there like I had originally planned.

What about my other goals?

  • Releasing a pattern a month: I didn't get a pattern released... in fact I didn't really work on any designs this month at all. I did, however, submit an existing (but unreleased) pattern to the KP-IDP for consideration. I do have the Gumdrop Placemat Set dug out of the craft room, and here in the living room with me so that I will get the last of the samples finished, photographed, and can release the pattern.
  • Continue listing everything on Ravelry: This is an on-going process. I have been very vigilant about making sure that each new purchase is listed in my Ravelry databases. I am also tracking yardage of how much I buy... in the hopes that I will use more than what I bring in this year. A small amount of stash from the "front room" was brought in for me to catalogue, but I haven't made a huge effort in that direction this month.
  • Promoting myself more: I didn't do as much of this as I had intended to, but I still did more than what I have been doing. I have added a few more patterns to my Facebook page, I have registered at Craftsy (but haven't listed anything there yet), and have been tweeting a little more often. I have continued to be active on Ravelry, but not in a promotional sense. I am trying to make blogging and tweeting more of a habit... we shall see if I'm more regular with that in February than I was in January!
  • Stash and craft room reorganization: This particular goal got little more than "a lick and a promise" this past month. I made small, baby steps in a few things, but most importantly, I didn't make any backwards steps. 
All in all, I have to say this was a pretty successful month as far as progress goes... just look at the yarn meters on the left column! No, I didn't achieve the goals I had set for myself, but I didn't give up either. I kept going, kept trying, kept making progress. Since last night was knit night, I will do my February goals post tomorrow. I will also need to do a progress/ FO photo post in the next couple of days. I have linked to my Ravelry project pages for those of you that are interested and taking a look at the details. I have them shared publicly, so you don't need a Ravelry account or to sign in to view them.