Christmas Knitting

Or avoiding the hustle and bustle…

Every year  I swear I won’t do it and every year I do it!  I heap on the Christmas knitting and end up having a pile of knitting to do at last minute! There have actually been three separate Christmas’ on record where the recipient recieved their gift with the needles still in!!

I do think ahead and make reasonable plans to make gifts for my family, however, I still manage to have a lot of last minute knitting to do. So how am I going to fix this?  I’ve been thinking about it and I think for next year I will do the following:

- Start planning in August.  September at the latest!

- Make a list of recipients and associated projects and stick to it (no last minute additions so think and plan carefully!) and beware, don’t give yourself more than you can easily accomplish!

- Ensure you have all materials available to you in case you get bored with one project.  Then there is no excuse not to pick up another one and get cracking! This means shopping for and/ or ordering all patterns and yarn before you need them!!

- Make deadlines – This is where I have so many problems! I get started early enough but get distracted by other non-Christmas projects and other crafts so that the last few weeks before Christmas come as a surprise and a flurry of knitting. Setting deadlines will force you to put Christmas knitting first before other less essential projects! It might also be good to set up a calendar with other deadlines on it as well…. Holiday baking days/nights, shopping deadlines, Christmas cards and Parcel shipping deadlines and that costume you promised to make for the school play!!

Here are a few pictures of the projects I took on for this year.  Please note that with 2 weeks left ’til Christmas not one is finished and all are in various states of unfinished-ness! Lol!

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These two UFO’s are the same beautiful pattern Brown Berries Scarf pattern

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These skeins of yarn are supposed to be knit up into scarves too!

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and of course this pair of socks is in the home stretch.

I must say I did have reasons that my knitting got behind this year…

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My daughter got married in October!  In this picture she is wearing a shawl that I wove for her on my floor loom and that took up a lot of my knitting time!

Everyone, please have a happy, healthy Holiday season and may all your crafty dreams come true!

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My Wall of Shame

She admits to inconstancy

OK, this article was just sitting here ready to go so I’m posting it now.  It was meant to be posted Nov 2007 but for some simple reasons, it never got posted.

It is no wonder that we knitting folk call ourselves knitting ‘ho’s, harlots and other less savoury names! We simply cannot stay true to one love project. The temptation of luscious yarns and interesting patterns has the effect of luring us away from one obsession to another.

Why am I going on like this? … Well, let me tell you. One day, while cleaning up my craft room, I realised that I had a few unfinished items laying around and for the heck of it decided to pull them all together. I was surprised to see this…

Wall of Shame

This is what I call my Wall of Shame. These are all the projects that I have not completed. Not just not completed but not touched in ages. Do I have good explanations why I haven’t finished them? Not really, it is just my temperament I guess. I get all excited about something else I see and have to start knitting it. Most of the time I do finish projects, but sometimes, to my shame, I just let them languish in a corner somewhere. They are always there in the back of my mind but somehow I never realized how many there were! Maybe they reproduced when I wasn’t looking. How else would you explain 4 different socks on the needles?

Pulling them together was a GOOD thing. Now they will not be so lonely. Now they have friends and neighbors to commune with. Now they have each other to complain bitterly to about the landlady’s lack of dependability.

Some of these items I do intend to finish, some I will frog and use the yarn for other more interesting projects.

To be quite honest these are not my only UFOs. These are only the ones in knitting and crocheting. I didn’t put on the pile my UFOs from painting, quilting, sewing, spinning, cross stitch or needle point in which I have at least one unfinished project. I will go now and hang my head in shame!

OK, enough of that! Let’s find creative ways to deal with this situation. I have been reading a lot about this on the web. Here are a few ideas I got from readings other people’s ways of dealing with this.

1. Work on a number of projects at once by giving yourself a set number of rows to do before you can move on to the next project.  This requires discipline.  You must do 15 rows of this lace shawl before you can move on to 22 rows of the easy scarf.

2. Try to keep to only one project but have an alternative if you get bored. Some projects such as lace, are so complicated that it is a relief to put them down for a short while and knit on a sock. Conversely working on mindless knitting may bore you so much that you really don’t want to finish.  Break up the monotony with something more complicated like colour work.

One member of a group I follow has this to say:

3. ” Joan Hamer has an excellent method for dealing with multiple projects at
the same time. Work on one the same night each week until finished,
then start a new one for that night. This allows for changing of needle
size, yarn material, knitting method (heck, you could put in a crochet
or x-st or beading night!) and keeps each project in work. You don’t
get bored, everything gets worked on and you get to feel virtuous. :)”

Even Sandi Wiseheart over at KnittingDaily has this problem. She took a poll and here are the results. Sandi really does a good job at exploring why we put down one project for another. If you haven’t read her article you should.

My projects will be divided into three piles; 1. to be frogged, 2. to be finished, 3. marinate a bit, I might finish later.

I do have one FO to show.

CreativeWhimsy's Dashing

This is Dashing by Cheryl Niamath

I’ve been very occupied with getting ready for the cold weather that is right around the corner and will probably continue to knit Hats and Mitts for awhile yet. Then this yarn-addict intends to finish off many of the projects on her wall of shame. Really, I will!

Today, don’t be ashamed, be creative!

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So Neat

Sometimes in the run of a day, one wishes that they could share things with others.  Sometimes it is good news you share with your family, sometimes it is work related that you share with co-workers.  Today, however, I wish to share something knitting related and I have no one around who would appreciate this news! So I am going to share with you.

If you like dyeing your own yarn, like I do, you will find this news of absolutely wonderful significance.  KnitPicks has come up with a way to dye your sock yarns so each foot comes out the same!  Check this out:

Now if that isn’t innovative, I don’t know what is!  And the price is so right!

My first thought was, hey, I could do that, but the knitting up would be too long and boring! Then I thought, any one with a knitting machine could whip up their own blanks and do this.  I realized, however, at least here in Nova Scotia, the sock yarns would be more expensive than the blanks sold by KnitPicks! Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to get me some!

Yay for KnitPicks!

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A Little Off Base

But not off topic

So, when life hits you a curve ball, do you run with it or do you sit down and cry? Well, I can safely say, that, this time I did both. I was all set up for MS3 and as shown in the last post, I had to wait for new beads. This was not a problem, I knew I could wait. Or so I thought. I kept seeing everyone else’s progress and my hands actually itched to be knitting some lace. So what did I do?

MS3 the 2nd

I started a MS3 shawl with some yarn from my stash… no problem! It really looks nice in this 14/2 cotton thread (double stranded). The colour is called sea-foam green and is a lovely light greeny blue. I knit almost all of clue one before the curve ball hit… A friend of mine was diagnosed with Cancer and I really wanted to do something for him besides cry! So I ditched everything and started this scarf.

Noro Scarf

I had started seeing these kinds of lovely scarves on the Flickr group Crazy for Knitting quite some time ago. This one was so lovely that I had to know more about it. Which led me to Brooklyn Tweed. While normally I personalize my knitting by changing colour, yarn, size or something… I didn’t this time. I used his pattern and his choice in yarn colours. He had such good taste and wonderful looking scarf that I copied it completely. The scarf was a fast knit and although I thought I might be driven crazy by the K1P1 (this is done all ribbing), I wasn’t! My friend is totally worth the cost, as Brooklyn Tweed mentions, it is quite costly. So instead of a comfort shawl he gets a comfort scarf. Now, I just have to send it to Australia.
MS3  Starting Clue 3

I still am having difficulty with my picture taking and this photo is not a good representation of the lovely lace. You can’t even see the beads! I am now knitting the MS3 with the yarn and bigger beads but my progress is not so far along as others. I have just started Clue 3 and Clue 5 was released a few days ago. Oh well, having come this far I am sure I will finish this lovely design.

Oh yes, and more socks…

Socks appeal

While I knit off on a tangent from time to time, I am dedicated to the MS3 stole (even after it was announced that the stole will have a wing!). I will keep you posted as to all the creative endeavors I attempt and successfully complete.

Be sure to have a creative week!

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Swatching Hell

Troubles in Lace Land

Well normally I don’t do the swatch thing. It really isn’t necessary for many things if you are close to the yarn weight and needle size recommended ( mittens, hats,scarves). Of course, the exception to this is making sweaters that actually fit the intended wearer and I have had problems with that even after swatching, but that is a post for another day.

For the MS3, I was not going to swatch. I actually had the same yarn and needle size as the designer and thought, ‘No problem’, I mean, it doesn’t really matter if you are off a few inches in any direction in a lace stole, I mean, come on.

Then after reading some of the groups messages I began to get a little worried. Some were having size problems and others were have problems with their beads and the list went on. So I decided to swatch.

Here is the result.

New Swatch

This is a very simple lace pattern that I have used before (see these socks) and was very easy to memorize, but look… Yes, there is a mistake in the (very simple!) pattern, but, after ripping out the swatch once and then making another mistake in about the same spot, I decided to leave it. I doesn’t affect the reasons for doing the swatch in the first place; testing the yarn and needle size to see if you like the resulting fabric. The pattern is not the one used in the Mystery Stole but will give a very good idea of how the yarn and needle will look. I like the combo I used and the colour of the beads, but I do not like the size of the beads. They seem too small!

This of course has been a nagging doubt in the back of my mind for a few weeks now. The pattern calls for 8/0 sized beads and I just took some seed beads out of my collection and thought they would do nicely. I had no idea as to their size. Now I do…

beads per inch

As you can see from the picture, they are 10 beads to the inch which makes them 10/0 beads, too small for the stole. Add to this that I had trouble threading them onto the crochet hook and yarn, well I may be dense but I’m not dumb! I need to get bigger beads!

A word of caution for those of you using the crochet hook method. If the bead hole is a little small and the hook won’t easily go through, do not force it! The hook may end up going through the bead with a little nudge but may break with the yarn forced through it and guess what! Yarn gets sliced up by broken glass! Go on, ask me how I know!

So I placed an order through an Ontario company and will have to wait a week or two for the proper sized beads… No Probs, I can wait! Then I looked at their FAQ’s… They say that 8/0 beads have 12 beads to the inch! What the ??

I have sent in an inquiry to the company but don’t expect to hear back from them for a few days! Oh woe is me. I guess I will have to wait and wait to start the MS3. Some folks even have the first clue finished already! (Moan and Groan)

I am going to knit socks now, to take the edge off while I wait!

How about some cute baby bibs crocheted for our neighbors’ new baby boy?

Bibs

How can anyone not knit or crochet for newborns? It is such a quick and satisfying project. Just ask the Yarn Harlot who seems to be addicted to Dream in Color baby sweater kits!

So, I am glad that I swatched. I learned quite a bit about handling the yarn and needles, and how to bead with a crochet hook. Most importantly I realized the beads were too small. All things I didn’t need to experiment with while actually knitting the Big Scary lace Project. So maybe swatching is a good idea after all.

Good creative knitting and have a great Canada Day!

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Carried away by a KAL

Explaining her trials with lace and why she decided to go for it.

Hi all. I have finally made it back into the blogosphere. I have many projects finished and ready to show. There are, of course, a number that will be making a visit to the frog pond!

I would like to explain the title of this post. It has been the fact of my life that I really love lace and all the thoughts it evokes. Romance and beauty just being two of the things that come quickly to mind. Truth be told, I have a very romantic mind set and love all those old novels… Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice etc.

The oddest thing about this lace thing, is the fact that I am not a girlie girl type of woman. I normally abhor frills and frippery. Lace collars or sleeves would do nothing for me. A lace shawl however, fills me with lust. Lust for lace yarn, lace needles and lots of shawl and stole patterns. I could spend a fortune on lace that I could elegantly wrap about my shoulders for my walks through the misty moors (OK, down my dusty country road), with one main problem. I can’t stand to knit lace! It slips through my fingers and off my needles too easily. I tried a few times to knit shawls. Starting with only a few stitches then working my way up to the finished triangle shape seemed like it would be fairly easy. HA! I would knit maybe two inches, make a mistake and then be unable to rip back because the yarn overs and different stitches made it impossible! … So I thought.

I recently joined a KAL (Knit-A-Long for those who wonder), something I have rarely done. The last being Socktoberfest and that ended in disaster. I never did finish those socks. I prefer not to join something unless I’m pretty sure I can finish or uphold my obligations. So when I heard about the Mystery Stole 3 KAL I wasn’t really very thrilled. It is true that Melanie of Pinklemontwist, who runs the KAL, does create very beautiful stoles, but it is lace knitting. I can just imagine me pulling out my hair!

However, I may be wrong… When I joined (just to see what was going on), I found a very large, warm community of knitters from around the world. There are currently over 2400 members of MS3 and growing (the group closes July 6th to new members). What a plethora of information! I found out how to put in life lines, so I can rip back if I need to, learned which needles have a little bit of drag, so the lace does not slip off, and a lot more information. The main thing is, I will be working on this stole a section at a time. Clues to the stole will be given out every Friday until done. Somehow that makes me feel better, that perhaps I didn’t bite off too much for me to chew. Even with beads…

You may drool at my lace yarn.

Ebony Zephyr and beads

Yes, it is Zephyr by JaggerSpun in Ebony. Not a very thin lace weight but it will be enough of a challenge for me.

beads.jpg

And the beads… Did I mention the Mystery stole has itty bitty beads knit in? These are metallic coloured glass beads. Not too glossy but should give a nice flash and a bit of colour.

Now some pictures of FO’s.

my socks

Finally some Socks knit just for me!! Lornas Laces in Iris Garden colorway.

Katie's Poncho

A poncho for my niece. Crocheted in Bernat Crafters Cotton

washcloth

These two facecloths are going to be a hostess gift. Knit in Bernat’s Cotton Tots, Very nice and soft. Just need a basket and pretty soap. The white one is the snow drop pattern and the blue one is baby fern pattern

crocheted baby booties and washclth

The crocheted baby booties and knit face cloth (see previous post). Finally done up as a gift for the newborn. He received it late but before he was a month old.

Things destined for the frog pond…

Entrelac

The entrelac scarf in Patons SWS. I do like the way the SWS feels. I just don’t love the way the colours are coming out on this. Not the end of entrelac for me, however, I will try again with Noro Silk Garden. Of interest to some, it looks like the SWS will be difficult to rip out!

Clap to be frogged

This is my first attempt at the Clapotis. I’m not sure if I will frog it or not. The yarn is kind of fluffy and I think would be a bother around the neck and the length seems small. Of course once it is blocked it could grow. I am almost done so maybe I will finish and see.

So now my summer is set with a big scary lace project. Yes, I did get sucked into the excited group at MS3. Thing is, I think I’m going to like it!

Bye and have a creatively lacey week.

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Saved by Zero

Where she tells about her absence…

Life has a way of waking a person up. Suddenly and without warning you can get the apple sauce shaken out of you and you have to rethink your life. The title of this post is the title of a song from a few years back (OK! a few decades ago!) from The FIXX. I can remember an interview with the lead singer Cy Curnin who explained the meaning of the song. He spoke of life getting complicated and throwing everything up into the air (zero) and picking out the important stuff as it came down.

My life has been very complicated and just seemed to get worse as October came to a close. Serious illness is rampant in my family and it has fallen to the healthy to pick up the slack. I have had to eliminate a lot of activities that consumed so much of my time. I had to streamline and simplify my life. This blog was the first thing to go. I love blogging and I do intend to get back to it on a more permanent basis, but people come first. I also had to give up most of my crafting and painting… for now.

I’ll show you where I left off in November for most projects, some of which you haven’t seen before.

I only made it to two painting classes before I had to stop. I showed you the painting from the first one so I might as well show you the painting from the second even though it was deeply disappointing to me…

second painting class

These were supposed to be baby sandals. Not a subject I would have chosen and I truly believe I was so stressed at this time that I could not concentrate. Speaking of babies…

Crocheted baby booties

If you recall the Baby Feet Wash Cloth I made a few posts ago, these are for the same baby. He was born Dec. 14th, 2006 and I’m not going to be finished, even one of these, in the near future. Sorry, baby Aidan.

Both mitts finished

You may recall these mitts. I only had one made when I posted the original picture! Well, I finished the second one and am using them. I would like to create a hat using the same pattern. That is a project for sometime in the future when I have lots of time! I will post the pattern if I do!!! The pattern for these mitts is up under the tab marked pattern and they are called Newfoundland mitts.

I have, in the meantime, continued on with the same balls of Noro and begun the second mitts…

Second mitt

Look below at the balls that remain. They are not the same and I did have to fiddle a little to get the colours to go the same way in these mitts!!! I think I still have enough left over from the two balls of Noro to do another uneven pair of mitts or, maybe, a pair of child’s mitts. If I do create a child’s size, I’ll post the directions!

Second pair of mitts and remainders

This is the project I wanted to present in it’s finished state and will not be able to for a long time…

Entrelac scarf

This is the entrelac scarf I began with the soy silk yarn (Patons SWS). It feels lovely and I have only made a few mistakes (note the artful folding of the garment to hide the glaring one!). I learned entrelac using the dishcloth pattern called garterlac created by Criminy Jickets. This dishcloth is not true entrelac as it uses only the garter stitch (all knit). I also used this tutorial that shows you how to pick up the stitches. Then using this knowledge and making one side knit, the other purl, Voila! Not perfect but I like it!

Anyway, it will be a while until I post again. It was by eliminating everything and then slowly adding it back into my life that I ‘ve been able to cope. As the blog was the first to go, it will be the last to come back. I hope you have enjoyed what I have been able to post and I hope to write again in a few months.

By the way; in researching this post, I discovered a little information about Cy Curnin I found interesting. Here’s a quote directly from their website…

Q. I saw something on VH1 that said Cy was making hats. What’s going on with that project?
[Editorial Note: During a break from recording with the band in the mid-'90s, Cy started his own line of
hats, called CyWear. A segment was featured on the music feature series "Where Are They Now?"]
CY: Not making hats now, but may be making a few for the commerce page. Might be fun for the Fixx
fans to be able to buy a hat with the Fixx written on it.
ADAM: Knitted by the singer.
CY: Yeah, exactly

I just thought you might find that interesting too!

No matter what faith you are, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season.

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