Monday, January 30, 2012

FO: Kids socks (again)

Another pair of plain vanilla kids socks.  Using the same yarn as the other pair from this fall, just a different colorway, and for a different daughter.

But check out that heel - that's new for me.  I am a faithful K1, sl1* kind of heel flap gal, but I switched it up for this little pair of socks.  And I like the result.  Enough interest to make them unique, but still long-wearing (I hope).

When I picked up these socks to finish them I was in a knitting funk.  And nothing was bringing me out of it.  I thought to sew something - just to do something different.  But nah.  I felt the weight of a few unfinished projects I have laying about.  And was feeling guilty for not having the desire to finish them.  So I just picked up a project and forced myself to move forward.  When I picked up these socks they were complete within an hour.  Only an hour.  Why had I waited so long to finish?

And finishing them spurred me on, and got me excited about finishing my linen-stitch scarf (another long-sitting project, but one that will most certainly take more than an hour to complete) and the starting of two new projects. 

The next day I jogged down to my LYS to pick up needles for the Immie Tee, which is half-way knit as I type.  I'm doing it in the sage green sock yarn from Sun Valley Fiber Farm that I picked up at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival that I attended this fall. 

I also ordered some Spud & Chloe yarn to make a sweater for myself.  Yes, stop the presses.  I wrote a sweater.  For myself.  I am beyond excited about this prospect and can't wait to share more about the planning, swatching and knitting progress.  I picked out another pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier (my first project here), Vitamin D.  What an aptly named project to carry me through the last dark weeks of winter, and welcome in the spring sunshine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yarn (and book) love

Looks like someone loves yarn almost as much as I do.  I had better move that basket up higher for the foreseeable future or else I'll be in trouble.

On a different note, our family was at the public library in Skokie, IL over the weekend and I spied this amazing playhouse, constructed from old books. Now, I have been known to create shelves using horizontally stacked books, but a fully free-standing playhouse?! Now that is cool.

As I had all the kids with me I didn't get a chance to get too close and look at the construction.  It is quite possible that there are supports bars running though the books, but maybe it is also constructed by gluing the books together?  And if you want your mind blown, just google "new uses for old books" and check out the images.  My goodness.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

FO: Socks and Oven Mitt

pomatomus socks (free pattern by cookie a.)

The kids are finally back at school this week.  And I have to admit that this year I wasn't ready for them to go.  I miss them already.  They were in school up to the 23rd, so the holidays were quickly, and furiously upon us.  There was constant celebrating, eating, travelling, and present-opening for a week straight.  Then the new year. 

Then the quiet.  The reading.  The game-playing.  The sleeping in!  The lazy breakfasts.  The laughter.  The hugs and kisses.  The park visits and walks in the woods.  [The WI weather has been creepily mild, more like Thanksgiving than mid-winter.] 

And suddenly we became a family again.  I was Mom - not the morning John McEnroe-ish referee throwing backpacks, sack lunches and gym shoes across the living room.  My daughters were my sweet babies - not whining procrastinators who sprang from the earth to spill my coffee and draw on the checkbook.  My husband was my partner - not the blur moving out the door to catch the bus, nor an e-mail address I send mid-day planning e-mails to.

And I miss us - us as a family.  I am glad that we are going into this new year together - all of us holding these fantastic memories, collectively.  I hope that they can sustain us through the chaos that will unfold as these first weeks back descend.

My first two knitting projects of the new year are off the needles however.  I put the finishing touches on my pair of pomatomus socks.  And I am so happy with how they turned out.  The look like chain mail - like silver pillars of strength on my feet.

And my very own oven mitt (pattern here) came off the needles and was felted on New Year's Eve.  It took about 2 days to dry completely, so I didn't actually use it until after the new year.  I love this mitt, however.  It is very thick and works great with my style of baking and cooking.  I rarely go above 450 degrees F, and this mitt has worked great so far.  I did felt it quite a bit.  You'll see from the photo that it is considerably smaller than the standard mitts sold at stores, but I like that it is more fitted to my hand.  There's no bulk to get in the way.

out of the frying pan (oven mitt pattern by amy e. anderson)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Knitting Year-in-Review

A Sampling of Projects from 2011

As the new year is now upon us, I thought it time to take a moment and collect my thoughts about my knitting over the past year.  If I had to sum up my knitting over the past 12 months in one word it would be: prolific.  I have been knitting a lot.  And constantly.  And I am very, very happy about that.

My 28+ projects have been mostly small - baby knits, kid knits, hats, toys, ornaments, etc.  Projects that were quick.  But they all involved lots and lots of color.  Each project made me very happy.  Especially the ones that went to the most enthusiastic recipients, my kids!

I still have some unfinished projects hanging out in my basket.  They include the linen stitch scarf and silk mittens, and a pair of almost done pair of kids socks.
Interestingly, my stash has grown just a little over the past year too.  I knit up many yarns that I purchased and have only a special few that are sitting, waiting for the perfect project.

So I am ending last year feeling really good about my craft - not overwhelmed by too many yarns, or too many pattern ideas.  I am holding steady with the quantity and quality of my knits; entering the new year happy and content. 

There is, however, a new opportunity on the horizon.  Twelve organically raised sheep will join our extended family (my SIL's family to be exact), and that means a lot of fleece will be available to me in the not-too-distant future.  So it looks like I may begin a new journey with wool - something with hand spinning. 

I have been researching/reading how to wash, clean, card and spin fleece into yarn.  I have been looking at local woolen mills and their minimums for processing fleece(s).  I have invited myself to the home of an accomplished hand spinner for a lesson or two.  This is going to be fun.

So, no big knitting resolutions here - just moving on one stitch at a time.  [And a little elf brought some qiviut/merino yarn for my to try out this year too!]