Sunday, 29 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: December 29th Update

So here we are, the end of December. Officially halfway through the challenge! I have to say, if I hadn't done a big push over the last few weeks to finish things off, I'd have a lot less finishes to look back on than I do.

Clockwise from top left: Castro, Wingspan, Anna's blanket, Esiotrot
Dan's blanket, Flash of Light, $5 in San Fransisco, Dinosaur

Eight finishes from the list so far this year, which isn't bad going considering how busy I've been. I am also oh so very close to finishing the Obnoxious Socks - I am one cuff away! Am hoping to get that done today and then that's one more finish off the list before the end of 2013. Kayleigh's blanket is also not too far away from being done.

But how does this stack up against the list? Lets have a look.

Existing WIPs

I had a few existing WIPs I wanted to concentrate on this year and get finished. Starlight is still languishing in the depths of my shelves, yet to see the light of day since I last put it down almost a year ago. I just really struggle to find the enthusiasm to knit this. I know the finished shrug will be beautiful. But its beads, and laceweight. I'm just not a fan of laceweight knitting. Peerie Flooers is still waiting to have its ends woven in. I'm just not a fan of doing that either. The socks were the only other carried forward knit, and they are almost done, so at least we have some movement in this category!

Projects carried forward from previous year

These were items I had on my list in year 2, that I still really wanted to knit in year 3. Ishbel is still waiting to be started, although as I don't currently have a shawl on my needles right now, it is looking pretty likely it will be my next cast on. $5 in Paris is done, of course.

The rest of my list

The rest of my list was yarn in my stash that I wanted to use, but hadn't necessarily matched to a pattern. The Cascade Ultra Pima Paints has been turned into a hat, with half the skein remaining for some matching mitts. I may seek out some plain black yarn to pair the remainder with, to make proper mitts instead of half mitts.

The kitchen cotton hasn't really been touched yet, but I am tempted to use this as the antidote to the endless lace-and-beads of Starlight when I get round to knitting that again.

I had earmarked four skeins of fingering weight that was crying out to be turned into shawls. Two of the four have been completed (Wingspan and Flash of Light above), and I have chosen a pattern for definitely one of the remaining two (the Tosh Merino Light I bought in San Fransisco) and I am still debating my pattern choice for the Zauberball.

The socks I haven't started anything yet, mainly because I only want to work on one pair of socks at a time and until the Obnoxious Socks are done, I won't start anything new.

Baby things I think is where I am making the most progress! Two baby blankets done, one almost done, plus a couple of cuddly Christmas presents, means I have done a fair few projects in this category so far this year.

Game of Thrones Blanket

Don't ask me about this! I ordered yarn, I sorted out my charts, but I haven't actually started making it yet. Maybe I will get round to that soon!

Of course, not having a defined list of projects makes it hard to estimate how far through my list I am in percentage terms, but we are halfway through the year and I feel like I'm about halfway through the list, which is ok by me.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a super day yesterday. Christmas in our house was a little subdued this year, as I have been dying of a horrendous 'flu type lurgy and have not really been in the mood. Christmas Eve was perhaps the worst day for it; I went into work but had to come home at lunchtime as I'd reached the point of being so ill that I was just bursting into tears in meeting rooms. I spent the next 12 hours curled up in a duvet on the sofa with my husband and the cat.

I did feel a little better on Christmas Day itself; well enough to cook and eat an amazing roast dinner, although I did spend a fair amount of time wrapped up my duvet watching Doctor Who (I bought Jamie the box set of all the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant series). The real sign I was feeling better was that in the afternoon, I felt well enough to pick up my knitting again, and finished off a hat I started at the weekend, before I started to feel ill.

The pattern is Odessa and the yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima Paints, which I picked up at Imagiknit in San Fransisco when we were there on our honeymoon. It used less than half the skein, so at some point I may whip up some matching wristwarmers. I just love the way the colours have striped, and spiral around the hat, reflecting the spiralling stitch pattern.

I also love the way the striping changed when I hit the crown decreases.

Santa didn't forget about my hobbies though, there were two pattern books hidden in the Christmas tree for me this year.

Knitted Cats & Kittens was from my husband, chosen because of this pattern which reminded him of our very own Mr Fidget. Knit your own Zoo was a gift from friends, the parents of the lucky youngster who we gave the dinosaur to. There are some truly awesome patterns in it, including a giant anteater and meerkats.

I can't start anything new now though, I really need to crack on and finish all my WIPs!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: 22nd December update

So here we are, just a few days before Christmas, and a week away from the halfway point of our challenge! This year seems to be flying by, and after several months of not actually finishing anything, I've had a lot of FOs to share over the last couple of weeks. I shared pics of my finished Wingspan on Friday, which leaves only one more FO to share before I've completely caught up. I'm particularly pleased with this one.

It's my finished Dragonfly Wings shawl, which I started back in June as part of Craft from the Cwtch's Summer KAL. It came off the needles in September, but only found its way onto the blocking boards in recent weeks.

The yarn is A Stash Addict Dark Arts Sparkle in the colourway Night Caller. It has a wonderful subtle sparkle thanks to the metallic thread running through the skein, and I just loved the colour combination of purple and grey-ish black. It really does remind me of a dragonfly's wings.

It only used up 60 grams of the skein as well, so I still have 40g left to knit something else! Not sure what yet, but I will try and think of something suitably matchy-matchy for the shawl.

Friday, 20 December 2013

FO: Wingspan

I finished the knitting on this shawl ages ago. Three months ago, in fact. I didn't get around to blocking it at the time as I was deep in frantic last minute cramming for my exam. Once the exam was done and dusted, I found all manner of excuses for why I hadn't blocked it yet. However, after tidying the house in preparation for Christmas, I didn't really have any more excuses!

The yarn is Jawoll Magic Degrade in the excitingly named colourway 85.0017, which I picked up at Unravel at the start of the year. It is so very similar to Zauberball! I did enjoy the process of knitting this shawl, but I have to say, I am not overly enamoured of the finished project.

I don't know if it's the shape of the finished shawl, or if it's the colours of the yarn and the way they have striped, or the fact that the yarn is a little scratchy for my tastes... or if there isn't actually a sensible reason for why I don't particularly love it. 

It seemed a shame for it to sit unused on my shelves, when it could be being worn and loved by someone who will appreciate it more than I do. So it found its way into my pile of homemade Christmas gifts and with any luck, the person I've chosen to give it to will really love it and wear it a lot.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Year of Projects 3: 16th December update

Phew, it's been another busy few weeks. I was away at a LRP event last weekend, and have been ill for most of the week, so not much has been going on worth posting about! But I've got over whatever virus it was that we had, and with Christmas fast approaching, I've gone into overdrive.

I have since put all my amigurumi in the tree, something which is
fast becoming a Christmas tradition in the Jones household

All of the decorations are up, with the exception of the Christmas Stockings as I can't figure out a way to hang them from the fireplace without destroying the mantlepiece. We did an epic Christmas present shopping trip on Sunday, and I spent most of the afternoon and evening wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards.

I haven't made many of our Christmas gifts, mainly because knitting to deadlines is something that really drives me up the wall. However, that said, in the end there are five handmade gifts winging their way to friends and family this year. Two of them were still unfinished when I started wrapping presents yesterday!

This is Esiotrot. The knitting on this tortoise was done months ago. But it was so much sewing! There is a reason I prefer crocheting for toys, as generally speaking there is a lot less faff. All of the limbs, head and tail were knit flat, and had to be sewn up. I was so fed up by the time I was done, but the end result is incredibly cute. I hope its new owner (or at least, her parents, as she is still too young to really appreciate it) loves it as much as I do.

This fantastic little dinosaur was definitely worth the hassle. While I did reach a point yesterday evening when I was about ready to throw it across the room in frustration as I sewed on the legs, I do love this little guy. I've wanted to knit him ever since I saw the pattern, when Jamie gave me the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor for Christmas a few years ago.

I have to say though, as cute as the patterns in the book are, I'm not sure I'd be tempted to make any more of them. The patterns are not particularly well written; if you were a complete beginner you'd get stuck pretty quickly I think. For the dinosaur particularly, I had to write out parts of the pattern myself in order to make sense of them. And everything is knit flat, then seamed afterwards.

I have a couple more YoP finishes to share which I will do later in the week.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Did I show you this hat?

I'm not sure I remembered to post about this hat I knit the other week. After finishing off my replacement Rapunzel mitts I decided I needed a hat to go with them.

The mitts (well, one of them, I don't appear to have got around
to taking a photo of the pair together!)

I had plenty of yarn left over, so did a quick hunt of Ravelry to see what was around in a quick, slouchy hat for chunky yarn. I found this:

It's the Quick Cable Slouch Hat by Azure, and it really is quick. Two evenings work had it finished, even with the addition of an extra repeat of the cable before the decreases (I wanted it really slouchy). I love how pretty the decreases are in the crown, how the cables all seem to converge on the centre.

I have been wearing it almost constantly since casting off, because it is wonderfully warm. The gloves too. They are my new favourite things.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Year of Projects 3 - 1st December update

Later posting than usual this week, as I was up partying until the wee small hours last night! It's a post worth waiting for though, as I have not just one, but two FOs to share.

$5 in San Francisco is finished! Full notes on the mods I made to the pattern are on my Ravelry project page. I have to say, I am so pleased with this project. It's my first ever jumper and it was so easy to knit. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I am already planning my second one. And I'm so much in love with the finished jumper itself, I've been wearing it all weekend.

The yarn is Cascade 220 which I bought from Imagiknit when I was in San Francisco on my honeymoon earlier in the year. It was a birthday present to myself. I have enough left over to make some gloves (in the light blue) and perhaps a hat from the remaining dark blue.

My other finish? Flash of Light. I started the Dragonfly Wings shawl back at the end of June, as part of the Crafts from the Cwtch Pick a Boo KAL. The KAL ran till the end of August, but it was the end of September before I finally cast off, as I let myself get put off by the border. I needn't have worried about it, as once I got down to it, it was really simple and I flew through it really quickly!

Blocking is more successful when cats are involved.

I managed to get it on the blocking boards this weekend, after it sat in my basket for two months! I haven't yet had a chance to take photos of the final, finished piece yet, but it is off the boards, the ends have been woven in and it looks amazing.
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