Professional Procrastinator, at Your Service

So remember the other day when I said I was going to ride that wave of completion straight thru some of my many works in progress? Yeah, so… not really feeling it anymore.

My cowl has yet to be grafted together. I was going to do that after work yesterday, but I’d failed to put everything I needed into my knitting bag the night before so I couldn’t take it with me when I left the house at zero-dark-thirty (because I’d have to search for stuff, and people were still asleep). I’ll try to do it tonight after everyone is asleep (I can’t do kitchner when there’s even a chance that someone might talk to me).

So instead of my cowl stuff, I grabbed a random project bag from the top of my yarn basket, assuming that if there was stuff a bag, it was something I needed to finish – it didn’t really matter what the project was.

As it turns out, the stuff in the bag was some yarn and needles for making “Green Autumn (Druid Mittens)” by brooklyntweed, and I was pretty excited. I’ve been wanting to make these for years, and my very lovely friend Carole bought the pattern for me as a gift. But I tried and tried, and cannot get any needle/yarn combination to get gauge!!

I want to make these mittens so badly, but it would appear that the universe is just not on my side right now.

I want to make these mittens so badly, but it would appear that the universe is just not on my side right now.

First attempt - thick yarn, little needles. This is pretty close to gauge, but it hurts to knit.

First attempt – thick yarn, little needles. This is pretty close to gauge, but it hurts to knit.

Second Attempt - thinner yarn, slightly larger needles. Easy to knit, but looks sloppy.

Second Attempt – thinner yarn, slightly larger needles. Easy to knit, but looks sloppy.

I’m going to have to knit a few more rows on the second attempt before I decide if this yarn/needle combination is working or not. But my frustration with knitting let me to…

70% Alpaca from "Miss Independence"/30% silk. So very lovely to spin!!

70% Alpaca from “Miss Independence”/30% silk. So very lovely to spin!!

I still haven't come up with a name for the wheel my uncle made for me, but "PJ" seems appropriate.

I still haven’t come up with a name for the wheel my uncle made for me, but “PJ” seems appropriate.

…pulling out a spinning wheel (PJ for now). I popped a new piece of cotton cord on to replace the drive band that the cat had tangled around the axle, and put those frustrating mittens and all their gauge problems out of my mind for a bit.

I hope your knitting is going better than mine!

I’ve finally finished something!

And I’m super excited about it. It seems like, since January, all I’ve been doing is starting projects. I’m hoping that the thrill of having just one of my many occupied sets of needles freed from their WIP prison will provide enough encouragement to get me thru some of the many started-but-not-completed projects I have clogging up my many baskets and project bags.

Fair Isle Cowl from Vogue Knitting

It took me nearly seven months to finish knitting, but it was soooo worth it!

The pattern is #28 Mobius Cowl, and it was published in Vogue Knitting Winter 2013/2014. I guess technically it’s not finished, because I still have to graft the ends together to convert it from a short-ish scarf to a longish cowl, but the knitting is done, the ends are all sewn in (and boy, was that a lot of ends), it’s been washed and is nearly dry.

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Fair Isle Cowl from Vogue Knitting - Inside view

A quick peek inside. I love it when people compliment me on my color work and how lovely it is while I’m sewing in the ends (i.e., it’s inside out).

Pile of yarn left over

This is the rather large pile of yarn that is left over from weaving in all the ends.

Ok, well I’m off to see if there’s something else to finish before I get distracted by Ravelry and cast on something new (I do have an empty set of size 4 needles…just saying’!).

Have a lovely day!

Inexcusable

That’s the only word that can accurately describe my absence. I have excuses, but they’re pretty lame (flu (me), flu (Max), hip/back issues, etc., etc…do you feel even a little bad for me yet?).  But I’m back – for tonight, at least – to give you some random updates.

1. I’m finally doing a “Mystery Knit-a-Long”. I’ve been waiting for ages to find one of these before the mystery is solved and the fun has left the yarn store. The pattern is “Iznik I Heart You“, and all I know is that it’s lace, a shawl, and has ~1500 beads. This is SO not my kind of project: I love lace yarn (I have a rather impressive collection), but I hate to knit with it (which is why my collection is so impressive); I also dislike working with beads. They interrupt my knitting flow, and there’s way too much brow furrowing involved in getting the beads to go over a stitch. But this pattern is impressively well written, and the final product will be a surprise, so I’m going to stick with it. The first clue was released on Saturday, and I’ve already finished it. If you’re interested in joining in, the pattern is free until March 14th (read the pattern description to find the coupon code).

(psst…if you want to see mine so far, click here. I didn’t want to put the picture in the post in case I spoiled the surprise for someone else)

2. I finished a really cute sweater for Penny (a few weeks ago). I love it, and she loves it, and because of all this love, I’m going to make her another one.  My LYS has a sample of “Diggory” from Berroco, and it is sooooooo cute….but again, not something that I’d usually choose. It’s knit out of cotton, and the non-stretchy properties of cotton make my hands ache. But I’m going to make an exception this once, and see if I can get over it. So a few minutes ago I purchased the pattern, and started to look for the appropriate needles – size 5 & size 6, straight. My straight needles keep disappearing, but not in pairs. So I have one size 7, and one size 9 – you know the drill. When I looked in my mason jar o’needles, however, I immediately located both size 5s and both size 6s. This sweater is meant to be. So I’m going to start it right after I finish here.

Penny modeling her new orange sweater

Penny especially likes the giant buttons on her sweater, because she can do them all by herself.

3. Another project that I’ve (almost) finished is a pair of socks for my lovely hubby. Since I’ve started knitting, I’ve made him a hat and a pair of fingerless mitts…but that’s it. I was having some guilt about his wool deficiency, so I used “David’s Toe-Up Sock Cookbook” to create a pair of socks for Sir Alex. They’re not totally finished yet, because I can’t find my darning needles, which means I can’t weave the ends in. All this is because I can’t remember what I finished before I started on his socks, so I don’t know which bag to look in. And I don’t remember what I was working on before because I haven’t been blogging.

Socks that I knit for my husband, Alex.

They’re lovely, but a little sad with those long strings still hanging from them.

4. Which is why I’ll do my best to write some more tomorrow, so I’ll be able to find stuff.

…where I become one with my inner Dora

Lo hice!

OK, so Dora would have said, “Lo hicimos!”, but Boots wasn’t with me today when I went to the yarn store to teach my very first knitting class. I was on my own. Luckily, my class was filled with seven lovely ladies – even one from Menasha, Wisconsin who was in town with her husband on their annual “hide from the cold weather” vacation – and after my kind of awkward and shaky introduction, everything went great.

Among other things, I was nervous about how I was going to stretch teaching a non-conventional cast on (after that, it’s just ribbing and stockinette until we hit the heel flap) to fill a full 90 minutes. But as soon as we got going, there were questions and stories, and suddenly it was 3:00 and we were done. I didn’t even get a chance to tell my joke.

At the end, even the lady who argued with me every time I gave a direction was smiling and laughing, so I’m going to call my first class a roaring success.

Oh, and they loved the project bags. But that’s definitely (why can I never spell “definitely” right the first time?) not happening again. I don’t have the constitution to make that many fiddly little bags for every class.

AND (I can hardly handle how well this weekend is going) I finished my confidence boosting sweater. Observe!

Fitted February Pullover by Amy Herzog

My Fitted February Pullover, knit with Malabrigo Rios yarn

Fitted February Pullover by Amy Herzog 

I almost love this sweater…It may take another washing or two for the stitches to figure out exactly where they need to be. But it was comfy and warm, without being stifling hot, and I certainly appreciated it.

Unicorn what?

When I got home today, I found a little package on my front porch, and in it was this:

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Yep, I got a little tub of Unicorn Farts & a tube of Yeti Breath. The problem is, there was no note or packing slip inside, so I don’t know who to thank for this lovely and uniquely named gift.

If you sent it to me, leave me a comment and take your due credit! I love it, and want to thank you properly!

(in case you’re wondering, Unicorn Farts smell like sweet mint, and Yeti Breath is wonderful but difficult to describe)

(also, I finished my February Fitted Pullover; it’s being washed now, but I’ll get some pictures of it tomorrow)

 

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Too good to be true

Yesterday, I had an oddly successful crafting day. So successful, in fact, that I was slightly apprehensive about going to work today because surely, the proverbial other shoe was about to drop.

First, I made a cover for the lethally sharp end of my new spindle.

Spindle for Walking (Great) Wheel

The spindle is mostly benign, but having the cat and the kids around it made me nervous enough to make something to cover the point (this is the spindle, sans cover).

Spindle for Walking (Great) Wheel with it's cover

I made the cover out of some Fimo clay, then baked it in the oven. The design is very abstract, because I suck at making stuff out of clay.

The cover is attached to the accelerator head with a bit of stretchy string (like you’d use to make a beaded bracelet) so it will stay on when I need it to, but can be easily removed.

Next, I made a little project bag.

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It’s lined, and reversible.  And even more impressively, the pieces are all the right size AND the edges are straight.  If you want to see (kind of) how I did it, I referenced these directions. My plan is to make a bunch of these for Saturday.

Wait…did you not hear about Saturday?

I’m teaching a beginning sock knitting class at Yarning for You in San Marcos!! I’m very very excited, and more than a little nervous. To celebrate my very first class, I’m planning to give a little project bag to each student.  In addition to the basic sock class, I’m also going to be teaching a color work class and a more “advanced” sock class in February and March.

Which brings me to my final crafting victory for yesterday. The sleeves for my new sweater are nearly done. I’ve already finished the body, so (in theory, at least) this should be ready to wear for Saturday. There’s nothing like a new sweater that you made all by yourself to fill you with confidence!

February Fitted Pullover - Sleeves

And even though I was nervous, I did, in fact, go to work today, and nothing blew up. Yay! Two good days in a row (knocking on wood now)!

All Hail, the Day After!

Wow, the day after Christmas is so…

Mellow.

Sami is at her dad’s house.

Jojo is shopping with a friend.

Max is at a hockey “training camp”.

Alex is out (I think at the bookstore, but I could be wrong).

And Penny and I are lounging about in our jammies, watching cartoons, and playing with our new toys.

It’s been so long since I’ve had the time or energy to sit down and write out a post, that it feels slightly odd to do it now. But I’m back (at least until next Christmas’ craziness). I did finish all of my Wisconsin-bound knitting in time, and will show you photos of the items in action as I get them. For now, here is the Beer Mitten (from Knitty) that I made for my friend Mike. It took just an evening to knit and is really quite a clever design, addressing a problem most people didn’t know they had.

Beer Mitten from Knitty
Mike sent me this picture of his beer mitten in action.

I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas as well, filled with as much joy and merriment as you could handle. And I hope that you are enjoying the day after, as well.

Instead of that other thing

I just deleted a post where I put a lot of energy into taking dictation from the whiney voice in my head. To replace it, I’m going to do a bit of randomness for you.

1. This afternoon I went into a store to buy shampoo, soda, and coffee. I picked up the shampoo, then stood in the aisle near the checkouts for nearly a minute trying to remember what else I needed. I decided the shampoo was all I came in for, and proceeded to get in line to pay. Once I reached the front of the line, I remembered the soda.

2. Since at no time whilst executing number 1 (above) did I remember that I also needed coffee, I had to make another trip to the store after Max & Penny went to bed.

3. I’ve been diligently knitting on my Christmas gifts (although to be honest, I can’t remember how many I have left to do – but I think I wrote a post about it a few weeks ago, so I’ll just have to go back and look), but making lists (in my head, of course, because why would I actually want to remember this stuff) of all the lovely things I’m going to make once the holiday knitting is complete. I finished the second project-that-can’t-be-named at 4:09 am on Saturday, and wove in the ends and blocked it at a more reasonable time that afternoon.

4. I just glanced over at my wool chest, where I thought I had my pile of finished gifts stacked, and I can’t see any of them. As soon as I’m done with this post, I’ll have to investigate and possibly put a cat up for sale on eBay.

5. Tonight I went to my project page on Ravelry and hit refresh, fully expecting to see the “% complete” numbers to increase. I really can’t explain it, and (just in case you’re thinking about trying it yourself) it didn’t work.

6. I met a knitter named Diane at the ice rink last Friday. Not only did I meet her, but I had an actual conversation with her (I have trouble talking to strangers)! She said she had recently started knitting again, and was pretty excited about it.

7. I have about 40 rows left to knit before I start decreasing for the toe of the second stranded sock, so I’m going to go work on it now.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you some pictures of stuff.

But don’t count on it, because I’ll probably forget.

Too much Math

I’m still working on my Christmas knitting, and while the end is in sight, I still have some marathon-level work to do if I’m going to reach my goal of mailing all of my gifts back to Wisconsin during Thanksgiving week. I’ve found that I work much better under pressure, and can think of no better pressure than to figure out just how unlikely it is that I’ll get it done – and then do it.

To that end, after I ate lunch today I did some calculations on how much of the project-that-can’t-be-named v.2 I have left to knit.

There are 155 garter row “bumps” left. Each bump (2 rows) takes 3 minutes to knit.
155*3 = 465 minutes
465/60= 7.7 hours of knitting.
If I knit non-stop from noon (the end of my lunch hour), I could be done before bedtime. Unfortunately (and as usual), the whole “work” thing is getting between me and my knitting.

And, as if 7.75 hours of knitting isn’t daunting enough, I also calculated how many stitches are left.
155*50 (stitches per row) * 2 (rows per bump) = 15,500 stitches.
15,500 stitches LEFT TO KNIT.
This number is only slightly more palatable when compared to the number of stitches I’ve already knit (30,700), or the total number of stitches in the entire project-that-can’t-be-named v.2 (46,200).

It is, however, much easier to deal with when I consider that this is the second project-that-can’t-be-named that I’m making for Christmas this year, which means that I will have knit 92,400 stitches just for these two gifts.

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Two. Out of eight.

I’m not going to count the stitches on the other six, especially since one of them hasn’t been started yet.

Happy Birthday Penny!