Friday, December 31, 2021

Finishing out 2021

​Well, it’s New Years Eve and I’m done working and came home and immediately broke out my Pi Shawl I started this week in Einband Icelandic laceweight wool. It’s a brilliant pattern in the beginning, going quickly because you’re growing from 9 to 144 stitches at a good pace.  Then I got to the increase to 288 stitches and hit a wall it seems.  I’m on round 7 of the lace pattern with 288 stitches and have to get to round 48 before I can get the feeling of accomplishment and double the stitches again to 576!  I’m using the lace pattern Elizabeth Zimmermann provides with the Pi Shawl pattern in Knitters Almanac.  I’m thinking of knitting the same pattern for my mom using a mohair/silk blend laceweight but want to see how this one comes out before I work with that fiddly yarn.

Today I got some sad news.  Not only did the wonderful Betty White die, but my favorite YouTuber has put his channel on hold because of some trolls causing him trouble.  Now I’m gonna have to search out new people in the knitting world to follow.  This is the second great knitting podcast that’s been cancelled on me this year and it makes me feel as though I’ve lost a friend.  

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Big Comfy Sweater - Take 2

Well, now that I've finished my Big Comfy Sweater, I've cast on for Johanna's.  I decided after measuring her that I am going to make the 3X size from Blueberry Pudding Caron Big Cakes.  On Christmas Eve I cast on the front & back and on Christmas Day I managed to get both of the ribbings done, so now it's just miles of Stockinette until I have to add the sleeve stitches.  I have one piece on my Prym circular needle and the other piece on my new Denise Sharp Short Tips.  

My other project is doing the spinning homework for my School of SweetGeorgia spinning class.  I got my order of Blue Faced Leicester wool and am working on spinning my first bobbin full of singles, then I have to spin another bobbin with which to ply it into yarn.   I'm getting too much twist in the yarn, so I hope that Felicia addresses that in a future lesson I haven't gotten to yet.  

I put the needles I need for my Scandinavian shawl in my Amazon cart but haven't submitted it.  I'm not sure I really want to start that yet because it looks more complicated than I anticipated.  It's worked in 4 pieces, not one large piece, so I may do the Pi Shawl first, as that's better travel knitting.  

Today I start back at my original job, in the Pharmacy at my store, so I will have more time to knit after work, but no knitting during work like I had doing the school testing job with downtime at slower test sites and between schools.  I hope I made the right decision to come back to the store.  Everything seems to have changed while I was gone for 4 months. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Finished my Big Comfy (Ugly) Sweater

​I finished knitting, seaming and weaving in ends on my sweater tonight. Then tried it on and was very disappointed in how it looks on me.  It’s done in bright rainbow stripes and isn’t the least bit flattering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna wear the hell out of it, because I made it myself, but if someone asks I’m gonna refer to it as my ugly sweater.  The sleeves are really what ruins it. They are made it an unflattering stitch pattern. I may need to rethink my plan to knit this sweater for my daughter since she was going to get a different color way of the same yarn with the same sweater pattern. We’ll see how I feel about it after I wear it in public the next few days. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christmas Week

​This week has been long and busy already and it’s only Tuesday!  I’m still plugging away at my Rainbow Jelly sweater… the back is up to almost the same spot where my back ran out of yarn in the cake, so I will soon have to decide what I’m going to do about it. I have 2 more cakes I could tap into but would have to wind off the yarn till it got to the color sequence my sweater is using. This is the only real issue with self striping cakes. I would really like to finish it tomorrow so I can wear it Thursday on my last day in the schools. It’s dress down all week in the store but easier to wear my scrubs. If I don’t manage to finish it by then I want to wear it on Christmas Eve. It seems like it would be cozy. 

The packages have been rolling in from all my online shopping. My basket of wool is full and more is still on the way. My mohair/silk lace weight and my wool/silk roving came in today. My knitting books came in over the weekend.  I have some BFL wool from The Woolery on the way, and some Merino roving and some carded batts are coming from Paradise Fibers.  I can’t wait to see all these beautiful fibers and be able to start spinning.  I am stuck in the School of SweetGeorgia lesson where she tells you to spin 2 bobbins full of BFL so she can teach how to ply it into yarn.  I’m so excited to give it a try. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Last Chapter

​Today is the beginning of my last week on my current project at work.  I’m training my replacement Monday-Thursday.  So far, so good.  Mondays are our slowest day as far as number of patients per site that we handle, but we go to five schools so it’s a longer day. Since I’m supposedly training Tom I didn’t bring my knitting. I’m regretting my decision right now while we have an hour between schools. My pattern and Icelandic lace weight yarn arrived this weekend. I also got my Handknitting with Meg Swansen book.  My wool from Paradise Fibers was delivered this morning. I can’t wait to get home and see what it looks like. I’m not going to attempt to spin it until my spinning technique is on point.  I signed up for School of SweetGeorgia to get some help with my spinning techniques. I’m hoping I can get what I need out of the school in 3 months before I have to pay for another quarter. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Tough Choices

 Well, I pulled the trigger on my 2nd order from Paradise Fibers since they finally shipped my first order after a week.  I am getting a pound of dyed fiber and 2 batts to spin.  I'm super excited to see what they look like, although it will be a good while before I'm confident enough to use them.  I have another order ready to go for Knitpicks but I'm hesitating because I'm not sure I'll have enough time to knit everything I want to make in the next year.  And 2 of the 3 projects I picked out yarn for are sweaters I've already knit once before.  The other one is a WIP I've given up on.  The more I surf the website, the more stuff I add to my cart, then save to my wishlist, then put back in my cart.   I can't decide!  

I also updated my Ravelry page to get rid of a bunch of defunct projects I've given up on.  While I was at it, I thought about Yarn Hoarder and found that she's since taken down all of her youtube videos which is depressing.  The other person I watched consistently was Smells Like Yarn, and Ross has been attacked and thus taken down a lot of his content as well.  Sad that we live in a world where you can't be friends with strangers without a bunch of assholes ruining it for everyone. 

In today's progress, I was able to get quite a bit done on my Big Comfy Sweater while I was at work and after work.  The Susan Bates digital counter is a miracle worker for me.  Now I don't have to try to figure out what row I'm on at the end of every row.  I packed up Courtney's gifts and have to take them to the post office tomorrow so that she'll hopefully get them before Christmas.  Then a few other errands before I go out to dinner and get back home to work on my crafts.  Christmas is too close for comfort.  I want to get out my Cricut Joy and make some cards to send out on Monday, we'll see if that happens tomorrow or Sunday.  At least I'm not working this weekend.  So that's good.  I need the days off to recoup. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Fiber Diet 2022

 Ok, so I've come to the conclusion thru updating my Hobonichi Weeks and my blog that I have purchased a ridiculous amount of yarn and fiber in the past 3 months or so.  I've been working a lot of overtime, which makes me tired, and being tired makes me shop.  Not rational, but true for me.  So, I'm committing to not buying any new yarn in the new year.  I don't plan to buy any more fiber either, but I would like to try spinning a batt at some point, so I'm not ruling that purchase out, but I've got 3 different types of rovings to spin and that should keep me busy for  a good long time.  I'm going to keep track of the amount of yarn I use up in 2022.  Heck, I'm going to add fabric to the list of things I'm not buying next year, because I could literally make pajamas and totebags for everyone I know and still have bolts of fabric left over.  So we're going to call this The Fiber Diet 2022.  It begins Jan 1, 2022.  It applies only to yarn, fabric & fiber, so I am still allowed to buy notions, books and patterns.   Wish me luck!  If you would like to join me, comment below - I would love to hear from you!

Goals for 2022

 As I've been fiendishly buying all the wool and yarn I can (barely) afford, and hoarding tools, I have been planning quite a few future projects and I hope next year will be one where I can spend more time working on my hobbies.  In my search thru my ancient email archives looking for references to a project I made with a specific yarn from Lorna's Laces many years ago, I found copies of some old blog posts from 17 years ago, including the post where I announced the birth of my daughter Courtney.  My posts were very specific about what projects I was working on, had pictures and links, and all the fun stuff that I used to do when my blog was one of my major investments of my life.  After all, it was the reason I lost my job in 2003.  I spent blood, sweat and tears on that thing.  Unfortunately, dismantling it and losing those memories forever did not save my job, so it was all for naught.  

Today I bought yarn and more spinning fiber from Knitpicks, as my window shopping yesterday turned into sale & clearance prices today and I couldn't pass up the deal.  I bought some mohair yarn to make my mom something for Mother's day, most likely Elizabeth Zimmermann's shawl pattern from the cover of Knitter's Almanac.   I also went to Schoolhouse Press and bought a pattern for a lace shawl and 8 balls of laceweight icelandic wool for that.  On Amazon, I bought muslin bags to keep my projects in and my wool clean & tidy, and a copy of Handknitting with Meg Swansen.  My fiber from Paradise Fibers finally shipped tonight.  We'll see what a pound of fiber looks like from them before I order the other color I liked on the site.  For some reason Paypal wouldn't let me buy it the other night.  On my way home from work I went to the Joann's on the other side of town to pick up 4 row counters for my various projects since I keep losing my place and it was screwing up my pattern of ridges on my Big Comfy Sweater.  Both the front and back are now into the top sleeve/yoke area so just the 4 row repeat until I get 10 inches knit.  I'm hoping to finish that sweater this weekend.  I have been knitting during slow times at work and that's helped keep me sane and gotten quite a bit of progress done on this sweater.  

The temperature afghan for Courtney didn't get anything worked on it today.  That will be my secondary project this weekend.  We are supposed to be getting snow on Saturday, so aside from going to my kids' step-grandmother's to get gifts, and getting my nails done, I plan on staying in front of my fake fire and working with fiber all weekend.  I haven't had a Friday night off in about 3 months, so that will also be a relief and some time I can spend with my projects.  I have to work Monday-Thursday next week, then I'm off on Friday & Saturday for the holiday, then I'm back to work on Sunday, so no real "weekend" for me next week.  The following week I'm working Sunday but then have Monday off.  I'm not sure what my job expects of me anymore, but I'm kind of irritated that I'm getting scheduled weekends and nobody else is.  

Spinning Again

 So, I've gotten back into spinning wool into yarn.   I upgraded the flyer on my Babe Production double treadle spinning wheel I bought back in 2010.  I bought new bobbins for it - Standard, Lace and Plying bobbins.  I bought the booklet about how to use the wheel.  Then I sat down and tried to spin and god it's so frustrating when you're building that muscle memory back.  I watched a couple courses on Craftsy.  I got out some wool and my new drop spindle and got frustrated with trying to do that.  My christmas gift from my parents was a 20 pack of roving from Knitpicks, so that I'll have wool for years. I can't wait for my current assignment to wind down next week so that I can spend some time at home doing my crafts.   I've been working an average of 16 hours of overtime a week for the past 3 months, and I'm exhausted. 

My other current projects are my temperature blanket for Courtney which is into April,  and the Red Heart/Lorna Miser Big Comfy Sweater pattern that I'm currently making from Caron Big Cakes Rainbow Jellys yarn.  I've gotten the front & back to the sleeve cast-ons.  I'm working on that during the slow times of my job.  When mine is done in the size small, I will cast on for my daughter's 2-3X size with a different colorway of the same yarn.   My husband's christmas gift to me is a new set of Denise Interchangeable Short Sharp needles and a set of their Interchangeable Crochet hooks and 2 packages of extra cables in every size I could possibly need.  I will be good to go for a long time.  Also I got my Crochet hooks from Furls and was quite disappointed because the Odyssey is so damn heavy and has no thumb rest, so I'm not sure what hold they consider ergonomic, but clearly not how I hold mine.  

I also found some emails from my blog posts back in 2004, including announcing my 17 year old's birth. I did a lot of knitting back then, so it's crazy to me to go back and see how active I was with my crafting. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Final Stretch of 2021

 My first Temp blanket is on March 30th.  I splurged on some nickel hooks from Furls Crochet and I can't wait for those to come in.  I've also splurged on some more yarn - more Caron cakes from Michaels.  Michaels really pissed me off because I ordered 2 cakes of one color and they cancelled them, but I only got credit for 1 because they were buy 2 get 1 free.  I hope I like the Crystal Cakes texture because I bought 6 cakes that didn't get cancelled (Glittering Moonlight and Starry Night).  I also got 4 cakes of another color of the Big Cakes ( Boysenberry) and 3 cakes of Cotton Cakes (Peach Blossom).   I'm not sure what I'm going to use any of these for, but they are all rated 4 Medium/worsted weight so there are definitely unlimited options.  

I started my first Big Comfy Sweater in Rainbow Jelly and I'm almost to the point where I will be casting on for the sleeves.  I bought another smaller set of Denise Needles (the Love2Knit set of size 5-9) so that I could begin before I get my Christmas present, but then I found a triangular Prym needle at Michaels that I like almost better because it has the knob at the tip to help move the yarn from needle to needle easier.  I'm making my size, a Small, so it's going really quickly.  Jo's will take considerably more time because it's a much larger size.  I just hope the small fits me.  It will be a kick in the face if it's too small.  It's supposed to have quite a bit of ease, which is why I decided not to overestimate the size I wear.  Usually I buy up at least 1-2 sizes.  But that doesn't always look flattering.  I'm hoping to have the front done and the back going by the end of this weekend.  I have to work on Sunday, but I should be able to work on it tomorrow and Saturday.  Friday I will be driving during the day and working at night, so no time to knit too much.  We do have some time before our last school where we have to kill time in the parking lot before we go in.  The trick is to be at a point in the sweater where it's even stockinette for a good long while so I don't have to stop to measure or try to guess when I needed to do the cast on for the sleeves.  The sweater is made of only 2 pieces, a front and back.  So the body up to the armpits is all stockinette after 3" of ribbing at the bottom.  I can't wait to wear this sweater.   The best part is that it's acrylic so I can wash & dry the heck out of it and the worst thing that happens is a little pilling.  My other sweaters that I've knit are made of non-superwash wool that I'm downright afraid to wash, so I've worn them until they needed a wash and then set them aside.  One day soon I will figure out how to handwash them with the SOAK wash I bought years ago for the purpose of washing these awesome sweaters.  In the meantime, I'm embracing the acrylic in my life.