OK, this is it. Time to declare myself free of that weird crafting guilt you get when too many unfinished things pile up for too long. This is going to feel good. Let’s do this thing. I give you the Official List of Allowable Knitting for the Foreseeable Future, in Approximate Order of On-the-Needles Time:
No, I don’t expect to finish this, but I am giving myself a milestone to reach; I want to fill in the pretty jagged top so that’s squared off again and fill in all the side triangles (I have the bottom done & one side complete up as far as I’ve knit rows of squares, so the triangle part of the goal is pretty doable).
2 Secret Project #1
Almost exactly 6 years old, more than half done (though I need to recheck my gauge and see if I even can continue from where I left off or if I have to start over).
3 Giant Oceania Shawl
This one was still in progress when I started typing up this list last night, but honestly once I pulled it out to take pictures I just had that oh god so sick of this feeling I’ve been getting lately, and, well, here:
It’s really hard to get accurate colors in the spare room. Why those walls? Why?
Pattern: Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Oceania, color Java
Needles: 5.5 mm/US 9 KP Harmony interchangeables for the body of the shawl, then it sat on the cord with stoppers for at least the last 3 years, judging by the date on my last Ravelry notes, and then yesterday I just grabbed 2 tips that looked big enough to bind off with but I honestly don’t know what size
When I started this, the plan was to have a giant blanket-sized shawl to keep me warm at work. It took longer to knit than it took that job to lay me off, though, and it’s just kind of been languishing forever since then. Seeing that this only took 130 g out of 400 and it was this big has me convinced I made the right decision and I never would have knit a giant shawl out of this. Also I just knit the giant shawl of my dreams and I don’t feel the need for another one. I found a friend who will give it a good home and I think we shall all be happier for it.
LOOK AT HER NOW SHE JUST NEEDS LONGER SLEEVES!
5 Conference Call Socks
Maybe I’m done with these? Maybe I give them one more chance? Maybe I try to get the same size on the second one and find someone who’s like half a shoe-size smaller than me? Maybe I don’t have to knit this list in order so I have some time to decide.
6 Secret project #2
Started in 2013; high chance this won’t get done; best not to get into too much detail.
(There should be a pair of mittens here but I remember some horrible yarn tangles and I’m not sure if I know where one of the yarns that I need even is right now and also the hat & scarf they were supposed to match have had some stain misfortune befall them, so I’m gonna keep a place for them but not get my hopes up.)
Fingering weight leftovers from the sock yarn blanket. I like this but I don’t know how much, really. This one might get ripped out.
9 Ugly Knee Socks
I tried this one on yesterday to see how the fit was, and everything but the heel was great. I think my recent short-row-heel revelation extends to afterthought heels. Since I didn’t love the yarn anyway, I haven’t decided what to do with these. If I decide to finish, I’ll probably cut the foot off just above the heel and add a contrasting heel flap and then redo the foot. I just have to decide how much I care or how much I would wear these. My original plan was to wear them in my boots on the farm but that’s less useful to me right now. Idunno. But I’ll report back.
10 Secret project # 2
I can finish this. I CAN finish this. I can FINISH THIS!!!! And then you can see it.
11 Muriwai the Third
Big blob of green cotton. Nothing to see here.
12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket
I don’t think I ever showed you this! It’s fun.
I’m just sort of taking leftovers and knitting 20-stitch-wide garter stitch strips. For one strip, I’m alternating 2 colors and changing one of them out every 20 ridges. For the other, I’m splitting it down the middleand knitting until each color runs out. Not sure what I’ll do with the next ones. I think this will be like a 24″x36″ lap blanket maybe?
13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks
Haven’t started the second socks yet, but you can see that I intend to, since I actually know where both the yarns are.
When they’re done, they’ll look just like this but on the other feet:
Also then they won’t have to be mismatched anymore if I don’t want them to be.
These don’t need much! Just the thumbs (with conductive thread) and a good blocking. Watch this take the longest of everything on the list.
Holy dang these are fun, you guys.
So…that takes care of everything with a Ravelry project page. But that doesn’t take care of everything.
In less of any kind of order, here is what remains:
17 This is a sweater. I swear.
18 This used to be a sweater.
Back before the blog, I knit a Buttony.
While I was super excited to knit an actual garment, I think that face I’m making there pretty accurately sums up how I have tended to feel about the thing since. Like, sure, I’m kinda smiling but I’m not like smiling smiling. It’s nice. It’s OK. It’s lived in a box for 8.5 years.
It’s gonna be a pillow now. Probably a pillow with buttons tho ’cause dang I love those buttons.
19 Gray & Yellow Shawl in unphotographable yarn
20 Myrtle, which I am finally ready to swatch after like 5 years of thinking about it–in unphotographable yarn
21 Gray & Teal Scarf in yarn I am too lazy to photograph right now but would probably look fine if I did
22 Big Pile of Socks With Problems That I Should Really Fix
Not much in this category, thankfully.
24 & 25 Mystery Projects 3 & 4
26 My Current Year-of-Socks Socks
Hey, so if anybody’s having trouble getting in the right mood to knit short socks, let me recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Let me also note that is the ONLY situation for which I can recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Any time I think about socks lately all I can think is well there’s no point covering up too much of my legs, given that they’re about to melt off anyways.
27 Wild Card
This meets neither of my “on the needles or significantly along in the planning stage” criteria and I don’t even care. I bought this on WWKIP day to celebrate my local store’s 20% off sale. I have no idea what it’s going to be yet but I’m putting it on this list in case something comes to me.
OK, folks, I…think that’s it? Like, I really really believe this is everything. I don’t see how there could be more.
The fallout from last week’s attempt at organizing the next-to-the-couch yarn basket has been staring at me from the coffee table, and this weekend I finally had to do something about it.
The big problem — from both a yarn storage and a project finishing standpoint — is that when you throw a bunch of half-knit yarn into a basket, eventually it just becomes a yarn tribble. Two solutions to this: don’t half-knit things, and/or don’t store half-knit yarn in a giant basket with no separation strategy.
Neither of these is a likely long-term solution for me, let’s be honest. Still, I felt motivated in one particular direction — which was NOT the “store your yarn neatly like a reasonable person, Aoife” direction — and I’m gonna stick with that for a bit and see what it gets me.
I pulled out my in-progress third Muriwai, freed its half-ball from the horrors of the basket, and worked on the border to the end of the ball. Honestly, how damn quick is it to knit a couple rounds with super bulky yarn? What excuse do I even have for putting this down halfway through a ball? Anyways, this took about 20 minutes and now there’s no mile-long end to tangle in the basket. I think I should get a little credit for finding the rest of the yarn — still neatly in its plastic bag! — and putting all of it together so next time I want to work on this I don’t have to search.
I was looking through all the yarn bins over the weekend and doing a quick reshuffle to get things that need attention nearer to the top of the heap, and I figured it was finally time to turn Francis Revisited into something wearable.
This one will take a bit of knitting, since I need to work on the body and the sleeves. It’s just stockinette in the round for the most part, though, so it shouldn’t take too much time. She says almost 5 years to the day after starting this mostly-stockinette-in-the-round sweater.
The greatest accomplishment of my weekend, though, was stumbling upon the old Noro striped blanket that I worked on for about 5 minutes in 2013 and haven’t looked at since.
My first thought was, “Fuck it. This is more square than I want it to be and I am never going to finish it.”
I took it off the needles, and my second thought was, “Fuck! This is way bigger than I thought it was.”
My third thought was, “If I fold the corners back like a note in 3rd grade, this might could be a pillow.”
THIS THING IS GREAT!!!!!
We have a marble coffee table, and I have a weird maybe arthritic heel, so a pillow is a real necessity. I have thankfully had the loan of Dan’s Spider-Man pillow for the last year, but oh my people let me tell you. THIS PILLOW! IS! FANTASTIC! It has half a small bag of stuffing in it AND half a large bag of stuffing in it! I just kept stuffing until I couldn’t stuff anymore, and I regret NOTHING. I am sure the cats will try to pull the stuffing out, but such is life. Plus I figure if I give it a hot water wash from time to time and treat it roughly it should felt up a bit and keep its inside where they belong.
Pattern: Um…I started with maybe a circular cast on and did yo increases to make the corners? And then did like garter stitch but with 2 knit rounds for every purl ridge?
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, colorway 215; Patons Classic Wool in Aran & Natural Mix
Needles: US 9 KP interchangeables that have somehow avoided the Great KP Needle Plague of Aught-leven to Present, probably partly because they were stuck in this project for the last 2 years
This happened last time I knit Muriwai, too. This break only slowed me down for a few minutes, though. I moved the left-hand tip to the right and put a smaller tip on the left. Things went smoothly for a while, until the now right-hand needle almost gave me a splinter and I had to hunt down a nail file to fix that. Grrr. Sigh.
Now I have no longish 5 mm circulars, and I think I’m done with Knit Picks needles. These were actually the 5 mm tips they sent me to replace my original 5 mm tips that had broken. I got the 5 mm replacements at the same time as the replacements for the 6 mm tips that broke when I was knitting the first Muriwai. So, it looks like the replacements for the tips that had a 3-ish year shelf life have a 1.5 year shelf life themselves. That’s easy math, and I don’t like the trend I see developing here. If anyone has recommendations for reliable wood or bamboo needles with very pointy tips, let me know. I am now officially shopping for a new brand. I’m not sure I want another interchangeable set, but I love the idea of them so much that I could be swayed.
Anyway, back to the knitting. I powered through, and I finished.
Pattern: Muriwai Bath Mat by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark
Yarn: 8 skeins GGH Big Easy color 003 held double; 1/3 skein each Classic Elite Star color 5116 & Bernat Organic Cotton in white held together
Needles: KP Harmony interchangeables 5 mm; 6 mm to bind off
Started: September 17, 2011
Finished: March 31, 2012
Mods: Thinner yarn and smaller needles than called for (when you’re shopping clearance, there’s only so much you have to work with). Knit to 250 stitches. This is much smaller than I thought it would be. If I’d realized that before I bound off, I would have changed a few things at the end. But it’s big enough for me to stand on, so I’m not unhappy overall.
Also: I know, I know. I’m supposed to be knitting socks. My hands needed a break from small-gauge knitting. I only have, like, 8 more pattern repeats and a toe. I’m totally good.
I’ve done a slight reorganization of the yarn baskets to aid in my goal of clearing out all the unfinished things. (The general yarn storage system in my house is like this: there’s a set of Rubbermaid drawers for most of it, there are 2 baskets for more of it, there are various bags of it about the place; the baskets are the most accessible from the couch.) I have chosen one basket, named it the Allowable Knitting Basket, and put all in-process and next-on-the-queue stuff (and nothing else except needles & such) into it. The only Allowable Knitting not in this basket is the Life-Long Blanket, because it’s taking most of the space in 2 super market paper bags to handle that thing and all its attendant minis right now. If I reach into the AKB I am sure to find either something I am already partway through or something I plan to make in the next month or so, which means I won’t get distracted by something shiny and add another just barely started item to the pile.
If memory serves – and it should, as I just filled it a few hours ago – these are the contents of the AKB:
- The Unexpected Socks (I got some very generous partials in my latest Life-Long Blanket life support trade and decided that one of them, while it did make a lovely square, simply had to become socks for me, with contrasting heels, toes, and ribbing to make up the needed yardage)
- The only 2 things I’m knitting for Xmas presents
- Francis Revisited
- Plain & Simple
- The Oceania Shawl
- The next Thor hat (in my size, to test my pattern-writing skills)
- The 2nd Stripey Bed Sock (I knit the 1st one last Xmas, so I suppose it would be fitting to knit the 2nd one this Xmas)
- The Kitchen Muriwai
- Xmas garland for the office
- The Fuck This Shrug Slipper Socks
The Unexpected Socks are making good purse knitting and the rest of the yarn for the garland has mysteriously disappeared (now, I admit there have been times over the years since this yarn came into my possession that I have wished it would disappear because it’s tough to find a use for 9 skeins of Caron Christmas Glitter Multi; but now that I have a use I really don’t want it running off on me), so I think I have a date with Kristi tonight.
In other news: PURPLE PEA COAT HAS ARRIVED!!!
And now, I must leave you. There is roasted delicata squash to scoop and freeze, cranberry nut bread to cool, and apple butter to mush and strain (because also in other news: FARM SHARES ARE THE BEST), French bread heading into the oven soon, spaghetti for dinner, and the difficult choice between Inspectors Lewis and Frost. Life is good.
I am at a point with my knitting where I want to clear everything off my plate before starting anything else. I get to this place once a year or so. It’s partly because there are lots of pretty new things I want to try but I don’t want to double the work-in-progress count. It’s mostly because I’ve looked around recently and seen nothing but the ultrafamiliar. With the exception of the Thor Hat, nothing too exciting is going on right now and my mind has become occupied with all the half-finished items in the house. I’ve decided to finish as many as possible by the end of the month and, as the picture above shows, I’m making OK progress so far.
At the top is Flip Your Lid, which doesn’t really count since I started it precisely to distract myself from this feeling and finished it up in a few nights. It still needs to be washed and blocked, but it’s been worn once and is awfully pretty.
Below the hat are two socks – not a pair, just two of them – one plain top-down-with-heel-flap in Patons Kroy Jacquard and one Lace Panel Sock, also in Kroy as far as I can tell. These socks came to me by way of a coworker some months back and the first sock just needed the toe closed up. The second sock was just past the heel flap, and I’ve gotten that to about halfway down the foot this weekend. These will not fit me and aren’t really my style anyway, so they’ll be held onto until an opportunity for a gift or a trade on Ravelry presents itself.
At the bottom of this pile is a glimpse of the Thor Hat, but the recipient requested no progress pics, so I’m not going to show you any more of that for now. The hat part itself is done, though I need to rework the spiky bit at the top. Now it’s on to the wingy bits. The surprising part about this hat is that the wingy bits on the side were the easiest to figure out. I started swatching for them before I even had the yarn for the hat, and I figured them out pretty quickly (I think; we’ll see what happens when I knit the final wingy bits and get them on the hat itself). It’s the damn gauge messing me up on the hat. I used the gauge on an old hat I made myself out of the same yarn to figure out my cast-on number and either didn’t realize how much my knitting had changed since I knit that hat or my notes on what needle size I used were wrong. In the end it took three tries and two needle sizes to get it right.
As usual, I find knitting for others to be a good character-building exercise for me. When I see a mistake in something that’s not for me, I fix it. I drop stitches down as many rows as it takes and carefully loop them back up neatly with a crochet hook. I rip out and start again if my cast-on row looks sloppy. I’m all sorts of well-behaved with the things I knit for others. I should probably do it more often, but I just can’t always stand being so damned careful with my work.
All of this hat planning and frustration, along with my little trip back to Life-Long Blanket Land, has left the year. of. sweaters. a month or so behind. This must be remedied but I haven’t decided how. I have 3 sweaters in progress – Francis Revisited (it just needs sleeves, and they’re not even full sleeves, so what’s my problem?), Plain and Simple (still a loooooooong way to go on this one), and an EZ seamless set-in sleeve number in KP Telemark. I started the Telemark sweater last month, did a really beautiful corrugated rib hem, and knit happily away for 3 or 4 inches, then figured I should check just to be sure my gauge swatch was accurate. Well, when have they ever been? Maybe it wasn’t the swatch. Maybe my math was just off, or for some reason that day my hips measured 6 inches larger than usual and I just didn’t notice. In any case, I’m going to give what I’ve knit a soak and re-measure my gauge. Then I could start on a sleeve. If I can get the right stitch counts, I think I could easily knit this by the end of the month.
Except I won’t, actually, because there are too many other things to finish by the end of the month. Instead I’m going to clear out all the small projects I can – three second socks, Citron, the kitchen Muriwai, the stripey shrug from back in Spring – then focus on the Oceania shawl. Dan mentioned today how much he would like the paper towel holder back where it belongs (I have to agree; we keep losing the paper towels). And a shawl is sort of like a sweater anyway, so I won’t consider September/October a failure if I can get the shawl done in time.
That’s some good math right there, I tell ya. It pretty much ensures I’ll never get bored. Except that the more projects I have in progress the more quickly I get bored. But you didn’t hear that from me.
Then I started contemplating the lingering unstarted projects. I wanted to start all of them. I started another Muriwai, this time for the kitchen.
I started Winding Path, but my gauge was like ugh so that got set aside.
I also wound the yarn (KP Bare and Malabrigo Sock in Abril) to start Flip Your Lid.
I guess that’s enough starting for now. Next I’ll try to finish something.
P. S. I also started some vanilla extract.
It has been tested (note the damp spots) and it is not slippery!
Pattern: Muriwai by Mel Clark from Knit 2 Together
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Bulky in Planetarium, 8.5 skeins (held double)
Needles: 6.5 mm Knit Picks Harmony interchangeables
Mods: Knit until there were 315 stitches instead of the 340 in the pattern. I just couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to finish a project today. We don’t have a particularly big bathroom, so the size is just fine.
Started: Fall 2010
Problems: Just with the needles. My KP needles have decided they hate me, it seems. In the last few months I’ve had one US 8 and one US 11 tip just plain break at the base, then discovered I only got one US 10 tip in my set and 3 US 10.5. That 3rd 10.5 came in handy when one of the other two pulled out of the base (and more than a few stitches) partway through this project. Knit Picks customer service is great, though, and they did send 3 new sets (8, 10, 11) to replace the damaged ones. Then, partway through the toe on the second birthday knee sock, one of the tips on my 2 mm 40″ fixed circ just plain snapped in half. I haven’t contacted customer service about that one yet. I assume I’ll be able to get a replacement, but I’m starting to think maybe KP needles have a 3-4 year lifespan and that’s it. If I weren’t such a loose knitter and if they hadn’t all broken so close together, I’d think it was me and not the needles. In any case, I think I might start testing some other brands with my next few needle purchases.
So, last October I decided to start working my way through all my unread books shelf by shelf. At the time shelf one was in the following condition:
- Flatland by Edwin A Abbott
- The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide by Douglas Adams
- Watership Down by Richard Adams (read)
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (read)
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
- Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
- The Complete Novels of Jane Austen (partially read)
Here’s what’s happened since then:
Books Read So Far: 10 – all 5 in Hitchhiker’s Guide…, Wilderness, Early Autumn, Pastime, The Judas Goat (all 4 by Robert B Parker), In The Presence Of The Enemy by Elizabeth George
Books Acquired: 6 or so (Spensers, Lynleys, and some from my wishlist, all obtained through bookmooch)
Progress On Shelf 1: Yes. Well. About that. Flatland was a big no-thank-you. Hitchhiker’s Guide… was pretty great, though (and I might have just been getting bored with the series) it seemed to kind of fall apart at the end of book 5. Like he knew how it would end but got sick of writing it so he just sketched out the important points quickly and called it done. I started Cat’s Eye and it was very good but I hated my childhood and my entire time in school enough that I feel I earned the right to choose not to read about such things if I don’t want to now that I’m an adultandmakemyowndecisionsdamnit. The same way I refuse to watch Freaks and Geeks or Glee, no matter how good I hear they are, simply because they are about high school, but I do eat ice cream for breakfast any time the mood strikes because being 30 is awesome. So, I think that one’s going back in the bookmooch pool. I thought about Alias Grace or some of the unread Austens, but the only fiction I’m feeling lately is detective/murder mystery stuff. I’m into the intellectual challenge right now. I think if I really want to make progress on the book project I’m going to have to skip ahead to non-fiction. More to come.
The knitting is stagnating a bit at present as well.
I want all of these done but I don’t want to finish them. I want to knit a sweater but, with almost 300 stitches to cast on, I really don’t want to just jump in without a reliable gauge swatch (that little red sliver of fabric in the back). With fingering weight yarn on 2.5 mm needles, though, the gauge swatch is going to take enough time to be considered a project on its own.
And, also, I’ve just been exhausted this week. I declared this weekend to be one for hardcore relaxation, but so far I have not had a spa treatment, aromatherapy, or deep tissue massage. I have had a shoulder rub, a bit of a lie-in, and a couple of beers, though, so that’s a start. Must find some way to relax hardcore tomorrow. Hrm…
I’m enjoying my time until I have to start my next sweater by catching up on some unfinished projects.
This has been my main project this week. Eventually it should be a squishy, soft, and I hope not slippery bath mat. Right now it’s a giant pile of detail obscuring, dark blue cotton I can only manage to knit around 6 or so times in an evening before I give up. Maybe another week and this will be done.
The toe I was reluctant to discuss in this post is now a toe, foot, and heel.
This is my birthday present yarn from last year, Socks That Rock mill ends in a purpley greeny blue, on its way to becoming knee socks. I have two skeins and I’m working from the smaller one first, knitting toe-up to get the tallest socks I can. I love this yarn. It is so delicious. I need more of this yarn, just spread around the house in convenient squeezing locations.
Dan & I did a bit more dyeing today as well. Our methods aren’t terribly slick yet, sadly. We’ve tried this twice and neither yarn has come out like we thought it would. Today we were going for light pink, dark pink, white, & black stripes. The black turned very purple (and we were rinsing green out of it for about 20 minutes), the dark pink went sort of brown, and the light pink has bright orange polka dots. We skipped the white section entirely because I put the wrong stretch of yarn in the jar with the black dye so there really wasn’t much choice if we still wanted stripes. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but it’s growing on me as it dries.