Knitting in Twenty-Eleven

The Year of the Sweater is over. So, what will this next year be? Are you ready for a doosie?

First, a quick recap. For the year 2010, I set out to knit seven sweaters for myself. I finished five, one is still in the WIP basket, and one never got cast on. But, to be fair, my knitting year ended up getting cut short in October, when morning sickness took over. So, I consider it a success. Moving on.

This last year was also the year of the yarn shopping splurge. Taking part in the Eat, Sleep, Knit Yarnathon found me buying more yarn than I could use, and spending more money than I should have. So, to regain my husbands confidence in me in the financial department, and to test my self control, this year with be the Year of the Stash. Here are my rules:

1. I will knit only with yarn from the stash.

2. I will not purchase any yarn until 2012.

3. Yarn given to me throughout the year counts as yarn in the stash and can be knit up. I can also use store credit (I have a little left), but only if needed.

And, to make it more feasible, there are two exceptions:

1. If, when planning Christmas gifts, I cannot find the right yarn for the gift in my stash, I may buy the yarn required.

2. If, by some amazing knitterly feat, I knit every yard of yarn in the stash, I may purchase more yarn. BUT, only enough for one project at a time.

Anyone want to join me?

Let the Year of the Stash begin! And to kick it off, I guess I better toss the stash and see what is there.

And, there is this. A Christmas gift from my sister – a basket of wool and chocolate. Purple wool, even. Boy, does she know me, or what?

Now, in the interest of honesty, knowing that I was going to make this resolution, I did make another purchase. Okay, okay. Two other purchases. Neither have arrived in the mail, but when they come, I will show you. The first is from Knit Picks and is for the stockings that I have to finish this year and some baby things I want to knit before June. The second, well, that is another ESK order, this one putting me over the 35K milestone. Yeah, I know. I am bad. But that is why this new year is going to be so good!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

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Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Lest we forget why we are getting a day off of work, giving gifts and eating lots of yummy food:

May your day be blessed with the true meaning of this wonderful holiday season.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

PS – Zipper in, gift wrapped, relief all over. Hope Sis wants to model, because I can’t wait to show you! πŸ™‚

Closure

I am half-finished installing a zipper in the super-secret-never-ending-Christmas-gift.

But it looks all wonky, and it really does need to be perfect.

So, I put it down, blew my nose, splashed my face, and proceeded to procrastinate.

But, today is a new day. I will conquer! I will succeed! I will get closure! umm, literally…

The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care…

See what I started?

Please ignore the crazy background. Our house is still a work-in-progress…

These are the stockings that I made two years ago. Now, I know that there are only five stockings there. I also know that we have seven people in our family, eight by next Christmas. But, I am tired of these. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE these that are hanging over our wood stove, all hand knit and beautiful. But the thought of knitting that (stinking) pattern three more times? It just brings tears to my eyes. Fortunately for me, Chloe is still too young to know that she doesn’t have one, and I don’t really care that I don’t. But, next year, Chloe will need her own, I will have another baby who will eventually also need one. And, while it will never be filled with anything, it would be nice to eventually have one with my name on it, as well. So, next year, I guess I will have to suck it up, order more yarn (I was so tired of knitting these that I used the yarn meant for the collection on other things…), and start knitting. I do have all year, after all. I should be able to do it. Maybe I will even be able to work up a little “want-to” as well.

A girl can hope, can’t she?

Err On the Safe Side

I am a chronic yarn-yardage-over-estimator. Chronic. Remember my Mermaid sweater? Three balls left over (that would be 600 yards). The Tea Leaves Cardigan? Three balls (another 600 yards). Wispy Cardy? One ball extra (that would be one-third more than I needed!) And I have done it again.

In retrospect, I am not sure what I was thinking. The pattern clearly calls for 1545 yards for the large size. I substituted Knit Picks Cotlin for the reccomended Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, because I wanted to use something machine washable and I love Cotlin. At 123 yards a ball, I should have ordered 12.5 balls, or really 13, of Cotlin. I ordered fifteen. Do you want to guess how much I have left? Not two balls, not three, but five whole balls of Cotlin in Coffee:

Now, I don’t know quite how this happened. There is also another partial ball, which I only got into for the seaming. So, I used approximately 1250 yards, after ordering a whopping 1845 yards. I guess math is not my strong point.

My motto? To err is human, to have lots of extra yarn at the end of a project, divine.

And, yes, I am finished with the knitting on this project. All I have remaining is the dreaded zipper installation. A task which reduces me to a pile of teary hopelessness in the best of circumstances. Pray for me….

My Black Friday Take

I knew that it was coming, so I didn’t buy yarn for a whole month in anticipation. The Eat Sleep Knit Black Friday Sale. This is what I scored.

Remember my Wispy Cardi that I made? I lamented that it wasn’t suited to my “maternally soft” (great phrase, Missi!) physique. However, I wear it all the time! The yarn is whisper soft and so heavenly against the skin. I don’t love the way it looks, but it just feels fabulous. And so, I ordered enough Malabrigo Lace to try another of Hannah Fettig’s sweaters, the Featherweight Cardigan. Maybe this one will look better on my frame. At least I know that I will love how it feels. (The color is Tortuga)

And, yet more Malabrigo Lace, this time in olive, for another Wispy. My cousin, if I may say, has had an amazing year – premature twins with a two year old already and her hubby between jobs. She needs a little Malabrigo to wrap herself in. When she admired my Wispy, I knew she had one headed to her. (I love you, K!)

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace in Β Senta. I don’t know why I bought this, except the obvious reasons – it is lace weight, it is alpaca, and it is beautiful.

I confess that this purchase was just out of curiosity. I have used Madelinetosh only once before, and it was the one-ply Tosh Worsted, which pilled so terribly that I am hugely disappointed. This here is a skien of the two-ply Vintage. I wanted to get a skien to check it out. Madelinetosh has such lovely colorways, but I won’t ever use the Tosh Worsted again. (The color here is Kale)

So, there it is. You are now up to date on all my stash enhancements of the past couple of months… I think. πŸ™‚ The stash got shoved in the closet in favor of a Christmas tree, but will come back out in January. We will see then if I forgot anything….

And, hey! Progress is happening on the Christmas knitting. Yay!

Christmas Giving

I had planned to do another “Look, Yarn!” post again today, but the fog won’t let up, and no matter how lovely the new camera, the lighting is just not right. I do have that ESK Black Friday Sale yarn yet to show off… ahem, I mean show you. πŸ™‚ Instead, let’s talk about Christmas giving vs. Christmas getting:

I come from a very large family. A large family that gets larger every year. So, Christmas gifts were becoming somewhat of a burden on the budget. A few years ago, we decided to draw names for gift giving, and it has been just lovely. Instead of spending $10 on everyone, and not giving any good gifts (but still ending up in the poor-house), we spend more (there are no rules save one -make it good) on one person and get to really spoil them. It is so fun. And, because we draw names very early in the year, we have a lot of time to think about what we could do to give our one person a very special Christmas gift. Being a knitter, I like to give knitted things (obviously).

(This year, I drew my sister’s name. My sister and I are 18 months apart – close in age, and close in heart. I was overjoyed when I drew her name, because I knew exactly what I wanted to make for her. I ordered yarn and cast on right away. That was in March. Now, you all know that I can knit pretty fast, and this year I have churned out how many sweaters for myself? So, I am feeling a little stupid that this gift is not finished. Nine days before Christmas. Yes, I have been blaming morning sickness, and that did slow me down, but I have only been pregnant since October. Ridiculous!)

The kids (10 and under) draw names amongst themselves, and that is really fun, too. Marc and I are turned off by the commercialism and greed of Christmas, so the less presents the better. Plus, it turns our kids eyes away from themselves as they focus on one another. All year, they have been thinking about their cousin or aunt whose name they drew. They are looking forward to Christmas so that they can give, and not really for the getting. I like this.

As for what we do in our immediate family, we do not give gifts, per say. On Christmas Eve, we open a family gift (from me) that is a game we can all play together that night. Then, I fill stockings for Christmas morning, but until we go to Granny’s for the gift exchange, there are no other gifts. I do go all out on the stockings, and spend about $30 per kid, getting things they really love (American Girl Accessories, a watch, a flashlight, play silks, etc…).

Christmas Giving is really an important thing to teach the kids. Thinking about others, focusing on their happiness, and being selfless are qualities that I hope to cultivate in the hearts of my children. I think that through this, we have the merriest Christmasses of all.

 

Oh, Yeah! This is a Knitting Blog!

I almost forgot. But, look! Yarn!

Malabrigo Rasta in Baya Electrica

Pagewood Farm Willow Creek in Purple Haze

Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted in Pink Saphire

Dream in Color Groovy in Torchwood

This is my latest splurge, and the last of the year. I only have real plans for the Misti Alpaca – a baby bonnet for my cousins new baby. As for the rest, well…. I must confess to you all, that this year I became somewhat obsessed with the Eat, Sleep, Knit Yarnathon. I found myself very close the the 20 mile mark after I indulged in the Black Friday sale, and so I placed this order that you see here just to push me over that line. Call me crazy, but you know that I will use these… eventually. I know, I know… I haven’t exactly been knitting, um, at all, since I got pregnant, but I have faith that my mojo will return. Plus – now I have free yarn coming! Hehehe.

Because She Loves Me…

…Or, because she wants pictures of her grandkids….

My mother in law sent me a fabulous birthday present – see what I did with it?

That’s right, folks! I took a picture! With a camera! HA! πŸ™‚

And, it gets better. As you know, my last camera met it’s demise when I got sand in it. Lesser known by you is that the camera before that was dropped to death, and before that I had one that got dipped in the lake and before that….. Well, it’s a long, sad litany of abuses. I am really hard on cameras.

Soo, this puppy is shock-proof, water-proof, and dust-proof!

See? I told you she loves me!