January 01, 2009

LAPGHANS

I like taking photos of the stuff I donate just because I forget how many things I actually make, and it's fun to go back and remember color combinations and styles. My mother-in-law mailed me some leftover cream and tan that I was able to match up with some other stuff. These are two blankets that will be donated to the VA hospital.

lapghans2.jpg

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December 29, 2008

ARAN

I am knitting the hardest thing I've ever knitted before.
It sucks.

I have wanted an Aran sweater for a long time, so I started making one. So far I have done eight rows of pattern, four one day and four another. Four is actually too much for one sitting, at least at this point when I haven't really memorized any of the segments of the pattern yet. I have never had to concentrate so hard on a project before.

The pattern isn't available anywhere online, but I found a work-in-progress photo on knitting blog. She had let it sit for over two years and made it her New Year's resolution to finish in 2008. I wonder if she did.

I resolve to do two rows a day.

I also found a hilarious official photo of the sweater. No, I am not making the beret. Or holding a paddle.

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November 21, 2008

UNFINISHED PROJECTS

MaryIndiana requested a post on unfinished knitting projects. Some people won't start a new project until the old one is finished; others constantly start projects and move on to something more exciting before it's finished. I believe I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

I have knitting ADD. I wasn't always that way; I used to only do one project at a time. But in the past few years, I have needed variety. So I always have a few things going at once. I only have a couple of truly unfinished projects. I started a sweater two years ago that I know will be to small for me. I hate to rip out the entire back of the thing, but I know I can't continue it, so it has sat for two years. I also started another stuffed animal back when I was teaching knitting classes, but with no baby to get excited about, that project petered out too. I started myself a DNA scarf that is about a third finished, and I started a double knitting scarf for my mother that takes more concentration than I would like and has sat there all year. Yeah, it was supposed to be her Christmas present. And I started an Aran sweater that takes even more concentration than mom's scarf: I tried to do a row while watching TV, and I spent 45 minutes knitting and then unknitting the row. Can't talk or watch TV during that project.

OK, that probably sounds like a lot. But by knitter standards, that's not so much. I will finish the scarves and the Aran eventually. Probably the stuffed animal too. One day I will get brave enough to rip out that sweater and start it over.

But I say with pride that I do not have any mate-less socks in this house.

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November 19, 2008

PRIMAVERA IN WINTER

I finished my first Primavera sock on the plane out to Seattle and started the second.

primavera.jpg

I am fantastically happy with this project, but the second sock will be put on hold for a while while I start a very fulfilling project to fill a need. Cryptic, I know. But I can't wait to write about it later.

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November 09, 2008

SOCK ENVY

In sock knitting news, I just want to be this girl. She makes beautiful footwear.

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November 08, 2008

CRAFTING UPDATE

I haven't put any crafting up in a while because, well, I haven't made anything blogworthy. I have spent most of my time crocheting wheelchair afghans for the VA hospital. But, what the hey, I thought I'd put a photo up.

lapghans.jpg

I also have been working on a Primavera sock since I left for San Antonio. It will travel with me to Seattle this coming weekend for the next SpouseBUZZ live. (Which totally snuck up on me. Yesterday AWTM said, "See you next weekend," and I had no idea what she was talking about.)

Tomorrow I am hosting a Yarn Event at our Michaels, where we make blocks for Warm Up America. I have made several blocks in the past few weeks. Hopefully we'll have good turnout.

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October 05, 2008

LOTS TO DONATE THIS WEEK

Crochet, where have you been all my life?

crochetcaps.jpg

I got a simple dc pattern from one of the ladies in my charity group, and this was a great way to use up all those little golf-ball-sized leftovers. And they crank out quick, in about 40 minutes or so each.

I was a woman possessed, figuring out color combinations so I could use every last inch of the yarn.

UPDATE:

As requested, here's the pattern.

With F or G hook and baby yarn, chain 4.
Row 1: 15 dc in fourth chain from needle (first 3 chains counts as 1 dc): 16 dc. Connect with slip stitch (on this and at the end of every row)
Row 2: 3 chains, *2 dc in next stitch, 1 dc in next, rep from *
Row 3: 3 chains, 1 dc in same stitch, * 1 dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch, rep from *
Row 4: 3 chains, 1 dc in same stitch, *1 dc in next 3 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch, rep from *
Row 5: 1 dc in each dc,
Row 6-9: repeat row 5

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AWESOME

I am going to keel over and die at how cute this knitted bat is.

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September 24, 2008

A CASCADE WEEKEND

I have wanted to make socks with Cascade Fixation for a while now, so I was delighted to receive two balls as a gift. I searched for patterns online and came upon this one. I tried a gauge swatch, but it was waaay off. I thought maybe it was because the yarn was stretchy, so I just went up a needle size to be safe and got moving.

While I was working, I thought the sock looked small, but I decided to stay in denial. I knitted the leg, heel, turn, gussets, and decreases before I began to panic. I tried the sock on and found that it was tighter than panty hose. No good.

Ripped out the whole thing.

I had to cast on 52 sts instead of 40 to get a sock that fit. This woman who wrote the pattern must have slender legs and feet! So I started knitting Friday morning and had 17 rows done when I boarded the plane.

A man across from me asked what I was making. Then he said, "OK, we've got four hours to Vegas; I want to see how much you can get done!" So I started working. And I worked and worked and worked. I wanted a break, to read or to nap, but I felt all this pressure from the guy in the seat across from me! It was so silly. He drove me to knit for four hours straight.

At the end of the flight, I held up the work for him and he disappointedly said that I hadn't really gotten that much done.

Yep, knitting is slow.

Five hours of work:

cascade1.jpg

Half a sock. Dark photo taken in our "ghetto fabulous" hotel, as Guard Wife called it.

I came home and finished the sock on Monday and started the second last night.

cascade2.jpg

Three cheers for knitting for myself!

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August 01, 2008

DONE

Finished.

afghan.jpg

After two more hours last night and another hour this morning, it's done. And either I'm the worst crocheter in the world, or something was off on that pattern. I specifically chose it because it sounded quick: 126 rows, piece of cake. I had to actually crochet an extra 50 rows just to get the length right. Not as quick as I'd hoped.

But done.

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July 31, 2008

ARE WE THERE YET?

Well, I put in a seven-hour workday today. I started crocheting on the wedding afghan at 9 AM, stopping only for lunch and the occasional email. Seven hours and a ton of blurry TV later, I've completed 25 rows. That's eight inches. Man, I kinda figured I'd knock this thing out today, but I still have another four or five inches to go.

That's enough, people. No more weddings or babies for the rest of the year. I can't handle any more of this race-against-the-clock knitting.

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July 29, 2008

NO WRONG WAY

There is no wrong way to knit. The only rule is to not drop a stitch or do something that will cause the knittery (thanks for the term, CaliValleyDude) to unravel. How you hold the sticks, where you hold the yarn, all of this is irrelevant. I rest my needles on my thighs and move the left one around the right; I think the only other people in the world who do that are the people who learned knitting from me. Which is actually quite a few people, I am happy to say.

I've heard stories from people who've gone into highbrow knitting stores and the ladies there want them to change the way they hold everything. That makes me mad. There's no wrong way to do it.

(This post prompted by this post.)

The only wrong way to knit is to take on making two wedding afghans a month before the weddings. And realizing that you now have a week to finish the remaining thirds of both of them.

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July 08, 2008

THE CORNER I'VE KNITTED MYSELF INTO

OK, panic set in last night.

I should be working on that mess of an afghan, but it seems like such a pain in the neck to pick it up, untangle all the baggies, and start doing row after row of single crochets. My hands kept reaching for these instead.

preemieblankets.jpg

Someone gave me a ton of that Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn, you know the stuff with the shiny string wrapped around it? I personally find it kind of a pain in the neck to work with, so I thought I'd use it all up by making simple granny square blankets to donate. And I really like how they turned out.

I am not one to get attached to my donated projects; I have never looked back after giving away the little caps. (OK, I did get a little wistful that I had already donated the American flag hat and then Sis B goes and has a preemie on July 3rd.) But I am really attached to these little blankets, like I don't want to give them away. I could just keep them around to have on hand when one of my umpteen friends has a baby. But that's not in the spirit of charity. Still, it will take a lot of willpower to drop them off on Wednesday.

Anyway, I've been wrapped up in the ease of just picking them up and going to town that I forgot that I only have less than a month to finish two adult sized afghans! Mercy me. I worked another four inches on the intarsia mess yesterday and today, but I really need to get my behind in gear.

I hid all other projects from myself.

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July 04, 2008

CRUSH'S HAT

Last night I set aside the afghan, plunked myself down to listen to SpouseBUZZ Talk Radio, and grabbed my needles. Normally at this time of the week I would already have several preemie hats sitting around, but this past week I've been straying from my norm and making preemie blankets. So I only had one hat, and not a very cute one at that. I whipped up a hat for little Crush last night.

crush.jpg

Now I just need to track Sis B down to send it to her; she was traveling away from home when she gave birth! As if deployment three days ago, a custody battle, and a cancer scare weren't enough excitement in her life...she decides she needs to c-section out a preemie in another state. Silly girl.

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July 01, 2008

KNITTING UPDATE

It seems I've got myself a full-time job now. A friend of mine is getting married in August. I had too many babies to knit for up until now, so I am just getting started on an afghan (View image). I spent the entire afternoon making 2376 single crochet stitches. And this is the first thing I've made in a long time that isn't for someone who reads my site, so I can actually talk about it!

Other projects, not so much.

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June 30, 2008

OLD-TIMEYFYING THE WORLD, ONE KID AT A TIME

I babysat this afternoon for my neighbor's 7 year old daughter. While I was there, I taught her to knit. And the most wonderful words came out of her mouth: "This is more fun than playing with my Nintendo DS!" Ahhh, heavenly.

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June 24, 2008

MORE KNITTING

I ran out of white-white, so I decided to try one that was more Americana looking, and I think I like it the best. We're gonna have some patriotic preemies around here!

americana.jpg

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June 21, 2008

KNIT UPDATE

Last Saturday was world-wide Knit In Public Day. AWTM caught sight of some ladies participating. I was supposed to join in with a friend here in town, but, well, last Saturday turned out to be a little busy.

I plan to celebrate Knit In Public Day (Observed).

Here's what I've been working on. I have been commissioned to make a blanket for a dear reader, and Charlie has taken a shine to it. Any time I leave the room, he curls up with it. Happy Baby Shower; hope you like dog hair!

blanketlove.jpg

Also, I've only made one, so I need to get a move on. The 4th is coming up, and preemies need to be swathed in red, white, and blue.

4thjulyhat.jpg

I have also been working on super-secret projects for a couple of you barefoot and pregnant bloggers. You know who you are. And no, I won't say what you're getting. But the best thing about getting to know people via blogging is that you learn all these little tidbits about them that come in handy later, like when you want to make something special that only they will truly grok.

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April 29, 2008

THAT'S A PEACH OF A HAT!

I made the pumpkin version last fall, so yesterday I tried the peach.

peach.jpg

These preemie hats are too darned cute.

And I got some great suggestions on yesterday's post that if I have too much yarn, I can give it away, either to newbie knitters or to a good cause. While both of these ideas are admirable, well, I don't think I'm that big of a person. You see, I will spend hours and hours and hours making stuff that I just give away. I make tons of preemie caps, squares for HCC afghans, and gifts for friends, but handing over an unknittedup ball of yarn to someone else? Ouch.

At one of my knitting classes, a woman didn't buy her own yarn. She brazenly asked me if she could just use mine. I had this crummy, old, ugly ball of faded brown acrylic junk in my hand, and yet I went, "Um...well...er...uh...o...kay," and slowly handed it to her. It was crap yarn! It was ugly and awful. But giving it away? It hurt my heart. I would've gladly made something out of it and handed it to her for free, but I have a severe selfishness problem with giving away unused yarn.

Sis B, I'd rather hand you ten bucks to go pick out your own yarn! And FbL, we too make blankets for the VA hospital here in town; I was just going to start one soon. The problem is, a lot of the yarn I have is not stuff that is good for these projects. I have used up most of my washable acrylics on HCC squares; what I'm left with is fancy wools and sock yarn and a ton of baby yarn to be made into preemie caps. But I'll dig.

Maybe I can convince myself to be a big enough person to give away yarn.

Maybe.

Doubtful.

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April 28, 2008

STASH

Knitters with a big stash will completely grok this:

So that's where I am today. At least in my head. Remembering how I felt when I bought this stuff. Remembering what I planned on making with it. Remembering all the emotions I was sure I'd feel when the projects were finished. Beating myself up for never getting around to starting the projects. Beating myself up for not even winding the yarn yet. Beating myself up for beating myself up for all the projects I wanted to make but never got around to.

My friend learned to knit and crochet right when her husband left for Iraq. A year later, she had a serious obsession. She made her husband come over to my house to see my stash so that hers would look small by comparison. Her husband was a bit stunned by my skein collection; my husband just shrugged his shoulders and sighed.

I've been making a conscious effort to use up yarn I already own, but somehow the stash keeps growing. Sometimes is grows slowly, as when I find one lonely ball of mustard yellow on sale for 60 cents that can be used to make HCC squares. Other times it grows in leaps and bounds: one of the ladies in my charity group has been ridding her stash of yarns that bother her arthritic hands, and every two weeks she brings me a new big bag of yarn for me. So even though my stash is growing mostly due to free yarn, it's still starting to overwhelm me.

It takes several hours and about 1.5 oz of yarn to make a preemie cap; thus, bags of yarn every two weeks will take me ages to work through. But somehow I have this stupid mental image that I will use up everything I own someday, and then dust my hands off and go buy more.

Working through my stash is like digging in sand.

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