Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Yarn stash, Year in review

2019 in review: Yarn

2019 wasn’t a terrifically productive year for finished projects, probably due to the fact I did four plays. But I did get some things made.

100_5070 (2)First thing finished was the Lochlan Cardigan in February, briefly blogged here.  I wear this cardigan a lot.  It’s really warm; I often throw a sleeveless vest over it, and away we go on weekend errands. No heavy coat needed unless the wind is really sharp.  This was my first project with zipper installation, and it was easier than I expected.  Fear of zippers will no longer restrain me!  It’s also the first time I doubled a fingering weight yarn instead of using a DK as the pattern requires.  My gauge was a little off, but math fixed that, and the fit turned out great.

100_5139 (2)After getting home from Stitches United in June, also briefly blogged in the link above, I made a swimsuit coverup from a pattern I’d had in my queue forever.  The blog entry for this project is here.  As I suspected it would, the coverup shrank in the wash, and now fits much better through the neck and shoulders. When I wash it, I tumble it until it’s damp-dry and then lay it flat and block out the length.

MicheleMeAtAvilaI took the coverup to California with me in August, completely forgetting how cold Northern California beaches are.  I wore it with my swimsuit, shorts, and a denim jacket against the chilly shore breeze.  Although we didn’t get a picture of me wearing it, the coverup actually got used in the way it was intended when the spouse and I went to Sandestin (Florida) for Labor Day.

100_5168The Cabled Yoke Cardigan, finished in July, was part of a Vogue Knit #19 in 2019 Challenge. The Vogue Knitters group on Ravelry does this challenge every year: knit the corresponding pattern number for the last two digits of the year out of any Vogue Knitting magazine.  The blog entry for this project is here.  I was still mildly unhappy with the size after wearing the cardigan several times. So the other day I ran it through the washing machine in a mesh bag on the handwash cycle, and then laid it out flat to dry.  The sweater did exactly what I thought it would do: felted just the teensiest bit, just enough to make it fit better and not be so loose and long.  Yes, I was gambling.  Yes, I got lucky.  Don’t try this at home, kiddies.  Now I need to re-sew the buttons.

Mom'sPullover1 (2)My mother’s pullover was the final project for the year.  We picked out this yarn last Thanksgiving, and I gave her the finished sweater this Thanksgiving.  I haven’t blogged about it yet, so here are the details.

Pattern: Delsea Pullover by Lisa Shroyer (click here for link to project page)

Size: 56

Yarn: Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash, colorway 917 Steel Cut Oats, 1143 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size7

Mods: None, except for giving the bottom ribbing the same number of rows as the ribbing on the sleeves.

Satisfaction with end product:  My mother loves it.  She plans on wearing it over long-sleeved tees and turtlenecks to keep her toasty warm throughout the winter.

This pattern is easy television knitting, and I would have finished it much sooner had I not gotten bored with the endless endless stockinette and taken time out to make the swimsuit coverup and cabled cardigan mentioned above.  No matter: I always intended to give it to Mom around Thanksgiving and that deadline was met.

100_5146 (2)In the acquisitions department, 2019 was a year of extreme stash enhancement.  I’ve blogged about a lot of the new pretties, but not all of them, and I’m not going to take the time now to chronicle everything I skipped writing about.  Suffice to say, between January 2019 and December 2019, I added 86 new skeins, and a total of 23,468 yards, to stash.  A few (a very few) of those skeins were gifts or prizes, but most of it was purchased. I know I’m lucky and privileged that I can afford to buy yarn of such quality and in such quantities. Believe me, I’m grateful.  And I refuse to feel guilty, but dang, I really need to get to work on reducing this stash.  It’s damn near unmanageable. Especially considering this year I used only 7,122 yards in completed projects.

So, without making any resolutions, because those are doomed to fail, I’m going to set a 2020 goal of using two skeins of yarn for every skein I might buy in the coming year.  So far I have used four skeins (I’m making a cardigan for my sister), so that means I can buy up to two new skeins.  A secondary goal is that any skein I buy will be something really special — like cashmere or silk or some other luxury fiber.  The cost of such yarn will be a secondary deterrent to willy-nilly fiber acquisition.  We’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

Progress on Mom’s sweater

The Delsea Pullover is knit side to side, and will be grafted together in the center.  I finished the left half, and cast on for the right half.  Although it’s not pictured, I’m currently working on the increase section of the sleeve.

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I think it’s going to turn out well.  So much stockinette…I’m actually bored with it and itching to cast on something new. But I promised my mother I would have this done for her birthday.  That’s in November.  Since rehearsal for my next play starts in two days, my knitting time will soon be severely limited, so I must exercise (gasp!) self-discipline.

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

On the needles: three projects

I’ve got three projects going right now (and am fighting the urge to cast on/start crocheting another).

The oldest WIP is a pullover for my mother. I intend to have it done by her birthday in November.

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It’s knit from side to middle, and then side to middle again, with the center seams front and back joined by grafting, if I remember right. I set it aside a while ago to work on something else, so I don’t recall exactly.

Mom’s pullover got thrown over for this cardigan, as part of a Ravelry Vogue Knitting group KAL.

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It’s top down and mostly seamless (there will be a short seam under the arms, and that’s it). But I set it aside, too, because it’s summer and I desperately need a new bathing suit coverup.

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This is also a top down knit in a tiny cotton tape that’s so crisp it almost feels like paper.  It will soften up once washed.  I love the sea-glass color.  I need to have it done no later than the end of July because I’m going to California the first weekend of August.  And I’ve promised myself that I will spend at least one of those days in California on the beach.

While at Stitches, I bought some linen yarn and a pattern to make another bathing suit coverup, but I decided to go with this one instead.  I may repurpose the linen, or I may use it for the coverup at a later date.  Won’t hurt to have two.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Yarn stash

Freshly finished: Piney Woods Tunic

Glacier 6Pattern: Glacier by Joji Locatelli
Size:  Medium (38″ bust)
Yarn: Newton’s Yarn Country Merino Nylon Superwash, in colorway LB Print, 1422 yards
Needles: Addi Turbo circs, US size 6 for the body; Hiya Hiya steel circs, US size 2 for the ribbing
Mods: Only 6 decreases on the sleeves, because going the full 10 as called for by the pattern would have made the sleeves way too long; ended mitered knitting approximately 1 inch sooner than called for by the pattern
Satisfaction with end product:  Quite happy indeed.  Now if it will just get cold enough in Atlanta to wear it.

By the way, here’s the link to my Ravelry project page.

Glacier 7I was working from the paper book (Interpretations 5) rather than the e-book, and I was a little flummoxed when the pictures of the tunic showed ribbing at the bottom edge, but no instructions for the ribbing were included in the book.  Because of the way the garment is constructed, stitches for said ribbing had to be picked up after the rest of the garment was finished.  A post in the Ravelry Interpretations forum quickly resulted in a private message from Interpretations pattern support with the missing instructions.  Kudos for the prompt response!

The yarn is some deeeeeep stash that I bought at Stitches South in 2010.  It’s actually a wool/nylon sock yarn, and I had something like 1600 yards of it.  It was a bulk purchase in an absolutely HUGE skein.  Over the years, I’d occasionally pull it out and look at it, then put it back because I just couldn’t imagine what I was going to make with 1600 yards of fingering weight sock yarn.  Finally, this tunic pattern came along: a perfect match.  So, the moral of the story is don’t despair!  Even the oldest yarn in your stash will find its project.  Eventually.

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday–A couple of items

A couple of WIPs are nearing completion.  I haven’t blogged either of them before so here’s your first look.  These are exciting times.

First up is Marigold from Rowan 45.  I’m at the sewing-together phase, as you can see.

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Once I finish sewing it together, I have to add the button and neck bands, embroider the flowers, and find the right button.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy seaming.  Well, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word, but I don’t hate it.  I view it as a necessary step in the process.  Sometimes I procrastinate on the seaming, but that’s usually because I’ve distracted myself by getting started on another project.

Like this one:

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This is the top-down Glacier Tunic from Interpretations Volume 5.  I love Joji Locatelli’s patterns.  I’m shaping the bottom now.  Then will come the sleeves and the neck band.

Both of these projects are so close to done that I’m struggling with cast-on-itis right now.  Must. Resist. The Call.

Posted in Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Cast-on-itis needs its own telethon

I’m fighting a bout of cast-on-itis.

These attacks happen every year right about this time: Autumn has arrived in its full force and glory, the house’s central heat has been switched on to ease the morning chill, and I start studying my pattern books, paging through various Ravelry pattern searches, and fondling all those luscious wools in the stash.

Photo © OnceASheep
So, what started it? Last week, when barely three-quarters of the way down the cuff, I got bored with the first k3p1 sock I’m making for spouse — which, by the way, does not bode well for the second sock of the pair — and cast on for a Rowan scarf pattern I’ve admired for a couple of years.

The Wanderer Scarf by Martin Storey is huge and textured and cushiony and made with enormous yarn on enormous needles. It’s intended as a gift for a friend who lives in a cold climate. Said friend may or may not read this blog, so no further details about the giftee will be forthcoming until it arrives in its intended recipient’s hands. But the scarf will probably make an appearance or two in the WIP Wednesday Round-up, assuming I manage to get any such entries written — difficult when working full-time. As insecure as our financial position was during the recent government shut-down, I did enjoy having all that time at home to read and knit and write about reading and knitting. I’m considering it a preview of retirement.

Schaeffer ChrisSpeaking of gifts, though, that’s the other thing that brings on this annual cast-on-itis struggle. It’s getting to be the gift-giving season, when I remember all the people I put on the gift list earlier in the year and realize I haven’t made a single one. In fact, I’m two years behind. And it’s not just Christmas: in my family, we have multiple Autumn and Winter birthdays. You’d think after all these years I’d have learned to make little things — scarves and hats and mitts and socks and fancy washcloths — all throughout the year to avoid being crushed under the weight of the end-of-year obligations. But no. Lesson still not learned. Maybe next year.

Photo © Interweave LLC
Market Jacket, Photo © Interweave LLC
But, truthfully, I really want to knit something for me. Something big this time, like a cardigan or pullover. I’ve been eyeing my stash of reds, in particular, and that 1500 yards of Schaefer Chris in Pomegranate shown above is screaming at me. I think it wants to become the Market Jacket from Interweave’s November Knits. I even have buttons in stash that might work, but it wouldn’t break my heart if I had to buy new buttons. Because, well, buttons! (Have I mentioned I stash buttons as well as yarn? No? Consider it mentioned, then.)

There’s also nearly 1500 yards of burgundy alpaca that wants to become a Gathered Pullover.
Indiecita Alpaca 2020

Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC
Gathered Pullover, Photo © Interweave LLC

So, that’s where the resistance to cast-on-itis is coming from: the urge to make a new Autumn sweater for me me me, and the simple fact that there are gifts that should require my complete and total attention. Add the guilt that I’ve recently finished three projects just for me me me… wait, one of those projects was the shrug I cast during last year’s cast-on-itis season. Ha! There’s my justification! Now to decide: the pullover or the cardigan?