Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yarn Along - Gloves and trilogies

I'm joining in the Yarn Along again this week.  Head over to Ginny's blog for lots of great knitting and reading ideas.  
My main knitting project right now is gloves for the husband.  I'm making him Chilly Podsters out of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, the same skein I used for his hat last year.  These are fingerless gloves with a mitten-top flap.  I'm knitting a completely closed thumb because he says his thumbs are too big to be useful on his phone anyhow.  I really love this pattern.  It's well-written and everything is working out very nicely.  I've just divided for the fingers on the second glove, so he may actually get these while it's still cold!

My current reading is the first book of the Liveship Series by Robin Hobb.  Her Assassin's Apprentice was the most recent pick for our bookclub.  I read that and book two of that series (Royal Assassin) very quickly, and started the Liveship series while I wait for the husband to get through book three so I can finish the Assassin's series.  The two series are in the same fantasy world, but in different areas of the world.  At first I didn't think I'd get as drawn into the Liveship series as the Assassin one, but I have and am enjoying them both very much.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Washcloths - January Edition

First washcloth of the year was knit January 23-25.  The pattern, from Jan. 23 on my Pattern-a-Day perpetual calendar is called "Organ Pipes."  I no longer have a local source for Sugar 'n Cream yarn*, so I'm trying to find a new go-to cotton for washcloths.  This is in Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton, color CFCT0037.  I knit this on size 5 needles instead of the 8s I was using with Sugar 'n Cream.  I think it'll work just fine, but I don't know yet if it'll be my go-to washcloth yarn.  I bought four colors of this from the LYS clearance bins, so the next several months of washcloths will likely be this same yarn.
One down, fifteen to go.

*I don't shop at Hobby Lobby anymore.  Employers may not make medical decisions for employees.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Little Sweaters

I know so many people expecting babies (or who have just had them) between December and April, that I've had to start a list to keep track of them all.  Fifteen babies.  Fifteen.  Not all of them are close enough to receive knits, but many are.  So I've been making a lot of Baby Surprise Jackets.  These are all being knit from my stash of the much-lamented Reynolds' Wash-Day Wool (except for two of the shades of blue in the first picture below).

First there were these two, for Alisha's identical twin boys (born early January):
Shades of blue - one sweater dark-to-light, the other light-to-dark.  With adorable navy blue car buttons from my LYS.

Then there was a Neapolitan ice-cream-striped sweater for one of the few girl babies in the bunch (born late December):

And early in the new year I started the next batch of sweaters.  I'll have two new nephews, both probably arriving in February, so their sweaters were at the top of my list for the new year.  Here is the first sweater, with my lovely new yarn bowl hard at work:
I really like making three-color striped BSJs.  I got the idea from Alisha a while back.  Three colors, each stripe is three rows wide, and the next yarn you need is always ready right where you need it.  One little modification on the BSJ - 18 rows instead of 20 on the section to make the back longer - and the stripe pattern is continuous throughout.  It also keeps me entertained through all the garter stitch, and helps me keep track of how many rows I've knitted.

I finished the brown-green-blue sweater January 18.  Here are some before and after folding pictures:
 I realized that with all of the BSJs I've made, I'd never taken any "before folding" pictures.
 Ready for sewing up and buttons.  I ran out of blue in the middle of its last row, but I just started the brown stripe a bit early.  I was impressed it lasted that long.  These babies don't know how lucky they are, getting the last of my Wash Day Wool stash.

I started the next BSJ right away, but have run into a problem.
I was knitting in the car, and when I pulled the project out of my bag after getting home, one of the interchangeable needle tips was missing.  Not to be found in the bag or anywhere near it.  I still have to do a thorough search of the car, but I fear I have lost one of my size 3 tips.  I don't think I even have any other size 3 needles.  NOT GOOD.  I'm not sure what I'll do -- order replacement tips, buy one size 3 circular the right length for BSJs, or long straight 3s -- but babies are coming, and I can't get behind on their sweaters!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Yarn Along - Tall Socks

Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along a day late, but hey the linky widget hasn't expired, so it's not really late, right?
Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? 
Check out Ginny's blog for more knitting and reading.

The first thing I cast on after recuperating from the last surge of Christmas knitting was the first of a pair of long-promised socks for my mother-in-law.  The yarn is Plymouth's Happy Feet, a 90/10 Superwash Merino/Nylon sock yarn in mottled purple and black.  If the cuff in the picture looks awfully large to be a normal sock cuff, it should.  These are going to be thigh-high socks to wear with her witchy and/or Renaissance Fair outfits.  I'm using Deborah Newton's Thigh-High Stripes pattern in Sock Knitting Master Class (edited by Ann Budd) as a guide, modifying for MIL's measurements.  I expect these to be my mobile/mindless knitting for a long while.

The computer in the picture is a stand-in for my reading.  The husband and I have just started listening to A Memory of Light the final book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series (14 or 15 in all).  It'll be very strange to finish this saga.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, New Knitting

One thing I try to avoid with this blog is apologizing for not blogging.  But after such a long lapse, I want to make an exception:  Yikes that was a long time without blogging.
Late fall seems to be a difficult time of year for me.  I haven't figured it out yet, but at least now I've noticed the pattern.

2012 Recap and 2013 Goals:
I met my washcloth goals for the year - one each month plus one more each quarter, total of 16.  November's was late, but other than that I did well, and I had enough for all my gifting needs.  I will renew this goal for 2013.

There were only four Christmas stockings to make this year, all done on time.  Two of them were a for-pay job.   So far I know of four needed in 2013.  My stocking goal is to do one per quarter.

In the second half of 2012 I was quite into the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  It was lots of fun, but somehow seemed to sap my blogging mojo and then my knitting mojo (although it may have simply been whatever-it-was in November that sapped most of that).  I completely missed the sign-ups for winter term (January through March), so I'm sitting out a semester and will see if I want to re-join starting in May.  I don't seem to have the mental energy to categorize my knitting so I can do all I want to in that game.

My main Christmas knitting projects were hats for one of the nieces-and-nephews groups:
(Swirled Ski Caps from the book Knitting for Peace.  Fun and appreciated, but a bit down to the wire, and my homemade cardboard pom-pom maker is now completely worn out)

and a hot water bottle cozy for my mom.
I'm pretty proud of this one.  I used a basic cozy pattern and a snowflake chart pattern and adapted them to fit both each other and the water bottle I bought.

Also coming up in 2013:
I know many people expecting babies in the first part of this year.  So many that I have had to write a list to keep track of them all. So there will be lots of baby-sweater knitting in my immediate future.

I will be going to Rhinebeck!  In October I'll be having a knitting weekend away!  A group of us have rented a house for the weekend of the New York Sheep & Wool Festival.  My goal is to finish the sweater I started for myself on New Year's 2010 in time to wear it to Rhinebeck.

Other big projects include at least three baby blankets for late 2013/early 2014, so I better get an early start on those.

One final note to close out 2012:  My brother knows how to shop for a knitter.  He gave me "socks; some assembly required" (yarn, pattern book, and needles), yarn for socks for him, a yarn bowl (!), another set of needles, a yarn travel book, and a "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn" tote bag.

I'm looking forward to a new year of knitting, and of sharing it with this blog!