Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections of a Year in Knitting

I have had a busy few days. I just got back from spending most of a week with my fiance and his father's side of the family. Before that it was Christmas with my family and before that was a Christmas party with my fiance's mother's side of the family. Include travel days into that situation and that makes for a busy few weeks.

I wish I had time to blog more about Christmas now, but most of my chatter will have to wait until next month because at the beginning of the year I made a list of knitting resolutions and I thought it would be fun to actually look back at that list to see how many things I have actually achieved.

1. Complete 12 pairs of socks in the year (8 pairs knit)
2. Knit a pair of knee high socks (Not Complete)
3. Knit a pair of socks with unusual construction (Not Complete)
4. Knit a pair of colorwork socks (Not Complete)
5. Design and knit a pair of socks (Not Complete)
6. Spin sock yarn and knit a pair of socks from the handspun sock yarn (Complete!)
7.Knit 3-5 pairs of socks for my fiance
(Not Complete, 1 pair knit)
8. Knit my first sweater (Not Complete) 
9. Knit my first shawl (Not Complete)
10. Learn to knit and purl with my left hand (Not Complete)
11.Learn how to knit back-backwards (for entrelac)(Not Complete)
12. Design, spin, and knit a wedding ring shawl (Not Complete)

When you look at my year in comparison to my knitting resolutions, things did not go as planned. But if you look at my knitting overall, I did a lot of fine gauge projects in a short period of time while graduating from college. I also got my driver's license and I am in the middle of looking for a job in a very tough economy. That is a lot to achieve in just one year.

I am very happy with my knitting year and hope that my next year will bring new challenges and new goals.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Breaking News: End of the World Failed AGAIN!

I wanted to get this all written down and blogged on the official re-start of the Mayan Calender just to add to the "End of the World" ether. Sadly, I was too busy to blog about it, so I am going to talk about what I did that night instead instead.

I went out on Friday with my friends and fiance to the game shop. Incredibly shocking, I know, but where else would you expect a bunch of geeks to be spending their time on a lovely and slightly snowy Friday night? There was a Magic the Gathering tournament going on that my fiance decided to enter. He even wore his Ravenclaw Scarf I made him for good luck.

To be honest, the only reason why I wasn't playing is because I don't have my own deck made yet. I have to wait for the end of next month for the cards I want to play with come out. Then I can make my own deck as well and play with them. But, I do have a sock knitting deadline, so I decided to come out and knit on my sock during the tournament.

It was my first one and each match consisted of three games making the rule the best two out of three wins. During the middle of the tournament most of the people who weren't playing anymore left and I got to sit next to my fiance and watch him play while I knit on my sock.

I think the most exciting match of the day that I watched was when he went up against that was full of rats. It basically generated a new rat every turn while his generated a new centaur every turn. That match was a race to see who could bring out the most monsters before the other person decided to attack.

I think I got two inches knit on the sock during that match alone because I knit faster when I am excited. Thank goodness knitting is stretchy because I think I also knit a tiny bit tighter than I normally do during that match as well.

The night ended a little after midnight when my fiance made the top ten instead of being able to make it to the top eight. I was trying to stay awake during that time and I was glad that I hit the toe during the final match so that I had something to focus on to keep me awake.

I got most of a sock knitted that night. I got the other cuff cast on and finished the next morning before my fiance's family Christmas party, but I am still running behind on my sock progress.

I have a little less than one and a half more days to knit one more sock. Here's hoping I can do it in between laundry and last minute gift wrapping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Attack of the Ruffles

My head cold is finally disappearing! This means I can go back to doing my normal things, like pirating the high seas or taking a caravan across the endless desert safely while avoiding mirages or even making it to the local library to return my library books before the end of the world comes again.

It also means that I can go outside in the chilly winter air and take pictures of my ruffle scarf in a tree. I have christened my scarf the Rufflebutt Scarf. Why? Well, why not? Rufflebutt is very hard to say without grinning. If you don't believe me, give it a try right now. Yep, just say rufflebutt and tell me if that doesn't make you at least feel better.

In case you haven't noticed (or haven't wanted to notice) there is a grand total of five more days before Christmas. Those of you with last minute Christmas knitting need to hurry up and get those things finished. With my personal Christmas knitting, I have decided to modify my mom's socks that I am knitting for her because they just aren't going how I want them to go. The pattern and I are not cooperating and I would really like to give mom a pair of socks for Christmas. So, instead of carrying the pattern down the foot, I have decided to knit a plain foot after the garter stitch short-row heel and then knit a garter stitch short-row toe at the end of the foot so that the texture is brought all the way through the sock. Then I get to knit a second one.

This will be a busy five days.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Knitting makes everything better...

Mom's Christmas Scarf 2012The cough that I had for the past week turned into a cough with a cold. There wasn't very much I felt like doing since I would get worse during the afternoons. So, what else was I to do then to turn to my trusty companion: knitting.

I did manage to finish my Mom's Cosimo Scarf in time for her Christmas party. It is so pretty and glittery. The finished scarf almost makes me want to knit my own version of it in a glittery solid color. Let's say KnitPicks Stroll Glimmer in Foxglove or Jay. Almost. My mom has been wearing it ever since it came off the needles. I was barely able to get it off of her to dangle it over the Christmas tree for a glamor shot.

Right before my cold smacked me over the head (or in this case is it in the throat?), my parents and I went out shopping at AC Moore. My mom and I practically fell over a ruffled scarf that was made out of Bernat Twist and Twirl. Now, I know what you are thinking. This yarn is this year's fun fur yarn. Why would I possibly even think about knitting with this? It would probably be horrible and fun fur is atrocious to actually knit with. What would make this yarn be any different?

This yarn must be made out of fairy dust and unicorn farts as far as I can tell. No, it isn't cashmere or quiviut, but it is so fun to knit with! You take a relatively flat piece of yarn and unfold it to reveal a lacy ribbon. Then you jab it onto your needle, knit with it as normal, and it just ruffles up into a boatload of ruffles.

It makes me happy and it matches my new coat.

And really, what more to knitting do you really need if it makes you happy to do it? Even the most technical and advanced knitters have some sort of simple knitting that they like to do just to keep their hands busy and not because it is the most complicated thing in the world.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Lots and Lots of Christmas Knitting

I have actually been knitting up a storm over here during the past week. Most of the knitting has been done on one project: a sparkly scarf for my mom. My mom has arthritis in her hands and it has been acting up recently because she has been knitting steadily on her Christmas stocking for this year. This has been preventing her from knitting the sparkly yarn she bought at our somewhat-local yarn store. She asked me if I would knit the scarf for her and if I could get it done in time for her work's holiday party. Of course I said I would!

I have a few more repeats to go until it is done. I can't really get a good picture of it yet because it is a bit of lace and whenever you try to get a picture of unblocked lace it just looks terrible.

I have also been working on a few hats for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. As I was making them I discovered the pleasure of working with big needles and bulky yarn. It is like instant gratification! They were so quick to make. The only downside is that I couldn't knit on them for a long period of time because big needle knitting is really hard on my hands.

If you look closely at the picture, you will see that the hats show no sign of pooling even though I used a variegated yarn. I discovered a trick to preventing it. The yarn I used was a worsted-weight yarn, so I ended up triple stranding it. The colors landed wherever they wanted to, but it looks exactly like it does in the skein. I don't mind pooling, but I thought that this was a pretty awesome way to prevent it. Might not be the most practical way to prevent it, but I love the way it looks and people look good in bulky hats.

It has finally reached the end of the year and I have a feeling that this December is going to be slightly crazy around my house. It will be my first real Christmas season at home for four years and my brother will be coming back home from college to get his very own job. Hopefully the job searching will pay off and I will be able to start my own career soon.

The only tree up around our house so far is my little miniature tree that my mom got for me when I was in college. I decided to do things a little bit different and set my blind bag ponies up in the tree. I am pretty sure that my cat approves even though I had to discourage her from stealing one of the ponies.