We're on the cusp of starting of another year, my friends! You know what that means. It's resolution time! This year, I'm breaking stride with my previous attempts to produce and steering things in a slightly different direction.
My primary purpose for learning to knit and sew was to make my own garments. I feel confident I have developed the skill-set I need to do this, yet, most of the projects I pursue don't serve the purpose of filling gaps in my wardrobe. I very easily fall in love with patterns that aren't practical for my lifestyle. This year, I want to focus a lot more on "cake" than "frosting" in both knitting and sewing. It's simply a better use of resources (time, energy, money, textiles...).
Additionally, I've pulled out a couple areas I feel deserve some attention and improvement in 2013. I have a series of more elaborate resolution posts in store for the remainder of the week, but here's the short list:
What are you resolved to accomplish this year?
Before I sign-off for 2012, I ask that you please raise your glasses. Cheers to you, Cheers to me, Have a Happy New Year Eve!
I wasn't looking forward to writing this post. I knew, and have known for a long time, I wasn't going to make it to my goal. It was ambitious to think I would be able to knit 12 sweaters, 12 pairs of socks, and sew 12 garments over the course of the year. This is the second year I've attempted and failed. I'm sure It's not impossible. Perhaps, if I didn't have a day job.... Maybe if I didn't take month long breaks from blogging... Perhaps, if I was less lazy... the list of excuses goes on. Overall, I was far less productive this year than I was last year. But, in review, I'm pleased with the things I made.
While I didn't make my goal, collecting and recounting the things I did accomplish this year, was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
I knit ELEVEN sweaters.
I knit EIGHT pairs of socks
I knit Three hats, Three pairs of mittens and TWO blankets
And, I completed SIX sewn garments.
Based on my best estimation from the notes I kept and Ravelry, I knit approximately 14,500 yards of yarn this year, which is a lot, but it's more than 8,500 yards less than I knit in 2011! (WOW!).
At this point, I have several projects on the brink of completion. It's totally possible I'm not finished finishing things for the year. Regardless, there won't be any major changes to this list. And, I'm pretty ready to relax for the rest of 2012. I'm geared up to start 2013. How about you? Did you meet your goals for 2012?
Ugh. My head's a little achey this morning...from the wine I drank last night. Cookies for breakfast should replenish my blood sugar. Yes?
I spent my evening in the company of lady friends...which is kinda like Vegas, meaning what happens during girls nights stays there. So, instead of words, I offer you pictures of presents and the highlight of the evening. :-D
One more day until the weekend, people! Five days until Christmas! Let's do this thing!
I don't know if the pyschiatrist in me is trying to defeat the procrastinator in me by setting the clock fast, but I keep losing a day. I should be relieved that today is only Wednesday, not Thursday, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing something or wrong about the amount of time I have.
All of my at home hours are now completely dedicated toward sewing. Things were smooth until last night when I got to attaching the collar to the first pajama top. This time around, I chose to do the notched collar version of the pattern; something I wish I would have practiced in my test-run. The pattern instructions are... Sparce; rather, non-existent.
It got to the point I needed to put down my seam ripper and walk away so I didn't go all "slasher film" on them. I got ready for bed, read this tutorial, and waited until this morning to take another stab.
It's not flawless, but it gets the job done. Hopefully, the next two won't be such a headache.
Thanks to help from your amazing suggestions, my shoulder seams are looking practically perfect. I'm thrilled! Little victories! YAY! I ended up using a combination of CafPow's
gathering technique and Grainline's tutorial for French seams on sleeves. Clearly, the results speak for themselves.
Knitting for the next few days is strictly commute only. I'm packing a pair of socks and working on them when I can. It would be nice to finish another pair before the year is over. Keep on, keeping on, lovely people. I'm eager to see what you're working on this week!
You're probably sick of seeing bits of these mitts pop up in every post, but as they are totally finished, and I have managed to take proper, albeit early morning, low light pictures of them, I decided they deserve a post of they're own.
These are destined to be gifts. I'm a little sad I didn't make more than three pairs, because I really, really want some for myself now. I'll probably tackle more once I come up for air on the other side of Christmas. They truly are a simple knit that produces a great looking result. And to put your hands inside them... it's dreamy.
In place of roving, I used Malabrigo Rasta for my thrums. It's basically roving, right? Regardless, it worked. The downside to using yarn over traditional roving is that I couldn't easily pull little pieces off the strand. So, I had to cut something like 500 "2.5 pieces over the course of three pairs. I got all three pairs from the same hank of Malabrigo; there might even be enough left over to squeeze a fourth pair.
I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca in glade, navy, and salt &pepper as my primary yarn. One hank of each color was plenty to make a pair. Between the wool and alpaca, these should be toasty warm.
I knit using US sz.5 needles over 44 stitches. Most of the patterns I referred to suggest between 36 and 40 sts., but with the thrums, and the sz.5 needles I needed more room. As far as thrum placement, I kept it easy and did every fourth stitch, every four rows.
And, that's it. No more. mitts. Until after Christmas. Maybe. If I'm still kicking.
Happy Monday, lovely people. Did you use your free hours wisely and manage to complete all your holiday projects? I didn't... I'm creeping closer, but the days are disappearing faster than I can keep up
Saturday was mostly a wash in the department of (craft) productivity. I did get a long overdue haircut. Rebecca only took a couple inches from the total length, but my curls rejoiced and sprang up in joy to be rid of the nasty bits weighing them down. While we were out, Mike and I attempted some Christmas shopping and headed to the suburbs for pre-holiday dinner with his family.
The day was great while it was happening, but, disturbingly, I felt anxious and guilty for spending so many hours engaging in activities not on 'the list'. As atonement, I stayed up most of the night knitting to compensate for lost time. Mike, rightfully, questioned my sanity when he woke-up Sunday morning next to an unused pillow, the sound of the mixer and sight of his over-caffeinated, sleep deprived wife scurrying around the kitchen making holiday cutout cookies. I did finished the three pairs of mittens I had planned... Worth it? I think that's relatively subjective; right now, I'm leaning towards, YES.
My lovely assistant got caught in a flour bomb crossfire. It didn't deter him from manning his post, under and between my feet, for the duration of cookie making. He was handsomely rewarded with cookie casualties for his commitment.
I ran out of steam shortly after the Bear/Packers game Sunday, but not before getting the house in showroom condition and catching-up on laundry (Well, actually, Mike took care of the laundry). I didn't get any sewing done during the weekend. But, with the mittens out of the way, I can shift my concentration. I need this week to be focused and task oriented.
I've used this recipe for cut-outs three years in a row. I LOVE it. Now, to decorate.
p.S.- Does anybody have any pointers on freezing cutout cookies? How long will they hold-up?
Friends, can you believe it? Five days, five posts, two weeks in a row. Not my typical modus operandi, but I could get used to this.
As I mentioned yesterday, this sweater isn't on my holiday knit list, but it does fulfill one tier of the resolution I made at the beginning of the year- a goal I'm not quite sure I lived up to. Prior to 2013, I'll sit down and take tally of my project count for 2012. If my Ravelry page is up-to-date, I haven't completed an adult sized sweater since MAY! Not cool. Not cool at all!
This sweater was a relatively quick knit. I've become so accustomed to knitting sweaters with sock yarn, I'd forgotten how quickly a worsted weight sweater materializes. The pattern is February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog, whose work is, in a word, marvelous. I really love the all over lace and the scoop-neck designed into this sweater. I'm not generally a huge fan of worsted sweaters, because I think they tend to look overly bulky on me, but the open pattern definitely helps side-step that issue. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.
Two additional elements of this pattern I particularly like are the waist decrease and the construction. The waist decrease flows seamlessly into the lace pattern. It's a really well executed transition.
The construction is a harmonious marriage between knitting in the round and knitting flat. The knitter starts in the round from the bottom up, then switches to flat knitting at the under arm for the front and back. The sleeves are knit flat and set-in, which should keep them nice and stable and minimize the amount of stretch they endure over time.
The glory of having completed my first pair of jammies is fading fast, and I'm quickly approaching panic mode. After a brief review of my to-do list and the deadlines I had anticipated for each of the items on it, I realized I am almost a week behind schedule. Crap! I think this is exactly the reason I've avoided making any holiday gifts in years past. I suck with deadlines. I'm a total procrastinator, always have been, and I guess it hasn't changed.
I worked until 11:30pm last night, then had a kettle on and was sitting at my sewing machine by 6:00 this morning to squeeze in an hour before I had to get ready to leave for work. I'm trying to focus on the bright side. Pajamas #2 & #3 seem to be coming together a bit more quickly than my first pair. They're cut from the same fabric, so I'm making them simultaneously. I started on the pants first and I'm in good shape to start on the tops tomorrow (even panic mode can't stop me from going to knit tonight). Mike has kindly volunteered to make a run to the fabric store to pick up the additional supplies I need to complete pajamas #4, which easily saves me an hour or two. He's the best.
Pair 1of3 (!!!!DOUBLECRAP!!!) thrummed mittens are separated from the finish line by a single digit. I can't figure out why I'm moving so slowly on these. It's time to focus ALL of the knitting time I have towards getting these done. While we're on the subject, does anyone know, will a soak help to 'set' the thrums, or should I leave them as is after bind-off. I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Malabrigo Rasta and the halo is a little out of control. Suggestions?
In silver linings, I did finish a sweater... For myself... That's not on the list... (palm to forehead). I hope you're more diciplined than I've been. How are your holiday and year-end projects coming along?
Finally! A project to cross off my list! Is it oversharing if I tell you I wore these to bed last night? Cause I totally did. And, it was AWESOME!
To make these, I used the pajama top from Advance 6567 and cut the pants from Simplicity 9330. My primary purpose for combining the patterns was to eliminate the SUPER high rise of the waist allowed for in the Advance pattern. I prefer to wear my loungewear just below my natural waist, not at my bra line.
Ultimately, I still wacked three and a half inches from the rise of the Simplicity pants. I'm sure an averaged height person wouldn't need to make the same modification, but I'm a shorty. It probably goes without saying that I also needed to crop a solid four inches from the leg length in order to keep from stepping on and tripping over the pant cuffs.
I'm enamored with the little details incorporated into the design of this pattern. The curved cuffs, the collar, the pocket, the piping! They're fabulous!
The 'plan' is to make three more pairs of pajamas before Christmas. (I know, this seems a little unreasonable given my marked level of sewing productivity over the last year) I would have jumped head first into the deadline pj's but there were so many new (to me) elements of construction in these; I felt I needed a test-run to work out the kinks. I really do feel like I'm better prepared now than I would have been otherwise. There are a couple further changes I've noted for future reference, like my top button can be a bit closer to the top, and I think it would be worthwhile to tack the cuffs in place.
The fit on these is FAB. I think having Midge around to hold my pattern pieces up against and try my progress on as I worked really helped in this regard.
If you hone in on the shoulder seam, you can see the imperfections I mentioned during my progress report. It's not overtly obvious. But I do see room for improvement. I cannot wait to try the tips and techniques the ladies over on the Ravelry sewing forum offered up.
The fabric is a 100% cotton, Cozy Flannel purchased from Hancock Fabrics on Black Friday. *DEALS* If I remember correctly, it was priced approximately $2.50 a yard. And, I required a FULL four yards to complete this project, plus 6 buttons and 1.25 packages of piping.
I am way oversharing today.... bellybutton..... bum shot....
If you can't tell by the number of pictures I made Mike take, I'm pretty pleased with myself and this project.
Speaking of pictures, didn't he do a great job? I was quite impressed with his photography.
And, for S&Gs gratuitous puppy pictures. They were so curious while we snapped shots, that is, until I dragged them into the frame. Dulce, (above) is particularly terrified of the camera (brooms, the vacuum, thunderstorms, etc...). Danger, well, he's pretty cool, unless we're dealing with other dogs, taking a ride in the car, or headed toward the bath.
One more before I go. Because, afterall, it is Wednesday, which means it's time to show our WIPs.
Ok. enough already. :-D See you soon!