Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012 Goals and Stuff

So, after I signed off on my last post about a month ago, I said I would post more but I haven't yet. I did, however, mention that I'd be updating about what my plans were for the upcoming year.
In 2010, I laid out a long list of "knitting resolutions" that were all pretty detailed and then I failed pretty spectacularly on them. In 2011, I never laid out any "knitting resolutions," but then I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped (though the elbow problems in early 2011 didn't help much).
This year's "knitting resolutions" are very simple.
1. Stash down.
2. Knit AT LEAST 15k of yarn this year.

Now, how I go about stashing down is pretty open-ended. I'm even part of a stashdown group on Ravelry (the Pre-Process Knitters), so I'm keeping track of my yarn in/out as well as my actual knitting.
With 15k yards of yarn to knit this year, it comes out to roughly 1250 yards per month. This does, however, ONLY include FOs (finished objects).
January's total yardage knit: 859 yards...okay, so I didn't hit my goal of 1250 yards in January. Oops.
That being said, however, I have a lot of high yardage projects going right now, rather than smaller projects that don't take up a lot of yardage. So if when I finish those, it'll mean more yardage down!
So what projects made up those 859 yards?
First was a hat that I made for my Dad, using the Man Hat pattern. This pattern is absolutely great, in my opinion a nice twist on the standards K1,P1 ribbed hat. Pattern called for a bulky weight yarn, so I started by using some KP Wool of the Andes Bulky that I had on hand, but I didn't care for the fabric it was making and I wasn't too sure about the color (Emerald) either. I didn't have any other bulky yarn on hand so I checked the project notes on Ravelry and decided to give it a try using a worsted weight. I actually had bought some Wool of the Andes worsted in Mist (a solid, non-heathered gray) at the end of 2010 to make a hat for my Dad but never got around to it. Since the bulky weight version called for 64 stitches, I tried 96 stitches for the worsted weight version. Other than that, no mods to the pattern except to do some extra rounds of decreasing at the crown to adjust for the extra stitches. I have been meaning to get a picture of the hat but haven't yet and won't for at least another week as the hat recipient is in Jamaica till next Saturday. :)
The next pattern was a long-unfinished WIP, affectionately named the Christmas Cowl (of DOOM). I used the Chrysalis Cowl pattern that I got on the back of a package from Jimmy Beans Wool. Unfortunately for me, I didn't use the yarn that the pattern called for or even anything close. I bought some Plymouth Mulberry Merino yarn at the Knitting Knook last December because it was shiny and soft and a really pretty red (color 2060). I liked the idea of the yarn because it was single ply wool and silk blend like Malabrigo Silky Merino, but instead of being a DK weight it is worsted weight. Unfortunately, the similarities stop there. Plymouth Mulberry Merino is extremely loosely spun so my cowl started pilled even before I finished knitting it. It was also very splitty, so if I ever use it again (not likely) I'd use a much pointier needle. The yarn stuck to itself like crazy so I had a very difficult unknitting and when it came to securing my bind off it was a DISASTER. The ends didn't stay buried very well, which isn't that big of a deal to me since I usually use a drop of clear nail polish to secure my ends anyway, but it was still disappointing. I did not block my cowl because I was afraid my joins would come undone. I think it's okay because silk grows a lot, and the cowl is a good size anyway.
The pattern however, was a very nice one. It calls for a 90 stitch cast on, but I doubled it to make it long so I could wrap it around my neck more than once, and I only did 5 pattern repeats instead of 6. I think it would be great with a semi-solid yarn like the Tosh Vintage that it calls for. It has some simple eyelet rows and some garter stitch rather than being straight stockinette. A really basic pattern, I would consider knitting it again, actually. Just no way would I use the same yarn again!
A picture of the cowl wrapped:
Christmas Cowl wrapped
Christmas Cowl unwrapped
(please excuse the bad pictures...)
I do wear the cowl quite a bit, but I'm knitting another cowl (using a different pattern) right now and using a plied yarn instead of a single. I'm thinking (hoping) this one will hold up better!
My last project for January was one I've knitted many of before- the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief. I used some KP City Tweed DK in Emerald Isle. It's a very lovely green, and the yarn is very soft! I do not, however, have any post-blocking pictures because I haven't blocked it yet. I have just been lazy. :) But I did buy some blocking wires (FINALLY!) thanks to a LivingSocial deal to (woo-hoo!).
I really liked working with the City Tweed DK, so I am curious to see how it blocks up. My very Age of Brass and Steam (make out of Malabrigo Silky Merino) is still holding up great- I probably wear it the most out of any of my shawls.
Emerald Isle Shawl pre-blocking

So that's what I accomplished in January, finished-object-wise.
I did start a number of projects during the last month or so:
Sapphire Sky Stole- Tree & Sky Lace Stole (rav link), using Elann Peruvian Baby Silk in Sapphire (a rich blue). Progress has been slow...for some reason, the edging is kicking my ass. :)
Rios Cowl- Honey Cowl (rav link), using Malabrigo Rios in Purpuras. This was part of a KAL in the Pre-Process Knitters group, the group that is hosting our 2012 Stashdown. I am working on the bind-off right now, so should have another 400 yards down as well as another awesome finished object cowl!
Lady Ice Queen(a)- Lady Kina sweater pattern (rav link), using KP WotA in Lake Ice Heather. Lovely color of yarn, it's a heathered silver gray with hints of blue. This is a top-down sweater, so the rows at the top of the sweater are very, very long. :) One the sleeves are separated, I'm hoping the sweater will go much faster.
Smoothie Scarf- Potato Chip Scarf, using KP Chroma Worsted in Smoothie. I got this yarn in a trade for some other Chroma Worsted yarn. The color is VERY bright. I originally thought I would make a worsted weight shawl out of this, but the colors are just too much. A potato chip scarf will be a nice accessory without being overboard on the color.
Forest Green Hat- Another Man Hat, using Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Forest Green. Pretty much done with this, just need to get out my DPNs to shape the crown.
Neapoli-Shawl- Another 22.5 Degrees (rav link) using some CraftsMeow Ice Cream Sundae in Strawberry Twist (pink and brown with hints of white). It's a good "purse project" for now, easy repeats and straight garter stitch.
Mystery Project- Using some yarn, and a knitting needle. :)

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