I’m still alive

Sorry for the radio silence for the past week or so.  I’m still here, but things got really busy this week and I just haven’t had a moment to sit down and craft a blog post.  I do have lots of things to tell you about:

– my Lancaster, PA yarn crawl

– a film premiere that I was a part of

– other random knitterly fun

But for now, I’ll just say Hi and that I promise to be back in the next day or so with actual content.   Thanks for understanding!  Share in the comments what you’ve been up to – knitting or otherwise 🙂

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Friday Link Party

Here are some blog posts and patterns I’ve loved recently:

— Susan B. Anderson just published a new pattern called the Yowza Weigh It Shawl knit in Miss Babs Yowza – Whatta Skein.  Check out the pattern on Ravelry here and Susan’s blog post about it here.

— Ysolda Teague recently had Felicity Ford write a guest blog post talking about color choice.  Some really great information and tips, along with gorgeous photographs.

— KnittingSarah posted a very thoughtful introspective piece earlier this week using knitting as a metaphor for life.  It really spoke to me and hope you’ll enjoy reading it too!

— Kate Davies’ book Yokes will be available November 17.  She has been highlighting the pattern one at a time on her blog and they are stunning!  Check out the patterns here on Ravelry and the descriptions on Kate’s blog.

— Maria Yarley has published an adorable sweater pattern called Graceful Pullover.  She designed this as a pattern for a friend who’s husband passed away earlier this year.  100% of the proceeds from sales of the pattern are being given to the family and Maria has a goal of selling 1000 patterns by the end of November.  Check it out on Ravelry here.

 

What have you been falling in love with recently?

WIP Round-Up

Hello, my name is Tiffany and I have a problem with starting too many knitting project… “Hi Tiffany!”

Tonight I decided to pull out all of my WIPs and take stock of what’s on the needles.  Warning: Long, picture filled post to follow.  Before we get started on individual projects, a picture of the pile of project bags.  [Disclaimer: Some of these WIPs are really difficult to photograph as they’re scrunched up on the needles, so please forgive the poor quality of some of the images.]

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Now, presented in no particular order, all (ok, most, there may be a few more WIPs/UFOs around the house somewhere, but this is the majority of them) of my current projects.

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(from left to right)

1. Pattern: Vanilla sock

Yarn: Biscotte & Cie Felix in Cupcake B

Notes: This is the first sock of the pair and I’m almost to the toe decreases.  Using this sock as a trial to figure out my sock knitting gauge and formula for betting fitting socks for myself. (This will have a devoted blog post at some point in the near future)

2. Pattern: Favorite Scarf Ever by Lisa Bruce

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in colorway Celebrating the Games.  This was the February 2014 Loopy Ewe Celebrations Colorway in honor of the Winter Olympics

Notes: Enjoying the pattern and knitting with this yarn a lot!  The Smooshy with Cashmere feels heavenly, so soft and squishy and is perfect for a scarf like this.  The colors are great in the pattern.  Definitely something I’m looking forward to finishing and wearing.

3. Pattern: Dragonstone by Laura Aylor

Yarn: MadTosh Merino Light in colorway Butter and Dragonfly Fibers Pixie in Grey Wind.  I actually won this yarn as a kit to make this pattern from a KAL giveaway from Laura Aylor (the designer)

Notes: Almost at the finish line on this one.  The rows at the end are sooooooo long though so I can only do one or two at a time before wanting to poke my eyes out with the needles.   I need to weigh the remaining yarn to see how much more is left and determine how many more repeats I can do before starting the bind-off.

 

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4. Pattern: My own original pattern.  Based on a traditional hourglass quilt, this will eventually be seamed together to make an afghan.

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces mini-skeins for the colored yarns and The Loopy Ewe Solid Series in colorway Ivory

Notes: I’m really in love with this pattern and feel quite clever for figuring out the seamless construction of each square.  This is a project that I work on here and there, although I really should add some structured time to get it done so that I can finish the larger piece and publish the pattern.

5. Pattern: POP Blanket by TinCanKnits

Yarn: Noro Kureyon for the colored and Cascade Ecological Wool for the cream

Notes: Again another blanket project that I’m loving, but has been neglected for a while.  I’ve only finished these two squares (they’re unblocked, so are curling in on themselves for the time being).  They go pretty quickly, so I just need to focus on this and it shouldn’t take too terribly long to finish if I can devote time each week to a couple of squares.

 

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6. Pattern: Matchmaker by Martina Behm

Yarn: MadTosh Merino Light in Seawash and Oceana.  The blue is actually much brighter and more teal that it appears in the picture.

Notes: I love the way that TML feels when knit up – the singly ply makes a great garter stitch fabric that is very soft.  I don’t, however, love the knitting process as much.  For some reason, I have a more difficult time knitting single ply yarns and it goes slower for me than other yarn.  But this is a great pattern and one where I’ll enjoy the finished product, so I just need to get it done.

7. Pattern: Fingerless Fair Isle mitts – base pattern by Susan B. Anderson; I put together the fair isle motifs

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in colorways Navy and Winter White

Notes: I made the first mitt of this pair during the Fair Isle class I took with Susan at Loopy Fall Fling.  Had a great time putting together the Fair Isle motifs to create my own unique mitt, so I’m looking forward to knitting the second one soon.

8. Pattern: Shawl That Jazz by Samantha Roshak

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted in Puck’s Mischief

Notes: This is my oldest WIP by far.  I probably started knitting this about 4-5 years ago and it just got shoved in the bag and forgotten.  I pulled it out again recently and starting working on it, remembering how much I love the squishiness of the fabric and the gorgeous colors.  Once I finish this, it will be a great everyday shawl to throw on when I need just a little bit of extra warmth.

 

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9. Pattern: Nuvem by Martina Behm

Yarn: Wollmeise Lace in colorway Spice Market

Notes: This is an impossible WIP to photograph while still on the needles because it just looks like a pile of yarn vomit.  But I can’t wait until this is finished so that I can wear it.  The colors aren’t showing up correctly in this photo either, it’s a deeper fall leaves color.

10. Pattern: Celestarium by Audrey Nicklin

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in colorway Black Parade

Notes: Another WIP that has been neglected for far too long.  It’s a fairly straightforward knit, mostly stockinette in the round with the occasional yarn over and bead to denote the stars.  When the shawl is finished, it is a replica of the northern hemisphere night sky with all of the constellations.

 

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11. Pattern: Eugenia’s mittens by Mollie Woodworth

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in colorway Purple Heather

Notes: This is my mitten project for Loopy Academy.  The first one knit up really quickly over two evenings, so I’m looking forward to knocking out the second one soon.

 

So that’s it (mostly) – 11 projects on the go.  Actually not as bad as I thought it was.  And some of them are very close to completion, so I’ll knock them out fairly quickly.  Since it’s not as many as I thought, maybe I should find something else new to cast on 😉

Process vs. Product

Find a group of knitters anywhere and ask them whether they consider themselves a process or product knitter and I’m sure most of them will have an opinion one way or the other.  It can sometimes appear to be a clear-cut answer, and for some knitters, perhaps it is.  But I also think that it can often be more of a spectrum and that knitters can move back and forth between the two extremes over the course of their knitting “career.”  And even for those knitters that identify themselves as product knitters, they have to have a bit of a process knitter inside, because to be honest, if all you cared about was the product, you’d just go buy a pair of socks or a sweater.  You wouldn’t spend countless hours making stitch after stitch yourself to arrive at the finished object.

Let’s take a moment and examine each type of knitter.

yarnsterYou might be a process knitter if…

…you have bags upon bags upon bags of WIPs strewn throughout your living space.  These WIPs are likely in various stages of completion from just started to all but finished.

…you understand the term “startitis” and do not feel guilty when this affliction hits.

…once a project reaches the boring stage or you get tired of staring at the same yarn and stitch pattern for days on end, you have no qualms about shoving it in a project bag and placing it on a shelf for an obscene amount of time.

…you spend a lot of your life knitting, but don’t actually have any handknit items to wear.

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On the other hand, you might be a product knitter if…

…project monogamy is your preferred MO.  You begin a project and devote yourself tirelessly to it until you’re finished.

…once you’re finished with the knitting portion of a project, you actually follow through on the finishing (i.e. sewing buttons, seaming, blocking) and begin wearing the finished object.

…you have a closest full of lovely finished handknits to wear.

I’ve always known that I was more of a process knitter and at my core, I probably always will be.  It’s more about the planning the project – perusing patterns for hours on Ravelry and then picking out the perfect yarn to go with it, and then the joy of casting on those first few stitches and getting started.  I also really enjoy when a project is at the point where I can just pick it up and knit when the moment is right.  Spending long stretches of time on the sofa watching TV or movies and knitting away stitch after stitch.  Of course, the finished item is a goal for me and is something that I want to have eventually, but I’m more apt to get distracted by other new shiny projects before getting to that point.  I always have numerous project on the go at the same time so that I can switch it up when I get bored with one.  I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that there are projects I started years ago that I have yet to finish.  Also, in the same vein, there is a stack of projects where I’ve finished the knitting, but still need to do the finishing work, which means I can’t actually use the knits.  And this is what I’m getting tired of.

I think I’m slowly leaning more towards the product knitter end of the spectrum, because as my skills have increased and the amount of knitting I’m doing has increased, I want to be able to show off my knitting to others.  I want to wear it and display it.  I want to finish projects for other people and gift them with love so they can enjoy them.  Right now, my pile of WIPs is out of control and I think I need to put some limits on myself to actually get things finished before casting on new items.  It feels so good to finish something, so I’m not sure why I avoid it as much as I do.

Tomorrow I’ll share a great big post rounding up all of my WIPs to take stock of what all is on the needles.

How about you – are you more about the journey or the end destination?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

Monday Musings

The day is growing short, but I don’t want to fall down on Day 3 of NaBloPoMo and my commitment to post every day in November, so here are some random thoughts running through my head this evening.

— Why was Christmas music playing on my radio on October 30?  I’m as big a fan of Christmas as the next person, but I really don’t see the need for two solid months of Christmas music 24/7.

— Am I a process or product knitter?  This dichotomy is discussed often in the knitting world, and I’ve always quickly answered that I’m a process knitter, but that might be changing these days.  More detailed thoughts on this to come…

— Sometimes you have to let go of something, even if it feels like quitting and giving up, in order to open up space in your life for new and more exciting things!

— Planning out props for a radio show play this December is lots of fun.  Trying to figure out how to make sounds using objects that have nothing to do with the sound really stretches the brain muscles.

— The human body and brain is amazingly adaptive.  I was amazed at how quickly I was able to adjust to using my left hand for eating, brushing my teeth, and even using my computer mouse while my right hand was healing from my burn.  But I’m really grateful that it’s healed and I have full use of both hands again, because it was pretty exhausting getting my brain to work in that completely opposite way.

— I’m glad that I’ve perfected the art of reading while I’m knitting, because between the Henrico Theatre Company One Act competition, the CAT Theatre playreading committee, and coaching Reading Olympics at my son’s school, I have quite the list of required reading over the next couple of months.  The picture below is just a small sampling of what I have to read.

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So, those are just a few of the random thoughts that are running through my head at the moment.  What about you?  What are you pondering on this fall Monday evening?

November Goals

Yesterday I posted a recap of my October goals.  I’m kind of digging this monthly goals thing to help me focus on specific projects, particularly on finishing them.  So here goes month #2!

1. Weave in ends and block Hitchhiker, Color Affection, Divergence, and Gateway to Fall.  Hitchhiker is a recent FO,Finished divergence but I’m a little embarrassed about how long it’s been since I finished the other two.  They’ve just been sitting waiting for a good bath and blocking before wearing them.  So time to get ‘er done!  I just need to designate a weekend blocking day and get them all done at once.  Here’s a photo of Divergence pre-blocking.

2. Finish Eugenia’s mittens for Loopy Academy.  I was able to finish the first one in two night’s worth of knitting, so it shouldn’t be a stretch to get the second one done and have the completed set.  I’d really like to finish these before Thanksgiving so that I can wear them with my Yarnster hat over the holiday when my family meets up in Roanoke for our annual Thanksgiving celebration.

3. Cast on My Dolphin Cowl for Loopy Academy.  Once the mittens are done, the cowl assignment is my final project to complete this semester of Loopy Academy.  I definitely want to get it cast on this month so that I’m not rushing to finish it in December.

4. Start on knitted Christmas gifts for the kids.  After seeing my fair isle fingerless mitt from Fling and my one finished Eugenia’s mitten, Teague really liked them and seemed to want some of his own.  So I’m going to design a fingerless mitt pattern with the Imperial Cog from Star Wars on them for him.  For the girls, I want to make some knitted dolls with clothes they can use to dress them up.  I’ll likely use the Mary, Millie and Morgan pattern from Susan B. Anderson.  But I want to make one of the dolls like Anne from Anne of Green Gables as part of the Anne-along, so I’m going to be designing some specific clothing to make her look more like Anne. We’ll see how that goes, considering I’ve never designed any knitwear before.

5. Blog every day in November. As part of NaBloPoMo I want to really focus on making this blog a habit and want to work on figuring out my voice and what this blog will/should/could be.  So I’m committing to a blog post a day for this month.  Not all of them will be about knitting and not all of them will be very long, but I think the every day structure will force me to get creative and really focus on making this something that other people want to read.

I think 5 is a nice round number to focus on for the month of November.  What are your goals for the month?