Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Counting Down

I am looking forward to a nice quiet New Year if I can. Gus has been continuing with his problems off and on again. I wish I could figure out what it is about this time of year... other than old age that is.

Just to make myself feel better I put in a picture of a sheep I saw this summer. Is it just me or do sheep with dreadlocks just look more awesome?

I started and finished up doing my socks to leg warmer conversion for my Mother in Law. I was amazed to find it only took me a day or two. Now I just need to get them washed up, measured and sent off. I don't think they will be a miracle cure, but I bet they will make her legs just a bit warmer.

I am happy to tell you that I achieved some goals this year. I try to knit at least 12 pairs of socks a year, this year my final two pairs were underneath the Christmas tree. D and I both got new socks to wear on Christmas. Mom got a pair delivered to her, D got six pairs and my little tootsies got five pairs. I think that is the first time D got more socks than me. We may have to move him into a bigger sock drawer if this continues. 

My sock count was down because I knit myself three sweaters. I know! And they were all different styles too. Once I figured out how I needed to read the patterns in Ann Budd's Top Down Sweater book, my knitting took off. Well that and that I could really do short row shaping and come out with good sleeve caps, there was nothing to hold me back. 

I knit my Christmas tree four sweaters out of my hand spun yarn. Now I don't have to avoid D's eyes when we talk about hand spun yarn. My mind is mulling over some cowl patterns for some of my other hand spun. Plans for the new year, I am making them.

Over on Goodreads I challenged myself to read 35 books this year. I exceeded that goal with 53 books, I may even finish one more before the night is over. 23 of those I read with my eyes and the rest were audiobooks. No I don't listen to the same song playing on the radio anymore, I get immersed in stories instead. I've even been know to listen at work when no one else is around. 

I took some of my bonus from work and donated it to charity and some I gave myself permission to spend on me. I have such a hard time buying fun stuff for me without suffering guilt and angst. My stash of yarn would say otherwise but I really do have a hard time. I guess yarn is Ok because I turn it into something useable. This year I thought long and hard about what I really wanted and finally place the orders last night. It feels good. 

My feet have suffered through just shy of 560 miles of exercise this year. I know! I am pretty darn proud of myself!

All in all it was a pretty good year. I hope I feel this good next year at this time.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A woman with a plan

And I hope my plan works. Remember how I was going to make leg warmers for my MIL? But there were a few problems, no problems is too strong, let's go with issues.

I've never made leg warmers, I did not know what to ask for to get measurements and other things.

Back when I first started knitting I did what all newbies do. I knit without experience to guide me. I made knee high socks out of worsted weight wool on too small of needles. Working with that combo made my hands hurt so it was a really long time between the first sock and the second sock.

I think I wore them once for ten minutes before I realized how wrong they are. Fast forward a few years and I have half done leg warmers for my MIL. I am going to rip back the foot and reknit some ribbing, then BAM starter leg warmers!

This way she will have something this winter and not next winter, and we have a starting point to find out what works and what needs to change, without all that effort of a test pair. I'm going to take measurements once they're fiddled with and let D's Mom test them out. Actually it works out ok that one is wider than the other we will get a true test of which fits better. 

Now that I do have experience let me pass on something to a new knitter if they happen to read this. If you go into a bona fide yarn store and ask if the yarn in your hand would make good socks, assume no if the owner says "I've never had anyone ask me that about that yarn before."

It means a whole lot of other knitters with way more experience than you passed that project by, so should you. Ask the very helpful owner what yarn does make good socks instead. 

You'll save yourself some heartbreak and hand cramps. On the other hand you will not have half made leg warmers for your MIL, I let you decide which is better and which is just making the best of an inexperienced knitter situation. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Little Sweaters on my tree

Yeah, the sweater ornament knitting bug bit me hard. I used up a skein of hand spun making sweaters. Three and a half sweaters, all different but still nifty. Good thing I have another skein of hand spun to finish one more.

Hand spun yarn has a different feel than commercial yarns. I had places that the yarn was spun so tight that it was like knitting with thread. Other places it was unspun fluff. Luckily these areas seemed to match up most of the time and even things out.

I've taken some time off from little sweaters in order to finish some regular socks. I was hoping to knit at least 12 pairs this year and I just made it. Normally it is not even a contest but sweaters interrupted socks this year. In the most pleasant way possible.

I now have five sweaters to keep me toasty at work. Thanks to some summer and fall time knitting. That is up from a meager two last winter. Once you can knit your own woolies the store bought cotton just don't hold a candle.

And speaking of decorating the Christmas tree, Gus has claimed his rightful place of honor. For he is the greatest gift of all, at least according to him.

We had a bought of vomiting last weekend that made us all nervous. Luckily he responded well to the medication. D jokes that his name at the vet's office is "Christmas Bonus." He likes to sleep under the tree till the lights go off then he comes to bed and announces loudly that he has arrived. Who knew my boy was such a drama llama?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ugly sweater

Yep, I knit an ugly sweater on purpose. I finally figured out what to knit with some of my hand spun yarn. Yes that little confession at Rhinebeck telling Hubby that I have not knit anything with my hand spun yarn kicked me in the butt. 

I used some of the more outrageous colored yarn to knit up a wee ugly Christmas sweater for the tree. Odd thing is now, I really don't think it is that ugly. I would not want to wear it myself but truly ugly? Nope. It was super fun to knit once I figured out how to wrap my brain around the pattern. Sometimes you just have to think of what the pattern is telling you and change it into the way my brain thinks. It was not hard just not written the way I thought it would be.

I can see knitting more of these out of more hand spun, or I could knit my tree some mini mittens to go along with the sweater. Or better yet, I could finish a couple of second socks for the human feet in the family.

You see the choices us knitters have to make?