April sort of exploded. I did finish my socks for the month, but I don't have pictures of them yet. I didn't finish my shawl goal, and I didn't even touch the blankie. This month is promising more of the same, so the goals need a little tweaking. Since babies wait for no one, I am going full out (as much as I'm able) to finish this blanket and cross it off of my list. Then I can get back to this month's socks and catching up on the shawl. Oh, and the sweater!
-- Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss~
I can't believe it is April already! March was another successful month for my knitting goals. Take a look...
This is Manos del Uruguay Alegria in the Locura Fluo colorway. This is the first time I've worked with this yarn, and it was lovely. The colors were really bright in the skein, but they mellowed a bit when knit up. This color was lovingly nicknamed "highlighter barf" when I bought it. I did buy a second skein of this so I can see what the colors do when knit on 64 stitches instead of 72.
I also finished the bonus socks!
Not very matchy, but I do love the colors. This lovely yarn is Opal's Smokey Eyes and Coloured Lips. I bought this in Portland while shopping with my mom. Next time I'm down there I'll definitely have to look for more.
The shawl is coming along right on schedule, and the baby blanket is progressing as well. I am looking forward to being done with the blankie so I can get back to my sweater.
Something terrible happened this weekend. I reached a point on my shawl where I thought it would be a good idea to have the second skein of yarn wound up and ready to go. My new ball winder needs an adjustment, so I took it with me to my local shop to see if I could use their set up until mine is back in good working order. Not very far into the winding the yarn broke. Or we thought it broke. On closer inspection, it looked like the yarn was cut. After severl more cuts we started looking at the skein more closely and found more cut ends. In short, this skein was shredded. It took 3 intrepid knitters 5 hours to get it all untangled and wound up. It was a nightmare because I didn't know precisely how much of that mangled mess I was going to need to finish my shawl, and this yarn is discontinued, so there is no more to be had (I checked). I suspect someone along this skein's journey from manufacturer to me used a box cutter in an irresponsible fashion. This is what it looks like now.
There is some good news in there. In my spreadsheet madness with this shawl, I weighed the remaining ball of yarn at several points along the way. This information let me do some fancy math to determine that I will need all three of the bigger balls, but only a handful of the smaller ones to finish this. I was really nervous that I wouldn't have enough at all, or that there was going to be so much splicing that I was going to hate it forever.
On a much better note, my step-daughter has become a knitter! And not just a knitter, but a knitter of lace. Behold her first finished shawl.
She texted me these pictures this morning, and I couldn't be more proud. I can't wait for her to come over this weekend so we can block this baby and see it in all its glory. The pattern is Maia Shoulderette and the yarn is Wollmeise.
Now, if only she had a project page on Ravelry so we could all go make comments on what a great job she did! HINT HINT!
I was sick over the weekend. It wasn't a terrible sick, but the kind where I had no motivation to do anything but sit and knit on something that required almost no thought. By Sunday night I was well on my way to having a sock. Last night we went to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on her current book tour and this happened.
That is me and my sock taking a picture of Stephanie and her sock. Not a great picture, but it amuses me. Her talk was funny and touching and it was lovely to see here again, if only from the back of the room. Since my copy of her book is on my kindle, and it was pretty late, and it was a school night, we didn't stay to talk to her or have her sign anything. I did, however, finish the knitting of that sock while she spoke.
This morning I wove in the ends and started the second sock.
Here we are on the last day of February, and I can mark another month as a total success. Here are my XLVIII Champs* socks.
These were cast on out of Hometeam Football on the first of the month, and finished on the 21st. Win!
The shawl knitting went very smoothly. I'm in a chart that isn't very complicated, it just takes time to complete each round. Luckily with the handy spreadsheet I found, I know exactly what round I have to get through for each month and that makes the slog of the current chart very manageable.
I did not get any progress made on the sweater this month. Sweater knitting has been interrupted by the news that a friend is expecting a baby! This is the second child in the family, so the blanket that has been started is similar to big brother's blankie from a couple of years ago. Here is a preview...
So the sweater will have to wait until this is done since there is a more pressing deadline here.
Overall, I am finding the specific goals to be working well for me. It has also given me a new outlook on starting new projects and a much more realistic view of my knitting time.
* The Super Bowl was very exciting for those of us in the Pacific Northwest! Go Seahawks!
But, as you can see, they do not make a pair. On the left is the first of my February socks in Hometeam Football. On the right is a sock that I actually finished last year. Each of these has a mate on the needles, and the green sock with be finished by the end of February. I haven't yet decided if the other socks will be a last minute addition for this year's sock goals (you never know what will happen around the holidays!) Or if I will end up with a bonus pair along the way. Either way, I love the colors! It is Opal Smokey Eyes & Coloured Lips.
First things first, allow me to show you January's socks.
These were knit from Periwinkle Sheep Wink in the Pale Orchid colorway. These were completed on January 23rd, and I reached my shawl goal on the 24th. That gave me a solid week to work on the sweater.
I chose to cast on Armande in some Tosh Vintage that has been lingering in the stash. The colorway is Clematis, and this is the third sweater I've had in mind for this yarn. Both of the other sweaters were things I loved the look of, but when I read the pattern I decided I didn't like them enough. Since this is my "dessert knitting" for a while, I wanted something that would be an easy win. So far so good!
I have already cast on February's socks in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock. The colorway is of course Hometeam Football! It is an older skein, so the colors are more "vintage", but I will be knitting on this sock while cheering for our Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Go Hawks!
Holy spreadsheet, batman! I had no idea how much my oranizational brain would take over my list of goals and turn them into an actual plan. It turns out that well defined goals and attainable deadlines make me happy. After my last post I started to geek out with figuring out exactly how much sock knitting was required each day to end up with a finished pair each month. Once I tackled that I consulted my friend google to figure out the circular shawl math. It turns out that there are very smart knitters who have already done this, and it didn't take long to find a calculator that gave me percentage complete by round information. Starting with how much I had already done, I divided the remaining amount by 12 months, and figured out exactly what round I have to get to by the end of each month to meet my goal by the end of the year. Brilliant!
Now I know exactly what I need to accomplish for socks and shawl, and at this point I'm treating the sweater as dessert knitting. Once I get through the socks and shawl requirements I can go to town on the sweater until the 1st of the next month. January and February are already ahead of plan on the socks as I already had a pair in progress for each of us. The only thing I need to really avoid is being lured away from my plan by something shiny and new. Perhaps if I actually finish the current sweater in good time I can add something else into the dessert slot. So far, though, I'm really excited about the current plan. I hope that excitement continues all the way through the year and I have many finished things to show for my effort!
I seriously thought about skipping making any knitting goals this year. I haven't done a great job with meeting those goals in the past, so I thought if I'm just going to knit whatever I want anyway, that might as well be my goal. Then I took stock of the sock situation. My sock drawer is full of socks, but many of those pairs are too thin to wear or are on the verge of sprouting holes. The hubby's sock drawer is in a little better shape, but the clock is ticking there as well. So here it is.
Knitting goals 2014:
Knit a pair of socks each month. Odd months will be hubby socks, even months will be mine. I know I have plenty of yarn in the stash for this, I may go lay it all out right now.
Finish a sweater. There are options here both in the already started and the I really want to start this list. Again, the yarn is ready to go, I just need to commit to one and make it happen.
Finish the Balmoral Shawl. It is a large lace project, but the most complicated part is done, so steady progress should get it done.
That's it. Totally doable. I hope that writing this out here will help give my year some focus. We will see.