1.28.2015

chasing the winter greys away....

....with a couple of colorful finished projects! First up are some socks that have been buried in the WIP basket for going on five years now. I originally started these in an attempt to learn how to knit 2-at-a-time socks on 2 circulars in order to conquer the dreaded second sock syndrome. But the process didn't click for me because it lacked the mindless rhythm that I crave when knitting socks. So the whole tangled mess was thrown in the basket with just the toe shaping needed to be knitted. And there the socks stayed for five long years until today, when I decided to put them onto dpn's and just finish them off separately. A half an hour later, my toes were in hand knitted sock heaven.


These are made out of Cascade Fixation, a soft cottony yarn with elastic. I added the broken rib stitch pattern to my plain vanilla sock formula for a fun effect. So happy with how they turned out and with the fact that I can declare this project finished at last.


Can I add that I do not envy you regular sock knitters the hard task of taking finished photos of your socks! After a few hilarious attempts in which I fell out of the chair as I tried to hold up my feet for the camera, I decided it was best to give up before I caused myself an injury.

The next item to show you begs an answer to the question: when is a project finished? Is it when the pattern instructions declare that you bind off all stitches? Or after you weave in the ends, wash, block and brag about it? Or, in this instance, is it when you know deep down that you will never work on the thing again or use it for its originally intended purpose. But it holds just enough of your affection to stop you from throwing it in the frog pond. That was the dilemma I was in in regards to my Blooming Flower pillow cushion. Until I had a light bulb moment and decided that Lucy would not come storming into my house in a fit of fury if I turned her brilliant pattern into a chair seat cover:



It's a pretty great feeling to have more space in the knitting basket! Now I can kick up my feet and relax and knit away on the never ending cowl that is pine bough....

1.21.2015

amanda cardigan



I can't believe that I am wearing my Amanda cardigan not in the sweltering heat of July but on an overcast snowy winter's day. It's my first finished knit of 2015 and I absolutely love it.


The cardigan was a joy to knit, mainly because I was in such excellent company. It was also a pretty easy and straight forward project. The only difficult part was towards the end with the vertical seamed-in button bands. It was my first time working up this type of button band and I was a little clueless at first but am very happy with the finished results. Probably the best looking button band that I have ever made. Just don't look too closely at where I sewed on the buttons....must look into how to properly do this one day!


You can find my original post with all of the project details here. Also, check out the lovely finished and in-progress knits from this KAL using #fringeandfriendsknitalong on Instagram. I am finding knitalongs to be quite contagiously fun and have already started on my next one (Ysolda's follow your arrow 2)! What was your most recent KAL and was it a good experience?

1.07.2015

seasonal goals :: winter

One of my favorite things to do in January is to read about everyone's resolutions and goals for the year ahead. So many wonderful intentions and inspiring ideas. I love the feeling of having a blank journal just waiting to be filled up. This year, I have decided to set seasonal goals instead of year long ones. Hopefully, thinking in the short term will result in more success and most importantly, be more fun!


So here are my goals for the next couple of months:

❄ Be more adventurous in the kitchen and start cooking recipes from my large collection of cookbooks. At least two new recipes a week. Different variations of spaghetti does not count.
❄ Start a recipe journal or box. Write down the ones that are tried and true family favorites for future generations to gush over.
❄ Work on Vietnamese language skills at least 30 minutes a day in preparation for my upcoming visit in March.
❄ Finish the following WIP's: Pine bough cowl, Amanda cardigan, Kraken pullover, Spirograph headband the second.

I think that all of the above goals are realistic and achievable. One caveat: since there won't be any shiny new projects to show off for awhile, things might get a little boring around here. However, I am hoping that my diligence pays off and there will be more finished objects to show you in the next couple of months. Otherwise I might have to resort to posting bad photos of my weekly recipe attempts.

12.31.2014

here's looking at you 2014

2014 finished projects (and yay! 4 original designs!)

I hope that you are all continuing to enjoy your holiday festivities. Our days have been quiet and peaceful, just the way I like them. After a whirlwind visit from Grandma L. we have been settling in to a calm, relaxing routine this holiday break: sleeping in, quiet play and lots of movies & knitting time. The only personal drama being a bit of a Poor Rudolph Hat withdrawal which resulted in the creation of these mini ornaments. And look! I finally figured out how to use my Clover pom pom maker. Such a clever device, although I have a tendency to overly fuss and trim the resulting pom poms too much.


I also finished a pair of mittens for my niece just in the nick of time (they were literally cast off on Christmas morning). She had sweetly requested a pair of blue mittens but I over thought the project and could not decide which shade of blue to use. So I decided to raid the stash and came up with three shades with a pleasing gradient effect. The mittens were a mash up of two patterns: the Cozy Purl Ridge Mittens with its afterthought thumb construction and the beautifully simple colourwork from the Hiro Mittens design. They were a big hit with the niece and I might knit up a pair for myself in the same colors in order to use up more of the stash.


In fact, looking back on the projects from this past year, knitting from the stash was a common theme. Giving myself a pat on the back for this, although at the same time, I am not so proud of the basketful of WIP's and UFO's carrying over into the New Year. I think that my low FO count this year is mainly due to having too many projects going on at once. At one point there were four or five sweaters simultaneously on the needles even. So the main goal for January and February is to come to terms with my impulsivity and to deal with these on-going projects one way or another. Either finishing them or ruthlessly frogging them, because they are putting a damper on my knitting mojo right now. So the big lesson learned in 2014 and the goal set forth for 2015? Be more mindful of what gets put on the needles!

What kinds of creative goals are in the works for you in the new year? Any lessons learned from this past year? Here's to a brilliantly fun 2015 and thank you for continuing to share in this creative journey. You are all a constant inspiration to me!

12.22.2014

gifting

Have you been following along with the Yarn Harlot's holiday posts this season? I read with interest how she organized all of her holiday gifting, making, decorating, etc. on a color-coded spreadsheet. How awesome is that? So unlike my wacky method, which is to procrastinate until one week before the big day and then cram all of my shopping and gift wrapping into a couple of days. Although the one advantage to my method is that after those few {intense, stressful, hectic} days are over, I get to relax and savor the fun holiday stuff like baking, decorating, holiday movie watching and of course, knitting. I kept the gift knitting list short and sweet this year, with an emphasis on using yarn from the stash.

❄ A couple of cowls:


For these cowls, I decided to shorten my Candy Ribbon design. These were much quicker to knit than the original longer version.

❄ A trio of Rudolph Hats, two of which you've already seen. I saved my most favorite version for last:

Pop Rudolph!



Now all that's left is a pair of mittens and maybe a few fun ornaments if there's time. But first, some hot cocoa and tree gazing is in order. Look closely and you'll see the sweet surprise that arrived in the post. Thanks Steph! Little Mousie has already made himself quite at home!