Lost Gloves

It looks like I’ve lost my favourite pair of gloves :-( I mean, they’re only shop-bought, almost certainly acrylic yarn ones. But they fit, they were black with cables on the back, and they were warm and comfy. They weren’t scratchy or squeaky. They were my perfect gloves. Wah!

Of course, I have other gloves. Handknitted fingerless ones, which are lovely… but not quite the same as, well, gloves with fingers. And not go-with-everything black, either. Pleather (ie. plastic leather-looking!) ones: not warm or particularly flexible either. Cycling ones: v practical… if I had a bike right now, which I don’t. Velvet ones, lace ones: all very pretty, but not much use for keeping fingers toasty.

No, I want my woolly gloves back. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that I lost them out somewhere, earlier this year. Last I remember, they were in my coat pocket… and the next time I went to put them on, they were gone. I probably took them off and put them down, got distracted, and that was that. :-/ I’m going to have one last really good hunt through the bags that I don’t use much, just in case. And then I guess I’d better buckle down and knit myself some new ones.

The next question is, what kind of gloves shall I make? Proper cosy wool ones, certainly. But shall I try to replicate my old ones as closely as I can remember, or shall I have plain ones? Black / one-colour, or variegated? Hmmm. Pattern suggestions, anyone?

(I am of course, rilly rilly tempted by Natalie’s Glove Kits & Club, but I must not buy any more yarn yet. However, I spose I could have more than one new pair of gloves, couldn’t I? *cough* After all, I have all that lovely sock yarn that I don’t have to use on socks…)

Composing Knits

I’ve discovered something kind of interesting. To me, anyway. Fetching wristwarmersYou see, I’d decided I wanted a hat to go with my Fetching wristwarmers. This meant applying the stitch pattern and cables used on Fetching to a hat. Well, with a couple of small variations – aren’t there always? What I’ve discovered is, I approach knitting designing in the exact same two ways I have of approaching music composition.

Usually when I make a hat (or scarf or bag or whatever), I almost completely improvise. Often, I don’t even swatch, I just rely on the fact that I know that I’ll get this approximate gauge with those needles and that weight yarn, and base my number of cast on stitches on that. I’ll keep to approximate guidelines – just like staying within a key (or its relatives) – but otherwise I’ll wing it from there… sometimes even in terms of stitch pattern, although not always. If it works out well, I might go back and record what I’ve done on paper later on.

This time, I used what is actually my other method of writing music: I take a motif that I’ve worked out on an instrument beforehand, then decide on a key, key sig, and orchestration, and write everything else straight down onto paper out of my head. I’m pretty sure I know how it’s going to sound, but there’s sometimes the odd surprise *g*. Along very much the same lines, I started the design for my “Tête à Fetching” hat by taking the motif of the Fetching wristwarmers cables / ribbing which I have already knitted and therefore am familiar with the look of it. I swatched, I calculated, and I wrote out the provisional pattern on paper, including variations which didn’t occur in the original motif. Now, I’m knitting it:

The beginning of the Tête à Fetching

I’ll let you know how it goes, and with luck put the finished pattern up when I’m done!

Mid Sock Syndrome?

You know, it’s funny. I don’t tend to be struck down with Second Sock Syndrome. I don’t always cast on a second sock the instant I’ve finished the first if I’ve got other projects on the go that I want to work on before I go back to the sock knitting. But by and large, my second socks seem to knit up faster than the first ones… probably because I already have the pattern fixed in my head. Halfway through my Whitby sockWhat I do get, though, is ‘Mid Sock Syndrome’. Is it just me? I start a new sock (so far I’ve only knit top-down, so I can only talk about that) and the ribbing, if there is any, might feel relatively slow, but once I get onto the main part of the leg: zoom! Before I know it, I’m at the heel flap. At that point, time grinds to a halt or something. What’s really weird here is, the various parts of heel flap, heel turn and even gusset decreases don’t seem to take all that long. But somehow, all together, they take an age. And then there’s the foot. For some reason this didn’t happen for the Monkey socks – the foot of those flew by – but in general, the foot takes for EVAH. Which makes no sense, because my feet are small and therefore the foot part of a sock is much shorter than the leg.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve gone past the point of being interested in the pattern because it’s new, and also past the gratification of having learned it, so it starts knitting up faster. Is it sock fatigue? I seem to constantly be checking the foot length to make sure I haven’t gone too far, and seeming to still have miles before the toe decreases start. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the sock knitting. But I suppose by the time I get to that part, I just want the flipping thing to be finished! I guess I’ll just have to be grateful that starting that second sock makes it all new and exciting again…. :-)

Hi, my name is…

…and I’m a yarnaholic. Although when I follow that analogy through, perhaps it’s not quite accurate. Because it’s not my actual consumption of yarn that’s the issue. No, it’s that like many many knitters I have a little tiny stash problem. But then again, if yarnaholic = addicted to yarn, then I spose that works. The point is – and I do, usually, get to my point ;-) – I’ve come to the reluctant realisation that I have Too Much Yarn.

You see, I’ve been cataloguing my stash on the wonderful Ravelry, and this has meant hoiking out yarn that I haven’t even seen for about three years. And I’ve realised a couple of things about all this yarn. To me, “too much yarn” doesn’t mean that I have more yarn than I’m likely to use in the near (or far) future. It means that I have specific yarn that I now can’t see myself ever using for anything. In general, that’s yarn that I bought because it was too good of a bargain to pass up. Ahem. Well, we all do it!

So, what I have at the moment is pretty much this:
The majority of The Stash, Oct 07

Doesn’t look tooooo bad, does it? Although when you bear in mind that of course the bags and basket are really packed full of yarn that you can’t see properly in the picture… Um. And I also have a large-ish box full of machine knitting yarn under my bed that I haven’t brought myself to drag out yet. Yeah, I need to start knitting faster. And knitting larger things again: I have the yarn for more than a couple of jumpers / cardigans. The top two boxes by the telly house my sock yarn. They’re a bit jammed. Oh dear, I’d better knit myself more socks. Shame!

So, what I’ve done is gone through everything and sorted out some things to go to charity, and some things to be sold on eBay. The ones that I’ve put on eBay are yarns that I bought because I liked at the time… but as I said above, I’m really never going to actually knit with them. They need to go to someone who can use them. For example, there was a time when I bought an awful lot of mohair because it was pretty and fuzzy and also very reasonable in the LYS. I did my typical thing of “ooo, I like! I shall have that colour and that colour and that colour, and…”. Yes. Four years later, I’ve knitted some of that yarn up, and now I just don’t have a use for the other colours of it! Some of it, I really do love the colour… for a hat, for example. Which I don’t want to make in that kind of yarn. Doh! But you learn these things with experience.

Therefore, to eBay it has gone. There are five lots of mohair (80-90% mohair or mohair/wool and acrylic blends), one lot of Jaeger Cadiz (silk/viscose), two lots of 100% wool fingering weight, and a Colinette pattern book. Help me de-stash!

Once I’d done that, I decided to work out, with the help of Lixie’s Stashtimator, how much yarn I now have left. Oh dear. Like I said before, I’ve got to start knitting faster, and most importantly knitting from my stash. Because I have:
Laceweight: 238g = 1.6 miles
4-ply / Fingering: 5805g = 13.2 miles (of that, Sock yarn: 3810g = 8.7 miles)
DK: 9640g = 13 miles
Aran: 3995g = 3.8 miles
Chunky: 1915g = 1.6 miles
Super Bulky: 1100g = 0.9 miles
TOTAL: 57626g = 34.2 miles

From now on, then, I’m on a yarn diet. This does not mean no more yarn: food dieting doesn’t mean stopping eating, after all! What I’m going to pledge to myself is to buy no more yarn for larger projects until I’ve used the yarn I already have, unless it’s for a gift (honestly: unlikely… gifts will probably be smaller things!), and to budget the amount of sock yarn / single skeins that I can buy. Yes, in this case, sock yarn does count as stash. Somewhat. ;-) Again, yarn for gifts and commissions doesn’t count, but I am going to try to knit from my stash for those as well where possible.

…… Wish me luck? (And buy my eBayed yarn! ;-) )

Friday 5!

I used to do the original version of this meme, back when this was a life-in-general blog, and I’ve decided I’d like to start up again. So here goes:

1. What was the last thing you baked?
Ahahahaha. Baking? Me? Um, no. Unless this counts anything that goes in the oven, in which case… a casserole?

2. What was the last thing you tried on for size?
The cardigan I bought on Tuesday. I know, bought. I fail at knitting. But see, I suddenly realised (on Monday evening) that I was going to freeze on Wednesday if I didn’t have a nice cardigan to wear at the funeral. So I went out and got one. I felt bad! But interestingly, it’s a cardigan that I don’t think I’d have looked at before I started knitting. I bought it because I liked the cable-and-bobble pattern on the front as well as loving the colour (aubergine is everywhere right now – awesome!). I picked it up and considered how it was knit and constructed before I got to “is it me”. Heh.

3. What was the last thing you purchased on credit?
Ummm. Train tickets, I think. Either that, or some ebooks.

4. What was the last thing you put a postage stamp on?
A postcard to my SP11 pal, I think. Technically, I didn’t put the postage labels on the packages I’ve sent out, the post-office people did…

5. What was the last thing you took a photo of?
The Hedara sock in the last post :-)

– The Friday 5

Long Day

It’s been a looooooooooong day… and why I’m not in bed already, I’m not really sure. I’m running on caffeine fumes, or something. It was my uncle’s funeral, so we’ve been to Norfolk and home again (5:30am start, most of the day spent in the car…. ow my back). Goth Whitby so far (click for full size)On the plus side, because I’m not allowed to drive at the moment, I got some knitting done. Um, yay? So yup, I have another couple of inches done of my Whitby sock. There would have been more, but I was pretty tired by the time we were on our way home, so I slept for a couple of hours. I feel a bit guilty about that, cos Mum and M were having to stay awake and do the driving. But then, I didn’t sleep well last night because my brain was in ‘oh no, what if I don’t wake up in time’ mode.

The funeral was fine, and it was good to see all my cousins, even if the circumstances weren’t exactly great. I even met up with a cousin I haven’t seen since we were both 2, and a couple of others that I might not have met at all. I have a lot of cousins. The ones who are all my age are actually my first-cousins-once-removed (the children of my first cousins) due to the generational wonk my family has going on. *g* One of these is my cousin B, who is great, and who I’m hoping to keep in touch with more regularly – we’ve been saying we will, but crucially this time we remembered to exchange email addrs! Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go and stay with her at some point so we can have a proper catch-up.
Back to the knitting, I’ve been doing lots of other things as well. I finished my first Hedara sock:
One Hedara down...

And the kitty-face baby hat that I’ve done for a friend’s expected new baby:
Kitty face Baby Hat

Aaaaaand finally I’ve finished off the HP Slytherin scarf I’ve been making for Sann for, oh, years (it was the weaving in of the ends that I stalled on). Hoorah!
Sann's Slytherin scarf

Yaaaaay, finished objects! I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll now: I’m determined to finish one of the jumpers that’ve been lurking for years as well (see sidebar). I had resolved that I wasn’t going to cast anything new on until I’d finished at least one project, and now I’ve finished two and a half… but… finishing one of those flippin’ jumpers will feel like a real achievement. So that’s my next plan, along with continuing with the other things I have on the needles, of course! I really must remember to post on here with pics of the other things I’ve done recently as well. But not tonight. Now, it’s bedtime. Zzzzzzzzzz………

SP11 Package #1! :-D

So! My first SP11 package came! …. A week and a half ago. I’m a bad blogger and totally failed to post about it til now, but I did email my pal and gush a lot. *g* Also… I now, totally accidentally, know who she is! It’s because (a) she’s on my blogroll and Ravelry friends-list, (b) she really doesn’t live very far away from me, so even though all she put for a return address was a postcode, I recognised which town it was…. and (c) my suspicions were aroused because her real name was written on the little card that came with the scrummy hand-painted yarn she’d got me. So I asked her, and yes, it turns out she’s Janey. It’s kind of hilarious, because I was having such fun with the mystery aspect – not that knowing who she is has spoiled anything. But it’s fairly ironic that all those factors came together like that and gave it away. *g* Especially since I’m a relative newbie to the knit-blogging community and don’t know all that many people!

But anyway, on to the best bit: the PRESENTS! *mercenary* ;-)

Inside the box

I like the anticipation almost as much as the opening them up, so I took the box into my bedroom and sat on the bed to open it. When I opened it up, the gifts inside were beautifully wrapped in purple tissue paper and ribbon. So I carefully prodded them for a little while, and then took them out of the box and laid them on the bed…

Wrapped pressies

Oooooo, exciting! Then there was some more prodding, and eventually, I started opening them. *g* Of course, the Xandermog had to come and investigate.

Xander investigates the pressies

But there wasn’t anything edible for him, so he soon lost interest ;-) So, what did I get?

SP11 package 1

From the back: Thorntons fudge (omg yum: that didn’t last long!!). A wibbly-wobbly pen… because it has purple hair and therefore made Janey think of me! Thorntons strawberries and cream toffee (once again, yum!). Two balls of Debbie Bliss SoHo, because she’d noticed I haven’t yet tried any felting projects – and I do want to, so yay! A skein of gorgeous black and purple hand-painted sock yarn from Gemini Knits. A dinky little sheep notepad (cute!). A set of 2.5mm Brittany birch DPNS!!! An absolutely charming book of sheep pictures and verse. And last but certainly not least (except in size *g*), three of the cutest little sheep stitch markers in the WORLD. As you can see, they’re tiny – they’re for small needles too, so perfect for sock knitting. Yay! So here’s bigger pic of them. Look at their little faces!

Tiny wickle sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeps!

Isn’t that awesome? I don’t know what I love the most… the yarn, the sweets, the stationary / sheepy things are all brilliant, and the sock yarn just couldn’t be better colours for me! But I think perhaps the adorable stitch markers, and the DPNs which were on my mental luxury wishlist (and which I admit, I’ve spent an awful lot of time just stroking!) have to come out on top. Just! Janey, you’re the best pal ever – THANK YOU!! :-D

To Frog or Not To Frog?

… That is the question. The other question is, hey where did the last week disappear to? Bzuh?? I know I was quite busy, but I didn’t realise it had been that many days since I posted last. Whoops! My Secret Pal package did arrive on Monday as expected, and yay, it’s awesome! But I’ll babble about that more in a separate post, because I haven’t uploaded the photos yet.

What I am going to babble about now is my frogging dilemma. Forest Canopy so far; click for larger versionSee, I’m about 10-15% into my Forest Canopy Shawl, and it’s very pretty and all. But I’m not quite sure that Eva is the best yarn to use for it. It’s gorgeous and shiny, but it hasn’t got as much elasticity as an all-wool yarn, which means that the sl1 k2tog psso decreases look a little baggy. I’ve hibernated it anyway until I’m done with my Christmas knits, so I was thinking that maybe I should rip it. Because it also occurred to me that Eva would make the most beautiful Clapotis

I know, I know: everyone and their dog / cat has already made a Clapotis, and I’m the last person in the world to jump on this particular bandwagon. You know, I wasn’t even particularly enamoured of the pattern until I started thinking how well Eva would suit it. And suddenly, it clicked for me. Well, I’m late to everything else, why not this too? It really would show off the yarn soooo well. Posh Yarn Emily in SelvaAs for the Forest Canopy? Well, I have a skein of PY Emily in some lovely shades of green that strikes me as rather… forest-y. Is that too predictable? I think it’ll look good, though, and I like green. So there ;-) Plus, I’m pretty sure that it’ll knit up better Emily. My other choice would be YY Merino, or possibly Sock, but I don’t have a colour in either of those that I want to use for the shawl, unless I used the YY August club yarn. But I have that earmarked for a particular sock pattern, so I don’t think I will.

I have another frogging dilemma as well, although this one is less of a real dilemma. A couple of years ago, I started knitting a zip jacket that was actually a man’s pattern by Debbie Bliss featured in Simply Knitting mag. Well, I say I started knitting it. I went out and bought the yarn (a substitute, but pretty well identical: Sirdar Denim Sport Aran instead of Debbie Bliss Denim Aran), and cast on. Aaaaaand that’s as far as I ever got! I spose I was distracted by other things (this was right before Dad’s accident) and somehow I never picked it up again. And then, in the most recent issue of Knitty, I saw Mr Greenjeans. Ooooooo, I thought. I like that! My first idea was that I could maybe use some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran that I have lurking in my stash for it – it’s a lovely dark green colour, and I’ve been wanting to find something to use it for for ages. But when I double-checked, I don’t have enough of it. D’oh!! (One of these days, I might pick up some complementary yarn and make a Tubey with it. That would be nice.) So I kind of figured I’d have to give up on the idea of that cardigan for a while, until it suddenly struck me that I have that Denim Sport Aran sitting around not being knitted. Was I really ever going to knit the zip jacket? Probably not. So I think I’m going to use that yarn for the Mr Greenjeans instead. The only thing that’s vaguely bothering me is that I’m not 100% sure the yarn is actually very me. Will I wear a blue denim-effect cardi? Oh, I spose I will. I could think of it as work clothing! At-the-computer attire. After all, it won’t show the cat hair as badly as all my black clothes do. *g*

I spose that’s decision made, then. Zip jacket thing: Frog, and re-purpose the yarn as a Mr Greenjeans. Forest Canopy: Probably frog, re-purpose the yarn as a Clapotis, then re-start with the green PY Emily. Hoorah! (This isn’t helping my startitis any, you know….)