Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yarn Along and Knitting Goals

{Knitting along with Ginny this week}

Yes, that's a new shawl and *not* the mittens I'm supposed to be finishing...

One of the lesser known side effects after a long stint of non-knitting is cast-on-itis, which made it's way to my house for several days last week and got in the way of finishing my mother's Christmas mittens (which are now 2+ weeks overdue, ahem).

So now there are mittens still on the needles (though not that long from complete- 4 hours maybe?), a shawl begun, and because of our BABY GIRL news I also cast on a little sweater, and I'm up to two hats that need their bands sewn on. And I also knit up Schmatta over a few hours (though it still needs buttons).

The only problem is that I have no "easy knit" to take along on the car- the kind I can pick up and put down as the boys need help with math or legos or that I can knit a row or two on while waiting on that student that's running 3 minutes late. So I *really* need to start something else, right???

I hit New Years Eve and realized I was fishing for yarn to cast on *another* project without thinking about all the projects currently in the works and I did stop myself. I work better with a plan and if I had continued casting on I would have put myself into a knitter's coma. I really don't do well with more than 4 or 5 projects all waiting to be finished, but neither do I do well with committing fully to just one knit.

I started out intending to make a project list to put in my Rav queue, but then I was grumpy trying to narrow myself down to certain projects, so it really became more of a goal list:

1. Complete 12 knitting projects by the end of the year. I'm admittedly aiming small, but we will be moving again in the first half of the year AND having a baby. There's canning season (and I just don't knit much then) plus I'd like to make friends with my sewing machine again at some point...

2. Knit from stash for most projects this year. As I said the other day, my stash has hit an uncomfortable level for me and I really want the finished projects that are intended to come out of that pile of yarn. This isn't restrictive- I can still buy for other projects if I want, but most of this year's knitting will be from stash. Kelly is running a fun linky for this sort of thing- join up if you want to play along too!

3. Complete 1 pair of socks. I love the idea of knitting socks and last year set out to knit at least 6 pair before getting derailed. Apparently I just don't have sock-knitting mojo. I planned for just 1 little sock per month last year, and I got about 2 socks in (and not even two socks of the same pair!) and called it quits. There are fit problems that I need to solve before I seriously move forward on sock knitting, but I'm determined to get 1 good pair for myself this year.

4. Learn to knit lace with bobbles. I see lots of lace shawls I really love that include bobbles, so I want to learn. I've made 1 half-hearted attempt at learning but really didn't have the time to sit down with it and gave up quickly. I will have the time this year at a couple of points- I just have to sit down and do it!

5. Learn to knit colorwork using both hands. I have done a small amount of colorwork, but I know I need to learn to do it holding one color in each hand. It will go faster and I'll ultimately be happier because of it. I just can't seem to get even tension with it yet, but I want to practice "the right way" this year so that I will do more color work.

6. Learn the uses of other cast-ons and use them in the right situations. I rely heavily on the long-tail cast-on for pretty much everything because it's the cast-on I'm comfortable with. I've used other cast-ons when called for, but I want to really know why and when to use other cast-ons.

7. Improve my finishing techniques. I'm decent at kitchener stitch and mattress stitch, but I'd like to learn the three needle bind-off and sewn bind-offs.

Is this the year that I finally knit a fair isle sweater?

Learn to spin?

Take a chance on a steek?

Not sure. But I'll be sure to share if I do.

What are your knitting plans for this year?

Monday, January 2, 2012


I recently had occasion to pack up about 70% of my knitting stash and realized exactly how much I have.... several shawls worth, a couple sweaters worth, countless balls of sock yarn, plus the recent acquisition of yarn towards baby projects. It is certainly NOT as much as a lot of yarn stash-ers have, but it has definitely outgrown the space I have dedicated to yarn, and that means I need to get knitting before I buy anything else.

See, knitters include people of all stashing types, and I just happen to be one of those folks that tends to stash for planned projects. When I get a little bit of yarn money together I plan the next few projects I'd like to make and then order accordingly. I don't have yarn money available to me at all times- it tends to come to me in chunks at a few different points in the year and  I try to take advantage so that I never go without knitting. Because of this buying trend I typically only have a few projects worth of yarn in my stash at any time. I'm not really sure how this big of a stash took hold- I know some of it was a gift from a friend, some from my mom when she de-stashed (she's a quilter who knits on great occasion and recently got rid of a lot of yarn she's sure she'll never use), and some happened when we moved suddenly to help take care of my father-in-law after my mother-in-law died. I took some things with me from the stash, but bought more when I didn't have what I needed at the time... so I kind of have two small stashes right now- the one at our house and one at my father-in-laws... but when you add two small stashes together it equals "not so small stash" and that is just not good for me (or the storage space I have for yarn!)

I'm planning to knit from stash for as long as possible in 2012, not out of some kind of knitter's torture, but because I have lots of yarn intended for projects that I *really* like and want to see made. I also have some WIPs that were started last spring or summer that didn't end up getting completed (even though I do tend to be a finish-the-project knitter) and I'd like to see those finished. I'll buy new yarn if necessary for something, but the bulk of my 2012 knitting will be knitting with what I have on hand.

What kind of stasher are you? Am I some kind of weirdo? I really don't buy yarn just because I see it and like it- I'm always worried that I'll find the perfect project for it and then not have enough of that perfect yarn, or worse that I'll never make it into anything and it will sit in the stash for another decade or two. I can't stand to buy something (especially something beautiful) that will go unused!
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