Saturday, October 29, 2011

Destash goals, refined

I ended up ordering more yarn to knit a hat for my cousin Sydney for Christmas. The hat yarn ended up costing just as much as a hat from Justice. Maybe I should have just bought a hat for her...

Along with the yarn came another $5 store credit to EatSleepKnit. I will probably use this before Dec. 30 of this year, possibly on Black Friday, and hope I don't get another one. This will be my last yarny hurrah before the Great Yarn Fast of 2012.

I've managed to obtain buttons for the baby sweater and I found a closely matching embroidery floss to sew the sweater together. Somehow I keep screwing up the sleeves and sewing them on inside-out. I feel like a confused and demented person. There's a very specific way the sleeves need to be sewn on. If they're sewn on the wrong way, the seam is on the wrong side and the neck placket is the wrong way. It's really a big, convoluted mess. I've hacked sleeves off the sweater about three times now. My confusion might have something to do with working 65 hours a week and being perpetually exhausted.

Here are some rules for Yarn Diet 2012:
1.) I will not buy any yarn for any reason in 2012 because I have more than enough yarn as it is. I'm getting a new car and I need to learn how to be a financially responsible adult.
     a.) The last yarn purchased will use the remaining $5 store credit I have through EatSleepKnit.
2.) I will start the year by trying to finish projects already started.
     a.) I will finish an afghan I started, frog a sweater I started in order to make another sweater, and finish the lace shawl that is sitting and waiting for an edging.
3.) I will continue the year by knitting Christmas dishcloths (around March or April.) I will only knit as many dishcloths for the cotton yarn I have. No new cotton will be purchased.
4.) If I don't have enough yarn to make a pattern, I'll pick a different pattern.
5.) I'll rely on free patterns as much as possible. Purchasing books, magazines or patterns IS allowed.
6.) Purchasing needles and other notions (buttons, canvas, zippers, hooks, etc.) is also allowed.
7.) I will organize my craft area in the spring to make it easier to find yarn and supplies I need.
8.) I will participate in SKA's Sockdown as often as possible to knit down my supply of sock yarn.
9.) I will not make trips to buy yarn (no special stops in Philly, New York, or wherever I might go in 2012.)
10.) I will knit something to submit to the fair
11.) I will knit something I like and keep it for myself.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Destash goals

It's been a while. I've been working at the retail establishment about 20 to 25 hours a week, plus another 40 at my full-time job, so things have been a little hectic. My house is gross, my husband is hungry and lonely and I don't have knitting time.

Okay, enough complaining. So the other day on my "Selfish Knitters" forum, someone was talking about destashing. The last time I wrote, I talked about knitting for the York Fair, but destashing sounds like a much smarter option. I have a new mitten kit, but I also have an old sock kit that I never touched and a whole bin full of sock yarn. I probably have more than $500 worth of unknit sock yarn in the house, which is bad bad bad. And that's just sock yarn. The worst part of it is, when I went to buy new yarn for a hat I want to knit for my cousin Sydney, I got another $5 store credit from my favorite online yarn store. Really, that's just asking to be used. It's kind of a bummer because it covers shipping and about $2 from my order, but I'm still tempted to shop some more. I really want some yarn from Sanguine Gryphon. I guess my store credit will just sit in my account until I use up some more of my yarn.

GOAL: Do NOT purchase ANY yarn for ANY reason next year. Needles and patterns don't count in the destash goals, as they facilitate appropriate yarn use. The only possible exception would be to purchase cotton for christmas dishcloths, but that's stretching it. I have so much cotton yarn it's not funny. (Side note: we wrote behavior modification contracts when I was in 9th grade. I should write an official one for myself and my yarn habit.)

I'm happy to report, though, that my few projects that I have going now are going really well. I'm almost done with the brown baby sweater. I have both sleeves finished. I messed up on the collar last night, and I still need to buy some buttons, but for the most part it's getting there.

The gray hat has not progressed. I've been focusing every knitting moment on the baby sweater. The sweater's due date is sooner than the hats, so it gets all my attention. I want to make another pair of baby socks as well to go with the sweater. I have one pair done, but it's a little feminine.

I got some Malabrigo Bulky to make a hat with earflaps for my cousin, Sydney. Earflap hats are in style amongst the young'uns. I saw several on the Justice for Girls website (including one with SILVER SEQUINS!!!) I hope I can make one that passes the approval of a tween.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Unofficial York Fair Knitting Checklist

Here are all of the things that can be knit for the York Fair, according to the premium book on the fair website.
Needlework is Department 18 and is judged "with regard to beauty, degree of perfection, amount of work, and suitability for the purpose for which it is intended." This will be the list I'll reference to decide what to knit for the fair next year. I didn't include things like felting (I can't felt in my washing machine) and homespun (I don't know how to spin.)

1.) Bedspread
2.) Carriage Robe
3.) Pillows, no bed pillows
4.) Doll
5.) Doll clothing
6.) Household accessories
7.) Christmas
8.) Christmas stocking
9.) Stockings
10.) Jacket
11.) Purse
12.) Hat
13.) Scarf
14.) Eyelash scarf
15.) Shawl
16.) Cable sweater
17.) Bulky knit sweater
18.) Fair isle sweater
19.) Cotton sweater
20.) Short sleeve pullover
21.) Long sleeve pullover
22.) Vest
23.) Cardigan
24.) Children's coat
25.) Children's dress
26.) Children's mittens
27.) Children's hat
28.) Children's cardigan
29.) Children's pullover
30.) Children's vest
31.) Infant booties
32.) Infant bunting
33.) Infant cap
34.) Infant dress
35.) Infant Christening outfit
36.) Infant sweater
37.) Afghan: solid color
38.) Afghan: ripple
39.) Afghan: children's

For all of these categories, there's an "other" category as well. You know, in case I knit something that isn't covered in the almost-40 categories. Some of these, I think, are a little antiquated. Like a carriage robe? And what's a bunting?

For what it's worth, it'll be fun to see how many I can knit before next August.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An update on all things knitterly

I started TWO projects since finishing my socks on Oct. 10.

The first is this sweater. The pattern is Gavyn and I'm knitting it on size 9 needles out of a bulky alpaca blend by Bernat. Maybe because it's the wrong weight or maybe I'm doing something wrong, but the squares on the yoke aren't measuring properly. I'm a little confused, but I'll keep chugging along. I'm making it for a coworker's baby.

The second project is this lovely hat. The pattern is Struan by Ysolda Teague and I'm knitting it from Knitpicks Swish DK in Cobblestone Heather. My cousin requested a hat. If I have time, I'll make him matching fingerless gloves to go with it. Maybe I'll make hats and mittens for all of my cousins.
I know I'm in a bit of a time crunch to finish things for the holidays. I have about two months to finish all of the dishcloths I want to knit, plus whatever extra things I want to make for people. The Selfish Knitters & Crocheters are firmly against knitting things you don't want to knit. I want to knit for people, I do, but there are too many things to knit in too short of a time. The key is to start knitting in January, but this has never happened. Ever.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Socks: finished!

So I finished my socks that I started at the beginning of September. Now I'm moving on to a hat with cables for my cousin.

I WOULD be making a baby sweater for my coworker Pat's child. But I made the mistake of going to Michael's to look for craft supplies. Michael's is the worst possible place to shop for craft supplies. They dedicate a whole aisle to cake decorating and they have three rows of baskets of baby yarn in a far corner of the store. What is that about? They'll promote Martha Stewart's useless craft nonsense, but they can't carry something simple, such as a 16" size 9 circular needle. So I left without buying anything. I really can't say enough bad things about Michael's. They're the worst! If you're going to shop somewhere, at least support the little guy and go to a local store.

Maybe I'll try AC Moore tomorrow. If I can't find anything there, I'll go to Uncommon Threads. I know AC Moore is a chain, but I want something inexpensive because baby sweaters aren't worn forever. They'll be worn for about six months and then the baby grows out of them. In the meantime, I'll work on the hat.

Today I'm also cooking. I'm making a tilapia dish with chard, prosciutto and gorgonzola and I'm roasting a chicken and making mashed potatoes. Maybe I'll steam some green beans, too. Last week, I cooked meals for my husband for the week. He had purchased shrimp, tilapia and salmon fillets at the grocery store. This morning I made shrimp scampi before he went to work, so he had lunch to eat today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It didn't feel like a lot of knitting, but it was

I'd have to say my pair of gray socks is about 80 percent done. This morning I had to pay some bills and stuff, but I managed to get several rows done, moving the little cables closer to the center of the foot. I hope I can knit some more later.

I also finished "Lost" today. It was pretty anticlimactic. I ate some of the salmon and potatoes I made on Monday. I didn't have to work at the retail establishment.

I wish I had gone for a run, but I can't seem to shake my head cold. It's more of a nuisance than anything. I should probably vacuum around the house. It's pretty bad when I'm at work, too. I have great plans to go to Target tomorrow to get some Clorox wipes and canned air to spray out my keyboard.

Shortly after I got to work, we got word that Steve Jobs had died. I'm not sobbing over it or anything. I obviously didn't personally know him, but he seemed to be a great innovator and talented business manager. I was pretty disturbed to see people making smug, pretentious, insensitive remarks about his death. I'm no champion of human life, but show a little respect. The guy was known for changing the way Americans use technology. He wasn't a philanthropist.

Those are my thoughts for the day I guess. Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lofty knitting goals

So it's October 4 and my pair of gray socks for my grandmother remains unfinished. In my defense I had a rough weekend. I worked pretty much every day (except yesterday) and I'm coming down with a cold. Tomorrow I have some errands to run before I can spend time knitting.

Yesterday (Monday) was a good day off to do anything but knit, however. Despite coming down with a cold, I was really in the mood to cook. My husband usually makes all of his meals for the week at the beginning of the week. This week he purchased some tilapia, salmon and shrimp that was on sale at the grocery store, and I asked him if I could cook it. He said, "You can if you want to," and so that's what I did for most of yesterday.

I made a cumin and coriander crusted tilapia with simmered lentils and mango salsa, Shrimp Fra Diavolo from my "Cook This Not That" cookbook, and roasted salmon and sweet potatoes with an herb vinaigrette from my New York Times Cookbook.

 The cooking warmed up the house. The temperature dipped to 66 degrees because it was cold and rainy outside for all of this weekend. I want to see how long we can last until we turn on the heat. 66 degrees felt pretty frigid for me, and I was in sweatpants and a sweatshirt all day. Cooking warmed it up to a balmy 72, and it stayed that way until this morning when it dropped back down to 66. I think our apartment doesn't have very good insulation.

I took a lot of pictures of food in Rubbermaid containers and sent them as text messages to my husband. I sampled the food I made and it was pretty good. I only hope it tastes just as good after it's been sitting in the fridge for a while.

Anyway, the pair of socks should be finished by the end of this week. I made some pretty good progress on them this morning. I got past the gusset decreases, and I'm on to moving the cable motifs toward the center of the foot.

All while I'm knitting, I've been watching "Lost" through Netflix. It's a rather stupid and entertaining show. I was talking to a coworker this weekend who said that a lot of guys she knew were all about watching lost. That kind of baffles me because of the very few TV shows I watch, "Lost" reminds me most of a daytime soap opera. So it's unusual to me that it would appeal to men. I have about 5 episodes left in the series.

After I'm done knitting my gray socks and watching "Lost," I'll probably start on some of the things I ordered through Knit Picks this weekend. I got the "Woodland Winter Mittens" kit, which has six different pairs of mittens, each with a design that represents October through March. October has a leaf scene, November has a mountain scene, etc. They're knit with KnitPicks Palette, which I used to make some Christmas ornaments a couple years ago. I also ordered yarn to make my cousin a hat, per his request. I'm going to make Struan by Ysolda Teague. It'll be the first time I've used plastic canvas to make a hat brim. I hope it turns out okay.

In November, I have to finish up the massive pile of dishcloths I usually make every year, even though I really want to make some socks for my husband. He's about due for a new pair of socks. He started an afghan this past weekend after seeing a pattern in my KnitPicks catalogue. I found a similar pattern for free on Ravelry, and he's using some yarn that we already have in the house.