Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January's projects

Here is a list of all the projects I completed in January, descending order...

Jan 31 - CancerCare Hat 1 and 2:

Jan 28 - Black, pink, orange scarf:

Jan 28 - Mailed the Red Scarf project, shown here with Kitten (he's actually 10 years old and 20 lbs):

Jan 27 - Gave Decio the green afghan for two year old Andre (finished earlier this month) pictured below, with Nic's

Jan 27 - Nic's tan afghan (edged with blue) was ready to go and at work, but the cold weather and/or client kept him out of the office. He picked it up Jan 29 and Christa loves it!!!

Here are pictures of both, again with Kitten helping:

Jan 16 - Fedexed Little Pete's afghan (no picture), for the man of the house while big Pete does a one year tour in Baghdad. This was really cool because he wanted Penn State colors. I ended up using Williamsburg, Slate Gray and Hepplewhite, Homespun, of course. It looked very similar to Avery's b&w afghan, but the white was in the middle and it, of course, had colors...

Jan 13 - Mailed Little Avery's afghan, shown here with Rebecca and Felix in camouflauge:

Jan 13 - Mailed Little Ragnar's afghan, since correctly named Ryan

Jan 7 - Delivered Dolly's afghan to her in person, completed in December. It really dwarfed her!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Red Scarf: complete!!!

Saturday's Scarf

I started another scarf Saturday late afternoon, around 5:00 pm. I was using something I'd picked up in Baltimore Dec 24, 2006 (last year) at a certain store that should remain nameless. I grabbed some pink size 17 needles, and was getting quite far when I had to stop to head to an art opening, so I brought the project along.

To my surprise, I met another knitter there as I sat knitting: Emma. Emma has only been knitting since October, and was taught at school. She is also nine years old. We got to talking, and since I had an emergency project in my coat pocket, I was able to let her knit some of my scarf while I reworked one of the CancerCare hats. It's probably the first time I've collaborated on a project, ever. And to her credit, I can't tell the difference between my knitting and hers, and I've been knitting for decades!

Needless to say, her father wanted her to come see the performance that was starting, and my boyfriend wanted me to see it as well. So we packed up our needles. But she's a great knitter and I hope her teacher shows her how to purl! (I refrained from showing her my way, which causes me to knit the purled rows out of the back loop.)

Here is a picture of the scarf at midnight, and one also of it completed... I finished it Sunday, within 24 hours.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Emergency Project: potholder "recipe"

I was so bummed out tonight. The PATH train had "10-15 minute delays due to signal problems". And I let the overpacked first train go by without me, thinking there would be more room on the next one...

And I'd already done too many rows of crochet on my emergency project. The Lily's Sugar and Creme potholder that I was making, that conveniently fit into the upper pocket of my leather jacket. For emergencies.

So there wasn't even room to pull out my dpns and work on my reworked CancerCare hat. So I had to read.

Here is the potholder recipe:

C O T T O N & C R E M E

Chain 72 with a J Hook. Join together. Single crochet in back loop only. Work 16 rows (or about). Fold carefully at an angle. Then sew together.


I started my first one New Year's Eve. And worked it on the PATH train. My mom couldn't really explain how you fold it over the phone, so I'm going to have to take some pictures so you can see how to do it.

But I am also very happy that approximately one ball of yarn completes one potholder. I crochet so loose, though, that my second one I went down to a smaller hook and only 60 stitches. That doesn't use up the yarn, though. And Primary Objective is to use up my stash, with as little leftover skeins as possible.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Finishing Stuff: the Red Scarf

Well, I started my red scarf on Tuesday night. After ripping it out about four times, I was finally happy with 14 stitches on size 17 needles, Lion Brand's "Jiffy" or "Jiffy Thick and Quick" black and red combo. It may be a discontinued color or a different brand, I don't know. But I felt like I was cheating working with such a bulky yarn!!! And I got to 59" on the bus home the next day, Wednesday, less than 24 hours from the time I started it. It was a real let down.

So, tonight I picked it up again, having gotten home too late to get to my Thursday night knitting. And you know I live for my Thursday night knitting. And my 2nd and 4th Saturday knitting, and my first Saturday of the month Prayer Shawl knitting, and my Wednesday Knitting 101. I wrapped the thing around my neck, and I like to wrap twice, and it was too short to do so comfortably. So, I'm extending it past the 60", one, because that's the way I like my scarves, and two, it will use up my stash! I was so THRILLED to be able to dip into my existing yarn for this project.

And the next morning after I started it, I actually began to hope. Hope that I might actually be able to complete my New Year's Resolution and use up all the yarn in my house! I do so many Homespun afghans, and they are beautiful and fun and rewarding, and the parents that get them so enjoy them, as do the babies. But I find myself not doing anything else. So this year-long project (or sooner if I'm quick) is getting me out of my routine and giving me more of an opportunity to devise ways and projects for the other yarns in my house. I already have transported 90% of the yarn in my upstairs closet to my downstairs walk-in closet, and there is now plenty of room for my vacuum and toilet paper.

Oh, here is a knot. One of those manufacturer's knots that they must think, "Oh, the buyer won't notice," when you know darn well that we're very careful about our knots. My clue that maybe it is time to stop. About 64" unstretched, over 70" stretched.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The heat is on: Red Scarf Project

Literally, and figuratively. I spoke with my oil company today to have them come out and check the boiler, and now we have heat!

And I just heard about the Red Scarf project Sunday night, via e-mail. See for details. Thing is, the scarves are due, in house, before the end of January. So, I'm almost done with my CancerCare hat, and I'm about to start yet another project. I am not a one project woman!

Monyca - you're on!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Step One: Organize the Stash

Or perhaps I should have started with Step 0: State the resolution. (See three posts, below)

So, how do I go about this CRAZY idea of not buying yarn for a whole year? Well, I had off from work between Christmas and New Years, and from Dec 26-30 I spent the entire days and nights shredding charity mail from my kitchen table (it's a major problem) and organizing my yarn closet. I have a walk-in closet at the front of my house, which also contains a real closet. I had so many photos (artsy-fartsy ones), framed, that I took myself, and of course, yarn. Needless to say, I couldn't even walk into it.

I started by taking out all the photography and banishing that to an upstair's closet. Maybe someday these things will sell. But for now, I'm not getting a decent ROI. And knitting is SUCH immediate gratification!

Then, I tried to organize the yarn. I had a giant bin, about 18x24x18, full of Homespun, and on top of that a basket full of Simply Soft Brites. Beyond that, towards my front door (unused door, of course), was a growing pile of bags of Homespun and other nonsense, which were making great insulation. Too bad I didn't take a "before" picture. Perhaps that comes under the 5th Ammendment. I was able to reach for the bags on top pretty easily, but as I worked my way down, I had to bend over the yarn basket. Before I realized it, I'd lost my footing and found myself literally resting on top of the yarn, my feet and arms dangling, literally SWIMMING in yarn. I laughed so hard for a good ten minutes or so, realizing how crazy I was and wondering if my son would hear me.

Well, a few days later, I'm in CH Martin (which by the way has extremely good bargains and I'm not getting paid to say that), and I see these perfect, inexpensive, cheap plastic shelves. Modular. And I say to myself, what if I turned them on their side and put them on my dresser in my walk-in closet? So for $12.99, (or was it $11.99?), I buy one, and love it so much I buy another one a day or so later. In minutes I have 2 of the 3 shelves put together, which I then rotate 90 degrees, and put on top of my green dresser in my walk-in closet. Then the fun part. I populate it (can you tell I work for a management consulting firm?) with Homespun and Simply Soft. Oh, how beautiful. My boyfriend says it looks like art, like an installation. (Translated: special art work created specifically for a gallery space, for you non-visual artists out there.) The photo on the left is from the packaging. The photo on the right is what I did with it.

And I'm in Heaven. My yarn. Visible. Not in my upstairs closet beneath the vacuum cleaner and beside the rolls of toilet paper. Downstairs in my walk-in closet in plain view, taking precedence, and looking beautiful.

And I soon realize that not everything will fit in my little plastic world of yarn. No matter. Put likes together, and then those likes in attractive plastic or paper or cloth bags, and hang it off the knobs of the dresser drawers.

And for the really pretty mohair, just put it in a nice basket, let that sit on the hard wood floor, and call it a day...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My mom says...

Well, my mom corrected me. She's great. She said, "Knitting is NOT an obsession! It is next to praying! And in many cases can be multi-tasked with praying."

So true. It is extremely meditative. Happy knitting.

Recognizing the obsession

You see, I am a yarn junkie. I am a frequenter of AC Moore's "Moonlight Madness" sales (25% off all non-sale merchandise), and my friend, Jackie, conveniently lets me know when the next ones take place. I went to one in September, spent $105 on Homespun, and while taking her home, was pulled over for doing 44 in a 25 mph zone. The ticket was also $105. Well, anyways, I still went back for more in October, November and I don't remember if we shopped in December.

I fill the cart with Homespun. I buy in units of four. I crochet baby afghans with it, and have made hundreds in the past few years for people I work with, their spouse, and alum. I will post a few pictures of some of the more interesting ones. I love working on them while I commute, and they are what Meg Rapp used to refer to as "idiot work". The stuff that doesn't tax your mind. I gave up driving to my local parking lot, and went back to taking the bus to the PATH train, in order to get an hour of knitting/crocheting in in the morning, and an hour at night. Clearly, it was not a good idea to try to knit while driving, though I was able to get a few stitches in at stop lights.

Homespun is just so beautiful and I really should have bought stock in Lion Brand. The colors are just so great, and everyone seems so amazed with how soft and warm and cuddly the blankets are!

2007: New Year's Resolution

It's a new year! And a perfect time to renew old New Year's resolutions! My knitting friends aren't really sure I can do this, but this year my New Year's resolution is:

"I will not buy any more yarn until I use up the yarn in my house."

Here are my conditions:

1) The yarn in the drawer of my platform bed does not count, as it has been there for six years or more, and therefore does not qualify as a recent purchase (i.e., purchase in the last two or three years).

2) If I still have unused yarn in my collection by Jan 1, 2008, I can either renew the resolution or choose not to.

3) Ends of skeins (partial skein and too small for even the "One Skein M.A." projects do not count.) I'll do my best to work these into other projects, though.

4) The yarn given to me at Maggie's knitting party (for CancerCare hats) does not count as a purchase, even though I paid $5 to attend.

I know. Some of you are laughing. You know I tried this last year without much success. It got to the point where I was going into the Ragshop with my son, choosing a color or two from the Simply Soft Brites collection, and handing him the money to buy it. How bad is that?!?! I didn't even make it to Easter. So, what makes me think I can do this in 2007? My 16 year old son, Chris, gave up McDonald's and Burger King for 2006, and made it through the whole year. (We did eat a lot of Wendy's, but that's OK.)