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January 29, 2007

State of the Aran

It's been a while since we've seen the Saddle Shoulder Aran Cardigan, hasn't it? Here's where we left off in October. Main section of body completed; ready for armage.

In the spirit of finishing up those UFOs, and perhaps influenced by the fact that Thunk's birthday is on February 8, I've jumped back in the saddle again (pun absolutely intended).

SSAC_sleeve1.jpg
Sunday, 4:30 pm.

This shot of the arm-in-progress was taken late yesterday afternoon when I noticed the light was starting to fade, but I spent a few hours on it last night as well. I'm almost ready to start arm number two, but first I have to figure out where I should stop. There's a small and slightly cryptic note in the pattern telling me to stop knitting when I've reached a point at which my sleeve cables match up with where I stopped knitting on the body cables, fudging if necessary. Ergh. Now I see why it's helpful to pick cable patterns that have the same number of row repeats.

SSAC_undersleeve.jpg
the underbelly

I'm taking the underarm increases into a twisted rib pattern. Sort of looks like I'm knitting a fish, doesn't it?

January 26, 2007

Friday...again.

Wow. It’s Friday again. Want the week in Elli’s knitting recap? Sure you do.

Last weekend I almost finished the front of Demi*, discovered I'd missed two underarm decreases and put it down until last night when I picked it up again, decided I didn't care, and finished it. Here's hoping that one extra stitch can be hidden in each shoulder seam without too much trouble. If it turns out to be a problem I’ll reknit it later.

My Monday through Thursday knitting looks like this:
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Toe up Jaywalker in Lemongrass Socks that Rock.

This sock may look all innocent and beguiling, but this is the third attempt.

-First attempt (started over New Years): I read the pattern wrong, resulting in the start of a teeny-tiny little skinny sock. No good. My ankles could be described in a variety of ways, but none of them would include the adjective “skinny.”

-Second attempt (on flight back from Christmas): I embark on one of the larger jaywalker sizes. However, this time I read the pattern correctly. Now I am knitting the sock that ate Minnesota. Even my big feet aren't that big.

-Third attempt (Monday): I go back to the original size I’d planned to knit but to shake things up I decide to do the toe-up version. Because really, who wants to knit the same thing three times in a row? Plus this way I can make them as tall as possible before binding off. Very smart. I am happy.

It’s really a good thing that this one is working out since I think I’ve exhausted every available online Jaywalker resource. This is one well supported sock.


*For those of you who are curious, I’m knitting Demi in Rowan Magpie Aran. Yes, it is discontinued. I know. I’m sad too. But I have another sweater’s-worth squirreled away in the stash. La, la, la…

January 19, 2007

Friday pm

It's Friday afternoon, I have the rest of the day off and the sun is shining! Time for a progress shot on Demi.

Demi_progress.jpg

That there would be one completed back and a decent start on a front. Apparently a year-long break was just what I needed to clear my head. Now everything seems to be flowing pretty easily and the cabling is pretty intuitive.


Not much else to report, so I thought I'd show off a couple of the handmade gifts I received recently...

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side view

This would be the world's cutest pincushion, made my friend Deb. It's perfectly constructed out of wool felt and she weighted it so it's got a little bit of heft to it. I just want to carry it around with me everywhere I go.


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side view

My pop made us this bowl for Christmas. I think it's cherry (though I'm not absolutely sure about that one...correct me if I'm wrong Dad). It's made out of a log that I helped my dad lug into the car back in the days when I was a young thing living at home. I think someone down the road had cut down a tree and he'd talked them into letting him have a chunk.

Isn't it pretty? If you look at the side view you can see a bit of the bookshelf Pop made for our wedding gift too.

Time for a snack now I think. Have a lovely weekend!

January 17, 2007

Stash Stats 2006

I’m a big fan of maintenance. It makes pretty good sense that if you keep an eye on things, they won’t get out of control. So this past year has been all about keeping the stash in check. Not that it’s too far gone, but a little bit goes a long way in a teeny little apartment. Thank goodness Thunk considers vases of knitting needles and shelves of yarn to be legitimate decorating choices.

I'm also a big fan of spreadsheets. Yes indeed.

yarnie.jpg
my latest additions to the stash

So! Let’s do the numbers…(cue “we’re in the money”)

-Yarn spending for the year was down 31% from 2005 (and it would have been down more if I hadn't gone to Imagiknit with yaiAnn on December 31…not that I’m complaining).

-Total knitting-relating expenditures were down 20% for the year. This is good. Very good. It means that I spent money on other stuff. Like clothes. And food.

-In the grand scheme of things department: I knitted (or otherwise disposed of) a bit less yarn this year than I brought in, ending the year up just 1146g. Which really isn’t too shabby if you think about it. Think of it as a bag of nice aran-weight and some dk-weight for a baby sweater.


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the needle collection has grown as well...but that's another post entirely


Broken down into categories of intent:
55%* of yarn this year was purchased for gift knitting.
31% was for me or had no specific intent.
14% was gifted to me (thanks!).

Other interesting stats:
I acquired 72 skeins of yarn in 2006.
40% was Rowan. Wow.
10% was sock yarn, including my first 3 skeins of STR.


That said, knitting resolutions for 2007 are:

-Use what I have (bet you didn’t see that one coming).
-Finish out those old UFOs! Demi’s making a comeback people. Flowerbasket’s in the wings.
-Keep the WIP list short. The goal is 3 projects at once. Four max. No more projects which languish for peetsake.

Whew! Enough of the serious stuff. Time to get knitting.


*these percentages calculated by number of skeins, not by weight.

January 12, 2007

Christmas 2006 Wrapup

It's Friday! For a first week back things have been busier than I would have liked but being on the verge of a three day weekend makes it all seem a lot better. Maybe I'll even get my suitcase unpacked.

So how about that Christmas thing, eh? Let's have the complete rundown:

-Chunky scarf for Kricket. Check!
-Branching out scarves for Mum and Grandma Betty. Check!
-Heirloom bag for Rae. Check!
-Beau sweater for Natey. Check!
-around 30 Korknisse for various friends and family. Check!
-Aran Cardigan for Thunky. Um, not done. Here's where we left off. Like last year, T's sweater is going to be more a birthday/valentine's day sort of sweater.

So not too bad, right?

I took a couple of weeks off for Christmas to go to Michigan (my family) and California (Thunk's family), so there was a goodish bit of hanging with knitters over the holidays. Highlights included:

-My cousin Jessica!

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she mostly crochets, but we still love her

Jess is the cousin that finally moved to Michigan AFTER I moved away, for which I'll never forgive her. Despite this cousinly slight, I love her dearly and have been dying to check out City Knitting in Grand Rapids where Jessi works (lucky). Cool place! You know it's a good store when you come away with a complete knitting trifecta in your bag (knitting book, yarn, needles).

I consider it a personal triumph that I managed to leave the 2006 Brondsema family Christmas party with the crocheted hat that Jessica contributed to the free-for-all gift swap. Now if I could just figure out where on earth I packed the darn thing I'd get it out and take a picture for you. I have this bad bad feeling that I left it at my parent's place.


-YaiAnn!

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Why yes, I am hysterically happy to see yaiAnn. Why do you ask?

Thunk and I met up with yaiAnn and B. on New Year's Eve in San Francisco. We started off at Imagiknit (oh my...), and went on to eat really yummy burritos and ice cream, shop after Christmas sales, and then knocked around the city and generally had a lovely time. The day was gray and gloomy, but we got a few pics to prove that we both actually exist in real life.

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hello! my bag looks an awful lot like your bag!


And lastly, but certainly not leastly...
-Thunk's Grandma Betty!

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note the shifty, yarn-greedy look in my eye...

We got to stay with Thunky's Grandpa Carl and Grandma Betty for almost a week while we were out in California. Betty really did herself proud this year with the Christmas knits...she made a purse for each granddaughter-in-law and knitted enough cute little sweaters and things for Thunk's niece O. (the only great-grandchild in the family) to last her a few years. Almost made me want to provide great-grandchild number two. Almost.

On our last day Betty took us to her favorite yarn shop, Sonoma Yarn (see above). Despite not having any more room in my suitcase, I still wandered out of there with yarn and knitting mags. Oh well, how often to I get to this many cool yarn shops? Nevah.

So I'd say this vacation gets a rating of 10 for lovely knitters and stash-enhancement. Next stop, stash assessment! I bet you'll never guess what number one on my list of knitting resolutions for '07 is...

January 7, 2007

Finished: Two Branching Out Scarves

Back from Christmas now! Lots to blog about, but I think I'll start off with a Christmas gift that I didn't have time to blog about before I left...

branching_mum.jpg
mummy, in scarf, with stockings

The Specs:
-Pattern: Branching Out, by Susan Pierce Lawrence (from Knitty).
-Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool; one skein for each scarf.
-Color: Charcoal grey (color 19).
-Needles: Size 7 birch.
-Start to finish: December 10 – December 29.
-For: One for my mum and one for Thunk’s Grandma Betty.

Notes: This was one of those presents that works out just right. I started by buying two skeins of the Silky Wool to knit my Mum a nice Christmas scarf. When I got home I poked around a bit online and chose the Branching Out pattern before I realized I’d bought the yarn the pattern calls for. How often does that happen?

I had such a nice time knitting the first one (which only took one skein) that I just went ahead and knit another one for Grandma Betty.

mummy_scarf.jpg

The Yarn: This stuff is great. It has an interesting, slightly nubbly texture but it’s still nice and soft. Plus it’s a bit tweedy (yay!).

The Pattern: You know if I find a lace pattern easy you can knit it too. In fact, I had such a nice time with it that I’m thinking of going back and having another go with the Flowerbasket Shawl (the “easy” lace pattern that kicked my tookus and rendered me lace-meek). I’ll let you know how that goes.

Mods: The only thing I changed was to leave off row 10 of the last repeat so that the ends match up a little more nicely.

Final Verdict: Two gifts + one contented knitter = lotsa winners!

[Bonus shot: Mummy works it for the camera.]