Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Fresh New Start....Again

It's a new year. ..new start...new pages…new thoughts.  It all begins again as if it never ended.  What are my goals, resolutions, ideas and tasks?  What do I hope to accomplish in the next 365 days? 

Every December we start thinking and planning for the year to come.  Well that is exactly what I did.  I thought and thought about what projects do I want to make and why do I want to make it.  Here are the results of much thought and contemplation….I have no idea.

Where do you turn when you have yarn bulging out of every bin and patterns in the thousands?  I turned to my Random Number Generator, that's where.  I am a process knitter.  I love to knit just because.  I do not knit for a reason like to increase the handmade socks in my sock drawer, or I must have another hat to match the new coat.  I knit just to knit.  I plug into the RNG the number of patterns in my Ravelry queue and hit generate.  Here is where the searches start.  It took me several hours to come up with eight patterns that go with yarn already in stash that I feel I can accomplish in one year.  Overall I was quite pleased with the assortment as well.  Here is what it came up with (not necessarily this order)
  1. River Walk Shawl by Romi Hill
  2. Abernathy Hat by Terri Kruse
  3. Ali Cowl by Amanda Lilley
  4. Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers by Alexandra Brinck
  1. Foliage by Emilee Mooney
  1. Gamma Ray by Meghan Jackson
  1. Plowshare Socks by Elizabeth Doherty
  1. I Love Stockinette Baby Bib by Laura Treadway

In 2013 I knit a total of 18 projects so I figured if I start knowing eight that I plan on knitting over the year then it will still leave me with plenty of time to knit the other things that pop up like my kids loving new hats and my husband requesting a scarf, knit-a-longs that interest me,  or finishing up one of the two sweaters already barely started but started non the less.

My plan is to make sure one of these projects is on my TO DO list each month.  I will also not plan more than two to three projects to be completed each month.  I can always add more or pick up a WIP while waiting for a new month if I finish my goals early.  My second plan is to have one EPIC project.  One that will take all year to complete.  I chose River Walk Shawl.  I purchased the pattern and downloaded it and read through it.  A definite challenge to my knitting skills, totally excited about this.  I broke the pattern into 12 monthly steps  This one will be on the TO DO list all year.

It is now January 1, 2014 and I started the year off with a stellar start. 
There were three projects on my list for January. 
  1. River Walk Shawl by Romi Hill - Complete Charts A & B
    1. Cast on and Chart A is completed and I have the first 2 Rows of the first repeat of Chart B finished.
  1. Peace Rose Garden Socks - For Sock Knitters Anonymous group - Knit a pair of lace sock
    1. Cast on, cuff and 3 pattern repeats completed on the leg
  1. 198 Yards of Heaven - For We Are Yarn One Skein Worsted Wonder KAL **To be started soon**

My plan is to check in with myself every two weeks or so.  One will be a progress post and the other a wrap up and what is new this month post.    I hope you enjoy the 2014 adventure with me.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Drop Dead February


Have you done it?  Did you start yet?  What was your RNG project?  I can't wait to see who is playing and what you are making.  Just to give you a little update, I cast on my RNG project on Feb 1 and it is already this....>>>>
I am loving the color and the stitch definition of this yarn.  It is not the softest yarn but it is Studio Donegal Soft Tweed.  The turquoise in the yarn just pops from the teals.  I can't wait to see these mitts all knit up.
Pattern:  Gone Fishing
Needles:  US 5 Addi turbo


So that is just one of the drop dead must finish projects for my February plans.
Another project  and KAL's I am participating in are the OH Loops Out of this World challenge.  We are on mission two.  The Un-manly Mitts from January was the first challenge.  This month is a pair of LegWarmers.  I am rocking these things.  The challenge was for something for the legs or feet using a color theme you have never tried or used before.  I chose leg warmers due to the fact that I have yet to knit a pair of socks in a month.  As for the color theme or technique, instead of a worsted weight yarn the pattern calls for I got two fingering yarns that play nicely together and I am holding them double.  Here are the yarns and how they are knitting up.....I am in LURVE
Here are the two skeins of yarn and a picture of how they are knitting up together.  Is this not the most beautiful combination.  I wasn't sure if they would play nicely or fight for attention seeing that I've never combined yarns like this before but they really are looking quite beautiful.  The pattern is so quick and easy.  I am actually almost finished with the first one and I just started them on Sunday.  I will be so happy to have these on and off the needles in one weeks time.
Yarn:  Dirty Water Dye Works
Colorways: Dessert Rose and Crushed Berry

My last February project actually was started in January but I am determined to keep the socks going and finish a pair in 6 weeks time.  I just don't know how anyone does it, knitting socks up like they are nothing.  I did finally finish the heel flap on the first sock and turned the heel.  I am finishing up the gusset right now then I will be home free with sock #1.  Then it is off to start the second sock.  I have just been a knitting fool and loving it.

Where Have I Been

I have been hanging out with the cool girls!  This past weekend was the SPA retreat sponsored by NETA (New England Textile Association) in Freeport ME.  I only went for the day on Saturday to the Marketplace and then sat around in the Town Hall to knit with my friends.  I met up  with a wonderful group of online friends from Ravelry and it was a hoot.  You would never know we weren't close friends watching us interact and laugh.  My knitting friends are the best.  Here are some pictures from the day:
Me (Jamlknitter), Wendy (PennyWenny), Melanie (4KittieshaveI)

Heather (BoutrosBabe), Me, Katie (jetgirl1313), Melanie
I love going to these events.
We all had a great lunch together at a little sandwich and pizza place in Freeport.  I got a Goat Cheese Panini with tomato and basil...It was to die for!

So for those of you that recognize some of these faces - PennyWenny is Wendy from the Knit1HeartToo podcast.  She and I drove up to Maine together.
BoutrosBabe is the brainchild behind Highland Handmades and the star of the Fiberista Files podcast
Jetgirl1313 is Katie from Knittin on the Fly.  I could not have found a nicer group of ladies to spend an entire day with.  You are all so fun to be with.  They had me laughing most the time!

Melanie doesn't have a podcast but she and I met on Ravelry doing a swap together and this is the second time we have gotten to hang out since then.  It was great seeing her again as well.

I am looking forward to future meet-ups with you all.

So until next week.  Keep those needles flying and find a great group of people to knit with.  It makes the hobby so much more fun to share it with friends.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Project Interuptus

January is almost at a close.  I've finished 3 projects, a pair of socks started in November of last year, my mitts and now a hat.  Yes, three finished objects in one month, two of which were started and finished.  Not bad for me.  Only I realize that the one project I started that I was hoping would be done in a month, my Lattice Shawl, is still on the needles.  I love this shawl and I love the way it is knitting up and it is soooo pretty.  It got hijacked by what I am calling "Project Interuptus"  
The mitts were a small project planned for January as well.  I knew I was going to make them and I also knew they would not take a whole lot of time.  Those were started and finished in no time.  I still worked on the shawl in between working on the mitts.  The socks were another planned January cast on.  I was in no rush to complete them though.  They are my ongoing car project or what I work on for Sock It To Me Monday.  What I never counted on was this.....When did I decide I wanted to make a hat?  So last weeks post I had the hat cast on.  OK, but still.  What was the rush, I really still want to finish the shawl.  I think this shawl is fantastic and I cannot wait to wear it.  I cast the hat on for fun, why not...the mitts were off the needles, must knit more things!  After starting the hat and seeing how fast and easy the pattern was working up I just couldn't stop.  I had to knit more.  Just a few more rows and I'll be done with a repeat.  A few more rows and I'll be ready to decrease.....Just a few more rows.....done!  Totally hijacked the shawl, the socks...everything.  I just fell in love with this pattern and the design and everything about it.   This was a perfect pattern!
With that said today's post is brought to you by RosyPosy Designs.  Yes, both of these patterns are by Rose Beck.  I love her twisted stitches and her unique sense of design.  Her patterns have been calling to me.  Both the Lattice Shawl and Facets Hat are designed by Rose Beck.  I must say as the beginner, slowly moving towards intermediate knitter that I am, Rose is a great pattern writer.  Her instructions are clear and concise.  She explains all of the stitches used in her patterns and the repetitive nature of the designs makes the charts easy to memorize.  After the first few rounds you don't even need to have the patterns with you.  These designs were almost knitting themselves.  If you haven't tried out any of her patterns you can find them here.  I highly recommend them.  ROSYPOSY Designs

This Week's Purchases and a WIP

So as you recall last week,  me telling you in my last post I had the opportunity to attend the Marketplace at Vogue Knitting Live in New York City on the 20th.  I even posted the new yarn I purchased for my February RNG project I will be knitting.  Here is a picture of the small stash acquired from the show.  It's great to go to these events and purchase items you've never tried before.  I got my first Chaigoo circular needle.  I can't wait to try it out.  I bought a small bottle of Soak for blocking my handknits.  You saw the blue Donegal Studio yarn last week and I also got a skein of Plucky Knitter sock yarn.  Not a lot of enhancements but enough.  

My favorite purchase this week came from Stitched by Jessilu  
Yep...I got my very first Jessilu Box Bag in the Raspberry Twist pattern....Loving the Pink!

This bag is the perfect companion for any knitting project.  As you can see here it is home to my Perfect Match Socks that I wrote about last week.  Socks and the bag match so nicely and this bag is so perfect for the pick up and go project.  It is a small little box that will hold 1 large or 2 smaller yarn cakes and your needles.  This is the perfect bag for the car.  I have it with me when I have to wait for my daughter at the train to take her home.  I can work on my socks while waiting.  This bag is well constructed and I never have to worry about my needles poking through the fabric.  The seams are secure and the handle makes it very portable.  Most of all I just adore the zipper pull (sorry, I did not get a picture of it).  The link to her shop is above and you should definitely check out her products.  I also hear that Jessilu will be coming out with some new unique fabric patterns.  Keep an eye on her shop.

This weekend I will be attending the New England Textile Association SPA Retreat.  There will be a marketplace on Saturday to do some shopping.  I'll report back on Sunday about my trip.  Until then enjoy the rest of your week.

Don't forget....Friday February 1 is the RNG cast on date.  Join me for my RNG KAL.  See the detail in previous posts.  It should be a lot of fun.  Post a comment on Friday with a link to your blog or project page with your cast on project.  Looking forward to knitting with you all!


Monday, January 21, 2013

The Perfect Fit

I had an interesting thing happen to me while knitting this past week.  It's happened before but I never really noticed it happening.  This time I was a little frustrated by it and yet, knew it would all work out in the end.  I'm talking about getting that perfect fit.  I'm not speaking of fit as in size or swatch.  I'm speaking of the perfect match between your yarn and your pattern.  There are times when you can really read how a yarn and pattern will play together.  Will they share the spotlight nicely or fight each other till the bitter end.  If they play together nicely and remain harmoniously happy together then you have a project that you will most likely enjoy working on and using the finished product when it is over.  What happens when the two fight?  Well, that was my dilemma this week.  I had a skein of yarn that I love but never wanted to use it since it was my very first hand painted indie dyed expensive sock yarn.  There was a pattern I saw and thought it would be lovely out of this yarn, now is my chance to use it.  I put the sock on the needles...it was off to a great start.  The toe was coming out so pretty.  Look how nicely the colors were working together.  A little pooley, a little stripey yet very pretty.  I loved how the pinks and grays in the yarn were playing so nicely together.  Now, you don't have to tell me, this could be the start of any toe-up sock and it's too soon in the relationship for any misbehaving.  But still,  it looks so pretty here.  The other thing I know you are thinking is sure...it's a verigated yarn....of course that is a crash course for disaster along the way.  Now you need to make sure you have colors and patterns that will play nicely.  Good luck with that!
Well, luck was what I needed.  As soon as I added the patterning to the mix all the trouble began.  Now this is nothing to be said about the pattern or designer.  I still like the pattern but it was just not a good fit, and neither was the second pattern I chose.  So, off to search again through my Ravelry queue, and advanced pattern search and I guess I needed a total change to start liking this again.  I flipped the sock and decided to work cuff down and found a pattern I think will be beautiful.  Here is the start of The Perfect Fit!
Tell me some of your Yarn/Pattern Relationships, good and bad!
Pattern:  Georgia On My Mind by Leslie Thompson
Yarn:  Seacoast Handpaints Panda in the Colorway - Coal and Fire
Needles:  Addi Turbo Size 1

RNG Queue KAL

I am so excited to see all the posts from last week from followers who will be playing with me in February.  It's not too late to join.  Just leave a comment this week to the results of using the Random Number Generator for your queue.  What pattern did the RNG choose for you?  What yarn will you be using?  I found a beautiful yarn this weekend at Vogue Knitting Live NY that I think I will be using to knit the fingerless mitts I told you about last post, picked by the RNG.  It's an Irish Donegal Tweed yarn that is mixed with some Australian Merino wool to add a little softness.  It has a really rustic feel and I am just loving the color.  What do you think?  I think it will make beautiful warm mitts.
If you are just learning about this KAL for the first time.  You can find the details in last week's post and leave a comment on what your Random Number Generator chose for you to knit up.  Cast on date is Feb 1 and the completed date is Feb 28.  If there is enough interest and participation I will continue doing this each month to help us knock those Queues down to size!  
Of course like all good KAL's there are prizes involved.  Please if you are playing all I ask it that you follow my blog.  Let's all have a good time with this.  It's like a Mystery KAL only you know you will like the project in the end because it is something you chose that you wanted to knit.

Works in Progress

There is nothing new off the needles this week so I can only share with you all the projects that have gotten some love.  
This is the project that has gotten the most love this week.  It's hard to see the pattern popping due to the fact this is being worked on DPN's so I can't really spread the stitches out to show you the details.  I am hoping this will be finished next week and I can have a total FO!  This is the first pattern I have done with Twisted Stitches and it is coming out beautiful.  I love the pattern, as it is so simple to memorize and the yarn, a deep wine reddish/ purple with pops of light purple to give it depth.The overall effect is gorgeous.  Hopefully once it is done I will be able to get a detailed picture showing off that twisted pattern.
Pattern:  Facets Hat by Rose Beck
Yarn:  Mad Angel Creations colorway - Wild Grapes
Needles:  DPN Size 5 ribbing and Size 6 pattern

I'm still working on the Lattice Shawl.  It has grown 1 pattern repeat since last week.  You can see last week's post for details.  It looks the same just a little bigger.  

I hope you all have a great knitting week and all your yarn and patterns play nicely together on the needles.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Play With Me

Welcome back everyone.  I am blogging today while I am sitting and watching the New England Patriots playoff game.  Right now its halftime.  GO Pats!

I am still so excited about knitting all the things that I find I am knitting all the time.  As one thing is bound off the needles the next thing is ready to go.  The RNG is working real well for me.  I am never at a loss as to what to knit next.  I've already decided that my first project will be completed by the end of January so I RNG'd my queue and my pattern is all picked out for February.  Now here is my invitation to you.  I want you to play with me.  I want everyone to look and see how many projects you have in your Queue and go to a Random Number Generator.  You can find one by clicking HERE .  Put in 0 as the start number and put in the number of the last item in you Queue.  Hit generate and find your resulting number.  Go to that number in your queue and find your pattern.  Please leave a comment in the comment field if you are playing in Feb with the pattern you are going to knit.  Here is the one I selected from my Queue  GONE FISHING - fingerless mitts.  I am still not sure what yarn I will be using yet.  I don't have a great selection of Worsted Weight yarns so I will probably buy a skein before February.

So what is in it for you if you play with me?  Well of course a prize.  For every RNG pattern you knit in the month of February and leave a comment by the end of the month with a picture or a link to your finished project I will enter your name on a spreadsheet.  On March 1, 2013 I will announce the winner of the prize.  I am attending Vogue Knitting Live next week in NYC and SPA in Freeport Maine on February 2 where I will pick up something pretty for a prize.  I will post a picture as soon as I can. 

I can't wait to see what you all do!  I'll be talking about this in my future posts.

My Week of Knitting

Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to say a thank you to my Virtual Knit Night friend Pat also known as LooneyHiker on Ravelry.  She gifted me a pretty pattern this past Tuesday as part of RAPT (Random Act of Patterns Tuesday).  You can find the details HERE.  Pat gifted me the Facets hat by Rose Beck.  I loved this pattern so much that I already cast on.  Here is my new WIP for the week.
Pattern:  Facets by Rose Beck
Yarn:  Mad Angel Creations colorway Wild Grapes
Needles:  DPN size US5 and US6
 
Here are my other continuing WORKS IN PROGRESS
 
I am still working on the two projects I posted last week.  They have each received some love!  I am really enjoying the Lattice Shawl by Rose Beck.  You can see the details on last weeks post.  It is such an easy pattern to memorize which makes it perfect for Knit Night with my Wild About Wednesday friend.
 
The other WIP is my take along project.  It is the Twist of Citrus socks that I also talked about in last week's post.  Another memorable pattern.  I don't usually need notes which makes it compact and easy to travel with.  See the details last week.  I really wasn't sure how I was going to like this pattern with the verigated yarn but I really think it is coming out nicely.  I have had this yarn for a really long time and was ready to use it.  This pattern came along and I figured it was worth a try. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FINISHED OBJECT
I am so impressed that I actually finished an object in 12 days!  I think that is the fastest I have completed anything.  My Manly Mitts are off the needles and I have already worn them.  They are so soft and comfortable.  I can't wait to wear them at work.  The office is always so cold.  Now I can keep my hands warm and work at the same time. 
 
Once again I want to thank you all for stopping by and checking out my progress.  Until next week...start thinking of using the RNG to knit your next pattern.  It will be an adventure!
 
 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

All The Things

Well I was right....this year I will be knitting all the things and January is off to a great start.  What can I say.  Somehow the knitting mojo got into my veins and I am a knitting fool.  I just can't stop.

Today's topic is THE QUEUE!

If you are a member of Ravelry you will know what I am talking about.  That never ending, forever growing list of patterns that someday you wish to tackle, but for every one down it seems to keep growing 10 fold.  I am forever looking for more and more patterns to add to my list of things to knit.  Like the 780+ patterns in there right now aren't enough.  I need more....I need the safety of knowing there is always going to be something to do when the next project comes off the needles.  I feel sometimes like the cookie monster of patterns....oooohhhh a new pattern, must put in queue, must make someday.

So here are my questions to you, my readers:
1.  How do you use your queue....is it a bucket list of everything you want  to knit up before you die?
2.  Do you use your queue once you put the patterns in there?
3.  Do you organize your queue on a regular basis?

Let me now answer them in my own way....
1.  Yes my queue is my bucket list.  I want to try all the patterns, techniques, yarns, needles...everything there is to know and love about knitting and the only way to do that is to queue everything with the hopes that someday I will get to it.

2.  Do I use my queue.  Funny I should ask.  That has been my downfall and probably why it has grown to such great proportions.  Upon the completion of one project I was back in the Pattern Search section looking for a new one.  Now why not use my queue.  Everything I want to make is in there....but what if I missed something or there is something new?  So off to search, and while searching found lots of patterns that I want to make just not at  that moment.  Add to Queue button became my friend.  I'll find it later.  That brings me to #3.

3.  Organize my Queue - why?  No I don't organize it.  I've tried but I have no patience to go in and file and tag all 780+ patterns.  In fact I am currently in the opposite mode.  I wish there was a shuffle button.  You know, the one that will scramble them all up so your really have no idea what will come up next for you to knit.  So that is why I have a project going using the Random Number Generator.  I will use the RNG to pick a number.  I will find that number in my queue and move the item to the top of the list and knit it next.  Yep....don't care what it is, that is what is going in the RNG project bag.  I have the first item on the needles and I have already pulled project #2 I will be getting the yarn and needles all ready for it while I knit #1.  It's a surprise each time.  That way when #1 is finished #2 can jump right one.

So how is my knitting going in 2013?

Off the needles:


If you have not yet queued up, knitted, cast on , downloaded or just seen this pattern Don't Cage Me In by Heather Kinne you are missing out on a well written, well charted, gorgeous pattern.  If you are like me you have been collecting a ton of indie dyed verigated yarns and most patterns get lost in the color changes....not this one.  The slip stitches highlight all the beautiful colors of your yarns and make it shine.
Yarn:  Nooch Fibers in the Manga Colorway
Needles:  Knitters Pride US2



I also have a HO - I was looking for a simple Fingerless Mitt pattern (of course I did not look through my queue) and found these on a pattern search.  I think this was a new record for me.  I finished this mitt in 5 days, and I love it.  Simple and pretty.  The pattern is Manly Mitts by Sarah Chilson.  I finished the thumb piece today and already cast on the second mitt.  These go by so quickly, so if you are looking for a quick and simple project these would be it.
Fingerless mitts add a extra layer over a pair of cheap gloves from the Dollar Store.  I never thought of doing that until I heard someone mention this.  What a great idea.
Yarn:  Frog Tree in the Red Colorway
Needles:  Addi Turbo US5

On the Needles: 

Here is my first RNG project from my queue.  It is the Lattice Shawl by Rose Beck.  
I cannot give this pattern enough praise.  I had a very frustrating start but once I figured it out I am just flying through it.  I almost gave up on this the very first day I cast on.  I didn't though.  I was determined to knit up the first pattern selected by the RNG.   The original yarn I bought for this project was not working the way I wanted nor was I reading the charts correctly.  The yarn was dark and I couldn't read my stitches.  I was getting sad and angry and put it away.  I wandered around Boston with my husband for the day and remembered I had a yarn in stash that I loved and I knew I had enough to make this project.  I got home and cast on right away and took off.  By the end of the night the foundation row and first repeat were all complete and I was in love.  I still debated about ripping it out now that I understand the pattern and going back to the original yarn I purchased for it but decided that maybe this was a sign and the pattern and stitch definition with this yarn is just beautiful.
Yarn:  Filatura di Crosa in the Olive Colorway 1503
Needles:  Clover Bamboo US6

As I mentioned before I am living with the theory - one off the needles then another one goes on.  I have already cast on the second of the fingerless mitts I discussed above.  I have also started my next pair of socks.   Yes I know, it really doesn't look like much but its a start and every project needs to start somewhere.  This one is also in my queue so there goes another pattern.  I'm sure I will find more to replace it.
 Pattern:  A Twist of Cirtus socks by Nicola W
Yarn:  Seacoast Handpainted Panda in the Fire and Coal colorway
Needles:  Addi Turbo US1

That is it for this week in the knitting department.  Next week I hope to talk about where I get inspiration for what to cast on.  





On a Personal Note:  

This past week on Thursday night we all went to the Fairmont Copley Hotel for an award ceremony to watch my daughter accept her Posse Scholarship to Centre College in Danville Kentucky.  We are so proud of her.  I will miss her next year as she ventures off to new and exciting adventures.
You can learn more about the Posse foundation here.  They are doing so much good with getting inner city students to colleges that they may not have otherwise had the chance to attend for financial reasons.  These are smart students with leadership skills ready to take on the world.  There were 60 students from the Boston Possse office that all received a  4 year tuition scholarship to one of 6 Universities.  These are amazing children and I am sure we will be hearing about great things that they accomplish.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Great Start to 2013

Welcome to 2013.  I had a great day and as promised.....I am posting today.
New Year's Day is a great day to go into Boston.  We do this every
year to view the Ice Sculptures.  It was very sad to see that there were only 2 sculptures this year.  One called "Unity" depicting the Donkey and the Elephant coming together in harmony.  The other one depicted a scene from Jack and the Beanstalk.
They were beautiful but there are usually lots of sculptures to look at.  I was so sad to only see two of them.  It was really cold in Boston today so the sculptors lasted a long time.  There are years when we go into Boston and they are already melting.

The day was not a total loss.  There is a cupcake bakery in Boston that we have not tried yet.  So, of course we had to go and check it out.
After checking it out we needed to bring some home.

If you are ever in the Boston area check out Georgetown Cupcakes on Newbury Street.  Don't they look delicious?