Sunday, January 5, 2014

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

Somehow, this weekend seems to have flown by. I had a nice, long, well-deserved vacation at the end of the year (12/20-1/1!), and was supposed to be back in the office Thursday, but then weather happened and I worked from home Thursday and Friday, instead. This finally feels like a weekend, after the dreaminess of a long vacation where you don't have many plans, and I can't believe it's over already.

Friday night I finished watching Torchwood, while starting a(nother) Bloody Stupid Johnson. I've knit the damn thing before, so you'd think I'd be able to figure out the pattern, but apparently not. Saturday I spent a good part of the day cleaning the kitchen, before I moved on to reupholstering a chair that had once been my brother's desk chair.

I moved into my current place, a house with four roommates, in September, but due to the craziness of 2013, I was gone more than I was here, or at least, that's what it feels like. We have a little nook that serves as a dining area, with a skinny table in it. And, until Thanksgiving, only one chair. I'd mentioned to my mom that I wanted to acquire more chairs from Good Will, and I came home with this chair, covered in a filthy off-white fabric (too filthy for pictures).

So now we have two chairs! I bought fabric from Joann's almost immediately, but I didn't have the time to deal with the chair until yesterday. Now it makes me happy to look at--I'm not much for orange and yellow, but this one is very cheerful (and appears more orange than white in real life--in the picures, the effect is generally reversed).

On top of all that, I went to the grocery store and spent a stupid amount of money, and then reorganized my section of the pantry, and packed lunch and snacks for tomorrow. Luckily I've gotten some more knitting and TV time in (Star Trek and Haven--really good by the way and on Netflix!), and now I'm thinking it's time for one more episode of Haven before Downton Abbey.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Finish It 1 of 4

When I said that including the Mock Colorwork Fleckle Mitts in my "Frog It Or Finish It" review, I wasn't kidding. I knit up the thumbs and wove in my ends while watching Torchwood Season 4 last night (wtf American Torchwood. at least Jack was naked that one time).

It's hard to photograph your own hands.

I knit the small size. And also the medium, I think--I think I made the medium on the first glove, forgot, and started the second one as a small. They fit nearly the same.

I took this one with my nose.
I used size 2s instead of the 4s the pattern called for--I didn't like the fabric I was getting on the larger needles. These are quite snug and stiff, but I'm happy with them (even if my new FitBit is causing an unsightly lump). I have smallish hands, I think.

Oh hello.

The yarn is the called-for yarn, since I got one of the kits--A Hundred Ravens Iachos, a fantastic fingering weight yarn that comes in gorgeous colors. Mine is in Ironwood and Lothlorien. (I am shocked and appalled that Chrome doesn't know the word Lothlorien.) This is my fourth project from her yarn, and they've all been stunning. It blocks awesome, too.

I finished these just in time to wear them in my chilly house today--Boston is in a snow emergency and I worked from home today, and we keep the house chilly during the day. They kept my fingers warm while I started to catch up on the 105 emails I received during my 13 days of vacation.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review, Preview

2013 was an absolute shitty year for me. It started in October of 2012, 7 days before my last post, and continued shitty up until October of this year. Things seem to be evening out, though my job is still stressful.  My personal life was so stressful that the massive changes and uprooting of my job that started in January 2013 that should have been freaking me out, I basically ignored. Once my emotional energy started to free up, I started to realize how stressful work was. The best thing for me was crafting--I finished 11 different knitting projects in 2013, and took up cross-stitching, finishing 2.5 starter kits in the year. In contrast, I knit 5 projects each in 2011 and 2012.

2014 is going to continue challenging, at least at work, but I do feel like it's a fresh start in ways I've never felt before. I entered a new decade of life, and I'm starting to figure out what it is I really want to do. I also think I'll have another excellent crafting year--it's an awesome way to watch all the great TV shows out there! ;)

So with the new year, I've started two projects--one is a quick(er), reflective project, and the other is a year-long commitment. The year-long commitment is a repeat of one that got lost in the shuffle last year--I am going to be re-attempting Photo365, taking at least one photo a day. I'm setting the bar low, here--just has to be a photo, nothing particular. The other is the focus of today's post, and inspired by a friend in my knitting group, who calls it "Finish It or Frog It". The idea is to take a look through all of your works in progress and make a decision to either finish it, or to frog it (rip it out). I had fewer projects on the needles than I thought I had, which was nice.

From left to right, that's baby blocks, a lacy Baktus, a Lace Ribbon scarf, a Hanami, a Sack Boy (complete except assembly), Mock Colorwork Fleckle Mitts, an Urban Aran Cardigan, and a passel of hexipuffs.

I started the Hanami in February, 2008, making it the oldest WIP I have.

The yarn is Spirit Trails Fiberworks Atropos, 100% Bombyx Silk, laceweight. It's a lovely combination of peachy orange and spring green, though it does suffer from Silk Stink. As you can see, I'm only a few rows into this five year-old project. I'm adding this to the "finish it" pile, though I'm going to rip it out and start over again. I'd like to set a goal for completion, but that's unlikely to motivate me--I'll just need to find some reasonably mindless TV to watch for a while.

Next up is the Lace Ribbon Scarf, started in June of 2009. 

Please excuse the lousy photo, this is Malabrigo Yarn lace in Tuareg, which is a much lighter shade (and not the TARDIS blue shown here). This is soft, and lovely, and the pattern is pretty boring and I think there are much prettier patterns out there that would show off the Malabrigo better. This is a relatively easy "frog it".

The next eldest pattern was started only a month after the Lace Ribbon scarf, and is a Sack Boy from Little Big Planet. 

It's hard to see there, but the Sack Boy is done, except for assembly, which I've been putting off since sometime in 2009. I think I need to trim the zipper down to size, and do some other "not really part of my skillset" things, hence the procrastination. This is a finish it, since it's so close. Originally it was going to go to my then-boyfriend and his roommate, but now I think I'll keep it or give it to the roommate.

The Urban Aran Cardigan, a modification of the Patons Urban Aran pattern, has been languishing for quite some time, as well. I started it in March of 2010 and made quite good progress, until I ran into a mistake in the shoulders that I never summoned up the energy to rip back and fix.

This is a tough one, because the yarn is Misti Alpaca Chunky in charcoal, oh so lovely and soft. But this must-needs be frogged--I've gained a bit of weight since then, and a 42 inch finished bust on a cardigan won't cut it any more. This frogged into two balls of yarn, but clearly was from three.

In October 2011, I started making Two Seam Cubes to make blocks for a baby who is now 2.

That actually makes this an easy frog--I can save the yarn (Plymouth Yarn Dreambaby DK) for future babies. I did complete 2/3 of 2 cubes--I won't frog those since the yarn is already cut, but I doubt anything will ever come of them.

Also in October 2011, I started a Lacy Baktus.

As pictured here, it's lovely, but in person is far, far too yellow for my tastes. Route 66, in Spunky Eclectic Touch Sock, was one of those yarns I loved in the skein and hated once I started to use it. This is a frog and probably a yarn I'll try to swap.

2012 and 2013 were good years for finishing projects. I'm starting the new year with only two unfinished projects from 2013, both started in the fall, and none from 2012. First up is the Mock Colorwork Fleckle Mitts, from a kit with yarn from A Hundred Ravens, started November 10th of 2013.

These are a bit of a cheat--last night, I bound off the second mitt, and now just have to pick up stitches for the thumbs. This is a finish!

Lastly, we have The Beekeeper's Quilt, a forever project I started November 22nd of 2013 when I got bored with the mitts (they're gorgeous but slipped stitch "colorwork" gets real boring, real fast!).

This quilt is modeled after similar fabric quilts, and consists of tiny knit hexagons, that you stuff with wool or polyfill or yarn (I used polyfill).  I've knit 19 of the suckers so far, and I want a blanket big enough to be my bedspread on my full size bed, so I have a long, long ways to go. This is a keeper, too, but like I said, it's a forever project.

And there we have it--starting 2014 shed of the weight of four projects, and determined to finish another four.