Monday, October 18, 2010


Mr. Greenjeans
Originally uploaded by craftytails
Once again, NaNoWriMo is almost upon us. For many knitters, November marks a concentrated effort to knit a 50,000-stitch sweater in a month. The criteria is detailed on the original blog and looks quite daunting. My schedule doesn't allow for the full completion of a new sweater from scratch, but I am determined to finish some UFOs on the needles. My Garter Yoke Cardigan is finished and fits amazingly well. Now, I am working on the second sleeve of my Mr. Greenjeans cardigan in a vibrant tangerine heather (pictured). The Tilted Duster is still awaiting sleeve seams and buttons. If I budget my time correctly, all three cardigans will be ready for the winter weather (such as it is in Texas). Not a single sweater actually fits the rules of NaKniSweMo, but the spirit is still there.

In the midst of these large projects, there are surprises in the works for the holiday season. This year, I refuse to get caught in a last-minute dash to the finish line. Patterns have been purchased and yarn orders placed, so all should go according to plan (appendages crossed). With the exception of a scarf, most projects have been chosen for their simplicity and beauty. Viewing my craft life with a "less is more" attitude has really helped me evaluate my struggle between being both a process knitter and one who enjoys the finished object. My ambition has the tendency to override common sense and a new way of thinking has severely curtailed both unnecessary spending and starting things that will ultimately remain unfinished.

Besides knitterly pursuits, some time will be dedicated toward the task of infusing vodka, specifically with cardamom and ginger. I am not one to be trusted in the kitchen for most purposes and this idea reeks of potential disaster. Either way, the thought of having jars full of mysterious potions in my cupboard makes me feel like I am pretending to be a booze-friendly Professor Snape.

My dance card (aka convention schedule) is rapidly filling up for 2011 and will continue to be updated on this blog. The most recently announced appearance at Sakura-Kon has become more exciting after being informed that many staff members either knit or crochet. In light of this news, I will donate a hand-knitted Jayne Cobb hat to the charity auction. It's always nice to have the ability to combine two seemingly disparate interests in a relevant manner.

Now, off to hyper-focus on costume ideas for Halloween. After promising to go to a party, I find myself lacking something clever to wear.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cardigan Addiction

Garter Yoke Cardi
Originally uploaded by craftytails
After a few months of non-stop work and little time for side projects, I am finally making my craft life a priority again.

First things first, the knitting portion of my Tilted Duster is finished. The only parts left are sewing in buttons, setting and seaming the sleeves and blocking. Some minor modifications were made after reading notes from Ravelry users. The back and two front pieces were increased from 4" to 6" in order to create a more flattering bust (from 21 to 31 rows using a size 9 needle). The sleeves were made one size larger to improve fit around the arms. If I manage to avoid major mistakes in the seams, the sweater will be my new weapon against the uncomfortably cold climate in my office.

As a result of my unchecked problem with "start-itis", the Garter Yoke Cardi is now on the needles. It's seamless and will satiate my need for instant gratification. Plus, the yarn is quite soft and will not irritate my skin like wool. A trip to Golden D'or this weekend yielded a treasure-trove of buttons which will look perfect with the pink colorway.

Speaking of which, the new Knit Picks catalog arrived and to my delight, it included some limited edition colorways of Felici. I have never been tempted by this yarn in the past, but Abracadabra immediately caught my eye. After a moment, I noticed a colorway next to it called Time Traveler. I am definitely ordering enough for a pair of socks because I am a huge Doctor Who fan. In case someone doesn't know the reference, here is an example of the matching scarf. I used a pattern from this website to knit a scarf for a friend.

For the time being, however, there will be no new socks until the cardigan frenzy subsides. Next up is Mr. Greenjeans, then perhaps the Vine Yoke Cardigan since I love Ysolda Teague's patterns so much.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

Liesl #1
Originally uploaded by craftytails
After missing the last few Ravelympics events, I thought I would never get the chance to join the festivities. My participation online has historically been minimal and the Liesl cardigan was started with the full knowledge that it may end up in the UFO pile with the others. To my great surprise, the sweater was completed in a mere six days.

The Ravelympics is an event sponsored by Ravelry and its purpose is to inspire people to start and finish a challenging project during the Olympic games. While this pattern was not challenging in the area of personal skill level, the true test for me was following it to completion in a limited amount of time. I usually lack the dogged persistence others have seeing a project through to the end. In fairness, I must credit the incredibly talented pattern designer. The instructions are easy to follow and offer a lot of options with sizing and customization. For my sweater, I chose the three-button, wide neck version with 3/4-length sleeves. Since I have two more skeins of a different Malabrigo colorway burning a hole in my stash, my second Liesl will have cap sleeves.

Perhaps this small success will enable me to dust off the three sweaters in my UFO pile. I have been avoiding this task because they have languished for so long that I don't remember where I stopped. It doesn't help that my detailed pattern notes disappeared into a box somewhere. Surely they will fail to resurface until I have meticulously backtracked and finished the projects. This gets me a little depressed, but it isn't all bad news. I have finished a total of nine projects this year. Three hats, four scarves and a pair of fingerless gloves are either sitting in my drawer or awaiting their recipients.

Now if only I could figure out the charity knitting... Time is running out and I am determined not to buy new yarn until at least one of my plastic tubs is empty. I am a long way from fiber stash acceptance and organizing my craft life will hopefully have a positive impact on other areas needing attention.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Knits of the Year

The year was kick-started with a craft day at a dear friend's house. She invited a number of ladies and we shamelessly indulged in knitting, cross stitch, hand-tinting and sewing. Plenty of wine, gossip and homemade spinach dip was consumed. All told, our first gathering was a great success. The next one is scheduled and this is probably a good opportunity to finish up some of the projects promised to friends.

Speaking of which, a long-overdue obligation project has been completed. Several more are awaiting my time and attention. Hopefully, all items for family and friends will be out of the queue within the next few months. This includes a few sweaters languishing on the needles. After all, I can’t allow myself to start new garments when the old ones are still sitting around.

This afternoon, I finished a hat intended for a friend. Should have swatched, because the hat is too small and will have to be given to a child to wear. I have not knit cables in a while and forgot they would not stretch to the proper size. My version was made from Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted-weight and size 7 needles. Bad, bad idea.

The Noro Silk Garden purchased at the end of the year is almost completely gone. I made the spiral hat, fingerless mitts and the usual mistake-rib scarf (pictured). The colors are a blend of both icy and warm tones. Once the scarf is off the needles, the yarn can officially be considered de-stashed.

There are three charity auctions coming up in April, so I am toying with the idea of knitting up a few items. Decided to post a poll to see what people are interested in purchasing. Anyone have suggestions? I am open to anything that is relatively quick to finish.