Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012!

What a year! 
I thought I would take a little time today to at least go over my goals for 2012. How many were accomplished? Well, here was my initial list:

Finally add new patterns to the Mirth line--it's been almost two years!
(Hurrah! We did this, for sure.) 
Design two fabulous sweaters for two great freelance jobs already in the works.
(See results below.)
Get those glove designs released (sigh).
(We got one! The Ironwork Mitts!)
Finish my mom's knitted blanket.
(Walking and working out were good enough for me!)
Renew my passport.
(Another nope)
Do some instructional videos.
(Man! I really wanted to get that one done, too.)
Pay down debt...way down.
(Well, some down, at least.) 
Build a second raised bed so we can plant more veggies.
(Yes! Fred did this and we harvested plenty of tomatoes, snap peas, zucchini, and chives this summer.) 
See family down South!
(Wonderful trip it was.)

In a later post this year, I reported on these goals and here's the report with amendments.

1. Mirth patterns--two in production right now. Finished and tested and ready for the tech editor--soon!
And done--the Masonry Cowl and the Arcadia Cap. Yea!

2. The freelance sweaters--one shelved (indefinitely) and one on hold until late summer.
The shelved one is never to be unshelved, but the "on-hold" one is done and will be released soon!
The most exciting freelance news of 2012 was my design in Creative Knitting and my article also published in the same issue. That was huge fun!

3. Gloves--still waiting up in the workroom for me.
As said above, we got one of them released! But, yeah, most of them still await. That just means more glove fun is on its way. 

4. Mom's blanket--over halfway done and at present I'm only a couple of weeks behind schedule.
I never did catch up, doggone it. Must make new plan.

5. Jog? Not so much, but I have been working out and doing the walks with major hills. I can do 30 push ups and as many sit ups and am within 5 pounds of that magic number. I feel great!
This is still true. Very strong upper body, but the lower body is always a struggle. 

6. Renew passport. Still gotta!
And still gotta.

7. Instructional videos--not yet, because if I had done it, you'd be the first to know it.
This is also still true.

8. Debt--paying on it regularly and vanquishing that old foe once again!!!!

9. Second raised bed--done this past weekend thanks to daughter's boyfriend and my trusty husband. We'll be planting this weekend!
The planting went great, we had huge crazy plants and my nasturtiums were doing fantastically until beset with black mites. Could not vanquish them, no matter how I tried, so I had to pull up ALL of them. They were threatening my plum tomatoes. Sadness, and lessons learned.

10. Visit family down south. 
This doesn't happen often enough, especially with grandkids getting bigger all the time. We'll see if we get to see them in 2013. (Cross fingers)

Besides attending to these goals, 2012 has been a lot more fun here on my blog. I enjoyed doing a few regular series, like Monday Favorites and Friday Food Fun. I want to try to incorporate something similar in 2013. I also enjoyed celebrating National Crochet Month this past March by posting about crochet every day that whole month. That process did make me more determined to include crochet in my yarny endeavors. Even though I did not manage to work it in as much as I wanted to, I did crochet more in 2012 than years past. I'll keep working on this one. The few crochet WIP's I have will tempt me enough to assure that!

I loved taking part in National Knitting and Crochet Blog Week in April and hope to do it again in 2013. Junebug Days was also a bunch of fun in June. I haven't decided how Junebug Days will shape up for next year, but tune in, because it will happen.

I count 2012 as a success, because I kept learning, made new friends, and we learned ever more how to live in a more healthy way, both physically and mentally.

I look forward to 2013 and I hope to see you all there with me. Thanks for following my blog, for your sweet comments, for stopping by and simply reading once in a while. Just knowing you are there inspires me to do a better job here. I'll be back soon with new goals and FO's to show as the new year rolls in.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's celebration and that we all have a sweet, creative year in 2013!


Friday, December 14, 2012

FO Friday: Ironwork Mitts Recap

Hurrah! I finished the pair of Ironwork Mitts that I posted about a couple of weeks ago!
I love them.
However, they are on their way to Alabama. Yes, I gave them away. It was hard, too. I wanted them for my own. Fortunately, I have enough of the same yarn to make another pair...when I can fit that in, that is. I don't see it happening anytime soon. You saw my WIP's! Well, at least some of them, anyway. 
I also wanted to show you how the other yarn combo came out. While I really liked the colors together, the mitt came out extremely large. I worked the one on the right with Cascade Heritage, but against my better judgment, on size 2 needles. I also worked a small wrist gore on those as opposed to the medium gore on the one on the left. I will admit to skipping the gauge check, so I brought it on myself. After this result, I made sure to correct things by working the other pair on size 1 needles and, as mentioned, working the medium wrist gore, which makes a snugger fit. I will not be making the match for the large mitt anytime soon. Unless of course, you know anyone who needs some of these in extra large. Let me know!

I hate to leave this project--I could make several more pairs!

Size 1  42" needle
SRK On Your Toes in medium grey as MC
Universal Yarns Pace in oatmeal as CC

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 WIP's for 12/12/12!

In observance of this rare numerical occasion, and in accordance with plans to organize the stash and all my projects before the end of the year, I decided to gather all my WIP's together in one place and review. In this basket are twelve projects in progress--four scarves, two hats, and six socks, only one of which has a mate so far. 


I only see one crochet project here, and what's worse is that all except three are personal items. One is for a gift, two are for upcoming designs and subsequent patterns, and all the rest are Yikes.

And I'll go one more step and admit that this isn't even all my WIP's. I also have four blankets, four sweaters, two bags, and a couple of other small projects in the works. 

I need a plan for at least tackling this basket, and then I'll get to the rest of those buggers. Here's what I'll do: I will keep these projects in this basket and work on one of them at a time until I'm done. When I'm finished with each one, I will show progress. This way I have made a promise to you and that means I might have a rat's chance in a cat shelter of getting these done.

Wish me luck, and Happy 12/12/12 to you! 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Constructing Ingefred

The Ingefred doesn't come right off the needles looking like this (crazy face aside).

Actually, this is exactly what it looks like just after finishing and before blocking and adding ear flaps.
And after blocking...ah, that's better.

But let's back up a little. Before you graft the band together, think about cutting your lining while you can lay your band out flat. This way you can be sure it's the right size. 
Lay your fleece out on a self-healing cutting board. Measure the length and width of your band--mine is three inches by twenty inches. Grab your yardstick and your rotary cutter and use the board as a guide to measure and cut the fleece. 

Leave about a quarter inch of room at each end. You do not want the fleece to come all the way to the seam. It's good to leave a little space so that the hat can stretch a bit. The hat will stretch, but the fleece won't.

You can either go ahead and whip stitch your lining to the band before joining the ends or put it aside until after the whole hat is done (my choice). Either way, you've gotten that part out of the way.

Now let's talk about the hardest part--at least for me, anyway. 

Grafting the band together is a little mindbending, because you're not just working with knit stitches. You need to know how to transition from knit stitches to purl stitches and back again within the piece. If just reading those last couple of sentences gives you the tremors, you can just seam your band together. The light grey Ingefred hat at the top has been grafted (if imperfectly) and the dark grey headband below it has been seamed. You can see that seaming works just fine. Of course, if you plan to skip the grafting, you do not need to do a provisional cast on at the beginning of the project. Just cast on as you normally would do.

I am saving an in-depth tutorial of this convoluted grafting technique for another post (because I am still trying to perfect it myself!), but here are a couple of tips. If you are already proficient with grafting knit stitches, you know that you begin your graft with a length of yarn on a yarn needle coming from the top set of two sets of live stitches held together.
As usual, with yarn coming from the first stitch on the upper needle, insert the yarn needle into the first stitch on the lower needle purlwise.

Keeping the yarn below both needles (at all times), then insert the needle into the first stitch on the upper needle knitwise. 

These two maneuvers represent the second half of both of those stitches, because the real action does not come until the next part. Insert yarn needle with working yarn into the first stitch on the lower needle knitwise and take the stitch off the needle. Then insert the yarn needle into the next stitch of the same needle purlwise and leave it on the needle. Insert the yarn needle into the first stitch on the upper needle purlwise and take it off the needle. Insert the yarn needle into the next stitch on the upper needle knitwise and leave it on the needle. If this were a piece with knit stitches all the way across, we would just repeat this over and over until the end. Knit/purl (lower needle); purl/knit (upper needle).

However, on the Ingefred band we run into a purl stitch after the first three stitches. What to do? Okay, take a deep breath, get in a comfortable position, and try this. On the knit stitch before the purl stitch, instead of "knit/purl" on the lower needle, you are going to "knit/knit." And on the upper needle instead of "purl/knit" you will "purl/purl." Then you just do the whole thing backwards and "purl/knit" on the lower needle and "knit/purl" on the upper needle.

When you are almost done with the purl stitches, on that last purl stitch before the next set of knit stitches, work a "purl/purl" on the lower needle and a "knit/knit" on the upper needle and you're back to where you started.

When you are done you will want to cry because it will look like this, but that's only because you haven't tightened up your stitches. Once you tidy the stitches it will look more like the light grey grafted hat up a few pics from here (or better!) 

Now, get a nice cup of chamomile tea and close your eyes. You need a rest.

Feel better now? Okay, time to pick up stitches and work the crown and then the ear flaps. Once you're done with those, here's one last tip for you.

For lining the ear flaps, I would suggest making a little template. You know you'll want to make more than one of these fun hats, and a template makes it so easy to cut the little triangles. 

That went a little long, but I hope something here makes the Ingefred Hat an easier project for you. Despite the length of this post, the hat is quite a quick project, especially if you love cables like I do. You become entranced with the cable action and before you know it, it's time to make pompoms. Or not.

So many choices with the Ingefred!