Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review

Or, perhaps more accurately, This Year's Knitting in Review.

For the first time in my life, I have been keeping close track all year of my knitting projects. I know it will be fun to look back and revisit all my wooly accomplishments - heck, I'm already enjoying it! But the task has provided me with the added benefit of being able to amaze and delight (and possibly bore) you with my achievements.

My first completed project of 2007 was a pair of black wristwarmers for Meital. Just moments ago, I completed the gloves (in Koigu yarn) seen in the photo above, for Liat. I think it's kind of cool that both the first and last projects of the year were made to warm the hands of my two lovely daughters.

I have a feeling that my project totals for this year are by far and away the greatest I've ever managed. Unless I have made a mistake (very likely), I completed a total of 88 projects. Of course, this represents more than 88 individual items, because many of them were pairs of things (like socks). Here are more details:

5 hats
7 scrunchies
5 sweaters
4 purses
1 messenger bag
3 scarves
4 bracelets
1 pair wristwarmers
1 pair gloves
5 washcloths
17 various toys
1 bunny tail
1 pair kneewarmers
1 pair slippers
32 pairs socks

Not too shabby, eh? I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Of the items listed, 26 were community knitting (donated to various organizations for distribution to those who have need of them). I'd like to up that number next year. Actually, I'd like to increase the totals all around, but I'm not sure I will be able to. We'll see.

May 2008 be a year of great happiness and good health for you and those you love.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Be It Resolved

It's the time of year when we stop and think about the things we want to change in our lives and our behavior. I actually came up with my Resolution for 2008 about a week ago, and have been practicing. What? Isn't one resolution enough??

My resolution is to stop procrastinating. No more waiting a week or more to answer e-mails and messages. No more piling the socks to be hand washed by the side of the sink, until there's no room for my toothpaste tube and hairbrush. No more putting off the multitude of annoying chores and irritating tasks that crop up on a daily basis.

Hand in hand with that is to try to keep up with things I would like to accomplish every day, like blogging and keeping up in my journal. Mostly I write about my knitting exploits of the day, though I do sometimes include other activities. It's fun to look back and see when I started a particular project, or how much I got done during a given week. The journal I have has room for eleven years worth of journaling. I like that there isn't a whole page per day; I could never deal with the stress of trying to fill up that amount of blank space. Four lines per day, with room at the back for longer entries as needed, is more than enough for me!

And in baking news, today I tried out these cookies. At first, Avi wasn't too excited about them. But when I left the kitchen for awhile, he went in and made coffee, then helped himself to a few more. He came to me, a few crumbs stuck in a rather endearing fashion on his chin, and confessed, "I just had about 5 or 6 more!" I guess that's a good sign... Right? I ended up with three dozen, so tomorrow I will be giving each of the girls a nice big bag to take to school and share.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

This and That

I probably did less knitting yesterday than I've done in months, but I *did* do some baking. In the morning I made lemon cake, then after dinner I made these peanut butter chocolate chip muffins. The recipe is in 365 Great Chocolate Desserts.

I realized today that I never showed you a photo of the bunny I made for Meital's friend. I'm not as happy with the way it came out, but then I'll confess I didn't take as much care with it as I did with Meital's. I made it in a rush, under deadline, and since it wasn't for my own daughter I put less effort into it.

I finished Liat's socks today. The yarn is Sockotta (cotton and wool). I've cast on for a pair for my mother-in-law, but what I need to do before I get started on those is finish up Liat's second glove.

Friday, December 28, 2007

In a Funk

Not a whole heck of alot going on around here, except a tiny bit of sock and glove knitting and alot of reading. Oh, and I started another sweater for myself. Maybe I should declare 2008 the year of selfish knitting?

I spent alot of time today on this website. I've printed out a few recipes, but so far all I've baked lately is my basic oatmeal cookie recipe and a lemon cake. Tonight I'm making peanut butter chocolate chip muffins... But as soon as I get my hands on some Cream of Tartar, I'm going to make the Can't Stop cookies from the website mentioned above.

I fully intend to finish both socks and gloves by midnight on 31 December... Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Samus is Finished!

At last. At long last! My Samus sweater is finished, though it could use a good blocking. That's okay, I'll block it after I wash it for the first time.

I had hoped and planned to finish this sweater, the first I have ever kept for myself, before the end of 2007. It took me a long time to make, two years by my estimate. I'm already looking forward to starting another sweater for myself!

In other knitting news, here is the fluffy scarf I made for Liat for Chanukah:

And here is the hat (don't have the URL, but the pattern is called the Blanche Hat, which appealed to me since my grandmother's name was Blanche) I made last week for my friend Miriam:

What's left on my needles? The second in a pair of socks for Liat (I'm working on the foot now), the second in a pair of gloves also for Liat (on the ribbing there...) and a bunny like the one I made for Meital not long ago, for a friend of hers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hello, Doll Bag

Unfortunately, in an all-too-common lapse in standards regarding organization and attention to detail, I failed to make a note on the first page of the pattern of the day I began work on this bag. Fortunately, I DID make a note in my journal: it was September 20th. Guess I can save the self-chastisement for another occasion. The photo above is, as you have guessed, pre-felting, with a notebook for scale.

Here's another pre-felting photo. If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you've already read of the many trials and tribulations associated with the creation of this bag. Liat and I substituted Cascade 220 (a much more reasonably priced yarn) for the called-for Berroco yarn, and changed the colors, too. I struggled with the two-handed fair isle technique before figuring out a system that works for me. And by the way? The felting was done in a washtub, by hand (I do believe that qualifies me for a gold star, don't you?).

Close-up, post felting (forgot to get in touch with the notebook's handlers for another close-up, for scale purposes. Trust me when I say there is a significant change in the size of the bag). Liat wanted a messenger-style bag, so we eliminated the final band of colorwork as well as the gathered closure at the top. I knitted a rather wide strap directly from stitches on the final round of the bag. She may well decide she wants a zipper put in, but since the knitting, felting, and doll-making are done, I am calling this bag finished. Wouldn't you?

Next time: another big finish and some all-too-predictable grumbling about zippers.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Big Finish

It's now mid-way through December, and I'm thinking about the end of the year. I'm starting to summarize all I've done in 2007. I'm casting an eye at the remaining days on the calendar, wondering how much more I can accomplish before the year is over.

Today, I can add two more completed items to my list:

The Children's Bulky Neckdown Jacket by Knitting Pure & Simple (otherwise known as a "swoat" by Meital: sweater + coat = swoat) is finished! Believe it or not, I made the size 2-4 and it is loose on my admittedly skinny 10 year old. But instead of using the called for size 10 needles, I used yarn that calls for size 11 needles, so I used the larger size needles. Meital loves it, and it should fit her through this winter, at least.

Yesterday afternoon Liat asked me if I would be insulted if she bought a hat. We have been through the hat thing before. She looks at the patterns I've found and pronounces herself dissatisfied with all of them. But yesterday she picked out the Ribbed Caps pattern (check the hat listings at Knitting Pattern Central for the URL) from my binder full of hat patterns, then selected some yarn from my stash. By this morning, the hat was completed, and tonight she has gone off to a party wearing it. Gotta love that.

Back view.

And finally, in non-knitting news, I have finished up one of my revamped soapboxes. The orange/red/yellow one is gradually being given a coat of varnish and was unavailable for a photo op today.

And now, off to see whether or not I can finish Liat's gloves, my Samus sweater, one last pair of socks and the Doll Bag before midnight, 31 December 2007!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Catching Up, part 2

Here are Avi's Chanukah socks. They are, as per his explicit instructions, made with leftovers of other socks, hence the slightly nauseating combination of colored stripes. I made this pair using two sets of double pointed needles, working one color on the first sock, then working the same color on the second sock. It felt like it took forever, but the amazing part was that I finished the second sock the day after finishing the first sock.

I am not going to use that system regularly in the future, however. The sock I'm working on for Liat right now is in Sockotta, which comes in a 100 gram ball, so I am working one sock at a time. I'm getting close to the heel on that, by the way.

I heard from my sister that the gifts I sent to her and the girls have arrived, so as soon as they have opened them I can share that with you, as well.

I collaged a tag for our friend's birthday today. I'm not 100% thrilled with it, but at least it got me into the craft room and working in paper and ink. I have a number of ATCs I need to make, so with luck that will start happening tomorrow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Catching Up

Where to begin? My computer crashed (again) and this time it really does seem to be The End. Avi keeps talking about buying me a new computer, and I think I may have to give in. I hate having to dig out my list of website user names and i.ds, but thank heavens the list does exist!

Anyway. Chanukah gifts were completed and have been given. I have no way to resize any of the photos on this computer, so this one is rather large, I'm afraid. It also appears that I can't upload more than one photo, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the rest - sorry about that! Meital loves her octopus (pattern by Jean Greenhowe, whom I have mentioned before. She is, in my opinion, a genius).

Avi actually wore his socks, and while in his usual fashion he has not chosen to comment on the sheer wonder and unadulterated joy that is hand-knit socks, I think he likes them.

Liat was delighted with her fluffy scarf, and I hope to show you a photo of that soon, too.

I am still attempting some stealth knitting. Today I finished a washcloth for Meital, and worked on the first of a pair of gloves for Liat. I am using Koigu for the gloves, and I have to say that is one fabulous yarn! Most likely, on the last night of Chanukah I will put the unfinished first glove into a bag with a note telling her what it is going to be when it grows up.

I have resumed work on the long-abandoned child's jacket in bulky weight yarn. It's moving along quickly, and I hope to get it finished in a week or so. Liat's Doll bag has a considerable length of strap, but something tells me it isn't even half as long as it should be. Knitting a garter stitch strap is really not my idea of fun, but I am so eager to move on the fulling portion of our program that I will probably engage in a marathon session of strap knitting in the next few days, just to be done with the thing.

I managed to finish the baby hat in fingering weight yarn, and have started a pair of socks for Liat in Sockotta. So, lots of knitting going on around here.

No art work of any kind has been accomplished lately, but that must change tomorrow. We are going to celebrate a dear friend's birthday tomorrow night and I must make him a card.