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finish or frog | round one

I posted at the beginning of the year about my goals for the year and one of them was to get all my WIPs under control by either completing them, or ripping them out – I’m calling this finish or frog!

One project I’ve decided to both finish and frog. Last March, I cast on a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks with a gorgeous cake of Candy Skein Tempting Sock (now discontinued) that I got in San Diego in 2016. I finished the sock, but was never really happy with it… it’s actually a bit too small, which is my fault, but I also don’t care for the pattern/colorway combination.

So I’ve decided to start a plain vanilla sock in the same yarn. I cast on 60 stitches, did 2×2 rib (which I usually don’t prefer, but I think it works well for socks) for 20 rounds, then just stockinette for 7 inches or so. I’m also going to try the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for the first time, which I’m excited about! I want to try different ways of knitting socks and am hoping this heel will be a good fit for my foot. And, as a bonus, this will also take care of my “Find out if I can be a sock knitter” resolution! It’s yet to be determined, but I have enjoyed having something mindless to knit while waiting before/after I get my allergy shots. Here’s a not-so-great photo of the beginning of my “shot room sock”!

I’m a little sad about this next project that I’m going to frog, my Yoga Shawl by Andrea Mowry. Andrea is one of my favorite designers and the pattern is wonderful! So this is nothing against her. The thing is, I bought this pattern back in September 2016 before I realized that I really don’t enjoy knitting stockinette flat – that is, I despise long purl rows! It took me starting another, very similarly constructed shawl (see below) to realize why I’m not motivated to knit them! I’m really proud of the progress I made, but after languishing for a year and a half, I think it’s time to frog this one and repurpose the beautiful madelinetosh 80/10/10 fingering (also discontinued). It will be hard to let go of all the work, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I have mulled over the idea of knitting this in the round and steeking someday, but for now… it’s time to say goodbye to this WIP!

The last thing I’m frogging right now is 2nd Avenue by Amy Miller. This is another shawl that I really love in theory, but I hate knitting those long purl rows! It’s the one mentioned above that now makes me think before I buy a pattern. Now, I always look at the construction – if it’s tons of purling, it’s not for me! The yarn I’m using, Plucky Feet is too nice to not knit with. Surprisingly, I’m actually considering making some socks with it once I rip it out!

So far, I haven’t finished any of my WIPs from last year, but frogging the ones I don’t love really helps me clear my head!

What have you finished or frogged lately?!

new year, new goals

One reason I like to blog is so I can look back at what I’ve done… and what I’ve said I was going to do. I basically laughed out loud reading my 2017 goals because many of my goals for this year are the same. That is, I didn’t achieve most of them. Oops.

So what goals did I achieve last year?
Well, I knit with intention more for sure. Most of my projects had a reason… even if the reason was “I really, really want to make this.” But I don’t feel like I knit a bunch of stuff I won’t wear. I completed around 40 projects, which is not bad considering the volume of my Etsy shop. Speaking of, I focused on my shop more, hit a personal goal of 100 sales online, and had two successful holiday markets! It was my best year yet where my side business is concerned and I couldn’t be more thrilled! And of course, I learned more which each new thing I knit!

Which goals did I not reach?
Knit from stash. Yeah, totally failed at this one. I think I bought more yarn this year than ever before. But I am renewing my resolution to knit from stash in 2018. I’m also going to participate in a Love Your Stash Challenge hosted by Naomi of Naomi Grace Designs with the intention of whittling my yarn down either by knitting or destashing!

 WIP it good. I’m not sure how many of those WIPs I completed, but I have more now than I did then! 2018’s motto: Finish or Frog!

Find out if I can be a sock knitter. Yep, didn’t do this one either. I knit one sock and wasn’t thrilled with the FO, though I didn’t mind the process. So it’s getting ripped and reworked into a vanilla sock. I’d also like to try toe up, two-at-a-time, and the fish lips kiss heel. Maybe this will be the year of socks? …Don’t hold your breath 😉

New goals!
#2018yearofthesweater – I recently posted about this here if you’d like to read, but basically I have a goal of knitting 8 sweaters this year!

All the baby knits – I’ll be renewing my title of “aunt” twice this year (eek!) so I have a ton of baby things on my knit-list. Think tiny hats, booties, maybe some jumpers… I can’t wait to meet my niece & [niece or nephew – it’ll be a surprise] and put them in all the itty bitty knits!

Be (at least kind of) monogamous – This will probably be the hardest one for me. Usually, if there’s a free needle, I find something to fill it. But this year I want to focus on actually finishing things and not just casting on with abandon!

That’s it! I mean… I think that’s enough 🙂 What are your 2018 knitting goals?!

#2018yearofthesweater

For my 2017 #sweatergoals, I resolved to make 5 sweaters. It turns out I only completed one of those and cast on another. Along the way, I got a bit distracted and knit 2 others, for a total of only 3 completed sweaters for 2017. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why I knit the things I knit. I honestly think I’d get a lot more wear out of garments than I do out of most accessories. Although hats are my favorite thing to knit, I can’t wear them to work and have more than I need for the winter season. I won’t stop making hats anytime soon – I often need a “palate cleanser” and those fit the bill! But I want to focus more on wearable, everyday handknits. So I’m joining in the #2018yearofthesweater KAL, hosted by skeinyarn on Instagram, with a goal of 8 sweaters. Seven of those will be new cast-ons and one a current WIP. I have the yarn for almost all of them, so no excuses! I really want to expand my handknit wardrobe, learn more about sweater construction, and try new techniques!

(more…)

last-minute gift knitting

I know you know this, but we have less than a week until Christmas. I feel like I’m never prepared, but it comes the same time every year, ready or not! Here are some quick knit gift ideas whether you have 6 days or a few hours! I have knit all these patterns and highly recommend them for last-minute gifts!

6 days ’til Christmas
Yesterday marked one week ‘til Christmas Day, so you officially have less than a week to go! But if you can knit an hour or two a day, you could crank out virtually any hat or cowl! If you want to give the gift of luxury, knit up a skein of cashmere into the Crystal Sky Cowl by Sarah Sundermeyer. It is a charted pattern with cables, so expect it to take a little time, but the small size could easily be knit before Santa makes his entrance!

crystal

5 shopping days left
I knit the Grace Infinity Scarf by Ashley McKeever 3 times last holiday season! It’s a little tedious so it may take a few days, but the result is a fabulously squishy brioche infinity scarf that you can wear long or wrap double. This gift was very well received last year and I even kept one of them for myself! It’s also budget-friendly if knit up in the recommended Caron Cakes, which is surprisingly nice for an acrylic blend.

grace

4 days and reality is setting in
Quill by Andrea Mowry is one of my favorite hats to date and it goes pretty quickly in worsted weight yarn! Charted patterns always tend to take a little longer (for me anyway), so give yourself a few days to work this one up!

quill 3
Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn is an ideal choice if you love stockinette in the round (yay for no purling)! A couple skeins of complimentary DK yarn + a few days = a cozy, doubled cowl that anyone would love!

duotone

3 more days… too late to order online
Maybe you’ve forgotten to get a gift for your fur kids… or am I the only one that give my dogs Christmas gifts? If you’re down for that, cast on Cold Snap Collar by Plucky Knitter Designs. I’ve knit 3 of these and they’re great stashbusters that will keep your best friend warm (and make them look super cute)! The smallest size (pictured) took me just a few hours, but if you have a mastiff, you might want to allow yourself a few days 😉

jb2_medium2

Christmas Eve Eve
We’re getting down to the wire. But don’t panic! I’m here to help. Take Flight mitts by Andrea Mowry have an interesting construction and were a breeze to knit! You can never go wrong with fingerless mitts and with these, you don’t even have to fiddle with a thumb gusset. Grab a fun skein of DK and in just a couple of days, you’ll have a cute, warm gift!

take

Less than 24 hours until Santa arrives…
When it comes to crunch time, stick with something basic and bulky… super bulky is even better! You know when you’re on your way to grandma’s house on Christmas Eve and your mom calls to say your long-lost cousin will be there with gifts for everyone? This is when you’ll be glad you stuck a skein of Rasta in your project bag. A huge bonus for me is that this hat doesn’t even need to be blocked! I knit Nour by Alexandra Alfonso in under an hour, so you may be able to crank one out by the time you get to grandma’s… your cousin will never know!

nour

Happy gift knitting & Merry Christmas!

WIPs & FOs | a reality check

I keep promising myself I’ll be more consistent with blogging and before I know it 2 months have flown by without a post in sight. I may not be blogging a lot, but the knitting has not slowed down! First, the FOs!

In September, I hosted a casual knit-a-long on Instagram and was very pleased with the participation! It was an “Any Hat KAL” during which participants could knit any hat at all of their choosing & be eligible to win prizes! I had so much fun I think I’ll do it again next year. The goal was to have a hat ready to go when cold weather rolls around. Well, it took about a month for that to happen around here, but it’s finally cooling off and fall is in full force!

I was able to finish three hats during the KAL, though I barely eked out the last two in the final day of the knit-a-long!

The first one I knit was Mira by Amy Christoffers, a beautiful free pattern.

mira

This, as are most colorwork hats, is a great stashbuster! I used up scraps of Plucky Scholar, Traveler Aran, and Trusty, as well as some Mirasol Miski I’ve had forever. I worked it up in just 2 days and topped it with a Bernat faux fur pom pom, the perfect finishing touch. Knitting this was a true joy and I could probably knit at least 5 more with my worsted weight scraps. I won’t… but I could 😉

Next I started the Wayah pattern by Christina Danaee, but ran out of yarn (Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Klimt) during the decreases. I knew there was some more of this yarn somewhere… but since we’d recently moved, I had no idea where. I had all but given up when I happen to come across it on the last day of the KAL! It must’ve been kismet, because I had the exact amount needed to finish the decreases and make a medium pom pom for the top!

 wayah

I really enjoyed knitting this cable and eyelet pattern. Arbor has awesome stitch definition, but not a lot of drape. I would recommend knitting this hat with a more drapey yarn (drapier? Is that a word?) because it’s intended to have some slouch.

The final hat I completed is Schwimmen by Shannon Cook. Does Shannon ever do wrong with her patterns? I don’t think so! This one is my favorite of the three, I have to admit. I’ve had this skein of Plucky Primo Worsted in Peep Toes for over a year, waiting for the right pattern. This is it, you guys. This is the right pattern for this gorgeous skein! It’s listed as worsted, but knits up more like DK, making it perfect for Schwimmen.

 schwimmen

I know, you probably didn’t even notice the hat because of my adorable niece Jellybean! I couldn’t resist getting a few (or a hundred) photos with her. But the hat. It’s perfection. The fit, slouch, pattern, length… absolutely everything about it. I ended up giving this one to my sister (still kinda regretting it) because she graciously, and patiently, takes so many of my FO photos for me. But I have some madelinetosh Tosh DK in stash that I’m saving for a second Schwimmen for myself. I’ve knit a few hats and this is for sure in the top 5 for me. So good!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any other super recent FOs (except for one I can’t share … yet 😉 But the WIPs… Oh, the WIPs….

They’re out of control! According to Ravelry, I have nine (is that embarrassing?) but I have a few more I haven’t even logged in Rav… even more embarrassing. And All I want to do is cast on! But it all came to a head this past weekend when I was looking for a certain size needle and there were only 3 sizes out of 10 in my case. Which means 7 of them were tied up. And that’s just one set… yeah. So I’m fairly committed to finishing up some WIPs, especially as the season of gift knitting approaches.

One such WIP is the All About That Brioche shawl by Lisa Hannes. I’m using a fun skein of madelinetosh Twist Light in Beach Bonfire and Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk in Real Black. Since this photo, I’ve actually finished the first brioche section and am onto the second. Note to self: you may want to go down a needle size when switching from garter/stockinette to brioche. It’s a little looser than I’d like, but I didn’t have the heart, uh… or time, to rip back. I’m super excited to finish this one and hope to add tassels!

 wip

My West End Cardigan has, unfortunately, taken a backseat.

west end 2

I don’t know what it is with this one. Miles of moss stitch doesn’t bother me. Grey is my favorite color. The yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) is nice to knit with. And yet, it languishes. So, I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up again, but it might be after Christmas. Maybe a new year’s resolution? We’ll see. But for now, I have at least 8 others to keep me busy!

Those aren’t all of my WIPs, but the two biggest that seem to be looming. Others are tucked away in a closet or stored in bins right now. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

I’m kind of (kind of, maybe) promising myself no more cast ons until I finish a couple of these. Let’s hope I can stick to that better than my “no more yarn” resolution! 😉