Reflecting on 2016 goals

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I’ve just been watching Mina from the Knitting Expat Podcast talking about her 2016 knitting (in incredible detail) and it has inspired me to pull out and review my list of goals for 2016.  I’m happy with what I achieved despite mixed success in meeting my goals.

Goal number one: Knit from stash – Keep a wish list and purchase wisely.

I’ve not been all that circumspect in my yarn purchases this year as I’m sure my colleagues at work will attest (they saw almost all of my yarn arrive at my PO box in the city).  I managed to control my very expensive Plucky addiction (mostly), but had problems resisting sock yarn this year.  I now have a very healthy stash of yarn appropriate for socks!

I made this goal because I had three large overseas trips planned in 2016-17.  All of these plans have changed and so I allowed myself to relax and indulge a little (ok, quite a bit).  I still have plans to travel overseas next year (hopefully to Rhinebeck 2017, maybe) and my savings for this trip are growing nicely.

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Stepping into Fall socks by Sivia Harding, Yarn is Must Stash: Autumn Afterglow.

Goal number two: Knit a pair of socks per month

I made this goal easily – I have knit 14 pairs so far this year and there is one pair on the needles right now that may be finished before the end of the year…

Goal number three: Knit gift hats

I failed on this, mainly because I had a couple of conversations with family members slated to receive the hats who didn’t seem to think they’d wear them.  I was happy to keep the hats I’ve made this year for me… I have 7 new hats!

Goal number four: knit a gift shawl for Miriam (my MIL)

Utter fail, still haven’t picked a project or yarn (she is hinting for socks now). 🙂

Goal number five: get my WIP count down

Specifically: finish Verdea (Michelle Wang), Ropedance (Melanie Berg), Playground Shawl (Justyna Lorkowska) and Candy dish (Plucky knitter).

50% success here! I did finish Ropedance and the Playground Shawl, I worked on my Candy dish (no finish yet, will finish next year).  I think I will unravel Verdea.  I still like the yarn and pattern, but it was ambitious to try it as a first sweater!

New skills

An unwritten goal for this year was to learn new techniques.  This year I dabbled in Brioche and also tried knitting socks two at a time (I don’t really get second sock syndrome, but can see why this may be a fun way to finish a pair of socks.)

Finishes and Works in progress (WIPS) for 2016

I have had 26 finishes this year – not bad, eh!  (I acknowledge that these were all accessories and not large projects by any stretch of the imagination) At present I still have nine WIPS – four are sad languishing ones from before this year.  I am considering ripping these so that the yarn can go back into stash.  I am expecting to finish one of the current WIPS before the end of the year, the others I am happy to carry over to the new year and will keep working on them all.

Looking forward to 2017

I haven’t as yet set goals for 2017, but I expect it will be more of the same, reduce WIPS by finishing stuff, try to use what I have and learn new things.  I think 2017 will be the year I finally make my first proper sweater.

Wishing you a happy 2017 filled with joy and productivity.

 

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April 2016 knitting progress

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April was a super productive month for me! I finished two pairs of socks and a hat and made progress on my “Plucktober leftovers cowl”. Here’s a collage of the finishes.

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My first finish this month was a Koko Bean Hat by Judith Carter.  The Pattern was a gift from my friend in Tasmania. My hat was knit with The Plucky Knitter Primo Aran in the Classics Colourway, Babysitting Blues.  It was a quick knit, I finished it in a weekend – it was a fun knit (it would have been even more fun if I had a set of empty circular needles to use instead of the metal DPNs  I used for this project).  This hat is not for the gift pile.  It’s all mine! (Of course now I have a 1 hat deficit in the gift hat pile).

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Next up, I finished my Sybaritic socks by Hunter Hammersen. My socks were knit with Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet Yarn in the Classics Colourway, Taffeta Darling  I was a little afraid that these wouldn’t fit, as there isn’t a lot of give /stretch – but they are lovely in every way.  The first (right) sock is not exactly correct (I managed to confuse some of the decreases on the chart), but I am happy with these and will not be engaging in a ripping festival to correct the errors.

And my last finish for the month was another pair of “How I make my socks” by Susan B Andersen (My favourite sock recipe for commuting).

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My socks were knit with Nomadic Yarns Trusty Sock in the Rhinebeck Sweater Weather colourway with some Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids in Italian Plum for the contrast heels and toes.  There’s not much more to say about these other than I love them.  I had them on all day yesterday and my feet looked so cheerful!  What’s more they were toasty warm. We’re finally starting to experience autumn weather down under.

Other progress: I’ve picked up one of my WIPS that I want to finish this year… The Candy Dish Cowl by The Plucky Knitter I’m using the left over yarn from last years’ Plucktober knitting.  When we last saw this project, I was cursing myself for dropping a stitch in the lace section.  Now I am sort of motoring along having gotten past the intensely boring 46 rows of seed stitch.  I actually enjoy stockinette stitch more.

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Things to look forward to: I think I’m also off to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Festival in June – this will be my first time at that event.  A couple of Perth girlfriends have organised the accomodation in Bendigo, I just need to book my flight and hire a car (and figure out if I’m going to extend my stay in Melbourne or head straight back home).

Dr K and I are starting to make plans to take off for a week in the South West sometime in August.  We last did this a couple of years ago and we had such a lovely time.  The weather will be cold and blustery and we’ll enjoy setting up home somewhere luxurious and enjoying listening to the wind blowing and rain on the tin roof snuggled inside by the fire.

I also managed to register for the Craft Sessions this year – this event was super popular this year, it sold out in 5 minutes! More cut throat than a Plucky update and I’m right out of practice for those.  I’m looking forward to finding out which classes I will be going to soon.

Wishing you a productive May!

 

 

March 2016 state of the knitting report

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Hello and welcome to the March 2016 state of the knitting report.

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I’m kind of surprised I have a finished hat this month, I left it to the last minute to cast on and it wasn’t truly finished until April 1 ( I left it till then to make the pom pom).The Hat is the “Conversationalist” hat by The Plucky Knitter designs – I made the small size. I think this one will be a gift for my niece Cate (she’ll be eight this month!) I used Plucky Knitter Snug worsted for this, in the colourways Melba, Cake Plate and Twill.  I learned a new technique, the tubular cast on for this hat.

My other finish was a pair of socks – my Commuter rainbow socks made using Susan B Anderson’s how I make my socks recipe (a couple of changes this time: I used a two by two rib and used a contrast yarn for the heal and toes). Yarn for the socks is Lollipop Yarn Gripes in the Rainbow Connection Colourway and Cascade Heritage Solids in the Italian Plum Colourway.  I was amazingly lucky sometime last year and managed to bag some Lollipop during one of her updates.  These have to be the best fitting socks I have made for myself.  I LOVE them.

March was my birthday month so I treated myself to a new (somewhat self indulgent) cast on, I cast on Hunter Hammersen’s Sybaritic Socks using some Plucky Knitter Feet yarn from the Classics Club – this one is Taffeta Darling inspired by the film, Young Frankenstein.  I’m loving working on these socks, I don’t think I’ve done them absolutely perfectly (the centred double decreases don’t quite look right to my eye) but I love them anyway.  These are NOT a commute sock!  When I say self indulgent, I’m thinking back to  when I set my goals for myself this year – my intention was not to cast on new projects other than hats for gifts and socks (and for the socks, I was definitely expecting more simple socks to be the flavour of the year).

My other March cast on was a replacement commuter sock – these new ones are using “Reinebeck Sweater Weather” Trusty sock yarn by Nomadic yarns (this colourway is not available in her shop right now, but I’m very partial to her Harry Potter colourways – McGonagall, Sirius and numerous non-HP related ones, reminding myself of my goals and adding them to the wishlist!)

One of my birthday gifts was the Koko Bean Hat pattern from my lovely Tasmanian friend, Jeannie-maree.  I’ve cast it on as my April hat with Plucky Knitter  Primo Aran Babysitting Blues (from my Classics Subscription last year) and am working it on some double pointed needles (I’d really prefer to magic loop this but I couldn’t find a suitable circular needle).  A fun knit so far…

In other news, we spent Easter visiting my in-laws down in Mount Barker (4 hour drive south of us in Perth) – we had a lovely time catching up with them.  It was cold and wet and I delighted in wearing my handmade socks whilst we were there.

Dr K was very generous with my 42nd birthday gifts: a pile of books, a lego set, a beautiful box of watercolour pencils and a set of monogrammed towels (a hitchhikers guide to the galaxy reference – I’d joked the year he turned 42, that a set of towels would be a perfect 42nd birthday gift and he remembered!).  So spoilt.  Note: No yarn. Oh well, I do have plenty for my needs, really.

Wishing you a creative April!

 

Reflecting on February

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TL/DR: Another good month, goal wise! A pair of socks off the needles and another hat in the gift pile. I also made progress on a languishing WIP (and resisted casting on several other things). Silly antics at the end.

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The obligatory silly selfie in a newly finished hat.

So, first up – my finished hat.  This is the Sisters Hat by The Plucky Knitter, yarn is three shades of Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering: Wrought Iron, Heirloom and Beanpole.  These were part of a gradient set so of course, work wonderfully together for this hat.  The finished hat got a lot of love and I have enough for another go around with this hat (maybe later this year, right now I crave the new!)

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Another go trying to show how the colours work together. I really should talk Dr K into being my hat model.

The other notable finish this month was a pair of socks.  Plain vanilla again, these were made using Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks (I really like this recipe!)

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Finished Socks!

The yarn is Simply Socks Yarn Co. Poste Yarn in the Colourway Holiday in FL. This sock yarn is Corriedale wool and nylon and feels very “wooly”. It did soften a bit on washing and I think the finished socks are fabulous.  I am rather looking forward to them peaking out the top of my Dr Martens when the weather starts to cool down.  They are not exact matches for each other, but I am happy enough with these as they are.

And here’s the progress I’ve made on my Ropedance Shawl by Melanie Berg (Marilynd).  Two more repeats of the white “knots” and I get to change to a different “main colour” – getting a bit tired of the dark grey.  (I didn’t know that could happen! I love my greys!)  Yarn on this project is Woolfolk Tynd in the colours that Melanie used on the model.

As I finished my Holiday socks, I cast on some yarn I have been hording for a little while… some of the completely fabulous Lollipop Yarn in the colourway: “The Rainbow Connection” – I keep humming the song as I knit – hopefully that will wear off when they are my commuter socks (they haven’t been on the bus with me yet).  Here’s the start …

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New socks on the needles – Lollipop Yarn: Gripes “Rainbow Connection”

I am just loving how this is knitting up.  The colours are gorgeous.  The yarn is a quite a bit softer than the Poste.  I honestly can’t gush enough about this project – it gives me so much joy!

Oh, and you might have noticed, I’m working this project on some dpns.  I had an incident with my favourite long circular hiya hiya needle for socks – I found bite marks on both of the needle ends. One of the cats has had a little chew on them!  That incorrigible pair!

Knitpicks had a sale and I managed to pick up the Knitters Curiosity Cabinet books by Hunter Hammersen (I just love her books and designs) for a really good price.  It’s been incredibly difficult not casting on one of the lovely sock designs – my current major crush is on the Chrysanthemum Frutescens Socks which is featured on the cover of book 1.  These would not be commuter socks – some concentration is required!  I have some Plucky yarn new to the stash that I think will be lovely for them (the recent scum club colour way in the feet base – no spoilers here).

In other news, my sister has been competing in the national open mike comedy competition for amateurs, Raw Comedy.  Lucy hadn’t done any comedy performance till the first heat. She has now won two WA heats and will be in the WA final on the 5th of March – I’m so proud of her for having a shot at this.  She is completely awesome and I love her.

And I fell over.  I blame my harem trousers.  They are just so easy to get caught up in .  I’m not sure if I can blame them this time, one moment I was trying to stand up from my armchair in my study, the next I was crashing down on to the floor, breaking my fall on a wicker basket full of yarn.  I don’t really know what happened.   I have a lovely bruise on my knee as a keepsake.  Just in case it wasn’t my trousers, I have removed the ottoman from my study, which I might have tripped over… now my study is full of the bags of yarn that were concealed within.

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After the good ship Cathy capsized, the ottoman was removed and yarn ruled the study once more.

Ah well, the trousers are now on my “might be dangerous if worn” list.  Once upon a time that list was for the sexy clothes.  Now in my forties, it’s just for things that might kill me (funny, my platform sandals haven’t made it onto the list yet, probably ’cause I’m already afraid of them).

A trip to Ikea to add another bookcase to the cramped study is on my list – just to get the yarn off the floor.  It’s bagged but I can’t help but worry.

Wishing you a wonderful and creative month.

January knitting & adventures in sewing

Keeping my knitting goals in mind, I have been very successful this month.  I wanted to knit one hat per month – I have managed two this month (this was a stretch goal, there needs to be one month this year where two hats get finished as I needed 13 for my gift bag).

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Off Grid, Storm Door hats.

The first hat I finished was Off Grid by The Plucky Knitter.  I knit this with yarn from my Plucky Knitter Classics Subscription – Primo Aran, in the colourway “Babysitting Blues” inspired by the film adventures in Babysitting.

Edit: Correction – The yarn colourway is Poet’s Corner Inspired by the film So I married an Axe Murderer. I was so convinced it was Babysitting blues, but I do have the yarn wrappers telling me otherwise. Oops.

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Off Grid

My Classics Subscription included 2 skeins of Primo aran, 3 of Bello (fingering weight) and one of feet. This year I have cut this back to just one skein of feet, in order to help me save up for a trip at the end of the year.  Cutting back was a tough decision.  I really like this yarn, but truthfully, I do have a plentiful stash of it.

I’ve photographed this hat with a pompom I purchased at M&J fabrics and Trimmings (happy memories of last years trip to NY).  Thankfully they are online so I can get some more of these lovelies for some of the rest of the gift hats this year – there are some on my gift list who would prefer me not to use the fox fur I suspect and I respect their feelings.

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Storm door hat

The other hat is another one designed by The Plucky Knitter, Storm Door.  This was fun to knit, but I ran out of yarn from my remaining skein of Primo Aran in Babysitting blues, luckily I had 7 grams left over from the other hat project and I was able to finish that hat.

Here it is with a fox fur pompom.  I have also tried it out with a tassel (see first photo) – not sure which I like best.  I do like the strong contrast between the white of the pompom with the grey blue of the yarn.

Moving on from that hats, my other knitting goal this month was to complete a pair of socks.  I have also completed this goal.

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Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks

These are made using Susan B Anderson’s How I make my socks pattern.  They are the best fitting socks I have made so far.  I think this is pair number three all together.  I’m really happy with how they turned out, even though in my finished picture above I’ve managed to twist the toe around a bit on the left.  Please ignore the state of the floor.  Yarn is by Stray Cat Socks (Etsy seller) from New Zealand.

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Holiday in FL.  Poste yarn by Simply Socks Yarn Co.

I’ve cast on my next pair, using Holiday in FL Poste Yarn (75% superwash corriedale wool, 25% nylon – feels super wooly, I’m enjoying working these so much) by Simply Socks Yarn Company.

I also worked a little on Ropedance, by Melanie Berg (but I’m thinking of ripping this back again, the “knots” are much larger in my later work on this project).  No photo to share today of this one.

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Colette Sorbetto – Hello Kitty Liberty fabric

Lastly, here is a non-knitting project.  I’m trying to teach myself to sew and be less afraid of my sewing machine.  Here’s my first clothing project since my high school days, Colette patterns Sorbetto, made with some Hello Kitty Liberty of London Tana Lawn.  This is a wearable muslin – mainly because whilst I managed to ensure that the selvedges were matched before I cut into the fabric, I hadn’t taken into account the direction of the fabric.  I was so disappointed when she wasn’t orientated correctly.  Measure twice, cut once.  Otherwise, I had no major hurdles putting this together.

I hope you also had a successful and productive month.