#86. KaBoom!!

I was soooo close to having my first FO of 2021. Ten rows!! So I tried on my non-shellseeker sweater to confirm that I liked the sleeve length before binding off. What?? I hated the way the stripes looked. While it looked great on my excel sheet, the huge stripes didn’t look so good on me. I went too fast increasing the stripe widths and too large an increase. I hadn’t tried on the sweater since just after I separated for sleeves. LESSON LEARNED – try on the sweater more frequently to confirm you like the way it looks, especially with a striped pattern!!!!

There went 6 weeks of knitting. To say the least I am now way behind on my sweater knitting goal for 2021. Oh well. The only saving grace is that at least now I’ve already started the sleeves, which I hate doing. So now it’s very simple stockinette so this is a pretty “brain dead” knit. And I do love the yarn so getting to knit with it longer isn’t so bad. Even though I like tunics, it was longer than I wanted so this is a chance to correct the length. Plus I had forgotten the pattern calls for splits between the front and back and I did want those so that will get fixed too. And yes, I’m standing on the bed. Our Florida rental doesn’t have a full length mirror.

Well this called for some therapy …. as in retail therapy. The only way I wasn’t going to hate knitting this sweater was to put it in a new pretty project bag with a matching needle case from Twisted Yarn and Fiber.

Until the project bag arrives, I also decided I need to cast-on a new project despite not having finished the sweater. So I cast on my Advent 2019 socks. These are a sock project that will be worked on sporadically over the year finishing before Advent 2021. It has 12 stripes of colorwork plus the toe/heel/cuff. I little more than a stripe a month. I’m looking forward to my first try at colorwork.

2021 is off to a rough start knittingwise but I’m trying to make the best of it. I just didn’t expect my plan to blow up so soon. The temperature sweater is probably the sweater that will fall off the plate but we will see. Hope your knitting year is going better than mine if you are a calendar year planner.

#85 2021 Plan Update – WK1

Year of Projects 2021

So far in 2021 I’m being pretty monogamous knitting only my non-shellseeker sweater. I’ve finished the body and now just have the sleeves before I’ll have my first FO of the year!! The good news (?) is that it’s cool enough in south Florida that I’ll actually be able to wear my new sweater. But I’m anxious to get my daughter’s top started. I need to get it done before we visit her on the way back north the end of March.

I’m liking my new idea of using a knitting calendar and yes, I’m off plan already in week 1. I did not start my advent socks. I really want to finish my sweater before casting on new socks. So it will be another week before I actually cast on the socks versus when I thought I would. So far I’m using the calendar to record how many stitches I knit each day. I’ve never used a progress keeper before so I’m working on the habit of setting one on each project and then moving it when I end my knitting for the day. I’m a data freak so anything that creates numbers that can then be graphed and analyzed is heaven to me.

TOOLS

I discovered this week that I forgot my o-ring stitch markers. I know it wastes time but I put a colorful o-ring stitch marker every 10 stitches so that I can easily keep track of increases/decreases or find drop/added stitches. Thanks to Amazon, I quickly got a new set. I ordered a size in-between the 2 sizes I already have (tiny for Size 1 and below sock needles and large for Size 8 and above for heavy weight sweaters or airy shawls) thus I don’t feel so guilty about forgetting them and having to buy more. Can you really have too many colorful stitch markers???

COVID

Covid has hit my knitting circle. One of my hometown knitting friends and her husband were diagnosed with Covid a week ago despite trying to be extremely cautious. Her husband still works and thus probably picked it up there. Now her husband is in the hospital due to low oxygen levels. I pray that he is able to gain strength and return home soon.

#84. 2021 Knitting Plan

Planning is so much fun! It’s the execution I struggle with but here goes. This year I did my traditional excel calendar form of plan. I learn by pictures so a list doesn’t work for me. I need a map, not a list of streets. But I will provide my plan as a list here in this blog since that’s easier in this format.

Additionally this year I’m trying using a calendar program just for my knitting. I will still have a Google calendar for all my personal activities but I downloaded Jorte on my kindle to use only for tracking knitting projects. I have each project with its cast-on date and estimated completion date in my calendar. I used color highlighting for each project and thus can see how the projects overlap each month. I will be able to easily assess my predicted cast-ons and completions vs actual. Unfortunately the calendar maximum display is a month when I’d like to see the full year. I’ll see if this provides any benefit to me or do I need excel to better “see” the full year. I’m suspecting excel will continue to be the preferred way for me to “see” my plan but part of the fun is trying new techniques – including project management.

And of course on the last days of 2020 I got new project inspiration. A knitting friend turned a striped sweater, Poison Oak on Ravelry, into a “temperature” project!! How fun! I’m not really into blankets or shawls, but a sweater….!!! Plus I love stripes; plus I love the shape of Poison Oak; plus it would be a fun way to use some of the minis I got this past advent…. Oh crap, something is coming off to do this sweater. Roselle Tee you are so 2022!

2021 KNITTING PLAN – Year of the Sweater (again)

Hats/Gloves – 1
I’ll be attempting to recreate a hat that a friend got from her German cousins. I’ve never knit a hat before.
* “German” Hat

Socks – 4
I plan to make 2 pairs of socks for myself using beautiful self striping yarns. I plan to make a pair of Christmas themed socks for my daughter’s boyfriend. The yarn is called Gingerbread House so it has lots of brown making it more masculine. The fourth pair is a pair of “advent” socks. The plan is to make a stripe pattern or two per month completing the socks by advent 2021. It will be my first time to knit colorwork. Plus I have a carryover vanilla sock to finish.
* WIP – Halloween Fixation Socks
* Hermione Quirky Socks
* Scatterby Harvest Socks
* Syncopation Gingerbread Socks
* Advent Socks

Sweaters/Tee – 6
I plan to make the Arisa Tee for myself and the Biscuit Tee for my daughter. I also plan to make the Sailormoon sweater for myself and a second for my daughter. The fifth sweater will be the 2020 HiLo (Poison Oak) sweater that I’m so excited about. Hopefully I’ll also knit a basic stockinette sweater for my hubby. Plus I have the nonShellseeker carried over.
* WIP – nonShellseeker
* Arisa Tee
* Biscuit Tee
* Sailormoon – Me
* Sailormoon – Sara
* 2020 HiLo (Poison Oak
* Men’s Sweater

I already have all the yarn for these projects as well as the yarn for several 2022 sweaters and socks. But I know that won’t stop me from buying yarn at next year’s Wool Festival in Sept or a visit to SimplySock for a girls weekend we are planning. An advantage to having worked for 33 years is that my hubby can’t complain about my knitting purchases (not that he would).

Personal Note

2021 is off to a fantastic start!!! My daughter called a little after midnight New Years to inform us she had just gotten engaged to her boyfriend of 4 years. It was a complete surprise to her (and us). We just saw them for 2 days earlier in the week on our way down to Florida. She completed her medical education in 2020 and started a fulltime job as a physical therapist so she is ready for the next stage of life.

#83 End of Year Review – 2020

I make my knitting plans on a calendar year. 2020 was actually only my second year of doing a plan. The first few years of knitting I mainly bounced from project to project based on what knitting class I was taking. I was learning how to knit socks with various heels and how to knit shawls and sweaters. My yarn buying was frequently based on “that’s a pretty skein” versus having a project in mind.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my collection of yarn skeins as well as my local knitting friends were interested in creating a year long knitting challenge. So we all developed a challenge for 2019. We even assigned points depending on the size of the project although we all agreed it wasn’t about winning the challenge, it was about creating a sense of accomplishment. That was certainly true since we never did add up points and select a winner!!

I believe all my friends have stopped doing plans but I continue as it gives me a sense of control over my knitting. I feel better when I buy yarn based on a pattern I plan to knit and then have a rough idea of when I plan to knit it. I put my plan on a calendar, not just a list of projects, so that I can be sure I have them reasonably spaced over the year. I do not feel tied to my plans – both in terms of projects and timing. That’s part of the fun; seeing what stays on and what falls off over the course of the year. Patty Lyon’s Roselle Tee has been on my plan for 2 years and is still only a maybe for 2021.

So how did I do in 2020?

☺💃Gloves/Hats – I planned to make one pair. Instead I made 3 pairs. Plus I include the Christmas stockings in this category (fast knits). So planned for 1 – made 6.

☺💃Socks – I planned to make 3 pairs (2 of them anklets) and instead made 6 pairs (1 of them anklets). I didn’t knit a pair with the Redbird Studio self striping yarn that I love, love, love. So it has moved to my 2021 plan. I have a 7th pair on the needles that will be carried over into 2021 as well.

☺Scarves/Shawls/Shrug – I planned to make 2 and I made 2. Neither were the ones I had planned!! Instead I used up excess yarn from a sweater I made to make a matching cowl. Then I made my first shrug with some cute sparkly yarn I was gifted.

☺Sweaters/Tees – always my downfall. I planned to knit 4 sweaters and instead knit 3. I did start the 4th sweater (my non-shellseeker). Plus I did finish a 2019 carryover sweater that I had barely started in 2019. So I don’t feel too bad.

😴WIPS – I had 2 including the sweater mentioned above. The sweater I finished but the second was a pair of argyle socks. I find these magic loop socks difficult to manage the color change so I want to knit them in person with my friends that have already knit them to be sure I’m doing the color changes right. So they are in hibernation until we can meet again in person.

☺ Completed. 💃 Happy Dance – more than planned

I’m feeling very good about how well I did on my plan. I really only missed on my sweaters but I feel I covered the missing sweater with the extra socks and mitts I knit. I assign points to each project (1 for mitts, 2 for socks, 3 for shawls, and 4-6 for sweaters depending on how complicated the sweater is or if it has long sleeves or tunic length. This has helped me be more realistic about how many and what type of projects to put on my plan. My 2020 plan had 42 project points. The items I finished totaled 39 points. A goal for 2021 will be to add estimated stitches for each project so that yarn thickness as well as pattern difficulty is factored in for better estimating.

#82 Christmas finishing touches and Non-shellseeker Sweater

Well, this wasn’t on my plan but a pair of Christmas stockings that I started 2 years ago finally got finished this week!! I took a one evening class, from my friend that now has her own business of dying yarn, 2 years ago. At the time I hadn’t knit very many socks so the heel was still intimidating. I also didn’t have the right needles to finish the toe with the ridiculously thick Macro yarn by Berroco. The intended recipient of the stockings turned out to already have themed stockings so didn’t want them. Plan B recipients also already had stockings. So the stockings went to the “someday” never neverland.

After my recent success with the quick knits of fingerless mittens, I decided to pull out the stockings since I figured I could finish them quickly. I now know how to make sock heels and I also know how to “wing it” by using a needle that isn’t necessarily the right size to hold the stitches while using the correct sized working needle. So after 2 years, the stockings are completed. They are now going to my youngest son and his girlfriend. I detested “knitting” with such thick yarn. It was like knitting with rope. But I’ll probably make 1 or 2 more with the intent of using up the remaining yarn.

I’m a little over halfway through my advent calendar from Wool Interrupted. The minis are much “duller” than the yarns I like. I like vibrant colors and speckles. Oh well. The maker has included nice “extras” so far, a wooden shawl pin, a packet of wool soak, and a snowman stitch marker/progress keeper. Ravelry did have a nice sock pattern recently, Fairy Glen, that would be a nice use of these greyish minis.

Beside the time spent on the stockings, I worked on my non-shellseeker sweater. Not going to get it done by the end of the year probably but still should get it done fairly early in January which would be record sweater knitting time for me!! I had intended this project to be a carryover WIP.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas celebration. This will be my last post from the cold north. My next post will likely be in the new year when I’ll share my knitting goals for 2021. Indeed I’ve already made a change to my draft plan as my hubby volunteered that he would like a sweater. I indeed will use up, and possibly need to add to, my Summer Silk leftovers from my non-shellseeker sweater.

#81 Christmas bits and Sweater

My stepson asked me if I could repair his childhood teddy bear not understanding the difference between knitting and crochet. Sadly I’m only a knitter. It is a very worn and well loved teddy bear so finding yarn to match would be impossible. So I got out my trusty thread and needle to stitch the foot closed. Then to draw attention away from all the gapping holes on the body and arms as the yarn has stretched I suspect due to multiple washings, I knit a scarf. The scarf helps hold up the head as well. I hope he will be happy with it. My husband found his baby book while cleaning out the garage last week. What a baby book was doing in the garage we have no idea. So I think I will give him his baby book and teddy bear at Christmas. The baby book is extra special since his mother died when he was 11. I suspect there will be lots of tears.

It’s the 13th so I get to start opening my yarn advent calendar!! Today’s mini is a slate blue. I was never a mini person other than the mini’s Lollipop yarn includes with her self striping sock yarn skein. But now I have a set of 12 to match the minis I put in my friends” advent calendars and I’ll get 11 minis with my advent calendar. One of my 2021 projects, I’ll be sharing the plan as my first post of January, is to knit the Advent 2019 socks from Ravelry (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/advent-socks-2019) . I will be working on them periodically over the months of 2021 with the intent of having them done by December 2021. I need to plan the colors that I will use for each stripe so that I can pack the needed minis for my extended stay in Florida.

Advent mini

Finally besides the little scarf for the teddy bear, I’ve worked on my “shellseeker” sweater. It’s really not the shellseeker pattern since I changed the neck, use the wrong thickness of yarn, do increasing stripe width instead simply doing 2 row widths for each stripe, and won’t do the pouch pocket on the front. The only feature from shellseeker that I’m doing is the faux darts. For shellseeker, these lines of k2tog and ssk created the lines where the front pocket pouch attached. For me they are the decorative feature. Since it’s basically a stockinette sweater, it’s an easy knit.

Less than 2 weeks till Christmas!! Hope you shopping is going well. Due to Covid we will keep it small and skip our usual traditions of attending church services and dining out. I’m very thankful that our local public radio station and playhouse will broadcast a 1 hr radio play of Scrooge Christmas Eve. It’s a one man play done by the actor that has performed as Scrooge at the playhouse for the past 15 years. https://www.wvxu.org/post/playhouse-park-brings-christmas-carol-wvxu-0#stream/0

#80 YOP Update – Shellseeker Sweater, Yarn Buying, and Florida Packing

I’m enjoying knitting my shellseeker. You would think that would motivate me to be more focused on my knitting but you would be wrong, unfortunately. I still piddle away too much time. I love the yarn I’m using , Berroco Summer Silk. It’s so soft. So it’s a pleasure to knit. The pattern is pretty braindead so it’s not a taxing knit. Still I get distracted. Plus with Christmas that means taking time to address and send Christmas cards and do some online Christmas shopping.

I think I greatly over purchased yarn for my Shellseeker so I’m going to have to come up with another striped project to use up the remaining yarn. Hmm, now that hubby is on blood thinners he actually needs and does wear sweaters. Something to think about. The photo shows how the stripes are coming. I used an excel sheet to look at and decide how many and what width to make the stripes as I increase the stripe width from top to bottom. It was nice to look at how the stripes would progress using different options. I’m glad I did it as I was able to see I wasn’t going to like the striping of my original plan.

My knitting friends are indeed loving their advent calendars. I’m so happy!!

No photo description available.

I’ll blame it on my local knitting friends….. I ordered more yarn. We were discussing Simply Socks Yarn Co. which led to checking out their website which led to seeing sock yarn on sale. Three of us combined our order to get free shipping and well…. more yarn is on it’s way. Hopefully I’ll get to share next week. If you haven’t watched the latest Grocery Girls podcast watch out. It’s 3 hours of them sharing their favorite yarns and notions. So now I’ve found another yarn company to checkout, Rose Hill Yarns.

I’ve started my knitting project packing for our 3 month stay in Florida. Besides finishing my Shellseeker and a pair of socks I already have on needles, I’m taking yarn for a summery top, for another sweater (Sailormoon), for a shrug, and 2 more pairs of socks – all for me. Plus I’ll take the yarn for my daughter’s top as well. We will likely visit her on the drive back north the end of March so it would be nice to have it done. There is no way I will complete that many projects but it will be nice to have choices.

Ok, enough piddling. Time to get back to my Shellseeker knitting.

Advent Calendar and Shellseeker Started

Santa and Mrs. Claus got their mitts delivered this week. My knitting friends got their advent calendars delivered Saturday. And I got my 12 Day Advent Calendar from Wool Interrupted!!! I’ve decide I’ll open the bags of minis from Dec 13 thru Dec 24 when I’ll get to open the full skein. I’ve hung the bags from a cord across my knitting nook so it makes a Christmas decoration hence the decision to wait to start opening till the 13th. Plus I don’t plan to knit them right away so there isn’t a hurry.

We had a nice Thanksgiving. We sat spaced out sitting 8 at our table for 14. The 3 boys living in Cincinnati attended in person (one lives with us so already part of our bubble). 3 others attended via Zoom. Better than nothing and since they don’t live in town it’s not like we would have got to see them even without Covid. We wore masks much of the afternoon, opened windows for additional ventilation and sat far apart. We designed our home with cathedral ceilings and no interior walls on the main floor so it’s easy to be spaced apart. Hubby dished out the food so no buffet line. Now fingers crossed it worked and no one develops Covid. Sadly our daughter in Charleston, SC has it but so far it’s limited to loss of smell and taste.

I did cast-on my Shellseeker sweater so a WIP for 2021. Hoping 3rd time is a charm because I keep twisting it. Finally pinned the edges together hoping I don’t end up twisting again. 😝 I don’t like the boat collar the pattern calls for so I’m doing a small (4 rows) of K1P1 rib. I had to go up 4 needle sizes as I’m using a smaller weight yarn. But I want a more open fabric for warmer weather wear. As with hers, I’m going to make ever increasing stripe widths from top to bottom alternating between 3 colors. This has been on my list to make for over a year so I’m glad to finally start it.

Christmas decorations come out today. Bought a smaller, prelit tree this year since we won’t be having parties or family gatherings. Also, we are getting too old to be climbing a ladder and reaching to decorate a 10′ tree.

#78 Christmas House

I’m like a kid when it comes to fireworks or Christmas lights. I literally countdown the days not to Christmas but to when Christmas lights will be back on (next weekend!!). There has been a house around a mile from mine that would do an amazing display every year with penguins sledding down a hill, tin solders marching in the yard, etc. They would even dress up as Santa and Mrs Claus and pass out candy canes to children driving by. It is a very nice display, not a tacky hodgepodge.

Well about 5+ years ago it stopped. I was afraid of the worst and indeed I did hear the owner suffered a heart attack. But the good news is he survived. So imagine my delight when I drove past this week ….. and they were putting up lights!! I’m so excited I can barely contain myself.

So what does this have to do with knitting you ask. Well, this was not on my 2020 plan, but I’m now knitting fingerless mitts for the husband and wife. It’s the only thing I know to do to show my gratitude. Hopefully the mitts will keep their hands warm when the take down the lights later this winter. I had enough “sparkly” yarn that I used for my son’s girlfriend’s mitts to make a pair for Mrs. Claus. I hope to get Santa’s done this week. For me it’s the first time I’ve used 2 yarns at a time with “Santa’s” mitts so a new learning.

With Covid, visiting various light displays is how I plan to enjoy the holidays in 2020. I’m trying not to get depressed but instead focus on how extra fun next year’s holiday parties and family gatherings will be. We are back to “shelter in place” here in SW Ohio.

MASK MAKING

Another not in my plans for 2020 is mask making. This week I made some masks from my “Christmasy” fabric to give to family members. Another attempt to add some fun to the holidays.

NEW YARN

Mail was good and bad this week. Had some stress when my daughter’s Christmas socks didn’t arrive Monday as the post office predicted. Finally showed up Friday after several days of my berating myself for not insuring the envelop. On the plus side for me, new yarn arrived!! This is the yarn I will use to knit my daughter another summer top. She requested a top in mint green. This will be a 2021 knit.

#77 Fingerless Mitts

Year of Projects

Not a lot this week. I did finish and mail my daughter’s Christmas socks. I started these fingerless mitts. I’ve loving them so fingers crossed there is enough yarn leftover to make a pair for me. While taking our morning walk today a pair of mitts would have been appreciated. My hands always get cold even if the rest of me is fine. Indian summer is over here in Ohio. The mornings are going to start being nippy.

I’m loving the yarn more than I thought. It is Knit Picks Japanese Rainbow Sparkle which apparently has been discontinued (hence the big sale last year when I bought it). Despite being 38% acrylic, I’m loving the softness of the yarn. It’s going to feel great. I must confess it is worsted but doesn’t look too bulky to me. There is a fuzziness to the yarn making it look like I’m knitting it with mohair. The mitts look and feel cozy. I chose a very basic pattern as I wanted to highlight the yarn, not a pattern. So it’s just a ribbed cuff, stockinette “body”, and bindoff.

The mitts should be done today or tomorrow. Then whatever yarn is left will be knit into a pair for me that I should get done this week. That means I should be casting on my next sweater by next weekend at the latest!!

Snowbirding

Houston, we have a decision. Been going back and forth on if we should head down to Florida in mid-December or after Christmas. Have finally decided to stick with Plan A and celebrate Christmas in Ohio despite not being able to do any of our usually traditions. It does mean two more weeks to knit in cool weather which will hopefully help keep me motivated on the sweater I’ll be beginning. Since I only ordered a 12 days of Christmas Advent calendar for me guess I’ll have to decide if I start it on the 1st or the 13th. Or I might go with opening on odd days to make it last longer.