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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Year Over And What Have I Done

As the year draws to an end, Ravelry says I have 77 projects for 2011. Of these 3 have been unpicked, one should be, 6 are still in progress and 5 were started in 2010.

Of the finished projects; there were 9 squares and 6 sections for WCOBBS, 16 pairs of socks, 16 dishcloths, 5 hats, 7 scarves or other neckwear, 2 pairs of mittens, 1 other item of clothing, 2 baby blankets and a 6-inch strip for gift blanket. 7 items were gifts, plus 1 for hubby.

I am surprised by how much I have knitted especially socks. It seemed that a pair of socks was taking more than 1 month to knit but that can't be the case if I have made more pairs than there are months in the year.

So how did I fare for using my stash? All the yarn I purchased in Denver in 2010 has been used apart from one skein of sock yarn which I have saved specifically for the January challenge. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the yarn bought on the yarn crawl - 3 skeins left, yarn bought on sale last year (don't ask), yarn purchased this year (really?) plus yarn in my stash older than 2010.

I read 98 books this year, across the board except horror and little science fiction and fantasy. A recurring theme for new books especially for Young Adults was USA in the future with government controlling every aspect of your life. Each book was good in its own right but repetitive after a few.

On the personal front, boy child (although he is no longer a child) came back from Denver, and we both became Canadian Citizens as previously posted; the beautiful white cat is still on supplements although her last vet visit was in March; the beautiful black cat is losing weight and looking good now that I make their food. And thanks to my wonderful husband, who makes this all possible, for another year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

December's Finishers

I know that December is not over but it is unlikely I will complete another project before month's end. Well I did better than November and completed 5 items this month. 2 dishcloths, 1 pair of socks, a strip for a blanket and a complete blanket.

The blanket strip was shown in yesterday's post. Here are the two dishcloths. I found the pattern for the first one on Ravelry and used a new ball of yarn. I have had the pattern for the second one since November 2008 and it was what led me to the mystery dishcloth group. This cloth I made for our knitters group gift exchange but as I do love the illusions I will probably knit it again.

One of the challenges for November in the Ravelry group was designs by Jeannie Cartmel. Her pattern, Magic Mirror was the second pattern I queued in Ravelry way back in 2008 so it was about time to make them. The yarn is Ranco by Araucania and purchased in Denver last year. The pattern is worked from the toe up with a short row heel. The instructions were for wrap and turn but I worked a shadow stitch heel which is becoming my new favourite for short rows.

When I went to Texas last year, I decided I wanted something to work on on the plane. I also decided crochet was the best option as it involves less movement and I could take a plastic crochet hook. Less likely to raise questions. I also decided to work on my own blanket for WCOBBS. I started a simple pattern that had been made before for the society so I knew how many chains to start with and how big to make it. The pattern can be found on this blog. Note the crochet instructions use English terms. I didn't work on it when I came back from Texas and then it became my take to the vet project. After I finished all the squares I worked on it most days. I really am pleased with it plus the President of WCOBBS was taking blankets to the hospital just before Christmas so it went along too.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blankets For Charity

As well as the squares for WCOBBS I worked a 6 inch section on 8 blankets this year.

The idea behind this group is to knit or crochet a blanket with six 6-inch sections and a border. Unless the blanket has a theme, each knitter chooses their own yarn, colour and pattern. As the blankets are given to the NICU at a local hospital the yarn has to be acrylic as each blanket is sterilized before entering the unit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Squares for Charity

Last year I knitted three squares for the WCOBBS as one of the executive members put forward a suggestion to make squares that she would make into blankets.

She put out a call for more squares as although she had received a load she wanted to put them in groups that went together rather than a random collection. I ended up making nine. All crocheted with yarn from my stash. It was a good opportunity to try patterns from a couple of books I own. 99 Granny Squares to Crochet and 101 Crochet Squares
by Jean Leinhauser

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cats and Christmas

The cats have changed tactics this year. They know that tinsel and beads are out of reach on the tree but there's still other places to attack.

Yummy red tinsel.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

November's Finishers

I'm almost embarrassed to detail what I completed in November. 4 items were finished, 2 of those were dishcloths and another was 6 inches of garter stitch for a charity blanket. If only I could say that the last item was a complicated shawl using thousands of metres but it was the obligatory pair of socks. If I don't get a move on December will not be any better.

Here are the two dishcloths. The first one I used an unused ball of cotton from my stash. I thought I should start all the dishcloth yarn I had before using up the leftovers. I found the pattern courtesy of Ravelry. The other one does use left overs. The green was initially used for the green one in this post and used in the cloth shown in this post. The white was left over from a dishcloth I made for a colleague. I found the pattern when I was looking at the 2010 patterns in the Yahoo group and decided it would work with left overs.

The socks were started towards the end of October and were the designer for October in the SKA group. So I did actually complete two pairs of socks for the October challenge. The designer is Very Busy Monkey on Ravelry and she designed these socks. When I saw this design I knew I just had to make them and hoped the pattern would work with variegated yarn.

This is more yarn that I bought in Denver last year. It is by Abstract Fiber who are based in Portland, Ore. I like the feel of the yarn and best of all the colours do not run. And I am very happy with my finished socks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

October's Other Socks

I promised these socks a post all of their own.

One of SKA's challenges for October was texture. I paired Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn with a pattern - rpm. A pattern that I had printed in March 2007. As Noro yarn is quite different from most other yarns, I wanted to use all the yarn so I converted the pattern to toe up. Once I'd made that decision I wanted to try something different with the toes and heels and not just work standard toes and heels.

I had recently borrowed from the library The Sock Knitter's Workshop by Ewa Jostes and Stephanie van der Linden. (Stephanie is the designer of these, these, these and these.

This book has instructions on many different ways to work toes, heels and other parts of a sock. The one that caught my eye was called Horizontal Toe Band. Basically you make a provisional cast on and knit a small strip of garter stitch, pick up a stitch in every other row down the side of the strip, pick up the cast on edge and then pick up stitches in the rows on the other side. You then increase inside the garter stitches until the toe is the right size and then continue in pattern.

As I wanted to use every centimetre of the yarn I worked these socks two-at-a-time toe-up. Rather than split the ball into two, I worked one sock from the outside of the ball and the other from the inside of the ball of yarn. I was rather surprised at the colours that came out of the centre of the ball but that is another feature of Noro yarns - many different colours in one ball.

To maintain the stripe pattern, I opted for an afterthought heel. I didn't work the standard afterthought heel which is worked the same as toe shaping as I didn't want the ridges either side of the heel. A search of the internet produced a star-type afterthought heel. Having completed it as written (mostly) next time I would work the decreases every 3rd row instead of every other row. The change I made was to the finishing row of the heel. The instructions said to gather the stitches but this thicker yarn would have produced a small hole at the heel, so I kitchenered instead.

When I was running short of yarn, I cut it where the colour change matched the start of the toes and started from that end to work each heel in the colours of the other socks heel. The yarn was still attached to the top of the sock so when I finished the heel, I continued in rib to finish the sock thus using all the yarn.