Backwards, Forwards

So last January I wrote about intentions since I don’t do resolutions. The first one was to clean up my projects and get better at completing them in a reasonable amount of time. I think I have improved upon this. I did frog a lot of projects during 2011 that I knew I was never going to complete and I have been keeping a reasonable number of projects on the needles, trying to finish one before starting another. I also believe I have gotten much better at finishing projects. The proof? I finished 23 projects in 2011 compared to the 12 in 2010 (which in itself was a big number at the time).

The other intention was to document all my stash in Ravlery. Mission was accomplished and to keep it up I have been adding the yarn to Ravelry as I purchase it.

This year my biggest intention is to have my three holiday gift projects done before November 1st. I have purchased the yarn for one last September and just need to start. The second one I have just completed a custom order with Briar Rose for some Robusta and Sean got to pick the colourway (Chris from Briar Rose is awesome) and I think I’m sure about the third but nothing is in cement yet.

And other than that I just plan to keep up on last years intentions since it worked out so well as not only am I a bit more organized and have more finished objects but I am happy with the results as well.

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Sunnyside Cardigan & Cabled Toque

(In case you are wondering todays finished object post describes two finished objects)

Pattern: cabled Sunnyside Cardigarn by Tanis Lavallée and a variation on Basic Toque by Ann Budd

Made for: Mandi and Brian’s newly arrived baby boy

Size: 3-6 months for the sweater and 0-6 months for the toque

Yarn: Tanis Fibre Arts Blue Label Fingering Weight in Lemongrass

Needles: 3mm circulars and dpns

Gauge: 30sts/4inches

Started: July 30/11(sweater)           November 6/11(toque)

Finished: August 13/11(sweater)     November 8/11(toque)

Modifications: For the sweater I continued cable down side “seams” as it just seemed natural to do so. For the toque I added in a cable and fudged the number of stitches cast on.

This was made and gifted before the baby and therefore before the sex of the baby was known. This was gifted in November and yes I know I am only now posting about it. What can I say I am very behind (and on more finished objects than just this) but I can report that  Xavier is very cute! I would also like to state that I love the lady bug buttons!

The December Package

The Fall in Full Colour package for December had a little something extra special in it: Great Northern Yarns 70% Mink/20% Cashmere yarn in a colour called Rhododendron (exclusive to the club of course). This is a yarn that I’ve heard a lot about but have yet to have a chance to try until now! I was so excited when it arrived. Also in the package where Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse samples. There are many interesting and delicious properties that make up this yarn but I will save sharing those for another day! 

The November Package

The Fall in Full Colour club packages have been consistently arriving a few days before the pattern release which has been a nice treat as I love pondering what the yarn is going to become. Last Monday the package arrived and contained a delicious skein of String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn’s DK Merino in the Corylus colourway which is a rich brown with gold flecks. There was also another little treat to be found in the package; a little brown box containing two delicious chocolates. The salted caramel had a wee bit too much salt for my tastes but the hazelnut was delectable!

The patterns are released in “chapters” and not only do you get the pattern but an explanation of her thought processes as to why this yarn, colour and pattern. This month’s offering has a pattern for two different cowls (aka neckwarmers). One is very pretty and feminine and the other is more unisex and utilitarian. I am making the unisex pattern but should have enough to make the more feminine one as well, though I am thinking that pattern would look very lovely in the skein of golden Lady Godiva I have.

I told Sean about the pattern first thing in the morning when I downloaded it because I thought he might like the unisex version of the cowls as he is in need of a scarf and a cowl would serve the same purpose but can be made in much less time. However he said he would never wear such a thing. Then comes later that day when I am printing out the pattern and he gets to see a picture of what I was trying to explain to him earlier on the male model and his response changed to “Oh I could wear that, you can make it for me if you like.” The cowl in the String Theory is mine but I told him if he bought a skein of yarn (I will even let him use my String Theory discount coupon) I will make him that neckwarmer.

Holiday Knitting

So it has taken me many years to figure out how best to balance my desire to knit people lovely gifts for the holidays while balancing my sanity and not spending all my holiday time knitting. I’ve had many years where I take too much on and either haven’t finished it in time, spent all available free time in November and December knitting, stressed out and cursing why I decided to take too much on.

This year things have changed. I have decided to commit to taking on only three gifts to be knitted for the holiday season. Two are standard standby’s that are expected: a pair of socks for my Dad and a sweater for Sean. My Dad because socks are really the only thing he wants and there is no one else (except when Nanny’s feeling kind) that gives him a regular supply. Sean gets a sweater because he genuinely seems to like getting them from me and since it is a chunk of change and a lot of time it really only seems appropriate to be given as a holiday gift. The third slot will rotate depending on who hasn’t gotten something from me in a while and who would like whatever it is that I want to knit that year.

This doesn’t mean I will never knit more than those three gifts but it will only happen if time permits and I am in the mood. There is going to be no pressure for me to take on more than those three projects for the holidays (from myself or anyone else).

So how is this plan working for me? So far much better than anticipated. One gift is done and just needs to be blocked which I am saving for closer to the holidays. I have all the pieces done and the hems picked up and knitted for Sean’s sweater; assembly and knitting the collar is all that is left to be done. And as for Dad’s socks I believe this is the first year where at mid-November I am on the heel of the second sock. The holiday knitting is looking good and I don’t feel stressed for the first time.

I like this new plan.

Hazeline

Pattern: Hazeline by Anne Hanson for the September installation of the Fall in Full Colour Club.

Made for: me

Size: small

Yarn: Shalimar Yarns Breathless in “Hazel Leaf” (colourway exclusive to club)

Needles: 2.75 and 3mm circulars

Gauge: pretty close to recommended if not spot on

Started: Sept 17/11        Finished: Sept 28/11 (knitting complete on Sept 23)

The yarn chosen for this month’s club instalment was absolutely lovely. I very much enjoyed handling it as it felt so soft in my hands as I worked with it. The colourway was a bit unusual but still very pretty in the skein and even prettier when knit up. The yellow does pool a bit but somehow, at least with this pattern, it is not unattractive at all.

I have been wearing it quite a bit since the yarn is absolutely lovely and soft so it’s welcome close to the neck and it is quite a sturdy shawl so I don’t really have to worry about it snagging too much. Sadly though there never seems to be a camera around when I am wearing it so an effort had to be made for to get photos. I took it along on a hike and made sure to shoot some pictures!

I am really enjoying the club so far and now have two great accessories. Can’t wait to see what this month will bring!

A Thanksgiving Hike

Last Monday was Thanksgiving and Sean and I decided to go on a nice little hike at Hilton Falls just outside of Milton, Ontario. The leaves where just starting to change colour and the day was unseasonably warm and lovely.  Frankie joined us and had a blast jumping into the reservoir for a short swim.