Getting Back to It

Okay, I’ll admit it.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  I’ve been a slacker about knitting and even more of a slacker about posting.  I’m way behind in my plans for the year, and at this rate I’ll be lucky if I finish the sweaters I need to do by Christmas.  But all is not lost!  I’m back on the game again.

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Let’s start with this one.  I started this quite a while ago and got it done, but I didn’t post it.  I’m not totally thrilled with how visible the pockets are, but I guess I can’t complain too much.  He absolutely loves it!  Now I just need to make sure it makes it under the tree!  With cold weather coming up I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants it sooner, but it’s still decently warm right now.

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And this scarf?  It’s actually mostly done now.  I just need to wash it really well and snip all the ends.  I think I have one end left to weave in and that’s done.  It turned out beautifully.  It was actually the first project I picked up again when I started back on knitting.  I wanted to have it done in time for the cool weather to roll in.  Bonus that it was a little meditative.  It’s funny because I originally put it down because it was starting to slog and it just got boring, but when I picked it up again, that became my zen.  I’m kind of sad that it’s done because I can’t knit on it anymore!

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The next major project to get done was Link’s sweater.  As much as I got sick of it early on because it was merciless amounts of ribbing, I actually found I kind of enjoyed parts of this knit.  I might even consider making another one at some point.  I particularly love the way the ends of the sleeves look.

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And this is it mostly done.  I still need to weave in the ends, and I probably will once I’m finally feeling a little better.  I got hit with the plague and that’s been the end of that.  I haven’t wanted to focus on something as fiddly as that.  On top of all that, it’s a very dark sweater, which makes it difficult to weave ends on at night.  It’s got to be done by September 30th so it can be packed away for a camping trip, even though it’s a Christmas present.  He needs something warm to wear, and this is just perfect.

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This is the point where I prove just how much of an evil mom I am!  This is my daughter.  You know what she’s doing?  Yeah, she’s balling yarn by hand because I don’t have a yarn baller and swift.  And whose yarn is she balling?  Well, it’s the yarn for her own Christmas sweater!  I know, I’m an awful mom, making her work for her own Christmas present!  It’s a good thing she likes balling yarn!

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The sweater is definitely coming right along.  It’s slow progress because it’s got a lot of cables, alternating rows and all of that.  It’s a lot more complicated than I’d really hoped it would be, but it’s going to look amazing in the end.  I don’t love the color as it’s a bit dark and it’s hard to see the pattern, but it’s what she wanted when I ordered it.  Now I just have to race against the clock to get it done by Christmas!  It’s the biggest of the sweaters and the most complicated.  It’s going to be interesting getting this one done!

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W.I.P. Wednesdays: Getting It Done Early

I made some serious progress on knitting this week.  I think it definitely helps that I’m mostly working on projects for kids lately, so that definitely helps.  Those work up so much quicker than full sized sweaters for me.  The progress feels really good.

This is Luca’s Lord Loxley Pullover.  It’s not done yet.  I still need to do the sleeves, sew in the snap tape, and block it, but it’s looking pretty good.  If you didn’t know it was supposed to have sleeves it would look pretty done.  Bear wanted to wear it right away, and it’s becoming tempting not to put it away for Christmas.  Christmas can come early, right?  It’s certainly big enough that if it gets put aside for Christmas it will still be plenty big by then.  It feels really good to have Christmas knitting out of the way so soon.

I will say that with this pattern there was a little bit of improvising.  There were a couple points where things just didn’t add up, so I decided to fudge it and go with it anyway, particularly in the hood.  It all worked out pretty well, so I’m not complaining.  There’s also reference to a stripe pattern for the sleeves, but I can’t find a listing for the stripe pattern anywhere, which may just be my own oversight.  Even so, I’m loving how this turned out and I’d definitely recommend the pattern to another knitter.  I can’t be sure I’ll ever knit another one (mostly because there are too many other patterns I want to knit while the kids are still small), but it was definitely a fun knit and totally worth it.

This is Sander’s Thingamajigger.  I love this pattern so far.  I’m finding that I really like knitting top-down raglan sweaters.  I’ve only knit one this way, but so far I think it’s my favorite construction.  Of course, we’ll see how I feel about it when I go back to pick up stitches for the turtle neck and the sleeves, since I hate picking up stitches, but so far I absolutely love it.

I have to admit, there’s a part of this pattern that has me really intimidated.  I’ve been looking ahead and I’m really confused about how the pockets are done.  I’m sure I’ll be able to figure them out, and if not, there are a lot of people who have knit it on Ravelry, so there are plenty of people to ask.  But this is my first ever project with pockets, so this is entirely new to me.  I’m kind of excited to do it, honestly.

Though I don’t have a picture, I’ve almost finished a single sock too.  I only really work on it when I’m babysitting, so I don’t make much progress with it, but it’s getting there.  I’ll eventually have a pair of socks to show off.

Pretty much everything else has been on hold.  I haven’t been knitting on my scarf, though I really should.  One sweater is on hold because I’m waiting to hear back from Knit Picks on it (though I’m less than hopeful and may just make it up as I go along).  I have another sweater that’s on hold because, honestly, I’m just not up for working on that much in the way of cables right now.  I have slippers that I’ve started and I really need to go back and finish.  There’s a hat that just needs ends woven in and tassels put on.  There’s a lot that needs love.  This is very much not like me, but I guess I’m just becoming like the average knitter.  I have to admit, it’s kind of nice to have projects to cycle through, just for the fun of it.

Stuck, But Moving On

I was so happy about the Reindeer Sweater up until recently.  I was absolutely cruising along.  I loved the pattern and the way it was turning out.  I couldn’t wait to get to the bust increases so I could be one step closer to putting it all together.  I loved it so much.

This is where the sweater ended when I got to the increase chart.  I should have read the chart over thoroughly before I started working on this sweater.  I would have caught the mistake sooner.  There are increases on the grid for the chart, but there’s no increase stitches listed.  I literally have no idea what I’m supposed to do to increase according to the pattern.  Someone else has completed the pattern, so I can only imagine that someone must have, but I don’t know how they did it, because I’ve checked the instructions three times, and the answer isn’t there.

I did the only thing I knew to do.  I put in an email to Knit Picks customer support.  Now, I’ve done this once before over an issue with a broken needle and I never heard back.  It resulted in me ordering a new set, even though the thing just came apart in my hands.  It’s not like I actually broke it.  But I’m not overly optimistic about this.  It’s been probably close to a week and I’ve heard nothing back.  This doesn’t inspire me with a lot of confidence.  Granted, they may be contacting the designer over it, which may take some time, but even getting an automated email saying my concern was received and would be handled would be something.  I have a funny feeling I’m going to have to make it up as I go along, or to try and contact the designer on Ravelry, even though she says to go through Knit Picks customer support, because if I’m not getting answers from them, someone needs to get back to me.  Obviously this pattern needs an errata, or I missed something, or I don’t know what, but I need someone to point it out for me because I really have no clue.

And it’s not just that.  The pattern clearly does need an errata.  There’s a section of the sleeve pattern that has one extra stitch.  It’s clear on the chart because there’s three purls on the side of the pattern on one side, and two on the other, so the logical choice is to take out the extra stitch and make the sides symmetrical, which is what I did.  But clearly the pattern needs to be updated so that change can be reflected.

It’s hard for me because I am such a new sweater knitter.  I’m not an accomplished sweater knitter, or garment knitter of any kind.  I’ve done a lot of hats, socks, and fingerless gloves.  I’ve done a few shawls.  But the concept of body shaping is totally foreign to me, as is making those increases look natural in the pattern.  I have no idea how to make them where it wouldn’t look obvious, and for such a lovely sweater, I wouldn’t want to mar it that way.  I mean, I’m in love with the look of this pattern, so I really want it to look as good as it does on the model.  Well, close enough, at least.  My body is clearly not as slim as hers is, but that’s beside the point.

While I’m in limbo on that pattern, I put both sleeves from the Reindeer Sweater on one long cable so I could free up a cable to work on this.  This is the Lord Loxley Pullover by Megan Grewal.  I’m knitting this out of Knit Picks Swish DK, which I love.  After using its worsted variant on the Squirrel Sweater, I couldn’t wait to try it in this.  The squirrel sweater washed so incredibly well and is so soft now.  I think this will be great for my littlest to wear.

For the Loxley I’m working in the exact colors suggested by the pattern, though I’m not sure they really match the picture.  I think the original was knit up in a different yarn, and was later adapted for the Knit Picks yarn.  These were the colors my littlest picked, and I’m working it for the size 8, even though he’d probably fit best in the 6, or even the 4 (he’s pretty bitty for a 5 year old).  I’m making it for Christmas, so I wanted to make sure there’s plenty of room to grow.  Besides, with four kids it’s not like I have the time to knit them a whole lot of sweaters each year, so I want them to get the most possible wear out of the ones I make them.  I’d rather have to roll up sleeves and get another year or two of wear out of it than have to give it up after all that hard work, especially since after my littlest, there’s no one left to hand those sweaters down to.  I suppose I could always hold on to them in case I some day have grandkids, but that may be years, if it ever happens, and by then I’ll probably want to knit all new things for them, and these sweaters may not be in great condition from being stored.  I’d rather pass them on to neighbors or someone who will actually use them.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ll probably have a lot more to say on this sweater as time goes on, especially with how quickly it’s working up.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I finished it in as little as a month, even with having to rip out a whole pattern repeat (because I made a mistake, which meant pulling back over 20 rows), knitting on other projects, and having the fiddly bit of figuring out how to add a hood.  I’m encouraged by how quickly it’s working up.

Actually, for that matter, it’s working up so quickly that I ordered the yarn for my next one’s sweater, so I can have it ready to go when I’m done with this one, in case the Reindeer Sweater is still on hold, and the Valentine Sweater is to cumbersome to want to deal with on a regular basis (so much for having that done for Valentine’s Day…what was I thinking?)  It feels good to be lining things up for the kids so they’ll be ready in plenty of time for Christmas.  I might actually meet my Ravelery goal of 20 projects this year if this keeps up!

F.O. Friday

I did it!  My first project of the year is finished.  Actually, they were finished last week, but I never posted about them.  I’m just happy that I finally have one thing off the needles this year, and it was something I actually started this year too.

Those are the socks.  I love the way the blue and the pink look together.  I’m really hoping to get the purple ones cast on soon, but I want to finish a pair of socks for myself first.  I’ve been putting everyone else first lately when it comes to socks.  It’s about time I crank out a pair for myself.  But I’m super happy with the way these turned out!

The Grandma Sweaters

Ever since my daughter was three my grandmother has been making stuff for the kids.  I can’t fault her for not making stuff for my daughter before that because I had fallen off the face of the planet and we weren’t in touch, but since then it’s something the kids have come to expect at least yearly.  In the beginning of winter they get hats and mittens.  Sometime over the winter they get sweaters.

This year (being my first year of having this blog) I wanted to share some knits from the knitter that got me started.  If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I wouldn’t even know how to knit.  I picked it up because I remember her knitting all the time, and I was always impressed with her ability to turn what seemed like little more than string into wearable garments.  It was with her in mind that I picked up my first “Learn to Knit” kit, years after she attempted to teach me only to find I didn’t have a head for it.  Sometimes you just have to learn these things as an adult.

This is the first of the sweaters to come out of the box.  Luca was so excited that it had a Minion on it.  And it was so incredibly soft!  I am seriously jealous of how soft this sweater is!  It’s also in Luca’s favorite shade of blue.  I know she couldn’t have known that, given she’s out of state and doesn’t get much time with the kids, but she somehow managed to pick just the right one.

This is Corde’s sweater.  What does she love about it?  Aside from the pocket, it’s got all the “purly bumps!”  She loves the purl side out on things, so having a sweater with a lot of that was absolutely perfect for her.  This is also her first adult sized sweater, so she’s super happy about that.

Sander and A.J. really loved theirs too, especially Sander.  It’s his favorite shade of green, the shade he wants me to make a sweater for him.  It’s also got a huge Minion on it, and Minions are his favorite thing ever right now.  A.J. has orange, which he loves because it’s a Halloween color, and a Transformer, which is also pretty cool.  It even says Transformer on the bottom, which I think is cool because I’ve never done any kind of lettering on knits.  I bet I could, but I’m always impressed by it when I see it.

The kids were so excited about their sweaters.  It’s one thing they look forward to every year, knits from their Great-Grandma.  They call them “The Grandma Sweaters,” even though they’re really made by Great-Grandma.  Those knits get a lot of love too, in spite of things like lost mittens.  (I swear, mittens are the most frequently lost items in my house!)  There’s something special about getting things made with love.

I have to say, I have a lot to thank my grandmother for.  Without her I doubt I ever would have become a knitter.  I have fond memories of double knit mittens, puppet mittens, and a very special sweater with kangaroos on it.  Years later I can’t stop talking about that sweater.

Now, because of her encouragement, I’ve become quite the knitter.  I’ve pushed myself to take on harder and harder projects, because I love to challenge myself.  It’s become something I love and something we have in common.  It’s a way we can create useful things for the people we love, even if my knits have started out so much for myself.  Knitting gifts is so much more personal, and she’s definitely taught me that.  I can’t help but love that we have this in common!

W.I.P. Thursday Again

Well, I didn’t get to updating yesterday like I wanted to because I was sick.  I wasn’t much in the mood to do anything.  Thankfully, I’m feeling much better, so I can update all my happy little knits!

This is my Northern Lights Socks, at least the first one, before I frogged it and started over.  This is Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in Northern Lights.  I know, creative name for my project, huh?  I’m probably about back to this place in the work again.  I decided I’ve been knitting enough socks for everyone else (and by that I mean two pairs for someone else…)  It’s time to knit myself a pair.  Besides, I just love this yarn.  I’m not as much about the yarn I was using before.  It feels a bit scratchy to me, but this yarn is soft and lovely.  The only thing I’m concerned about is the wear.  They may wear out quicker because they’re softer.  Oh well, I guess that means I just have to make more socks!

And this is how far I’ve gotten in the Reindeer Sweater!  I have to admit, by this point the pattern is kind of dragging on me.  I think this is the one downside to knitting sweaters.  They’re large enough and enough of the same repetitive pattern that it starts to get old.  I actually think I would be happier knitting a plain sweater with endless rounds of knitting, no pattern involved.  But this sweater is coming along to look so pretty!  It’s totally worth the cables that are starting to get a little tedious.

I’m about halfway through the decrease chart on this one.  As you can imagine by the current length, this is looking to be a long sweater.  I’m okay with that.  I actually like long sweaters more than shorter ones, so this will be just fine by me.  Unfortunately, that means I’ve got a lot more work on the same repetitive pattern.

And this is where I have to admit that I’ve once again fallen off the path with my other projects.  I haven’t knit a stitch on my other sweater in perhaps two weeks.  I think I may have thrown on another color on the scarf, but it’s been a while since I’ve given either of them much love.  And I haven’t done a whole lot of knitting in general this week.  The part that makes me feel really guilty?  I still haven’t finished weaving in the ends on my daughter’s hat!  By the time it’s done it’ll be too warm to wear it!

There’s so much I have to get done.  I’d best start rolling.  After all, I have a minimum of four sweaters to knit this year, and one to finish.  I just might have bitten off more than I can chew on this one.  Thankfully, two of those sweaters are for kids, one for a tween, and one for a very small teen.  Plus one is already halfway done.  I’m getting there, slowly but surely.  Now I just need to work at having things off the needles so I’m more open to start new projects!

W.I.P. Wednesday: Down to Two

This was an unproductive week.  I only made progress on two projects.  I feel like I’m neglecting my other projects, but that’s just how it’s been.  I’ve really been into my sweater, so I’ve been sticking close by that, and neglecting pretty much everything else.

The Reindeer Sweater is really coming along!  Last week, I think, I had just finished the sleeves.  This week I’ve managed to get a good start to the body.  That’s got to be about ten inches or so (though I don’t know because I haven’t measured).  I’ve gotten a good start on the decrease chart, though I still have a long way to go.  There are a lot of stitches in the body, so it’s going to take me a while.  I’m not complaining because this is my favorite project by far right now.  I really love working on it.

This whole thing reminds me of when I used to be monogamous with projects, which wasn’t all that long ago.  I used to love picking up a project and working it through to the end, dedicating my every waking moment to it.  That hasn’t been how I’ve done things for a good long while.  I’ve noticed that projects that get a little more tedious and repetitive have me wishing for something else to break it up.  I still give them love time and again, but I tend to make a lot more progress on the things that are a lot more engaging, and where I seem to be making a lot more progress really quickly.  It really suits me to have more than one project in my life.

And my socks!  Okay, they’re not “my” socks.  They’re going to be gifted for Valentine’s Day, but still, they’re socks that I’m making.  I’ve made it past the heel in the second sock, and I’m making good progress.  From the heel to the end is what I got done today while babysitting.  I feel pretty good about it.  These will definitely be done in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day.  I may have to see if I can cast on and whip up a second pair before the holiday, though I think that’s asking a bit much.  I don’t have as much travel knitting to do for the next little while, which I’m relieved about because I need a break from all that activity!  It was just too much.

I feel like I don’t have much to say this week.  I haven’t gotten a whole lot done.  I mean, I’ve made some fantastic progress on that sweater, but nothing to say about any of the other projects I’ve been neglecting this week.  And this weekly check-in is definitely good for me when it comes to accountability!  It’s proof of just how much I have (or haven’t been) accomplishing.  It’s also a good time to think about what I haven’t been moving on lately and probably could use a little love.