Updates galore!

January 11, 2012

Well, belated Happy New Year everyone!  Apparently the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, which some ding dong has taken to mean the world will also end this year, sooooo, make it count everyone!!!  Take that awesome trip!  Knit that gorgeous yarn!  Buy those fabulous shoes!!  Eat all those french fries!  Oh, wait, that’s my list of 2012 resolutions.  Heh.

But in all seriousness.  I don’t for a moment believe that the world is ending because the Mayan time cycle is done.  But I do plan to live a more interesting life.  Maybe interesting isn’t the word I’m looking for.  A more active life?  Well sort of.  I think what I’m trying to say is that I want to be more engaged this year.  To get out more, even if it’s just walks in my ‘hood.  To try new things…new recipes, new craft projects. To step, just a little, outside my comfort zone.  And of course lose all that weight I gained since I got married.  Those 55lbs are getting to be a real pain to carry around.

So what’s been happening since I last posted?  Well, the stairs are done.  And they look FANTASTIC!  I’ll take a picture if it stays sunny for more than 12 minutes.  And figure out how to post it too.  But I’m really quite pleased with myself and the way they look.  The brown isn’t as chocolate-y as I thought it would be, but you know, it’s ok.  I can live with it.  Because I am not painting them again anytime soon.

My Great Stash Knitdown of 2011 was a big success.  My goal was to use up 111 balls/skeins of yarn from my stash.  I smashed that and ended up knitting 128 balls.  GOOOOOOOOO me!  I also ended up buying 46 balls of yarn this year so technically I only knit 82 balls.  But whatever.  That’s still a lot of yarn.  And I’m not counting the stuff I gave away.  That counts for at least 10 balls.  I think.

This year my goal is to knit 150 balls.  And buy under 20 balls.  My stretch goal is 175 but we’ll see.  So far I’m only at one ball but I’ve got a few things on the go.  I might not make either goal but I will be whittling down my stash and that’s a good thing.

I also plan to knit for me this year.  And for those who appreciate it.  LIKE MY FAMILY.  ahem.  This Christmas I gave the outlaws and my family food gifts.  I spent a week in the kitchen canning and baking.  The outlaws were not so impressed.  My family was pretty happy.  The end result?  I’d rather bake four loaves of bread in my bread maker and can marmalade than kill myself trying to knit for people who won’t wear what I  make.  Christmas 2012 is gonna be all about homemade but it’s gonna be fast homemade.  And if you don’t like it, re-gift.  Everyone likes baked goods and homemade jam.

On the job front, things are maybekindasorta looking up.  Cross your fingers for me.  Being home is awesome but having a regular pay cheque is also awesome.  I’ll keep you posted.

On the inlaw front, they seem more subdued.  Not sure why but I’m not questioning it. Of course, this could be the calm before the storm.  I figure I’ll enjoy it while I can because when the sh!t hits the fan, well, it gets ugly.

Overall I’m pretty stoked about 2012.  I really think it’s going to be a good one.  And I’m going to do my best to make it a good one.  And maybe that’s half the battle.

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Q1 progress

April 1, 2011

Ok, one quarter down, a short break in the yarn fast and a quick progress update.

From January 1 to March 31, 2011 I have knit 33 FULL BALLS OF YARN.  ahem.  Yep, 33 balls of yarn.  That’s 3660 metres and 29.72% of my goal.  I am AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.  Which is surprising and makes me happy.  It’s also a good thing to be slightly ahead when the inevitable “knitting injury” happens or I just don’t feel like knitting during the dog days of July and August.

I had a little fall off the “woolly wagon” in early March when I bought six balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease and a ball of LB Homespun.  But the Homespun was to finish a project that ended up not fitting me but looks AMAZING on my massage therapist.  So it wasn’t a total waste.

I’ve started 19 projects and have finished 16 of them.  Granted most are small things like mittens but they are eating up yarn like crazy and I’m making a scrappy blanket out of the remainders.  Which is also eating up yarn.  When it’s all over I might even add a page here outlining what I’ve made and how much yarn it used up.  Maybe.  If I’m not too lazy.

April is also my month to take a break from stash knitting.  It is my birthday month, but it’s more likely any birthday money I get will go to fill up my gas tank than towards yarn.  But I am going to the States in 13 days and I know I’ll buy some of that big-box-yarn-we-don’t-have-here-in-Soviet-Canukistan JUST BECAUSE I CAN.  Also because my parents will be driving my suitcase and anything bulky I buy back home.  So the incentive to keep my purchases to Air Canada luggage weight allotments has literally flown right out the window.  And, as if US big box stores and Florida LYS’ weren’t temptation enough, Webs is having their annual two month anniversary sale.  BUT, I can only buy yarn in April.  So there are some small mercies.

Overall though, I have to say that it’s kind of fun to knit from the stash.  Yes, thank you I am feeling ok.  No, I’m not suffering from a fever.  It’s very liberating to go through ALL THE STASH (and believe me there is a lot of it) and remember what I bought and figure out what I’m going to do with it.  I try to do this at least once a month.  My queue changes constantly and I don’t have nearly enough acrylic or mostly acrylic for the scrappy blanket I’m making I have noticed. 

It’s also liberating to give yarn away.  I’ve donated a few skeins to my knitting friends and I have one skein that is awaiting postage to a far away friend.  As the year goes on I’ll likely donate some to the onsite day care or people who will love it more than I do. 

Three months down and I’m still excited about this project.  Maybe I’ll do it again next year.


A momentary lapse

March 4, 2011

So, I’ve been on a yarn diet since October.  It’s actually a yarn fast since I haven’t actually bought ANY yarn but a calling it a yarn diet works.  It doens’t sound so severe and painful.  Actually it’s not been that painful.  I’ve avoided yarn shops and opening emails from Webs and other stores I used to frequent while I was online.  I bypassed the Spinnrite Winter Sale.  I haven’t missed buying yarn all that much either.  I’ve looked through my stash (several times) and my pattern books and I’ve got probably ten things I want to knit RIGHT THIS  MOMENT.  I also have the suggested yarn for those projects too, which is serendipitous.

During one of my stash shopping trips I found a lonely ball of Lion Brand Homespun (in Edwardian) and remembered that I had bought it with the express purpose of making this shrug.  The Hubs and I are going to a wedding this weekend and I figured it’d be easier to knit this than wrestle with a pashmina-type wrap all night.  Plus I get to add another ball of yarn to my 111 in 2011 project.  So I cast on Monday night.  Wednesday night I knew the yarn requirements were wrong.  Even if I didn’t add another five rows of garter stitch to the back I’d be hooped and have run out of yarn midway through the back.  I wasn’t about to frog the Homespun (ugh) and I didn’t want to toss it. 

So, a trip to Michaels.  For one ball of yarn.  One.  Ball. Of. Yarn.  That turned into seven.  That F’ing Michaels had Wool-Ease on sale for $2.49 a ball.  $2.49!  I had to restrain myself to six balls.  If I didn’t have to meet the Hubs at Staples in five minutes I would have done a lot more damage. 

But it’s just a momentary lapse.  A slight bump in the road.  For $15 I got my fix and I know it’s something that will get used very shortly.  Today, I’m back on the woolly wagon.  It’s just a bit sad that I fell off for Lion Brand.  Why couldn’t it have been Noro?


Checking In

February 22, 2011

After I decided to do the 111 in 2011 project and posted about it, I got a little stressed.  111 skeins/balls/units of yarn is a lot of yarn.  Even if you decide to use 111 skeins of bulky yarn in 55 m skeins (not that that had crossed my mind no siree it hadn’t) that still works out to 6105 m to knit up.  Or 6.1 km.  Not far but not really close either.  And since I’ve gone public with it, what if I don’t make my goal?  It’s enough to make a knitter lose sleep.

So, to ease my nerves, I tossed my stash a few weeks ago and pulled out several projects worth of yarn (hats, coats, shawls, sweaters, socks) in various weights and piled them up on my desk.  As incentive.  I still don’t have one empty storage bin but I’m getting close. 

I also pulled out several mill end bags and figured out what to do with them.  Sometime last year I went a little crazy got a great deal on Patons SWS mill ends at my local Zellers.  I bought nine bags.  Maybe 10.  No, definitely nine.  Ok nine that I’m admitting to.  Each bag has five balls of yarn in it.  I used 2/3 of a ball to make a hat.  And the rest of it has sat, silently reproaching me.  So I measured it, caked it and knit a French Market Bag out of five more balls.  To be honest, I’m a little disappointed with the bag.  It’s not as big as I’d have liked it to be (even though I knit the body another 7 inches longer) but that’s my problem.  But, I used up nearly a pound of yarn and I’ll use the bag for something.  And that’s what got the blood flowing.

I knit up a pair of fingerless mitts for me using yarn that’s been kicking around for a few years.  I knit up some dishcloths for the house and cottage.  I’m working through some Loops and Threads  for kids mittens as well.  I blew through four balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky last month and I’ve finally started that Lopi sweater (#18, Design 1) for the Hubs.

So, in nearly two months, I’ve used up 18 balls/skeins of yarn for a grand total of 1631 m knitted.  Which is 1.6 km.  Which is about the distance from The Money Pit to the highway on-ramp.  Which is exciting.

I’ve got 93 balls left to knit and I’m just getting going.  I’ve got some chunky blankets to make for the cottage, more felted clogs and lots and lots of socks and mittens.  I am finding it kind of empowering to shop from my stash as well.  I have a lot of yarn and most of the time I can make it fit the pattern I want to make.  And if I can’t, well, the pattern is filed for future use when the stash is smaller and I can justify buying more yarn.  I might it at that point.  If I still like it.

And it’s nice to see some space emerging.  No empty storage bins yet but I cleared off a shelf in our spare room closet last night and slowly but surely that giant pile of yarn on my desk is getting smaller.  I also have fewer projects on my needles at any given time and I’m more organized about what I’m making.  But the best part of all of this is the incredible sense of satisfaction I get when I can “x” out the numbers on my count down chart. 

I’ve gone from I think I can to I know I can.  I’ll update again in a month.  And when I hit 5k, I’ll have a little something special planned.


111 in 2011

January 28, 2011

I have a lot of yarn.  A lot.  I can’t fit it all in one room anymore.  Well, that’s not entirely true, it can all fit in one room, if I emptied it all out on the floor or just stacked up all the boxes and baskets and totes in that room and forgot about furniture. 

Mostly it’s stored in what I call my home office (which co-incidentally happens to be the smallest room in the house…outside of the 2nd floor bathroom) and what the Hubs calls the Hoarders Episode.  But I also have yarn in the spare room closet and a bit in our bedroom.  Oh, and our actual home office.  Crap I have a lot of yarn.  It’s frightening when I think of it.  I’m not at Hoarders level yet, but I could easily get there.

So enough is enough.  Also something I’ve had enough of is the Hubs bitching about it.  Oh sure I’d bitch about his stuff, except that he doesn’t really collect stuff.  Except for bottles of Diet Coke.  But he drinks those as fast as he buys them so no dice.

I don’t know where I came across this idea, probably on Ravelry since I’m not this imaginative, but it struck a cord.  Someone was going to go through 100 balls of yarn in 2011.  Neat idea, but for me 100 balls in 2011 didn’t have a nice ring.  So I’m going for 111 in 11.  It has a nicer ring to it.

And I don’t imagine it will be all that hard.  I’m not putting a distance requirement on this project, one ball is just as good as another.  Obviously laceweight is going to bite since it’s so thin and there’s so much of it but even still, it will be nice to get a few skeins of that out of the closet and made into a shawl.  Or three.  I have just over 11 months to go.  I’m pumped.

I just used up five balls of yarn (365m) as of last night.  That means I have 106 balls to go.  And I’m about to start the Hub’s Lopi sweater which will use up 22 more balls.  And there’s my self-imposed-sock-club (post to come on that one of these days) which will knock off at least 11 more skeins/balls and maybe more.  I have a few baby blankets to knit and several hats to make, Lizard Ridge  (21 more balls) and my mom wants a shawl as well.  I hope to reach my goal in the fall but that’s likely tempting the fates so I’ll keep my mouth shut. 

It will be interesting at the end of it all to see how many kilometres of yarn I’ve used.  I can’t wait to tell the Hubs how far we could have driven overall with the amount I will have knitted.  That will be supercool.  Well for a knitter it will be.

And I can’t wait to see how much free space I’ll have at the end of it.  I’m hoping to free up at least two 76L totes.  But who knows.  Maybe it will be more.  Maybe I’ll be able to finally fit another chair in the Hoarders Episode room my home office.  Maybe I’ll be able to fit a chair under my desk.  Oooh the possibilities.

I’m also on a yarn diet too.  In conjunction with using up these 111 balls.  The diet ends in April (when I take a brief visit to the US and all their glorious and well stocked craft stores) but I’ll be back on it in May. 

Wish me luck.  And send suggestions on yarn eating projects.  I’ll post sporadically about how many balls I’ve knit up and how many kilometres I’ve knitted.  I’m guessing that by the end of it I will be able to get from my house to Toronto.  That’s 70 kms.  About a marathon and a half.  I can knit it.  Now if only I could run it!