Deadline Knitting

So many knitters dread deadline knitting, and yet, we all create crazy deadlines for our knitting.  It seems that most knitters hate deadline knitting but I kind of thrive on it.

I find when there is no deadline I have no incentive to finish the project (hence the number of UFO’s languishing in my house).  It’s all well and good when the deadline is reasonable.  For reasons unclear to me knitters lose all grasp of the realities of time and space when it comes to knitting projects.  For me, there are 3 types of deadling knitting – 1. KALs; 2. projects for me; 3. gifts and/or commissioned pieces.  I take KALs the least serious – I try to get it done but if I don’t it just joins the rest of the UFOs.

For projects with actual deadlines I go about it two different ways depending on the type of project.  For shawls, other projects where the rows will continue to grow as the project grows I take the total number of rows in the project divided by the number of days I have to complete it.  Bearing in mind that if I can jump ahead when the rows are short it will make up for the time when the rows become a slog.

On the other hand, if the project is a finite width I will time how long it takes to do a row and then figure out how much total time it will take to finish the project.  And then I divide the total number of hours by the number of days I have to knit it.  If I know I won’t or can’t get to it every day I will actually schedule the knitting in my planner so I know which days I need to work on it and how long that day I need to spend on it.  This has worked very well when I’ve done mermaid lapghans.  I can’t knit on those every day because the bulky yarn and large needle size bothers my thumb so I literally schedule time over the course of weeks I have to complete it.

I’m currently working on what I’ve been calling Project Crazy.  I cast on the Arrosa shawl from the Spring issue of PomPom Quarterly and was just knitting on it when I felt like it. And then I found out I had a spring event where I would like to wear it so I went into deadling knitting mode.  It’s currently the only thing I knit on and I figured out that I need to knit 4 rows per day to finish in time to block and wear.  This weekend I’ve had some extra knitting time and so have really knit ahead as it were but I’m also nearing the end so those rows are getting long and I know next weekend me will really thank this weekend me for plowing through now.  Either way, I know it will be done and will not be languishing so I do enjoy that aspect of deadline knitting.

April FO’s (and a winner!)

When I sit down to write this post I always think I didn’t finish anything this month but then I look through my pictures and find I actually did.  But first, we have a winner!!! There were six entries for the dpn cozy and so I entered 1-6 on Google and it came back with #4 which was whip1up!!!  Congrats!!!  I will get your prize out in the mail soon!

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As for the FO’s, one is a gift so I will discuss after it’s been given.  And then we have all the Easter bunnies!  I knit 4 in total and when I took them to knit night two of my friends ended up knitting a bunch of them as well.  Between the 3 of us we gave them to kids ranging in age from 1 – 9 years old, both boys and girls, and all loved them!  So I would definitely recommend for anyone.

One cute story before I move on.  One of mine was for my friends’ six year old.  He very much loved it and came up to later in the day and said “you are very talented to make this”  I just yes, I didn’t want to burst his bubble 🙂

The other thing I finished was an octopus.  I’m not sure if you have seen the stories in the news about the crocheted octopus being used in NICUs for preemie babies (see this Today show story).  I had seen the story and was interested.  Later that day I went to an appointment and my nurse asked me if I knew about it.  She wanted one to give to one of the other nurses in her department.  I did some research and there are groups on Facebook that give the directions that must be followed to officially donate an octopus. This one will be given to a preemie for use at home so it was my test knit to see how it works.  My gauge is a bit off so I might need to find thinner cotton if I make them to donate but I love how this one turned out.  I used Cotton Supreme from Universal Yarn and it is definitely my favorite cotton ever!!  It’s so soft and was so easy to work with.  If preemies are a cause you would consider knitting for check out this project.

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That’s is for April.  I’m frantically trying to finish a shawl for an event in May, something I’m referring to as Project Crazy so I hope to have one FO next month, but maybe more!

Happy knitting to all!

My First Giveaway!

I’m so excited about this!  I have a beautiful dpn cozy to giveaway here on the blog!!

The origin of this giveaway started over on Instagram.  I’ve been following MayBea Crafted (I’m not sure how or why I started following her) but she makes lovely project bags and dpn cozies.  A few weeks ago she posted a pic of some dpn cozies she was working on in some really cool feminist fabric so I left a comment about how awesome they were.  She then asked what I like or don’t like in dpn cozies.  I told her I had never used them but was thinking of trying one out and I’d keep an eye out for her next shop update.

Side note, before I continue, I had recently been thinking about dpn cozies after listening to the Yarns at Yinhoo podcast.  Sara mentioned she had never really seen a need for them (and I was agreeing with her).  I did not really understand what they were for what they did.  When Sara said they kept her dpns in place that she carried around with her I started rethinking my position on dpn cozies.  This is what led me to leave the comment on MayBea Crafted’s Instagram post.

Well, a few hours later I got a dm on Instagram from Tanya (the talent behind MayBea Crafted) offering to send me a dpn cozy to try out and let her know what I thought.  I was so blown away by her kind offer.  I sent her my address and mentioned I would be sure to feature on the blog.  That’s when she offered to send two so I could keep one and give one away!

I’ve tried mine out – I swapped out my work socks so that my pair on dpns was thrown in the bag.  Also in the bag is yarn and needles for the little ornaments I work on at lunch to sell at craft shows this fall so this bag gets a workout during the week.  I’ve loved it so far! Despite best efforts to safely place socks back in a project bag, somehow it seems like I often pull them out with one needle missing a row of live stitches to be placed back on the needle.  Using the dpn cozy all my needles and stitches were right where I left them.

I really thought the length of the cozy was just right.  It was long enough to hold the needles but not so long that it did not fit in my project bag or to allow the needles to move around in the cozy.  The snap closures were a little tight but I’m sure they will loosen up with use.  It was beautifully sewn and I love the fabrics.

I’m totally sold on using these cozies and I’m sure I’ll be buying another one from Tanya. Along with the cozies she sent two notepads and the loveliest note that reminded me again why the knitting community is the best!!!

Now, to enter to win – leave a comment on this post telling me whether or not you use dpn cozies and if you do use them what you like and dislike about them.  Contest will close in 2 weeks on April 25th.  I’ll use random number generator to chose a winner – good luck!!!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

During the week I was doing my usual daily check of the Hot Right Now patterns on Ravelry and came across these adorable Easter bunnies.  These types of projects totally suck me in (see last year’s Easter knitting extravaganza).  The pattern was free and claimed it would only take an hour to knit a bunny.  Sold!

The pattern is from Filature du Vaulgaudemar which appears to be a French yarn company, it can be found here.  It calls for worsted weight yarn (although I think anything would do if you also substituted needle sizes as well).  Basically, the pattern tells you to knit a square and then has a photo tutorial for putting in stitches that are cinched which form the ears and face.  Here’s the fun part – the back is sewn along the top so the bunny bottom is left open and can be stuffed with candy.  The instructions then have you weave a ribbon through the bottom stitches so it can be cinched closed.  I don’t know about you, but I know a few small children who will think it’s hysterical that candy comes out of the bunny’s bum!!

For the one I knit yesterday I used leftover Zealana Artisan Tui which has a nice fuzzy look to it.  The instructions warn you to be careful not to break the yarn as you are forming the ears and I, of course, broke the yarn.  I’ve decided to use some scrap acryllic on the next one so that it is strong enough to pull tight.  It took me a bit longer than an hour to knit the square and then do all the assembling and I still need to sew up the back but this is what I got done yesterday.

It’s really like magic!  It’s another great stash buster, especially for any stash with a nice halo to it.  I’m hoping to knit up a few more for some of my little friends before Easter.  If you were looking for a quick, Easter knit I would definitely check out this pattern!!

March FO’s

Well, I’m working my way through the list of 17!  I finished my 5th UFO this month which meant new cast on (more on that later!).  Back to the FO’s, I’ll start with what else has been crossed off the list.

First up is The Turtles’ Journey Shawl by Heather Anderson.  I started this as part of a KAL in 2015 and definitely did not finish it before the KAL ended.  It reminded me of my trip to Hawaii and I just loved it.  I used Blue Sky Baby Alpaca that was part of one of my rummage sale hauls.  I had a lot of it so I decided to make the larger size (bad move!).  This thing is gigantic and still needs blocking but at least the knitting is done.  It’s a fun knit but does require concentration.  And, while I thought that a picot bind off was my least favorite, I think a knitted on border is my least favorite cast off, especially on a shawl of this size!

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Next thing I finished from the list is the Head in the Clouds hat by Jess Kallberg.  This was one of those patterns that swepts through my knitting group like a 24 hour bug.  It calls for Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails and is a really fun, really quick knit.  Once I picked it up I finished it in a weekend.  It would also be a good way to use up scraps or other mini skeins that you have hanging around.

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Last, but certainly not least, I finished 2 preemie hats.  I’ve talked about the Into the Wool Fiber Retreat I will be attending in September.  As part of that retreat there are a number of pre-retreat KALs going on.  The charity KAL is collecting preemie caps for a local NICU. So, no pattern involved here, I just found some acryllic in my stash and cast on and knit until it looked big enough.  You will see my sizing varies, but so so the sizes of babies’ heads 🙂  I’m hoping to get a least one done per month leading up to the retreat.

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I’m hoping to get a few more things done in April but I’m on track to get rid of that never-ending UFO list by the end of the year.  I’m also hopeful that in April I can get back to my usual posting schedule and reading time – fingers crossed!

Paper or…

Well, not plastic but electronic, maybe???  I keep going back and forth between trying to be paperless with my patterns and still printing them out.  This has been coming up as I’ve been (slowly) working through my WIPs.  Some of them have patterns stuck in the bag and others don’t so I have to figure out where I downloaded them.  It’s also a question that comes up for designers when they are formatting their patterns.  I thought I would together a list of the pros and cons of each.

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Paper patterns

Pros:

  • Easy to write on and take notes
  • Stick in project bag so always together
  • No worries about battery use
  • New books 🙂

Cons:

  • Risk of loss is high
  • Not environmently friendly
  • Unable to access any links included with pattern
  • Can be bulky if there are numerous pages and charts
  • Printing issues (running out of ink and/or paper, etc)

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Electronic copies

Pros:

  • Save paper/ink (and the forests)
  • Clickable links to useful tutorials

Cons:

  • Remembering which device it’s on (maybe that’s just me!)
  • Remembering where on the device it’s stored
  • Battery issues
  • Limited to screen size
  • Can only look at one page at a time

For me, I usually end up just printing the pages I need and sticking it in my project bag.  I find that works best for me.  When I lined up my 17 WIPs to finish I made sure a copy of the pattern was in each bag so I was ready to go!  So paper or electronic for you???

February FO’s

Another month and two more FO’s!  That makes 4 for the year and I’m almost to five which means I can cast on something new.  At this point, I’m still getting a finishing high so while I have my eye on a few things I’m planning on keeping it up.

My first FO is the Kindness Shawl by Jaala Spiro.  This was designed for her Knit Circus gradient yarn, and as much as I really want to get my hands on that I stuck to my “use stash” rule.  In my stash I had a gradient kit from Fiber Optics Yarn that I bought at Estes Park in the Wild Thyme colorway.  I had been waiting for just the right thing for it and this was it!  The pattern called for 415-430 yards of fingering and the gradient set had 450 yards.

This was my first time knitting with a number of mini skeins and I thought I was going to run out of yarn the whole time I was knitting.  Those little skeins don’t seem to go so far but I had plenty.  I wanted to make sure I used all the colors so I added an extra lace repeat and ended up with a teeny, tiny ball left so it was perfect!  Wild Thyme goes from a blue/purple to a bright, light green.

The pattern is free!  I’m not sure if it was the mini skeins or the pattern or the combo but it was a really fun knit.  The nice folks at Knit Circus are running a KAL for the pattern and are donating to two different charities for the first 100 finished shawls through March 1st. Spreading more knitting kindness through the world.

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I still need to block out the lace but it’s pretty even before blocking!!!

My other FO is a little less exciting.  I’m hoping to replace all my worn out (and poorly knit) dishclothes.  I did this one real quick – it’s the Citrus Slice Dishcloth by Bernat.  I used some kitchen cotton from my stash.  I saw on Instagram Colorado Knits is knitting a montly themed dishcloth each month for a friend and I loved this idea so I may get some more cotton and figure out some more monthly themes.  I think this lemon slice is perfect for June!

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So, quick list update:

  • SBB Mitts – which was part of the 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long – DONE!
  • Rainy Season Mitts – a test knit I did last year but only had to complete one mitt
  • Turtle Journey Shawl – a KAL I started in 2015
  • Werifesteria Shawl – a KAL I did last year
  • Striped socks – started these over the summer
  • Shiney Penny Cowl – I cast this on last year with handspun I got from a friend
  • Derecho – the bain of my existence, I cast this on in May, 2014
  • I Smell Snow socks – these are my work socks and I started them late 2016
  • Christmas socks – cast on during Advent 2016
  • Peace Cowl – this was the Peace-A-Long that was held during December
  • Pussy Hat – for the Women’s March!!! – DONE!
  • Sunny the Snowman – new pattern by Susan Claudino
  • Baable hat – cast on in 2016 because I could not resist the kit put together by Knerd Shop
  • Kindness Shawl – this is a KAL being hosted by Knit Circus – DONE!
  • Cabled Cowl – I had this picked out and ready to go with yarn I got in Hawaii in 2014
  • Citrus Slice dishcloth – I need new dishclothes and I will talk more about this during the year – DONE!
  • Head in the Clouds Hat – I bought yarn for this sometime last year so decided to get it cast on so it could be part of the 17.

Moving right along!!  Bonus – no new cast ons this month and no yarn bought!!  Yes, I’ve gone 2 whole months so far!!!