Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy End of The Year!

I for one am so glad this year is finally ending. It's really tested what little strength I have in a lot of ways. The journey is never over until it's over, but I totally want to dig my heels in for a respite about now. There have been so many blessings I'm thankful for, Many MANY! But honestly, this year has sucked in so many ways too. That's life, we gotta do our best and try to go on. Don't mind my babbling. I'm just exhausted beyond measure right now. Just please 2011, please be better.

I did want to update the last of my 2010 Knitting on the blog though. I didn't knit as much this year but I sort of remember enjoying most of it anyway. The fibro and auto-immune issues have put some obstacles in my path over and over again (ow, ow, OWWW! Bad part of the year for SURE!), but I just can't stop doing what I love. (And now spinning is added to the fun! One good part of last year!)

Feather & Fan Fingerless Gloves By Kollage
Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed Sock Yarn in Bordeaux
Size 1 needles.
Ugh! What a LOVE/HATE relationship these were!! I started them sometime in the spring I think. They went to CA with me in May, (they travelled well at least.) I've carried them around to several knitting meetings, they sat in my bag for MONTHS, it felt like it was time to get them done. Around November I begrudgingly took them out and set out to finish them once and for all. This is a super EASY pattern, I just didn't dig it I guess. I love the finished result, I just didn't enjoy making them. Then on glove #2 things went a bit haywire, my stitch count got off, my thumb was too long, then too know, knitting CRAZINESS! But, I took deep breaths, tinked when necessary, fudged when necessary, and got them done. Yay me!

My Last Beech Wood Cowl (for awhile anyway).
Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in a purple colorway (couldn't get it right on camera to save my life).
Size 6 needle.


Here are my other Beech Wood's:
Yarn: Madenlinetosh Vintage

Yarn: Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters In Wild Raspberry
Madelinetosh Vintage

What can I say, I made four in a very short span (my aching thumbs do protest quite loudly now). I do love this pattern. Simple yet so pretty when worn. My daughters look great in these, I see a couple more in my future (at some point.) With my thumb (hand, wrist) pain lately it seems like all that sock yarn in the stash is going to get to rest a LONG while, it's sport or worsted for now until this pain lets up.
Weekly NO Knitting Breaks = NO FUN!

I did also whip these up for an Aunt of mine:
Just a basic hat and fingerless mitts made out of Plymouth Boku Yarn. Not the softest stuff, but I do love the colors! I used two skeins for these.

And one of my last knits (Oops! Crochet!!) of 2010:
Pattern: Square Shell Coasters made for my swap partner Mary Jane.
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna's Glamour
This yarn was hard on my hands, not soft as I would've liked but they're just coasters so it worked. I would never use this for something next to the skin though.

My yarny New Years plan is to try (once again) to knit from the stash as much as possible. This grasshopper has played and it's time to get to work and rebuild & save again. Besides the closet is seeming to overwhelm me again, I wonder if it's time to let some of that acrylic go - or try a different kind of storage?... in any case, I hope to make a dent in what's already there. (And take a bunch to our knitting group yarn swap).  Next year feels like a de-cluttering kind of year. I just hope my legs will hold me up long enough and my arms will cooperate.

Happy New Year and many blessings out to my fellow bloggers and knitting buddy's. Many thanks too for all your prayers for my FIL and family. He's still in ICU, we know he's very ill, but we continue to pray and love him. ♥

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do-Overs and Spinning

Wish they were for real when it comes to living a year over again. 

Overall, we've had many blessings this year, but it's definitely had major challenges as well. Being a grown up sure isn't what we think when we're young. 

Our latest challenge has been my FIL recently becoming ill with lung cancer and is now going back and forth to the hospital for various reasons. He had his first chemo treatment recently, but has been in for pain in his chest, swelling, possible pneumonia, and now he has a fever.  It's hard to explain to your children that someone they love so very much may not be with us a whole lot longer but that we have to continue to pray for them no matter what. Around the holidays it's even tougher. 

But we're holding onto hope. Always gotta hold on. And Pray.

I figure it's also time to document my spinning for this year. Next year I hope I see some progress and growth. What I don't want is yarn that looks like something I can buy at a LYS that's manufactured. I totally want the barber pole effect in a nice soft lofty yarn and many colors! 

I'm loving my little Ashford Joy wheel, she spins wonderfully when I get my groove going, it's just THAT part isn't as consistent yet! I know I need to practice more, my legs and fingers haven't been as cooperative as I'd like. Sometimes after I spin for a bit my legs feel like jello, weak as a new born calf. This auto-immune thing I have seems to have weakness in my arms and legs as a regular symptom anymore. It really stinks. But, I do enjoy it when I get some good spinning time in. It's just a price I have to pay to do what I love.

Here's my first round: 

Frabjous Fibers - Hand Dyed Blue Faced Leicester Top - Cabbage Rose colorway - 4 oz. (Bought at LYS).  I did this around summer time I believe and since I don't keep track of things very well I can't remember my approximate yardage on this one. I'll need to remeasure. I believe it was around 160 yds.

OMgosh, it was so hard to get the colors in the picture accurate on this one. But I love just looking at it. I'll never knit it up since it's my first, it holds a special place in my heart. It's thick, thin, and badly plyed (I didn't realize how tired I'd get doing that - should've saved it for a day when I had more energy and less overall pain.) But I love it. 

Here's my second: 

Yarnadoodles BFL Combed Top - Tea Time colorway - 4 oz
I finished this one recently and tried to take my time with the plying this go around, but still, it has it's 
thick and thin spun spots that make it individual. 

I managed around 232 yards this time. It's funny, but I just like to pet and look at my own skeins. It makes me smile. I doubt I'll knit this up anytime soon either. I just love it. 

I did try navajo plying on some Louet Coopworth I spun when I first got my wheel. That was fun, but I still need a LOT of practice in that department too. My Joy is weighted so the "spin back" happens when I forget where my feet are on the treadles. I'm not crazy about that, but it's getting easier with practice. It was really evident in this type of plying as I had to keep rearranging my hands and the fibers every now and then. 

I don't know what I'd do without my knitting or spinning. It's my sanity in these tough days. I'm waiting on some more fiber to spin that I ordered from Etsy (my own Christmas present). I can't wait. I just hope my legs hold up. I may need to look into an electric spinner one day....

Happy Spinning and Knitting! And please, if possible, keep good thoughts for my FIL and our family. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Catching Up

I've been a really slow knitter this year as well as a really slow blogger. Seems I can spend time on Ravelry daydreaming everyday and watching what everyone else is up to - but marking my own progress hasn't been as exciting as it used to be, here or there. Maybe it's because I'm not really knitting anything super duper outlandishly special, but basic necessities, gifts, and simple things.

Here we go with my Simple Parade:

Patterns: Waffle Hat & Noro Fingerless Mitts 
Yarn: Bernat Mosaic in Spectrum Colorway
This yarn is a bit softer than Noro (and machine washable). People have complained of it pulling apart easily but I didn't have that problem at all, just one knot which happens to the best of them. I knit the mitts pretty tightly too so if it was weak, I would've known it. (Maybe there was a bad batch out there). These are for my Auntie for Christmas. She's awesomely Knit-Worthy, she uses everything down to the last thread! ;O)

Pattern: Hats From The Heart
Yarn: Berroco Jasper
Size 8 needles.
A great Ravelry Buddy sent me this yarn awhile back because I was admiring her hats. I started it (barely cast on) and it promptly got put in (one of) my UFO bags for the longest time. Now that my hubby is golfing come cold weather or not (he has a driving range near his work) I want him to at least be WARM out there. This project was perfect. The Berroco is very soft but I'm going to have to be careful with the care of it. I can see that it will pill quickly since it's loosely spun. Kind of like Malabrigo Worsted.

Patterns: Oops. I'm not sure.
I made these for a friend who's expecting a new Grandbaby in the family and I can't remember what patterns I used. I got them done early even though we weren't going to send them out until closer to the due date, I just hate waiting on things for too long or I'll forget.
Yarn: Bernat Cotton Tots - One skein did both projects. I went with a neutral color since we don't know if it's a boy or girl.

Pattern: Plain Basic Socks (My Favorite)
64 Cast On - Size 1 Magic Loop
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Sock "Crock-O-Dye"
I made these for my Freezing Cold Cousin in Montana. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn, it's really soft and has a great feel. I may get some for me one day since I have another coupon for my LYS. She wears a lot of black and browns, neutral shades, so I wanted to go crazy with color and look what I ended up picking out? It just shouted at me that it was HER though. Too funny! I must knit her some PINK socks soon.

Scarves for The Special Olympics 2011 to send in for my state. These aren't due until mid January, but again, I'm crazy about deadlines. I hate them. If I know it has to be done, I get it done ASAP. I only managed to get two done, I actually had to return two skeins because I just couldn't cope with using the Red Heart again. Until they've been washed a few times they're stiff as a board, it's just too hard on my hands and I've been having enough trouble with hand pain recently, it's just not good to push things when you hurt that bad. Although I'd love to do more, I figure two is better than none.  

There has been some simple Christmas Knitting that's been done and I wish I could've done more but I can't post those right now. At least I know I'll be back blogging before the year ends - I hope! 
Happy Knitting!