Friday, January 08, 2010

every year less knitting...

I figure I'm still ahead of the game managing to do a "look back at 2009" while still in the month of January.

click on the image for the full 5X5:

seeing all these grouped together I am inwardly cringing at some of my facial expressions...

My immediate observations for 2009:

- a lot fewer knit items than in previous years: 29 F.Os in 2009 vs. 45 in 2008 and 54 items in 2007! (blogged/recorded knits at any rate...). Really, that's almost half as many as two years ago. I'm hoping that's it simply quality these days versus quantity. I've definitely had a much busier year in 2009 personally speaking, so I'd hate to think that I was losing interest in knitting. If those stats are any indication of a trend, I'll be lucky to crank out 15 knits next year!

-hardly any sweaters! Apart from a few shrugs, I only really knit two sweaters. In previous years it's been more like 4 or 5 a year in addition to all these smaller things. Being a more competent knitter now you'd think I'd have more interest in garments these days, but the opposite seems to hold true. Also the reality that I hardly ever wear any of the sweaters may have finally sunk in. I know I'm my own worst critic, but a lot of this stuff simply does not look good on me.
I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I'm really jazzed by a new sweater pattern, so for now I'm not going to worry about it.

-very little gift knitting. And THAT is something I really want to change for 2010.

I'd add that last one to my list of 2010 New Year's knitting resolutions, but you know I think I'm just not going to do any this year.

And with that segue, here's last year's knit-o-lutions:

-Learn to crochet.
Embarrassingly this one has been a carry over for TWO years now. I did make a half-hearted attempt a couple of weeks ago, so there was some semblance of effort -but that really doesn't count.

-Some form of colour work.
Big check-mark here! I'm patting myself on the back for my sucessful attempts at both intarsia and fair isle. Go me! By no means an expert at either of these things now I am at least no longer afraid to attempt them in the future. Bring it on.

Again, always ongoing. I've actually made some strides here. Mostly in the realm of not adding to the stash. I never buy for the sake of buying anymore because that's how I end up with too many one-off balls of things (pretty tho they may be...). These days the only time I buy yarn is for a specific project I plan on starting immediately, and I have to say that's really working for me right now. Also I've adopted a much more frugal approach to my yarn purchases. "Glamour" yarns are usually purchased only for smaller items like hats and cowls. (Of course, I say all this NOW -- I could just explode and go yarn crazy at any point --that's always just simmering beneath the surface...)

So I will leave it at that for now, I think it's MORE than enough.

And because I always like to have all these hotlinks ready to go for my sidebar at right this is everything from 2009. Let's leave it all behind us and ring in the New Year right: I wish you ALL endless Cashmere and ne'er an unwanted dropped stitch!

Fat Mouse Mat
City Mouse knit toy
Patons Fair Isle tam
Le Slouch beret
Eternity scarf
My kind of cowl
Textured shawl
Bella's mitts #2
Lace shrug #2
Seed stitch scarf
Birthday cowl
Prairie boots
Alpaca Silk bow scarf
Robin's egg blue hat
Bella's mittens
Tw-tone ribbed shrug
Lace shug
Owls sweater
Mustard scarf
Rochefort chapeau
Julia beret
Lace Ribbon scarf
Raglan wrap sweater
Chunky ribbed cowl
Sideways Grande cloche
Side slip cloche
Grey owl mittens
Gold owl mittens

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

der kleine maus in das kleine haus?

...or something like that? My German is not the best. Unless you want to hear me tell you that it's very cold outside. My Norwegian is marginally better. I can a) tell you that I have to pee b) tell you to turn up the music and c) tell you that you have beautiful eyes, and that I want you SO much. Yes ladies and gentlemen I will be going far in life with these tucked away in the no man's land that is my frontal cortex.

But on to der Kleine Maus:

I finally gave him a face and shipped him off to his intended recipient (she for whom I'd previously knit (in the same yarn...) this pinafore:

He is a free pattern (and a fast and easy knit) from Lion Brand. My mom actually knit him quite awhile ago and I fell so in love with his divine squishy-ness that I made one of my own.

He really is just too cute for words. I made him back in October but agonized over the face (as always). The face always seems to make or break a knit toy, no matter how simple it appears. I actually looked up a bunch of "french-knot" tutorials online just to get the eyes right. Honestly, what did we do before video tutorials on Youtube? You can learn how to do ANYTHING (and everything) on there! The internet has definitely made me the knitter I am today.

(I just knit him using leftover cottonease that was in the stash, and 3.5mm needles)

Also in the land of doe-eyed toys...

BAM! (and her name is Austina...) Though I can't take ANY credit for her.

(here she is surrounded by her new brethren)

Isn't she freakin' adorable? Bet your heart skipped a beat when you thought I'd suddenly mastered the art of crochet, didn't it? Wrong again. This was gifted to me by the awesome Miss Muffy who I sadly did not get to see this Christmas as I normally would have. I'm sure she'll be posting all about it at some point and will have pattern details for you over there.

So enthralled was I that I paused to think "maybe I DO want to learn how to crochet after all!". God knows it would make knitting toys a heck of a lot easier. So I picked up my copy of the Happy Hooker and went to town. That first Stitch 'n Bitch book was somewhat of a bible to me when I was a beginner knitter. I referred to it a lot and figure her crochet book is likely to be a comparable source.

So I knit (er sorry crochetted) myself a chain stitch. Lots of fumbling but maybe with practice it will get easier? Then I got to the next part which is more of a "cast-on" I guess? That went badly. I ripped and started over. Badly again. Started over again. Badly again. And then finally once more before I launched the whole thing across the room in mass frustration.

Learning how to crochet was on my 2009 "knit-o-lutions" list. I was kidding myself to think I'd somehow be able to squeak that in a few days before the New Year, but hey a valliant effort on my part, right? I'll just bump that over to 2010 (again) and force myself to take a course or something.

So back to what I know a little bit better --KNITTING, and currently/apparently: MICE.

Mouse Mat pattern from: Pet Projects a very cute book I got from my fabulous sister for Christmas
needles: US #11 (sorry I like to use my old style Denise interchangeables for most projects and they never have the mm equivalents written on them, so I can never remember the equivalent Can./UK sizing)
yarn: leftover Sirdar Tweedie Chunky in "Cedar"

I just used some black Patons merino for the embellishments and some black buttons from the stash.

Again, the face --slightly all consuming. I must have re-shifted the positioning of eyes and ears at least three times.

My only mods were to make it "fatter" and longer. Maybe two stitches on each side (of the body) and another dozen rows. Really I should have probably done an additional 20 rows for my big 'ol beast, but he's easy to please so it's all good.

He currently sleeps all over this hideous navaho-type blanket that's folded up on the ground for him (yes there are other more cat friendly options, but he seems to love that thing...) Honestly I think I just dropped it on the ground ages ago and he's claimed it ever since...they are funny creatures. But rather than get rid of it I've just tried to camouflage it with the mouse mat. He seems to love them both, so it's a win win.

I have to count both those as 2009 knits...I know, I know I am sooooooo behind right now! (Happy New Year nonetheless)