Good-bye 2016: The Year in Review

Good grief! Where did the time go to? Just a few minutes ago I was trying to remember to write 2016 on things, and now it’s gone? Why is it the days fly faster the older I get? Anyway, it appears that 2016 has gone out the door and I need to pack up the memories… Struggling to cope with this evident reality I flipped through the pages of my notebook, looked at some stats, flipped through the picture gallery, and discovered that actually 2016 was a fairly productive (but politically horrifying) year. Let’s look at what was accomplished:

  • I completed 28 knitting projects this year!

    2016 Knitting Projects
    It was a good year for shawls, mitts, sweaters and cowls. Very few socks were produced. Sorry feet!
  • 55 books were read! Now, you don’t want to see all those books, right? That’s what I thought. My favorite, however, was Babylon’s Ashes. What can I say? I’m a geek.
  • I wrote 56 posts that received 6,705 views. The post that was most popular this year (sorry MacKenzie) was Farewell Summer, Hello Drachenfels, a post that I wrote towards the end of 2015.  Actually, I posted three times about my Drachenfels shawl in 2015 and all three posts continue to draw regular traffic. Hey, this is one yummy piece of shawl wrap-me-in-your-wings heaven. Here’s the completed item.

    Shawl
    I’m in love!
  • I started several sewing projects, bought fabric for more, and finished ONE quilt. Oops. Guess I have some finishing up to do in 2017.
  • I ended up the year with several knitting WIPs, 83 items in my Ravelry shopping cart, and 20 projects in my Ravelry queue. Must knit faster!!
WIPs
The year ended with these WIPs. I finished the socks already, but I am still working on a cowl, a small shawl, some more socks (the pink cuties at the top middle) and the second black mitt. Piece of cake, right? Should be done by the end of the week… You can probably tell that I have trouble judging time when knitting.

Last night I cast on my first new project for 2017. Sorry little WIPs. I promise that I’ll get you done in time, but I HAD to start a new sweater. It’s cold outside. I crave new yarn and I must have it.

Happy 2017 everyone.

 

FO: Drachenfels Shawl is Done!

Over the weekend my wrists got better and I did a little knitting (3 – 5 rows)  to exercise my hands. Yesterday the braces came off and my wrists were A-OK again, Yea!! I don’t quite know what happened, but what the heck. I got to work and finished up the Drachenfels shawl.

Shawl
I’m in love! The yarn (Anzula Squishy) is 10% cashmere, but it seems like more. The shawl has great drape (knit on size 4 needles) and the variation in the yarn makes it kind of glow when seen in the flesh. This baby is big and it just wraps me in squishy warm softness when I put it on. 
Edging
and the edging! Look at this. I used four colors in the shawl instead of the 3 called for, and the black is the 4th color. I just love this edging; the colorwork gives the edge a little weight and helps the drape. The I-cord bindoff is done on needles 2 sizes larger (I used a size 6) so that the edging has the perfect amount of stretch.  Here are my notes on Ravelry.

This shawl has been going on for awhile. Instead of posting all the pictures again I thought that I would give the links here in case anyone wants to look back at my Drachenfels’ baby pictures.

The shawl needs some blocking but since it is so big I’m not going to wet block it. Besides, I am just dying to wear it and who wants to wait that long? I’m just going to hit it with some steam,  smooth it out a little, and put this yummy baby to work.

I’m off to wind some yarn. Must knit more!!

Rocking the Craft Room

This is all Sharon’s fault! I’m referring to Sharon of Creativity and Family. Yesterday I woke up to find that she had posted a long, chatty list of all of her WIPs and projects for the coming winter months. Oh, my goodness! The woman has big dreams and a diverse (and endless) number of projects all lined up. She quilts, knits, crochets, sews, is doing something mysterious with scrabble pieces, and even makes her own yarn from tee-shirts. If you don’t already follow her you should check out her post.

The other thing that I discovered when I woke up was that my wrists, ankles and knees hurt. Like the tendons. Like there is no way that I am going to be knitting anytime in the near future.

This is so not fair! I am just entering the final pattern section and bind-off of the Drachenfels. One more day (or two) and it would be done. I want it, I want it, I want it now!!!  <snif>

Whatever. It’s getting warm again outside and I won’t be wearing a shawl for the next 10 days or so. Lots of time to get it finished. What I decided to do was to channel Sharon, go play in the craft room and shop the stash. If I can’t actually knit, I certainly can organize things, match patterns to yarn/projects and try to create a queue of my future crafting for the coming cold weather months. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Storage
I already had yarn organized into types and weight. I just had to start pulling out yarn and reorganizing it in the bins with the patterns for my coming projects into some of my spare bins.

I pulled out several boxes of yarn into the main craft room and then discovered that it hurt my wrists to snap open and shut the latches on the boxes. Well, isn’t that special! Lucky for me I’m an old pro with wrist tendinitis. Years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery and spent months in braces. For a few years after that I still wore my braces when doing wrist challenging activities like moving books in my classroom or organizing boxes in the garage. I had to go on a hunt to find them, but eventually my wrist braces were located in a drawer of my desk in the office. I just needed to create some padding to go under them because I have edema in my arms these days (thank you scleroderma!!)

Socks
Well, look at these incredibly ugly hospital socks I got during my last health adventure. Just the ticket.
cutting off the toes of socks
I cut off the toes…
Thumb hole
Cut a slit in the side to make an opening for my thumb…
sock mitts
and I had the perfect padding mitts to go under the braces. 🙂
 Wrist braces
Add the braces and I attackd the bins! These braces look awful but as soon as they are on my wrist feels wonderful. I think I may sleep in them tonight.
Knitting projects
Here is the finished stack of knitting projects. Good grief!!

This was just fun to do. I moved yarn around and got things reorganized to create the project bins. I copied patterns from books and magazines with my printer/scanner so that I could slip the pattern into the bin with the yarn. The big bins contain the yarn and patterns for two sweaters, and the smaller bins have 1-3 projects each. I sat down (on the floor!) with my stack of boxes and the laptop computer and then entered everything into Ravelry to create this queue. In addition to the two sweaters I have 5 shawls, 2 long mitts, 3 socks and 2 hats. I thought about trying to put everything into the actual order that I will do the projects, but that is just crazy thinking. At least I have things into the queue and can move items around as I actually get started. Check out my queue if you want to see what I have lined up. 🙂

Since I was working in the craft room with the sewing machine it was a little hard to ignore the stack of projects on the shelf next to it. I pulled them down and discovered more to do. I had actually forgotten some of this…

Autumn Quilt
Look! This is an autumn themed quilt that I started a year ago and never finished. I just need to get the batting, sandwich the layers and then do the quilting. I’m not showing the whole thing now because… reasons. If I hurry it will be done before Thanksgiving! Stay tuned.
stuff
This is a special edition Colorado themed batik that I bought to sew a Professional Tote Bag with compartments and all the room I need to drag around knitting. The pink fabric and the blue with the small dots to the left is for the linings.
stuff
Unfinished Christmas place mats. I just have to do the quilting and put on the edging. These guys need to get done!!
and last but not least I had decided to make everyone new dishtowels this year
While I’m talking about Christmas, I also organized this idea for Christmas dishtowels. A few years ago I made everyone towels in a plaid design. When I got to the end of the warp I made this scrap with a natural colored weft. I kind of like it, and am thinking that if I get the warp back onto the loom it will make fast towels to give everyone with some of the other things I have planned.

Well, that’s it for now. I have organized and pulled to the front of the pile lots of projects and ideas. I’ve been wearing the braces for two days and my wrists are feeling better. I think that if I protect and rest them for another couple of days I will be good to go with the Drachenfels and hopefully it will be done by the end of next week.

If not I guess I’ll keep the braces on and get the garage cleaned out!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Drachenfels: Making Progress

It has been a really good week knitting-wise. The weather is cooling down at last, I’m caught up on most of my major projects, and the new season is starting up on television. I find myself knitting outside in the garden, at the doctor’s office and even during the football games (Go Broncos!!) The leaves are turning at last and I am churning out my Drachenfels shawl.

Shawl
I’ve made the transition from the charcoal grey to the slate gray yarn. It’s subtle but should look better when I get to the solid slate portion of the shawl. I put in one black garter ridge at the midpoint of the charcoal/plum section of the shawl. Later on I will use the black to do the I-cord bind-off. Here are the project notes on Ravelry.
Cat on shawl
Of course as soon as I put the shawl down for the picture MacKenzie moved in. One of my favorite shows to watch while knitting is the A&E production of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You know that quote from the book/film: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” MacKenzie believes that it is a truth universally acknowledged, that an unattended knitted object must be in want of a cat.
Cat chomping yarn
and loose yarn is made for chomping. He especially likes this cashmere blend Smooshy by Anzula Yarns. He and I have had several conversations about this over the last week…

At this point I removed him from the picture shoot.

Knitting
Here’s the cat hair embellished closeup of the black yarn ridge and the transition from charcoal to slate grays. What do you think?

You can’t see it in the pictures, but this yarn is knitting up really soft and should have a great drape when done. I am using a smaller yarn than the pattern was designed for (fingering instead of sport) and moved down to size 4 needles (3.5mm) instead of size 6 (4 mm), but this shawl is coming out plenty big!

The forecast is for cooler weather and rain showers this weekend, and there is a Broncos game Sunday. I plan to really crank out some knitting over the next couple of days. The shawl should be big enough both for me and the cat soon. 🙂