Where it’s at

I don’t have two turntables and a microphone, but lots and lots and lots of things in various states of progress. This year I’ve unofficially set as a goal knitting down several of the UFOs, if for no other reason than to reclaim the space they’ve been taking up. 

Are you ready for the gory details? I’ve been a little scattered. 


  1. Trellis Scarf – needs a few repeats, but it’s a complicated enough pattern for me with the 7 into 5 stitch done in silk lace that I need quiet to complete it. 
  2. Groovy Scarf – hibernating somewhere for when I want to get back to mindless knitting. I think I messed up the pattern by not paying attention, but you can’t really tell. Good TV knitting.
  3. Flutter scarf – I have to figure out which line of the pattern repeat I’m on. This is supposed to be a holiday gift, eventually. I will get back to it at some point. It’s fairly mindless, and there’s a lot of it. 
  4. Dewdrop lace shawl – I lost my place in the pattern. Again. 


  1. Cookie A sock – stalled. Gorgeous pattern, needs concentration. I think I’m at the heel flap. 
  2. DIC sock, Nancy Bush pattern – have been fighting with this yarn, now have a sock that fits my niece (size 5 foot), and I don’t like the gauge so much. Will finish it, but I think I’ve lost my sock mojo. At least with this yarn. After 4 sock attempts, I don’t like it as much anymore.
  3. Vanilla sock out of DIC smooshy with cashmere – I can knit these almost in my sleep. Will make the second sock eventually. 


  1. Augusta – set in sleeves sewn in, seamed, needs button band and buttons. 
  2. Tangled yoke – needs button band
  3. Owls – needs sleeves and yoke, and I need to lose the extra weight I have gained since starting this (ie, I need to go back to running.)
  4. Minimalist cardigan – sleeves. Not sure about this one; I will either love or hate it.
  5. Central park hoodie – sleeve caps, hood, seaming. This one was has been a fast and easy knit.
  6. EPS for Samurai Knitter KAL – I found my calculations, so I can cast on sleeves some day
  7. Sweater for kid – needs collar, will be done this week. Not the best or worst thing I have ever made. Pattern had a lot of errors, have had to modify heavily at the end. A little frustrating, but it’s wearable. For a few months. 


  1. Sock yarn blanket – in progress. Long term, no stress.
  2. Log cabin blanket – need to buy yarn, put it together. 

Everything else has been ripped out, or I’ve completely forgotten about it.  I’ll probably return to the adult sized sweaters next, but it really depends on the amount of time and brainpower I have left at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s shockingly little of both. 


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Gift knitting


At the last minute, sort of, I decided I wanted to make some knitted things for the people who live in my house.  They are so used to my knitting that I was able to get away with making these right in front of them without either my son or husband really paying attention to what I was making.  

On the top left are Dashing mitts, made for my husband out of some leftover Cascade 200. Although he isn’t much of a glove person, he said he liked them. Most of the winter, it really isn’t that cold and we aren’t outside enough for him to want or need gloves, especially as he runs much warmer than I do.  He has worn them though, and they worked for the snowball fight we had over the holiday. The pattern knits up quickly, is well-written, and was pleasant enough to make.  I was a little surprised by how long they were, and I think personally I would prefer a shorter mitt, but the husband seems pleased.

The top right is one of Jared Flood’s Turn a Square hats.  It’s a hat – the pattern is beautifully laid out, and it’s a nice hat, also knit out of Cascade 220, but the recipient (my son) had two complaints.  First, it’s a little too big for him, and secondly, the colors are too “girly” for his taste.  He has worn it, but a replacement hat will need to be made. 

On the bottom are two Rebecca Danger monsters – Harold on the left and Baldwin on the right.  Both are again made out of leftovers.  Harold is made of Cascade 220 (matches the hat) and Baldwin is made out of Peace Fleece. These knit up so quickly, and are very cute and a lot of fun to make.  They are fiddly in places, when working with just a few stitches on DPNs, but the final products are very fun. I need to pick up some more safety eyes as I foresee more little monster guys are in my future. 

So far, after finding and counting all the things I have started, I’ve been making some progress into getting things off the needles and into the completed pile.  I actually finished a sock (did not cast on for the second sock, yet however) and my honey cowl.  I’ve been plugging away at another cowl/scarf thing from one of the Dream in Color monthly kits.  It’s a nice pattern, but I’m having issues with huge differences in how the yarn is dyed between the beginning and end of the skein.  It’s very brown at one end, and much more green for the vast majority of the skein.  I made a pretty big error in following the pattern a few inches in, and am probably going to cut off some of the darker part of the yarn up to this mistake anyhow, but I’m surprised by how unevenly the yarn is dyed.  I’ve put it aside to think about it, and have picked up another sock that is too small for me and destined for my niece.  Since she wears only a size 5 1/2 shoe, I have a feeling this pair may work up fairly quickly. 

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Unfinished business

So we have reached the start of a new year, filled with promise and adventure! Or something like that. As is my tradition, I spent the end of the year cleaning, so I could start with a clean house on January 1st. It needs to be picked up and cleaned again, but it was good for a day or so. One of the things I cleaned up were the knitting bags, and I found an insane number of things that I had started and are now in various states of progress. At this point, some of these things really need to get done, or be ripped out. It’s too much clutter. I’m perfectly at peace with not being a product knitter, but this is a bit unrealistic. I don’t know how many hours I think I have in the day to knit, or how many arms, but it’s definitely less than what I have prepared for. I’ve been finishing about a dozen things a year, which is pretty cool – and I have many more things than that already started.

So I made a deal with myself to finish up several things before casting on ANYTHING new. This is less nuts than it sounds, as many of these projects are ridiculously close to completion. Others are very long term, like the sock yarn blanket, which will be ongoing for probably several years. I’m good with that.

Hopefully this weekend, I will have time to wrangle the stash back into order and get some pictures up for the things I actually managed to finish. I’ll see how long this desire to finish up lasts.


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NaNoWriMo. Some final thoughts.

On the 30th of November, I finished NaNoWriMo with a total of 50,018 words written.

I’m relieved to be done.  I’m proud of my accomplishment, and I’m glad that I went through the exercise.  The odds are very much in favor of my doing this again next year, and I already know some things I will do differently.  I’m happy with what I wrote, but my plan is to purchase a special flash drive, save my draft to it, and probably never look at it again.  Could it be heavily revised and turned into something? Maybe, but it’s not a story I want to tell, at least not right now.  I’m okay with this.
Regardless of what I do with what I wrote, I think participating in NaNoWriMo had a lot of value for me.  I used to write, a long time ago.  It was something that came easily to me, and something I got a lot of enjoyment out of.  For whatever misguided reasons, I wanted to go into the sciences, and in college, I wrote less and less.  Certainly, I did almost no creative writing.  These days. I do write as part of my job, but it is a very different thing to write academic papers than to write fiction. Or at least it should be, as the inclusion of speculative fiction in an experimental paper suggests you’re probably doing something very wrong. I like the writing that I do for work, and I enjoy editing grant proposals and helping my friends for whom English is a second language, but this kind of intense fiction writing was a welcome change.
If I hadn’t had the deadline, and the support of knowing other crazy people were doing this, I don’ t think I would have finished this.  One friend in particular was a huge help, and I am so happy that we both were taking part and there to cheer each other on.  I’m really happy to have found that I haven’t totally lost my voice, and I hope to do more writing in the future.
What I learned:
  • Deadlines work for me.
  • Hitting the target number of words per day is a much better idea than taking a day off. Having to catch up from behind is not very much fun.
  • Sometimes the words flow more easily than other times, but in general, I write more in a 20-3o minute block than if I have a whole day to sit and write. Or procrastinate, which is really what is more likely to happen.
  • Getting off Twitter is really necessary if I want to do work. (Duh – but my friends there crack me up.)
  • Next time, starting with more of a plot/outline/characters might make things more easy, and is something I think I want to have in advance. Writing on the fly is interesting, but things don’t necessarily go where I want them to.
  • Writing dialogue takes up a lot of words, but I’d much rather show than tell.
  • I do have time to do creative things, but it is a matter of prioritizing and realizing that there are things that end up giving up in the process.  I missed knitting and my reading time, less so the TV watching.
  • A writing buddy is incredibly motivating for me, and even though I didn’t use the NaNoWriMo sprints on Twitter, there was something motivating about knowing a lot of other people were cranking along with me.

Now that’s I’m done, I’m still re-entering the world. There’s been some knitting, but my hands are out of shape!

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“Only” is a jerk.

While putting together lunches this morning, I realized that the word ‘only’ was doing me no favors this month.  I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo, and I’ve written only 19,080 words so far. If you wrote exactly the same amount each day, you’d have to write 1667 words to make the goal of 50,000 words by the month’s end.  Currently, I’m 4253 words behind par,  which means I have to write about 200 words more a night.  This is fine, but I am fixating on being “behind.”

And I realize this is ridiculous.  I should be saying I’ve written 19,080 words!  That’s more writing than I had done 14 days ago, and a lot more than I have done in years.

I’ve also been running again, trying to get back to it.  I can only run for about 30 minutes straight right now. Again with the only. I can run for 30 minutes without stopping, possibly longer, but I have been going before work and time is limited. I’m pleased with this, and I’m feeling better. Also quite proud of myself for getting up at 5:45 so I can be out the door for a run at 6:30 or 6:40.  Even if it’s only less than 3 miles, and I’ve only gone running 40 times this year.

Work has been busy, as usual, and I’ve only been staying in the lab 9 1/2 to 10 hours. I’m only getting to some of what I need to get accomplished, and only able to work on two projects at once. At home, I’m only able to take care of making 5 of 7 meals for the week on Sunday, as my husband doesn’t really cook.

Only is a big jerk, getting in my way and making me feel bad. I’m doing my best, and I’m doing okay. The house is a little messy, sure, but everyone is fed and relatively clean, the bills are paid, and I’m not forgetting too many things. I’ll take the little victories. And only can go shove it.

(There probably won’t be much knitting to show off this month.  There are 24 hours in a day, and I’m at my limit.)

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Happy almost November. I don’t know where the time is going, but it’s getting there faster than I’d like it to.

I finished up Camp Loopy and this summer with a couple of knits I feel rather eh about; I don’t know if it’s because they aren’t “me” or if I burnt out a bit trying to play along. I don’t know if I would do it again, but I’m making no promises either way. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been finding a lot of my knits lately – there are little things that just aren’t right, sizing issues, pattern choice issues, a few yarn issues. Although I’m still wearing some of them, I’m accumulating a pile of projects that need minor tweaks. One sweater need a few hook and eye closures, one needs snaps, one needs to have the buttonholes tightened.

I went through my queue with a fresh eye the other day, removing some of things I won’t knit in my lifetime, moving other things higher up the priority list, matching stash yarns to projects. Yarn has been accumulating, as it does, but I have been working steadily on things, and there is slightly less of it than my Ravelry stash suggests, although I don’t know that the list is truly up to date.  At the end of the summer, I got the usual “Must knit, now!” urge, and picked up some old and languishing projects. I can now say that I have about 4 sweaters that are almost done, where almost is a qualifier that ranges from requires seaming, needs a button band, needs part of a sleeve and seaming, or need sleeves and yoke.  My finishing strategy has been to pick up the nearest knitting project for attention, which means one sweater (Owls) has been worked on fairly steadily this week. I’ve managed to hit the black hole section of sleeve knitting, where I have been working and working, but the sleeve is still 2 inches too short.

Time is, as always, an issue for me. Which is why it’s insane that I am considering taking part in Nanowrimo. I know that by participating, there is a guarantee that I will not write anything good, but I miss writing. I used to be good at non-academic writing, but I have not done it in a very long time. I think, however, that the exercise would also be good for my work – I sat down for 30 minutes yesterday to work on manuscript revisions I had been ignoring, turned of the internal editor to write, and by the time I was done, realized it was not only okay, but that I could be totally done with it after another 30 minute session. This means the revised manuscript is no longer my problem, at least until my PI has gone through it again. The force of the internal editor is strong, and I have to tell her to settle down.  Nanowrimo means I spend a month writing and ignoring her. It all comes back to time, though. Is this the right year? I like the idea of crossing it off the list of things I want to do, but I also have limited free time, and I am trying to get back to running, work is busy as always, and since the husband has temp work for the next period of time, I do have more housework and childcare/school responsibilities, plus the usual ramping up of ALL THE THINGS before the holidays. I also want time to spend with friends.

I still don’t know.

Have any of you done it? Is it worth taking the plunge?

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I knit a sweater in a month

For Camp Loopy Project 2, the assignment was to knit at least an 800yd item, in one of the colors found in your country’s flag. The color choice was somewhat open to interpretation, but I figured blue is always a good choice.  I decided on the Water and Stone pattern as I really liked a lot of the elements in it – the asymmetry, the cables, and the relative simplicity of the pattern.

I realize people knit sweaters in a month, however, this seriously kicked my butt. The yoke proved to be more challenging than I expected, and it took several tries before I was happy with how I picked up stitches after making the initial collar band.  I originally planned on making a smaller size, but as I knit, it became apparent that a larger size would actually fit me better, and I ended up with a modified 38-42 inch sweater.   The pattern was pretty simple to knit, and obvious to follow, however I messed up the raglan increases on more than one occasion, consistently dropped stitches from the plain front off the end of the needle for several inches without noticing, and bungled the cables several times which required redos. There is still a mistake in the back cable, but I think it’s not that obvious, and fixing it would be a pain in the butt.

Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about it. The fabric is lovely – Malabrigo is wonderfully soft, and at the gauge I knit, the sweater has great drape and flow. I am a little concerned that it will not hold up very long, despite using Arroyo, which is not a single, but a twisted yarn.  I still suspect this sweater does not have a tremendously long lifespan, and I think I would knit the yarn at a tighter gauge were I to use it again. Also, I did not alternate skeins, and there are places where that is more obvious than not.  The 1×1 ribbing would also be prettier had it been knit twisted. But these are primarily little nitpicks, and more for my own future reference than anything else.

The biggest issue I have is that I don’t know that this is the most flattering sweater I could have made for myself. I’m short, and I did attempt to adjust the sweater for a shorter person by knitting the body and arms shorter than the pattern called for.  But I did not account for how much it was going to stretch in blocking due to the weight of the fabric, and my gauge swatch didn’t really show it.  So the body and sleeves grew several additional inches, and the sweater ends at a spot on my body that may not be optimal for my figure. The waist shaping helps, but on me, I suspect adding in back darts would have made this more flattering.  I will still wear it, once the weather is cooler, and enjoy it, but it won’t become a major wardrobe staple.

In any case, I got it done in a month. I lost sleep, and it stressed me out a bit, and I think I’m done with really pushing myself with deadline knitting.  My project 3 is a garter stitch scarf – I can get that done in a month without panic.  It’s been an interesting exercise in project monogamy. Once I have finished up camp, I think I will focus on finishing some of the other lingering projects in my house, to whittle down the pile a bit. It’s fun having new finished objects, but I have to admit I missed changing things up when I got frustrated or bored with a section.

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