Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 – the year in knitting

Can you believe that this is the end of my third full year blogging, and my third year end review post? (2007, 2008). Time flies.

My goals for 2009 weren’t as elaborate as those for 2009. I failed in some of the specifics (to finish some particular WIPs and contribute to the WTP once a week) but my main goal for 2009 was to learn something new. I learned to crochet, I sort of learned to spin, and as Pink Pirates demonstrates I’m getting more and more comfortable with colorwork.

The most exciting knitting-related development in 2009 was not something I planned at the beginning of the year. I have real-life knitting friends now, which is super exciting. I love you, CT River SnB! I have to credit Sonia (of the New Haven SnB) with coaxing me out of my shell to meet other Connecticut knitters. She invited me to an SnB party at her house in February (you can see me chatting with Rebecca in the fourth picture) and in March I decided to find my own SnB closer to where I live. I’m so glad I did!

Here’s a recap of 2009, with a fibery focus:

January:

I made Otto for my mom:

Otto

I got my nice camera at the Circuit City going-out-of-business sale.

February:

I recapped January in the world of knit blogs. I should keep doing this in the new year, it’s really fun putting together best-of posts.

I made the “dead fish hatfor my friend Elizabeth:

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I finished Exchequered for my sister:

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March:

I made a surprisingly accurate heart for my mom:

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I learned how to crochet!

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I finally finished Wicked:

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April:

I started Wisteria:

Wisteria neck

I started an Ishbel in purple:

Ishbel

I finished Cathode (and I look even more embarrassed to be wearing it in some of the other pictures):

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May:

I made womb for my mom (duh):

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I made an Ishbel shawl for my friend Jennifer, in our college’s color:

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We took in a stray cat! She was pretty scrawny and bedraggled when she came to live with us…

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but look at her now! She’s such a good kitty.

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June/July:

I had an intense summer internship at a law firm I love. I was too busy to knit very much at all, but I did crochet some.

I had a great time with the potholder swap:

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And I started Babette:

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August:

I started a Dotty cat bed:

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I finished my purple Ishbel:

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I started Seraphim and Orangina:

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I went on two great trips.

September:

I swatched for a Deep V Argyle Vest, but I never really got started. Maybe it should be my Knitting Olympics project?

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I finished Seraphim:

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I made Knucks:

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October:

I brought my DPP out of hiding but barely made any progress on it:

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I WENT TO RHINEBECK!

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I made myself yet another Foliage and matching mittens for the occasion:

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My home town hosted Stitches East, and the CT River SnB led a pub crawl:

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I finished Serrano and was able to wear it to Stitches:

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I finished the Dotty cat bed. Fiona actually uses it all the time:

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I made Flora to match my Knucks:

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November:

I did some spinning.

I made an Inga hat:

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I made two more Foliage hats for my school’s charity auction:

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I made OWLS:

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December:

I made a blankie for baby Elsie:

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I started Celestine:
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I made Daybreak for my mom:
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I made a pink We Call Them Pirates for my sister:
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I made some Venezia napkin rings for my in-laws:
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I started a Peaks Island Hood on a family trip to Illinois:

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Whew. It was a great year. See you in 2010!

Photo Calendar

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The final “handmade” gift is a photo calendar that I made for my dad. It took just as much time and much more advance planning than a knitting project, so I decided to include it.

I got my nice camera over the winter, and decided to take some snowy pictures of the lake we go to as a family. From there, the project evolved into capturing all the seasons and making a photo calendar. While we all love the lake, my dad goes there especially often so I knew he would appreciate the calendar.

I used Shutterfly which gives some nice options for arranging the photos. Here are some of the months that I am most proud of:

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And here is my favorite single photo:

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I suppose a calendar FO post is a fitting way to transition into the year-end wrap up!

Venezia

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Pattern: Venezia napkin rings by Romi Hill
“Yarn”: 34 gauge silver colored craft wire
Recipient: My mother-in-law Judy

This was THE fastest gift knitting project ever. I was here at about noon on Christmas Eve:

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And about half an hour later, I was here:

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I made four of them in less than four hours, which was enough to present on Christmas Eve when we were hanging out with my husband’s side of the family. I’ll make four more of them in the next week or so, to complete the set.

If I ever make them again, which I likely will, I’ll use stiffer wire. These didn’t hold the tube shape very well, they’re much more squished than I had expected them to be.

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I still think they look nice though!

Daybreak

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Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in African Violet and Tiziano Red
Recipient: My mom

My mom loves the color red, so I knew I had to use this color to make something for her. I picked Daybreak because she isn’t really a lace shawl person, and I liked the shallow, more scarf-like shape.

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She really seemed to like it!

This was a really fun and fast project (it only took eight days for the medium size). The slip stitch detail spices up an otherwise simple stripe pattern to make something much more interesting.

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And as I said, I really like the shape. It works as a shawlette, but I think my mom would use it more as a scarf.

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Malabrigo Sock is my favorite yarn of 2009. It’s so soft and comes in such wonderful colors.

Pink Pirates

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Pattern: We Call Them Pirates
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa 501
Recipient: My sister Caroline

At first, I followed the pattern and the hat came out too short. I needed to add a fourth row of skulls.

I mess up my knitting and do surgery on it all the time. In fact, I think that the trademark of a confident knitter is less in the actual knitting, and more in the willingness to tinker and rework things. But I had never fixed colorwork before and I was really nervous about it for some reason. I threaded a sock needle through the top row of the third row of skulls…

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and RIPPED!

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And it was totally fine. I added another row of skulls, no problem, and finished it up. It turned out great! I think I smell a pair of Pirate Mittens in her future!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I had a great day.  And all of my homemade gifts were big hits!

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Full FO posts will follow shortly. Oof, are my hands tired!

Colors

Aside from the little pirate hat snafu, gift knitting is going pretty well around here.

I’m working on a multi-colored Celestine for the toddler boy of some friends of ours.

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I’m also working on the Daybreak Shawl in purple and red Malabrigo Sock, for my mom.

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The red is the same color I used for my Seraphim shawl. I worked on Seraphim in front of my mom a few times, and she always complimented the color. My mom loves the color red, and I always associate it with her. I considered giving Seraphim to her, but she’s not a lace shawl kind of gal. But i knew that the extra skien of Tiziano Red had to be for her. It feels strange to work in this color and not have it be for her. It feels sort of strange for anything in this color to be mine and not hers.

My favorite colors are blue and green, and while I use those colors often enough, I use other colors for myself too. For my mom and my sister, however, everything I ever make for them follows a pretty well-defined pallette.

Here is a sampling of what I’ve made my mom over the years:

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(Clockwise from top left: Diagonal Cross-rib Socks (2008), Mr Greenjeans (2008), Calorimetry (2006), Red Light Special (2008))

All exactly the same color.  Is that bad?

And look at the things I’ve made for my sister:

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Caroline scarfCaroline Sweater

(Clockwise from top left: Exchequered (2009), Everlasting Bagstopper (in progress), Calorimetry (2006), Lopi Sweater (2004), garter stitch scarf (2002), Elijah (2007))

As you can see, all pink, magenta and orange.

Am I alone in this?  Is there anyone in your life who gets the same color stuff every single time?

Pink Pirates – Take One

I decided to knit We Call Them Pirates for my sister as a birthday present (her birthday was over the weekend).

The good news:

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It looks awesome!

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It’s lined in shocking orange Shine Worsted to keep the wool off her face!

The bad news:

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It’s way too short. It’s so short it pops off my head if I turn my neck. Curses. So I think what I’ll do is rip back and add a fourth row of skulls, and give it to her for Christmas.

Op Art

I knit a baby blanket in two weeks!

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Pattern: Op Art, Knitty Fall 2008
Yarn: Queensland Collection, Bebe Cotsoy, in colors I call raspberry and lime, 5 skeins each
Size: 40 in square
Dates: November 26, 2009 to December 10, 2009

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I made it for my friend Kate’s baby Elsie Rose who was born two weeks ago Saturday.  I hope she likes it!  I think she will.  The Bebe Cotsoy is incredibly soft, and I think the garter ridges will provide a pleasing texture for her to run her little fingers over.

I’m pleased with the way the wrong side looks too.  I don’t think the difference is all that noticeable, especially to a non-knitter.

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I finished the blanket with a four-stitch i-cord bind off to stabilize the corners and I think it makes a very neat finish. It took forever, of course, but it was worth it.

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Speaking of taking forever, my one complaint about this pattern is that it gets tedious at the end. The last few rounds were like 700 stitches each. But still, totally worth it.

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Tomorrow it will go in the mail with some of my favorite books from childhood. I hope she likes it!

In case you missed it – November 2009

Over the last week or so, my husband and I have watched the whole first season of Deadwood on DVD (from Netflix). It is a totally awesome and badass show.  Knitting a baby blanket while watching filthy mountain men kill each other and drop eff-bombs is pretty incongruous, but nonetheless delightful.

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I’ve made some good progress on Op Art, and it’s at the unphotogenic blob stage.  Since Op Art isn’t much to look at these days, I’ll take a moment to share some of my favorite posts and projects from November in blogland:

Now, with more VIKINGS!

Good sport husband award

Best idea for those couple random skeins of Noro we all have kicking around

Most intriguing mix of lace and beads

Best recycling

Coziest house

Most beautiful photos

Most colorful crochet (I should get cracking on my Babette again, shouldn’t I?)

Most colorful knitting

Best use of AWARD WINNING YARN!

I hope everyone’s December is off to a good start!