Friday, 31 May 2013

Knit the Queue 2013

Back in January, I decided to try to knit my ravelry queue this year. We were at 25 projects, and when I realised I only knitted 19 things in 2012 my heart did sink somewhat. Given that I have quite a busy year going on, I more or less decided that it would be a great way of quickly choosing what to knit next without doing research on ravelry.

First the progress so far: currently in my queue are 13 items. "Great news!", I hear you cry; "it's still May and you're past halfway". I too did this, before the sinking feeling began in my stomach. I've only finished 8 things this year, and extrapolating that means you end up with 19.2 finished items for this year. More than a little short of the target.

I'm trying to comfort myself with the fact that these 8 finished objects include 5 pairs of socks (plus 2 pairs of gloves and 1 hat), and socks are labour-intensive. Plus, all of the 4 things* on the needles (all in the photographs) are more than half finished. Some so very nearly finished, like the purple mittens. However, this is on shaky ground too; I still have two jumpers to finish, one to start, and 5 pairs of socks still in that queue.

Too short - you can see my watch strap :(

This means that the guilt rolls in. I am prone to this, and it takes a lot for me to separate guilt from knitting. After all, it's my hobby, and your hobby should be something you enjoy doing. My coping strategy is going to be to keep my head down, carry on knitting as much as I possibly can, and have another look at the big picture in a few months.

*that 13 in the queue + 8 finished + 4 on the needles = 25 is miraculous. Total fluke though; I suspect some things were deleted from the original 25-item long queue, as I had a couple of things on the needles at the start of the year. Oh well, we will never know what they were and they will not be missed.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Addicted to Socks

Well, I may not have got back in with the jumpers, but I have actually finished some things. And yes, they're all socks.

Last year I set myself the challenge of knitting twelve pairs of socks in the year, and I did it. This year, I look like I'm pretty much on the same track. And despite my opening thoughts for knitting the queue's ten pairs, I never thought I would end up at the one pair a month rate again.

Socks fill a gap in my life. Twice a month I go see my OH in Aberdeen, which is a six-hour train ride each way. I try to do this on minimal luggage because it's train that goes a long way, which means there isn't a lot of available suitcase space, so I take a bag that can go on the rack above my head or under the seat in front. In short, there ain't space to do the journey with a half-knitted bulky jumper in tow.

Also, you can do a lot of knitting in twelve hours (there and back). A few years ago, I took a single DK hat project for fourteen hours' worth of train ride. Turns out that isn't enough knitting.

For me, socks provide the most potential knitting time for the smallest volume. This is compounded by the fact I have a knack for spotting patterns that become highly addictive, in that 'just one more row' way that I'm sure all knitters are familiar with. A cable or lace pattern that follows logic, easily learnt and not too fiddly, makes me want to get another repeat done - or half done, or two-thirds, or any tiny landmark you could possibly conjure up.

For that reason, sock knitting goes particularly well with train rides too. At this time of year, most of the ride is in the daylight so I can watch the world slide by the window, measuring my progress in miles and rows.

(1) Purple socks [project link].
Pattern: Shurtugal from Socktopus by Alice Yu
Yarn: Sparkleduck Socka in Double Trouble, from Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2012

(2) Socks for Grandma [project link]
Pattern: Anastasia Socks by MintyFresh
Yarn: Kind Cole Zig Zag in Aqua, from Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

(3) Magenta Socks [project link]
Pattern: 2luvcrew, also from Socktopus
Yarn: from The Yarn Yard
Actually knitted in February for a friend's birthday, but now that has passed I can show them to you.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

I didn't know how lost I was

As I'm sure you know, that last was a bit of a gap between blog posts. This time, with good reason; I've been thwarted in my knitting. It just keeps going wrong. There was a point last week when every time I picked up a project, it needed fixing, tinking or ripping back (or at least it felt like that). I was going to tell you all about it, started composing a post, and then decided that nobody wanted to read my whinging. And more to the point, I didn't want to write it.

Of course, time has passed and things have improved, and I although could happily soliloquize as to whether this is luck, hard work or merely reversion to mean, I won't; I don't want to make you suffer, and I have good news. This week, I have finished two socks, hoorah! Although not a pair.

As I've said before, these are a slow-burning project. To get to this point, I have survived a lot of cabling and mostly enjoyed it; it has one of those pattern repeats that is short enough to be memorable and long enough to mean you've made significant progress after each one, that I find highly addictive. These socks are top down, but the heel construction is new and interesting to me, and gives a really lovely fit without having to pick up stitches.

Pattern: Mince Pie Mayhem from Socktopus
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Adonis Blue, bought at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

As I had a slow-burning project, I needed something quicker and easier for the long train ride north (and for some finishing stuff vibes, which I was in dire need of last week!). So I cast a little something on....

Though apologies for the slightly odd lighting in that photo, there is no colour grading ankle to toe - though the yarn is beautifully semisolid, in a way that seems impossible to capture on camera! The pattern is also an ideal-length pattern repeat, but with much less cabling so I can knit them for hours and hours with few ill effects.

Pattern: Shur'tugal, also from Socktopus
Yarn: Sparkleduck Socka in Double Trouble, also from Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

These projects so seem to share a lot - yarn bought on the same day, patterns from the same book. Though to me, their major common feature is that they've seen me through the wilderness and back on the right track with my knitting.

Who knows? Maybe I will even tackle one of the jumpers on haitus before this week is out ;)