Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Knit the Queue 2013 - Final Review

Looking back to my first post on the matter, it looks like I pretty much hit the nail on the head: 2013 turned out to be pretty darn stressful. I did manage to do a lot of work on The Thesis, pretty much plan our wedding, move cities and job hunt. What I needed was a pool of knitting projects I could more or less grab and go from, and that's what Knit the Queue gave me and I'm thankful for that. Knitting this year has been an oasis of calm in the crazy, and has helped to keep me sane.

I'm happy to report that I had a great year knitting-wise, and made lots of beautiful things. It wasn't exactly what was on the list to start with, but I finished 25 objects in 2013. These were 10 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of gloves, 3 hats, 3 shawlsm 3 cowls and 1 cardigan. Miraculously, there were 25 objects in my queue at the beginning. There are a few things that have a story to tell though....

Things that are still on the needles

These numbered two, both jumpers. I think it's fair enough not to finish a jumper on a deadline - after all, you really don't want to mess it up by knitting it when you're not capable of doing a good job.

Skelf was cast on in July, but I have made little progress on it in the last three months due to house-moving fun (it got left at my parents'). It awaits the dreaded picking up of stitches, which in my head is a daylight job and will get done the next time I have a free hour during the day - so hopefully sometime before 2015.

Spoke is one I've been aspiring to knit for ages, and finally cast on in mid-November, knowing that it would be a big ask to get it done by the end of the year but that it was better to not procrastinate further (I've had the yarn since June 2012). I've progressed pretty well, but for the past couple of weeks it has stalled as we've reached a sewing-up stage before we move on to the sleeves. Also the yarn in that photograph looks totally unlike the yarn in real life - though I've had hours of trying and failing to do it justice! I will try again... sometime....

Things that totally didn't get made

These numbered three: some gloves, some stars and a tea cosy. Each has a different reason for not getting done.

I did try with the gloves. I like knitting gloves, mittens, etc., but when I tried the pattern I first picked out (Susie's Reading Mitts) with the yarn (Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK in Green), they went together like orange juice and toothpaste so I decided to stop. I tried a second pattern that involved cables, thinking cotton yarn would give great stitch definition, but got myself in a twist. I tried again with both patterns, and failed again. Away with ye.

The reason the stars didn't get knitted was much simpler: I planned to knit them over Christmas, being a festive idea, and didn't sit still for long enough to start a new project. I had a lot of sleep to catch up on, and I already had knitting projects on the go (more on that story later), and figured they were a better bet. I'll keep the pattern in my favourites, in case

The tea cosy is a sad story of a missing teapot, that I've searched high and low for and not found. I'm particularly gutted about this as my soon-to-be-husband bought it for me some years ago now. I live in hope that it's around somewhere, and when I find it I will design and make the most fabulous cosy for it. Until then, the idea is getting shelved and removed from the queue to prevent me going on a search for the teapot.

Things I made that weren't on the list

These numbered four: two shawls, one cowl and one pair of gloves. The gloves were the one and only knitted Christmas gift that I made, at the request of my Dad so I could hardly say no. They knitted up quickly and I was so happy with them,  I nearly stole them for myself. The cowl I knitted in an evening for my long-suffering partner, after he got quite panicked when he couldn't find his scarf (handknitted by me), and declared that he would like something that he can fit in a coat pocket. It didn't take much time or effort but he seems happy with the result.

As for those shawls, one I'm not telling you about yet. Sorry about that. It is beautiful but it is still not blocked, so if it weren't top-secret, it wouldn't really be a proper FO. The second shawl I wrote about quite a lot when I did it, because it was my first deviation from the Knit The Queue plan; a project I called Hopeless Wanderer, because I am and I like that song. And who could say no to such a delicious yarn and brilliant pattern? I am so happy with the result that, as far as I'm concerned, this was sweet rebellion. I'll let you have a look and make your own mind up.

Overall, I'm happy I did Knit My Queue, I'm happy with the results. I didn't knit anything that was too hard; I didn't cram at the end; and I made a few things that were off-piste but were all the better for it. Great stuff - now what will 2014 bring?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

FO: Martin's Gloves

First up, I have finally finished these gloves for my other half. According to ravelry, I cast these on in January but the stripes drove me dotty (he chose them - next time he's getting plain). Plus, his hands are not shaped like those in the pattern, so I had to do a lot of ripping back fingers and making them bigger. Oh and I nearly ran out of yarn, which meant I also put off knitting them. However, the pattern is brilliant, straightforward, and free to download off Ravelry; any problems I had were definitely my (or his!) fault. The yarn is Artesano Superwash Merino, so matches the hat I made him.

He's only indulged me in one photo:

He does love them, but they took forever - still under the one-year mark though, hoorah!

Friday, 10 January 2014

FO: Bandana Cowl

I tried to find the time for a quick photoshoot with my poor partner, so I could get some great photos of this. Despite the Christmas holidays, I never managed it. So apologies, but you're going to have to put up with selfies and poor lighting.

The Bandana Cowl was a pattern I clocked yonks ago - probably when it was originally on the Purl Soho blog. I'd been thinking about cowls and scarves; cowls are convenient as they don't have long ends that dangle in things, but with the sort of coats I wear, cowls leave a gap around my clavicle that gets chilly. I was thinking that it couldn't be too hard to make a cowl that covered me up. Then one day on my blog roll: voila! Someone figured it out before me!

The structure is clever, though easy to understand. Cast on at the bottom, work the border in the round, before moving on to some short-row shaping and then work in the round again and do some decreases before the top border. This means it is deeper at the front than at the back, so it fills that gap.

An easy pattern, knitted in the round and it goes very quickly. I made this one in Hayfield Bonus Chunky, which is best described as 'budget', so it was a quick, cheap project. I love the result and use it all.the.time.; in the frozen north where I am now living, it is a useful member of the knitwear family, as I strive to become a knitwear ninja (where you're totally covered in handknits or wool clothing, except your eyes). I'm tempted to make another little cowl to go inside, to be extra snuggly, but maybe I should just knit a second in something that has some actual wool in it.

Great one, would definitely recommend!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a great time over the holidays. We had a quiet Christmas, just the two of us in our flat, which we both enjoyed. We needed it too, as the days before Christmas were a whirl of travelling, working and socialising for both of us! New Year was spent at my in-law's, where I get very well looked after! It can be a bit of a whirlwind of family too, but this year it was relatively quiet.

Today I'm back at my desk, getting back to business as usual. My concentration is slipping, so I thought I would stop by and just let you know that I'm not dead. I am still knitting and hoping to get some more coherent blog entries out this month. I've got a couple of FOs to tell you about, and I want to report the progress on a pair of socks and two jumpers, plus review my Knit the Queue 2013 progress before making knitting plans for 2014. Sadly, blogging has become a bit difficult for me lately; as often happens at this time of year, work fills the daylight hours, so photographing things in good light becomes harder. I do like doing things to the best of my ability, but I think that I can't keep it up. I am sorry to do it, but I will have to compromise on photo quality, in order to keep things going.

Now, back to work....