Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Close Encounters

It's still close enough to the beginning of the year to make some resolutions, so I thought I would take stock of my stash and my UFOs with the aim of DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THEM in 2008. Actually, I made clear progress in 2007 and January 2008 in both of these departments. As long as you don't count my Inishmore supply of Tivoli wool, I definitely had a net reduction in the stash over the past year, knitting up and selling more yarn than I acquired. I knitted up several pairs of socks, and loads of scarves and hats were gifted at Christmas.

As for the unfinished objects (the UFOs), I made progress there as well. I started and finished the Lopi within a 12-month period. After careful consideration, I frogged 2 would-be sweaters that had been in limbo for well over a year: a denim cardigan intended for Rich, which had been cast on in the Summer of 2004 (I think), and a pullover intended for Mathboy, begun in 2005. (I actually took a good look at Mathboy's sweater, and realized that he had already outgrown it, even though it wasn't even half-finished. And there, in a nutshell, we see the danger of knitting for children.)

So this is the state of my knitting. According to Ravelry, my total stash is about 150 skeins of yarn. Wow, that sounds like a lot. It also does not include any of my dishcloth cotton. So, wow. Out of the total, 42 skeins are the Tivoli wool I am using for my Inishmore (the 23 Leslie and Frank bought me for Christmas, and another 19 I got off eBay in case I need more).

Here are the UFOs, in order of age rather than beauty:
1. The ecru Denim Cardigan for me. My slog. Every time I have myself nearly convinced to give up on this, I remember how much time I have put into it so far and I think about how nice it would look if I could just force myself to work on it some more. I washed one piece of it a few months ago and was entranced with the way the piece shrunk, the yarn softened, and the stitches all tightened up. After that, I could not bring myself to throw it away, but I couldn't bring myself to work on it, either. It has a special Rubbermaid tub all to itself in the closet. This year, I pledge to make a decision about this sweater once and for all. Either I finish it, or I build a ceremonial funeral pyre for it in the backyard. It will not be on this list in 2009. I have no new picture, I don't care to take one, anyone who really wants to see one should go here.

2. the Knittery cashmere socks. Cast on in July 2007, on the floor of Barnes & Noble, next to the Manga section (which is surprisingly large--what's up with that?), where I found a corner to rest in while waiting for Harry Potter #7. Currently halfway up the foot of the second sock. What's holding me back? I hate this yarn. But I do think I would like the finished socks, so I don't want to pitch the whole project.

3. the Solstice Slip socks. Cast on in September, I am currently halfway up the foot of the second sock. What's holding me back? The stitch is annoying, and the yarn (STR lightweight) is not my favorite. It keeps kinking up on me.

4. Rich's socks. Cast on December 2007. Currently 2/3 of the way up the foot of the first sock. What's holding me back? It is hard to see where increases need to be made for the gusset because of the striping of the yarn, so I keep messing up and having to rip back. I need to knit these in better light that I usually have available in the evenings. I also need to figure out how the heel will work out, and am planning to adapt Cat Bordhi's heel from the Salish Sea socks. This requires thought, concentration, and probably a pencil and paper. So ... it's laziness that is really holding me back on these.

5. Cat Crazy Girl's Jitterbug socks. Cast on January 2008, adapting the Slippery Socks pattern and using Colinette Jitterbug yarn. Currently close to finishing the first sock. These are coming along nicely, now that I made the decision to do only the front cabling pattern. But I do need to have a chart to work them, so they are not exactly mindless knitting.

6. Inishmore. Cast on January 2008, starting with a sleeve. I am almost to the saddle top of that sleeve. This is a beautiful pattern. Although the charts look very complicated, they actually make a lot of sense, so I can knit without needing to look at them. The only thing holding me back on this is that the actual knitting is hard on the hands. Working this yarn, in complicated cables, on a size 5 needle can be tough. I don't work more than a few rows in any given day. This will take a while. I don't have a picture because it pretty much looks the same as it did when I last photographed it, just, uh, longer.

7. Jeanie. So pretty! Cast on at the end of January 2008. So far I have about 8 inches done. This is slow-going because of the nature of the knitting involved: it's all ribbing, with half the stitches being twisted, cabling every 6 rows, and dropping stitches every, um, 12 (?) rows. The yarn I am using (Handmaiden Mini Maiden, a wool/silk blend) doesn't like to come undone very easily (how's that for irony? the one time I want stitches to drop they don't seem to want to drop), so the drops take time, too. This project, like Inishmore, is a long-hauler. I hope to have it finished to wear this summer during a family wedding weekend in Maine. Isn't it cool?

8. New "Quickie" project: Fingerless Mitts, compiled from a few patterns I found on Ravelry. Bad me. I really just wanted a small, simple, non-sock project, so I cast these on this week. I was completely seduced by the pretty yarn, bellamoden, unable to exercise any self-control in the face of these beautiful colors. I am doing a simple cable and ribbing pattern, and I'll figure the thumb out when I get to it.
It looks like a flower garden, doesn't it? Nice spring colors to be playing with in February.

So that's all--a full accounting. 8 works in progress is not that bad, when you think about it. Well, four are less than a month old, so maybe my issues are more about casting on than failing to finish.

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