Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

I don't want to say that 2011 sucked ... but it wasn't a barrel of laughs. Nothing dramatic or traumatic happened, but that's the thing (not that I want those things to happen) nothing happened.

I no longer want to live in a state of blah. I want 2012 to be productive, fun and enjoyable.

I spent a lot of time in 2011 doing nothing, waiting ... wasting time. By wasting time I mean just that, not doing anything. I spend a lot of time figuring out what to do instead of just DOING.

For knitting, as an example, I spent a lot of time on Ravelry or the internet saving patterns ... could I tell you what half of them were, nope. Could I tell you what 1/4 of them were ... maybe. Did I knit any of them ... probably not. What a waste of time!

I spent a lot of time browsing online shops, maybe making purchases, maybe not. Do I know what is in my stash ... most, but not all. Why not pick something out of my stash and make something with it?!?!

No more wasting time!

I spent a lot of money on things ... that I haven't used. Books, magazines, needles, yarn. I also spent TIME buying these things and working for the money to buy them. ENOUGH, start USING them.

No more spending money!

I have taken steps in 2011 to be aware of and organize all those things I have. Time to USE them.

Often times I think I am afraid to use something, that it won't come out well. That's one thing I love about knitting, not good?? RIP it out and reclaim it.

I almost never get good FO photos. We live next to 30 acres of conservation land. Why not get out of the house and drag hubby with me (because he needs to get out too) and get some great FO photos in 2012!

2012 will be a year of DOING, USING and MAKING.

I wish you all the best in 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #22

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

This is the last post for the 2011 War of WIPs, thank to those of you that joined in the battle!!!

Derek's scarf is finished!!! I still have to weave in some ends and block it, but the knitting is done!!

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf - Knitting done 12/29/11.
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan Vanquished 11/15/11

I didn't accomplish everything on my list, but I am very happy having a lot of those long standing projects completed this year!

Please post your year end results!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Surmount the Stash 2012 -- Prepping

I went through my Ravelry stash and figured I have the following:

131 4-Ply Fingering (2 50 gram skeins were counted as 1)
17 3-Ply Light Fingering
21 Sport entries (15 "sock yarns")
21 Lace (multiples of colorways counted as 1)
9 Sweater quantities
17 entries for DK - some are Baby yarns

What I gather from this ... upwards of over 195 projects. Typically the number of projects I complete per year is somewhere in the teens, each year is increasing as I become a more skilled knitter. I used 15 as a middle ground instead of some crazy sliding scale graphing, which I could do if I was really determined.

This stash will last me for 13 years ... wow that's scary!! I didn't include dishcloth yarn, miscellaneous skeins, etc. So in reality its even more than that.

I'm also great at purchasing books ... and magazines, but rarely knit anything out of them. I would also like to focus on making things out of the books and patterns I have on hand, rather than purchasing new ones.

I created a Ravelry group, if you want to join, please find it here. Somehow amazingly within 24 hours it was up to 73 members ... its now up to over 100.

Regular blog posting of the Surmount the Stash 2012 will commence in January. Until then, feel free to post on the Ravelry board!

Now I am off to complete the WIPs I currently have to make way for stash knitting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the first day of Christmas

my true love gave to me ...

I have a very good hubby.

For Christmas I got a new sliding hook flyer for my wheel.

A vertical Lazy Kate.

A spinning wheel maintenance kit.

And some awesome roving off my favorites list.

Along with (not pictured) the last Harry Potter movie (both movies). The new Megadeth CD ... one of my favorite bands. And a Jack Skellington throw in shades of purple.

Don't worry, I got him super awesome stuff too!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope you have a Happy Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Update 12-18-11

Its so easy to get discouraged when things don't magically work the way you want them to. I have been progressively taking baby steps the latter part of this year to get organized and stop doing stupid things. One thing I have successfully done several times now is stop and get gas when the tank is less than 1/4 ... not wait until I am already late for work and the low fuel light comes on. The thought, I don't have time, is always one of the preventing motivators of doing smart things, like I don't have time to stop for gas ... really because you have to be home 5 minutes earlier than if you stopped ... for what?!?!

I had a basket of mail that I tossed in the corner of the kitchen until I could go through it and make sure there wasn't anything important in there ... do you know what I found? Not one thing that was terribly important. And about 75% of it was junk mail and flyers. 5% was probably paperwork that I didn't need, but wanted to shred so my information wasn't exposed and the rest was stuff I could get again if I wanted to (like paint sample chips). The basket was cleaned out, sorted and ... I THREW OUT THE BASKET! Can't keep hoarding crap in a basket that isn't there.

I would love to be in a position where the only cleaning I was doing on the weekend was actual cleaning, with soap and water, duster and a vacuum. In my 30+ years I have learned some things, but still sometimes I feel like knocking on my forehead and yelling, "Hello, McFly!!" I'm getting there, bad habits die hard.

Its so easy to just throw in the towel and give up. I am consistently trying to think of the positives and the things I am doing better to motivate me to continue. I keep telling myself that it will get better and easier one day if I keep plugging away.

I don't want you to think my house belongs on a show like Hoarders, its definitely not that bad at all. My problem is one more of procrastination ... you shouldn't do dishes because there isn't a clean fork to use as an example. Or spend 20 minutes looking for a bill that you know is due, but you don't know where you put it.

I think I am disappointed in myself, we moved into this house only three years ago, that was a good chance to start fresh and be organized, I was doing well for a while, but I let those old habits take over.

Now, ask me where a skein of yarn is or a cherished book is ... I could find it in less than a minute, LOL!!

Here's something that fell under this category. This shawl was completed back in August. It was still sitting in my chair with ends dangling all over just yesterday (FO post already posted).

Ta da!

I was going to pin it to block, but its got kind of a weird shape and garter stitch, so I just pressed it out with my hands and left it to dry that way on its own. Seemed to work out fine.

And why was it left uncompleted for so long ... there were A LOT of ends to weave in!

I've been spinning a bit, you can see the bobbin that's done and resting, its half of the roving by weight. Now I am working on spinning up the other half.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FO: Earth & Sky

Pattern: Earth & Sky
Yarn: Knit Picks Kettle Dyed in Ivy and Eggplant and Knit Fit Knitting in Pansies
Needles: Knit Picks US 4 Circular
Cast On: Sometime in 2011 - when the KAL started
Completed: Knitting August 2011, Ends Woven in December 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #21

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

War of WIPs will be wrapping up soon for 2011!

I've been plugging along on Derek's Scarf. Since Monday I've completed 28 rows. My plan for now is to complete this scarf for Christmas and I will be happy with my War of WIPs for the year.

Next Battles on the Horizon:

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf 11/30/11
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan 11/30/11 Vanquished 11/15/11

Participation here has kind of fizzled out, so if you'd like to include your post, please post a link in the comments. Thanks!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Knitting Countdown!

I only have one item that I am knitting for a gift this year. This scarf has been on the needles since 2007 and was supposed to be a Christmas gift that year!

I have 140 rows left, this equals 10 per day. At this point I want it cast off by Xmas, not necessarily completed and blocked with all ends woven in, but that would be nice it if was completed before Xmas.

Morderne Log Cabin Blanket for a co-worker who's girlfriend is due in February. I have 414 rows left, this equals 52 rows per week or 7 rows per day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Update 12-11-11

I finished spinning half of the roving I was spinning on my wheel! This is the first complete roving I have worked on since I got my wheel last month. My plan is to spin the other half on another bobbin and then ply them together.

I don't know if it was because I was talking about setting a budget for next year, but I went a little coo-coo-bananas (as we say around here) on my purchases.

First up was my Blue Moon Fiber Arts purchase, this was to use my Rockin' Socks Club coupon. Sorry for the crappy photo, but I didn't want to take the rovings out of the bags.

One Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Puck's Mischief 100% Superwash Merino. One skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in Ghoulash (its buried in the bag). A Bluefaced Leicester / Mix Roving in Fire On The Mountain and Firestar Roving in Corvid Fledge. I also purchased the Baby Mine Sweater pattern by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

Then a purchase from The Sanguine Gryphon, which will be closing soon and turning into two new companies.

Bugga in Southern Green Stinkbug, I've always wanted to try Bugga, not sure if the new companies will have something similar, but didn't want to chance not getting to try it. And I got 2 Mithril lace in Reverie (on sale) and Woods and Undergrowth.

Lastly was a purchase at Dyeabolical Yarns. I heard about this on The Knit Girllls, and how its packaged in an interesting way. There is no colorway name, the fiber is Cheviot. The package came with a stitch marker from BeaGinDesign (a nice little treat).

Yeah ... I went and ordered a set of stitch markers ...

I went shopping today and picked up a tote for my rovings ... I thought they would all fit in here (14"wide by 12" tall), it only fit half. Really ?!?! If I really squished them in there I could fit more, but this is just another example of my skewed view of my stash!

This was a surprising caught in the act photo. Usually Nikoh (black/white) bullies Riley (grey tabby) ... somehow Riley sat on top of Nikoh and was licking his head, ruffling his fur backwards. Before this surprise flash photo, Nikoh looked like he was enjoying this too much!

Lots of sale yarn marked down 25% in my Etsy shop, PLUS an additional 25% off through December with coupon code "MERRYXMAS"!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Surmount the Stash

In an effort to prepare for the Surmount the Stash 2012 I did some more investigating and pondering about my current stash and budgeting for the next year. I found some interesting facts:

In 2011 I made 11 projects in fingering weight yarn. Currently I have 204 skeins ... at this rate it would take me 18 years to knit them.

It would take me approximately one month to spin 4 oz of roving (this is approximate because as of this time I have only spun half in 2 weeks). I have 11 in my stash ... that's about 1 years worth.

I have two bookcases in my computer/knitting room ... neither hold books, they hold yarn, my books reside on the floor. Who says these shelves have to be stuffed with yarn? Shouldn't there be some room for my books?

I have 8 sweater quantities of yarn in my stash. In 5 years of knitting I have knit three sweaters. At this rate these will last me 12 years.

So the ultimate question is what provokes me to purchase more yarn? Is it the shiny factor? Am I concerned that all yarn manufacturers will simultaneously go out of business and there will be no place to acquire yarn for the rest of my life? What's the deal?

Are you in the same predicament?

Want to Surmount your Stash in 2012? Check out the link (click image above) for details!

Join me in 2012 and Surmount your Stash! Post your plan on your blog and link here. I will post and update post at the end of each month in 2012 with a linky widget where you can join by adding a link to you blog.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Feature Film

One of my new favorite pastimes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #20

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

War of WIPs will be wrapping up soon for 2011! Only three more weeks of posts left. Expect them to be spotty at best and possibly MIA with the holidays upon us. I will post a final one at the end of the year.

I'm pretty sure I am not going to finish my list this year. I am happy with the progress I did make and this W-A-L motivated me to work on those old projects. Next year I will be hosting a Surmount the Stash A-Long, but I'm thinking War of WIPs may raise it's ugly head again something in 2012 as I start more WIPs.

Next Battles on the Horizon:

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf 11/30/11
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan 11/30/11 Vanquished 11/15/11

Participation here has kind of fizzled out, so if you'd like to include your post, please post a link in the comments. Thanks!

Friday, December 2, 2011

How much is that yarn skein in the window??

Ever wonder how much money you spend on your hobbies? Just out of curiosity I did a little investigating. I downloaded data from my checking account for the year and sorted through and kept only known yarn shops, paypal (because that's pretty much all I purchase via that method) and chain craft stores. I came up with $2,238. This does not include my $230 membership in Socks that Rock and the $550 I spend on a spinning wheel. Wow!

Now, this is not an exact number - I can't track cash purchases, sometimes a coworker and I go in on Knit Picks orders together (however, she ordered sometimes, so I guess its a wash because I paid her cash for her orders, so I'm including our combined numbers from the orders I placed in my total here) and some of these are patterns or other items. But I think this is a fairly accurate number.

I was trying to come up with a budget for 2012 - mainly to force myself to knit from my stash and stop collecting. I was thinking $100 per month. Then I was really wondering how much I actually spent in 2011. So let's say $2,500 with the club membership - and now I want to decrease that number. So I will continue with the $100 per month, plus a bonus of $50 - that's exactly half of what I spent in 2011.

So there you have it folks, as part of my Surmount the Stash exercises I will be held accountable to maintaining this budget for 2012. I have some rules and exceptions here:

1) Amounts can be borrowed from a coming month. For example, if I want to sign up for a club membership and that total is $250 ... then I borrow from the next two months to get that amount. Jan + Feb + 1/2 March = $250.

2) Gift cards and presents do not count towards my budget.

3) Unused amounts roll over til the end of the year.

4) What is considered and accountable expense? Yarn, knitting notions (needles, darning needles, stitch markers, wool wash, blocking accessories, knitting bags), patterns, roving, spindles, knitting or spinning books, knitting or spinning magazines, class and workshop fees.

I think I've covered anything. Do you see any loopholes I can come up with in this plan?

Friday Feature Film

Ramen Knitting 101

Literally knitting with Ramen noodles and chopsticks!