2 years, 5 months, 11 days

Did you ever read the Wayside School books as a kid?  They were some of my favorite books when I was in the 3rd grade.  One of the stories features a girl who draws pictures really fast, faster than everyone in the class.  Sadly, a girl who drew slower always got more praise, even though she produced fewer pictures.  Complaining to the teacher about never getting praised, the teacher explained to her that when you take your time to produce something, it usually turns out better than something that’s been dashed-off with little thought–this is why master painters sometimes devote years of their life to a single work.  Leaving to go home for the day, the girl said she would draw a picture of a cat.  The teacher said he’d be glad to see it the next day.  The girl replied that this would be her masterpiece and she wouldn’t even be finished with one whisker.

Upon finishing a pair of socks that have been on the needles for… 2 years, 5 months, 11 days quite a while… That old story popped into my head.  I had taken… 2 years, 5 months, 11 days much longer than average… to knit a project that a normal person could finish in a few weeks (and a fast knitter could finish in under a week.)  I certainly wouldn’t call them a knitting masterpiece, but they’re not bad.

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The pattern is Small Capitals by Charlene Schurch from the Sensational Knitted Socks book.  The book is great.  It’s basically a recipe book.  It shows you about 100 different swatches.  You pick the one you want.  Then the book gives you instructions for a bunch of different gauges/sizes so you can use pretty much any weight of yarn and come up with the right size.

Here is a close up of the pattern.  It’s a 12 stitch 8 row repeat and I was never really able to memorize the pattern (which may have been why these were left unworked for so long… I had to have the pattern with me at all times.)

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(You can also see from the picture that the heel is a little baggy… That’s a product of the 12 stitch repeat, not as easy to size because you can’t just take out a repeat or two like you can with a 4 or 6 stitch repeat.)  The yarn I used is Noro Kureyon Sock.  The yarn is everything that the worsted Kureyon is–bold colors, knots that lead to colors in a completely different part in the color repeat, vegetable matter, and a very scratchy rustic feel.

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Normally I would never pair a color changing yarn with a texture/lace pattern but the very long color repeats of the Noro allow the pattern to show up anyway.  I love the way these socks look.  To me they look like scales.  Even though the yarn is scratchy rustic they are nice and warm (we still haven’t crawled out of the 50s here in Portland) and my feet really aren’t that sensitive to the yarn.  I’m glad I knit these socks, I think they look great, but I will never knit this pattern again.  Ever.

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(Yes, that is a dress with pockets.  Most awesome article of clothing ever.  I want an entire wardrobe of them.)

The estimation game

OK friends I have come up with a crazy game to play with myself to hopefully help me get some of those WIPs off the needs. Here is my plan: I am going to estimate how many days of knitting it will take to finish each of my WIPs. I will try to pick something that is a bit challenging but (hopefully) reasonable. For each WIP that I finish within the allotted amount of time I can spend $15 on yarn. That is a potential of $165 I would allow myself to splurge!

The rules:

1) I must knit some each day. If I don’t knit one day one of my projects will still have to take a strike.

2) Each day will be allocated to one project. If I knit on more than one project I will have to choose which one takes the day.

3) Any new cast-ons (with the one exception I will explain later) will not count. If I waste days playing with new projects I may have to give up getting some new yarn.

4) Finished means completely finished. As in off the needles, blocked, seamed, buttons applied, etc. Ready to be worn/used.

5) No money can be spent on yarn, needles, notions, ect. until this challenge is over, i.e. all the days have been used up.

My predictions:

1) First spinning attempt. I bought a drop spindle and some Targhee wool at sock summit last August and started spinning away. I actually got to the point where my spinning was pretty even but then I got distracted with school and didn’t pick it up for 11 months. Now I am at it again and am getting somewhat even results… For a first attempt I’m pretty happy. Anyway, about 1 oz. of the 3.8 oz braid was used in my thrummed mittens. The rest is on it’s way to becoming yarn. According to my Knit Picks yarn scale (so wonderful to have!) I have 0.78 oz left. I’m going to be a little generous with this one and give myself 5 days to finish since I’m so new to spinning. I think two days for spinning, two days for plying, and one day for washing, drying and skeining.

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2) Op Art. I have four stripes left on this blanket. That sounds pretty manageable, until I think about how each stripe contains both more rows that the stripe before and more stitches per row. I’m going to push myself and give myself 20 days here. right now it’s taking me about 35 minutes to do one row. I’m guessing I have 60 hours left on this puppy so I’m going to have to give it 3 hours each of it’s days. This is going to be my biggest challenge.

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3) Hope for Change socks. My oldest WIP to date. I love the way this pattern looks, it’s just not my favorite to knit. One sock is complete the other sock is about 2/3 up my instep (knit from toe up). I’m only giving myself 3 days to finish these babies. One day to get past the heel, two days for the leg and cuff.

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4) Mojo socks. These are so close to being done I can taste it. I have 45 rows left. These get one day.

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5) Yeah for Fall (Green Gable sweater). This went so quickly when I was working on it. I knit the whole body in about a week. I’m going to give it one more week. 3 days to finish the sleeves, 3 days to finish the yoke and hood, and 1 day for blocking.

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5) Birthday socks (Air Raid socks). The first sock is finished. The second sock has one repeat of 6 done on the leg (knit from the top down). The first sock went very fast. There is no real reason these have taken so long other than they are my “purse” project and I haven’t had to wait very often (knock on wood). I will give these 5 days.

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6) Selbu Mittens. One mitten is half done. These take complete attention because I have to follow the colorwork chart carefully. With school starting on the 30th complete attention is going to be hard to give. I’m going to be a bit lax with these and give them 14 days since full devotion will be hard to muster.

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7) Baby Surprise Jacket. This will go quickly once I turn my attention to it, I have just been focusing on other things recently. I am giving this 3 days.

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8) Victorian Scarf. Lace, like colorwork takes a lot of attention. Also, this project is pretty huge. I have 3 repeats of 42 done, plus the center panel, which is skinny but looooooong. I am going to give this project 18 days. That is 3 repeats a day for 14 days then 3 days for the center panel and 1 for blocking.

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9) Pomatomous Socks. These are fun to knit but all of the twisted stitches are slow going for me. I am 1/3 through the leg (knit top down) on the first sock. I’m going to say 10 days for these socks.

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10) Test Knit – Bashful. I can’t show you a picture of this one, but I’m test knitting a hat for Marly Bird aka Yarnthing on Ravelry. The hat is slouchy and DK weight but I can’t tell you anything about it until the pattern is released. So far all I have knit is the ribbing. I’m giving it 2 days since it’s a hat and hats are smallish quickish projects.

11) Test Knit – Whirligig bolero. This is a test knit for Stephanie Japel to help her up-size a pattern that was originally only in baby/toddler sizes. She is going to re-release it with bigger child and adult sizes. I’m testing one of the child sizes. It will either go to one of my cousins’ kids or to charity, but when the pattern is release I will have the adult sizes muahahaha. I haven’t actually gotten the pattern yet or my assigned size (supposed to come out today) but it has to be done within 3 weeks so I’m going to give myself 21 days.

That is 108 days to finish all my projects. That means on November 25 I will be done with this little adventure. That gives me one month to do any Christmas knitting I need… More than enough right…

A New Goal

Alright, so I’ve realized that I’ve done a terrible job of keeping up with this blog. I’m averaging about one post a month and that’s not very good seeing as I knit quite a bit in a month and then I have to have really long posts. And that makes me not blog very often because, when I do blog the posts have to be really long… So I’m breaking the cycle. I’m going to try to post at least once a week, and I’ve decided that Thursday will be the day that I WILL sit down and post. This will also help with the fact that I never seem to have many photos of WIPs, only finished products. So here’s what’s new since Tuesday…

I was so ecstatic after finishing Andrew’s sweater (he didn’t immediately break-up with me by the way) that I went combing the stash for a new exciting project. I really really want to make a Clapotis after seeing one that someone from my knit night made and I have the perfect lace yarn that I could hold double stranded. However, cross-country move June 2009 is rapidly approaching and I have an embarrassing amount of yarn here at school with me. In order to not shrink red-faced in shame when my mom looks in my closet, I decided that it would be wise to work on projects that will use substantial amounts of yarn, especially bulkier yarns… So I resisted the urge to cast on the Clap and cast on this instead:

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I know you can’t tell yet but it’s the climbing vines pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2008. I’m knitting it out of a discontinued yarn called Pleasure from Berroco. It’s a blend of Angora, Wool, and Nylon. The name says it all. This is the most fantastic yarn I have ever knit with. The yarn isn’t plied it’s corded and it’s heaven. The balls are marked as $13.50 per ball but Andrew bought it for me over the summer at a big clearance sale so it cost him about $4 a ball. Fantastic deal! So I cast this sweater on, got done with the ribbing, got out the needles I needed for the body, set them on the bed, went to get something from the other room, came back, sat down on the bed, and…

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So I ordered another set of needles but they won’t be here until Monday. And, like The Hulk, That Makes Me ANGRY! I got all excited about a new project and now I have to wait. So I’ve been working on this instead:

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It’s the Burger and a Movie Scarf from Never Knit Your Man A Sweater*. I started this way back in the fall when I first got to school as something that I could work on and read at the same time. It’s made with worsted weight Noro Kureyon even thought the pattern calls for Big Noro so my version is a bit lighter than the original, but since I’m moving to warmer climes it should work nicely.

I also have these socks, which I started way back in November. November 4th to be exact. I cast on on election day and worked the toe while Andrew was in some gymnasium voting.

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This is from Sensational Knitted Socks and the pattern is called Small Capitals. The yarn is Noro Kureyon Sock which is very typically Noro in that the colors are awesome, but there are random knots leading to random colors, it’s full of vegetable matter, it’s single ply, it’s think and thin, and it’s a bit scratchy. I like Noro and I expect these things from Noro so I’m not disappointed, but if you don’t like what Noro does in the bigger weights, don’t buy the sock version. I think I went temporarily insane when I picked this pattern for this yarn because I usually never pair textured patterns with yarn that changes color drastically, but in this case I’m glad of my small aneurysm because I’m very happy with how these look–kinda like scales in rainbow colors.

So this post ended up being quite long anyway, but it’s because I dredged up all my WIPs to showcase. Now that you’ve seen them I can only post about what I’ve worked on each week and hopefully have a better record of my knitting for myself and a more exciting blog… We’ll see.