Rules for Feeding the Stash

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

Wow, 2015 has been such an incredible year! I finished an amazing 51 things this year-and quite a few of them were design samples! I had a soft goal to release 12 patterns this year, but I managed a spectacular 19, and totally blew myself out of the water!

I opened up the year with Fingercuffs, and it feels pretty nice to have almost closed out the year with Fingercuffs Worsted. I like that my mitts hold almost all of my other patterns from this year between them, like all the patterns are getting a big hug.

I published five cowl patterns (Vera, Inter-Cardinal, Pelligan, Kermit, Roco Loop), which would easily be my biggest category if it wasn't for the six hats that I flung out into the world (Josey, Odiorne, Hampton, Gorham, Portsmouth, Sporange)! Four of those hats were from my first collection, Granite, and I had so much fun putting that together. It was a great project, I learned a lot, and I'm looking forward to putting together some other collection ideas in the future.

Three shawls (Jeyna, Tessa, Nelumbo) got released as well-including my first collaboration with The Dyeing Arts!

I released my second garment pattern, Cam Tee. I loved putting this one together, and with one top under my belt, I'm ready to start attacking the queue of sweater ideas I have planned.

I definitely had a lot of fun this year, and I learned a lot. Instead of setting a number goal again for next year, I'm planning on focusing more on garments, and I definitely would like to have a pattern submission accepted by a publication. This year was such a great roller coaster of new experiences, I can't wait to see what 2016 will be like! I already have one pattern ready to go on Friday (ring in the New Year right!), so next year's already off to a great start.

In terms of all my other knitting, I got a pretty decent variety of things:

I knit four and a half garments this year-sweaters for my mum and myself, my Cam Tee sample, and Battleship. The "half" is my lengthened No Boyfriend Sweater-I'll have to post about the updates soon, but it's definitely more wearable now, and because of that it totally counts as a 2015 FO!

Ten shawls this year, which is a bit above average. I didn't do much in laceweight this year though, which is unusual for me. I knit my friend's table runner for their wedding, and I started Mottled Daydream, but other than that I worked more in thicker yarns. I've been snatching up lace and fingering weights lately though, so hopefully the new year will see more lighter projects.

I only knit a sad three pairs of socks this year, and two of those were gifts! In fact, the only pair for me would probably still be on the needles, if I hadn't needed those needles for Anemone's Giftmas present! I have a ton of sock yarn stashed up, so I definitely want to try to knit more socks next year, which means going to more movies, yay!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Giftmas 2015 Knits!

Well, hello! Glad to be back here with you all, and I hope you had a lovely weekend. All of my giftmas knits are in their new homes, so I am free to share them with you!

Up first, we have Anemone's socks-just basic, top-down, with a 1x1 ribbed cuff and garter-edged eye-of-partridge heel flap. My fave.

Ravelry Page: eso si que es
Pattern: basic recipe

Next, I knit up a sleeve for my mum's Kindle. I just used a quick little four row/four stitch stranded repeat with a garter stitch band at the beginning, and I did an i-cord with the yarns held doubled for the button loop. Button is courtesy of my button jar, but I think it's an extra from a giftmas knit five years ago.

Pattern: made up on the spot
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, "Golden Heather," "Abyss Heather"

Then I knit up a quick little something for my friend's toddler so he would have something to open when his parents got their cocoa mix. He's obsessed with cats, so I knit Beans the Cat with worsted weight yarn held double and US10.5 needles. He's a proper little tabby, and I really enjoyed watching him take shape.

Ravelry Page: C's Beans
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed "Dove Heather,"
  Knit Picks Wool of the Andes "Golden Heather"

Finally, another one of my friends from college commissioned a Calorimetry for her mother. I had knit my friend one several years ago, and it's such a quick knit that I was happy to do it.

Ravelry Page: Calorimetry 
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes "Midnight Heather"

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Two Days Before Christmas

Yesterday was my big baking day-I still have to roll out and bake gluten-free pepparkakors today, but I've gotten the Chex Mix done. snicker doodles baked, a batch of chocolate-oat no-bakes made up, and I even had time to crank out a sun bread for the solstice yesterday.

I haven't actually knit much the last couple of days-Monday afternoon, after having a bit of a holiday freak-out, I decided to try and have Drift done for New Year's instead of Christmas, and boy, is that ever a weight off my shoulders. Honestly, I don't even know if it will be done by then, but it will be finished whenever the time is right for it, and I really just needed a break this week.

So, in the next two days I need to get the gluten-free pepparkakors finished (I need to find my cookie cutters-the regular pepparkakors are traditional hearts, but I do my gluten-free ones as moose so I don't get them mixed up), and I need to make sure I have everything for dinner on Friday (we're having mac & cheese-usually it's lasagna, but we're saving that for when extended family visits on Sunday), I need to finish my last gift (the struggle is real), and I need to do all of my wrapping.

I hope you all are having a wonderful week, and enjoying these last few days of the year, and I will see you all next week to reveal all of my gift knits!

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Cocoa Time!

Sometimes it doesn't really feel like the holidays until I've gone off the deep end completely and overtaken the kitchen with coco powder and sugar.

Boom. A whole host of cocoa mixes, packaged and labelled and currently en route to their new homes. I decided to make up a few different kinds of cocoa mix for fun and variety, and because cocoa is delicious.

The mixes go out to my old college friends, and everyone got three quarts this year. I made my classic recipe, a peppermint cocoa mix, and a rich cinnamon cocoa mix that I discovered recently and can't quite get enough of.

Recipes and instructions are below for all three, and for those of you concerned about my sweater progress...I think I need an elf.


Classic Cocoa:
4c dry milk
1 1/2c sugar
1c dry coffee creamer
2/3c cocoa powder
1/2c pudding mix

Whisk and store in an airtight container. To prepare, add 2tbsp mix to 6-8oz hot water or milk and stir.

Mint Cocoa:
3c dry milk
1/2c powdered sugar
1c cocoa powder
1/3c mint powder (or crushed candy canes)

Whisk and store in an airtight container. To prepare, add 2tbsp mix to 6-8oz hot water or milk and stir.

Cinnamon Cocoa:
3c brown sugar
3c cocoa powder
1/4c cinnamon

Whisk and store in an airtight container. To prepare, add 2tbsp mix and 1/2tsp vanilla extract to 6-8oz hot water or milk and stir.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Drift in Progress

I'm hoping to have this sweater done to wear for Giftmas.

Don't panic. Because there's only 10 minutes of daylight now, this photo is from Sunday, and since then I've finished the yoke, moved the sleeves to waste yarn, gone to town on the body and I have just a couple more rounds before I can start the waist shaping. It may be possible.

The last gift is well underway-over half done already-and moving at a nice little clip. I've been bringing it for my lunch knitting the past few days, and I plan to hole up a bit this weekend and finish it out of sight of its recipient. I'm fully confident that it will be done with time to spare.

This sweater, on the other hand...

It's totally doable. There is nothing unreasonable about thinking I can get half of a fingering-weight sweater churned out in seven days. (Crap. Five days, if I want it blocked.)

I'm going to go sequester myself with a large mug of cocoa and several hundred grams of yarn.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Last To-Do

That's it. That's the last of the Giftmas yarn to be knit up. I have a swatch, I have a plan, and it will be done in time.

Mind you, there's still a couple of other things to do-a button sewn on here, a face embroidered onto a stuffy there. But this is the last actual knitting that needs to be done by Giftmas. (I'm also trying to see if I can get my Drift finished in time to wear, but that's technically less of a priority than actual gift knitting.)

I also have a pile of non-knitting stuff that needs doing. I have eighteen quarts of cocoa mix to make, and for those of you who struggle with conceptualizing volume like I do, that's about half a grocery cart of ingredients. It's a lot. I also have chex mix to make, and cookies to bake, and a new little flick is coming out this weekend that my family wants to go to.

What about you all? Have a lot left to go on your holiday to-do list?

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Yellow Sweater

1. I am having a total blast knitting up this yarn. The color is so aggressively bright, and it is so soft, and I can't wait for it to be a sweater and on my body.

2. I am enjoying being challenged by a pattern. Usually, if I run into trouble, it's because I don't read the pattern, not because the project is on the right side of difficult. Not so here, this is one tough pattern.

3. I am enjoying not being able to have anything complicated on television while I'm working on this sweater. I completely understand being two weeks behind on all my shows, and I appreciate the short break from engaging television.

4. I am very glad to have next week off from work so I can do nothing else but watch Murder, She Wrote and work on this sweater.

5. I have been assured that while I may feel some frustration during the knitting of this sweater, the finished project is worth it. May it be worth it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Pattern: Roco Loop

Happy Friday, friends! Today I am so pleased to send Roco Loop out into the wild!

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite cowls-I love the cheerful colors and the reversible cabled fabric, it's big enough to fit over my head without messing up my hair, and it's thick and wide enough to still be a serious wind barrier.

I already talked a little about how I was inspired by Late Baroque design for this cowl, and I'm immensely pleased with how that inspiration translated into a modern, wearable piece.

And, because I know that several of you are procrastiknitters (I feel you, the struggle is real!), this is an incredible last-minute gift idea. The sample took me about two long afternoons worth of knitting, so I'm sure you could bang one out in a weekend if you needed to.

As always, the pattern includes both charts and written instructions, and is available on Ravelry or in the wayward knitter pattern store here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fix-It: No Boyfriend Sweater

Apologies in for the bad "before" pictures, but I took these three years ago with a webcam and didn't take new ones before I put this back on the needles. When I was a younger knitter, I had a problem with sweaters. I didn't really think things through well, I had poor construction, and I routinely did a terrible job matching yarn to a pattern. My No Boyfriend Sweater was the third sweater I ever knit. (Number one was Kaleidoscope, which fell victim to terrible yarn choice and drowned in the frog pond, and number two was Division, which, though wearable, suffers from poorly-seamed sleeves.)

I chose to knit Not Your Boyfriend's Sweater out of some Evil Corporation Cotton Print that had been in my stash since I first decided to learn how to knit, and I finished it shortly after I finished college. I think I might have decided to cut some length because I thought it would look fine and I wanted it to be done. I wore the sweater just twice, and it has been sitting on my closet shelf ever since. It really hits at an unflattering point, and it just was an awkward length to wear with anything. It has no shaping, so even though it ends at the narrowest part of my waist, it looks much wider.

I had the idea to rip back and lengthen it several months ago, but kept putting it off in favor of new projects. I still had plenty of the yarn sitting in my stash, waiting to become washcloths or something, and shortly after finishing my accidental sweater, I decided to just bite the bullet and fix this one quick. This cotton is soft like a sweatshirt, and I know this can be a great sweater to wear with leggings and curl up on the sofa to watch the snow and drink coffee and cuddle the dogs and watch Forensic Files.

I've already zipped through a few more lace repeats while waiting for the rest of my Giftmas yarn to come in the mail, and hopefully I'll be able to finish up before it arrives and I have to dive back into Top Sekrit knitting!

Monday, December 7, 2015

FO: Accidental Stripes

I am so happy with this sweater! It really came together well, and I only had to rip back and change things a couple of times. I chose to use the numbers for A Cropped Sweater for Winter because she really knows sweater construction and I knew it would be a really straightforward and easy knit, and I'm familiar enough with her patterns and construction to know I could modify the heck out of it and not get lost.

I knew I wanted to lengthen the body to hip length. The body was actually two stripes shorter the first time I bound off, but it hit at a weird point, and I knew it was going to ride up some, so I undid the bindoff and added two more stripes.

The sleeves really worried me for a while. Initially I had planned to introduce a third color in the sleeves, but I ended up not liking how it looked and ripped them back. Then I was worried about how long the sleeves would end up. Fortunately, they're the perfect length-this is the length I usually cuff my sleeves to, so go me!

I also totally changed the sleeve shaping. Instead of decreasing 4sts every third row, I halved that, which gives me a really loose upper sleeve before tapering down to fit my forearm. At some angles it looks baggy, but it's so comfortable, and it gives me room to wear a t-shirt under it if I want instead of a tank. For this sweater, I'm all about comfort, and the sleeves are definitely comfortable, and I'm glad I didn't go more tailored.

Ravelry Page: Accidental Stripes
Pattern: A Cropped Sweater for Winter by Andi Satterlund
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted

The Mods:
I removed 2 rows before underarm increases
The body stripes are 8 rows wide-I carried yarn down right side, tacking down every 4 rows
For fit I only co 4sts for each underarm
I wanted it looser up top and more fitted below the bust, so I did all waist decreases, then knit six rounds plain, then just two sets of increase rounds for lower torso
Increased length to hit at hip
For the cuffs, neck, and waist: knit one round blue, then seven rounds 1x1 rib in blue
pick up 70sts around arm opening
dec 2sts every 3rd row 15x
knit sleeve cap in blue
16 rounds red
8 rounds blue
8 rounds red
4 rounds blue
4 rounds red
4 rounds blue
4 rounds red
cuffs blue

Friday, December 4, 2015

FO: Mum's Rocky Coast Cardigan

It's done! I"m so glad to have this off the needles in time to get started on gift knitting-and done just in time for the snow to arrive! This sweater should not have taken me so long to finish, but I'm so happy with how it came out. The fabric is absolutely stunning, and I totally love the landscape of the sweater-that grey tweed in those cables is absolutely swoon-worthy!

I knit the whole thing almost according to the pattern-I added just a couple of inches to the length, and I ignored the spacing of the sleeve decreases as written and made up my own (because I'm a rebel who doesn't read patterns). But I'm ultimately very happy with it. The sweater is just a bit tight on me here, but my mum is a couple inches smaller than I am, and it fits her beautifully.

Ravelry Page: Rocky Coast Cardigan

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

FO: Cinema Socks

Well, December is here at last, and I feel like I really ought to have more Giftmas knitting done than I do (which is ridiculous-I have half of one present done, another won't take more than two hours, and the yarn for the last two is en route, so really, I'm in fantastic shape for the shape I'm in). But despite the frenzy of trying not to fall behind before we get too far into December, and tying up 2015, and planning the next few designs, I did somehow manage to finally finish a pair of socks for myself, and just in time for wool sock weather!

After almost eleven months on the needles, these bad boys are done! As I was finishing them up, I realized that this is only my second pair of socks knit this year (the first being my mum's birthday socks), which is kind of sad, given that I used to be such a prolific sock-knitter. I love my knit socks, and I have an entire bag of sock yarn in stash that's dedicated for socks, and I really had hoped that I would have gotten more pairs done this year. I guess that's something to keep in mind as I'm planning my 2016 knitting goals. (I think the solution to my sock problem is to go out to the movies more. I must experiment and report back.)

These are just basic cuff-down socks, using the Yarn Harlot's Recipe, which is always my go-to. The yarn was a dream too-I love how Patons Kroy knits up for socks, and I know these are going to be a fantastic cozy addition to my sock box.

Ravelry Page: Cinema Socks
Pattern: Sock Recipe: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee