Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lost and Found

It's been almost 10 months since we moved into our home.  In that time, we have unpacked . . . almost all our stuff.  It's amazing how everything gets shuffled around and "lost" when you move.

This week I took some extra time off work to make sure that our home was ready to receive guests for Thanksgiving.  I found our living room on the first day.  I had been worried that it wasn't big enough to hold all 13 of us, but after I put away all the laundry baskets and the accumulated stuff I discovered that it is indeed big enough. 

I decided that while I was cleaning and organizing I would unearth all my knitting supplies that were still packed away.  Don't get me wrong.  I have had all my supplies within reach since the moment we moved in.  It's just that they have been in bins and boxes and not really labeled and I have added to my needles and stash in that time and most of it wasn't cataloged. 

So yesterday I got out all my boxes and project bags and started rummaging through them.  I found all my needles and made sure they were all listed on my Ravelry chart.  Now, they are sitting artfully on the end table next to my knitting spot in the rediscovered living room. 

I also found many of my hibernating projects.  I have a really bad habit of starting small projects and then leaving them on the needles never to be finished.  I have now organized all of these small projects into a magazine rack that also, conveniently enough, sits next to the knitting spot.

I say this not to imply that any of these small projects will be finished anytime soon, more like they will sit there and mock my lack of progress.  But at least now I can see exactly what I have been ignoring.

There is one more thing that I had lost that has been found . . .my knitting motivation.  Party this is due to the turning of the weather, but I owe a finders fee to attempting NaKniSweMo.  I may not make the 50k stitch count by next week, but the fact that I have been knitting everyday has really reminded me why I love this craft so much.  But I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rainy Day Knitting

I love knitting when it is raining outside.  It just seems so comforting to be snuggled on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a pile of knitting.  Most of the time I end up with a cat, or possibly the dog, sitting on the couch behind me.

Today was just such a day . . .or at least it started out that way.

It rained pretty good until a little after noon and then the sun came out.  To counteract this change in weather, I simply closed the blinds and pretended that the rain was still coming down.  I have a lot of knitting left to do on my windowpane coat for NaKniSweMo.   I'm very far behind, but I am not giving up.

I've finished the back and the left front pieces and I've now started the right front.  In total, I've only knit about 19,500 stitches.  I really thought I would have a higher stitch count at this point.  Maybe that is more due to the stiffness in my wrists than to the size of the garment.  It makes it feel like I have knit much more than I have.  I'm still getting used to what it feels like to knit with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Alas, it means I have to knit slower and take more breaks than before.  Still it feels good to be knitting as frequently as I have been this month.

Tomorrow my breaks from knitting will be consumed by various cleaning chores in prep for Thanksgiving.  This will be the first Thanksgiving in our new house.  I am looking forward to celebrating with my extended family.

I know one thing I'll be giving thanks for that day . . .rainy day knitting.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaKniSweMo Almost Half Way

Nov 14th, almost half way through the month and I should be almost half way through my 50k stitch count in order to be on track for NaKniSweMo. . .Am I?  No.

In fact, I am only almost half way to the half way point.  Sick children, an injured back, birthday weekend and hectic work days have kept me from spending as much time knitting as I would have liked. Yesterday was the first day this month that I was able to spend a significant amount of time knitting.  I did finally manage to get to the armhole shaping on the back of the coat and things are moving along a a good pace now.  The pattern changes every two rows, but I've become familiar enough with the changes in the pattern that I don't need to look at it as often as in the beginning and that has helped me pick up the pace.

Aside from some random chores, that shouldn't take too much time, I have a large portion of my day today open to knit.  If I can finish the back piece and get started on one of the front pieces I will deem myself back on track. 

Considering I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off from work, I should still be able to hit the 50k stitch mark by the end of the month.  It may mean that my house isn't as neat and tidy as I would like when my Thanksgiving guests arrive, but hey, I can just pull out the unfinished sweater that took up my time and I'm sure they will understand.  Right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fiber Festival

This past Sunday was the Southern California Handweavers' Guild Weaving and Fiber Festival, so I took a break from my NaKniSweMo knitting (actually most of the weekend was a break so I am very far behind) and went to see what it was all about.

I've always wanted to go to a fiber festival, but until now I hadn't had the opportunity.  One of the downsides to being a SoCal knitter is there aren't very many festivals of this type to go to that are within easy driving distance.  Someday I hope to have the time and money to travel to some of the larger festivals that happen annually.  This was a very small festival, but still had such beautiful items.

Walking around just looking at all the colors was like a zen journey,  despite the fact that the place was very crowded.  All the other shoppers and yarnaholics just faded into the background leaving nothing but colorful palettes to admire.  Even better, was all the yarn and roving to hold and pet. 

We wandered around for bit, making sure to look at all the wears before deciding on a purchase.  It was a good thing  I am on a strict budget right now.  There was so much that I could have walked away with on Sunday.  I mean seriously, for a yarnaholic like myself, fiber festivals can be a dangerous place.   In fact, there was a woman in from of us waiting to get in that was saying to her friends, "I am not allowed to buy anything in a bag.  If you see me even reaching for it, stop me."  It is the wise fiber enthusiast that enlists the help of friends in staying on budget!

Finally, after about an hour of wandering a petting and returning to the same vendor, we both made a decision on yarn.  (The picture isn't the best, but you get the idea.)

1700 yards of 70/30 Superwash Merino/Nylon.  The colors on the picture don't do it justice.  It looks like the ocean.  I believe that this will become some sort of sweater.  I've already started roaming through patterns on Ravelry looking for just the right one.   I want something that will be simple enough that the colors of the yarn are the star instead of the stitches, but at the same time I don't want something that is completely stockinette stitch.  I know myself well enough that if it is all stockinette it will take me forever to finish, because I will get bored. 

Now. I just need to get back to my NaKniSweMo sweater and get it finished.  As much as I want to start on this new yarn, I'm going to have to wait until after the new year since I have presents to get finished (oh yeah, and my husband's sweater too.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What have I gotten myself into?

You know, that's exactly what I thought when I started NaNoWriMo last year and now one year later I feel the same way about NaKniSweMo.

Do I really think that I can knit a sweater (or at least 50,000 stitches of a sweater) in one month???  I guess we will find out. 

I started working on the Windowpane Coat by Deborah Newton.  I fell in love with this pattern when I first saw it on the cover of Interweave Knits.  I've had the yarn and pattern sitting around my house for at least a year, but I always felt like I just didn't have the time to knit the coat, or it was too hot to start on a wool coat, or some other equally viable excuse.  

Last year, one of the reasons I participated in NaNoWriMo was to prove to myself that I actually could meet such a large goal if I really committed myself to it.  It wasn't easy, but I stuck with it and it felt really good.   I am looking at NaKniSweMo the same way.   I know that given a deadline and a strong commitment to myself, I can complete this task. 

I started out a little rough.  I had to rip out and reknit the border on the first back piece and that cost me a day of knitting (OK, so it wasn't a full day, more like an hour, but that was all the time I had to knit that day.).  I also hurt my back which has made it difficult to sit and knit for long periods of time.  That being said (and trying to remain positive), my back is healing faster than the doctor said it would and I was able to catch up to where I had been in the pattern and things are moving along at a good pace. I haven't knit this regularly in a long time and it feels really good.

4 days down . . . 26 to go.