2012 and Looking Back

2012 Knitting

For the last two years I have been doing retrospective and looking forward posts as the years end and begin, and this year is no different. I am using December 30th, as the cut off day for finishing projects in 2012.  Unlike last year I have some projects carrying forward into 2013 and I’m okay with that.

So 2012 in numbers looks something like this, 2011 and 2010 numbers are in brackets. Note, that this year I added a loom so these number include woven projects as well.

2012 by the Numbers:

  • 20.56 (14, 23) miles of yarn acquired during the year
  • 33 (22, 18) miles of yarn currently in my stash
  • 8.7 (6.2, 4.5) miles of yarn knit/crocheted/woven into projects
  • 1.82 (2.15, 3.93) Ratio of yarn acquired to used
  •  1,092 (2,771, 426) yards of handspun yarn
  •  2.5 (6, 5.7) pounds of spinning fiber acquired
  • 12.7 (12, 5) pounds of spinning fiber in stash
  • 1.37 (2.85, 4.68) ratio of stashed fluff to spun yarn
  • 1 (6, 7) pairs of mittens
  • 4 (5, 14) hats
  • 7 (3, 6) shawls or stoles
  • 10 (0, 3) scarves
  • 0 (2, 2) bags
  • 0 (2, 0) blankets
  • 8 (6, 1) cowls
  • 13 (3, 1) pairs of socks
  • 1 (10, 0) dishclothes
  • 2 (0,1) baby sweaters
  • 3 (0,0) toys

The big difference this year was the addition of socks, in a big way, to my repertoire.  Ultimately, I acquired more yarn this year than almost any other but I also used much more than any year.  I also had the smallest fluff acquisition ever, but I did hardly any spinning. I found that with my crazy work schedule I never was all that compelled to sit at my wheel, I’m hoping to change that in 2013.

So to see how I did on the goals I set for myself in January 2012.  I didn’t often look at this list when making decisions about what to make this year so, I think I didn’t do very well meeting my own expectations, but I had a great year in knitting, crocheting, weaving (and an okay year in spinning) so this is just an exercise in curiosity at this stage.

In 2012, I:  (goals I have met are struck through)

– Spinning –

  • Participate in the Tour de Fleece in July – NOPE didn’t even try
  • Spin a truly woolen-spun yarn – Not this year but I will try again next year
  • Spin a useable sock yarn – Didn’t even attempt this one, but I have some ideas on how to accomplish it.
  • Spin a 2-ply laceweight of at least 800 yds from 100g of fluff – Nope, another one for 2013
  • Spin at least 3lbs of fluff – I did 1.8 lbs, so more than halfway, which is good for not really spinning
  • Tailspin some locks – Nope, but didn’t get my hands on any locks so that was extra challenging
  • Spin hand carded fleece Yep, but I hated the yarn I was making so I just tossed it, but I do want to get a drumcarder one day because I do prefer spinning carded batts to combed top.

– Knitting –

  • Knit 12 pairs of socks during the year – I have all the yarn in my stash – YES, and you can read about all my socks HERE.
  • Finish one large shawl/stole, more than 1000yds of laceweight – Nope, I had nobel ideas, but none came to fruition, I am going to relist this goal for 2013 as I have a crocheted stole lined up to use about 1,200 yards of laceweight I hope to have done before summer.
  • Design a pattern that is appropriate for submission to an online knitting magazine – Nope, but again, I have some ideas that are at least suitable for self-publishing, something I want to set as a goal for 2013.
  • Participate in at least one Knitalong – This goal was kind of a gimmie, because I was already planning on participating in the January TFA KAL and then I went on to do several more through the year, one of which actually won me a prize.
  • Knit more than 10 miles of yarn – With 8.7 miles of yarn used, I am short of my 10 mi goal, but I think I still want to aim for it, because I have big plans for 2013.

– Crochet –

  • Start a sock-yarn Babette Blanket from my scraps – Nope, but I got a RH loom which I have been using to use up scraps and I LOVE it.
  • Crochet a shaped item (mittens, hats, shrug, etc) – AMIGURUMI are fun!  I had no idea that might be what I made in shaped crochet, but I have more yarn and patterns on the way to make many, many more.

– Fiber/Yarn –

  • Take undyed fluff and turn it into a finished object, which will included dyeing, spinning and knitting.
  • Process some raw fleece, preferably from a local producer.
  • Knit down my stash
  • FAILED on all these counts, however, a chaotic summer (with a daily 2hr, 100mile round-trip commute) killed some of my inertia to accomplish these during the summer.  

Looking at it I didn’t really accomplish many of my goals for 2012, however I don’t see this as a failure, but a representation of how hard it is to see into the future, when I was sitting at my desk in January, I had no idea that I would be where I am today.   So I will set goals for 2013 and post them here tomorrow, January 1st, but here are some of the things I accomplished this year which were not on my list for 2012.

Also in 2012, I:

I still have a few 2012 FO posts to share in the next few days as I get better pictures (or in one case block and take pictures, its a lace shawl so it really needs blocking), but I am ready to dive into a new year of fiber fun!

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FO: Boxing Day Hat

Boxing Day Hat 2

After a December of crocheting toys, a cold that would just not let me go and some changes in my plans, I didn’t really feel like I had accomplished much.  After binding off Flukra, a lace shawl I have been working on since August, I felt like I had earned a quick project.  After seeing the nice hat Carla made for Jim’s sister for Christmas and remember I had brought along the skein of indigodragonfly MCN Worsted I got as my October mystery skein with me to Parry Sound a plan was formed.

This hat worked up very quickly and is fits pretty well as either a slouch or as a tight toque with a folded up brim.  However, I might not get the chance to wear it.  My mom, who is more than knitworthy and has hosted me for Christmas going on 10+ days now, who does not seem to own any hats asked if she could have it and I have a hard time denying her a new knit now and then.

Boxing Day Hat

I need to tuck the ends and give it a gentle blocking and see if I can get another skein of nice sproingy MCN worsted to make another one for me!

– Details –

Project Name: Boxing Day Hat

Pattern: The Big Easy by Vivian Aubrey of spindleshanks

Recipient: Well it was supposed to be, but I think it will go to my mom

Yarn: indigodragonfly MCN Worsted in Rusty the Rooster (a deep archive Special Edition)

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: This is my first time using a non-fingering weight indigodragonfly yarn and it is a nice sproingy MCN.  I got a bit of dye on my fingers as I knit (I have harsh body chemistry), however I don’t expect any bleeding when I send it for a bath.
  • Pattern: Clean, simple and a nice FO, what more can a person ask for in a pattern.

Re-Knit?: Yeppers, I want one for me!

FO: Toys for Toshie

Toys for Toshie

For a knitter (or any sort of fiber artist) there is nothing quite like an appreciative recipient, and I think Tosh might have been the most appreciative recipient yet.

On Christmas morning she opened up her three little stuffed animals and she has been playing with them ever since.  The inspiration to make toys came from a Craftsy class with the amigurumi designer Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.  I don’t have any small children in my life, and Toshie really needed some cute toys.

Merry Christmas Toshie

I’m really enjoying make the toys, I prefer the look of knitted toys, but honestly I am having tons and tons of fun crocheting these little critters and I’m developing a whole stash of Brava worsted to make a variety of creatures and monsters.  This is a change for me, I’m really not a fan of acrylic yarn, but it was the right thing for this project and at such an affordable price and great hand it is a great change of pace from super-pricey, but worth it, fancy blended hand-dyed yarns.

And it’s not only me who has been inspired by these little toys, my mom has even picked back up a crochet hook.  She wants to start crocheting again to help strengthen her hands, she is an extremely talented gardener (check out her Tower Hill Heritage Garden page to see just a small portion of the work she does in our little town) but she wants to make sure her hands stay as nimble as can be as she works them very hard.  Crochet is her preferred craft (over knitting) and by switching her over to a knife hold (from a pencil) hold she has been able to get restarted.  She crocheted a bit before I was born (which is longer ago that either of us is willing to admit) but it’s not something she had kept up with.  However, there is nothing like a cute toy and a cute puppy to inspire a crocheter to get back to her hooks.

Worn out Christmas Puppy

– Details –

Project Names: Toshie Birdie, Toshie Bear, and Reindeer for Toshie

Pattern: Amigurumi Blue Bird, Amigurumi Teddy Bear and Amigurumi Deer all by Stacey Trock for the Amigurumi: Woodland Animals Craftsy Class

Recipient: Toshie, the cute white puppy

Yarn: KnitPicks Brava in a variety of colors

Modifications:

  • No major mods, just color changes based on the yarns I had
  • Embroidered eyes – I figured with a puppy chewing on them, I was better off embroidering on eyes with black yarn, than installing non-child-safe eyes.

New Skills:

  • Making amigurumi
  • Crocheting spirals
  • Attaching pieces
  • Embroidering eyes

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I was surprised and delighted by the KnitPicks Brava.  While I had heard good things about it, it has been perfect for this type of project, and has already stood up to much wear and tear without any sign.
  • Pattern: Craftsy is an interesting platform, and the patterns are well written, so it is a great way to learn more about the technique and get patterns I’m likely to use again.

Re-Crochet?: Very likely, I’ve already had requests for more birds, as they are perfect for little dogs, they are like soft balls that don’t roll away under couches.

FO: Colors and Stripes

Stripes 2

I find that my loom is a perfect palette cleanser.  I haven’t spent much time getting fancy with my weaving, so for it is mostly plain weave on my little loom.  It’s like meditation to me, the constant rythym of up and down, back and forth gets me to a spot in my brain that I don’t seem to find with knitting, which I use to challenge me and to make increasingly complex items.

I like having a project on my loom, however I find that once I sit down at my loom I don’t find I get up until the item is finished.

Stripes 4

This scarf was a bit of a surprise, the warp looked great, then as I wefted with the yellow (the same yellow used in the warp stripe) it looked terrible, and like it was all yellow.  But when I cut it off the loom and washed it it magically became something really quite special.

– Details –

Project Name: Colors and Stripes

Draft/Warping Plan: I started warping with the darker purple till I ran out, then I did four ends of yellow and then warped the remainder of the loom with the lighter purple.

Recipient: The Box

Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in Iris Heather (dark purple), Pennyroyal (light purple) and Cornmeal (yellow)

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Palette has such great colors and softens nicely with a good soak, but I won’t be sad to see the last of the Palette from the Woodland Winter Mitts from two years ago.
  • Draft: I’m really happy with the warping plan I was able to make up as I was setting up the loom.  I’m really enjoying learning how to use colors by weaving scarves like this.

Re-Weave?: Yeppers, but it won’t be like this one, but using what I have on hand and figuring out how to make the colors work in my favor.

FO: Apricot Scrubber

Apricot Scrubbers

I wanted to learn something new, and thankfully for someone like me who lives in the middle of nowhere who can’t take classes at an LYS, Craftsy exists. I enrolled in the Tunisian Crochet class with Jennifer Hanson (Stitch Diva) and while I can’t see it as my primary craft, I enjoyed Tunisian Crochet and Jennifer is an excellent teacher.

This is my swatch/washcloth, and I’m already planning my next project, because I want to make sure I keep knowing how to do it.

– Details –

Project Name: Apricot Scrubber

Pattern: Tunisian Crochet Spa Cloth by Jennifer Hanson for Craftsy

Recipient: The Box/not sure yet

Yarn: Paton Grace in Apricot

Modifications:

  • None, I figured I should follow the rules when learning a new technique

New Skills:

  • Tunisian Simple Stitch
  • Tunisian Knit Stitch
  • Tunisian Purl Stitch
  • Tunisian Crochet

Feedback:

  • Yarn – Thank goodness I’m finally done with this yarn, it has been hanging over me since I started knitting in 2007.
  • Pattern – Jennifer is an excellent teacher and the Craftsy platform is an interesting way to distance learn techniques

Re-Crochet?: Nope, but I will keep going with these techniques to learn more about it

FO: Winter Bloom

Winter Bloom 2

This might be one of my most favorite FOs of the year, tied with Moonset, both are soft, beautiful and fun to knit and wear. I was really down on shawls for a while because I wasn’t sure how to wear them, and also my gauge issues made all shawls into shawlettes which makes them even harder to wear.

Now that I’m better with gauge and learning how to adapt patterns when I’m not making things to finished sizes.

Winter Bloom 3

Not only did I think this was a great project but I was also able to win 3 skeins of Sweet Fiber Yarns Haven in Spanish Coin in a KAL.  Sure it was a random draw that won me the yarn, I like to believe it was how beautiful the shawl is.

I love supporting Canadian dyers (Tanis, Quebec) and designers (Melissa, British Columbia) and it’s even better when it turns out this beautifully.

– Details –

Project Name: Winter Bloom Shawl

Pattern: Autumn Bloom by Melissa Thompson of Sweet Fiber Designs

Recipient: Mine, mine, all mine

Yarn: TFA Orange Label in Frost

Modifications:

  • None

New Skills:

  • Knitting shawl edging sideways and picking up the body stitches – it worked fine and I’m happy to do it again.

Feedback:

  • Yarn – OMG, Orange Label (merino/cashmere/silk) is fantastic.  Soft and sleek without being too heavy.
  • Pattern – This was the first time working one of Melissa’s patterns, and it was great.  I look forward to working more of her patterns as she releases more in the future, as well as the fun ones from earlier.

Re-Knit?: Just maybe, it is really quite nice and lots of fun to make.

FO: North Plum Hat

North Plum 2

Yet another story of girl sees pattern, girl buys yarn for pattern, girl realizes she doesn’t like pattern, and girl wonders what she will do with the yarn for that specific pattern.  Thanks to the Sweet Georgia Pattern KAL I found a pattern that went nicely with Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Fine and I no longer had to feel guilty seeing it in my stash.

I’m finding I really quite like slouchy hats, I just need to figure out how to wear them properly so as not to look like too much of a doofus (which is a risk for most people and knitted hats). North Plum

– Details –

Project Name: North Plum Hat

Pattern: North Wind Hat by Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia Yarns

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarn – Merino Silk Fine in Black Plum

Modifications:

  • None, but I should have gone down a needle size for the brim ribbing, after blocking (read: soaking and laying smaller) I found it a bit too large, but still quite comfortable.

New Skills:

  • None

Feedback:

  • Yarn: Merino Silk might not have been the ideal yarn for this project, it is warm and comfortable and I need to run some elastic through the band.
  • Pattern: Felicia has well written patterns with excellent layout (which doesn’t really affect the knitting pattern, but does make using the pattern more enjoyable).

Re-Knit?: Maybe, hats get lost so I expect to be remaking this hat some day.

FO: Moonset

Mooncrest Shawl

On very rare occasions I see a pattern and actually make the effort to get the suggested yarn, this was one of those times.  I had the good fortune to test knit a pattern, Solaria Cowl, from The Stella Collection designed by Julie Crawford and Tanis Lavallee. Also, in that collection is the Suncrest shawl designed for TFA Red Label, a fantastic merino/cashmere/silk fingering/sport weight fingering.  When I was at the K-W Knitter’s Fair in September I had a chance to chat with Tanis and pick up a skein of Red Label in Dove, which is absolutely gorgeous.

Then in October, Julie announced on the Ravelry board about the November TFA KAL, it seemed like I should break my personal queue and knit it up.  And it was the right choice, it is a fantastic shawl and a beautiful yarn and so soft to wear.

– Details –

Project Name: Moonset 

Pattern: Suncrest Shawl by Tanis Lavallee

Recipient: ME!

Yarn: TFA Red Label in Dove

Modifications:

  • Somehow my body was narrower than called for so I did three extra lace repeats to max out the skein.

New Skills:

  • Not a whole lot, but this is the first time picking up just one of the loops on a shawl, it makes a really nice edge.

Feedback:

  • I love it when a pattern and yarn look as good together as the sample/pattern version 

Re-Knit?: Probably not, but I need to make others from The Stella Collection, and I’m looking forward to the 2013 TFA club as it will be one long Stella Collection as we will be getting different weight yarns and all the patterns will be designed by Tanis and Julie.