A Year of Projects: 2016, Week 1

I have not yet written crafting goals for 2016.  November and December were pretty crazy around here!  First was my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday on Thanksgiving Day.  Then there was the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, followed the next weekend by the Holiday Party.  Then we had Christmas festivities with my family.  On December 28, I flew to Indiana to play matron of honor for Stacy’s wedding on January 2.  Chris flew up on December 31 so we got to spend New Year’s Eve together.  We just flew home this afternoon, to a cooler and wetter Florida than I left last Monday.  Stacy’s reception was held in a building at the same fairgrounds that hosts The Fiber Event.  It was so strange to be in that building without seeing rows of lovely fiber, yarn, and tools for sale!

This past week has been busy as the wedding preparations including baking 680 cookies and a 5-tier wedding cake!  Stacy, her mother, her aunt, her sister-in-law, and I baked the cookies last Wednesday.  Fortunately, we had the use of Stacy’s parents’ church kitchen, which had a commercial oven that could fit 150 cookies at once.  We baked all 680 cookies in only 3.5 hours!

Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!
Here I am putting the last batch in the oven!

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After baking cookies, we started on the cakes.  I was the lead decorator and giver of orders, as I have been decorating cakes since I was 12!  I made the cakes and the lemon curd.  Stacy made the chocolate ganache and all the buttercream and mixed lemon buttercream and raspberry buttercream.

I may have used this cookbook once or twice.
I may have used this cookbook once or twice.

Her mother and aunt cut out fondant Christmas trees and painted them with powdered food coloring.  I showed Stacy’s sister-in-law how to pipe miniature Christmas trees and she cranked out 250 of them, while Stacy’s mother went behind her putting the little stars on top of each tree.

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The army of trees.

Stacy’s brother cut the dowel rods that help support each tier (using a pipe cutter borrowed from a cousin) and her father cut and sharpened the dowel rod that goes from the top to bottom through all the tiers.  When it came time to stack all the cakes, Chris helped me line up my edges correctly.  At every step of the way, Stacy and I discussed colors and placement of pieces.  This is the first time I’ve made a cake in such a collaborative fashion.  It was so much fun, and I love the result!

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Now that the wedding is over and I’m home, it’s time to look ahead and lay out my goals for 2016.

Taking Stock

Before I start making ambitious plans for myself, I wanted to look back at 2015, to see what I finished and what remains unfinished.  I’m working on a slide show of all the projects I finished this year, and I will publish that later this week.  Today, I’m making a list of all my WIPs.  It’s a scary list, even though it only includes projects I’ve actually started, not everything in my mental queue!

Knitting WIPs

Projects started in 2015

  • TKGA Master Knitter, Level 1
    • This week I will start working on addressing my gauge issue
  • Splash Socks (started in April 2015)
  • Tier Scarf (started in June 2015)
  • Miranda Shawl (started in July 2015)
  • Bubbles Baby Blanket (started in July 2015)
  • Morrigan Shawl (started in August 2015)
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl Redux (started in August 2015)
  • Finishing
    • I still have all the sweaters I got from S.  They need to be seamed and blocked.  I believe there’s 10 or 11 projects right there!

Projects started prior to 2015

  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the knitted dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 leaves
    • 18 tribble scrubbies
    • 18 waffle stitch
    • 4 brick pattern
    • 16 illusion heart
    • 4 random designs (1 each of 4 different patterns)
  • Traveling Scarf
  • Evenstar
  • Baby Blue Monster

Crochet WIPs

  • Granny Square Blanket (started in 2014)
  • Skulls and Roses Scarves (started in October 2015)
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • I need to knit or crochet 18 each of 25 different patterns.  This is a list of the crochet dishcloths I’ve finished.
    • 18 hyperbolic
    • 9 ladderstitch
    • 4 or 5 diagonal (corner to corner)

Spinning WIPs

  • Camel Down / Silk Blend (started in September 2015)
  • Three Feet of Sheep (started in August 2015)
  • One pound of BFL (started in November 2015)

Weaving WIPs

Since the only loom I’ve been using is my rigid heddle, I only have one weaving project in process!  I started this scarf on December 5, 2015 while at the Weavers of Orlando Annual Sale, so that I could demo weave.  I talked to many people throughout the days of the sale and did a fair bit of weaving.  I haven’t had time to work on it since.

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In addition to this project, I now have the storage unit full of weaving things to sort.  This includes minor repairs to one loom (the 36″ Harrisville) and probably a complete refinish of a second loom (the 48″ Macomber).  I’m hoping to the the storage unit cleaned out by mid-February, though the refinishing job will most likely take longer than that.

Dyeing

Dyeing doesn’t really have WIPs as something is either dyed or it isn’t.  But this is a list of dyeing projects I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t.

  • Dye Maple Leaf Shawls (pending since December 2014)
  • Dye Triangles (pending since August 2014)
  • water source / pH experiment (pending since early 2015)

I’m not sure if this is actually all my WIPs.  It’s everything I could find laying about or listed in my Ravelry project pages, but I’m sure I missed more.

WIP Wednesday: April 29, 2015

I’m home from India, but continuing to work on the same two projects!  I’m also starting to work on the TKGA Master Hand Knitting Level 1.

Super Secret Shawl

I’ve now completed 3 repeats of the pattern.

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Splash Socks

I hoped to finish these while traveling, but while in India I spent most of my knitting time on the shawl, leaving these socks for the flights.  The trip home involved 20+ hours actually on planes, with little to no time on layovers.  I dozed off and on throughout the trip home, leaving less time for knitting than I had planned.  Still, I got 5 stripes done on the trip home.  Since I hadn’t brought appropriate waste yarn to mark the heels, I just kept knitting.  I’m going to steek for heels — the first time I’ve ever done that!

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TKGA Master Hand Knitting Level 1

I purchased the Master Hand Knitting Level 1 at the end of February and blogged about it in mid-March.  When I discovered that we were going to India, I decided I wouldn’t work on the program until I returned.  However, before we left, I did make myself a detailed checklist, breaking down each step of the project.  Now that I’m back from the trip, I want to focus on finishing Level 1.  I have an extremely ambitious goal: mail off the Level 1 binder by the first week of June.  The reason for this ambitious goal is that I will be attending the TKGA Conference in San Diego July 21-26.  If I can get Level 1 mailed off by the first week in June, it’s possible (though tight) that I might get the reviewed binder back before I go to the conference.  Since I’m attending the Master’s Day program on July 21 and taking a workshop with Arenda Holladay, I’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions I have regarding necessary corrections for Level 1.

My personal approach to Level 1 is to research all the questions relevant to a swatch and write draft answers prior to knitting the swatch.  Then I knit and block the swatch and edit the answer based on the experience of knitting and blocking.  Yesterday, I did the research for the blocking report and wrote a draft that includes all the information other than how I blocked the swatches.  Today I did the research for the first question and wrote a draft answer.  As I write, I am compiling the References sheet that is one component of the binder.  Every time I use a new source, I add it to the References section immediately.  I expect to take significant time to edit the written work after all the swatching is complete.  Proceeding in the manner I described makes that easier because I won’t have to switch back and forth between writing and editing.  Switching back and forth slows me down considerably!

My single biggest worry about the swatches is that there will be cat hair all over them.  The directions specifically say that the swatches should be free of pet hair.  This seems like an impossible standard in my house.  We’ve got three very cuddly cats in varying colors that mean no matter what you are wearing, the cat hair stands out from a mile away.  Since we got back from India, they are even more cuddly than usual.  They were well cared for while we were away, but they obviously missed us!

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WIP Wednesday: April 22, 2015

I’ve continued working on both of the projects that I posted last week.

Super Secret Shawl

This project is my focus when I’m stationary and have excellent lighting conditions. I haven’t had much time this week that met both of these conditions! I’ve finished 1.65 pattern repeats and the full shawl will have 20 repeats, so I’m not quite 10% done with it!

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Splash Socks

I only worked on this project while I was on the move. It’s super portable and it’s at the point where I just have to knit, knit, knit for miles. I’ve finished 4 stripes this week.

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WIP Wednesday: April 15, 2015

Seems like just yesterday that I wrote a WIP Wednesday post!  I’ve been working on two projects and making decent progress on both of them.

Splash Socks

Since last week, I finished the toes and I’ve knit about half of the foot.

 

Super Secret Shawl

I finished the swatch, and love how it looks!

 

I did a little math to figure out the best shawl dimensions for the amount of yarn I have and cast on.  I knit a 5 row garter stitch edge, then started the pattern repeat.  There’s 26 rows in a repeat.  I’ve knit 17 rows of the first repeat.  It’s not a difficult knit, but I have to have excellent lighting when knitting.  The yarn is not very dark — the color on my screen seems like an accurate representation — but in low light conditions, the yarn reads as a darker, navy color and it is difficult to see.

WIP Wednesday: April 8, 2015

I’ve been super busy getting things done before we leave for India, but I’ve still managed to get some knitting done this week!

Clapotis

I’m just about finished with this project!  I’ve finished the straight section and am now in the decrease section.  I might finish this before we leave!

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Super Secret Shawl

Last fall, a friend brought a shawl pattern to my attention.  I liked it, so I bought the pattern.  After I bought the pattern, I realized why there’s no completed projects in Ravelry.  It’s an unusual size, unusual construction, and unsuitable yarn (more than a pound of light worsted weight cotton!).  But I like the stitch pattern a lot.  I’m swatching with some Knit Picks Gloss Lace and will do the math to work out a shawl with this lace weight yarn.  I finished knitting the swatch at Knit Night tonight; I still have to block it.  I’d like to cast on for the actual shawl before we leave for India, so I can bring it as one of my travel knitting projects.

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Socks!

In addition to the shawl, I plan to bring yarn for two pairs of socks.  I cast on the first pair.  I’m not quite done with the toes, but will finish those up before we get on the plane.  Once I’m on the plane, I can just knit, knit, knit, knit — even in the dark.  (Aren’t sock toes cute!!)

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Wearing o’ the Green(e) Socks

For the past week, I’ve been focusing on getting these socks finished.  Last Sunday, they came with me to Kennedy Space Center, and I worked on the legs while we waited for Space X to launch a rocket.  They scrubbed 2 minutes before launch (an idiot at the local power company managed to accidentally cut power to the range radar), but I got an inch of knitting done.  I finished the leg by Wednesday, and brought the socks to knitting night at my LYS so I could pick up for the afterthought heels.  And I finished knitting the heels and weaving in the ends on Valentine’s Day, because I spent that entire day lumping on the couch, wiped out with a head cold.  At least the knitting got done 🙂

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WIP Wednesday: February 4, 2015

As expected, I haven’t had a whole lot of crafting time over the last two weeks due to office rearrangement.  I finished rearranging the furniture and I set up the new computer.  I’m now sorting through all my files, throwing away as much as I can.  This is step 3 of household organization using the method Marie Kondo describes in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I read that book last September and have slowly been working my way through it.  I had three file cabinets in my office.  One was already empty of files, but being used for storage.  The second was half storage and half files.  The third is all files.  I’d like to get two of them out of my office entirely, in order to make room for yarn and fiber storage.  My yarn is currently in my bedroom.  Some fiber is in the bedroom and some is in my office.  I’d like all my fiber craft tools and materials to be in my office.  I expect to have the office totally finished by the end of February!  In addition to working on my office, I have been crafting three projects.

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WIP Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day around here and I did not get a chance to blog my WIPs for the week.  Better late than never!

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UFO Inventory

UFO stands for “unfinished object.”  I personally distinguish between WIPs (works in progress) and UFOs, though some people use the terms interchangeably.  A WIP is something that I’m actively working.  An UFO is sitting around waiting for me to get to it sometime.  I don’t like to have a lot of UFOs.  I do like to have multiple projects in progress, so I always have an option for a project that fits my current attention span and activities.  But UFOs lurk in the back of my head, sucking up small bits of energy and sometimes making me feel guilty for abandoning them.  I used to have a number of unfinished projects, but in January of 2013, I inventoried my UFOs and addressed all but one of them.  Either I finished them or I frogged them.  Since then, I have tried to finish up projects within six months or so of starting them.  Despite those efforts, I have accumulated a few UFOs and I’d like to finish with them.  Today I took the first step towards finishing them by taking them all out and determining what needs to be done to finish each one.

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WIP Wednesday: November 12, 2014

I haven’t posted progress in a couple of weeks as I’ve been visiting with friends and family.  I’ve got a lot in progress at the moment!

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