Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 crafting year in review

2018 was the year of sweaters, weaving, and crocheting borders to make fleece blankets! By the numbers, this was a low project count year. But since the projects were largely sweaters, yardage output increased from 2017.

*2015 was the year I made three large blankets with yarn held double-stranded.

So how did I do on those crafting resolutions I set back in January 2018? Welp, this year it's a little laughable. Pretty much the only goal I would count myself as "successful" on was making sweaters. That's okay. There's always another year! I couldn't anticipate that I would decide to get a loom mid-way through the year and be distracted by learning to weave, along with a punch needle to play with! The charity I had primarily been knitting for in the past also declined new donations, so that pretty much killed my charity crafting mojo for the year. Sewing sadly just fell by the wayside until I started making finch bucket bags at the end of the year (I definitely anticipate making a bunch more in 2019!). 

2018 Crafting Resolutions:
  • Goal #1: Going for year three of ZERO yarn purchases. RESULTS: hahahahahahaha. Big fat NOPE. Made it until February 10, when I purchased yarn to make a new school-uniform-compliant sweater for my daughter. Not sad I slid off the wagon for her … but probably should have restrained myself better for the rest of the year! But I'm not regretting a single yarn purchase. It's all awesome stuff and I hadn't bought a single yard for TWO YEARS straight.
  • Goal #2: Knit twelve sweaters. RESULTS: 10!!! Sooo close! And yes, I am counting baby sweaters! Officially I knit one doll-sized sweater, three baby sweaters, one child sweater, and five finished adult-sized sweaters for myself. I have the sleeves left on one more sweater, so allllmost 11 sweaters finished. I made this stretch goal never really thinking I'd get this close, so I'm celebrating this as a win! Normally I would average one baby or kid-sized sweater a year. And NEVER make adult-sized sweaters. I knit ONE sweater for myself in 2017, and before that the last time I'd made an adult-sized sweater was 2011. In fact, I'd knit a grand total of four sweaters for myself prior to 2018. Wowza.
  • Goal #3: Make 18 hats for charity. RESULTS: Nada. Not a single charity project this year. Kind of sad about that, but I'd churned out so many the previous two years I was a bit burned out. And my favorite charity didn't want/need new donations as I mentioned earlier, so … 
  • Goal #4: Sew one project every month. RESULTS: Didn't do a good job tracking this on the blog, but thanks to Instagram I know I sewed in April (adorable baby monogram quilt with tutorial), May (progress on king-sized Christmas quilt), September (sewed my needlepoint project into a finished pillow), October (made my first finch bucket bag), November (made a bajillion more finch bucket bags as gifts), and December (sewed a puppet theatre for the kids). That's six months out of the year--I'll take it! 
  • Goal #5: Devote weekly time to needlepoint/cross-stitch projects. RESULTS: This goal was successful in the first half of the year--I even started a "100dayproject" challenge on Instagram to help spur me along. I was consistent until May, and then summer travels stopped the habit. This really worked to get me to finish my triangles needlepoint project, and I even sewed it into a pillow. But after that big finish I stopped stitching for the rest of the year after that.
  • Goal #6: Learn how to crochet toys! RESULTS: Not this year. Still on my list of things I'd love to try!
  • Goal #7: Dye my own self-striping yarn. RESULTS: Not this year. Still on my list of things I'd love to try!
  • Goal #8: Continue my Love Your Library project! RESULTS: It depends on what I count as a pattern from "my library." Technically I would say six out of the 34 projects I finished were made using patterns in my library that I owned prior to 2018. But the grey area are the crocheted blankets I whipped out in December for gifts: I made 10 of those, and I learned out to make them in 2016 and used the same instructions. But let's face it--this year I just did basic single crochet, not some fancy edging pattern. So I'm sticking with counting six projects toward this goal for 2018, which is 17% of my finished projects. 
What do I want to accomplish in 2019? My theme for this year is ACTION. I'm a dreamer, and I can spend oodles upon oodles of time planning and dreaming all the things I intend to do. I purchase supplies the same way: with all kinds of INTENTIONS. This year I'm focusing on FOLLOWING THROUGH on my INTENTIONS with ACTION. With this in mind, I'm planning on crafting using supplies in my stash as much as possible. Based on this theme, these are my goals for 2019:
  • Goal #1: Reduce, reduce, reduce my stash. My stash of yarn, my stash of fabric, my stash of crafting kits!
  • Goal #2: String together at least six months of zero yarn purchases.
  • Goal #3: Continue to knit sweaters for myself! Shooting for nine adult sweaters this year. I've already picked nine patterns that are at the top of my list!
  • Goal #4: Finish at least two quilts. The first one that won't take much work is the Christmas quilt I almost finished in 2018. The second is a national park themed quilt for our Airstream that I've been planning in my head for the past four months now!
  • Goal #5: Expand my weaving skills. Try to make a wearable garment/vest!
  • Goal #6: Finish another big needlepoint project!
  • Goal #7: Crochet a sweater.
  • Goal #8: Crochet a toy.
  • Goal #9: Practice overdying yarn! (changing a yarn's color by dying it)
  • Goal #10: Blog more frequently and consistently. Frankly, I've missed it!
What are you resolving to do in 2019 with your crafting/making?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

summer finishes: 12 sweaters in 2018, sweater #4

Now I'm officially ready for Mississippi State University's women's basketball season! (that's when I'll finally want to wear this one, lol!) This sweater was finished in May, but I only took photos in July! Ooof. It's my second Carbeth Cardigan, and I adore it as much as my first. My favorite detail is the neckline at the back of the sweater (see below).

Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha (colorway: Jupiter) used 7.06 skeins = 918.8 yards
Needles: Size 10.5 for body, size 9 for ribbing. Addi Turbo's.
Mods: Added four inches in length to the body below the underarms (knit for 12" instead of the 8" pattern called for).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

on my needles: two sweaters and a sock

I blinked and summer disappeared! But I never stopped making, so prepare yourself: it'll be an onslaught of catch up posts this week. But first things first--what am I working on now? Two sweaters and a pair of socks.

Current Project #1: aki sweater 

This sweater is a test knit for Ambah O'Brien, and it is divine. Two strands of lace weight yarn are held together: one is merino, the other a mohair/silk blend. Feels like a fluffy cloud! I'm using Spirit Trail Fiberworks in Clotho (colorway: pinkie tuscadero) combined with Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace (colorway: pinky swear). This photo doesn't do the Hedgehog Fibres yarn justice, it is gorgeous! Here's a sneak peek at the finished sweater pattern, which will be released in September.

Current Project #2: school day socks

These are my go-to toe-up socks for my daughter! She requested new socks, and I'd love to make socks for the first day of school a new tradition. This is a new-to-me self-striping indie dyer, Lori Wilson at the Yarn Jar. This is her "Belle" colorway and it just makes me happy! As for the pattern, these are vanilla toe-up socks. I'm using Wendy Johnson's serpentine sock pattern without the stitch pattern since the numbers work for my daughter's foot.

 Current Project #3: octopus garden stripey sweater

Now this one is embarrassing--I really should have finished this sweater before we commenced with an epic road trip in July. I stalled out once I realized I needed to rip this sleeve out and start over. Pattern is Veera's square and stripe pullover, and so far the fit is perfect. This will become a go-to base pattern I'm sure. Yarn is Long Dog Yarn Merino DK in the octopus garden colorway, along with Mary Maxim Mellowspun DK for the stripes. This I'll be able to finish quickly once I'm done with the first day of school socks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

addicted to stripes

What is it about knitting stripes that is so addicting? Socks that I knit with self-striping yarn fly off my needles, while non-striping socks will linger in unfinished limbo for years. This is my first sweater that has a regular striping pattern, and I'm finding myself feeling that self-striping sock deja vu all over again. Internally I'm chanting "one more stripe, one more stripe" as I knit. And I'm drawn to this project like a moth to flame--when I see it sitting on the table the project sings to me like a siren. I want to work on it in a way I haven't felt toward my knitting in quite some time. "Just one stripe, just one stripe" I tell myself when really I should be working on something else. 


Yes, I love this yarn. This yarn is indie-dyed and much coveted by me. It's deliciously speckled Merino DK by Long Dog Yarns in the colorway Octopus Garden. This picture does not do it justice--imagine oceanic turquoise, with spots of periwinkle and deep ocean blues mixed with lavenders and lilacs. Oh, and a sprinkle of neon green here and there to mix things up. I have coveted this yarn for two whole years while I was on a strict no-yarn-purchases diet. It was one of the first things I bought when I fell off the wagon this year. 

And yes, I love the interplay of the colors I chose for my stripes. I found the perfect periwinkle blue and lilac yarn in my stash for the stripe section. Not only are the colors perfect, but they were from my late grandmother's stash and that adds a level of sentimentality to incorporating them into the project.

But the real reason I find striping projects so dang addicting? I suspect that it is the internal progress marker of achieving another micro-goal every time I finish a stripe. Like getting a sticker for good behavior, I see that stripe and think, "look what I did!" And I can count the stripes and visually see that I'm making progress. And I feel myself knitting faster as I see that stripe count grow … 

We'll see how fast this sweater finishes. This may be a new personal record for me. Are you as addicted to knitting projects with stripes as I am?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#100dayproject stitching

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly slow, daily progress adds up. Last Wednesday I posted an update on my #100dayproject stitching. And here's where I stand as of Sunday morning this week--all that empty space you see below? That's all that remains! Seriously! Which I am floored by, because I started this project a year ago last May. And in less than two months of stitching a teeny tiny bit everyday I am almost finished. Which is good, because I have an even older needlepoint I stalled out on that I need to finish next! I'm racing to finish this by the end of May, but hopefully by the end of this week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

catch up

With the semester over and one week until public schools let out, summer is rapidly approaching here in Mississippi (it even feels like it with 90+ degree temps lately!). The prospect of summer means time to try new things, to dive head first into new crafts, and to set outrageously lofty goals for crafting. Basically, I want to make.all.the.things! Those who know me well will not be shocked by this at all. I've been so busy jumping right into my normal summer crafting mania that I've done a bad job of documenting my creations!

I'm still plugging away on my crazy stretch goal of knitting 12 sweaters this year. I'm about half-way finished with sweater #4. Does it look familiar? It should, since I'm making a second Carbeth Cardigan in a dark maroon color.

I've been faithfully stitching a little bit everyday, continuing my #100dayproject goal of stitching for 100 days consecutively. I've been making good progress on a large needlepoint project I started in May 2017 and I also finished an adorable bee embroidery (below) for an end-of-the-year teacher present.

Last Wednesday I took a weaving class, and dove head first into a new hobby. We wove hand towels in the class. I still need to finish knotting the ends and then complete the finishing process. I can definitely feel myself falling hard for this new craft!

And the other new craft I'm diving into is using a punch needle! I have the Amy Oxford punch needle, which I first learned about on Instagram. It looked like a fun way to use up stash yarn--so far it has been a delight!

Anyone else have craaaazy goals they hope to achieve this summer? I know I'm not the only one!

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