I can’t believe it is almost February either!  I also can’t believe the Data Book is still not done for my big project, but that is another story.

January 30 2013 007First up:  The Aleph pattern from the Twist Collective 2012.  I had originally planned on making a traditional Aran sweater with this Briggs and Little yarn, with complicated cables up the wazoo.  I found myself not wanting to start the sweater, especially since I was going to have to do some “figuring out” on what I wanted to do.  This pattern however, is perfect.  Just perfect.  My current requirements are sweaters that have pockets, are warm, and have a cosy looser fitting construction.  This sweater also has a tiny bit of cabling, with more stocking stitch.  I get a bit of interest, and then all that relaxing knitting that I seem to be craving lately.  On 5 mm needles the sweater grows fast!  I have almost one arm done as well.  It is a cardigan with an EPS design, once the body and sleeves are done they are all attached together and the yoke is knit.  I think I will be short some yarn on this, but it shouldn’t be that hard finding more.  Hopefully.  So far so

January 30 2013 008

good!

Now my Paulie on the other hand, has turned into a bit of a challenge.  I had four balls of grey, which seemed like plenty, but they all got used up in the body of the sweater.  No problem I figured, it is commercial yarn, easy to find more!  But the newer Kroy sock yarn gray is a shade darker, and it is NOTICABLE!  I didn’t really want to have to start buying or trading for more of the same yarn online, and I figured I could just knit the sleeves and body until an even number of stripes were done, then switch to the darker yarn, but that wasn’t working out either.  BUT I found a lady who has promised to send me more yarn, so this Paulie may have a happy ending after all.  I’m just a bit upset now I pulled back all those stripes on the body!!

Pink hatOnce again I’ve been making hats, such a nice break from big sweaters!  Althea’s pink hat that I made her as a newborn does not fit her anymore, which is sad as she keeps trying to put it on.  I had saved this skein of pink Fleece Artist Big Merino for the next size up bobble hat, and let me tell you, I am giddy over the result.  I’m not sure if it is the colour, all those lovely bobbles, or the extra big and floppy pom-pom, but I LOVE IT.  All the caregivers at daycare love it.  And my daughter loves it!  Whew on that one.  My advice remains the same: when one finds big merino, buy it it makes the best hats and accessories imaginable.

Blue hatI also made a sunflower hat out of leftover Blackstone Tweed.  It is a very satisfying hat pattern from the Issue of Vogue Knitting with all the hats from a couple of years ago.  I made a bunch and gave them away, now I’m making them again for ME.  And I keep giving my hats away.  This pattern is fun, start with bobbles, make some petals, finish up with 4″ of ribbing.

And did I mention the birthday?  The big 2?  My little tiny baby is 2?  We had a wonderful party for her, and I have to admit I love 2 year old birthday parties more than grown up parties.  You get to go tobogganing, do crafts, eat cupcakes, pizza, chips, hang out with other amazing kids, and play with BALLOONS.  Yup, Althea loved the ballons, our house is still covered in them, although the cats are diligently popping them one by one.

I tell ya, this little girl is a whole big package of awesome.  How did we get so lucky?  I pinch myself daily to make sure it isn’t all a dream.

Althea at her 2nd birthday!

3 stockingsMy one big goal this year was to finish up our family of Christmas stockings.  I had finished my daughters last year, and had cut out all the pieces for ours, but then had stalled until……a week before Christmas.  Why get something done ahead of time and take away all that suspense of whether I will finish them?  I think the colour combinations of Althea’s are the best (middle) but mine on the left has mittens on it which are cute, and Mr. J has balls on it, which sounded macho enough for him to accept it.  On Christmas morning they were stuffed with chocolate, so I could have made it with a print of happy fairies for all he cared!  I am still amazed when I sew something that works out, especially this pattern that you sew inside out, pop then right side out and “Oh my goodness they worked!”.  It is like magic, Christmas magic!  I finished them during Althea’s three (3) hour nap Christmas eve, what a great kid!  I even had time to make these:

(a cat toy may have been seriously harmed making the bell jingle)  ((actually two of them since I squished the first bell I stepped on)).

Bell Ornament Bird Ornament

New SweaterAlthea got a new sweater, as is my now two year old tradition!  This little sweater pattern, the Nichole cardigan is such a great design.  The fit is lovely, perfect for the adorable toddler body.  There are no sleeves to get in the way, and varigated yarn is an excellent fit.  Althea has been putting this sweater on herself.  New Sweater from frontPretty little yellow buttons finish it off, I put six on this one.  (She likes to drink water out of every container available.

The other little present was a simple tea cosy for my Dad, since my parents are still using the tea cosy I knit in high school, and it is looking really, really rough.  Tea cosies can be a fun little way to play with things.  I made two simple cable bands out of the blue yarn which used it all up. I then knit down in rib from the bottom of both bands.  I left the ends of the bands open for the spout and the handle.  I then picked up around the top of the bands and knit circularly in rib, decreasing as I went to the top.  I had thought a nice giant pom-pom would look good, but I decided I liked it without.  I think it is simple, but nice, and should keep my parents tea pot nice and cosy!!

Tea Cosy

I have to admit, I had been looking forward to this for awhile.  When I added all the stash in that I hadn’t done yet, what was my new total going to be?  My goal last year had been to go from the 47,000 yards in my stash tally to below 40,000 yards.  I was close, if you consider being over 1400 yds high close, plus a bunch of new yarn that hadn’t been accounted for yet.  My yardage knit for the year was calculated to be 6500 yds, but that didn’t count anything that I had purchased during 2012, and knit immediately.  I will give myself props for having knit a lot of what I bought last year immediately.

I had a blast during one nap time photographing the new yarn, the old yarn that still didn’t have photos, and adding it all into my stash.  I then exported it all to Excel once all was accounted for, and waited with baited breath for the new tally.  Would I be higher than last years starting point?

47 825 yards.

Over last years by a tiny amount!  Yeah, not bad at all compared to the huge numbers I had worried about.  Then I few days later I realized there was going to be a charity sale in the near future who would like donations of yarn, and there were a few items that I really, really, really didn’t want to knit with.  Partial skeins with enough yardage left to make something decent, but my first project with then had sucked my will to keep knitting it just to finish it up.  Once I took those out:

46 975 yards!

Lower, yeah!!  My goal remains to get the stash number below 40 000 yards.

I did make it out to a Boxing Day Sale, but not my regular place, I went over to Gina Brown’s instead.  I was doing okay and hadn’t seen anything I had to have until this:

CollinetteI have a weakness for the Colinette colourway that is a grey base with multiple colours running through it.  In other confessions, another woman had started to pick one of these up, and I suddenly grabbed eight skeins before I could stop myself!  Don’t worry there were a few left for her!  I also picked up a nice chunky ball of Noro that will make a nice quick hat, some needles, and high tailed it out of there!  I timed it well with no wait to pay, a few minutes later the line was snaking around the store.

I have had to admit to myself that I have way too much sweater quantity yarn, and it is all things that I really want to make.  As much as I would like to buy some more yarn to make some more sweaters, I really, really, need to make what I have already.  It is with a sad heart that I find myself determined not to buy more yarn until I make a few of these sweaters that I really, really want.  Good-bye lovely yarn stores, I promise to knit fast and see you soon!