Knitvent Day 15 – The IOUs…

Every year I’m overly ambitious with my list and/or ‘available knitting time’ and someone always gets an “IOU” for their knitted gift.  Last year I gave myself the IOU (yes I knit myself a gift) and I finished my socks in November; 9 years ago (when he was 4) my son received a knitted crab “to be assembled”; In my family, it became a running gag to my brother IOUs every year until we stopped exchanging gifts; I still owe a friend a pair of socks from a few years ago when I thought I’d randomly gift a pair of socks to anyone who responded to my ‘who wants socks’ post on facebook…

But this one…my husband’s  sweater…has sat since 2009.  Note that I even started it in January to give myself time to complete it! I’ve had it sitting on my ‘landing table’ to work on between projects or as a break between projects.  It would be nice to finally get it off my “work in progress” list (note it was in a time-out!!!)

Knitvent Day 14 – Blocking!

So for every completed item I make, it has to take a bath, and dry before I can gift it.  Which makes my last minute knitting that much more stressful!!!

Blocking is the art of shaping the knitted item.  I generally soak my items in a basin with Eucalan, partly to fluff up the fibres then block the item into shape as it dries, but also to make sure any of the dirt/grime that I pickup on my yarn in my knitting travels is washed away.  For instance, I’ve been knitting a blanket for my son at hockey games, baseball games for a number of years…I most certainly am not going to have him sleep with that blanket until it is washed!

There are other methods of blocking, but for what I’m making this Knitmas, everything is getting a bath 🙂

Knitvent Day 13 – Practical gift

Someone grew two shoe sizes in a very short time period this year.  He obviously is desperate for socks since he put them on his list for Christmas(???).  When I knit things throughout the year, I have a spot (box) I put the gifts into, in December I pull out what is completed and can plan what is left to knit.  I had these completed in early November.  A couple of weeks ago, because he was searching for socks to wear with his suit to a hockey game, I pulled these out thinking he needed them now rather than wait (I could always knit more!?!?)

Those socks sat on my living room couch for two weeks.  I did ask him multiple times if he was going to wear them, and being a typical teenager, I got a grunt in response (not sure if it was a yes, no or I didn’t hear you grunt).

So I’ve grabbed these back and put into the box for wrapping…

Pattern is my own.

Knitvent Day 12 – Time Outs

There are times when a project isn’t working the way I expect, or the yarn isn’t behaving or *gasp* I’m not being consistent.  If I start getting far too frustrated with a project, I set it aside and move onto another project.  In essence, the one frustrating me gets a “time out” and sits in a project bag or shelf until it learns its lesson (or I finally run out of time and have to revisit it).  Some get knitted, some get frogged (ripped back).

These socks looked beautiful on Ravelry.  I borrowed the book from the library and tested 3 yarns before commencing. However, I haven’t been happy with my tension (though I found blocking will even this out) and I unfortunately ignored some of the Ravelry comments that criticized the pattern.  The criticisms were valid, but I thought I could persevere.  This item has been on time out for 3 weeks, and I need to get back to it…or choose an alternative…

Knitvent Day 11 – Beyond Socks…

On my many weekends of travel as a hockeymom, I manage to search out Yarn shops near the arenas.  In 2017, I posted a lovely photo of a yarn I picked up in Courtenay, BC…

As I said back then, this yarn needed to be something more than a pair of socks hidden underneath pants and inside shoes or boots.  I finally got that yarn into a shawl (Reyna) to be worn out in the world!

Knitvent Day 10 – Playing with math

Quite awhile ago I created my own pattern for seamless baby booties to match a hat I had designed nearly a decade previous.  It’s my goto personal pattern for baby gifts.  I had the booties test-knit, the pattern tech edited, but never got to publishing it, thinking I wanted to do something more.

Last year I thought these booties would make great slippers.  So I’ve been playing with yarns, needles, math to upsize the bootie pattern.  This past weekend I’ve knit a mens’ small in Drops Eskimo wool, and a ladies medium in Premier Appalachia.

I like how they look, but there’s more work to be done before I’m ready to test knit, pattern write, etc…but these are quick gift knits!

Knitvent Day 9 – Tension Matters

In 2017, I noticed my own tension has changed over the years.  As a result, I MUST do gauge swatches for each pattern I decide to knit, and yet again if I substitute a yarn for a pattern.

Just like no-one’s handwriting is the same, using the same needle size as another knitter doesn’t mean the result will be the same.  When size matters, I have to be sure I match the pattern’s gauge to make sure what I knit ends up similar to the pattern.

So on top of the ripping back that I mentioned on day 4, I have ‘extra knitting’ for gauge swatches for each gift before I actually start knitting the gift!  But at the very least, I make sure the size is right!

Knitvent Day 8 – Another one published!!!

Today is a different peek – I found out yesterday that my sister-in-law had a pattern published in Knitty magazine!  This is the second person that I taught to knit that has been published!  In this case, I can only say I ‘started’ her knitting because I began teaching her when she was 9 or 10, but then we moved away from Ontario to BC, so her subsequent learning came from others.  I used to send knitted gifts back east (when postage didn’t cost me over $50), but for her, I sent her yarn to knit with – sort of a ‘some assembly required’ gift 🙂

I’m thinking perhaps a gift knit with Christmas colours in this hat for one of my geeky friends.  (another item not on the original plan)

Braineater Hat by Vi Caughran – Knitty Winter 18

Knitvent Day 7 – my launching pad

As the month progresses, I have everything ‘in process’ out for me to pick from when I find a minute or two to sit and knit.  Knitting (knit repair) isn’t my full-time job (yet) so I carrying ‘something’ with me each day when I have to travel to meetings, arenas, appointments, school, etc.  Everywhere I go that may have a wait, is an opportunity for knitting time.  In the house, I have it laid out so if I have time to sit and knit, I can grab something quickly.

At the moment, the launch pad is my living room coffee table, beside the Christmas tree & fireplace – a very cozy place to knit.  It’s also the first thing I see when I come down the stairs in the morning (yikes!)  At the moment, this is ‘tame’…I’ll post a progress photo as we get closer to the ‘deadline’.

Note, there are 3 project bags as well as what’s on the table.

Knitvent Day 6 – Woolly Dozen

Another way that I get gifts knit throughout the year, is participating in a year-long challenge (a different kind of KAL).  One designer I truly love is Woolly Wormhead.  On her Ravelry group, they created a challenge to knit a Woolly Dozen.

I’ve participated each year, and have yet to actually knit a dozen, but it does help me get part of the knitting done.  Some hats goto the school holiday fair, some are given as gifts during the year, some are donated, and one or two are wrapped up as Christmas gifts.

Below is a peek at one of four I’ve managed to complete this year (yikes!)