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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Yarn Along: First FO of the Year, Yarn, and the 2015 Wrap Up

55,718 stitches of unfiltered, un-made up, unblocked me.

I have finally finished knitting Driftwood! It isn't blocked in the picture, the button isn't sewn on, and the ends aren't even woven in, because I was so excited just to have the knitting complete. Even though I did much more aggressive waist shaping, it's still quite roomy. I'm glad I read the comments on other projects and decreased so much more than the pattern stated. I kind of wish I did more. One change I didn't mention before was that I put a bound off button hole in the edging, right at the smallest point of the waist, and knit an extra row before binding off. If I were to make this again, I think I'd do much more decreasing at the waist (the pattern had you do 2 decreases, 14 rows apart, I did 10 decreases, six rows apart, and I'd probably do 13 decreases, four rows apart), but instead of reducing the number of rows before beginning the decreases, I'd keep it the same as the pattern, so I could raise the waist line just a little, I'd either shorten the sleeves by about an inch or lengthen them by a couple inches, as I felt like the ribbing was too close to my elbow and bunched up more than I like, and I'd do all the ribbing with a size smaller needle than the rest of the sweater. I might even knit the rolled edge one needle size smaller. However, the chances of me knitting this again are pretty low, since I hate knitting the same design more than once. I might make the child sized version, though, so I'll keep that in mind if I do.

Overall, I am happy with the sweater and the pattern, but if I had been a beginning knitter, some of the changes I had to make to the design to be better for a non-model figure would have been hard to determine, and I wouldn't have liked it as much if I knit it exactly as written. Also, though there was only one real error in the pattern, I still think that since it was photographed with a closure, some mention of options for adding one should have been listed or discussed. Although American designs tend to hold the knitter's hand, it didn't even have to be spelled out explicitly. Not listing anything about it was sloppy, in my opinion. It didn't even say, "Add closure at neck as desired." Which, of course, is not where I put the closure. I didn't want to have it closed at the neck and opening wider as it headed south toward my waist and hips. Even when I was young and thin, that wouldn't have been flattering for my figure. So, I put the closure at the waist to emphasize the decreases at the smallest point of the sweater. Also, the way I knit to the waist shaping and the number of decreases I made, it put the welt closer to my natural waist. The pattern would have had 51 rows, the way I did it resulted in 69 rows, which not only means that the welt was closer to being at my actual waist (it probably could have been four rows shorter), but it also meant that the ruffle wasn't quite so voluminous on the skirt. Doing more decreases means that it would be even smaller, but I think that is not a bad thing. It still gives the visual interest of a peplum, without as much bulk.

I'll post blocked pictures when I can get good outdoor shots. I have done no work on anything else in the past week. Obviously, this was not completed in time for NaKniSweMo, but I did get 70% of it finished in the month of November. Had it not been for my health and the holiday busy-ness, I think I could have finished it in that time. I will try again next year.

MadelineTosh Quarter Round in Coffee Grounds and Winter White, and seven DK Tiny Twists.

My last holiday club shipment from the Magnolia Society arrived this weekend, and I love it! Not shown is a picture of the cute, little muslin bag that came with it, but it's holding my twists now. I ordered an extra skein of the Quarter Round in Coffee Grounds, and I plan on using the two together in a shawl. The Tiny Twists are destined to become a striped, tubular cowl, either plain or chevron stripes, starting with the charcoal, and traveling through the rainbow, finishing with the brown. I wish the greens weren't quite so close, but I want to use each of the twists, so they will meet in the middle, with less contrast than I would like for the striping pattern.

Swatch for Amira.

If you are interested in being part of a Preview KAL of this design, please contact me, though, with a size you'd like to try. I'll send you a reminder when we're get the ball rolling. This is a woman's, sleeveless shell that requires seaming, but only two seams, one on each side. As you can see from the swatch, it involves texture and simple lace. The pattern requires standard chart reading skills, ability to increase and decrease, make yos, knit in the round, and pick up stitches. Participants in the preview will get my working copy of the pattern, initially, upon completion and editing, they will receive the finished pattern. There are no specific brand requirements for the yarn, simply a DK weight yarn that knits up at 5.5 stitches per in in stockinette (the gauge for the top will be about 5.25 spi, but I want a yarn that will drape well at that gauge). I'd like to have at least two knitters per size: 29", 34", 39", 44", 49" finished bust. Yardage requirements are calculated for each size, respectively, as: 790, 900, 1000, 1100, 1225 yds. This is still an estimate, however, so I recommend getting an extra skein of whatever you buy, or if you are using stash, making sure that you have an extra ball's worth of the yarn. I'll want you to join a Facebook or Ravelry group for preview knitters and make a Ravelry entry, tagging me in it, and a link up when the pattern is released. The specific details will be given if you take this on for me. I will give the finished copy of the pattern to knitters when the pattern is released, a percentage/amount off coupon to my Ravelry Store for those who complete the item, and a coupon for a free pattern for those who complete the KAL, provide photos and link up to the pattern page. There isn't much besides that to share right now, so here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and preview knitting opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

Amira and I have finished Myself and I. It is the end of the series, but we've been enjoying our reading time together, so I pulled out another set of books by Norma Johnston, and we've begun The Swallow's Song. Our family reading has been Life, the Universe, and Everything as we continue in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition. The girls are dancing in Alice in Wonderland this spring, so we began the book as part of our school reading.

On my own, I read, Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, which was fun, but not as funny as the first book. I needed to read something light and easy, though. One thing I didn't like about it was how forced some of the political messages seemed in the story. There are certain topics that are so obviously divisive that making a character take an explicit stance on them is making a statement. That is a choice any author can make, but in this book, the two topics that fell into this category were so clunky and didn't seem natural at all. Even had they taken the views I have, the way they were presented was clearly and deliberately a political sermon, and it was done in a way that was jarring, instead of flowing naturally from the characters. Seeing as how every single character in these books comes from a political, social, moral, and religious point of view that differs from mine, it's not like I had an expectation of seeing them agree with me (in fact, spoiler alert, finishing the book, I texted Rich how glad I was that we were together, married, that all of our children were ours together, and nobody had to have visitation. The lives these people lead is supposedly so fulfilling, but read pretty sad and empty at the end of it all.), but it looked like the messages were cut from some sort of rhetoric sheet and pasted into the text. So, overall, funny and light, with moments that made me shake my head, and a takeaway that I was so glad not to have the problems and experiences of these characters.

My serious reading is Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, which I'm trying to read more regularly. It's accessible and easy to read, but so much of it I want to share with others, so I've been waiting to read it to the kids or to Rich. Instead, I think I'm just going to give it to them to read on their own, and get on with my own reading.

That just about covers what I have worked on, finished, or read over the past week. Now, on to tying up the ends of last year. I was a little disappointed to find that I didn't finish nearly what I thought I would, either in crafting or reading. Our life and our schedule has been fairly challenging, though, and I'm hoping to find a better rhythm this year. Beginning with getting rid of responsibilities and things that are cluttering our homes and lives. I have been doing some things for our homeschool co-op that, while I enjoy them and find them valuable, take time each week and right now it is a hard time for that. So, it was a little sad, but also a blessing to be contacted and asked if I still wanted to do it, and if I would mind if someone else did them this session. There was no complaint, so it wasn't me being "fired," but the other person felt strongly about doing it, and would it bother me. I almost answered that I still wanted to do it, but instead saw it for the blessing it was, and said there were a few times I wanted to do it, but would be happy to let this other person take over. God has offered me a way to make my weeks simpler. Anyway, here is my list of finished objects and books read in 2015. I am going to retire the lists in my sidebar and replace it with my 2016 lists.

2015 Finished Objects
2015 Books

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

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Gosh, Driftwood is gorgeous, well done for making your mods. And your new yarn looks fabulous.
Thank you! I encourage you to take a look at this pattern if you like mine. And if you are shaped at all like me, or even if you are thin and svelte, you may want to look at the modifications I made on my project page.
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