Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What else has been going on

There have been a few things I worked on this fall/beginning of winter that weren't gifts for this Christmas, so I need to catch the blog up.

In November, I got tired of DD1's constant declarations of desire for an infinity scarf (cowl) and made her one.

The yarn is some Knit Picks Diadem that I picked up for an absolute song at a (Cyber Monday, I think) sale last year. It's a single ply yarn, which I'm not fond of knitting with, but with a 50% alpaca/50% silk blend and such fantastic colours, I didn't really care. :) This turquoise colourway was always intended to be for DD1, since it's her favourite colour. I originally had another cowl pattern in mind to use it with, but I went instead with Two Sides by Ariel Barton, from Knitty, which is an a-maz-ing reversible scarf pattern - that's right, reversible cables! I basically just knitted until almost all of the skein was gone, and then joined the ends together to make it into an infinity cowl. It's perfect and she looks terrific in it, IMNSHO.

There were two design projects that I completed, one for DD1's friend's birthday present, and the other just because the idea came to me and I had to do it. I'm very much hoping to get them accepted by some publications in the next while.

My older BIL's Christmas present was originally supposed to be a pair of Flying Geese socks, made out of sock yarn leftovers, but although the pattern is incredibly cool and I like it a lot, for some reason it took me a long time to make any headway on it. So I eventually abandoned it for a quicker pair. I expect I'll revisit the Flying Geese sometime this year for his 2016 Christmas present.

And then, the family friend I was making the Twinkle romper for had her baby, and for some reason, the thought of finishing up the romper was just not appealing anymore. (It was taking forever.) So I cast on with some super-cheerfully yellow cotton for a Summer Pelisse:

You can see it's mostly done (and has actually been partly sewn together since the picture was taken), I just have to finish it up. Fortunately, it's fairly sizable, so it'll still fit the baby by the time I finish. But first I have to do the January deadline knitting.

There's my grandmother's 100th birthday sweater, which tonight I picked up for the first time since I wrote about it in October. (It may end up being a vest.) And then there's DD1's boyfriend's bar mitzvah present. I'm going to make him a tallit - probably Annie Modesitt's Max's Tallit pattern, since I really don't have time at this point to go through the trial-and-error process of designing one myself. (Although I will probably replace the "Sh'ma Israel" text around the neck with the young man's Hebrew name, and duplicate-stitch it rather than knit it in.)

Both to be done by mid-January.

[manically nervous giggle]

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How Christmas went

I dropped a lot of people off my knit-for list this year in order to have half a shot at getting it all done...and still didn't make it. But there were many successes!

Alas, my brother's cardigan was not one of them. The plan for him was to rip out the hoodie I'd made for him four Christmases ago (it was an extra-large, and he's since lost a lot of weight, so it was no longer wearable) and use the yarn to make Seanair. He's really into "grandpa" style sweaters, so this was guaranteed to be a big hit. Unfortunately, although I started in March and made excellent progress, other things kind of caught up with me and by Christmas day I had only the bottom fronts and the back completed. In addition, I had a sneaking suspicion that something had gone terribly wrong somewhere, because once I divided for the armholes and was able to lay the whole thing out, it looked big. Like, really, really big. Like, no WAY was this thing only 46" around big.

After he unwrapped it, I held it up to him and my fears were confirmed. Huge. Fortunately, he was really excited about it, even though he knows I have to rip it all out and start again.

I measured it yesterday. I am getting sixteen stitches to four inches in the gauge pattern...I'm supposed to be getting TWENTY-FOUR. I also measured the circumference: SIXTY-TWO INCHES.

Clearly, I will need to do some serious swatching to bring this thing down to size. I plan to do this in February after I've finished the knitting for my grandmother's 100th birthday and DD1's boyfriend's bar mitzvah.

My older BIL received only one sock on Christmas morning:

But I cast on for the second sock on Boxing Day afternoon and had a completed pair for him before I went to bed:

My niece got a Sugar Stick cowl, modelled here by DD1:

DD1 also got shafted on the morning of Santa Day, as I had only one Converse-style slipper done for her:

However, her reaction to just the one slipper was EPIC, and she happily wore the singleton around the house for two days until I could finish the second one:

She's ecstatic about them. :)

DD2 really loved her Citron cape:

DD3 adored her owl:

(Although the glue has come off around part of one eye; I'll have to fix that.)

DD1's friend got Florenz socks:

And then all the teachers got holiday presents. DD1's teacher got a hat I can't show you, because I designed it and submitted the pattern to a yarn company shortly after Christmas. But DD2's teacher got a Tartessos shawl:

DD3's teacher got a scarf to match the mittens I made him when he was DD2's teacher:

And DD3's ECE got a beret:

Finally, I managed to get gifts knitted for my cousin's children in time to pass along to my aunt for delivery before she left to spend Christmas with them. Their older girl got a poncho-y sweater:

And the baby got a little tunic top:

So there you have it - thirteen holiday gifts, twelve of them completed by December 27. Could have been worse.

As for myself, I got some lovely goodies. DH and the girls got me eight balls of Merino Mix DK weight yarn from Katia:

So many of the big items in my queue call for DK weight, and I never seem to have very much of that in my stash, so this was a very welcome present. I treated myself immediately after Christmas by casting on for Sotherton:

So much fun! Of course, as previously mentioned, I've got some hard knitting deadlines coming up in the next two weeks, so I'm going to be putting this away after today. It lives in my new project bag by JessaLu (thank you, Mom, Dad, and bro!):

I feel this is extremely appropriate, given that the pattern comes from Jane Austen Knits!

So it's been a good holiday season Chez Insanity this year. If you celebrate, I hope it's been wonderful for you, too. And all the best in the New Year for happiness and good health. As for me, I'm planning to get a head start by resuming the panic January knitting tonight while watching my new Battle of the Five Armies DVDs!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gift-A-Long Sale!

This year I'm really excited to be participating as a designer in an event called the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. To quote from the description on the event's Ravelry group:

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 6 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers.

One of the key components of this event is the sale period, when designers discount between five and twenty of their patterns by 25%. That means that from Thursday, November 19th at 8pm US EST to Friday, November 27th at 11:59pm US EST (all in 2015, natch), you will be able to get a 25% discount off of the following of my designs if you purchase on Ravelry and use the coupon code giftalong2015.

(I'm guessing at the discount prices here; they may end up being off by a penny one way or the other due to rounding during the purchase process.)

Tracery, $4.88 (regular $6.50) Parfait, $3.74 (regular $4.99)
Cervelli, $2.99 (regular $3.99) Merry-Go-Round, $3.74 (regular $4.99)
Jianzhi, $2.99 (regular $3.99) Bukhara, $2.24 (regular $2.99)
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock, $2.62 (regular $3.50) Zombaby, $2.62 (regular $3.50)
Feast Your Eyes, $2.62 (regular $3.50) Double the Love, $2.62 (regular $3.50)
Sweetness, $2.24 (regular $2.99) Lacy Ribs Scarf, $2.24 (regular $2.99)
Leafy Baby Poncho, $2.99 (regular $3.99) Around the Block, $3.74 (regular $4.99)
Celtic Knotwork Baby Blanket, $2.99 (regular $3.99) Addis Abeba, $2.99 (regular $3.99)
Wuv, $2.99 (regular $3.99) Balthazar's Jumper Socks, $2.99 (regular $3.99)
Old-Freshened, $2.24 (regular $2.99)

As for myself, in typical "me" fashion, I went hunting through all the patterns that are going to be discounted, did up a spreadsheet with my favourites, and chose exactly what I'm going to be buying during the sale period. :) If you're curious, here's what I've decided on:
But discounted prices aside, you can participate in the KAL/CAL part of the event with any of my designs, or any designs by any of the other 334 participating designers. Heck, if you make one of our non-free patterns (which, as I understand it, includes patterns which have appeared in for-pay magazines even if they're not available for individual sale on Ravelry?), you're eligible for prizes! Anyhoo, if you're interested, do go check out the event group page on Ravelry for lots more information. Hope to see you over there!