Getting Things Done

Is it just me, or does everything seem to pile up at once? You can just be going along with one or two things to do, and then when you plan to do something, twenty other things need to be done at once. That would be how my week is going.

Like I said before, I’m working to really get my Etsy store “open”. Technically, it is open now, but I’m “grand opening” on Sunday. And there is another project I am working on to go with that. So there’s two projects I was planning and working on at a steady pace.

Then, we found out favorite book character day is on Friday. That added another four projects to the list. But it gave me incentive to see if I could knit a five-foot scarf in under a week. (Spoiler alert: I finished in two days. Maybe a whole four hours of work into it?)

I’ve also committed to helping my mom re-open her Etsy Store this week before a major event at her work. And after a major event in her life, but that is her story to tell (and she should, hint hint). So I’ve put off some things for that until I finish this costume, but I’m getting to those, too.

While it can be stressful to have so many things going on at once, I think it helps. It gives that extra push to get things done that sometimes is lacking when you only have one or two things to do.

Shrug It Off

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve knit something beginning to end. I have a lot of projects lying around in various stages of finishing. There’s a mostly done baby blanket, three mittens waiting to be embroidered at Christmas time (there were four, but one got lost and needs to be remade), and the rest of the mittens that only have ribbing started. But I haven’t sat down and finished anything in a while. Mostly because it either doesn’t need to be done for a long time, or has no deadline at all.

This shrug/cape/shawl thing does have a deadline, however. My mom needed it done for her gala at work on April 30. She decided she needed a new one around March 20, so, with shipping time for the yarn from Knit Picks, I had a bit of a time crunch on my hands. Luckily, she picked the Gloss Lace yarn which is a blend of wool and silk and therefore could be spit spliced together. Which means I only had to weave two ends, the beginning and the end.

I made up for having only two ends to weave by dropping a stitch about twenty rows from the end and only realizing it when I was on the last row. So I dropped a couple around it to give myself yarn to fix it and did a lot of this:

It worked out fine, so I was able to finish in just over a week. Now it just needs a bath and a dry before I give it to her this weekend and take a final finished picture. Which you will be able to see Sunday on my Instagram or a few days after on my Tumblr.

You can find the details on Ravelry here. The pattern is Fairy’s Shrug (Drops 119-17).

I Made Up My Mind…

to make the Make Up Your Mind tank by Julie of Knitted Bliss. I fell in love with the Mr. McGregor’s Garden comfy sampler from Knit Picks (unfortunately not available anymore) and decided I would find a pattern for it once I got it. I tried to make my own first, but that didn’t work out quickly enough because I wanted this to be my project on vacation.

After a little searching and swatching, I decided Make Up Your Mind was what I wanted. I cast on provisionally for the 40 in size since my gauge was a bit smaller and I wanted it to be a little more flowy since it would be going over another shirt. I did mostly stick with length measurements from the 34 in size, except when it came to how many times to repeat decreases. Actually, I fudged a lot of the numbers because I kept getting off with the stitch patterns and would just decrease until I had an ok amount for the pattern. I was on vacation; I didn’t want to have to actually count my stitches.

This pattern was fairly easy to work, and very easy to follow. I’d say it’s a good bridge between beginner and intermediate skill sets.If you can knit, purl, yarnover, increase and decrease, you can make this pattern, too. Best of all, no sewing seams! You just graft the shoulders together and weave in the ends and you have a ready-to-wear shirt.

Multiplying Minions

Seriously, once these things get started, they don’t seem to stop.

I got a request for this little guy to be made two weeks ago. I had about five days to make it and its partner hat:

Luckily, this was on my week “off”. Took no more than an hour for the hat and an hour and a half for the doll. I think I am becoming an expert on these minion things.

I Conquered the Triangle

This Christmas gift was a real doozie. Considering I just finished it, you can probably imagine.

I started a week or two before Christmas, so it was doomed as a gift. But I was overly optimistic as one is so close to Christmas with so many things in the works. So I cast on an amount of stitches that was close to the pattern, seeing as how I was using slightly different yarn, and got to work. Around the end of the first ball of white, I knew there was going to be a problem in how much yarn I had, so I ordered two more colors of gray to get more of a gradient.

I wrapped up the progress on the white, along with the ball of gray yarn I had and the black yarn. I tossed them in a bag with a “loading” tag and gave that on Christmas morning. Then I had to wait another week for the other colors to show up. Once I got those, I kept plugging away. But I wasn’t getting very many rows out of each color.

I ignored the thoughts in my head that told me it wasn’t going to work as it was and kept going. By the time I got to the black, I had ordered three more balls of it to make sure I would have enough. It would be very bottom-heavy color-wise, but I told myself it would work. Until I got a few yards from the end of ball 4.

I did some calculations this time and worked my way from the bottom up to make sure I would have enough yarn. You know, something I should’ve done in the first place. But, you know, hindsight and whatever. I pulled the yarn from the original attempt as I worked. That way I didn’t have to unravel the whole thing at once, or deal with all those balls of yarn again.

I finally finished it last week. Two-and-a-half months past Christmas, but who’s counting. The point is, it is done and wearable. And I may sit down and write that up as kind of pattern/tutorial. Perhaps even with some videos, since I went backward to the way entrelac is usually executed.

Everything Is Not What It Seems

You would think I would get better at estimating how long things take, considering I’ve been knitting for over ten years. Seriously, I should be better at this. But I have managed to mess up a straightforward triangular entrelac shawl several times, but I got a beaded one finished in a quarter of that time. You would think the beaded one would’ve been more difficult.

I’ve made so many of these, I went for something a little different on the picture. So here is Dinosaur modeling this one. It is a Starry Stole from Knitpicks, worked in Shadow yarn in the Midnight colorway with silver-lined, clear beads. As I have done on all the others, I added a third full repeat to make it more scarf-length.

I’m finally re-doing the christmas scarf, hopefully to be done with it soon. That one may turn into a bit of a tutorial. It sure has taught me quite a few things.

The Christmas Project Curse

I swear, there has to be some sort of curse that falls on a project as soon as you decide it needs to be finished on or for Christmas. A project that would normally take a week ends up a taking four, or anything that can possibly go wrong will.

I was reading Cassy’s post about her husband’s sweater she wanted to finish on Christmas and all that had gone wrong and that made me think of all the projects I set out to create for Christmas. One of which is currently resting beside me, still on the needles, because two balls of yarn arrived a week after Christmas. But that’s a story for next week.

This Christmas I had to scrap one project, barely scraped two others together, and gave an IOU on the aforementioned one still on the needles. I only had one present ready a week in advance, and that was because it was one I was supposed to have made last year.

So, perhaps this year I won’t make it a goal to get any specific project done for Christmas. Maybe it’s best to just start projects with a goal to finish eventually, but not a goal to be Christmas presents.