Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How does this happen?

I usually try to be good about knitting commitments, so that I don't make too many.  But here I am, overcommitted again.  I always count on Christmas vacation to dig myself out of the inevitable overcommitments of this time of year, but that's not happening this year.  I had a pre-Thanksgiving vacation instead.  I took several projects along with me.

1.  Galadriel's Mirror
This longtime WIP was only one chart away from being done and I just really wanted to finish it, but just as I got to the end...tragedy.
I ran out of yarn.  This rarely happens to me - I'm a tight knitter and I rarely adjust needle size from the pattern requirements (unless it's something that has to fit, like a sweater) so generally speaking, I use less yarn than a pattern calls for, and I had 3 skeins of Handmaiden Silk Twist, which has more yardage than the pattern calls for.  To top it all off, I made a mistake early on that meant my clustered stitches were only wrapped twice instead of three times.  So I really don't get how this happened.  But it did.  When I realized I was running low, I started strategizing for what I could do about it.  The pattern elements come down to a point in the last couple rows of the chart, so omitting them would have been problematic (and driven me absolutely batty forever).  The bind off called for was a crochet bind off that I knew I didn't have enough yardage for.  So, instead I did a stretchy lace bind off while working the last row of the chart.  As you can see, I came close.  So close.  But it wasn't enough.

I haven't decided what to do about this yet.  I poked around on Rav but not many people seem to have used this yarn - the only person who had completed a project did so in 2008, which is kind of a long time to keep and be able to locate your leftover yarn.  At the moment, I'm leaning toward just biting the bullet, ordering another skein, picking out my bind off (nooooooooo) and finishing the darn thing the way it was supposed to be finished.  With something this large, that is this much work...I really don't feel like it's worth it to cheat at the end.  I'm already going to have trouble overcoming my bitterness that of the 3 skeins I ordered, the first one I used was clearly a different dye lot than the other two.  I have managed to convince myself that since the change occurs right at the pattern transition, people will think I did it on purpose, and that the line between the two will not look so hard once it is blocked (the pattern texture will break it up some), but there is only so much justification I can manage on a single project. 

2.  Orphan Socks
As I think I mentioned previously, some members of my church are going on a mission trip to the Czech republic and have asked for knitted or crocheted items to donate to the orphanages they will be visiting.  I have been knitting some socks out of KnitPicks Felici self-striping yarn.  I have finished 2 pair of little girl socks.


(Look how neatly the color transition worked out on the heels of that pair.  It makes me so gleeful.  Pretend I did it on purpose.)

I'm now working on a 3rd, larger pair, in less girly colors, for boys or older girls, and I have enough yarn for a fourth pair.  These have to be finished before the mission team leaves, shortly after Christmas.

3.  Zephyr Cove
I don't know what is with my knitting mojo on this project.  I don't think I am a particularly speedy knitter, though I knit so much that I sometimes give the illusion of speed.  But everyone else seemed to race through the first part of this shawl and get to the stripe section so quickly, I wondered if I was doing something wrong.  But, I finally made it to the stripes.


I had to fudge a little bit.  The pattern tells you to repeat 4 rows a certain number of times - I am terrible at keeping count this way, so I very very much appreciated that the pattern informed you that when this was complete, you should have a certain number of stitches and have completed a certain number of picots along the edge of the shawl.  Well, when I approached the right number of stitches, I realized was at the wrong place in the 4 rows I was supposed to be repeating (wrong relative to the number of stitches I was supposed to have at that point, I mean - the next two rows were supposed to add 2 stitches and I only needed 1 to reach the correct number), and I was short 2 edge picots.  I improvised by leaving out one of the increases in the next two rows, which left me 1 picot short but with the correct number of stitches, so I figured that was good enough. 

Unfortunately, I find 2 color shawls to be a bit less portable.  It didn't help either my timing or my temper that my main color yarn ball thew up all its insides and I had to re-wind it from the outside edge.  So, while I have done a few stripes...I've only done a few.

I took another pair of socks with me (patterned, not plain) but didn't really get a chance to work on those.  They are gifts, but not for Christmas, so they are set aside for now.

I do have a fair amount of Christmas related knitting to do, for my own home and for other people.  First up on the list is Christmas stockings for my new hubbie and I.  This will our first Christmas as our own little family, and we are relatively unprepared.  I have had the same Christmas stocking since I was born, so I take these things very seriously, but I didn't feel right taking my family stocking away from my parents, nor asking David to take his from his - we will always have a place in our families for Christmas.  So, we decided the best thing to do was for us to get our own, and if I can make them, I will.  Yarn selection is my first problem - I want something enjoyable work with and to touch when you take it down off the mantle, but that will wear well and last for years.  And, of course, it has to come in good Christmasy colors.  It would also be nice if it didn't break the bank.

I looked at a number of Christmas stocking patterns, but I hate colorwork, and many of the textured patterns I looked at just didn't look all that good...so I think I am just going to wing it and make, basically, a really big sock with a foldover cuff of some kind - maybe seed stitch. 

I also have a couple of Christmas presents to finish up, and one that I haven't even started yet, a Poinsettia tam and cuffs.  I got Shalimar Breathless for the cuffs and Kid Seta lux for the lining.


Kid Seta is a bit heavier weight than called for, but there is usually some wiggle room with these brushed yarns, so I'm hoping I can make it work.  If I have enough yarn and time left over, I plan to make a scarf out of the remaining Kid Seta.

I still want to work on Firebird and Zephyr Cove - it's so much fun knitting with everyone on the forums in Romi's ravelry group and I hate to fall too far behind...but I really don't know how I can manage that much!!