Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 in Review

Wow, I barely posted this year. I knew I hadn't posted much, but I didn't realize I had less than one page. Wow.

But that won't stop me from posting my annual Year In Review!


- started my first dance class

- released my first dance instructional video

- joined ravelry (come say hi: I'm jessdr)


- all dance, all the time

- knitting for babies

- knitting gifts, rather than for myself

- knitting in obsessive spurts: knitting a whole lot, then not at all, then a whole lot, then not at all

- knitting mostly from stash

- updating ravelry but not my blog


- Chicken Viking Hat #3, modeled here by Alex, as part of his Thanksgiving Turkey halloween costume

- Baby Surprise Jacket, for the lovely Margot:


Nada. Zip, zero, zilch.


- Hooded Carrying Bag from Debbie Bliss' Essential Baby in Knitpicks Andean Silk

This is going to be a gift for my cousin's new baby, Thomas. It's such an adorable pattern that my sister (who isn't even planning to have kids any time soon) told me I should start making one for her now! However, it reminded me of why I tend to get grumpy at Madame Bliss. Her patterns often fail to tell you WHY you're doing something. Her instructions often leave you in the dark about why you're doing something. For example, this one tells you to bind off three stitches, seemingly for no reason. It turns out to be for the overlapping portion of a lapped zipper, which is fine, but there is no mention of the lap except hidden in the instructions for sewing on the zipper. And god forbid a book of patterns would include a design schematic...

All that said, it is so cute and such a fun and easy knit that I'm going to have to make another one for my other cousin's new baby, Carter. However, I think I'll do provisional cast-ons for the lower edges of the body and sleeves, and put stitches on stitch holders instead of casting off for the other edges of the body and sleeves. That way, I can do three-needle bind-offs for the lower edge of the body and sleeves, and only have to sew the sides of the body and the zipper.

I just need to block and sew in the zipper.

- Hopeful

I thought it was finished before, but it was just a little too short-waisted, and a short-sleeved alpaca sweater wasn't exactly the smartest choice. So I did the secret-ninja snip, unravel, knit, and graft to add an extra two inches at the waist, and then unravelled the lower end of the sleeves and made them 3/4 length. It looks great, but I still need to tighten up the grafting stitches and block. I think I used a smaller size needle for the midsection, but I'm hoping it won't be too noticeable after blocking. If it is, well, I can always redo the secret-ninja part.

- Clapotis #4 in Knitpicks Andean Silk

A gift for my great-aunt eleanor. Just have to weave in the ends and drop the stitches before I see her for our post-xmas visit this weekend. I think Clapotis is better in a single, but the drape of this yarn is so nice that it doesn't loose too much from its plied structure.


- Sideways Rib Cowl/Hood in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush

A gift for my gramma. I'm hoping to finish this before our post-xmas visit this weekend, but I'm not sure it'll be ready. I have a backup plan in case it doesn't work out, luckily.

- Autumn Rose

I've been "swatching" (i.e, knitting a sleeve) this one, but I'm having some trouble with my color selections. They look fabulous on the skein:

but they look a little funny in the swatch. The light peach just looks like a dingy off-white

Choosing colors for this pattern is tough, since you have to choose:

- three different color groups, all of which have to look nice together. In the original color scheme there are reds, dark blue/green/black, and a continuum of yellows and greens. I choose teals in place of the reds, reds in place of the blue/green/black, and a continuum of oranges and browns in place of the yellows and greens.

- colors for each family that have the same relative values (lightness/darkness) as in the original pattern. I.e., in the red group, you need a medium, medium-dark, and dark color). Making it more complicated, the values need to be consistent across color groups. So the if the medium red is similar in value to the darkest yellow, then that relationship needs to be the same in the new color scheme as well, or the colorwork pattern doesn't "read" as well.

-colors that look nice in all the pairings that appear in the colorwork pattern. This is where I'm running into trouble. The colors look great on the skein, but in the rows where peach and dark maroon appear together, it looks just awful.

- Eiffel in Knitpicks Andean Treasure:

I always loved this pattern, but knitting with hemp never attracted me. I hear it softens nicely with wear, but why both with something that doesn't feel good in your hands while you knit it? I decided to make a winter-weight Eiffel instead. Alpaca is REALLY warm, so I figured the nice open, eyelet pattern would balance that out. I gained some weight after I started this project, so I'm a little nervous about fit. I've been procrastinating checking the fit, since, if it's too small in the bicep, I'll have to start over.

- Sunrise Circle Jacket:

I made some progress on this one this year, but the math is off on the left front, and I haven't felt like figuring it out. I'm a little worried that the fabric might be a little too floppy for this pattern, but the color distribution looks so much nicer with the looser gauge... I might have to punt it and use this GORGEOUS yarn for something else...

- Haiku in Knitpicks Merino Style

I started this as a baby gift for my cousin's baby Carter, but I think I might make him a carrying bag instead. It's cuter, and a non-washable yarn might not be the best choice for a newborn. And I love this yarn so much that I think I want to make myself a sweater out of it, as originally planned.


- Serrano

I love this pattern, but I think I made a math error somewhere, and I'm not sure about the fit. Have been feeling too lazy lately to check it out properly.

- Retro Throw

I just haven't felt like working on this lately. It was supposed to be my sister's graduation present, but it came out somewhat smaller than planned, and as my sister and her fiance are TALL (5'11" and 6'7", respectively) a teensy throw blanket didn't really seem like the best choice. I WILL finish it before their wedding, I swear! (Luckily, they haven't set a date...)

- Rising Flames Socks

No progress since the 2007 in review post. I've ripped out the instep twice, but they're still tight. The third time is probably the charm. But as much as I enjoy ripping out (hence, the blog title), frogging lace is a pain in the bum, so I think I'll let it rest for a little while before I tackle it.

- Blissful Jacket

I finished knitting the pieces a year ago, and seamed them up not long afterward, but for some reason, I just can't make myself finish adding the pinstripes. I also ripped out the collar - I wasn't wild about the shape. Will try with a different needle size to see if that helps. I think part of the reason I can't make myself finish this is that I HATE the yarn (Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed). Hate it hate it hate it. It's scratchy and full of knots, and it was expensive. Yet another reason why I get grumpy at Madame Bliss. Maybe I should have used Cascade 220 tweed...

If I don't make any progress on this one by next year's review, maybe I'll move it to the "things I may need to give up on category. Speaking of which:

- Lelah Top

This was supposed to be a gift for my sister, and it is embarrassing how long I have let it go.


- Improvisational Cardi

This was a 2007 project. It's my own design, but I had some fit problems, and I don't have enough yarn to really fix it. I haven't decided if I want to frog it and make something else with the yarn, or revise my design.

- Juno Regina

I'm using smaller needles (to suit my yarn substitution), and it came out very narrow (about 11" vs. 16"). I'm also not sure the color is right for me. It has a nice range of bluish greens that suit me well, but it also has some more foresty, yellow-based greens. I'm in love with the yarn, but I don't know that I'll be in love with the FO.

And I'm not sure I'm a lace kind of a girl. I love working with tiny needles, but laceweight yarn makes my hands kind of sore.


- Syncopated Brioche Hat:

I just didn't love it. The colors in Shepherd Sport were much greener and browner than in the Lion & Lamb I used for my Clapotis, in which the blues were more dominant.


- knitting with laceweight yarn


I've accepted that my dance business is going to take the front seat this year, so I won't be getting in as much knitting as I used to, but I do have some modest goals for this year.

- I'm mostly concerned with finishing the projects I'm working on now, especially Autumn Rose, Eiffel, the Sunrise Circle Jacket, and blocking Hopeful

- more yarn - I want to get back into spinning this year

- I'd like to make myself a warm hat/hood/balaclava. It has been chilly out there!


- reduce my UFO list

- get a better handle on color selection for colorwork