Friday, February 29, 2008

March Goals

First of all, I have to thank both Valerie and The Mad Crocheter for their comments on yesterday's post. You both gave me a lot to think about this morning. Valerie, you are right - I should highlight my accomplishments, and I will next month. I usually meet my goals and accomplish a lot. I think I have just been a tad frustrated this month at how things have gone, and it showed yesterday morning. But better days ahead!

And Mad Crocheter, your question about putting pressure on myself and does that help or hinder me is a good one. I think that under normal circumstances, I do well with goals and deadlines. It helps me to organize my time and work efficiently and get things finished. I'm constantly saying the same thing at work - don't just ask me to do something, tell me when you want it done by and it will get done. Both at home and at work, without a deadline, I tend to drift and not get things done (hence the 32 UFOs I have been working on). I just bit off more than I could chew with my February goals and again, that frustrated me.

Having said that, I am going to try and be more reasonable about my March goals. March is National Crochet Month, and in honor of that, I have decided to spend the month mostly crocheting for charity. So here are my new goals:

1. Rather than set a number of completed projects, I am going to try to crochet another 2-3 miles of yarn on various charity projects. If the projects aren't finished at the end of the month, so be it. But at least I will continue with my stash busting efforts.
2. I do need to finish at least one moebius shawl in March, and if I can finish 2, so much the better.
3. Because I just can't crochet all the time, and because I still want to continue to finish up older UFOs, I would also like to finish knitting the 2 socks that are OTN.
4. The red scarf I posted about earlier in the week has to be finished by next Tuesday, when we are having the farewell party for my coworker.
5. I feel like I haven't been blogging as much as usual lately, so in March, I would like to get back to blogging 4-5 times a week.

I have some other ideas for celebrating National Crochet Month here on the blog in March, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

February Goals Revisited

Since it is almost the end of the month, it is time for me to review my goals for February. I'm reluctant to write this post because I haven't done too well with my goals this month. I was a tad ambitious when I wrote them, and then things did not go well at work and I spent too much time stressed out during the month. I have highlighted the ones I didn't accomplish in red.

1. Start a second moebius shawl - done on Friday, Feb. 1st.
2. Start Mocha Roca cardigan - this one did not happen at all, nor am I sure when it will happen in future.
3. Start knitted baby blanket - done before January ended.
4. Finish one Traveler sock and start 2nd sock - done over the last 2 weekends.
5. Start 2nd sock of other pair I'm working on - done on Friday, Feb. 1st.
6. Frog 2 oldest UFOs - this didn't happen either, although I did pull them out and look at them.
7. Felt Lucy Bag - didn't happen, not sure when it will.
8. Make 3 12" afghan squares - didn't happen.
9. Finish 2 baby blankets - this is another really old UFO (the babies I started these blankets for are 8 years old now). The squares are all done and just need put together. Again, I just pulled them out and looked at them.

So you can see why I'm not happy. On the other hand, I have 6 WUA squares made, and the scarf for my coworker will be finished this weekend. So, not a completely unsuccessful month, but not my most successful month either.

Tomorrow, my goals for March.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Knit A Mile Total

I only have time for a quick post this morning, but I just had to share the grand total from the Knit A Mile challenge. The group as a whole over at the Stash Knitdown managed to use up 66.21 miles of yarn from January 5th to February 19th! Great big pats on the back to everyone - we've all done very well!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Socks and a Scarf

Considering that it was an unexpected 3-day weekend (we had a snow day on Friday), I didn't really get a lot done this weekend. For some reason, I seem to sit and do nothing when it is snowing, instead of using the day productively. (I think this partly has to do with not knowing when I'm going out to shovel snow and not wanting to start anything and get interrupted.)

I did manage to start a scarf for my co-worker who is retiring. Last Wednesday I went over to my LYS to see if I could find yarn in an appropriate color for this scarf, since of course I had nothing in my stash that would work. I found Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. It is so soft! I settled on the Ruggles Reversible Scarf pattern, and I am please with how the scarf is working up. Now I just need to finish it ASAP. The yarn is DK weight, and I'm using size 4 needles. But the scarf is only 40 stitches across, and the pattern is interesting, so each row goes quickly.

And I had a lovely day yesterday. I got together with 3 members of my crochet guild, and we had a sock knitting workshop. I taught them how to do toe-up socks and got my second Traveler sock started at the same time. They were all very good students and took to the new technique immediately. And it was so relaxing to just sit, knit, chat and eat the munchies our hostess, Nancy, put out for us. It was just what I needed after all the craziness that's been going on at work this month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's All About Feet These Days!

Well, I had a nice weekend. I got my R & R, and I finished a couple of things along the way. Yesterday was an unfortunate dose of reality, but then I knew it would be a hectic day at work. And at least it is a short week - it will be Friday before I know it!

First up, I finished a sock that I had started on vacation last year. It only took 6 months. That's almost a record for me! I had motivation to finish, however. This coming Sunday, I am getting together with 3 women from my crochet guild. One of them would like to learn to use double pointed needles when she knits, and the other 2 would like to learn how to knit toe-up socks. Since I am going to demonstrate the toe-up technique by starting the mate to this sock, this sock had to be finished to free up my needles. This is the Traveler Sock, and I am using 1 skein of Cascade 220, which the pattern calls for. This was my first short row heel, and I think I was hesitant because I thought it would be hard. It turns out that it is much easier to do than a heel flap and gussets, so that was a pleasant surprise. I hope to get the mate to this sock finished soon.

Then I figured out the problem with my child's slipper. It turns out that I hadn't missed any decreases. There was a wee bit of a problem with the pattern (perhaps a typo), which was making the 2 sides of the slipper asymetrical. Once I figured that out, I was off and running, and by Monday morning I had a pair.
I used less than 1 skein of Wool Ease to make the slippers, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I will definitely make a few more pairs.

So this weekend was all about feet and all about knitting. I do have some crocheting going on, including a couple of hat & scarf sets and some WUA squares. And I am toying with some ideas for celebrating National Crochet Month in March, which will be here before we know it. And there was a little bit of stash enhancement, since I just couldn't resist Joann's sale on Wool Ease. (I mean, $1.80 a skein? How could I leave it in the store!) I did wipe out some of the gains I had made during the Knit A Mile challenge, but not all of them.

Oh, and the challenge ended yesterday. My grand total was 3,787.5 yards or 2.15 miles. I am very pleased with that result. I just hope I can keep my momentum going.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here's to a Quiet Weekend!

This has turned into an incredibly stressful month at work. Mostly it has been stressful in ways I can't talk about, which is why I haven't brought it up until now. Then, on Thursday, one of my part timers resigned, which really took me by surprise. She is my weekend supervisor, and she is beloved by everyone on staff. She has been at the library approximately 23 years, and the place just won't be the same without her. But she feels she would like more time to enjoy life and take care of her husband, so I understand why she is leaving. But I'm not looking forward to replacing her and training her replacement.

So, the bottom line this weekend is that I am tired and drained, despite having just worked a really short week. Thank goodness it is 3 day weekend, although I will pay for it dearly on Tuesday morning when I have to go in and face the full bookdrop! I have decided to try and keep things simple this weekend by working on easy projects and not trying to either start or finish too much. I have managed to make a mistake on the slippers I started on Wednesday. I am working on the decreases on the foot, and somehow I have 2 more stitches on one side than the other. Obviously I missed a couple of decreases. So frogging back to find the mistakes should keep me busy for a while. I would also like to make a going away gift for my part timer. She is a member of the Red Hat Society, so I am mulling over ideas for a scarf done in red and purple. I will have to commune with the stash and see what I can come up with. Luckily, we don't have any plans for this weekend, so I should have time for the R & R I need right now.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


You know, all this finishing up UFOs has been great. It has been fun, and I feel quite virtuous with every project I complete! But I have to admit that I am really starting to miss my charity knitting and crocheting. Other than the chemo hats, I really haven't done any charity work so far this year. And even worse, I haven't been able to decide what I wanted to work on.

Until yesterday, that is. Robyn over at Warm With Love periodically posts about various charities, most of which are new to me. Yesterday, she had a post up about a charity called Steven's Comfy Toes. They make slippers for children in Nevada. I think what really got to me was the fact that the site says that children whose feet are cold get sick more often. I had never thought about that before. (My mother, the nurse, has for years expounded on the fact that hats help reduce ear infections, but she never mentioned cold feet.) Anyway, that really tugged at my heartstrings. So, after looking at all the pattern links (and wondering where all these links were in the fall when I was working on the Soaring Eagles project and couldn't settle on a slipper pattern), I printed 3 out and cast on for a pair of knitted slippers yesterday afternoon. (My wireless router is not working at full strength today, so no pics until the slippers are finished.)

I promise to continue to work on my UFOs as time allows. But in the meantime, it feels good to have a small, doable charity project going again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm Not Sure Why I Set Monthly Goals...

...if I'm not going to pay any attention to them whatsoever! But sometimes, I just need to work on a project or else drive myself crazy thinking about it. And that's what happened the last couple of days. I just couldn't get my cotton tank top out of my mind. I'm not sure when I started this, but it has to be 2-3 years ago. I had intended to make finishing this a March goal, so I'm just a month early! Usually I work on it in summer, and I know for the last couple of years I have intended to finish it and wear it on vacation. The last time I put it down was because I had one less stitch on one side of the front than the other. I thought it would take a long time to find the error, but it turned out that I only needed to rip back one row. So now I am 2 rows away from finishing the front. Then I need to do a 3-needle bindoff (which will be a new technique for me) to attach the front and back at the shoulder, pick up stitches and knit the neckband, and then weave in ends and sew the side seams. I am hoping I can finish this over the upcoming weekend, since it is a 3-day weekend for me. (The photo is of the back of the top, but the front doesn't look substantially different.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

More Chemo Hats

Well, I finished 4 more chemo hats last week and donated them yesterday to my crochet guild.
We have done quite well the last two months. We collected 75 hats last month and another 116 yesterday! Not bad for a group with only 40 members.

I made these hats holding 2 strands of yarn together and a P hook, so they really used up some stash and worked up very quickly. I will try to write up the pattern later this week.

So my total yardage used since Jan. 5th is 3,706.5. That means that I am about 200 yards past my second mile! I still have a week to go. Maybe I can finish 3 miles yet!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

February Goals

I'm starting to feel like if I don't have an FO to post, I don't know what to talk about, but don't worry - I'll find something! No FO today, and no amazing progress on existing WIPs, so I thought I would list my goals for February. It's kind of a long, crazy list for a short month, but I think I can accomplish most of it.

1. Start a second moebius shawl - done on Friday, Feb. 1st.
2. Start Mocha Roca cardigan - hopefully next week.
3. Start knitted baby blanket - done before January ended.
4. Finish one Traveler sock and start 2nd sock.
5. Start 2nd sock of other pair I'm working on - done on Friday, Feb. 1st.
6. Frog 2 oldest UFOs - still working myself up for this one.
7. Felt Lucy Bag - probably on President's Day weekend.
8. Make 3 12" afghan squares.
9. Finish 2 baby blankets - this is another really old UFO (the babies I started these blankets for are 8 years old now). The squares are all done and just need put together.

Notice my goals include starting, but not finishing, 4 items and frogging another 2. That's what makes the list doable! So easy to start things!

I am leading 3 book discussions on one book (Lying Awake by Mark Salzman) starting next Monday, so next weekend is going to be spent prepping. Once I do the first discussion, though, I can get back to this list in a big way. I have next Tuesday off for Lincoln's birthday, and I am taking a half vacation day on Wednesday and just working the evening. So that's when I hope to start Mocha Roca and work on a couple of other items on the list. I'm really looking forward to the break!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Liesel and A Couple of Placemats

I am pleased to report that even though I have started 2 new projects in the last week, I am still on a roll with finishing items as well. Last Friday, I started a shawl, then I finished a sock and started its mate (no second sock syndrome around here). Then I put the sock down, and even though it was late afternoon by then, I pulled Liesel out and wondered if I could finish her by dinner. Well, thanks to an understanding dh who was willing to make dinner singlehandedly, I succeeded and here she is:
I haven't had time to block her yet. Maybe next weekend. However, I am very pleased that she is done. I used 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora. The yarn didn't have a lot of yardage to it, so the scarf is a little short, but I'm hoping to add some length when I block.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that a lot of the projects I'm finishing right now aren't completely finished. The Lucy bag needs felted, the green sweater needs embellished, Liesel needs blocked. So I decided to take one project and completely finish it. I had finished crocheting a pair of placemats one evening last week, and I just needed to add the fringe. It took most of yesterday afternoon, but they are completely finished and ready to use next summer when we pull the patio furniture out.
These took maybe 4 skeins of Lily Sugar and Cream. I had intended to make 4 placemats, but I just wasn't happy with the stitch pattern. These 2 will be fine for everyday use. Then, over the summer, I will find another pattern and make another 4 placemats for company. (Yes, I have enough yarn for that. For some reason, I bought a lot of fiber insurance for this project!)

So that puts my total yardage at 2,724.5 yards used since Jan. 5th. That's over a mile and a half, so I think I just might make it to 2 miles by February 19th. I'm also down to about a dozen UFOs left on my list. As my dh said to me last night, when I put my mind to something, I really make it happen!