WIP Weds ~ Progress? What progress?

Good afternoon everyone, and happy Wednesday! That means it’s time for a WIP update. Today (unlike last week) we’re going to start with the writing. I mentioned my ROW80 Round 4 goals last week, but I’m going to include them again here now that the Round has officially started:

MONTHLY GOALS:

1. OCT: Prepare SF (novel project codename) characters & plot for NaNoWriMo.

2. NOV: Write 50k words or more in SF.

3. DEC: Finish the first draft of SF. When done, set aside. (No revision allowed until 1 month after completion date.)

WEEKLY GOALS:

1. Work on writing projects a minimum of 5 days / week.

2. Visit and comment on a minimum of 7 other ROW blogs / week.

3. Write a minimum of 3 blog posts / week. At least one of these should be a ROW update.

I’m sad to say that I haven’t actually done anything toward these goals yet. Since the Round started on a Monday (10/6), I’m hoping to use Sundays as an “Update Day” and report on my progress for the past week. But since this is a Wednesday, and I have no progress to report, this is mostly just a reminder to myself that I have these goals I want to accomplish. And now the knitting. I don’t even want to think about the Sweetheart Sweater. I could (but don’t want to) write you pages about yarn amounts and possibly ripping out swatches; and more proof that swatches lie about how much yardage you will need; and about the search for more yarn, any yarn that might work, and the possibility of overdying. I could go on and on about how I want this project to be finished and wearable, but I’m starting to think that it’s just not meant to be. I could drive myself crazy over a little bit of mohair. Instead, I’m just going to leave you with this photo, which has nothing to do with said sweater: IMG_7514.JPG Have a great hump day!

WIP Weds for Banned Book Week

Well, so far so good. I have restarted the sweater sleeve that I had to rip out, and while frogging mohair was enough to drive me a little bit crazy (well, crazier than I already am), it is now done and hopefully I have appeased the knitting gods enough that I can finally finish this project. Because, man. This project almost seems to be cursed. I suppose that, with the way this sweater is going, I’ll now be able to finish it… just to find out that it doesn’t fit. At least I have a variety of people in sizes both larger and smaller than me who I can give it to if that happens. Because while I really want to be able to wear it myself, I want to have it FINISHED more than I want to wear it. I want to see it on SOMEONE. If that someone ends up being my 8-year-old niece, so be it.

I don’t have a picture of the sleeve in progress right now, though, because I couldn’t bear to take another picture of it until I’d passed the point where I had to frog the first version. So it will be next week at the earliest that you get to see more progress on the sleeve.

I do have a project pic of the latest mystery project, but because it’s a gift it will be a close-up and not show off the project-as-a-whole.
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I’m enjoying this one (another project knit in Chroma for a Christmas gift… I’m sensing a theme) and might knit another one of these when it’s done, too. Easy enough to memorize the pattern. I think I said that last week, but it’s true.

And, the latest – and least related to knitting – WIP of the week is my reading. It is Banned Books Week. I am reading a banned book. (Harry Potter this time around, because I needed something pure fun.)

You should pick up a banned book, too, and read it. Either just enjoy it, or read it and try to determine why it was banned and what the censorship says about our culture. If you read only one book per year, though (and if so I would feel incredibly sad for you), then it should be a banned or challenged book.

WIP Weds: Agony, Misery, Woe!

Any knitter who has any experience with mohair will know the agony I speak of, and I only have to say three words. (You might want to sit down first.)

I’m frogging Kidsilk.

I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath and slow your heart rate back down. At least, that was my reaction when I realized what I needed to do in order to fix my Sweetheart Sweater the way I wanted it. (I think it was Lorraine who mentioned fickle knitting gods. Hush, you.)

Here’s the whole story: I started knitting this sweater some time ago. I bought the yarn and loved it, but I used a circular needle that I already had and was sadly rather cheap. I didn’t like the needle, so I let the project stall out. But I wanted to have the sweater done, so I bought a new circular needle of better make and quality. (This one’s a ChiaoGoo lace needle. I love it.) And I loved knitting the sweater again, and it flew along nicely.

Then I finished the back, and looked at how much yarn I had left, and started to think that I was going to run out of the sparkly yarn. So I started knitting the first of the two fronts, knitting slowly so that while I knit I could think about what I was going do when I ran out. Then I finished the first of the fronts, and was convinced that I wasn’t going to have enough sparkly yarn. A quick trip to the store where I’d purchased the yarn originally showed that I had already taken too long to finish this sweater: the sparkly yarn I had picked for this project had been discontinued.

Oops. Now what to do? I didn’t see any obvious way to get the yarn I needed. (Yes, I looked at the Ravelry destash page.) So the sweater hibernated a long time while I thought. Could I make it a vest? Could I knit the fronts in the same colors as the back and then do some creative striping for the sleeves so that I could use a similar but different (or very different) yarn to replace the one I would run out of, and call it a design feature? Or could I maybe shorten the sleeves and make it work that way?

Too many questions, not enough answers. But miracle of miracles, when I was talking about it with my S’n’B one day, one of my knitting friends realized she had the exact yarn – DOWN TO THE DYE LOT, mind you – that I was missing, and didn’t have any reason to keep it. She gave me the new yarn, and I happily started working on the sweater again. I finished both the fronts, and started on the sleeve. I ran out of the first ball of sparkly yarn right on schedule, and kept knitting happily away. Until I realized something scary: I was going to run out of the non-sparkly yarn, too. And it is ALSO a discontinued color now.

I checked the Ravelry destash page again, and chatted briefly with the one person who has – and is willing to part with – the color I need, and discovered that due to a move, the yarn isn’t available at present. Sadness. I could wait for her to get to the yarn, or I could get creative as I had originally thought I would need to do. But there’s one thing I have now that I didn’t have before: a lot more sparkly yarn than I will need. So, the logical thing to do is to use the sparkly yarn for both accent color AND main color for part of the sleeves, and pretend I meant to do that all along. The bottom of the sleeve is the logical place to have the double-sparkly yarn, because sleeves are often used as accents to the body of the sweater. Besides, it would look weird to have the sleeve cap not match the sweater it was sewn to.

And here we run in to the (HOPEFULLY) final problem: you start knitting the sleeves AT THE BOTTOM, and work your way to the top. And since I had made my way two-thirds of the way up the sleeve, that means I am now frogging two strands of mohair yarn which sometimes are knit as stripes and sometimes are held together. For you non-knitters, this is like trying to separate really stubborn Velcro. It sometimes comes apart nicely, but usually doesn’t want to budge.

It is slow going, but I am determined to be able to wear this sweater by Christmas. (I may or may not wear it ON Christmas, but that’s my goal completion date. A present to myself, if you will.) And I have a plan now, which is great.

However, I think I can be forgiven for slipping a bit on my “only these projects” decision from last week, and doing this:

(More details of the shiny new thing next week.)

WiP Weds ~ Threes

It’s more than half-way through Wednesday, but that’s still plenty of time for a WIP Weds post! And I have plenty to show you today!

First, the oldest of my current WIPs:

This is the Sweetheart Sweater that I’ve been working on for ages. This is the first of the two sleeves, as you can kinda tell from all the increase markers along the edge there. (Fully shaped sleeves, yay. I’m not sure if this makes me happy or sad. Hopefully it will make the sweater FIT, but I don’t have enough sweater experience to know that for sure yet. Have to wait and see.)

I’ve been working on this off and on for years, though mostly off. Now, though, I plan to work on it until it’s done. There are three other things I’m allowed to work on while I’m working on this sweater, and I’m not letting myself cast on anything new until the sweater is done. (At least done being knit. We’ll see how I feel about the finishing once I get there.)

However, this is going to be only two other things I’m allowing myself to work on alongside the sweater very soon. Why, you ask? Because of this:

One of the three is almost done. (I’ve since finished the bind-off, and now it’s just waiting to have the ends sewn in, bath-time, and blocking.)

Unfortunately, that means that you won’t see any more of this project until after Christmas. Fortunately, it means that I am that much closer to having my Christmas gifts finished.

The second of the three hasn’t been touched in a while, because it’s knitting that needs a bit more focus than I’ve been giving my knitting lately. It’s the fox toy for my nephew, which I have no problem showing you in progress since he’s too young for it to matter if he sees the toy ahead of time in pictures. Besides, I don’t think my sister or brother-in-law read my blog, and I’d be just as happy to show my dad (the only family member who I KNOW FOR SURE reads the blog) the toy in person, so there’s no surprise element with this one.

The third of these projects is also a gift (they all are… I’m doing very little knitting for me right now, just the sweater) and so you won’t be seeing any details about it yet. And the pictures are no longer going to be of the whole thing at once, since that gives too much away about the project. But bits and pieces, such as this, are okay:

Fun color changes, huh? I’m really enjoying this knit. And while it looks complicated, it’s not that much. But it is a fun knit, and I think I will possibly be making another one of these once the first is finished, just to see how it works up with other yarns. We’ll see, though. There are so many projects I want to knit, that it has to be a really special one for me to knit it twice. While I’m loving the knit, I want to see the finished project before I decide on knitting a second one.

That’s it for me for now. How about you guys? Anything fun going on? And is anyone besides me thinking about Christmas gifts yet?

WIP Weds ~ More Gifts!

So I told you yesterday that I would be showing off another Christmas present today. It’s not much progress yet, but I’ll show you anyway. Here is the (almost) current status of the Rondelay shawl that I’m making as a gift. (I have made a little more progress, but the more recent picture I took looked horrid.) Not saying who this is for yet, just in case. That reveal will have to wait until after the gift has been received.

I’m enjoying the knit, though. It’s a different construction technique – you knit to the middle of your cast-on, then use short-rows to shape a half-circle. And then you add new stitches to one end, and make another half-circle. Really different, and yet (currently) super interesting. (Let’s see how I feel at the end of the shawl… I might get sick of the short rows…)

This is knit using the Seaweed colorway of KnitPicks Chroma fingering, and it makes a more subtle shawl than most of the Rondelays that I’ve seen. I think I’m going to really like the effect. Hope I can still manage to gift it when it’s done.

And another project that you’ve heard me talk about but haven’t seen yet:

Bacon!

The bacon scarf I’m crocheting for a good friend of Mr. Wyrm! Mmmm, bacon… However, for whatever reason, I don’t like carrying the extra yarns along in the work as much as I thought I would, so it’s becoming more of an intarsia piece than I’d planned. Oh well. The ends are still easier to deal with in crochet than knitting.

And while this one does have a (self-imposed) time-limit, it’s nowhere near as bad as adding another Christmas deadline. Thank goodness. It’s also not a secret, so you will be able to see the full progress with no secrecy filters imposed.