January 23, 2012

An update, and a hat:

Well, this year I'm going to try doing weekly updates.  Sometimes I might even manage it!

This week's update is brought to you by a hat, specifically a hat to go with these mittens.
Double stranded worsted, knit on 6mm needles (windproof!, even when made of Bernat Super Value yarns).  The pattern, written in two sizes, is here.
But, I could not find a hat pattern that matched them.  (Seriously?  No one has ever made a hat pattern?).  My prototype is slightly too tall for my head, ( did 4 full pattern repeats, but only neede 3)  so the pattern I've written here takes that adjustment into account.

Newfoundland Adult Hat Pattern in Bulky:

Supplies Needed:
6mm needles, dp and circulars if desired.
Bulky weight yarn (or doubled worsted weight).  approx 100 yds bulky in MC, and 80 yds bulky in CC.
Note: Hat as pictured took about 200 yards of worsted in black, held doubled, and about 140 yards of yellow worsted held doubled.  Since this is a stash project, I was not as picky with the amounts, so your mileage may vary. 

Cast on 72 stitches, and join in a circle being careful not to twist yarns when joining.  K1 P1 rib (or desired rib pattern to match mittens) for 2" or desired length.  For a fold up brim of just ribbing, I would suggest 4", but this is up to you.

On the last ribbing round, increase one stitch every 8 stitches around by kfb.  (*Kfb, rib 7* around row).  Totals should be 84, which is a multiple of 6 stitches; adjust as needed during purl rows).

Pattern in round:
row 1, 2 : with mc, purl

row 3, 4, 5, 6: *k4 contrast, slip 2 as if to purl*
note: carry mc up inside hat, so that the bar is not seen.
row 7, 8: with mc, purl
row 9, 10, 11, 12: *k1 contrast, slip 2 mc as if to purl, k3* repeat around

Repeat rows 1-12 three times (or desired depth).  End with rows 1 and 2 before beginning hat decreases:

Decreases: Using MC:
row 1: *k10, k2tog*
row 2 and all alternate rows: k
row 3: *k9, k2tog*
row 5: *k8, k2tog*
row 7: *k7, k2tog*
row 9: *k6, k2tog*
row 11: *k5, k2tog*
row 13: *k4, k2tog*
row 15: *k3, k2tog*
row 17: *k2, k2tog*
row 19: *k1, k2 tog*
row 21: k2tog, around row.  Break yarn, and draw through all stitches.  Fasten off.

Finish hat with a pompom using both colours.

January 16, 2012

Updates on the insanity so far...

Here is the Blanket of Insanity, as of a week ago:
Three squares nearly covers the bed; 5 squares gives a good hanging edge length wise.  4 squares across gives a good hanging edge width wise.  This is exciting, because that means that 20 squares, or a variation of 20 squares, will make it perfect.  25 squares is huge!  I am currently working on square number 5!  I am nearly 25% done!   My Phoenix project will be 6 squares for this insanity it 8 weeks.  I can do that.  I think. 

Quote of the week, by DD2, on the way out the door to my sister's baby shower.  (The little darling is scheduled to enter the world on Feb 1, and I can hardly wait.

"I feel like a Disco Ball!" 
Notice the sparkles on the walls and floor from her skirt! 

The big item for the shower was this quilt top, constructed by DD1:
It has a couple more borders on it right now, and will have a backing and edging and all that, but wow, am I ever proud of her!  Great job, don't you think? 

On the sewing front, I've made a pair of pants from the Laura pattern from style arc, and I am wearing them right now.  There is fabric on the table for two more, possibly three.  A dark grey stretch for a dress pant, a dark grey denim, and a stretch black striped dress pant fabric.  I may not get a swap done, but I will have pants that are not all black.  

January 6, 2012

Continuing on the weight loss journey.

I won't be staying with the official Weight Watchers site in the new year.  Even though I think it is a good value and it had some good tips, and I would recommend it, I am not a meeting person, and a good look at the budget this week means that money is going to go elsewhere.   I'm pretty convinced that any tracking system will help you; overall, theirs seems pretty balanced and healthy lifestyle oriented. I will be continuing to work on the weight loss, though, mostly because I feel better when I weigh less.

I found a great I phone app that uses the new points plus system for tracking.  I've used the new WW system for three months, so I can say that the new points system allows for my eating restrictions without a lot of hassle, or feeling stressed or depressed.  My anaphylactic allergies mean I can't eat anything 'low fat' (poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish), mangoes, melons or peanuts.  Every other diet plan I have looked at over the years suggests eating strictly low fat proteins, and normally melons as a primary fruit because they are filling and low calorie, or seriously penalizes you for having to eat beef or pork (this was an issue with the former WW point system) because they are trying to encourage 'lower fat/lower calorie' intake. The new one doesn't do that. 

So, my sewing plans for SWAP are going to be a little fluid, because I am losing weight.  I didn't think I was, and then I started sewing clothes this week and needing to take them in.  Seriously?  But, the pants pattern  fit in October!

This is good, and bad at the same time.  Good because I feel better, and look better.  Bad because it means that I am going to be putting energy into transitional clothing.  I already put three tops I made this summer that fit really well then into the black bags of blessing this week, along with two pairs of nice tailored pants.  My new resolution is no tailored pants until I've stabilized. 

January 4, 2012

Inspiration.

I've been working on the border of the next square, and tidying the next area of the house.  We are now up to 10 black bags, plus the old tree and the old lights and a few other things that will go in tomorrow's pick up, but tonight is sewing night. 

Sewing night means that I need a little inspiration, which I found here.

Isn't this top just the cutest thing ever?  Hers is cute, and inspiring.  I can sew this!  Check back in tomorrow, with hopefully my version of this finished top.  You should check out her blog--it is totally fun and inspiring.

January 3, 2012

Calculations, and plans.

Calculations, and reality:
Ok, the blanket has officially been renamed the Blanket of Insanity.  I calculated that 20 squares will take  7600 m of RHSS.  That, my friends, is a lot of knitting.  I've made three squares, and the fourth one is ready to have the border knit on. 4/20 is 20% done!  My date of finishing? June, since we will have been together 25 years in June.  25 years.  Wow. He used to have hair.  I used to be a size 6.  Neither of us are the same.  But, life is still good, and we are going to celebrate with a blanket of insanity. 

So, Plans for the year.

1.  Finish this insanity of a blanket!  Before our anniversary.  And stick to it, in spite of the insanity of the blanket.  I can knit 20 squares.  I know that the thought of 80 squares was beyond me.  I can do 20 squares.  (I am currently ignoring the fact that each of my 20 squares is made of 4 squares, so I am really making 80 squares.  Ignorance is bliss in this case.)

2.  Knit from my stash!  4 out, 1 in.  I haven't decided whether it is m for m, or ball for ball.  I'm leaning to ball for ball, ignoring the bigger balls as well, bigger.  And make one for me, one for someone else.  I am going to add right here, that according to the calculations, the blanket will need about 3600 m of white.  I definitely do not have that much white in the stash, getting enough white to finish the silly thing is going to be a challenge.  I'm not going to stick to the 'stash only' thought for the blanket.  I have enlisted some of my Ravenclaw Friends to help  provide white, and we will proceed from there. I am allowed to purchase for the blanket. 

I'm also toying with knitting a km a month; it is only 1000 m.  I can do that.  Really.  Particularly if I am knitting the blanket of insanity (one square a week would let me pass this goal).

3.  Get the house fully useable from top to bottom, so that we can host Christmas 2012.  This means a huge destash and ruthless declutter.  It also means thinking through how to sleep over many people in a very small house.  And feed people, and have many people enjoy many places.  Time to have less stuff and more useable space and more fun.  So far, I have decluttered the front hall closet, and half of the upstairs bedroom.  This is a long term plan; it is doable.

4.  Focus on the good stuff, and let some of the crazy go.  It is time to move on from some things, like faeryfest.  One of the things I will do is send some (many) costumes over to faeryfest, for them to use and store.  We are not going to act in the cast this year, which means that a lot of our costumes can move on.  After being in the cast the entire time it has run, I think that it is time to be willing to try other opportunities.  There are lots of other crazy that can go.

5.  Get the finances straight.  Pay off the bills, and the credit cards and the debt, and build some possible equity.  I'm not as committed here as I could be.  But, I've spent about a week and a half not spending money, so we will see.

6.  Get some exercise, and eat right.  Use the inhalers.  Take care of me.  The usual. Given.

7.  Compete a swap, with fabric in the stash.  Swap is a doable and effective way to have clothes that work.  When I was thinning today, I realized that what I was keeping was all the stuff I had made that worked from the last three attempts at swap and continuous sewing.  So, swap works.  And, I am going to complete one this year. 

8.  Spend some time in gratitude and prayer.  Keep a 5 items of gratitude journal.  Spend some time praying. 


I could add more, but I'm not going to because these are the important things.  More than that would be too much.  Now, on to working on the borders of square 4.