Monday, December 30, 2013

Downton Abbey's Back

...and of course it has inspired knitalongs. When I read about the one sponsored by Jimmy Beans Wool, I knew I had to do it. Here's the explanation from the Ravelry listing for the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL 2014:
Starting with merely a basic shawl pattern, this truly mysterious KAL is based on the film drinking games of our college years with a “Choose your own Adventure” sort of twist. The difference is that in this case we’re taking a more productive approach: instead of drinking when something happens on Season 4 of Downton Abbey, we’re knitting a specific stitch pattern into our shawl! -On the morning before each episode airs on PBS, you will receive a set of directions for that evening’s episode.

-There will be 2 options specified in the directions: one for beginners and one for intermediate knitters.
-Your directions could be something along the lines of: “When Bates sneezes, knit 4 rows of seed stitch.” (Or something like that!)
-The rules are designed so that rarer events require more complicated or laborious stitch patterns.
-For those of you that didn’t or couldn’t watch, we’ll release the “stitch pattern key” to the episode the day after the show airs.

All you need to play is 500 yards of DK weight yarn. I've got a big old skein of polwarth/silk from Indigodragonfly which should be perfect. The only tricky part will be watching what's going on. I have the tv on a lot but my attention's nearly always on my knitting.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Use It 2014

This is the Use It 2014 jar:

It contains a dozen different yarns. They have all been in my stash for over 5 years. My goal is to use up one each month next year. Nearly half of them were gifts from various swaps, so I don't feel quite so silly for having them this long.

Every year I swear that I'll use up more yarn than I bring in. Maybe this will be the year it actually happens.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Look what I won!

It's Lorna's Laces Solemate in the Zombie BBQ colorway. I managed to collect enough points in the Super Sock Scarefest to win it. This is quite bizarre because I was just thinking about Solemate not ten minutes before I logged on and found out about this.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Project updates

Wreath: it's hibernating. I got to the third or fourth layer and it stopped looking cute. It starting looking like a yarn-eating creature had gotten very ill all over it. I'm considering a number of options. I'm not in to mood to experiment on it right now.

Advent Scarf: It's coming out okay and I'm keeping up with it. Can you tell I'm not excited?

The Doctors cross-stitch: I've got a design worked out that will include all 13. Moffatt has stated that John Hurt's character is a "real" Doctor. Since he's dressed similarly to the Ninth Doctor, I'll do a few tweaks to that pattern. He'll be between Eight and Nine. It'll be quite a while before we know how Peter Capaldi the new guy will look. I plan to do a simple outline for him based on all the other patterns. Stitching has yet to commence.

Sock monkey socks: I get obsessed with things from time to time. It could be gargoyles, Hello Kitty, gnomes, Doctor Who, etc. Sock monkeys are part of that. Santa is bringing me a pair of pajamas with sock monkeys on them. I decided that I had to have a pair of sock monkey socks to go with them. It amuses me to think of socks inspired by something that was made out of socks. I'm adapting a sock monkey Christmas stocking pattern into something that can be worn. It's coming out okay.

Temperature scarf: less than 3 weeks until it is done! I work on it every week or so. What's a temperature scarf? I record the high temperature every day. Each block of 5 degrees is assigned a yarn: 35-39 degrees is Violetta, 40-44 is Angels have the phone box (dark blue), and so on. I knit two rows of the scarf pattern for each day. It's good nerdy fun.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mini Sweaters

Berroco's released a new collection of mini sweaters. They're free, they use up leftover sock yarn, and there are four collections so far. What could be better?

Wouldn't a wreath decorated with a bunch of these be cute? Add it to the list of someday I'd like to do that.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Countdown projects go timey-wimey

What happens when one decides to do two countdown projects? Well, besides getting behind on both of them? A third project pops up. This one is a set of all of The Doctors in cross-stitch. Terry Louise of Tasmania is posting these on Livejournal. They're cute, not too complex, and very nicely charted. I will be doing them eventually. I've got some ideas about combining these with a couple of charts I bought on etsy. I'm tempted to abandon my other projects in favor of this one. If I wait until after Christmas, there may be a way of including Twelve in the project. I'm still calling the new Doctor Twelve despite recent events. Leave it to Moffatt to mess with the fan's heads by screwing up the count.

Scarf progress: two days yet to knit. I'd be up to date, except I was busy with the wreath.

Wreath progress: base is done. Leaves for day 2 are done. Leaves need to be arranged on base and sewn down. Leaf arranging had me so crazed that I was screaming at the cats. I put it down and apologized to the furbabies. I haven't touched it since last night. I ran out of printer paper so I'll be forced to stay away from the knitting and get more (three new pattern updates to print daily, you see). I didn't expect to keep up with this one. There are still acorns, holly, and ivy to do so far.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Countdowns

I was happy to locate Drops Designs annual free pattern advent calendar. I'm putting it here in case someone wanders in and might enjoy it. Also, it's where I can find it again.

I happened upon a Advent Calendar Scarf. The designer posts a new section every day. I had some yarn from an abandoned scarf project that would work, so I've started on it. I'm doing it half the actual pattern width.

Two years ago I did an Advent Garland. The designer is Frankie Brown of Frankie's Knitted Stuff. Her freebie this year is a Woodland Wreath. Note: link is to Ravelry. It's really cute and I can use some of the Garland ornaments in it. If I can remember where I stashed them. I can use up some of the big bin full of sock yarn leftovers, too.

Kristin the scarf designer and Frankie of the wreath are both offering their patterns for free. If you're moved to pay them for their efforts, each has a link to children's charities. I'll definitely be going back and clicking those.

The pattern links are to page in English, because that's what I speak. If you've happened upon this page and you work better in another language, you may be in luck. Drops Designs has their patterns in a bunch of different languages. This continues to amaze me. Kristin's scarf is in German and she's very kindly supplied an English translation.