A New Favorite Color?

Back around second or third grade — after the standard adoration of pink — I picked blue as my favorite color. And loyal I was to all things blue for nearly 15 years. By the time I’d entered my 30s, though, green had overtaken it.

The other day I looked down at my WIPs and realized another change might be underway.

blue

Hello, blue, my dear old friend!

Since this is a knitting blog and patterns matter, the projects are (clockwise from the top): Peaks Island hood, a Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock (my first sock!), and a Fiddlehead Mitten (first mitten!).

I also have two other blue projects waiting in the wings — yes, there’s another turquoise one, but the other is a lovely color named Robins Egg Grey.

I try to hold myself to no more than three active projects at any one time. It’s an arbitrary number for sure, but one that keeps me from feeling like nothing will ever get done. Anyone else have a WIP limit for themselves? If so, what is your magic number?

Looking Back, Looking Forward

You could say I’m emboldened for having forged ahead with the Marin — and for actually meeting my 2012 knitting goals: three new items/techniques (baby booties, short rows, Fair Isle) and  “12 in 2012.” Forgive me the following Ravelry documentation; it’s just that a dozen shawls seemed so unlikely a few months back in the frenzy of the move and new job.

12shawls2012

What are my 2013 knitting goals? More venturing into that territory of new items and techniques. This year I’m tackling socks, mittens, and Fair Isle that’s more than rudimentary. And since I acquired quite a bit of lovely yarn last year, including holiday gifts, I’m going to dive into my stash with glee. (Goal is to try to use up three stash yarns for each new purchase.)

FO: Winter’s Coming Sweater

While I’d finished the knitting nearly two weeks ago on the dog sweater teased in that June “where we’re headed” post, I hadn’t tackled all the weaving in of ends. So I packed it in the car for our trip up North for Thanksgiving, thinking it would be a good mindless task for sitting around talking with the family after all the eating and all the cleanup.

Good thing, too, as winter arrived with a vengeance on the holiday, dropping throughout the day and bringing first sleet and then snow. Friday we took my first Fair Isle project for several test walks in my parents’ yard. Every walk started like this, with my spirited Violet ready to go…

snow-walk

… only to look like this within 5 minutes. Tops. In defense of my little NM-born pup, it wasn’t that much above zero with the wind chill.

brr-outside

While winter may not be a big hit with Violet, she does seem to enjoy the sweater. The best part about knitting for dogs? Unlike Izzy, she’s yet to tell me that it itches. And, oh yeah, Fair Isle is completely addictive. I’ll be doing more of it soon!

brrr-inside
Pattern: Icelandic Beauty Sweater by Judith L. Swartz
Yarn: Sandnes Garn Peer Gynt (Mulberry)
with bits and bob from my stash

FO: Beach Glass Spectra

First things first: Izzy is recovering nicely from her sprained wrist — phew! Thanks for all the well wishes. Now on to the knitting. Remember that rut I mentioned about a month ago?

Pattern: Spectra by Stephen West
Yarn: Noro Taiyo Sock (S8)
Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (Antique Lace)

Well, I decided to embrace said rut when I couldn’t wait to cast on another shawl the minute I finished up this one. Yep, I signed up for the the 12 shawls in 2012 challenge. Crazy? Perhaps.

And for those keeping track of my  New Year’s “three new techniques” challenge, I’m counting this Spectra and its short rows as #2 down. Sure, I did a few short rows when making those holiday Malabrigo loafers. But here I worked on learning how to conceal the wraps — thinking of Cat Bordhi and her excellent tutorial each time I lifted a “yarn necklace” (all 500+ of them).

FO: Baby Steps

This post needs to start with an admission — my fine motor skills are seriously lacking.

I don’t jest, as my friend and former co-worker Laura would be happy to confirm. She once handed me an X-ACTO knife and asked me to help cut Peter (or was it Plinky?)* out of foam core. Not believing my claim, she insisted. And so I started, cautiously and carefully. Really trying. After about two minutes, she said, “You know what? You’re right. Never mind.” and promptly took that X-Acto back.**

So it’s not surprising that I’ve avoided knitting with smaller yarns and needles. But this past Christmas I asked for and got a lovely set of sock-size DPNs. A member of my team is expecting a baby at any moment, so I took the opportunity to grab some fingering weight yarn from my stash and knit up my first-ever pair of booties. On size 1s (2.25 mm). Here are the booties on top of the needle set for a sense of scale.

And here is my snoopy ever-helpful cat Chloe walking into the photo, providing her paw as further evidence of the wee size.

Once I got past the feeling that I was knitting doll clothes on toothpicks, I found the booties fun. In fact, the size 3s (3.25 mm) felt clunky when I first started the hat. I’m counting the booties as my first new item/technique of the year… Now to decide, socks or mittens next?

* For the record, Peter, Plinky, and all the Mint Pals have changed quite a bit in the (how is it possible?) more than a decade since we brought them to life. Laura’s art was far superior.

** Also for the record, Laura is a lovely person — so lovely, in fact, that I could only laugh and not feel the least bit offended.

WIP Wednesday: Incognito

Since my 2012 knitting goals are all about trying new techniques, I decided to follow the “Tangy” version of directions for Incognito. I’m not counting this “knit-in hem” as one of my three new techniques tried for the year — well, unless the year proves to be a spectacular failure — since it was pretty simple once I got past the initial awkwardness of double circular needles. But it’s such a tidy technique that I’ll be looking for ways to use it again.