Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Year of No New Yarn 2.0

To recap, here's the yarn I started out with:

And here's what I have today:

Plus this. (The Wool-Ease was purchased for me, the beige was a gift, and the gold and navy were bought in January. All legit.)

Now, let's see what that yarn turned into. Starting with big things.


 Mum-in-law's mohair sweater, finished in January.

 My Blackberry cardigan, finished in April.

Hubby's Old-Man Cardy, finished this week.

M's Delilah dress, finished in September.

D's Kindergarten cardigan, finished in July

D's Whirligig Shrug, finished in May

Mom's Tangled Ribs, finished in May (despite appearances here; my mom wears it a lot, just never when I have a camera around)


Mom's Jaywalkers, finished in January

Diana's Striped socks (pre-washing and blocking, hence the distorted look), finished in May

Now, some smaller accessories:

Rachel's Fingerless gloves (above, finished in February for her birthday) and a braided headband to match (below, finished in August). 

Gryffindor hat for baby Griffin, finished in April

Lucas' football hat, finished in February


Hubby's Koolhaas hat, finished in March.

D's bow headband, finished in October


Cottage dolls, finished in July, moved to their new home a few weeks ago.


Then there was that bunch of finishing I did for the late Frances. I didn't manage to take before and after pictures for everything, but here's what it typically looked like:

In all, there were five things I finished. That green dress at the bottom was the trickiest; there was only one sleeve knit, so I had to figure out the gauge and the pattern and replicate it.




I sewed a bit this year, or gave the illusion of doing so. Here are tutus I made for the girls, which are now quite ratty, but looked splendid when they were freshly finished.


I made two of these bow-tie onesies, one for a cousin and one for a friend. I guess I should add one for my new nephew!

Not pictured in the knitting roundup: 
-two sets of Aviatrix hats and bootees (one in gray, one in green)
-two Baby Sophisticates (one in Hudson Bay colours, one in pink)
-two pairs of gray fingerless gloves with pullover caps (one for Hubby, one for my brother)
-a beard hat
-Hubby's black socks
-a pair of fingerless pullover gloves and eternity scarf for my crafty gift exchange recipient, Sarah 
-two cabled hats (a red one for a little guy named Zach, and a purple one for me)

I'm pretty sure I knit more this year than I did in 2010, on my last year of no yarn. And that was when I only had D to look after! I'm very pleased with what I was able to accomplish, and with the bit of space I've gained from condensing the yarn stash. I have plans for some of what's left, including sending some off to the thrift store. I figure if I've had it for more than two years and I haven't made something of it, I'm not likely to.

The very first things for which I bought yarn in 2014 have been baby sweaters, and that trend will definitely continue. I have my nephew to consider, and my own baby, as well as about half a dozen others that are due this year. My next yarn ban will have to wait for a couple of years, I think!

The day that was February 20th

What an unbelievable day it's been here! Things started out badly, with Hubby's car getting t-boned on his way to work (bright side: he is unhurt, and wasn't at fault), but improved greatly. On a minor note, I suffered an equipment malfunction (my circular knitting needle broke), but I was able to conjure up a spare from my interchangeable set. The sleeves are done, and the collar should be finished tomorrow, if I'm lucky. That would give me the weekend to sew it all up. And find buttons.

Our Canadian women performed beautifully in Sochi today, winning gold in curling and hockey, and I was able to watch a good chunk of each! The hockey had me on the edge of my seat, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I openly wept after each Canadian goal. I could not believe they managed a win, but they totally earned it.

I was texting my pregnant sister throughout the last minutes of the game, and shortly after it finished, she called me on Skype. And what do you know, she was holding her new baby on her lap! Again, much crying ensued (from me; baby was super sleepy). She had him at 2:30 am at the brand-new birthing centre, and was home just a few hours later, looking incredibly healthy and happy. My beautiful nephew absolutely made my day. I will be knitting a blanket with his name and birth date next, I believe, and visiting him as soon as our schedule permits.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A simplified Christmas

After a hectic fall, I was nonetheless excited to head into the Christmas season. I had my little Word document checklist of all the things we had planned for December. We had three parties to attend, and a couple of other fun events, like a birthday party for one of D's classmates, and a craft night at my friend Jasmine's. And of course there was D's school concert, for which Hubby took time off work. But this year we kept it pretty simple.

Decorations: for the first time, we had a real tree, and it did not die in my care! We got it for free through our mortgage broker: she holds an annual client appreciation event at a local Christmas tree farm. We had fun riding the "traptor", as M calls it, and choosing our tree. It fits quite nicely in our living room bay window. The girls helped me decorate it, and would periodically re-assign ornaments to different branches. The breakable ones were up high enough that they couldn't be reached. We also had a cute felt advent calendar on the wall, and the girls would take turns adding a piece every day. The girls also had chocolate advent calendars to open each morning. We had a wreath on the door, ribbon on the bannister, and two nativity sets up on the mantle, with Christmas cards nestled all around them.

Gifts: we kept to the 4 items rule of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. This year, though, we are two days past Christmas and the girls have not yet opened all their presents. Last year, they (or specifically D) were overwhelmed by presents from Hubby and me, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. By the end of the 25th, D had begun asking people "do you have a present for me?" Not an attitude we found cute, to put it mildly. So instead of opening everything at once, we've been staggering things. D and M had many gifts to open at Grandma and Grandpa's on Christmas morning. The next day, we Skyped Nana and Poppa to open their gifts. Today, we opened gifts from one of my aunts. They still have three things from us and one each from Grandma and Grandpa left. The gifts are much better loved and appreciated when the girls can actually play with them right away, rather than being rushed on to the next shiny thing.

Omitted: I've been tired enough that making dinner has been about all I can manage. I opted out of most Christmas baking, although my sister was kind enough to make us some peanut butter-marshmallow squares when she was here! I did make monkey bread for breakfast on Christmas morning, and the girls helped. We also didn't get around to taking a family photo or sending out Christmas cards... maybe we'll do that for Valentine's Day or something. I didn't finish the sweater I've been working on for Hubby in time for Christmas. I didn't even pretend to start making stockings for each member of my family!

None of these things really matter, and it's taken me this many years to understand that. In the past, I've had such high expectations for Christmas, and if anything went wrong, I thought it would ruin the day. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, or because I have kids and I know that things can go wrong without ruining an entire event. I read so many blogs where people work so hard to make everything perfect for the holidays, and it seems like a lot of wasted effort to me. This year, we did the things we wanted to do, for the people we love, and cut the dross. We spent a lot of time talking with the girls about what the gift of Jesus at Christmas really means; we explained who Saint Nicholas was, and mostly stayed away from the emphasis on Santa and elves on the shelves. Everyone seemed to be quite content with that.

How knitters celebrate the Olympics

Last winter Olympics, I took part in the unofficial knitter's version, now called the Ravellenic Winter Games. The point is to challenge yourself and try to complete something between the opening and closing ceremonies. It was 2010, and I had a new baby girl, so I made her a sweet little lacy sweater that she wore a few times, and later passed it on to her sister. I have many memories of nursing D on the couch, watching various Olympic events on our own or with family/friends, weeping at our first men's and women's gold medals (Alexandre Bilodeau and Maelle Ricker, respectively).

This time around, while I have more than enough babies to knit for, I'm going to push myself to finish the sweater I started for Hubby in October. It's a gorgeous thing, but I've been losing steam, so maybe this is just what I need to get it done. The body is finished so all I need to do is:

-complete the sleeves
-work the shawl collar
-sew on buttons
-weave in loose ends

That might not sound like much, but it's a LOT to do in the next two and a half weeks.

Especially with cute distractions like these.

Wish me luck!