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It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone again but all the new toys around here tell me it’s so and it’s time to reflect on the year in craft.  I love setting these little goals for myself, even though I fail to ever set personal ones.  Here’s a look at the 2009 list:

  • Blast the stash.  Yarn and fabric buying will be a reward for good behaviour (i.e. paying off debt) or will be requested as gifts.  I need to work with and rework what I have, including the old clothes quilt I started four (!) years ago.  If I buy yarn or fabric I want it to be because I’m inspired not because it’s 30% off. I think I really did well here.  I finished the quilt and the only yarn I bought was for the cabled blanket.  That’s it! I still have some stash to work through but most of it is from unravelled projects.
  • KISS.  Hand painted and variegated sock yarns have their place but I need to amass more solids and semi-solids to have more pattern options. I didn’t purchase a single muli-coloured skein.
  • Think outside the crayon box.  I always, ALWAYS choose cool colours (not as in hip but as in “what season are you?”) and I need to branch out to more neutrals and earth tones.  Maybe even orange *shutters* The only yarn I bought was a rather somber grey so I give myself kudos for this one too.
  • Be thankful.  I’m pretty lucky to have a working sewing machine, camera, dozens of craft books and many other accouterments.  I’m going to try not to be jealous every time a fellow blogger gets a new fancy toy and be happy with what I have. The materialism that seems to have risen with the rise of craft is a peeve of mine and yet I fall into it myself. This is ongoing but I really feel that I learned to love my sewing machine.  My Bernina lust is an infrequent twinge and I’ve realized that my machine is reliable and sturdy and really what more can you ask for?
  • Lay off myself.  I have completely reworked my Ravelry queue to include only two items.  Everything else has gone into favourites.  It started to feel like a task list to be checked off.  I want to knit more on a whim and design from inspiration rather than feeling married to the list. I think I got a little better with this too.  I still need to empty out the yarn cubby completely before I can cast on freely but I’m almost there.
  • Take my time and enjoy.  It’s a hobby not a race.  If there’s a technique a pattern calls for or an extra little touch I could add I need to get off my arse and pick up a book rather than ignoring it and pushing through for expediancy. There is still something deep in my psyche that tells me to knit or sew my ass of so I can move on to other things and that will probably be a constant but I think I did learn some new techniques and tricks.
  • Take millions of pictures of my finished garments.  I tend to take four or five and trust that one of them is good.  It never is. Still have to work on this one.  I should have some new help with my fancy pants new Nikon D5000 although I have to learn how to use it first.  Any digital SLR hints that you can throw my way are much appreciated.  So far my portraits of Bowie are top notch but my project and yarn photos have all ended up in the trash.

And so onward to 2010!  I’m not going to be so hard on myself this year what with the baby coming and all but I would like to continue culling the yarn collection and embracing the world of neutrals.  I’m so inspired by Elly and Jenny’s Scandinavian aesthetics and I can’t wait to explore that more.

See you next year!


I am officially off until January 4th!!! Hate me if you must!  I anticipated that the last two days of class would be a bit quiet and I was correct in that I did not have a single student.  I came prepared with supplies to make these awesome gift pouches.  I only saw the tutorial this week, unfortunately. I had already wrapped all my gifts but they were so much more fun than wrapping paper or drawstring bags I had to try them out anyway.

So cute (even with cheap ugly ribbon)!   I give a lot of the credit to the adorbs Be Merry flannels by Riley Blake.  I have quite a few of the other prints  in the line so I will have to tackle a few more next year.

A couple of tips:

  • Use the thinnest batting you can find.  Mine was pretty light but they’re still pretty pudgy and the class Janome was groaning through some of the steps.
  • Your opening will be on the opposite side of where you sew your initial seam in step 2. This is only important if, like me, you choose to make rectangular bags.
  • It will look neater if you leave your gap for turning on the batting side of the bag as it will be hidden on the inside after you turn it.
  • This is probably common sense to most of you but I’m not so bright lately so it took me a few go rounds to remember to trim my seams and corner so it was neater when I turned it.
  • Also probably common sense but before you sew your velcro it’s a good idea to press the bag as flat as you can. It will look neater.
  • I decided to make most of my bags larger than the one in the tutorial so that you could fit a wider size range of presents in them. The smaller ones do have a higher cute quotient, however.
  • It was impossible for me to pin the velcro to the bag without bending my needles out of shape. This is probably a good place for some fabric glue.
  • This may just be me being selfish but these will not be gifted outside of the house.  The first trial bag took me about 45 minutes and hammering out the last five assembly line style took me about four hours or so.  I would recommend making a few each year until you never have to use gift wrap again (well, except for those chumps who don’t live in your home)!
  • These would make a great laptop case if you make it to measure and maybe fore go the holiday print fabric.
  • They’ve been really handy for sticking in unwrapped packages that come in the mail so they don’t look unsightly under the tree.

Because I’m a sucker for punishment I decided to host an Indian dinner tonight, two days before Chris’s dad and his wife arrive. I now have eternal respect for Indian mums who cook these feasts because it’s Wednesday.  Mad props.

After staring at a pile of yarn and a half finished blanket for about three weeks I decided to dive back in on Sunday afternoon and by Monday evening I was all done and kicking my own ass for procrastinating for so long.

The deets:

Yarn: 18 hanks Classic Elite Aspen in colour 1503 from Webs

Needles: 12.75 mm 40″ circular Knit Picks nickel plated Options

Pattern: Improvised.  I believe I cast on 98 stitches, knit 10 stitches, then purled 12 across the row for five rows, cabled the knit stitches on the sixth row alternating front and back cabling and then cabled every twelfth row until I ran out of yarn. Does that make sense? It measures about 50 by 57 inches.

I couldn’t find any patterns for throws calling for bulky yarn that didn’t have way too much going on. To be honest, I thought I wanted something chunky but I probably could have gone more with an aran weight because this weighs about five pounds.  Seriously. But then it wouldn’t have been so quick and I probably would have lost interest.  I also thought the alpaca would add a bit more buttery softness than it does.  Right now it just adds a whole lot of fuzzy hairs all over everything.

But I could not ask for a cozier, warmer throw.  Tomorrow is the last day of school and by god I need this break.  If you need me I’ll be here until January:

* I realized as soon as I typed out the title that it sounds like the family is chunky rather that the throw but it amused me so it stayed.

December 2009
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