Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Polar Bear for Christmas

Earlier in December I found the pattern Bradac and decided it would be a good use for some white yarn I had leftover from a blanket I made. After waiting two weeks or so for some plastic eyes that I ordered on Etsy to arrive from Taiwan, I really focused on finishing this project. I want to finish up all the little projects I have so I have a fresh start for the new year.

pattern: Bradac, by Leah B. Thibault
yarn: Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend, in color Buttermilk
needles: 4's, dpns
raveled: Bradac

Last night I finished the bear and made the mini scarf this morning. He measures about 12" from nose to tail, and is super cuddly. It took me two weeks from cast on to cast off, but I was only knitting for about two or three days on him in that time. I really liked this pattern because it was entirely seamless, something you don't generally find in softies.

I would have loved to get some photos of this guy in some snow but the mild winter we've had didn't allow for that. I think I may keep him as part of my Christmas decorations. Hopefully we'll have a white Christmas next year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Beginning

Well, it's official. I've started a blog. Why a blog, you say? Because I've lost my mind and want to document it. Maybe that's a little harsh. I'm challenging myself and want to document it.

This year, I'm on course to have finished 57 knitted projects. Some of these were small projects that took me less than a week to complete. Some were socks designed by Cookie A. that took me close to a month to complete (I'm looking at you, Sake). And I even knit a blanket and sweater for my dad in that time too. I knit over six and a half miles of yarn this year!

In 2012, I want to do big projects. What's more perfect than a sweater? Nothing feels better on a cold Wisconsin night than curling up under some hand-knit wooly goodness. Not to mention my Ravelry queue of projects I want to make is nearly 1/2 full of sweaters.

Part of this challenge for me is swatching. For the non-knitters that might be reading this (hi Mom!), that's when you knit a little piece of fabric with the yarn and needles you'll be using on your actual project so you can see if your knitting tension matches up with the designer's. For things like scarves it's not crucial that you swatch because if it ends up an inch wider than what it's supposed to be, who cares? For sweaters, it's pretty darn important. A difference of a couple of stitches in your swatch multiplied out by the circumference of a sweater can mean your sweater means your sweater is now sized to fit an NFL linebacker, or even worse, a ballerina.

I've always been pretty lax about doing gauge swatches. "I'm a tight knitter", I tell myself. "I'll just go up a needle size and it will even out". Well no more! The entire reason of knitting yourself a sweater is that it will fit you like a glove. Oversized sweaters don't exactly fit that bill. This year my knitting "resolution" is to do my due diligence and swatch before I start knitting a sweater. 12 sweaters, 12 swatches.

So that's what I'll be doing in 2012. I hope to post about once per week on the status of my works in progress. I have the yarn ready for my first sweater; I just need to finish up a couple of projects before I dive in. Wish me luck!