Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tying Up a Lot Loose Ends

Profound intro: Today is the last day of an old year (2006) and tomorrow is the first of a new one (2007). It's time for resolutions. There's a lot of navel gazing in this post. If that sort of blogging bores you, you might want to move along. If you are intrigued, get comfy. This promises to be a long post.

I will admit that I have read the plans of my fellow bloggers and I applaud the ambitiousness of all those folks who want to improve their lives. I, too have plans for improvement. I have resolutions (2005 and older ones) that I bring to this day, still unresolved. Maybe I'll address them this year. Or maybe I won't.

First the Resolutions:

Lose 15 pounds. Last year, I resolved to lose 25, and I managed 10. Not so shabby. I would like to be close to "fighting weight" for my 40th high school reunion this June. But there's a really personal reason that I've confessed only to a very tiny select audience. It involves the possibility of exploring the potential for a cosmetic procedure that I've dreamed about for years (since I started growing them in about third grade). Not enhancement (good gawd, not that!), but rather a uni-lateral reduction. (Cryptic enough for ya?)

Get more exercise. I have a bike. I have a stepper. I have an exercise ball (it's still in the box). I have a book on yoga. The Community Center starts its winter exercise schedule this week and a one-hour yoga class (8 weeks?) is being offered on Thursdays (same night the Other Half teaches this semester). Tempting. Very tempting.

Eat better. More veggies, less red meat (of course there's the problem with my diet (in the generic) and that of other members of the household). Maybe lunches.

Entrelac! Learn some Entrelac! Last year, I resolved to steek. Thanks in part to the Harlot I cut and finished an acceptable steek during the Knitting Olympics. This year, I want to make something (felted bag? baby blankie?) using entrelac. You heard it here. Hold me to it.

Use up stash! One in, two out! Let's "blame" this one on Wendy, shall we? Even though I've said before (and will say again) that my stash is out of control (as am I*) let's blame Wal-Mart's decision to phase out yarn and fabric and the demise of many over-pricing, snotty, snooty, upstart-with-the-rise-in-the-popularity-of-the-craft LYSs on Knit From Your Stash 2007, shall we? (Note: if your sarcasm alarm is going off, how quick you are!)

Explore spinning, dammit! I've bought a book, watched the videos, bookmarked the sites. The spindle and the roving have been collecting dust long enough. This is the year.

Comment more. Stop depending on the blogs and lists I follow strictly for entertainment. Jump on in and actually participate.

I do believe that will keep me busy.

How I spent my long weekend (so far):

The Selfish September Ragg sweater is finished.

I used Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns as my starting point. It's the "raglan" version, knit bottom up in a blend of 30% wool/70% ack that has been aging in the stash since Smiley's still had 50 cent specials. The yarn is Mayflower Hit Parade (according to the label) but I believe it may be a Patons product.

I used about 13.5 balls (about 1900 yards) to make a 50" sweater. So, dudes, without my time factored in, you are looking at a $7 sweater.

If you don't factor in the 48 hours' knitting time, it's a real bargain. Add that in, and (at 1/1/07 PA minimum wage) it's a little over $300!

Notes on this sweater: Ann Budd's books are a valuable tool, but like any tool, they are only as good as the crafter on the other end. Something, somewhere went wrong, oh so wrong.

You can't tell it by looking, but by the time the raglan decreases were finished and the neckline was decreased, I should have had (according to the pattern) something like 74 stitches remaining. I had more than double that. I think I measured wrong when I decided I was ready to bind off the center neck (peaked too soon, what else is new?). I had a real Jennifer Beals Flashdance thing going with that neckline.

My solution was to pick up the neck ribbing stitches and to decrease severely on the first round. Once I was in a better range of stitches, I ribbed for an inch and bound off.

Result: Exactly what I was hoping for. A slopping around sweater that will look good with jeans, cords, khakis. It's lightweight, and warm. But not too warm.

Wash and block and I'll wear it on Tuesday.

Other Selfish September Sweater Update: I'm pretty sure that the lovely green wool will be heading to the frog pond. The texture and the color are fighting each other. If I ever finish it, I'll likely never wear it. So sad as it is, Rip-it, Rip-it.

A last hurrah:

The Dollar Tree has been putting yarn (closeouts) for sale for several months. The Tree is where I bought all that Frenzy and Ping Pong over the summer.

A couple weeks ago, they flooded the market with Fancy Fur (ewwww) which I had no trouble at all resisting.

Yesterday, though, was a whole different ballgame.

LB Boucle (some tiny bit of mohair content) in scrumptious colors. Yes, it's mostly ack, and yes, the colors are way loud. But look at those colors! If they won't brighten a dreary winter day, nothing will! I bought 3 each of 4 colors: Popsicle, Parfait,Lime Blue, and Jelly Bean.

This is my last purchase before Knit from Your Stash 2007 starts at midnight. I may go back and get more today. It's earmarked for Charity Community Knitting.

From here on out, one in, 2 out is the rule.

And speaking of Rules:

4) Knit From Your Stash 2007 for Sheepie is month-to-month and renews each month without notice as long as it continues to have the desired stash reduction effect.

Later today (or early tomorrow), I will post the FO Totals for Sheepshots for 2006. Stay tuned. Refreshments may be served.

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Great recovery on the ragg sweater! You should feel proud.

Re: the cosmetic surgery. You started growing them in 3rd grade? You poor thing. I started in 5th and that sucked. Those wisdom teeth are nasty ;-)

As soon as I saw your photo of the LB Boucle I thought, What great stuff for kids' hats, etc. Sounds like you had the same thought. (Great minds think alike, yada yada.)

HNY to you!
Hooray for the ragg! Knew you could do it! The 2-in-1-out rule ---- I try to do that for everything in my life these days! The last, maybe, 7 years I've made it a point to throw away 5 things per person in house per week and at least 1 additional out for every 2 in (and sometimes the reverse!)
I'm already knitting from stash. I just couldn't bring myself to buy the Sea Silk. I'm betting they'll still have it in September.

Congrats on the sweater, it looks great!
The sweater looks great, and comfy!

The LB Boucle makes brilliant and wicked quick scarves and hats for kids and adults who aren't afraid of colour. I love the stuff. And you're right, it is very cheery on a grey day.
Another Dulaaner just brought to my attention the striped sweater you're doing for Dulaan and told me to come have a look-see.

Oh. My. Gawd. That is amazing. I am so touched that you would make such a...well, work of art for the project. Absolutely stunning.
I'm having a certain procedure using lipo this week in NJ. I decided that they only get longer the longer you live. Good luck with your decision.
Liz in NoWhere PA
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