2019 Make Nine: Crafty planning for the year ahead

A friend recently said to me that after all of the hustle and bustle of the end of the year that January was meant to be a month-long recovery! I’m choosing instead to make this time a month-long opportunity for planning the coming year instead of my absurd start over the holidays of trying to cram everything into a few days or weeks.

My Make Nine 2019 Plans. Clockwise from top left: Glasshouse Shawl, Volt Jumper, Throwback Cardigan, Pipit Dress, Pom Pidou Shawl, Brave at Heart Mittens, Times Square Poncho, Birds of a Feather Shawl, and the Ixchel Sweater.

My Make Nine 2019 Plans. Clockwise from top left: Glasshouse Shawl, Volt Jumper, Throwback Cardigan, Pipit Dress, Pom Pidou Shawl, Brave at Heart Mittens, Times Square Poncho, Birds of a Feather Shawl, and the Ixchel Sweater.

While of course there’s “life-planning” and figuring out what books I want to read and what new skills I want to learn, the most fun part is figuring out what I want to MAKE this year! Happily, I stumbled upon a new IG account this year for the Make Nine Challenge, hosted by the lovely Rochelle of Lucky Lucille. Apparently I’ve been living under a rock the last couple of years because the challenge has been going on at least that long already. No matter, I’m always up for a challenge and I love how easy-breezy and low-key the idea of this one is.

I set to work at the end of 2018 trying to figure out my “priorities” for the coming year. As i hemmed and hawed and tweaked things I realised I was trying to find the perfect balance between larger and smaller projects. I want to be ambitious, but I don’t want to completely overwhelm myself either. I’m happy with where I netted out (and even happier that I have yarn for all of these projects in my stash) and really eager to stay on top of this throughout the year.

Ready for my January 1st casting on of the Pom Pidou shawl - a lovely gold stellina from Norah George Yarns and some Viola mohair silk from DEEP stash

Ready for my January 1st casting on of the Pom Pidou shawl - a lovely gold stellina from Norah George Yarns and some Viola mohair silk from DEEP stash

Last year Ravelry introduced a Challenge tab in their Projects pages too and I’d completely forgotten about it until someone mentioned it again on one of the boards. I’d completely forgotten I’d entered a goal for the year, which was to complete 10 projects. I’m happy to report that I completed 16 (nobody more gobsmacked than me over that result) and there were even a handful of WIPs in the mix that were finished too, which pleased me to no end.

This year I’ve decided to note 12 projects as a goal on Ravelry, knowing that I have 9 brand new ones for the Make Nine Challenge, I figure I’ll probably concentrate on trying to whittle down my WIPs pile too. I think I would be really discouraged to finish the year with 9 brand new WIPs and nothing to show for it I’ve already made a start on my projects though, casting on the Pom Pidou shawl whilst snuggled into my PJs on New Year’s Day. It’s coming out fairly stripe-y so far but I’ve decided I like it. The mohair is more fiddly than I anticipated though so it’s a bit of a slow go, but perhaps it will make for some good travel knitting.

Brave at Heart wip.JPG

I also cast on for the Brave at Heart mittens and I couldn’t be more delighted with how they’re turning out! We’re going to the WB Studios Tour for a family day out this weekend though so it’s a race to get them finished. These are for ME and I can’t wait. It’s brutally cold here in London at the moment so I’m looking forward to have these to tuck my hands into and keep them toasty warm!

Have you made plans for your 2019 makes? I’d love to hear about them!

Monday Make Update

I think we can definitely say that we've become acclimatized to the UK weather as last week's freezing temperatures and snow with the "Beast from the East" was horribly frigid! While the snow was piling up outside (and then melting on Sunday as quickly as it came) it was the perfect excuse to cosy up inside with my knitting and just plug away at getting a few things further along.

New winter mitts for Mr. H. Just in time for, er, spring?

New winter mitts for Mr. H. Just in time for, er, spring?

First up - a finish! Mr. H has been nagging me about finishing these fingerless mittens for him that were originally meant to be a Christmas present. Not nagging per se, but very pointed questions when I'm heading off to knit night as to which project I'm planning to work on and are the mittens included. The cheek!

These are a test knit for Kate Bostwick of Cowtown Knits and a really clever design. There is also the option to make them full mittens, or a combination flip top, or even warmer with thrums. I fell in love with the cable pattern when Kate was working on them at knit night before she moved back to Calgary and agreed to test knit them. The yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran Weight in Lemongrass from deep stash - leftovers from a hat I knit Harrison when he was a toddler which he and his dad lost one day on the bus. Sigh. Happily, the colour is a perfect match to his winter jacket.

I opted to make the fingerless mitts for H as he was given a phone for Christmas and I thought it would make it easier for using the phone. He's starting to do little errands for us to the shops and go to and from school on his own in preparation for next year at the upper school so it's nice to have him call when he's on his way somewhere. Update: he just came home from school and told me he liked them so much that he wore them all day in class. Is this one knit-worthy kid or what?!

Working on Winter Dawn is like creating a giant watercolour gradient. Am loving the meditative quality of this project!

Working on Winter Dawn is like creating a giant watercolour gradient. Am loving the meditative quality of this project!

This weekend I also make some excellent progress on Winter Dawn by Tabetha Hedrick. This is the project from the SweetGeorgia Yarns Advent Calendar from this past December. I wish I'd thought to get some pictures of it in the snow last week but I was ill with a migraine on Friday and those plans ended up right out the window.

Just like working with stripes or colourwork this project has been addictive! There's that internal hustle of "just one more colour" urging me on. The different textures are keeping things interesting too. I'm curious what will happen when I get to the end as I didn't pay close attention to the pattern at the beginning so cut my first colour yarn early and joined the next one and slowly my rows have been increasing in how much they are off, to the point where I'm doing one pattern section now in a completely different colour. Oh well, it's a lovely gradient and I'm sure it will look gorgeous no matter what at the end. Fingers crossed I can finish it in time to use as a sample at the H+H trade show coming up later this month in Germany!

Will I look as easy-breezy in the same sweater when mine is finished? Probably not!

Will I look as easy-breezy in the same sweater when mine is finished? Probably not!

Finally - I decided I was done knitting the swatch for a sweater I'm planning to do on the knitting machine. I'm swatching to see if I'm happy with the fabric that the sweater is meant to have, and then I can try to approximate it for the project. I still need to figure out how my ribber works though so fingers crossed I can make some time for that later this week too.

How are your own makes coming along? Any progress during the Beast from the East?

Decisions, decisions

I'm at loose ends this morning.

I finished a project in the wee hours of the morning (no, you can't see it yet - it's meant for another rare Friday FO) and am still basking in that self-satisfied glow that comes from being really pleased with what you've just knit.

Okay, just a sneaky peek!

Okay, just a sneaky peek!

(Personally, I think this is the 'high' that knitters chase. That smug, chuffed feeling of having turned string into something wonderful and useful and fabulous. It's our superpower! Also not to be confused with the knitters' 'high' of euphoria that comes from casting on something new, which as we all know is something else entirely...)

As thrilled as I am to be finished a project, I am completely paralyzed in terms of what to work on next for the month of March. And as we know with my WIP count, there's no end of options to choose from.

These colours remind me of those large, ornamental cabbages

These colours remind me of those large, ornamental cabbages

Option 1: Handspun and a WIP
Continuing on with the inadvertent garter stitch theme of 2015 would be returning to Rachel's latest beautiful design. I'm also conscious of the fact that I haven't knit with an SweetGeorgia in a while so this handspun in Spring Garden fits the bill. And since the shawl is already started, hopefully a WIP wouldn't take too long.

My SweetGeorgia handspun is all about gardens - this colourway is Midnight Garden

My SweetGeorgia handspun is all about gardens - this colourway is Midnight Garden

Option 2: SweetGeorgia Half-and-Half
Another SweetGeorgia and handspun option is the Lady Pearl vest. It would be a new cast on, but a perfect layering piece for the transitional weather we've been experiencing here in the UK. I'd use my SweetGeorgia handspun for the body and their Superwash DK in a complementary colour for the yoke.

Still a little more swatching to go to see if I'm on gauge

Still a little more swatching to go to see if I'm on gauge

Option 3: More Handspun
I've been itching to cast on for the Gradient Pullover and have been swatching diligently the beautiful handspun that Rachel made for me for this project. While I want plenty of time to finish it before September so I can wear it to this year's GLYC, I've also been thinking that this sweater is a great summer project for me and would work into the Yarn in the City pre-GLYC 2015 and Pop-Up Marketplace KAL that we're planning on having. (Note to self: come up with a better name for the KAL!)

Hmmm... do we think I could finish this in time to wear at the Edinburgh Yarn Fest?

Hmmm... do we think I could finish this in time to wear at the Edinburgh Yarn Fest?

Option 4: Malabrigo March
It is March after all, and I've not knit with any Malabrigo in a while. Handily, I have a WIP that was cast on in early 2013 that could potentially be a quick-ish knit. The Helix Vest by Shiri Mor has cables to really take advantage of the smooshy Malabrigo goodness, is sleeveless  and it helps with working on my WIP problem.

Do I dare try to tackle lace again?

Do I dare try to tackle lace again?

Option 5: A Different Challenge Entirely
This option fits in with being part of the Cold Sheep thread that I've joined on Ravelry. There are a  number of challenges to help keep people motivated and on the straight and narrow! The Rock Island shawl by Jared Flood is something I've been planning on knitting for AGES and there's a mini-KAL happening on the thread with this project. My hesitation here is that it would mean starting something new, I'm not sure I can knit a whole lace shawl in a month to qualify for the challenge (and I'm competitive like that!) and I'm not confident my lace skills are up to par. But, it would be using more deep stash, which would be awesome.

Help me choose won't you? Pretty please?

Overwhelmed by WIPs

It had to happen some time but I think I've finally reached that point where I've got a few too many WIPs on the needles. I know my stitchy friend Lara would agree as she helped me discover quite of few of them when we did a tidy up of my stash when she was visiting last autumn.

Lara helped me sort my WIPs and "next projects" into a specific bin for me to work from.

Lara helped me sort my WIPs and "next projects" into a specific bin for me to work from.

While I've been working away on a number of projects, as you can expect there wasn't too much forward momentum happening on any of them. I've had to adjust tacks and streamline my rotation of projects and now I'm pleased with how things are progressing (minor mistakes discovered notwithstanding).

Way to stash-bust! Hold two strands together and knit an afghan on big needles... This is  Garter Squish  by Stephen West - although in my excitement to get going on it I forgot to do the rolled edge noted in the pattern. Oops...

Way to stash-bust! Hold two strands together and knit an afghan on big needles... This is Garter Squish by Stephen West - although in my excitement to get going on it I forgot to do the rolled edge noted in the pattern. Oops...

It probably helps that a fair number of them are garter stitch, which right now seems to make me unbelievably happy. There's a comfort to garter stitch - it's familiar and squishy and dependable. Perfect for mindless knitting, you can just keep knitting without having to pay too much attention to the pattern (or any at all if you want to inadvertently omit part of it as I've just discovered I've done).

More cotton and another blanket - hmm... a theme with me right now, in addition to the garter stitch. This is the  Munchkin Blanket  by Amy Swenson and has been lovely to knit.

More cotton and another blanket - hmm... a theme with me right now, in addition to the garter stitch. This is the Munchkin Blanket by Amy Swenson and has been lovely to knit.

I'm still at the garter stitch portion of Rachel's new shawl design too. The rhythm of the garter stitch is keeping me calm while I "just keep knitting, just keep knitting" - and slowly chip away at projects, and my stash! 

All wound up and ready to go. Maybe my next theme will be colourwork?

All wound up and ready to go. Maybe my next theme will be colourwork?

But I think it will be time for something new soon. How about you?