Thursday, March 19, 2020

Start-Itis 2020 and Project Plans

It seems that every year around the month of February/March, I have the itch to start new projects. In previous years, I've blamed it on the fact that I had been making gifts for other people for several months as gifts and finally had the chance to make things for myself again, but this year I don't have that excuse since I really didn't make gifts. Maybe it's just my body knows it's making time? I don't know, lol, but each year I get a big uptick in being inspired by projects that I would love to make. While I know most of these are aspirational plans that will likely not happen for some time (I know lots of you are staying home right now, but I am still working), I still love the hopeful feeling I get from planning things out. I thought I would share a little bit of my project plans in hopes of keeping the feeling going and increasing my likelihood of making these up!
First I'll share the one that I actually "in production" right now. I swatched the Endearment cardigan by Hanna Maciejewska this same time in 2018 using some Araucania Huasco Botany Lace yarn in the Carmine colorway which I purchased in 2014 (!). I was deciding between making this project and my Recoleta Cardigan at the time, and I guess you can see which one won out. I talked all about that episode of start-itis here. At the time, my gauge swatch turned out too tight for the Endearment, so I made the Recoleta instead. I've still wanted to make this up though, so once I finished my Owligan, I immediately thought of finally making this project.
I started to swatch again with what I thought were larger needles than 2 years ago, but after a few inches seemed to be yielding the exact same gauge I realized I didn't really want the stitches to be any looser than the original swatch. I did a little bit of math (very little, trust me. I hate math) and decided to just knit this 1 size up from my measurements because I wanted a more fitted sweater anyway plus I'm still losing weight so I didn't want to get to the end of this long project and have it be too big. I spent an evening last week working on getting this started, and ho boy what a challenge. Friends, don't start a new fingering weight sweater 1) with large lace charts that printed in landscape format on your printer for some reason (making them even smaller), 2) while your life is extremely stressful in the day and you are really tired but refuse to go to bed, or 3) in a dimly lit room. The lace chart squares were so small that I thought the symbol for lifted increase was a k2tog - big difference. So after doing a long provisional cast on (my absolute least favorite cast on because it takes me so long), I would knit the first row and none of the numbers would work out, so I thought I did something wrong and would count up everything and realize it didn't work out over and over. It was only after searching for an errata on the Ravelry page that I wound up on the forum thread about this sweater when it was first released that I found someone else with the same frustration and the designer pointed out that it is a lifted increase so you don't need any stitches there to knit into yet when you get to them. Ugh. I felt like such a dunce, but at least I had not pulled out all my previous work thinking I had knit it up wrong.
I was able to get the sweater all set up and ready to knit that night, but I haven't had much knitting time since so what you see is all I have to show for the last month. At least this is started and once I figure out a better method of keeping track of the multiple charts, I'm sure things will start moving right along.I do love having a fingering weight sweater on the needles - something that takes a long time to make and therefor you always have on hand if you just want to jump into the middle of a project and not have to deal with swatches and planning. So I look forward to making this over the next who-knows-how-long.
In light of the current craziness, and the difficulty of my first sweater project, I've decided to start an easier one too, lol. This actually happened because the lovely Andi Satterlund put up a code to get one of her patterns for free during the month of March on her Instagram page (the code is STAYHOME), which lead me to choosing one of her patterns that has only recently appealed to me - Hortencia. When this was released years ago, I didn't have much inclination for it. Isn't it funny how our style changes? Now I think this would be the perfect slightly dressy sweater to wear with dresses and whatnot, and I think it would be great in black. At first I was going to just see about cashing in my KnitPicks gift card I won almost 2 years ago (what?! lol) to get some nice black yarn, but in looking through my stash (man, I love this feature on Ravelry...) I rediscovered that I had just enough yardage of Cascade Avalon in their Pirate Black colorway. I remember ordering this with a black sweater in mind during a Craftsy sale in 2016 only to be disappointed that the yarn is not "black" black when it arrived. It's more like a dark charcoal gray color, which for this spur of the moment cardi should be just fine and then I'm still sticking with my efforts to use up my stash without buying more. The only potential issue is that this yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend instead of a wool like this sweater is designed for, but I made my Hetty Cardigan years ago with a cotton yarn and it worked out just fine. I actually really love my Hetty sweater - it's one of the few that fit me still and the drape is lovely. So, I'm hoping I can create a similar fit with this one in spite of my non-traditional yarn choice, and it should also make it more wearable in Florida :) I haven't swatched or anything for this, but I'm excited about getting it going when I have a little time next week.
It occurred to me the other day that I finally have some kids at an age that will appreciate some of the adorable crocheted bags from Ana Paula Rimoli's book Amigurumi On the Go that I fell in love with years and years ago. I have 2 birthdays coming up in April that would love a purse of any kind, so I'm thikning a few of these lady bug bags are in order. I have plenty of acrylic yarn to make them up with and these are small so they should be nice and fast. I think I will add a long strap to make them like a real purse too. It will be nice to make up some crocheted amigurumi again.
So this next one is a future pipe dream, lol. When the Fall 2018 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly came out, I absolutely fell in love with the Ixchel sweater. Isn't this just fantastic? I have gawked at this design ever since and it occurred to me a few weeks ago that this would be a great opportunity to cash in that Knit Picks gift card I mentioned earlier. I saw a finished one made up in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Inverness colorway for the navy background and Poppy Field for the yellow contrast. I actually have a skein of Hawthorne in the Compass colorway already that is a similar colorway, so I could potentially even use that if I want to be frugal and stash busting. It's very out of character for me to even be contemplating making a pull over sweater. I only ever make cardigans just because in Florida you only get a short window of time for sweaters out of doors (I use most of mine in the ac at work), but this design is just so pretty that I might have to make it my first one. Obviously this will not be happening right now, but the plan is still floating around in my mind, so it's that much closer to becoming a reality at some point. Some day...
On the sewing front, I am reaching a point that I wish SO BAD that I could sew myself some clothes. I've got the itch, folks. I miss the feeling of planning and bringing a new piece to life. Given that I've lost a lot of weight in the last 6 months, I've reached a point that I am smaller than I ever have been while sewing, therefore my patterns that I had tweeked to fit me are now all too big. This means that I would have to start the hell that is repeated muslins for each and every pattern I want to sew up, which is just not something I look forward to when I have limited hobby time as it is. I tend to want a wearable finished item to give me a boost, not drudge over lots of changes to make it fit me.Add to that the fact that I'm still actively working to lose weight, and you have enough reasons for me to know that sewing clothes is not practical right now no matter how much I wish I could. In the meantime, I dream up the projects that I would like to make once I level off in my sizing. Making a dress in this fabric is on the top of my list :) I can't explain why I want a dress covered in power lines, but I really do, lol. My instinct would be to make up my beloved Simplicity 1419 just so I can show off the fabric in a basic shape, but since I would have to retweek that pattern to fit anyway I'm wondering if I should branch out and try something new. Anyone have any suggestions?

Gosh there is so much more inspiration floating around in my mind, but there is seriously no time whatsoever right now. This week is nuts, and it's not virus related, lol. I'll report on that next week hopefully as soon as everything is all finalized. In the meantime, are you planning any new projects to occupy your mind and your time? Share it with me!

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