Stoles and scarves

Completed Mystery Stole!

At long last, after two weeks of idling, I’ve taken pictures of my completed Mystery Stole (also known as Scheherazade)! I traveled a long road of blood, sweat, and tears to get this bad boy completed, and finally, I can show it off.

I started this stole back in July when a few of my local knitting friends turned me on to the idea of a mystery knit a long; I’d done mystery cross stitch pieces before, but never one for knitting. I bought my yarn excitedly before I went on vacation (and ended up having to use a substitute bought from Vicki because my order didn’t come in on time!) and eagerly cast on and started the first and second parts while at the beach. (Well, not really.) This will be a piece of cake! I thought to myself. I can get so much done on vacation, and I can catch up and be done when everyone else casts off. Hell, maybe I’ll be the first one done!

Stole close-up

But it was not to be. I forgot about the fact that when I got home from vacation, I actually had to work, and full time at that, which didn’t leave me with much time to knit the stole. Still, I plodded along, slowly but surely, and watched as the other members of the knit a long finished theirs. I’m very happy to say I’ve completed mine, finally.

Pattern: Scheherazade by Pink Lemon Twist
Fiber: Knit Picks Shadow in Jewels
Needles: US Size 5

I enjoyed knitting this, my first stole and my first foray into lace. I learned the usefulness of lifelines, and invested in stitch markers and a magnet board to hold the pattern. I didn’t really make any changes to the pattern, though if you look closely, you can see the place I accidentally repeated a row twice (yes, this was before I got the magnet board). I am excited to knit another shawl sometime in the future; I’m checking out the Icarus Shawl from the Summer 2006 issue of Interweave Knits and the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.

But, for now, I’ve cast on another project; Arisaig from Knitty, a project I’ve lusted after since I saw the pattern for the first time in late 2005. I’m using a beautiful purple yarn and am on the ribbing now, knitting with size 1s. I am excited.

Latifa scarf

Is it sad that I knit this scarf about three years ago, and I’ve just now gotten around to posting pictures of it? I knit my version of Latifa during the winter of 2004, and I recall it being an interesting project in the sense that knitting ruffles on size 2s is, well, just a little tedious. However, I love the colors I chose as it goes great with my fluffy pink coat and pink hats. It keeps me nice and warm in the winter; I knit it extra long just so I could wrap it around my neck a few times. I love the thing.

I have more recent knitting to show off, but it got too dark before I could take more pictures of it. I’m hoping to post more tomorrow, if 1) I don’t get lazy and 2) if I don’t wait for it to get dark again before taking pictures.

Anastasia socks

Anastasia socks!

At long last, I’ve completed a knitting project; the Anastasia socks by Pepperknit Patterns. I started them roughly sometime in November, and it took me forever to finish the first sock! I flew through the second, knitting most of it while on vacation last week. I’m wearing them right now; they’re very comfortable and I love how they turned out. I used Plymouth Sockotta yarn in colorway #6673; I’ve never knit with blues, yellows, greens, and browns, but I’m glad I took the plunge and experimented!

I’m still knitting away on my stole. I’m halfway through part 5 on the second side, so I don’t have much left! I’m hoping to finish it before the end of the month, and at the pace I’m going, it looks like I may reach that goal!

I'm a winner!

At last, I’ve done it; I’ve won NaNoWriMo 2006! I’m pretty damn proud of myself for reaching 50k this year. I’ve only finished a novel one other time, back in 2003. I got up to about 37k in 2004 before deciding I hated my novel, and last year, I wrote maybe 1000 words before I threw down my (virtual) pen in disgust and gave up ever trying to write a novel in a month again.

Why did I change my mind this year? Well, I discovered upon surfing the NaNoWriMo boards that a regional group for my area of the country existed; I don’t know how I missed it last year, but this year, I knew getting together with a group of people also writing novels would help me finish. I’m very glad I found an inspiring group of people to meet with once a week; I left the meetings I attended motivated and ready to tackle the challenge ahead of me, and if it weren’t for all the moral support I received, I may not have finished. So, if any of you read this, thank you.

How did my novel turn out? In all honesty, not very good. In hindsight, I wish I had done a bit more development on my characters before starting, jotting down notes about their friends, family, and their sordid pasts, but I went into it blindly. Also, I wish I had started my novel in the third person instead of trying to attempt the entire thing in first; I ended up switching from first to third halfway into the novel because of my struggles writing from the head of my main character. (Aside: my main characted did end up getting a name, about 48,000 words into the novel. I wish I had thought of her name earlier, as writing a main character without a name is hard.)

Still, I don’t mind. I’ve finished, and now I’m inspired to write more. I’m happy to have gotten back into the swing of things, NaNoWriMo-wise, and I look forward to participating in future years.

Almost halfway done!

A short but sweet post; I’m almost at 25,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel! This past week hasn’t been the greatest, writing-wise, but I’m still plodding around. I didn’t get to my 2,000 words today due to a busy day and not being around the house much after work, but I’m hoping to catch up a lot this weekend. I’ve found that I write a lot better when I’m not at my main computer; if I sit in front of my laptop on the kitchen table, I find I blaze on through the 2,000 words in about an hour.

Either way, I’m (nearly) halfway done! Rejoice!

10,000 words!

So, I’ve hit the first NaNoWriMo milestone today; I crossed the 10,000 word mark! I’m surprised at how well I’m sticking to my 2,000 word a day schedule this year; I failed miserably in 2004 and 2005 because I allowed myself to get too far behind and I just couldn’t catch up. This year, however, I’m determined to finish, no matter how hard it may get. So far, I’ve made my main character form an Anti-Pastel club, introduced a character who wears nothing but T-shirts depicting old one hit wonder bands from the early 90s (so far, Kriss Kross and Color Me Badd have made appearances), and I’m considering making another one of my characters talk in nothing but code. But who knows if that will happen? I’m considering writin

g my main character in a more flattering way eventually. Right now she’s sort of self-centered and pretty depressing, but some of the point in the book is to make her a lot more carefree and happy by the end. I’d rather see her happy than feeling pretentious and snooty, so I’m looking forward to the parts of the book when she comes to that realization. I think I’ll enjoy writing her more once she goes through her change.

I may or may not write more in my novel today. I’d like to get ahead one of these days; I’m slated to finish on the 24th or 25th of November at this point, but I’d love to finish before Thanksgiving. Either way, I’m pleased with my progress so far!

EDIT: Also, if you’re on the NaNoWriMo boards, my username there is ‘her Aubreyness’. Feel free to add me as a buddy and I’ll do the same to you!

NaNoWriMo has begun!

See the pretty little counter I’ve implemented in the sidebar? It’s a nifty little Wordpress plugin called ProgressFly, and it will suit my needs way past December 1 when Nanowrimo ends. Knitting progress counter, much?

I’ve written a little over 2000 words in my novel today. I wrote a tiny bit before work started this morning, and did the rest in about an hour and a half when I got home. I would have written more, but I zipped on over to a coffeeshop tonight to knit with a few women in my knitting guild. I plan on spending much more time writing tomorrow, well, at least before The Office at 8:30 and World of Warcraft at 9! I love keeping busy.

Speaking of my knitting, I finally, finally finished the edging on one side of my Mystery Stole. I picked up the stitches on the other side, and now I’m busy completing the second half. I have no idea when I’ll get this finished, as I now want to knit another pair of socks and would really like to knit a few small things for the holidays. The stole’s the only project I have in the hopper right now, so I can afford to start a few more projects. Right? Right?

Anyway, I hope I can finish Nanowrimo this year! I’ve only completed the 50,000 word challenge just once, back in 2003, and I want to make 2006 the second year I do it. I just need to focus, allot some time, and not obsess over my novel. I can do it!

Knitting progress!

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time knitting recently, but I’ve been slacking off with documenting my progress. I finally, finally took pictures of my works in progress over the weekend, and I’m just now getting around to writing about them. Go me!

Mystery Stole in progress

I’m cruising along with the Mystery Stole 2; I’m almost through part 5 (of 6) on the left hand side and only through part 2 on the right. After taking a break of about a week on this stole, I’ve been knitting it every evening after work. I’m very happy with how it looks so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like when I finally complete it. Now that I’ve knit one lace item, I want to knit more! Thankfully I have some more lace-weight yarn in my stash I can use for my next project.

Mystery Stole close up

For a long time, I marveled at how I hadn’t made a mistake on the stole for about a month or so. Ha, I thought, stitch markers really have made this process a lot easier; maybe I don’t need the lifelines anyway! I never took out the lifelines I’ve been using, which made me happy last night when I counted my stitches and found I was short one stitch in one of the 10 stitch sections divided by my markers. Thankfully I only had to rip out three rows. Lesson learned; I won’t be taking out my lifelines anytime soon.

Pomatomus

While taking a break from the stole, I cast on for Pomatomus (which I always misspell). I really, really like the pattern so far, but I’m not sure how good this pattern works with the pattern of the yarn. I think it looks interesting, at the very least.

This sock also marks the first time I’ve ever done a tubular cast on! I really like the edge it gives me, though next time I want to learn how to do a tubular cast on in the round. With this, I cast on with straight needles and moved it to the circulars; I had to seam up one or two rows at the top because of this. It’s not really noticable, but I’d like to eventually learn how to do it right!

NaNoWriMo 2006

For the past five years, I’ve attempted to participate in NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. In November, countless amounts of people from all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just a span of a month; obviously, ‘quantity over quality’ prevails for most of these brave souls. (Myself included.)

Have I won before? Yes, way back in 2003, my second year of attempting a novel. I didn’t even start a novel in 2002, and in 2004 and 2005, I wrote a bit, then gave up. This year, I want to come up with an awesome plot, characters I can relate to and want to write about, and a story that just flies off my fingers.

I have roughly a month and a half to come up with this. Here’s to hoping I can do it.

And no, you can’t read my novel.

A little bit of craftiness...

Nope, I can't get enough of posting my crafty stuff these days.

Spinning brownish fiber

I'm spinning myself some laceweight yarn (I hope) to knit the Branching Out scarf from Knitty. I've wanted to try my hand at lace knitting for awhile, and what better than to do it with homespun yarn? I'm hoping this turns out well so I can use it. I LOVE spinning this yarn; it's nice and soft and much, much easier to spin than the purpley yarn I spun right before this. I'm maybe 1/3 of the way through the ball and I hope I have enough for a scarf after plying it.

Purple sock in progress

I've had this sock yarn since 2004 when I first taught myself to knit socks; I knit one back then and promptly forgot about knitting another. I still have that first sock, but I may end up unraveling it to make an identical pair. I liked the Broadripple sock pattern I used for my last pair of socks so much that I'm using it again for these, and I hope I finally use up this yarn. I do like the pattern so far.

Oh yeah, another new layout. If you didn't see the last entry, I scrapped the layout I put up yesterday and put this one up instead. I like the simplicity of this layout.

I am the spinning goddess.

Look what I finally plied!

Finished purple yarn!

Well, I actually plied it last week and set the twist on Monday, but I just got around to posting pictures of the completed yarn today. I LOVE how it turned out; the weight's a bit heavier than worsted and I'm not sure how much yardage this bad boy has, but it's good enough for a small project like a hat or simple purse. I'll find something to knit from it eventually.

I also snapped a picture of the very first yarn I ever spun, over the course of a year and a half starting in late 2004! I stopped and started spinning this over and over again, but I finally decided to skein it up and make it look somewhat presentable.

Completed blue handspun

I didn't bother setting the twist on this one; it had been sitting on my first spindle for awhile and, well, I didn't feel like it, to be honest. I do really like the blue color of the yarn, but I'm not sure what I can knit with this. It definitely doesn't have much yardage and I don't know if there's a project small enough to actually utilize this. Maybe I'll keep it for show, to tell people about my very first spun bit of yarn.

I've begun spinning another ball of roving I bought at the Fleece Fair a few weeks ago, a beautiful brown/pink/orange mix that reminds me of fall. Just what I need in April, right? I'm spinning this yarn pretty thin; I'm hoping it will turn out around lace-weight so I can knit the Branching Out scarf with it. The colors match my brown coat almost perfectly, so I'd definitely wear it with that once the weather gets cold in the autumn. I'm excited to spin my first laceweight yarn, and even more excited to enter the world of lace knitting.