2017 Project Cha Cha – The Exciting Conclusion!

Dear Connie,

Soooooooo, I missed posting the entire last quarter of the year.  Oops!  I was busy knitting, though!

IMG_1700

Find Your Fade Shawl

I ripped out my first attempt at the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry and re-made it entirely. Because I was blending more skeins than the pattern calls for, the lace sections never really looked quite right to me. So I omitted them! I used a dozen (give or take a few) leftover skeins in the end and only ended up buying the orange-y one at the very end. It’s absolutely enormous and kind of tricky to get a picture of.

And there were many other completed projects in those 3 months:

Other finishes, left to right from top: Love Still Wins mittens (from an amazing kit by Infinite Twist), Stockinette Snake scarf (loosely based on this), Leah’s Japanese socks, Wee Knitted Basket, Montgolfier Hat, Persian Dreams (1 of who knows how many, it just looked like fun), Diamond Exchange Scarf (ooh, crochet).

And of course there are two patterns that are consuming my brain entirely at the moment:

IMG_1839

Little Sock Arms for my wee lass.  Body is Knit Picks Stroll in Wonderland Heather.  The arms are Knit Picks Felici in Hopscotch.  I will think of it as her Punky Brewster sweater!  When I say I’m obsessed, I mean it.  This is a sock-weight sweater on US 6s, so it’s working up quickly.  Even so, I made this progress in about 4 days.

IMG_1838

The Leftovers Cowl.  Mine’s not leftovers; it’s out of my exorbitant collection of Knit Picks Palette.  I’ve found that I’m not really wearing a lot of sweaters out in Okinawa (big surprise there, right?) but there’s been about a month out of the year where I’m grateful for a scarf for the first half of the day.

***

So, summing up.  Project Cha Cha was not a complete success, but I finished more than half of the projects that were on the needles and made some amount of progress on nearly all of them.

2017 Project Cha Cha - Comp-page-001

This is the graph I kept all year showing the total level of completion from all pre-2017 projects over the course of Project Cha Cha. From 46% complete to 83% in a year!

Moreover, I learned a lot about how and why projects end up languishing as UFOs (unfinished objects) in the first place.  Right now I’m just not in a sweater place; I’ve got nowhere to wear them and even making progress on them for another time would still require me to drape it all over myself!

In other cases, I’m just not that excited about a project, either because of the yarn, the pattern, or the combination of the two.  And having this goal to finish them gave me a greater ability to frog what was not working, which I’ve always struggled with in the past.

2017 Project Cha Cha-page-001

From 20 unfinished pre-2017 projects at the beginning of the year to only 8!  Trend lines show the goal levels for both old and new projects over the course of Project Cha Cha.

So here are my overall statistics for the 2017 Project Cha Cha:

  • 12 projects on the needles
    • 8 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 4 cast on after (One Step Back)
  • 27 projects off the needles + 4 mini-achievements on huge projects
    • 12 from before 2017
    • 15 from after 2017
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 12/31/17: 83%
  • Post-2017 project completion, as of 12/31/17: 81%

I may not have kept to my goal of completing two projects for every new one started, but I finished a hell of a lot of stuff and had a good time knocking out some old UFOs.  I don’t think I’ll try for the same goal in 2018, but I feel like I have a better eye towards what will make me happy to work on and what will see actual use while we’re still in Okinawa.

Happy New Year!  (cha cha cha)

Advertisements

2017 Project Cha Cha – September Wrap-Up

Dear Connie,

Did I promise you knitting, or what?  What follows is the thousand and a half things I’ve been working on this month:

2017-09-30 08.08.34

Striped Dummy Socks – Stroll sock blank/hand-dyed

This is a pair of socks from the Yarn Harlot’s Sock Recipe – which I use for all my vanilla or “dummy” socks. The yarn was a sock blank from Knit Picks that I dyed in a green/blue/purple gradient and then wound the two strands in opposite directions and used together to make stripes.  They fit like a dream…I’m actually wearing them right now!

2017-10-01 07.55.58

Abayomi swatch – US 6

This is my first attempt at a swatch for Berocco’s Abayomi sweater out of Cascade Venezia Sport (mmmm…merino/silk!) in Charcoal. The sweater, we agree, is stunning, but would be more wearable if it was shortened significantly. The lace pattern has no purl back rows and thoroughly kicked my tuchus as I tried to get this swatch done. The kicker? I’m going to have to needle up and try again…but I am pleased to report that the yarn is very nice to work with (and responds well to being ripped back).

2017-10-01-07-58-00.jpg

Endearment

This is the Endearment cardigan by Hanna Maciejewska in Hamanaka Flax C (a Japanese linen/cotton blend). I got a ton done on this cardigan this month, including the entire lower half of the body, most of the desperately tricky double-knit hem, and part of an arm. I also discovered that this cardigan is NOT going to fit me. After the initial heartbreak of this realization, I selected a worthy recipient from my knitting group and now I’m making it for her…

2017-10-01 07.58.51

Endearment – Close-up

The body took forever because I never really memorized this alternating direction cable & lace pattern so I had to go line by line through the chart EVERY ROW.

2017-10-01 08.06.37

Neskowin Shell – frogged!

More heartbreak here – how do you photograph a frogged project? Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to pay our respects to the Neskowin Shell out of Knit Picks Lindy Chain in Plum, with which I fell out of love and then brutally ripped out 6″ of body.  This will just have to become something else.

2017-09-23 13.39.36

Rhombus #2

And, of course, pride goeth before the fall. I tackled my long-suffering second sock in the Rhombus pattern by Cookie A out of Cascade Heritage Sock in Denim. It’s another challenging pattern and Second Sock Syndrome retired it to the UFO pile for a long time. In the picture above, I have nearly completed the patterned portion and am about to start decreases for the toe. Which I did. And then I compared it to it’s much older brother, sock #1…

2017-09-24 19.58.25

Rhombus #1 & #2 – Mismatch!

…and it was about that time that I realized I had made two different sizes of the same pattern. Sorry for the grainy photo, this is late-night knitting. Well, sock #2 fit so well and I had to make a choice. Sock #1 has been ripped and re-wound and the entire project has returned to time out to think about what it’s done.

2017-10-01 08.19.23

Copilot – Rip-back

I had another project this year where I ran out of yarn – the Copilot cowl out of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock in Passion. My fault – I added length to it when casting on.  I tried shortening a repeat but I ran out as I was doing the bind-off. I have since ordered another skein, so I had to pick up during the last repeat and rip back the bind-off. I’m excited to finish this one.

2017-10-01 08.19.46

Copilot – Close-up

I just had to take a close-up – the wide shot doesn’t do the color justice. I can’t wait to wear this!

2017-10-01 08.22.26

Hue Shift – 85 squares done

And last but not least – the Woven Hue Shift! I’ve now completed 85 squares (out of the planned 361). Leah had the idea to get whole rows and columns done instead of skipping around. It makes it look more complete.

Summing up, there were some wins and some losses this month – but a whole lot of progress!  Until next month…

2017 Stats as of 9/30/17:

  • 15 projects on the needles
    • 10 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 5 after (One Step Back)
  • 17 projects off the needles
    • 10 from before 2017 + 5 mini-achievements on huge projects
    • 7 from after 2017
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 9/30/17: 78%
  • Post-2017 project completion, as of 9/30/17: 81%

2017 Project Cha Cha – The Triumphant August Return!

Dear Connie,

Welcome back! We re-join our easily distracted knitter after a brief, unintentional hiatus. Let’s see what she’s done, shall we?

OK, silly observational tone over. This is the latest progress on my modified Hue Shift project. The modifications are that I’ve incorporated a larger number of colors, I’m weaving the squares instead of knitting them, and then they’re felted. I think the overall effect is going to be very cool when it’s done (whenever that may be).

2017-09-01 17.02.18

As of this picture you’re looking at 65 finished squares (not all felted yet), of a total of 361 – so I’m 18% complete. To keep me motivated for the purpose of Project Cha Cha, I’m measuring this and the Mosaic Afghan in mini-achievements. For this it’s every 20 finished squares counts as a finished project. It doesn’t do anything to lessen the number of projects on the needles, but it does offer a nice reward.

2017-09-02 07.55.09

I’m also making tracks on my Rhombus socks by Cookie A. I cast on the 2nd sock this month and I’m through the heel and gusset already. Given how heavily patterned these are, I’m quite proud of the progress. Unfortunately I also tried on the 1st sock and it seems like I got sick of knitting and started the toe too early! So I ripped it back and it will get another repeat added to it. I certainly do not have any shortage of yarn – Cascade Heritage Sock has a heck of a put-up!

Which brings me, finally, to the illicit, unsanctioned knitting that has been happening. There was the beginning of some gift knitting, so I’m not going to share that one, as well as a shawl and a charity project.

2017-08-04 15.44.43

I too have fallen to the siren song that is the Find Your Fade shawl that seems to be sweeping Ravelry. I pulled a selection of my sock leftovers and after a little weeding, I’m pretty happy with the results:

2017-09-02 07.56.56

I still don’t love the mesh lace pattern, but I do like the color progression very much. And it’s fun to work a project that uses up leftovers!

2017-08-16 17.32.55

One of the ladies in my knitting group in Okinawa put out a call for 5″ squares for a charity blanket. Leah was very excited to get to help pick stitch patterns and match them to the worsted leftovers that she liked best. I have the 5 volume set of Lark Books Stitch Collection, and she had fun looking through them all.

Now that summer vacation is over, I won’t “need” as many ad hoc cast-ons so I have that perfect travel project.  Also, my husband is going to be out of the house for most of month, and that usually equates to a good bit of extra knitting time.  By the end of September, I’ll be putting up some big numbers!  But until then…

2017 Stats as of 8/31/17:

  • 17 projects on the needles
    • 12 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 5 after (One Step Back)
  • 15 projects off the needles
    • 8 from before 2017 + 3 mini-achievements on huge projects
    • 7 after
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 8/31/17: 74%
  • Post-2017 project completion, as of 8/31/17: 81%

~ Lindsay

2017 PROJECT CHA CHA – (Belated) JUNE UPDATE

Dear Connie,
The illicit shawl from May was completed this month, so no harm – no foul.

2017-06-17 13.13.31

The Laminaria shawl turned out beautifully once it was blocked, and I’m really happy with the project.  It has already made its way to a friend of mine, and she loves it.

2017-06-17 13.17.01

It definitely put the love of lace back in me.

2017-07-08 13.39.58

There was a vacation at the end of June, so I needed another trip project. My daughter had bought some self-striping yarn for me as a Christmas present, so I decided to make something out of it for her.  (I’d link the yarn, but it’s a mysterious Japanese product…)

The pattern is “Started From The Heel,” but I couldn’t resist calling these the “Started From The Bottom Now We Heel” socks!  The construction, true to the name, is a cast-on at the heel, increase into a square, two of the corners meet over your ankle, then you work it in two separate directions in the round towards toe and leg.  It’s fun to try something a little different, and Leah really loves them.

2017-07-11 17.02.54

Apart from all these unauthorized projects, I did actually make some progress on the Project Cha Cha front. For the two large blankets I have in progress, I’d set up a series of mini-achievements – steps along the way that would mark a sort of completion and count towards a new project if I wanted.

2017-07-11 18.01.15

The Mosaic Blanket has been in progress since the beginning of 2012. (I guess you could call it a slow cloth?) The funny part of this is, after I finished the 2nd row and laid it out next to the first for a picture, I was able to see how much my gauge has changed. (That’ll block right out…right?)

So at our mid-way point, I can say I’m not doing as well with Project Cha Cha as I would like, but maybe doing about as well as I expected.  But the first half of the year has been full of trips and as you well know, you need a proper project for the trip!  After the trip in July, I should be done for a few months and I can buckle down on some of the more intense UFOs haunting my stash.

2017 Stats as of 5/31/17:

  • 15 projects on the needles
    • 12 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 3 after (One Step Back)
  • 14 projects off the needles
    • 9 from before 2017
    • 5 after
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 6/30/17: 70%

~ Lindsay

2017 Project Cha Cha – May Update

Dear Connie,

I have made no progress on the effort to complete two projects for every new one.  I’ve been blowing off Project Cha Cha entirely and working on yet another unauthorized project!

2017-05-17 13.33.52

Casting on The Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman was a Mother’s Day gift from me to me, and I’ve been enjoying the dickens out of it.  I’m working it in Mrs. Crosby’s Train Case in the colorway Great Tailed Grackle.  The picture above is outdated; I’m currently on the 7th of 8 repeats of the Blossom Chart.  But knitted lace is not a lot of fun to photograph before it’s blocked.  The real star of this project has been Mistake-topus.

2017-05-19 06.11.07

Mistake-topus joined the Laminaria effort as I began the Transition Chart. Her job is to live at the bottom of my pattern and catch all my mistakes with her many arms. And I have kept her busy…

2017-05-21 09.45.27

First there was an incident that was accompanied by a glass of red wine and resulted in some lace surgery.

2017-05-24 12.35.44-1

Then there was the time when, distracted by social media platforms who shall remain nameless, I failed to count to the astronomically high figure of 12 with any consistent success.

2017-05-30 17.56.44

And of course, the time I managed to run a lifeline through about 50 stitch markers while I purled the last row of a repeat.

The long and short of it is that I’m really enjoying the pattern and the project, though I’m plagued with guilt over not knitting the things I’m “supposed to” be knitting. I’ll get back on track after this one is blocked.

I promise.

For realsies.

2017 Stats as of 5/31/17:

  • 15 projects on the needles
    • 12 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 3 after (One Step Back)
  • 11 projects off the needles
    • 8 from before 2017
    • 3 after
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 5/31/17: 68%

~ Lindsay

2017 Project Cha Cha – April Update

Dear Connie,

I’m late in posting my April wrap-up because…well, I’m ashamed.

This month, I didn’t finish any of my old projects AT ALL!  Not only that, I started a new project that I hadn’t “earned” by the by-laws of Project Cha Cha!

(For those of you playing the home game, the by-laws of Project Cha Cha are that two old projects must be completed in order to earn the right to cast on something new.)

But cast on something new, I did.  Just before my trip to China, and in anticipation of much sitting around on airplanes and buses, I cast on a vanilla sock in exciting yarn.

2017-04-06 12.27.28

China is amazing and beautiful and HUGE.  We had a great time.  And, after a fashion, I finished those illicit socks.
2017-04-29 12.49.14These are the Yarn Harlot’s “A Good, Plain Sock” which is my go-to vanilla sock.  The yarn is Stitch Please, Sapphire Label in Psychedelic Onyx (although in honor of China, I’ve been referring to it as Rainbows & Smog).
2017 Stats as of 4/30/17:

  • 14 projects on the needles
    • 12 from before 2017 (One Step Forward)
    • 2 after (One Step Back)
  • 11 projects off the needles
    • 8 from before 2017
    • 3 after
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 1/1/17: 46%
  • Pre-2017 project completion, as of 4/30/17: 65%

~ Lindsay

P.S.  I may not do any better next month, finishing projects from last year, but there’s still stash being turned into objects and 11 projects finished since the beginning of the year.  And that’s pretty good.

2017 Project Cha Cha – March Update

Dear Connie –

This month’s wrap-up is going to be a speedy one, because in a few hours I’m leaving the house to spend a week in China. So without further ado…

This month I finished two sweaters. One was a win and the other was…a lesson learned.
2017-03-09 16.36.07
This is Vodka Lemonade by Thea Colman in Classic Elites Fortuna. I shortened the sleeves significantly because it means I’ll be able to wear it more in warmer weather.  I really love it.  I finished it by adding a closure with snaps, but still had some gapping.  So I bought a cute silver tie tack from these guys and liked the results to well I think I’ll be utilizing it for more open-fronted cardigans in the future.

2017-03-20 06.04.38

Which brings us to the Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig in madelinetosh tosh lace.  I’m only showing you the back view because the front is…no bueno.  The lesson learned here is that even though this is a well-written pattern and an elegant sweater on many a fetching young lady, it just is not right for my body type.  I never wear the Hitofude I made, so I should have thought better of doing another one (in laceweight, even!) but there it is.

I do have to say that, even after I unpicked the first bind-off for the neck, the yarn stood up beautifully.  I’m often hesitant to work with laceweight, because of it’s perceived fragility, but I was really impressed with this yarn.

And for my one step forward!!

2017-03-19 10.53.30

I don’t want to say too much about this now, because I want to dedicate an entire post to it, but this picture is my little duck (when she was a good deal smaller) in a sweater I always l always loved.  When Kate Davies published the Northmavine Hoody, I knew it was right up my street except that I wanted to alter the colorway a bit.  The swatch on the right is not superbly lit, but the I chose colors of Knit Picks Palette to match that old baby sweater.

2017-04-01-05-42-32.jpg

And as we leave March, we find my very first BLATANT VIOLATION of Project Cha Cha.  I’m going to be on a plane or a bus for a good part of the next week.  I needed (NEEDED, I  say!) a dummy sock to while away the long hours.  This is Stitch, Please Sapphire Label Self-Striping in Psychedelic Onyx, and we are in love.  Excuse the horrible lighting and crash zoom of my couch, because it’s before 6 am and I just took this.

I think you can expect a couple pictures of this sock as it traipses through China!

2017 Stats as of 3/31/17:
18 projects on the needles
8 projects OFF the needles
13 from before 2017, 5 after (1 ILLICIT)
Overall % completion 1/1/17: 46%
Overall % completion 3/31/17: 65%

~ Lindsay