Sunday, January 9, 2011

Of Knitting Plans and Naked Chickens

1. In which I completely lose my head

So it's 2011, right?  And you can't be a knitter at the new year without making some kind of resolution relating the new year to the number of projects you are going to knit. Fortunately, most  knitters are rational enough to be working with numbers in the tens, not thousands. Last year, some people vowed to knit ten shawls in 2010, or ten sweaters, or ten hats.  You get the idea. This year, of course, the goal is to knit 11 of something during the year.  I can't possibly commit to knitting 11 of the same kind of thing in one year because the repetition would cause me to lose what's left of my sanity. Instead, I have gone into full lemming mode and have joined a whole bunch (meaning three) of knitting groups dedicated to knitting 11 projects of any sort.

In the spirit of getting organized, I set 11 goals for myself, ranging from some serious stash-busting to nailing down some new techniques.  I took a good look at my existing yarn and the patterns and kits and projects that still made me say "ooh!" and came up with a list.  Which is 33 projects long.


The really funny part (if you're over the idea of me knitting 33 anythings in one year) is that only one project on the list -- a baby gift in some sort of cottony yarn that I am disinclined to stockpile-- requires new yarn.  Everything else is supposed to be knit from the stuff in my stash.*

*You may wish to say here that it's about stinkin' time that I used some of the yarn in my stash, but I'll have you know that I recently showed a certain knitting guru friend of mine the spreadsheet detailing my stash and, after she finished abusing me for having a spreadsheet detailing my stash, she politely informed me that it was no more than a mini-stash.  Then the man standing next to her, who is not really someone I know at all, insisted that it could hardly even be considered a micro-stash, and that if I wanted to see a real stash, I should see his apartment, which was stuffed full of the yarn that he and his wife had been collecting forever, so there. Really, I had no idea that this yarn thing was so competitive.
And the problem of course, is that I am easily distracted by shiny new yarns and books and patterns and I temporarily forget about all of the projects that I'm already planning to do and I start thinking about --and buying yarn for -- all the really great projects that I just learned about. So, to be completely realistic, I'm doomed.

But I'm going to see how far I get anyway.  Last year, for reference, I finished 21 projects, including more sweaters than I have on this year's list. I figure if I can finish 22 projects this year, that would be good (see, I'm still working with multiples of 11). So I'm looking at my list of 33 projects as very firm suggestions rather than actual requirements. And we'll see what happens.

My plan for the month of January is to finish four of the projects left over from last year.  The first one, the Dorflinger Tee that I made for Isabel, is done.  It turned out to be a quick knit and it looks very cute on her. 
Project number 2 is a pair of socks for Emma.  I finished the first sock on Friday and plowed through the leg and heel this weekend, and this is what they look like right now:


except that they green is much brighter and spring-ier.

Project 3 is also in progress, but is much to dull for a picture.  I am taking some leftover Ultra Alpaca and using it to line an existing hat, which is a bit too large and could really use the extra layer.

Project 4 is the Dryad Scarf that I started the exact minute that I got my Blackstone Tweed in the mail. It is for El Husbando, but don't tell him. I'd post a picture, but the scarf is in its infancy-- barely past the cast on -- and it is so small right now that you wouldn't be able to see it.

The other goal I set for myself was to spin 4 ounces of fiber a month.  My spinning wheel and fiber have been woefully neglected, and I was starting to feel like I couldn't even call myself a spinner any more.  Yesterday I sat down with the wheel and my current spinning project and I churned out two little skeins:


They are a little over one ounce each.  Below is the rest of the stuff from the same source (Hope Spinnery; I collect it every time I go to Rhinebeck):


The colors look a little odd when you see them raw, but they spin up into lovely, muted, heathery yarns.  I'm thinking they would make a nice colorwork hat.  Maybe in 2012.

2. In which my chickens go bald

 Here is Pippa:  She is the fluffy tan chicken in the middle of the picture.


She looks beautiful, doesn't she?

Here is her sister, Gertie.  You might not be able to tell from this picture:


but here you can see that she is molting. Her skirts are not being blown in the wind, a la Marilyn Monroe.  She just looks thoroughly disheveled, with bald patches and partial feathers poking out where the old ones have gone away.


The birds are exactly the right age to be molting, and I have read that the decrease in daylight can trigger it too.  But I kind of hoped that my girls would have the common sense not to take off their feathers when the temperature was in the 20s.  No such luck.


I'm cold just looking at her standing out in the snow in nothing but her undergarments. It makes me want to knit her a little chicken coat.  A chicken cozy, perhaps.  And you know what? 

I wouldn't be the first to do it: Take a peek. I dare you.   And it's an international thing, too.

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