Thistle Blossom Beanie Test Knit Revealed

I had the pleasure of completing a test knit for the Thistle Blossom Beanie from B.Woolens. I finished it up today and the pattern is now available, so I can share some pics! The kidlet is napping now so I haven’t gotten a chance to try it on her yet, but here’s what I’ve got:

FullSizeRender 12 IMG_3741 IMG_3740 IMG_3739 IMG_3737I think the crown decreases are really pretty. The yarn I used is kind of ancient, but worked out well. It’s Tahki Yarns Lana (older version) in teal. It’s a bulky weight 100% wool. It’s a little scratchy but feels nice knitted up. The color is a little greener than most of the pics show. It used 89 yards for the child size. The pattern is also written for infant/toddler and adult sizes. Of course, I used my favorite cast on for ribbing: Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. I think the finished hat is really cute, and is definitely a pattern I would knit again

I also finished my Scarf for my Sanity that I talked about in my last post:

IMG_3743IMG_3745 This project was very challenging to photograph as the brown keeps getting washed out. But, you can get the basic idea. This was supposed to be a stashbuster. I thought I had three skeins of the Knit One, Crochet Too Tartelette, but it turns out I had four. Two of the skeins were wound up into a ball together. I used about 3 and a quarter skeins. I wanted to use it all but it would have gotten way too long for a lightweight, mostly decorative scarf. I still don’t have an intended recipient for this one, so I think I will put it aside and then offer it around at Christmas. Maybe I can make a narrow drop stitch scarf with the last of it.

I am down to five WIPs! Definitely time to cast on something new! I am torn about what to start, though. On one hand, I would like to make something sort of mindless and easy. On the other hand, it might be nice to start something big that will be for me. I’m coping decently well but I’m still working my way through a very stressful quagmire. So, putting some effort into something special, for me, might be a good symbolic gesture. Maybe I will get started on that Drachenfels after all.

A brief update on my current situation: nothing is resolved, but I’m coping and doing what I need to do. I am getting treatment for my injuries from the car accident last week, and that is getting a little better. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, sent me support or good karma. I really appreciate every word and it all helps. Thank you!

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Pushing Myself

This blog is mostly about knitting. However, it is also about my struggles with depression (and the role knitting sometimes plays in those struggles). I am having a rough time right now. My instinct is to not post, not say anything, wait until things get better. But, since one main reason for starting this blog was to challenge myself to actually talk about depression, I am choosing to do just that. I promise there will be some knitting too!

The full reasons behind my current troubles aren’t relevant here, and I can’t go into a ton of detail anyway. The basic gist is that I’m having difficulty at work due to both depression and the recent tragic, unexpected death of a coworker. For the past several days I’ve been having to jump through some pretty serious hoops to try to get things resolved. Two days ago, just before I took my mom to the airport, I got rear ended. The car damage is minimal but I’m having significant pain, and had to go through the process of following up on that. I was coping reasonably well up until the car accident, but that really threw me for a loop. It seems to me like I just can’t catch a break, like I can’t get enough support from my (small) network, and like I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Last night was really hard. I was feeling lonely and hopeless and didn’t have anyone else to turn to. I did something that I am proud of–I reached out to a group on ravelry for people with depression. It wasn’t much, just a post saying I needed more support and didn’t know how to get it. I got a couple of responses with some good advice and some kind words, which really helped. I think that even just posting, just admitting that I was struggling, went a long way to helping me start to feel better.

I wasn’t even feeling interested in knitting. But, I kind of forced myself to cast on for a simple project. I chose the Flying V scarf pattern from Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreier & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel. I’ve made many scarves from this pattern and love it. It’s simple but not too boring, versatile, and works well with many different yarns and gauges. I used Knit One, Crochet Too Tartelette from my Goodwill windfall. I was hoping that just going through the motions would help, and I was right. It feels good to be making something from the windfall yarn, and it feels good to be making something I know I will give away. The yarn isn’t really to my taste, but it works well with the pattern and I know someone will like it. So, if someone sees me working on it and admires it, I will know who it should go to. It’s just a low pressure, easy planning, rewarding project. And it is helping.

IMG_3707IMG_3708Thanks for “listening”!

A Goodwill Windfall and Gettin’ ‘er Done

I’ve been busy for the past few days hanging out with my mom (who’s visiting) and acquiring more yarn. We like to go thrift shopping and bargain hunting together, so, well, yarn happens. There are worse things I could hoard, right? Well, sometime in May she was in town and we went to our local “Gucci” Goodwill, so named because it’s in a nice area and tends to have higher end inventory. We’ve had good luck there. I was standing near the staff only area when an employee came out carrying two medium sized plastic tubs. I quickly realized they were full of yarn. I got my mom’s attention and told her we needed to follow. We did and, when we started going through the two tubs, quickly realized we’d stumbled across a bonanza. One tub was priced at $30 and the other at $20. We bought them both.

When we got back to the house, we pulled everything out, sorted it and divvied it up. We took turns picking until everything was claimed. This is not everything, but here’s a glimpse at some of the stuff we ended up with:

IMG_2930IMG_2931IMG_2932IMG_2933IMG_2934Some of the stuff you see there is Roz Houseknecht Handweaving Thick ‘N Thin Wool, Colinette Point 5, Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, Rowan Magpie Tweed, Noro Sahara and Noro Gemstones among many, many others. We added up the total sticker price of everything that had a price tag on it (a lot of it didn’t) and got well over $1000. It was a little insane. A few of my projects so far have used yarn from this amazing haul, notably my Old Shale kids blanket which used Colinette Wigwam.

I have a feeling I’ll always be chasing that “yarn bargain” high! We didn’t find anything nearly so awesome today, but I got a few things.

Since my mom is here, I wove in the ends and blocked her Not a Buff so she can take it with her. I like the finished result a lot:

IMG_3672 IMG_3671She seemed pleased with it. I also finished my Valentine Helix Mittens to go with the Valentine Helix Hat:

IMG_3674Ends are woven in and everything! I must be turning over a new leaf. Also, I decided the Old Shale kids blanket didn’t need to be blocked after all, so that is now officially a FO. That’s three whole new FOs! Even though I haven’t had a ton of time for actual knitting, I’m feeling pretty productive.

The mittens were a bit of a bear. I don’t think I would do helical mittens again. They’re a little funky because the extra rows get a little squeezed when they start and end. I think that helical knitting for hand wear should probably be limited to baby mitts that don’t even have thumbs. I would knit this pattern again, just not the same way. They are supposed to be extra good at staying on (that’s what the long cuff is for) so I’m hoping that they’ll be useful.

Happy knitting!

Liebster Revisited

A few posts ago, I participated in the Liebster award process. Two very sweet bloggers nominated me back and I have not yet gotten around to answering their questions. Since I already did the whole process, I’m not going to nominate any new ones, but I do want to answer the questions. I’ve had such a good time reading other people’s answers and learning more about them!

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First, Maggienesium at Project(s) in Progress asked me these (I’ve edited out ones I answered already here):

  1. You’ve been sentenced to time on a deserted island, what is the one project you take with you? Ideally something practical that could allow my escape. If not, I’d take a never ending supply of “yarn” and size 0000 needles to make mosquito netting.
  2. When was the last time the phrase “I regret nothing!” popped into your head? Probably the last time I bought a ridiculous amount of yarn. Might have been today!
  3. Fog: for or against?  I love fog. I think it is beautiful. I especially love it when I have the luxury of observing it and not driving in it.
  4. What’s your go-to fiber if you are a crafter? Gerund if you are a writer, and if you’re both answer using your favorite conjunctive adverb. Right now, lots of merino superwash. I always love cotton, though.
  5. What is one word you wished would make a come-back? I don’t know why “gnarly” is the only thing coming to me, but I’m going to go with it.
  6. If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before your very first project, what would it be? “Oh sweetie, I know you think you’re going to like that lacy scarf made out of black sport weight acrylic with silver sparkles. I know you don’t think it looks hideous and busy. Take it from future you: it’s not going to work out!”
  7. Is there a color you won’t work with? In short, no. I think pretty much any color can be redeemable in the right context. I like off beat color combinations and interesting contrasts.
  8. You are rushing off to work, open the door, and there is a huge box of yarn at your door. What do you do? Squee and then toss it in the house. If I’m late for work much more, I won’t have the funds to buy more yarn!
  9. Favorite game. Do jigsaw puzzles count?
  10. You can teleport for one day – where are you off to first? Just one day? That is really hard. I love traveling but I like to have lots of low key time to settle into a new place, get the rhythm and relax. I guess for one day I’d choose somewhere that would otherwise be a lengthy or difficult trip: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Antarctica, something like that.

Here are the questions Carol at knit equals joy asked:

  1. Are you a crafter, artist or photographer? What’s your poison? Crafter. I’m primarily a knitter but have dabbled in sewing and a little spinning.
  2. What is your favorite color combination? I love the shock of a great orange or acid yellow combined with eggplant or teal–that kind of thing.
  3. How did you get into crafting (or your passion)? I learned to knit when I was around seven. I learned partially from my mom and partially from reading instruction booklets. I always seemed to like crafty things as a kid–latch hook rugs, cross stitch, macrame bracelets, beading, sewing. Knitting is the one that has stuck the most.
  4. What is a random fact about you that would surprise others? I earned a black belt in karate several years ago.
  5. What’s your favorite blog post (that you’ve written)? Maybe this one about my knitting bad-assery.
  6. If you could only read one blog, which would you choose? TECHknitter. A million resources plus a lot of interesting stuff.
  7. Roller coasters–for or against? I think they’re pretty fun.
  8. What is your favorite beverage? Coffee. And beer. And wine. But mostly coffee.
  9. If money was no issue, where would you like to travel? If money was no issue, everywhere! But particularly Iceland, Hawaii, lots of Canada, back to France, the Galapagos, South America, Asia…

Thanks for the re-nominations!

Helix Mittens and One Teeny FO

I knocked off one teeny tiny FO! Literally teeny: it’s a preemie hat. It’s not the most exciting project I’ve ever done, but it’s done and my WIPs are officially down to single digits. Unless you count the hibernators, which personally? I don’t.

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This is the second preemie hat I’ve made for my stashbusting initiative. I do realize that stashbusting by making preemie hats is something of a Sisyphean task, but it’s a start.

I’m doing a test knit but have run into a snag, so that’s on hold for a bit. I needed something else to work on, so I scouted around for a mitten pattern to match my Valentine Helix Hat. I didn’t find any helix mitten patterns, but I did find one that I could modify to work. I’m about 75% done the first one and so far I’m pleased with it.

IMG_3633I’m using the same Jil Eaton MinnowMerino and this Stay Put Mini Mitts pattern. Incorporating the helical knitting has been a little bit challenging, mostly in terms of maintaining consistent tension. One trick that I will use for the next one is to start each round on the last two or three stitches of the last dpn. That way there’s not a couple of rows hanging out loosening up. I’m going to do the second one with a red cuff. I wanted to do the whole set with pink as the main color but I didn’t have enough.

I’ve been working on organizing my stash somewhat. It’s slow going, mostly because I have a ton of skeins and partial skeins that don’t have labels. A few days ago I used this fiber burn chart that I got from Talya at Duck and Cover to identify some of these unknowns, but I have a lot more to go. I’ve decided to organize it by weight instead of fiber, which was my previous arrangement. It’s fun to go through everything and refresh my memory on what I have, but it’s frustrating, too. I keep wanting to stop organizing and start knitting instead! I start thinking about different projects I could do with the stuff I have, and it’s hard not to get too distracted.

I have a couple of Liebster re-nominations to get to…don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten!

Splitty Yarn, Splitty…Needles??

I am working on the project from hell right now. Many people say that life is too short to knit things you don’t like. In theory, I agree. However, I’m doing this for the greater good! Here are my reasons for forging ahead, despite the fact that every stitch is agony on some level.

  1. The stash. I have a lot of yarn. Not as much as I’ve seen on some people’s ravelry accounts, but still a lot. A good portion of it is beautiful, high quality fiber, a pleasure to work with. A much larger portion is stuff that I acquired before I really knew about LYSes or that there was such a thing as soft wool. Some of it was given to me. Some of it was thrifted and just seemed like too good a deal to pass up. In any case, I have a really hard time getting rid of yarn because I always think that maybe someday it would be useful. So, I want to use up as much of my stash that I don’t love as I can so that I can get it out into the world and out of my basement.
  2. The project and its intended recipient. I’m making a baby sweater for a little one who’s just a few months old. His parents are first timers and non-knitters. The last thing they need is to be saddled with something they have to hand wash, dry flat, and worry about ruining. Even superwash wool has its issues, so in this case I think acrylic is the best bet.
  3. I’m almost done. It didn’t get really bad until I started knitting the sleeves (I will explain further). At that point, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice all the work I’d already done.

So, some details about the project. I’m using this garter yoke baby cardi pattern with only a couple of modifications. I put ribbing at the bottom of the body and the sleeves instead of garter stitch and some of my measurements are a little different (I got stitch gauge but not row gauge…story of my knitting life). I’m using Caron Simply Soft Tweed in black. It is pretty soft for acrylic, but when it’s knitted at a tight-ish gauge, it doesn’t feel as great. I don’t love the yarn and I don’t love the color, but it’s what I ended up with so I’m going for it.

When I started, it was okay. It went pretty quickly. The pattern is nice enough and pretty easy. I was using a set of my new Addi Sock Rockets. Let me back up a little…in a previous post, I discussed a little about knitting needles and my preferences. Fogknits left me a very useful comment:

I LOVE Addi Rockets! I’m not a fan of the brass coating on the lace. The Rockets are the perfect compromise for me 🙂

Sadly, I don’t like the Addi Click set at all. The join is not smooth at all. The ‘click’ bit works perfect…I have never once had a tip fall off and leave me in a panic but it’s really had to get beyond that join. Addis are so perfect otherwise. It’s a disappointment to me.

I highly recommend trying it out before buying, maybe a local friend or even a shop will let you try them out first. I’ve just accepted it and buy the fixed sets.

Shortly after that, I stumbled across a serious deal on ebay for some Addis. I might have bought a lot of them (like, ten). The ones I got are essentially sock rockets but they are the kind that were only available in Europe, I think. In any case, they have the long pointy lace tips, the super slick nickel coating and red cables. I love them. They are absolutely perfect.

So, I started the baby cardi on a set of my new needles. Even though the yarn is a bit splitty, and a bit squeaky when knitted tightly (I’m a rather snug knitter), having it on the Addis made it tolerable. Then came time to knit the sleeves, so I dug out my size 6 dpns. Well, the set I used are Surina brand. I got a bunch of them on sale online somewhere and hadn’t used any of them yet. Well, they did not work out well for me at all. They’re not completely uniform in width, the points are weirdly extra sharp yet have a very short taper, and worst of all…the tips are splitty. Yes, splitty. Don’t ask me how knitting needles can be splitty, but these are. The tips are just too pointy and sharp to hold up to actual use. Splitty yarn combined with splitty needles makes for some tedious knitting! So, doing the sleeves was akin to absolute torture. The good news? The sleeves are done so I can go back to my Addis for the button bands!

Here’s an in progress pic:

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And a close up of the knitting:

IMG_3507And the current state of afffairs:

IMG_3542It probably won’t get finished for a couple more days as I haven’t picked out buttons yet. That will involve a foray into the basement which, honestly, could take hours! So I get to cast on for something else in the meantime. Unfortunately, I can’t share details on my next project yet as it’s a test knit that I need to keep under wraps until the pattern is published. I can divulge one thing: I am planning (as long as gauge cooperates) to use this yarn from my Goodwill windfall. That will help with my efforts to keep my stash moving and put things to good use!

In other knitting news, I have my first pic featured on a pattern page on ravelry! I owe this much more to the cuteness of my daughter and the photography skills of my wife than my own knitting prowess, but I’m still pretty psyched about it. The project is my Valentine Helix Hat and this is the pic (photo credit to the wifey):

IMG_2053Pretty cute, right?

Look Who Got an Award!

liebster-awardI have been given the Liebster award by Orange Smoothie Knits. Thank you! I will now attempt to fulfill the guidelines.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
    Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  2. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  3. Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
  4. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  5. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

Blogs I am nominating:

  1. Knit Equals Joy: Thoughts about the creative process and all that is good in our knitterly lives
  2. Duck and Cover: Misadventures in Knitting and Writing
  3. Nightowl Knit & Crochet: Adventures in Yarn, Crafting, Cooking, Family, and Life
  4. Wolfberry Knits: Adventures in Creativity
  5. Fogknits: Compulsive Knitting from the Heart of San Francisco
  6. Project(s) in Progress
  7. Welfordpurls: Wife.mother.daughter.knitter.handspinner
  8. Geekette Palette
  9. Spin a Yarn: Yarn hoarder…accessories fanatic…lover of all things creative

Eleven questions for me to answer:

  1. What is your dream vacation? I would love to go to Iceland.
  2. What is your favorite method of creating (knitting, crocheting, weaving, something else)? Knitting, without a doubt. I’ve never been a crocheter and have done very little weaving. I’ve done a tiny amount of spinning and enjoyed it, but the sheer amount of time involved to go from fiber to product is something I find daunting. I’ve done a fair bit of sewing over the years but nothing recently.
  3. What creative achievement are you most proud of? I think just knitting in general. I love the process of turning raw materials into something useful and beautiful.
  4. If you had a superpower, which one would it be? Healing.
  5. What does a perfect day look like to you? First, waking up naturally and having coffee by the Weeki Wachee River in Florida. Then, plenty of relaxation and spending time with my family. There would be knitting, amazing food, no work, and some killer thrift store finds. At the end, there would be very good beer.
  6. If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be? I would witness the end of racism and sexism in the US.
  7. How did you get into the blogging world? I’ve been a blog reader off and on for a long time. I used to follow a number of nursing and medical blogs, but I eventually got tired of reading about the issues I encounter at my job all the time. I started this blog because I’ve picked up knitting after a long break and found that the people I’m in contact with on a daily basis, not being knitters, really didn’t need to listen to all I have to say on the subject 🙂 I also wanted to have a place to talk about depression and how it has impacted my life, along with the role knitting has played in my mood and recovery.
  8. If money wasn’t an issue, where in the world would you live? Probably Canada. I always thought I would end up living in Europe, but it never happened.
  9. What is your favorite show and why? If I have to choose one, I would say The X Files. When it first started, it was so new and compelling. It really paved the way for a whole new genre, and in my opinion, has yet to be surpassed.
  10. If you could recommend just one place in your country to a tourist, what would it be? The Grand Canyon. I’ve actually never been, but would like to go some day.
  11. Do you have pets? If so, please post a photo! If not, what pet would you like to have if time, money, allergies didn’t come into play? I have two stripey kitties who occasionally wreak havoc with my yarn.

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(photo credit for both cat pics goes to the wifey)

The handsome stripey on the left, looking very possessive of “his” bed, is Sammy. The dashing stripey on the right, challenging someone to a game of Candy Land, is Oliver Blue, aka Kitten Man.

Lastly, questions for my nominees to answer:

  1. Are you a crafter? What’s your poison?
  2. What is your favorite color combination?
  3. How did you get into crafting?
  4. What is a random fact about you that would surprise others?
  5. Why did you start blogging?
  6. What’s your favorite blog post (that you’ve written)?
  7. If you could only read one crafting blog, which would you choose?
  8. Roller coasters–for or against?
  9. What is your favorite beverage?
  10. If money was no issue, where would you like to travel?
  11. Pets? Pics?

Disclaimer: Please feel free to participate as much or as little as you like–it’s all for fun, right?

I Have Some Real FOs!

I’m really working on chipping away at both the stash and my pile of UFFOs (see my previous post for an explanation). I’ve made great progress on both fronts this past week. For starters, I actually blocked something!! It’s true! I blocked my two River District Toques, adult and toddler size. Unfortunately, getting them wet also made them enormous and they didn’t shrink back with air drying. So, I tossed them in the dryer for about 15 minutes in a lingerie (i.e., knitting) bag. Don’t worry, it’s superwash. That did the trick but also reversed some of the blocking…oh well. I knew it was a possibility. The only thing I really would want to fix is how the garter stitch edges along the brims want to curl up a little. I suppose I could just moisten that part and block them that way, but I will probably just live with it instead.

I do have new photos of both hats, but not pro quality nicely lit ones, yet. Hopefully the wifey will have time for those tomorrow. In the meantime, the first is the toddler/child size and the second is the adult:

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I showed them off to the wifey’s family today and my SIL put in a request for one. I have just enough yarn left for one more adult one, so I told her I would make her one.

I also wove in the remaining (very few) ends for the Twirly Summerskirt. It needs elastic in the waistband and a wash/light block and it will be done. Look at all this finishing I’m doing! I still have two larger projects to block (Quicksilver and Old Shale kids blanket) but I need a larger free space open before I can do those.

Now, a small confession: I lost two UFFOs. I actually kind of wanted to finish them, but couldn’t find them in order to do it! I unearthed them today in our rather hoarder-esque guest room, so they should get done soon. They are my Not a Buff and Stashbuster preemie hat #2. I know, I know, preemie hats take about zero yarn so don’t really bust a lot of stash. But, it was quick and easy and the yarn was baby yarn. And I did make two of them so far. Little steps, folks.

I have a couple of larger projects percolating. The first is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg. The issue with this one is that it calls for sport weight, and I really don’t have anything on hand that would be appropriate. I’m thinking about doing it in fingering weight instead and modifying the pattern to make sure it’s large enough. But, I’m still not sure what yarn to use. Thanks to online sales I have a good bit of Koigu KPM that I think would work well. But, I don’t know how the colors I have would play together. I basically have yellow, oranges/golds, light blue, royal blue and purple. I like bold and all but I think that might be a bit much. Thankfully, I stumbled across some on sale the other day and I’m pretty sure I ordered some (I honestly can’t remember). If I didn’t, I might try to pair it with something else already in the stash. We shall see.

The other project in the wings is a shawl for my MIL. That is on hold for a bit until I can be more clear on what she wants and what color(s) she’s looking for. The other other project in the wings is Henry’s Sweater for our friends’ new baby. Quick, highly scientific opinion poll: lemon yellow superwash wool for a sweater for a baby boy? The wifey says no but I think it would be awesome. In any case, that’s really all I have in my stash that is a) enough yarn for the job and b) vaguely machine washable. As it would happen, said wifey was at Goodwill today and kindly scoped out their yarn for me. All there was was a sealed bag with four skeins of yarn. Three of them were Caron Simply Soft in black tweed and the fourth was Cascade 220 Quatro. Since I linked to stash pics, clearly I had her go ahead and get them. I really wanted the Cascade, not so much the Caron…I have a lot of acrylic stuff I might never use. But, since it was literally a package deal, I figured I could just make a hat and scarf for charity with them or something. But, the Caron would technically meet both requirements a and b from above. So I might just make the sweater out of that.

New parents don’t need to be handwashing stuff, right?

One more 100% finished FO for you: my Valentine Helix Hat for the kiddo. This was a quick and kind of fun project! It’s odd because over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about the concept of helical knitting, but didn’t realize it was already a thing. Then a couple of days ago I stumbled across this pattern, thought it would look even cooler in three colors, remembered I had three colors of the same yarn in my stash, and an idea was hatched.

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I wove in all the ends and everything! The yarn is Jil Eaton MinnowMerino from Classic Elite Yarns. It’s very soft and has a nice, subtle shine to it. I think the kidlet will like it. I’m thinking I’ll try to make some mittens to match it with the remaining yarn.

Always the Night Owl

It seems like most of the posts I write are late in the evening. I suppose that’s because the toddler and the wifey are usually in bed and I can clear my head enough to put something together. I’m not much of a multi-tasker. The only real downside to that is that I don’t usually get around to taking pictures until I’m posting, so they’re always in poor light.

In any case, late nights are great for knitting, and I’ve been getting lots of that done! I finished my adult size River District Toque (pro quality photos still pending–the wifey has been very busy this week). Here’s a peek:

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The colors are really much closer to this:

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More purple, less yellow overall. I love it! I wove in all the ends. I still intend to give it a light blocking as the stitches could use some evening out and the garter stitch edge along the brim is trying to curl under a bit.

I like it so much that I cast on for another one in the toddler/child size:

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I love that the small difference in size dramatically changed how the yarn behaved (in terms of color). It’s been a very quick knit and I should be able to finish the crown tomorrow sometime, and try it on my daughter. Earlier today, I showed her mine and put it on to model it. I asked if she would like me to make her one just like it. She said yes, and that we would have “twin hats”. I love that kid!

Once again, I grafted it in pattern. I’ve learned a lot about that process and I think will have some valuable tips to pass on to the author of the pattern, Rachel at welfordpurls. I’d like to try it out in a different yarn, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I cast off my Twirly Summerskirt yesterday. I think that’s some of the fastest knitting I’ve done. It’s really just miles of stockinette in the round (especially because I didn’t do any of the purl stitch detailing), but still. The next to last row is, with 340 stitches already on the needles, to kfb every stitch. Then knit one round, then bind off…680 stitches. I think those last two rows and the bind off took about 40% of the total knitting time! Anyway, I still have to (you guessed it) do the finishing. End-weaving should be minimal as I used this technique from TECHknitter for most of it. Other than that, it needs a basic blocking and then elastic sewed into the waistband. The yarn is 80% acrylic so blocking won’t change the shape, really, but some of the stitches would hopefully get evened out. I’m pretty pleased with it so far!

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That pic is shadowy but you get the point. In this pic, the skirt is folded in quarters:

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I can’t wait to see the toddler twirl in it! I do, however, realize that I now have seven recent projects off the needles that need some sort of finishing. That’s not including old, old projects I intend to finish and/or frog.

Seven. I need to do something about that. These puppies need to go out into the world and be used!

Abbreviation Day: an UFFO, a FO and two WIPs

I finished the knitting for the River District Toque test knit! I haven’t woven in the ends or blocked it yet (of course) so it’s technically an UFFO, but it won’t take much to get it done. It used a total of 139 yds so I am planning on making one in the toddler/child size out of the same yarn. It will look super cute on my daughter. I haven’t gotten the wifey to take real pics yet, but here’s a teaser:

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It’s hard to capture the colors accurately, but that’s reasonably close. It’s very comfortable and soft and squooshy. It ultimately came together pretty easily. I think it’s nice that the yarn I used (Rios) coordinates with the river theme in the title.

I finished my Blueberry Pie dishcloth yesterday and started using it a few minutes later. Surprisingly, the dye bled a lot when it hit the water. I’ve never had that happen with kitchen cotton before. It stopped after a few minutes of washing dishes in hot soapy water, but I want to remember that when I wash it the first couple of times. It’s been nice having it on the needles–it’s a quick knit, easy but not totally mindless, and it’s easily portable–so I just cast on another.

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Lastly, I cast on for a Summerskirt last night, too. I’m using some stash yarn that was gifted to me–blue and purple Caron Glencannon Sport. It’s actually closer to DK weight but I’m ignoring that (the pattern calls for sport). It’s a wool/acrylic blend (not my usual fare, but useful in this case) so I’m thinking it will be good for fall and winter with with leggings. It should be a simple knit and wear very well, not to mention be easy to wash. My daughter is very much into twirly skirts right now, so I think she’ll like it.

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The pattern casts on at the waistband then continues down to the hem with lots of increases on the way. The original pattern calls for several designs made in purl stitch detail, but I’ve eliminated those in favor of a cleaner look. I’m also just using two colors alternating instead of seven.

The chart on the pattern threw me for a loop initially. I haven’t done many charted patterns before. The ones I have done have mostly been cable patterns that use small charts accompanied by text directions. This one, the entire body of the skirt is charted. There’s a thread on ravelry that brings up some of the same questions I had, and piecing through that helped me understand it better. Basic idea is to start each round at the dotted line, read from right to left, and repeat areas between the bold lines. You will have a partial repeat at the start and end of each round. Ignore the leftmost column past the bold line–it’s meant to alert you to the next stitch up, not be a separate stitch outside of the repeats. Once you get going, it’s very easy but I had a little trouble figuring it out initially.

It’s a lazy, grey day here today, so I’m hoping to get lots more knitting done. Soon I’ll be back to work and won’t have nearly as much time to knit as I have lately. I’m clinging to the time I have even more tenaciously knowing that my summer staycation will have to end soon!