FO Spotlight: Little Phryne Test Knit

I finished this project a while ago, but didn’t finish finish it until today. Meaning, when I blocked it, it grew to gargantuan proportions and didn’t shrink back up with air drying. All that needed to be done was to re-wet it and throw it in the dryer but, with my current situation and stress level, that didn’t happen for a while.

In any case, here are the details!

The rundown

Pattern: Little Phryne by Taiga Hilliard aka cashmerejunkie

Yarn: 2 skeins (880 yds) Cascade Heritage Prints, a 75% wool/25% nylon sock weight yarn. Pattern calls for 800 yds for the size I made.

Size made: 4T-5T

Needles: US5s

Techniques used: Longtail cast on

Modifications: I made a few adjustments to the raglan increases so the eyelets and increases would be evenly spaced. I shortened the overall length by 4″. I ended up binding off early (partway through the seed stitch border at the bottom) because I ran out of yarn.

Difficulty: Easy. This would be a good intro to raglan increases.

Ravelled: here. You can read about how I did a cool repair job on it here.

The Pretty

My daughter was really excited about wearing it! She says it helps her twirl better. I’m glad that I modified the length as it would really be in the way if it were any longer.

Because of the yarn I chose, there are details in the pattern that don’t really show up. There’s an eyelet border around the bottom edge as well as seed stitch bands on the sleeves and at the top of the skirt. I probably would do it the same if I made it in self striping yarn again, though. I think it would look nice in almost any colorway, solid or semisolid. It would also work well as a color block piece if you wanted to use up some different yarns.

Even though it was 880 yds on US5s, the majority of the dress is stockinette stitch in the round. So, with my Addi rockets, it went remarkably fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if I made another one. It’s a simple enough knit, but it looks really lovely. I got a ton of compliments on it while I was working on it at my LYS.

She’s pretty much in constant motion. It makes getting modelled pics challenging, but you get the idea. On the whole, I’m very happy with how this one turned out. If I make it again I will likely incorporate all the same modifications. I wouldn’t mind using a similar yarn for it, either. I like how the stripes turned out!

Happy knitting!

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Thursday Sock-Along: Friday Edition

I’m counting these as Thursday socks because I cast on yesterday. Better late than never, right? Well, I’ve been saying for a while that I wanted to make a second pair of socks. I blogged about my first pair, Rye Socks from Tin Can Knits, here.

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Photo credit to Callandra S. Cook, aka the wifey. Modelled by yours truly.

Socks #1 have turned out to be everything I expected. That is, they were a great project to learn on, they fit well, they look pretty sweet. I can only stand to wear them occasionally in the winter as they’re very, very warm and, being worsted weight, they’re not great for stuffing into shoes. So, they don’t get a lot of use…but that wasn’t the goal.

However, being appropriate for frequent use is the goal for Socks #2. A few other goals are as follows:

  • Make ’em with sock yarn.
  • They should fit my calves, which are larger than average, without having to do a ton of machinations to the pattern.
  • There should probably be two of them. Matching is not only unnecessary; it’s highly overrated.

For the Rye Socks, I switched sizes throughout the pattern to make sure they would fit my calves without being too loose in the foot. That’s okay and all but I’d like to just be able to knit some socks without going through all that. To that end, I started thinking about how to make the cuff super stretchy. That way I wouldn’t have to switch sock sizes at the ankle. I decided to knit the ribbing in fisherman’s rib instead of standard. I learned from making my Color Dipped Hat that fisherman’s rib is ridiculously stretchy. It also takes about twice as long to knit as a typical single rib, but it seemed like the right man for the job. I poked around different patterns on ravelry and settled on Susan B. Anderson’s How I Make My Socks. I knitted the ribbing longer than called for, and will probably end the stockinette section a little early, depending on how they fit as I go.

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My progress so far!

The ribbing is definitely extremely stretchy:

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I used a super stretchy cast on, too, so that shouldn’t be a problem. So far I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out! Both the yarn that I’m using and the dpns are from the amazing batch of yarn, fiber, needles, books, etc that I got recently from someone who is destashing. The yarn is Knit Picks Simple Stripes.

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Sammy very kindly modelled for me!

If you haven’t checked out my fellow Socketeers, you can read Hannah’s post here (unsophisticated and jejune) and Paula’s post here (Spin a Yarn).  Happy (sock) knitting!

Hey! I Got Spotlit!

So, you know how ravelry started putting project spotlights up? If not, here’s how it works. When you go to a pattern page on ravelry and click on the “projects” tab, you’ll go to a list of all the ravelry projects that were made from that pattern. Somewhat recently, rav started putting three projects at the top that are labelled “project spotlight”. It’s a way of highlighting projects, I guess. I’m not sure how they’re chosen, but I know they rotate periodically.

I was glancing at my projects page a bit ago and realized my Honey Cowl in Manos had a couple more favorites than it used to. I’m not sure what made me think of it, but I checked the pattern page and, sure enough, my project is in the spotlights! How cool is that?

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I’m super stoked about it because that’s one of the projects I’m most proud of. It was one of those things that just sort of came together. I blogged about it here. I love how the two color version turned out, and it was a fun and easy knit. I used up almost every inch of three skeins of yarn, which always feels good! The yarn I used (Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend) was luscious and lovely to work with. Plus, it was a gift for a very good friend, so it was a rewarding project all around.

It was a little tricky to photograph, but I was able to get a couple of decent shots:

I especially like how both sides look cool:

Happy knitting!

The Jury’s Out

But I think they’ll come back soon with a guilty verdict. I’m referring, of course, to my Miller’s Daughter lace repair job. The background story here is that I am working on said shawl, am really excited about it, and would like to have it done by a week from Saturday so I can wear it to MDSW. At the end of the third lace panel, I found I had somehow dropped some stitches in a way that couldn’t easily be fixed. I planned to just drop the stitches in that section down to my lifeline and work them back up row by row.

I planned to wait until I had some uninterrupted time in the daylight hours to do it. But, last night, I was feeling fidgety and just wanted to get it done. So, a little after 9pm (which tends to be my productive/creative time), I turned on every light I could and got to work. I ended up having to drop back seven rows of about a dozen stitches. I followed my own good advice this time and labelled the unravelled loops of working yarn with post-its. I even tinked back a couple of rows and reworked them when it wasn’t looking quite right. Once I finished, it was time to turn in for the night.

Looking at it now in the light of day, I’m pretty sure this attempt was unsuccessful:

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No really…this is post-repair

It’s hard to say, though. The super loose stitches on the left side of the repaired section are loose because I used much smaller needles to reknit, and there was leftover yarn at the end of each row. Also, I needed that much leeway in order to get the yarn overs in. In theory, I should be able to use a small dpn or crochet hook to work the excess yarn into the knitting on either side. Once the tension is fixed, it just might be okay.

However, I think I might have offset the lace pattern accidentally. It’s just hard to tell because, again, the tension is so wonky. I suppose I’ll put a little work into evening it out before I make a decision, but I’m mostly sure that I will be ripping the whole piece back to my lifeline and just redoing it. It was good practice, though!

I have quite the knitting to do list:

  • Finish shawl repair/rip back/whatever needs to happen there
  • Start on any of the one million test knits that are overdue
  • Start knight’s helmet baby hat and diaper cover (a commission job)
  • Start doing a crocheted blanket repair (long story)
  • Do some more work on my Feathery Lace Stole
  • Reblock and photograph two knitted dresses I finished over a month ago

However, I don’t really want to do any of that. I mostly just want to cast on for some socks!

Happy knitting!

Cooler Than Sliced Bread: A Knitting Trick

How did I not post about this when it happened??? All I can think is that I planned to include it on the piece in question’s FO Spotlight post. However, I hit a major stumbling block during the, ahem, blocking, and I never did a spotlight post. There’s no telling when that might happen, so I might as well go ahead and toot my own horn now.

As an aside, I’m what you might call “anxious” at the moment. I was supposed to hear something about the job on the table today, but didn’t. I was also hoping to work on repairing my dropped stitches but had stuff to do all day and couldn’t. So here I am, facing another evening without a knitting project to dig into. Last night I knit a few rows on my Feathery Lace Stole to tide me over, but I really need decent light for that, too.

I digress. A couple of months ago I made a Little Phryne dress for my daughter…out of sock yarn. It’s awesome, but it kind of took me forever. It took a bit to get started and on track. It’s a test knit and there were some numbers and whatnot that needed reworked. I started and frogged a couple of times for various reasons. Well, the third or fourth time I got going on it, I noticed a mistake several rows back. There was no way I was frogging it again, but the mistake was too complicated to fix by just dropping one stitch column down and working it back up. The dress is top down with eyelet raglan increases, and one of the increase sections just didn’t line up.

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Here’s what it’s supposed to look like

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And here’s the wonky one

See how the center spine in the second pic takes a little jog to the right? After the second round of eyelets? And how the eyelets don’t make a nice V shape? Yeah. I don’t know how I made it approximately 14 rows without seeing that, either.

But, hold on a moment here. This is sock yarn. Self-striping sock yarn. I could have added a few random cables and you’d never be able to find them. It’s a little like stripy magic eye. Who would ever notice? Well, what is once seen (by a knitter) can never be unseen and I set about finding a way to fix it. In my last post, I linked to a similar-ish repair job the Yarn Harlot blogged about. If you search back in her archives (sounds a little racy, doesn’t it?) she has another post somewhere about the same kinda deal. I had read both recently and decided to give it a try. So, first I did this:

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Please forgive both the poor lighting and the toddler potty in the background

And then (brace yourself) I did this:

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Aaaaaaghhhh!

I did a couple of things differently than the venerable Harlot. First, I did not label the loops of yarn as I unravelled them. That allowed me to peer painstakingly at each one to figure out which to work next. Second, I didn’t finish it in fifteen minutes of lighthearted knitting. It took me about a half hour of anus-pinchingly detailed work (sorry, Mom) to knit each row back up.

In case you don’t feel like trekking over to the Harlot’s blog (you really should, but I’m not judging. Much.) the idea here is to reknit each row using the unravelled loop. Since it’s attached to live knitting at both ends, that gets a little tricky. I used smaller needles to do this but it still ran pretty tight at the end of each row. If you attempt this, I’d recommend having a couple of small crochet hooks handy and maybe a tasty intoxicating beverage for when you’re done (really…wait until you’re done).

I didn’t take any pics as I was working on it because, honestly, if I’d stopped I might never have started back up again. Also, I wasn’t really thinking about pictures so much as about getting all those blasted stitches where I wanted them, for crying out loud. However, when I was done, I ended up with this:

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The tension is weird and there’s a visible ladder on the left edge of the reknitted panel, but the center spine is straight! The tension issues were easily remedied by a few tugs and pulls to get it all evened out. Now, I couldn’t even tell you which increase line was repaired. Success!

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Can’t see the line, can you Russ?

So there it is. Not the easiest thing I ever did, but it beat the alternative. I added a nifty little tool to my knitting arsenal and saved a WIP from its final frogging. I finished knitting the rest of the dress, then proceeded to block it. Unfortunately, disaster struck again! As soon as it hit the water it went from being about a size 4 to somewhere around a size 10. I’ve gotten pretty good about doing decent gauge swatches, but I never bother to wash them. Whoops! And so I never got around to figuring out how to shrink it back down. I plan to dampen it a bit and then throw it in the dryer (it’s made of Cascade Heritage Prints, a sock yarn, so should fare fine) but haven’t gotten around to it.

It’s really stinkin’ cute. I should just do it.

Happy knitting!

Bombs Away

I mentioned I really want to get my new shawl done by May 7, right? Well, I’ve been making pretty awesome progress on it. The thing consists of five striped sections and five lace sections. Earlier this afternoon, I was purling away on my last row of the third lace section. I might have been congratulating myself a little on having gotten so much done while simultaneously anticipating the welcome boredom of approximately 15 million miles of garter stitch looming on the horizon.

You can probably see where this is heading.

I’ve been very careful with the lace bits. Usually with lace I separate the repeats with stitch markers, but in this pattern the repeats are offset (so it’s a little trickier). Instead, I added a stitch marker on each RS row to separate every five or six repeats. Then, on the WS row, I’d count the number of stitches between each of the markers to make sure it was a multiple of six, and remove the markers as I went. So, I knew at the end of each WS row if I was on track or not. If my count came up wrong, I could more easily pinpoint where the error was. I inserted lifelines every six or eight rows, which I’m guessing is a lot compared to other knitters. I just figured it would make things faster if I did need to rip back at all.

So, maybe I lulled myself into a sense of lace security. I had lots of fallbacks in place in case I made a mistake by miscounting, forgetting where I was in the pattern, forgetting what row I was on, etc. It never dawned on me that I would drop stitches. Well, on that last purl row, I looked down just in time to see one little highlighter yellow stitch dropped, pulling out of the stitch below it in slow motion. I made a quick grab for a teeny crochet hook I had nearby and scooped the sucker up. I reknit it and put it back on the needle, then futzed around with the neighboring stitches to make sure everything looked right. It did and I carried on my merry way.

For about two stitches. Then, looking at the rows below the previously dropped stitch, I saw this:

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Eeek! The three stitch markers in the background are securing other unravelled stitches that showed up as I stretched the piece a bit. Somehow I must have dropped more than one, or caught it later than I thought. Either way, a good bit of damage was done.

What to do? I ran another set of needles through the knitting where my last lifeline was (eight rows back, sob). You can sort of see it in the pic. I’m debating on using the Yarn Harlot’s nifty repair technique versus just ripping eight rows out. Thoughts?

Whatever I decide, even I’m not crazy enough to try it until I have a chunk of toddler-free time combined with full daylight. In other words, I’m losing a ton of knitting time tonight, which seriously bums me out. Time to cast on something new, perhaps?

On an unrelated note, the stripeys are enjoying the sunshine:

Happy knitting!

Sheep Dip, Here I Come!

There’s this little wool festival that happens every year in Maryland. Anyone ever heard of it? It hasn’t been around that long (started in 1974) and not that many people go (wikipedia says only 70K people went in 2003). It’s not like there’s a ton of yarn, wool, sheep and craft vendors or like they have sheep shows, sheep shearing contests, workshops and displays, or anything like that.

Oh wait. Yeah, they do. It’s the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and it’s kind of a big deal. Somehow, I’ve only been to it once–and that time was before I even moved to Maryland. Not sure what I’ve been up to for the last nine years, but that’s all about to change. I’ll be there on Saturday (May 7) with my mom in tow, and possibly the kidlet and wifey as well. My mom jokingly referred to the Fest as “sheep dip”, hence the title. I’m hoping that I will have finished my Miller’s Daughter shawl by then as I really want to wear it. If you’re going and want to say hi, just look for the edison bulb lace panels and the blue cane!

I’m doing as much knitting on my Miller’s Daughter as I can. I am in complete and utter love with the colors and how it’s working up. I was pretty sure I was crazy to knit a giant shawl in laceweight on US4s, but I’m super stoked about the results. Here’s a glimpse at how it’s looking so far:

I am still in job notification limbo but the word on the street is that I will hear something on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to stay positive. This view of my backyard helps, a lot:

 

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A couple of days ago I saw an owl sitting on the top of the dead tree in the center of the pic. Just sitting there, looking around, chillin’. It was awesome. Last week we saw a fox catch a squirrel and every couple of days we see a troop of deer meandering around. It’s enough to lower one’s blood pressure a smidge.

Happy knitting!

What Goes Around…Well, You Know

Oh, lovely readers, I have so much to tell you! I’m still spread really, really thin and have a ton on my plate. But, I’ve been feeling that blogging pull a lot lately. You know, that impulse to open up a blank screen and pour stuff onto it? Yeah, that. So, I’m going to try to get back at it and start blogging regularly again.

That said, where to begin? I guess a general update is in order. In my last post, I mentioned I had a promising job interview. Well, I’ve now completed three rounds of interviews and gotten a verbal offer. There are still a lot of factors that could come into play and screw this up, but I’m starting to let myself believe it just might all work out. I should know more in a few days. I’m excited about this on several levels. For starters, it would (will?) take a huge weight off my shoulders to be getting a regular paycheck. For seconds, the job in question seems like it will be a good next step in my career. For thirds, I genuinely loved the work environment, the team members and the role. I think it could be a great context for me and I’m confident I can bring valuable skills and experience to the table. So, please keep sending any mojo, juju, good vibes, prayers, virtual hugs, and any and all positive energy! I will do my best to accept it, appreciate it, amplify it and reflect it back.

Next item on the agenda! The concept of paying it forward continues to be on my mind. The effects of it manifest more in the knitting and fiber world than anywhere else for me. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been amazingly lucky when it comes to knitting, right? Well, I have, and I continue to be. From finding giant batches of luxury yarn at Goodwill, to getting massive amounts of free destashed yarn and fiber, to winning yummy yarns and patterns from KALs and blog giveaways, I just keep winning. I’ve done my best to spread the love around, and it just keeps coming back to me. Last week I learned that I was the random winner picked by Skacel to receive a free set of addi click interchangeable needles! I picked the long lace tips. I got them a few days ago and, so far, they’ve been great! I will post a detailed review soon. Thanks, Skacel!

Another way the knitting world keeps giving back to me is in the form of jobs! Little jobs, perhaps, but they add up. I started doing some finishing work for my LYS (the start of which is a whole other story entirely) a few months ago. These are some of the gigs I’ve done so far:

-Blocked, seamed and finished a baby sweater

-Repaired holes in handknit sweaters (one Aran sweater from the UK, even)!

-Ripped out and reknit the neck of a sweater so it would fit better

-Sewed up some shoulder seams

And I’ve got a couple more jobs on deck. It’s been nice to get a little extra, unexpected, money but mostly? It’s been super rewarding to see people fall in love with their handknits all over again. The owner of the Aran sweater mentioned above was close to (happy) tears when he saw all the holes repaired. The owner of the baby sweater was pleased as punch when she saw it all finished, with cute buttons and everything. Also, I have learned so, so much while doing these little jobs. The repairs I’ve done are almost all invisible and my finishing skills have definitely improved. For the sweater neck reknit, I learned a new-to-me short row technique (German short rows) which proved to be awesome.

So, what about knitting, you ask? Well, I haven’t been doing a ton of it. I’m embarrassingly behind on my test knitting. It’s been hard to dredge up the emotional energy to work on much. However, I did finish a hat test knit recently and, a couple of days ago, I started a project purely for myself. I’m working on The Miller’s Daughter, a Mairlynd pattern. I am using the most awesome colors ever:

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I’m using the tosh lace edison bulb as my accent color. However, in keeping with my love of the extreme, I’m using my accent color for all the lace panels. So far, I love it!

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The photo doesn’t really do it justice but, trust me…it’s amazeballs.

Here’s the hat test knit I finished recently. I’ll do an FO spotlight post for it later after I’ve properly blocked it and whatnot. The pattern is Grant Carver:

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Happy knitting!