The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 29

So I’ve gone a bit out of order here. I’ve answered all the questions except day 29’s. I deferred on it the other day because I was playing catch up and putting multiple answers in one post. I found I wanted more time and space to answer this question, so here you go!

Day 29: Do you have any tips, or things that you’ve learned from knitting?

I’m tempted to break this down. I mean, what is the actual focus of the question? Is it referring to knitting tips and tricks I’ve learned? Or is it about a greater insight into life, myself and the world that I might have gained from knitting? The answer to that is, of course: my blog, my choice! And I choose both.

For knitting tips and tricks, oh man. I’ve learned a lot. I keep a list of things handy on my ravelry profile page. They’re in no particular order. There are patterns, techniques, tricks, tutorials, etc. I’ve copied and pasted it here in case any one item will prove helpful to someone:

Wiki tips and techniques
Techniques thread
Top Ten Knitting Tricks
Kitchener stitch
Grafting in pattern
Weaving in ends
TECHknitter index
Chain crochet cast on
Fiber burn chart
JSSBO
Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on (short version)
Grams to yards conversion
Knitting a chain edge on garter stitch
A giant list of sock techniques
Icelandic bind off for garter stitch
One stitch cable techniques
German short rows
Knitted cherries!
Judy’s Magic Cast On
Knitted strawberries!

I can’t stress enough the usefulness of the TECHknitter index. It’s my first stop shop for any technical knitting question. My second go-to is knitty.com. Over the years, knitty’s Techniques with Theresa column has helped me with tons of stuff. I prefer to learn from pictures rather than videos, so often the knitty articles work well for me. If I can’t find what I’m looking for from either of those sources, good old Google has yet to fail me.

One tip that’s not represented on that list (to my knowledge) is my newly discovered no-holes sock gusset approach. I mentioned this on my last Thursday Sock-Along post, but I’ll briefly restate it here: when picking up stitches along each edge of a heel flap (on cuff down, traditional heel socks), pick up as many as seems appropriate for the edge, i.e., one for each slipped stitch. This will typically be one or two more per side than the pattern calls for*. Then, work one round in pattern and start your decreases as usual. The trick is that instead of decreasing any extra stitches away on that first round, you just add an extra decrease round or two until you get down to the prescribed number of stitches. That keeps the fabric from getting pulled too tight at those extra stitches and making a hole.

One last knitting tip I will share is this: Just try stuff. That’s how you learn new tricks. Just trying things to see how they work, making adjustments, talking to other people who’ve done the same thing, making more adjustments, repeat repeat repeat until you have something you like. So much of my knitting prowess, such as it is, has come from just diving in and trying things that seemed over my head at the time.

Okay, this is really the last tip I’m sharing: ravelry is a great resource. I haven’t had a ton of luck finding tutorials and that sort of thing there, but if you have a question about a specific pattern, that’s the place to try. Check the pattern page first. There are sections for comments, forum posts and blog posts, and many times I’ve found the answers to my questions there. If that doesn’t work, searching the forums often turns up answers.

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A rav screenshot showing the different tabs on a pattern page

You can also do an advanced search on all the projects for a specific pattern. I like to do that and filter to view projects with the most favorites or that were marked the most helpful. That way, I can look through project notes and often find the answers I’m looking for there.

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A rav screenshot showing an advanced search filtered to show most helpful first

And now, on to the more existential interpretation of the question: What life lessons have I learned from knitting?

Interestingly enough, the answer to this question is, in a general sense, pretty much the same: use your resources. When something seems tricky or tough, poke around until you find someone else who has gone through the same thing, and then benefit from their experience. Try new things and new approaches. Don’t give up–it will make sense eventually!

I have also learned that knitting is a powerful tool. For me, it has been pain relief, a mood enhancer, a source of balance and perspective. It has provided me with community and support, good will and mojo. It’s been an outlet for me for when I just need to get my mind off things, or when I need to calm down enough to mull something over. It’s provided me with both comfort and challenge when I’ve needed them. Knitting is both a way for me to take care of myself and to give to other people, be it through community and connection or through gifting FOs, yarn, fiber or supplies. In short, knitting has saved me, over and over again.

What tips and tricks, technical or otherwise, have you learned from knitting?

So, this concludes my 30 day knitting challenge. I’ve gotten some really good feedback on these posts, and I’ve enjoyed writing them immensely. I’m toying with the idea of making it a yearly thing. I would write another set of questions as most of these are one time deals, but I haven’t worked out the details yet. I think it would be a cool June tradition for me. Also, it will segue nicely into July 4 which is my blogiversary! Stay tuned for that tomorrow!

I will leave you with a pic of another thing that is a constant source of both joy and challenge for me. Here she is when I asked her to smile!

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Have a wonderful weekend, and happy knitting!

*As far as I can tell, this happens because patterns usually say to pick up 1 stitch for each 2 rows knitted…but that total often doesn’t take into account a set up row or final row. So, picking up the number of stitches stated will often leave a hole in one or both of those places.

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

What To Do

I’m at something of a loss for what to do with myself today. I’m on tenterhooks* while waiting to hear about my (maybe) new job, and there’s nothing more I can do on that front at the moment. I can either worry or just let go…and I’m choosing the latter. But in order to keep the worry from creeping back in, I need to do something with myself. 

Well, why not knit? Yeah, I have been. And I’ll keep at it. The question is what? Here are a few of the options in tossing around:

-Do the finishing for any number of UFFOs** I have lying around. I have three hats that need blocked, a skirt that needs ends woven in and elastic sewed, and another skirt that needs elastic sewed. 

-Start any of four (really?? Four??) overdue test knits. In my defense, I’ve been whittling that number down quickly. Not in my defense, I’ve been leaving the larger projects for last. Unrelated to my defense, I need to rethink my yarn choices for a couple of them as I don’t see my original selections working out all that well. That might be causing some of the delay. 

-Start my next pair of socks for me. I have yarn and a pattern picked out (although it just now dawns on me the yarn is probably in storage, so can’t get it for a few days). It’s not Thursday, so I won’t give you any more details on that front.

-Start a pair of socks for my daughter. I have yarn and pattern picked for these, too. And they’re not in storage so I have no excuse!

-Start a commission hat and diaper cover set. 

-Start a repair job that I’ve been neglecting. 

-Work on my Miller’s Daughter shawl. 

I owe you an update on said shawl. I blogged a while back about my daring repair on one of the lace panels, but never reported back on how that turned out. Well, I messed with the tension on the repaired panel a bunch. I didn’t get it perfect, but I got far enough with it to determine that I think it’s going to be just fine. So I carried on with the stripes and now am ready to start another lace section. 

So, how to choose? Do I fulfill some of my obligation crafting (that my mother, quite rightly, reminded me I brought on myself)? Or do I work on something that will help me feel better in the moment? Well, I worked on the shawl for a bit this am. I’m out of the house for the afternoon now, so my choices are limited to what I brought with me: shawl and kid socks.

But you guys, I really need to do my knitting job stuff. I’ve got another commission piece (kind of a biggie) coming in this week and it would be nice to clear my plate a little more before that. I never really meant to get into knitting for hire because of the time it takes away from knitting for pleasure, but I will say I enjoy it and learn something valuable from each project (even if it’s as basic as charging fairly for my time and skills). I just don’t like getting behind on stuff and then feeling like I need to catch up. 

If you’ve made it this far through my musings, I think that warrants some pictures! 

Not perfect, but it’s pretty durn close!


How’d that get in there? It’s not Thursday!


But since it’s there, that’s the yarn I’m planning making my daughter’s socks out of. It’s closer to sport weight than fingering weight, so they should go really quickly. 

And, here’s some of the wildlife that’s been spotted around my place lately:


Our goldfinches are back! The former next door neighbors had a cat that kept the songbird population pretty much non-existent, but they’ve moved away and we have birds again!


Here we have the elusive tunnel cats!

Happy knitting–whatever project(s) you choose!

*Did you know that word has fiber-related origins? I didn’t. It’s essentially about blocking
**Unfinished finished objects. Come on, we all have them! The fun part is done and the last few bits are just…work!

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!

Pay It Forward Day

Today is (was) a day of paying the proverbial “it” forward. Don’t get too excited–I’m still on hiatus. I just wanted to stop by to share some good karma.

Yesterday, I had a job interview. It went very, very well. I am guardedly optimistic about it but, with all the shit I’ve been dealing with lately, it’s hard to let myself hope too much. So, I unconsciously started throwing good vibes out into the ether. I think that’s my brain’s way of hoping for the best.

Today, I:

-sent three packages of fibery goodness out to some virtual friends

-bartered my finishing services for a coffee mug from my LYS (instead of charging)

-gave a bunch of cute stuff to my daughter’s nanny

-found a new home for a bunch of tapestry/needlepoint yarn that was given to me

-generally worked to maintain a positive outlook

I’m happy with my day. Even if the good juju doesn’t come back to me in the way that I’m hoping, I know that it will come back.

All the same, keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂

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High Ate Us

Things are…tenuous ’round my parts, to say the least. I’m dealing with a rather unbelievable number of stressors right now. I barely have the energy to knit (which says something), much less blog. 

So, I am officially taking a bit of a break. I have awesome projects to share when I come back.  

 

Ringing In

The new year is off to an auspicious start: I’m getting lots of knitting done! I’m celebrating with some local eggnog, knitting and Netflix since everyone else is asleep. I have about half of one edge of I cord border left to do on the blanket for my father in law, and then I will turn in.

The old year wrapped up with two FOs on the last day. I added the pompoms and took pictures of my Capitals hat and Ingeborg hat.

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Although now that I look more closely, I realize I forgot to add the tail to the one visible p. I guess this project will extend into 2016 after all!

This was my first attempt at stranded colorwork. I think I said it best in my project notes from ravelry, so I will copy them here:

-I really don’t know how to tension yarn with stranded knitting yet. This is not shocking as it was my first attempt. If/when I do it again, I think I need to bite the bullet and try holding one color in each hand. I did them both with the right hand for this and it has some drawbacks.

-I was determined not to have puckering. I don’t. I have the opposite problem, though! I should probably have used feltable wool. I left long enough floats for most of it, but sometimes they’re so long that the stitches between them are pretty slack. I think wool would felt up a little so that the float yarn would stay in the floats and the rest would stay in the stitches. As it is, the piece’s gauge is all over the place and the pattern is sometimes a little distorted.

-Since my gauge was so much bigger than I predicted, the hat is a little on the wide side. Also, it somehow came out kind of short, too. I’m not sure how that happened, but it looked like it was heading that way so I added one or two k rows between decrease rows at the crown. I would add more if I did this pattern again. Also, I cast on fewer sts than called for and increased on the row after the ribbing, so it cinches in at the bottom a lot. Okay, probably a little too much. I’m not going to lie–it looks a little like a Mario Bros. mushroom cap.

-I only trapped a few floats–the ones that hit 7 sts long. I have no idea if I did it “right” or not, but they seem trapped, don’t show from the RS, and weren’t hard.

-For all its drawbacks, I am very happy with my first stranded colorwork project. I will gift it to my bil and let him know that someday, when I get better at it, I’ll knit him another one and make it look sleeker. I’m pretty sure he will like it as-is.

My next stranded colorwork project will be a test knit pullover with kitties on the yoke, and I’ll be starting it soon!

The Ingeborg hat is my most recently completed test knit. My three year old daughter modeled it for me today…sort of. Here are the best shots I was able to get:

Looks great until you consider that for most or all of these shots, I was begging her to look at me! Oh well, at least she’s cute.

So, my WIPs are down to just the top row of my ravelry project tab, which means I only have five. Two are test knits that need ends woven, buttons sewn and blocked. They should both be done by early next week. Another is the car blanket I mentioned at the start of the post. It still needs a pocket knitted and sewed on, ends woven in and washed. There are kind of a lot of ends. I think I’m just going to knot the little bastards and move on with my life. After all, it needs to stand up to machine washing! That will be three more WIPs done so I’m starting the year with a nearly clean slate.

I’m not huge on yearly reflection, resolutions or any of that stuff. However, I am seriously stoked that in 2015, I made 42 projects, start to finish. I have never churned out knitting that fast and that consistently. Not all of those were huge things…there were some dishcloths, a mug rug, a sweater patch and stuff like that, but some of them were pretty big. According to ravelry, their total yardage is 12,391. I made my first socks and shawls, started test knitting, cabled up a storm and learned a ton of new techniques. If you really want to know, all of these projects were started in or after June, so it’s been a very knitty six months!

Here’s hoping I’m able to keep up the pace. Knitting is playing a very important role in my life right now. It has helped keep me sane and balanced through struggles with depression, helped me deal with the aftermath of the car accident I was in in August and helped me handle not being able to go back to work. It’s looking very likely I will be able to return to work next week. This is good news, but also daunting.

I’ll be okay, right? And if not, well, there’s always knitting! Happy New Year!

Reframing

I started writing a different post just now. It was about how things aren’t going great at the moment, and how I’ve been feeling under the weather, etc. Those things are true but I realized the way I was writing about them was just bringing me down. I found myself tempted to apologize for said blog post. That’s when I realized I needed to turn it around. So, welcome to my reframed post! I’m not going to ignore or downplay any of the negative stuff. I’m just going to strive to see things in a realistic context and not tune out the positives.

Some of the challenges I’m facing right now are the fact that I’m STILL not back to work, I’m dealing with fairly constant pain, car insurance claim issues and about a million other life stressors. I’m coping with these things reasonably well, but it’s getting to be very trying. On a positive note, knitting is still keeping me sane! I’ve got a lot of projects on my plate at the moment but I’m optimistic that I can get everything done. Or at least, I can get close!

One current project, my Pretty Crabby hat, is nearing completion. In my last post, I mentioned I was planning on reworking the claw pattern as I wasn’t happy with the design. Well, done and done! Here’s a picture of the claw from the pattern:

IMG_4312Each claw is made in two pieces that are seamed together. I think it looks too rough around the edges (literally) so I decided to work them in the round instead. I drew heavily from the Ear Bud Pouch pattern and came up with this:

IMG_4313Pretty cool, right? I posted the “recipe” on my ravelry project page. I’m very happy with how it came out. The next step is to make the eyes, which are also made in two separate pieces and seamed. I’m thinking that instead of knitting them top to bottom like the pattern says, I will knit each piece in the round as a flat or nearly flat circle, then use a three needle bind off around the edges. Then it will just be a matter of knitting some I cord to attach the claws and sewing it all together. I think it’s going to look awesome!

I started the car blanket for my FIL. I’m trying something kind of new and am curious to see how it will turn out. I really wanted to make it in log cabin style but I wanted the sections to be squares. For log cabin knitting, you start with a garter stitch square or rectangle, then rotate it 90 degrees and pick up stitches along the selvedge edge. You knit a new panel from those stitches, then rotate it 90 degrees and pick up more stitches along that edge. Check out Mason Dixon Knitting for the full idea. In any case, you never attach live knitting to another edge, just pick up stitches and knit out. What I wanted to do meant that I would have to attach the end of each garter ridge to a cast on or bound off edge of another square. Well, I couldn’t find information on how to do that anywhere despite tons of searching. The best I could come up with is to use the same technique of knitting edging perpendicularly onto live stitches. So, I decided that instead of binding off each square after finishing it, I’d put the live stitches on waste yarn and knit them together with future panels. I’ve finished about two and a half squares so far but haven’t had to do that yet. We’ll see how it goes!

IMG_4346Nothing new to report on Lacy Loo or the Color Dipped Hat, but I can talk about the most recent test knit I did. I tested Mega Berry, a hat, for cashmerejunkie of Taiga Hilliard Designs. I made the baby size. It called for super bulky yarn and the best thing I had on hand was some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. Here’s the finished project:

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IMG_4319The model is five months old. It fits her fine now, but probably won’t for long as it’s a little snug. It’s a fun, quick knit for anyone looking for an easy gift.

I’ve got three more test knits in the works. One is a hat that I just finished, but I don’t have good pictures yet. It’s blocking now so I should be able to post about it in a couple of days. One is a hat that I’ll be starting tonight. The other isn’t due till January so I am waiting to get some gift knitting out of the way, but it will be my first non-hat test! It’s a kids top. More on that later.

Interestingly, I stumbled into doing a commission piece. Some background first: when I was little, my mom made Christmas stockings for the family. Well, my brothers had ones my grandmother made with felt, but my parents and I had knitted ones. Every once in a while someone would ask her to knit one for their family, so I remember watching her make a number of them through the years. The other day someone on Facebook posted in a group I’m in. She was looking for a knitter to make a stocking very similar to the ones my mom used to make. So, I responded and we talked a bit and I’m going to knit her a stocking! I’m pretty excited because I think it will be fun. I’m getting the pattern and a prototype tomorrow.

So, if nothing else, knitting is distracting me from stressing about things I have no control over. I’m doing everything I can to get things back to normal, but it’s so slow going. This is definitely the most prolific stretch of knitting that I’ve ever had!

Knitting Save!

I’ve felt a little at odds with my knitting over the past day or so. Out of four active WIPs, I finished one, worked on one out of obligation, was bored with another and having issues with the fourth. I toyed with the idea of casting on something new but nothing was really coming together.

So, let’s review: the one I finished was my third River District Toque. This one is adult sized. I haven’t taken pictures of it yet, but given that it’s nearly identical to the other adult one I made and is in the same yarn (malabrigo Rios in Archangel), I’m not really motivated to do so. This will be going to my SIL for an early Christmas gift as soon as I’ve given it a wash. I was getting over a cold while working on it so I want to make sure it’s clean. Highlights from that project include grafting in pattern (I’m getting pretty good at that) and weaving in most ends as I went. As a result, I was able to get all the finishing done really quickly. It’s really pretty and I think she will like it!

The obligation WIP is my garter yoke baby cardi. I’ve blogged about this project and its woes before, and it hasn’t gotten any better. It got put on hold for a while because, despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of buttons in this house (really) I could not find more than two matching ones in an appropriate size and color. So, I eventually bought some buttons, then dragged my feet on knitting the button bands and doing all that stuff. I picked it up the other day because if I wait any longer, the baby I made it for will have outgrown it and it won’t be sweater weather anymore! I knit the first button band (the one which will have the buttons sewn on) and then debated for a while on what form of buttonhole to use. I didn’t want to do just a yo/k2tog because the buttons are really too big for that. I didn’t want to get super fiddly and do real buttonholes because, let’s be honest, how many times will this even get worn? I don’t mind putting effort into things, but babies grow so fast! So I figured I’d do applied I cord with button loops.

Sounds simple, right? Well, there are directions in the original pattern for how to do that, but they just weren’t making a ton of sense to me. I’ve done this kind of thing before but couldn’t quite remember how to get going. So, I poked around ravelry and couldn’t find anything. I know it’s there, I just wasn’t able to stumble across it. Then I went to TECHknitter and read everything there about buttons and buttonholes…no luck. I was about to just resort to google when I decided to bring out my go-to handbook again, The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman. Sure enough, it was all spelled out clearly with clear photos and illustrations. Great! So I did the button loops and cast off. I was feeling like a martyr so I just kept going and wove in all the ends*.

IMG_4085It’s proving difficult to get decent photos of black yarn, but you get the idea. Here’s a better look at the button bands:

IMG_4091 IMG_4092So now all I have to do for this is sew on the buttons and wash it. Depending on how it looks after a wash, I may try steam blocking it a touch…but I don’t really think it’ll be necessary. I’ll be happy to have it done.

The WIP I’m a little bored with is my Sunlight Shawlette. I know the idea is that it’s a simple pattern, but it’s just turning into a lot of stockinette to slog through. I’ve made a little progress on it though.

And last, the WIP that was giving me some trouble? My second pair of Passport Mitts. Everything was going fine. I was working on the first mitt (the left one) and making progress. I was liking the stitch definition of the yarn I’m using as well as the semisolid colorway. Then, I tried it on and realized I was doing something wonky with my tension on the m1r stitches along the right edge of the thumb gusset:

IMG_4081It’s not the most awful thing, but the contrast with the left edge of the gusset is pretty stark. That one looks so neat. So, I wasn’t sure what to do. Rip it back? Ignore it? Mess with the surrounding stitches to try to even things out? Hope it blocks out? I stalled for a little because I really didn’t want to rip it out, but I also didn’t want to ignore it. Well, I picked it up today while I was between chiropractor and PT appointments and just started adjusting the tension. I used the tip of a dpn to snug up the holes and work the extra yarn into the stockinette panel to the right of it. I am very pleased with the results!

IMG_4089So, moving forward I will just try to be more conscious of the tension on those stitches. I also switched out the stitch marker I was using there for one with a lower profile. Hopefully that will help prevent it from continuing to happen.

I’m glad I’ve worked through some of my knitting issues. I’ve been very frustrated with the rest of life in general–it’s taking me so much longer to heal than I’d thought it would and I’m getting really tired of not being able to do stuff that I want to do. Knitting has been sort of my saving grace, so not having a project that I just wanted to pick up and work on was frustrating.

I’ll leave you with a little dose of cuteness. Lately my daughter has been talking about wanting to learn to knit. It’s a little early (she’s not quite three) but it’s really sweet that she’s interested. The other day she put on some dress ups, grabbed some crayons and told me she was knitting:

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*I’ll tell you a secret about weaving in ends when using Caron Simply Soft acrylic: Tie knots. Just do it. That yarn is so slippery that I don’t think anything else will hold. What I did in this case was weave in the end with duplicate stitch for a while then split the tail into two pieces with two plies each. Then I ran one half through a neighboring stitch and tied it to the other half with a secure square knot. This thing needs to hold up to machine washing!

A Little Pick Me Up

I am behind on reading blogs, which I intend to remedy shortly. Until then, there are a couple of things I want to mention. First, many thanks to Carol for reblogging my post about Passport Mitts! It’s my first reblogged post and I’m honored! Second, I’ll get on the Thursday sock bandwagon. It just might not coincide with any actual Thursdays. Third, have you all seen the slow fashion October things going on? If you haven’t, here is a good place to start. I love it! So many people are starting to think about where our clothes actually come from, and what changes need to be made on that front. I’ve even seen a post or two about the link between crafting and privilege which is something that’s been bothering me lately. More on that to come.

I’m still dealing with my injury and still not back to work. I have a lot of challenges on my plate at the moment, you could say. I’ve been coping remarkably well so far but yesterday our awesome nanny gave us her two weeks’ notice. There’s a lot of good reasons behind that and I don’t fault her for it one iota, but it does make everything just seem harder. Every little thing seems like the last straw except what choice is there? Just have to keep going. So, knitting is of course my refuge right now.

I noticed the other day that the top two rows of my projects on rav were monopolized by grey, black, blue and purple with not a warm shade to be seen. So I started casting on bright stuff: first, my second pair of Passport Mitts in orange Ella Rae Lace Merino DK. This pic is a little more orange-y than the actual color, but it gives you a decent idea:

IMG_4060Shortly after I took that photo I unfortunately ripped the whole thing out. I had accidentally cast on too many stitches. I’ll redo it, though. That still wasn’t enough color on my project page, so the next day I cast on for a third River District Toque, a pattern I tested for Rachel at welfordpurls. I’m using the same yarn as for the first two–malabrigo Rios in colorway Archangel. So far it’s turning out equally as luscious as the first two:

IMG_4066The actual color leans a little less toward magenta and a little more toward purple. For some reason that one is tricky to photograph. In any case, my project page is looking a little brighter. I was still feeling pretty down today. Then, I came home after picking my daughter up from school and found a little pick me up in my mailbox:

IMG_4061 IMG_4065Who wouldn’t feel better with a handful of squooshy madelinetosh yarn? Especially in such a luminous colorway (Cousteau)! With 225 new yards of Tosh DK, I know where my third pair of Passport Mitts is coming from! Everything seemed just a little bit better.

Aaaaaaaand then my daughter pooped on the floor. I think I’m going to need more yarn.

Drachenfels and Virtual Sock Club

One thing I love to do is sit at a coffee shop (and have a coffee), knit, chat, and just enjoy the scenery. Since I’ve been off work for a while, I’ve had the luxury of doing just that more than usual. Today I had time to go by myself and put in a little time on my Drachenfels:

IMG_3782You might notice the skyr in the corner. Well, my mom recently took a trip to Iceland where she was introduced to the stuff. While she was in town, we discovered that they carry it at Whole Foods so I was able to experience it, too. If you’ve never tried it, I would suggest you get your hands on some as it’s really, really lovely. It tastes something like a cross between extra thick and creamy Greek yogurt and cream cheese. I’m glad it’s available here but I’d still like to go to Iceland!

I was able to make even more progress this evening:

IMG_3783It’s hard to see in the pic, but I’ve finished the initial part with the dotted lines and started the alternating color garter ridges. I’m still trying to decide exactly how to make this a four color pattern instead of a three color one, but I still have some time before I have to have it all figured out.

I am really, really loving this project. It’s miles and miles of garter stitch, which gets a little tedious, but I’m so excited about how the colors are going to work together that I don’t really mind. I can’t wait to see how it looks on!

IMG_3776In the meantime, things are slowly getting better. I’m getting treatment for my back injury, getting all the paperwork in so that I can return to work, and feeling pretty good. There’s still a lot hanging over my head, but I’m coping. The knitting might be helping with that. A lot.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming virtual sock knitting get together with Maggienesium, MrsKristyHoll, pkcacciola and others! This will be my first attempt at socks, so I’ve been starting to think about what pattern would be good. I have a few books on sock knitting and some patterns in mind, so I’ll poke through what I have and pick something out. This will shock no one, but I have plenty of sock yarn on hand!