Sneak Peek

I got a new project on the needles about a week or so ago, and I’m liking how it’s turning out so far. The pattern is Easy Goes It, a free shawl pattern by Finicky Creations that came out last month. Lately, I’ve been working on matching up stash yarns with patterns and building up my queue. That way, when I feel like starting a new project, I already have pre-planned choices to pick from. So, when I found this pattern, I went through my stash to find an appropriate yarn. It just so happened that the yarn I picked was sitting within arm’s reach, so I decided to just cast on.

I’m using Phydeaux Designs Beurre: Superwash Merino Fingering Wool. I got this yarn from a rather fortuitous Goodwill score (that’s a story for another post).

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It’s a light fingering weight, 100% merino yarn that’s plied a little on the loose side. Despite the name, which means “butter” in French, the yarn is a little on the crunchy side. It’s still plenty soft for a neck garment. Its texture is pretty close to Koigu KPM but it has a touch less loft. The colorway is OOAK (one of a kind) Pumpkin. It’s got different shades of a lovely yellowy pumpkin orange mingled with brown and bronze. I thought it would work well with the garter stitch and mesh lace panels of the shawl, and so far it looks like I wasn’t wrong!

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I’ve been working a lot of night shifts lately, which mostly sucks. One benefit, though, is it’s usually pretty quiet and I’ve been able to get some good knitting time in. Above pic courtesy of my work desk and fluorescent lights.

The pattern is, as the name suggests, very easy. It’s not without nice details, though. The edge treatment is simple but effective:

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I have a little more yarn than the pattern calls for, so I’ll just go until I run out. My only worry is that the yarn came to me wound into a pretty tight ball. If I were being more conscientious, I would have re-skeined it, washed it and let it air dry. Over-stretched yarn can do some wacky things when knitted up and blocked. However, it’s not a project where fit and gauge are crucial, so I decided to just wing it. The rest of the yarn from that Goodwill batch is mostly also balled up pretty tightly, so I may have to address that with future projects.

In other news, I will be traveling to Rhinebeck again this year! Feel free to say hi–I love meeting other knitters. I’ll wear an easily identifiable shawl, provided it’s cool enough!

Happy knitting!

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A Smorgasbord of Shawls

I think I might, in large part, be a process knitter as opposed to a product knitter. I think most knitters have at least a little bit of each side of things and I’m no exception to that–I definitely love having knitted things to use and wear. I just can’t come up with any other explanation for the ever growing pile of projects that I’ve bound off but never really finished. You know, my UFFOs*. Well, the stack on the end of the sofa was getting a little out of hand, so I figured I’d tackle it.

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I have four–count them, four–bound off but otherwise unfinished shawls. If you count my Volga, a giant cowl/shawl hybrid, I guess it’s actually five. Two of those are completely understandable: my Frabjous Karee (bottom left corner) needs approximately 15 billion ends woven in and my Elephant’s Pants (top left corner) needs approximately 15 billion buttons acquired and attached. Any procrastinator worth her salt can rationalize those away. However, I have two single color, non-buttoned, no seams required shawls just waiting to have ends woven in and to get blocked and photographed. I used russian joins for both of them, so there were only two ends left. I had a little energy this afternoon so I’m now well on my way to getting that total down from four (five) to three (four). Imagine my surprise when I sat down with my knit picker and my Paris, je t’aime! (top right corner above) and found I had already woven the ends in.

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I’ll give a full rundown on this project once blocking’s done. It’s currently spread out on the porch, using all the blocking mats I own just to pin it out lightly. I was worried when I was knitting it that it wouldn’t be big enough. I should have had faith in the magical growing abilities of superwash wool, because it’s going to be giant.

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For reference, each mat is about 24″ square. So, it’ll have a wingspan of close to 10 feet and a depth of four. It’s big enough to lose my child in. I’ll have to wrap the ends around five times or else they’ll drag on the ground. Why, exactly, was I worried? I might have to throw it in the dryer to shrink it back up a little!

In any case, I’ll soon be able to take it off the WIP list. In anticipation, I think I’ll get the next one ready to block. I really am worried that this one won’t be big enough..

Happy knitting!

 

*UnFinished Finished Objects

Well, that was scary…

I guess it’s been a while since I’ve posted, huh? I just pulled up wordpress on my laptop and couldn’t get my site to load. I thought for a second my blog had been deleted!

This is just a quick post to say that, while it’s been one heck of a year, things are finally calming down a touch. I think about blogging a lot, but it’s been hard to set aside the time and space to make it happen. I’m planning on remedying that! I also had a concurrent lull in my knitting, but that seems to have come to an end, too. I have a few shawls to blog about, some luscious yarn acquisitions to share, and some serious project planning to indulge in. Back soon with more!

In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at what I’ve been working on lately. It’s a Yoga Shawl by Andrea Mowry, a pattern I’d had my eye on for a while. 


I even got the chance to do some beach knitting!


Lastly, I’ll leave you with a link to a video I stumbled across on ravelry earlier. I wish I’d found it before starting the yoga shawl, but c’est la vie. It’s a tutorial on a simple technique to minimize the gaps that can occur when switching from knits to purls: Knitting Help from VeryPink Knits

Happy knitting!

Quickie

Just a quick post here to say that I might not be online/blogging/on rav as much as usual over the next week or two. There’s lots going on chez moi and the unfortunate result is that I won’t have much time to knit, much less talk about knitting. The long and short of it is that I am going back to work, starting tomorrow.This is both good and bad, but I’m hoping the net result will be good.

My performance in the Ravellenic Games might suffer as a result. I got off to a crazy good start and had my baby blanket about a third of the way done in just a couple of days. I’m still making progress, but it has slowed a little. Here’s my latest progress pic:

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In the two days since I took this photo, I have finished the second section and gotten about halfway through the third. I am seriously loving the pattern and how mine is turning out, and could easily see making another one in the future.

I got the opportunity to sign up to test for Ambah O’Brien, and just couldn’t resist. So, on my next day off, I will dig out some yarn and start swatching for a really interesting cowl. More on that sometime later.

I don’t have a new sock project picked out yet, so I will sit tomorrow’s Thursday Sock-Along out. By next week I will hopefully have something new to share!

So, I’m not gone–just lurking a bit. Keep on knitting and I will check in soon.

Happy knitting!

Pre-Gaming

The Ravellenic Games start in just a couple of days. This doesn’t mesh up very well with my knitting timetable. I don’t want to cast on for a big project because I’d have to put it aside shortly. I don’t really want to cast on for little projects, because I could just wait and do them during the Games. But, since I have to knit, I went ahead and did it anyway.

My potholder is about halfway done. I haven’t decided yet what color to make the other side, but I’ve narrowed it down to three choices:

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I think I’m leaning toward the yellow, but I’m not sure yet. Thoughts? Opinions?

Another quick project I started is Belle’s Spa Cloth, another test knit for Carol. This has been something of a comedy of errors. I would have started sooner but I needed help winding the skein into a ball. I drafted someone at my knitting group last night to help me*. While sitting at my LYS today, I looked around for my needles so I could cast on. Nope, couldn’t find them. I grabbed an extra pair of US4s lying around and got started. Before I left, I transferred it onto a spare circ I had in my bag. I got home, found the right needles, and started to knit. Well, I knit the next row with the US4s, but forgot to put the extra circ down. I knit several rows alternating between the 4s and the extra, which was US2. I eventually realized it when I looked down and noticed I was still holding both needles. Whoops! It made the tension really weird, so I pulled it out and started over. Now, I think I’m good to go. It doesn’t look like much yet, but here’s what I have so far:

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I think those two projects will tide me over until Friday. If I finish them both and need something else, I’ll just start another potholder. Or some socks. There’s always socks!

Happy knitting!

*Last time, I asked the wifey to help me. She did, but she complained the whole time 🙂 So, I figured I’d lean on a fellow knitter instead!

Learning is Fun

Now that my WTF, Stripes? socks are done (more on that on Thursday), I needed a new project. I’ve got a few things brewing, but nothing quite ready to cast on yet. So I grabbed the kitchen cotton I got at the thrift store the other day and got ready to knit a potholder.

Several years back, I made a number of potholders using the beginning of knitty’s Kureyon Kozy pattern. They were double layered circles, knit in the round from the inside out, joined with a three needle bind off. Here are pictures of the only one I still have. Clearly, it’s been loved!

The color in the second pic is off–it’s really more of a light blue. Since it’s clearly on its last legs, I figured I’d make a couple more. I dug out the Kureyon Kozy pattern and cast on. I knit a handful of rows and decided it just wasn’t working for me. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get the cast on tight enough, and I didn’t like the way the increases (kfb) looked. I went back to the drawing board–ravelry. I searched for round patterns and stumbled across this Sunny Side Up placemat (free download on KnitPicks). That pattern calls for a circular cast on. I read through the directions but they made exactly zero sense to me. So, my good friend google came to the rescue. I searched for circular cast ons and found a handful of different ones, mostly variations on each other. I settled on the disappearing loop cast on and used this video to do it.

I got going. It took several tries, but I eventually came up with something I like a lot. The trick for me was to cast on and knit the first row or two on needles much smaller than I’m using for the rest of the project. Maybe that wouldn’t be necessary with a more slippery yarn, which would make it easier to pull the circle tight. But, with kitchen cotton, I couldn’t get it to snug up enough. So, I cast on with US2s and switched to US5s on the third round. It worked great!

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I love that I’m always learning new knitting tricks!

Thursday Sock-Along: “Yarn Ramen” Edition

I’ve had some serious sock drama over the past week, let me tell you! The background info, in case you’re just tuning in, is I’m knitting Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks. There’s a KAL for this pattern happening now in her ravelry group, and the pattern is currently discounted. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth checking out: you don’t even have to finish your socks to qualify for prizes! Just get them on the needles. Also, there’s some great sock eye candy showing up.

So. My socks. I was cruising along, going toe-up, TAAT. Since the pattern is written cuff-down, I had to guess at how long to knit the foot before adding waste yarn for the afterthought heel. Based on what I saw in other patterns and the advice I got on rav, I went with 2″ less than my foot length. I put the waste yarn in at 8.5″, knitted about another 1.5″ of the leg, then went back to do the heels.

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Aaaaaughhhh! Giant foot!!!

Note the extra length at the heel and toe. All told, they were a full inch longer than my feet! I thought for a bit that I could just pull them up higher, so that the heel hit the back of my ankle, but quickly realized that wouldn’t work. They would end up in the back of my sock drawer, never to be worn. Okay, maybe I’d layer them over other socks in the extreme dead of winter, but probably not. Plus, who wants to put so much work into socks with awesome stripes in awesome colors, just to wear them once a year? Not this guy.

So, I frogged. I pulled out the couple of inches of leg. I pulled out the finished and Kitchenered heels. I ripped the foot back to about 7″ long. It hurt me, knitters. It really hurt me.

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Waaaaaaahhhh!

And I got going again. I re-added the waste yarn for the heels, and carried on with the leg. It’s about time now to tackle the heels again. I will probably graft them a little bit earlier than I did the last time.

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Despite all the challenges these socks have given me, I really love them. Interestingly enough, I got the same comment about them from two different people the other day: They look like Harry Potter socks. Works for me! If only I could rig up some magic knitting needles like Molly Weasley, maybe I could finally Knit All The Things!

Are you doing any sock knitting? Feel free to post about it on Thursdays and link up with the group! Also, you can share your projects on Instagram with the tag #thursdaysockalong. Check out my fellow Thursday sock knitters here:

Happy sock knitting!

I’m Knitting 0 for 3 Today

I spent most of my day bouncing from appointment to appointment. That meant periods of downtime…that I would typically spend knitting and listening to podcasts. Well, I knit the last couple of pre-heel rounds on my WTF, Stripes? socks. Then I looked for some waste yarn to use for the afterthought heel…nope, nothing in fingering weight. So, I figured I’d start my next spa cloth test knit. I pulled up the pattern, dug out my yarn, and looked for my needles…nope, forgot to put my US4s back in the case, so I didn’t have the right needles. Then, I figured I’d rustle up an older WIP and put in some work on that. I pulled out my Feathery Lace Stole and went to look up the pattern…nope, didn’t have it with me. By that time it was time for my next appointment, so all my knitting time was used up!

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My Feathery Lace Stole, still languishing.

I’m planning to drown my sorrows (figuratively) at my LYS in a bit. They’re having a happy hour this evening, complete with “yarn tasting”. Sounds interesting! I’ll be sure to bring all the yarn, needles and patterns I need to actually get something done!

Happy knitting!

PS: If you are thinking about joining the Smooth Operator Socks KAL, the thread is up here!

Thursday Sock-Along: WTF, Stripes?

I renamed my Smooth Operator sock project to WTF, Stripes? on ravelry. You might remember from my sock post last week that I decided to make these socks identical twins instead of the fraternal twins I usually make. I figured since the pattern is specifically geared toward having an uninterrupted stripe pattern, I might as well go for it. Also, one of my main goals in sock knitting is to try something new with each project. So I painstakingly went through the yarn (which conveniently is in two separate skeins) and found what I thought were identical spots in the color sequence, and cast on.

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Look! Matchy matchy!

Everything went swimmingly for about the first dozen stripes. There were two stripes each of orange, yellow, red and then pink. Silly me, I thought that sequence would just repeat itself. Well, next thing I knew, one sock had three stripes of orange and the other had three stripes of yellow. And then it just devolved from there! One sock went back to two stripes per color, but in a different order, and the other sock went to one red stripe, three pink stripes, then pairs again. So I guess I’ll get fraternal twins after all.

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Really, stripes? Really?

That is, of course, totally fine by me. I was just surprised! Otherwise things are going well. My gauge is a lot better than on my last pair (about 8 sts/” instead of over 9.5), so I think they will actually fit me. If anything, they’ll be a smidge large in the foot, but that’s okay. As long as they fit my ankle and calf! I like the toe increases I ended up with (m1r and m1l) and I’m nearly ready to add the waste yarn for the afterthought heel.

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If you would like to make your own Smooth Operator Socks, matching or not, then head over to Susan B. Anderson’s ravelry group, itty bitty knits. In the next couple of days, she’s starting up an informal KAL. Come join in the fun!

Are you doing any sock knitting? Feel free to post about it on Thursdays and link up with the group! Also, you can share your projects on Instagram with the tag #thursdaysockalong. Check out my fellow Thursday sock knitters here:

Happy sock knitting!

 

Thursday Sock-Along: An FO and a Smooth Operator Snag

I finished my In Search of Vanilla socks! Since I’ve covered them here in detail already, I won’t go too crazy with my rundown. The basic idea is that I used the free Petty Harbour sock pattern by Rayna Curtis. I made the 72 stitch version, but as I got over 9.5 sts/”, they didn’t turn out the size large that I had anticipated! They’re closer to a medium and I’m hoping they’ll fit my mom. I used 372 yards of ONline Supersocke 100 Savanne Color that I got from my freecycle score. So, the only cost for this project was the time I put in!

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This was a cuff-down pattern that I knit on US1 dpns (apparently very tightly). There’s a subtle broken rib-type pattern that gives the socks some interest and breaks up the colors a little bit. The heel is a standard heel flap style and the toe is standard, as well. I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on to start and Kitchener stitch to finish. The only modification I made to the pattern was to pick up one extra stitch per heel flap edge and then add one extra decrease round. I found that made for a much nicer and hole-free gusset.

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The socks aren’t exactly identical, but they’re close. That’s just sheer chance, really–I wasn’t going for matching. These are definitely my best socks so far. I didn’t think I wanted to do another pair of cuff-down heel-flap socks, but I’m glad that I did! I still haven’t found the right pattern and gauge to make a pair that will actually fit me well, but I have some more ideas percolating.

So next up: new socks! Like Paula and Carol and many others, I’m making a pair of Smooth Operators by Susan B. Anderson. If you want to make some too, be sure to hop over to her ravelry group, itty bitty knits. There’s going to be an informal KAL! There’s no thread set up yet, but there isn’t an official start date or anything. So, cast on and join up! I poked through my sock yarn and decided to use these two skeins of Regia, also from my freecycle score:

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Since the pattern is written specifically to accommodate self-striping yarn, I figured I’d try to make them identical. I actually quite like fraternal twin socks, but it’s also nice to learn new things! Since I always seem to need to do things a bit differently, I decided to do these toe-up instead of cuff-down. I cast on a couple of days ago and got going. I chose to use left and right raised increases for the toes. Well, I got almost all the way through the toe increases and then decided to rip them out and start over. I think some combination of my magic loop technique (still in its infancy) and the raised increases led to holes on one edge of each sock.

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good edge

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bad edge

It wasn’t awful, but I could tell it was going to bother me. So, I ripped back and started over. I’m only a few rows in now, but I’m using m1r and m1l instead. So far, so good!

One mini rant: I tend to knit pretty tightly anyway, and with these I’m trying to keep the joins snug. So, doing a m1r one stitch in tends to be pretty tricky. I find it really hard to get the tip of the needle cleanly into the new stitch as it’s really tight, even with my Addi Sock Rockets! Anyone else have this problem? Anyone have a favorite increase to use for toe-up socks?

So far I love how the colorway is working up! I’m definitely sensing a theme: every pair of socks I’ve made so far has had either yellow or orange or both. I guess I like bright socks!

How are your sock explorations coming? Feel free to post about them on Thursdays and link up with the group! Also, you can share your projects on Instagram with the tag #thursdaysockalong. Check out my fellow Thursday sock knitters here:

Happy sock knitting!