Thursday Sock-Along: Sock Karma!

I am so excited for today’s sock post! I’m getting close to finishing my Petty Harbour socks as I’ve turned the second heel and finished the gusset decreases. All I have now is the foot and toe, and they tend to go pretty quickly. Last night, I was knitting away on my socks, thinking about what pair to cast on next, when knitting karma struck again! My friend Carol of knit equals joy unexpectedly gifted me a sock pattern. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Carol, thank you for your thoughtfulness!

The pattern is Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks. It’s a top-down pattern with an afterthought heel and a few special details that give them an extra sleek look. The pattern is an amazing 14 pages long and gives directions for both dpns and magic loop. It’s very well written. There are actually two versions of the pattern: a detailed description of all the steps and a more streamlined, at a glance version. Pretty cool! I have the needles now to do them TAAT so all I have to do is pick out some yarn!

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Copyright susan b. anderson, via ravelry

The pattern is designed to create uninterrupted stripes when using a self-striping yarn. I think it looks really cool! Also, the pattern offers four different sizes in fingering weight yarn as well as one size in worsted weight. You all know how I love a versatile knitting pattern, right?

I’m really loving how my Petty Harbour socks are turning out! I love the colors and, as I mentioned, I’m really happy with the way the gussets turned out.

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Check out what my fellow Thursday sock knitters are doing! It’s turning into quite a group, so I will list them:

Also, I’d recommend checking out Wolfberryknits’ post on her Australiana Socks–they’re masterfully done, from start to finish! If you want to join up, just post and link up. Leave a comment and I’ll link back to your blog. Also, I started the tag #thursdaysockalong on IG if you want to post there, too.

Happy sock knitting!

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The State of the Knitting Union or My First Blogiversary!

WordPress will likely not recognize my blogiversary until tomorrow. The reason for that is that, one year ago today, I posted my first post…just on a different platform (blogHer, specifically). While that’s an awesome platform, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So, one day later I moved that post to WordPress: And So It Begins.

Rereading that post now, I’m struck by a couple of things. First, why are the pics so small? Second, my year did not consist of nearly as much stashbusting as I had anticipated. Everything else seems pretty much on point!

I thought it would be nice to start something of a tradition for this day. However, since I like to keep my options open, I’m going to go on record and say that I reserve the right to change my own traditions based on my own whims, so who knows what I will post on July 4, 2017! What I do know is that for the past year, this blog has been very important to me. I’ve used it to build new community, talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) about all the nerdy little knitting details I want to discuss, and to channel my knitting mojo. By that I mean I’ve been able to gather up all the great energy and inspiration I’ve gotten from my interactions with people here and on their own blogs, and shunt it into my own knitting and back into my blogging. The knitting karma just keeps coming ’round!

So, let’s do a round up of sorts! In the past year, I have finished 68 projects. I did my first test knitting and completed 20 test projects. I knit with all different yarn weights and fibers, and made a ton of different types of things: my first knits for my daughter, my first shawls, my first socks, lots of hats, mitts and mittens, baby clothes, dresses, a few cowls…basically the kitchen sink. I did my second ever intarsia project and my first ever stranded colorwork projects. I even got almost all the way through my first original design. I grew so much as a knitter and, I think, as a blogger. None of this was based on goals or intentions as much as it was fueled by a drive to just keep knitting. Along the way, I felt compelled to talk about it, too.

Because of that, I hesitate to set hard and fast goals for my next year of knitting (and blogging). I value the rather organic nature that my drive to knit has: I do it because I feel compelled to, not because I have specific things that I want to accomplish. Even when I’m starting a new project I often find I end up casting on for something completely different than I anticipated, and I like allowing myself that flexibility. It does mean that sometimes things happen on a different timeline, but I’m okay with that. For instance, I’ve been thinking for a few months now about opening an Etsy shop. I have a list of things I intend to stock, an idea for a name and a banner, and a general idea of pricing and turnaround time. If I applied myself more to making the shop a reality, I could probably have it up and running by now. As it is, I haven’t made any of the stock for it yet!

So while I’m not setting specific goals, there are things I am interested in trying out sometime soon! Those things include (more) brioche and double knitting, for starters. I’m planning on continuing to learn more about sock knitting. I want to try TAAT and toe-up socks, and learn some more heel and toe constructions. Also, there are approximately 15 million shawls I would like to make. I think I need at least one for every day of the week, if not month! Lastly, I have plans to make my first adult-sized sweaters and vests. Things I want to continue to do are to knit from stash, knit for family and friends, and continue to connect with other knitters through this blog, ravelry and my LYS/local community.

I won’t bore you too much with blog stats. While every single like, comment and follower makes me (very) happy, it’s never been about the numbers for me. I appreciate it so much that people read and respond and that I have a handful of knitters I consider friends that I’ve just never actually met. That community was really what I was going for when I started this a year ago, and I haven’t been disappointed! I have some blog plans for the upcoming year, but I don’t think I’ll get into them yet…we’ll just see how things work out!

I will leave you with a brief update on my knitting progress at the moment: I’m almost done knitting my sword! At some point I will write up the pattern and publish it on ravelry, but for now I’m celebrating the fact that the darn thing is almost out of my hair!

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I’ve decided to call it Baby Broadsword

Hopefully I will have an FO Spotlight post up about it soon! Happy 4th of July to my US readers, and happy knitting! I will end with some joint Independence Day and 1st Blogiversary fireworks:

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Thursday Sock-Along: My Best Gussets Yet

Oh blog, I’ve missed you! I was out of town for the weekend and then was down for the count for a couple of days with a GI thingy we really don’t need to discuss. I’m finally feeling up to tackling life and knitting and blogging again! What better way to tackle it all than with a post on socks?

So, my Petty Harbour socks continue. More accurately, sock, as I haven’t finished the first one yet. I did however turn the heel and am cruising down the foot, so it shouldn’t be long now.

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My progress as of late this afternoon

I had a few minutes to stop by my LYS and knock out a handful of rounds. You can’t tell from this picture, but the gussets on this little beauty are my finest to date. Usually I get a little hole on one end of the heel flap or the other where the picked up stitches just aren’t quite right. On most of my other socks, I’ve picked up one or two more stitches than called for. These aren’t different in that respect as I picked up one extra on each side. What is different is how I handled that extra stitch. Previously, I have decreased them out of existence on the next row. This time, I just added one more decrease row. Voila–no hole!

While I’m waiting for these to be finished*, I can now start to plot my next pair. I had some credit and a free shipping code at jimmy beans that was set to expire today. While I was still sick, I browsed around for some yarn to use it on. You know I really wasn’t feeling well because I just couldn’t get excited about anything! Well, a day later I got the bright idea to use it on needles for TAAT toe up socks. So, I expect to soon receive two sets of 47″ Addi rockets, US0 and US1. That giant batch of yarn I got from freecycle recently included a ton of sock yarn, and I’m determined to work my way through as much of it as I can!

I’ve got lots of blog material to catch up on. I’ve won two yarn prizes I haven’t shared with you yet, I got a blogging award I haven’t done anything with, and I haven’t finished my 30 day knitting challenge deal. I also haven’t finished knitting my sword. I will try to get everything covered in the near future! In the meantime, I’ve started actually using my Instagram account. I can’t promise I’ll post much, but you can find me there as alexandknits if you’d like!

Want to read more about sock knitting? Head over to Paula’s blog at Spin A Yarn and Hannah’s at unsophisticated + jejune to see what they’re up to. Also, take a look at Iseago, our newest Thursday Socketeer, at nursingandknitting! Edited to add: also check out fiberandsustenance’s great post on afterthought heels here. Want to share your sock knitting exploits, too? Just post on or around a Thursday and feel free to link up. Happy sock knitting!

*My mom has pointed out that there’s no hurry to finish these as it will continue to be unbearably hot in Georgia for approximately forever.

Thursday Sock-Along: Progress, of Sorts

Well, my quest for the perfect (for me) vanilla sock pattern will need to take another turn. After knitting away for a bit on the cuff of my latest sock (the pattern I’m using is Petty Harbour), I decided I would try it on for size. It took a little tugging, but I didn’t think much of that–socks stretch, right? So I kept tugging. Long story short, the sock was too tight, as evidenced by the fact that I seriously bent one of the dpns while getting the sock on and off!

My first reaction to that was one of disbelief. It couldn’t possibly have been the wrong size. I’m knitting a stretchy pattern! It’s sock yarn and I’m using US1s! I always get gauge on US1s with sock yarn! Something must be wrong! So I counted the stitches*. No error there–I had 72, just as I had intended. I thought about it a bit more, then decided to check my gauge. Better late than never, after all! Sure enough, I was getting a smidge over 9 sts/” instead of the pattern’s 8 sts/”. That means that my 9″ cuff (which in all honesty still would have been a bit small) is actually an 8″ cuff…and is never going to fit me.

But, a sock is a sock is a sock, and I’m not the only one of my acquaintance who both has feet and likes handknits. So, since my mom had asked for a pair a while back, I decided that they’ll go to her if they fit–and I believe they will.

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It’s really challenging to get this yarn right in photos. The above pic shows the colors a bit brighter than they really are, but it’s close. At the end of the current pattern repeat, I will start the heel flap.

Want to read more about sock knitting? Head over to Paula’s blog at Spin A Yarn and Hannah’s at unsophisticated + jejune to see what they’re up to. Also, take a look at Iseago, our newest Thursday Socketeer, at nursingandknitting! Want to share your sock knitting exploits, too? Feel free to link up. Happy sock knitting!

*More accurately, I straightened out the dpn as best I could and then I counted the stitches.

My 30 Day Knitting Challenge series will continue tomorrow.

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 19

Okay, I know I’ve said before that I don’t really want to get into politics on my blog. I mean, I don’t mind a good debate, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I want people to be drawn here by the knitting, the potential for a piece of the fiber community, and the sense of healing, not because of shared (or not) political views. I am hoping that much of that can be transcended by a mutual love of making, fiber and learning.

However, there’s been quite a debate that has touched my fiber community lately. I read a piece yesterday that simply blew me away and I imagine others would like to read it too. The controversy centers around the presence of the Pride flag on the ravelry logo. It’s now tradition for them to “fly” it during Pride every year and, every year, there is copious discussion about it on the forums. Recently, someone posted an open letter to ravelry in protest of the flag (to limit traffic to the author’s blog, I’m posting a link to the same content hosted on another site). The response that I found so moving can be read here.

So, click and read if you feel inspired to do so. You are welcome to leave comments with your reactions if you like–I just ask that you keep things respectful, regardless of your stance. It’s no secret what side of the debate I fall on. If you see things differently, that’s okay. I might not understand why but I would still knit with you. Once upon a time I was much more outspoken about my viewpoints and much less tolerant of different stances. In more recent years, I’ve started appreciating more fully that everyone has experienced a different walk of life, and that each person’s history will have shaped their thoughts and beliefs uniquely. I admire those people who take a hard look at their assumptions and strive to overcome shortsightedness, but I recognize that not everyone gets to that point.

With that, I’ll return to our regularly scheduled program.

Day 19: Do you watch movies and/or listen to podcasts while knitting? What are your favorite things to knit to?

Yes, frequently. I mostly watch Netflix but I will occasionally watch a knitting vlog if I stumble across one*. I mostly watch shows instead of movies as I find I don’t have to pay as close attention to them. The best options are ones that I can listen to and just look up at now and then. Shows that have complicated plot lines don’t tend to be good choices! I tried to watch House of Cards and knit but I just ended up completely clueless as to what was going on.

For whatever reason, I find police procedurals and shows about crime to be the most interesting. I also like things with a touch of the fantastic thrown in. Right now, I’m working my way through Star Trek Voyager. Things I’ve watched recently are Lie to Me, Lost Girl, How to Get Away with Murder (this one was really too complicated to knit to, so I just rewound a lot), Sherlock (which was amazing), The Returned and Person of Interest. I’m looking forward to watching season 4 of Orange is the New Black. If you have any suggestions for good shows on Amazon or Netflix, let me know!

I hate to leave you without some sort of knitting pic, so here’s the current state of my Wee la Nina. I wove in the rest of the ends yesterday while I was knitting in public.

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It’s size 12-18 mo and will be for our nanny’s 1 yo daughter. Just needs buttons and blocking!

*In fact, I’m interested in finding good knitting vlogs to follow. I’d love if you’d share your favorites with me! Kepanie/Stefanie, I haven’t watched yours yet but it’s at the top of my list!

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

Thursday Sock-Along: In Search of Vanilla

Hi! I have socks to talk about! After a couple of weeks of no sock activity, I decided today that I needed to just cast something on. There are a few reasons I hadn’t done so sooner. Namely, I couldn’t quite decide on a yarn/pattern combo and I didn’t want to do another cuff down pair. I wanted to do two at a time, toe up, but that just didn’t work out. I don’t have a long enough circular needle in US0 or US1 for it, and my attempt to use a sport weight yarn just wasn’t working.

So, I had to let go of the TAAT deal for the time being (until I can get the right needles, which might be a bit). However, the socks must go on, so I decided I would just do some cuff downs on dpns and see what happened. Instead of modifying a size medium pattern to fit me better, I opted for a pattern with multiple sizes that also has a stretchy stitch pattern for the cuff. I ended up starting a 72 stitch (size large) version of Petty Harbor by Rayna Curtis, free on ravelry.

I think this pattern would work well with almost any kind of sock yarn, from solid to variegated. The subtle stitch pattern would help break up a busy yarn but it isn’t enough to obscure the stripes of a self-striping yarn. I chose to use ONline Supersocke 100, which has stripes of various different widths.

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Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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So far, I like how they’re turning out!

I am hoping that, through experimentation, I will stumble on the perfect “vanilla” sock pattern for me. It would be nice to have a go-to that I don’t have to think about or worry whether it will fit. Maybe this will be my perfect vanilla!

Want to read more about sock knitting? Head over to Paula’s blog at Spin A Yarn and Hannah’s at unsophisticated + jejune to see what they’re up to. Want to share your sock knitting exploits? Feel free to link up. Happy sock knitting!

My 30 Day Knitting Challenge series will continue tomorrow.

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 15

Day 15: What was your least favorite pattern and why?

You know, I’m just not going to answer this question, and here’s why: Even though I have high expectations for patterns, and there are plenty of patterns I’ve used and don’t care for, I don’t see the point in singling any of them out here. I try to put honest but constructive feedback about patterns in my project notes on ravelry. I don’t want to highlight a pattern here sheerly to give it a poor review.

So…what should we talk about?

With all this 30 day challenging happening, it’s been a bit since I’ve given a little update on where I am, what I’m working on, and what’s coming up next. Now seems like a good time to remedy that! The name of the game lately for me is finishing. I technically have 11 WIPs, according to my ravelry project page, and I intend to whittle that number down as much as I can. With Miller’s Daughter and the Giant Blue Rectangle off the needles, I don’t currently have a big project going. While I’m trying to decide what the Next Big Thing will be, I’m going to tie up some loose ends*.

Some of this finishing is stuff for other people, mostly fellow clientele of my LYS. I just did a set of shoulder seams and I have two sweaters waiting to be blocked and seamed. Today I re-blocked the Giant Blue Rectangle. I blocked it a couple of weeks ago but wanted to touch up the edges now that I have a good set of blocking wires. It’s now drying in my mil’s basement. I’ll sew it up in a day or two and send it on its merry way! I have three hats floating around that need blocking and a baby cardigan that needs the ends woven in, so I’ll work on those in the meantime. I have two skirts for my daughter that are done except for putting in elastic so, if I’m feeling really ambitious, I might finish those up. Somewhere in all this I need to find two buttons and sew them on the knight’s hat. I’m also going to frog one of the WIPs that’s been hanging around for a while and just not coming together. If (when) I get all of that done, I’ll be down to three WIPs. That’s totally manageable, right?

I finished the knight set diaper cover the other day. Here’s a sneak peek:

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Oh yeah, I also have to repair a crochet blanket and knit a sword.

So. What should I cast on next?

Happy knitting! I’ll leave you with a gratuitous cat photo. Here’s Kitten Man looking especially fetching:

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Image copyright Callandra S. Cook

*See what I did there?

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

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 12

Day 12: Where do you keep your stash? Post pictures!

Well. You’re not going to get stash storage pictures, but don’t be too disappointed–while most of my stash is fairly well organized, the way it’s stored is not pretty. I have it sorted by yarn weight and stored in large plastic tubs, which are split between our walk-in closet, our “craft room”* and a storage room at my mil’s house.

I had it handily under control, stored neatly in our basement, and then two things happened. First, we decided to clear out our basement so that we could rent it out (hasn’t happened yet, but it’s coming). Second, I started getting carloads of yarn from my freecycle benefactor. So, it all had to come out of the basement and it expanded in volume all at once. I gave tons and tons of it away, but there’s still a lot left that I haven’t been able to organize properly yet. I have plans, though, don’t you worry!

Here are some projects I’ve been working on with the freecycle yarn so far:

I think that’s pretty good progress!

I have a small bin that I keep in our family room that has yarn in it that I’m reasonably sure I’m going to use soon. Plus, I have a few (ahem) project bags here and there with WIPs, yarns for upcoming projects and notions.

And that’s pretty much the long and short of it. Do you have a stash? How do you organize it? Where do you store it?

*Said craft room is not quite a reality yet. It’s sort of a jumble of a lot of stuff that needs to be organized and put away…somewhere.

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

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 1-7

I have no idea where this originated, but Talya at Duck and Cover has been blogging about a 30 Day Knitting Challenge and it looked like fun. So, since I am doing a lot of knitting but not actually finishing much, I thought it would be a way to add some interesting content to my blog in the meantime!

Day 1: What was your first finished project?

My first finished project, as far as I can remember, was a pair of pink acrylic bed slippers. I don’t have any memory of them after I finished them, so maybe I gave them away to some poor, unsuspecting soul. Mom, if you are keeping them somewhere, please dig them out and take a picture! And then send them to the happy home for slippers in the sky.

I have no idea what pattern I used. It was in a little pamphlet or learn to knit booklet that my mom had. I remember there was garter stitch involved, and pom poms! The closest thing I can find on ravelry are My Grandmother’s Slippers by Kathy North:

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Image copyright Kathy North. Via ravelry.

I’m pretty sure mine had some random holes in them, though. And they weren’t really so much the same size as each other. They were really something.

 

Day 2: What is currently on your needles?

I have 3 rows left on The Miller’s Daughter and the last 3 or 4 inches on my Twinberry. I am also gradually working on a Feathery Lace Stole.

Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?

Um, yes. Kind of a lot. I have 6 projects that just need some sort of finishing–elastic added, ends woven in, blocking, etc. Those are my Twirly Summerskirt, Wee La Nina, Oak Way, Zagzig Hat, Zagzig Skirt, and Knight’s Helmet Hat. The last two I’ve actually worked on today. The other 4…I’ve maybe been dragging my feet on!

I also have a project that isn’t currently on the needles but does need a little more knitting done: Athena Shawl. I will get there, one of these days!

Day 4: How did you learn how to knit?

Partially from my mom, partially from the aforementioned learn to knit pamphlets. I can remember scrutinizing the pictures in them, making sure the yarn in my hands was wrapped exactly the way it was in the drawings. I was something of an exacting child when it came to stuff like that.

Day 5: How long did it take from the time your learned how to knit, to finish your first project?

No idea. Months? A year? I sort of learned in fits and starts. I remember working on a swatch for a while during one of my very first attempts. My mom had cast on some stitches, showed me the ropes, then turned me loose. When I brought my work back to show her, I remember her surprise at the fact I had increased the number of stitches on the needle (not the goal). I was so proud…

Day 6: What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit?

I have so many favorites, for so many reasons. Drachenfels was the first time I undertook a large project for myself, and it’s significant to me because I did it as a way to pour positive energy into myself. Quicksilver was my first shawl and a step outside my comfort zone, and I love it for that. Zigzag is an unfinished labor of love that was fascinating and beautiful as it came together. I love Merinda because of how squishy it feels and how the colors interact. I made a hat and scarf set for a dear friend once (pre-rav) that was stolen almost as soon as I gave it to her. However, she loved them, so I love them. I love everything that I’ve knit for my daughter because I love the look of delight she gets on her face when I give them to her.

I love everything I’ve made that’s stretched my skills, piqued my interest, or gotten me through a tough time. I love everything I’ve made that I’ve given to someone knitworthy because I love the joy the recipients have.

Day 7: Your least favorite?

Probably my swell and dashing wristwarmers, made some time ago. I didn’t have a very good sense of gauge and fit at that time, and they both turned out too snug.

And that brings me current! What about you? Did these questions take you on a trip down knitting memory lane? I’d love to hear about it!