WIP Wednesday

I’m so close to another FO! I finished knitting the body of my Curiosity Cowl last night while binge watching Ginny & Georgia (omg that show is like Gilmore Girls on drugs and so addictive). Now I’ve just got 32” of I-cord to knit for the drawstring.

I really don’t know how I feel about this cowl. I got super bored knitting it, and I think the bamboo yarn is going to be super floppy, and sometimes I like the sort of fish scales vibe it’s got going on and sometimes I don’t. I do love the idea of the drawstring though, so maybe that will be the thing that tips it over into cool.

Hope you’re all enjoying your WIPs today!

Sock It To Me Monday

Bah. Last week I showed you my two new sock projects and told you how I was excited to get back to them, remember that? Well, after finishing my Turtle Dove, I pulled them out, excited to get back to socks. The Pawprints sock was first. I’d apparently done one repeat of the 16-row lace pattern, so I started another one … and quickly remembered why it was in hibernation. The lace pattern changed each RS row, and each time I had to readjust the stitches on my DPNs to account for a k2tog or ssk or yo falling at the end of a needle. There was no combination of stitches I could consistently keep on each needle as I worked through the 16 rows. It drove me absolutely BONKERS. By row eight I was muttering under my breath, by row 16 I knew I’d never complete this pattern as written. For me, sock knitting needs to not be fidgety or fussy or annoying — and adjusting my stitches constantly is definitely annoying for me. And no, I don’t want to switch to a 9″ circ or two circs or magic loop. I love knitting socks on DPNs, that is my jam. This pattern is not my jam, and that’s okay. The yarn, however, LOOKS like jam and I love it, so I’m going to frog that lace, drop down from 70 stitches to 68, and reknit a perfectly boring ribbed sock.

Oh but I still have that Wonder Woman sock, you’re thinking? Yeah, about that … I got ready for the design, which I knew was charted. I flipped it so the chart was horizontal and I could read it correctly, and realized that the stitch key was oriented the opposite direction. There was no way to have both the chart and the key oriented the same way so I could easily reference then both while knitting. Not only that, the chart referenced some lateral braid stitch, which wasn’t described in the key but on another page, and I’ll be darned if the whole damn thing didn’t just sound like a big pain in the ass, which is, again, not what I like for my sock knitting. I will still be knitting Wonder Woman socks but they will not have any fancy logo on them. The colors alone will have to show that they are Wonder Woman socks.

This experience has only served to reinforce what I suspected: my sock knitting has to be very simple. Lace and cables and fancy stitches all their place in my knitting, but that place is clearly not socks. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go frog a purple sock.

Happy Monday, friends.

Checking in on goals

As we moved into February, I started thinking about the goals I made at the beginning of the year and evaluating how well I was doing with them. Progress was mixed. I wanted to knit at least five squares a week on my sock yarn blanket, and I went way over that – the blanket grew from 66 squares to 101! As expected, I did it more in sporadic large chunks rather than daily squares, so I’m glad I allowed for that flexibility.

I want to use more yarn from stash than I buy. This is more of a long-term goal, but I’m off to a good start. I haven’t bought any yarn this year (yet), and I’ve used six skeins from stash. And I finally got to the point in the Curiosity Cowl where you join to work in the round, so it should go pretty fast now. Once that’s done, that’s two more skeins out of my stash. I also recently pulled out a skein of acrylic to try making some dog bandanas. I like the length of the top one, but the neck is too small, so I need to rip out the ribbing and make it wider. The bottom one is a good size but seems a little short. (I know, in the pic it looks like undies, doesn’t it? haha!)

Finish my first colorwork project: well, this requires me to cast on my first colorwork project, and I had so many other WIPs that this one got postponed. But it’s in the queue and should be coming up soon!

Journal more regularly: haha, that didn’t happen. At all. Maybe I just like the idea of journaling more than the act of journaling these days. I was always more motivated to journal when I was struggling with something, or when I was in a rough place emotionally. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t feel the need for it. In any case, I feel zero guilt about not meeting this goal.

I had a couple of secondary goals, to walk the dog more and manage my spending. Duncan and I have been doing pretty well with our walks, except when it’s so cold that I can’t bring myself to go out. I’ve been trying to take him every day I don’t go into the office, and we’ve started going a little farther too. I think it’s been good for both of us. And I think I’m doing better with my discretionary spending too, even if it doesn’t feel like it because we renewed our symphony season tickets which are a little pricey but so worth it to me.

Oh and I read six books in January, so I’ve got a good start on my yearly goal of 50 books. That’s a higher goal than usual for me but I’d really like to clear out my TBR shelves a little more. My top two reads were The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (set in 1785, man buys an actual mermaid, drama ensues. I learned much about the courtesan industry of the time.) and The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey (slightly grumpy old woman makes new friends, reluctantly adopts a dog, her life changes for the better. It has some SAD moments in it, though, so fair warning.)

So I guess we’ll call January a success and I’ll just keep on keeping on. For my fellow goal-setters, I hope you’re pleased with how things are going, and let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves even if we don’t meet those goals. We are all WIPs, after all!

Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: Turtle Dove

Just in time for FO Friday, I have completed my gray Turtle Dove II sweater!

It’s lovely and warm and cozy, though the neck does itch me a little. I did learn several things that I will use if I make another one: make it longer! I had almost a full skein of yarn left, so I easily could have added a couple of inches to the body. I’d also make the arms longer. I tried it on before binding off and thought they were long enough but as I wore it today, the sleeves rode up. I had already added 1 1/2” to each sleeve; I’d like another inch. But I’m going to block it and see if I can stretch things out a bit. Still, it was a simple, quick pattern and made a very attractive sweater. I even got a compliment from my very style-conscious boss so I’m calling this a win!

Happy Friday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

Guys, I miss Sock it to me Monday. I miss knitting socks and seeing the socks other people are making (okay so I still get some of that) and just having the tiniest bit of something fun on Monday. SO! I will share the two socks on my needles that I have barely touched since casting them on at the beginning of the month.

On the left is a Wonder Woman sock. I still have several rows of stockinette to knit before I get to the WW stitch pattern, which is charted only and I’m not a fan of charts which is why I haven’t gotten very far on this sock. I think I’m going to do the leg yellow and the foot red. And the heel blue, of course. It might look weird but whatever.

The other sock is my paw print sock. Do those look like paw prints? I am not convinced and prefer my lace in shawls which is why I haven’t gotten very far on this sock.

But! I miss knitting socks so I’m going to get back to at least one of them … probably … as soon as I finish my Turtle Dove sweater.

Happy Monday, friends.

WIP Progress Update

The last two weeks have been all about the Australian Open, at least during my non-working hours. Tennis needs simple knitting so first I finished the garter stitch sections for my Scottish Highlands shawl (designer’s website), then I focused on my Turtle Dove II (free on Rav).

The shawl is ready for an intricate lace border now, in that pale cream color, and it’s charted and has multiple charts for each row, and that means I really need to focus when I work on that. But the Turtle Dove is ready for its split hem ribbing now!! I’ve even tried it on (which was an adventure because my needles weren’t quite long enough and stitches were falling off left and right) and confirmed the length is good. I have one more match left — the men’s final — and I’m hoping it lasts long enough that I at least get one side of ribbing completed. Must wind more yarn first, though!

As excited as I am for my sweater, I’m equally ready to get back to some of my other WIPs. Not just the lace for the shawl, but also my fun Curiosity Cowl (only found it on Rav). I’d made good progress before the tennis started, but I’m still not ready to join in the round. Once I do, it’s going to ZOOM. I also recently ordered a copy of 52 Weeks of Easy Knits and there are at least three patterns in there calling my name, but I’m resisting any and all cast-on urges until I complete another project or two.

I was quite proud of myself yesterday: the husband and I went out to a couple of bookstores and we were VERY CLOSE to my favorite LYS … and I DID NOT GO. I was very tempted, but not for any good reason — just because I knew there would be pretty yarn and I like pretty yarn. But I resisted, whew!

I’ve also decided I’m going to try a new strategy to control my yarn spending when we travel: like most knitters (I’m guessing), I have a queue of projects I would like to knit. I do not have the appropriate yarn for all of those projects. So I’m going to make a list of said projects that details the yarn requirements, and then when I’m out and about and happen to be in a yarn store where I want my arms to be full of yarn, I can at least buy intentionally for things I know I want to make. Yes, I will still buy yarn just because it’s pretty. But if I could end up with more yarn destined for projects and fewer single skeins of fancy fingering weight yarn, I think that would be a good thing. I think our first trip is in April, when we’ll go visit the girl, so I have time to get my list prepped.

Happy Sunday, friends.

FO Friday: Mix Tape Cowl

My Mix Tape cowl is done! I actually finished this earlier this week but didn’t have time to unpin it and take photos until today.

I accidentally repeated a stitch pattern but it was in a different color and I know nobody will ever notice it when I’m wearing it. This was a really fun, addictive knit and I can see being tempted to make it again with different colors!

Thanks to the Australian Open, I’ve made good progress on a couple of other WIPs this week too — I’ll share those soon. Happy Friday, friends!

It never fails

I feel like I do this every year: I cast on ALL THE THINGS in January and I’m so excited about all the variety … and then I get toward the end of the month and feel like I’m not close to finishing anything because I’ve just been flitting about between all my different WIPs. Progress this month was also slowed because I got kind of obsessed with my sock yarn scrap blanket. I guess I shouldn’t say progress was slowed, because I made great progress on that blanket, and I do want it it to continue, but now I want to resume progress on my main WIPs.

This weekend I hope to be watching some tennis so simple projects will be the best. I think I’m going to focus on my Turtle Dove II (still in increase phase) and my Scottish Highlands Shawl. I didn’t realize how much garter stitch this one had because my eye was so entranced by the lace border, but I have at least one more garter section to get through before I get to that.

The birthday dinner with my mom last night was very nice. She seemed to have a wonderful time, loved the margarita and queso, and the company of course! I also treated myself a bit yesterday and bought tickets to see KT Tunstall, a Scottish rock musician I love. You’ve probably heard a couple of her songs – Black Horse & the Cherry Tree, or Suddenly I See, from The Devil Wears Prada? I’ve listened to her for years and can’t wait to see her live. The closest she’s coming is Des Moines, which is only about 2 1/2 hours away from me. But she’s from Scotland — who knows if she’ll ever come this close again?? I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go. Life is short, friends — do the things that bring you joy! Live music does wonderful things for my heart and soul. Anyway, I’m not sure yet who will be my date. I’ve asked a friend but if she can’t come, the husband said he would. Even if the seat next to me is empty, I’ll be there!

I’m looking forward to a lazy weekend. The only thing I want to accomplish is go to the library to pick up a book for my book group (Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. So not excited about this one but I’ll give it a shot.) and maybe wash my sheets. Other than that, it’ll be knitting and tennis all day long over here. Hope you all have the weekend you want, too!

Happy Saturday!

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today my dad would have been 79 and I love him so much and I wish he could have lived forever.

Welcome to grief, where every so often, a day can still kick you in the ass. Almost 11 years on, it’s better than it used to be but the ache is still there and the pain flares up periodically. It seems so strange to me that so much of who I am now, what my life is now — he wasn’t a part of. I’ve moved, gone through two career changes, become a dog person and a knitter and someone who sometimes rocks purple hair. I’m on my second new car since he died and man, would he have loved Bella.

I’m taking my mom out to dinner tonight. Mexican, because that was his favorite — after steaks. She likes to honor the day like this and so do I, partly for my benefit and partly for hers. And then hopefully tomorrow I can wake up and the feelings will have receded and I can think of him with fondness, but not tears.

WIP Wednesday

I have so many WIPs that it was hard for me to pick which ones to include! Okay, I’m lying. It wasn’t hard at all — I picked the ones close at hand for photos or that I already had a photo of. Once I’m settled on the couch for an evening, especially with good tennis on tv, it takes a lot to make me get up. And really, these have been my favorite WIPs the last week or so.

I’ve had some really good blanket mojo. I think I’ve added something like 20 squares so far this month. I’m going to roll with it as long as it lasts, since experience tells me I’ll get tired of it soon enough and it will go back into hibernation.

My Mixtape Cowl is going well too. After that misstep with the second stripe, I’ve done three correctly. It’s easy to get a stripe done in one evening and I’m only planning to do nine stripes total, so the finish line for this one is within sight. That always motivates me to work more on a project.

Over the weekend I focused on my gray Turtle Dove II. I frogged and started over with the bigger needle for the neck and I’m well into the yoke increases, even farther than this photo shows. It’s growing quickly and I’m loving the feel. If I were smart, I’d focus on this so I’m able to wear it before spring!

I must stop now — Jack says it’s time for pets! Happy Wednesday!