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WIP Time

No, no, I know it’s not Wednesday, but today I’m talking about my WIPs. Yesterday I had the urge to spread my knitting love to some of my neglected projects. Really, I wanted to knit a little bit on each one, but then I remembered I have like eight WIPs right now and the day was not infinite. I started with a DK-weight cowl and did 14 rows of lace. That’s not very much in DK so it’s not photo-worthy. I knit on a sock, but that was plain ribbing and maybe two inches, and that was fun but I’ll just wait and show you the sock when it’s done. After that, I had the urge to revisit my Mermaid shawl.

I’m using Stephen West’s Sea Swell Shawl pattern, and it’s a lot of garter stitch (yay!) but also a lot of short rows (sigh), so it’s not really mindless knitting. It’s also getting kind of huge and each row takes forever now.

I’m on color four of five, and have five wedges left to knit. It’s equally encouraging and discouraging: I’ve come so far but it still feels like a lot left to go. Now that the weather is starting to cool off, though, I’m getting more eager to wear it, so maybe that will be my motivation to keep knitting. But then I get new sock yarn in the mail, like this new yarn from HaldeCraft, and I get distracted. The mug is hers too; I love her stuff!

Happy Tuesday that feels like Monday!

Sock It To Me Monday

This could have been a Friday post just as easily, because today I’m sharing a finished pair of socks. I started these quite a few weeks ago, as soon as the yarn arrived, to be honest. But then they were lace socks and I got distracted by other yarns, so it wasn’t until last week that I really focused on them. Once I did, they knit up pretty quickly.

Here’s what I know now: lace socks are stretchy! I normally cast on 64 stitches for my socks. This pattern offered 60 or 72 stitches, and looking at other projects, it sounded like 60 would be too small, but I knew 72 would be too big. So I thought I’d be clever and just add one lace repeat, and cast on 66. It worked fine for the lace, but the heel flap gave me issues. The first time I did my usual 32, but that messed up the lace pattern plus things got weird at the toe when it was time to decrease and kitchener. So the second time I did 30, with made the lace behave nicely, and would have worked fine at the end if I’d moved the right stitches from one needle to the other.

I was trying to have equal amounts on the top and the bottom, you see, but my brain misbehaved and I ended up decreasing the first three times in the wrong place. I fixed it then and it’s not really noticeable when I wear them. But what is noticeable is that they’re loose — I should have done 60 stitches after all. So now you know: if you want to knit all lace socks, be sure to make the appropriate adjustments for size!

Or just do what I’ll do next time and keep the lace on the leg only! Pattern is Mercury Socks and the Ravelry link is here. The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in Stained Glass Menagerie, a special edition that came with a matching project bag. It’s no longer available but they have other pretty yarns on their Etsy site.

Oh and today is Duncan’s Gotcha Day! We’ve had him for three years now.

Today is a holiday in the States so I’ll be spending the rest of the day knitting and puttering around. Hope the rest of my US friends have a good holiday as well!

FO Friday: Hundred Acre Wood

Today I will share the pretty photos of my latest shawl, the Hundred Acre Wood shawl. I am very glad this shawl is done. This is one of those projects where you look at it and think, “Well, at least the yarn is gorgeous.”

So let’s start with that: the yarn is from Molly Girl Yarn and is a set of Bass Line Minis in Jazz. I love these colors. LOVE them.

And honestly, the pattern was good too! I mean, after the first lace section, I looked at and it was clearly wonky and I thought, huh, I have NO idea what I did wrong. After the second one, I realized I was doing my yarnovers wrong, and on the next row they were sliding to the wrong place and I was knitting them in the wrong order. But I didn’t figure it out until late in the second lace row and by then I just shrugged. Whatever. Little eyelets, nobody around me will know what they’re supposed to look like.

Like I mentioned before, the pattern was nicely marked to show where you should have used certain percentages, so it was easy for me to mark each 20% section for each mini skein. The problem came when I had more yarn than each section called for, and I tried to get creative to use as much as possible. It went fine until the last section, and I tried to use up the pink, and … well, math is not my strongest subject. I added a few simple eyelet rows, all along weighing to make sure I saved enough (5%) for the picot bindoff. It didn’t seem like much but that’s what the pattern said, right?

Wrong. The pattern said 5% of your total yarn, not 5% of that one mini skein. Unfortunately, that light bulb didn’t go on until I had already started the picot bindoff and it was very clear I wouldn’t have enough yarn. ARGH. Of course that’s how this project would end. I unbound my cute little picots and did a normal, plain bind-off, and realized I should have just done a couple of garter rows at the end instead of eyelet rows because now the edge wants to curl even after a good blocking.

Sigh. It’s fine, though, really. Because look that that up there. It’s pretty. No one else will see any of my errors. But just in case you want to see what it’s really supposed to look like, or maybe you want to make your own correct version, here’s the Ravelry pattern link. This is the small size, which does work quite well for mini skeins, if you do it right, that is.

I’ll be casting on a new shawl this weekend; here’s hoping it goes better! Happy Friday, friends!

Oops a new shawl

Okay, first things first: this is my first time trying the new WordPress editor and it’s weird. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s different and I’m a little slow trying to figure it all out. Hopefully we’ll get it all done right in the end.

Right, then, shawl? Yes, shawl. Yesterday afternoon my SIL texted me a photo of a shawl pattern she’d found that she was thinking of using with some of her amazing thrift-store yarn. And honestly, my first thought was that it would be perfect for the yarn I just got yesterday!

This is from Lyrical Knits and It’s done with slipped stitches, which I can totally manage, and it’s even free if you sign up for her newsletter. Since I’m trying to find new places to get patterns, I was more than happy to sign up for the newsletter. Follow this link to find links to the pattern on Rav or Payhip or instructions on getting the pattern for free.

Just what I needed, another project to add to my large pile of WIPs!

Happy Mail

What even is today, Wednesday? Not close enough to the weekend, that’s all I know. The mail carrier provided a much-needed boost for my day today, delivering a package from LoloDidIt.

img_8593This is Facebook’s fault. Lolo shared a photo of socks made with the variegated, which is a new Halloween colorway called Beetlejuice, and I had to get a skein of coordinating Wonka purple to go with it. I’d planned to do socks but now I’m thinking a sparkly shawl would be lovely too. I mean, we all know it’s just feeding the stash at the moment, but it’s pretty high on my To-Knit list!

Sock It To Me Monday: Special Edition

Today’s sock post is special because I’m sharing my feedback on the Saucon Sock yarn from Kraemer Yarns. I was given the chance to review it a couple of months ago, and given my love for sock knitting, I was eager to test a new kind of sock yarn.

Saucon Sock is a cotton/acrylic/nylon blend that is washable and lightweight. There are so many possibilities with this: socks for spring and early summer, easy-care socks for kids or non-knitters (or even knitters, honestly), and socks for people with wool sensitivities. I got to select two colors, so I chose Loganberry for me and Forrest for the boy. He’s a teenager with no time to be fussy or careful with socks, so I knew he’d let me see how the yarn holds up to … rougher handling, shall we say?

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He requested a mid-calf length sock, and I did a simple pattern with some ribbing. For myself, I did a basic Rose City Roller to see how they’d fare in a midwestern summer. When the skeins came, the yarn felt a little stiff at first, and I was unsure if I’d like it, but as I knit with it, it softened up and made the nicest fabric. It’s not soft like wool but it’s smooth, and even feels cool to the touch. There’s no squeakiness that you can sometimes feel with acrylic yarns; the cotton was definitely the dominant feel. It reminded me of knitting with linen, even down to a slight splittiness at times, but I really enjoyed knitting with it. I could knit outside in 80-degree heat and it didn’t bother me a bit.

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How did they wear? Great! The boy reported no sagging or sliding down the leg, even after wearing them all day, so it held its elasticity all day long. I wore mine all day (inside) on an 80-degree day and the socks didn’t stifle my feet at all. They felt very breathable. Again, not soft like wool, but crisp against the skin.

The final test was washing. I had the boy throw his in his laundry, like he washes everything else, so they went through a cotton/normal cycle with warm water along with jeans and t-shirts, then through a cotton/normal warm dryer cycle. Mine were soaked in Eucalan and laid flat to dry. His socks came out softer and cleaner (we have three dogs, and hand-washing doesn’t remove all that dog hair) but they did have some minor pilling. Overall, though, they looked good!

Mine were crisper and had a nice shape, due to being patted into shape and drying flat. I had no pilling, but I still had plenty of dog hair, which is one of my ongoing annoyances with handknit socks. I did use a lint roller on my socks before taking photos.

As you can see, mine look almost fresh off the needles, but I think there’s a happy medium with this yarn. I think I could easily do with machine washing them on a gentler cycle with soft items, and then laying them flat to dry. I could maybe pop them in the dryer for a few minutes at the end to soften them up and pull out a bit more dog hair. Honestly, I’m delighted to have a good easy-care/summer-weight sock yarn available, and hope to add more to my stash.

It’s very affordable at $14.50 per 100 gram/430 yard skein, and it comes in 20 solid colors. It would be easy to mix and match, and in fact, I have enough left over to do a pink pair with green cuffs/heels/toes. And something else really cool: it’s made in the USA! If you’re in the Pennsylvania area, you can even visit their mill.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Kraemer Yarns who sent me two skeins of Saucon Sock (retail $29). I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Finishing some things

Yesterday was apparently a productive day for me, now that I’m thinking about it. I finished my Hundred Acre Shawl (stupid thing. It’s blocking & will get its own post later) and I finished my Wonder Woman puzzle (super fun!) and I finished a sock! After I finished the shawl, I pulled out the sock, thinking I was maybe halfway through the leg. Instead, I was delighted to find that I was on the foot and even past the gusset decreases! I’m not sure why I continued the lace down the foot instead of doing plain stockinette, but I stuck with it and I think it was the right choice.

Now I better cast on the second sock right away or it might never happen. Even though this yarn demanded to be lace, I am reminded why I knit vanilla socks over and over: they are my comfort knitting and lace does not fulfill the same needs. Doing this puzzle also reminded me of how calming I find puzzles, and LEGOs, probably for the same reasons: they demand focus and concentration so my brain doesn’t wander too much into my worries, and they do what they’re supposed to and create something pleasing. They’re rather therapeutic, really, which is why I’m going to find another fun puzzle to do very soon. We need as many therapeutic things as we can find these days!

Birthday Birdie

Yesterday was the mother’s birthday. I probably shouldn’t tell you what age it is, but I’m 43 and she had me in her 30s so that’s close enough. Old enough that when I dropped off her birthday donuts, my heart ached that I couldn’t go inside for a long visit, that we had to stay on the porch in the heat and the sun, that I felt like I needed to wear a mask to keep her safe, that I couldn’t give her a hug. But I remind myself that I’m doing this so that maybe she’ll be around for another birthday next year, and by then hopefully we’ll be able to do all the things I missed this year. And we’re having a small socially-distanced family gathering tomorrow, which will be nice. I have a real gift for her but today I also made her this.

7220843E-97C0-429C-8C53-D015A48FC89A_1_201_aCardinals are her favorite bird. I’ll cut a little bit of string so she can hang him somewhere and he can always be flying. And now that he’s done I’m off to finish my shawl! Happy weekend, friends!

No FO Friday

It’s close, but not finished yet. I made it to the final color of my Hundred Acre Wood shawl, and the pink just pulls it all together and makes it perfect!

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The “whatever” theme continues with this color: I over-estimated how much blue I had left, so I wasn’t able to do a baby fade with the blue and pink. And since I used more of the previous colors, I have more pink left over than I do rows in the pattern. I’ve added two rows already and plan to add at least two more. I’ve got my scale handy and will keep weighing to make sure I save enough for a picot bind-off, but I definitely want to use as much of the pink as possible.

Also, I need to show off my new pins! Katrinkles is doing a gift with purchase, where you get a free Vote pin with every purchase until November 3rd. I wanted a Vote pin for my Empower People cowl anyway, so this worked out perfectly.

ea54ad64-2644-4dc8-8e91-a4a9b212ac12I love them both! And the sheep pin has a magnet on the back, rather than a pin, which I think is a brilliant idea. I think it’s because they were more or less intended as name tags, but I just wanted a wee bonny sheep for myself.

Happy Friday!

WIP Wednesday: Mini Shawl

Despite my best efforts to the contrary, apparently I am still a monogamous knitter. I know, I cast on about seventy-five new projects last week, and yet the only one I’ve spent much time with is my Hundred Acre Shawl. I really think it’s because I’m using the mini skeins and just keep wanting to get to the next color. This yarn is from Molly Girl Yarn, and I think the color set is called Jazz.

1E038BF1-18DA-4905-BDF8-DACBD2D36BB1_1_201_aI just started color four of five and it still seems a bit … mini? I’m really hoping it blocks out to a wearable length. If it does, this is a pretty good pattern for minis, because the small size is marked by percentages. Since I have five skeins, I just marked the rows at 20% increments. But when I got to that first 20%, I still had some color A left, so I did a baby fade with alternating two rows of A and B. That meant I had even more of Color B left at 40%, and so on. Basically, it means that if I want to use as much of the last color (the pink) as possible, I’ll probably be adding in a few extra rows, which will mean guesstimating how many rows I can add without running out of yarn. We’ll see what happens. This shawl is very much a “what the heck” shawl. It’s full of mistakes and shrugs and “eh, it’ll be fine” moments. And I’ll never notice once it’s blocked and around my neck!

Today is National Dog Day. I have a few of those, as you know. Grace was up and barking at 5:10 am, wanting to celebrate early. But despite that, and all the worries and annoyances and messiness they bring, I’m pretty happy to have them in my life.

 

Happy Wednesday, friends.