There’s a lesson in this

In my last post, I mentioned one of my new WIPs, the Water shawl that we’re doing as a Blogville KAL. Last night I was able to sit down and start working the lace short row section, and maybe I got off on the one wrong foot because she uses KT= knit stitch twisted and I don’t understand why she wouldn’t just say knit through the back loop (ktbl) if that’s what she means, but whatever. That’s easy enough. I got to short row five and things just weren’t right, I didn’t have enough stitches to complete the repeats before the previous turn, and I knew that wasn’t right. I tinked back two rows and tried again, same result. I messaged my Blogville friends to whine and ask them to see if the chart and written instructions match — maybe there was a mistake in the written rows that I could avoid by using the chart. When I couldn’t find an error in either my knitting or the pattern, I frogged the five rows of lace, back to the end of the garter stitch section. At least I was smart enough at that point to put in a lifeline!

I poured a glass of wine and started again, counting carefully and using stitch markers to denote my turns, and again when I got to the end of short row five, it didn’t match up. At that point, it was 9:15 at night so I put the shawl in time-out and finished my wine and went to bed.

This morning, I printed out the chart and the written instructions. I sat down with a cup of tea and compared them on row five. Yes, they matched. I looked at my row five — it wasn’t wrong. I tinked back my row five and examined row four, and I’ll damned if the mistake wasn’t right there: I’d missed the last repeat in row four. ARGH.

So why did I struggle so much last night? I’d put in a day’s work, I was tired, I had wine, the boys were watching TV, it was darker. This morning, it was before work, I was less-tired (I mean, I’m always tired on some level, you know), the boys were upstairs so it was quiet, I had tea instead of wine, and I was at the dining room table with big windows letting in good sunshine. And, maybe most importantly, I’d taken a break, had some space between me and the frustration. So I guess when they say things like, “Things will look better tomorrow,” sometimes it’s true.

The bonus is that I got to be the guinea pig making life easier for my Blogville buddies, and anyone else wanting to knit the Water shawl (Rav link): KT = ktbl, use lifelines before each short row section, use stitch markers, count carefully, each short row turns two stitches before the previous turn, do a Wrap & Turn instead of just Turning to avoid big holes.

Happy Friday, friends.

WIP Roundup

We are four days into the new month and I’m making good progress on two new WIPs. I had to cast on a new sock of course, and I cast on for the Blogville Water shawl KAL. Last night I made it to the end of the first garter stitch section and I’m ready for the first short row section. Before I dive into that, though, I need to make sure I know how to do the special stitches. Hopefully I can get into that tonight!

But I also have new things on deck! With warmer temperatures arriving, I’m discovering that shortie socks are my favorites for spring, and I only have four pairs. That’s not nearly enough, so I dipped into my bag of leftovers for a couple of little balls and I’ll cast these on later today. The rainbow yarn is my happy mail from today and my first yarn from Desert Vista Dyeworks! It’s Rainbows Run the World with colors inspired by all the women we saw on Inauguration Day. Why do I have two skeins? I don’t know, I just loved it so much I wanted enough! I know one skein will be socks, maybe the other will become a cool cowl or something.

What’s your favorite non-sock thing to make with self-striping sock yarn?

It’s March! And Monday!

Hooray hooray, it’s March today! That is happy because it means that spring is coming. We could very well still get another cold spell, possibly even some snow, but somehow it’s easier to endure in March than in February. Plus this is the girl’s birthday month and she will be coming home for a visit and that is also very happy. Another happy thing is that I did manage to finish that sock yesterday, adding one more FO to my February total. (No, I don’t know what the total is. More than two and less than 10, that’s all I got.) These are my Sorry Not Sorry socks from Hedgehog Fibres, with contrast yarn from Less Traveled Yarn.

The first thing you may notice is that one heel is solid pink. That’s the annoying thing about this sock. See, I had a 20g ball of that contrast yarn but once I got past the second cuff, I only had 5.5 grams left and I wasn’t convinced that was enough for a heel and a toe, and I wanted a contrast toe more, so I went the safe route. Of course then I got done and I’m pretty sure I could have done the heel too. Next time I do contrasts, I think I will weigh as I go so I know how much yarn each little contrast element takes.

Now it is March and I carried over only two WIPs, a lace cowl and the gradient shawl. That means I can cast on all the new things, right? I have to have a sock on the needles and I don’t think I can resist my newest yarn, from Kenyarn and inspired by the Ella Fitzgerald Barbie doll. But I am also ready and eager to cast on the Water shawl (Rav link) for the Blogville KAL that Alissa is running. My yarn isn’t very water-ish but it is the only two matching skeins of fingering in my stash and there’s no way I was buying new yarn for this, especially since this gorgeous yarn (from The Periwinkle Sheep) was waiting for a project.

I might also cast on for a hat for the husband, and maybe the cowl with the Woolfolk. I have all these project bags, I might as well put them to good use!

Happy March Monday, friends.

Final FO of February: Madness!

Today is the last day of February and that’s a little bonkers — how did this month go so quickly?? I’ve got one more finished object to share, my Mad Mini Wrap, and there was a bit of madness there at the end!

That final color, the green, was just for the border, and when I got to where the pattern told me to bind off, I still had quite a bit left. I didn’t want the yarn to go to waste so I added a few more rows. Sadly, I misjudged the amount and I was about 3/4 of the way through the bind-off when I admitted to myself that I didn’t have enough yarn and had to unknit the bind-off and the last row. It’s done now, though, blocked and everything. Blocking definitely helped this one get to a wearable length, though it’s still a tad shorter than I usually prefer. The pattern is the Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link) and I used the same yarn, same colors used in the original design, the 5 mini-skein pack of Mad Hatter Sport from Frabjous Fibers in Mice in the Tea. I found the yarn quite delightful, all supple and bouncy, and the colors are gorgeous.

I was hoping I’d get my sock done before the end of the month too, but spent too much time yesterday doing stuff around the house, preparing for some renovations. A necessary evil, I suppose, but today is for fun!

FO Friday: Gray Socks

The boy’s gray socks are finally done! I looked back and realized I started them three months ago. And while they are very long, they’re also very simple, just plain ribbing. I think it was the boring gray that made them take so long.

The legs are 10 1/2″ long and I knit to 8″ on the feet before starting the toes, so yeah, these are quite a big bigger than what I make for myself. But he put them on the next day and seems quite pleased with them, so I’d say it was worth it.

I’d have another FO to share, my Mad Mini Wrap, except I tried to use up all the green and lost at yarn chicken. So now I need to undo most of a bind-off and the last row. Darn it all.

The good news is that I’ll definitely get it done by the end of the month, taking me down to three WIPs that I’ll carry into March. That’s not bad at all!

Progress: Mad Mini Wrap

The last couple of days have found me back with my Mad Mini Wrap (Rav link), which has been languishing for a little while. I’m enjoying the switch to sport weight yarn — it definitely knits up faster than fingering weight! I finished off the third mini last night and hope to start with the fourth tonight.

It’s kind of a funny little shape that’s growing there. I have no idea if that’s supposed to be happening but I think I like it. The fifth and final color, a lime green, will go along one of the long sides. I knit quite a bit of this while watching I Care A Lot on Netflix. It was creepy and disturbing but also darkly funny and weirdly compelling. Definitely not the wholesome viewing I’ve been looking for the last few months!

I also had a little trip to my LYS on Sunday, for a masked and distanced yarn date with a friend, and I was so overwhelmed with getting a fun adventure that I went a little crazy with my shopping!

The Woolfolk Luft will become a Getting Warmer cowl, and the Ella Rae on the right will become an Op Tiki scarf (Rav link). The two middle skeins, from Old Rusted Chair, just came home with me because they were so beautiful, so they are currently just stash food. And I really really really want to cast on all of this yarn but I’m not because I’m saving my needles and my time for the March Water shawl KAL! Maybe I should get that yarn wound to distract myself from my new pretties.

Happy almost-Friday, friends.

Sock It To Me Monday

I’m starting to think ahead to March, when I’ll be casting on a Water shawl (Rav link) in a knit-along with Alissa and a few others here in Blogville. It’s a two-skein shawl that might have a trick or two up its sleeve, so to get it done by the end of March, I know I’ll need to focus on it quite a bit. Though I know I can’t finish all my WIPs before then, I decided I needed to at least finish the boy’s gray socks, which have been lingering for far too long. If I don’t finish them soon, I’m afraid they’ll get lost forever! After working on it most of the weekend, I got all the way past the heel turn.

That’s a very long leg, I’ll have you know! And the foot will be equally long, I believe, or very close. So this week I just need to watch some good TV and movies and zip through this foot. What about you, are you hoping to finish a WIP or two by the end of the month?

FO Friday: Purple Lemonade Socks

This might be the fastest pair of socks I have ever knit, and the only reason is because I love the yarn so much. I used my favorite Vanilla Latte sock pattern, so they were simple and easy to knit during work meetings, which might have helped. These took less than a week!

And they are already being put to use! We have sunshine and temps in the upper twenties, so I can wear my handknit socks again. When it was so bitter cold, I had to wear thinner dress socks with thick boot socks over to keep my feet warm. It feels so good to have just one layer of sock again, and to see such cheerful colors. I ended up with a good-sized ball left over, so I’ll knit some socks from the grey skein like this and then do a pair of shorties from the two balls of leftovers. I do love it when a plan comes together.

Happy Friday, friends!

WIP Wednesday: Walls

Many moons ago I wound yarn for something like five new projects. Of those, maybe three got cast on at the time. Apparently five is too many for me to deal with at once. So this shawl didn’t get started until a week or so ago, and then I got bored with the garter stitch and set it aside to make all the hats. When I finally picked it up again, I was able to push through to the eyelet section and now I’ve even gotten to the second color!

It is a very subtle gradient, so the color change is hard to see here, especially since I haven’t done a whole lot with the new color. I’m thinking this is going to be one of those projects that I don’t love to knit but will love once it’s done. And getting it done might be hard, since I keep getting distracted. Yesterday was a happy mail day and I got my Capitol Rainbow mini skein set from Marianated Yarns.

But I have to figure out what to make first! Not socks — I already have self-striping ordered from Desert Vista Dyeworks — but maybe a simple cowl? This is why mini skeins are not my favorite things to knit with. I’m also tempted to add in a tiny bit of black, just a thin stripe between each color. What do you think, should I?

Sock It To Me Monday

Some socks practically knit themselves, don’t they? Yesterday I decided I needed a third pair of socks on the needles, a more fun pair of socks than my current two, so I wound a most awesome skein of yarn from The Lemonde Shop. I cast on right before my knitters’ Skype call and just kept going after it was over.

I adore this yarn so much and I’m really hoping I can squeak out a pair of shorties too, with contrasting toes. I’m also very glad I have another skein from her in my stash, even if it’s gray with the rainbow instead of purple. This color is called Rainbow Dream and I don’t see it on her site at the moment; fingers crossed she does it again someday.

Like much of the country, we are in the middle of an extreme cold spell. It’s been over a week of single digit and negative temps, with negative wind chills. Like many people I’m sure, I am very tired of it. I am clearly not made to endure long stretches of cold so maybe I will not be moving to northern Colorado after all. Or maybe I would be happier if I weren’t living in a house that could handle these temperatures. Our house is currently 61 degrees inside and the cold water supply pipe to the upstairs bathroom appears to be frozen. Maybe if we didn’t have to demo the falling-down sleeping porch, we could afford to replace windows and break into walls to add insulation or whatever it is the pipes need.

However! There is good news on the horizon: today appears to be the low point, literally and figuratively, and starting tomorrow temperatures will start to creep back up, slowly but surely. And we have given a large deposit to our contractor so that the renovations can start early this spring, and maybe we’ll be able to move out of this money pit eventually after all! Until then, dogs and blankets all around.

Stay warm, friends.