Tag Archive | crafting

Stuck on Socks

I seem to be stuck on socks. My brain can’t seem to push itself beyond those four tiny needles making a tube, a heel flap, a heel, a foot, a toe. And repeat. I’m on autopilot with my knitting right now, and socks are small, easily transportable, quick to finish, and quite adorable. To that extent, I am enjoying my sock knitting. But at the same time, I miss having a bigger expense of knitting creativity. I’m not dreaming of other projects or color combinations. I’m barely feeling the pull to buy new yarn, because I can’t imagine what it might become. But I can’t NOT knit. I can’t watch TV with empty hands, or have a lunch break with nothing but lunch, or take a long car ride with only my family to keep my occupied. So, I make socks. And when one sock is done, I immediately start another.

I do have WIPs waiting. I have two shawls that I’d love to wear, if I could bring myself to finish them. But Miss Winkle has those loops that are annoying to make, and the other has a lace pattern so complicated I have to really concentrate. I have a whole cardigan waiting just for a sleeve and a half. And I have a blanket, but to be honest, I’m fine letting that hibernate until cooler weather comes back. I haven’t even blocked my beautiful Orbit scarf; it’s too much bother, and I can wear it fine as is.

Is this me saying I’ve lost my knitting mojo? Maybe. Probably. I don’t really know. I can’t put my finger on it. I know I’ve lost it in the past, and it always comes back, and I believe it will this time. And until it does, I’ll make socks. In fact, I finished two last night, and looking at them on my feet brought me much pleasure.

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The upside to not being knitting-obsessed is having more reading time, so I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately. My best recent read was I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi. Not exactly the happiest of books, but I found it engrossing.

Here’s hoping your knitting is going better than mine, friends!

Sock Yarn!

We went on a field trip today, the husband and I. The girl was spending time with the boyfriend, and the boy wanted to hang out at home, so husband and I drove out to Lawrence, Kansas for the afternoon. We spent a lovely few hours walking around, having lunch and ice cream. There was a Busker Festival going on, so there was some street entertainment, but the best part is that so many people brought their dogs! There were dogs everywhere, and they were all much better behaved than mine would be in that situation. I petted as many as I could, but it wasn’t enough. Never enough dogs! We went to a fun stationary/art supply store, where I found a new fountain pen, a Dude.

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And of course we went to the Dusty Bookshelf, where I bought a book of essays about dogs (naturally). And also of course, we went to the Yarn Barn, where I bought some yarn (naturally). But I’d left my purse at home, which meant the husband had to pay, which meant I was probably more restrained than I would have been otherwise. This is all I got:

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Just one skein of Frolicking Feet in the colorway Dancing Leprechaun, and my first Zauberball! I’m pretty excited to make socks out of them. It might happen soon, too, because my current socks are going quickly. Well, okay, so I have two pairs on my needles. This pair I started for my lunchtime knitting at work, another simple pair of Vanilla Latte socks. This is Tumbleweed yarn in the color Sorority Girl and I love it so much.

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But then once that was going, I started other pair, a fun pair to knit at home, a pretty hot pink pair with lace on the leg, and thanks to movie knitting yesterday and car knitting today, I’ve already turned the heel on the first sock.

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The pattern is called Spring Forward (it’s free, too!) and the yarn is Merino Nylon Fingering by Knerd String, colorway Hotter! So now, let’s see if I can finish these two socks this week! I think I can, I think I can…

Wood Sorrel Cowl

My latest FO happens to be a project I test-knit for a new pattern designer, Laura Cameron. I don’t volunteer for a lot of test-knitting because I just don’t have a ton of time, but I was really glad I made the time for this one. I ended up with a gorgeous new cowl!

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Laura’s pattern is called Wood Sorrel and is available on Ravelry now. It calls for 450-500 yards of DK or light worsted weight. She used a beautiful hand-dyed merino in a shade of green that perfectly complements the leafy lace pattern. Since I’m trying to curtail my yarn-buying, I shopped from my stash and came up with two skeins of Berroco Fiora in Tybee (aka gray).

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It’s a long cast-on but once I got that done and joined, it was smooth sailing. The lace pattern was complex enough to keep it interesting through four repeats, but not so complicated that I got confused or frustrated. As long as I mostly paid attention, I was fine. I did watch TV through a lot of it, and that worked out well enough — just don’t pick something you have to actually watch most of the time!

The pattern was attractively laid-out, well-written and clear, very easy to follow. I love that she included the written instructions as well as the chart, since I’m not a huge fan of charts.

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I followed the pattern exactly as written and used 430 yards, and my cowl is a big, wonderfully wearable double-loop scarf. I think it’ll be great for cooler spring and fall days, since the Fiora has a good amount of cotton. But I wish I’d done like Laura and chosen a pretty squishy merino in green or brown. And wool seems to have better stitch definition than this cotton blend, although I do think it turned out lovely. Don’t be surprised if you see this pattern show up again in an earthy-colored wool!

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You can see Laura’s other patterns on her Ravelry page, check out her blog here, or see what handspun yarn she’s got for sale in her Etsy shop here.

Pretty in Pink

Do you know how hard it is to photograph the color pink? It’s really hard. It might even be harder than red. I have two FOs to show off today, but I struggled to show the true beauty of the pink. It’s one of those that’s really best in person, but still, I’ll try.

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The pattern is A Noble Cowl and it was lovely to knit. Interesting lace without being too difficult. I used one of my yarn treasures from our Colorado excursion, my Baah! Sonoma in Pink Tourmaline. I love this yarn. It feels so nice in my fingers and is just firm enough to cooperate perfectly with the needles, plus it blocks out wonderfully. The colors are stunning too.

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I ran out of yarn and couldn’t do the full pattern, but I think it blocked out plenty tall enough, and I love the scalloped edge.

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My other FO is a delicious shawl.

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The pattern is called Frisson and I’ve already worn this one a couple of times.

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The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Fino, which is a merino/silk blend that is simply heavenly. I wanted to knit on this shawl every day because the yarn felt so good in my hands. And wearing it is just as delightful because it’s soft and lightweight despite its impressive length.

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That’s even one point shorter than the pattern! The knitting of this one wasn’t as easy as the cowl; I had some difficulties as I was getting started (you can read my Ravelry notes here) but once I got used to it, it was a smooth and pleasant process.

Today I’m hoping to finish the cowl I’m test-knitting, though I won’t be able to show that off for another week or so. Happy knitting, friends!

Socks and Scarves

Time to show off the FOs from our road trip last weekend! The first I actually finished on the way to Colorado, which was perfect because then I could wear it! Apparently Colorado weather is just as unpredictable as Missouri weather, and as we drove into Denver we saw signs warning us of an impending bout of heavy snow. Swell! Thankfully we avoided all the snow, but we did have strong, cold winds to contend with and we all forgot our coats. I couldn’t believe it: here I was with the perfect opportunity to put all my handknits to good use, and I’d left them all at home! But at least I  had my new little Copper Boom, lightweight and airy though it was, and that provided a bit of comfort.

fullsizeoutput_aa5fullsizeoutput_aa7fullsizeoutput_aa6The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in colorway Night Hawk, and it’s the best Madtosh yarn I’ve used. I find their yarns splitty, but didn’t have that issue with this yarn. I love all the colors; they’re all colors I wear frequently so I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it. The pattern is Copper Boom and it comes in two versions, the eyelet one that I made, and a solid pattern. It’s very simple but not boring, and my only minor caveat is that one edge comes out a bit tight so the ends curl even after blocking. Still, I love it!

My other FO is my first pair of sock yarn socks! Yes, I finished my Hermione’s Everyday Socks and they are perfect!

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Okay, not really perfect because they’re a tad too big, but they’re wearable and now I know to make the foot portion shorter. I love the feel of the fabric, the density of the tiny stitches, and the magic of turning the heel. So, FINE, yes, I agree: making socks is fun. In fact, I’ve already got a new pair on my needles.

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This time I’m using Kate Atherley’s Basic Ribbed Socks because I love ribbing and I love snug socks. And ribbed socks out of rainbow yarn are extra perfect. I just wish the yarn had kept up with the striping instead of starting to pool.

The socks are my lunch break knitting at work; my new at-home knitting is a scarf in yarn from my stash. (Gasp! I’m using stash yarn, not new? Crazy, I know!) I wanted a versatile ivory scarf and this more than fits the bill. It’s Manos del Uruguay Fino, which is a merino/silk blend that is just delicious to knit with. It feels good in my hands while I knit with it, and it feels good in the scarf. Every day, I look forward to going home so I can knit with this yarn. I’m going to want more Fino for sure.

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The pattern is Frisson and I love how it’s knitting up. But I’m not crazy about the way it’s written. My main peeve is that each section has several lines like “knit to 8 stitches before YO in previous RS row”. I mean, I understand the directions, but it’s just kind of a pain to have to watch for that YO two rows below each time. A stitch marker would probably help, and this far into it, I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting it quickly, but it’s still a bit annoying. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by patterns that tell me when to place/slip a marker, or how many stitches to knit before doing something different, so that now when I pay $4 for a pattern, I expect that kind of work to already be done for me. What can I say, I’m a lazy knitter, I guess! Anyway, like I said, it’s turning out beautifully and I imagine I’ll wear the heck out of it.

That’s my week of knitting; hope you all got plenty of knitting time too!

Birthday, Sweater, Sock

Last weekend was just too busy for blogging. The girl, MY girl, keeps growing up: we had a party to celebrate her 17th birthday!

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The weekend was full of grocery shopping, baking, cleaning, partying–and then recovering! So there was knitting, but no blogging. I don’t have any FOs to share, so it may not seem like I was productive, but I did make good progress on two big WIPs.

Let’s look at the sweater first. I’m done with all the increases in the body, so that’s great. It’s even better when you consider that I had to frog around four inches last weekend. See, after I did my last post, I saw a line in the sweater:

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It was subtle but undeniable: a lighter stripe right there in the middle, and once I saw it I couldn’t unsee it. I checked the dye lots on all my skeins and the skein that produced the lighter stripe was the only one like it. The rest were more purple. Stripe aside, I worried about what the sleeves would look like when I picked up the stitches with the other shade of yarn. I knew I needed another three skeins to finish the sweater, so I ordered those knowing the dye lots would be different, and set the sweater aside. (Obviously this is why one plans ahead and checks dye lots and buys sweater quantities all at once.)

When the yarn arrived, I was kind of relieved to see that it was more of the lighter version, because that would help me blend the shoulders into the sleeves. I couldn’t bring myself to frog the whole thing, but I also couldn’t live with the big stripe, so I frogged back to where I split for the sleeves and reknit, this time alternating the two shades every two rows. I still have a stripe but it’s smaller and mostly on the back, and the following section is nicely blended. I think I can live with it.

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It’s smooth sailing from here on out, I think. The biggest hurdle will be combating the boredom of 12 more inches of stockinette!

The sock reappeared while the sweater was in time-out. I’d gotten bored with the leg so I’d do a few rows and then set it aside.

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I finally got to the heel a few days ago and that really amped up my interest. The heel flap was fine — I was helped a lot by the notes on cstein’s project on Ravelry — but then came the heel turn. I knit the first six rows, then it said “Continue in this manner.” To me, that meant to repeat that section. I tried that three times, and the stitch count didn’t work, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Thankfully, my Knitting SIL has made these before so I texted her, and it turns out that “Continue in this manner” meant to progress with the increasing number of stitches you knit/purl in each row before the decrease and turn. I mean, yeah, okay, that’s not hard…but that’s not what the pattern said! Grr. Okay, with that information, the heel turned quickly and looked great.

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After that, foot went quickly and this morning I was doing Kitchener to close up the toe, and BAM I have a finished sock!

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IMG_3265Pretty little rounded Kitchener toe! I love it!

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Despite my frustration with some of the pattern (or may because of that?), this was a great learning project. The foot is just a hair too long, so I know to make that a little shorter in the future. And the leg feels too tall, so I’ll shorten that in future socks. Plus I learned a new heel, the Eye of Partridge heel, and got to practice my Kitchener. Now, how long will it take me to knit the second sock??

 

Wonder Woman cowl

I finished this cowl several days ago, and actually blocked it last weekend, but I didn’t get around to taking photos until today. It started with one of those skeins that seem almost too special to use, you know, the kind that need the “perfect pattern” before you can knit with it. But it also kept calling my name, and finally I gave in.

I wanted a long cowl, an infinity scarf I could wear doubled. At first I thought I’d just use the one variegated yarn, but I saw it on the shelf next to a solid red, which gave me ideas.

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I looked at so many patterns trying to decide on one, and finally chose the Hogan Infinity Scarf, which I’ve made before.

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It was faster to knit than the last time I made it, which was two years ago, so that makes me feel like I’m a better knitter than I used to be, and that’s a good feeling!

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I modified the pattern by doing garter stitch edges instead of stockinette, and by added two extra repeats of the lace pattern in the middle. I wanted to use as much of the Wonder Woman yarn as possible, but in hindsight I think it might have been a more wearable width had I just done one extra repeat. I don’t know how often I’ll wear it, since they aren’t colors I wear often, but I love how it came out, and I really enjoyed making it.

Since I finished that, I’ve mostly been working on my cardigan. It’s going well, very smoothly. I counted my stitches before I put the sleeves on waste yarn and was quite pleased that I had the right number! Now I’m increasing the fronts and then I’ll just have to knit it as long as I want it, and then do the sleeves.

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I’m looking forward to the sleeves, honestly. I love knitting in the round! So far this has been a good experience for my first sweater, but I foresee getting a little bored. My next sweater might have to have a little more detail to it.

My little sock is coming along, too, though I haven’t paid it much attention in the last week or so.

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You’ll notice it’s still on DPNs. I tried my tiny circs and didn’t care for that at all. It surprised me, because I’ve used them for baby hats before and didn’t mind them. Part of the problem is that it seemed like there were too few stitches for the needles (64) and the stitches were stretched out too much. But mostly it just felt awkward. So I’m back to DPNs, my short DPNs this time, and it’s fine.

Hopefully you all are enjoying weather as beautiful as we are, sunny and 60s! Happy knitting, friends!