Tag Archive | handknits

Sock It To Me Monday

Knitting is so funny, the way the process starts in my brain. Sometimes I have the urge to knit a sock, sometimes I crave a big lacework shawl, and apparently sometimes I just crave a color. I’ve been craving pink lately, which is what originally sent me to my stash on Saturday. A particular skein of bright pink jumped out at me, and originally it was going to be a cowl, but then I thought, oh, this might not be the most flattering color right up against my face. What prompted that thought? Who knows. I do wear pink, so it’s probably just a bunch of hooey and was just a stupid way for my brain to say this yarn wanted to be socks. And it’s well on its way to being a simple little shortie sock with a ribbed cuff and a garter stitch heel.

Along with that sock, I cast on four other projects … and finished one! When you knit a bulky weight hat on size 15 needles, it goes very very quickly. Normally I love a pompom but I might keep this hat unadorned. The pattern is Urth to Major Tom (I can only find it on Rav but it’s free!) and the yarn is Baah Yarn Sequoia. Our temps are in the upper 50s for a couple of days and then we’ll be back down to low 30s, so I’ll get some use out of it soon enough.

Do you have the day off work like me? Here’s hoping we get plenty of knitting done!

Adding to my WIPs

My Pawsitive Vibes colorwork cowl is currently pinned out and drying after its bath. It does look better but I’m waiting for it to dry before I make my final call. But with that being my third finished object of the year, I decided it was time to cast on a few new things. Plus I was trying to resist the call of retail therapy by shopping my yarn stash. I’d ended my work day Friday feeling pretty good – I’d sent off a difficult article to my boss’s boss for review, and I thought it was pretty good. Then I made the mistake of checking email one last time before calling it a weekend, and they’d replied “Not sure this is what {head honcho} had in mind. Might be good to interview them.” Now, I know they weren’t saying the article was bad or poorly written, just that the angle I took wasn’t exactly the right one. But that’s how it feels anytime I get less than positive feedback on my pieces. So I let that get to me more than I should have and wanted the dopamine hit of buying pretty new yarn. I resisted though and now I’m ready for five new projects!

The teal in the back is for my second Turtle Dove II – did I tell you I ended up going back and lengthening the sleeves of my gray one? Much better! The MadTosh Wino Forever will be a crescent-shaped shawl, the pink will be shortie socks, the turquoise on the right will be a lace cowl, the purple variegated in the middle will be a hat, and then all the way on the right you can see I’ve already got something new on the needles. This is some yummy merino worsted from the Wooly Mammoth in Omaha, and it’s going to be a simple Inclination Cowl (non-Rav Link). I started that one yesterday in the car. There’s a new store near me called Bliss Books & Wine and yesterday was their grand opening, and it sounded like a fun thing to do. So far it’s more wine bar than bookstore – the book selection was very very small – but I’m guessing that will evolve as it’s open longer. Of course I had a glass of wine and bought a book but it was loud and crowded so I was happy to come home and knit and read.

Once I finished my colorwork cowl, I decided to read my new book and it was so good I already finished it! If you’re a Matthew Perry fan, I can highly recommend his autobiography. It”s not the happiest of stories but it was really interesting and well-written, and I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tidbits of Friends.

Happy Sunday, friends.

Colorwork Update: All is Not Lost

Thank you to everyone who shared tips, support, and commiseration regarding my colorwork challenges. I really appreciate all of it! I did frog what I’d done of the chart and start over with as much intentional looseness as possible, catching floats every 2-3 stitches. The first round like that literally took an hour, but thankfully it got faster and I managed to get through 31 rounds in three nights. Last night I started the second section of corrugated ribbing and realized I didn’t actually do ribbing the first time. The pattern said knit 2 with main color, purl 1 with contrast color. I just knit them all. That annoyed me so I set the project down for a little bit, and when I looked at my colorwork I was just thoroughly disgusted with it. I’d gone from one extreme to the other, and my stitches aren’t all an even tension and some of my floats are way too loose and when I looked at it, I didn’t even see how that stitch pattern was supposed to be a paw print. ARGH.

OH, and my ring broke because I’d apparently redone one of the loops/adjusted the loop too much and the wire said, nope and snapped off. That was okay, though — I still had one loop and that was enough to keep the strands separated enough.

Anyway, this morning I laid out my cowl to take a photo so I could blog my sad sad colorwork story, and in the photo I saw … paw prints?? Let this be a lesson about getting distance and all that jazz.

That was the reassurance I needed to power through and actually finish the damn thing. So this weekend I will do the final three rows of corrugated “ribbing”, bind off, and see how much shit actually blocks out. I will definitely be doing before and after photos. If I don’t love it, I will be frogging and reusing the yarn because it’s gorgeous and I love it so much. I know it’s Old Rusted Chair and I think it’s Squish DK which I also used for my first Douglas Cardi and I adore it.

And I’m fairly certain this will be the end of my colorwork journey. According to my knitting support group, I should have chosen a smaller project and yarns with more contrast, and after 3-5 projects I might actually knit something attractive, but I’m not sure I enjoy the process enough to ever try again. If I do, I’m going to order a Norwegian thimble rather than try to make another ring for myself. The wire’s just not sturdy enough.

BUT. Before I go back to my stupid colorwork, I’m going to wind about nine skeins of yarn. Five are for my second Turtle Dove, and the rest are for other new projects – details to follow!

Happy Saturday, friends.

Frustrated & Discouraged

I’m so in awe of all you cool people who can knit beautiful color work projects, seriously. Color work is (was?) one of my goals for the year, and I’m trying, but let me tell you, it’s hard. You know that. I know you know that because you had to learn it once upon a time too. I started by holding the yarns in one hand, but that didn’t work, so I tried with the yarns in two hands, and it kind of worked, even if it was slow as molasses, but then my tension was forked up and way too tight so I had to frog four rounds of color work and start over.

That’s when I started shopping for a ring. Have you seen those? The rings you wear on the tip of your index finger to guide your yarn when you’re working with multiple strands? The one I’d seen on instagram was $77 plus $28 in shipping from somewhere international, and friends, I was not that committed to color work. I was just about to buy a simple one on Etsy when I remembered: I used to make jewelry! Not only that, I used to make rings! As luck would have it, I still had some of the heavier wire I used for the wire-wrapped rings, and I set to work. My first prototype was no good, but my second has a lot of potential, and with it I was able to almost-kind of-sort of-quickly do color work!

The corrugated ribbing went great, just a 2/1 pattern. But then I got into the charted paw prints, and as I had longer floats, I discovered the tension on the yarns became harder to control. Whichever yarn I wasn’t using got loose and floppy, and hard to catch when it was its turn again, so I had to fix the tension pretty often. Still, it was doable, I was making better progress than I’d expected, and I was pleased with myself — look at me, doing color work! But Sunday night I stopped and really looked at what I’d knitted so far, and while I can see that it’s okay, it’s not what I’d hoped for. The paw print pattern is awesome but my tension is clearly too tight in places and it’s pulling together. Argh.

While I’d like to think that sh*t will block out, I don’t think that sh*t will block out. SO. Color work is in timeout for now. I just wanted a darn paw print cowl, that’s all! Is that really too much to ask? I *might* frog this and start over with the charted section, catching my floats more often. We’ll see.

And now, having attempted it myself, I am even more in awe of you people knitting your beautiful color work projects. You have mad skills.

FO Friday: Curiosity Cowl

The I cord drawstring didn’t take nearly as long as I expected. In fact, it might have taken me longer to sew down the top edge to enclose the drawstring! But, in any case, my Curiosity Cowl is complete!

Overall, I do like it better now that it’s done and I can see it on. It’s not as floppy as I expected and while not the warmest, the bamboo yarn is comfortable. Mostly I’m just delighted with the drawstring because it reminds me of hoodies, which are my favorite thing to wear.

With this FO, I’ve finished three projects this year and used up 7 skeins from stash. I’m pretty pleased with that progress. I also finished another book: The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh. It’s a family drama/suspense that kept me hooked from the beginning. I liked it better than her first book, Ghosted. Have you read anything you loved lately?

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.