Yarn:Chelsea Sock by Nooch Fibers, colorway Arizona (caveat: that colorway name is a best guess based on the colorways that were available at the time; when I bought this yarn, the tag did not name the colorway; and, incidentally, it’s no longer available on the website, so we may never know)
Needles:Knitter’s Pride Karbonz, US 1 1/2 DPNs. I bought these DPNs sometime last year, and they languished unused until I started knitting socks again. Now I won’t use anything else.
Satisfaction with end product: They’re gorgeous, they’re soft, and they fit. I’m a little concerned that the cashmere content in the yarn may make them not quite durable enough for regular wear, but I can always use them as house socks. I’m wearing them as I type this blog entry, and love how they feel on my feet.
The pattern itself was easy as pie; the lace pattern at the cuff is charted and easy to follow. After that, it’s just straight stockinette all the way down, so this would make a good first sock pattern for a newbie. The flap for the heel featured a somewhat different slip stitch pattern that I like much better than any other flap I’ve made — it looks kind of like a honeycomb, and that makes me smile. I’ll be adapting future flap-and-gusset sock patterns to use this flap.
This project is part of the Knit Your Library Challenge, although Snapdragon Crafts seems to have gone dark and hasn’t provided a link up recently. Regardless, you can click that badge over there for more details.
Some time ago, I pulled all the sock yarn out of stash and sorted it into two piles.
Into pile number one went the sock yarn that is suitable to be used for actual socks: it has nylon or some other such fiber content that makes it suitable to take the abuse on being worn on feet, walked upon, and rubbed against the inside of shoes.
Pile number two contained all the sock yarn that will not be used for socks. Now, this could be yarn that is 100% wool with no other strengthening fibers; or it could be a single ply with no twist that can’t take the abuse; or maybe the yardage is far too excessive for socks and must be made into some other accessory; or it could be yarn that’s just too dang pretty to be hidden inside shoes. The yarn sorted into this pile is destined for scarves, or shawls, or in a few cases where the yardage will allow, perhaps even a lacy shrug or cropped cardigan.
Progress notes: I made a pair of socks from one of the skeins in Pile #1 already (Dragonfly and Rosebud, blogged here); tried a second skein but, after struggling with it and its splitty nature, relegated it to Pile #2; and am currently knitting socks with a third skein.
True confession: Since these photos were taken, I’ve added more sock yarn to the stash. They were pretty evenly divided. Four of the new skeins went into Pile #1; five into Pile #2.
Yarn:Footprints by Blue Ridge Yarn, colorway Secret Garden. Per Webs, this yarn’s total weight for the full put-up is 108 grams. That means it’s 81 grams for the 300 yard skein and 27 grams for the 100 yard skein. When I was finished, I had 18 grams and 8 grams left, respectively.
Total yardage used: 304 yds.
Needles: US size 2 DPNS. Pattern calls for using US size 1 1/2 needles. I need size 2 to achieve gauge.
New techniques? Yes! First toe up socks, first short row heel, first time using different colors for different parts of the sock. I discovered I don’t like toe up socks. The cast on and first couple of rows are really REALLY fiddly and annoying. That was with DPNs. I may try again using two circs. Maybe.
Satisfaction with end product: Pleased! They fit pretty well, and I’ve worn them several times since completing them. In fact, I’m wearing them as I type this blog entry. The yarn is soft and warm and comfy, especially after having been washed a couple of times. The socks come through the washer and dryer just fine; I wash them inside a mesh bag so they’re protected from rubbing against other clothing, and I use the gentle/delicate cold water wash cycle and a low heat dry cycle.
Yarn:Stardust by Magic & Moonshine, colorway “Crocus”. I love this yarn. It’s soft on the hands, comfy on the feet, and has a hint of sparkle when the light catches it just right.
Total yardage used: Roughly 293 yards
Needles: US size 1 1/2 DPNs
New techniques? Short heel sock #2. Progress, not perfection.
Satisfaction with end product: Good enough, even with the following hiccup. According to the pattern blurb in the book (The Knitter’s Book of Socks), this pattern was written specifically for a “highly-variegated colorway”. They must not have meant THIS highly-variegated because the lace pattern is virtually invisible. Still, it’s a nicely written pattern, and fun to make. I may try it again in yarn with less contrast in color values. The completed socks are machine washable (on gentle, in a mesh bag, as explained above) for ease of care.
Yarn:Skinny Bugga! by Cephalopod Yarns, colorway “Dragonfly Tattoo”. This yarn is amazing. It’s too bad Cephalopod Yarns closed up shop and took down its shingle.
Total yardage used: 274 yds.
Needles: US Size 1 DPNs
Mods: Medium size called for casting on 56 stitches at the cuff. That’s too small for me, so I cast on 64, knit the ribbed cuff, and then decreased by 8 stitches in the first row of the lace.
New techniques? Still working on perfecting that short row heel. This technique has entailed a bit of a learning curve but I’m getting better.
Satisfaction with end product: I love how these turned out! Excellent match of yarn and pattern. The lace pattern is gorgeous and highly visible in this colorway. The only issue has to do with the short row heel. I need to remember to knit the foot a teensy bit longer than I do with a flap-and-gusset heel to make sure the heel turn fits on my actual heel instead of getting pulled under.
Somewhere in the middle of all the sock knitting, I made three PussyHats. Two were dropped off at a collection point for the January 21st march that took place in Atlanta and worldwide, and one I kept for myself for future marches. You can visit my Ravelry project page here. Bet you can guess my politics now!
I finished the Cadence Shawlette (Ravelry project page) a couple of weeks before surgery in December.
Pattern:Cadence Shawlette by Emily Straw; 5 full repeats and 1 partial repeat (up to row 21) before the garter stitch edging and the bind off.
Yarn:Brisbane by Queensland Collection, colorway “Coral Trout”. This colorway name tickles me: I can’t see it without thinking of Pete Dexter’s novel, Paris Trout.
Total yardage: 288 yds, plus a little extra (see notes below)
Needles: US 9 circs
Satisfaction with end product: Love it. It’s warm and cozy and colorful, just right to brighten up drab winter days.
Notes: I wanted to use every inch of the Brisbane, so I essentially played yarn chicken and kept knitting until I thought I had just enough for the bind off. As it turned out, I got 3/4 of the way through the bind off before I ran out of yarn. Luckily, I had remnants of another worsted wool (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted) in a colorway similar to the color section of Brisbane at the bound edge, so I was able to finish the bind off instead of tinking back 200+ stitches.
I’m knitting my library. Well, mostly. Maybe you can join us!
I abandoned making New Year’s resolutions ages ago because I always ended up breaking said resolutions and then beating myself up for failure. Now I make plans or set goals. Because plans can change if circumstances change and no fault accrues; and if goals aren’t met, any progress made toward those goals is a win. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
Reading plans and goals: I mentioned a couple these in Sunday’s Year In Review: Books blog post but they belong in this post as well. My goal is to read and finish 52 books; then write at least a one-paragraph review and post it here as well as on Goodreads. I also want to read more non-fiction. Even though about one third of the books in my house are non-fiction — history, politics, sociology, and religion, mostly — I managed only one non-fiction title in 2015, and that one (Drift by Rachel Maddow) came from the library. Speaking of the library, that’s part of the goal as well: to continue to make use of the library and of books I already own. I simply don’t have room to acquire any additional physical books; and spouse and I have set some financial goals that limit my discretionary spending. What discretionary spending room I have, I prefer to save for yarn. Or travel. More about that later, though.
A couple of LibraryThing Early Reviewer titles rest here on my desk, waiting to be read: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and Get In Trouble by Kelly Link. Getting those read and reviewed will do two things: alleviate the guilt I have for letting them sit as long as they have and add toward the annual reading goal.
Other than those two specific titles, and a general notion toward adding more non-fiction, I have no restrictions or plans for my reading material. In the past couple of years, what I read and the order in which I read it has been dictated by the local library system. I have a wish list, and when a title on the wish list becomes available, that’s what I read next. It’s rare that I don’t have at least one title from the library checked out. Maybe cutting down on the wish list items will aid toward reading down the physical Mt. TBR in the house. But that’s not a priority.
Yarn plans and goals: 2016 will be the Year of Knitting Selfishly. All the knitting I did in 2015 was for other people. This year it’s all about me and it’s all about the stash.* First thing will be to finish the Wildflower Cardigan, an Alana Dakos pattern that’s been waiting patiently for more than a year. The partial sweater is shown at right; the yarn is Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool in Acorn. After that, I want to find the right pattern for a cotton shrug I’ve been wanting to make in a turquoise Cascade Ultra Pima. And at some point this year, I hope to find some use for the two colorways of Rowan Plaid that’s been in my stash for going on 8 years.
*Let me say at the outset that I do NOT pledge to go “cold sheep” — that is, not buy any new yarn — because that’s a sure-fire way to set myself up for failure. What I can do is shop the stash first and, if I go to a yarn store because I’m traveling or because I’m accompanying someone else, I can limit myself to a single skein or two of exquisite sock yarn.
Speaking of finding patterns, I’ve decided to take part in Snapdragon’s Knit Your Library Challenge (click the link to learn more). I’m confident that somewhere within all the pattern books and back issues of knitting magazines filed away in this house is any project I could possibly wish to make. Matching the yarn to the pattern to the mood will comprise a major part of this challenge, I think. Sometimes I want to knit something new, but can’t make a connection between the stashed yarn in my hand and the library patterns that show up in Ravelry. And the reverse is sometimes true: I find a library pattern that I love love love but nothing in the stash works for it. When I have some time to breathe, I will spend several hours matching patterns and yarns and lay them out in an organized fashion. I’ve already got a couple of matches in mind.
Technique goals: This will be the year I finally tackle a Fair Isle project: a little one, like a hat. Three stashed skeins of a fingering weight cashmere blend in complementary colorways are screaming at me, so I want to shut them up. I also want to learn some different sock heels. I’ve always done the “flap and gusset” heel, so a short row heel and an afterthought heel are on my list this year.
Finally, I intended to have this blog entry ready to be published yesterday. Remember what I said at the top of this entry about plans? The universe had plans that trumped mine. I had to take my husband to the emergency room yesterday afternoon: he is currently hospitalized and we expect him to remain in the hospital for several days yet. His condition is not life-threatening — well, not really. I mean, it could be, but mainly it’s a chronic condition that periodically flares up and makes our lives miserable. I’ll be able to catch my breath when he comes home. In the meantime, I’m getting lots of knitting and reading done while sitting by his bed, in between the times I run home to take care of the pets. Thank heavens for an understanding employer.
It’s been forever since I wrote about yarnie goings-on. Mainly that’s because I’ve been in a slump for several weeks — um, months — and have hardly touched any of the pending projects. In fact, I just took a look back and the last time I posted anything yarn-related was in June.
The only project that’s seen any significant progress is the Tunisian Terror. This picture was taken in July. Since then I’ve completed several more squares but haven’t taken any more recent photographs. If I buckle down, it’s possible I might get it completed by Christmas, which would make Mom happy, but part of the trouble I have with this project is the process of making the squares bores me silly. After about the third or fourth square, I’d mastered the Tunisian simple stitch and there’s simply no challenge any longer. Something to look forward to, though: The pattern calls for several squares that require color changes; however, due to some color and yardage limitations, I had decided to wait until all of the solid squares were completed before getting into the mixed colors. I’m regretting that decision. It’s still the right decision, and I won’t change my mind, but I keep looking longingly at the directions for the multi-color squares…
The Wildflower Cardigan has had virtually no progress. The back was completed several months ago, and the left front was started, but once I got into the part where I had to follow the chart for the pocket design, I fizzled out. Again, this photo was taken in July. I have done some work on the first few rows of the pocket chart, but again, no pictures. In the meantime, please admire the scalloped bottom detail. And those little flaps on the stitch holders are the pocket backs. 🙂
That turquoise blue cotton lace shrug stalled right at the point the ribbing was done and the lace pattern began. I hated the lace pattern, so I put the poor thing in a bag for a time-out while I rethought the whole thing. Here we are, months later, and over the weekend, I finally did a couple of fresh Ravelry searches, which resulted in a few other lace cardigan or shrug patterns that may work. I just have to grit my teeth and rip this piece back to the beginning. Again.
And the less said about spouse’s socks, the better.
Normally, I’d refer you to Tami’s Amis for the usual WIP Wednesday roundup, but there isn’t one for this week. If you’re on Ravelry, though, you can look in the group The Blog Hub for the WIP Wednesday thread and catch up there.
Blog prompt: Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.
I got up this morning, intending to write a blog post about my current project, when I found the following already in the draft folder. I’ve added a few notes in self-defense. They’re in italicized brackets. Cheeky socks.
~~~ A day in the life, she says. I’ll give her a day in the life.
I sat in her stash for heaven knows how long. [You’ve been here since December 2011, not nearly as long as some other stashed yarn.] I saw yarn which was here before me go out. I expected that. But I also saw yarn which came in after me go out. That hurt. I got my hopes up several times when I was taken out and perched by the computer while she searched for patterns. But my hopes were dashed time after time when I was put back into the basket. Without any lotion even.
Sorry. Movie reference. Yes, we unloved skeins of yarn watch movies when no one is around. She has a lot of unloved skeins of yarn. We watch a lot of movies.
[This is news to me. But it might explain some of the odd things in our Netflix Instant Queue. And for the record, I have no unloved skeins of yarn, just stash that hasn’t met the right pattern. For Pete’s sake, I wouldn’t have spent all that money on you if I didn’t love you!]
But one day she pulled me out, draped me around the swift, and wound me into a cake. At last! I can achieve my purpose! It turns out she had finally convinced her husband to allow her to make him some socks, and I was the perfect choice for those socks, so she cast me on some DPNS, and we were off to the races.
But, despite being on my way to fulfilling my destiny, all was not well. I struggled with the pattern she chose. I mean, I tried my best to make it work, but I wasn’t happy and, judging by the language I heard, she wasn’t happy either. I breathed a sigh of relief when she took me off the needles, relieved me of the burden of those awful stitches, and cast me on again, this time in an easy-going 3×1 rib that worked out just right for the short lengths of color in my colorway. [You think you breathed a sigh of relief? That first pattern gave me hand cramps.]
Then something odd happened. After several inches of cuff, the DPNs with which I had been getting along so well were replaced, one by one, with a slightly smaller set. This was not in my game plan! Didn’t she know this was going to mess with my pooling pattern? And sure enough, instead of the tidy ladder-rung type placement of my various colors, a swirling pattern developed. Thank heavens she didn’t mess with the 3×1 rib, but that swirl? I mean, they’re my colors, they’re part of me, and I love them regardless, but I’m not so sure I like this.
We definitely don’t like it. We 1-1/2s were doing so well with you, and then she replaced us with a size 1 set! The nerve!
[Oh, and now the needles chime in, too. *sigh* You’ll both get over it. Really.]
We persevered several more inches down the cuff and then, AND THEN, what did she do? She put us away! Stuffed us right down in the bottom of a project bag while she worked on birthday presents, and Christmas presents, and a cardigan for herself, and a baby blanket, then another cardigan for herself (which she abandoned) [Now wait just a goldarn minute…], and now another blanket. Oh, we’re just socks for her husband, we’re not important.
Hmph. We’ll just see about that.
[Are you threatening me? Seriously, are you threatening me? Because I can rip you out and stuff you back in a basket, you know. Just try “fulfilling your destiny” if that happens.]
This was the view from my front stoop at 7:30 this morning:
And here’s the same view at 2:30 this afternoon:
Yes, once more we can safely say…
Before all you Northerners laugh yourselves silly, you have to understand we just don’t DO snow in the South, y’all! Ice, neither, in this particular instance. Yes, that’s ice. We’ve had a steady downpour of ice rain, or sleet, or very tiny hailstones, or whatever the HELL you want to call it, since about 2:00 AM, and it’s likely to last at least through tomorrow. We’re lucky here in the avantaknits household in that we haven’t lost power; our refrigerator and cupboards are well stocked; cable, internet, and Netflix are up and running; and I have plenty of yarn and books to keep me occupied.
Speaking of yarn, remember the cardigan I finished a couple of weeks ago? I reblocked it and took a couple of new pictures. Yes, this is a WIP post, but I’m sharing the finished cardigan again anyway. Deal with it.
And as soon as that precious knit was finished to my satisfaction, I started on my next project, the Wildflower Cardigan by Alana Dakos. (Click the link to be taken to the pattern website.) I’m using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a caramel color. After the decorative edging at the bottom, it’s endless endless endless stockinette, which makes for easy television knitting. But it’s also endless endless endless stockinette, which makes me insane for some variety after a while, which is why I’ve only progressed about three and a half inches up the back.
Here’s a closer look at the detail of the decorative edging. Pretty cool construction technique involving lots of passed-over stitches — a little fiddly, maybe, but it turns out great. As always, click the pics to see them full-size.
Because the endless endless endless stockinette eventually makes me crazy, over the weekend I started another giant granny square baby blanket with an autumn-toned color scheme. It’s intended for the first grandbaby of one of my colleagues.
And of course, spouse’s socks. Which haven’t been touched since the last time I posted about them in November. *hangs head in shame*
This post is part of the WIP Wednesday Round-up hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there and see what other folks have been up to recently!
Since the beginning of November, a number of friends on Facebook have been making daily public statements of things for which they are grateful. This is a lovely practice, often seen this time of year, and something in which I usually participate. For whatever reason, this year I didn’t manage to make any daily pronouncements of gratitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t have anything deserving of gratitude, mind you. Thus, the gratitude blog entry!
I am grateful for my husband, that long-suffering handsome hunk of man who puts up with each quirk and obsession I inflict upon him, who does the majority of the cooking and the cleaning up in the kitchen afterward, who also handles cleaning the dogs’ messy butts and the cats’ messy urps when needed
(because I’m incapable of doing either without urps of my own), who tolerates the never-ending fur and books and yarn and dust, who simply rolls his eyes at the constant rotation of science fiction TV series on the Blu-Ray player and Netflix, and who loves me in spite of myself.
I’m grateful for my parents for pretty much all the same reasons I’m grateful for my husband, except my sister and I clean their kitchen when we’re at their house because they deserve to sit down with a cup of coffee and a little rest after all these years.
I’m grateful for my siblings, as well. They’re both smart and funny and quirky in their own ways, although both of them will tell you I’m the weirdo of the bunch, and then shake their heads in resignation at the sheer nerdiness of their oldest sibling. Doesn’t matter, though, because we’re family. And we love each other.
I’m grateful for the four fuzzballs who have graciously condescended to share their lives with us. They’ve provided much joy and laughter over the years, and I live in hope they will continue to do so for many years to come. I’m especially thankful the Grande Dame of them all, Lady Jacquenetta, is still with us. She’s nearly 20 now, old enough that I’m starting to wonder how much more time we’ll have with her.
I’m grateful for the manual dexterity and the “just enough to be dangerous” computer and HTML knowledge that permits me to type entries like this, and permits me to create items using two sticks and some string, or a hook and some string, whatever the project may require. One such item is the Wanderer scarf I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I just added the third (or was it the fourth?) ball of Rowan Soft Tweed on Monday evening, and think this may be the last ball of yarn I’ll need for it. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the texture of the alternating cables and seed stitch sections is marvelous, both to see and to feel.
The other project currently (still) on the needles are spouse’s socks. I think I’ll take those with us when we go to Alabama tomorrow for Thanksgiving dinner with the fam. Notice the change in the pooling in that photo! Per pattern instructions, I went down one needle size — from a size 1-1/2 US to a size 1 US — when halfway down the cuff, and am amazed at what a difference such a small change made in the yarn’s look.
I bet you were wondering how I was going to work WIP yarn stuff into a gratitude blog post. And how all that gratitude relates to a WIP Wednesday post in the first place. Well, I believe we are all works in progress, and maintaining gratitude is one of the ways we grow as human beings.
This post is part of Tami’s Amis WIP Wednesday blog roll. Click that badge over there to view other WIP Wednesday blog entries, about yarn, people, and all manner of things in progress. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
As should be expected, once the shutdown ended last week and I went back to work, the frequency of blog entries rapidly declined. I’ll work on staying in the groove of WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays, at least. Well, WIP Wednesdays, for certain, because I can’t guarantee I’ll have a finished project every Friday, but I can always guarantee I’ll have at least one thing in some stage of imcompleteness. (Yes, I know that’s not a word; I’m using it anyway.)
This week’s work in progress is a sock, and it will probably be the WIP for the next several weeks. Because: sock. Where there is one sock, there shall be two.
Because of the handpainted colorway, I didn’t want a fussy sock, especially because these are for my husband, and heaven forbid there be any girly-like ornamentation such as cables or bobbles or (the horror!) lace. I originally planned on turning this yarn into the Herringbone Rib Socks. Sunday, I cast on and knitted the ribbed cuff, then started the herringbone pattern. And it was a royal pain to knit. So much so that after two rows of herringbone, I ripped it all out and started over with Ann Budd’s basic sock pattern in a simple k3p1 rib.
And it looks pretty darn good, I think. Not that you can actually see the rib in this photo, but that’s the beauty of the k3p1 rib: it’s virtually invisible. Spouse even approves of the non-girlyness of the whole thing. I seldom knit anything for him, mainly because he doesn’t want me to: he doesn’t wear sweaters or scarves or hats or gloves, but by golly, everybody wears socks, so I consider obtaining his consent to make these for him a victory.
This post is part of the WIP Wednesday round-up, hosted by Tami’s Amis. Click the badge over there to see what other folks are working on this week.
I stayed up much later than usual last night — in fact, spouse went to bed before I did, which almost never happens — because around 10:30 PM, somewhat past my usual bedtime, I suddenly had the urge to wind skeins of sock yarn into cakes. This furlough (now on Day 6) is playing hell with my usual habits.
Anyway, I dragged half a dozen skeins or so out of their bin and set to, skein by skein, carefully clipping the binding yarn, gently untwisting the skein and laying it over the swift, handwrapping the first few rounds on the ball winder, and then rotating the handle just fast enough to wind the skein and not cause the swift to go into overdrive.
That fit of madness lasted two skeins’ worth of winding before I came to my senses and went to bed. It was having to finish winding the second skein by hand that did it.
Thus, this morning, I had two lovely cakes of yarn which needed to be assigned to a project. A couple of Ravelry searches later, mission accomplished.
I cast on for the shawl this morning with the intended goal of finishing it by the end of next week. I may take a break, though, and cast on the socks, as well, then alternate between the two. Either way, I hope to get both of them done by the end of the month. Unless, of course, I go back to work in the next few days. In which case, I’ll hope to get them done by Thanksgiving.