Wandering Eye

I tried to be faithful, I really did.

After finishing my Lenore socks, I decided I needed to face my wips.  I only had 3, and I thought surely they would keep me entertained until after The Move.  I thought forcing myself to knit on these already started projects would do me some good and clear the decks for some inspired fall knitting.

It lasted 2 days.

I tried to focus on my Hamamelis shawl, I really did!  But the charts and lace don’t make for good relaxing in front of a movie knitting for me, and that’s really all I have room for right now.  The good news is, I did make some progress on it before going on a cast-on spree.  Another of my wips wasn’t so lucky…

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip!

I have been vacillating over what to do with my long-languishing Hemlock Ring blanket for months.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get finished, yet something wouldn’t allow me to rip out all that lovely knitting.  Then one day I was casually browsing projects on Ravelry when Sweetie noticed what I was looking at.  Those are cool, she said, looking at some colorwork mittens.  Knowing she likes owls, I said: I bet there’s something similar with owls on them.  A few clicks later we had decided on a pair of cabled owl mittens, and a matching owlet sweater for Peaceful Baby.  Suddenly I knew what all that Malabrigo would be good for, and it was very easy to rip out!

I also cast on a little something for PB to protect her tender knees during all the crawling she’s been doing.  This project is knitting up super fast, and I should be finished after the weekend. Have a good one!

Works-in-progress Review

The airing of the stash also resulted in an inadvertant airing of the unfinished objects.  I only had 2 forgotten projects lurking in the dark corners of my craft room: the Hemlock Ring Blanket and Juliet.

I started the blanket in the spring of 09, intending it to be a wedding gift for my friend that June.  The knitting was going smoothly, quickly even, until I got off track int he feather and fan section.  Somehow the stitch count was off and the motif wasn’t looking right so I set it aside.  I think I tried picking it up last fall when I was attempting to clear the decks before PB was born.  But the problem wasn’t resolved, and so it got shoved away again.  This is a lovely pattern, and I was knitting it in a luscious turquoise blue Malabrigo worsted.  I am again trying to clear the decks of all ufo’s before we move, and so I am faced with a decision: finish or frog?

The next project up for judgement is my Juliet.  I started this more recently in November of 2009.  The pattern calls for a bulky yarn, but I thought I would knit up a lighter-weight version for myself out of Berrocco vintage wool.  I did a couple of calculations, and got started knitting, figuring I could block the garter stitch yoke to gain some length.  Then, partway through, I noticed that this yarn is not entirely wool; in fact, it is 50% acrylic, 40% wool, and 10% nylon.  It’s not even mostly wool.  I don’t know how I missed that in the store!  To me, the name implied pure oldey-timey wooly goodness.  I don’t think I even looked at the label for the yarn’s contents, although I do remember thinking it was very soft.

Once the yarn’s true ingredients were discovered, I set the sweater aside, worried it would be too small if the yarn wasn’t blockable.  I was also knitting it on plastic needles because my size 8 Addis were otherwise occupied at the time.  When I pulled this sweater out and tried it on, I was pleased to see it wasn’t so small after all.  Granted, my bust line has increased since I started the project (thank you, breastfeeding), but I figure it’s meant to be worn open anyways.  I switched out the needles and have been knitting on it monogamously all week.  We are back on track!

I have also been plodding away on my Hamamelis shawl.  This is a lovely pattern, and I am thrilled with how it is turning out, especially in the lovely Madelinetosh sock yarn.  I’m getting hang of the lace patterning, and soon hope to not be so reliant on the chart.  Of course, I may be moving on to the next chart by the time that happens as I can be a little slow to memorize!

And lastly, I have some vacation sock knitting plans on my mind.  This BMFA Pond Scum will become Lenore socks if all goes well.  I’m choosing it for travel based on the fact that my friend Nutmeg Knitter knit her pair in something wild like 4 days, and that once I get past the cuff it’s a simple repeat all the way down.  Perfect for travelling, and the stop and go knitting that tends to take place while on the road.

Day 1

This week I have been sorting through the various storage containers in my craft room.  My stash has gotten to the point where it has spilled out of my charming yarn cabinet and is now inhabiting the dreaded plastic tote box.  This is where I have decided to put larger quantities of yarn for long term storage.  I also have a box filled with hibernating works-in-progress.  This is where I found my Hemlock Ring Blanket, a granny square crochet blanket, Show-Off Stranded socks, Coraline, and  Lace Ribbon Scarf.

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My first thought was to rip the acrylic yarn out of the crochet blanket and donate it.  But then as I held it up I realized that it was pretty far along.  So far along, in fact, that it is practically a baby blanket already.  For the past several days I have been a crochet-machine, hooking and looping my way to a (nearly) finished blanket.  More on that later…

For now I want to concentrate on the Frog It or Finish It attitude with which I attacked my works in progress.  Here everything is laid out for inspection.  Big Martha was positively bored by the entire process.

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In the end, I decided to frog Coraline.  She and I just never really hit it off.  When I looked at our relationship realistically, I realized we would never be together as knitter and finished object.  2 1/2 balls of yarn (and knitting) riiiiipped straight from the sweater onto the ball winder.  Very satisfying.

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Then came the Lace Ribbon scarf.  I started this last winter, and while I was enjoying the way the yarn and pattern were working together, I just don’t feel like picking it up any time soon.  Besides, it had already been pillaged for the needles and was on a  stitch holder.  So easy to riiiiiip out!

My Show-Off Stranded socks are still in the waiting room.  Yesterday I wasn’t able to take the plunge and rip them out, thinking that I would somehow feel motivated to finish them this month as part of Socktoberfest.  Of course, I’ve been thinking they’d magically get finished since June and that hasn’t happened.  I give them another week or so before deciding their fate.

And then there’s my Hemlock Ring blanket.  The two of us got off to a really good start last spring and flew through the center and first 46 rows of feather and fan.  Then at some point, the stitch count got off and things weren’t lining up correctly.  I’ve been reassured that feather and fan doesn’t always look like it’s lining up with the previous rows until later, but still something is off.  The two of us need to sit down, do some counting and stitch marker arranging, and see if we can work things out.  This is another project that  will likely become a baby blanket in the interest of clearing the decks quickly.  I think a knitter’s babe is truly worthy of a Malabrigo blanket, don’t you?

All this ripping, finishing, and rearranging has me feeling like I have refreshed my knitting somewhat.  Which leads me to believing I need to cast on more projects!  It’s a cycle I have come to accept, one that I enjoy very much.  So while I’m trying to finish up some crochet today, my mind is really daydreaming about knitting this shawl and these socks.  What projects are you dreaming about while you work on something else?

Mojo in Check

My knitting mojo has been nonexistent for approximately 2 weeks now.  It’s a strange feeling to lose something that has been such a part of my daily life.  I would watch tv without doing anything with my hands.  Or ride in the car and just look out the window.  Strange!  I really got a reminder of what my life was like before I was a knitter.

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Hemlock Ring blanket, stalled

I had been trying to force myself to work on this blanket, but my heart just wasn’t in it.  And I didn’t feel like starting any  new projects, so no knitting was happening at all.

This break did give me a chance to work on some other projects.  My little sewing machine has been humming as I work on alterations, hemming, refashion projects, and my first quilt.  All good fun, but not knitting.

Fortunately, just when things were beginning to feel irreparably bleak, I was rescued.  Knitting night with the Stitch ‘n Bitch gals (and one guy last night, hooray!) helped give me the kick in the wool that I needed.  That and the miracle of coincidence…

I was flipping through Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn before heading out last night, and I was struck by a certain pattern.  I wanted something simple, and Spot Check seemed to fit the bill.  It’s essentially a stockinette sock knit in two colors, one a solid and the other a wilder multi.  And as I looked closer at the photo of the pattern, I realized that I had the yarn called for in my stash.  Not just the yarn, but the exact 2 colorways pictured!  It was clear that I had to knit these socks.

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Spot Check in Shibui Knits Peacock and Spectrum

I got off to a good start last night, and have even knit a couple rows on them today.  I’m not going to be so bold as to say that my knitting mojo is officially back, but I will say that I feel like knitting a little bit.  Which is a great improvement!

Hope you have a great weekend, knitting or otherwise!

Weekend Knitting Progress

It was a good weekend for starting and making good progress on new projects.  I love the feeling of excitement when I get interested in a new pattern.  I start dreaming about knitting it, stalking finished objects on Ravelry, imagining what yarns I could make it in…

Sometimes this process is satisfying enough that I already feel like I have knit the pattern.  More often than not, however, it only creates a need to knit it immediately, no matter what else I already have on the needles.

Such was the case for the past week with Ishbel, the lovely new shawl from Ysolda Teague.  I love much of her work, but have never actually knit one of her designs.  Yesterday, after days of dreaming and planning, I finally purchased the pattern (okay, I got the ebook and the hard copy…Easter present?).  I immediately wound up a skein of Madelinetosh sock yarn in Lettuce Leaf, a bright acidic green perfect for spring knitting.

I thought I could wait to cast on, but decided about to do so about 1/2 an hour before going to my Sunday afternoon knitting group.  And after a few hours of knitting, I have finished the stockinette section:

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Ishbel is my first shawl, so it’s fun to watch it grow from a tiny 3-stitch cast on to something resembling a shawl.  Now I’m gathering my wits to get started with the charted lace pattern.  I’m not exactly a novice in this department, but still green enough to have some reservations.  Thank goodness for the help of those who have gone before me!

On Saturday (pre-Ishbel frenzy) I sat down with my Hemlock Ring blanket.  I started this a week or two ago, but didn’t get very far.  It requires a bit of focus, and I just wasn’t in that sort of mood.  I knit a stockinette sock instead, much more my speed at the time.  But on Saturday the mood struck, and I made a few inches of progress.  It’s so fun!

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This should be an interesting project to watch change and grow. I have 4 balls of Malabrigo yarn to devote to it, and will cast off when I’m about out of yarn.  It’s only once the whole thing is off the needles that I will know exactly how big it has gotten.

So, that’s what I’ve got on the needles at this moment.  Something about the sunshine, blooming flowers, and feeling like a fresh start has me wanting to cast on about 87,000 new projects!