Yarn Along:: Getting Settled

From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.

We’ve lived in our new home for just over a week now.  It was a relatively low-key move within our same community, so that has really helped ease the transition.  In some ways it feels as if we’ve lived here a lot longer than a week; we are all very comfortable here and have settled in to somewhat of a new daily routine.  Of course, we’ve had houseguests already, and Sweetie started a new job on Monday, so there’s definitely more settling to be done.  For now I’m choosing to ignore the boxes in the garage and guest room closet, or the fact that we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and focus instead on organizing the art supplies in our new craft room (!!!) and daydreaming about next summer’s garden.

In times of change and stress, I turn to simple knits in cheerful colors and books rich with their own characters’ drama.  This is the Show-Off Stranded sock, a free pattern that I’ve knit once before.  It does wonders for a variegated yarn, letting the colors play and comingle.  I remember the pattern having some interesting heel options, so I’m looking forward to that bit of juicy knitting in another couple of inches or so.  In the meantime, my other knitting is in a time out and I have been working on seaming up my Tidal cardigan.  Then it’s time to knit a button band and pick out buttons, something simple I can handle while gazing out the window of my new living room.  There’s mountains out those windows, I say, mountains!

So what is on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

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?

Rockin’ the Socks

I’m headed out of town on another adventure for a couple of weeks.  This requires a lot of planning, from reservations and car rentals to making sure I pack anything I might need over the course of a two-week vacation.  While running through my mental list of To-Do’s, I only just came across Vacation Knitting.

As knitters we all know what an important packing/activity/travel subject Vacation Knitting can be.  We want that perfectly portable project that can go from airplane to car ride to movie watching with ease.  For me, this usually means something on circular needles that I can memorize.

It would come as no surprise, then, that I have some socks on the needles for just this reason!  I started these last week at Squam, having chosen the yarn from my stash for its name, Pebble Beach.  The colors seemed very lakey and appropriate, so off to camp it came.  And I’ve made good progress since.  Now I think these will be going out West with me.

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Pattern: Show Off Stranded Socks (Ravelry link)

Yarn: BMFA Socks that Rock in Pebble Beach

Needles: 2-ish I believe

Mods: None so far.  I’ve made this pattern once before and recall there were a few options for the heel.  Last time I chose to carry the stitch pattern down the back of the heel.  Who knows what might happen this time!

What you don’t see in the picture is how the beige color is creating a huge flash on what I have decided will be the back of the sock.  The other colors are so beautiful together, I don’t understand why there is such a large amount of beige in the skein.  I know I could have adjusted the stitch count or alternated skeins to help combat the pooling, but I just didn’t feel like it.  Lazy knitter busted!  At least I’m back knitting, so I’ll take it how I can get it.

I also cast on the latest BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club pattern.  I love the colorway, but am not too sure about how it works with the pattern.

100_4530I’ve only done the ribbing with one element of the pattern, and it seems a bit lost.  What do you think?  If you’d like to see some great photos of this sock finished, check out Courtney’s foot here.

So, I’m heading out to Oregon and Idaho to meet my new nephew and to see my best friend from college get married.  It promises to be a wonderful time full of old friends, family, and a fair amount of travel knitting.  Look for plenty of photos at the end of the month.  Till then, knit what you love and have fun doing it!

Knitting for Sweetie

I reserve the bulk of my knitting time to create handknits that someone will appreciate and use.  Most often, the recipient of my knitting gifts is Me.  But there is one other person who ranks high in the Use and Appreciation of Handknits department: my Sweetie.

Not only does she show interest in what I am knitting, she agrees to model things for me.  What started as me asking her to go into yarn shops with me on vacation has turned into her seeking them out.  She willingly went to Rhinebeck with me and was genuinely interested in the spectacle of it all.  She knows how much time and thought I put into my knitting, and encourages me to do it as much as possible.  Even if it means I don’t get around to cleaning as much as I used to, P.K. (pre-knitting).

So when she asks me to knit her something, I take it very seriously.  She has an especial fondness for socks.  As someone who loves buying and knitting sock yarn, this is a near perfect arrangement for me.  Sweetie is the perfect scapegoat for buying additional unnecessary sock yarn: “Oh, this is a color Sweetie would like”.  I typically alternate between knitting a pair of socks for myself and one for her.  The Spring Forward socks I knit during the Ravelympics were supposed to be for her.  As some of you may remember, I had gauge issues, and ended up making socks to fit about a size 6 foot.  Sweetie is a 10.

She was due for a new pair.  Last month I led her to the yarn cabinet, opened the door with reverence, and said “Pick One.”  And thus my journey with the Show-Off Stranded Socks began.

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  • Pattern: Show-Off Stranded Socks *Free*

  • Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color 136, 2 skeins

  • Needles: US Size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) double points

  • Modifications: I started out with a 1×1 twisted rib at the cuff, simply because I prefer how it looks. There are 3 different options for the gusset and I chose to do stockinette stitch. Then I followed the pattern as written until the toe.  Here I opted to do paired decreases and a grafted toe for that wedge toe look.

LOVE this pattern and yarn combination!  I think this may be one of those perfect patterns for that wild skein of sock yarn you might have lying around.  It’s just as easy as stockinette stitch, but gives the sock so much more texture and depth.

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***

Last fall I knit her a pair of Knucks.  While they were interesting, I found the fingers way too fiddly.  So when she started asking for another pair, I stalled.  This past Sunday was our 6 year wedding anniversary, and I decided I could take time away from knitting these socks and fantasizing about my future sweaters to knit her some much-needed handwarmers as a gift.

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I used my newly acquired skills at knitting in the round on 2 circulars to work these up.  It felt a little bit faster than DPNs, I have to admit.  And I really liked not having to worry about dropping a needle.

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  • Pattern: Fetching *Free*

  • Yarn: Cascade Lana d’Oro, less than one skein in black

  • Needles: Two US size 5 circulars : )

  • Mods: I used the pattern for Fetching as inspiration.  I only cast on 35 stitches and omitted the cables for a simpler look.  They fit snugly which is great for working and walking the dog.

As usual, Sweetie was excited by these surprise mitts and has been wearing them regularly.  It’s a good thing I have some yarn leftover; I can see needing to make another pair when she wears these out in 10 minutes!

Two Finished Objects this week!  It felt so good to finish things that I also went on a frogging spree.  I ripped out every project that has been languishing on my needles for any length of time.  What a great feeling!  Now I can focus on my sweater (which is coming along nicely, thank you very much!) and start thinking about knitting another pair of socks for a worthy recipient.

Detours, Roadblocks, and Expressways

I’m enjoying a quiet morning at home.  I’m sitting here at the computer with a cup of tea, thinking about the days ahead and all I have to get done in order to be prepared and/or productive.  What is that about?  Do you feel like you have a never ending To-Do List, and no matter what you’ve accomplished the day before, there is always more to do?

I’m really feeling lately like I should be doing More, like I want to be contributing to the world in a bigger, better way.  I’m just stumped as to how to accomplish this.  Life has taken my plans and made me go on a big detour, and at this point I’m not sure if I’ll be arriving at my intended destination any time soon. So what to do in the meantime…?

Knitting, for starters!  Now that the craft fair is over, I have regained an open schedule with regards to my knitting.  I have been working monogamously on the Show-Off Stranded socks, and they are coming along quite nicely.  The pattern has a new-to-me way to make a heel: you knit the sock from the cuff down, and when it’s time to make a heel, you increase every other row to create a gusset.  You are simultaneously knitting the heel, the top of the foot, and the gussets. Then you turn the heel and keep knitting along.  No heel flap!

I have some holes along my gussets, but they match on both sides so I have elected to call them “design features” or “learning experiences”!

Bells has me feeling inspired to knit a little something lacy; she’s in a country where it’s almost summer now, and what a better thing to knit than lace in the summer?  I just want to knit something delicate, and some time ago the Hanami Stole caught my eye.  I have some luscious apple green cashmere lace-weight in the stash, and it seemed like a perfect pairing.

Then last night at Stitch ‘n Bitch I decided I would make a swatch.  This is uncharacteristic of me, but something was telling me that this yarn and pattern combination were to be taken seriously.  Maybe it is the 12-page pattern.  Maybe it was the fact that the yarn kept breaking as I handled it.  Both, I guess.  So I got started knitting a swatch, and after several rows…snap!  The yarn broke.  I don’t know if I can, in good conscience, continue knitting with this yarn.  Could I double it up?  Should I set it aside?  Will being worried or paranoid at the beginning of a project doom it to failure?  Can some of you experienced lace knitters advise me on what to do?!  Help!

Sweetie and I are heading out of town on a much-needed long weekend together, a trip born out of a culmination of things.  So I will be out of touch for several days.  I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, with more than enough time to create and be peaceful.

P.S. Squirrels love corn!  This one munched on a cob tabletop before trying to carry it in its mouth through the spindles on the deck.  Horizontal corn and vertical slots do not mix!  S/he eventually switched tactics and pushed it through.  Lucky squirrel.