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Wheel Wednesday:Giant’s mitts edition

For the better part of the fall and winter the Giant and I have been somewhat battling for control of the thermostat. I say somewhat because really it consists of me turning the temperature down enough where (thanks to the awesomeness of fibro-yes this is sarcasm) I feel like I am not roasting in my clothes and then me turning it back up because the Giant is sitting there in a sweater, long pants, wool socks and 1-3 blankets looking pretty darn chilly. Lucky for me he has been fairly silent in his misery, but I am not without compassion  on this matter,(now you in the back you can just stop that laughing right now) and so when he requested a pair of fingerless mitts to wear, I agreed. Of course the quest then became what yarn to use. He would want something to keep his hands warm, but not too warm (ha, I doubt that would happen) I tossed the stash and came up with a few choices that might work, but there were only really sort of what I was hoping for. And so this past Saturday, because I love him so and want to keep is fingers all nice and toasty we headed to one of our local yarn shops to browse the selection. The fact that the trip may have been prompted more by my desire to get another skein of Sweet Georgia yarn, this time in the Sugar Shack colorway (thanks to Kate over at Stitch Addiction podcast and her lovely fiber of the same colorway) should not dissuade anyone of my ultimate goal of providing the Giant with a pair of mittens. We looked for just the right yarn and after rejecting a few options, we I decided that instead of finding the right yarn, I would make it. Luckily the Giant liked a particular braid of fiber and with that (and the Sweet Georgia yarn) paid for we headed home where I promptly started spinning the fiber on one of my spindles. I think I made it through the first tiny strip (let’s say less than 1/4 of an ounce) before I came to my senses and dug out the wheel. So through the course of Saturday evening through Monday this:

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became this

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which was wound off Tuesday into this

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Where it was then plied together, there is not a photo of that yet, because half of it is still on the wheel (suffice it to say a cat + a loose single/ball + a spinning wheel = two hanks of yarn, a slightly frightened cat and a overly stressed out spinner. Rest assured the cat and yarn are fine…and I should be eventually.)

This whole expedition back into the land of spinning has brought with it a desire to “Stash all the FIBER!” which is where you come in. I would love to hear of your favorites, let me (and everyone else) know what and where you get the fiber you love. Many thanks in advance.

What do you think are the odds I could convince the Giant that all the extra fluff could be used as insulation?

All that waiting…

I have had a project on the needles for about a year and a half now, which may or may not seem like a long time. This project was in hibernation for a good long while, in part because I forgot about the thing and then because I wasn’t really sure I wanted to finish it. With the move back in June my knitting and my stash have gone through a hefty (and much-needed) audit. I gave a lot of my early stashing efforts (i.e. acrylics and cottons) away and frogged quite a few projects that needed to meet their end. This one project, neglected and forgotten eventually came up for judgement and it was given a pass to stay on the needles. It may have been forgotten about for a little while there back in August and September, but recently I decided to pick the thing back up and try to finish it.

The project? The wonderful $5 in Paris sweater by Anna Maliszewski. I chose to knit this sweater out of acrylic for a few reasons.

1) my stash at the time was occupied by a majority of acrylic yarns

2) the original pattern was knit out of acrylic yarn (the same ones I used)

3) I was a bit impulsive and wanted to cast on the sweater then and there.

So I cast the thing on and worked for a little while knitting the yoke and the raglan increases. I had decided on a different set of stripes, reasoning that I would not look as good in the bold and wide stripes, due in part to my own let’s just say wideness. I opted for a small two-row stripe of a bright (neon almost) green, with a black base. The sweater went pretty well I managed to knit past the arms, rejoining the yarn and continuing down the body. It was around this time that I decided to take a lesson from others (without the actual fore-planning and you know actual understanding of the idea) and decrease a bit for some body shaping. I knew enough to decrease on both sides and manged not to bring it in too much. After the decreases I knit for a few rows and then promptly abandoned the project in favor of something vastly more interesting. Because come on all of that stockinette is going to wear on anyone. So flash forward to probably a few months (or a little more than a few, but who’s counting, am I right?) I picked the sweater back up (probably out of some self imposed guilt) and knit another couple inches, placing the stripes as needed and trying to figure out just how long it would take to finish (longer than I was hoping for.) The sweater then went back into hibernation were it was out of sight and out of mind for the better part of a year. Flash forward to this past October and I finally decided it was time to work on the thing. Mind you it was around this point I also realized that if I decreased the sweater at the narrowest part of me, I should probably increase at the wider parts. So I did the increases, reasoning that I must be getting close to being finished (the astute among you may notice that at no point in this entire process have I actually tried the damn thing on) I stopped the increases where I thought the should end and knit the last few inches before starting the ribbing. Monday night I worked the ribbing and worked the ribbing and worked the ribbing until I realized I was running a little low on yarn and I still had some sleeves to add to the thing.

So I bound off and for the first time in almost a year and a half I tried the sweater on. And of course I hate the way it looks on me. The Giant in an attempt to be kind or at least trying to prevent me from lighting the thing on fire, stated that the sweater looks good on me. While I may have disagreed with him (completely) I did not light the thing on fire, nor did I throw the sweater away. I didn’t even start frogging it, no instead I decided to give myself a few days to think it over. In part because it took me 1.5 years to knit it this far and there is only so much emotional turmoil I am willing to take in a day. Also because I know that my opinions on clothing can be a bit fickle. By which I mean I have a tendency to want to wear baggy, non-defining clothes, the kind that don’t really draw attention to one’s shape (whatever that may be) and well this sweater isn’t baggy, it isn’t too tight or anything, it is just a bit form-fitting (probably less so than my mind makes it out to be.) I can’t decide if I should frog the thing or finish it and see if I don’t actually like it. Because i know I am bringing some of my own clothing issues to the mix.

Anyone else feel that way about clothes or projects? Did you give yourself a timeout before deciding to frog or not? Ever spend so long on a project that you can’t seem to bear the idea of frogging?

 

A Little Lighter

Here we are only about 18 days away from Christmas and I am not nearly as frantic as I expected to be. Work is of course busy this time of year, which makes for some tired evenings, but that actually works in my favor this year. The Giant and I braved the big bad world of shopping this past weekend and managed to pick up some of the remaining gifts on our list. There are a few stragglers hanging around for now, but I am hoping to get those knocked in the next week. So hopefully we will have it wrapped up (ha a little holiday humor for you…) aside from our own presents to each other* before enter into the final week countdown.

This year most of the presents will be store-bought, which may be surprising to some of you who have been around for a while. In the last four years since I picked up knitting, I have been bitten by the “knit-all-the-gifts” bug and every year has seen me tackle quite a few different projects for the people in my life. Not this year, no in fact I only have one actual-honest-to-goodness project for Christmas on the needles. I will let the shock wear off for a moment…are you okay? Good. The one gift shall remain unknown at this time due to the fact that I have no real idea if this person reads the blog or has “spies” who do. The project is one I wanted to do and one that I know will be appreciated. I will say that the lone knitted gift isn’t due to anyone being off the knit-worthy list, but rather just a change of pace. Chalk it up to the whole time of not knitting and the recent(ish) fibro diagnosis; combined with work and there you go. I actually anticipate the holidays will be a bit lighter all around this year, which isn’t a bad thing. After having a full house for Thanksgiving, both the Giant and I are looking forward to some down time to enjoy each other’s company and snuggle in with the cats. So this year I will work on my one crafting project and I will keep in mind how peaceful this might actually be instead of running around like a chicken with my head lobbed off. Because of course there is always next year’s gifts to consider, right?

How about you, are you making any handmade gifts this year? Have you finished your holiday shopping?

*the Giant and I decided a while ago that instead of actually buying each other surprise gifts each year, we decided on a price point and let each of us pick out the exact items we would want. This works for us as neither of us are huge into surprises, but I know this isn’t for everyone.

FFN:Sweetness

There may be a few among you who can recall my recent obsession with Sweet Georgia yarn, such that I purchased a skein back in October and started knitting with it and then about a week later (mainly due to time constraints on my part) I promptly went out and bought two more skeins of the stuff, having the LYS wind up a skein for me that day. The result of course is that now I have been fortunate enough to finish two pairs of socks within a relatively short amount of time. We may ignore the small fact that I finished the newest skein first, because let’s not get into my desire to abandon projects in favor of the newest yarn to cross my path. A knitter needs to keep up appearances after all. No instead let us all relish in the fact that instead of having just one finished pair I get to show you all two.

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The socks on the left are a 2×2 rib around the leg and then a continuation of the ribbing down the foot. They were knit on 2.25mm (US 1) needles and I cast on 60 stitches. The colorway is midnight garden and it is a a lovely color combo of lime green, blue-green, and purple.

The socks on the right are a basic vanilla. Knit on 2.25mm (US 1) needles and I again cast on 60 stitches, but after the ribbing I decreased by two stitches, hoping to help with the bunching around my ankles. This colorway is called Snap Dragon and it is the lime green with a bright pink and a small smattering of white thrown in.

Both socks were given k1slp1 heel flaps and dutch heels which turned out fine, I do think in the future I will try a different heel because these are just a little off in my opinion. I do love them both and plan on wearing them as often as I can as they are soft but not too soft, which I hope means little to no pilling/compaction, a common problem with some of my other softer socks. I used right around half the skein for each pair, I am calling that a win, especially with the idea of having contrasting cuff, heel and toes giving me a chance for another pair of each. One of the small advantages of having little feet.

So how are your projects coming along? Any yarn you are just gaga for ? Ever tried Sweet Georgia tough love sock?

FFN:Cubs

I finished two adorable knitting projects this past long weekend and they were a special request from a co-worker for her daughters for Christmas. This is one of those few (possibly only) times I actually knit with the yarn called for in the pattern. They turned out adorably well in my opinion, and after handing them off this past Saturday the response was a resounding “awww.”

IMG_0855The photo for the second hat was way too blurry to share, but imagine the one above, but slightly larger and with green buttons okay?

The pattern is Burton Bear Cowl, by Heidi May. A quick and easy pattern (when one, actually you know reads the pattern…sigh) I ended up using three balls of the Wool-Ease thick and quick for two of them, one child and one toddler. I did have to make the toddler one just a wee bit shorter than the pattern calls for because I was starting to run out of yarn, and I tweaked the ears because I just didn’t care for the written instructions. Lastly I didn’t add the button band portion because I was on running on fumes by that point, and I knew I wanted to use two buttons each.

All in all though, I am pleased with how they turned out. I can definitely see this as a go to pattern, although I don’t have much in my stash that would work unless held double, triple, or more!

I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving. I managed to survive a house full of extroverted people, but it wasn’t easy. Luckily the Giant was understanding and didn’t mind when I went and hid in the bedroom with the cats. In the end it was definitely worth the exhaustion I felt on Sunday and today, because Thanksgiving is still my favorite. Not just because of the green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, but those don’t hurt.

A week early

Just a heads up to any and all interested parties. Knit Picks has mixed things up this year and started their cyber Monday sale today.

The much loved Felici yarn is back in limited colors and for a limited time.

I found myself restrained quite a bit, purchasing only the things I knew for sure I wanted.
The list:
-2 tape measures because apparently I am only currently in possession of one.
-1 project bag
-1 sweater quantity of city tweed dk
And….
-3 kinds of felici sock yarn

Considering I want to try to be more mindful of not only what’s in the stash now, but also what is brought into it this seemed like a good purchase.

How about you? Thinking about checking out the sale? Already made your purchases?

Minor Milestone

It is with minor sadness and more than a wee bit of pride that I inform you of the passing of the Merino Socks, formally known as a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn. The first entered the world on June 18th 2013 and their creation was shared with the dear readers of this very blog. A well-loved pair of socks, they met their demise this past week, while performing their duty with the utmost of vigor. They leave behind a somewhat heart-broken Giant, a proud and accepting knitter as well as a partial ball of left over yarn. Services for the sock were conducted the other day with loved ones in attendance. The ceremony was brief, with a fond farewell given to the pair.

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While this is ultimately a rather sad occasion, there is more than a bit of pride in the fact that these socks lasted almost two years and this was despite the lack of nylon. This also marks the first pair of socks to have met their end by doing their job, aka being worn. (We shall not mention the incident with the washer and an unfamiliar helper to the ways of non-superwash wool. ) The Giant has been assured that rather than being upset at this situation, I am actually happy. These socks were well-loved and well-worn which is pretty much all that I ask for in terms of knits. I did pacify him a bit, by the promise of another pair for him, although getting him to pick out yarn seems to be akin to attempting to nail jello to a tree.

So have any of you sock knitters walked holes through your work? Ever had an item/gift worn through due to use, how did you feel?

 

Stashed

This past Sunday in a fit of anxiety and a desire to “control all the things” I decided to protect my sanity (and that of everyone else’s) by instead channeling this…er passion into something relatively controllable, the stash. I have spoken a few times of my yarn stash here on the blog, and among some fiber friendly people, but for the most part the stash exists in its own little world. I have maintained its health with regular feedings and sustained the integrity with some pruning around the edges.

For some reason, after an ill-fated attempt at shoveling the snow we ended up getting on Sunday, (oh hey there fibro…no, no I didn’t forget about you for too long, trust me)  I felt that it was entirely necessary for me to focus what little energy I had left to taking stock of all the yarn and fiber I have been stock piling for the last few years. A big push came from the fact that some rather large shopping days in the US are coming up rather shortly. I have in the past, relied on one particular vendor’s pretty fantastic Cyber Monday yarn sale to seriously increase the stash size. However in the last year I have found myself not only branching out from their items not only through my local yarn stores, but also through dealings with other online vendors, which has left me a little less enthused with the wares. I can’t say with absolute certainty that I won’t visit their website, but I definitely don’t anticipate participating in such a large purchase this year.

In general I don’t see myself jumping headlong into any major yarn purchases at this point (the exception being if my latest obsession, Sweet Georgia Yarns, Tough Love Sock, were to go on sale, because I am having some serious grabby hands going on for that stuff.) The whole not buying yarn can be in part attributed to the stash toss I did on Sunday, it is also born out of the fact, with the exception of the a fore mentioned grabby hands inducing stuff, that I don’t find really feel compelled to buy all the things this year.

The stash toss definitely let me learn a few things about myself, or at least my earlier knitting career.

1)I have quite a lot of yarn.

2)The vast majority of yarn in my stash was picked up because it was on sale (the previously mentioned Cyber Monday sale being the main culprit)

3) The yarn in my stash isn’t entirely reflective of the kind of yarn I want to be knitting with.

4)There is a lot of items I said I would knit that I have never gotten around to.

5) I haven’t kept up with my stash on Ravelry (this has been remedied)

6) I haven’t kept up with my projects on Ravelry (working on this)

7) I am at the point where I feel comfortable spending a bit more on yarn that I love

8) I want to thin out the stash in order to make room for the grabby hands inducing yarns

9) I don’t feel bothered by the size of my stash

10) I do feel a bit bothered by the content of my stash.

To this end I have decided to attempt to limit my buying of yarn for the next small while in order to work through some of my yarn. I am not going cold-sheep or anything, but I also want to be mindful of not only what I am bringing into the stash, but also what I am getting out of it. I have had yarns sitting in their since 2011 and I would rather have a better turn over rate than that. So for the foreseeable future I am going to try and work through the stash, and limit what I feed it.

So have any of you taken stock of your stash lately? Do you find yourself excited by what you find within the confines of your stash, or do you have some “fell victim to the yarn fumes and sale prices”? Any favorite stash busting projects you like to use?

 

Goodbye Autumn

The weather has turned cold in my little corner of the world. Winter has decided to show itself in small doses with our first dusting of snow settling in this week. The temperature has fallen and while Autumn is still technically around, nature and most retailers have moved forward. Of course this means that the tree in my front yard, that I had until recently declared was broken, is now covered in half turned leaves that can’t seem to make up their mind as to whether they should continue their progression into a deep and wonderful plum color or to give up entirely and shed in one mass exodus leaving the tree bare and the ground littered in a see of half melted snow and green and purple leaves. I am voting for the continuation of color, however I believe the giant would prefer they get on with it already.

To say I am sad to see this splendid Autumn go is understatement, as a sort of melancholy seems to have crept up on me in the night. Despite the promise of a favorite holiday on the horizon I still find myself wondering where the time has gone. I feel as though it was only yesterday when we were delighting in the cooler evenings of a languishing summer. I could have sworn just a few hours ago the splendid palate of color coaxed from the trees was just beginning and I would have thought that the gleeful laughter of children dressing up as ghouls and goblins was a mere five minutes ago. This is not the case, of course, instead here we are about two weeks into November and I am among the dazed waking up to below freezing morning and leaving work when the sun is spreading out its last tendrils of light.

The desire to stay in bed, beneath the warm covers, tucked inside my little home grows stronger with each passing morning and I find myself contemplating the idea of hibernation while trying to figure out just how one would manage while still earning an income. With a considerable lack of prospects in my future, instead the morning finds me battling my instincts and getting ready for the day. This has included knitting, although thanks to the aforementioned darkness when I finally arrive home, the picture department is seriously lacking. Instead I turn to words, hoping to not only provide a chance to work on my descriptions and therefore my story telling, but also to provide you with a bit more than the mere 432 words I am at now. I will stick with the main one getting some action, because if nothing else it gives me something to write about later.

My most worked on projects are socks, a definite go to project for whenever I am out and about. I like to take socks with me for a few reason: 1) they can be pretty simple and mindless. 2) Thanks to working on DPNS I feel like my ability to quickly stop is easier. and 3) They are small enough to stuff in a bag or coat pocket and head out.

I currently have two active socks in progress. The good news is that I am on the second sock, the bad news is that they are for different pairs. The main one, for at least this week, is knit out of some luscious Sweet Georgia yarn. Now there maybe some among you who think they know which sock I am talking of, but you would be wrong. Because, thanks to some extra cash and a very patient husband I managed to score another two skeins of the stuff a little over two weeks ago. I am starting to think the stuff might be a little like catnip for me, because the colors and feel of the yarn makes me deliriously happy, which is great as long as we don’t consult the wallet aspect. Not to worry, it isn’t like I blew the cat food budget on yarn, nor is it like the Giant was forced to go to the yarn shop, at least not directly. The dude does get some pretty sweet hand knits out of it.

In regards to color this sock is a completely out of the norm for me, a wonderful combination of lime green and a deep pink, the colorway is called Snap Dragon. I am knitting a simple vanilla pair with this yarn; a simple ribbed cuff followed by plain knitting until it reaches a length I felt was right and then a little heel flap and heel and we are off to the races as I pick up stitches for the gusset and work my way down to the foot. The first sock was a relatively quick little number taking me about a week to finish, which is saying something since it has really only seen action before work and during breaks. (Knitting like everything else, except for sleep, has been relegated to the back burner. You don’t want to know how long it has been since I have spun anything.) I cast on for the second one immediately and knit for a good long while, until I realized I had forgotten the decreases for the leg, (a simple test to see if they might fit just a little better.) A trip to the frog pond and a recast found me back on track and nearly recovered in terms of lost yardage.

Thanks to the daily knitting, coworkers have started noticing that me and the yarn, which has prompted more than a few confessions of their own knitting attempts. Introverted wise I am sometimes a little wary of people approaching me, but in this case it actually hasn’t been too bad. I suppose the fact that no one really sits down to chat for extended periods might be a part of it too.

So how is your crafting going? Has winter begun to rear its ugly head? Do you bring your knitting with you to work?

FFNF:Wee Bits

A few items fresh from the needles for this Friday. I was asked to knit up some bows and a couple headbands (for the tiny humans that don’t have enough hair) and I managed to create the wee bits rather quickly.

Knit out of a simply garter stitch rectangle with the tail ends of the yarn woven to the center and then wrapped around. Simply, quick, and kind of addictive.

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The headbands were even cuter (if possible.) Another quick and simple knit, garter stitch and some sewing up.

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On to the next knitting adventure.

Being careful not to twist

After four years of knitting, I have seen this phrase more times than I can sufficiently count (and yes I did try to think of a number.) A seemingly common sense phrase that after a while you (or least I do) tend to gloss over, secure in your ability to tell the difference between when the knitting is working and not. I have executed my fair share of knitted items, and as part of those a large quantity have been completed in the round. There have been a few times when I noticed that I was a bit off track and that my knitting was twisted, so I simply ripped out the piece and restarted (there may or may not have been an instance or two where I promptly did the same thing over again, but we shall not dwell on that.) For the most part I have been aware enough to notice and able to fix it.

However, in one particular instance of knitterly smugness (because that is now a thing) a knitter (not me of course) decided to either ignore completely the signs of this dangerous thing, or was so interested in the pattern and the fact that she stuffed way too many stitches on way too small of a needle to really notice. Regardless the “unknown knitter” worked on a project until a few rows to the end before becoming aware/acknowledging this crucial mistake. After a few moments of checking that it was actually the case, the knitter considered her options.

1) Rip the entire thing back and start over, use of expletives would be accepted

2) Finish the project, run some sewing stitches down two sections, snip the knitting and then reattach the pieces together and carry on.

3) Hide the piece under a rock/tree/in the back of the closet and pretend nothing had ever transpired, bonus points for having never mentioned it on the blog.

4) Finish the project as is and keep it hidden out of embarrassment

5) Share the piece on the blog and decide to call it a design feature.

Ladies and gentlemen number 5 wins.

The knitter faced with such a quandary was me, and I definitely thought of all of those options before saying screw it and rolling with the twists.While I don’t love the fact that my attention to detail seems to resemble that of a that of a teenager sitting through a boring class, I did at least end up with a pretty nifty project.

The piece? Honeycowl by Antonia Shankland. Yarn was some random worsted light green kicking around the stash. It’s a wool and fairly soft, but it isn’t super was near as I can tell.

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The photo isn’t the greatest, thanks to the whole time change it’s been too dark when I get home to get a decent photo. Other than the personal screw up the pattern wasn’t difficult and produces a nice squishy FO that I plan on making again. The cowl is large enough ( I cast on the large size) to wrap around my neck twice, which is perfect for the cooler weather we have been having.

If nothing else this project was a reminder to stop and pay a little more attention to the task at hand…or something like that right?

Little Monsters

A little bit of knitting to show this Monday morning. The first two were projects that have been sitting around just waiting for some little bits of finishing. They are made out of some left over stash (Knit Picks Felici Sport to be exact) and are just from my own mind. I started them quite awhile ago on a whim and after sitting down and just finishing the foot for one along with sewing on another eye and working on some arms and feet for the other they are finished.

I think they are quite adorable and pretty spot on for this time of year. I present to you my little monsters.

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Between the two of them I managed to knock out most of the remnants of the skeins which was perfect.

My knitting trend continued as I decided to try a pattern for another little critter. This time I decided to try something a little more familiar looking. Following the pattern by Linda Dawkins, aka Mamma4earth on Ravelry I made the Beans the Cat Pattern out of some left over Malabrigo Rios.

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This little guy is pictured sitting in my hand for scale. Despite my poor eye sewing skills and the fact that I opted for a knit nose instead of the felted one that she recommends I still love the little guy. It is a little hard to see in the photo but the cat even has a sweet little i-cord tail. I definitely see myself making more of these in the future.

I can definitely see the appeal of knitting up little creatures like this, in terms of time and general adorableness but not to worry about the dear little Sweet Georgia sock, it is still seeing quite a bit of progress,although it still looks similar to wear I was before (black hole knitting anyone?) The giant and I did make a trek out to one of the lys’s this weekend and I managed to get a second pair of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz for sock knitting (hurrah) I also picked up a lovely skein of Berroco Vintage Worsted in a fun and vibrant red for the Giant, well technically he picked it out, but it is destined to be a new season-that-is-impending-but-shall-not-be-named-right-now hat for him. I am given free rein when it comes to picking a pattern so my next task will be sitting down and browsing through Ravelry for inspiration.

Any one have any ideas? Any hats that you just love to make that you just feel compelled to shout from the roof tops about? Comments would be greatly appreciated. Until next time.

 

 

Fresh From the Needles Friday: Autumn Socks

The socks are finished! The socks are finished! I feel like shouting from the rooftop, which isn’t really safe when you consider it, from the rafters maybe, but even then I think the combo of insulation and general dust is enough to give most a serious case of hives. Ahem, right the socks. Remember when I lamented on the halfway point? Yeah, those babies are done.

What follows is the continuation of realizing the difficulty of taking accurate photos of one’s own feet. If you haven’t tried it before I suggest you take the opportunity to give it a shot. Just think of how you would want to display a pair of socks (while on your feet) and give it a go. Not that easy huh? Anyway here’s the photos in all their awkward posing on my end. The things we do for the blog, huh?

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The socks, are knit out of Knit Picks Felici Fingering (now discontinued) in the Maple Leaf colorway. I used my standard top down socks with a slight mod. I cast on 60 stitches and worked a 2×2 ribbing all the way down the leg and then split the stitches in half and did an Eye of Partridge heel flap and Dutch heel. Working my way through the gusset I kept the ribbing down the top of the foot until switching to straight knit for the toes.

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These are pretty dang comfy and with the cooler weather I have already given these a test drive with great success. The one thing I have noticed on most of my socks is that I seem to end up with a baggy portion right before the heel flap, any one else end up with this? Possible fixes? Give me a shout out in the comments if you have an idea.

 

Lastly a little more stash enhancement made its way to me this past week. IMG_0596This lovely 4 ounces of Polwarth from Moonrover yarns in the awesome colorway, Grand Budapest. Which is based on the fun and hilarious Wes Anderson Film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have been able to hold of spinning it, so far. No promises for the weekend.

 

A little color

I have been finding myself perusing the stash more and more as of late, born out of a somewhat sudden desire to knit socks. Unfortunately I seemed to find little in terms of inspiration within the confines of my well loved stash. Overall my buying has slowed considerably and what little I have been purchasing has been fiber or very project specific, this coupled with lower turn overs than I would have liked, has left the stash feeling a bit stale. So what’s a knitter to do?

Make a trip to the local yarn shops of course. Notice how I said shops, yes indeed my area is now home to three local yarn shops, yes it is pretty fantastic. A few weeks ago the Giant and I managed to visit one of the two newer stores and so this time we decided to visit the other new one and also check out the third shop as well. The newest LYS is a wonderful little store, filled with a variety of yarns and accessories, but little by way of sock yarn. Undeterred I did manage to snag a new set of DPN’s that have proved helpful for sock knitting. I find my hands were growing sore after only a few rounds with the straight (and inexpensive) metal ones and I only really had two pairs of wood needles in the right size. Unfortunately one of the sets of wood needles splintered, leaving me with just the one pair, which is by my standards unacceptable. So the hunt was on, the shop didn’t actually carry bamboo or wood needles and so I decided to be a bit brave and try out a new to me set. Knitter’s Pride Karbonz, in a 2.25mm (US 1) came home with me.

Since my efforts to procure sock yarn were a bust at the first yarn store, the Giant and I made out way to the second, more established one and right away I noticed some changes. I could tell I hadnobbession’t been shopping in a while because I was immediately struck by the desire to buy all the things. (Okay maybe that had nothing to do with the whole not buying for a while and more to do with the obsession I have with yarn. Let’s just say it’s Little column A, Little column B.) After looking at the lovelies for quite I awhile I decided upon four skeins that seemed like a great antidote for breaking me out of the stash ennui that had settled.

Lest you think I am completely heartless, I would like to point out that I did give the Giant the opportunity to pick out a skein for a pair of socks for him. Can I just say that man was quick with picking out his skein, leaving me no real room to even consider taking back the offer (not that I would, but you have to wonder if he might be itching for a new pair of socks.) My selection was a bit more vibrant than I usually go for (again I think this was a desire to break out of the muted tons that seem to occupy my stash right now.) I also branched out in my selection of yarn choices, picking up all new to me brands (or at least styles within a brand, but more on that later.) I did have a few moments of contemplation when we were driving home and realized that I have come a long way in the last 4.5 years since I started knitting again. What would have been an absurd amount of money just for my new needles back then, left me with little guilt now. The same can be said of the yarn purchases, I would never have considered spending that much money on one skein of yarn let alone four at once, but I have come to realize that my skill set has improved enough and I have confidence enough that I don’t feel as though it is a waste of money to spend that much on things for myself (or the Giant.) In the end it really isn’t about the money, I mean yes having a little more for the yarn budget is great and I know that I have to save for things like this, but in all honesty I really do think it has more to do with my growth as a knitter than it has to do with the growth of budgeted account.

Anyway, enough torture for you all. Here are the lovelies.

First up is Regia. This is the new style within the brand for me. I have worked with Regia before and have enjoyed the durability and feel of the yarn. This time I picked up the 6-fadig color style in the 6363 Leaves colorway. This yarn is a wonderful set of colors and promises to stripe up in just the way I like.

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The next purchase came from and is for the Giant. This marks the first time I will be using Trekking XXL and I am hoping it will be as good as others have stated it is. Of course because I seem unable to completely escape the more neutral colors, the Giant’s pick was a bit toned down for my taste. Maybe I will knit a bright stripe of something into it just to spice things up. Only kidding, of course.

IMG_0598The next in line was another new to me brand, I will freely admit the colors got me on this one. It’s Lang Yarns  JaWoll Color, in the oh so creative 902.0009 colorway. This was probably the first thing that caught my eye and definitely got held a bit as I walked around the shop browsing other things. I know that I am not alone in that so I have little fear sharing it with you all, but sometimes there is yarn that I am like, “yeah this would be nice and maybe I should get it,” so I will consider it, then put it back and look around for something else and maybe go back for the skein or not. Then there are the skeins where you are like “must have the precious, we loves the precious, it must be ours,” and you carry the thing around like it is a lost relic or something….no just me? Okay then.

Anyway this skein just really turns my crank and so I think it may hang out in the stash for just a little while, sitting a shrine on me desk. I can offer it lesser skeins as tribute and pet it as I check my email or just go in there to hang out with it. Ahem…right a photo.

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The photo above isn’t doing it much justice, it’s more deep tones with less of a reddish hue. Definitely a bit on the cooler side of the spectrum.

The last skein was a surprise for me in a few ways, first it marked the first time I actually saw this yarn in the LYS and it was the first time that I found a brand that I was actually really familiar with in the wild. It seems to be popping up all over the blogs and podcasts I check out and so for me ti was one of those, hey it’s a tiny world moments. Anyway this definitely marked my falling down the rabbit hole in terms of buying all four skeins. It is also the one that sent me into the reflective mindset as mentioned above. The yarn is Sweet Georgia, in the Tough Love base in the Midnight Garden colorway. This was in a hank which for good or ill (depending on how you want to look at it) was wound up right on the spot by the lovely ladies at the shop. Which of course meant combined with the fact that I had a new pair of needles at my disposal there was nothing standing in my way in terms of casting on right there.

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So I did. This yarn is producing more of a swirled pattern instead of a traditional stripe, which I find myself enjoying just as much.

There you have it my latest attempts at busting out of the “boring old stash.” It seems good to breathe a little new life into it every once and while. If nothing else I think this should tide me over for at least a little while.

Have you made any new purchases lately? Tried out the yarn I listed? Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

Fresh From the Needles Friday: In two parts

I realize this is the third time I am posting this week which is pretty fantastic considering my recent track record. Anyway the last few weeks have been pretty darn productive around here. Thankfully my hands seem to have been making a decent recovery and while I have been taking it slow (ish) I am definitely feeling like I need to make up for lost time. I have been working on some quick and dirty projects for that almost instantaneous gratification. Which has had the bonus ability of providing a much-needed boost to my confidence. Lucky you I get to show off not one but two projects fresh from the needles.

The first up is a simple cowl using some left over semi-mystery yarn in the stash. I know it’s from the Debbie Bliss line and it is a wool blend but beyond that I am not sure. I cast on a random number of stitches using a 1X1 ribbed cast on. I followed the ribbed pattern until I had just enough yarn to bind off. The yarn was a little rougher than the stuff I normally work with so I gave it a little soak with some conditioner and left it to dry. The result is a wonderful snug little cowl. The first photo doesn’t do the color justice so I have included a photo of it drying to show the contrast.

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The second piece to share with you is the result of the same set of techniques but with less stitches and less yarn. A simple 1×1 ribbed hat.

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Luckily this time I do know the yarn, it is Knit Picks Swish DK in the Marlin colorway. Way back at the beginning of the year I made a blanket for my newest niece out of the Swish DK and because at the time of ordering it I wasn’t sure how big I wanted to go I ended up with two of each of the colors. The skeins aren’t terrible, but at 123 yds my options are a little more limited. I ended up with a hat that fits more like a beanie than anything else, at least on my head. I am thinking for a kid or younger adult it might be a bit better fit (aka actually cover their ears.)

Spinning has continued as well, although I have no photos to share. Just imagine two balls of singles where there was one last time. I am starting on the third section with the spindle. I have made it a habit to try to spin a little before bed time, much to the cats enjoyment. It appears Toby is finding the Bossie of particular interest and will sit a foot or two away from me when I start spinning, but slowly inch his way closer until he can bat at the thing with a quick little paw. Luckily he hasn’t done any damage to the thing and after a while he gives up to retreat to the safer distance. Another cat is still fond of the polwarth fiber and will take the opportunity to rub his nose around in it while purring like a little boat motor.

In other news the weather is finally starting to feel like Autumn, a few cooler days have left me dreaming of more comforting woolies. I find myself dreaming of sweaters and cardigans, but I don’t think I have enough yarn of any particular shade/combo to do one justice, well unless you count some lace weight, but while I dream of snuggly cardi I am not crazy enough to try something like that at this point…unless I want it for next year (if I am lucky.)

How’s your crafting going? Do you have the beginnings of Autumn in your area? What’s peaking your interest in terms of crafting?

 

Wheels Wednesday

I am mixing things up a little (and not just by posting more than once a week :D) this weeks Wheel Wednesday is a variation on the theme. Instead of showing you the latest lovely on the wheel I am going to show you my newest wheel.  Yes you read that right, not only did I manage to snag an awesome new spindle (thanks again Ms. Marja!) but I also am now the owner of three wheels…Well sort of. You may remember that I have owned a lovely little Kromski Prelude for almost three years.

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My new wheel, Beatrice.

In the past year I managed to gain an additional wheel, a Honeybee double treadle.

20140219_130615Which brings the count up to two for those playing along at home. The newest wheel was in fact a belated birthday present from my in-laws. My father in law actually spotted it in a shop and managed to get it for a great price.

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The wheel is a little worse for wear, but nothing completely out of sorts. It came with tons of accessories, distaff, linen bowl ect. It also seems that it could be usable with a little TLC, but there is only one small problem… the wheel itself.

 

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It’s in fact a child’s wheel. I have put it next to the Prelude (a small wheel to begin with) as comparison. So maybe it would be fair to say I have 2.5 wheels?

In reality I know very little about the wheel, the previous owner(s) ended up attaching these weird ornamental bell type pieces ( I can’t imagine there were put there originally.) The in-laws were awesome and had taken the thing to their local yarn shop and the owner wasn’t positive but thought that there was a strong chance it wasn’t a reproduction…so wise and knowledgeable readers out there. Do any you have any guesses? No markings, or if there are they are covered by varnish (I hope it’s varnish and not legit paint, but some people’s kids and all.)

Anyway happy Wednesday!

Where to Start?

Readers, I have a new pretty to show you. Thanks to the awesome magic skills of Ms. Marja I am now the proud new-to-me owner of my very own Bosworth spindle. You may remember my not so subtle coveting of Marja’s Bossie spindle a while ago (hpurchase new (which isn’t terrible by any means.) The hunt continued as I toyed with combos, although I (and Marja) noticed that there seemed to be a severe lack of zebra wood middi’s available. Now of course I didn’t have to have the zebra wood, a Bossie is a Bossie…is a Bossie, but I have always kind of liked zebras and the striping of the wood is just gorgeous. So imagine my surprise when Ms. Marja sent me a quick little note mentioning that she managed to snatch one off a destash and asked if I would like it. I can safely tell you I read the email about three times (very quickly) before responding with a very enthusiastic yes. Thanks to some birthday funds I was able to buy it from her and this past Wednesday I received my lovely.

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I had decided to bring along some fiber I had been saving for a special occasion and this seemed like a great way to break in the new spindle. The fiber is a wonderful braid of Polwarth from Dyeabolical Yarns in the Thunderboom colorway. Ironically this is the second fiber Marja and I managed to by the same color of. The first was at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival this past summer. This fiber is a wonderful combo of greens,blues and grays that combine to make some lovely and interesting singles. The astute among you may notice the small ball in the background of this photo, that is the stuff I spun Wednesday night and part of Thursday evening after work. I decided to split the fiber vertically into strips and that ball marked the first strip. I am hoping to chain ply and end up with a lovely striping skein.

I am loving the colors and the spindle and have been spinning pretty much every evening (or day on the weekend) much to the cat’s enjoyment. One seems to be in love with the fiber and another is fascinated with the spindle itself. I do find it funny that at least two of the cats seem to have discerning tastes when it comes to fiber of the three of them one is a sucker for BFL (me too) and now the second one seems to covet the Polwarth (which who could blame him, right?) The last one as of now just seems to think spinning and knitting are a game that he must get involved with and play until I have to chase him off a little ways.

Speaking of cats, the three of them are finally starting to get along fairly well. There have been a few squabbles along the way but 3 months in we achieved a victory. Here;s to some peace in our little corner of the world.

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Just a Hat

Finally something knitted to share! This is the Barley hat, a free pattern on Ravelry. I ended up using handspun and fulling it slightly. The yarn definitely softened with use and another bath, although the dye bled a bit into the water. I made the largest size which was a mistake for a couple of reason. The first being the garter stitch section is way too large for me. That was my own doing I made the mistake of not reading the patterns needle size suggestions well enough and decided to over compensate by making the large size. (With the idea I would full it later. ) Oh well, what can you do? The hat is still warm and I am sure it will be a fine addition to the winter collection.

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Randomly from Here

Cross Stitch In Progress

Just a little update from the land of the Introverted Knitter. The next round of cross stitch progress for your Friday. I have added the tree branch and the little owl along the top, and ended up shifting a bit from the pattern (again.) Essentially I added some length to the branch the wee owl is sitting on, and I am planning on turning the branch into a tree, forgoing the candy pieces that make up the rest of the little sampler.

So far the cross stitch doesn’t seem to aggravate my hands which is fantastic news as I have been itching for something to do besides reading. Which leads me into random thing number two. I have finished the Game of Thrones Book Two (Clash of Kings) I actually finished about a week ago and have already started on book three. I definitely enjoyed book two more than book one, I think having an investment in the characters made the book zoom along for me. Book three is longer by about 200 and thus far has been a slightly different flavor in terms of story lines. I won’t say much beyond that in terms of plots but I can say that the series itself is very fun and definitely a well thought out “universe.” I would recommend it if you are into fantasy and/or middle ages type of “history.” I will be the first to say it isn’t for everyone, but I do think that the if someone is into that kind of concepts that they should give it a try. As a history/religious studies fan I definitely enjoy aspects of the universe.

In other news my birthday is coming up this weekend and while I tend to avoid any real big celebrations I do think the Giant and I will mark the occasion in some small way, the decision probably being determined with how I am feeling. Anyway happy finally Friday to you all and I hope you have a great weekend.

 

 

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