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FFN: Handspun Socks

I finally finished The Giant’s handspun socks, this is exciting because it marks the first pair of hand spun socks that I have knit. I cast these bad boys on back on January 9 of this year and managed to knock out the first sock fairly quickly. Unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention to the amount of yarn I was using, which meant I was going to come up short for the second sock. After a brief discussion with The Giant, it was decided to sub in a somewhat similar color of yarn for the heel. This ended up working out well because the finished socks left me with less than a yard of yarn left.

As for the second sock itself, the knitting went pretty slow. I found that I was just not picking it up and working on it like I normally do. Second Sock Syndrome thankfully doesn’t strike all that much around here, so the lack of progress on this sock was weird. It took until yesterday early morning/late night (that weird time where you haven’t gone to sleep yet, but technically it’s the next day…) for me to realize where the issue was coming from. I actually feel a little silly that I didn’t figure it out sooner, but something about learning and all that. My issue? It came down to an extra needle. I knit my socks on DPN’s (cuff down for those playing along at home) and for this pair I somehow only had four needles to work with. I have a variety of different sock needles, but my usual ones are the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz, I tried them for the first time in the last year or so and fancied them enough to go out and buy a few more sets. Unfortunately along the way one needle ended up have the metal tip come loose/fall off (I haven’t had any issues like that with the rest of the needles) which meant that I had two full sets of 5 needles and one set of just 4. Normally when I knit I like to have 4 needles to spread out the stitches (and save my hands) with the fifth one being my “working” needle. But, because of that random 4 set I somehow never thought to nab one of the free needles I have. Of course I only really discovered this once I had knit about 70% of the second sock; let me tell you that once I realized the issue (and made the change) that last 30% flew by. So lesson learned.

As for the socks, I have been told that they are the best fitting ones thus far (which is great, because I actually made modifications this time AND took notes.)

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Sorry for the potato quality photos, I ended up giving them to The Giant to try on, and they ended up getting worn all night. Fun fact, trying to take photos late at night with cats determined to investigate is a real challenge.

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You can see in the photo above the heel from the first sock, I ended up using the other end of the ball to not disturb the sequence; you may notice that there is a random change in the striping at the foot. I am going to chalk it up to the randomness of hand spun.

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This is where the extra yarn came into play. I tried to find something that I thought might blend in more, which thanks to the random colors meant that some Sweet Georgia Tough Love sock was just the ticket. I feel like it’s less noticeable in person, although that might just be a delusional attempt to keep myself from obsessing over it.

Like I said above The Giant said these were the best fitting pair so far, which is great. the mods I made to my usual recipe are as follows.

I ended up knitting a 2×2 rib for 20 rounds, knit the leg for 60 rounds, Fish Lips Kiss Heel (side note I think I finally have the pattern memorized!) 7 1/2 inches until the toe decreases, followed by a decrease pattern that goes, k1, k2tog at the first needle (make sure the stitches are in the right place.) second needle, k2tog, k1 (repeat first and second on third and fourth) knit 3 rounds, repeat decreases, knit 2 rounds, repeat decreases, knit 2 rounds, repeat decreases, knit 1 round, repeat decreases, and then repeat decreases every round until 20 stitches remain total, kitchner and then weave in ends. My quest for a good rounded toe is ongoing, so I am sure the toes may be modified at some point in the future, but otherwise I will keep using this recipe for The Giant at least.

So how’s your knitting going?

FO: Pineapple and Cactus

Back in October my best friend packed herself up and made a move half way across the country. Lucky for the both of us, The Giant and I were able to take a really short, but amazingly fun trip out there within her first month. Unfortunately this was the last time the two of us would see each other until this past Friday. In honor of the reunion I decided to create a small gift for her.

The two of us are definitely introverts and we both affectionally call ourselves indoor cats. To that end we both seem to have low tolerances for large amounts of people, regardless if it is in number or time. (I will say she is by far better at handling people than I am, I have difficulty with controlling my facial expressions.) This low tolerance has manifested itself in a similar way for the two of us. We both tend to be cautious and a bit “prickly” when it comes to people in general (not rude, just not in your face, or the let’s be friends forever even though we just met kind of thing.) Of course once we get to know people, and let our guard down we can actually be pretty cool/sweet (this is a matter of opinion, but I would like to think it’s true.)

Along the way we found realized a good way to describe our personalities are similar to a pineapple (her) and a cactus (me.) Get it? The prickly on the outside sweet/cool on the inside thing.

Which is why for a little reunion gift I made this:

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I took inspiration for the cactus and pot from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, but tweaked it a bit (credit where credit is due and all that.) 

What’s on the Wheel Wednesday?

Since the beginning of the year I have been spinning a new to me fiber from a new to be dyer. Granted when I say since the beginning of the year, I mean I started this on New Year’s Day and have spun a few minutes once or twice in the last month. Luckily it isn’t anything to do with the fiber, rather some issues related to fibro, but today was as good a day as any in the last few weeks. The fiber was purchased late last year thanks to an instagram update from Created by Elsie B. If you follow the blog much you might know that I am a sucker for purple and green variations, and this fiber was just enough to tip me into buying.

Speaking of buying or rather no buying, this January I decided to take a page off from Amanda over at Knot a Podcast and go the whole month with no fiber related (or even craft related) purchases. Thankfully the month is almost done, but I never really realized just how often I seem to be tempted to buy. I may purchase one small thing in February, but other than that, the whole not having a fiber budget anymore will effectively cause me to go into cold sheeping for the foreseeable future.

Oh yeah, that fiber I was mentioning above, you are probably wondering a little more about that. Well like I was saying it is a new to me fiber, Targhee, which I think might be quickly replacing BFL in the role of favorite fiber. (I will wait for you all to catch your collective breaths.) So I never managed to get a photo of this fiber originally (and must have mistakenly forgotten to make a stash entry on ravelry…yeah let’s go with that reasoning.) But the fiber is a mix of greens, maroons (which is about as pink as I normally am willing to go) a little bit of blue and some muddy brown to blend it. Guys, this fiber is a big hit in this house. I love the colors and the way it is spinning up, one of the cats is in love with the fiber itself (there have been multiple attempts to not only occupy it’s space near me when I spin, but also there is a not so subtle plan to abduct the unspun fiber like a squirrel planning for hibernation.) Suffice it to say that both the cats and I are pretty smitten.

I think you will probably be too. I mean just look at the way it is spinning up.IMG_2328

Now you might be able to tell how finely it is being spun, which means that I am nowhere near done spinning this. Of course the cats aren’t complaining, and frankly neither am I.

How is your crafting going? Any spinning projects you are just falling in love with? Anyone else feel like they might be willing to turn their backs on their original love are really enjoying a new fiber?

Knitting Style

I have been knitting for almost six years now and ever since I picked up the needles (again, there was a lapse, but I had to relearn so I don’t really count that time) I have knit Contintental. When I was first learning to knit, a long time ago, this was how I was taught and when I picked up the needles (again) I just browsed until I found the style that looked like mine. At the time I never really thought about the fact that there was a difference; I mean I did wonder why, when I knit, the needles didn’t stand up like they do in the cartoons. Other than that it wasn’t until I joined Ravelry that I discovered the difference.

In the intervening years I haven’t found myself ever really dipping into the English style and when I think about Portugese style I find myself getting an itchy neck. Why am I bringing this up? Well like most knitters I would love to be faster. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I am a process knitter, but at the same time it would be nice to have things done at a quicker pace. Think of how long it takes to knit a sock for a Giant person (who by the way, wants me to clarify, does not have feet the size of snowboards.)

So for the last few months I have been researching just what I can do to improve my knitting speed. The usual suggestions seem to indicate that knitting continental is a great way to increase your speed (as opposed to English style) that is my style now so that didn’t really help. I heard that “flicking” or American knitting is also a great way to increase speed; although this one relies on the fact that you can in fact knit English style. Whenever I try the English way I usually end up in a tangled mess that makes me feel like I am all thumbs. Lastly there is the more ergonomic way, known as Irish cottage knitting ( I have heard it called a lot of other names as well.) This one is something I have been trying to get a handle on for a little while now, but since I don’t knit much on straight needles it is a little hard to get down.

My next move was to look at the knitting style of those who seem to be forever showing a parade of knitting. One of the first people that springs to mind is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka the Yarn Harlot. Now I know that there have been numerous discussions on her knitting style, Irish Cottage knitting, and there are videos of her knitting and it seems as if the fabric just appears out of her hands (which it does, in a way.) Another person who seems to knit really fast is Mina Phillip from the Expat Podcast, her style is in line with flicking. Of course there is always the words fastest knitter, Miriam Tegels, and if I understand her micro movements correctly she seems ot knit continental.

So three people who by my estimation (or in the case of one, the Guiness Book of World Records) knit incredibly fast, but they all seem to do it in different ways. Does that help me? No, not really, at least not on the surface. One thing they all have in common is that they make very small movements. This is great in practice, but makes for a poor visuals in randomly captured youtube videos. Of course I know it is important to practice the technique and that speed will eventually happen, but I think my biggest problem is that I make rather large movements (relatively speaking.)

It appears the next step is to learn the two other styles (well three if you figure it might be good to learn English before Flicking) and work on making my movemetns a lot smaller.

Here’s to trying something new in 2016, right?

How do you knit? Do you consider yourself a fast knitter, slow, or somewhere in between. Have you “bridged” the gap and learned a new style of knitting?

 

Works in Progress:Hand Spun Socks

Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting to you on location at the home of the Introverted Knitter. I spoke with IK to discuss her progress on the vibrant and squishy hand spun socks she was last seen working on for The Giant.

It appears that the sock knitting has gone well, with the first sock being completed this past weekend. I am told that there was some frustration on the part of IK as she went to measure the remaining yarn cake (which to this reporter sounds like it should be a delicious snack, but I digress) and discovered that she had used over half of the ball. Our sources indicate that there was some language unbecoming a knitter , and there may have been a passing reference to feet the size of snowboards; but it is of this reporters opinion that the comments may have come about during a particular period of duress.

When speaking to Introvereted Knitter after the fact she seemed to have found a proposed solution to the yardage problem, although this reporter can’t be sure if there was still some unresolved annoyance and hostility at the upset. I am told that the solution will involve another yarn being used for the heel, this comes after a consultation with the Giant, who I am told is still very happy to be getting the very first pair of hand spun socks.

Our sources also confirm that the socks have been put into the rotation of things to be knit, which of course indicates their fall from the top spot. It appears that while the second sock is still being worked on, some of the appeal seems to have been lost. It is of this reporter’s opinion that it may simply be a matter of the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome, rather than any actual distaste for the handspun. When asked for comment on this theory, IK was heard to be mutter to herself as she counted, this reporter knew when to leave someone armed with multiple pointy sticks alone. When attempt to confirm the state of mind that IK seems to be in, we contacted the other entities in the home, only to be met with varying states of disinterest, blank stares and various meows. I am told that the meows may have been due to a desire for a treat, but we could not independently corraborate this information at this time.

When asked about her over all state of being, I was told by IK that, it has been a rather bad week so far. She elaborated by explaining her sleep has been troubled as well as various pain issues seem to competeting for top prizes in the “what random part of the body can we cause pain for her today?”  It is of this reporters opinion that IK seems to be handling the fact that her, and I am quoting this for you now, “skin feels like a sunburn that has been rubbed with a cheese grater” rather well and that she is still not a screaming hot mess is a testament to the  care of the Giant and the fur beasts that occupy her abode.

I am Ira McKnitty-Pants reporting to you from the home of the Introverted Knitter, and from all of us here we want to wish you a very happy and safe rest of the week.

WIP: Handspun Socks

In an effort to make good on a goal for 2016 I decided to dig in my hand spun stash and pull out some yarn. The orginial idea was to make mittens for the Giant, he has a set that were a franken-pair knit out of acrylic quite a few years ago. Despite his instance that they are okay, I know that I can do better. That is what I had as an original idea, of course the reality turned out to be something else entirely.

Fun fact…I have quite a bit of handspun yarn, a lot of which I forgot about (oops.) So with renewed dedication (and a little bit of shame) I dug through the pile and came out with this skein.

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A chain ply from Edgewood Garden Studios in the Bee in Your Bonnet colorway.

I ended up weighing the skein and refiguring the yardage, in part because I didn’t have it marked and in part because I feel like my previous handmade knitty-noddy wasn’t the most accurate. The skein came out to right around 498.3 yards, which is way more than perfect for socks and so the decision was made to cast this on.

And guys? It is turning out way better than I had hoped. I figured with the chain ply it would probably stripe up, but I wasn’t sure due to the Giant’s giant feet just how well that would work. Boy does it work, proof? Just look at this first sock:

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Pretty dang awesome right? Here it is close up:

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I know it is still getting washed out, but I am hoping you can see the fact that at the beginning and end of the yellow/orange rows there is a row (or two) of green. I am simply in love with the way this sock is turning out. Evidence by the fact that when Sherlock had it’s encore run of The Abominable Bride on Sunday this sock still saw some action (not a great deal mind you, but still enough to call it out.)

So how is your knitting going? Any projects you have that are just flying along the needles? Any projects you have abandoned in favor of a new and beautiful one?

 

WIP: Sock Blanket

It’s been a while since I shared my progress on the sock blanket, in part because there wasn’t much progress. Luckily it seems that despite my low knitting desire right now the little squares seem to be just the right amount of knitting to keep me happy and feeling like I have finished something.

When I started the blanket I didn’t have any real idea in mind concerning how big I wanted the finished piece to be; instead I simply was trying to use up scraps. Of course running through the colors I had available was accomplished quicker than I expected and thankfully a knitting friend came to the rescue with some of their own scraps.

Because I didn’t have an idea of how big I wanted the blanket, I don’t think I went about casting on squares in an efficent manner. I have seen quite a few podcasts where people show their blanket off and for all of them the knitters have worked in a row or column pattern. That’s to say they work a set of rows until it reaches their desired length and then start building up. This seems to be rather effective because then you can see just how far along you are in the progress of the blanket. I have also noticed that all of them are making their squares significantly larger than I am which probably helps in terms of time it will take to complete the overall project.

Regardless, here is the blanket the last time I posted it on the blog:IMG_1623

and here it is as of this morning. (Yes I made a point to finish a square before taking a photo, don’t judge.)

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I have tried to clean it up a little bit and get it to resemble a blanket shape instead of a jagged set of blocks, ala Minecraft. Color wise I am having to double and triple up but I am more okay with that now, it probably helps that the entire thing is bigger which helps to “hide” the repeats.

Are you working on one of these sock blankets? Did you adopt the row/column idea, or do you think it might be a more efficent way to consrtuct the piece?

Happy crafting.

FFN: Finishing Assistants

I managed to finish my hand spun shawl, this is actually pretty exciting considering I also had to very eager assistants. The shawl itself was an easy and simple enough knit, which really let the hand spun show off, and boy did it. Of course like with every completed knit there was some finishing to do. Namely blocking and weaving in the ends; this is where my two “assistants” come in. I should have known from when I spun this fiber that there might be trouble, namely when this kept happening:

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The kitty pictured here was unsually fond of this fiber from the start. Luckily he wasn’t the type to steal the fiber and run (I already have a cat that does that and that is more than enough.)

Once the shawl was done being knit I gave it a little bath and then set it out to block. Of course as soon as wool gets wet in my house I usually have more than one feline nose twitching in curiosity. This time was no different, but of course there was one cat who was front and center as I adjusted the shawl on my blocking mats. After walking away to work on something else, this happened.

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Followed promptly by this:

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Eventually the shawl dried and I quickly picked it up and stashed it away until photo shoot time.

When it finally came time for some proper finished object photos, I realized in my haste that I hadn’t woven in any ends. Being a quick and easy job I sat down on the floor and quickly went to work. Which meant that naturally the other tabby decided to try to make a play for the shawl.

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He did this every time there was a bit of it on the ground, and more than once attempted to abscond with it. If nothing else I discovered this tabby has a thing for polwarth (the gray fluffy cat is fond of BFL…at least they have good taste?)

After finally managing to get that cat away from the shawl long enough to adjust it, the other tabby decided to reassert his claim.

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One may notice the claws that are currently out in this photo. In an effort to rescue my shawl, there was minor blood spillage (mine) but luckily nothing got on the shawl.

Thankfully in a rare moment when both cats were distracted by a sunbeam I managed to snap this photo.

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Specs:

Yarn: Hand spun 2 ply Polwarth

Colorway: Mutant Flamingos, from Spun Right Round

Pattern: Linus (free)

Needles: US 4, 3.5mm

 

2016 Goals

Last year ended up being a major year of flux and the blog suffered a bit for it. I am hoping to remedy that in 2016 and to kick things off here are my goals for the new year.

  1. Post more on the blog. As mentioned above there was a serious downturn in posting, to that end I am hoping to hit the post button at least a couple times a week.
  2. Make/Finish a garment for me. I actually casted on for a Mama Vertabre back sometime in December (oops for not making a project page.) My goal is to finish it up before the end of the year. Seems easy enough.
  3. Update Ravelry pages more. As mentioned above I am not the greatest at remember to start project pages or stash or really anything else. This year I want to try to get a better record going.
  4. Knit from stash. This shouldn’t be too hard as my yarn budget has tanked thanks to the not working. The plus side is I will be using up all that wonderful yarn I bought and love(d) at one point or another.
  5. Knit with my handspun. I have quite a bit of the wonderfully (and not so wonderfully) spun stuff sitting in a bin. I have the shawl that I am still working on, as well as the Giant’s mitts, but I want/need to use more.
  6. Spin more. Along with the lack of posting, there has also been a dip in the amount of spinning I have been doing (which at least helps me out some when it comes to goal 5.)
  7. Read 30 books. Just like my yarn and fiber stash, my book stash has quickly outpaced my reading habits. The number gives me a little less than 2 weeks to finish each book. Which should be more than enough time, even with the last few Game of Thrones books on the list.
  8. Long Range Planning Box. Just like previous years, the goal is to work on a variety of stuff throughout the year so when events or holidays pop up I can just pick one out and carry on.
  9. Indulge my art. I love to draw/sketch but haven’t really done much in the last year, and it is time to remedy that.
  10. Finish two cross-stitch patterns. Oh yeah, I do have that as a hobby as well. You may not remember because it’s been so long since I even considered picking it up. Although that didn’t stop me from buying patterns. Two seems reasonable considering how amazingly slow I am at it.
  11. Air the stash. In connection with keeping Ravelry up to date, I do want to do my annual airing of the stash. This always serves to remind me of the yarns I have as well as give me some inspiration.
  12. Charity knitting. I know that my local animal shelter is often looking for small blankets to keep in the kennels, as it gives the animals something soft and familiar when they are waiting. I know when we got Toby he had a sweet little blanket that made the trek with him and it seemed to help him out.
  13. Knit socks. This is a goal I seem to have every year, but this time I am going to forget about throwing 12 skeins into paper bags and instead be more deliberate with my picks.
  14. Learn how to sew a project bag for myself. The Giant and I have a sewing machine, but I will be honest I can’t really remember how the darn thing works.
  15. Declutter. We have a lot of extra stuff hanging around in our home and it’s time to take a hard look at it all.
  16. Learn to accept the fact that my life has changed. This one will probably be the hardest to work through. Chronic illness defintely caused a lot of changes to not only my life, but also how I interact with the world. I know that a lot of times people go through a grieving period and I seem to be stuck in the denial stage still.

So there you have it, 16 goals for the new year. What can I say hope springs eternal, right?

Do you have any goals for the New Year? Which one do you think will be the most difficult to achieve, the easiest?

Shawl Progress

Aside from the tiny human items shown yesterday, my weekend knitting consisted of ignoring any and everything else to knit on the handspun shawl I shared last week. IMG_2256

I am once again reminded of the fact that if you actually knit on something, progress can be made. Although when I was originally winding the cake for this knit, I discovered much to my dismay that once again I seem to have either too much yarn for my poor little ball winder, or not enough ball winder for my yarn.

Don’t get me wrong, my little ball winder and the more recently purchased swift are two pieces of equipment I do not want to be without, but I am starting to feel that either I need to learn a better way of winding the cakes (which is probably the easiest fix) or I need to consider investing in a new jumbo ball winder (which is what I want, but requires saving and saving and saving and did I meantion saving?) The current winder is a rather inexpensive (all things considered) plastic winder, that I purchased from Knit Picks a couple of years ago. When I go to wind it on, I push the little metal arm as far out as it can go (aka the opposite side of it’s regular resting place) Which now that I am reviewing the photo that I linked, I am wondering do I have it too far out? Any ball winding gurus out there in blogland willing to share your tips? My main issue is that when the cake gets to a certain size the yarn starts to wrap underneath the little platform it sits on. I can sometimes manipulate the arm to make it not do that, but lately I have had to just wrap the last bits of yarn around the outside of the cake, you can kind of see in the photo above. This is fine, but sometimes my yarn seems to slip along the top (or bottom) of the cake and I end up with a tangled mess. Which usually results in my frustrated mutterings until the Giant takes pity on me and helps assist with the ever growing knots. (Seriously that dude is a wizard when it comes to untangling skeins)

Of course the other night when sleep eluded me once again, and the tangled mess became too much to bear I was forced to weigh my options, I could stop knitting on the shawl (which wasn’t going to happen); wake the Giant up to ask for help (which I doubt he would be happy about); or attempt to figure the mess out myself. I opted for number three, which meant that a good hour was spent untangling the mess and while I had podcasts to keep me company, there was a plethora of angry mutterings from me. I did manage to fix the problem without having to cut the yarn, which was amazing. I opted to wind it into a ball by hand and set back to work.

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The shawl is definitely growing and that little ball is all that I have left (it is rather dense so there is more than would appear.) I have contemplated whether or not I want to save a little bit of the yarn to use in my sock blanket, and I am still undecided. What are your thoughts? I am leaning towards yes, but then I come back and squish the shawl and realize how cozy and warm it will be and I want to get as much as possible out of the yarn. Oh the problems of a knitter, am I right?

 

 

 

Fresh From the Needles: Tiny human accessories

So just as the title suggests I have a finished object to show you all. Of course, the FO is not one of the two things I discussed last week, no instead I ended up working on some baby  (read near instant gratification) items for a friend who is expecting their first. Now when it comes to knitting for the tiny humans I make a point to ask the parents (to-be) if they actually want some type of hand knit item, because let’s be honest, there are some people (gasp) that may not want hand knit items for their tiny human (I have not actually met anyone, but I am sure they exist somewhere.) So I asked the friend if she wanted something, and I asked for what kind of thing (s) she may want (again this is usually divided into, blanket, accessories (read: hats, mitts, booties) sweater/snuggle sack.) The request was for accessories, which is fine by me, and because I aim to please I also asked about colors (I have found that this usually prevents any possible issues that might arise concerning parents and my own opinons on baby colors (aka there aren’t really any gender specific ones, nor should a baby only be covered in pastels.)  Lucky for me there was only one request concerning a color and that was no pink, which would you believe that the majority of my stash isn’t pink? Yeah I knew you all would.

So I set to work and this past weekend as the Giant and I took in the newest David O. Russel film, Joy (side note, it’s awesome and definitely a great film to check out…additionally we were one of only about 10 people in the theater, which after seeing Star Wars the week before felt like pure luxury.) I managed to knit all but the decreases on the hat during the movie, and ended up finishing it up yesterday. The little mitts were cast on last night and although I faced a large distraction-IMG_2268

(How could I not rub that kittens belly?) I did manage to finish the mitts up before I went to sleep. Oh a side note on that–insomina sucks.

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Here’s the finished object(s) for you to admire.

Specs:

Yarn- Knit Picks Glen Multi

Needles- Hat US 3 (3.25), Mitts US 2 (2.75)

Patterns that inspired these FO’s- Sockyarn Baby Hat and Morris baby Mitts

So here’s hoping these fit the bill.

 

Using some hand spun

So I mentioned in my last post that I was using hand spun for the fingerless mitts for the Giant (I didn’t mention that it was Malabrigo nube, sorry about that.) I also mentioned that there was something else that had peaked my interest, which resulted in the mitts being cast aside.

The newest obession project that I am working on is the Linus shawl by Bunte Wolle (it’s free) out of the hand spun I showed you back in November. File_003

The shawl is a very simple and straightforward piece that is just coasting along the needles. I chose it in part because it was something I thought would show off my hand spun pretty well, and boy was I right.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season to all of you out there in blog land.

Languishing Mitts

Here we are in the final weeks of 2015 and I am finally getting around to a project that has been on the needles for pretty much the entire year. Back in January the Giant requested a pair of fingerless mitts, I naturally took the opportunity to not only knit him a pair, but to also spin up the yarn for the project. I think the motivation for using hand spun stems from the fact that one of my goals for this year was to use more hand spun (the astute among you may notice that instead of usingthe hand spun already created and waiting to be used, I instead opted to create more…)

With the spinning finished I set to work knitting up the first mitt. The Giant had specifically requested mitts that had the individual fingers covered as opposed to the easier version where it is more like a mitten you just stop before decreasing. So as I neared the end of the first mitt, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure how to handle the individual fingers. This is when the project started to slow down. Of course around this time something else came up and I must have needed the needles for a crazy pressing project (because of course I don’t seem to have more than one pair of US size 4 needles, that would be too easy.) The mitts where soon forgotten and it wasn’t until last weekend, when updating Ravelry, that I noticed/remembered that the mitts were still langushing in a bag somewhere in the craft room. Guilt set in and I decided it might be time to fish them out and finally provide the Giant a pair promised back in the beginning of the year.

So as I evaluated the situation I realized that I was further along than I remembered, which is a good thing in this case, because it meant that I had figured out the individual finger problem for the first mitt. Mind you I couldn’t have total victory because past me never bothered to weave in ends (a common problem that happens with past me, one that tends to annoy present me a bit.) Which means that the first mitt looks something like this:IMG_2255Because past me tends to put off weaving in ends, I of course continued the tradition and set to work on the second mitt (no photos at this time.) Which means that when the Giant saw me working on the mitts (and was reminded what they were.) He made the assumption that I must have had to frog a portion of the mitt. Mind you the hot mess you see above was a bit more frumpy looking than even the photo shows, and it was a fair assumption to make even though it was wrong. I did correct him and explained the whole weaving in ends process (or lack there of, thanks again past me.)

Now you may be asking yourself how are the mitts going? Well you see there was this other project……

Until next time.

September Socks

I started this year with a goal of knitting 12 pairs of socks in a year. For the most part that goal was on track, despite a few bumps and overlaps along the way; that is until September came along and everything just went off the rails.

I am willing to admit that the goal was not completed, or least not by the original process. I currently have 11 pairs completed, with another still on the needles, but two of those pairs didn’t come from my originally picked skeins.

Technically the skein picked for September officially brought my count to 11. The socks themselves weren’t completed until December, but for tracking purposes I call them my September socks.

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These were knit on US size 0’s at a 64 stitch count. I ended up using the Fish Lips Kiss heel which I finally feel like I am getting good enough at to like it better than an afterthought heel. (I am still pretty sure a heel flap and gusset are my go to, but I feel like this still provides enough stretch.)

I started this year with a goal to knit 12 pairs of socks in 2015. I put twelve skeins of yarn, ranging from ones I just needed to get out of stash, to some of my more “precious” skeins. Well, here we are in December and I am reviewing my progress. Surprisingly I managed to achieve the goal most months. Up until June I was doing pretty well with a pair a month, although I admit there were probably times I overlapped. June saw a fickle yarn that I ended up frogging and I believe I replaced them with a different pair. Which since this was my goal and I can change it how I see fit, I am going to count the replacement socks as a win.

Things seemed to be going okay until September when things went of the rails and nothing really got done. October I think I finished a hat or two, but not much else was accomplished. November was even worse in terms of production, my health dictated much of that. So here we are in December and I finally have a pair to show for it.

The yarn was a new to me purchase from last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday and is Tannis Fiber Arts, Blue Label, in the Stormy colorway.

In other news I am on my last day of antibiotics and am feeling pretty much back to normal (well my new normal at least.) I’ve been pretty fortunate to be able to take the time to rest and relax these past two(ish) weeks, in part because I made the decision back at the end of November to leave work. Thanks to the wonkiness that is Fibro and all that entails, The Giant and I thought it would be important to focus on health for a while. So here I am. Hopefully I can get a few more blog posts out now, fingers crossed and all.

 

Until next time.

 

Sick and tired

I do mean this in the most literal sense. Below is the record of the past five or so days.

Friday afternoon I started to feel that first wave of illness that seems to alert your spidey senses that something is not right. It took until that evening for the first wave of whatever it was to hit and the less said about it the better.

Unfortunately Saturday morning before the sun even decided to break the quiet calm I was up again, although this time it seemed to be muscle pain, and an overwhelming desire to hide from everything. Most of the day was spent with the lines between being awake and asleep more than a little blurred. My fever was creeping up all day and it was around the time the Giant suggested a cool bath that my sore throat began. It started as one of those annoying feelings almost like an itch. I was drinking copious amounts of liquids in an effort to combat dehydartion, but nothing seemed to help. A very fitful sleep was attempted and while I do think I managed a few hours straight through, I couldn’t tell you if they were restful.

Sunday morning was an absolute blur, the itch in my throat had become a pain so bad that swallowing took effort not to cry. As my fever started to climb, the Giant took me in to see a doctor. I was in such a state by then that I honestly don’t remember much aside from I was so warm and everything hurt so much. According to the doctor’s office my fever peaked at 104.(something) and the pain in my throat was caused by strep, this combined with sinus issues meant my body was fighting a monstrous battle. Additionally, remember that “little” thing called fibromyalgia, yeah that just added a cherry to the top of this hellish Sunday. I was able to return home and the Giant continued to take care of me, as best he good. This mainly meant providing copious amounts of beverages to drink and popsicles. The majority of what I remember from Sunday comes down to my desire to shave my head. I remember thinking how much cooler I would feel without all this hair. Luckily the complete lack of energy prevented me from making a rash decision (not that I don’t think I could sport a pretty decent Mr. Clean look.)

Thanks to the wonder that is modern medicine, Monday found me significantly less death-like and Tuesday was marginally better. I am still ridicuously tired (more so than the fibro fatigue) and my appetite still hasn’t recovered. My throat remains the biggest issue, but from the glimpes I am willing to take in the mirror it would appear the worst of it is over. I will still have some time left with the antibiotics which is fine with me, because frankly at this point I am marveling at my ability to sit up for more than an hour.

So sorry readers, no photos or conversations of knitting this time. Hopefully as I continue to recover I will feel like picking up the needles, for now rest assured that I am very much resting.

 

Words…they are important.

Okay, minor rant at the beginning, but seriously when did WP change their posting/dashboard thing? I know it was a bit different last time I posted, but I seriously feel like I am having to relearn everything (which is the case and really not that big of deal, but it does segway pretty well into today’s post and well I am still trying to get used to the new.)

I have always had a pretty good memory. It isn’t eidetic or anything, but for the most part I have been able to recall information with ease. Of course the kicker is I can most often recall some  random bit of information, such as song lyrics to some 80’s pop song, or where the Giant left his favorite pen.

In the the couple of years, however, I have noticed that my memory seems to be slipping. Now if I had some additonal trips around the sun under my belt, it may not be as big of a deal, but as someone who is still in their twenties (late twenties, but still there) I don’t think it falls under the typical, “it comes with age thing.”

Examples are (luckily) rare, but I will find myself in the middle of conversations and I will just forget what I was going to say. Sometimes I will forget just a word or two. Other times I  find myself with less of an ability to follow multiple conversations at once. (I used to be able to pick up a fair bit other people’s convos whenever the Giant and I went to dinner (one more reason introversion/stay at home-ness is my safety zone.) )

This has all happened rather gradually and unfortunately can be common in people who have Chronic Pain, and in particular those with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There have been a few studies concering this dyscognition (a pretty fancy way of describing the more commonly known Fibro Fog.) Despite the research and knowing that it is considered “normal” for people with Fibromyalgia, it is an annoyance for me.

Unfortuantely like a lot of life’s annoyances, I have had to learn to live with it.  One way I have managed to cope when I begin trailing off for a moment and need to break the awkward silence that happens, is by saying something along the lines of “words…they’re important.” This usually gets a chuckle from whomever I am talking to, or at the very least gives them a cue that I realize the pause is there.

It surprises me at how quickly I was able to fall into this habit, which is both good and bad. I feel like it’s good because it means that I am learning how to live despite the limitations a chronic illness can bring, but also bad because there are times when the pause stretches too far and I find myself at a loss and then I end up berating myself for not being able to see through the fog and recover whatever it is I am trying to remember. The habit feels like a consistent reminder that things have changed, that I am different than I was just a few short years ago. (Aside from the obvious change we all face with the passage of time.) Luckily this memory issue hasn’t caused any major debacles and I can usually get the word after a little bit. Of course the frustration of not being able to think of a word  can be tough to overcome; but I try to think of it like this, if nothing else I seem to be getting awfully good at charades.

Fresh From the Wheel: Mutant Flamingos

I am not someone who cares for the color pink. I have never really been a fan of the more pastel like variations, the “hot” and neon versions don’t really trip my fancy and unless it is bordering on such a deep dark color that it can be mistaken for red, I probably won’t be interested in it. Of course with all things (myself included) there are exceptions to the rule. For me it comes in the form of those brightly often very pink birds, known as flamingos.

Flamingos have a rather odd place within my extended family, with the original exchange involving my grandmother, her youngest and those pink plastic birds that can often be seen adorning lawns. The overall tradition of exchanging flamingo based items means that my grandmother has a rather large and varied assortment of flamingo based products.

Thanks to the association of the birds to our matriarch I find myself uninentionally drawn to all things flamingo. Which means when I spotted this colorway in Spun Right Round’s shop I felt the overwhelming urge to buy it. Despite my aversion to almost all things pink I ended up inaugurating my new wheel with four ounces of this colorway on polwarth.

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The spinning itself seemed to take forever, (mainly because I didn’t actually take the time to spin, funny how that works huh?) But along the way I discovered that not only does one of my cats love laying in fiber (he does) and not only does another one love to rub against any wheel, whether it is in motion or not (this one does too) but apparently the third (and final) cat has a very strong fascination with the actual act of turning fiber into yarn and even more fascination with plying. (There maybe a few sections of the finished yarn that has a bit of cat spit spun in.)

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The singles were some of my thinnest yet, which was awesome, until it came to plying and then of course I was questioning my choices. Luckily with some perservernce (and a few nights worth of plying) I did manage to get the whole bit finsihed. I decided on a regular two-ply, because I hadn’t done one in awhile. (Hence the whole “ohmygoshwhatwasIthinkingspinningthisthin” moment(s).)

The finsihed skein went on my new niddy noddy, which should actually provide a closer measurement of yardage, and then had a little bath. It did end up poofing up a bit which was to be expected.

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before the bath

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After the bath

I am happy with the results and I do plan on using it to make something eventually. Am I the only one that doesn’t use their handspun? I have a big plastic bin filled with a variety of different levels of spinning (beginner to now) and for some reason I would rather just stash it all like some fiber deranged squirrel hiding skeins for a future date.

Maybe that can be a goal for 2016 (also anyone else astonished that the year is almost over? I find myself wondering what happeend to October, I feel liek one minute it was the start of Autumn and I blinked and now it’s the day beforeThanksgiving (in the US.)

Anyway the yarn ended up being a little under 600 yards after washing which means it is one of my best spins (in terms of yardage) yet. The fiber as I mentioned above was Polwarth and while not new to me, this was a pretty awesome four ounces to spin. Colorway was Mutant Flamingo and the shop is Spun Right Round (check her out if you haven’t heard of her, the colorplays keep sucking me in and I know I will cave eventually…and why not enable you along the way.)

For all of you celebrating tomorrow, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving. To those of you not celebrating I hope you have an awesome Thursday.

Until next time.

Changes

So yes, I am still here and yes, I do still check in on the blog. I know it’s been quiet for more days than I would really like to consider, but as the title suggests, changes are afoot. The absenteeism towards the blog is thanks in large part to my body deciding to kick its own butt. Lately the fibro (and whatever the else may or may not be wrong) has been pretty awful, with a wonderful variety of symptoms that pretty much mean I have had less and less of a desire to do anything but attempt to sleep. Of course when it is 2 AM and you feel like you’ve been thrown down a flight of stairs while also rubbing your skin with sandpaper, sleep doesn’t always want to make an appearance. I’ve tried not to discuss the health stuff too much on the blog, because 1) private person, 2) trying to minimize and seem “normal” and 3) wanting to keep “that” and “here” separate. Of course the separate has meant almost a month since I last posted, which isn’t what I want either.

So I am going to try something a little different, what this means for you, my dear reader, is that there will hopefully be more posts, but they may include a small (or rather large)  part concerning the whole living with a chronic illness. I promise I don’t mind if you only come for the pictures, I will try to keep those coming as much as possible.

In fibery news, I am woefully behind on my sock of the month club, with the gusto falling aside sometime in the middle of September. This wane in sock knitting was a preview of the waning in pretty much all knitting. I am currently working on the September sock (at least the second one at this point) and have cast on for the October socks, of course these turned out to be for the Giant and at his request the regular pattern is getting tweaked a bit (read as: bigger and longer) they are also in a painfully boring solid green color, that will be great dress socks when done, but for now make me think of how happy I am that I don’t have to deal with the grass needing to be cut any time soon (to be clear I don’t do the actual mowing, I just suffer the sniffle inducing results.)  I am still working on my sockblanket, but don’t have a decent picture at this time, which of course does no good, but just imagine what it looked like before, but a little bigger and with some different colors thrown in.

How are things going for you?

FFNF:Lamby Toes Hat

I have another FO to share with all of you today, which is awesome considering all the other stuff going on. The FO is another hat, in fact it is another sock head inspired hat, (I say inspired because I don’t follow the pattern at all, but still give credit where credit is do, right?) The yarn this time is new to me, in that this is my first FO from it. This poor yarn has been cast on and frogged multiple times, and I can safely say it lasted like a champ. All the frogging was due to user error or indecision, so this hat is more of a testament to overcoming that, than it is about producing a particular piece (make sense? If not, let’s just pretend for now.)

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So the hat was a basic construction, cast on a whack of stitches (148 to be more precise) and then knit a 2×2 ribbing for as long as I could stand it, and then add a little more (does anyone else ever end up having to do that, the whole knit until you can’t seem to stand it, and then you realize it isn’t that much?) I ended up throwing in some increases on the first plain stockinette row.IMG_2083

I continued the plain knitting on and off until I felt the hat was close to what I wanted, and then it was decrease city. I couldn’t tell you how I did them because it was kind of a blur, but it worked and a hat was produced (cue the cheering crowds.)

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I’m happy with the result and oh my gosh is the yarn so wonderful. This was from the lovely and talented Amanda, of Knot a Podcast fame, she has a shop on Etsy, Lamby Toes where you can get some of this beautifully speckled yarn for your very own. This colorway in particular is known as Bad Egg (on her moonpie merino base.) I can honestly say that this yarn is some of the most fun I have worked with in a long long time. So much so that even when I was in the deep knit/frog phase I did a custom order/custom dye, that Amanda managed to execute so wonderfully I keep pulling them out just to look at them.

IMG_1646I mean, right? Yeah definitely go check out her shop (and podcast!)

Until next time.

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