Skip to content

Boulevard of Broken Yarn Diets

As I mentioned in my last post, I am safely back in the Midwest. My journey to the PNW was amazing and aside from the massive amounts of pollen (it was literally coating cars) and the coyote sighting on my last day. One thing I loved (and hated due to the aforementioned pollen) was the sheer amount of trees.

IMG_2757

One day was carved out for a trip to Portland. First and foremost, mad props to my bestie who took on the challenge of navigating the streets of that city. Honestly what is up with the traffic signals there? We saw so many ‘no left turn’ signs, that were on one way streets (going left.) I am not positive, but maybe it is a ploy by the Portlanders to mess with the tourists? The trip turned out to be a tad underwhelming, but it might have had more to do with the heat and the lack of airconditioning than anything else.

IMG_2780

The goals for our trip to Portland were modest by most standards.

  1. Visit Powell’s Bookstore
  2. Go to Voodoo Donuts
  3. Find a yarn shop
  4. Survive

Lucky for us we met those goals with relative ease. The whole surviving bit got a little hairy at times, but we managed.

IMG_2780

Our first goal was Powell’s. Now I was a major bibliophile in my youth, I am still, but my discretionary income has dwindled. I love the monthly library sale, but have officially ran out of room. Reading was my favorite pass time and yes I have the school activities to prove it. Unfortunately my hometown consisted of a religious bookstore, a mall bookstore and a random few stores that carried books throughout the years. We finally got a Barnes and Noble right around the time I entered high school (and no, I am not that old.) Powell’s held a myth like quality for me, it didn’t help that my in-laws shared their experiences and opinions of the place with me.

IMG_2790

When my friend and I made the trek across the sun drenched sidewalk to the crowded entrance I may have been more prepared for a Willy Wonka type experience than most. The reality? Well, to be fair having built something up for so long it was never going to live up to my imagination. I opened the door and was instantly greeted by a wave of heat and body sweat that broke whatever spell I had put in place. Don’t get me wrong the place is pretty neat, aside from five million people being in there. (Only a slight exaggeration.) It does contain a lot of books, which would be great if it was organized better. Sure they split things into categories, but I found the place more confusing than it needed to be. Also I wasn’t impressed with the selection. While there were a lot of used books for sale (and a line of people looking to sell that doubled back on itself twice,) the whole place just made me think of a larger Barnes and Noble/Half-Priced Books combo. I can’t say what I honestly thought the place would be like, but I do know that it was not even close. None the less I found a few things to buy, because come on it’s a book store.

IMG_2798

Our next stop was the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Now this I went into with tempered expectations, although honestly how can you screw up a doughnut? Driving by revealed a line that made me seriously question my desire for the fried pastry. Luckily my buddy was aware of the lesser known second location and we headed over. The line was still long, but it was mostly in the shade. Aside from a gaggle of very rude young teens and an oblivious parental figure (I can’t help but wonder why they all needed to accompany her to the shop when it was obvious she had a list, but what do I know?) we had a relatively hassle free experience.

IMG_2807 (1)

 Okay, one voice of complaint here- if you are going to a very busy, very popular location would you not do a minimal amount of research (such as pulling it up on google) which should lead you to understand it is a cash only business? If for some reason you didn’t need to look it up, how in the hell do you miss the fifteen signs that are around the shop (and line) that tell you that they only accept cash? Seriously how does a person wait fifteen minutes in line and still be surprised when they get to the front and find out it’s cash? (Best part, this was after they selected their donuts- also lucky for them they have an ATM on site.) End of rant, thanks for listening.

We got a variety of doughnuts including the namesake and headed out to our last destination, the yarn store.

IMG_2810

I knew that this trip to Portland was a rarer experience and as such I decided that it would be worth it to break the cold sheeping/yarn diet I had been on since the beginning of the year. Finding a shop to visit wasn’t easy (there are a ridiculous amount of stores in the Portland area) but I settled on a unique set up known as Yarnia.

IMG_3048

Yarnia has been in business for 8+ years now and features, a first for me, cone wound yarn. Now I hear you saying that cone wound yarn isn’t that new, nor is it terribly exciting. I hear you. But, the thing about Yarnia is that it is not just cone wound yarn, it features custom blend cone wound yarn. What does that mean? Well consider it like those custom beer sets you can make at the grocery store, but better-because it’s yarn.

IMG_2809

When you enter the store you are greeted with a large wall of cone wound singles. (I mean a large wall.) Your task is to create your own yarn. You pick the color(s) and the fiber(s) and go to the lady in charge, you mention what you want in terms of yardage and she calculates it up and gives you the price. She then takes your singles to a vintage looking machine, with a few twists, turns and a flick of a switch your singles suddenly begin wrapping around your very own cone.

IMG_3045

The prices were amazing and although I managed to get out of there with only a little dent in my wallet the variety and options could easily be some knitter’s downfall. So while I may have broken my yarn diet, I did it in  a pretty cool way.

IMG_3047

Our day trip to Portland concluded with a ride back and another beautiful view. While the day may have gone differently than I had expected, it still made for an exciting and weird day.

Red Eye

The overnight flights that brought me back to the Midwest ended up being relatively uneventful. Fun fact I am not a fan of flying, with an overactive imagination, a body I am for ever considering securing in bubble wrap, and a stomach that seems to dislike the idea of movement at all, let alone any turbulence I am just happy to make it to my destination without making use of a barf bag.  My second flight did make me question the actual idea of humans flying overall, but that might have had a lot more to do with the tiny airplane and less the actual skills of the pilot. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when we are told that someone needs to move to the back of the plane from the front, because of weight distribution, I tend to get a little more anxious than normal.

Flying also creates a dreaded situation for most introverts. A confined space for a specific time period often leads to small talk among seatmates. Whatever the reason, a person seeks to engage the people around them, I am often doing my level best to avoid eye contact and secure my headphones in place as quickly as possible. I will bust out a book if needed to drive the point home. While you would think all of this makes up the universal signal of, “please don’t talk to me,” you and I would be wrong. My first flight (the longest) was relatively talk free, I did get a few questions from my seat mate, but after a little while they fell asleep and I was granted reprieve. I wasn’t so lucky on my second flight.

I realized fairly quickly in my adult life that I am not interested in small talk. I am willing to humor someone for a little while on a subject, but I find it tedious. I know there are people out there who love to engage with whomever they meet. I also get there are social customs that mean I should at least respond to questions asked and in turn inquire the same about the asker. I don’t like it, but for the sake of keeping the peace I tend to play along for a little while.

Unfortunately as soon as someone, whose name I don’t even know, starts sharing details of their life that are anything beyond the basics I start to feel like an animal trapped in a cage. Yes dear readers, I ended up being seated with an oversharer.

Not only did this person engage me in small talk through most of the flight, but once I finally relented and put my book down, I was treated to way more information than someone would know by a third date (okay I am guessing on this one, I haven’t dated someone new in over nine years.) As I internally cursed my weakened defenses, I was privy to the internal strife of this person and their siblings. I was treated to topics ranging from their opinion about why the housing market in the PNW is so tenuous. Their regrets about not going with their church group to Germany, their reason for not going, they have children in college. And even their flying schedule for this year.

As an introvert, but even as a person just trying to make it home, I can’t help but wonder just what it is it that makes some people open up like that? Is it my face, do I just come across as someone sympathetic (the answers to both of those I thought was no.) Does it even have anything to do with me or would this person word vomit their life story to anyone willing to listen? I would like to think it is just a series of unfortunate events that leads to these encounters, but as they keep happening I can’t help but wonder is it because I am introvert?

Introverts often avoid small talk, which means they tend to be quieter in situations. Does the fact that we are quiet draw people to us? Is it because they think we will listen? Is it simply a case of not talking over them that provides the safety net they need to share all the things? I know I am not a big talker I don’t like to say something unless it contributes to the conversation. Is this silence being interpreted as a sign of consent?

In the end the person over sharing about their life did little to affect me, aside from distracting me from my book and taking up my time. I know I should probably just let it go and forget about it, as I am sure they have already forgotten about me. But at what point does it stop? Are all introverts destined to be repositories for other people’s stories? Do we give consent to conversations when we remain silent? Is there anything we can do about it?

 

Magpie’s Rescue

The last few weeks I have been spending time with my best friend and former college roommate in the Emerald City (okay more of a suburb, but still.) Unfortunately the time spent out here has made me realize just how much I miss living closer to her. I know that her time out here hasn’t been the easiest either. She did this incredibly brave and amazing thing, where she packed up her life and headed out west for a new job, a new apartment and a new city.

But my brave friend did not stop there, no, instead she did this other amazing and wonderful thing and adopted a dog from an animal rescue, Emerald City  Pet Rescue. The ECPR was established in 2013 as a no kill shelter and works with a large range of contacts across the country and abroad to rescue animals that are scheduled to be euthanized. They focus on rescuing, rehabilitation, retraining animals that may have been abandoned, neglected or when an animal needs to be surrendered. The shelter provides ample options for setting up appointments for you to meet the animals. The process is low-key, with the dogs being made to feel safe and comfortable. The staff that we both interacted with were really devoted to helping these animals out. They also have an onsite pet store, where new owners can buy a variety of toys, food, treats, and all the other equipment one would need to make your new friend feel comfortable.

Luckily for my brave friend (and her equally if not slightly more brave friend (me)) there was a chance to meet a few different dogs that morning. One pup and my friend had a pretty quick connection and it was a great match.

So I introduce to you dear readers the sweet little darling called Magpie. 

.IMG_2563

This photo is from her first outting, and lucky her it was straight Petco.

Magpie is a bit of a timid and shy girl, especially those first few days were she just didn’t feel too comfortable. Time has eased that nervousness some and I have had the chance to see her personality just starting to emerge.  She still doesn’t do great at loud sounds, and she has a dislike of drive thru attendants, but maybe she just wants a puppy verison of something?

Since my friend has had to work while I am out here, I have been given the chance to bond with the little miss, which is definetly helpful process for both of us. Fun Fact: I am not great around dogs, I have anxiety issues that stem from memories and fears of being pushed down by larger dogs, as well as being bit. But this little dog is one of the easiest, most gentle and cat-like dogs I have met. She is a little stubborn at times but when she weighs 6 lbs it isn’t hard to scoop her up if the need arises.

The past week or so I have been able to take her out on small walks, where she and I are able to explore the neighborhood a little more. IMG_2737

 She has been great in helping me to remember to slow down and take some time to smell the flowers.

She has also proven the idea that taking a rest after exercise is always a good idea.

IMG_2685

Another solid piece of wisdom from the little rescue pup that could, it’s easier to sleep when you have someone you care about next to you.

IMG_2693

This trip and mainly my time spent with this little six pounds of fluff and love has shown me that not all dogs are terrifying, nor will they be loud barking machines. They are just these wonderful friends you make in a short amount of time. I can’t say that I won’t be nervous when I am around other dogs, but at least in this case, with this dog I would like to think I found a friend.
IMG_3006

Jet Set

This past Tuesday I took myself to the airport and boarded a plane for an extended visit with the Emerald City and my best friend. Luckily I seem to have missed any issues with the storm that swept across the Rockies and the Midwest.

When I was packing for this trip I paid special attention to the knitting projects I was taking. I wanted something that would be small enough to fit in my luggage, which is a limited space. I wanted something that would keep me busy for the time out here, and I wanted something that wasn’t too complicated because fatigue, jetlag and general chronic pain issues make it hard to concentrate.

I ended up with a pair of socks for the Giant. Those have been cast on, and then I promptly packed them in my checked baggage (oops.) I also decided to dig out some older stash and cast on a lace weight cardigan. I realize the abject horror some of you may be feeling right now. Normally I wouldn’t have considered it, aside from my original purchase, but it fit the critera well, and honestly I wasn’t sure when I would get to it otherwise.

The cardigan has no real pattern. I gathered a few different patterns I had, swatched and used the math wizardy I found from this website to figure out the basics.  It’s definitely slow going, but it also is pretty soothing.  I am using Knit Picks Shadow Lace in the Basalt Heather colorway, and for some type of visual interest, a skein of the same stuff in the Autumn Heather colorway for stripes.

Here’s the status of it so far. So far it’s been a no thinking project and I know eventually I will reach a point where it looks more like a cardigan and less like a bundle of dirty laundry.

IMG_2540

The actual getting to the airport and through security proved to be pretty nerve wracking, the Attack in Brussels happened the same day I was flying out. I figured restrictions might be harsher than normal and I fully anticipated having to undo my progress on the cardigan. Luckily security gave the okay and I was able to keep working on it.

The flight attendants were the only people that commented on my knitting and it was all nice things, so that was a relief.

Luckily aside from turbulance mainly when getting ready to land the flight was good. I was mostly excited that I didn’t get sick, although there was a few moments during the end that I could feel my tummy rebeling. (Gotta love motion sickness right?)

So far we haven’t done much exploring, which is just as well I think I will be recovering for a little bit. I am still just happy to be here, in part because my view is a dramatic change from the usual, and frankly I am in love.

IMG_2537

The Pacific Northwest has always held an allure for me. There was a fear that it wouldn’t live up to the image I had, but when the Giant and I manged to visit last Autumn, I was smitten.

This time however, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around how much this place makes me happy. The weather has been drizzly and cool and it makes me smile whenever I step outside.

IMG_2538

Hitting a Goal

Happy Monday Everyone, (insert groans) I know it’s been a little while since I have taken to the keyboard, but suffice it to say chronic illnesses seriously suck. In other news I had a meet up last week with some fellow fibery friends and while my introversion/some social anxiety almost prevented me from going, I managed to get the gumption to go. Guys? I forgot just how amazing it can be to be around others who enjoy our crafty pursuits. Don’t get me wrong The Giant has become a fantastic and greatly appreciative fan of wooly things, but there is just something about be around people who actually are into it.

Crafting on a whole has been a little on the slow side lately. I have managed to finish one project, but it was a couple weeks ago. Although, as a double bonus it helps me knock out one of my goals for this year. (Number two, for those playing along at home.)

I haven’t gotten an “action” shot yet, but the cats made sure to assist in all photo taking endeavours, as evidenced here.

IMG_2508 (1)

The photo is blurry, and the sweater itself is a little wrinkly, all thanks to two tabby cats that feel the need to claim whatever wooly thing that is on the floor.

The project itself went smoothly and I actually like the way it turned out, aside from the non-button band, button band. You can see at the bottom it is pulling in, I am pretty damn sure I picked up 3 for every 4 rows and I still had it happen. It’s a minor thing and I can still wear it with no issues, but sometimes it’s the principle of the thing.

Quick Specs:
Pattern: Mama Vertebrae
Yarn: Berroco Vintage, in the oh so helpful colorway 5174
Mods: I made the body longer and kept the sleeves shorter. 1 x 1 twisted rib.
I used less than 4 full skeins total.

Until next time!

Victorious

As some of you may remember I had some fiber I was working a few weeks ago. The fiber was something I originally started on my spindle, but it ended up languishing for too long. In an effort to actually be able to use the yarn, I transferred the singles to my wheel and finished up. Unfortunately I ended up hurting my left foot in some random act of clumsiness, which prompted me to use my single treadle wheel. After what felt like ages I finally got the singles finished, and of course because I am oh so graceful I ended up with a large shampoo bottle falling on my right foot. So I waited a couple of days trying to figure out how to get this single into yarn, because I was getting to the point where it was mocking me that I hadn’t finished it.

Luckily last week with a combined effort and a very awkward foot arrangement I managed to claim victory over those singles.

IMG_2460

It ended up being approximately 378 yards of a chain ply. The yarn is a combo of BFL and Firestar and came from Yarn Geek Fibers that I purchased at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in 2014.

I am very happy with the results, which is great considering the length and effort that went into it. Unfortunately the resulting yarn is a bit too scratchy for me so this will end up being made into a gift for someone who isn’t as nearly skin sensitive. For now I will just admire the beauty of the yarn and the feeling of victory.

IMG_2465

Silk Anniversary

Hello everyone! Tomorrow marks my four year anniversary with the blog. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long already, but here we are. I started this little blog out of a desire to process my grief from quitting grad school (which thankfully I am now past) and the overall struggle of a twenty something trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world (still not sure of that one yet.)

On March 5, 2012 I decided to be brave and send out a message into the wide internet world and thankfully some of you sent messages back.  This blog has been a sounding board and a cheerleader,  an invaluable source of knowledge and a place to challenge not only my ideas but myself. I have gained confidence,  friends (in real life) and even managed to improve my knitting and spinning.

The main thing I wanted to say, is thank you. Thank you to everyone who has taken a chance on this blog, whether you were here since day one or you just found me. I know that, especially now, our lives tend to be on the go and reading a blog may not be high on the list of things to do in a day, but even if you check it out every once in awhile thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here’s to another year!

30 books in 2016

Hello Everyone,

I figured it might be a good time to take a look at one of my goals for this year. Way back in January I decided to make a list of goals for the new year, I know you are shocked at my super original idea. One of the goals I set was 30 books read this year. Now when I set that number down I figured it would be an easy number to knock out. Little did I know that my interest would drop so suddenly thanks to a big tidal wave of apathy, so here we are already in March and I have finished exactly 1 book. To be honest that book was a carry over from last year, but I am so totally counting it because it’s my goal and I want (need) at least a little win.

So aside from my lack of progress on the goal I figured it might be nice to run down a list of books that might be of interest to you all. Again, note the personal apathy for why I am not jumping on the bandwagon here (at least yet.) I do recommend the following books because I think they are worth the read.

First up anything by Michael Connelly. I started with the Lincoln Lawyer (yes the movie with Matthew Mcconaughey) and have gotten hooked on the writing. The main focus of Connolly is the Harry Bosch novels (which also are now a two season television show available to Amazon Prime customers. I have not watched it yet so go figure.) I recommend starting with the first Harry Bosch novel, Black Echo or The Lincoln Lawyer (different lead character and a different style/ perspective.)

For those in the more into absurdist type stories, I have to recommend Christopher Moore, full disclosure this is my favorite author. I have yet to read a book of his that didn’t make me laugh out loud and end with a smile on my face. Be warned it is a crazy and kooky kind of universe that Moore has created, but it is worth it to jump in. Starting from the beginning isn’t needed but some of his characters do show up in the other novels. Try out either,  Practical Demonkeeping or The Lust Lizard of Melencholy Cove. You should be able to tell fairly quickly into either of those books if it’s up your alley.

If fantasy is more your style you can’t go wrong with Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. Yes I realize that Game of Thrones is a television series, this may shock you, but I have actually never seen it. I ended up picking up the novels awhile ago and while I stumbled and got stuck around book four it is definitely worth the effort.  When it comes to Lord of the Rings, full disclosure this is by far my favorite book/series of all time. I admit it isn’t for everyone and it can be a lot to get started, but it is so very much worth it.

Romance wise, and I will freely admit this is not my area. I can recommend one two-part book to you. Pas De Deux this novel was written by a former coworker, interest of full disclosure. I did manage to get through a chunk of this before apathy and depression sucked life out of me (not a reflection of the actual content, it’s great and the story is sweet without being sappy) and I definitely think you should check it out.

Crime novel type stories, anything by Patricia Highsmith. Yes it can be a little complicated to jump right in, but I would say worth it. One of her books, The Price of Salt was turned into the 2015 movie, Carol.

Lastly, if you are looking for some historical fiction, check out the Red Tent, the story goes beyond religious text and provides a tale that sucks you from beginning to end.

So there you have it a list of books for you to try out, I hope you are able to find something of interest. If you end up trying any of these stories out please let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you.

Of course if you have any suggestions of books you think I or anyone else just has to read feel free to leave it in the comments.

Wait, what?

I am currently working a pair of socks for the Giant, the first sock is done and I am working on the leg (cuff down) of the second sock. This yarn (Patons Kroy for those playing along at home) comes in 50 gram skeins, this meant that I ended up picking two of them up, and I know that when I bought this yarn I made a point to check for the same dyelot. Now normally I am not one to be too concerned with things like stripes matching, and lucky for me neither is the Giant; which is why when I cast on the second sock I didn’t make a point to find the same section in the yarn. Perhaps this lax attitude is why it took me until I was so far down the leg to really notice that something about the sock seemed…off.

IMG_2420 (1)

 

I sat there staring at both socks trying to figure out what was bugging me, when it finally clicked. The damn yarn isn’t the same. Despite making sure to get the same dyelot I ended up with two completely different dye patterns. It isn’t even a matter of the pattern being reversed, no it is in a completely different order. I’m completely missing the brown. I checked the skein, checked the sock in progress, and checked the completed one; nope it’s not right.

When I pick up matching dyelots I assume they will be, ya know, matching. Fortunately I find the whole thing perplexing more than anything else, and the Giant doesn’t care if the socks are more than a little off. It’s just one of those things where I go wait…what?

How about you? Ever experienced multiple skein wonkiness? Are you someone who has to have your socks match?

As luck would have it

I was so close to finishing the singles on one of my spins, seriously just a little tuff of fiber and I was home free. Of course this also happened to be on my single treadle wheel because a little while ago I ended up stubbing my toe pretty bad, luckily nothing was broken, just brusied and tender. Thankfully the injury was on my left foot, which still allowed me to easily spin, since I am a right-handed and apparently footed dominate person.

As luck would have it, being this close to finishing the singles, I ended up dropping a very large and very heavy shampoo bottle on my toes on my right foot (this was one of those extra large sizes that you can get to refill your regular sized bottles.) I was able to get it cleaned up (there was blood) with the help of the Giant, but it put me out of comission to work on the last little bit of spinning.

This morning I decided to try to overcome my sudden role as the universe’s cat toy and try to finish that single, because sometimes you just have to, it’s a matter of pride principle. I first tried with the injured foot, because why not inflict more pain on myself, right? Suffice it to say that was a no go. The second attempt was to use just my left foot, which ended up with me doing my best impression of a newborn gazelle. Feeling a bit sorry for myself I decided to give it one more go, this time I used both feet (aside from feeling silly and attempting not to injure my toe further) and managed to defeat that tuff.

While it may not have been my most graceful attempt, nor wouuld I recommend it to anyone, at least not with a tiny foot pedal, I did it. Victory is mine. IMG_2392

The singles are resting now (and so am I) while I figure out how I want to ply this (eventually, let’s not get carried away on the whole conquering things.)

So any thoughts from you dear readers? The fiber is a BFL firestar combo and aside from being covered in random bits of firestar (seriously it feels worse than glitter, I feel like I get it all off of me and two hours and a room later and the Giant pulls a strand or two off of me. At least the dust buffalo will now have some fashionable to clump with.)

Chain ply? Two ply? Light the whole thing on fire and pretend it never existed? Something else, perhaps less flamable? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time.

Everything is a WIP

Sorry for the absence last week. Thanks to the wonder that is the human body I ended up having some jaw issues that put me out for a little while. The issues are on their way to being resolved but are still going on.

I suppose everything seems like it is on going, right now. As far as knitting is concerned I am not even close to any finished objects right now, and when it comes to spinning I seem to be stuck in a black hole. The kind where no matter how much fluff gets put on the wheels the piles never seem to end. (I can blame this part on the fact that my default spinning is super thin.) As for life stuff, almost everything is up in the air with waiting periods that make me feel like I am stuck at the DMV with only one person working the counter.

All of this makes for boring blogging, or at least it would if I could muster the drive to actually write something. Of course it’s just a low period right now, and soon things will get better..blah blah blah. I don’t meant to knock optimism most of the time I can at least play along, but right now that isn’t happening. Thankfully the Giant is being his awesome self, always, and the cats are getting along for the most part.

In other news I am coming up on the 60 day mark, for what I have decided to call the year of frugal fibers; which is also known as no buying any fiber related items. I participated with Amanda over at SewKnitPicky for No Buy January and while it has been tempting (especially when Amanda released a new colorway that made my hands all grabby) I am finding it a bit easier as I approach the two month mark. Of course part of the advantage of this is the fact that I am forced to stash bust, although I do think I would have to be knitting/spinning more before I could honestly claim any reduction.

So how are all of you doing?

 

 

I could’ve sworn

I could’ve sworn that somewhere on this blog would be a photo, or a post pertaining to the giant green monster. However my archives have yielded nothing and my photos remain mum on the matter. So my dear readers it would appear I have engaged in some unintentional stealth knitting. In order to remedy that, and to show off my progress (because let’s be honest it’s pretty much only about the progress) I present you with the giant green monster.

IMG_2359

If I fits I sits…

And no, it is not the cat, although you could mistake him for a monster sometimes, particularly when wet wool is involved. You may notice the small amount of green showing beneth the cat butt. In fact that is the bottom part of a sweater for me. This sweater in fact. For those of you not wanting to click the link, the pattern is Mama Verterbrae by Kelly Brooker. (Aside, so whenever I write the name Kelly I default to one particular spelling, Kellie, never mind the fact that the spelling is not the “normal” one, I also find I do that with a Chelsey and Sarah. Those two might be more “typical” but I find it odd that I have met multiple Chelsey’s and I have yet to find one that spells it the same as any of the others;same with the Kellie’s; Sarah’s however seem to fall into the “h” and “non h” groups. I never said the aside was particularly helpful….did I mention I am on my third cup of coffee this morning?)

IMG_2354

The sweater/cardigan/thing is being knit out of Berroco Vintage in the creatively named 5174, which I think looks like olive green, with just a hint less yellow undertone. That is I hope it is less yellow undertones, lest I end up looking a bit ill every time I wear it. As for the progress, I finally finished the body last night, which is great because I was starting to wonder if I hit a black hole with the thing. I kept knitting, and knitting, and knitting on it and every time I would measure it would have grown by an inch or less.  Considering that the yarn is worsted this felt like some cruel joke. I am sure the fact that I decided to knit the body longer (because while I am short, I have a really long torso and very short legs. Does anyone else have to shop in both the tall and petite sections?) and then I had to rip back to knit even longer had nothing to do with that feeling. But it’s done! I even got the Giant to admire my handy work last night. (side note, if you have a person who is obligated  willing to admire your work, I advocate that you make use of them. I have gotten to the point that I pretty much just tell the Giant, “Hey look at this thing I made, oogle it with me.” Luckly he’s a good sport.)

IMG_2355

But come on, just look at that twisted rib, isn’t that a thing of beauty?

So my next task (after I stop the cats from tag teaming sitting on the sweater) is the sleeves, followed by the collar and Bob’s your uncle this thing is done. (Okay there will be blocking and weaving in ends, but we will not speak of those things, deal?) The only hitch may come from the sleeves themselves, I currently have to dig around to find a short enough cable for my needles, right now I am on a 72 ” sucker that flops more than a toddler who is avoiding a nap.

IMG_2352

I am sure I can figure something out at this point.

How’s your week going?

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.)

IMG_2341

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.

IMG_2344

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.

IMG_2339

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:

IMG_2332

 

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.

IMG_1617_medium2

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:

IMG_2295

Pretty dang awesome right? Here it is close up:

IMG_2296

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.)

IMG_2293

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 423 other followers

%d bloggers like this: