Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer of Socks 2008

Bluebell Rib Socks in Progress

Sorry for the long absence, folks. Things have been a bit hectic for the last couple of months - I was in a new position at work, then the position got eliminated (figures), then I was out of work for the entire month of June, and now I've gotten through my first two weeks at a new job. Suffice to say, I have been knitting a ton, but not taking so many photos and just didn't feel like writing. I have four pairs of completed socks that have yet to be photographed (crazy, right?) plus a couple of completed scarves and a tank top. I will get to those things one of these days!

Anyhow, I decided awhile ago to join Summer of Socks 2008. It seemed like a good idea at the time, as I knit a lot of socks in the summer, and I figured it would be nice to set some goals. I decided that my goal, for the period of time June 21, 2008, to September 1, 2008, would be 8 pairs of socks, knit out of yarn from 8 different dyers from 8 different pattern sources. Here's what I decided on:
  • Cross Stitch Block, from More Sensational Knitted Socks, in Yarn Pirate Merino Sock, Rum Runner (finished!)
  • Bluebell Rib, from Sensational Knitted Socks, in Yarntini Variegated Sock Yarn, Gimlet (first sock seen above, with photograph taken right before I started writing this)
  • Merino Lace Socks, from Favorite Socks, in Araucania Ranco Multy, Aztec
  • Latvian Socks, from Folk Socks, in Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Moondance
  • Unst, from Knitting on the Road, in Mind's Eye Yarn Merino/Tencel, "Blackberry Chocolate Parfait"
  • Juta's Stockings, from Folk Knitting in Estonia, in Sunshine Yarns Superwash Twist, Deep
  • Salish Sea Socks, from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts 2007 Rockin' Sock Club, in BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight, Bella Coola / Nuxalk
  • Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern, from Knitting Vintage Socks, in Claudia Hand Painted Yarn Fingering Superwash, Peppermint Mocha
I am a pretty big Nancy Bush fan, if that wasn't clear. :-P

Anyhow, it was becoming clear that this would never happen, as I am already behind schedule. Then a couple of other things snowballed. The socks I'm currently knitting (toe-up, by choice, which I may never do again, I dislike it so) are coming out too big. I decided that since I was considering knitting another set of socks for my family (all six of them) and I think these will fit my mom, that's where I'm headed. While I think I can do most of it from stash and might align it up with my goals above, the patterns/yarns I chose might not fit the various members of my family. Second, I found out this week that instead of heading back to Chicago like I do every year for Christmas, everyone is going to Southern California (my ticket was purchased last night)! So I want to knit a shawl for each of my three aunts out there. They won't be big (about 700 yards of laceweight yarn will be budgeted for each) but I do want to take my time and not get overwhelmed right before the holiday (particularly because lace requires blocking).

There are still lots of socks to knit, it just won't be 8 pairs this summer, and not the ones I've already picked. That's okay, because laying out the order in which I knit socks never works for me, anyway. :-P

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Yarn Pirate

Here's the April shipment of the Yarn Pirate Booty Club (I just got it yesterday because the executive assistant at my company doesn't feel the need to check the mail everyday):

Yarn Pirate Bamboo/Merino - Sweet Lime

The yarn is the NEW Bamboo/Merino/Nylon blend (no idea what the percentages are) in a colorway called Sweet Lime. Nearly all of the photos on Ravelry led me to believe this color was a pastel, so I was actually surprised yesterday when I opened the package to see how bright it really is. I think I did a good job of capturing the actual colors.

I was considering cancelling my Booty Club subscription after this round (which ends in June, so two more shipments). It's not because I don't like it, it's because I have way more sock yarn than I can knit any time soon, and even acquiring stash at 1 skein/month is ridiculous lately, because I've been wanting to work on other things (that are not socks). However, I know it's a great deal (greater than I thought even - skeins of the Merino/Tencel and Bamboo/Merino blends were selling for $30/skein + shipping yesterday in her Etsy shop, and I pay $80/3 months for whatever base yarn she decides to send us), so I'm conflicted. And this blend is awfully nice, I can't wait to make socks out of it! I'll probably make my decision at the last minute - definitely after the next shipment reaches me, at least!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell Is No More

I had to frog it. :-( While I did swatch, I totally misread the gauge listed on the pattern, thinking it was 20 sts/4 inches, when it was really 17 sts/4 inches. While I could knit the Bamboo to that gauge, I don't think it would look good (it really wants to be 5-6 sts/inch). I'm considering knitting a larger size (48 inch bust) which would work out to the 40 inch bust in my gauge, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough yarn (860 yards required versus the 750 yards I have), particularly with my condensed row gauge (which is something like 10 rows/inch). So I'm holding off for now. Maybe I'll find a better project for the Bamboo or a better yarn for the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell, but for now, I'm going to focus on the projects I already have on my needles (which I should have done in the first place).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WIP Update, April 2008 Edition

More than a week later and I'm finally getting around to posting about my WIPs. I've really been neglecting this thing, huh? I've also been neglecting Ravelry and other forms of communication, and I'm still behind on my RSS feed. One day maybe I'll wake up and be caught up and ready to communicate again! Hopefully soon.

Anyhow, I have a gazillion projects going right now (or at least it feels like it). I'd like to get some things off the needles, but it's been slow going. I think it's the restlessness of spring. Come to think of it, most of the abandoned WIPs were cast on during some spring or another, so maybe there's something to that!

First up, the Cherry Leaf Shawl:

Upated Cherry Leaf Shawl in Progress

The pattern comes from Victorian Lace Today, and it's being knit with laceweight merino from The Plucky Knitter. I like the yarn and I like the pattern, and the 18 repeats of the main pattern went by quickly. I just haven't felt like doing the border, partly due to needing a modification, since there's no way I'm crocheting a picot edge on afterwards (I'd rather do a knit picot cast off). I think I'll finish it pretty quickly once I pick it up again, but I'm not in a hurry (since I don't wear lace shawls that often anyway, though I'm hoping to change that this spring/summer/fall as my collection grows).

Then, a Washcloth Trio:

Washcloth Trio in Progress

Ugh. Why I ever thought knitting washcloths in cotton would be a good idea, I really don't know. These patterns come from Mindful Knitting, and while I like the final product, I don't like knitting with cheap cotton (Lily Sugar 'n Cream in this case)! I'm trying to make myself do 10 rows a day (err... most days) and so far that's yielded one washcloth and a little bit of progress on the second. I think this method will allow me to finish this very old WIP by the end of the year, which is the only goal I've set for myself. :-P

Next, some Stockinette Anklets:

Ankle Socks in Progress

I had one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Baby Stripe, and since the stripey yarn doesn't really go with anything, I decided I would have to make a pair of socks out of the one skein, which meant anklets. Unfortunately, my US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks Harmony circs broke going through airport security a few weeks ago (I do not know how) and I've been forced to knit these on US 0s, which I don't really like. I'm going to do the second sock before I do the ribbing on the first (to make sure I have enough yarn) but I'm just not motivated to cast them on. I'm using the YO short-row heel/toe from Knitty's RPM, because I happen to like it.

Another "no pattern" project, a Continental Garter Stitch Scarf:

Continental Garter Scarf in Progress

I'm going old-skool with this one. :-P I want to do some fair-isle garments, and to make them go faster, I want to use the two-handed stranding method (where you hold one strand in each hand). Only problem is that I don't really know how to knit continental! That's where this scarf comes in. It will be knit continental to force me to really learn and stabilize my gauge. I even went back to bamboo needles (better grip) and I wound the yarn by hand! My biggest problem with continental knitting is that tensioning the yarn is totally different than when I hold it in my right hand, and I'm really struggling with the first and last stitch of each row. I'm trying to remember to do a few rows a day and I'm hoping blocking will fix the tension issues once I'm done with the scarf. I'm thinking this will make a good scarf to give away for charity (the yarn is Handspun Bulky in Cardenal, but it reminds me of Carnelian stone when knit up).

And a sweater, the Notre Dame de Grace Pullover:

Notre Dame de Grace Pullover in Progress

I'm using Carodan Farm worsted weight yarn for this project, and let me tell you, it's not soft! My hands don't feel rough from using it, though, and my gauge swatch tells me that it softens up quite a bit after a nice bath. I'm hoping the tough yarn will lead to a very durable pullover. Also, if you like sheepy yarns, this one is for you, because it smells quite a bit like sheep! I think I'm a little more than halfway through (assuming I don't run out of yarn, which I'm starting to worry about), though I'm starting to get bored with the double seed stitch. Which is why I couldn't help myself and cast on for the next project last night....

Finally, the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell:

Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell in Progress

It must be spring, because the call of the bamboo yarn was pretty strong. Also, I saw some pictures of this tank elsewear (*cough*Ravelry*cough*) that were much more attractive than the one pictured with the pattern in Interweave Knits (note that this pattern and the one above are both from the Summer 2007 issue of IK, so I must really like that issue!). Note that I didn't like the rolled edge on the bottom of this, so I'm doing a simple picot hem instead. I'm barely passed that point, and I'm going to try and focus most of my energy on finishing the above sweater before it gets too warm (this was supposed to be the big project I cast on AFTER that), so this one might only get a little bit of work in the short term. Another modification I'll make will be to adjust the decreases so that there are more of them and so that they fit my row gauge, which does not equal the row gauge in the pattern (as is typical of my knitting).

I have a couple other WIPs that are still being completely neglected, but that's okay. My goal still remains to finish all pre-2008 WIPs by the end of 2008, except for the Log Cabin Blanket (that's just to use up leftover sock yarn).

Also, thanks to the three-day weekend (yesterday was Patriots' Day here in Massachusetts), I got a good amount of stuff done around the house, including blocking two scarves and a pair of socks! So there will hopefully be some FO pictures/posts in the near future (assuming I remember to create entries here!).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thank goodness for Sock Clubs

My sock knitting mojo might have been slowed to a crawl (I don't even really have a sock on the needles right now, though that's more because I need to cast on for a second sock), and so has the sock yarn-purchasing, but that hasn't stopped me from getting some sock club goodness!

This is the March Yarn Pirate Booty Club shipment:

Yarn Pirate Merino Sock - Emerald City

It's the Merino Sock yarn in Emerald City. As one of my friends said, it's themed for St. Patrick's Day, without being over the top in themeness.

Ohh, and while it might seem like I'm late posting this one (since the April Booty will arrive soonish, I imagine), I only just received the yarn last week due to another mail snafu (I seriously hate everything having to do with the USPS these days). Luckily, Georgia is awesome. :-)

I almost opted out of the sock club when it came up for renewal in March (it renews every three months) but decided I'd stick it out. Georgia has said that the April shipment will be a new base yarn, so I'm glad (as of now) that I've continued to stay in the club. Stay tuned for what the new yarn is!

The second package is not from a sock club, per say, but rather is a "consolation prize" for not getting into The Loopy Ewe Sock Club. I have to admit (which I might have said before), I was kinda relieved to not get into the sock club - I really do want to cut back on my sock yarn purchases given how much stash I have - but when Sheri offered a consolation prize (basically equivalent to being like a one-month sock club for those of us who did not get in - I couldn't pass it up. The kit became available Friday night, and I had it in my hands yesterday evening:

The Loopy Ewe "Don't Be Blue" Kit

The kit contained a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in Don't Be Blue (dyed special for this package), a body kiss from this Etsy seller, a notions bag, a key chain, Loopy kisses and a sock pattern called Ankle Biters. I'm still glad I'm not in the sock club this year, but maybe I'll try again next year!

Since I've finally uploaded some photos, I'm hoping to do a WIP post later this week....

Monday, April 07, 2008

I have a knitting blog?

Ohh dear, I hadn't realized it had been over a month! I think a combination of not really finishing any projects, loss of my knitting mojo for a bit and vacation has contributed to my absence. In fact, I'm not sure if my knitting mojo is entirely back. That's not to say that I'm not knitting - I am. Not finishing any projects has made me incredibly bored, though.

And yet, I HAVE finished a few projects. In fact, a few weeks ago I decided I needed a quick project just for me (even though I've been mostly knitting projects for me lately) to cheer myself up.

I ended up making this:

"Endpaper" iPod Cozy

Pattern: Stitch pattern taken from Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts
Yarn: Small amounts of Wollmeise Sockenwolle in Brombeere and Dream in Color Smooshy in Petal Shower
Needles: US 1.5 and US 0
Project Timeline: 03/19/08 - 03/20/08

I chose this because I wanted something quick (as I already said) and I'm planning on knitting the actual Endpaper Mitts with these two yarns, but wanted to see how they worked up together first (I love it). Plus, because the Wollmeise skeins are giant (550 yards) and I have so much leftover Smooshy (from both my socks and from my Loopy Ewe swap pal) that I figured I could fit in a small project. My iPod loves it. :-)

And I learned a new skill! I decided I wanted to try a tubular bind-off and I think it looks great. I used TECHknitter's Tubular Cast Off and it did turn out very nice. The only thing is that it's TIGHT! I'm shocked my iPod fits in the thing, but it does and it's secure, so that's all that counts (the iPod is inside the cozy in the picture above).

Lately, though? I cast on three projects from Thursday to Saturday (a sock I had to restart, a scarf I'm using to teach myself how to knit continental so that I can do faster colorwork and a sweater), which should give you an idea of how restless I've been with my knitting. I'm also working on finishing up old projects still, although the current one is a set of washclothes, and my fingers can only take so much cotton on small needles in one day. My trip to Atlanta a week or so ago did produce another FO (started at Logan airport the day I left, finished the day after I returned), but that's for another entry since the project did not turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Oops! (Don't worry, I found the project a happy recipient, so I guess it's a happy ending.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Loopy Ewe Swap Goodness

I have realized that in reading knitting blogs, I like succinct posts. A little about someone's life, a little about what they're knitting or finished knitting, a picture or two... more than that and my mind wanders a little (through no fault of the post author, I think it's just my short attention span). This post, though, will not be short, because I cannot think of a good way to break it up. I hope it's balanced with enough pictures, though!

Many months ago, someone put together a Loopy Ewe themed swap, where the only rules were that you knit something with yarn purchased from The Loopy Ewe, you include something that reminds you of home, and you mail in early- to mid-February. I had been curious, yet a little wary, of swaps, but decided to take the plunge and give it a try. And I must say, the experience was totally enjoyable and I hope it won't be my last swap!

First, what I knit for my "downstream" pal, Janice:

New England Socks in Progress

Pattern: Knitting on the Road, by Nancy Bush
Yarn: J. Knits Superwash Me, Boston, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5
Project Timeline: 1/5/08 - 1/22/08

(Yes, I'm combining a FO post with this swap post, because it seemed the most natural thing to do. This is why this is going to get so long!) When I found out that Janice really likes blue socks, I knew that the Boston colorway from J. Knits (a Massachusetts dyer) would be perfect, so I decided to make a whole theme around my current adopted home. I also saw that Knitting on the Road was not among the books Janice had listed on Ravelry, so I was able to use the New England pattern to fit with my theme AND knit something for Janice that maybe she hadn't seen before. Luckily, I think the color went really well with the pattern!

I think the pattern was well-written, as is true for most Nancy Bush patterns. I also learned a new cast on (the name of which is escaping me) and a new heel (it has a little bit of extra padding in the heel turn, which I thought was really cute and sturdy). The yarn was okay - pretty soft, but also a bit splitty. Overall I enjoyed it, though not a yarn I'm going to start hording. :-P

Here's the whole package I sent Janice:

Loopy Swap Package
  • The New England Socks, with leftovers
  • Merino/Tencel sock yarn from one of my LYS, Mind's Eye Yarns
  • Boston Baked Beans candy, in a little beanpot
  • Maple Sugar candies, from either Massachusetts or Vermont (hard to tell from the package, it says both)
  • Stitchmarkers from Zero Markers (the only thing not in keeping with my New England theme)
  • Chocolate mice from Burdick Chocolate, a favorite of mine from this area

I received an email back from Janice, saying she'd received the package and was thrilled with the contents, so I thought I'd done okay! (And Janice, if you're reading, I still owe you a reply, I'll try and do that soon, I'm terrible with email these days!) That is, until I was totally blown away by what my "upstream" pal, Nadine, sent me. First, the shawl:

Forest Canopy Shawl

This the Forest Canopy Shawl, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy, Petal Shower colorway. I think Nadine did a wonderful job with this, and the Smooshy yarn makes a lovely lace shawl! Here's some up-close detail:

Forest Canopy Shawl Detail

It's not a big shawl, but it will be perfect for throwing over my shoulders during spring/summer/winter when it gets just a tad chilly. So pretty!

And here's the rest of the package:

Loopy Ewe Swap Loot

Umm... WOW is there a lot of stuff there! AND, I forgot to put the Maryland shot glass Nadine sent me into the picture! I'd list everything out, but I'd surely forget something. I think Nadine did a great job of totally spoiling me, and of including goodies from both the Maryland and the DC area. And everything was beautifully wrapped in pretty blue tissue paper with white dots and blue ribbon. Thanks so much! I cannot believe how much fun it was to put together Janice's package, and then how much fun it was to receive my own!

And did that Smooshy yarn look familiar to you? That's because I'm currently knitting socks out of the exact same colorway! Since I finished Tubey over the weekend, I've been able to devote more time to the socks and have made enough progress for an updated photo:

Roza's Socks in Progress

I'm so excited to be working towards socks that will match my shawl! Between the leftovers Nadine sent me and the leftovers I should have from Roza's Socks, I'm thinking I might make wristwarmers using the same brioche stitch pattern. It'll be a complete accessory set in Petal Shower Smooshy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Update on Last Week's WIPs

All I've been working on is the sweater, so I don't have much new to report. But! I did take more pictures last week. And while I'm not even farther on the sweater (I only have about 10 rounds to go on the body, and then I need to add the hems to the sleeves and weave in 4,000 ends), this one shows an actual sweater starting to form:

Updated Tubey in Progress

As a bonus, the finished mittens from last week are sitting there, as well!

Also, here's a picture of the Cherry Leaf shawl in progress:

Upated Cherry Leaf Shawl in Progress

I haven't touched it in more than a week (it still sits just as you see it in the picture, at 15 repeats of the Cherry Leaf pattern), but it's going to be getting some attention just as soon as I finish the sweater.

For my next sweater, I'm thinking of joining The Loopy Ewe Dream in Color Classy Sweater KAL, but Classy isn't available in any colors that I want right now, so I have to wait until mid-March. I'm still trying to find the perfect sweater pattern-color combination.

And in case you thought I was just going to tell you uninteresting things about projects I've already discussed in detail, here's some new(ish) yarn! The February Yarn Pirate Booty Club shipment arrived two weeks ago:

Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel in I Want Candy

It's the Merino/Tencel blend, and the color is called I Want Candy, in case you cannot see it. It was totally perfect for February/Valentine's Day, but unexpected all the same!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Various WIPs

I kept meaning last week to post a "here's what I'm working on" entry, but I never got around to it, and not much has changed. I do have one FO to report, but I'll wait until tomorrow on that one. It's the socks I made for the Loopy Ewe Swap, and now that they've been received, I'm in the clear to post about them. I might wait until I get my package from my pal, though, which should come sometime this week (I think - she emailed me to say that she was on vacation last week and would get the package out this week).

Anyhow, most of my attention lately has been devoted to just a handful of projects, all of which I'm trying to pay attention to. The first is a pair of mittens. I used two sources for my mittens - the first was Mittens 101 from Knitty to get the basic formula on what to do. I've used this before and it came out well, so I figured I would stick with it. I didn't want a plain mitten, though, so I flipped through some patterns and finally settled on Stansfield #11 from Sensational Knitted Socks. That gave me this:

Stansfield #11 Mittens in Progress

Yes, the cuffs are incredibly long. I wanted them that way, because I always feel that mitten/glove cuffs are too short - when I move around, there's always exposed skin between where the cuff ends and where the cuff of my coat falls. I'm hoping these long cuffs will prevent that. I used Knit Picks Cadena, by the way, and I think the alpaca will make them nice and warm.

I didn't want just plain mitts, though, and so I had always planned to add a "fancy" cuff (directions given in Mittens 101) with Knit Picks Twirl. I actually picked the pattern stitch based on it going well with the nubby texture of twirl.

Here are the mitts with the cuffs on but not sewn up:

Mittens in Progress

I did take care of sewing them up over the weekend, though, so now they're finished. I'll do a proper FO entry once I have a chance to wash and photograph them.

Once the mittens were near completion, I cast on for another project - another lace shawl! I have a nice little (I stress little and I like it that way) lace yarn collection, so I was itching to try something new. I turned to my favorite lace source, Victorian Lace Today and chose to match some single ply merino laceweight from The Plucky Knitter with the Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern on page 134. Here it is after the first 44 rows:

Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern in Progress

I've now completed 15 leaf repeats. Because the pattern starts at the point and works up to the neckline, it doesn't look much different than before, just bigger. The pattern says to work 15 repeats (like I've done) but it looks a little small so I think I'm going to add in 3 more (I'd do 6 but I don't think I have the yardage - I've already put in a lifeline at 15 in case I have to go back) to make it just a little bigger. It will also have a knitted-on border. I just want something I can put over my shoulders and tie, and I think this will be perfect (maybe ready for my trip to Atlanta at the end of March? We'll see).

I've also been working on Tubey, my poor, neglected, oldest WIP. I finished the shrug part of the pattern about a week and a half ago, and it looked a little like this:

Tubey in Progress

Sorry for such a shadowy picture. I'm using Knit Picks Swish Worsted, and I love it. And yes, I'm doing pretty much the same colors as in the pattern because I loved how they looked together so much! On Sunday I picked up the stitches for the body and I'm through about 4 inches. I tried it on and I *think* it's actually going to fit me and look good, which I'm excited about. This will be my first pullover with sleaves, as the other sweaters I've made have been cardigans (that look... okay) or tanks. I'm getting excited about finishing it and having something cute to wear.

And last but not least, I've been working on Roza's Socks. I would have taken another picture, but they look pretty much the same as before, just a little further along, but not to the heel yet. I plan on making nice-sized cuffs since the yardage is good and the pattern is stretchy. Plus I'm not feeling the sock love these days (maybe I did too much?) so it's nice to work on other projects. Socks will always be my portable project of choice, though, so I won't ever give them up completely (and I think they'll make a comeback over the summer when the only thing I can stand to knit made out of wool in the heat is socks!).

Friday, February 08, 2008

My Second Short Row Rib Scarf

It's nice to know that a week of regular blogging was all it would take to get me almost back to up to date on FOs! Maybe I will soon be able to achieve my goal of posting more about what I'm doing NOW rather than what I did a few weeks (or even months in some cases!) ago.

My youngest sister, Emilee, turned 11 on Wednesday. When I was visiting for the holidays, I saw the first scarf I made her two years ago and decided it was time for a new one. After confirming with my mother that Emilee likes purple (her favorite color has recently switched from pink to blue), I dug into the stash and made this:

Short Row Ribbed Scarf #2

Pattern: Magknits
Yarn: Merino Bulky, Klematis, 2 skeins
Needles: US 10.5
Project Timeline: 1/22/08 - 1/25/08

I know that I've previously mentioned how much I love this yarn, and it's my default gift scarf yarn of choice. In fact, I don't have anything knit up in this yarn, despite having used to it several times in the past (I do, however, have plans to make this sweater, once I can get my hands on the correct number of skeins).

I also love this pattern - this is the second time I've made this scarf, and it goes by so fast. After 20 repeats of the main section, it feels a little short, but blocking gives it the right amount of length. I do think, however, that fringe is necessary, because otherwise the ends of the scarf don't really match. Luckily, the yardage in 2 skeins of this yarn is enough to do 20 repeats plus a respectable amount of fringe.

The package arrived yesterday, so I hope that my sister enjoys the scarf. If not, I threw a $25 iTunes gift certificate in there, figuring that at least that would please an 11-year-old.